Archive for July 18th, 2012

July 18, 2012

Yhprum’s Law

yhprum

Yhprum’s Law is the opposite of Murphy’s Law (Yhprum = Murphy backwards). The simple formula of Yhprum’s Law is: ‘Everything, that can work, will work. It is attributed to Richard Zeckhauser, a professor for political economy at Harvard University: ‘Sometimes systems that should not work, work nevertheless.’

In 2006, Paul Resnick of the University of Michigan School of Information used this law to describe how intensive and seemingly altruistic participation by giving ranking is observed in the eBay system.

July 18, 2012

Hanlon’s Razor

conspiracy by xkcd

Hanlon’s Razor is an eponymous adage that reads: ‘Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.’

A common (and more laconic) British English variation, coined by Sir Bernard Ingham, is the saying ‘cock-up before conspiracy,’ deriving from this quotation: ‘Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.’

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July 18, 2012

Resistentialism

Resistentialism [ri-zis-ten-shul-iz-um] is a jocular theory to describe ‘seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects.’ For example, objects that cause problems (like lost keys or a fleeing bouncy ball) exhibit a high degree of malice toward humans and lend support to resistentialist beliefs. In other words, a war is being fought between humans and inanimate objects, and all the little annoyances objects give people throughout the day are battles between the two.

The term was coined by humorist Paul Jennings in a piece titled ‘Report on Resistentialism,’ published in ‘The Spectator’ in 1948 and reprinted in ‘The New York Times.’ The movement is a spoof of existentialism in general, and Jean-Paul Sartre in particular (Jennings gives the inventor of Resistentialism as Pierre-Marie Ventre). The slogan of Resistentialism is ‘Les choses sont contre nous’ — ‘Things are against us.’

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July 18, 2012

Intentional Stance

The intentional stance is a term coined by philosopher Daniel Dennett for the level of abstraction in which we view the behavior of a thing in terms of mental properties. It is part of a theory of mental content proposed by Dennett, which provides the underpinnings of his later works on free will, consciousness, folk psychology, and evolution.

‘Here is how it works: first you decide to treat the object whose behavior is to be predicted as a rational agent; then you figure out what beliefs that agent ought to have, given its place in the world and its purpose. Then you figure out what desires it ought to have, on the same considerations, and finally you predict that this rational agent will act to further its goals in the light of its beliefs. A little practical reasoning from the chosen set of beliefs and desires will in most instances yield a decision about what the agent ought to do; that is what you predict the agent will do.’

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July 18, 2012

Cradle-to-cradle

c2c

waste equals food

Cradle-to-cradle design (C2C) is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems. It models human industry on nature’s processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature’s biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic  materials.

Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free. The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics, and social systems.

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