Today's post, Angry Atoms was originally published on 31 March 2008. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):

 

It is very hard, without the benefit of hindsight, to understand just how it is that these little bouncing billiard balls called atoms, could ever combine in such a way as to make something angry. If you try to imagine this problem without understanding the idea of neurons, information processing, computing, etc you realize just how challenging reductionism actually is.


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This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Hand vs. Fingers, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:52 PM

One of my favorite moments from the Sequences (for I think of them as an era in time as much as a collection of essays) was this line:

How could little billiard balls be angry? Tiny frowny faces on the billiard balls?

which caused me to burst into uproarious laughter the first time I read it.

Something about that line is just genius. It put the idea into such clear relief that it felt like a "click" moment, despite the fact that the point being explained was one I already understood well.

The novice goes astray and says "The art failed me"; the master goes astray and says "I failed my art."

No... the scrub goes astray and says "The art failed me"; someone playing to win goes astray and says "I failed my art."

(edit: What's wrong with this? Novices are there to learn. They're not there to give up! And the master was a novice once, too! Did they say the art failed? That would tend to make them go find something else, and then they'd never make master.)