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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:08 AM

 

We live in a society exquisitely dependent ...

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Reply We live in a society exquisitely dependent ... (Original post)
Scuba Sep 2013 OP
xchrom Sep 2013 #1
handmade34 Sep 2013 #2
LuvNewcastle Sep 2013 #3
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #10
BlueJazz Sep 2013 #12
LuvNewcastle Sep 2013 #16
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #21
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #24
BlueJazz Sep 2013 #26
Surya Gayatri Sep 2013 #27
jtuck004 Sep 2013 #14
LuvNewcastle Sep 2013 #17
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #20
jtuck004 Sep 2013 #35
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #41
jtuck004 Sep 2013 #42
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #43
Stargazer09 Sep 2013 #28
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #30
reusrename Sep 2013 #31
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #33
Scuba Sep 2013 #37
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #38
niyad Sep 2013 #4
skydive forever Sep 2013 #5
progressoid Sep 2013 #7
Stargazer09 Sep 2013 #29
valerief Sep 2013 #6
daleanime Sep 2013 #8
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #9
leftstreet Sep 2013 #11
pasto76 Sep 2013 #13
reformist2 Sep 2013 #15
fadedrose Sep 2013 #18
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #22
fadedrose Sep 2013 #23
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #25
fadedrose Sep 2013 #40
Dreamer Tatum Sep 2013 #19
Quantess Sep 2013 #34
ElboRuum Sep 2013 #39
yawnmaster Sep 2013 #32
Jasana Sep 2013 #36

Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:14 AM

1. Du rec. Nt

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:18 AM

2. "exquisitely dependent"

interesting choice of words... but so well said!

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:27 AM

3. That's funny, sad, and very true. And it's a recipe for massive failure.

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:05 PM

10. Actually, it isn't.

Those who know will perform the upkeep. Those who don't will be free to partake of the fruits of that labor. It's called "specialization" and it is the basis for every civilization since civilizations existed. It is not necessary for everyone to understand everything about their civilization for that civilization to exist, in fact it is imperative that a separation of knowledge occur for civilization to exist.

I usually have respect for Carl Sagan, but he is noting an irony that isn't at all ironic.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:53 PM

12. Americans certainly don't have to know everything about science and technology but when...

 

..a 1/3 of the populace think the Earth revolves around the Sun, 41% believe "There is truth in Astrology", 45% thinks antibiotics kill viruses, HALF the population thinks tomatoes have NO genes....I'm sorry...as a dual citizen (American, Australian)..
..A lot of Americans are lacking tremendously in scientific skills and critical thinking.

Not to mention the God and Angels thing...

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:12 PM

16. Exactly.

I don't expect people to know all the intricacies of the machines they use or understand string theory, but too many people in this country might as well be living in the Middle Ages. It's dangerous for so many people in a democracy to be so glaringly ignorant. Some people are fine with it because they're elitists and they view themselves as part of that elite. If you want to rule over people like a shepherd over a flock of sheep, you'll prefer to have them ignorant.

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #16)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:43 PM

21. But was that really was Carl Sagan was saying in that quote?

Was he suggesting something ominous by that? Or was he just being a bit glib, introducing irony where there really isn't any simply because not everyone has the facility for or love of knowing things like he does?

I'll do you one better. It isn't that we don't know how our world works that's the problem with this country, it's the deification of inexperience and contempt for education that I will agree that is a problem. It's not that people don't know, it's that they think there is something WRONG with knowing. We glorify ignorance in this country. And that is a problem begging a solution.

But the fact that people don't know the ins and outs of how their iPhones work does not represent any road to subjugation, although the people who OWN the iPhone might be guilty of a little elitism from what I've seen.

The nice thing about science and technology is that it isn't elitist, facts are facts, and if you have the talent you can contribute. If you don't, you can't. If that's an elitist point of view, well so be it, but I doubt even Carl Sagan would like to have to give a paper submitted by some backyard stargazer with a pair of binoculars theorizing that dark matter is made of old socks the same weight as one of his much more learned peers. I mean, I get the point he's trying to make ("want to know things, people, really, it's pretty cool", but I really didn't read much ominous into that. Many did. YMMV and all that.

