Friday, November 25, 2005

How much are we genetically programmed?

One of the challenges of studying how ww think is that we are using our brains to study our brains. So we may even be pre-programmed to see things in a certain way. As a result, there are almost certainly some things we can not see objectively, just as the two dimensional creature can not see a three dimensional one completely. This is not the genetics of the individual, but rather the genectics of humanity. We may be disposed to think in certain ways which we consider logical, yet which extraterrestrials might not. If we even encounter such beings, that might provide us with some answers, or if our thinking is so different, we may never even be able to communicate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The need for control over your life

In today's New York Times an article discussed the growing trend among younger people to diagnose and use drugs for their own purposes. They have more faith in their own ability to do so than in Doctors'. They grew up with direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs and are knowledgeable about symptoms and medications. At the same time, we know that the less control over your own life you have, the more stress you feel. When your actions at work are watched - cubicles and monitoring of email being examples - you feel stress. The more day to day supervision you are under, the less effectively you may perform. Yet management continues to believe that more control is helpful. Much as spanking children has been shown to be counterproductive, yet people continue to belive in it. Our sense of what is obvious or intuitive is not always correct. We need to recognize the need for objectivity, and give control back to employees, until they give reason to distrust them.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Multiplication of Incorrect Information

As the Internet has grown there is much more information on it. While this is a great resource, there is also a lot more incorrect information, much of which takes on a life of its own. If you look up a fact or a person on the Internet, make sure you check any fact which seems inconsistent. Also, just because a fact recurs in several places, it may not mean it is accurate. It may simply mean that one source has used the other as its prime source. Thus statements about the number of engineers in a country or the number of elm trees in another could be based on someone's guess some time back.