The Universe Conspires

We never had a choice, you and I.

Fuck this place. (Not the comic, the world it describes.)

Hitler had a mother.
How would you justify taking pride in your boy?
Do you know how many people die every day of starvation? Do you even know where to look to find out? According to the wikipedia article, Starvation, more than 25,000 people died of starvation every day in 2003. According to WHO, malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. Maybe you could help me, because I have some other questions: how many people die per day from religious warfare? From preventable disease? (Preventable meaning, those diseases that have been defeated by those of us who happen to be born in societies with the wealth to defeat such diseases for the entire general public.) How many people die from political conflict? How righteous can we really claim to be? We bicker over bullshit like stem cell research, gay marriage, right, left, abortion, taxes, guns, Love, hate, education, sex, drugs, religion, morals, beliefs... and 25,000 people die a day from no food? Nine million, one hundred twenty-five thousand people per year. Something like 237 million people in my reasonably short, 26 year lifetime, assuming it were constant. Something along the lines of 77 out of every 100 Americans, assuming it were constant.

Since the
80+ female population is much larger than the 80+ male population
, I am going to start aiming for 80+ women, to increase my likelihood of success.

Don't let your cereal rust?


"There's a strong possibility that I'm losing my mind."
"Maybe we even fall in love."

Kiss the ceiling.

Could our problem be trying to compare the time required to verify solutions versus the time required to solve problems?
Are there other complexity classes that are defined in terms entirely due to their verification or solution time alone? (And not things like FNP, that are basically NP already.)
Is there a clear meaning to the idea of having multiple time dimensions? Could there be a clear meaning to it?

I suspect that an 'ultimate theory', if ever discovered, will almost be difficult to imagine as being any other way. Unlike the current state of physics, in which there are many unknown parameters (the fundamental constants), a true ultimate theory would emerge from a single underlying principle (or set of principles), much the way special relativity emerges from two underlying ideas, or general from a third.

Ha ha ha, "Among other things, kids can tailor problems to stuff they're already interested in. Like gambling."

I just realized, that the Francis Bacon quote I am fond of, "[i]t is true that that may hold in these things, which is the general root of superstition; namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other", (which I usually apply to the ease with which we humans note coincidence in our lives), explains gambling very well (whether lottery, or craps, or blackjack, or whatever). Logically, these games are all obviously a losing battle (why else would casinos be so rich?), but all it takes is one small win, or even knowing someone else has won, to keep most people playing.

I want you to know.
Nontransitive dice

On the one hand, this is hilarious, on the other hand, how the hell does the cop not know better? Isn't this a man whom we have put faith in to "protect the public"? How can he do that when he is so uninformed and unaware of what is dangerous? (Granted, he can't do that anymore anyway.) This sort of superstition about things like drugs must end, we cannot afford it's costs.

It hurts me so much.

Lets be the radical center.

The only offer.
Am I still living vile?
Slowly tearing out her heart.
Steal me a dream.

This man, Jack Conte, and his girlfriend, Nataly, are both really cool. And so is their music. Andthis one too.

"You're doing it wrong!"

Must emphasize, not like extortion, more like seduction. "Hey baby, those are some sexy potatoes you got there, what say I buy them at above market value? Wanna buy some CD players that 'fell off the truck', big boy?"
Plus, even if we did pay them outright, it wouldn't be extortion, we would be choosing to do so. Though similar to our oil relationships, it would be different; our oil relationships are like a drug addict: we will pay whatever it costs for our next hit. Paying off nations to do what we want is more like telling them, listen, it's cheaper for us to buy you than to invade you, as long as you cooperate. Remember though, prices are dynamic.

Are there any truly one way functions? Maybe quantum cryptography could count?

I need to say that I.

Wait, whether they got good grades because they enjoyed learning, or because they worked hard to earn good grades, how is either one of those detrimental to a person's notoriety? Aren't both of those people somewhat non-typical in their ability to accomplish things? Isn't that what we want in government? People who either work hard, or find hard work easy? And how can academia be a racket if it doesn't have those sweet fruits like mercedes and million dollar apartments? I agree, it is a racket for those of us who enjoy learning, but the word 'racket', in this context, generally implies financial benefit, which most academics would probably agree doesn't really exist.

There is a comfort to the ambiguity.

This evidence, is everywhere.

When people ask, "why do you have faith in science, and reject the notion that it is reasonable to have faith in god?", an appropriate response ought to be, "I do not have faith in science, just like I do not have faith in gravity, or the big bang or evolutionary theory. I have empirical evidence that fits logical and mathematical theory (science), and I have empirical evidence that the very methods used to establish

Ah ha, maybe now we have found the heart of the matter. Scruton (is it?) says that "...we seek for the causes of things, but we also seek for their meaning. We have moral values, aesthetic tastes, yearnings and aspirations, which for the want for a better word we call spiritual. Such things are not irrational even if we find it difficult to provide a scientific foundation for them." I for one have had no trouble finding a scientific foundation for aesthetic tastes (my own or others), moral values, yearnings, or aspirations, but meaning I believe must be understood as a relative word. What does the moon mean? What is the meaning of a specific bacterium's life? What is the meaning of a specific molecules' role in the universe? The word 'meaning' only makes sense with respect to some lifeform, and even then only really to the higher life forms. It does not make sense to talk about the meaning of some causally disconnected galaxy with respect to humanity, because it literally makes no difference. I do not find it difficult to find scientific explanation for this, nor would I consider topics that find scientific explanation elusive to be evidence that non-scientific descriptions are adequate. I am now entirely convinced that science is the only method which can resolve any approximation to truth, and that when implemented correctly, it will always produce the most accurate representation of what we would all agree to understand is truth.

Science, in it's most abstract form, has no flaws. This follows from the fact that any flaw that appears provable is more than sufficient enough to revise science to accommodate for the oversight. Science might be described as an abstract process of observing and interpreting the world, with the trait of allowing revision of method upon new evidence. Basically, science is the memetic evolution of ideas, independent of the bias provided by tradition, rites, rituals, belief, desire, etc. IT MUST BE UNDERSTOOD that SCIENCE has NO QUALMS about abandoning it's current methods in exchange for improved results. Humans have such a problem, and that is the only thing that retards the ability for science to do that.

We need ask them, how would you explain the obvious fact that children are not identical to their parents? And what would you expect the extreme long term effect of this would be on a species?

Remember that, the crusades, the inquisition, and the current conflicts in Kashmir, Israel, and many other places in the world, are in the name of religion. Stalin did not commit crimes in the name of antitheism, or atheism, but in the name of another dogmatic belief system (communism). An atheistic stance can be derived from strong skepticism, an informed understanding of science, or equivocally Occam's razor, if one has accepted the notion that no belief is more valuable than any other, and receives even a small dose of science, or an intelligent inference from the world that surrounds them.

When people claim science is a religion, is an appropriate answer: but it has no true dogma?
I dreamt we were all beautiful and strong.

No matter how close two people are, an infinite distance still separates them.
Never underestimate the capacity for other people to let you down.

Isn't it beautiful?

We all end up old and in the way.
I can't go home. There's too much silence.

Heres a question, expanding on the issues I already have with the whole story of Abraham and Isaac: if you were to walk in on me, with my child tied up, and a knife held high above their chest, and I told you to trust me, that you should not intervene because I have a plan and it will all work out in the end. Would you be willing to just go along with me? Maybe since I'm not god, it's easier to not trust me. But it seems like I should be more trustworthy than a very old book that was written by people you'll never know.

Make sure it doesn't boil over.
"That means she's got issues, so she's not out of my league."

We should have worn helmets.

Even if the universe conspires against us.
I don't mind you hanging out, and talking in your sleep. I think you're just what I needed.

One way functions, entropy, causality, free will, incompleteness, randomness; the fact that quantum mechanics seems to both preserve causality, but destroy determination? These things all seem to relate

Lunacy and destruction, couldn't you tell that I was always happy to see you?


How I Appear So impartial

Skeletal anomalies.

While you're running through my mind.

If you understand that the phrase, "I can't explain why", is almost heresy with respect to science, you will understand why when asked why I feel, believe, act, or am, a certain way—I either give an explanation or become stuck figuring out why until I can explain it. And on the occasions I cannot find a good explanation, I become the greatest force of opposition with respect to that specific behavior of mine.

Stay lady stay.

"Popo zow peanut butter jelly time, horse porn."
"Don't hurt me! I'll betray anyone!"
"I want to learn what pleases you. I want to learn everything about you."

