Let’s get the recipe out of the way first, since that’s fresh in my mind. This one turned out exceptionally well, saith The Wife. As always, I give the recipe as I made it from what I have. If I used a Meyer lemon, I’ll write that, but obviously you can substitute as you wish. I used sherry vinegar because sherry vinegar is what I happened to have. If I had apple cider vinegar, I would have used that. Recipes generally have an unrealistic level of specificity, IMO.
Rub the inside of a Staub 2.25-qt round cocotte (I used the red one) with olive oil. Note—and this is very important—do NOT buy a Staub round cocotte from Amazon.com. I bought mine there—it was $110 and quite obviously superior to the $135 Le Creuset—but tonight their prices are, literally, insane. Depending on the color, the price varies, all over the place, but is uniformly HIGH—Jeff Bezos must be having trouble reaching profit goals. $170, $285, and $460, depending on color. That is crazy. The link above is to a store that is not having a nervous breakdown, pricing-wise.
The layers, from bottom up:
1/2 cup Lundberg Organic White Basmati rice — I buy Lundberg because their rice is lower in arsenic and they address the problem directly. It’s also what Whole Foods has in the bulk bins.
1 quite large leek, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (meant to put it on the rice, forgot until this layer)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/3 large eggplant, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
3/4 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
1 organic Eureka lemon (probably would have used a Meyer lemon if available), diced after ends removed
2 Tbsp Penzeys Country French Vinaigrette (mixed according to instructions)
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
1 Tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Shake well in bottle, pour over.
Cover cocotte and cook in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes.
The rice formed a sort of rice cake in the bottom. All very tasty—and I put it together in 15 minutes, just before leaving for my Pilates mat class.
I have gained enough weight that I would have to say I am fat once more—too much sitting—and the first session I felt horribly awkward and unable to even approximate the exercises because of being fat (too much bulk), inflexible, and weak. But, oddly, I was okay with that. I’ve been here before and I know what happens. Indeed, I am particularly interested in how bad I am and paid attention to it because this is the baseline from which I shall mark my progress—and I know from experience that regular practice will produce progress, quite rapid at first, and then more slowly.
Obviously, my previous Pilates experience helps: I know better how to follow the instructions regarding posture and muscle tension, so that moves faster.
And today I indeed noticed that I was better at some things and I enjoyed it more. And I’m more inclined to work on things. I’m wondering whether being continuously sedentary doesn’t throw oneself into his mind more, with the body mostly ignored; but when regular movement and exertion is part of the day—the body getting exercise and practicing control—one’s mind moves into a somewhat different mode where it can draw not only upon the resources of the brain but of the body as well. Or, more likely, the mind has available to it more of the brain’s resources—viz., those resources dedicated to controlling the body in motion and rest—and these additional resources alter the working of mind. As noted here (and elsewhere):
Albert Einstein once stated that he felt it in his muscles, when he was thinking about something that later proved to be very significant. This heightened kinesthetic sense tells us that helping develop this kinesthetic sensitivity from an early age, instead of suppressing it, will help people turning out to be more creative individuals.
At any rate, I feel that I am doing the right thing and eager to see my progress. (Cf. the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck: I’ve tried to adopt what she calls the “growth mindset.”)
While I’m pleased to be doing Pilates again—and mat exercises have the benefit that I can also practice at home—I am also pleased at some progress on the project of converting daily common chores into sources of enjoyment (cf. shaving).
In pondering this, I recently recalled the story in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which you surely have read more than once, of the episode of whitewashing the fence: a horrible chore that was so bad that whitewasher’s coevals felt free to mock him. Tom neatly turns the tables, making the practice—indeed, art—of whitewashing something so desired that others pay him for the privilege and perform the chore with thorough and genuine enjoyment—genuine enough so that they pay for the privilege and in no wise feel cheated.
I suddenly realized that what I’m saying is that we can do this to ourselves—we don’t need a Tom Sawyer, we can be our own Tom Sawyer.
