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Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?
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Started by xpat at 12:53pm Jul 28, 2000 BST

Moving knowledge along can be exhausting - the old knowledege is reluctant to make way for the new .... how many truths have to wait for the old guard's acceptance. Kick butt or let time assert itself?


xpat - 09:55pm Jul 28, 2000 BST (#1 of 171)

To me, it depends on how hard the resistance is, and how that resistance works. No one has the right to command attention, everybody has to persuade, sometimes in an organized way, sometimes to whoever'll listen. Often, time works wonders. The amount of "persuasion" that's worthwhile depends on how much the idea matters. (If many lives are at stake, for example, one may be justified in being somewhat assertive.) Most often, ideas diffuse in a pretty sensible way. But there are famous exceptions, and they come to be called "paradigm conflicts." I'd identify them as follows. If the new idea has "hit a nerve" in a negative sense - it the new somehow violates the emotions of the people who "own" the old idea - then one has a conflict that may not readily yeild to time or ordinary persuasion. (I'm talking real emotions here, which may include fear or anger responses strong enough to involve the shaking of body parts.) In such a case, emotions are at stake. The ideas, somehow, are linked to people's sense of identity. There may have to be a fight, and the fight may be justified. One can hope for a fair fight, ideally an umpired fight, according to rules that make sense to usual, sensibile bystanders. But if the idea elicits fight responses, there may have to be a fight, or a threat of one, or the idea may die.

If the idea is right, and matters enough, defeat of the idea may carry big enough costs that fighting is justified.

How great it would be to have umpires in such circumstances. In the historical cases I know of, even newspaper attention might have been umpiring enough, if reporters could have taken the time to get a sense of the stakes, and permit it to be played out as a fight (appealing to real evidence.)

For most paradigm conflicts, things would have gone well if only all concerned had asked

"What would proper behavior be, if this were happening in the view of the average reader of the Manchester Guardian (or The New York Times.)"


opaz - 10:05pm Jul 28, 2000 BST (#2 of 171)

weird


rshowalter - 12:31am Jul 29, 2000 BST (#3 of 171)  | 

Paradigm conflicts, in retrospect, do look weird. But the results are no less serious for that. A classical case, long enough ago that people have distance, is the case of Semmelweis, who showed (and he had excellent statistics) that if doctors would wash their hands, especially between examinations of patients, mortality from infection would go down radically. This was in the 1830's. Well, he was right. But the doctors of the time were savagely against him - they reacted as if their whole beings had been violated by Semmelweis' suggestion. Semmelweis was shunned, and anybody who backed him was treated roughly. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (a minor american literary figure, and father of an American Supreme Court Justice) was an asst prof at Harvard medical school, advocated Semmelweis, and got treated so roughly that he quit medicine altogether, and was a writer thereafter. Reasonable guesses are that something like fifty million years of human life were wasted because Semmelweis couldn't make his case. Now, looking back, it is hard to imagine how anyone could have objected to Semmelweis's case. The majority who rejected Semmelweis looks criminally insane. But this tragedy happened.

A pity there couldn't have been a fight, under reasonably umpired circumstances, in Semmelweis's case. The world would have turned out better, at little cost.

A quite similar story in this century involve homocysticiene (sp?) a protein involved in artheriosclerosis, now partly dealt with by B vitamin supplementation of foodstuffs. The discoverer, Kilmer McCully, was ostracised in a full fledged example of paradigm conflict not unlike the Semmelweis case. Research was postponed for almost thirty years because of this response - odds are good that more years of life were lost (in the US) than were lost due to the Vietnam war due to this "group insanity".

Again, it seems a pity there couldn't have been a fight, under reasonably umpired circumstances, in McCully's case. The world would have turned out better, at little cost.

Weird? Yes, and in retrospect, these cases look like group insanity. If people from a distance had been looking on (the proverbial readers of the Guardian or the Times) things would have gone better.

These days, as in the past, if someone begs for a hearing under circumstances that look like they might be paradigm conflict, there's no way to get it.

If this changed, the world might run considerably better, at little cost, and with only tiny disruption to ordinary scientific arrangements.

Suppose someone asked for checking, for umpiring, and turned out the be wrong? That could be established, and pretty quickly.


Leda - 06:45am Jul 29, 2000 BST (#4 of 171)

In 1992, a WARNING TO HUMANITY was issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists that began: "Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about."

This warning was signed by over 1,500 members of national, regional, and international science academies. Sixty-nine nations from all parts of Earth are represented, including each of the twelve most populous nations and the nineteen largest economic powers. http://dieoff.org/page8.htm


rshowalter - 01:38pm Jul 29, 2000 BST (#5 of 171)  | 

In that 1992 warning, there's this:

"A new ethic is required—a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth."

In large measure, they call for an old ethic - the ethic that individuals, and specialized groups, must act in ways that are responsible to, and that would bear examination by, larger groups.

There's a phrase, attributed to an American robber baron ... "The public be damned..."

In the Semmelweis case, the medical profession was able to say "The public be damned ...." and apply standards that would never have made ordinary sense to ordinary people, to Semmelweis. And the ethics were such that the public said "that's their business" and let this happen.

In the McCully case, the cardiologists were able to say "The public be damned..." and shun McCully according to standards that would never have made sense to ordinary people - standards that look insane today.

These days, if someone says " This group is doing something crazy - an obvious mistake is being made, just here ..." there's no ethic, or mechanism, for a hearing. Where specialized groups have extra-rational committments, that has been lethal before, and will be again.

To fix the problem is technically quite easy. The fundamental point is to recognize that subgroups have ETHICAL responsibilities to larger groups, and must take decisions that can bear the light of day, with a wider public. There's a dreafy list of paradigm conflicts, each monotonously the same in the group misbehavior it shows, each expensive. They all occurred because decisions that would never have appeared decent in public were made in the relative privacy of a subspeciality with ideas at stake.

A related ethical point is that media, especially those that hold themselves as guides to the ethics of their populations, must ask groups, including high status groups, to rise above a "the public be damned" standard when an idea happens to be uncomfortable or new. Now, the opposite may happen, and the "ranking media" may work to raise their own subjective status, by being "for" the established group, in every fieldm almost no matter what. Journalists should take a higher veiw of their responsibilities than that. They'd entertain their customers more, and serve their nations better, if they did so.


Leda - 10:54am Jul 30, 2000 BST (#6 of 171)

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/6865/eyeanim2.gif


Messiah666 - 11:45am Jul 30, 2000 BST (#7 of 171)

Very intersting exploratory stuff, rshowalter/xpat.

Sadly, I don't think this thread will go anywhere, in terms of contributions from others - but you can be assured of at least one reader, for any other thoughts and examples you care to put up.


rshowalter - 05:03pm Jul 30, 2000 BST (#8 of 171)  | 

Thanks Messiah, and thanks Leda for your eloquent image. I'll be off on to a family gathering for a week. If this thread is still up, I'll offer thoughts and examples then. If anyone else has thoughts or examples bearing on the question

"What happens when trusted groups go wrong?"

I'd be grateful to see those comments.


xpat - 06:47am Jul 31, 2000 BST (#9 of 171)

Cairns-Smith, A. G. (U Glasgow) was talking about the P'shift ... unfortunately i caught the last 3mins of a good discussion from the Adelaide Festival of Ideas .... Aussie tv will surely replay? Later and often - you bet!


jasonx - 08:43am Jul 31, 2000 BST (#10 of 171)

xpat

are you trying to come up with a paradigm for paradigm shifts?


Messiah666 - 10:17am Jul 31, 2000 BST (#11 of 171)

I've got a fair few, rshowalter, from the field of nursing and medicine (I'm a nurse), but I'm a bit busy, at present, and they need a bit of pulling together.

Plus, I think, there are some things that are just a matter of the dead hand of "tradition", while others are about what is acceptable to dominant groups.

Although often, the two things probably go together....


Eccles - 10:43am Jul 31, 2000 BST (#12 of 171)

"I think, there are some things that are just a matter of the dead hand of "tradition", while others are about what is acceptable to dominant groups."

Bit like the reactionary social attitudes, from the self styled dominant/"majority" group, to refugees, single mums, the EU, section 28 and lynch mob mentality that JSwan talks about on the reactionary thread eh Messiah?


xpat - 11:43pm Jul 31, 2000 BST (#13 of 171)

600,000 years was all it took to make the Great Barrier Reef. James Cook Univ close by does a lot of marine work & pulls in the Japanese Students who just love kinky wet suits.

The expertise regarding the Reef, is in part, in the heads of the Academics.

Current problems with the Reef relate to 'bleaching', ye olde crowne of Thorns, AgriFertilizer run offs, and AquaFarming Pollutants; not forgetting the human footprint impact re dollar earning Tourism.

Oz doesn't have formally established 'ThinkTank' foundations.

The casualisation of the workplace, even through the U's and phasing out of TENURE are leading to mouthClamping re the diffusion of new knowledge.

Political Stompage over the U's (dependent on Federal Government Canberra for much funding) and directives to staff 'not to telephone the conservation foundations et al' means that the input by academics 'the holders of new knowledge' is inhibited and restrained.

The decision making process lacks the input of pertinent factual data with analysis. Therefore the whole process is flawed and unsatisfactory.

Concerns in Mid-North Queensland are that inappropriate eco-tourism development will wipe out the near prestine environment. Leading to phalliqueTower GoldCoast style developments. The GoldCoast is an international crime sewer.

The question poised is 'Do Political Factions in your country deliberately set out to inhibit truth?'


Messiah666 - 12:21am Aug 1, 2000 BST (#14 of 171)

xpat/rshowalter:

Good luck with the thread.

Take care.

Subir


xpat - 10:29pm Aug 3, 2000 BST (#15 of 171)

Mash - they normalised blood pressure and lost the massively wounded. The Faulklands 'cooling' of same with high survival rates lead to a paradigm shift in 'survival' thinking: http://www.abc.net.au/tvpub/highlite/h0031rais.htm


bNice2NoU - 01:46pm Aug 4, 2000 BST (#16 of 171)

India IT http://it-taskforce.nic.in/vsit-taskforce/bbr2/bbr2-1.htm

Changing Paradigm for Educational Planning and Management http://planningcommission.nic.in/bihsita8.htm

paradigms of scientific materialism and economic determinism http://pib.nic.in/feature/feyr2000/fjun2000/f010620001.html

http://ignca.nic.in/ig_index.htm


Leda - 10:11am Aug 5, 2000 BST (#17 of 171)

future paradigm studies, Proving the Gaia Concept http://www.trufax.org/avoid/gaia.html


bNice2NoU - 10:59am Aug 5, 2000 BST (#18 of 171)

Drucker: http://www.pignc-ispi.com/forums/quotations/messages/5.html


bNice2NoU - 12:31am Aug 7, 2000 BST (#19 of 171)

http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/facstaff/burbules/ncb/syllabi/Materials/Wittgenstein_as_Engineer.html


Eccles - 07:49am Aug 7, 2000 BST (#20 of 171)

"the collapse of chaos" Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart. Penguin Science. ISBN 0 - 14 - 029125 - 3.


bNice2NoU - 08:02am Aug 7, 2000 BST (#21 of 171)

Thanks Eccles, See: http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/oct1999/hitc-o27.shtml


Eccles - 08:26am Aug 7, 2000 BST (#22 of 171)

bNice2NoU

Thanks for the link. Interesting article even if its nowhere near the same subject area as Cohen & Stewart's look at the the traditional scientific reductionist paradigm and creation of an alternative paradigm.


Top |  Previous | All messages | Outline (22 previous messages)
bNice2NoU - 12:28pm Aug 7, 2000 BST (#23 of 171)

NoU had it wrong? .... Too too gamey lol :)

Plato suffered paradigm problems http://www.greekciv.pdx.edu/philosophy/plato/candace.htm


jasonx - 12:55pm Aug 7, 2000 BST (#24 of 171)

eccles

stewart & cohen do not set up chaos/complexity theory as an alternative paradigm to reductionism. rather, they point out the areas where reductionism fails to deliver (because it cannot) and advocate using an alternative approach in those areas.


Eccles - 01:45pm Aug 7, 2000 BST (#25 of 171)

jasonx

I stand/sit corrected. I have not yet completed reading it.

I'm reminded of an old? adage about the difference between reductionist and systems thinking. I think it goes something like:

"With reductionism you know more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing. With the systems method you know less and less about more and more until you know nothing about everything."

yours fraternally

Eccles


jasonx - 01:59pm Aug 7, 2000 BST (#26 of 171)

if you can get past the twee sci-fi references it's worth finishing.

pure mathematicians quote borges. applied mathematicians quote pratchett.

*sighs*


bNice2NoU - 04:07am Aug 9, 2000 BST (#27 of 171)

The Paradigm of

P E A C E

is a concept under discussion in FINLAND currently

Peace doesn't make the 'news' .... any links to this 'mindchanging world PEACE condition' would be NICE

Opaque technicolour Lymph doesn't hold the NewReelEye in quite the same way as the ketchupRed.


bNice2NoU - 03:09pm Aug 9, 2000 BST (#28 of 171)

Radio Australia was funding starved, Paradigm of sheer weakness, now OzGovernment will bring it back.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/s161277.htm http://www.abc.net.au/pm/s161277.htm


rshowalter - 09:36pm Aug 9, 2000 BST (#29 of 171)  | 

I'm back from vacation. Some interesting posts! The idea that we may be approaching a "a paradigm about paradigm conf.lict" is an exciting one. Maybe it is right. Let me try to take a shot at a "paradigm about paradigm conflicts."

Just now, subject to correction, I believe the following model of "paradigm conflict" fits a case of interest to me, and also fits famous paradigm conflict problems (and tragedies) in the past. I'm not trying to speak of "good guys" and "bad guys." Instead, my view is that paradigm conflicts are rare events where the social-intellectual patterns that usually make human function possible happen to misfire.

In the sociology of knowledge, a number of people have spoken of "knowledge as abstraction" and "knowledge as social construct, learned by enculturation." A classic book on the subject is THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. John Seeley Brown and co-workers at Xerox PARC have done much to advance the idea of knowledge as enculturation. People learn by doing, and reason from contexts. We'd be both more and less than human if we did otherwise. At the same time, reasoning occurs outside of accepted practice as well. This more "abstract" reasoning, often comes from academic environments, and sometimes comes from "outsiders" connected to a particular field of practice. Whether this somewhat isolated knowledge is thought to have high or low status, this "less socially grounded" ideation is sometimes called "stark, logicalist knowledge" by sociologists. For now, let us accept those distinctions, which seem good enough for the rough model below.

Consider the notion of a "paradigm shifting proposition" (psprop) that happens, for the sake of this argument, to be technically right. Right or wrong, we can consider the paradigm shift proposition "psprop" from two perspectives. The first is a "stark logicalist perspective." The second is a "situated, socially constructed body of working knowledge jointly held by a group of working practitioners." I believe that essentially all paradigm conflicts are conflicts of the following structure:

Stark logical response: Psprop right, or 100% testable.

Socially constructed decision response: Psprop unacceptably dissonant with practice.

Stark logical value response: Psprop virtuous, necessary.

Socially constructed value response: Psprop unseeable, unthinkable, distasteful, against group senses of virtue.

Resolution of this sort of conflict, if the conflict is to be resolved, will require some mixture of force and negotiation of meaning.

So a paradigm shift proposition fails completely in the eyes of people embedded in an established practice, but, in the interesting cases, also happens to be right.

In the paradigm conflicts that are most interesting and important, an individual or small group of "stark logicalists," influenced by evidence that they interpret differently from the majority of practitioners in their field, stand in sharp conflict with their field, and they are right. In hindisight, the mass of practitioners turn out to be completely wrong. A good example would be Semmelweis's observation that infection could be radically reduced if doctors washed their hands before examining patients, and between examinations of different patients. This idea was savagely rejected by the whole medical profession when first proposed, and the rejection was long lasting.

This is the reverse of what ordinarily happens, and what is ordinarily expected. In the usual case, experience and group interpretations of it guide people well. The group is wise, or wiser than the nonconformist. . The "outliers" turn out to be wrong.

That's the model. It describes a simple, stark kind of impasse. It fits the paradigm conflicts I know about. A new idea, right or wrong, happens to be dissonnant with accepted practice, and is rejected on that basis, on grounds that may, in retrospect, seem devoid of formal logical basis. After that passage of much time, those gounds, deeply felt by a majority of practitioners at the time of the conflict, may even seem insane. That is how the Semmelweis controversy looks today.

  • ******

    A number of points seem clear to me. First, in the face of such a conflict, the new idea, before it is adopted, is held on "stark logicalist" grounds, that appeal to evidence in a way the group holds to be unconventional. The new idea seems far fetched, and abstract, just because it is new and unfamiliar. This sort of impasse is inherently problematic.

    Secondly, the new idea will look much the same, from a distance, whether it is a "heroic innovation" or a "crackpot's error". To tell the difference, some careful judgement based on evidence and logic is going to be necessary.

  • *****

    Where, how, and on what basis can such a judgement be made? Can it be made. What are the practical and moral issues involved?

    It seems to me that the question: "How much objective difference does the question at hand make?" is an important one.

    A second point, that seems equally practical to me, is that paradigm conflicts are impasses where the usual "majority rules" pattern doesn't work for psychological- social reasons.

    I feel that, if the "paradigm conflict problem" is to be resolved, it cries out for a pattern of umpiring, involving "umpiring" from people OUTSIDE the socially constructed body of practice in question. A change of institutions, or a change in morally justified practices, would be required for such umpiring. Any change, to be useful, needs to consider that credible paradigm conflicts are rare.

    I think paradigm impasses need umpiring. Such umpiring could not "judge" the socially constructed body of practice, which is a largely implicit and reflexive body of patterns as well as ideas. But such umpiring COULD judge, on the basis of logic and evidence, whether the "stark logicalist position" was right or wrong.

    Such a resolution couldn't finish the resolution of the conflict, but it might get the situation into a form where the human beings involved could negotiate meanings, and practices, and resolve it.

    Perhaps the words above are too abstract, but they seem to apply to the cases of paradigm conflict that I know of, including one of particular interest to me, which has dragged on a long time, without resolution, for want of an umpire.


    bNice2NoU - 12:13am Aug 11, 2000 BST (#30 of 171)

    http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/legend.html


    ctownson - 12:13pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#31 of 171)

    We have a multi-faceted paradigm conflict, with many subjects facing, and being suppressed by, one imperative - the desire/need not to change. Individuals, all of us, are being guided in this by government propaganda. Do you think that anything that the government of any organized western democracy doesn't want us to hear, will reach our ears if said government doesn't want it to? Of course not. I'm talking about a vast right-wing conspiracy, naturally. To me there are several entry points: the Kennedy Assassination, Cattle Mutillations, Roswell, the face on Mars or the city on the moon. Doing one's homework on any of these subjects will lead to suppressions in archaeology, physics, means of transport, fuels, religion, earth and universal history, and most importantly, psychology. Through a penetrating knowledge of individual and mass psychology, the truths which would allow all of us to break through many paradigms, are kept from us.


    rshowalter - 03:45pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#32 of 171)  | 

    > "Do you think that anything that the government of any organized western democracy doesn't want us to hear, will reach our ears if said government doesn't want it to?"

    I don't think government is that ubiquitous, or that monolithic, or that effective, at least usually. I don't agree with your examples. But there do seem to me to be serious examples, most that come to my mind involving the Cold War. The military statistics justifying the idea of a "dominant Soviet threat", seem to have been amazingly overstated, for decades.

    Things people want to believe, that the government also wants them to believe, can summon powerful belief, and do so for long times.

    With the web, including the GUARDIAN's work as an example, the world of ideas is more porous than it used to be. Some old horrors might be more difficult now.

    But motivation, and established consensuses, still count, even when they happen to be distorted or wrong. The historical dialog about evolution, (with interesting aspectts cited in the WONDERFUL cite by bNice2You just above) offers many examples where motivation plays a stong role. Not always an entirely logical role. Here's a joke-story I like, on that point.

    A lady was on her knees, praying about Darwin.

    "Oh Lord, let it not be true ....... "But if it IS true .......

    "Give us the STRENGTH to suppress it.

    Governments, and populations well convinced by them, may show such "strength." So, I'd guess, may all other human beings, one time or another.

    But when you ask: "> "Do you think that anything that the government of any organized western democracy doesn't want us to hear, will reach our ears if said government doesn't want it to?"

    I'd have to say .... "maybe not every time ... but sometimes, such ideas can and do get through."


    ctownson - 07:38pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#33 of 171)

    The CIA was formed in 1957, 3 months after Roswell. Their secret but highest priority was then and still is now, to suppress information about ufos. Shortly after that President Eisenhouer met with a group of aliens that have since been called 'the greys' at Edwards Airforce Base in California. We still don't know the exact details of the deal which was eventually hashed out. However one aspect of it was absolute secrecy on both sides. Over the years the secrecy has deepened until it has encompassed every aspect of our lives. Unbelievable technology has been obtained and is being used. It is the most important issue of our time because the gap between what they know and what we know is enormous. This is the multi-faceted paradigm. In this case you are naive to think 'not every time' because in this case it has to be every time. Every time a piece of solid evidence surfaces, and it does from time to time, the men in black go to work. Two weeks ago some artifacts from a wrecked ufo were being sent to a lab where they could be studied. They were intercepted at the post office by government officials. You are naive to think government is 'not that ubiquitous or monolithic' because it has forced itself to be. The stakes are too high. They are having all the fun and reaping all the knowledge. They, a deliberately vague they, will keep it secret for another 50 years if they can. The stakes are just too high.


    rshowalter - 09:43pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#34 of 171)  | 

    Ideas off the norm can be wrong as well as right, and believed for all sorts of reasons. A key question is "How do you check?"

    Myself, I doubt that the governement and the press could be counted on to suppress the existence of something real behind UFO's. I don't think the government interests, or the press interests, are disciplined or homogeneous enough for that.

    The interesting cases of paradigm conflict don't involve "government suppression" in any case. They involve group psychology - including kinds of group psychology that are, most often, highly functional.

    The Semmelweis case offers a good example of "hard" and "easy" aspects of paradigm conflict.

    On the one hand, Semmelweis said "Just wash your hands ---- fewer women in your care will die." ...... Easy.

    On the other hand, to do that, doctors had to entirely change their view of how disease occurred and spread, and face up to the idea that they'd personally, though unwittingly killed people. ......Hard.

    Those sorts of problems are outside government. The problems don't involve conspiracies in any simple sense. The paradigm problems I know of are mostly of this kind.


    ronhelf - 09:59pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#35 of 171)

    nice to see someone other than myself referencing Berger and Luckman...


    bNice2NoU - 10:09pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#36 of 171)

    bNice2NoU2!

    http://elan.library.emory.edu/Staff/Mhalbert/Research/Guides/bergerluckmann.html http://www.sfu.ca/~wwwpsyb/issues/1995/spring/krygsveld.htm

    -------

    WmsPage/endRefs: http://www.americancomm.org/~aca/acjdata/vol2/Iss1/essays/bollispecci.htm


    ctownson - 10:37pm Aug 11, 2000 BST (#37 of 171)

    It's much more comfortable to have put 2 and 2 together as you have. 'The problems don't involve conspiracies in any simple sense.' No they don't but in a 'vast conspiracy', the picture is different. After about ten years of research into these questions, a certain amount of mud has stuck to the wall of my credulity; even gullible as I may be. Let's take television interviews with politicians and government officials. The interviewer knows: 1. that there are some subjects which are off limits as too wierd to be in the mainstream press. 2. that if he/she asks really tough questions the interviewees won't come back and their colleagues won't come either. This is more true in the States than in Britain, where a somewhat more lively tradition of debate exists. However this difference illustrates that the mould of tradition (paradigm) stifles facts and ideas emerging. Very obvious I know, but talk about ubiquitous!


    rshowalter - 12:21am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#38 of 171)  | 

    bNice2NoU gave a great citation, http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/legend.html that says some interesting things about the word "paradigm", and illustrates some difficulties about the word (difficulties that involved Thomas Kuhn in multiple definitions from the beginning.) Notions of "hypothesis" "explanation" "schema of explanation and interpretation" and "creed" are connected, and all linked to notion(s) referred to by the word "paradigm" Dictionary definitions of PARADIGM are worth mentioning as well. (Merriam-Webster, Britannica web site)

    1 : EXAMPLE, PATTERN; especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype

    3 : a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated

  • ********

    In Kuhn's "Postscript - 1969" in THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS, 2nd ed, he refers to two main senses of "paradigm" that correspond to the dictionary definitions above The broader meaning is a constellation of beliefs, the narrower a "specific puzzle solution."

    In interesting cases, the narrower and the broader meanings are linked, because solution in the narrow sense changes conceptual patterns that are broader.

    The Semmelweis case is an example. Washing hands, at the stark procedural level, is simple. The IMPLICATIONS of the handwashing, in the mileau of early and middle 19th century medical thinking, were radical and tragically unacceptable.

    The theory of natural selection is one of the most important examples of a paradigm shift, and illustrates the linkage. Her's a stark logicalist statement of Darwin's position:

    IF traits are inherited, and IF differential reproduction occurs on the basis of such traits, over very long times, natural selection logically follows.

    At this stark logicalist level, he logic (noting work to be done near the IFs) is simple enough.

    But associated consequences are far-reaching. In http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/legend.html "Wilberforce and Huxley: A Legendary Encounter" , J.R. Lucas puts it this way:

    "It was, indeed, not a simple hypothesis about what had actually happened, but a schema of explanation and interpretation. Its immense appeal lay in its power of organizing the phenomena of natural history in a coherent and intelligible way. This was what ......................... commended it, in spite of admitted difficulties and deficiencies, to almost all working biologists.

    "It was, in modern parlance, a paradigm shift. .............................This explains why ...........in spite of appeals .... leading biologists, Darwinism became .......... a creed, to be espoused or eschewed with religious vehemence and enthusiasm. It was not just a Baconian hypothesis that could be accepted or rejected by a simple enumeration of instances independently of what was thought about other matters. Darwinism affected the whole of a biologist's thinking, his way of classifying, his way of explaining, what he thought he could take for granted, what he would regard as problems needing further attention."

  • ********

    I'd like to emphasize the difference between the narrower and broader notion of "paradigm," cutting between the simpler, checkable part, and the much broader, more ramified cultural part.

    Darwin's SIMPLE point, like Semmelweis's point, and other paradigmatic points discussed in science, was in principle CHECKABLE for consistency with logic and evidence. That checking, by stark logicalist standards, was logically clear and coercive. The SIMPLE issue could be checked from the viewpoint of a starkly logicalist point of view.

    The much more complicated, multiply ramified issues of the connection of the new idea to a socially constructed body of knowledge could not be "right" or "wrong" or "possibly right" or "certainly wrong" in the same sense.

    It seems to me that to CHECK a new paradigm shift proposition, from a stark logicalist position, is possible, and highly desireable.

    The impose it on a body of working practitioners is nothing like so simple, nor so desirable.

    The part of a new paradigm shift proposition that CAN be checked, the stark, logicalist part, should be checked. Social conventions or facilities permitting that checking should be available. That's a limited request. Historically it would have saved millions of lives.

    In Semmelweis' case, the statistics favoring hand-washing for doctors were compelling in his own time, from the perspective of "bystanders". But not from the perspective of practitioners. He was shouted down by working practitioners. He was marginalized, called crazy, and shunned.

    Checking at the level of stark logicalist positions can be done. It should be available, especially, when a new idea faces strong hostility - a hostility that means that, if the idea holds up together at the stark logicalist level, it may hold great promise, exactly because it DOES change ideas.


    rshowalter - 12:23am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#39 of 171)  | 

    Stark logicalist checking can be done in specific cases. But in the historical cases I know of, where desirable paradigm shifts have been tragically postponed, such checking has been denied. As a result, the advocates of the new idea have had no academic validity at all, no place to stand in the academy, where they can make their case.

    An important, more recent example of this is the case of homocysteine. More than 30 years ago, a postdoc at Harvard Medical School, Kilmer McCully, linked this amino acid with artheriosclerosis, the central cause of most heart disease. At the stark logicalist level, he had a compelling case, but a case that was not checked or acknowledged because his work was dissonnant with the then prevailing view that cholesterol was "everything". The sad story is well told in Michelle Stacey's THE FALL AND RISE OF KILMER MCCULLY NYT, Sunday Magazine, Aug 10, 1997. Now, much later, homocysteine is recognized, and foodstuffs are supplemented with B vitamins to neutralize (at least some of) its ill effects. But the decision happened about 30 years later than it might have. Reasonable estimates, I believe, indicate that this one rejection of a paradigm shift proposition may have wasted as many years of American life as were lost due to the Vietnam War.

    McCully could not get his case considered at the stark logicalist level. And so he was ostracised, called crazy, and shunned. Much was lost. If he'd been checked in an academically valid way, McCully would have had a place to stand within the academy, and could have proceeded, thereafter, in "normal channels." As it was, most of McCully's career was destroyed, because he was right in a way that, through no fault of his, happened to conflict with the "situated, socially constructed working knowledge" of working practitioners in research cardiology.


    rshowalter - 12:26am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#40 of 171)  | 

    I've got a particular, personal case I'd like to make. It may, in fact, be in the process of being accepted, after a decade of struggle. The history of that struggle, I believe, illustrates how useful it would be to find ways where paradigm shift propositions, once they'd met certain standards, could be competently checked, so that they could gain (or lose) the validity needed for further consideration. My case involves at its core what is, surely, a "stark logicalist position" concerning the inference of differential equations from coupled physical circumstances.

    The core point I need validated by mathematicians is this:

  • ************** "The manipulation of abstract equations can be rigorous in the formal mathematical sense, but the inference of equations from physical models is only traditional. We cannot "prove" our mathematical representations of physics in the formal axiomatic sense, because they involve subject matter beyond tenable axioms. (1. Krantz, D., Luce, R.D., Suppes, P. & Tversky, A. FOUNDATIONS OF MEASUREMENT, v.1. Section 10.1 Academic Press, N.Y. (1971). ) But we can ask for mathematical representation procedures that show internal consistency according to reasonable specifications. We can also ask that analytical predictions of our mathematical representation procedures fit experimental data. "
  • **********************

    I say that, beyond the axioms of math, we must, and can, do experiments. The main practical implications are set out in a paper I've posted on the Los Alamos web, that's not been found wrong .... http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 . My results say that the current values of effective inductance (linkage between di/dt and dv/dt) in neural lines are understated by more than ten orders of magnitude. That's a radical idea at one level, but it is coming to be more accepted. I've given peer reviewed talks for the last two years at the Midwest Neurobiology meeting, and both were well received, the one last month http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/Midwest2000 particularly so. There's data in that talk from a colleague that needs some modification, and that's happening. But my own data is standing up, under some severe tests in the U.W. electrical engineering department. Effective inductances more than ten orders of magnitude greater than current theory predicts are being detected.

    There are practical implications of this work. For example, ventricular fibrillation is the biggest immediate cause of death in the industrialized world. I believe, and have good reason to believe, that the effective inductance (coupling between di/dt and dv/dx) now attributed to heart muscle is understated by a factor around 10^10. If I'm right, many lives could be saved, and I believe that, by now, the odds that I am right are high enough that the work is worth checking.

    If one had, each day, to say the names of the people who died the day before of ventricular fibrillation, it would be more than a dispiriting exercise. It would take more time than you'd have. For reasons like this, I've kept working on this problem. I've felt morally compelled to do so. On this issue, I'm for the right answer.


    rshowalter - 12:30am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#41 of 171)  | 

    http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/nterface begins as follows:

    "…. Why does the universe appear to follow mathematical laws?"

    We may never know WHY, in every sense of that word, or in any deep sense at all.

    But we should be able to ask: "What are the arithmetical rules that connect measurable circumstances to abstract math?"

    Arithmetical rules that work should be logically and experimentally consistent when we test them.

  • ***

    Is this a paradigm shift proposition? For the body of working mathematicians, it is.

    To put my point slightly differently, the question "What are the arithmetical rules that connect measurable circumstances to abstract math?" is an experimental question EXTERNAL to the axioms of formal mathematics, and I believe that those rules have to be considered on that experimental basis. Notions of "logical consistency" and "experimental consistency" familiar to a tradesman or an instrument maker, not a formal mathematician, are the ones to apply to this particular question. I'm not speaking of formal math at all. I'm speaking of the mechanics of analogy construction.

    The point that I want to establish from mathematicians is not that I'm doing mathematics, but that I'm doing nonmathematics, beyond the jurisdiction of the accepted axioms, on dimensional numbers that are not derivable for Peano's postulates or any accepted set theory, and that this nonmathematics can only be judged and checked by experimental standards. I'm getting prepared to bet fairly substantial money that the dimensional numbers, and especially the natural law operators, are beyond the juridiction of the axioms. I expect the money I wager will be safe.

    The idea that there IS a domain of measurable things that is beyond the axioms may seem self evident, and seems evident to me. But THIS is the core point that is dissonant with the "situated, socially constructed body of working knowledge" of the mathematicians, considered as a working group, or as a (necessarily extra-logical) culture. Objections to my position, which was also the position of my great colleague, Professor S.J. Kline of Stanford and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, has been violent in ways, and for reasons, much similar to the ways and reasons that defeated Semmelweis and McCully. (Here's a letter Steve wrote for me, before his death in 1997, that I'm proud of.) Our case is like others where paradigm conflict seems to have gone badly, and in a way against the public interest.

    In these cases of misfire, stark, logical checking is denied because of broad, diffuse, but deeply felt socially constructed feelings.

    Here's a core question, outside of the purview of the axioms of pure mathematics.

    When we derive an equation representing a physical model, reasoning from a sketch and other physical information, we write down symbols and terms representing physical effects. We may write down several stages of symbolic representation before we settle on our "finished" abstract equation. We implicitly face the following question:

    WHEN can we logically forget that the symbols we write represent a physical model? WHEN can we treat the equation we've derived from a physical model as a context-free abstract entity, subject only to the exact rules of pure mathematics?

    Here is a fair question, OUTSIDE of abstract math: Do we have a good analogy, or don’t we?


    rshowalter - 12:37am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#42 of 171)  | 

    Here's a case where the "good analogy" question matters:

    When coupled physical circumstances are represented in finite increment equations, we must make a decision about how we notate them. According to current procedure, never proved, and now over 300 years old we proceed as follows. The terms that stand for crosseffects now include the numerical value of the same spatial increment multiple times, once for every physical effect that interacts together. Infinities and infinitessimals, that have been causing trouble for centuries, come from this arbitrary, but now deeply habituated procedure. The correct procedure, if evidence is a basis for correctness, is not yet accepted. This new procedure represents the single spatial increment ONCE in each single term. This gives rise to crosseffects that represent emergent properties - the effective inductance that matters in neural conduction is such an emergent property.

    Put in a way that happens to be more general, the rule, experimentally but not axiomatically derivable, is this:

    When we derive a finite increment equation from a coupled finite increment physical model, that equation will include crossterms that represent several physical laws in interaction together over space. We must insist on algebraic simplification of these crossterms at UNIT SCALE.

  • *********

    I'm violating some deeply held feelings, but I don't think I am violating valid territories. My results may be unfamiliar and surprising to some, but whether they are or not, these results need have no bearing at all on the usages or conclusions of formal mathematics as a formal discipline. The paradigm shift proposition refers to the construction of ANALOGIES that work according to the usages of pure mathematics, and also represent what they are supposed to when the representations are tested against what they are meant to represent in the physical world.

    The story of resistance to checking of this idea about crosseffects (whether it is right or wrong) is an intersting, sometimes passionate, decade-long story. That story, I believe, argues strongly for the CHECKING of paradigm shift propositions, clearly stated, when that can be done.

    Now, it may even be that this checking is happening. If so, it has taken a long time. The story of why it has taken so long is a good argument for umpires, under conditions of paradigm conflict.

    If the question arises "am I going through ordinary usages and channels" the answer is yes, and at high levels. That continues. Here's a point I have reason to believe, based on advice from my late colleague, S.J. Kline, one of the few people who HAS successfully worked through a paradigm shift, against oppostion.

  • *********** "One cannot reasonably expect successful peer review of a proposition, or acceptance of it later, if people in the profession wince at the ideas in it so much that they look away. ..... Ideas, to work, have to fit in people's heads, and in their institutions."
  • *************

    My objective is not to short circuit peer review, but to get checking done, prior to peer review, that gets people past the wincing stage, so that our arguments, right or wrong, can stand on their own. These days, and in the past, this has been much too hard to do.

    My point is going to be tested now, but much too late.

    If umpires were available, much loss would have been saved. Suppose I'm wrong. Could be. McCully was not. He could have used an umpire, too.

    I appreciate the Guardian's space, and the interest of those of you who have read this.


    ctownson - 01:15am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#43 of 171)

    Gosh rshowalter, we're neighbors. I live down the road in Chimayo New Mexico. Isn't the Guardian wonderful!


    Leda - 09:24am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#44 of 171)

    Hey, whatever blows your skirt up !


    bNice2NoU - 11:21am Aug 12, 2000 BST (#45 of 171)

    As in take that Paradigm off my shift? Leda!!


    rshowalter - 04:44pm Aug 12, 2000 BST (#46 of 171)  | 

    It might be possible to fix the core reason for misfiring paradigm conflicts, now or soon, because of the web, and videotape. It would take a bit of social invention, and a small shift in standards of morality and politesse, but perhaps not too much.

    Consider a thought experiment, based on an anachronism. Suppose that the web, and current web videotape capabilities, had existed in Semmelweis' time, or, thirty odd years ago, when Kilmer McCully needed a hearing, and could not get it.

    If Semmelweis, or McCully had been able to state his case on videotape, with people in objection stating their case, too, and with a mediator, the discussion of the stark, logicalist points Semmelweis or McCully had to make could have happened in a very clear way, and perhaps in a fashion that would have been a model of civility. That videotape, on the web, would have had logical, moral, and practical force. Both experts and outsiders could have looked at it, and could have judged it according to their personal standards. The presence of outsiders, with their "ordinary" and "common" sense of community standards and decency, might have changed outcomes that were, in fact, tragic misfires and miscarriages of justice.

    Both Semmelweis and McCully were right at the stark level of logic and evidence. Resistance to their cases was based on a mass of deeply felt, socially constructed "knowledge" in the heads, and embedded in the culture of, a body of experts. Subjective feelings aside, that "constructed knowledge" was logically and evidentially baseless.

    The proposals of Semmelweis and McCully were not illogical at all, but disruptive. In their own time, the "experts" were taking a position that, in public, would have appeared indefensible. Videotapes on the web are public, at a level that text cannot be.


    rshowalter - 04:45pm Aug 12, 2000 BST (#47 of 171)  | 

    Semmelweis's had evidence, circumstantial and statistical, that showed that hand washing and care about cleanliness radically reduced rates of infection from prepleural fever (complications of childbirth.) The same cleanliness was later shown to be important all through hospital practice.

    Semmelweis's case was "I have this evidence - the human consequences are important -- doctors should wash their hands ....... No, I don't know exactly why, but no one knows enough about why these deaths are happening, and this care with cleanliness works well, and is now well tested. ,,,,,"

    The doctors had nothing but aversion, and appeals to diffuse bodies of ideas, to place against Semmelweis.

    But without an audience, or virtual audience, of outsiders, that was enough. In the event, the doctors shunned Semmelweis, shouted him down, and were able to ostracize him and those few who backed him. They didn't have any sensible logic or evidence against him. But they didn't WANT to listen. They didn't WANT to believe that what he said could be true. There was no one to watch the judges,l and doubt them, and notice their behavior.

    In written text, the motivation of the medicos who ostracized Semmelweis might have been hidden. On videotape, their positions and motivatgions would have been much more clear, and would have looked outrageous. Semmelweis would have had a chance.

    A cousin of mine, who is an epidemiologist, estimates that something like fifty million years of human life were lost because Semmelweis could not make his case. So here is a procedural issue that matters.

    The medicos wouldn't necessarily have been converted if they'd been watched. But Semmelweis might have been able to find some support, some place to stand, from others. Given time, the medicos might have seen reason, and perhaps fairly quickly. We'd live in a better world. Of course, the web and web video weren't available in the 19th century. They are available now, and they offer new opportunities.


    rshowalter - 04:46pm Aug 12, 2000 BST (#48 of 171)  | 

    The analogies in McCully's case are, I believe, striking and one-to-one. McCully had solid experimental results indicating that homocysteine was involved in artheriosclerosis - that cholesterol wasn't the whole story. The working practitioners in research cardiology were committed to cholesterol, and regarded this as a distraction. A distraction to be violently rejected. McCully was marginalized, called crazy, and shunned, though he was completely right, and there was no reasonable argument, ever, put against him. Losses in life this time were probably very large too - perhaps about the size, in human years, of American losses in the Vietnam War.

    If McCully had been able to state his case on videotape, with people in objection stating their case, too, and with a mediator, the discussion of the stark, logicalist points McCully had to make could have happened in a very clear way, and perhaps in a fashion that would have been a model of civility. That videotape, on the web, would have had logical, moral, and practical force. I believe that McCully's career, and many lives, could have been saved. He wouldn't have necessarily converted his colleagues, at least not right away. But he would have had SOME credibility, some place to stand.


    rshowalter - 04:48pm Aug 12, 2000 BST (#49 of 171)  | 

    My case is similar, and though I don't think I'll be stopped now, the combination of the web, videotape, and a small change in social usages might have saved me a decade. I've requested a mediated hearing of my case, on videotape, and so far the idea has been rejected, though other accommodations seem to be occurring. I still think the idea a very good one, and believe that it would be social innovation that might go a long way toward eliminating the occasional, but sometimes very expensive, costs of paradigm conflict misfire.

    I'd like the following claim discussed on a videotape that would be placed on the web. I'd like to discuss it with the most distinguished working mathematicians available:

  • ************ The measurable world and the axiomatic "world" of math are DIFFERENT. Mathematical models represent physical circumstances by a kind of ANALOGY. The arithmetical mechanics by which we form these analogies CAN BE TESTED FOR SYMBOLIC CONSISTENCY and CAN BE TESTED BY PHYSICAL EXPERIMENT. The analogy formation mechanism, itself, is entirely beyond the axioms of formal math as it is now taught. It is EXPERIMENTAL tests, not proof by axiomatic usages, that must be applied to evaluate the completeness and correctness of the analogy-forming procedures.
  • *************

    These are not a very complicated group of points. To "ordinary readers of the Guardian" perhaps they are even self-evident points. As a stark logicalist position, these points are surely clear enough to discuss, and to discuss with civilty.

    I have never heard coherent objections to these points, in the course of a ten year struggle to get my core math checked.

    But in the math community, these points, together go strongly, deeply against cultural fundamentals. The situated, socially constructed body of working knowledge and reflexes jointly held by working mathematicians is deeply committed to the idea that mathematics IS logical manipulation by axioms. Argument by evidence, from experiment, is a violation of strongly held cultural norms in the math community. My argument, that I'm working OUTSIDE the realm where axioms can be used, gets me into a territorial dispute.

    And so there is a paradigm conflict - a conflict between a new, logic-and-evidence-based idea, and established social-intellectual usages of a group.

    According to a vote, or an expression of feelings, by working mathematicians, I lose. I lose overwhelmingly. I'm rejected passionately.

    On videotape, in front of a broader audience with more widely held senses of logic and decency, I believe I'd win.

    I believe that the issues involving the inference of differential equations here matter, and matter very much, in neural medicine and elsewhere. That's specific.

  • *********

    More generally, I believe that, with the new technologies the web offers, especially with web broadcasting, old patterns of tragedy-farce-crime that have characterized paradigm conflict may be much better handled.


    rshowalter - 04:50pm Aug 12, 2000 BST (#50 of 171)  | 

    Would it take coercion to motivate such hearings? Quite possibly. But the force needed might be quite limited. Clear requests, from journalists, might be force enough to motivate the hearings. If a senior reporter from the Guardian, or The New York Times asks an academic officer for something, he can expect an attentive hearing.

    Here's a tragedy that haunts me. Kilmer McCully went all over North America, trying to get help from journalists, so he could get a hearing, on a matter that he was clearly and correctly regarding as a big scale matter of life and death. He was denied. Perhaps, given print paper usages, he had to be, though I'm not sure of that. (The main problem, may have been that journalists couldn't imagine that an entire group of experts could be radically, vociferously wrong.) In any case, videotaped hearings on the web, had they been available, might have gone a long way toward solving McCully's problem.

    Could a reporter, on the basis of a journalist's broad powers to question, ask for such a hearing now? With academic usages organized as they are, I think the answer might be yes.

    Perhaps in my case, and, I feel certain, in cases that must be expected, such requests might greatly facilitate the usages of scientific and technical culture. The tragedies and crimes of paradigm conflict misfiring in the past need not, I believe, apply in the same horrifically expensive and monotonous way to the future.

    With current technology, a few phone calls from reporters, in circumstances that appear to be paradigm conflict impasses, might make a deal of difference.

    I very much appreciate the chance to post here.


    bNice2NoU - 09:21am Aug 15, 2000 BST (#51 of 171)

    One noted Showalter said a problem was the thinking that dendrites were 'passive', yet later they were seen to be active (as per S-K model) here are active dendrites: http://www.ph.tn.tudelft.nl/PRInfo/reports/msg00260.html

    ..... "paper I've posted on the Los Alamos web, that's not been found

    wrong .... http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 . My results say that the current values of effective inductance (linkage between di/dt and dv/dt) in neural lines are understated by more than ten orders of magnitude" - Above relates to post 40

    and ..."effective inductance (coupling between di/dt and dv/dx) now attributed to heart muscle is understated by a factor around 10^10."

    10 orders of magnitude sounds 'big' AS IN a potential for big mistakes to be being made currently in matters that can be life/death situations for 1 person in 4.


    rshowalter - 12:05am Aug 16, 2000 BST (#52 of 171)  | 

    Thanks for the references ! I'm following up. There are a lot of neuroscientists who are getting open minded about the S-K stuff. The core challenge that remains is to get a simple fact about modeling checked.

    You make an argument that I agree with, that doesn't always work in these affairs. To say that there's a big payoff for getting at the truth, and a big penalty for missing it, would seem a coercive argument. But in past cases of paradigm conflict impasse, that kind of argument has often seemed powerless.

    For a decade, I worked with Professor S.J. Kline, of Stanford and the National Academy of Engineering, and we both dropped a lot of what we were doing, because we felt this issue was morally compelling - a big scale matter of life and death. Steve and I worked together for many years - for several years, Steve took half time leave from his professorship to work with me on a commercial project. When we saw data that, to us, could only be explained by crossterms, http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/regandat we both dropped almost everything, and worked on the problem every day, just because we thought the work so important. We were both capable, disciplined engineers. Before Steve died of pancreatic cancer, he wrote this recommedation letter, that described the work, and asked for help. I don't think very many better recommendation letters get written by academics, and I'm very proud of it http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec.

    While Steve was spending so much time with me, he was also supervising the thesis of a man who became an astronaut.

    We worked on this modling because we found the issue morally compelling - neural models were off, on inductance, by huge factors. Lives were at stake, and much research effort, as well. After we saw David Regan's data (which was ignored by others) we couldn't see it any other way. We were both modelers, used to doing hard modeling problems with differential equations. Steve had written a classic book in the field SIMULATION AND APPROXIMATION THEORY.

    We never had reason to doubt our results. But we couldn't get others to look, or to admit they'd looked in public. We were saying that an error, that turned out to be over 300 years old, was embedded in modelling. People simply said "you're crazy" (selectively in Steve's case, more generically in mine.)

  • *****

    To say that there's a big payoff for getting at the truth, and a big penalty for missing it, would seem a coercive argument. But in past cases of paradigm conflict impasse, that kind of argument has often seemed powerless.

    What happens is that "working practitioners" call you "crazy" (your argument doesn't fit in the heads of the experts, with their elaborate, socially constructed ways of percieving). So you're dismissed, and the moral arguments, which depend on your credibility, are dismissed as well.

    Then you either find yourself other witnesses, or your cause is lost. That's what happened to Semmelweis, and McCully, and people who tried to stand against the frontal lobotomy craze. For a long time they (and the public interest) lost.

    For such reasons, the request for checking is serious business - it is a life or death issue for the argument, and professionally, a life and death issue for anyone who has become inextricably identified with the argument.

  • *******

    The Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers called Steve Kline "the most distinguished experimental and theoretical fluid mechanician of the 20th century" for good reasons. A central reason involved another paradigm conflict, that Steve fought through successfully (though it took 14 years to get his main result published.) I tell something of that story in the eulogy I gave at Steve's memorial service in Stanford Chapel http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul .

    Still, we couldn't get a few simple propositions, at the interface between modeling and pure math, checked. I haven't been able to get them checked yet. (And it is no good, asking to have them published, when practitioners wince at them.)

    We found the moral stances of the people who refused to look astounding.

    But the people not looking felt no moral tension at all - we were saying something "crazy", and that was enough for them to stop listening.

    I'm sure that the doctors of Semmelweis' time reacted in a psychologically identical way, and so did the doctors who shunned McCully.

    In paradigm conflict, a stark logicalist position, which may be simple and well supported by evidence, is in deep conflict with the situated, socially constructed body of ideas and knowledge of a group of working practitioners. When that happens, it is in the public interest to have the stark logicalist position checked. Historically, the practitioners will find reasons not to do it.

    Here moral standards are in conflict. Is it moral to defer to the rights of "working practitioners" to judge their own business? Yes. But if so, it may be moral to let big scale, lethal, and terribly expensive mistakes happen.

    That's an argument for umpires, or hearing that involve some "outsiders."


    rshowalter - 12:07am Aug 16, 2000 BST (#53 of 171)  | 

    Thanks for the references ! I'm following up. There are a lot of neuroscientists who are getting open minded about the S-K stuff. The core challenge that remains is to get a simple fact about modeling checked.

    You make an argument that I agree with, that doesn't always work in these affairs. To say that there's a big payoff for getting at the truth, and a big penalty for missing it, would seem a coercive argument. But in past cases of paradigm conflict impasse, that kind of argument has often seemed powerless.

    For a decade, I worked with Professor S.J. Kline, of Stanford and the National Academy of Engineering, and we both dropped a lot of what we were doing, because we felt this issue was morally compelling - a big scale matter of life and death. Steve and I worked together for many years - for several years, Steve took half time leave from his professorship to work with me on a commercial project. When we saw data that, to us, could only be explained by crossterms, http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/regandat we both dropped almost everything, and worked on the problem every day, just because we thought the work so important. We were both capable, disciplined engineers. Before Steve died of pancreatic cancer, he wrote this recommedation letter, that described the work, and asked for help. I don't think very many better recommendation letters get written by academics, and I'm very proud of it http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec.

    While Steve was spending so much time with me, he was also supervising the thesis of a man who became an astronaut.

    We worked on this modling because we found the issue morally compelling - neural models were off, on inductance, by huge factors. Lives were at stake, and much research effort, as well. After we saw David Regan's data (which was ignored by others) we couldn't see it any other way. We were both modelers, used to doing hard modeling problems with differential equations. Steve had written a classic book in the field SIMULATION AND APPROXIMATION THEORY.

    We never had reason to doubt our results. But we couldn't get others to look, or to admit they'd looked in public. We were saying that an error, that turned out to be over 300 years old, was embedded in modelling. People simply said "you're crazy" (selectively in Steve's case, more generically in mine.)

  • *****

    To say that there's a big payoff for getting at the truth, and a big penalty for missing it, would seem a coercive argument. But in past cases of paradigm conflict impasse, that kind of argument has often seemed powerless.

    What happens is that "working practitioners" call you "crazy" (your argument doesn't fit in the heads of the experts, with their elaborate, socially constructed ways of percieving). So you're dismissed, and the moral arguments, which depend on your credibility, are dismissed as well.

    Then you either find yourself other witnesses, or your cause is lost. That's what happened to Semmelweis, and McCully, and people who tried to stand against the frontal lobotomy craze. For a long time they (and the public interest) lost.

    For such reasons, the request for checking is serious business - it is a life or death issue for the argument, and professionally, a life and death issue for anyone who has become inextricably identified with the argument.

  • *******

    The Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers called Steve Kline "the most distinguished experimental and theoretical fluid mechanician of the 20th century" for good reasons. A central reason involved another paradigm conflict, that Steve fought through successfully (though it took 14 years to get his main result published.) I tell something of that story in the eulogy I gave at Steve's memorial service in Stanford Chapel http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul .

    Still, we couldn't get a few simple propositions, at the interface between modeling and pure math, checked. I haven't been able to get them checked yet. (And it is no good, asking to have them published, when practitioners wince at them.)

    We found the moral stances of the people who refused to look astounding.

    But the people not looking felt no moral tension at all - we were saying something "crazy", and that was enough for them to stop listening.

    I'm sure that the doctors of Semmelweis' time reacted in a psychologically identical way, and so did the doctors who shunned McCully.

    In paradigm conflict, a stark logicalist position, which may be simple and well supported by evidence, is in deep conflict with the situated, socially constructed body of ideas and knowledge of a group of working practitioners. When that happens, it is in the public interest to have the stark logicalist position checked. Historically, the practitioners will find reasons not to do it.

    Here moral standards are in conflict. Is it moral to defer to the rights of "working practitioners" to judge their own business? Yes. But if so, it may be moral to let big scale, lethal, and terribly expensive mistakes happen.

    That's an argument for umpires, or hearing that involve some "outsiders."


    bNice2NoU - 11:49am Aug 16, 2000 BST (#54 of 171)

    Sounds as thought there ought to be a cash-rich body or foundation set up via philanthropy, that sets out to 'check maths'(and new theory) ... but isn't that a role the academic entities must undertake. Aren't real Universities geared up to develop and test 'New Knowledge'? Isn't that their role?

    I don't think I’m hearing the American Universities are 'poor', rather that there is 'selective' amnesia with regards to checking when the status quo may be required to accommodate new knowledge.

    Doesn't this contrast with the current communications age where 'new knowledge' is actively solicited to promulgate IT? The IT establishment actively seek change to stay ahead of the competition in their game.

    If this is so, then why wouldn't the maths establishment see potentials for an improved quality of 'product'!

    How come maths people who deal in the abstract can't foresee the tangible outcomes to be derived from the implementation of new knowledge?


    rshowalter - 04:20pm Aug 16, 2000 BST (#55 of 171)  | 

    There are plenty of good, able, well intentioned people in control of foundations. There's a great deal of money in foundations, and there are many foundations, most funded by people hoping to serve the public good. There are also many peer reviewed journals, referreed by people of ability, sound training, and good faith.

    In paradigm conflict, a stark logicalist position is in deep conflict with the situated, socially constructed body of ideas and knowledge of a group of working practitioners.

    When that happens, it is in the public interest to have the stark logicalist position checked. Suppose, as sometimes happens, that the stark logicalist position happens to be right at the level of logic and evidence. This was true in the Semmelweis case, in McCully's case, in the case of those standing against the frontal lobotomy craze, and the case where S.J. Kline and others stood against the completely statistical model of turbulent fluic mechanics. SUPPOSE, BY SOME MEANS, CREDIBLE CHECKING HAPPENS. Then the paradigm conflict impasse has broken, and the case reverts to the ordinary usages of academic persuasion.

    Once a paradigm shifting proposition is CREDIBLY CHECKED, it has an excellent chance to be funded in the usual way, by foundations and government agencies already in place. Once the paradigm shifting proposition is CREDIBLY CHECKED, the work is essentially certain to be published according to the usual academic stanards of propriety in peer reviewed jounals.

    Paradigm conflict impasses occur because that credible checking is unavailable.


    rshowalter - 04:21pm Aug 16, 2000 BST (#56 of 171)  | 

    BNice2NoU makes sensible points.

    " How come …. people .. . . .. . can't foresee the tangible outcomes to be derived from the implementation of new knowledge? "

    They can't because they can't imagine that the proposed new knowledge can be correct. It is unthinkable to them, they hold the new ideas probability of correctness to be 0. ………..

    "Aren't real Universities geared up to develop and test 'New Knowledge'? Isn't that their role?"

    Yes it is, and usually new knowledge is developed by people who are "members in good standing" of working groups, with group traditions, according to those socially constructed usages. Universities are adapted (and sometimes very well adapted) to support this productive and necessary work. Paradigm conflict impasses are rare events. Checking WHEN A NEW IDEA IS IN CONFLICT WITH ESTABLISHED USAGES is typically unavailable, if the established working group objects at all strongly. ………….

    As BNice2U put it ….. "there is 'selective' amnesia with regards to checking when the status quo may be required to accommodate new knowledge." But that needs qualification. Academic operations are in "the business of producing progress" in their own terms. Most of the time, there are good reasons to ask for new knowledge to fit with the old, if that is possible. Usually it is possible.

    The new guys aren't always the "good guys." So far as I can tell, most new ideas turn out to be wrong.

    Problem is, that when the stakes are high enough, that should be checked, and not assumed. Paradigm conflict impasses happen because our social arrangements, which are efficient and productive in so many other ways, aren't set up so that the checking happens.

    An essential problem is moral. People, even people with independent power, such as foundation people or journalists, won't exert their power to see that something is checked, if there's any significant chance that they might lose status by doing so.

    Now, with the internet, videotape, and other social flexibilities, the problem may amount to much less than it has.


    rshowalter - 04:23pm Aug 16, 2000 BST (#57 of 171)  | 

    The answer to the question "why do paradigm conflict impasses happen" is that credible checking is denied. The solution is to find ways so that new ideas can be checked at the level of logic and evidence, when these ideas happen to conflict with the socially constructed body of ideas held by a professionally established group.

    I believe that this should be possible with a miraculous minimum of change to existing arrangements, and that the change would do much good.

    I think that, from a distance, the moral and practical arguments for doing this are compelling.

    But the argument for this rests on an insight that seems uncommon. The doctors who shunned Semmelweis were not monsters, though in retrospect they look like monsters. They thought they were doing the right thing. They were very wrong, and acted brutally, no matter how sincere their incorrect beliefs may have been. The costs were enormous. The doctors who shunned McCully were not monsters, though if they are judged solely by their relation with McCully, from my distance, they look like monsters. They were able, accomplished research MD's, at a good institution, who must have thought they were doing the right thing. Even so, they were very wrong, and acted brutally, and the costs to society were very great. From the perspective of the past, this may be unpleasant, but it is fairly easy to hold in your head. WHEN ONE THINKS ABOUT THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE, IT IS HARDER. But it is important to see that patterns of behavior essentially similar to those in the Semmelweis case, and the McCully case, can happen in the present, and can happen in the future.

    Given that insight, the moral and practical argument for effective checking follows.


    bNice2NoU - 03:36am Aug 17, 2000 BST (#58 of 171)

    On Credo thread I noted the concern that Scientists were insufficiently respected. I was thinking this may be due to the fact they they do 'background' work, important work that serves as a backdrop to industry and commerce .... and possibly on a salary rather than as an entrepreneur. Yet Showalter here (57) is really demanding that they act as Leaders.

    Could it be that the failure of the 'best in their field' folk to activate leadership qualities is why Posters within disciplines feel that their professions are seen as Second Class? Leadership: http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/L2L/spring99/bennis.html


    bNice2NoU - 10:34am Aug 17, 2000 BST (#59 of 171)

    Fear of CHANGE limits the flow of ideas http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/circuitry-fear


    bNice2NoU - 10:42am Aug 17, 2000 BST (#60 of 171)

    http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/93/11/30/002549.HTM#L161848


    rshowalter - 03:02am Aug 18, 2000 BST (#61 of 171)  | 

    bNice2NoU points to a common concern. Sometimes the notion of the "scientific" seems to be the highest status value society has. And yet, the status of scientists sometimes seems insecure and inauthentic.

    Warren Bennis' article http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/L2L/spring99/bennis.html is wonderful, and highly recommended. He says important things about leadership. An essential one is that leadership requires integrity, in terms of what is expected of the leader by those he leads, and those he is responsible to. What does society hope for from scientists, and what does it most expect? What do most people mean by "scientific" when they revere that word? I feel that the first definition of "science" that Merriam-Webster gives is the central one.

    science ..... the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

    Science is held to be the source of knowledge that can be trusted.

    Trust one of the most central needs of integrated individuals and groups.

    Most people in the world, including the readers of elite papers like the Guardian, don't know much or think much about the vaguaries of paradigms, or social constructions. Most scientists, when you talk to them, don't either.

    When people revere science, and invest their hopes in it, they are mostly thinking about science as a source of knowledge about the world that they can trust. I think that may be as true of science reporters, and other sophisticates, as it is of "the (wo)man on the street."

    When people feel that science and scientists have fallen short, I think they mean, more than anything else, that scientists have somehow not lived up to the implicit commitments to truth that are expected of them.

    I'm making an argument that effective checking is needed under the rare but sometimes important circumstances when a "paradigm shift proposition" conflicts with "socially constructed usages" in a science. I feel that, if scientists are to get and deserve high status, in the eyes of the community, and in terms of their own ideals, that checking is a primary obligation, because science is committed to getting right answers. Nobody ever claimed that had to be easy.

    I'm arguing that, for real people in real groups, this checking may take some specialized, though probably simple social arrangements - some new "social architecture". My argument relates to matters where status, and practicality, and the morality of honored trust are inextricably linked.

    I feel individual scientists, and scientific groups, have a duty to permit and facilitate valid checking, even when that checking requires the subordination of specialized "peer groups" to larger groups. I think that's what "the average reader of the Guardian" would expect.

    One of the reasons it doesn't always happen, as bNice2NoU points out, is fear.


    DrCJ - 03:23am Aug 18, 2000 BST (#62 of 171)

    rshowalter, that was interesting. As I have tried to explain elsewhere (in rather inarticulate terms since I was furious) there seems to be a mismatch between the world of science I know (a research scientist) and the world of science as perceived by the wider community, represented here by Guardian readers. I agree that the interface between science and society needs to be rationalised, and that some form of ratification of scientists endeavours by the broader community would be desirable. At present I cannot envision how would this work in practice - any suggestions? On a more personal level, how can I as a scientist persuade people that science, as practiced, can be very different to science portrayed in the popular press and many 'popular science' books?


    bNice2NoU - 03:29pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#63 of 171)

    http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/dynapage.taf?file=/neuro/journal/v3/n8/index.html

    The influence of urgency on decision time pp 827 - 830 B A J Reddi & R H S Carpenter

    Interesting title re Paradigm - for subscribers


    rshowalter - 03:47pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#64 of 171)  | 

    CJ, I answered part of your question on the Credo web. I'll answer the other parts, all good questions, after some thought and necessary business.

    I would like to comment on B Nice 2 you's point about TIME and URGENCY from a historical perspective. I'll add a more personal perspective in a while.

    The historical perspective is less controversial. The Semmelweis case, and, much more recently, the McCully case, happened, and were as expensive as they were. In both cases, urgency did not motivate a necessary hearing, under conditions where a new idea, supported with data, went against established socially accepted usages.

  • ******

    You asked "what do you suggest." One thing I've suggested is that moderated hearings, on videotape, broadcast on the web, might solve impasses that would have been impossible to resolve earlier times.

    I've suggested something more formal, set out from an American perpective. I'm copying a submission #381-383 I made on the SCIENCE IN THE NEWS forum, a science forum on THE NEW YORK TIMES web site.


    rshowalter - 03:51pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#65 of 171)  | 

    07:43am Jan 4, 2000 EDT (#381 of 1140)

    In "Geniuses, Crackpots and a Grand Unified Theory" JAMES GLANZ makes an important point. People with ideas off of the mainstream, right or wrong, are a nuisance. There's an extraordinary presumption against them. That presumption is statistically justified. Nor are individual scientists, or scientific organizations, or journalistic operations, well set up to handle them.

    There's another side of the story, one I set out, with my friend and colleague, the late Professor Stephen J. Kline, of Stanford University and the National Academy of Engineering, a man who the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers suggested was the most distinguished theoretical and computational fluid mechanician of the 20th century. We decided that there was an error in the derivation of differential equations from coupled physical models. We couldn't get our work checked to a reasonable closure. He and I wrote this, and posted it in a TIMES forum about six months before Steve's death. I believe it fits today - it makes the case that "deviant" work COULD be valid, and ought not to be rejected out of hand. http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/whytimes2 I spoke at Steve's memorial service at Stanford - people with some interest in the kind of work Steve did, and the difference it made to his field, might enjoy http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul Pieces of this eulogy were published by a professional journal thereafter.

    Steve and I asked for something difficult in the world as it stands - an institutional ability to respond, in a timely manner, to points that could be reasonably described, right or wrong, by the term "paradigm conflict." I mean by "paradigm conflict" a pattern where people with different ways of thinking systematically misunderstand each other.

    Steve and I both understood the "crackpot problem" and both did our best to offer clear argument. Efforts through channels were made, before efforts outside channels were initiated.


    rshowalter - 03:58pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#66 of 171)  | 

    Anybody who claims an impasse, at the level of paradigm conflict, about an issue in science, medicine, or engineering ought to meet some careful standards to get a hearing. But the standards ought not to be impossible. And the consequences ought not to be draconian for the people involved.

    It helps to focus on the kind of question that is likely to involve a perceptual conflict that leads to an impasse. In retrospect, such impasses always look pretty simple in a logical sense. But there are human difficulties. A central point is this:

    "He who troubleth his own house will inherit the wind."........ Proverbs 11 29

    A central requirement for an umpiring process is that the umpires be SEPARATE from the "house" of either parties. Competence is needed. Distance, and connection to widely held social standards of good sense, are needed as well.

    Our society is not well set up for handling such problems (or, for fielding crackpots) - both aspects of the same job of considering new ideas. The place where such problems are handled best is the United States Patent Office, particularly since the Re-examination procedures have been available for cases with real economic stakes.

    One of the things government does, and has to do, is umpiring that takes distance from the interests of the particular stakeholders. Often that umpiring is done, wholly or in part, by "government bureaucrats." At other times, advice comes from people whose status comes, in part, from government association. For example, the national academies ( NAS, NAE, and IOM ) are government institutions that scientists and politicians respect, with reason. Members of the b National Academy of Sciences , or the National Academy of Engineering , or the Institutes of Medicine , are a carefully chosen and widely respected elite among scientists, engineers, and medical people. There are more than five thousand of them, in all. Membership in the academies is by election of members, and is carefully done.

    The government needs outside advice, and has institutional interfaces to get it, but government does a lot of essential work itself, as well. Some government institutions are necessarily rule-based bureacracracies. Intellectual standards in these institutions can be very high, especially when there is much institutional distrust, at many levels, that results in careful checking for right answers.

    The United States Patent Office does too much work to be infallible, but it is very well organized to consider any and every technical issue that comes before it, has close connections all through the civilian and military parts of the government, and has, in my experience, the most impressive reference system for technical purposes anywhere. When the PTO lacks expertise, it can do a very good job of finding it. Patent examiners are specialists, and they are in the business of evaluating ideas, by clear rules, and killing off most requests. The standards of clear description required at the Patent Office are the clearest I know - meticulously so, in a way that must weary journalists, who are different kind of descriptive business.

    When the Patent Office examines a non contested patent, the process involves resources that are limited. Oversights happen.

    When a patent is contested (when there are real chips) there is a re-examination procedure that is much more careful, and very much more credible. Stakeholders are heard, and any expertise, from anywhere, can be brought to bear. I admire the reexamination procedure a good deal. The courts have come to respect it, and defer to it, though essentially every step in the re-examination procedure is subject to appeal in the courts. The reexamination procedure is one of the reasons why patents are now far more valuable than they used to be, and patent litigation is now much more predictable than it once was. (The other main reason is the institution of a Court of Patent Appeals.)

    I do not know and do not believe that there is any matter in science or math likely to involve a perceptual impasse that the Patent Office couldn't judge pretty well, and considerably better than either of the contestants involved. The PTO does similar things, every day, and money and egos are involved almost every time.


    rshowalter - 04:05pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#67 of 171)  | 

    Again, anybody who claims an impasse, at the level of paradigm conflict, about an issue in science, medicine, or engineering ought to meet some careful standards to get a hearing. But the standards ought not to be impossible. And the consequences ought not to be draconian for the people involved.

    I'd suggest a process where a modification of the U.S. Patent Office Reexamination Procedure was made available, at the Patent Office's discretion, on the recommendation of two (perhaps three) members of one of the national academies (NAS, NAE, or IOM).

    If I were consulted, I'd suggest that the recommendations of the academicians be confidential, as much NAS correspondence is.

    On receipt of the recommendations, and a clear request for a hearing according to established PTO procedures, the PTO could determine whether it would examine the case or not. If PTO did not find the request credible, or did not find that it had the competence to examine the issue, examination could and should be denied. I'd suggest that the PTO have the right to deny a hearing, at its sole discretion, without chance for appeal.

    Suppose the PTO agreed to hear the case. Re-examination rules already in place would work well, with minor modifications. Stakeholders would be consulted. PTO reexamination is a tough, fair, careful public business.

    The result I'd suggest would be a clear written decision, on the merits of the issue, by the PTO. The decision need not be binding on anyone at all. But it would carry weight. Not all the weight in the world, but enough weight that it would go a long way toward resolving the impasse.

    Would there be people, including scientists, who might laugh at the decision? Sure. Nothing wrong with that. Even so, the decision would carry weight, either for a conceptual change, or against it.

    The kinds of cases involved are likely to be SIMPLE in a logical sense.

    In the case of fluid mechanics, the question was whether turbulent fluid flow was a statistical process decoupled from any sensible connection to fine scale Newtonian physics, or whether if was a process with structure, connected to the differential equations that govern other physics, and other fluid flow. This was a question of fact and logic, together. In retrospect, the people on the statistical side (almost everybody) seem to have suffered from a group delusion. The PTO could have resolved the issue cleanly, and in a way that would have saved a decade, and much ugliness.

    In the case of McCully, the question was whether McCully's data made sense, or whether he was delusional, in a circumstance that was technically and morally quite clear. . Again, the people who shunned McCully (everybody who mattered for McCully's careeer, and for scientific decision) seem to have suffered from a group delusion. The PTO could have resolved the issue cleanly, and in a way that would have saved decades, and many lives.

    I believe that a relatively minor modification of our institutional usages could resolve paradigm conflicts, at low cost, and make our scientific usages much more efficient than they are now, in the places where current usages look worst.

    None of the people involved would be need to be "mere government payrolled bureaucratic obscurantists." For the issues that matter in conceptual conflicts, it is entirely reasonable to ask of a full enough grasp of the scientific issues involved. In the cases I know about, those issues have been quite simple.

    No human group is perfect for everything. Nor can any set of instititions be perfect for everything. The people who populate institutions, after all, have the limitations of consciousness, so well discussed in this forum. That means they are fallible. It seems to me that a minor change in procedures for dealing with conceptual conflict might be useful insurance, so that very serious mistakes, that we know occurred in the past, might be avoided, or made less expensive, in the future.

    There would be another use. If a scientist, to scientific group, or journalist, was faced with a person claiming paradigm conflict, they could say:

    "We have an institutional arrangement for that. The procedures are rough, but fair - go through channels."

    Anybody who had a good idea (and any academic group which had a good reason to contest the stance of another) would have a good chance of both being heard, and being validated to a limited but significant extent, by such a procedure.

    And the crackpots, who really do exist, would be less trouble.


    rshowalter - 04:09pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#68 of 171)  | 

    Again, anybody who claims an impasse, at the level of paradigm conflict, about an issue in science, medicine, or engineering ought to meet some careful standards to get a hearing. But the standards ought not to be impossible. And the consequences ought not to be draconian for the people involved.

    I'd suggest a process where a modification of the U.S. Patent Office Reexamination Procedure was made available, at the Patent Office's discretion, on the recommendation of two (perhaps three) members of one of the national academies (NAS, NAE, or IOM).

    If I were consulted, I'd suggest that the recommendations of the academicians be confidential, as much NAS correspondence is.

    On receipt of the recommendations, and a clear request for a hearing according to established PTO procedures, the PTO could determine whether it would examine the case or not. If PTO did not find the request credible, or did not find that it had the competence to examine the issue, examination could and should be denied. I'd suggest that the PTO have the right to deny a hearing, at its sole discretion, without chance for appeal.

    Suppose the PTO agreed to hear the case. Re-examination rules already in place would work well, with minor modifications. Stakeholders would be consulted. PTO reexamination is a tough, fair, careful public business.

    The result I'd suggest would be a clear written decision, on the merits of the issue, by the PTO. The decision need not be binding on anyone at all. But it would carry weight. Not all the weight in the world, but enough weight that it would go a long way toward resolving the impasse.

    Would there be people, including scientists, who might laugh at the decision? Sure. Nothing wrong with that. Even so, the decision would carry weight, either for a conceptual change, or against it.

    The kinds of cases involved are likely to be SIMPLE in a logical sense.

    In the case of fluid mechanics, the question was whether turbulent fluid flow was a statistical process decoupled from any sensible connection to fine scale Newtonian physics, or whether if was a process with structure, connected to the differential equations that govern other physics, and other fluid flow. This was a question of fact and logic, together. In retrospect, the people on the statistical side (almost everybody) seem to have suffered from a group delusion. The PTO could have resolved the issue cleanly, and in a way that would have saved a decade, and much ugliness.

    In the case of McCully, the question was whether McCully's data made sense, or whether he was delusional, in a circumstance that was technically and morally quite clear. . Again, the people who shunned McCully (everybody who mattered for McCully's careeer, and for scientific decision) seem to have suffered from a group delusion. The PTO could have resolved the issue cleanly, and in a way that would have saved decades, and many lives.

    I believe that a relatively minor modification of our institutional usages could resolve paradigm conflicts, at low cost, and make our scientific usages much more efficient than they are now, in the places where current usages look worst.

    None of the people involved would be need to be "mere government payrolled bureaucratic obscurantists." For the issues that matter in conceptual conflicts, it is entirely reasonable to ask of a full enough grasp of the scientific issues involved. In the cases I know about, those issues have been quite simple.

    No human group is perfect for everything. Nor can any set of instititions be perfect for everything. The people who populate institutions, after all, have the limitations of consciousness, so well discussed in this forum. That means they are fallible. It seems to me that a minor change in procedures for dealing with conceptual conflict might be useful insurance, so that very serious mistakes, that we know occurred in the past, might be avoided, or made less expensive, in the future.

    There would be another use. If a scientist, to scientific group, or journalist, was faced with a person claiming paradigm conflict, they could say:

    "We have an institutional arrangement for that. The procedures are rough, but fair - go through channels."

    Anybody who had a good idea (and any academic group which had a good reason to contest the stance of another) would have a good chance of both being heard, and being validated to a limited but significant extent, by such a procedure.

    And the crackpots, who really do exist, would be less trouble.


    bNice2NoU - 11:33pm Aug 18, 2000 BST (#69 of 171)

    Drop a copy of this into US President Think Tank .... it's been my experience that Politicians rarely think ... until after the thinking has been done and is placed in/on their lap!


    bNice2NoU - 12:07am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#70 of 171)

    A while back i was researching philanthropy (U$ - is awash with the endowed good intentioned seeking their cause celeb), sounds as if there's a need for a

    Science Paradigm Foundation

    with the independent objective of getting innovative concepts checked, in the sense that such a Foundation would have the dollar momentum of prestige and also record the processes re checking from the social to mechanical expectation.

    The pay off for a foundation would, from the above posts, be, an improvement in the 'quality' of product and process that will assist humankind within their multiple-environments.


    bNice2NoU - 08:32am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#71 of 171)

    The verso of not getting knowledge out, is getting knowledge out. The mysteries of the universe can be depleted as knowledge sits in the general norm.

    A for example here relates to women and dress.

    When 'scientists' put out the information that

    'women dress revealing cleavage at the optimum time of their cycle for reproductive issue'

    then such knowledge might create a cultural paradigm whereby women either (a) become self conscious - moving toward the muslim head in a paper bag syndrome; or, (b) women dressing outrageously as a matter of principle

    There may be other similiar examples where 'knowledge' knocks natures' paradigms out of sink ... who knows !?


    bNice2NoU - 09:30am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#72 of 171)

    Studies on dung beetles may be of interest here.


    bNice2NoU - 09:42am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#73 of 171)

    I can visualise a dung beetle dressing in flashy LURE-x for the ugly bug ball (not termites). Item was 'heard' rather than read .... but i certainly took notice. Can only suggest u browse for it.

    On termites .... they are indestructible .... interesting critters .... close weave wire mesh is the latest protective method to keep them at bay. Are you in Termite country ... or UK? Should be heaps on Termites in my part of the world ..... they're an ANTish colony


    bNice2NoU - 09:52am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#74 of 171)

    termites like wood,concrete, and moisture.

    don't like dryness, close wire mesh, or mercury poisoning.

    --

    With fruit flies they have bred a mutation that leads to non-fertile stock.

    The fruit fly is well studied.

    Perhaps this approach could be considered for termites.


    bNice2NoU - 10:07am Aug 19, 2000 BST (#75 of 171)

    Echidna eat termites


    rshowalter - 04:18pm Aug 19, 2000 BST (#76 of 171)  | 

    DrCj (62) asked me "what I might suggest" and I suggested a specific institutional arrangement, a particular piece of "social architecture." The institutional arrangement I set out was pretty simple - the PTO would serve, under carefully controlled circumstances, to adjudicate disputes at the level of fact and logic related to science, using a small modification of procedures already in place. I think the change, under a special condition, would be practical, and would serve both the public and scientific interest.

    I think such an arrangement, under "special conditions" might work well in Great Britain, also, though people who know your institutions by touch would have a much better feel for that.

    But the "special condition" is crucial, and that condition is now lacking. The consensus required to institute such a change would have to exist. Without that consensus, the proposal couldn't be implemented, and wouldn't be workable if it was implemented. That consensus doesn't exist.

    If the consensus required to product the institutional change existed, the institutional change might no longer be necessary. Existing institutions might serve very well. Checking under conditions of paradigm conflict impasse seems, after all, a small thing to ask for. The problem is that people don't understand how paradigm conflict impasse happens, either while it is happening, or afterwards. The problem is at the level of understanding.

    Paradigm conflict impasses seem surreal, both while they are happening, and after they are long past. There is a standard optical illusion illustration, where a picture is either one thing, or another (facing faces, or a vase, for example). One sees one, or the other, but not both. In circumstances of paradigm conflict impasse, it is very hard to see everyone involved as fully sentient, fully moral, and fully human. Take the McCully case. McCully was marginalized, called crazy, and shunned by people who felt quite comfortable and justified in doing so. McCully was reduced to a status less than fully human - the rejectors were the ones of respectable human status. Now that McCully is known to be right, McCully is the human one, and his rejectors, who were the humans before, now look like monsters.

    Something is going on here that we, as a culture, don't understand, don't judge well, and handle badly. New understanding is needed. If the understanding was there, the problem might not occur in the same way, with the same severity, ever again.


    rshowalter - 04:20pm Aug 19, 2000 BST (#77 of 171)  | 

    I'm making an argument that effective checking is needed under the rare but sometimes important circumstances when a "paradigm shift proposition" conflicts with "socially constructed usages" in a science. Science is committed to getting right answers. Nobody ever claimed that had to be easy. In paradigm shift circumstances, it is very hard.

    A central reason, I think, involves the fact that most of what any individual or group knows is a body of associations and constructions that are both more and less than logical. A stark, logicalist "paradigm shift proposition" that looks simple to people not much involved with these constructions may look impossible to the real people involved.

    Another reason involves power. People are social, and power relations in groups are fundamental to human function. These power relations are much more complicated in people than in other animals, and are different in kind to this extent. For people, idea systems are essential parts of power relationships. This can make "science" in the sense of "a neutral seeking after truth" difficult. Natalie Angier wrote a profound and entertaining piece in the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES Week In Review section "In the Crowd's Frenzy, Echoes of the Wild Kingdom" (Jul 9, 2000).

    It includes these lines "Clearly we are party animals by nature. ...... Highly social species are, as a rule the smartest and most sophisticated species the planet has produced. ........ So why is it that there can be nothing stupider, nothing more primitive and dangerous than a crowd of people? ..... If human sociality has its roots in our primate past - and it surely does - and if the advantages of living in a group predate the evolution of Homo Sapiens, it's worth asking whether the menacing side of a human crowd likewise resembles group behavior among nonhuman species. " Angier sets out fine examples of those resemblances, and connects them to memorable images and captions. But human groups are also different from other animal groups, including groups of other primates. Our power systems depend in important ways on our ideas.


    rshowalter - 04:21pm Aug 19, 2000 BST (#78 of 171)  | 

    Adolf Berle's POWER says basic things about power in human groups of all kinds, that I think are fundamental. Here are his "Five Natural Laws of Power," taken from his preface:

    One: Power invariably fills any vacuum in human organization.

    Two: Power is invariably personal.

    Three: Power is invariably based on a system of ideas of philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced.

    Four: Power is exercised through, and depends on, institutions. By their existence, they limit, come to control, and eventually confer or withdraw power.

    Five: Power is invariably confronted with, and acts in the presence of, a field of responsibility. The two constantly interact, in hostility or co-operation, in conflict or through some form of dialog, organized or unorganized, made part of, or perhaps intruding into, the institutions on which power depends.

  • ******

    Berle states that power relations exist, and are important, in all human groups, and between groups. In cases of paradigm conflict impasse, there is a tension between the constraints that involve power, and those that involve logic and evidence.

    If these tensions were fully understood, I believe there would be many different ways, most graceful, to make paradigm conflict impasses less likely, and less expensive, than they now are.


    rshowalter - 09:19pm Aug 19, 2000 BST (#79 of 171)  | 

    In the sciences, the pursuit of certain knowledge may be the fundamental ideal, and the ideal most easily communicated to, and respected by, nonscientists.

    But in the sciences, knowledge is property, and connections between ideas, status, and power are close. This is true for both individual scientists and scientific groups.

    So while objectivity may be especially important to scientists, the stakes involved can make objectivity especially hard.

    Careers are at stake, or are percieved to be at stake, when questions of fact or interpretation are seriously raised, and the consideration is real. A scientist's whole professional life may rest on his acceptability to his peers, and the web of people around them. The stakes, in emotional and real money terms, are often high, and indeed life threatening. That can produce a hesitance to judge issues that could be dangerous, and can also produce some bias in the judging.

    How could it not?

    Under conditions where a paradigm shift proposition would change a good deal if it were right, that can make checking hard to come by. Ideals of truth may be compelling, and may be felt to be compelling. But other costs and risks can be intense, as well.

    That's good reason to try to soften the risks that go with checking in science.


    rshowalter - 09:21pm Aug 19, 2000 BST (#80 of 171)  | 

    It is also a good reason to ask that certain kinds of checking get done by people who have some possibility of making a disinterested judgement, motivated primarily by a wish to arrive at an unbiased truth.

    In addition, scientists are BUSY, and have to limit what they attend to. And the new idea may have the lowest possible credibility, and the lowest possible status, to real human scientists. There are good reasons for this unfortunate circumstance.

    In science, people are constrained by the requirement that the new must be consistent with what they already "know." Jame Gleick quotes Richard Feynman in GENIUS.

    "The whole question of imagination in science is misunderstood by people in other disciplines. ...... "They overlook the fact that whatever we are allowed to imagine in science must be consistent with everything else we know . ....... "we can't allow ourselves to seriously imagine things which are obviously in contradiction to the known laws of nature. "

    Under paradigm conflicts, new ideas, that are right, are also obviously wrong to the working group of scientists who judge them.

    "Obviously wrong" , for most people, at most times, means something like "in tension with a current body of socially (and logically) constructed ideas and "working knowledge"

    The case of Semmelweis illustrates this. Semmelweis was on solid statistical ground when he said that sanitation, and especially hand washing between examination of different patients, saved much misery and death. But to the doctors of the time, he was obviously wrong - to believe him, they had to doubt large bodies of interconnected logic and belief in their minds. Instead, they looked away from evidence and argument, and attacked Semmelweis. One may ask, thinking of the ideally coercive value of truth in this case, how they could have done so. One may also ask, in human terms, how they could have done otherwise.

    Under paradigm conflicts, new ideas, that are right, are also obviously wrong to the working group of scientists who judge them. That's true in all the cases I've studied, and is surely true in my own case, ( whether I turn out to be right or wrong.). Here's a basic argument for having outsiders look at scientific controversies, especially heated or protracted ones. That wouldn't be hard to arrange, in many different ways, and the internet has increased the number of ways available. But according to the culture of science, outsiders are barred from making such judgements. For normal science, that's almost always right. For paradigm conflict, that stance may guarantee pathological results. I believe that it does.


    DrCJ - 12:13am Aug 20, 2000 BST (#81 of 171)

    rshowalter, there is one hell of lot of stuff there to go through, and some excellent points. Would you mind if I started with the last?

    The last posting is especially pertinent to me at the moment since, as I write, my project is lumbering to a possible paradigm conflict. This slow motion drama involves three large Ivy league groups. We have a new, unexpected result, which conflicts with currently accepted dogma. This result, if looked at objectively stands alone and is entirely consistent with the (extremely careful) control experiments performed within this project. However, as my boss pointed out that will not be enough since we will lock horns with two large and powerful groups - we can be different, but not too different. So now I am in a situation where I will have to back-pedal, and design experiments to fill in the gap between the old and the new bodies of knoweledge. In practice this will involve publishing a first paper to smooth our way. Thus I am having to devise practical strategies to deal with the problems you so succinctly outlined in #84.

    Anyway, I'll write some more later - since as you pointed out, scientists are busy folk. Later.


    bNice2NoU - 12:29am Aug 20, 2000 BST (#82 of 171)

    Picking up randomly here:

      A crowd - might be cp to chaos in that it has no structure. The structures, controls and hierarchies of the 'new' crowd have to be fixed for the crowed to function in unison. If the crowd gets the wrong 'fixer' .... as in evil genius, then the crowd may be manipulated and empowered to run riot on animal instincts ... ?!
      Growing and learning, we exist within structures and frameworks. One day it occurred to me, how much easier an understanding of the structure of government and society is for QEII, than for subject mortals. She sits ontop of the apex, and like a waterfall the structure and sub-structure leading to the box/boxes one may currently be existing within, all branch out and are contained.
      So much easier perhaps for those at the top of the Apex determining structure and policy than for those within it, trying to gauge, weight and judge without appreciating the relationship to the whole, that ultimately flows energised by money. It's the cash commitment that enables. Change policy, remove fuel, to leave the shipwrecked to grab another vessel .... that's the aspect of CHANGE that wears the weary down, to the point of questioning the SYSTEM and looking for answers and new beginnings. Isn't this what's happening re Globalism, the explanation of competitive advantage doesn't register when Change results in chaos. So change has to be planned and ordered - to be civil and digestible ..... otherwise it's ashes after war ... the leveller to build upon.
    For CHANGE to be achieved then the advantages of the change have to be marketed, sold to people, and accepted by them ... so that they wish to move into the new paradigm which will overall give them improved benefits - as in lifestyle.


    bNice2NoU - 09:11am Aug 20, 2000 BST (#83 of 171)

    CJ: re your having to 'expand' the experiments ... perhaps think like this ...

      Most people can only move from a to b and slowly. The project you are doing has to be funded. People who have funding have to completely understand the how's and why's of the use of the funding involved. Your role is therefore not just that of a scientist finding new information, but, also one of giving to your negotiator for funds the tools to translate your work into a series of stepping stones that no-one falls off whilst crossing the new stream of knowledge.
    In Oz, that science can be bamboozeling, was illustrated within the GeorgeMiller production of MerylStreep in the Dingo Baby case. Here an ordinary jury didn't have the mental reference tools to evaluate the crap put in front of them. This lead to a call for an evaluation group to be used within such a trial to translate and authenticate testings and findings. In the Dingo case the Scientist said the gunge paint over the glove compartment was dead baby blood - which it wasn't. Lindy was sent to Jail, released only after the baby clothing was found in a Dingo layer at the base of Uluru (The Rock), in an area sacred to the Aboriginal and not open to the public.

    bNice2NoU - 01:13pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#84 of 171)

      Forum The Art of Telling Science Virginia Festival of the Book Charlottesville, Virginia (United States)
      ID: 122139 - 03/27/1999 - 1:20 - $29.95
      Barber, Edwin, Vice Chairman, W.W. Norton and Company Starr, Douglas, Author Angier, Natalie, Author Ackerman, Jennifer, Author
    Authors talked about writing books on scientific subjects for people who did not have a scientific background. After their remarks they answered questions from the audience


    bNice2NoU - 01:35pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#85 of 171)

    http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Kuhn.html


    rshowalter - 03:11pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#86 of 171)  | 

    CJ: bNice2NoU is profoundly right, about funding, and taking things from A to B. I found your last post stimulating. Got me to thinking about administration. You're involved with negotiations about meaning, in a world of particular human relations you know and I don't - but mulling over what you said, I thought about C.P Snow (recommended!) and went back and read his SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT - a book of Harvard lectures that tells two stories of England's scientific war, both cautionary tales, both much connected to paradigm conflict, in real, power involved human groups. After reading about Sir Henry Tizard, a great administrator in SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT , I thought some about administrative perceptiveness and competence, and gave thought to Major Sasser , the Nazi heavy in CASABLANCA - perhaps one of the best portrayal of a good administrator in action I can remember from the movies - though Sasser had his faults ! The similarities between Tizard, and Sasser are real. But the differences are, too, and many are at the level of ideas. More on that later.

    I think Angier's piece "In the Crowd's Frenzy" is profoundly right about animal basis of much group behavior, including some of the ugliest. The last three paragraphs are especially perceptive and dark. So is one of her captioned illustrations. But the view, dark as it is, is incomplete. With groups of people, and their idea systems, things can be stranger and uglier than anything I know of among nonhuman animals.

    Your research negotiation point is telling, and important. If you haven't read Snow's novels, especially THE MASTERS, you might enjoy them. Truth and power relations must coexist in science. You're talking of a major problem in the pursuit of truth as you "lumber toward a paradigm conflict."

    One things clear. People in groups have to agree to work, so they have to persuade each other.


    rshowalter - 03:36pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#87 of 171)  | 

    bNice2NoU's cites are wonderful. Here's the start of THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS by Thomas. S. Kuhn Outline and Study Guide http://www.emory.edu/EDUCATION/mfp/Kuhn.html

    Chapter I - Introduction: A Role for History.

    Kuhn begins by formulating some assumptions that lay the foundation for subsequent discussion and by briefly outlining the key contentions of the book.

    1.A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs (p. 4).

    > 1.These beliefs form the foundation of the "educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice" (5).

    > 2.The nature of the "rigorous and rigid" preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs exert a "deep hold" on the student's mind.

    2.Normal science "is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like" (5)--scientists take great pains to defend that assumption.

    3.To this end, "normal science often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments" (5).

    4.Research is "a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education" (5).

    5.A shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions takes place when an anomaly "subverts the existing tradition of scientific practice"

    (6). These shifts are what Kuhn describes as scientific revolutions--"the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science" (6).

    > 1.New assumptions (paradigms/theories) require the reconstruction of prior assumptions and the reevaluation of prior facts. This is difficult and time consuming. It is also strongly resisted by the established community.

    > 2.When a shift takes place, "a scientist's world is qualitatively transformed [and] quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory" (7).

    Chapter II - The Route to Normal Science.

    In this chapter, Kuhn describes how paradigms are created and what they contribute to scientific (disciplined) inquiry.

    > 1.Normal science "means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice" (10).

    > 1.These achievements must be

    > 1.sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity and

    > 2.sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners (and their students) to resolve, i. e., research.

    2.These achievements can be called paradigms (10).

    3."The road to a firm research consensus is extraordinarily arduous" (15).

    2."The successive transition from one paradigm to another via revolution is the usual developmental pattern of mature science" (12).

  • *******

    I've quoted the beginning of the much more extensive STUDY GUIDE here. This outline, though no substitute for reading Kuhn's book, is a fine summary.


    rshowalter - 03:43pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#88 of 171)  | 

    I'm suggesting that a paradigm shift proposition be checked, by competent people not immersed in the social constructions of the particular scientific community, or checked in ways where such competent outsiders may look on, not as a substitution for "scientific revolutions" at the level of persuasion, but as a way of avoiding logical misfires that now occur. This is no substitute for the "persuasive revolution" that would be required to change scientific practice. But it would give the new body of ideas and evidence a minimally validated "place to stand" where persuasion might be possible, and extermination of a new idea might be less likely. I'm suggesting that if this happened, tragedy-farce-crimes such as those that occurred in the case of Semmelweis, McCully, and many others, would be much less likely.

    Another tragedy-farce-crime, involving science in a classified government discussion, has psychological similarities, and is described in detail by C.P. Snow in Chapters 8, 0 of SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT . That tragedy, again, would have been prevented if a sensible means of umpiring had been in place. Such umpiring, had it existed, might have shortened the "Hitler war" by a year or more, and saved millions of lives.


    rshowalter - 11:32pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#89 of 171)  | 

    In 1942, Britain made the decision to commit all the manufacturing and manpower resources it could to area bombing, directed to hitting the houses of working-class Germans. (Military targets were not targeted, except in propaganda, because they were too hard to find and hit. The decision was in large part the idea of F.A. Lindemann, Churchill's scientific advisor, who circulated a paper that was accepted as truth. The paper claimed that

    "given a total concentration on production and use of bombing aircraft - it would be possible, in all the larger towns of German (that is, those with more than 50,000 inhabitants) to destroy 50% of all houses."

    Distribution of the paper went to ministers, and a very few scientists, including Tizard and Blackett, the scientist-administrators most responsible for radar.

    Snow goes on:

    "The paper went to Tizard. He studied the statistics. He came to the conclusion, quite impregnibly, that Lindemann's estimate of the number of houses that could possibly be destroyed was five times too high." ....."Independently, Blackett came to the conclusion, also quite impregnibly, that Lindemann's estimate was six times too high."

    The bombing survey after the war showed that Lindemann's estimate was ten times too high. The actual effort in manpower and resources that was expended on bombing German was greater than the value in manpower of the damage caused. The loss of high-quality manpower squandered will never be recoverable. The military effectiveness of Great Britain was far less than it could otherwise been.

    Great Britain never would have spent its resources and blood in the way it did, if it had understood the mistake that had been made.

    The mistake was made because of a scenario not unlike those of "paradigm conflict". Here is Snow:

    " I have used the phrase "closed politics" before. I mean any kind of politics in which there is no appeal to a larger assembly - larger assembly in the sense of a group opinion, or an electorate, or on an even bigger scale what we loosely call "social forces." .......... "In my type specimin (the bombing decision) during the whole of his conflicts with Lindemann, Tizard had no larger body of support to call on. If he had been able to submit the bombing controversy to the Fellows of the Royal Society, or the general population of professional scientists, Lindemann would not have lasted a week."

    For reasons of personal politics, Tizard and Blackett were ignored, and they could not (or at least, did not) get to other competent people who could judge the matter. To an extent amazing under the circumstances, they were marginalized, called crazy, and shunned. After reading Kuhn, one might be less surprised.

    Here is Snow:

    "I do not think that, in secret politics, I have ever seen a minority view so unpopular. I sometimes used to wonder whether my administrative colleagues ......... would have acquiesced in this one, as on the whole they did, if they had had even an elementary knowledge of statistics." ........ "The Air Ministry fell in behind the Lindemann paper. The minority view was not only defeated but squashed. The atmosphere was more hysterical than usual in English official life; it had the faint but just perceptible smell of a witch hunt. ..... Strategic bombing, according to the Lindemann policy, was put into action with every effort the country could make."

    Kuhn describes all scientific groups as examples of "closed politics."

    The key issue is that when there was credible reason to doubt a "established" decision, checking was denied.

  • ***

    I've heard people I trust guess that the mistake cost about an extra year of fighting in World War II. That seems right to me. Thinking of Jewish losses, and Allied losses, and even German losses, the costs incurred because checking was denied, on a big-scale matter of life and death, makes one want to turn one's head away.

    Or ask for checking, as a right in both the moral and the operational sense.


    rshowalter - 11:39pm Aug 20, 2000 BST (#90 of 171)  | 

    That would take some change in mores, or some "social architechture". But not much.


    bNice - 07:26am Aug 21, 2000 BST (#91 of 171)

    This 'checking' is important.

    Just figuring how they worked out the 1:5 1:6 1:10 figures re German dwellings. May have been from the UK capability approach.

    In war time the government would be 'closed', a coalition, non-questioning.

    Checking would have a cost. Checking here affects decision making. Decision making is weighting, and weighing against other alternatives. Preference in decision making could be 'doing what you like' regardless of the evidence ... this is an authority decision style, without reference to the democratic foundations.

    Out of the above would have come the decision to bomb Dresdon (pottery), the firestorm leading later to 'ban the bomb, Russell, and film 'the war game' officially banned from the bbc. I saw this at CPSnow inspired Keele uni (which then made arts people do science and science people do arts - for 1 year) situ in EngPotteries where PMT was-is the name of the bus company.


    bNice - 07:37am Aug 21, 2000 BST (#92 of 171)

    Checking: Have to presume that the S-K maths is complex ... otherwise, it would be more readily checked.

    Yet you raise the point that there are non-interested parties not wanting to know.

    How to make the non-interested interested ... most often comes down to 'balance sheets' and staying in business or moving with the trend up into a new-er business. Here the Sigmoid curve figures ... jump to the next before the old sinks. This is cp to Paradigm shifts.

    S-K usage .... could be that US is too inward looking ... and the stimulus of competition doesn't hit - wham!

    So, the S-K it about velocity, pulsing and voltages .... as applied to the body and the physical world, offering improved accuracy within process.

    At some point this has to emerge re commerical applications > modelling > prototyping > production. Replacing current maths.

    So within this must be a high dollar cost to initate usage and move away from current less than satisfactory maths to S-K model.

    These things most often come down to costing out the benefits when the NEW is introduced and used.

    Isn't this what the WarCabinet failed to do?


    Possumdag - 11:42am Aug 21, 2000 BST (#93 of 171)

    MrDag is noting the 'differenced' between digital tv in UK and homeState. The BBC is getting the acholades .... homeState subject to a carve-up between 2-3 media giants who finance local government .... here, the public lost out.


    Possumdag - 12:14pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#94 of 171)

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/


    Possumdag - 12:38pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#95 of 171)

    http://www.monmouth.edu/monmouth/academic/dna/sigmod.htm


    Possumdag - 12:41pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#96 of 171)

    http://www.monmouth.edu/monmouth/academic/dna/res10.htm


    rshowalter - 06:51pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#97 of 171)  | 

    Great references ! I’d like to get back to these references after getting to an issue that I feel is more fundamental just here.

    The economic reasons to check S-K are compelling, the strictly technical difficulties in doing so are small, and there is abundant good faith on the part of many people close to the problem. That has been true, by ordinary and high social standards, for a long time. Even so, there has been an impasse. Costs, in my view, have been severe, and remain so. I’d like to relate the impasse to the second story C.P. Snow cites in SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT .

    In Snow’s story of the bombing decision, a bad statistical argument was not checked because of social usages. There were grave and long lasting consequences. This story is interesting both because the consequences were so important and negative, and because the people involved were so able, patriotic, motivated, and bureaucratically able. Nothing venal or “stupid,” by conventional standards, happened here. Yet the consequences were as bad as they were.

    No one involved wanted the mistake that happened to happen.

    The essential problem was that the need to check work, though it may have been recognized by many or most of the parties, was subordinated to other considerations. I’m trying to make the point that, in cases that matter enough, under carefully enough defined circumstances, the need for valid checking should be morally forcing.

    This sort of issue occurs regularly in issues in the sciences, but also elsewhere, in many of the most important and vexing stories of our times. I think problems involving the rise, function, and fall of totalitarian regimes, and the problems of picking up the pieces of societies that have a totalitarian history, are much involved here. I feel that this difficulty is the most important, and intellectually interesting, unresolved moral problem that I have ever seen.

    (An interestng book on “picking up the pieces” is THE HAUNTED LAND: Facing Europe’s Ghosts after Communism by Tina Rosenberg. This is a haunting book, and won the Pulitzer Prize, perhaps the highest literary award in America. The book, even with “Winner of the PULITZER PRIZE” attached, sold very, very poorly. People found the book painful to read, full of problems painful to think about, and without solutions. The history of Russia and other countries since the fall of the Soviet Union has been a wrenching mystery to essentially everyone involved. Richard Cohen’s piece in THE NEW YORK TIMES today http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/europe/082100germany-immigrant.html connects to this. I believe that this sad, complicated, interlocked history, and many other sad and complicated problems, including the problems of paradigm conflict misfire, rest on an unsolved difficulty that can be solved. If people can't face checking of checkable facts and ideas, whole societies can get stumped, and stay stumped for a long time. Other societies can go gruesomely wrong.

    Snow’s bombing decision example is a good one to consider, because of the sharpness of the case, and of Snow’s personal force and clarity.)


    rshowalter - 06:56pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#98 of 171)  | 

    I can’t resist quoting this from Science and Government In Ch 11:

    “We can collect quite a lot of working tips from the Tizard-Lindemann story. For instance, the prime importance, in any crisis of action, of being positive, and being able to explain it. It is not so relevant whether you are right or wrong. That is a second-order effect. But it is cardinal that you should be positive. In the radar struggle Tizard and his committee were positive that theirs was the only hope and Lindemann had only quibbles and fragmentary ideas to set against it. Over bombing, Lindemann was positive that he had the recipe to win the war. Tizard was sure that he was wrong, but had nothing so simple and unified to put in its place. Even at the highest levels of decision, men do not really relish the complexity of brute reality, and will hare after a simple concept whenever one shows its head.”

    Let me repeat the part that haunts me most: "the prime importance, in any crisis of action, of being positive, and being able to explain it. It is not so relevant whether you are right or wrong. That is a second-order effect. But it is cardinal that you should be positive."

    A crucial practical and moral problem is that people can be subjectively certain, simple, clear, and still wrong. So can groups be. This is a practical difficulty of crucial importance.

    The difficulty has moral-operational and intellectual aspects. The problem is primarily an intellectual rather than a moral problem, in the sense that, if the difficulty was understood, the moral and operational solutions would be found directly. There would be many possible solutions, linked to circumstances. I feel that the PTO procedure I’ve suggested would go far to address the problem in scientific paradigm conflict. But if the problem itself were well understood, and accepted, that institutional arrangement, though it might be useful, might also be unnecessary.


    rshowalter - 07:03pm Aug 21, 2000 BST (#99 of 171)  | 

    Intellectual understanding and morality are linked. Handwashing is an important example. Now, there are many circumstances where the duty to wash one’s hands has moral force, widely supported by almost everyone. That’s true in hospitals, eating places, and all over societies. Duty and reflex are also linked. Few feel oppressed by the need for handwashing. It is taken for granted. The handwashing happens in an informed context. There are plenty of times where hands need not be washed. There are other times when handwashing is obligatory. People know the difference. If it were otherwise, the world would be unimaginably worse, and populations much smaller.

    In Semmelweis’ time, the need for handwashing wasn’t understood. It is now. A change in intellectual understanding, much reinforced by experience, has changed the morays of the world.

    I feel that, in cases that matter enough, under carefully enough defined circumstances, the need for valid checking should be morally forcing. Practical questions of fact and logic that can be checked, and that matter enough, should be checked.

    “Matter enough” should be a question discussed, and subject to negotiation, in terms of consequences (just as the question “when does handwashing matter enough” is discussed today.)

    I feel that, in clear cases, checking should be morally forcing. That view seems to be as rare and strange now as the view that handwashing was obligatory was in the 1830’s. I believe that has to change.

    I think that paradigm conflict misfire is a particularly clear case of the need for checking. But it seems to me that there are many other cases, almost as clear. I believe that the holocaust is another particularly clear illustration. Hitler went unchecked.

    Often, it seems to me, objective truth is one’s only hope for good results. That implies a close coupling between morality and checking. A close enough coupling that the need to check should be morally forcing even when it is difficult (perhaps especially when it is difficult.)

    That is the opposite of the social-moral-practical reality today, even for the most elite, morally careful individuals and institutions society can show.

    Change that, and I believe the world would improve, both scientifically and in other ways. I feel that the improvement might be great enough to compare to the improvement that came with improved sanitation.

    I believe that the S-K case is now a remarkably clear, well documented illustration of the need for this change. The S-K case is technically clear, the history is beyond reasonable question, and nobody involved makes a good candidate for dehumanization.


    rshowalter - 12:28am Aug 22, 2000 BST (#100 of 171)  | 

    bNice said this:

    >This 'checking' is important.

    Yes it is.

    She's right that thinking in terms of money helps.

    >Checking would have a cost. Checking here affects decision making. Decision making is weighting, and weighing against other alternatives. Preference in decision making could be 'doing what you like' regardless of the evidence ... this is an authority decision style, without reference to the democratic foundations.

  • *

    If people asked "should we check?" and evaluated the questions in terms of money to be gained or lost, then a lot of complications would be stripped away. The really bad misfires couldn't happen, if people just thought in terms of something neutral, like money.

    Money is a clean thing, compared to the welter of paralyzing checks and balances you get to if you follow Kuhn, especially if, for some reason, several disciplines have to share in the answering of a question.

    But issues of "democratic foundations" - and issues of credibility and status, matter too. Now, with the internet, some past mistakes may be easier to avoid. Especially with videotape. There's a story of a lady, on her knees, praying about Darwin.

    Oh Lord, let it not be true .....

    But if it IS true ....

    Give us the STRENGTH to suppress it .

    If people on opposite sides of a question discuss things and that's shown on web videotape, the difference between open minded work, and "the will to supress" might be hard to hide.

    Once the human point is somehow made that sane, credible people are raising a sane, credible issue, then the questions

    "What would it cost to check? and "What gain could we get, or what loss could we avoid, by getting the right answer here? are the right questions.

    As far as paradigm conflict misfires go, the future can be better than the past.


    Possumdag - 12:28pm Aug 22, 2000 BST (#101 of 171)

      the future can be better than the past
    'can' if those who should take on the responsiblity of checking are made accountable for the cost of 'not checking'.

    bNice2NoU - 01:33pm Aug 23, 2000 BST (#102 of 171)

    So, indecisive procrastinators who step back or to the side of an oncoming paradigm, rather than check it out, to then step into a new era, may be compared to those within a chaotic situation. Within civil war or major national strike, the pawns live within a churning environment.

    The total framework and structure of the war/stike is not understood by the players in these evolving situations.

    Knowledge is an evolving situation. The checking and acceptance of new paradigms is the way to move through the churn onto a plateau of renewed intellectual peace. From this plateau of new knowledge the new inputs of process can be established.

    If the new paradigm is not recognised within the culture, it may be adoped by an external culture. If checked by a separate socio-political block, and adopted, then the initial culture will loose and fall behind in the strategic power game of knowledge and future visions encompassing change.


    bNice2NoU - 01:35pm Aug 23, 2000 BST (#103 of 171)

    nb a for example: Who said 'Transistor' ?!


    bNice2NoU - 02:10pm Aug 23, 2000 BST (#104 of 171)

    Time & checking & discussion worked here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/horizon/fermat.shtml


    rshowalter - 03:30pm Aug 23, 2000 BST (#105 of 171)  | 

    "So, indecisive procrastinators who step back or to the side of an oncoming paradigm, rather than check it out, to then step into a new era, may be compared to those within a chaotic situation."

    bNiceFrUtoSee a book on the academy that I've enjoyed LEADERSHIP AND AMBIGUITY: The American College President by Michael D. Cohen and James G. March Harvard Business School Press

    There may be a newer edition than my 2d ed, but the summary chapter of that ed is titled Leadership in an Organized Anarchy

    The chapter has the following subtitles: The ambiguities of anarchy; Leadership response to anarchy; The elementary tactics of administrative action; The technology of foolishness

    Indecisive procrastination may be less common in the academy than it used to be, but precedents do exist. I may add that this book (especially the 1st and last chaps) makes sobering reading, when taken in combination with Kuhn's THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS , which describes the logic and politics of the many scientific groups the university contains.

    In the academy, tragedies of priority are distinctly possible.


    bNice2NoU - 11:10pm Aug 23, 2000 BST (#106 of 171)

    I sometimes think of life as time blocks, with the individual travelling along a series of pedestrian moving elevators. You are locked in for a period, the moving walkway has sides. Everything is the 'same' within this plateau, but, you know it won't stay the same. Eventually you'll come to the end of the automated travel and hit the regular pathway which demands negotiation for new directions.

    A migrant in from Serijavo (Yugoslavia) had been locked into a walled city for a time period and subjected to a crazy war. His father was shot by a child sniper and died ..... slowly ..... gradually ... and with great pain. Every evening at Seven he and his friend listened to the news. The news later proliferated into three sectional newscasts and they listened to three news programs. He told me, "we listened, and listened, and yet still we were NO WISER, we didn't know what was going on, or why! The 'best place in the world' to live had become our nightmare." Still traumatised, travelling in a new time phase, a recovering migrant, he had no conceptual understandings as to why the Yugoslavian chaos arose. Perhaps he was too close to the everyday to be able to distance himself, stepback, and fit the chaos experienced into a framework that included the big domino superpowers jockeying for positions in a new global game. After a civil war, in which the players may not know the 'game' and are confused, the 'settling' down period may be extensive as factions really didn't know the game, and less so the rules.

    Back to paradigms: Perhaps within redunadant paradigms the game is over, the 'rules' don't fit new needs, and the big picture is not understood, resulting in energy wasted on factional warfare.

    So too with paradigms (perhaps), newKnowledge


    rshowalter - 12:10am Aug 24, 2000 BST (#107 of 171)  | 

    Beautiful. And human sympathy and understanding are essential.

    An old teacher and friend of mine, who was amazingly adept at talking to people of all sorts, said something basic, that I've come to respect more and more. I haven't often heard it from others. He said:

    "If you can't talk to somebody, you don't know something."

    He meant that intellectual understanding was essential for working communication and for sympathy. He felt that, usually, breakdowns of communication involved a large intellectual element. I think that's right.

    Some degree of sympathy is essential if people are to avoid dehumanizing other people, or themselves.

    So understanding can be essential for changing a demoralized and dehumanized situation into a humanly workable and more pleasant one. The last chapter of Tina Rosenberg's THE HAUNTED LANDS starts:

    " . . . history does not march. It lurches. Worse, it lurches in circles, hiccupping and banging into walls, unable to control or even be aware of its compass."

    Stories of paradigm conflict are much like Tina Rosenberg's passage. People, and groups of people, who understand their lives together, do better than that.

    With better understanding, we may have a brand new game.


    Possumdag - 12:40pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#108 of 171)

    Reluctance of USA History to widen the paradigm http://www.nytimes.com/library/books/082600history.html


    Possumdag - 01:20pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#109 of 171)

    Ditto Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/specials/lingiari/default.htm


    Possumdag - 01:32pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#110 of 171)

    seeking truth http://www.transparency.de/


    Possumdag - 01:48pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#111 of 171)

    [ http://hoshi.cic.sfu.ca/~guay/Paradigm/Hypertext.html ]


    rshowalter - 06:03pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#112 of 171)  | 

    And in todays NYT there's another piece, on what I think is a profoudly related topic.

    Confined, in prisons, Literature Breaks Out by Ralph Blumenthal

    http://www.nytimes.com/library/books/082600prison-writing.html

    More people may live in "prisons of ideas" than live in prisons. Paradigms that don't work may be thought of a "prisons of ideas."

    Liberation from "mental or psychic prisons" is mostly thought of as an "emotional" issue - but the workings involved have a very large intellectual content.

    Paradigm conflicts, both when they work well, and when they do not, are "negotiations about meaning" where all concerned may be locked in ... till insight (the intellectual kind) permits something emotionally and practically workable to be crafted. (Prison writing is a clear example, and symbol, for a lot of negotiation about meaning.)

    If people are stumped at the level of the checkable facts on which right ideas must be based, then there may be neither an intellectual nor an emotional solution to be had. People may stay in chains that knowledge could sever.


    rshowalter - 06:11pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#113 of 171)  | 

    Sometimes, guilt can be washed away with intellectual understanding.

    Other times, informed anger may be exactly what's called for.

    In stories such as the Semmelweis story, understanding can make it much easier to see all concerned as human beings. That makes the story believable. People neither believe nor remember stories that involve human actors acting in ways that seem not only blameworthy, but inhuman.

    But with understanding, emotions are informed, not set aside. I believe the more you understand about paradigm conflict impasses, in practical terms, the uglier they are, both in their large-scale consequences, and in terms of what they show about social groups in action. The more these matters are understood, the more reason there is to clean up the reasons why they happen. It may still make sense to look back wit some informed anger.

    I feel that blame, if it is blame for the right thing, is indispensible. Dehumanization, which is now the common response to the telling of paradigm conflict impasse stories, is not a useful response. It informs neither the heart nor the head.

    Dismissals of these histories as "misunderstandings" that are "nobody's fault" are too simple, and don't fit into our understandings. So we're left with intellectual-emotional scar tissue related to things we should be able to think about, and learn from.

    I feel that, when checking of checkable fact and logic matters enough in a reasonably clear bookeeping sense, checking should be morally forcing. That's an intellectual position, but an emotional one as well. The better our hearts are informed about the matters involved here, I believe, the more compelling the notion of an obligation to check becomes. Acceptance of that would take some change in hearts, minds, and institutions.


    hoib - 07:09pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#114 of 171)

    Tragedy here is that most of you express yourselves in such obscure usages you drive us back to OED too often to enjoy what ever line of reasoning you may have meant.

    Is driving us to puzzle out your arcanities a likely way to enlist or enlighten?

    I think not.


    Possumdag - 09:03pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#115 of 171)

    Hoib - enjoyed your wonderful posting on 'bunnies' - implying that the PR releases for the glossy mags were somewhat different to business reality. Possum likes to checkup words, looking up 'arcane' gives 3 illustrative meanings which i will discuss in relation to paradigm:

    (1) ar·cane är-kn) adj.

    Known or understood by only a few: arcane economic theories. See Synonyms at mysterious. [Latin arcnus, secret, from arca, chest.]

    (2) arcane \Ar*cane"\, a. [L. arcanus.] Hidden; secret. [Obs.] b``The arcane part of divine wisdom.'' --Berkeley.

    (3) arcane adj : requiring secret or mysterious knowledge; "the arcane science of dowsing"


    Possumdag - 09:12pm Aug 26, 2000 BST (#116 of 171)

    The paradigm matter is simply this:

    New knowledge that will advance the reservoir of knowledge is denied us, because the status quo think they have a stake in the old knowledge.

    The arcane takes precedence over the new.

    The board is 'exactly opposite' to your presumption.

    The question is 'why isn't the new knowledge - that is to become the standard ... the new plateau ... blocked, when it could easily be checked and allowed forward - with authority'

    Showalter, here, a countryman of yours, has new knowledge - and yet, the intelligencia 'establishment' in USA are not prepared to check it. Were they to have done so a decade ago, Showalter believes that the last decade of scientific research in many areas would have been on track and fruitful.

    The reason his new knowledge is known and understood by only a few is because the knowledge - although not disproven - and available 'sitting' on the WWW for a decade, has yet to be accepted by the US scientific community.

    The link above puts up illustrations of new Knowledge that is initially rejected .... but because it is a new truth ... it eventually becomes the accepted norm.

    The interim period is one when a 'quality' of life is denied society at large.

    Being an American, Hoib, you know that a dollar price can be fixed on such losses.

    Perhaps Showalter will put up a few click links on his next posting.


    Leda - 05:59am Aug 27, 2000 BST (#117 of 171)

    Paradigm: The word "paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries. The classical Greeks used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal. Later it came to refer to a grammatical term. In the early 1960s Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with great difficulty and a new paradigm established. Thus the Copernican system (the sun at the center of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of conservativism ("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary" Science.

    Paradigm Shift : When anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present problems that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our view of reality must change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value the world. We must take on new assumptions and expectations that will transform our theories, traditions, rules, and standards of practice. We must create a new paradigm in which we are able to solve the unsolvable problems of the old paradigm.

    Paradigm Addiction: What occurs when a paradigm and its most ardent supporters are addicted to the paradigm to the point where they lose the realization that they are even in a paradigm at all? Ardent paradigm supporters have equated paradigm survival with their own personal survival, and will manipulate and control a society in order to prevent any social or cultural advancement out of the existing paradigm, ignoring or suppressing public knowledge of anomalies, equating perception of anomalies to "personal abnormality" in order to intimidate populations to remain within the status quo control paradigm. Addiction to a paradigm results in either paradigm death or death of those who maintain the paradigm.

    http://www.trufax.org/paradigm/everyday.html


    hoib - 06:15am Aug 27, 2000 BST (#118 of 171)

    Thanks leda Excellent...now I've got to figure out how you can support "faith" elsewhere?


    Possumdag - 06:54am Aug 27, 2000 BST (#119 of 171)

    Like the playboy club?


    Possumdag - 11:02pm Aug 27, 2000 BST (#120 of 171)

    The paradigms in business have moved from the Army Style downstream management with the boss on the apex and the worker at the base, through horizontal company structure where workers work as teams , and to the complete inverse of the Army style, where the long base line of triangulation has the customer sitting at the TOP, and the CEO servant of customer, company and share holders at the bottom ..... excuse me while i just check servant ceo salary listings - again!

    The enabler for the new business structures was IT. Offering: initial improved processing, horizontal communication within the entity, and the potential for higher level management to have knowledge and awareness (with stats) of the day to day performance of an Organization.


    bNice2NoU - 05:40am Aug 28, 2000 BST (#121 of 171)

    Hoib: waiting for the Paradigm re Playboy clubs ..


    bNice2NoU - 05:44am Aug 28, 2000 BST (#122 of 171)

    Dag, the paradigm re the restructuring of management models and strategies in line with advances in IT must be contrasted with the issue re new knowledge.

    IT has universal acceptance because the SPEED of communications is said to REDUCE the cost of product to consumer. This is reflected in lower prices as measured in the costPriceIndex (cpi).

    The problem for new knowledge is that even though, were it used, it can offer the simmilar advantages as IT, yet, because it is hidden, then the populance at large are denied knowledge of it, it, and the ultimate product uses, advantages, and cost savings - as against current redundant product.


    Possumdag - 02:01pm Aug 29, 2000 BST (#123 of 171)

    Meme:workshop:final remarks

    http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit/1999/vol3/cambridge_conference.html

    Many participants observed that despite the shared belief that an evolutionary approach to culture was necessary, significant barriers to communication remained between those from different disciplines. This perhaps derived from the varying histories these disciplines have with evolutionary approaches. In particular, social anthropology has a long history of such thought, which has generally not proven successful. Indeed, a common refrain among those social anthropologists participating in the meeting was "been there, done that." It was difficult for "believers" in memes to convince these historically mindful and hence reticent social scientists that this time around things might be different. Similarly, it was difficult for the anthropologists to explain exactly what went wrong previously, or specifically how the memetic perpsective was likely to go wrong itself, even if given a clear run at explaining culture.

    This incommensurability of ethos led to an undercurrent of dissatisfaction on both sides. One side seemed to feel that having to address the concerns of "non-believers" kept progress back, while the opposite side felt that the believers "just weren't getting it." Nevertheless, most agreed that bringing both sides together decreased the likelihood that proponents would engage in unchecked, hubristic claims about having explained culture (along with other conundrums such as consciousness), or that social anthropologists would continue to ignore the memetic alternative. Nevertheless, while I don't think anyone was persuaded to jump from one camp to the other, both sides did go away with a lot to think about, and increased respect for those who disagree with them.

    A general disappointment was the lack of discussion about what might be called "applied memetics." More time certainly needs to be devoted in future to thinking of ways to do memetics. This should include discussion of existing empirical studies that don't go under the banner of memetics but which could be interpreted as falling within the general purview of this incipient discipline, as well as the development of methodologies for conducting specifically memetic studies in the future. This is because the ultimate test -- which would preempt theoretical objections -- is whether memetics can produce novel empirical work or insightful interpretations of previous results. Everyone agreed it has not yet done so, but must do so in the near future, given the extensive theoretical work already accomplished and the high level of current interest in the subject. Otherwise, it is likely that memetics will soon be perceived to be a failure. This might be considered unlikely if only because, as one participant remarked, just being able to assemble such an eminent, multidisciplinary group to discuss the topic underlines how these ideas are coming to have real force in contemporary intellectual discourse.


    rshowalter - 06:47pm Aug 29, 2000 BST (#124 of 171)  | 

    Great stuff, possumdag !

    Paradigm conflict impasses, in the past, have been SIMPLE, and much clearer than some of the language about memes.

    A big step is getting the impasse defined.

    A format that does that amazingly well, and the only "meme" format I know that really works in a nutsy boltsy way is the patent description. The patent office may be said to be in the business of judging and comparing memes expressed in a surprisingly clear, stark, and commensurable format stripped entirely of "social constructions."

    That's why I think the Patent Offices of the world are uniquely qualified to judge issues of logic and evidence with respect to the fit (or nonfit) of conflicting "memes" to evidence. Patent people do that sort of work every day.


    rshowalter - 06:54pm Aug 29, 2000 BST (#125 of 171)  | 

    For example:

    1. When going from patient to patient, does sanitation matter, or not?

    2. Does homocysteine relate causally to artheriosclerosis, or not?

    3. Do the axioms of pure math have a domain of definition, or not? If they do, and you are outside that domain of definition, can you do experiments (symbolic and model-physical system matching) or not?

    When these questions are nested in a mass of cultural-social-emotional construction, they may be invisible, and resolution of them may be humanly impossible. At the stark level the Patent Office is built for, these same questions are clear, and easy to answer.


    Possumdag - 11:19pm Aug 29, 2000 BST (#126 of 171)

    Interesting people have worked @Patent, trying to conjure up here a picture of MagThatcher arriving daily at patentOff and thereby developing clear vision in relation to a new BLUE PRINT for the cultural-social-emotional-reconstruction of the UK in the Eighties! Can social policy be laid down as a 2dimensional pattent?


    rshowalter - 03:09am Aug 30, 2000 BST (#127 of 171)  | 

    Social policy could be EXPRESSED in the format of a patent, with words, pictures, and quantitative issues, including complexities, well expressable, in stark essentials, within that medium, that format. Scientific ideas can also be EXPRESSED in that format, and in my view, would often be much clarified if they were expressed according to the Patent Office's stark, time tested, much evolved disciplines.

    Especially if a poet fully astride both cultures was also involved, in interfacing from the starkness, to the warm, messy, more humanly complicated and "socially constructed and muddled" world.


    Possumdag - 03:37am Aug 30, 2000 BST (#128 of 171)

    Perhaps MT kept red roses in her handbag!


    xpat - 12:23pm Aug 30, 2000 BST (#129 of 171)

    ummm


    NatalieAng - 12:50pm Aug 30, 2000 BST (#130 of 171)

    The roses represent a very human side of Thatcher; or, do the red petals symbolise the blood spilled by the miners, in the Faulklands, additional to the civil war of change engendered in the polarised UK of the Eigties?

    Thatcher herself a rose - between two thorns, the East, West, and of course Europe!


    Possumdag - 03:45pm Aug 30, 2000 BST (#131 of 171)

    Don't know why ? Easy route is to BLAME the parents: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_901000/901760.stm


    rshowalter - 04:16pm Aug 30, 2000 BST (#132 of 171)  | 

    Perhaps the roses are best thought of in both senses. Thatcher's example has offered a conceptual shift, a memetic shift, and in a way a paradigm shift, in our ideas of the capacities, and roles, of first rate human animals who happen to be female.

    (This is independent of how you feel about her politics, which happens to be distinctly to the right of my own.)

    But MT's a notable role model, an example of what a woman can be and do, and still be feminine. Her role as a model of just this is much respected in the United States. People, including especially women, go long ways to have a chance to listen to her, and see her for real. (A niece of mine graduated from William and Mary College, in Va, not long ago, and got to shake M.T.'s hand -- she lit up talking about that royal touch - MT had given her an example, a new way of thinking of feminine function in the world. My neices mother, a college president, was proud to have touched MT's hand, too, for similar reasons.) In that college, as elsewhere, MT will be (reduced to or elevated to) a "meme," and exemplar of what a powerful woman can be.

    There IS one exemplary lesson that MT may have clarified for herself at the Patent Office. Patents are stark - EVERYTHING is stripped away in the format but logical and evidential essentials. The patent usages are built to ideals of stark clarity and unsentimental, sharp comparison. Logically, sex is far away. There's nothing masculine or feminine about the format at all.

    That means the stark, clear virtues that patents show can be shown by a woman, without compromising or even touching on her femininity at all. Margaret Thatcher has shown that by example, and that, for many women, has been a "paradigm shift."


    Possumdag - 03:22pm Sep 1, 2000 BST (#133 of 171)

    'EVERYTHING is stripped away in the format but logical and evidential essentials.' .... sounds persuasive ..... yet MT stripped the guts out of the Mining Towns - needlessly, and will never be forgiven - hence her romance with the U$A.


    rshowalter - 12:12am Sep 2, 2000 BST (#134 of 171)  | 

    No contradiction between #132 and #133, though there is, of course, a tension.


    Leda - 06:15am Sep 2, 2000 BST (#135 of 171)

    So Mr Showalter, are you related to Elaine Showalter by any chance?


    Possumdag - 11:25am Sep 2, 2000 BST (#136 of 171)

    Leda .... i've thought of a good TERMITE ref ... CSIRO oz .... i'll look for it ... just up the road :)

    http://www.cat.csiro.au/automation/

    http://www.cmst.csiro.au/

    Queensland Technology Court Pullenvale Qld 4069 PO Box 883 Kenmore Qld 4069 Australia

    Tel: 61 7 3327 4444 Fax: 61 7 3327 4681 Fax them re Termites


    rshowalter - 02:39pm Sep 2, 2000 BST (#137 of 171)  | 

    Leda, Elaine Showalter is one of those submissive women who take her husband's name. So the relation is only by marriage. And the sad fact is, though I can trace the blood relation to her husband, we've never met. I spent some time in Princeton once, but did not look her up.


    Possumdag - 02:48pm Sep 2, 2000 BST (#138 of 171)

    All FamilyNames have travelled down the patriarchal line.

    Women not using their husbandName use fatherName.

    Names most often related to occupation.

    Evenso, some are novel as per 'The Dags'

    REF: 'one of those submissive women who take her husband's name' husband's name'


    Leda - 07:08am Sep 3, 2000 BST (#139 of 171)

    Thx Robert, and have you read any of her work?


    rshowalter - 07:28am Sep 3, 2000 BST (#140 of 171)  | 

    Yes, she's an EXCELLENT feminist postmodernist.

    And she and her work show, in form and content, some of the beauties and tensions of that.

    Gotta run. Maybe I can say a few things later about Elaine Showalter, though. They fit the paradigm thread pretty well.

    It'll be a while.

    Have you read any of her stuff?


    Leda - 07:39am Sep 3, 2000 BST (#141 of 171)

    Sexual Anarchy ... Brilliant!


    Possumdag - 10:59am Sep 3, 2000 BST (#142 of 171)

    Denis Thatcher was reading The Times and became very excited when he saw that some of his shares had made a huge gain on the stock market. He rushed into the bathroom where his wife was having a bath and shouted, 'My God, look at these share prices.'

    'How many times must i tell you Denis,' she smiled at him, 'that when nobody else is present you may call me Margaret.'

    Des MacHALE


    Possumdag - 01:00pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#143 of 171)

    Where in this small-talking world can i find a longitude with no platitude?

    ChristopherFry, The Lady's not for buring.


    Possumdag - 01:07pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#144 of 171)

    The Board of Longitude would not welcome a mechanical answer to what they saw as an astonomical question. [Dava Sobel]


    Possumdag - 01:25pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#145 of 171)

    With your "blasts" and your "tearing down" you over-estimate the power of the humorist: Macmillan and Thatcher were treated far more harshly by satire than Major, yet they sailed blithely on acquiring all the necessary barnacles of gravitas.

