The Plasticity of Networks


A good friend and business colleague once regaled me with his definition of a good corporate lawyer: “A good lawyer never says ‘no’; she says ‘here’s how’.” I thought this was an interesting and telling description – not because it conjured up creative interpretations of the law and loop-hole sleuthing corporate counsels – but that it imagined a seasoned practioner who understood the plasticity of her infrastructure (in this case the law) and the end goals of her client and therefore would often find innovative solutions that yielded business advantage. Plasticity in this context means that a seemingly rigid structure, like the law, can be deformed to meet a new need. Examples of this range from the mundane structuring of contracts to limit the downside of risky deals to the industry redefining methods of companies like Uber that challenge conventional practices and laws.

The law and the network – both…

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Smartphone app Human draws maps of urban movement

A New Hype

The creators of activity tracking app Human have visualised the routes taken by its users to create moving maps that show the world’s cities throughout the day:



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What Humans Can Learn From Semi-intelligent Slime

As my third post on my WordPress I’m going to share a video that I’ve watched very recently.

This video is a TED Talk presentation made by Heather Barnett, inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, presenting a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas and exploring what people can learn from this semi-intelligent slime mold.

«A third experiment: the slime mold was invited to explore a territory covered in oats. It fans out in a branching pattern. As it goes, each food node it finds, it forms a network, a connection to, and keeps foraging. After 26 hours, it established quite a firm network between the different oats. Now there’s nothing remarkable in this until you learn that the center oat that it started from represents the city of Tokyo, and the surrounding oats are suburban railway stations.
The slime mold had replicated the Tokyo transport network — (Laughter) — a complex system developed over time by community dwellings, civil engineering, urban planning. What had taken us well over 100 years took the slime mold just over a day.
The conclusion from their experiment was that the slime mold can form efficient networks and solve the traveling salesman problem

An people still fear “robots”, bioinformatic programmes that can take revenge or try to correct/conquer us and your habits for efficiency standards, virus and programmable systems…but if someday scientists can replicate the slime’s biological systems to the digital world, even with good/correct reasons, maybe someday they can change our bio-information and (global) cities information, and change our views of efficiency and excellency, we are “screwed”…

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado