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Solutions to problems

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Category: SCHOLARLY PURSUITS
Forum Name: Intellectual discussions
Forum Description: Discuss political and philosophical theories, religious beliefs and other academic subjects Moderators: Akolouthos, es_bih
URL: http://www.worldhistoria.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=129038
Printed Date: 13 Nov 2018 at 16:54
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Topic: Solutions to problems
Posted By: fantasus
Subject: Solutions to problems
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2015 at 20:11
OK. I admit this headline may look a bit provocative, as if the participants here are the one to have better solutions.
But sice there has been some comments here on other threads, that we should not vaste our efforts (and attention) on "periferal issues" like, say, exploration of Space, the history of earth and other issues, I have made this thread, so we can make posts about problem solving (if there is any solutions at all) in the proper place.



Replies:
Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 16 Apr 2015 at 02:45
An approach that I would suggest, whatever the problem, is piecemeal reform.  That means trying to "solve" one problem at a time.  "Solving" that problem might cause problems elsewhere, and so the "solution" might require adjustments, and even reforms in other areas (which in turn means new problems, new reforms, etc, etc.)  With piecemeal reform, one is _always_ working on issues, "tinkering," with little hope and no intention in getting everything perfect.
The opposite of piecemeal reform is utopian reform, which means trying to get everything right all at once.  With this there is no self-regulating mechanism doing incremental corrections.  It is either everything is perfect, or a living hell as the reformers try to 'fit' everybody into their idealized world.  When utopian reforms appear to be not working, instead of re-examining their premises, the reformers tend to double their efforts trying to force a fit regardless of the realities of the situation.

Basically, this distinction between piecemeal reform, and utopian reform is from Karl Popper,
The Poverty of Historicity


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 15:19
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4482619,00.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4482619,00.html

Gaza is facing a serious water crisis as are many parts of the world. A new concern is the poisoning of children who are having to drink water with high salinity levels. This results in huge kidney stones in toddlers whose bodies cannot effectively purge the salt. De-salination tank was provide by the World Bank a few years ago but does not provide enough clean water.
70% of Gaza's drinking water comes from treated waste water and that is why so many children are getting sick. Recently Israel has agreed to connect a pipeline that was built in 2007 but has not been used because of the political disputes.

Joint projects between Israelis and Palestinians which involve children and education are at least bringing attention to the crisis. Collecting rain water and teaching people that building walls to keep them separated has resulted in changes in the underground water systems.

When the land cannot absorb water fast enough it simply spills over. This has caused untreated waste water from Gaza to flow into the Mediterranean and diverted ground water no longer replenishing the Dead Sea as it once did.

I think this is the way piecemeal reform can be effective and maybe bring people to a place where certain ideologies can be put aside for the good of everyone.

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: fantasus
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 19:51
Originally posted by Vanuatu Vanuatu wrote:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4482619,00.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4482619,00.html

Gaza is facing a serious water crisis as are many parts of the world. A new concern is the poisoning of children who are having to drink water with high salinity levels. This results in huge kidney stones in toddlers whose bodies cannot effectively purge the salt. De-salination tank was provide by the World Bank a few years ago but does not provide enough clean water.
70% of Gaza's drinking water comes from treated waste water and that is why so many children are getting sick. Recently Israel has agreed to connect a pipeline that was built in 2007 but has not been used because of the political disputes.

Joint projects between Israelis and Palestinians which involve children and education are at least bringing attention to the crisis. Collecting rain water and teaching people that building walls to keep them separated has resulted in changes in the underground water systems.

When the land cannot absorb water fast enough it simply spills over. This has caused untreated waste water from Gaza to flow into the Mediterranean and diverted ground water no longer replenishing the Dead Sea as it once did.

I think this is the way piecemeal reform can be effective and maybe bring people to a place where certain ideologies can be put aside for the good of everyone.

I will not exclude the possibillity of such "piecemal" approach, but am not that optimistic about it, especially not when it comes to the conflict over that land.It appears to me an excample of a complex of problems that can hardly be isolated from eah other in a "piecemall" way, since they are so connected. Only my opinion.


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 21:13
http://www.livemint.com/Industry/vO6rTYBZ4xXiThzfaTrrjL/How-the-Chinese-are-turning-fecal-sludge-into-black-gold.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.livemint.com/Industry/vO6rTYBZ4xXiThzfaTrrjL/How-the-Chinese-are-turning-fecal-sludge-into-black-gold.html

“With the lack of taboo around reusing fecal matter, it’s all about the science for safe reuse, and with more and more people moving into cities there’s an unprecedented opportunity.”

