Shanghai Building to be Demolished

Philosophy

June 21st, 2018

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Everyone knew that slavery was evil

This is well said:

Whenever anyone mentions the historical atrocity of chattel slavery, white people will emerge from the dark crevices of humanity to gnaw away at the assertion like roaches on a discarded Cheeto. They will explain how most white people didn’t own slaves. They will offer a convoluted explanation about the Confederacy and Southern heritage. They will introduce the concept of “presentism”—the idea that we shouldn’t judge the actions of people in the past using modern-day standards—as if the ...

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June 18th, 2018

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We must sin if we wish to grow

Interesting:

Over the last couple of years, for reasons I’d rather not disclose, I have learnt a thing or two about how rehabs work. An alcoholic or an ice-user, for example, will be asked to examine what it was that first got her hooked. In my case it was Molly’s monologue, the music of it, but I’ve since realised that there was something else in that passage, implied in Molly’s words, that I found deeply attractive. And that was Joyce’s attitude ...

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June 16th, 2018

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Wealthy and bitter about divorce?

This is sort of like the high-brow, well educated version of incel rants:

In virtually all states it is more profitable to have children with multiple partners than to have multiple children with the same co-parent. Residents of most states can enjoy a higher spending power by collecting child support after a one-night sexual encounter than by working at the median wage for a college graduate.

I have never met a woman who would prefer to raise children alone. Every woman ...

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June 16th, 2018

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Caitlin Moran embarrasses her daughters

Funny:

hy do you keep writing books with lots of sex in?” they ask me, as a new release pops up on the schedules. “Why do you keep writing books that start with a teenage girl masturbating, and then go on to describe having sex with a man whose penis is too big, and a subsequent urinary tract infection that feels like the battered genitals ‘are like a castle under siege – with panicking princesses with pointy hats getting jammed in ...

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June 16th, 2018

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Changing one’s name after marriage

It’s the personal marriage stories that interest me. For instance, this:

I’m annoyed at how much of an Issue this is becoming for me. As a lady, I’m not sure whether to take my partner’s last name or not when we finally do the official knot-tying thing. Do I keep mine because I know I won’t have kids, and I kind of want to keep my dad’s last name alive as long as I am? Do I take his because Tradition ...

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June 11th, 2018

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Now she misses the idiot from Texas

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June 5th, 2018

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How to Finally Beat Procrastination

This podcast was good

Procrastination. We’ve all done it and we tell ourselves we’ll never do it again. So we come up with an elaborate time management system to get us on track only to find ourselves continuing to put things off. While some procrastination can be mildly infuriating, chronic procrastination can be financially, professionally, and personally devastating — overdue bills result in calls from collection agencies, late reports result in getting fired, and undone chores turn your house into a ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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The most successful entrepreneurs start in their 40s

Interesting:

`Among the 2.7 million founders in their dataset, the average age of a company’s founder at the time of founding was 41.9 years.

However, that analysis included all kinds of firms, from tech companies to nail salons to restaurants. The researchers were chiefly interested in high-growth new ventures—the kinds that can transform the economy—and understanding whether the Silicon Valley mythology was true. So they limited their dataset to include only technology companies, and further winnowed that down to the fastest-growing 0.1 ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs changed his views

Interesting story. I recall Little Green Footballs as a blog of right-wing extremists, but apparently the owner of the site evolved. Conversion stories are so rare, I consider them automatically interesting:

JH: They’re not even controversial, Charles. Along the way, and correct me if I’m wrong because I was an outsider looking in, it seems the tipping point came in 2007 when you had this epic flame war with Pamela Geller, who remains one of the country’s biggest bigots to this ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Joy Reid and why we need multiple Web archives

Interesting:

Most of those dates are pretty early in web archiving times, when the Internet Archive was the only archive commonly available, and many (all?) of the mementos in other web archives were surely originally crawled by the Internet Archive, even if on a contract basis (e.g., for the Library of Congress). Nonetheless, with multiple copies geographically and administratively dispersed throughout the globe, an adversary would have had to hack multiple web archives and alter their contents (cf. lockss.org), ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Linkrot and Joy Reid

Linkrot has been a major part of the Joy Reid story, though not many people have commented on that aspect. Shelley Powers brings up this aspect of the story:

Weblogs were less like the Washington Post and more like Facebook or Twitter of the time: a stream of conciousness, separated into timestamped chunks. Every once in a while we’d carefully research and write longer pieces (still called “long reads”, even today), but for the most part, we tossed up whatever ...

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June 3rd, 2018

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Burnout is universal but the right kind of sleep, food, and exercise can help

Depression can end your career, end your marriage, and end your life. But long before most people find themselves facing a serious depression, they typically pass through an earlier stage, more mild and more subtle. What if we could all catch ourselves at that earlier stage?

I’m talking about burnout. Perhaps we can think of it as the mildest form of depression, or a mid-point between true mental health and outright depression. How do we identify something so subtle? Specific ...

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June 2nd, 2018

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More bad behavior in the gaming world

So sad that this continues to happen. Seriously, what is wrong with these guys? Why are they so negative? Do they realize that they have to option to demonstrate some leadership and raise everyone up to a positive place?

After Annemunition posted the video, one of the players who’d given her gallons of shit tried to apologize. In a sense. “I am extremely sorry for the way you feel, ” he wrote in a tweet from an account that’s since ...

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May 31st, 2018

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Identity in the Alogos

Interesting:

If our particles have no identity, how can we?

If the elements are all identical with each other, then it seems like the only measurable identity you could attach to sets of elements is cardinality, right?

Reviving the a notion of “monad” from Leibniz from the 1600s, as a thought experiment:

Imagine beings that exist outside of time and space, in a space that is without dimension. These creatures initially lack cardinality or identity. They are “lazy” in the computing sense, they ...

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May 28th, 2018

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Shelley Powers comments regarding Joy Reid

Shelley Powers site has been online since 1996. As such, she knows a bit about having a voice that changes over the years. As such, she is very much worth reading, regarding the changing voice of Joy Reid:

I’ll have more to say in a later piece on what it means to be a writer putting yourself online, especially over the years. For now, I think that the Daily Beast has an accurate read on what’s happened.

I’ve had considerable pushback on ...

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May 28th, 2018

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The importance of blogs

Since 2008, I’ve been sad about the death of the blogosphere, and the way things moved to Twitter and died there. Paul Krugman posts this reminder about the importance of blogs:

An aside: the way this discussion is taking place marks a kind of new frontier in the mechanics of scientific communication – and, I think, an unfortunate one. Once upon a time economic debate took place in the pages of refereed journals, but that stopped being true at least 30 ...

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May 28th, 2018

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Does economics matter?

Interesting:

Rightist politics also become more comprehensible once we recognise that economics doesn’t matter. The strongest case for austerity and immigration controls is that these have nothing to do with economics. Like Brexit, they are instead attempts to assert that governments have control over social affairs. Their supporters just don’t care about their economic consequences because other things matter more: sovereignty and an assurance that the government is on top of things.

Brexiters talking about economics are like dogs walking on their ...

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May 27th, 2018

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Leimgruber reviews my book

I like this review, posted to Amazon:

—————————

A well written, highly amusing, and cathartic read for anyone who has survived or is facing similar ridiculous/toxic workplace situations or relationships.

The author, Lawrence, brings you right into the trenches along with him as he slogs through challenge after challenge determined to do his best to prevent impending fiasco. Fortunately, its not his first rodeo, so he keeps a life-line on his sanity through the co-author, Natalie; and so the book is ...

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May 27th, 2018

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The failure of the ÜberSeeles

Regarding the rise of current populist movements and their craving for charismatic leaders Übermensch is the wrong word for what we are seeing, because Übermensch is basically a secular term, and so it misses the primitive religious feelings and primal mysticism that animates current populist movements. ÜberSeele is a better term: over-soul, the soul beyond. It’s important to have a term with some mystical connotation.

I apologize that most of my examples come from the Western tradition. I’ve studied ...

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May 10th, 2018

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After 1968 France and the USA went in different directions

I had no idea the history was so opposite:

In this new context, the salaries of executives and engineers rose structurally faster than the low and medium-range salaries in the 1950s-1960s and at first, nobody seemed to be worried. A minimum wage had been created in 1950, but it was almost never re-valued thereafter, with the result that there was a wide gap in comparison with the evolution of the average wage. Society had never been so patriarchal; in the 1980s, ...

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May 10th, 2018

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Dark Web Intellectuals

Interesting article:

The repeated outbreaks of fascination with the question of whether women and racial minorities are inherently unequal were not quite the product of the disinterested pursuit of the truth, Kitcher argued; otherwise, the same unpleasant questions would not keep appearing in radically different pseudoscientific forms. Instead, the recurrent interest stems from public and elite eagerness to believe that discrimination against women and minorities was justified.

This was reinforced by individual intellectual incentives to cultivate contrarianism for the sake of ...

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May 10th, 2018

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Epigenetics was suggested decades before it was accepted

My friend Lark points me to this, and I am surprised to realize that the theory of epigenetics was around for a long time before it gained acceptance:

McClintock and the Theory of Epigenetics

Beyond her discovery of TEs and her revolutionary cytogenetic research techniques, Barbara McClintock was also the first scientist to correctly speculate on the basic concept of epigenetics-or heritable changes in gene expression that are not caused by changes to DNA sequences. Mainly, she recognized that genes can be ...

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May 1st, 2018

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We all die

Interesting:

In Ehrenreich’s hands, wellness, for example, isn’t just a trend, but a reflection of the interplay of class, power, and health (a word, she argues, that’s meaning is too class-based to be useful to wellness gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow). Wellness, she suggests, eliminates the appearance of “conflict…endemic to the human world, with all its jagged inequalities,” emphasizing instead the harmonious individual—a body and mind in complete accord. But, to what end? “To feel good, of course, which is the same ...

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April 30th, 2018

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Soliders who criticize children

This is a solider who fought in combat and who is extremely critical that children at a school failed to act the way he behaved on a battlefield. One can never underestimate the complete insanity of the gun debate in the USA. There should not be a need to say this, but a 14 year old in biology class should not be expected to behave the way a solider, after years of training, might behave.

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April 29th, 2018

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Aunt Coulter

I suspect this will last. It’s a phenomena that needed a name, and this is actually a good name. A hundred years from now, this might be the only thing that is remembered from this particular event.

Wolf continued: “I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Sanders looked stony faced ...

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April 26th, 2018

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You’re so irrational

[[ My thanks to Natalie Sidner for editing this essay. All names in this essay have been changed. ]]

While it might be admirable to aspire to be as rational as possible, what I’ve noticed, over and over again, is that people overestimate how rational they are. Or they imagine themselves to be objective and unemotional, when in fact their behavior is driven by strong emotions. The accusation “You’re emotional, I’m objective” tends to be a manipulative power play. I ...

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April 23rd, 2018

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Six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree

Interesting:

Despite Mr. Trump’s considerable flaws as a presidential candidate, he effectively diagnosed the reasons the Republican Party is widely disliked, even by its own voters. It has become the party of the white working class — six out of 10 Republicans are now whites without a college degree — but it has done next to nothing to address the terrible problems that disproportionately affect that class.

These afflictions include economic stagnation, the opioid epidemic, family dissolution, high rates of work force ...

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April 21st, 2018

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My father did not die peacefully in his sleep

The Onion has a reputation for humor that cuts close to the bone, and this really hits me hard:

“‘Your Father Died Peacefully In His Sleep,’ Assures Hospice Nurse Who Spent Past 6 Months Watching Man Wither Away In Agony”

In an attempt to console the family of the deceased, Mountain View Hospice nurse Sam Bakshi—who watched his patient wither away for half a year in unrelenting torment—told relatives of the late Dennis Ridges on Tuesday that the man had died peacefully ...

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April 21st, 2018

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Generous narcissism

Interesting:

In 2013, scholar Mehron Abdollmohammadi coined the phrase “generous narcissism” to describe a kind of self-expression they’d observed in online queer communities: “a generous practice of mutual and excessive attention that worries excess… a becoming-self, a care for the self that recognizes and celebrates the strength of the slippage between self, image, and other… fashioning, from the refuse of culture, tools with which to navigate the crippling distance between one’s sense of self and the vehicle of self, the body.”

I ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The new revolution of gender

Unlike the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the change of the last 10 years has been dramatic but less talked about.

“I just have one thing to say about promise rings,” said Jordin Sparks, then a newly-minted American Idol winner, as she took the stage in 2008 to present at the MTV VMAs. She was gearing up a response to host Russell Brand, who earlier in the night had made a dig at the band the ...

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April 21st, 2018

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Technology starts off promising freedom and later is used by dictators

Interesting:

In 1982, eleven clandestine Radio Solidarity radio stations were shut down across Poland. The scientists who cooperated in the balloon project were risking serious jail time in addition to the loss of their career and livelihood.

Their act of defiance didn’t bring down the state. It didn’t do much more than give hope and brighten the day of a few hundred people. But it went straight back to that first idealistic promise of radio: that there existed magic, invisible rays that ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The reaction against Facebook

This seems about right:

I think a very inconvenient and ugly truth is slowly dawning on Facebook and society in general: connecting people at mass is bad. Facebook may go down in history as the next Big Tobacco or Big Fast Food that touted new innovation as a mass utopian relief, only to be later debunked as charlatan science Zuckerberg has always touted Facebook’s core mission as “connecting people throughout the world.” The mission is so fervent you get socially deranged executives ...

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April 21st, 2018

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The endless lies of depression

There is always some lie at the heart of depression, some fiction. A large body of research suggests a link between creativity and depression. I think the link must be the ability to go over the same story a thousand times, and slowly refine it. I assume Bach did that with his cello suites, and Victor Hugo must have rehearsed Les Miserable a thousand times to get the structure of the narrative down. Over and over we go, repeating ...

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April 20th, 2018

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The end of old-fashioned useful banking

Interesting:

Something has happened to big banks along the way, where they no longer actually provide banking services to their customers. When I walk into a Wells Fargo branch now and sit down with a “banker” to take care of my accounts, it consists of sitting next to them while they call 1-800-WELLSFARGO for me and talk to a call center. There simply is no service anymore. I walked into my local branch to open up an IRA last week before ...

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April 20th, 2018

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The corruption of Italy

Interesting:

What began in Italy is now manifest in the US and beyond, public discourse degraded into a sick tabloid fantasy, of sex, corruption, violence and lies. What began with Berlusconi continues with Trump and Weinstein. All are men in positions of power and of a now all-too-familiar type, who view women as chattels to serve their sexual lust and to puff up their fragile egos, and who then, later, try to cover up their crimes with bribery, threats and intimidation. ...

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April 20th, 2018

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She was everywhere, then she was nowhere

An interesting example of an artist whose star burned brightly for many years, then faded completely. I’ve never heard of her before this.

Walsh died of tuberculosis in October 1926 at the age of 31, leaving Boyle pregnant with his child, born in March 1927. Her husband, Richard, invited her and her daughter, Sharon, to return to live with him in Stoke-on-Trent, England, where he had found a job with the Michelin Tire Company. Out of options, Kay accepted. She ...