I'm starting to think I should set my alarm for a half hour after I go to bed, because it seems like it is only after my alarm goes off that I can fall asleep.

Mean and meaningless.


We do our best, right?
With any luck.
Tremendous contempt.

At around 55 minutes, Daniel Dennett says something to the effect that, he must question the potential harm caused by his research before continuing or publishing. I want to say that, any time pure information about the natural world may be regarded as potentially harmful, one should simply preface the publishing of such information with an explanation of how humanity, though emergent from the natural world, and bound to the laws of physics, does appear to have some modicum of self control, whether as individuals, groups, or the whole of the species. Regardless of our understanding of free will and determinism, we have all experienced the guilt of doing something we feel is wrong, as well as the situations of doing something you don't want to, because you know you should, and doing something you do want to, despite knowing you shouldn't. These situations are sufficient for us to know that regardless of the conclusions we draw in our research, our behavior, whether justified through academia or through private self-deceit, as far as our personal experience is concerned, we have some amount of control over our actions, or at least we should be aware that our actions are not the direct consequences of what we consider to be optimal or desirable, without including a multitude of motivations when establishing the optimal criteria. I would argue that this conclusion alone should be sufficient to prevent us from changing our behavior simply because some research indicated what we previously thought to be true may in fact be false.
Oh, in the second part (24 minutes in or so), Dennett says outright that he takes seriously the proposition that there are things we should just not try to find out, that there is such a thing as knowing more than is good for us. I believe I wholeheartedly disagree. Furthermore I would argue that it is not something that can be stopped. Much like technology that appears to contain both positive and negative consequences, unless the bad outweigh the good so disproportionately that no one can bring themselves to investigate the matter, then the investigation of the matter is essentially inevitable. Eventually Hitchens and Harris vocally agree, using biological weapon information as an example. Again, I disagree. Investigation of biological weaponry is our best hope at understanding the dangers of biological threats, whether synthetic or NATURAL. I agree you do not always give everyone all the information you find, but that is not the same thing as deciding not to continue investigating an idea because it could result in such dangers.

I would like to say you should never trust someone who says something is impossible, but then you would have to distrust me! What I should say, more accurately, is that you should never trust someone who says something you have observed is impossible. You should always be open to the possibility that your observations are mistaken or convoluted, or simply illusionary, but to declare them impossible, or unnaturally possible (i.e. supernatural), is to display supreme ignorance, and such people should not be trusted, they are not authorities, and they do not understand the basic tenets of science.

These guys [that is, the religious defenders] like to make a lot of silly claims, like that we must have faith in reason, and I think I can finally resolve my discomfort between mathematics, science, and logic.
Mathematics, and logic, both require axioms, and those axioms are imaginary. Science seems to demand axioms as well, but the axioms are not ours to choose, but rather set out by the nature of the universe. We happened to choose logical axioms that made sense to us, cause and effect, true and false, syllogism, etc. Much in the same way, we chose what appeared to be the most reasonable mathematical axioms as well. In both mathematics and logic, we studied what appeared to most accurately model reality. On occasion, by thinking very critically, we have expanded our logic and mathematics into much more then required to explain reality.

Maybe the defining aspect of humanity is our information processing abilities. Our ability to accumulate, store, process, and communicate, information. And if you look at human history in those terms, you can see how our wellbeing (at least physically) has been largely influenced by our ability to increase the power of our information processing abilities. Language, written words, printing press, radio, television, computers, the internet, the last of which may prove to push us further than the rest combined. Information processing is the ultimate solution to the problem of persistent existence of a replicator (life).

I hate the anthropological argument of how the universe is fine tuned, if the universe were tuned differently, it would behave differently, true. For us to say that changing certain constants would result in our absence is fine, but to claim that it could not lead to other intelligent forms of life seems much less reliable.

Everything I know is determined by what is the more useful assumption. Any unnecessary assumptions will be discarded. The existence of a deity is not a useful assumption, and as such, I discard it.

"The suicide bomber community is entirely religious. The genital mutilation community is entirely religious. I wouldn't say that the child abuse community is entirely religious, not entirely, but it's bidding for it."
–Christopher Hitchens

Frank Turek was persistently asking Hithens where good came from, and Hitchens was not explaining it really, partially distracted by Turek implying that it must be molecular if one is a materialist (or physicalist, as I might prefer). Eventually Turek, desperate to get a response, asks where evil comes from, to which Hitchens immediately replies, 'religion'. He then says, and mortality comes from humanitarianism, prompting Turek to ask, 'who's humanitarianism? Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin?', and Hitchens asks, 'are you saying Hitler was a humanist?'. It was a funny exchange, but I want to point out, neither of them represented my world view; neither one of them seems to know about what I feel is the obvious answer. Humans are social creatures, as such we rely on one another to survive, let alone prosper. Stable societies can not be formed by individuals that do not have the basic morals that we virtually all agree on (murder, rape, theft...), because in a society that believes these principles are acceptable will simply destroy itself. This also explains why a small portion of society is amoral, and why as individuals we will on occasion perform immoral acts. These are side effects of the fact that beyond some threshold, a good society (with morals) will be marginally tolerant of negative events (these are the so called 'leechers').

Sociopathic and psychopathic.

To Mr. Turek (through http://townhall.com/columnists/FrankTurek):
Hello Mr. Turek, I recently watched your debate with Christopher Hitchens, and I felt obligated to ask you: when asking Hitchens for a materialist (or as I prefer, physicalist) foundation for moral views and what makes something good or not, what exactly did you mean by 'good' or 'moral'. You seem to presuppose that such concepts require a foundation such that they are universally agreed upon (undeniable to other humans). I am a moral relativist, and I contend that the most of our mainstream morals are the direct consequence of our reliance on societal cooperation (I am disappointed that Hitchens did not provide any similar answer, though his response that morals come from humanitarianism is similar). However, I see now that if one were to require that morals were absolute, than this would not suffice, and I know that when people debate absolute versus relative morals, both sides tend to view the opposing side as misunderstanding the concept of morals. So again, my question is, what exactly constitutes a 'good' or 'moral' act to you?

If you could please respond please, I would really like to understand your side of this issue better, because I think that the better we can understand one another, the happier we will all be.

Thank you very much for your time,

Second letter (about gay marriage):
I hope I don't seem to be too forward, but after emailing you that last question, I read some of your articles opposing gay marriage, and I have recently stumbled across a question for opponents of gay marriage: who are intersexuals allowed to marry? (Intersexuals are the modern PC term for hermaphrodites, some of whom are born with functioning male and female genitals.) I have never heard this question asked, and such people are fairly rare (between 1.7% and 0.1% of humans, depending on defining criteria, are born with ambiguous sex characteristics). Personally, I don't really care about gay marriage, or even straight marriage. I would like to marry a nice girl some day, but only to let her know I am committed to her. Otherwise I couldn't care less, other than the discomfort caused me in denying intersexuals this same right.

So I was curious what a staunch opponent of gay marriage would think.

Thank you again,

Intact D&X

List ALL of the sources you used to establish your world view:
Theist: holy book of my choice.
Atheist: Bill Nye, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Beakmen, science textbooks from 1st to 11th grade, Mr. Carey (physics teacher in high school), physics textbooks, mathematics text books, astronomy books, chemistry text books, biology text books, and most of all, my mind. Because every one of those sources has made errors, and it takes time to find them, and discard them.

"Fade out again. This machine will not communicate these thoughts and strain I am under."

It is only through the communication with others that I can hope to understand anything.

"...religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality."
-John Stewart (to Mike Huckabee)

John had some really good points for Mike Huckabee, who opposes same sex marriage.
He also said, "...it feels like semantics is cold comfort, when it comes humanity..."

I think there is an important point to be illustrated in a theory's ability to explain it's competitors. For instance, if you were to grant that intelligent design is actually science, and actually competes in some way with evolutionary theory, you should still understand that evolutionary theory can explain the existence of intelligent design, whereas intelligent design has to sustain modifications to explain evolution. In the same way, heliocentric theory explains geocentric theory, but not the reverse. In these instances, the alternatives are such simple illusions, it is a small matter to explain their existence.

