Jack Uldrich
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Zebras and Horses and Lions … Oh My!

Posted in Illusion, Intelligence, Military_

 "When we hear the sound of hoofbeats, should we think horses or zebras?" So asks Gabriel Schoenfeld in her review of Robert Jervis' new book, Why Intelligence Fails.  She ends her review by reminding us that "Those pounding hoofbeats might be horses or zebras — or zebras painted to look like horses." Or, as the…

There’s No Defense for Not Unlearning

Posted in Defense, Example, Military_

As a former naval officer, I like to believe I have an appreciation for the national security interests of this country. There is, however, a bit of conventional wisdom I'd like to challenge and it is the idea that spending more money of defense automatically makes us safer. For example, if we continue to spend…

The CIA Unlearns

Posted in Defense, General, Military_, Terrorism

Computer World had an interesting article discussing the CIA’s use of Intellipedia—a Wikipedia-like project for its analysts–a while back. As a former naval intelligence officer, I think it's a fantastic idea but—perhaps not unsurprisingly—the idea has been met with some resistance from within the intelligence community. According to the article, in fact, the founders of…

Unlearn By Dispelling Old and New Ignorance

Posted in Aviation, Culture, Defense, Education, General, History, Innovation, Jump the Curve, Military_, Nanotechnology, Politics, Quotes, Science, Unlearn Strategy

In his famous speech at Rice University where he declared that it was America’s intention to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, President Kennedy said “the greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds,” adding that “the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished…

The Air Force Needs to Unlearn

Posted in Aviation, Current Affairs, Defense, Military_, Politics

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting review of the book, Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel, a while back. It is a history of the world’s first machine gun. Interestingly, although the gun was patented during the Civil War and Mr. Gatling urged the Union Army to adopt it—arguing that it would "save lives, wounds and…

Unlearning the Rules (Part 2)

Posted in Business, Creativity, Culture, Current Affairs, General, Innovation, Jump the Curve, Military_, Politics, Quotes, Unlearn Strategy

Malcolm Gladwell has an outstanding article in this month's New Yorker entitled "How David Beats Goliath." It is an excellent primer on the concept of unlearning and I can't recommend the article highly enough. If, however, you don't have time to read the full article here's the operative quote: "When underdogs choose not to play…

Ask a New Question

Posted in Defense, General, Military_, Robotics

On my other blog, www.jumpthecurve.net, I have a posting entitled "The Future of War: Ethical Robots?" in which I challenge conventional thinking. I started with the basic assumption that most people are uncomfortable, if not downright quesy, with the idea of robotic warriors. However, one of the best ways of unlearning something is by simply…

Unlearning Expensive Technology

Posted in Agriculture, Culture, Food, Health Care, Military_, Travel

Late last week, it was announced that NASA had, pardon the pun, pissed away $154 million by creating a urinal/water fountain system that didn’t work. To witness how a more simple technology can have huge implications down here on this planet, watch this amazing video (Note: it is a little graphic, but it helps to…

Unlearning the Nature of War

Posted in Black Swans, Books, Computer Industry, Defense, History, Internet, Military_, Neuroscience, Politics, Quotes, Robotics, Terrorism

In 2005, I wrote a book on General George C. Marshall entitled "Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall." One of my favorite quotes of Marshall’s is the advice he pounded into the heads of his junior officers: "Study the first six months of the next war." It was great advice in the…

Unlearn or Die Even More Unneccesarily

Posted in Black Swans, Current Affairs, Defense, Food, General, Health Care, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Military_, Pharmaceutical, Terrorism, Travel

A few weeks back I had a posting  entitled "Change or Die … Unnecessarily” in which I provided a few examples of how our inability to unlearn could, quite literally, cost some people their lives. Well, the other day, one of my favorite thinkers, Josh Wolfe, sent me a copy his weekly newsletter, The Forbes/Wolfe…


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