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April 18th, 2018

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The epidemic of loneliness

Interesting:

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy summarized his experience as a doctor in an article in September in The Harvard Business Review: “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

Patients came to see him partly because they were lonely, partly because loneliness made them sick. Weak social connections have health effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a greater negative effect than obesity, he said.

Over the ...

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April 16th, 2018

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Poland was shockingly liberal during the 1400s

I feel like my teachers lied to me. The version of Western history that I was taught in school mostly focused on Spain and Portugal during the 1400s and 1500s, France and Germany in the 1700s and 1800s, Russia and Germany in the 1900s, and Britain during the whole era from the Dark Ages onwards. But I never learned anything about Poland, except for the weird fact that Copernicus showed up, out of nowhere, and suddenly invented modern science. Except ...

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April 15th, 2018

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Japanese humor in advertisements

I have trouble imagining this working for an American audience. There is a level of cuteness and irony that is popular in some USA sub-cultures, but never seems mainstream enough to be addressed in an ad.

Source

April 10th, 2018

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Our species evolved in Asia, not Africa

As soon as the Denisovan were discovered, it should have become necessary to update our ideas about where homo sapiens first arose. It’s simply too much of a coincidence. Neanderthals and Denisovans and Sapiens seem more similar to each other than to homo erectus, therefore they must have had a somewhat recent common ancestor, and if Neanderthal and Denisovans first evolved in Asia, that means Sapiens must have evolved there too. Roughly, the most likely theory at the moment is:

1.) ...

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April 9th, 2018

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The FBI raided the office of Trump’s lawyer

I’m not clear how they got around attorney-client privilege, but I assume the exception here was similar to the one used against lawyers who work for the Mafia: if you know you are protecting criminal behavior, then your privilege is revoked. Clearly, the FBI raid against Trump’s lawyer represents a huge escalation of the investigation against Trump.

Trump sounds just barely coherent in his response:

The president also complained about Session’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a longtime sticking ...

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April 8th, 2018

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Can there be a history of slaves?

In 1855 Jules Michelet claimed he had invented “Universal history,” a history that included everything, and Marx increasingly thought of history as involving more than just kings and battles, but true social and economic histories didn’t becomes widespread till the 1890s, and perhaps saw their best expression with Fernand Braudel, in the mid 20th century.

My point is, it is extraordinary that anyone in 1832 would raise the possibility of writing a history of slaves. This was really ahead of its ...

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April 7th, 2018

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Cuttlefish sex ratio

I wonder why some species have such lopsided ratios of male/female?

Male cuttlefish challenge one another for dominance and the best den during mating season. During this challenge, no direct contact is usually made. The animals will threaten each other until one of them backs down and swims away. Eventually, the larger male cuttlefish mate with the females by grabbing them with their tentacles, turning the female so that the two animals are face-to-face, then using a specialized tentacle to insert ...

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April 6th, 2018

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Fire gave rise to babies

Homo sapiens have an unusual reproductive system. Whereas apes rarely have more than 5 children, humans typically had 20 to 25 children. What lead to the huge increase in the number of children? One possibility is fire, which lead to cooked food. One can reason from the opposite of this paragraph:

This hypothesis stems from a few modern observations. When you eat cooked food, you have access to many more calories than if you eat the same food raw. There ...

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March 31st, 2018

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Science is dying and it drags down those who make their careers with it

Interesting:

Here is an explanation from 1994 by Dr. David Goodstein of Caltech, who testified to Congress on this back then, whose “The Big Crunch” essay concludes: https://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg/crunch_art.html “Let me finish by summarizing what I’ve been trying to tell you. We stand at an historic juncture in the history of science. The long era of exponential expansion ended decades ago, but we have not yet reconciled ourselves to that fact. The present social structure of science, by which I mean institutions, ...

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March 27th, 2018

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The Wing is a private club for women

Interesting:

If you live in New York City or Washington, D.C. and work in a certain kind of industry, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Wing. If you haven’t: Founded in 2016 as a private social club and co-working space for women, the company currently operates three locations, collects dues from more than 1,500 members (including Jezebel’s Editor-in-Chief Koa Beck), and attracts the sort of media coverage that most publicists can only dream about. All of this has drawn ...

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March 21st, 2018

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Peer review is new

Interesting:

Of course the thing may exist before the word: but one thing I’ve found invariably in looking at these etymologies is words usually do not march straight out of the primordial ooze into widespread use for no reason at all, particularly words describing so specific and unpoetic as a practice like this. Usually there is some reason, some new thing in the world that requires a new term to distinguish it from what has come before.

So what new thing gave ...

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March 17th, 2018

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The video: NYU Varick Street incubator

The events in my book “How To Destroy A Tech Startup In Three Easy Steps” happens at the NYU Varick Street startup incubator, in 2015.

Of the incubator where these events occur, my co-author, Natalie Sidner, produced a 4 minute for her family, back in June of 2015:

Source

March 15th, 2018

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Tribalism in USA politics

The right-wing has become a tribe. This has been true at least since Newt Gingrich won the congressional elections in 1994, but it has only recently become fashionable to say this out loud. And the New York Times is both unwilling and unable to represent that tribe on its opinion pages:

Here is the scary truth that NYT editors and readers alike resist: US politics today is not a contest of ideas or governing philosophies. We are witnessing a massive revanchist ...

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March 9th, 2018

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How long can two people share a life before they are dating?

An interesting glimpse of a sub-culture and a meme (a somewhat extreme take on the “useless lesbian” meme):

My wife and I literally would make out, sleep together, moved in together, adopted a dog together, go to family and work functions together, and built a life together for about three years before she proposed. Only to catch me by surprise, because I didn’t realize we were dating, thinking this was just normal friend stuff. She still likes to remind me that ...

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March 5th, 2018

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The quiet censorship of PR firms managing interviews

I would have found this very frustrating:

I started to ask about Mad Men’s discussion of the issue of harassment in the workplace, citing a Boston Globe piece from earlier this year titled, “Before #MeToo, there was Mad Men.” Before I could ask about whether it struck Hendricks that Joan’s final storyline was in many ways prescient in terms of how this conversation would come to play out just a few years later, the publicist interrupted:

“I’m so sorry, but we ...

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March 3rd, 2018

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Remembering where politics was in early 2018

I’ll write this down, just so I can remember it later. Below I post an example of incoherent writing. It is possible the person who wrote is struggling with some mental health issues. But those are interesting in themselves. I’ve read that before 1960, people suffering from schizophrenia, in the USA, mostly commonly said they were being persecuted by Satan, but during the 1960s and 1970s, they most commonly claimed they were being persecuted by the CIA. Even those with ...

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February 26th, 2018

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Is there a new openness regarding the use of racist language?

It is worrisome to think that politicians now feel comfortable using racist language, in a way they have not felt comfortable these last 50 years. I recall when I was young people said “The older generation is racist but the younger generation will change things.” But nowadays, some of the leading racists are younger than I am. And the trend seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Here is a rather overt example from the heartland of the USA:

According to ...

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February 26th, 2018

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What can people hope for from romance?

Interesting:

Could any single relationship not fall short of such expectations? Maybe these women were on to something — valuing their marriages for the things it could offer and outsourcing the rest, accepting the distance between the idealization and the actual thing, seeing marriage clearly for what it is and not what we’re all told and promised it will be.

My friend told me she felt this way of thinking was the only answer, and the way she’d come to reconcile her ...

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February 25th, 2018

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If we give powerful people everything they want, maybe they will be nice to the rest of us?

At the end of the English revolutionary period, during the 1660s, a conservative reaction set in, and even some peasants were infected with the conservative spirit. Some wanted England to become a monarchy again, and they openly called for the return of the King. They had a saying: “All will be well when the King enjoys his own again.”

In the 1970s, conservatives began to promote “supply side economics” which is the modern, pseudo-scientific way of saying “All will be well ...

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February 22nd, 2018

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The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong

No one wants to die. The police don’t want to die. Faced with death, the police panic. Fantasy deludes some gun advocates, in particular, the fantasy that every cop will act like Bruce Willis did in the movie Die Hard. The notion that posting a policeman at a school makes the school safe has been proven wrong.

The police officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resigned Thursday, under investigation for failing to enter the building as a ...

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February 22nd, 2018

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If favorable news coverage is bribery, what should we think of Fox News?

This is an interesting interpretation, but what does it mean if applied to Fox News?

Reality needs to be called what it is. Systematically skewing coverage and providing a false picture of reality to the public constitutes a financial benefit on a huge scale. When a senior politician gets a series of flattering articles from a publisher, it’s worth a lot more to the politician than a box of cigars or a suitcase of cash to finance primary election activists. When ...

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February 18th, 2018

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The smart way for Russia to help Trump: manipulate votes to elect Democrats

(The following is about the USA, obviously)

I know of Democrats who are currently dreaming of winning a large majority in the House Of Representatives in the elections of 2018. Then they can proceed to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.

There is an obvious way for Russia to help Trump, and that is to hack the election machines and so ensure that some Democrats win. Bonus points for candidates who were expected to lose — their wins will later seem ...

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February 18th, 2018

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A quote about Nature that sounds smart but is wrong

This initially sounds smart:

“We like to romanticize the wild, raw, majestic beauty of nature. But when you take a closer look, nature is really just a giant fuckfest. That beautiful bird chirping? It’s a mating call. That pretty little bird is trying to get laid. And why does the peacock have such beautiful feathers? To attract females. Because he’s trying to get laid.

Animals in the wild spend their entire lives trying to stay alive, and to mate. That’s it. They ...

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February 16th, 2018

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Alex Tabarrok hates children

The population of Bulgaria is in decline. Alex Taborrok raises the question of whether this should be a concern:

A correspondent wrote me asking what to do. I responded what’s the problem? Of course, there are plenty of things one could do to make Bulgaria a richer and better place to live, some of which Bulgaria has been doing and some of which they have not. The more fundamental question, however, is why the number of a particular type of ...

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February 16th, 2018

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How to raise children the German way

Interesting:

Zaske argues that thanks in large part to the anti-authoritarian attitudes of the postwar generation (the so-called “68ers”), contemporary German parents give their children a great deal of freedom—to do dangerous stuff; to go places alone; to make their own mistakes, most of which involve nudity, fire, or both. This freedom makes those kids better, happier, and ultimately less prone to turn into miserable sociopaths. “The biggest lesson I learned in Germany,” she writes, “is that my children are not ...

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February 16th, 2018

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Eroding political norms is a good thing if the old norms violated fundamental rights

Interesting:

The authors want to posit the 1850s as a moment that “undermined America’s democratic norms,” strongly suggesting that prior to the 1850s, there was a robust enjoyment of democratic norms in America. Most of us would argue that when one portion of the people enslaves another, denying them their humanity (and the vote), there’s no real democratic norm in play. (Not to mention that one-half of the population, white and black, didn’t have the suffrage at all.) And while it ...

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February 15th, 2018

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The paradox of freedom: Germans have more freedom driving because the government insists on more training

I was in Germany this summer. My friend and I went to visit her parents. Her parents wanted me to see a historic town nearby. We got in the car. The father drove down the road at 190 kilometers per hour. The other cars were also going fast.

I saw cars at an intersection make turns, in front of other cars, that I would never do in the USA, because I would never trust the other drivers to behave correctly. ...

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February 14th, 2018

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France has no age-of-consent laws

Interesting:

France does not have a legal age under which a minor cannot agree to a sexual relationship – although the country’s top court has ruled that children aged five and under cannot consent. Lawyers for the suspect argued that the girl was consenting and aware of what she was doing, while lawyers for the girl have said she was simply too young and confused to resist.

…In a decision that shocked many, the prosecutor’s office in the town of Pontoise decided ...

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February 10th, 2018

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Wasting 5 million dollars

While I’m in favor of a stronger safety net for the sick, if people are able-bodied, I think they should work. This sounds like a good reason to let copyright lapse when an author dies:

Mr. Clarke was a rascally nine-year-old when he inherited that jewel. Ever since, as “Goodnight Moon” has drifted toward the center of America’s collective consciousness, he has floated on the fringes of society. No steady job. No fixed place of abode. Dozens of arrests. Rarely has ...

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February 5th, 2018

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Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe

This is amazing. This tool, for burnishing leather, is still in use today. It is perhaps the only tool that the Neandertals invented and which we still use today. Neandertal culture lives.

However, we cannot eliminate the possibility that these tools instead indicate that modern humans entered Europe and started impacting Neandertal behavior earlier than we can currently demonstrate. Resolving this problem will require sites in central Europe with better bone preservation.

How widespread this new Neandertal behavior was is a ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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Great creative partnerships are rare, and it is such a shock that people throw them away

Of the many tragic aspects of predators such as Weinstein, one is the waste of a great creative partnership. For now, this seems like a minor part of this story, a tiny thing compared to the actual violence and harm of these stories, and yet I wonder if, many decades from now, we might look back and wonder about what might have been, if the film industry had not been full of predators. What if these women had been in ...

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February 3rd, 2018

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Born free, but still needing to be freed by courts in 1655

Interesting story. Apparently slave children with white fathers were considered free in the 1600s. And then they changed the law in 1662 to make it far more oppressive.

Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Key, was charged with fathering Elizabeth, which he at first denied, and as result he was brought to court to be forced to support her and arrange for apprenticeships so that she could learn skills. That was the protocol at the time for anyone seeing to get a “bastard” ...

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February 2nd, 2018

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Adam Smith summarized: everyone sucks

Interesting:

In their mad ambition, they try to rule the world (see Davos): “…the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind” (Book 4, Ch. 3, p. 621). Short of the world they try to rule countries: companies of merchants (the British and the Dutch East India Companies) grew immensely rich by mismanaging and exploiting India and Indonesia: “The government of an exclusive company of merchants ...

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February 1st, 2018

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Chatbots are dead?

Interesting:

But now we’re really changing things up, killing off what was once our sacred cow — a Digit experience built on messaging. We’ve redesigned our app with a graphical UI to make everything clearer and more intuitive. The old conversational UI is still there, in the background. But all the functions you want are now on tap, not commands to type. And we’re happy to admit openly what we’ve long considered quietly — chatbots aren’t the answer for keeping an ...

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February 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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How to chase down a bug

This is a good story, and it communicates how insane things can get when one is chasing down a bug.

Having calculated the theoretical peak throughput, I decided there was no good reason this microprocessor shouldn’t be able to maintain a much higher level of throughput. Time to do some low-level packet analysis.

I set up Wireshark and started capturing packets. At first, everything seemed ok but looking at the timestamps showed clearly that the transmissions were very bursty. Sometimes there ...

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January 28th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Some women waited their whole lives for the Wonder Woman movie

Interesting:

I’m 6 years old, and I’m Luke Skywalker, blowing up the Death Star in his X-Wing and using the Force… until I go outside to play Star Wars with the neighborhood kids, and I’m told I can’t be Luke because I’m a girl. I have to be Leia instead. Nothing wrong with Leia, but she’s the girl. She’s my only option, otherwise, I’m not allowed to play.

I’m 7 years old, and I’m She-Ra, with a pegasus and sword and… and ...

