Leo Walsh

Newbury Park, CA, United States

About Leo

Languages

Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Management & Leadership, Statistical Analysis, Intranet development, Business Process Development, VBA Analyst Developer, Javascript Development

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 1 year ago
Stewart Brand: 4 environmental 'heresies'
I am worried about monoculture as well. Which is another reason why we need to let Ag universities do their basic research. So we end up with 5 to 50 viable strains of, say, corn. This would create the diversity we see now in tomatoes (largely due to Ag research, developing strains resistant to the tobacco virus, vermiculum wilt and nematode infestation). For instance, I read somewhere that an Ag college was getting close to a perennial version of corn. Now that could be very cool. For a land grant university, this makes sense to pursue. If you are an agricultural seed producer, you'd be cutting your own throat. Re: Nuclear. Agreed Freaks me out too. I live about 10 miles from an old-school nuclear plant. And it scares me. Because of the huge potential for damage. But Brand is smart. Maybe they are safer than I suspect? And just over-reacting, thinking about Three Mile Island (and the SNL skit "The Pepsi Syndrome" =) ) back in the day... Re: Malthus. Spot on. The earth does have a carrying capacity. We are not there yet. I just hope we as humans can act like adults long enough to get there, and manage to survive. And then, I look at the US Congress and Senate. And see children who are always right, and cannot put country (let alone humanity) before their petty self-interests. And then I sigh.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted about 2 years ago
Stewart Brand: 4 environmental 'heresies'
Ad hominum attacks, like what you are attempting here, makes a poor debate tactic. That said, Monsanto's business practices are questionable. Especially how they attempt to bankrupt farmers. But I think Brand's stand is with the meme - that we can genetically alter crops and livestock in a way that is beneficial to both humanity and the environment - and not the industrial players. Knowing Brand's writings in a round-about way, I think that he would condemn the company's business practices. But,he would agree with their attempts to improve crop yields. Frankly, I would move the corporations out, and move Ag research back to land grant universities in the US. And would like to see a similar movement happen in the rest of the world. This is too important to conflate the profit motive with a species necessity. And allow provate enterprise to do what they are good at - distributing and filling demands - while concentrating research in an institution that is part of the "Commons." We need research as to the affects GM foods will have on ecosystems. Development of improved genetic strains. And action, since things are not getting better any time soon. IMHO, calling Brand into question keeps us from discussing the core issues he presents. And focuses us on irrelevancies.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted about 2 years ago
Stewart Brand: 4 environmental 'heresies'
A wake up call - from the "Whole Earth Catalog" (WEC) guy? Which makes it amazing. Being a Gen-X baby, I remember seeing the WEC in the bookstore. It was remarkable and unusual, since it was a huge, newspaper-sized book. It was "hippie tech." All about solar power and camping and things that did not touch my Rust Belt urban/ suburban college educated life orientation much. Though Liberal, I was not a hippie. And thought hippies quaint dope-smoking ecologists wearing hemp, following the Dead, collecting for Green Peace, and hosting drum circles in the summer. My views on hippies, of course, were bunk. I know that there was more to the movement than dope and hemp clothing. And yet, I stereotyped Brand. I figured that Brand would be a "back to the land" advocate, and want us to be rural and live in communes. Instead, he shocks. This hippie icon is talking about nuclear power? And urbanization? And saying the opposition to GM foods is anti-scientific? I am not saying that Brand is correct. But that his ideas run contrary to what I would assume him to think gives me pause. I will reevaluate my positions, especially on GM foods. I am hoping we can do without nuclear - we still don't know what to do with the waste. All in all, this talk does what TED does best: Makes me think. And will give me something constructive to research on Google. And keep me away from countless wasted hours playing "Call of Duty."
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
Anything worth doing takes effort, and stretches you. Anything you can do without failing takes little to no effort. For instance, you could watch "American Idol," or try to tackle James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," or learn Linear Algebra. So I doubt I would try anything I was guaranteed success in--at least for long. It would grow boring, and I would move onto something new.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
What is the source of intuition?
