Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Well of Ascension

This is the second book in the Mistborn trilogy. As such, it builds upon the previous characters and events. However, it is enough of a story to stand alone. In the previous book, Vin and her team had toppled the Lord Ruler and the final empire. In this book, however, they have the much more difficult task of running the empire.

This book is loaded with action, but also deals with the coming of age and personal relationships. (We even get a marriage near the end.) Vin struggles with the words of Zane, her soon-to-be husband's half brother. He almost convinces her to join his cause, but she realizes her affection towards him is real, overpowering their physical differences. (And in the end, he gets the "mistborn" power.)

The quest of the novel is to arrive at the well of ascension in order to take and "release" the power. However, it turns out that doing so benefits some negative force instead of good.

The characters her struggle with decisions that have no clear best path. Being true to oneself seems like a good way to rule. However, doing so fails to inspire the confidence of the subjects. Being a strong, forceful ruler helps to inspire confidence. While it may not appear to be "real" at first, it may eventually better express true feelings and meaning.

This book combined nonstop actual with plenty of paradoxes and difficult decision. I was eager to get through it to find out how things worked out. I found myself surprised, but not upset with the way things turned out. Now I'm ready to hit the next book in the series.

Bronze Bow

A Jewish boy (Daniel) vows vengence against the Romans. He joins a band of mountain robbers that are fighting for the cause of freedom. One task he has is to help capture a large slave being transported by some traders. This slave ends up being one of his "burdens" (though he later realizes he is a friend.)

He ends up caring for his disabled sister after her previous caretaker dies. He comes to know life in the town better. He also knows the people who are being hurt by the acts of the robbers. However, he still supports them and their cause of freedom. One day, one of his friends (Joel) is caught. When the leader of the band of robbers refuses to help him, Daniel organizes a group on his own to rescue him. He does it, but at the cost of the black slave and another friend.

During this time, he also meets with Jesus. He marvels at his understanding of doctrine and his simple explanations. He hopes he will be their leader. However, he is not willing to drop the hatred that he feels towards the Romans.

His sister had made great progress towards normalcy. However, it turns out she had been talking with a homesick Roman legion. This drove Daniel nearly to the breaking point. He wanted to kill the Roman to seek his revenge. This hatred, however, nearly led to the death of his sister. Finally at the end of the story, after his sister has been healed by Jesus he gets the courage to forgive the Roman and let him know about his sister.

The story provides the powerful contrast between the force of hatred and the force of love. The Roman legion was also serving from a conquered land. He was just a normal person with normal emotions. Daniel's hatred made it difficult for him to see through the uniform to the person beneath.

Daniel observed that some people may not really want to be healed from their ailments. (Perhaps the blind man would be disturbed by what he would see.) However, he failed to see the same with his country's condition. (The Romans were rather benign rulers and their overthrow could leave somebody even worse in power.) The blinders of hatred can cause bad things to happen and end up destroying the hater even more than the target of their vengeance.

A Fall of Moondust

A ship goes on a site-seeing trip on the moon. The trip is so non-eventful that the captain is out chatting with the passengers. However, a sudden moonquake buries the ship. Everybody is ok, however, oxygen is limited to a week. And, they soon discover that heat may be their biggest problem.

Outside, the traffic controllers notice the ship is missing, but don't see any sign of it. However, a scientist is able to use his knowledge to help pinpoint the ship's trace. Eventually they send down some pipes to pump in oxygen and later rescue the passengers.

This is, at its core, a disaster story. It just happens to be set on the moon. The radio play was well done. It is a pity that this form isn't used more. It combines the dramatization of a movie with the "you can listen while you are doing stuff" nature of an audiobook.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Alas, Babylon

This reminded me a lot of One Second After. (Only this one was written a few decades earlier.) They both center around some southerners who have some survivalist mentality. A big event happens that rips away modern technology, and the people manage to create a society. They are the "good guys" who hole up in their semi-rural community, while the city dwellers resort to becoming savage marauders.

In Alas, Babylon, the catastrophe is a nuclear war. Russia uses submarines to launch nukes at most major US cities and military sites. The US managed to launch a retaliatory force that wiped out much of Russia. In the end, the US won, but in the process, life was severely disrupted for most everybody. Even "survivalists" who had been prepared, merely found themselves the greater targets. Humans may attack with guns, but dogs and other animals could also become dangers. Some people don't even get that far. They see the "meaning" of their life ripped apart by the changes, and manage to end it rather than try to adapt.

