/page/2
cabinology:

forgottenships:

nicholaswhite

This is how some of my fellow students lived at UC Santa Cruz. We called them Woodsies. :-)

cabinology:

forgottenships:

nicholaswhite

This is how some of my fellow students lived at UC Santa Cruz. We called them Woodsies. :-)

I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air. or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
– Willa Cather, My Antonia  (via thatkindofwoman)

(Source: observando, via thatkindofwoman)

rumon:

A beautiful visual homage to the north coast of home, Vancouver Island, and a place I first visited - and immediately fell in love with - this summer, the Southern Chilcotin Mountains.

America’s rotting empire: Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure

“The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history.

The result?

America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline.

For the past three decades, the Republican Party has waged a dangerous assault on the very idea of public education. Tax cuts for the rich have been balanced with spending cuts to education. During the New Deal era of the 1940s to 1970s, public schools were the great leveler of America. They were our great achievement. It was universal education for all, but today it’s education for those fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families or live in wealthy school districts. The right’s strategy of defunding public education leaves parents with the option of sending their kids to a for-profit school or a theological school that teaches kids our ancestors kept dinosaurs as pets.

“What kind of future society the defectors from the public school rolls envision I cannot say. However, having spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a war-torn hellhole with one of those much coveted limited central governments, and, not coincidentally, a country in which fewer than half the school-age population goes to public school—I can say with certainty that I don’t want to live there,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better off Without Em.


ADVERTISEMENT

Comparisons with the Democratic Republic of Congo are not that far-fetched given the results of a recent report by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD), which is the first comprehensive survey of the skills adults need to work in today’s world, in literacy, numeracy and technology proficiency. The results are terrifying. According to the report, 36 million American adults have low skills.

It gets worse. In two of the three categories tested, numeracy and technological proficiency, young Americans who are on the cusp of entering the workforce—ages 16 to 24—rank dead last, and is third from the bottom in numeracy for 16- to 65-year-olds.

The United States has a wide gap between its best performers and its worst performers. And it had the widest gap in scores between people with rich, educated parents and poor, undereducated parents, which is exactly what Third World countries look like, i.e. a highly educated super class at the top and a highly undereducated underclass at the bottom, with very little in the middle.

The report shows a relationship between inequalities in skills and inequality in income. “How literacy skills are distributed across a population also has significant implications on how economic and social outcomes are distributed within the society. If large proportions of adults have low reading and numeracy skills, introducing and disseminating productivity-improving technologies and work-organization practices can be hampered; that, in turn, will stall improvements in living standards,” write the authors of the report.

There is a defined correlation between literacy, numeracy and technology skills with jobs, rising wages and productivity, good health, and even civic participation and political engagement. Inequality of skills is closely correlated to inequality of income. In short, our education system is not meeting the demands of the new global environment, and the outlook is grim, given the Right’s solution is to further defund public education while ushering kids into private schools and Christian academies aka “segregation academies.”  The Republican-controlled South is where you see the Right’s education strategy in action. “Inspired by home-school superstars such as Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, tens of thousands of other southern families have fled their public-school systems in order to soak their children in the anti-intellectual sitz bath of religious denial.” In other words, we’re dumb and getting dumber.

While charter schools aren’t unique to the South, conservative states tend to respond most enthusiastically to their message, which makes Republican-controlled states ground zero for the further degradation of public education. The U.S. will likely continue to poll like countries like Indonesia and Tanzania, rather than Japan and Sweden when it comes to meeting the demands of a global economy.

Despite their hype and profits, study after study show that kids in charter schools perform no better on achievement tests than kids in public schools. But the correlation between a strong public education system and social mobility is demonstrated clearly in the OECD report. A 2006 report by Michael A. McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University showed that states with higher estimated collective IQ have greater gross state product, citizens with better health, more effective state governments, and less violent crime. In other words, were we to invest more in public education, we’d be instantly more intelligent, healthy, safe, and financially sound.

“The principal force for convergence [of wealth] — the diffusion of knowledge — is only partly natural and spontaneous. It also depends in large part on educational policies,” writes Thomas Piketty in his 700-page bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century. In other words, if we really want to reduce inequality, and if we really want to be a global leader in the 21st century, we need to invest more into our education system, which requires the federal government to ensure the rich and the mega-corporations pay their share. But we need to act now.

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/08/americas_rotting_empire_billionaires_galore_and_a_crumbling_infrastructure_partner/

WHY WOMEN COLLABORATE, MEN WORK ALONE, AND EVERYBODY’S ANGRY

AT THE INTERSECTION OF SELFISHNESS AND TEAM STRUCTURE IS AN INTERESTING LESSON ABOUT GENDER.

It’s a study of rare quality that can aggravate chauvinists and feminists equally.

But the work of Peter J. Kuhn and Marie-Claire Villeval for the National Bureau of Economic Research may be able to do just that.

In their new paper, "Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation Than Men?,” the economists found that, yes, women are—and it has to do with relative competence, the degree to which you think your ability matches up against that of your colleagues. In short, men tend to overestimate their abilities and downplay those of their coworkers, while women shortchange their skills and defer to their peers.

It’s fascinating that this correlates with compensation as well. According to the study, women are more aware of “inequity aversion,” a discomfort with the feeling that not everyone is getting a fair deal, like if some of your colleagues are making way more money than others—while men are less sensitive to the asymmetry.

But this compensatory bias can be altered with a little savvy structuring. Writing at theAtlantic, Derek Thompson shows us how the researchers created the conditions for compensation balance to be restored (or instituted):

Kuhn and Villeval cleverly ran an experiment allowing men and women to select teamwork versus solo work, and then reran the experiment, increasing the returns from excellent teamwork by about 10%. Once they did this, the cooperation gap between men and women disappeared.

So if compensation is clearly oriented toward the team, then men will jump at the chance to work more closely with their colleagues. This shows how something as simple as organizational structures—which are easy to leave unexamined—shape the behavior of the people in them. Which is why, perhaps, we should take an update from Yammer, the enterprise social network, and start iterating the way we construct our companies.

Hat tip: theAtlantic.com

http://www.fastcompany.com/3020561/leadership-now/why-women-collaborate-men-work-alone-and-everybodys-mad

Brutal logic an dclimate change communications

In a couple of posts last week — here andhere — I laid out the brutal logic implied by the latest climate science (with credit to scientist Kevin Anderson for stripping away the rosy assumptions hiding in many of today’s common climate scenarios). To sum up: a rise in temperature of 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) will be extremely dangerous; a rise of 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F) or higher could threaten civilization; the only way to avoid 2 degrees C — or even 4 degrees C — is a massive crash program that will likely involve, for the rich, industrialized countries of the world, peaking emissions in 2015 and declining them 10 percent year-on-year after that. Alarming!

In this post I want to take a step back (sideways?) and have a bit of a meta-discussion about messages of alarm/urgency and where they fit into the climate communications landscape.

Reaction to the posts has been interesting. I’ve gotten a ton of (mostly positive) emails and calls about them, had tons of Twitter and meatspace conversations, but as far as I know, nobody’s written about or reacted to them publicly. And I guess that’s not surprising. This kind of thing tends to end conversation like flatulence at a cocktail party. That’s part of why there’s a whole cottage industry devoted to urging climate hawks not to talk like this. What good can it do? Terrifying people just elicits all sorts of defense mechanisms — denial, disengagement, apathy, system justification, what have you. The forces at work are so colossal, so utterly out of scale with what any individual or group can hope to tackle, that the logical conclusion seems to be, “we’re f*cked.” Our overwhelming instinct is to … change the subject.

