4/01/2009

04-01-09 - Brain Vomit

Still sick but I think it's almost over. You can tell I'm home sick and bored out of my mind because I'm writing a ton of nonsense.

I want to go shopping here, but you have to fucking pay to park in the downtown shopping area. I'm not fucking paying to park just so that I can have the privilege of giving people my money. It's like if you had to pay $5 just to browse Amazon. (privilege and cartilage really mess me up). I don't understand how people think they can put up so many barriers to me spending money and still get it.

It's not surprising that Freeman Dyson has gone mad. Almost every great scientist does go mad in their old age (in fact the big surprise is the very rare case that they *don't*). Obviously all old people lose their grip on reality a bit, but geniuses and scientists seem to lose it more spectacularly. (a few just off the top of my head : Prigogine, Penrose, Pauling, I'm sure there are better examples).

Also Dyson's argument about global warming is just foolish. It's a sort of common left-brain physicist reaction to want to have all the information and completely understand all the causes & effects before you take action, but that's not always possible. With something complex like climate or politics, you may *never* get all the information, because the system keeps changing faster than you can measure it. The correct thing to do is consider the EV of the various possibilities :


P = probability that CO2 is causing warming and we need to do something about it

(when I say "warming is not happening" I mean it's not significantly caused by human actions or is not a problem,
obviously it is happening the only debate can be what's causing it and is it bad)

If we act :

EV(act) = P * EV( warming is happening and we act ) + (1-P) * EV( warming is not happening and we act )

If we don't act :

EV(don't act) = P * EV( warming is happening and we don't act ) + (1-P) * EV( warming is not happening and we don't act )


Let's put some sample numbers in to make this clearer :

EV( warming is not happening and we don't act ) is a no-op, so it's 0

EV( warming is not happening and we act ) is just the cost of acting for no reason, let's say it's -1.0

EV( warming is happening and we act ) is we do our best to stop warming, let's say it's -2.0

EV( warming is happening and we don't act ) is the disaster scenario, let's say it's -100.0

If we act :

EV(act) = P * ( -2 ) + (1-P) * ( -1 )

If we don't act :

EV(don't act) = P * ( -100 )

Equality at :

2P + (1-P) = 100*P

P = 1/99

So even if there's a 1% chance that warming is real, we're better off acting. The fact that we aren't sure of the cause & effects is somewhat irrelevant.

Surly Gourmand is a totally fucking awesome Seattle food blog. Holy crap I love this guy. I found it when searching for info about "Burning Beast" which I guess I missed but seems moderately rad. There's lots of funny little tidbits on Surly Gourmand, for example don't miss the comment at the end of this page . Ha! I like this this post too; hell it's all good, did I mention I love this guy? Here's a small taste of his well-salted genius :

Writing restaurant reviews is hard fucking work. �Cry me a river, asshole,� you might be thinking, and in a way you might be right, but in another, more accurate, way you'd be a dumbass.

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