Eikonal Blog

2014.04.25

Denialism of science

  • Denialism (WikiPedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism
    • In human behavior, denialism is exhibited by individuals choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable truth. … “[It] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event”. … group denialism [is defined] as “when an entire segment of society, often struggling with the trauma of change, turns away from reality in favor of a more comfortable lie.”
    • In science, denialism has been defined as the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial. … It has been proposed that the various forms of denialism have the common feature of the rejection of overwhelming evidence and the generation of a controversy through attempts to deny that a consensus exists. … A common example is Young Earth creationism and its dispute with the evolutionary theory.

2014

  • “How To Convince Conservative Christians That Global Warming Is Real” by Chris Mooney (Mother Jones; 2014.05.02) – http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/inquiring-minds-katharine-hayhoe-faith-climate
    • Millions of Americans are evangelical Christians. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is persuading them that our planet is in peril.
    • “Years of Living Dangerously Premiere Full Episode” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brvhCnYvxQQ
  • “Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey” By Rik Myslewski (The Register; 2014.04.21) – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/21/most_americans_doubt_big_bang_not_too_sure_about_evolution_climate_change_survey/
    • Science no match for religion, politics, business interests

    survey_results

  • “AP-GfK Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans” (AP-Gfk; 2014.04.21) – http://ap-gfkpoll.com/featured/findings-from-our-latest-poll-2
    • Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time … Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago….
    • Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there’s a genetic code inside our cells. More – 15 percent – have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines …
    • About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority – 51 percent – questions the Big Bang theory …
    • “Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts,”…
    • The poll highlights “the iron triangle of science, religion and politics,” … And scientists know they’ve got the shakiest leg in the triangle….
    • To the public “most often values and beliefs trump science” when they conflict, … … Political values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change….
    • Religious values are similarly important… Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith … “When you are putting up facts against faith, facts can’t argue against faith,” … “It makes sense now that science would have made no headway because faith is untestable.” …
    • Beyond religious belief, views on science may be tied to what we see with our own eyes. The closer an issue is to our bodies and the less complicated, the easier it is for people to believe, …
    • Marsha Brooks, a 59-year-old nanny who lives in Washington, D.C., said she’s certain smoking causes cancer because she saw her mother, aunts and uncles, all smokers, die of cancer … But when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. …
    • Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, “I feel the change. There must be a reason.” But when it came to Earth’s beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because “I wasn’t there.”…
    • Experience and faith aren’t the only things affecting people’s views on science. … “the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact” as a more striking factor, citing significant interest groups – political, business and religious – campaigning against scientific truths on vaccines, climate change and evolution….
    • … sometimes science wins out even against well-financed and loud opposition, as with smoking. Widespread belief that smoking causes cancer “has come about because of very public, very focused public health campaigns,” … [also, what is very encouraging is] the public’s acceptance that mental illness is a brain disease, something few believed 25 years ago, before just such a campaign.
  • “Why climate deniers are winning: The twisted psychology that overwhelms scientific consensus” by Paul Rosenberg (The Salon; 2014.04.19) – http://www.salon.com/2014/04/19/why_climate_deniers_are_winning_the_twisted_psychology_that_overwhelms_scientific_consensus/
    • There’s a reason why overwhelming evidence hasn’t spurred public action against global warming
    • “The reason ‘consensus’ has not appeared to work in society at large to date isn’t because it’s ineffective – it’s because there is a well-funded counter-movement out there that takes every opportunity to mislead the public into thinking that there isn’t a consensus,”
  • “How politics makes us stupid” by Ezra Klein (Vox; 2014.04.06) – http://www.vox.com/2014/4/6/5556462/brain-dead-how-politics-makes-us-stupid

