Science and Engineering Indicators in America (2014)

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 years, 8 months ago to Science
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From the front matter:
Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) is first and foremost a volume of record comprising the major high-quality quantitative data on the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise. SEI is factual and policy neutral. It does not offer policy options, and it does not make policy recommendations. SEI employs a variety of presentation styles—tables, figures, narrative text, bulleted text, Web-based links, highlights, introductions, conclusions, reference lists—to make the data accessible to readers with different information needs and different information-processing preferences.

The data are “indicators.” Indicators are quantitative representations that might reasonably be thought to provide summary information bearing on the scope, quality, and vitality of the science and engineering enterprise."

From Chapter 7 about the general public:
"Overall, Americans remain strong believers in the benefits of S&T even while seeing potential risks. Surveys since at least 1979 show that roughly 7 in 10 Americans see the effects of scientific research as more positive than negative for society. In 2012, this included 50% who said they believed the benefits “strongly” outweigh the negatives and 22% who said the benefits slightly outweigh the potential harms (appendix table 7-16). About 7% said science creates more harms than benefits. These numbers are generally consistent with earlier surveys; Americans saying the benefits strongly or slightly outweigh the harmful results have ranged from 68% to 80% since this question was initially asked in the 1970s (figure 7-10).

Americans with more education, income, and scientific knowledge hold a stronger belief in the benefits of science than others. For example, 55% of those who had not completed high school said they believe science does more good than harm, but 89% of those with bachelor’s degrees and 92% of those with graduate degrees expressed this view.

Similarly, 86% of those in the top income quartile saw more benefits than harms from science, whereas 60% of those in the lowest bracket expressed this view. Almost all (87%) of those in the top knowledge quartile said they saw more benefits than harms, but just half (50%) of those in the lowest knowledge quartile gave this response (appendix table 7-16).22
SOURCE URL: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/content/etc/nsb1401.pdf


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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 years, 8 months ago
    Of course that says nothing about implementation and integration of new science and technologies.

    I prefer a "Wide Scope Accountable" approach myself. Although we don't see much of that these days.
    The old axiom applies here. Just cause you can do a thing does not mean one should do that thing.
    The other problem I see often is there seems to be a reluctance to adapt to knew knowledge.

    This just might be a problem with the system that unfortunately involves the government and unqualified bureaucratic hierarchy.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
      I am not sure what you mean by "Wide Scope Accountable." I googled the phrase, but got nothing I could use. Also, I went back and reviewed the work. It was not intended to address future policies:
      "Conclusion. The conclusion summarizes important findings. It offers a perspective on important trends but stops short of definitive pronouncements about either likely futures or policy implications. Conclusions tend to avoid factual syntheses that suggest distinctive or controversial viewpoints." page xiii col. 2 top.

      In what can be perceived as a wry understatement, they say:
      "Changes in the major institutions that engage in S&E R&D and help prepare the workforce of the future usually occur gradually, typically over a longer time scale than changes in economic markets." (page O-13 col. 1.)

      Generally, the problem with the future is not what we can predict, but we could not have foreseen. That is what makes entrepreneurship profitable. Everyone tries to plan for the future. Some people are better at it than others. Some people create the future.

      Back in the 60s and 70s "futurism" was a fad, even with college courses in it. That sort of exercise can be beneficial to the individual, but, largely, everyone was wrong about everything. ... And it s good that they were. Perhaps the hallmark of totalitarianism is the over-arching goal to create a predictable future.
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 years, 8 months ago
        Sorry, I should of given ref to WSA.
        I got it from a mentor although it had a weak definition. But because I instantly connected with the concept, I gave it a proper definition in my writings.
        So rather than you buying my book just to read page 10...I've pasted it below.

