So... what I have often wondered when reading about historical events is that it is very rare to read a story where it is asserted that historical actor A was victorious over actor B due to actor B being a bit of a dumbass, or actor A being smarter.
In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is some sort of taboo; the outcomes of wars might be down to various sins such as pride, ill-advised beliefs about ones superiority or ascribed to the decisive tactics used, but almost no action is ever being attributed directly to cleverness, or any loss to thoughtlessness or just being dumb. No... (Read more)
He does so within a thread full of clips that have to be seen to be believed but which you are under zero obligation to see either way.
Here is the central quote, which is real: “Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, it’s all you ever talk about. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it. ‘Covid Covid Covid Covid.’ By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore … ‘please don’t go and vote, Covid!’”
This is his closing message to the American people. So unfair, we’ve beaten the virus, we’re turning the co... (Read more)
Somerville has asked its residents not to trick-or-treat:
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the Somerville Board of Health announced Halloween guidance and related updates today. They strongly urge all community members to forgo trick-or-treating in favor of lower-risk activities as defined by the Centers for Disease Control such as at-home activities and holiday crafts.They link to MA and CDC guidelines.
I have generally supported Somerville's cautious approach, closing more quickly and opening more slowly than surrounding towns, keeping schools remote unti... (Read more)
Yesterday I spoke of the Mind Projection Fallacy, giving the example of the alien monster who carries off a girl in a torn dress for intended ravishing—a mistake which I imputed to the artist's tendency to think that a woman's sexiness is a property of the woman herself, woman.sexiness, rather than something that exists in the mind of an observer, and probably wouldn't exist in an alien mind.
The term "Mind Projection Fallacy" was coined by the late great Bayesian Master, E. T. Jaynes, as part of his long and hard-fought battle against the accursèd frequentists. Jaynes was of... (Read more)
I don't know how inspiring "no causation without reification" is as a rallying cry. Probably not very. But as a pithy description of an important insight, I think it's quite nice.
There's lots of reason to care about causation. In fact, it's hard to talk about much of anything without causation showing up. We need some way to talk about the fact that stuff happens, then other stuff happens, and that other stuff happens only because the first stuff happened, or so we hope to claim. The idea that one event causes another seems fairly fundamental to how humans perceive the world.
Formally, we often... (Read more)
This is the third post in the Cartesian frames sequence. Read the first post here.
This post will introduce the standard equivalence relations we'll be using for Cartesian frames. Our primary interest will be in homotopy equivalence, which will allow us to classify frames according to their agents' and environments' effect on possible worlds.
Before defining homotopy equivalence, I want to define isomorphism between Cartesian frames.
Definition: A morphism is an isomorphism if both and are bijective. If there is an isomorphism betwee... (Read more)
The evening sun sets on the horizon. An owl hoots ominously. You stare at the ant hill in disbelief. You’ve checked the data many times, and there’s only one remaining hypothesis without vanishingly small probability.
Ant colonies are intelligent. Not the individual ants -- but the colony as a whole. They process information in a way metaphorically similar to what brains or GPUs do, without any of the constituent neurons or transistors being intelligent.
Through a somewhat haphazardly administered battery of tests you’ve determined the colony’s intelligence level to b... (Read more)
Book review: Age Later, by Nir Barzilai.
Books by serious researchers on how to defeat aging are now coming out almost as fast as I have time to read them.
This one mostly aims to enable us live in good health to 115, preferably via a few simple pills.
Age Later is fairly similar to Sinclair's Lifespan. At least, the differences are small compared to how they differ from Aubrey de Grey's Ending Aging. I'm a bit concerned by this, since anti-aging research has not yet demonstrated enough results to justify converging on a single strategy. Maybe that's just an artifact of who's writing books?
The bo... (Read more)
Four cavalrymen assemble on the banks of the Rhone.
Two are fools. I have beneath me behemoth, a mountain of flesh and
Tusk. I ought not simply break it like a horse. I will bring it to the tide of
Battle and the beast will find fury and both I and my adversary will be helpless to
Stay it, they say.
The fools charge into battle. The first’s mount balks at the Gaulish pikes and casts him
To the dirt, and it is his end. The second’s mount glimpses a wolf’s pelt on a pike man
Before him and mistakes it for a lion and falls
Into a blood rush. This fool survives two dozen adversarie... (Read more)