Feb 082016

Cant Believe its NotUntil today the whole “spirit animal” thing seemed bizarre to me. Just one more thing kids these days do that I don’t get. Then I read “Crystal Society” (by Max Harms) and OMG!!!!! FACE IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL!! I finally get what that term means, and it’s perfect! :D
The book applies Society of Mind theory to AI development. The story uses social manipulation/interaction as the primary plot drivers and conflict-resolution mechanisms!
It’s $5 on Amazon, or free online here.
(I would recommend just skipping the prologue entirely though. But that’s just me, others like it.)

I’ve found a fascinating new blog – The First Principle – a blog for commentary on the political landscape from the perspective of those engaged in the business of changing public policy.

Ayn Rand’s Firefly. “Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not rescue your sister from torture school. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without rescuing her from torture school.”

It turns out that cultural technology is so basic to my idea of human-ness that a group of humans without the most fundamental technology (the concept of numbers) literally feel like aliens to me. I didn’t realize that before. But very rarely do I read about alien species in science fiction that feel as alien as this group.

Dammit! Who’s been revealing all our secrets??

Wow, technology really does get a lot better. A small 2009 car demolishes a 1959 Chevy in a crash test. Hilarious in several places due to sheer understatement.

A fun flash fic. Altho, also accurately depicts factory farming (if briefly) so, don’t read if that’ll ruin your day.
“This is kind of going to be a weird question,” I said, “but are you a Buddhist god?”
“Hindu, actually,” said Mahaksuryana, “but I’m not offended. I like the Buddhists. They’re pretty chill.”

A guy was illegally demoted for supporting a candidate – supporting a candidate is projected 1st Amendment speech. BUT! He wasn’t actually supporting the candidate, he was just getting a sign for his sick mom. The argument is that since he wasn’t “exercising his rights” (he didn’t actually support the candidate) his demotion was entirely legal.
So if his boss had been right in his assumptions about what the employee was doing, the demotion would have been illegal. Fortunately he was wrong, so it’s all kosher? The Supreme Court will weigh in. I’m ready to be disappointed.

We like our disasters in black and white,” but a combination of arrogance and incompetence caused the Flint water tragedy. And despite his disclaimer at the top, this is not long at all. Under 1500 words.

How Well the Economy is Doing Depends on Your Party, and $1
“The paper by Mr. Bullock, Alan S. Gerber, Seth J. Hill and Gregory A. Huber found that offering a $1 payment for a correct response and a 33-cent payment for an answer of “Don’t know” eliminated the entire partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans on questions about the economy.”

“Yes, people are less deluded about objective conditions than we imagined, but that also implies that peoples’ belief about objective conditions matters less for how they vote than we thought,” he said. “We’ve always thought that how people vote depended a lot on the state of the economy and the state of war. But maybe those objective realities matter less than we thought.”

While I thought the new Star Wars movie was boring, I am against people being dicks about popular things just to be dicks. The recent HuffPo article was horseshit, and this is a great breakdown of why, and response.
“As some of you may be able to see, the ‘plot holes’ outlined in the Huffington Post‘s article are not plot holes at all. They’re simply things to which the reviewer willingly turned a blind eye due to the fact that he went in with a prepossessed notion of what he was going to write. His notion was so strong in fact, that he was able to completely overlook clear and obvious parts of the movie in order to back up the ‘facts’ of his dumb-shit, preconceived article. ”

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2016, if Corporate Dragons Weren’t Devouring our Cultural Myths.

I note that this is exactly what I want to hear, and therefore I should be extra-doubtful. But here’s a quick summary of Jacobs on the importance of cities in economies, making the argument that the primary unit of economic development is the city.
“Empires are built by cities; but they inevitably siphon off the wealth of their cities in these unproductive ways, till stagnation and decline set in.”

An anti-aging startup hopes to elude the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and death at the same time. I’ve already started on my first year’s supply. I’ll let y’all know how it’s going every decade or so. :) Also the SciAm take here.

Anyone into Ponies – give Steven Universe a try. It’s *really* good, and it builds!

Alexander Wales tackles the impossible task of writing an exciting short story about project management. Success!
Instruments of Destruction” – Admiral Tian Jerjerrod tackles the impossible task of building the second Death Star.

I finally listened to Hamilton after absolutely everyone was raving about how great it was. I gotta stop coming to these things late. It is FANTASTIC. If you haven’t reached the critical mass of jumping in yet, consider me one more vote towards doing so.

In a society where the real laws aren’t the same as the pretend laws, and it’s impossible to unilaterally obey the pretend laws, what do you do when you have to explicitly program robots about the speed limit?
“One approach is to teach the vehicles when it’s OK to break the rules, such as crossing a double yellow line to avoid a bicyclist or road workers.
“It’s a sticky area,” Schoettle said. “If you program them to not follow the law, how much do you let them break the law?””

Are Americans losing faith in democracy?

Hey, you want nonprofits to act more like businesses? Then treat us like businesses. “For some reason, it’s OK to invest millions into Google Glass, or the Amazon phone, or the various buy-outs of smaller companies, or whatever, only for them to fail, lose a ton of money, and then chalk it up as a normal part of business. And yet, society invests much smaller amounts to solve complex entrenched social problems, expects miracles, and gets disappointed when we don’t meet outcomes. It’s going to take a while, and significant resources, and the acceptance of failure if we have any hope of solving serious issues like homelessness and human trafficking.”

The radicalization of Luke Skywalker – a Jedi’s path to jihad

I didn’t know this until I was in my late 20s. Because American Sex Ed is really just Reproduction & STI Ed, which DOES NOT CUT IT.
“Physically speaking, virginity doesn’t exist. It’s just something we made up to be mean to women.”

“Trump did not bring his supporters into the GOP. They were already there. … The GOP’s problem is that Trump is the distillation of every political strategy they’ve honed over the last several decades, and particularly ramped up over the last two. … the race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigots he’s currently energizing will still be there if and when he goes.”

OMGOMGOMG! NBC Boss on ‘Xena’ Reboot: “We’re Looking for a Writer” Can I do it? I’LL SO DO IT!

UHF Microwave Gun, made from a standard microwave oven. This makes me miss cyberpunk.

  3 Responses to “Link Archive 12/2/15 – 2/8/16”

  1. The problem with the free speech case is that, even if he had been exercising his 1st amendment rights, it would be fairly difficult to prove that was the actual reason for the demotion. It could just be a coincidence. It sometimes even would be; demotions and opposing political views are both common enough that the two have to coincide by coincidence sometimes.

    In this case, they admitted that his perceived political speech was the reason for the demotion. I am interested in the results and will try to remember to follow it. If I were judging the case despite not being remotely qualified, I would argue that he was demoted for actual speech he actually made, even if he made it for nonconventional reasons.

  2. Not sure how you feel about people commenting on ancient posts, but here goes.

    RE: car safety technology

    The malibu weighs in at 3649 pounds
    the bel air at 3600

    The malibu packs this mass in a significantly smaller volume and on top of that, a disproportionally large percentage of the bel air mass is in the cast-iron engine.

    What you have then is a case of small dense object vs more or less the opposite, or a less extreme version of bullet vs eggshell. You would have to perform some really horrible engineering for the malibu not to win, the main surprise should be how well the bel air comes out of that one.

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