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Re: [tlug] [OT] Specialized insects and Linux

My apologies for the bizarre formatting that resulted from
my prior post. I have no idea what caused it. I am putting
line breaks into my text because I was scolded for not doing
so at one time. I am reluctant to post because of the way
that looked. I have not seen other posts behaving so badly.
I hope this effort turns out looking a bit more prudish.

(I am using Outlook in Firefox in MintLinux 17, if that matters.)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <> writes

> Of course, those are huge exaggerations. You can't diffuse new ideas
> if there are none. Ridley's article is one long sequence of post hoc
> ergo propter hoc fallacies. That doesn't mean he's wrong. It just
> means tl;dr, you're gonna have to decide for yourself anyway. Take
> one example: it's absolutely true that X-ray crystallography was
> invented by a bunch of silkworms and boll weevils trying to make more
> money from their product. But they wouldn't have got to square one if
> it weren't for a bunch of pinhead tunnel-vision ivory-tower academics
> who demonstrated that optics applied to X-rays, too.

Thank you for the interesting reply. I think I'll post it on the list with that
discussion just to see what it stirs up. You make a strong case. Clearly,
the new technology (esp. printing presses, steam engines) leading to the
economic explosion of the Industrial Revolution and up into the economic
growth of the 20th century (cars, telegraph, telephone, radios, rubber)
came from tinkerers who benefited economically from applying their
ideas. The waters become more muddied as we get further advanced
technologically with TV, flight, and computing. It seems the higher the
technology, the more important the research. The times may be
fundamentally changing.

IIRC, Einstein said that his E=mc2 was "in the ether" (of course, his ideas
on "the ether" are a good bit beyond my understanding) and if he hadn't
put it out, someone else would have because its time had come. Obviously,
though, basic research is important, too. The question is whether it drives
economic growth, and I don't think it does. What economic growth has
come directly from E=mc2?

> The problem that Japanese academia faces is that people who are really
> good at thinking are made to sit in meetings and write lies on forms
> for 70% of their time.

The bane of academic existence here is those damned meetings. 

> The thing is, in the end it's not basic science OR technology
> diffusion that generates economic growth: it's management and
> entrepreneurship to exploit the conjunction of needs and the tech that
> serves them. (I know, that's heresy on a tech list.)

This seems to me to be a chicken-or-the-egg call. I cannot imagine one
without the other. And for that exploitation of the merging of needs and
tech to even be possible, government needs to get out of the way at
least enough to let entrepreneurship flourish.

> understand those well enough to teach them; you either have to have
> native talent or a mentor (which is a very expensive way to educate
> compared to the classroom). Both basic and applied research in
> communication and in business methods are needed, and (by current
> Monkashow definitions) those are more bunkei than rikei.

It may be more expensive on the individual level, but on the societal
level it could make more sense to mentor fewer with higher levels of
ability rather than try to dumb everyone down to a mass teachable
level. Even on the individual level it may be more economical to mentor
a student in a specific business than to run him through the robot
machine for x number of years. I would guess that the classroom
approach is actually more expensive for society as a whole. But it is
the societal arrangement that we have.

And a separate concern is that well over 50% of applied research in
soft sciences such as psychology, sociology, and related purview is
unadulterated bunkum that cannot be duplicated. (Ex-psych major -
at the undergrad level - speaking.)


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