    And the satirist can only play with what is already there: if one attempted to portray Blair as pompous and belligerent or Hague as snobbish and lily-livered it wouldn't work. http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/irony/index.html


    Possumdag - 01:34pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#146 of 171)

    These days, even the most senior politicians spend hours polishing their god-awful puns-- "the lady's not for turning," and so on--and more often than not the Blair/Hague exchanges in the Commons are judged solely on which one of them made the better jokes. When I was a parliamentary sketchwriter, my colleagues would say "good day for you Craig, ho, ho!" after this or that MP had cracked a joke or two. But of course they were completely wrong: humour succeeds best against a backdrop of high seriousness.

    In other words, although I still maintain that satire, irony, parody, what-you-will, are the sign of a healthy society (not a lot of jokes under Hitler, yet quite a few, even at the height of war, under Churchill), I think we can agree that there is a danger that, if the wind changes, this country may be left with a permanent smirk on its face. The serious and the comic certainly need each other, and should perhaps be encouraged to canoodle, but for their own good they should never tie the knot.


    Possumdag - 01:41pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#147 of 171)

    Longitude: Harrison .>>>

    'Eventually' he got the prize fo literature.


    Possumdag - 02:20pm Sep 4, 2000 BST (#148 of 171)

    Longitude: Harrison .>>>

    'Eventually' he got the cash prize.


    bNice2NoU - 03:46am Sep 5, 2000 BST (#149 of 171)

    The paradigm of Harrison follows the pattern of the need for checking and resitance to admitting that the Guy had developed an instrument for sailors to use for longditude - and find their way around the seven seas.


    rshowalter - 08:10am Sep 5, 2000 BST (#150 of 171)  | 

    Checking, coming from the outside, or being shown to outsiders, is TERRIFYING to people and groups who don't really understand their situation, really know it, and have covered that up with an elaborate web of compromised statements or ideas.

    So checking is a fear provoking challenge to all people, and all groups, some of the time.

    THERE IS LIKELY TO BE THE MOST FEAR, AND THE MOST RESISTANCE, WHEN THAT CHECKING IS NEEDED MOST.


    Possumdag - 12:18am Sep 11, 2000 BST (#151 of 171)

    http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/hilbert/toc.html http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/hilbert/


    Possumdag - 04:03pm Sep 11, 2000 BST (#152 of 171)

    Truth: http://www.wgquirk.com/

    Background Information: The Constructivist Philosophy of The 1995 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework Versus The Traditional Philosophy of Math Education http://www.wgquirk.com/Massmath.htm


    Possumdag - 04:26am Sep 12, 2000 BST (#153 of 171)

    Is whistleblowing in science really necessary?

    Lecture Theatre 342, Mechanical Engineering Building (17)

    Whistleblowers, politicians, journalists, lawyers, academics, executives and trade unionists discuss the pressures which lead to whistleblowing in science and how the scientific community can minimise the need for it.

    13:00 Lunchtime debate Professor StevenRose Open University

    13:00 Lunchtime Debate IanGibson MP

    13:00 Lunchtime debate Dr AndrewMillar British Biotech

    14:00 Impact of commercialisation on public science Professor AndrewWebster University of York What has been the impact of the commercialisation of public science on the integrity of science, on the flow of scientific information, and on the maintenance of public confidence in science?

    14:30 Maintaining integrity in the scientific community Mr NickWinterton Medical Research Council The need for whistleblowing can be prevented by instilling integrity through the scientific socialisation process and providing a climate where constructive dissent within organisations can flourish.

    15:00 The role of whistleblowing Mr GuyDehn Public Concern at Work A practising barrister outlines the pressures which lead employees and others to whistleblow and describes how to create an organisational environment in which it is safe and acceptable to raise concerns.

    15:30 General Discussion

    16:15 Independence, integrity and inclusion – The Way Forward - a Debate Dr JeromeRavetz How can we move towards a charter aimed at preserving independence for basic science; integrity for science in the corporate sector; and inclusion in the pursuit of public and policy related science?

    Chair: Dr Ian Gibson MP

    Organised by Science Alliance


    Possumdag - 04:28am Sep 12, 2000 BST (#154 of 171)

    instilling integrity through the scientific socialisation process and providing a climate where constructive dissent within organisations can flourish.

    Independence, integrity and inclusion – The Way Forward

    Did anyone make the BA Festival of Science?

    Or has anyone seen a write-up on the above post?


    Possumdag - 11:44pm Sep 17, 2000 BST (#155 of 171)

    Minsky:re Humour/Jokes : "In civilized communities, guardians display warnings to tell drivers about sharp turns, skaters about thin ice. Similarly, our philosophers and mathematicians display paradigms -- like the Barber, the Tortoise, and the Liar -- to tell us where to stop -- and laugh. I suggest that when such paradigms are incorporated into the mind, they form intellectual counterparts to Freud's emotional censors. This would help explain why purely logical nonsense so often has the same humorous quality as do jokes about injury and discomfort -- the problem that bothered Freud. The cake-joke reminds us, somewhat obscurely, to avoid a certain kind of logical absurdity -- lest we do ourselves some vaguely understood cognitive harm. Hence our thesis: since we have no systematic way to avoid all the inconsistencies of commonsense logic, each person must find his own way by building a private collection of "cognitive censors" to suppress the kinds of mistakes he has discovered in the past." http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/minsky/papers/jokes.cognitive.txt


    Possumdag - 06:03am Sep 20, 2000 BST (#156 of 171)

    LEDA : how'd you go with the Turmites?


    Leda - 05:42am Sep 23, 2000 BST (#157 of 171)

    The Bug-Busting experts called in to wipe out Britain's only colony of termites at Saunton have been back to check on progress. And the experts, part of a £190,000, 10-year Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions initiative, reported that the eradication programme was progressing "most satisfactorily". Scientists laid a chemical bait containing Hexaflumoron at the two affected houses last year in a bid to stop the termites reproducing. The poison had to be granted a special licence to be used in Britain but experts believe they have used enough to wipe out the sensitive strain of the insect. The latest visits by the team, led by Dr Robert Verkerk and Dr Tony Bravery, have revealed no termite activity within the treatment zone. Their official report states: "The fact that there was no activity anywhere in any of the monitoring stations containing palatable, untreated wood is extremely encouraging and indicates that the termite activity has been radically suppressed." During the team's April visits, no evidence of termite activity was found "except for a few individuals" in one of the 695 monitored areas. The report added there had been little evidence of feeding and the "unhealthy appearance" of the termites suggested they had taken some of the chemical bait. In March, no termite activity had been found within the treatment zone, scientists said, but when some decayed timber was removed, a "very small, discrete collection of termites was found". The report added: "This small colony appeared to be sustained by the moist and decayed timber without any ground contact." During visits in February, some "minor termite activity" was detected in two of the monitoring stations which were close together. But the report said: "This represented substantially less activity than detected in February 1999." A "marked decline" in termite activity had been recorded between June and September last year. A DETR spokesman said between June and October the team will check for evidence of termite activity, install fresh treated baits and renew untreated baits.

    The whole history can be culled from the North Devon Journal Herald archives. Thanks for your link Possumdag, it took me to a miningco??


    markk46 - 07:53am Sep 23, 2000 BST (#158 of 171)

    I understand lobotomies--a paradigm shift--are still being done some places. Does anyone know where, and how many are done in such places?


    Possumdag - 03:49am Sep 28, 2000 BST (#159 of 171)

    Termites are major miners! Most active in the warmer weather.

    If you book in on the GoldCoastOz a DrJulian(nickname) someone did think of them as a lastResort good idea. I trust he's been thrown off pulic radio. Does labotomy appear on the feeList ... that's the fleece?


    Possumdag - 07:20am Sep 28, 2000 BST (#160 of 171)

    Paradigm shift : Canada Government http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/prcb/rd/hrsystem/levlegie.htm


    rshowalter - 12:08pm Sep 28, 2000 BST (#161 of 171)  | 

    Beautiful stuff Possum! And the new, hard, practical ideals will take careful checking and honest bookkeeping.


    gordonbennett - 08:19pm Oct 1, 2000 BST (#162 of 171)

    Gordon Bennett!


    Possumdag - 12:24am Oct 7, 2000 BST (#163 of 171)

    Serbia : a new paradigm


    Possumdag - 06:02am Oct 9, 2000 BST (#164 of 171)

    Serbia: a new paradigm ... or is it. The move by the right was to restore the old Serbian Empire, four wars - suffering and deaths later - the tack is to opt for democracy ( a better economic outcome that will enable aid to restore the country). The Serbian paradigm is to opt for what is seen as a best case senario, under changing circumstance.


    rshowalter - 11:50am Oct 10, 2000 BST (#165 of 171)  | 

    Yes, Possum - and if they can carefully enough understand their circumstances (INCLUDING THEIR PAST) then it can work!


    Possumdag - 02:13pm Oct 10, 2000 BST (#166 of 171)

    But will they want to look at their 'immediate' past?


    rshowalter - 04:44pm Oct 10, 2000 BST (#167 of 171)  | 

    They better. If they can't, or don't, there will be too many pitfalls for a workable interface with the rest of the world.

    Lies get more and more complicated, at an explosively increasing rate, as circumstances get complicated. The Serbian situation is far too complicated to be workably redeemed by anything but rather careful truth.

    All around the world, there are problems like this, where, though the truth may be "too weak , it is, nonetheless, the only possible hope for workable accomodations involving the complex, ongoing cooperation that this world really involves.


    Lulu100 - 08:46pm Oct 11, 2000 BST (#168 of 171)

    Paragdim shifts are intresting in that they are not only an argument of how science works, the accepting of a modle or set of models, by a scientific community, but I think they can also give some insite into the direction that science moves in at any one time, wether science is racist, sexist or any other ist. If scientific ideas are accepted and rejected by communities, then it follows that the values and any bias that that community holds will also be influential in deciding if a shift between paragdims occurs. It could be argued that these are the only factors that decide if a paragdim is accepted or not, because one paragdim is incomensurable, or incomparable if you like, with another. This means "good" science is not replacing "bad" science, rather one story line is being replaced by another story line, not better just diffrent. Where things get interesting for me is when ideas seem to be rejected because they are being proposed by the powerless and replacing the stories of the powerful. For example the early history of jumping gense, or transposons, as they are known in the trade, shows how gender bias steers the direction of science. Barbra McKlintock was a woman who loved maize, and spent many years studying how smoooth the corns were and the colour of them. From her observation she developed a model of jumping genes, able to move in and out of a maize genome, turning diffrent genes on and off, an example of environment changing the structure of DNE. This, may I add, was put forward long befor the technology for seeing genes was around. Because all powerful Watson, as in Watson and Crick, doulble helix fame, had set the Central Dogma, DNE to RNA to Protien, and thats is the way it shall always be, then no one would believe a woman, working alone (a bit neurotic hu?), could come up with this idea that the environment, the moving of transposons in and out of cells could be true. Only with the advent of new technology, and the addition of the vioces of men, was Barbara McKlintock's work eventually accepted, altering if not changing the paradgim of the central dogma. Our science, because of paradigms will always be molded by out culture and the problems found within it will always be echoed in the paradigms we choose.


    rshowalter - 09:36pm Oct 11, 2000 BST (#169 of 171)  | 

    That's a good reason for umpires.

    The ideas held by "the culture" (in science, a particular specialist subculture) can be wrong, when they are checked. But if checking by outsiders with respect to the subculture is taboo, then the checking can't occur.

    If "civility" means "deference to established intellectual property rights, and territorial divisions" then "civility" is the death knell of certain essential kinds of progress.

    When it is important enough, there need to be mechanisms to get questions of fact and logic in science CHECKED. When the stakes are high enough, that checking needs to be morally forcing.

    The idea that checking should be morally forcing seems new, and is a distinctly minority position.

    But for want of that ethical stance, some really terrible choices have been made in the past, and will be made in the future. This thread has largely been about that.


    Possumdag - 01:59am Oct 13, 2000 BST (#170 of 171)

    electrinos : http://www.newscientist.com/features/features.jsp?id=ns226015 :

    A lone researcher says he can cut an electron in two. If he's right, quantum physics is dead.


    xpat - 04:23am Oct 13, 2000 BST (#171 of 171)

    Interesting post dag, demos the difficulty of working with ideas and concepts on the edge of knowledge. Is a wave tangible?



    Possumdag - 10:01pm Oct 16, 2000 BST (#163 of 820)

    Applying the thread header to the MiddleEast situation:

    Moving knowledge along can be exhausting - the old knowledege is reluctant to make way for the new .... how many truths have to wait for the old guard's acceptance. Kick butt or let time assert itself?

    In the Paradigm:

    'The old knowledge' may relate to the differing cultural styles of the Israelis and Palestinians.

    'The new knowledge' has to be the improved cultural mindsets that have to be adopted by all parties.

    That a new truth has to be explored has to be accepted by 'the old guard' .... the new truth has to be a move towards a peaceful integrated Israel and Palestine that offer stability with a thriving economy giving a means of survival and growth.

    The 'kicking of butt' has to be the infuence and attitudes of countries regionally, who want to see; improved integration, justice for Palestinians, and a settled peaceful zone.


    jihadij - 07:32am Oct 19, 2000 BST (#164 of 820)

    The old Knowledge was he ebbing tide dragging Palestinians out to sea

    The new knowledge is the incoming tide, ridden by the international community

    The new paradigm of truth is a boundary of rope that encompasses both Palestine and Israel ... how long before it becomes accepted ?


    rshowalter - 04:56pm Oct 20, 2000 BST (#165 of 820)  | 

    In some ways, the notion of Paradigm Shift in this thread ought to be politically important. It seems as if many or the conceptual and emotional impasses in the Middle East involve the same kinds of mutual incomprehension and hatred that occur in scientific paradigm conflicts.

    And again, there is a difficulty establishing what the facts are, even when the facts, from an objective distance, seem clearly demonstrable.

    The argument has been made in this thread that IN scientific paradigm conflicts, there are times with UMPIRES are essential.

    When analogous conceptual impasses occur in politics and group identity, UMPIRES may be essential for exactly analogous reasons.


    Lulu100 - 09:58pm Oct 22, 2000 BST (#166 of 820)

    Can we really have an umpire who is truely outside of any confilict. Also, as one paradgim can not be compaired to another, on what should the umpire make their decision on, one can not say that apples are better than highlighter pens, they are not doing the same thing. Have I missed an idea here? I guess I'm just asking who the umpire should be, because you can always argue that they are supporting one paradigm or the other, even if they are not, they can't help it, they would have to be part of a culture or society.


    rshowalter - 10:12pm Oct 22, 2000 BST (#167 of 820)  | 

    Umpires can't and shouldn't deal with "judgement calls", or with emotions, under circumstances of impasse. People have the emotions that they have. What umpires CAN do, and in situations of impasse, sometimes MUST do is check disputed FACTS that are of logical importance in the impasse.

    For the purpose of checking FACTS - that is, things that are actually checkable by a matching process, MANY people or groups can serve as umpires. Generally, it is the will to check, and the will to accept checking, that are lacking. The mechanics of checking, and the complexity of the things to be checked, are comparatively simple.

    Definitions, and differences in definitions, can also be facts -- it can be a fact that one group is using a word in one way, and another in another way, so that "agreements" aren't really agreements, or so that "logically compelling" arguments are really degenerate.

    In this thread, circumstances of impasse where issues of FACT CHECKING have been decisive are reviewed. So far, these have been tragedies that have occurred because checking has been denied. In the cases in history I know of, the serious impasses have involved clear, checkable matters of fact, that should have been resolvable at the time - at the level of facts.

    In every case, after facts were clear, much conceptual and emotional adjustment would have been necessary, and that would have taken more time, and some tact as well.

    But the decisive problem is that people have not felt, and not been MORALLY FORCED to check decisive facts.

    Very many people OUTSIDE of the particularly interested parties can determine these facts, if arrangements are set up to permit this. I'd like to refer you back to the Semmelweis story, near the beginning of the thread, where the essentials of this are discussed, in reference to an example that ought to be studied by very many people who want to take care about what human limitations actually are.

    When two groups, after a long time, can't agree on basic facts, an umpire is needed. If that notion became widespread, and clear checking became a morally forcing imperative, the world would be a safer, more interesting, more efficient place.

    Many times, I believe, discussion on the internet, in places such as this, may serve an umpiring function.


    Lulu100 - 10:23pm Oct 22, 2000 BST (#168 of 820)

    What if disputes are based on things that are beyond facts? For example faith, what if someone is saying this is my land because my faith tells me that is so? They may well only accept one umpire, that of their faith. What I am saying is the umpire will only work if all of us are willing to play the game, and I am sorry to say that too many people will take their bat and ball home when they are not getting what they want. The umpire does not decide their position, the players do!


    TheBeast - 10:26pm Oct 22, 2000 BST (#169 of 293)

    Agreed, rshowalter.

    The merits of intellectual relativism are overrated. Generally, there is "right", and there is "wrong". And, as you say, given the will, it is usually possible to decide which is which.

    But does that will exist.....? Yet.....? Or are we moving towards it, as yet another spin off from the end of the Cold War....?

    Mind sets relevant to one sphere have a habit of spilling over into others.


    rshowalter - 04:06pm Oct 23, 2000 BST (#170 of 293)  | 

    Does that will exist? .... Maybe it doesn't yet exist to a sufficient degree.

    But when impasses matter, and some are life and death, determination of crucial facts matters to that degree of mattering.

    And to that degree, which can be a large degree, the determination of crucial facts needs to be morally forcing.


    xpat - 06:25am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#171 of 293)

    In business there is a move to 'Quality' regarding standards. When information and knowledge of the highest, latest, best, quality are used in a process or procedure the outcome is most valid. So too for Science which may be higher up the decision chain of flow-on effects!


    duncanjet - 06:29am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#172 of 293)

    religion, responsible for holding back the truth. I think so but hey, religion and politics, well nuff said..


    xpat - 05:27am Oct 26, 2000 BST (#173 of 293)

    A day in politics .... has a different end to the beginning ... showing acceptance of 'change'.


    rshowalter - 02:12am Oct 31, 2000 BST (#174 of 293)  | 

    There will be a LOT of agonizing reappraisal, whatever happens, after Nov 7 in the USA. How could it (whatever) happen? Lots of people will be CLEAR after the fact.


    xpat - 02:19am Oct 31, 2000 BST (#175 of 293)

    Texas Baptists To Hold Back Funds

    Updated 8:28 PM ET October 30, 2000

    By RICHARD N. OSTLING, AP Religion Writer

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - Texas' 2.7 million Baptists dealt a severe blow to the Southern Baptist Convention on Monday, withdrawing $5 million in funding on the grounds that the denomination is becoming too conservative.

    After a brief, civil debate, the 6,000 representatives of the Texas Baptists approved the move as a sizable majority held up voting cards.

    The vote is considered a watershed by both sides in the doctrinal conflict that has long roiled the nation's largest Protestant denomination, which has 15.8 million members.

    Texas accounts for 17 percent of the members and 13 percent of the money that supports Southern Baptist Convention programs.

    Texas Baptists spokesman, Kenneth Camp, said the group was at a crossroads and called the meeting "the decisive turning point for the next century."

    In recent years, the Southern Baptists have barred female pastors, declared that wives should "submit graciously" to their husbands, boycotted Disney and issued resolutions condemning homosexuality.

    Earlier this month, former President Carter severed ties to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its "increasingly rigid" creed.


    xpat - 02:21am Oct 31, 2000 BST (#176 of 293)

    Fossilation has to be halted!


    rshowalter - 02:57pm Oct 31, 2000 BST (#177 of 293)  | 

    Baptists "used" to have the most liberal ideal around - that a person had the right to interpret the Bible as seemed right to her or him, after careful attention. Lots of Baptists, outside the SBC, still believe this.


    jihadij - 03:40am Nov 2, 2000 BST (#178 of 293)

    Wilesmith's conclusions--that scrapie and rendering were to blame-- and the assumption that scrapie was "safe" were endorsed in 1989 by the advisory committee set up to examine BSE, chaired by zoologist Richard Southwood of the University of Oxford. This now seems surprising, because scientists had known for 10 years that once a spongiform encephalopathy, such as scrapie, jumped the species barrier it could become more pathogenic to other animals.

    "That was known among researchers at the time," says Moira Bruce of the Neuropathogenesis Unit in Edinburgh. Indeed, in a confidential memo given to the inquiry, Raymond Bradley, head of pathology at the Central Veterinary Laboratory, wrote in 1986 that while scrapie in sheep didn't infect humans, scrapie in cattle "might have posed a different risk".

    But the Southwood working party's conclusion that BSE was unlikely to have any implications for human health was repeated by government ministers whenever they were asked about the safety of beef. The working party's warning that "if the assessment was incorrect, the implications would be extremely serious" was quietly buried, says the Phillips report. http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns22633


    jihadij - 03:44am Nov 2, 2000 BST (#179 of 293)

    &

    Roy Anderson, then of Oxford University, told the inquiry that in 1991 a mathematical analysis could have shown infections caused by SBO were continuing. MAFF refused to give Anderson data to do the calculation.

    [ Wow!! Statistical checking not permitted!]

    &

    Many of these gaps, delays and errors in the research programme could have been avoided, says Phillips, if a research "supremo" had been appointed. But "there was a reluctance on the part of the scientific community to be overseen in this way".

    [ Demonstrated the importance of Centralised Quality Checking - to override petty interdisciplinary territories begging the question - what happened to ethics, does ethical accounting have a role, and how do you measure one terrible death replicated up to an estimated 100,000 times --- and do those listed in the report have any understanding of why they oughtn't to have played 'God' in their power zones? ]

    [ Big Brother Government didn't let the public in on RISK FACTORS. Therefore people were not able to make informed decisions regarding their intake of meat/ products. ]


    jihadij - 04:34am Nov 2, 2000 BST (#180 of 293)

    BSE a particularly peculiar British disaster - but is it? http://www.independent.co.uk/argument/Leading_articles/2000-10/leader_a291000.shtml


    jihadij - 08:23pm Nov 2, 2000 BST (#181 of 293)

    Ethics, morality, the UK and BSE.

    In 1988 the UK was aware that BSE was spread via the Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) that included the 'mechanical' scrapings from infected beasts at slaughter houses.

    Determining it was too dangerous to feed MBM back to home cattle by march 1988, it set out to export the MBM.

    MBM was increasingly sold into:

    Czech Republic, Nigeria, Thailand, South Lebanon, and Sri Lanka.

    In 1996 a worldwide ban on the sales of MBM came into effect.


    jihadij - 08:25pm Nov 2, 2000 BST (#182 of 293)

    Compare this (MBM) with countries that legislate against Tobacco at home yet export into the third world. Example: USA's pushing heavy tar addictive tobacco onto Chinese peasants against the expressed wishes of the Chinese Government -- evenso blackmailed re wishing to trade with the US.


    rshowalter - 08:39pm Nov 2, 2000 BST (#183 of 293)  | 

    Groups of people, who usually are responsible to each other, according to some rules, can be astonishingly callous toward "outsiders" - people outside of their group. In paradigm conflict, a "group" is a group of practioners, and they mobilize to exclude any ideas from outsiders from serious consideration. In politics, outside groups may be treated with murderous irresponsibility. In conflict situations involving military conflict, outsiders are "enemies" to be feared and killed.

    Standard human group behavior, which usually works well, and usually keeps the world sized at a level real people can tolerate, nonetheless produces systematic misfires - some horrific. It is a legal, moral, and intellectual challenge to find ways so that the interface between groups can be more truthful, responsible, and constructive, so that less damage is done, more complex cooperation is possible, and more hopeful chances, that do disrupt group conceptual patterns, can be accomodated.

    In all these areas, we're going against basic human patterns that may be millions of years old, and mostly adaptive, and must accomodate more complicated conditions in ways that are comfortable and workable.


    jihadij - 09:08pm Nov 2, 2000 BST (#184 of 293)

    Thread seems to be moving towards ETHICS & Business.

    The waste product from the UK slaughter house processed through as MBM and was sold back into the UK. Here the UK farmer, using the above analogy was an outsider - to company profit. (Here i'd like to know the name of the animal feed company/companies, and examine ownership).

    When UK market closed the company looked to export markets - not functioning first world economies, rather those without an ability to carry out CHECKING.


    rshowalter - 02:37am Nov 3, 2000 BST (#185 of 293)  | 

    And by excluding "outsiders" from its operational definition of "human" -- that company committed statistical murder - probably on a quite large scale.


    jihadij - 09:43pm Nov 3, 2000 BST (#186 of 293)

    The dead of The Great War, and subsequent wars, are brought to mind on rememberance day 11/11 via an acknowledged silence at 11 a. m..

    The Poets had measure of the human consquences, the futility and hopless madness of the 14-19 trench war that obliterated a generation of men whilst condemming their women to demographic spinsterhood.

    Analysts looking back on military strategy see a failure to take account of technical innovation.

    Change demanded a new paradigm.

    The pace of change, forever acelerating, requires and necessitates novel solutions.

    Staying ahead requires vision and foresight.

    This in turn demands an understanding of past and present.

    Knowing where we've been, who we are, and, where we want to go.


    rshowalter - 11:40pm Nov 3, 2000 BST (#187 of 293)  | 

    I think a great book might be written, if truly poetic, and gifted literary people could combine with military historians, and political historians, to give a HUMANLY ACCESSIBLE sense of "where it all went wrong." Bertrand Russell felt that many of the most hopeful things in Western society were snuffed out by WWI, with WWII a gruesome, downward spiraling reprise.

    To get people to understand this, not only in some thin "intellectual" sense, but imaginatively, and viscerally, at the level where sympathy and grieving can happen, would be a great contribution to humanity.

    Because, if people could imagine the long running, gruesome, desperate instanity of that War, as it was, then they might have both the insight and the courage to make wars of all kinds much less likely, and do away with nuclear wars - something technically easy to do, that morally and socially eludes us. IMHO, xpat and I would have fun, and pull our weight, as parts of the team needed to do that.


    jihadij - 12:46am Nov 4, 2000 BST (#188 of 293)

    http://www.lambent.com/art1.htm re patterning


    xpat - 11:54am Nov 4, 2000 BST (#189 of 293)

    Memorandum from Dr Karin Von Hippel, Centre for Defence Studies, King's College, London

    THE COMPLEX EMERGENCIES UNIT

    The Complex Emergencies Unit, established in 1997 at the Centre for Defence Studies, is responsible for a three-stage project that integrates operational lessons learned from recent responses to complex emergencies into a broader analysis. The aim is to develop a more co-ordinated and composite response that addresses both causes and symptoms. At the end of the first phase of our research, we have identified seven component issues that need to be addressed before a new and more effective paradigm for international response can be developed. These are:

    (1) Civil-military relations in peace support operations;

    (2) The privatisation of security and the influence of non-state actors, particularly war-lords;

    (3) The child-soldier phenomenon and the proliferation of light weapons;

    (4) State collapse, political reconstruction and the empowerment of civil society;

    (5) Refugee flows and hostage populations;

    (6) Security for aid workers, relief supplies and humanitarian space;

    (7) The role of the private sector.

    (...more... )

    Dr Karin von Hippel

    Centre for Defence Studies

    June 1998

    ( from: Select Committee on International Development: Minutes of Evidence )

    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/cgi-bin/empower http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/cgi-bin/htm_hl?DB=ukparl&STEMMER=en&WORDS=paradigm+&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=&URL=/pa/cm199899/cmselect/cmintdev/55/8063009.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match


    xpat - 02:16pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#190 of 293)

    http://mysearch.looksmart.com/cgi-bin/intrasearch2?crid=7f281b956d9f5aa0&csid=&query=paradigm&session=973347068 TheDawn.


    rshowalter - 04:00pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#191 of 293)  | 

    xpat , I'll be spending much of the weekend preparing things to contact Dr. Hippel, and some others who I think may make sense to contact, and do hope that I'll be able to participate, along with you if at all possible, in focusing a new paradigm for complex emergencies, which embody, in large part, all the difficulties and tragedies of war.

    Once again, you've given me hope. Thanks so much.


    hayate - 09:24pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#192 of 293)

    Alot of the sciences seem to be stagnating. An example. In astronomy, the crowd seems to only want to push the big bang theory to the point that the patches being used to fill the gaping holes in this theory are getting more and more ludicrous. Alot of this wasted time and energy would be better spent studying the universe instead of trying to prove some particular theory. This whole issue is becoming like religious dogma.

    Many other sciences are going thru similar debates where the majority are pushing a particular theory and wont let in different views. Is anyone else annoyed with this state of affairs?


    rshowalter - 09:41pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#193 of 293)  | 

    Many people are, I think, and the Science Times section of The New York Times often sows "subversive" doubts.

    But there remains the core procedural problem that, these days, checking is not morally forcing if it discomforts stakeholders, or otherwise involves explicit conflict.

    Because this is true, theories remain "sacrosanct" far longer than would be good for the scientists themselves, or for their customers. i We'd all be much safer, and progress would be faster, if people CHECKED theories against key tests, in public, and rejected them when that was indicated.

    "I don't know" is a humbling phrase, but a useful one.

    My own view is that, if checking of questions of fact decisive to destinguishing between theories became morally forcing the economic productivity of the sciences would more than double, the intellectual progress would accellerate similarly, and the sciences would be more comfortable, polite places for people of all ages and conditions to work.

    I also believe that the ability of the scientists to justify their work to each other, and to the wider culture that funds them, would substantially increase.

    When scientists appear to others to be "blowing smoke" to avoid criticism, that hurts the cause of science. When that appearance is true, there should be changes made to make the science a better fit to the ethics science claims in the culture.


    xpat - 10:16pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#194 of 293)

    It took 37 years to get the Plimsoll line painted on ships representing the level to which a ship might sink down into the water on loading and still proceed with safety. Unseaworthy Vessels Bill. Samuel Plimsoll MP http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Lshipping.htm

    British History is filled with legislation that little by little improved the QUALITY of existence - see: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/legislation.htm from: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/industry.html

    Many accidents that happen today represent a failure to follow procedures and quality guidelines. The recent runway smash of a Singapore Airline for example holds the following:

    Failure of Pilots (3) to read information and documents issued to them at Taipai airport. Failure of Taipai airport to have ground radar installed. Failure of Pilots to defer to Health and Safety when a typhoon was inprocess. Failure of runway lighting to indicate runway out of action . Failure of passengers (customers) to have the right not to travel in dangerous conditions. Failures in terms of Quality.


    xpat - 10:50pm Nov 4, 2000 BST (#195 of 293)

    Plimsoll line:

    Disraeli, the Conservative prime minister, changed his mind on the issue and in 1875 gave his support to an Unseaworthy Vessels Bill.

    The following year Samuel Plimsoll managed to persuade Parliament to amend the 1871 Merchant Shipping Act. This provided for the marking of a line on a ship's sides which would disappear below the water line if the ship was overloaded. A further amendment in 1877 imposed a limit on the weight of cargo which vessels were permitted to carry and created rules governing the engagement of seamen and their accommodation on board ship.


    rshowalter - 12:50am Nov 5, 2000 BST (#196 of 293)  | 

    xpat , these are wonderful citations, that make vivid the human implications of CHECKING, and its moral association to human welfare.

    Again and again, resistance to checking, and to simple changes of rules based on plain facts, is based on notions of "politesse." To discomfit the powerful is "impolite."

    The notion that checking is a moral duty seems unnatural in social groups. But the costs of denying that notion have been grisly in the past, and will continue to be.


    xpat - 11:35pm Nov 5, 2000 BST (#197 of 293)

    Re the need for handwashing (above)

    Note that the spread of the Elboe Virus, in Northern Uganda, relates directly to their custom of washing the copse and then the hands of all attending in that SAME BOWL of water.

    This compares with adding fluids from bovines, MadCow infected, to the hamburger mix and distributing though a National Chain (France).

    And re-utilisation of sterilised instruments infected with prions ... when normal sterilising at 134c fails to kill these.

    All of the above demonstrate the need to compile and check through information and findings using appropriate methodologies to determine truths and from this develop suitable policies; or, where an invention to accept the new and from it innovate to maximise utility for mankind.


    xpat - 02:25am Nov 6, 2000 BST (#198 of 293)

    Garden Pesticide link to Parkinson's / James Meek, Guardian science correspondent Monday November 6, 2000

    It was only ever a matter of time before scientists pointed to one of the toxic agrochemicals pervading the world and linked it to a major disease of unknown cause.

    Today, Professor Tim Greenamyre, of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, will do just that - suggesting at a conference in the US that exposure to rotenone could cause Parkinson's disease, the crippling brain illness which brings suffering to 120,000 Britons.

    But, ironically, it is a connection that will shake some of the most ardent opponents of the use of synthetic pesticides in farming. For rotenone is no post-war insect killer cooked up in a corporate lab, but a natural product, extracted from the derris plant, and a mainstay of organic farms and gardens.

    The findings of Prof Greenamyre and his team, to be published next month in the journal Nature Neuroscience, show that rats repeatedly given rotenone not only develop the symptoms of Parkinson's - trembling and loss of muscle control - but acquire the distinctive microscopic lumps in the brain, known as Lewy bodies, that are a sure sign of the disease.

    "These results," the scientists write, "indicate that chronic exposure to a common pesticide can reproduce the anatomical, neurochemical, behavioural and neuropathological features of Parkinson's disease."


    xpat - 02:27am Nov 6, 2000 BST (#199 of 293)

    Parkinson's see: http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,393329,00.html


    xpat - 12:25am Nov 8, 2000 BST (#200 of 293)

    Paradigm / Aussie Centre

    ARTS-SCIENCE notes :

    In the Tweed Valley there is a Science-Arts centre that aims to connect the traditions of 'creative endeavour and rational enquiry'

    Notion that investigation can be inspiration

    That Art can lead us into the truths of life

    Links with : pre Socratic philosophers, medieval mystics and quatrocento humanists

    Robert POPE is Science-Arts director - likes KANT & metaphysics

    Joint authored ti: 'two bobs worth' in 1988 with Robert Todonai

    Pope collaborated with leading edge scientific thinkers from 1980's onwards:

    Chris Illert mathematician - studies of form in nature follow Darcy Thompson's path

    Dr Bevan Reid (medical visionary) proponent of 'non-local energy waves' as key factors in disease. Reid wrote paper with Sydney doc - Brian HAGAN (speculative scientists re elaboration of ideas in maths, physics and medicine) have work in prose - wave diagram of Sistine Chapel ceiling.

    Don Eldridge x-printer - interested in evolutionary theory.

    And to the work of Australia's most established paradigm breaker - Ted STEELE (microbiologist). Seeking to modify Darwin theory re Jean Baptiste de Lamarck.

    Book: ti: Descent of Spirit / E. L. Grant Watson (Primavera Press, 1990).

    Quote: 'What all these thinkers share is a certain responsiveness to the realm of the imagination, and a sense that establishment, peer-assessed, institutional science has become hidebound, calcified and trapped even, by its cultural prestige and track record of public acceptance.

    Time for revision and rethinking of the grand models of science.

    Pope believes that mankind stands still before vital phase transition. He is working on an internet concept that would gather together ALL the new ideas, sift them, and select and promote those that are life enhancing … via a marriage of scientific and humane traditions. (from Rothewell, N 'Spine' The Australian's Review of Books (page 7) 8nov00)


    xpat - 01:33am Nov 8, 2000 BST (#201 of 293)

    http://www.isss.org/98transc/jl201100.htm

    C.P. Snow: The two cultures:

    The humanist The technocratic Both are sides of the same thing.

    They are two aspects of the same thing, like two sides of a coin.

    Humanity is the search for differences in things that appear to be same Science is the search for similarities in things that appear to be the same.

    Life itself: losing the aspects of the whole:

    In Renaissance, divided life into work, play, learning and inspiring. Thus, divided institutions into 4 categories. e.g. church, golf course ... Have destroyed the potentiality for creating a high quality of life, because there's no way to integrate the four.


    xpat - 09:40am Nov 9, 2000 BST (#202 of 293)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Chris+Illert++&btnG=Google+Search

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Robert+Todonai++&btnG=Google+Search


    xpat - 09:44am Nov 9, 2000 BST (#203 of 293)

    Dr bevan reid, a Sydney University cancer researcher, who also has been roasted for his novel ideas about 'life-forces', told me last year, "Traditional ... www.science-art.com.au/med_observer.htm - 10k - Cached - Similar pages (see Medical Observer)

    Notable Australian World Firsts ... CANCER DETECTION Research by Dr Bevan Reid lead to the invention of a computerised device which reliably detects cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. ... apc-online.com/twa/firsts.shtml - 25k - Cached - Similar pages

    Health and Medicine - Can we expect to live longer? ... simply by scanning a probe across the cervix, was instigated by Dr Bevan Reid. The development of the unique algorithms were performed under the direction of ... apc-online.com/twa/health2.shtml - 74k - Cached - Similar pages

    OBGYN.net Medical Professional Booklist ... Approach to the Cervix, Vagina & Vulva in Health & Disease ( American Lectures in Gynecology & Obstetrics, 106 by Malcolm Coppleson, Ellis Pixley, Bevan Reid. ... www.obgyn.net/hysteroscopy/links/mp_books.htm - 17k - Cached - Similar pages

    INFORMER - Trends ... by two Australian medical academics, Professor Malcolm Coppleson and Dr Bevan Reid (Victor Skladnev joined later), out of concern that insufficient progress ... www.brw.com.au/stories/19990611/2617.htm - 19k - Cached - Similar pages

    A Treatise on: COMMUNITY CONTROLLED PARLIAMENTS ... Dr. Bevan Reid (Med): ... can best be summarised by the assertion that no society can prosper, or has the right to prosper, until it takes full account of ... www.biblebelievers.org.au/parliamt.htm - 68k - Cached - Similar pages


    xpat - 09:48am Nov 9, 2000 BST (#204 of 293)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%2F+E.+L.+Grant+Watson+&btnG=Google+Search


    xpat - 09:49am Nov 9, 2000 BST (#205 of 293)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=-+Ted+STEELE+microbiologist&btnG=Google+Search


    xpat - 09:51am Nov 9, 2000 BST (#206 of 293)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Don+Eldridge+printer++evolutionary+theory&num=50&hl=en&lr=lang_en&safe=off&btnG=Google+Search


    bNice - 05:23am Nov 13, 2000 BST (#207 of 293)

    Interesting world refs here: scientists giving reasons why they are scared, and noting how Governments have not looked logically at problems in the past, including MadCow. http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/NewsJuly-Aug99/GEN7-17MalayUkUsJapWScient.html


    hayate - 07:14am Nov 13, 2000 BST (#208 of 293)

    BNice

    Great link - THANKS.


    bNice - 08:57am Nov 13, 2000 BST (#209 of 293)

    "You're welcome!"


    Gnidrolog - 02:03pm Nov 13, 2000 BST (#210 of 293)

    xpat, the rationale behind your sudden burst of screed-like URLs lists is not apparent, but to take one at random, could you explain to what or whom the URL at #215 is supposed to be a reference? I see a few misspelled references to the works of Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge (note correct spelling) on the subject of their theory of speciation entitled "punctuated equilibria", a reference to Lewis Carroll, a few references to the Perl FAQ, and so on. How are they all linked, other than via the surname Eldridge? Am I missing something?


    bNice - 06:35am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#211 of 293)

    xpat don't dump a smorgasbord of raw research browser data on poor Gnidrolog !


    bNice - 06:39am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#212 of 293)

    The above posts set out to show that people with new ideas are not accepted readily by their establishment(s).


    AlaskaRanger - 07:17am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#213 of 293)

    bnice - got your message. I'll be at "home" if you read this. Whazzup?


    AlaskaRanger - 07:39am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#214 of 293)

    Too late for me...good night!


    miriamkfahey - 09:15am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#215 of 293)

    Empirical evidence links the old and the new, where proofs are tangible and therefore exist. Historical documentary evidence is testimony to this.


    rshowalter - 09:39am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#216 of 293)  | 

    Yes, that's true, but the fight can be terribly long, hard, and costly. The case of Semmelweis is a key one, and dramatic - and cost millions of lives. The case of Kilmer McCully shows a much more recent case, where delay probably cost more years of American life than the Vietnam War - because a man was shunned, and a priority decision was made wrongly. The case of prefrontal lobotomy - where a whole profession ran amok, and more than 40,000 patients were maimed, is another example.

    Under circumstances of paradigm conflict, for reasons set out in this thread, the "community of practice" committed to a pattern may not be able or willing to consider or see evidence. It may effectively suppress its publication. This happened in fluid mechanics for an almost 15 year period, in a situation that looks astounding in retrospect. My late colleague, S.J. Kline, was the central figure in setting this right - some of the following eulogy got printed in a major fluid mechanics journal http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul .

    There is no question that empirical evidence MUST link the old and the new. Logic must as well.

    It is astounding how difficult it is, to get necessary checking. I've been gathering more evidence than I would have wished, about how hard it is, and how it is hard.

    I'm in the middle of what may be something new- something that could be a contribution to society in terms of pattern - a possible peaceful resolution of a paradigm conflict, with face saving, and nonviolent resolution. There is a good deal of effort, on all sides of my case, to come to a right answer. My results have not, for some time, been questioned in my hearing - people are being polite, and casting about for a good way to deal with the situation - perhaps even a way consistent with truth.

    But a decade has been wasted, and billions of dollars, and many many scientific chances, and much of my life, because checking (and in the area of paradigm conflict, something else - witnessing of experiments) was denied. The reasons it was denied are set out in this thread, but I believe they are easier to understand in terms of the ideas in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? (Society thread.)

    Under conditions of paradigm conflict, the person or people with the new idea become "OUTSIDERS", who are dehumanized, and denied standing.

    To fix this problem, which has been enormously costly to the sciences over the years, will require a change in moral priorities, or some social invention.

    When matters of fact can distinguish between systems of ideas, checking is morally forcing to the extent that the ideas are important.


    rshowalter - 09:56am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#217 of 293)  | 

    A discussion of a pattern that might work well for handling paradigm conflict, discussed also on b THE NEW YORK TIMES boards, is set out in #64-67, this thread. rshowalter Fri 18/08/2000 15:47


    Kissenger - 08:49pm Nov 15, 2000 BST (#218 of 293)

    Rshowalter

    I've just read your paper titled:

    < An error at the interface between the measurable and our culture's equation-representations has been made. Our culture's limiting arguments have been applied to invalid terms. Terms have been mislabeled as 0's or infinities as a result of this mistake. >

    and found at

    http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt

    - it's pretty amazing, and that's an understatement!!!

    It defines a problem, and suggests a way towards the solution, a solution of immense importance. It tackles an issue that is at the heart of this thread, an issue that can be understood in the question 'who's getting there?' when it is applied to the relationship that exists between our modelling of reality (for historical/economic reasons very limited) and our attempts to put those models to better practical effect.

    Have you read ET Whittaker seminal math papers?You can find them here:

    http://www.csonline.net/bpaddock/scalar/

    I think you might find them very interesting! Whittaker shows that there can be no zeroes in our models of reality, only combinations of terms that sum to zero, just as you mention in your title 'Terms have been mislabeled as 0's or infinities'!

    Good luck with everything!

    K


    rshowalter - 09:59pm Nov 15, 2000 BST (#219 of 293)  | 

    Kessinger, Thanks!

    I care about the technical result in differential equation modelling very much - I've devoted my life to it, and I believe many good things will come from getting this old, old problem fixed.

    An oversight, and basically a simple one, has been causing trouble since the 1690's. The oversight happened (or maybe, better, condensed) in the discourse of the 1650's. If there's anybody to "blame", you'd blame Newton's old boss, Isaac Barrow.

    I hope to use the math, in breaking pieces of the code of the brain, in a few places in pure science, and in engineering problems, too.

    But I've come to hope that something else good will come from the work, and maybe something more important. I'm speaking of a sense of how paradigm conflicts occur as human interactions, and a sense of how, with some fairly simple, easy changes in social patterns, these problems may be much better solved in the future.

    These are human dramas - they are a special, interesting kind of tragedy.

    If that sense of how paradigm conflict occurs is right (and I'm hoping it is) then the future may be, in significant ways, better than the past. That insight came from a partnership - the combination of some stark, even dehumanized work of mine combined with insights of surpassing grace and power from my main co-writer on this thread. For many years, I had much of the stark part, without it seeming coherent or whole - without the jelling, dash, grace and deep insight that she's brought to it.

    I'll be writing of these things at more length.

    For me, the human insights have come harder than the technical ones, and seem more important.

    Thanks!


    Gnidrolog - 11:22pm Nov 15, 2000 BST (#220 of 293)

    rshowalter, I tried to read your article at

    http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/

    but found it to be laid out in a such manner as to render it almost unreadable. For instance, one paragraph that I encountered early on contained an entire paragraph expressed as a HTML "H4" header, containing four changes of font colour two changes of font presentation (normal, underlined, bold), and a quite unnecessary mixture of upper and lower case. Whilst this may look impressive to the naive reader, it can hardly be expected to encourage anyone seriously interested in whatever ideas you might have to present. Add to this your rather eccentric treatment of a rejection letter in response to your attempt to use Nature as a free checking service, one does wonder if you could possibly have set about this paradigm shift business in a way more calculated to get up the noses of those whose minds you supposedly wish to change. Was this choice of technicolor splurge and crankspeak deliberate?


    rshowalter - 02:32am Nov 16, 2000 BST (#221 of 293)  | 

    Gnidrolog , your points are pretty well taken, at one level. http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/ was one of the first internet pieces I ever did, and no doubt I should have done another index page in the intervening time. It was not a mathematical demonstration so much as an appeal for checking.

    Checking was exactly what was needed. That's the standard case when paradigm conflicts occur.

    You'd be happier with the presentation in A Modified Equation for Neural Conductance and Resonance http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 and especially the appendices. No one's found mistakes in that work. Some things have sharpened since it was written.

    But the core point, and the core difficulty, is that the S-K work is just outside the range where current mathematical procedures are validated and considered legitimate. A physical representation procedure beyond the validated axioms of mathematics has been inferred by an imperfect analogy, now over 300 years old, and been assumed. The incorrect assumption and procedure is usually an excellent approximation, but sometimes fails catastrophically.

    Appendix 2 of http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 sets out the core paradigm conflict , or change in perspective.

    "Procedures for representing physical models in equation form cannot be determined from our axioms because our axioms are limited to abstract domains. But representation procedures can be examined by means of experimental mathematics. Valid representation procedures must be consistent with computational consistency tests. Current techniques for calculating the interaction of several natural laws over a spatial increment fail tests that valid representation requires, and are ruled out. A consistent technique is proposed."

    My problem has been getting mathematicians to LOOK at specific cases where "Current techniques for calculating the interaction of several natural laws over a spatial increment fail tests that valid representation requires, and are ruled out."

    The problem has been a classic repeat of other cases of paradigm conflict - an error, in dissonance from expectations, has been looked away from, rather than looked at, by experts deeply indoctinated within a community of practice.

    One may say, "Showalter,if you're beyond the axioms, then you're not doing mathematics." Depending on how one defines "mathematics" that may be right of wrong. But if one is asking for effective representation - you must ask "what works? And for practical reasons, you need representation procedures that work. People have been having big trouble with the mathematical representation of coupled physical circumstances since Newton's time.

    Here's the key logical issue: "When we derive an equation representing a physical model, reasoning from a sketch and other physical information, we write down symbols and terms representing physical effects. We may write down several stages of symbolic representation before we settle on our "finished" abstract equation. As we write our symbols, we implicitly face the following question:

    Question: WHEN can we logically forget that the symbols we write represent a physical model? WHEN can we treat the equation we've derived from a physical model as a context-free abstract entity, subject only to the exact rules of pure mathematics?

    We can never do so on the basis of rigorous, certain, clearly applicable axioms. There are no such axioms. We cannot avoid making an implicit assumption that says

    "THIS equation can be treated as a valid abstract equation, without further concern about its context or origin, because it seems right to do so, or because it is traditional to do so. We have made the jump from concrete representation to valid abstraction HERE."

    But the assumption ......... is not provably true from the axioms and procedures of pure mathematics. People go ahead and make these sorts of assumptions as they work. They cannot avoid doing so. Right or wrong, they are making "experimentally based" assumptions in their representation-derivations. People have made these implicit assumptions without recognizing the essentially experimental nature of their proceedings. It is better that this experimental nature be recognized, so that consistency checks can be applied to the unprovable steps. Any inconsistencies involved with these implicit steps may then be identified.


    rshowalter - 02:36am Nov 16, 2000 BST (#222 of 293)  | 

    Unfortunately, the notion that such inconsistencies could exist has been "unthinkable." That's a classical example of paradigm conflict, where people indoctrinated in a particular community of practice become so sure of their assumptions that they can no longer look at counterexamples.

    In that case, you need an umpire, so that a crucial question of fact can be determined.

    I've had all the classic difficulties in getting that umpiring. Some analogous experimental results have involved analogous difficulties.

    Once the question of FACT on which the paradigm shift hinges is acknowledged, more compact statements can be made. I've done a paper considerably more compact than http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 recently.

    In paradigm conflict, it is getting the key question of fact checked that is the essential problem.

    Steve Kline, my partner in this work, was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and was about to be named "the most distinguished computational and experimental fluid mechanician of the 20th century" by the JSME when we worked together. He'd already fought through one paradigm conflict, and I was taking his advice, which seems sound in retrospect. By the time we made our "rather eccentric" request for checking, we had been in interaction with excellent mathematicians, at a level of intensity where issues of formality were clearly not the problem, for more than four years. Try as we might, and fit formalities as we might, we kept getting the response "we cannot tell whether you are right or wrong" - in essence we got a refusal to CHECK the core question of fact in the only way it could be checked - by the matching processes of experimental mathematics (simple checking of examples.) Every one of the difficulties of paradigm conflict was on show in that interaction. We asked for checking because Steve felt, and I felt, that it was just what we needed.

    Gnidrolog , one can use derogatory words. Status laden words can be a way of cutting off consideration of fundamentals. The issue here happens to make a difference of more than 12 orders or magnitude on neural inductance. That's a big enough change to have life and death consequences. So the issue matters, whether I am a nice or decorous guy of not.

  • ****

    I don't wish to respond to your derogatory words with derogatory words of my own. I believe that my problem is in the process of being solved, and solved in a way that will help solve other paradigm conflict problems, as well. I'm making an effor to have that solution as graceful as possible, and I believe some others involved are trying to do that, too.

    The presentation of http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015 is not, I believe, subject to the objections you expressed.

    But this must be said. In a situation of paradigm conflict, one is already being "indecorous" in the sense that one has stepped outside the usages of "established practice."

    One needs checking, and in cases where the practical implications of an answer are large, that checking should be morally forcing.


    Possumdag - 03:10am Nov 16, 2000 BST (#223 of 293)

    Electrical Signals :

    Labour day

    Want to know when a baby will be born? Tune in to the womb. . . it's been telling us all along

    BY THE time a woman goes into premature labour it is often too late to stop the contractions, and the baby can be born with dangerously underdeveloped organs. But researchers in Britain may now have found a way to predict labour--weeks before it happens. This would allow for intervention earlier and ensure a safer delivery.

    "We could nip the whole cascade of events in the bud," says Nigel Simpson, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at the University of Leeds. He and his colleague James Walker found that the electrical signals that stimulate muscle contraction in the uterus change over the course of pregnancy. As an expectant mother gets closer to labour, the uterine muscles begin to act in unison, getting ready to push the baby out. As this happens, the number of random muscle contractions, which show up as high-frequency peaks in the signal, begin to die down.

    "The uterus doesn't wake up one day and say 'Oh, I'll go into labour today,'" says Simpson. "It gradually becomes more susceptible to being activated." If the electrical changes observed prove predictable enough, doctors could then pinpoint the time of birth weeks in advance. "Up to two weeks is certainly feasible," says Walker.

    To detect the signals, hospital staff place a few sticky-pad electrodes--like the ones used by an ECG to monitor the heart--on the mother's stomach. If the system proves reliable, Simpson and Walker hope that women could use personal labour-detection devices at home.

    They suspect, however, that this monitoring system might prove most valuable for showing when a mother is not going into labour, rather than when she is. This would be especially useful for first-time mothers who suspect they're having early contractions. Being able to detect false alarms at home would prevent a wasted trip to the hospital.

    "Anything that would aid us with an estimation on the time of labour would be nothing but a good thing," says Alan Cameron, a specialist in fetal medicine at the Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital in Glasgow. Between 6 and 7 per cent of women go into premature labour, he says, which can lead to babies being born with dangerously underdeveloped lungs and other organs. And some premature births signal other problems, like infections in the mother or child--so an early warning could help diagnose these problems.

    However, not everyone approves. Mary Newburn, head of policy research at the London-based National Childbirth Trust, a charity that supports parents and parents-to-be, says wrong results from such a system could turn happy pregnancies into stressful ones. "This is another example of the creeping tide of technology," she says. "Can women not be trusted to listen to their own bodies, as they always have done?"

    Nicola Jones

    From New Scientist magazine, 18 November 2000. http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns226522


    AlaskaRanger - 10:13am Nov 16, 2000 BST (#224 of 293)

    A bit off topic, sorry:

    possumdag or xpat - did you feel that monster earthquake (Richter 7.8 - 8.0, by preliminary readings) that whacked PNG about 90 minutes ago?

    Possumdag - 11:16am Nov 16, 2000 BST (#225 of 293)

    computer chips aiming to pioneer a new kind of communication uplink. This would enable satellite users to upload files via a security protocol similar to that used by web page operators. Currently, security fears mean that satellite control systems are kept offline. http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?id=ns9999170


    Possumdag - 01:22pm Nov 16, 2000 BST (#226 of 293)

    AR :: about 3000km nne, the main thing is when the tide goes way out ( is sucked into the vaccuum of the quake), not to run down to the beach to view it. The archeolgists of the shore note the instances of quake happenings reflected in the shorelines dating back ten thousand years.

    On the Electrical Signals v intuitiative feelings re body (pregancy) post, it would be appropriate to better understand them in relation to both labour and birth, and possible other bodily functionings. If the mood of the body and it's functioning can be measured and guaged then proactive actions might be developed that keeps the body functioning to it's peak.

    On the sending of a Server into orbit, there seems to be a greater readiness to accept science that assists digital communication, than to accept science that may help us better understand vascular communication.


    rshowalter - 01:47pm Nov 16, 2000 BST (#227 of 293)  | 

    Paradigm conflicts can have horrific consequences, and they involve difficulties, including rights in conflict. I've been involved in a paradigm conflict that puts these difficulties in sharp relief. Here are questions that that history drives home to me

    "Suppose a paradigm change is suggested, and testable in logic and experimentally, that evokes STRONG, VISCERALLY AVERSE REACTIONS in many stakeholders in the communities of practice involved. Aversive resonses that are not stupid or arbitrary, but responses that are there for real reasons embedded in ornate conceptual structures to which the stakeholders are emotionally, logically, and professionally committed.

    Suppose the stakes, in money, life, death, and technical implication, are VERY LARGE? So that getting the right answer seems very important?

    What, under current usages, can society do to deal with the situation?

    What SHOULD be done?

    What changes, exceptions, or insights are necessary here ?

    These aren't easy questions, and they involve human dramas where it is possible to have much sympathy with all concerned.

    Society needs better answers than it has - with current answers, good people, acting in good faith, and trying hard, can generate very bad results, and not get, or even check for, right answers.

  • ************

    Possumdag - 10:47pm Nov 16, 2000 BST (#228 of 293)

    Sounds like a search for a new truth ... but ... what is the VALUE of the new truth as set against the redundant knowledge it replaces.

    All very esoteric unless/until ... the "what can it do for me?" question is considered.

    Ultimately:

    Can the value be interpreted into innovations manifested as marketable products.

    If marketable then generally is there a public of consumers, and do these have to be educated regarding the potentials of an improved product. Would the improvements and efficiencies be sufficiently substantial to knock out the current as redunant.

    Looping back to :

    Sounds like a search for a new truth ... but ... what is the VALUE of the new truth


    jihadij - 07:01am Nov 17, 2000 BST (#229 of 293)

    The plimsole liners abandoned ship - when too many ships sunk. Perhaps redundant information has sinking ships no one is talking about .... ?


    kester - 01:46pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#230 of 293)

    Sorry if this has been asked, but;

    Rshowalter - where did the resistance to your ideas predominantly come from? Was it (as I suspect) from mathematicians, or from medics and neuroscientists? It strikes me that if your eqn. models the data better, it should be relatively straightforward to get working scientists to accept it on empirical grounds, without the need for rigorous proof. From the point of view of saving lives, surely that's the important thing to concentrate on.....


    Possumdag - 08:32pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#231 of 293)

    De-regulation of banking has been intere$$$$ting! Adam Smith would not have forseen the ability of monetarty providers to write a contract, call it a product, and from which to (eg) sell insurance. Money moving was in his day usury and left to Jews usually.

    Watching the American Election, which would have evolved the way it has to satisfy the needs of power brokers, not voters.

    In Letter from America http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/letter_from_america/newsid_1021000/1021159.stm Alister Cooke outlines a few problems including election expenditures that were supposed to have been rectified - yet still haven't, leading to voter discontent.

    Reviewing the current vote method, probably devised by IBM from a jacquard weave pattern, it would seem that were voters required first to mark the spot with an x and then punch, their intentions would be clearer for manual counting. The Hare-Clarke system would be an improvement for Americans ... so why don't they adopt a system that more truely reflects the complex will(s) of the peoples and enables the small parties to gain electoral funding prior to a redistribution on votes ..... presumably 'power' interests in current redundant methodology.

    That the contestents of this Presidential Beauty Pagent are 'setting down the rules' rather than awaiting adjudication is the wonder. Suggesting the contest does not have a FAIR and established method run by an impartial commission.

    Now, if the USA can be seen to be incapable of running a mere election satisfactorily, that equates with (1 or 0), how would America be able to demonstrate the competence to check the more complex.

    Triangualtion with a checker off-shore might be a suggestion.


    rshowalter - 11:30pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#232 of 293)  | 

    When progress is delayed due to paradigm conflicts, the loss, in retrospect, are often huge. In the case of Semmelweis, millions died horribly and much sooner than they might have. Other cases are almost as bad. Sometimes progress is delayed for generations. Sometimes the human dramas involve very ugly behavior, and real tragedies.

    But though the stakes can be high, and acceptance of correct answers can be long delayed, the questions involved in paradigm conflicts are starkly simple. In the cases of Semmelwies, and McCully, the questions were:

    1. When going from patient to patient, does sanitation matter, or not? (It matters.)

    2.Does homocysteine relate causally to artheriosclerosis, or not? (It does.)

    In the recent revolution in fluid mechanics, the question was

    3. When a flow becomes turbulent, are the laws of Newtonian physics adjourned, so that only statistics applies, or does causality continue? (It continues.)

    In my case, the key question is

    4. Do the axioms of pure math have a domain of definition, or not? If they do, and you are outside that domain of definition, can you do experiments (symbolic and model-physical system matching) or not? (This isn’t settled in the profession – but YES YOU CAN.)

    These questions are simple, and have simple answers. But these questions are not simple in human terms, for the people most concerned with them. When these questions are nested in a mass of cultural-social-emotional construction, they may be invisible, or emotionally charged to a prohibitive degree, and resolution of them may be humanly impossible.

    For example, to see Semmelweis’s point, doctors had to rethink what they were doing, and admit that they were inadvertently killing patients. To see McCully’s point, a team of cardiologists who had organized themselves around one research subject (chloresterol) had to admit that another issue might matter as well. In may case, procedures that have become embedded in three centuries of mathematical physics practice have to be re-examined.

    My late partner, S.J. Kline, one of the few people who successfully worked through a paradigm shift (in fluid mechanics, after a fifteen year fight) put it this way:

    "One cannot reasonably expect successful peer review of a proposition, or acceptance of it later, if people in the profession wince at the ideas in it so much that they look away. ..... Ideas, to work, have to fit in people's heads, and in their institutions."

    Here’s another statement of the “abstractly easy” but “humanly hard” point that’s taken me and Steve so much time and effort. The key point, the “showstopper” point, is at least as much a matter of recognition as of formality.

    The measurable world and the axiomatic "world" of math are DIFFERENT. Mathematical models represent physical circumstances by a kind of ANALOGY. The arithmetical mechanics by which we form these analogies CAN BE TESTED FOR SYMBOLIC CONSISTENCY and CAN BE TESTED BY PHYSICAL EXPERIMENT. The analogy formation mechanism, itself, is entirely beyond the axioms of formal math as it is now taught. It is EXPERIMENTAL tests, not proof by axiomatic usages, that must be applied to evaluate the completeness and correctness of the analogy-forming procedures.

    There’s a “territorial” issue that arises. At the stage where the analogy is being formed as a good representation, is “formal math” in the professional sense being done, or not? I put it this way”

    The point isn't that I'm doing formal math. The point is that I'm not doing formal math, and for where I'm working, and what I'm doing, that's all right.

    My objective has never been to short circuit peer review, but to get checking done, prior to peer review, that gets people past the wincing stage, so that our arguments, right or wrong, can stand on their own.

    In abstract terms, the issues are easy. For the community of practice involved, this time, mathematicians, and people who have math as part of their conceptual equipment, the issue is not easy, because three centuries of practice and doctrine are called into question. Sometimes the issues are “only conceptual” – and quantitative implications are negligible. Other times, in neurophysiology, turbulent fluid mechanics, and some other complex coupled problems, the quantitative implications are huge, and explain the failures of past approaches.


    rshowalter - 11:38pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#233 of 293)  | 

    Questions of value of the results, questions of “who objects” are very interesting questions. In the past, HUGE amounts of money, and values people would value in money, have been at stake, and that's true in the S-K case, as well.

    It is worth remembering something very easy to forget. The core questions on which paradigm conflict hinge are SIMPLE .

    It is the human relations, and the psychology, and the social usages, that are hard. Here’s an essential reason why they are hard.

    Under paradigm conflict, new ideas, that are right, are “obviously wrong” to the working group of professionals who judge them.

    “Obviously wrong” , for most people, means something like i--- “in tension with the current body of socially (and logically) constructed ideas and “working knowledge.”

    That tension can cause extreme emotional and territorial responses, including blindness to evidence, and enough tension to produce tics, shaking body parts, and generally averse, angry responses.

    When that happens, abstractly simple questions aren’t practically simple for real people. And answering these "simple" questions is problematic for real societies.


    rshowalter - 11:46pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#234 of 293)  | 

    Here is a repeat of #99 and #100 of this thread:

    Intellectual understanding and morality are linked. Handwashing is an important example. Now, there are many circumstances where the duty to wash one’s hands has moral force, widely supported by almost everyone. That’s true in hospitals, eating places, and all over societies. Duty and reflex are also linked. Few feel oppressed by the need for handwashing. It is taken for granted. The handwashing happens in an informed context. There are plenty of times where hands need not be washed. There are other times when handwashing is obligatory. People know the difference. If it were otherwise, the world would be unimaginably worse, and populations much smaller.

    In Semmelweis’ time, the need for handwashing wasn’t understood. It is now. A change in intellectual understanding, much reinforced by experience, has changed the morays of the world.

    I feel that, in cases that matter enough, under carefully enough defined circumstances, the need for valid checking should be morally forcing. Practical questions of fact and logic that can be checked, and that matter enough, should be checked.

    “Matter enough” should be a question discussed, and subject to negotiation, in terms of consequences (just as the question “when does handwashing matter enough” is discussed today.)

    I feel that, in clear cases, checking should be morally forcing. That view seems to be as rare and strange now as the view that handwashing was obligatory was in the 1830’s. I believe that has to change.

    I think that paradigm conflict misfire is a particularly clear case of the need for checking. But it seems to me that there are many other cases, almost as clear. I believe that the holocaust is another particularly clear illustration. Hitler went unchecked.

    Often, it seems to me, objective truth is one’s only hope for good results. That implies a close coupling between morality and checking. A close enough coupling that the need to check should be morally forcing even when it is difficult (perhaps especially when it is difficult.)

    That is the opposite of the social-moral-practical reality today, even for the most elite, morally careful individuals and institutions society can show. (I've collected quite a lot of evidence for this - people make the moral decision that checking needs to be subordinated to "values of civility." They make this as a consistent moral decision. I believe that the priorities on this moral decision need to be changed, in cases where the stakes are high enough, because the consequences of that moral decision, now ubiquitous, are so damaging.)

    Change that priority, and I believe the world would improve, both scientifically and in other ways. I feel that the improvement might be great enough to compare to the improvement in health that came with improved sanitation.

    I believe that the S-K case is now a remarkably clear, well documented illustration of the need for this change. The S-K case is technically clear, the history is beyond reasonable question, and nobody involved makes a good candidate for dehumanization.


    rshowalter - 11:53pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#235 of 293)  | 

    repeat of (#100)

    bNice said this:

    >This 'checking' is important.

    Yes it is.

    She's right that thinking in terms of money helps.

    >"Checking would have a cost. Checking here affects decision making. Decision making is weighting, and weighing against other alternatives. Preference in decision making could be 'doing what you like' regardless of the evidence ... this is an authority decision style, without reference to the democratic foundations.

    "If people asked "should we check?" and evaluated the questions in terms of money to be gained or lost, then a lot of complications would be stripped away. The really bad misfires couldn't happen, if people just thought in terms of something neutral, like money."

    Money is a clean thing, compared to the welter of paralyzing checks and balances you get to if you follow Kuhn, especially if, for some reason, several disciplines have to share in the answering of a question.

    But issues of "democratic foundations" - and issues of credibility and status, matter too. Now, with the internet, some past mistakes may be easier to avoid. Especially with videotape. There's a story of a lady, on her knees, praying about Darwin.

    Oh Lord, let it not be true .....

    But if it IS true ....

    Give us the STRENGTH to suppress it .

    If people on opposite sides of a question discuss things and that's shown on web videotape, the difference between open minded work, and "the will to supress" might be hard to hide.

    Once the human point is somehow made that sane, credible people are raising a sane, credible issue, then the questions

    "What would it cost to check? and "What gain could we get, or what loss could we avoid, by getting the right answer here?" are the right questions.

    As far as paradigm conflict misfires go, the future can be better than the past.


    rshowalter - 11:57pm Nov 17, 2000 BST (#236 of 293)  | 

    A 35 minute talk on S-K, that sets out the basic logic simply, uses this slide show http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/nterface .


    rshowalter - 10:58pm Nov 18, 2000 BST (#237 of 293)  | 

    This is a condensation of WHAT ARE THE NEW YORK TIMES SCIENCE FORUMS GOOD FOR? Can newspapers really participate in science? Can they really cover it? Should they? by M. R. Showalter and S. J. Kline, http://www.wisc.eud/rshowalt/whytimes written about six months before Professor Kline's death in November 1997.

    It speaks about about barriers to innovation, and the role of newspapers and newspaper fora in science.

    Steve Kline knew these barriers first hand. It took him almost fifteen years, from the position of a Stanford professor, to get the most key result of his group checked. It took a showdown, enforced by the massive intervention of the U.S. Air Force, to get that checking done. Thereafter, the paper was published through the ordinary peer reviewed usages, many others followed, and a paradigm shift occured in the field of turbulent fluid mechanics.


    rshowalter - 11:01pm Nov 18, 2000 BST (#238 of 293)  | 

    "In business, different parts of a firm are expected to reach workable agreements about what the truth is. Commercial realities force this. Some of the forces are internal and some external. Claims a firm makes are often subject to scrutiny by public agencies, and overclaims that result in loss to customers can draw lawsuits. In engineering (particularly in fields like automotive or aeronautical engineering, where safety is a major issue) requests for right answers are "command performances." However, in the academy, major, operationally important disparities between fields can go unresolved for many decades. We believe that academic usages are irresponsible in this way, and would remain so regardless of the stakes, even if hundreds of millions of dollars, or tens of thousands of researcher years, or thousands of unnecessary deaths were at stake. If scientists are better than ordinary citizens in some ways, they are worse here.

  • *********************************

    "If one lives in a university, and sees the pressures people confront there, this is understandable. People's careers depend on the reaction of the "invisible colleges" of their specialty to their work. They depend almost not at all on responsibilities to a larger "body of scholars" or to the public at large.

    "A larger question arises here. What responsibilities do scientists have, particularly professors with lifetime tenure, to our social system? The answers can be unfortunate when they happen by default."

    "Any faculty member has struggled desperately hard for a paid place as a member of his specialty. Graduate students are under severe pressure to make that same grade by the particular and specialized standards of their invisible college. Publications are central to gaining and justifying status in the "invisible colleges." Published papers are a core requirement for academic hiring and promotion - a publication is, in large part, a "chit" for employment, issued after the writer has shown sufficiently high qualification according to the specific standards of the particular discipline (invisible college) in which the work is done.

    "With a few elite exceptions, the editors of the academic journals are overworked and undercompensated in money. These editors are motivated by service to THEIR invisible college, and by a desire to gain honor in THAT PARTICULAR invisible college. Paper reviewers for the journals, practically always uncompensated, also do their editorial work as a honorific duty to THEIR invisible college. This is honorable work, motivated, as much of the good work of society is, by notions of duty and status. Society derives enormous advantage from such hard, careful work.

    "Still, the question arises - what happens if publishing an argument would reduce or endanger the status of the editors and reviewers who let the work be published? What happens if someone asks that a piece be published, or that an idea be considered, that questions and may in some way undermine the invisible college itself?


    rshowalter - 11:05pm Nov 18, 2000 BST (#239 of 293)  | 

    "In such cases, we cannot be surprised if all concerned within the invisible college recall that

    "He who troubleth his own house will inherit the wind."..........Proverbs 11 - 29

    "How will an idea that strongly "troubles its own house" fare? For psychological reasons, that idea may not be understood at all. But suppose it is. How will rational (and often fearful) professors and graduate students react to it?

    "What happens if a member of the group champions it? How long can she do so, and how vigorously can she do so, and remain a member of her invisible college in good standing?

    "What happens to her if she loses that good standing?

    "What does this do to the publication prospects of an unwelcome idea?

    "Editors are human, and will not like to give the gift of publication, which operationally exists in their sole discretion, under these circumstances. The same question has redoubled force if the people asking for consideration and publication are outsiders. By understandable standards of professional fairness, OUTSIDERS are not appropriate players in a competition for chits for employment and promotion. The journals now deal primarily in such chits.

    "Anyone who radically questions an invisible college is an outsider by definition, or becomes one very quickly.

    "Funding rules make the task of the boatrocker harder still, by penalizing anyone who becomes convinced by her. Federal grant requirements lock investigators in, so that admission of the need to change, on the basis of new ideas or new information, is an admission of defeat.

    "The upshot is that our professional journals, and other semi-organized patterns of our invisible colleges are not adapted to consider or publish controversial pieces that dispute the accepted wisdom of the invisible colleges involved. The notion of fairness to new ideas or fairness to outsiders is in conflict with the specializations in place.

    "The academic journals often do the jobs they are built for well. The professoriate and their subordinates and apprentices often do their jobs well. The jobs the academic journals are built for, and the professoriate is rewarded for, are essential jobs. Nonetheless,the journals are now repositories and developers of a carefully edited truth, according to self-chosen and self- enforced standards of specialized invisible colleges. The professors are engaged in the elaboration and defense of that truth. This may be ideal specialization so long as the ideas of the invisible college involved are right. This may be the usual case. Even so, these arrangements and specialized patterns are NOT adapted for discussion in the broad sense in which that term is understood elsewhere in society. In their natural, unsupervised state, these arrangements are not engines for determining truth as the notion of truth is understood elsewhere in society.


    rshowalter - 11:10pm Nov 18, 2000 BST (#240 of 293)  | 

    We then go on to speak of the role of forums such as this one:

    " ...... forums can discuss issues that the focused journals cannot. They can deal with issues without being much constrained by issues of territory and status. They have a real, creative intellectual service to perform. Here, we believe, is how key steps in intellectual progress happen:

    If one is to have hope of working out a problem, one must first sharply, carefully describe it.

    ,,,,,,,,,,Prior to sharp description, one may face a mystery, an unspeakable mystical strangeness in some body of relations.

    .......Sometimes, after the work of sharp, careful, well checked description, a mystery may be transmuted into something much different and far more precious. The hard thought and description may have generated a sharp, defined contradiction.

    Such a clearly defined contradiction is a target identified, a place to reassess and rebuild, a source of hope. A mystery is a call to awe and stasis. A contradiction is a call to thought and action.

    Forums can facilitate this descriptive sharpening.

  • ************************

    I'd add that GuardianUnlimited TALK is, by far, the best place for that sharpening that I've seen, and a contribution to the culture that I very much appreciate.

    (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

    I still believe that the situation Steve and I describe above is fairly stated. That means that, before a piece of work that represents a paradigm shift can be published by the ordinary usage of peer review as it is, it must be checked for validity in a way that other contributions need not be.

    Specializations in place, admirable in many other ways, are not well adapted for checking issues on which paradigm conflicts hinge. And it this checking stage, which is a specialized need of paradigm conflict circumstances, where our current academic arrangements are lacking.


    rshowalter - 12:34am Nov 19, 2000 BST (#241 of 293)  | 

    But now, the net IS making things better. And may make them much better in the future.


    rshowalter - 02:54am Nov 19, 2000 BST (#242 of 293)  | 

    Because the net is weakening all sorts of established authority, and making it possible to have an audience question MANY more decisions.

    For instance, maybe in a few years, it might be possible to have people take CHALLENGES seriously.

    On a matter of thermodynamics interesting to both engineers and physicists, Steve Kline, with a little backup from me and some professors, tried to challenge the physicists, The bet was for honor and a small amount of money ( a thousand dollars ) Could the physicists show some things, that engineers didn't think could be true, that the physicists were claiming. Well, Steve, and some other people sent the challenge all around, to ranking folks, and more widely, too. No takers. The physicists simply didn't have to answer the question.

    Thermodynamics as engineers use it, and as physicists use it, remain significantly different.

    If, on the web, people were SHAMED not to take up such challenges, one way or another. if such things became, after enough procedures and safeguards, "command performances," then the key needs for handling paradigm conflicts might be directly adressed. That would be a different world from now. But not unthinkably different.


    prunus - 12:24pm Nov 20, 2000 BST (#243 of 293)

    Rshowalter

    I am impressed by your dedication in trying to persuade professional colleagues to seriously investigate your discoveries but I would welcome some further explanation/description, in as lay terms as is possible, of electrical propagation in nerve tissues, which seems to be at the heart of your case.

    Am I correct in assuming that nerve inductance has not been measured as directly as it would be in a conventional electrical circuit, but has been deduced by you at least in part by considering what bandwidth for data transmission would be necessary to account for known reaction times and sensory discrimination by the brain?

    My knowledge of electronics is fairly minimal (I was a radio hobbyist of sorts) and of physiology is practically non-existent, but I recall reading somewhere that nerve impulses are partly propagated by chemical means, not simply by electric currents. I have an even vaguer memory of a suggestion that the nerve currents actually move radially in the nerve rather than axially, and this causes a progressive alternating chemical/electrical change to propagate axially along the nerve. If this is correct how do your bandwidth/inductance and other assumptions hold?


    rshowalter - 10:11pm Nov 20, 2000 BST (#244 of 293)  | 

    prunus ......Some progress, and a rain check.

    At a meeting with a senior math professor, I got some way past the “paradigm conflict stage” and into the “normal science” stage of discourse. Felt good! In paradigm conflict, standard reponses are “can’t be” … “don’t have to look” … and “you’re crazy.” We got past that, and at least for today, I sold the notion that measurement construction was different than abstract math. I got fairly comfortable provisional acceptance of my position that there are emergent properties, that can be big, from combinations of simple effects over space.

    There were questions of exposition, construction, and notation, helpfully set out. And, of course, all of them could be potentially fatal if not adressed. But the man wasn’t saying “can’t be” was looking hard, and wasn’t saying “you’re crazy.” And the exposition will be better for his comments.

    I’m doing some constructions, to clarify issues he suggested, before answering your much-appreciated question.

  • **********

    Just a few quick points about the answer I’ll give.

    Brain looks like it has high Q passive resonance –from Regan’s measurements and much else. That takes inductance – trillions of times more than current theory. S-K has the right values of inductance so that the resonance would happen with the dendritic spine anatomy in place.

    Brain looks like it has high fidelity transmission – wave distortion with current- theory inductance is miserable - so channels would have to be miraculously and implausibly fancy – with S-K high inductance theory high fidelity transmission occurs, channels can act like we measure them to.

    Conduction velocity-frequency curve fitting S-K and not the old theory has been measured, not on nerve, but in a very thin walled plastic tube set up as a neuron analog.

    S-K theory works fine with channels, and at the same voltages as the old theory, but takes fewer channels, and less fancy channels, to propagate signals without undue distortion. Action potentials, workhorse signals in axons, are a lot more stable with S-K than with the old theory.

    A better answer to your fine question is coming, after I do some math-work.

    Thanks !


    Gnidrolog - 10:29pm Nov 20, 2000 BST (#245 of 293)

    rshowalter, you might like to know that I asked a zoologist friend of mine to look at your paper at

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/html/math-ph/9807015

    He really liked some of your ideas. Here's my personal summary of what he saw as good points and bad points:

    Bad:

    1. Your paper is rather incoherent in presentation, layout, and readability.

    2. It would have been better to show your work to your colleagues than to dump a large swathe of largely unreviewed work on Nature that was clearly unsuited to that journal's format and function.

    3. You simply don't have sufficient grounds to claim a connection between the cable properties of dendrites and visually triggered epileptic fits--that's apparently a pure guess.

    Good:

    4. This is an interesting and relevant problem in biophysics. You've piqued the interest of a fellow academic, and you might be right.

    Uou really need to be sharpen up your paper-writing skills. Learn to write without the use of block capitals, italics, and the like. Take your papers to biophysicists, talk to them about your ideas, submit them to biophysics journals, and make sure the papers focus on one issue at a time. The first thing to do might be to write a brief, uncluttered paper to explain the derivation of the S-K formula and its fit to biological data. If you will only take the trouble to sharpen your focus and work on your presentation, I think you'll have no end of people willing to discuss your ideas.


    rshowalter - 01:02am Nov 21, 2000 BST (#246 of 293)  | 

    Gnidrolog, I appreciate your comments very much, and the help from your friend. I'm sure he's right. I've been slogging on the same problem for a long time, and looking back, I've no doubt that I could have done many things better- definitely including all the things your friend points out.

    My core problem, for some years, made more difficult by some problems of my own, including many of my own making, has been to get past the notion that there IS a "math like" domain cluttered with measurement constraints, and that there are some procedural rules involved in the stripping away of those constraints that lead to representions that correspond to physically real emergent properties. Some of these emergent properties are big. (One, on a piston ring, was just big enough to lose me 16.4 millions dollars, years ago.)

    I've been so focused on getting past that raw existence issue, that I haven't focused nearly as well as I should on skills that people have a right to expect of me. One problem is a certain desperate optimism. If I'd known, a decade ago, that I was in for a decade long slog on the existence of emergent properties from coupled de's, I'd have done a lot of different things, and be a better academic animal, all around.

    I've also been slogging through a lot of historical material about math-physics, and the sorrows of past workers, that nobody else in the world seems to care about. Doing the imagining and thinking that takes, I've lost some of the starkness and modern focus I might otherwise have.

    Another problem is simply that, if you're from an unusual background, have unusual approaches and ambitions, and happen to be a tad forceful in spots, not everybody loves you.

    When you say:

    "The first thing to do might be to write a brief, uncluttered paper to explain the derivation of the S-K formula and its fit to biological data."

    that sounds right. The KEY part of that is getting the derivation of the crossproduct terms (both the ones that are now called "infinitessimals" and the ones now called "infinities") fit comfortably into the CURRENT mathematical a physics culture. Pleasing the ghost of J.C. Maxwell, though it has long been my ambition, doesn't begin to be enough. Today there were good steps in that direction.

    Gnidrolog I'm sure I owe you some apologies. Right now, I'm working, and looking around, for the first time in a while, I don't see anybody I have to worry about fighting with.

    So far, though, I think the arithmetic I've been doing is holding up. If it continues to, I hope I'll be able to talk to a lot of scientists, and be of some use.


    rshowalter - 07:40pm Nov 21, 2000 BST (#247 of 293)  | 

    prunus (#253) Asked some great questions, and I said I’d answer them after doing some math constructions. Well, those constructions are done, I’m happy with them, and they’re ready to sleep on and check again tomorrow. Problem is, I’m tired, and I have to start driving about a third a way across America, to a family Thanksgiveing gathering. So I’ll try to clarify some things, at a more technical level, and think about writing for “lay people” – the hardest kind of writing there is, and the most important, after I’m back, or at least a little more rested.

    A good writeup – fairly close to lay level, is a talk I gave at last year’s Midwest Neuroscience meeting http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/MWN_talk . It has a section on “What’s inductance – what does inductance do” that is as simple as I could make it. It also shows some EEG resonance data, from David Regan’s work, that was an inspiration to me, and that I think requires S-K levels of neural inductance.

    By and large, the neurophysiologists I've talked to have been pretty receptive, if only they could have "permission to use it" from the mathematicians. It has been the math that's been the show-stopper.

    Prunus said that the core of my case is neural conduction – and in terms of human interest, that’s true, though there are other places to use the work. Let me try to state my case, the way I’d try to do it to a person with some background.

    I'll be talking about neural lines - not the whole complex of branching lines and connections in an neuron, and only about the kind of neural lines where the membrane is unsheathed - the unmyelinated kind.


    rshowalter - 07:42pm Nov 21, 2000 BST (#248 of 293)  | 

    You can think of these unmeyelinated lines as very thin walled tubes, with salt water (ionic water) inside the tube and surrounding it. You can make a model of an unmeyelinated neural line that is exactly like this - a thin walled rubber tube, immersed in a grounded (one voltage) bath, with salt water in the tube. You can then measure how signals (fluctuating voltages) move down the tube. I've done this. Results measured on this model fit my theory – conduction velocity, above a threshold, is constant for different frequencies, rather than varying as the square root of frequencies, as the current theory predicts.

    Now neurons are more complicated than immersed thin wall tubes, because they are immersed thin walled tubes with membrane channels in them Channels that are tiny, molecular scale valves, which pass ions across the membrane in proportion to the voltage drop across the membrane.

    Let me speak as an engineer here.

    "Consider a conducting line that could be coaxial cable, or, at a different scale, with different materials, a neural conductor. Such a conducting line is called a transmission line. At any point x along the length of the line at time t there is a voltage, v, and a current i. The line has conduction properties characterized by R, resistance/length; L, inductance/length; G, membrane leakage conductance/length; and C, capacitance per length. The literature on transmission lines, defined in this way, has been extensive for many decades."

    Neural lines are transmission lines with fancy and time-space variable membrane leakage characteristics because of the channels. Now suppose we think of a neural line with all the channels closed, or steadily in a single conducting state. Then both the new S-K theory and the current theory can be written as just the same form of equation.

    The key difference is that the value of effective inductance/length in the new theory is about a thousand-billion to a million billion TIMES larger than in the old theory, depending on neural line diameter. That is

    1,000,000,00 times larger to

    1,000,000,000,000,000 times larger.

    So in the old theory, you can ignore the terms in derivations that have inductance in them. In the new theory, terms with inductance in them are important.

    The physical reason for the effective inductance in the S-K theory is that neural lines are so small, have such high resistance, and have proportionately so much charge stored in capacitance per volt, that the charge that flows into and out of the capacitance can’t be ignored when figuring the voltage drop across the line resistance. When line voltage is changing, a lot of the charge flow down the line, when voltage first changes, is flowing into or out of the line capacitance. The net effect, written in a way that fits in a differential equation, works out to a big fat inductance. The old theory ignores the voltage drops these capacitance charge flows produce against line resistance, and ignores this inductance.


    rshowalter - 07:46pm Nov 21, 2000 BST (#249 of 293)  | 

    Now, inductance makes a difference in how transmission lines operate. With high inductance, a waveform moves down a line with all the frequency components in the signal moving at the same speed, so that the waveform holds its shape as it moves. The propagation occurs with low distortion. For an “RC” line, with resistance and capacitance but neglible inductance, different frequencies move at different speeds, each proportional to the square root of frequency. Any periodic function you start with (for instance, a square wave or a musical tone) smears out to a sine wave of the period of the function very quickly. Current theory says that unmyelinated neurons are RC lines, and the distortion that occurs without impossibly fancy channel actuations to compensate for the distortion is implausibly awful. (It turns out that channels can only do a little to compensate for this phase distortion, for signals that are complicated enough to carry significant information.)

    People looking at neural wave forms have noticed for decades that it would “make sense” for neural lines to have inductance. They just couldn’t find any reason that the induction could be there. And it became doctrine that there was no inductance in neurons. But here’s a reason for the inductance, and the inductance calculated is the right size to fit the data.

    (There turn out to be some complications, that give a good reason why real unmyelinated neurons are so uniformly surrounded by glial clefts – that I’m not going into here.)

    Neurobiologists are preoccupied with many things, but most of them don’t like mathematical physics much. They may tend to feel that a change in the conduction equation would change things that it doesn’t effect at all. So I’d like to talk about things the change in conduction theory does NOT change. The new theory changes essentially nothing now assumed about ion channels, and the electrochemistry of membrane voltages. The new theory doesn’t change the theory of the action potential (except that the action potential, which is barely possible with current theory, is very stable with the new theory).

    What the new theory does, is reduce the number of membrane channels that have to open and close to propagate a signal, and makes possible the highly exact signal processing that we actually see, which would be impossible, for any channels anybody has actually measured, with current theory.

    Again, a good writeup – fairly close to lay level, is a talk I gave at last year’s Midwest Neuroscience meeting http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/MWN_talk . It has a section on “What’s inductance – what does inductance do” that is as elementary as I could make it, it explains what resonance is, and shows some EEG resonance data, from David Regan’s work, that was an inspiration to me, and that I think requires S-K levels of neural inductance.

    I’ve gotta start driving. Won’t be able to post much for a week. I deeply appreciate the chance to post here.

    I'm making headway on the key problem I've been facing - getting the math checked, and feel that I might actually be pulling past the "paradigm conflict" stage of my problem, and into the regime of normal science.


    Possumdag - 08:33pm Nov 24, 2000 BST (#250 of 293)

    Faster than the speed of light http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s212674.htm would there be a paradigm problem here?


    Possumdag - 01:38pm Nov 28, 2000 BST (#251 of 293)

    No takers - yet


    Gnidrolog - 03:05pm Nov 28, 2000 BST (#252 of 293)

    Re 260, I think this term "paradigm shift" is overused. It would have deep ramifications for cosmological calculations if the speed of light turned out to be subject to change. That's a big "if", of course. But the calculations are based on the existing model of cosmology where observations are synthesized into a consistent model of the universe. Nothing particularly revolutionary.


    prunus - 03:14pm Nov 28, 2000 BST (#253 of 293)

    Joao Magueijo's light speed hypothesis was covered by Equinox recently, see:

    http://www.channel4.com/equinox/ein_summary.html


    Gnidrolog - 05:28pm Nov 28, 2000 BST (#254 of 293)

    I saw it. Nice ideas, lots of fun for cosmologists.


    bNice2NoU - 04:13am Dec 2, 2000 BST (#255 of 293)

    I see channel 4 have interesting programs, used to like C4 when i lived in the UK http://www.channel4.com/guide/listings.cfm?id=857109


    Gnidrolog - 03:13pm Dec 2, 2000 BST (#256 of 293)

    Yes, Simon Singh on codes and codebreaking. He wrote a book on this last year (The Code Book). Also has directed some Horizons for BBC, including a famous one on Fermat's Last Theorem that he turned into a surprisingly readable book of the same name.


    xpat - 09:29pm Dec 2, 2000 BST (#257 of 293)

    Sounds interesting read, will look it up.

    Wonder if Showalter ever returned from that trip?


    xpat - 11:03pm Dec 7, 2000 BST (#258 of 293)

    Surely there's something happening re the paradigm .... !


    rshowalter - 11:39pm Dec 7, 2000 BST (#259 of 293)  | 

    Yes, I'm trying to figure out -- OK, suppose it looks like you're OVER the paradigm conflict part of the situation --- or at least have hopes of that. How do you make peace? How do you get things across so they really move through the culture?

    Think of the Semmelweis case - one of the ugliest episodes in the history of medicine, I think. Suppose, after a decade of pain and ugliness, somehow Semmelweis had broken through (of course he never did, but it is clarifying, I think, to ask the question.) He'd want to touch the minds and hearts of old "enemies" - who really had tried to kill him, but people who, given conversion to the new point of view, would want to do the right thing - but not commit psychic suicide. What could Semmelweis have done?

    It wouldn't have been too productive just to yell "I told you so." There'd be healing, and selling to do, that would be more important.

    I'm close enough to the point of hope to be thinking hard about that, just now. And to think hard about a misconception of mine, that make me an absolute bastard to be around, for all kinds of people, especially people of good will, who tried to help, and who I exhausted.

    The only problem Steve and I had with our little proposition was that it carried to high a price for practitioners. Not that it was logically hard. Not that we were unclear. Just that the cost of saying "yes" has been percieved to be so high, even so suicidally threatening, for the people we've asked to say yes. Here's our little proposition:

    At the stage of modelling a physical system from a sketch and physical laws in interaction together, before mapping into abstraction, you have to be able to write down a logically correct finite increment equation in the first place - only then can you take a limit and get the differential equation you'll want to use for everyday work. To get valid finite increment equations in the first place, crosseffect terms have to be algebraically simplified, as implicit measurements, in a dimensionally consistent way. That means unit (or point) scale. That way, the crosseffects, that logically must be finite, are finite. And by consistency tests, they are the right size.

    Logically, that isn't hard, if it doesn't cost you anything to trace through the logic.

    But it does cost the pros something. That proposition, which is logically prior to the calculus, would have been nice to know in the 1650's. But people made another assumption instead,and that wrong assumption led to false infinitessimals and false infinities, which have caused trouble ever since. (Big trouble - cost me 16.4 million dollars once, and has cost a lot of others, one way and another, a lot more.) And so mistakes have been built into main line mathematical physics, since the the beginning, and they've been causing problems since the 1690's.

    Why not fix it? Because, at first blush, it is a lot to fix.

    That's a simple problem, but an expensive one for a single practitioner to want to acknowledge. Because it means that some things have to be fixed - redone, cleaned up, starting from about 1690.


    xpat - 03:09am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#260 of 293)

    redundant information gets the short shift with respect to visions of incremental quality improvement ... is this any different a case ?


    rshowalter - 03:15am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#261 of 293)  | 

    xpat , you're asking "what's new?" Well, what's new, in very large part due to work on this thread, is that the mechanics of how paradigm conflict impasses occur have been defined workably for the first time. More than half thanks to you.

    Now that this definition-clarification-insight exists, problems that didn't have solutions before, do have solutions.

    Now, this thread, as an entity, needs editing, and it has plenty of redundancy, as often happens when ideas are converging, coming into focus. It could do with a rewrite, or reforming into a book. But the core insights are pretty clear, and they are coming to have force, where I'm actually working. Let me go on.


    rshowalter - 03:24am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#262 of 293)  | 

    Only in the course of writing this thread, with the guidance of xpat and her close friends, bNice , Possumdag , and some other perceptive posters, researchers, thinkers, and friends, did I get clear on what paradigm conflict was.

    Though I'd known pieces, and Steve Kline had actually fought through and won a paradigm conflict (in fluid mechanics).

    If Steve and I had understood paradigm conflict as well as I have come to, with contributions from Dawn Riley's brilliance, industry and touch that I could never have made alone, then Steve and I could probably could have solved our problems years ago. Maybe by 1993.

    (I also owe an intellectual debt to John Seely Brown and Paul Deguid for their work on "communities of practice.)

    But we didn't understand the things worked out in this thread. We didn't understand how paradigm conflict works in detail. We didn't understand the degree to which it can (and cannot) be resolved by an "umpired fight" We weren't coherent and clear about the essential requirement of resolution - not any particular dialectic scheme, but the point that, after an issue clearly came to matter enough, then right answers had to be morally forcing.

    I feel that, with paradigm conflicts defined workably, there's a chance that the old, ugly pattern need never happen again, for anything really important, for any long time. Once it is clear how paradigm conflicts work at the level of human and logical mechanics, there are fairly clear ways to fix them.

    In our case, things are coming to focus. The mechanisms by which exclusion had occurred are now very much weakened.

    Steve Kline and I had the math-physics well enough worked out by 1990. (Steve describes something of that math-physics, and something about himself, in http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec -- and I said this eulogy for Steve at Stanford Chapel http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul ).

    But after that, all we knew to do was to keep trying to get our argument clearer and clearer, in the hope that we'd eventually be able to "sell it" -- we basically thought our key problem was one of perception (and it partly was) rather than "excessive percieved cost" (as it mostly was.) Steve basically felt that, after enough clarification, you could force your adversaries to stand in a fight where you could beat them - and he trained me for that. That's how he finally won his revolution in fluid mechanics - after years of struggle. Steve and I didnt' see that, if the stakes were high enough, you just couldn't get a fight, unless people were clear that the right answer had to be morally forcing.

    The distinction between two kinds of argument impasse escaped Steve Kline and I, or we didn't focus on them clearly enough, for a long time.

    We thought, if the LOGIC was clear enough, it would carry the day, even if people found the consequences uncomfortable. So we kept sweating with the logic (which was, in retrospect, pretty good by 1991) and hoping for some flash of insight that would make our ideas beautiful to people who had something to lose by them.

    We didn't recognize that, if an idea was disruptive enough, people would find ways not to see it, unless there was some way to make it morally forcing.

    The history of the work Steve and I did is interesting, and would have been different if we'd understood this.

    We'd have been much more successful, and also a lot less trouble to some other people.


    rshowalter - 03:42am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#263 of 293)  | 

    We'd both worked on the coupled de problem, variously, and sometimes together, for many years. Me for my whole adult life, and Steve off and on a long time, too. But we'd been stumped, and had set it aside.

    Then in 1989 I saw zoom FFT EEG data from David Regan that had to show a neural inductance a thousand billion times larger than people thought. I called Steve at Stanford, and we were on the problem immediately. We both went "wow!" - and with some very perceptive flogging from Steve, I cracked the computational (though not the understanding) problem in a few days. And there we were, with a new neural transmission equation, and a recipe for doing some things in turbulent fluids that we both wanted done, and the explanation for a lot of old messes. We thought we'd hit the jackpot. I thought the main job of my life was done finally, and I could get paid for it.

    That was the middle of 1989. The next 11 years have been a very clear illustration (now that I understand it) of how paradigm conflict works, and of how, without understanding what is involved, such conflicts will never close. Our paradigm conflict case has been a unique one, perhaps a uniquely clear one, in one way. Because the "penalty function" that goes with accepting our basic proposition has been so high, we've had a situation that hasn't closed despite enormous amounts of help from distinguished people and institutions, and despite an essentially total absence of coherent logical or empirical objection to the work.

    Even with enormous good faith, and unusual and maybe unprecidented help from distinguished institutions, without moral force to closure, things don't close. If ever there's been a paradigm conflict well set out to illustrate the mechanics of the problem, we've been in it.

    And now, thanks to the kindness and brilliant help of xpat and her close freinds, bNice , Possumdag , and some others (all of whom know each other very well) the nature of how paradigm conflict impasses occur has been clarified. And resolution is occurring.

    Here is our core paradigm conflict, stated in this thread before:

    Do the axioms of pure math have a domain of definition, or not? If they do, and you are outside the domain of definition, can you do experiments (symbolic and model-physical system matching) or not?

    The force required to get that question resolved, and related mechanics checked, is being brought to bear. And the "bad faith" and "magical misperception" aspects, which seemed once to be much in evidence, are much harder to find now. People are admitting the core points. We're moving toward normal science.

    Moral force is often a sense that somebody else is looking. These threads have been a great help with this.

    Another big thing, for me, is that I was given courage to think through and come out and discuss things much on my mind, that I had not felt I could say without getting my core math done, thanks to the kindness brilliance and instruction of Dawn Riley. In the course of doing so, I've gained a human standing that has made it easier for people to look at the work.

    A big problem now, and a source of trouble and delay, is the fact that people have to deal with what's happened in the past. My own view is that, as paradigm conflict impasses go, ours has been a very clean one. Things are being worked through, and I hope it can be done in a "redemptive" sense, as I expressed in the following poem in "There's Always Poetry."


    rshowalter - 03:45am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#264 of 293)  | 

    rshowalter - 01:24pm Nov 4, 2000 (#129) For Jihadij and Leda,

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    not denial, not agony,
    not lies told or
    amorphous deceptions
    amorphously defended,
    but redemption.

    Redemption for all concerned,
    with a decent concern for all,
    with feelings felt and not denied,
    weights weighed, and not forgotten,
    needs of flesh, nerves, guts and mind
    all remembered, and workably in place
    with neither lies nor torture.

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    where all concerned
    can know the same stories,
    and live with that,
    and look back and go on comfortably,
    not unreasonably proud,
    or unreasonably ashamed,
    in ways that work
    in private and in public.

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    for myself, for the evil I've done,
    and the good I've tried to do and failed,
    and the limits and narrownesses that are
    unchangeably a part of me.

    And I'm dreaming of redemption for others,
    in similar ways, without pretense,
    with real, vital, feeling futures
    not closed off.

    There is too much good here,
    too much reaching for the good,
    too much hard, disciplined work
    in the face of pain and fear,
    too much to hope for.

    Too much to hope for the world, too,
    too much hope for primal needs of peace,
    too much of interest,
    too much condensed and seeming right,
    too much, from too many, that seems good,
    and moves me and others.

    No checkmate. No closing off of hope,
    no wallowing in agonies that might be,
    with more wisdom, and clean negotiation,
    assuaged and replaced
    by honest joy and comfort.

    No checkmate. I'm dreaming of redemption,
    and a world that goes on, safer and richer,
    and knowing more about redemption,
    because we've struggled.


    rshowalter - 03:48am Dec 8, 2000 BST (#265 of 293)  | 

    The title of the thread is

    Paradigm Shift --- whose getting there?

    I'd say we are.


    bNice2NoU - 03:20am Dec 10, 2000 BST (#266 of 293)

    People have a problem - logic:

    University students with this problem, and 99 per cent of them got it wrong. The reason for that extraordinary degree of error, he says, is that there is limited space in what researchers call "working memory": the low-capacity, short-term memory that supports language, arithmetic and reasoning. When we draw our mental models of a situation our working memory runs out of space very quickly. So, to save time, space and effort, we leave vital information off the "drawings". The pictures are all there, but the labels--like "this picture is only true if the other picture is false"--can go missing.

    The first casualty of a full memory is anything that's not true, says Johnson-Laird. People can cope with the potential falsity of single-clause sentences, such as "Pat loves Val". If someone says that's untrue, it's clear what they mean. "But they are not so hot with the potential falsity of 'John is tall and Mary is short'," he says. If we are told that this statement is false there are suddenly a lot of options to consider. Does it mean that John is short, or that Mary is tall, or that neither is tall or short, or that we can't draw any conclusion about their heights? When anything but the simplest situation involves falsity the number of possible scenarios quickly becomes too great to hold in working memory. So, Johnson-Laird claims, we ditch the falsity and hope for the best. http://www.newscientist.com/features/features.jsp?id=ns226844


    bNice2NoU - 03:23am Dec 10, 2000 BST (#267 of 293)

    "If we are told that this statement is false ... "

    Perhaps if people (who wouldn't have the ability to check) are told that an option is false ... in paradigm terms ... they close their minds to it!


    SypsoSweetleigh - 04:05am Dec 10, 2000 BST (#268 of 293)

    everything I say is untrue


    rshowalter - 04:25am Dec 10, 2000 BST (#269 of 293)  | 

    The most terrible thing about mental models, once we've become accustomed to them, is how reflexively we use them, and how confident we are in their truth.

    We couldn't function, otherwise.

    But when it goes wrong - ouch.


    xpat - 09:23am Dec 10, 2000 BST (#270 of 293)

    when it goes wrong, people have to 'unlearn' that what they received or considered to be wrong is actually not wrong, but right.

    Unlearning is a harder task than straight learning. Rubbing out, removing a false model is hard, then not confusing the new Knowledge with the old-wrong model is also hard.

    Much better to have clean straight correct models embedded directly into the culture.


    rshowalter - 06:22pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#271 of 293)  | 

    xpat , as you say

    "Much better to have clean straight correct models embedded directly into the culture.

    And somehow, for individuals and for cultures, that is the usual case. If you look at how well many people work, and, horrors aside, how well social relations work, it is often stunning how much workably right is connected together - correct enough to use.

    Except sometimes.

    And as a culture, we have yet to face clearly how to handle the exceptions. The exceptions can be crucial - large scale matters of life and death, or of high stakes otherwise.


    rshowalter - 06:23pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#272 of 293)  | 

    In these exceptional cases there can be compelling reasons for unlearning and relearning. The need for sanitation, handwashing and more, that was central to the Semmelweis case is an important example, with needs to raise consciousness and discipline action still much with us after a century an a half.

    Unlearning is a harder task than straight learning. Rubbing out, removing a false model is hard, then not confusing the new Knowledge with the old-wrong model is also hard. So hard that there may be something like force, at the least, moral force, if the unlearning is to be motivated.

    If a particular specialist group "owns" the old, misleading knowledge, and has operational power to enforce it, not subject to the disciplines of checking, much harm can be done.


    rshowalter - 06:26pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#273 of 293)  | 

    As a culture, we have not solved this problem well, and I believe that this thread has gone a long way toward defining and explaining the problems involved, in a way that can really be used, and can lead to solutions.

    The notion of what paradigm conflict is has been defined and elucidated more clearly, I believe, than ever before (#29 rshowalter Wed 09/08/2000 21:36 )

    xpat , possumdag , bNice__ , and other posters have emphasized much more incisively than I could myself the importance of an economic and social perspective in these matters - a consideration of "what makes sense in terms of gains and losses" as a way of looking at these problems.

    A very important insight, in my view, that I'd shied away from, has been focused - the notion that for certain kinds of problems, unless checking is morally forcing , right answers may never come, and huge harm may be done. rshowalter Mon 21/08/2000 18:51

    That is a point that I've come to feel is absolutely essential, which would require a change in the moral usages of our culture, that would make a much better world possible. It will take persuasion, and some change in institutional relations, to bring that about.

    I've seen some changes, which may not be sufficient for action, but which are real, in that direction, in my own case.

    I think xpat and I may be able to help with changing the culture here. I've been in the middle of what may be as important an example of paradigm conflict impasse as any since Semmelweis - and the case, which has gone on a long time, has been very extensively documented. If it happens that I'm wrong, I'll be reduced to Menken's proverbial "grease spot." That's seeming progressively less and less likely. If I prevail, and it looks like that will happen, an extensive empirical base for the definitions and explanations of paradigm conflict impasse set out here will be available.

    It is possible, as I've said, that the Showalter-Kline case has recently passed the "crisis" stage of paradigm conflict impasse, and that results, from here on may be (at least mostly) in the domain of "normal science." That could not have happened, without this thread and the thinking on it, without other threads here, and without extensive, very long term, active, if conflicted, help from The New York Times since about six months before Steve Kline wrote this appeal -- http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec -- an appeal that the NYT responded to, as best it could, in a way that illustrates vividly how essential it is, in matters of paradigm conflict impasse, to have checking that is morally forcing or in some other operational way, forcing. If our problem could have been checked, within the current social usages, which forbid morally forcing checking of respected stakeholders, it would have been, long since, through the efforts of people associated with the TIMES. I don't think it will be easy to find, anywhere else, such a clear case of how impossible closure in the absence of morally forcing checking is, in paradigm conflict impasse, than that full record, including public postings, published stories, and private correspondence. It is a story of hard work and much good faith on all sides, with competent work on all sides, and for that reason illustrates with special force the key point to be made. For cases that matter enough, checking has to be morally forcing. Otherwise, closure may never occur.

    If I had understood points made clear on these theads, I might have saved more than seven years, many thousands of research years in neural medicine would have been better focused, and many billions of dollars in commercial and military expenditure would have been better focused. I also would have saved a lot of trouble for other people. I kept trying to "clarify" when, so far as I could tell, and so far as anybody could show me explicitly, things were already clear -- clear enough that anyone who wanted to understand could have. The problem was, and remains, that we've found an oversight that logically changes conclusions for the last 300 years, nobody wanted to say "yes." to that.

    It wasn't the clarity - it was the price tag. So I was focusing on the wrong problem, and wearing myself and others out, for a long time- trying to rephrase and clarify. And I knew something was desperately wrong, but I hadn't pegged it.

    Now, thanks to xpat and friends, that's clear. So now the problem is well on the way to solution.


    rshowalter - 06:37pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#274 of 293)  | 

    In my case, the key question is

    4. Do the axioms of pure math have a domain of definition, or not? If they do, and you are outside that domain of definition, can you do experiments (symbolic and model-physical system matching) or not?

    (This isn’t settled in the profession – but YES YOU CAN.)

    This seems to be a very expensive thing for an individual mathematician to admit to, because when the answer is "yes" then there's a lot of useful but nevertheless expensive checking that becomes obligatory, starting about 300 years ago. So it is a hard thing for an individual to say "yes" to - because of the prices "yes" carries for that individual.

    Maybe this is the sort of thing that can be resolved by a fairly large standing bet. I don't think the point can be competently denied in public. Things may be moving "through channels" now -- but even so, I'm thinking carefully about crafting such a bet.


    xpat - 08:23pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#275 of 293)

    A large bet, sounds like you'd need a fairy godmother to back such a wager !?


    rshowalter - 08:35pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#276 of 293)  | 

    Well, beyond a couple thousand, yes. Maybe the thing to do would be to take the bet around (there are good boards, and good departments, to take it around) and then, after surviving, with risks less, and interest more, see if I could get a REAL wager. Something to draw a crowd.

    There are millions of man-years of life at stake here medically, and a lot more in other areas - somebody ought to bite. Bill Gates might be the supra-optimal - he has reason to care about the arithmetic in his own business.

    For ten years, nobody's given me a single counterexample, but nobody will say "yes". And the fear level's been high. Maybe nobody has to say "yes," for a while, once it becomes clear that nobody has a reason to say "no" - - or any objection to the modelling - except that it takes some re-evaluation of some main line math modelling, starting with celestial mechanics and working back up (including some computer algorithms) to the present time.


    xpat - 11:08pm Dec 10, 2000 BST (#277 of 293)

    Ask an Aussie who likes a wager and knows how to draw a crowd .... only ONE name comes to mind ..

    I can't remember where i read it, but, somewhere amongst the Showalter writings, didn't is see a ref to there being a current wrong manner of thinking with respect to the workings of the heart, could you illucidate - no not on the wrong cocktail :) but i did see 'Saving Grace' this weekend, and medicinal moves are afoot in Oz re that weed.


    rshowalter - 02:43am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#278 of 293)  | 

    xpat, people don’t understand how the physics of the heart beat works. They can measure a lot about it, and have done so. But they don’t have models that describe how the heart muscle operates, from the basic physics up, either in health of in disease. That means that the most basic mechanisms of the most common kind of death in industrialized countries aren’t understood.

    The problem, I’m quite sure, is that cardiologiists now have the conduction equation for heart muscle wrong, with the inductance thought to be only a billionth of what it actually is. That mistake totally hides the physics that is actually going on, and hides the clinical hope that understanding so often brings. Until cardiologists (and neuroscientists) get that equation right, they can’t possibly understand how the heartbeat works, and how an uncontrolled oscillation called ventricullar fibrillation , the # 1 immediate cause of death in industrialized societies, happens.

    For this reason, a question about how to algebraically simplify crosseffects in physical models – a question of what the rules are for writing down finite increment equations in the first place to represent these models, is more than an “academic” matter. It is a big time matter of life and death.

    I believe that if cardiologist understood the physics of the uncontrolled oscillations of ventricular fibrillation, this killer might often be controlled easily – with a mix of drugs probably on the shelf now, drugs best picked and used by the cardiologists themselves.

    But now, with the inductance of heart muscle grossly underestimated (and therefore ignored) the physics doesn’t make sense, and progress in the prevention of this killer is painfully slow and halting. Research physicians are taking shots in the dark. Nothing is really working in the clean way that things often work when the mechanism of a disease is actually understood.

    The word “fibrillation” is defined as “very rapid irregular contractions of the muscle fibers of the heart resulting in a lack of synchrony between heartbeat and pulsebeat.” The contractions aren't irregular in every sense - they look periodic and wave like, not necessarily disorganized. But they don’t serve the purpose of pumping blood, and if the oscillations are strong enough, and the pumping of blood is too small, a person dies.

    When you hear that a “heart stopped” it didn’t stop initially, but went into oscillations that ceased to pump blood. Sometimes, a big electrical shock can stop the fibrillatory oscillations, and set the heart back to beating in the coordinated way blood pumping takes, saving a person’s life.

    In many references, the word “fibrillation” is not used – “arrhythmia” is used instead. This makes sense, because the fatal, unsynchronized oscillation maybe be large scale and orderly in many ways – but not synchronized so that the heart pumps blood.

    If ever there was a major “matter of life and death” where right answers matter, this is it. We’d like to know how fibrillation, or arrythmia, happens physically, so that we can stop it effectively.


    rshowalter - 02:47am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#279 of 293)  | 

    I’d like to quote from a recent article I took from MEDLINE, the US National Library of Medicine database, that summarized the current state of work. I’ll be commenting in italics, to summarize what is being said in more direct language that I believe is fair.

    Geriatrics 2000 Aug;55(8):26-8, 31-2, 35-6

    Ventricular arrhythmias. Preventing sudden death with drugs and ICD devices. Doherty JU, Fuchs S, Tecce MA +i Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA.

    Sudden cardiac death occurs most frequently in persons age 50 to 60, and serious ventricular arrhythmias are the cause of death in most cases. The underlying substrate is usually CAD, either a healed infarction or an acute ischemic event.

    (The arrythmia starts at a locality of heart muscle starved for circulation, or a locality that was scarred when it was starved for circulation in the past. The arrythmia starts for reasons that are not understood.)

    Early studies using antiarrhythmic drugs to improve post-MI survival led instead to increased mortality, casting doubt on this approach.

    (People found drugs that tended to suppress oscillations somewhat, under some circumstances, for reasons that were not understood at the level of physical cause. But when these drugs were tried in clinical trials, they killed more people than would have died without them, and the trials were shut off early, due to the bad results, which have never been explained.)

    A cascade of studies using newer antiarrhythmic drugs showed some promise in selected patients post MI.

    (All sorts of new antiarrythmics have been found and tried, and some seem like they may be promising, but not very promising. Nothing really works, and the process by which these drugs work is not understood, because the basic physics of the arrythmia (or of normal hear contraction) is not understood.)

    Another approach--using implantable defibrillators--may show greater benefit than antiarrhythmic drugs in patients at serious risk, but the widespread implantation of these devices may be cost-prohibitive.

    (We know that shock often works to stop fibrillation, and we can put electrodes into high risk patients so we can shock them more directly and faster, but this is expensive.)

    Management of serious ventricular arrhythmias is guided by the individual patient's comorbidities, cardiac function, history of ischemia, and perceived risk of sudden death.

    (We’re trying hard, doing the best we can based on what little we can judge from the statistical results we see when we keep track of who lives and who dies. But we don’t understand how the ventricullar fibrillation works, and our treatments don’t work very well.)

    PMID: 10953684, UI: 20409845

    People have the neural (and heart muscle) conduction equation very wrong, and wrong in a way that obscures the basic mechanisms of heart oscillation, and particularly fibrillation. If they had the fiber inductance right, they could understand the physical mechanism of oscillation that is occurring (which involves inductance) and mechanisms to stop the arrythmia would be pretty self-evident - what’s needed is damping, and change in g in the heart muscle fibers. (To control epilepsy, which is somewhat analogous in brain, you’d want to increase g locally in neurons.) Mixes of drugs to produce the damping, with no other ill effects, ought to be fairly easy to prepare, once the right equation was available to the cardiologists, so that they could act on the basis of real physical understanding.

    That’s because an oversight was made in derivation of physical models from coupled physical circumstances. That math should be fixed.

    xpat , who might you have in mind who might take a wager, in the interest of saving lives? Could you let me know by email?


    rshowalter - 02:49am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#280 of 293)  | 

    Some might be interested in reading a very simple talk I gave last year. I addressed, as simply as I could, the questions “WHAT'S INDUCTANCE?” and “WHAT DOES INDUCTANCE DO?” in a neural context. http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/MWN_TALK .


    xpat - 06:29am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#281 of 293)

    Link above is slow to open!


    xpat - 06:33am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#282 of 293)

    Ask an Aussie "Who likes a wager and knows how to draw a crowd" .... only ONE name comes to mind ..

    So i take it you don't spend much time around the tables Showalter!

    It is Summer in Oz - depends whose around - i'll make you a list of prospects.


    xpat - 06:35am Dec 11, 2000 BST (#283 of 293)

    Did you say that there are other problems that, if sorted, would improve life chances? What about looking at small things under microscopic lenses ... this can help people can't it?


    rshowalter - 06:23pm Dec 11, 2000 BST (#284 of 293)  | 

    xpat , I'm having a very slow time getting on this thread (minutes per transfer) with the rest of my connections going fine. So forgive me for moving slowly.

    I need to explain more clearly why inductance matters - I'll use analogies to springs-mass-dashpots, and to pendulum-mass systems, pointing out that it makes a difference, to how the system will behave, when the mass (or, in the neural or heart muscle case, the electrical analog of intertial mass, the inductance) is underestimated by factors of billions, or trillions, as is happening now. A string with a fishing weight at the end acts like a pendulum. It is easy to see how it oscillates. A string with a tiny feather on the end, doesn't act like a pendulum. That's the kind of difference involved here. More on that later. But let me talk about magnetic lenses, as you suggested.

    An enormous fraction of the whole dollar and hour expenditure in the sciences, worldwide, is now devoted to trying to find out details that we cannot see with microscopes, because electron microscope resolution is not high enough.

    Atoms in molecules - shells in those atoms - bond angles - folding patterns - directly visable high resolution DNA chains, where the nucleotides could be spotted visually, or by machine, along with details of folding and bond angles -- how nice it would be to see these things! How much easier it would be, for a lot of biology and chemistry, if we could only SEE at the scales where the molecules exist, and the scale where the chemistry is happening !

    The electron microscope, for fifty years, has been stalled so far as resolution goes, because of something called "spherical aberration" in magnetic lenses - a distortion so bad that, for a set wavelength of electrons, linear resolution is typically less than 1% of what it would be if the spherical aberration was eliminated. (In contrast, optical light lenses are now nearly perfect.)

    Now, for fifty years, people have dreamed of getting rid of that magnetic lens spherical aberration. People have been stumped. In my view, they've been stumped, because the equations involved, which are stongly coupled, have not been correctly written down in the first place, at the modeling stage, because of an old error that needs to be fixed.

    Let's suppose that's right, and that magnetic lenses could be made without spherical aberration - with 100 times better linear (10,000 X better areal) resolution for a set electron energy level.

    This would be a revolution in the technological end of empirical science - especially in the biological sciences. Many of the jobs (maybe, counting dollars, most of the jobs) done in biological labs might get done tens or even hundreds of times faster than today, and with visual outputs that fit a fundamental fact - that we are a visual species, and we understand and manipulate visual information much better than any other kind.

    I've looked at this, and in my view DNA reading would be 100 times faster, at least. (Much faster, anyway.) Protein folding studies, which are usually impossible for the proteins of biological and medical interest, and alway slow, would be possible when they are now impossible, and THOUSANDS of times faster for the cases where current X-ray techniques work. Studies of membranes would be possible that are not, and much faster in many, many cases.

    We could see, visually, how enzymes and proteins fit together.

    With better resolution, lower energy electrons could be used, and contrast schemes could be much more sophisticated than today. That would mean that biological molecules could be visualized to the level where atom type, bond angle and detailed structural information would be directly available with energy levels that didn't destroy the sample, under more natural conditions, with equipment one could hope to make routine and easy to use (working with optics is MUCH easier if you're comfortably away from resolution limits, rather than pushing them.)

    Take something specific - the battle to understand cancer. The nuts and bolt work of that enterprise would be MUCH faster if electron microscopes with near theoretical resolution were available, and adapted to biological tasks. How much faster? My guess would be three to ten times more information output for person-year or money unit of input. That would save many lives, much agony, and many billions of dollars.

    With the better resolution, science would be more understandable, and more aesthetically beautiful, as well.

    Again, this is an issue where big-time issues of life and death are at stake. But also again, a mistake in math, now 350 years old, has to be fixed, and that's a wrench to the standard math-physics community of practice, just because the mistake is so old, and so embedded, so that there's some reworking that would have to be faced, once the mistake was faced.

    (I wonder how long it will take me to get the next transfer --- here's hoping. I'll be timing.)


    rshowalter - 06:24pm Dec 11, 2000 BST (#285 of 293)  | 

    It was fast! - In a while, more on what inductance does to change the picture of ventricular fibrillation, and other issues of human interest.


    xpat - 06:10am Dec 12, 2000 BST (#286 of 293)

    Anything related to renal 'flows' re past, current and potentional appreciaton of kidney function is also of interest.


    bNice2NoU - 09:33am Dec 12, 2000 BST (#287 of 293)

    Does heat/cold affect flows?


    xpat - 11:32pm Dec 13, 2000 BST (#288 of 293)

    FLAG: sidetracking here, but, shows COMPLEXITY: http://helix.nature.com/nsu/001214/001214-9.html

    physics : Silk and soap show why flags flap JONATHAN TROUT

    A silk thread flutters in a watery breeze

    Using soapy water and a bit of thread, researchers have shed light on what causes a flag to flutter in the breeze — one of the oldest and most experimentally inaccessible questions in fluid dynamics.

    In a set-up analogous to "a one-dimensional flag in a two-dimensional wind", Jun Zhang and his colleagues at the New York and Rockefeller universities suspended a silk thread in a fast-flowing stream of soapy water. Using monochromatic light, the researchers photographed the interference patterns created by differences in the thickness of the soapy film as it moved past the thread. They then looked at a range of thread lengths and flow rates. The results are published in Nature1.

    They found that, at low flow speeds, the thread extends straight out in the direction of the flow, and remains extended. When the thread is longer, the flow forms into what is known as a 'von Kármán vortex street'2 — an alternating double row of vortices. This effect is responsible for, among other things, the sound tones generated by a wire vibrating in the wind, and the current patterns that form around a rock in a stream.

    When the flow rate is higher, though, the flag starts to flap in a highly stable, regular manner. The vortex street is still present, but is flung from side to side, heavily distorted by the flapping motion, and showing striking, sinuous trailing spirals in the photographs.

    "From the experiment, it is quite clear that the flapping of a 'flag' is not because of the turbulence in the wind, or the presence of the flagpole," says Zhang. "It is intrinsically embedded in the system, as a result of the inertia dynamics of the flag interacting with the surrounding fluid flow."

    Previous models for a flapping flag have had little experimental evidence to back them up. The most famous of these were devised by Lord Raleigh3, who thought the flapping was caused by an instability due to quickly changing air speeds on either side of the flag.

    These models also largely neglected many of the factors the New York team considers to be instrumental in the effect, such as the tension, elasticity and mass of the flapping material. The transition point between the flapping and non-flapping states, for instance, appears to be when the elastic energy of the thread is matched by the kinetic energy of the flow.

    When a second, identical thread was added to the flowing soap film — a small distance away from the first, so that the two were side by side — the team noticed a new effect. The threads tended to lock into phase, flapping in tandem, and leaving the film between them relatively undisturbed.

    When the threads were moved a little further apart, they locked into another stable state — one in which they flapped exactly out of phase with one another. This stretches and compresses the film as it moves through the widening and narrowing channel created by the thread 'walls'. When the tips of the threads touch, the flow is halted, leading to a build-up of pressure. The enclosed fluid is then released as large droplets when the walls part.

    For certain lengths of thread there is a third mutually stable state, in which both threads are fully extended and not flapping. And when the threads are moved further apart, the coupling between them becomes less cohesive and eventually vanishes.

    These models could help research into the dynamics of blood flow, or the development of valveless pumping technology, or even the fluid dynamics of flight and swimming.

    Zhang’s team intends to test its results in three dimensions in the near future. "In the next few years we should be able to study dynamic boundaries and swimming fish," says Zhang. "It is well known that fish swim efficiently — who would dismiss the possibility that future marine vehicles might be propelled by flappers rather than propellers?"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    xpat - 11:51pm Dec 13, 2000 BST (#289 of 293)

    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns22694


    rshowalter - 12:57am Dec 14, 2000 BST (#290 of 293)  | 

    The pictures in the NATURE article xpat cites above show very coordinated, structured eddies (Kharman vortices) on both sides of the model "flag".

    Beautiful ORDERLY flow structures.

    It used to be believed that, when flows became fully turbulent, all order ceased, and only statistical behavior remained. People went so far as to refer to turbulence as "Statistical fluid mechanics." Now we know that turbulent flows are patterned, and that regimes, though complicated, are orderly, especially at surfaces and interfaces. The there is a great deal of order, and knowledge of that order is crucial for understanding mixing, and making it faster (something I worked on ) and for studying many other things.

    There are some beautiful pictures of the orderliness of flows in the literature, some of the best collected in An Album of Fluid Motion assembled by Milton Van Dyke of the Stanford Department of Mechanical Engineering (Parabolic Press, Stanford Ca.)

    I tell some of the story about the paradigm impasse that Steve finally pushed through in an eulogy I gave for him at Stanford Chapel http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul .

    Steve and I both believed that with the crossterms of coupled equations properly set out, flow patterns that could only be modelled by correllation now could be handled in more detail. One thing we hoped to model, in detail, were flows of vortex streets, such as those shown in the flag model xpat refers to.

    Steve referred to the relevance of those crossterms to fluid mechanics work in a letter http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec . That letter did get me a great deal of much-appreciated help. Progress has been made since, largely progress due to advances of understanding in this thread, that has defined paradigm conflict more clearly, in ways Steve would have appreciated very much. I wish Steve were still alive to see the progress.


    rshowalter - 03:37am Dec 17, 2000 BST (#291 of 293)  | 

    Speaking of progress. I'm making some. Setting up for a bet, cleanly. Have to play it straight. I've gotten some help from historians of mathematics. Good ones. Generous ones. Supportive ones. From a while back. That help is useful now. There's no reason to doubt that the 350 year old mistake was made - except that it is hard to think about such an old mistake, and it is hard to face the need to start rechecking things, from so far back.

    Probably the best book on measurement, and the connection of measurement to math, is a four volume set FOUNDATIONS OF MEASUREMENT by (different author orders on different volumes) David H. Krantz, R. Dunan Luce, Patrick Suppes, and Amos Tversky.

    the first three men are alive, and we've corresponded. There isn't any more today, to add to this, written at the beginning of Chapter10: Dimensional Analysis and Numerical Laws.

    "Taken together, the numerical measures of physics exhibit a very simple algebraic structure which, although completely familiar, and therefore not surprising, tends to be mysterious when given any thought. . .. . ."

    Mysterious, and entirely without any proved foundations.

    There's a gaping hole, at the interface between physics and math representation, about how you write down finite increment equations representing coupled circumstances in the first place, before the calculus even begins. Before differential equations can be defined from the finite increment equations. Logically, that hole came to exist when calculus happened - with Newton and Liebniz. Steve and I have found, that to fill that hole, crosseffects have to be algebraically simplified, as measurement calculations, done in a dimensionally consistent unit system, which means at unit scale. Done once, and specified - so there's no vanishing in the limit- no false infinitessimals, no bogus infinities.

    No logical problem there. The only problem is, that the mistake-oversight is old, and fixing it will mean going back to when the mistake-oversight happened.

    It doesn't look like anybody will find any objection to the S-K work, historically or analytically, except that it is distastefully old, and distastefully inconvenient, because it goes so far back.

    I'm working now, and getting some help now, to set that up as a nice clean proposition that can be backed by a nice clean bet -- so that a matter of life and death, and much technical hope, can be faced, and not evaded.


    SeekerOfTruth - 04:41am Dec 17, 2000 BST (#292 of 393)

    Showalter - you're a Seeker of Truth !


    SeekerOfTruth - 04:56am Dec 17, 2000 BST (#293 of 393)

    http://www.cybereditions.com/aldaily/ http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/internetnews/story/0,7369,412354,00.html


    rshowalter - 07:07pm Dec 17, 2000 BST (#294 of 393)  | 

    How ideas change By David Warsh, Boston Globe Columnist, 12/3/2000 http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/338/business/How_ideas_change+.shtml is a fine review of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' . Warsh calls Kuhn (paraphrasing here) "perhaps the dominant intellectual figure in the second half of the 20th century."

    The review keys off two recent books: 'Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times , by Steve Fuller, and The Road Since Structure , a collection of Kuhn's essays.

    A nice quote from Warsh's review: "The sense of personal responsibility that Freud took away from humankind, Kuhn in large measure succeeded in giving back."

    In this thread I, along with , xpat, possemdag, BNIce , and others, focus the notion of paradigm impasse farther than Kuhn did, with a view to resolutions of paradigm conflict impasses when questions of fact, on a crucial issue, are in dispute.


    SeekerOfTruth - 09:17pm Dec 17, 2000 BST (#295 of 393)

    "The most striking thing in Kuhn's account is the story of how Harvard (where he did the work) denied him tenure in 1956, then declined to welcome him back to Cambridge in 1979 (he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology instead). That chilly reaction may have something to do with continuing ambivalence toward this semiunderground classic." .. from the above review .... begs the question 'Are members of formal academia 'Seekers of Truth' ?


    rshowalter - 11:08pm Dec 17, 2000 BST (#296 of 393)  | 

    No they're not. Truth seeking is a subordinate value, not a primary one.

    If you look at THE UNIVERSITY: An owner's manual by Henry Rosovsky, long the Provost of Harvard, and read his sections on tenuring, promotion, the distribution of funds, and interdepartmental relations, you'll see much to admire. Universities are structures of great sophistication. But complicated and necessarily rule bound human structures. And "truth" is a very subordinate value indeed, beside the complicated status relations and widely distributed veto powers and customs that shape a university.

    Especially when "truth" is in some way awkward for someone with effective veto power within the system.

    About six months before Steve Kline died, Steve and I set out some of the difficulties in a letter to the New York Times http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/whytimes2

    Once the limitations of the academy are ecognized, resolutions to paradigm conflict impasses become possible.

    I believe that the core insight necessary is this. When the stakes get high enough, right answers need to become morally forcing or institutionally forcing in some workable sense.

    That is not the way things are, typically, today.


    SeekerOfTruth - 11:56pm Dec 17, 2000 BST (#297 of 393)

    A question organisations pose is

    "What business are we in?"

    I would have thought that Universities were in the business of extending and redefining KNOWLEDGE especially with respect to Doctorates.

    The course work aspect is important, yet the knowledge extention bestows international respect and status - right?


    SeekerOfTruth - 04:10am Dec 18, 2000 BST (#298 of 393)

    Temperature Regulation or Heat Regulation in Living Organs

    Prof. Michel Cabanac, MD.

    Departement de physiologie

    Faculte de medecine

    Universite Laval

    Quebec, Canada G1K 7P4

    The difference between heat and temperature is not obvious at first glance; the Greek word thermos included both concepts. Heat is a form of energy, hence is an extensive variable. Temperature is a tensive variable. In a given body heat and temperature are related by the following equation: Q=McT1-T2, in which Q is the amount of heat added or removed to pass from T1 to T2, Mis the mass of the body, c is the specific heat, and T1 T2 are two temperatures. It follows therefore that heat and temperature tend to covary. If mass and specific heat remain constant, Q=f(T) and one might be tempted to conclude that heat is regulated. As a result In addition, the old controversy about heat and temperature was revived recently.

    This will be refuted from two points of view.

    1) Theoretical: Modern physiology has borrowed system analysis and model-building from cybernetics. Yet, the use of the engineer's concepts and vocabulary has capacity for two perils, semantic and conceptual. First, biologists may change the meaning of the engineers vocabulary, or may misunderstand this vocabulary. Second, a conceptual disadvantage is derived from the very origin of control theory which is mainly concerned with signal processing and less with energy flow (with the noticeable exception of the branch of space technology dealing with systems resembling living beings). On the other hand, energy and matter supply is a major problem for animal survival. It is therefore necessary to revise the whole concepts of regulation in order to face this specific problem of living beings.

    2) Experimental: data will show that defense responses against thermal chalenges are triggered by body core temperature, and that the postulated heat flux sensors in the human skin do not exist. http://www.eng.tau.ac.il/Pages/Departments/


    rshowalter - 11:22am Dec 18, 2000 BST (#299 of 393)  | 

    Seeker -- Interesting reference. Cabanac refers usefully to the connection between physiology and engineering systems approaches. He doesn't mention current limitations of these approaches as now practiced. To apply engineering systems approaches to physiology, one faces semantic and conceptural problems, some fundamental to the enterprise. In physiology, or the study of any other very coupled and complicated system, one comes up against the same difficulties that limit systems approaches in engineering. When coupling occurs, systems analysis doesn't do well. I'm adressing a core reason why the theory does badly -- the finite increment equations describing system behavior have to be written down correctly in the first place. Steve Kline and I worked on this coupling problem, because it was so central a cause of the unsolved problems in engineering analysis that we'd seen and been involved with.

    I think, with crosseffects properly accounted for, that there will be MANY new opportunities, all through physiology and medicine, all through the applied sciences, and all through the sciences that need to deal with coupled effects, as most must do from time to time.


    rshowalter - 11:25am Dec 18, 2000 BST (#300 of 393)  | 

    Seeker , you raise the question "what business are we in?" with respect to Universities. That question has to connect to the means by which universities do business.

    PROSPECT December 2000 http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/essay_kay_lostcause/index.html has a truly excellent article titled A LOST CAUSE Here's the opening blub: "Can old institutions learn new tricks? Oxford University is sinking in a morass of committees, unable to take decisions that might enable it to compete with the world's best. This is an account of the inertia and muddle which prompted John Kay, the original director of Oxford's new business school, to resign."

    John Kay is a distinguished columnist, with intersting things to say at www.johnkay.com

    The article applies to Oxford specifically, but much of what it says applies, to a greater or lesser degree, to almost all Universities.

    Kay writes:

    "The university has no structures of authority, responsibility and accountability, and many of its officers and members have no concept of such structures. The system is a morass of committees with ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions. I once spent an entertaining half-hour sifting through the terms of reference for committees on which I sat, highlighting words that were euphemisms for "meddle." By this I meant phrases which conferred the right to be involved in a decision, but not the obligation to take responsibility for its consequences. I identified terms such as "monitor," "have oversight of," "propose," "liaise with," "advise"--even, delicious phrase, "be recognised as having an interest in." Almost every paragraph included some such words.

    "The consequence of this miasma is not only the waste of time and paper. It is the absence of any means of resolving contentious issues in a consistent way--or often at all. As Coopers & Lybrand observed, "in many cases, university decisions are not specifically made at all, they just emerge." Government and corporate bureaucracies are also afflicted with committees designed to diffuse and deflect responsibility. But there is no doubt in either case that ministers or senior executives have the authority to make decisions, that they are identified with these decisions, and that they are accountable for the consequences.

    "In Oxford there is no equivalent. The source of ultimate authority is Congregation: the "parliament" of all the Oxford faculty, some 3,000 in number. The impracticality of Congregation as a forum for decision-making is so clear that I came to learn that the words "this might have to go to Congregation" became a powerful argument against a proposal.

    "In the absence of an effective means of resolving issues, a number of devices are employed. The most frequent is simply to avoid raising any matter that might lead to opposition. This process of evading issues is called "building consensus." Opposition is usually rationalised as an objection to the way in which a proposal has been brought forward. In my time at Oxford, I do not think I encountered a single person who admitted that they were opposed to the university establishing a business school. But I heard dozens of objections to the procedures used to establish it. And because the procedures are ill-defined, there is always a case for these criticisms.

    "Another tactic is deferral. Because time is not valued and urgency is not felt, it is thought unreasonable to resist the suggestion that a decision be delayed. Yet another is ambiguity--the search for a means of describing a discussion that appears consistent with every view which has been expressed.

    "Many decisions are made by examining precedent. At first it puzzled me why so much time was spent discussing whether a proposed action had a precedent and so little in reviewing the merits of the action itself. I came to realise that, because you did not have a means of making a new decision, you could sometimes arrive at a conclusion by asserting that the issue was predetermined by a decision that had already been made. Because this argument from precedent is so often used, it aggravates the problem of making a new decision: such a decision might have unforeseeable implications in future discussion of quite different matters.

    "This procedure was satirised by Francis Cornford in Cambridge a century ago in Microcosmographia Academica: "The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do an admittedly right action for fear you, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action which is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time."


    rshowalter - 11:27am Dec 18, 2000 BST (#301 of 393)  | 

    Many of the problems Kay describes are characteristics of colleges and universities everywhere. An excellent perspective on these same problems is set out, with much statistical treatment, and many case studies, in

    LEADERSHIP AND AMBIGUITY: The American College President by Michael D.Cohen and James G. March Harvard Business School Press

    Their last chapter has an eloquent title and subheadings:

    Leadership in an Oranized Anarchy
    .........The ambiguities of anarchy
    ......Leader response to anarchy
    ......The elementary tactics of administrative action
    .....The technology of foolishness.

  • ****************

    If crisp right answers on a matter of conflict are necessary for morally compelling reasons, universities, admirable in many other ways, may be totally unable to respond. At their worst, they may show totally irresponsible and anti-moral behavior. Somewhat similar things may be said about the invisible colleges.

    Under circumstances such as this, going outside of "channels" may be the only option.


    SeekerOfTruth - 12:27pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#302 of 393)

    Precedent (above) sounds a 'legal' term ... if it has value then it may be expected that a certain legal force has to be exerted to make the conglomerates responsively function.


    rshowalter - 01:20pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#303 of 393)  | 

    An effective force.

    That might be a moral force.


    Gnidrolog - 04:40pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#304 of 393)

    I'm finding this thread entertaining in places, but most of it seems to comprise quotations of and citations from various papers without any explanation of the poster's reason for the citation. For instance, the abstract on heat vs. temperature, after which an apparently irrelevant URL was cited. What's going on? Is there anyone who can respond to this question without the use of block capitals, italics, etc? A 100-word synopsis would be very welcome.


    SeekerOfTruth - 08:29pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#305 of 393)

    Heat v temperature - my posting - furthur to a 'lay' question put re does temperature affect flows within the body.

    Capitals and italics may be used to emphasis either a ref., or a key point within a posting.

    Over to RS for the 100 word synopsis ....


    rshowalter - 09:06pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#306 of 393)  | 

    Short summary:

    Scientific groups can be committed to mindsets and reflexes that turn out to be wrong. When that happens, the scientists can’t check themselves at all well. In such cases, the psychological and social patterns in the science will act to resist checking for the possible mistake, and anyone who asks for the checking will be marginalized.

    In such cases, the mistake is usually simple and stark from a distance, and checking the issue is only difficult within the profession for psychological or traditional reasons.

    To the extent that the issue matters for the practical performance of the science, ways must be found to get such questions checked. Now, such questions are not checked, and enormous costs and human tragedies occur, because the checking is denied. We suggest that the core issue is a moral one - and that once the moral issue is accepted, the practical issues are straightforward. Once reasonable reason to suspect a mistake exists, it should be morally forcing to check whether the mistake has been made or not.

    ( 172 words)


    rshowalter - 09:13pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#307 of 393)  | 

    In somewhat more detail: People in organized professions or sciences live in the culture of their profession. That culture becomes part of their perceptions, reflexes, and ways of thought, sustained within a community of practice. This way of seeing, and patterns in it, can be thought of as a gestalt – an entire pattern of interpretations, a way of seeing.

    Sometimes, a community of practice can be wrong about something important to their business. Wrong in a way that would require them to abandon patterns of thought and perception, a gestalt, that they are committed to. When that happens, something that they believe is “obviously true” turns out to be false, and something that seems to them to be “obviously wrong” turns out to be right.

    In such a case, the whole community of practice can be confidently wrong, and the person pointing out the mistake can be entirely correct. I’m calling such an impasse, or a case where there is evidence enough so that such an impasse seems likely, a paradigm conflict impasse.

    Ordinary usages of the sciences and professions don’t work when faced with a possible paradigm conflict impasse.

    In retrospect, the issues involved in such impasses are starkly simple. In the famous cases of Semmelwies, and McCully, the questions were:

    1. When going from patient to patient, does sanitation matter, or not? (It matters.)

    2. Does homocysteine relate causally to artheriosclerosis, or not? (It does.)

    In the recent revolution in fluid mechanics, led by Kline and co-workers, the question was

    3. When a flow becomes turbulent, are the laws of Newtonian physics adjourned, so that only statistics applies, or does causality continue? (It continues.)

    In the Showalter-Kline case, the key question is

    4. Do the axioms of pure math have a domain of definition, or not? If they do, and you are outside that domain of definition, can you do experiments (symbolic and model-physical system matching) or not? (This isn’t settled in the profession – but YES YOU CAN.)

    These questions are simple, and have simple answers. But these questions are not simple in human terms, for the people most concerned with them. When these questions are nested in a mass of cultural-social-emotional construction, they may be invisible, or emotionally charged to a prohibitive degree, for the professionals called upon to judge them.

    For example, to see Semmelweis’s point, doctors had to rethink what they were doing, and admit that they were inadvertently killing patients. To see McCully’s point, a team of cardiologists who had organized themselves around one research subject (chloresterol) had to admit that another issue might matter as well. In the S-K case, procedures that have become embedded in three centuries of mathematical physics practice have to be re-examined. In abstract terms, such issues are easy. In human and organizational terms, they are hard.

    The ideas held by "the culture" (in science, a particular specialist subculture) can be wrong, when they are checked. But if checking by outsiders with respect to the subculture is taboo, then the checking can't occur. If "civility" means "deference to established intellectual property rights, and territorial divisions" then "civility" is the death knell of certain essential kinds of progress. Checking can be deferred, and discussion can be deferred indefinitely, especially according to the standard academic patterns described by John Kay in http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/essay_kay_lostcause/index.html

    When it is important enough, there need to be mechanisms to get questions of fact and logic in science CHECKED. When the stakes are high enough, that checking needs to be morally forcing.

    The idea that checking should be morally forcing seems new, and is a distinctly minority position. But for want of that ethical stance, some really terrible choices have been made in the past, and will be made in the future.

    This thread has largely been about that.

    There may be different ways of getting the checking done. Some suggestions have been discussed in the thread. If the moral point is granted, many different approaches to the checking could work well.


    rshowalter - 09:15pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#308 of 393)  | 

    I think the following definitions are useful:

    Paradigm: The word "paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries. The classical Greeks used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal. Later it came to refer to a grammatical term. In the early 1960s Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with great difficulty and a new paradigm established. Thus the Copernican system (the sun at the center of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of conservativism ("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary" Science.

    Paradigm Shift: When anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present problems that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our view of reality must change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value the world. We must take on new assumptions and expectations that will transform our theories, traditions, rules, and standards of practice. We must create a new paradigm in which we are able to solve the unsolvable problems of the old paradigm.


    Gnidrolog - 11:20pm Dec 18, 2000 BST (#309 of 393)

    It seems to me that all you're saying is that scientific institutions are subject to political and social rules. We already know that. I still think it's unproductive to say "paradigm shift" and start using italics, block capitals and for all I know, green ink, just because you have an idea that doesn't fit in with the prevailing view.

    I'm aware of Kuhn's work by reputation rather than at first hand, but there's some truth in what I take to be his refutation of the mythology of scientific progression--new generations have always had to rethink or rework.

    As for the way forward, there really is no alternative to straightforward, honest advocacy. If you feel that there is some checking that needs to be done, possibly this is because you have made inferential leaps that you're unable to justify a priori. The solution, surely is to trim back your chain of inference to that which you can credibly hope to establish in the mind of an interested party with expertise in your chosen field. Having established a bridgehead in one field, it should be easier for you and others to proceed stepwise with a view to building a clearer picture of the truth.


    rshowalter - 01:29am Dec 19, 2000 BST (#310 of 393)  | 

    Gnidrolog ... That's a very helpful response. And as to the way forward, I not only hope, but believe, that you're right. Honest advocacy is crucial. I feel that, pretty recently, I've made it over the hump from paradigm conflict impasse to normal science (and normal science is hard enough !)

    At the same time, I do wish to argue that paradigm conflict impasse, though rare, is something special, something problematic, and a scientific problem badly in need of solution. What happened to Semmelweis, to McCully, and to Kline in fluid mechanics was something very different from the ordinary difficulties of normal science. And the human costs were very great.

    I'd say the same for the last decade of my experience - between 1989 and 1997, when Steve died, an experience with Kline's passionate involvement and great committment of time. We were fascinated by what we were going through, and deeply troubled by it. To go through this paradigm conflict impasse was perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most haunting, experience of my life. Steve felt the same about his paradigm conflict impasse experiences (and he went the whole way through one, and part way through this one.) I say something about the first one in a eulogy I gave for Steve at Stanford Chapel http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul

    Aside from the personal interest, I think something else. I believe that, if the checking needed to resolve paradigm conflict impasse were available, very many inconsistencies would be combed out, all through the sciences, and the productivity of the entire scientific enterprise would go up. I think, and maybe I'm being too optimistic, that net productivity might almost double, and do so in a social world that would be more comfortable for scientists, young and old. For a very small cost, with very small changes in current procedures.

    Maybe that's a dream. But I'd be proud to make a contribution to making that dream real. I would be very glad for a chance to save decades out of the lives of innovators who come after me. And I'm grateful for the help of xpat and her friends, and grateful for your help, as I try to do that.

    Just now, I'm going to cook dinner. I'll be back, tommorrow morning, my time. Thanks.


    rshowalter - 08:45pm Dec 19, 2000 BST (#311 of 393)  | 

    I have some hope that I'm "over the hump" on the paradigm conflict impasse part of my problem, and had some more reasons for hope this morning. John Kay sets out reasons why good initiatives sometimes get lost in academe. http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/essay_kay_lostcause/index.html

    But quite often universities do sophisticated and productive things, as well.

    Thinking about Kay's article ( PROSPECT December 2000 ) is a fine way to review things universities do badly. That isn't the whole story.

    After rereading Kay's piece, and thinking of many connections to my own case, I took down my copy of THE MASTERS by C.P. Snow, a novel set in Cambridge, a very similar place to Oxford. Snow's novel describes the kinds of committee activities and culture-bound patterns that worked so poorly for Kay working pretty well, in another context. In a context that makes kinds of human excellence possible in universities and colleges that can't be easily matched outside of academia.

    And, it must be said, that these academic patterns can show wonderful creativity, and impressive speed, in some circumstances.

    People are only so flexible. That goes for institutions as well. Specializations that enable in some ways may paralyze or blind in another.

    Current academic arrangements aren't set up to accomodate paradigm conflict impasses, which are, after all, difficult and rare. The consequences can be horrific, and in this thread xpat , her associates, and I have argued that they often have been. Academe is set up well, or reasonably well, for some other things.

    Why not have a specialized institutional arrangment for a specialized problem?

    I've thought about this, from an American point of view. There might be many others ways at the problem, but this approach (a particular examination procedure, at the U. S. Patent Office, modified on an existing procedure) might be useful as an example of an institutional fix, that would not be complicated, and would not require much change of academic usages. This could, in my view, solve the paradigm conflict impasse problem in an effective, inexpensive way.

    After passing through some academically legitimate barriers, patent examiners specialized in the particular subject matter in question could judge the facts, according to procedures that many respect.

    The proposal would not change the university patterns Kay describes http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/essay_kay_lostcause/index.html but would provide another place for handling the fact-checking that paradigm conflict impasse needs

    I set this out in in this thread in rshowalter - Aug 18, 2000 BST (#61 to 64) but you can hotkey it directly from the New York Times Science in the News thread rshowalt (# 381-383) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05e1ab/482

    The proposal is only one of many possible. I point it out because I feel it sets out one way that the current problems with paradgm conflict impasses could be resolved, without anyone asking for reform of either human nature or much change in other institutions.

    With the internet, threads like these, and new clarity on how paradigm conflict works, nothing so formal may be necessary.


    Possumdag - 04:35pm Dec 22, 2000 BST (#312 of 393)

    Inner v Outer Possumdag "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Fri 22/12/2000 16:33


    rshowalter - 07:29pm Dec 25, 2000 BST (#313 of 393)  | 

    This thread is about paradigm conflict impasses, and finding ways around the losses and horrors they involve. A central problem, perhaps the most central problem, is that people find paradigm conflict impasses too “inhuman” to believe, and therefore do not adress them.

    How do paradigm conflict impasses happen? Why do ordinary usages, which work well in most cases, break down when they happen?

    Some of John Kay’s remarks in PROSPECT December 2000 http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/highlights/essay_kay_lostcause/index.html are of special interest here, because they show traits of Universities, and “the invisible colleges” of academe, that are unusual. Here are some quotes:

    "The university has no structures of authority, responsibility and accountability, and many of its officers and members have no concept of such structures. The system is a morass of committees with ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions. . . . . . .

    "The consequence of this miasma is not only the waste of time and paper. It is the absence of any means of resolving contentious issues in a consistent way--or often at all.

    "In the absence of an effective means of resolving issues, a number of devices are employed. The most frequent is simply to avoid raising any matter that might lead to opposition. This process of evading issues is called "building consensus."

    &&&&&&&

    This is a pattern common to Universities, and to the invisible colleges. Steve Kline and I said some similar things in http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/whytimes2 . What happens if there are essential and strong reasons for disagreement – what if “building consensus” in Kay's sense is impossible, and “building consensus” in any reasonable sense will require resolution of a conflict? What happens, especially, if this pattern of conflict avoidance is superimposed on fundamental and emotionally wrenching perceptual problems about what is being observed?

    I’m quoting here from THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS 2nd Ed. by Thomas S. Kuhn, , at the end of Chapter 6 “Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discoveries”


    rshowalter - 07:30pm Dec 25, 2000 BST (#314 of 393)  | 

    “ To a greater or lesser extent (corresponding to the continuum from the shocking to the anticipated result), the characteristics are common to all discoveries from which new sorts of phenomena emerge. Those characteristics include: the previous awareness of anomaly, the gradual and simultaneous emergence of both observational and conceptual recognition, and the consequent change of the paradigm categories and procedures often accompanied by resistance. There is even evidence that these same characteristics are built into the nature of the perceptual process itself. In a psychological experiment that deserves to be far better known outside the trade, Bruner and Postman asked experimental subjects to identify on short and controlled exposure a series of playing cards. (J.S.Bruner and Leo Postman “On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm,” Journal of Personality, XvIII (1949) 206-23 ) Many of the cards were normal, but some were made anomalous, e.g., a red six of spades and a black four of hearts. Each experimental run consisted of the display of a single card to a single subject in a series of gradually increased exposures. After each exposure the subject was asked what he had seen, and the run was terminated by two successive correct identifications.

    “ Even on the shortest exposures many subjects identified most of the cards, and after a small increase all of the subjects identified them all. For the normal cards these identifications were usually correct, but the anomalous cards were almost always identified, without apparent hesitation or puzzlement, as normal. The black four of hearts might, for example, be identified as the four of either spades or hearts. Without any awareness of trouble, it was immediately fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience. One would not even like to say that the subjects had seen something different from what they identified. With a further increase in exposure to the anomalous cards, subjects did begin to hesitate and to display awareness of anomaly. Exposed, for example, to the red six of spades, some would say: “That’s the six of spades, but there’s something wrong with it- the black has a red border.” Further increase in exposure resulted in still more hesitation and confusion, until finally and sometimes quite suddenly, most subjects would produce the correct identification without hesitation. Moreover, after doing this with two or three anomalous cards, they would have little difficulty with the others. A few subjects, however, were never able to make the requisite adjustment of their categories. Even at forty times the average exposure required to recognize normal cards for what they were, more than 10 per cent of the anomalous cards were not correctly identified. And the subjects who then failed often experienced acute personal distress. One of them exclaimed: “I can’t make the suit out, whatever it is. It didn’t even look like a card that time. I don’t know what color it is now, or whether it’s a spade of a heart. I’m not sure now what a spade looks like. My God!” In the next section, we shall occasionally see scientists behaving this way, too.

    “ Either as a metaphor, or because it reflects the nature of the mind, that psychological experiment provides a wonderfully simple and cogent schema for the process of scientific discovery. In science, as in the playing card experiment, novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation. Initially, only the anticipated and usual are experienced, even under circumstances where the anomaly is later to be observed. Further acquaintance, however, does result in awareness of something that has gone wrong before. That awareness of anomaly opens up a period in which conceptual categories are adjusted until the initially anomalous has become the anticipated. At this point the discovery has been completed. . . . . “ (End of quote from Kuhn)


    rshowalter - 07:31pm Dec 25, 2000 BST (#315 of 393)  | 

    Now, how will things play out, if this sort of perceptual impasse is deeply embedded, and discourse, at the level of peer review, or within a university setting, is subject to the imperative of “consensus building” in Kay’s sense of evasion of controversy? Problems that may look easy from a distance may be insoluble according to ordinary usages.

    In difficult cases, it may be very much worse, because the anomaly may couple strongly with power relations in the invisible college responsible for decision. rshowalter Sat 19/08/2000 16:21

    Here I quote from #74, this thread, citing Adolf Berle's POWER '. Among Berle’s "Five Natural Laws of Power," there is rule three:

    Power is invariably based on a system of ideas or philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced.

    If an anomaly undermines a system of ideas or philosophy, there may be emotional reasons, coupled with and reinforciing the conceptual reasons Kuhn cites, to not see, or refuse to see, a basic point.

    In the sciences, knowledge is property, and connections between ideas, status, and power are close. This is true for both individual scientists and scientific groups. Careers are at stake, or are percieved to be at stake, when questions of fact or interpretation are seriously raised, and the consideration is real. A scientist's whole professional life may rest on his acceptability to his peers, and the web of people around them. The stakes, in emotional and real money terms, are often high, and indeed life threatening. That can produce a hesitance to judge issues that could be dangerous, and can also produce some bias in the judging.

    How could it not?

    Under conditions where a paradigm shift proposition would change a good deal if it were right, that can make checking hard to come by. Ideals of truth may be compelling, and may be felt to be compelling. But other costs and risks can be intense, as well. That's good reason to try to soften the risks that go with checking in science.

    It is also a good reason to ask that certain kinds of checking get done by people who have some possibility of making a disinterested judgement, motivated primarily by a wish to arrive at an unbiased truth.

    Because of the inflexibilities Kays points out, combined with perceptual difficulties, and power relations couplings, a big change in a system of ideas can be resisted, or not seen, according to the usual usages of the academy, and may have the same difficulties with peer review. The resistance can be insurmountable according to current usages.

    Some of these difficulties, in my own case, were discussed in Black Holes in the Universe from #1149 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee74d5b/1274 onwards to 1182, and and especially #1179-1182 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee74d5b/1307

    In my relations with The New York Times , it can be fairly said that everything has been done for me that was reasonably possible, subject to the constraint that, according to current social usages, closure is not morally forcing.

    But without an institutional arrangement to get to closure, or a convention that certain decisions are morally forcing, impasses with high enough stakes, and large enough perceptual challenges, do not close within academic usages. I believe the record of the Showalter-Kline case shows that very well.


    SeekerOfTruth - 09:03pm Dec 25, 2000 BST (#316 of 393)

    Interesting thoughts as to 'what is a University' Showalter. The lay view might be that the University is where 'new knowledge' is developed. That there are constraints on this process would be unforseen by the average person?

    If the business Universities are in is the Knowledge business, then, why would 'active suppression' of new knowledge occur? (noted: expained immediately above)

    Doesn't the statement 'Truth will out' lead us to genrally expect that the truest knowledge will surface and triumph. But does it. Have avenues of knowledge been lost to us that might have been enabling?

    Isn't it often true that new knowledge can be a tool that assists in the enlightening of it's own and further subject areas?


    rshowalter - 09:35pm Dec 25, 2000 BST (#317 of 393)  | 

    Avenues of truth are opening up. The internet, Guardian's TALK, and the NYT fora are important reasons.

    I'm working now, on the NYT "brain" forum, to adress some of your question, hotkeying this thread and some others in the process, in relatin to the S-K issue, which involves an oversight in derivation of models of coupled physical circumstances that is now more than three centuries old. I'll relate it to some other people, both excellent mathematicians, not only myself.

    I've posted some things there now, http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?7@@.ee9baab/2445 and hope to have examples that apply to your question, but where the situation may be redeemed.

    I'll have postings there directly involving the math issue, by early tomorrow. I believe, in large part because of your work, and the work of xpat and friends, that this is a hopeful time where we may hope to see paradigm conflict impasse problems, as a class fixed so that progress is much more rapid, and losses much less, than they are today.

    Recently, I wrote this to a responsible person, involved with my work:

    "My own view, now, is that we may be in the middle of the cleanest, neatest, fairest, most beautiful, most bloodless resolution of a paradigm conflict in the history of science. That would be something we could all be proud of ....."

    The insights worked out in this thread are a big part of the reason why I think so.


    SeekerOfTruth - 08:04am Dec 28, 2000 BST (#318 of 393)

    Noted a program on the last 1000 years http://www.abc.net.au/rn/events/1000/default.htm the last century looks at the nuclear question, i noted the emphasis on the moral here.


    SeekerOfTruth - 08:18am Dec 28, 2000 BST (#319 of 393)

    Also noted a program on tv today, no transcript, but Margaret Wertheim was talking about physics and maths and how they were seen as a means of understanding nature, which in turn lead people to feel they were 'nearer' to god. Also noted how when 'god' and nearness to is put on funding agendas it assists in procuring monies from governments for research. God is harnessed in funding applications ... must have appeal for the populus.

    Pythagoras' Trousers : God, Physics, and the Gender Wars by Margaret Wertheim. Paperback (September 1997)

    2. The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the internet by Margaret Wertheim. Hardcover (April 1999)


    rshowalter - 05:02pm Jan 1, 2001 BST (#320 of 393)  | 

    On the nuts and bolts of my proposal, which has been in a paradigm conflict impasse, I've been posting in the NYT forum, "How the brain works" - especially with regard to brain function. These postings are now extensive. They start at #2090, on Dec 23rd http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee9baab/2444

    Postings that hotkey and use arguments from this thread are #2102 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee9baab/2444 and #2103 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee9baab/2457

    In # 2117 - "How the Brain Works" - 06:36pm Dec 27, 2000 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee9baab/2472 I used arguments from the this thread, by means of hotkeys, as follows:

    "Very many in the mathematics profession, and many of their students, are reflexively, passionately, and implacably averse to it. That response is part of their culture.

    "Since both the academy and the "invisible colleges" of different disciplines are full of distributed veto power, that aversion makes progress difficult. rshowalter Mon 25/12/2000 19:29

    "In addition, things that do not fit expectations may not be easy to see - here's a quote from Kuhn's THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS that expresses that well. rshowalter Mon 25/12/2000 19:30 I've had experiences that follow this pattern closely.

    "It is also true that in the academy, systems of ideas connect to systems of power, and that can make for inflexibilities if the idea you have to advocate happens to go against a conceptual status structure. rshowalter Mon 25/12/2000 19:31

    "These are some of the reasons, among others, why innovation isn't easy. Always, in retrospect, if you were smarter, or luckier, it would have been easier.

    "Soon, I believe, the S-K math will be checked, the checking well witnessed, and the physical experiments will be further tested, and witnessed, one way of another.

    "Then, I believe, people will see neural structures such as Hasbani and Hasbani's dendrite structure as the beautifully adapted memory and processing structures that I believe they are. http://www.neuro.wustl.edu/goldberg/image-gallery.htm


    rshowalter - 05:10pm Jan 1, 2001 BST (#321 of 393)  | 

    I'm very grateful, to the Guardian and to the NYT for giving me space, and connection to able, interesting, interested people.

    In the NYT forum "Science in the News" #2052-#2505 I say "thank you" in a way that applies, as well, to the threads on THE TALK http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05e1ab/2918

    I believe that the internet, and especially these threads, are making progress possible that could not have occurred before, and that we're learning how to use these new resources effectively.


    SeekerOfTruth - 03:07am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#322 of 393)

    http://www.cannylink.com/historyhistoriology.htm http://www.google.com/search?q=Historiology&btnG=Google+Search


    jihadij - 11:16pm Jan 6, 2001 BST (#323 of 393)

    Nigel Edwards (Hospital Management UK) said.

    5000 people die each year from hospital infections.

    HANDWASHING

    Hospitals have cut middle-managment (the keepers of this knowledge -re handwashing)

    For 20 years the Government-UK have demanded savings and cuts.

    These have come via less 'cleaning' of buildings, or wards, and through reduced vigilance re handwashing.


    Possumdag - 04:05pm Jan 12, 2001 BST (#324 of 393)

    Simple things matter and have huge consequences!


    jihadij - 07:12pm Jan 16, 2001 BST (#325 of 393)

    Simple things include following fire inspection and fire drill procedures:

    Australian Backpackers fire Childers Queesland - raking the ashes - findings that the fire alarm was not working (and known not to be working) and fire exits blocked. Many old wooden buildings are fire traps and unsuited to commercial intensive utilisation.

    Holland - night club fire - resulting in Dead and permanently MAIMED teenagers - reveals this: Dutch Public Servants fear their loosing their jobs if they are critical of matters within the community .. presumably they are unprepared 'to look' 'to check' 'to advise' 'to report' the need for fire safety. The whole functioning of the Dutch Civil Service MUST be reviewed!

    Nightclub fires most often show the blocking of exits - the logic being to prevent entry without payment - yet fires are a universal note recent deaths of Teens and Twenties in China fire.


    jihadij - 11:58am Jan 17, 2001 BST (#326 of 393)

    WWI poet http://www.ph-erfurt.de/~neumann/eese/artic99/less3/Sources/HTML-Pages/thegr68.html

    It's very strange, the things the war did to people. ... It was like an enormous machine that had got hold of you. You'd no sense of acting of your own free will, and at the same time no notion of trying to resist. ... Why had I joined the army? Or the million other idiots who joined before conscription came in? ... The machine had got hold of you and it could do what it liked with you. It lifted you up and dumped you down among places and things you'd never dreamed of ..


    rshowalter - 10:39pm Jan 21, 2001 BST (#327 of 393)  | 

    Progress, and a letter of apology and thanks from me to the NYT: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.ee9baab/2582


    bNice2NoU - 02:14pm Jan 22, 2001 BST (#328 of 393)

    Showalter ... NYT is different to Guardian .. here people would 'wonder' were anyone to appologise .. especially if that person believed they were 'in the right'! Big cultural divide between UK and USA.


    xpat - 08:33pm Jan 24, 2001 BST (#329 of 393)

    .


    rshowalter - 02:43am Jan 26, 2001 BST (#330 of 393)  | 

    BNIce,

    if one needs to have a past that can be recounted, sometimes one must explain. And sometimes, when rights and wrongs commingle, working explanations, and apologies, can resemble each other. The apology had some very positive aspects, as well.


    rshowalter - 11:41am Jan 26, 2001 BST (#331 of 393)  | 

    In the Is there such a thing as truth, and if so, how can we find a new Spiritual Path for our era? thread, in the Society section, Boog, in Re #192 quoted a full Newsweek article Searching For the God Within: The way our brains are wired may explain the origin and power of religious beliefs

    By Sharon Begley

    A wonderful article.

    Begley ends with -

    "If brain wiring explains the feelings believers get from prayer and ritual, are spiritual experiences mere creations of our neurons? Neuro-theology at least suggests that spiritual experiences are no more meaningful than, say, the fear the brain is hard-wired to feel in response to a strange noise at night. Believers, of course, have a retort: the brain’s wiring may explain religious feelings—but who do you think was the master electrician?

    © 2001 Newsweek, Inc.

    Well, whether the "master electrician" is God, or a VERY FANCY evolution, far more sophisticated than the current reductinist model, there are emergent properties involved that DO provide MEANING to human beings, and without which, humanity would be impossible. For a God, working with physical materials, how else could you do it? And if there is no God, mankind still exists, and insight into how the brain embodies and generates these collective yet intensely personal feelings might make it more possible for us to cooperate, both because we are the same, and because we are different.

    And however that may be interpreted, a refocusing, and paradigmatic shift, is going to occur, or at least I how one will occur, among both believers and nonbelievers.

    A point for this thread is, that if our brain has the sophistication to handle the belief systems that it DOES - and these belief systems are embodied in PHYSICAL relations -- then change comes hard, and humane institutions, concerned with justice and efficiency, may have to accomodate paradigm conflict impasses, and umpire them, taking into account that even the best of us are "a little lower than the angels."

    And not dehumanizing the players on that account.

    Another point is this. Questions of significant FACT can be forced, by an umpiring process, and Xpat, possumdag, DR and I have argued that they must be. That still leaves a lot of careful negotiation about meanings, that is humanly necessary, so that people can rearrange their heads to accomodate the new ideas, and go on with their work.

    Apologies, to return to a previous point, can help. Often, from a human perspective, they are well-nigh obligatory.


    bNice2NoU - 11:39am Jan 29, 2001 BST (#332 of 393)

    'change'

    how and when do people accept change

    when is change most difficult

    is 'unlearning' involved ... and that's hard .. to have to disassociate from current ideas to accommodate new and improved ideas

    can new-improved be demonstrated in a tangible way

    if the new values can be demonstrated

    and compared against the old they may be accepted


    rshowalter - 01:55am Jan 30, 2001 BST (#333 of 393)  | 

    Especially (and I'm getting more sensitive to this) if you can make it BEAUTIFUL.


    Possumdag - 12:37pm Jan 30, 2001 BST (#334 of 393)

    beauty is in the eye of the beholder

    333 has a certain beauty and symetry about it

    interesting how Judy's film (1939) opened in b&W ... then made a transition to beautiful colour (it was a cost saving exercise when colour was new), yet, very emotionally effective as we move from grey reality to magical story telling

    beauty competitions are BIG in INDIA, yet winning is not just about physical beauty, rather the integration of the physical with movement presentation and demonstrated knowledge and wisdom


    rshowalter - 03:55pm Jan 30, 2001 BST (#335 of 393)  | 

    I was taught - one might say trained, very severely trained, to reduce all logical interaction, and modeling, to the starkest, starkest, most unrelieved, most black-and-white terms. Stark, starker, yet more stark ... starkest -- and I was always striving to starken even the starkest formulation.

    Ugly.

    But useful for some jobs, that training. Still, it is dehumanizing and isolating, too. With your touch, I'm learning to contact human beings, in beautiful ways I could never have imagined, before you took me in hand.


    ElChumbo - 10:31pm Jan 31, 2001 BST (#336 of 393)

    Re: Science/spirituality: The newest development is the interest in aligning quantum physics with mysticism. A start site is:

    http://www.culture.com.au/brain_proj/quantum .htm

    ...and links.

    If this is a genuine paradigm shift emerging, it could be a vehicle for many to re-approach spiritual matters without the impediment of old dogmas.


    rshowalter - 04:33pm Feb 2, 2001 BST (#337 of 393)  | 

    http://www.newscientist.com/features/features.jsp?id=ns226015

    has the article "Double or Quit" set out in the Science thread Die, My Dear Quantum Physics, DIE!

    That article ends with a lovely quote:

    "But Maris also insists that he won't be upset if his idea is eventually disproved. Having lobbed in his bombshell, he seems to have decided to sit on the sidelines, enjoying the ensuing chaos. "What I have come up with is an intriguing puzzle," he says. "I want people to think. I would be happy if I was completely wrong but made a lot of people think."

    If this attitude was more broadly held, by the creators of theories, the people who consider them, and the people who judge them for backing, the world would be more humane, and progress faster. And the difficulties that cause paradigm conflict impasses would be much less in evidence.


    bNice2NoU - 06:14am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#338 of 393)

    'With your touch, I'm learning to contact human beings, in beautiful ways I could never have imagined, before you took me in hand.'

    Sounds intriguing!


    rshowalter - 07:57pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#339 of 393)  | 

    I posted this on There's Poetry -and I'm posting it here. It comes from the "hypothesis ...." thread in Europe, started by Beckvaa . It represents, we believe, a reframing of the notion of scientific theory, that, if it were adopted, might much reduce the probablility and seriousness of paradigm conflict impasses. In it, I refer to "my beloved partner." She, under a number of pseudonyms, has been my main co-author in this thread. We fell in love with each other (platonically so far - we have never so much as touched hands ) in the writing of this thread, which I hope we may later develop into a book.

    rshowalter - 09:44am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#95 )

    My beloved parter and I dance together in our work as partners.

    Here is something we did as partners. And it shows reasons why I love her as a partner, adore her as a partner, long for her as a partner, and think she's beautiful as a partner.

    WE did this.

    I couldn't have done it without her.

    She couldn't have done it without me.

    I'm proud of it, and think it is is important.


    rshowalter - 07:58pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#340 of 393)  | 

    rshowalter - 09:44am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#96 )

    I'll call it, for now:

    An operational definition of Good Theory in real sciences for real people. "Partnership output of a beloved lady partner, not yet named, and Robert Showalter.

    In "Beauty" http://www.everreader.com/beauty.htm Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

    "Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."

    SUGGESTED DEFINITION: Good theory is an attempt to produce beauty in Heisenberg's sense in a SPECIFIC context of assumption and data.

    Goodness can be judged in terms of that context,

    and also the fit with other contexts
    that, for logical reasons,
    have to fit together.

    The beauty, and ugliness, of a theory can be judged,

    in terms of the context it was built for, and other contexts, including
    the context provided by data not previously considered.

    Words, pictures
    and math have to fit together
    comfortably and workably,

    both

    as far as
    internal consistency goes,

    and in terms of fit
    to what the theory
    is supposed to describe.

    Theories that are useful work comfortably in people's heads.

    Both the "beauty" and "ugliness" of theory are
    INTERESTING.

    Both notions are contextual, and cultural.

    Ugliness is an especially interesting notion.

    To make theory better,
    you have to look for ways
    that the theory is ugly,
    study these, and fix them.

    The ugly parts are where new beauty is to be found.

    ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    ( Note: my beloved thinks "dissonant" is nicer than "ugly", and she's right, and I think that "ugly" is sharper, and closer to the human interest, and that seems right, too. So we're weighing word choices here. )

    (footnote):

    A lot of people think Bob Showalter is ugly. He's always pointing out weaknesses, uglinesses, of other people's theories.

    But the reason Bob gives (which is maybe, from some perspectives, a rationalization, but may be right in onther ways) is that the ugly parts provide clues to new progress -- hope that new, more powerful kinds of theoretical and practical beauty can be found.

    THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS OF OUR PARTNERSHIP. I think it is beautiful.

    And I think by beloved partner is beautiful, something I first felt, thinking of her as a partner, and working with her here on this thread.


    rshowalter - 07:59pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#341 of 393)  | 

    rshowalter - 09:58am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#97)

    Here's a part were I did more work than she, though she was indispensible:

    To make good theory, in complex circumstances, beauty coming into focus must be judged, and shaped, in a priority ordering - and even though the priorities may be shifted for different attempts at beauty, the priorities need to be remembered, and questions of "what is beautiful" and "what ugly" have to be asked in terms of these priorities.

    She has been completely indispensible, and mostly responsible, here, and has been a world intellectual leader, here, for years:

    Intellectual work, and scientific work, is an effort to find previously hidden beauty , and this is what moves people, and warms people. This need for beauty must be remembered, and not stripped away.

  • * * * * * *

    For a long time, I loved her as a partner, and only really thought of her as a partner. When I thought of her, I mostly compared her to Steve Kline, my old partner, and friend, who died three years ago. ( How beautiful she was viewed in that light ! Though Steve was beautiful and special too. )

    And then, with overwhelming force, I found myself in love with her as a woman ... a beautiful woman in all the ways that mattered most to me.


    rshowalter - 07:59pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#342 of 393)  | 

    We've done much work together since.


    xpat - 02:11pm Feb 9, 2001 BST (#343 of 393)

    Paradigm thread seemed evasive ... is it still under science?


    xpat - 02:23pm Feb 9, 2001 BST (#344 of 393)

    www.exodusminerals.com.au. ~ http://pdb.wehi.edu.au/scop/ ~ www.stvincents.com.au/p53


    xpat - 09:03pm Feb 9, 2001 BST (#345 of 393)

    http://www.exodusminerals.com.au/ASXFS.htm


    ElChumbo - 02:23am Feb 10, 2001 BST (#346 of 393)

    rshowalter:

    I fear for the success of your proposals if you get your romantic life mixed up with such a hard-nosed project as influencing academic and corporate leadership. They'll think you are bright and passionate, but also a nutcase.


    xpat - 03:23am Feb 10, 2001 BST (#347 of 393)

    So sayeth the Soothsayer .... nevertheless ... 'No man is an island' or was it 'No man is a 3-mile island' ... anyone got a spare copy of the definitive book of quotes? http://elfwood.lysator.liu.se/loth/t/h/thomrowe/big_angel.jpg.html


    rshowalter - 08:48am Feb 10, 2001 BST (#348 of 393)  | 

    ElCumbo said something interesting:

    " I fear for the success of your proposals if you get your romantic life mixed up with such a hard-nosed project as influencing academic and corporate leadership. They'll think you are bright and passionate, but also a nutcase."

    I think that the academic and corporate and journalistic leaders (politicians, too) would, most of them, respond in exactly the opposite way. We'd have to show disciplined beauty in our courtship, and in our relations.

    But for us , the partnership is so complementary, that I believe a connection makes compelling sense.

    I haven't had enough sleep tonight, and it is early in Wisconsin -- I'll get some more sleep, and think and write about what you say, again.

    This much is clear. My partner and I have to meet, and talk face to face.


    xpat - 09:18am Feb 10, 2001 BST (#349 of 393)

    ElCumbo i noticed the inappropriate thread you set up was trashed :)


    rshowalter - 01:11pm Feb 10, 2001 BST (#350 of 393)  | 

    And a really ugly, underhanded, nasty thing the setting up of that thread was, in my opinion. ElCumbo suggested an "expedition" of TALK contributors among the pronographic chat sites. ElCumbo is obviously a professional writer. I believe I know who his is. The act was malicious. I don't think the newspaper that employs this man would approve of what he did, if they had to acknowledge the connection to him in public.

    The anonymous contributor format does permit some malicious conduct. I've been the target of a good deal of that. Some, I believe, from "ElCumbo".

    However, he raises a legitimate point here, and I'll adress it.


    ElChumbo - 07:29am Feb 11, 2001 BST (#351 of 393)

    xpat: I've just checked, and you seem to be mistaken. The 'Adult Chat Site Exploration Party' is still forming in 'Issues'. And why do you say it's inappropriate? Sounds like a wonderful source of witty writing to me, and also an opportunity for some on this forum to experience what its like in the most populated section of the worldwide web. Surely all good reasons for proposing the venture? And if the 'ElCumbo' is a deliberate misspelling, who pray is the one obsessed with spreading smut?

    rshowalter: Me? I'm an innocent Aussie! Further, I am a professional writer, but not for the type of publications you describe. And further still, I sense malice coming from you - there's certainly none coming from me. As for my Exploration Party, could it be that I have inadvertently set up a new paradigm which you are against? Hmmmm. Anyway, I reiterate the comment about not getting your strategies mixed. I congratulate you on your romance, but it's not going to cut any ice with the defenders of the status quo.


    rshowalter - 10:52am Feb 11, 2001 BST (#352 of 393)  | 

    Not all the Aussies I know are so innocent. But point well taken. Thanks.


    SeekerOfTruth - 05:34am Feb 12, 2001 BST (#353 of 393)

    Chumbbo ... come off it .. there's no El .. not if you're an Aussie ... how do you mix being an Aussie with being a professional .. new territory for the Oceanic (note not Hispanic).

    "I've just checked" Says Chumbbo ... so that's good .. if you're a checker then you have an automatic right to come on the Paradigm board.

    Have you read the thread from the top, or, would that interfere with your imbibing Darwin Stubbies with Snazzazz on the bbq circuit?

    Isn't the intent of your other little site to get others to do the hard yards ... and report back in .. save you the hassel ... Chumbbo with T-bone!

    Wondered what the value would be of educating Asia to use a 'serving spoon' rather than

    sticks>mouth>center-dish>pickup morsel>from area of mixed-dippers>to mouth

    would this increase hygene standards, reduce hepititus A-G and improve health?

    Chumbbo i trust you are not GregSheridan in disguise! Have you been up to Asia?


    rshowalter - 01:11pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#354 of 393)  | 

    A paradigm shift in nuclear policy may be in the making in American policy and political circles -- some of the recent dialog in the NYT "Missile Defense" forum is interesting, and the spread on defense issues in the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES Week In Review section was, I believe, a masterpiece of tact, fairness, and logical power tempered by grace.

    The lead editorial was fine, too.

    Here's hoping.

    New paradigm involves communication, and search for beautiful solutions in real contexts, where the old pattern has been terror, and communication breakdown, and escalating ugliness and danger.


    SeekerOfTruth - 03:27pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#355 of 393)

    Noted a write-up on Bush bringing Southern ettiquette style to Presidency! Let's hope he, or his team, do take to dialogues that lead in to better and improved futures for humanity.


    rshowalter - 04:42pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#356 of 393)  | 

    The problem with that southern style, which CAN be very gracious, is that is can also be very evasive. It evolved in a slaveholding society, and was developed, since the Civil War, in a social order that refused to face a great deal, until it was forced to, on racial matters and other things.

    A challenge will be to ask questions that establish facts on which sane moral function depends, when asking such questions is considered "impolite."

    So ways to establish the truth gracefully are worth perfecting.


    SeekerOfTruth - 10:52pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#357 of 393)

    Moving to wildlife>

    An association between 'drug pushing' and the illegal removal of protected 'unique Australian species creatures' is emerging -- via court criminal proceedings here.

    Showing the general population (when young) that illicit substance consumption ain't a good thing - must be hard ... and .. via danceCulture it is apparent that a majority of youth are saying 'drugs are fine'.

    Perhaps it could be demonstrated to them in relation to the connections between animal and reptile smuggling -- taking them from their habitat to inappropriate conditions -- by the greedy. A dollar to a drug dealer is a bad outcome for protected species --- just a thought, but, someway is necessary to 'bring home' the awfulness of the drug barons. Animals may 'have it' over human networks to get 'simple' important concepts into young minds. The kids have the YES rational ... but no ownership of a NO rational.


    SeekerOfTruth - 02:19am Feb 13, 2001 BST (#358 of 393)

    The human genome project has seen 30,000 genes account for human blueprint. A factor to be explored is 'if we are all so much the same -- then -- how come we are so different' the difference isn't in the genes. Raises questions re nature and nurture. Which may link to brain. How does the 'brain' assist in the shaping and developing of individual people to create the range of diversity?

    In China torture is officially sanctioned, the goal of those torturing 'the others' within the population is to extract dollars! While the China Government signs treates that outlaw torture, the police officials detain and hold and torture people to get money out of them via false confessions. The community tortures and victimises individuals. So torture is a type of brain-think in China, imposed on people seen to be lucratively-other!


    SeekerOfTruth - 12:09pm Feb 14, 2001 BST (#359 of 393)

    Plotting death

    Many lives could be saved by applying simple maths to hospital data, says a UK team

    Many lives could be saved if a simple mathematical technique used since the 1920s to check quality control in car manufacture is applied to the performance results of hospitals, says a British team.

    The approach could easily have picked up a clear excess of childhood deaths after heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1997, a year before problems were identified, says Tom Marshall of the University of Birmingham.

    It could also have highlighted the high number of deaths among the elderly women patients of Harold Shipman, the former British doctor and now convicted serial killer.

    But the UK Department of Health's argues that while the technique is widely used in industry, it may be too simplistic for use with hospital data: "The very simplicity of the technique's approach and application means it may not be the best technique to apply universally within the more complex environment of the NHS."

    The DoH accepts the article raises important issues and adds: "Work is already underway to set up a new national mandatory system for reporting and analysing adverse health care events."

    Special cases

    The graphical method was developed by US physicist Walter Shewhart for use in the manufacturing industry. Scores are not ranked into a league table. Instead, the number of adverse outcomes is plotted against the total number of cases on a graph.

    A line is drawn through the mean, and all scores within three standard deviations (in practice, most of the scores) are considered to be down to inherent variation in the system. Any scores outside the 'control limits' suggest a special cause.

    "This tells you where the real problems in a system are," Marshall told New Scientist. "In a league table, someone has to be at the top and someone has to be at the bottom, but that doesn't necessarily mean any kind of intervention should be taken.

    "This technique has a huge number of applications - for hospitals, schools, universities, as well as manufacturing," he says.

    Hit squads

    Marshall's team completed case studies on six sets of data using the control charts, including the data on mortality rates of women aged over 65 in Shipman's area. This would not routinely be analysed, notes Marshall.

    "But the data on Bristol Infirmary cardiac surgery was available in 1997 to some very eminent people, yet using conventional statistical approaches they were unable to conclude that there was a case for intervening. The control chart approach gives you a very clear answer: there was," Marshall says.

    He thinks one of the key advantages of using the approach is that it makes it clear when not to intervene.

    "Intervening when one particular team is not genuinely performing more poorly can make things worse," he says. "Hit squads are often sent in to put pressure on schools at the bottom of league tables. But the truth is those schools might not be doing anything different."

    Marshall thinks that decades of effective use in manufacturing proves the robustness of the approach. "In the 1950s, the technique was taken to Japanese car manufacturers, who were producing pretty poor quality cars. They were told that if they adopted this approach, they'd be beating the world in two to three decades. The rest is history."

    More at: The Lancet (vol 357, p 463) http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?id=ns9999404


    rshowalter - 01:16pm Feb 14, 2001 BST (#360 of 393)  | 

    Beautiful, partner !

    Here's stuff on a proposal for a paradigm shift in communication sequences between "adversaries" that we've both been working on for some time.


    rshowalter - 01:16pm Feb 14, 2001 BST (#361 of 393)  | 

    A point essential to complex applications of the Golden Rule .

    Honesty is better than deception, and honesty, with careful thought and a few conventions, can be safer than people think. In nuclear arms negotiations, we need more honesty, more openness, and fewer lies.

    Generally: To live to together, in peace and prosperity, and comfort, we need more honesty, more openness, and fewer lies. We can all stay well defended, and even become better defended, if we are more open, in ways consistent with disciplined beauty as we see it, and as we expect others to see it. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f1983fb/407

    I referred to these things, in a place where I believe some people concerned with nuclear arms may be looking. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/750


    SeekerOfTruth - 03:58am Feb 15, 2001 BST (#362 of 393)

    Interestingly it was said of the ME conflict, now in the futility zone, that until they are honest and reckon up the costs ... which will include the collapse of industry if workers are not allowed into work ... they will not be ready for peace. Peace is a conclusion both sides have to want and reach out for.


    bNice2NoU - 11:14am Feb 19, 2001 BST (#363 of 393)

    Pharmacutical Drugs may account for up to 25% of a countries imports by value. The poorer the country the higher the percentage.

    Australia under the guidance of Professor David Henry, set up the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), whose job is to advise which drugs should be publicly subsidised.

    The best value for money drugs were determined.

    A ceiling price put on each drug.

    The members of the PBAC had accumulated expertise.

    Seemingly a word in the ear of the Aussie PM from the Pharmacutical Industry saw the SACKING of Professor David Henry and others with expertise to protect public expenditure.

    Drug prices again have no ceiling and are spiralling out of control. Expensive drugs are being over precribed.

    Links and discusion: http://www2b.abc.net.au/4corners/sforum39/ http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s246748.htm


    rshowalter - 12:34am Feb 20, 2001 BST (#364 of 393)  | 

    In #361 I referred to a paradigm shift, in defense policy, being proposed, subject to criticism and journalistic interaction, on the NYT -- Science -- Missile Defense thread. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/750

    Posting #683 was cited. The last posting now is 717, and there will be more.

    I believe that there is a real chance of a paradigm shift in US defense policy, that would be to the advantage of the US and the whole world. Discourse practices developed and focused on this thread are being used.


    bNice2NoU - 02:00am Feb 20, 2001 BST (#365 of 393)

    Note Wiscon psychologists have determined that babies have perfect pitch .. with which they listen. At what stage of development does listening stop ... when does 'whitenoise' cause 'whiteout' ?

    It just seems that if we used to listen-up giving messages our fullest attention, it's a skill we ought not let go.


    bNice2NoU - 11:18am Feb 20, 2001 BST (#366 of 393)

    A guy who moved into Emu Farming and the selling of product, noted that emu oil has healing properties. It being an acid that cuts through and disolves cholesterol/fats in the human body. People taking it are said to quickly have improvements in health in relation to heart_diabetes_gout_and possibly weight loss. Noting this the farmer approached health bodies to assist in the checking out scientifically regarding the value of the oil. No one was interested.

    Smitt determined to set up his own trial. The factor to isolate he said is diabetes ... because the person takes regular measurement of sugar readings.

    So, via public radio he has put his case. People with diabetes (type II with some type I's) are invited to apply for the trial in which they will take 150 oil capsuals Smitt intends to provide for free.

    - - -

    note:

    The Emu he says produces 12 litres of this fluid per year, it sits with eggs for 57 days, during this time the bird does not eat.

    He was 'surprised' that the pharmacutical companies did not want to trial emu oil!


    bNice2NoU - 03:47am Feb 22, 2001 BST (#367 of 393)

    http://www.rnw.nl/science/html/antarctic010122.html Dr Van Franeker presented his thesis this month, entitled "Mirrors in Ice". Why that title? "Well I began my research by looking at large sea-birds living in the Antarctic," explains Dr Van Franeker. "But during my time there I noticed many changes, both in the habitat and the life-cycle of these birds - and I suppose you could say that these big animals at the top of the food-chain "reflect" - like mirrors - what's going on in their environment. ...

    A New Slant on Global Warming

    But why is that important? Well in an indirect way, (Petrel birds)eating mostly fish and squid rather than krill alters our previously held notions on how much carbon dioxide is 'absorbed' by the seas around the South Pole. Dr van Franeker.

    "Why the oceans are studied so closely is because a lot of the carbon dioxide which we put in the atmosphere through burning fuels, oil and gas, is taken up by small green plants - so-called algae - in these oceans and transported down to the deep sea. So we get rid of carbon dioxide and that's highly interesting to us. However the algae get eaten by things, which themselves get eaten by bigger things - and so on, until we reach the top of the food chain. And so it was thought that the big mammals and birds, the so-called 'top-predators', more-or-less cancel out the effect of the algae "mopping-up" our excess carbon dioxide by breathing it all out into the atmosphere again. However we've made our own measurements of how much carbon dioxide is taken up by the algae, and from our observations we've also calculated how much carbon dioxide is put back into the atmosphere by the top-predators. And that's not anything like the previous estimates of 25%; we're talking about less than half-a-percent; probably a lot less than that even."

    Complex but Fragile Ecosystem

    Which is not to say of course that we should relax and stop worrying about releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. Quite the contrary. "I think we should all realise," says Jan Andries van Franeker "that Antarctica is a much more complex ecosystem than we had previously thought - and we should do everything we can to protect it."


    bNice2NoU - 10:07pm Feb 24, 2001 BST (#368 of 393)

    ON the USA economy - The Bush Administrations desire to cut taxation raised an academic (MethodistU) to make the following observation. When incomes are redistributed away from the poor to the rich, the poor have to make use of welfare. This '$welfare$' has to be borrowed. The borrowing sends up interest rates that dampens the economy. The current move was likened to the Regan era of remarkably low economic growth, and the Thirties.

    Raises the question, are the rich just greedy, does a fairer 'mixed economy' philosophy work in the interests of all ... including the rich - best?


    bNice2NoU - 10:43pm Feb 24, 2001 BST (#369 of 393)

    The landmark finding on rape! Women need to be seen as humans and not be subject to rape. The Hauge court findings are moving in the right direction.

    Time for Japan to move to a new - human - paradigm

    The women who were sex-enslaved by Japan in WWII are still awaiting an apology from the Japanese ... who say this would be an insult to their warrior ancestors .. who said that they had to rape the womem because it was, after all, their Emperors ORDER!

    This was one of the most abhorent crimes of the past century and the Japanese of today should review the matter and make an appology to the remaining tortured women ... [ref: TOOMEY*, Christine 2001, 'Waiting in pain'The Weekend Australian (magazine) 24-5 Feb p28-31 ] *London


    bNice2NoU - 10:56pm Feb 24, 2001 BST (#370 of 393)

    Dorothy Rowe (Aussie_Author_Psychologist) is 'happy' to have her own paradigm viewpoint on 'depression' that doesn't fit the mould.

    She believes that depression means folks are less than happy in the nurture_environment they exist within.

    Currently she notes

    'Now psychiatrists talk about dresssion being a chemical imbalance of the brain. They talk about how prozac works on the serotonin in the synapses and they draw little diagrams ... We can't say what a chemical imbalance is because we don't know what a chemical balanced brain is.'

    She believes the right therapist can read some sign posts, suggest a path (as might a good friend) that leads people to straighten out their lives and solve problems.

    [Amazon.com lists 16 Rowe books including one called 'living with the bomb'1985 (but not reviewed).]


    rshowalter - 12:39am Mar 1, 2001 BST (#371 of 393)  | 

    We may be seeing a "paradigm shift" in nuclear realpolitic -- Kim, of South Korea, is standing with Putin, of Russia, opposing US nuclear policy.


    bNice2NoU - 10:16pm Mar 2, 2001 BST (#372 of 393)

    The runnaway train came down the hill

    And she blew, she blew

    The Russians want their trains to run faster from S.Korea (all weather ports?) to Moscow via N.Korea.


    bNice2NoU - 10:20pm Mar 2, 2001 BST (#373 of 393)

    The reward from a good freight train service is a higher standard of living for North East Russia! Australia could sell 'gas' into Russia as necessary to keep them warm in winter perhaps along with tropical fruits and wool. I'm for improved communications into Russia.


    bNice2NoU - 01:41pm Mar 5, 2001 BST (#374 of 393)

    science might prove who 'William Shakespeare' actually was, perhaps: http://www.primenet.com/~avrycifr/whodunit.htm


    bNice2NoU - 11:46pm Mar 6, 2001 BST (#375 of 393)

    Paradigm shifts in ways of thinking may be slow to happen. Noted an opinion in the NYT today that the Mindset of the Old Palestinian leaders wasn't accommodating the educational needs of young Palestinians ... who are thinking of death rather than living through new knowledge.

    Additionally (especially in Australia) young men are having difficulty in finding their way in the world and suicide rates are tremendously high for them. One reason cited is that the world of upper-arm strength of old, has given way to a world of 'brain' within a generation. [A factor in suicide is guys look at others .. if the sucess for them seems too wide a chasm .. rather than learn to swim .. they tied themselves into a weighted sack and roll into the deep]

    In the US the latest school shooting was a guy who thought he'd been unjustly bullied and saw revenge via a shoot-out. That his same age friends had not reported on his thinking shows that they like he were merely children ... yet he will be treated like a 'man' regarding his trial.


    bNice2NoU - 11:47pm Mar 6, 2001 BST (#376 of 393)

    NYT article: March 6, 2001 FOREIGN AFFAIRS The New Mideast Paradigm By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    The past six months of warfare between Israelis and Palestinians constitute a fundamental turning point in their struggle — one as important as the 1948 and 1967 wars, and one that demands that we look at their conflict in a new way.

    The paradigm, the superstory, through which much of the world first looked at the Arab-Israeli conflict after the 1948 war, was David versus Goliath — a tiny Jewish state standing up against seven Arab armies seeking to destroy it. That paradigm lasted until the 1967 war, when Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights, and a new paradigm took hold: Israel as colonizer, with Israeli policies in the territories compared to South Africa under apartheid or France in Algeria.

    The 2000-2001 Israeli-Palestinian war shifts the paradigm once again. Why? Because when Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel and the U.S. president put forth a peace plan that, while not entirely acceptable to the Palestinians, contains for the first time all the elements of a deal that they were seeking — a Palestinian state in virtually all the West Bank and Gaza, territorial compensation for land Israel would retain for settlements, a redivided Jerusalem and restitution for the Palestinians — and the Palestinian leadership rejects this offer and the Palestinian street reacts to Ariel Sharon's silly provocation on the Temple Mount rather than to the Clinton-Barak proposals on the table, then you have to admit that another paradigm is at work today.

    To say that Israel's idiotic, rapacious settlements in places like Gaza, its trigger-happy soldiers and roadblocks throughout the West Bank do not prolong the conflict is to deny reality. But to say that those are the whole story is utter nonsense, since it was precisely such settlements that Mr. Barak was offering to withdraw.

    The conflict today between Israelis and Palestinians is not just about territory, politics or religion. It is about modernity — for both Arab leaders and the Arab street. It is about the tension between a developed society that is succeeding at modernization and an underdeveloped one that is failing at it and looking for others to blame.

    Why is Israel's most dovish leader, Shimon Peres, who aspired to forge a "New Middle East," disliked by Arab leaders more than any other Israeli official? It is because a new Middle East is a problem for certain Arab leaders (but by no means all), because they feel that in a region focused on trade, development and democratization they cannot succeed — without fundamental change — nor could they blame Israel for their failures. When the only issue on the agenda is liberating Palestine, then Ariel Sharon is the problem. But when the only issue on the agenda is modernizing the Arab world, then certain Arab leaders are the problem. And they don't want to be seen as the problem, so they keep their people focused on Israel and the old Middle East.

    It's not that the Palestinians are anti-modern. It's that their young people are not being given a real choice by their leaders to move in that direction. They are constantly being told by their leaders and fellow Arabs to stay in the old definition of struggle, to stay in a permanent revolution against colonization, to build their society and dignity through conflict against Israel, not through success at modernization.

    All of these messages are now wrapped together in this Intifada II. Intifada II is Palestinian youths trying to emulate the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and playing out some heroic 1960's Che Guevara struggle against the "Israeli imperialist"; it's Palestinian youths lashing out at the symbol of their failure to build a modern society — Israel; and it's Palestinian youths lashing out at the instruments of their decline — their own leaders. Their message to Israelis is: "We are somebody. We may not be able to make microchips, but we can make you miserable and we will do that even if it is making us destitute."

    I have argued from the start that such an approach will achieve nothing good for the Palestinians. At least some Palestinians are starting to question it as well. Read the respected Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab's op-ed piece last Thursday in The Jerusalem Post: "Some voices in Palestine are starting to say for the first time that, looking beyond emotions, where exactly are we now? Barak and Clinton, as well as their ideas, are no longer around. . . . Shouldn't we have accepted the Clinton ideas? Where is the return, in Palestine and the Arab world, of the 1970's and 1980's rhetoric going to lead us?"


    captainz - 10:40am Mar 7, 2001 BST (#377 of 393)

    Good one bNice :).


    bNice2NoU - 02:34am Mar 8, 2001 BST (#378 of 393)

    From an article: Scientists say: Genius stifled by popularism

    Author: Anjana Ahuja investigates

    End ref is given as:more to the story: DonBraben@compuserve.com

    Donald Braben was a former ideas scout for BP (britPetroleum) currently PhysicsProf at UCL Univeristy College London. Put letter into J Nature & J Science.

    Both refused to publish the letter (had many signatures from top scientists)

    Bradman hits out at PEER REVIEWS .. miligates against those harbouring original, even revolutionary, ideas. YET it is those ideas __ lonely furrows ploughed by brilliant individuals against the mainstream __ that change science, spur technologies and create wealth. (eg laser, transistor, DNA)

    Braben wants to set up a forum to encourage and fund radical scientists. % 0.04% of reseach funding should go to it. For people who can stand back and ask "how does everything fit together".

    Asks when was the last time there was a REAL SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH

    Talks on expensive collaborative projects : don't give space or cash to alternative thinkers.

    Some individual thinkers are being funded (individually) by trusts: Canada Perimeter (theoretical physics) being set up near TORONTO - MikeLazaridis funds it, and recruits people known for their daring ideas.

    Robert May (Australian President of the Royal Society) says he would have printed the letter ... just to provoke debate.

    Royal Society awards $'s to hundreds of brilliant minds to allow them to set their own agenda.

    BP spent $69m to get a return of $833m

    Intellectual Greenfield Sites (prob for scientists to get funding).

    If clever scientists are asking questions no one has asked before -- they can't avoid making big discoveries, they can't fail!

    Time is a bigger factor than money.


    bNice2NoU - 02:37am Mar 8, 2001 BST (#379 of 393)

    Book: ti: The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the modern world 1700-2000

    au: Niall FERGUSON

    pub: Allen Lane

    Lane says meore emphasis should be given to economic forces when historical assessments are made. A review of this book may be available via net booksellers . Did feature in The Times Higher Ed Supplement recently.


    bNice2NoU - 02:46am Mar 8, 2001 BST (#380 of 393)

    NYT "HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL RULES CLINTON SET ON WORK INJURIES."

    Interesting how death in the workplace has never been highly rated!

    Just regarded as the person who is injured's bad luck ... and employer has traditionally has assumed little responsibility.

    The injury or death may be related to defective process.

    If the injury/death is not taken seriously, the process continues, more injury/death results, the process is not given sufficient monetary significance to engender change of process.


    bNice2NoU - 12:05pm Mar 16, 2001 BST (#381 of 393)

    Osteoporosis: new thoughts:

    WaiGenriiu - 05:43pm Mar 11, 2001 BST (#307 of 308)

    I've found a few medical journals that accept articles from non-scientits, so I put something together what I'm going to send to a professor from Berkeley University who can edit it for me. (if anyone actually wants to see the references, just let me know) Here it is:

    EXCESSIVE CALCIUM CAUSES OSTEOPOROSIS

    Introduction

    By nature bone mineral density (BMD) decreases with age. In osteoporosis the loss of calcium from the bones is accelerated, and BMD decreases prematurely. Since in osteoporosis BMD is decreased, the generally accepted hypothesis is that osteoporosis can be prevented by increasing peak-BMD and that osteoporosis can be treated by increasing BMD in patients through drugs, supplementary calcium and / or physical exercise.

    International statistics contradict the hypothesis that increasing peak-BMD can help prevent osteoporosis. Though average milk consumption per country appears to positively correlate with average BMD per country, hip-fracture incidence also positively correlates with average BMD.

    Average BMD is highest and about similar in those countries where most milk is consumed and osteoporosis incidence is highest, like in the USA, Australia, Switzerland, the UK and Northern Europe. (1) Italians also drink very much milk, have a high average BMD, and Italian osteoporosis incidence is very high too. (2)

    BMD in Polish children is lower than US children (3), and so is milk consumption (22% less) and Polish osteoporosis incidence (4).

    Both average BMD and hip fracture risk are lower in Chinese (5). And their lower BMD is not due to genetic differences; Chinese who immigrated to Denmark more than 12 years ago have a similar BMD to that of the Danish. (6)

    Hip-BMD in Taiwanese is 10 to 15% lower as in Caucasians, and hip fracture incidence is, like in mainland Chinese, far lower. (7)

    Japanese osteoporosis incidence is also lower, and so is their average BMD (8). And this is not due to genetic differences either; America-born Japanese women have BMD values equivalent to those of whites. (9)

    In Gambia average BMD, calcium intake and osteoporosis incidence are very low. (10) And again, this is not ‘genetic’, since there are no significant differences in BMD and bone turnover in Gambian and Caucasian children living in the UK (11).

    Studies have shown that BMD and bone-strength in osteoporosis patients can be increased through exercise, supplementary calcium and / or drugs, but that this disease cannot be halted, let alone reversed.

    Hypothesis

    Measurements that evoke an increase of BMD have temporary beneficial effects on bone-strength but adverse long-term effects.

    Theory

    New bone is formed by osteoblasts that compose a pre-calcified matrix upon which calcium precipitates. No matter whether humans consume 300 or 700 mg calcium daily, and sometimes even when supplemented with 1,200 mg calcium daily, in general only 200 mg is absorbed. (12) Calcium absorption rate is adapted to calcium intake. (13) But when more than 1,500 mg calcium is consumed, yet 5% of the calcium on top of this 1,500 mg is additionally absorbed. In girls consuming 5-fold more calcium than before, 2-fold more calcium was actually absorbed. (13) When more dietary calcium is absorbed, this extra calcium is taken up into the bones (14), to prevent a rise in blood-calcium level. That is why an increased calcium consumption can increase BMD (15), or not. (16) To take this extra calcium up into the bones, activity and production of osteoblasts is increased. (17) But with all new matrix that is composed, 50 to 70% of the composing osteoblasts die. (18) The more their activity is stimulated, the more they die (19).

    Like in all cells in our body, the total number of times osteoblasts can reproduce is fixed. The more death rate of osteoblasts is increased, the more the ageing process is accelerated and the sooner reproductivity of osteoblasts will be exhausted. And that is exactly what happens in osteoporosis. In osteoporosis less osteoblasts are available (20) and / or activity of osteoblasts is impaired. (21) Like ‘exaggeratedly aged’ bones. (22) And thus in osteoporotic bones there is less matrix available that can yet be calcified, than in healthy bones. (23) In osteoporosis, dead cells cannot be replaced and micro-fractures cannot be repaired. (24)

    If calcium intake is very low, there will still not be a lack of calcium for calcification of bone-matrix. (25) If little calcium is consumed, the bone-cells age slower, like a low calcium intake through adolescence has been shown to both retard and prolong longitudinal bone growth in rats. (26)

    The main cause of osteoporosis is a high calcium intake which accelerates ageing of osteoblasts. Corticosteroids have also been acknowledged to be a cause of osteoporosis. Administration of corticosteroids increases death of osteoblasts. (27)

    Estrogen

    A lifetime adequate production of estrogen is generally acknowledged to be protective against osteoporosis. Estrogen both inhibits uptake of calcium into the bones (28) and deportation of calcium from the bones. Due to a lack of estrogen, more calcium is absorbed into the bones. (9) Because estrogen inhibits uptake of calcium, estrogen prevents death of osteoblasts (30). In women osteoporosis risk is 3-fold higher because in general estrogen level in women is decreased every four weeks and in postmenopausal women estrogen level is structurally decreased. Since estrogen inhibits parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion, PTH level is at its highest when estrogen level is at its lowest (31) - around menstruation and after menopause. That is why hyperparathyroidism is common in postmenopausal women (32) and estrogen administration is an effective therapy. (33)

    Hyperparathyroidism

    In hyperparathyroidism is parathyroid hormone (PTH) level elevated and do the bones eventually become porous. PTH stimulates both uptake of calcium into the bones (34) and deportation of calcium from the bones. In hyperparathyroidism is osteoblast number (35), and osteoblast death rate increased. (36) In hyperparathyroidism BMD values can differ very much per bone (37), and some BMD values can even be elevated. (38)

    Besides estrogen, calcitriol (from vit. D) also inhibits PTH secretion. Though calcitriol, like PTH, increases uptake of calcium into the bones (39) and subsequent deportation of calcium from the bones, the effects of calcitriol are far less strong. That is why supplementary calcitriol can, per saldo, strongly decrease uptake of calcium into the bones, and deportation from the bones (40), which is protective.

    Exercise

    Bone-loss with age cannot be explained by declining physical activity levels. (41) Physical exercise increases death of osteoblasts; (42) exercise causes microfractures which stimulates the osteoblasts to increase their activity. Exercise temporarily increases osteoblast activity, and therefore does not guarantee future bone-strength (43). Since in osteoporosis osteoblast reproductivity is (almost) exhausted, exercise can only partially (20 – 40%) decrease short-term hip-fracture risk. (44) In osteoporosis exercise can often not evoke an increase in BMD. (45) The later in life, the smaller the effects of exercise (46). A great deal of the protective effect of exercise may be contributed by strengthening the muscles around the bones that can absorb the shock when falling. (47).

    Excessive exercise is detrimental. (48) Professional athletes are at risk for stress-fractures because intense physical exercise competes with blood-calcium level-regulating function of osteoblasts. If physical exercise is very intense, full osteoblast capacity to repair microfractures is required, but if much calcium is absorbed, also osteoblast activity is required to be able to take up calcium from the blood, regardless of the local occurrence of microfractures. Since maintaining blood-calcium level has top priority, repairing microfractures is compromised.

    In female athletes estrogen levels are decreased, because intense physical exercise makes the


    bNice - 03:46am Mar 17, 2001 BST (#382 of 393)

    Hudson's experience is all too common in a field where arguments over scientific ideas can devolve into something akin to turf war. http://www.popsci.com/scitech/features/sick/sick_3.html


    rshowalter - 02:30pm Mar 17, 2001 BST (#383 of 393)  | 

    from http://www.popsci.com/scitech/features/sick/sick_3.html

      "Just as the medical establishment ridiculed Barry Marshall and his germ theory of ulcers, says Ewald, scientists who have spent a lifetime studying the genetic basis of disease are of course going to reject alternative explanations. They've simply got too much invested in existing theories, he argues. "
    A poem on exactly that point, from my personal experience, is "Learning to Stand" in "There's Always Poetry" in Guardian Talk. That poem, and two others of interest, are linked in the NYT Science News Poetry #265 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f1983fb/412

    Two other poems, also in "There's Always Poetry" and also relevant here are linked as well: Secular Redemption ... and .. Chain Breakers


    bNice2NoU - 01:09pm Mar 19, 2001 BST (#384 of 393)

    http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?id=ns9999518 on breast feeding over 4mths and hardened arteries.

    ON Osteo -- the reasearchers at LITTLE ROCK usa have determined ...... it's in the hardcopy of NS .. a connection between Osteo and sex-in-the-cell.


    bNice2NoU - 07:13am Mar 23, 2001 BST (#385 of 393)

    I like the way the www.newscientist.com takes an interest in people who have teetered on the brink re paradigm shift. Naplam for dispostal of F&M infected stock ... wow! http://www.newscientist.com/


    bNice2NoU - 07:49pm Mar 31, 2001 BST (#386 of 393)

    Practicalities:

    Silky scaffolding

    Nature has provided the ideal material for rebuilding broken bones

    SILKWORM cocoons boiled in soap solution could help mend badly damaged bones. A team of researchers from Massachusetts has found that bone cells grow well on silk sheets made from the treated cocoons. They now plan to build tough silk pads seeded with bone cells that would grow strong enough to patch up weight-bearing bones, such as femurs.

    One way to fix cracks or holes in bones is to place bone cells into a "scaffold" which is then implanted into the damaged area. Scaffolds can be made from biodegradable polymers such as polylactic acid, or natural materials such as coral. As the bone cells multiply, they fill the scaffold - or replace it altogether if it is degradable.

    But these scaffolds are too weak to bear weight, so they can only be used to heal certain bones. "This is one of the biggest problems&mdash;getting scaffolds that are strong enough," says Joost de Bruijn, who heads the bone programme at IsoTis, a human tissue engineering company in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. "Ceramic ones are quite brittle and the polymer ones aren't strong enough for load-bearing uses," he says.

    David Kaplan and a team at Tufts University in Massachusetts reasoned that silk would be strong enough for the job, but didn't know if bone cells would grow on it. To find out, they took silkworm cocoons and boiled them for an hour in soap solution to remove a protein called sericin, which triggers an immune response in the body. The team then coated sheets of the treated silk with specially chosen sequences of amino acids that bind to bone cells. Finally they spread human bone cells onto the silk.

    After four weeks, the bone cells were producing messenger RNA for procollagen, a precursor of the collagen found in bones. They were also depositing calcium, just as they do in the body.

    Kaplan says silk scaffolds seeded with bone cells would be sufficiently strong to be load-bearing until enough bone cells had formed to take the strain. "It would be degradable, and so fully replaced by native tissue after repair and regrowth, but provide support in the interim," he says. "In the long run, we would not use sheets but three-dimensional silk sponges or fibres."

    One way to make such structures might be to weave a tube, or roll a mat up into a cylinder, suggests Christopher Viney, who studies the properties of silk at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. "Or you could do it layer by layer," he says.

    "It's a very novel and interesting use of silk," he adds. "Bones can undergo lots of deformation during loading, but silk can sustain large deformations without breaking."

    But Viney points out that further tests are needed to ensure that the silk degrades safely in the body. "If you get molecular fragments breaking off, they could potentially cause an immunological reaction," he warns.

    Tim Hardington, who is setting up a tissue engineering centre at the University of Manchester, agrees. "Until you know what kinds of fragments are produced as it breaks down, there'll be a chance they could induce a response," he says

    More at: Journal of Biomedical Materials Research (vol 54, p 139)

    17 March 2001


    Marazion - 08:20am Apr 1, 2001 BST (#387 of 393)

    I have posted this link previously, but the site has been updated recently and is still very relevant for this thread.

    http://www.connectcorp.net/~trufax/w1.html


    bNice2NoU - 11:23am Apr 1, 2001 BST (#388 of 393)

    Paradigm shifts: http://www.whatareweswallowing.com/


    rshowalter - 02:59pm Apr 1, 2001 BST (#389 of 393)  | 

    Just an update on my technical work -- I've been devoting almost all my attention and passion, for the last while, to issues of nuclear safety and reduction of threats of war, and reductions of war, around here, but most of all, on the NYT Missile Defense thread.

    Some people have been watching, my overall credibiltiy has increased, and there is at least some hope that the technical points I've worked so hard to make, with so much help from Dawn Riley, may get a clean, workable hearing. That's not clear, or assured -- but the possibility seems real.

    Paradigm shifts involve shifts of MANY interrellated views, and connections in minds and brains. They take time, and the working out of both ideas and feelings. But sometimes, though not always, good accomodations do occur. That is a reason why the world works, for all its faults, as well as it sometimes does.

    Great sites, just above!


    bNice2NoU - 05:26am Apr 2, 2001 BST (#390 of 393)

    + read The New Scientist ... which takes the time to Paradigm!


    captainz - 02:20pm Apr 4, 2001 BST (#391 of 393)

    On osteoporosis. The last theory I saw talked about the protective effects of phytoestrogens (like from soy) which are often consumed by non-dairy cultures.

    The same phytoestrogens cause infertility and small penis size in males (yup, I swear its true).

    The healing of broken bones reminds me of the US witch-hunt against radio-medicine. For example, the zinc-air battery was invented (over 100 years ago now) to provide an embedded voltage across bone-gaps. This vastly accelerates healing. Similarly, micro-current healing (not the same as TENS) and magnetic bone-collars. You're unlikely to see the last ones unless you are an athlete or a race-horse. There's more but you get the idea :).


    bNice2NoU - 04:41pm Apr 6, 2001 BST (#392 of 393)

    I set this thread up (Xpat) to 'talk' with Showalter regarding the Paradigm Shift problems he was encountering. Through this thread, and others on the NYT, attention was focused on the importance of his work, the need for it to be checked and implemented. The 'Easter Bunny' tells me that Showalter's work is starting to move along and some aspects are being given attention in the Mid-West. Showalter when you come up for air you might comment.


    rshowalter - 09:39pm Apr 8, 2001 BST (#393 of 393)  | 

    Sure will. Things are going very, very well - in ways that could not have happened without this thread, and without the NYT Missile Defense thread, as well. (And enormous help and creativity from my beloved partner, bNice -- Xpat-- Dawn Riley. )

    And ideas that this thread was instrumental in focusing may, and I believe will, make the world a safer place as well as military balances go, as well. I'll respond by the end of today (my day.)



    rshowalter - 02:27am Apr 9, 2001 GMT (#394 of 507)  | 

    It will be tommorrow morning before I can say much more.

    There's this much.

    It isn't solid. It isn't formal.

    But in a good scientific department, I've been "given" a lab -- a full sized lab - big enough for a research team -- the space that a successful Professor has, space enough for a full research team , of maybe 3-8 people, with meeting space, and a good deal -- close to everything that, as a technical man, I really need to be close to.

    In a University that, like all other good research universities, is starved for lab space.

    I've been given access to the space temporarily, provisionally - informally.

    But with help, too, and some reason to hope that if I can prove some things, I'll be encouraged to fill it, and helped to fill it.

    To do all the things, scientifically, that I've been hoping to do.

    With, it now seems, essentially all of the "paradigm conflicts" spoken of in this thread, resolved in my personal case.


    xpat - 04:05am Apr 9, 2001 GMT (#395 of 507)

    -- close to everything that, as a technical man, I really need to be close to.

    A 'technical man' eh! :)


    WaiGenriiu - 12:29pm Apr 10, 2001 GMT (#396 of 507)

    CONGRATULATIONS Showalter!! That's fantastic news!


    rshowalter - 01:58am Apr 11, 2001 GMT (#397 of 507)  | 

    Things are going well - so well, so fast, that I'm a little overwhelmed. And also busy working!


    bNice2NoU - 02:17pm Apr 17, 2001 GMT (#398 of 507)

    Paradigm shifts ... have Night-Shifts ... ?


    bNice2NoU - 04:31am Apr 18, 2001 GMT (#399 of 507)

    Noted on Casablanca thread the need for transcultural thinking ... regarding 'ethics'

    This is a big call when some geographic areas are so poor and run down that 'ethics' are seemingly yet to be invented.


    rshowalter - 12:53pm Apr 18, 2001 GMT (#400 of 507)  | 

    But if they are to become richer -- they need to be capable of complex cooperation of all sorts -- and that takes ethics.


    rshowalter - 01:42am Apr 22, 2001 GMT (#401 of 507)  | 

    This thread has long been a decisive part of the logic of nuclear disarmament, and will be treated in detail in the NYT Missile Defense thread soon. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2671


    bNice2NoU - 01:19pm Apr 23, 2001 GMT (#402 of 507)

    The RACK is BACK ?

    Nerve-racking stuff

    A gentle tug can turn nerve cells into cables for repairing spinal cords

    STRETCHING neurons on the rack might seem like torture, but it could be the key to repairing spinal cords.

    By gradually pulling apart bunches of neurons, Douglas Smith and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have persuaded the cells' processes, or axons, to grow up to a centimetre in just 10 days. "For an axon just a micron wide, that's an enormous distance," Smith says.

    The researchers say these nerve cells could be used to bridge the gap between damaged nerves in the spinal cords of people who are paralysed. They have already begun trials in animals. "You can think about what we have as jumper cables," Smith says.

    While it's too early to know if the approach will work for people with spinal cord injuries, Smith thinks it is a viable alternative to other strategies. For example, many researchers are trying to encourage nerve cells to regrow in the spine by, say, implanting an artificial scaffold seeded with appropriate chemicals.

    "But everything about the spinal cord is screaming 'stop growing'," Smith says, so it's hard to get axons to grow long distances. "The difference with growing cells outside the body is that you don't have to worry about this inhibitory environment."

    Smith's team placed groups of human neurons on adjacent membranes and grew them for three days to allow the axons from the groups to form connections. The membranes were then pulled apart 3.5 micrometres every 5 minutes over 10 days, until the axons connecting the two groups of cells had grown a centimetre. Any faster and the axons were torn apart. They ended up with long bundles containing tens of thousands of axons.

    It's an interesting approach, says Paul Reier, a pioneering researcher into spinal cord repair at the University of Florida. The big problem will be implanting the cells in the right place and keeping them alive, he says. "Adult neurons usually die when transplanted."

    But Smith says his team is using a cell line that managed to survive when implanted into stroke patients. He also speculates that transplanting integrated bundles of cells will boost their survival. "Cells may be less likely to die if they stay with their 'friends'," he says.

    Reier thinks it will someday be possible to persuade cells to grow long distances in the spinal cord, though. "Axon growth is becoming less of a challenge than we thought."

    Whatever approach is used, many questions remain. It's not even clear that bridging a damaged part of the spinal cord will restore nerve activity. In some injuries, some or all of the nerve fibres remain intact, yet still don't work, Reier points out.

    Smith's work may also help us understand other disorders, however. He thinks that stretch-induced growth plays an important role in embryos and children. Some degenerative disorders in young children may be caused by nerve fibres that can't grow fast enough to keep up. Smith's team is now trying to understand exactly how the process works. "Nobody's ever studied this type of growth before," he says.

    More at: Tissue Engineering (vol 7, p 131)

    Michael Le Page

    From New Scientist magazine, 21 April 2001.

    Sign up for our free newsletter


    bNice2NoU - 02:24pm Apr 23, 2001 GMT (#403 of 507)

    Mad Cows and an Englishmen

    Mad cow disease and its horrifying human equivalent, vCJD, have led to Europe's biggest public health crisis in half a century.

    The outbreak is being blamed on feeding cows meat and bone meal. But even the experts don't have all the answers.

    Mark Purdey thinks that's because they've been looking in all the wrong places. Purdey has transformed himself from an obscure farmer into a self-taught chemist and biologist who is published in scientific journals.

    He has travelled the world to make a connection that official scientists have missed. Purdey believes there are environmental factors at work in mad cow disease and CJD.

    If he's right, the whole strategy employed to fight mad cow disease and vCJD will need rethinking. The billions of dollars spent, the slaughter of thousands of animals, beef export bans - all may have been in vain.

    As this program from the BBC's Correspondent Europe shows, Purdey was initially dismissed as a maverick. Now that he's winning support from mainstream scientists he's begun to look like a visionary.

    "Mad Cows & an Englishmen" - Four Corners 8.30 Monday April 23 http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/default.htm


    rshowalter - 02:52am Apr 30, 2001 GMT (#404 of 507)  | 

    In these Guardian Talk threads and in the NYT Missile Defense thread, Dawn Riley and I have worked to focus patterns of human reasoning and persuasion, and problems with human reasoning and persuasion.

    We've been, pretty consciously, working to bring to focus a "paradigm shift" or at least a "paradigm focusing" on how human minds, the minds of individuals and the minds of groups, come to interact to common ideas, and to interact with facts so that these ideas can be right. We're trying, using internet resources that extend human resources of memory, to make that process better.

    These citations deal with that: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2758 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2759 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2760

    We believe that controversies that could not be resolved before may be resolvable now.

    The techniques we (and so many other people on the net) are using to get things to closure are the same techniques that often work in well conducted jury trials.

    Perhaps we're too optimistic, but we feel that, in small part because of our efforts, and in large part due to the wonderful resources of the Guardian Observer that we've been grateful to use, the risk of nuclear destruction may be coming down.

    At least sometimes, we get that happy feeling.

    American opinion may, alas, probably will, have to lag opinion outside America on issues here. That makes the Guardian Observer, which is respected all over the world, an especially vital force.


    rshowalter - 02:06pm May 1, 2001 GMT (#405 of 507)  | 

    Some interlocked paradigms show some signs of shifting. At least, there's reason for hope.

    Sometimes some progress gets made. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3077


    jihadij - 04:57am May 4, 2001 GMT (#406 of 507)

    science papers http://www.osti.gov/preprint/


    jihadij - 08:35pm May 5, 2001 GMT (#407 of 507)

    Showalter are you giving a paper on your work sometime soon ?


    jihadij - 10:30pm May 5, 2001 GMT (#408 of 507)

    http://arXiv.org/ science links


    jihadij - 11:51am May 6, 2001 GMT (#409 of 507)

    Getting the message out: from NYT:Forums:Science:Science in the news

    harnad2 - 08:45am May 2, 2001 EST (#3289 of 3312)

    Public Self-Archiving of Research doesn't just work for physics. It can work for all fields, both sciences and humanities.

    See what is being written about this in Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/harnad.html in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/291/5512/2318b and in the American Scientist: http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/september98-forum.html

    Stevan Harnad Southampton University United Kingdom harnad@soton.ac.uk harnad@princeton.edu http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/

    berrean - 09:55am May 2, 2001 EST (#3290 of 3312)

    It seems as if another infamous *transitional* form has been found, this time only it has recieved limited fanfare. This was probably done with some caution since evolutionist proponents of the dino-bird link hypothesis literally got egg all over their faces last October when the now defunked "archaeoraptor" was shown to be another hoax in the tradition of Pitldown Man.

    Still, the new "find" is anything but conclusive proof for dino-bird evolution. Over-zealous Darwinists have eagerly made all kinds of claims before really studying the fossil Dromaeosaur more closely. The fossil is supposed to be undergoing a CAT scan to see if the downy structures are actually feathers. From: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2001/0427news.asp " This creature is not some sort of part-bird, part-dinosaur. Dr Mark A. Norell, chairman of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, says that it is a ‘nonavian dinosaur’. For instance, there is not a trace of a wing or anything like it. (Their forelimbs are acknowledged as too short to have supported wings.) So enthusiasts are claiming that it shows that ‘feathers evolved first’– e.g, for insulation. Even the deepest enthusiasts are forced to acknowledge that these are not actually feathers. At best, they label them as ‘proto-feathers’, but this of course begs the question, i.e. it assumes that they developed at a later stage into true feathers. Dr Norell says they represent ‘a body covering similar to feathers’. They do have a central filament and a herringbone pattern ‘similar to those found in bird feathers’. As we have often pointed out, similarity does not mean proof of common ancestry or evolutionary relatedness. "

    So, the proverbial cat is not out of the bag as far as dino-bird evolution goes, and it should be nothed that all evo-babblers believe in this supposed dino-bird evolution idea. Paleo-bird expert and evolutionist Alan Feduccia surely doesn't. Until this fossil can be examined under the scrutiny of the scientific method, away from the greedy little fingers of the Darwinists at the American Museum, a healthy air of skepticism should be used. Lest anyone forget the Archaeoraptor debacle... http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4208news2-3-2000.asp

    smartalix - 09:59am May 2, 2001 EST (#3291 of 3312) Anyone who denies you information considers themselves your master

    How does the fossil fit into creation myth?

    dccougar - 11:25am May 2, 2001 EST (#3292 of 3312)

    berrean 5/2/01 9:55am Gee, you seem to have a rather profound fear that this fossil will be found to be a transitional form, and of course that would contradict your creationist agenda. You call for careful scientific scrutiny before reaching any conclusions, yet your "Answers in Genesis" website has already reached its conclusion: "No, no, no! It CAN'T be!"

    Speaking of transitional forms, just how do you characterize Kenyanthropus platyops? And how about Orrorin tugenensis?

    cantab6b - 11:39am May 2, 2001 EST (#3293 of 3312)

    There we go again ! Since the Human Genome press conference last year much has been happening under the surface with regard to the rivalry between the public and private sector efforts. The cracks were never fully healed or covered with the last year's broad smiles. More on it in today's NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/02/health/02GENO.html

    [Also in Cloning/Gene Alterations]


    jihadij - 05:18am May 7, 2001 GMT (#410 of 507)

    Paradigm Shift & the Chinese Brain :)

    someone found this on a forum - China. This is why most teachers are working illegally - in China:

    Male-Poster says:

    I just went through the process of getting legal here, an employer wanted to make me legal, since the cops also read ads and either want a shakedown or actually enforce the law. A few points have to be made first, the police here is part of the government. For matter you would expect the civil service to do, here you need to involve the police.

    Efficiency is not the word, there are a total of 19 steps, each generating paper and the red stamps The employer starts it off, by writing to the Education office, once permission is granted, the Labour department gets involved. The whole paper pile then goes to the police, to ripen I presume.

    YOU go to the hospital to get an expensive and cursory check, for which you pay more, since you are a foreign foreigner, not a Japanese or suchlike.

    Then you go to the local copshop to register that you are a regular guy, no drunken parties etc. You have been a good lad and registered within 7 days of your arrival, did you not ? Even if you had no idea that this was necessary. So once you have been acknowledged as living where you are living and with your bit of paper with the red stamp on it you then go to the BIG cop shop in town and fill in again more papers, which asks again the question who wants to employ you, Irt is odd, since the employer MUST initiate it, so you have to go back to the employer to comfirm that you want to be employed by them and they want to employ you.

    In the end I delivered a pile of 13 pieces of paper, after I went back to the police station of the employer in a different district in order to get a stamp on a form. Later it turned out that it was really not necessary, but it looked good.

    I have lost track of how long it took, but I have spend hours waiting, I have cancelled lessons, spend a fortune on taxis and was ready to kick anybody up the behind who stood in my way, It is intensely frustrating , the level of incompetence is colossal; I went through an "oral" interview which was to be written.

    In order to make it look good I wrote it in Dutch , German, English and French. After all, who reads it? Is it worth it? If you intend to stay for a long time it is, after th gargantuan time waisting renewal is easy. If you work in a SEZ, a special economic zone, it is probably not worth the hassel, since there is no enforcement anyway and the cops are far less visible, but if you work in the provinces it will be a legal way. It can also be a painless matter, I got legal the first time for the University of Shenzhen and all I did was to go the the Hospital, I never did anything else.

    So the point of this is that getting legal is very costly for the employer as well, they are not really willing to do so, since it is so timeconsuming for them as well.

    If they offer to give you the "green card" take it, it also means you can get in and out of China without hassles.


    jihadij - 02:24pm May 7, 2001 GMT (#411 of 507)

    POLIO

    Countries have to immunise their own children against polio. $400m funding gap.

    Over past ten years the polio figures have fallen by 99%

    2005 Certify a Polio free world - global polio irradication inititative.


    xpat - 08:32pm May 8, 2001 GMT (#412 of 507)

    Asia: GREEN : Architecture : 3 Archetects

    Green Seeds Asia's builders are not yet all that environmentally friendly. But a passionate, innovative group of architects is creating homes and offices that show off the benefits of eco-living By JULIAN GEARING AND MARIA CHENG

    Everyone dismissed his ideas. His boss. His clients. "Nobody would listen to me," recalls Soontorn Boonyatikarn. As a young architect chafing to inject fresh concepts into Thailand's chaotic building environment in the 1970s, he constantly banged into a wall of ignorance and hierarchy. To get more clout, Soontorn set off to earn a doctorate in the U.S., and there he was drawn into the debates over conservation, particularly during a meeting with environmental technology guru Amory Lovins. All charged up, Soontorn returned home to become one of Asia's earliest, most passionate advocates of green architecture and eco-friendly living.

    Now 50, the Thai architect lives what he preaches. Consider the spacious, three-bedroom house that Soontorn built for himself in Bangkok three years ago. Water is recycled so efficiently that just half the building's needs are drawn from the city's supply. Household waste is used to generate cooking gas. Thanks to power from an array of solar panels, electricity bills remain negligible, despite having the air-conditioner on all day. Much as in a giant refrigerator, insulated walls and double-glazed glass reduce heat transfer and keep things cool with just three tons of air-conditioning — a quarter the size of a conventional system. Fine-tuning the demand, a network of 140 thermal sensors hooked to a computer allow Soontorn to adjust the temperatures in different parts of the home. If he were to conserve a bit more energy or add some solar panels, he'd even have enough to power an electric car.

    Truth to tell, such houses are still far from the norm. Soontorn's prototype for eco-living and the ideas of other like-minded architects have not yet swept Asia. Environmental considerations rate pretty low on the agendas of most Asian developers. Attitudes are not much better among policy makers. Still, tendrils of green are beginning to poke through. Eco-friendly houses, office towers and developments are sprouting in various locales. And with growing global eco-consciousness, these Asia forerunners may spread as the benefits grow more apparent.

    Green-minded architects in Hong Kong have tried to seed eco-thinking through a voluntary buildings rating scheme introduced in 1996. It's beginning to take root. Fellow professionals now view environmental issues more seriously in commercial structures, says K.S. Wong, head of an architects' panel on sustainable design. "The culture is changing."

    In Japan, Ben Nakamura has been trying to turn his colleagues' sentiments around, too. His ideas evolved during work on a multi-building project in Namiai, a village near Nagano, more than a decade ago. Heating demands in the snow country prompted him to mull over green factors. "I wanted the buildings to be energy efficient," says the 54-year-old. "I wasn't thinking about the ecology entirely then." His mind was on meeting the residents' needs. After a two-year survey, Nakamura wound up creating a complex that won him a Japan Architects' Institute environmental award in 1998. Its features included effective insulation, use of non-toxic materials, and a layout that meshed with the local climate and site conditions — not exactly rocket science but in its way a reflection of revolutionary concerns.

    In fact, high-yield greenery doesn't always mean high-tech gadgetry. What's required are fresh perspectives. Take the four-year-old Business Environment Council Building in Hong Kong. To design the three-story structure, architect Simon Kwan drew inspiration from the doughnut shape of Hakka Chinese fortified villages and then applied some eco-ingenuity. An atrium brings natural light into the center of the building, reducing the need for artificial illumination. This structure also aids circulation: Fresh air enters via the ground floor and is drawn up as hot air escapes through vents at the top of the hollow core. Double-skinned external walls rely on a similar updraft to prevent heat build-up indoors — slicing the bills for air-conditioning.

    In Malaysia, pioneering architect Ken Yeang has shown that the recessed walkways of old shophouses can be refined for "bio-climatic" high-rises. His 15-story Menara Mesiniaga, a naturally ventilated office tower in Kuala Lumpur, won the Aga Khan Foundation award for architecture in 1995. Among his innovations: siting the lifts on the hottest face to act as a buffer and recessed windows on the east and west to reduce heating by the sun.

    To show developers what can be done, the Japanese energy research institute, CRIEPI, has created its own Eco Village. Billed as the country's first green housing project, the 110-flat complex in the Tokyo suburb of Matsudo was custom-built for institute employees. The apartments come with a hybrid cooling/heating pump system. During the night when electricity charges are low, the machine makes ice that helps cool the home during the day. Plus, heat generated by air-compressors is recycled to supply hot water for the home. Kitchen waste goes into a composting unit that feeds the communal garden, and rain is collected in ponds in a landscaped courtyard. Residents like Junko Yoshimura happily report that the cooling effect of grass-covered roofs and airy layout mean she and her family don't use the air-conditioner as much as they used to in the summer. On bright winter days, sunlight streaming through large windows often makes heaters superfluous too, she says. Green features built by construction company Taisei Corp. added 20% to the costs, but that's balanced by savings in power bills and reduced greenhouse gases.

    Construction costs are regularly said to be the biggest block to eco-friendly design. The basic problem is that the builder usually isn't the tenant, says Thomas Kvan, dean of architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Developers want to build as quickly — and cheaply — as possible, then sell. Little thought is given to green features, which may be more expensive initially. That's shortsighted, says Kvan. "If you consider the life cycle of a building, the design costs at the construction stages are actually quite low compared with the maintenance in the years to come."

    New eco-friendly incentives for developers are germinating, though. Green design is now an important selling point for a number of building companies in Japan, says energy researcher Yukio Nakano. For example, the construction company, Shimizu Corp., is advising clients on how to site buildings to cause the least impact on the environment. "We're looking for ways to minimize damage because the kind of [remedial] measures we can take are limited once there is damage," says Shimizu engineer Kenji Nakamura. And once construction is done, the company finishes by replacing precious topsoil taken from a site.

    With buildings typically soaking up more than 30% of power supplies, energy conservation is a top priority for offices as well as homes. In Hong Kong, Swire Properties brought a breath of fresh air, so to speak, with its 23-story Lincoln House. The city's first commercial building to win an excellent rating under the new environmental assessment guidelines, the office tower boasts such innovative ideas as using cold air expelled from the building to cool warm air coming in. The result: Lincoln House requires 59% of the energy of a comparable high-rise.

    Perhaps the most compelling task for eco-champions is to demonstrate that energy efficient buildings need be no more expensive than conventional ones. For his award-winning Namiai project, Ben Nakamura pushed hard to hold costs the same as for a regular design, yet wind up with 30%-40% lower energy expenses. Cheaper material suppliers were a sta


    xpat - 08:34pm May 8, 2001 GMT (#413 of 507)

    .....

    Cheaper material suppliers were a start, says Nakamura. But "you just have to be more creative." To determine so-called "passive" options, consider the weather and climate conditions, for example. Data on sun movement, wind patterns and the like can help calculate the angle of a sunshade or how a building might be optimally shaped and positioned. In hot climates, orienting a structure to reduce exposure to the sun means that cooling loads take a plunge. The real investment, says Malaysia's Ken Yeang, lies in the effort to analyze the data and run simulations.

    The realization that natural resources are being stretched to the limits is even putting a political urgency behind the green agenda. Resource-poor countries are naturally quicker to bring in policies that support sustainability. Japan, for instance, has been pushing for regulations to reduce energy use and recycle more waste. This year, Singapore has moved ahead with new building standards to improve insulation and cooling efficiency and to trim unneeded lighting. The driving force, says building design expert Lam Khee Poh, is an acute awareness that the city-state cannot keep employing solutions that are inappropriate to the environment. Even less-regulated Hong Kong may get aboard as developers take advantage of a tax exemption to build in such green features as "sky gardens" and balconies. Sunshades, reflectors and windcatchers may also be added to the list.

    All the new eco-awareness means that green architects are now hot — and cool. For Bangkok's Soontorn, his day has clearly come. With his meticulous attention to the triangle of art, engineering and ecology, he has been hired to design the $4.9 million Shinawatra University. More than 100 people are now in line waiting for him to build their homes for the 21st century. And the line is likely to grow everywhere. Designers like Soontorn, Japan's Nakamura, Hong Kong's Kwan and Malaysia's Yeang are filling a promising new book — one from which architects across Asia should pluck a bright green leaf.s

    With reporting by Yoko Shimatsuka, Suvendrini Kakuchi/Tokyo and Jacintha Stephens/Singapore http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/magazine/artsciences/0,8782,108626,00.html


    xpat - 08:36pm May 8, 2001 GMT (#414 of 507)

    Checking was important for the green architects :

    "" The real investment, says Malaysia's Ken Yeang, lies in the effort to analyze the data and run simulations. ""


    jihadij - 09:47pm May 9, 2001 GMT (#415 of 507)

    Randomness with chance - heros re moving along a paradigm ?


    rshowalter - 09:05pm May 12, 2001 GMT (#416 of 507)  | 

    I'm very, very proud of this thread, and the hard work that Dawn Riley and I have done here. It has focused issues that I believe are at the center of many human problems, and I believe that ideas focused here will be really useful in the sciences, in peacemaking, and elsewhere. It was working here, also, that I found out what a superb, magical, gifted, poetic, and intellectually brilliant partner Dawn Riley is -- and learned that, with her touch, I could do far more than I'd ever dreamed of before. So the work on this thread represents much happiness (and longing) for me.

    The paradigmatic patters I most want to change are those patterns that may permit the earth to be destroyed by nuclear explosion.

    The New York Times - Science - MISSILE DEFENSE thread would total about ten 1 1/2' looseleaf notebooks by now. I summarized it, in a way you might find interesting, and could read quickly, in 3532: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3791 , which reads in part:

      "We've had outstanding contributors -- who have furthered discussion by taking a special "stand-in" role.
    "We've had "stand-ins" who have imitated, or tried to imitate, the thought processes of important world figures, so that the discourse here could progress, and simulate more important dialogs to be hoped for. We've had extremely well written, thoughtful, and extensive contributions with a "Bill Clinton -stand in" a "Vladimir Putin -- stand in" , and a " Bush Administration Sr Advisor -- stand in" . Sometimes I've been in personal doubt whether these people have been stand-ins, because the work of these people has been so good. If you sample the work of these people, you may agree with how good their work is.
      Here are links to directories , each with many links and highlights summarized, for these stand-ins --- a massive amount of correspondence in all.
        I personally believe that correspondence between senior people in communication with their governments is going on in this Missile Defense thread. My opinion is only my own. The postings are, by intention of all concerned, provisional and deniable.

        Work on the NYT Missile Defense is ongoing, at a fast pace, and I feel things are happening that are sometimes wrenching, as deep disagreements are being made clear, but yet very constructive.

        I believe that the Guardian-Observer , and The New York Times , using the new possibilities of the internet, are making real world progress possible. Dawn Riley and I are trying to participate in some of that.


        madhatter - 10:06pm May 12, 2001 GMT (#417 of 507)

        rshowalter,

        Whatever it is you are taking take less of it!


        rshowalter - 01:08am May 13, 2001 GMT (#418 of 507)  | 

        Some pretty traceable, objective progress --- http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4045 reads:

        I feel that a great deal of progress has been made since gisterme's debut #2997: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3218

        ....and my response to gisterme's direct question ... #2999: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3220 .

        Especially since gisterme's 3319 - http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3563

        ..to which I responded in .. 3327-3328 : http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/3571 with the citation http://scienceforpeace.sa.utoronto.ca/WorkingGroupsPage/NucWeaponsPage/Documents/ThreatsNucWea.html THREATS TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Sixteen Known Nuclear Crises of the Cold War, 1946-1985 by David R. Morgan

        We've come long way since - common ground is being established, differences are being clarified, thoughts and ideas are coming into focus.

        Dawn Riley and I believe that, especially with the augmented memory of the internet, controversies that could not be resolved before may be resolvable now.

        2565: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2758

        2566: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2759

        2567: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/2760

        It seems to me that the NYT Missile Defense thread, and the wonderful threads here, contain steps toward showing that.

        I've been heartened by how much progress is being made in these thread -- even in the four days, and 235 posting, since #3532 - .


        jihadij - 06:39am May 13, 2001 GMT (#419 of 507)

        Madhatter: Showalter takes on LIFE .. he's the story teller ... Carol was a mathematican too ... whereas Alice played the major role ... yet was something of a dreamer .... "Doormouse wake-up!" .. to continue .. where was i now ... Ah yes ... and the Missiles .. thousands of them were pointing in my direction .. and it's not a dream .. and they could blow ... and it's madness .... the old blueprint of thinking needs reformatting ... if people were 'stupid' fifty years ago .. would they be less stupid now if they set out to take down the destructors of Earth ?


        rshowalter - 11:42am May 13, 2001 GMT (#420 of 507)  | 

        I've spent a good fraction of my life and emotion, since the age of 18, thinking about mathematics, and "operations research", and issues of conflict theory, and at very many levels, and with a good deal of background, about nuclear weapons.

        My view, for some time, has been that the chance of word destruction from some "mistake" involving nukes is of the order of 10% a year. I expressed my feelings about the matter in #367, NYT Science News Poetry http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f1983fb/537 There are some numbers there, and something about how I feel about them.


        rshowalter - 10:39pm May 14, 2001 GMT (#421 of 507)  | 

        In NYT Missile Defense #3839 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4115 almarst_2001 , our "Putin-Stand in" asked a key question - and in context, it is an example of good faith, and of difficulties to be faced:

          Robert,
        As I mentioned before, the nuclear wearpons and the MAD deterrance may be the only hope of any country not ready to submit to US or being treated like Yugoslavia or Iraq.
          Do you have any dought the Moscow would be bombed just like Belgrad a long time ago, if not for the MAD?
            What assurances can anyone have in a current state of the conventional ballance of power and the way, the Washington politics works?
              *****

              A great question, showing a clear, vivid example of "paradigm conflict" betweeen Russiand and Americans. I'm trying to answer, with people listening.


              xpat - 12:15am May 16, 2001 GMT (#422 of 507)

              Paradigm: the fishermen of the North Sea have been 'stopped' from fishing for cod. Cod and chips are UK staple diet. The cod have to be at least 6yrs to reproduce, they've been fished out before that birthday. The stay on fishing will allow the cod to breed and regenerate and double their population. The out of work, out of boat, fishermen can take a government payment for destruction of their fishing boat. Fish is a popular food - thought to be a SAFE food.


              voivod - 12:37am May 16, 2001 GMT (#423 of 507)

              There needs to be a moratorium on fishing methods - there is way too much destruction going on at the moment;

              http://www.mcbi.org/btrawl/wnpaper.html


              rshowalter - 08:28pm May 17, 2001 GMT (#424 of 507)  | 

              Many citations from this thread are cited, and are playing a crucial part, in dialog on the NYT Missile Defense thread that appears to be involving representatives of governments.

              MD 4048: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4334

              MD4050: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b

              I deeply appreciate Guardian Talk -- and anything Dawn and I are lucky enough to accomplish will be, in large part, due to the the wonderful resources and readers here.


              jihadij - 03:05pm May 20, 2001 GMT (#425 of 507)

              Fishing:

              No large cod in the North Sea.

              Granade fishing - Vietnam.

              Fish seen as 'healthy' choice food.

              Aqua padocks farmed ?


              rshowalter - 10:15am May 23, 2001 GMT (#426 of 507)  | 

              Went to a small scientific meeting over the weekend, gave a small talk. People are ready to listen -- in ways they haven't been before.


              rshowalter - 05:54pm May 23, 2001 GMT (#427 of 507)  | 

              What I displayed at the meeting is discussed and linked at NYT-Science- Missile Defense, posted just before I started driving to it. MD 4080-4081 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4366

              I was pleased with the meeting. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4411

              Paradigm conflicts are resolving on the scientific side. Some of the social-psychological-institutional conditions for workable discussions on reduction of nuclear risks seem to me to be promising.

              Partly because they fit the MD discussions, I've reposted parts of an old thread started by Beckvaa -- "If Jesus Was Alive Today" in Detail and the Golden Rule -- Guardian Talk, Issues , and discuss it a little in MD 4159 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4456

              The work on Paradigm Conflicts and their resolution on this thread has been instrumental to that work.


              rshowalter - 03:49pm May 25, 2001 GMT (#428 of 507)  | 

              This, understood and accomodated, would shift some paradigms.

              If the information here were more widely known, and faced, in the USA and the world, much good would follow, and much deception and misfortune avoided.

              CIA's Worst-Kept Secret by Martin A. Lee May 16, 2001 http://www.consortiumnews.com/051601a.html


              jihadij - 10:22pm May 26, 2001 GMT (#429 of 507)

              Forum: Personal Pollutants (additional to enviro toxins) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05ac92/2020


              rshowalter - 12:09pm May 27, 2001 GMT (#430 of 507)  | 

              Putting Your Faith in Science? by GINA KOLATA http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/27/weekinreview/27KOLA.html is, I believe, a fine contribution to the culture. What it says reinforces, and reinforces strongly, the arguments Dawn Riley and I have been making, about the need for checking , in this thread.

              Kolata's piece, which makes essential arguments beautifully, and takes them into the mainstream culture with a grace I could never muster, and from the commanding position of the NYT Week In Review, ought to make a dent in many minds. It ends:

                " Dr. McDonald said he wrote a paper 18 years ago that concluded that the placebo effect did not exist. But, he said, the New England Journal of Medicine rejected the manuscript, saying that everyone knew the effect existed. The paper was eventually published, in Statistics in Medicine. But he met with such disbelief that he gave up even talking about his findings.
              " It wasn't the right time," he said. "But the good thing about science is that sooner or later the truth comes out."
                'Subject to safeguards and checking, sooner is better than later. How many doctors, in this 18 years time, have comforted themselves that they've "done something" when they've prescribed a placebo -- when, without the comfort of a misconception, they might have thought harder?

                sn1337: rshowalt 8/22/00 3:29pm http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05e1ab/1587

                sn1342: markk46b 8/23/00 2:44am http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05e1ab/1592

                sn1343: rshowalt 8/23/00 7:31am http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f05e1ab/1593

                MD4210: rshowalter "Missile Defense" 5/25/01 6:04pm http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4510


                xpat - 01:52am May 31, 2001 GMT (#431 of 507)

                . Interesting reading ..


                rshowalter - 03:22pm Jun 2, 2001 GMT (#432 of 507)  | 

                If you look at the NYT MIssile Defense thread, these last two weeks, you see paradigmatic stances shifting. A hopeful, if complicated and somewhat inconsistent time.


                jihadij - 03:18pm Jun 7, 2001 GMT (#433 of 507)

                http://www.caa.org.au/horizons/h12/dixit.html Aid and 3rd world corruption


                rshowalter - 10:50pm Jun 8, 2001 GMT (#434 of 507)  | 

                Thoughts about getting more good done, and less bad, using internet discourse.

                MD4532 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4839


                bNice - 02:45am Jun 13, 2001 GMT (#435 of 507)

                Scott Cook: The Power of Paradigms http://hbswk.hbs.edu/pubitem.jhtml?id=2275&t=special_reports_gac2001

                HBSWK Pub. Date: Jun 4, 2001

                Forget technology breakthroughs. The biggest business innovations come from such a unique mindset or paradigm says the chief of Intuit. Problem is, great insights can lose their power and be difficult to put away.

                by Julia Hanna, Harvard Business School Bulletin

                Scott Cook

                CLEVELAND—Despite his position as founder and chairman of Intuit, a leading developer of accounting software for consumers and business, Scott Cook sounded a strikingly low-tech note when he addressed the HBS Global Alumni Conference.

                "The biggest business innovations are not technology-based. Major breakthroughs come through a unique mindset or paradigm," said Cook (HBS MBA '76), citing eBay's revolutionary e-commerce model as an example. "There was no inventory, no guarantee that merchandise was authentic, and no easy way to pay for or receive goods—it might take a customer one week to buy a $10 item, and another two to three weeks to receive it," he remarked. "Needless to say, retailers and venture capitalists ignored him, thinking he was either irrelevant or crazy."

                When Benchmark Capital finally took a chance on the new auction site, eBay's IPO and subsequent stock movement rewarded the investment company with the single largest gain in the history of venture capital.

                The technology supporting the eBay Web site took its founder, Pierre Omidyar, less than a week to build, Cook continued. "What was significant was the power of this new paradigm or mindset," he said. "People who shift paradigms have the same facts as everyone else, but they see them differently. The end result either revolutionizes the customer experience, or the economics of the business, or both, as was the case with eBay."

                People who shift paradigms have the same facts as everyone else, but they see them differently.

                —Scott Cook Wrong beliefs die hard

                Cook underscored the importance of psychology when it comes to accepting or resisting breakthrough developments, referring to a consistent pattern that is characteristic of scientific discoveries. Frequently, he said, a solitary scientist would propose a new theory, only to be shunned by all prominent researchers in the field. Most of these authorities persisted in believing the old paradigm long after their colleague had disproved it. "Science was anything but logical in this case," Cook said. "Psychology is so powerful that it causes the greatest scientists of the ages to persist in wrong beliefs until the day they die."

                When Intuit's best selling QuickBooks accounting software was introduced in 1992, Cook recalled, poorly conceived advertising and a buggy product hampered its initial launch.

                "It's amazing how huffy customers get when weeks of work disappear," he said wryly.

                In addition, the company ignored market research indicating that nearly half of its customers were businesses, sticking with its original plan to target QuickBooks at the consumer market. "The facts didn't fit our paradigm," observed Cook. "Our paradigm was that if you're in business, you have an accountant."

                After research continued to indicate that businesses were a large proportion of the QuickBooks market, Intuit conducted telephone interviews with current and potential customers to better understand what was behind the unexpected numbers. One of their most significant findings was that the majority of U.S. businesses—approximately 98 percent—have 50 or fewer employees.

                "In a company of that size, you don't usually have a CPA on staff," Cook said. "The person who keeps the books in over half the cases is the owner, or the office manager, and the last thing they want to learn is accounting. These are the folks who think General Ledger is a World War II hero," he joked.

                "This was a fundamental insight into the customer, and that surprise created our largest business," Cook said, noting that Intuit's experience is proof that innovation can even occur in accounting, a seemingly stodgy business that Cook described as "the second-oldest profession."

                Hit or miss?

                Looking to the future, Cook briefly previewed an Intuit product currently in development. Described as a "work processor" and tentatively called QuickBase, the new software would automate processes such as managing a sales force, taking customer orders, recruiting, or purchasing.

                "The old paradigm is that automating these paper processes requires fiendishly complex, expensive systems that take months or years to build," he said. "The new paradigm—and we'll see if we can make it work—is that it's got to be simple, cheap, and fast.

                "I can't tell you if QuickBase will succeed or not," he continued. "That's a truism of any paradigm shift. Early on, no one can tell how big it will be."

                What is clear, Cook said, is that the fundamental activity underlying paradigm shifts is directly related to the practice of good business in general. "That means getting the decision makers close to the customer," he said. "That's one of the distinguishing characteristics of HBS, in fact—to drive research and teaching close to practice, close to executives in their day-to-day lives."

                "The customer is the compass; that's where the learning comes from," Cook concluded. "And don't forget to truly respect surprises."

                · · · ·


                bNice - 04:00am Jun 15, 2001 GMT (#436 of 507)

                ORWELL: A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

                1.What am I trying to say?
                2.What words will express it?
                3.What image or idiom will make it clearer?
                4.Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
                And he will probably ask himself two more:

                1.Could I put it more shortly?
                2.Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
                ... on avoiding cliche usage when writing ...


                bNice - 04:03am Jun 15, 2001 GMT (#437 of 507)

                Paradigm shift to people having global access to latest news : http://www.abc.net.au/newsradio/links.htm#latest


                TheLoniusMonk - 04:09am Jun 15, 2001 GMT (#438 of 507)

                May i make a quick point. In Science and social science. There was a thread of ideas that seemed almost evolutionary until around the 1970's. Then something happened. Inscience it was chaos theor and its attendants (uncertainty principles and the rest) in social science it was Foucault, Derrida and the other post-modernists. It scared people a lot - with its notions of deconstruction and uncertainty non-universality and non-inevitability.

                More than at any other time we are now living in backlash. Bio-science has risen to the fore with its return to evolutionism (which helpfully backs up capitalism and seems to put things back on an even keel) - social scientists want to return to materialism and social realities.

                The problem with all this is that this return to the old and a re-assertion of old arguments suffer the same criticisms as they did in the seventies. They are still out-dated and unhelpful. On the other hand post-modernism offers few solutions other than a devastating critique of all that has gone before and much which has been attempted since.

                So where do we go from here? What is the new paradigm?


                captainz - 02:28pm Jun 18, 2001 GMT (#439 of 507)

                relativity


                rshowalter - 07:33pm Jun 19, 2001 GMT (#440 of 507)  | 

                Perhaps a useful new paradigm will be to study how human beings actually form their ideas, and study how that focusing process works, and how it might be adapted and augmented by technical means.

                The NYT Missile Defense thread is an attempt at doing something like that. Notions, in the course of discussion, come to focus in interaction with the body of discourse itself, and external references cited, the "schema" formed in that way are remembered on the web, and can be reused and recombined, in a sort of "associative memory" facilitated by searching.

                To a real extent, it works.


                rshowalter - 07:33pm Jun 19, 2001 GMT (#441 of 507)  | 

                Since Missile Defense 4433 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4839 there have been 906 postings.

                The NYT forums have now reinstalled a search function, after a long time -- and it seems to be the same one the Guardian uses, with search page lengths the same as in these TALK threads.

                The NYT Missile Defense thread is being extensively used, and discussion and controversy are continuing. Main contributers are:

                almarst_2001, previously almarstel2001 who, since March 5 has acted as a "Putin stand-in" in the Missile Defense forum, and shows extensive connections to literature, and to Russian government ways of thought.

                gisterme , who since May 2nd has acted as a "Senior Bush administration advisor stand in" who shows some plausible connections to the Bush administration.

                Posters ( beckq , cookies ) who, according to the dialog, are the same poster, who I'd interpret as "stand-ins" for former President Clinton since August 2000

                Me, and Dawn Riley, who have been arguing for improved communication, and as much nuclear disarmament as possible within the imperatives of military balances, since September 25, 2000

                Counting search pages, for characters, gives some sense of the participation. Here are the number of search pages for these posters:

                Putin stand-in, Almarst --- 55 search pages.

                Bush Advisor stand-in, gisterme ----- 35 search pages

                Clinton stand-in, beckq, or cookies2 ----- 7 search pages

                Dawn Riley - - - - 85 search pages

                Robert Showalter - - - - 166 search pages.

                I've contributed the most words to the MD thread, and Dawn the most citations and the most connection to the news.

                But the involvement of the "stand-ins" has been very extensive, too, represents an enormous work committment on thier part, and their postings are, I think, very impressive. The involvement of these "stand-ins" continues. I believe that their work has assisted in the focusing of problems where neither the US nor the Russians were clear about how to make contact with each other before.

                The thread is an ongoing attempt to show that internet usages can be a format for negotiation and communication, between staffed organizations, capable of handling more complexity, with more clarity and more complete memory, than could happen otherwise.

                I believe that is something relatively new, in need of development, and clearly needed.

                I feel that progress is being made, and that impasses that were intractable before may be more tractable now.

                These Guardian threads are more flexible than the NYT threads, and stylistically freer. Many of the ideas at play in the MD thread originated and were focused here, and these TALK threads are extensively cited in the Missile Defense thread. For discussing an idea, over under around and through, these TALK threads are the most impressive place for discourse that I have ever seen, and I appreciate them very much.


                xpat - 03:58am Jun 21, 2001 GMT (#442 of 507)

                If new thinking is a 'process' then the external factors affecting process will include factors from the old environment, the discarding of the redundant, factors from the new environment, and the organisation of the factors to facilitate process.


                rshowalter - 01:29pm Jun 24, 2001 GMT (#443 of 507)  | 

                Paradigmatic focusing and inquiry is going on here:

                Work on the New York Times ... Science ... Missile Defense thread continues.

                MD5913 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6329 includes this:

                  " If one looks at the history of the Cold War, I believe that this issue of auditing becomes a central one -- some VERY agressive patterns, VERY different from the patterns of personal kindness and tolerance widely distributed among Americans, have been VERY well funded, and well protected, and surprisingly unquestioned, since the 1950's.
                " This is an issue where, for anything like workable understanding, research would have to be staffed , and consistency relations organized -- with the fundamental logical operator for research guidance the one that dominates human thought --
                  . . .
                    " I believe political parties, legislative groups, journalistic organizations, and nation states, in their own stark objective interest, and for moral and aesthetic reasons, too, should staff this, and see to it that the values that the people the United States and the other countries in the world share are not systematically violated, in ways that are degrading, and could destroy the world.
                      " Is there a "vast right wing conspiracy" controlled, inspired, and funded, in decisive ways, by illicit money flows from the military establishment, and particularly the small part of that establishment that has controlled US nuclear policy since shortly after the end of the Eisenhower administration?
                        " Looks that way to me -- though that is only my opinion, and it needs to be checked.
                          MD5915 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6331

                          MD5916 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6332

                          MD5917 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6333

                          If one wants to see the enormous usefulness of the Guardian TALK section for the NYT Missile Defense thread, go to the thread, and search "guardian" -- there are 14 search page (the same size as TALK search pages) of citations - and I'm personally grateful to be able to make those citations.


                          bNice - 09:26am Jun 28, 2001 GMT (#444 of 507)

                          Can a poet move a paradigm? http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/poems/jan-june01/middleeast_06-13.html


                          rshowalter - 07:09pm Jul 1, 2001 GMT (#445 of 507)  | 

                          bNice CAN move a paradigm. There are issued concerned with paradigm conflict at the core of the discourse in

                          MD6370 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6843

                          MD6371 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?7@@.f0ce57b/6853 ,

                          which tell a story, from my own perspective, about the Cold War, and plans to end it with which I became involved.


                          captainz - 01:02pm Jul 4, 2001 GMT (#446 of 507)

                          Hmmm, worth dropping in some old wisdom. One of the problems of thinking is that we identify ourselves by our historical interpretations. Thus we feel threatened if our familiar interpretations are shown to be incoherent, as this implies we ourselves have been incoherent.

                          Thus it is difficult to change people's minds, simply because that threatens their inferred being. Sometimes people are in a state where they don't mind this small pain for the larger gain, particularly if they don't like themselves very much at the time.

                          An alternative is to find security in the fact of being rather than ego, but this insight is too rare to be useful. Instead, an enlightened self-interest may be invoked, though this requires trust. Such trust is a rare thing, particularly among our exploitative species where trust is a sign of weakness.


                          xpat - 02:04am Jul 6, 2001 GMT (#447 of 507)

                          The point re history. History is a series of steps, the ones that are remembered are remembered for a reason. Perhaps they were difficult steps to transend. They are 'markers' of the forward and upward direction of the 'long march' of individuals and nations.

                          The reason the steps are hard to transend may be because of new-changed circumstance. The environment is new and/or peculiar to that marker, there may have been an economic collapse, unusal strength and growth, or, invention/innovations that change the balance of power.

                          So, I'd say that the markers in history relate to adaptation to a changed environment. More recent environments are more complex, involve social power and rights, and application of 'old solutions' just doesn't work!

                          What do you guys think ?


                          xpat - 02:18am Jul 6, 2001 GMT (#448 of 507)

                          http://hbswk.hbs.edu/topic.jhtml?t=leadership


                          TheLoniusMonk - 02:43am Jul 6, 2001 GMT (#449 of 507)

                          I think it may be not useful to think of history in this way. That is either as the steps behind us or as a set of identity components which seem unresolvable in the present world. History is a projection into the past given legitimacy by scholars, evolutionists etc that means we take for granted the import of it. This need not necessarily be so - it just so happens that that is how we see it.

                          But we must not forgot that as a projection, the way we define history is also a product of us shaping ourselves in the here and now. That is why history and the way it is used differ. A simple example might be the American pre-occupation with tracing family history and bloodline and then using perceived and projected notions of nationality in order to define their own ethnicity. In Europe the obsession is less with family and blood lines but we also use history to define ethnicity. This time the history's import is judged to be geography and language so that an English person feels strangely at one with English forebears - despite his family history - and a Breton nationalist feels British because of the gaelic language etc.

                          How we construct, interpret and use history then becomes a reflection and product of the 'paradigm' of the moment in any particular place and for any particular people. I think it would be fair to say that we do not in fact use 'old' paradigms' in the western world at present. What we seem to use is what you might call the 'post-modern' paradigm. Decentred, unrelated and often conflicting ideas which we use in particular situations in a relativistic way. Thus an American is a proud citizen on Independence day and when feeling like a Bush supporter but suddenly becomes Irish on ST. Paddy's day. Or A moslem in the balkans can be an agressive freedom fighter when confronted by his perceived enemies and a passive peace-lover at times of peace rejecting violent doctrines at prayer in a mosque.

                          These are disjointed times and have created not one but many paradigms vying for our attention and use. The problem is that whilst this leads us to an argument for relativity we are also confronted by a growing number of absolutes.

                          Sorting out the mess is going to take some time.


                          rshowalter - 04:45pm Jul 8, 2001 GMT (#450 of 507)  | 

                          But maybe the sorting out is happening. With the internet, and enough matching -- the number of things that can be consistent with all the credible data gets smaller and smaller.

                          So there may be new clarity.


                          rshowalter - 04:46pm Jul 8, 2001 GMT (#451 of 507)  | 

                          This thread has been enormously helpful to me, and much cited on the Missile Defense thread.

                          I was glad, on July 4th, our Independence Day , to have a chance to post some of the things I feel are important for the welfare of the US, UK, and the world, in these postings, many of which include other links:

                          MD6549 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7056

                          MD5450 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7057

                          MD6551 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7058

                          MD6552 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7059

                          MD6553 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7060

                          MD6554 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7061

                          MD6555 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7062

                          MD6556 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7063

                          Some who've followed my work may find the background interesting.

                          I'm posting them here, because I hope some may find them interesting, and because I feel that the more people read them, and the more widely this information is spread, the safer the world may be, and the safer I may be personally.

                          It seems to me that, sometimes, paradigms ARE changing for the better.


                          rshowalter - 05:06pm Jul 8, 2001 GMT (#452 of 507)  | 

                          Globalization , with the internet, is changing the world, and making ideas judged by people interested in them, wherever they may be -- more and more powerful.

                          What Is the Next Big Idea? Buzz is Growing for Empire by Emily Eakin http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/07/arts/07IDEA.html?pagewanted=all


                          rshowalter - 08:10pm Jul 18, 2001 GMT (#453 of 507)  | 

                          Since July 4th, The New York Times -- Science -- Missile Defense forum has had 611 postings - many extensive. These include useful comments from almarst , our "Putin stand in", and gisterme , our "Bush administration high official stand-in."

                          Has the thread been influential? Worth the trouble? As successful as I'd hoped?

                          Perhaps yes, on all these points, though the work seems inconclusive in some ways. In the end, I'm hoping to set out many arguments, like a case to a jury, subject to crossexamination, and then "pick a fight" - in some way that can work in public -- to establish truths that remain, so far "somehow too weak." The case is far along. On the MD thread, and many other places. Getting to a place where a fight in public is possible is not far along -- though progress toward that goal may not be so far away.

                          MD7097 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7767 .. includes high praise for the Guardian-Observer , and especially its interactive specials, including

                          MD7098 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7768 .. contains a critique and a challenge. I point out the power that one person, willing to be at risk, can sometimes have, by means of a famous picture of defiance more eloquent than any words I could muster. http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sdc/tank-1.jpg

                          MD7100 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7770 sets out directories, and the key story set out in I'd like to post links to a Guardian thread where I've said many of the most important things I'd like people to know. Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror ... rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Tue 24/10/2000 21:57

                          including the key story, #13.. http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?7@@.ee7a163/13 ... to #23.. http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?7@@.ee7a163/24 ands note #26 ... <a href="/WebX?14@@.ee7a163/25">rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Tue 24/10/2000 23:13</a>

                          Summaries and links to the Missile Defense thread are set out from #153 in rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Sun 11/03/2001 16:35

                          MD7144-48 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7827 contain working summaries, and a working objective of the MD thread:

                            To clean up the messes left by the Cold War, and make better security possible, communication has to happen between the staffs of nation states. The Missile Defense thread is built as an example of what would be required to meet the needs of this staffed communication.
                          Does the format work? Is the thread worth the effort? In some ways, I think the answer is yes.

                          Truths, that seem perfectly clear, are not being sufficiently influential -- they remain "somehow, too weak." ...MD6670 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f0ce57b/7209

                          Bertotdt Brecht's essay, WRITING THE TRUTH, FIVE DIFFICULTIES is in my version of his play, GALILEO , set into English by Charles Laughton, and includes this:

                            " It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak."
                          When the truth is too weak, we have to ask: why? Was it indeed the truth? Or were there systematic barriers to the propagation of the truth -- chain breakers?

                          Fear is a problem, and a deeply embedded one, all through the system, for journalists, for members of the government, and for people who depend on the government (that is, all of us.) And reluctance to face new ideas is, as well.

                          I think some may enjoy "Chain Breakers" rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 08/12/2000 20:05 in this regard. Some might enjoy it more in terms of the information linked to MD6613 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7137

                          MD6671 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7210 .... contains this phrase:

                            " Hitler went unchecked. "
                          Hitler subverted an entire society based on nonsense and lies, many ornately detailed, and destroyed much of the world in doing so. He hoped, in the senses that matter to most of us, to destroy the whole world. In the ways that mattered, he wasn't effectively checked at the level of ideas.

                          Could the situation be as serious as that now? I think so -- I've long believed that the world could easily end, on the basis of things I believe I understand from a more grounded perspective than many have, that the world could end. I'm not alone in that fear:

                          In MD6024 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6448 I asked gisterme, who I believe represents high officers of state, the following question "What have I said that is not in the national interest?" The issue was whether I had committed, or was proposing to commit, treason.

                          gisterme replied to the question directly in these posting, and doing so conceded that issues of technical feasibility and probablility of projects, based on the open literature, can be discussed in the United States.

                          MD6028 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6452 MD6033 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6457 MD6060 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f0ce57b/6494

                          That concession is important, in part because of the mechanics of discourse in these affairs. The shroud of classification, even when only used as a threat, can slow discourse down to a crawl. For example, the Coyle Report, . . . NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE DEPLOYMENT READINESS REVIEW 10 August 2000 . . . . http://www.house.gov/reform/min/pdf/nmdcoylerep.pdf , though not formally classified, has been restricted informally. It took months for Congressman Tierney to get it released -- something plainly in the public interest. Working outside of classification rules could be much faster -- and could happen in public -- ideally, recorded in streaming video on the net, with key calculations also on the net, and the whole world invited to see and check those calculations.

                          If this were done, and somehow made public -- some key points, now supressed, might stand out - - and some good decisions might come. I've been trying to find ways to force that checking -- with someone from the administration - with a real name, a real face, and real engineering creditials at risk - on the other side. People often will not attend to fancy arguments -- especially these, where it is so often numbers that are far fetched -- not qualitative ideas alone.

                          Perhaps, if it could be arranged, more might attend to a umpired fight. I might lose such an umpired, public fight, but I'm prepared to risk that.

                          The NYT Missile Defense thread is ungainly, in the same kind of way that human memory is ungainly, in the same way that trial transcripts are ungainly. In part because there is so much in it. But with the net, the details in it can be brought up -- it is a sort of "associative memory." Things come into focus -- and extensive focused evidence, subject to supplementation and critique, is there to be brought to bear. Perhaps the format can be useful.

                          My background is unusual. It is a source of both insight and difficulties for myself and people who have to deal with me.

                          My technical background and orientation: MD6397-99 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6884
                            I'm trying, with enormous and distinguished help from Dawn Riley, within the limits of my strength and resources, to get some facts checked.

                            I'm hoping to set out many arguments, like a case to a jury, subject to crossexamination, and then "pick a fight" - in some way that can work in public -- to establish truths that remain, so far "somehow too weak." The case is far along. On the MD thread, and many other places. Getting to a place where a fight in public is possible is not yet far along -- but perhaps not be so far away as it was.

                            I deeply appreciate the fact that these talk boards are here -- and am grateful for the existence of the Guardian - Observer


                            rshowalter - 05:49pm Jul 25, 2001 GMT (#454 of 507)  | 

                            There have been 262 postings on The New York Times -- Science -- Missile Defense thread since July 18th, and I believe that things have gone well - and hopefully.

                            Dawn and I have worked hard.

                            Postings that may interest some of you start with this:

                              " I've often thought, writing on these forums, about whether I've been keeping faith with Bill Casey -- doing things that, on balance, he would have thought reasonable, and right . . .
                            and includes this:

                              " (Dawn and I) were especially interested in dialog with almarst after we read "Muddle in Moscow" http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=533129 ..... ... When we read that story, we imagined that we really were dealing with a powerful man who had taken time, with a staff, to do some listening."
                            MD7385 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8167

                            MD7386 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8168

                            MD7388 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8170

                            MD7389 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8171

                            MD7390 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8172

                            Minds are opening to the possiblility that the US may be fallible. Outside the US, and in America, as well. I take that as a good sign, for the sake of the world, and the United States itself. . . . . . Pollution deal leaves US cold by Charles Clover in Bonn http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/07/24/wkyot24.xml

                              " Margot Wallstrom, the European environment commissioner, said: "We can go home and look our children in the eyes. Something has changed in the balance of power between the United States and the EU."
                            The administration is doing and saying some crazy, inconsistent things. In times of paradigm crisis, that sort of thing happens, and can be a healthy sign. . . . MD6012-3 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/6436

                            In times where basic ideas have to be rethought - a crucial stage occurs when a group of people organize who do not believe the old view.

                              " The head of the American delegation, Paula Dobriansky, was booed by ministers and officials when she said: "The Bush administration takes the issue of climate change very seriously and we will not abdicate our responsibilities."
                            Perhaps a time is coming where it will be possible to get some key things checked.


                            rshowalter - 10:55pm Aug 1, 2001 GMT (#455 of 507)  | 

                            On paradigm shifts, checking of key points is decisive. If anyone's interested, I'm asking for help about checking.

                            I know that I've posted a lot here, but I'd like to ask some help from any Talk folks who might be interested. I've felt, for a long time, that it should be possible to check the crucial technical issues involved with the US Missile Defense programs, in public, on the basis of what's known in the open literature. And, by doing so, show that, whatever one may think of them as strategic programs, they are also deeply flawed technically.

                            I've been under some pressure about that, but have also gotten a good deal of attention - perhaps including some attention from people associated with governments. Perhaps some of you may be interested in some aspects of that, as background, set out in the following links.

                            MD6809 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7377
                              MD6811 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7379
                                MD6972 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/7360
                                  I'm wondering if anyone might have comments, especially involving technical issues (but also issues of exposition) about the specific issues in the following postings, which deal with technical aspects of the space based lasar weapons programs , and refer to a dialog between me and gisterme , the NYT - Science _ Missile Defense thread's Bush Administration Official "stand-in" and almarst , the thread's "Putin stand-in."

                                  I'm trying to make an argument that can stand in public -- that can be set out on the web, and that might be illustrated, for clarity, in the sort of detail that would work for a jury -- including perhaps the "jury of public opinion." Here are the links I hope someone might comment on:

                                  MD7712 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8599

                                  MD7713 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8600

                                  MD7714 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8601

                                  Thanks so much.

                                  Bob Showalter

                                  mrshowalter@thedawn.com


                                  xpat - 12:43am Aug 7, 2001 GMT (#456 of 507)

                                  http://www.acm.org/pubs/contents/journals/interactions/2000-7/#1 see pages 39+ for some interesting communication-IT-ScienceLanguage modelling figures. from indexed Interactions http://www.acm.org/pubs/contents/journals/interactions/


                                  xpat - 12:45am Aug 7, 2001 GMT (#457 of 507)

                                  when you go to the LIBRARY see http://www.acm.org/pubs/contents/journals/interactions/2000-7/#1 see pages 39+ for some interesting communication-IT-ScienceLanguage modelling figures. from indexed Interactions http://www.acm.org/pubs/contents/journals/interactions/


                                  rshowalter - 12:52am Aug 9, 2001 GMT (#458 of 507)  | 

                                  U.S., Russian Defense Officials Meet By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS cited in http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8686 includes this from U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

                                    "WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and Russian defense officials are meeting behind closed doors at the Pentagon to explore the prospects for an agreement on building missile defenses and cutting nuclear forces.
                                  . . . . . "
                                    " '" Rumsfeld said there are psychological barriers to creating a new security relationship with Russia.
                                      " ``There is an awful lot of baggage left over in the relationship, the old relationship, the Cold War relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union,'' he said.
                                        " ``It is baggage that exists in people's minds, it exists in treaties, it exists in the structure of relationships, the degree of formality of them,'' he added. ``And it will require, I think, some time to work through these things and see if we can't set the relationship on a different basis.''
                                          One doesn't have to approve of everything Rumsfeld has done, or even much of it, to be glad that, as a leader and working politician, he said these words. It means that many people, including military people, have these words in mind. Perhaps some things can get better.

                                          http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8687
                                            http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8688
                                              http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8689
                                                Perhaps we'll even come to some technical clarity -- something I hope for.

                                                To really end the Cold War, the United States would have to work itself through some fictions, and Russia would have to do so as well. That may take a while, as Secretary Rumsfeld suggests

                                                But perhaps some limited progress is being made, and more can be made, as more and more people draw reasonable conclusions from facts.

                                                Many of those facts well reported in the Guardian Observer.

                                                And just for beauty, and appreciation of good things, some nice sites found by Dawn Riley:



                                                rshowalter - 12:54am Aug 9, 2001 GMT (#459 of 507)  | 

                                                Perhaps some whiff of a paradigm change in US - Russian relations - relations where many of the concerns in this thread come into play.

                                                U.S., Russian Defense Officials Meet By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS cited in http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8686 includes this from U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

                                                "WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and Russian defense officials are meeting behind closed doors at the Pentagon to explore the prospects for an agreement on building missile defenses and cutting nuclear forces.

                                                . . . . . "

                                                " Rumsfeld said there are psychological barriers to creating a new security relationship with Russia.

                                                "``There is an awful lot of baggage left over in the relationship, the old relationship, the Cold War relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union,'' he said.

                                                " ``It is baggage that exists in people's minds, it exists in treaties, it exists in the structure of relationships, the degree of formality of them,'' he added. ``And it will require, I think, some time to work through these things and see if we can't set the relationship on a different basis.''

                                                One doesn't have to approve of everything Rumsfeld has done, or even much of it, to be glad that, as a leader and working politician, he said these words. It means that many people, including military people, have these words in mind. Perhaps some things can get better.

                                                http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8687

                                                http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8688

                                                http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8689

                                                Perhaps we'll even come to some technical clarity -- something I hope for. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8694

                                                To really end the Cold War, the United States would have to work itself through some fictions, and Russia would have to do so as well. That may take a while, as Secretary Rumsfeld suggests

                                                But perhaps some limited progress is being made, and more can be made, as more and more people draw reasonable conclusions from facts.

                                                Many of those facts well reported in the Guardian Observer.

                                                And just for beauty, and appreciation of good things, some nice sites found by Dawn Riley: http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8644


                                                joatsimeon - 11:02pm Aug 11, 2001 GMT (#460 of 507)

                                                Actually, most tales of resistance to new evidence and theories based thereon are simply urban legends, particularly in recent generations.

                                                Eg., Einstein's revolutionary hypothesis was greeted with considerable interest almost immediately, and widely accepted within a decade or two.

                                                As an institution, science is self-correcting and has an inherent tendency to progressive modification -- "progressive" _sensu strictu_, in that it continually gets better at doing what it's supposed to do.

                                                The difference between 19th and 20th century medicine is an example; as the scientific method became more firmly entrenched (as opposed to Aristotelian and a-priori types of argument) the time it took new theories to triumph fell steadily.


                                                joatsimeon - 11:08pm Aug 11, 2001 GMT (#461 of 507)

                                                It's also rare for a new theory to actually show that the previous synthesis was flat-out _wrong_. Particularly in a field that has already undergone its basic Copernican revolution, and based itself on rigorous scientific standards and observation.

                                                Eg., Einstein didn't say that Newton was wrong; with commendable modesty, Newton had simply described physical reality without attempting to explain things -- gravity, for example.

                                                We still use Newton's equations for calculating spaceship trajectories; at that level, they give exactly the same results as Einstein's and are simpler.

                                                What Einstein did was show that Newton's description of the physical world was a special case, and that his solutions did not apply on different scales -- very large objects, very high speeds, and so forth.

                                                He also gave a better explanation of phenomena like gravity; curved space is a more useful and precise description.

                                                In turn, his theory (and QM) are far from complete; but they are _right as far as they go_. Both have been validated by exhaustive experimental work, and both have shown a very high degree of ability to predict, and predict extremely precisely.

                                                When we get the Theory of Everything, it will show that they were right... but not complete.


                                                xpat - 03:21am Aug 13, 2001 GMT (#462 of 507)

                                                Taking another tack - heard it took a long long time from the invention to the wider distribution of the innovation. Wonder if this still holds. Or if necessity is the mother of invention - then because the 'need' equating with 'demand' is pre-existant do the latter inventions filter into culture more rapidly?


                                                xpat - 03:22am Aug 13, 2001 GMT (#463 of 507)

                                                Then again - how do things that are inculture filter out of culture - eg cold war : http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/roguestate/default.htm http://www.cpeo.org/lists/military/1995/msg00099.html Plutonium: USA : http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/11/national/11PLUT.html


                                                bNice - 04:47am Aug 18, 2001 GMT (#464 of 507)

                                                .


                                                bNice - 11:00am Aug 20, 2001 GMT (#465 of 507)

                                                Handwashing: sterilisation of needles .. same old story: Dire consequences

                                                August 20, 2001 NYT

                                                Doctors' Dirty Needles Spread Hepatitis in China By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

                                                Elisabeth Rosenthal/The New York Times At a huge "recycling center" in Beijing, a migrant worker who gave his name as Mr. He reached into a bin and pulled out IV tubes with needles.

                                                LUOPING, China — A worried Dou Zhe rushed into Dr. Wang Yujia's storefront clinic carrying a precious bundle. "He's sick," announced Mr. Dou, unwrapping layers of colorful blankets from his 2-year-old son, a chubby, listless boy in a blue jumpsuit. "He's normally mischievous, but since tonight he's hot. He just wants to sleep — he won't eat or play."

                                                Dr. Wang, a kindly weathered man in a long white coat, determined that the boy had a red throat and a fever of 102. He had a cold, one that would almost certainly pass on its own in a few days.

                                                Nonetheless, Dr. Wang drew up what has become an all-too-common rural Chinese cure — a syringe filled with four different medicines — and plunged the needle filled with yellow goo into the screaming boy's behind.

                                                "We always come to see him, because he's a good doctor," Mr. Dou, a construction worker, said with a note of satisfaction. "My boy's had lots of shots."

                                                China's love affair with injections and infusions is becoming a medical nightmare, spreading illness rather than curing it, experts say.

                                                In large part because syringes and needles are often inadequately sterilized in rural China, experts say the overuse of medical injections helps explain the alarming spread of blood-borne infections in China, particularly hepatitis and, to a lesser extent, AIDS.

                                                Today, 60 percent of Chinese have had hepatitis B, compared with just 1 percent in the United States and Japan. Some 150 million Chinese have the chronic variety of the infection, which over time causes liver failure and liver cancer.

                                                "To a large extent the very high rate of hepatitis B has to do with unsafe injections and excessive injection for common illness during childhood," the United Nations Common Country Assessment for China said in 1999.

                                                The problem of needless shots is particularly severe in rural areas, where doctors often have little formal medical training and receive extra income for each injection they give, and where patients and doctors alike see shots as a sign of progress.

                                                Dr. Wang, for example, is not really a physician, but a former farmer who learned his basics when he was appointed a "barefoot doctor" under China's Communist system in the 1960's. In all, he has received just two years of medical training, and that in the mid-1980's, when Western medicines were not available in the countryside.

                                                And so when a little boy arrives with a cold, he draws up an injection composed of two antibiotics that are unnecessary and will promote resistance, an antiviral drug that has no use against the common cold and a powerful steroid that will only make his immune system less able to fight infection.

                                                A 2000 survey of medical care in 40 rural counties conducted by Unicef and the Chinese Health Ministry found that 47 to 65 percent of children had received injections as treatment for their last cold.

                                                While it is extremely rare for children in the United States to get shots aside from immunizations, many Chinese children get more than half a dozen a year.

                                                But far more important than the immediate side effects of these freewheeling injections is the risk of acquiring devastating disease, since, as in much of the developing world, rural Chinese doctors try to cut costs by reusing potentially contaminated equipment.

                                                While there is no evidence that this 2-year-old suffered lasting harm from his shot, in one 1999 study, Chinese researchers found that 88 percent of injections in a large rural county were unsafe, most often because doctors reused needles and syringes after inadequate or no cleaning.

                                                The Health Ministry has encouraged clinics to switch to disposable needles and syringes, but even those are sometimes reused, or cleaned and repackaged in a large underground market, according to medical experts here and reports in the Chinese press.

                                                Such practices have probably also contributed to China's emerging AIDS problem, though scientists believe that H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, spreads less efficiently than hepatitis by this route. Statistics on the spread of H.I.V. in rural areas have been shrouded by official secrecy and many victims do not even know that they are infected.

                                                "We already know many people have been getting hepatitis from shots," said one health expert who has worked extensively in China. "And that worries me a lot about the spread of AIDS."

                                                Although there is now a hepatitis B vaccine that is widely used in the United States, it is expensive and not included in the Chinese government's free vaccination programs, so a majority of poor rural children do not get it.

                                                Government officials have acknowledged the problem of unsafe injections and have repeatedly tried to ensure proper use of sterile medical equipment and better regulation of its manufacturing and disposal. But the problem has been difficult to stop.

                                                "Unfortunately, rural doctors often rely on medicines and shots for income, and the farmers think they need an IV to be cured," said Zhu Ling, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who studies health care. Even rudimentary clinics in rural China now have rows of IV bottles hanging ready along the wall.

                                                Government regulations allow rural medics to charge only pennies per visit, but they may add fees for the medicines and shots. With only minimal training, many do not understand how to use many of the medicines that line their shelves, or even the risks of injection or failure to use proper sterilization techniques.

                                                Dr. Wang owns one of many private clinics in this small city in China's far southwest, and he is clearly more careful and conscientious than most of his competition.

                                                He is proud, for example, that he has switched to disposable plastic syringes and needles, which he unwraps to give 2-year-old Dou Youjun his shot and then quickly deposits into a large cardboard box on the floor overflowing with others like it.

                                                In many rural clinics, used syringes and needles sit on the counter, waiting for reuse.

                                                In a December 1999 study in The Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, 56 percent of rural doctors said they changed equipment only if they could see blood in the syringes.

                                                But it is not at all clear that Dr. Wang's disposable syringes will be disposed of properly. In theory, and according to official government policy, used disposable needles and syringes should be destroyed, since they are made of materials that can not be fully cleaned.


                                                bNice - 11:01am Aug 20, 2001 GMT (#466 of 507)

                                                But here, Dr. Wang said, his box is picked up once a week by someone who "takes care of them."

                                                "These can't be used more than once," he said. "They need to be taken off and sterilized first."

                                                Most rural doctors know little about what happens to their discarded equipment, but there is ample evidence that it sometimes makes its way back to the bedside.

                                                At a huge "recycling center" just outside the Fourth Ring Road in Beijing, a migrant worker in a padded gray jacket who gives his name as Mr. He reaches into a metal bin and pulls out a massive tangle of plastic IV tubes, with needles still attached.

                                                In this vast open yard where hundreds of small traders in paper, metal, cardboard and plastics sort through the detritus of life in Beijing, unmarked trucks from hospitals and clinics routinely deliver syringes, blood bags and IV tubes, often with fresh blood still clinging to the side.

                                                "It's a good business, since medical plastics sell for much more than ordinary plastic," said Ren Xinyang, a skinny 30-year-old, standing in a stall littered with old needles.

                                                Most of the plastic from this center goes by truck to Wenan in Hebei Province, about 60 miles outside Beijing, a place renowned for its wholesale plastic market.

                                                Every yard in Wenan is littered with plastic castoffs. In one tidy compound, owned by a family named Jiang, bags of dirty medical waste are the raw material of a business that nets $5,000 a year.

                                                Behind a white tile wall, blood- tinged syringes and needles are fed into a large manual grinder that spits out bent needles and deposits plastic fragments on the other side, which are given a cursory wash in a shallow cement pool before being packed away for sale.

                                                The plastic is then used to make heavy-duty plastic sacks, a family member said.

                                                But there are also bags of whole syringes. And although family members insist that they do not sell those anymore, they acknowledged that they had in the past. "Two years ago, people from Henan and Zhejiang would come to buy whole syringes, and we got a much higher price than selling scrap," Ms. Jiang said.

                                                In the last year, Chinese newspapers have covered several police raids on small backyard factories that were illegally cleaning and repackaging disposable syringes. One such workshop in Zhejiang Province held more than 14 tons of used single- use medical equipment, including more than four tons of needles, The Legal Daily reported.

                                                Since most Chinese get so many shots, it is nearly impossible to prove that any one injection was responsible for disease. But doctors say the cumulative effect is obvious from China's alarming problem with hepatitis B.

                                                Hepatitis B causes pain, nausea and fatigue and can become a chronic infection, leading to liver failure or cancer of the organ. Liver cancer, rare in the West, is the leading cause of cancer deaths in China.

                                                Hepatitis B can be transmitted three ways: during childbirth, through intercourse or through infected medical equipment or transfusions. Research suggests that a huge number of children are getting the disease after birth but before they are old enough to have intercourse, making injections the by far most likely explanation in their cases.

                                                In one study, 9 percent of pregnant women had active hepatitis, meaning that at most 9 percent of children could get it at birth. But by age 6, the researchers found, 34 percent of children were infected.

                                                Other research has found that the likelihood that a 2-year-old had contracted hepatitis was directly proportional to the number of injections he or she had.

                                                Among toddlers who had one to five shots, only 12 percent were infected. Among those who had 6 to 10 shots, 25 percent were infected. And among children who had 11 to 20 shots, the figure was a whopping 62 percent.

                                                At a recent medical conference, Dr. Liu Shijing estimated that 30 to 40 percent of hepatitis B in China resulted from medical exposures, and some foreign experts put the number even higher.

                                                "Shots should be preventing this disease," said the medical expert who has worked in China, "but you can see from the numbers that now most are getting it from shots." http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/20/international/asia/20CHIN.html?pagewanted=2


                                                bNice - 11:34am Aug 20, 2001 GMT (#467 of 507)

                                                Xpat - reprimanded for political ranting ... Grizzled says there are NO politics in Science. Miss one turn then go to Mars!

                                                ~ http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=politics


                                                rshowalter - 03:28pm Aug 21, 2001 GMT (#468 of 507)  | 

                                                Answers have practical consequences -- some of them political. Now, we're in a period of "paradigm conflict" about military function, and the needs for the reasonable security of nation states.

                                                On a key body of questions about nuclear balances, this pattern, consistent with the notion of "morally forcing checking" on this thread, might work.

                                                MD7935 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8873

                                                MD7936 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8874

                                                The proposal, for checking of key technical points by professional engineers, with writers of PE exams serving as umpires, would involve some action by people with some power and independence. I've had contacts with such people that may be promising. On matters central to world peace, and balances, there should be "islands of fact" that all concerned are morally and socially bound to respect. Hard to get, but perhaps not impossible.

                                                MD7940 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8880

                                                MD7944 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8884

                                                Some things about military balances and security procedures in general could use some review.

                                                MD7950-7951 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8891


                                                xpat - 08:20pm Aug 21, 2001 GMT (#469 of 507)

                                                The connection between the Chinese not educating people re dirty needles ... reused ... that spread infection and Missile Defence relates to allocation of resources to perceived priorities - yes?


                                                rshowalter - 10:08pm Aug 21, 2001 GMT (#470 of 507)  | 

                                                And an unwillingness to apply a sense of human consequences -- when it is time to face unpleasant truths -- truths that, once seen, can change minds.

                                                The key problem, again and again, is that facing facts that can be determined is not morally forcing.

                                                Now, asking for determination of truth is "not the dominant priority." When stakes are high, it needs to be.


                                                xpat - 06:12am Aug 24, 2001 GMT (#471 of 507)

                                                Must be a 'power' game at play .. power - no power play.


                                                bNice - 12:22pm Aug 26, 2001 GMT (#472 of 507)

                                                The Map That Changed The World

                                                Summary: Simon Winchester has had an extraordinary career as a journalist and author. In pursuit of his craft, he has walked the entire length of the Yangtze river, visited every last outpost of the dwindling British empire, and endured solitary confinement in an Argentine prison.

                                                His latest book is the story of William Smith, the man who changed the world through his discovery of geological strata and through his 15 years of toil to produce a geological map of England and Wales. However, Smith has his work plagiarised, is shut up in a debtors prison, and emerges to find himself penniless, unrecognised and with a wife who's gone insane...

                                                Surprisingly, Smith triumphs in the end, and his story allows Winchester to write a book that even makes geology interesting.

                                                Guests on this program:

                                                Simon Winchester Journalist and author

                                                Publications:

                                                "The Map That Changed The World" Author: Simon Winchester Publisher: Penguin Viking http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/lnl/s350102.htm


                                                rshowalter - 01:51am Aug 29, 2001 GMT (#473 of 507)  | 

                                                A nice quote from Envisioning Information by Eward Tuftie and some illustration and explanation jobs I'm hoping to help get done.

                                                Some standards that have evolved in court practice:

                                                Some points by Dawn Riley need to be widely explained.

                                                We need some "islands of technical fact" for practical and moral reasons. <br>

                                                I'm hoping to find some resources. That is difficult in a world where I've been very effectivly blackballed for decades. Some key questions are going to have to be answered, including the question whether the NYT Missile Defense thread, for all its "deniability, has been influential or not. Given social barriers, usages in place, and legal concerns, that can be difficult.

                                                But there is some reason to hope that, after some "due diligence" - - some resources can be brought to bear, so that some fundamental questions of fact and proportion may be prepared well enough "so that they can be put before a jury."

                                                Well enough, perhaps, to influence events.

                                                It seems to me that the world is polarizing. That characterizes times where paradigms are failing, and new ones are coming into being. That makes this a dangerous time. But a hopeful one, as well.


                                                rshowalter - 10:21am Sep 4, 2001 GMT (#474 of 507)  | 

                                                I think we are in the middle of a paradigm shift, and that if some of the basic points in this thread were understood -- especially the need to check key points to closure , the world would go much better.

                                                Here is some great coverage: The Fortunes of Russia and China, as Told Through the Pages of The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/20010902mag-china-russia.html

                                                The New York Times is a major source of information about missile defense. Discussion of that corpus, and the complexity, richness, and challenge of it, and link to many articles on missile defense that have been discussed on this thread. Listings of missile defense articles in the NYT, with working no-charge links MD8309 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9296 MD8310 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9297

                                                Colin Powell, and his TIME magazine cover story MD8392 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9389

                                                Some history, going back almost a year now, that may interest some who have been following the MD thread, and wondered about barriers to news coverage in the United States. It includes events set out in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? #163 http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?13@@.ee7b085/193 . MD8393-8395 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9391

                                                We shouldn't miss what even a monkey could see: MD8289 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9276

                                                On issues of military and nuclear balances, "no solution as stated:" ... We need a reframing: MD8300-3 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9287

                                                  Perhaps it is important that the "word" of the United States, and of US military officers, comes to be discounted -- and senses of obligation to the United States, among, allies, come to be diluted with mistrust. . . . the rest of the world has to stop deferring to the US, or being intimidated in every way by the US, and handle their own responsibilities themselves. MD8317-8318 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9304
                                                All responsible leaders elsewhere in the world have to do, to move things distinctly and clearly in the direction of peace, is to ask that essential technical facts about missile defense, that can be evaluated in public, actually get competently and clearly evaluated in public. ..... If they asked that it be done, directly or through back channels, it would happen. MD8319 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9306
                                                  Getting core technical things about "missile defense" difficulties explained well enough for American political purposes, and for wider world politics could be done in terms of the open literature -- and the explanation would establish "islands of technical fact" that are needed for reasonable decisions. MD8343 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9330

                                                  MD thread summary and background: MD8344 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9331

                                                  The world could still end -- and we could fix that -- reasons for concern: MD8377-89 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9373

                                                  Has all this work been useful? Dawn and I have tried to make it so. MD8386 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9383

                                                  In any case, some stances are being taken by Putin that are just as Dawn and I would wish. MD8243 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9230 MD8380-82 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9377

                                                  Perhaps, along with all the things there are to fear, there are reasons for hope. If some "islands of technical fact" could be established, I believe that things might go a great deal better. MD8343 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9330


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 07:32am Sep 10, 2001 GMT (#475 of 507)

                                                  Babies babble in sign language (Health News: 6/9/2001) Canadian and US researchers have found that babies can babble in sign language - a finding that is set to fuel the debate over how language is acquired. http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_358940.htm

                                                  Interesting, Aussie Science Show once has a segment on a woman who dreamed in sign language - she grew up in a small community where the affliction of a genetic deafness hit many of her friends - signing prevailed over spoken.


                                                  rshowalter - 04:29pm Sep 12, 2001 GMT (#476 of 507)  | 

                                                  Paradigm shift often are accomplished when the motivations to rethink anamalies get greater. We've got more motivation than we've had, now.

                                                  Since September 4th there have been 400+ postings on the MD thread.

                                                  A few may interest some people here. I'm grateful for the chance to post links here, for the record.

                                                  Postings dealing with the current tragedy in New York and Washington, and its relations to larger risks, involve postings Dawn Riley and I have done on these wonderful Guardian Talk threads: MD8827 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9894

                                                  Points were raised by gisterme , the MD board's "Bush administration stand in" that led me to repost Detail and the Golden Rule here: MD8737 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9788 MD8743 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/9796

                                                  I made the point that American institutional and intellectual traditions, shaped by the Cold War, may be standing in the way of safety now, in

                                                  Perhaps, ugly though things are, we can find some practical ways of making them better.

                                                  rshowalter - 02:26am Sep 19, 2001 GMT (#477 of 507)  | 

                                                  I hope paradigmatic positions about international cooperation may be shifting a little. I hope so. We need some hopeful things to happen.

                                                  The Big Terrible by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/18/opinion/18FRIE.html

                                                  MD9374 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/10511

                                                  To cooperate, we must act on the basis of ideals that work for our friends, and that can convert many people, against us now, to our side. To do that, we have to be the good guys.

                                                  As a species, we are beautiful, but ugly, too.

                                                  There were 714 postings on the NYT Missile Defense board this week.

                                                  xpat - 03:46am Sep 25, 2001 GMT (#478 of 507)

                                                  No access to view this discussion

                                                  is the message i'm getting - the NYT must have closed down! Was it in the WTC?


                                                  rshowalter - 03:55am Sep 27, 2001 GMT (#479 of 507)  | 

                                                  I think that a paradigm shift may be occurring.

                                                  There have been 430 postings on the NYT Missile Defense Board since I last posted here, and since this posting, which cites a number of warning references posted on the Guardian: MD9421 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/10566

                                                  Dawn Riley and I have done most of them, but there have been many interesting ones from almarst and gisterme , people we have reason to think are associated with the Russian and US governments.

                                                  In MD9757 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/11037 I made the hopeful point that

                                                    in very complex systems, patterns of solutions that exist and seem at all satisfactory, within a system of constraints, are likely to be few or unique. And often easy for people to think about and focus on in ways where they all agree.
                                                  That's makes considering real complexities not just daunting, but hopeful, too.

                                                  - - - - - -

                                                  I review links discussing a proposal that I've made from time to time since March, and discussed with almarst and Dawn Riley extensively in - - - MD9842-9844 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/11158

                                                  The proposal deals with the idea of

                                                    " Crafting a fully workable, fully complete, fully explained "draft treaty proposal" for nuclear disarmament and a more militarily stable world. Such drafting would, at the least, make for stunningly good journalism -- that could be widely syndicated among papers. Useful as that would be, I think the drafting would serve a much more useful purpose. That purpose would be actually getting the points that need to be worked out for nuclear disarmament set out coherently - - to a level where closure actually occurs. That would involve a great deal of staff work done coherently, quickly, and in coordinated fashion.
                                                  "I wonder how much might be done IN PUBLIC --- say if some Moscow Times staff, and people from a couple of US papers, some Guardian staff, and people from some interested governments, started an OPEN dialog together? . . .. With all the government involvement possible, from all the nations concerned, and with "shadow" governments set up when the government in power did not participate.

                                                  Conditions favorable for something like this may be ripening, among journalists, world leaders, and their publics. I personally believe that such a thing could solve a lot of problems, especially if the Russian, German and UK governments took an interest. I feel that chances of Russian interest might be substantial, though this is, of course, only a guess. If leaders were interested in such a thing, I believe some people of means, proud to support some of the expenses of the effort, would be likely to be available. I also feel that the work would be first rate journalism, justifying the effort of journalists on that basis.

                                                  _ _ _ _

                                                  Postings on the NYT Missile Defense board are often held for a while before they are displayed. People who make postings that are held can see such ongoing postings. The posting below was displayed prominantly for almost seven hours after it was removed from the ongoing (but hidden) part by the moderator. I'm sorry that it was removed, but glad that is was on display, at a time when I think people were looking, for those hours.

                                                  rshowalter - 12:37pm Sep 25, 2001 EST (#9849 of 9849)

                                                    "I've been making a working assumption, and Dawn Riley has as well, that almarst had good contacts, perhaps very close contacts, with Putin's staff. Counting postings, and looking at context, I believe it reasonable that gisterme and others have made similar assumptions. Whether the assumptions are exactly true, at the level of ideas, there are analogies that would be almost as useful as contacts, for some purposes. .
                                                    "Missile defense is one issue, a very important issue, among a number in Russian - American relations. .
                                                    "If my assumptions are correct, and I believe that they are at least reasonable, it seems to me that one can argue that this board has done good service to the interests of the United States of America. .
                                                    "And been of some help to Russia, as well. .
                                                  _ _ _ _ _

                                                  I believe that, terribly unfortunate as the WTC and Pentagon tragedy-crimes were, they have given political actors a sense of urgency and reality that may be very useful. My own view is that with more discussion, and checking of key facts, some of the ugliest and most dangerous messes in the world could be handled much better.


                                                  rshowalter - 01:10pm Sep 27, 2001 GMT (#480 of 507)  | 

                                                  The world is interconnected, and one issue recurs with monotonous, but deadly serious regularity.

                                                  It is that sequences where lies are involved are likely to go wrong in ugly, expensive, unjust, unpredictable ways.

                                                  MD9808 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/11103

                                                  MD9809 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/11104

                                                  MD9810 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/11105

                                                  This isn't much reading, and perhaps some who looked at these pieces would find them boring. But perhaps some might be interested. I'm posting them on the off-chance that some people of responsibility, directly or indirectly, might find them interesting.


                                                  bNice - 04:33am Sep 29, 2001 GMT (#481 of 507)

                                                  I noticed how 'chance' happenings, or, a failure to follow exact procedure can sometimes lead to a breakthrough as per this guy:

                                                    And here is where serendipity enters the stage! Through a misunderstanding, the technician had boiled the milk before adding the charcoal!!! Jake told her to repeat the test using non-boiled milk. "Will it make a difference," she asked. Well, it did make a difference, for there was no adsorption from fresh milk!
                                                  I realized that the natural folate was bound to a large molecule, a protein, which was too large to be adsorbable and that heat, by denaturing it, permitted the folate to be adsorbed by the charcoal! What an euphoria: to suddenly realize that you have discovered a secret of Nature, that your name will be engraved in the Annals of Science until the sun burns down! It was clear that a new, radioactive method was going to be developed to measure folate. I had discovered how the mammary gland concentrates the tiny amount of folate present in the blood plasma, i.e., how a biological compound is concentrated in an anatomical compartment. http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/serendipia/Serendipia-Ghitis.html

                                                  Any chance of serendipitous happenings in the politique to lead to a safer world?


                                                  rshowalter - 11:43pm Oct 5, 2001 GMT (#482 of 507)  | 

                                                  Perhaps challenges from "chance" happening are going to lead to responses, including ones that give thought to paradigm problems, that lead to a safer world.

                                                  The NYT Missile Defense board is going on, at high intensity, and I've had reason to think it may be being influential. And perhaps constructive.

                                                  Some of the dialog , which I found revealing, and that may have influenced judgements of staffed organizations, has been deleted. I think that may be just as well. The dialog was up long enough, I feel, to have served a purpose. The board is being carefully censored. Under the circumstances, I'm grateful for that.

                                                  Some movement toward closure on some technical points about missile defense has, I believe, occurred.

                                                  For all the ugliness and stress, and despite the mourning and the fear, I think we may, perhaps, be living through a time where things get better.

                                                  rshowalter - 05:51pm Oct 10, 2001 GMT (#483 of 507)  | 

                                                  It seems to me that some key paradigmatic patterns involved with international relations are shifting.

                                                  Toward a New Security Framework

                                                  Remarks of Sam Nunn
                                                  Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
                                                  October 3, 2001
                                                  http://wwics.si.edu/NEWS/speeches/nunn.htm is a piece I find wonderful.

                                                  It is a thoughtful, proactive response to events from September 11th to date. I think some approaches different from those he now has in mind might condense from the processes Senator Nunn gracefully envisions. I've not always been 100% on Senator Nunn's side, or an advocate of his associates, and perhaps I've been unfair.

                                                  But I want to point this speech out. I feel that it is beautiful, and a beautiful integration of issues, coming form where the United States' "security elite" is, and has been.

                                                  I like Nunn's ending remarks especially:

                                                    " If the United States and Russia begin working together as partners in fighting terror and the weapons of mass destruction threat, and encourage others to join, the world will be a different place for our children and grandchildren. We face major challenges, but an historic opportunity. We must seize it now. .
                                                    " Time and circumstance have given us a chance to shape new relationships and to build a new security framework, so that the pain of today will not be known by the children of tomorrow.
                                                  .
                                                  .
                                                  .
                                                  I made a suggestion, on September 25, 2001

                                                  in a day "web meeting" that ended with an offer:

                                                  Senator Nunn would know all the reasons why the suggestion is impractical.

                                                  If only the world were that simple.

                                                  Sometimes, even now, I think it is.

                                                  There have been more than 10,000 postings on the NYT MD board (counting the few deletions that have occurred) since September 25, 2000.


                                                  Possumdag - 01:10am Oct 11, 2001 GMT (#484 of 507)

                                                  The NYT IT seems to have fallen over, America's coming unhinged .. C'est la vie!


                                                  rshowalter - 03:14pm Oct 12, 2001 GMT (#485 of 507)  | 

                                                  Advice I got once:

                                                    " There is no one standard, no one rule, no one pattern that fits all the time, and if you have a system that you need to check, the checking system, for complicated circumstances, has to be structurally different from the system checked, and has to "violate" some "rules" built into the other system, so as to get things that have to be checked checked." "What's the best advice you've ever been given?" Wed 10/10/2001
                                                  Checking involves doubt, but after enough checking there are some times when answers, and right actions, are clear in terms of well defined priorities. Including right answers and right actions that would never have been arrived at, without the checking.

                                                  I think

                                                  is wonderful. Hope bin Laden reads it. Hope Bush does, too.


                                                  lchic - 03:25pm Oct 16, 2001 GMT (#486 of 507)

                                                  http://www.heartmath.com/


                                                  bNice2NoU - 02:37am Oct 19, 2001 GMT (#487 of 507)

                                                  Vacuum-packed cells stay alive for days

                                                  19:00 17 October 01 Philip Cohen, San Francisco

                                                  Forget the fancy chemicals. You can keep cells alive for days simply by drying them and sticking them in a vacuum-sealed bag.

                                                  The discovery could slash the cost of cell implants designed to treat diseases such as diabetes by making it easier and cheaper to store and ship cells.

                                                  Until now, biologists thought that our cells didn't have any way of protecting themselves against drying out. Attempts to store tissues by freezing or drying have focused on adding the protective chemicals some plants and animals have evolved to protect their cells.

                                                  Fred Levine's team at the University of California, San Diego, was trying to fine-tune a method of drying skin cells using the sugar trehalose, which preserves structures within cells as water is lost. But some cells dried this way still died.

                                                  The researchers suspected they were being killed by highly reactive chemicals called free radicals, which are generated by cells processing oxygen. So they tried vacuum sealing the dried cells in plastic bags. It helped - but to their surprise, some control cells that had been dried without trehalose also survived. "We put off publishing for a very long time," says Levine.

                                                  No damage

                                                  But repeated experiments have confirmed the findings. About a third of the skin cells start growing again when rehydrated after three days at room temperature. A tenth survive for five days, and a few can be revived even after two weeks. "The same is true for a variety of cells," says Levine. But without a vacuum, all the cells die in three days.

                                                  "I would have expected to see dramatic damage to cells treated this way," says Mehmet Toner, a tissue engineer at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "This really pushes the frontier forward."

                                                  Levine has already successfully used the technique to ship cells across the US. But he suspects that some protectant will be needed if most cells are to survive weeks or months rather than days.

                                                  Journal reference : Cryobiology (vol 42, p 207)

                                                  19:00 17 October 01


                                                  bNice2NoU - 02:38am Oct 19, 2001 GMT (#488 of 507)

                                                  Woweee! That Freeze dried Fido on the hearth might again be barking ... yes?

                                                  Isn't this the same as saying "Pick up your vacuum packed meat at the airport to take home to Japan?"


                                                  bNice2NoU - 05:30am Oct 24, 2001 GMT (#489 of 507)

                                                  Paradigm shift in thinking for employer and employed:

                                                  GU film Tuesday October 23, 2001

                                                  Steven Spielberg felt the backlash of his own heightened security mandate in the wake of the September 11 attacks when he was blocked from getting into his DreamWorks studio. Arriving for work at the gates the legendary film-maker was stopped by a security guard when he failed to produce an ID card. "I don't have an identity card. I am Steven Spielberg and I own this company," the maker of ET, Saving Private Ryan and A.I. told the doughty official. Spielberg eventually produced his driver's licence and was admitted. The Express reports that the film-maker later praised the employee for his diligence and promptly ordered a DreamWorks ID card.

                                                  FilmFest Shift against violent films http://film.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/Exclusive/0,4029,579251,00.html


                                                  Possumdag - 01:49am Oct 25, 2001 GMT (#490 of 507)

                                                  any comment ?


                                                  rshowalter - 01:50am Oct 25, 2001 GMT (#491 of 507)  | 

                                                  The tolerance for relaxed rules depends on percieved risks.


                                                  bNice2NoU - 01:10am Oct 26, 2001 GMT (#492 of 507)

                                                  http://www.abc.net.au/arts/film/stories/imax/crowd.htm

                                                    Many of the aesthetic concepts behind IMAX are rooted in the Baroque art movement of the seventeenth century. A grand challenge for Baroque fresco artists was to solve the limitation of the frame. Their works experimented with the boundary between image, frame and the geometric structure that supported it. Such works were construed so that the spatial ensemble made a theatrical and emotional assault on the spectator, enmeshing him in a geometry whose lines are never still, leading him from one detail to the next, involving him in the drama depicted in the picture ñ confusing the spatial domains of art and reality.
                                                    The challenge of escaping the bounds of the frame continues today. But, beyond this technical and aesthetic challenge we are now also drawn to confront the principle emotive mechanism of the IMAX experience: terror.


                                                  jihadij - 04:04am Oct 29, 2001 GMT (#493 of 507)

                                                  http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s399345.htm

                                                    emotions == decisive decision


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 04:30am Nov 1, 2001 GMT (#494 of 507)

                                                  The gist of the holographic theory is that:

                                                    "Our brains mathematically construct 'concrete' reality by interpreting frequencies from another dimension, a realm of meaningful, patterned primary reality that transcends time and space. The brain is a hologram, interpreting a holographic universe."
                                                  http://asklepia.tripod.com/Chaosophy/chaosophy11.html

                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 04:38am Nov 1, 2001 GMT (#495 of 507)

                                                  Quantum:

                                                  bukkyball:
                                                  http://www.ap.univie.ac.at/users/Markus.Arndt/QuantenBeideOffen.gif
                                                  http://www.ap.univie.ac.at/users/Markus.Arndt/
                                                  Readings-graphics


                                                  slugbug - 05:23am Nov 1, 2001 GMT (#496 of 507)

                                                  WTC attack is forcing a paradigm shift! We're having real radical policy not mundane - not that it's necessarily in a good direction but same can be said of science.


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 07:06am Nov 1, 2001 GMT (#497 of 507)

                                                  WTC lead to Bush 'getting' everything from US people that would enhance his/father's business. Put CARLYLE in your browser.

                                                  The 'shift' happens when the people make the Administration / funds accountable!


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 07:07am Nov 1, 2001 GMT (#498 of 507)

                                                  Meet the people shaping the future of science

                                                  Mary, Mary quite contrary Photo: Photonica

                                                  Mary Midgley is a woman on a mission. For two decades, Britain's most visible moral philosopher has laid into scientists who have tried to turn science into a religion. The big problem, says Midgley, is that it seduces people into believing in certainties and taking imperfect scientific metaphors as literal, revealed truth. Is it time to rethink science? Should we rename it? In her latest book, Midgley puts her money on Gaia as a guide. As she told Liz Else, Gaia might turn out to be that rare thing--both good science and good metaphor

                                                  Scientists with a strongly reductionist bent will resent you, as a moral philosopher, straying onto their patch. What are you doing there?

                                                  People think of philosophy as a special and rather grand subject cut off from others, something you could put on the mantelpiece. I think it is much more like plumbing--the sort of thinking that people do even in the most prudent, practical areas always has a whole system of thought under the surface which we are not aware of. Then suddenly we become aware of some bad smells, and we have to take up the floorboards and look at the concepts of even the most ordinary piece of thinking. The great philosophers of the past didn't spend their time looking at entities in the sky. They noticed how badly things were going wrong, and made suggestions about how they could be dealt with.

                                                  So is there a bad smell around science that we should be looking into?

                                                  Yes. I think it goes back to Descartes. He hoped that there would be one way of knowing which would solve all problems. It was a noble hope, and well worth having. Because physics was so successful at that time, he thought that physics was the model and that other difficult problems could eventually be dealt with by reducing them to physics. That doesn't work because physics is only one way of thinking, a tremendously abstract way of thinking, and we need many other ways of thinking about human problems. The effect has been that people think either you know things or you don't, that total certainty is what you ought to go for. But what always appears to emerge is that, in that sense, there is nothing that you "know", nothing that you couldn't possibly raise some kind of question about.

                                                  What should we do instead?

                                                  The real aim is to get what guidance and probability you can about the questions that are important to you. If you don't have the kind of mathematical proof that Descartes hoped for, this is not terribly important. One only needs proof if there is some real doubt. These days we are much more inclined to think about different ways of understanding things and to consider understanding as the main goal. We will never have a final answer. We are always being confronted by new issues, so it's much more about the cultivation of a garden where there have to be many plants. I like organic metaphors because I think they are much more helpful than Descartes' metaphor of building, which insists on foundations.

                                                  Has the word "science" become confusing?

                                                  I think it has, because it is partly a descriptive word, a name for knowledge of the physical world, and partly a word of praise--if it's not science it's no good! So that would mean that history was no good--or music. But nobody thinks that, do they?

                                                  What could we call it instead?

                                                  Perhaps rational enquiry would do for the term of praise. Of course, the physical sciences are indeed "sciences", but that doesn't mean that history and the social sciences are "unscientific".

                                                  How did you end up in this tricky area?

                                                  When I went to Oxford in 1938 to read classics and philosophy I had hardly any scientific input in my background. My family were not anti-science, but they didn't know much about it. At college I got to know a number of medical students, zoologists, biologists of various kinds, and became rather interested. It was wartime, and my contemporaries were mainly women--Iris Murdoch, Mary Warnock and so on.

                                                  You chose moral philosophy, which seems less connected to science than other kinds of philosophy...

                                                  The value of science is a very important question morally. As are questions about the place of science in our lives, too.

                                                  When did you get really stuck into science?

                                                  I took time off when I was looking after my small children. I read what I wanted and picked up books on ethology by authors such as Jane Goodall. It was a terrific revelation because what those ethologists showed was that many other creatures are quite like us. At the same time, I had a lot of good animal behaviour going on around me with my boys, and I was deeply struck by the way sentences came out of them spontaneously, by the way they knew how to play in ways that nobody had taught them. I suppose I had imbibed the behaviourist idea that human behaviour is all conditioned. I was delighted to find that that was wrong. I was taken by the debate that was already going on between the ethologists and social scientists--who dismissed the whole idea of human nature as eugenic and fascist. This seemed to me pretty odd so I started Beast and Man.

                                                  What happened then?

                                                  When I sent it to the publishers they told me to read some sociobiology, so I bought the books and I found them odd. They seemed not so much wrong as terribly one-sided. And I thought: why did we have to choose at all between mere conditioning and this rather narrow set of natural motives? So I did my best in Beast and Man to ask those questions. Of course I got shot at from both ends, but people did welcome the book a bit, I think, because by the time it came out a lot of people were as tired of fighting as I was.

                                                  Why did you stay with the battle?

                                                  I was increasingly struck by the strange things that turned up sometimes in scientific books--particularly in the last chapter, where there would be passages of prophecy, really, that seemed to be quite unrelated to science. Particularly prophecies about how evolution was a great sort of escalator moving upwards, and humans were this wonderful passenger on it, and they would arrive at perfection. It seemed to be an idea which Darwin very much didn't have, and the glorification of the human race seemed extremely un-Darwinian, and I hated it. At first, I thought these passages couldn't really matter, but then I realised that what people were going to remember was this purple stuff. Increasingly, I began to feel the pictures we use are not just paint on the surface of our thoughts but are very important.

                                                  So you couldn't just leave it there...

                                                  No. It seems to me extraordinary the extent to which people today who don't have any confidence in religion put much the same kind of faith in this aspect of science. When I mentioned this at conferences, that became very clear. The scientists, particularly the psychologists, used to say, surely, all these metaphors are harmless, either it's just a joke, or it's something rather sacred that you're not licensed to take up. I was made to feel boorish. What I wanted to do was show what brings together the different aspects of the writer so everyone can see he's one person and he's accountable. I think this dream of an omega point, of a predestined safety for the human race is corrupting. I think that producing this confident euphoria about the future is actually bad, dangerous.

                                                  Why?

                                                  it's dangerous when somebody with authority, which scientists have, says the human race is absolutely booked to be alright, to get better and better, grander and grander, to go to outer space, to turn ourselves into machines, to get all the information there is and in the end to become a kind of god. When people are also hearing that the planet is in some danger, that they are not so terribly secure after all, they will naturally tend to think that this warning must be mistaken. I'm a naturally optimistic person, but optimism which amounts to telling people that they are safe when they they are not is something that I consider to be wicked.

                                                  That's a strong word. Irrational maybe, but wicked?

                                                  Suppose you had a set of people on an island and they were wasting resources and heading for a disastrous situation. Suppose that you're an authority on that island, and you go about telling the inhabitants that they have a wonderful celestial destiny. You would be deluding people, keeping them in a very dangerous condition. Any scientist today has a responsibility to know what great authority he or she has and a responsibility to use it in a wise and rational way.

                                                  Does science examine itself enough?

                                                  Scientists are not trained to do this so they often find it hard.

                                                  When you published the Gaia book this year, did you feel that, after all the attacks, you ought to offer some alternative vision?

                                                  Yes indeed. Mind you, over the years I have mentioned quite a lot of other visions that I thought were pretty good visions. But I thought Gaia was needed immediately in order to correct the individualism in the vision of the selfish gene. That was a powerful, attractive and colourful vision--and it is never easy to shift people from any picture without putting one in its place. It's hard for the scientists to see those detailed bits of science as part of the larger vision because atomism--the reductive notion that chopping things will get you to an ultimate explanation of everything--is so powerful in today's science. I think this reductivism has been carried so far that a lot of people are beginning to feel unhappy with it. Which made me feel that putting forward Gaia wasn't absolutely doomed. Also, in recent decades the scientific aspects of Gaia theory have been shown to be possible, really quite respectable.

                                                  How would the world look in, say, 50 years, if we adopted a Gaian viewpoint?

                                                  For one thing, science wou


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 02:28am Nov 2, 2001 GMT (#499 of 507)

                                                  Unravelling Knowledge Management: Intersecting Paradigms

                                                    Economics and the Modern Theories of Cognitive Behavior Some scientists explore the prevailing chasm between economics and modern theories of cognitive behavior. Two issues, however, remain unanswered: first, if cognition should be treated in isolation from affect and action (Bruner); second, the notion of Descartes' Error (Damasio) in considering the primacy of 'rational' over 'affect'.
                                                    Today Locomotion, Tomorrow Chess? Dynamical Hypothesis Meets Cognitive Science The computational/representational model of cognition that underlies GOFAI (good old-fashioned artificial intelligence) is being challenged by a new approach to cognition. The new approach to cognition, also termed as the dynamical hypothesis, proposes that cognitive agents are better understood as continuous dynamical systems that evolve in real time, thus shifting the emphasis from static structures and discrete operations to continuous change. http://www.brint.com/km/kmpage01.htm#paradigm


                                                  bNice - 02:38am Nov 3, 2001 GMT (#500 of 507)

                                                  The race is over?

                                                  http://www.eldorado8.com/images/enigma2.jpg
                                                  - Congratulations may be in order
                                                  4-R-S!


                                                  bNice - 08:41am Nov 3, 2001 GMT (#501 of 507)

                                                  Code Human genome:mind:

                                                  http://personal.riverusers.com/~gordon/veritas/genome.html
                                                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/in_depth/sci_tech/2000/human_genome/newsid_760000/760849.stm
                                                  http://www.mind-map.com/
                                                  http://www.rochester.edu/URClipArt/homepage/new/BUILDING.JPG
                                                  http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,1241,00.html


                                                  bNice - 09:16am Nov 3, 2001 GMT (#502 of 507)

                                                    ^ Cracking the human neural code is the next big revolution in biology. To understand how the synapses and neurons work together and make it possible for humans to have epiphanies, feel pain, and perform functions is to grasp how changes affect the brain - or whether they affect the brain at all, said Eugene Pergament, a geneticist
                                                  -------

                                                  http://www.btinternet.com/~neuronaut/webtwo_chapter_summary.html http://www.btinternet.com/~neuronaut/webtwo_chapter_one.html


                                                  bNice - 01:38pm Nov 8, 2001 GMT (#503 of 507)

                                                  Math proofs http://www.cut-the-knot.com/proofs/index.html


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 10:56am Nov 9, 2001 GMT (#504 of 507)

                                                  ^ mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.


                                                  xpat - 02:02pm Nov 18, 2001 GMT (#505 of 507)

                                                  .


                                                  rshowalter - 04:01pm Nov 18, 2001 GMT (#506 of 507)  | 

                                                  Writing this thread, and interacting with Dawn Riley here and elsewhere on its subject matter, has been one of the great experiences of my life. I'm taking another shot at getting work I've done over a decade, on neural function (including memory) and mathematics accepted. Because of help from Dawn (that has motivated some academic help now) it may be possible.

                                                  Had I known, years ago, things worked out on this thread, I would have been saved years of effort and heartache, and I believe that much not yet accomplished would have been.

                                                  The basic argument of this thread, that checking for the truth, in cases important enough, must be morally forcing . . seems to me to be more and more correct.

                                                  I believe that this thread had gone a long way towards DEFINING what paradigm conflict is, and setting out how such problems may be made less.

                                                  That seems to me to be one of the most important of human problems. Now . . . off to the lab.


                                                  xpat - 08:27pm Nov 19, 2001 GMT (#507 of 507)

                                                  ^ One happy little camper :)

                                                  Meanwhile - the paradigm shift in relation to WHITEGOODS (fridges, cookers, washing machines, et al) is a worry.

                                                  Once these were MADE to LAST.

                                                  Now built-in obsolence is perfected to the extent that many Whitegoods 'implode' in their first year of life.

                                                  Forget international warfare - put the spotlight back on lasting-functionality.



                                                  Possumdag - 12:55am Nov 22, 2001 BST (#508 of 635)

                                                  Now you're talking turkey!

                                                  Animal rights group sends turkey substitutes to homeless shelters An animal rights group known for its outrageous tactics has rethought how to get across its vegetarian message following the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. (AP) http://animalconcerns.netforchange.com/


                                                  bNice2NoU - 04:46pm Nov 22, 2001 BST (#509 of 635)

                                                  Scientists have drawn up the blueprint for a new device that could make absolutely secret communications possible over huge distances within the next few years.

                                                  Quantum physics can provide a completely secure method of communication between two distant correspondents. Sending photons entangled in a quantum state makes it impossible for an eavesdropper to intercept a message.

                                                  But currently this form of communications only works over a limited distance. Optical absorption along fibre optics means that photons start to lose their quantum state beyond about 15 kilometres.

                                                  The new device promises to overcome this problem and has the advantage of being constructed from available technology. "The work shows that a quantum repeater can be built with tools that either exist today or are under construction," says one of the team, Mikhail Lukin at Harvard University.

                                                  Richard Hughes, an expert in quantum communications at Los Alamos National Laboratory says: "My first impression is that this is a very important development towards making quantum communications practical."

                                                  But Hughes cautions that there are still some technical issues to be overcome: "There will be many details to work out before experiments can be attempted."

                                                  Temporary storage

                                                  Quantum repeaters were first proposed a number of years ago and tackle the problem of signal loss by temporarily storing the state of each photon. This allows new photons with the same state to be generated at each repeater, meaning a long travel distance is achieved by a number of short steps.

                                                  Researchers have previously demonstrated that single atoms can be used to temporarily store photons in a quantum state. But the process has never been reliable enough to make a useful quantum repeater.

                                                  The new design uses a number of atoms per photon at each repeater, which the researchers say greatly improves reliability.

                                                  "This is not only experimentally simpler, but also works better - it improves the signal to noise ratio of the scheme," says team member Peter Zoller of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

                                                  Journal reference: Nature (vol 414, p 413)

                                                  'Quantum repeater' promises complete long distance secrecy (NewScientist)

                                                  14:00 22 November 01 Will Knight


                                                  bNice2NoU - 01:04pm Nov 23, 2001 BST (#510 of 635)

                                                  You just 'saw' that didn't you?

                                                  What did you see? Tell me!
                                                  How does 'seeing' register with you?
                                                  Do you want me to walk you through it again?
                                                  Or,
                                                  Right. Now you walk me through it!
                                                  G O O D !

                                                  What is seeing?

                                                  'I see said the blind man who couldn't
                                                  see at all!'
                                                  What D I D he see?
                                                  Did he SEE
                                                  or
                                                  Did he understand?
                                                  Where's the fine line between seeing
                                                  and
                                                  understanding?
                                                  How to cross the line?

                                                  Bridging the Paradigm


                                                  xpat - 08:47pm Nov 29, 2001 BST (#511 of 635)

                                                  http://www.fortunecity.com/bennyhills/pun/190/brains.htm#Brains


                                                  xpat - 09:29pm Nov 29, 2001 BST (#512 of 635)

                                                  TRUTH

                                                  http://www.pazooter.com/truth/index.htm

                                                  xpat - 11:18pm Dec 1, 2001 BST (#513 of 635)

                                                    "Why not change the law," said Noboru Hayashida, a 75-year-old man who spoke in Niigata Prefecture. "There's nothing wrong with having an empress. I wonder who decided the imperial family should follow a paternal line anyway."
                                                    More pointedly political, Junko Kamikita, an excited 37-year-old homemaker who spoke on the streets of the Mejiro quarter in Tokyo this afternoon said: "It would be good to have a woman as the symbol of our state, just like Queen Elizabeth or Prime Minister Thatcher. If we have a female symbol of state, the Japanese people's notions would change."
                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/02/international/asia/02JAPA.html


                                                  xpat - 08:17pm Dec 4, 2001 BST (#514 of 635)

                                                  SACKs in PERIODIC vein - Dr Oliver Sacks http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/04/science/physical/04SACK.html?pagewanted=1


                                                  lchic - 05:07am Dec 9, 2001 BST (#515 of 635)

                                                  NOBEL | The cancer revolution

                                                  ' .... if you win the Nobel, you move up from the basement to the 25th floor overnight '

                                                  http://www.observer.co.uk/life/story/0,6903,615654,00.html

                                                  ... first ... alerted to the possibility of winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine when he was awarded two other prizes that often serve as precursors, the Gairdner from Canada and the Lasker from the United States.

                                                  All cancer researchers knew that cell division was crucial to their work, but they had no idea how to get a foot in the door. But by 1980, advances in gene cloning were showing practical applications, and Nurse's yeast samples were found to have valuable molecular structures. Not long before, the American researcher Lee Hartwell had also been working on yeast when he discovered that its cell division was dependent on one particular gene called cdc28. Nurse's type of yeast differed slightly, but he, too, located its key division gene - cdc2. His true breakthrough came after he had joined the ICRF in 1984, when he located the human version of cdc2, which creates the code for a protein called CDK1. 'The truth was that people weren't desperately interested in yeast per se,' Nurse says, 'but I think this took the world a bit by surprise - a real shock through the system.' It meant that the same gene controls everything in organisms from yeast to humans.

                                                  Subsequent research showed that cells employ a series of checkpoints that monitor progression through the cell cycle and delay the division process until any faulty DNA is repaired. If these checkpoints are themselves faulty, uncontrolled division may lead to tumours developing.

                                                  Although Nurse's new-found fame stems from old discoveries (a delay he attributes to the Nobel committee's need to ensure the work was correct and unravel its history), the recognition comes at an auspicious time for cancer research.


                                                  lchic - 05:13am Dec 9, 2001 BST (#516 of 635)

                                                  Folate Type Water Soluble

                                                  Forms / Names Folic acid, folacin

                                                  Functions Red blood cell formation, new cell division, protein metabolism

                                                  Deficiencies Anemia, diarrhea, smooth tongue, depression, heartburn


                                                  lchic - 05:15am Dec 9, 2001 BST (#517 of 635)

                                                  Australia: WA Uni have determined that lack of Folate can be statistically seen be a cause of a type of lukemia in children. Their DNA is inadequately protected. (see current Lancet )


                                                  lchic - 05:18am Dec 9, 2001 BST (#518 of 635)

                                                  Does 'eat up your greens' command help protect us from cancer ?


                                                  jihadij - 01:39am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#519 of 635)

                                                  TWISTING STAR

                                                  Star with equator spinning faster than it's poles, (after serveral years the behaviour is reversed), is called a TWISTING STAR. Astromomer for StAndrewsU has now sighted a twisting star (on visit to Australia).

                                                  Relates to magnetic field , applies also to sun.


