Tag Archives: Scott Adams

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 23

I think Jill took it down (or it takes itself down after a while), but she mentioned me in one of her Periscope broadcasts. Thank ye!

Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All Time
Pretty good list. I personally would take Contact out—I like the movie but the tropey characterizations were almost unwatchable—and Prestige, since I’ve never heard of it. I’d replace them with Bladerunner and The Empire Strikes Back.

Fermi’s Paradox
Listen in as a few bourgeoisie agents and academics get upset about not meeting aliens. Why was it ever labeled a paradox, anyways? It’s just an unanswered question with plenty of plausible explanations.

What is a good explanation of Boltzmann Brains?
I find these more fascinating.

Marathon man preps for second live stream, with multiple iPhones, iPad
It’s an old story, but the guy’s narcissism called to me from beyond the void.

Could Donald Trump Save the Internet?
Net “Neutrality” is retarded and is the worst idea since adult coloring books or California.

SpecFaith Reviews: Wonder Woman: The Heroine We Need
Eh? I guess. Unless the writer styles herself a goddess, it’s odd to claim Wonder Woman is an accurate representation. No one claims Thor as such for men; that would be silly. I do, because I’m tall, sexy, buff, blue-eyed Nordsman*.

Low-carb diet can have similar effect on brain as ecstasy
I have never experienced this. Warning: this is a Daily Mail link and the page load time is astronomical.

The Only Way to Fix Healthcare Insurance in the U.S.
Eh, not really. The big reason GitHub works is because the results are immediately testable, as application code normally goes. Scott Adams is just proposing a glorified suggestion box. The best way to “fix” healthcare is to remove the bureaucracy from the equation: person A pays person B for a good or service, then person B gives it to them. It works for shoes, bananas, and Oriental rugs.

NASA announces the Kepler space telescope has identified 219 potential new worlds
Speaking of bureaucrats, there has to be at least one of these worlds with life that exists without any bureaucrats at all. Imagine that…

Fake News
I remember one of my communications professors slipping and mentioning stuff like this once in a while, and Rashad’s career was part of those non grata unmentionables of media politics.

* One and a half of these things are true.

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Links of Possible Relevance, Part 21

I get super irritated below.

F*ck you, Periscope. I’m not creating a Twitter account just to access you.

A shameless scalzification
No one who Tweets out the phrase entirely unsubtly should be anywhere near G.K. Chesterton.

Goodreads Blog Post: If Belle Were on Goodreads, She’d Probably Act a Lot Like Emma Watson
No. Please, no, she wouldn’t. What is it about activists and their need to retrofit unrelated narratives into their fold?

A statue of a defiant girl now faces the Wall Street bull
Eventually, some people are just going to have to admit they worship females qua females.

The Action Girl Mandate, or Why All the Princesses Know Kung Fu
This is everywhere. Everywhere. I had to consciously, deliberately cut back on Elisabeth’s character when I wrote PBS. Also, LOL.

British University Bans All “Politically Incorrect” Words: Here’s The List…
Via Jill. Good thing “Go f*ck yourselves” isn’t on there, because I can imagine the more sane students at Cardiff Metro using that as a response.

Revocation is Going to Be in the New Power Rangers Movie
It still weirds me out when metal bands make it into mainstream news/media.

Android challenges Windows as world’s most popular operating system in terms of internet usage

Coffee with Scott Adams #2
Not bad, but he just describing what people do during life. Life is a “thing,” and things just are, with no meaning. What’s the “meaning” of a ham sandwich? There’s no objective “meaning” of life, since “meaning” depends on perspective. It’s more likely that life has a “purpose,” but even that differs from person to person.

Why I Despise ‘Science Says’ Articles
Also here.

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Believe Whatever You Want

One of the longest running gags in my mind staples of what I write here is that human reason is incapable of understanding a lot of what it’s purported to understand. This is exemplified best when we believe we’re being “reasonable” or “rational” concerning large, distant, complex events, involving lots of actors…basically anything seen or read in a news story. We cherry-pick, from filtered information, our bits of data and form our views based on that, but we fill in the many cracks of our reasoning with other things in order to conform to our most-identified-with tribe. We adopt beliefs about such remote events more to maintain social homogeneity than an endless, fairly trivial, “quest for truth.” Scott Adams has some interesting blog posts like this one that touch upon this kind of subject, although he doesn’t approach it from a spiritual perspective.