        Wide- Infinity in all directions
        Scope- To extend our mental range and sight to include all vantage points
        Accountability- To honestly consider all possibilities and accept responsibility for
        all outcomes.
        Ok… Now let us define it
        To See and Think without Limits, Utilizing all Knowledge; Past, Present and most Probable Future, with Profound Honesty, to consider and Analyze all Possible; Explanations, Outcomes or Solutions, without any preconceived expectations.
        A shorter version might be easier to remember, now that you have been exposed to the full meaning: Diligently considering all Possibilities, with Profound Honesty and Objectivity in Dealing with Reality, to solve any Problem or to create any Value.
        Without any preconceived expectation is a very important point we will explore further.
        Let us examine two concepts presented in the definition.
        Accountability: We are all accountable no matter what actions we may choose to take
        or not. It is Inherent. LIKE IT OR NOT.
        Responsibility: Acceptance of the possibility that you might have to respond
        Differently given an Unfavorable or otherwise not as expected
        Outcome. You must respond differently given new knowledge
        In order to stay in alignment with your intentions.
        To effectively use this tool we need:
        Dedication to Honesty and Reality: You MUST be honest with yourself therefore you
        WILL be Honest with others and deal with Reality,
        . Not some Illusion, falsehood or deception .
        To fully understand, being profoundly honest with yourself: read; “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen and “Suppose We Let Civilization Begin” by Richard W. Wetherill
        Integrated thought: Using both the right mind and the left mind at the same time.
        You know… When the light bulb over your head comes on.
        The right Photographic creative mind is that voice in your head,
        It speaks for the Subconscious that records everything.
        The left logical mind brings order and logic to our thoughts,
        Through Speech, our actions and Pen to paper.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
    in this regard, it appears, even considering its sorry state
    these days, education works. -- j
    .
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
      Thanks. Liberal arts - the humanities, actually; as liberals arts must include the sciences - take a lot of flak from critics. However, this report makes an interesting claim:
      "Baccalaureate colleges were the source of relatively few S&E bachelor’s degrees (12%) (appendix table 2-1), but they produce a larger proportion of future S&E doctorate recipients (15%) (NSF/NCSES 2013b). When adjusted by the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in all fields, baccalaureate colleges as a group yield more future S&E doctorates per 100 bachelor’s degrees awarded than all other types of institutions except research universities. " (page 2-8 col. 1)
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
        Just as a thought. How much of that is due to the BA colleges picking up where high schools dropped the ball? I have two volumes written by a High School English teacher of the 1930's. Journalism is one the other "The Hollow Reed" concerns poetry in all it's forms with examples. A third book is a compendium of poems written by students. High Schools used to demand a foreign language.Three years minimum each of science and mathematics, Four years of history and civics which included critical thinking. Debate, Speech, a gamut of disciplinary introductions which seem to have gone under the care of Junior Colleges. So my wandering mind deems it possible the spark that creates the interest is found in what are in effect New High Schools and bingo College in most countries is the name of high school studies.
        OK chew that one up. It's just a thought at present but seems to fit the puzzle of why Johnny can't make change when the electricity goes off. Or when it's on.
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
          Thanks! I am not a fan of "we have been dumbed down" rants that cite 19th century school books on the number of ells in an acre.

          However, yes, even in my day - and certainly my mother's - high school demanded much more. Realize, however, that even my day - born 1949; HS 1967 - you could drop out after the 9th grade or age 16, whichever came first.

          And there were three broad tracks for high school: general, business, and college prep. As in Europe, not everyone was guaranteed the same high school education - or any high school education at all. You hear many, many stories from old times who quit school to support their family when Dad died or otherwise left.

          The High School Movement was a result of progressivism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before that, the best education without college ended at the eighth grade: the one-room schoolhouse. People (men) who went to college did so at 16 back then.

          All of that being as it may, of course, government-controlled education is like anything and everything not in and of a free market: Soviet agriculture.
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
            Had you by four years. Half the boys left after the last season of their sport with a GED and of them half went in the Navy the rest into the other services or if under 17 worked in the sawmills at odd jobs waiting for openings. Many did university level in the military and retired at 37. Some Post Office on delivery routes, A second retirement at 57 or so was not unusual and again at 65. With the wives averaging two a five income retirement was not unusual. Our eighth grade teacher went to school in a one room structure did 8th year twice and became the teacher. After 20 years the school district discovered their best teacher had no high school diploma. to get that quality of education these days would take at least two years of post high school. Minimum.
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            • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
              Allow me to suggest that the "simpler times" argument must be considered. Benjamin Franklin might have been one of the last Renaissance Men. The exponential growth in knowledge makes advanced learning necessary. I agree that it can come from informal sources, whether the public library or a Massive Online free class from MIT.

