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Ishmael Community Guestbook Archive

Back to the *Current* Guestbook Previous 15 Records · Next 15 Records

Ameno #14973
Los Angeles, CA USA - Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 18:20:38 CST (GMT -6:00)


We are talking about technological ADVANCES, you are talking about a SPECIFIC project.

If I tell you I want you to build a wheelbarrow (a specific project similar to a specific piece of software that needs to be engineered) then yes, 2 heads MAY be better than 1, but any person knows that too many heads will make it MORE difficult to do.

However, if I tell you that I want you to build SOMETHING that can do a task that no one has done yet (ie, going to the moon), then the more heads I have thinking about HOW to design and build this thing, the faster the project will go. That is a technological advance- designing technology to do something that hasn't been done before.

So, the Prius is a TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE. It is a car that gets lower gas mileage that any car ever has before it.

If you were engineering a piece of software that had Artificial Intelligence (something that has never been done before), you would want as many heads possible on the project. Once you knew what code needed to be written, you would want the amount of heads working on it that worked out to maximum efficiency in division of labor.

VerevolfTheGrouch #14972
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 18:11:46 CST (GMT -6:00)

Oh, yeah, forgot to make my point:

The reason that software has not advanced so far in 15 years despite the number of manhours spent on it is that there has yet to be an invention that makes writing software significantly simpler.

Ameno #14971
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 18:10:39 CST (GMT -6:00)


In a way, that is what I am saying. Because there are limited resources (in that case advertisers) and each non-tribal business competes for maximum resources, yes, the tribal business is doomed in that environment.

Another example. Imagine two seeds are planted in a pot. The pot will not get any larger, it cannot. The pot's resources are limited. Imagine that one seed (the tribal business) grows only enough to be an adult plant and able to survive on its own (about 10% of the pot). Ok, if it was by itself in the pot, it would be fine. There are actually lots of businesses like this. But the second seed (businesses in general), seeks to grow to the MAXIMUM. It wants 100% of the pot. This is what businesses strive for. The most attractive market share is 100% (a monopoly). Our government will step in when it sees this happening, but there are very few industries with only 2 "seeds in the pot."

Ok, so once the second plant reaches 90% control of the pot, it is not going to stop. It wants 100% of the pot and will except no less. At this point, the first and second plant are going to "duke it out" to survive. The second plant is bigger, and stronger (about 9 times bigger at this point), and will eventually kill the little plant to take full control. Thus is the plight of the tribal business. If it is in a Taker economy, it is a flower among weeds. It may not happen overnight, but eventually, the weeds will win, if not pulled out.

That is just basic business.

VerevolfTheGrouch #14970
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 18:8:28 CST (GMT -6:00)

The concept of "manhours" is largely useless in terms of software engineering. In theory, if you have 10 guys working on a software project and it gets behind schedule, you should be able to add 10 more guys and get it done twice as fast. This is virtually never the case in software development. In fact, not only do you not get it done twice as fast, the project becomes later (i.e., it takes more ACTUAL hours AND more MANHOURS), precisely because of the communication involved.

And there actually is a trend toward letting other people build off what you've built. You do have to pay for it, but that is, in many cases, cheaper than building the same thing yourself. No, you can't go in and tinker with Windows, but somebody can write a generalized component and you can take that component and use it in your software (and in fact, there are many such reusable components in Windows), and that generally decreases the number of manhours and actual hours spent doing CERTAIN things. In fact, the fact that it is often cheaper to buy something than to build it yourself encourages such cooperation. The costs of software are always in development. Replication is cheap.

Jim Linder #14969
San Jose, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 18:0:16 CST (GMT -6:00)

Ameno, in your post 15245, you state: “The reason that a tribal business cannot survive within a taker economy is the same reason that a "nice mouse" cannot survive in a world of mice who compete to the MAXIMUM.”

Are you saying that a business that simply tries to exist for the longest possible time and not necessarily grow, is doomed, and will not survive amongst businesses that continually strive for growth?


Ameno #14968
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 17:50:50 CST (GMT -6:00)


Sorry, I missed it you asked for my perspective on the info you gave in #15285 concerning Diamond's theory.

