Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry


 

Archives

<< current
 
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com


My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics


The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Blogblivion
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
EconLog
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Hyscience
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
RealityCarnival
Respectful Insolence
Sedenion
Seriously Science
Shtetl-Optimized
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
TJIC
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Fourmilab
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress


























Yet another weird SF fan
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Explaining an Apparent Contradiction

On the one hand, later marriage is correlated with increased marital stability. On the other hand, fewer sexual partners is also correlated with increased marital stability. (Both claims seen here.) One possible explanation is that waiting until later to have any sex is correlated with increased marital stability.

On the other hand, maybe higher IQs are correlated with increased marital stability.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hiring at Google?

Apparently, the people doing the current hiring at Google have said they found that expensive degrees don't predict success, GPAs don't predict success, and asking interviewees if they can solve puzzles doesn't predict success. Would a coin toss help?

Their claim of what did predict success:

For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it's not IQ. It's learning ability. It's the ability to process on the fly. It's the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they're predictive.
This sounds familiar. According to Marvin Minsky:
No, no; your trouble is that you're confusing a thing with itself!

By the way, Google also regards “intellectual humility” as desirable. That might mean the ability to admit being wrong when confronted by evidence. It might also mean a reluctance to tell an echo chamber they're all wrong. Are the engineers who realized that “alternative energy” was a waste of time and money still working for Google?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Stop the “Three Felonies per Day”

Pass a law making all citizens honorary policemen. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Part III of Do You Believe in Γ0?

The first two parts are here and there.

The late Edward Nelson did not believe in Γ0 or even in numbers:

The famous saying by Kronecker that God created the numbers, all else is the work of Man, presumably was not meant to be taken seriously. Nowhere in the book of Genesis do we find the passage: And God said, let there be numbers, and there were numbers; odd
and even created he them, and he said unto them, be fruitful and multiply; and he commanded them to keep the laws of induction.
This had a peculiar effect: When impredicative definitions are completely rejected (including any belief in infinite sets), it's impossible to prove that exponentiation is a total function. In other words, we have no rigorously-logical reason to believe in exponential growth. Malthusians sometimes accuse a critic of being an “exponential function denier” but here we have a real one.

When you start trying to find out about eccentric theories, you have no idea of how deep the proverbial rabbit hole goes … or is it an anti-rabbit hole?

But wait, there's more:

In addition to disbelieving in the natural numbers, he disbelieves in the reduction of the wave packet, political correctness, and the Big Bang, but he believes in the Holy Spirit.
I'm reminded of Paul Gordan's statement:
Das ist nicht Mathematik. Das ist Theologie.
I suppose this means Edward Nelson wasn't Russian Orthodox.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conservatives:Academia::Women:Computer Programming

One possible reason for the decline in women majoring in computer science is the belief that the field as a whole is hostile to women. Similarly, one possible reason for the lack of conservatives in academia is the belief that the career as a whole is hostile to conservatives. The existence of a corner or two that really is hostile doesn't mean that hostility is found all over.

On the other hand, attempts to respond to perceived hostility can create real hostility.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Internet Explorer Can Block the Vindicosuite Redirect

For a few hours, attempts to view blogspot were redirected to vindicosuite on Kindle, Firefox, and Chrome. The problem appears to be over.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Following the Establishment without Knowing

How many high-school students asking “What will I get out of learning this?” realize that they're following the the heart of the Establishment?

In other news, the anti-Establishment people showed their tolerance with the following message via Twitter:

You are blocked from following @trutherbot and viewing @trutherbot's Tweets.
Hmmm… Maybe that's the answer to “What will I get out of learning this?” You will be able to understand the context of Trutherbot's nonsense. That might even be a plausible college-level course: Internet Fallacies.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Has Progress Stalled?

According to many pessimists (example here), progress has stalled. As far as I can tell, the progress that is occurring is not particularly important because:

  • Technology A is not evidence that progress is occurring because it is a purely theoretical idea with no possible products.
    Theoretical example: the “ems” Robin Hanson speculates about.
  • Technology B is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer purely theoretical but it is still confined to laboratories.
    Actual example: Detecting extra-solar planets.
  • Technology C is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer confined to laboratories but it is still only used for occasional stunts.
    Actual example: IBM's Watson.
  • Technology D is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer only used for occasional stunts but it is still only affordable by giant organizations.
    Actual example: Planetary exploration by robots.
  • Technology E is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer only affordable by giant organizations but it is still unaffordable for individuals who aren't mind-bogglingly rich.
    Actual example: Space tourism.
  • Technology F is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer unaffordable for individuals who aren't mind-bogglingly rich but it is still beyond the wallet of most people on Earth.
    Actual example: 3D printing.
  • Technology G is not evidence that progress is occurring although it is no longer beyond the wallet of most people on Earth but it hasn't actually progressed; it has merely gotten cheaper (and is also used for very undignified purposes).
    Actual example: this blog.

