Jun 30

About a Drum

John Scalzi is not that different than Kevin Drum. He’s a little smarter — doesn’t make enormous and obvious economic mistakes nearly as often. But he’s just hoping, like most centrists, that nothing changes until he dies.

Sure, he’s a Democrat, but he’s a neoliberal. That is the one thing that crosses party lines. And he brings up the mythical Bernie-bros, as all centrists are required to. Bernie-bros are like Bigfoot — many people claim to have seen one and yet when prodded centrists can produce no evidence of their existence.

This is why I believe climate change will be far more devastating than most people now expect. There are tons of de facto denialists like Scalzi, who while “believing” in climate change really hope nothing substantive is done to reverse it as that would mean systemic change (and his house price might drop a little). And he doesn’t want much else to change, either, as it’d be truly inconvenient.

Scalzi is typical, which is why his sf is so boring.

Jun 30


By the way, I will be watching the new Charlie’s Angels movie because a) It has Kristen Stewart and b) It’s directed by Elizabeth Banks, who brought so much humanity and groundedness to the character of Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games films.

Sure, it might be a disposable trifle, but it’ll be fun. And that goes a long way.

Jun 29


After a lot of work and a small break, I finally hit 190 pounds on the bench press.

Getting closer to 200!

Jun 29


Ok, that’s devastatingly accurate. For liberals, open borders is an aspirational belief, kind of like professing to believe in “love” or “truth.” It doesn’t mean anything, carries no consequences or benefits, and has no actions associated with it. There is no accounting for the huge societal transition this would cause, or that it’d most likely eliminate most welfare and social services in the US.

It’d kind of like a kid believing in Santa Claus. It sounds great: presents, cookies, no responsibilities, stuff just magically shows up, all is well.

How would open borders work, exactly? I don’t trust people with no plan. And hope combined with Christmas is not a plan.

Jun 28

Causality And Not To Causality

Can we please forevermore retire the empty banality “correlation is not causation?”

Hell, causation isn’t even causation. Read your damn Spinoza, Hume, Armstrong, Feynman, Dirac on causality. You might be surprised by what you find.

Jun 28


Performative wokeness and sending useless signals is tons easier. I understand because I engage in the same behavior, often, but at least I realize I am doing it and know it’s not likely to change anything. These people actually think they are resisting and changing the world.

Jun 28

Buff Right Out

I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times. The way we regulated social media platforms didn’t end harassment, extremism or disinformation. It only gave them more power and made the problem worse.

Alas, likely very prescient indeed.

According to the left, censorship solves all problems! And open borders make complete sense! If it weren’t for all the even worse ideas from the right, the left would seem like complete buffoons

I need my own planet.

Jun 27

Photons and Trees

Some of this article is interesting, but this isn’t very consequential.

Solar energy arrives on Earth and becomes mass in the form of green leaves, creating food we can eat and use as fuel for thought.

This is not wrong, exactly, but very, very, very little mass in plants comes from photons. It’s vanishingly tiny. Something like 99.9999% of the mass of a plant comes from carbon in the air, water, and nutrients in the soil and definitely not from photons (energy).

It’s surprisingly difficult to find out how many watt-hours of energy for instance an average tree actually absorbs per year, so let’s just try to get order of magnitude estimate going on. Assume a small tree absorbs (not receives) 100,000 watt-hours of energy per year. How much of this will be converted to mass?

One watt-hour of energy absorbed is roughly equal to 40 picograms of mass gained. Therefore, 100,000WH x 40pg = 4,000,000pg.

Thus, one small tree would gain only 0.000004 of a gram of mass from solar radiation per year. That’s 4 millionths of a gram of mass.

Do you know why plants gain mass from solar radiation? Yes, yes, mass-energy equivalence, but it’s not hard if you think about how photosynthesis occurs. But that’s a tale for another time.

Jun 27


Check this out; the only such map I’ve seen that gets the cultural region of North Florida correct:

North Florida is very much Deep South in culture and history. I’d quibble with the dividing line between Deep South and Mid-Atlantic South there a bit, but great job whoever produced this.