I had the random thought today about the Joe Rogan interview with the author of a CIA assassin book who posited that neither Area 51, nor the Roswell incident involved extraterrestrial life at all. Instead it was absolutely horrible (and criminal) US government conduct.
This seems to make the most sense – why would the government cover up something that would give it more money and power? That sort of thing usually gets pushed front and center. Shameful government actions on the other hand get covered up and pushed way back…
From this interview – in a discussion about an astronaut who went full bore conspiracy theorist about UFOs
You go where the love is
The point being that here was this lonely old man, and a bunch of conspiracy theorist more or less “adopted” him, and showed him friendship, companionship and affection. In turn, he probably told them the most interesting stories, then emphasized other parts of others, and slowly went off the deep end as he lent this his authority.
Actually that makes you want to question famous members of all subcultures…
I was watching this blogging heads video about the Asian experience in America (it’s better than that description) – and the guest said something to the effect – “Chinese culture has prioritized test preparation for over 1,000 years” – referencing China’s long tradition of civil service exams. The actual number mentioned was dedicating 20% of family income to test preparation.
That puts Chinese culture on the commanding heights of modern “meritocracy” with it’s prioritization of symbolic analysis and abstractions – and very poorly suited for everything else. David Friedman made a similar connection in his “Legal Systems Very Different from Ours” book.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.