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Response to BlueJazz (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:58 PM

24. It's not that they are lacking in "scientific skills"

at all. The problem is much, much broader than that. We are culturally trained to mistrust education, and by corollary, those who are educated. We are culturally trained to take the easiest way around all problems and to quit trying when things become even the slightest bit difficult or unpleasant. The results of this are obvious. A general hatred of intellectual pursuit while at the same time being desirous of answers to the natural questions humans are likely to ask themselves.

So you get religion as substitute for knowledge (if it's in the Bible it's true, i know because the Bible says so), a mistrust of science (how dare those eggheads suggest that global warming is man-made, and if it is so what, God will save us all), belief in irrational concepts like astrology (does Saturn have nothing better to do than interfere in the daily goings on in our lives?), and all the while everyone thinks they know all kinds of stuff and that somehow this qualifies them to opine upon it, when really they only know what they've chosen to know in the most simplistic and basic terms and are STILL somehow managing to get it wrong.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #24)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:03 PM

26. Your words are true and wise.

 

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #24)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:09 PM

27. One of the best critiques of the average American's mentality I've read. Thanks!

 

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:05 PM

14. I think that's a terribly naive point of view that mirrors the excuses, and reasons, for slavery.

 


Those who don't know, or at least have some facility for learning and finding out, will be at the mercy of the others, not "free" at all.

They will suffer from more poverty, early death, and want than most, and be far more likely to be led than to lead.

And we are the worse off because the contributions they could make, they can't.




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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:14 PM

17. I agree.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:28 PM

20. Terribly naive?

So the logical end to the argument is to do what?

Know everything?

Not possible. Nor could civilization exist if everyone acts independently.

The reason why civilizations are successful is that we don't all have to knit our own clothes, or grow our own food, or the other myriad of things we would otherwise have to do to survive, which, incidentally, would leave little time for anyone to afford for something as time and knowledge intensive as science and technology.

Science and technology exists BECAUSE people so inclined don't have to spend all of their time growing their own food and searching for water and fashioning their clothes out of whatever hapless beasts wander too close. Because some people decided to do the farming, and others the plumbing, and still others the knitting and the sewing, some people of the right intellectual bent had time to ponder their universe.

They still exist you know. Scientists, engineers, and whatnot. And from what I've seen, there really isn't a shortage of them.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #20)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 05:27 PM

35. No, and the logical end isn''t to pose an outlandish and impossible answer, either.

 


Just because one doesn't make his or her own beer or knit their own clothes doesn't preclude them from knowing HOW, and it make one a better consumer, and a more logical thinker, and far less likely to be an unwitting slave to others. Learning science doesn't stop someone from working a farm - it actually makes them a better farmer. As a repair plumber, it was valuable to me to study some of the engineering that goes into plumbing systems so I didn't kill people. When I began to learn about computers, it was of value to understand the difference between true software engineering and Microsoft Windows.

Science and technology was developed AS people grew their own food and killed for a new coat, and still comes from a variety of activities, but a few can now concentrate on it precisely because everyone did other things. And while a farmer can do more because of technology, without that farmer the technologist would either grow hungry or put a shovel in the ground. They are synergistic - one didn't happen because of the other.

India has exactly what you describe - little islands of people who are educated, and vast tracts of people who aren't, who work and slave at the behest of others simply because the resources have never been made available for them to learn. Afghanistan, other countries are the same way.

The U.S. didn't used to, although we are moving that way. We had a more successful population as a whole 1) Because we attempted to offer resources to learn for everyone, and 2) We found resources and people to exploit. Now that the resources are running dry, we are working on the people.

