• SlateStar,  SSC Atlanta

    It’s a real problem for people, but – the first Atlanta Slate Star Codex Meeting was a success

    “It’s a real problem for people, but…” was the one-liner of the day, spoken by Nathan about the incentives faced by hospitals.

    The first Atlanta Slate Star Codex meetup (that I’ve been to) was a smashing success.  We had one RSVP (who did not show) and seven attendees, which makes for a wonderful meetup.  The number was right (and the SSC readership  behaves quite well in groups) for everyone to be in on the conversation with no need for direction.

    The topics of the day included

    • Brain chemistry and optimization
    • Melatonin (but not sleep in general, I found interesting)
    • Sleep in particular (particularly sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming)
    • Guns (group consensus – they’re awesome – (that surprised me))
    • Niche groups
    • Self-Selection
    • Ingroup/outgroup (a lot)
    • Mental illness
    • Optimizing credit card usage/gaming the system of rewards, bonuses
    • Machine learning/AI (of course)
    • Books (of course – Kolmya Stories  and American Hippopotamus were the ones I was talking about)
    • A couple others I’ve forgotten about

    The meeting had no structure or set topics and the conversation just drifted happily.  I am setting up another meetup for next month, probably at the same place.

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  • Books

    Speaking truth into the world

    One of my happier discoveries of parenting is being able to read and revisit the classic works of literature for my daughter’s bedtime stories and see the wonder of timeless stories on someone new.  A secondary source of happiness is being able to read them out loud to her – there is an altogether different enjoyment in reading aloud compared to reading silently.  I’m reminded of something in Jordan Peterson’s book, namely that the spoken word has power that the written word does not.  In the beginning there was the word, and so forth…

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  • Politics

    Word Salad – the term for the times

    I heard the closing moments of the Kennedy Nixon debates on Radio Free Bernstein a few weeks ago and was struck by how novel it seemed. – they both seemed genuinely smart, and off the cuff, not rehearsed.  The most striking thing was that there were almost no pauses for emphasis, which meant that the listener has to actually listen (any modern speech you can do the auditory equivalent of skimming, thanks to the pauses).

    Word Salad seems to be the most apt phrase for modern political speech.

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  • Law

    The perfect metaphor for l’affaire de Kavanaugh

    Is the Iraq war – with the sides reversed – consider

    1.  People similar to him have done horrible things (those people being violent drunken men)
    2. There is very little real evidence actually presented at this point (no one besides Kavanaugh has testified yet) – damning or otherwise – it’s pretty much all Facebook conjecture
    3. One side of the aisle has an interest in hyping the matter
    4. The call is to BELIEVE, or BELIEVE IN the people telling the story, and not the evidence they have

    Happily this should be able to be resolved a bit better either way than that.

    On another note, many years ago I remember talking with someone who grew up in the fifties – she said that (when she was growing up) her mom did not let her go to parties if any Irish (maybe she said Catholics, I don’t remember exactly, but I think she said Irish) kids would be there, as they would just get drunk and assault-ty.  The more things change…

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  • Insight

    Insight from a cloudy day

    Originally in an email send to JungleLand – I found it insightful

    I’ve been listening to the collected works of the Blue Sky Boys
    Listening to recordings from the 1940s on noise cancelling is a strange experience – I’ve been struck by how they perceive their world as both focused and big.  Very big.  History exists as  a wide, multi threaded thing, or so it seems from their music.  A true tapestry of people and events with no direction or progression.
    And bleak.  Actually like a more primal Leonard Cohen
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  • Adages

    Quotes of the day

    From the same song by Dan Bern

    This song was made by algorithms for you and your peers – please like it – it’s called the future is here

    and (somewhere in the song, refering to global warming)

    Isn’t it ironic that we’re going to be killed by dinosaurs after all

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