ideatrash

Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Evolving Society

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Our society resembles - in many ways - that of some of our great ape relatives. This has led some scientists to posit "sociobiology"; that is, that our society is due to our genetics.

From what's been presented to me, they sound like a bunch of quacks - making very extreme and untestable claims. This does not mean, however, that they're simply wrong.

Our society has also evolved through the winnowing of the memes (ideas) that make up our society. Much as you frequently find the frequency of some genes having a strong correlation with other ones, you'd predict that some memes would have a strong correlation with others.

If sociobiologists just applied thier thoughts to memes instead of genes... they might find a lot more testable theories.

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Remixing Printcrime

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Printcrime Remixed - Abulafia Random Generators



Gods, this is good. Corey Doctorow's short-short _Printcrime_ is randomly remixed (a la postmodernism) via computer with every page refresh.



What separates this from most cutup techniques is that somehow (perhaps it's just Corey's uber writing), damn near every refresh is not only fresh and new - but good.

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Redefining Heroes

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Kunsthaus



This is amazingly cool on so many levels - as an art geek, as a comics geek, as a sociology geek, as an economics geek, and just as a gringo interested in the rest of America. Take a look, find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer coolness of it.



"The Mexican immigrant worker in New York is a perfect example of the hero who has gone unnoticed. It is common for a Mexican worker in New York to work extraordinary hours in extreme conditions for very low wages which are saved at great cost and sacrifice and sent to families and communities in Mexico who rely on them to survive."

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Virtual Stuff *IS* real

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This is absolutely fascinating, given the correlations between real life and virtual life implied by the virtual Milgram study.



New World Notes: FIGHTING THE FRONT

I'm pretty sure I know what Dr. King would think of a protest against an anti-immigrant political party, but if you asked me what he'd say after the thing devolved into a virtual conflagaration of mini-guns, cursing Frenchmen, and exploding pigs, well, there I'm somewhat at a loss.

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CEO Rents

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Why is the demand curve for CEOs (and therefore thier wages) so much higher? What are the skills they have that everyone else has? I think there's two things that drive the rents (in econ-speak) for CEO's.



  1. The first, and perhaps more obvious thing, is that CEOs supposedly have a great deal of responsibility. That may have been true in the past, but I don't think that's a big explanation right now. G.W. Bush is an excellent example - all the companies he headed needed bailing out or otherwise did poorly. Which brings us to #2:
  2. The social connections and reputation of that CEO. Bush Jr. had the pull with family and friends to get those companies bailed out - and therefore was a goodchoice as CEO, at least from the point of the view of the company. Where he's a bad choice is from the point of view of the rest of us.
Such a system - where the social connections of the CEO have such influence - keeps the social class structure intact, and even strengthens it greatly. Since the quasi-meritocracy that the rest of USians work under doesn't apply here, there's practically no way to break into that upper crust circle.



Ironically, this would seem to work against the free market that such types as GW espouse so often, wouldn't it?





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CC Developing Nations

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Developing Nations license.



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Economics and Global Climate Change

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Market forces alone won't work with global climate change. This shouldbe evident to anyone who has studied basic economics. There's two major reasons:



  1. Externalities: Businesses are not made to fully bear the costs of thier pollution, therefore they will overproduce it. This is actually a literal textbook example.

  2. Tipping points: Global climate appears to have "tipping points" - that is, where no change appears to occur when something gradually changes until - BAM! - it changes dramatically. Any appeal to the market to come up with solutions ignores this; by the time there's feedback to the market to change its ways, the change is already too far gone.
Externalities are largely agreed upon as one of the best times for governments to become involved with the economy. This would argue that signing onto Kyoto and strengthening the EPA would be a necessary thing to do.



The only other option is to willfully ignore global climate change - and that's what this administration appears determined to do.







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