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Messages - Cramulus

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Danse Russe
« on: May 10, 2016, 03:50:23 pm »

William Carlos Williams

"To Elsie" or "The pure products of America / go crazy"

from Spring and all (1923)

I love that whole set, Spring and all. I think it was Nigel who first introduced me to Williams, the "So much depends on..." poem. A while back I found a collection of his work and devoured it. I love his style. He reminds me of this quote from an interview with David Byrne. Byrne says he doesn't like writing songs about big things, like Love. He prefers to write about small things, little moments, secrets, things that people don't often notice.

Literate Chaotic / Danse Russe
« on: May 09, 2016, 07:46:25 pm »
William Carlos Williams, "Danse Russe"

If I when my wife is sleeping
 and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,--
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
again the yellow drawn shades,--

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

I really fucked up the book market by buying 1000 copies of Taken by Pterodactyl, and now they're cranking them out / off.

Or Kill Me / Re: When Good Gets Too Good
« on: May 06, 2016, 03:27:07 pm »

I complain about my job all the time, and my girlfriend says I should find a job I love - and I dismiss that as naivety.

I gotta side with her, here.

Yeah I struggle with all of this.

My goal is to live comfortably.

The jobs which would really stimulate me will not pay for that.

I keep thinking about how I should probably get my Masters degree so that one day I can afford to put a kid or two through college, but when I look at the choices, I'm staring at something like Project Management which feels like it will leech all the moisture right out of my soul.

I figure - most people have a job they tolerate in order to live well outside of it.

If I had a job I loved, would it be worth sacrificing vacations and nice meals in restaurants?

These are the dangers of modern living.

Or Kill Me / Re: When Good Gets Too Good
« on: May 05, 2016, 07:36:01 pm »
"right and wrong is so 20th Century"

Quote from: Marcus woop woop Aurelius
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.

I complain about my job all the time, and my girlfriend says I should find a job I love - and I dismiss that as naivety.

I feel what LHX said there, about how maybe feeding children superhero narratives for years and years will lead to adults that never feel they're living up to their potential.

Tyler Durden, in his preacher voice, says that we were raised thinking we'd be rock stars and now we're not, and we're very angry.

I'm not angry. I accept it. And that acceptance is the smoke of my youthful immortality burning away, the smoke rising up to the sky only 50 feet above our heads and just hanging there, a formless cloud.

I'm talking to this kid in #discord and he says we should all quit our jobs and live on a commune and reject capitalism and all that crap we used to care about when we were complete fucking dipshits. I tell him he's full of shit and I get a stabbing headache as I type it.

I don't know how to feel about it.

Without red tape, why would a company change to a more expensive production process?

How do you "force" a company to make a change without applying a regulation?

I don't think that consumer demand is a strong enough force to change things on its own.

The process of getting one kilogram of beef onto my plate produces as much carbon emission as driving 63 miles. Fruit and nuts have a much, much smaller carbon footprint. I know this, but I still prefer hamburgers and steak to all the salad in the world.

I think we can all agree that when our gubmint decides to take up management and regulation of something (Usually something lobbied for), it tends to be wasteful, inefficient, and over-bearing. Endless Red Tape that makes things hard for the right companies, as well as the wrong companies. Not only that, but when regulations and laws are defined, they tend to stick around, long after they are necessary. They could write a law requiring cooling of gorblefuts to certain temperatures during production. But after a few months of R&D, they are able to eliminate the cooling process with the advent of toodlesnoots. But the way the law works, if those gorblefuts aren't at the regulatory low temperature during production, then you get fined, or worse. Regulations become outdated and arbitrary when the market and innovation moves on.

This happens, yeah, but not all the time. There are a lot of regulations which everybody follows and they work great.

Sometimes you do need to de-regulate things after the market has moved on - but I don't think that's an argument against regulation in the first place. For example - car emissions... maybe we won't need carbon emission regulations when all cars are electric, but we have to cross that bridge then.

In the meantime, I cannot imagine why a car company would produce a car with 'clean emissions' in the absence of a regulation saying they have to do so. A car with dirty emissions would be much cheaper and sell better. Your average consumer doesn't mind driving a car that creates a little bit of pollution if it saves them a few thousand bucks.

