Thursday, August 17, 2017

Behavioral Science









This weeks topic - Behavioral Science - is in some circles considered an oxymoron. There is no science in studying behavior.



I believe there can be a scientific study of behavior but predicting behavior is another thing altogether. One need look no further than Facebook to see the results of some Behavioral Science guru - have you ever paid attention to the ads you encounter while on FB?

Those ads are tailored just for you and will include sites you have visited along with similar sites. Some marketing guru is paying a lot of money to get those ads to you, and assuming you will buy goods and/or services from one of the advertisers. Of course, this assumes you have cookies enabled and many sites insist that be the case. Test it by visiting a site like glasses.com and then loading FB.

Companies use behavioral science to maximize their marketing strategies all of the time. This seems to bother some people as they see it as an invasion of their privacy. Having been in the retail world for over three decades, it does not bother me and I see it as a way for companies to maximize the effectiveness of their advertising dollars. As long as the company allows you to "opt out" you can manage what info is collected about you. If you are really hard-core about protecting your privacy and hiding from those behavioral science gurus check out the tor browser. It is relatively easy to browse the Internet privately if that is truly your desire.

Of course, there are the "real" behavioral sciences - disciplines like psychology, psychobiology and cognitive science - not to be confused with social science disciplines like economics, political science (my field) and others.

Have you ever watched the television show Criminal Minds?  That show is centered around the BAU of the FBI.That is "Behavioral Analysis Unit".  The BAU is a very real part of the FBI, but I admit I have no idea how accurate the TV show portrays the unit. The profilers investigate and solve cases weekly based upon their analysis of the crimes and offer a profile of the suspect (called unsub) on the show, Profiling is widely used in law enforcement, and occasionally abused - typically when racial profiling is employed. If a suspected criminal is described as - for example - Asian, racial profiling encourages law enforcement to stop and check any Asian.  The opportunity for abuse should be fairly obvious.'

That's a quick shack look at this week's topic, which was offered by Ramana. Be sure to check the blogs of other LBC bloggers at RamanaPravinAshok, and Maria.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Future Shock

This weeks topic was my suggestion. Future Shock by Alvin and Heidi (uncredited) Tofler was assigned reading in my college days and I thoroughly enjoyed the book - easily one of my two favorite assigned reading books in college, the other being Earth Ahides by George R. Stewart.

The Toflers were futurists and according to them, “Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.” Among the accelerating changes they predicted are the “electronic frontier” of the Internet, Prozac, YouTube, cloning, home-schooling, the self-induced paralysis of too many choices, instant celebrities “swiftly fabricated and ruthlessly destroyed,” and the end of blue-collar “second-wave” manufacturing, to be replaced by a “third wave” of knowledge workers. The book was published in 1970.  The future they were discussing is now.

The Toflers divided civilization into three phases which they called waves. 
  1. First Wave - the agricultural revolution
  2. Second Wave - the industrial revolution too much change in too short a period of time.
  3. Third Wave - the information age - which is now ongoing
Future shock is defined in several ways, the simplest and most straight forward is too much change in too short a period of time. The result of the rapid change is people are overwhelmed. Information overload creates a sort of social paralysis. While the rapid changes are occurring people lose touch with the familiarity of older institutions.  Does any of that sound familiar? Have you ever seen a post on Facebook harkening back to "the old days" by starting off "Back in the day". If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine there are several such posts a day. It is usually a post by an aging baby boomer who has been through decades of rapid changes and longs for a simpler time.

The Toflers got many of their predictions correct but they seem to have underestimated the ability of people to cope with rapid change. Take a look at Millennials - they are quick on their feet and very tech savvy. They seem to cope with change quite well although they seem to demand immediate gratification in most things, That is a change they will have to make IMHO.

How well do you deal with the rapid changes we have been dealing with for decades? I have embraced the changes that advance us technologically and for an old guy am comfortable with most technology. The preponderance of social media platforms is fascinating but I still prefer direct contact, even if by email. I find a lot of what gets posted on Facebook unintentionally hilarious, especially if the poster is a Millennial. It seems everything is fair game.

I find as a society we have managed the stresses presented by the Toflers quite well, although the 2016 election here is something of an anomaly.   POTUS 45 was a lifelong Democrat who switched parties and managed to appeal to enough folks to win an electoral college victory while losing the popular vote by three million or so votes, Now we are in a position of having to deal with what we asked for (he is my President regardless of who I preferred).

The evangelicals are certainly happy and would prefer rolling the culture back 50 years or so. My regular readers no doubt recall where I stand on religion and God
If not or if you are interested, simply click here.

We are legitimately at a point in time that can be called the best of times and the worst of times. I have dealt with the passing of my life partner (we were together for 45 years) and have recently connected with family members through ancestry.com and have seen a  family tree with 10,000 names that includes mine. A newly reconnected cousin and I share the most DNA from our shared heritage - I knew her and her sisters when I was a child in Colorado.

Since this weekly blogging exercise is not a school exercise, while there is much more to say that will have to be for a different time. Be sure to check RamanaPravinMaria and Ashok to see what they have to say.

