News Briefs 26-05-2008

A few stones left unturned, but still a good news day.

Quote of the Day:

The shaman seers of the Fourth World generally agree that those who tenaciously cling to the past will fall into mass insanity. The serpent power of the Aquarian Age is upon us. The Kundalini of Gaia is about to awaken. No one can avoid being affected. Most human beings may go out of their minds; others will go beyond mind.

John Hogue, in The Critical Mass of Enlightenment.

  1. Dissing Indy
    The boring archaeologist wrote:

    [quote]I know that the Indiana Jones series is just a campy tribute to the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1930s and the B-movies of the 1950s, but believe me, it totally misrepresents who archaeologists are and what goals we pursue. It’s filled with exaggerated and inaccurate nonsense.

    …But today, the rules are different, and the professional attitude of archaeologists has changed. In place of loners acting on hunches have come teams of specialists in anthropology and the natural sciences who work closely with local scholars and administrators to excavate and painstakingly document their sites centimeter by centimeter. Individual objects are now less important than contexts[/quote]

    A wonderfully succinct statement about how science purists will never have a hope in hell of enchanting the public.

    Great bunch of news briefs Kat.

    Kind regards,
    Greg
    ——————————————-
    You monkeys only think you’re running things

    1. Indy isn’t real?!
      They do realise Indiana Jones isn’t a real person and the movies are fiction, right?

      I always thought The Godfather Parts I and II represented science peer authorities best.

      1. The Amazon in my chest
        Hey, what do you think of Harrison’s attempt to stealing Steve Carrel’s act? Do you think it will help??

        And getting to this guy gripe on Indy, the poor sap hasn’t understood one bit about why people love these movies. It’s got more to do with the romantic view of the world when it seemed larger and more filled with mystery than with archeology as a scientific discipline. It’s got to do with the mystique and the universal appeal of ancient legends mixed with the never-ending fight between the forces of good & evil.

        Furthemore, the reason we love Indy is precisely because he’s a FLAWED hero, not unfamiliar with a natural sense of greed and the chance to attain fame. He’s a scoundrel willing to shoot first and a womanizer that puts his job before his relationships, and in a overtly PC era such as this—where even the infamous assassination of Greedo by Han Solo must be corrected to preserve the innocence of inffluenciable young minds—at least I find that extremely appealing. These are exercises in realitty escapism after all.

        But above that, the thing I like the most about the Indy flicks is that all of them are spiritual journeys of some kind; where the materialistic skeptical academic is forced to confront his contempt for the mystical and embrace a view of a world filled with magic. The ultimate goal of Indy: like his father explains in “The Last Crusade”, Illumination.

        —–
        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

        1. Aye – there’s the rub!
          >>…the poor sap hasn’t understood one bit about why people love these movies. It’s got more to do with the romantic view of the world when it seemed larger and more filled with mystery than with archeology as a scientific discipline.

          Seems to me, these anti-Indy archaeologists’ real problem with Indy is that he brings to mind what they still think of as archaeology’s shamefully undisciplined and unscientific beginnings. Apparently they won’t be able to just enjoy Indy’s hero’s story for what it is until they personally get past that ‘shame’. But for those whose egos are wrapped up in their professional reputation, that’s not an easy thing to do.

          1. They should reconcile with their past
            Just like the astronomer has to admit that, yes, in the past his “brotherhood’s” main job was creating astrological charters, and the chemist’s great-great-great-granddaddy was trying to find the Phylosopher’s stone.

            But honestly, I’m pretty sure these people weren’t thinking when they were kiddies “My greatest ambition in life is to spend 8 hours scraping dirt away from a fragment of pottery with a toothbrush”. I seriously doubt THAT was the reason they becomed enamored with ancient civilizations.