The two “hard” ways we interact with the material world—the senses and deductive logic—are best used in compartmentalized, localized, easily-identifiable chunks. Think of things like fixing a car or programming a piece of software. As the system with which are interacting with gets larger, we are more prone to error, or, when there are non-inanimate objects involved, like humans, we incorporate other methods of gathering information, like inductive logic, heuristics and pattern-recognition, memory, and sympathy. There comes a point, I don’t know where, where any conclusions we can come up with are really blind guesses, which is where our tribal mental firmware comes heavily into play. The wiser ones among us don’t hold strongly to such conclusions.

Forget about being able to “prove” conclusions to others; you first have to satisfy your own standards. You may be fulfilling a philosophical due diligence in a certain belief, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s your pure intelligence or reasoning skills that lead you to your beliefs—we can thank the last 500 years of Western philosophy for beating that idea into our heads. There’s plenty of other factors that have nothing do to with hard evidence.

I sense I’m going to be mentioning a lot of this idea in the near future, so this is just the beginning of something I’m going to get really obnoxious about.

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As always, Ed has good analysis here and here. From the first link:

A critical element in Trump’s election victory was how the mainstream media was totally blindsided by the Internet. Have you noticed how the old media still acts as if the Internet was some kind of extension of the print-based world they dominated? They have no clue: virtual space shares little with meat space. While most of the people who use the Network do it instinctively, it’s not so very hard to become conscious of it’s vastly different nature. The old media still assumes they can somehow build walls around media and create an artificial shortage of news as a product. They are the only trustworthy source, of course. News is whatever they choose to tell you is newsworthy — except that news of that sort is not the same as data on the Internet. Information is free and it was the free exchanged of ideas in conflict with the mainstream media that enabled this political revolution.

It’s funny: 100% of mainstream media content creators are coastal. Do you would ever think they would give a fair shake to people in flyover country? There’s no incentive for them to do so. Middle America types, as normal human beings, can only be mocked for so long before dropping the gee-wilikers act and start seriously having a problem with it. This is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation on my end of anything that will happen, or has happened, as a reaction to being unfairly maligned; just an observation of basic human behavior. I’m not surprised of the blowback against elitism and coastal neo-liberalism. If you bother people who just want to be left alone enough, they eventually won’t give damn what names you call them or how much shame is heaped on them.

As Scott Adams is fond of saying, none of the candidates “align with my political views,” but I prefer some more than others. Trump’s nationalism is more in my favor, because nationalism tends towards being in the favor of that particular country’s citizens. The same with isolationism and fascism. At the opposite end is imperialism and globalism, which tend towards a significant strain in national resources and require lots of mass socialization for people to be sort of okay with it. I didn’t vote on principle and for practical reasons, but as it stands now I, materially, preferred Trump over Clinton.

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You Don’t Believe in the First Place

Interesting conversation between Scott Adams and Stefan, in the early minutes before they get into the politics.

I like Adams, but he’s inaccurate in the self-assessment of his childhood religious beliefs, which he describes at around the 1:20 mark. He didn’t necessarily decide to not believe. He didn’t believe in the first place because he had already decided that no non-natural force could intervene into the natural domain. A huge giveaway is Adams’ insistence that any god should find a “better way” to send a message. That may be true of some conceived gods to be subject to human’s epistemic frameworks, but the God of the Bible prefers to work however He wants.

Another inaccuracy: it’s not as though any ancient Jew—not even the writer of Jonah himself—didn’t think the Jonahic fish narrative wasn’t fantastical. People knew fish don’t normally swallow people, knew how food was digested, or knew that people need breathable air to live. The Jonahic narrative is out of the ordinary because God is out of the ordinary—infinitely so. If there weren’t a few weird events in a collection of books about God dealing in the natural domain, I’d be very suspicious.

But one very good assertion by Adams: humans operate very irrationally. Living “by reason and evidence” is impossible since we we’re not oriented to do so. Not at all. Our hardware can’t even handle the software download, much less the installation.