We have no dishwasher, so dishes are washed by hand. I do this, and dishes build up—you know the story. Then recently I decided that I would not have a dirty dish dormant in the kitchen. At the earliest possible moment—i.e., as soon as either of us finishes eating from a dish—I grab the dish and wash it and put it in the rack to dry. At first this took time, but the more I did it, the less time it took: there was never a backlog, so I would be washing one bowl or two, for example. That’s easily and quickly done. When I found dry dishes in rack, I immediately put them away. Dirty dishes became rare, so I would wipe off counters, put things away. Soon even that was rare. A dirty dish became a kind of prize. And keeping the kitchen clean was easy: the effort involved at any time was tiny, and I practically can do it as I walk through the kitchen.
As I thought about it, I realized I had also discovered something else: a natural and unique time to tackle it. The time was as soon as I had something to clean. That is, as soon as something was dirtied, I cleaned it. “As soon as” is quite specific and easily identifiable. “Later” is vague, amorphous, and no particular time. “Later” omits a starting bell, whereas with “as soon as” sounds the bell clearly.
I was thinking about this and trying to find a way to increase the regularity of teeth brushing. (Sorry if this is TMI, but it was instructive to me.) I had much the same problems with my electric, software-controlled toothbrush as I had with the multiblade-cartridge razor: the process has been so polished and automated that it is totally boring and repellent. Replacing the multiblade cartridge and canned foam with a DE safety razor and true lather, made with brush and soap, made my shave once again interesting and enjoyable. Maybe it would work with brushing my teeth?
My dental hygienist had mentioned that the Braun brushes were, in her view, too firm and could damage gum tissue if used with pressure. She gave me a very soft manual toothbrush and recommended that I use that for a while.
The Braun (like the Sonicare and others) has a built-in timer: you brush each half of each row (top and bottom) for 30 seconds: 2 minutes total. That amount of time is recommended, and I didn’t especially want to count or to look at a clock, when I discovered that you can buy a 30-second sandglass: they’re used as game timers. (The site at the link has quite a variety of sandglasses of all durations.) So I got a 30-second sandglass and use it to time the brushing for each quadrant, reversing it as I complete each one.
That was almost enough to make it enjoyable, but I added my dishwashing discovery: brush my teeth as soon as I could after each meal. That is, choose the unique starting bell for the task: as soon as you can do it, rather than “later”—which thus requires a subsequent decision and the effort of that. I am relieved of a decision, I enjoy turning over the little sandglass, and I have found a way to make dental hygiene enjoyable.
From an interesting post at Open Culture—I recommend you read it. But the list:
Hemingway wrote down a list of 16 books and handed it to Samuelson (many of the texts you can find in our collection of Free eBooks):
- The Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
- The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
- Dubliners by James Joyce
- The Red and the Black by Stendhal
- Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
- Hail and Farewell by George Moore
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Oxford Book of English Verse
- The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
- The American by Henry James
The government now can claim to be “suspicious” that terrorism is being contemplated, and that suspicion triggers the Patriot Act and other repressive legislation and court decisions that allow the government to do anything it wants without regard to legal and human rights. Naturally enough, such tools are appealing to the authoritarian mind, and “dissent” to such a mind looks very much like “terrorism” (authoritarians are easily frightened), which is an enormous threat to the US, much greater than any threat of terrorism. PR Watch has published a report on our government’s activities:
Government Surveillance of Occupy Movement
Special Report by Center for Media and Democracy and DBA Press
- by Beau Hodai, CMD/DBA
On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy released the results of a year-long investigation: “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.” The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how state/regional “fusion center” personnel monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.
The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the “Arizona fusion center”) monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity.
While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting — until now — that details the breadth and depth with which the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.
REPORT Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s ‘Counter Terrorism’ Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street
REPORT APPENDIX open records materials cited in report.
SOURCE MATERIALS almost 10,000 pages of open records materials are archived on DBA Press.
PRWATCH ARTICLE ”Dissent or Terror: How Arizona’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate Interests, Turned on Occupy Phoenix”
Key findings of this report include:
- How law enforcement agencies active in the Arizona fusion center dispatched an undercover officer to infiltrate activist groups organizing both protests of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the launch of Occupy Phoenix and how the work of this undercover officer benefited ALEC and the private corporations that were the subjects of these demonstrations.
