Tech at Night: E-Cigarettes and the WHO Cargo Cult

    Tech at Night

    Richard Feynman liked to tell the story of an island in Melanesia that had an allied airbase during World War II. Cargo planes would regularly land during the war, bringing supply that the locals were amazed at, and were appreciative to have. However when the war was over, the cargo planes stopped coming, and the troops left.

    So what the locals did was to do their best to dress up like the allied soldiers, and go through the motions that they observed happening when a cargo plane would land. This became known as the cargo cult, as they believed that by taking these actions, they could summon a cargo plane bringing its bounty.

    Feynman liked to compare bad science with the cargo cults: all dressed up, going through he motions, and missing the point entirely.

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    Senator Barbara Boxer, Obsessive-Compulsive

    by Chris Shugart Freudian psychoanalysis doesn’t ordinarily figure into my vocabulary. But in this case I think “anal retentive” best describes Senator Barbara Boxer’s recent introduction of Senate Bill 2047. It’s called Protecting Children From Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2014. The name says it all. When it comes to obsessive-compulsive micromanagement, the nanny-staters could fill the case loads of every therapist in Washington. And | Read More »