              About half of Americans (47% down from 58%) say that they have attended "informal science institutions" (zoos and museums), once a year. I just wrote an article for our local astronomy club about The Star of Bethlehem. It is a money-maker for everyone's local planetarium.
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            • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
              Thanks for the post. Yes, military service was often a path. After WWII, they insisted on your having high school or else giving it to you once you were in. The Post Office and similar govt jobs are ideologically problematic, of course, certainly in this forum. You are saying that you can retire with five incomes if four of them are from looter jobs.

              On the other hand, it has been strongly argued that it is perfectly moral to take a job for the government in an area where the govt has supplanted the free market, such as public education or parcel delivery. (It remains immoral to take a government job doing something that no one should do, like the SEC.)

              The story of the eighth grade teacher was interesting. It should be considered a paradigm. +1 for that.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
    Let's do a little devil's advocacy. Keep in mind that I love science from an outsiders view and have studied as much as I can lean about the world of quantum physics. But you science guys seem just a wee bit smug. So here goes:
    As computers keep getting more sophisticated they take over much of the work once attributed to mankind. Isn't it true that eventually computers and their offspring robotics will eventually reach a singularity and make humans obsolete? At present, hand-held devices are distracting people to the exclusion of most everything else and to the point where reality takes 2nd place to imaginary. Can it be that too much of a good thing, even science, can be bad for you? Watcha say, SciBoysandGirls?
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    • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
      The devil says: Innovate. The ability of computers to process data was inherent from the beginning; the ability of AI to take qualitative leaps of inspiration is still beyond its bounds. What do I care if a computer can crunch the amount of grain produced per hectare in a nano-second and it would take me a week to do the same? This ability does nothing but enhance my life, Herb - so 'bring it on'. What humans are best at is 'pushing the envelope'.

      To rephase your question, "What if all of the humdrum tasks were taken over by computers and everyone had enough to eat, a good place to live, and primo healthcare? What if all that humans had to do with their time is be creative and push forward the frontiers of knowledge in both science and art?"

      By the way, there is no such thing as an outsiders view from someone who has studied as much as they can abut quantum physics. Science is a mindset, not a degree.

      Jan, sci-chick
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      • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
        I get the intention, Jan, but I have to take issue with the literal statement. "What do I care if a computer can crunch the amount of grain produced per hectare in a nano-second and it would take me a week to do the same? This ability does nothing but enhance my life..." Of course, your life is improved, just as it is by any productive innovation.

        Thanks for the quote: "Science is a mindset, not a degree."
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
        Jan - you haven't addressed my thoughts on the future. Instead you have said that its good for you right now so who cares about the future.Do you suppose that if humans were made obsolete to the point where computers deemed them unnecessary to scientific progress and the computers didn't value art? Would they eliminate humans as a no longer needed thing sort of like an appendix.
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        • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
          I am talking about the future, Herb. The post-affluence future. The future wherein mankind is liberated from the 'sweat of his brow' dictate.

          The places where computers can least compete with humans is Innovation and Art. Ayn Rand did not say 'you have to work' she said 'you have to be productive'. When robots take over the work force, humans will either become clients of entertainment (passive or active) or artists or qualitative innovators. Robots will be able to do incremental improvements, but I think it will be a while before they can do innovation.

          Example: Robots will be able to do dentistry. They will replace humans in being able to effect all of the common dental practices. But we have just read of experiments (in mice) of getting tooth-buds to germinate new teeth from scratch. That is something New: Would a computer have thought of trying that? Probably not (at least for a Long Time). Humans will do that sort of thinking/experimenting.