There’s plenty of social psychology work on these kinds of reactions; I’ve written about it myself. Nonetheless, it seems to me that work has been interpreted in a fairly crude way.

When people are confronted with a message of fear and crisis that sounds apocalyptic and outside the bounds of the status quo, they don’t like it! And that’s what they tell pollsters and survey takers. Lots of folks have concluded from this that they should avoid the language of fear and crisis.

The 10 percent threshold

I think that’s a misunderstanding of how social change works. For one thing, what’s relevant is not merely how people react to an out-of-bounds message-of-alarm (I need a handy word for that) at a given point, but how such messages become accepted (or don’t) over time. We need to look to more longitudinal studies, historical and anthropological studies, to understand the temporal dynamics of public opinion.

For another thing, what matters is not how such messages are received in isolation, but what role they can play in a larger communications strategy.

Let’s start with the first one. There’s long been an obsession among climate/energy folks with finding a message that appeals to to the “middle” (about which myths abound, but that’s a subject for another time) or the climate undecided/uncommitted/skeptical. Since honest (read: terrifying) talk about the severity of climate change doesn’t win over the uncommitted or disinterested, it is deemed unhelpful to that effort and scolded whenever it pops up.

As I’ve said so many times, though, what drives social change and shifts politics is not broad-based support but intensity. An intensely committed minority can act as a lever that moves larger populations. Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did a study on this recently — “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities” — that attempted to determine “the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion.” They found that that it happens at right around 10 percent. (More precisely, they found that “when p<pc,Tc~exp[α(p)N], whereas for p>pcTc~lnN.” Which sounds about right.)

“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks.”

This is one reason social change tends to be lurching and unpredictable: it’s often hard to tell when ideas outside the mainstream are nearing that 10 percent threshold.

It’s not necessarily a straightforward thing to transfer this finding on to the climate debate. By one measure — Yale’s “Six Americas” survey — climate hawks have already got 12 percent “alarmed.”

Click to embiggen. Click to embiggen.

What complicates matters, of course, is that there’s a roughly equally sized (but vastly better funded and organized) cadre of people who are passionately intense about spreading doubt and blocking action. I’m not sure what the Rensselaer researchers would say about the spread of ideas in the face of concerted opposition, but I imagine it requires clearing a higher hurdle.

There’s this pretense among Very Serious People that the vast and wise middle “tunes out” the intense on both ends — that the extremes cancel each other out to no effect. That’s about half true, but it doesn’t mean what VSPs think it means.

VSPs tend to think the middle is full of commonsense folk looking for calm, measured, and sensible messages. But there’s no evidence for that at all. The great mass of Americans believe all sorts of crazy, wrongheaded, and mutually contradictory sh*t. What the average person wants is simply to take the path of least cognitive resistance, to believe what’s socially acceptable to believe, to believe what People Like Us believe. In a world filled with more information than any human being can absorb, it’s a sensible enough heuristic: believe with the herd. (I don’t mean that pejoratively; the vast bulk of my beliefs, and yours, are developed this way. There’s no other way to do it.)

The reason climate is such an uncomfortable topic for so many Americans is that it’s unresolved. There are these two opposing camps battling it out and it’s not yet clear what Normal People are supposed to think. That, not the “extremity” of any particular view, best explains why public opinion is shallow and fickle on the subject.

So it very much matters who wins that battle of intensity. That is how the Overton Window is shifted, how views from outside the mainstream come to be inside. The right gets this. Forty years ago, supply-side economics and opposition to basic social safety net protections were crank, extremist views held by a small minority of hardcore conservatives — the folks who rallied behind Goldwater in 1964 and lost. But as historian Rick Perlstein recounts in Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, they didn’t stop. They kept organizing and pushing, organizing and pushing. Then came Nixon, Reagan, GW Bush, Sarah Palin. Now extremist conservative views are part of the mainstream fabric.

What if they’d given up after 1964? What if they’d looked at surveys, concluded the American middle didn’t favor their views, and spent the next decades trying to tone down and soften those views?

That’s where climate hawks are — their own 1964. Surely one of their most important tasks is to grow and support the committed minority of people who have absorbed and understood the severity of the climate crisis. From this perspective, it doesn’t matter if climate truth initially fails to reach the mushy middle. What matters is that the committed minority grows.

Hope without threat like yin without yang

So, what kind of message produces the kind of intensity and motivation we need?

Any effective political communications strategy needs three things: a victim, a villain, and hope. First, you have to convince the audience that they face a real, pressing danger. Then you identify the people and institutions behind the threat. Then you show how the villain(s) can be defeated and security restored.

The idea is to produce a sense of threat or unease — a cognitive and emotional itch that needs to be scratched — and simultaneously scratch it by offering a sense of hope, efficacy, and shared purpose. You will note that this is the basic theme of every right-wing email blast in the last 30 years: Secular socialists are brainwashing your children or attacking Christmas or raising your taxes, but if good people like us rally, we can protect our precious heritage (we can even protect our precious inefficient lightbulbs). It’s Communications 101, but it has eluded the climate community.

In part, that’s because climate change is a unique and difficult problem — “wicked,” as people never tire of calling it. It doesn’t sort neatly into good guys and bad guys; everyone consumes fossil fuels and eats food. Climate change seems distant, incremental, and abstract. It requires sacrificing today for benefits that will accrue to our descendants. It’s a psychological knot, to say the least.

Faced with these challenges, lots of people have decided, explicitly or implicitly, to skip the victim talk and the villain talk and cut straight to hope. We can create green jobs! Innovate and be economically competitive! Finally be independent of that pesky Middle Eastern oil! We don’t need to agree about climate change. We can bracket that unpleasant dispute for now.

But of course, if these goals are worth pursuing independently of climate change, one wonders why they haven’t been pursued with any urgency. We’ve been talking about energy independence for decades and haven’t begun to take the kind of action that might make us more energy self-sufficient.

Knocking people out of their tunnel-vision daily lives and into civic or political action — a necessary precondition for any action that’s not to the liking of status quo elites — requires more than hope for a better future; it also requires fear of losing what is now possessed. Terror that’s not accompanied by a road forward and a sense of efficacy just shuts people down, yes. But happy, inspiring possibilities unaccompanied by a threat fail to generate much passion or intensity.

It’s fashionable to say that apocalyptic doom and gloom “has been tried and failed.” But that is half-true at best. There was a brief period around 2007 when climate change was in the public consciousness. Al Gore’s movie had flashes of scary stuff — the notorious sea-swallowing-NYC bit — but it was far less apocalyptic than people have made it out in retrospect.

And what followed Gore’s movie? A two or three year period of relentless, puerile lifestyle content (including, ahem, the Vanity Fair green issue) devoted to convincing upscale American consumers that green is the next big thing. There were occasional newspaper articles, more in the U.K., in which climate scientists waved red flags, but the average American — who gets their news and cultural attitudes from TV — has not been exposed to anything scary at all about climate. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans, including American policymakers, have no conception whatsoever of how severe a problem climate change is.

That seems like a problem.

Pluralism and opportunism, motivated

Lots of things need to happen at once for us to have a chance on climate. I’m absolutely in support of pluralism (a variety of messages, strategies, and policies) and opportunism (taking whatever gains become available). I’m the farthest thing from a purist. The reason I’m insistent on pushing climate danger into the conversation is that I feel pretty strongly that building a core cadre of intense, motivated citizens who feel the climate threat in their bones is an indispensable part of the puzzle. Without that cadre organizing and pushing, dragging the Overton Window, modeling what real climate concern looks like, all the “pragmatic” strategies will add up to … not enough.

