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Leland LeCuyer
Attended St. John's College, Annapolis
Lives in Danville, VA
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Leland LeCuyer

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Great Question
 
What if market outcomes and the very rules of the market game reflect political power, not market efficiency? 

#EconomicInequality
More mainstream economists now find that the income mal-distribution reflects the political sway of elites, not economic imperatives.
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Good morning guys.  Thanks for the reading suggestion to get me going and also for adding me to your Circles, +Arthur LeCuyer.  Looking forward to your posts.

Saw the first flake here in Richmond at 09:53 am, +Leland LeCuyer and like you say, it's coming down fast and furious.  Looks like your area will get slammed a lot harder than us.  I was out doing a carburetor swap on a power generator and moving fuel cans.  My neighbor is a 90-year old WW2 veteran and he's not as ambulatory as he once was, obviously.  Got his snow blower ready for his driveway because he's out early every day to swim at the local Family Fitness place.  Gotta love this guy!

This stuff is easy-breazy for me after living on the coast of Maine for 15 years.  Must be about the same for you, having spent time in Boston.
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Kim Stanley Robinson: What Will It Take?
Forget for the moment the longgg view of migrating to distant stars: consider the first, unavoidable yet humbling "giant leap for mankind" which the acclaimed science-fiction author identified:

The preparation itself is a multi-century project, and one that relies crucially on its first step succeeding, which is the creation of a sustainable long-term civilization on Earth. This achievement is the necessary, although not sufficient, precondition for any success in interstellar voyaging. If we don’t create sustainability on our own world, there is no Planet B.
It's a common theme in science fiction, but migrating to planets beyond our solar system will be a lot more complicated and difficult than you might imagine
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Make the Milky Way Great Again
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Introit to 2016
Music to initiate a new year. Make it a good one.

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What Is Science? The Problem of Untestable Theories
The subtitle of +Natalie Wolchover’s fine article for Quanta Magazine summarizes nicely what’s at stake: 

String theory, the multiverse and other ideas of modern physics are potentially untestable. At a historic meeting in Munich, scientists and philosophers asked: should we trust them anyway?

Should we?

No less an authority than Socrates (if Plato is to be believed) warned against settling for less than the absolute truth. Ironically, Socrates, issued this warning in the middle of his argument in the Meno against extending trust to empirical evidence. Yet in Munich, physicists and philosophers gathered to address the crisis stemming from theory outrunning evidence. Can and should theories that are untestable in principle be vested with the authority of science?

Very interesting debate. Here are a few of Wolchover’s intriguing nuggets to digest:

The crisis, as [George] Ellis and [Joe] Silk tell it, is the wildly speculative nature of modern physics theories, which they say reflects a dangerous departure from the scientific method. Many of today’s theorists — chief among them the proponents of string theory and the multiverse hypothesis — appear convinced of their ideas on the grounds that they are beautiful or logically compelling, despite the impossibility of testing them. Ellis and Silk accused these theorists of “moving the goalposts” of science and blurring the line between physics and pseudoscience. “The imprimatur of science should be awarded only to a theory that is testable,” Ellis and Silk wrote, thereby disqualifying most of the leading theories of the past 40 years. “Only then can we defend science from attack.”

They were reacting, in part, to the controversial ideas of Richard Dawid, an Austrian philosopher whose 2013 book String Theory and the Scientific Method identified three kinds of “non-empirical” evidence that Dawid says can help build trust in scientific theories absent empirical data.
...
As we approach the practical limits of our ability to probe nature’s underlying principles, the minds of theorists have wandered far beyond the tiniest observable distances and highest possible energies.
...
Whether the fault lies with theorists for getting carried away, or with nature, for burying its best secrets, the conclusion is the same: Theory has detached itself from experiment.
...
In their editorial, Ellis and Silk invoked the spirit of Popper: “A theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.”

But, as many in Munich were surprised to learn, falsificationism is no longer the reigning philosophy of science. +Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, pointed out that falsifiability is woefully inadequate as a separator of science and nonscience, as Popper himself recognized. Astrology, for instance, is falsifiable — indeed, it has been falsified ad nauseam — and yet it isn’t science.
...
Nowadays, as several philosophers at the workshop said, Popperian falsificationism has been supplanted by Bayesian confirmation theory, or Bayesianism.... Bayesianism allows for the fact that modern scientific theories typically make claims far beyond what can be directly observed — no one has ever seen an atom — and so today’s theories often resist a falsified-unfalsified dichotomy. Instead, trust in a theory often falls somewhere along a continuum.
...
The trash heap of history is littered with beautiful theories. The Danish historian of cosmology Helge Kragh, who detailed a number of these failures in his 2011 book, Higher Speculations, spoke in Munich about the 19th-century vortex theory of atoms. This “Victorian theory of everything,” developed by the Scots Peter Tait and Lord Kelvin, postulated that atoms are microscopic vortexes in the ether, the fluid medium that was believed at the time to fill space. Hydrogen, oxygen and all other atoms were, deep down, just different types of vortical knots. At first, the theory “seemed to be highly promising,” Kragh said. “People were fascinated by the richness of the mathematics, which could keep mathematicians busy for centuries, as was said at the time.” Alas, atoms are not vortexes, the ether does not exist, and theoretical beauty is not always truth.