Older articles

  • “How Do You Get People to Give a Damn About Climate Change?” by Chris Mooney (Mother Jones; 2013.10.18) – http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/10/inquiring-minds-kahan-lewandowsky-communicate-climate
    • Experts have come a long way in figuring out which messages can successfully open minds and move public opinion. There’s just one problem: They disagree about whether the message everyone’s using actually works.
  • “Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part I. Uncertainty and unabated emissions” by Stephan Lewandowsky, James S. Risbey, Michael Smithson, Ben R. Newell, John Hunter (Springer) – http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-014-1082-7
    • Uncertainty forms an integral part of climate science, and it is often used to argue against mitigative action. This article presents an analysis of uncertainty in climate sensitivity that is robust to a range of assumptions. We show that increasing uncertainty is necessarily associated with greater expected damages from warming, provided the function relating warming to damages is convex. This constraint is unaffected by subjective or cultural risk-perception factors, it is unlikely to be overcome by the discount rate, and it is independent of the presumed magnitude of climate sensitivity. The analysis also extends to “second-order” uncertainty; that is, situations in which experts disagree. Greater disagreement among experts increases the likelihood that the risk of exceeding a global temperature threshold is greater. Likewise, increasing uncertainty requires increasingly greater protective measures against sea level rise. This constraint derives directly from the statistical properties of extreme values. We conclude that any appeal to uncertainty compels a stronger, rather than weaker, concern about unabated warming than in the absence of uncertainty.
  • “Scientific uncertainty and climate change: Part II. Uncertainty and mitigation” by Stephan Lewandowsky, James S. Risbey, Michael Smithson, Ben R. Newell (Springer) – http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-014-1083-6
    • In public debate surrounding climate change, scientific uncertainty is often cited in connection with arguments against mitigative action. This article examines the role of uncertainty about future climate change in determining the likely success or failure of mitigative action. We show by Monte Carlo simulation that greater uncertainty translates into a greater likelihood that mitigation efforts will fail to limit global warming to a target (e.g., 2 °C). The effect of uncertainty can be reduced by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Taken together with the fact that greater uncertainty also increases the potential damages arising from unabated emissions (Lewandowsky et al. 2014), any appeal to uncertainty implies a stronger, rather than weaker, need to cut greenhouse gas emissions than in the absence of uncertainty.
  • “The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus in acceptance of science” by Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles E. Gignac, Samuel Vaughan (Nature Climate Change 3, 399-404 (2013); doi:10.1038/nclimate1720; 2012.10.28) – http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n4/full/nclimate1720.html
    • Although most experts agree that CO2 emissions are causing anthropogenic global warming (AGW), public concern has been declining. One reason for this decline is the ‘manufacture of doubt’ by political and vested interests, which often challenge the existence of the scientific consensus. The role of perceived consensus in shaping public opinion is therefore of considerable interest: in particular, it is unknown whether consensus determines people’s beliefs causally. It is also unclear whether perception of consensus can override people’s ‘worldviews’, which are known to foster rejection of AGW. Study 1 shows that acceptance of several scientific propositions-from HIV/AIDS to AGW-is captured by a common factor that is correlated with another factor that captures perceived scientific consensus. Study 2 reveals a causal role of perceived consensus by showing that acceptance of AGW increases when consensus is highlighted. Consensus information also neutralizes the effect of worldview.

Related:

2014.04.21

We don’t need stinking renewable energy ….

There is new trend seen in couple of mid-western states to make new laws that discourage individual house owners to use renewable energy (solar and wind).

  • “Op-Ed: ALEC and the Koch brothers fight solar energy with surcharges” by Justin King (2014.04.21) – http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/op-ed-alec-and-the-koch-brothers-fight-solar-energy-with-surcharges/article/381659
  • “Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels” by Kiley Kroh (Climate Progress; 2014.04.16) – http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/16/3427392/oklahoma-fee-solar-wind/
    • New law (S.B. 1456), passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. Those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid will be charged a monthly fee. Bill was pushed through quietly, out of nowhere, attached to some other bill. The main beneficiary of the bill, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., play here double track: for their own use of wind power they are getting tax credits, while suppressing the customers who use wind power on their own.
    • This is a trend in multiple states, where there is push by the power companies to punish the local customers who are participating in “net metering” (i.e. being compensated for the excess electric power they sell to the utility company). “Net metering laws have come under fire from the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group backed by fossil fuel corporations, utility companies, and the ultra-conservative Koch brothers. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have net metering policies in place and ALEC has set its sights on repealing them, referring to homeowners with their own solar panels as “freeriders on the system.”Net metering survived attacks in Colorado and Kansas and Vermont recently increased its policy in a bipartisan effort. Last year, Arizona added what amounts to a $5 per month surcharge for solar customers, a move that was widely seen as a compromise, particularly after ALEC and other Koch-backed groups got involved.”

Related:

2013.11.26

Checks and balances

Some mechanism to keep society relatively livable for majority of population.