            Also, in one of the articles, there was this:

            [quote]”We spend months studying faded notebooks in museum archives. Nearly all of us are specialists, each with our tiny expertise, often in subjects so narrowly focused that they interest fewer than a half-dozen colleagues.”[/quote]

            Well, maybe THAT’S part of the problem! We are not encouraging scientists to be able to sit back and see the big picture. In an attempt to compartmentalize every single aspect of any intellectual discipline, they suck the very soul out of the thing they tried to find out in the first place.

            A scientist should struggle to keep the fire in his heart alive during his career. Because if he fails to do so, how is he going to kindle the imaginations of others? If the fire dies, then whatever he’s investigating is inert too.

            Last night I watched the transmission of the Phoenix landing on Nasa TV. Even though I obviously did not understand much of what was going on, one thing was perfectly clear: all those men and women on Mission Control had fire in their hearts; and for one brief moment I shared it with them.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          2. the bigger picture
            [quote]Article: “We spend months studying faded notebooks in museum archives. Nearly all of us are specialists, each with our tiny expertise, often in subjects so narrowly focused that they interest fewer than a half-dozen colleagues.”[/quote]

            [quote]RPJ: Well, maybe THAT’S part of the problem! We are not encouraging scientists to be able to sit back and see the big picture. In an attempt to compartmentalize every single aspect of any intellectual discipline, they suck the very soul out of the thing they tried to find out in the first place.[/quote]

            I think most humans – perhaps especially these ‘narrowly focused’ scientists, as well as all of us here at TDG – would choose to be ‘Renaissance Men’ – if we could. But even the most intelligent amongst us face three formidable obstacles to that aspiration — the limits of human memory, our limited lifespan, and the necessity of spending many hours of that limited lifespan engaging in a variety of activities other than studying what interests us. Here’s a brief example of the problem.

            I recently watched an hour-long program on the History Channel about how the Mayan hieroglyphs were deciphered. Pretty fascinating stuff. So, assuming I had the money for a vacation to Mexico, why not learn to read Mayan hieroglyphics before I go? After all, pretty much all the information I’d need is available via the webpage linked above, including simple drawings of many glyphs and their interpretations. As the page says…

            The Mayan script is logosyllabic combining about 550 logograms (which represent whole words) and 150 syllabograms (which represent syllables). There were also about 100 glyphs representing place names and the names of gods.

            Many syllables can be represented by more than one glyph. For instance, on the page linked above, I see that ‘u’ can be represented by 10 different glyphs. This page also mentions that there are seven modern Mayan languages.

            The page also contains many links, including these links to a dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs, a basic English – Yucatec Mayan dictionary, a Mayan Epigraphic Database with an archive of digitally transcribed Mayan texts, and a database of 31 Mayan languages containing more than 40,000 entries.

            So, what’s the problem? Why can’t I just stuff all this info into my brain over the next week or so, and then hire myself out as a Mayan tour guide, or offer my services as a translator? For that matter, since there’s also a link on this webpage to their section on Egyptian Hieroglyphics, why not learn to read those too?

            Yearning for those downloadable programs in The Matrix yet? Suppose we actually develop the ability to do that, but there’s a limit to how many such programs our brains can assimilate — say about 20, depending on size and complexity.

            Which 20 subjects would you choose? Several forms of the martial arts, like Neo? International finance? (I read that, for many years now, George Soros has spent 4 hours per day ‘meditating’ on that subject, so I think we’d have to assume that subject would take several of your 20 programs.) Metallugy, and the art of making Japanese swords? Egyptology? If that one appeals to you, you might also need a couple of units of Geology, Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Ancient Languages, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Modern Foreign Languages, Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy, Genetics, and maybe even Scuba Diving. Whoa! Egyptology’s expensive in terms of how many of those 20 units it would require!

            And I haven’t even gotten to some of the my more practical personal picks such as Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Building Materials, Architecture, Horticulture, and Landscaping.

            And I wouldn’t want to neglect my artistic aspirations, including Painting, Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic, Design, Drawing, Sculpture, Human Anatomy, Pottery, and Art History.

