The Mastodon experience at one week

If you've been following the news, you know that Elon Musk bought Twitter, taking over control a couple of weeks ago and immediately making changes. Initially most of the discussion was about making people pay for verification checkmarks, which I couldn't care less about. But in recent days the discussion has reportedly widened to include … Continue reading The Mastodon experience at one week

It’s not looking good for objective collapse theories

As noted in the previous post, quantum mechanics is weird. If we try to have a realist understanding of what's happening, it forces bizarre choices about which aspects of common sense reality we throw under the buss. The central mystery is the wave function collapse. Quantum particles move like waves, mathematically described by the wave … Continue reading It’s not looking good for objective collapse theories

It pays to remember that reality is absurd

Last week the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Aton Zeilinger, for their work in testing quantum entanglement, essentially validating that quantum mechanics is correct about the phenomenon, and eliminating, or at least profoundly minimizing, any possible loopholes. https://twitter.com/NobelPrize/status/1577234271546200064 Of course this set off a lot of physicists … Continue reading It pays to remember that reality is absurd

Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Occam's razor

Jim Al-Khalili has an article at OpenMind attacking Occam's razor, at least in the form it's typically articulated, that the simplest explanation should be preferred. Al-Khalili correctly points out that there are a lot of problems with that version of the principle. Simply preferring the explanation we think is the simplest is often just favoring … Continue reading Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Why I’m enjoying The Rings of Power more than House of the Dragon

It's an interesting time for fantasy fans, with two major series airing at the same time. There have been a lot of comparisons between them, and speculation on which would "win". Of course, there's no particular reason to see these shows as competitors since a lot of people, like me, will watch both. They're similar … Continue reading Why I’m enjoying The Rings of Power more than House of the Dragon

The possibility of civilization collapsing and longtermism

This Kurzgesagt video is interesting. It discusses the possibility of civilization collapsing and how it might affect the long term fate of humanity. It's about 11 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W93XyXHI8Nw Kurzgesagt: Is Civilization on the Brink of Collapse? One of the things the video gets into is how we should think about our present day decisions, decisions … Continue reading The possibility of civilization collapsing and longtermism

The specificity problem

Picture of a lancelet

Henry Shevlin has an interesting paper from 2021 in Mind & Language that just went open access: Non-human consciousness and the specificity problem: A modest theoretical proposal. Shevlin discusses the problem of applying cognitive theories of consciousness, developed within the context of human psychology, to non-human systems, such as animals or artificial systems. For example, … Continue reading The specificity problem