Makes you wonder if this is what happened to some ancient civilizations that were only encountered in later stages. Perhaps the Australian Aborigines or American Indians had a civilization much more advanced than us today, but managed to wipe most of it out before the Europeans came around. The "survivalists" that were left reverted to the primitive ways of life.

Mistborn: The Final Empire

I loved Sanderson's Alcatraz books. Even though I am not a big fan of fantasy, I decided to give this a try. The world is a "post-apocalyptic" world in which plant life is brown and there is a mist that shrouds the world. The people have been segmented into a slave class and a ruling elite. One "immortal" Lord Ruler stands at the head of the world.

And of course, there is some magic. In this case "allomancy", or the ability to do special things with metals. The "mistborn" have the ability to do this with 10 types of metal. Certain metals give certain powers. By pushing and pulling on some metals you can fly. Others give you strength or let you see a little in the future.

The novel centers around Vin, a teenage girl. She is a Skaa (the slave class) but is the daughter of a noble and has their power. She had been working as part of a thieving ring, and became part of a Skaa rebellion being led by Kelsier. She is initially set up to play the roll of a "spy" by taking part in the noble balls. Initially she is disgusted by the noble life, but she gradually begins to like it. In some ways, she is disgusted by the life of idleness that the nobles live. However, she has to admit that the social activities did have their appeal. Her association with the nobles helps her to notice that they are real people. While many of the nobles treat Skaa as animals, some of the nobles are repulsed by the activities.

The Skaa have been slaves for so long that they have lost the will to live on their own. They are used to being slaves, and resigned to the life. Even though they outnumber the nobles, the slaves have been reluctant to rebel.

In her course of spying, she falls in love with the heir to one of the largest "houses" of noblemen. The feelings are mutual. The heir is a bookworm who has sympathy for the slaves. To some of her band, however, he is just another one of the oppressors.

Vin gradually grows up, while also learning how to better use her powers. She helps her team to have some sympathy towards the elite. (Eventually, Kelsier even saves the life of a nobleman.)

In the end, they finally face the Lord Ruler. Vin has a bit of insight along with some luck that enables her to finally defeat him. However, he mentions something at the end about how the world needs him. This leaves the book with a nice, fulfilling ending, but also keeps plenty of space open for a sequel.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The discards are undefeated

Andy Reid had one of the best records as a Philadelphia Eagles coach. He had one bad season (that happened to be when his son died.) He was promptly canned.
Alex Smith was a #1 draft pick who suffered through a number of different coaches and coordinators. He finally found a good coach in Jim Harbaugh and was having a career season. He had a concussion, his backup played great, and he lost his starting job.
Both these two ended up in Kansas City where they are now off to a 3-0 season. The Eagles with their hot-shot coach are 1-2. The 49ers are currently 1-1.
In his games, Alex Smith has not been a "hot shot" player that single-handedly wins games. However, he is great game manager who does not lose games. His skill is just what a great defensive team. (San Francisco, alas, lost to Seattle, thanks in part to 3 interceptions and a lost fumble. Perhaps with Smith and his "game management", the 49ers would have handled that game.)
I've never been a Kansas City fan, but now it is nice to see the "discards" succeed. They already have a better record than last season, and are the "feel good" story of the season. (The 49ers have a DUI in addition to the loss.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

China Road

Highway 312 in China goes from Shanghai to the Khorgas on the Khazakstan border. In this book, the author travels along the entire distance of the road, takings cabs, buses, private vehicles, and even hitchhiking for various sections. He makes a few side trips to explore aids villages and other minority areas.

China in size is similar to the United States. However, in makeup, it is very different. The population is concentrated in the big cities on the east coast. However, China doesn't have a "west coast" as in the US. It is almost as if you chopped off America somewhere in the midwest or rockies. In that case, there really wouldn't be much reason for most people to go explore the rest of the country. Everything would be concentrated in the east.

In the travel, he makes keen observations on the state of the China and the Chinese people. He observes the differences from province to province and among the different minority groups and peoples. China has almost always been ruled by a single entity, whether it be an emperor or a communist party. Currently, the Chinese economy is booming. The rest of the world my criticize China, but if China were to stop its economic boom, the rest of the world would really hurt. (Is China what is helping to hold up our stock market and even our government?)