We can see a glimmer of that cadre forming in 350.org, the Keystone XL protests, the grassroots campaign against coal plants, and other bits and pieces. If things like TckTckTck and PowerShift are any indication, young people seem to get it. And of course climate movements are growing at the grassroots level all over the world.

There’s no reason that intensity, activism, protest, and agitation — “alarmism,” as they’re snottily called by Very Serious People — need to be seen a an alternative to pragmatic, incremental process pushed by moderate insiders. They are not mutually exclusive; indeed, they ought to be mutually reinforcing. At the very least, less infighting would be nice.

But everyone, it seems to me, no matter what role they play, could stand to push the edge a little bit occasionally, reminding their audience, whatever audience, that climate change is some genuinely dire sh*t and that now is the time for ambition and courage.

http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-16-brutal-logic-and-climate-communications/

I shot over 45,000 pictures," says Foglia. "There are 45 in the book. I’m rigorous when it comes to editing. I want the best pictures to redefine the story. I want the work to be beautiful, but I don’t want the subject matter to be idealised. It’s a hard way of life, sometimes a dangerous one. You meet people with different aims and visions, from puritanical to utopian, but what they have in common is an ideal of independence.
But it’s been my experience that when you turn out something authentic—and I get it, marketing departments are terrified because authentic people are scary people—you have to say, trust me to turn this out. You have to say, I get it. You want that story that will make people cry. But you cannot feed them lines. You cannot put them under great lighting. You can’t have 34 people in the room all being shot in a studio, and they look really pretty. You can’t.
– Soledad O’Brien, http://contently.com/strategist/2014/09/18/soledad-obrien-brilliantly-explains-how-brands-should-work-with-elite-storytellers/?goal=0_855cf0c201-8f9e69d215-314899665

Anthony Bourdain’s Life Advice

By   Oct 2014CNN’s coolest globe-trotter on punctuality, omelets, and how vanity got him clean. 

My first trip to Japan, a couple of years before Kitchen Confidential, was absolutely life changingIt was like my first acid trip. It was that mind-expanding and climatic. I came back thinking about everything in a completely different way. I went there thinking that there were a certain amount of primary colors. I came back knowing in fact that there were 10 or 12 more. It made me want to do things. It showed me that there was so much more in the world than I had any idea— there was so much to learn and that there was so much stuff out there. It just gave me an appetite and drive. Where I was, was suddenly not enough. Whatever happened to me in Tokyo, I wanted more.

What’s the best advice you ever received from anyone and who gave it and when?
Show up on time. I learned this from the mentor who I call Bigfoot in Kitchen Confidential. If you didn’t show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift, if you were 13 minutes early, you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired. It is the basis of everything. I make all my major decisions on other people based on that. Give the people that you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time. It is a simple demonstration of discipline, good work habits and most importantly respect for other people. As an employee, it was a hugely important expression of respect and as an employer, I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know.If you can’t be bothered to show up, why should anybody show up. It’s just the end of the fucking world. 

RELATED: A Drunken Afternoon With Anthony Bourdain

What have you learned from your drug experiences?
I was a long time drug addict and one of the things that  drug addiction did, especially when you have to score cocaine or heroin every day on the streets of New York—you learn a lot of skills that are useful when dealing with Hollywood or in the business world. In a world full of bullshit, when you need something as badly as drugs, your bullshit detector gets pretty acute. Can I trust this guy with money. Is this guys package going to be all he says it was. It makes it a lot easier to navigate your way through Hollywood when you find yourself at a table when everybody says, “We’re all big fans of your work.” Well none of you mother fuckers have actually read it. You don’t fall victim to amateur bullshit when you’ve put up with professional bullshit. My bullshit meteris very finely tuned and you learn to measure your expectations. 

What are the benefits of hedonism and what are the risks?
Look, I understand that inside me there is a greedy, gluttonous, lazy, hippy—you know? I understand that free time is probably my enemy. That if I’m given too much free time to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, I’m afraid of that inner hippy emerging. There’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed and smoke weed all day and watch cartoons and old movies. I could easily do that. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid and outwit that guy. I make sure I commit to projects based on, will they be interesting? I like to keep momentum going. I’m aware of my appetites and I don’t let them take charge. It goes back to heroin, If heroin or delicious, delicious food are the number one things on to do list every day, there probably won’t be a number two thing on your things to do list. You know? 

What about drinking?
A little perspective is useful. I like to have fun. I do take intense joy in self-indulgencing. But I’m honestly pretty disciplined. You see me drink myself stupid on my show all the time. And I have a lot of fun doing that. But I’m not sitting at home having a cocktail. Never, ever. I don’t ever drink in my house. I don’t even drink beer in my house. During summer vacation, maybe I’ll have some beers while I’m grilling in the back yard because it’s part of the experience. I’m pretty moderate in my vices: when I indulge, I indulge. But I don’t let it bleed over into the rest of my life. I have shit to do, I caught a bunch of lucky breaks, I’m not going to fuck it up. That’s an important lesson to learn. Or at least an important thing that I understood after Kitchen Confidential came out. I was 44. I was uninsured, I was broke and I was dunking fries into a fast food fryer. I understood that I got a pretty lucky break here and that it was statistically unlikely to happen again. I’ve been pretty careful about not fucking up the opportunities that have comes since.

When should a man say no? 
The “don’t fuck up” instinct is much more important than the ‘I’ve got to keep this going’ instinct. People are going to offer you a lot of things and I always have to ask myself, “Okay this might be good and profitable today or tomorrow but will this thing be good for me in a year or two years when everybody thinks I’m an asshole for having done it.” I was offered a project years ago. It would have been spectacularly franchise profitable. And I went in with my partners and we met with someone who’s very, very good at this business and would have no doubt made up spectacularly wealthy. We all emerged from the meeting and looked at each other, and I said, “Look, do you want to answer, when the phone rings, do you want to pick it up and have that guy on the other end? Do you want that person in your life? We’ll all be fucking miserable. I don’t want to go on that ride. I want to keep the assholes in my life to an absolute minimum, if not zero.” That’s worth real, real money — to not have assholes in your life. 

What advice would you give the younger you?
I wouldn’t have listened. That was the kind of asshole I was. I would never listen to me—I could show up and tell him exactly what’s happening, you know, I would have gone right ahead and made the same mistakes. I was that kind of person, I would have said fuck it. I don’t care, old man, I’m still taking this ride. And look—it paid off! All that fucking up seemed to directly get paid off. So I don’t think I’d even want to go back and have that conversation at all. 

You’ve had some pretty famous feuds. When should a person start a feud with someone publicly?
I guess my threshold for feud is weird. It’s like, by all means feel free to say you find me—just generally repulsive, that you hate me, you hate my work. That you think I’m an asshole. That I’m ugly or stupid or offensive. All of those are completely legitimate areas to criticize me or attack me in public and I’ll probably shrug my shoulders. Where I get into a feud is if I feel like you’ve lied about me. Or that you’ve willingly misrepresented me in a way that I really don’t want to be misrepresented. Or if you’ve misrepresented or lied about something I feel very passionate about, like food. If you’re going to have an enemy it should be someone who you respect. My arch-enemy, Alan Richman who I wrote about having a feud with, we actually get along very, very well now and have snuck out for dinner together on more than one occasion. I feel happy about that. I enjoy having an epic battle but I can change my opinion about a person and I respect people who can change their opinions. 

