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

Raedwolf writes:

 > My apologies for the bizarre formatting that resulted from my prior
 > post. I have no idea what caused it.

Use of an MUA whose fundamental principle is to be a better Outlook,
most likely.   Ie, you're not using Emacs or mutt. :-)

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

Oops.  In fact you're using an MUA whose mission is to *be* Outlook.
That can't be a good sign! :-)

Seriously, we'll tease you about your MUA but for heaven's sake don't
let that stop you from posting.  If inserting newlines gets too
tedious, change your MUA.  Thunderbird (from Mozilla) has a reasonably
good reputation.  There must be others if T-bird doesn't work for you.

 > What economic growth has come directly from E=mc2? 

If you mean that literally, I'd say "employment for physics professors
and overtime for typesetters".[1]

If you're willing to be a little more flexible, it's unfortunate in
many senses, but military spending is counted as part of GDP.  See
also Raymond's comment.

 > The bane of academic existence here is those damned meetings.

You got that right!

 >> 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.

Sorry, that one I can't let pass.  Any priest or con man proves
otherwise.  (No wisecracks, please. Personally I believe those are two
different lines of business.  But neither requires any technology to
produce satisfied customers -- at least for long enough to spend the
money.  And every day new versions of both can be found on a street
corner in Kabukicho....)  And those are merely the most extreme cases;
there's a whole range from pure psychological satisfaction to Lasik
surgery, and that's just in the consumer realm.  Entrepreneurship is
necessary; technology is just a good place to find opportunities that
the yakuza haven't cornered yet.

 > 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.

Either you have done little mentoring with a ridiculously improbable
amount of success, or you are extremely ruthless about cutting the
unqualified.  Or maybe you're just a heck of a lot better at it than
me.  I detest the pandering I have to do in the classroom, but what I
have to do in "zemi" is 3K work, too, and the "kosupa"[2] ratio is
clearly worse for zemi -- you can't just throw yellowed notes at them
the way you do in the classroom.

 > I would guess that the classroom approach is actually more expensive
 > for society as a whole.

I will grant that I told my MBA students that there were only three
courses in the program they should not miss: accounting, statistics,
and microeconomics (at least as I taught it, which involved 67% less
graphs and equations, which no MBA would ever actually use on the job

As usual, there's a happy medium: the best performance/cost ratio
comes with a combination of both.  As with management and technology,
though, the optimal combination is rather biased toward classroom, and
what we can't do without is the classroom.  It is, however, arguable
that everything you need to know you learn by the end of kindergarten!
And it gets truer with every additional year after that. :-)

 > 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.

Read Kahnemann _Thinking Fast and Slow_ and the references therein,
and you may feel a little better.  I did (and most of it was about why
what I do for a living is usually wrong!)  And you're probably right
about 50%, but you're way wrong to restrict it to "soft sciences". :-P
"90% of everything is grunge" and then there's Obokata.  Who woulda
thunk a moderate amount of "cute" and wearing makeup in the lab could
get you published in Nature?  Hard to imagine Marie Curie with that
much makeup on, and obviously Einstein didn't even use Tsubaki shampoo!

Sure, there's probably more "soft" bunkum and more "hard" science, but
there's plenty of both on both sides of the hard/soft divide.  You
just need to be careful not to believe everything you read.

Dokuzetsu-keizai rides again!


[1]  Math is considered "penalty copy" even today in the printing
industry; the only thing more expensive is the gory pictures in the
best medical journals -- with a magnifying glass you can see the white
blood cells and the bacteria battling it out as the red cells scurry
for cover. :-)

[2]  Cost/performance.  It's from a commercial for a moving company
performed by one of those excessively cute starlets.

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