In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Group Characteristics 2 | Main | The Bush Ain't Back Yet »

September 01, 2005

Group Characteristics 3

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A few excerpts from a Wired piece about differences in the way Asians and Westerners perceive the world:

Shown a photograph, North American students of European background paid more attention to the object in the foreground of a scene, while students from China spent more time studying the background and taking in the whole scene ...

"Asians live in a more socially complicated world than we do," [Nisbett, the researcher] said in a telephone interview. "They have to pay more attention to others than we do. We are individualists. We can be bulls in a china shop, they can't afford it." ...

The key thing in Chinese culture is harmony, Nisbett said, while in the West the key is finding ways to get things done, paying less attention to others ...

The Americans would go straight for the brightest or most rapidly moving object, he said, such as three trout swimming. The Japanese were more likely to say they saw a stream, the water was green, there were rocks on the bottom and then mention the fish.

The Japanese gave 60 percent more information on the background and twice as much about the relationship between background and foreground objects as Americans.



posted by Michael at September 1, 2005


I was in Canada, in 1964, in Montreal, working as an engineer, with ALCAN, at their Place Ville Marie HQ.We had serious and passionate discussions on the failure of our New Process to make Aluminium, which could revolutionise the industry. The project had reached the stage of a multi million dollar prototype plant through scale-up. The plant failed completely, due to use of automation. The plant would shutdown automatically, at the slightest malfunction or disturbance in any part of the process.
We were, discussing, the reason of failure and also possible remedies.
All of us, then agreed, that the Japanese would have done it differently, they would have posted five engineers at each project stage who would have observed carefully and turned to automation, only if the process was working perfectly.
As you will recall, Japan in 1964, was yet to become an economic power, and was making its place in the world otechnology, by successful and efficient new industries, which later led to Japan becoming the world's top industrial nation and economy.
The lesson is they took into account the limitations of automation, machine intelligence and robots.
It is still true,
In 2004-5 we have the same situation, now the chinese are organizing to takeon theworld, going eactl in the same wway, asthe Japanese did fifty years ago.
India will be next.
All of them, have one thing in common. They act from a position of weakness, slowly finding their way to success, using and looping in the human element into the loop of activity ensuring that we do not hand over to the machine what we do not understand or decide. We do not hand over the decesion-making to switch on or off to the machine or the robot.
Another clear difference is the reaction to Hurricacane Katerina. More than half of Indian population is witout water, power, or roof, all the time in the year. But the do not die.
They do not riot, kill police, loot or rape. They change their leaders next time by not voting for the current politicians.
Looking at the discussions in the Senate on Ktrina disaster it is clear that it still thinks by throwing 10b dollars at the problem will solve the problem. In fact it will only make the local politicians richer by about 5 b$.
Finally, the Asian mind, first looks at its own limitations, finds a secular solution, accommodating the opposing points of view. India with its secular policy of protecting the minorities,has prevented muslims from joining the terrorists. We have the world's largest population of muslims in the world, but no terorrists.
There are no easy answers to how the Asian and Western Mind differs and works. West with strggle in the middle ages carries a lot of burden of orthodoxy, crusades, and deep distrust of philosophy and religion, so it is not able to react rationally to the realities.
Attacking Iraq is a case in point. push button wars may reduce the cost of lives for Americans, but doesnot ensure victory in war. It onyl encorages the machines to decide to start another war. After Iraq who next? Iran, North Korea, Palestine...
This is how the automatic systems of war will shut down the western world, and we will have large areas of darkness in the world called terrorism.

Posted by: aklal2003 on September 2, 2005 11:04 AM

Yeah, what's up with you American dudes? I mean, those looters in New Orleans, I thought it was only blacks that behave like that.

Posted by: Will on September 2, 2005 4:39 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?