RELATED: Travel Tips From Anthony Bourdain

Being able to change your mind is a really important trait isn’t it?
I have an operating principle that I am perfectly willing, if not eager to believe that I’m completely wrong about everything. I have a tattoo on my arm, that says, in ancient Greek, “I am certain of nothing.” I think that’s a good operating principle. I love showing up to a place thinking it’s going to be one way and having all sorts of stupid preconceptions or prejudices and then in even a painful and embarrassing way being proved wrong. I like that. If you can get a little smarter about the world every day, it’s a win. I just came back from Iran, and perfect example. I went in thinking all sorts of things and man, I had every expectation, everything I thought I knew, or suspected turned up-side-down. 

Is there a place that you turn to time and time again?
Southeast Asia’s constantly inspiring to me and puts things into perspective. I’m a guy who lives in New York. I’m a very busy guy. I would say that I work hard. But—it was only 14 years ago that I was at the tail end of almost 30 years of actually working in a kitchen. And then to go to Southeast Asia, a place that I find incredibly beautiful and enchanting, and deeply satisfying in every sense of the word, but you’re constantly confronted with what work really can mean. I love rice country for that reason. Any place where people grow rice. You see people bent at the hip, re-planting rice, 8, 10 hours a day. It puts words like “work” into perspective. You see how people fight to live every day in Congo—you know, it forces you to reevaluate words you thought you knew the meaning of.  It just puts your own life and the world you live in,  in a larger perspective. 

How does a man find his calling? How do you know, what you’re doing is right?
I don’t know—you keep at it. I like building things. I like making things. I liked making plates of food. I was a very happy dishwasher. You know, the plates went into the dishwasher dirty and they came out clean every time. And that felt good. I liked making plates of food. There was a sense of accomplishment every time, even if it was the same plate I made a thousand or 10 thousand times. It satisfied me. I liked making our episodes of television. How do you find your calling? For me, I like to create things or be part of the creation of things. Whether it’s a comic book, or a book, or a tv show, or a plate of food. If I just laid in bed all day with a big tube feeding me money, I would not be a happy guy. I need to make stuff. I need a fucking job. I think everybody does. 

What’s the best cure for a hang over?
Look, you’re screwed in any case, especially the older you get. There’s no escaping it and they get worse and worse as you get older. The best all around cure I’ve found—and this is the best case scenario, meaning, presumably, if you’re going to go out and drink too much, you have made allowances for this on the other end. This is something I learned very early. I mean if I’ve got to wake up and go to meetings tomorrow morning, I’m not getting hammered tonight if I can avoid it. I know—I’ve learned. So first thing is schedule. Schedule your hang over. Wake up as soon as you can. A cold coca-cola, or Pepsi. Wash down a couple aspirin. Smoke a joint. And the joint will help you to develop and appetite at which point, some really spicy food. Some spicy left-over’s, like—left over Kung-po chicken would be perfect. 

What’s the best way to motivate other people?
Make them feel special. Create an esprit de corp and a feeling that you are an elite, that even if you have the shittiest jobs within a large organization, you should feel proud of the fact that you’re part of something. Recognize excellence. Celebrate weirdness and innovation. Odd balls should be cherished if they can do something that other people can’t do. But also everybody needs to understand that there are certain absolutes, there is a certain line. That no matter how much I love you— you may be my favorite, but if you show up late, two days in a row, I’m sorry—but you’re going over the side.

How should a man handle his critics?
I got a book review in The New York Times awhile back. It wasn’t a particularly good review, it was actually a painfully bad one. But it was well written, it was well-reasoned, it hurt like hell, nothing in it was unfair. I might have disagreed with some of the conclusions, others, I had to reluctantly, wincingly, agree with and I just ate it. I curled up in a little ball, recovered and hopefully learned from the experience. I can’t fault them for not liking my work. Especially when it was a well-presented indictment. There are critics that have been unfair, meaning they’ve misrepresented, or they came at something I did with a preconceived notion. And then sort of cherry picked in order to reach the conclusion that they’ve already made. I don’t like it—it hurts, but if you cook food or write books or make television, it’s like the tide, the weight will break on the beach. There is no stopping it. It will come and then another wave and then another wave. There’s nothing you can do about it and there’s no point to railing against it. You’ve just got to toughen up. Learn to swim. I just suck it up. You’re lucky that people give a shit in the first place to even bother to talk about you.

What role does vanity play in a man’s life?
If you’re a writer, particularly if you’re a writer or a story teller of any kind, there is something already kind of monstrously wrong with you. Let’s face it, it is an unreasonable attitude to look in the mirror in the morning and think, “You know there are people out there who would really like to hear my story.” You know, “I’m an interesting guy and I have interesting things to say.” Look, the numbers overwhelmingly  disprove that notion. It’s an insane notion. Most writers fail. So the kind of drive—the kind of compulsion to spend a year or two of your life writing a book in the hope that people will buy it, that’s what’s called narcissism. An over-inflated sense of self. It makes a lot of us unpleasant or dysfunctional socially — so there’s that vanity. On the other hand, I’ve been offered a lot of money to do stuff that I turn down. And to be honest, a lot of it wasn’t because I have any integrity, it was because I didn’t want to take a million dollars to represent you know—anti-diarrhea medicine. My vanity would not allow it. Also, vanity saved me from heroin, a lot of people, with what they call, “low self-esteem”, if you look at anyone getting rogered on a dirty couch by Ron Jeremy in the history of film, chances are you’re going to find a self-esteem problem. That’s true with people who have the most trouble getting off of hard drugs. When they look in the mirror, they don’t see someone worth saving. I looked in the mirror and I was very unhappy and embarrassed by the guy I saw there. And I think that’s what provided me with the will to kick narcotics, because I was too fucking vain to be that guy anymore. That whining desperate, sick, fucking victim.

Is there a meal that every man should know how to cook?
In an ideal society, everyone over 12 should be able to cook a few basic things reasonably well. They should be able to feed themselves and a few friends, if called to do so, both as a kindness and as a basic life skill. Everyone should know how to make an omelet. Everyone should know how to roast a chicken, properly, how to grill a steak properly, how to make a basic—very basic stew or soup. Prepare basic vegetables and pasta. After you’ve progressed through 101, the next thing to learn is how to cook a simple pasta pomodoro—I think would make the world a better place if we all knew how to cook pasta properly. These are all very easy things to do. They require really only the will and some patience to learn through repetition, which is really the way that most cooks and chefs learn. As I said in the last book, you know everybody you have sex with for the first time —if you’re going to have sex with someone, you should be willing and able to cook them a fucking omelet in the morning. And a proper one. It’s a nice thing. It would make the world a kinder and gentler place. It’s the least you can do.

How should a man handle regret? And what’s your biggest regret?
Regret is something you’ve got to just live with, you can’t drink it away. You can’t run away from it. You can’t trick yourself out of it. You’ve just got to own it. I’ve disappointed and hurt people in my life and that’s just something I’m going to have to live with. If you made the basic decision that even in spite of your crimes, you are worth persevering, that it’s worth trying to get good things for yourself, even though you might not deserve them, then you, you eat that guilt and you live with it. And you own it. You own it for life. 



Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/anthony-bourdains-life-advice-20140919#ixzz3Dnh878ei 
Follow us: @mensjournal on Twitter | MensJournal on Facebook

cabinology:

forgottenships:

nicholaswhite

This is how some of my fellow students lived at UC Santa Cruz. We called them Woodsies. :-)

cabinology:

forgottenships:

nicholaswhite

This is how some of my fellow students lived at UC Santa Cruz. We called them Woodsies. :-)

I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air. or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
– Willa Cather, My Antonia  (via thatkindofwoman)

(Source: observando, via thatkindofwoman)

rumon:

A beautiful visual homage to the north coast of home, Vancouver Island, and a place I first visited - and immediately fell in love with - this summer, the Southern Chilcotin Mountains.