#science   #pseudoscience   #truth  
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You're welcome, +Josey Wales. And thanks for the reshare. 
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With Friends Like These ...
It's quite reassuring to learn that: 

"Carbon dioxide is a wonderful by-product of fossil fuel use."

I didn't know that. I truly didn't.

Oh, Canada!

(Copied directly from a Canadian climate-denial organization's website. Back to business as usual, ey.)
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+Boris Borcic I've been thinking along the same lines. Mental health is similar to physical health in that you limit your exposure to infection. Certain memes appear to be as infectious as the flu to those susceptible due to weakened mental hygiene. 
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Harder Than Diamond
Just like water appears in different phases sporting distinct properties (solid ice, liquid water, gaseous vapor) so too carbon, that most versatile of all the chemical elements, appears in multiple solid phases including graphite (pencil lead) and diamond.

Recently researchers at the North Carolina State University have reported the discovery of a heretofore never seen solid phase of carbon that they named Q-carbon. Q-carbon expresses extraordinary properties and dispositions: it is ferromagnetic and also harder than diamond, furthermore it can glow when exposed to even a small amount of energy.

For more information, see:

http://phys.org/news/2015-11-phase-carbon-diamond-room-temperature.html

http://www.sci-news.com/physics/q-carbon-new-allotrope-carbon-03476.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2015/11/30/scientists-create-new-kind-of-diamond-at-room-temperature/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-carbon

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/aplmater/3/10/10.1063/1.4932622
Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered a new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, which is distinct from the known phases of graphite and diamond. They have also developed a technique for using Q-carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air.
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Very great
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True, But So What
 
Alonzo Fyfe comments:

Imagine a police investigator who shows up at a crime scene.
He sees a body in an alley - one of a person who has been shot multiple times in his body and his head.

This investigator then says, "People have been dying for millions of years. Most of them have died before bullets were even invented. My own grandmother is dead, and she was never shot. Obviously, we can reject the idea that this person was shot to death."

Rand Paul's argument against climate change makes just as little sense.

In fact, it is such a nonsense argument, that Rand Paul either knows nothing about how to draw conclusions from available evidence, or he is willing to muddy the waters to make sure that somebody . . . somebody he knows, perhaps . . . or somebody who is willing to pay him a lot of money . . . gets away with murder.
A closer look at a strange climate-denial talking point.
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You just gave me a great idea, +Leland LeCuyer.  I've got a workstation coming soon and will again be composing my own music and recording - The last paragraph of your second comment inspired a thought for an instrumental with only a few spoken words.

Thanks Bud!  Have to visit your page more often.  For some reason it never shows up in my feeds and I have to check it out manually (as with others).

Have an awesome weekend if we don't chat till then.
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Stephen Hawking's Brief History of the Future

tl/dr: Before it's too late.
 
This time it isn't from far-flung space colonies. 
In a recent lecture, Stephen Hawking once again warned that humanity could wipe itself out if it's not careful.
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A New Discovery Every Decade About the Cosmos
This is really cool. Our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically over the past century.

ht +Charles Payet
 
"1960s — After some 20 years of debate, the key observation that would decide the history of the Universe was uncovered: the discovery of the predicted leftover glow from the Big Bang, or the Cosmic Microwave Background. This uniform, 2.725 K radiation was discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Bob Wilson, neither of whom realized what they had discovered at first. Yet over time, the full, blackbody spectrum of this radiation and even its fluctuations were measured, showing us that the Universe started with a “bang” after all."

Considering what we know about our Universe today, it’s hard to believe that just a century ago, Einstein’s General Relativity was very much untested and uncertain, and we hadn’t even realized that anything at all lie outside our own Milky Way. But over the past ten decades, ten great discoveries have taken place to give us the Universe we understand today.