            Of course, a true ‘Renaissance Man’ would want to play a musical instrument – and perhaps compose music as well. But perhaps some modern equivalents would be things like the ability to fly an airplane, or write computer programs.

            And, somehow, I’d also want to squeeze in Astronomy, Quantum Physics, and Climatology. And for many of the subjects I’ve mentioned, I’d probably also need about 4 units of Mathematics. Not to mention, I’d probably need a couple of units on the current customs of various countries and religions. Adding up all the things mentioned above, it looks like I’d better hope we’d all get to stuff at least 50 programs into our heads, rather than just 20!

            So… Which programs would you like to have artificially stuffed into your head?

          3. Mmmm
            You just hit me where I’m most vulneable: with the Matrix
            😉

            I see your point, and I admit it is part of the problem. I also think that even though we haven’t yet achieved those downloading techniques to instantaneously pour knowledge into our brain, in the mean time we can access a “surrogate” brain thanks to the web; if I want to reinforce an argumet with a piece of info I barely remember, I just Google with some key words or do a brief search on Wikipedia—yes, there’s dangers on this approach but nobody is asking the people who works at NASA to be able to factor 8-digit numbers without the aid of a calculator.

            Another reason for the ever compartmentalization of science is the struggle to gain a grant, and the need to be noticeable at the moment of writing peer-reviewed papers. The essays that deal with the bigger picture I was referring are often aimed to the mass audiences, whereas in peer-reviewed papers scientists deal with more specific subjects that would enable them to make a fast contribution that will help them keep their scientific “pedigree”.

            As you yourself notice, the ability to see “the bigger picture” is something that can only be reached with many years of contemplation — it’s one of the key differences between knowledge and wisdom — but in the meantime the scientist needs to publish as much as he can to win grants and retain tenure. That’s why focusing on a small specialized area is a safe way to handle your career.

            As in every field of human endeavours, for every celebrity there are 10,000 grunts doing the dirty work and not getting any attention. Indiana Jones is the symbol of the “starcheologist” and I suppose some in the field resent that.

            PS: Of my 20 programs, one will be for FPS video-games, and the other for attaining complete mastery of the Kamasutra. I haven’t decided about the other 18, but with my 2 first choices I don’t think they would matter much anyway 😉

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          4. not just memory
            Sure, memory is a limiting factor. Another factor is attention span. How many different facts or concepts can we focus on within a few seconds?

            There is a reason why good jokes usually have 3 steps.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          5. Reinassence men
            For me, some of the truly last Reinassence men are compuer animators. They have to be fluent in scientific notions and mathematics, aswell as having a clear aesthetic sense and artistic side. I really admire those guys.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          6. not just memory
            >>Another factor is attention span. How many different facts or concepts can we focus on within a few seconds?

            The idea is that having these programs artificially stuffed into our heads would bypass the problem of a short attention span.

            But I think you may be right about such programs requiring more than just memory.

            For instance, martial arts, carpentry, and playing a musical instrument would all require muscle training.

            And anyone who learns to read Mayan hierogpyphs and dashes off down to the jungles of Guatemala had best hope someone comes up with a program for Common Sense, otherwise they’ll probably end up dying from snakebite.

            There might also be a problem with biting off more than you’re able to chew, so to speak, since integrating a variety of programs might well require more intelligence than the programee can bring to bear.