I liked to story, and the narrative helped me to better understand some of the geography of China.

The Chinese live a variety of different lives. The urban population lives a life of rampant consumerism. However, the rural people are still struggling. The local officials are often prone to corruption, further hurting the life. However, people are content with even moderate prosperity. It is the way that people live.

The stories of the people in the different provinces remind me of the people that I have met in China. "Where are you from?" is a question frequently asked. Very few people I meet in Nanjing are actually from there. Many are from the nearby provinces. A few are from places much further away. All show the pattern here of working hard and trying to get into the best university to continue upward mobility.(China has even used this as a means of quelling discontent. The minority groups (such as Tibetians and Muslims) are given great opportunities of free education in the big cities. They are also provided with significant development funds. They are also given some additional rights (such as having two children instead of one.) Instead of using the stick, the country is using the carrot.)

What happens if the economic growth shuts down? The country (and the world) will be in a great deal of hurt.

China is a huge country and really cannot be compared to other places like Taiwan and Singapore. Though they both have large Chinese populations, they would only rank as a small province in China. The people of China are diverse. The Maoists attempted to wipe out Chinese culture, leaving a vacuum in people's lives. The people, however, still need something to cling to. The Yuan has been a substitute for many of the urbanites, but for the peasant, there is still a void in need of being filled. What will become of China.

Earth Afire

This is the second of the Ender's Game prequels. Very little attempt was made to make this book "stand alone". It starts with the attempted warning of the Formic invasion and continues on with the invasion, ending on a cliffhanger with an attempt to stop the Formics.

The novel follows a few distinct characters. We have Mazer Rackham in China. He seems to be near death a few times, but we know from Ender's Game that he will survive. We also have Victor Delgado and his attempt to fight through red tape to warn the earth. He only succeeds by working with the evil conglomerate that helped destroy his livelihood and kill a family member. The story pulls in a few tear-jerkers as well as a nuanced social relationships. (Good guys show their bad parts, and bad guys show their good sides.

I wonder how much each of the authors contributed to the story. Usually, when a story is credited to a famous author and a not-so-famous co-author, I assume that the co-author did most of the work, with the author merely lending their name and perhaps the "big idea" for the story. This story does, however, seem to adhere closely to Card's writing style. Perhaps Johnston is really good at mimicking, or Card really did have a lot of involvement in the writing. I just wish they would finish the whole thing, rather than leaving it on a cliffhanger with a "yet-to-be-released" next book. (And Card has the nasty habit of losing interest in his series before tying things up. (cough) Alvin Maker.

Martian Chronicles

Earthlings go to Mars. They treat Martians as second-class citizens. However, the Martians have telepathic powers that are not understood by the earthlings. Eventually earth is all but destroyed by nuclear war. Mars is also evacuated, with only a few people remaining.

There seem to be a lot of allegorical interpretations of these stories. The exploration of the new world seems an obvious one. The Europeans came and destroyed the natives lives and built up a great civilization. But they also built up the ability to destroy the world - and wreck havok on the world.

You could also look at general nation building. Western powers attempt to build nations in countries, yet often get subsumed by the culture. (Look at what has happened in Iraq or Afghanistan.)

In addition to "rockets to Mars", a key science fiction element here is "virtual perception". Martians use telepathy to make earthlings believe they are living in a certain world. In one case, an entire rocket crew believes they have arrived in a midwestern town, with all their relatives present. However, it turns out to be an illusion, and it was just a means to trap and kill the earthlings. In other stories, human-like robots are used. One survivor on mars has recreated robotic versions of his family. In another story about censorship, somebody creates a life-size "house of usher" based on Poe's (banned) story. He has a big party there, in which the censorship police attend. In the party the guests see other guests die in a horrible way. However, they then see that same guest walking around perfectly fine. They are told it is just the robot version of the guess that is being hurt. However, it turns out to be the reverse, with the real one suffering the fate.

The stories prod us to think about our own values and perceptions. Do we have false perceptions in our daily activities and interactions?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Big Picture MBA

Big Picture MBA is a series of lectures summarizing business school. It is obviously preaching to choir, so you will not find anything here questioning the value of business school. Instead, you will find a lot of cheerleading for the value of an MBA as well as quick overviews of the "core curriculum" of MBA programs. In sections on getting into school, there is plenty of coverage of the advantages of full-time and part-time programs, as well as of different strengths of different schools. (The lecturers are from UC-Irvine and the part-time admissions department there, so there is obviously a bit of a slant towards their programs.)