          Robots eliminate humans? Why would they 'want' to? They have no desires. Does you computer get angry because you misspell the same word every time you type it? Robots have as much desire to eliminate humans as a toaster does.

          Jan
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          • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
            What about the Artificial Intelligence postulate? In developing that, won't robots start self-identifying? If intelligence is possible, so is self awareness which means the possibility of free will. Free will with all that power. Too much sci-fi? There are a group of scientists of good repute, already working on that scenario and actually tying it into the Big Bang. I'M NOT SURE WHY THIS STUFF FASCINATES ME SINCE I'm at the age where the future is not dim, rather it is non-existent. UNLESS I believe in reincarnation. By the way, I am not creating those capitals, the stupid shift key sticks and I'm too lazy to re-type.
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            • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
              We will eventually have to deal with other forms of sentience: artificial (as you mention above), alien, bio-engeneered (high IQ dogs). Any of these can compete with humans and have different agenda. We certainly have more control over bio-engineered and AI sentience than we do over alien contact.

              I am not really worried about the immediacy of sentient AI when I cannot get an automated vacuum to work for 2 years before it does a circle dance and you have a caps key that sticks. By the time we have sentient AI, I will have a 3D printer than can print weaponized bubonic plague at the push of a button.

              I think that man-man interactions, and eventually man-alien interactions will be more perilous than AI.

              Jan, likes dogs
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              • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
                I love my dog more than almost anyone including 1/2 of my family. But then, I've had dogs most of my life. However, when my last dog I died I vowed never to get another. I went 20 years. Then the BW and I heard about a nearby shelter was in trouble and we knew the guy who ran it was a genuine animal lover so we stopped by to see if we could help. He knew I was a beagle person and he brought out a beagle just a few months old who had been abandoned. She was so happy and her tail was going so fast it was almost a blur. I was hooked. That was 8 years ago, and she's been like a child to us. (Better, if truth were known.)
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                • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
                  I sprawl in my living room as I type this, my 3 German Shepherd dogs (all from the salvage heap) around me comfortably...plus one hyperactive border collie that I am watching. They are the best of companions.

                  Jan
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                  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
                    So...you may experience a three or four dog night. A neighbor has a border collie she calls "Little Bit Of Heaven" or just Littlebit for short. I often walk my dog using a power chair. Most dogs shy away because I am strange to them. The two neighborhood dogs that are fearless and let me pet them is a golden retriever and the border collie. One of the things I like about my neighborhood is that about half the people there own dogs. I am amused often because when we greet each other we use the names of the dogs rather than their owners.
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                  • Posted by  $  Flootus5 3 years, 8 months ago
                    We have two "hyper" active border collies, 4 and 5 years old. They are gems.

                    The key with them is to keep them engaged intellectually. Yes, they love to run and we fenced a large 4 acre lot of sagebrush which they tear around in, but they must be engaged with the humans. It is in their DNA. Interaction on all levels and they are happy.
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                    • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
                      I have an acre, but much of it is not fenced dog-escape-proof, so the dogs only routinely have access to the yards alongside the house. Right now, just one of the yards, actually, since I had to move the sheep into the other yard after coyotes killed the little goat.

                      Molly interacts. Whew! Does she ever. Fortunately, she likes one of my shepherds pretty well and they run around together a lot. I don't think that Molly has internet access yet, but I am careful to not leave my computer accessible...who knows what would be showing up in the next FedEx delivery.

                      Jan
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              • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
                that's my fear, Jan -- ww3 will result from biological attack
                rather than nuclear or chemical. -- j
                .
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                • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
                  Not to worry Johnpe1 we have it on good authority from the left that bio and chemical are no longer WMD. Not since they voted for the Iraqui invasion of 2003 and then turned their coats and supported the other side.
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                  • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
                    my sister-in-law is still crying over the loss of her husband
                    just over a hear ago from SoDam Insane's chem weapons.
                    the technology is here. . the enemy is here. . we must
                    learn to be more vigilant or we won't be here much longer. -- j
                    .
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
            and will they do sports? fishing sailing football etc. That would be boring. No more wrong way Corrigans? No Bidens, No klutzes. Will we tell robot jokes? No PC will still be snaking it's way through the grass..
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            • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
              Humans will still do sports. That is what I meant by 'active entertainment'. I suspect that sports will grow in number and adherents as the need to work dwindles. I also think that total couch potatoes, surrounded by VR worlds will be common.

