It’s been obvious for decades that depending on conventional power must end. Nuclear generation is no exception. This article in Forbes Magazine – If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive? by Michael Shellenberger – leaves critically important information out in the cold. The most glaring omission is his failure to disclose his advocacy on behalf of nuclear power. .
The True Costs of Energy
The author’s speculation about pricing in the conventional and fledgling alternative energy sectors amount to nothing more than distractions – red herrings. Context matters. Not long ago, the alternative route was prohibitively expensive. Only recently have costs dropped to a point where the investment can be seen to pay out in the long run. Cheaper today, yes – but still not cheap.
The new solar and wind technology must also first build it’s infrastructure. The initial costs can’t reasonably be compared to existing, mature systems.
All energy technologies were heavily subsidized in the beginning to offset high first-time expenditures. Typically, tax dollars shouldered the lion’s share. The consumer is dinged more directly than in the past to cover this latest start-up.
There are many bugs in the new system yet to be worked out. Inefficiencies, while they should be declared up front, are common when new technology rolls out.
As start-up costs are recovered and adaptation to the new kind of supply structure stabilizes, the price of the product will more reflect the actual generation and delivery costs.
The short-term pain is accepted in favor of the long term gain.
More Comparing of Nuclear and Conventional Apples to
Solar and Wind Oranges
Three heavy users of nuclear power are claimed to have the lowest energy costs. And a few areas where costs have increased are linked with closure of nuclear generating plants.
It’s obvious that areas not paying for new infrastructure will be laying out less money than those who’ve made the commitment to replace unsustainable technology.
Let’s not forget that decommissioning a power plant isn’t free or a close-it-and-forget-about-it deal.
Leaving these factors out skews the context enormously. There is mention of the fracking revolution, but it seems rather detached from the latest economic reports. But I digress. What is the main point?
The Real Costs of Nuclear Energy that
Solar and Wind Stop Cold
Safe, or economically attractive, ways to deal with nuclear leavings and their endless after-effects don’t exist. And we are all are inescapably stuck paying for the pursuit of managing it all.
The health-care and tax bills that result keep growing and will continue to do so.
Who had the right to paint humanity into this corner?
Unfortunately, even a total moratorium on nuclear-related activity is no more than a band-aid. And for the countless numbers of people and environments already impacted, it’s far too little done far too late.
There’s no escaping the burden of attempting to protect health and rights for ourselves, and all who come after us.
Money Does NOT Talk – or Think, Either
Just mull of over how different things would be had those responsible for allowing nuclear industry in the first place used their common sense instead of their calculators?
How would it be if they’d put the health of the planet we all depend on, first – even if critical thinking wasn’t their forte? How would it be now if the effort went into solar and wind power forty years ago?
At the very least, we’d be free of the ongoing human and economic costs of disasters already created. And we’d also be free of the constant effort required to ensure there are no more.
Nuclear Power Has Always Been the Wrong Way
Down a One Way Street
The mental and financial energy wastefully and misguidedly poured into nuclear development would have been available to create sensible power – and medical – solutions long ago.
People have lived on Earth without electricity for all but the equivalent of a mere blink in our history. We can easily adapt to doing with far less than we currently use.
This action would make solar and wind even more effective. And we’d have a far easier time of eliminating any more poisonous additions to our environment.
There Sure is More Than One Side to The
Among the many citations on Mr Shellenberger’s Bio Page is a TED talk called How Fear of Nuclear Hurts the Environment.
Those who understand the reality of radiation pollution are not reacting out of fear and ignorance. They are actively working to protect human health and that of the planet. Anyone claiming otherwise is making a gross misrepresentation.
I whole-heartedly agree with the reasoning that obligation to report fairly and accurately must be upheld on all issues.
The surviving victims of the nuclear industry are equally and legally entitled to be heard without pre-judgment. And this counts for those affected – but don’t know it, yet.
The people who labor and research to help them – and us all by default – also have the same right to be fairly represented.
Our Descendants Have Been Robbed of Their Rightful Say on the Nuclear Legacy
Pandora should never have been let out of the box. But we can – we must – decide to do far, far better from here on in. There are many alternatives already. There are sure to be many more discovered.
Some may think it too expensive, but this is relative to whether they just consider at- the-tap dollars and cents or the true, never-ending price. The bottom-line is environmental safety, not money.
