Great quote from ready player two

November 27th, 2020

“My friend Kira always said that life is like an extremely difficult, horribly unbalanced videogame. When you’re born, you’re given a randomly generated character, with a randomly determined name, race, face, and social class. Your body is your avatar, and you spawn in a random geographic location, at a random moment in human history, surrounded by a random group of people, and then you have to try to survive for as long as you can. Sometimes the game might seem easy. Even fun. Other times it might be so difficult you want to give up and quit. But unfortunately, in this game you only get one life. When your body grows too hungry or thirsty or ill or injured or old, your health meter runs out and then it’s Game Over. Some people play the game for a hundred years without ever figuring out that it’s a game, or that there is a way to win it. To win the videogame of life you just have to try to make the experience of being forced to play it as pleasant as possible, for yourself, and for all of the other players you encounter in your travels. Kira says that if everyone played the game to win, it’d be a lot more fun for everyone. —Anorak’s Almanac, chapter 77, verses 11–20”
― Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two

Someone is not thinking this through

November 20th, 2020

So, over in Trump-land, despite having lost by 7+ million votes in the popular election, and many states in the electoral collage, Trump is trying to overturn those results so he can continue being dictator.

 

I guess first I’m curious about who the deplorables.. and I think that word really does fit .. who are okay with the fact that Fearless Leader clearly lost but is trying to cheat his way to a victory are. I know part of what’s going on there is that their news sources are lying to them – as they have been this entire time – and they still keep patting themselves on the back about how the ‘lamestream media’ is lying and Fearless Leader is telling the truth, despite all kinds of data to the contrary.

 

Beyond that, I’m curious what Trump thinks will happen if he does cheat himself to victory? Does he think the American people, who just voted him out rather decisively, will not use stronger means of persuasion if he decides to refuse to leave and order us all to yell “Heil Trump!”. I mean, we’ve seen recently – as Trump lied about Antifa – that many, many Americans are not okay with cops murdering citizens. I think Trump would discover that even more Americans are not okay with being led by a fascist dictator.

 

I also still have hope that at some point those who enabled this catastrophe will feel shame – and I would *like* to think that them as voted in the people who are currently supporting Trump in his attempt to subvert fair and free elections will be voted out, but I’ve come to accept that people on the right are about as smart as Charlie Brown expecting Lucy not to pull the football away. After all, they fell for the Laffer curve again. And they fell for WMDs. And they’ve fallen for many, many things. They still think money is the value, rather than a pointer to it, and they can’t understand why them Democrats “Stealing money from my wallet!” actually makes everyone including them richer because they can’t understand that wealth is about resource flows, not about money. So they probably won’t realize they elected someone with the morals of hitler combined with the IQ of Amazon Alexa. But maybe their children will.

 

Anyway, as I said, even if Trump manages to cheat his way past this defeat by invalidating the votes of hundreds of thousands of people, I don’t see the endgame working out well for him.

 

One problem.. (Good vs Evil)

October 26th, 2020

So, one thing the recent supreme court nomination and confirmation illustrates is the problem of good vs evil – evil doesn’t care about the rules. Evil doesn’t care about lying. If you’ve decided that you will have your way no matter what (as Mitch clearly has and no one has stopped him) you can do enormous damage to this world, and it does in general lack protections. In general I’ve come to suspect that the cops (who shoot random citizens and get told “Good job.”) are controlled by people I’d identify as far more evil than good. (While I grant you that Biden is definitely better than Trump, I’m still very saddened that he chose a prosecutor – by definition a force for evil – as a running mate. On the other paw, your choice here is between mildly tarnished and the devil himself, so it’s not hard for me to endorse the man on the left.)

Of course, a lot of the laws themselves are evil. Certainly the laws against immigration,  setting quotas, making it difficult, are evil. Certainly laws against acts that harm no one, or harm no one but the committee of the law, are evil. And I’d also have to say that laws that attempt to legislate a particular religious view of morality are evil.

Anyway, the question remains, how can not-evil possibly win if evil doesn’t care about the rules? For the most part, I think with superior numbers – and also I have to imagine that it’s a lot easier to look yourself in the mirror every morning if you’re not a crooked cheat.

The whole thing does make me think that in general man does not do well when saddling himself with government, and I think a big part of the problem here is that it’s not a great idea to let anyone who wants a lot of these jobs have them. Anyone who thinks they’re *worthy* to be a judge should be disqualified, and certainly anyone who thinks they should be president is the last person you’d want for the job. But, traditionally we let people choose their own employment. I don’t know what the solution is although I still suspect that judicious use of AI, and having us all agree to the programming of the AI, would work a lot better than having us directly rule. At least it would be less corruptable.

 

A problem with parable based religions

October 25th, 2020

So, I can’t remember if I’ve already talked about this or not, but one of the things I have been thinking about is how to build a neurological operating system that truly sets us free – enabling us to experience anything we want while also making sure that the necessary work for our bodies to stay fed etc gets done.