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Politics Is Not Rational

I don’t vote and I have little interest in politics, but Scott Adams’ latest post about the RNC convention held my interest:

Persuasion-wise, Trump’s family was the big story of the convention. People seem to love them in the same way the public loved the Kennedys. And notice how Donald Jr. and Eric both have the speaking cadence of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Notice also how Melania reminds you of Jackie Kennedy – quiet, smart, and classy. These are coincidences, but your irrational brain doesn’t care. It sees a new batch of Kennedys and wants to see more of them. That’s powerful election magic for a nation that only pretends to care about policies.

A week ago you compared ugly Donald Trump with ugly Hillary Clinton and declared them a visual tie. That matters because our visual “brain” generally wins against whatever part of the brain is pretending to be logical that day. But once we got a look at the entire Trump family, acting as a group, our visual brains started seeing them as a package deal. And when you compare the entire Trump family’s visual appeal to the entire Clinton family’s visual imagery it’s a massacre.

Would you prefer seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton decompose in front of your eyes for eight years, or watch the Trump family develop their dynasty? Entertainment-wise, that’s no contest. And people usually vote for entertainment over policy. They just don’t realize it. That’s the biggest news from the convention, and you won’t see it in any headline.

No one cares about policies since policy discussions are boring. We get excited when we identify with someone, and we feel safe, which serves one of our lizard brain’s prime directives. Politicians, the smart ones, know how to identify with people, even people who might hate their policies. For all of Trump’s offensiveness early on in the election cycle, he still got ahead because he, as a person, is rather likeable. At the very least he can convince you not to hate him. Throw in his attractive, successful, safe, “normal” family, through the medium of television, and you’ve got a shoe-in candidate.

Again: no one cares about policies because no one votes rationally. We’re wired to connect to others when we share a minimum level of identification with them, and we can identify strongly by what we see on the television. Which candidate, literally, looks better to you?

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Book Review: The Jaybird’s Nest and other stories

I finally got around to reading Jill Domschot’s The Jaybird’s Nest and other stories (disclaimer: Jill is an Internet acquaintance of mine and has been my editor in the past). The seems ordinary but the stories are not: they are mostly absurdist sci-fi and fantasy, and there’s plenty of humor, mostly subtle or satirical, in the vein of something by Ray Bradbury, or Scott Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, or a Guy Ritchie film, without all the profanity and bloodshed…or any musical film with a sci-fi element to it. I’d say, in that last example, it’s harder to not have humor in that genre—maybe it has to do with spontaneous singing and choreography that puts human (plus alien, maybe?) interactions in an absurd light by its nature? Just a guess.

But I think it’s harder to write humor, since the to “force” a humorous visual into a readers’ mind is much harder without a glowing screen to assist. Not to insert my own book in a review, but humor of technology or world-view, not necessarily slapstick, was something I tried to do with Pale Blue Scratch. I don’t think I really pulled it off well. I had to concentrate on the story and message more so; the humor of it all came a distant third in the priority list. It’s a noticeable deviation from my intent, but thankfully no one shares my mind so it’s not noticeable to anyone else.

4.5 stars. I would’ve given it 4 stars but the titular story is in second person and that’s hard to pull off well.

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Analogies Are Not Arguments

As always, I don’t bother much with the political aspect (although at times it’s entertaining), but Scott Adams has some interesting “duh” insight in “Let’s Talk About Hitler”:

As I have explained in this blog before, analogies are not part of reason. Sometimes things just remind you of other things. That’s the beginning and end of the story. So if your opinion of Trump, or any other candidate, rests on an analogy to Hitler, it would be fair to say you are not using rational thought.

Analogies are excellent tools for explaining a new situation for the first time. And sometimes analogies help you recognize situations that are potentially dangerous before you have all the facts. It is completely rational to use analogies in those two contexts. It is not rational to make a final decision based on an analogy.

