Saturday, January 17, 2009

We live in a giant space hologram

Sometimes I bookmark stuff here just because it's neat. No profundity:

According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.

If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.

New Scientist

Makes sense nature would use the most efficient method of data storage possible. It reminds me of Plato's discourse on intelligible forms versus their appearance: the design is more important than the tangible reality.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Introduction to Traditionalist thought: Plato, Schuon, Evola and The Prince of Wales

I am fascinated by movements that oppose modern society not in favor of another revolution, or redistribution of wealth and power, but a re-structuring. It's like re-designing a bad product. By changing the abstraction, you make the reality better.

To that end, I've posted An Introduction to Traditionalist Thought which is mostly a reading list but also a quick summary of this re-structuring movement.

Blogging at CORRUPT this week

CORRUPT has switched direction, so here's where I'm blogging this week:

I'll keep posting updates here to news stories, and keep linking things I write on other sites.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Punish male adulterers

A good idea:

Officials say two men in Iran have been stoned to death for adultery and murder, while another escaped death only by digging his way out of the hole where he was buried to face a similar fate, according to media reports.

In the practice, the men are buried up to their chests and people pelt them with stones until they die.

The group said the law calls for stones "large enough to cause pain, but no so large as to kill the victim immediately."


Stoning may be extreme, but homewreckers should pay!

More ways success determined in the womb

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England report that men with longer ring fingers, compared to their index fingers, tended to be more successful in the frantic high-frequency trading in the London financial district.

The length ratio between those two fingers is determined during the development of the fetus and the relatively longer ring finger indicates greater exposure to the male hormone androgen, the researchers noted.

Previous studies have found that such exposure can lead to increased confidence, risk preferences, search persistence, heightened vigilance and quickened reaction times.


But you can be anything you wanna be, honest. Just click your shoes three times and repeat the wish in your head, and the tooth fairy will take care of it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reality is far away from our pretense

Summary: idiot reporter sees video, and finally realizes that "out of sight out of mind" isn't practical, and that murder occurs. Still doesn't realize it happens whether she sees it or not, and that no one cares about her emotional reaction except other people similarly isolated from reality. Modern people are neurotic and delusional.

Four weeks ago I saw a murder on the internet.

I have not really felt the same since I saw the murder, so I am not going to describe things in great detail - even though it is the details in watching someone die that are the most awful, and fascinating, and that rattle you the most.

The footage is nearly seven minutes long. I stopped watching after 1.47. I felt physically different - very very high, in a bad way, as if I were going to pass out. I was also, with sudden irrationality, worried that the footage might in some way damage my computer, which I turned off, then unplugged, then covered with a cloth.

I don't want to overstate the whole thing, or be too dramatic. I had two subsequent nights during which getting to sleep was quite difficult, and I had to climb into my youngest child's bed and wrap myself right round her while pints of anxiety sat, like bad alcohol, in my guts.

The Times

Our whole society in denial of its own mortality cannot face the realities of life. And so when it rears its head, they retaliate with the kind of emotional drama you see above. What does it have to do with reality? Nothing. It's a shelter, shallow, delusional person bloviating.

Sadly, most people in our society think like this!

At least one full video was leaked to the internet, showing the murder of 48-year-old Sergei Yatzenko. He is seen laying prostrate in a wooded area when he is repeatedly struck in the face with a hammer held inside a plastic bag. The murderers then poke out Yatzenko's eyes with a screwdriver, and stab him with the screwdriver elsewhere. Yatzenko is then repeatedly struck with the hammer to ensure he's dead. The brutal attack lasts over 4 minutes, during which the victim lapses in and out of consciousness. The murderers walk back to their car, showing that the crime took place just a few feet away from the side of the road, right next to their parked car. They calmly discuss the murder, expressing mild amazement that the victim was still breathing after a screwdriver was plunged into his exposed brain. The suspects then wash their hands and the hammer in a puddle and with a water bottle, and begin to laugh.

The Stupidity of Crowds

Sociopaths. But they exist. It's why our ancestors were more cynical about the worth of any human being, and kicked out all useless people, depriving sociopaths of a place to hide and a crowd of clueless, needy people they could manipulate in order to get in power.