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January 26th, 2018

In Philosophy

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How software gets written

This is the history of almost every software project I can remember:

When I started preparing for teaching the chain rule in my class, I didn’t like the way the book did it. I felt like the proof was overly complicated and seemed to deliberately avoid an easier method. I couldn’t figure out why the author approached the proof the way he did. I started writing up different notes that I thought would be more clear. After a few hours ...

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January 25th, 2018

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Am I completely insane?

I’ve reached a point in my life where I think only two possibilities can explain my relationship to the world:

1.) Over the last 25 years, I’ve gone completely insane.

2.) The world is insane, and over the last 25 years, I’ve become more aware of this.

I worry about the sheer number of things that seem painfully obvious to me, and yet which are met with widespread resistance from many groups, often the overwhelming majority of all people who care ...

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January 17th, 2018

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Sometimes The Onion is exactly correct, part XXXVII, Honey Boo Boo

When Jane Austen was 17 years old she visited some cousins, who had some old copies of the Spectator. Since she recognized the name, she started to read the famous magazine. She was horrified. The vulgar language, the sexual terms, the gross metaphors invoking shit and maggots and eating babies — everything disgusted her. She said that she could form no liking of an era that had tolerated such coarseness.

The Onion reminds us that we will surely someday have ...

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January 16th, 2018

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The continuing power of tradition, as it effects gender

An interesting bit from Barbara Kingsolver (I am a fan of her novel The Poisonwood Bible):

Most progressives wouldn’t hesitate to attend a football game, or to praise the enlightened new pope – the one who says he’s sorry, but women still can’t lead his church, or control our reproduction. In heterosexual weddings, religious or secular, the patriarch routinely “gives” his daughter to the groom, after which she’s presented to the audience as “Mrs New Patriarch,” to joyous applause. We ...

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January 9th, 2018

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A child struck by a car

Very sad story:

I’d been praying that maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked, that maybe he would be OK. I remember just leaning over and crying, and then trying very hard to get hold of myself.

The police agreed to let me wait in one of the neighbour’s houses. She was so kind. She had a daughter just a few years younger than me and I think she knew that her daughter could just as easily have been the perpetrator, ...

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January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Why do social media designers think we want to see posts out of chronological order?

Interesting:

Source

January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The best argument for mandatory education

I had not thought about this carefully enough, but as soon as you stop requiring education, you weaken the rest of this chain reasoning. The question then is how to extend this reasoning to college.

Source

January 7th, 2018

In Philosophy

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The current changes to the Labour Party are likely to be long lasting

Interesting:

This is a transformation of Labour as dramatic as anything that happened under Tony Blair in the 1990s. Arguably, it is much more significant. During his time as leader, Mr Blair did not put in much organisational effort to ensure that his ideological shift was a permanent one. New Labourites just assumed – how wrong they turned out to be – that the hard left had lost the arguments so comprehensively that it could not revive. New Labour never attempted ...

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January 7th, 2018

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A few random thoughts about how a country gets to a constitutional crisis

What is the difference between heart disease and a heart attack? One is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term crisis that demands immediate attention. It is somewhat uncommon to have a heart attack, without first having heart disease. Likewise, what is the difference between a constitutional malaise and a constitutional crisis? Again, one is a long-term condition whose risks can be managed with careful effort, the other is a short-term ...

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January 6th, 2018

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The influence of the MeToo movement

Interesting:

Yesterday, one of these men asked jinni if he could share her table. The other tables were taken, so she said ‘of course’. He tried to chat her up but she simply responded monosyllabically, and returned to her book. He stared at her openly for about twenty minutes. Finally, she decided to leave (mostly because he also had a hacking cough). When she put her book in her bag, he again tried to kick up conversation with her, this time ...

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January 4th, 2018

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The importance of bridges

After so many years of crumbling infrastructure, I’d like to think the USA is finally going to invest in itself again. I’m encouraged to realize that something like this can be popular with the young crowd that hangs out on Tumblr.

Source

January 4th, 2018

In Philosophy

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Why is the USA press so relentless on the issue of Israel?

I pray for peace in the MidEast. I don’t think we can get there by arresting a bunch of 15 year old girls.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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God should have made girls lethal when he made monsters of men

Interesting:

“God should have made girls lethal/when he made monsters of men” reads a line by poet Elisabeth Hewer. The line has stuck with me since I stumbled upon it in another book, not just because it’s striking, but because I resent its truth. I’m bored with dissecting my own victimhood but I also feel choked by it, held in place by its reality.

…I’ve had many men (and it’s only been men) tell me that the Weinstein fallout is a watershed ...

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January 3rd, 2018

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The total number of fatal knife stabbings in London in 2017 rises to 80

This is a large amount of knife murder:

The new year attacks – three on 31 December and a fourth on 1 January – pushed the total number of fatal stabbings in London in 2017 to 80. The incidents occurred within a 15-hour period at locations in north, east and south London.

The region of New York City is a good 50% more populous than London, and they had 286 murders last year, mostly from guns.

Source

January 3rd, 2018

In Philosophy

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Cosmetics as self care

This article raises the question of self-care and cosmetics:

n 1908 guards stormed into a cell in Milan, tearing away bed sheets, flipping over mattresses, and yanking off pillowcases for a piece of contraband that had left the warden mystified for the preceding couple of weeks. The prisoner stood to the side, patiently watching her cell get turned inside out, her cheeks painted in cheerful red circles like a ballerina.

They were after her blush like it was a brick of cocaine.

No ...

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January 2nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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A Tory has no friends, and brags about it

What a blind thing to do. Toby Young got married, and very few friends showed up for his stag party. He is a vile person with vile politics, so it makes sense that no one likes him. But he decided that most people aren’t loyal. And he wrote an article about it. You’d think he’d be embarrassed that so few people like him, but he apparently doesn’t realize how his readers are likely to see him.

It was on my ...

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January 2nd, 2018

In Philosophy

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The company’s male administrators deleted her most virulent speech from the first production

I have wondered about this. The speech, which calls out gender injustice, sounds like it was written in 2018. I can hardly imagine how it sounded in the year 1784.

When the play finally reached the Comédie-Française, the leading French theater found further problems with it. The ardently feminist character of Marceline (who was to become Marcellina in the opera) so disconcerted the company’s male administrators that they deleted her most virulent speech from the first production, declaring that no actress ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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What I admire about the Daily Mail

In terms of the content of the Daily Mail, I think this songs sums up the situation:

.

However, I admired the design of the site. They combine hard news with celebrity news in a clever way, but above all, the page is very long and packed with hundreds, perhaps thousands of stories. They make the assumption that their audience is actually interested in their content, and wants to see more. They don’t rely on Javascript-infinite-scroll, the design appears to be hard-coded ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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The case to end the British monarchy

From 2015:

Elizabethan will mean whatever you want: certainly vanishing empire and influence, her colonies and dependencies now no more than an archipelago of tax havens. She has reigned over nearly twice as many Conservative years as Labour. Whatever social progress that marks her era came mainly from those Labour punctuations – abolition of capital punishment, Race Relations Act, abortion and homosexual law reform, equal pay and sex discrimination acts, civil partnerships, minimum wage, Sure Start, devolution, human rights, nursery ...

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January 1st, 2018

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A reminder of the horrible abuse that was allowed at Catholic schools

My grand-father was deeply Catholic and committed to the Church, so he demanded that my dad go to Catholic school. My dad hated the school. I once asked him why and he said the nuns were absolute sadists who looked for any excuse cane the students. That was in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My dad committed himself to science and I grew up in a secular household.

Things were even worse in Britain, where ...

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January 1st, 2018

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Education teaches us to argue better

Interesting:

The same effect has also been captured in relation to the myth that the healthcare reform bill empowered government “death panels.” According to research by Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, Republicans who thought they knew more about the Obama healthcare plan were “paradoxically more likely to endorse the misperception than those who did not.” Well-informed Democrats were the opposite—quite certain there were no “death panels” in the bill.

The Democrats also happened to be right, by the way.

The idealistic, liberal, ...

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January 1st, 2018

In Philosophy

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Why didn’t Hypatia have a husband?

Just thinking out loud here.

Let’s take a moment to explore the issue of why Hypatia did not have a husband.

Since she didn’t have a husband, is there a chance that she had girlfriend? I don’t mean to bulldoze the option that she was ace, but let’s consider the girlfriend angle for a minute. Maybe she ended up dating Asclepigenia? If she was in love with Asclepigenia, it would explain why she didn’t want to marry a man. ...

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December 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Richard Feynman believed in failing fast

Was just reading this:

Feynman concluded: “for my money Fermat’s theorem is true”. This is of course not very formal from a mathematical standpoint and is far from the real 110 pages long proof of FLT that took A.Wiles years to put together, notwithstanding it’s a really good example of Feynman’s scientific approach and genius. As Feynman used to say:

the main job of theoretical physics is to prove yourself wrong as soon as possible.

This is another way of stating the ...

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December 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why be political?

Things have to be going really well in your life before you can think of political activity as a choice. If you are doing very well, you might like to believe that the current structure of the world is a natural one, and not amenable to political action. That is a self-gratifying belief. But unless you are lucky, you often have politics pushed upon you, often with very little choice on your part.

I like the way “Raquel” sums up ...

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December 30th, 2017

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Are things getting worse for women?

Interesting article in the Guardian about Joan Wallach Scott.

Given the rise of Trump, and especially the rise of outfits such as Wikileaks, I’ve been rethinking a lot of what I thought I knew about the era since 1960.

Organizations such as Wikileaks uses the language of progressives (expose the facts, speak truth to power, attack the elites, shake up the government) while in fact working as a propaganda outfit for an authoritarian regime (Russia). Yet people are drawn to Wikileaks ...

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December 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The rising divorce rate in rural areas

Interesting:

Source

December 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The only appropriate death tax is 100%

(Posted in response to a conversation on Hacker News)

The only appropriate death tax is 100%. The goal is not to raise money for the government, the goal is to protect society from oligarchy. Most oligarchs come from wealthy families — that kind of vast wealth accumulates over the course of generations.

So as to allow minor things, such as a house, to pass from parents to children, a low level exemption is reasonable, so the tax does not touch the poor ...

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December 27th, 2017

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Rick Webb: an apology for Utopian idealism regarding the Internet

Interesting:

Silicon Valley likes to think of itself as a bastion of rationality. But if you think about it, Silicon Valley, like virtually every other organization or entity, has a set of core beliefs at the bottom of its philosophical pyramid that are just that: core beliefs. They extend beyond rationality. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” our declaration of independence begins. Every good philosophical treatise starts with these. Every debate starts with the polite agreement about defintions.

What if Silicon ...

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December 27th, 2017

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Anna North: sexual harassment is not sex, it is abuse of power at work

Interesting:

Melissa Gira Grant puts it well at the New York Review of Books: “Sexual harassment is a form of discipline, and it has already led to so many women being cast out from their work and the attention that is rightfully theirs. When men use sex to push women into inferior, undervalued, and invisible roles, that isn’t sex; that’s punishment.”

It’s become common, as #MeToo matures, to ask what we should do about behaviors that fall short of violent sexual assault. ...

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December 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The problem with dating apps

I’m currently writing a comedy about a guy who is launching a new dating app. To that end, I’m reading endless Tumblr. It’s comedy gold. I have to be careful not to slip into plagiarism.

Source

December 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Baby Boomers are uniquely awful

Back in 1996 I made this case on the maillist of Left Business Observer. I said that the Baby Boomers were uniquely awful and they’d been terrible to the country. Doug Henwood gave me a hard time about this. I thought about what he said and decided that generational conflict is never progressive — in every generation there is a working class that is struggling for its fair share, and there are marginalized people struggling for justice. So I’ve never ...

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December 26th, 2017

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Do men become warlike if they do not have women?

The Economist has an article with the title “The link between polygamy and war“:

Wherever it is widely practised, polygamy (specifically polygyny, the taking of multiple wives) destabilises society, largely because it is a form of inequality which creates an urgent distress in the hearts, and loins, of young men. If a rich man has a Lamborghini, that does not mean that a poor man has to walk, for the supply of cars is not fixed. By contrast, every time a ...

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December 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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This was the one and only time in the last 300 million years that the wood-rotting ability evolved

Interesting:

Here is the crux of our problem: lignin made the lycopod trees a little too successful. Because their leaves were lofted above many herbivores and their trunks were made inedible by lignin, lycopods were virtually impervious to harm. They grew and died in vast quantities, and their trunks piled up in swamps, eventually becoming submerged and locking huge quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for good in the form of coal. Without any decomposition to recycle this carbon, ...

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December 25th, 2017

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12 year old girl attempted murder, gets 25 year sentence

Keep in mind that the charge is attempted murder, not murder, and that the girl was 12 years old at the time. How do you end up with a 25 year sentence, given those facts? The majority of all murderers don’t get sentences that long (I’m using the word “murder” in the legal USA sense, so you should avoid thinking about first degree murder, which is rare.)

From the article:

If medical professionals and the jury have deemed Alyssa Weier not ...

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December 24th, 2017

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All our generation wants is a small apartment and a spouse that loves them back

The incredible thing is that this now seems so unlikely, so hard to achieve, so distant. We’ve come a long way from 1958 (the best year of the ratio of average wage to average rent).

Source

December 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The casting couch in Hollywood, as depicted by Hollywood

Interesting:

Then I read the original reviews of the movie and began to doubt my understanding of what I’d seen. To critics at outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor, this was not a story of women subjected to predatory men. Many of the reviews don’t even mention the producer, focusing instead on the rivalry between Rogers and Hepburn, the remarkable dialogue, and the superiority to the play. When Menjou comes up, it ...

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December 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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People really love Tumblr

People worry about the death of Tumblr, and their worry arises from love. I would be very proud if I had created something like Tumblr (myself and my business partners spent 6 years trying). I feel real rage when I consider how incredibly incompetent the management at Yahoo has been. Yahoo buys startups, and then kills them. This has happened over and over again. No one can believe in the efficiency of our economic system, if they know the history ...

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December 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The surprising lack of anger regarding gender relations

I was too young to have any encounters with the feminist militancy of the 1970s. I caught the fading light from that scene in the late 1980s. I worked at Macks Apples and the apple pickers there had a long tradition of hiring one of their own to be the full time cook, because if we each tried to make our own meals, the kitchen would be destroyed in chaos. It was best if we all kicked in $25 a ...

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December 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Children playing with Barbie

Interesting:

When my female friends recount playing with Barbie they also mention how much sex was in their play, which tends to get left out of the television commercials.

Source

December 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to sell Clojure

Apparently there is need for starter kits, and starter code. This gives me an idea for my next book.

Source

December 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Caryn Vainio‏: my friend died, but I didn’t know, because algorithms

Interesting and sad:

For those of you who work in social media, I need to share the story of my friend who died, and I didn’t know because algorithms.

A friend I’ve known mostly online for 15+ years died this weekend. Our friendship started on an old gaming forum, but continued on Facebook.

He was part of a group of friends, and we’ve all stayed connected via Facebook. He didn’t post much, but he liked and commented a lot.

I met him once years ...

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December 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What makes the Sims franchise so go

So legit.

Source

December 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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When a job interview goes bad

Sometimes I go to a job interview, and they are looking for specialists in some area of computer programming that I know nothing of. And then I end up sounding like Matthew Peterson.