              Jan
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            • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
              If they only entertained themselves it would be. However, human participation in computer games are taking over the world. Its probably a plot by computers who secretly have AI.
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        • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 3 years, 8 months ago
          In a way, humans have always been obsolete -- or at least unnecessary. The rest of the ecosystem would continue to do just fine without us. Most animal species would have a little more room and expand -- except for the ones we eat: There would be less cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens etc. We are not 'needed'.

          So what does it mean to say "humans are obsolete"? I contend that the sentence really means that "human labor is obsolete as a means of producing the goods and services that humans need". Put that way, it doesn't sound so bad. We get goods and services without having to labor to create them.

          Some of us like our jobs. I'm taking a break from programming this morning to write this. Other jobs are not so much fun. My youngest brother spent his Christmas Eve roofing a commercial building in the Illinois cold. He didn't find it particularly fulfilling.

          We have long lived in a world where you have to work to eat. Or if the liberals get in charge SOMEONE has to work for you to eat. But what if that is no longer true? What if work is no longer a requirement for life but an option for personal fulfillment instead?

          It does leave us with some awkward issues with respect to how this computer cornucopia gets distributed, but I think they can be solved.

          And while the computers might or might not value art, we always will.
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          • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
            The universe is indifferent to whether or not any species survives (or potentially whether any world survives a la Clarke's "The Star"). Dinosaurs became obsolete (except the birds); species re-shuffled themselves and created new hierarchies and life continued.

            I do not think the nature of humans will change in the post-affluence world. People will still want some type of differentiation as a result of their achievements. I suspect that 'status' or 'renown' will be the coin of exchange when material goods are moot.

            Jan
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            • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
              weren't alligators left over from the era of dinosaurs? -- j
              .
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              • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
                Alligators are archeosaurs, predecessors of the dinosaurs. The same way that komodo dragons and other reptiles, which preceded the heyday of the dinosaurs (though technically, reptiles, dinosaurs, and mammals seem to have evolved almost simultaneously). Alligators and crocodiles are interesting because, while they are more 'primitive' than dinosaurs, they not only guard their nests but take care of their young after they are born.

                Jan
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                • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
                  are you available to teach kids in your spare time, Jan?
                  they would love to ply you with questions like we do! -- j
                  .
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                  • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 8 months ago
                    Love dogs; hate kids.

                    On the other hand, if we ever meet in person, I see a bottle of nice brandy and some discussions til the wee small hours o'the'night.

                    Jan, thinks babies look like grubs
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                    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
                      Presidente from Mexico is quite nice. Add a little canela and salsa to the diet it cures just about anything that distillado agave (Aloe) can't, won't or isn't allowed to handle. What else. Garlic.
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                    • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 8 months ago
                      babies are grubs, just the most fascinating kind!
                      how about a little Dewars to "thin the mix?" . remember
                      the scrawny old engineer in "up periscope?" -- j

                      p.s. that brings the second-stage "ask the gulch" question
                      back to mind. . if people don't have souls, what's all this fuss
                      about their being better than other animals? . OK. . just
                      put it in. . we'll see what gulchers say!
                      .
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              • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
                There's a lot of "What ifs" out there. What if there was an intelligent species on earth a few million years before Dino and his pals? In the 4 billion years or so before the hairless ape made its appearance, there could have evolved countless intelligent species.
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
            For sure liberals would screw it up. Everyone equal? They couldn't take that...They enjoy the airs of superiority too much. What you are really going to see is war robots operated by one side or the other .....

            However an old scifi collection in one book had a robot whose job was to wear things out. The machine would put on clothes and pick up golf clubs and use them into rags and bent metal scraps then start on the next one. Everyone with humans responsible had a quota to meet in using stuff. things. the punishment for failing was an extra truck load each week ...something like that. The robot factories need the old stuff to melt down and make new stuff.

