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« Report from SUNY-ESF | Main | Greed is good? »

October 13, 2009


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rube cretin

i find this one of the most informative sites on the internet. been reading it for over a year. unfortunately, i do not often find much left to be said, therefore i do not comment. i notice you do not receive many comments. I do hope you have some means of determining readership since i would hate to loose your missives on some of the most interesting challenges facing our future. thanks for your efforts.

George Mobus

Thank you rube. That means a lot to me to know that someone cares.

I do get statistics, but a personal note means a great deal more.



Is there a generally accepted term for "greedy solution to a logistics problem"? It is an important phenomenon that deserves a well-known name.

In economics I call it the "in-built suicidal tendency": If my competitors grow with selling stupid junk, I need to sell stupid junk, too.

The paradigmatic example meanwhile is those weapons of financial mass destruction. Another example is General Motors. Another example is the grotesque story of the rise of Microsofts and Intel junk, culminating in a crippled mouse wheel mounted on a button (an unimaginably stupid construct, yet omnipresent, and nobody gets it). Here it's not an industry committing suicide, but the product quality/sense.

George Mobus


I would say call it the Florifulgurator Fallacy (nice alliteration no?) But I suspect people might have trouble remembering the Flor... part.

Feel free to call it Mobus' Paradox or Mobus' Logistics Fallacy or... I could use the fame!



1) Haha, that's one reason why I like my crazy Florifulgurator handle. It's easy to forget, plus it is a unique google search term. Once I had a forgetful girlfriend who made up obscene variants of Floriwhatever... It's not that I want to stay anonymous, the story is much longer. Recently John Baez published a comment of mine in his diary (oh crazy Internets!). He insisted on exhibiting my real name which is Martin Gisser.

1b) Last week I had a short revisit to the book that inspired my handle: Konrad Lorenz' "Die Rückseite des Spiegels" ("Behind the Mirror, ..." 1973. The title is badly translated. ). I just wanted to reread the section "Die Fulguration" and look at the yummy illustration by oscillator circuitry.
-- But then I found a stunning section I had skipped before: He describes evolution in economic terms! (In "The double feedback of energy and information").

2) Oops, I told that microsofty mouse story again... Obviously I had more than only material logistics in mind: With brainlard logistics Homo "Sapiens" isn't much better. Much of my recent work as programmer was to undo/rewrite simplistic design: The time saved by the first programmer is now gone into the redesign. And there is no time left to undo all the greedy brain logistics (e.g. implement an undo/redo stack). Wasting time and options by saving time... Result: A logistics Black Hole.
Hmmm, what about the term (and a theory of) "Mobusian Logistics Singularity"? :-)

3) BTW I find your diagrams extremely yummy. Actually I often actively avoid looking at your blog, for I might get suckered into a brainstorm I can't afford due to my current time-money-brainlard logistics restrictions...

George Mobus

Hi Flor.

On #3, don't worry. The stuff isn't always particularly time-sensitive. And as long as I pay the bill to typepad it will be available somewhere in the archives. Actually I've never thought to try their search options; something I'll have to test.

On #1, I'll take a look at the Wikipedia article. Lorenz was one of my favorite authors in my early days studying behavior and ethology. I don't think I had read this particular book though. May need to have a go.


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