I mainly want to comment on one part of what you said as far as the chronology of Diamond's thinking: "(a) a climatic change as the end of the last ice age completed which completed the melting of the Northern glaciers, (b) gradual flooding of the rich river delta hunting grounds which are now below the sea several miles into the Persian Gulf, (c) the adopting of an available grain package for cultivation."

This is a very interesting hypothesis. ESPECIALLY since the Anasazi (as the oldest remains of native american civilization that we have available) were FARMERS. I have talked about them in earlier posts. The same glaciers that melted and flooded the hunting grounds ALSO covered the land bridge seperating Asia from the Americas. So, if agriculture supposedly developed AFTER that event and BECAUSE OF the flooding of the hunting grounds... why did the Anasazi have agriculture. In fact, not only did they have agriculture, their agriculture, especially irrigation systems was FAR advanced of anything PRE-Egypt. If we go with Diamond's hypothesis- either man of this time had great open ocean sailing veesels and VISITED the Anasazi, and taught them how to farm... OR, the Anasazi THEMSELVES had sailing vessels and came here about 10,000 years ago. There is not a shred of archaeological evidence supporting that.

Many scholars undercut the importance of anthropology here in the Americas. I'm sure this is not the first time that this argument has been brought against Diamond. It is kind of Eurocentric of him to assume that only HIS ancestors could have developed agriculture. But then again, it would make sense, seeeing that it is also Eurocentric to undercut the importance of Native Americans.

Ameno #14967
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 17:22:57 CST (GMT -6:00)

oops, I said outside of your tribe you don't "compete" with them, that should read "don't really communicate" with them.

Ameno #14966
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 17:21:21 CST (GMT -6:00)


Yes, within your tribe there is no such thing as intellectual property. Outside of your tribe it isn't really an issue because you don't compete with them. However, if another tribe did "copy" your method of doing something you wouldn't say, "HEY< that's my idea, you better pay me if you want to use it." You would say, "HAHA, so, you decided maybe this WAS a good way to do things afterall."

Also, as for the technology moving slowly. Let me clarify what I meant by that (sometimes I take for granted that people use the same vocabulary I do). When measuring the speed at wchich technology "advances," you have to take into consideration not ACTUAL hours, but MANHOURS. If it takes one man a year to design an airplane, then it should theoretically take 2 men who are working together and communicating (that is important because it is central to the point) somewhere around half the ACTUAL time to do the same amount of work, but the same number of MANHOURS.

Now, as to the computer industry. I want you to look at the number of manhours spent on computer hardware and software development in a single day. I would say that it is several million manhours a day JUST in the US. In that context, the fact that computers are still basically the same things they have been for 15 years (since the Apples) is startling. Several million manhours everyday for 15 years and this is how far we've gotten? The reason is because they are not cooperating with each other, they are competing with each other to be the first to a UNIQUE idea. If someone has a patent and the patent is a really good idea, you can't just improve upon their work without permission (usually paid permission). That is why I can't just go "making improvements" to Windows operating system.

In that context (MANHOURS,) the fact that all those manhours put into transportation on a daily basis have ONLY brought us from the Model T to the Prius in 90 years should be appauling. Remember, it only took about 10 years to go from very basic computers and basic rocketry in the 60s to putting men on the moon in the 70s. That was appropriate technological advancement. The reason was that all new ideas and developments were shared because the government was footing the bill, not industry. Patents weren't an issue.

This goes back to my saying that intellectual property is one of the biggest ills of Takerdom.

VerevolfTheGrouch #14965
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 17:4:29 CST (GMT -6:00)

David, Madrone:

David, you're not alone.

Madrone, again I'm not saying it was your intention to come across the way you have, but far from "giggling at the typical female nonsense" or anything like that, I have gotten the same impression of the exchange between you and Sara that Sara and David have. And I can say that if I were in Sara's position I would probably be angry, as well. You say you despise self-congratulatory smugness, but it is that very thing that makes your parenthetical "even me"'s necessary. I have taken the time to read through the exchange between you and Sara, and I can see that being "passive-agressive maternal" may not have been your intention...HOWEVER, Sara is far from the only one who read your posts that way.

