Re: [unrev-II] Books

From: Henry van Eyken (
Date: Wed Apr 04 2001 - 12:25:01 PDT

  • Next message: Henry van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] FW: MIT posting all their course material"

    Thanks, Jack, for your positive response. I am inclined to believe that as
    member of the Unrev team I best look at matters in the field between Doug's
    immediate objective (OHS) and his ultimate objective (solving complex, urgent
    problems). Maybe by analysing some of those major problems in some detail we may
    gain a better understanding how best to put our neuronic and electronic minds to

    It is still my hope that we can make the anticipated "Context" part of the
    Bootstrap website into a collection of essays that themselves may be refreshed
    or updated from time to time dkr-style. Many of those essays may be drawn from
    the contributions you and many others have made to the Unrev-II forum. Others
    may look at other software approaches to augmenting the human intellect (Groove,
    SDS, what have you) and do some "contrasting and comparing,." in fact finding
    the right tool for the right job. And, naturally, we must keep at all times a
    close eye on just what we are augmenting: the human mind and its development
    from genes through home and school and life itself. To top it off, attention
    must be paid to what is in the way and what promotes appropriate public

    Maurice Strong, who ought be as competent as any when it comes to Earth matters,
    provides a program for urgent action to avoid Doomsday. Here is the list without

    1. Promoting the "greening" of the market system.
    2. Revamp subsidies for economic activities.
    3. Full accounting for environmental costs.
    4. Accelerate the transition to environmentally sound energy.
    5. Close the "knowledge gap."
    6. Move away from "foreign aid." ("This might seem an odd injunction ...,"
    writes Strong)
    7. Move to more flexible, incentive-based regulation.
    8. Provide more effective trusteeship over the global commons. (Mr. Bush, are
    you listening?)
    9. Prepare for natural disasters and extraterrestrial threats. (I personally
    believe, from war experience, this must include "values" education.)
    10. Rejoyce in diversity and encourage it.
    11. Encourage lifestyles of sophisticated modesty. (That doesn't sound like
    something many on our team will have difficulty coming to terms with.)
    12. Learn from thos in "enclave communities." (These lemons may be made into
    lemonades by turning them into laboratories of experience.)

    There is a lot of designing to be done in all this, i.o.w. plenty of application
    for the OHS.

    Summarizing my position: No point in designing cars without knowledge of roads
    and fuel. No point in building them for people who have no destinations.


    Jack Park wrote:

    > Henry!
    > What a timely post. Just this morning, while driving in to work, I
    > listened to the President of the United States say that he was not
    > interested in the global clean air game because: it would cost too much,
    > and because the game isn't enforced on developing nations. My Gawd! That
    > coming from the big cheese of the biggest (whatever that means) nation on
    > earth. Reminds me of my kids: "It's not my turn!"
    > In a somewhat dark scenario, I am thinking of some adults and some children
    > all in a boat with paddles, out in a river that appears to be headed for an
    > enormous waterfall (Niagra falls?), and there's this one big jerk sitting
    > there refusing to paddle because the kids aren't required to paddle
    > too. Semper Clax.
    > Jack
    > At 09:26 AM 4/4/2001 -0400, you wrote:
    > >Living in the sticks, I try to find in visits to the city an opportunity to
    > >browse a bookstore shelf or two. So again the day before yesterday.
    > >
    > >To my great surprise I ran into a book by Dertouzos of MIT's Lab for
    > Computer
    > >Science called "The Unfinished Revolution." No mention of Doug in that. Why
    > >someone who does not really need coattails uses them anyway is beyond me.
    > I
    > >find it hard to believe he wasn't aware of the label as associated with
    > Doug's
    > >name.
    > >
    > >Also, and far more importantly, I bought a book by Maurice Strong named
    > "Where
    > >on Earth are we going?" Strong became president of Power Corporation at
    > >age 29,
    > >Undersecretary of the United Nations at 40. He was Secretary-General of
    > >the UN
    > >Rio Conference on Environment and Development and senior advisor to the
    > World
    > >Bank. Recently, he was in charge of Ontario Hydro and, of course, fully
    > >conversant with atomic energy issues. His book makes scary reading about
    > the
    > >NEAR future (20-30-year horizon) of the Earth and its people. First chapter
    > is
    > >about the state of affairs in 30 years if we carry on with business as
    > usual.
    > >He has strong words for/about corporate executives. Quote:
    > >
    > >"An enormous factory turning out consumer electronics is accused of
    > >poisoning a
    > >nearby river. At a weepy press conference, the chief executive protests.
    > >He has
    > >children who love camping, cherish the forests - why would he destroy the
    > >world of his inheritors? He had to protect the company's quarterly
    > earnings,
    > >his employees' jobs. He was just doing his job."
    > >
    > >To put that and kindred professions of impotence in context: A "special"
    > >in The
    > >Economist ofr March 17 about corporate leadership ("Churning at the top",
    > see
    > >also
    > >
    > >EN=4575162
    > >). And further the final chapter of a book, "Remembering," by Eric Kierans
    > >(formerly cabinet minister in Canadian federal and Quebec provincial
    > >governments, professor of economics at McGill U., president of the Canadian
    > >and Montreal Stock Exchanges) also about deterioration of mores in the
    > >executive suite. Writes he that the political power (essentially
    > democratic)
    > >is pushed aside by economic power (essentialy non-democratic) and, hence,
    > that
    > >we are headed for either chaos or fascism.
    > >
    > >I wonder to what extent the present economic downturn (and all that
    > illusory
    > >cash floating around) will affect corporate thinking, and, hence,
    > political
    > >thinking. Is this a warning of another form of climate change, inm the
    > >economic/social climate? Might it precipitate a really hard look at
    > leadership
    > >and responsibilty - in all niches, at all levels of society?
    > >
    > >Strong, in effect, foresees a mixture of both within a few decades. Trying
    > to
    > >be an optimist, he does provide a list of suggestions, but like any other
    > >environmentalist he has been attacked for being too pessimistic. (Well, he
    > >wouldn't have written the book if he were, now would he?)
    > >
    > >People familiar with Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" might
    > compare
    > >Strong and Kurzweil's expectations for the next couple of decennia. It
    > >seems to
    > >me realistic, given their backgrounds, to put much more weight on Strong's
    > >opinions than on Kurzweil's. It also seems to proper that Doug's Unfinished
    > >Revolution - and indeed all forms of computerized enhancement - be
    > examined
    > >for applicability in the Strong scenario. What problems will it address?
    > How
    > >efficiently? In what timeframe?
    > >
    > >Henry
    > >
    > >P.S. The book by Maurice Strong, which I consider "must reading" in the
    > >context
    > >of Doug's work, is published by Vintage Canada (a division of Random
    > House).
    > >The price should be about US$16.
    > ============================================================================
    > This message is intended only for the use of the Addressee(s) and may
    > contain information that is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL. If you are not
    > the intended recipient, dissemination of this communication is prohibited.
    > If you have received this communication in error, please erase all copies
    > of the message and its attachments and notify
    > immediately.
    > ============================================================================
    > Community email addresses:
    > Post message:
    > Subscribe:
    > Unsubscribe:
    > List owner:
    > Shortcut URL to this page:
    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

    ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-~>
    Do you have 128-bit SSL encryption server security?
    Get VeriSign's FREE Guide, "Securing Your
    Web Site for Business." Get it now!

    Community email addresses:
      Post message:
      List owner:

    Shortcut URL to this page:

    Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Apr 04 2001 - 12:37:18 PDT