Diogenes in Starbucks

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“Genopolitics” has its page in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genopolitics) and credibility now adheres to the notion that political persuasions have a basis in heritability … lefties expect to lecture you just as your mother did and are stunned that you won’t agree with them or that you lie to get rid of them. Your engaging in discussion signals your willingness to change your mind…

“Can we talk? Starbucks is wonderful because it exists to encourage conviviality.”

I smelled a leftist.

“No. Starbucks exists because George Schulz wants to make money and uses “conviviality” as a slogan.”

“Oh. A cynic.”

“No, an individualist with no obligations to agree with you about anything.”

My opposite, another grizzled white male nearing his seventies and carrying a laptop, was an educational consultant who wanted my take on how to repair Philadelphia schools. I thought of Buchwald’s suggestion that we improve our prisons by requiring college degrees but referred the gentleman to ideas from Charles Murray … change the curriculum in ways that draw the student’s zeal instead of lecturing him or her and expecting him or her to exclaim, “Oh, that makes sense.” Also understand that the temperaments and skills of Philadelphia students draw teachers with similar traits. The outcome is stability, possibily between two communities of people who didn’t pass their marshmallow test.

The subtle truth is that children train adults as much as the reverse is true. Even spiders, coral, crickets, and earthworms make their individual environments. Such is the foundation of “free will” and we can probably find it in a termite if we ever look.

He wasn’t giving up and using an editor’s parachute, I jumped out the plane: “I’m up against deadline” and gave him a CATS card.

“Oh … I’ve run into you before.”

I later emailed him a list even though he didn’t, and wouldn’t, remember my face.

Diogenes is still a great man even if he didn’t give out cards…

With respect to public schools…

1)      Pupil Characteristics

  1. Murray, Charles (2007) “Intelligence in the Classroom.” WSJ Opinion Journal. January 16. http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009531
  2. Murray, Charles (2008) Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. NY: Crown
  3. Professor X (2011) In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic. NY: Viking.

2)      Behavior Genetics … kids train adults rather than the reverse … we call it “mothering” when she constructs an environment that meets the approval of the child. He/she trains her…

  1. Plomin, Robert (1994) Genetics and Experience: The Interplay between Nature and Nurture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (clear but condensed. Will take several readings to invert your world. Drink a coffee and tape your cap in place!)
  2. Rowe, David (1994) Limits of Family Influence: Genes, Experience, and Behavior. NY: Guilford.
  3. Rowe, David (2002) Biology and Crime. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
  4. Segal, Nancy (1999) Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us about Human Behavior. NY: Dutton.

3)      Growth and collapse of  organizations

  1. a.       Barabási, Albert L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus. (clear, good stories, good sense)
  2. Strogatz, Steven. (2003) Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. NY: Hyperion. (clear, OMG material)
  3. Csermely, Peter (2006) Weak Links: Stabilizers of Complex Systems from Proteins to Social Networks. NY: Springer. Complex, inventive, amusing but read Barabási first. Pp 75 and 76 describe four phases in the growth and collapse of civilizations … fundamentals of Bose-Einstein condensates direct organizations at any scale. (Bianconi, G. & Barabási, A-L (2000) Bose-Einstein condensation in complex networks. arXiv:cond-mat/0011224 v1 13 Nov 2000.
  4. Bianconi, Gianestra (2002) Quantum statistics in complex networks. ArXiv cond-mat/0206433 v2 13 Sep 2002.
  5. http://JamesFBrody.com. Some fundamentals about oscillations, behavior genomics, and a path to why women lie.
  6. You might also enjoy Brody, James F. (2008) Rebellion: Physics to Personal Will. 325pp. About $10 at Alibris.

4)      Violence – Pinker, Steven (2011) The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. NY: Viking.  Pinker’s data is convincing, his explanations should have included “genomic imprinting” – the spooky process by which fathers and mothers tip their child towards impulsiveness or rule-compliance. We once knew of about a dozen genes that had opposite effects depending on whether it was inherited from our mother or father. We now know about 1500…


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