the Chief Glory of man

All we have to do now is cross our fingers.

"Who would jesus bomb?"

"Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established intuititions, 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."
- Bertrand Russell (unsourced)

Big moments that don't happen.
All you have to do is whatever it takes.

Get ugly.
Hindsight is bullshit.
"Fly on over, there's no wall in the sky"

At least the point side of this joke is not much of a joke. I mean, beyond it being a joke in real life too.

Holy crap, it's huge.
The Burgers vector.

"Capsule shaped escape".
Square One
3-2-1 Contact
The ends justify the means. Now take off your pants.

At least the robots will be friendly.
Unless they are terrifying snakes.
Or helicopters.

You can have your apocalypse, if you really want to. But please leave me out of it.
What a shame that is.

Let me give you everything you need.

Something that people seem to be struggling with, and I have struggled with a lot in the past, in the relationship between the apparent 'random' nature of the subatomic scale, and the apparent deterministic nature of the macroscopic scale.
And suddenly, while reading a discussion of this on SA, I am very comfortable with the current state of affairs, as understood by physics. Obviously on the large scale things do behave in a way that is measurable and predictable to a more than satisfactory degree. We launch satellites out of the solar system, we put people on the moon, GPS works great, and you never worry about events occurring without cause. What is so enjoyable about this setup is that although the large scale phenomena behave in a deterministic, calculable way, fundamentally, the universe cannot be computed. At some fundamental level, probability permeates the universe.

It almost seems as if the word 'state' must be restricted to locality. That is, special relativity seems to complicate the concept of a state existing on any spatially large place. I guess the whole time-like/space-like separation of intervals could aid in this.

Stop these clowns.

Also sweet.
All so sweet.



There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere.

"According to US Environmental Protection Agency documents released in late 2002, UXO at 16,000 domestic inactive military ranges within the United States pose an "imminent and substantial" public health risk and could require the largest environmental cleanup ever, at a cost of at least US$14 billion. Some individual ranges cover 500 square miles (1,300 km2), and, taken together, the ranges comprise an area the size of Florida."

Get Curious.

I seem to struggle to do things that are not completely explicitly defined. Or maybe I am just making excuses.

I don't understand why people consider their gods to be so powerful. There isn't a god alive that could prevent me from say, obtaining a gun and blowing their head off. Why such a weak god? Why believe that this all powerful force can succumb to the irrational behavior of one psychotic individual?

It's only illegal if you get caught.

We should really work to clarify what it means for something to be 'illegal' or 'bad'. What I mean is, the reason 'bad things' are 'bad' is because they hurt people, not because they have some inherent sin to them. Blow jobs are not bad, but because they count as sodomy, they inherently fall under sinful acts to religious nuts. Guns themselves, or the words "I'll kill you", "give me all the money", or other frequent phrases for such nefarious activities are not bad either, the use of those phrases with the intent of inflicting harm on other people is the bad part. I'm not being clear, I ought to expand on this A LOT.

Goody gumdrop.
Don't wake me up without a master plan.

This is stupid. Simple solution? Nobody gets 'credit'. Besides, it's not like these people have anything to do with the object's existence, they merely noticed it with their expensive equipment, their expensive educations, and some patience and hard work. Their reward ought to be the satisfaction of having seen one more minor puzzle piece in the relatively complete large-objects-of-the-solar-system puzzle.

One of the 'yourmorals.org'

Beyond the fact that creationism (equivalent to 'intelligent design') is not science, grade school science classrooms are environments in which we expect to 'do real science'. That is, science classes for children are a place to learn about the most widely accepted scientific ideas of the time, and about the methods and processes used to find and verify those widely accepted scientific ideas. 'Doing real science' involves making the decisions of what the most viable theory is, based on evidence, experimentation, and often consensus among a great many experts. Students may learn about this process, but they have no place in it, as they have no place as experts. If a subject is so poorly understood that there are still two 'sides' to it within the scientific community (that is, a subject lacking scientific consensus), then it should probably not be taught in a scientific class, (beyond being mentioned in passing as a currently debated scientific topic).

Science class is a place to learn about science, not to do actual science. This can be seen by realizing that any experimentation or scientific sort of processes undertaken in a science class should not be expected to produce real scientific discovery or carry real scientific influence. There are rare instances in which high school students make true scientific progress, but that is not the goal of high school science class.