Green business is more profitable, fundamentally, regardless of what lazy older companies would tell you. All I'm saying is that gubmint regulation isn't the only answer. I'd much prefer Corporate Espeeuhnoj™, or market strong-arming, or even partial monopolization over endless Red Tape.

What makes you conclude green business is fundamentally more profitable? Filters, waste management, recycling.. these things are expensive!

I want to show people that Profit With Compassion™ is possible. I wanna change modern business standards by example, not by force. Instead of arguing about economic theory, why don't we throw some bar stools?

From where I'm sitting - green business is more expensive. People who produce things the "clean" way are operating at a disadvantage and will be beaten by competitors who are ridin' dirty. Even if all businesses agreed to "go green", any given business could get ahead of their competition if they defect from the plan.

I think that's the central thing that keeps the market from being green already. We consumers are not so into the green movement that we're willing to pay out out the ass just to be environmentally responsible.

Or Kill Me / Re: There IS a Moon
« on: April 27, 2016, 09:55:16 pm »
You say there isn’t not a moon for each and every one of us, there’s just one Real Moon. And you’re right, there is only one rock we keep painting and describing and sharing with other people. In addition to that, each and every one of us has a moon rising in our own pale evening sky.

That moon is a collage of every single moonrise we’ve kept with us. My moon is yellow and large over the summer streets where we caught fireflies, and then it was time to come in and get into our PJs. It’s winter, and the fight just ended, and I’m walking through the woods trying to calm down and the MOON is there and then I’m running—-

And you’ve never seen that moon, those moons, my moons.

There’s a finger pointing at the moon, and the teacher says the finger is the conceptual “moon”. It signifies a physical rock, impossibly far up in the sky, that none of us have ever touched. Well, except Buzz Aldrin. And he told us about it. But he could only share the moon he brought back with him.

And in my collage, I’ve got a lossy jpg of a photo of a moment when a man on the moon stood next to a flag and saluted the Chaos (the vast immeasurable abyss, outrageous as a sea, vast, wasteful, and wild). He pulled a moon out of the Chaos and gave us a copy, and it’s part of the collage now—the one which rises within me when it’s Summer and the fireflies are out, or I’m walking through the wilderness and something starts me running.

And your moon and my moon share a name, so we get tricked into thinking we’ve got the same thing slowly fading into our pale evening sky. And there’s a million fingers pointing at the moon and it gives us the sense of a complete composition. And yes, there’s only one rock, but that rock has no name. The name that can be given is not an accurate name. Nameless, it is the source of Order and Disorder; Named… Well, we pretty much covered that, yeah?

We are not islands - we're barely even individuals.

You are also your lover, you are your whole family, your community, your species. When something gets hurt, the hurt doesn't stay isolated, it affects the system.

The exact spot where you end and I begin is like an optical illusion - its not actually there, but context clues make it appear to be. When somebody close to you dies, a part of you died too.

This is what the libertarian ideology misses. It presents the self as a castle surrounded by high walls - not a dynamic, sprawling city. Not a net of jewels that reflect each other.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: The Case Against Reality
« on: April 27, 2016, 06:53:04 pm »
yeah I don't think this is NEW info to any of us, but I still think it's interesting to think about... that natural selection of sensory/cognitive apparatus has only tuned us into the features of the universe that are important to our fitness/reproduction.

We've talked a lot here about how perception is impoverished - that we don't see 'reality' but a 'rendering' of it. But it's hard to explain HOW and WHY. The classic argument is that natural selection has made our perception of reality more "high definition" over time.

Bees can see ultraviolet because flowers have UV patterns, etc. Our ancestors got no advantage from seeing UV, so when we talk about what color something "is", UV isn't part of the discussion.

again, nothing terribly mind blowing here after having swung around a few barstools  :p - what caught my attention was that I had never heard the "you can't trust your senses" argument framed by natural selection.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / The Case Against Reality
« on: April 27, 2016, 05:53:38 pm »

This article manages hit some of our favorite check marks:

  [ x ] Inviting a barstool
  [ x ] Because Quantum

but it's still a good read.

