800 hours

December 5th, 2022

hour meter showing 800 hours

Am I being too hard on Elon Musk?

December 1st, 2022

So, over the years my opinion of Elon has varied a number of times. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things in common, and there was definitely a week or so where I would have considered myself a muskrat and defended him. But increasingly I’ve been disappointed – both by the sense that he’s not as bright as I thought he was and by the sense that he’s a horrible human being and not someone who should be put in charge of decision making.

So, reasons I’m hard on Elon lately:

1) The hyperloop. It was never going to work. Anyone who’s worked with hard vacuum themselves would have already intuitively known why it wasn’t going to work. It underlines that Elon’s never actually gotten his hands dirty building stuff in the real world – I’m not even sure if he’s done any coding.

2) Taking the radar out of the tesla. If Elon were a little brighter, he’d recognize that while humans can navigate and operate vehicles without extra senses, we have a 100b neuron neocortex supervising our 8b or so visual cortex to make sure that common sense gets applied to the output. People have already died because the Tesla can’t tell grey semi from grey sky. Elon is willing to have people die to save a few bucks – and doesn’t seem to recognize that SDR will get cheaper and cheaper as it’s widely mass produced because it’s literally made out of sand – but every single human cannot possibly have a price tag placed on them and what their loss would cost us.

3) Having more children than he can possibly provide good entrainment signals for, despite the fact that he himself was abused. Clearly not interested in breaking the cycle of abuse.

4) Believing we need *more* humans, when we’re not clear on where we’re going to get the water and food and whatnot for the ones we have, and we’re not clear how to make earth not a dystopia for the ones we have

5) Increasingly I’ve come to suspect Elon is really good at selling how brilliant Elon is, but less good at actually making stuff work. He’s clearly abusive to the people he works with, and he’s also clearly *not* prioritizing a good outcome for humanity over stroking his own ego. He doesn’t care about ruining people’s lives, and is willing to hurt them – and fire them – for no particular good reason. He also fails to give good positive feedback for successes. Elon is a bad leader.

6) He doesn’t care about anyone but Elon. he didn’t have any kind of worldwide vote before filling the sky with his ISP, for example, and he’s not concerned about the impact on radio telescopes. He also hasn’t asked himself the question about whether it’s really a good thing for humanity for us to be reachable everywhere

7) He seems to surround himself with yes-men. This means he doesn’t get people telling him, for example, the hyperloop is not a good idea.

8) He overpromises and underdelivers. (He has that in common with Nicolai Tesla). I can point out everything from the vegas tunnel to the cybertruck.

9) He doesn’t do a good job of triaging, and he takes on more than he can do a good job at. Hm, me too.

On the other paw. No one is perfect. He’s done more to promote electric vehicle transition than anyone else I can name, and I think he deserves credit for that. TSLA made a car, but Elon contributed to making it sexy, and making it sell. If he doesn’t always knock it out of the park, well, at least he’s still swinging. And, I hope he doesn’t stop. There might be people that I would wish weren’t with us any more, but Elon is definitely not one of them. I wish he would grow – but I’m glad he’s here and hope he stays.

My final verdict is yes, I am too hard on Elon Musk. I should leave Facebook threads about him alone and stick to achieving my own goals. There’s nothing to be gained by tearing him down and there’s far, far worse people in the world if I want to criticize.

I am really glad I am not Elon. I would imagine he probably is really glad he is not me. I prefer to steer the ship from the rear of the pack – like Buckminster Fuller, I am a trim tab, a very small thing which makes enormous waves a long way away. He prefers to steer the ship from the front. But, one man’s heaven is another man’s hell, and it was ever thus.

Denatured alcohol – a clear case of money is more important than people

November 29th, 2022

So, I was watching Call The Midwife the other day and they had someone who was dying from being a broke alcoholic who was drinking methylated spirits – aka denatured alcohol. And I had a interesting realization – we do often see places where humanity chooses money over people’s lives – a recent example was Tesla removing the radar from self-driving EVs, increasing undoubtedly the number of people who will die so that Tesla can make slightly larger profits. And of course we get outraged in cases where this is done.. like the Ford Pinto.

But.. denatured alcohol is a clear case of us deciding killing people is acceptable if the alternative is threatening the government’s profit. There’s no reasonable reason for denaturing alcohol.. other than, it enables us to sell alcohol and know it will only be used for sterilization. The reason this matters is that there’s a huge tax on alcohol. We do the same thing with kerosene – we sell it for heating and aviation use untaxed and for road use taxed and we dye it and trust people to follow the rules based on the dye. We *could* do the same thing with ethanol, but we don’t – instead we risk killing people – *knowing* that people will die – and the government officials probably feel smugly satisfied about this solution.

