People send me things. Original attribution unknown
This came across the electronic desktop this morning, sent to me by a friend.
Here’s a quick syllogism on the subject. Rothschild is a bank, banks enable modernity and development therefore banks are found where ever you find development and or modernity.
To a certain extent Rothschild in particular may also be self-serving to the point of being evil – much like any trans-national corporation whose corporate controllers no longer have any ties of either: friendship, kinship, nationality, culture, or interests with the vast majority of the people they serve and the only people they have any genuine ties with are their fellow controllers of trans-national institutions in government, business, and academia.
The real problem seems to be much more that “the global village” is still very much a zero-sum tribal affair where trans-national quasi-individuals are either in naked collusion with one another or are involved in the kind of cattle rustling operations favored by the archaic warrior prince.
The only real antidote to the problem is societal evolution. We need better people, fortunately evolution is hard at work on the problem.
In the last few days an interesting missive has been circulating in the blogosphere, a letter of resignation from an anonymous PhD candidate at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of Europe’s top research institutes, outlining his frustration, and disappointment with the system of academic science and ultimately his rejection of continuing to participate in the system.
It’s worth noting that Junod himself says his experience at EPFL
I don’t think that the exposed facts are a problematic unique to EPFL, nor to any other Swiss university: to the contrary, this is probably a worldwide phenomenon.
Finally, I would like to make very clear that I did not experience the same feelings at all during my (very happy) PhD times at EPFL. So, don’t try to make any parallel with my own experience.
Like the author, I don’t have any good idea how to change the system towards a better one.
Sean Summers an achievement oriented post-doc at ETH Zurich had a rather scathing response The Value of a Degree at his personal website. He seem to have been grossly offended by the letter and didn’t seem to want to admit to any of the problems it outlined – and conducted a point by point rebuttal of the letter. He also doesn’t seem to allow comments on his articles either.
To boil his mindset down the “nitty gritty” [my ginsu editing]:
I know you didn’t mean to, but you offended me. On behalf of my friends and colleagues who are current and former PhD students, you offended me more. In fact, on behalf of everyone who has ever achieved something of personal importance, you have offended me…
…Here’s the thing. In the process though, you threw everyone (myself very recently included) with a PhD under a bus….
Your claim of widespread dishonesty in academia is offensive I don’t appreciate that you have thrown hard working individuals under the bus…
Mostly, I don’t like the way that you have devalued individual achievement.
I’m here to say that a PhD is remarkable; it is an amazing personal achievement worthy of pride.
Personal achievement in all shapes and form should be celebrated, with head held high.
Apparently Mr. Connolley has edited 5428 Wikipedia articles, most about climate. Die Kalte Sonne:
Unbelievable but true: The Wikipedia umpire on Climate Change was a member of the UK Green Party and openly sympathized with the views of the controversial IPCC. So it was not a referee, but the 12th Man of the IPCC team.
I’m not sure how accurate the translation is, but it suggests he was somehow part of the IPCC “short list” team. See it here at Die Kalte Sonne via this Google Translate link:
With over 5000 articles he’s edited, it makes you wonder if Mr. Connolley was employed by someone or some organization specifically for the task.
The main thrust of most subsequent commenters was to harp on the wiki-depridations of Connolley specifically and Wikipedia’s problem with out-of-control editors, and the unreliability of Wikipedia generally. Wikipedia, naturally, has a page even on this subject: Criticism of Wikipedia.
Irony? Coincidence? When I downloaded the NYTimes Eastwood convention story, the ad on the page was about dementia.
Since we don’t do Twitter around here I’ll just have to post my reply to the Gleickster here:
Coincidence? Of course not. As we all know its a kind of metaphysical law of the universe that confirmation of whatever your deepest most paranoid fears and biases are will automatically appear before your eyes.
[You will note that we now have a Musings from the Chiefio theme image at the top of the post. We will be using this image as a kind of ‘flag’ whenever we have a post based upon E.M. Smith’s blog – and can’t come up with anything better that is unencumbered by copyright ~Ed.]
Once in a while I find that, intellectually, I have bitten off more than I can chew in one bite and have to spit it back out so I can cut it into a more manageable mouthful. Unfortunately what is left lying on the plate is usually not very appetizing, and you really don’t want to put it back in your mouth. I have had one of those two-half messes sitting in my WordPress drafts folder for the past several days as I’ve been working up the courage to pick them back up off the plate and start chewing again.
