Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Category


The state of play:


Despite its demotion from ninth-planet status (in 2006), Pluto is a special nexus of discovery, with no less than five moons now identified. Insofar as names tell us anything, it has horroristic Outer-NRx stamped all over it.

February 24, 2015admin 7 Comments »


‘Coincidentally’ a number of seemingly unrelated social media stimuli have conspired to recall this today:

Political Triangle

Note: “Politics closest to me” comes from the original creator of this diagram (I’m still not sure who that is). The politics closest to me are located in the top right corner of the gray box, where it disappears into the blackness of the Outside.

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February 13, 2015admin 18 Comments »

Space is Big

… even just the solar system. ‘Awesome’ is a word destroyed by casual over-use, but I’m groping for an alternative right now, and not finding it. This has to be one of the best uses of a website out there — meaning: really out there.


January 17, 2015admin 15 Comments »

Against the Ant People

The heated controversy running through biology right now — pronounced, at least, in its zone of intersection with the wider public sphere — seems like something that should be inciting fission within the NRx. The collision between Hamiltonian kin selection (defended most prominently in this case by Richard Dawkins) and group selection (E. O. Wilson) drives a wedge between the baseline biorealism accepted by all tendencies within the Neoreactionary Trike and the much stronger version of racial identitarianism that flourishes within the ethno-nationalist faction. Until recent times, proto-Hamiltonian hereditarianism has been strongly aligned with classical liberalism, while ideological racial collectivism represents a later — and very different — political tradition. Not so much as a chirp yet, though. Are people unpersuaded about this argument’s relevance?

On a slight tangent (but ultimately, only a slight one) Nick Szabo’s epically brilliant essay ‘Shelling Out’ is remarkable — among other things — for its profound biorealist foundations. It makes an excellent theoretical preparation for Jim’s paper on ‘Natural Law and Natural Rights’, which also draws productively upon John Maynard Smith’s game-theoretic model of the ‘evolutionary stable strategy’ as the natural substrate of psychological and cultural deep-structure.

This is an important opportunity to put down some discriminatory markers. Can we turf group selectionist ideas out of NRx entirely, or do we have to fight about it?

December 9, 2014admin 65 Comments »

Quote note (#121)

From ClarkHat‘s Gamergate epic, a masterpiece of Gnonology:

It doesn’t matter if it’s nice; it matters if it’s effective. Gnon has no pity and laughs at your human ideals … especially because he created your human ideals to help you be a convincing liar in social games.

(Cited with whatever degree of apology is appropriate for the self-referential loop.)

October 22, 2014admin 15 Comments »

Quote note (#113)

Elon Musk (in conversation with Ross Andersen) ponders upon the Fermi Paradox:

We might think of ourselves as nature’s pinnacle, the inevitable endpoint of evolution, but beings like us could be too rare to ever encounter one another. Or we could be the ultimate cosmic outliers, lone minds in a Universe that stretches to infinity.

Musk has a more sinister theory. ‘The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation,’ he told me. ‘Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mould in a petri dish.’ Musk flipped through a few more possibilities, each packing a deeper existential chill than the last, until finally he came around to the import of it all. ‘If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way,’ he said. ‘And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.’

September 30, 2014admin 16 Comments »
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HP Lovecraft ends the first section of his (utterly magnificent) ‘The Shadow out of Time’ with the words:

“. . . of the orthodox economists of that period, Jevons typifies the prevailing trend toward scientific correlation. His attempt to link the commercial cycle of prosperity and depression with the physical cycle of the solar spots forms perhaps the apex of . . .”
Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee had come back—a spirit in whose time-scale it was still that Thursday morning in 1908, with the economics class gazing up at the battered desk on the platform
. [Added internal link]

(Scientific correlation, as we know from the first line of ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ and elsewhere, can be terrifying.)

SunCycle24 (Click image to hugely expand.)

The solar system, gauged by mass, consists almost entirely of the sun. Sol accounts for 99.86% of it. Quantity isn’t everything, but insofar as it’s anything, this has to matter — a lot. The sheer magnitude of our solar dependency is hard to even fractionally comprehend. What the sun does is what happens. The earth is its crumb. Our biosphere suckles it. Our civilizations are so far downstream of it, feeding second or third hand on its emissions, if not more distantly, that we easily lose all track of the real flow. As economies sophisticate, the relays proliferate. Perhaps this is why the messages of the sun are so inattentively received, despite rapid improvement in the technical and cultural tools required to make sense of them.

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September 11, 2014admin 16 Comments »
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Here it comes …

In four billion years we’re due for a collision with this thing —


(Image link via Phil Plait.)

Added zoom available here.

ADDED: The action video (via Mr. Archenemy). It looks quite a bit more calamitous than I had expected.

ADDED: Galaxies are cosmic tiddlers.

September 3, 2014admin 7 Comments »

Cosmic Concealment

Lawrence Krauss knows nothing about nothing, but on some other matters — I now realize — he’s an insight dynamo. This is his Our Miserable Future talk, of which the last seven minutes (minus the last two) are utterly absorbing.

In a nutshell — cosmic expansion will move every other galaxy in the universe beyond our light-cone (within two trillion years). After that time, even the most sophisticated scientific enterprise would find it impossible to reconstruct our contemporary cosmo-physics. In other words, what we presently understand about the evolution of the universe tells us it will become something that will cease to be understandable. What has been revealed to us is a tendency to cosmic concealment. We see the universe hiding itself.

That’s where Krauss leaves us (after a few tacked-on happy thoughts at the end). My question: If we can see that the cosmos is going to hide, so successfully that the fact it has hidden itself will itself have become invisible, upon what do we base any present confidence we may have that an analogous process of profound cosmic concealment has not already taken place? Confirming now, through mathematical physics, what Herakleitos proposed two-and-a-half millennia ago — that nature loves to hide — is it not reckless in the extreme to assume that she has been forthcoming with us up to this point?

ADDED: “Finding chameleon-like effects won’t necessarily mean they’ve found dark energy, says Adrienne Erickcek of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But it will show that screening mechanisms are a plausible explanation for our failure to measure the effects of dark energy in the local universe.”

September 3, 2014admin 13 Comments »


Gnon — known to some depraved cults as ‘The Great Crab-God’ — is harsh, and when formulated with rigorous skepticism, necessarily real. Yet this pincering cancerous abomination is laughter and love, in comparison to the shadow-buried horror which lurks behind it. We now understand that the silence of the galaxies is a message of ultimate ominousness. A thing there is, of incomprehensible power, that takes intelligent life for its prey. (This popularization is very competently done.)

Robin Hanson, who tries to be cheerful, writes about it here, and talks about it here. Behind the smile (and the dopey interviewer), an abyss of dark lucidity yawns. Some scruffy take-aways:

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August 8, 2014admin 59 Comments »