From the good people of Johns Hopkins,
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.
Our current political world in short form
From the How to Make Everything YouTube Channel – I’ll be watching this several times.
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.
From this EconLog post
just because some people cannot be trusted with liberty does not mean other people can be trusted with power
Pithy – short, and to the point – the LP should abandon all of their other messaging and go with that. Very, very incomplete, but better than their current offerings.
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.