• Speculation

    Ideas to explore

    1. Ideology as the usable consensus of extreme personality types – see my “Let’s Kill Hitler” book idea. Basically the ideology evolves not as the continuation of first principles, but as a series of compromises on the part of part of the extreme personalities involved – basically the ideology is whatever allows a certain collection of extreme personalities to work together. Cooperation is the important thing – not the consequences. An extreme ideology will be composed of extreme members and so forth. See the the alt-right and modern wokeness. This seems graphable.
    2. Historical changes and atmospheric pollutants – this idea needs more research, but ideological and religious extremism tracks quite nicely with leaded gas and high tobacco usage. A doubtful relationship – but seemingly possible.
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  • Books

    The Genius of HP Lovecraft

    I just finished my third book of the Cthulu mythos – The Whisperer in Darkness – and I’m still overwhelmed by Lovecraft’s brilliance. Every question he answers raises two more, in a sly subtle way. The baroque writing style makes it all the more realistic and entrancing

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  • Adages

    Quote of the moment – big data edition

    From HP Lovecraft

    The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

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  • SlateStar,  SSC Atlanta

    The looming specter of the Murder Ghandi

    One of the things that came up at the last SSC Atlanta meetup was the notion of the Murder Ghandi (read the link for an explanation). It’s easy to think of the whole concept as a good example of slippery slopes, i.e. where the same person faces different incentives over time. However, I think the true point is a bit more lasting than that – and much more useful and interesting.

    The “make me 1% less pacifistic” pill does not just change the incentives – it is fundamentally a transformative experience for the pill taker. The person who takes the second pill is not the same as the person who took the first pill. The person is different, not the incentives. This should be explained by mathematical formula.

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