Friday, September 13, 2013

Signs of change in the air

Will the consequences of human-generated climate change be worse than expected?  That is the dire forecast according to an article, Why Global Warming Will be Far Worse, Far Sooner, than Forecasts Predict, covering several ways that the IPCC reports have been -- if anything -- too conservative by far.  

GlobalWarmingInterestingly, this insight is being circulated by 
many of the folks whom I call "awakened conservatives" (ACs), who oppose the recent plunge of the Republican Party into bottomless hatred of science. (As evidenced by the ongoing howler-antics of all GOP members of the U.S. House Science Committee, and by their recent blocking of the creation of a harmless-inspiring-unpaid post of "U.S. Science Laureate." Said one of them - “It would give scientists an opportunity to pontificate, and we’re opposed to it.” Yes, he actually said that.)

This should be a matter for internal struggle and redemption within conservatism, whose principles ought to be in no way compatible with a War on Science. Lifelong conservatives such as Gregory Benford and Jerry Pournelle fear that conservatism in general will suffer an irrecoverable blow to its reputation, if 99% of scientists and nearly all the evidence prove to be right and civilization starts suffering from devastating climate shifts.  If Rupert Murdoch's hidden purpose had been to undermine a sound, fiscally prudent conservatism, by associating with with anti-science mania, he could not have done a better job.

== Science forges on ==

Changes on a larger scale....The interstellar winds streaming through our solar system have switched directions over the last forty years, flowing from a different direction than previously observed. This may give astronomers insight into the dynamics and structure of the galaxy and interstellar clouds.

This year's solar maximum is shaping up to be the weakest in 100 years and the next one could be even more quiescent.  "It's the smallest maximum we've seen in the Space Age." About every 11 years, the sun goes through a cycle defined by an increasing and then decreasing number of sunspots. Solar Cycle 24 has been underway since 2011 and its peak was expected in 2013, but there have been fewer sunspots observed this year compared with the maximums of the last several cycles. A small Cycle 24 also fits in with a 100-year pattern of building and waning solar cycles. Scientists don't know exactly what causes this trend, but there were weak solar cycles in the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries.

UNIVERSEFAKEPhysicists to test if universe is a computer simulation. Are there signatures that we could detect?

So cool. JPL aimed the Curiosity rover's MAST camera at the sun just in time to catch the moon Phobos performing an annular solar eclipse. (The only kind on Mars; but still it's terrific.)

NuSTAR, NASA's black hole hunter, catches its first ten supermassive black holes.

==Uplift and Evolutionary Changes==

Did long lives -- and the advent of grandparents  --  make humans human? An article in Slate takes a look at the stunning changes that occurred in the Upper Paleolithic 30,000 years ago, when a significant fraction of humans began living past thirty years. A revolution that (by the way) is discussed in Existence.

EvolveBiggerBrainsAnimals have to be really smart to survive in the rapidly changing world humans have wrought upon them. And in fact, a new study from the University of Minnesota found, some species appear to be evolving bigger brains to keep up.  University of Minnesota biologist, Emilie C. Snell-Rood, offers evidence suggesting that humans may indeed be driving evolution. As we alter the places where animals live, we may be fueling the evolution of larger animal brains.  They predicted - and found -- that urban populations would show greater cranial capacity than rural populations -- and that cranial capacity would increase over time in urban populations.

Related to my recent scientific articles in the volume PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM… A Brazilian stroke victim can't stop helping others after developing pathological generosity. Related to my short story, The Giving Plague (free on Kindle).

A comprehensive compendium lists mutational processes that drive tumor development in 30 of the most common cancer types.

A major cause of sickness among people already hospitalized? Malnutrition! Giving nutritional supplements was shown to decrease hospitalization length by 21%. A simple procedure could save billions of lives, reports Kurzweil's Accelerating Intelligence.

RetiefsWarAnimals with GEARS!  I'm getting lots of emails comparing this to my g'Kek creatures in BRIGHTNESS REEF. But of course Keith Laumer in RETIEF'S WAR showed us a world where most life used wheels and gears but in nature such things are very rare above bacteria. But this little critter has a cool partial gear arrangement!

