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tsuomela : failure   158

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Stumbling and Mumbling: Populists as snake oil sellers
Recap of research on why snake oil medicine cures were so popular in 19c.
political-science  success  failure  medicine  19c  fake-news  marketing 
april 2019 by tsuomela
The Betrayal of Democracy | Chris Lehmann
On finding Christopher Lasch in a Steve Bannon listicle
alt-right  populism  elites  elitism  1990s  culture  failure 
march 2017 by tsuomela
most people aren’t good at most things | Fredrik deBoer
"There are so many places where we’ve turned over functions once performed by experts to amateurs, and we’re consistently surprised that it doesn’t work out."
crowdsourcing  crowdfunding  crowds  wisdom  knowledge  failure  experts 
december 2014 by tsuomela
Inside the New York Fed: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash - ProPublica
"A confidential report and a fired examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of Wall Street’s top regulator—and its history of deference to banks."
the-fed  banking  regulation  regulatory-capture  failure  too-big-to-fail  economics 
september 2014 by tsuomela
Frank Rich on 'This Town' and Washington's Dysfunctional Bipartisanship -- New York Magazine
"The Stench of the Potomac Washington may be a dysfunctional place to govern, but it’s working better than ever as a marketplace for cashing in. And that’s thanks, more than anything, to the Democratic Establishment."
politics  money  lobbying  class  elites  power  democrats  failure  corruption 
august 2013 by tsuomela
Mark Bernstein: Wikipedia: We Should Have Known
Part of a series of posts critical of Wikipedia and its ability to remain successful given sockpuppets, the crazies, and byzantine rules.
wikipedia  wiki  crowdsourcing  distributed  intelligence  failure 
june 2013 by tsuomela
Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship - Charlie's Diary
"For a while I've had the unwelcome feeling that we're living under occupation by Martian invaders. (Not just here in the UK, but everyone, everywhere on the planet.) Something has gone wrong with our political processes, on a global scale. But what? It's obviously subtle - we haven't been on the receiving end of a bunch of jack-booted fascists or their communist equivalents organizing putsches. But we've somehow slid into a developed-world global-scale quasi-police state, with drone strikes and extraordinary rendition and unquestioned but insane austerity policies being rammed down our throats, government services being outsourced, peaceful protesters being pepper-sprayed, tased, or even killed, police spying on political dissidents becoming normal, and so on. What's happening? Here's a hypothesis: Representative democracy is what's happening. Unfortunately, democracy is broken. There's a hidden failure mode, we've landed in it, and we probably won't be able to vote ourselves out of it."
democracy  failure  government  neoliberalism  politics  political-science  post-democracy 
february 2013 by tsuomela
Science is only human – my talk on bad behaviour | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
"I did so at Bristol University last Friday, in a talk entitled “Science is only human”. The brief  from Professor Phil Langton, who invited me, was to shake the graduate students out of an early reverie of the scientific process, and discuss why that process sometimes fails. Here’s the description: The ideal, perhaps naive, conception of science is a self-correcting  march towards greater truth and understanding about the world around us. In practice, it’s done and published by people, and people can be  influenced by ego, motivated by power and swayed by personal biases. Science writer Ed Yong will talk about how this tension affects the conduct of science, its communication in the mainstream press, and how the internet is changing things for the better."
audio  science  failure  bias 
october 2012 by tsuomela
James Howard Kunstler on Why Technology Won't Save Us | Jeff Goodell | Politics News | Rolling Stone
"In his latest book, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation, Kunstler zeroes in on the central narrative of our time: that we are a highly evolved and technologically sophisticated civilization that will use our ingenuity and engineering expertise to come up with a solution to all the problems we face, from the end of cheap oil to the arrival of extreme climate change.  In other words, we're not going to collapse into the dust bin of history like the Mayans or the Easter Islanders, because we have iPads and antibiotics."
future  technology  optimism  pessimism  technology-cycles  environment  failure 
august 2012 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Organizational failure as a meso cause
"This is a good example of an effort to explain concrete and complex historical outcomes using the theoretical resources of organizational sociology. And the language of causation is woven throughout the narrative. The authors make a credible case for the view that the organizational features they identify caused (or contributed to the cause) of the large instances of military failure they identify." Annotated link http://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http://understandingsociety.blogspot.com/2012/06/organizational-failure-as-meso-cause.html
organization  military  failure  micro-meso-macro  causation 
july 2012 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Regulatory thrombosis
"What this all suggests is that the U.S. government and our political culture do a particularly bad job of creating organizational intelligence in response to crucial national challenges. By this I mean an effective group of bureaus with a clear mission, committed executive leadership, and consistent communication and collaboration among agencies and a demonstrated ability to formulate and carry out rational plans in addressing identified risks. (Perrow's general assessment of the French nuclear power system seems to be that it is more effective in maintaining safe operations and protecting nuclear materials against attack.) And the US government's ability to provide this kind of intelligent risk abatement seems particularly weak."
book  review  disaster  risk  government  regulation  regulatory-capture  business  congress  failure 
july 2012 by tsuomela
Next Time, Fail Better - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Humanities students should be more like computer-science students.