- How fusion centers, funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, expended countless hours and tax dollars in the monitoring of Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups.
- How the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has financed social media “data mining” programs at local law enforcement agencies engaged in fusion centers.
- How counter terrorism government employees applied facial recognition technology, drawing from a state database of driver’s license photos, to photographs found on Facebook in the effort to profile citizens believed to be associated with activist groups.
- How corporations have become part of the homeland security “information sharing environment” with law enforcement/intelligence agencies through various public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. The report examines multiple instances in which the counter terrorism/homeland security apparatus was used to gather intelligence relating to activists for the benefit of corporate interests that were the subject of protests.
- How private groups and individuals, such as Charles Koch, Chase Koch (Charles’ son and a Koch Industries executive), Koch Industries, and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council have hired off-duty police officers — sometimes still armed and in police uniforms — to perform the private security functions of keeping undesirables (reporters and activists) at bay.
- How counter terrorism personnel monitored the protest activities of citizens opposed to the indefinite detention language contained in National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
- How the FBI applied “Operation Tripwire,” an initiative originally intended to apprehend domestic terrorists through the use of private sector informants, in their monitoring of Occupy Wall Street groups. [Note: this issue was reported on exclusively by DBA/CMD in December, 2012.]
- The Progressive, “Spying on Occupy Activists”, Matthew Rothschild
- AlterNet, “How America’s National Security Apparatus–in Partnership With Big Corporations–Cracked Down on Dissent, Alex Kane
- In These Times, “How the Government Targeted Occupy”, Lisa Graves (also reprinted at PRWatch.org)
- The Big Picture, New Report Details Surveillance of OWS, Thom Hartmann
- Democracy Now!, “Editor of The Progressive, Matt Rothschild, Calls For Eric Holder to Resign Over Spying on Press, Occupy Protesters”, Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh
Alternet has published an except from the report:
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a nationwide “counter terrorism” apparatus emerged. Components of this apparatus include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (U.S. DHS), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), ODNI’s “National Counterterrorism Center” (NCTC), and state/regional “fusion centers.”
“Fusion centers,” by and large, are staffed with personnel working in “counter terrorism”/ “homeland security” units of municipal, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement/”public safety”/”counter terrorism” agencies. To a large degree, the “counter terrorism” operations of municipal, county, state and tribal agencies engaged in “fusion centers” are financed through a number of U.S. DHS grant programs.
Initially, “fusion centers” were intended to be intelligence sharing partnerships between municipal, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement/”counter terrorism” agencies, dedicated solely to the dissemination/sharing of “terrorism”-related intelligence. However, shortly following the creation of “fusion centers,” their focus shifted from this exclusive interest in “terrorism,” to one of “all hazards” — an umbrella term used to describe virtually anything (including “terrorism”) that may be deemed a “hazard” to the public, or to certain private sector interests. And, as has been mandated through a series of federal legislative actions and presidential executive orders, “fusion centers” (and the “counter terrorism” entities that they are comprised of) work — in ever closer proximity — with private corporations, with the stated aim of protecting items deemed to be “critical infrastructure/key resources” (CI/KR, typically thought of as items such as power plants, dams or weapons manufacturing plants).
As detailed in a report from DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD), “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street ,” through 2011 and 2012, “fusion centers” and other “counter terrorism” agencies engaged in widespread monitoring of Occupy Wall Street activists.
Records obtained by DBA/CMD indicate that, in some instances, these “counter terrorism” agencies worked in partnership with corporate interests to gather and disseminate intelligence relating to the activities of citizens engaged in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ironically, records indicate that corporate entities engaged in such public-private intelligence sharing partnerships were often the very same corporate entities criticized, and protested against, by the Occupy Wall Street movement as having undue influence in the functions of public government.
This article examines the effects of such public-private intelligence sharing partnerships in Arizona, and how such partnerships benefited corporate interests that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest actions through 2011 and 2012.
