Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
We can learn a lot about improving the 21st-century world from an icon of the industrial era: the steam engine.
Harnessing steam power required many innovations, as William Rosen chronicles in the book "The Most Powerful Idea in the World." Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the "Lord Chancellor" that could gauge tiny distances.
Such measuring tools, Mr. Rosen writes, allowed inventors to see if their incremental design changes led to the improvements—such as higher power and less coal consumption—needed to build better engines. There's a larger lesson here: Without feedback from precise measurement, Mr. Rosen writes, invention is "doomed to be rare and erratic." With it, invention becomes "commonplace."
Monday, January 07, 2013
Nearly three hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin came up with an approach to changing habits that has yet to be surpassed. A young adult seeking to straighten out his act, Franklin developed a list of thirteen virtues, jotting down a brief definition of each. These were character traits he took to be important, but in which he found himself lacking. He knew that nurturing these habits would bring about positive change in his life.
Starting at the top of the list, Franklin spent one week working on each virtue. In the morning he thought about how he would reinforce the new habit throughout the day. During the day he looked at his notes to remind himself of the new habit. At the end of the day, he counted how many times he fell back into the old habit.
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Three issues define the race to succeed President Mwai Kibaki.
Firstly, how the trials at the International Criminal Court will affect political stability and the fortunes of two of the leading presidential candidates, deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former cabinet minister William Samoei Ruto.
Kenya's courts have yet to decide if Kenyatta and Ruto should be able to run in the presidential polls with their trials pending in The Hague.
The two could have to seek a compromise candidate should they be ineligible to run.
Secondly, the scramble for viable coalitions under the new electoral rules means even more political horse trading than usual.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The backlash after the heady Arab revolutions of 2011. The rumblings of war with nuclear-aspiring Iran. The bloody persistence of Bashar al-Assad in civil war-torn Syria. Not to mention a Europe mired in its biggest crisis since World War II and an American presidential campaign that distracted and depressed in equal measure. If ever there were a year for Big Ideas, and a frustration at not hearing them from our leaders, 2012 was it.
Which made it all the more rewarding -- if even more challenging than usual -- to identify this year's Foreign Policy Global Thinkers. It's particularly inspiring to have settled on a most heroic and unlikely pair as our top honorees for 2012: Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, the once-jailed dissident and the longtime general who
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”-Abraham Lincoln
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”-Helen Keller
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”-Marcel Proust
Living a happier life often seems to be about living your big dreams and putting in a lot of work over a long time.
I agree that it is one part. But another part of happiness is here in small ways today.
So in this article I’ll share ten small tweaks I like making to find more happiness in my daily life. I hope you’ll find something here that you can use today to make your life better too.