I hate to sound fatalistic but there’s actually quite a bit about the world that we just don’t know. It’s far too opaque, interconnected, random, and complex. That’s not to say we can’t know anything, but more that we need to proceed with caution any time we’re trying to figure out anything with more than a minimal degree of complexity to it.
Take, for obvious example, the current COVID-19 world. A certain portion of the population considers the virus to be an existential threat that could kill virtually anyone who comes into contact with it. Another portion of the population at large sees CV as a minor inconvenience, no more remarkable than a particularly bad flu season.
And here’s the rub: they can both cite data, statistics, experts, and so on to support their side! How is that possible?
One place to start looking is the way we’ve pursued research and data gathering around the novel coronavirus. … Read More
In his delightfully authentic and autobiographical Setting the Table, restauranteur and entrepreneur Danny Meyer both laments and celebrates the role critics have played in determining the success of his various restaurants.
In one such story he recounts a time in 1994 when New York magazine profiled his newest restaurant upon its opening, complete with a cover page emblazoned with 4 stars under the prompt “Gramercy Tavern: The Next Great Restaurant?”
While publicity like this would normally be considered better than anything money could buy, the publication failed to inform their lead food critic, Gael Greene, that they would be running this piece. Mr. Meyer was put in the awful position of having to explain that her work would be overshadowed by that of the magazine for which she wrote. She was outraged and took it out on the newly opened tavern.
Predictably, Gael did launch an assault on the restaurant in her review; she was responding as much to her own magazine’s hype as she was to her sense of the restaurant itself.
Government is run by greedy politicians who are owned by lobbyists because all they care about is money!
Corporations are run by greedy CEOS who don’t care about people and all they care about is money!
Scientific research is funded by government subsidies and grants involving many financial conflicts of interests and therefore should be carefully and critically examined before being considered trustworthy and objective!
Why won’t I wear a mask? First, it’s not because I’m selfish, anti-science, I want your grandma to die, Donald Trump told me not to, I believe CV is a Russian hoax, etc. Second, I actually don’t care if people wear masks or not. If you want to wear one, go for it. Throw on a face shield or even a HAZMAT suit on your way to Target and I’ll do nothing but smile and wave when we cross paths in the kombucha aisle.
But I’ve decided I’m not going to wear one. Here’s why:
My face belongs to me.
My body and, consequently, my face are my own personal property. They do not belong to anyone else, including the Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska or the Interim Health Director of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department. This point is not inconsequential because most State abuses and overreach violate a person’s rights to ownership of themselves and their property.
When they said “It’s just a mask” they were lying. In the name of some nebulous concept entitled public health the police have been sent to close down a privately owned business in Northeast Lincoln.
Their offense? Patrons of the business are not being forced to wear masks while inside the building. It should be noted that nobody in Lincoln or Lancaster County is being forced to patronize Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards against their will. But I digress.
Let’s put it very plainly. Some mid-level county bureaucrat, in this case the Interim Health Director, has the power to seize your property and prevent you from using it. … Read More