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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Brexit is About

It is a matter of locally-sourced, artisanal government. Does this mean I have to hate it now?

On the other hand, the proposal for the UK to join the US reminds me of the following line from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: “If you're sick of one version, we push you into the other.”

On the gripping hand, national governments serve a very important purpose: They protect the world from each other.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Anti-Anti-Trump Rhetoric and Other Controversies

There's a common trope on the anti-anti-Trump side: that it's bad idea to call the other side “idiots.” (This was earlier discussed here.) If calling people “idiots” is a bad idea … How are we supposed to characterize opponents of nuclear energy or GMOs?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Why Use Negotiated Agreements Instead of Unilateral Free Trade?

Any democratic nation that tries unilateral free trade will find it's opposed by people who think of trade as a giveaway to foreigners. In order to prevent that, we use negotiated agreements instead. Most voters are willing to accept the possibility of gaining from exports to the other side (until they stop trusting governments).

In other words, when Donald Trump and allies criticize NAFTA or TPP on the grounds that the treaties involved are a bureaucratic boondoggle, they are offering to rescue us from a problem they caused.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Few Comments on Brexit

Judging by the effect of Brexit on the pound, Britain has just voted itself the low-cost producer of nearly everything.

“Which is better—to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?“—Mather Byles

Question: Is the Brexit vote for or against free trade? The Brexit supporters seem to disagree.

Addendum: I forgot to add that a year ago, I would have applauded this. Now …

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Kind of World Are We Going to Have When These People Graduate?

What kind of world are we going to have when students who have been protected from American traditions graduate?

In view of the fact that Trump did better in “blue” states and in view of the fact that Trump supporters are very well informed on the latest antics of Social Justice Warriors but have only a superficial grasp of free-market economics, maybe what we'll get is President Trump.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

R-Selection, k-Selection, and Politics

There's a common theory that left-wing ideologies are correlated with r-selected genes and right-wing ideologies are correlated with K-selected genes. This is rather dubious, at least as far as the present line-up of American politics is concerned.

The current home of left-wing ideologies appears to be among descendants of Puritans whereas the current home of right-wing ideologies appears to be among descendants of Borderers. The conflict may seem strange considering that both groups started out as Calvinist. On the other hand, the Puritans were obviously K-selected and the Borderers were obviously r-selected. Maybe the theory made sense back in the days of Andrew Jackson or William Jennings Bryan.

My earlier comments on this can be found here.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Labels I Would Like to See

This product is bottled water. If you can't figure out if it's gluten-free, maybe you could ask someone on the staff of the group home.

This product contains ingredients obtained from genetically-modified organisms. If you demand an explanation, we will send a team of experts with the IQ, common sense, and social skills of Sheldon Cooper to explain it. For a small consideration, we could arrange for a Cliff Clavin analog to meet you at the bar of your choice.

This product is vegan cat food. This is NOT a cruelty-free product because an attempt to serve this to a cat will be painful to at least one animal, probably you.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What Species Would Become Dominant on Earth If Humans Died Out?

Raw Story is asking the above question. There are many possibilities. What if they all became sophonts?

You could have beavers and otters running seaports. The dolphins might try to have a selective breeding program to develop hands (if it works, the dolphins could join the beaver–otter partnership). Increased competitive pressure from the cetaceans might require cephalopods to develop intelligence. Inland, you might find squirrels and raccoons. Fithp-like elephants might form the military class. Parrots could become the radio announcers (if they haven't done so already).

Politics in this world would be even more tribal than in ours. To take just one example: Would beavers seek an alliance with squirrels or an alliance with dolphins? Is rodent solidarity more important than aquatic solidarity?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two Notes on the Orlando Terrorist Attack

  • Some massive terrorist gun attacks are by Muslims and some aren't by Muslims. Every last one of them is in a “gun-free” zone.
  • Judging by their choice of targets, Islamic terrorists really really hate unarmed Westerners. Maybe we should stop provoking them.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Note on Elon Musk's Obsessions

On the one hand, Elon Musk wants to put a colony on Mars. On the other hand, Elon Musk also believes we live in a simulation.

What if sending human beings too far away triggers a buffer-overflow bug?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I No Longer Care

After years of being called bigots many conservatives don't care.

I must have a fast reaction time. After just months of being called a “cuckservative,” I no longer care.

PS: We're used to being called names.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Who Are the Rioters?

There have been riots at Trump rallies. I have an important question: Who are the rioters? The most plausible groups don't overlap much:

  1. Illegal aliens and their relatives.
  2. Sanders supporters.
  3. Black Lives Matter.
  4. Trade unions trying to elect Trump.
The rioters are burning American flags and chanting “America was never great.” This sounds like any of the first three groups and may be even be done by the fourth group as part of a literally false-flag operation. In particular, this protester doesn't look Mexican.

Friday, June 03, 2016

In Defense of Climate Modelling

In a recent article, Megan McArdle points out that there are uncertainties in climate modelling and compares it to economic modelling. In defense of the climate modellers, there is a difference between the climate models and the economic models. The climate does not read papers studying it. The people composing the economic system do.

In other words, improved understanding of the climate might make it more predictable. Improved understanding of economics will be used by human beings to make the economy even more complex. This is a consequence of the fact that markets are anti-inductive. (The consequences of more phenomena becoming anti-inductive is explored in “The Law” by Robert Coates.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A Clarification

When I said that I want Ted Cruz to imitate Libertarians, I did NOT mean that he should strip at the 2020 Republican Convention.

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