In actuality, the Limbic System is quite advanced, and key to decision making. There have been studies showing that people with intact Frontal and Pre-Frontal cortices, and damaged Limbic Systems cannot make a decision. Which seems odd to most of us, since we are so schooled in the "Higher cognition" view of the world. How else could you account for the fact that, at every level of IQ, Emotional Intelligence becomes a greater determinant of success than additional IQ points? So, we largely decide based on a concordance of thought and feeling. Sort of like a balancing of the classical categories of "the good, the true and the beautiful." We need to honor all parts of ourselves. The internal, subjective and external, objective reality to make a sound decision.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
What is the source of intuition?
One question: "Is it true that your intuition has never failed you. For instance, have you never been disappointed by someone whom you trusted? Or decided on an investment, job, marriage or other relationship with high hopes and a good gut feeling, only to have it eventually fly south?" My experience is that we remember success more readily than we do failure, and rationalize away the failure. If a person who I trusted lets me down, I can always switch my rationalization to match the facts. You may want to look at the book "Everything is Obvious (Once you know the answer)" by Duncan Watts. The author has a PhD in mathematical sociology, and the book is a fascinating look at how we warp what we "knew" based on the outcome.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
What advice would you give a younger you?
Just joking.My real advice would be... "Keep an open mind. Try new things on. Expand your knowledge, skills and expose yourself to everything you can.Travel. Listen for coaching everywhere--even a child can say something that you can benefit from-- but always stick to your guns and think for yourself. There is a reason why the saying, 'If you find the Buddha on the road, kill him' is a Buddhist tenet. "
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
If one's mental illness could be cured by a single pill, would you choose to do so?
Interesting conversation. I kept the personal out of it in my initial post, but now that I read yours, I realize I may have been too cautious. I think part of a "mental illness" is what you make of it. I went to college, grad school, and wrote two and a half novels. I was pretty much a gung-ho, fun-loving guy who could cook a meal, play jazz guitar, write computer programs in several languages, and spent his free time doing higher math problems. I was also able to see, in one quick glance, the entire answer to many business problems. Even when in high school, working in a kitchen of a full service restaurant, I sold the chef on a line arrangement that simplified our work, and made the kitchen easier to work with. Yet, I constantly forgot bills, even though I typically had thousands squirreled away in the bank. And don't get me started on the grief I caught for missed anniversaries, birthdays, etc. And then, in my 40's, I was diagnosed with a very severe case of ADHD. On a standardized test for ADHA, the TOVA test, I scored several standard deviations from the norm. I was prescribe Adderall. Which made me edgy, and too serious. My creativity shriveled. And I actually grew "short-tempered" with people, something which had never happened in the past. So I stopped taking it. I am again the creative fool. Playing on trampolines with my nephews. Writing again. And contemplating beginning an urban farm for profit. Maybe I'll take meds again. They did help me focus. But Adderall did alter my basic personality.
135521
Leo Walsh
Posted over 2 years ago
Should humanity bend to nature or should nature bend to humanity?
It seems that this is a false dichotomy since both are necessary. We could, for instance, try to ignore nature. And just do what we have always done. But that really will get you nowhere. It leads to the fall of a civilization through ecological collapse. Think how the local culture completely deforested Easter Island to get an idea of what I mean here. And a lot of the "drill-baby-drill" crowd falls into this camp. Fortunately, many individual humans are too smart for that. Instead, they notice when their tribe (or all of humanity these days) is heading smack dab into a wall. Instead of plodding on, they try new things out. And keep the more effective methods, and toss out the inefficient. Tradition be damned. This is how we've dodged the Malthusian bullet for this long. We've noticed a pattern in nature, and exploited it to increase our crop yields and energy capture. I see some similar things happening now. For instance, I come from Cleveland, OH. The much maligned buckle of the Rustbelt. And I just learned that Cleveland has among the largest base of urban farms, where people are making livings growing crops on vacant land, and demolished home lots in the inner city. Which is incredible. An urban farmer can grow chickens, fresh romaine, scallions and arugula during the day. Jump in the shower, and catch a world class orchestra in the evening. Not a bad life. And a lot less boring than rural Ohio. What a creative response to high food prices, high unemployment, a shrinking population and industrial base.I just drove by a huge operation on the once gang-infested E. 79th Street, and was amazed. Humans adapt.