==Miscellaneous==

Mass hysteria  is blamed for the symptoms shared by teenage girls that helped stoke the Salem Witch Trials.  In fact, it happens more often than you might think. An article in The Atlantic, What Witchcraft is Facebook? suggests there are signs that social media can make these events worse.

Adam Spencer on Why I Fell in Love with Monster Primes: an inspiring TED talk by a handsome fellow who has an enthralling riff on BIG prime numbers.

The poetry of James Clerk Maxwell (really!)  

And finally, Japanese ingenuity changes plastic into oil.  This video is in Japanese with subtitles.  I could use more facts and details. I would wager that the process is more difficult than he makes it out to be… but still. Watch and be inspired to help make it so.

37 comments:

Tacitus2 said...

Odd that you should mention Monster Primes. Had the first session of my annual middle school robotics class yesterday*, and one of the young lads has a father that discovered several back in the day. Weird coincidence.

Tacitus

*If FIRST and LegoLeague are the Good Side of the Force, my combat robots out of junk class is most certainly the Dark Side.

Darth Tacitus

Enigma said...

Ugh. The bar's already orbiting a star in the Fornax Dwarf and the GOP are demanding we lower it still.

We can't have those scientists speaking - look at Bill Nye. He's up there talking and he's making sense; soon, people might see Creationism for the garbage that it actually is! And then what, huh? We won't even be able to repackage in a clown suit and call it Intelligent Design!

On humans being human - I took a biotechnology and behavior class once with Dr. Raymond John St. Leger as the instructor (it was online, through Coursera). I learned from him that there are a lot of people who feel that humanity is taming humans; we're domesticating ourselves as a species. Steven Pinker seems to agree, and all behavior points to the fact that humans are becoming more social and less violent, rather than vice versa. Of course, that could easily change. An animal that's starving and doesn't have water is a dangerous animal, whether it's a domesticated dog or a domesticated human...

I have my thoughts on unintentional uplifting. I like to think we're in the process of doing that right now to elephants, but maybe that's just me wanting a happy ending out of the ongoing disaster fueled by Chinese witchdoctor remedies. More elephants are being born without tusks now to escape poaching, and tuskless elephants have to resort to other means in order to survive. Perhaps they'll take to making more use of tools. Elephants are already very intelligent animals; I wouldn't take much of a boost to get them to human level, if they're not almost there or already there now.

Black Jesus said...

Heard this on NPR today. Monkey species may give a clue to the origins of speech. Fascinating and very Uplifty.

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/09/176713152/monkey-calls-could-offer-clues-for-origin-of-human-speech

Be sure to listen to hear the monkey vocalizations!

Jonathan S. said...

Animals with gears? Sounds cool... unless you are a habitue of the SCP Foundation...

http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-217

Lars said...

That modern conservatism should fail the test implicit in successful scientific prediction with which it disagrees strikes me as no loss. And it's a bit odd that you should cite Pournelle as someone who worries about this, considering his efforts over the past decade or two to denigrate anyone who considered global climate change to be both scientifically demonstrable and a real problem - seeing how much he's contributed to the state of affairs you say he's concerned about now can only be, if you're correct, an occasion for schadenfruede.
Perhaps you've written about this elsewhere and I've missed it, but even "principled conservatives" have rather narrow views of what constitutes "science". In my experience, science is basically a white-coat undertaking to them; fields that involve ambiguity and multiple causation, such as the environmental sciences, are viewed with suspicion and seldom well-understood by your conservative, at least over the past two generations or so. EO Wilson, one of the few biologists competent in the evolutionary and environmental sciences who could be considered by any lights a conservative, bemoaned the cession of these fields to the political left by conservatives - lately, however, he seems to have decided that they can all go to hell; the science is what matters to him. And I have to agree; as a scientist working on the intersection between evolutionary and ecological theory, I can't find it in my heart to give much of a toss about a political theory which finds it necessary to denigrate the field in which I work, simply because it's too squishy for them.

David Brin said...

Lars, sorry, your blanket aspersion does not wash. A generation ago, maybe 40% of scientists in the US were republicans. Now it is 5% and plummeting. That indicates that scientists are perfectly capable of being conservative BY PERSONALITY TYPE. And there is nothing wrong with that.

