May 022017

What overthinking looks like:


The final paragraph of Scott’s Hungry Brain review is the best backhanded complement-cum-advertisment I’ve ever seen. This comes after thousands of words reviewing a nutrition book that posits that modern extremely-tasty food is damaging our bodies’ fat-regulation mechanisms. I actually lol’ed.

“I want to recommend [MealSquares] as potentially dovetailing with The Hungry Brain‘s philosophy of nutrition without using phrases that might make MealSquares Inc angry at me like “bland”, “low food reward”, or “not hyperpalatable”. I think the best I can come up with is “unlikely to injure your hypothalamus”. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to quit the junk food and try a low-variety diet that’s unlikely to injure your hypothalamus, I recommend MealSquares as worth a look.”


5th Element is 20 years old this month. Some theaters are holding 20th anniversary screenings, you can check if there’s one near you Here.


It’s weird being on the other side of this now. Marijuana should be legal, it’s less harmful than alcohol. But it’s not as harmless as all its proponents say. Most of my friends use it like they use alcohol – perfectly responsibly for special occasions. But I’ve seen at least one person utterly consumed by it, in the manner of alcoholics who start every day with a beer, and don’t slow down from there.

I found this funny, because it didn’t go the way I thought it would:


On the Impossibility of Supersized Machines:

“In recent years, a number of prominent computer scientists, along with academics in fields such as philosophy and physics, have lent credence to the notion that machines may one day become as large as humans. Many have further argued that machines could even come to exceed human size by a significant margin. However, there are at least seven distinct arguments that preclude this outcome. We show that it is not only implausible that machines will ever exceed human size, but in fact impossible.”


What Would a Fighter Jet Buy 60 Years After Eisenhower’s Speech?

“The first item Eisenhower listed was a “modern brick school.” The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities places the national average for a 600-student elementary school at $14,800,000. A single B-2 would buy 99 of these schools.”
Nearly everything that happens in Washington is a petty distraction next the wholesale transformation of our fellow citizens’ wealth into machines of death.


An interesting perspective on Fearless Girl

“Commissioned not by an individual, but by an investment fund called State Street Global Advisors, which has assets in excess of US$2.4 trillion. [Fearless Girl] was commissioned as part of an advertising campaign developed by McCann, a global advertising corporation. And it was commissioned to be presented on the first anniversary of State Street Global’s “Gender Diversity Index” fund, which has the following NASDAQ ticker symbol: SHE. And finally, along with Fearless Girl is a bronze plaque that reads:

Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

Note it’s not She makes a difference, it’s SHE makes a difference. It’s not referring to the girl; it’s referring to the NASDAQ symbol. It’s not a work of guerrilla art; it’s an extremely clever advertising scheme.

In effect, Fearless Girl has appropriated the strength and power of Charging Bull. Of course Di Modica is outraged by that. A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist.”

The comments make intriguing counterpoints as well.


This angers me more than the United thing. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe I have a deeper emotional connection to tech stuff? – “ad designed to trigger Google’s voice-activated Home smart speaker”

There was some justice, if not enough –
“Wikipedia users began altering the first line of the article about Burger King’s Whopper. These edits included references to the burger as “cancer-causing” and stating that its ingredients include “cyanide.”


We are returning to the days of multiple Scott Alexander links per post! Doesn’t everyone just read him all the time?

“The nightmare scenario is that “free speech” goes the way of “family values” to the point where a seemingly uncontroversial concept gets so tarnished by its association with unpopular/conservative ideas that it becomes impossible to mention or invoke in polite company without outing yourself as some kind of far-right weirdo. Right now I think we are on that path.”

[interjection: I have never in my life known a time where “family values” wasn’t a synonym for Ignorance and Hatred. To the point that I was surprised to see Scott call it an “uncontroversial concept.” If “free speech” falls into the same disrepute, we’re all damned. ]

“If partisanship has grown stronger than principles, then even an incontrovertible proof that a certain principle supports your own tribe is going to turn out to be a gigantic booby prize. It won’t make the other side reconsider what errors have led them to contradict such hallowed ideals. It’s just going make half the population start hating the sacred principles necessary for society to function.”