When people say that Darwinian evolution is 'just a theory', what do they think is more verifiable than a theory? Do they seriously believe that facts are somehow more well confirmed? As if the Newton's laws were carved in stone somewhere, rather than established through repeated observation measurement and experimentation?

And thereby create misery.
I know what to do, I just can't make it exciting.
Breathtaking inanity.

Lies are lies, regardless of size; the creationists see reduced sized lies fly more frequently by more ears and eyes like you and me. The potency of a lie is not a linear function of word count—I have a 3 word statement, which these intelligent design advocates would most likely claim is a lie, and most likely find as offensive as I find their lack of understanding science: god is imaginary.

Ha ha ha fag enabler. This guy is so gay. Ha ha ha ha, this is hilarious. "You will eat your children" what??? Luckily I think these people are so ridiculous, I don't really find them threatening to the general good of society in a significant way.

Al Gore said it best: there is a policy of dominance, and dominance just cannot work. There simply is no way to dominate a group of humans for any reasonable amount of time.

This is awesome.
And this too.
and also this one
Ha ha ha.

I see that on youtube, and really all over the place, people argue this and that way for and against the bible, for and against it's histocrisy, for and against it's importance. People getting bent out of shape at the suggestion that humans evolved from monkeys.
In this video there is a summarizing frame that really does a good job of explaining the current state of human behavior: "In human societies, the male's secondary selfish reproductive strategy (rape) is strongly repressed through cultural and moral codes and a punishment system.
Males and Females natural 'nasty' strategy of adultery is repressed as well (though less in modern societies but still severely in muslim countries).
The 'nasty' human female strategy of 'gold-digging' is relatively unrepressed."
It goes on to point out: "However, obviously, just because evolution created 'nasty' instincts, it does not mean that we should give 'free ride' to them."
It really is an excellently informative video.

I've seen a lot of girls lately wearing boots, and I was thinking of that old insult, "your mother wore combat boots", and I thought that a good response might be, "I know, just don't let her hear you say that, she might curb-stomp both our ugly-ass heads into the ground".

Reminder: my inability to change a non-definite belief is exactly the same reason it would be inappropriate to call myself an agnostic, even though strict logical analysis says I am.

"Given a U.S. population of about 250 million people, every billion dollars in the federal budget translates into $4 f or every American. Thus, an annual Defense Department budget of almost a third of a tr illion dollars amounts to approximately $5,000 per year for a family of four. What have all these expenditures (ours and theirs) bought over the years? The TNT equivalent of all the nuclear weapons in the world amounts to 25,000 megatons, or 50 trillion pounds, or 10,000 pounds for every man, woman, and child on earth. (One pound in a car, incidentally, demolishes the car and kills ever yone in it.) "
I say we cash in. I want my 10,000 pounds of TNT; I think I could do some interesting stuff with it.

Ha ha ha, okay, the scaling factor between you, and a proton, is roughly the scaling factor between you and the distance to Alpha Centuri.
People have asked me a lot about the LHC and whether I think it will destroy the world. My first response is always to ask how reckless to physicists seem to be? Do I strike you as a reckless person? If it were a motorcycle gang operating the LHC, maybe we should double check their numbers. But physicists? These are scientists who dedicate vast swaths of their lives to pouring over unimaginably large data sets looking for incomprehensible clues as to how the universe works. They probably don't go play Russian roulette afterwards. But Beyond that, now I try to describe the situation in which these particles are colliding. The idea behind a black hole is that you force so much matter into such a small space, that the force of gravity pulling on all the matter takes over and crunches it down into one infinitely small point, or something. At that point, it doesn't really mean much to talk about the 'size' of the object anymore, so instead we use a slightly indirect method to discuss their size. Once the matter has been sufficiently crunched to form the black hole, it is surrounded by a very strong gravitational field, but the strength of the field depends on the distance to the black hole. Black hole size is really measured by event horizon, which could be described as the radius from the black hole in which the gravitational field becomes so strong as to prevent any matter, or even energy (?) from escaping the black hole. (This is of course all more complicated, but I am not qualified and do not have the time to express the full sentiment.)
Where I am going with all this, in my usual, wandering, ranting manner, is that the event horizon for a black hole with the entire Earth's mass is about 9 mm, and the black hole that would be formed by a few protons smashing into one another would be considerably smaller. To help you understand how much smaller protons are, I have the above statement, though I should clarify that the distance to Alpha Centuri is about 4.3 light years, and that a light year is about 5,879,000,000,000 miles. Driving at 100 miles per hour, and assuming you have a new generation of children every 30 years, then a road trip to Alpha Centuri would result in your great-great-great-great + (223,700 greats) grand children reaching the star. Well, that was too much of a ramble, I'll figure out how return to this topic another time.

