It is so easy to rile me intellectually. Had no plans to argue on the internet today, but here I am reading reports on copper production and making passive-aggressive bets.

"the core things driving progress in biology forward - have come from biology itself. Biology is eating physics (and, some would jokingly suggest, based on the outperforming endurance of DNA compared to any modern hardware and plausibility of biological computation, possibly computation itself)."

Plausible but dark:

"With the Internet, too much information leaks out about the failings of governments. Thus, they are unable to “rule by persuasion” and are increasingly reduced to relying on sheer force. As a provocative example, Gurri believes that the Chinese government now is more dependent on force than it would be without the Internet."

- Arnold Kling

"The candidates met up in North Dakota
And they donned their black robes there in the chapel hall
They said a brief invocation to their cloven-hoofed prince
And they signed their names in blood on the vestry wall

And we pull down our blindfolds
Reach out for the lever in the dark
Get a sticker for our shirts as we head into the sun
Proudly bearing the mark
Headed down to the ark"

This has been performed exactly once. It is top 5 for me. He just sheds songs like scales. How many of my favourite songs are locked in his head, or dead and traceless after one analogue gig?

Trivial addition to the list of transhumanist demands:

Highly functional food cravings. That is, nutrition intuitions which actually direct you to the exact foods you currently need.

Lots wrong with that model sometimes (plenty of early science by total cranks like Newton, for instance) but for now use it, but think of cases where the end of that pipeline is reversed: where the technology comes before the theory.

I'm told that jet engineering was like this*, but there's a bigger and scarier example: We don't really understand the brain. So all psychiatric medications are of the class 'technology used despite no one really knowing how they work'.


Simplistic model of theory maturity: a field moves from religion, to philosophy, to science, to technology.

e.g. weather:

went from "Zeus is angry!" to
"Weather iſ an imbalance of the humorſ of The Earth" to
"Air pressure just dropped 7 psi" to
"I am angry! Alexa, smite my neighbour with ions!"

The history of mathematics: finding out how horrendously nontrivial some tautologies are.

But ignore that for a moment: Why are insurance companies' reviews so bad, in particular?

- Null hypothesis: Because they are fed by fear and maintained by cavilling.
- Selection bias: the usual reviews kind, where only people with strong feelings bother to say anything, but also: there's a lot of ways for an insurance company to get stuff wrong and not many to get stuff right.
- Toxin magnification: insurers are atop the trophic pyramid of misfortune. They handle everyone on their worst day.

Bad brand idea: "Dark Vegan": strict harm reduction often contradicts a sentimental kind of animal rights.

e.g. maybe hunters are sort of ok, since being shot and killed instantly is an above-average death for the natural world.

Learning distinctions / labels for real distinctions can be very helpful: in this case, you'd want to grok

reference and referent,
use and mention,
quotation and disquotation,
translation and calque,
ethos, logos and pathos,
meaning as use,
writing as mere fossilised speech.

Friend going into teaching English (ESOL) asks if he should study philosophy of language first (as a practical matter).

As with most philosophy, I suspect the answer is: the first chapter helps by giving you some new concepts or distinctions or labels for those; the next helps less; and that subsequent ones hinder you with nerd-sniping, useless edge cases, and falsidical paradoxes.

Memory works through repetition - "if this comes up a lot, it's important". But most of the things we repeatedly expose ourselves to - station announcements on the PA, the same Marvel film four times a year, colleagues in rather a different league - are not important. Is this why routine is painful?

The Norse admit this kind of thing in their Æsir / Vanir distinction - but they also demonise the Giants. I don't know enough about it to say that the Jötnar are like Titans, the loser we say deserved it.

The relationship between the Titans and the Greek gods seems like the one between Serbs and Croats. Or maybe - since the gods succeeded in exterminating the Titans - it's Frenchmen and Cagots.

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