Intentionally missing the point

The advocates for the Energy East pipeline are, in my opinion, acting unethically because they’re trying to sway public opinion in their favour by means that are not authentic.

Evidence-based policy-making is the best known way to make policy. But it’s not enough to depend on evidence, even if the evidence were fully recognized by all participants.  The agents who develop evidence – discover, measure, and communicate it – are biased by their value system.  Beyond that, policy-making itself has its own biases independent of the nature and quality of the evidence used.
Continue reading

Design4Health 2013 Proceedings Now Available

The proceedings of the 2013 Design4Health conference are now available for free from the Lab4Living website. You can download individual papers, abstracts, or the whole proceedings as three volumes (PDF).

The citation is: Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Design 4 Health 2013, 3 – 5 July 2013, Sheffield UK
Editors: Dr Alaster Yoxall and Kirsty Christer
ISBN: 978-1-84387-373-0
Copyright © 2014 Sheffield Hallam University, Art & Design Research Centre, Sheffield, UK.

Defining system boundaries

Boundaries are arbitrary. Choosing the best ones is a big deal.

Boundaries are arbitrary. Choosing the best ones is a big deal.

One of the most critical parts of systems modeling is defining the boundaries between systems. Different boundaries will lead to different system models, so choosing the “best” boundaries for a modeling goal is really important. Here’s how I do it.

Continue reading

What is a “scientific consensus”?

This is NOT “scientific consensus.” (Click on image to enlarge and see original source.)

Scientific consensus isn’t the same as consensus in politics, in business, or in deciding where to go for dinner.  The conflation of the scientific and lay senses of the term are, I think, a primary cause of much of the general public’s distrust of the conclusions that scientists draw from their work.

Continue reading

Innoduction?

Can formal reasoning capture this?

In 2000, Eekels published a paper [1] that among other things discussed a type of inference called innoduction, which is supposed to capture some aspects of design creativity.  I don’t think it’s necessary to develop a whole new style of inference, and that the usual inference styles – particularly abduction – can do the job admirably.

Continue reading

Battery farms: one key to a better grid

Battery farms could help create a better grid.

An article in IEEE Spectrum discusses the case for “replacing” power plants with “battery farms.”  Besides the obvious problems that batteries don’t generate energy but only store them, there is some merit in implementing battery farms.  Most importantly, they serve as a stock that can help balance the differences between rates of power generation and consumption.  That systems aspect is particularly interesting to me.

Continue reading