            So where was the programmer who invented a quality control robot whose job was delivering xyz amount of production from factor to the smelters? Well and I may be combining more than one story the programming robot started to fall behind and shortened the distance and standards so the factory became a self perpetuating loop. the wear and tear robot had nothing to do and joined the loop and the humans soon had no clothes!
            In the end one little kid just unplugged the machines.

            Still out there somewhere in the universe.....No stuff it really didn't happen that way.
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            • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 3 years, 8 months ago
              The "using stuff up" approach is a variant on the similarly misguided "broken window fallacy". Production is only useful if it produces some goods and services that people need, either directly or indirectly.

              Similarly digging holes and filling them up again is not a productive job, even if you get paid to do this.

              I long thought that this was common on production sites as I saw them move large piles of dirt around at construction sites, moving them every few days. I finally asked someone and they told me they were compressing the ground with the weight of the dirt.
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              • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
                It's also used to store excess excavated material against possible need. What is the name and primary use of the surface level space between the excavation and the excavated material? The word has three meanings. Easy to confuse. So dirt or as we say in engineering 'soil' if it's capable of passing a 4" screen opening.has many uses. One of which is not waste. No broken window. The stuff that's floating around in the universe is useful in that it will assist in plotting seemingly chaotic trajectories and even chaos will eventually repeat itself. Stuff is an experiment in progress. Digging holes and filling them up is not productive. I can tell you aren't an engineer nor ever had a fireplace. Digging holes is analogous with stacking firewood then moving it cord by cord. Why? Last years wood and we need to paint the house? Then what. Move next winters wood cord by cord where we just painted (and also sprayed for termites etc.) Not productive? You must not lift weights. Splitting and stacking firewood and digging holes to later fill in is Class A exercise and best of all there are no wasted gym fees. Easiest example. Charles Bronson did 50 pushups and 50 situps every morning.

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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
        Has the AI barrier been broken yet or did some change the definition for advertising purposes? I seem to recall 'self aware' as a requirement. I'm inclined to think in a world that doesn't know the value of zero and can't count to a thousand getting sucked into celebrating the millennium a year early there is a long long way to go for Intelligence and probably hit artificial 15 years ago.
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
          As you most likely know, the Turing Test is only that a human cannot tell if she is conversing with another human or with a computer. Similarly, I suppose, you would not be able to tell a human chess player from a program, etc., etc.

          "Self-aware" is the sine qua non, of course. Like "free will" it is impossible to ignore from the inside and difficult to prove to an outsider.

          As I said, we have electronic filing of all kinds of legal forms. For all we know, some program already has incorporated herself. Moreover, for security reasons, it is not necessary any more for a prisoner to be physically present in court. Now, we allow televised images of people to be processed by a judge. A computer program could present herself in court.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
      Only when they reach self awareness. Much of the human race have not reached that point. Think of the three laws of obectivism. and how objectivism deals with subjectivism which I consider to be creativity. Starting with an idea. The proving the idea works. Can make true stainless steel? That goes to metallurgy and then to the engineers who say "Idea can we use it and in what way?" That leads to functional beauty or esthetics of functional form and beauty. and finally into true artistic where a the functional beauty is answered by 'pleasing to the senses but it won't keep a structure erect but it will keep my mind erect.

      The difference is still objectivists may start with an idea and turn into something useful and then something pleasing to the senses. Subjectivists depend on objectivists of which the primary example is nature. Everything in nature meets the 'is it useful' test. The arrogant pathway however is when subjectivist claim ownership of creativity. having never developed it beyond and 'idea' without objectivists who see the need for paint, a brush, a palette, an easel and a medium or perhaps a language. Lacking those 'useful' tools subjectivists are left with no means of expression thus are dominated by nature and objectivism and so it goes for all forms of thought which includes creativity. The next difference is inability to recognize dead ends and brick walls. Without objectivists to act as guides subjectivists are 'thinking switch off'' lemmings and 'serve no useful purpose.'