It is the present VERSION of conservatism that is so palpably insane and monstrous at every level that has propelled this exodus. And indeed, the conservative personality makes it very hard to do! Rupert counts on the rigid and endearingly solid bonds of loyalty that grip that personality type, and force decent men and women to mouth rationalizations offered them on Fox... mantras that are getting more absurd daily.

But I'll defend our friends who have the conservative personality type. Essentially, they get prickly when their lapels are grabbed by goggle-eyed world-savers, shouting that THIS old way of doing things must be chucked RIGHT NOW! Admit that there's a part of you that can picture sympathizing with that reaction... at least some of the time.

Now it happens the world DOES need to be saved! And in their eager-beaver campaigns to change things for the better, liberals and their VERY different leftist allies have been right (civil rights, tobacco, womens' rights, environmentalism...) far more often than they have been wrong (e.g. school bussing and some political correctness campaigns...) Conservative resistance to most of these self-improvement campaigns has later proved to have been wrongheaded friction, often accompanied by petty whining.

But the thing is that we're all better off having the conservative personality at the negotiating table. Someone has to be there saying "I see what you are worried about, but I want:"

- more evidence
- cost analyses
- a plan for improving things while messing with peoples' lives as little as possible and ideally involving government fiat as little as possible.

I want that at the table! Obamacare would have been better if voices like that had negotiated... instead of gleefully storing up faults and flaws to handrub over, later. An adult conservatism that negotiated HAS cropped up in American life, from time to time. The scientists with that trait know how to do it.

Having that element ripped out of american life is one of the top crimes I lay at Rupert Murdoch's feet.

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, I suspect you only skimmed what he said. He basically agreed with everything you said afterward. I know you're busy... but sometimes speed reading can leave important details out. ;)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

I left the biggest complaint of reasonable conservatives, which is

- "STOP shouting at me, guilt tripping me and being so damned smug in your politically correct regimentation of what I am allowed to say and even think! Try persuasion, instead of name-calling. And kindly not to get all sanctimonious because we like things more demure than you do."

And yes, that can be whiney and sanctimonious in its own right, a great excuse to spurn urgency at a time when many things are urgent. But some of the time it is not an excuse for inaction. Sometimes that appeal is exactly as I wrote it, a request for a little courtesy and persuasion and human decency instead of spittle in the face.

Activists and progressives do themselves NO good - and no good to the world - when they get all-pushy with people who are not rying to be obstructionist, beyond the perfectly reasonable demand:

"ALl right, I'm listening. Prove to me how we must change... in adult-calm tones and while listening to me, too."

David Brin said...

I was not rejecting what Lars said. I was expanding upon it.

Robert said...

Your first sentence makes it sound like you were starting to rant on what he said, not that you were agreeing with him or the like. Of course, the problem with blogs and the like is the lack of editing and the fact we're writing in real-time.

Rob H.

TheMadLibrarian said...

How long would it take before malnutrition actually became a problem for the average person in a hospital? One week? Two? I can see it being an issue in a long care facility like hospice or a nursing home, but I suspect that superresistant bacteria and other hazards are far more likely for the patient in for heart surgery or burn therapy.

A friend of mine who is an astrophysicist will be giving a lecture at our library next week. We will be plugging into one of the Faulkes telescopes and letting the local kids drive it (weather permitting -- always a factor!) His main field of interest is solar studies. Maybe I can pick his brains about the current minimal solar maximum.

TheMadLibrarian
vidnesde: the dark side of Photoshop

Brian Ballsun-Stanton said...

The japanese plastic into oil thing looks like countertop thermal depolymerization. (See: Changing world technologies and their various plants. They were rather more noticed in 2005, but they seem to have recovered from chapter 11)

Lorraine said...

The only Retief I know of is Retief Goosen, the legendary golfer.

John Varley's Titan-Wizard-Demon trilogy features a lot of life forms with rotary mechanisms and other machinery (dieselpunk?). Of course these are understood to be engineered life forms.

Jonathan S. said...

"The only Retief I know of is Retief Goosen, the legendary golfer."

