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  #1  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:42 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

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  #2  
Old 05-22-2010, 10:37 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Dear BhTV staff,

The link to the diavlog only shows a black screen. And I couldn't access the video from the home page either.

Are we going surrealist today?

The blank (black in this case) slate?

Should we fill in the blanks?

You're going to fix it so that we can watch?

Yours,

Ocean
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2010, 11:03 AM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Thanks, Ocean. This is fixed now. Enjoy!
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  #4  
Old 05-22-2010, 11:48 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Thanks, Ocean. This is fixed now. Enjoy!
Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 05-22-2010, 12:00 PM
frontier_sally frontier_sally is offline
 
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Default Outsider Science

Margaret's new/forthcoming book sounds very interesting. I hope one of you (George or John) will have her on to discuss it when it comes out.
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2010, 01:19 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Outsider Science

Quote:
Originally Posted by frontier_sally View Post
Margaret's new/forthcoming book sounds very interesting. I hope one of you (George or John) will have her on to discuss it when it comes out.
I agree; and she sounds like a fascinating interview subject, regardless.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2010, 01:31 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
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Default Server Problem

Hangs up at 6:18
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2010, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Server Problem

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Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat View Post
Hangs up at 6:18
I had to download.
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2010, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Nice having lunch with you, guys!

Another pleasant Saturday moment of science. Also, J&G provided helpful follow up on the AI discussion from last week. Now we want to know more about the Blue Brain project and its likes elsewhere.

Knitting may be used in creative ways. And it looks like the coral replica exhibit is a very interesting one. However, as a means of artistic expression, it may not be very versatile and its uses limited. It's very therapeutic, calming. I loved to knit and crochet a real long time ago.

As to the cycles of peace and war, history shows that they come and go. Hopefully more peace will come and more war will go. The pendulum slowly swings down to a stop.
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2010, 07:25 PM
maximus444 maximus444 is offline
 
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Default Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Scott Atran attributes the reduction of war and general worldwide conflict to the US' defence budget being more than every other nations combined and the presence of the US military in over 100 countries (majority of the worlds countries) across the globe. This to me seems like the most plausible explanation (although initially it sounds counterintuitive), I posted this in the comment section to a John Horgan post over at the CSW website. It would be interesting to know what John thinks of this explanation.
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  #11  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:47 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Scott Atran attributes the reduction of war and general worldwide conflict to the US' defence budget being more than every other nations combined and the presence of the US military in over 100 countries (majority of the worlds countries) across the globe.
Perhaps the US can contribute even more to violence reduction by putting a police officer on every street corner of the planet. Oh wait, we already have surveillance on every street corner, robo cops at the ready (drones) and an executive branch of government that feels authorized to kill or kidnap any person anywhere by alleging s/he is a terrorist. Apologies will be proffered in the case of collateral damage. God bless America.
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  #12  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:57 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Perhaps the US can contribute even more to violence reduction by putting a police officer on every street corner of the planet. Oh wait, we already have surveillance on every street corner, robo cops at the ready (drones) and an executive branch of government that feels authorized to kill or kidnap any person anywhere by alleging s/he is a terrorist. Apologies will be proffered in the case of collateral damage. God bless America.
You're becoming such an impeccable politician.
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  #13  
Old 05-22-2010, 11:09 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

To what extent does prophecy influence outcomes in human interactions, Dr. Ocean?

I thought John's self-fulfilling prophecy paradox theory was intriguing (albeit unpersuasive): the more we sing "Give Peace a Chance," the more likely there will be war because we will frighten the warmongers into intensifying their "defense," which will be perceived as offense and ignite a conflagration.

All war is probably peace prophecy gone awry. Modern war at least is rarely genocidal; it always envisions peace at the end of the road. Every nuke ever assembled was done so in the name of peace.