The core classes covered include different types of accounting, finance, management and "dealing with people". Perhaps the one point of "criticism" that comes out of here is that human resources and organizational behavior do not get enough respect in business school. Perhaps if we did have a greater focus on people rather than dollars then we would not have some of the big "scandals" of recent years. However, criticism is not the goal here. Instead, it merely tries to provide the meat of an MBA program in a dozen lectures (while also claiming that it is not substitute for a real MBA.) After all, it is the connections in school that give the most value. The coursework primarily serves as cover for all the networking.

Spy Kids

The Spy Kids movies must have been a blast to make. They manage to great for kids, while still being intelligent enough for adults. It can use over-the-top humor with all sorts of crazy gadgets that make things fun.

Spy Kid's II: Island of Dreams starts with the trademark "over-the-top" spy scene. In this case, it takes place in an amusement park with ridiculous rides. The president's daughter is there, and manages to escape from the ride - with a device that can destroy the world. The lead Spy Kids (Carmen and Juni Cortez) attempt to save her. However, "Garry and Gerti", a second group of OSS spy kids are sent as backup. The kids (and their families) end up competing the entire movie. They work as a family, solving regular family issues - only they happen to deal with the destruction of the world. (Gerti has a great line at the end, mentioning that Dad will be so in trouble with mom for trying to take over the world again.) In the movie, they have all sorts of gadgets (including a watch that does everything - except tell time.) However, it is the lowly rubber-band that is most valuable. The main spy caper involves a Jurassic Park-like island with minaraturized and bizarro animals. ("horse-fly", "spider-monkey", etc.) All of elements were very well carried out, bizarre enough to be funny, but consistent enough to feel real. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a while.

Spy Kids 3: Game Over follows the same formula as the others. It was well done, though not quite as good as the second movie. In this movie, the kids travel inside a video game to try to prevent the "Gamemaker" from taking over the world. In the game, everyone adopts their "gaming id", thus the real "cool" guys in the game often end up being nerds in real life.

Spy Kids 4: All The Time in the World was released almost a decade later. The original kids are grown up, and some new kids are part of the "reboot". It has many of the Spy Kids trademarks, but overall was not as good. I recalled Roger Ebert's review of the original Spy Kids movie. He enjoyed the movie and complimented its ability to be humourous a "Family" without resorting to vulgarity. Alas, in Spy Kids 4 we get barf-bag and diaper bombs. I had seen this one before seeing the other Spy Kids movies. I thought it was good at the time. However, after seeing the others, I realize that it doesn't come close to the high bar set. The appearance of the adult Carmen and Juni seems contrived. While they play a key roll in the movie, their acting is flat.

Overall, the entire series is a great example of building well made stories out of imagination that is as crazy as possible while still being believable.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Butler

Lee Daniel's The Butler makes for an akward title. It almost made for a good movie. It chronicle the life of a man from boyhood in the southern cotton fields until he "made it" as a white house butler. He worked for many years as a butler to the presidents that were key in the civil rights movement. As he was witnessing the political side of the movement, his son was involved in the "activist" side.

The movie did a good job of showing the "personal" nature of the civil rights decision. It managed, for the most part, to be politically neutral. Eisenhower struggled with how to manage things, but finally decided to send in troops to support integration. Kennedy initially dismissed civil rights, but letter became a staunch supporter. Nixon and Johnson were both portrayed as callous politicians that wanted to co-opt civil rights for their own personal gain.

While the film showed the presidents' making personal decisions about civil rights, the life of the butler's son showed us the political side. He started out in non-violent protests and passively resisted attacks by the KKK and others. He criticised of his father's life as a "servant" of white people. Martin Luther King JR responded, however, that the house negro was one of the most influential sources of change in that he showed the white man that the black man can be a civilized human. in spite of this, the relationship with father and son remained strained. (Meanwhile, the butler's other son followed the more conservative path, but eventually returned from Vietnam in a body bag.)

Up to this point, I was well pleased with the movie. However, after Watergate, the movie started to lose focus. Ford and Carter did not exist. Reagan finally appears in his second term. He is the one that finally makes sure that the black help is paid at the same rate as the white help. He also makes sure the butler and his wife are invited as guests to a state dinner. This pro-black stance is tempered with Reagan's objection to sanctions on South Africa. (I guess they couldn't make Reagan look like too much of a good guy.)

