What is "Mind?"


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Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 19, 2014 - 03:14pm PT
No one is arguing that management, per se, is completely useless. Just that ML is a little full of himself thinking that they're somehow indispensable. The fact is, most small businesses do damn well without them, and today's unemployment lines have managers outnumbering engineers 100 to 1, if not more. There's a reason for that.

I think that anyone married to a reductionistic, bottom-up view of reality is bound to believe that the more toward the bottom we go, the more "real" and indispensable we get. Imagine applying this model to the military. Since the Generals don't do any of the real fighting, we can dump them straight off. And then all the way down the line to the genuine ranks of privates and PFCs, who do all the heavy lifting. We'll just let them run things.

Conversely, socialism is a political and economic structure that tries to place all currency on the "workers," but in actual practice, every state agency invariably ends up ridiculously top heavy with the vast amount of people only acting like they are working. For example, the old oil and gas operations in Venezuela used to be run by X amount of people costing X amount of dollars. Now they employ X times 3 people, work at only half the efficiency, and at five times the cost.

What is required is a balanced attack. Too much top end and you become profligate and inefficient. Too little low end and the whole thing gets chaotic and disorganized and can't course correct.

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2014 - 04:11pm PT
I would agree that the orthodox managerial model, broadly defined, is rapidly becoming a flagrant anachronism , be it government or business or organizations in general. The clearest and obvious exception is in the conduct of war by the military. Yet even with war there are notorious examples of them more often being fought , especially since WW2, in atrociously inept ways ,thoroughly underscoring the failure of strictly managerial approaches to its proper execution . War in general is pretty simple, sort of like boxing : the restrictions of which is to obey a few fundamental rules but otherwise the object is to beat the holy crap out of the other guy ---or don't get in the ring at all.

Managers are outside of the ring. They derive there raison d'Ítre when systems become so complex --- like war--- that a "broad picture" approach becomes inclusively mandatory. This is fine and usually works quite well only up to a certain level--- beyond which the "managers" are so outside of the ring that they lose all sense of causative reality. An egregious example of this negative principle are wars fought by politicians --- literally and figuratively thousands of miles from the battlefield.

The reason I used the word "anachronism" in the above is to draw attention to the fact that technology has produced a world in which information has been "liberated" and decentralized.
The "broad picture" can usually now be discerned by everyone in an organization, once they are given free access to relevant information. Part of the reason why exclusively rigid hierarchical systems flourished in bygone times is attributable to the centralized hoarding of information.

I'm not suggesting here that management per se is now dispensable --- only that it is rapidly transforming. The old model is outside of the boxing ring and has become passť. Those still espousing it have given up the fight. An obvious symptom of their disaffection takes the form of a bitter rejection of the outside world for not seeing what brilliant managers they really are.They are down and out for the count.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 19, 2014 - 04:32pm PT
Where's Ed? I'm waiting for my non-ohmic pn analysis. ;)

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Aug 19, 2014 - 05:48pm PT
Unfortunately, academia has not signed on to the new management model. I would say we are where Detroit was in the 1970's. College presidents make hundreds of thousands of dollars and every year more layers of middle managers are added, yet the people who actually produce, the instructors and researchers, make a pittance and have less and less say in education. Tuition goes up and up but mostly to management salaries.

Aug 19, 2014 - 06:33pm PT
Waraja Ngarlu Wanduna

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 19, 2014 - 08:22pm PT
Ed: . . . where "tit-for-tat" is the winning longterm strategy.

It has been the most effective "proven strategy" that has been researched.

. . . human economics is really just a subfield of ecology, and ecology is all about the relationship of an organism with the environment, . . . .

Yikes! There will be legions of economists who will march on your home, Ed, if they only knew where you lived.

Your characterization suits at a general level. On a more specifically detailed level, it ignores all sort of other things that economists like talking about . . . where market mechanisms don't or can't work. Yours might be an open-systems approach in a world where there are only scarce resources. But . . . . People can own those scarce resources outright and hence control them, and that can lead to non-efficient outcomes that become stabilized and enduring.

Resource allocation has tended to be economists' main concern, but today those of us who believe in the power of creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation might argue that being "resourceful" is even more powerful. The extent to which a person thinks there is "an ecology," "a species," "an environment" that is concrete and well-defined, the less that person can create something new and exciting.

The idea that all things important are "discoverable" or "findable" is limiting.

(Not you, Ed.)

FM: . . . a product designer, or engineer, or even developer . . . .

These are what I would call technicians, and I've worked as one of them, I've managed them as people, and I've led them as a project manager. Their idea of a perfect job is a room with four walls and no door . . . just a little slit where paper, code, and requirements could be shuttled. No people contact, please.

A manager or leader is anyone who is responsible for and to other people to get something done, and does so *through people*, by the very ability to support them so that they can get things done. You may be thinking of some bad experiences that you've had in organizations. Perhaps you've never worked or been a part of an organization that worked.