The invasion of Iraq can easily be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy The neo-con political scientists prophecied the imposition of democracy as a means to world peace. Once that meme took root among Republican politicians, it allowed Bush to go off the deep end with "Shock and Awe" and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Al-Qaeda also prophecies: the US "doesn't have the stomach" for sustained war; democracy cannot survive repeated terror "successes"; more terror attacks will lead to the fall of democracy, the rise of Sharia law, and subsequent world peace.
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  #14  
Old 05-22-2010, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
All war is probably peace prophecy gone awry.
Although we'll agree that there are no good wars, we can probably settle that there are bad wars and even worse wars.

A war against the Axis of Evil can only bring more war and misery. It is spelled out to create that kind of reaction. The desired end is such of a winner and a loser. It is a self fulfilling prophesy.
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  #15  
Old 05-23-2010, 02:47 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
The desired end is such of a winner and a loser. It is a self fulfilling prophesy.
Do you think there's a relationship between the little lies that men tell about war and the big lies that get acted out in global politics?

Maureen Dowd has a column in the NYT today discussig the Blumenthal Vietnam lies. She quotes a UCSB psychology professor, Bella DePaulo:

Quote:
I think that lies are like wishes. So when you wish you were a certain kind of person that you know you’re not, and maybe you’re not willing to do what it would take to become that person or can’t go back, then it becomes very tempting to lie.
Lies as wishes sounds like grandiose self-fulfilling prophecies in reverse.

Reading that, the thought crossed my mind that maybe we'd be better off with female leaders less inclined to fantasize about war prowess. But then I remembered Hillary Clinton's Bosnia BS from the campaign -- her version of fictional combat duty.
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  #16  
Old 05-23-2010, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Do you think there's a relationship between the little lies that men tell about war and the big lies that get acted out in global politics?
I'm not sure what you're trying to get at with the above. The most immediate relationship between lies and the perpetuation of wars that I can think of, is that of the false arguments that governments give to their constituents to "sell" their wars. The country's self image is so opposed to the image it has internationally that when another world power reacts in antagonistic ways it's considered to be an irrational move. The more irrational the appearance of a conflict, the more "as if" there is in its foundation.

There are cases, of course, when a form of psychosis takes over. Those are the truly irrational wars, with a psychotic leader and an irrational ideology behind.


[added] I thought this would be helpful, just to make sure we're all talking about the same general idea.

Quote:
The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come 'true'. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]

In other words, a prophecy declared as truth when it is actually false may sufficiently influence people, either through fear or logical confusion, so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment
Reading that, the thought crossed my mind that maybe we'd be better off with female leaders less inclined to fantasize about war prowess. But then I remembered Hillary Clinton's Bosnia BS from the campaign -- her version of fictional combat duty.
A woman is not guarantee that you will have female leadership. Most women in power have adopted male models of leadership. They wouldn't make it to the top if they were to operate under softer terms.

Last edited by Ocean; 05-23-2010 at 09:49 AM..
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  #17  
Old 05-23-2010, 03:21 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
I'm not sure what you're trying to get at with the above.
People like Bush tell themselves lies about the glories of war. Their psychology is built on virtues like loyalty, obedience, violence as a means of achieving greatness, and cowardice in battle as disgrace and humiliation. A life sacrificed by a teenager to the Fatherland is a life well-lived.

Bush, for example, has this base value system, so he is very susceptible to the self-fulfilling prophecy idea of the neo-cons: If we invade an Arab country, bomb the bejesus out of it, kill thousands upon thousands of civilians and overthrow the tyrant, we will be greeted by joyous liberated people with flowers for the conquering heroes. People worldwide adore and respect us because we are Americans, so they are predisposed to applauding our military exploits. Those on our side who perish will be redeemed because of the Goodness of our cause.