Hoffman, a professor of Cognitive Science, asserts that we are not evolved to see "reality" - natural selection has developed sensory and cognitive apparatus suited for fitness and reproduction, not truth.


Gefter: People often use Darwinian evolution as an argument that our perceptions accurately reflect reality. They say, “Obviously we must be latching onto reality in some way because otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago. If I think I’m seeing a palm tree but it’s really a tiger, I’m in trouble.”

Hoffman: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions—mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

Talking about what reality "really is" turns out to be a bit of a loop.  He says that according to physics, there is no "public physical objects". Ultimately the article posits that reality is subjective - I think he's claiming that our conscious experience is a type of reality, not merely an interpretation of it.

Could it be possible for a free agent to reason that their capacity to act independently is inextricably interrelated to the free agency of others? Can my rational self-interest be extensive enough to include the effect it has on others?

Yeah, it's simple: don't conflate the self and the ego.

The true self is bigger than that little old thing.

So--definitely a pod person or Man in Black, right? In my reading, he's employed by the alien reptar invaders to do PR cover for their weird fuckups and reality breaches.

Environmental Progress:

In summary, it sounds like you're saying (and please correct me if I'm missing it - I don't want to put words in your mouth) that we just need big corporations to come up with innovative ways to go green which are cheaper than the traditional ways. And that we shouldn't be coercing corporations into "going green", we need them to do it on their own.

I mean, yeah, that all sounds good, but how do you do it?

Personally, I don't think there is a way to get everybody to cooperate when there are such big benefits to defecting. I think you need regulations.

The non-libertarian FAQ has a great example of why you'll never see that altruistic, cooperative behavior emerge out of mutual self-interest:

Coordination problems are cases in which everyone agrees that a certain action would be best, but the free market cannot coordinate them into taking that action.

As a thought experiment, let's consider aquaculture (fish farming) in a lake. Imagine a lake with a thousand identical fish farms owned by a thousand competing companies. Each fish farm earns a profit of $1000/month. For a while, all is well.

But each fish farm produces waste, which fouls the water in the lake. Let's say each fish farm produces enough pollution to lower productivity in the lake by $1/month.

A thousand fish farms produce enough waste to lower productivity by $1000/month, meaning none of the fish farms are making any money. Capitalism to the rescue: someone invents a complex filtering system that removes waste products. It costs $300/month to operate. All fish farms voluntarily install it, the pollution ends, and the fish farms are now making a profit of $700/month - still a respectable sum.

But one farmer (let's call him Steve) gets tired of spending the money to operate his filter. Now one fish farm worth of waste is polluting the lake, lowering productivity by $1. Steve earns $999 profit, and everyone else earns $699 profit.

Everyone else sees Steve is much more profitable than they are, because he's not spending the maintenance costs on his filter. They disconnect their filters too.

Once four hundred people disconnect their filters, Steve is earning $600/month - less than he would be if he and everyone else had kept their filters on! And the poor virtuous filter users are only making $300. Steve goes around to everyone, saying "Wait! We all need to make a voluntary pact to use filters! Otherwise, everyone's productivity goes down."

Everyone agrees with him, and they all sign the Filter Pact, except one person who is sort of a jerk. Let's call him Mike. Now everyone is back using filters again, except Mike. Mike earns $999/month, and everyone else earns $699/month. Slowly, people start thinking they too should be getting big bucks like Mike, and disconnect their filter for $300 extra profit...

A self-interested person never has any incentive to use a filter. A self-interested person has some incentive to sign a pact to make everyone use a filter, but in many cases has a stronger incentive to wait for everyone else to sign such a pact but opt out himself. This can lead to an undesirable equilibrium in which no one will sign such a pact.

The most profitable solution to this problem is for Steve to declare himself King of the Lake and threaten to initiate force against anyone who doesn't use a filter. This regulatory solution leads to greater total productivity for the thousand fish farms than a free market could.

The classic libertarian solution to this problem is to try to find a way to privatize the shared resource (in this case, the lake). I intentionally chose aquaculture for this example because privatization doesn't work. Even after the entire lake has been divided into parcels and sold to private landowners (waterowners?) the problem remains, since waste will spread from one parcel to another regardless of property boundaries.

too little, too late

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