Adonis Diaries


Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 117

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

William M. Thompson’s wrote in 1870 about Lebanon:
“Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than 600 towns, villages and hamlets…The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.
The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites – both hate the Druse, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh (currently the Alawit sect of Bashar al Assad).
The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all.
The Greek Orthodox cannot endure the Greek Catholics. And all despise the Jews. …

Saudi Kingdom reshuffle: Minister of Economy and Planning Adel al-Faqieh was replaced by Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, SPA said, quoting a royal decreeCommander of the Saudi Navy, Abdullah al-Sultan, was replaced with Fahad al-Ghafli. Minister of Economy and Planning Adel Fakeih replaced with Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, his deputy

The heads of the main 3 Saudi owned TV networks were arrested, Alwalid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC), Saleh Kamel (ART)

In 1931, the Palestinian undertook a civil disobedience campaign (Intifada) against the British mandated power for denying them democratic elections, even municipality elections in their towns and cities.  The excuse was Jews were a minority, no more than 20%. This first Intifada lasted 3 years and England had to dispatch 100,000 troops to quell this mass uprising.

Nazi Germany learned and documented the horror torture techniques and methods adopted on Palestinians by the British forces between 1936-38 during the second Intifada.

Unpracticed women tend to confuse seduction with intercourse. Women are much better in seduction, but lousy foreplay teachers.

Foreplay is always a quality time, regardless of genders.

“Maximized” means that more demands and more inputs lead to degradation, lower output and eventual system failure. Adopt minimization goal in your equations for output to save the environment

You cannot reconstruct the history based solely on the perpetrated massive crimes, through merely the acknowledgement of the engaged and active minority and State institution personnel in the civil war and State atrocities.

William Thompson wrote about Lebanon social structure in 1870: No other country in the world has such a multiplicity of antagonistic religions; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition, character, and prospects.

No genocide or mass crimes against humanity have been committed without prior preparation of the planners of the Majority of the population to accept the concept.

You better learn to discriminate among the causes, the delayed cold catalysts and instant hot catalysts for changes in order to comprehend the status of any society when upheavals emerge.

Though Lebanon social structure is pretty unstable, No foreign occupation forces, small or big, managed to sustain its presence on Lebanese soil for over 3 decades: They all withdrew unilaterally, as if the devil was constantly after their tails.

Realize that the most urgent work is the work of dancing with our fear: fear is the real reason the work isn’t getting done.

Optimization is opposite of maximization: One definition of maximization is: A short-term output level of high stress, where parts degrade but short-term performance is high.

Capitalism more often than Not seeks competitive maximization immediacy. Who cares if you burn out, I’ll just replace the part…


Nassim Nicholas Taleb posted this August 8, 2015

A lot of the discussions we’ve had here can be framed with the difference between “satisficing” (an old Northumbrian word meaning “good enough”) and “optimizing” (meaning always try to do better).Clearly, as with everything we think both modern and relevant, this was present in the classics in the various discussions of the difference between moderation and greed, particularly in virtue ethics.

The great polymath Herbert Simon posited that systems cannot really optimize;

I have held that optimization leads to nonlinear increase in hidden risks (the fragility arguments) which invariably blows up the apparatus.

Simon was hated by economists (he got their “Nobel”) because all their methods consist in optimizing (the easy mathematical route).
In human relationships we can’t optimize without becoming greedy selfish unethical crooks.

And in commerce we prefer relations to transactions, ready to support the local butcher because we feel we are part of a community and we are not alone –we are paid back with a smile and someone who says hello in the street.

Indeed the central flaw in optimization is thinking that “everything else” ceases to exist and makes people think the individual, not the collective, is the true unit –when such thinking blows up the system (or fake local rationality as opposed to more organic, collective, survival of the system broader type of “rationality”).

But the true discussion is the Procrustean Bed standpoint: from an existential reason, we humans are punished when we try to optimize, as if we suddenly ceased to be humans.

Friends, comments are welcome (provided they conform to the rules, i.e., add to the discussion).

Note 1: Can’t Optimization be applied to Virtue Ethics? If we can create a measuring scale for the taxonomy of virtue Ethics?

Note 2: I am pleased to read this new perspective on optimization.

In 1975, I had an MS in physics and wanted to leave my home-country that plunged in a civil war. The list of engineering fields mentioned Industrial Engineering”and I wondered: “Why not? I crave something with hand-on knowledge. Like drawing and designing objects, equipment and “system”as it was later called. It turned out that discipline had nothing to do with design or had any lab courses, but  mainly optimizing production, inventory…

We had to deal and resolve sets of constraints along with an optimization function. It was no brainer mathematically, but we had to solve tedious equations by hand.




July 2022

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