Source

December 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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White women voted for Roy Moore

Somewhat surprising?

The gender and race breakdown of Alabama’s senate election was reminiscent of last year’s presidential election, where black women overwhelmingly voted for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. The majority of non-college educated black women (95%) voted for Clinton, compared with 34% of white women. The numbers were just as stark among college educated women, with 91% of college educated black women voting for Clinton, compared with 51% of white women with college experience.

Source

December 12th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An invitation to play

(Tonight I’m dumping some of my notes, from my riffs.txt, onto my blog. Not sure why I kept these for years without publishing. I was probably waiting for a moment when I could write a longer essay about them.)

Why I hate books about Design Patterns

Imagine two girls, both nine years old, decide to play tea. They put on nice dresses and bonnets. The one goes over to the other’s house.

“Mrs. Worthington, it is so nice to see you,” says the ...

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December 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How do you wake up in the morning when you’ve got a project running late?

Personally, if a project is running late, and I’m working till 4 AM, and waking up at 9 or 10, then I need coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Feel free to post your own story in the comments.

This is from How To Destroy A Tech Startup In Three Easy Steps:

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Because of the chronic sleep deprivation of the proceeding weeks, I developed this peculiar protocol to ensure that I actually woke up in the morning. Before ...

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December 11th, 2017

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Brad Delong: For some 400 years the Anglo-Saxon governance model offered liberty and prosperity, but no longer

Interesting:

For some 400 years, the Anglo-Saxon governance model – exemplified by the republican semi-principality of the Netherlands, the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, and the constitutional republic of the United States of America – was widely regarded as having hit the sweet spot of liberty, security, and prosperity. The greater the divergence from that model, historical experience seemed to confirm, the higher the likelihood of repression, insecurity, and poverty. So countries were frequently and strongly advised to emulate those ...

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December 11th, 2017

In Philosophy

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50 percent of women who experience harassment leave their jobs within two years of experiencing that harassment

Sad:

There is a study that was just done recently by a researcher who found that 50 percent of women who experience harassment leave their jobs within two years of experiencing that harassment. When the harassment is particularly grave, that’s 80 percent, and many of them leave their professions altogether.

We can’t imagine what the world would’ve looked like if this systemic behavior hadn’t been in place. We don’t have the buildings that were built by women or the food that was ...

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December 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What readers should feel when they read fiction

As a summary of the feeling to aim for, this is worth remembering:

god my absolute favorite feeling is devouring a book, when you get so into the pages and the words that you have to stop your eyes from skipping lines and force yourself to read every word, when you’re so impatient for what happens next that you can’t sit still while reading, when you have to re read whole pages because you were too busy predicting and anticipating that ...

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December 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Some photos of my trip to Lisbon

Below are the photos from my trip to Lisbon, Portugal, for the Web Summit, which ran from November 5th to the 9th.

( Also see my separate post about the Web Summit. )

With the street trolleys and the steep hills that go down to the water, it would be easy to confuse Lisbon with San Francisco. Both cities exist on a peninsula and have had famous earthquakes. Both cities officially have 500,000 people, and 3 million people in the surrounding area. ...

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December 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Would there be an assumption of a global optimum if women had invented economics?

I had yet another long conversation with a female friend about life and its struggles. I’ve had ten thousand such conversations previously. We spoke about the difficulties of raising children (I don’t have children, but she does).

We spoke of the task of getting children to school. I recalled that when I was a child, as early as Kindergarten, I walked to school without parental supervision. My elementary school was a bit more than a kilometer away. It was considered ...

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December 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Some photos from the Web Summit

I went to the Web Summit, which started on Novebmer 5th, in Lisbon, Portugal.

( Also, see my post of photos of the city of Lisbon )

The Web Summit was very impressive for seeing what the next generation of startups will look like. I can’t think of another event, anywhere, that showcases so many early stage startups. I suppose if I got invited to Demo Day at Ycombinator than that would be better, but my invite got lost in the ...

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December 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How do white blood macrophages eat? Does it affect their ability to protect us?

A few questions just occurred to me, which I will try to research some time soon:

When white blood cells (macrophages) are drifting around in our blood, how do they eat? It would seem they could eat whenever they want, since our blood is full of food. But are macrophages as effective while eating? Are we vulnerable when they eat? Fasting seems to improve health, so we should assume macrophages are less effective when we eat? And alcohol seems to ...

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December 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Some surprising facts about the economic collapse in Oklahoma

Even with fracking, which should boost the economy, Oklahoma is in a very serious downward spiral:

A city overpass crumbles and swarms of earthquakes shake the region – the underground disposal of oil and gas industry wastes have caused the tremors. Wildfires burn out of control: cuts to state forestry services mean that out-of-state firefighting crews must be called in.

A paralyzed and mentally ill veteran is left on the floor of a county jail. Guards watch for days until the prisoner ...

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December 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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I was in Las Vegas and it was dead: some photos

[ In this post I make no distinction between Las Vegas and Henderson. ]

My uncle and cousins live in Las Vegas, so for the last few years I’ve gone there for Thanksgiving. My and my brother go there too. My uncle is generous and puts us up in a Marriot. Very nice.

The first time I went, in 2015, I was surprised at how dead much of the city was. I assumed it was still recovering from the crisis of ...

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December 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Police officer feels they are being accused of something when privilege is mentioned

It is curious that the police officer has such a strong reaction. I wonder what he felt was actually being said? I’ll say on a personal note that I’ve sometimes had these wild reactions, where people react as if I said something utterly different from what I said.

Police Captain Carri Weber, apparently as sick of his ramblings as any of us watching that video, interrupted to inform him that there is, in fact, a term for that: “White male ...

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December 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

1 Comment

I know more than 12,000 people. So do you.

Human societies are at least 5 orders of magnitude larger than ape societies, but humans don’t have brains that are 5 orders of magnitude larger than ape brains, so humans must have some abilities that are not just the linear extension of abilities that apes have. And one of our abilities, that helps explain the difference between human societies and ape societies, is that humans can be aware of people who are not aware of them. I know who Angela ...

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December 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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We are suddenly told that Matt Lauers is an abusive psychopath

An interesting fact about this year is that a number of public figures behaved badly, and their bad behavior was well known, yet somehow any public recognition of their bad behavior was suppressed, for decades, until the very moment when their behavior was no longer suppressed, and then the details come out in an explosive manner. We’ve certainly seen that with Harvey Weinstein, who has now been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by more than a hundred women. For many ...

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December 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Trump eats bad food

For awhile, in 2016, I thought perhaps Trump was eating bad food to demonstrate how close he was to the working class. And if true, that was a brilliant tactic. But apparently these eating habits reflect his actual preferences? I wonder how this is possible? He came from a wealthy family and he was given an excellent education. It is normal, for all mammal species, for the young to start with untrained tastes and then specialize to the circumstances they ...

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December 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Use viruses to treat bacterial infections

Interesting:

As phages are in a continuing red-queen evolutionary game (running as fast as you can to stay in one place) with evolving bacterial defenses and specific phages can be specific to sub-species of bacteria, there is no way of making money in this game if you have to prove “efficacy” to the FDA before you sell your specific phage for a specific sub-species of bacteria that are continually evolving.

To play this game, we will need an automated system to ...

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December 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The decline of the birth rate

Lyman Stone says the birth rate is declining, and this is a bad thing. Stone doesn’t say why this is a bad thing, but a follow-up post is promised. There are comparisons to many other countries, many of which have a good standard of living (Sweden, Japan). It is tough to see what the problem is. In terms of economics or total population, every affluent country has the option to simply allow in more immigrants, which can fix most of ...

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December 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The way the genders misunderstand one another

So funny!

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November 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The overlap of anti-intellectualism and anti-credentialism

During the eras when I was part of a business that was doing well, and I was the one doing the hiring, I tended to ignore people’s school accomplishments, and I insisted on looking at actual projects they had done. So in that sense, I’m anti-credentialist. But I’m unwilling to declare loyalty to that movement, for reasons I’ll explain.

By way of digression, I’ll admit that some credentialists also pretend to be anti-intellectual. I’ve noticed this especially in British politics ...

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November 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why we argue

Interesting:

I could try to spin an ev-psych just-so story about tribal status, intellectual dominance hierarchies, ingroup-outgroup signaling, and whatnot, but I’m not an evolutionary psychologist, so I wouldn’t actually know what I was doing, and the details don’t matter anyway. What matters is that this urge seems to be hardware, and it probably has nothing to do with actual truth or your strategic concerns.

It seems to happen to everyone who has ideas. Social justice types get frustrated with people ...

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November 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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At what point do accusations of sexual harassment become a witch hunt?

Interesting:

“I love Louis C.K. and that was really, obviously just a fucking hard thing to see happen to somebody,” Burr said on his podcast earlier this week. “He was 100 percent wrong, he did own up to it. And I think he will definitely be back, I will say that.” Burr engaged in familiar rhetoric, a reference “witch hunts” and appealing to “due process.” “This kind of seems like it’s become…it doesn’t make a difference if it’s sexual misconduct, all ...

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November 16th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Arianna Huffington allowed sexism to thrive at HuffingtonPost

Interesting:

Huffington’s well-documented history of fostering a toxic work culture, and failing to address inappropriate behavior from a “brilliant jerk” in her own midst, calls into question the sincerity behind her pledge to help bring positive change to Uber’s culture. Most notably, her history with a former managing editor whose “transfer” to launch HuffPost India was later revealed to be result of an HR investigation into whether he had sexually harassed multiple young women in the New York office. Gizmodo recently ...

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November 15th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Has the Walking Dead always been a terrible show?

We’ve gotten used to the fact that the quality of shows is getting better. Budgets are going up. There is stuff like Mad Men and Black Sails and Girls and Veep. Big epic stuff. I vaguely had the idea that The Walking Dead was supposed to be in the same league as those other shows.

I’ve only seen 3 or 4 episodes of The Walking Dead, and that was years ago. I’m not especially into zombie movies, but some of ...

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November 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Can the German focus on human dignity reign in Facebook?

Interesting:

Unlike in the United States, freedom of speech is “not the most important civil right” in Germany, the digital-rights activist Markus Beckedahl told me. Article Five of the German constitution, which governs the right to freedom of expression, explicitly protects freedom of opinion, a narrower category than freedom of speech writ large. Instead, Article One of Germany’s postwar constitution instructs, “Human dignity shall be inviolable.” This notion “means you are not allowed to claim false things about me, because it ...

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November 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Megan Fox’s ordeal in Hollywood

This is a good essay though it looks at the problem of sexism and Megan Fox in narrow American terms. What occurs to me is how unearned the USA dominance of international film is. Does America deserve to be the nation that can export it’s movies? Would the world be better off if other nations held more of the export market? I agree with the criticism in this essay, though they don’t challenge the dominance of English, which is my ...

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November 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Voltaire was the first in the West to see Buddha as a historic figure

Interesting:

Voltaire’s assent here to the theology of the crucifixion would seem at odds with his often rude remarks about Christianity. However, what is perhaps of greater interest is Voltaire’s prescience in his comments about the Buddha. It would not be until well into the nineteenth century that European scholars, all sons of the Enlightenment, sought to turn the founders of religions from gods into men, to separate their precepts from church doctrine. For Jesus and the Buddha, this transformation entailed ...

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November 13th, 2017

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A young woman lies about her gender and age so she can write about sports

Sad for everyone she hurt (but I do get why a 13 year old was worried that they wouldn’t be taken seriously, and I’m sympathetic about the fact that being a teenager means being immature and doing things that you later regret):

Schultz’s fraud was as true to the catfish genre as can be. She told the people who discovered she was not who she said she was that she assumed the identity because she felt as if she couldn’t write ...

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November 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Things that mean a lot to me but I will never mention

Every relationship has an unstated list:

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November 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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All governments are theocracies?

Charlie Stross writes:

Justice-as-religion implies a seat of absolute authority from which judgements may be passed—naively, a God (or goddess, or symbol) of justice. (In reality, it’s a shared human cognitive process: the natural non-human world has no justice mechanism. But human-centric processes are, well, human-centric.)

…Governments embody mechanisms for creating and enforcing laws. It follows that all governments are theocracies.

He seems to be confusing his metaphor for reality. After all, where something comes from is interesting, but doesn’t tell you where ...

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November 12th, 2017

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If you’re going to have a life or a steady income, you know, you need to get out of here

Interesting:

Baxter, who once backed Obama, voted for Trump, the first time he had ever voted Republican. “I liked [Obama’s] message of hope, but he didn’t bring any jobs in … Trump said he was going to make America great. And I figured: ‘That’s what we need. We need somebody like that to change it.’”

Over at the century-old Coney Island Lunch, this once-bustling institution famous for its chilli dogs and sundowners is virtually empty. “A lot of people have left town,” ...

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November 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Manorialism gave us nuclear families and a push towards modern civic engagement

Interesting:

manorialism is important for at least two reasons — and probably many more that i haven’t thought about. firstly, the whole system was based on nuclear families. in the bipartite manor system, peasants or serfs or whomever (depending on time and place in western europe) lived on and managed their own farms (let out to them by the manor owner) and also worked on the manor or paid rent to the manor. extended families very much did not fit ...

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November 9th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The real meaning of disrespectful jokes about one’s spouse

Interesting:

The problem is, it’s not a joke for everyone. It’s one of those insidious things that hits some people as “ha ha, yeah, I kid about him being a manchild, but really we talk stuff out,” and hits others as “so I see, husbands are supposed to be irresponsible and you’re supposed to berate them for it.” Even though Rowdy’s brother-in-law wasn’t really coercing his wife into a major responsibility she didn’t want, he was cheerfully playing ...

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November 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Writers who make money from misogyny

This is really gross:

Ames also had a column called “Whore-R stories,” in which he claims he slept with sex workers and wrote about his experiences, presented as non-fictional accounts. The column was sometimes accompanied by photos of the women, details about their bodies, their performances, and their personalities. (The column is a favorite among some Men’s Rights Activists). The paper also ran club reviews written by a fictional misogynistic character, Johnny Chen, that ranked clubs based on three criteria, including ...

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October 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kelly Faircloth on the importance of romance

If I was feeling cynical I might start this post with something like “Regarding fiction, women only read about silly things, such as romance and relationships, stuff that isn’t part of anyone’s real life, whereas men like to read about practical subjects, such as how to single-handedly disarm three Islamic terrorists while one is handcuffed and blindfolded, or how to ambush an alien of the Kree-na race of inter-dimensional beings, despite the fact that they can see the future and ...

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October 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Nicole Krauss on the struggle for authority for women

Interesting:

Born into a liberal family, in a relatively liberal country, and having received an excellent education, there was still never a time as a young woman that I wrote a page (let alone spilled out 500) without the understanding that it better scale some invisible mark, proving the worth and seriousness of the mind it came from, if it was ever going to deserve to be the work of an author, with the right to increase, originate, invent or ...

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October 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Friendly, intelligent flash cards?

I’m curious about Anki. I’m not sure why I’d ever need more than a small paper notebook, about the size of index cards? I suppose Anki is easier to carry, as it could live on my phone I guess? But writing things into the paper notebook helps me remember those things.

