1. Dealing with survival: If X is to survive, it is because X has mechanisms to provide for the necessities of survival: assembling and processing resources, waste disposal, defense from predation and parasitism, protection from environmental extremes, etc., commensurate to the dictates of the local ecology. Without these strategies, an entity its a flash in the pan.

2. Dealing with scarcity: If X is to compete with others for resources, then X must have strategies for removing resources from the grasp of others, either by violence, by deception, or by economic pressures. The last includes trading for resources with surpluses obtained elsewhere or created/refined by time and/or labor, or trading with labor or services.

3. Dealing with others: If X is to trade cooperatively, rather than as a hostile entity that must defend against theft and cheating, then X must adopt identity protocols that allow X to pass the territorial “friend/foe” test as “friend”. Identifying as “friend” also often allows one to participate in use of public goods and services for the duration of trading relationships.


August 23, 2010 · Posted in Everything Else  

Instead of typing, I’m drawing little glyphs on the picture of a keyboard with the point of a finger. It’s still a fair bit slower than typing and stresses said finger a bit unnaturally. I could be faster with it. I can tell that. And more error-free. With practice.

Maybe I’ll eventually replace my bluetooth keyboard so I can get back up to speed. Or maybe I’ll slim down how I write so that it all works on a minimalist phone thingy.

It’s like drawing sketches with a pen. Editing is next to impossible and the temptation to revise vanishes when you can see only two or three sentences at a time.

Is the first pass really more honest?

Regardless of the little toy I have in my hand and what I have to do with it that passes for writing, the future is still not here. This is still not the future I’ve been pushing for for a decade.

Still slogging.

When I’m tempted to ask myself when everything ran off the rails, I have to remind myself that there never were any rails. I’ve been offroad since graduating high school. This isn’t a railroad. Or any kind of a road. This has been machete country the whole time.

I wrote this piece a year and a half ago, and that’s what it feels like. I’m slogging through machete country, been here forever, don’t know if I’ll get where I’m going (wherever that is) or get back home or even just survive, and I can’t get past the feeling that maybe I’m just a block or two away from the mall where I parked my car.

Hack, slog, hack, slog, hack, slog.

How’re YOU doing?


August 18, 2010 · Posted in Everything Else  

If you think you can stomach it, go visit the Conservapedia’s “Counterexamples to Relativity” page and have yourself a good skim. I’d open it in another tab or window so you can flip back and forth as necessary.

Neither General nor Special Relativity are complete theories. They’ve never been presented as such by anyone who actually understands them — including the original author and the huge number of scientists who have tested and confirmed many of the implications. Many of the points they bring up on that page are worthy of consideration and, where possible, careful and considered rebuttal. But science should never be religiousized or politicized. And here’s why:

Scientists know that the current theories are almost certainly flawed and incomplete. Scientists look forward to replacing them with better theories as experimental data breaks old concepts and helps construct new ones. In fact, most time and energy and funds in the scientific world is spent on testing the previous theories to the point of destruction. When an old body of knowledge falls, there are huge parties and celebrations. I swear this is true.

On the other hand, religious ideology, and increasingly political ideology, which is itself increasingly religiousized these days, has a tendency to be certain it is correct — even though history shows both religion and politics need periodic overhauls. That certainty requires those overhauls to be accompanied by bloodbaths more often than not, and there is still blood being shed on every boundary between the ideological groups except where people are careful to include the possibility that they might be wrong, no matter how much they hope they’re correct.

We really don’t need a bloody revolution whenever it’s time to discard a leading theory and replace it with one that works better. Too much of our science drives technology and medicine and agriculture that is absolutely critical to supporting and improving the lives of billions and billions of people. We have no time and money and blood and lives to waste on getting sucked into someone else’s wars.

Which brings us to another thing: have a really really good look at the logo above.

The flag of the United States of America looks like no other flag on earth. It shows beyond any any attempt at equivocation that the Conservapedia, and any politicized factish datoids contained inside, are intended to have no application to any membership outside of ideologically Conservative America United States residents/citizens/affiliates, and, unlike science, has no need to even seem to be true everywhere, to everyone.

The horrific hypocrisy of pretending to have anything useful to say about universal truths while intentionally limiting the scope of what is being said to adherents of partisan politics is beyond ludicrous. The ideologues who compile the Conservapedia use that logo to shield themselves from scrutiny and debate in a national and global arena and taint what that flag means by alluding to it in such a fashion.

The United States of America was itself founded as a scientific experiment — a field-test of political theories developed by thinkers and philosophers in public debates that raged across continents, across political and geographical boundaries, in many different languages, in many different schools and universities. The flag represents that experiment — and its limited success. And its slew of absolutely necessary refinements and revisions. Using it as a shield against public discourse and democratic debate is proclaiming the failure of those principles, arguing against the inherent worth and equality of every voice that can be heard.

It’s truly pathetic that Conservatives feel so threatened that they have to attack science itself, and, by doing so, the foundations of the organization they claim to hold the most dear.


August 9, 2010 · Posted in Everything Else  
August 8, 2010 · Posted in Everything Else