Personal Blog of Joe Brewer

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

What Happens When We Shock A System?

In Complex Systems, Global Integration, Social Change on December 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Have you ever noticed that some things in the world like to be disrupted?  Rogue militant groups set out to garner counter-attacks that distract their opponents while draining their resources.  Viruses encourage multi-cellular organisms to activate their immune systems in attempts to wipe them out.  Teenagers seek the disdain – and occasional wrath – of authority figures in their lives.

These seemingly counter intuitive behaviors are the centerpiece of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder.  They are the “teachable moments” that enable us to truly understand the driving dynamics of systems that undergo shock.  Indeed, there are entire categories of systems that benefit from disruption.

Continue reading “What Happens When We Shock A System?” »

Applying Meme Science to Global Warming

In Human Behavior, Social Change on December 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm

This article is co-authored by Joe Brewer and Lazlo Karafiath.  They are co-founders of DarwinSF, a social impact company whose mission is to help good memes spread.

We all want to live in a world that supports life and promotes human well-being.  Okay, do we really want to?  That’s a critical question that can only be answered by taking a deep look at the attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions of people in the world.  How many people out there believe the world is finite and precious?  What is the proportion who see the End Times as a good thing?  And what kind of research methodology would even create valid data that can answer questions like these? Continue reading “Applying Meme Science to Global Warming” »