the science for policy and the policy for science

Carl & Ellie

Dr. Patricia Falcone, Assistant Director for National Security, OSTP
& NASA Administrator Charles Bolden {23:00}

Women's History Month Event

Women@NASA celebrated Women's History Month with the public on March 8, 2012 with our co-sponsor George Washington University. During the event, the NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver gave the keynote speech noting both the positive progress made towards increasing women in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) fields as well as recognizing the room left for improvement. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Assistant Director for National Security Pat Falcone closed the session.

Moderated by Rebecca Spyke-Keiser, Associate Deputy Administrator for Policy and Integration.

NASA Celebrates Women, Aerospace and Innovation Part 1 :: {Keynote} Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator • {Panel} Kathy Sullivan, NOAA Deputy Administrator {first american woman to walk in space: STS-41G, STS-31, and STS-45} · Catherine Didion, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Engineering · Marcia Smith, President, · Veronica Villalobos, Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Personnel Management.

NASA Celebrates Women, Aerospace and Innovation Part 2 :: Speakers: Kamla Modi, Girl Scouts Research Institute & Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math • Catherine Didion, National Academy of Engineering & EngineerGirl! A Website to Interest Girls in Engineering • Mamta Nagaraja & Women@NASA, blog & twitter

NASA Celebrates Women, Aerospace and Innovation Part 3 :: Speakers: Dr. Patricia Falcone, Assistant Director for National Security, OSTP & Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator

JPL Celebrates 2012 National Women's History Month :: The equal opportunity to learn, taken for granted by most young women today, owes much to Title IX of the Education Codes of the Higher Education Act Amendments. This legislation, passed in 1972 and enacted in 1977, prohibited gender discrimination by federally funded institutions. It has become the primary tool for women's fuller participation in all aspects of education from scholarships, to facilities, to classes formerly closed to women. Indeed, it transformed the educational landscape of the United States within the span of a generation.

Women Leaders in Space Exploration: Part 1 & Part 2

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hopefully (if i don't get interrupted by eckenstein), this is the first of three posts: this one focusing on American Innovation; second on Defense Budget, third on space districts AL-05 (MSFC), TX-22 (JSC), FL-24 (KSC).

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{my notes & transcript}

Dr. Patricia Falcone was the first woman to get an engineering degree at Princeton, third woman to get a PHD at Standford. [+]

{00:25 - Spyke-Keiser} Dr. Falcone is the Assistant Director for National Security in the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the White House. Her work seeks to strengthen innovation and scientific excellence, particularly as applied to nuclear security and non-proliferation, and more broadly for homeland and national security. She's been a member of the professional staff of Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California since 1981. She's served on the Board of Army Science and Technology of the National Academies [About the BAST], as well as the Nuclear Deterrent Transformation Panel of the Department of Defense's Threat Reduction Advisory Committee [TRAC]. She continues to serve on the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Advisory Committee at Princeton University. Dr. Falcone holds a Bachelor of Science & Engineering and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton, as well as a Master of Science and PHD degrees in Mechanical Engineering…

Dr. Falcone received her BSE in 1974, for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton [+][+]

{02:30} I'm also honored, as Rebecca said, to have the chance to serve President Obama and the President's science advisor, Dr. John Holdren [+][+], by working in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. And the syllogism for what we do over there is that we work on "the science for policy and the policy for science" [], which basically means what are those policies about the doing of science like the doing of science and technology and engineering at NASA and other departments and agencies — and, what are those important issues of policy that have a technical dimension, and we need to have an alternative path or a set of advisors close to the decision makers in the White House. So that's what we do at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: "the science for policy and the policy for science".

{03:25} So today, what I thought I might do, is to spend a little time talking about two things: one, a little bit about my own path to working as an engineer as beginning in aerospace; and then also about — to highlight activities and actions and policies and strategies that are going on in this domain of innovation. Of attracting more Americans to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and in particular trying to get folks that we don't have in proportions in our population in the STEM fields. S.T.E.M., I hope we've already been using that today so I'm just going to be saying that as an acronym henceforth. And that includes women and that includes minorities and that includes lots of people that just haven't been included. And then, answer questions — I hope we have time to answer questions… I was fortunate to hear the panel this morning and I think it's even revved up since then I guess in terms of lots of engagement back and forth.