Now, the government is well aware that broke addicts will buy denatured alcohol and be killed by it. It’s more important to them to not lose whatever tax dollars they would lose to people knowingly cheating by buying denatured alcohol than that those people live.

This isn’t surprising. The government has always acted as if there’s a fairly low price on human life. We accept our police murdering innocents, we accept the government executing innocents – in both cases possibly because there’s no alternative.. we accept the government not enforcing environmental safety regulations, we accept people destroying the water table with things like fracking – in general, the government puts a very low value on life. (We routinely commit mass murder so various corporations can make more profit). But denaturing alcohol demonstrates just how low – of course the government probably thinks it’s a feature, not a bug, that broke addicts are who gets killed off..

Sheer Covers Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

November 22nd, 2022

I have mixed feelings about this but I don’t think it’s going to get any better absent significant work that I don’t currently have time to put into it.

At the moment most of my studio time is being spent either working on Bruce’s album or songwriting for the followup album to BIS – but I do from time to time track a cover just to keep my recording skills fresh. This is the latest. This is definitely in my “Jam band” style.

http://sheer.us/stuff/2022/SheerCoversBobDylan-TangledUpInBlue.mp3

Another reason to be pro-abortion in case of rape

November 11th, 2022

So, we’d all like to pretend that humans have perfect free will and are always making conscious decisions about everything they do. Among other things it makes us feel better when we punish them for being bad. However, statistically speaking, a taste for rape *should* be baked into our genome as it is a evolutionary successful strategy. Most of us learn to overcome such things just as a puppy learns bite inhibition *however* if you want to have more rape (and incest!) in the future, one good way to make sure of it is to force mothers to bear the children that are the fruit of rape – some of those fathers may have never been exposed to the necessary socialization to learn bite inhibition, but others will be, for various hormonal or neural network shaped reasons, immune to it. See, that’s how evolution works. Aborting fetusi that are the results of rape and incest is lowering the odds that in the future those things will occur, because even though we like to pretend that we are entirely creatures of free will, in fact our decision making is colored a lot by the chemical soup wandering around in our blood. We’re loose confederations of subnets.

Just one more reason to be pro-choice, if anyone needed any. Also one more reason to not let the people who put religious beliefs in front of clearly observable science run the place. They will build a nightmare dystopia that even *they* don’t like – because evidence-based decision making really is the way to go.

Conflicting Interests

October 20th, 2022

So, I just learned that one of my best friends from high school has cancer – hopefully is beating it, but has been paralyzed. The awkward bit here is that she’s from the era before I pretty much eschewed all religion and is very religious. I’m already on record as saying from my point of view cancer is proof that we’re not the product of intelligent design as a intelligent designer would freeze mutations with something like a CRC-32 after the initial mitosis of the egg.

And, we haven’t talked in like ten years, so odds are she isn’t going to call me out of the blue. If she did, though, I would likely not mention that theory because the last thing I would want to do is take any energy away from her healing.

I hate that I’ve gotten old enough that friends are dying, getting cancer, etc. I know it’s a normal part of life – that indeed I myself will be dying in 30 or so years. After which persumably I’ll know the answer to whether there’s life after death – or I won’t. 😉

I wish there was something I could do for this particular one – I’ve sent messages of support to her and her partner (who is also a lifetime friend), but since I’m 3000 miles away it’s not like I can pop in to do baby-sitting for them. I guess if they need money I can send some of that. I hate the powerlessness as well.

There is the part of me that worries – and I think this underlines to what extent religion is a mental illness in me – that if I *had* believed this wouldn’t be happening.. possibly that I’m seeing a custom mix where my friend dies while she’s seeing a custom mix where everything is fine to punish me for not believing the right things. But on the other paw I also think that idea is absurd and not in any way compatible with anything other than evil being in charge of the universe.

Anyway, so, apparently if you’re fighting cancer, you get a pass on believing absurd things. I wish I could stop worrying about the situation.

Additional thought – I would ask the CEPT team at alt.callahans to do a CEPT, but the last time I did, the guy died. In addition, scientific research suggests remote prayer does nothing at all if the person doesn’t know, and makes things *worse* if they do. And, I don’t really believe in remote prayer doing anything useful anyway, other than making the person doing the praying feel better. (But then, see above bit about mental illness, I wonder, if I believed different things, would the results be different?)