          7. Yep
            [quote=Kat]There might also be a problem with biting off more than you’re able to chew, so to speak, since integrating a variety of programs might well require more intelligence than the programee can bring to bear.
            [/quote]

            Have you seen Indy 4 yet, BTW? 🙂

            I know I shouldn’t, but I don’t think too highly of “common sense”, uses too much valuable mind processing cycles IMO. I mean look at Einstein, it is said he often had to ask a police man to help him locate his home!
            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          8. another program
            [quote]Of my 20 programs, one will be for FPS video-games, and the other for attaining complete mastery of the Kamasutra.[/quote]

            Better include one on Emotional Intelligence because mastering the Kamasutra won’t do you much good unless you have the opportunity to practice what you’ve learned. 😉

          9. Renaissance Man
            I think Renaissance Man (RM) can come back. It’s at the root of my ideas on P-ology. We shouldn’t think of the new RM as having total knowledge of the world, but a working knowledge of most specialisations.
            His task would not be to question those specialisations, as such, but to note problems where they meet, merge, etc. This is where specialisation breaks down. The new RM would work holistically, creating pictures from the patterns, and asking questions.
            His role would not be to offer ‘truth’, but to demand the specialisations prove themselves, working as a bedfellow, and showing where ideas in one could benefit another, thus improving our knowledge appreciation.

            Reality, like time, is relative to the observer

            Anthony North

          10. Definitely need more generalists
            [quote]His task would not be to question those specialisations, as such, but to note problems where they meet, merge, etc. This is where specialisation breaks down. The new RM would work holistically, creating pictures from the patterns, and asking questions.[/quote]

            I think I was pondering an example of what you’re talking about while watching the History Channel’s 10,000 Years B.C. last night. They said that after the paleo-indians killed a mammoth, the whole tribe would set up camp beside the kill. Then they immediately went on to say that, without a doubt, the scent from such a kill would soon attract massive predators from far and wide. And then they showed a paleo-indian child wandering far away from the campfire to explore the strange sounds being made by a nearby sabre-toothed cat. Yeah, right! Duh!

            Apparently they completely failed to consider that these paleo-indian hunters would have been well-aware that such a kill would very shortly attract large predators. They may have sent one hunter back to the tribe, to bring more people to help with processing, but I don’t think they would have moved the whole camp to the site of such a kill. Addendum: How much time would it take to pack up a whole camp and move it, as well as all their children and elders, say, 5 miles — without horses? Why would they want to wear out all their elders and children with such a move, only to have them face a greater chance of being killed by predators in the new location?

            More likely, they’d have processed as much as they could within a well-known window of opportunity, time-wise, as several hunters stood guard against the approach of nearby predators — and then they’d have gotten the hell out of there! To my mind, the remains of multiple cooking fires at such a site would be better explained as being used to singe the outside of all those large chunks of meat, so the scent of fresh blood would be less likely to attract predators (and possibly insects) as they were transporting the meat back to their main camp.

          11. Back to common sense
            Most scientists seem to think ancient man was devoid of common sense; but in that sense they—the ancients— were probably more intelligent than us!
            🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          12. the other way around
            I’d say much the same thing, but the other way around:

            Scientists say ancient man was as smart as we are, but actually, it’s quite apparent that, in many cases, the scientists don’t know as much as ancient man.

            I frequently end up yelling at the tv in frustration whenever I watch one of those programs where researchers attempt to recreate some feat of the ancients. Case in point, a program where they spent a couple of days trying to transport a large stone in Central America — and, as usual, failed. Duh! Doesn’t it ever occur to these people that the ancients didn’t just suddenly decide to try to transport a huge stone one day? They already had the basic technology down – from millenia of refining it for use in transporting large quantities of grain, etc., over long distances.

          13. LOL
            That would make a great Reality TV show: Living like an Ancient.

            In the show, a group of common people would live for a whole month the way the scientists think the ancients did. And after the show they would be able to show their contempt for the smarty-ass scientist’s thesis by throwing paint-balloons at him 🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          14. Living like an Ancient
            PBS did that already. A group of people tried to live like the American colonists did in the 1500s – clothing, housing, food, everything. I don’t remember exactly how long they lived like this, but it was at least a year.

            The main problem they faced was cultural — severe boredom! No tv, no radio, no plays, very limited music, and nothing to read except the Bible.