The war against bad teachers is in full swing. Teacher tenure is believed by some to protect the worst teachers. This is apparently sufficient justification for fighting to eliminate it. And I do appreciate the author passing on the news, but do google it. There are many other articles discussing the woes in the educational field.
Tenure certainly isn’t the only target.
A study mentioned in the same report,, claims that one year of exposure to the worst teaching could cost a class full of kids 1.4 million dollars in adult income.
The research is based on English and Math scores compared to tax earnings.
A very interesting study, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since it’s debut. But Mr Chetty’s conclusion is still generating oodles of controversy, so I include it:
Reward high value teachers and fire low value ones.
Don’t bother to investigate what led to the disparity in teaching quality? Just base everything on outcome? Just throw money at it? Nothing else to learn here, folks – move along?
What Does Standardization in Education Mean?
Can you imagine a system for building a basic, reliable car where the rules differ, not just in every region, but even routinely diverge between manufacturing plants? Even from individual worker to worker? It might be considered miraculous that any of the cars turn out to be functional. It would certainly be no surprise that those from some areas fall apart, and that a mixture of results from each region are also noted. But instead of implementing a consistent standard for all, differences in manufacture are examined and fought about endlessly.
Rather than prompt us to come up with a workable, effective blueprint to guarantee quality, all eyes go to the failures. And from these are generated endless blame. All efforts focus on correcting minutiae, case by case, sometimes all the way to the top levels of the courts.
Laws definitely matter, but don’t do much good if they aren’t uniform or are inconsistently applied. Since the educational laws are in obvious disarray, it would make sense to begin with putting them straight, wouldn’t it?
If there’s no standard, there’s no basis for quality assurance – and no way to evaluate properly, either.
Blaming and extolling – labeling teachers as bad or good, high or low value, or what ever black or white categorization is currently in vogue, are reasoning errors for a reason. Wars and fights, too, come of faulty reasoning – not to mention much of this isn’t even legal.
Theses approaches are inexcusable substitutes for properly thought-out action.
All Kids are Entitled to an Education
Does anyone dispute that all children should have the right to learn properly? In order for this to happen, laws must be universal and strictly held to. Regional, or any other variation, is not allowed. It isn’t about testing, tenure, pay-checks, or any of the other red herrings commonly mistaken for cause.
It isn’t about groups or individuals, regions, or any other imaginary subdivision. Everyone in the educational system must learn and hold to the same rules.
The basic laws already exist and come ahead of all others. They are the very foundation of reasoning and consistent development of common sense.
Authority is Not a Person or a Group
These basic laws are the authority. No matter what level of responsibility any individual or group occupies in the system, all are responsible to – and are never above – them.
People who aren’t consistently taught about human and civil rights don’t understand them properly – and don’t know how to protect – much less teach others – about them. Think back to your own school days. Which teachers did you do best with? The ones who consistently treated everyone fairly and equitably? What about those who favored some over others or maintained other biased practices?
Can kids be expected to learn about and respect fundamental laws from educators and proponents who assume that declaring war, fighting, blaming and singling people out for attack are acceptable means?
Should we just assume that monetary reward and hiring and firing practices are solutions, rather than band-aids? Is the value of an education all about how much we earn later on? Turn the clock back a few hundred years. Was winding up financially well off on the labour of slaves any measure of quality? Anyone can become successful if they have the means to keep others working – or even thinking – for them. Remove the money. What’s left?
Rights are for Everyone
Discrimination is a huge and illegal barrier to effective learning – and quite a bit more. No one learns properly in a biased atmosphere, no matter which side of the line they are on.
Solid common sense relies on solid understanding of the rules. Without this understanding, what’s viewed as progress is no more than a series of patch jobs. The same old problems keep cropping up as the band-aids fall off. Even those who do manage to learn well don’t reach potential. And over time, the errors keep eroding progress until there are so many problems, the majority lose hope of ever straightening the mess out.
I shot an arrow into the air and where it lands, I know not where.
Standard Law of Gravity – what goes up must come down. We learn common sense by experience, to a point. But if we want a better educational – or any other kind of – system, we must maintain a steady and accurate aim. The primary goal is to repair the core issue – making the rules – and the value of the reasoning behind them – understandable to everyone.
