John Boyd pegged the problem with technologists perfectly

I was listening to the sometimes great Hanselminutes podcast while working and sadly his “Algorithms of Oppression” interview came on. Put broadly it was about how how algorithmic bias can “shape the world”. It was terrible and it occurred to me that while every good technology podcast interview is good in a different way, every bad technology podcast interview is bad in the same way, namely the interviewee talks about their personal opinions on something, sometimes named as

  1. “their worldview”
  2. “the way the world really works”
  3. “the big picture

I’m reminded of John Boyd’s notion (paraphrased) “You must eventually choose to do something or to be someone, but not both”. To be notable in technology one has chosen to do something and when they talk about themselves (i.e. the way in which they “are someone”) their forced to talk about themselves (or worldview/paradigm/etc) and it comes up very lacking.

Tin Foil Hats are Comfortable – the Fourth Atlanta SSC Meetup

Last Saturday we had the fourth Slate Star Codex Atlanta meetup, with two new members (yay) for a total of five. We rambled on for about three and a half hours. Topics included

  1. Guns
  2. The math of revolutions and violent uprisings (historically more likely than I’d ever actually thought)
  3. Negative effects of smoking cessation (one of my pet theories)
  4. Creating a regional form of government between states and the federal government (the more I think about this the more I like it)
  5. LARPing
  6. Nootropics
  7. Relations between police and the citizenry
  8. And many more

The title line of the meetup came from new member BJ. The next meetup will be in three weeks or so, probably in the same place.

Here are the links

  1. The Great War and TimeGhost
  2. Handwaving Freakoutery

Selective Lack of Sentiment is the Value-Add of Ideology

Kevin Williamson kicked off the thought process with this paragraph – referring to the Nation and Mother Jones magazines

Rather than bring out the best in them — the muckraking, the unsentimental view of American life made possible by a politics not excessively burdened by patriotism — President Donald Trump and his merry men have driven the Left deeper into daft identity politics and vague conspiracy-mongering. Where once there was Christopher Hitchens, now there is the “interactive privilege simulator.” That is not progress.

Which does raise the thought that it is the unsentimental side of an ideology that has value.

That would break out to

Liberals (not the populist left) contribute insight onto

  1. The military
  2. Foreign Policy
  3. The criminal justice system
  4. Come to think of it, anything involving flags and guns
  5. What life is actually like on the bottom

Conservatives (not the populist right) contribute insight into

  1. Education
  2. Poverty/anything even remotely resembling an underclass
  3. Anything involving the “intersectional/priviledge” – though that is probably a recent development

Libertarians (there are no populist libertarians) contribute insight into

  1. The actual working of the state, and it’s victims
  2. Insight about the planning fallacy, and central planning – that probably includes all of the insights libertarians have

God, Batman and Eisenhower

Sometimes I think belief in god is a matter of resolution and detail. For example, god in quite a few forms makes perfect intuitive sense in a big-picture here is the cosmos view. It makes much less intuitive sense if you look at the world on the scale of your morning commute. It makes intuitive sense again when you look through a microscope or think about string theory, quarks or things on that level.

Similarly Batman makes perfect sense when viewed at comic book resolution, much less so in a movie, even less in real life.

As for Eisenhower, I’m not sure where he fits into any of this – I just remember being struck by reading that the first four hours of his day as president was spent in solitary reading – he seemed to get the idea of resolution and problem solving right.

More to come on this over time.

The wisdom of Moskos

From the Cop in the Hood Blog

The ten leading states — as in cops most shootingest states — in rank order, are New Mexico, Alaska, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, West Virginia, Montana, and Idaho. It certainly seems like if we were to focus on the states that have the highest rates of police-involved shootings (and by far), we could find some low-hanging fruit to reduce the number of said shootings. But to do this we’d have stop thinking of police-involved shootings as primarily related to race

It’s all worth reading (and short) – it’s amazing what we lose by ceding intellectual territory to the high side of the Jordan Peterson spectrum (I need to write that concept up).