I think I want to write a book, about religion and science, and call it something like, "God's place in science", or "Science and God", or "Modern Science and God", or any other misrepresentative title. Then I would make each chapter a misrepresentative title, like, "How God explains Everything", or "The Role of Tradition within the Process of Discovery". Then I would begin each chapter by introducing the theist's view of reality, and slowly explaining it in excruciating detail, I would frequently consult actual theists for their own opinions, to ensure that I was representing their view. Then I would methodically deconstruct and invalidate their views, with each chapter ending in an explanation of why the atheistic view was preferable. Anyone want to fund or publish me? I think it is wonderful what Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins & Dennett have all done, but they have nevertheless aimed at borderline theists and atheists more so than hard-core fundamentalists. I agree that in general, fundamentalists will not be swayed, but I do believe that regardless of how many confederates we accumulate, we could still shake some foundations, and I believe that constitutes sufficient reason to do so. Every single fundamentalist whom hesitates before pushing their views on another person is worth at least one borderline theist who stops voting their pastor's wishes, or who stops accepting their pastor's belief without question.
The one difficulty would be, religious people would tend not to finish the book, or any single chapter. And intelligent non religious people would be reluctant to read any of the book at all, simply by judging by cover.

I wish I had words and phrases like 'jesus' and 'oh my god', because they are so useful (if chosen wisely) in expressing the full gamut of human emotion with respect to surprise, whether surprise in anger, disappointment, happiness, excitement,

"What if everything you had burned down around you?"
"One of yours you had to bury."
"He was getting away." So I shot him in the back.

"It'd be better to forget you, but I really don't want to."

I want to learn what pleases you, what turns you on, what captivates you, and drives you wild.
What gets you going and what stops you in your tracks.
What are your dreams and fears.
What happiness do you lack.
I want to satisfy you, until your needs lose all meaning.


What Pleases You?

"Surrender your mysteries to Zoidberg."
"I'm acting astonished!"
"A raffle of the porno type."
They were in a pickle?
Deviancy amplification spiral, sounds nice.

"Cause it's bad to do what's easy
just cause it's easy.
And I wanna do what pleases me but I can't."

I wish I could type musical note symbols here.
I hate the fact that I know exactly how to manipulate the world, I just can't bring myself to do it, because I have some unjustified belief that it is wrong to lie. Maybe I can convince myself that the idea that 'it's wrong to lie', is a lie we must perpetuate in order to prevent the massive amount of lying that would occur if we were to just say it was okay. But seriously, lies that don't really harm anyone, but benefit you, what's wrong with those? And why can't I bring myself to commit them? Maybe it's not even lying, since everyone knows you're lying, it's not really lying.
I'm morally repugnant, but most people don't seem to notice.
Deviance is a virtue.
Let's start a crime wave.
Dreamt of all the friendships died.
Don't lose yourself.
Don't let yourself be lost.

I think the reason I like WALL•E so much is that I feel like I can relate to the main character. Though that's a pretty common reason for me to like a movie, and since I'm pretty good at interpretting things in a positive light, I'm probably pretty good at relating things to myself too. Anyway, I was driving home from work today, and I noticed that I was one of a number of cars in a line, and it started slowly, but suddenly I was overwhelmed with the feeling that, although WALL•E portrays humankind in an absurd, end-all of laziness, post-apocolytic society, we live in an oddly similarly absurd world, though it is not the same. We aren't yet obsessed with laziness, we are oddly indoctrinated with work, and so many ridiculous ideas about right and wrong that none of us have much of a clue about what we should really be doing (or not doing).

It's weird, I am a geek, but not the modern 90's geek. I've never enjoyed any game, or competition of almost any sort really, let alone the typical geek/nerd games, like dungeons and dragons, or role playing, or whatever else. I'm more the 1950s pocket-protector geek. Not into video games, not into fantasy, or role playing. Just into hard core science.

I'm so sorry.

"We'll go to the loony bin together, I don't give a fuck."

Sometimes I feel defectively altruistic. I'm pretty narcissistic too though.

"Notably, Foot classifies initiating a fatal sequence as a morally objectionable act, while legitimizing the morality of not aiding."

I think I can solve the proposition 8 debate. If marriage is defined to be a man and a women, what do intersexuals do? You could deny them the right to ever get married, but that seems prejudiced. You could allow them to marry, but then you'd be inconsistent. A conundrum! And it doesn't end there... as with many things in nature, just because it is commonly dichotomous does not mean it is truly so, prevalence of intersexual characteristics is estimated between 0.1% and 1.7%, depending on definition. Even better, true hermaphroditism, is "rare" to find with "both types of gonadal tissue to function." That means that there are human beings who have both male and female genitalia, both of which are fertile. (A little reflection can remind you that, there is nothing very bizarre about any of this, we have a clear causal understanding of what processes are behind all of this, and the existences of such humans is consistent with that causal model.) So here is a question, that really special someone, who is able to have children both as a mother and as a father, who could not really be called male or female, who are they allowed to marry? Am I wrong to declare the choices ring down to "deny some people the right to marriage based on anatomy" or "allow gay marriage"? And besides, do you really think this issue will disappear after you ban homosexual marriage? Do you really think homosexual couples will just give up and agree? Do you really think that gay marriage is a bigger threat to your way of life, or you're children's upbringing, than all the other issues in the world?

Older notes. (Did I post any of this already?)
From backreaction, though I don't remember which post...
Bee defined the accusation that science was a belief system, like religion, by responding that science could more correctly be referred to as a doubt system. I really love this idea, but she seems cautious to claim that it is a real description, and I would say it lacks a lot of the essential qualities of science. There is a lot of value in that phrase, but it doesn't quite sum up science. So let's fix that. How about, science is the process of doubting everything for which a clear, observable, repeatable (testable? falsifiable?) cause cannot be established.
Or: science is systematic doubt of knowledge, with occasional 'concatenation' of knowledge, the effect of which is to reduce the "total doubt" of the entire system (e.g. post Maxwell we needn't doubt theories of electricity & magnetism, but the one unified theory of Electricity & Magnetism).
Later I discussed all this with Corey. I think my conclusion was, science is a system of doubting EVERYTHING, ALWAYS, but, when sufficient empirical evidence is established, doubt is condensed such that the number of doubts is reduced, and the total amount of doubt is either preserved or reduced. (Probably reduced.) What must be emphasized is that scientific theory is always open to revision, replacement, removal, but only on the existence of sufficient physical, independently verifiable evidence. Getting back to the original statement, science is entirely dependent on the ability to abandon all that you know in favor of new ideas that explain equal or greater amounts of data while requiring equal or lesser degrees and amounts of assumptions. It is that aspect that makes the 'doubt system' description so potent.
Later I wrote: Or how about science is a system for managing & reducing doubt to the fewest assumptions possible. I'm not sure this is sufficient.

I think I've written this note before, or at least about it.
The fact that physicists are more precise & accurate in their predictions than anyone (or anything) at all, ever, anywhere, is really more a testament to our field's maturity, and the simplistic nature of the phenomena on which our studies focus (as compared to the rest of the universe, which emerges from the phenomena we study). I'm a physicalist, so if you aren't you might disagree.

Check out this logic: You install motion sensors in most rooms to power down lights & devices when no one is around. The conserved power reduces utility bills enough to pay for parts & labor installation of sensors. The reduction of power consuption has reduced cost & demand for power, thereby reducing cost of power per unit. Downside? (This assumes it is cost effective in the first place, which might not be true in a year, or any finite time span, though that seems unlikely.)

Am I an egalitarian, or a meritocrat? Probably somewhere in the middle... I believe that people's merits should have a good influence over their rewards in life, but also, I believe there is a baseline which everyone should be granted (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or something like that).
My personality type does, on occasion, conflict with others', however my personality is that I simply do not conflict with other people very easily.

I'm pretty sure I've written this one before: If I can't tell the difference between "too distant" & "too needy", what hope do I have? I'm not sure I've ever been called either one of those, but I'm sure I've self-diagnosed both at times. Maybe it's wrong to think those are opposing extremes of the same dimension?

Old hat.

If I'm bound to forget you, don't you let me be.


Some Hearts are True

I might have mentioned this before, but on occasion people who know me very well will say something akin to 'that's very unlike you'. I understand what they mean, but my natural reaction is to reject that anything is 'like me', which has led me to an idea. I seem to be attracted to girls who are very visibly defiant of the status quo. I am fairly certain that if you asked people, (including myself usually), I would not be described as defiant, though I might be described as 'hard to tell'. What I am finding an interesting idea is that mentally I seem fairly defiant (though not in the same way that some people I would have described that way, such as some close friends). I guess I would describe my mental defiance as carrying a direction, as opposed to defiance for the sake of defying. It should be said that defiance has a utility all on it's own. NO! Dammit! I sound like one of those people who view utility as the only metric. Happiness is my measure; the only sensible measure I've found yet.

