Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Another Chapter In the Commoditization Of Science

And yes, it is likely to get worse. So much for the sanctity of empirical inquiry. Or doing discovery for the pure joy of curiosity, and surprise.


SO... THEY'RE DEFINITELY CANON THEN?


Some scientific journals will publish literally anything for a price. That includes a meme-filled paper by “Lucas McGeorge” and “Annette Kin” referencing “midichlorians.”





What Was Really Being Expressed Here Was A Visceral Understanding...

...That technological change must be reflected in the fundamental aspects of our social organization. Which means that an economic operating system created for a technological environment, some several hundred years old now, is most likely to not be relevant in today's technological environment. What could be more straight forward, and logical, than that.


BEAMING UP THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION


"A lot has changed in the past 300 years," Captain Picard explains to a cryogenically unfrozen businessman from the 20th century in an episode of "The Next Generation." "People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy."





Monday, July 24, 2017

Asymmetrical Freedom Of Speech

Allowing someone, whose opinions we find offensive, the right to voice them anyway, is a basic part of American ideals. This would not be so much of a problem, in and of itself, for a Democracy, were it not for the way money, and the mutated economic operating system that supports it, works to make people, who have large accumulations of it, have voices so much larger than what the rest of us, as individuals, have.

How does a Democracy survive that, and still preserve an important part of its ideals? How can it even begin to decide objectively when said asymmetry has already been in place for decades now? Do we stand by idly now and just let it continue? And do you really think reforms can really be created to do what they need to do, and to remain in place over time? While money is always working to do what makes making more as easily maximized as is possible (because to do otherwise risks losing the clout to stay on top)?

I have certain confidence that, if he were aware at all of what I write, he would be laughing at it right about now. And mostly, I think, because he can count on two things. First how obviously small my voice is in comparison to his, and second, that he knows you are too uninvolved, uncaring, or distracted to pay attention, in any case. And as long as he has the money he'll just be able to keep spreading his hateful image of what supposedly "separates" us from human, or not human. A message that gains a little more traction, and a little more "legitimacy" every day it exists without challenge.


THE RACIST BEHIND THE CURTAIN


William Regnery II, a man who inherited millions but struggled in business, tried for 15 years to ignite a racist political movement — and failed. Then an unforeseen phenomenon named Donald Trump gave legitimacy to what Regnery had seeded long before: the alt-right.




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Of Course Americans Want An Assurance Of A Living Wage Job

The real problem, however, is that what constitutes "work" now must change precisely because the relationship of human skill to a viable commodity, with a set value, has fundamentally changed. This is what happens when technological change creates completely new operating environments.

To think you can artificially mandate value, while still pretending to operate in the old economic operating system, is absurdity of the greatest order; especially when you consider just how screwed up the old economic operating system is now. That's what happens when an old system is forced to morph, however it can, into something that can at least give the impression that it is still working properly; something we should be a great deal more than just skeptical of considering how even the determination of once simple truths has become horrendously complicated now that these same technological changes have put the control of message, as well as the general flow of information, into the hands of a few, very narrowly interested individuals.

Until we can come to terms with the idea that work, defined as the old factory mentality of doing some singular, specialized task, as a part of a mass production for mass consumption, economy, is simply no longer workable, or sustainable, we are doomed to failure. The simple fact of having livelihoods so inextricably connected to one particular production path or another, puts significant numbers of people in terrible conflicts of interests when that production path is found to be doing horrendous things either to us, or the workers directly, or to the planet itself. And of course that very thing happens with an all too depressing regularity precisely because all of the true costs of doing a particular thing can't be incorporated into the sale price if one truly wants to have a profit at the end of day. And by god, unfortunately, profit is the only value that Capitalism has ever really enshrined, other than, perhaps, personal power.

This leaves us with one, very resilient question: Why is is so hard for Liberals to see that you can only take fixing a thing so far. This applies even more so when you are talking about such things as complex operating systems. In these, with change piled on top of change, and fix piled on top of other fixes, you quickly reach a point, in interactive complexity, where the unintended side effects of what you do with each new fix, become so unpredictable that you can have very little confidence about whether, or not, the fix will only end up creating even more problems than it was meant to fix in the first place. That's why you don't see many people now trying to fix the original Windows operating system to try and have it work in today's complex, enterprise networks of transaction flow. Made ever more difficult because information has been rendered into both pure gold, and the absolute necessity of a Democratic society.

This is what we face. One can only hope that Liberals finally get the memo that doing the same thing that stopped working some time ago, probably won't work now.

Back to Work







Another Indication Of How Important Having A Living Wage Is To The Foundation Of A Society

No work no viable status for much of anything other than escape in one form or another. And not surprisingly, many of those escapes are quite antithetical to dynamically responsive societies as they try to continue to prosper in ever more challenging times. Even to the point of being quite destructive.


NO JOBS, NO BABIES


Many point to unromantic 20-somethings and women’s entry into the workforce, but an overlooked factor is the trouble young men have in finding steady, well-paid jobs.




Friday, July 21, 2017

The "First Casualty" In Any War Has Been Famously Described As The Truth

That this sort of thing inevitably gets one to start considering the history of propaganda makes it almost too intimidating to even begin to consider (see here and here just for starters). But we must because the stakes are much higher than the outcome of a certain, current, political crisis.

