Parenting trials, secret govt report, smoke bubbles
Anoushka is interviewed on her parenting thoughts. I find a secret government report on NetZero. We play with smoke filled bubbles. I think about performance and agile comms.
I’ve stumbled upon a truth of presenting in thinking about performance-lectures as I develop Thinking Bigly: How We Die. (Do book!) In performance-lectures or any presenting with slides there are always at least *two* input/outputs to think about.
Your spoken words.
Your slide visuals.
These might be supplemented by sounds, music, props, performance/action, videos etc. But your voice and your visuals are the two foundational elements you use.
Ideally, you need to have both elements *synergise* and not *compete*. In practise this means for lecture presenting there should be few words on slide
(rule of thumb 7 words max on a line, and only one line, in >32pt font)
Or a single complementary image. This allows focus on your voice and thus idea or story.
Alternatively, if you have a more complex visual you’d like to use then you need to be less distracting with your voice. Potentially use silence for people to look at your image, and if the visual has a lot of complexity, then break it into simple pieces in following slides.
A written memo is very different and you should try hard not to confuse the two. This is not only an idea I have found but has been talked about in presenting circles for a while summed up in this book by Giles Turnbull on Agile Comms and includes idea on blogging:
Show the thing. Be brief. Be clear.
Write for humans. Write like you speak.
Don't be ambiguous. Say what you mean.
Rule 1: There are no rules
Rule 2: let posts be as long (BY: or short) as they need be
Rule 3: Make the most of the lack of rules
No more Nigels in the UK. Extinct names.
Anoushka on parenting
A small piece of art magic
Last calls for those who either want to see the opera Satyagraha or, more importantly, participate in the discussion on “How to make business a force for Good”. It’s Oct 28th. Email me if interested.
Links: Divestment+ESG cost of capital, Mini-nuclear, China critique in a pop song; p-hacking
I had a day off and we went en famille to see a piece of experience art. It’s called Silent Fall by A A Muramaki (an art duo).
Art critics hate it because it riffs on an Instagram and (what they might view as) a surface culture. This misses the point, IMHO, in the same way poetry critics misunderstand Rupi Kaur.
The Tonight Show @FallonTonight.@RupiKaur_ shares a moving performance of her poem “Broken English” #FallonTonight https://t.co/gs0le0KUhB
It’s expensive (£12) for 12 minutes but the work is a small piece of experiential magic. The experience gives you a few minutes in playful relationship with smoke filled bubbles, in a low lit-mirrored room. You can pop the bubbles or dance them on your gloved hands or clothes.
A distant cousin to Kusama’s mirror rooms. If art can be colour and light, surprise and joy, if it can be suspending your sense of self or the world then this gives it to you. Sure many other experiences can do this too, and it’s not looking at, say, at Willem De Kooning’s $300m Interchange (top 3 most expensive art work in world).
I can’t recommend it over a wander round the Tate Modern, which I would still view as superior art. But as a gateway drug into thinking about what art might be, and as a few minutes where a child can play with a smoke filled bubble in surprise and joy, I’d suggest to try it out.
I’ve ended up podcasting on disability much more than I might have expected. I realise I have not thought about it enough. I am still thinking about what actor Sally Phillips talked to me about. Many facets including faith, disability and what it means to be human:
I had a long conversation with John Harris at Manchester University, Professor of Ethics. He was basically saying, (it seemed to me I may have misunderstood him) but he seemed to be saying that “An optimum life would be one that was long and had many different options. So, then that was interesting because that to me wasn't the definition at all of a good life. I mean if I think of people have been important for humanity, people with disabilities who've had short and painful lives and really contributed enormously to humanity, so then there's a difference between the life that I might want for myself and the life that's good for other people which is where we come back to this negative capability forging bonds. Like where there's a lack, something rushes in and it forms links between people.
So, where you're vulnerable, like as an actor if you're vulnerable if people rush towards you and where you have need, people often feel for you, sometimes help you and you create links between people. So, if we move away from individualism and start thinking about people as coherent groups as cohering, then (I don't know) it's different, isn't it?
I am also going to be podcasting soon, one of my most challenging/intriguing guests. A homeschooled lapsed evangelical (still spiritual) some time escort girl rationalist, Aella. A touch NSFW, her website here. Have a question on escort work or what it’s like to take a lot of LSD - let me know.
In 2020, nobody in the UK was called Nigel. This makes Nigel an extinct name.
I’m helping improvisers and theatre makers Improbable find a home. If you are interested, join us on this quest. A Gathering on 6 November.
