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There is, of course, a rather large random/unknown component in the amortized present value of the amount of good any action of mine is going to do. Maybe my little contributions to Python and other open-source projects will be of some fractional help one day to somebody writing some really importa...(read more)

One category of cases where self-deception might be (evolutionarily) adaptive would be for males to be over-confident about their chances to pick up a female for a one-night stand (or, alternative, over-confident about how pleasurable that dalliance would be, and/or about how little they would be em...(read more)

By the way, I should clarify that my total disagreement with your thesis on WW2 being single-handedly caused by A. Hitler does in no way imply disagreement with your more general thesis. In general I do believe the "until comes steam-engine-time" theory -- that many macro-scale circumstances must b...(read more)

"In sober historical fact", clear minds could already see in 1919 that the absurdity of the Treaty of Versailles (with its total ignorance of economic realities, and entirely fueled by hate and revenge) was preparing the next war -- each person (in both nominally winning and nominally defeated count...(read more)

I just find it interesting that the event is scheduled for St. Crispin's Day -- is that a reference to "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers", OR to "half a league, half a league, half a league ahead" -- or total indifference by Singularity experts on the subject of ancient battles which happen...(read more)

I guess that Bay Area Bayesians who are also Pythonistas are out of luck, since on Thu 21 Feb Guido van Rossum will be speaking at BayPiggies (meeting at Google in Mountain View as usual) with a much-expected talk on the status of Python 3000...:-(. Worse luck: we always meet on the 2nd Thursday of ...(read more)

If you're interested in the Blues and the Greens, check out Alan Cameron's "Cirus Factions" (Oxford University Press), a reasonably thorough monograph. There were originally two teams in chariot racing (Reds and Whites), then four (adding Blues and Greens), then six (Domitian added Purples and Gold...(read more)

If you're looking for awesome atheist poetry, Lucretius' "De Rerum Naturae" will supply it -- in Latin, that's true, but, it CAN be translated, you know;-). Yes, it DOES start with a hymn to Venus -- "hominum divomque voluptas", and the rest of the wonderful opening Hymn to Venus -- but that's just...(read more)