Analogies, or comparison of similar patterns, are not arguments necessarily, because they could just represent a similarity in form. Analogy of form is not necessarily an analogy of meaning, but people (voters) are rarely in a mental state to create a distinction. I can pencil out a square on a piece of paper, and compare the figure to, say, a square building, to a certain extent. That doesn’t mean the building’s walls are made of graphite shavings and paper. They very well could be made of those things, but the building-as-drawn-square analogy doesn’t address that.

EDIT: Here, also from Adams’ blog, sort of off topic. The mammalian parts of the human brain are wondrous things:

My favorite part of the post-debate coverage on the news was when Megyn Kelly said Trump looked “presidential.” She went on to say he seemed like the type of guy you might want to go to dinner with. Now compare that to her recent rebuff of Michael Moore when he awkwardly invited her to have coffee on live TV. In the 3D world of persuasion, Kelly is responding to Trump’s power and dominance exactly as one would expect. Trump will win with women, even against Hillary Clinton.

Amazing. Trump insults her on live national television, among other places, and she (eventually) warms up to him in a social context. Niceguy Michael Moore offers Kelly a platonic meetup, to which Kelly ews about. Physically, Moore is 100% schlub, and Trump is nowhere near an Adonis, either—but this isn’t about looks at all. Sometimes I think we’re just cavemen who figured out electricity.

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Jay’s Guide For Jay on the 2016 Presidential Candidates

Ignore this post, since this is a “note to self” type of thing. These are based entirely on my (mis)perceptions, or on very one-sided conjectures of what other people may think.

Hillary Clinton – The queen bee female candidate. “Men and women are equal, but here’s how a woman would be better as president.” Benghazi emails. The strongest candidate on the Democrat side, because It’s Time For A Female President Since It’s Next On The List. She’ll lose some votes because she’s a woman, too, but people are generally familiar with her, which beats that factor out in many people’s minds.

Bernie Sanders – Appeals heavily to anyone who looks like they were in an iPhone commercial, but his message peaked too early. The Santa Claus act gets old, and he’ll burn out completely when some of his supporters find out the nuggets he’s pooping out aren’t made of gold. Wouldn’t win anyways, because old, white, male, career politicians are ultimately unrelatable (hi, Ron Paul!).

The other Democrats – Couldn’t even name them. Good luck.

Donald Trump – Doesn’t matter what his policies are, or who he insults. That people feel very, very outraged about him is irrelevant, because they are feeling something about him in the first place. His status is mythical already, because media folks have an increased clickbait article minimum for every election cycle, and he’s the primary target of their exaggerations and misquotes. He’s portrayed as a very, very outrageous person saying very, very outrageous things—bigoted, racist, sexist, worse than Hitler, probably urinates on religious texts and eats children. Has near-complete control of any room or conversation he’s in. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has a lot of interesting analysis on him. I find Trump a fascinating character, which means what he’s doing is working.

Jeb Bush – Always looks like he just wandered into the cool kids’ party while looking for a port-a-john.

Rand Paul – The hairpiece candidate. Ousted by Trump as the weirdo guy in the party, so his edge has been filed away. Won’t win by a long shot; an ersatz version of his dad.

The other Republicans – Ben Carson. Cruz? Christie? Some ex-CEO? I think a black guy? No idea who else is running. They won’t win because they are forgettable, especially when everyone is focused on Trump.

Gary Johnson – Seems okay as a person. Policy ideas aren’t terrible. Doesn’t take things too seriously (I thought this was funny), and the #FeelTheJohnson mock hashtag works in his favor. Won’t win because normal voters are scared to death of breaking from the herd—unless that breaking is paradoxically, “safely” fashionable. Libertarianism is cool these days, but not cool enough. Some jaded Republicans and potheads might vote for him then lie about it on social media, but very few people will openly voice support for someone the media ignores most of the time. To be ignored in a presidential race is synonymous with losing (see my comments about Trump), and we want to be on the team perceived to be winning.

Jill Stein – A short, forgettable name…literally. The grade school gym teacher probably passed over her name constantly whenever he did the clipboard roll call. She’s a lot like Johnson, but she’s easier on the eyes. Anyone who is reasonably attractive at an old age probably has superpowers. She’s female, so she has the novelty factor in her column. Won’t win for the same reasons Johnson and Clinton wouldn’t win.


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