The White Whale Laughs Last
“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
The only way really to understand your position and its worth is to understand the opposite. That doesn’t mean the crazy guy on the radio who is spewing hate, it means the decent human truths of all the people who feel the need to listen to that guy. You are connected to those people.
- Joss Whedon’s commencement address at Wesleyan University. (via Fresser)
Over the last few years, I’ve watched as teens have given up on controlling access to content. It’s too hard, too frustrating, and technology simply can’t fix the power issues. Instead, what they’ve been doing is focusing on controlling access to meaning. A comment might look like it means one thing, when in fact it means something quite different. By cloaking their accessible content, teens reclaim power over those who they know who are surveilling them.
- thoughts on Pew’s latest report: notable findings on race and privacy
What Tainter really means is that their explanations are not quantifiable, therefore not scientific, and therefore unworthy of further consideration. This is a most unfortunate mistake. Insight is insight regardless of whether or not it is quantifiable. If a scientific approach to societal decision-making always worked Robert McNamara’s faith in body count statistics should surely have resulted in a U.S. victory in Vietnam.
- Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies
He found that dominance by two or three firms “is not the exception in the United States, but increasingly the rule.” Consumers, easily misled by product labelling, often don’t even notice that products like sunglasses, pet food, or numerous others come from just a few giants. For example, while drugstores seem to offer unlimited choices in toothpaste, just two firms, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, control more than eighty per cent of the market (including seemingly independent brands like Tom’s of Maine).
- THE OLIGOPOLY PROBLEM - The New Yorker
So we could be entering a Dark Age right now, because most of us don’t experience a global Field anymore. We live in tiny personal fields. We can only connect socially with people whose little-f fields are similar to ours. When individual fields also start popping, psychic chaos will start to loom.

The scary possibility in the near future is not that we will see another radical break in the Field, but a permanent collapse of all fields, big and small.

The result will be a state of constant psychological warfare between the present and the future, where reality changes far too fast for either a global Field or a personal one to keep up. Where adaptation-by-specialization turns into a crazed, continuous reinvention of oneself for survival. Where the reinvention is sufficient to sustain existence financially, but not sufficient to maintain continuity of present-experience. Instrumental metaphors will persist while appreciative ones will collapse entirely.
- Welcome to the Future Nauseous
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.
So without a background in nanotechnology—or whatever other subject you might be reading about—an emotionally charged comment is going to trigger your brain to act far before a logical explanation of how something works. And emotionally charged comments are a troll’s weapon of choice.
- Trolls Are Ruining Science Journalism - The Smithsonian
Stick A Fork In The Road
As I sit in the airport and watch everyone on their laptops and cel phones, I wonder two things. One, is this how easily we are distracted and that we'd rather interface with machines then other humans? Are we losing that ability? Or is it that these machines are really crude 'external' representations of us wanting to be more connected, not just with each other, but with knowledge. Its crude mental telepathy. Its crude intelligence. Its crude knowledge.

The answer is, its both. As we expand our intelligence, we expand our technology and we need to be careful to use that technology as a tool to continue to expand, and not get too distracted by it. This is our path, for better or worse. The best path is that we move through this period and realize that this was a transition phase to more self realization as a civilization. Worst path is we completely get distracted by the technology and end up become slave to it.

My sense is, no matter how hairy it may get, the human in us will always prevail.
Both the Hopis and Mayans recognize that we are approaching the end of a World Age... In both cases, however, the Hopi and Mayan elders do not prophesy that everything will come to an end. Rather, this is a time of transition from one World Age into another.
- Mayan End Age 12-21-2012 heralds a New Age of spiritual enlightenment
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun
- Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A. vice president. - NY TImes
What is matter anyway? It is a number assigned to a type of object that has to do with how that object behaves in a gravitational field. In other words, it is just a rule.
- The Ultimate Destiny of the Nature of Matter is Something Very Familiar, Programmed Reality
You can’t believe what’s going on — teachers jumping on people, pushing and pulling and saying, ‘You should be able to do this by now.’ It has to do with their egos.
- How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, New York Times via Fresser
And particularly when you're human, you are more likely to die in the late morning -- around 11 a.m., specifically -- than at any other time during the day.
- You Are Most Likely to Die at 11 a.m., The Atlantic
Today we have people who think that they are wild and free and crazy because they are engaging in risky, insane, round-the-clock sex, using drugs, defying everything decent in society. But that’s not freedom, is it? That’s not even anarchy. What it is, is simple conformity. That’s all it really is.
- 5 Questions with Michael Savage, The Washington Times
This too shall pass. View the full archive.