From Inherit the Wind
"Wake up Copernicus"
"Why? Because I know the sunrise is just an elusion. My teacher told me so."
"Walking down the street, listening to the sound of your own footsteps."
"...everyplace else."
"He said man created a vengeful god out of his own bigotry, and the devil out of his own hell."
"A giant once lived in that body. But he got lost because he looked for god too high up and too far away."

"You poor slob, you're all alone. When you go to your grave, there won't be anybody to pull the grass up over your head. Nobody to mourn you, nobody to give a damn. You're all alone.
—You're wrong... you'll be there. You're the type. Who else would defend my right to be lonely."

Why do they say, "descended from a lower order of animals"? Shouldn't we rather say we "ascended from a lower order of animals"? Shouldn't every creature that evolves from a less successful form be taken to have ascended?
When creationists take offense to the suggestion that man is related to apes, is it because they have failed to inherit the distinguishing feature of humanity (i.e. intelligence)? If they were to recognize the uniquely human trait of intelligence, it would no longer be so offensive to believe we had, in the cosmically distant past, shared an ancestor, with our unfortunately inferior neighboring species.

Maybe we should just have a test on voting day, that measures your awareness of candidate policies. Really I think we should vote for policies, not candidates or parties.



The aggregate of our joy and suffering

Promises of achievement will always seem empty, right up until they are met. As 'they' say, "proof is in the pudding". So It is understandable that we remain skeptical until the pudding is complete.

If it comes down to you or them, send flowers.

Holy crap.

I think that the ozone layer is a prime example of scientific investigation circumventing global disaster, and I think that is a fairly well established historical fact. Given the option between a small lifestyle change and no change at all, with the respective results of no lifestyle change at all, or a significant change in future lifestyle (like say extreme importance of sunscreen), how many people would choose the later over the former? It is simple cost-benefit analysis, and we all do it; in the case of large scale environmental decisions, industrial regulations, and highly technical consequences, it is very understandable that governments and institutions may more acceptably intervene, as opposed to the relatively uninformed typical consumers.

Trade in happily ever after for a full refund.
And you are always just about to leave.

If I put you in the (admittedly unlikely) scenario of having an eminent threat, say a gunman intending to kill you, with the possibility of prevention through a subtle pull of a lever—lets say that by pulling the subtle lever, a heavy weight will be released, crushing your eminent threat and disabling their ability to destroy you—I would expect that most people in most situations would enact the lever and attempt to secure their own survival. What is strange is the idea that if the causal relationship is much less direct, or less well established, than the threatened player is decreasingly likely to attempt intervention.
This is the situation with global warming.
Ultimately, this is the situation with human well being in many cases: improving the most impoverished of us tends to benefit all of us, as opposed to improving the most fortunate of us, at most appears to have a mere incidental benefit to the majority.

How is this in keeping with the tenets of small government (as most people assume is a republican premise)?

Republic National Convention brought to you by:
Mace. When someone's standing in front of you, and you want them to move. Mace. When 'get the fuck out of here', just won't do.

This happened last time too. Somehow they divide the electorate left to right on the same exact issues. So Kerry's military record paints him as a traitor, despite verified service, while Bush's military record consisted of a serious joke, and was not called into question. Now it's, "Obama lacks experience, but Palin is a breath of fresh air."

Happy LHC day.
Every day, its getting closer. Going faster than a roller coaster. A love like yours will surely come my way. Hey hey hey.

One of the few conclusions we should arrive at as individuals, is that an individual cannot verify sanity. We should reject the notion of "the last sane human on earth", and instead accept that our sanity requires others to be verified. Though we should also remember that it does not require a majority, only a small minority. The determination of sanity is obviously a complicated issue, since even 900+ people could verify the sanity of the Jones town followers.

