Profile cover photo
Profile photo
JP Sugarbroad
242 followers -
I don't bite unless asked.
I don't bite unless asked.

242 followers
About
JP's posts

Post has shared content

Post has shared content
I cannot overstate how much I love it when someone thinks about something this much and this clearly for the rest of us. 

Post has shared content

Post has shared content

Post has shared content
Say hello to Waymo—the next chapter of the Google self-driving car project! Waymo stands for a new way forward in mobility. After 8 years at Google, we're stepping out today as an independent self-driving technology company.

Over a year ago, we invited an old friend, Steve Mahan, for a ride. Steve had ridden in our cars in the past—first accompanied by a test driver in 2012 and then on a closed course in 2014. This time was different. Steve experienced the world’s first truly self-driving ride on public roads, navigating everyday traffic with no steering wheel, no pedals, and no test driver. This ride is just the beginning of what Waymo hopes to bring to the world.

Learn more at waymo.com and watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHbMt6WDhQ8

Post has shared content

Post has shared content
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 (this is the heresy that Giordano Bruno was later 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.
Photo

Post has shared content

Post has attachment

Post has shared content
Wait while more posts are being loaded