links for 2010-11-22

  • At first glance, the [Getting Creative Things Done] system seems obvious. “Block out time on my calendar for big projects,” you might think. “I've tried that.”

    Creative work, however, is a subtle affair. If your mind is not in the exact right state, it’s difficult to produce high-quality results. Because of this, details matter. This is what’s important about GCTD, not the general idea of blocking out time, but the carefully-calibrated details that accompany it: the blocks are treated like real appointments and are dedicated to only one (or, at most, two) projects in a week; absolutely zero interruptions are allowed during the blocks; and the focus is on process, not goals.

    These little things add up to a system that consistently produces the types of ambitious results that, as Graham puts it, are “at the limits of your capacity.” The type of results that can make you a star.

  • [India's] National Library has always been reputed to haunted. Now, here is a really eerie secret. A mysterious room has been discovered in the 250-year-old building a room that no one knew about and no one can enter because it seems to have no opening of kind, not even trapdoors.

    The chamber has lain untouched for over two centuries. Wonder what secrets it holds. The archaeologists who discovered it have no clue either, their theories range from a torture chamber, or a sealed tomb for an unfortunate soul or the most favoured of all a treasure room. Some say they wouldn't be surprised if both skeletons and jewels tumble out of the secret room.

  • Effective rodent control requires a very specific kind of spatial knowledge, Sullivan suggests, one that often eludes architects and city planners.

    Sullivan quotes one rat-control professional, for instance, who "foresees a day when he will be hired to analyze a building's weaknesses, vis-à-vis pests and rodents… 'They design buildings to support pigeons and for infiltration by rodents because they don't think about it. Grand Central Station, right? They just renovated it, right? Who knows what they spend on that, right? You know how much they spend on pest control? You know how much they budgeted? Nothing. I did all the extra work there, but they had to pay us out of the emergency budget.'"

    Pest control here becomes an explicitly architectural problem, something you can design both for and against. Imagine an entire degree program in infestation-resistant urban design.


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