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Messages - nurbldoff

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I'm intrigued why it's such a common idea that being smarter would make you more sad. Maybe I'm too dumb to see the connection, or just too happy to care.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: Seriously, Dawkins?
« on: July 06, 2011, 01:51:10 am »
Dawkins appears to be personally offended by people who believe in things he doesn't. I know some people with similar behaviour, they just can't stand the idea that some just don't behave as rationally as them. So they are very emotional from the start, which usually isn't very good for the quality of the debate. I tend to see it mostly as a matter of taste; everybody has tastes that they can't reason rationally about. Some people are just more "taste driven" than others.

BTW, I wonder why agnosticism in particular seems so horrible to (some) atheists?

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Unbleached Branding Displacement
« on: July 04, 2011, 11:33:00 pm »
Thanks for reminding me to pick up the sequel to "Daemon", which I found very interesting. Check out this speech by the author: which may or may not be highly relevant to this thread but still very interesting...

My brain also associated to this:

Literate Chaotic / Re: The Science Fiction Rant
« on: February 02, 2011, 11:41:56 pm »
I have a couple of Egan books I haven't gotten around to yet.  I suppose they are now on The List as well...

In my experience they're pretty quick reads, even though they contain lots of things to think about. "Axiomatic" (I think) which is a collection of short stories, nearly blew my mind with its sheer density of ideas.

Literate Chaotic / Re: The Science Fiction Rant
« on: February 02, 2011, 10:55:21 pm »
I don't know why Greg Egan doesn't get more love, but he's been responsible for the best "hard SF" I've read in recent memory. He just takes an idea and goes with it. No unnecessary crap and no 3 book-1000 page each-bullshit-epic-sagas.

Literate Chaotic / Re: How to write
« on: November 19, 2009, 10:31:26 am »
Kurt Vonneguts tips for writing short stories:

   1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
   2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
   3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
   4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
   5. Start as close to the end as possible.
   6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
   7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
   8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Not that I write a lot, but I love Vonnegut's style.

Literate Chaotic / Re: The 100 Greatest Books, according to
« on: November 18, 2009, 12:21:30 am »
"The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien highly seconded. It's an awesome book.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Book Club: Angel Tech
« on: November 17, 2009, 11:51:53 pm »
I bought this book maybe a year ago but then I quickly borrowed it to someone before I actually got to reading it.

Or Kill Me / Re: Skeptics and dismissiveness.
« on: August 24, 2009, 02:59:31 am »
I agree about "skeptic" != "scientist", I'm a physicist and most people I know in the field aren't particularly skeptic in the CSICOP sense, as far as I've noticed. There is a difference between being rational and actively looking for things to disbelieve. Then again, most scientists are probably too caught up in what they're doing to care about debunking stuff.

In my experience describing yourself as a "skeptic" (OK, I only know a few who do) mostly means you're interested in watching youtube videos of Richard Dawkins.

Principia Discussion / Re: Off the Tracts
« on: August 22, 2009, 01:39:20 am »
What would be neat is to somehow put as many of these awesome ideas as possible together, so that the thing could be read on lots of different levels. Like a multi layered allegory something. Even if you don't get it all it would still seem profound :)

Principia Discussion / Re: Anyone know anything about Gurdjieff?
« on: August 22, 2009, 01:31:38 am »
I have "beelzebub's tales to his grandson" in my bookshelf but I have never gotten very far. It's pretty dense reading, allegorical like hell for 1300 pages. I liked the foreword though.

Principia Discussion / Re: Why is Discordia Irrelevant in the Year 2009?
« on: August 22, 2009, 01:29:17 am »
We just need some new memes!

Principia Discussion / Re: Why is Discordia Irrelevant in the Year 2009?
« on: August 19, 2009, 01:40:28 pm »
I don't know when it was ever "relevant"...

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Olduvai Cliff theory
« on: June 05, 2009, 12:39:10 am »
Without reading the actual papers, the main problem with the theory (disregarding the fact that its predictions haven't turned out to be too accurate) seems to be that it assumes that energy consumption per capita will not decrease. If it did, a shrinking energy production might not be a problem. Of course, energy consumption seems to be increasing monotonically, so that's a big maybe. In any case, these broad, long term predictions are probably mostly popular because they're hard to disprove immediately, and when they turn out to be false, enough people have already bought the books.

I'm all for space stations --- as someone (RAW?) said, why climb all the way out of a gravity well just to get trapped in another? :D Seriously though, terraforming e.g. mars won't give us another earth, since the incoming sunlight is much weaker. Basically wherever we go, we're not likely to find a planet that exactly matches earths climate, which probably means pretty harsh conditions anyway. On the other hand, by that time it might be trivial for us to genetically alter ourselves to fit almost any environment, including space. But now we're really getting into the long term prediction game...

The question could become relevant sooner than we think, considering that we might already be unterraforming earth.

« on: March 01, 2009, 09:58:05 pm »
I've suddenly got a lot of time on my hands and could do some graphics for you, if you tell me what you need.

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