And the only hope those people have of not being exploited is training and education (which are two different things, btw). In addition to making science classes readily available, I think everyone ought to be required to take a year of accounting and finance, as well as a year long course in labor history and a year of philosophy as part of their basic education, (as well as run or work on one campaign for public office or survive in a small business for a year - both of those are truly educational experiences, but that's another post). And maybe drop the whole "graduation" thing, because too many people take that as a signal to stop learning.

Not everyone will pursue them, but that is their choice. But to say they shouldn't be available insures that group will always be slaves to someone for whom it is available. Just like we are allowing colleges to manipulate student loans and aid so they offer courses to the richer and wealthier students, and let the students who may well be capable, but have less money, fall by the wayside. We are engineering our own demise by allowing that.

Sure, we have plenty of scientists and engineers. They run the ongoing disaster that is Fukushima, they build the buildings that fall down, they perform the drug research that is falsified and used to market compounds to people who are not educated enough to realize what is happening to them. Thieving liars with the "right intellectual bent" perhaps, but with blackened, shrivelled hearts. Maybe we could train up some new ones that actually give a shit about anyone else...

Don't get me wrong - I think the push for STEM is wrong in the way we are going about it, and it is clearly part of a strategy to remove education from the schools and substitute training, mostly for the profit of a very few. We subsidize private schools that teach hair cutting, welding, computer repair, etc with enough that, it has been shown, we could move that money to state and community colleges, and provide free tuition for anyone who wants to go. (Which I think would be a dandy idea. Shut down all the crooks in the private schools (which is most of them, imo), and move their work to community colleges, and allow others to take classes at will in the 4 years school).

It's not just about jobs, it's about thinking, learning rational thought. And without those as part of one's development, we will be a more ignorant and weaker nation.


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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #35)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 02:32 PM

41. Interesting points.

However, I think a few are good, and some are missing of the mark entirely.

What you are conjecturing as the road to enslavement, the lack of thinking and learning of rational thought, has precisely zilch to do with science and technology. The hallmark of any good education are these two things first and foremost, which can be transcribed into ANY particular intellectual discipline. If you are saying that there is a dearth of this and that THIS could lead to a sort of enslavement, I could not agree more.

Also, I think you had a winner with the idea that community colleges should be utilized to a much greater degree than they are, and that if a high school diploma is really a useless piece of paper these days, then we should be providing it either free or at-cost because only then would that merit the language "educated populace".

However, the rest of it is pure conjecture. And I suppose with that comes some room for debate. However, India's problems with wealth disparity does not come from inequity in educational opportunities, rather the reverse. Wealth disparity erodes educational opportunity, not the other way around, quite specifically so if no strong mandate for access to education exists.

What really made me incredulous was this...

"Sure, we have plenty of scientists and engineers. They run the ongoing disaster that is Fukushima, they build the buildings that fall down, they perform the drug research that is falsified and used to market compounds to people who are not educated enough to realize what is happening to them. Thieving liars with the "right intellectual bent" perhaps, but with blackened, shrivelled hearts. Maybe we could train up some new ones that actually give a shit about anyone else..."


So on one hand, you believe that people should know about science and technology... then lambaste those who actually do as some sort of evil geniuses or cold and calculating automatons. I think you've been reading too many comic books. Blackened shriveled hearts? Really?

Here's the real scoop on that if you're at all interested. No one is forced to go into STEM fields. While they pay well, on balance, the people who make the real money off of what comes out of these efforts go to the stakers, the energy companies, the drug companies, the whatthehellevertheymakeordo companies. The disciplines are some of the most rigorous that our educational systems have to offer, and many who try to get into these fields end up dropping out and going into something else within two years of starting. You have to love what you do to make it in STEM. So my informed guess is that it is the profit motive in these areas that you are lambasting but it isn't the scientists and engineers benefiting so I believe your anger to be WELL MISPLACED. They are some of the most dedicated people to their craft that exist.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #41)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:18 PM

42. Interesting how you conflate points just to erect your little scree...

 

But just because someone gets an engineering degree doesn't make them useful, or even desirable, as the evidence clearly points out. If they don't use that knowledge for the greater good, and clearly some don't. So we need others to step up. On the other hand, without it, many are doomed to enslavement by those who do, who will have access to resources and skills that far outstrips others. So, yeah, I think everyone ought to have access to it.

