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Ed Lyons
Works at NTT Data
Attended University of Connecticut
Lives in Boston
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Ed Lyons

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Whoa. If you "view source" on the President's campaign web page, you get this. Impressive. (No, I am not supporting him, just doing technology opposition research. But style is style! And his folks deserve credit.)
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Ed Lyons

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All of the focus on the Supreme Court and those rallying outside the building reminds of our Western heritage, and that democracy isn't everything.

After all, the building is an ancient Greek temple, which is, by design, unwelcoming to visitors, just as the Parthenon is. (I have stood on the steps of both, and believe me, the feeling is identical.) Men wearing robes, who do not answer to the masses, enter through side passages and perform rituals the public never sees. Only men of great status can speak before them. They issue their proclamations only at certain times of year, and they are infallible!

Our court, its rituals, and its temple remind us of our journey in Western Civilization, and that even after 2,500 years, certain things, despite all of our modern conceits, are necessary to manage the passions and rights of men.
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Ed Lyons

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Chess has two wonderful move annotations: !? and ?! One means that something looked brilliant at first, but ended up being not so good. The other means the opposite. I use them ordinary sentences outside of chess, and find them tremendously useful.
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Hey Ed, welcome back! :-)
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Ed Lyons

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Steve Jobs reminds us that it is individuals, and not social trends, that make history. And American corporations are the best place for individuals to change the world.
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Ed Lyons

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I was cleaning graffiti off a bridge that I have used hundreds of times and yet only noticed this sign for the first time. If only the "stimulus" spending of today could produce such long-lasting benefits. Alas, the politicians, unions, environmentalists, lawyers, and local community groups prevent most projects. We have forgotten how to build things, and this plaque reminded me that we once knew.
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Ed Lyons

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Many people wonder why, politically, we are so divided as a nation. Here is a cause I cite, but no one talks about: your information diet. I find that just about everyone, regardless of intelligence or education, absorbs the issues, priorities, arguments, and vocabulary of the things they watch, read, and hear about current events. They then may process that with some internal mental frameworks. (I would say political identity is 80% diet, 20% mental frameworks.) If I had to sum this up, it would be: you are what you eat. It is amazing how I see an idea suddenly promoted in the right- or left-wing media, and then, presto!, my friends cut-and-paste it into what they say in the public square. The idea might be bad, or it might not be relevant to their lives, or it might obscure real problems we have as a nation.

Just as America's physical health would be dramatically improved if the public ate a much better diet, our political health would also benefit from people doing the same. I believe we would be far less divided as a nation, because the few people I know, regardless of their views, who consume high-quality information are always a pleasure to talk to. (It's also a huge bonus if their framework for processing it all is interesting!) One example is my friend +Liam Breck . I am not even sure I could classify his political views. He never uses the "talking points" from the major political media sources, and I often don't know what he will say about something. However, I am always glad to listen. It is amazing how few people I know fall into this category. Most people just regurgitate the agenda of a subset of 50 media organizations and advocacy groups, which leads to predictable conversations and all kinds of sophistry. When I challenge them on something (particularly fellow Republicans) the conversation usually, but not always, falls apart. (I do my best to try to steer things to productive ground.) Lastly, this isn't about consuming "both sides," a fallacious approach to a good diet, just as an Olympian doesn't divide his diet between McDonald's and Burger King. It is about finding information gatherers and publishers who seek truth and value and want to improve your citizenship, no matter who you are. There is no better example of this than the motto of one of these sources: (The Christian Science Monitor) "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind." Now that ends up being fair and balanced. ;-)
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Liam Breck's profile photoGregor J. Rothfuss's profile photoRobert Kennedy's profile photoEd Lyons's profile photo
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For those who want to be effective talking about politics and how the world works, I think the most important thing is to reduce the amount of "current events" (and analysis thereof) that's part of your diet. Ideally, you would divide your time equally between what's happening now, and the things that help you make better sense of that.

For current events reporting and analysis, I would say the best sources are, in no particular order: BBC News, NPR News, PBS Newshour, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. None of these are a surprise to people, with the exception of The Monitor, which is one of the best, yet most people wrongly believe it is a religious publication, which it absolutely is not.

I think it is critically important for people interested in politics is to avoid political blogs and magazines entirely - even the "good ones," unless you are trying to understand the thinking of those who read them - which is a different matter altogether. Tragically, the more someone gets into political affairs, the more they read all of the analysis out there, which ends up turing them into partisans.

But I think it is more important to dedicate at least half of your consumption to things like history, philosophy, economics (mostly macro), anthropology (current and previous), science, religion, and technology. If you don't do any of that, you will not be able to put things into the right context, or be able to distinguish what matters from what does not. For example, if you watch the PBS Newshour, which is a great source of international stories about the Middle East, you would be far better off than someone who watched Fox and knew nothing about the world, yet without understanding the history of that region, how much can you make sense of things now?