Arizona Fusion Center Work on Behalf of Banks
In October of 2011, Jamie Dimon, president and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, had plans to travel to Phoenix for a “town hall” event with 2,000 of his employees at Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, located in downtown Phoenix). As Dimon is one of the most powerful men on Wall Street and the head of the largest bank in the country — a bank that played a key role in the collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008 — JP Morgan Chase Regional Security Manager Dan Grady contacted Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center personnel on October 17 (the day before Dimon’s scheduled visit), to ensure a smooth landing for Dimon in Phoenix.
The Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), commonly known as the “Arizona Fusion Center,” is comprised of personnel from such entities as the Arizona Department of Public Safety Intelligence Bureau, the Phoenix Police Department Homeland Defense Bureau, the Tempe Police Department Homeland Defense Unit, the Mesa Police Department Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Unit, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Phoenix Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. DHS offices of Infrastructure Protection and Intelligence and Analysis.
Records indicate that Grady’s chief point of law enforcement/”counter terrorism” personnel contact in Phoenix — with whom he discussed the particulars of Dimon’s visit and shared a detailed itinerary — was Phoenix Police Department Homeland Defense Bureau (PPDHDB) Detective, and ACTIC Community Liaison Program Coordinator, Jennifer O’Neill. As records indicate, the chief area of discussion between Grady and O’Neill were concerns that citizens engaged in Occupy Phoenix, an Occupy Wall Street-inspired group that had launched only days prior, on October 14 and 15, might try to disrupt the event — or otherwise inconvenience Dimon.
According to records obtained by DBA/CMD, in response to Grady’s concerns, O’Neill stated that she and a PPDHDB “CI/KR security specialist” colleague had engaged in the monitoring of known online “social networking” outlets used by Occupy Phoenix for discussion relating to the Dimon visit. As such O’Neill stated: “we have not seen anything on social networking that leads us to believe protestors are aware of this event.”
By no stretch of the imagination was this monitoring of social media (known in the world of “counter terrorism” agencies as the acquisition of “open source intelligence”) for the benefit of JP Morgan Chase President and CEO Dimon the full extent of such activity conducted by ACTIC personnel. Records indicate that ACTIC personnel consistently gathered “open source,” and other, intelligence relating to Occupy Phoenix protests of corporate entities throughout 2011 and 2012. According to these records, in many instances ACTIC personnel would share this intelligence with personnel employed by corporations who were subject to these protests.
Another example of Occupy Phoenix-related ACTIC CLP work for the benefit of banks would . . .
Mirza Akbar has an op-ed in the NY Times:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — WHEN Barack Obama ran for president of the United States in 2008, his message of hope and change gave us, the citizens of lesser republics, hope that he would close Guantánamo and shut down programs where extrajudicial killing or bribing foreign heads of state with American taxpayer dollars had become standard practice.
Instead, a few days after his inaugural address, a C.I.A.-operated drone dropped Hellfire missiles on Fahim Qureishi’s home in North Waziristan, killing seven of his family members and severely injuring Fahim. He was just 13 years old and left with only one eye, and shrapnel in his stomach.
There was no militant present. A recent book revealed that Mr. Obama was informed about the erroneous target but still did not offer any form of redress, because in 2009, the United States did not acknowledge the existence of its own drone program in Pakistan.
Sadaullah Wazir was another victim of hope and change. His house in North Waziristan was targeted on Sept. 7, 2009. The strike killed four members of his family. Sadaullah was 14 years old when it happened. A few days after the attack, he woke up in a Peshawar hospital to the news that both of his legs had to be amputated and he would never be able to walk again. He died last year, without receiving justice or even an apology. Once again, no militant was present or killed.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to deliver a major speech on drones at the National Defense University today. He is likely to tell his fellow Americans that drones are precise and effective at killing militants.
But his words will be little consolation for 8-year-old Nabila, who, on Oct. 24, had just returned from school and was playing in a field outside her house with her siblings and cousins while her grandmother picked flowers. At 2:30 p.m., a Hellfire missile came out of the sky and struck right in front of Nabila. Her grandmother was badly burned and succumbed to her injuries; Nabila survived with severe burns and shrapnel wounds in her shoulder.
