# IT’S EXPONENTIAL, DR. WATSON – BY TOM CURLEY

I’m not the first person to see this, but have any of you noticed that 2018 seems like 2017 on steroids? January is barely half over, and it seems like over a half-year has gone by. In 2017, we experienced “Trump Time.”

A crazy story that would have normally lasted a week or two, or maybe even a month, lasted for two days, tops. We were reeling from the insane shit the Shithead-in-Chief did on a Monday, only to completely forget about it because he did something even crazier on Tuesday. And that’s how it went all year.

But something happened, or seemed to happen on January 1, 2018. The crazy went into overdrive. I say ‘seemed’ to happen because his turning the crazy up to eleven was inevitable.

Why? Well, it’s because of the word exponential. Most of us know what it means, but I think most of us don’t really understand it.

#### 2. MATHEMATICS – Of, or expressed by, a mathematical exponent, for example, “an exponential curve.”

More specifically, we need to understand exponential growth, something that gets bigger and bigger, or grows faster and faster over time.

It’s hard for humans to think like that because we are hard-wired to think linearly. It’s easy for us to understand it takes a guy two hours to paint a room, so he can paint two rooms in four hours. Commonsense, right? That kind of commonsense  is part of our DNA. It helped us survive in the old caveman days. Back then, we had to be able to figure out in a hurry how fast we had to run to get to that tree before the really large saber tooth tiger caught up to us and ate us for lunch.

The best example of exponential growth today is in technology. Like, say, computers. There’s a thing called “Moore’s Law.” It says the processing power of computers doubles and the cost is cut in half every 12 to 18 months.

That was true, but, it is a perfect example of linear thinking.  In reality, the time that computers double in power and drop in cost is taking less and less time. Science and all knowledge, is growing at an accelerated rate.

It has always been that way. The increase in human knowledge has always been on an exponential curve, but the way the curve works didn’t make it seem that way until recently. On an exponential curve, things grow at a steady rate for a long time. Then suddenly, it hits a tipping point and everything begins to race along much faster.

Think about it. Humans have been on this planet as Homo sapiens for a few million years. Most of that time, we spent surviving. And throwing rocks at each other. Then, about 12,000 years ago, we stopped roaming and settled down. Although we still threw rocks at each other.

We created agriculture and civilization. Why did we do that? Because we discovered beer. I know this sounds like a joke, but it’s true. There’s a great documentary called “How Beer Saved The World.’  It’s fascinating, but that’s another blog for another day.

Basically, we had a choice. We could continue to wander around and throw rocks at each other. Or,  we could stay home and make more beer. And throw rocks at each other. It wasn’t a hard decision.Think of all the science — all the knowledge — mankind figured out starting 12,000 years ago up until 1900. By the 1900’s the industrial revolution was well underway. Cities were lit by gas and some places, by electricity. People and industry moved on steam-powered trains. The internal combustion engine was in production.

All this knowledge doubled between 1900 and the 1960’s. From  horse-drawn carriages to putting a man on the moon.

Well, that was fast.

The knowledge of mankind doubled again between 1960 and 1980, then doubled again by 1990.

Can we remember when smartphones didn’t exist? When iPads didn’t exist? They’ve been around for a while, right? Actually, the iPhone came out June 29, 2007. That was just ten years ago. The iPad was released on April 3, 2010. Just seven and a half years ago!

When my step son was diagnosed with kidney disease, he was told he would need a transplant. I asked his doctor if an artificial kidney would soon be available. He said, yes, but not for at least 50 years.

A few years later, he received the transplant and Ellin was the donor. After the surgery was over I asked the same doctor the same question. His answer? “Oh yeah, they will probably make a kidney from his own stem cells. Maybe five, ten years from now. ”

That was five years ago. Today, they’re talking about making kidneys with a 3D printer.

What happened?

Mankind reached the tipping point of that exponential curve. We’re at the point where the curve ends and the line goes straight up. This is when our knowledge quite literally explodes.

We’re way over to the right.

This is not something I thought of myself. There is a fascinating book by futurist Robert Kurzweil, called “The Singularity Is Near.” I highly recommend it.

What does any of this have to do with our Toddler-In-Chief? A lot. In particular, with his mental illness. Literally hundreds of psychiatrists and psychologists are screaming at the top of their lungs that this nut job is, well, nuts. and getting worse.

They have collectively pointed out that the stress of the job is accelerating his illness. He’s not merely getting crazier at warp speed. He has gone all the way to plaid!

You can see it yourself and you don’t need a Ph.D either.

Every interview he gives is a trip further down the rabbit hole. His last few interviews have gone from, “Bizarre” to “Unhinged” to “Insane” to “Insanely insane.” Read the transcript of his last interview with The Wall Street Journal. It was a literal word salad. Not a single sentence was complete or made any sense.

