Author Archives: admin

Myhrvold’s Terrorism Paper

Nathan Myrhvold released a lengthy paper analyzing the technological nature of terrorism and critiquing the American strategy of counterterrorism thus far. I particularly liked his Richter-scale for ranking potential threats. In his paper, Myrvhold suggests a far more proactive policy of investment in counterterrorism R&D. He concludes by stating that, in the likely event that […]

Sade “Bring Me Home” and “Skin”

There is still some good poetry coming from the secular realm. Sade’s voice isn’t what it used to be, but her poetry is unimpeachable. This from “Bring Me Home“: Put me on a plate with petals and a fire And send me out to sea Turn my angry sword against my heart And let me […]

A Typical Dream

This is how my dreams go. In the dream, I discovered some public information about myself that I previously believed to be private. The information appeared to have been deliberately stolen and disclosed, and was selectively presented in a way that portrayed me negatively. I felt confident in my ability to handle blackmailers and those […]

A Function for Consciousness

One of the biggest open questions for naturalistic science is, “What function does consciousness serve?”. If evolution is true, it would have been far more efficient to endow persons with consciousness-like behaviors without having to resort to actual consciousness. This was the point of Chalmer’s zombie thought experiments. Philosopher John Searle considers consciousness to be […]

The New Godwin’s

Charles Stross recently revealed that he uses a software package called “Scrivener” to keep track of the complicated plots of novels he’s writing. His disclosure prompted an interesting discussion about the functions of literature, the uses of software, and Tolstoy. One bright bulb, however, took umbrage at all of this talk of literature, and tossed […]

Not To Keep

From “Not To Keep“, by Robert Frost – “Nothing but what good care And medicine and rest, and you a week, Can cure me of to go again.” The same Grim giving to do over for them both. She dared no more than ask him with her eyes How was it with him for a […]

Immortality

A puzzling question I sometimes hear is, “What would you do if you knew you were going to die in two months?”. A closely related admonition is, “Live each day as if it’s your last”. Presumably, these sorts of statements are an invitation to live life to the fullest, “Carpe Diem” or something like that. […]

Reverse Solipsism

In the previous post, you were challenged to convince yourself that real people are imaginary. But most people would rather do the opposite. Most people spend a lot of time convincing themselves that imaginary people are real. The imaginer mistakenly imagines that his imagination is fully under his control, so he assumes that imaginary people […]

Puzzling About Solipsism

I’m not sure how to frame this. Imagine that you’re talking to someone about imagination, and you exclaim, “I’m not even convinced that you are not a figment of my imagination!”. Now, it is easy to imagine saying something like this. But can you imagine saying it convincingly? The best way to sound convincing is […]

Contemplation

To arrive at the simplest truth, as Newton knew and practiced, requires years of contemplation. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not calculating. Not busy behaviour of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Not making an effort. Not thinking. Simply bearing in mind what it is one needs to know. And yet those with the courage to […]