Confidence comes of knowing what’s fair and equitable. Many of us gained much of our determination by struggling against firmly entrenched rights infringements. Doing it this way works, but there are far better alternatives. Teaching kids directly to protect their own and others rights eliminates time wasted on unreasonable distraction. The mind’s energy is freed from this unnecessary detour.
The real point – learning – receives the attention it deserves.
This kind of education is independent of situation, location, circumstances or subject. Standing up for and protecting the laws that protect us all – and doing it in full respect of them – must become second nature. These values need to be in place as the heart and brains of the system. And any laws – along with the mish-mash of reasoning errors currently making the rounds – that don’t back this goal must be eliminated or altered appropriately, ASAP.
Very few of us have had the opportunity to learn how to learn as well as we’re capable of, but there’s no time like the present to stop the battles and move forward.
It’s assumed that radical changes are needed to live within the resource boundaries of the planet. This idea reminds me of the saying attributed to Albert Einstein – “We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that led them.”
Is the idea of radical change a show-stopper?
It’s not rocket science. Each of us need clean air, water, food and shelter. There’s nothing radical about human needs – they simply need to be met. These days, the opportunity to be educated – to learn – it’s commonly thought of as need as well. This is fine, as long as we don’t trap the idea of education into the confines of “educational system”. There are so many ways to learn outside of this venue, it almost goes without saying that what ever conventional education a person has is just one piece of his or her mind-evolving launch pad. No matter what we’ve learned or how we’ve learned it to date, what counts is what we figure out from this point forward.
Energizing the Ideas
Electricity – both the generation and consumption – is just one resource hog of many. But what we can learn to do as we straighten out the balance here, applies to other places requiring attention. In many ways it isn’t even a case of learning – just using what we already know more effectively … uh, understanding better.
Home Power – Unhacked
Some think this is radical. It isn’t. It’s quite possible to meet needs for electricity with this. There’s nothing special, extreme, or otherwise freaky, about it. Billions would be happy to have this much electricity. What’s needed is to stop trying to meet wants. Sustainable energy with wants as a bottom line is a dead-end. When attempting to reduce and re-balance use, a clear distinction between want and need must be kept front dead-center while thinking.
The resources required to convert the typical western household, factory, school, grocery store, office building – or most other modern example of infrastructure – to renewable electricity isn’t feasible. Power is eaten up at levels far beyond anything sensible. Conservation is the foundation of alternative energy. Building the roof before the footings are in isn’t just lousy math.
Computers, Mind Power and Reality
Once needs are clearly defined, there’s something else to get into the picture. It’s not just about physical resources. If the brains poured into things such things as computers were directed to refrigeration, an affordable, sustainable fridge that runs on a 9 volt battery for years would be something we’d already take for granted.
It’s not difficult – or radical – to begin with foundations. Robotics, medical cures, fossil fuels, psychology, space travel, marketing etc., all chew up mega-tons of mind power. Redirecting the focus so the main effort goes to health – promoting, planet-respecting practices and technology in the areas of soil, water, heating, co-operatives, cooling, nutrition, reasoning … doesn’t take any more energy than the equivalent of turning the steering wheel a little.
Setting priorities properly and recognizing radical change for the ordinary, every-day stuff that it is lead the way to sustainable progress. We’ve been told since we were small to use our heads. Considering how best to do this and then getting it into gear belongs at the top of the to-do list.
As people devote more and more intelligence to specialties, how do the general “all-around” smarts come out at the end of the day? With the bulk of the effort concentrated on such thin slices of reality, the time – or energy – to gain and maintain awareness and competence in other areas can’t help but fall behind.
There are attempts to reduce the isolation. Universities are combining specialties to combat the silo effect, but it’s unlikely the net result will be enough to balance things out.
As the roads to knowledge continue to divide, the common pool of information we all count on to learn from is over-loaded. The basic skills people share with the rest of Earth’s creatures – the ones nature develops to allow survival unaided in the world – are somewhat flexible. The environment is subject to change, and it seems the capacity to adapt is built in. But we don’t get to choose which features change, or how long it takes – so far.
Luckily people have the special option of adding to basic competency without waiting for nature to morph us. We make use of this feature quite a bit. But substitution, rather than addition, has become typical. How many are there left who’ve learned well enough to maintain as nature designed? And we’re adding more layers to this dilemma. Concern is growing. Are some technologies – and attitudes – interfering with learning how to use the skills we count on to learn in the first place?