Friday, December 05, 2014

“Government” Is Simply the Name We Give to the Things We Choose to Do Together

The above cliche is the source of two of the most nonsensical ideas around:

  1. An organization that can enable people to do things together is a government and therefore must be subject to democratic restraints.
  2. Violence is not part of the essential nature of government and it's possible to be pro-government without getting the blame for government violence.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!

China is starting pun control. If they take over ICANN, we must start devising slogans now:

  • When puns are outlawed, only outlaws will have puns!
  • Puns don't annoy people; people annoy people!
  • They can have my puns when they pry my keyboard out of my cold dead fingers!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

What's the Party Line This Week?

It's a bit annoying to keep track of political opinions that change every week. I've mostly noticed this on the Left. For example:

  • Is the Left for or against IQ tests this week?
  • Is the Left for or against the War on Some Drugs this week?
  • Is the Left for or against trusting Science this week?
Recently, I've found a similar question for the Right:
Same bulshytt, different side.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Neoreactionary Society and Dysgenics

On the one hand, neoreactionaries believe in reviving the traditional society (with a hereditary aristocracy and the ability to execute heretics) that governed much of the human race for the past ten thousand years. On the other hand, they also believe in eugenics, especially for the purpose of increasing brain power. On the gripping hand, the traditional-society era also saw shrinking brain sizes. For that matter, brain sizes having been coming back up in the less traditional society of the past few centuries. Wait a moment …

I'm not sure why the shrinkage occurred. Is it because the most successful men were Pointy-Haired Bosses of yesteryear? (ObSF: the Sooners in Brightness Reef by David Brin) Is it because the brightest people were burnt at the stake?

If neoreactionaries argue the same way leftists do, they will no doubt claim that traditional society wasn't traditional enough.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Did This “Study” Actually Exist? The Answer

The study discussed here (from there) turned out to exist. I still cannot find the actual publication but the reference seems detailed enough for it to exist.

As far as I can tell, there does not seem to be a control group in the study. In addition, there were several dietary changes and they may have focused on on irrelevant ones. Changes in micronutrients sound more plausible than changes in food additives. After all, the students would later go home and eat Twinkies but the school meal might have been their only meal with real food. One of the authors was later involved in a study that did have a control group and found that micronutrients are important.

I won't more than mention that, if I recall correctly, the use of mind-altering chemicals was dropping rapidly in New York City at the time. Maybe second-hand toke had an effect.

I have started a log at Ask for Evidence but their system appears to be down now.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Latest in Ignorant Paranoia

The NRC got around to releasing the radiation readings for Florida produce in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown over three years later and low-information environmentalists are going nuts:

Fukushima fallout on vegetation in South Florida exceeded gov’t notification limit by over 1,000% — Nearly triple the highest level reported anywhere on West Coast
First, the notification level is not the same as the danger level. It merely means it's enough to be reasonably sure it's out of the ordinary. Second, it's only the I-131 level that was extraordinary. The total radioactivity was within the normal range. For example, the highest radioactivity level mentioned in the article was 1,220 pCi/kg whereas bananas have 3,520 pCi/kg and brazil nuts have up to 12,600 pCi/kg. Third, it went away in a few weeks.

It's not enough to know what's going on in the event you're looking at; you also have to know what else is going on.

Speaking of low-information paranoid activists …

The news that the violators of a social contract in restraint of trade will now have the opportunity to pay Social-Security taxes is being misinterpreted by the Other Ignorant Army as implying that the aforesaid competitors will get Social-Security benefits immediately, even despite the fact that there is a ten-year delay (the deferred action on immigration might get past the courts but attempts to get around Social-Security law certainly won't) and even despite the fact that immigrants tend to be young.

By the way, some nativists claim the immigrants are coming over to go on welfare and some claim they're taking our highly-skilled jobs. There should be a debate between the two sides but somehow I doubt if there will be one.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Explaining the Ferguson Riots

There's only one explanation of why the reaction to a slightly-dubious grand-jury decision was to loot stores and burn down neighborhoods:

This story is emblematic of something I've noticed seems increasingly common in the 21st century---political movements that appear exceedingly stupid.
On the other hand, it appears that this was stupidity imported from outside Ferguson.

