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Interests: Cryonics, Mathematics, History, Chess, Philosophy
He who controls the present controls the past.
Every few years the diameter of the visible universe gets bigger (in print). Guth 1998 put it at 90 billion ly. A few years later it was 96 billion. Now (Tegmark 2014) puts it at 106 billion. Yass... the observable universe is expanding even faster than is guessed by scientists.
Has the Earth greater or lower entropy than before life evolved on it?
Its entropy is lower!
Consider a barren Earth on which one plant manages to evolve, and interpose itself between the Sun and the Earth. While it was growing, the entire Sun + Earth had lost the "equilibrium", or stasis, it had before. When it finished growing--but continued to maintain its metabolic processes--a new "equilibrium" was reached. Now the same energy as before courses through the Earth (from the low entropy Sun to the high entropy Outer Space). But some of the mass of the Earth has been converted into highly structured materials (plant walls, plasts of various kinds, and so on). So, just as a refrigerator is a spot of low entropy (purchased at the expense of higher entropy elsewhere in the universe), the Earth too has lost entropy. But unlike the artificially built refrigerator designed and manufactured by people (but granted, though, not "artificial" people), the plant, and all of Earth, is a region of lower entropy than before.
Can a heated argument with a coworker ruin your whole day, or at least several hours of it? That's because we're sissies now. We didn't have any fist fights as children, and never had much stress growing up. I'm just saying that we pay a price for that. Having a few fist fights a month would immunized someone to whatever she has to experience in the workplace today.
Remember: status seeking is a zero sum game. An analogy with economics helps: if wealth was zero sum, you'd still have to make money. But zero sum games add no wealth to the world, and--as for status--remember too that trying to raise your status is in your genes. Resistance is futile.
Want to know what are you really trying to do with your life? A good way to investigate is to imagine, putting all the effort into it you can, what life would be like without other people. Suppose that somehow electricity was still working, along with running water, and supplies enough of everything else were available in your city. Is your life, then, really about other people, or not?
Dec 31, 2013
A gold standard is antifragile, while a fiat currency is fragile: the former automatically adjusts for inequalities in trade: as Americans buy more Chinese goods, the outflow of American gold makes China's goods more expensive and the gold flow eventually reverses. Following WWI Britain circulated more pound sterling abroad than it could back by gold, just the way that in the sixties the U.S. began to compel allies to take dollars instead of gold, and these steps forced each country further from gold. The gold standard is not so much an economic triumph as it is a psychological one. National leaders and a democratic electorates will inevitably give in to abusing fiat money.
Macaulay wrote "The Puritan hated bearbaiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators". I have come to agree with the Puritans. Skinner in "Walden Two" wished to solve vandalism via walls that couldn't be marked and bus seats that couldn't be cut open. A superior solution would be to raise people so that they would not want to hurt bears or vandalize property.
I should put myself in the place of others.
If I were poor, what would I want?
1. to be left alone, to have my freedom
2. free money from the government, no strings attached, e.g. unemployment
3. if the government won't pay up, free money from anonymous individuals
4. if those fail, give me a perfect job, nice hours, a good wage
5. if none of those are available, then free money from someone I know.
What I wouldn't like about this is that I'd feel I had to be responsible to
him or her, to appear to be making an effort. Also, I might feel guilty
because that person would be taking bread out of his mouth for mine.
6. if all those fail, I'll take a job I hate, even if it means moving to another city.
* Suppose 10 new genes for intelligence supplement the 2 we know about, and were virally spread throughout Earth's population. Then the variance in intelligence might suddlenly become 90% environment and only 10% genetic, since genetic variation would be nearly eliminated.
But it's environment that has become more uniform in the last two centuries, and the variance due to genes has increased to 50% - 80%, so IQ is now less than 50% environment.
* It took hundreds of years, it did, to build up the work ethic in Europe, England, and America, just as Max Weber said. Generation after generation, those who didn't work didn't prosper, couldn't start families, couldn't gain status. The pressure to engage in something, to expend effort in something so unnatural as work, was unrelenting.