What Builds Brain Power?
Literacy lit a fire under ingenuity. This more effective way to share knowledge and improve understanding spread across the globe. But these days, it’s being crowded out in favor of scanning, viewing, listening – methods of information intake with quite different effects on the brain and learning. What the result will be isn’t clear, but it might be time to remind ourselves :
There’s nothing yet discovered nearly as complex as the human mind.
Only the barest beginning has been made in exploring this potential.
We hear all about advances in artificial intelligence. But where do we find out about effective ways to improve on our own? Incessant sensationalizing is usually featured with news of the clever machines – along with bashing human intelligence. And what’s left out of the up-sell?
Human minds are so different from machine imitations, there’s no way to compare.
People use their minds to invent and refine some really useful tools, but the real action is between our ears.
And … finding out how to do the absolute best with what we have must be moved to the top of the research pile.
De-specialize, Adapt … or Something More?
We learn continuously, even if we don’t much notice. But the call is to do it more consciously, since it has so many benefits. At the very least, it seems to be the equivalent of exercise. Use it or lose it, applies to more than just our muscles. Some work out by trying to keep up with all the specializing going on … but there must be easier options.
Maybe it isn’t so much the subdividing of learning we should be concerned with. It’s a huge universe. Just keeping up with investigating ourselves and the planet could take millions of thinkers. A way around specializing doesn’t seem possible, given what we know at the moment, anyway. So what can be done to make important information readily accessible and understandable for specialist and non specialist people alike?
Maybe we take communication too much for granted but it’s central to clear thinking. Plain, direct and accurate terms would go a long way to improve cross-talk between specialties. To help the general audience stay in the loop, we have to insist those responsible for reporting, do it … responsibly.
It’s no secret that current news spreading habits have serious deficiencies … sensationalizing is just one unwelcome pain-in-the-brain to be rid of. Halting the endless spin-doctoring that’s choking our primary learning channels would be an awesome move forward. Imagine sitting down to a smooth, uncomplicated time-out to catch up with what’s really going on. Wouldn’t this be a refreshing change? It might even be healthier for us.
Sure, the mental equivalent of slogging through a swamp full of nonsense in hope of finding something of substance is exercise. But would anyone just exercise one leg or one arm? By the time we’ve dug through all the useless – and too often misleading – verbiage, there isn’t much energy left to go hunting for something worth bothering with. And the kind of thinking that needs the work-out the most doesn’t even get a warm-up!
The distinction between entertainment and reporting new information has become almost non-existent in every form of media. It’s time to demand it’s return. Reports don’t have to be boring, but do need to stick tight with reality. When most of the information is only included to create the immersive experience, there’s no room left for the news!
Junk-free access to information is just a start on improving communication and understanding. But as the trash disappears, under-served ways of thinking regain their share of the juice. And with this, more ideas for adding improvements come along. Once these settle in, even more ideas have the chance to appear. In time, pumping-up-the-mind moves towards a self-sustaining, balanced routine of aware, continuous learning.
It’s often said, What we can imagine, we can achieve. It might not be entirely the case, but with the potential we have just hanging around, fretting about limits could be a little premature.
Nature provides, but how it all comes about is still one of life’s biggest mysteries. And mind is a concept of widely – and frequently wildly – differing interpretations. Where nature and mind meet, we find the burning question – how do we evolve awareness and thinking?
Few answers, but would it be a surprise to find that improving on accurate understanding of reality is at least on the agenda? If survival and reproduction are basic biological imperatives, then mastery of figuring out what’s really going on would be a huge contributor to ensuring we continue as a species into the future.
It’s not hard to imagine that the better we are at reality checking, the fewer potentially lethal errors we’ll make. But there’s still so much we don’t know. The idea of there being a top end to having a solid handle on it all seems a little remote. There are signs of progress, though – and some obvious clues of what to pay attention to.
The spread of literacy sparked an upsurge in human curiosity. Inventiveness really took off. The most notable activity has been in the:
What You See Isn’t What You Get Department
People have come up with theories and tools that make what’s invisible – and beyond our capacity to hear, feel, smell, or taste, real to us in ways we wouldn’t have much hope of ever developing naturally – at least as far as we know at this point. But this kind of ingenuity – moving us from our concrete experience of ourselves, each other, and the world – to what exists but can only be understood indirectly, points to what needs more attention.
