Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, April 26, 2003day link 

 Questions
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Proverbs for Paranoids 3: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow, page 251

[ | 2003-04-26 18:26 | 24 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 The View from Wonderland
From article on Online Journal by Ernest Partridge:
"Are the people who are caught up in a mass delusion ever aware that they are living in a malignant fantasyland? Did the puritans of the Salem colony suspect that they were not hanging real "witches," but instead were collectively engaged in a monstrous injustice? Did the "good Germans" in the 1930s ever doubt that Adolf Hitler was anything less than what the captive press said he was: the "savior of the nation and the protector of the Aryan race?" Did the "good patriots" of the 1950s ever ask for proof that Senator Joe McCarthy really had a list in his hand of "known communists in the State Department?" (The number changed with each speech). How long did we persist in believing the telegenic generals' reassurances that "we've turned the corner in Viet Nam," and that "there was a light at the end of the tunnel?"

How many Americans today are aware, or if aware, care, that the Bush regime's justifications for the Iraq war were based upon lies, forgeries, and plagiarisms, and that the images of the "coalition's" "triumphs" (e.g., the toppling of the Saddam statue and the "rescue" of Private Lynch) were staged.

When society has gone mad, does the "conventional belief" somehow "feel different" to those within the society? The question virtually answers itself and history confirms that when reason departs and collective insanity takes over, it all seems "perfectly sensible" from the inside. True, in all such cases, a few discerning individuals stand apart, like the child who saw no clothes on the Emperor. But such individuals are quickly marginalized as they are denounced as "traitors," shouted into silence, exiled if they are lucky, and liquidated if they are not. After the madness has passed, statues are cast and monuments built in their name—names familiar to us all: Dietrich Bonheoffer, Klaus von Stauffenberg, Hans and Sophie Scholl ("The White Rose"), Andrei Sakharov, Joseph Welch, Edward R. Murrow, George Ball, Daniel Ellsberg, John Dean.

These heroes see what almost anyone might see—anyone who prizes his and her liberty and independence, whose wits are operational, and whose moral principles are intact. Add to this, the courage to speak out against the madness and to defend the betrayed moral principles, whatever the cost, and you have a hero."
I believe most people in the world are pretty much trying to do the best they can, within the reality they think they exist in. And where things go wrong is exactly where your beliefs get so distorted that you end up doing the opposite of what you would do if you were better informed.
[ | 2003-04-26 23:47 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Hydrogen on demand
picture Raymond Powers reports on a company, Genesis World Energy announcing a device that apparently would generate hydrogen from water on demand, to be used in an (almost) regular combustion engine.
The Genesis HICEF is based on a revolutionary technology recently introduced by the Genesis Project in the form of the Edison Device - a residential and commercial energy generation unit that creates gas and electrical power through the separation of hydrogen and oxygen molecules contained in any source of water. At the core of this technology are the Genesis gCells, which break water down into its basic molecular structure through a series of electro-chemical processes, yielding ultra-pure hydrogen and oxygen gases. The reactant chemistry in the Genesis HICEF Technology is different from that of the Edison Device in that the gCells do not require many of the support processes needed in the Edison technology. The water supplying the gCells can be stored in special tanks that replace the ones currently used for gasoline in conventional fossil-fuel vehicles.
That would be nice. I don't understand where the energy comes from to do that. But hopefully it actually works.
[ | 2003-04-26 23:47 | 33 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Bilinear Influence Functions and Unhappy Marriages
This article in The Chronicle of Higher Education talks about researchers who believe they have a mathematical model of marriage. It is not quite as crazy as it sounds. A group of researchers at Seattle's Family Research Laboratory, also known as the Love Lab, have over 24 years recorded thousands of conversations between couples, and have discovered certain patterns. So well that they have a 90% accuracy in predicting which ones will divorce. The key point they find in a successful relationship is the ability of the participants to influence each other emotionally, in both positive and negative directions. It is not how much they yell at each other, but it is how flexible they are. If they don't respond to each other's emotions, or only do it in one direction, it will probably fail. So, observers can sit and note down the emotions of the two people who are having a conversation, and can figure out how well it is going based on how well they track with each other. That's kind of cute. Anybody trained in NLP would have noticed the same things right away, and would know what to do about it. But I guess it is good for more mainstream psychology to develop a scientific basis for understanding that relationships work better if people are in rapport with each other.
[ | 2003-04-26 23:47 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Black dots
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Count the black dots.

Or don't you trust your senses?

Maybe you need another blue pill.

[ | 2003-04-26 23:47 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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