America’s rotting empire: Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure

“The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history.

The result?

America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

A rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a second rate nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual resources are also in decline.

For the past three decades, the Republican Party has waged a dangerous assault on the very idea of public education. Tax cuts for the rich have been balanced with spending cuts to education. During the New Deal era of the 1940s to 1970s, public schools were the great leveler of America. They were our great achievement. It was universal education for all, but today it’s education for those fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families or live in wealthy school districts. The right’s strategy of defunding public education leaves parents with the option of sending their kids to a for-profit school or a theological school that teaches kids our ancestors kept dinosaurs as pets.

“What kind of future society the defectors from the public school rolls envision I cannot say. However, having spent some time in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a war-torn hellhole with one of those much coveted limited central governments, and, not coincidentally, a country in which fewer than half the school-age population goes to public school—I can say with certainty that I don’t want to live there,” writes Chuck Thompson in Better off Without Em.


ADVERTISEMENT

Comparisons with the Democratic Republic of Congo are not that far-fetched given the results of a recent report by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD), which is the first comprehensive survey of the skills adults need to work in today’s world, in literacy, numeracy and technology proficiency. The results are terrifying. According to the report, 36 million American adults have low skills.

It gets worse. In two of the three categories tested, numeracy and technological proficiency, young Americans who are on the cusp of entering the workforce—ages 16 to 24—rank dead last, and is third from the bottom in numeracy for 16- to 65-year-olds.

The United States has a wide gap between its best performers and its worst performers. And it had the widest gap in scores between people with rich, educated parents and poor, undereducated parents, which is exactly what Third World countries look like, i.e. a highly educated super class at the top and a highly undereducated underclass at the bottom, with very little in the middle.

The report shows a relationship between inequalities in skills and inequality in income. “How literacy skills are distributed across a population also has significant implications on how economic and social outcomes are distributed within the society. If large proportions of adults have low reading and numeracy skills, introducing and disseminating productivity-improving technologies and work-organization practices can be hampered; that, in turn, will stall improvements in living standards,” write the authors of the report.

There is a defined correlation between literacy, numeracy and technology skills with jobs, rising wages and productivity, good health, and even civic participation and political engagement. Inequality of skills is closely correlated to inequality of income. In short, our education system is not meeting the demands of the new global environment, and the outlook is grim, given the Right’s solution is to further defund public education while ushering kids into private schools and Christian academies aka “segregation academies.”  The Republican-controlled South is where you see the Right’s education strategy in action. “Inspired by home-school superstars such as Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, tens of thousands of other southern families have fled their public-school systems in order to soak their children in the anti-intellectual sitz bath of religious denial.” In other words, we’re dumb and getting dumber.

While charter schools aren’t unique to the South, conservative states tend to respond most enthusiastically to their message, which makes Republican-controlled states ground zero for the further degradation of public education. The U.S. will likely continue to poll like countries like Indonesia and Tanzania, rather than Japan and Sweden when it comes to meeting the demands of a global economy.

Despite their hype and profits, study after study show that kids in charter schools perform no better on achievement tests than kids in public schools. But the correlation between a strong public education system and social mobility is demonstrated clearly in the OECD report. A 2006 report by Michael A. McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University showed that states with higher estimated collective IQ have greater gross state product, citizens with better health, more effective state governments, and less violent crime. In other words, were we to invest more in public education, we’d be instantly more intelligent, healthy, safe, and financially sound.

“The principal force for convergence [of wealth] — the diffusion of knowledge — is only partly natural and spontaneous. It also depends in large part on educational policies,” writes Thomas Piketty in his 700-page bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century. In other words, if we really want to reduce inequality, and if we really want to be a global leader in the 21st century, we need to invest more into our education system, which requires the federal government to ensure the rich and the mega-corporations pay their share. But we need to act now.

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/08/americas_rotting_empire_billionaires_galore_and_a_crumbling_infrastructure_partner/

WHY WOMEN COLLABORATE, MEN WORK ALONE, AND EVERYBODY’S ANGRY

AT THE INTERSECTION OF SELFISHNESS AND TEAM STRUCTURE IS AN INTERESTING LESSON ABOUT GENDER.

It’s a study of rare quality that can aggravate chauvinists and feminists equally.

But the work of Peter J. Kuhn and Marie-Claire Villeval for the National Bureau of Economic Research may be able to do just that.

In their new paper, "Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation Than Men?,” the economists found that, yes, women are—and it has to do with relative competence, the degree to which you think your ability matches up against that of your colleagues. In short, men tend to overestimate their abilities and downplay those of their coworkers, while women shortchange their skills and defer to their peers.

It’s fascinating that this correlates with compensation as well. According to the study, women are more aware of “inequity aversion,” a discomfort with the feeling that not everyone is getting a fair deal, like if some of your colleagues are making way more money than others—while men are less sensitive to the asymmetry.

But this compensatory bias can be altered with a little savvy structuring. Writing at theAtlantic, Derek Thompson shows us how the researchers created the conditions for compensation balance to be restored (or instituted):

Kuhn and Villeval cleverly ran an experiment allowing men and women to select teamwork versus solo work, and then reran the experiment, increasing the returns from excellent teamwork by about 10%. Once they did this, the cooperation gap between men and women disappeared.

So if compensation is clearly oriented toward the team, then men will jump at the chance to work more closely with their colleagues. This shows how something as simple as organizational structures—which are easy to leave unexamined—shape the behavior of the people in them. Which is why, perhaps, we should take an update from Yammer, the enterprise social network, and start iterating the way we construct our companies.

Hat tip: theAtlantic.com

http://www.fastcompany.com/3020561/leadership-now/why-women-collaborate-men-work-alone-and-everybodys-mad

Brutal logic an dclimate change communications

In a couple of posts last week — here andhere — I laid out the brutal logic implied by the latest climate science (with credit to scientist Kevin Anderson for stripping away the rosy assumptions hiding in many of today’s common climate scenarios). To sum up: a rise in temperature of 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) will be extremely dangerous; a rise of 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F) or higher could threaten civilization; the only way to avoid 2 degrees C — or even 4 degrees C — is a massive crash program that will likely involve, for the rich, industrialized countries of the world, peaking emissions in 2015 and declining them 10 percent year-on-year after that. Alarming!

In this post I want to take a step back (sideways?) and have a bit of a meta-discussion about messages of alarm/urgency and where they fit into the climate communications landscape.

Reaction to the posts has been interesting. I’ve gotten a ton of (mostly positive) emails and calls about them, had tons of Twitter and meatspace conversations, but as far as I know, nobody’s written about or reacted to them publicly. And I guess that’s not surprising. This kind of thing tends to end conversation like flatulence at a cocktail party. That’s part of why there’s a whole cottage industry devoted to urging climate hawks not to talk like this. What good can it do? Terrifying people just elicits all sorts of defense mechanisms — denial, disengagement, apathy, system justification, what have you. The forces at work are so colossal, so utterly out of scale with what any individual or group can hope to tackle, that the logical conclusion seems to be, “we’re f*cked.” Our overwhelming instinct is to … change the subject.

There’s plenty of social psychology work on these kinds of reactions; I’ve written about it myself. Nonetheless, it seems to me that work has been interpreted in a fairly crude way.

When people are confronted with a message of fear and crisis that sounds apocalyptic and outside the bounds of the status quo, they don’t like it! And that’s what they tell pollsters and survey takers. Lots of folks have concluded from this that they should avoid the language of fear and crisis.