You really should look up Keith Laumer's tales of Jame Retief, of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. He's the ultimate Mary Sue, but the stories are a fun sendup of Cold War diplomatic relations. (Also lines like, "Damned cheap Groaci copies of quality Japanese merchandise!", and worlds like the twin planets of Sofar and Sogood.)

sgs said...

Thing to keep in mind about the anti-science types is that they see science as another Argument from Authority. They see no real difference between a scientist with a research paper, a lawyer with a precedent, and a preacher with a prayerbook.

Also, most folks have been brainwashed into thinking that they "can't understand all this technical stuff", so they judge "authority" on presentation -- who's the better speaker? Who's better dressed? Who has the bigger entourage?

Getting past those two points is the key to getting people out of their mental ruts.

Paul451 said...

From the last thread:

Rob H,
Re: Ending anonymity because of the targeting of women.

What anonymity?

"Andrew Auernheimer, a well-known provocateur, hacker, and anti-Semite"

Similarly in the other stories used as examples of harassment, the perpetrators are all known to the victims (ex-husbands/boyfriends). Being "known" isn't stopping the abuse. And, by definition, it certainly won't stop identify theft.

Paul451 said...

"A major cause of sickness among people already hospitalized? Malnutrition!"

Well duh. Hospital food, who wouldn't rather starve.

More seriously, is the cause of poor nutrition forced cost cutting in the kitchen? Ultimately a false-economy, save money in the kitchen, lose it again due to the harm done to patients.

And do you see similar patterns in similar captive-audience institutions? Schools? prisons?

Increased discipline/recidivism issues in prisons due to cost cutting meals?

LarryHart said...

Enigma:

all behavior points to the fact that humans are becoming more social and less violent, rather than vice versa. Of course, that could easily change. An animal that's starving and doesn't have water is a dangerous animal, whether it's a domesticated dog or a domesticated human...


That realization is what ultimately gelled my way of thinking into "liberal". A German guest of Thom Hartmann's radio show said about Germany's high taxes and high social services, "I don't want to be a rich man in a poor country."

For my own part, I'd rather not have neighbors who are hungry, cold, afraid, and desparate. It seems to me that the conservative solution to that is to distance themselves from the poor, by military force if necessary. The liberal solution is to recognize that some of the common wealth belongs to everybody.

LarryHart said...

...and on a tangential subject, I suspect that there are (at least) "two kinds of people in the world". Those who see "humans becoming less violent and more social" as a self-evident good thing, and those who recoil at the notion in horror.

Robert said...

Paul - that's because, in for a penny, in for a pound. They'd already started their harassment so they stayed the course. But if Paul realizes that his name and address is available to anyone he harasses online and that that person can easily take evidence of his harassment and send it to the authorities and it'll go right to his doorstep, then maybe Paul won't go and do this.

Meanwhile, Mary may second-guess her attempts to sabotage Sue because she realizes she can't just post stuff claiming to be Mary (say, nude pictures supposedly of her) and thus the digital footprint will go right to her door and she'll be the one fired for inappropriate behavior, not Sue.

(The second example is just me giving equal footing to the concept that women can do wrong things as well. It's not "men are evil and women are good." It's "anonymity can make anyone into an asshole.")

I want to see the Culture of Angry Young Men to be destroyed. The only way it will be is to burn down their bastion of anonymity. Because anonymity does not for long protect people protesting the government. It only protects those using the device to spread hate.

Rob H.

Robert said...

And now? Science!

Here's an interesting article about an alternative model for the Universe that suggests our universe formed from the black hole of a four-dimensional star. If this is true, of course, then this has an interesting repercussion: what if our own black holes are forming two-dimensional universes of their own?

Rob H.

Randy Winn said...

"...is the cause of poor nutrition forced cost cutting in the kitchen? "
Drawing on anecdotes - hospital patients are often extraordinarily compliant. Between the actual helplessness that may accompany illness, the massive Symbols of Authority that pervade healthcare institutions, and so-on-and-so-forth, it may be that in a significant number of cases patients may be getting nutrition that is not appropriate to their needs (including tastes) because they don't just speak up and demand, let us say, fresh fruit instead of overprocessed or otherwise uninteresting fare.

