Saturday, July 14, 2018

My rant about being a team player in government, (and Tuva, just for fun)

I worked for state and federal government institutions for years (mainly because the alternative was to work for HMO's who refused to treat people without proper insurance).

Good for free care, but bad because the institutional rules and budgetary restraints were more important than the patients.

The background of the smirks in the Congressional hearings is not the smoke and mirrors of political hacks, but the idea that one needs to be a team player.

and if you aren't, believe me: There are ways to get rid of you, not just by a simple firing for minor offences, but by making your life miserable (in my case, nurses who just were not there when I needed help with a patient, and when I complained loudly about this, I was written up for being "unprofessional), or by doing a transfer to a worse place.

hence the "smirks": screenwriter Roger Simon calls this "inappropriate affect", but to a lay person it seems like it is someone who knows he is getting away with stuff because his tush is covered.

or maybe he was just nervous and was one of those people who smile/smirk when they are nervous. Who knows?

don't ask me: we are 12 hours difference so I didn't watch the hearings (but because European time is only 6 hours difference, I do see Trumpie boy's news conferences while surfing channels).

a good film showing how people are pressured to go along with the institution and keep quiet, but how some manage to try to sneak out the truth to outside investigators can be found in this film about the Challenger disaster.

at 20 minutes, the guy says he doesn't want to rat on his co-workers, and then Feynman is pressured to stay with the team to investigate what went wrong... and then it gets worse...

Wikipedia article has more information on this trouble maker:

One of the commission's best-known members was theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. His style of investigating with his own direct methods rather than following the commission schedule put him at odds with Rogers, who once commented, "Feynman is becoming a real pain." During a televised hearing, Feynman famously demonstrated how the O-rings became less resilient and subject to seal failures at ice-cold temperatures by immersing a sample of the material in a glass of ice water.[5] 

and later he realized that he didn't so much "discover" the problems as much as being quietly spoon fed the information by a lot of folks who wouldn't dare come forth and directly talk about the problem.

The most famous quote from his alternative report on the problem is this:

"For a successful technology," Feynman concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

But of course, the hearings are about public relations, not about reality: "fake news" is about how to spin the story, often by eliminating part of the facts and exaggerating or using logical fallacies to push your emotions so you stop thinking...


and a lot of the investigation information of the Challenger disaster from Feynman's point of view be found in this book, which can be downloaded from Internet Archives. LINK

As for Feynman, this is the tv show that made me want to learn more about him and his work:


Small factoid about Tuva: some people think they have links with the Navajo tribe.
more HERE.

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