Our Helpless Forward Selves

I’ve been listening to Mark Spitznagel’s The Dao of Capital, which is three parts philosophy, two parts history, and one part investing advice, so if you’re into that sort of thing and don’t mind the same concept hammered home in a dozen different examples across multiple categories, you will love this book. In the chapter about the concept of “time preference,” he uses a striking turn of phrase when talking about the reality of our future selves and distant descendants.

Watch the Julian Assange Affair Very Closely

One of the most important subjects in the news right now is Julian Assange and what the United States government ends up doing with him. It will be very telling how his case gets handled. Does he just vanish into a prison cell forever? Or is he brought before a jury of his peers where the allegations against him are articulated in the light of day and he is allowed to defend himself?

The Slow Vindication of the Austrians

Followers of the Austrian economists (if you are at all sincere about understanding political economy you should at least get familiar with their arguments) frequently lament that the Keynesian social-democrat mainstream not only disagrees with them, but never even bothers to argue against them, treating them instead as if they were invisible or worse, attacking idiotic strawmen instead. But every once in a while I notice a truth, revealed long ago through reason by the Austrians, peeking through when a modern Keynesian happens to write about real world effects that seemed to him counter-intuitive.

Simplifying the Stack and IndieWeb Dogfooding

The zero people who visit this website may have noticed that the content has all gone poof, and the appearance has changed. This is because I have deleted it. It’s not gone forever, though. What I have done is eliminated my WordPress hosting with the fine folks at Dreamhost, and I instead will be maintaining the blog with a combination of simple text editors and the Hugo static site generator. It’s all served up with a combination of Github and AWS Amplify.

Humans Surprisingly Easy to Impress with Boring Recycled Arguments, if Arguments Come from a Magic Electronic Oracle

I liked Watson. The ability to discover patterns in huge amounts of raw data and report a highly-relevant response to a spoken query is a huge labor-saving advancement, especially for medical diagnostics. Natural language interaction with our data is going to make so many things easier for so many people. But the expectations swirling around IBM Debater are a little ridiculous. If you watch the embedded video, they are clearly expecting the machine to make original contributions to debates, and the hope is that people will take arguments from the computer and give those more weight because they are ostensibly dispassionate, objective opinions untainted by ulterior motives or emotion.