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September 10, 2019

The first few weeks of school have flown by. Here's what I've been working on:

URCA project

I'm almost finished with an initial prototype of the GUI for the data generator. Here's a screenshot of the UI and some example output.

/media/olduvai-screenshot.png /media/excel-screenshot.png

After ironing out some bugs and figuring out how to cross-compile for Windows (and hopefully Mac OS X), we'll have some decisions to make:

Looking further forward: - What conclusions can we draw from this project that relate back to the initial proposal? What is a good way to present it?

Reading

I finished Yuval Noah Harari's Homo Deus.

Depressive capitalist realism

Is it dangerous to engage seriously with radical right-wing thinkers?

Can negativity improve brainstorming?

A Sad Fact of Life: It's Actually Smart to Be Mean Online

Don't Use These Free-Speech Arguments Ever Again

Cop Diary

As usual, the links I post here aren't endorsements, but I really liked this paragraph from Social science and the radical politics of not knowing:

Recognizing our incapacity to know things shouldn't be distressing or disempowering; it's humbling, liberating, relaxing, and empowering. It reminds you that the little ball of fat in your skull is actually a pretty faulty device and it's not really your job to figure out everything going on in the world. Nobody can do that, but a lot of people think they can (and should); if you think you have this responsibility, not only will it drive you crazy but, as I said, on net you will not actually be contributing or helping anything. Again, don't get me wrong, I think everyone has a lot to contribute—but not in the form of objective explanations of what is happening in the world. We have this ridiculous, faux-democratic notion that everyone is entitled to their own reading of what is happening, but this is wrong. We are all equal, but if anything, I would say we are all equally disentitled to our own readings of what is happening—we are disentitled by objective reality, which is ultimately chaos, and which does not allow any of us the privilege of knowing exactly what is happening or what is causing what. I think we can find a radically more true, honest, and ultimately connective/solidaristic community in the shared realization that I don't know, you don't know, but we both know we have each other in this moment. Crucially, you can adopt this attitude in good conscience as well, because it's nobody's moral or political burden—not even social scientists'—to save the world or a country or a people by pretending to have knowledge nobody can have

The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers

An interesting question is, because respectable intellectuals are often pretty smart and capable, why are they so fearful of outside intellectual projects, even if they are as evil as some fear? They are smart and capable intellectuals, so you'd think they would embrace some interesting challenge as an opportunity for productive contestation. Why don't they? Well, here's where the reality gets ugly. The reason respectable intellectuals so instinctively close ranks around the moral exclusion of NRx intellectuals is that currently working, respectable intellectuals privately know that the intellectual compromises they have made to secure their respectability and careers has rendered most of their life's work sadly and vulnerably low-quality.

High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas: The Race to Save the Cougar Ace

Are Politically Correct Students Better or Worse Students?

This: > Wake up early. > Show up. > Learn how to think. > Be genuine, but appear nice. > Use envy for motivation instead of destruction. > Do what you say you're going to do. > Ensure balance in every area of your life. > Confront repressed thoughts immediately. > Surround yourself with people who are better than you (but remember the thing about envy). > Work out every day. > Be good at what you do. > Make money doing what you love. > Have good friends. > Never settle.