The January SSC Atlanta Meetup – Science Fiction and Insider Trading

We had out January meetup at the usual spot – topics included

  • Jeffrey Epstein (again)
  • Science Fiction – always good
  • Our general “meh” to The Lessons of History by Will and Arial Durant
  • Virginia Gun laws
  • My theory that Epstein – and maybe a lot of hedge funds in general are just covers for insider trading. Also – I think a lot of machine learning is a cover for unethically obtained information – I did not elaborate enough on that theory
  • Ant society as an aspirational goal – and Game B

I think next time we will try to have a short (1-3), pre-defined list of topics hashed out to better use time (I think we spent a lot of time defining a topic before we actually discussed it).

Reference links:

  • The Gig Economy – the excellent short story that spawned our HP Lovecraft/Sci – Fi Discussion
  • Kettlebells (me) and deadlifts (BJ)- side note – why is so little of the rationalist community devoted to physical self-improvement? It’s not zero by any means, but physhical health (and it’s related effects on the mind) seem to be a solvable optimization problem – that we are not working on in relation to it’s importance. In the words of Jack Lalanne (lived to a healthy 96) – Life is an athletic event.

The main reason to be against Elizabeth Warren

I had the realization that she has a lot in common with Trump – namely in that she’s picked a group of resentful people to champion and marketed herself to that group – much like Trump did in 2015-2016. Both she and Trump are walking enemies lists – and America can do better.

Or maybe it can’t – on the whole Trump has impressed me with the wonderful lack of activity (government governs best that governs least). Maybe not on purpose, but you take what you can get.

Undercover cop from the seventies uncovers a confusing conspiracy – The 14th SSC Atlanta Meetup roared on

Mid December saw the 14th meetup of SSC Atlanta – I’ve let it go too long to present a detailed summary, but this one was centered around books and conspiracy theories. We also decided to start a book club perhaps as a secondary meetup – the first book will be The Lessons of History by Will and Arial Durant.

I’ve decided to put random links and timeless classics on the main SSC Atlanta page,as they get referenced quite a bit meeting to meeting.

Thoughts about our non-upcoming domestic civil war

At one of the earlier meetups the topic arose of the remote possibility of a domestic civil war caused by Social Media divisions – my thoughts on the matter are:

  • Social media is really the world’s loudest tranquilizer – people take to FB/Twitter/Reddit/Chans as a substitute to doing something
  • The rare people who have the opposite reaction (spurred to action) are loud, terrible and tragic, but by and large the harms of social media are confined to the consumer. On net social media is an activity reducer on par with marijuana or opiates
  • Should there be a civil war I think we would find that the split would be 1% Antifa/1% Alt-Right (or whatever they’re called now) 98% people who would not pick a side, but would support whatever harsh measures needed to suppress the two percent. I think the 1980s are a useful example in that regard.
  • At this point I don’t think gun ownership is a useful metric of progressiveness – i.e. my immediate neighborhood is both very woke and pretty well armed – I think we would find gun ownership is much more distributed than one might think.

My original thought behind writing this post was that ideological compatibility between one side and law enforcement/military was irrelevant, since both of those professions select highly for following orders much more so than discretion. Now that I write it all out I think that is a moot point.

The relativity of wrong

A perfect essay by Asimov on the right way to view the world

Another way of looking at it is to ask what is the “curvature” of the earth’s surface Over a considerable length, how much does the surface deviate (on the average) from perfect flatness. The flat-earth theory would make it seem that the surface doesn’t deviate from flatness at all, that its curvature is 0 to the mile.

Nowadays, of course, we are taught that the flat-earth theory is wrong; that it is all wrong, terribly wrong, absolutely. But it isn’t. The curvature of the earth is nearly 0 per mile, so that although the flat-earth theory is wrong, it happens to be nearly right. That’s why the theory lasted so long.