Grant Novak

Calgary, Canada

About Grant

I'm passionate about

Environmental engineering, environmental architecture. Minimalism, simplicity, efficiency, grace. Nature.

Comments & conversations

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Grant Novak
Posted over 3 years ago
John Hunter: Teaching with the World Peace Game
Perhaps it is unfair to label the game oversimplified simply because 9 year-olds succeed at it where world leaders seem to fail. certainly the game must be simplified to some extent, but maybe the real reason children are more successful is that as we progress in to adulthood we are increasingly programmed to operate in ways that seem more pragmatic and practical (ex: not giving poor countries multi-billion dollar donations just to achieve peace) but do not really benefit the global village the way less orthodox tactics (ex: giving poor countries multi-billion dollar donations just to achieve peace) would. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/tom_wujec_build_a_tower.html Perhaps the reason a fourth grade class succeeds at this is because they are not yet fully trained to find the single-right answer.
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Grant Novak
Posted over 3 years ago
Sam Richards: A radical experiment in empathy
I am extremely offended that you compare Canada to iraq in this context. This is a classic example, did it occur to you when you wrote this that canadians visit this website? can you put yourself in OUR shoes? you want to know what i think when i see america invading countries (unsanctioned by the UN) and putting scripture numbers on rifle sights? I think "we have oil....is this our fate?"
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Grant Novak
Posted over 3 years ago
Why can humans, without any prior planning, naturally synch in rhythm and music but if you tell a group to all move together, they can't?
The trick is to have some "music" to which people can move to. People can synch to rhythm because it flows in a predictable pattern. One could argue that people do not synch to music without prior planning, people analyze the pattern, then they synchronize accordingly by predicting what happens next. If you can create a collective situation that has a set of rules (when this happens, everyone does this. if that happens, everyone does that, etc) then people can move easily in a group. These rules do not have to be set out or planned ahead of time, lets relate back to music. You are at a dance party and the DJ decides to play the Macarena. but at this dance party is a chamber music group from Finland who do not know the Macarena. Everyone who does know the Macarena must dance it, and within a few measures the Finns will have it figured out. They analyze the pattern and predict what happens next (more of the Macarena they just saw) and they adapt accordingly. This doesn't have to happen with "patterns" necessarily. If you were standing in time square and a whole lot of people in time square suddenly turned a specific direction and ran, you may be inclined to follow, even if you did not know why they were running. Suppose suddenly the people in the front of this running flock of New-Yorkers dart to the left, it's quite likely the rest of the group would follow suit. Next thing you know, lemmings are running off cliffs. People have a hive nature, and it's not necessarily a bad thing its just the way we are. Do you drive on one side of the road because you are supposed to? Or because that's where everyone else is driving. Go to a mall or a high school and you will discover that people walk on a certain side of the hallway depending which way they are going, and you may even find the odd hallway where people walk on the left side instead of the right.
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Grant Novak
Posted over 3 years ago
What is the greatest security challenge facing humanity today?
I think in the long term the greatest threat to global security will be dependance on resources, namely unsustainable ones like (and I know this is cliche but maybe it has to be) hydrocarbon fuels. The more a resource becomes in demand the more dangerous a threat it becomes to the world. Third world exploitation is about resources, and it has been this way since imperialist times. First world countries have grown so dependent on our wasteful ways that we have to exploit more and more just to keep our economies running. Eventually something has to give and the power vacuum caused by control over high-demand and non-sustainable resources will cause a global crisis.