{06:06} air force brat!

{06:30} …if you like math and science but you want to use it to do something — that's what engineering is. And I say that advisedly because I am married to a physicist and so I think the engineers are more on the doing things with it as opposed to just pushing the frontiers of science back.

{08:04} Engineering is really fun :O) …And what's fun about a job is just that you have the satisfaction of honing [your] skills …You're part of something bigger… I've had the privilege to work at one of the nation's laboratories, Sandia. And like NASA, this is a place where you can do wonderful work, technical work, of national importance. And it has a place that you have both the privilege and the responsibility of spending taxpayer dollars on which you do, and that is a big responsibility especially given how straightened times are.

{09:16} one of my old office mates was selected as an NASA astronaut Ellen Ochoa, current Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.

{10:25} …your career being a journey …what's important is being open to opportunities, realizing people can't read your mind. So it's up to you to say what you like, what you don't like, what has been good about an assignment, or where you might need help. You have to continue learning, and my advice for jobs is always pick the hardest jobs you see with the best colleagues… because you always want to have people that you can learn from to work with.

{11:00} work-life balance… I follow the advice of Millie Dresselhaus: "the most important thing is to pick a good husband" [Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out].

{11:32} I will also say that I benefited from both lobbying for and being a guinea pig of evolving work-life policies at Sandia, at college and graduate school. From conferences like this… the technical work is fun, but it's always good to check in with other women so you don't — if you're all alone some place — that you at least feel like you've got a network to plug in. And then to stand up and make change. Nobody knows, necessarily, what's wrong so you got to be willing to volunteer both for inreach activities to make your own workplace better and for outreach activities to give back to kids coming along. I'm sorry I missed the talk about Scouting, I'm a big fan of scouts. I did lead a scout troup when my daughter was younger and was a Girl Scout[+][+][+][+].

{13:22} {being asked to come to the White House} …that's another thing to know that's not obvious, is that your kids do grow up and your career goes on a long time and there's time to do lots of different things. And what is so terrific is to be a part of supporting Dr. Holdren and the President and the First Lady and their support of issues about STEM and particularly about women and girls. I have personally been able to watch and to staff events where the President and the First Lady have personally been focused on the goal of increasing participation of women and girls. Where they celebrated teachers, where they celebrated students at the second White House Science Fair that we just had that I hope you saw some of the video from if you didn't see the President and the young man from Arizona and his marshmallow cannon that's on a youtube video and it's really worth seeing. And, you know, the President and the First Lady really do understand that jump-starting girls' interest in STEM subjects and boosting the number of women in science and engineering is not the just the right thing to do but it's smart for America's future and for the economy.

{14:40} Champions of Change …supporting individual programs in individual communities because in the end that's what you got to do — it's about individuals making decisions but giving them the support and painting a picture of how fun it's going to be on the other end.

{14:55} …President hosted winners of the first Google Science Fair and I hope you also saw that all three winners of the first Google Science Fair were women — and so an absolutely terrific picture.

But also, let me talk about the bigger picture about innovation. There's the President's strategy for innovation, came out originally in 2009 was updated in 2011. And basically, the point is to have innovation for sustainable growth — growth of the economy — and for quality jobs. I actually brought this triangle because often I show it, but just to give you the image of a triangle — it's got kinda three parts, and let me just speak to them.

The base is to invest in the building blocks of American Innovation, the middle portion is about how do we spur productive entrepreneurship and promote efficiency in our systems, and the top is how to have a focus to catalyze breakthroughs on national priorities. So going back to the base, the most fundamental part of this strategy — the President's strategy for innovation — and let me just say that you can go to and read the whole document and see the charts.