Objective thinking – our logical, critical, empirical and ethical ways of understanding reality have their subjecting thinking counterparts: curiosity, intuition, imagination and prediction. And these last four faculties are the most needed when attempting to discover what’s for real in the invisible world. How is it that subjective mind – and the highly useful thinking it generates – not only gets the least attention, what little it does get isn’t very supportive? In fact, at times, the attitudes of many out-and-out undermine it.
Ideas Whose Time Came Along
Back in the day, many inventors – and other alternative thinkers – were viewed with suspicion. Theorists mostly kept their ideas to themselves and might not ever let them out of the bag unless they could come up with a workable way to demonstrate. Those who managed to come up with useful machines sometimes managed to convince the “right” people to pay attention. But who knows how many viable possibilities never saw the light of day?
No matter how doubting a person might be about intuitive and other subjective aspects of mind, it would be hard to imagine he or she wouldn’t appreciate the Geiger counter. It’s quite nice to be able to test for radioactivity and avoid death. And without the help of subjective mind, such a gadget would never have been conceived.
Airplanes out on air – something we only notice by touch, unless it’s blowing what’s visible or smell-able around. Diagnostic tools such as x-ray machines, CAT scanners are medical staples that make great use of what human senses just can’t pick up. Little things we so take for granted – radio, TV, computers, microwave ovens – all relied on using the other half of mind to explore what might be just out of reach of human energy detection.
Let’s face it, most of what we’re taught only considers the objective. The rest is limited to what’s regarded as proven – and widely taken advantage of for objective purposes. To go any further than this, we’re pretty much on our own. But even with all the evidence available, the subjective side of understanding reality can still rile up resistance from those who write intuitive thinking off as impossible, or worse.
Making the Most of What We Have Upstairs
The firing up of thinking capacity that reading seems to have triggered, has speeded progress. It’s possible that some of this savvy has at least somewhat altered human intelligence in heritable ways. Unfortunately, epigenetics is just at it’s beginning – only time will tell. But think of the potential if subjective mind were better understood and developed, even if nothing that could be passed on came of it. What kinds non – genetic evolving over generations might this might encourage?
What we can’t detect by biological means is the usual in our environment – and perhaps well outside of it. And this situation is reflected by the workings of our own minds. Learning to understand the kind of thinking best suited to deal with this reality rates at least equal time with the more conventional ways of inquiring and sussing things out. What’s yet to be detected between our own ears matters. It isn’t as though intuitive intelligence hasn’t demonstrated it’s incredible usefulness in concrete terms. Minds were meant to evolve – and the invisible possibilities here are begging for our notice.
“We have been fighting the gender pay gap for decades, we have tried everything,” Ms. Traustadóttir says. She says the most important principle behind the new law is to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
The pay equity gap has resisted change for forty years – along with other even more serious consequences of discrimination – everywhere you care to look. Sexism is blamed again and again, but the problem seems impossible to resolve. The saying, ” Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results isn’t sensible, ” comes to mind. What also comes to mind is that isms – you know, ageism, sexism, racism … – have been accepted as causes of unfair practices and attitudes.
Is this habit of categorizing blocking information? What could be missing? Many are targeted with pre-judgment – sweeping generalizations about groups of people without regard for facts or consideration for human rights. I also notice that each group has long fought to gain parity with those who’s rights are better respected – but still haven’t reached the goal. Maybe the isms, and the blame that goes with them aren’t causes. Maybe they are symptoms. And every single discriminatory one of them follow a similar pattern – people are reduced to objects of contempt, one way or another. Whether considered only deserving of low pay, not being hired at all, not fit to associate with, or a target to be taken advantage of, the source of the ignorance fits this profile:
Narcissistic viewpoint regards other people as property, belongings. Similarity and agreement are highly valued and more likely to be rewarded – and jealously controlled. Those viewed as being different or in disagreement are discounted, used, rejected, abandoned or driven off or attacked.
We’re born stuck in our own context – and as we grow up we learn that other people count as much as we do. We’re taught about human rights, rules, and various civic laws intended to protect us all from unfair and inequitable treatment. But some narcissistic habits manage to hang on. And some of these habits are so common they still seem acceptable to large majorities.