"Germs are just a plot they made up so they can sell you disinfectants, and soaps."
"The future can be yours! Last chance! Last chance! LAST! CHANCE!"
Lost to history.

If I have a set of elements of given sizes, and I look at the size of each subset by summing up the sizes of the elements of the subset, how many different orderings are there (from least to greatest) given an arbitrary set? I'm not being clear. Maybe I'll get it some day.

Some hearts are true.
With strong hearts, and swung hips.
Our dreams, deserve it.

Another question, how would we differentiate the CMB radiation from a source of random noise coupled to the universe? (Just ignore the obvious violation of energy conversation for the moment.)

Dr. David Berlinski, professor of mathematics, said, "mathematical physics lacks all the rigor of mathematics". I am disappointed that such an experienced researcher can make such a mistake. OF COURSE mathematics is more rigorous than anything else! In mathematics you know EXACTLY what the rules are, because YOU make them up! YOU define the axioms you work with, and you see what follows. NO EMPIRICAL SCIENCE will EVER have access to the axioms! I'm ANGRY! Oh well.

I have the patience of a tibetan monk with a morphine drip.
I spend a lot of time trying to make my life into a joke because it's funnier that way.

Brisance is a measure of the rapidity with which an explosive develops its maximum pressure.

I'm pretty sure I know the sentiment.

Promise to be kind.
http://www.last.fm/music/Laura+Veirs find

Useful parameterization of ignorance.
Virulent is a beautiful word.

Such a colorful mess.

I don't understand people who say they are willing to die for their beliefs. Beliefs should never be worth dying for. Moral principles, sure, ethical convictions, sure, you're abilities to remain free? Sure. I don't think I would die for any of those things, since after dying I would be unable to reap the benefits, and further, I could always survive inside my own head, it's something that would be difficult to take away from me. That said, if it were taken away, I'd be close enough to dead that I don't think it'd make much of a difference. So there isn't anything I personally find truly 'worth dying for', but I can imagine being pushed to the point that I would no longer consider myself alive, so I suppose if the threat was that I had a risk of ending up at that point, then it would be worth dying for. I can almost imagine dying for a loved one, especially offspring, probably mostly genetic, though even adopted makes some sense. In either case, it is hard to say what I would do. I think the largest hurdle to dying for something is the inability to assure that the other side of the bargain is paid in full after my death. So dying for offspring, adopted or otherwise, how can I be sure that my death truly guarantees their life? (Or whatever.) Without that, it's pretty hard to commit. It just seems unproductive, thats all. I guess if we had some sort of horrible trap set up, that was going to destroy them with near certainty, unless I destroyed myself with near certainty, in which case, I guess, not a problem, I'd go for it.

You'd say...

"thrown forever into the trash can and replaced with a normative system that is compassionate and congruent with the needs and natures of human beings."


I choose my words with great care in effort to convey to you the seriousness with which I approach. I mean nothing but the best.
What a tragedy it'd be if you and me weren't happy.


Short Straw Villain

I believe they want you to give in.

How much attention does anyone really pay to the stained glass?

"We're sending you to the third quarter of 1996, right on the money."

My head is a machine that tries to estimate the likelihood that a given noun is true, based on principles of consistency and causality with respect to the rest of what my head is aware of. Funny, strictly speaking, the probabilities will always lie between 0 and 1, exclusive, since we can never be certain of anything. In practice however, most things lie so extremely to one side that it is not really worth describing the acceptable exceptions because they are just too outlandish to bother with. When doubting such large portions of the established observations we are left with little guidance to establish alternative explanations and consequently weak and dispensable alternatives. Why are consistency and causality assumed to be valid principles on which to base such important matters? Because the alternatives are of no use. Yes, good old proof by contradiction. It's not really that though, if there were good evidence that assuming the universe was inconsistent, or that causality does not hold, and the understanding of that evidence, or even that assumption, led to fruitful predictions, then those principles would be adopted immediately. There seem to be only three categories in which all things must fall... deterministic, probabilistic, and completely random.

But I will try to find a way to not fit in any of those categories, though it doesn't seem very promising.

I think I'm in love with EVE, from WALL•E. She's smart, strong, fast, playful, cute sounding, she takes care of WALLE•E, she seems to be attracted to his quirky/naive/playful, (and sometimes clumsy), behavior, and she solved his rubik's cube! She sort of seems like a free spirit. It's strange, those aren't really things I look for in a girl (though maybe it's because this is a joke?). Directive?

I've thought some about how artificial intelligence will eventually outperform us greatly, and I'm one of those people who suspect that it will happen sooner than we think (though I still wouldn't really say when with any confidence). But I can't decide what the consequences will be. Even physics will lose much of it's traditional pizzaz if artificial intelligence were to begin making physics discoveries beyond a human's capabilities, which seems quite possible.

While trying to fall asleep last night, I began thinking about the internet, and I realized, we have accumulated so much information, that our older methods of organizing it are stretched to their limits, or long dead. For instance, if you printed a book with everything available on the internet, there would be no good way to organize the table of contents, or the index, or a glossary.

Is it rude to tell a girl working in retail that she is really beautiful (while she's at work)? If so, would it be rude to ask her that question?
There must be a difference between continuous and infinitely divisible? Or maybe not. I cannot yet tell.
I don't think I've ever been rejected out right, at least not by a girl. I have by a job, though I think maybe only one. This isn't a testament to my abilities, but more a testament to my caution, lack of action, and inexperience.
Rhythm, then melody, then lyrics (Paul Simon's method).
You've fallen out of love with yourself. Take one small step outside of yourself and you find you're not the only one.
Falling upward.

Osborne effect
The fucking horses mouth, like Mr. Ed.
Graduate schooling:
Quantum computing with Mathematica:

I've got this book, with potentially more than tens, or even hundreds of billions of pages. And it's got an index that can near-instantly take me to thousands of pages relevant to any subject matter it covers. Unless you get real obscure you are likely to find something pertinent to your research.

There's always a villain, so we should probably draw straws.

I think we are finding that, although the methods of science are well suited to solve many problems, it is not suitable for all problems. As an example, science is very good at solving problems generated by curiosity, and problems involving the validity of information; in some sense, validating information is itself the scientific process. But human happiness is, oddly enough, not dependent so much on the validity of information, nor the satisfaction of curiosity. I'm not sure I know, but human happiness is probably dependent on more naturally evolved human needs and desires, which would certainly include the obvious things, like food, shelter, safety, and social interaction, but probably involve more subtle and complicated needs, like specific social and sexual needs, both of which are EXTREMELY complicated; take it from someone who has a basic understanding of gyroscopes, microwave ovens, and modern computers, all the way from the atomic to the human systems of measurement. You start off assuming a gyroscope is one of the simplest devices possible; a spinning mass, how much simpler could it get? But to see it intuitively takes time, and human social behavior is obviously

"My head is swimming, could you feed me my next line? I'm new at pretending."

Specioprin Hydrochloride

Ha ha haha! Floccinaucinihilipilification is a word!

This article is excellent. This line:
The most destructive form of grading by far is that which is done “on a curve,” such that the number of top grades is artificially limited:  no matter how well all the students do, not all of them can get an A.  Apart from the intrinsic unfairness of this arrangement, its practical effect is to teach students that others are potential obstacles to their own success.  The kind of collaboration that can help all students to learn more effectively doesn’t stand a chance in such an environment.

Reminds me of something my dad has reiterated occasionally, that in college, he didn't help other people in physics class because it couldn't possibly help him; there were only so many As, Bs, and Cs available, so improving your classmates' comprehension was like sabotaging yourself. I've found that discussing these things, even if I am way ahead of my classmates, helps me out just as much as it helps them out. It's sort of a 'rich get richer' scenario. This also reminds me of 3rd grade, when Tiffany Ryan asked for an answer on some quiz or test we were taking, and I gave it to her, and Ms. Phipps caught us, and took us both into the hall and scolded us. The ONLY reason I gave Tiffany answers was because I felt BAD for her. I was very embarrassed.
This bit is great too:
Moreover, elementary and middle schools that haven’t changed their practices often cite the local high school as the reason they must get students used to getting grades regardless of their damaging effects -- just as high schools point the finger at colleges.