Capping executive pay

  • “Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a ‘Maximum Wage’ Ratio?” (SlashDot; 2013.11.23) – http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/11/23/1657202/should-the-us-copy-switzerland-and-consider-a-maximum-wage-ratio
    • “John Sutter writes at CNN that as Swiss citizens vote on November 24 to consider capping executive pay at 12 times what the lowest-paid worker at a company makes in a referendum. Some say the idea of tethering top executive pay to some sort of concrete metric might stop American execs from floating further into the stratosphere. ‘Here in America, the land of unequal opportunity, the CEOs of top-500 companies make in a single day about what it takes an average “rank-and-file” worker a year to earn, according to the AFL-CIO, the federation of unions,’ writes Sutter. ‘Democracy starts to unravel if a few people become wildly, ethereally successful, while the rest of a country struggles.’ A $1 million salary worked for American CEOs from the 1930s to 1980s, says Lynn Stout. But CEO pay, including options realized that year, jumped about 875%, to $14.1 million, from 1978 to 2012, according to the Economic Policy Institute. ‘What we’ve got is basically an arms race,’ Stout says, ‘where the CEOs are competing on pay because they each want to have higher status than the others.’ Peter Drucker, the father of business management, famously said the CEO-to-worker salary ratio should not exceed 20:1, which is what existed in the United States in 1965. Beyond that, managers will see an increase in ‘resentment and falling morale,’ said Drucker. Stout has suggested that the IRS make CEO pay a non-deductible business expense when it’s higher than 100 times the minimum wage. ‘Limiting CEO pay to 100 times the minimum wage would still allow top execs to be millionaires,’ concludes Sutter. ‘And here’s the best part: If the fat cats wanted a pay increase, maybe the best way for them to get it would be to throw political weight behind a campaign to boost the minimum wage.'”
  • “As Inequality Grows, Swiss To Vote On Curbing Executive Pay” by Eleanor Berdsley (NPR; 2013.11.22) – http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/11/22/246678622/swiss-inequality-is-growing-would-curbing-exec-pay-matter | MP3 – http://pd.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/me/2013/11/20131122_me_09.mp3
    • The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to turn the measure, known as the 1:12 initiative, into a national referendum.
    • … 25 years ago Swiss CEOs made six times more than the average worker; today, they earn more than 40 times as much. … in a country of 8 million, 400,000 workers don’t make enough to live on.
    • Anger at high corporate executive pay is flaring up elsewhere in Europe
    • http://1a12.ch/
  • “U.S. should copy Switzerland and consider a ‘maximum wage’ ratio, too” by John D. Sutter (CNN; 2013.11.21) – http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/21/opinion/sutter-swiss-executive-pay/
    • Here in America, the land of unequal opportunity, the CEOs of top-500 companies make in a single day about what it takes an average “rank-and-file” worker a year to earn, according to the AFL-CIO, the federation of unions. Switzerland has an average CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 148 to 1, the group says. The average U.S. rate is 354 to 1, according to the AFL-CIO. Others put the ratio somewhat lower, around 273 to 1 in 2012.
    • Either way, it’s bad. And some U.S. companies are worse, still. JC Penney Co. has the highest ratio — 1,795:1 — on a list of 250 businesses compiled by Bloomberg. That department store’s CEO got $53.3 million in pay and benefits in 2012, Bloomberg says. Workers, by comparison, earned only about $30,000 a year.
  • “Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays” by peter Turchin (Bloomberg; 2013.11.20) – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-20/blame-rich-overeducated-elites-as-our-society-frays.html
  • “Value In Sharing The Ratio Of CEO’s Pay To Employees’?” (NPR; 2013.10.26) – http://www.npr.org/2013/10/26/241030961/value-in-sharing-the-ratio-of-ceos-pay-to-employees | MP3 – http://pd.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/atc/2013/10/20131026_atc_03.mp3
  • “What are the annual earnings for a full-time minimum wage worker?” (Center for Poverty Research) – http://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/what-are-annual-earnings-full-time-minimum-wage-worker
    • The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If a minimum wage worker is employed full-time (forty hours per week for 52 weeks), that worker would earn $15,080 annually.
      In 2012, the poverty threshold for a single individual was $11,945 and the poverty threshold for a family of 4 with two children under 18 was $22,283.
      Thus, a single full-time minimum wage worker has an income above the poverty threshold but if a full-time minimum wage worker is the sole source of income in a family of four, that family’s income is only 65% of the amount required to meet its basic needs.
  • “Turning Up the Heat on CEO Pay” (The Drucker Institute; 2011.02.17) – http://thedx.druckerinstitute.com/2011/02/turning-up-the-heat-on-ceo-pay/
  • “Return of the oppressed” by Peter Turchin (Aeon Magazine) – http://www.aeonmagazine.com/living-together/peter-turchin-wealth-poverty/
    • From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. The future looks like a rough ride

Term limits

2013.07.02

Intentional loss of functionality (arrogance of Atlassian, Mozilla, Microsoft)

Filed under: business, it, knowledgeManagement — Tags: , , — sandokan65 @ 11:02

It appears that every modern tech company feels that it is a home of bunch of visionaries, of technical prodigies that are entitled to keep changing user experience (of their products) all the time. Adding new features would be fine. Providing alternate (frequently better) ways of doing something (that was already doable within product) is also fine. Removing long present features is not fine. Doing so is akin to an invitation to an religions war. It insults users by implying that developer knows better that all users what is better for them. Is every developer under impression that he has to do bold arrogant moves like Steve Jobs use to do or Microsoft does all the time?

Few recent examples follow.

1) Atlassian Confluence wiki removal of wiki markup

Confluence used to be one of the best wiki engines. Rich in features, suitable for corporate deployment. Its downsides are that it is written in Java, hard to install and properly configure – but if you have someone else take these administrative jobs from your hand, it used to be very powerful knowledge management platform.