This might be a worthy object of study. Anecdotes furnished on request.

Tony Fisk said...

I try to relabel Rupert conservatism as 'selfservatism'. It offers an alternate labelling system for honest conservatives not wanting to be called a CINO.

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"I suspect that there are (at least) "two kinds of people in the world". Those who see "humans becoming less violent and more social" as a self-evident good thing, and those who recoil at the notion in horror."

If the former is true, then it means the latter are shrinking in numbers. So they have every reason to recoil in horror.

Paul451 said...

Rob H,
"But if Paul realizes that his name and address is available to anyone he harasses online"

Do you realise that this applies to my many victims as well? In the article you linked to, the straw that broke the victim's back, drove her into seclusion, was when her address was posted online. In your desired world, the "cult of angry young men" would already have had her address from day one. Your world would drive most women and all children offline; indeed drive most women out of the media and many out of the workplace. However, it would barely touch the "cult" because they don't care if you know who they are.

"I want to see the Culture of Angry Young Men to be destroyed. The only way it will be is to burn down their bastion of anonymity."

You are giving into the myth that "bullies are cowards", and it's crap. Many harassers, even those who don't use their real names, are using a consistent, traceable identity. For example, Facebook is the prime harassment tool of "mean girls", even though you are required to give Facebook a real name and your email address. Most of the "mean girls" harass freely under their sole Facebook identity, often one that their school/college peers know. Their power doesn't come from anonymity, it comes from being inside the powerful group, attacking someone outside.

The other examples in the article had perpetrators who were already known to the victims (ex-husbands), who committed identity theft to harass their victims. By definition, the lack of anonymity won't stop identity theft.

Then there's the practical aspect. How do you stop anonymity? Sure the US government might be able to legislate real names and addresses on YouTube or Twitter, but it can't require that other countries do so for services hosted there. And even if you could, tech savvy harassers will always be able to set up private chat sites, or even use entirely encrypted networks like Freenet or any of the alternatives. In other words, the "cult of angry young men" will quickly gravitate to the "dark net", while the potential victims are all neatly tagged and out in the open in everything they do.

Paul451 said...

Oh and...

"But if Paul realizes that his name and address is available to anyone he harasses online"

Although my skin is apparently thick enough not to be put off by this, it was nonetheless amusing how quickly you resorted to such a classic bully-tool.

(The old "if you oppose censorship, you must like child porn", "if you oppose HUAC you must be a communist", "if you defend a witch, you must be a witch.")

Robert said...

Actually, Paul, I need to apologize for that. You see, my mind goes off on odd directions when I talk and thus I ended up not equating your name with the theoretical Paul I was talking about. This is why the second person's name is Mary - Peter, Paul and Mary. It's from a song or something. If I'd taken a step back and remembered your handle on here was Paul, I'd have chosen a different name. Probably Peter. ^^;;

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

"I suspect that there are (at least) "two kinds of people in the world". Those who see "humans becoming less violent and more social" as a self-evident good thing, and those who recoil at the notion in horror."

If the former is true, then it means the latter are shrinking in numbers. So they have every reason to recoil in horror.


Well, yeah, but I was speaking of a different dynamic.

There are those who believe quite sincerely that humanity is being "feminized" and not in a good sense. That if we become less beligerent, we set ourselves up for invaision by some boogeyman-outsider group who didn't get the memo and still IS violent. That if we cease to be predators, we resign ourselves to the role of prey.

To people who share that sort of value system, the assertion "humanity is beccoming more social and less violent" would sound like "Humanity is becoming less responsible and more decadent." At the very least, it would not sound (to them) like a good thing.

locumranch said...

Creeping causality, Batman!

Sure enough. Malnutrition is a common comorbid condition in the hospitalized population but you have the causality backwards: NOT 'hospitalization causes malnourishment' BUT 'malnourishment causes hospitalization'.

These hospitalized patients are disproportionately old, weak & debilitated and, regardless of their relatively obese BMI, they all tend to suffer from an age-dependent malnutrition of the 'protein calorie' variety which does not respond to mass-marketed vitamin 'cure-alls' despite Kurzweil's nutraceutical sales pitch.