With a bit of luck we can all look back and realize we have survived the stresses of change because we were all so much older then but we are younger than that now.





Friday, August 4, 2017

Eastern And Western Culture, The Reflections Of Hidden Potential In Between

Eastern And Western Culture, The Reflections Of Hidden Potential In Between.  That is our topic this week. It comes from  Ramana's blogger friend from Indonesia - Tikno
 and Ramana made it this week's topic.

My approach is limited by the fact that I have not been to the east - not the east of this topic at least. My observations are limited by my own limited contact with  and study of the east but that does include my interaction and friendship with the sage of Pune himself - Ramana. I have jokingly called us brothers from different mothers as over the years we have discovered a remarkable degree of what Ramana calls synchronicity. While absolutely examples of our respective eastern and western cultures we are remarkably similar in many ways including attitudes and thoughts.

The differences between western and eastern culture are varied  and  wide. Eastern culture typically includes Asian nations and Muslim nations whereas Christian nations are considered Western. The geographic split is a bit fuzzier - Europe, North, South and Central America along with Australia/New Zealand being the west. The question becomes whether or not there is any hidden potential between the two.

Some Eastern cultures embrace the west and make the best of both worlds. Japan, South Korea, India and to a degree China all fit this  model - Japan and Korea have made nenormous advances due to their embrace of the west.  They have taken to capitalism like fish to water. There is evidence a similar thing is happening in Vietnam as well. The east has put its own cultural spin on capitalism and adopted capitalism to their own way of education and interpersonal relationships. And if there is a more entrepreneurial society than that in India I am not aware of it.

There are major differences in the way children are educated and raised in the east and the west, religions are different, family interactions are somewhat different - both cultures are family centric. The east tends to be more conservative.


Hidden benefits?  I think tolerance is a hidden benefit - to interact, both the east and west need to be tolerant of each other.  I suggest China is a good example - China is a growing economic power since it embraced capitalism - something not long ago would have been unthinkable (embracing capitalism). The fact that South Korea and Japan have grown into substantial economic powers is another hidden benefit. Vietnam is growing rapidly economically with a GDP approaching  5.2%.  We should be so lucky.

As the world becomes more interdependent,  we all become more global citizens. That is directly contrary to the political forces here that are the base of support for POTUS 45 here. They are most decidedly anti global and very nationalistic. Some might say antagonizing POTUS45 is a hidden benefit.  A  globalist viewpoint is beneficial to a degree - there is after all only one planet we inhabit.  

Be sure to see what the other LBC bloggers have to say -  RamanaPravinMaria and Ashok

Friday, July 28, 2017

Possibility Of Being A Saint In Suit

My bad.  I mixed up the topics this week - that certainly damages my chances of  being a saint in a suit. Or jeans. Or sweats. Truth is there is no chance sainthood will land in my vicinity. Canonization is not in my future. Oh darn. Woe is me.

I confess - I have no earthly idea what Pravin had in mind when he came up with this jewel of a topic. I see Ramana invoked Simon Templar - a fave of mine as well. But how does it relate to the topic? Beats me.

In suit. A curious choice of words. Lawsuit? Yves St Laurent suit?  Spades, Hearts, Clubs or Diamonds?  A lawsuit? In Texas, my former home, suits were often incorrectly referred to in furniture discussions, Living room suits and the like. I have always known that reference to be suites.  But Texas is unique - the state fancies itself as a republic and is governed by a wheelchair bound guy named Greg Abbott that refuses to make a left turn - 3 rights make a left there.  But the BBQ is spectacular - best ever IMHO.

I know of no saints from the white collar, suited world. Saints typically come from much humbler beginnings where service to mankind is more important. Of course anyone who knows me knows my religious affiliations are less than stellar.

So it seems Pravin got me with his topic. I have often prided myself on checking the topic and writing away. I am pretty much one of those "knows a little about a lot" kinda guys. Not this week. The white flag of surrender is herewith raised.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eastern And Western Culture, The Reflections Of Hidden Potential In Between.

Eastern And Western Culture, The Reflections Of Hidden Potential In Between.  That is our topic this week. It comes from  Ramana's blogger friend from Indonesia - Tikno
 and Ramana made it this week's topic.

My approach is limited by the fact that I have not been to the east - not the east of this topic at least. My observations are limited by my own limited contact with  and study of the east but that does include my interaction and friendship with the sage of Pune himself - Ramana. I have jokingly called us brothers from different mothers as over the years we have discovered a remarkable degree of what Ramana calls synchronicity. While absolutely examples of our respective eastern and western cultures we are remarkably similar in many ways including attitudes and thoughts.

The differences between western and eastern culture are varied  and  wide. Eastern culture typically includes Asian nations and Muslim nations whereas Christian nations are considered Western. The geographic split is a bit fuzzier - Europe, North, South and Central America along with Australia/New Zealand being the west. The question becomes whether or not there is any hidden potential between the two.