In 8th grade I had an english teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who told us that when we got to high school, all of our papers would have to be written in cursive, otherwise the teachers would not accept them. As it turns out, if they weren't typed they almost certainly weren't accepted, but typing is a lot easier than writing cursive (at least to me), so it wasn't a big deal. I don't recall ever really writing in cursive in high school.

I think that this is a clear indication that voters need to be more well-informed by the people organizing the vote. I think in a large number of these ballots, the voter should have returned the ballot in exchange for a new one. I think that is a perfectly reasonable request. The ballot should be immediately and visibly destroyed, and a new ballot should be issued. Most of the ballots shown seem to be mistakes in choice (that is, they marked something unintentionally and didn't know it might invalidate their vote. Probably the people who signed it didn't know that would invalidate their vote too, an argument for more transparent presentation to voters of what makes their vote invalid).

The heat anticipator, and how to set it.

In Back to the Future 3, Marty accidentally breaks the fuel line in the DeLorean, and he and Emmett spend some time (and the rest of the movie), finding alternative methods of getting the vehicle up to 88 mph. Emmett explains that there isn't any gas in 1885, but there are TWO DeLoreans in 1885: the one Doc was in that got struck by lightening in 1955, and the one Marty took from 1955 (which was really the 1885 one that sat in a cave for 70 years). So they SHOULD have syphoned the gas out of the original DeLorean, but that wouldn't have been much of a movie I guess. Oops.

Don't look into it, but I'm a respected internal medicine doctor with many surviving patients.

My favorite complexity class (right now) is NC (Nick's class). It is the class of problems were are solvable in polylogarithmic time by a parallel processor machine with a polynomial number of processors. Which sort of just means it is the class of problems that are actually solvable.

I don't want to survive; I want to live.

Isn't 'easy' a very notation dependent notion? Should Turing-completeness be considered a generalized notation, providing a method of analysis that is independent of notation?

"Superladies? They're always trying to tell you their secret identity... think it'll strengthen the relationship or something like that. I say, 'Girl, I don't wanna know about your mild-mannered alter ego or anything like that.' I mean, you tell me you're, uh... S-Super, Mega, Ultra Lightning Babe, that's alright with me. I'm good... I'm good."

Against the wall.

AH HA! Chad Orzel explained in this video, about 43 minutes in, the difference between the Everett many worlds hypothesis and the multiverse hypothesis; both of which I abhor. The essential difference is that the many worlds hypothesis is meant to explain the collapse of the wave function into a single definite state while the multiverse is meant to explain the apparent arbitrariness of certain fundamental constants. Full disclosure: I very strongly dislike both of these ideas—neither of them offer up useful predictions, neither one is foreseeably falsifiable, neither one has real evidence beyond suggestions we interpret by our mathematics, and both postulate a much greater fundamental complexity to the universe than the alternative hypotheses (e.g., even the null hypothesis). As a result for my dislike of these ideas, I may have in the past lumped them together, though I think I have understood these differences for a long time. Ultimately I consider both to be fantastical suggestions and may have lumped them in with other fantastical science, since I consider it all to be a waste efforts. But let me more specifically attack the multiverse hypothesis now.
What strikes me as most unsatisfactory about the multiverse hypothesis, or more so it's motivation, is the assumption that the physical constants are fundamentally independent of one another, and everything else. The fact that we do not currently understand the fundamental physical constants is no reason to believe that they are not all the result of an overarching single law/rule/behavior/aspect of the universe, it is simply evidence that we don't know exactly what we are talking about yet. Quite likely we will never know to the exactness I refer to; Richard Feynman, when asked if he was looking for "the ultimate laws of the universe" replied, "no, I am not...", and went on to say it might be that there is some simple underlying rule, or it might be that the rules seem to go on forever and there is no end and no clear foundation. I agree, either path may be true, but neither one implies (the first in fact denies) the idea that we should have a large number of independent fundamental parameters. Even assuming there is a single fundamental parameter, I would argue that the ultimate goal of physics would be to not only find the single parameter, but also to explain it's reason for being so! (Admittedly I am holding my field to much higher standards than ANYONE should ever expect ANYTHING to EVER reach, but 'they' told me to aim for the stars, right?) I think I might be ranting here now, and that I should probably take a break, regroup... maybe try to return to the topic at hand.


Tie me up.

cognitive defect

Ha ha ha:
"and all the cops and armies in the world can't stop something with a 17,000% markup."
-Joseph McNamara (about cocaine)

The 3rd Scourge.

"but light a match, inhale the smoke, and it becomes an invitation to your own murder."

Uncontrollable hilarity.

I think I might have just gotten some insight into the whole dating situation, as described by girls who think they are giving me constructive advice. Assuming you, the reader, knows me, how would you go about telling a girl who was interested in me to approach me? I can't speak for you, but I can say, most likely you will be wrong. For the most part, I seem to make up my mind relatively quickly, and there isn't much that is in anyone's control. I'm sorry if that sounds shallow (if you don't think it's shallow, fine, but I do), but thats how I work. I didn't choose to be that way, it wasn't a decision. It's true that she could have a personality that I find really attractive, for instance, she could have principles in line with mine, or laugh at my sick jokes (like all the horrible things I would do as a parent), but none of those things really matter, because I adapt pretty readily to other people's thoughts. Barring something like religious fundamentalism, or brash ignorance, or more so, deliberate, self aware, fervent anti-intellectualism, (which is basically the serious religious fundamentalists), I would be completely obliged with virtually every other variation in personality. Obviously I'm partial to the same things everyone is partial to: girls who appear to enjoy themselves, smiling, adventurous, curious, excitable, reckless, free, whatever. I don't mind what might be considered a 'dumb' girl, so long as they don't take pride in their ignorance. In fact, I might define 'dumb' as someone who does just that, and anyone else, ignorant or otherwise, as intelligent. From my perspective, you have to work really hard to be dumb, you can't just be uninterested, and unexposed to more intelligent ideas, you have to downright reject them, openly, loudly, and repeatedly, with pride.

Conversations escalate.

Take. Take as much as you can.
Cause you know it's going fast.

One man's schizophrenia is another man's enlightenment.

I'm pretty sure that I've fallen deeply in love with every girl I've ever been attracted to (both of them! ha ha!), then eventually I get over it, and after that I probably just fall in love with the first girl I find irresistibly attractive. Am I shallow? I think so. Who are you to judge?

Heh heh, "because nothing is better than eternal bliss. And you are better than nothing".


I think I just like this phrase.

I think my favorite part of this article is how one of the conspirators only got 10 years for 1.5 tons of cocaine. What?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Seabight HA HA HA HA

On to the next willing victim.

pilling - those little balls that form on garments (like wool)
gregarious - fond of company; sociable
hefting (or heafing), the instinct in some breeds of keeping to a certain heft throughout their lives (a small local area).
I think I want to be a shepherd some day. Probably not though. But wool is pretty cool, and sheep dogs are awesome, and sheep are just kind of nice. Plus, New Zealanders are awesome, and they are big on the whole sheep thing.
Ha ha ha, Counting sheep... dammit, everything about shepherding is so laid back. It'd be cool to collect black sheep. Its recessive, so if they were breeding you'd just get more and more black sheep. Thats what I'll do someday. I'll heard black sheep.

This beautiful world.

23 skidoo

Everything in moderation. Except of course, moderation itself.

I just like the phrase, "a relative of the banana".

Maybe instead of sheep I'll raise goats.

This article has interesting things in it, but I disagree with the idea that our 'highly developed sense of morality' is what "does, or ought to" distinguish us from our the rest of life. I would say maybe it is the fact that we can develop a sense so highly, but I'm not sure I would be satisfied with that either. Most likely, the distinguishing quality of mankind is something subtle, and I would jack my answer from Richard Feynman's talk on teaching. In it, he describes a process referred to as 'time binding', in which a species begins to pass information between individuals more rapidly than the individuals can lose the information. That is clearly something that has never occurred with any other species. It is a result only obtainable after passing some tipping point, accumulating knowledge more rapidly than it is lost. This is magnificent.

An unsourced quote of Bertrand Russell,
Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

"A nobleman went to purchase a pig on St. Stevens day, and then the pig monger quoth, 'seek you a sow or a hog?' Quoth the nobleman, 'which be the better for fucking?' "
-Jon Stewart

Holy Crap this is awesome!

Call me conceited, but I think I already know how we get to the 7th stage. And it is inevitable, because science fixes more problems than it creates, and all of our desires will drive us to it.


