ESSAYS AND BLOGS ABOUT SCIENCE
AND SOCIETY AND OTHER THINGS
I am a scientist concerned with social responsibility, science and public policy, life within multiple complex systems, and the excesses induced by ideology. I invite your comments following each of the blogs and essays.
The historian Crane Brinton once remarked that the weakness of a society is measured by the size of the gap between its ideals and its reality. Both in the U.S. and in the so-called developing countries, we see attempts to impose political ideals upon the realities of economics and social norms. In these pages, we’ll define complex systems and then explore society and economics as nested complex systems. We’ll look at the weaknesses—called unintended consequences—that emerge when imposed ideals conflict with the internal operating rules of the complex system. If you prohibit liquor in a free market, you get organized crime.
In these pages, you and I will ask how ideals and ideology impact a technical society and its individual members. We’ll examine society itself as a natural—but regulated—complex system. And sometimes we’ll just share the stories and tender moments of living and loving, and our concerns with those things we must leave behind.
A new blog post will appear at weekly or biweekly intervals. You can subscribe to receive new posts automatically by email when they are made. If you’re new, I suggest you first read Blogs 1, 2, and 3 as an introduction to where other posts might go. Feel free to comment. I’ll try to respond.