Come to think of it, this might explain why the prosecutors waited until nightfall to announce the decision instead of announcing it in narrow daylight. (In November, daylight isn't broad.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Two Bulshytt Claims

  • That “white people” will never riot. Wrong.
  • That law enforcement would never shoot a “white” person for no good reason. Wrong.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Time to Buy Google?

If it was time to sell Google a few years ago, was it time to buy Google more recently?

On the other hand, I noticed they were much quieter about this than the initial announcement. (I only heard of it quite recently.) Maybe they're embarrassed at being sensible.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

An IQ Speculation

What if looking down on others raises IQ? That might explain the odd swings in measured IQs for different groups.

If we could just get everybody to look down at everybody else, then that would raise everybody's IQ! Except then we would be smart enough to realize how silly that method is and then become dim again.

Maybe that's why the Flynn effect might have leveled off…

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dance, Puppets, Dance …

It should be obvious to the meanest intelligence that the purpose of the proposed amnesty is to ensure that people in the Republican base say things that can be spun as racist. Dance, puppets, dance …

Meanwhile, one possible way to defuse this (besides charging admission) is to give the “green light” to immigration from areas with people who are particularly supportive of capitalism. The top three are Vietnam, Bangladesh, and South Korea. Promoting immigration from Vietnam will also help make Democrats look like idiots.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Avoid Being Too Partisan

  1. Pick a couple of issues you feel strongly about, one on each side. When you're too close to being a partisan, remind yourself “There are the people who are wrong about X.” Picking two issues will prevent you from being partisan on the other side, in case you switch. It might even be helpful to pick four issues, two where each side is wrong about the facts and two where it's wrong about the morals.
  2. Make sure you read something on the Other Side regularly, preferably from people you have something in common with.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Immigration Amnesty and the Contraception Mandate

The contraception mandate may have been inserted into the "Affordable" Care Act in order to provoke opposition. The game plan was quite simple:

  1. Tell low-information voters that Republicans hate s*x.
  2. Add a preposterous mandate for something used while doing you-know-what.
  3. Wait for Republicans to oppose it.
  4. Claim that opposition is evidence for Step 1.
  5. Get re-elected.
Alternative possibility:
  1. Tell low-information voters that Republicans hate s*x.
  2. Add a preposterous mandate for something used while doing you-know-what.
  3. Wait for Republicans to go along with it.
  4. Let the Republican base get disgusted enough to stay home.
  5. Get re-elected.
Both of these were avoided when Republicans backed over-the-counter birth control. It was in accordance with current Republican principles and disproved the initial claim.

The immigration amnesty might be an attempt at the same strategy:

  1. Tell low-information voters that Republicans are racists.
  2. Issue an executive decree of dubious constitutionality.
  3. Wait for Republicans to oppose it.
  4. Claim that opposition is evidence for Step 1.
  5. Get re-elected.
Alternative possibility:
  1. Tell low-information voters that Republicans are racists.
  2. Issue an executive decree of dubious constitutionality.
  3. Wait for Republicans to go along with it.
  4. Let the Republican base get disgusted enough to stay home.
  5. Get re-elected.
The Republicans will have to come up with a plan that is in accordance with current Republican principles and disproves the initial claim. One suggestion: Charge admission to the US. Hand over $1000 (is that a reasonable amount?) and you're on the way to citizenship.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Few Thoughts on Net Neutrality

At first, I thought the net-neutrality controversy was about the standard left-wing line that we can bring the millennium by passing the right regulations. That turned out not to be what it was about. They're saying it's a matter of stopping a horrible situation.

My second thought was they were talking about real problems. Leftists sometime identify real problems (e.g., stagflation in the 1970s) and propose absurd solutions. I thought that was the matter here. That turned out not to be what it was about either. They're saying they want to keep the current system.

As far as I can tell, they're assuming that all good things come from regulations and if the present unregulated system is good it must be due to the regulations yet to be passed. The future regulations will be so beneficial that their good effects extended back in time.

I must admit they have a dangling shred of evidence for potential exploitation: the Comcast vs. Netflix controversy. OTOH, it would be more believable if the same people hadn't been recommending the same policy for years. OTGH, it sure looks like Netflix was a much bigger violator of the Internet spirit (one content provider hogging 30% of the bandwidth?).