I just watched a news conference where the doctor that supposedly just examined Trump said he passed a cognitive mental test and he got all 30 questions right!

Really? The questions were things like “name four animals” and “point out what 3:15 looks like on a clock.” Wow, so the President is sane because he recognizes a cow, a pig, a dog,a rhinoceros and a pussy. He also knows when it’s quarter after three.

Short red hand was. at 3 and is now. moving toward 4. Long blue hand. has moved. to 15.

Do the same test next month.

I think Grandpa is not just losing it. He’s losing it faster and faster each day. It’s time to take away the keys to his car. Remove the big nuclear button from his desk. Get him into the memory care unit at a good nursing home. Hell, you can designate Mar-A-Lago as his official nursing home and lock him in his room. It’s only the middle of January as I write this and I’m hoping we make it to February. Last year, at this time we were hoping to make it to 2020. The month isn’t even over yet and he’s managed to shut down the government. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

I apologize for not finding more humor in all of this. I try, but sometimes it just ain’t there. So, to make up for it. Here are two dogs playing “I Got Your Nose!”.

Categories: Culture, Humor, learning, Mental health, perspective, Science, Tom Curley

### 15 replies

1. Reblogged this on SERENDIPITY and commented:

This subject keeps coming up. Will our children have anything to wonder about? Is all the exciting stuff done? Are our regressive president and backward politicians — here and in other countries — going to stop science from moving forward?

I think that NOTHING will stop science from moving forward because nothing has ever stopped it before. Not war or the Black Plague or the Crusaders or Genghis Khan. Our politicians can slow it — for a while — but nothing will stop us because we are ready to move on up.

So. I’m running this again. Because it is worth thinking about.

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• Well I certainly can’t disagree.

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• You are up again in the morning. Because everyone is really talking about this and you explained it really well. I figured it deserved a rerun.

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2. Over 40 years ago Alvin Toffler pretty much predicted the insanity in his novel Future Shock and pointed out the exponential increase connection/problem.

Our evolution has not prepared our minds or bodies to cope with the current rates of change in our society and no-one has done anything to either prevent the rate increase or better prepare us for it.

Result? We are less and less able to cope with our modern society, and the choices it both encourages and forces us to make, to try and stay sane. Many have already lost the race and most can’t keep up the pace for much longer.

I fully expect the dislocation from, and ability to stay connected to, any kind of reality we can remember or rely upon to get much worse.

And you are totally right – very few if any understand what exponential means and even fewer understand what it means for us to have exponential rates of change in our day to day life in everything from technology to sexuality to societal ‘norms’ to social behavour and especially politics. ( although of all the changes the slowest rate of change i see is in the political system! – in many ways it is lagging way behind the rest of society.)

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• Too true. This is why we are all stressed. Your bodies in constant fight of flight mode. We can’t differentiate from you boss being an asshole from being chased by a bear who wants lunch.

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• I thought my boss WAS a bear who wanted lunch. You mean …. he wasn’t?

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• And the ‘safe havens’ we could once fall back on when we needed some certainty and solidarity are increasingly fluid and ever decreasing in their permanence, leaving us fewer and fewer places of refuge from the madness. 😦

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3. Pancho, you’re right about the year seeming to be on steroids! It’s an apt description of our times. I just finished “Fire and Fury” and feel like I have something of a primer to ingest the helter-skelter daily DUMP of breaking news…with some perspective.

Between politics, weather, social scandals, health epidemics and, yes, sports — there’s no time to breath or sniff glue.

It’s time for a Steven Seagal-Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris film festival to assess the meaning of life.

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• If ever the was a person that needs to be kicked in slow motion into a glass coffee table, it’s that moron.

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4. Is there some kind of madness taking over the earth? Is this how people felt with the world wars coming on, that the leaders had all gone wacko? It seems to have gone from more or less normal to totally crazy so FAST. Like, they flipped a page and here we are.

What HAPPENED?

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• Yup. And all of us, including the media aren’t hard wired for this kind of pace of madness.

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5. Even over here in UK’s House of Lords they were last week seriously debating the mental state of DT. And I can tell you, from the clips I heard, their lordships were mightily concerned. Just like Brexit, everyone seems to be at a loss to know just how he happened, and are the people who support him actually LIKE-MINDED. In which case, how did that happen too? And now everyone else’s mind is fixated on Trump cognitive dysfunction at your end, and everyone this end is fixated on both Trump and Brexit dysfunction – is anyone actually looking at what caused all this chaos and aiming to think of how we might fix it. It seems not? Anyway thank you for your thoughtful essay. Wishing you a more cheerful, less exponentially challenged week.

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• Thanks. How did we get here? Well, there is amazing amount of stupid over here.

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• Yep. Here too. Or at least blinkered.

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