            And their bodies were spoiled by modern life. Forget the drudgery of all the farm work done with hand tools. Can you imagine having to sit on a rough-hewn board with no backrest for hours every day — in Church? Or sleeping on a mattress made from a sack stuffed with corn shucks thrown across a lattice-work of sagging ropes? Or having flies in all your food and drink because there aren’t any screens on your windows?

            Then there are other aspects that would be practically impossible to recreate: the amount of game animals, such as rabbit and deer, that were available at that time, the presence of predators like bears and cougars, and the sense of isolation. They even had a problem with the sense of responsibility — with everything else they had to do, they were also expected to chop down a certain number of trees, and have the logs ready to load onto a ship that would be coming back in a year to pick up the logs — as payment for their passage to the new world.

          15. Wow
            A year without My 360 and my Ipod? Forget it!! 1 month is what I thought and that seemed too much already 🙂

            I suppose the most difficult thing was to feel the importance of what you’re doing as crucial to your own survival.

            There are of course companies of actors who recreate ancient villages of roman, medieval of neolithical times. TDG member Katya gave us a link in her blog a while back. Of course these people have the luxury that it’s only a 9-5 job, and after the bell rings they can enjoy the comforts of the 21st century.

            We might try the experiment using the premises of Shyamalan’s “The village”, but there’s the humane issue to consider 🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          16. Ancient Man
            Good morning everyone,
            I love it when modern ‘experts’ recreate ancient scenarios like Kat says. We have an extreme arrogance concerning what we think we know. To me, ancient man seemed to BE the Renaissance Man we’ve been talking about. He seemed to live in a dual world of pragmatism AND holism – the two worked together.
            This is exactly what I’m saying about P-ology – add that extra slice of holism to specialisation to make it work better.
            I particularly love documentaries on Stonehenge, when some expert says it was for this, or that, and nearly always I say yes, that’s sensible. But how can I repeatedly say this about so many different theories?
            Because modern people miss that all important point that Stonehenge could concern all. Yes, it was a temple. Yes, it was an observatory. Yes, it was a calender. Yes, it was a place of ritual sacrifice. Yes, it was aligned to the Summer solstice. Yes, it was aligned to the Winter solstice.
            It was ALL these things. Holistic. It is the idea that it was one or the other, and nothing else, that is wrong.
            It seems a simple enough point to me.

            I’m fanatical about moderation

            Anthony North

          17. Yes
            Yes, that’s sensible 🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          18. Funding
            I think this comes back to the profile and funding issue mentioned above.

            As I’m sure you know, the latest idea was about healing properties associated with the blue stones. The story was therefore ‘Stonehenge was a hospital’. Infuriating. Did the guy know he was overstating the case? This streaming and specialisation is certainly a feature of contemporary culture being projected backwards, much like overstating the brain-as-computer model.

          19. patterns
            We have discussed this before, but it is worth repeating.

            I have a slightly different view of “holistic” and “P-ology” than anthonynorth. But I firmly believe that some form of this will be very useful.

            What I am looking for is less formal in the approach. I look for patterns common across a few disciplines. When we find such patterns, then we can check if they apply to some other disciplines. The patterns themselves are interesting.

            As fas as I under stand anthonynorth, he sees some value in this. Mathematics is a formal way of doing this, but we have trouble finding intermediate level complexities. 3-body problems are hard, 10-body problems almost impossible for us now. 10 billion billion problems are easy.

            There is the problem in the middle. Philosophy doesn’t work for this, neither does holism or anything else. We don’t know.

            Sure a holist approach could be more promising, but I don’t see any evidence for this.

            So back to my point – we should look for patterns, any patterns, of intermediate size. There are people who do that, I am not the first one.