Although there will always be some, great and common wealth disparity as we have been developing here cannot come about in an enlightened group, so lack of education does allow and precede wealth inequality. Those with power can then reduce the access to training or education, but they didn't start out on top. Problem is people won't stick together and realize that there are far more of them than there are the oppressors, so if they just quit enabling the the them the tyrant falls of his, or her, own weight. Instead of educating and cooperating with each other, they run around gathering materials for scaffolds and lop heads off, thinking that solves the problem, when all it really does is make room for new tyrants. Kind of like trying to kill wild cats to control a population instead of spaying and neutering them.

Some the states are trying desperately to force the entire curriculum toward STEM, and, in fact, force people into that curriculum, getting rid of the arts, music, philosophy, and history in the process. They are lying about the job opportunities and pushing for more funding, regardless of whether it will make things better for anyone, because they see a more comfortable future for themselves as this goes forward. Kind of like your pitiable attempt at condescension, it's not that they think it will make things better for anyone out there, it's just support for their own narrowly-defined ideas and profit.

Engineering and science should be part of all studies, along with the arts, philosophy, history, and music. Is everyone going to be a physicist or a bridge designer? No. But they are going to have to live with their pursuits, and the more they know about it the better everyone will be.

But I tire of this, so enjoy the echo. cya.










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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #42)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 03:29 PM

43. Of course.

I'd hate to think you crafted that post, going through all the trouble of saying some things that were sensible, just to demolish your credibility with your "engineers and scientists are the devil" rant.

If you really want to get people to "think rationally" and educate them on the the finer points of "critical thinking" you might want to actually, I dunno, practice it. Because that idiotic rant blew your credibility on the matter into fine dust. And the doubling down with the conspiracy of tyrants rant here isn't helping your position much.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:43 PM

28. The problem here

Isn't specialization, per se. It's the fact that the purse strings for scientific research are held by people who are not at all interested in science. Our government is run by lawyers and business majors, who don't understand the need for research and refuse to fund it.

Our world would be a better place if more value was placed on science, in all its forms.

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Response to Stargazer09 (Reply #28)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:59 PM

30. Wasn't Neil DeGrasse Tyson

...saying that very thing? If you look at the makeup of Congress, what's it made up of? Lawyers and business personages.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 03:29 PM

31. I sure do wish I could believe you, but I have little faith.

 

There are too many examples of the scientific community dropping the ball, big time.

NIST did not test for explosives at the WTC. Really? REALLY!

The scientists will not speak on the algorithmic vote swapping in the 2012 Republican primaries.

Clear and obvious conspiracies are deemed "miracles" by modern scientists. It's truly sad.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #31)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 04:13 PM

33. Science does not require faith.

Nor is it for weighing in on policy, nor uncovering conspiracies. I'm sorry to disappoint you but science is not a political tool and it shouldn't be used as such nor considered such. It is this misapprehension of what science is and isn't capable of or what it is for which actually speaks to the degree of ignorance in this country. The political realities of our world must be dealt with in the political sphere.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 06:21 PM

37. Read the graphic. It doesn't say ....

 

... hardly anybody knows everything about science and technology.

I believe Dr. Sagan's point was that too many Americans know nothing about science and worse, consider any such knowlege to be a negative.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #37)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 01:50 PM

38. That's not how it reads.

I can't say for certain what the context of that quote was, but considering the fact that Carl was a scientist, and happily so from what I know, he seems to be incredulous not that people don't know, but that they don't share his insatiable interest in it. Why this should be is why I find it to be nothing but a glib remark.

Educated people sometimes just don't get the fact that some people (and it Dr. Sagan's case, relatively speaking, most) are simply not as well educated, and in some cases, simply have no interest in what they have interest in. I love it when the mathematicians decry the lottery, pointing out time and again the utterly miniscule chance of winning and essentially calling anyone who plays an idiot. Has not a single mathematician considered the fact that people play the lottery for fun and NOT as some seem to think as a long-term retirement investment strategy? People who are enamored of literature who don't get the draw of television, making crass remarks about Cheeto dust all the while, are another fine example.

