Follow the Science?

Two great articles in The New Atlantis 2021 spring issue:

“Scientific “objectivity” emerges not from the unique cognitive qualities or neutrality of researchers but from their critical engagement with each other’s work…. Though the political harms of misplaced certainty are now much discussed, we only hear about one side of the equation. The trouble always seems to be with “conspiracy theorists” who fail to face up to reality, to scientific fact. But the relationship of “debunkers” to certainty is not all that different… Conspiracism and scientism are jointly preoccupied with certainty. They enjoy a fantasy in which experts are uniquely able to escape the messiness of politics, discern the facts plain and simple, and from their godlike viewpoint turn back to politics and dispense with it. Both seduce members of open, uncertain societies with the promise of a more simply ordered world… ”

Read more: The Danger of Fact-ist Politics.

“What “follow the science” has amounted to, ultimately, is a shifting of agency for decision-making onto scientific and bureaucratic bodies like the CDC and the WHO, while obscuring the fact that the decisions to be made remain fundamentally political … The “science” that politicians have claimed to follow rarely resembles the centuries-old process of making informed guesses, testing hypotheses, assembling data, and asking new questions in an effort to teeter toward the truth. It is rather a void at the center of technocratic politics into which leaders cast their responsibility.”

Read more: The Cop-Out of “Follow the Science”.

Bike Powered Catamaran Control

In the 2017 America’s Cup, the Emirates Team New Zealand introduced stationary bikes instead of hand cranks to power the hydraulic system that steers the boat. Because our legs are stronger than our arms, pedal powered ‘grinding’ allows for quicker tacking and gybing in a race. The innovation could also be useful to reduce the required manpower for a new age of sail.

We’re Back Online

We apologize for the inconvenience as Low-tech and No Tech Magazine were down for most of the last six days, following a cyber-attack on our host TypePad. We managed to move No Tech Magazine to another host yesterday, and posting will resume shortly. We are in the process of moving Low-tech Magazine, but for the time being the main blog is still on TypePad, which seems to be back online at least for now.

The Great Panjandrum Rolls Again

The Great Panjandrum

Secret weapon designed for D-Day roars back to life for anniversary. Via The Retro Blog.

Economic growth

“Let us look briefly at 10 specific policy proposals for moving to a steady-state economy, i.e., an economy that maintains a constant metabolic flow of resources from depletion to pollution—a throughput that is within the assimilative and regenerative capacities of the ecosystem”. Read.

Previously: Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy / Oil Depletion Protocol.

Lost knowledge

Lost knowledge

Makezine goes low-tech with a weekly column on lost knowledge and a special issue (on paper).