When was the last time you read a peer-review paper?
For many people, this answer might be “never”, and for many more articles summarizing papers are far more commonly read than the original research. Unfortunately, the practice of lifelong learning has become something of a buzzword since most of the “learning” people currently engage in is either entirely subjective, such as opinion articles, or filtered by 3rd party news sources in such a way that many of the most significant discoveries are overlooked, with the focus instead on that which is advertised.
Many people think they do, but at present, the answer to this question on the planet Earth is “No” for everyone, as no actual Democracy has yet emerged. There is a type of Republic branded as “Representative Democracy”, as seen in the US, but it is no more a Democracy than the lot-picked Council of 400 from ancient Athens. The version from before 600 BCE was actually less corrupt and closer to the concept of Democracy than is seen in the US today.
Peer review and many associated processes in academia, as well as business, rely heavily on high-quality, unbiased, expertise being applied by several neutral parties to validate research methods and conclusions. However, this process currently suffers from shortages in all three measurements. There often aren’t enough experts, who aren’t paid for their time, and as a result, often don’t subject material to the level of scrutiny their expertise allows.
How long would you like to live, and how high would you like your quality of life to be?
While a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep habits can improve your duration and quality of life, and more people should put effort into these, there are other methods humanity can’t afford to ignore any further. The recent pandemic put on display how horribly inept the entire medical process presently is, with the only competent method of vaccine trials (Challenge Trials) being blocked and subsequent delays in excess of 300% what they could have been otherwise, not to mention how the data quality could have improved. Anyone with a hint of mathematics skill can calculate from that how many people the medical industry murdered as a result of that one decision, which was far from their only major error in judgment in 2020 alone.
The most amazing paintbrush is still limited to the skill with which it is wielded. The weird world of quantum physics is still a place where few could claim expertise, and none could yet claim mastery. To become the Vincent Van Gogh or Picasso of quantum computing may even require more than the unmodified human brain is yet capable of.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
For many people, this question is something of a fantasy, not because the process of moving would be overwhelmingly difficult, but because they are chained to much less pleasant locations by their work. The year 2020 provided ample evidence that many employees are substantially more productive when they work remotely, which actually resulted in some experiencing a higher overall Quality of Life (QOL) even in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.
Many people might answer this as a home office, or somewhere with a view. Very few would choose a clean room where everything has to remain sterile, or perhaps a landfill where nothing is sterile. However, such perils are relative to the manner of entity.
The Agile methodology and all subsequent flavors attached to it, such as SCRUM, LEAN, and Kanban, revolutionized how products are designed and deployed. Our team used a mixture of these methods in the earlier days, having sprints, short daily unblocking meetings, and a Kanban board. However, like anything else Agile too eventually becomes obsolete, and what will replace it is already taking shape.
What was the last horrific crime you saw the news of?
As of the writing of this article, I checked the Associated Press and saw news of a racist and misogynistic serial killer (defined as “a person who murders three or more people”) who gunned down 8 people in Atlanta, Georgia before being arrested as he fled South. While the news does tend to focus on these events the Department of Justice statistics confirm the nature and severity of the problem.