I’m remembering what fun we had yesterday in Grasshopper Gardens. The unmowed acre has a riding trail around it, so we can trot along easily and have a good look at life. Bitsy grew bored, and wandered off to look for rabbits in the Garden. Postdoc and M’Donna were taken by surprise. Usually we just ride around in the arena while they watch. They weren’t watching, and when they realized we were gone, they jerked to the alert and galloped worriedly out to the back of the property to find us, the neighbors’ goats following along the other side of the fence and Bitsy capering around their heels with her weed in her mouth, trying to teach these really not very bright horses how to PLAY. Properly.

We all converged on the back corner, and it looked like such fun that I boosted Mahonia into a long trot and we turned around and rushed back to the water trough, where I stripped the saddle and bridle, Bitsy brought the water hose, and we all had a water party together.

July noon in Texas, what could be better.

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Damn


Damn!

I was loading up my web page with my standard stories about power, preparatory to being away from the web for only overnight, and I missed a gorgeous sunrise.

I could think all day, and there will be more storms in the Gulf, but there will never be another sunrise just like this one, and I’ve been waiting and waiting every morning to see it. Rule number one of the story of power. Recognize whoever is bigger than you are. Sunrises are way up there. The ecosystem has a power far greater than I can hope to control. Even the computer has a power greater than I can hope to control. You will have to turn your head if you want to see the picture.

So, you say, I could get hold of Airport and take my computer out on the front porch to do both at the same time. And I still would have missed it, wouldn’t I.

Power Politics

This blog started out to discuss power — especially personal power and the many things I learned about personal power in my years of becoming a successful woman scientist.  I’m still talking about the power to accomplish long-term goals  !

YEAHHHHHHHHHH and WHOOOOOOOOOOP

Our book has been published and it is indeed a beautiful book, and that’s not even mentioning the important and well balanced content.  Or the number of disparate people who all had to do a great job together to accomplish the goal.

“The Colors of Mice”

But that is not what I want to say today.

What I want to say today is that nobody accomplishes any kind of significant goal without help, and if you aren’t bigger than everyone else on the playing field, then you must talk with everyone else on the playing field.  And only one person is bigger than everyone else on the playing field.

I would claim, and have often claimed, that “winners” never win anything long term.  Winners are the biggest jerks on the playing field because they only care about winning, not about the long-term goals that are good for all or most of the people.  The odd thing is that they also always believe they are aspiring to long-term positive goals.  I mean unless they are really just brutal dictators or something, and hardly anyone is that.  But the bottom line is that “winners” hurt so many people in the process of winning, and there are so many losers who know so much about the “Powers of the Weak” (they have read Janeway on the subject) that the losers go underground and talk to all the people and blossom out 20 years later to defeat the original winner.

It always happens.  Right now it’s taking the form of blame-placing.  We are having the biggest and most illogical blame-placing orgy in history (or at least it seems like it, I wasn’t here forever).  But it won’t do us any good.  I’ll tell you why tomorrow, but the bottom line is nobody ever won a long-term goal by blame-placing, either.  The only major result of that is to attribute to your enemy bigger powers than he actually has.

The bottom line is that the person with the most power to accomplish long-term goals is the one who is willing to talk to (preferably listen to) all the other people, and discuss the issues.  Everyone’s issues.

Personal Power Again

Personal Power – Everyone makes logical decisions.

I do not believe in teaching only rote facts because rote teaching requires the student to hand over her personal power to the teacher.  I call this the “baby bird syndrome.”  Waiting for someone to tell you what is real and what to do about it.  Similarly, nobody can stop us from learning, but we need to take some control over our own learning process if we want to develop our personal power to reach positive goals.

I know the human brain makes good decisions if it has good information.  I have watched students “get it” and take the power of their own learning into their own hands, as has any good teacher.  There is no trick to it.  The human brain was meant to make good decisions.  Everyone makes good decisions, based on what they know.  If we know stuff that isn’t true — the brain will still make logical choices, good decisions based on the information, but the decisions will not powerfully implement the goal, because they will not “go with the flow” of the facts we have to deal with.  We don’t need to learn logic.  It’s a good thing and I recommend it to save time, but I believe our brains are hard wired for logic.

