October 32nd, Part 3: Personal Reality

Continued from Part 2

After hearing Carrie tell the story of Alex, the alien who became US President in this reality with an October 32nd, I sat there stunned for several minutes. Both at the radical shift in my entire concept of the universe — and at her amazingly concise summary of such an extraordinary series of events!

“Did you really just figure all that out while you were watching TV?” I asked.

She actually blushed when I said that. I couldn’t help noticing this made her several notches more attractive than I had initially thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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MINFIG: Strawman, Steelman, Legoman

Most of you have heard the term “straw man” for an intentionally weak argument.   I only recently discovered that the tern “steel man” has become fashionable for the opposite (we’ve also referred to it as “strongman” or “brick man”): restating your opponent’s argument in the strongest possible terms.
Building on that, I propose the term  “legoman” for when we explicitly show exactly how the argument is put together, to make it easier for our interlocutors to deconstruct our reasoning and reconstruct alternatives.  This is what I call ‘pre-future’ thinking: we don’t claim to have all the answers, but we must present our best current understanding in a way that helps our community evolve better understandings in the future.  This is what I see as the heart of the scientific method, and what I am hoping to transplant into the humanities!
That said, the gendering of the term is starting to grate on me.  As an alternative, I have started using the term MINFIG: Maximally Informative Narrative For Inspiring Generativity.

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Sign Up for Truth Bowl v1.0: Thu Jan 24 10:30am

This is it!  Please let me know by Monday if you can join a team for the 1.0 Truth Bowl competition:

Thursday, Jan 24th, 10:30 AM US Pacific Time
We want to put together two teams of 2-4 people each to start discussing the cases in advance.
Feel free to invite anyone else who might be interested; we will also need a few people to act as judges.  A draft Blurb is below (feedback welcome).

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Make Entrepreneurship Central to California’s Workforce

Workforce Action Team 2013 Charter | California Economy, California Economic Summit

Dear Workforce Action Team,

Are we trying to solve the immediate problems of matching people with jobs for current industries, or the long-term problem of creating a population that can prosper decades into the future?  Because a lot of us in Silicon Valley are working on destroying the very industries you hope to train people for now!
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