On a more ironic note, note how David starts this post with the classic fear-based PMT sales pitch (Why Global Warming Will be Far Worse, Far Sooner, than Forecasts Predict) and then has the temerity to end it by cautioning against PMT-induced 'Mass Hysteria'.

That's the type of circular argument I most appreciate: Buy into the Fear Cycle. Get it? Got it? Good.

Fear: It's whats for dinner -- now available everywhere.



Best

David Brin said...

Tony alas, I'd say that most American conservatives aren't "self-serving" they are ANGRY. Their anger is stoked by self-serving moguls and directed at both all "smartypants" types from scientists to teachers to journalists... and toward government in general... and toward the progressives whose relentless guilt-tripping improvement campaigns - while generally right and proper - are also often deliberately sanctimoniously offensive.

This wrath is severe, even volcanic, and though it is 90% based on lies pushed by self-servers, that does not make it any less genuine.

As for the "mean girls" the answer is simple. The victim girls need to form a national and international org that not only shines light on the mean girls but (implicitly) invites strong willed, self-organizing groups to return the favor on behalf of the good girls. I am astonished this has not happened and it is one more sign that feminism has lost its way.

Randy Winn said...

"...they all tend to suffer from an age-dependent malnutrition..."

Nope. You can say "ALL" patients or you can say patient "TEND", but you can't say ALL patients tend to be anything. A disphagic 18-year-old may "tend" to be elderly, but it takes decades for that elderliness to manifest ;-)

Now I'm not any sort of medical professional, just a guy with access to a search engine, but it may be valuable for us laycritters to look at some of the many studies on malnutrition in hospitals since the early 1970s. One easily understood summary:

"Many patients are already malnourished at the point of admission, while others become malnourished during their hospital stay. Etiologies include alterations in the intake, digestion, absorption, and/or metabolism of food. Risks include GI disorders, chronic disease, malignancies, lower socioeconomic status, psychological disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, older age, and lower levels of education.....

....Even for patients who can eat orally, nutritional intake often decreases during hospitalization. Patients are required to be NPO prior to many tests and procedures, as well as before and after surgery. Delays or the need for several procedures result in prolonged periods without nutrition. Patients’ appetites usually decrease during illness due to pain, nausea, weakness, and altered mood or mental status, and they can become dissatisfied with repetitive menu cycles, dietary restrictions, and the food, which may not be the type they prefer."


Malnutrition: A Serious Concern for Hospitalized Patients
By Theresa A. Fessler, MS, RD, CNSD in Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 10 No. 7 P. 44


Clearly, according to this summary, malnutrition in hospitals has a variety of origins. And regardless of origin, it needs to be dealt with.

What the proper response may be I will leave up to science, but it seems to me the first lesson is that patients (and their families) should pay attention to nutrition, and not be content to assume that someone else is doing it.

Paul451 said...

David,
"As for the "mean girls" the answer is simple. The victim girls need to form a national and international org that not only shines light on the mean girls but (implicitly) invites strong willed, self-organizing groups to return the favor on behalf of the good girls."

Actually, counter-bullying is one of the signs that feminism has lost its way. See the bizarre culture that has developed in the Skeptic movement over the last few years. It arose in response to real underlying sexism in the old Skeptic and Atheist communities, but quickly became extremely nasty, attacking and driving out anyone who disagreed with the cult-of-personality of the new leaders.

What you describe can be done well, but is almost always done badly. (Like many revolutions, you need your revolutionaries to philosophically desire to take power only in order to give it up.)

[I made a point recently on an Alternet article about college kids mocking anti-rape messages. I wondered if the Left's well-intended response to college rape may have created a worse (us vs them) culture by failing to understand basic psychology. You can picture the response I received. What hope is there for a solution to be developed if you can't even discuss the problem.]

Rob H,
Peace and forgiveness.

Tony Fisk said...

David said:
Tony alas, I'd say that most American conservatives aren't "self-serving" they are ANGRY. Their anger is stoked by self-serving moguls and directed at both all "smartypants" types from scientists to teachers to journalists... and toward government in general... and toward the progressives whose relentless guilt-tripping improvement campaigns - while generally right and proper - are also often deliberately sanctimoniously offensive.

