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Alex Baer: Learning the Kind of 'Out' We Are

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OUTThe ability to learn is Nature's way of keeping us from dying from the same thing, over and over again.  Except that it works only for the species, not individuals, and only some of the time at that.  Individuals are as free as ever, Nature says, to perish or be punished by almost any lame-brained, bone-headed thing we'd care to do.

The ability to learn may be fickle, appearing to pick and choose its candidates by invisible lot, or by some other means we mortals cannot detect.  However much we ponder, mull over, and squint, in mid-thought, Nature still retains the ability to surprise.

Baseball, for example:  For the first time, during opening day, an umpire's call was challenged, and then actually reversed, after a check with the demigod of lightning's offspring with electrolysis, known as Instant Replay.

This marks a profound moment in the annals of learning.  It proves people can change, even when there's an out at stake and a crush of tradition in place. This is no small thing.

* * * * *

(Speaking of normally slow learners:  During my time in uniformed service, we used to sometimes jest that we were serving in an organization with a proud history -- 200 years of tradition, completely unhampered by progress. This sort of remark used to come up when we were dealing with two of the other most common experiences, aside from brushes with, and close escapes from, Unhampered Progress:  hurrying up, only to wait in place, and speculating on the nature of the SNAFU of the day.

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