poll#2: feedback loops

We live in a complex world of interacting parts, which can rapidly form feedback loops which create change. New technologies add unpredicability to the mix. Which of these loops surprises you the most?

a) Amazon one more year of drought away from catastrophic tipping point;
b) More and more Americans are too fat to fit into X-ray and other health scanning machines, or the scans are unable to penetrate the fat, so they are building bigger machines;
c) Beijing-Tibet railway opens, for tourism and to ferry tonnes of raw materials out of previously unreachable Tibet, but may have to close in less than 50 years due to damage to permafrost beneath rails from global warming;
d) “As the costs of 3D printing technology continues to plummet, and the capabilities of fabber systems continue to improve, we’re heading into a world in which 4th Generation Warfare groups don’t have to rely on shipments of weapons such as attack UAVs, but can simply print up a batch themselves”;
e) insert your own

No Responses to “poll#2: feedback loops”

  1.   Timb
    July 31st, 2006 | 9:53 am

    a) leaves me speechless b) leaves me more speechless

  2.   Janet
    July 31st, 2006 | 12:22 pm

    What surprises me the most is that you only have one comment on this post so far and yet you managed to get eight comments on a post about some crappy movie that you didn’t like. Is there some sort of disconnected feedback loop right there?

    (Not that a feedback loop could logically be disconnected, because then it wouldn’t function as a feedback loop, but yaddah yaddah… :-))

  3.   AndyMac
    July 31st, 2006 | 1:45 pm

    All of them in there own way are frightening but I don’t find any of them surprising. (c) does seem quite ironic though eh?

  4.   Administrator
    July 31st, 2006 | 2:22 pm

    Janet: Comments are mysterious beasts. Often the more retarded the post, the easier it is to comment on. Also, this one was posted just after everyone left work on Friday, and traffic tends to be slower over the weekend…and I wasn’t entirely sure it was all that well thought out, either 🙂

    To answer my own question, I found all of them surprising, not necessarily as feedback loops, but as having something about them that hadn’t occurred to me before, but I would go with a), just for the sheer scope of it. The Amazon has sucked up a lot of damage from humanity, but the idea that it could turn from lush to desert in a year is terrifying.

  5.   Joey
    July 31st, 2006 | 4:14 pm

    I wasn’t surprised by a/ because I’ve seen a lot of “before & after” stuff on the Amazon.

    I wasn’t surprised by b/ either. Who ate all the pies?

    I wasn’t surprised by d/ because I’ve read a lot about fabricators in general, mostly how they could be used for positive reasons, and figured anything that could be used to fabricate a water pump for Africans could be used to fabricate weapons.

    So I choose c/.

    Re: comments – I’ve noticed similar trends on my own blog. My political posts get very few comments, but music reviews, dumb jokes and cartoons get lots. I figure it’s just easier to engage with something that requires little thought, whereas even a half-assed opinion on the Israeli/Lebanese war requires some effort to respond to.

  6.   Scott A
    July 31st, 2006 | 5:58 pm

    At this point, I’m having problems creating coherent thoughts about anything outside movies, music and pro-wrestling because most “current affairs” are making me almost incoherently angry and/or depressed.

    Not a good state to be in, but there it is.

  7.   Janet
    July 31st, 2006 | 10:14 pm

    I was trying to write a reply to these comments, but I got all tangled up and lost the thread of what I was trying to say. It was long and rambly about wanting to knowand being reassured to know that people engaged on this sort of stuff even if it is more difficult than having an opinion on a movie. 🙂

    So instead of writing something long and rambly, I’ll just note that if you get one more comment on this post, then the comments will equal the same number as for the movie, and one more than that will mean it’s got more comments than the movie 🙂

  8.   morgue
    July 31st, 2006 | 10:49 pm

    Someone should make a movie about this stuff.

    (Actually, I line up with Pearce. A and B are too much in line with other reading to be surprising, and for D I was having my mind blown by fabricators back in ’99 when I started working at the design school at then-Wellington-Polytechnic. So C, only because it’s the most obscure.

    Feedback loops are interesting things. Lots of my random scribbling in 1995 was about feedback loops and how they are underappreciated in explanations.)