At his point, the butler is old and decides it is time to retire and reconcile with his son. It would make for a good ending to the movie. But, alas, it didn't stop there. It jumped forward 20 years to show him supporting Obama and his campaign and going back to the White House as a guest of the first black president. This section felt like it was artificially tacked on to the end. It also distracted from the other seen where the butler went back to see the abandoned cotton field where he had grown up. (Is this meant to contrast with the White/Kenyan president who never had no slave history?) Alas, it was a week epilogue for what was otherwise a good movie.

Wrinkle In Time

I had trouble sraying awake listening to this audiobook. I remember having similar sleep issues reading it as a kid. It deals with tesseracts, space travel and science. Some kids, including a genius, Charles Wallace with the help of some other beings go to rescue their father from some evil beings. That's about it.

Chinese Infrastructure

In China, I can walk down to the train station and take the $30 train from Nanjing to Shanghai. It cruises around at a measly 180 miles per hour and takes a "lengthy" 67 minutes to travel the approximately 200 miles. Compare this to the much more expensive and slower Acela trains on the east coast. The California high speed rail has cost billions of dollars, yet doesn't even aspire to these speeds. And in Shanghai, this high speed line isn't even the fastest. The Maglev that goes to Shanghai's Pudong airport travels around 300 miles per hour.

I wonder if China is taking the place of the US from a century or two ago. Back then, the United States was the scrappy little country that just got stuff done. Want a railroad across the country? We'll get it done. Factories that can outproduce Europe? Check. Sure there is some corruption and questionable business practices, but things got done. Today, however, the United States is stuck in a bureaucratic quagmire. Things are planned and planned and planned.

I can see things happen in the local case of the Steven's Creek Trail. Mountain View has built a trail along the Creek. Cupertino has built another portion. There is a two mile gap between the two. However, for a good chunk of that gap, there are houses along the creek. There is also a freeway that needs to be crossed. The simple solution would be to simply sign a route down the street and build a bridge over the freeway. This would connect the trails, and provide a nice ride down quiet residential streets next to the creek. However, the city of Sunnyvale instead is spending oodles of dollars on community outreach. The people on the logical streets yell the loudest. (It doesn't matter that their yelling is nonsensical.) So after many meetings, the current plan is to add in a couple mile detour down streets far from the trail, require a double crossing of another freeway, and potentially add a two-way bike path down a road adjacent to a freeway. And who would use this new trail? Obviously not anyone walking down the trail. Commuters would also be out since it poses a significant detour. Families on a leisurely bike ride are probably also out due to the sketchy freeway crossings. I guess a few people in the local neighborhoods could use it for local bike traffic. But, they are generally fine using the low-traffic roads already.

China on the other hand would just say "we need a bike path" and build it.

The Chinese way also has development in clusters - which happen to be the clusters where mass transit is focussed. A city like Nanjing has millions of people. Despite this amount, it is very walkable without being hugely overcrowded. There is also a huge amount of green space. China apparently has learned something from US-style suburban sprawl. Yes there are issues in China. Cars are becoming popular (but the crowded streets can be easier on pedestrians). Sidewalks can be blocked by construction (but there are enough pedestrians walking on the street to keep it from being a safety hazard). And there is the nasty issue of factory pollution. These are big issues, but they are fixable. China is rapidly building metro lines that are being used - often because stops are near the high density developments. Even with all this crazy development, it is still easy to walk around. The communistic capitalism does seem to be working - for now.

Stanford football

Stanford took care of business, winning the first game at San Jose State in decisive fashion. However, we'll have to see how good San Jose is with the new coach. If they are as good as last season, this might have been a great Stanford victory. If they are back in "old" SJSU form, then maybe not so good.

What scares me more is some of the predictions. A few prognosticators have Stanford pegged as national champion. So much for the underdog roll. Stanford has the type of team that could beat anybody. The problem is, it is also the team that could lose to just about anybody. The Cardinal probably have the best chance of unseated an SEC team to win the final BCS championship. However, they have to get there first.