It's an exciting time to be alive. But then again, probably anyone who pays attention to science in any given lifetime has every right to say that.

I like the phrase "chasing skirt".

Boy are you a sight for sore eyes.
“smiles are on all faces,”

What'll it be stranger?
How can I make you feel so good, and so bad, at the same time?
Maybe there's something wrong with me, that I can't see?
Love like yours will surely come my way.

Ah, an explanation apparently.

Tie me down.


Mafia Wives

It would be really nice, when running a website/weblog/whatever, to make a list of links of 'interesting things', and keywords which trigger those links. So you don't have to bother linking them. Like how origin of life links to cdk007's video on abiogensis.

You know those abusive relationships? Where the one person remains with the other person despite physical abuse? All those jokes like, "he loves me, he really does", or "my husband beats me sunglasses", or, "I fell down the stairs to save time", and you know how confusing it is that people stay in those relationships? You ask yourself, "why would anyone put up with that bullshit?" Well the same question applies to what many people think of as their relationships with a god. Many christians and muslims (as well as other faiths I'm sure), seem to believe that a god will punish the unfaithful, or the disobedient, or the genuinely curious (myself), or the doubters, or the lovers, or the adventurous... or honestly, the human. Even if I could somehow convince myself that allah, or the god of many christians, or jesus, or the god of the old testament, existed, I would continue to reject any relationship with any of them, if only because I think it is an unhealthy relationship.

Heartbreaking beauty.
It'll be different.
The star of her own tragedy.
It'll break your heart.

Why am I heartfelt when I am alone, but seriously nervous when I'm near a pretty girl? What does that?

"Any problem on earth can be solved, with the careful application of explosives."
"And suddenly you're in love with everything"
"Knowing, that you don't know, is the most essential step to knowing, you know?"

panoply - a complete or impressive collection of things. A splendid display.

Math as language—excellent idea!

Absolutely brilliant.

How wrong can you be?
I can't believe that you actually died.
Shower notes: views/ratings = outline size/color/objec size?
Idea/solution wiki: lists problems, allows various branched solutions to be posed

I forgive everyone, for everything, always. Except arguments/debates/discussions where I get the impression that my opponent is merely disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing, or out of spite, or some other petty reason. That really seems to dedicate me to proving out my point.

Plausible and possible are great words for science.
Make a page to describe what is meant by the word certainty, in terms of science, and also what is currently thought of as a certainty, in science, and why. (I.e., the law of the conservation of energy began as a conservation of mass, or momentum, or numerous other more specific ideas. The conservation of energy however is so general, it seems very unlikely to be toppled in any way. Though science demands the attitude that it may yet be toppled anyway.)

"We turn ourselves in now they'll give us 20 years in the electric chair!"

I just wondered, is the length of the wick that remains above the candle wax directly determined by the capillary action of the melted candle wax sucking up the wick?

Here's a fun and simple question: given a volume of 1 cubic inch, what is the relative change in pressure when the surface area changes by 1 square inch?
I voted for sequoia voting systems machine number DRE 700 Serial # 34491
ab initio

And it's beginning to get to me.

"I'm not the enemy."—"then who are you?"

This is a pretty neat article. It explains why scientists suspect that Saturn's moon Rhea may have rings. Apparently the wikipedia article does a fairly good job of explaining it as well.

This is an awesome java applet that allows you to (roughly) investigate the phenomena of light mill (or Crookes radiometer).
And this is a simulation of traffic, so you can learn why traffic jams can form for no real reason at all.


I dreamt I was your hero

Finally, my view is represented! And wait, a better point from this project: You don't actually need to know the answer to something to make good decisions about it! This applies to many areas, and it is a mark of an intelligent person to be able to see these features in a given area without even knowing much about that area.
I am speaking very liberally and it is probably unwise of me to do so, but here is a more concrete example: I was asked by several people about the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider might create a blackhole that would then destroy the Earth. I explained that it seemed highly unlikely, than I gave my arguments, which are mainly: physicists are not reckless people (we don't want to risk our existence any more than the average person, maybe even less so), and nature very frequently produces much higher energies, which we would expect to display these very visible events more often on the cosmic stage. In one instance, (speaking to my friend/coworker, Matt, at lunch), I made the mistake of bringing up the Manhattan project, and how some physicists were concerned with igniting the atmosphere and destroying the Earth. Turns out there is a paper that showed it was not a reasonable concern. But again, without me personally being able to make a decision (i.e., do the required calculations), I still felt confident that I could claim it was unlikely. Why? Because again, physicists, whether 1940s physicists or 2000s physicists, are not reckless people. And additionally, the universe generates some very high energy events that humans can not reproduce (without inconceivably orchestrated efforts), such as large comet impacts. In the case of the atomic bomb igniting the atmosphere, we now know (though they didn't in 1940), that very large impact events have occurred on the Earth, releasing billions of times as much energy as an atomic bomb. Since the Earth's atmosphere seems to have large quantities of nitrogen following those events, it seems unreasonable that a man-made device will somehow trigger a catastrophic reaction of Earth's nitrogen.

38 minutes
29 minutes
40 minutes
31 minutes.


t-shirt of Russell & Whitehead's proof of 1+1=2

"Every single scientific statement carries with it some sort of estimate of how big the uncertainty is."
The relationship between scientific thinking and humility, was I born with a natural humility? Maybe I'm just shy.

Oh right, I want to watch all of this.
and this is funny.

What I like about Chris Rock is that he is always happy sounding. He has a contagious laugh.

I heard they put uppers in his embalming fluid (joke about McCain).

Is it just me, or is it somewhat surreal to see that people have gone through so much trouble to set and break records that utterly waste food. Granted I'm sure it's not that much food, and it's not very healthy food, still. Aren't there thousands of people dying of dehydration right now? I know sending them diet Coke would be insult to injury, but still, what went into making or purchasing the drink?

The next link lead to this one.
Exactly. Though he's kind of annoying sounding. But good points.
I don't think I watched this.
A master.
A small explosion? Impressive!
Supernova 1987A

One of the biggest hurdles in talking about the origin of life is, I think, clearly defining life. The difficulty is that as scientists we conceive of a continuous spectrum of structures all the way from non-life to life, meaning that the definition is arbitrary, and the exact origin of life is as much a problem of the heap as it is the actual scientific question of the specific sequence of mechanical constructs that led from non-life to life.

It's really hard for me to remember that a girl could like me as much as I like her. And my experience has not helped me overcome that difficulty much.

Science teaches you that certainty isn't. You begin to realize that the notion of certainty was born to human language long before the idea it represented could be fully verified, which ultimately it couldn't be (the whole point). Science teaches you to always be open to the possibility that new evidence will prove you wrong, on whatever it was you thought you couldn't be wrong about. Religion, and tradition in general, contradict this principle outright, by claiming to know the truth. Inevitably this results in religion looking silly over longer periods of time, during which new evidence often makes old ideas begin to appear so obviously outdated that it becomes very embarrassing to deny the new view.

Well, at least I'm not making excuses for all the excuses I've made. Unless this is me doing that?

What a minute, what are we thinking? Let's just make a religion in which gay marriage is a basic tenet? Listen, either marriage is, or is not a religious deal. If it is, then the government shouldn't get involved with it, which includes all the various policy benefits. If it isn't, then at best it should apply to homosexual couples, and at worst it should have a completely analogous counter part which by definition would be marriage for homosexual couples.

Lean your head back. Try and relax. Hold on.
Initiate a cycle no one but you can stop.

"Spare me your space aged technobabble, Attilla the Hun."

"If you want to saw off the end of your penis, you're welcome. (laughter) You're not to do it to a child who hasn't asked for it. Same with the genitals of a little girl. If she thinks later on she'd be better off without them, let her take, or have taken to her, a sharp instrument. If it proves that it's good for AIDS - it might well be, I've heard that it's said to be good for cervical cancer - let it be decided by the grown-up. It is not right, it is not moral, it is in fact wicked, to submit children to the mutilation of their genitalia, or to anyone without consent. (applause. Hitchens bangs podium) Do you understand that this elementary point only needs to be made because of wickedness enjoined by religion. The rabbi here's a fairly humane guy. He wouldn't - if he didn't think God was involved - ever consider mutilating the genitals of a child, but because it's a covenant with God, anything can be done. (laughter), Now don't you see - you laugh, but you should be crying. (laughter) I said crying! (laughter) Okay, suit yourself. (laughter)"
-Christopher Hitchens debating with Rabbi Schmuley Boteach
, January 30, 2008 [Youtube, 42' 30"]

I am confident that Hitchens was in fact not joking, and though his effort to convey his seriousness was laughed at, was nothing other than serious.