Nabila doesn’t know who Mr. Obama is, or where the Hellfire missile that killed her grandmother came from. As she grows older, she will learn about the idea of justice. But how will she be able to grasp it if she herself has been denied this basic right?
The civilian victims of drone strikes have not been let down just by Mr. Obama. Their own government is equally culpable; Pakistan has been complicit in several strikes.
I have brought litigation on behalf of more than 100 civilian victims and their families before the provincial High Court in Peshawar and lower courts in Islamabad, the capital, to demand that the Pakistani government exercise its duty to protect the lives of its citizens.
A growing number of civilian casualties has raised the question of the efficacy of drone strikes in killing militants. Clearly Fahim, Sadaullah and Nabila were not menaces to America who had to be attacked in a brutal and lawless manner. According to the revelations in a recent McClatchy News Service article, the C.I.A. has no idea who is actually being killed in most of the strikes. Despite this acknowledgment, the drone program in Pakistan still continues without any Congressional oversight or accountability.
The burden of accountability is not exclusively on the American side. It is widely believed that the Pakistani government not only gives tacit consent for such strikes but also provides ground intelligence to the United States. . . .
Alex Seitz-Wald writes in Salon:
If you look at the redacted decision a federal judge in the District Court of Maryland handed down last October, you would think it involves a classified CIA program, burying all pertinent information — sometimes almost entire pages — under black boxes.
But the case isn’t about a secret weapons program — it’s about baby strollers or kitchen appliances or action figures or some other consumer product. But we don’t actually know because everything, from the name of the company involved to the product it makes, is secret, thanks to a potentially unprecedented court ruling that consumer advocates fear could set a standard of allowing corporations to challenge actions they don’t like without even revealing their names. Welcome to the “Company Doe” case.
In 2008, after a spate of high-profile recalls of lead-tainted toys from China and other products, Congress passed a law to beef up the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency that regulates everything from baby cribs to ATVs to swimming pools — over 15,000 different products, altogether. The law also created a user-friendly online database aimed at making it easier for consumers to learn about potentially dangerous products by centralizing government reports and allowing any consumer to post his or her own complaints.
The whole point of the database is transparency. It can take months for the agency’s investigations to run their course, and companies have a great deal of control over any eventual recall or public action, so the idea of the database was to close the gap between what the agency knows and what the public knows — “letting the sun shine in,” as CPSC chairwoman Inez Moore Tenenbaum said in a speech last year.
So it’s ironic that the very first lawsuit challenging the database could become a test case on corporate secrecy.
In October of 2011, a company asked a federal court to stop the agency from including in its database a report filed by a local government agency of alleged harm to a consumer. It was the first such suit, but was generally expected, as manufacturers fought the creation of the database tooth and nail. But what’s unusual is that the plaintiff called itself “Company Doe” and asked the judge to litigate the entire case under seal and under pseudonym so as to protect it from the taint of perceived impropriety.
Balking at this secrecy, a coalition of consumer advocacy groups intervened in the case and filed a motion to unmask the company. They didn’t hear anything for nine months after their first filing. Then, in July of 2012, they were told that not only had the court rejected their effort to unseal the records, but that the case had already been decided in favor of “Company Doe” — all in total secret. A few months after that came a heavily redacted decision, blacking out the name of the company, the type of product, the local government agency that reported the problem, the potential harm and all other potentially identifying information.
“As far as we can tell, it’s unprecedented,” Scott Michelman, an attorney at Public Citizen who is leading the consumer groups’ litigation, told Salon. “We know of no case anywhere in the country in which companies have been allowed to proceed under a pseudonym, just to protect its reputation.”
This kind of secrecy is common in grand jury proceedings, national security cases and criminal cases to protect the identify of sexual assault victims, legal experts say, but highly unusual beyond that. . .
This is a terrible decision, but to be expected as corporations seize control of the country.
The US certainly insists on the right to vote for other countries, as Michael Lind points out in Salon:
Is it time, at long last, for the citizens of the United States to enjoy the constitutional right to vote for the people who govern them?
