The White Whale Laughs Last

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“Movies are about telling the same lies over and over again,” Michael says at one point. “You know, good beats evil, things happen for a reason, attractive people are interesting.”
- Grand Theft Auto V Is a Return to the Comedy of Violence

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So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try and eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair.
- Antonin Artaud - General Security: The Liquidation Of Opium

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His essential claim is that there is no great gulf between nonliving, unconscious gizmos like computers and light switches, on the one hand, and the human brain, on the other. Our strong feeling that there’s something special and inexplicable about consciousness is largely an illusion. It will fade as science advances, like the illusion that the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. Biologists used to believe that living things are made of some special material, some elan vital that sets us apart from the stuff of rocks and minerals. Now that we know about DNA, we no longer need an elan vital. Someday we won’t need consciousness either. There’s no metaphysical difference between your body and your mind, or between your laptop and your necktop, so to speak.
- Is the Brain No Different From a Light Switch? The Uncomfortable Ideas of the Philosopher Daniel Dennett

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“life is a trap for logicians; it looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is. Its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait.”
- G. K. Chesterton

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A More Useful Way
"How do we know when we've switched dimensions?"

"Wrong way of looking at it. You don't switch dimensions. We're all in one sea of possibilities, there is no flow of time, there is no motion, those are only feelings, sensations. You could say illusions, but that makes them seem less real, they are very real indeed, it just depends on your perspective.

From another, larger perspective, nothing is moving, all that is happening is information is being processed. If you process information in one way, it feels like motion, it feels like time, if you process it another way, it doesn't."

"Are we living in a computer simulation then?"

"Hah. Wrong metaphor again, but an easy mistake to make. We always want to describe things in terms of other things we know. Sure, there are some parallels to a computer simulation, but remember, a computer is a very, very rudimentary information processing machine. Just because its the best thing we have available to us, certainly doesn't mean its the best at doing that. Its just a crude tool. In the same way that punch cards seem so simplistic to us now, so these machines will be laughable in the future. Beyond that though we can't even comprehend of the scale of how information can be processed and manipulated in realms we don't have access to.

So sorry, short answer, yes and no. It feels like a simulation, but I would argue that's not a useful way of looking at it. I'd start with, "things are not as they seem" and see where that gets you.

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A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon.
- Spider That Builds Its Own Spider Decoys Discovered, Wired.com

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This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.
- Are you living in a computer simulation - Nick Bostrom

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Back in the late 1960s, Peter Glaser proposed the idea of solar powered satellites (SPS), what he envisioned as space-based photovoltaics that could transfer energy wirelessly back down to Earth.
- How space-based solar power will solve all our energy needs, iO9

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The weird idea that the titans of investment banking are the smartest people on the planet continues to persist, even among people who ought to know better.
- Financiers Still Aren’t Rocket Scientists, Science Blogs

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Much like Pandora, Laffster’s algorithm is designed to learn what makes you laugh, whether that’s dripping sarcasm or slapstick comedy, and adjusts your personalized stream of content accordingly.
- App’s Humor Engine Learns What Makes You Laugh, Wired

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