I decided that as I sat in on a colleague's computer-science course during the beginning of this, my last, semester in the classroom. I am moving into administration full time, and I figured that this was my last chance to learn some of the cool new digital-humanities stuff I've been reading about. What eventually drove me out of the class (which I was enjoying tremendously) was the time commitment: The work of coding, I discovered, was an endless round of failure, failure, failure before eventual success. Computer-science students are used to failing. They do it all the time. It's built into the process, and they take it in stride."
learning  education  discipline  humanities  computer-science  failure  success 
may 2012 by tsuomela
The Predator State | Mother Jones
Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature—a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy
economics  politics  public-interest  public  government  failure  predator-or-prey  state 
january 2012 by tsuomela
“Low information voters” and the political press » Pressthink
The blind spot is the point at which voters stop paying attention because the costs of figuring out what’s really going on are too high. But we could also define it as they point at which the press reverts to savviness because engaging the broader electorate is beyond its means or intention. When the parties discern where that point is, it’s open season for players who know how the system works.
political-science  politics  journalism  media  failure 
november 2011 by tsuomela
The Puzzle of Modern Economics: Science or Ideology? by Roger E. Backhouse - Powell's Books
"Does economics hold the key to everything or does the recent financial crisis show that it has failed? This book provides an assessment of modern economics that cuts through the confusion and controversy on this question. Case studies of the creation of new markets, the Russian transition to capitalism, globalization, and money and finance establish that economics has been very successful where problems have been well defined and where the world can be changed to fit the theory, but that it has been less successful in tackling bigger problems. The book then offers a historical perspective on how economists have, since the Second World War, tried to make their subject scientific. It explores the evolving relationship between science and ideology and investigates the place of heterodoxy and dissent within the discipline. It is argued that, though there are problems with the discipline, economics is needed to combat the myths that abound concerning economic problems."
book  economics  history  philosophy  failure 
october 2011 by tsuomela
Is protest in America at a turning point?
"Many journalists, it seems, pay lip service to the First Amendment, but turn their backs or grow disdainful when people actually exercise these rights in the streets. In such a climate, idealistic activists such as those at the tar sands pipeline and Wall Street protests, obviously, can be safely ignored by the major news media or condescended to as not being rooted in the practical, real world. Real grown-ups don’t need to protest."
media  media-reform  journalism  failure  protests  activism  wall-street  progressive  fairness  first-amendment  american 
october 2011 by tsuomela
California and Bust | Business | Vanity Fair
The smart money says the U.S. economy will splinter, with some states thriving, some states not, and all eyes are on California as the nightmare scenario. After a hair-raising visit with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who explains why the Golden State has cratered, Michael Lewis goes where the buck literally stops—the local level, where the likes of San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Vallejo fire chief Paige Meyer are trying to avert even worse catastrophes and rethink what it means to be a society.
state(California)  economics  money  politics  pensions  bankruptcy  debt  municipal  failure  government  near-far  future 
september 2011 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: Symptoms of the Bush-Obama Presidency
Obama’s pragmatism comes down to a series of maxims that can be relied on to ratify the existing order -- any order, however recent its advent and however repulsive its effects. You must stay in power in order to go on “seeking.” Therefore, in “the world as it is,” you must requite evil with lesser evil. You do so to prevent your replacement by fanatics: people, for example, like those who invented the means you began by deploring but ended by adopting. Their difference from you is that they lack the vision of the seeker. Finally, in the world as it is, to retain your hold on power you must keep in place the sort of people who are normally found in places of power.
obama  politics  president  pragmatism  ideology  failure 
august 2011 by tsuomela
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: On the rioting in London
"The current left is irrelevant, precisely because its first gesture, is to join with the powerful, in condemning it. It shows that the leadership of the current left is, in fact, on the side of oppression, so long as their own place in that oppression is more reasonable."
riots  city(London)  leftism  liberalism  law  failure  progressive 
august 2011 by tsuomela
ScienceDirect - Journal of Monetary Economics : Why do forecasters disagree? Lessons from the term structure of cross-sectional dispersion
"Key sources of disagreement among economic forecasters are identified by using data on cross-sectional dispersion in forecasters’ long- and short-run predictions of macroeconomic variables. Dispersion among forecasters is highest at long horizons where private information is of limited value and lower at short forecast horizons. Moreover, differences in views persist through time. Such differences in opinion cannot be explained by differences in information sets
forecasting  economics  success  failure  agreement  disagreement 
august 2011 by tsuomela
JOURNAL: Central Planning and The Fall of the US Empire - Global Guerrillas
"The answer is that an extreme concentration of wealth at the center of our market economy has led to a form of central planning. The concentration of wealth is now in so few hands and is so extreme in degree, that the combined liquid financial power of all of those not in this small group is inconsequential to determining the direction of the economy. As a result, we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces. A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth. The result was inevitable: gross misallocation across all facets of the private economy. "
economics  wealth  income-distribution  investment  failure  centralization 
august 2011 by tsuomela
Stumbling and Mumbling: Organizational failure
"Here’s a theory. It’s to do with organizational brittleness. Here are some background principles:
- The death rate for firms generally is high. Of the UK’s biggest employers in 1907, only three are still independent, stock market-listed companies today.
- Companies embody specific vintages of organizational capital. Their expertise depends upon the state of technology when they were formed. It’s rare for a firm to transform itself from one activity to a completely different one
banking  crisis  recession  knowledge  knowledge-management  failure 
august 2011 by tsuomela
elearnspace › Losing interest in social media: there is no there there
"Put another way, Twitter/Facebook/G are secondary media. They are a means to connect in crisis situations and to quickly disseminate rapidly evolving information. They are also great for staying connected with others on similar interests (Stanley Cup, Olympics). Social media is good for event-based activities. But terrible when people try to make it do more – such as, for example, nonsensically proclaiming that a hashtag is a movement. The substance needs to exist somewhere else (an academic profile, journal articles, blogs, online courses). "
social-media  failure  twitter  politics  social-movement  facebook 
august 2011 by tsuomela
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