« Thoughts on Thursday | HomePage | Hit and Run »

Friday, January 04, 20081199454062

Open Thread XI

What am I ignoring that, if I considered, would make me smarter?

07:41 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (33) | Tags: open thread

Comments

While being smarter is great - I believe wiser is a better choice.

Posted by: MMM | Friday, January 04, 2008

I visit Wikipedia once a day and read at a minimum the 'featured article.' I don't know if it makes me smarter (not going to engage in a discussion on intelligence with you) but it adds to the pool of knowledge I carry around with me in the gray cells. This is actually a habit I carry with me from childhood, when I'd flip through encyclopedias just for fun. Yes, I'm half a nerd . . .

. . . and no, you don't want to play me in trivial pursuit.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, January 04, 2008

Well, the History Channel's Gangland series just ran a show on Cabrini-Green housing projects, which featured your favorite folks, the Black Gangster Disciples!

Posted by: Steve French | Friday, January 04, 2008

The anglosphere fans on here should be interested in this. . .

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=P2M4QI0RQYRVDQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/opinion/2007/12/29/do2902.xml&posted=true&_requestid=144001

Posted by: Michael | Friday, January 04, 2008

MMM,

Well said.

Steve,

Haven't you heard, they're the Growth & Development Nation [1] now! ;-)

Michael,

The British Empire was the greatest System Administration force in history. It's right they still have a role.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Hoover

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, January 04, 2008

Hmm...just a thought--regarding both the Anglosphere article and the wikipedia gang entries--what're the chances that one day these gangs might evolve into "respectable" fraternal organizations?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraternal_organization

Posted by: Jayson | Friday, January 04, 2008

Actually, my big response to that article was to question the assertion that Britain has to choose between the Anglosphere and Europe.

The arguments for the UK belonging to the Anglosphere are self-evident, but it also has ties to Europe through economics and geography. To put it somewhat poetically, it can burn itself out shuttling back and forth between the two, or it can stand steady as a bridge connecting the two.

Before getting TOO excited about Britain's sysadmin expertise, though, read up about their railroad problems. Here's a place to start:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/graham_stewart/article3134344.ece
They may not have a mess like New Orleans on their hands (yet), but they've a lesson or two to relearn same as us.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, January 04, 2008

@Michael, I'd be willing to bet that most of the commenters here would be devilish adversaries in Trivial Pursuit.

As for Britain choosing between the Anglosphere and Europe, the choice will be made at the individual level. What's interesting is what will the effect of the growing use of English in Europe as the common language. I think it can go both ways. The 'Anglospere' nations share more than just a language, there is a common system and culture. Even India has a civil society that is British-based. This is not as true in Europe. What a common language does, though is spread the transference of ideas. I personally think that the internet has created new part of the Anglosphere (and is doing the same for the Hispanosphere, but not to like degree).

So, as more Europeans speak English (beyond just the elite), will this lead toward a movement toward the Anglosphere or will, say, Britain move away? Tyler Cowen (of marginal revolution) seems to think that Europe will grow to become more like the U.S. in many ways. Even if this does happen, will the old core (US-UK-Aus) still maintain there special relationship?

Posted by: elambend | Saturday, January 05, 2008

"The Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxogo0sMFBM

This is just the intro to this Discovery Channel show. By any chance, has anyone here seen this? I missed it when it was first broadcast.

Posted by: Jayson | Sunday, January 06, 2008

The full nature of colonialism and its effects on Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Central Asia, etc. That means reading a few respected Marxists now and then and (while fiddling out the serious amounts of bluster and hyperbole) actually considering their arguments as well as those of native scholars in those lands who often dare to challenge the status quo arguments and beliefs of all sides.

Such learning would do well to better inform your Sys Admin concept. Barnett would do well to do so, as would I and far many other peoples. It kind of goes back to Curzon's point a year or two ago though about the need to know other languages; often what is only available in English is but a tinge of what's really out there. Perhaps translation technology will help this along.

Taken together with a more "on the ground" knowledge that was able to differentiate between cultural, religious, economic and political trends and values, one would be far more intelligent in examining different parts of the world and the various opportunities and challenges there.

Posted by: Eddie | Sunday, January 06, 2008

Jayson,

Such a transition would be helped out immensely if we end our destructive and misguided war on drugs.

PS: Amazing trailer! Interesting to see eugenics actually spoken of in terms of supermen, as well.

Michael,

Britain's never recovered from the World Wars.

Neither has Africa nor the Islamic world.

elambend,

The rise of English is one of the greatest humanitarian triumphs of the past few centuries. Let's hope it continues.

Eddie,

In "Farewell to Alms" [1], argues living standards are now worse in parts of Africa because European interventions... that reduced violence and improved medical care. I buy it.

