The reality of the lizard people

One of the loonier and more wonderful conspiracy theories floating around the Internet is it many of the world’s elite are shapeshifting lizardoid extraterrestrials. This explainer seems to sum it up pretty well. When I first encountered this idea I was gobsmacked. How could anyone actually believe such a thing? And yet, apparently, many people… Continue reading The reality of the lizard people

A Century of Findings on Intellectual Precocity: some highlights

The paper From Terman to Today: A Century of Findings on Intellectual Precocity does a lot of mythbusting. The recently popular notion that IQ > 120 has little incremental utility is dead false. Even small differences in IQ predict significant differences in creative output and odds of having a top-tier income. Gifted children (and adults)… Continue reading A Century of Findings on Intellectual Precocity: some highlights

Survival mode

I spent 20 minutes under general anesthesia this morning, and had an odd memory afterwards. It was nothing serious – my first screening colonoscopy, things looked OK, come back in five years – but I hadn’t been under general anesthesia in 40 years (since having molars removed as a teen) and I was self-monitoring carefully.… Continue reading Survival mode

Sorry, Ansari: a praxeologist looks at the latest scandalette

This is an expanded version of a comment I left on Megan McArdle’s post Listen to the ‘Bad Feminists’ in which she muses on the “Grace”-vs.-Aziz-Ansari scandalette and wonders why younger women report feeling so powerless and used. It’s not complicated, Megan. You actually got most of it already, but I don’t think you quite… Continue reading Sorry, Ansari: a praxeologist looks at the latest scandalette

Against modesty, and for the Fischer set

Over at Slate Star Codex, I learned that Eliezer Yudkowsky is writing a book on, as Scott puts it, “low-hanging fruit vs. the argument from humility”. He’s examining the question of when we are, or can be, justified in believing we have spotted something important that the experts have missed. I read Eliezer’s first chapter,… Continue reading Against modesty, and for the Fischer set

Bravery and biology

I just read a very well-intentioned, heartwarming talk about girls who code that, sadly, I think, is missing the biological forest for the cultural trees. It’s this: Teach girls bravery, not perfection. Read it, It’s short I like the woman who voiced those thoughts in that way. Well, except for the part about growing up… Continue reading Bravery and biology

Love is the simplest thing

There’s an idea circulating that two people who want to be in romantic love can get there by performing a simple procedure that steps them through asking and answring 35 questions and ends with staring into each others’ eyes for 4 minutes. I don’t know if these reports are true or not. But I’m writing… Continue reading Love is the simplest thing

Cognitive disinhibition: not the whole story of genius

Here’s an interesting article with a stupid and misleading title on the role of what the author calls “cognitive disinhibition” – a fancy term for “allowing oneself to notice what others miss” – in enabling creative genius. While in many ways I could be a poster child for Simonton’s thesis (and I’ll get to those)… Continue reading Cognitive disinhibition: not the whole story of genius

Progress in small things, and learning to fly

Storm Pax hit my area today as we were just recovering, still a bit dazed and reeling, from Storm Nika. This brought me 14 inches of snow, and it brings you a tale of progress in small things and how odd the brain’s information-retrieval process can be.

How…does this even work?

Here is a curious fact. My wife Cathy is using Duolingo to learn German; she wants to be able to read sources on Iron Age and Viking costume in the original. Duolingo takes her through a lot of pronunciation drills. I’ve learned something by listening to her – which is that somehow, somewhere, I have… Continue reading How…does this even work?

Tackling subjectivity head on

In a response to my previous post, on Acausality and the Scientific Mind, a commenter said: “The computationalist position necessarily entails that subjectivity does not really exist, and what looks like subjectivity is a mere illusion without causal force.” There are, I’m sure, many vulgar and stupid versions of computationalism that have this as a… Continue reading Tackling subjectivity head on