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|20091119 185510 Z||A Well-Mannered Gentleman's Argument, via Email||http://i.imgur.com/aWbgi.jpg||www.reddit.c … ument_via_email/||Cyber Life, Funny, Inspiring, Quirky, Writing||Oh my. This stuff caught me in the right mood because the email exchange and the Reddit thread are of the funniest stuff I've seen in a while.|
|20091119 161957 Z||Kindle for PC||www.amazon.c … docId=1000426311||Amazon, Books, e-Book, Gadget, Kindle, Reading, TECH||I told myself that I wouldn't poke into the e-book reader thing until things settled down but Kindle for PC is a good thing. Amazon has the best store, but they need to open up to read more things from more sources. I still want improvements like color and note taking.|
|20091116 162049 Z||REPLACE Multiple Spaces with One||www.sqlserve … les/T-SQL/68378/||Beauty, Programming, SQL, TECH||A beautiful elegant solution for a problem that most other folks solve with loops or tables or some ugly row by agonizing row (RBAR) solution.
|20091112 003351 Z||The Go Programming Language||www.youtube. … ch?v=rKnDgT73v8s||Google, Programming, TECH||Ooh. One of the most exciting new programming languages in years. They had me at no parentheses for if statements!|
|20091106 155307 Z||B is the new C||http://i.imgur.com/LZBup.jpg||www.reddit.c … now_on_b_is_the/||Funny, Images||Ha ha! Literal fail. The chump should have at least glanced at the test.|
|20091105 151945 Z||Low-Energy Laser Etching Could Replace Annoying Fruit Labels||www.inhabita … ng-fruit-labels/||science.slas … Labels?art_pos=4||Food, TECH||Sweet tech!|
It's been a while since I've done one of my litte free association scribble sessions, so here goes.
Today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species [W]. It's a good and grand occassion for celebration. I don't mind that Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are giving away copies of the book with an anti-evolution introduction --the book, the evidence, the testing, and the ideas are simply blow away the stuff that Kirk and Mr. Banana come up with.
I have loved science and the philosophy of science for most of my life. Last month I saw David Deutsch: A new way to explain explanation [http://www.ted.com/talks/david_deutsch_a_new_way_to_explain_explanation.html], a video of David Deutsch talking science philosophy. Good stuff espencially its tie ins to Karl Popper [W].
By coincidence, I've been having an email exchange with my Conservative/Republican/Right-leaning friends. They were trying to slam Hawaiiaan health care with this article: Remember Hawaii's Health Care Lessons [http://sweetness-light.com/archive/lessons-from-hawaiis-health-care-system]. I countered with this email (which has been edited for privacy and formatting):
As is in the lowest costs per beneficiary in the country?
The attached chart is from last month's article: In Hawaii's Health System, Lessons for Lawmakers [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/health/policy/17hawaii.html].
"Hawaii's health care system insures over 95% of residents. Under the state's plan, businesses are required to provide employees who work more than twenty hours per week with health care. Heavy regulation of insurance companies helps keep the cost to employers down. Due in part to the system's emphasis on preventive care, Hawaiians require hospital treatment less frequently than the rest of the United States, while total health care expenses (measured as a percentage of state GDP) are substantially lower. Given these achievements, proponents of universal health care elsewhere in the U.S. sometimes use Hawaii as a model for proposed federal and state health care plans. Critics, however, claim that Hawaii's success is due at least in part to its mild climate and to its status as a chain of islands whose economy is heavily based on tourism: features that make it more difficult for businesses unhappy with paying the plan's premiums to relocate elsewhere."
My brother lives in Hawaii and so does Linda. We can ask them.
Epistemology [W] because there's more than Fox and Rush.
From the responses, at first I thought I went over with the thing about epistemology, so I wrote this:
Sorry if talking about epistemology sound pretentious, but I've been reading about Karl Popper [W] and the philosophy of science, which all ties in to epistemology, as in what distinguishes common knowledge from scientific knowledge? What makes knowledge objective or subjective? How do we know? I think people like stuff that's very objective (science) or very subjective (art), but when things get in between (politics), it gets very muddy. Another important aspect is that somethings that "should" be objective may actually be quite subjective and vice versa. Certainly scientific/objective knowledge isn't everything, but knowing the distinctions between approximating the weight of a thing versus whether you like your weight are interesting to me.