This is quite an incredible project in China. A few years ago it started with pig feces fueling factories and homes. Now bio waste and human feces are near to becoming fuel for vehicles. Utopia?

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 21:42
http://www.newsweek.com/harnessing-power-human-waste-survive-311465" rel="nofollow - http://www.newsweek.com/harnessing-power-human-waste-survive-311465

National Geographic Emerging Explorer T.H. Culhane talks about harnessing the power of poo.

Bio Digester for the home to run lights and cook with, using very common sense method. People were probably burning dung for fuel 50 thousand years ago. When did we forget the value of waste?

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2015 at 01:33
Cow patties were used for fuel in the Old West (on the prairie).  In boy scouts, we often had a summer flower garden, which was fertilized by recycled and treated 'sludge.'  I don't see it as strange.

Granted, piecemeal reform can only work to a certain extent.  Although it is interesting how "ping pong diplomacy" started a thaw between the US and China which lead to high level talks between the US and China.  
China was never _that_ close to the Soviet Union, but normalizing relations between America and China, lead to the collapse of the monolithic view of communism.  

Or to put it another way, sometimes a nail is lost, for want of a nail, the horseshoe is lost, for want of the horseshoe, the horse is lost, for want of the horse, the knight was lost, for want of knight, the calvary was lost, for want of the calvary the battle was lost, for want of battle, the war was lost, for want of the war, the kingdom was lost.  All for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Things can snowball, they don't have to snowball, but they can to a certain degree.  Sometimes fixing one problem over here, can solve something over there.


Posted By: fantasus
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2015 at 10:00
It is also a question wether many of those piecemal solutions are really solutions beyond a short time perspective.(Though then some would answer we are all dead in the long run anyway).
The problem of war could be seen as an example (though in some cultures war has been seen in a more possitive light, at least if we can trust some utterings). Wars seems to have declined in scale over many decades, and optimists could with some reason argue it is at least temporarily a restrained issue. On the other hand this is not an absolute guarantee that trend will continue, and even today those "sollutions" are at best of a piecemall and partial nature since even many European countries are engaged in fighting abroad. If not against states then against organisations("terrorists and criminals").


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 00:59
Let me talk about a particular case, the US normalizing relations with Cuba.  There are many factors that go into this.  Demographics in the Cuban American public.  A democratic president who cannot get his domestic issues through a republican congress, and so therefore is reverting to foreign policy issues (which is what Nixon did with China).  A Cuba that is no longer getting the oil handouts from Venezuela, because of the drop in the oil market squeezing Venezuela's economy.  One thing (oil prices) affects something that on first appearances seem to be totally different (US/Cuban relations)

But things change and problems get solved.  We don't worry about Mutually Assured Destruction anymore.  And when George W. Bush made AIDS in Africa a health issue to be treated in American foreign policy, treating the issue humanely stole the fire of misguided religious individuals who wanted to call it the wrath of God.  In the US, you generally don't hear about AIDS being the wrath of God anymore, it is a health issue, as it should be, but that wasn't always true.  Of course, how AIDS was treated in Africa had strings attached (abstainance only programs), but it was treated, and money flowed for the treatment.  Usually when things work out in a particular area, it doesn't necessarily happen the way we think is best.


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 14:57
There is cause for optimism. Dedicated scientists and citizens are making the Everglades restoration a success. Many probabilities are in play; will we know when we have reached the point of no return?

All over the world more stresses to the ecosystems are identified regularly. Invasive species such as the Giant Red Crab introduced by Russia to the Barents Sea in the 1960's are contributing to mass extinction. Ridiculous limits on fishing meant to keep prices high made the problem much worse. Finally this is being discussed between the countries of Denmark and Russia.

"Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) in 2000, putting in motion the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country. At a current estimated cost of $10.9 billion, CERP is projected to take 35 years to complete. The goal of CERP is to "get the water right" by delivering water to the natural system based on historical flows. With Florida particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, restoration is critical to minimizing the effects of global warming on the Everglades now more than ever."
http://www.nwf.org/what-we-do/protect-habitat/waters/everglades.aspx" rel="nofollow - http://www.nwf.org/what-we-do/protect-habitat/waters/everglades.aspx


"Decades ago, most of Arctic’s winter ice pack was made up of thick, perennial ice. Not anymore. Watch the change in this one-minute animation."
http://earthsky.org/earth/watch-the-vanishing-arctic-ice-pack?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=e9351c2011-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-e9351c2011-394302221" rel="nofollow - http://earthsky.org/earth/watch-the-vanishing-arctic-ice-pack?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=e9351c2011-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-e9351c2011-394302221 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0309_040309_giantcrabs_2.html" rel="nofollow - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0309_040309_giantcrabs_2.html

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 15:12
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0309_040309_giantcrabs.html" rel="nofollow - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0309_040309_giantcrabs.html

The first attempt to relocate these Giant Crabs was made by Joseph Stalin. It wasn't successful so then the animals were chosen for individual vigor.
If when placed on its back the animal could right itself then it would be chosen. Otherwise not selected for the train ride to the north where the purpose was to be a substantial food source for workers.