From Robert Wiblin:
…Perhaps we are not designed to be content, but instead to forever compare our lot with that of our competitors, and to be happy only when we do better. The contented may simply have died out in the Malthusian era. … Happiness research does suggest one interesting parallel between taxation policy in our world and that in the Malthusian era. We saw in chapter 2 that taxes to fund the wasteful lifestyles of the rulers actually had no social cost in the Malthusian era. The glories of Versailles were not purchased at the price of the misery of the poor—whatever public relations problems Marie Antoinette may have had. Happiness research suggests that the same holds true for the modern era. If we value such collective goods as scientific research, space travel, public art, and fine architecture, then we should tax to fund them, whatever the economic cost. The consequent reduction of our material consumption will have little psychic cost…


Jonathan Coulton is back! And his new video is fantastic!


IMHO we’re already down the first few steps to this future.  Anti-Star Trek: A Theory of Posterity

“how to maintain capitalism in a world where scarcity can be largely overcome?

intellectual property [is] the ability to tell others how to use copies of an idea that you “own”

Anyone who tries to supply their needs from their replicator without paying the copyright cartels would become an outlaw […] if everyone is constantly being forced to pay out money in licensing fees, then they need some way of earning money”


Destroy them all. >< Why You Should Care About The Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges – “Tl;dr: They are trying to end Patent Exhaustion, and make it illegal to use things you buy for anything except the use it was sold for.

The specific case is whether you can refill your old printer cartridges, but if the principle is allowed, a company could sell you a a toothbrush with a license prohibiting you from using it to e.g. clean grout.”

from article – “you don’t “own” things like movies, music, or even the software on your phone; rather, it’s being licensed, which means companies can go to all kinds of lengths to keep controlling how, when, and where you use the things you’ve bought long after you’ve bought them.

The question before the Supreme Court, then, isn’t one of “can Lexmark patent this?” Because Lexmark can, and has. The question is, rather: Can patent exhaustion still be a thing, or does the original manufacturer get to keep having the final say in what you and others can do with the product?”


A perspective on fascism by Neo-reactionary thinker Nick Land

“Fascism is broadly identical with a normalization of war-powers in a modern state

Fascism is practical socialism, distinguished from its dim cousin by its far more sophisticated grasp of incentives

Since the fascist state justifies itself through perpetual war, it naturally likes wars that cannot end. The Cold War looked like one, but wasn’t quite. The War on Terror is a better bet….Waging modern wars, and their metaphorical side-products, is what the fascist state is for. Winning them on occasion, and by accident, is only ever a misfortune.

Fascism won WWII so decisively that its opponents were driven to the political fringes of paleo-conservatism (once mainstream conservatism), libertarianism (once mainstream liberalism), and Trotskyism (once simply ‘communism’).”

Ends with some crazy shit, but intriguing up to that point.


I always thought I didn’t like poetry. Turns out I just hadn’t come across the right kind yet. Oh My God, I am *in love* with villanelles. The four examples here are AMAZING


YASSSSS!! Always use Oxford comma, or risk major legal repercussions!


I’m not sure if this makes me a hipster or pretentious or whatever, but I really love stories about stories. Meta-stories, if you will. Like Valente’s “The Consultant


Oh wow, this study into “What if Trump were a woman” is very interesting. Not sure what to make of it yet. Replications are needed!  quoting a friend:

“Hillary managed to impress enough people to become the democratic nominee and was considered quite qualified by a lot of liberals. Does that mean “mansplaining” type behavior is less grating when it comes from a woman? Also, does interrupting and shooting from the hip seem more justifiable when it’s from a woman (because we know she won’t be listened to otherwise, or something)? Maybe the pro-Trump audience is just more gender blind?”


Patriotic Correctness stifles speech and criticism just as much as Political Correctness can.

“The French government’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq prompted Congress to rename French fries as “freedom fries”. When the Dixie Chicks opposed the Iraq War, many stations pulled the group’s music from the air so as not to “trigger” listeners. Fans destroyed Dixie Chicks albums in grotesque public demonstrations. The radio became a safe space.”

  2 Responses to “Link Archive 3/2/17 – 5/2/17”

  1. Nearly everything that happens in Washington is a petty distraction next the wholesale transformation of our fellow citizens’ wealth into machines of death we don’t even use. A huge amount of the military budget is waste. And the waste is generally things the military doesn’t even want because corruption politics.

  2. Anyone who tries to supply their needs from their replicator without paying the copyright cartels would become an outlaw

    When everyone’s a pirate, no one will be. Which may or may not prove to be awfully dystopian; I’m quite hopeful really.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.