How A.E. Housman Invented Englishness

“Housman insisted that the task of poetry was “to transfuse emotion—not to transmit thought”; it was to make your throat clench and your hair stand on end. The emotion his own poetry most often elicits is that of overwhelming sadness.”

What Intelligent Machines Need to Learn From the Neocortex

“These three fundamental attributes of the neocortex—learning by rewiring, sparse distributed representations, and sensorimotor integration—will be cornerstones of machine intelligence. Future thinking machines can ignore many aspects of biology, but not these three. Undoubtedly, there will be other discoveries about neurobiology that reveal other aspects of cognition that will need to be incorporated into such machines in the future, but we can get started with what we know today.”

you can’t fake it

“Tricks of evolution aside, I’m left to wonder: what makes people insecure? Why is the condition so common? An obvious culprit, if you’re in my position, is capitalism” …

SMH, the ancient religions answered these questions a long time ago. But modern atheists can’t get past the ‘wrongness’ of the literal interpretations of the texts to discover them.

If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it

from: June 16, 2017 at 12:27AM

Sunbathing in the Rain: Do we all need a little time to sit and think?

“A recent study by psychologists at the University of Virginia asked subjects to simply sit in a room and ‘just think’ for 6 to 15 minutes. In the room was a button allowing subjects to electrocute themselves if they wanted. The researchers found that the majority of subjects would rather electrocute themselves than just sit quietly and think.”

What Is Depression, Anyway?: The Synapse Hypothesis

from: June 13, 2017 at 05:50PM

How to apologize properly

from: June 13, 2017 at 05:39PM

The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

“Both religion and science, he observes, are ways of transcending our inherently fragile condition; they are versions of a ‘rebellion against human existence as it has been given’.

But religious tropes in the AI community are motivated by more than the rejection of vulnerability. They are also grounded in a view of history as an upward, goal-oriented progression.”

Michael Lewis and the Parable of the Fourth Cookie

“With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior.”

How a Single Gene Could Become a Volume Knob for Pain

from: June 7, 2017 at 01:12PM

Interesting Sociology

from: June 6, 2017 at 01:32PM

Human Interaction

from: June 4, 2017 at 07:12AM

The future of conservatism in an age of alienation: A long-read Q&A with Yuval Levin

“But I also think that we are now at a point—we have been for at least ten years—where the policy argument between left and right has become exhausted. Both the left and right in our politics are repeating old mantras and finishing old to-do lists. And they’ve lost sight of how they got there. That means that they’re not in touch with contemporary problems. I think the challenge for conservatives and Republicans now is a separate challenge in a sense—the challenge of diagnosis. They’re not well connected to the challenges that America has now and the strengths that America now has to deal with those challenges.”

Yuval Levin on Conservatism

from: June 3, 2017 at 11:59PM

The most important truth about hard work, and also reading, that you can find

from: June 2, 2017 at 05:14PM

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.”