One thing that I do not think is simply miscommunication, however, is this, as David puts it, "mature arrogance." In this case, intent has nothing to do with it. It's read in the way that you communicate, and you don't need to intend it.

Please understand that I am not exactly taking sides here, and I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm also not saying not to shake things up around here. But I am saying that you may need to reconsider some of your approaches, if being misunderstood as offensive is a consistent problem.

Ameno #14964
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:59:7 CST (GMT -6:00)


You have asked me to lay out my "version" and let it be open to scrutiny. This I am doing in the form of several discourses. The first is done, and I am currently on the second, which should be done by Monday morning. Throughout my posts and answers to other's posts, it should be very obvious what I think. I only used the term "white" because you used it SEVERAL times in the post I was referring to, not because I inferred something from your post. In regards to European Mentality, if you have the time to go through about 700 pages of very well written, eye-opening text, I suggest that you read Marimba Ani's masterpiece Yurugu. She really shows WHAT this mentality is and where it stems from. The thing is, this mentality arose AFTER takerdom and is just a symptom of takerdom itself.

You said: "If this sort of work is your chosen specialty I would imagine your consideration would be more generous rather than less. I would no more expect the random person no matter how brilliant to be capable at all of what I do easily every day in my specialty due to my training...that would be elitist and arrogant and probably indicate I am not really all that competent in my field ....no, I would be patient and careful and lay out the subtlties so they were visible to all"

I like this analogy because you said you are a carpenter. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am not a carpenter, so would you find it amusing if I tried to tell YOU how to build a house? You would. You wouldn't be mad, this wouldn't make you arrogant either. You would, if you could, try to help them understand the parts that they don't understand in language that was accessable to them,instead of talking about mitres and joists, etc., which is jargon that carpenters understand but laymen don't. This is what I have tried to do by using MULTIPLE analogies and stories to illustrate my point. Go back through my posts and look at just HOW MANY of those stories I have used to HELP people understand better what I am saying. The true mark of a master is not how good he is at something, it is how well he can teach someone to be as good as he is. I AM BY NO MEANS A MASTER, but I aspire to be one.

If I just said, flat out, "You are wrong, I am right, period." Then I would be arrogant.

The reason that I would express these things on this board in particular is the same reason that someone who knows calculus might explain it to a group of people who understand trigonometry. Quinn has layed down a VERY GOOD framework and also given us what I consider to be a good working vocabulary so that we are all on the same page. It would take and entire book filled with his background information to let Joe Schmo understand what you or anyone else on this board can understand in one post.

Not only that, as I have said before, each of your challenges to my thinking, and the ability of my theory to withstand that challenge, not only helps me to refine that theory, but is helping others to develop theories of their own. This is an ancient practice of philosophy attributed to Socrates, the first sophist (what we are doing, back and forth is called sophistry and is how philosophies are born). This form of dialogue is so powerful in debunking myths and fallacies that socrates was put to death for developing it and "corrupting" the children of with whom he had his dialogues. It is a good thing. Please stay tuned for my next discourse. And please SCRUTINIZE.

Buzz Bloom #14963
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:51:37 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Rev Slick re 15271: Let me paraphrase your thesis to see if I understand you correctly. To succeed in saving the world will require violence, because those who have the power now will use violence to defend the status quo. And sufficient violence to succeed in changing the world's culture will as a side effect cause a catastrophic population crash, which by definition is not a saving of the world. Therefore saving the world is impossible. Is that a fair restatement?

If so, let me ask you this. Why do you bother to post this point of view in this Guestbook? What do you want your posting to accomplish? I would be very interested to understand your thinking about this.

By the way, before I read Ishmael, I also believed with virtual certainty that humans were going to destroy all life on the planet, or at least all but perhaps some microscopic life, and there was no possibility for avoiding this. So I found something in DQ's writings that convinced me that was a chance to avoid this outcome, and you didn't. I don't think this is something to argue about -- just an observation.