So far this season, we have already seen that odd things can happen. Each week, a top 25 team from the Pac-12 has been clobbered by an underdog. We saw a bunch of FCS teams beat up their opponents. Virginia beats BYU in the first game, seemingly setting the tone for the season. However, BYU turns around and clobbers Texas, while Virginia gets annihilated by Oregon. USC gets beaten by Washington State in a defensive struggle. Florida and Georgia both lose to ACC teams. I think we'll need a few more weeks to even begin to sort things out. Lets just hope the cardinal can make it.

As for pro football, the (Jim) Harbaugh connections did well this weekend. Former Stanford QB Andrew Luck won with the Indianapolis Colts. Former 49ers QB Alex Smith one with Kansas City. And of course, the 49ers won. It looks like he is quite the groomer of quarterbacks.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

There is some great theory here. However, the delivery gets annoying. He has an axe to grind against many people institution that he deems to be hurting society. Alas, it would be better if he spent more time focussing on his ideas than making up juvenile names (such as Harvard-Stalanist) than the others.

The principle thought is that there are three categories: fragile, robust and anti-fragile. Fragile things are hurt by random change. Robust things can withstand randomness. Anti-fragile things benefit from randomness. Many of the problems we encounter are due to the failure to acknowledge the anti-fragile.

His background is in the financial industry and he devotes some time to the discussion of the issues there. The system is extremely complex with many big players, thus making it fragile. The late 2000s crisis was caused by a lot of this. The consolidation and the fragility made a big fall likely. If the system was more fragmented, individual institutions may have failed, but there would have been little harm to the entire financial system. (An example was given of restaurants. Individual restaurants are very fragile. They get started and fail all the time. However, the overall system is anti-fragile. The randomness of the rise and fall of restaurants benefits eaters with more variety and innovation. If we had a government-mandated restaurant system, it may provide food, but in a very bland way. And if the system failed, all would be without food.) He suggests the best investment strategy would be to invest in some "anti-fragile" areas that would be achieve huge benefit by random events, while keeping other funds in areas that would be extremely safe in random or non-random situations.

He spread his argument to other areas of society. Academia and medicine receive scathing indictments. Academic research is seen as being of minimal value. The researches are more concerned about their position in their narrow field and doing derivative research. Most innovations come from simple random innovations of entrepreneurs. (The wheeled suitcase is given as an example of innovation combining two well-established items that nobody had thought to put together.) Research can also find correlations that may not be generally applicable.

Medicine is criticized for the harm it does. The tendency is to over-medicate and seek solutions for small problems. However, the human body is built to handle the many random things that are thrown at it. Stopping some of the minor ailments may harm the body's natural healing ability. Medicine is still useful in treating extreme conditions (such as emergency care). All medical intervention has a risk of harm. For minor medical care (such as blood pressure drugs for not-so-high blood pressure), the risk is likely greater than the benefit received. (Do to the statistical analysis the benefits in the low cases may be very small, while the side effects high.) Diet may also be misleading. The body may benefit from randomness, such as mixing the types of foods and periodic fasting. The medical system's need to provide "theories" often leads to harmful things (such as trans-fats) while ignoring benefits that may be available through traditional practices.

The overall argument stresses the wisdom of elders. Modern science attempts to quantify everything into regular patterns. However, most of these models break down when randomness is thrown in. Traditional cultural and religious practices don't have "theory" attached to them. However, they are built on centuries of human experience. Often, these can give us better answers. If a practice has lasted thousands of years, there may be something to it. (This can be seen in other fields - the longer a book has been in print, the longer it is likely to remain in print.) Much of the "new" today will be discovered later to be harmful or bad. Some of the new may end up sticking around for hundreds of years. However, it is easier to find wisdom in that which has already lasted for hundreds of years. (There is some irony here. His book is new. Should we disregard it in favor of the older financial works that he criticizes?)

He also stresses improvement by "negation" rather than "addition". It tends to be easier to improve things by removing the bad. However, the economic system encourages money making by adding. For example, removing cigarettes causes increases in health. However, it hurts tobacco company and other health companies that rely on it. Big Data is also seen as falling here. It can be used to negate ideas, but is not good with finding positive ideas.

Another key concern is the agency problem. People that make predictions can often influence activities without any harm to themselves. Corporate executives are especially prone to this problem. If the company makes money, they get a big fat bonus. Even if the bonus later causes the collapse of the company, they don't lose money. The executives are also seen as enslaved, because they have ceded control of their thoughts and belief from the company.