      Where did I get that from? Azimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Pohl, Kornbluth, especially the great writers who were also scientists or mathematicians. Those who could express the idea of 'self awareness for computers' and ignite the chain of research into AI. But the best answer so far is 'natural law.' Computers are forms of rocks, minerals or plastics crafted into something useful and powered by electricity one of the gifts of Prometheus. If rocks could become self aware they would morph into flowers that bloom year round. But they haven't. But they make great flower pots.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
      Herb, some Objectivists pursue this as "transhumanism." Ed Hudgins at the Atlas Society is one. Dean Michael Gores writing at Rebirth of Reason is another. It is not that computers will replace us, but that we will absorb the use of them, integrating them, and much else into who and what we are. The very fact that you and interface via that medium is indication of the trend.

      The deeper philosophical questions involve "vitalism" and "intrinsicism." In other words, something ineffable and irreducible is the essence of being human. You can find hints of that all through the works of Ayn Rand. She was not a materialist. She just never tackled the question. Perhaps that was specifically because "life" is irreducible.
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 8 months ago
        Two remarkably good answers. Both very illuminating. Mike A, I grew up with the authors you named. I'm happy that you did also. While I'm at it and since you mentioned the name, did you see the movie Prometheus? It is the pre-prequel to Alien. Thought provoking. Mike M., what you put forth actually shouts for more discussion. Perhaps another day.
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
    Nice to hear that high a percentage are not afraid of the dark. My comparison is that proves Social and Political Science, journalism and Civics are not sciences. Extapolation economics and book keeping are probably not mathematics. But then the definition of extapolate is 'to make an estimate' or WAG...wild ass guess.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
      I think that you are wrong on several grounds. See JLC to Herb above: Science is a state of mind. It is a method. It may be the fundamental epistemological method: to perceive, ask, and test.

      I have an essay on my blog, "Is Physics a Science?" In sociology, we actually study the scientific method. Moreover, we are acutely aware of the evolution of our field, of the paradigm shifts, the abandoned theories. You do not find that in a physics textbook. They present it whole and complete as if it always were what it is at this moment.

      I am not sure about the validity of academic economics, though it does use a lot of mathematics. Bookkeeping certainly is mathematics. It is also literacy. Writing was invented as a bookkeeping tool. Literature came thousands of years later. The works of Denise Schmandt-Besserat explain how writing was invented.


      I am not sure what you mean by "extapolation": you dropped the R from extrapolate twice. So, was that just two typos, or a word I do not know?
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
        that was over tired and sloppy work. But it is true on the text books. They tend to present 'now' as 'the' answer unless it's theoretical physics. They also tend to not connect to other uses. Case in point. Trigonometry is to surface navigation as spherical trigonometry is to ....as measuring moving objects is to astrogation which requires physics, mathematics and the imagination to accept the actions of the universe. and the path of each object as an ongoing and probably cyclic 'object' Were it not for learning navigation and then imagining the solar system as one great sphere itself moving as part of a greater sphere (space occupied by the galaxy) etc. etc. etc. I learned that reading a book about Einstein and his mind experiments. It was exactly like a key which unlocked many areas.

        Abandoned theories is that another way of saying failed objective testing - which never stops as new information is obtained - therefore are not abandoned but set aside until they can be proven useful? Although some failed theories seem to have a life of their own. Our next governing political system, a continuation of the present one begs the question 'what of the unabandoned failed theories?"

        My apologies for the dyslectic fingers. .
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
          Rand herself and other Objectivists today, point to the influence of Immanuel Kant's rationalism in science.The other side is empiricism, which denies the validity of theory.
          The scientific method is supposed to be formal objectivism (small-o): rational-empiricism, an integration of fact and idea.

          I forget who I read, but in science, we no longer have the Journal of Lemarckism, but in philosophy, they do still have the Journal of Platonism, Aristotleanism, etc. One reason that the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is a member of the American Philosophical Society is that they sanction several other Journals of the Dead Philosopher. There is no such thing as the Journal of Einsteinian Relativity or Journal of Darwinian Evolution.
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  • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
    I followed the tracks to this work because I stumbled on an early post about the fact that 25% of Americans do not know that "the Earth orbits the Sun." That discussion was based on second-hand reports. The original study is 600 pages. It covers a broad range of issues in public science policy.