Cutting SysAdmin work short sucks. That's why a Sysadmin Industrial Complex [2] is so important.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/08/07/what-if-group-ancestry-matters.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/07/07/describing-the-military-industrial-sysadmin-complex-how-we-w.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, January 06, 2008

Wait a sec, Dan--you're referring to the possibility of today's gangs becoming something of the fraternal organizations of yesteryear, right?

At times, whenever I read of these gangs, I'm amazed at the manpower and "capital" these groups seem to command. It's a pity they can't make themselves out to be a positive force (although the "smarter" among them have made at least small-scale or nominal attempts--even if for no other reason than for *propaganda* purposes).

But--there is the "leopard-spot" question; many of these folks (especially their leaders) are just... well, bad people. Amoral psychopaths who enjoy exercising their egos and dominations over others. If drugs were legalized, they just might get into other kinds of criminal activities.

As for that Discovery program, did you note the reference to German prodigy Rudiger Gamm, briefly mentioned here several months ago? It appears that the story behind his ability might be at least a bit more complicated than I'd been led to believe.

BTW, shouldn't some DARPA geeks be looking into this? I mean, I suppose that, say, cold-temperature endurance or remarkable calculating ability *might* give *some* sort of military advantage, but who knows? Would make one heck of an idea for a... screenplay or something....

Hmm...now if I actually had *any* sort of fiction-writing talent, I'd try write a story that would combine the immediate above with the first item. Yes, yes, I can see it now--DARPA mad scientist find some way to convey "superhuman" abilities on military personnel who later go on to leave the military and join inner-city gangs, taking them over and making them worse. Or something like that. Sounds kinda like something John Robb would take notice of, don't it? (I recall this disturbing news clip he posted to his GG blog several months ago...)

Well, anyway, just a thought...

Posted by: Jayson | Monday, January 07, 2008

Here's another item to toss your way:

"Mind Games: Jim Warner and Fellow POWs Played for Big Stakes in North Vietnamese Prisons"
By R. R. Keene with Dick Camp
http://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/article_Jan08_MindGames.asp

By way of this 1/3/08 post by James M. Kushiner on the "Mere Comments" blog:
"Endless Mindgames"
http://merecomments.typepad.com/merecomments/2008/01/endless-mindgam.html

Take care to also follow the discussion below the blog post.

Posted by: Jayson | Monday, January 07, 2008

Jayson,

"Wait a sec, Dan--you're referring to the possibility of today's gangs becoming something of the fraternal organizations of yesteryear, right?"

Yes.

"At times, whenever I read of these gangs, I'm amazed at the manpower and "capital" these groups seem to command. It's a pity they can't make themselves out to be a positive force (although the "smarter" among them have made at least small-scale or nominal attempts--even if for no other reason than for *propaganda* purposes)."

They cannot because they are not part of the aboveground economy. Microsoft and Philip Morris are good companies not because the products they make are better than substitutes available on the market, but because they participate in a free/aboveground market system.

"Amoral psychopaths who enjoy exercising their egos and dominations over others. "

That's a pretty good description of a typical Fortune 500 company.

"If drugs were legalized, they just might get into other kinds of criminal activities."

Such as?

And couldn't the same argument have been used to maintain prohibition of alcohol?

"As for that Discovery program, did you note the reference to German prodigy Rudiger Gamm, briefly mentioned here several months ago? It appears that the story behind his ability might be at least a bit more complicated than I'd been led to believe."

It's an interesting area that I'm just beginning to understand.

"BTW, shouldn't some DARPA geeks be looking into this? I mean, I suppose that, say, cold-temperature endurance or remarkable calculating ability *might* give *some* sort of military advantage, but who knows? Would make one heck of an idea for a... screenplay or something...."

I think that would require a retrovirus to change the DNA of the warfighter, at least in the short term... Reminds me of a book [1]...

(Thanks always for the open thread links! ;-) )

[1] http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/5463.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, January 07, 2008

The Christian Science Monitor did a series on the faiths of the Presidential Candidates. Here's the profile of Kucinich

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1231/p01s02-uspo.html

One paragraph describes him as the sort of politician who knows everyone in his district. That may be his big weakness as a potential President; he can't know everyone in his new district (the entire country, if not the world) so his normal approach to thinking about things is starved of data. Until he learns new ways of approaching policy problems, he'll be better off in his current office.

He might make for an interesting Speaker of the House, though. Couldn't do worse than Pelosi.

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"But--there is the "leopard-spot" question; many of these folks (especially their leaders) are just... well, bad people. Amoral psychopaths who enjoy exercising their egos and dominations over others. If drugs were legalized, they just might get into other kinds of criminal activities."

Yes and no. What happens after the psychopaths are dead or rotting in jail, drug legalisation has yanked the incentives towards crime, and the remaining members find themselves getting older and forced to change their perspective on things by life?