Complete with the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic inflation and so much more, one can’t help but wonder what the current decade — or even the coming decades — might hold to open up our understanding of the Universe even further.
From the 1910s up until the present day, each decade has opened up the Universe in a way never before imagined.
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ᙅYᙖᙓᖇ ᗪOᙅ™'s profile photoAzure Mallone's profile photo
 
The further down the scale of the evolutionary process we traverse,  the more challenging it becomes to envisage the cosmic reality of the universal phenomenon in our daily lives. 

Radiation triggers change.  The potency of its transmutation potential is easily recognized on a cellular level.  Radiation surely brings about sudden molecular changes that eliminate so-called missing links or connecting links in our evolution.  It's biological and not supernatural. 

You got my mind working overtime, +Leland LeCuyer and overloading my innate brain capacity.  :-)

Keep up with the wonderful posts.
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The Gospel
Events rarely prove as terrible as we fear nor as wondrous as we dream. The fragmentary glimpse of reality experience and communication affords us never displays the picture in its entirety. Attention is a scarce resource. It is very easy to get carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment and overlook whatever we fail to attend to.

+John Baez offers an analogy that explains why "if it bleeds it leads": the news media sees itself as our collective societal immune system, alerting us to danger. But hypervigilance, as Baez explains, rarely is healthy; and never salubrious when continued for a long time.

Good news abounds. It resides all around us. All we need do is open our eyes, look, and pay attention to it.

How fitting for this winter solstice holiday season, which celebrates renewal and better days ahead.
 
Good news - part 1

As we head toward the new year, I'd like to talk about some good news!

Most news is bad news. Why? Because the news media are like the immune system: their job is to warn us of threats. But an over-sensitive immune system can actually cause diseases, like allergies and auto-immune disorders. And the same thing can happen to the body politic when the news media exaggerates threats!

You've already heard more than enough bad news. But you may not have heard this good news:

• From 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the world's population that is undernourished has almost halved, dropping from 19% to 11%.

• Global child mortality from all causes has more than halved since 1990. So, 6.7 million fewer children under the age of five are dying each year now than in 1990.

• Violent crime has declined both in the US and globally: there has been a 35% decline in overall violent crime in the US from 1995 to 2014, and a 6% decline in global homicide rates over from 2000 to 2012.

• There hasn't been a single case of polio detected in Africa in almost a year and a half! Polio is now known to exist only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A disease that used to be a major killer, with 350,000 cases in 1988, is now almost extinct.

• Since 2000, worldwide cases of measles have dropped by more than two-thirds, saving more than 17 million lives—largely thanks to vaccination.

• Ebola seems to have been defeated: between November 1st and December 16th, there were only 4 confirmed cases of the disease. Trials of an Ebola vaccine this spring indicated that it was 100% effective.

• Worldwide , the number of children not going to primary school has fallen from 100 million in 2000 to a projected 57 million in 2015.

• This September, for the first time ever, less than 10% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, defined as less than $1.90 per day. This is down from 37% in 1990.

Of course not everything is going well - that's not what I'm trying to say. Humanity faces a lot of tough problems. But I think many of us will be better at solving these problems if we can learn to be more optimistic. That's true of me, at least.

(There seem to be people who are too optimistic - but strangely, I don't know them personally.)

These facts were taken from the Atlantic article linked here; some are paraphrased from +Alexander Kruel, who pointed out this article. You can see their sources in that article.

The world is better-educated, better-fed, healthier, freer, more tolerant, and richer than ever before.
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Happy Next Year, my friend.
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Googling Hate
A tool can be applied to the service of good or of evil. Even the most advanced technologies, including Google's search engine, is subject to this law.

One glaring shortcoming of social media is its tendency to amplify the current moment while marginalizing everything that led up to it. Thus it should hardly come as a surprise that when the course of human events turns ugly, social media stands ready and waiting to aid and abet every vile impulse.

Muslims are the scapegoat-du-jour. And Google's friendly search box tragically sits waiting to assist anyone who's caught up in the frenzy.

cc +David Amerland+Mark Traphagen 
What we type into Google gives us a glimpse of our darkest impulses. It can also predict anti-Muslim crimes.
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It's rather sad to see so many individuals typing the most ridiculous queries into Google Search as though they're impervious to the attention drawn to themselves through such actions.  Yes questions, when worded in a certain way, can easily be misconstrued by whoever defined the algorithm to filter the results.  Some of the blatant searches using seemingly hateful words could also very well be from students or writers trying to get an understanding of the mindset of those people who actually believe in taking some sort of decisive action.

There's an awful lot of talk about "filtering the internet for better content," which to me sounds more along the lines of censorship, +Leland LeCuyer.  Anyone condoning this type of information suppression may wish to look at the perilous ledge they're perched upon.  We're already witnessing an increase in pressure for companies to divulge encryption keys to various government agencies across the spectrum.  This doesn't enhance security.  It undermines it.

