October 8th, 2010


QotD: Science and Mystery

...there is an even stronger reason why I am not afraid that scientists will inadvertently go and explain everything--it will never happen. ...for every question answered, a dozen newer ones are generated. And they are usually far more puzzling, more challenging than the prior problems. ... We will never have our flames extinguished by knowledge. The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.
--Robert M. Sapolsky, in The Trouble with Testosterone (and other essays), p286.

Halting of Foreclosures

I haven't read the news, but just the headline sparks some questions. Do all those people who bought more house than they could afford and then lost their jobs get to keep their houses? Doesn't it make some sense to allow the economic contraction to force families to condense and become cooperative again? We have become so scattered and "independent" that we have no safety net anymore, except for the government, but is that how we really want our lives to be? Certainly a reduction in government payouts to the populace would cause some crises, but it takes some crises to change society at a fundamental level, and that is what is coming down the pipe whether we do it on purpose or wait for it to be done to us. We the people are bleeding our government which is in turn bleeding us. Won't be much left behind when the pretend money runs out. We'll have to figure out how to grow food again, how to barter for what we need and how to hibernate in the winter. Our bipartisan political system and the corporatocracy that runs it are not going to save us.

US slips to 4th place in Global Competitiveness

According to the World Economic Forum, that is. The US held second until last month, now Sweden and Singapore have passed the US. Switzerland just passed the US to take the #1 spot last year. China's moving up and has reached #27. Germany's also climbing the scale, now in the #5 spot. Japan's #6. Finland is #7 and Denmark is #9 putting Scandinavia as a whole in the top 10. Netherlands is #8 and Canada is #10. At the moment. Things are definitely shifting.

The rating is based on 12 variables: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.