Cowgirl Science — It’s a ramble

Super-Compliance Mob?

I’m flummoxed at the idea of a science march on Washington, DC. The first ever is slated for April 22, 2017. The theme seems to be equally climate change and the promises of science. Scientists, especially the young, are itching to show their moxy. Forget waiting for make-believe super-heros to save the planet. It’s time for Super-Compliance Mob to do the job.

Scientists achieve a position the hard way — they prove it, and then recruit others to take heed. And generally, there are sufficient reinforcements for said proofs and positions, and science and the policies it informs march forward in a sort of intangible but traceable provisphere.

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Nobel Prize in Useful Paradoxes, or why paradoxes exist

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences delivered a zinger of a paradox. People’s behavior is predictably irrational. The wisdom that springs from it is known as behavioral economics and aims to systematize people’s actual behaviors rather than preconceived, idealized behaviors.

It’s proven useful for economics (thus the prize), and yet it’s counterintuitive (thus the prize).

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Semantic Despair

“Semantics” refers to words. Despair from them comes from observing that the same things (in this case words) that work, on the one hand, to clarify and garner understanding among us can also work to deceive and break down understanding. Resignation and despair about semantics reflects doubt that what we say or write has a … Read more

Me Think’st Thyself Trivial: deconstructing the corrupt spirit

“Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.”

-- from  King Lear by Shakespeare

Corruption is a scourge, and all kinds of systems are vulnerable to it. Why? Is it something insidious about human nature? If so, is it true about me?

Corruption is not a moral failing but rather a shared vulnerability. When the human spirit does not develop immunity to mental triviality, the systems it creates or is obliged to respond to get fueled not by the fullness of reality but by the power of terminal belief streams. What do I mean by that?

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When Empathy & Teaching Collide

Is teaching empathy abusive? (original question on Quora) If by “teaching” you mean punishing non-empathetic behavior, it could be considered abusive. The roots of empathy are familial, and families grow in social and cultural contexts often beyond their control. Punishing lack of empathy is more likely to further engrain the original difficult context that gave … Read more

Emotional Systems

To a large degree, modern troubles in our systems of government, education, and well being have had a tendency towards, let’s call it, intermittency. The kinds of troubles your car mechanic hates to be asked to diagnose and fix! Well, intermittency no more. The U.S. is speeding down an unknown road with a sea of … Read more

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