{16:07} There's really two parts to that base: first, to strengthen and broaden American leadership in fundamental research and then second to educate American's with 21st skills — 21st century skills — and create a world-class workforce. And the point of a world-class workforce is to address these issues of under-representation, to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics based on what we know now more about brain function and how the best ways to learn so that we don't teach classes in a way that might turn off some students. [note: Aneesh Chopra, first Chief Technology Officer of the United States, used the pyramid {PDF}]

Carl Wieman [+], who is the Associate Director of Science at OSTP, is very passionate about this subject about how do you actually teach science and engineering in a way that — what's called deliberate practice — it's like learning to play a musical instrument or do a sport, it's not about natural ability it's about practicing at the level, getting better by practicing. And so there's a lot of reform movement — the President's Council Advisors on Science and Technology also have done two reports in this area and so let me just say that if you somehow learned from older siblings are something that engineering classes are boring — they're getting better. And there's really an effort to try and make it match all kinds of different brains and not just to one way.

{17:30} And I think another thing that goes without saying is that a democracy depends upon an educated citizenry. And the issues are so important that everybody's got to have a fundamental basis of thinking about technical issues, about having a quantitative approach — even if they don't choose to do it as their profession. So having programs to increase the numbers of technically trained teachers at all levels — elementary school, junior high, high school and to college — is just important for us overall as a nation to have good workers for global economy and to have STEM professionals that represent all of us in the country.

{18:15} So lots of people are going out and talking. There's the White House Council on Women and Girls has chosen this as a key activity for them and it makes sure every agency and all the work that it does considers the needs of women and girls in the decisions that each agency makes — including NASA, and I'm sure they have been engaged with the White House Council on Women and Girls. So if we've got all this effort in STEM what's the next point? And you've got role models to sort of entice people to say, "yes, it's all going to work out — it's great". The other thing is, what are those approaches to making the workplace be something people want to stay in for a career? Let me just say, I've had a great time.

{19:05} Let me say something more about role models I didn't say explicitly. There are many women already in the administration [Obama's Team: The Face Of Diversity] {Falcone lists other women engineers in government positions}

{20:07} Going forward… first of all, be intentional. Think carefully about what you're doing… the point is, you're in charge of your life, nobody else is. And so if you kind of wander around it's kind of your own problem so it's important to be intentional. Realize that if you're in a boring meeting, why are you in that boring meeting? what can you do to make it more interesting? Either leave or find another job. But just don't waste your own time.

{21:37} Be a role model… {Falcone discusses Facebook IPO & Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg :: Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leadersWhy Girls Need Mentors}

{23:00} Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator worth listening: mom, meeting his wife-to-be for the first time & a special xmas peer review with a rocket scientist. []

{37:37} Q&A

{38:06} Good afternoon. I'm Lois Tett [?] with Minority and Women on Businesses [MWBE?] and we follow NASA for the longest in terms of small business contracts, and at one point we were told there would be an explosion of low earth technology as you see that clearly has come to pass. They also said that 60 — over 60% — of the positions that are filled at NASA are for contractors, is that true?

{38:42 - Bolden} Eighty-five percent of the funds that are in the NASA budget — I have a 17.7 billion dollar budget and 85% of those funds go to the outside. So we have about 40,000 contractors who support our 17-18,000 civil servants. So the vast majority of people who work NASA programs are NASA contractors or private industry. And I tell people that all the time when we talk about building rockets and people who are nervous about our effort to enter into an era where we have commercial companies, private companies, providing transportation for astronauts to and from space — it's not new. The concept of having them be responsible and us rent or lease the services is new, but from the earliest days of Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, it was always an American aerospace company working hand in glove with NASA that built the machines for us. So it's more than 60%.

{39:50} This question is mostly for you Dr. Falcone. I'm very interested in getting into public policy related to STEM but specifically STEM education after I have my PHD. Is that something that OSTP is involved in? Public policy for STEM education or where would you recommend me looking for opportunities in that area?

