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Cognitive biases such as the Dunning-Kruger effect and the planning fallacy tend to cause people to overestimate their skill at tasks they are bad at and underestimate the time needed for activities they haven’t tried. When something hasn’t been attempted at all, these biases are especially important to consider, because it’s harder to correct for them using prior experience.

“SIT is a species-specific and environmentally nonpolluting method of insect control that relies on the release of large numbers of sterile insects (Knipling 1955, 1979, 1998, Krafsur 1998, Dyck et al., 2005a). Mating of released sterile males with native females leads to a decrease in the females’ reproductive potential and ultimately, if males are released in sufficient numbers over a sufficient period of time, to the local elimination or suppression of the pest population.” —Alphey, L.,et. al. (2010). Sterile-Insect Methods for Control of Mosquito-Borne Diseases: An Analysis . Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 10(3), 295–311.

Because the sterile insect technique controls populations by reducing the number of insects born in generations after the sterile insects are released, it avoids concerns about pain caused by methods that kill insects which are already living.

For instance, DDT was widely used as an insecticide for many years before people noticed and responded to its effects on other wildlife. “The reason why DDT was so widely used was because it is effective, relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and lasts a long time in the environment (2)…. DDT was canceled because it persists in the environment, accumulates in fatty tissues, and can cause adverse health effects on wildlife (5).” National Pesticide Information Center. (December 1999). DDT General Fact Sheet .

An overall analysis of sterile insect technique for mosquito populations acknowledges these concerns, but provides no references addressing them:

“In our experience, most questions from people outside of insect control and allied disciplines, including lay members of the public in potential release areas, relate much more to ecosystem consequences than to human health. Thus, what are the ecological consequences of suppressing or removing a pest? Again this is clearly a “what if the program succeeds” question.

This is something that needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.” —Alphey, L.,et. al. (2010). Sterile-Insect Methods for Control of Mosquito-Borne Diseases: An Analysis . Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 10(3), 295–311.

“Pearce argues that we should strive to “eradicate suffering in all sentient life”—a project which he describes as “technically feasible” thanks to genetic engineering and nanotechnology, and “ethically mandatory” on utilitarian grounds.” —Power, K. (2006). Mens Premium Cowskin Leather Chukka Boots Casual Lace Up Ankle Booties G61851 Wine Red qg8QL
. Philosophy Now.

If people are acting rationally, the first funding in an area, or funding that will definitely be allocated to that area, will go to the projects which are most efficient or most important to do first. Further funding will be used for projects which are less important or efficient, unless there is enough of it to provide economies of scale or other opportunities which were not available with the original level of funding.

I’m going to sign off before Xanax Lisa shows her full face. She is funny, but prone to unpredictable communications. Have an excellent weekend, all of you and any grads you happen to be close to.

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26
May

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Today once again I will be heading inland to help inform voters in a California congressional district. I confess to a fairly bossy tone informing people of this, over on Twitter.

So this weekend I’m going out to distribute literature in a neighboring red Congressional district, in the lead up to the California “jungle primary” on June 5th.

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Someone replied to my tweet, saying they would be volunteering, to a different end. This was someone I imagine has different political values than I, but also someone I know to be courteous, friendly, responsive. So I answered, “Excellent. I think as long as we are volunteering with charitable feelings in our hearts, it can’t help but be a good thing.”

It was a quick statement, made – I confess again – more to communicate that I had not meant to offend, that I was drawing no line in any sand, than from any beautiful model of virtue.

But this morning, I think maybe I couldn’t have done any better?

I am guessing that no matter what side of America’s current political divide you occupy you see the size of the gap in our country’s expressed values. We are split, and the further apart we get the more we voice anger and even hatred about the other.

I doubt this is binary, that all good people are here, none there. It’s probably too complicated being human for that kind of simple black and white. At the same time I yearn, actually yearn, for a leader who could speak to concerns so universal that we’d come back together.

And I truly, madly, deeply wish that we were all speaking in a more kindly way to each other.

So I wonder if acting upon charitable feelings might serve as a unifying idea, for some future leader. Before we could act on charitable feelings we’d have to have them, of course. But I’m guessing many people, when reminded, do want to be or at least to feel themselves to be charitable, and might respond, if someone would just set a tone.

I am perhaps too optimistic. But when I looked up the definition of “charitable,” just now, to make sure I wasn’t prattling on with more than usual abandon, the words gave me some peace.

Posted on by tedmaust

Over the last year, as my grandmother, Evelyn Brunk Maust, neared the end of her life and then passed away, I started looking at family pictures. At Christmas, I looked through scrapbooks as she slept in her chair. In May, as we prepared to bury her, we looked through many more. And last week, as most of the family gathered at a beach house for a vacation, we looked at a couple hundred slides.

Evelyn, Dennis, and Robert Maust pose in the Petrified Forest National Park.

There were flashes of the present too. Nearly every photo of my dad and my uncle was accompanied by an outburst of “He looks like [my cousin/me/my cousin’s children]!” The boys in the slides, now in their seventh decade of life, retained fresh memories too: of people, places, and sartorial choices.

I believe those folks facing the camera are members of the Brunk family. Photo by unknown photographer, circa 1940.

Because of my interest in public history , I paid special attention to the photos of relatives at historic sites. In the scrapbook, for instance, I found a photo of my grandmother’s family visiting Mount Vernon. In the slideshow, there were many more history sites.

When my father was a boy, his family spent many of their summers in Pigeon, Michigan, with his father Earl’s extended family. Several summers, however, they embarked on massive road trips. On these odysseys, the Mausts made stops at various national parks and tourist attractions.

Dennis and Robert Maust in front of one of the ships they visited.

An unnamed interpreter in American Indian dress poses for a photo, location and date unknown.

Dennis, Earl, and RobertMaust sit in front of the tree named “General Sherman” in Sequoia National Park.

The sites visited by my family probably saw themselves fulfilling the same purpose to varying degrees. The messages at historic ships and Plymouth Rock likely centered around eighteenth century European immigration. Across the American west, history sites largely told the story of Manifest Destiny. Did the Mausts hear anything about the “Six Grandfathers” on the South Dakotan mountain which were replaced by four white presidents? Surely the word “genocide” did not appear on any plaques or on any tour guide’s tongue.

A Maust photo of Mount Rushmore, undated.

Perhaps more intriguingly, what did they take away from Stone Mountain? Towhat extent had the nurse from Harrisonburg, Virginia, and the choral director from Pigeon, Michigan, internalized the Lost Cause narrative? Did they know that Stone Mountain was the site of the re-founding of the KKK in 1915? Earl participated in a march led by Martin Luther King Jr. in Nashville just a few years before. How do we square these events in one family’s life? What was the Mausts’ racial consciousness in the mid 1960s? Were Earl and Evelyn just attracted by the novelty of the new state park?

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  • Mick Hagen

    Founder of Mainframe - web3 platform for unstoppable applications: resistant to trackers, hackers, gatekeepers and censors.

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