I know, it doesn’t seem like other people are logical.  It seems like other people make very strange decisions based on very strange beliefs.  But if you sit down and LISTEN to WHY they believe what they do.  There is always a logic to it, and the only strange part is the information they do not know about.  Learning logic is not our problem.  The problem is getting real facts into our brains in a world of people — people you trust — who want you to believe in things that factually are not true.  “There is no global warming.”  “We will never run out of oil.”  How can we know whom to believe?  The modern generations were not taught how to deal with this situation; they were taught that “Everyone has a right to his own opinion.”  They pick the most comfortable answer that fits logically into their already worldview.

Some facts and definitions we can learn by rote.  Like Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  That’s a fact, but it might not be useful to your own successful journey through life.  But it’s an easy decision whether or not you care about the rote bits.  The bigger problem is that most of the information we have available today comes from the tube, and most of that is not factual.  Either because it is an announcer who doesn’t understand what he is reading, or because it’s propaganda, carefully crafted to sound like real facts but actually meant to sell us stuff and ideas that are not true.  In fact, designed to sell us a whole world view that is not factual.  And by the time you have learned a whole unrealistic world view, it is difficult and also painful to change it — or to live with it.  PTSD.  Our problem is not with our logical brain and its decision-making power.  Our problem is getting true facts about ourselves, and the environment we live in, so the brain can do what it was meant to do.  Sort them out and respond appropriately.

If you have a goal in life (and everyone has a goal) then you need personal power to reach toward your goal.  Personal power is the ability to move down the path of your life in the direction that you want to go.  For some people that is toward a career; for far too many in this world it is simply to stay alive.  Whatever is your goal, your personal power depends upon two things:  (1) where you are (really); (2) where you believe you are.

In other words, if your world view is accurate, if you understand the situation, then you will have a good chance to succeed.  Or at least not to have that lost, “where am I? I need someone to take care of me” feeling.

So the tube takes away our personal power in ways big and small, but even aside from the tube, we throw away a lot of our own personal power.  If you ask almost anyone:  “Do you understand the situation you are in?”  They will say of course they do, and then they will explain it to you in great detail.  You listen — you know they do not really understand the situation — but you can’t tell them because it will only start an argument.  They don’t want to hear anything that upsets their worldview.  PTSD is scary, unpleasant, down right painful.  I don’t blame them.

But really, nobody understands all about whatever situation they are in.  So, second to the tube (and whatever we learned growing up), our biggest loss of personal power is from throwing it away because we won’t listen (and have been taught to not listen) to anything outside of the cozy (or at least familiar) world view that we have constructed inside our own heads.

And we don’t even understand what we don’t understand.

The solution, if you want to expand your personal power, is not to focus on what you do understand, but to figure out what you do not understand, and what you need to understand, in order to accomplish your personal and community goals.

LISTEN!  Ideas don’t hurt those who seek the truth and who knows, the truth might make you free, but only if it really is true.  Not just because it is logical.

Lynn Lamoreux

FactFictionFancy

100725

BBB014 – Transcript – What Bugs People about Evolution?

OK, back to the interesting stuff.  The topic for today is why people don’t like evolution and what is it that people get exercised about?

Many people object to being labeled as animals, but you can’t really argue about that, because we are.  An animal is an organism.  That means it is alive (check), an organism that is multicellular (check), eats its food (check) and is able to move about more or less freely under its own steam (check and check, where do we disagree on this?).  I mean if you are trying to argue with a scientist, that’s the definition.  If you want to make up your own game, then that’s a different story.

The next thing that bugs people is random variability, and that is part of the usual explanation of the theory of evolution.  The idea of randomness creating this Garden of Eden bothers almost everyone, when we look around at all these wonderful, elegantly adapted organisms.  But if you have heard that argument, I don’t think it was from a biologist.