As people learn beyond society’s habits, the discriminatory discrepancies are recognized as interference with rights. The ones who catch on manage to show others, but can’t get across to everyone. Part of the reason for this could simply be mistaking the symptoms for the cause. But until the real cause is identified correctly, continued tough going can be expected. Punishment won’t eliminate it. No matter how stiff the band-aid applied to the symptoms, a full cure won’t be easily discover-able or reachable.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be penalties for breaking human rights and employment laws. But for effective – and permanent – solutions, the real cause has to be dealt with and the education caught up. The voluntary measures should have worked and clearly haven’t – and not just in Iceland. And it’s sure not just about pay equity. Discrimination never seems to sleep, and the reverse reaction to it is too often as biased – and even narcissistic – as the prejudice that triggered it.
Iceland’s latest attempt starts top down – and only takes one group into account. But for the rest of us, there are opportunities to contribute. It doesn’t really matter the category when hanging out in the locker-room, the back-room, or the board room. If the talk is narcissistic, it’s time for a change. Rights and fair treatment are for everyone. Shift to this view-point, rather than holding tight to ineffective, categorized groups and labels. No one deserves to be discriminated against. Every single voice counts equally in the need to make upholding the laws typical – and resorting to punishment as a control a thing of the past. One unanimous very well-informed group could be just the solution we’re searching for. Get the superficial patching up out of the way. Better answers are waiting just below the surface.
The news on research quality could be better. According to The Natural Selection of Bad Science, a new paper by Paul E Smaldino and Richard McElreath, Department of Cognitive Science , University of California/Max Planck Institute:
Poor use of methods in scientific research persist, in part, because of incentives that favor it. The most prolific publishers are the most successful, but the quality of work suffers. The professors note that replication helps, but state that “change must happen at the institutional level if there is to be any improvement.”
Another Possible Factor — Asleep at the Wheel? The Insomnia Study
Over-catergorization — of the sort that amounts to pre-judgement — is a frequent find if you’re looking for mind-sets that undermine the purpose of science.
But here’s a recent example of miss-categorizing altogether.
Thanks to the contribution of 23andMe customers, who’ve allowed the results of their personal genetic tests to be used for genetic studies, researchers had access to data from 1,331,010 people, to do what they are calling a genome — wide study of insomnia.
Quantity vs Quality
It most certainly is a huge study per the field of genetics — the biggest one to date, in fact. But despite the unprecedented amount of data — “genome-wide” is a bit of a stretch. And, although such testing has great potential, at this point only a tiny percentage of a person’s genetic information is revealed.
Genetic science has only just begun to examine each little bit of DNA, called SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms). There are vast numbers of SNP’s to be fully evaluated. Much of the research is at a very tentative stage. There are decades worth of work to test and replicate it all yet to be done.
So, while I was initially pretty excited by the announcement that a study of this size has finally become reality, I was completely let down by the researchers’ opening statement:
“Insomnia is the second-most prevalent mental disorder … “ Say, what?
Mental disorder? How on earth has sleeplessness come to be categorized as a mental disorder? Where is the evidence to back this claim? With so many factors to consider, and with the research to date so limited, there’s no reasonable basis for classifying insomnia as anything but a symptom. The researchers’ conclusion is entirely inappropriate.
The folks consenting to the use of their genomic data in this, and any other, study might want to sit up and take a look-see, here. I’ll definitely be paying much closer attention, not just to what the data is being used for, but also to the interpretations.
Critical analysis counts, and it’s obvious something has run amok. For science to be worth doing, it absolutely must be done properly. The assumption that insomnia is a major cause of mental disorder is just plain over the top.
Responsibility — It’s Time to Take it Seriously
If researchers want access to personal data, they need to be damned sure they’re using it strictly to rule. Jumping to conclusions rates as the baddest of bad science. Big numbers don’t count for much if the data isn’t evaluated accurately.
Genetic testing companies also have a deep responsibility — to protect their clients’ information. How their data is used in this investigation gets a big thumbs down!
And, while it’s heartening to see that reasons behind bad science are being looked at, more effort is needed to over-see and correct errors right now, no matter what the excuses for it turn out to be.
Contributors to this study are listed as: VU University, Karolinska Institutet, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Medical Center, 23andMe, Inc.,University of North Carolina; Pre-print of abstract link here.
