diet coke for breakfast

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Posted by Jake
Two-fer on Emergence

I think Knowledge Problem might be my new favorite blog after this two-fer (this and this).

The first article is about how the new EPA chair, Mark Leavitt, is tackling mercury restriction. The previous policy of dictating how much the level was AND what technology you would have to use to reach is pretty ridiculous -- read the article if you don't believe me -- and he makes a good argument about why it should be changed.

But even more interesting and related to the second post is how he ties in "emergent systems". Emergent systems are systems which have many individually acting units in the absence of top-down control. They are characterized by robust, creative behavior in the face of perturbation and maximumally efficient usage of information (for clariffication of what I mean by that read the second post which also tries to explain how blogging is an emergent system).

Emergent systems are fascinating because they explain so many different kinds of phenomena. It explains why democracy is more effective at reporesenting people's needs than dictatorship, why capitalism is more efficient and less prone to collapse than socialism, and how life on this planet has managed to survive.

Read the whole thing. Trust me, it is worth it.


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