Tag: english

Incident at Isla Nublar

Posted by – November 26, 2017

My candidate for the perfect Steven Spielberg scene: Incident at Isla Nublar. Criterion: intense emotional action with sparse but suggestive visual information.

My net neutrality opinion, free of charge

Posted by – November 23, 2017

Net neutrality is a heavy-handed regulation that’s probably not necessary; antitrust laws are enough. Net neutrality isn’t really about censorship worries but about market conditions for network infrastructure suppliers vs. data consumers.

Most opposition to net neutrality, though masked in talk about “openness” and “freedom”, is driven by the consumers of large amounts of data traffic (eg. Netflix and its customers) who are essentially looking for a free ride. The owners of the networking infrastructure want to be able to negotiate for payments from those heavy users. Net neutrality blocks this, and forces everyone to pay for HD video transmission capacity across the network whether or not they want Netflix.

Regardless of net neutrality, most people choose centralized, controlled, non-neutral places like Facebook for everything anyway. (I don’t like that and I don’t do that, but that’s people.)

For worries about networks and content ending up in the same hands, with the networks favouring their own content, we already have regulations about free competition. So we don’t need net neutrality, it’s an unnecessary regulation, and I’m opposed to unnecessary regulations on principle.

Missing drama

Posted by – November 22, 2017

How can it be that there is no major dramatic portrayal of the life and times of William the Conqueror (& Harold II)?

A sense of pluralism

Posted by – November 16, 2017

Sujatha Gidla on Marxism as her worldview:

No, it’s a worldview. I would say Marxism is a worldview, and Marxism looks at the world in terms of class, like feminists looks at the world as men and women, and religious people look at the world as Christians and non-Christians, and Marxists look at people as workers and capitalists.

That is the worldview I hold, and I look at problems arising out of class difference, and I look at solutions that could arise out of class action.

That’s also how I view ideologies / worldviews, and pluralism to me is the idea of holding multiple worldviews in your head at the same time, and being not just tolerant but curious and positive about other worldviews.

Updated quote

Posted by – November 12, 2017

I can no longer sit back and allow SJW infiltration, SJW indoctrination, SJW subversion and the international social justice conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

In defense of normies

Posted by – November 9, 2017

One has to assume that for every Hollywood sexual harassment case, there’s a hundred cases where the inappropriate advances led to quid pro quo sex. In that environment quite a lot of men turn into predators.

Maybe there’s something to having norms about sexuality after all?

Fucktrophy

Posted by – November 7, 2017

For some reason I enjoy browsing childfree forums where people discuss how great it is to not have children. They often use amusing words for children, like “crotchfruit”. My favourite is “fucktrophy”. As in, “Here are my badminton trophies from when I used to play.. And here are my fucktrophies, Rufus and Doofus.” It sounds sort of endearing to me.

The long now

Posted by – November 6, 2017

I was looking into papers on the relative significance of words used in texts, and ran into an interesting-looking one about automatically generating abstracts for technical papers, only to find it’s from 1958!

(In case you’re wondering, this 60-year old task remains mostly unsolved.)

A global-politics spectrum

Posted by – October 19, 2017

There should be approximately 1-5 sovereign governments (one extreme, EU-ism / UN-ism / globalism)

There should be approximately 200 sovereign governments (the moderate position, status quo)

There should be approximately 500 sovereign governments (other extreme, nationalist separatism, localism)

This also closely maps to the pro-diversity and anti-diversity -sides (almost by definition, though not quite tautologically, small states can still be diverse).

Order of learning

Posted by – October 13, 2017

It seems wildly inefficient for all higher education to begin at the same age. Serious education in mathematics should ideally start way before 18, whereas almost everyone is too young to start studying philosophy at 18.

Perhaps the whole idea of everyone learning a bit of everything until they leave school is wrong, and it should be more concentrated by topic. Languages and mathematics earlier, natural sciences later, composition and history later, psychology even later, philosophy should perhaps not even be a school subject.

It is well known that mathematically oriented kids are capable of learning the entire math curriculum in a few months at the right age, given the chance, and that language learning in a school setting is extremely slow compared to an immersion setting. Taking advantage of that is unusual. The norm is to waste years in drudgery, developing an aversion to learning.

Probably the current push for interdisciplinary projects for young children is just a mistake. As is “phenomenon-based learning”, where 10-year -olds learn about climate change at an extremely superficial level. Any activity that children end up just faking through is not only pointless but potentially damaging.

On the flipside, it’s another huge waste that adults are too busy to go on learning. For many, by the time they’ve developed the intellectual maturity to really understand topics in social sciences or philosophy, they’ve closed that door. They may even wrongly think they do understand those topics and have opinions about them on the basis of whatever they heard when they were 15-25.

A classic justification for charging interest

Posted by – October 13, 2017

To my leftist friends – if you have ever wondered, as I once did, what could possibly be the justification for return to capital, real interest rates – in short, capitalism – I think this essay from 1849 by Frédéric Bastiat is quite a good common-sense answer. The old-fashioned HTML formatting is a bit hard to read, so I recommend a readability extension like Mercury Reader if you’re going to read the whole thing.

Useful bluff phrases

Posted by – October 13, 2017

By the law of large numbers…

Without loss of generality…

By symmetry…

By analogy with…

It can be seen that…

By extension…

Proportionally…

Relatively…

Functionally…

Practically…

Can be expected to…

(I use all of these a lot…)

Group opinion equilibrium

Posted by – October 5, 2017

In a small group where your opinions about something have enough weight to change things, if you profess your true opinions, the balance of the group will probably not agree with you exactly. So perhaps you should profess slightly more extreme opinions to counteract that. That may not be enough, especially if everyone else has the same idea. Why not go ahead and go as extreme as you can, just to move the balance even a little bit? If you do that, either you will not be taken seriously or everyone in the group is already completely extreme.

Where is the equilibrium? And how come groups get along anyway?

Deep thought

Posted by – September 25, 2017

It is somewhat shocking to contemplate that the next generation will entirely consist of the children of people who have children. Just as if the childless had been wiped out by a quiet genocide.

Deep thought

Posted by – September 11, 2017

The Internet used to be all about blogging, now it’s all about blocking.

(I preferred blogging.)

New-to-me Harry Nilsson video

Posted by – September 10, 2017

Harry Nilsson apparently plied some pensioners with alcohol and party hats to get them to perform the backing vocals for “I’d Rather Be Dead”.