Nov 02

Tra la lolley

It’s funny that the trolley problem thought experiment which had become so déclassé to talk about — man, you were just so uncool — is highly relevant to problems faced by driverless cars.

Thought experiments are frowned upon because they often force one to think about unpleasant eventualities in the service of making better choices, but they are really useful for discovering the problem space and the consequences of various solutions.

Of course one has to be very careful to avoid false dichotomies and other framing errors which can creep in.

Nov 01


I really like Halloween costumes, though I’m generally too lazy to dress up. It’s a rare time — increasingly frowned-on in our culture unless you are a member of an officially approved oppressed group — for one to become someone else entirely. But one thing about being a celebrity is that you can afford to pay for a really nice costume and all the make-up people, costumers, etc., to really do something cool.

Emily Ratajakowski as Marge Simpson takes the cake, though.

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

(She was the grad student Ben Affleck’s character in Gone Girl was sleeping with, by the way.)

Nov 01

Check out Sweden in 30 years

I don’t write about conservative ideas and fantasies because they are pretty much all some combination of stupid, deranged, and delusional.

Only about half of liberal ideas are stupid, deranged, and delusional so since I am a liberal I try to separate out those.

One of the most idiotic liberal fantasies is that unrestricted mass immigration (open borders policies) from countries with Enlightenment-hostile ideologies will result in something good for anything but a small subset of people, for a very short time.

If you don’t believe, watch what’s going to happen to Sweden in 30 or 40 years. Unfortunately liberals are 90% immune to evidence whereas conservatives are 100% immune, so Sweden’s example will be some “exception,” I’m sure.

Nov 01


This is so awesome despite the poor video and audio quality.

Sure it’s cultural appropriation or something equally evil, but shit I do not care.

Oct 31

No ♂

I generally don’t use Pandora or any similar recommendation service because there is no way to tell it “no male artists.”

I’m generally not interested in male artists and I like them in roughly 1/20 the proportion of female artists.

Eliminating that factor would improve Pandora and similar services a lot for me.

Oct 31

The web is gone

This was a surprisingly moving piece for being so brief.

I remember well the early days of the web, full of promise and interesting people. No Facebook. No Twitter. Cool people doing fascinating things all around you. Smart people just everywhere.

No more.

I love the Web so much, like more than is probably sane and healthy for a non-human entity, but nearly every other good thing in my life has happened because of it. And that Web is going quickly, if not already gone.

The same for me. I met my wonderful, amazing partner on the web 13 years ago now because we both liked Linux. Not on a dating site, just a completely accidental encounter on ICQ. ICQ is now a ghost town and replaced with things far worse and less useful. And I was there for and participated in the early days of blogging, starting my first blog in 1999 before there was the word “blog,” coding the HTML by hand and also a little later installing the then-new blogging software completely manually.

I had more readers then than I do now, even though I was a worse writer then — in fact, about 100 times more readers, because today people can’t be bothered to step outside  of Facebook and other worthless hellholes.

So, yes, that web is gone already. Facebook and the invasion of the know-nothings killed it.

And I hate them for it, and will always hate them.

Oct 31

Pop up

The Real Population Problem.

Anyone who thinks there will be 10+ billion people on earth in 200 years is a doofus. I’d estimate between 200 to 500 million, with small but real possibility of extinction — say for instance if climate change precipitates resource wars which then go nuclear.

The world will look drastically, shockingly different in 200 years. That is just the reality.

I won’t be around to see it, and there will be far fewer people to do the seeing for that matter.

Oct 30

Old some

It doesn’t take being sexist to dislike Joanna Newsom’s voice. I can’t stand it though I recognize her abilities.

I also really, really dislike Tom Waits and Bob Dylan — both for their voices. And Neil Young. Even Billy Corgan’s voice — which I used to be ok with — mostly just annoys me now.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that most men who dislike Newsom do so for sexist reasons. But I dislike her voice because it’s about as musical as screeching brakes on a truck.

This is more my style in unconventional voices. A true classic from a woman not of this planet.

I watched that on live TV way back in 1994. Though I’d been listening to Mazzy Star for several years before that, I’d never seen Hope Sandoval perform. I remember it well because I had no idea an actual living breathing human could seem so utterly alien and unknowable, and wise and fey like Galadriel in the book version of LOTR (but not the movies).

That she did not become more well-known is a sad commentary on our entire culture.

Oct 29

Transcendentalist leanings

Everyone who writes writes fiction.

The world is never as it seems, and never as it is seen, and is never understood completely if at all. Memory is porous; fantasy and aspiration, fear and yearning all leak in like oil through a cloth.

Each word is a condition of reality that reality itself doesn’t experience. Each thought is a Lilliputian clockwork model of something infinite. No conception of the world contains its most vital features, only a spray of evanescent impressions. Not only is the map not the territory, the territory isn’t even mappable.

Partitions of truth to certain realms where it applies seems most reasonable. There might be some absolute reality but each demesne contains its own quasi-reality just as incommensurate with one another as the truth of an electron vs. the truth of a redwood.

Even more than my first point, everyone who sees “reality” writes a fiction of it, remembers it and then re-writes it again in recall.

It’s a miracle that any of this is possible, even in principle.