WTF Modality

Finding weird stuff on Ebay is a hobby of mine, and my friends know me as a person who is good at sourcing the right thing for a project. So I get asked “where can I find X?” for many X. Sometimes I get stared at, like the time a guest mentioned that they wanted to make a kill jar for insect-collecting and I asked “how are those made?”  Apparently it’s a jar with a base layer of plaster of paris that you can pour ethyl acetate into, so the vapors release into the jar and kill insects without damaging them much. So I hopped up, went to the kitchen cabinet, and came up with a Weck jar, some hydrocal and a 500ml bottle of anyhdrous ether. What, don’t you have that sort of thing in your kitchen?

[Read more…]

He’s Got A Point!

In a humorous piece in the New Yorker, Andy Borowitz [ny] has Jared “The Kettle” Kushner dissing Kim “The Pot” Jong Un for being inexperienced at leadership and implying that he got his job through nepotism. It’s a funny piece, because the underlying point is important and interesting.

[Read more…]

The “Meh” Singularity

I encountered a singulatarian recently. And we had an interesting conversation, using mostly very old technology (called “language”) while he waxed poetic about the rapid increase of new technologies and how powerful they are. Now that I am becoming a grognard, I had to allow that I was less impressed. I did a version of this chart on a napkin, which I have since translated to powerpoint:

[Read more…]

Crèche and Burn

I’ve been amazed at all the tasteless christmas molded plastic landfill-in-waiting that are being deployed in the war on christmas. The “war on christmas” is the concerted attempt by people to make christmas look cheesy, silly, and degenerate, right? Or did I miss the “war on christmas” strategy meeting?

Caine posted a link to the hipster crèche, which is definitely a fine piece of work. It reminded me that it’s time to post my own offering…

[Read more…]

Causing Problems

I’m going to do a couple of postings about causality, because it seems to me that how humans experience causality is of paramount importance to a lot of ideas such as “free will”, responsibility, and knowledge.
Presenting a philosophical framework in which to defend these ideas, however, is beyond me – so I’m going to approach the discussion casually, and I’ll be less rigorous about terminology than I’d have to be if I were going to try to defend my thoughts against a full-on skeptical enquiry.

[Read more…]