Phrased in that way, the question may come as a shock. The U.S. has waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justified, at least in rhetoric, by the claim that people deserve the right to vote for their leaders. Most of us assume that the right to vote has long been enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Not according to the Supreme Court. In Bush v. Gore (2000), the Court ruled that “[t]he individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” That’s right. Under federal law, according to the Supreme Court, if you are a citizen of the United States, you have a right to own a firearm that might conceivably be used in overthrowing the government. But you have no right to wield a vote that might be used to change the government by peaceful means.
FairVote, a nonprofit organization that leads the fight for electoral reform in the U.S.,points out:
The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy. Yet most Americans do not realize that we do not have a constitutionally protected right to vote. While there are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on race (15th), sex (19th) and age (26th), no affirmative right to vote exists.
And that’s just the beginning. While the Voting Rights Act eliminated overt disenfranchisement based on racial discrimination, state governments retain many tools that state politicians can use to disfranchise citizens, not only in state and local elections but also in federal elections. Among these tools are . . .
Reading an interview with Steve Jobs, I came across this quote: “The thing I love about Pixar is that it’s exactly like the LaserWriter.” What? The most successful animation studio in recent memory is “exactly like” a piece of technology from 1985?
He explained that when he saw the first page come out of Apple’s LaserWriter — the first laser printer ever — he thought, There’s awesome amounts of technology in this box. He knew what all the technology was, and he knew all the work that went into creating it, and he knew how innovative it was.
But he also knew that the public wasn’t going to care about what was inside the box. Only the product was going to matter — the beautiful fonts that he made sure were part of the Apple aesthetic. This was the lesson he applied to Pixar: You can use all sorts of new computer software to create a new kind of animation, but the public isn’t going to care about anything except what’s on the screen.
He was right, obviously. While he didn’t use the terms picture thinker and pattern thinker, that’s what he was talking about. In that moment in 1985, he realized that you needed pattern thinkers to engineer the miracles inside the box and picture thinkers to make what comes out of the box beautiful.
I haven’t been able to look at an iPod or iPad or iPhone without thinking about that interview. I now understand that when Apple gets something wrong, it’s because they didn’t get the balance between the kinds of thinking right.
The notorious antenna problem on the iPhone 4? Too much art, not enough engineering.
Contrast this philosophy with Google’s; the minds behind Google, I guarantee you, were pattern thinkers. And to this day, Google products favor engineering over art.
After I gave a talk at one high-tech firm in Silicon Valley, I asked some of the folks there how they wrote code. They said they actually visualized the whole programming tree, and then they just typed in the code on each branch in their minds. I recalled my autistic friend Sara R. S. Miller, a computer programmer, telling me that she could look at a coding pattern and spot an irregularity in the pattern. Then I called my friend Jennifer McIlwee Myers, another computer programmer who is autistic. I asked her if she saw programming branches. No, she said, she was not visual in that way; when she started studying computer science, she got a C in graphic design. But she did think in patterns. “Writing code is like crossword puzzles, or sudoku,” she said. (Crossword puzzles involve words, of course, while sudoku involves numbers. But what they have in common is pattern thinking.)
Once I realized that thinking in patterns might be a third category, alongside thinking in pictures and thinking in words, I started seeing examples everywhere. (At this point, this third category is only a hypothesis, though I’ve found scientific support for it. It has transformed my thinking about autistic people’s strengths.)
I’m certainly not the first person to notice that patterns are part of how humans think. Mathematicians, for instance, have studied the patterns in music for thousands of years. They have found that geometry can describe chords, rhythms, scales, octave shifts, and other musical features. In recent studies, researchers have discovered that if they map out the relationships between these features, the resulting diagrams assume Möbius strip-like shapes.
The composers, of course, don’t think of their compositions in these terms. They’re not thinking about math. They’re thinking about music. But somehow, they are working their way toward a pattern that is mathematically sound, which is another way of saying that it’s universal. The math doesn’t even have to exist yet.
The same is true in visual arts. . .