27 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 Literate Societies Place Less Value on the Elderly

...older people in traditional societies have a huge significance that would never occur to us in our modern, literate societies, where our sources of information are books and the Internet. In contrast, in traditional societies without writing, older people are the repositories of information. It's their knowledge that spells the difference between survival and death for their whole society in a time of crisis caused by rare events for which only the oldest people alive have had experience. ...
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In societies without readily-available information stored in written words, the elderly are more valuable for their knowledge and experience.

02 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 Our Natural Tendency is to Doubt Ourselves

am enthusiastic over humanity's extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday's fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given proble...
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And leave the big decisions concerning civilization to others.

08 AUG 2013 by ideonexus

 What's Good for a Business Can be Bad for Society

Every bit in a computer is a wannabe Maxwell’s Demon, separating the state of “one” from the state of “zero” for a while, at a cost. A computer on a network can also act like a wannabe demon if it tries to sort data from networked people into one or the other side of some imaginary door, while pretending there is no cost or risk involved. For instance, a Siren Server might allow only those who would be cheap to insure through a doorway (to become insured) in order to make a supernat...
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Businesses that refuse to insure high-risk individuals leave the burden of those individuals on the whole community.