But it can be thrown away, has so often now been thrown away, in a single generation. Just replace a working man with a government welfare checkótruly of great use to the poor peopleóand you have a new culture in which that man prospers in the eyes of his gang buddies, has offspring (but not families), and strives for status in an altogether new way. What have we done to ourselves? And what comes next?
* Humans, because often inhibited, are superior to animals. A human without inhibition and reserve might as well be a lower animal. Let us curb our impulsiveness! Praise restraint and praise prudence.
* The merest whiff of political incorrectness
triggers a conditioned reflex of dismissal
instantly suppressing further rational thought.
* The most serious problem facing the United States is not global warming,
race relations, or even the coming financial apocalypse/meltdown/Armageddon.
Pure and simple, it is that nearly half the population has below average
intelligence. That's because we in the West listened to the wrong guy in
the 19th century. Instead of hearing Francis Galton, we heard Karl Marx.
Shocking update! Average IQ in America is now 98, thus
most Americans have below 'average' intelligence! Weep.
Very sad, but new knowledge workers must come from Asia.
* The United States, in order to protect its integrity (wholeness) as a cohesive entity
must pursue and even try to kill Edward Snowden. This is regardless of the actual
heroic acts he performed, and the needed exposure of the potentially totalitarian
uses of government surveillance. The people in power cannot be trusted. But their
tools such as the NSA must exist to offset those of the fascist/collectivist states
such as Russia and China. This is an extremely difficult balancing act for us all.
Extremist, partisan, and Manichaean views are inadmissible.
* To someone raised in the occident, Asian faces can look strange at first.
To an Asian, the first round-eyes seen appear "surprised", so I have heard.
Artist challenge: Try to show for a western audience how westerners appear
to Asians: exaggerate whatever it takes (example, the eyes). Likewise, the
dual challenge: show Asians how they appear in occident eyes: exaggerate
the epicanthic fold, or squint.
Free will DOES exist, provided you are *so* thorough-going a materialist that you cannot realistically conceive of uncaused events. If so, then obviously itís not conceivable that free will could relate to any uncaused event! So, from this hyper-materialist viewpoint, nothing is wrong with saying that a complex enough machine (program) has free will. That is, suppose a weather forecasting program mulls and mulls for hours over vast amounts of data, then tentatively concludes that it will rain next Monday; it is exercising its free will, i.e. it is acting in an unconstrained way using all its resources to arrive at a conclusion.
Isnít that the same as when you or I reach a conclusion? Iím just as much a machine as the weather program, and unless someone is holding a gun to my head, I choose, and I choose freely. Itís an abuse of language to deny that each day we make choices, e.g. I choose which pair of shoes to wear. Of course we do! And we do so freely, just as I freely decide what to eat at a restaurant, even if it is sometimes a long calculation. Therefore free will "exists" and is a useful concept, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
* Some fiscal stimuluses are better than others--but they're all wicked.
Even the ones known as tax cuts.
Yes, they're stimulants too. And since we can't stop spending
(it is logically impossible for Washington to stop spending)
no stimulant/stimulus is justifiable.
* There were in this country two very large monopolies. The larger of
the two had the following record: the Vietnam War, Watergate, double-
digit inflation, fuel and energy shortages, bankrupt airlines, and the
8-cent postcard. The second was responsible for such things as the
transistor, the solar cell, lasers, synthetic crystals, high fidelity
stereo recording, sound motion pictures, radio astronomy, negative
feedback, magnetic tape, magnetic "bubbles", electronic switching
systems, microwave radio and TV relay systems, information theory,
the first electrical digital computer, and the first communications
satellite. Guess which one got to tell the other how to run the
telephone business? --UNIX Fortune Cookie, H/T Mark Roulo
* Someone announced that she'll only buy a lottery ticket
if the payout exceeds 250 million dollars. Such defiance
of logic and mathematics must be criminalized. As they
stand, lotteries are in effect a tax on stupidity, and
for that reason must be outlawed. For, no one can
defend an institution that deliberately penalizes people
merely because they are among the less intelligent--
and who, through no fault of their own, merely suffer
a congenital defect.