Since I’ve already put in a fair amount of time on the subject I’m loath to let the mental effort go to waste – this may have something to do with my yankee waste-not-want not upbriging about not wasting food. So, I will be a good boy and attempt to clean my plate. Hopefully in the process I can produce something appetizing for your intellectual apatite.
No doubt true, especially in the days of the manual typewriter and yellow legal pads, the ability of the writer to look critically at his own work and stop wasting time on an unworthy effort can be invaluable; however, I’m also very hip to the archeological notion of mining the midden for useful information, so the office trash receptacle could really be more some kind of a recycling bin or cache for potentially useful bits of intellectual fodder.
Wygart is having some kind of a dispute with a friend elsewhere in the digisphere that is revolving around the extreme difficulty there is in talking about the authenticity of knowledge gained from non-ordinary experiences. Hopefully, with the able assistance of our senior editor Upaya, some type of gainful resolution will be brought to the matter.
I’ve decided to be helpful by illustrating how things actually work around here. Usually trouble starts with something Phi does or says, [as ironically happens to be the case between Wygart and his friend ] – it’s simply amazing the amount of trouble that fool character causes! Next the Meme Merchant team gets together to start to work on the problem. The method that is used around here is to use characters to represent mythologically various endogenous and archetypal psychological functions. These characters are then worked up in the form of some kind of art: a picture, a story, poetry, epigram & etc to attack the problem at the archetypal and mythological level. Once this is done it is easier to interpret down into the more mundane psychological levels without the human people’s hurt feelings getting in the way – or – being limited by discussing higher level psychological functions in a lower level mind-space.
Some exciting news for me in the last few days, and some possible intellectual vindication. I may not be a [complete] dupe of the fossil fuel industry after all! – and – some of my long standing intuitions about the true state of science are presently being fulfilled.
So you want to be a pirate? [Pirate Marooned, Howard Pyle, 1910]
I seem to have set some kind of a record with this title, Uncle Marshal would be so pleased.
One of the really great things about the blogsophere, it delivers the most unanticipated sources of in-spiration to your front blogstep. In today’s case the instigatrix is one Clotilda Jamcraker a very interesting lady and blogger from Texas who stopped by recently and ‘liked’ one of my posts.
I am inspired today by the opening rave [as opposed to rant] on Ms. JamCracker’s regular website ClotidaJamCracker.com, [as opposed to her blog]. What is interesting that this is the second time she has inspired me to post, this either means that there is some deep synergistic resonance happening between our two websites – or – basically anything anyone says can trigger a thought response in me that immediately flows through the creodes of my normal though process towards what you are about to get.
FWIW, I think California is a great example of how the myth of “closer ties” is broken. We’re about as “tied” to the USA as you can get and fully economically and financially integrated. We’ve just had a 3rd city declare bankruptcy and several counties along with the State proper are headed toward it. We are the “Greece of the USA” and everyone knows it. So if ‘closer integration’ was going to fix things: How come California is so messed up financially?
My reply became long winded enough, and covered enough new theoretical ground that I’ve decided to promote it to a new post.
Can political scientists “predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start”?
And his answer
The answer to this question, at least since 1992, has been emphatically not. Some of their forecasts have been better than others, but their track record as a whole is very poor.
And the models that claim to be able to predict elections based solely on the fundamentals — that is, without looking to horse-race factors like polls or approval ratings — have done especially badly. Many of these models claim to explain as much as 90 percent of the variance in election outcomes without looking at a single poll. In practice, they have had almost literally no predictive power, whether looked at individually or averaged together.
Pielke the younger says:
And he goes on, in his usual inimitable way, to dissects the issue, establishes the parameters of what a ‘skillful’ model would have to accomplish in order to prove its, er, skillfulness, how modelers fool themselves and others into thinking that their pet model has some skill, and then lays out the actual track record – not good.
Strange visions… ‘Ghost of a Flea’ by William Blake
On the home front this week I’ve been getting a lot of grief over the overly idealistic positions I take on a number of topics – in other words I’m found to be wrong, or in denial by my family and friends. So, I find myself in the very uncomfortable position of either having a very strong disagreement with friends and family – or – to shut up and sit on my hands on certain topics. – [Dr. Laura Schlessinger used to call this, ‘shutting up and being polite’]
Fortunately Michael Quinion of World Wide Words, [also a triple W – gotta love it, it alliterates] my go to guy for all things philological, has rescued me in my extemis, by providing me with just the right word to understand my predicament, I’m being froward [apparently].