This wrath is severe, even volcanic, and though it is 90% based on lies pushed by self-servers, that does not make it any less genuine.


My point being that you can give said angry conservatives a label to rail against rather than more conservatives behaving badly.

(Taps fuming neighbour on shoulder while whispering theatrically: "Look out! It's behind you!")

Tacitus2 said...

I don't think conservatives as angry fits, at least not in the microenvironment I inhabit. My progressive friends get much, much more exercised about politics. KOCH! BUSH! VOTER SUPPRESSION! Sorry for the caps, makin' a point. Now, if you are of the proper point of view you would say no, that is not anger it is righteous indignation. But it sounds like anger to those who see the world from an alternative vantage point.

If I had to describe a unifying "mood" to modern conservatism it would be more a flavor of....sadness. So many of our bedrock institutions appear to be in decline. Sure, many of them were not as great as selective memory makes them out to be, but still.

A good - because relatively safe - example would be number of children being raised in single parent households. While saluting and supporting those singles who have by necessity had this daunting task (spouse lost to death or divorced for reasons of unquestioned vileness), a horribly large number of children are growing up now simply without a father (or in some cases a mother).

You know me, I am not a big Social Issues conservative. But I think there is general assent that an intact two parent family is a good thing, sort of a cellular component to a healthy body politic. Social policy that encourages it should be lauded. That which discourages it should be decried.

Not sure where this all is coming from this am. Cold and rainy, much at work to dismay even the generally cheery.

Oh, and I think when you look at malnutrition and hospitalization you need to look very hard at the data. Community hosp vs University center, surgical vs medical admits, age, co-morbidities, what the actual measure of nutrition is. There are plenty of pre-hospital issues. Had a couple of cases lately where I had to sew up lacerations and the skin was like fragile, wet kleenex.

On shift in one hour.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

If I had to describe a unifying "mood" to modern conservatism it would be more a flavor of....sadness. So many of our bedrock institutions appear to be in decline. Sure, many of them were not as great as selective memory makes them out to be, but still.


That's exactly what I'm going through from the progressive side.

I realize I'm biased here, but it seems to me that the political right is succeeding in dismantling anything that protects ordinary workers, consumers, or the environment we all have to live in. I feel sadness watching our once-great institutions being purposely taken apart. What you describe from the conservative side sounds (to my ear) like "feeling sad watching a rising (though impotent) disrespect TOWARD the dismantlers of those institutions.


...
But I think there is general assent that an intact two parent family is a good thing, sort of a cellular component to a healthy body politic. Social policy that encourages it should be lauded. That which discourages it should be decried.


Then public enemy number one SHOULD be the fact that despite mega-increases in economic productivity, the shares of that increase going to workers has been flat since the 1980s. It's the "new normal" that it takes two full-time working parents to AFFORD to raise children, and that those parents will be lucky to save enough money to pay medical expenses in their old age, nevermind anything like a comfortable retirement.

If you want to return to family values, let's undo the damage to those values the right is actually perpetrating.

And yeah, it's just as rainy and cool down here in Chicago.

Tacitus2 said...

Larry, there are points of contact between these world views. Much of what my progressive friends are nostalgic for are old and revered institutions. Missing them is conservative in the true sense. I approve of private sector unions and their efforts to make a better life for their members. I think a retirement pension from a company that I work for for 30 years would be great. I won't even get started on the ways my profession, medicine, has devolved in my working career. (and also soared to great new heights, these are happening in tandem). I miss public schools that work. I like solid American made products.

We differ in many ways. There are technological and international developments that are independent of political stripe. They can't be denied.

I think you and I could serve together on the local school board and have some fabulous debates. And good answers might come from them.

Tacitus

Randy Winn said...

"...There are plenty of pre-hospital issues..."

Certainly - that's one of the elements of my quote. AND there are plenty of in-hospital issues ... which is the other point.

And the third point: it doesn't matter to Dr. Brin's point, which is that something could be done about it.

(If there are only two sides to an argument, chances are, it's not a very useful argument ;-)