Oct 20


I wouldn’t say Timeless is a great show.

Relies too much on tropes and other narrative shortcuts; doesn’t focus on characters in the first episode. Lot of lazy writing.

But that’s not why people hate it, of those who do. No, that’s because the main character is a woman, many of the other castmembers are women or black, and they are truly foregrounded in the narrative. And it’s a “mainstream” show, not one that is targeted at another demographic.

Here’s a capture of all the main cast:


Wonderful diversity. The white guy is the token.

As movies worsen, TV gets better. My partner and I were just talking about that yesterday. These days, mediocre TV shows usually have higher quality than all but the best movies. True of Timeless, too.

For all its faults, the first episode of the show had a nice twist at the end that I did not anticipate. The show it turns out wasn’t quite as spineless as I thought at first.

Oct 20


I see both and sympathize with both sides of this.

The problem is that you just cannot sterilize the interactions of humans as much as some people (mostly on the left) wish they could be. It is just not possible, period.

I understand that it is tiring for women to get approached constantly. I understand that 100%. At the same time, there is this.

The most “thrilling” thing about him was not, of course, his ideas, but his “seniority” and “accomplishments”, i.e., the power he ostensibly wields. It was the false hope that she had impressed a senior member of her field intellectually that constitutes the violation here, not his incapacity to be impressed by a beautiful woman’s mind.

Mostly these discussions seem to promote (as the piece points out) the infantilization and removal of agency from women, and the solving of problems using methods by which they simply cannot be solved.

They should not assume, not at any time, that they can treat them as equal, autonomous adults, capable of managing and challenging boundaries. They should see them as extremely vulnerable. They should box them in.

No one — as I’ve pointed out before — gives a fuck about equality in most cases. It’s mostly just a contest for who should be able to wield the power unaccountably in each situation. Historically, it has been white males. It is worth fighting that. It is not however worth replacing it with its opposite IMO, or even with pretending everyone is a sexless, agamous automaton.

However, the end result of no one ever being attracted to anyone in any situation that vaguely has to do with work — well, we just aren’t robots and won’t be anytime soon.

I want to treat women as equals, not as wilting flowers who have no outside life and no capacity to handle the vagaries of the world. That’s all.

Oct 19


Strange to see the Democrats beating the drums of war about Russia.

Much has changed in my life; used to be mainly a Republican prerogative.

Wouldn’t be surprised if Hillary Clinton makes some huge missteps there (as is her wont) and leads us into a real shooting war followed by a nice little nuclear exchange.

Duck and cover.

Oct 18


Why has no one written a book about philosophy and metaphysics called “Kant Touch This?”

I did find this, though.

Oct 17

West mind

The new Westworld explicitly references Julian Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

It’s my favorite book and theory that is almost certainly wrong but is so interesting and fascinating that it leads in all sorts of still-fruitful directions.

I say Jaynes’ theory is almost certainly erroneous, but there has to be I think some explanation for the huge transformation of humanity that occurred about when he delineates it. If it was cognitive in nature, something big happened then and we’ll probably never know what.

Oct 17

True of IT too

I’ve noticed this among scientists and people in IT, too.

It’s not just lack of time, most often. It’s extreme incuriousity and even disdain for anything that can’t be neatly defined in an equation or some other “empirical” systematization.

But when I get that big promotion at work even though I am not technically as good as you, here’s why: I spent a whole lot of time studying sociology, psychology, writing, politics and anthropology (and many other fields) so that I can find out what my boss needs and do it before she even knows she needs it, and I can write a damn nice business case that people ask me to use as a template for all other company business cases. I can also outmaneuver the galoot in the other department who is attempting to sabotage my work using my knowledge of psychology and sociology, and in addition I can gauge the tone of a meeting better than most of my peers using those same tools and get my way far more often than I would otherwise. Furthermore, I can in my own field and quite a few others ascertain the rough directions they are going to determine how to position myself better for the future.

