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Lean is Expensive

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Lean in the vein of Paul Allen in his FastCap videos is a sometimes about being smart, but also about privilege. Recently he’s put up a few videos about great lean things he’s found: the elevator’s in a Trump building, a middle-eastern airline’s airplane interiors, an airport in Qatar. What do these things all have in common? They are expensive products. Especially in the video from a visit to Richelieu where he’s exclaiming about how great the Richelieu products are. Everything he’s looking at in Richelieu’s showroom is a luxury product. Of course it’s good. Someone paid smart designers to spend a lot of time making those products look and feel great. Business people won’t pay for smart designers to spend a month producing a product that’s going to be sold at a Big Box store to the masses for $10. And that’s a problem. With very few exceptions, companies differentiate their products by segmenting the market by making a continuum between terrible and ok products, then way up in the stratosphere other companies make the expensive, great products. Good for saving a few cents per widget to beef up the bottom line, bad because you are purposefully providing people a bad product when you don’t need to. Make great products for everyone.

Written by logand

February 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm

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Our Brains Think They’re Amazing

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<epiphany> Our wonder at the complexity of the universe does not have evidential value for creation.Such a conclusion require the presupposition that our brains are great computing machines, capable of understanding the universe, and that our lack of such understanding means a more powerful designer created everything. </epiphany>

Or maybe our brains are just not very good at performing the task we are asking them to do when we try to understand the universe at large. Concluding awe=design requires that evolutionary theory say that we should understand the universe, that the brain we developed through a long process of adaptation would have somehow acquired the ability to understand the universe at large at a deep level, and that this lack of understanding is therefore evidence for intelligent design. Evolutionary theory makes no such assertion that our brains are good for understanding the universe. Up until very recently, understanding the universe at a deep level was not an advantage for our species. Knowing how to make tools, how to identify and avoid threats and how to cooperate together in groups were all capabilities that were advantageous to the human species to develop, so these are among the things our brain is good at doing.

Evolutionary theory also does not conclude that our brains are the pinnacle of development. We are just the best general computing platform we have observed (and dolphins or other animals might have better brains limited by worse hardware). Thinking our brains are great is a natural enough conclusion, since we have never had other computing hardware to compare ourselves too. Only recently, now that we have begun to build computers with transistors on silicon substrate, have we ever had an alternative to our brains with which to compare.The results are not promising for those who believe humans are a unique creation. While we have yet to develop the software to equal our brains, anything a computer can do, it can generally do it better than our brains can. This trend should be worrying to anyone who thinks humanity can never be surpassed. Evolution will probably proceed exponentially faster once moved to a silicon substrate operating at exponentially faster speeds than organic molecules.

Written by logand

March 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm

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Refutation of Postmodernism

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Christians over-use Post-modernism as a category to lump together and dismiss views which do not agree with their conception of an absolute, knowable set of moral precepts. I  believe there are right and wrong actions. What I do not believe is that I can always know, 100%, whether an action is right or wrong, either before or after its effects are known. Everything is a percentage. Very high percentages either way functionally equal absolute certainty. I believe this stance reflects intellectual realism, not cowardice. Theologians assert the existence of simple absolute moral rules dictated from on high, then expend thousands of pages arguing over what these rules really are, how to apply them, what they mean and so on. This complexity constitutes a mysterious answer. The assertion that there are 10 simple rules you just have to follow to be moral is invalidated by this complexity. Simple principles are simple. I would define bad post-modernism to be exactly what Christians assert post-modernism is; absolute refutation of all right/wrong judgements of other people. Very few people, if any, really believe this way, however, because post-modernism is not a moral belief system. Post-modernism is a philosophical starting point, a blank slate, for an individual to derive their moral understanding.

Written by logand

October 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm

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Storing people

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If you really want a cheap, safe place for people to stay temporarily (or permanently, for that matter), upsize a standard storage building, one of those places where you can rent a room with a sliding metal garage-style door usually accessible from the outside in which to stash your stuff, with more substantial doors, plumbing, and so on. The building could be cinderblock with substantial metal doors which would be quite secure, with skylights in the roofs of substantial acrylic material to resist break-in. The result would be a cheap way for people to live in reasonable security and fairly high density.

Written by logand

September 22, 2013 at 1:27 am

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The real reason pod hotels aren’t popular

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Theory/Rant: Pod hotels have not caught on in the US because people here are uncomfortable with the idea of renting a shelf to stash their body for the night while it sleeps. They need a whole room, or suite of rooms, to give some impression that they, at least temporarily, own a little space where they are masters, and would rather dole out significantly more to give themselves this illusion than accept that what they really need is to sleep for the night and have use of facilities to clean themselves up from their bodily functions. Sleeping and the afore-mentioned hygiene activities are necessities of the organic machinery our selves inhabit, and confronting this reality would force a hard look at the harsh realities of what our lives really are. Avoiding such realizations at any cost by exercising control temporarily over some place is apparently the order of the day.

Written by logand

September 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm

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<Rant Alert> “with bonus payments for including untranslated Latin.” Latin? More like French. Why write in the English language if you’re going to throw in random French words? Latin makes sense; Latin is the mother language, a dead language with less possible associations in the reader’s mind contrary to what you’re trying to convey. French is just French. I’m sure it’s very beautiful, but there are thousands of languages out there and you have no more excuse for switching to French than to Tagalog or Russian. <grumble grumble> <link>

Written by logand

August 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm

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Field Notes has a posse

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Field notes has a community. Some scoff that people are willing to pay so much for a small booklet of paper stapled between cardboard covers, but they miss the context that exists around these products. It’s just a brand, but its recognizable, it’s a keyword to search for on Flickr etc., its easy to recommend to someone.

Written by logand

July 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

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