Monday, September 27, 2010

Brains lie!

"Brains are survival engines, not truth detectors. If self-deception promotes fitness, the brain lies. Stops noticing— irrelevant things. Truth never matters. Only fitness. By now you don't experience the world as it exists at all. You experience a simulation built from assumptions. Shortcuts. Lies."

-Blindsight, Peter Watts









That and other videos that will keep you up at night wondering how your evil brain will screw you over next: http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/djs_lab/demos.html

Except the dinosaurs, all was snagged from the Blindsight book, linked above. Seriously, go read it. Amazing, brain-warping stuff. Very Matrix-what-just-happened-to-the-world-I-thought-I-was-living-in'y

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When did Darth Vader get so good at persuasion?

I called Jon Robert's shirt's bluff by demanding he offer me cookies. He called MY bluff by breaking out a (mostly) uneaten pack of golden Oreos.

Luckily I outsmarted him using the Homer Simpson strategy: http://bit.ly/bKxs36

p.s. The golden kind of Oreo? WAY better then the original. Quit tempting my soul, forbidden cookie!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alcatraz (3rd book), Brandon Sanderson

"Humans are funny things. From what I've seen, the more we agree with someone, the more we like listening to them. I've come up with a theory. I call it the macaroni and cheese philosophy of discourse.

I love macaroni and cheese. It's amazing. If they serve food in heaven, I'm certain mac and cheese graces each and every table. If someone wants to sit and talk to me about how good mac and cheese is, I'll talk to them for hours. However, if they want to talk about fish sticks, I generally stuff them in a cannon and launch them in the general direction of Norway.

That's the wrong reaction. I know what mac and cheese tastes like. Wouldn't it be more useful for me to talk to someone who likes something else? Maybe understanding what other people like about fish sticks could help me understand how they think.

A lot of the world doesn't think this way. In fact, a lot of people think that if they like mac and cheese rather than fish sticks, the best thing to do is ban fish sticks.

That would be a tragedy. If we let people do things like this, eventually we'd end up with only one thing to eat. And it probably wouldn't be mac and cheese or fish sticks. It'd probably be something that none of us likes to eat.

You want to be a better person? Go listen to someone you disagree with. Don't argue with them, just listen. It's remarkable what interesting things people will say if you take the time to not be a jerk."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Magicians, Lev Grossman

"If you find yourself becoming curious about the nature and origins of the magical powers you are slowly and very, very painfully cultivating, remember this famous anecdote about the English philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Russell once gave a public lecture on the structure of the universe. Afterward he was approached by a woman who told him that he was a very clever young man but much mistaken in his thinking, because everyone knew that the world was flat and sat on the back of a turtle.

When Russell asked her what the turtle was standing on, she replied, 'You're very clever, young man, very clever. But it's turtles all the way down!'"

Thursday, September 2, 2010