It turns out he was of mixed race – or so says wikipedia anyway
Despite Dumas’ aristocratic background and personal success, the writer had to deal with discrimination related to his mixed-race ancestry. In 1843 he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism. His response to a man who insulted him about his African ancestry has become famous. Dumas said:
My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.
Again from Slate Star Codex
The difference between “religion” and “culture” has always been pretty vague. Shinto is the best example; it’s less a coherent metaphysical narrative than a bunch of things Japanese people do and a repository for Japanese traditions and rituals. A quick look at Hinduism reveals that they have no idea what gods they believe in, it’s a bunch of different religions stuck together under one umbrella, but the point is that it’s the sort of thing Indian people do and a repository of Indian traditions. Even though Jews have a pretty coherent religion, the line between “Jewish culture” and “Jewish religion” is equally fuzzy. Religion as distinct from culture seems like a pretty Western phenomenon, the result of a triumphant Christianity colonizing cultures it never originated from, ending out with the modern conception of culture as ethnic food + silly costumes.
From a review of David Friedman’s book the Machinery of Freedom over at Slate Star Codex
My overall conclusion is that I am delighted by this fascinating and elegant system and would very much like to see it tried somewhere very far away from me.
Of course – it has to be doing something that scales…
IIRC this is pretty common in South Korea – I’m sort of surprised that the separation of lecturer and coach isn’t more common.
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I suppose my current consuming insight is that America is lacking in quality old people. As my dad put it (around 2003 IIRC) foolishness used to be fatal, but now everything is seat belted, idiot-proofed, and somewhat treatable medically, thus permitting a lot of the less wise to reach old age, and bringing down the average level of wisdom in society. We can expect young people to be reckless and impulsive, but traditionally the older generation grows out of that. Thanks to technology, they have not been doing that lately.
From this interview with James McMurty
The thing these days is to bundle as many niches as possible and call it a career
The prime indicator of whether the economy is in a recession is if people complain about Walmart – if more people are complaining, we are in a recovery, if people stop complaining we are in a recession. WalMart related angst is a luxury good.
If the military spends untold billions developing fighter aircraft that are too expensive to actually use (we’ve had air superiority for generations now, no one else is close, and missiles have huge advantages of human piloted craft) then America faces no real threats in the world, and the power that be feel free to reward constituents and districts with interesting graft instead of focusing on saving the country. Similarly, (while Peter Thiel is right, mass NSA surveillance is not a sign of competence, rather the opposite) the fact that the NSA devotes a lot of time and energy to spying on Americans by solving interesting technical puzzles instead of their legal job is a sign that there is no looming terrorist threat.
One universal truth I now recently recognize is the importance of projects to the middle aged – I’ve got my cnc machine and prediction tracking site, others have universal democracy and government health insurance, but at a certain age the projects become pillars of your worldview. I need to flesh that idea out a bit more.