* Is Magnus Carlson actually from outer space? No? Well, something funny's going on.
He's the first goy from the west to be world champ since Paul Morphy in the 1850s!
("Goy" is by no means necessarily offensive; logically, no more so than "Jap", and
we cannot let the PC crowd drive *all* useful words out of the language!)
...Okay--Capa was "western", yes, but certainly not from Europe or Oceania.
So what gives with Magnus Carlson?
Update: Max Euwe (1935-1937) was a western goy, but probably never
so strong as Alekhine and probably others. H/T Mark Roulo
* Why too many children die on the way to school: out of concern for
their safety, parents refuse to let them walk, and traffic kills more.
* Why too few children die on playgrounds: fear of litigation, together
with cultural decline, engender vast risk aversion in America---far worse
for us in the long run, and meanwhile unhealthily robbing kids of the
learning, boldness, and adventure of childhood.
* Why too few people die at railroad crossings and in plane crashes:
We way overspend on infrastructure, causing the retardation of growth and
technological advancement we would otherwise attain. Two out of three crewmen
died when Vasco Da Gama made it to India and back, but our civilization was
young and strong, and so colonized the world. But now, if 5 people
(out of 300,000,000) die on a space shuttle, the program is done.
...Death on the frontier in the 18th and 19th centuries was common,
but folks weren't so chicken, and were not deterred.
Afraid of our own shadows, we are!
Yet 200,000 people sign up for a one way trip to Mars!
So the spirit is not dead, only wanting courage from the rest of us to let it fly.
* Today I think the U.S. should raise a gradual tariff on Chinese goods;
too many unemployed simply are *not* going to find work without one,
they are too demoralized, and their incentive-killing benefits cost
too much. Besides, it'll help the U.S. debt, and take a first step
to relax the deadly embrace with China. (To dear St. Hayek:
"I so velly solly, will try learn more--please stop turn in grave".)
* Q: How is it possible that in a nation where there are 200,000
elementary & secondary public schools, *only* ten or so
per year see some nutty kid shoot up the place?
* No safety in gold, silver, or bitcoin:
In 1934, the government reneged on paying holders of Liberty Bonds, citing "unjustified enrichment".
In 1980, government creativity came up with "windfall profits" to punish successful oil producers.
In 2017, what will it be? Please help your government come up with a new phrase to justify
the confiscation of gold, silver, and bitcoin. Do your part! Be patriotic! Contribute!
Submit your creative and felicitous phrase today to the U.S. Treasury Department.
* Q: Why at this time does all the money in banks so stubbornly resist being invested?
A: One reason perhaps you've not heard: investment involves risk taking,
and culturally we wax every day more risk averse.
(Actually, the biggest factor is the recent new laws that keep banks far too
restrictive in who they'll dare lend to.)
* Hourly news: economy is double-plus better and improving
The economy has always been double-plus good and improving
Oceania has always been at war with East Asia
...but before about January 2009...
Hourly news: economy was double-plus bad and getting worse
The economy was always double-plus bad and always been getting worse
What could have happened sometime in early 2009 to change MiniTruth's template?
* End of 18th century: 1815
End of 19th century: 1914
End of 20th century: 2013?
Yikes! We're overdue! Hold on tight!
* Consider that (A) wealth and (B) energy on occasion need be stored.
But while it's getting easier and easier to store energy,
it's getting harder and harder to store wealth.
Which is a big problem for China, and for individuals.
(Physics and Causality)How Fast Do Influences Spread?
Historical Comparison of Early Eastern and Western Development
Philosophic Use of Newcomb's Paradox
"Criminal behavior arises from inevitable tendencies determined
by the organic constitution of the delinquent."
- Cesare Lombroso,
Professor of Criminal Anthropology,
Universities of Padua, Vienna, and Paris
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's classic five stages of grief
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance
have an analogy in
The five stages of regard for data or arguments not fitting your preconceptions:
denial, dismissal, accomodation, interest, fascination