Data to Virtue

"Wisdom is to know what to do next; virtue is doing it." -- David Starr Jordan, American Naturalist -- Observation collects data from which we build knowledge. Wisdom makes sense of that knowledge. However, it is not enough to merely develop wisdom, we must act on what we know. That is virtue--and the purpose of this blog--from data to virtue.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Why "SoWhat" as a name?

Q: You sign your posts as "SoWhat", why? Isn't that insensitive?

A: Actually it's quite the opposite. My blog is "data to virtue," which means I hope to present more than just data about the world around us, but to ask the important question, "so what?" Maybe it's my Lutheran upbringing. In Luther's catechism he would present an important concept and ask "what does this mean?" That is the purpose of my blog. How can the facts help us to make a better world?

In other words, let's start with real data and work our way up Haeckel’s Hierarchy...

- Through observation we collect data.
- By contextualizing that data we build information.
- By interpreting that information we build intelligence.
- By testing that intelligence we built knowledge.
- By using that knowledge we become wise.

(Barabba and Zaltman, Harv. Bus. Sch. Press, 1991)

Wisdom is to know what to do next; virtue is doing it.
-- David Starr Jordan --

It is not enough to just know the facts about the world, it should motivate us to action. I will post data about what I consider important topics and my opinion of what it means (the "so what"). In some cases I will post suggests for action if you are passionate about that topic. In other cases I might not have any idea of how one can make a difference in that area. This is where I need your help, in connecting readers with resources where they can make a difference.

Let's make a better world together, that's ....

SoWhat

World's most important issues

The following list is from the late Richard E. Smalley, University Professor, Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics & Astronomy, and 1996 Nobel Prize Winner. He states that everywhere he goes, when he asks people what the top issues are facing the world in the next 50 years, they always fall into on of the following 10 categories.

Energy . . . . . . . affordable, clean, sustainable
Water . . . . . . . . desalinating, distribution
Food . . . . . . . . . growing, distribution
Environment . . air, water, ground
Poverty . . . . . . . jobs, markets, resources
Disease . . . . . . . medicine, health care
Violence . . . . . . crime, war, terrorism
Education . . . . . health, early, higher
Democracy . . . . representation of all
Population . . . . sustainability, quality

He, I believe, correctly states that without affordable and low polluting energy, we can't hope to solve the other nine. If you care about passing resources on to your great grandchildren, sustainablility is also a requisite. This makes energy our number one priority as a nation and for the world. What do you think? Are their issues Smalley has missed? Leave a comment.

Eventually, energy will be the topic of many of my future more detailed posts, but I am known to run off on rabbit trails.

So What? Find something you're passionate about, that will make the world a better place, and get involved.