    Interpreting the results is up to you.

    For one thing, I point out that people with less education tend to be poorer. Coupled to that is the fact that poor people tend to be conservative. That is, they fear change. It is not surprising that they do. In fact, it is the intelligent choice. In other words, we all generally focus on bad news because that is protective, risk-averse behavior. Poor people have relative more to lose because they have relatively less to begin with. Therefore, they are more risk-averse, more conservative, less trusting of the unknown.

    Another point is that education alone correlates with both a grasp of basic knowledge and cultural or social support for science. It does not matter if the subjects "learned anything" or not in school: completion of the diploma or degree is all that matters. That speaks not so much to special insight from valuable education, as it does to acculturation and identification.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
      and while less trusting of the unknown are willing to accept the 'assistance' of manipulators which in turn keeps them 'afraid of the dark.' That's a vicious cruel trap when the end up viewing a vote as a magic wand and the notion that only a few are allowed to wave it correctly. Must be the result of Gore's famous life's lottery?

      I will say the same thing about retirees. We have a lot of time. Many of us use it to 'catch up' in studies and and thinking. No need for Cliff Notes or COS crutches we may go back and re-read assignments in depth - especially thanks to Kindle and Amazon. The working and child rearing years do not allow the time for introspection which is a shame. The answers were needed then. Now I'm thinking of a grave stone engraved with 'He learned....too late.'
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 8 months ago
        A corollary it used to be youth wants to know. Now it's youth isn't listening. One day they will grow up and discover when we die we take all the answers with us and they must start over again. That's the price charged for exchanging instinct to reason and with it the freedom of turning the switch on or off..



        .
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    • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 8 months ago
      There must be a lot more of those solar system illiterate Americans than I thought.
      I recall back in the 90s having my mind blown by a fellow corrections officer who numbered among many Birmingham area laid off for forever steel workers and one who also happened to be a Baptist preacher with a small church out in the Bama boonies somewhere.
      I recall responding to one of his comments by saying "No, the sun doesn't go around the earth" to which he said, "It doesn't?"
      I gave him a fthree minute crash course about how the earth is one of nine planets (this is before Pluto got dissed) and they all orbited the sun. I added there were planets with more than one moon that orbited them.
      "Preacher" as we called him said, "I must have missed school that day."
      I told him he must have missed at least a whole week and a test at the end of it.
      He changed the subject.
      You had to have at least a high school education to start a prison guard career by being trained for eight weeks at the Alabama DOC Academy.
      You have to prove you have a brain along with specialized training before they let you near inmates.
      Oh, well, I do not recall ever discussing astronomy with an inmate.
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      • Posted by  $  3 years, 8 months ago
        The Earth does not really "go around the Sun". That is just a good approximation, as when we speak of sunrise and sunset. But I take your point: for most people most of what you and know is largely irrelevant to their lives.

        (My degrees are in criminology. The only reason you never discussed astronomy with an inmate is that the prison library lacked the books. If you put "Prison debate team defeats Harvard" in a search engine, you can find a story. We also discussed it here in the Gulch. My point was that prisoners have a lot of time available for studying...
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        • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 8 months ago
          The only library the inmates had was a law library and only during the latter portion of the 21 years I worked at that maximum security prison.
          Some inmate won a federal lawsuit that that mandated all states to provide all the legal books an inmate needed to file appeals.
          It was located along the east side approach to the shift office.
          The same inmates were usually in there. These "writ writers" worked on the behalf of other inmates and were paid with any mix of cigarettes (the standard prison currency), canteen goodies, illegal tattoos and maybe even sex.
          Whoa!
          While writing the above, recollection of a very small school library creaked out of old dino's memory banks. But it was only restricted to inmates without high school diplomas earning their GED.
          Surely those inmates were taught some basic astronomy.
          .
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