Most Recent Road Trip

October 10th, 2022

Map showing stops in MN, IN, KY, MD, and return to Seattle

Entropy and human systems

September 28th, 2022

So, I’ve been doing some more thinking (partially because of reading Einstien’s Fridge, which I’d recommend as a great read) about entropy and human systems. Specifically human systems tend to get progressively more corrupt as they age and/or grow larger until eventually they collapse and new systems are created out of their ashes. This is also true of individual human bodies.. our bodies run well for 30 years or so and then various forms of aging start to win – a form of corruption, if you will. And then, obviously, we die. Again with the reset.

Life in general seems like, while it’s not violating the laws of thermodynamics, it’s doing something funny on the stage of ordering information. Of course great writers and musicians and actors and whatnot are all ordering information in their own uniquely recognizable ways, and therefore resisting the tendency of the universe to slowly remove all ordered all information and move towards a totally random – and energy-equal – state.

It does make me wonder if it would be possible to create a religion that would do the *opposite* of growing steadily more corrupt, and what would have to be written into it to make it do that?

Interesting thought to mull over.

The challenges of ego in tracking

September 11th, 2022

So, I’m in the studio this weekend tracking parts for a friend’s concept album – except I’m actually not. What I’m actually doing is providing scratch tracks to allow him to get the timing right, over which we will track better parts later. Which is fine with me. I was running into a weird ego thing where the AE is keeping my parts faded way down – which makes perfect sense, after all mistakes in them don’t even matter – but there was part of me that kept trying to convince me it was because of how much my vocals suck, which may also be a true criticism but I’m pretty sure is not why he’s doing it.

I think I’m on record before as saying that to be a really great musician you have to be able to not let your ego get in the way of the music. THis is definitely one of those moments – I mean, it’s a honor to be considered as a session musician and this is where I want to go and it has been a lot of fun. I’ll go back and track “real” parts with the guitars – for the drums and vocals we’re tracking at Orbit Audio because they have better mics and a better sounding room than I even want to try to have, then for all the line-in type stuff we’re tracking at Sheer Sound (my basement setup, which is still more advanced than most high end studios were in the 90s)

Anyway, I really hope we can get this album shipped without the band falling apart or the originator losing interest. It’s very prog rock and a nice change from my ordinary fare.

what-sea-shoulda-been.org

September 6th, 2022

Someone really needs to create a religion to be what Scientology *should* have been.

The assholes over at sea.org are well aware that we now have things like FMRIs but their idea of a major advance is to make their skin conductivity tester (e-meter) *digital*. Yah, that’s going to help a whole bunch. Seriously, can we get a religion that is

1) Based on only observable or derivable truths
2) Not written by old men wandering in the desert thousands of years ago
3) Designed to be positive to the lives and experiences of it’s users and everyone they come in contact with
4) Carefully designed so that it *never* ‘freezes’ like the bible has (i.e. gets modified in such a way as to become unmodifiable)
5) Is not inherently internally contradictory
6) Bonus points for being based on science
7) *Major* bonus points for accepting that some things are unknowable instead of pretending to know them because it was written by a bunch of lying old men who craved power
8) I’d like it if it promoted hedonism and encouraged solidarity and helping each other
9) I’d also like it a lot if it did not claim to be the one true way
10) Anti-war would be a big plus, especially if it laid out what war costs us, both in the sense of the destroyed resources and in the sense of the generational trauma that has to be healed
11) Bonus points if it smashes the patriarchy and builds a system of equality in its place
12) Bonus points if it smashes the idea children are property
13) Bonus points if it promotes the development of tasty synthetic meat and a transition to synthetic meat
14) It’d be nice if it promoted living within the means of the ecosystem we’re in, either by developing technologies that permit us to grow food more efficiently or by promoting a smaller population than we currently have
15) Would be *great* if it could include a long term search for a understanding of how to construct neurological software – how to literally edit the structure of our mind to do what we want it to do
16) Would also be awesome if it could include long term searches for cures to every known disease for every form of life that can be considered sentient

I’ll stop there for now. But Scientology.. you could have been so great, and you so aren’t. I mean, people have been writing religions for a loooong time. Clearly the bible is made up, clearly the book of mormon is made up, humans are storytellers. Can we get a better one, with baked into it perpetual improvement until it is freeing and empowering and encouraging of love and life?

(The list of things I find *not* freeing and empowering about Christianity, for example, is quite long)