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Tale of Two Delays

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The human mind is very adaptable to the environment and sensory information flow, in order to be able to maximize the processing capacity at any given moment. This has been useful in fight-flight situations during most of human evolutional history. 

However, this seizing the moment has its downsides. Longer term wisdom and knowledge are easily sacrificed when day-to-day and minute-by-minute issues are actively being solved while bigger issues remain at large. 

When we are faced with severe structural problems like emitting more and more CO2 while damaging the environment, corrective actions are executed very slowly and inefficiently. Why might this be? 

I think one of the primary reasons is the blissful delay in real data. For instance, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes reports sometimes years apart, raising awareness (and opposition) for a short period while we continue business as usual during the silence. Just like our stone age brain evolved to do. 

The IPCC would be far more interesting and capable if it provided real-time measurements and analysis on a minute basis. Any suspicion about doctored results would evaporate, as the raw material would be online for anyone to throw algorithms at. 

My postulate (and guiding principle in life) is that a delay is beneficial only when it gives you more time to think. Delaying real time data is closer to self-deception. 

//Pasi

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