In version 4 of Confluence, the Atlassian removed the wiki markup editor.

2) Firefox removing users’ ability to switch off JavaScript

  • “Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory” by Ian Elliot (at his bloh “I Programmer”; 2013.07.01) – http://www.i-programmer.info/news/86-browsers/6049-firefox-23-makes-javascript-obligatory.html
    • Why has Mozilla decided that this is the right thing to do?The simple answer is that there is a growing movement to reduce user options that can break applications. The idea is that if you provide lots of user options then users will click them in ways that aren’t particularly logical. The result is that users break the browser and then complain that it is broken. For example, there are websites that not only don’t work without JavaScript, but they fail in complex ways – ways that worry the end user. Hence, once you remove the disable JavaScript option Firefox suddenly works on a lot of websites.

      This seems very reasonable, but removing options from dumb users also removes them from the expert user – and that’s us. Reducing freedom, even freedom to crash the application, can be seen as a bad thing. And if reducing that freedom exposes the browser user to all manner of nasties, then it is even more a bad thing.

  • “Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory” (SlashDot; 2013.07.16) – http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/07/01/1547212/firefox-23-makes-javascript-obligatory
  • Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 873709: “Firefox v23 – “Disable JavaScript ” Check Box Removed from Options/Preference… ” – https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=873709
    • User can still go to about:config and change its javascript.enabled parameter manualy.
    • Change is set in stone, as the lead developers have set their mind. Here is the justification for change by one of them: “Checkboxes that kill your product” by Alex Limi – http://limi.net/checkboxes-that-kill/.

Come again? What is the next, removing the navigation/URL window so users can go only to predefined links on their home portals?

Comment added later:

3) FireFox removed right-click option to send a page link

FireFox Right Click

 

Since version 16 of Mozilla’s FireFox browser, that options is removed. Now it can be found under the File > Send Link location.

FireFox Right Click 2

This is a minor annoyance. One can either reprogram his mind and start using the new location, or install extension “Send Link in context menu” (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/send-link-in-context-menu/).

2012.06.27

This is getting tiresome: Facebook never stop monkeying with its users

2011.05.31

Productivity

Distraction-Free Tools

Tools:

Microsoft office foolies

2011.05.12

Facebook foolies

Filed under: business, FaceBook, it, propaganda — Tags: , , — sandokan65 @ 15:46

2010.12.15

Bizarre and outrageously courrage gets rewarded (sometimes)

    You can't always get what you want
    And if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need
    

2010.11.08

Innovation and creativity

Filed under: business, innovation and creativity, mind & brain — Tags: , — sandokan65 @ 12:41

2010.09.29

The art of presentation

Filed under: business — sandokan65 @ 21:57
  • “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint” by Guy Kawasaki (2005.12.30) – http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html
      The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: … a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

    • Ten slides. … a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting … The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:
      • 1. Problem
      • 2. Your solution
      • 3. Business model
      • 4. Underlying magic/technology
      • 5. Marketing and sales
      • 6. Competition
      • 7. Team
      • 8. Projections and milestones
      • 9. Status and timeline
      • 0. Summary and call to action
    • Twenty minutes.
    • Thirty-point font. … If “thirty points,” is too dogmatic, the I offer you an algorithm: find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.

Schmoozing

Filed under: business — Tags: — sandokan65 @ 21:54
  • “Schmoozing 101: The Gift Of Gab” by Erin Pooley (Canadian Business Online; 2005.12.05) – http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/career/article.jsp?content=20060106_141640_5236While most of us won’t make it onto the Canadian Business Rich List, it doesn’t mean that hobnobbing with the fabulously wealthy is out of the question.
  • “Schmoozing 101” by Corey Hajim (2001.12.03) – http://media.www.harbus.org/media/storage/paper343/news/2001/12/03/AccessRecruitingGuide/Schmoozing.101-155809.shtml
  • “The Art of Schmoozing” by Guy Kawasaki (2006.02.01) – http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/02/the_art_of_schm.html

    • “It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you.” Susan RoAne.
    • The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. And this is why I’d like to provide the art of schmoozing.
    • 1. Understand the goal. … “Discovering what you can do for someone else.” …
    • 2. Get out.
    • 3. Ask good questions, then shut up. … get others to talk a lot. … good schmoozers are good listeners, not good talkers …
    • 4. Unveil your passions.
    • 5. Read voraciously. … read voraciously–and not just the EE Times, PC Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. You need a broad base of knowledge so that you can access a vast array of information during conversations. …
    • 6. Follow up.
    • 7. Make it easy to get in touch.
    • 8. Give favors.
    • 9. Ask for the return of favors. Good schmoozers give favors. Good schmoozers also return favors. However, great schmoozers ask for the return of favors. …

Related here: Skills – https://eikonal.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/skils/

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