Logic and Compassion, Facts and Nurturing, Fun and Exploring - check here

We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Douglas Engelbart's Norweigian Cousin Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

This blog is really for Engelbart afficionados. Click on the title for more about Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson from Oslo University.

I was recently reminded of the impact of Doug Engelbart's ARC Lab (Augmentation Research Center at SRI in the 60's and 70's) when John Markoff of the New York Times wrote about a high school student who had hung out at Doug's lab. Geoff Goodfellow came up with the idea of wireless email years and years before Blackberry and others. Doug's lab was the 2nd note on the ARPANET and as a result, no doubt, Geoff Goodfellow's inspiration is embedded in the core of the Internet in a protocol number '99' set aside for wireless email. http://www.wirelessmuse.com/winternet/2006/04/new_york_times_.html

But of course it was not in a vacuum, the intellectual ferment of the ARC lab, I'm sure had something to do with it.

Doug recently took me out for a birthday breakfast, thank you Doug! And we talked about his famous Norweigian Nobel-prize winning, writer of the lyrics of the Norweigian national anthem, ancestral cousin Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. I'd always felt that there was somewhere that Doug's "one-of-a-kind" way of thinking had emerged, and reading about Bjørnson made me realize that some of it was in his genes.

BJØRNSON (1832 - 1910) www.gonorway.no/go/bjoernson.html and Douglas Carl
Engelbart (1925 -

Douglas Engelbart's ancestor was first cousin to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, a Norweigian who was the third person awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1903. I've tried to insert their mid-life photos side by side (the links are there if this doesn't work in your browser) - there is some resemblance!

It's interesting to see strands of Doug's thought "preceded" by the works of his distinguished ancestor.... the idealistic spirit, international efforts. The idea of "crop rotation" where Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson alternated between heroic sagas and peasant stories, is also reminiscent of Doug's "two-faceted" way of working, which is alternate between wanting to collaborate and really wanting to work on his own, in his own way; and to wanting to involve people and augment humanity, while working with computers to do this.

Click on the title to link to the description of , by Professor Edvard Beyer, who is professor of Nordic literature at the University of Oslo. I've reproduced below an extract that 1 particularly liked because it reminds me a lot of how Engelbart's mind works, in describing the sagas and stories of the Nobel-prize winning Bjørnson.

" a restrained power, an unquenchable urge for adventure, talents in search of a goal, stubborn pride and a shy taciturnity, which keeps others at arm´s length."

Monday, April 24, 2006

As a sculpture is hidden in a rough piece of stone

For some months now, I see myself as a work-in-progress - its a great way to get out of the perfectionism trap that I allowed to encircle me from my very young days

I'm sculpting my life each day, each hour a chance to chip away, to uncover something I care about

So today is something special, because someone has seen enough of the rough hewn stone that is my life to date, and can glimpse some of what I hope to be, to do, to contribute.

It means a lot to me to be seen as I would hope to be - even if I am far from complete - the sculpture is emerging.

Thank you to a wonderful human being Paul Greenberg http://www.the56group.typepad.com for being the best cheer leader who has just told the world what he sees when he looks at me! And listen out for Paul's Route 56 Podcasts - thinking fun inspiring, that's Paul.

PS - Just started reading Math and Mona Lisa by Bulent Atalay about Leonardo Da Vinci. The book reminded me of Michelangelo being the one who said that the sculpture is already there in the stone. Atalay said, for the scientist, the scientific law is already there in the data, waiting to be discovered.

Atalay is a Renaissance person, who sees in both art and science, that the human imagination is vital to seeing-it- when-others-don't and working to uncover it so others can see it too.

Friday, April 14, 2006

We have so much to learn from Healthcare

In February I attended a Healthcare IT conference in San Diego.

25,000 delegates, 900 exhibitors.

The buzz was that one exhibitor spent $1M on its booth at the show.

Clearly healthcare IT is a very rich field.

Yet amongst all the many tracks, workshops, exhibitors and speakers I found one person who stood out head and shoulders above the rest as the future of Healthcare IT

Dr. Joel Berman - a physician in Concord New Hampshire.

He talked about how the doctors in his practice came to accelerate improvements in care for their patients with diabetes.

His story is a story about what it takes to lead the human changes in order to take advantage of technology.

How the doctors had to deal with an existential crisis of what it meant to be doctors. How using the computer help them focus on what it was that they as human beings brought to the doctor/patient relationship.

We have so much to learn from the thoughtful doctors who are faced with the huge challenge of embracing electronic medical records EMR or electronic health records EHR - this dictate has come from the top down in order to control healthcare costs, all medical institutions know they will be required to have EMR/EHR to support their practice.

I hope you'll click on the title link and read the interview with this thoughtful humane and dedicated doctor.

And if you read Chinese, the article in Chinese is at http://www.greaterchinacrm.org:8080/gb/content_details.jsp?contentid=2036&subjectid=107