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October 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Adam Johnson doesn’t get statistics

Here is bizarre post by Adam Johnson in which he tries to prove that a fictional “Mary” is more likely to be a bank teller than a bank teller and a feminist. He’s trying to make a point about sets and subsets. If his intro consisted only of the first sentence I just wrote, he would be correct. But he destroys his own argument with this intro:

She is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She studied philosophy. As ...

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October 26th, 2017

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The fascist gays

Interesting:

In all that time, he says, he’s never seen so many LGBT people “so emphatically vocal” about their conservative pride as they are now. “Many more LGBT individuals that I know are comfortable shouting their political affiliation from the rooftops.” Angelo also states that “over the course of course of 2016 and 2017 there has been a noticeable swell in grassroots support for LCR, a spike in membership, and a spike in social media followers.”

Not all gay conservatives are coming ...

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October 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Fine tuning gradients and Random Forests

Interesting:

It is important that the weak learners have skill but remain weak.

There are a number of ways that the trees can be constrained.

A good general heuristic is that the more constrained tree creation is, the more trees you will need in the model, and the reverse, where less constrained individual trees, the fewer trees that will be required.

Below are some constraints that can be imposed on the construction of decision trees:

Number of trees, generally adding more trees to the ...

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October 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The importance of text knowledge versus movie knowledge

I don’t think this is entirely correct, as it gives too much importance to book learning, but it is certainly an important thing to keep in mind:

At first, the Internet seemed to push against this trend. When it emerged towards the end of the 80s as a purely text-based medium, it was seen as a tool to pursue knowledge, not pleasure. Reason and thought were most valued in this garden—all derived from the project of Enlightenment. Universities around the ...

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October 24th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Walking Dead only worked as a metaphor for the Great Recession

When science fiction becomes very popular, it is typically because it can be read as a metaphor for current events. The 1950s “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” worked as a metaphor for Communism. The early 1970s Planet Of The Apes worked as a metaphor for how whites felt about race relations in the USA. In counter-point, Star Trek was an endless series of metaphors about the increasingly multicultural society that people found themselves living in.

The Walking Dead started in ...

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October 24th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The revival of dead fantasy subcultures

During the 1980s I played Dungeon and Dragons and also I read comic books. I was into the X-Men especially. Both of these subcultures were dying. Comic books died completely, as a business: both Marvel and DC declared bankruptcy. Comic books had once been a thriving business, but they died out. When I was a little kid, of say 9 years old, every 7-11 and convenience store had comic books. You could buy them everywhere. They were not exactly a ...

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October 24th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Does Bernie Sanders hate women?

Strongly stated and no doubt strongly felt. This conflict, in the abstract, has not changed much during the last 100 years. Since the 1960s we’ve referred to this as a conflict between the New Left and Old Left. But the conflict goes back further. As far as I know, the first person to talk about this conflict was Max Eastman, back during the 1920s, when he was an editor at The New Masses. He pointed out that there was ...

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October 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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We are all a bit slow to realize when we need therapy

Oddly written, but I think this is true for most of us:

That’s really weird to think about, and one of the major revelations I had with all this. It was that therapy can actually work. It sounds stupid to type it aloud right now — that’s kind of the reason I’m writing this whole damn article for you, because I’m absolutely not alone here — but I always thought therapy was for other people. Fuck, I told many, many ...

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October 23rd, 2017

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Brain chemistry is craziness

Interesting:

But that’s me. Part of what I found interesting, at least now that I’m on the other side of things, is that brains are completely fucking bonkers. We know a few things, but basically everything is still hella confusing and depends a lot on your particular brain chemistry. For me, I was on the far end of melancholic depression, which means a lack of movement in mood: I was always feeling pretty down, always feeling like my feet were cement. ...

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October 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Scathing review of the NYT review of romance

Interesting:

But then there’s the editorial content, written by Robert Gottlieb, former publisher at S&S and Knopf, and former editor of The New Yorker.

And honestly, it’s better for everyone if you don’t read that editorial content.

Take your glasses off, maybe. Let it be blurry, and look at the images and the names in bold.

There are so many things wrong with Mr. Gottlieb’s write up, I might run out of room on the whole entire internet accounting for them all. And if ...

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October 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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How to create a new drink

I love the way they just brainstormed and came up with something completely original. Interesting:

‘’What are we going to do about this bloody Irish brief?” I asked, testily, challenging my business partner Hugh to feel some pressure. I was annoyed by his ability to take things a great deal more calmly than I ever did. We’d only been in business together for a month and that alone, I thought, warranted a greater sense of urgency. We had families to support.

“What ...

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October 15th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Fictions regarding software development

Two good comments both true:

There is an insider story about how these methodologies comes about. So there are few groups of people whose sole job is to do consulting on failed/late/over budget projects. Mind you, they don’t write code but rather they observe how things are going and then prescribe process/management improvements (McKinsey style). Once in a while, these folks bump in to terrible projects and whatever they prescribed sometime works like a charm. In that case, they take that ...

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October 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Mitchell Sunderland has been fired from Vice

Apparently Mitchell Sunderland was feeding stories to far-right white supremacist sites such as Brietbart. Yet Sunderland was working at a progressive site. The revelation brought up the question of whether he was being honest in his main work. He does not seem to me very well suited to his main job at Vice.

Vice has cut ties with a senior writer from its feminist vertical Broadly after a BuzzFeed report revealed that the writer pitched story ideas to then-Breitbart writer ...

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September 30th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Current math notation is the enemy of civilization

Alfred North Whitehead said:

By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race.

So consider that most math is completely incomprehensible unless it is accompanied with a long description, written in the vernacular. Most blocks of math look exactly the same, even though some refer to tensors, others to the complex plane, others to manifolds, others to sets or rings ...

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September 24th, 2017

In Philosophy

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In contemporary romances, there’s still world building

I like this. The phrase “world building” is associated with fantasy stories such as Game Of Thrones, but really, all stories need world building. To think that a story doesn’t need world building because it is set in contemporary times is to give too much status to writing about contemporary times, when in fact writing about contemporary times should simply be seen as a genre like any other.

Another thing I thought was cool was how it felt like the ...

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September 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Shopkeepers normally refuse to say what she bought

This bit says a lot about the German emphasis on privacy:

Merkel’s home life with her second husband Joachim Sauer is also fiercely private—and has been presented as so humdrum it doesn’t merit any attention. Sauer, whom she married in 1998, is a professor of physical and theoretical chemistry who works at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Merkel likes to bake at home and is occasionally snapped in local Berlin supermarkets. Locals leave her in peace, shopkeepers normally refuse to ...

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September 22nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Games that can never be played

It’s an interesting take on what a culture produces, when it produces games that can not be played:

The thick, black-and-white rulebook packaged with every copy of the 1979 war-game The Campaign For North Africa is full of obtuse decrees, but the tabletop community always had a special appreciation for entry 52.6 – affectionately known as the “macaroni rule.” The Italian troops in World War II were outfitted with noodle rations, and in the name of historical dogma, the player responsible ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Thoughts about worker democracy

I suspect that worker-owned businesses can be made to work well, if we can reject populist ideas about how a democratic organization should work. Basically, the workers need to reject the kind of rhetoric associated with Thomas Jefferson. Consider the cruelty of the world that Jefferson promoted, a world of slavery and wealthy slave owners. All of that needs to be rejected. Jefferson’s rhetoric is useful for defending the kind of freedom that allowed him to rape a 15 ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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In the third season of Gossip Girl, Chuck sells Blair to his uncle in exchange for ownership of a hotel

I used to date a woman who loved the early version of this show, when it was fun and when it had a heart. I watched most of the first season with her. Apparently after I stopped watching, the show took what I would describe as a dark turn, though many fans loved the new direction.

In the third season of Gossip Girl, Chuck sells Blair to his uncle in exchange for ownership of a hotel. The exchange is explicit ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Sexual selection and novelty

There is a whole lot of good books coming out about Darwin. The Times gives the longest treatment to the one that focuses on sexual selection. Richard Dawkins apparently makes an idiot of himself again. He was on the cutting edge in 1976, when he wrote The Selfish Gene. Have you read it? It’s a great book. It’s really more about game theory than genes, or perhaps I should say it is about applying game theory to genes. He’s got ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Obviously pesticides are bad for the environment

My mom bought Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring as soon as it came out, and my mom has been an ardent environmentalist ever since, so perhaps I’ve been hearing about this issue longer than most, but still, I hope this is just common sense. We create chemicals whose specific purpose is to disrupt a part of the eco-system: kill bugs. That is not a side effect, that is the intended effect. Then we produce millions of tons of the ...

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September 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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The illness warping politics in the English speaking countries

Politics in the USA are crazy, and they are also crazy in Britain. Something terrible has happened in the English speaking countries, that the political system has broken down to this extent. The fact that the British government seems so uncertain about how to proceed with Brexit suggests a broken political coalition.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has issued a fresh warning that Britain must “settle the accounts” and speed up the pace of negotiations if it wants a free ...

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September 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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29 October 1613: the invention of white people

Interesting:

The Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton invented the concept of ‘white people’ on 29 October 1613, the date that his play The Triumphs of Truth was first performed. The phrase was first uttered by the character of an African king who looks out upon an English audience and declares: ‘I see amazement set upon the faces/Of these white people, wond’rings and strange gazes.’ As far as I, and others, have been able to tell, Middleton’s play is the earliest printed example ...

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September 17th, 2017

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The true history of Eastern Europe does not get told

Perhaps because I dated a woman from Poland, this jumped out at me as very true. In place like Poland, what would explain people’s nostalgia for Communism, except that they have a lot of happy memories of those times?

This writer is recalling Yugoslavia:

But reading other books, and especially the highly acclaimed Tony Judt, I realized that the discomfort went further. In a deluge of literature that was written or published after the end of the Cold War, I ...

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September 17th, 2017

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Human misery in adulthood

People are increasingly miserable in adulthood. Presumably this is partly the stress of raising children? It would be interesting to see the chart of people who do not want, and don’t have, children.

Overall, we think there is a great deal of evidence – though we have critics, especially among a small group of social psychologists – that humans experience a midlife psychological ‘low’. The midlife decline in wellbeing is apparently substantial and not minor (see the notes below each figure, ...

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September 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Artificial Intelligence at the NYU incubator at Varick Street

Interesting:

NYU Tandon School of Engineering is making a power play into the artificial intelligence space by doing something that no university has done before, according to dean Katepalli Sreenivasan: partner with a venture capital firm to launch an accelerator.

On Wednesday morning, at NYU Tandon’s Data Future Lab incubator on Varick Street in SoHo, Sreenivasan announced the launch of the AI NexusLab, a four-month program for AI startups. The accelerator will be jointly run by the Downtown Brooklyn-based engineering school, though ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Escaping the cool girl stereotype

Interesting:

Gone Girl (the book at least, not so much the movie), brought the “cool girl” character into the public conversation with its spot-on monologue rant of a description:

Gillian Flynn wrote, from the voice of Amy Dunn, “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The unrealism of shows about the media

Interesting:

Initially, The Bold Type fell into this same trap of depicting what those working at Hearst would probably like people to think such an environment is like rather than what it truly is like. “When she took over the magazine, she shifted the focus,” social media editor Kat explains of Jacqueline to a skeptical potential interview subject in the magazine. It’s a set of lines that sounds like it was directly pulled from any one of the profiles published about ...

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September 10th, 2017

In Philosophy

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I was surprised at how slow much of Game Of Thrones is

I was sick for a week, so I finally got around to watching Game Of Thrones. I was surprised by several things.

1.) The show is very boring for a long time. Nothing of interest happens during the first 3 episodes. In episode 4, Mrs. Stark arrests Tyrion Lannister, setting off a war between the Starks and the Lannisters.

2.) The first two seasons are fairly boring. If I hadn’t been sick, I would not have stuck with the show. ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Not fair to the wife?

John Washam seems like a good person and I wish him every happiness in the world. Certainly we can all hope that he has an excellent career at a job he enjoys, while also enjoying the love of those who are most dear to him. All the same, I read his blog and I am a bit amazed at the things he writes. We are of a similar age, and we’ve had similar careers, and he seems of a similar ...

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September 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Passport control when a child’s last name is different from a parent

An interesting story:

Siddiq was returning from a family holiday in France with her husband, Chris Percy, and their 18-month-old daughter, Azalea, when she was separated from Percy and permitted to go through the fast-track queue to board the Eurostar with her pushchair.

Though she exited French border control without any issue, Siddiq was stopped at the UK border immediately before boarding the train.

“My daughter looks quite different to me, she looks like her dad,” she said. “At the UK border the ...

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August 12th, 2017

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An incredibly sad day

I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia for most of the stretch from 2000 to 2009. Most of the my friends still live there. I’ve reached out to all of them hoping they are safe. It’s been a rough day for all of them. One was on the Downtown Mall and saw the Nazi terrorist when he drove his car into the crowd, murdering one person and injuring a dozen more. Another friend started the day at Church, praying for peace, then ...

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August 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Another reason I like working at small startups

Some days it is great to go to the office and talk things over, in person, with my co-workers. Other days it is important that I can be alone, focused on the computer code, the algorithm, talking to no one. On these days, it is best if I work from home.

What is the correct balance of working from home versus working from the office? It varies.

How much do medium-sized, and large-sized, corporations allow variance in attitudes towards working ...

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August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The simplicity of Japanese grammar

This looks great. I’ll buy this soon.

Source

August 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Modern dating problems

A list of dating problems that nobody had 25 years ago. Some of these were stupid but I liked these 3:

1. Accidentally swiping left on “the one”. Your mom has probably never experienced that moment of intense regret after an unintentional slip of the finger on a photo of a guy who may or may not be Zac Efron’s secret clone. (She’s probably never accidentally matched with a total creep either, and eternally wondered whether he saw her before she ...

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August 5th, 2017

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How to find the worst people in your company

Al Capone stole, bribed, tortured and killed, but was sent to prison for tax evasion. Likewise, sexual harrassement might be a clue that teaches you something about a person — they might be engaging in other criminal behavior. This is interesting:

Organizations that understand the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment have an advantage: they know that reports or rumors of sexual misconduct are a sign they need to investigate for other incidents of misconduct, sexual or otherwise. Sometimes sexual misconduct ...

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August 5th, 2017

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Creativity, Psychopathology, and Emotion Processing: A Liberal Response Bias for Remembering Negative Information is Associated with Higher Creativity

Interesting:

The results of the study found that self-reported high creative achievement levels and better performance on divergent thinking tasks (indicators of a creative individual) were associated with greater sensitivity to positive words and a more liberal response bias for negative words (which indicates an even greater sensitivity to negative words). So in conclusion, more creative individuals were shown to be more sensitive to positive information and especially sensitive to negative information in comparison to less creative individuals. These results indicate ...

