Archive for November, 2014

Chaos Patch (#38)

(Open thread, links …)

In and around the NRx (highlights): Steel anarchism (and response). This opaque but intriguing stuff is also, probably, relevant. An epic delve into global complexity. The Gutenberg shock. A Watsoned world (background), further comment. The propertarian alternative (more, and more). Democracy on display (plus a reminder).

Race war round-up: between two worlds (more tightrope walking). Integration from the left: “It’s impos­si­ble for a white per­son to believe in cap­i­tal­ism and not believe in racism,” Mal­colm said in a 1964 dis­cus­sion. “You can’t have cap­i­tal­ism with­out racism.” — which simplifies things. Cut the riot shaming. Blame the cops, or Obama, or leftist race politics, or black family breakdown, or befuddlement, or idiots. “The real message of Ferguson: we are [seeing multiculturalism itself] go up in flames. A polity where the Chief Executive has to address the people over a local law enforcement matter is fatally unstable.” Let it burn. The unsaid. The anti-MLK.

America’s half-hidden welfare state. Bubbelology.

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November 30, 2014admin 14 Comments »
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Voyages in Irony

John Michael Greer is a writer with whom, ultimately, I agree on almost nothing. Yet he turns up here a lot, and rarely — if ever — as a target of disparagement. It is understandable if that confuses people. (It is not a phenomenon that is lucidly intelligible even to myself.)

The most obvious reason to return so incessantly to Greer is the sheer consistency of his deep cycle theorizing, which achieves a conceptual elegance rarely seen elsewhere. At some point, the UF series on his historical thinking (1, 2, 2a) will reach some articulate conclusions about this. Still, there’s more to the engagement than that.

A recent Archdruid Report post on the limits of science (and, as always, many other things) added further indications of profound error, from the perspective of this blog. It hinges its overt arguments upon an impregnable factvalue distinction, which is a peculiarly weak and local principle, especially for a mind so disposed to a panoramic cosmic vision. Yet the post is also provocative, and clarifying. Responding to one of his commenters, who suggested that without the prospect of continued scientific and technological advance life loses all meaning, Greer repeats the lines from Dante that have just been hurled against him, and encapsulates them — by explicitly activating their own irony:

“Consider your lineage;
You were not born to live as animals,
But to seek virtue and knowledge.”

It’s a very conventional sentiment. The remarkable thing about this passage, though, is that Dante was not proposing the sentiment as a model for others to follow. Rather, this least conventional of poets put those words in the mouth of Ulysses, who appears in this passage of the Inferno as a damned soul frying in the eighth circle of Hell. Dante has it that after the events of Homer’s poem, Ulysses was so deeply in love with endless voyaging that he put to sea again, and these are the words with which he urged his second crew to sail beyond all known seas — a voyage which took them straight to a miserable death, and sent Ulysses himself tumbling down to eternal damnation.

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November 29, 2014admin 9 Comments »
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Deadlines (Part-1)

If you believe in yourself, you’ll believe in anything. – Nicola Masciandaro

Based – very roughly – on a true story.

[Subsequent content carries a vulgarity and decadence warning, for sensitive readers.]

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November 28, 2014admin 25 Comments »
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Quote note (#134)

[44-year-old Terry Davis, the founder and sole employee of Trivial Solutions has] done this work because God told him to. ​According to the TempleOS charter, it is “God’s official temple. Just like Solomon’s temple, this is a community focal point where offerings are made and God’s oracle is consulted.” God also told Davis that 640×480, 16-color graphics “is a covenant like circumcision,” making it easier for children to make drawings for God. God demands a perfect temple, and Davis says, “For ten years, I worked on programming TempleOS, full time. I finished, basically, and the last year has been tiny touch-ups here and there.”

Within TempleOS he built an oracle called AfterEgypt, which lets users climb Mt. Horeb along with a stick-figure Moses. At the summit, a round scrawl of rapidly changing color comes into sight — the burning bush. Before it you should praise God. You can praise Him for anything, Davis says, including sand castles, snowmen, popcorn, bubbles, isotopes, and sand crabs.


November 28, 2014admin 6 Comments »

Sentences (#1)

(VPN isn’t working, for some reason, which makes almost everything impossible. No trawling about on the Internet, or twittering, today. In frustration, I’m initiating a new series — it’s ‘Quotes notes’ but decadently devoted to pure style. Feel free to consider it throat-clearing.)

Not necessarily single sentences, but no more than three (as a preliminary rule). First off, from Iain M. Banks’ The Algebraist (p.52):

He cleared his throat and sat more upright, telling himself he wasn’t going to fall asleep. But he must have, because when the screams started, they woke him.

