Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A family of foxes has set up again on the hill. There appear to be 3 to 5 pups, who spend most of their time wrestling and falling down the hill. A robin also is building a nest just above; about done in one day.

The 'transition' movement introduced a local currency recently. Some big shot in a church flew in to participate in a conference where the currency was introduced---now, that is truly local and sustainable, and legitimizes it. Authorized from on high: 'i'm transitioning, on a jet plane, i'll call, when i get back again".

The market penetration of these alternative currencies seems small, so they are like endangered species.

The NY Times had an article on this transition movement. They seem to combine a common sense 'green' consciousness which I learned about from the Harvard-educated Thoreau, with an apolyptic 'peak oil' type of scenario (which thrives in the era of the Matrix and the WWW), filtered through all the modern tools of MBA and management programs, with a dose of new age psychotherapy/behavior modification and social networking. But, it is a form of activism, so we must be grateful for this mild authoritarianism : "nudge, nudge".

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Science of Religion and the Religion of Science

This is an interesting article on the Two Cultures (C P Snow). The author is a philosopher and dislikes being told by a mathematician that he should be able to explain the shallowness of philosophy in a few sentences, while the mathematician lives in a very technical, and difficult world only accessible to an elite few. It is likely that alot of philosophy and literary theory are shallow, but the case is also true for alot of mathematics. One can ask why one needs 2 cultures (or more, such as the actual non-theoretical artistic set of creations) and how the allocation of interests is achieved, by biological processes or cultural norms.

One can compare this with fields such as neuroscience of decisionmaking, which is applied by market researchers and business school professors (who have to teach 'what da bizness is' ('14 and up') ) to justify their particular allocation of social resources.