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August 4th, 2017

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How to greet people? Handshakes versus hugs versus kisses

A long and interesting bit about gendered professional etiquette in the USA. It is curious that this should seem so hard in the USA. In Europe there is a cacophony of rules regarding kissing — in Poland they kiss twice, in France they kiss three times, in Germany people just shake hands, and everyone feels the culture of California, which encourages hugging — yet Europe seems to have muddled through to some rough consensus about how people should great ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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USA feminists who went to the Soviet Union

Interesting:

Julia L. Mickenberg: But the particular appeal to women is something that nobody had talked about. And the fact that all these things that were happening right after the revolution that put women on equal footing with men were something that American women—particularly American women who were interested in everything from equal rights to better employment job opportunities to more relationships based on women being on equal footing with men in relationships—were interested in. Right after the revolution, within the first ...

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August 4th, 2017

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The end of the era of free-market rhetoric

All of the Western nations began to shift to the right during the mid 1960s, and they’ve been shifting further and further to the right ever since. But perhaps that trend has come to an end? With the rise of Trump, and Labour again having a real Leftist for a leader, there are fewer voices arguing for free markets.

In the early years of the 21st century, the inevitability of an ever more competitive, deregulated, internationally orientated market economy, to ...

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August 4th, 2017

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First desire as a betrayal

Dan Savage, talking about our first desires. Interesting:

I think that a certain sex negativity is hard-wired into the human experience. When you’re told about sex before puberty you’re just appalled: Why would anyone do such a thing? And along comes puberty and the thing that you swore when you were 7 years old you would never do, ’cause that’s so gross, and before long, you’re drafted into this army that you never wanted to serve in. And I think that ...

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August 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Peer review is strong

The title of this essay is “the collapse of peer review” which is a bit of an exaggeration. In the moder era, peer review is very strong.

I would argue the opposite, we live in a world where specialization continues to advance, and that specialization should open the door to polyglot behavior in creating new knowledge. There needs to be more space for researchers to publish half-done research. Personal blogs can be good for this. There needs to be a ...

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August 4th, 2017

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PACZKI or PĄCZKI?

I’m struggling to learn Polish. I love this story:

This weekend my family was doing a bookstore event related to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. One of the movie’s characters, Jacob Kowalski, dreams of becoming a baker, and arrives to a bank appointment with a suitcase full of Polish confections, including pączki, a sort of Polish jelly donut. My wife wanted to serve these at the event.

The little tail on the ą in pączki is a diacritical mark called ...

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July 14th, 2017

In Philosophy

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An absolute regression for women in the public eye

Interesting:

This does not get round the central point of what Cooper was saying, though. She was talking about the misogyny that is aimed at women of all political persuasions. She did not, she said, want to see the severed head of Theresa May carried at demonstrations. The linking of social media abuse to actual violence is pertinent, and after the murder of Jo Cox, it’s all too real.

The online surveillance of women’s images alongside the silencing of their voices is ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Venture Capitalist resigns after confessing to be creep and being accused of assault

I have to think that men who do this well don’t realize how lucky they are, and they don’t realize how much they are throwing something very important. They were trusted and admired, and they threw that away. And they had the power to do good, and yet they decided to perpetuate many of the problems that the industry has been suffering for several decades.

Dave has done a lot for many founders, and people (including me) are grateful for ...

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July 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A joke versus physical assault

Thinking about this more, this is really something. A joke provokes nation wide outrage, but actually beating up a woman and kicking her merely brings shrugs.

Our attitude toward Depp’s two crimes — a documented history of abuse that’s met with a shrug on one side, and a tasteless joke about assassination met with mass outrage on the other — mimics our larger cultural attitude toward domestic violence. We generally don’t consider violence against women to be a big deal until ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Woman very hurt by her son’s tattoo

Interesting, as a document recording very strong emotions over something I would think of as minor:

She says, “Tell him how you feel.”

But I can’t. For a start, I know I’m being completely unreasonable. This level of grief is absurd. He’s not dying, he hasn’t killed anyone, he hasn’t volunteered to fight on behalf of a military dictatorship. But I feel as though a knife is twisting in my guts.

I get angry with myself. This is nothing but snobbery, I think ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Word2Vec Evaluating Embeddings: Analogical Reasoning

The math in this article is difficult for me, but after reading it a few times I think I get the gist of how Word2Vec works:

Evaluating Embeddings: Analogical Reasoning

Embeddings are useful for a wide variety of prediction tasks in NLP. Short of training a full-blown part-of-speech model or named-entity model, one simple way to evaluate embeddings is to directly use them to predict syntactic and semantic relationships like king is to queen as father is to ?. This is ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Meritocracy hasn’t helped Britain

Interesting:

Decades later, he expressed dismay that Tony Blair had adopted meritocracy as a defining philosophy of the New Labour project, writing in the Guardian: “It is good sense to appoint individual people to jobs on their merit. It is the opposite when those who are judged to have merit of a particular kind harden into a new social class without room in it for others.”

In 2017, meritocracy is still central to political conceptions of fairness and social justice. While ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Is a declining birth rate a bad thing?

My mom’s mom’s mom (my great grandmother) had 16 children, mostly during the late 1800s. Nowadays women have fewer children. Is this a bad thing? I know a great many women who did not want to have kids but were pressured into it. At the same time, the government could do more to get money to those women who want to have more kids. I can’t see how the downward trend is worrisome, except where it represents a woman who ...

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July 8th, 2017

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An honest novel about the fantasy life of a shy introvert

Interesting:

The novel’s “plot” goes like this: wryly observant, unconventional Selin has a deep, abiding crush on Ivan, her email pen pal and partner in philosophical and linguistic ruminations. He seems not uninterested, either: they meet in class, they write long emails soliloquizing about their own concerns, and they walk around Cambridge, and walk, and talk. He introduces her to beer, which she doesn’t like at all. Though she grows to love him deeply, he never seduces her—not at Harvard and ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Kara Brown is leaving Jezebel

I also write to try to put meaning into my experiences, and to be paid to do so sounds wonderful. This sounds like a charmed life:

Like many obnoxious teenagers who will go on to procrastinate through English degrees in college, I suffered a heavy Albert Camus phase in high school after reading The Stranger. During times of upheaval and significantly less traumatic change in my life, I find myself returning to the pattern of thought found in his work. Most ...

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July 8th, 2017

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Women in tech in the early days of tech

My mom studied computer programming during the 1970s and her professor was female. And women getting advanced degree in computer science peaked in the USA in the late 1980s. So I’m under the impression that the industry was more open to women in its early days than it is now, especially relative to other professions such as medicine (almost 50% of new doctors are female in the USA).

Interesting:

What was it like being on campus with so few other women ...

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July 8th, 2017

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President Trump is having a negative effect on children

Worrisome:

BuzzFeed has an extensively reported piece on more than 50 incidents across the country of children and teens from kindergarten through 12th grade hurling racist invective at their classmates of color—an occurrence not unique to the Trump era but increased because of it—as reported by school districts to ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project. In each of those incidents, Trump’s name was invoked, whether in the context of how his presidency will change the circumstance of the student of color—“You’re going ...

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July 3rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Tracy Chapman’s website does not work for me in Google Chrome

If I go here:

http://www.tracychapman.com/

I see:

I’ve got both Javascript and Flash enabled. I don’t know why the site fails for me. But then, it is not my job to figure that out.

Source

July 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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We ate at Khe Yo and we loved it

It’s an unusual place. The food is from Laos. It’s an Asian cuisine, but a bit different. We loved it.

Source

July 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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The backlash against gay rights

Interesting:

The problem with many Christians in politics is that they seem to be interested only in sex: gay sex, adulterous sex, sex that results in unwanted pregnancy. If they could spend even a proportion of their time thinking about anything else in the Bible – crops, markets, usury, justice, fish – they’d be so much easier to live with.

In our own parliament, however much we might abhor the self-satisfied bigotry of the DUP, we’re far more exercised about the ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Far right extremists show a surprising degree of international cooperation

Considering how much hate was directed at the Poles during the debate over Brexit, it is a bit odd that a Polish nationalist would come to Britain to work in harmony with other right wing extremists, who, in theory, hate his guts. But apparently they hate other people (muslims, non-whites, women) even more, so they work together in harmony.

Międlar was accused last year of calling Jews a “cancer” that had “swept Poland” during an address to a rally in ...

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June 29th, 2017

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The politics of Bruce Springsteen

What sort of insane right-wing extremist do you need to be that when you listen to Bruce Springsteen sing about the working class, you decide that he is anti-American?

Like so many baby boomers drifting along as the culture has moved further and further Left in recent decades, Springsteen has become more and more liberal. The tough yet sensitive poet who played the rock and roll clubs of Asbury Park in the 1960s and 1970s, sleeping with women and dealing with ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Defending people whom you dislike

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Grace is the face of death

Interesting:

The people actually approaching death used more positive terms and fewer negative ones to describe their emotions than those imagining the experience. In the blog posts—all from real people who eventually died from their disease—emotions grew more positive as death approached. It’s not a perfect study—people with unspeakable regrets or fears may be less inclined to publicly chronicle their final days than those who do not. But there are a few reasons why death may be more terrifying as a ...

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June 29th, 2017

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What we think of as pirates is a reality that last maybe 20 years

When thinking of pirates, most people will think of movies like Pirates Of The Caribbean or Black Sails, which portray the Atlantic during the early 1700s. But the world has always had pirates, and even in the early modern period, pirates were a varied experience.

One reason piracy was often an act or a phase, and not a way of life, was simply because humans have not evolved to live on the sea. The sea is a hostile place, offering ...

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June 29th, 2017

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Letting women speak

What does it mean that this kind of thing is still happening?

So at this point, after seeing very clearly that she was not going to be given space to speak and in fact having her own theories described to the audience by the moderator, I am in full outrage. My body is actually beginning to shake. The sexism is beyond blatant. It is happening on stage and NO ONE, not a single other physicist or panelist is stepping in to ...

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June 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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When a leader says “I hope you can do this”

This level of dishonesty puts a strain on the liberal checks and balances of USA politics:

James Comey’s testimony before the Senate on June 8 hinged on one key phrase: “I hope you can let this go.” According to the former FBI director, US president Donald Trump used these words to request that he back off a federal investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey interpreted this as a directive, while Trump’s defenders argue that the president was simply expressing ...

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June 29th, 2017

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Punishments for Labour MPs who keep supporting the Remain cause

It seems likely that Labour, being inclusive, will emerge as the party of Remain. But for now, they can not be too obvious about it.

The amendment attracted the support of 101 MPs across different parties, including 49 Labour politicians who defied the leadership. It called for the government not to leave the EU without a deal, to guarantee a parliamentary vote on the final outcome of negotiations, to set in place transitional arrangements, and to “set out proposals to ...

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June 29th, 2017

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Thought leaders are stupid

I love this comment:

I was recently at a conference run by a progressive political think tank. I was surprised and confused by the way some of the speakers discussed AI, “innovation”, entrepreneurship, and technology.

They basically all repeated a number of the same points.

1. AI will be amazing, and will utterly decimate jobs in the future, though it was never clear whether they understood AI technologies or even the economics of automation.

2. Everyone should be trying to become an entrepreneur. ...

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June 29th, 2017

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The frailty of the British Conservative government

It is odd to watch things shake out over the last year. David Cameron called for the Brexit vote, then opposed it, then lost, then resigned. May became Prime Minister and saw Labour fall into disarray. Thinking she had a strong hand she called snap elections. She lost her majority. Desperate to stay in power she seeks a deal with the DUP, whose conservative views on abortion are detested by most political parties. This brings a strong response from the ...

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June 29th, 2017

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The destructive nostalgia for a world without red tape

It’s wonderful to have efficient systems that keep process to the minimum necessary to ensure one’s goals. But much of modern talk about “red tape” is simply nostalgia for a time with less process, even when lack of process lead to outcomes that were unfair:

But red tape is also used to mean the regulation of companies, which may lead to unhelpful confusion. “Red tape is indeed used as a catch-all phrase in a sometimes unthinking manner,” agrees Gillian Tett, ...

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June 29th, 2017

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Another dead Nobel Peace Prize winner

The lack of domestic and international rage is worrisome:

Beijing’s position is clear: China has no dissidents and Liu Xiaobo is a criminal. His offence was to co-author and gather signatures for a landmark call for reforms, though he did not initiate it and was seized before it was released. Though Charter 08 mostly called for the Communist party to uphold commitments made in its own constitution it was a coherent and forthright challenge to the party’s rule, calling for peaceful ...

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June 29th, 2017

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Police kill 17 year old when they try to shoot a dog

Another case where the police seem far too casual about using guns even when civilians are near:

Genevie Escobar, a 17-year-old best friend of Garcia-Muro, said he was at a friend’s house during the incident. She said she struggled to understand why police decided to fire at the dog.

“Why couldn’t they tase the dog? Why did they have to shoot him?” said Escobar, Barron’s daughter. “The cops should have handled this in a totally different way.”

Garcia-Muro was looking forward to graduating ...

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June 29th, 2017

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What does it mean to have a President who engages in such open gender based stereotyping?

Worrisome:

On the phone with Ireland’s newly elected prime minister, Caitriona Perry caught his eye, among the Irish press corp standing by. “We have all this beautiful Irish press. Where are you from?” said the president from his seat in the oval office, pointing at Perry, Washington correspondent for Ireland’s RTE. Curling his finger with a beckoning look, he told Perry to “come on over” to his desk, and asked where she’s from. She answered respectfully, if meekly. Then, in ...

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June 6th, 2017

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The difference between societies that collapse under the weight of stupid citizens versus those who transcend them are the makeup of the non-stupid

Funny and interesting:

Law 4: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril. This brings us to the fifth and final law:

Law 5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

And its corollary:

A stupid person ...

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June 6th, 2017

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The Atlas of Lie Groups

Interesting:

Adams is is the leader of a cutting-edge mathematical research project called the Atlas of Lie Groups and Representations. Lie groups are named after Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie (rhymes with “free,” not “fry”), who studied these crucial mathematical objects. Lie groups are used to map the inner machinery of multidimensional symmetrical objects, and they’re important because symmetry underpins far-flung mathematical concepts, from a third-grade number line to many-dimensional string theory. The Atlas project is a bona fide atlas of these ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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In the USA, women in their 30s are having more kids than women in their 20s

The Baby Boom peaked in 1958. This was also the peak year of teen pregnancy in the USA. Young birth hit its all time peak that year, at a rate above anything known in the 1800s or early 1900s. Since then, women have been having children at older and older ages. And now this:

That’s according to the Associated Press, reporting on some preliminary new stats from the CDC which says that in 2016, it was 103 births per 100,000 ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The sheer phoniness of Prime Minister May

Interesting:

Then the camera shows a middle-aged woman at a desk, sipping coffee and reading a paper. She is glimpsed from an oblique angle. Her face isn’t clear but the viewer knows her name. She is the most famous politician in the country, and the message is obvious: while you start your day she is already hard at work, safeguarding the future – strong and stable.

The woman in the video is Angela Merkel and the film is a highly effective advertisement ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How does Facebook undermine the open web?

Interesting:

I’ve made exceptions a handful of times over the years, but as a general rule I refuse to link to anything on Facebook either, for the same reasons as Dave. Last week I linked to screenshots of a Facebook post to avoid linking to the original. The original post by Marc Haynes was public, which I know because I do not have a Facebook account, but here’s what it looks like for me without being a Facebook user — a ...

