Today, for the first time ever in my life, I used a soldering iron. Remarkably, I neither conflagrated my house nor inflicted horrible burns on sensitive portions of my anatomy. Cat and wife are looking visibly relieved at this. As well they might.
For decades – and I do mean decades – I’ve been saying that any environmentalist who is really serious about reducing fossil-fuel use and CO2 emission should be agitating to switch the power infrastructure to using nuclear plants for the baseload as fast as possible. But when the facts change, I change my mind. I… Continue reading Pave the rainforests!
I’ve just had an insight I find a bit disturbing. Though perhaps I shouldn’t. Occasionally I visit Scott Alexander’s excellent and thoughtful blog, Slate Star Codex. Today’s entry reminded me of Laurence Iannaccone’s research on Sacrifice and Stigma, which argues that onerous religious requirements are effective ways of building in-group trust because they are commitment… Continue reading Self-sacrifice as hacker-culture glue
One of the most unfortunate social behaviors of human beings is that in the presence of any dispute, they feel a strong need to choose a side. And then stick with it, even when their chosen side behaves very badly. I’m reminded of this with particular force in the aftermath of Ismaayil Brinsley’s revenge assassination… Continue reading The temptation to choose sides
Yesterday I realized, quite a few years after I should have, that I have never identified in public where I got the seed of the idea that I developed into the modern economic theory of open-source software – that is, how open-source “altruism” could be explained as an emergent result of selfish incentives felt by… Continue reading Open source theory is rooted in evolutionary psychology
A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying is worth a read. If you take nothing else from that article, believe this: wu-wei – effortlessness – is one of the secrets of effective truth-telling. It is an essential skill if you want to be a truly game-changing public advocate.
Step right up for my first SF sale, the lead story in Riding The Red Horse. That’s the Amazon link; it’s also available as DRM-free epub direct from Castalia. Also included, my nonfiction analysis of the effect of battlefield lasers on military airpower, a development likely to transform warfare in the coming century as radically… Continue reading “Riding the Red Horse” is out
The Great Beast, designed for converting large CVS repos, is now in full production. It hasn’t killed off any specimens in the wild yet (and I’ll explain why in a bit), but it’s doing spectacularly well on our test repositories. As a representative large example, the entire Emacs CVS history, 1985-2009, 113309 CVS commits, lifts… Continue reading Progress towards the extinction of CVS
Cathy and I passed our Level 6 test in kuntao last night. That’s the hybrid martial art we study, part traditional wing chun and part Philippine kali. The empty hand stuff is mostly wing chun, a South Chinese close-fighting style which … OK, if you don’t know much about martial arts just imagine the fights… Continue reading Another step on the martial path
The good folks from TekSyndicate showed up yesterday with a pile of parts and did final assembly of the Beast in my dining room. A&D regular John Bell remoted in last night to finish the setup. I’m actually blogging on it now as the last of my work environment transfers over from the old snark.… Continue reading The Great Beast is here!
Recently, in New York City, a man named Eric Garner was strangled to death on the street by police. It was all caught on video. It was a nightmare sequence that made me think of George Orwell’s description of the future in 1984: a boot stamping on a human face, forever. Eric Garner was black.… Continue reading Worse than racism
I’ve gotten questions from a couple of different quarters recently about my relationship to the the rationalist community around Less Wrong and related blogs. The one sentence answer is that I consider myself a fellow-traveler and ally of that culture, but not really part of it nor particularly wishing to be. The rest of this… Continue reading Me and Less Wrong