Yet another weird SF fan

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

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jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

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

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
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Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
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Greenie Watch
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Neo Warmonger
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Out of Step Jew
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Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
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Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
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Slate Star Codex
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Tools of Renewal
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Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Are We Progressing from Reductionism to Holism?

Contrary to what some people think, probably not.

For example, there used to be a theory that ulcers were psychosomatic. That was replaced by the more reductionist approach of assuming that gut problems were caused by bacteria in the gut. The claim that we're advancing out of the dark ages of reductionism into a glorious holistic future doesn't always hold water.

There's the alternative theory that digestive problems are caused by Unix operating system commands: awk, grep, fsck, nroff…

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Experts on “Gaming the System”?

There's been some opposition to requiring lawyers to pass bar exams.

Wait a moment… I thought the opposition to standardized tests was based on the idea that the people who passed were experts in “gaming the system” instead of the content. Isn't the content of law (in practice, if not in theory) a matter of “gaming the system”? Apparently, people who pass bar exams merely memorize facts instead of knowing them, a distinction so subtle it may as well be nonexistent.

On the other hand, maybe that means requiring bar exams is unnecessary. Lawyers who didn't pass a bar exam might not have enough customers to matter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Earth Day

Wouldn't Earth Day be an ideal day to start taking the Earth apart into space habitats?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Identify as …

Many of my fellow wingnuts are dubious about people who identify as something others won't classify them as. Please note we can do that too. For example, after seeing this, I tweeted:

It's oppressive to call me a right-wing nut job. I actually identify as a 19th-century liberal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Example of Betteridge's Law of Headlines

A recent blog post (discussed here) started with the headline:

Is the Birth-Control Pill Creating A Race of Eunuchs?
I was reminded of Betteridge's law of headlines:
Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.
It looks like the “Pick-Up Artists” have created a theory that says they should get all the girls. When they don't get all the girls, they start adding epicycles to the theory. To make matters worse, they seem outraged by the possibility that their theories are wrong.

Of course, if they want to keep unmanly men from breeding, the simplest method is to abolish firearms. I'm waiting for the Pick-Up Artist/Neoreactionary community to start supporting gun control.

Monday, April 13, 2015

One Reason Neoreactionaries Are Annoying

According to nearly any leftist, right-wing thought is based on the desire to exploit the weaker classes. The most annoying feature of some neoreactionaries is that they agree with that. (A recent example can be found here.)

On the other hand, there are liberals are annoyed at people supposedly on their side who exemplify the smug authoritarian stereotype. For example. George R. R. Martin said:

God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.
I feel your pain.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Notable and Quotable

According to Paul Graham:

I suspect the biggest source of moral taboos will turn out to be power struggles in which one side only barely has the upper hand. That's where you'll find a group powerful enough to enforce taboos, but weak enough to need them.
The above quote has an obvious application to the tempest in a teapot in Indiana. It also applies to the current allies of libertarians, especially if they win by a small margin. Next year's taboos might come from people we're applauding or defending today.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Explaining the Opposition to RFRA Laws on the Left

It's an April Fool joke, of course. To think they actually fooled the rest of into thinking they could turn on a dime like that … or that they had actually forgotten this started with a defense of nonstandard religions … or that they were seriously gloating about conservatives who supposedly didn't know it could go both ways ….

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