November 27, 2014admin 10 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Sentences

Quote note (#133)

Hugo de Garis on the irrelevance of cyborgs:

Let’s start with some basic assumptions. Let the grain of sand be a 1 mm cube (i.e. 10^-3 m on a side). Assume the molecules in the sand have a cubic dimension of 1 nm on a side (i.e. 10^-9 m). Let each molecule consist of 10 atoms (for the purposes of an “order of magnitude” calculation). Assume the grain of sand has been nanoteched such that each atom can switch its state usefully in a femto-second (i.e. 10^-15 of a second). Assume the computational capacity of the human brain is 10^16 bits per second (i.e. 100 billion neurons in the human brain, times 10,000, the average number of connections between neurons, times 10, the maximum number of bits per second firing rate at each interneuronal (synaptic) connection = 10^11*10^4 *10^1 = 10^16. I will now show that the nanoteched grain of sand has a total bit switching (computational) rate that is a factor of a quintillion (a million trillion) times larger than the brain’s 10^16 bits per second. How many sand molecules in the cubic mm? Answer:– a million cubed, i.e. 10^18, with each of the 10 atoms per molecule switching 10^15 times per second, so a total switching (bits per second) rate of 10^18 times 10^15 times 10^1 = 10^34. This is 10^34/10^16 = 10^18 times greater, i.e. a million trillion, or a quintillion.

OK, but that’s coarse sand …

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November 26, 2014admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology

Season’s Beatings

An instant classic image:
I doubt whether there’s much of interest to say about this stereotypical tribal chaos, but feel free to have a go.

ADDED: Systematic Racism. Race War … the usual.

ADDED: Not wanting to overplay the comical side of this, but …

ADDED: Giuliani time.

November 25, 2014admin 30 Comments »

Quote note (#132)

WRM on the politics of amnesty by executive order:

For many liberal Democrats (as well as for some of their Republican opponents) two key beliefs about immigration shape their political strategies. The first is that Latinos are the new blacks: a permanent racial minority or subgroup in the American political system that will always feel separate from the country’s white population and, like African-Americans, will vote Democratic. On this assumption, the Democratic approach to Hispanic Americans should be clear: the more the merrier. That is a particularly popular view on the more leftish side of the Democratic coalition, where there’s a deep and instinctive fear and loathing of Jacksonian America (those “bitterly clinging” to their guns, their Bibles, and their individualistic economic and social beliefs). The great shining hope of the American left is that a demographic transition through immigration and birthrates will finally make all those tiresome white people largely irrelevant in a new, post-American America that will forget all that exceptionalism nonsense and ditch “Anglo-Saxon” cultural and economic ideas ranging from evangelical religion to libertarian social theory.

If conventional wisdom on the subject is this stark — and Mead is a good weather-vane for that — then Obama might as well put on the Kill Whitey T-shirt, because he’s clearly not fooling anybody. (It’s also worth explicitly noting, for the anti-market trads out there, that your besieged cultural norms and laissez-faire capitalism are on the same radical leftist death list, whether you appreciate the company or not.)

November 24, 2014admin 28 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Pass the popcorn
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Chaos Patch (#37)

(Open thread, links …)

It has been difficult to keep up with Henry Dampier recently, on feminist predictions, discount slaves, incoherent elites, brittanus americanus, globalization and war … and more, and more, and more (plus some genuinely useful advice). This blog is not among those immediately assuming the explanation lies in methamphetamine. Category theorizing. Yuray is digging up some authoritative support for the restoration of Latin. Metafragmentation. Hawk politics. No enemies to the left. Greetings! Unity (I don’t get it) — this seems to be related. The basic dissymmetry. Reliable nets.

Paleao-reaction goes mainstream.

Casual Marxism. Curricular Satanism. General Gruberism.

Malthusian mechanics (in pre-industrial England). Escaping the Malthusian trap. Evolution of culture, chain-letters, dark nets, and the (ancient) Egyptian state. Predation games. Killer apes. Genetic ontology. Shrinking brains. Social media hooks. Hmmmm.

Amerika on The Peripheral. Troll points. Auto-cannibalization watch (1, 2, 3). Sound convictions.

British decay in context. East Asia does it better, Japan notably excepted. Hold the fix. Peak delusions. McCloskey on Piketty.

Uses of racism. Race in your face. Villains of Ferguson. Last gasps. Amnesty and disillusionment.

Weekly golden oldies.

November 23, 2014admin 37 Comments »
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The most prominent problems with Interstellar have already been capably discussed, so it’s not worth spending much time going back over them. The basic catastrophe scenario has more gaping holes than a Hawking cosmology, and is in fact so ludicrous that it quite neatly takes itself out of the way. The framing ideology is romantic superhumanism, which might even count as a positive for some (although not here). The musical score (by Hans Zimmer) was wildly overwrought. All-too-typically for Hollywood, high-pitched emotional extravagance was shamelessly indulged. Despite all of this, it was a great movie.


Interstellar‘s narrative architecture is composed of a deep cosmic space-frontier story, and an occult communication story, bolted together by a time loop. (Plug.) The involvement of Kip Thorne reinforced the seriousness of this framework. (Thorne’s explorations of cosmological warping are a marvel of advanced modernity.) Nolan is, in any case, a director who knows things — or at least suspects them, enough to stretch his audience. As a piece of contemporary myth-making on an epic scale, the achievement of Interstellar is formidable.

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November 22, 2014admin 9 Comments »