“Why Darwin Matters”


Originally uploaded by cmdln.

I rode the Metro for an hour solid, last night, across two lines, and walked over a mile to see Dr. Michael Shermer at one of his local stops for his book tour for the new book, “Why Darwin Matters”. In addition to these photos, I took an hour and a half of audio away, with his permission. I will post a special edition of my podcast after I’ve cleaned up and edited the audio a bit, so stay tuned.

I know Dr. Shermer’s work isn’t exactly technology, but I think it is important, at least here in the US where science has been under attack, recently, to be aware of the education and advocacy work going on around us. After all, technology is obviously based on science, so if we do not protect the progress and pursuit of science, well, then the fields of technology will be the poorer for it.

Also, in my own hacking and programming experience, I actually find a scientific mindset and practice is genuinely helpful. Software is often unpredictable and using the same rigor in examining problems with, or even normal behavior of, running software is one of the better ways to solve problems and build solutions. I have seen way too many folks, when faced with a very complex, multi-variate problem just start thrashing.

If they are lucky enough to stumble on a solution, they rarely understand how the fix works, let alone are able to articulate it. Experimentation, logging results and controlling the change of variables (literally and figuratively) almost always a more productive way of attacking an otherwise very scary problem. I have to imagine this also holds true for other forms of engineering, as well.

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