Re: POLI: Concrete Umbrellas (was: Faster driving saves lives)

Gina Miller (
Sat, 16 Jan 1999 15:26:10 PST

Have you read the article in Chemical and Engineering News (January 11,1999). Called "Much Ado About Nanotubes, by Ron Dagani Gina "Nanogirl" Miller

>Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 15:50:01 -0500
>From: "Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko" <>
>Subject: POLI: Concrete Umbrellas (was: Faster driving saves lives)
>At 14:33 01/16/99 , Forrest Bishop wrote:
>>You can also argue reducio ad absurdum - lowering the limit to zero
>>'save' all the lives. I have never seen anyone do an analysis of this
>>phenomenon like the one above; why do you suppose that is? Might it
>>conflict with the kindergarten culture belief sysem?
>I think people would tell you that they "have to drive" to "survive".
>I have offered some reductio ad absurdum suggestions before that are
>clear of this "have to" issue, for example:
>- building overpasses instead of all crossings and concrete walls
> all streets should eliminate all accidents evolving pedestrians
> (except that the pedestrians crazy from spending all their time on
> building the overpasses and climbing up and down, may start jumping
> off them, or smashing their heads at the walls)
>- A great reduction in crime may be achieved by putting all
> members of the society in solitary confinement with maximal security.
>- making everybody carry 100lb concrete umbrellas when outdoors, to
> them against possible meteorites, sudden huge hailings, and other
> objects.
>(of course, one can prohibit everything that is not absolutely
> such as driving to movies or sports games, or any fun activities. But
> people may find that the life itself is no longer really "important")
> The apparent truth here is that people want not to optimize their
>at any cost, but to find a reasonable compromise between risk factors,
>efforts, quality of life, lifespan, etc. This is not a specifically
>opinion, it's plain common sense.
>Now, why there is so little publicity for these suggestions, and
support for
>balanced approach, while the risk aversion suggestions receive millions
>dollars for "research", and billions - for implementation? How can we
>to that publication now, so that everybody could see it? (Actually, it
>be possible to write an article for NYT or something - anybody
interested to
>work on it?)
>The issue I think is that the distribution of ideas is propelled by
>interests more than by their truth value; this problem is apparently
>with the centralized power, though a mechanism for distribution of
>evaluations of non-coercive projects is also quite needed.
>So they offer lop-sided arguments that sound convincing enough for the
>of the population, who do not care to think of balanced social
approaches or
>philosophical foundations of the legal system. And that's enough to
>further funding for "protective" projects, further expansion of the
state, etc.
>Who would pay millions of dollars for the study showing what kinds of
>people are willing to bear in their pursuit of quality of life,
freedom, and
>happiness? Not the State, I think.
>I would expect that some visionary journalistic efforts aimed at the
Slow Zone
>could make some difference here. But they, apparently, don't, with
all those
>civil libertarians and journalists out there. Or maybe, they couldn't
find the
>right meme?
>An article on Concrete Umbrellas, anyone?
>I actually strongly doubt that a well-chosen phrase can generally make
>difference, but since the illogical swamp of social ideas tends to
>between polar states, and social policies keep being followed until
>become not just theoretically ungrounded, but hugely ridiculous and
>exposing problems at these critical points early may help swing both
>and policies. - Another task for the Institute of Memetic Engineering?
>Alexander Chislenko <>
><> <>

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