{40:16 - Falcone} OSTP has just led an inventory of all of the federal STEM programs, and submitted that to Congress, actually, for discussion. So OSTP is involved at the coordination level, but the actual development of specific STEM programs goes on in departments and agencies, and certainly NASA has a huge set of activities. So the real doing of policy and making it work does happen in a variety. All the science agencies have a role and of course the Department of Education has a role. And the NGO committee as well. [U.S. News's STEM Education Resource Center]

{41:00} Hi, my name is Meghan Rouillard, I work with the LaRouche political action committee [LaRouchePAC] for our science research team. I wanted to raise — it does seem there are some real strategic and economic considerations which are determining a lot about what's possible for women and others in terms of innovation in a real frontier policy at NASA and in aerospace. I recently watched a hearing, congressional hearing, on the Webb telescope and various panelists from NASA were asked by congressmen because the budget cut requirements from the administration: Do you want a new heavy launch vehicle or do you want the Webb telescope? Nobody really answered either way on this one, but that's typical of the state of things. We also, under the administration, required the current [ending the space shuttle program and become] dependent on other countries to get back up to the space station including Russia. We generally entered this administration we've had a very provocative policy stance towards them. So my question is, what's the real prospect for innovation and real creativity at NASA for women, and otherwise — given these very real strategic and economic considerations in the current policy — and I'd add and including, typical being the examples I gave, I don't think that continuation of the current policy bodes well for the future.

{42:32 - Bolden} Well, I wouldn't agree with your assessment. I'm not as pessimistic as you seem to sound. What was done in 2010 when we were working through the budget process was: the President and the Congress, and the chief players were actually Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-TX], Senator Nelson [D-FL], Congresswoman Johnson (D, TX-30], Congressman Hall [R, TX-04] from the House — came together and recognized that we needed — NASA needed to have our work prioritized.

The agreement between the President and the members of Congress was that there would be three priority endeavors for NASA: the James Webb Space Telescope is the foremost scientific undertaking, not to do away with other things, but as the hallmark, if you will; the Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle as the instrument to facilitate an exploration program recognizing that you can't explore until we get new technology so a space technology program is necessary and we've asked for funding for that this year. 2012 is the first year that NASA actually has a technology — space technology — funding line in our budget. It's 575 million dollars may not sound like a lot to you, but when it was zero last year, THAT'S A LOT. And what we're asking for this year is 699 million; and then the third priority was enhanced utilization of the International Space Station as a national laboratory. Now that we have agreed — the international partners have agreed to extend it to, at least, 2020, we cannot do that without the capability to get our crews and cargo to space. And so, that's where we found the necessity of phasing out shuttle because it was decided after the Columbia accident all the way back in 2004 -- phasing out shuttle as the vehicle for transportation and allowing American industry to take over that responsibility. We are well on the way to that. Commercial crew and cargo will support the International Space Station.

Those are the three priorities. But we still have, what I would say, is — I don't use the term "robust" — but if I were to list for you the science missions that are either in progress right now — and there are more than 80, 56 of them are operational projects, even as we speak, and about 28 that are in development, and some would be launched later this month, on into the 2018s when the James Webb Space Telescope is [launched]. So the opportunities for women, for minorities, for anyone who wants to enter the STEM field, I think, are rich. Our problem is going to be getting people who are interested in STEM education — getting people interested in STEM education, first of all. Getting them into college with the courage to take the difficult courses that Pat kept alluding to, so that they can get through the undergraduate curriculum. And then, if they want to, to go on to a graduate and post-graduate degrees.

{45:55} Hi. From a policy standpoint, what do you see happening in terms of engaging more girls and women in STEM in the next five years?

{46:08 - Falcone} Well, we're trying to work on it on a number of levels. I'm surprised that the numbers aren't bigger. I went to college in the seventies when things were really opening because of the wide cultural changes in this country. I just don't understand why it didn't just keep going. But what are we specifically trying to do? — because it's so fun, I mean really.

Specifically we're trying to make teachers more comfortable with math and science at every level. Trying to be more intentional about informal science, I think that's a very big role. I didn't talk about the White House Easter Egg Roll, that's something I've worked on the last couple of years because we have science activities there. We make paper bag kites and what's so great about that, you know the egg roll is for very young children. The thing about paper bag kites is that there's not a prescriptive way to make it. So it's experimental, it has the First Lady's Let's Move to it.