The 10 percent threshold

I think that’s a misunderstanding of how social change works. For one thing, what’s relevant is not merely how people react to an out-of-bounds message-of-alarm (I need a handy word for that) at a given point, but how such messages become accepted (or don’t) over time. We need to look to more longitudinal studies, historical and anthropological studies, to understand the temporal dynamics of public opinion.

For another thing, what matters is not how such messages are received in isolation, but what role they can play in a larger communications strategy.

Let’s start with the first one. There’s long been an obsession among climate/energy folks with finding a message that appeals to to the “middle” (about which myths abound, but that’s a subject for another time) or the climate undecided/uncommitted/skeptical. Since honest (read: terrifying) talk about the severity of climate change doesn’t win over the uncommitted or disinterested, it is deemed unhelpful to that effort and scolded whenever it pops up.

As I’ve said so many times, though, what drives social change and shifts politics is not broad-based support but intensity. An intensely committed minority can act as a lever that moves larger populations. Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did a study on this recently — “Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities” — that attempted to determine “the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion.” They found that that it happens at right around 10 percent. (More precisely, they found that “when p<pc,Tc~exp[α(p)N], whereas for p>pcTc~lnN.” Which sounds about right.)

“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks.”

This is one reason social change tends to be lurching and unpredictable: it’s often hard to tell when ideas outside the mainstream are nearing that 10 percent threshold.

It’s not necessarily a straightforward thing to transfer this finding on to the climate debate. By one measure — Yale’s “Six Americas” survey — climate hawks have already got 12 percent “alarmed.”

Click to embiggen. Click to embiggen.

What complicates matters, of course, is that there’s a roughly equally sized (but vastly better funded and organized) cadre of people who are passionately intense about spreading doubt and blocking action. I’m not sure what the Rensselaer researchers would say about the spread of ideas in the face of concerted opposition, but I imagine it requires clearing a higher hurdle.

There’s this pretense among Very Serious People that the vast and wise middle “tunes out” the intense on both ends — that the extremes cancel each other out to no effect. That’s about half true, but it doesn’t mean what VSPs think it means.

VSPs tend to think the middle is full of commonsense folk looking for calm, measured, and sensible messages. But there’s no evidence for that at all. The great mass of Americans believe all sorts of crazy, wrongheaded, and mutually contradictory sh*t. What the average person wants is simply to take the path of least cognitive resistance, to believe what’s socially acceptable to believe, to believe what People Like Us believe. In a world filled with more information than any human being can absorb, it’s a sensible enough heuristic: believe with the herd. (I don’t mean that pejoratively; the vast bulk of my beliefs, and yours, are developed this way. There’s no other way to do it.)

The reason climate is such an uncomfortable topic for so many Americans is that it’s unresolved. There are these two opposing camps battling it out and it’s not yet clear what Normal People are supposed to think. That, not the “extremity” of any particular view, best explains why public opinion is shallow and fickle on the subject.

So it very much matters who wins that battle of intensity. That is how the Overton Window is shifted, how views from outside the mainstream come to be inside. The right gets this. Forty years ago, supply-side economics and opposition to basic social safety net protections were crank, extremist views held by a small minority of hardcore conservatives — the folks who rallied behind Goldwater in 1964 and lost. But as historian Rick Perlstein recounts in Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, they didn’t stop. They kept organizing and pushing, organizing and pushing. Then came Nixon, Reagan, GW Bush, Sarah Palin. Now extremist conservative views are part of the mainstream fabric.

What if they’d given up after 1964? What if they’d looked at surveys, concluded the American middle didn’t favor their views, and spent the next decades trying to tone down and soften those views?

That’s where climate hawks are — their own 1964. Surely one of their most important tasks is to grow and support the committed minority of people who have absorbed and understood the severity of the climate crisis. From this perspective, it doesn’t matter if climate truth initially fails to reach the mushy middle. What matters is that the committed minority grows.

Hope without threat like yin without yang

So, what kind of message produces the kind of intensity and motivation we need?

Any effective political communications strategy needs three things: a victim, a villain, and hope. First, you have to convince the audience that they face a real, pressing danger. Then you identify the people and institutions behind the threat. Then you show how the villain(s) can be defeated and security restored.

The idea is to produce a sense of threat or unease — a cognitive and emotional itch that needs to be scratched — and simultaneously scratch it by offering a sense of hope, efficacy, and shared purpose. You will note that this is the basic theme of every right-wing email blast in the last 30 years: Secular socialists are brainwashing your children or attacking Christmas or raising your taxes, but if good people like us rally, we can protect our precious heritage (we can even protect our precious inefficient lightbulbs). It’s Communications 101, but it has eluded the climate community.

In part, that’s because climate change is a unique and difficult problem — “wicked,” as people never tire of calling it. It doesn’t sort neatly into good guys and bad guys; everyone consumes fossil fuels and eats food. Climate change seems distant, incremental, and abstract. It requires sacrificing today for benefits that will accrue to our descendants. It’s a psychological knot, to say the least.

Faced with these challenges, lots of people have decided, explicitly or implicitly, to skip the victim talk and the villain talk and cut straight to hope. We can create green jobs! Innovate and be economically competitive! Finally be independent of that pesky Middle Eastern oil! We don’t need to agree about climate change. We can bracket that unpleasant dispute for now.

But of course, if these goals are worth pursuing independently of climate change, one wonders why they haven’t been pursued with any urgency. We’ve been talking about energy independence for decades and haven’t begun to take the kind of action that might make us more energy self-sufficient.

Knocking people out of their tunnel-vision daily lives and into civic or political action — a necessary precondition for any action that’s not to the liking of status quo elites — requires more than hope for a better future; it also requires fear of losing what is now possessed. Terror that’s not accompanied by a road forward and a sense of efficacy just shuts people down, yes. But happy, inspiring possibilities unaccompanied by a threat fail to generate much passion or intensity.

It’s fashionable to say that apocalyptic doom and gloom “has been tried and failed.” But that is half-true at best. There was a brief period around 2007 when climate change was in the public consciousness. Al Gore’s movie had flashes of scary stuff — the notorious sea-swallowing-NYC bit — but it was far less apocalyptic than people have made it out in retrospect.

And what followed Gore’s movie? A two or three year period of relentless, puerile lifestyle content (including, ahem, the Vanity Fair green issue) devoted to convincing upscale American consumers that green is the next big thing. There were occasional newspaper articles, more in the U.K., in which climate scientists waved red flags, but the average American — who gets their news and cultural attitudes from TV — has not been exposed to anything scary at all about climate. Indeed, the vast majority of Americans, including American policymakers, have no conception whatsoever of how severe a problem climate change is.

That seems like a problem.

Pluralism and opportunism, motivated

Lots of things need to happen at once for us to have a chance on climate. I’m absolutely in support of pluralism (a variety of messages, strategies, and policies) and opportunism (taking whatever gains become available). I’m the farthest thing from a purist. The reason I’m insistent on pushing climate danger into the conversation is that I feel pretty strongly that building a core cadre of intense, motivated citizens who feel the climate threat in their bones is an indispensable part of the puzzle. Without that cadre organizing and pushing, dragging the Overton Window, modeling what real climate concern looks like, all the “pragmatic” strategies will add up to … not enough.

We can see a glimmer of that cadre forming in 350.org, the Keystone XL protests, the grassroots campaign against coal plants, and other bits and pieces. If things like TckTckTck and PowerShift are any indication, young people seem to get it. And of course climate movements are growing at the grassroots level all over the world.

There’s no reason that intensity, activism, protest, and agitation — “alarmism,” as they’re snottily called by Very Serious People — need to be seen a an alternative to pragmatic, incremental process pushed by moderate insiders. They are not mutually exclusive; indeed, they ought to be mutually reinforcing. At the very least, less infighting would be nice.

