Saturday, April 12, 2014
Please Don't Take This Offer
The above is the title of an email Amazon sends to each of its employees once a year:
... "The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want," [CEO Jeff] Bezos explains. "In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company."Bezos adopted the practice from a company Amazon took over. That company had figured out that the "quit money" was less expensive than being dragged down by an unmotivated employee.
"Sounds like a paradox, but it's true: In order to find the love you want, you have to be content with being on your own." -- Michael Hurd, in "Attracting a Healthy Romantic Partner" at The Delaware Wave
"Biological determinism is the false belief advanced by scientists and even some mental health professionals that we are all hardware and no software." -- Michael Hurd, in "Human Hardware and Software: Do We Have Both?" at The Delaware Coast Press
My Two Cents
Writing against biological determinism, Michael Hurd takes a brain imaging study as his point of departure. It has become something of a cliche for the press to take whatever grossly simplified explanation comes with such a study and run with it, often adding misinterpretations and plain old error to the mix. But Hurd is right to focus on the the fundamental error driving the sensationalism. There are many parties, from people looking for convenient excuses to paternalistic politicians, who want this view of human nature to enjoy undeserved scientific credibility.
The Economist has run an interesting article about research in China and India aimed at using thorium reactors to meet significant portions of the energy demands of the respective countries.
One of the cleverest things about LFTRs [liquid-fluoride thorium reactors] is that they work at atmospheric pressure. This changes the economics of nuclear power. In a light-water reactor, the type most commonly deployed at the moment, the cooling water is under extremely high pressure. As a consequence, light-water reactors need to be sheathed in steel pressure vessels and housed in fortress-like containment buildings in case their cooling systems fail and radioactive steam is released. An LFTR needs none of these.The article also explains why thorium is basically useless for building nuclear weapons.