            Some of us should concentrate on just looking for this kind of thing, others should try to verify candidate solutions. I don’t think anyone has found it yet. An approach yes. A solution, not yet.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          20. The first problem
            Of course, the first problem to be overcome by this approach is for specialists to realise value in such patterns.
            How to do this, I don’t know. Proofs won’t work, because proofs cannot be found in the approach. It is all hypothesis. It is in the questions that can be raised where value lies, but the specialists would have to take the lead to attempt to ‘prove’ the concepts.
            But how do we convince them to give the approach a try?

            I’m fanatical about moderation

            Anthony North

          21. proofs dont work?
            Actually, the first problem is to suggest an alternative. How do we work with your alternative approach, what do we do?

            I am looking for a constructive approach. Saying that specialists fail in some areas is not a good argument, when you live quite comfortably made in a world made by specialists.

            And proof do work, in many ways. You get your daily living by things that have been proven to a reasonable extent.

            To give a new approach a try, you (and remember I want something similar) have to show why it is better.

            We need to find some patterns that are prevalent, in our understanding of different fields. When we find a few, then we can convince people that this works.

            But trust me, you and me are not alone in these views.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          22. How to convince?
            I think the point is, things don’t work in today’s society. Think of all the crime, eco-vandalism, war, poverty, trivia … the list goes on. We think it works because we see everything in terms of the ‘I’ – the individual. If you’re alright, so is the world. Which is, itself, a failure to be holistic.
            My main area of study is how society, mind, culture and history work to hide the wider relationships and patterns – and I think I’ve provided quite a few examples on TDG over the months.
            The answer is to show how this wider understanding can be of use. But just as important is not to think of it as ‘better’ than specialisation. Just equal. Different, but equal. And it begins with the message, its transmission, and slowly getting into people’s minds.
            I’d say that’s how most intellectual changes work.

            Reality, like time, is relative to the observer

            Anthony North

          23. levels
            There is much that is useful in the various special disciplines. Very much, their systematic approach has given us a lot of useful results.

            We can call this reductionist, and another approach holist. Or we can say specialist and generalist. These terms are not equivalent, but the goal is similar.

            What I am looking for is a meta-specialization. to understand what the various special fields use as common tools.

            I think that the best promise is to do the higher level, meta physics if you want, or holist, or P-ology, in a very formal way. As opposed to entirely philosophical.

            Certainly we have to start with intuitive approaches. But we have to get to something verifiable eventually.

            There is the vague area of “systems science”. They are groping for similar things. But I think they rely too much on statistics.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          24. Society
            I’ve often thought about the concept of the Patternological Society, a kind of academy cum think tank, bringing together various specialists who are prepared to look at each other’s disciplines. Even go so far as to teach each other the basics of their own. Literally merge the specialisations and see what comes out. A totally free licence to do research removed from dogma or consensus, and not afraid of getting things wrong. Free spirits intellectually.
            It could be in such a concept that what you are looking for could emerge. Eventually, it would produce its own qualification for the training of true Patternologists – inter-disciplinary polymaths. Got a spare million or ten to set it up?

            I’m fanatical about moderation

            Anthony North

          25. MIT
            At MIT they encourage interdisciplinary projects that break the boundaries between engineering and the arts. That’s why we have the “Guitar Hero” games 🙂

            We should encourage that. Most problems arise because people don’t like to talk with people outside their little field of expertise, and they don’t like the idea that an outsider might come with a novel idea brought from a fresh approach to an old problem. But when you combine the talents of different people with different scopes of knowledge, that’s when magic happens; the folks at Diseny knew that, and that’s why they called these men “imagineers”—although I feel that they have lost direction lately, and have not come up with something truly spectacular in many years.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          26. That’s right
            You’ve got it right, there, Red. But does MIT REALLY do what you say, or does it have a consensus that is nonetheless adhered to, the participants never quite crossing the line?
            Disney’s ‘imagineers’ present a similar problem. I remember a story concerning animators who did an extra ten minutes of, I think it was Mickey Mouse, having sex with Minnie – just for a laugh, of course. Disney heard about it, and joked that he loved it. The ones involved then came forward to accept his praise – and were sacked on the spot!
            Now, I don’t know for certain if this is true, but it is indicative of his known dictatorial ways. How can this REALLY allow the total free flow I speak of?
            I’m talking about a Society that would guarantee this free flow, throw normal convention out of the window, and exist purely on their imagination. And there would be a lot of failures, but as one of my bi-lines says:

