Links for the Week – July 30, 2006 (The Complexity Edition)

shellAnother week full of bad news you don’t need me to rehash here. In this week’s Magical Thinking exercise, Worldwatch Institute asks politicians and business to commit to a massive coordinated change program to stem global warming that they have neither the power or knowledge to implement even if they were inclined to. An international group of scientists says the same thing is needed to confront the crash of biodiversity. The US government has decided that it’s more moral for teenage girls seeking abortion to commit suicide than to get those abortions without parental consent. In Lebanon, the horrific environmental disaster that is unfolding is completely ignored in favour of the easier-to-sound-bite political disaster (thanks to James Pargiter for this link). Meanwhile FEMA, indifferent to the staggering amount of corporate and inside fraud that stole or squandered much of the New Orleans relief money, is instead concerned about individual New Orleans residents who might have tried to get a bit more than their share. When you get caught, blame the victim. Simple.

A Tiny Corner of Complex Thinking in the Vast Simplistic Monolithic Corporatist Hierarchical World: Strategy & Business describes Rabobank, a huge Dutch financial services company that addresses issues using complex, consensual, deep-understanding approaches instead of the usual expert knee-jerk top-down fiat approaches.

More Evidence There is No Unified Theory of Everything: Complexity-loathing scientists were dealt another setback when a recent conference of leading physicists concluded that anomalies and inconsistencies in the current models purporting to explain the physical nature of the universe (including those embracing string theory and even more convoluted theories) are so massive that, according to the conference convener, it could take 150 years to come up with new theory to explain them, and even then they will be unverifiable experimentally. Thanks to Mariella Rebora for the link.

“Can the private sector handle the complex challenges of the 21st century? Can the government? Can any combination?”: So asks Andrew Leonard in Salon’s HTWW, explaining the awesome failures of Boston’s Big Dig project.

Complexity Guru Dave Snowden is Blogging: Here. Watch it evolve.

Complexity Just for Fun: Andrew Campbell points us to a site that helps us envision our 10-dimensional universe. And Craig De Ruisseau points us to a site by the New Economics Foundation that meshes life satisfaction, life expectancy andecological footprint to compute, by country and even personally, a happy planet index.

Thought for the week: From UN Humanitarian Chief Jan Egeland, yesterday, on the Israel-Hezbollah war: “There is something fundamentally wrong when there are more dead children than armed men”

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2 Responses to Links for the Week – July 30, 2006 (The Complexity Edition)

  1. Conor says:

    Complexity? Right now I’m reading a book by Charles Seife titled “Decoding The Universe” (w/ a very long subtitle). So far it’s really a wonderful book. In essence it puts forth the idea that information is not just an abstract idea but a quantifiable “thing” with substance like mass and energy.I wish everybody had good understanding of information and entropy, then maybe we would stop burning our candle at all three ends. *sigh*

  2. Jake says:

    Dave thanks for all the new info and links – the news is very depressing, isn’t it? Either way, I always enjoy reading your blog because genuine intellectuals are difficult to find.Btw, with regards to your last comment – you might be interested in what a Canadian UN Observer had to say about the sad topic of civilian deaths (and also sadly, his own): Human Shield Tactics

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