Jay

Jay

  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    I don't think capitalism requires a democracy. In the Middle East, religious conservatism and laissez-faire capitalism have traditionally been allies, so it's pretty clear that democracy isn't required for capitalism. Having said that, capitalism does require reasonably secure property rights,...
  • Commented on Cover Reveal
    Just out of curiosity, what does "this machine kills demons" refer to?...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    Actually, that doesn't sound a whole lot different than contemporary America's levels of inequality. It might even be a bit more equal. Of course, our debtors don't get sold into slavery. Still, I'd believe 30-40% of the U.S. population could...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    I rather liked Dirk's idea that consciousness is God or a manifestation of God. If so, then God is surprisingly fond of reality TV. I guess that's just another take on theodicy....
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    You're right, but it's not a win for spirituality so much as it's a slam against string theory....
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    And the gods ... profoundly, debilitatingly far out on the autism spectrum Autistic people tend to really enjoy spinning things, and everything big in this universe rotates ......
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    Honestly, I've never been able to construct a meaning for life that I can't just as easily deconstruct. Still, you can get used to anything....
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    We don't know anything much about gods, but we know quite a bit about brains. It's become rather clear that our consciousnesses are based on processes happening within specific lumps of meat, each of which will someday go the way...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    The Inquisition and ISIL are both elements of their respective societies, and so is anyone within reach of their actions....
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    How would you distinguish such a thing from internal elements of a society interacting with each other?...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    This is why some of us technically regard ourselves as "igtheists", people who do not believe the word "God" is sufficiently well defined to permit a definite opinion on its existence or nonexistence. We usually go by "atheist", because it...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    We're seeing quite a few attempts to define spirituality, and they really don't agree all that much. Heck, Dirk posted two without realizing that the Platonist version ((a) in his post) is traditionally opposed to the nominalist version that emphasizes...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    Technically, we're a group of blind people explaining why sight is a poorly defined, unproven conjecture. But if we were actually blind, and you could actually see, it probably wouldn't be too hard to demonstrate your superior understanding. So feel...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    people tend to assume that they can opine knowledgeably on spirituality, without an adequate basis of knowledge! On the contrary, I find no reason to believe there is a meaningful "basis of knowledge" involved with "spirituality" (whatever that is). Your...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    What if the entrance to mastery of spirituality ... requires as much study and effort as, say, a Ph.D.--maybe 7 to 10 years? As I have a very finite number of decades, and most of them will necessarily involve...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    Remove the fear of getting caught and punished, and how would you behave? Remove the fear of gravity, and I'd jump out a lot more windows. What difference does it make?...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    As an atheist, my morals (to the extent that I have them) are simply a practical art of avoiding conflict with other humans. There's no particular need for divinity; the fact that I'm surrounded by seven billion other apes who...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    It's worth noting that the Kurdish population overlaps the borders between Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Iraqi Kurdistan was kept within Iraq, at least on paper, for fear of an independent Kurdistan setting off a regional war. An independent Kurdistan...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    I'm not sure what, beyond enlightened despotism, or a quasi-religious fervor, actually could deliver radical change in a modern setting. It's possible that the inherent complexity of our current level of technology is a major barrier to change. The...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    I think that by now, those who survive in the Western military establishment have bought in to the idea of capital intensive war. But, on land (naval war being a different matter), it still doesn't seem to work, at least...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    I see your point, but a good case could be made that, short of the kill-us-all-let-God-sort-us-out WWIII scenario, capital intensive warfare just doesn't work. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, you know the drill. If anything, it seems to me that capital intensive...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    Automation will take at least a century in the most optimistic scenario. Part of the problem is which jobs are being automated first; they tend to be jobs involving high levels of logical reasoning or quantitative skill, both of which...
  • Commented on A different cluetrain
    About 100 years ago, more or less, there was a school of thought that said capitalism is self-liquidating. Capital tends to accumulate in fewer and fewer hands. Eventually those hands manage to purchase political power, and from that point on...
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    Sorry. I meant about 37 C, or 95 F, wet bulb temperature. Mixed up my units....
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    Here is some energy use data for the U.S. in 2013, the most recent year available: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/ If you go there and take a look, you'll notice that average energy efficiency in the U.S. at present is just under 40%....
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    None of those technologies are certainly impossible (immortality may be, we don't know enough about brains to be sure), but on an engineering level they're damn implausible, especially in combination. OGH's essay, "High Frontier, Redux" on the right sidebar (under...
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    I have a stupid question: why would we need a planet? Vacations. All that habitat maintenance is incredibly tedious and stressful. Sometimes you need a week in a place where the atmosphere just works, no supervision needed....
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    Yes, it's true that the problem becomes a great deal easier if we have a remarkable assortment of magical technologies like coldsleep, terraforming, interstellar communications, immortality, apparently limitless batteries, redonkulous heat sinks, and whatever is accelerating all these toys. Most...
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    For soft science fiction, it's a genre convention to pretend the starship is much less impossible than it is. The author wants to tell a story about aliens or some such, so a starship of some sort is a necessity....
  • Commented on Space Robot Sad Trombone
    Quantum mechanics sets a minimum beam spread on a laser. For lasers with reasonable wavelengths and plausibly-sized apertures, the signal attenuation over interstellar distances is extreme. Of course, having a star in the background won't help; the difference in angle...
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