Anyway, part of the question is how would you load it? A ideal situation would be to let you load it just by reading a book, but this is really unlikely to work, and this underlines a big problem with Abrahamic religions.

The idea is that we’ll read these books and they will fundamentally change our behavior, but in reality, the part of our mind with the decision trees in it and the storyteller part of our mind are only peripherally connected. What’s worse, unbeknownst to us (or at least most of us), we may actually have *no* idea why we’re making the decisions we are.

I can’t seem to find a link for the article right now, but I remember reading a article about people who had a corpus collosumectamy and then had a sign placed in front of one eye saying “put on your coat”. They would then do so, and then when asked why, they would say they were cold. The storyteller part of our mind certianly has a lot of skill on confabulating to justify decisions that were made, but I don’t think it actually has much ability to interrogate the compiled decision trees and determine *why* decisions are made, It likely has a good idea which decisions *will* be made (although knowing the mecahnism for that would also be fascinating), however training the storyteller portion of someone’s brain in, say, a parable, will probably not change the decisions they make.

This explains quite handily all the Christians behaving awfully – for example, the bible repeatedly goes on about treating immigrants decently, but many of the religious right feel warmly smug about treating them horribly. (They also justify their actions with “well, they broke the law”. Unjust laws were meant to be broken, and unjust governments meant to be unseated. This is the only way we can see progress over the arc of human existence, and we do indeed see progress.

Anyway, leaving the politik aside for a second, it still seems clear by looking at religious adherents and how often they fail to live up to the precepts of their religions that loading a neurological operating system using stories simply does not work. As I said, I suspect this is because it’s affecting the wrong part of the brain.

 

Features a utopia should have

October 20th, 2020

(Note: I’m talking a *real* utopia. Something we’d need significant technological improvements to implement on earth)

  1. Ability to wear any body (animal, human, etc)
  2. Ability to ‘share’ a body with one or more other occupants
  3. Ability to ‘melt’ – temporarily crosswire memories and/or decision trees in various combinations with other people
  4. “Flexible time” – ability to stop time for a participant until another participant wanted to do something with them
  5. “Conditional virginity” – the ability to temporarily forget having experienced something so you could experience it for the first time again
  6. Of course, pretty much every activity on earth, available in unlimited amounts
  7. The ability to control individual neurons and clusters of neurons, complete with a scripting language
  8. Ability to ‘matrix learn’ i.e. temporarily assign master knowledge for things you don’t want to have the long slow agonizing experience of learning. (Of course, it might not be possible to make the skill *yours* without learning it the slow way)
  9. Ability to learn the slow way, and to save having learned the slow way in different banks so you can develop multiple personalities, multiple musician styles, etc
  10. Lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. (Well, art in general. Music, video, kinesthetic, worlds you can visit)
  11. Unlimited budget, but protections against doing stupid things. (One friend of mine suggests the ultimate resource to conserve is quota of memory storage, a la Lambda)
  12. Ability to experience any work of fiction (film, movie, video game) as a immersive environment. (The holodeck, basically)
  13. Help with the interface, which I think perforce is going to have to be somewhat complex
  14. Ability to create immersive worlds
  15. Computer systems that can synthesize new works of art based on existing ones
  16. No need to worry about money, food, or shelter
  17. Lots of dogs. Ideally with no leashes or need of them, and ideally with us having the ability to communicate cross-species or at least natively understand communications
  18. Not a lot of restrictions based on what other people think are good art. Restrictions or at least help when interfacing with other people so no one gets hurt. Restrictions on work with simulations pretty much only limited to preventing people from hurting themselves too badly
  19. Unlimited amount of time
  20. Free will to use all of the above to drive the adventures one wants to see

 

I may update this post as I think of more.

 

200 hours

October 16th, 2020

So, today makes 200 hours since Jul 27, when I installed a hour meter on the power bus for the mixer. I’m trying to get my 10,000 hours – my estimate is this makes 8700. 😉 I’ve also been doing a lot of exercises intended to increase my proficiency.

 

 

At the moment I’m doing on guitar:

*) major and minor scales, up and down in triads (1-2-3,2-3-4,3-4-5, and so on, then back down)

*) major and minor triads (1-3-5) up and down

*) various melodies – lately I’ve been doing carol of the bells, but I try to do a different one every week

*) all five root position chords, and C and E position bar chords

 

On piano:

*) major scales in every key, at least 8x

*) improvising on the major 12 bar blues in every key

 

Then, of course, I try to do a hour of various covers every day.

