Agreed. It really is depressing. At the moment one of my elder extended family members has been rendered completely disabled due to brain trauma and a few other horrifying incidents, so she must be fed through a tube. The tins of liquid diet recommended by the hospital turned out to be primarily high fructose corn syrup (!). That's the recommended diet for someone in constant bed rest (save a few exercises by therapists), and who CANNOT EVEN TASTE THE FOOD, so why would taste even be a consideration in choosing a high sugar diet? The Big Ag and food industries just have so much corn byproduct that they have to find a market for, so they push it everywhere.
There have been some studies lately suggesting that genetics are not quite the set-in-stone-for-life thing that we once thought: in fact optimal diet and exercise does improve one's genetics to a small degree. WHICH, has interesting societal implications over the long haul...
Actually, it's not even good policy for elite sociopaths if they want to reduce costs. Fact is, life expectancy is still high... we can keep sick and unhealthy people alive for decades, due to the incredible diversity of drugs and surgical procedures, paid for by insurance or medicare. In that sense this policy has created a HUGE drain on our society.
So, the only psychopaths this policy really benefits are the subset who own or are bribed by Big Pharma, and to a lesser degree the armies of cardiologists and dieticians who service this system. We are living in an age when heart disease is the #1 cause of early death. This and several of the other top causes are all directly related to a high-carb, high-sugar diet and lack of exercise. Almost 50% of American adults are on some medication permanently, and 20% of American children are on meds. It is pure insanity. Everything is an intervention rather than a prevention. Take, for example diabetes. You can get rid of it simply by a temporary crash diet (600 calories a day--preferably fats, proteins and vegetables), regular exercise, and then gradually moving back to regular caloric intake, punctuated by some intermittent fasting. In fact, we are finding that intermittent fasting is probably good for everyone. But there's very little money in this sort of cure, so instead we pump people full of meds and send them home to sit and watch TV or play video games.
I fume about this topic, because it is the overriding irrationality of our age. Mathematically speaking, our bad diet and lack of exercise is more dangerous to us than forgetting to wear seatbelts, drinking and driving, keeping loaded guns laying about, and dancing on our roofs during thunderstorms, yet we go on about these ways like unthinking cattle.
Oh. Weather might suddenly become unpredictable? I can't believe it! After these aeons of weather being so predictable and dependable... whatever shall we do???
The idea that weather will suddenly become way more unpredictable than before (whatever "before" is) has zero basis in science. Pure fearmongering. The world has always had unpredictable and changing weather, as well as changing landscapes. Which is why only an idiot (or a modern factory-farming civilization) plants only one kind of crop, and bets the farm (literally) on that crop.
I live in north-central Florida, which is sort of a nexus between subtropical and temperate zones. On a good warm year, I can grow bananas and pineapples. On a good cold year, apples and peaches. With short-term crops like vegetables, I keep an eye on which way temperatures appear to be leaning, and plant accordingly.
I know one thing: if our C02 levels go up, gardening and farming gets a whole lot easier. It's common practice to pump CO2 into greenhouses in order to optimize growth of tomatoes, peppers, etc...
Ironic that they complain about "greenhouse gasses". Humankind's perfect answer to this problem is to for everyone to plant a garden. That will not only make us healthier but will have an actual effect on our relationship to the "energy crisis", resulting in a lot less transportation of goods.
I see. A harm. Caused by a choice not to do something.
Because, something must be done.
Which is a way to rationalize, I want to do something.
This is exactly the kind of attitude that led scientists to create the atomic bomb, even though there was a niggling doubt somewhere in there. Something about the possibility of a chain reaction that could destroy the whole world. But I mean, it was a very very... very VERY small possibility. They took comfort in that. Risking all mankind is worth it to make your dream project a reality.
Meanwhile, there are types of risks that represent a known downside, but potentially wildly good upside. These are the kinds of risks we should be identifying and preparing to tackle.
Bingo. That's Taleb's "Antifragile" concept. Why take uncertain risks for a very limited upside? The upside is known and represents a few percentage points in gain for crop production (mostly to benefit large corporations). But the downside is really NOT KNOWN. To say we know when we've never been there before is the height of hubris.
Ah yes... all possible occurrences are "completely predictable". Keep telling yourself that.
You don't get the concept of Black Swan. To put it in simple terms, certain types of low probability occurrences aren't a problem... until they are. And if you haven't prepared for that, it might be too late.
Someone posted a partial quote and this link in another thread. You might find it interesting and relevant with-regard-to the above sentiment: The Death of Expertise
I think it applies to a great many of the posts here on
Yes. Thanks for the link--interesting. I'll have to digest that a bit. He talks of the death OF expertise, while "Death by expert" is a phrase that keeps crossing my mind when I think about our civilization's trajectory. All those experts out there clamoring for buy-in, and sneering at the clueless masses... but if anything, the 20th and 21st century have shown us that experts are remarkably bad decision-makers. Obsessive knowledge of a specialty leads to myopic thinking. In the courtroom of life experts should be thought of as the clerks to the evidence room. Either that, or experts should be made to risk their own skins on their predictions and recommendations... something they are increasingly loath to do.
Re:I'm all in favor... (Score:1)
by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) Alter Relationship on Monday October 27, 2014 @04:41PM (#48245065) Journal
"Ancient thought patterns" have done nothing to move people beyond simple huts. It is reality itself sorely in need of modern asskicking as it is reality that gives disease and starvation.
Huts? You see... this is the sort of idiocy I'm talking about. Maleducated nitwits who think everything important was conceived of after 1914 or something.
A question, Mr Impy: Where does algebra come from? Whence the roots of logic? These things did not originate in the civilized West. Like I said, we have amazing technical and technological proficiency, civilizations has existed before all that. To this day our best philosophers would still struggle to cross swords with the best thinkers of ancient Greece, Rome or China. Come back when you've learned a little history.
and absolutely no significantly measurable negative ecological/human impacts
You should try reading the actual paper. Taleb's precautionary principle comes from the acknowledgement that tiny, insignificant changes can become huge changes quite quickly, and quite suddenly, and that risk is a much more complex thing than most modern scientists acknowledge. That's the whole point of his warnings regarding Black Swan events. If you only look at the here-and-now small dangers and never prepare for the extended big ones, it's the big ones that get you in the end.
Even better, read Taleb's later book "Antifragile". He lays out the wisdom of some more ancient thought patterns that the West has eschewed to its detriment.
I'm starting to think that Western culture (especially the modern evolution of it) is a giant case of Aspberger's syndrome. Technically proficient and able to endlessly sort details but lacking in wisdom or deeper understanding.
Is this... for real?
I mean... [[[boggle]]]
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