After the initial declaration that there is no right and wrong, we are then free to do what pleases us. To claim that the lack of a right implies that nothing is worth doing is stupid—whatever it is that makes you happy, is something worth doing.

Cognitive consonance.

"Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values."

If life gives you lemons, SAVE THE RECEIPT.

ha ha ha ha
"The book of Leviticus makes a lot more sense when you think of ancient lawgivers first sorting everything into two categories: "disgusts me" (gay male sex, menstruation, pigs, swarming insects) and "disgusts me less" (gay female sex, urination, cows, grasshoppers)."

No. Evolution is science.
Even at the kindergarten level, science is defined as a way of learning about the natural word; natural meaning in accordance with the laws of nature. Nature is further defined as the sum of all forces or phenomena in the entirety of perceptible reality. Everything that really exists has properties and anything that can be objectively indicated measured and tested is therefore natural. The supernatural is contrasted with this theme...

Friend: I'm not arguing that the debate doesn't exist, or that involving oneself in the debate doesnt implicitly endorse it. I am saying that by completely refraining from the issue we allow the proponents of creationism (a.k.a. opponents to evolution, reason and science) free reign to say and do what they like. My opinion is that the correct course of action is to combat the ignorance of creationism on any front possible. Inoculate people with education, cure people with reason, and ultimately eradicate creationism from mental health.

In a completely free market, how do market forces prevent the (temporary) benefit of disregard to environmental well-being? Free market forces, to me, appear almost entirely profit driven, so any instance in which the 'best choice' and the 'most profitable choice' do not coincide, we generate there is potential for someone to get screwed.

I need to refrain from 'I believe', or 'I think' and adopt 'my opinion'.

To RZ (did I post this?): I did not imply that the only alternative to the republican party is the democratic party as you assumed; alternatives could include Libertarianism, Socialism and anything in between. While any political party could find itself entangled in creationism, (and consequently sacrificing any possible commitment to the tenets of science), the Republican party is the only one that has arguably done so. As a result, in order to preserve my own commitment to scientific integrity, I must reject any organization that has sacrificed their commitment.
Personally, I would support most Libertarian or Socialist beliefs before I would support a party that accepts a religious fundamentalism in high public office.

Now that the LHC hasn't destroyed the planet, I think it is safe for us to finally say, Chicken Little was full of shit.

"...momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."
I have never been able to understand the desire for power and praise.

"Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you've ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings; thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines; every hunter and forager; every hero and coward; every creator and destroyer of civilizations; every king and peasant, every young couple in love; every mother and father; every hopeful child; every inventor and explorer; every teacher of morals; every corrupt politician; every supreme leader; every superstar; every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there -- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings; how eager they are to kill one another; how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light."
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand."
"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. It underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the only home we've ever known: the pale blue dot."
-Carl Sagan (another dead hero)

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.)

How embarrassing that in our most spectacular moments, we recite irrelevant passages from ancient books.

Whim. Passion.

There is a line in the movie Contact, in which a man who believes in a god, asks a woman who he loves, (who does not believe in a god), whether she really considers the 95% of mankind that believes in a god of some sort is delusional. I would like to express my support for the delusional interpretation, and I would like to expand upon it with evidence that our mass delusion is not limited to mysticism like a god, or fringe like UFOs. No, humans harbor delusion in a great many ways, in a natural sense. I took a moral quiz last night, at yourmorals.org and it made me realize that in certain situations, although I have a moral stance, I would not follow it. I began to realize that I had a sense of what was right and what was wrong in the situation, but I would ignore the right, and choose the wrong, in spite of my moral sense. For me to walk around and declare myself a moral person is for me to be delusional. We travel through entire lives, rarely grasping how wrong we might be about this or that thought that we fervently defended the moment preceding. We fail to comprehend the temporal and spatial scales in which we find ourselves. No one has ever comfortably come to terms with quantum mechanics, humanity's most accurately verified scientific theory. We live out our temporally limited lives within a few miles of the surface of Earth, oblivious to the harm we might impose on others simply by pursuing our desires, and maybe rightly so.
I know now that my extremely liberal tendencies are exactly that: extreme. I know that my beliefs are very unrealistic. And yet I still believe them. I cannot help but suddenly relate to Donald Knuth who, despite his well informed concept of physical reality, continued to believe in a god of some sort. Oddly, I still struggle to comprehend the situation in which such a brilliant man can believe such nonsense (a sentiment he seemed to find agreeable), and so to reconcile the situation, I will simply apply this new found acceptance of contradiction. I simply chalk up my inability of acceptance to another instance of my own inability to comprehend his contradictions.