But everyone, it seems to me, no matter what role they play, could stand to push the edge a little bit occasionally, reminding their audience, whatever audience, that climate change is some genuinely dire sh*t and that now is the time for ambition and courage.

http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-16-brutal-logic-and-climate-communications/

I shot over 45,000 pictures," says Foglia. "There are 45 in the book. I’m rigorous when it comes to editing. I want the best pictures to redefine the story. I want the work to be beautiful, but I don’t want the subject matter to be idealised. It’s a hard way of life, sometimes a dangerous one. You meet people with different aims and visions, from puritanical to utopian, but what they have in common is an ideal of independence.
But it’s been my experience that when you turn out something authentic—and I get it, marketing departments are terrified because authentic people are scary people—you have to say, trust me to turn this out. You have to say, I get it. You want that story that will make people cry. But you cannot feed them lines. You cannot put them under great lighting. You can’t have 34 people in the room all being shot in a studio, and they look really pretty. You can’t.
– Soledad O’Brien, http://contently.com/strategist/2014/09/18/soledad-obrien-brilliantly-explains-how-brands-should-work-with-elite-storytellers/?goal=0_855cf0c201-8f9e69d215-314899665

Anthony Bourdain’s Life Advice

By   Oct 2014CNN’s coolest globe-trotter on punctuality, omelets, and how vanity got him clean. 

My first trip to Japan, a couple of years before Kitchen Confidential, was absolutely life changingIt was like my first acid trip. It was that mind-expanding and climatic. I came back thinking about everything in a completely different way. I went there thinking that there were a certain amount of primary colors. I came back knowing in fact that there were 10 or 12 more. It made me want to do things. It showed me that there was so much more in the world than I had any idea— there was so much to learn and that there was so much stuff out there. It just gave me an appetite and drive. Where I was, was suddenly not enough. Whatever happened to me in Tokyo, I wanted more.

What’s the best advice you ever received from anyone and who gave it and when?
Show up on time. I learned this from the mentor who I call Bigfoot in Kitchen Confidential. If you didn’t show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift, if you were 13 minutes early, you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired. It is the basis of everything. I make all my major decisions on other people based on that. Give the people that you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time. It is a simple demonstration of discipline, good work habits and most importantly respect for other people. As an employee, it was a hugely important expression of respect and as an employer, I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know.If you can’t be bothered to show up, why should anybody show up. It’s just the end of the fucking world. 

RELATED: A Drunken Afternoon With Anthony Bourdain

What have you learned from your drug experiences?
I was a long time drug addict and one of the things that  drug addiction did, especially when you have to score cocaine or heroin every day on the streets of New York—you learn a lot of skills that are useful when dealing with Hollywood or in the business world. In a world full of bullshit, when you need something as badly as drugs, your bullshit detector gets pretty acute. Can I trust this guy with money. Is this guys package going to be all he says it was. It makes it a lot easier to navigate your way through Hollywood when you find yourself at a table when everybody says, “We’re all big fans of your work.” Well none of you mother fuckers have actually read it. You don’t fall victim to amateur bullshit when you’ve put up with professional bullshit. My bullshit meteris very finely tuned and you learn to measure your expectations. 

What are the benefits of hedonism and what are the risks?
Look, I understand that inside me there is a greedy, gluttonous, lazy, hippy—you know? I understand that free time is probably my enemy. That if I’m given too much free time to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, I’m afraid of that inner hippy emerging. There’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed and smoke weed all day and watch cartoons and old movies. I could easily do that. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid and outwit that guy. I make sure I commit to projects based on, will they be interesting? I like to keep momentum going. I’m aware of my appetites and I don’t let them take charge. It goes back to heroin, If heroin or delicious, delicious food are the number one things on to do list every day, there probably won’t be a number two thing on your things to do list. You know? 

What about drinking?
A little perspective is useful. I like to have fun. I do take intense joy in self-indulgencing. But I’m honestly pretty disciplined. You see me drink myself stupid on my show all the time. And I have a lot of fun doing that. But I’m not sitting at home having a cocktail. Never, ever. I don’t ever drink in my house. I don’t even drink beer in my house. During summer vacation, maybe I’ll have some beers while I’m grilling in the back yard because it’s part of the experience. I’m pretty moderate in my vices: when I indulge, I indulge. But I don’t let it bleed over into the rest of my life. I have shit to do, I caught a bunch of lucky breaks, I’m not going to fuck it up. That’s an important lesson to learn. Or at least an important thing that I understood after Kitchen Confidential came out. I was 44. I was uninsured, I was broke and I was dunking fries into a fast food fryer. I understood that I got a pretty lucky break here and that it was statistically unlikely to happen again. I’ve been pretty careful about not fucking up the opportunities that have comes since.

When should a man say no? 
The “don’t fuck up” instinct is much more important than the ‘I’ve got to keep this going’ instinct. People are going to offer you a lot of things and I always have to ask myself, “Okay this might be good and profitable today or tomorrow but will this thing be good for me in a year or two years when everybody thinks I’m an asshole for having done it.” I was offered a project years ago. It would have been spectacularly franchise profitable. And I went in with my partners and we met with someone who’s very, very good at this business and would have no doubt made up spectacularly wealthy. We all emerged from the meeting and looked at each other, and I said, “Look, do you want to answer, when the phone rings, do you want to pick it up and have that guy on the other end? Do you want that person in your life? We’ll all be fucking miserable. I don’t want to go on that ride. I want to keep the assholes in my life to an absolute minimum, if not zero.” That’s worth real, real money — to not have assholes in your life. 

What advice would you give the younger you?
I wouldn’t have listened. That was the kind of asshole I was. I would never listen to me—I could show up and tell him exactly what’s happening, you know, I would have gone right ahead and made the same mistakes. I was that kind of person, I would have said fuck it. I don’t care, old man, I’m still taking this ride. And look—it paid off! All that fucking up seemed to directly get paid off. So I don’t think I’d even want to go back and have that conversation at all. 

You’ve had some pretty famous feuds. When should a person start a feud with someone publicly?
I guess my threshold for feud is weird. It’s like, by all means feel free to say you find me—just generally repulsive, that you hate me, you hate my work. That you think I’m an asshole. That I’m ugly or stupid or offensive. All of those are completely legitimate areas to criticize me or attack me in public and I’ll probably shrug my shoulders. Where I get into a feud is if I feel like you’ve lied about me. Or that you’ve willingly misrepresented me in a way that I really don’t want to be misrepresented. Or if you’ve misrepresented or lied about something I feel very passionate about, like food. If you’re going to have an enemy it should be someone who you respect. My arch-enemy, Alan Richman who I wrote about having a feud with, we actually get along very, very well now and have snuck out for dinner together on more than one occasion. I feel happy about that. I enjoy having an epic battle but I can change my opinion about a person and I respect people who can change their opinions. 

RELATED: Travel Tips From Anthony Bourdain

Being able to change your mind is a really important trait isn’t it?
I have an operating principle that I am perfectly willing, if not eager to believe that I’m completely wrong about everything. I have a tattoo on my arm, that says, in ancient Greek, “I am certain of nothing.” I think that’s a good operating principle. I love showing up to a place thinking it’s going to be one way and having all sorts of stupid preconceptions or prejudices and then in even a painful and embarrassing way being proved wrong. I like that. If you can get a little smarter about the world every day, it’s a win. I just came back from Iran, and perfect example. I went in thinking all sorts of things and man, I had every expectation, everything I thought I knew, or suspected turned up-side-down. 