Popper says some interesting stuff about freedom too, which BTW supports fighting: "The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato. Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."
It's all good considering that today is the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species". It's a theory right? What makes it "better" than say a theory that claims that we were created by Zeus? Knowledge are theories and conjectures, but scientific knowledge is testable and falsifiable.
However, further discussion seemed to indicate that it was actually my quip against Fox and Rush that totally sidetracked what I thought was going to be a discussion about health care. So later on in the email thread I said this:
My exact words: "Epistemology because there's more than Fox and Rush"
My words insult Fox and Rush and those who listen predominantly to them. If you have more sources than Fox and Rush, then you shouldn't be insulted.
You could take the same phrase and replace "Fox and Rush" with a comparable pair of terribly left-leaning sources. Would I be insulted? I don't think so. I for example, don't follow any specific blogs these day.
Hmm. I'm having deja vu. This sounds similar to the race discussion we had a little while ago. Am I really so brusque in my communications? My wife gives me a similar attitude sometimes too. I think we're just talking --and then all of the sudden I'm in trouble. Am I becoming some sort of Archie Bunker?
Ewww. Sorry: I'm over-quoting. Anyhow, it seems that as a species, we can be very good at objective/scientific/mathematical thinking as well as subjective/creative/artistic/magical thinking. We can make great science and great art. What gets me is when they clash poorly or maliciously or both. Religion and politics are the primary examples. Religion and politics can be so inspiring, creative, and constructive for society, but they are often abused, dogmatic, and destructive. It seems to me that the problem is largely political (in the sense of people promoting and protecting their own interests). People squibble about power, resources, time, love, ideas, popularity, money, justice, attention, and so on, but if we could all be less trivial, we could do some really great stuff.
I'm tired of being trivial, of being morose and maroon. I want to do great things, feel great love, think great thoughts, share great wealth, be patient, be "orange", foster the good. It's time to maximize that signal-to-noise ratio. Big bold words, idealistic words. I know, I know. But it's hard to not be so when you watch Hans Rosling: Asia's rise -- how and when [http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_asia_s_rise_how_and_when.html], and you clapping and really believe that India and China and other lagging countries will become first-world countries by 2048! OK, so maybe we'll lose our polar caps and polar bears by then as well, and maybe we'll run out of oil too, but still, there's a lot of good we can do.
Is it such terrible hubris to believe? I love science, but I'm a believer. I believe that we want what's best for our kids, for all the kids, for our race, for our species, for our planet. We may indeed be a flash in time, an effervescent moment, a fleeting arrangement of legos [http://xkcd.com/659/], but oh how we dazzle, oh how bright are those shinging eyes [http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html].
Pffftt! I can almost hear those Republican friends of mine tell me about drinking the tree-hugging kool-aid. You know what I say?!? FFFFFFUUUUUUUU!!!! Yeah baby! I'm living large! I'm breathing fire! I'm eager for my next CrossFit workout! I'm ready to cross swords! I'm watching too much TED and South Park and Heroes!
Phew. Slow down, slow down. Take it easy. I can breath fire calmly. I have the hubris to save the world. I'll do it Kill Bill style: I'll make a list.
Gaah! It's a crappy list, but it's a start. Time's up: Spell check and post. GO DARWIN!
I liked this part:
Why is it broadly accepted that the elderly should have universal health care, while it's immensely controversial to seek universal coverage for children? What's the difference -- except that health care for children is far cheaper?
An hour long speech by Douglas Crockford of Yahoo, but you can also just read the transcript too. Some very nice stuff in there:
There's a new book Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook by Jorge Ramon. There are several cool things about this: One is that now there are more than 2 books on Ext JS out there (I already have "Learning Ext JS"). The other cool thing is that the publisher, Packt Publishing [packtpub.com], is sending me a complimentary copy of it so I can review it!
Whoot! The space elevator along with nano and sustainable techs are my fave techs.
LaserMotive has achieved the first step towards the creation of a working space elevator by qualifying for the $900,000 prize in a contest sponsored by NASA.
I know that folks are working on nano cables, but delivering power by laser is really cool too.
The contest will continue for another two days with at least two other teams challenging for the prize. To win the Power Beaming competition, the LaserMotive system uses a high-power laser array to shine ultra-intense infrared light onto high-efficiency solar cells, converting the light into electric power which then drives a motor.
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