Those "who can do without any management" can only get the most primitive and rudimentary objectives achieved. The very nature of organization at any sort of sophistication is organization can enable specialists to work with one another--specialists who can hardly talk to one another due to domain-specific knowledge and language. Coordinators, project managers, people managers, leaders, integrators, are all indispensable in modern organization. Perhaps you'd like to return to the days of cottage industries (which is fine), but they could never build modern dams, aircraft, automobiles, all sorts of medical equipment, high rise buildings, etc.

If your argument is that there are many managers and leaders who don't pull their weight or are paid too much, then sure, I'll agree. That same comment can be made across the board. What matters, we have been told, is what gets done; what gets done is what gets measured; what gets measured tends to be a management responsibility.

Today's more interesting management models have inverted the organizational chart, turned it into a distributed expertise model without a center, and changed management from the Russian Doll model to one that stipulated different KINDS of managerial responsibilities depending upon what level.

Look, management and leadership are complex issues, and they are discussed across so many disciplines that I could hardly list them. I think I know most of them.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 19, 2014 - 09:03pm PT
Concerning automata and free will...

I don't fancy the word "compatibilist" so I don't identify with it; instead I recognize that there are different varieties of "free will" depending on context and as language goes, some I accept, some I reject. I think in the future these different varieties / concepts of free will be clearer to people. At least we can hope.

Concerning "urge for retribution," sorry EdH, no science or hard work of doing science on my part on this subject - maybe in my next life if I'm lucky enough to come back an evolutionary psychologist or social scientist and can remember this thread.

Then again, I still have my own opinions or judgments, hopefully science informed and not too biased - and certainly not theistic in any way, lol - on so-called free will, its relationship to accountability or responsibility and also on "urge for retribution" and how understanding of our nature in terms of genetics and enviro might mollify it.

Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 19, 2014 - 09:29pm PT
Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas, and that it is possible to believe both without being logically inconsistent.[1] Compatibilists believe freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have nothing to do with metaphysics.wiki

i can get along with the word Compatibilism. But Compatibilist, i'm with you FRuity!

Boulder climber
Aug 19, 2014 - 10:04pm PT
Their idea of a perfect job is a room with four walls and no door . . . just a little slit where paper, code, and requirements could be shuttled. No people contact, please (MikeL)

This leaves me speechless in its arrogant denigration of scientists and technicians. But sully, who despises the same social group, would probably agree with you.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 19, 2014 - 11:07pm PT
with a 4V drop across the resistor there is 20 mA of current flowing in your circuit...

V = I R

so I = 4V/200 Ohms = 0.02 A = 20 mA

the LED is glowing, assuming it's a red LED and assuming the diode is forward biased, which is indicated in your example by voltage drop across the resistor.

What if you reverse bias the diode? is is ohmic?

What's the voltage drop across the resistor?


Social climber
joshua tree
Aug 20, 2014 - 12:03am PT
^What if the light is Blue?

Would it matter if the test were done in the heat of Joshua Tree compared to the cold of Antarctica? Do LED's slow down with heat like incandescent?

And what's the deal with flourescent light, how come they haven't yet linked it to somekind of brain tumor? Sure gives me a headache
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 20, 2014 - 06:54am PT
with a 4V drop across the resistor there is 20 mA of current flowing in your circuit...

So far so good. Now what's (a) the voltage drop and (b) resistance across the diode?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 20, 2014 - 09:05am PT

the voltage drop is 2 volts
there is 20 mA flowing, at that operating point the effective impedance is 2V/20mA = 100 Ohms

but the relationship doesn't make it an "Ohmic device" the I-V curve is not a simple line, which is the definition of "ohmic device."

what's the effective impedance of the diode when it is reversed biased with a voltage greater than the breakdown voltage?

if your point is that impedance can be defined as "R = V/I" you should say so... but to claim that is "Ohm's Law" is a misconception on your part.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 20, 2014 - 09:33am PT

Yeah, really. It's too bad such baby steps had to be taken for such a simple and silly thing. But I wanted to constrain your CLEAR proclivity to quibble when it's not necessary. Even in this latest post, you introduce details that aren't necessary (relevant); I can tell (yes, because I know the subject extremely well) you're looking for an out (to duck or dodge); so unfortunate when at the start regarding scientific "truths," it was never necessary in the first place to quibble (to draw textbook distinction between Ohm's Law and I=E/R which good engineers in their labs, nine times out of ten, don't do). And it was quibbling because I only pointed out that the relation is I=E/R as opposed to some other (e.g, I=EE/R or I=E/RR). Always being a contrarian isn't always a great thing.

But you're correct in your latest post: The diode presents with a resistance (in this case, aka impedance) of 100 ohms according to R=V/I. Whether it's ohmic or nonohmic is irrelevant here.