Is there a place that you turn to time and time again?
Southeast Asia’s constantly inspiring to me and puts things into perspective. I’m a guy who lives in New York. I’m a very busy guy. I would say that I work hard. But—it was only 14 years ago that I was at the tail end of almost 30 years of actually working in a kitchen. And then to go to Southeast Asia, a place that I find incredibly beautiful and enchanting, and deeply satisfying in every sense of the word, but you’re constantly confronted with what work really can mean. I love rice country for that reason. Any place where people grow rice. You see people bent at the hip, re-planting rice, 8, 10 hours a day. It puts words like “work” into perspective. You see how people fight to live every day in Congo—you know, it forces you to reevaluate words you thought you knew the meaning of.  It just puts your own life and the world you live in,  in a larger perspective. 

How does a man find his calling? How do you know, what you’re doing is right?
I don’t know—you keep at it. I like building things. I like making things. I liked making plates of food. I was a very happy dishwasher. You know, the plates went into the dishwasher dirty and they came out clean every time. And that felt good. I liked making plates of food. There was a sense of accomplishment every time, even if it was the same plate I made a thousand or 10 thousand times. It satisfied me. I liked making our episodes of television. How do you find your calling? For me, I like to create things or be part of the creation of things. Whether it’s a comic book, or a book, or a tv show, or a plate of food. If I just laid in bed all day with a big tube feeding me money, I would not be a happy guy. I need to make stuff. I need a fucking job. I think everybody does. 

What’s the best cure for a hang over?
Look, you’re screwed in any case, especially the older you get. There’s no escaping it and they get worse and worse as you get older. The best all around cure I’ve found—and this is the best case scenario, meaning, presumably, if you’re going to go out and drink too much, you have made allowances for this on the other end. This is something I learned very early. I mean if I’ve got to wake up and go to meetings tomorrow morning, I’m not getting hammered tonight if I can avoid it. I know—I’ve learned. So first thing is schedule. Schedule your hang over. Wake up as soon as you can. A cold coca-cola, or Pepsi. Wash down a couple aspirin. Smoke a joint. And the joint will help you to develop and appetite at which point, some really spicy food. Some spicy left-over’s, like—left over Kung-po chicken would be perfect. 

What’s the best way to motivate other people?
Make them feel special. Create an esprit de corp and a feeling that you are an elite, that even if you have the shittiest jobs within a large organization, you should feel proud of the fact that you’re part of something. Recognize excellence. Celebrate weirdness and innovation. Odd balls should be cherished if they can do something that other people can’t do. But also everybody needs to understand that there are certain absolutes, there is a certain line. That no matter how much I love you— you may be my favorite, but if you show up late, two days in a row, I’m sorry—but you’re going over the side.

How should a man handle his critics?
I got a book review in The New York Times awhile back. It wasn’t a particularly good review, it was actually a painfully bad one. But it was well written, it was well-reasoned, it hurt like hell, nothing in it was unfair. I might have disagreed with some of the conclusions, others, I had to reluctantly, wincingly, agree with and I just ate it. I curled up in a little ball, recovered and hopefully learned from the experience. I can’t fault them for not liking my work. Especially when it was a well-presented indictment. There are critics that have been unfair, meaning they’ve misrepresented, or they came at something I did with a preconceived notion. And then sort of cherry picked in order to reach the conclusion that they’ve already made. I don’t like it—it hurts, but if you cook food or write books or make television, it’s like the tide, the weight will break on the beach. There is no stopping it. It will come and then another wave and then another wave. There’s nothing you can do about it and there’s no point to railing against it. You’ve just got to toughen up. Learn to swim. I just suck it up. You’re lucky that people give a shit in the first place to even bother to talk about you.

What role does vanity play in a man’s life?
If you’re a writer, particularly if you’re a writer or a story teller of any kind, there is something already kind of monstrously wrong with you. Let’s face it, it is an unreasonable attitude to look in the mirror in the morning and think, “You know there are people out there who would really like to hear my story.” You know, “I’m an interesting guy and I have interesting things to say.” Look, the numbers overwhelmingly  disprove that notion. It’s an insane notion. Most writers fail. So the kind of drive—the kind of compulsion to spend a year or two of your life writing a book in the hope that people will buy it, that’s what’s called narcissism. An over-inflated sense of self. It makes a lot of us unpleasant or dysfunctional socially — so there’s that vanity. On the other hand, I’ve been offered a lot of money to do stuff that I turn down. And to be honest, a lot of it wasn’t because I have any integrity, it was because I didn’t want to take a million dollars to represent you know—anti-diarrhea medicine. My vanity would not allow it. Also, vanity saved me from heroin, a lot of people, with what they call, “low self-esteem”, if you look at anyone getting rogered on a dirty couch by Ron Jeremy in the history of film, chances are you’re going to find a self-esteem problem. That’s true with people who have the most trouble getting off of hard drugs. When they look in the mirror, they don’t see someone worth saving. I looked in the mirror and I was very unhappy and embarrassed by the guy I saw there. And I think that’s what provided me with the will to kick narcotics, because I was too fucking vain to be that guy anymore. That whining desperate, sick, fucking victim.

Is there a meal that every man should know how to cook?
In an ideal society, everyone over 12 should be able to cook a few basic things reasonably well. They should be able to feed themselves and a few friends, if called to do so, both as a kindness and as a basic life skill. Everyone should know how to make an omelet. Everyone should know how to roast a chicken, properly, how to grill a steak properly, how to make a basic—very basic stew or soup. Prepare basic vegetables and pasta. After you’ve progressed through 101, the next thing to learn is how to cook a simple pasta pomodoro—I think would make the world a better place if we all knew how to cook pasta properly. These are all very easy things to do. They require really only the will and some patience to learn through repetition, which is really the way that most cooks and chefs learn. As I said in the last book, you know everybody you have sex with for the first time —if you’re going to have sex with someone, you should be willing and able to cook them a fucking omelet in the morning. And a proper one. It’s a nice thing. It would make the world a kinder and gentler place. It’s the least you can do.

How should a man handle regret? And what’s your biggest regret?
Regret is something you’ve got to just live with, you can’t drink it away. You can’t run away from it. You can’t trick yourself out of it. You’ve just got to own it. I’ve disappointed and hurt people in my life and that’s just something I’m going to have to live with. If you made the basic decision that even in spite of your crimes, you are worth persevering, that it’s worth trying to get good things for yourself, even though you might not deserve them, then you, you eat that guilt and you live with it. And you own it. You own it for life. 



Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/anthony-bourdains-life-advice-20140919#ixzz3Dnh878ei 
Follow us: @mensjournal on Twitter | MensJournal on Facebook

"I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air. or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."
America’s rotting empire: Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure
WHY WOMEN COLLABORATE, MEN WORK ALONE, AND EVERYBODY’S ANGRY
Brutal logic an dclimate change communications
"I shot over 45,000 pictures," says Foglia. "There are 45 in the book. I’m rigorous when it comes to editing. I want the best pictures to redefine the story. I want the work to be beautiful, but I don’t want the subject matter to be idealised. It’s a hard way of life, sometimes a dangerous one. You meet people with different aims and visions, from puritanical to utopian, but what they have in common is an ideal of independence."
"But it’s been my experience that when you turn out something authentic—and I get it, marketing departments are terrified because authentic people are scary people—you have to say, trust me to turn this out. You have to say, I get it. You want that story that will make people cry. But you cannot feed them lines. You cannot put them under great lighting. You can’t have 34 people in the room all being shot in a studio, and they look really pretty. You can’t."
Anthony Bourdain’s Life Advice

About:

crackly bits that burn white hot when they're stacked in the right way...

Following: