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Archive for December, 2004

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004


I’m busy again today, preparing for the holidays so I thought I’d leave something light but stimulating – some concepts by creativity theorist Dr. Edward DeBono:

“If you do not design the future someone or something else will design it for you. “

“Perception is by far the most important part of thinking. Most errors of thinking are errors of perception. If perception is faulty then no amount of logical excellence will give a useful answer.”

“It is always very difficult to look at our own perceptions, because we cannot get outside ourselves

“Challenge means: ‘Let’s stop and think about this. Does it have to be done this way?’ “

“The route from A to B is not the same as the route from B to A.”

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004


Earl, the esteemed proprietor of Prometheus6 inhabits some of the more leftward reaches of my blogroll and while we hardly agree on partisan politics, I have found quite a few epistemological commonalities with him. Earl has what I would call a reality-based mind. I asked him to comment on the American Future post and he has done so:

“Fact is, though, between classified information, clouded perceptions in the heat of the moment, propaganda and the “history is written by the victors” factors, there’s no way possible to estimate how history will treat Bush or any contemporary figure. As all the historians quoted at American Future said, it’s obvious Bush is an important figure in history. But the actual judgment laid on his administration will depend on the moral and circumstances at the time the judgment is made and will change over time.

The surest way for him to be recorded in a positive light would be to steamroll the Middle East flat.”

And Marc Shulman, who initiated the discussion, had this to say in the comments here:

“Historians can aid understanding by comparing and contrasting important current events with events that took place long enough ago so that facts have displaced opinions and dispassionate appraisals have replaced partisanship.

The two-paragraph comment (or the sound bite) makes this impossible. But having your name splashed around as many places as possible means that you’ll be able to sell more books (if you still have enough time to write them”

I feel a post coming on historical methodology later tonight, inspired by these two gentlemen…..

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004


Harvard superstring physicist Lubos Motl shows how we might have the energy equivalent of oil at $ 15 a barrel.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004


I greatly enjoyed the C-Span program last night of Dr. Barnett’s PNM brief and subsequent call-in segment. The latter, in true C-span tradition, started with a call from a complete crackpot conspiracy theorist and Tom, to his credit, neither laughed out loud nor gave the guy the credibility a true reaming out would have bestowed.

Much of the material I knew very well having read The Pentagon’s New Map and blogged on it frequently but it was a very different experience for me seeing Dr. Barnett’s Powerpoint presentation. This is unsurprising, cognitively speaking, because the visual format engages additional areas of the brain and furthermore, does so at a much higher rate of processing speed than simple lecture or reading text. The retention rate is far higher as well – we remember movies and TV shows far more than we do particular lectures we’ve heard or passages we have read, unless we are blessed with a photographic memory. To an extent, the presentation highlighted some aspects of PNM in regard to System Administration that I was aware of previously but had not given a whole lot of thought. I’m curious to how people who have not read the book may have responded, since I’m not a typical audience member.

To an extent, the medium is part of the message here and when dealing with geopolitical abstractions any reification that will make them more concrete makes them more comprehensible to a wider audience base. Powerpoint cheaply, quickly and demonstrably fills in that mental gap for non-specialists.

C-Span has the videofile up today on it’s homepage( see above link), if you missed the program last night check it out.

Congratulations to Dr. Barnett for a successful appearance !

Monday, December 20th, 2004


The site not the concept. The grid not the movie.

I’m going to have to read the link thoroughly before I can comment but since Critt Jarvis slaves way at many important tasks before getting to his own blog it’s only fitting to pay him a visit. Critt managed to get The New Rule Sets Project up and running in time for tonight’s C-Span broadcast by Dr. Barnett too [ 8pm EST]. That man deserves a tall cold one !

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