A sensible position on the Iran bomb issue.
A sensible position on the Iran bomb issue.
I somehow expected that the world's ugliest dog would be ugly, but I thought I'd laugh, not recoil. Wow.
Yes this is an outdated story, but it doesn't get less amusing with age. Plus, I get nostalgic for that old crappy format of suck.com, one of the late great places of the internet back when they thought content would be king. I was so happy it's still up that I wrote about it here.
This is the first ever jounrnal issue devoted to the philosophy of time travel and look: one of the articles in there is mine! Woo, I'm published!
This must be the most interesting historical documentary that I have ever seen. Ostensibly it's about the "science of human motivation" but the effect is much greater. I fancy myself to be fairly well informed, but at the end of this, I felt like I've been incredibly naive and ignorant of the larger forces and their explanations.
Grr! This sort of thing really pisses me off. Look at the linked page and see for yourself. Are we really such pigs to park our heavy tanks on the 2600-year-old tiled roads of one of the world's seven ancient wonders? Now, for another several millenia, people who visit the ancient city of Babylon will have to hear about Bush's stupid war and how the damage we see on Babylon's gates was caused by our helicopters in 2003-200? AD. On the other hand, maybe it's good that our invasion leaves this permanent mark. I for one am hoping that historians will look back at our time and shake their heads in amazement that we let all this happen. This sort of state-sanctioned vandalism will only help in that regard.
What??? These are some ridiculous airfares! I mean... across Europe for 15 Euro, INCLUDING TAXES! I'm having a hard time believing my eyes.
Paul Craig Roberts was Ronald Reagan's undersecretary of the treasury. When he gets worked up into this sort of a tizzy about something, maybe you'd better read it. In brief, he thinks outsourcing is about to turn the USA into a third world country .Surely he overstates his case, but the mechanism he describes is plausible and well-studied. My guess is that we are compensating for our post 9/11 feelings of fragility by pretending to have economic invincibility - that basically, we'll get away with EVERYTHING, no matter how short-sighted. I too worry that we won't.
This is an article about a pretty amazing Harvard professor, amazing enough to have a long NYT article written about him. It's hard to read that article, though, without getting a really nasty feeling. Yes, it's a human interest story, and Roland Fryer is a very interesting human being. Oh, if only this ugly article could portray like that, instead of making a monkey out of him. It's disgusting!
Read it and tell me I'm wrong... but here's how it reads to me (begin cynical paraphrase): Dr. Fryer is a specimen that occupies a very unusual place in taxonomy of black people. First of all, he's a genius Harvard professor, a son of large-scale crack dealers... but now get this: he's prepared to talk about genetic differences between whites and blacks! He has serious misgivings about affirmative action! And this at Harvard, which we all know lost its whole cadre of prestigious black professors to Princeton because of a loose-lipped chancelor who dares to consider genetics as a possible explanation of behavioral differences. What delicious irony! (end)
Well, if this is all there was to the story, it would simply be lame, though not gross. What takes it to the next level is the author's presumption that the right thing to do is to expose, in the widest circulating paper on the continent, intimate details of painful family secrets that Fryer was confronting for the first time as the story was being written. Has the NYT lost all dignity? I acknowledge that Fryer's bitter childhood is relevant to the story, but did it have to be represented in this reality-show manner with a play-by-play of Fryer's encounter with his long-estranged mother? It's like the reporter is showing off: Look how close I got! Damn I'm good! Dear author-Fryer is a nuanced thinker, not just some freak!
The New Atlantis is an internet journal of sophisticated luddites with Ph.D.'s. Beware, because they know all the SAT words and try to make you think they're something more than luddites. And they are: They're sophisticated luddites with Ph.D.'s.
In this provokative essay we get baited with lots of interesting minutea which are ultimately irrelevant and distract from the main argument. We learn about the history of the remote, glowing testamonials from TiVo users and the plot outlines of old futurist books. The iPod gets described "our modern musical phylactery" because people tend to wear it on their arm. Yeah, cute. Where is this going?
As far as I can tell, the thesis (way back at the beginning) is this:
"In thrall to our own little technologically constructed worlds, we are, ironically, finding it increasingly difficult to appreciate genuine individuality."
So what does she say in support of this theis? Precious little! No matter. The more interesting question: Is this thesis true? I think not. In fact, I think that the very falsity of this claim is what should be causing us distress. The forthcoming "have it your way" era of the TiVo/iPod/cellphone/internet convergence will give each one of us such an easy vehicle to genuine hyper-individuality that we won't know how to be a community. Maybe a little social force-feeding is a GOOD thing! This is how a society gets built. To use myself as an example: as I write this I'm listening to Tristania, a great German band that maybe 30 other people in Syracuse, NY, USA listen to. You can bet that it's not on the jukeboxes of the downtown bars. So what? Isn't it GOOD that I listen to music which is better than the stuff I would have liked if I only had the radio and my friends to influence me? No man nor machine forced me down the path by which I discovered them. It was an act of individuality par excellence! Likewise, nobody tells me what to watch. It's been months since I've channel-surfed, because I watch what amounts to my own Dave-channel - including lots of stuff that doesn't air in the USA - because that stuff is better. What happens when everybody else also disconnects culturally from their local peers? Whatever the problem, it won't be a lack of individuality, but an antisocial excess of it.