You’ve seen the signs: Women’s Parking Only. The biggest complaint is it’s discriminatory. And yes, we get the point. But we might miss this one: over-categorization – taking it way too far – which often distracts from much more important information. In this case, the laws intended to protect people from harm need to be enforced. Creating special parking to control crime doesn’t work. It’s the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a broken leg. And along with the distraction over-categorizing leads to, we have another source – over-generalization.
We aren’t trees – we can move.
Sure. Some can afford to call a moving van, pack it all up and truck off to Happy Land just like that! Takes money, though. But what does this have to do with categories?
The Third World … an Imaginary Category
We all have the same right to live where we choose, but we don’t get to pick where we’re born. And chances are very good we don’t get to decide if the powers-that-be contribute to war or other grossly discriminatory action – and put innocent people in harm’s way. Some have a great need to move, but can’t without a lot of help.
But what would help the most? The money and effort poured into militarism would go a long, long way to repair, restore, and otherwise make sustainable, habitable and arable, areas of the planet devastated by war – and it’s fall-out – in the first place. People wouldn’t be forced to move nearly so often – maybe not at all. But the calls to end war do nothing. Those who won’t consider and end to war are too numerous. Education is still lacking. We have to look else where to help with useful change, for now.
War fall-out reaches far and wide from the original targets. As people who do find a way to move, along with those who choose to immigrate, spread out around the globe, more over-categorization shows up in the wake.
… and so on …
Are you asking why this last list is over-categorizing?
It’s just another bunch of labels – pre-judged pigeon-holes to stuff folks into. Time to turn it around.
One People Living on One World
Discriminating against one discriminates against all – UN Tolerance Day Learning to identify – and quit – discriminating, is what’s needed. And forgetting about categories is something we all can do to get rid of discrimination faster. Our rights are all the same. It doesn’t matter who or where we are, whether we’re coming, going, or staying put. We need to support each other, not divide up. Let go of the previously decided ideas – let more possibilities in. It’s a big world, a huge neighborhood, and an incredible amount of human potential.
Well, the dictionary doesn’t help much:
1: A confidence and satisfaction in oneself
2: Self conceit
I hear the most about low self esteem – those who don’t think themselves good enough. Good enough doesn’t tell us much either. I can’t imagine trying to assess my own self esteem this way, but I’ve heard and read of it plainly intended as something meaningful – as something I should be able to interpret and use a standard. But good enough compared to what or who? And what do comparisons have to do with it?
Another common definition is the sense of how capable one is. OK, confidence counts, but a can-do or a can-learn attitude doesn’t guarantee that a person has good enough self esteem. There’s some talk of liking – or even loving – ourselves, respecting ourselves, knowing where we fit in. But none of this hits the nail on the head, either.
Value, Worth … or Respect?
Even the word esteem might not be the greatest choice. It implies value. And this idea carries a simplistic, superficial quality that seems more appropriate for property. People certainly aren’t property!
We hold many things in high esteem – gold is called precious due to it’s high monetary value. Sometimes people are tagged as precious, too. And sometimes this is just a bit too, too.
High self esteem fits the dictionary description of self conceit fairly close. This attitude is we run up against idealizing, aggrandizing, entitlement.
But we’re stuck with the inadequate words for the time being, at least, so I’ll try to make the best of it. Esteeming people might be viewed as recognizing each and every one of us has our own potential. While potential isn’t equal or identical for each, the opportunity for growth within it is.
But I began with self esteem, didn’t I? Hmmm … the word self leaves something to be desired, too. Esteem only considered in the self-context just doesn’t work very well. What ever my views of my own potential, I can’t seem to get away from the idea that to keep my assessment of my own potential in perspective, I have to be aware of everyone else.
Those who have solid self esteem, although they tend to work toward their goals on their own, are found to work with ideas and activities that help others reach their own potential in some way or another. It isn’t just about themselves.
There are just too many examples of those who have all the appearance of success, but obviously hit the heights at the expense of others. Respect for people’s potential is low or even missing altogether. Interference with, rather than support of, others progress is typical. The idea that real self-esteem needs to be co-operative with other esteem to hold it’s own stands out.
Context and Balance
This is getting windy, so I’ll attempt to pare it down some:
Balanced Esteem – respect for and understanding of, one’s own potential in the context of respect for, and understanding of, everyone’s potential.