            A brilliant idea crawls out of the corpses of a hundred failures

            Anthony North

          27. I agre but…
            But you gotta keep in mind that there has to be some form of regulation that would allow things not to crumble into total anarchy. Even here at TDG there are some—very limmited compared to other places—rules when commenting.

            I have read that on Second Life they have had their episodes of “cyber-terrorism”, althourh they are still relatively harmless—and childish e.g. flying penises in the middle of a session and things like that.

            And, going back to some of the first ideas I shared at the beginning of this discussion, there’s the problem of limited resources to distribute among the different projects, and the limited amount of time you have to take your ideas into completion.

            Maybe those “free-flow” exchanges you envision can only be manifested with the backing of a very powerful patron—e.g. Burt Rutan winning the X prize thanks to Paul Allen.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          28. does MIT do anything
            I am assuming you are talking aboit this MIT, which is a very large organization. So to say that they do anything in particular is assuming too much. We are talking about a few thousand independent individuals, not even counting the students.

            MIT or Harvard, Oxford, or the University of California, the University of anything, are not top-down companies that follow commands from their great leaders.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          29. Yes, yes…
            I’m fully aware that on MIT they are several laboratories (like the Media Lab) dealing with innovation on multidisciplinary projects, where they try to mix seemingly non-concordant disciplines like music & architecture, or pedagogics with robotics. That was the spirit behind the Stata Center designed by Frank Gehry—who I’ve just discovered is being sued by MIT!

            So I salute these guys earthling, don’t get me wrong 🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          30. maybe
            maybe I should be mad at them. They didn’t accept me for grad school. You see, I have been rejected by some of the finest universities.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          31. think tank w/o dogma or consensus
            >>I’ve often thought about the concept of the Patternological Society, a kind of academy cum think tank, bringing together various specialists who are prepared to look at each other’s disciplines. Even go so far as to teach each other the basics of their own. Literally merge the specialisations and see what comes out. A totally free licence to do research removed from dogma or consensus, and not afraid of getting things wrong. Free spirits intellectually.

            Sounds a lot like TDG. 😉

            Kat

          32. But as I said… er… wrote earlier
            Specialists scoff at people who come from different disciplines, or that had a more broader field of study.

            People think less of a doctor that is focused on general medicine, than of a cardiologist.

            I suffered from that kind of prejudism aswell. I studied Industrial Design, a career that is supposed to have a REALLY big scope (an industrial designer should be able to design from a car to a coffee mug, at least theoretically); you do get some bits of specialization later in the career, but only for the remaining two years, the first two teachers give you all sorts of assignments— from chairs to ambulances for example.

            The problem is that you go out into the world, and unless you really have a pretty good idea of what you want to do—I sure didn’t— it can be REALLY hard to have a head start. And often when I entered a job the engineers would look down on me because they did not understand that I was something more than a simple draftsman; I work among architects now, but they still look down on me because I’m not “one of them”, like I was not manly enough to study Architecture so I had to settle with being an interior designer.

            And I only chose design because I thought it would be a neat way to combine my left-brain skills with my passion for creativity. If only, right?

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          33. TDG
            That’s why I like it here so much, Kat. But this is just a forum for ideas, with no economic muscle to develop ideas and put them into practice.

            Reality, like time, is relative to the observer

            Anthony North

          34. Maybe not correct, Anthony
            I’d be lost without being able to read all the posts on TDG – truly a place where people can air their ideas and politely discuss them without worrying about whether they will be thought insane!