To be clear, #1: FWIW... 20 engineers (good ones) or 200 engineers (good ones, e.g. Woz) in a lab re 999/1000 circuit types would call R=V/I "Ohm's Law" and there wouldn't be controversy (i.e., quibbling) about it.

To be clear, #2: I=V/R (cf: textbook "Ohm's Law") applies to all ohmic and pn devices (e.g., diode).

Another scientific "truth" is that a heavy object and a light object fall at the same rate. (cf: an object falls proportional to the square of its weight: falsity) Had I known better, I would've used this example - or any of ten thousand others - instead of "Ohm's Law." Live and learn. ;)

Just a thought: maybe you're spending too much time sparring with the likes of MikeL and Largo. Or those blowhards over on the climate thread? There's a place for rhetoric, ducking and dodging, playing the contrarian, never admitting an error or misunderstanding, quibbling, taking sides, etc.. But this isn't all places. Just a reminder. Have a good one.

For ref:

Aug 20, 2014 - 10:07am PT
Ed is certainly a quibbler who gets easily sidetracked when he perceives his intellectual authority is being challenged, but attempting to constrain another person's true nature is probably a lost cause. After all, it's probably a childhood thing.

Best to glide over his cut and past textbook pages and return to the no-matter at hand.

Which isn't ohm's law.

It probably is the fundamental nature of free will at this point, however.

BTW, I watched two fine young adults summit their first peak - one of our most scenic, on Monday in spectacular weather. Peaking wildflowers, ripe blueberries, an extraterrestrial cloudscape, ice avalanches thundering down Johannesberg, hell, even the fire smoke cleared to reveal a sea of mountains - the Cascades really pulled out all the stops for these kids.

THAT was cool.

Our week out was shortened to 3 days due to fire smoke and weather, but it was quality, not quantity.

I may also have saved a life. I convinced a guy on the summit not to lower himself off on parachute cord - the really thin stuff, and just downclimb instead. He was busy tying some kind of homemade rope ladder with the stuff when I topped out. Lots of sharp edged rock, too. I figure he was looking at a max rating of 40-50 lbs there with the knot factor. *shiver*
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 20, 2014 - 11:27am PT
just to be clear, the definition of impedance is not a "law"...

you could call it quibbling, ducking and dodging and all that, and it may well be true that all those engineers and technicians would refer to it as "Ohm's Law," it doesn't make it so.

the quibble has a lot to do with how HFCS argues in this thread... essentially he is defining life as a physical process...

I agree that life should be describable as a physical process, my interest isn't in defining it to be so but explaining how it is so. I appreciate that that might sound like a quibble. I also have to say that I can't do that, nor do I think anyone else has, identified how life is a physical process. Just to be clear, this has to do with understanding non-equilibrium systems, which is still a work in progress.

As far as authority, well, if you make an argument and are challenged you can interpret it as the boot of authority coming down on your neck, or you can just respond to the criticism with an explanation.

I expect to be criticized, and I try to respond to that criticism with explanation, not an appeal to my authority. If you are making a scientific statement, you should be able to support it with a scientific explanation. If you're speculating, you should be up front about it.

Both Tvash and HFCS would rather discuss my personality flaws than address the points... ok, they think the points are quibbles, ducking and dodging, cut and paste and a display of ego...

probably truths to ever one of those complaints. But it's easier to whine about that than answer the question, particularly when the answer is "I don't know" something neither has seemed to be able to bring themselves to say. It is probably the most important thing a scientist learns.

(I didn't cut and paste that... but you can read the famous quote in Newton's Optiks regarding his own views).

anyway, I'm glad I passed the electronics technician test... perhaps it wasn't as over my head as was implied... except I guess that Tvash thought I cut and pasted the solution from the web (it's true I didn't generate the I-V curve in my workshop from scratch, but I would have looked it up on the spec sheet for the device I was designing in any case).

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 20, 2014 - 11:33am PT
it's easier to whine about that than answer the question

It's been answered...

I=V/R is a scientific truth, I=VV/R is not.

990/1000 scientifically literally folk would get this and see its meaning w/o quibbles.

Indeed, it was "answered" in fact to such a degree the interesting points in the original discussion (re: "truth" in science; or "design" or "purpose" in evolved living things) were long ago lost.

Aug 20, 2014 - 11:39am PT
I'd wager that few to nobody cares, Ed.

The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Aug 20, 2014 - 11:46am PT
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Aug 20, 2014 - 11:50am PT
he is defining life as a physical process...


When it's not a beach... rock climbing... or birding.

he is defining life as a physical process...

Yes, which is "just" the basis of all modern biology!!

he is defining life as a physical process...

Thanks for the laughs, Ed.

It's clear now, no wonder we quibbled (iow, distracted ourselves) over "Ohm's Law."
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