The original is funny enough, but the photoshopped pics really add value!
OK. I think I've read enough to form a view of this stuff. To me, it seems terribly misguided. I kept thinking that they are looking at history exactly backwards, until I reached the line which explicity confirmed it:
"First, it [psychohistory] reverses the relationship between physical and psychological reality, so that instead of material progress setting the pace of history and somehow dragging behind the psyches of its actors, human psychology is made primary setting Marx on his head and Hegel back on his feet" (89).
In general, I think psyches respond to their circumstances, not the other way around. Besides, psychologically we don't vary in too many interesing ways over the course of history except insofar as we are affected by the dramatically varying physical conditions that people find themselves in. In summary, I think on this debate, Marx/Weber are obviously right and that destroys this whole endeavor before it starts.
... I had to stop reading by about p. 100. I'm offended that this guy feels he has the right to drop Hempel's name, declare his insane methodology a science, and obviously violate the very thing that Hempel insisted on: Science must be empirically testable.This psychohistory is just a little interpretation game for people familiar with psychoanalytic jargon. It has no relevance beyond that. It's like meteorologists spinning of a division that looks for faces in clouds. Yes, masters of that discipline might produce stunning interpretations to others who play this game, but the relevance of their "findings" does not extend beyond the game in any way. At least couch-psychoanalysts make people feel better. And, they're not boldly declaring themselves to have started a science. To come up with the "clever" interpretation that war is viewed as birthing by the leaders involved means nothing, really. They don't propose how we might test such a theory, or anything they say, for that matter. Hempel would be rolling over in his grave. It's like they're making little poems for each other!
These Czech guys make some awesome music, and right now, I'm physically unable to take their "Black Seal" album out of my CD player. They are totally under the radar, and there is no justice in that! They're an absolutely brilliant and completely unique band, like the Czech Republic's answer to Black Sabbath, except even blacker somehow.
From the page: "Have you ever heard of the word "abacinate"? Or perhaps "abascinate." It's in the lyrics of a song and by context it should mean something terrible, like genocide or some such. Never found the definition in even the big, 6-inch-thick dictionary at school."
Holy crap, this so weird. Google found this page when I, for kicks, looked up "abacinate". I haven't thought about this for years, until I misinterpreted a comment by a fellow stumbler, whom I took to be challenging Slayer's nerd credentials. (My misinterpretation was done in a manner alledgedly typical of philosophers. Hmpf.)
So how nerdy are Slayer? The story this guy describes happened to me exactly, except back in the 80's. My friend Tom and I were curious about that word, looked in progressively bigger dictionaries, and couldn't find it until we checked the many-volume unabridged OED, which had a tiny blurb. I never forgot the experience, and even now, my friends and I jokingly threaten each other with abacination, defenestration and such. Did I mention we're nerds? Anyway, I had no idea that the OED blurb I found is the only known reference to abacination, apart from the Slayer song. So, what the hell, were those guys thumbing through the 20,000-page OED looking for cool words? Remember, I'm a nerd, but I never did anything that nerdy! This is a real mystery!
This movie is a huge bleeping disappointment! I wanted to yell at the producers that when you mix reasonable scientists with lunatics, you don't make the lunatics look saner, but you don't do much of a service to science. /www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/blog/archives/000083.html>This review really helped me make sense of what happened, and it's not pretty. I'm sad to say that this was even worse than that "Elegant Universe" stuff. Actually, far worse. Oh, why can't someone make a good popular documentary about quantum physics?
John Nichols has this right: I'm sick of Democrats whining about how Dean is going to mess up the party. I think he'll do what Nichols thinks he'll do. He'll kick ass. He'll raise money. He'll be our new spine. [I just noticed I used first person... see, it's working already!] Let's hope, anyway. I remember thinking that Nancy Pelosi was a great choice to lead the Congressional minority, but she ended up acting like someone whose hands are permanently tied. Maybe that will happen to Dean. Then, all he'll be is a fundraiser for the Republicans, along with Hillary. But I'm actually expecting him to do stuff.
Jesus vs. Santa gives an interesting result!
As a philosopher, Bayesianism is something I have to know. What's surprising is how little this stuff penetrates into the social sciences, though the applications would be obvious. I have a feeling social science profs just don't know how to teach courses on it, so they just do regressions and more regressions. Bleh.