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Joachim Larsen
1,388 followers -
Live your dream, neon beam.
Live your dream, neon beam.

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Succinct.

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Informative, insightful and important.
Something often neglected in discussions of Galileo and his trial for heresy is that the dispute wasn't about whether the Earth revolves around the Sun; it was about who had the right to say that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

From the Vatican's perspective, statements about the nature of reality are effectively policy statements, and so may only be made by the organ of policy -- namely, them. Galileo's science argued that anyone could perform experiments and learn things about the factual nature of reality, and communicate these ideas to others, and that this knowledge was not limited or controllable by the Church.

There's an important logic to the Vatican's argument here. Statements of factual reality, while they aren't policy statements in their own right, tend to have very profound policy implications. If I tell you that the roof is on fire, then you are likely to place a very high priority on things like leaving the building and calling the fire department.¹ If I tell you that the Earth is not at the center of the universe, this might lend weight to arguments that the experience of the Crucifixion isn't unique and at the center of the universe (the heresy that Giordano Bruno was burned for), and thus that the Church isn't the natural and unique center of political authority.

That is, organs of political power are right to think of scientific statements as having policy implications -- and organs of policy tend to be very jealous of that prerogative, and not appreciate anyone else trying to make policy without them.

Science is particularly dangerous, in this regard, because it provides testable statements about the nature of reality which are in effect available to anybody, and because those statements are sometimes surprises. A surprising change in facts which can't be negotiated away is profoundly dangerous to institutions of power, because those changes might compromise anything from a delicately negotiated balance of power to the significance of the organization itself. Encouraging science is something only done by the most confident of governments and institutions: the ones who believe that, no matter what the nature of reality may be, they will be able to face up to it.

Leaders who are more concerned with their personal survival than the fate of the country as a whole will often not see it this way: public perception, and the resulting political leverage it creates, is ultimately far more important to the exercise of power, even though it is far less important than knowledge of the facts to the protection of the nation.

A good modern example of this dichotomy can be seen in the different ways that the Department of Defense and Congress discuss climate change. To the DoD, this is a practical threat, requiring planning and advance preparation, and thus detailed knowledge whenever possible. To Congress, this is a political threat, requiring changes in policy which may compromise important bargains with people who would lose out from those changes, and thus requiring careful control of public perception independent of the underlying reality.

¹ Or alternatively, that we don't need no water; let the motherfucker burn.
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This is looking extremely interesting, especially given the relative broad scope of applications, and that it is built on existing technology that is already on the wrists of a growing number of people, and possibly could expand to include new functionality for the mobile phones in the pockets of the majority of target consumers.

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Pretty tidy. It does seem to complicate the fantasy of scaling them up into super strength cables though?

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It ends, leaving you wanting more, but happy with what you had.

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Cute, and nice tracks..

Help Beethoven arrange his masterpieces in today’s #GoogleDoodle

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Sucka for cheese
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Salad and leftovers for lunch FTW
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10 minute dinner
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12/2/15
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