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
–Steven Weinberg

Ah, yes, tradition. The finest way of making decisions in the world, even the dead get their say.
"irate_atheist" writing at RichardDawkins.net, October 23, 2007

Picking up the pieces.

You meant a lot to me. More than you know. And I just want to thank you for that.
Damn, I wish I was your lover.
I had a dream I was your hero.


You're a GOD, don't you forget it.

Join us. Join us or fuck you.

Tie you to the murphy bed.
Roll over to me.

And I have stopped drinking. And smoking. And eating. And breathing.

Can I tell you how beautiful you are? Is that okay?
"It's so great that you can't remember pain."

"Remember what FDR said, 'we have nothing to fear, but another great depression'".

I think I should do something great. So why haven't I?
And where are you?
And where am I.
And why does any of that affect me still?
What monstrous things has thinking brought about?
What monstrous things has thinking overcome.


No Jekyll & All Hyde

Ooo, this debate is far more annoying than the previous ones. Both candidates are beginning to appear more clearly typical politicians, more petty, more interested solely on their election rather than their issues. And they just hit a point I find important (!), paraphrasing "should we fund a Manhattan-like project that developed the nuclear bomb, to deal with global energy, and alternative energy, or should we fund 100,000 garages across america, the kind of industry and innovation that developed silicon valley?". This is a question for scientists. First a little background: the Manhattan project was an enormous undertaking to solve a theoretically plausibly solvable problem. That is, the physical theory that explains the operation of a nuclear bomb was beginning to emerge, and be validated through experiment, and it was understood to such a degree that the theoretical construction of a bomb was appearing to be a valid construction. We then spent lots of money to accelerate that research, the development of that theory, and the technical side to really push that. Silicon Valley on the other hand is largely a result of many unforeseen innovations which were realized through an enormous number of tinkering minds, motivated minds, curious minds, and capitalist minds. The two achievements were very different, one was exact, and predictable, the other was nebulous, and despite conveying a vague sense of importance, was completely unimaginable preceding it's actual emergence, and remains quite unpredictable. Alternative energy falls somewhere between the two. There is no good solution. We chose the best fuel first, and though the best alternatives are decent, and will surely improve with increased adoption, they will still all fall short of oil. As a result, there is no theoretical silver bullet, as there was with the Manhattan project. Alternative energy also tends to be a capital intensive problem. While early hackers could do interesting things with early computers with relatively inexpensive equipment, development of alternative energy is not a garage sort of activity. Does that exclude the idea that garage tinker-ers might produce grand contributions to the field? Of course not. In my expert (am I allowed to say that?) opinion, we need to spend a lot of money on middle sized projects. Maybe the best approach would be to provide incentives, or subsidization, since the cost of such research tends to not be profitable yet. If we want to encourage the garage tinkers, the best place might be finding more novel solutions to certain hurdles within the alternative energy industry, perhaps with some sort of award-challenge deal.

I think this is the problem: I am a big company with money. You are a person with bad credit who wants a home. So I say, I'll buy you that house there for 300k dollars, and you agree to pay me back over the next thirty years, 500k dollars. Then it turns out you can't pay your mortgage, so you stop. And I kick you out and take the house. But it turns out the house I thought was worth 300k isn't worth anything now, because the prices were all inflated. Then on top of that, I took what I thought was my 500k dollars over the next thirty years, and gave it to some other guy as a Mortgage-backed security (MBS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage-backed_security) (A security is a fungible, negotiable instrument representing financial value. Securities are broadly categorized into debt securities (such as banknotes, bonds and debentures), and equity securities, e.g., common stocks.)

properties with foreclosure activity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Foreclosure_Trend_-_2007.png


It's weird that the conservatives vs. the liberals always boils down to simple absolutes in principle, like free market vs. government regulation. It should be clear by now, (as evidenced by history), that neither extreme works fully: the U.S.S.R. collapsed on the one hand, and the great depression is an example of the market crushing itself. FDIC is an institution that certainly all but the most adamant libertarian would agree with. And what is FDIC really? It's the government preventing banks from taking huge risks with the money WE give them. It's a way to prevent consumers from unknowingly risking everything, (even though the risk is very unlikely). UPDATE: It appears that this simple model is incorrect, and that the banks don't actually have any money, nor do we.

Play the victim.

X-rays and lightning
The production of X-rays by a bolt of lightning was theoretically predicted as early as 1925 but no evidence was found until 2001/2002, when researchers at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, detected x-ray emissions from an induced lightning strike along a wire trailed behind a rocket shot into a storm cloud. In the same year University of Florida and Florida Tech researchers used an array of electric field and X-ray detectors at a lightning research facility in North Florida to confirm that natural lightning makes X-rays in large quantities. The cause of the X-ray emissions is still a matter for research. The temperature of lightning is too cold to account for the X-rays observed.

Sink or swim.
Thats a real punch in the crotch.

Own your demons.

Do I not actually have any beliefs? Or at least I try not to?

Where do you think we are?
I'm a crazy person.
In the spirit of taking things too far.
I need to add Justnowism and Dystheism to my religious beliefs.

Sometimes I know you're not with me.

If I were to give you two statements: "OJ Simpson was acquitted because the glove did not fit. But the glove actually did fit."
Then I asked you, "Do the preceding statements declare OJ Simpson to be guilty? And is it an explicit or implicit statement of guilt?" I would expect that by definitions, the majority response would be "Yes, guilty, and implicit, but not explicit."
Likewise, if I were replace the first two statements with "OJ Simpson was the murderer." I would expect most people to check off the 'explicit' box.
Arbitrary means 'based on random choice or personal whim'. The statement that I judge the validity of statements based on whether or not a study has been done to support or refute said statement is the exact opposite of arbitrary measures. If I had said I use the first letter of a statement to judge it's validity, or the time of day I read it, or the day of the week, or the astrological sign, or my intuition, or my personal experiences, those would ALL be arbitrary.

Count the swans through a telescope
Toxic debt.
All Jekyll and no Hyde.

I am sorry if this seems rude or mean, but creationists have absolutely no place in biology debate, no more so than they have a place in particle physics debates.

Oooh, MHC proteins...!

Be careful, you probably won't be able to tell I like you, let alone am completely crazy for you.

Science: the process or result of a process by which information is validated. The more rigorous the method of validation, the more easily and/or more well established the information becomes.

Monetary reform & electoral reform. Chicken or egg?

Economics is King.
The two things I would have liked to see mentioned, that were left out: first, when he mentioned that banks need to keep some amount related to what they've loaned out, along with the mentions of the central bank, is that the government plays with the loan rate of the central bank loaning money to banks to make up for that reserve difference, and that by playing with that rate they influence the bank's willingness to loan money (by influencing their willingness to borrow the difference from the government, through the interest rate). It's in the 2nd video, about 6:24 in, mentioning that the banks must have 10% more in deposit than they have on loan.
The second thing I wish they had mentioned was that when you sign your home/car whatever over as collateral for your loan, and the bank counts that as actual money, that depends on the market value of that item. And if the market for that item disappears, then so does it's value. Houses can be worthless just like everything else.

All we ever wanted was everything.


Look what that does to me

Phase transitions! Versus bifurcation theory?

Lots of interesting talk tonight. What if the universe is fundamentally discrete on all fronts (space, time, matter, energy), are incompleteness theorems, currently stated in terms of the ability to construct real numbers, still valid?
They would still be necessary probably to describe quantum states, even though we could not measure those states as being what we describe them as.
Is there any real danger of ZFC being inconsistent? And if it proved inconsistent, is there any chance of the halting problem or relativization proofs being invalidated? Seems the answer is no. I'm pretty sure the undecidability of the halting problem can be shown without any information about the incompleteness theorems.

Could we perhaps axiomize our system even more fundamentally? Like: axiomatic system must have consistency, as well as (insert other basic properties here). Could the universe be constructed with an infinite set of axioms? What might that imply?

The one that never steps back.
We don't mean the same.

Do high-tech people lose their jobs in this sort of thing?
Look what we've done?
These are kind of fun: averageness, youthfulness, baby face, cuteness. Ha ha: "A prototype for a 'child woman' is Jean Harlow."
These are interesting, related to global warming.

