Monday, November 3, 2014

meliorism - the belief that the world can be made better by human effort

Just looked at how Google analyzes "meliorism"

this is a actually pretty interesting, it shows a decline in usage since pre World War II.  I guess some folks need reminding.  If we were to plot this per capita (Hey Google,  you need to do this), this would show a steep decline.  More on this later too. Believe in goodness!

dissentio - je ne suis pas d'accord - I disagree with the AGI crowd trying to scare us

dissentio - je ne suis pas d'accord - I disagree  with the AGI crowd trying to scare us

There's a crowd forming out there  trying to scare all of us that Artificial general intelligence (AGI)  will get so smart that its going to squash us (humans).  Where does this crowd get these ideas? How about 'AGI gets so smart' that it figures out some good things.  Just because some pathological mutations occur occasionally doesn't mean that everything that improves only improves to become malicious. More on this later.  This will be a frequent topic.

I'm into Meliorism  -- i happen to believe that progress is real (eventually) and that the world does improve (event though some  barbarians occasionally succeed in taking advantage of trusting folks)

I also believe that scientific and technological progress is real. and there is much that we can do to accelerate that progress ... to the benefit of us all.

Moving the Needle

Is moving the needle a tired cliche? As I keep reflecting on what's ahead, I also keep thinking on how we can all move the needle towards a better life and quality of life for all.  At least Seattle uses the phrase in their environmental agenda.

I think we need a clear and simple way to measure how people's lives get improved.  Some thoughts are:

  1. Increased amount of joyful time in life (in both relative and absolute terms)
  2. Decreased amount of total painful time in life  (in both relative and absolute terms)
  3. Decreased cost of food (as for example decreased real cost of 1 oz of protein)
  4. Decreased cost of housing
  5. Decreased cost of energy.
How do YOU think we should measure improvements?

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Yes ... I do like reading David Brin and Charlie Stross ... that's why they are on the blogroll or 'interesting stuff'.  Why? to make it easy for me to see what they're up to.

In any case,  Stross is turning 50  (really?)  ... and has an interesting note about Laundry Reality  --- or as he calls it ' The Curse of Laundry'.   Is it true?

and this is how he ends his piece  ...
 Do you hear me, reality? Do you hear me?
(Author screams quietly, then gets up and slowly backs away from the keyboard before turning and shuffling dispiritedly in the direction of the kitchen, and another mug of tea.)

NO! ... Don't stop ....

New Beginnings

So today I decided that its time for a new blog .... and was musing about appropriate names.  Its always good to start a new blog. Its like starting a new identity ....just see what happens.   Also, i decided  that I need to be much more informal.  I guess it comes with age ....

So how do you name a blog  .... well, depends what you want to accomplish ....and this one is really not about accomplishing anything in particular. Just a stream of consciousness  ...  So the first word is confessions ... Why confessions ... it sounded good.  Confessions are in.  Actually, not too long ago ( a few years? long is relative) I read The Confessions of St. Augustine.  I think I read it a long time ago, but then, I really didn't remember much and so, I think I REALLY read it  (as in studying what it said) only a few years ago.  And I was impressed.  This guy could easily have written it in the last few decades, except that is usually placed around between AD 397 and AD 398, so that's like 1600+ years ago.  And so I chose confessions.  [I am not a celebrity and there's nothing juicy going on, so if you're looking for that  ... it ain't here babe ...].

That I ? physicist' is part of existence [at least in this 4D slice of the universe], and so physicist had to go in the title. It could have been something else, but physicist is part of the story ... ?  stands for something like am or was or will be or had been or wanted to be --- So now I am looking for an adjective... So what should that adjective be?  I thought about 'reformed', but that wasn't quite it, and recovering has a certain appeal,  Miriam (Webster) offers this:

recovering adjective
: in a state in which you have stopped or are trying to stop a behavior (such as drinking alcohol or using drugs) that you have been doing for a long time and that is harmful to you
:  being in the process of overcoming a disorder or shortcoming <a recovering alcoholic> <a still-bookish recovering academic with a tendency to live in his head — Jon Spayde>

That last part sounds pretty interesting "recovering academic with a tendency to live in his head"
I might be doing some of that, or may have done some or a lot of that. I just never thought of  being a physicist and "being in the process of overcoming being a physicist" or  "being a physicist" as a disorder,  or "being a physicist" as a shortcoming.    Just goes to show that one has to expand one's horizons  .....

But this offers SO much promise, and so many openings, that  I am sticking with my recovering physicist shtick.

and that's the first blog entry  .... maybe there will be more  ...