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June 5th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The odd politics and self-inflicted injuries of Labour

Interesting:

Each of Labour’s winners prevailed because they had established sufficient credibility with the country to make Tory attacks seem wild and silly. They put their credibility into the service of a narrative of national renewal that resonated with a critical mass of the electorate. Attlee’s compelling pitch – “now let’s win the peace” – was about building a Britain worthy of the collective sacrifices made in wartime. Wilson, updating what it meant to be on the left of the spectrum ...

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June 5th, 2017

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Australia is complacent

Interesting:

Success bred complacency. The old policymaker’s adage has been proved anew: “Good times make bad policy.”

By late Howard years, ambition and rigour were lost and spending grew wanton.

Budget night came to resemble “Christmas night in the pirates’ cave” in the words of the former Treasury budget examiner Stephen Anthony, as the government lavished handouts and tax cuts in the forlorn hope that it could win the people’s gratitude.

The former Treasury secretary Ken Henry, who served Keating and Costello, ...

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June 2nd, 2017

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The new kind of society writing is done by oneself, about oneself

This is an interesting example of our changing mores.

Did she wear many different looks?

Yes, she did. A Missoni turban was involved in “the perfect pool look for me to greet my guests in”; later, she wore a custom Cucculelli Shaheen emblazoned with “secret symbols, the constellations of our two astrological signs colliding together, our initials, and the date of our wedding night embroidered into it,” a customized lace robe for the after-wedding brunch, a Naeem Khan cape that was “an ...

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June 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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A suicide letter posted to Github

Very sad:

There is a lot here to talk about, but I will start with something trivial: that he made two commits to the repo.

In the second commit, he adds a photo:

https://github.com/yeukhon/suicide/commit/eddf98b9f3f4676b114680326314d98d8a395a0f

I feel like some day sociologists and historians will write of this era, and I hope details like this are remembered. It says something about how fully we live technological lives now, that a person might make multiple commits to a suicide note.

In fact, he might have made many commits ...

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June 1st, 2017

In Philosophy

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There is no tax bill in Congress

I think the complete lack of knowing any facts is the part that history teachers will have difficulty explaining to children:

Perhaps the most telling thing President Trump said in his rambling justification of his decision to pull out of the Paris accords on climate change wasn’t about climate change at all. It was, rather, about the speedy advance of his administration’s tax bill in the United States Congress.

-@POTUS: “Our tax bill is moving along in Congress and I believe ...

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May 31st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Get out if you don’t like free speech!

This guy just murdered two people. Apparently that’s okay, because his right to free speech gives him the right to kill people.

As Christian walked into the courtroom he yelled out: “Free speech or die, Portland! You got no safe place. This is America. Get out if you don’t like free speech!

Standing behind glass partitions in the defendant’s area, he continued: “Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Death to Antifa! You call ...

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May 30th, 2017

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The Book Of Joan sounds good

I’ve put this on my list of things to read: (this also makes me want to reread Dune).

Herbert’s hero, as emperor of Dune, was a godlike figure with uncanny abilities who embodied both immense capacity for destruction and a chance for renewal, if only he could overcome the temptations inherent in his powers. Although de Men in some ways exemplifies the same struggle, Joan must confront the implications of her powers as well, a reminder that our ecosystems ...

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May 30th, 2017

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Cop jails black woman for passing him while driving

Sad that this still happens in the year 2017:

The incident, which took place May 20, began when Ponder found herself traveling behind a dangerous driver. Acting as any responsible driver would, Ponder signaled, maneuvered around the driver and continued traveling to her destination.

The driver—who had abruptly stopped several times, drifted in and out of lanes, and accelerated suddenly with no provocation, according to Ponder’s attorney, Lee Merritt—turned out to be Crews’ 14-year-old daughter.

Merritt explained what happened next in a Facebook ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Angry man wears a Make America Great Again hat

It is curious how many people wearing hats that say “Make America Great Again” seem to assume that making America great again means establishing a society where they can do whatever the hell they way.

The apparently entitled man took an aisle seat three rows ahead of her and refused to let anyone sit next to him, she said.

In video taken by Zimmerman, the man is seen with his hands folded behind his head and his feet propped up ...

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May 27th, 2017

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British humor in the face of tragedy

This is some daring humor, in the face of tragic loss:

The next day, Mariah Carey had posted a picture of Martyn in a Mariah Carey T-shirt, accompanied by a devastated quote about the death of a member of her fandom. His brother’s response was one of those jokes that makes you gasp and laugh at the same time: “I was a little dubious about Martyn’s recent bold social media move,” he deadpanned. “But it worked.”

God, the sheer balls of that. ...

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May 27th, 2017

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There is rhetoric in my writing

I’m reading some of Precious Nonsense by Stephen Booth.

One thing that really jumps out at me is the discussion of this sentence:

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

This sentence has a comma exactly where I would put it, but I know my friend, editor and co-author Natalie Sidner would remove that comma. Why?

The comma is here to indicate ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Also possibly interesting: the accumulation of so much potential and the absolute crushing of it

I’ve added this to my list to read. Interesting:

Watchful, bookish Cat and reckless, alluring Marlena have plenty of literary and pop cultural antecedents, but Buntin, through closely observed detail, makes these two her own. Their attachment is full of lovely teenage-girl things — cherry lip gloss, cut-up T-shirts, hearts drawn on the back of a hand, Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks songs, tossed-off but unforgotten intimacies: “She scrapes a set of fingernails against my kneecap, a small circle that opens ...

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May 27th, 2017

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A heartless book?

This review sounds scathing, although I’m actually interested in reading the book now, because the reviewer concedes it manages to stay stylish despite its flaws:

Here it is again. The voice. The single white woman in New York figuring out her s- – - and drinking too much wine voice. Confessional, casual, brash, tell-it-like-it-is, flawed-yet-familiar, ostentatiously relatable.

Sometimes I feel like we’ve all made some blood pact to call this voice original and brave 20 years since it’s been either. In fact, ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Writing as the answer to life’s problems

This is something I’ll have to think about more:

As most narratives require, soon comes the fall: Levy finds that the things she holds dear to her are not as sturdy as they seemed. Most significant, however, was learning how much you can miss when you think of writing and its process as your ultimate savior: “My job is to interpret, and to communicate my interpretation persuasively to other people,” she writes. “The idea that in life, unlike in writing, the ...

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May 27th, 2017

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The frailty of modern marriage

Interesting:

Jo Piazza’s recent book How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage follows the Eat Pray Love method to the letter, and is animated by the author’s intense anxiety about “failing” at marriage. Piazza is a longtime travel writer, formerly at the helm of Yahoo’s travel vertical, which had her working 80-hour weeks and racking up air miles. The setting for this, her fifth book, reads ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Humans used a paint shop in Ethiopia for 4,500 years

Amazing. This must have been a huge society to support such an active paint shop, especially at the peak. We know that, during the last 2,000 years, migrant societies of Asia often numbered in the millions, but they had the advantage of horses and goats and bison. Without domesticated animals, a migrant society was probably smaller, but perhaps there might have been a few 100,000s in the area of this paint shop when it was at its peak.

45,000 years ago, ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Jupiter is complicated

Interesting:

While Jupiter’s iconic red storm, stripes and girth may loom large in the skies and in our minds, surprisingly little is known about it. Among the many questions Juno set out to answer: Does the gas giant have a solid metal core? Does it have any structure beneath its banded atmosphere, or are its depths well-mixed? How much water lies within its body? And what powers its auroras and its magnetic field?

Now, data from just the first two passes ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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A need for safety keeps the poor near poverty

I think we already knew this;

I’ve written before about how inequality perpetuates itself through differences in confidence: people from rich backgrounds have the chutzpah to blag good jobs for which they are unqualified, whilst those from poorer backgrounds have confidence knocked out of them. However, a new paper by David Chivers suggests there’s another mechanism which can have the same effect – differences in aspirations.

He shows that people who are just above the poverty line are scared to take risks ...

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May 27th, 2017

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What forces exist to promote mutual respect and tolerance?

Interesting:

Organizations and leaders. Organizations like white supremacist clubs and their leaders make deliberate attempts to persuade outsiders to join their beliefs. Leaders make concerted and intelligent attempts to craft messages that will appeal to potential followers, deliberately cultivating the themes of hate and racism that they advocate. Young people are recruited at the street level into groups and clubs that convey hateful symbols and rhetoric. Political entrepreneurs take advantage of the persuasive power of mobilization efforts based on divisiveness ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Talking with my right-wing friends

I know a couple who are fairly right-wing. I like them dearly. They are important to me. They call themselves libertarian. They did not vote for Trump, though their parents and siblings voted for Trump.

I try to avoid talking politics with them, but on the rare occasion when politics comes up, the thing that strikes me most is this: they never ask me what I think, instead, they tell me what I think.

I’m not sure what their ...

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May 27th, 2017

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The strong Grandmother Hypothesis

I was never a hunter, but when I was 20 I loved to explore forests. I’d go into the forest for days, and explore areas where I thought other folks had not been in a while. I was mostly on the east coast of the USA so I did not have to worry too much about bears. When I was out West I had some close calls with bobcats, but I was lucky.

Young men typically go on adventures into ...

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May 27th, 2017

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Very unpleasant people who want a racial or religious war

I’m sick that people write such disgusting things:. And for every person who says something that disgusting in public, there must be a 1,000 who think something similar in private.

The newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins became the subject of a police review after the Manchester bombing on Monday, as questions were raised about the limits the press can go to when reporting the fallout from terrorist attacks.

Hopkins, who is employed by the Mail Online and LBC, was reported to the ...

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May 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Kennedy barely knew his Inaugural Address

I’m watching Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. I guess it’s been many years since the last time I saw it. I love the text of this speech. And I love studying great rhetoric.

But now, watching it again, I’m astonished at how hesitant he is. He keeps looking down at his notes. Yet it’s a short speech. He could have easily memorized it. I would have memorized it. How often do you get sworn in as President of the USA? Anyone ...

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May 27th, 2017

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The context that controls the reading of the Gettysburg Address

“Impregnated during a wild spree” wouldn’t sound correct, but “Conceived in Liberty” can be read that way. The context matters

This seems like an extreme dip into deconstructionism, but I think it can be a lot of fun to remember how slippery words are. The same phrase evokes different images for different people. The title of the work is “Precious Nonsense” which can only be accurate if all text is nonsense, since all text is slippery in the same way, unless ...

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May 26th, 2017

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The rising appeal of religiously motivated punishments

A similar movement is spreading across the USA, where politicians are looking to see how much anti-gay hatred they can create. It’s seems to be a worldwide movement, effecting all of the religions, that these punishments are becoming more popular. Perhaps the curious thing is why politicians feel that the strictest and most narrow interpretations of traditional beliefs might now be the most popular? There have been centuries when homosexuality was treated as a minor sin, and other centuries ...

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May 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The trolls are more common than ever on Hacker News

Someone reasonable asked:

Should someone pay me for not having slaves and not being able to profit from exploiting them because I am a century or two late and missed the good old time when it was not yet an unacceptable practice?

And, in the year 2017, someone wrote:

If you legally acquired them, then yes. The British experience ending slavery was far more humane than the US one.

That is already surprising, but then I wrote this, and I was promptly downvoted:

You ...

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May 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Pro-tip: it’s not a great idea to be incredibly sensitive about how someone asks a question

Someone is a bit sensitive:

Source

May 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Bad ideas end with a sudden cascade

Interesting:

If one person convinces a second, says Blackford, then a third person will be far more likely to agree with the majority view. This effect exponentially increases with each person who agrees with the others. “We soon have a sociological effect whereby everyone knows that, say, a certain movie is very good or very bad, even though everyone might have ‘known’ the exact opposite if only a few early voices had been different,” says Blackford.

The cascade effect can help explain ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Social purity in 1903

What an interesting image:

Now we’ve established that if you, like “A Childless Wife,” have chosen to be child-free, you are empty of soul, selfish and controlled by your basest desires. It is also likely that you are suffering an inflated sense of your value to this world. A Childless Wife also had a rather long whinge about the likelihood that she would die during delivery. She was staunchly against dying. And yes, maternal death would have been a concern ...

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April 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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English is not Latin

This has always been an idiotic rule:

There is a traditional view, first set forth by the 17th-century poet and dramatist John Dryden, that it is incorrect to put a preposition at the end of a sentence, as in where do you come from? or she’s not a writer I’ve ever come across. The rule was formulated on the basis that, since in Latin a preposition cannot come after the word it governs or is linked with, the same should be ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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See something, say something, watch the authorities overreact

This is the result of trying to find policies that force various agencies to act on auto-pilot:

Long story short: A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter was briefly detained on suspicion that he was engaged in sex trafficking. (And not to pile on, but it was a United flight.) Despite papa having her passport, his passport, and a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to ...

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April 23rd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jennifer Jason Leigh talks about Quentin Tarantino

This is a really interesting comment about Hollywood:

What accounts for this comeback you’ve had (1)? Was it a change of management or just good fortune?

I am well over 40. I feel like the door was closed, and I had made my peace with it and I was fine. I worried a little bit about money. “Am I going to work again … Maybe I’ll go more into writing.” But I’m very happy being a mom. I just thought I had ...

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April 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Sowmya Shriraghavan on discrimination in tech

Nicole Nguyen has a piece at Recode that touches on this subject.

In this graph, female enrollment in medical school, law school, and physical sciences goes up and up, while the number of women in computer science flatlines at 1984 and continues to decrease into the 2000s. There was a serious cultural change in the ’80s that pushed women out and set the precedent for the future of engineering.

What’s bizarre about this shift is that many of computer science’s foremost pioneers ...

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April 15th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Gender ideals in sports in Germany before the Nazis

Interesting:

He completed his Ph.D. in 1925, and the following year he dashed to global fame, competing in seventy-six races, achieving four national records, three world records, and beating two reigning Olympic champions. His racing style was brash and incautious, reckless even, relying on his blistering pace on the home straight to seal victory. It mirrored his combative personality; his on-track success was accompanied by stories of frequent confrontations with coaches, teammates, opponents, and the stuffed blazers who ran German athletics ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Anti-gay human rights abuse in Chechnya

Really awful:

At least once a day, Adam’s captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body. If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods.

As they tortured him, the men shouted verbal abuse at him for being gay, and demanded to know the names ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Jack London was his own lawyer and he won

Interesting:

Jack London advocated a different revolution, a Socialist one. The various books, articles, and speeches referred to as his Socialist writings, though now little read in the United States, sold well when first published and have been avidly read all over the world. The Iron Heel, for instance, sold over 50,000 copies in hardback, and Wikipedia lists translations of the novel into thirty-two languages (including Esperanto). According to Alex Kershaw (in his Jack London: A Life), the novel “was…passed ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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English adventurers in the Black Sea just before the First Crusade

This is sort of a precursor to the Crusades, with less of a goal, and more random adventuring:

This sequence of events appears to underlie all four of the sources mentioned above and is moreover supported by contemporary Byzantine sources too, as Jonathan Shepard has convincingly argued.(2) As to the date of this emigration of disgruntled Anglo-Saxon lords and their followers, Christine Fell makes a good case for it having taken place in the mid- to late 1070s, after the death ...

