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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The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
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Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Update on Senator Sanders

I thought a pro-gun liberal would be the ideal person to say “When immigration is outlawed, only outlaws will have immigration.” He turned out to be a socialist who is not an international socialist instead:

Open borders? No, that's a Koch brothers proposal.


It would make everybody in America poorer—you're doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don't think there's any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two Notes on Donald Trump

I've been disappointed by Donald Trump. When he first became well known, I thought “That's the man who will take the human race into space!” After all, his ego is too large for one planet. It turned out that it doesn't matter if the ego is large if the man is small.

One way the Republican establishment can fight Trump: Get him talking about guns. He's bound to reveal a belief that guns are only for licensed bodyguards. The Republican base is even more solidly pro-gun than anti-immigrant.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What If It's All False Flags?

What if the large number of people arguing on the Internet who appear to fulfilling all of the stereotypes of their nominal opponents are all false flags? What if the “Check your privilege” Social Justice Warriors are actually conservatives trying to discredit liberalism and the people whining about #cuckservatives are actually liberals trying to discredit conservatism? That would explain so much.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Uber and NASA

There's worry about whether Uber can contribute to killing the planet. On the other hand, according to NASA, we've got spares.

One disadvantage of the new planet: It's 1.5 billion years older than the Earth, which means it has \(\frac{1}{4}\) as much uranium 235 (assuming it started out with the same amount). That might make it harder to jump start a nuclear industry. On the other hand, it means fewer worries about nations run by maniacs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are You Sure This Is the Analogy You Want?

Some of the commenters on an Instapundit post on the GMO controversy are comparing it to the global warming and cholesterol controversies. The odd thing is that these people are critical about the claims that both Anthropogenic Global Warming and saturated fat are dangers but they regard GMO foods as a danger. The reasoning appears to be as follows: If the fear mongers were wrong about X and wrong about Y, they must be right about Z. Is it their turn to be right?

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and Its Implications for Current Controversies

Background here for those of you who were stoned in high-school history classes.


The use of nullification (a declaration that state and local governments will not assist the Federal government to enforce some laws) by slave states has given nullification a bad name. On the contrary, nullification was also used by the free states of Wisconsin and Vermont to hinder enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.

The use or endorsement of nullification by liberals or libertarians (with respect to immigration law, for example) is not necessarily hypocritical.

We Won't Let You Stay Uninvolved

In the early stages, one common excuse given by supporters of shady activities (sometimes those activities have real victims and sometimes they don't) is: “If you don't like it, don't do it.” This is followed by “We won't let you stay uninvolved.” This happened in the case of slavery (the Fugitive Slave Act), the case of of selling possible abortifacients (the Affordable Care Act), and in the case of gay marriage.

Shooting the Wounded

Slavery was legal in much of the U.S. The Fugitive Slave Act was a matter of starting to eliminate the resistance. You can think of it as “shooting the wounded.”

The Confederate Flag

One excuse for flying the Confederate flag is that it's a symbol of resisting centralization. On the other hand, when it comes to centralization, Dixie fired the first shot.


Drapetomania was a supposed neurosis that caused slaves to run away. The belief that refusal to submit is a sign of mental illness continues today.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Two Possible Effect of the Confederate Flag Controversy

  1. People might be unwilling to get involved in moral controversies lest they be on the losing side and labeled as scum a century later.
  2. People already involved in a moral controversy will be unwilling to give an inch lest they lose and be labeled as scum a century later.
Applying the above to other controversies will be left as an exercise for the reader.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Theory about Left vs. Right

One possible description of Left vs. Right:

The Left wants to break down barriers between places and put up barriers between times. The Right wants to break down barriers between times and put up barriers between places.

The phrase “barriers between times” might be hard to decipher. You can think of destroying or denouncing traditions as putting a barrier between the present and the past. You can also think of birth control or abortion as putting a barrier between the present and the future. Leftists claim to be loyal to the future but only on the condition that it's like the present but only more so.

One consequence: The reaction of the Right to suggestions that judges should take the laws of other places into account resembles the reaction of the Left to suggestions that judges should take the laws of other times into account.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

To Paraphrase Keith Laumer …

Iran has been a sponsor of terrorism for the past few decades. Now, perhaps, we shall see them breaking that precedent and entering into peaceful relations with their neighbors.

On the other hand, maybe breaking and entering is what we can expect.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump is an alleged Republican who doesn't believe in the common Republican talking point: When X is outlawed, only outlaws will X.

Bernie Sanders is a Democrat who does believe that.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Suggestion for Arkansas

For the benefit of those who haven't been keeping track of people who give dorks a bad name, the Satanic Temple is attempting to place a statue of Baphomet outside the Arkansas statehouse. After all, there is a Ten Commandments monument there and the state is not supposed to discriminate on religious grounds. The official reason for the Ten Commandments monument is that it's about the history of the Law. There is a simple way for the Arkansas state government to make that point. They should also include monuments to the code of Hammurabi, Solon's law code, and the Law of the Twelve Tables.

On the other hand, maybe they should allow it because it's beneficial if government becomes a laughingstock.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Is Instapundit Supporting Gun Control?

The first reaction to this should be to examine more complete statistics, notice that shootings are up but crime is down, and recall “More guns, less crime.”

The first reaction to this should be to say “When immigration is outlawed, only outlaws will immigrate.”

The right-wing stance on the Second Amendment is starting to look like the left-wing stance on the First Amendment. Left-wing motto: It's not censorship when we do it. Right-wing motto: It's not gun grabbing when we do it.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Both Sides Lost

According to Chanda Chisala:

The fact that black immigrants to the United States have shown achievements that are superior to native black Americans has been a phenomenon studied since at least the 1970′s. … What most of these theories failed to predict was that the children of these immigrants would also show exceptional achievements, especially academically. It is only in recent years, as the immigrants have stayed long enough to produce a sufficiently high number of offspring, that it has been observed that they are over-represented among high academic achievers, especially when compared to native blacks, particularly at very elite institutions.
This disproves the favorite theories of both the Left (that the black–white academic gap is due to the effects of prejudice) and the hereditarian wing of the Right (that the black–white academic gap is due to the effects of genes). The children of African immigrants have the same genes and face the same prejudices as the descendants of 18th-century kidnap victims. In other words, both sides have lost.

As for what is causing the black–white academic gap … stereotype threat might be part of the explanation. I suspect the affirmative action is aggravating that.

Uh Oh

According to Matthew L. Wald:

On the micro level, last weekend I watched a young cashier at the hardware store scan purchases and heard the customer complain that the total was wrong. I was terrified by the cashier's response. It wasn't, “No, the computer is right.” It wasn't, “let me double check.” It was, “How did you know?” When it comes to adding numbers in our heads, we've not only forgotten some skills, we've forgotten we ever had them.
ObSF: “A Feeling of Power” by Isaac Asimov.

Friday, July 03, 2015

A Visit to an Evil Room

I was at … the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing. After all, Everybody Knows that anything one of the Koch brother has ever touched is tainted with Evil.

Other also object to Dinosaur Halls.

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