-------------
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: fantasus
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 15:43
Sometimes, and I suspect more frequently than many people imagine, part of a problem is it is seen from a flawed perspective, and sometimes the "problem" identified is a false one.
There may be multiple examples, but some that appear to me are relatedd to the "population issue".
Politicians, demographers, Economist and others worries that in some countries smaller and older populations in the future mean that economic Growth will suffer. But is there not something perverse here?
Societies produce for the sake of peoples, but why should people live for production?


Posted By: literaryClarity
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 16:13
I think that's just semantics or philosophy.  The study of socioeconomics does have an impact on economics in so far as it creates status changes in the overall flow of exchange in good and services including within monetary terms.

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http://hwyst.hangzhou.com.cn/wmyzh/content/2013-10/09/content_4920423.htm


Posted By: fantasus
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2015 at 18:17
Originally posted by literaryClarity literaryClarity wrote:

I think that's just semantics or philosophy.  The study of socioeconomics does have an impact on economics in so far as it creates status changes in the overall flow of exchange in good and services including within monetary terms.


I see no reason that philosophy is "just" or "only" philosophy. And I don´t deny what You write bout socioeconomics. My point of view is more that if there is socioeconomic consequenses, then, let there be so.


Posted By: Vanuatu
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2015 at 18:43
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Cow patties were used for fuel in the Old West (on the prairie).  In boy scouts, we often had a summer flower garden, which was fertilized by recycled and treated 'sludge.'  I don't see it as strange.

Granted, piecemeal reform can only work to a certain extent.  Although it is interesting how "ping pong diplomacy" started a thaw between the US and China which lead to high level talks between the US and China.  
China was never _that_ close to the Soviet Union, but normalizing relations between America and China, lead to the collapse of the monolithic view of communism.  

Or to put it another way, sometimes a nail is lost, for want of a nail, the horseshoe is lost, for want of the horseshoe, the horse is lost, for want of the horse, the knight was lost, for want of knight, the calvary was lost, for want of the calvary the battle was lost, for want of battle, the war was lost, for want of the war, the kingdom was lost.  All for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Things can snowball, they don't have to snowball, but they can to a certain degree.  Sometimes fixing one problem over here, can solve something over there.


It seems that related issues around the use of dung as fuel include harmful emissions due to use of chemical insecticides. Today in India farmers are using dung as fuel but people are now getting sick from cooking in the traditional way.   

Also preparing these dung cakes require some hay and topsoil in the mix which is a valuable commodity with population increases. Lack of topsoil produces lower yields.

I grew up around animals and its really the most natural thing in the world, literally. We didn't use pesticides for our corn we had lots of species of insects and they balanced each other nicely. Birds help in this regard as well.

-------------
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain


Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2015 at 00:51
The adoption of piecemeal "solutions" is never final.  One is always going to be tinkering, adopting, adapting, and rejecting.  So if one wants to "solve" something, in the sense that it is final, and one can walk away from it, knowing that one can ignore it from now on, well then piecemeal "solutions" are not going to get you there.  But that is like adopting the theory of something, and then deciding to ignore the actual thing.  "Don't confuse me with the facts!" says the idealist.  But another kind of "idealist" is the Platonist, who admits that matter is recalcitrant (in the Timaeus), things don't always go the way we want, and doubling our efforts when things go wrong, is not a sign of persistence, but of a desire to fit the square peg in the round hole.

I used to know a guy whose brother in a psychological test actually fitted the square peg in the round hole.  Fortunately, the psychologist was someone who had a sense of humor.  The psychologist decided that there was nothing wrong with the brother, except that he had a few anger issues.

So, Vanuatu, maybe we should buy organic, this is not an absolute solution, but is something we should consider.  Cost is a consideration, but sustainability is also a consideration, as is health, preservation, tastiness, and others.  I don't think we should worry about doing everything right, but rather we should worry about whether we (both collectively and individually) are going in a good direction.  It's a feedback loop, where one decides to assess such things as purchases (both individually and collectively), each time one makes a purchase.



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