The extent to which the values are accepted is reflected in the willingness of its adherents to create fables ("I served in Vietnam combat and was spat upon by peaceniks when I returned") to retroactively inflate their egos.
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  #18  
Old 05-22-2010, 11:21 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

And when somebody looks different like the Brazilian that was shot dead in England by the Police, we can just say "I'm so sorry..."
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  #19  
Old 05-23-2010, 10:02 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus444 View Post
Scott Atran attributes the reduction of war and general worldwide conflict to the US' defence budget being more than every other nations combined and the presence of the US military in over 100 countries (majority of the worlds countries) across the globe. This to me seems like the most plausible explanation (although initially it sounds counterintuitive), I posted this in the comment section to a John Horgan post over at the CSW website. It would be interesting to know what John thinks of this explanation.
I tend to think that the two World Wars, the use of atomic bombs at the end of the second, the mounting threats of global destruction during the cold war, were sobering events. The result was the strengthening of international agencies (NATO, UN) that try to buffer and put out fires. The presence of a disproportionally large war power, like the U.S., may contain overt threats, but fosters the back door attacks through terrorism.

Also, if we don't use this impasse to create a culture of peace, the cycle of war will repeat. Hopefully, we'll have enough time to build on the crude awakening that we had after WWII, with the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars being part of a winding down process.

Last edited by Ocean; 05-23-2010 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: added a hope statement.
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  #20  
Old 05-22-2010, 09:35 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Thank you, John!

I stayed at that Econo-Lodge in Newark too! Twice. On two successive trips to NYC with my daughters back in the nineties. My wife berated me mercilessly for staying in a shithole like that with the kids instead of paying an extra fifty bucks to upgrade to lodgings less dangerous, filthy and sleazy. I argued, "What's the difference? We'll just be sleeping there and out touring Manhattan all day long."

Now I feel vindicated. Sort of. At least I can say there is another non-homeless, non-substance addicted person who stayed there too. Arguably, that means I'm not the cheapest person on Earth.

To really vindicate me though, you have to go back. Don't think of it as reaffirming the classic definition of lunacy by doing the same thing and expecting different results; think of it as frugality and common sense.
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  #21  
Old 05-23-2010, 05:05 AM
enderud enderud is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

The Communist revolution in Russia was not a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Marx predicted the revolution would occur in an advanced industrial country
such as Germany. Not Russia. Certainly not China.
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  #22  
Old 05-23-2010, 09:52 AM
maximus444 maximus444 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

Quote:
Perhaps the US can contribute even more to violence reduction by putting a police officer on every street corner of the planet. Oh wait, we already have surveillance on every street corner, robo cops at the ready (drones) and an executive branch of government that feels authorized to kill or kidnap any person anywhere by alleging s/he is a terrorist. Apologies will be proffered in the case of collateral damage. God bless America.
I don't know whether this was meant as a joke or just an ideological rant. The question was "Whats the reason for reduction in war and deaths in conflict worldwide over the last few decades?" Its an empirical question, Scott Atran has researched the question and came up with an empirical answer, the justification for it is irrelevant. Thats a seperate argument/issue.
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  #23  
Old 05-23-2010, 07:40 PM
consider consider is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Outsider Edition

I'm skeptical of John and George's skepticism of the kids skepticism of John's skeptecism that science will have the answer to their possible ear problems in the future. It isn't smart to play music loud since ringingitis must be a pain to endure, but at the rate science is progressing, It likes like a cure to deafness is coming within ten years.

An economist who has written for Slate wondered if one cause of the rise in obesity might be that people assume "thin pills" are coming in the near future.
Those who assume this are almost certainly correct, but there are risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc prior to that type of pill becoming available in the next three to seven years.
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  #24  
Old 05-27-2010, 10:28 AM
jbarton jbarton is offline
 
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Default Reasons for diminishing warfare

I was surprised that among the reasons considered for a reduction for war among major powers you did not include growing wealth. It seems to me a primary explanation. Societies with greater wealth have more to lose, and more to compromise with in seeking to avoid war. They will be more reluctant to put their accumulated wealth at risk.

This effect is nicely captured in an observation I've read several times in The Economist that no two countries with golf courses have ever gone to war with one another.
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