            Whereas we may think we don’t have the muscle to develop our ideas, who’s to say that reading these posts don’t change or develop our own ideas and in turn alter our reactions or actions. Perhaps, also, airing these ideas puts them into the larger picture of a universal consciousness from which those same ideas can be plucked by those who do have the muscle to act upon them.

            Just a thought!

            Regards, Kathrinn

          35. Formal
            I understand what you’re getting at, Kathrinn, and this is a fantastic place, but it isn’t a formal, institutionalised academy/think tank. It doesn’t have a PR system that can attract main media attention. It doesn’t have people coming to work in a morning, teaching others directly, experimenting, debating face to face.
            This in no way means I’m trying to put TDG down. I’m not. It’s the best. What I’m talking about is an academy.

            I’m fanatical about moderation

            Anthony North

          36. Online courses
            Well, the web has provided us with the ability to study from the comfort of our homes;true, those degrees don’t get much recognition in the orthodox academic field yet, but maybe in the future we could devise some sort of “consciousness expansion course” or other interesting projects that you could follow online.

            And while we really can’t have much of a direct interaction today, I’m confident that in 5-10 years from now teleconferences will be as commonplace as text chats are today.

            How about it, Greg? Ready to found the DGU? 🙂
            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          37. verification
            People can learn a lot by using online information, and also structured online courses.

            One reason why I don’t really trust online degrees is the same reason why I don’t trust online voting. You don’t know who is taking the test, or who is doing the voting.

            Fingerprinting won’t work. Jane verifies her identity by fingerprint, and then John votes for her.

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          38. this wouldn’t be voting!
            We are not talking about voting, but I see what you mean. One thing companies and government have delayed for quite a while is effective psychometric and cryptographic methods to ensue the privacy of the citizen, while verifying its identity.

            Although sometimes I wonder if that was the whole idea of the Internet from the start. After all, it was the government who came up with the Internet; maybe the release of Arpanet to the public was to see if the mouse fell in the trap.

            We sure did 🙂

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          39. Who are the lurkers?
            >> Perhaps, also, airing these ideas puts them into the larger picture of a universal consciousness from which those same ideas can be plucked by those who do have the muscle to act upon them.

            My curiosity got the best of me several months ago, and I asked Greg how many unique visitors TDG averaged per day.

            His shocking answer: 15,000.

            Fifteen thousand people visit TDG every day! Yet, if I had to guess, I’d say only a couple of hundred of us regularly, or semi-regularly, post comments.

            If my fairy godmother were to give me three wishes, I’d seriously consider using one of them to find out more about those thousands of lurkers — not in any way that would violate their privacy, of course, but more along the lines of what they do, why they come here, and what they think about what they read here. I’ve wondered, for instance, if any of them are university professors or scientists who wouldn’t be caught dead admitting to an interest in ‘alternative’ ideas. And I’ve wondered if TDG is more attractive to some age-groups than others. I wonder if many teens read TDG? Or are almost all those visitors between the ages of, say, 25 – 65? Are there any teachers out there who practically, if not formally, assign TDG as required reading?

            About all I know about the lurkers now is that more than half of them live in the U.S.

            So many questions, so few answers. What can I say — curiosity got the kat. 😉

          40. 15,000 a day, huh?
            Better be careful what I say, then, as some of the lurkers may be the wrong kind of people!!

            Regards, Kathrinn

          41. yeah scary organizations
            like the KGB and also the FBI, the CIA, the BBC, BB King …

            —-
            if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

            it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

          42. Oh…
            Yeah, I guess Kamasutra & Asperger’s don’t mix too well together—unless you stick only to Second Life er… performances 😉

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

    1. temporary employment
      As far as I know, Nessie had a 1-time gig many years ago, and was not hired again.

      Since then the tourist board there has been using cheap imitations, fake photographs and such things, just to keep the public interest. They are too cheap to re-hire the real Nessie.

      —-
      if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

      it’s not how fast you go, it’s who gets there first

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