The point is doing science and engineering isn't always about what you do in school. As you're capturing interest and attention. And we're trying to reform teaching, and change the workplace by having flexibility to talk about it. So I think there's a big push on all of these actions. Coming along early, by attracting people, making the teachers more comfortable because many of our elementary teachers are not really all that comfortable sometimes with math and science so we want to support them more. We want to have changed education and we want to have a great system of jobs, both in the private sector and the public sector, so we make it work for whole careers.

{47:50} Bolden mentions October 7, 2009 Star Party [+][+][+][+].

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Science and Technology Advice to the President, Congress, and Judiciary
William T. Golden, Editor

{51} Issues in High-Level Science Advising
Harvey Brooks, Prof., Harvard U.

{53} Contrasting Views of the Science Advisory Role

Commentary on the Science Advisor and PSAC [President's Science Advisory Committee] has always been characterized by two quite different views of their roles in the governmental process. These contrasting views are perhaps best captured in the phrases "policy for science" and "science for policy." In the first view, the office of the Science Advisor should be primarily concerned with "policy for science," that is, with the allocation of the nation's scientific and technological resources and with the institutional vitality and social contribution of its R&D system. It should thus be looked upon as a sort of general staff for the nation's science and technology, aimed at producing a coherent and concisely stated "national science policy." In this sense, it should look outward from science and technology toward the government, seeking opportunities for science and technology to serve national goals, but also planning the grand strategy of the nation's scientific and technological institutions.

In this view, the Science Advisor and PSAC are, to some extent, substitutes for a Cabinet Department of Science and Technology which would manage most of the nation's technical resources. It was this view which was embodied in the 1976 legislation which re-established an Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as a statutory office within the Executive Office of the President, and required that it develop a Five-Year Outlook report, as well as an annual report to the Congress modeled after the annual reports of the Council of Economic Advisors and the Council on Environmental Quality, which would include a separate Presidential statement concerning the Administration's S&T strategy.

The alternative view is that of a staff resource to the President, whose priorities are set mainly by the policy interests of the President, and which works mainly on specific issues assigned by him, although it may also have an early warning function in alerting the President to S&T issues which may affect his policy agenda in the future. In this view, the Science Advisor's office is much less institutionalized, and is primarily accountable to the President personally. In setting its agenda, it starts from the policy interests of the President, and searches for ways of bringing to bear on these policy interests the scientific expertise available inside or outside the government. This is "science for policy." It downplays the institutional interests of science and technology, and simply treats S&T as a resource for the formulation of the President's general policies.

Of course, policy for science and science for policy cannot be separated in any neat and simple way. The focus of scientific or technological inputs on the resolution of a public policy issue may invovle more than simply bringing together what is already known, and also require the allocation or re-allocation of existing R&D efforts to develop missing knowledge needed to bring a policy initiative to a satisfactory conclusion. Thus, for example, President Eisenhower's efforts to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear test ban with the Soviets in the 1950s ultimately required an extensive new research program to improve the technology of seismic detection, and PSAC helped design such a program, which was subsequently implemented in the Department of Defense under the auspices of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Concerns about depletion of stratospheric ozone — first due to the Supersonic Transport (SST) program and later due to the industrial production of fluorocarbons — led to the mounting of an extensive new atmospheric research program on a government-wide basis, led by the Department of Commerce (the CIAP program). Thus initial considerations of science for policy led to new policies for science, i.e., a new allocation of R&D resources.

Similarly, on-going research programs not undertaken for a particular extra-scientific purpose frequently turn up new results which have implications for policy, either as new opportunities to meet existing government goals, or as indications of environmental or safety hazards not previously known. In this case, what started as policy for science may end up as science for policy. The emergence of biotechnology as a new tool for the enhancement of agriculture, coming out of previous sustained federal support for molecular biology, is one example.

