Jul 23

Kained

Hillary Clinton picked an anti-abortion Republican Democrat.

The “safe choice.”

Not so safe if something happens to her and then we have an anti-woman galoot in charge of the country. And the “safe choice” actually would’ve been Elizabeth Warren because that would’ve brought some liberals over who now will never in a million years vote for her due to the risk I just mentioned.

Yeah, only matters in the short term anyway due to climate change’s incipient upending of all relations and social configurations — but the short term does matter.

Clinton being some sort of arch feminist is and has always been a stupid idea. Her VP choice just demonstrates that further.

Jul 23

Geo

This matches the science, though most of the press and most people want to believe it’s just alarmism.

If only the “alarmism” dismissal were true. If only.

There is no way we’ll not resort to geo-engineering. It’ll either be that or a quite likely extinction.

Soon, we’ll have the fun choice of extinction caused by global climate change or possible extirpation by the geo-engineering attempted in an effort to countervail global climate change.

Millennials: if you think it’s bad now, just wait.

Jul 22

Enviro Left

The environmental left’s real problem is the same one as the “Remains” had in the Brexit vote: their message expresses no hope for the future, and instead enumerates only consequences and punishments.

Whatever their actual message, when most people are exposed to the enviro-left’s messaging what they hear is a litany of how we’ll all be living in 8×8 featureless concrete boxes where we eat tasteless vegan gruel twice a day, where there is no air conditioning and no individuation of any kind because anything that smacks of desires or aspirations — well, that all emits too much carbon.

Honestly, most people would rather be dead than live in the world on the other side of the enviro-left’s perceived preferred societal alterations.

Why is the left in general so terrible at messaging, at propaganda?

Nearly any approach would be better than what the enviro-left actually does, because any tack that makes people think of mortality only nudges them towards conservatism and orthodoxy.

That the left should have been concentrating on population reduction and control but could not for political reasons is the real failure in my opinion.

Jul 21

Overpowered

Was thinking about this article and The Hunger Games. I’ve seen many of the shots that Katniss made in The Hunger Games decried as “impossible” — shots that were actually rather easy for someone with her (or an Olympic archer’s) skill level.

Most of the shots she took were at close or huge objects — the only really difficult shot (for an expert archer) I saw her take was at the pheasant in flight at the end of the movie. And even that was close to her.

Just shows that those who have little to no expertise really have no idea just how far expertise can go.

In my own realm (though I am not comparatively as good as Katniss), I can and have made shots that I thought were easy that others have deemed impossible.

For instance, one time I was shooting with my dad. We were using a pistol (.357 revolver, forgot the brand) to blast at some bottles about 75 feet away. My dad was making fun of me because “I wasn’t hitting anything” and was “wasting him ammo!” I didn’t say a word. The bottles weren’t moving apparently from that distance when I shot at them, so it looked like nothing was happening.

Then we walked up to see our results and my dad noticed that I’d shot the cap/cap area off every single bottle. All six of mine.

“Damn, son. Damn,” was all my dad had to say about that. That was with a weapon I’d never fired before. With one I know, I’m far better.

Anyway, just because you can’t do something is no real gauge as to what others can do. Real experts can do things that seem positively superhuman.

About Katniss, in reality if she’d been bloodthirsty and gotten hold of any bow and arrows quickly in The Hunger Games, everyone would’ve been dead in about 10 seconds. Would’ve been a short film. That’s how overpowered with her chosen tool she was compared to the others there.

(I used to practice shooting with a really high-end pellet gun I saved for years to buy. And I practiced mainly by shooting the leaves off trees and bushes by the stem from 50 or so feet away. Though sometimes I’d shoot a smiley face in the leaf before I shot it off the bush.)

Jul 20

M3

“You’ve never been lost until you’ve been lost at Mach 3.”

– Paul F. Crickmore – test pilot

Jul 20

Nominative price

I work with a guy who went to an Ivy League school.

Recently, he had to take some classes at a local community college for a certification.

Now all I hear is him grumbling about (and I quote), “I can’t believe I wasted all that fucking money when I was young and dumb! The community college classes were better-taught, smaller and just all-around higher quality than the classes at my school. And that cost me $45,000 a year. I got ripped off.”

He’s not the first one I’ve heard say that, but he’s the first I’ve heard in person.

Nothing wrong with going to an Ivy, of course — but realize you’re probably buying a name and social networking, and not an education. And that name and social networking can be very expensive.

Jul 20

Domicile denial

Why is it the fate of nearly all cities (particularly geography-constrained ones, but not only) to punish residents by having ever-rising housing costs?

Can just NIMBYism explain it? I mean, I am sure it is multi-causal.

But what’s odd is not that geography-constrained cities have high and rising rents. That’s at least somewhat explainable. What doesn’t make sense is that in any city — from very small to very large — housing costs vs. income have doubled and tripled as compared to 1960. (So in 1960 an apartment in 2016 dollars would’ve been, say, $500 a month and now it is $1500 a month.)

My pet theory is that the human tendency to arrange social organizations into hierarchical structures is exacerbated by urbanity, the hierarchical predisposition being greatly reinforced until it is reflected (via zoning laws, NIMBYism, redlining, etc) into housing prices.

With humans, if it can’t be explained by sociological considerations it probably can’t be explained at all. But I’m still thinking.

Jul 20

Trino

This is not a weird quantum effect!

Because neutrinos don’t readily react with baryons, this is exactly what is expected. Superposition is present until interaction occurs — in fact, it couldn’t really be any other way.

And of course the writer had to drag out Schrödinger’s damn cat without really understanding it.

The physicist Erwin Schrödinger highlighted some strange consequences of the idea of superposition more than 80 years ago, with a thought experiment that posed that a cat trapped in a box with a radioactive source could be in a superposition state, considered both alive and dead, according to the laws of quantum mechanics.

Actually, that summary is so poor I can’t tell what to make of that or what to conclude other than the writer probably didn’t comprehend the experiment or the point old Schrodie was attempting to make there.

Anyway, I didn’t read the paper because it’d have a lot of math I wouldn’t understand or want to spend the time on. But reading stories like this, one probably understands less than before.

Jul 19

Plaguerism

I’m tired of hearing about plagiarism. I don’t give a crap about it and 99% of the time it’s some narrow academic definition of plagiarism that means nothing to anyone not in academia.

OH NOES he plagiarized his own work! She doinked some boring speech that was itself a rehashing of a billion other crappy speeches! It’s the end of the world!

In a hundred years, this era’s obession with originality and plagiarism will seem positively bizarre after culture changes again.

Interesting topic for further research: how and why plagiarism of the minutest variety came be to be such an obsessional topic for so many, when through much of human history the concept as we define it wouldn’t even have made sense to anyone.

Jul 19

HW Engine

“The mind was so rotten with misrepresentation that in some cases it literally had to be damaged before it could make a truly rational decision—and should some brain-lesioned mother abandon her baby in a burning house in order to save two strangers from the same fire, the rest of the world would be more likely to call her a monster than laud the rationality of her lifeboat ethics. Hell, rationality itself—the exalted Human ability to reason—hadn’t evolved in the pursuit of truth but simply to win arguments, to gain control: to bend others, by means logical or sophistic, to your will.”

-Peter Watts, Echopraxia

Rationality — to the extent that we engage in it — is our hoodwinking engine being repurposed from deceiving, manipulating and managing others to an attempt at understanding the mind of the universe. (And no, I don’t mean some wishy-washy conception of “universal mind.” I mean that our minds are engaging in animism about the universe as a cognitive tool.)