None of this I would be able to do if I hadn’t intensely studied other fields other than my own on my own time. Absolutely none.

And these are just the ones that help me at work — others such as ecology, literature, critical theory, genetics, biochemistry, philosophy, linguistics, philology, paleontology, geophysics, neurology, aircraft design and so many more just made me a better and more capable person in general.

A silo is fine, if you want to be constantly confused, bamboozled and befuddled by the world.

Otherwise, step out. Step the hell out.

Oct 17

Inevitable demise

This sort of practice was inevitable.

In the first stages of general purpose computing, it was about empowering the users — about making their lives better and due to the embedded values of the hippies and weirdos who pioneered personal computing, this stuck for a while.

It means that mobile and desktop searchers will end up seeing different results.

Google is not just launching the mobile search index to run alongside its desktop index, it will become the primary index.

This has nothing to do directly with profit, even. It has to do with control and the primacy of the wish to assert that control to disallow unwelcome freedom and initiative.

Soon the world will be well beyond Orwell — unpermitted thoughts will be impossible to think because any method of discovering those ideas will be controlled by a few companies that are the seigneurs presiding over all culture, deciding what one is allowed to think and what one is not.

Welcome to the future.

Oct 16


Neither the left nor the right are interested in egalitarianism in the areas of gender relations and consent. Of course the right isn’t — that’s an explicit part of their messaging. It’s baked in.

You have to listen very carefully to what I’m saying here, because what you think I am saying is almost certainly not what I am saying, but the politics of the present almost guarantee that you won’t comprehend anything of what I’m attempting to express, but here goes: The right cares about owning women, essentially. Standard patriarchy. The left says they care about consent and egalitarianism in sexual relations, but what they really care about is policing the outlines and boundaries of who gets to participate in the equally inegalitarian sexual marketplace of upper-middle-class societal mores and also “protecting” women from lower-class elements and approaches therefrom.

Patriarchy by another appellation, essentially.

From this policing culture it also has emerged the correlated ideas that one should not date anyone in the workplace, that one should not date anyone that one might have potentially any power over (though often the idea of the power balance is exactly backwards — purposefully I’d guess), and that though it’s extremely, terribly wrong for men to date younger women, it’s not wrong for women to do the very same thing even though the age and supposed power imbalance in these cases is often much more extreme.

I intentionally used the word “marketplace” above with the intention of returning to it. Now here it comes, ya’ll.

The left’s idea is that we should enforce a de facto marketplace (unconsciously yet perfectly aping both neoliberal and eugenic ideas) where no down-class or cross-power unauthorized mating occurs — such as by use of Tinder and products of that type are used to enforce assortative mating and any mating outside of that framework is seen as divergent. As perverse, even.

By the way, this social transformation has been prefigured in sf works since the 1960s at least, and those ideas refined in works as new as Peter Watts’ Blindsight from 2006.

What we’re seeing now is these ideas ramifying out into the real world, and informed both by neoliberal ideas and sub rosa ideas of eugenic purity and so-called power imbalances that are most often just protection of class position, we’re seeing the severe punishment of unauthorized liaisions on the left much like the right would have back in, say, the 1950s.

Yes, the punishments take different forms but they are present just the same.

Patriarchy through the lens of feminism rides in on a different-colored horse and everyone declares it’s a different rider, but it’s just the same traveler all over again — and meanwhile true equality is just as far away as it was before.

Oct 15


So is there a woman whom Trump has not sexually assaulted? If so, I think I see him outside.

We knew Trump was horrible. But the Bill Cosby-esque extent of it. Damn.

Oct 14


Got this string of relatively-interesting doggerel in a spam mail:

depressible ri schemata bulldoze hemp cryogenic babble dartmouth squat continuant indiscoverable geochemical mynheer acquiesce steelmake playhouse octahedra vade convect bennington connubial servomechanism bass

It’s like poetry by computer (which is what probably generated this string of words). It’s like a Donald Trump speech, but more literate.