David Stove has a posthumous essay, put out in book form: Whatâ€™s Wrong With Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment. There is a review at American Conservative (via A&LD). Jim Franklin, Stove’s literary executor and professor of math, told me this is a new essay, never before appearing elsewhere.
I’ll be reviewing the book/essay in about two weeks.
PMS Ad Angers Women
While I was reviewing over-used statistics, I came across a website that suggested that some women tend to become moody while suffering from PMS. The site said imbibing milk could relieve PMS symptoms, but that if men could not get their hands on any, they should memorize some helpful apologies that would get them out of trouble. Example: “I’m sorry for listening to what you said and not what you meant.”
Well, there was a backlash. The Daily Mail reports that “The California Milk Processor’s Board decided on Thursday to alter its campaign, which portrayed men as the victims of temperamental women.”
Some women’s tempers flared after suggesting that they become temperamental, so they demanded the website be altered. Now when somebody surfs to EverythingIDoIWrong.org, they will be redirected to another site which “will encourage discussion of the issue.”
A glass of milk will now contain 100% of the recommended dose of irony.
Criminals To Become Protected Class In San Francisco
“No more discriminating against felons! Rapists are people too!” These, or similar, are the new slogans by the enlightened members of the San Francisco government, which is proposing a brand new law to “make ex-cons and felons a protected class, along with existing categories of residents like African-Americans, people with disabilities and pregnant women.”
The law would make it a crime to ask potential employees if they ever killed or maimed anybody, or if they committed any other felony. Landlords would also be barred from inquiring whether prospective tenants were sex fiends or bad check passers.
Lost on the government is the logical feedback loop created by this law. If a business asks, “Did you kill” and is caught doing so, they have committed a crime, which according to this law, cannot be held against them. We must consider the possibility that the enlightened city council is trying to psyche San Francisco residents out.
The story reports on one Monique Love, “who served time five years ago on a drug offense. Clean and sober now, she says boxes on application forms asking about criminal history unfairly discriminate against her.” She neglected to say how considering her previous criminal was “unfair.”
The report: “Commission Director Teresa Sparks calls it a public safety issue.” No, not in that way. She meant that if you don’t give criminals houses and jobs, they are likely to commit more crimes. Sparks said, “”All we’re saying is get a chance to know” the ex-cons before judging them.
But, of course, this is not “all” she is saying. She demands a law enforcing her benevolent advice.
The Singularity is Far
Boing Boing has an article by David Linden, a neuroscientist who argues that our knowledge of the biology of the brain is not increasing very fast. He doubts that we’ll soon be equipped with Kurzweilian nanobots which will cause us to be able to access our iPhones remotely, etc.
Yes, we have now sequenced quite a few human genomes and, yes, the speed and cost of doing so are improving exponentially. The human genome sequence—and those of the rat, mouse, fly, zebrafish and rhesus monkey—are an invaluable tool for biologists. That said, while the fundamental insights that have emerged to date from the human genome sequence have been important, they have been far from revelatory…
That’s all useful information, but it doesn’t represent a game-changing, exponential transformation in our understanding of genetics. When the human genome sequence was finished, no one was able to look at it and say, “A-ha, now I can understand what makes us uniquely human,” or “A-ha, now I see how a fertilized egg becomes a newborn during the course of gestation.”
There have been massive, exponential increases in data but “most of the other key conceptual breakthroughs in this field, have come slowly, the result of stubbornly linear small science, and not of the huge technology-driven data sets that Kurzweil describes.”
Read the entire article; well worth your time.
It’s made better by some intelligent commentary (as is often found here). One, by somebody calling himself Brainspore:
I’ve noticed that most futurists (and doomsday prophets) seem to favor timetables which place the amazing world-changing events within their own lifetimes, especially when the prophets in question seem obsessed with their own mortality. Anyone know if there is a name for this kind of predictive bias?
It’s called Wishcasting.