Posted by: Michael | Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The blurb about Kucinich reminds me of the old SNL skit on Carter, where he hosts a call-in show from the Oval Office and helps debug a letter-sorting machine for a postal worker.

Re: psycopaths, about 10% of the population appears to make decisions without any measurable impact from empathy. The vast majority manage to live this way quite well without resorting to violent crime.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Is anybody else having problems with the TDAXP Atom Feed?

Dan: is there a an RSS feed for the site?

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Friday, January 11, 2008

PurpleSlog,

What problem are you having? I can escalate it to blogspirit support.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, January 11, 2008

I use MyYahoo as my reader. It doesn't seem to be able to parse out entries from TDAXP site anymore.

Is there an RSS version of your feed?

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Friday, January 11, 2008

PS,

Weird! I'll let you know what happens.

I think blogspirit only uses atom :-(

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm using the Google Homepage, and using http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/atom.xml

It seems to be working fine.

Posted by: Steve French | Friday, January 11, 2008

Dan, I finally finished reading Devlin's THE MATH INSTINCT; I'm not sure if it would be interesting to you or not.

It's kind of two books mushed together. The first is a survey of how different species are hardwired to do specific types of mathematical operations. The second draws from SOME of the first to look at why some people do better at math than others. More specifically, why people who can do complex arithmatic just fine in their day-to-day business can't do math on paper to save their lives. Apparently, the problem is that mathematics beyond a certain level of abstraction relies as much or more on the language centers of the brain as the calculations centers.

This can confuse the brain into seeing patterns that aren't there and adds the challenges of learning different languages to the mix (suggestion: Let Fei teach your kids math, the Chinese number names are more rational than ourse.). The Arabic number system further adds problems as its very power makes it more mind-numbing and repetitive (Don't believe me? Which addition is simpler: 81 and 19 or CXXX1 and XIX?).

It seems aimed primarily at adults who think they're bad at math, but I suspect a clever teacher could probably work up an improved basic math program based on its insights. This help, or should I skim through the book again and re-write this?

Posted by: Michael | Sunday, January 13, 2008

Michael,

Fascinating!

It reminds me of visual recognition, where infants and animals seem to use some form of instinct to do the work, while children and adults clearly are using working memory in the tasks.

My guess is numeracy is the same way -- infants and animals have a powerful set of instincts that help them get by, but logically manipulating numbers require what we have and they don't.

The intersection of language and counting is interesting... Just try to get through "decimal superbase" [1] without a headache (I couldn't!).

Steve,

Thansk for the input!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_superbase

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, January 13, 2008

Here's blogspirit support on the feed problem:

Hello,

We don't have any mistakes on your feeds, you can check them on this url with forefox to test them :
http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/index.rss
http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/atom.xml

Regards,
blogspirit Team

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, January 14, 2008

Thanks.

The .rss works!

I always had used the atom.xml prior to this.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Monday, January 14, 2008

Hmm...I spoke to soon. The MyYahoo reader can parse it some what, but the earliest it can parse is the Amendment9 post from a month ago.

It can't parse the atom.xml at all anymore.

Posted by: PurpleSlog | Monday, January 14, 2008

The link below possesses the latest evolution (no pun intended) in Evangelical gaming.

http://kotaku.com/345854/christian-animal-racing-hell

Trust me, you can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aaron,

(Relating to a point on Open Thread X [1]...)

"Unrelatedly, Bush is the greatest President, ever."

?

Purpleslog,

The latest:

"Hello,

If the feed is broken again, tell us when it is, like that we can find the part that broke it.

Regards,
blogspirit Team"

Jeffrey,

Watch the last thirty seconds of the Tom Cruise video [1]. And keep in mind this is an official publication.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/11/05/open-thread-x.html
[2] http://gawker.com/5002216/we-are-the-way-to-happiness

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 17, 2008

re: "Bush ... greatest ..."

Just some of the reeducation I received on behalf of the TSA and Pentagon security staff after my invalid drivers' license faux pas.

If I write it on one blog per day, they will let me fly again.

Posted by: Aaron | Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yeah, I saw half of the video last night. I will watch the other half some time when I am out of class.

Posted by: Jeffrey James | Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aaron,

Considering my experience with USCIS, TSA has been the friendliest and most competent part of DHS I've deal with!

(Not that that is saying too much...)

Jeffrey,

The last 30 seconds are the best. ;-)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, January 17, 2008

Possible Solutions to emerging crises?

Anyone care to point out/discuss possible pros?/cons?/etc.?

Stimulating Ideas
By James D. Miller
http://tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=011508C

The 'Own-to-Rent' Solution?
By Doug Wilson
http://tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=121907A

Posted by: Jayson | Saturday, January 19, 2008

Post a comment