Freedom, Responsibility, and the Absurdity of Autocracy

Ideas can get away from us, even take control of our lives. Sometimes, a great idea can become destructive when taken to its most extreme form. Life is full of ambiguities and imperfections. If we take our great ideas out of this context, they can become dysfunctional, stupid, and even dangerous. So it is with … More Freedom, Responsibility, and the Absurdity of Autocracy

Risk On Risk Off: Likely or Unlikely, Catastrophic or Not

“Risk on” and “Risk Off” are terms heard among stock market traders, analysts, and investment advisors. They indicate whether the speaker feels that risk is high or low for investing in markets or in a particular stock. Risk is always a matter of degree, except under conditions of certainty—and when does that happen? Yet, “risk … More Risk On Risk Off: Likely or Unlikely, Catastrophic or Not

Taser, Gun, and Character: What You Cannot Train

I am tired of all the convenient talk of “more training” and other improvements in the formal management of police practices, as if they were a mere problem of technical engineering. They are not. The most important quality of police officers is not the skills they take from the academy to the precinct. It is … More Taser, Gun, and Character: What You Cannot Train

Building Back Better: Deferred Maintenance vs. Emergency Response

Now that I have read President Biden’s “fact sheet” on his infrastructure plan, dubbed the American Jobs Plan, I have to wonder whether it will devolve into an “upgrade” to “modernize” business-as-usual. What we need is a genuine emergency response to the converging crises of climate, a crumbling main street economy, and the continued enrichment … More Building Back Better: Deferred Maintenance vs. Emergency Response

The Infrastructure Illusion: Historic Neglect and Crucial Confusion

The confusion is palpable as it is widely ignored. We have a new, slightly progressive administration headed by Joe Biden, the empathetic traditional former long-term senator. He knows how to “reach across the aisle” and make deals with Republicans. But wait, those senators were the Republicans of old, who were actually willing to make compromise … More The Infrastructure Illusion: Historic Neglect and Crucial Confusion

Living in Ugo Bardi’s Seneca Effect

Ugo Bardi is an Italian scientist who studied hydrogen energy technology while on a post-doctoral assignment at the University of California, Berkeley. After his research with the team at Berkeley revealed the seemingly intractable problems of converting hydrogen energy to electricity in any practical way, Bardi moved on to other topics of research back home … More Living in Ugo Bardi’s Seneca Effect

Here is Why Economists Cannot Hear Ecologists

HERE IS AN INSIGHTFUL HYPOTHETICAL DIALOG BETWEEN ECONOMISTS AND ECOLOGISTS OVER SEVERAL DECADES, WHICH EXEMPLIFIES THE CULTURAL STALEMATE BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND SCIENCE. THAT IS WHAT STIFLES PROGRESS IN FACING OUR CLIMATE/ECOLOGICAL/EXISTENTIAL CRISIS TODAY. (I inserted a few links for reference.) A completely made up story about the history of economics and ecology By Katy Shields … More Here is Why Economists Cannot Hear Ecologists

Mask over Civility: The Indifference of Americans to Public Health

Last Saturday we decided to take a hike in the beautiful Frijoles Canyon of the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos National Laboratory “up the hill” from Santa Fe. I had not experienced the pandemic claustrophobia that has caused so much anxiety; I guess I was just too busy. Anyway, it was a lovely cool … More Mask over Civility: The Indifference of Americans to Public Health