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.
At the sight of kids holding up signs advertising their pancake breakfast fundraiser at the school.
Daddy – don’t worry – they might look like homeless people but they’re actually just fifth-graders with signs
We had our monthly SSC Atlanta at the usual spot – topics included
- Tankies – evidently there are enough modern day defenders of Stalin/Lenin/Bolshevism to merit their own derogatory nickname
- Jeffrey Epstein – and the many, many conspiracy theories surrounding his demise
- Reasonable seeming things at the time and place (i.e. the religion of the Aztecs)
Many more things were discussed – but I lost my notes and I can’t recall them specifically right now.
I stumbled across this list of genocides and the raw numbers of everything were surprising – seemingly far more clustered in Europe and more in the 20th century than one would expect.
An interesting notion arose from this Hacker News comment thread about the life and legacy of John von Neumann – specifically the contrast between decision making under certainty (i.e. hindsight) vs decision making under probability. The topic in question was pre-emptive war with the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After thinking about it for a while I came to the horrible realization that it wasn’t the worst idea in the world. bit actually something of a close call.
I’m left being even more grateful for the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower. The 20th century was a scary time.
Last Week, Oct 12th, we met for the 12th time at Hodge Podge Coffee House in Atlanta.
The meeting was notable by the addition of lots and lots of new people (thank you SSC mention) – and a very long conversation – which ended with us getting kicked out after four hours (there was another event about to happen in our area).
- China – a long discussion of the current state of china and what is likely to happen to minorities and minority opinion (all bad things)
- Obligations of corporations – where does silence equal consent/sanction, and what not
- The Universal Basic Income – without Nathan to defend the notion we reached a negative opinion rather quickly
- Wage subsidies in general (mixed opinions on this)
- Health care
- Voting – obligations to, group participation rites, etc. It sparked some interesting thoughts in me after the meeting on what people get out of voting – more or less and affirmation of self – I need to flesh that out more
- Addition – specifically the Never Enough book by Judith Grisel – I need to reread the chapter on MDMA – there were several questions on how the recent psychiatric treatments work, or don’t work as the case may be
It was quite a good meeting – with lots of new people, including many who were not directly in the software field, which is sort of rare for us.
From this article in a leftist journal against Andrew Yang and the UBI
Online has become an opiate of the lumpen. Similar to weed or alcohol, it is a harmless social pastime for the thriving and robust. For the miserable and economically insecure, however, the internet becomes a pathological social blight, a symptom of initial misery than swells to compound and exacerbate the cycle of antisocial disaffection. (If you don’t believe me, watch them doing literally everything they possibly can to self-sabotage getting laid over Tinder.)
It’s similar to Tyler Cowen’s thoughts on alcohol and guns – i.e. the high functioning can handle them very well – it’s the bottom 2% (probably higher with alcohol) that cause all of the problem.
It’s worth reading throughout – particularly that the UBI is way the poor being “paid off and discarded”. That has more of an emotional resonance with me than I think is merited by the logic of the plan.
From the SSC subredit, here is a good point about opiates
In particular illicitly manufactured fentanyl. (The simple story is that fentanyl has revolutionized trans-national drug supply chains. It’s just much easier to smuggle a suitcase of cartefentanyl than a shipping container of heroin. The drug war’s incentive is to dilute the product as close to the end of the supply chain as possible, to minimize the bulk required for trafficking. The problem is that drug dealer trap houses are not equivalent pharmaceutical grade labs. Any error when homogenizing with the bulking agent, means some poor bastard dies if he gets the baggie with clump of unbroken fentanyl.)
All of this is a dog and pony show to distract from the fact that fentanyl has fundamentally eliminated any hope of drug enforcement working. The quantities are just too small to stop from being trafficked. The reality is that the only hope we have to control the death toll is to legalize and regulate heroin. But the more the drug warriors can distract people into poking their noses into physician’s prescription pads, the longer they can delay the inevitable change in policy that has to occur.