Some people just don't get science and technology, and others simply are happy that most of the time it works. I know how a car works, but I have no interest in getting out a box of tools and going to work on one. Many of my gearhead friends just don't get how this is possible. It's easy. It interests you, not me. That the car starts and gets me where I want to go is quite enough, thank you.

Is this some recipe for disaster as some have conjectured? No. For so long as there are cars, there will be mechanics. So long as there are puzzles to solve, there will be those of keen mind and insatiable interest to solve them. If science and tech trips your trigger, bully for you, as I know personally how compelling that world can be. But not knowing or caring about it has yet to claim our society, and just for the record, there is nothing new about that mindset at all.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:42 AM

4. k and r--and, sadly, the anti-science, anti-intellectual crowd wants to keep it that way.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:48 AM

5. Hey, I built that

At least the solid rocket booster and external tank parts.

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Response to skydive forever (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 11:50 AM

7. cool!

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Response to skydive forever (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:44 PM

29. I'm jealous!

I've always wanted to be a part of the space program, even if all I did was work in a NASA cafeteria.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 11:25 AM

6. It's miracles. Jesus done 'em. nt

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 11:53 AM

8. How few 'key' people could we lose......

before everything falls apart?

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:01 PM

9. We live in a society which expects us to be clothed.

And I don't know how to knit! I'm so fucked.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:07 PM

11. DURec

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:00 PM

13. hell yeah

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:08 PM

15. We need more STEM majors! LOL

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:17 PM

18. I'm okay

I can put the plug in, kick the damned thing till it works, and just push buttons and keys. till I get sound and pitchers. Technology no problem. I am enjoying it.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #18)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:44 PM

22. Sound and pitchers?

Where did you get a TV that dispenses beer?

I so want one of those...

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #22)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:50 PM

23. beer?

the tv beer is in the pitcher, in color, comes with people laughin and dancin...

The real beer is in the icebox.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #23)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:00 PM

25. You know, I think that's false advertising.

I've never had my beer come with people laughing and dancing.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #25)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 01:52 PM

40. U gotta leave the door open & hang a few baloons

Technology makes the baloons easier to inflate.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:20 PM

19. It's called SPECIALIZATION, genius.

It's what great societies allow people to do: specialize in one thing while others
specialize in others. Know what we depend on more than science and technology?
Eating. Good thing some people opted out of the mandatory particle physics courses
to learn to grow, process, distribute, market, and cook food, huh?

Also, I'm guessing Carl Sagan had a toilet in his ivory tower for those rare occasions
when he took a SHIT. How fortunate for him that someone tore themselves away
from Kurt Godel monographs to learn how to build and maintain indoor plumbing
and wastewater treatment.

And as I recall, he always managed to wear a nice thick turtleneck and a tweed jacket.
Did the people at the Institute for Advanced Study have a loom where they made those
things, or did he go to a place where mass-produced clothing of quality could be purchased?

And so on.

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Response to Dreamer Tatum (Reply #19)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 04:17 PM

34. You could also take the statement at face value:

He could just be making an observation. It doesn't have to be a value judgment.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #34)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 01:51 PM

39. True.

But I do believe him to be making one. Of course, the context of that quote would be nice.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 03:42 PM

32. there is only a "critical mass" of the specialized knowledge needed...

and enough coming out of schools to maintain it.

Hardly anyone needs to know science and technology, unless they are the ones developing it.
Otherwise, one only needs to know how to use it.

Like the computer we are typing on.
I don't need to know how LCD's work, ohm's law, how a crystal works, or most of everything else.
I only need to know how to use it.

People specialize.

Of course, science and technology is fun to know, as then one can take part in discussions and dream of jet packs.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 06:17 PM

36. +1 K&R nt

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