I bring this up because the divide in perception illustrated by the Atlantic article linked below (via Digg) is still truly astonishing: On the one hand people seeing not only a looming Constitutional crisis, but also seeing our sovereignty as a nation being sold cheap. And on the other people seeing all of the events, and the hoopla surrounding it, as simply incompetence mingled with a whole lot more overblown, partisan blather, from a political faction that lost an election.

And in discussing this, lets forget for a moment who is right or wrong on the principle issue of Russian election interference, or the criminal, and/or impeachable, offenses that certainly seem to a very significant number of Americans to be true. What I want to talk about here is how we came to this pass, and what we can possibly do about it; because no matter which side of this issue you are on, the one thing both sides ought to be able to agree on is the terrible question it begs of us by its very existence: How can a democracy survive if its electorate is so fractured, and fragmented, of view, in what ought to be a certain, limited number, of core consensus understandings; understandings that make us a viable, cohesive social grouping. So disconnected from such understandings, in fact, as to make even determining what is important, and what isn't, nearly impossible, let alone making decisions as to what actual courses of actions should be implemented to address any particular priority.

The other, not so surprising, revelation one makes in thinking about this, is that we have been "at war," in one sense or another, for quite a long time now; perhaps never really stopping after WW 2 at the very least, and perhaps even before that with WW 1. And in this you have your usual suspects certainly: The Cold War in particular to Russia. The war on Communism in general. The economic warfare that may well have started with Colonialism at its very beginnings, and which now has morphed into very high tensions over markets, resources, and who controls what vital lands, or sea ways. Do that for enough decades and of course religion will form a big chunk of the stakeholders, as well as all of the non spiritual ideologies that would argue from various perceptual starting points.

So it would seem that history has bequeathed us with a motherload of causality for why one might want to start being quite paranoid indeed about how we are to proceed with the process of determining a social consensus for those "certain, limited numbers, of core consensus understandings." And make no mistake here. This is no trivial concern. Because many of the current players in this game would like nothing better than to have this situation carried to its quite terrible, but also quite logical, outcome: that the ultimate social chaos that will inevitably come to pass here will make it seem quite proper for a "strongman" (the term for a dictator, whether he be so from a Fascist's point of view, or from a Communist's point of view, which I wish the media would stop using) to come in and just settle the matter by "might makes right."

The bottom line here, of course, is that we all have a point of view. And our interests, and desires, affect those points of view. If you have a very strong interest, as well as a desire, you are understandably going to want to argue as persuasively as you can for the point of view that these factors create. Getting rid of Capitalism, certainly, isn't going to change any of that. We started, after all, as very tribal entities, struggling under great deprivation, to survive. That scarcity, and that struggle, are huge parts of why so much of what history has bequeathed us has been nothing but a big feces sandwich, for so much of the world. And Capitalism was simply one way to organize to allow us to at least rise materially above that scarcity. In doing so, however, it also laid the foundation to make finding consensus about "truth" fundamentally more difficult. It did that because it first made it possible for individuals to have unprecedented amounts of power to work their personal "interests." And it then also created the technological changes that would allow message to be "amplified" way beyond the notion of simply being louder, or spread further (bringing in the notions of psychological engineering, and message consistency over both time, and a host of new communication channels).

What we need to be asking ourselves here is this: How do we come up with an organizational framework that both levels the playing field as far as "messaging" goes, but also makes it more structurally demanding that we find ways to continue to cooperate with each other. In that, it seems to me, creating more situations of ever more competitive self interest to hold sway is not going to be very helpful at all. Any more than leaving too much power in the hands of too few has ever been a very good idea.

This is but one more reason why we are at a pivotal moment in the course of human development. This brand new operating environment carries not only the ills that history has left us with, but with with an old operating system mutated way beyond what its originators ever conceived. So some very big choices confront us. If we don't make them thoughtfully they will be made for us by those who have only the most narrow of interests in mind.

What Congressional Republicans Really Think About Trump and Russia






Thursday, July 20, 2017

Without Having A New Economic System To Operate In...

...Such Socialist Reforms can never hope to be implemented as needed, or expected to survive for very long, even if some form of them could be adopted in the first place.

Until you accept that we have to start from completely new assumptions, in addressing any of the interrelated systemic problems our current form of economic organization has, you are just spinning your wheels over the same ground as Socialists before you. The full breadth, depth, and reach, of our combined instrumentality now has created a completely new operating environment. One that demands integration, and holistic thinking within many dimensional, interactive matrices. Something that is now the complete antithesis of the old factory mentality of segmented linearity; which is just more McLuhan speak for Capitalism.

Obviously the existing system isn't working. But the fact of the matter is that it is unable pay a living wage for a reason. And that reason is its inability to value anything in terms that balance human need with material practicality. It never really had that ability in the first place, but this was both obscured, and made up for, by the fact that, early on, human skill quickly became a quite competitive commodity. And it would stay that way until steam, and electricity, made first distance to become ever less of a cost factor, and eventually to make even human skill, not nearly so competitive any more as well.

And so all that you are left with, for the most part, is to continue to argue over what first constitutes a "living wage," and then who will be on the line to pay for it. Even as you continue to struggle to find out who will pay for all of the other problems we have neglected to the point now where they are ready to really bite us all in the ass.

We simply need to have the debate about starting over. Nobody wants to acknowledge this, but that is truly the way it is.


COLD HARD CASH, NO STRINGS ATTACHED


But to become a reality, it needs to get detailed and stop being oversold.