The hard thing is delving into these underlying subjects without getting lost in academic trivia or content that you can't relate to the present. But if you don't go to academia in some way, you probably will not get the comprehensive and unbiased (or not-too-biased) view that you want.

I have found the Teaching Company (www.teach12.com) is the most reliable source of excellent, useful content. (They have real college classes you can listen to at your own pace and most libraries have most of their classes for free.) I can't recommend enough their lectures on American History (long, but crucial), Their stuff on Economics is also fantastic. Not to be missed is: "Why Economies Rise or Fall", all about how countries have succeeded or failed and why. I wish every member of Congress could listen to that one. Their anthropology stuff is fantastic, too - it really changes your worldview when you really believe we are one human family. I have been listening to their stuff while working out and commuting for 15 years.

To get a sense of why history matters and why the ancients are relevant to us (a requirement for the stamina to consume a lot of history instead of current events), I would recommend the truly outstanding book "A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome" (by Alberto Angela) which is a 24-hour journey through Rome in 115 A.D. You will be entertained and amazed at a society that achieved a standard of living for the poor and middle class unequaled in the world until the U.S. in 1940. To get a great sense of the path of world history, I would read the excellent children's book (I loved it) called "A Little History of the World" (by Gombrich). Except for 5 sentences, you wouldn't know it was for kids; it was written long ago.

Sigh. I could go on and on about sources....

Lastly, it is important to have many things you consume that are not just about or in the service of political matters. After all, as a cardinal told me once: "Life is so much bigger than politics." As for what to read to make you interesting outside of politics, Gregor certainly has to be the authority on that. :-)
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Ed Lyons

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This picture shows the problem I have with newspaper websites, which no longer have an editor looking at the "front page." Thanks to everything being spit out of a content management system, The Boston Globe has a lead story about places to travel to where you can "get unplugged" from your technology. Right below it, a story about devices to keep you plugged in wherever you travel. Ridiculous!
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"ways of seeing"; great book on this very topic
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Ed Lyons

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Tell Congress to keep its hands off the Internet! It is the best thing about our economy and one of the best things America has given to the world.
Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.. Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Sena...
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Hey Ed! I just sent you an e-mail, want to get together with David to see Medea on a Sunday in February? Oh and a counterpoint to the anti-Sopa stance-- http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2012/01/on-sopa.html

There's an old logical pitfall --
1) Something MUST be done
2) This is Something
3) This must be done

So, perhaps it would be good for SOPA to fail as, although it is indeed "something", there might be something much better. But point 1 stands. The USA has an awful lot of intellectual property to protect and we need new solutions.
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Ed Lyons

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My mobile white noise application just updated itself to enable... Twitter integration!? It says it did this so "you can tweet what kind of sounds you are falling asleep to."
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Twitter puts me to sleep too.
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Ed Lyons

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As someone who studied physics as an undergrad, I walked around the world today, at my normal sub-light speed, and worried about man's place in the universe - in light of what just happened at CERN. This has rattled me more than quantum mechanics did. (Time travel? A fifth dimension? Aliens able to reach our galaxy?) 
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Yeah, my grandfather is now in serious danger!
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Ed Lyons

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I was grateful and proud to see the wholehearted ceremonies today in London, Paris, Berlin, and Sydney - as there were 10 years ago. They knew, and still know, this was an attack on all of us in the West, even before they saw Islamist terrorism come to their own soil.
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Well I was referring to countries like India or Japan which are generally not considered "the West" like north America and "West" Europe, are democratic, and I am sure condemned 9/11 like many other democratic countries. It just seem reductive to imply that only "the West" was a target. India in particular seem to have had its share: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/November_2008_Mumbai_attacks
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Ed Lyons

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I was first a Commodore guy, then a UNIX man. But when I received this issue of Wired in 1997, I had this awful feeling of something special disappearing from the world, made worse by the context of the Evil Empire's establishment of a totalitarian regime. I did say a prayer. In time, it was answered. There are many to thank (including God) but of course, at the moment, I just want to say thank you to Steve Jobs.

(p.s. This is a scan I just made from my personal collection, as it would have seemed cheap to link to somewhere else.)
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Always brainstorming, always talking
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I can speak as quickly as the people in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Education
  • University of Connecticut
    Political Science, 1989 - 1994
  • Iona College
    Computer Science, 1994 - 1996
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Male
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Computer Programming
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  • NTT Data
    Chief Engineer, ADM, 2010 - present
  • Keane Inc
    Chief Engineer, 2002 - 2010
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Boston
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Washington, D.C. - New York City
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