Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Confucianism - 6 worthy principles


Jen - includes the sense of dignity we should give to ALL living things, especially other humans.

Li - is considered the principle of gain, such as why people will actively seek out personal relationships and what people gain from society as a whole. The idea is to consider what does each person, individually and as a group, gain when they interact with one another.

Yi - the moral obligation to do good. This includes the ability to know and recognize what is right and wrong, and the ability to feel what is right and wrong.

Hsiao - parents should be revered, respected and honored since they created the being in question. Bringing honor to the family and revering someone who has brought honor to you.

Chih - moral wisdom and knowledge of things right and wrong.

Te - the morals of authority. For example, the government has authority if it can maintain economic and social order.

Thanks ideapod.

PS - I worry a little about Te, but this is about Confucianism, not me.

Thanks Wikipedia for the image.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Can banks create money out of nothing?

Another scholarly article on this fascinating topic:

tl;dr - Yep.

image credit: Chase Bank, Danbury, CT 8/2014 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube, via Flickr

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Where are they?

The aliens I mean. There, maybe there:

Thanks to http://phl.upr.edu/projects/habitable-exoplanets-catalog/results  Check that page for lots of background and the enlargeable image.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis on the fragility of democracy


Yanis articulates well many of the issues of the capture of democracy by capitalism and offers some suggestions for paths forward.

Better than anywhere else I've seen, he describes the cost to the worldwide economy of the mountain of unused capital aggregated via inequality.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

labor, work, and higher education

Here is an interesting look at worker's compensation:

It seems in the middle of the 20th century or so we set about putting together systems and programs that solved problems, and we were reasonably sincere about it, and some of those programs worked reasonably well, for example to educate people, to alleviate poverty at least a bit and especially to address the denial of opportunity to non-white people. Ever since the 80s or so, we've done our best to subvert and divert those programs back to rewarding the wealthy and powerful and away from their original purpose. Very effectively it would seem.

In particular, we seem to be getting very good at abstracting processes so the economic inputs get soaked up by the administrators of various programs.  In other words, the people who can abstract the process or program - hike it up one level of abstraction by focusing on the middlemen or managers of the process - capture the gains.

Another example is higher education - when the economy boomed education got more expensive but people could afford it because the economy was expanding, jobs were available, and education was seen as a public good and thus a good use of public money. It seems in many cases much of the additional cost went to additional layers of administration. In the current time of economic retrenching, austerity, and a dim view of public financing of education, we frequently cut academic department and keep the administrative layers, generally, because admins are powerful.

For tech people, there is one silver lining - the gold rush of patentable innovation keeps many research labs at universities at least reasonably afloat. Meet the workforce needs and all that! But the dream of a good quality higher education for all who want it recedes at a time of greatest need. 

Education and workman's comp are somewhat related - workers are under great pressure: not just workman's comp is diminished, but unions have been weakened and as a result, worker protections have also weakened. Additionally, workers have lost economic power because of globalization's explicit expansion of the workforce and concomitant wage competition, and now workers face, finally, the prospect of many types of jobs disappearing forever due to the cruel/beneficent and ever-increasing capability of automation and AI to become more and more effective. (Any wonder income and wealth inequality has skyrocketed?) We need an excellent education system, and not one narrowly vocationally focused because, first, technical skill requirements are starting to evolve faster than people can be retrained in them, and second, because in a time of great change, we need people prepared to think unusually creatively about how they can sustain themselves, and thrive and participate in defining the new society that is emerging.

More on many of these topics in the future, for sure. 

many thanks to ryanlerch (librarian) for the clipart. https://openclipart.org/user-detail/ryanlerch

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday, October 02, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

You were too fine

Oh Stella.

We're so sorry you had to leave early, but we're glad you had plenty of time to make your mark. And what a mark it was! You will be missed forever.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yet Another in the "You Are Here" series

So Huffington Post ran an article about some research about the size and shape of our  Milky Way galaxy. You can read it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/12/milky-way-size-bigger_n_6849548.html

So its interesting that the galaxy may be corrugated, and that we may be sitting right in one of the ridges.

Science is fun!

ps - Happy PI day.