And maybe, rather than going along with the popular drive to be successful, discovering more about, and setting off in directions more in keeping with, our individual possibilities, even if they aren’t typical, might be the most balanced esteem promoting goal.
Who’d of thunk it? Researchers have been awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize (Switzerland, Canada, The Netherlands, USA) for results that are the first to show that. The aim was to determine if this training could reduce daytime sleepiness in those with sleep-apnoea and snoring related difficulties and was accomplished by playing a didgeridoo for at least twenty minutes on at least five days per week.
Want to check out more of the 2017 Ig Nobel Awards?
Think of a subject that you really didn’t like when you were in school – or right now, if you’re a student.
Which one, if any, of these three approaches would encourage you to at least investigate further, if not fully pursue, the disliked subject?
a) It’s been pointed out to you the many ways you could benefit by paying attention and learning this subject.
b) It’s been pointed out to you the many ways that not paying attention and learning this subject could limit your option
c) It’s been well demonstrated to you: that paying attention to this subject could benefit both your understanding of yourself, other people, and the world – as well as inform you about this subject.
Maybe neither love nor money could persuade you to engage. Maybe great marks, great jobs, rapid movement to the top of the ladder – win, win, win – just wasn’t incentive enough. Perhaps not even the thought of lose – lose – lose – could push you. This is g
reat stuff – you aren’t easily influenced – but …
The first two approaches are in the same category as do it right, so you don’t get it wrong – either/or, black or white sorting. How often do you find only two possibilities in real world situations?
Notice that the persuasive/coercive approaches leave you out: your interpretations, your reasoning, your understanding. How what you take in
connects to you, as a human being, matters. How what you take in connects you to other human beings matters, too.
Bringing home the bacon and being good at what you do is something you value. But you aren’t just a projectile to be fired at a target somewhere out there in the business or academic jungle. Dancing to the tune of acquiring what you’re told you need to know isn’t the same as developing a personal – or a big – picture.
If what what we’re expected to learn rarely goes any where near the inner reason for learning – to grasp reality as well as possible – is it any wonder commitment to learning so often falls off? Loading the mind with knowledge – to get a good mark, a good job, or at least a good paycheck – is mostly concerned with the teaching of what to think. Learning about how to develop sound thinking – skills needed to pin-point what really matters to you in life, and to make well considered decisions by yourself, for yourself, generally come in a poor second.
It’s often said that success comes of loving what you do.
But love has so many definitio
ns. Caring about the growth of our minds is so often over-ridden by the constant noise of outside influence. If caring doesn’t kick in or is drowned out, very little is learned. Creative thinking, not unlike walking and talking, is mostly self-taught from picking up on others example. Recall a school subject you really liked. Did your appreciation have more to do with how what you were learning was put across than the subject itself?
Connecting to – and succeeding with – what we do, is thought to depend on learning skill sets. Following rules and methods found to be effective aids to learning is a good beginning. But the ideas and reasoning behind the mechanics need to come along for the ride. The weaker the idea that we can learn anything of importance from a source, the more slowly – or superficially – we learn. Method isn’t enough. Those most successful at learning see opportunities to increase understanding where many wouldn’t bother – or out and out refuse – to even look. If you haven’t read Viktor Frankl, give it a shot for an example.
It seems the initial willingness to connect is the deal maker or breaker – staying open to learning independently of the situation. Where we already do this was likely learned long enough ago, that it’s become automatic. We don’t notice what we’re actually doing when we engage – or what we’re doing when we don’t. From this idea, at least one possibility of ramping up more open, creative, thinking and learning comes to mind:
Re-discover the skills you already have:
Think about your favorite teacher, then consider what would have happened had this teacher taught every subject.
What was this teacher encouraging that helped you to engage with what you were learning?
Now think about a subject you liked no matter who was teaching – one you were motivated to find out more about on your own. Note similarities and differences in how you approached this subject compared to one you wished you didn’t have to take.
What ideas and approache
s are you finding out of this examination that you’d count on to connect – motivate engagement
no matter what the subject is, who’s instructing, or how it’s coming at you?
Of these ideas and approaches, which ones work best to keep you focused on discovering information that adds to understanding in general, no matter the situation or context?
Don’t set your mind – open it! Take the time to think about your most creative learning experiences – and put what counted most about them into words. The best methods and ideas are in there, just waiting to be withdrawn from the memory bank.