12 October 2017

The Culture That Is Japan

The Japanese are very good at rapidly self-organizing themselves. Elevator etiquette is no exception. As an article at Boing Boing explains, they have a system for determining who on an elevator is the "elevator captain", with simple rules of succession, and the elevator captain is responsible operating the buttons on the elevator for maximum efficiency.

Americans tend to think mostly about individual competencies and fail to recognize the extent to which groups can have collective competencies as well, which the Japanese hone far more than we do. Something that is particularly important about these group competency is that unlike individual competencies which are to a substantial extent inherited, and hence can only be improved so much through instruction, group competencies are almost entirely learned and hence can be improved with proper socialization.

Quote Of The Day

French special forces listen to philosophers yelling at each other.
From Questionable Content.

10 October 2017

The Gifted (Episode 2) And Other Rants

Isn't it amazing that the same TV network that provides us with Fox News can also offer up a show like Marvel Universe project The Gifted which is hardly a conservative TV show in the tradition of Walker Texas Ranger or Naval Criminal Investigation Services or Touched By An Angel?

Episode 2 of the show brought echoes of Orange Is The New Black, and boldly advances stories about oppression, injustice and abuse of the federal government's powers against people who are treated as second class citizens.

Almost nine months into the Trump administration, the political center and the political left in the United States is learning what it looks like to see a decade of gains systemically rolled back by a mad king. Someone his Secretary of States called a "fucking moron" and the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, a ranking member of his own party from Tennessee, a place that strongly backed Trump in the Presidential election, complains that Trump has turned the White House into an "adult daycare center." This is not normal.

But, the center-left is learning the lesson that politics isn't a game anymore. The right has lost its decency. White supremacists and Nazis are coming out into the light. The President has pardoned a Sheriff who defied federal judges and violated civil rights en masse. The knives are out and people are starting to get hurt. It is war now, and lots of people are fighting for their very existence.

The right has overplayed its hand.

Ultimately, the prosperity of the United States doesn't come from rural American and small towns, it comes from university towns, coastal megacities, and the I-25 corridor in Colorado. Blue America is vastly more economically productive, and vastly less dysfunctional, than Red America. Blue America connects us to the global economy. Red America can't find North Korea on a map. Blue America has scientists, economists, lawyers and MBAs. Red America has blue collar men who can't hold down jobs and refuse to adapt to a changing economy. Blue America grapples with reality. Red America can't handle the truth. Blue America knows how to use policy to solve social problems. Red America thinks that gun violence and police brutality are inevitable and pretty much welcomes and praises both.

Blue America got complacent after eight years of benign rule under President Obama followed by polling that inaccurately predicted that Hillary Clinton was sure to win the Presidency. But, Blue America is now acutely aware that the political system in the United States is rigged by gerrymandering, voter suppression and the electoral college, and it is going to have to play dirty and do whatever it takes to regain power and prevent our nation from rushing headlong into decline. I believe it can prevail.