Sep 20

Gov

Guy at work always ranting about the government being incompetent and unnecessary while his hand typically rests on a mouse which was first developed at a government-supported institution and all the while he’s using a computer with technologies largely developed by government research. As he’s whining, the company he works for is providing customers services on a globe-spanning network that we now know as the internet but was first called Arpanet because it was developed by — you guessed it — a government agency.

Cluelessness is a bottomless abyss apparently. Literally this person’s entire career, every economic good that has ever occurred in his life, has come about because of some government-sponsored invention.

I can’t explain any of this. No psychological theory is adequate to reduce this to something comprehensible. How have humans survived this long with brains that work so poorly?

Well, that won’t last. Surviving, that is.

Sep 19

Too Cold To Go Out

Well, this is easy to explain.

The main explanation is that above the line is where it’s quite a bit colder, and more people spend more of their leisure time inside where art of some sort is more likely to get created.

Below the line, there are nearly year-round outside activities that people partake in, thus spending their leisure time in other ways. In other words, when it’s too damn cold to go out 9 months out of the year more art gets created.

(Also, the states above the line tend to be both richer and younger for the most part, so demographics also plays a role.)

Sep 17

Not good sociology

Much more likely than this (just look at how current society operates):

By 2050, women are by far the largest consumers and users of sex robots, just as they are of current sex toys (among straight people, anyway).

Men who use sex robots just as occurs with men who now own RealDolls are seen as unsavory, pitiful and deviant. As, I might point, really all men who own sex toys are currently seen — by both men and women.

When it becomes more widespread, I’d say that 80% of straight sex robot use will be by women. Everything in society trends that way already, and though seismic changes do happen, I don’t see the conception of masculinity and femininity being shifted that much that quickly. It’d require epochal changes in norms that I just don’t see occurring with that celerity.

Hell, if I were a woman, I’d sure prefer a sex robot over the risk of the average man. Any day.

Sep 16

My brain is optimized for

I don’t think the German people at work know that I can now understand most of what they say, despite not really speaking any German (because I never practice, nor care to.)

That kind of thing, I learn fast. I’m the exact opposite in languages as compared to math.

In languages, I can just play. I’m top tier, and there’s no reason to be modest. It just is. In math, I just can’t do anything worth a damn, and the things I can do I forget quickly.

Sep 16

Few more books

I need to read a few more books and do some more studying but some day soon I’ll produce a list of real books you should read vs. science popularization claptrap*.

Such as: don’t read Outliers, read this instead.

Don’t read Guns, Germs and Steel, read this.

Many of the books I’ll recommend will be harder than the pop-sci equivalents, and most will be textbooks and some will be scientific papers, but them’s the breaks. You’re actually making yourself dumber by reading Malcolm Gladwell and their ilk, so what’s the point of that? Talking about it over the water cooler at work? I don’t give a crap about that. I care about actually learning.

*Not all pop-sci books are garbage, but many of them are, and almost all of the really popular ones are mostly worthless.

Sep 15

NTS

One of the things I like about the office where I work is that I frequently hear these languages: Spanish, Hindi, Slovakian, German and Chinese. And of course English.

I’m not anti-immigrant. Far from it. Just anti-moron, against the left’s asinine assertion that the immigration of millions of radical Islamic patriarchal men is the same as an Indian woman migrating for a project manager job and a better life.

Not the same. Not the same at all.

Sep 15

GEB

Every time I see someone write about Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter I can’t resist writing about it myself. It’s a sickness, I know.

This book spends 700 pages that feel like an infinity explaining things a clever 12-year-old can understand in an afternoon.

It’s a work of trite, hackneyed garbage. It’s the Gladwell-esque Outliers of cognitive science. It’s the Guns, Germs and Steel of formal systems and AI.

FUCK. THAT. BOOK.

How it achieved such cultural ubiquity and universal praise, I have no idea at all. Perhaps because most of the ideas were at the time relatively new to the intellectual set? And it was of course a big, imposing “status” tome that looked good on a bookshelf and identified your caste unambiguously.

Yes, I’ve read the whole thing. Parts of it twice, to see if I was missing something. (I wasn’t.) Seldom have I so sorely regretted wasting so much time.

Like Gladwell, like Lehrer, like Diamond this is one of those books where the more you know about the areas Hofstadter covers, the more dubious it all becomes. I’m no expert in any of those fields, but apparently neither is Hofstadter.

In his defense, it was written in 1979 and has not at all aged well. However, even in 1979 80% of it was already wrong, unfounded, or just plain delusional.

For one thing (and I’ll stop here), Gödel’s theorems have fuck-all to do with cognitive anything, but rather are concerned with the provability of certain axioms in formal systems. Hofstadter is trying to bridge the unbridgeable, and doing it poorly to boot. And that is the first of a million objections!

And god, now I am wasting more time on that rubbish book.

Sep 15

Ocalalalala

I’m the opposite of surprised this happened in Ocala.

Near where I grew up. I’ve been to Ocala many times. It has the highest Confederate flag to vehicle ratio of anywhere in the world, I’d argue. Racism isn’t present there; no, it’s a way of life.

There is a good Indian restaurant in town though, near the highway, but I can’t remember its name.

Sep 15

Whine

The thing that turns me off most about Clinton supporters is how whiny they are, even in victory. And no, I am not talking about just the women (though them too).

I mean, you won. Don’t continue to be upset that someone challenged your exalted one.

Unlike most of her supporters though and their reasons for backing her, I oppose Clinton for her policies and political tendencies.

Whine all you want; she’s still going to kill a fuckload of non-Americans.

Sep 14

The proof

The proof that quants’ forward-looking mathematical models of the market and economy are BS is that I outperform them largely by doing the opposite of their received wisdom.

A good heuristic is if a well-known macroeconomist says to do something, do the opposite. This won’t be a winning strategy every time, but 75% of the time isn’t bad.

(In general, if you are disciplined you only have to be smarter than 60% of the people and algos in the market to significantly outperform. Luckily, this is not difficult.)