My present, and (remembered) past existence is nothing more than a belief, both to myself and others, either due to internal memory or external evidence. In any case, I cannot positively rule out the alternative that I was only created a moment ago, or that my entire existence is somehow an illusion. The evidence for this is lacking, however (none to be exact), and the evidence for my historical and continued existence is enormous (my entire life and memory, honestly), and so while it is merely a 'belief', it is a very highly probable one, given the information I have to work with.

Whim. Passion.


And is that enough?

"Baby, I need your loving. Got, to have all your loving."
"There's love all around you."
"What do you mean she's gone? –Like the wind."

Actually, to truly discuss our 'specialness' in the universe, we must first be clear what we mean by 'special'. Start where it starts.

"I'd like to double her entendre"
"You were the fake, I was the fool."

"No matter what we do or eat or say. I wish I had known this all along."
"Those with 'something to fall back on' invariably fall back on it."
"The effect of a mass on spacetime can informally be described as tilting the direction of time towards the mass." –This is awesome.

How my heart behaves.
The cold heart will burst
if mistrusted first.
And a calm heart will break
when given a shake.

How can this happen?
There are a number of other questions completely overlooked: What is the importance of 'the institution of marriage'? It's not like married couples are the only viable firefighters or something really important. Marriage is an ancient tradition that has very little bearing on causal reality. The one valid argument I can imagine for marriage is as a formal statement of commitment. Which I think is wonderful. It's probably the only reason I would ever get married. It is a reason I would happily accept.

Know thine enemy.

Hey, why doesn't your 'almighty' just go ahead and strike me down yet? I've made an effort to blasphemize 'him'. I've tried to 'tempt' 'believers' into abandoning their faith. I consider 'him' to be the grandest bane on human existence of all time, so why doesn't he eliminate me already?

From an evolutionary point of view, sex is more important than life itself.

The hypocrasy is unbelievable.

With respect to the election going sour, with McCain elected, and then through some unfortunate sequence of events, Palin becoming president, there is one comforting fact: Palin would most likely try to do something illegal and get in boat loads of trouble for it. Why would I think that? Because she is so religious, she is bound to break church-state separation in a legally defined way (for instance, by declaring our involvement in Iraq to be "god's plan"). More likely this belief is a good indicator that I legitimately losing my mind.

How about this: the VAST majority of conveniences in modern life are the product of scientific progress. Thousands of millions of years of genetic evolution has now given way to "conceptual evolution", whereby our ideas evolve through meme recombination and survival of the fittest, with 'fitness' being measured through repeatable, verifiable, scientific experiment.

The car you drive, the electricity you depend on, the medicine that is responsible for roughly 12% of us who would have died before our first birthday in a country like Afghanistan, and the computers that we are all using to discuss this are the direct result of this "conceptual evolution", which is more correctly referred to as science.

Science will prevail, it always has. The methods of science allow for increased rates of variation in ideas, which (like in genetic evolution), is a enormous advantage over ideas with low rates of variation (such as religion). Let's not forget the ideas of Galileo Galilei (and Copernicus and Kepler and Giordano Bruno, who was burned alive), were also resisted originally, but no significant group any longer believes Earth to be the center of the solar system.

All scientific knowledge is tentative, but the bigger theories, like Quantum Electrodynamics, General Relativity, the Standard Model, and Evolution, are such close approximations that to ever declare them 'wrong' is to convey gross ignorance of them. They are not perfectly right, but they are by far the closest to right we have ever seen.

The rate of scientific progress is directly related to how many people do and do not understand science. The more people who are ignorant of modern science, the slower the development of technology that improves everyone's lives will become. And I am not willing to abandon anyone. We are in this together.

The insidiousness of 'intelligent design' lies in it's denial not only of evolutionary theory, but in the very process of science itself, as science could be accurately described as the theory of evolution applied to human knowledge and abstraction thought; an analogy can be drawn from 'genetic evolution' to 'memetic evolution'. In order to reject the former one must be actively opposing the later.

I'm proud of you.