Kisses. No. Though really serious things have happened for a kiss.

Drunk animals are funny.

Science ought to open up the war between creationism and science, by pointing out that creationists are not just incorrectly challenging the Theory of Evolution, but also the Theory of Abiogensis, the Theory of Geology, the Theory of Cosmology, the Theory of Radioactivity, and all of the empirical and mathematical evidence supporting these theories provided by the fields of Biology, Genetics, Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physics.

The Large Hadron Rap.
Neat photo(s). STOP THIS ALREADY!
Kind of mean. Rightly so?

Tulip mania
I need to learn: Hamilton's equations, Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics), Lagrangian mechanics, Landau theory, tons of other stuff...
I should watch more of Da Ali G show
Nothing's going to change my world.

Where are you?
SARAH PALIN is PRO-LIFE, unless it is HER DAUGHTER in which case she is PRO-CHOICE.
Katie Couric has to ask every question several times, because Sarah Palin is surprisingly good at dodging questions. They are being forced to abandon their base or look foolish. NO WAIT! I am WRONG! She is using terminology that will nod to the severely religious, without displaying public preaching, which is known to piss people like me off.

She did it again! A while back I wondered:
When she said, "...I'm not going to disagree with the point that they make, that, man's activities, can be, attributed, to, changes" (at about 1 minute left)—was she misspeaking, completely ignorant of the actual situation, or, (hopefully the most unlikely), so uninformed of science that she has failed to comprehend simple causality? (It is difficult to imagine her being that ignorant.)

Now during the debate she actually said, "I'm not one to attribute every man—activity of man, to changes in the climate." (00:29:29)
So then she explains that she doesn't want to talk about what the causes were, but rather we want to clean up this planet. She fails to understand that in order to 'clean up the planet' and simultaneously 'not take a(nother) dump on the economy' it would be beneficial to know what caused it, and what is and is not a good approach to fixing it.

Listen, the danger of religion is exactly the danger in not learning from one's mistakes. The reason the plague killed so many people was because we attributed the existence of the plague to mystical beliefs, such as god punishing us for ridiculous reasons.

Could the ground be used to filter out dirty chemicals from coal plants? Like a smokestack that went deep underground into a network of pipes maybe?

I'm waiting for someone to find me and take your place.
I'm the nicest asshole you'll ever meet.

"Grieve for the lost and the lonely."

Holy crap, I'm going as an owl pellet this year.

Ha ha

My love is rotten to the core.

If you want to see if your religious beliefs hold contradictions, you can take this test, though I disagreed strongly with their conclusions. Don't read any further if you don't want my disagreements to ruin the test for you.
Similarly this test looks for contradictions in a broader range of philosophical views. I had a disagreement with that too, though I didn't explain it here.

I need to know: am I somehow rationalizing my beliefs to appear consistent, or do I have a valid argument here? I took two "direct hits" and one "bite the bullet".
Here is their analysis:
Direct Hit 1
You've just taken a direct hit! Earlier you agreed that it is rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist if there is an absence of strong evidence or argument that it does. No strong evidence or argument was required to show that the monster does not exist - absence of evidence or argument was enough. But now you claim that the atheist needs to be able to provide strong arguments or evidence if their belief in the non-existence of God is to be rational rather than a matter of faith.
The contradiction is that on the first ocassion (Loch Ness monster) you agreed that the absence of evidence or argument is enough to rationally justify belief in the non-existence of the Loch Ness monster, but on this occasion (God), you do not.
The second question was phrased such that there was no evidence for or against god, while the first question was more implying that we have searched for the loch ness monster, but simply not found anything. This was phrased as an absence of evidence, but in obtaining a null result is really evidence of absence. Evidence of absence IS evidence, and thus conclusions can be drawn. Absence of evidence IS NOT evidence of anything, it is absent! And therefore conclusions CAN NOT be drawn!

Direct Hit 2
You've just taken a direct hit! You say that God does not have the freedom and power to do impossible things such as create square circles, but in an earlier answer you said that any being which it is right to call God must be free and have the power to do anything. So, on your view, God is not free and does not have the power to do what is impossible. This requires that you accept - in common with most theologians, but contrary to your earlier answer - that God's freedom and power are not unbounded. He does not have the freedom and power to do literally anything.
My response:
"...but in an earlier answer you said that any being which it is right to call God must be free and have the power to do anything."When I read this, I take the word 'anything' to mean, 'anything physically possible', whereas they apparently meant 'literally anything'. As a strict physicalist, I completely reject the notion that the universe is fundamentally lawless, which would be required for some being to do 'literally anything'. So if you want to ask me about doing literally anything, you need to phrase it as such. Violating mathematical proof would be one example I would cite as truly impossible (as well as most anything that appears to violate certain foundational principles of modern science, such as superluminal communication). This is why I once came up with the notions of 'strong' and 'weak' omnipotence, and claimed that the silly magical ideas of deities would be defined as 'strongly omnipotent', while creatures that actually exist, and actually can do 'anything' that is physically possible would be 'weakly omnipotent'. (Turing machines that can do physical work in addition to mathematical computation?) I believe the human race, taken as a single entity, constitutes a weakly omnipotent being. It seems that the only walls we will ever be forced against will force any intelligence into the same corner. With the aid of our technology, we are 'unstoppable', at least as far as something can go in being unstoppable.

Bitten Bullet 1
You stated earlier that evolutionary theory is essentially true. However, you have now claimed that it is foolish to believe in God without certain, irrevocable proof that she exists. The problem is that there is no certain proof that evolutionary theory is true - even though there is overwhelming evidence that it is true. So it seems that you require certain, irrevocable proof for God's existence, but accept evolutionary theory without certain proof. So you've got a choice: (a) Bite a bullet and claim that a higher standard of proof is required for belief in God than for belief in evolution. (b) Take a hit, conceding that there is a contradiction in your responses.
You chose to bite the bullet.
And here are my retort:
Bite the bullet (the simplest):
Yes, I require more evidence for the existence of god than evolution. This boils down to the dictum made famous by Bill Nye, who was a student (apparently?) of Carl Sagan's, who said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!". Simply, the hypothesis of god is quite extraordinary, demanding an incredible level of evidence. Evolution on the hand is a quite simple claim, nearly self evident, mostly because it is a principle that influences every aspect of every known life form. Simply put, it permeates the organic world.

Fucking Navy Seals, fucking bunch of elitists, thats what they are. No, wait, I'm sorry, it is good that they are elite, they have a terribly challenging jobs, and not just anybody can do it. The president on the other hand, fucking elitist democrats, wanting some Harvard educated candidate... assholes! What do they think they're doing? Running a complicated government or something?

And so it begins!

While I was trying to flush out what exactly a 'bible believer' is, I stumbled across this post and then this post too, both by the self proclaimed bible believer. I wrote this comment, but it is currently awaiting moderation, (think he will post it?):

I think the original wall was not [intended to be] one way, but rather to protect both government and religion from one another. What makes you think Christians are being kept out of American government?

According to this Gallup poll, while a Catholic has a 95% “vote for”, 4% “would not vote for” rating, an atheist has a 45% “vote for”, and a 53% “would not vote for” rating. It is identically the opposite of Christianity barred from government: while

You are correct to say that Christians are allowed to participate in American government, but Christianity should play NO PART in American government, since that would infringe upon the Bill of Rights (and The First Amendment to The Constitution).

According to the wikipedia article, List of United States Presidential religious affiliations:

The vast majority of the presidents can be characterized as Christians, at least by formal membership. Some were Unitarian, or Quaker, or unaffiliated with a specific religious body. Some are thought have have been deists, or irreligious. No president thus far has been a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or an adherent of any other specifically non-Christian religion.

So please do not claim that Christianity is somehow persecuted by American government. I assure you that the atheists have it much harder.

Assuming that you could somehow convince me a god with influence over physical reality does exist, I would still not like it ('him'). I would still hate that 'being' with all of my own, and I would still reject all praise and worshiping of that creature. It would be a vile entity, petty beyond any human potential, accomplice to not just the most grand, but the totality of 'evil' throughout history, and accountable for all human, as well as other creaturely suffering. Completely unworthy of my time, energy, and admiration. CHRISTIANS arguing that they are being suppressed? FUCK YOU, okay? 100% of every American President has been christian. 100% of every American Vice President has been christian. You think YOU have a hard time being represented? In the entire history of the United States, there has been only ONE publicly admitted atheist. So PLEASE do not cry suppression.

all the best.