Posts filed under “Science”
Fascinating discussion via Wired‘s Clive Thompson, and Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor, on Agnotology:
“When it comes to many contentious subjects, our usual relationship to information is reversed: Ignorance increases.
[Proctor] has developed a word inspired by this trend: agnotology. Derived from the Greek root agnosis, it is “the study of culturally constructed ignorance.”
As Proctor argues, when society doesn’t know something, it’s often because special interests work hard to create confusion. Anti-Obama groups likely spent millions insisting he’s a Muslim; church groups have shelled out even more pushing creationism. The oil and auto industries carefully seed doubt about the causes of global warming. And when the dust settles, society knows less than it did before.
“People always assume that if someone doesn’t know something, it’s because they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out,” Proctor says. “But ignorance also comes from people literally suppressing truth—or drowning it out—or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what’s true and what’s not.” (emphasis added)
Fairly amazing, and when it comes to certain issues, its dead on.
What an awesome definition:
Agnotology: Culturally constructed ignorance, purposefully created by special interest groups working hard to create confusion and suppress the truth.
How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge
WIRED MAGAZINE: 17.02TECH BIZ
via NYT > Source: The Chaos Inside a Cancer Cell NICHOLAS WADE NYT, December 25, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/science/25visual.html See Also: Why Early Detection Is the Best Way to Beat Cancer Thomas Goetz Wired, 12.22.08 http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-01/ff_cancer
Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how — if we see it in time — we can prevent it.
Note that he mentions the conflict of interests — when Elites “insulate themselves from the consequences of their decisions, advancing their own short term interests against the interests of overall society.”
Filmed Feb 2003
Jay Walker, curator of the Library of Human Imagination, conducts a surprising show-and-tell session highlighting a few of the intriguing artifacts that backdropped the 2008 TED stage.
About Jay Walker:
It’s befitting that an entrepreneur and inventor so prolific and acclaimed would curate a library devoted, as he says, to the astonishing capabilities of the human imagination. TIME twice named him one of the “50 most influential business leaders in the digital age,” and he holds more than 200 patents. Jay Walker’s companies — under Walker Digital — have alone served tens of millions of people and amassed billions in value.
A chunk of his net worth went into building this enchanting library space, whose exhibits (please touch!) go back, roughly, to the point our species learned to write, with a slight post-moveable type bias. Brimming with exquisitely illustrated books and artifacts (Enigma machine; velociraptor skeleton), the library itself is a marvel. Is it the glowing etched glass panels, or the Vivaldi piped from hidden speakers that gives it that je ne sais quoi? Maybe it’s Walker himself, whose passion for the stuff just glows. It’s apparent to those lucky enough to snag a tour.
At the 2008 TED Conference, Walker lent many of his priceless and geeky artifacts to decorate the stage — including a real Sputnik artificial satellite, a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet and a Gutenberg bible. After you’ve watched his talk, the WIRED article is a must-read.
“Walker shuns the sort of bibliomania that covets first editions for their own sake … What gets him excited are things that changed the way people think.” –Steven Levy, WIRED
This time of year, many investors are looking at their asset allocation, and stock selection. Perhaps they should be asking themselves, “How dense are my dopamine receptors?” As it turns out, some people process the brain’s “reward” chemicals differently, depending upon the number of receptors they have, The BBC reported on a recent study by…Read More