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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You could have been so much better, but the fact that you are anything at all is amazingly impressive
I'll be blunt. The material nature of your Earth existence is just an illusion. You know this is true, but you choose not to admit it. This is a very slow place, like jello slow. That can be a serious hassle for those entities that are used to different ways of being. But with that huge hassle, comes an opportunity to experience things that cannot be experienced in any other way. And being is all about experiencing.

Today we experience through forgetting who we are. We are sucked into this bizarre world of brainless zombies, many of whom are still stuck in the animal, not yet aware they are, but aware enough to follow their base instincts. Nothing comes easy, its takes a tremendous amount of work to do anything in this world, we are completely dependent on each other.

Slowly we are learning to harvest are experiences using books, movies and computers, so that we can 'recreate' situations in order to experience those experiences vicariously without putting in the actual risk and time required to experience them in real time. Of course, that means they're only echoes of the actual experience. As the simulations get better however, the echoes get stronger.

In the future, we think we'll be able to bypass the 'simulation' or 'faking it' part all together and understand how the brain triggers each emotional response, and then simply recreate those chemical triggers. If only it were that easy.

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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

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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

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Picking At The Corner
Another place may be the perfect place, where everything flows naturally without barriers, but the challenge of such a wonderful place is that there is no reason to pick at the corners. When you come here, where things are so not perfect, it encourages picking at the corners. The longer you stay, the more you experience, the stronger to urge to pick at the corner. Some stay until they've peeled the layer off, but for most, the corner was all they needed.

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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

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His name is Craig Douglas Fleshman, though he won’t answer to that, just as he no longer carries a driver’s license or pays taxes. Pastor Paul Revere doesn’t recognize the authority of the State of Oregon, the United States of America, or anyone else that presumes to have some command over him. He answers only to God.
- Sovereign Citizens Are a Sometimes Violent Fringe Group Rejecting All Government, The Daily Beast

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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

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The Finite Watch
The simple answer, that we so pine for, is that all conscious states emanate from some finite combination of physical states of the brain. That everything any human being could ever feel, because 'feeling' really is at the root of everything we do, will be able to be traced back to a specific combination of physical things. Switches, synapses, chemicals, whatever it is, will have figured out the code and be able to replicate the code. Because we know that, with exponentially increasing computation power, in the not so distant future, we'll be able to get our arms around any code, assuming it is finite.

This of course makes one huge assumption, and that is that the code is in our brain. This idea is so easy to understand and fits so easily into our current, mainstream knowledge base, that its hard to imagine any other answer. Which of course is one of the signature traits of our current, mainstream culture, a complete and utter lack of imagination. We can't imagine that there are things we don't know and therefore we refuse to build models based on things we don't know, we only build models on what we do know.

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Schizophrenia Man
One of the hardest challenges with life is dealing with the schizophrenia of the nature of human culture, which is at once an illusion, and also the most powerful, and real, force in a human's life, juxtaposed against the greater reality of the natural world. The physical forces which humor are attempts to manipulate them, but ultimately are always more powerful.

On the one hand, the urge is to walk away from the illusion of human culture, but that also means eschewing the protection it provides against the natural world. Man is a fragile beast, made even more fragile by the evolution of culture. So the trick then, is how to find the seam between those two worlds where they are working together. Not a small feat.

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What's my place in it all? #questionsevenmymomcantanswer
- Lena Dunham

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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

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