What do we not know, and where can we make progress?

Physicist David Kaplan gives an excellent speech about why we shouldn’t always be measuring the economic gain.

A documentary “Particle Fever” about the Large Hadron Collider — the largest and most complex machine ever built — is a very thoughtful and entertaining film. This was my favorite bit from it (or check it from the video):

The question by an economist was, “What is the financial gain of running an experiment like this and the discoveries that we will make in this experiment?” And it’s a very, very simple answer. 

I have no idea. 

We have no idea. 

When radio waves were discovered, they weren’t called radio waves, because there were no radios. They were discovered as some sort of radiation. 

Basic science for big breakthroughs needs to occur at a level where you’re not asking, “What is the economic gain?” You’re asking, “What do we not know, and where can we make progress?” 

So what is the LHC good for? Could be nothing other than just understanding everything.

David Kaplan

I wish someone could summarize it so nicely also when discussing about arts or free-economy.

Free-economy Quotes of the month

I’ve recently stumbled upon some pretty smart articles about traveling, free-economics and share-economics. Here are some bits I enjoyed the most.

From The Hobos of Instagram at Vice:

“I grew up with the internet, and sharing has always been a part of my life because of the age that I am,” she said. “It’s the age that I live in. It just feels normal to share photos of what I’m doing.”

“Unfortunately, we do have a younger generation that’s never not known the internet, so that does kind of lead to what we call on the website ‘spoon-feeding,’” he said. “People come on the website and occasionally demand to be spooned information, because they think that’s what the Internet is. They don’t understand that it’s like a community you participate in, and you can learn incredible information from, but you’ve got to participate.”

“I had been working so much and was planning to buy a [new] car,” Steele said, “but instead of buying a car I just quit my life and started doing whatever the fuck I wanted.”

From Homeless Millennials Are Transforming Hobo Culture at Newsweek:

Where there used to be “jungles” and “hobohemias,” now the Internet is the place present-day hobos—many of them millennials—go to connect and build a community.

“I’ve become a professional vagabond, and this is the lifestyle that I love.”

From Can hitch-hiking survive the ‘sharing economy’? at TheEcologist:

Hospitality does entail risk, but it is no less worthwhile for that. By subjecting it to the treatment of screening and profiling, by attempting to eliminate that risk, we end up by eliminating the hospitality itself.

Being able to rely on strangers, on communities, on trust, are values that are worth preserving, and if we destroy them we are perversely destroying things that can truly keep us safe. As one driver put it: “I wouldn’t pick up hitch-hikers either. I’m not nuts. I do that to protect myself. But protecting myself has no value to society.”