Jan 27

It’s not live

Obama might have had good intentions. I don’t know. “Might have” doesn’t matter. Hell, good intentions in many cases don’t matter.

For years, people like me warned everyone about supposedly-innocuous Obama initiatives like strengthening the CFAA and how that would only cause harm.

But no. Obama is a cool cat, he’s alright. It’s all good.

Until it ain’t.

This is why it matters what an administration does, even if it’s “on your side.” Sides are meaningless in the context of politics. Actions matter, because those actions can be built on and abused by the next person or party in power.

Some Americans are about to learn a hard lesson. Unfortunately, not nearly all those learning the lesson will deserve it.

Jan 26


“Activities that seem to represent choices are often inert reproductions of accepted practice.”

-Shoshana Zuboff

Jan 26


If the universe is completely deterministic as scientists insist (and it may well be), then causality doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion. No “choice” means no causality. The concept just doesn’t work and can’t work with complete determinism assumed.

Leibniz in the 1700s was arguing essentially the same thing with his concept of monads.

Science and its religion of complete determinism only reinforces this, not refutes it, a trap sprung on itself.

One major problem with science as we conceive it is that it attempts to sweep problems like this under the rug and deny they exist, when in fact they are foundational problems.

Jan 26

Silver and no gold

What kind of brain injury does Nate Silver have, exactly?

But the result was not some sort of massive outlier; on the contrary, the polls were pretty much as accurate as they’d been, on average, since 1968.

On average is worthless. Just worthless. This is simply the geek tendency to proclaim, “Even though I was wrong, I was actually right!”

The only value of site like 538 is that it’s supposed to have better predictive power than me engaging in some tasseography or haruspicy. If it doesn’t do better than that it’s simply pointless intellectual ostentation. As I pointed out a while ago, many of the polls where it was most important were drastically wrong no matter what Silver says, or even Andrew Gelman claims (whom I usually like).

Think about it this way. I’m playing Russian Roulette. One in the chamber; six chambers. On average, I am alive.

Now wouldn’t you like to know which chamber that fucking round is in before you pull the trigger?

Jan 25

No true

Now I will address the moronic parts of Lance Mannion’s piece, specifically those about neoliberalism.

During the Clinton campaign because she was and is in fact a staunch neoliberal, it became fashionable among the really-Republican but nominally-Democratic set to claim that that neoliberalism doesn’t exist, and if it does exist, it’s used incorrectly by anyone who ever says it (no true Scotsman), and to the extent that it does exist, it’s actually good except when it isn’t.

Well, economists, sociologists and political scientists recognize that neoliberalism is a pretty defined and identifiable ideology, so what’s the deal with these assclowns?

“Go, team, go!” mainly is what’s wrong.

Anyway, it’d be really convenient if one of the dominant forces of our time that has caused such great harm had no appellation, no way to call it out, no entry on a dichotomous key, no method of pointing at it definitively. It’s an Orwellian move done for crass aims that was perpetuated mainly in support of a poor candidate in a terrible election.

As the Wikipedia article itself points out, the entire goal of delegitimizing the term “neoliberal” is to remove its power as an analytical frame. Effectively censoring the word is designed to prevent thought about it, thus strengthening it. Amazing how many people get cognitively conned and cheer it on as it’s happening.

Again: good job, folks. You really showed us all.

Mainly showed us how debilitatingly shit-for-brains you are.

This election will surely go down in history as the one where not only did we lose our democracy, but demonstrated that we didn’t deserve it in the first place.

Jan 25

Drain on society

About the Mannion piece I linked to earlier, I mostly agree that teaching most people math beyond fifth grade or so is a net loss to society. Wastes a lot of time that could be put to far better use. And it is a myth that it makes you a better thinker.

Math education is in other words a huge deadweight loss to society, that ends up making many people (who are otherwise intellectually capable) just utterly despise school.

My partner who is actually good at math (hell, she took and passed a general relativity class) absolutely loathed nearly all of her math classes.

So many better and more useful things that could be taught instead, and evidence also shows that it doesn’t take years of education for most people to catch up (since most math education is just re-hashing the same thing year after year). Those who are truly interested could catch up in a year or so if they want to do something math-heavy later on.

For the rest, it is worse than useless — it is actively harmful.

Jan 25

Charlotte Overclock and Miley C

Have to get out of the mode of thinking about the abject stupidity enveloping both sides right now in the US. This will help.

And this is great. Miley’s voice is amazing without autotune. So much better.