                                                  jihadij - 01:43am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#520 of 635)

                                                  Tuesday, 13 November 2001

                                                    An international collaboration of physicists, led by an Australian team, has discovered that one of the fundamental physical constants isn't so constant after all.
                                                    The fine structure constant, represented by the Greek letter alpha, seems to have changed slightly over the past 11 billion years.
                                                    The team reported its findings recently in Physical Review Letters.
                                                    If they are correct, the results contradict everything currently accepted about physics. All physical laws are based on the assumption that certain constants — fixed numbers, without a unit or dimension — cannot change.
                                                    "These dimensionless numbers are much more important than any of the dimensional constants," said Michael Murphy, who is working on the project for his PhD under Professor John Webb from the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales.
                                                    Alpha determines the strength of interactions between charged particles and electromagnetic fields, and as such, is central to the understanding of electromagnetism — one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with gravity and two nuclear forces.
                                                    "Alpha is the central parameter in anything to do with atoms, electricity, magnetism, everything except for gravity," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    "The way atoms absorb and emit light has to do with how strong the attraction is between charged particles."
                                                    Inconstant constant To test if alpha is actually constant, the team needed to look back in time, comparing alpha's value in the past with its value today.
                                                    They observed light passing from very old, very bright quasars through gas clouds and dust to get to Earth. The 49 observed gas clouds lie between 11 billion light years away and 5.5 billion light years away — meaning the light coming from them was between 5.5 and 11 billion years old.
                                                    The gas clouds imprint a 'fingerprint' on the light spectrum, depending on the particular metallic ions (such as magnesium, silicon, and aluminium) the cloud contains. By comparing the fingerprints of the old light with the fingerprints of light on Earth, the researchers could measure any changes.
                                                    If alpha is constant, the measurements should be the same. But as the group suspected, there were very slight differences.
                                                    "All the absorption lines are in slightly different places than they would be if the fine structure constant [from billions of years ago] is the same as is it here on Earth," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    It would seem that alpha has varied with time by one part in 100,000 over the last 10 billion years.
                                                    "The fact we have only observed a small change means you don't really see the effects in everyday life," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    But there are big implications.
                                                    "It means we understand the world in a very different way. It seems there are no constants in nature that we know of: there have to be new laws of nature we haven't discovered yet."
                                                    "It is a similar conceptual change for people as Newton's discovery that the laws of gravity applied on other planets as well as Earth."
                                                    Since the paper was published in Physical Review Letters, there has been a strong level of interest internationally, with other scientists sending data from around the world.
                                                    But it is still too early to say for sure that alpha has changed, said Mr Murphy. They must continue to check new data against the completed work.
                                                    "Really the most important thing to do at this stage is to eliminate systematic errors," he said.
                                                    "It would be great to have an independent check with a completely independent method."
                                                    The observations were made at the Keck telescope in Hawaii by Dr Chris Churchill, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, Dr Jason Prochaska, from Carnegie Observatories, Washington DC, and Professor Arthur Wolfe, of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California, San Diego.


                                                  jihadij - 01:44am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#521 of 635)

                                                  ALPHA Tuesday, 13 November 2001

                                                    An international collaboration of physicists, led by an Australian team, has discovered that one of the fundamental physical constants isn't so constant after all.
                                                    The fine structure constant, represented by the Greek letter alpha, seems to have changed slightly over the past 11 billion years.
                                                    The team reported its findings recently in Physical Review Letters.
                                                    If they are correct, the results contradict everything currently accepted about physics. All physical laws are based on the assumption that certain constants — fixed numbers, without a unit or dimension — cannot change.
                                                    "These dimensionless numbers are much more important than any of the dimensional constants," said Michael Murphy, who is working on the project for his PhD under Professor John Webb from the School of Physics at the University of New South Wales.
                                                    Alpha determines the strength of interactions between charged particles and electromagnetic fields, and as such, is central to the understanding of electromagnetism — one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with gravity and two nuclear forces.
                                                    "Alpha is the central parameter in anything to do with atoms, electricity, magnetism, everything except for gravity," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    "The way atoms absorb and emit light has to do with how strong the attraction is between charged particles."
                                                    Inconstant constant To test if alpha is actually constant, the team needed to look back in time, comparing alpha's value in the past with its value today.
                                                    They observed light passing from very old, very bright quasars through gas clouds and dust to get to Earth. The 49 observed gas clouds lie between 11 billion light years away and 5.5 billion light years away — meaning the light coming from them was between 5.5 and 11 billion years old.
                                                    The gas clouds imprint a 'fingerprint' on the light spectrum, depending on the particular metallic ions (such as magnesium, silicon, and aluminium) the cloud contains. By comparing the fingerprints of the old light with the fingerprints of light on Earth, the researchers could measure any changes.
                                                    If alpha is constant, the measurements should be the same. But as the group suspected, there were very slight differences.
                                                    "All the absorption lines are in slightly different places than they would be if the fine structure constant [from billions of years ago] is the same as is it here on Earth," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    It would seem that alpha has varied with time by one part in 100,000 over the last 10 billion years.
                                                    "The fact we have only observed a small change means you don't really see the effects in everyday life," said Mr Murphy.
                                                    But there are big implications.
                                                    "It means we understand the world in a very different way. It seems there are no constants in nature that we know of: there have to be new laws of nature we haven't discovered yet."
                                                    "It is a similar conceptual change for people as Newton's discovery that the laws of gravity applied on other planets as well as Earth."
                                                    Since the paper was published in Physical Review Letters, there has been a strong level of interest internationally, with other scientists sending data from around the world.
                                                    But it is still too early to say for sure that alpha has changed, said Mr Murphy. They must continue to check new data against the completed work.
                                                    "Really the most important thing to do at this stage is to eliminate systematic errors," he said.
                                                    "It would be great to have an independent check with a completely independent method."
                                                    The observations were made at the Keck telescope in Hawaii by Dr Chris Churchill, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, Dr Jason Prochaska, from Carnegie Observatories, Washington DC, and Professor Arthur Wolfe, of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California, San Diego.


                                                  rshowalter - 03:07am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#522 of 635)  | 

                                                  Great post!

                                                  The Higgs Boson, a key part of the "Standard Model of Physics" is also "probably nonexistent" -- leaving particle physics without any "viable theory of mass" (and hence, matter.)

                                                  It is a time for reassessment. That means a time for dispair, but also for hope.

                                                  Thanks so much for the post!


                                                  rshowalter - 03:49am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#523 of 635)  | 

                                                  Masses and molasses http://www.hep.yorku.ca/what_is_higgs.html (1999)

                                                  December 6, 2001: Physicists: No sign of 'God particle' http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/science/12/06/physics.reut/index.html


                                                  TheLoniusMonk - 04:02am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#524 of 635)

                                                  paradigm shift won't happen from the world of science - laden with too many assumptions.

                                                  erps bit simplistic er.... bye.


                                                  jihadij - 05:55am Dec 10, 2001 BST (#525 of 635)

                                                  as·sump·tion (-smpshn) n.

                                                  The act of taking to or upon oneself: assumption of an obligation.
                                                  The act of taking possession or asserting a claim: assumption of command.
                                                  The act of taking for granted: assumption of a false theory.
                                                  Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition: a valid assumption.
                                                  Presumption; arrogance.
                                                  Logic. A minor premise.
                                                  Assumption
                                                  Christianity. The taking up of the Virgin Mary into heaven in body and soul after her death. A feast celebrating this event. August 15, the day on which this feast is observed. http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=assumptions


                                                  jihadij - 02:38pm Dec 10, 2001 BST (#526 of 635)

                                                  "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot, irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it." - J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man


                                                  rshowalter - 01:04am Dec 13, 2001 BST (#527 of 635)  | 

                                                  An interest in mathematics was raised when Leonardo met up with Fra Luca Pacioli who introduced him to the delights of the topic, especially geometry. For a time the Italian mathematician moved in with Leonardo and he later illustrated Fra Luca Pacioli's book "On Divine Proportion".

                                                  This new interest caused him to develop the idea, "There is no certainty where one cannot apply any of the mathematical sciences." Today this concept is universally accepted, but in Leonardo's time it was revolutionary thinking.

                                                  http://www.lairweb.org.nz/leonardo/architecture.html


                                                  bNice - 01:55am Dec 18, 2001 BST (#528 of 635)

                                                  Touch the edge of nature

                                                  turn it to word
                                                  Touch the edge of nature
                                                  turn it to number

                                                  Words sit shoulder

                                                  to shoulder
                                                  as Punctuated line

                                                  Numbers never sit

                                                  they want to play
                                                  tumble
                                                  scatter
                                                  laughing back
                                                  at your frustration
                                                  unless harnessed
                                                  plodding with plough
                                                  turning earth
                                                  revealing the friable
                                                  that makes grow

                                                  Touch the edge of nature

                                                  turn it to word
                                                  Touch the edge of nature
                                                  turn it to number

                                                  Words sit shoulder

                                                  to shoulder
                                                  as Punctuated line

                                                  (c) Dawn RILEY 2001
                                                  Question to Leonardo
                                                  "Is art word or number?"
                                                  Painting by numbers
                                                  Naagh! Not Leonardo?


                                                  rshowalter - 10:26pm Dec 19, 2001 BST (#529 of 635)  | 

                                                  Beautiful, Dawn.


                                                  rshowalter - 10:27pm Dec 19, 2001 BST (#530 of 635)  | 

                                                  On possible worlds -- the worlds that are possible for US are socially mediated, and fit to the conceptual world we're in. And that's both our "prison" and a source of hope.

                                                  Reuben Hersh's What is Mathematics, Really speaks of how mathematicians don't solve problems in isolation. . (Ch. 1).

                                                    Believe it or not, a mathematician has needs similar to yours. He/she needs to discover a problem connected to the existing mathematical culture. Then she needs reassurance and encouragement as she struggles with it. And in the end, when she proposes a solution she needs agreement or criticism. No matter how isolated and self sufficient a mathatician may be, the source and verification of his work goes back to the community of mathematicians. “
                                                  So, even in the abstract world of mathematics, problem definition is social. And constrained by historical and social circumstances. One of these circumstances is that there are now perhaps 90,000 books on mathematics, and around 3400 recognized fields of specialization. And a problem that is TOO GENERAL rocks a lot of boats, and could be both a "social error" and a conceptual challenge, as well. Scary, maybe, too.

                                                  Scientists and scholars are people, and they deal with their world in a problems solving context. Here is David Lindley in The End of Physics: The Myth of a Unified Theory Chapter 2:

                                                    Physicists did not suddenly decide en masse that Planck’s energy quanta were real. What happened, as had happened with atomic theory and Maxwell’s electromagnetic field, was that quantization showed itself capable of solving a great many puzzles, and once physicists began to think routinely “as if” it consisted of individual units of energy, it was only a matter of time before they forgot to say “as if.” What is real in physics is what works: quantum theory, tanken at face value, could solve problems at which classical theory balked.
                                                  Other scientsts, and other people of all kinds, are like this. Often, generalization is a process of forgetting assumptions -- not of analytical generalization from premises.

                                                  For people acting in the distracting and real world, formal thinking is partial, not exhaustive, and “what is real is what works.” Works in the limited context of particular problems, defined as they happen to be defined by the people involved. What is real is what works for the problems they understand, and are working on. What is real is what works according to the patterns of thought they actually know, that they’ve learned at least in part, and can communicate to at least some degree. The requirements of consistency, in the connection of problems, isn’t very strongly felt. Difficulties that arise in kinds of problems that cannot be solved, or even expressed, are not noticed at all, or only noticed in a vague way.

                                                  People can have their lives very full of hard work, and real achievement, and not see something important which, from another point of view, they should see. That is sometimes unfortunate, and resistances to seeing (which can be resistances to "losing" the comfort of "solved problems) can even be ugly. But the resistance is not surprising, or unnatural -- and for human beings, it is unavoidable.

                                                  This means that things that are not easy step by step are not easy.

                                                  But the "unseen" may become "seen." It has happened.


                                                  bNice - 01:53am Dec 20, 2001 BST (#531 of 635)

                                                  something now masked - revealed ?

                                                  Isn't that what academic enquiry is about - enhancement of our cultural universe .. increasing the known - as against the unknown.

                                                  Using the revealed in applications that 'reach out to touch' ... through those six degrees of separation ... until they embrace all mankind.


                                                  rshowalter - 02:53am Dec 20, 2001 BST (#532 of 635)  | 

                                                  Beautiful, Dawn - - but there's a tension.

                                                  In academe, there's a committment to creativity, to finding new "knowns" - - but a committment to continuity , too. So if an answer gets entrenched, there is a certain immunity to questioning.

                                                  Especially if "proof" is for wrong reasons.

                                                  Big problem when the gap between "clear" and "comfortable" becomes too wide. And widest, sometimes, for the specialists with the greatest psychic (and economic) investments.

                                                  A reason why "embracing all mankind" can be a high standard. With many witnesses, the most "obvious" stuff may really be seen, where for some specialists, that seeing may be suppressed, or disciplined into rigid, unworkable forms by "group discipline." With many witnesses, the question "how do you check?" can get simpler, for the most basic things, and aversion to checking can be most clearly seen.

                                                  Because, when right answers count most, and are most difficult for "stakeholders" -- it is the PUBLIC interest that has to be the highest one. And the interest of the public, in most or all of these conflicts (at least the scientific ones) is on the side of TRUTH.


                                                  bNice - 02:20am Dec 21, 2001 BST (#533 of 635)

                                                  And the interest of the public, in most or all of these conflicts (at least the scientific ones) is on the side of TRUTH.

                                                  Reads like a quote from a Hollywood Western .. wasn't truth the guiding moral star for all those Sherrifs, Marshalls, even Bounty Hunters ... those truths were simple 'right v wrong' ... truths people thought they understood and could reference from the Goodbook .


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 09:31pm Dec 22, 2001 BST (#534 of 635)

                                                  If 'truth' is the first casualty of war, and a paradigm shift is a war .. then ... it follows that war is the issue - not truth - until the war's over. How's the war going - has it ended yet?


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 09:11pm Dec 25, 2001 BST (#535 of 635)

                                                  A Nation of Sheep http://www.sierratel.com/robprod/platterofchange.htm


                                                  lchic - 05:07am Dec 26, 2001 BST (#536 of 635)

                                                  Knowledge is the small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify. -- Ambrose Bierce

                                                  We owe almost all of our knowledge not to those who have agreed, but to those who have differed. -- Charles Caleb Colton

                                                  Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul. -- Will Durant

                                                  Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority. -- Thomas Huxley

                                                  Once you have discovered what is happening, you can't pretend not to know, you can't abdicate responsibility. -- P.D. James

                                                  In much knowledge there is also much grief. -- Queen Marie of Romania

                                                  The learned is happy, nature to explore; The fool is happy, that he knows no more. -- Alexander Pope

                                                  http://www.geocities.com/~spanoudi/topic-k1.html#knowledge


                                                  lchic - 01:51pm Dec 30, 2001 BST (#537 of 635)

                                                  Cartoon Law Amendment D

                                                  Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
                                                  They merely turn characters black and smoky. http://sirlou.best.vwh.net/cartoon.html
                                                  A thought here: if young impressionable minds see 'death' as continual cartoon re-incarnation ... do they become programmed to see human death (war) this way?


                                                  lchic - 01:59pm Dec 30, 2001 BST (#538 of 635)

                                                  Conventional Wisdom.

                                                    In America, conventional wisdom that has mass acceptance is usually contrived: somebody paid for it. Examples:
                                                    Pharmaceuticals restore health
                                                    Vaccination brings immunity
                                                    The cure for cancer is just around the corner
                                                    Menopause is a disease condition
                                                    When a child is sick, he needs immediate antibiotics
                                                    When a child has a fever he needs Tylenol
                                                    Hospitals are safe and clean. etc http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/newwest/index33.html


                                                  lchic - 01:13pm Dec 31, 2001 BST (#539 of 635)

                                                  Noted in this book that to be a mathematician is to be forever frustrated ... running down any probable exceptions that might sink a new theory .. but then the guy is very into Chaos!

                                                  Nature's Numbers

                                                  The Unreal Reality Of Mathematics

                                                  by Ian Stewart
                                                  http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/perseus-cgi-bin/display/0-465-07274-7
                                                  http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/perseus-cgi-bin/display/0-465-07274-7/t

                                                  Master's Science Series

                                                  http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/science/series.masters2.html


                                                  jihadij - 08:33am Jan 2, 2002 BST (#540 of 635)

                                                  "Every one of us needs to believe in the value of all that is good and honest; we need to let this belief drive and influence our actions." http://www.royalinsight.gov.uk/current/speech/

                                                  A re-assessment of the value system - have 'shifts' like this occurred before ?


                                                  rshowalter - 06:39pm Jan 3, 2002 BST (#541 of 635)  | 

                                                  The shift is necessary - - and the reasons for the shift has occurred to good, effective, experienced people before.

                                                  From an undelivered speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death:

                                                    "Today, we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships --- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."
                                                  This quote was on the last page of the American Heritage Picture History of World War II , by C.L. Sulzberger and the editors of American Heritage , published in 1966.

                                                  I wonder it the world would be better, had Roosevelt lived years longer. It would, surely, be a different place in some ways.


                                                  rshowalter - 06:24pm Jan 4, 2002 BST (#542 of 635)  | 

                                                  I was glad to see http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12334 by gisterme , a person who I suspect has high connections with the Bush administration.

                                                  Gisterme said that

                                                    " The massive nuclear arsenals are already on their way out, Robert. That's because there's way more trust between their possesors than there was prior to 1991. Be patient. We'll both likely live to see the largest strategic nuclear arsenals no larger than a few dozen missiles or perhaps even less. Maybe none. The things are obsolete as rational tools of political leverage because they are too terrible for any sane leader to ever use except as last-ditch defense. .
                                                    " I'm entirely with you in wanting to see strategic nuclear arsenals reduced to the point where even the worst case would still allow survival of the species. That might not take as long as we may think. "
                                                  I hope not.


                                                  jihadij - 02:30pm Jan 5, 2002 BST (#543 of 635)

                                                  The shift with Nukes has been from 'The State' to unknown persons in a 'state' ... therein lies the danger to mankind.


                                                  rshowalter - 06:14pm Jan 5, 2002 BST (#544 of 635)  | 

                                                  Plenty of dangers, from a lot of perspectives, with nukes. One mistake, and millions can die. A big mistake, easy to envision (and the more you know, within the range of knowledge I have, the easier to envision) and the world could end.

                                                  Last year, I thought that the odds of having the world blow up were running about 10%/year - - for a number of reasons, taken together. Now, I think the risks are substantially less. But STILL, in actuarial terms, the biggest health risk going.

                                                  In actuarial terms, a .1 chance of world destruction translates (without accounting for the unborn) to about 20 WTC size disasters per hour - - - day after day.

                                                  Maybe I slipped a decimal point, or even two? I'm not sure I did. Anyway, the risk has been enough to keep me worried.

                                                  If people only had a "paradigm shift" that permitted them to imagine magnitudes, and relative magnitudes, when they are relatively large, and apply to consequential things, the world would be much better. And buildups capable of destroying the whole world would not have happened.

                                                  Would it take a "paradigm shift" to get people to know viscerally that mass murder is wrong ? Given the history of nuclear weapons, if one asks for knowledge to affect action, it would seem so.


                                                  jihadij - 01:45pm Jan 6, 2002 BST (#545 of 635)

                                                  Mauving along ... weddings funerals anything ... but especially a dash of Royal Patronage and the first man-made-dye gained acceptance ... moving Chemistry from pure science to a Perkins style engine of sheer entrepreneurism

                                                  Quote from William Perkin.

                                                    For a scientific man to be connected with manufacturing was looked upon as infra dig. It was said that by my example I had done harm to science and diverted the minds of young men from pure to applied science and it is possible, that for a short time, some were attracted to the study of chemistry from other than truly scientific motives.
                                                  http://home.clara.net/don.ainley/Perkin.htm

                                                  rshowalter - 11:10pm Jan 12, 2002 BST (#546 of 635)  | 

                                                  The Collapse of Enron-- Moderated http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f276dbc/18 is a very interesting forum - pretty short, with excellent stuff throughout.

                                                  Postings on the MD board so far this year, though too many to interest the casual, involve things I believe ought to be of great interest to staffed organizations, all over the world, interested in military stability, and reduction of nuclear and other risks.

                                                  HOW TO SEARCH THE NYT MISSILE DEFENSE FORUM

                                                  MD9057 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/10144

                                                  MD9440 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/10594


                                                  bNice - 04:16am Jan 15, 2002 BST (#547 of 635)

                                                  What was once a 'simple message' as progressed to become a quality assured service industry: http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/process/index.html


                                                  rshowalter - 01:09am Jan 20, 2002 BST (#548 of 635)  | 

                                                  http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/process/index.html is fascinating.


                                                  rshowalter - 01:10am Jan 20, 2002 BST (#549 of 635)  | 

                                                  Clarification of facts forces shifts in paradigms.

                                                  MD10870 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12622 :

                                                  Last year, Russia hosted a meeting on the militarization of space - something like 104 countries attended. The United States did not. Laser weapons were centrally involved in the issues of concern. Take away the laser weapons, and the other offensive ideas for space weapons don't amount to much.

                                                  Reflective decal countermeasures (which would certainly occur to any engineer seriously thinking about defending against laser weapons) are so easy that these laser weapon systems, either on airplanes or in space - just don't make sense as weapons.

                                                  The point, long discussed on the NYT Missile Defense thread, was discussed in detail, with respect to the ABL ("AirBornLaser) http://airbornelaser.com/special/abl/ in

                                                  MD10861 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12613

                                                  MD10862 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12614

                                                  MD10864 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12616

                                                  MD10866 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12618

                                                    A quote in Hitt's article is worth noting, when judging space weapons - "it costs a bar of gold to put up a coke can." If you know that, you know that "smart rocks" proposed to intercept missiles, starting from one orbit, and intercepting some trajectory not on that orbit, aren't very "smart."
                                                  We need some "islands of technical fact" to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, in a clear context beyond politics. MD10764 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12487

                                                  I believe that if representatives of some of the countries concerned with the weaponization of space asked for clarification, on basic technical questions of feasibility beyond politics, the clarifications would happen. If this were done, I believe that some wrong assumptions, that now stand in the way of world safety, could be swept away.

                                                  Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror #207-210 , linked in MD10882 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12636 , offers background on things that might be understood, and done.


                                                  rshowalter - 01:10am Jan 20, 2002 BST (#550 of 635)  | 

                                                  Scandals open minds to the need to reconsider paradigms.

                                                  Here are wonderful NYT Op. Ed Pieces:

                                                  ENRON AND THE GRAMMS by Bob Herbert http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/17/opinion/17HERB.html

                                                  THE UNITED STATES OF ENRON by Frank Rich http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/19/opinion/19RICH.html


                                                  rshowalter - 01:38am Jan 20, 2002 BST (#551 of 635)  | 

                                                  If this were agreed to - paradigm shifts would be more possible, and less painful - because communication across barriers would be easier to arrange -- with people more able to see each other's point of view.

                                                  MD664 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/731

                                                  Dawn Riley (Lunarchick) and I have worked out An operational definition of Good Theory in real sciences for real people.

                                                  In "Beauty" http://www.everreader.com/beauty.htm Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

                                                    " Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."
                                                  SUGGESTED DEFINITION: Good theory is an attempt to produce beauty in Heisenberg's sense in a SPECIFIC context of assumption and data.

                                                  Goodness can be judged in terms of that context, and also the fit with other contexts that, for logical reasons, have to fit together.

                                                  The beauty, and ugliness, of a theory can be judged, in terms of the context it was built for, and other contexts, including the context provided by data not previously considered.

                                                  Everything has to fit together (and, I think, be clearly describable in words, pictures, and quantitative descriptions, linked together comfortably and workably, both as far as internal consistency goes, and in terms of fit to what the theory is supposed to apply to in action.

                                                  Theories that are useful work comfortably in people's heads, so that they can guide real action..

                                                  Both the "beauty" and "ugliness" of theory are INTERESTING. Both notions apply in the detailed context the theory applies to.

                                                  Ugliness is an especially interesting notion. To make theory better, you have to look for ways that the theory is ugly, study these, and fix them.

                                                  - - -

                                                  A position can be beautiful according to one set of assumptions (or assumed facts) and ugly in terms of another. People who feel differently can sometimes, I believe, agree about what these differences of assumption and assumed fact are - - and so take steps to bridge them, and do so with mutual respect.


                                                  xpat - 01:15am Jan 21, 2002 BST (#552 of 635)

                                                  On the Enron matter: the accountant sets out as an audit person, later gets into consulting, which becomes creative consulting, later still moves in as a company employee ... then gets extremely creative ... at this point no one knows what's happening in the company, how to add, subtract or even draw up an end of year report with accurate balance sheet!


                                                  xpat - 01:24am Jan 21, 2002 BST (#553 of 635)

                                                  Creativity : not enough of it says SciTecEduSpecialist :

                                                    Many graduate students with high grades (i.e., nearly all A grades) are unable to do research, in which their assigned problem had no known solution. I saw this phenomenon when I was in graduate school during the 1970's and many of my fellow students dropped out of school. I saw this phenomena again during the 1980's when I was supervising graduate students' research work. On the other hand, I could find students with B grades in regular classes, and even C grades, who not only could do research work, but also seemed to enjoy the challenges of doing research work. Classes prepared students to take more classes, not to do original thinking, a conclusion that shows that schools and universities are failing in their basic mission. I think the concept of grades is sound, because grades provide a short-term motivation to study diligently. The real problem is not grades, but curricula and examinations that are filled with arbitrary textbook problems with little relevance to success in the actual practice of science or engineering, such as research or design of a new product.
                                                    In teaching electrical engineering to undergraduate students, it is conventional to give them a circuit diagram with the values of all of the components (e.g., resistance, capacitance, inductance, independent voltage source, etc.) and ask the students to calculate either the output voltage or the current in some branch of the circuit. Engineering textbooks are filled with such problems, but (1) the circuits are arbitrary and without practical utility and (2) learning how to solve such problems does not produce better engineers. However, it is relatively easy to teach students to solve these problems and it is easy for the instructor to grade their work, since there is only one correct answer. In contrast, I invented my own homework problems that asked a student to design a circuit having certain properties (e.g., input impedance, specified relationship between input voltage and output voltage, etc.). To make the exercise more realistic, I penalized the students slightly for using more components than my design: this emphasized that simple designs were better. The amount of my grade penalty was proportional to the cost of the extra component(s), but I would waive the penalty if the student's circuit had some feature that was better than my straightforward solution. The reaction of the students to these problems was interesting to me. Most of the students found my homework frustratingly difficult, because they had never done such problems before, although they had attended 12 years of education in public schools plus at least 2 years of college before I taught them. Many of the students who had received A grades in most of their previous science, mathematics, and engineering classes were struggling hard to earn a C grade in my class. More surprisingly, some of the nominal C students were earning an A grade in my class, and they suddenly came alive for the first time in many years of school.
                                                    Among physics teachers, there is a famous story of a student who does not give the expected answer to a straightforward examination question. If you have not already read this story about determining the height of a building with a barometer, now you have the opportunity. <grin> Many physics professors see this story as illustrating adolescent rebellion or mere scholasticism. However, I am very sympathetic to the student's boredom and defiance: physics is about more than pendula, balls rolling down inclined planes, and measurements of mass and distance. Physics is about understanding the universe – space, time, energy, symmetry – and discovering new knowledge. Learning to solve boring textbook problems is a poor preparation for a career in scientific research.
                                                    Students need to see more homework problems in school that require creative solutions: Instead of asking for one solution, require the A students to give two different methods of solving one problem. Encourage students to find creative solutions - instead of prosaic solutions. Give problems that are unreasonably difficult to answer correctly, and have the students find a rough approximation. Give students problems without adequate information; let them go to the library and find the information that they need. Give more problems that ask the student to design a circuit, interpret data, design a method of doing an experiment, .... Assign term papers that require reading from multiple sources, making a creative synthesis of the information, and finding contradictions or inconsistencies in authoritative, published works. Occasionally assign exercises that show an incorrect solution to a problem (e.g., computer program that contains at least one bug, electronic circuit that will not function properly) and have the students find the defect and suggest a correction. Assign laboratory experiments that allow students freedom to choose technique(s) and topics. Arrange or compose music, not merely playing music. http://www.rbs0.com/create.htm#anchor444444


                                                  SeekerOfTruth - 03:54am Jan 25, 2002 BST (#554 of 635)

                                                  Systems have frameworks | http://www.pm3.com/


                                                  rshowalter - 06:15pm Jan 27, 2002 BST (#555 of 635)  | 

                                                  Events can shift perceptions. Our ideas of "trust" are being shifted, and American ideas about the need to supervise elites are being focused, by the Enron affair.

                                                  The New York Times has been doing a remarkable job covering the Enron scandal, and a collection of their coverage is linked here: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/14/business/_ENRON-PRIMER.html

                                                  There is a moderated discussion on the topic "The Collapse of Enron." http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?50@@.f276dbc

                                                  "lchic" has many especially useful contributions.

                                                  Perhaps " enron " should become a verb. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f276dbc/709 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f276dbc/455 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12804


                                                  rshowalter - 06:31pm Jan 27, 2002 BST (#556 of 635)  | 

                                                  Sometimes ways of seeing do shift for the better. I was very glad to see Organizing the World to Fight Terror by IGOR S. IVANOV , Russian Foreign Minister http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/27/opinion/27IVAN.html

                                                  Much of the NYT Missile Defense thread deals with subjects related to those that Minister Ivanov speaks of. MD11068 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12865

                                                  The need for openness, and international relations built on trust is very great. Towards that end, it is useful that things be checked. MD11071 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12868

                                                  People and nations do make their systems work better. Russia has made great progress since "Muddle in Moscow" http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=533129 .....

                                                  Efforts on the NYT MD thread may not have had anything to do with any of that progress, but lchic and I have tried to be constructive. md7389 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/8171


                                                  bNice - 02:03pm Feb 1, 2002 BST (#557 of 635)

                                                  Wobbly Bridge - the Brits have fixed it - http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns9999453


                                                  bNice - 02:07pm Feb 1, 2002 BST (#558 of 635)

                                                  Showalter - how did you go with Ian Stewarts book (above)?

                                                  The guy has a feature article in The New Scientist this week - 26Jan2002 Sweet Nothings: the opposite of infinity is a number so small that mathemticians almost misssed it entirely. Good jo they didn't says Ian S


                                                  rshowalter - 08:26pm Feb 6, 2002 BST (#559 of 635)  | 

                                                  I thought Stewart's NATURE'S NUMBERS: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics was well written, fascinating, and informative. His Sweet Nothings in New Scientist was excellent as well.

                                                  Stewart expresses some essential intellectual, aesthetic, and emotional aspects of the mathematical "culture" clearly and well. I've found him useful, in getting clearer about the different approach to math that has mostly interested me.

                                                  Stewart shows, implicitly but clearly, that mathematic is an abstract "unreal" -- indeed magical tradition. At the level of feeling, a mathematician of the 4th century BC, the 14th century AD, Newton's time, and today might communicate very well -- the way of feeling has maintained a great continuity -- a pleasure - an almost religious-magical pleasure -- in disembodied pattern.

                                                  An "ordinary worker" of today - especially one surrounded by things, such as an auto mechanic, or a person who knew where things were in a hardware store - - might have much more trouble communicating with people in the same eras mentioned above. Material culture has changed immensely. If we've learned more about abstraction, and of course we have -- we've learned MUCH more about nutsy-boltsy concreteness -- the kind manufacturing, and engineering specification, and repair manuals take.

                                                  For engineering reasons, I've been very interested in the nuts and bolts questions of building "concrete bridges to and from abstract worlds." Or, in the most concrete way, taking the magic out of connection between tangible physical things and their mathematical representations.

                                                  A lot of the work of getting that transition clear is involved with getting specifications (in the sense of engineering specifications, with details) set up of what it is, concretely, that is being described. Once that is done, the task of abstract mathematical representation involves stripping away concrete aspects, until only abstract math is left. One starts with dimensional numbers, and physical laws set out in dimensional systems, and crosseffects have to be algebraically simplified in dimensionally consistent form. That avoids some mistakes.

                                                  This work on "building concrete bridges to abstraction" isn't technically very difficult -- but it is a different approach from the glorification of "surprising abstract connections" - - it is the step by step construction of those connections.

                                                  A paper Steve Kline and I wrote about this, that hasn't been published, is set out at http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt . Something of my relationship with Professor Kline is described in http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klinerec . I spoke at Steve's memorial service at Stanford Chapel in 1997 http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/klineul .

                                                  The work of "building concrete bridges to and from abstract worlds" seems to involve a paradigm shift -- in many ways, a shift in the way of feeling. An important thing that I'm only getting clear on, is how little the work disarranges ordinary abstract math -- it simply builds a connection, where people haven't been expecting a connection - so much as they have been glorifying correspondences as "magical." Which, in many aesthetic senses, they remain.

                                                  I might have "sold" this work more effectively, had I not been involved with a "credentialling problem" described below, that some readers of this thread will know about from previous postings.


                                                  rshowalter - 08:28pm Feb 6, 2002 BST (#560 of 635)  | 

                                                  There are those who think the current US defense budget proposal is excessive and misshapen, and I'm one of them. The NYT is of the same opinion. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/opinion/_06WED1.html

                                                  My own special interest is nuclear disarmament,and that has meant special attention to the NYT Missile Defense message board -- which remains quite active. I believe that it is being demonstrated that the basic technical parts of the Bush administrations's MD program are tactically useless. An interesting example is the Airborne Laser system (ABL) -- which depends on adaptive optics that requires a feedback path that does not exist. Key numbers are classified, but what is possible (and impossible) can be seen from widely known data in the open literature. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13124

                                                  Some days, I feel the MD board is productive -- I'm stuck there, to some extent, because of a "credentialling problem" that can be viewed from several perspectives. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12592

                                                  In the last week, I've had a subjective sense of progress.


                                                  lchic - 01:49am Feb 7, 2002 BST (#561 of 635)

                                                  http://www.enterprisemission.com/did_haarp.htm


                                                  itsarumdo - 09:19pm Feb 7, 2002 BST (#562 of 635)

                                                  rshowalter

                                                  Its OK having a strong opinion, God knows, most people in here do, but isnt there a relevant thread somewhere else you can post to...?


                                                  lchic - 06:25am Feb 9, 2002 BST (#563 of 635)

                                                  Showalter's opinions aren't strong - merely logical ...

                                                    "Moving knowledge along can be exhausting - the old knowledege is reluctant to make way for the new .... how many truths have to wait for the old guard's acceptance. Kick butt or let time assert itself? "
                                                  ..... it's a rum do if they can not be expressed

                                                    Showalter is WORKING to get the Missiles down / a real end to the cold war / see NYT Science MD threads ... the concept that silos of nukes pointing at those YOU-ME-THEM world locations is somehow alright, has to be changed. The cold war ended a decade ago -- why weren't the missiles brought down?
                                                  .. so what's your point itsarumdo?


                                                  itsarumdo - 10:49am Feb 9, 2002 BST (#564 of 635)

                                                  Ichic

                                                  Maybe it is relevant - I agree with Showalters general position, but thought that the issue was more to do with two sides having a fundamentally different view of how the world works - I just hadnt put the topic in a political perspective

                                                  As far as nuclear missiles go, the hawks genuinely believe that relinquishing them woul dbe dangerous, and so the issue is as much a life or death thing for them as it is for people who see nukes as a threat just by existing.

                                                  Its not a matter of one side convincing the other - its about a general shift in cultural perspectives which then make one side (or the other) more dominant. Politics can move equally well in both directions (as the debate on death penalties shows), but I think science tends to be more of a ratchet effect. The point is that even if the new paradigm is overwhelmingly correct, the belief systems it is trying to replace are too entrenched to take the full message - they gradually shift over years by gradual attrition.


                                                  lchic - 03:57pm Feb 9, 2002 BST (#565 of 635)

                                                  The USA is spending money like water in many directions ... money is finite.

                                                  This should mean the US will have to place demands on cash into logical weighted order.

                                                  Nukes are totally unusable -- morally wrong.

                                                  Were they used, even the USA wouldn't be able to 'pay' the claims re death, and land reclamation that would arise.

                                                  Renders them 'useless' ... almost a million dollars usa per hour is pushed towards defence. With full opportunities for an Enrongate here, there and everywhere. Is MD about Nuclear deterrent ... or is it a cash-cow that offers a steady flow?

                                                  http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?230@@.f0ce57b!skip=11094


                                                  rshowalter - 09:42pm Feb 13, 2002 BST (#566 of 635)  | 

                                                  Issues of paradigm shift are very much connected to decisions about military function, within the US, and in the rest of the world.

                                                  Are the US military arrangements rational responses to the needs of American citizens -- or are there other issues that need to be accounted, too. Currently, the key word in the political environment is "trust the experts." Ken Lay of Enron was trusted, too.

                                                  To acknowledge the need for checking requires a shift in perspective -- large enough, in significant ways, to be a paradigm shift.

                                                  I'm working to assist with that change of view. The NYT MD board has been active this week -- with a great many postings by " gisterme ", a personage I've sometimes suspected of high US government connections.

                                                  Dawn Riley pointed out that

                                                  Within amorphous organisations some projects
                                                  start-up and then take on a life of their own.
                                                  The history, rational, and reasoning are lost
                                                  as the initiators move on
                                                  abandoning these ever-funded,
                                                  now orphaned projects.
                                                  http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13350

                                                  That's happened, to a significant extent, to projects in the US military establishment.

                                                  I was most interested in Margaret Thatcher's Advice to a Superpower http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/opinion/11THAT.html MD11481 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13351

                                                  With Enron much on the mind of the country, there have been some most interesting speeches by distinguished US Senators in http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/13/business/13TEXT.html and issues that have not been "second guessed" before, but deferred to, may be subject to more scrutiny. US credibility is being questioned, and that's being pointed out by Friedman, along with a very important point, on which Friedman and I agree with the Bush andministration -- deterrance has to be credible, and that means sometimes you do have to fight. Crazier Than Thou By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/13/opinion/13FRIE.html

                                                  MD11526-11527 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13403 Some key issues on the functionality of the US missile defense systems were set out in MD11502 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13376 , with some partial agreement (on what matters, not what the facts are) from gisterme.

                                                  For each weapons system, key questions are:

                                                    Can it see the target? .
                                                    Can it hit the target? .
                                                    Can it hit the target hard enough to kill it?
                                                  These questions apply for "best possible test conditions" and also for tactical conditions, including conditions with the existence of particular, defined countermeasures.

                                                  I don't believe that the missile defense programs could stand careful, organized scrutiny about these questions, at the level suggested in MD10764 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/12487 , and feel that it would serve the interest of virtually all people of good faith concerned with world security to get some key facts checked, in some way that went beyond "trust me" -- and got down to specific, clear cases.


                                                  lchic - 06:15pm Feb 16, 2002 BST (#567 of 635)

                                                  BEAUTY, AGE AND EVOLUTION (Ockham's Razor: 3/2/2002) During the formative years of human evolution, lives were extremely short - best estimates indicate a lifespan of less than 23 years. People's hereditary lines would not have had much of a future - and in evolution it's the hereditary factor that counts. Will our current lifestyles continue long enough to leave an evolutionary mark of any kind, and if so, what? http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s471095.htm

                                                  SYMMETRY AND ATTRACTIVENESS (The Science Show: 2/2/2002) What makes a face attractive and where do our preferences come from? http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s468588.htm


                                                  rshowalter - 05:39pm Feb 20, 2002 BST (#568 of 635)  | 

                                                  There is an old paradigmatic postion, that used to be taken for granted, that is having to be questioned. It is the position that "America can be trusted."

                                                  Concerns about the Bush administration are widespread -- very often, things are done for reasons that don't make sense, in terms that are explained. Perhaps things cannot be explained in terms that can stand the light of day. The Enron scandal may illustrate a great deal about the role of "information control" (aka fraud) in current US government policy, foreign and domestic.

                                                  The emotive slogan in "Superman" comics, and movies, is

                                                    . Truth, justice, and the American way . . .
                                                  For any workable way of life, truth has to be fundamental-- because decisions have to be made, and people have to be able to cooperate and act in good faith. An editorial and OpEd piece in the New York Times could harrdly be more serious.

                                                  Managing the News http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/20/opinion/_20WED2.html

                                                    The new Office of Strategic Influence's plans to plant false stories in the foreign press would undermine rather than reinforce the government's broader efforts to build international support for the war on terrorism.
                                                  Office of Strategic Mendacity By MAUREEN DOWD http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/20/opinion/20DOWD.html

                                                  The NYT Missile Defense thread is extensive, and represents an effort to set down, using techniques the internet makes possible, an open corpus, with many crosslinks, adapted to assist in the focusing of a complex, difficult issue toward closure. It is set up as a prototype - illustrating patterns that may be useful for communication between staffed organizations.

                                                  A fairly compact ongoing summary of this thread from September 25, 2000 to date, which is too large for easy reading, but not for sampling, is set out with many links in Psychwar, Casablanca, and Terror -- from #151 on

                                                  MD690 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/757 seems particularly appropriate here.

                                                  MD11655 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13554

                                                  MD 111656 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/13555

                                                  The administration's "missile defense" program is essentially a fraud - - based on what seems to be an assumption of a "right to lie and evade" built into current American arrangements in the course of fighting the Cold War. If facts, repeatedly pointed out by people with credentials, were taken into account, the "missile defense" fraud, and all its foreign policy implications, would simply be impossible.

                                                  For practical reasons, important in America, and important elsewhere in the world, there have to be limits on the "right to lie" about subject matter that is of consequence.

                                                  People need to expect decent action. It cannot be taken for granted, and has been too often - - something well illustrated in a piece today:

                                                  An Enron Unit Chief Warned, and Was Rebuffed By JOHN SCHWARTZ http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/20/business/20PIPE.html


                                                  rshowalter - 01:41am Feb 28, 2002 BST (#569 of 635)  | 

                                                  In analogy to

                                                    " Truth, justice, and the American way . . .
                                                  TRUTH, RIGHT AND THE AMERICAN WAY A Nation Defined by Its Enemies By ROBERT F. WORTH http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/24/weekinreview/24WORT.html

                                                  DOD backed off of its "Office of Strategic Mendacity."


                                                  rshowalter - 01:41am Feb 28, 2002 BST (#570 of 635)  | 

                                                  The NYT Missile Defense thread, which now fills 28 notebooks of text, is being rebooted - continued, but without holding previous text on the database. The last ten days have been especially active, with our "Putin stand in, almarst", and the "Bush administration stand-ins" quite active. I've saved the thread. I posted the following summary of the thread to date. (MD11896)

                                                  . . .

                                                  "This thread has made some progress. The "missile defense" programs are technically much less tenable than they used to be. I think the discourse on this thread has been part of that. Very serious efforts to defend BMD have been made here - and they have taken up much space, and involved many evasions. But they have made no specific and detailed technical points that have been able to stand about technical feasibility.

                                                  The "lasar weapon" programs have been significantly discredited -- because countermeasures are easy, because adaptive optics is not easy, and because a fundamental misunderstanding about the "perfect coherence" of lasers has been made.

                                                    " Alignment good enough for lasing" has been confused with the far more difficult alignment needed for laser beam coherence for destroying targets over long distances.
                                                  "This has probably undermined every single BMD laser program in existence. (To be good enough for lasing, one needs alighnments so that the cosine of alignment angle is almost exactly 1 -- which is fairly easy -- to be good enough for aiming, alignment, already difficult for lasing - has to be thousands of times better -- probably impossible, even for a lab curiosity - certainly impossible for a high powered, tactical laser subject to system vibration.)

                                                  "There are other key errors in the laser systems, too -- including a "feedback loop" in the ABL system without enough signal to function at all.

                                                  "Whether these oversights have anything to do with a hostile takeover effort of TRW Corportion, I can only speculate -- but hostile takeovers of major US. military contractors are generally consistent with DOD policy.

                                                  "The midcourse interception program that has taken up so much diplomatic space has always been vulnerable to extraordinarily easy countermeasures. This thread has reinforced points that should already have been clear. Points much of the technical community has long insisted on. It costs perhaps a ten thousandth as much to defeat the system as it costs to build it. Perhaps much less. Some facts are based on physics of the sending, reflection, and recieving of electromagnetic radiation (light, radio waves, or any other) are now well known, and inescapable.

                                                  "Arguments on this thread recently have favored BMD as psychological warfare -- as bluff. In my view, the bluff is grotesquely more expensive than can be justified -- and fools almost no one, any more, but the American public.

                                                  I feel that the technical credibility of ballistic missile defense ought to be questioned, in detail, and to closure -- because so much diplomacy, and so much of the current rationale for Bush administration policy, hinges on it.

                                                  We need some islands of technical fact to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, in a clear context. It is possible to do that now.


                                                  lchic - 10:04pm Mar 2, 2002 BST (#571 of 635)

                                                  An island of light is illuminating http://www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/lightsource/diagram.html

                                                  An island of technical fact can be ___________ ?

                                                  Useful | see Radiation
                                                  http://www.deq.state.la.us/misc/factsheets.stm


                                                  rshowalter - 10:08pm Mar 2, 2002 BST (#572 of 635)  | 

                                                  Constraining (ruling out errors) and liberating - - because it offers a sense of what can work, and what can be hoped for.


                                                  lchic - 02:33am Mar 5, 2002 BST (#573 of 635)

                                                  This might be of interest :

                                                    Guardian Talk International SAVED THREADS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD Post a message | Unsubscribe Started by DaveyJonesLocker at 12:11pm Mar 2, 2002 GMT
                                                    I have made various threads available for download.
                                                    Some of these threads have been deleted from Guardian Talk. Others are current.
                                                    All have been packaged for easy download. They can be found at
                                                    Enter the directory "My Documents" and follow your nose.


                                                  rshowalter - 12:48am Mar 7, 2002 BST (#574 of 635)  | 

                                                  Just a thought for a happy ending, based on the pattern in How a Story is Shaped http://www.fortunecity.com/lavendar/ducksoup/555/storyshape.html

                                                  Status Quo . . .

                                                  Initial Problem . . .

                                                  Exposition . . .

                                                  Complications . . .

                                                  Crisis . . . A superpower out of hand - - with plenty of muddle and danger.

                                                  Climax boom, crash -- . . . A few world leaders say, in public, "this is an intolerable mess -- there are muddles here -- we want the key facts and relations sorted out -- staffed to closure -- beyond question . . ."

                                                  to be continued .

                                                  Denouement . . .

                                                  Description of New Status Quo . . .

                                                  New Status Quo

                                                  I think some pretty satisfactory resolutions would occur, pretty naturally, once there was enough "news value" for public scrutiny -- along with formats that were able to handle the logical problems involved.

                                                  MD170 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/203

                                                  MD171 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/204

                                                  MD84 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/99

                                                  I think many of the questions raised by almarst , the NYT Missile Defense thread's "Putin stand-in" are interesting, and I've collected some of them in MD183 to MD186 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/217 are worth a lot of respect, attention, and concern.


                                                  rshowalter - 12:47am Mar 13, 2002 BST (#575 of 635)  | 

                                                  I believe, for reasons of context that you can judge for yourself below, that manjumicha2001 either is, or represents, a major player in the Bush adminstration defense establishment. That is, of course, deniable, unless some journalists do some work.

                                                  manjumicha2001's posted MD401 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/493 rather than respond, or have a cohort respond, to a challenge of mine explicit enough that it could not be run away from. MD393 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/483

                                                  In MD401 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/493 manjumicha2001 says this:

                                                    " I agree with you that NMD is a program that is 50 years old and has proven to be terminally challenged by the laws of physics.
                                                  That's a key question of fact that needs to be widely, persuasively explained , so that the people who have to make decisions relating to that fact can do so. If my guess about the identity of manjumicha2001 is correct - - the admission should be a matter of wide interest.

                                                  in MD401 manjumicha2001 continues:

                                                    "Having said that, however, I do not believe the world turns based on merits alone. Pathos (either of a nation or people) matter and more often than not, it is the driving force of the events that shape history. "
                                                  Pathos and folly may be understandable, but still regrettable, when matters of life, death, and agony are at stake. Here's a piece of my MD382 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/471

                                                    "Facts and ideas, combined together in space and time so that people can "connect the dots", as Erica Goode says in Finding Answers In Secret Plots http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/10/weekinreview/10GOOD.html form the ideas that people and groups have. -- These ideas are patterns, which work well enough to sustain action and belief in some ways, though they may be totally invalid otherwise. These ideas, constructed by "connecting the dots" may produce grossly pathological results -- . . . Or they may be correct.
                                                  . (Almarst, the MD thread's "Putin stand-in" commented on Goode's piece in MD384 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/473 )
                                                    "To judge that, one checks the "facts" "connected together" and one sees if the pattern conjured up fits more facts - - including many more facts. The process of judging this, like the process of putting the "explanation" together - happens in people's minds - and can't be forced. But the matching process -- the "connecting of the dots" -- is what effective persuasion is all about. And the internet offers new ways, some shown here, of connecting information in space and time that would otherwise be diffused and unconnectable.
                                                      Because the carnage and loss from "pathos" can be so serious http://www.nctimes.com/news/2002/20020310/60236.html it seems worthwhile to set out postings from manjumicha2001 - so that if anyone wishes to "connect some dots" they may form some judgements about who (s)he is, and who (s)he converses with. My sense is that manjumicha2001 is a senior Bush administration official -- you may develop your own sense on the basis of manjumicha2001's posting - linked below:

                                                      MD18 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/26

                                                      MD21 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/29

                                                      MD26 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/34

                                                      MD27 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/35

                                                      MD29 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/37

                                                      MD30 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/38

                                                      MD32 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/40

                                                      MD35 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/43

                                                      MD37 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/45

                                                      MD40 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/49

                                                      MD41 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/50

                                                      MD226 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/262

                                                      MD374 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/459

                                                      MD375 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/460

                                                      MD401 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/493

                                                      Wouldn't it be dramatic if "easy inferences" from such dot-connecting happened to be right - - and people in positions of power and trust took the stances in manjumicha2001's MD401 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/493 ?

                                                      If people responsible for making the United States a "Nuclear Rogue" http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/12/opinion/_12TUE1.html know the technical things that they must know, and that manjumicha2001 acknowledges -- scandal ought to be fully justified.


                                                      rshowalter - 09:08pm Mar 20, 2002 BST (#576 of 635)  | 

                                                      Lead article in MIT's Technology Review Why Missile Defense Won't Work by Theodore A. Postol April 2002 http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/postol0402.asp

                                                      From -GEN. GEORGE LEE BUTLER former commander, Strategic Air Command http://www.mindfully.org/Nucs/Nuclear-Lighthouse-Hertsgaard.htm

                                                        " Nuclear weapons are irrational devices. They were rationalized and accepted as a desperate measure in the face of circumstances that were unimaginable. Now as the world evolves rapidly, I think that the vast majority of people on the face of the earth will endorse the proposition that such weapons have no place among us.
                                                      The technical issues are clear - missile defense is a sham. The arguments have been well presented for a long time, by many people. But the US military-industrial complex has its own reasons to want to continue the fraud. To get to closure, there has to be a fight about facts and relations. Some of the analogies to the Enron case are close. Enron was dominant - deferred to -- respected -- on the basis of a pattern of ornate but blatant deceptions. But the lies were unstable - - and once some key facts solidified - with clarity - and with many of the facts presented together in space and time, so people could see -- the fraud collapsed. An admirable collection of facts and circumstances, contributing to that instability is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/14/business/_ENRON-PRIMER.html

                                                      Some key aspects of the US military-industrial-complex deserve analogous scrutiny. For it to happen, for it to be news, world leaders are going to have to ask for checking.

                                                      MD708 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/879

                                                      MD709 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/880

                                                      There may be some reason to hope for that.

                                                      I misjudged manjumicha2001 MD717 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/892 - - - and may have underestimated the amount of hard work, and brilliance, that NYT people are putting into the MD thread.


                                                      lchic - 11:23am Mar 28, 2002 BST (#577 of 635)

                                                      The Most Seductive Equation in Science: Beauty Equals Truth

                                                      By DENNIS OVERBYE

                                                      n the fall of 1915, Albert Einstein, living amid bachelor clutter on coffee, tobacco and loneliness in Berlin, was close to scrawling the final touches to a new theory of

                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/26/science/26MATH.html


                                                      lchic - 11:26am Mar 28, 2002 BST (#578 of 635)

                                                      ... A good equation, Dr. Farmelo said, should be an economical compression of truth without a symbol out of place.

                                                      -----

                                                      That inhuman beauty has long been a lodestone for physicists, says Dr. Graham Farmelo, a physicist at the Science Museum in London and an editor of "It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science."

                                                      "You can write it on the palm of your hand and it shapes the universe," Dr. Farmelo said of Einstein's gravitational equation, the one that produced heart palpitations. He compared the feeling of understanding such an equation to the emotions you experience "when you take possession of a great painting or a poem."

                                                      In the hopes of getting the rest of us to take possession some of our intellectual heritage, Dr. Farmelo recruited scientists, historians and science writers to write about the life and times of 11 of the most powerful or notorious equations of 20th century science.

                                                      The book is partly a meditation on mathematical beauty, possibly a difficult concept for many Americans right now as they confront their tax forms. But as Dr. Farmelo noted in an interview, even the most recalcitrant of us have had glimpses of mathematical grace when, say, our checkbooks balanced.

                                                      Imagine that your withholdings always turned out to be exactly equal to the tax you wind up owing. Or that your car's odometer turned over to all zeros every year on your birthday no matter how far you thought you had driven. Such occurrences would be evidence of patterns in your financial affairs or driving habits that might be helpful in preparing tax returns or scheduling car maintenance.

                                                      The pattern most highly prized in recent modern physics has been symmetry. Just as faces and snowflakes are prettier for their symmetrical patterns, so physical laws are considered more beautiful if they keep the same form when we change things by, for example, moving to the other side of the universe, making the clocks run backward, or spinning the lab around on a carousel.

                                                      A good equation, Dr. Farmelo said, should be an economical compression of truth without a symbol out of place. He looks for attributes like universality, simplicity, inevitability, an elemental power and "granitic logic" of the relationships portrayed by those symbols.


                                                      rshowalter - 07:41pm Mar 28, 2002 BST (#579 of 635)  | 

                                                      Debate? Dissent? Discussion? Oh, Don't Go There! By MICHIKO KAKUTANI http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/23/arts/23STUD.html contains a lot of wonderful stuff -- I was struck especially with this line:

                                                        " the Internet, which instead of leading to a global village, has created a multitude of self-contained tribes - niche cultures in which like-minded people can talk to like-minded people and filter out information that might undermine their views."
                                                      That explains a great deal about how the optimistic, bouyant argument in Thomas L. Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree falls short -- and the optimistic, simplistic claims for "globalization" have fallen short. Friedman and many others didn't think enough about the barriers to communication that the new communication technologies do not strip away.

                                                      We have to think about them now.

                                                      When groups of people can "filter out" key pieces of information, the truth can be too weak, and results can be disastrous.

                                                      Paradigm conflicts involve such "filtering out" -- and a point has to come where it becomes morally forcing to look at key facts, and issues of context and proportion.


                                                      rshowalter - 01:33am Apr 5, 2002 BST (#580 of 635)  | 

                                                      Time to do some rethinking.

                                                      All Roads Lead to D.C. by EMILY EAKIN http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/weekinreview/31EAKI.html

                                                        " Today, America is no mere superpower or hegemon but a full-blown empire in the Roman and British sense"
                                                      Britain's Imperial Lessons by ALAN COWELL http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/weekinreview/31COWE.html

                                                      Almarst , the NYT Missile Defense thread's "Putin stand-in" has been asking "why so much American military power?" - - since March a year ago. Questions of "why?" and "in whose interest" are vital, in the old sense of "matters of life and death" because some of the easy answers, that Americans have been comfortable with, aren't working in America's interest, and aren't pleasing the other governments in the world.

                                                      The question of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" is raised, and given focus, in .

                                                      The Smoke Machine http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/29/opinion/29KRUG.html and Connect the Dots by PAUL KRUGMAN http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/02/opinion/02KRUG.html

                                                      I believe that the "American Empire" is as large as it is, and has some of the characteristics that it does, because the interest of the United States, as a nation, has diverged from the interests of a "military-industrial-political complex" constructed to fight the Cold War, that has taken a dangerous degree of control over US government affairs since that time. The American "missile defense" program is interesting for some of the same reasons that the Enron affair http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/1/Transcripts/721/4/business/_ENRON-PRIMER.html . . . is interesting. The "missile defense" programs are nonsensical and corrupt, in the senses that ought to matter either technically or militarily, and illustrates broader corruptions that concern the whole world, because American power is as great as it now is, and is used as it now is.

                                                      Checking on these issues is important - but for it to happen, some leaders of nation states are going to have to be interested - as I believe they should be, because it is risky to be led, and to defer, to an administration that is taking positions that go wrong, and produce unnecessary risks, costs, and fighting, again and again.

                                                      MD1076 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/1369

                                                      MD1077 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/1370 contains references to a Guardian talk, and ends with this:

                                                        "I believe that I'm doing, as nearly as it possibly can be done, exactly what Bill Casey would want me to do now, for the good of the United States of America and the decency of the world.


                                                      lchic - 11:33am Apr 6, 2002 BST (#581 of 635)

                                                        ".... an appallingly well-financed hard right is still in the business of smearing anyone who disagrees with its agenda, and too many journalists still allow themselves to be used. "
                                                        The Smoke Machine - Paul Krugman


                                                      lchic - 01:25am Apr 10, 2002 BST (#582 of 635)

                                                      Known as Poincaré's Conjecture , the mystery centres on a guess about the properties of multi-dimensional space made in 1904 by the great French mathematician Henri Poincaré.

                                                      Since then, Poincaré's guess has been proved correct for every dimension of space but one: the three-dimensional space we inhabit. Now Martin Dunwoody of Southampton University believes he has found a way of polishing off this final gap in the proof.

                                                      His strategy is now being checked

                                                      http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992143


                                                      rshowalter - 10:04pm Apr 12, 2002 BST (#583 of 635)  | 

                                                      For many of the problems that stump people now -- for many of the things where we say "if only we could do the obvious" - and then do much worse -- there are problems of simultenaity, complexity, and human nature of similar forms.

                                                      For instance, if you want to think through, in detail, what would be required for real, solid, sustainable peace in the Middle East -- I think asking the following question is useful in a number of ways.

                                                        How would you make a good, persuasive, interesting movie about achieving real peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? . We know how complex making movies is -- and people actually make them.
                                                      When political leaders approach problems that are more important, and basically harder, these days - the approaches are very often stumped because patterns of socio-technical function are much less advanced than movie-making takes.

                                                      That's true of technical problems, too. For two reasons, at least:

                                                        1. Movies are at roughly the level of complexity actually involved. . and .
                                                      Especially after MD1234 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/1577 , the NYT Missile Defense tread has been active. I made an "off the cuff" comment, and drew a distinguished poster in a very few minutes.


                                                      lchic - 12:05pm Apr 25, 2002 BST (#584 of 635)

                                                      Look who's listed here :)

                                                      Biographies of Students in the Six-Year PhD Program Cornell University 1966 - 1975 http://www.bway.net/~lewis/phudbio.html


                                                      rshowalter - 11:04pm Apr 25, 2002 BST (#585 of 635)  | 

                                                      Here are some references, to Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? ... on the NYT MD board, where they have been useful, and will continue to be.

                                                      MD116 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?13@@.f28e622/137


                                                      lchic - 03:22pm May 3, 2002 BST (#586 of 635)

                                                      Interesting that the way horses see as said by science - wasn't.


                                                      rshowalter - 11:03pm May 3, 2002 BST (#587 of 635)  | 

                                                      The NYT Missile Defense thread has been very active, and I sometimes think that it may have been influential.

                                                      U.S., in Surprise, Announces Global Talks for Mideast By TODD S. PURDUM and DAVID E. SANGER http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/03/international/middleeast/03CAPI.html

                                                      shows a situation where, if complications can be faced - - and resolved, enormous good could come. lunarchick's MD1972 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2454 includes key questions:

                                                        "In one years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                                        "In five years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                                        "In ten years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                                        "In twenty years time - where do we ALL want to be?"
                                                      "Planning should match the aspirations of those publics with a visionary future."

                                                      For that matching to be possible, there have to be mechanics in place that make it possible, for the real people involved. I've suggested simple things, practical things -- mechanically easy things -- that I believe would increase the chances for real success in the middle east. They involve internet usages, for communication, condensation, clarification, and closure. For all sorts of complex cooperation, we need to do better getting to closure than we have done. We can.

                                                      MD1956 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2437

                                                      MD1959 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2440

                                                      MD1961 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2442

                                                      MD1962 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2443

                                                      Opportunities for a safer, more prosperous world are very great -- but they depend on openness, and correct decisions. I believe some of the most essential opportunities were set out eloquently and well in Organizing the World to Fight Terror by IGOR S. IVANOV , Russian Foreign Minister http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/27/opinion/27IVAN.html . The reasons that the hopes expressed there have been lagely dashed (or at least postponed) bear looking at. U.S. and Russia Fall Short on Nuclear Deal by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-US-Russia.html . . . I think that important hopes Ivanov expresses, and patterns or human cooperation he expresses, could be revived if the mechanics of complex negotiation were improved.

                                                      If our techniques improved --- and they could, if people used the net as it can be used - - the planet might well last longer. And people might be more comfortable, as well.


                                                      rshowalter - 02:51pm May 6, 2002 BST (#588 of 635)  | 

                                                      I've asked

                                                        " When large news organizations such as The New York Times or the Guardian-Observer cannot solve problems by covering the facts about them -- why don't the solutions happen, when they often seem very clear?
                                                      A lot of the time, the problems can't be solved because the "dots" are not collected so that people, as they are, can actually connect them.

                                                      MD2045 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2544

                                                      Lchic and I just had a two hour, 70 post session on negotiation in the middle east in the Guardian thread Anything on Anything from lchic "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 02:39 to rshowalter "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 04:37 that includes many links to this thread.

                                                      We considered the question -- if Thomas Friedman wanted to use web resources (with a staff) to facilitate the search for peace in the Middle East, what could he do?

                                                      MD2043 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2540 MD2047 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2546


                                                      itsarumdo - 05:18pm May 6, 2002 BST (#589 of 635)

                                                      Maybe a Walt Disney approach? loads of creative thinking with a small hardnosed critic to make sure the space cadets dont float off the ground.

                                                      That would maybe require more tolerance fo other peoples ideas than I usually see (even) in these chat rooms?


                                                      rshowalter - 06:16pm May 6, 2002 BST (#590 of 635)  | 

                                                      The creativity that goes into movies -- including the "Walt Disney" approach you suggest -- with hardnosed critics -- could be very useful. An amazingly diverse number of different problems- usually including both feelings and matters of technique - happen in movies, and get handled. If political negotiations between enemies could rise to a similar standard - things would work better.

                                                      For some things, the critics don't need a heavy hand -- for instance, there are a great many "pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian" arguments - collecting them and classifying them in enough ways so that useable patterns emerge is pretty standard work -- and wouldn't take so much supervision.

                                                      For other things - summaries and recordings of what key people mean - - much more care might be useful. People involved, I think, could sort out controls that would be useful.

                                                      A key rule is - if the situation is diffuse -- try to get it clearer. The clarification would be provisional - it would have to be checked -- but it would set things on the road to enough clarity so that people could make (or discard) decisions with more sophistication and less risk.

                                                      For instance -- if you ask a political leader what he wants, what his tradeoffs are - (s)he may not tell you because (s)he's "holding cards close to the vest." But another reason -- very, very often -- is that the leader -- isn't clear - doesn't know.

                                                      Solutions only happen when people become clear about what their needs are - - and what the needs of others in the negotiation are. So getting things straight is important, even if occasionally embarrassing work.

                                                      With the internet, a leader could interact with a staff which tries to set out, in clear fashion - what it is that the leader is trying to accomplish - and that can be done at any level of privacy really needed. The staff can set out what it understands, and be corrected. Can summarize - and connect the summary to details.

                                                      Since the situation is complex - if something is forgotten - it might be found, and pointed out - and made to fit in an overall position.

                                                      Could this work in isolation to other negotiating or clarification means? Of course not.

                                                      But it would permit complex problems that aren't ever anywhere near closure now to be specified -- well enough so that people who really don't know their problems have to think them out.

                                                      It would permit different people to see where things stand - and what the differences and priorities of the negotiators are.

                                                      It would clarify when positions are hopeless - which can save a lot of time.

                                                      Good consultants for some of this would be patent lawyers -- wordsmiths for describing detailed circumstances.

                                                      Could some of this be delegated? - even just simulated. People actually involved could make good decisions -- moving toward clarity - things start out muddled, but people, very often, DO focus. With the internet, the mechanics of this focusing are easier.

                                                      And ideas DON'T have to be "tolerated" to be stated - so people can see what they mean in the particular cases involved.