Query: If net-neutrality regulations are passed, how long will it take for them to be repealed?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hmmm…

GMO potatoes might prevent cancer. This is almost as good as the news that beets have more anti-oxidants after being microwaved.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Evidence for the KOK Hypothesis

There appears to be more infrared light in the universe than can be accounted for by current theories:

Prof Jamie Bock from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, one of the report's authors, described the extragalactic background light (EBL) as "kind of a cosmic glow".

"It's very faint - but basically the spaces between the stars and galaxies aren't dark. And this is the total light made by stars and galaxies during cosmic history," Prof Bock told the BBC.

Earlier measurements from rockets and satellites had shown that there was more fluctuation in this background than the sum total of known galaxies could explain.

At least two proposals were made to account for the extra light: it might come from very early, distant galaxies that formed when the universe was much younger, or it might come from stray stars outside galactic boundaries.

There's also the possibility the light might come from civilizations in apparently-empty parts of the universe.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Bug Facts

A gamergate is a type of ant

It's a reproductively viable female worker ant.

Gamergate ants have an odd habit

Even feminists don't do this:

Or consider the gamergate ants, whose females capture a male and snip off his genitals during copulation. They discard the male's body, but his severed genitals continue to fertilize for an hour.
Eeeewwww!!!!

Parents of infants might prefer this

In some species of hymenoptera, the larvae have a lack of a habit:

[The larvae] are also unable to defecate until they reach adulthood due to having an incomplete digestive tract, presumably to avoid contaminating their environment.

Spiders can apparently build webs in six dimensions

According to a British newspaper:

Experts estimated there were around 35,176 spiders per cubic square metre of space.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Whatever Happened to …

… the “big data” that was supposed to ensure Democratic dominance? Did “gamergate” alienate the programming community? Did the programmers spend the last few months sabotaging the effort? Did they try to arrange for the get-out-the-vote people to call conservatives? That would explain many of the phone calls I received …

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sigh

The Mickey Kaus explanation of the recent election reminds me of how the Village Voice covered a conservative victory in a Swedish election. I had thought it was a rejection of absurdly-high taxes but the Village Voice attributed it to the Socialist support for nuclear energy.

The lesson of the comments at the Instapundit thread on the above is that statists never accept that Big Government has been rejected. Any attempt to reject Big Government is interpreted to mean a rejection of the isolated attempts at limiting government by the losing side.

As for whether this election means Republicans must turn nativist: In 2008, the Republicans nominated a pro-immigration candidate. The resulting loss was attributed to that. In 2012, the Republicans nominated someone more neutral. It didn't work.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Not THAT Nuts!

Okay. Libertarians are supposed to be eccentric but the Libertarian Party candidate for State Senate in my district is just plain nuts.

Does this mean I have to vote for that hack Marcellino?

Sunday, November 02, 2014

I'm Considering a Boycott

I'm considering a boycott of Lightlife and Smart Balance for bowing to modern superstitions about GMOs. There are other candidates that I'm looking at.

It's possible to make a case that GMOs “aren't necessary.” If a business rejects GMOs on that ground, it's as though they had a mouse infestation problem and controlled it by acquiring brown cats, yellow cats, and gray cats. (Black cats aren't necessary.) Black cats might not be necessary to control mice, but if they're excluded, one might wonder what other superstitions are being taken seriously.

Besides, such a rejection implies they're selling to idiots.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

What If Math Is Politicized?

After reading about the politicization of absolutely everything, I've wondered what might happen if mathematics is politicized. Is the Axiom of Choice libertarian? Is the Axiom of Determinacy part of the regulatory state? Is the Power Set Axiom fascist? (It's a collectivist axiom that treats the individual points on a line as part of an amorphous blob that is given without regard to the points that make it up.)

On the other hand

Meanwhile, it looks like Ezra Klein ended the essay with an attempt to inspire fear on the Right. Please recall the Left tried to get Phil Robertson fired. They failed. They had earlier tried to get Rugh Limbaugh fired. They failed.

Addendum: Since the context of “amorphous blob” was not present in the Google search, I'll include it below:

… set theory with \(\mathsf{V}=\mathsf{L}\) does not take the continuum as an amorphous blob whose existence is provided by the power set axiom. … What is emphasized here is that the abstract power set axiom is the basis of Zermelo set theory, while the notion of transfinite ordinal number is the basis of constructible set theory. … It is in questions concerning the axiom of choice that these two approaches begin to differ. If one is to put his faith in an amorphous blob, why should it be well-ordered. Alternatively, if the real line is something which arises from faith in transfinite iteration, there had better be a definable well-ordering.
Points just want to be free!

 
Profiles
My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker


The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.