Daily Show NAMBLA jokes

I have a fear of religions. And it is my main motivation for involvement in politics?
And I want to see a science class about the scientific process, rather than any particular science. It would be very similar to an evolutionary biology class.

What the hell is my problem?
What am I supposed to do?
Who do I turn to?
Why aren't you here with me.

Because it is not a failed science. It never was a science in the first place. And it's not another side of an argument, or even an argument at all. It is an impostor that was created specifically to undermine a perceived threat to religious doctrine, based on belief that developed in the absence of any real knowledge of the subject, and the conflict is between people who are willing to make decisions based on objective evidence and people who consider belief itself to be evidence.

I see what you are saying, and I want to agree; it would be nice if we had such great science teachers that you could give people the unscientific explanations and then show that the scientific ones are superior and why, but I think that would open the door for people to misinterpret the presentation, much the way that people saying it was a debate created the debate in the first place.

I think abortion is a radically different issue: morals and beliefs have nothing to do with scientific knowledge beyond influencing our approach to probing the universe. Abortion being 'right' or 'wrong' is independent of scientific knowledge. Explanative theories such as evolution are independent of morals and beliefs.

As for us knowing the ridiculous ideas that preceded scientific investigation, it is not necessary information, that is to say that the history of science is not needed to understand science. It would probably be best to spend the time explaining what the problems and experiments and evolution of ideas was that lead to the modern scientific explanations. I should explain: beyond generating personal inhibition in Darwin, creationism had no bearing on the development of Evolution. The history of science is good to know insofar as it historical events contribute to the development of science. The fact that creationism has severely inhibited the progression of science.

Do I know how to do a min/max problem where the variable isn't continuous but rather discrete?

Are crosswalks evidence of freemarket's shortcomings? Or even all traffic rules in general? Without government intervention, it may be very difficult to cross the street.


It's something like: (rate of variation)*(rate of reproduction)*(completely random chance) = (survival )

A greater question in biology, rather than 'why sex' might be, why the asymmetry? Why not the plantlike approach of every individual having both sexual organs? Was it just a matter of chance?

What if cosmic rays are generated by the vacuum of space? I know it sounds stupid, but we already have CMB, and we have vacuum fluctuations on the quantum scale. It seems our understanding could be seriously flawed. It sort of seems like it would resolve the oh my god particle dilemma.

Heaven adores you.

It went from hokey, to slapstick. In the first three movies, if there was a smartass comment, it was stated under his breath, or after an event. It did not interfere with the pacing of the action. As opposed to the fourth movie in which the pacing of the action takes a back seat to the jokes. The old movies were better at making the action a joke.

Tell the truth today.


Sitting on my sofa, being ethical

It's easy to get caught up in that nonsense, to lose sight of reality.
We are social creatures, and our sanity is highly dependent upon at least a minimum of open interaction with others.
Wonderful mistake? Or were we just mistaken about the wonder?
I never had any doubts.
Don't let go.
I love the part right before we start hating each other.
Let's go to the park so I can tell you how pretty you look.
Let's rent a movie and then not watch it.
These aren't my words.
"Too much ah ha pretty soon boo-hoo."

Come on, none of this is real, you know that.

Ha ha ha ha: "The label 'cornucopian' is rarely self-applied, and is most commonly used derogatorily by those who believe that the target is overly optimistic about the resources that will be available in the future."
That is great... I'm one of the rare few people (apparently) who is comfortable labeling myself a cornucopian.

I'm going to start signing my name as a barcode.

True love awaits.
Have you ever tried to assess how much harm your skepticism generates?

We've got better things to do than sit around and be contaminated.
What is wrong with us?:
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979, residents exhibited a "disturbingly high rate of miscarriages...Love Canal can now be added to a growing list of environmental disasters involving toxics, ranging from industrial workers stricken by nervous disorders and cancers to the discovery of toxic materials in the milk of nursing mothers." In one case, two out of four children in a single Love Canal family had birth defects; one girl was born deaf with a cleft palate, an extra row of teeth, and slight retardation, and a boy was born with an eye defect. A survey conducted by the Love Canal Homeowners Association found that 56% of the children born from 1974-1978 had a birth defect.

Connections I've made never follow through.

Would it be useful to start an organization to advocate certain tenets of scientific thinking? For instance, scientists do not (should not) think in terms of 'absolute truths', but rather in tentative explanations, open to new evidence, and there is nothing dangerous about this thinking, though it is often interpreted to be dangerous.