"When we view ‘behaviour change’ narrowly as an exercise in asking citizens to make different choices, the scale of change required to reach Net Zero is daunting, and an enormous political challenge. Moreover, the evidence from past case studies and decades of behavioural science research shows that awareness-raising and calls to action will not get us there. Though everyone has a degree of agency in changing their behaviour, and well-crafted messages from government can certainly be influential, behaviour is simply too profoundly driven by factors in the environment rather than in hearts and minds. As it stands, low-carbon behaviours are often more costly, less convenient, less available, less enjoyable, and rarely the default choice.
But this is ultimately an opportunity, because the more politically feasible approach is also the far more effective approach – to move further upstream and change these contextual factors. By focusing less on individual behaviour, towards bold policy targeting choice environments, institutions, businesses, and markets, it becomes an exercise in ‘world building’ more than ‘behaviour change’ per se. ...
...There are various degrees to which public engagement will be necessary, from more passive to more active (acceptance of policy or infrastructural changes; willing adoption of new technologies; or direct individual action). Building a compelling and positive narrative, with clear asks, can help to do this effectively, despite communications on their own tending to have a very modest impact on behaviour change. ...
...we do not have all the answers and evidence on ‘what works’ is continuing to grow. It will be more critical than ever to maintain an agenda of evidence-generating policy, as well as evidence-based policy: testing as we go and trialling new approaches. Behavioural science is far from exhausted, with many original ideas waiting to explored. ...
If we can impart one lesson, the first law of behaviour change would be this: reduce the burden of action for the greatest number. (My emphasis)
Anoushka was interviewed by Jess Moxham on parenting (…a child with autism):
...Are there things that are challenging?
Spike’s anxiety permeates most aspects of his daily life and therefore our lives. That’s definitely more challenging for him than it is for us, but it’s difficult and affects the things we can do. We do a lot to try and mitigate it, but we can’t make it go away entirely. Spike does have some distressed or challenging behaviours from time to time. We’ve got better at supporting him and coping, ourselves, but it can be tough.
Has the way that you see the world changed since having Spike?
It’s a disgusting cliche, but I’m so much more empathetic than I used to be. I think it’s also made me feel more comfortable with uncertainty. I can’t see beyond a few months into the future, everything’s constantly under review, and that’s okay. It’s definitely made me more confident as a parent and self-reliant. There was a time early on when I thought the professionals had all the answers and now I realise that they are advisors and my husband and I know Spike best. We have to arrive at our own decisions. I hope I carried that forward with Oscar.
Is there a key thing you’ve learned about being a parent to Spike?
I remember a really clear moment of having a chat with someone in the playground and she asked, ‘What’s your son like?’ I gave her this terrible answer, like, ‘He struggles with this, he’s not very good at that.’ I burbled this all out at her and she didn’t really know what to say. It was a really clear moment of thinking that isn’t who Spike is to me. What am I saying? I’d adopted the language of the professionals. I thought I’m going to change the narrative and frame all of this differently, because it’s just not working for me.
I’m a rather self-conscious person and autism can be quite a loud, visible thing, but Spike has helped with that. He imitates transport noises and announcements when we’re out and if you’re feeling embarrassed or self-conscious about it, then other people pick up on that and everyone is tense. I’ve learned to just enjoy his enthusiasm and concentrate on him, and often people pick up on that positivity instead. Spike’s not particularly shy. He enjoys people and having conversations. We’ve ended up having so many more positive interactions with people than negative ones.
It took a while to unpack Spike’s way with words. He often uses scripting* and I would say 90% of that is meaningful – borrowed phrases used with intent. The rest is verbal stimming*, but even that is information. He’s letting me know he’s feeling a particular way. It’s all communication, if you’re paying attention
Links this week:
Mini Nukes as a climate answer:
How to do p-hacking
Paper on divestment having limited impact on cost of capital, ESG
Pop-song China critique
Sabina Knight 桑稟华 @SabinaKnight1🧵~5.3 million views in 4 days. "Fragile"《玻璃心》mocks the oversensitivity of cyber-nationalists, internet trolls that guard #China against criticism. – by Malaysian #Chinese artist activist @nameweemusic 黃明志 (ft. Kimberley Chen 陳芳語) https://t.co/R9ImgGRqH3 https://t.co/xtB2uucTvy
*This is a public domain license, but note: ... A government spokesperson said: “This was an academic research paper, not government policy. We have no plans whatsoever to dictate consumer behaviour in this way. For that reason, our net zero strategy published yesterday contained no such plans.”
And therefore the report is no longer available on the government website making the report a sort of "secret". Story here:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/20/meat-tax-and-frequent-flyer-levy-advice-dropped-from-uk-net-zero-strategy