If anyone is curious, here is my guess for the 2020 presidential election

October 13th, 2020

The fraud of voter fraud

October 11th, 2020

So, for about a year, I was paid by a organization I am not going to name, at least yet, to examine California’s rolls for signs of voter fraud. What I found was a little bit of ‘noise’ – a few hundred cases.. a few thousand if you take the view of the Republicans that homeless and drug addicts should not be permitted to vote. I did not find any signs of massive voter fraud, nor did I really expect to. Nothing I saw came anywhere near possibly changing a election – but the voter fraud that the republicans are perpetrating right now in restricting access to mail in and drop off voting during election very well might enable their destructive and, frankly, evil brand to continue to hold onto power and use it to destroy our way of life in favor of more yachts for Betsy Devos and more power for the toddler Trump.

What this mostly tells me is that right now, we are seeing voter fraud. The republicans are committing it. By claiming (even though we all know it isn’t true) that there’s massive voter fraud in mail in voting, they are lying in order to suppress part of the vote and cheat on the upcoming election. This isn’t surprising – Republicans are the party of cheating, after all – but it is saddening. It says truly bad things about the state of our democratic republic that federal judges are encouraging voter suppression. It isn’t that shocking – I am sure they are enmeshed in the false reality pushed by the republican-held and controlled media (the true purveyors of fake news, as anyone who actually tries comparing reality with the statements of the media can fairly quickly figure out)

It is sad that the republican-affiliated citizenry, rather than trying to stop their runaway representatives that are willing to cheat to win, is cheering on the cheating. They know, for example, that Mitch did not permit a supreme court justice pick by Obama to go through because it was too close to a election, and yet they are cheering on the frantic (and COVID-spreading) attempts to wedge the current justice pick just *days* before the election.

This is not a matter of preference in the same way windows vs unix or Yankees vs Red Sox is – this is actively a case of the people in power are doing massively destructive things and people are defending it. It’s not clear whether tehy’re defending it because they’re brainwashed by the lies being sent out, or they’re defending it because they don’t know how to *not* defend the people who are affiliated with their brand, or they’re defending it because they embrace evil and find it beautiful, or because they think that the 1% should be richer than they are and the rest of us poorer – but defend it they do.

Part of the problem with brand loyalty in politics and a two party system

October 6th, 2020

So, it has occured to me that the decision to politicize wearing PPE during a pandemic is impressively moronic. It also has occured to me that given that Trump is very likely a russian asset, it’s possible that Russia has been pushing the message of not masking to the US as a way to hurt the US.

On the other paw, long term, it might actually kind of help the US. I know plenty of conservatives who are smart enough to still wear PPE, so what it might be doing is weeding out the dumbest – one unfortunate thing about birth control is that it *encourages* the dumbest among us to be the most prevalent in the next generation – it’s kind of the opposite of evolution. Things like seeing who is dumb enough to buy the message that the media is lying to you and you should not wear a mask during a pandemic might actually act in a pro-evolutionary manner.

Anyway, this does kind of illustrate the problem with a two party system. People start building polarizing decisions around really stupid things. I realize this is very convenient in the case of the global warming debate – a few old guys get to get richer, then die before the rest of us have to face the consequences for their awful decision-making. Of course, in general that’s a problem that we have with the command and control axis on earth – the old folks who don’t have to suffer the consequences end up with the most power and making the most decisions. Then you add in a religion that teaches that as long as you have this one wacky belief it doesn’t matter what you do and you have a pretty good recipe for some pretty dystopian moments.

We need a new meta-law here..

October 6th, 2020

So, we have a representative government. One in which the Democrats in fact have a slight majority.

That said, Trump’s latest fake-survey-to-collect-money to his mailing list had a two-option question “Which do you identify as?” -> “American” or “Democrat”.

We need a new meta-law. This level of fragrantly failing to represent more than half the country in a representative republic should lead to the cuffs going on, and Trump hearing the cell door slam. Of course, he seems to be completely immune to prosecution for *any* crime and his followers seem to be completely immune to having any grip on actual reality – I suppose it will be interestingly ironic if inability to correct for brand loyalty is what leads to our species going extinct. Starting to look like a distinct possibility.

I do find it interesting that the republicans are fine with this, are actively cheering on the sledgehammers hitting our country. As long as they get rich, who cares how many die? who cares about the total destruction of America?

Whatever the opposite of patriots are, when measured for any *real* value of patriotism, these people are it.

(Interestingly, they’d say that patriots do of course destroy the environment, start wars, commit murder, lock children in cages, lie, cheat, steal.. and democrats are evil because oh no they’re going to take your money and use it to keep people from starving! they’re going to limit the amount of profiteering health care companies can do! in essence, they’re going to make people share..)

The biggest problem – mostly of the behavior of Mitch McEvil – is that once the political arena has sunk to a level, it doesn’t *come back* from that level. Future generations will be following Trump’s playbook, and Mitch’s – probably both on the left and right – to cheat and get billions of tax dollars stolen from us, the people, and given to the billionaires – and to get the insane special interests of religion and the religious pandered to.