Dale Udall

Posts

Sorted by New

Comments

Numeracy neglect - A personal postmortem

This is false, there are a few genius mathematician who early in childhood proved it is easy for some humans.

 

Some outliers are hypernumerate. I'm hyperlexic, so attuned to words that I was able to teach myself to read before my childhood amnesia kicked in, so I never had to learn phonics. This doesn't mean the vast majority of humans aren't congenitally literate or numerate. OP's statement may be nominally false, but the exception proves the rule.

As for teaching the aesthetic beauty of math, I would give each student their own blank copy of the 10x10 multiplication table (with a zeros row and column, making it 11x11) at the start of grade 2, and teach them how to fill it in themselves. After that, they can use it in any math class that semester, but they have to make a new one at the start of each semester after that.

The inherent laziness of humanity will drive them to "cheat" by copying from lines above: filling in half the 4's from the 2's, half the 8's from the 4's, half the 6's from the 3's, and so on. And while they're doing that, they're learning in an indelible way.

Everything Okay

This is a beautifully articulated taxonomy. My first application is to addictions. At the top level, addiction "makes things okay" in a way that makes things very not okay.

Uppers can make someone feel like things are okay. This reduces stress until they wear off and the "not okay" can be seen more clearly, assuming the time spent "up" wasn't used to actually make things okay.

Downers can make someone feel like being "not okay" is okay. This reduces stress by taking away the onus of responsibility for a time.

Psychedelics can induce states of A or B.

Codependency is an addiction to trying to make things okay, in any sense of the word. Individually, it's a pathology. En masse, it's a driving force behind politics.

To like, or not to like?

Shakespeare was the Joss Whedon of his day: high concepts and raunchy humor executed with total dedication to the world being created, with witticisms and new phrasings that hit the zeitgeist just right.

Covid 4/22: Crisis in India

We now have a Philippines strain to worry about, there will be more until we solve this globally, yet there is no sense of urgency whatsoever.

 

The urgency went away with the restaurants, the jobs, the summer protests and the winter elections. "Two weeks to slow the curve" became "Let's make sure the poorest people with the most vulnerable relatives still have to ride the NYC subway to work because a city survives on its underclass, and hey let's stick COVID patients in nursing homes." The pandemic became the one thing that's poison to a news cycle: boring.

Problems of evil

Not the existence of a God, but the actions of specific Gods.

The book of the Christian God promises eternal existence to all instead of oblivion, and a really good eternal existence to those who follow the Way of love and choose to accept that God's offer of redemption.

The book of the Muslim God promises a similar pair of eternal destinations.

Those are just the two most famous promises of infinite lifetime tied to interpretations of the holy books of religions which focus on specific Gods. They're extraordinary claims, and so they require extraordinary evidence, but any decently plausible promise of an infinite lifetime is worth enough investigation to falsify it.

Simplifying Board Games

You could simplify Machi Koro:

  • just use the one-die cards requiring a roll of 1-5
  • remove the first goal card which allows the second die, and the last goal card which requires 22 coins
  • first step of complexity is to re-add the cards requiring a roll of 6 and the last goal card.
Problems of evil

It actually (didn't) show up in one of the final (and best) novels of the old Star Wars canon, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover.

It also (doesn't) show up in the Elder Scrolls series as Sithis, the Void.

Problems of evil

Much of contemporary spirituality, I think, aims at a certain type of unification or “non-duality.” It aims, that is, to erase or transcend distinctions rather than draw them; to reach the whole, rather than the part. Indeed, to the extent that an “existential” attitude aims, ultimately, to encompass as much of the “whole picture” as possible, some aspiration towards unity seems almost inevitable.

But as we raise the level of abstraction, but wish to persist in some kind of existential affirmation, we will include, and affirm, more and more of the world’s horror, too (until, indeed, we move past what the world is actually like, to what it could be like, and to horrors untold).

 

Here's another riff on this theme: I performed a thought experiment once, which I return to regularly. A “three O” (omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent) God would imply six opposite qualities:

  • nonexistent or omni-failing/entropic
  • omni-unknowing or omni-stupid
  • omni-uncaring or omni-malevolent

(We'll forego the partlys here: partly stupid, partly malevolent, etc. for simplicity.)

The God that does not exist is, by definition, also omni-unknowning and omni-uncaring. (This opposite God, in not existing, would not be capable of failing, misunderstanding, or hating.)  This is the un-God of strong atheism, the zero to the Christian God's infinities. Other religions posit other combinations, including finite partly-gods and alternative Three O's.

By existing, a three O's God implies the nonexistence of the no-O un-God. But the un-God would also not-exist in any universe without God, or any universe with partly-gods. The un-God is not falsifiable because there is no conceivable universe in which it does not not-exist; any existence thereof (or super-nonexistence) would be a deviation of the attributes of the un-God, which would make it no longer the un-God.

And so, any being which acts in entropic, stupid, or malevolent ways serves the un-God, which cannot act because it does not exist, but which can be imagined as an open maw, ever-devouring but never fillable. Thus "Moloch," entropy in every aspect, the "all is vanity, and a chasing after wind" of Ecclesiastes.

Problems of evil

If one or more exist, then our time is not 100 years but infinite, and our reach not limited to our arms. Worth as much ink as the heat-death of the universe or the eventual extinction of Man, which both rely on the false vacuum not popping before then.

The consequentialist case for social conservatism, or “Against Cultural Superstimuli”

This is the frustrating thing about the culture war. People seem to assume that the sides are clearly delineated in black and white. Just because some activist shouts that you have to call hispanics "latinx" now doesn't mean it's true, and trans issues are no different. The actual people who are supposedly being represented are much more diverse than you might think.

Much of the activism I hear about on the news falls into both the legibility trap and the movement trap. While allies are trying to simplify the issues to build steam for building an institution to work on creating an expert class who can manage the organizations that will obtain the workers who will provide integrated solutions to the impacted people, the impacted people are living the problem and finding their own grassroots solutions.

For Italians in early New York City, the grassroots solution to racism was the Mafia and political machines, and now Italian-Americans are now considered white by pretty much everyone in America.

Load More