Which of these orientations is the appropriate one for the Science Advisor, and to what extent can both functions be reconciled in a single office? In the past, some of the difficulties encountered by the Science Advisor have been attributable to conflicts — or, at least, perceived conflicts — between the science for policy and the policy for science functions. For example, non-scientists on the White House staff often viewed PSAC as advocates for a "special interest" within the President's office, the special interest being the support of basic research, especially in the universities. No matter how hard PSAC members tried to remove their institutional hats when advising the government on the allocation of R&D resources, it proved impossible to convince hostile critics of their impartiality, and once this impartiality became suspect in areas where they had potential conflicts of interest, it became easier to challenge their impartiality in other areas where they had no obvious vested interests.

As the country became polarized on issues like the Vietnam War and arms control, the scientists became more and more identified with particular political positions. Before he abolished PSAC, Nixon came to regard PSAC and OST more and more as political enclaves of a hostile academic community within the White House political family — a feeling that was confirmed in his mind when several individual members spoke publicly against Administration policies on issues on which they were known to have provided expert advice within the Administration, as, for example, on the SST and the Safeguard ABM system.

One of the most important values of PSAC in its heyday lay in the fact that its members were respected scientists from the private sector with no natural allegiances to the various bureaucracies whose programs and policies would be most likely to be impacted by their advice. In the big defense and space technologies on which they were being expected to pass judgment, they had no economic and little professional stake in the outcome; their allegiance was entirely to the President. Yet this status of impartial outsider no longer obtained when they were asked to advise how much was enough to be spent on university research or graduate fellowships, or whether the government should invest in a new particle accelerator or radioastronomy array, or step up research in molecular biology or materials science. Not only did many members have potential conflicts of interest in such cases, but they were being placed in the position of having to take sides in controversies internal to the scientific community. Thus the very background and professional experiences which made the members of PSAC unusually credible in their dealings with "big ticket" technology issues tended to make their advice suspect when they dealt with broader issues of general national research strategy — suspect both with the public and among their own colleagues outside government.

Yet, what is the alternative? more»

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Beyond Sputnik: U.S. Science Policy in the Twenty-first Century

The notion of science and technology as being "parallel streams of cumulative knowledge" is attributable to Harvey Brooks. Brooks described science and technology as "two strands of DNA which can exist independently, but cannot be truly functional until they are paired." See Harvey Brooks, "The Relationship Between Science and Technology," #Research Policy# 23 (September 1994): 479.

The President's Scientist

Nov 26, 2009 – Harvey Brooks, who was considered by many to be the father of science policy in the US, found it helpful to define two kinds of science policy…

Harvey Brooks: Faculty of Arts and Sciences - Memorial Minute

Not that all disagreements between high-level advisers and their patrons were high-minded either then or ever since. Overlaid on the high politics of national goals were and are the low politics of science advice. As no one knew better than Harvey, the premier scholar of the field, science policy has at least two aspects. The high-minded aspect is science in the service of national policy or, for that matter, of the corporate goals of both public and private enterprise. The self-serving aspect is policy for science, what governments or companies or universities should invest toward the creativity and value of the national or the corporate research and development enterprise. Conflicts arise because both aspects are susceptible to bias among advisors and to political agendas among politicians. How to resolve those conflicts preoccupied Harvey's scholarship throughout his life, as he addressed them in arenas ranging from American defense and space efforts "to technology assessment, to environmental policy analysis, to the humanization of work and to the competitive performance of the U.S. economy.

The relationship between science and technology
Knowledge for Governance: Social Science Perspectives on Science Policy through 1940

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Final Report

Bohdan (Bo) Bejmuk, member of the Augustine Commission, Chairman, NASA Constellation Program Standing Review Board & former manager of Boeing Space Shuttle and Sea Launch programs.
Stability is a wonderful thing and if you destabilize yourself, you better go to something that is so much better for the very simple reason that no matter where you went to is going to look very much like what you walked away from. I’ve lived through that over and over and over. You say, I’ve got too many problems. I’ve got this new thing that looks so much better. I will embrace it and two years later, you are hyperventilating like you did on the previous program. So, the bottom line is, if you change, you should change to something so much better that is overwhelming.

syllogisms are fun!

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