Simple math is why Elon Musk’s companies keep doing what others don’t even consider possible

Once, I said to him, “Dick, explain to me, so that I can understand it, why spin one-half particles obey Fermi-Dirac statistics.” Sizing up his audience perfectly, Feynman said, “I’ll prepare a freshman lecture on it.” But he came back a few days later to say, “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reduce it to the freshman level. That means we don’t really understand it.”

Terry Healey Cal Football (Pac-12) Motivational Talk

Terry Healey Cal Football (Pac-12) Motivational Talk

May 9, 2017 at 09:03AM

Will Hurd Is the Future of the GOP (If he can hold on to the toughest seat in Texas)

“Remember, everybody in Texas used to be Democrats,” he says. “The tug-of-war will be over the center. My hypothesis is that 80 percent of Americans are around the center—40 percent left of center, 40 percent right of center—and they’re all persuadable.” A minute later, Hurd adds, “I just don’t accept the premise that to win a primary you have to be the person furthest to the right.”

Three and a half degrees of separation

“We’ve crunched the Facebook friend graph and determined that the number is 3.57. Each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people. The average distance we observe is 4.57, corresponding to 3.57 intermediaries or “degrees of separation.” Within the US, people are connected to each other by an average of 3.46 degrees.”

The Pros and Cons of Liberty

“For many people, this raises the question of who will protect these natural rights. Although libertarian philosophers may rail against the state, most people (including quite a few libertarians) cannot see how these rights would be protected in the absence of a state. However, even if in theory a government ought to protect natural rights, a government in practice may discard the notion of natural rights, or it may alter Mack’s definition of natural rights beyond recognition.”

America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People

“The FTE (Finance/Technology/Electronics) citizens rarely visit the country where the other 80 percent of Americans live: the low-wage sector. Here, the world of possibility is shrinking, often dramatically. People are burdened with debt and anxious about their insecure jobs if they have a job at all. Many of them are getting sicker and dying younger than they used to. They get around by crumbling public transport and cars they have trouble paying for. Family life is uncertain here; people often don’t partner for the long-term even when they have children. If they go to college, they finance it by going heavily into debt. They are not thinking about the future; they are focused on surviving the present. The world in which they reside is very different from the one they were taught to believe in. While members of the first country act, these people are acted upon.”

What would people do if they had superpowers?

from: April 28, 2017 at 10:56PM

Best Book of the Year?

from: April 28, 2017 at 07:38PM

How to Tell a True Tale: Neil Gaiman on What Makes a Great Personal Story

from: April 26, 2017 at 11:56PM

Life on a Möbius Strip: The Greatest Moth Story Ever Told, About the Unlikely Paths That Lead Us Back to Ourselves

“I try to give him the essential data. I’m living in London Fields, and he tells me I’ve moved onto the block he lived on when he was nineteen and squatting in London. Out of the whole city of London. And he recognizes the names of all the locals I can rattle off. And by the end of the conversation he’s saying, “I’m coming with you back to London aren’t I?””

Why people prefer unequal societies

“Our own argument against a focus on inequality is a psychological one. In this paper we have outlined a wealth of empirical evidence suggesting that people don’t care about reducing inequality per se. Rather, people have an aversion toward unfairness, and under certain special circumstances this leads them to reject unequal distributions. In other conditions, including those involving real-world distributions of wealth, it leads them to favour unequal distributions. In the current economic environment in the United States and other wealthy nations, concerns about fairness happen to lead to a preference for reducing the current level of inequality. However, in various other societies across the world and across history (for example, when faced with the communist ideals of the former USSR), concerns about fairness lead to anger about too much equality. To understand these opposite drives, one needs to focus not on whether the system results in a relatively equal or unequal distribution of wealth, but whether it is viewed as fair.”

Should you feel sad about the demise of the handwritten letter?

“Temporal vagary is the final essential characteristic of the personal letter; with physicality, it sets the personal letter against digital messages. Correspondence presumes reply but not immediately. Punctual chasms allow emotions to clarify, deepen, resonate – Turkle celebrates time for reflection; Sankovitch finds ‘something wonderful about that interval’. The call of personal correspondence is not the Pavlovian, or Fordist, ping of an email or text, demanding immediate attention. Letter-writers are allowed a sensation of power over the narrative of their lives. Letter-writers can insist on their own – wasteful, unpredictable – clock. Just as a letter’s physical presence, then, resists the rationalisations of the public sphere, its temporal idiosyncrasies resist the efficiencies of capitalist production.”

Jesus Was Crucified. But Why?

“The belief that violence ”saves” is so successful because it doesn’t seem to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god. What people overlook, then, is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death. This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today.”

No Worship Without Skin in the Game

“So, in the Eastern Mediterranean pagan world (Greco-Semitic) no worship was done without sacrifice. The gods did not accept cheap talk. Also, burnt offerings were precisely burnt so no human would consume them.”

What if Barry Bonds had played without a baseball bat? | Chart Party

What if Barry Bonds had played without a baseball bat? | Chart Party

April 14, 2017 at 09:58AM

Fairness > equality

from: April 13, 2017 at 07:41AM

The Case Of The Suffocating Woman

from: April 6, 2017 at 05:18PM

Living and Loving Through Loss: Beautiful Letters of Consolation from Great Artists, Writers, and Scientists

from: March 26, 2017 at 07:35PM

Pleasure and the good life

from: March 26, 2017 at 04:38PM

How The ‘Scarcity Mindset’ Can Make Problems Worse

from: March 24, 2017 at 10:56PM