Genetics versus popular illusion

Popular illusion: we're all the same. Race is a social construct. Class is an accident of history. Gender does not influence thinking. Individuals all have the potential to be whatever they want to be.

Hard reality: we're all widely different. Race represents evolutionary plateaus. Class occurs because smarter people tend to prosper when they work. Gender influences outlook and intellect, and emotion is an intellectual process. Individuals are 80% determined by genetics and 20% by experience, which means that we cannot be whatever we want to be, but we can get slightly better than the last generation.

Exhibit A:

A survey of numerous African populations in Kenya and Cameroon found a striking amount of diversity in a gene responsible for sensing bitter tastes.

"If they have more genetic diversity, there's more variation in their ability to taste," says Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who presented the findings at a recent conference.

Europeans and Asians typically have only one of two forms of a gene called TAS2R38, which detects a bitter-tasting compound called PTC and similar chemicals in vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.


So race isn't a social construct, but it's a collection of genes, and the more "diverse" a group is the less it has evolved from its original environment in Africa.

Exhibit B:

New research published today will bring prenatal testing for autism significantly closer, prompting experts to call for a national debate about the consequences of screening for the disorder in the womb and allowing women to terminate babies with the condition.

The breakthrough study by Cambridge University's autism research centre has followed 235 children from birth to the age of eight. It found that high levels of testosterone in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women was linked to autistic traits, such as a lack of sociability and verbal skills, in their children by the time they are eight.

The Guardian

Angry, warlike moms produce kids who have single-minded focus. This is useful if you need to churn out a generation that will dispassionately kill your enemy.

Let's summarize...

Popular illusion: we are whoever we construe ourselves to be.

Hard reality: we are what nature makes us.

Democratic governments use punishment as revenue

The economy is in the toilet. So do yourself a favor and ease up on the accelerator.

That's the indirect message of a recent study by two economists, who found that when government revenues dry up, police write more speeding tickets. After analyzing 14 years of data in North Carolina, the pair found that for every 1 percent drop in government revenue, the number of traffic tickets issued per capita increases by 30 percent the following year.

Wagner said the study reinforced a theory held universally by economists: Incentives matter.

“If local governments are somehow involved in the revenue that gets generated, there's an incentive to get more revenue,” Wagner said.

The Charlotte Observer

It works like this: democratic governments cannot face unpopular truths.

So they create an illusion, take a vote, and are short the money to both do the job they're supposed to and put up with all the entitlements, bureaucracy, nepotism, etc.

So they invent a solution: blame someone else, and take money from them. Suddenly a mom 5 mph over the line becomes a "speeder," and we can make her pay for it.

As the budget gets tighter, departments stonewall on new acquisitions, which locks them up unless they can generate revenue. So back to that blamed group, from whom we take more money, and justify it with moral pretense. TA-DA!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"An unrealistic belief in equality"

It seems that whenever Israel responds to violent overtures from groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, leaders of the international community are quick to assign equal condemnation to Israelis and Palestinians regardless of whether one is legitimately acting in self-defense.

Whether it is due to a latent anti-Semitism, the desire to avoid inflaming fundamentalist Arab passions, or simply an unrealistic belief in equality, world leaders are focusing too much on buzzwords.

{ snip }

It does not make sense to demand one technologically or militarily superior belligerent to refrain from fighting to their full potential, simply because they are able to enact "disproportionate" damage on a weaker foe.


When someone first told me, "the only people crying for equality are those who can't keep up," I thought it was crass, cruel, primitive and horrible of them to say that.

Now I see it's true. Our society conspires to find this mythical "equality" and enforce it on all of us, but it only benefits those who cannot keep up.

It's insane to ask a combatant with more firepower to limit themselves in the name of fairness. They are fighting for survival. "Fairness" becomes some concept designed to salvage the unequal from the equal.

An unrealistic expectation of equality pervades all that we do here in Modernity, Inc., but it's starting to become clear how much it holds us back. How much money we could put into winners that we put into losers. How much time we waste. How much it exhausts us all when we should be enjoying life.

Maybe we should wage war on "equality," that delusional but flattering notion, instead.