Showing posts from 2012

Thoughts on Water

Earth is a closed system. Nothing escapes into space that is not launched at escape velocity. Therefore, the water we have is the water we had and the water we will have. Other than the very small amounts of water that get "lost" through chemical reactions converting those molecules of H20 into something else, all of the water that we "use" stays with us.
Unlike oil where once we use it up, it is no longer in the same form, water more or less stays the same and thermodynamics gives us a clue to this as there is no energy to be had from water and therefore no conversion of matter into energy no matter what we do with water.
We "have" more or less the same amount of water we had a million years ago and we will have the same a million years from now unless we cart it out into space.
The issue is what form water comes in and this issue is all a "parts-per-billion" issue meaning that in some cases water is mixed up with salt (in fact 97% of all water…

Titanic Thinking

I want to take a stand against "Titanic thinking" (copyright MH 2012)

By that I mean the kind of thinking that says that Leonardo DiCaprio character is better off having known true love and dying than if he had never met the woman in the first place.

Had he never won tickets to the Titanic maiden voyage he would have been WAAAAY BETTER OFF!

Even having won the tickets, he would have been better off never having run into the woman because if he had not, given the kind of hustling resourceful character that he was, the odds of him surviving as many others  have were pretty good.

The romanticized notion that this was somehow good for him is crap. It was not, he died.

She lived and had a nice life.

Capacity for deception in humans is an evolved trait

Just reproducing here something from Bruce Shneier's Crypo-Gram newsletter because it is worth reproducing.

"The Folly of Fools,: by the biologist Robert Trivers. Trivers has studied self-deception in humans, and asks how it evolved to be so pervasive. Humans are masters at self-deception. We regularly deceive ourselves in a variety of different circumstances. But why? How is it possible for self-deception -- perceiving reality to be different than it really is -- to have survival value? Why is it that genetic tendencies for self-deception are likely to propagate to the next generation?

Trivers's book-long answer is fascinating. Basically, deception can have enormous evolutionary benefits. In many circumstances, especially those involving social situations, individuals who are good at deception are better able to survive and reproduce. And self-deception makes us better at deception. For example, there is value in my being able to deceive you into thinking I am stronger t…