Archive for August 6, 2006

Random parts of a puzzle in money terms

In mario brothers there’s a level where you have to get a small mushroom and beat the boos to get to the secret level. What’s annoying about it is that even though the puzzle behind the level is pretty easy (drag the spring from a couple scenes back to the block, jump, and then wall jump so you can walk over the top of the level) being able to get the small mushroom is still based on chance, and man I’m not good at it. Hence the elements of the puzzle are deterministic I can solve easily with a few lives, but the chance part really messes up my chances of proceeding.

So often when we see inequality in a society it’s a argued that intelligence preceeds wealth, but most real world puzzles unfortunately aren’t steady regular bets on which you can build a life, like Mario Brother’s eternally switching blocks, the key to any puzzle is often the result of luck. Now let’s assume that life only has so many puzzles with chance based elements in it, that you only have to climb two buildings, double smash a couple boxes, running jump a couple casams, and then figure out the timing of 3 blocks and their interlocking patterns to reach the random box with the key to the next level. Now, if life only had a few of these puzzles then we’d see quite clearly that intelligence or some other prodigitic ability is the main factor in why some people are more sucessfull than others and such is the case in regular determined games such as sports or chess etc, but if life consists entirely of puzzles mixed with chance such as these, then intelligence doesn’t matter becuase regardless of how hard and amazing the path you took to a goal is, the other person could get their faster just by luck. That income inequality isn’t related to intelligence suggests that such is the case. That while you might be able to do incredible things with your limited options and environment, it’s utilimately hitting the right box at the right time that determines your tax braket.

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August 6, 2006 at 6:45 pm 1 comment

A rule someone else probably already invented

An incentive in any plan whether economic, physcological, or just someone giving a dog a bone is dependent on what that incentive means to the reciever and their interpretation of it. Hence any plan that rests on the idea of incentives driving people to a certian goal or standard will invariably fail as the people partaking in it not only become desensitized to it, but all begin to redefine the reward in their own mind. We do not have standard selves or standard meaning and the differences between what incentives mean to each individual means that you can’t get a steady response especially the simplier the reward becomes. (I think people often respond to complex issues similarly and simplier ones do their frequency meet with more different strategies).

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August 6, 2006 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

The unacceptable

The continued use of the “unacceptable” wether in the case of this documentary on “Jesus Camps
” by the left or by right wing outlet’s focusing on the most outrageous forms of say homosexuality are both inherintly conservative ideologies. They come with the insuation that one side is correct and should have the power to ban the other’s point of view. They are in spirit totaltarian and their message that look at what the other side is doing and you’re helpless to do anything about it (especially taken the current u.s. administration) is intended to goad the audience out of their former acceptance of pluralism wether in shopping, morals, religion, or government. These films seem to say look at the horrible abuses these people make when you let them do anything they want. I am reminded again of T.J. Demos’ article on Steve McQueen, while it’s hardly romantic enough to fit with the gist of my post it says, “Current documentary practices, for instance, may return to dangerously to precritical notions of representation that make problematic assumptions of transparency or neutrality… While politically activist and radical in rhetoric, the proposed transparency of a political signified may bring with it a paradoxically authoritative interpretive structure that forcloses an otherwise open and polyvocal field of meaning.” In other words, when we accept a documentary as “true” and take the genre of documentary as “transparent” or even neutral we make the mistake of missing the fiction created by the cuts made by the director (i.e. their qoutations in  film form) and the agenda evident by them. Hence when David Byrne says, “There were some perfect sound bites — at one point Pastor Fischer
instructs the little ones that they should be willing to die for
Christ, and the little ones obediently agree. She may even use the word
martyr, which has a shocking echo in the Middle East. I can see future
suicide bombers for Jesus — the next step will be learning to fly
planes into buildings. Of course, the grownups would say, “Oh no, we’re
not like them” — but they admit that the principal difference is simply
that “We’re right.
” a big flag comes up in my mind, here the director has taken a qoute and managed by implication to create an entire world of arguements not officially endorsed by the “neutral” director, but created by the audience itself. Mr. Byrne does seem smart enough to draw himself out of the trap of possibly endorsing an end to pluralism, “When one sees religion perverted — in the U.S. or in Israel, Pakistan,
Afghanistan or India, one wonders if the spiritual seeds, planted by
visionaries and enlightened prophets like Jesus, Mohammed, Marx and
others, are just too volatile for large societies to deal with. One
asks if religious visions are better off kept as a personal thing, or
at least confined to a small group — otherwise the death and
destruction sown by and in the name of religions more or less balances
out their moral and personal virtues (which are many.)” But as usual this also misses the point that conflict is necessary for there to exist more than one way morally or religiously, if we didn’t have culture wars this would imply no one is thinking about religion or morality or what’s right anymore. To host a pluralist system is to accept that people will always disagree. If it were the other way around, we’d be in harmony, but we’d also be rather boring.

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August 6, 2006 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

links for 2006-08-06

August 6, 2006 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment


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