Best wishes,

Buzz Bloom #14962
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:50:59 CST (GMT -6:00)

To Ameno re 15294: Thank you for the reference for the quote about inventing agriculture. I did read B but I don't remember this. I will definitely look this up to see the full context, but on the surface it certainly looks like my position as I explained it in 15285 is disagreeing with DQ's position about this as well as with yours.

Best wishes,

VerevolfTheGrouch #14961
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:42:3 CST (GMT -6:00)

I also disagree that technological development is slowing. Computer technology has seen orders of magnitude advances in the past 30 years and there are no signs of that stopping any time soon.

In fact, no other technology, ever, has been improved so vastly so quickly as computer technology.

Jim Linder #14960
San Jose, CA USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:26:6 CST (GMT -6:00)

Forgive me if I refer to old posts, but you see I have not read the GB in a day and a half, so I am about 100 messages behind. :o) I like to post responses as I catch up.

Ameno, concerning you post 15213. When you say you have no right in a Leaver culture to stop others from using your ideas, I am assuming you mean with your own tribe. Right? I would think tribes would look on their way of life, their ideas, as competitive advantages over other tribes.

Not sure I can agree with you that technology is moving slowly now. We may not be discovering new things, but if you put my Prius next to a Model A, they will be night and day different, even if they do the same basic function.


Doug #14959
, USA -
Saturday, December 8, 2001 at 16:1:15 CST (GMT -6:00)

Amino... I have no idea why you felt I thought that being a TAker was "a white thing-" These are generally eurpoean derived cultures we are talking about and generally white. The Countries in question with a colonial history of conquest and development...On the other hand there is Polynesian conquest and development and Asian I suppose...Are the Japanese taking over Hawaii?? There are some takers! but maybe this IS a white thing in this sense....but the race is beside the point. If thats what you mean by White.

Russel Menas, who I like, identifies the problem with what he calls European Mind- is that white? Indinas are the most racially blind group I know. And as you prefer, they feel the Taker is Life too, and respect even them.

Some have speculated the mark of cain is pale skin, so I wouldnt be alone here. So you find this amusing...is this your chorus of distain and contempt and is this your means of gaining a hearing?

To me it places you neatly with the arrogant intellectuals who have proved how ignorant the bright can be. Among these are various fundamentalists like our FC..who work out a neat intellectual vison.

You clearly have a well worked out core of ideas and specific reasons for your interpretations of how agericulture came about and the types of agriculture and so on, your feeling about this whole taker idea...And it seems youve decided that you'd like to challenge the observations and interpretations of DQ and those who make use of his vocabulary to express their concerns. This must be for some purpose, to gain an audience or the like. Am I wrong?

If this sort of work is your chosen specialty I would imagine your consideration would be more generous rather than less. I would no more expect the random person no matter how brilliant to be capable at all of what I do easily every day in my specialty due to my training...that would be elitist and arrogant and probably indicate I am not really all that competent in my field ....no, I would be patient and careful and lay out the subtlties so they were visible to all..since I am a specialist and grasp them better..but intellectuals enjoy thinking they are "special" (I will call it.) And its very much a part of the Taker problem! This arrogance. Society as run by esoteric experts, priesthoods.

I am interested in what you really think, not whether you find some particular aspect of the advent of agriculture believable or not...however instructive it might be to look into this.

But how about jsut candidly sharing your main idea, would this be too easy or make you yourself vulnerable to the sort of testing and turning over this way and that to find the inconsistencies as so many enjoy doing with DQ?

As I say, we find plenty of inconsistencies, so? Maybe DQ's greatest contribuiton is the questions that he brings up. These subjects clearly have your interest, so why dont you jsut submit your model for consideration of its virtues?

Would that violate the first rule of intellectual swordfighting among folks who may wish to support you, given the chance to tell what youre saying? Or not...

Someone said that if something cannot be said simply, it can't be said. I dont know who, but they were right.

If youve done this, refer to the post- I have read a lot today but not begin to invest thi time many obvously do who see to "live" here..

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