Comments on others’ blogs

May 25, 2006 at 8:02 pm

Seeing as how I'm better parasiting off other people's words than writing stuff on my own. Here are a few comments I've left on other people's blogs as of late that are basically long enough to constitute a blog post.

From Uncertain Principles

While I agree that running education and research as businesses or using a capitalistic model, what is your model for education etc? I've had the idea as of late that a socialist system with complete (and by complete I mean every aspect of the operation is open source and traceable with personal privacy for the lives of the workers) might be a better way to reduce the problems in education funding and the bottlenecks in the spread of ideas (the u.s. system maintains little central planning which is both nice and a curse in that each city or school district has to choose to adopt newer forms of educational theory and practice which in the end means debate must occur, but in reality has more to do with city government change and getting people who are engaged with education into power). My point being, what if grades and everything else were open source? If scientests could comment directly on experiments, text books, and lesson plans, economists could compile data sets instaneously from the information available, etc.?

As for health care I'm not so sure. Billions are lost by businesses each year developing drugs, further socializing the system would mean putting price caps on drug prices in an industry in which prices need to fluctuate a lot to make up for the cost of research. In the end the companies spending and losing billions and paying taxes to do it no less, would have to be subsidized by the government, unless you're proposing that researchers could just live for free and the government pays for all the research stuff such as in Cuba. What strikes me a better component is to actually enforce patent and copyright law and makes the thousands of no longer commercially viable drugs developed over the past 100 years into generics that would take down the price of providing health care to those who can't afford it.

But what is your plan?

From GAM3R 7H30RY

  "It’s difficult to believe in a person who lives ‘entirely’ in the cave " I live in Taipei. I don't speak chinese, I don't speak Taiwanese (I am learning though). Everyday after work I play counter strike for one hour (most days 2) and then maybe play around in second life for an hour or two. First, in Asia I've seen entire families and individuals that live in computer bars you commonly find people sleeping in them while their game is still running. In Korea, where many families have small apartments attached to their businesses, some families literally do live in PC bars and sit around farming for each other in WoW. But this is beside the point because these people's circumstances are different than the assumed life the character on these pages has beyond the cave, your point seems to be the character in the novel's conscious decission (at least here on page 2) seems unrealistic, he seems like a Kathyron Biglow creation, someone to promo to be really real. And I do agree that his absence of curiosity at the real world reeks of a Baudrillard distyopian personality more interested in submitting to the gentle worlds of condemenation than displaying the natural curiosity that humans seem to carry around with him. Anyway, I've wondered off to far. Page 2 is interesting becuase the character for a second thinks the real world is less exciting than the game world in the cave. But is this point really that far from reality? People spend hours mining gold in MMORPG or fragging in FPSes, these games sucessfully simulate an environment that appeals to us more than the reality sorrounding us. They provide instant feedback for your work. After all when you're at your "real work" you're not usually aware of how many points, successes, of money you're cracking up per hour/ per minute/ per player etc. As both John Carmack and the pyschologist K. Anders Ericsson have pointed out, it's often experiences that provide immediate feedback that draw us in enough to master them. From Carmack: " I started programming on an Apple II a long time ago, when you could just do an “hgr” and start drawing to the screen, which was rewarding. For years, I’ve had misgivings about people learning programming on Win32 (unix / X would be even worse), where it takes a lot of arcane crap just to get to the point of drawing something on the screen and responding to input. I assume most beginners wind up with a lot of block copied code that they don’t really understand." In other words, what surprises me about the boy who returns to the Cave is his reason. He returns because "the light" makes everything look "unreal" it seems more like the pointless futility of a strip mall would be reason enough to return to something that actually provides you with a reward for a decent day's work (and provides that reward in small lump sums of encouragement every 5 – 10 seconds no less). Further rambling: maybe what we need is pay per minute with a little tie in to producivity to make work in real life a little more exciting.

From Some French Guy (who I am now subscribed to). 

when you think about it in terms of power effecieny, walmart's streamlined delivery service with the coupling of different categories of products (i.e. food, clothing, electronics, and sports gear) into one building, they've probably had an effect in increasing power effecieny by taking out numerous smaller outfits and decreasing travel distance when it comes to shopping. Then again I might be wrong, but it would be interesting to see the what the power usage of the estimated 200 jobs that Walmart replaces per town compared to it's own usage. After all 5,000 centralized ACs are more effecient than say the 5 or 6 independent ones that would have comprised the original market Walmart replaced.

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links for 2006-05-25 Something that sucks about Last.fm


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