Blog 60. Water flows uphill to money

Sometimes the inquiring technical mind cannot pass an opportunity to analyze what’s going on in the surrounding society.  With me, that compulsion for analysis recently arose when the Forest Service announced it planned to approve a new pipeline to provide water for snowmaking on the local ski hill, some 2600 feet (more or less) above the town.   As they say in the dry southwest, whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting. Continue reading

Blog 56. Ravens and the rate of change

Most of these blogs have been concerned with the progress (or regress) of society, where most of us notice that our communications, demands, and obligations seem to be increasing.  As noted by Gleick, society and daily living are changing, and the rate of change is increasing, too.  That is, the rate of change of the rate of change is increasing. Continue reading

Blog 53. Educable or corrigible?

Almost every individual person is educable.  I’ll define educable as being capable of learning from the mistakes of others.  Likewise, almost every individual is corrigible.  Corrigible means capable of learning from one’s own mistakes.  Institutions, like individuals, are educable.  Continue reading

Blog 52. Aging in America—a systems question?

Last week, I reviewed Julian Barnes’ story of an aging, retired man named Tony Webster.  Webster lives alone, remembers regrettable events of his youth, suffers remorse when he encounters the living and ghostly persons of his past, and still does not find a way to heal the hurts or to generate meaning in his life.  Perhaps, as his former girlfriend says, he “just doesn’t get it.”

Does today’s youth-oriented culture—a functioning system—regard older people as irrelevant, as those who no longer “get it?”  Continue reading

Blog 47. The elephant in the room

Of the economically developed countries of the world, the U.S. has the most dysfunctional society—that is, we have depression despite material goods, materialism without community, more teen and single parents, less trust, more impoverishment, higher infant mortality, more drugs, obesity, school bullying and school shootings. Continue reading

Blog 43. Making molehills or mountains

From small molehills, big mountains grow.  Sometimes.  If the feedback is positive, that is—if the mole is rewarded with more food just for digging that molehill, and if his children are likewise rewarded.  We’re not moles eating carrots, so how does this relate to us? Continue reading