Some Eastern cultures embrace the west and make the best of both worlds. Japan, South Korea, India and to a degree China all fit this  model - Japan and Korea have made nenormous advances due to their embrace of the west.  They have taken to capitalism like fish to water. There is evidence a similar thing is happening in Vietnam as well. The east has put its own cultural spin on capitalism and adopted capitalism to their own way of education and interpersonal relationships. And if there is a more entrepreneurial society than that in India I am not aware of it.

There are major differences in the way children are educated and raised in the east and the west, religions are different, family interactions are somewhat different - both cultures are family centric. The east tends to be more conservative.


Hidden benefits?  I think tolerance is a hidden benefit - to interact, both the east and west need to be tolerant of each other.  I suggest China is a good example - China is a growing economic power since it embraced capitalism - something not long ago would have been unthinkable (embracing capitalism). The fact that South Korea and Japan have grown into substantial economic powers is another hidden benefit. Vietnam is growing rapidly economically with a GDP approaching  5.2%.  We should be so lucky.

As the world becomes more interdependent,  we all become more global citizens. That is directly contrary to the political forces here that are the base of support for POTUS 45 here. They are most decidedly anti global and very nationalistic. Some might say antagonizing POTUS45 is a hidden benefit.  A  globalist viewpoint is beneficial to a degree - there is after all only one planet we inhabit.  

Be sure to see what the other LBC bloggers have to say -  RamanaPravinMaria and Ashok


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blue Collar vs White Collar

This week's topic was my suggestion. Back in the day - the days of high school and college - there was a general thought that blue collar work somehow required less intelligence than white collar work. High school classes included things like welding, auto shop, machine shop and the like. People interested in those things had a path to careers in those fields. Other popular blue collar careers were in auto assembly, the gas and electric company and the phone company as well as law enforcement.

In my case my first choice was law enforcement but alas my wife simply stated if I became a cop she would divorce me. She was not prepared to live life wondering if I'd come home alive on any given day. So I started looking for a job in white collar fields with one huge problem - I had no passion for anything available to me. My BA made consisting being a lawyer something to consider but that was no more appealing to me than was repossessing mobile homes - a job I actually held for a couple of years.

Entry level white collar jobs paid quite a bit less than blue collar jobs but they still were relatively easy to fill. As the years progressed the selection of good blue collar jobs began to decline. Two local auto assembly plants closed down.
Good paying jobs still existed - garbage collectors made very good money for example but that career was somewhat unfairly disparaged. I played softball for years with a career garbage man and Bobby loved his well-paying job that had him home by 2PM every day.  My white collar jobs had me home daily 3-4 hours later at about half the pay.

In 1976 Lynn was offered a promotion and what seemed like a good job across the country in Connecticut so off we went. Talk about culture shock - LOL.  After a year on a different planet we jumped at the chance to go back to California - even though it was in LA.

 A while later, Lynn had had enough and resigned. To get back at her I was laid off a month later. Lynn moved back to the SF Bay Area with our newly born daughter and I started working at RadioShack. While not passionate, I did enjoy audio and the micro computer industry was just beginning. White collar lite at best.

Over the years blue collar jobs were still there but again often disparaged. It was not until a TV show - Dirty Jobs and its host Mike Rowe   went to bat for blue collar jobs that they began earning some respect. Check out this typical Mike Rowe commentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gu3vcoCecQ

Now in the age of millennials expectations are high and patience is low.Millennials seem to expect instant gratification in everything. Unfortunately, the world still does not work that way.  Perhaps that is why millennials move back home at such a high rate.

The auto industry has made a comeback as foreign companies0 like BMW, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagon and others build so many cars here. POTUS 45 would do well to consider that when he takes shots at foreign countries and companies over so-called trade deficits. And several old friends are absolute geniuses when it comes to auto customization - Rich Adkins and  Lyn/Del Schuler do amazing stuff.

Any young person that is not a computer genius would do well to do some research into the job market and not rule out a job in the trades. A rewarding life is out there for the serious job seeker.

Check my cohorts at their blogs - RamanaPravin and Ashok.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Hidden Potential

This week's topic was suggested by Ramana.

At this stage of my life - the circling the drain mode - I doubt there is much hidden potential left in me. It has all been exposed, left for dead or ignored. There are not any likely new paths down which I shall wander to make new discoveries. I can, however, look for hidden potential in others - or in other things.

Potential - that which can be. Something capable of becoming reality/actuality. Hidden potential - that which is not immediately obvious. What do you see when you look at something? An old house for example - do you simply see an old house or do you see what it has the potential to be? I am not one of those gifted with the vision or talent to see such things - I simply see an old house but I know folks who have a greater vision in that regard.

Did you ever know someone who excelled at something yet seemingly had no real training in that field?
  How about early computer programmers - those involved when the computer industry was still on the taxiway - grew a huge industry all driven  by their hidden potential that turned into full blown  mastery of that industry. Think Bill Gates, the Apple team and others.

Perhaps our future lies in the as yet untapped hidden potential of some youngster with a crazy dream running through his or her head. The trick is to inspire that youngster to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead. The journey will be rewarding for us all.

That is my quick shack take on Ramanas topic. Check my cohorts at their respective blogs - Ramana, Pravin and Ashok.