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Why we fail (Epic Edition) March 29, 2011

Posted by ethlite in Uncategorized.
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Like most of us, I had fantasies of doing amazing deeds that earn the adoration and admiration of millions in my youth. These fantasies mostly involve my creating some amazing breakthrough in science or technology, but I think we’d all agree nothing is more epic than saving the entire world from some terrible disaster.

So what happens in real life if you do, indeed, save the world from nuclear holocaust?

As it turns out, nothing. Nada. You are lucky if they let you keep your job.

Stanislav Petrov single handedly prevented, in all likelihood, an all out nuclear war between US and USSR back in the 80s. If Stanislav didn’t exercise his judgement and ignored the false alarm due to faulty equipment, we’d probably all be eating cans of dog food, wielding shotguns and have extremely bad personal hygiene at this point.

So what did he get for this most epic prevention of failures, not to mention the end of human civilization?

He was reassigned to a less sensitive post, took early retirement (although he emphasizes that he was not “forced out” of the army, as the case is presented by some Western sources), and suffered a nervous breakdown.

“we, as a society, only reward apparent success, and never prevention of failure.”

I was wrong about one thing though. It’s not just corporate America, it’s pretty much yet another serious design flaw of the human mind.

So much for Intelligent Design, eh?


Love potion March 1, 2011

Posted by ethlite in Uncategorized.
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If we accept that scientific fact that romantic love is chemical based, and has an average lifespan of 2~3 years, it’s not a huge leap to think that we can come up with a drug to sustain romantic love in the near future.

Conceptually, it’s really no different from antidepressants and other drugs that eliminate undesirable mental states. One can argue that it’s a design flaw of the human species that we are built for infidelity and suffer for the transiency of romantic love.

Note, this hypothetical drug won’t work unless you are already in a romantic relationship. It’s not a love potion to make people fall in love, all it does is to sustain what’s already there.

Now would you take this drug with your partner? If not, why not?