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April 13th, 2017

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Sweden is a nation of introverts

Interesting:

“Swedish culture isn’t exactly known for its extroversion and mingling,” says Sophia Skinbjerg, a 25-year-old Australian-Danish marketeer, who is based in Stockholm. “Connections, whether personal or professional, are often fostered from a very young age. So as a foreign person, it’s very difficult to break through and establish your own network quickly.” Risk avoidance With one of the highest standards of living in the world and a booming start-up scene, Sweden has attracted growing numbers of expats and economic migrants in recent years, ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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When were women active in politics

Measured by how many women testified before Congress, it seems women’s political mobilization peaked in the mid 20th Century:

First, far from retreating from public life in the post-suffrage and postwar decades, women and their organizations were out in force. Working through mass membership federations, to which Theda Skocpol has called our attention, women testified collectively on a wide range of issues including but not limited to foreign policy, affordable housing, children’s well-being, military readiness, public education, tax policy, and immigration. ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The alt-right has always been part of the USA political scene

Interesting:

American historians’ relationship to conservatism itself has a troubled history. Even after Ronald Reagan’s electoral-college landslide in 1980, we paid little attention to the right: The central narrative of America’s political development was still believed to be the rise of the liberal state. But as Newt Gingrich’s right-wing revolutionaries prepared to take over the House of Representatives in 1994, the scholar Alan Brinkley published an essay called “The Problem of American Conservatism” in The American Historical Review. American conservatism, ...

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April 13th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The decline of the public intellectual

Interesting:

If you were a certain sort of ideas-oriented young person coming of age in the 20th century, it was very likely you would give yourself a label and join some movement. You’d call yourself a Marxist, a neoconservative, a Freudian, an existentialist or a New Deal liberal.

There would be certain sacred writers who would explain the world to you — from Jung to Camus, Dewey or Chesterton. There’d probably be a small magazine where the doctrines of your sect ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Manhood in the age of Trump

Interesting:

For some decades now, since I was a child, I’ve heard people talking about how our understanding of gender would need to change, and how men would need to reinterpret what it needs to be a man. But apparently, open mindedness on this issue is easier for men when they know their wages will be going up for some decades. In the USA, men were tolerant of the surge of women into the workforce during the 1930s and 1940s. In ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Britain in south east Africa in 550 AD

Amazing to think that British merchants reached Tanzania in the mid 500s. If there was still so much trade going on, why did the economy collapse to completely?

Tanzania? A small number of beads have been found on the East African coast at Dar es Salaam and Kisiju, Tanzania, which have been considered to be early Anglo-Saxon in origin by a number of researchers, including Richard Hodges and Barbara Green, as was discussed in a previous post. Given their likely origin, ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Octopus can kill dolphins even after the dolphin has swallowed them

Interesting:

Essentially, the octopuses’ tentacles keep fighting, blocking the dolphins’ airways, even after most of their bodies have been swallowed. It’s a terrifying way to die, but Sprogis and the researchers observe that octopuses must be such valuable prey that they are worth it. Over seven years of observation, she and her team watched 33 dolphins “handling” octopuses in ways that made them meal-ready. Typically, the encounter would start with the dolphin biting the octopus’ head off, followed by tossing the ...

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April 8th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The Vikings raided Africa and then took slaves back to Ireland

One of the great puzzles of history is why a particular region might suddenly become active and attack another region. Why was Scandinavia not a factor during Roman times but then suddenly a volcano that spewed attacks outward like a volcano throwing out lava? Why did the Vikings suddenly come onto the scene? What had they been doing previously? Why did they attack Africa, rather than the other way around? Why has there never been a time when Sub-Saharan Africa ...

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April 8th, 2017

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Korzybski on linguistic relativism

Interesting:

Sapir/Whorf contemporary Alfred Korzybski was independently developing his theory of general semantics, which was aimed at using language’s influence on thinking to maximize human cognitive abilities. Korzybski’s thinking was influenced by logical philosophy such as Russell and Whitehead’s Principia Mathematica and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.[72] Although Korzybski was not aware of Sapir and Whorf’s writings, the movement was followed by Whorf-admirer Chase, who fused Whorf’s interest in cultural-linguistic variation with Korzybski’s programme in his popular work “The Tyranny of Words”. S. ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Maybe naked mole rats are simply very good at fighting off cancer?

If a tumor is only a dozen cells, scientists would have difficulty finding it. Previously, researchers thought naked mole rats could not get cancer. Then they found one who got cancer but then healed. What if naked mole rats do get cancer at a normal rate, but their immune system is good about destroying all tumors before scientists can detect them? Interesting:

Dr. Delaney and her colleagues have studied lesions on naked mole rats for more than a decade, but it ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Mojica was overcome, and found himself with tears in his eyes

Interesting:

But every time Mojica and his colleagues repeated the experiment, the same pattern—30 or so bases that appeared over and over again, separated by lengths of seemingly unrelated DNA—reappeared. Reading journal articles in the library, Mojica learned that a Japanese group had noticed something similar in the genome of E. coli a few years before. Despite the fact that the repetitions did not seem to be connected to H. mediterranei’s predilection for salt, he put a chapter on them at ...

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April 7th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The alternative media on the right

Interesting:

“The long, lucrative right-wing grift is blowing up in the world’s face”: “Because there was a lot of money in it for various hucksters and moguls and authors and politicians, the conservative movement spent decades building up an entire sector of the economy dedicated to scaring and lying to older white men. For millions of members of that demographic, this parallel media dedicated to lying to them has totally supplanted the ‘mainstream’ media. Now they, and we, are at the ...

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April 6th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Clean decimals are limited to primes of your base

Interesting:

Floating Point Math

Your language isn’t broken, it’s doing floating point math. Computers can only natively store integers, so they need some way of representing decimal numbers. This representation comes with some degree of inaccuracy. That’s why, more often than not, .1 + .2 != .3.

Why does this happen?

It’s actually pretty simple. When you have a base 10 system (like ours), it can only express fractions that use a prime factor of the base. The prime factors of 10 are ...

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April 4th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Have I been shadowbanned from Hacker News?

Very strange. Check out this page on Hacker News.

None of my comments are appearing there. I wonder if I have been banned? I can’t imagine why this would happen. I believe I offer good comments that move a conversation forward.

The article asks this question:

Why do developers who could work anywhere flock to the most expensive cities?

To which I responded:

(Please forgive the side-story, I believe this comment eventually forms a cohesive story.)

Once upon a time I had ...

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April 2nd, 2017

In Philosophy

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Language is the only homeland

The only homeland. This strikes me as the only way forward for Europe, and perhaps the world, though I realize there are some groups, such as African-Americans in the USA, who might strongly disagree, as they use the language of the oppressors. But maybe if we can interpret the words broadly enough, then the idea fits everyone? Beyoncé recently sang:

My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama

So where is her homeland? What ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Another blow to the indie Web: the Deck ad network closes down

So sad:

LONG STRANGE TRIP

We started The Deck in 2006 and for the first couple years it struggled. By 2008, it was an OK business and by 2009, it was a pretty good business. From then through 2013, The Deck was going along just fine.

THINGS WORK, UNTIL THEY DON’T

Things change. In 2014, display advertisers started concentrating on large, walled, social networks. The indie “blogosphere” was disappearing. Mobile impressions, which produce significantly fewer clicks and engagements, began to really dominate the market. ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The rise of neo queerbaiting

The actress, who is contractually obligated to defend the storyline that the corporation decides to advance, offers a diplomatic answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a man, versus her answer regarding her character’s possible romance with a woman:

Also

Source

March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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How long can sha-1 crypto survive?

Interesting:

SHA1 was meant to be a replacement for MD5. MD5 has an output space of only 128-bits, where as SHA1 has an output space of 160-bits. SHA1 is also designed differently than MD5, and is meant to not suffer the same sort of weaknesses or attacks that MD5 faces. However, over time, cryptographers have been able to severely attack SHA1, and as a result, they’ve all been warning us to get off SHA1, and move to SHA2. It should ...

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March 29th, 2017

In Philosophy

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After 121 years of terrible journalism, the DailyMail is finding ways to be worse

When every article you publish is terrible, it takes something unique to stand out from the debris and make people say “That is much worse than usual“.

The meeting presented a new low for the newspaper, its perpetually disappointed proprietor and its lickspittle columnist: as if it weren’t bad enough that women held high office and didn’t have the grace to think the same about things, they were also each in possession of not one but two legs. Who knows where ...

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March 28th, 2017

In Philosophy

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It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail

Good lord, as a parody, this song is good:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Complexity emerges when a system has transitions that demand a different kind of math

Interesting:

When we observe the largest scale behaviors of a system, we simplify the mathematical description of the system because there are fewer distinguishable states, and only a limited set of possible behaviors. This also means that systems that look different on a microscopic scale may not look different at the macroscopic scale, and their mathematical descriptions become the same.

An important example of this arose in the study of phase transitions using the new mathematics of renormalization group. The transition ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Did sleep paralysis start the Salem Witch Trials?

Interesting:

Sleep paralysis researchers Brian Sharpless and Karl Dograhmji have collected 118 different terms from around the world that describe sleep paralysis-like experiences: Germans have terms for hexendrücken – witch pressing – and alpdrücken – elf pressing. Norwegian folktales include svartalfar – evil elves that shoot people with paralysing arrows before perching on their chests. The Japanese have a term, kanashibari, in reference to being magically bound by invisible metal. In parts of Switzerland people speak of tchutch-muton, an evil ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Will we live in a society where everyone needs an advanced college degree?

It’s amazing that this was written back in 1903, when less than 4% of the population had a college degree:

Human nature is once for all so childish that every reality becomes a sham somewhere, and in the minds of Presidents and Trustees the Ph.D. degree is in point of fact already looked upon as a mere advertising resource, a manner of throwing dust in the Public’s eyes. “No instructor who is not a Doctor” has become a maxim in the ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Do researchers have momentum?

Interesting:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Kids make people hate each other

It’s funny, but it’s also serious, how many relationships go downhill once a couple has kids.

How Not to Hate Your Husband is a book for messy reality, but I can’t shake my frustration that its twin, written for men, isn’t out there somewhere: How to Keep Your Wife From Hating You After Kids. I’m disappointed that on top of doing far more housework and childcare than men, it also falls on women to patiently and strategically negotiate the terms ...

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March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The endless jargon wears me down

Microcanonical distribution? I find myself thinking I need to read something else before I read this. But then I find an article that is suppose to be more basic, and that too has jargon that makes me think I need to read something still more basic. I wonder where the starting point is?

Every time I try to get through an essay like this (almost every day) I find myself worn out dealing with the endless jargon:

Source

March 27th, 2017

In Philosophy

1 Comment

Facebook activated my dormant account and it won’t let me deactivate it

I am angry. I will walk you through the steps of what has happened. Here is the historical background:

1.) In late 2008, I signed up for Facebook.

2.) In early 2012 I deactivated my account.

3.) On March 14th, 2017, Facebook suddenly reactivated my account. I received this email:

I have done nothing to reactivate my account. I do not want an account on Facebook. I have been happy to live without Facebook for the last 5 years. The ...

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March 26th, 2017

In Philosophy

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What happens when there is no agreement on the sources of facts?

Interesting:

But what happens when political participants step out of bounds and violate shared norms? Is it the press’s role to defend those norms, to push back, or merely to report on what has happened?

It’s a dilemma. For one thing, no clear line separates legitimate subjects of political dispute from what is off limits or out of bounds. As circumstances change, those lines shift and warp at the margins. Collective values are always in flux. Things that were subject of dispute ...

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March 25th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Government says: Don’t Be Afraid to Racially Profile Your Friends, Neighbors and Coworkers

Worrisome:

Peterson opened his remarks with an anecdote about the San Bernardino shooters, who you’ll recall were a married couple. He noted that a neighbor failed to call the cops on the pair before the shooting, despite seeing them in their garage doing something murky. She feared being thought of as “racist,” Peterson said.

Peterson described this as an example of “political correctness run amok.” He encouraged us not to let a distaste for treating people differently based on their race ...

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March 21st, 2017

In Philosophy

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Why does anyone bother?

Interesting:

How Not to Hate Your Husband came about because Dunn and her husband Tom had fallen into a deep rut of arguments and resentment about their household distribution of labour. Tom, despite good intentions and a warm personality, left almost all of the household management and childcare to Dunn, and her resentment became explosive. (Sound familiar?) Their six-year-old daughter, Sylvie, was often witness to their conflicts, and Dunn began to worry about the negative impact that this repetitive dynamic ...

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March 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Maybe you should write fan fiction

This is great:

You know when professional writers say, “We’re not writing fan fiction”? My immediate reaction is almost always – well, maybe you should be.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who spends a lovingly long time getting into characters’ heads and making sure they’re internally consistent? Who cares more about interactions and dynamics than pulling the rug out from under audiences’ feet.

Maybe you should be the fan writer who chooses to show characters in love even ...

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March 20th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Telling your family that you’ve been laid off

This was from a fiction workshop I was part of. This was my effort.

Jeffery and Anthony pulled up to the curb in front of the house. Jeffery looked out the house, but he did not move.

Anthony, who was in the driver’s seat, watched his friend for a long moment, and then said, “You’ve got to tell them.”

There was no reaction from Jeffery. Perhaps he had not heard.

“You’ve got to tell them,” repeated Anthony.

Jeffery took a ...

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March 18th, 2017

In Philosophy

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The age of religion never ended

This does not strike me as new:

All this adds up to a depressing picture for those of us who aren’t ready to live in a post-truth world. Facts, it seems, are toothless. Trying to refute a bold, memorable lie with a fiddly set of facts can often serve to reinforce the myth. Important truths are often stale and dull, and it is easy to manufacture new, more engaging claims. And giving people more facts can backfire, as those facts provoke ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

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Life in the country

This person asserts we should leave the big cities and go where life is easy:

The “horribly stacked life” card is, in my experience, most often played by people trying to get by in the overly competitive environments of large cities. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear it, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere trying to work and live in a major city, do yourself a ...

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March 17th, 2017

In Philosophy

No Comments

Authoritarianism: certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together

It’s interesting that certain constellations of personality traits seem to travel together, even in different cultures, and in different centuries. The cult-of-personality goes with the authoritarianism, which goes with the desire to delegitimate all criticism, which goes with particular ideas about sex, and the relations between men and women. So again, in 2017, we see the revival of the same united set of personality attributes that are described from the 1930s:

His vainglorious sexual boasting (‘They say I’ve got the most ...

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"Andrew Whitworth, thank you for writing. About this: "Rails might not have been such a big problem for u..."

May 14, 2018 4:05 pm

From Andrew Whitworth on The Coral Reef Pattern of incremental improvement

"I like the coral reef metaphor, but this and your tangent about using separate languages both suffer from the ..."

May 14, 2018 12:43 pm

From Mickael on Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret

"Hi, I agree with some of your points, especially that docker is maybe more a dev tool than a production tool...."

May 14, 2018 6:25 am

From Eduardo Moroni on Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret

"Hey dude, Nice work. pretty awesome essay...."

May 14, 2018 6:18 am

From Pietro on Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret

"Hi, I wish there were more people like you around. The real mess I see coming, or, I should say, which has ..."