There must be more of a spectrum to causal interaction than simply A caused B or, A did not cause B. As an example, it was claimed by some religious nuts that Darwinism led to Nazi eugenics. Another example would be people who blame Einstein's physics work as responsible for nuclear weapons, but the relationship between the two is not so simple. Maybe the issue is that many many causal effects had to work together to result both in Nazism and nuclear weapons, and though Einstein's work was integral (and Darwin's was supportive), neither scientist had any real influence over the many hundreds of decisions made by others that eventually lead to those terrible things.

What are the prospects for breaking our current two-party political system? How likely are we to ever change the electoral college system?

Government theory/Economic theory wiki? How about social experiment wiki(s)?
What do the people want wiki? What's wrong with the world wiki?

I think part of my rejection of the concept of evil is because it seems that most of what we would deem evil is done by people who do not believe themselves to be doing evil. Just as the catholics burned 17th century geniuses alive to 'save' them from 'hell', most 'evil' that is done is done by people with genuinely good intentions (as Karl Popper said). I suppose a very small portion of people may be truly immoral, or enjoy inflicting or observing pain inflicted on others, which we could probably safely declare to be evil. But for the most part, the grand majority of 'evil' in the world around us is either 1) well intentioned, or 2) unavoidable (e.g. death, accidents, consequences of natural laws of the universe). It seems that to validate the idea of a pervasive evil in the world, we would need to see a number of individuals who actually believed that the 'wrong' thing was good, somehow there is a subtle difference between 'evil' and mere intentionally immoral behavior.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is really pretty.

"try to get hired as a vote machine hacker. on election day, don’t do it. you can save the world … sitting on your sofa. and being ethical."
Ha ha, "Sitting on your sofa. and being ethical."

What is the likelihood that my belief system will undergo significant changes in the remainder of my life?

I need to write an essay about the assumption people make that overcoming gravity would somehow solve energy problems, and mention that in some sense, gravitational energy is recoverable, it is the energy we must use to alter the velocity vector of inertial mass that is so important to overcome. So if technology could be found to decrease the apparent inertial mass of an object, that would be useful. Going around corners would no longer pull you to the outside of the curve, breaks wouldn't have to heat up, and your gas mileage would be exquisite, assuming of course that whatever magical technology you had did not require a constant input of energy close to equal to what you needed to get out of it (which if our current understanding of physics is even close, is awfully unlikely).

Our world ought to be such that the typical statements of fundamentalist christians should be considered psychotic, hilarious, or various other categories of nonsense.

I think it is very important to see how the accumulation of knowledge (maybe better worded as 'scientific progress') has invalidated previously accepted concepts about the world. So that quote Daniel Denett used in his speech, where his friend/collegue recounted the story of 'real magic' and 'not real magic' is an archetypical: the concept of magic was created at a time when so little was understood of the universe that it was more acceptable to believe that good portions of every day life could lie literally beyond human comprehension, but this premise is much less acceptable today. As a result, 'real magic' now refers to the sort of magic that does not exist, while 'not real magic' refers to the sort of magic that actually can be performed (i.e., illusions). Science has progressed in such a way that it has become difficult to even conceive of an aspect of the universe that is immune to scientific investigation—in some sense we could define science as the process of seeking answers indefinitely, in contrast to religion which could be similarly defined as the process of accepting answers as infallible. Anyone who is slightly familiar with the history of science (or simply with modern science) should recognize the danger in believing answers to be infallible; Einstein, Riemann and Galileo (or Copernicus, or lets not forget Bruno), all broke down the previously accepted beliefs in response to the evidence they saw collected before them, though Einstein himself suffered from indoctrination, preventing him from coming to terms with quantum theory. (Though in his defense, the strongest evidence for the theory was all collected after his death.) It is the certainty, the conviction of belief, that makes humans look foolish, and anyone who is truly scientifically minded is aware of this. It is the backbone of Bertrand Russell's essay, "Am I an Atheist or Agnostic?", or more generally any seriously rational person.

The only people I have ever met or heard of, who really truly think of themselves as evil, all convey overwhelming remorse. Which seems to revoke any right to declare them truly evil.

An eye for an eye, or turn the other cheek?

The challenges to overcome,
are all purely habitual.

Just how much distance means we're on our own?