The fact is that the process of evolution is the information highway of the whole ecosystem, and the information is no more random than information that runs the internet.  The internet runs on — oops, I think I might be over my head here, but does the internet run on electrons maybe?  Is the dance of an electron a random event?  Perhaps.  But once they get organized into a recognizable and transmissible and maleable pattern — then they are not random any more and can be used to transmit information.  Maleable means it can be changed in response to outside forces, which in the case of the internet is us.  That doesn’t seem to upset people.  Well, so there is an element of random variability in evolution that relates to the way the genes are sorted every time sexual reproduction occurs.  So far as I know that’s the only part of evolution that is random, and the variability that it generates has a very important role to play in the overall process. Otherwise, the genes are solid facts that normally don’t change, and they do get sorted in a pattern that is recognizable and transmissible and malleable. In the case of evolution, the pattern of gene transmission of every normal species is responsive to natural selection, which is non-random.

So – what is the next pet peeve?  Dinosaurs?  Or anyway fossils.  So.  What to say?  Dinosaurs definitely existed and they had genes and genomes and presumably they had gene pools.  One of them, for example, had the same sort of gene that causes red hair in humans.  I don’t care very much about prehistory, because I like to know how things work today, so it would be really difficult to get me into an argument about fossils, because I was not there.  I will never know exactly, and if I have an opinion it will not change one little atom of the reality of whatever happened 10,000 or 10 million years ago.  Supposing we get into this huge long debate and someone wins and someone loses, it still won’t change the reality of whatever happened and we will never know what it was.  Meanwhile, we now today are on the verge of destroying the ecosystem, and I think preventing that destruction is quite a lot more important than arguing about something we will never know the answer to.

Whatever God created is OK by me.  It’s what we are doing to destroy it that I think is the next thing to criminal.

There is absolutely no doubt that evolution is at work in every instant of every moment of our survival and it will be so long as the ecosystem survives, because the process of evolution reflects the genetic information of life, and without this genetic information, the ecosystem would drop dead and earth would be a phenocopy of Mars.  Just exactly as you would drop dead if all your genes froze up and stopped working.  You would last 3 minutes max.

If evolution is survival of the fittest,then which of these animals is more fit?  In case you can’t tell, the little one is the mammal; the big one a dinosaur.

Energy and Global Warming (or heat is energy)


Energy is everywhere. Physicists have the entire spectrum of electromagnetic energy to play with, from X-rays to radio waves and beyond. Engineers have a whole array of different kinds of energy to employ. New Age has a set of healing energies and mental energies that nobody else knows anything about. The sun is shining on our pasturelands and the energy flowing to us from the Gulf is plumping up the clouds overhead.  And all of life throbs with the organic food energy that it generates within itself.

The organic food energy of life is captured by plants from light energy and it is stored in the chemical energy bonds of organic molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and almost everything else that living cells are made of. The organic food energy of life is generated by the process of photosynthesis in plants and other green organisms. Then we eat it and our bodies know how to use it to do the work of staying alive. It is the foundational miracle of life.

Photosynthesis is the only source of energy, out of all that energy out there, photosynthesis is the only source of energy for us to stay alive, and whenever our bodies use some of the organic food energy to do the various jobs of staying alive (for example digestion, walking, thinking) — whenever that happens, which is all the time, organic food energy is broken down and heat is released, along with carbon dioxide and water. Energy does not recycle. The plants generate more, and THAT’S what life is all about.

I heard Doug Welsh on the radio yesterday say that green plants give off oxygen (they do) and “that’s what it’s all about.” IT’S NOT. We could get oxygen from some technology if we had to. Like astronauts. What we can not do with any technology is maintain the balance that is required for all of life on earth to stay alive, and evidently we can’t think about the real cause of global warming.

That’s too bad because we could control global warming, and the awful wars and famines, if we had a mind to, but not with any technology. Only if we decide to behave in a responsible fashion upon this living earth and stop using up more organic food energy than the green plants are capable of producing.

It’s all about food for living things; it’s all about global warming; it’s all about the balance between the producers (plants) and the consumers (us) that must be maintained. If it is not maintained, we will never control global warming and we won’t need any oxygen because humans will not be living here in this amazing garden of eden.