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tsuomela : limits   21

The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman, Philip Fernbach | PenguinRandomHouse.com
"We all think we know more than we actually do.   Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it.   The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individual-oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the community around us. SEE LESS "
book  publisher  cognition  knowledge  bias  limits 
november 2017 by tsuomela
The real problem with distant reading. | The Stone and the Shell
"Because distant readers use larger corpora and more explicit data models than is usual for literary study, critics of the field (internal as well as external) have a tendency to push on those visible innovations, asking “What is still left out?” Something will always be left out, but I don’t think distant reading needs to be pushed toward even more complexity and completism. Computers make those things only too easy. Instead distant readers need to struggle to retain the vividness and polemical verve of the best literary criticism, and the  “combination of simplicity and strength” that characterizes useful social theory."
digital-humanities  distant-reading  scale  scope  limits 
june 2016 by tsuomela
James March on Education, Leadership, and Don Quixote: Introduction and Interview « 茫茫戈壁
"Starting off in political science and then moving through several disciplinary domains such as management theory, psychology, sociology, economics, organization and institutional theory, March’s academic career has been focused on understanding and analyzing human decision making and behavior. The basic thesis that he has pursued is that human action is neither optimal (or unboundedly rational) nor random, but nevertheless reasonably comprehensible (March, 1978, 1994, 1999). The ideas that were developed to understand human behavior in organizations in March’s early work in the analysis of how people deal with an uncertain and ambiguous world included, among other things, the concepts of bounded rationality and satisficing "
organizations  rationality  boundaries  limits  institutions  business  management  decision-making 
april 2012 by tsuomela
The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything : Monkey See : NPR
"The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers."
limits  culture  reading  experience  scale 
july 2011 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - The Limits of Policy - NYTimes.com
So when we’re arguing about politics, we should be aware of how policy fits into the larger scheme of cultural and social influences. Bad policy can decimate the social fabric, but good policy can only modestly improve it.

Therefore, the first rule of policy-making should be, don’t promulgate a policy that will destroy social bonds...Second, try to establish basic security. If the government can establish a basic level of economic and physical security, people may create a culture of achievement — if you’re lucky. Third, try to use policy to strengthen relationships. The best policies, like good preschool and military service, fortify emotional bonds.

Finally, we should all probably calm down about politics. Most of the proposals we argue about so ferociously will have only marginal effects on how we live, especially compared with the ethnic, regional and social differences that we so studiously ignore.
politics  ambition  government  policy  scope  limits 
may 2010 by tsuomela
The Way We Live Now - Going Offline in Search of Freedom - NYTimes.com
In my slightly less agonizing situation, the trap is more of a bait and switch: the promise is of infinite knowledge, but what’s delivered is infinite information, and the two are hardly the same. In that sense, Homer may have been the original neuropsychologist: centuries after his death, brain studies show that true learning is largely an unconscious process. If we’re inundated with data, our brains’ synthesizing functions are overwhelmed by the effort to keep up. And the original purpose — deeper knowledge of a subject — is lost, as surely as the corpses surrounding Sirenum scopuli.

It could be that sometimes our greatest freedom may be to choose freedom from freedom.
internet  culture  psychology  limits  creativity  attention  information-overload 
october 2009 by tsuomela
What Not Being Able To Buy Oil In Dollars Means | Crooks and Liars
The key break point, the end of the dollar hegemony, will come when the Chinese are able to move to a consumer economy. At that point, the Chinese will no longer need America as consumers, and they will let the Yuan float. The devastation this will wreck on the US economy is hard to overstate. Standards of living will crash. In the long run, being forced to live within its means, and no longer having to compete against massively subsidized foreign goods may turn out to be good for the US, but that won’t make you feel better as your effective income collapses or you lose your job.

This is probably two economic cycles out. We’re talking 12 to 16 years. So there’s time yet. Probably.
economics  america  resources  limits  peak-oil  oil  energy  currency  world 
october 2009 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - America’s Limits - NYTimes.com
America, forced by circumstance, is cashing out. It’s changing perspective, adjusting to a 21st-century world of new power centers. Obama’s new discourse was needed. But unless he can embody possibility in retrenchment — “everything money can’t buy” — I doubt he can carry the country with him.
america  exceptionalism  military  power  limits  foreign-policy 
october 2009 by tsuomela
Stumbling and Mumbling: Keynes & irrationality
You can’t open a newspaper these days without seeing some article about how people behave irrationally. What much of this writing misses, however, is that - for many practical purposes - it’s just impossible to behave rationally. The distinction between actually-existing irrational people and the desiccated calculating machine of economic theory is a false one - because the latter cannot exist.
economics  rationality  decision-making  limits  boundaries  about(JohnMaynardKeynes) 
september 2009 by tsuomela
The Limits of Arbitrage « The Baseline Scenario
...arbitrageurs, the very smart and talented traders at hedge funds who will take prices that are out of line and bring them back into line, making a good fee and making prices reflect all available information, the very building block necessary for EMH to work, can’t do their job if they are time or credit constrained. Specifically, if they are highly leveraged, and prices move against their position before they return to their fundamental value – if the market stays irrational longer than they can remain solvent – they’ll collapse before they can do their jo
finance  arbitrage  money  wall-street  banking  financial-engineering  limits  efficiency  markets  free-markets  debt  leverage 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Open Left:: "Energy Determines Biological Success"
Links to a number of Richard Heinberg videos on peak energy.
environment  energy  growth  limits  peak-oil  video 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Uncertain Principles: Defining Science
One group is trying to define science so as to exclude things that they find objectionable. The other is trying to define the common elements of science, so as to include all the things that they like.
science  definition  limits  borders  rhetoric 
january 2009 by tsuomela

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