People who are serious about hiding their nefarious activities and communications have no shortage of tools beyond their reach.  A simple yet extremely effective approach is the proper use of a One Time Pad.  Try as you might it will not be decrypted.  Furthermore, the algorithms being used have a serious potential to cause great harm to those who are not guilty of any crime.  They could potentially be locked away indefinitely, without Due Process, and never be heard from again.

Fear mongering 101.  It seems to me that the terrorists have won another battle when people begin to radically alter their lifestyles and voluntarily surrender liberties to falsely thwart their artificially enhanced anxieties.
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Foreclosure Notice
On Sunday, October 31, 1938, CBS Radio broadcast Orson Welles adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds. Panic ensued. Many listeners naively believed the simulated live newscast was actual reportage of developing events. Many poor fools were duped into believing that a Martian invasion was actually happening.

Today, in 2015, almost everyone is both far more media savvy and far more suspicious of everything. Surely we won't be duped by a fictitious tale. We won't fall into panic.

Or would we?

I raise the question because +Allen Insight has concocted a fiction that should evoke terror for anyone who owns coastal real estate. Anywhere. However, I suspect that sophistication and indifference will conspire to enable us to remain unmoved. After all, it's only fiction.

Or is it?

It began on Monday morning July 16, 2018 at 10am. The second largest state bank in Florida hastily called a press conference in Miami. Only a handful of local business reporters bothered to show …
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+Alexander Fretheim - lol, yes! 
I mean in terms of modern economics, and law, anyway.
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Education
  • St. John's College, Annapolis
    Liberal Arts, 1979 - 1983
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Of two minds, in contradiction with myself...
Introduction
With the insight of a nine-year-old, I came to the realization that all my opinions echoed my mother's. I resolved immediately that, someday, I would learn to think for myself. 

I'm still trying (in both senses of the word).
Bragging rights
I survived a year in solitary confinement. My crime? Tuberculosis. My age? Three.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Danville, VA
Previously
Boston, MA - Madison, WI - New York, NY - Waterbury, CT
Leland LeCuyer's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
a review of The Domesticated Brain: A Pelican Introduction
www.goodreads.com

Like all Pelican Introduction books, Bruce Hood's The Domesticated Brain is targeted at a general audience. But that doesn't belie the fact

Greenhouse
allaregreen.us

Install Greenhouse, the hot new browser extension that provides transparency by exposing who funds members of Congress. See the story behind

What Every Economics Student Needs to Know and Doesn't Get in the Usual ...
market.android.com

This short book explores a core group of 40 topics that tend to go unexplored in an Introductory Economics course. Though not a replacement

Leland LeCuyer's Cave
plus.google.com

My innermost thoughts, reified

Video -- Building the Largest Space Telescope Ever -- National Geographic
video.nationalgeographic.com

Feb. 5, 2014—In a global collaboration between NASA, ESA, and CSA, a team of more than a thousand scientists and engineers are building the

Coin
onlycoin.com

Coin is a new device that can hold and be used like the cards you already carry.

Viewpoint: We Need to Learn More About Young Men Like the Boston Bomber,...
ideas.time.com

To boycott Rolling Stone's cover story is to say that we are unwilling, as a society, to cope with difficult questions.

Plus One Petition
plus.google.com

Google, Be Friendly! Share only what I have shared!

NASA’s IBEX Provides First View Of the Solar System’s Tail
www.nasa.gov

Like a comet, the solar system has a tail. NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer has for the first time mapped out the structure of this tai

Republic Wireless
plus.google.com

Talk is cheap, or at least it can be. Unlimited talk, text, and data just $19/month - no contracts. It's a smarter, smartphone plan. www.republicwireless.com

Project Loon
plus.google.com

Balloon-powered Internet for everyone.

Positive Money
plus.google.com

Positive Money Banking reform, Modernising money

'The Economist' CEO: Flipboard Is a Direct Competitor
mashable.com

The Economist’s CEO thinks news publishing will go all-digital at some point in the near- to mid-term.

Grist
plus.google.com

A beacon in the smog.

Simon's Cat
plus.google.com

Simon's Cat on Google+

Social Media Today
plus.google.com

The world's best thinkers on social media

Women Win Facebook, Twitter, Zynga; Men Get LinkedIn, Reddit [INFOGRAPHIC]
mashable.com

When it comes to the sexes on social media, there are a few places where the battle lines seem settled.

Leland LeCuyer - Google+
zipl.us

Leland LeCuyer - Of two minds, in contradiction with myself... - Danville, VA - With the insight of a nine-year-old, I came to the realizati