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That’s a nice tnetennba

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 October 2014

Dave and I have been watching The IT Crowd, which is a really funny British comedy available on Netflix. It’s worth your time, but it can be a little crude.

Last night we saw the episode where Moss is on a game show called “Countdown” and claims “tnetennba” is a real word. It isn’t. Or at least it wasn’t. But it may be now. It comes down to what “word” means.

The tnetennba saga is rather strange. After the show, people started searching for “tnetennba” online, trying to find out if it’s a real word. That interest caused people to create pages and discussions about tnetennba. It’s now in the urban dictionary, and there are pages dedicated to deciding whether or not it’s a real word.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Drunk utilitarians

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 October 2014

This is pretty interesting. People become more utilitarian when they’re drunk.

The findings are thought to undermine “the notion that utilitarian preferences are merely the result of more deliberation.”

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Ideological conformity reigns when everyone is shallow

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 October 2014

Imagine being in a room with your average collection of modern nitwits and daring to challenge some unquestioned assumption of the day — e.g., that we need more women in Congress, or that democracy is always good, or that domestic violence pretty much always means a man beating up a woman.

The immediate reaction is probably going to be mocking laughter. How can you be so silly as to believe that. Nobody believes that, and there’s no reason to believe such a crazy thing.

Some people who know that there are other intellectual positions in the wide world will deploy the mocking laugh because (1) they know it’s effective and (2) they’re jerks, but most of the time this seems to be the reflexive response of the the ignoramus who doesn’t even know there are other options. Or, rather, they know that the other options exist, but it’s only the comical, the evil or the mentally deficient who fall for them.

Sure, they think, there are people who doubt man-made global warming just as there are people who believe Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs, but we don’t have to take that stuff seriously.

I don’t believe for a minute that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs, but I do know that a lot of people who believe that know 100 times more about the subject than the mocking idiots who mindlessly swallow the party line. I’ve heard a lot of people shout down creationists by quoting wrong-headed “scientific facts” — like that oil comes from dinosaurs.

It’s often (perhaps usually) the case that people toe the party line out of ignorance. The people who are dead sure that “marriage equality” is the right position usually know almost nothing about the purpose of marriage, and the people who mock global warming skeptics usually know almost nothing about science. (Here’s a fun trick. When somebody talks to you about global warming, ask them if they know when the last ice age ended.)

The problem is that laughing at someone is so much more fun. (For some people.)

In case you’re wondering, I’m not venting because of some recent personal experience, although I did recently watch a Youtube video that reminded me of the phenomenon.

The answer to lock-step conformity by the mindless masses is to shame the mockers and make sure the minority can have its say. The solution to bad speech is not speech codes, but more speech.

-- 18 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Give fathers legal custody of their children

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 October 2014

Here’s an interesting story. Man ordered to pay child support for child that isn’t his.

DNA testing confirms that he didn’t father the child of his ex-girlfriend, but that doesn’t matter. He still has to pay child support.

This story reminds me of a section in my Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap.

Today, if a woman gets pregnant she can decide to abort the child, keep it and raise it on her own, or give it up for adoption. She can also choose whether she wants to force the man to pay child support. He has no say in any of her choices, although of course he can contest child support in court. And probably lose.

Let’s switch things around and make the child the legal responsibility of the man and see how that might play out.

The woman would still have the right to an abortion, to give the child up for adoption or to keep it and raise it herself. All she has to do is make no claim about who the father is, and that would be that. The child is hers.

However, if she wanted to get child support, she would have to identify the father, and then he would have legal custody of the child. He could choose to take the child into his home. He could choose to pay the woman to raise the child (i.e., child support). Or he could offer to marry the woman.

Just in terms of simple fairness, doesn’t that make more sense?

(As an aside, don’t confuse my recognition of the legal fact that women have a right to abortion with support for abortion.)

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Confusibles and mental subroutines

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 October 2014

I just noticed that I used “through” when I should have used “threw.” I totally know better.

Despite having spent many years as an editor, drilling myself on that vs. which, there their and they’re, serial commas and so on, I often find myself typing the wrong word. Sometimes I catch it, but sometimes I don’t take the time to review things carefully.

I suspect the problem is that I think in word sounds, send the command for that sound to my fingers, and some mental subroutine takes over and fires the muscles. There might be an analogy to autocorrect.

Back when I first learned to play the trumpet I thought of notes by their pitch and fingering, which made it a little harder to remember sharps and flats. I had to learn to think of the notes as notes. Not quite A-G, but close to it.

In the online world we rarely have time to review what we’ve written. We tend to type and send. I wonder if it’s possible to retrain my brain to think of words in terms of their spelling rather than their sound.

-- 11 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Gamergate — or, boys will be boys

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 October 2014

Yesterday I was playing flag football with some friends from church. One of the quarterbacks was having a bad day and threw a few interceptions. Being a Redskins fan that made me feel right at home. But some of the guys were harassing him about it. I don’t like to do that, but that’s the way things are when guys are doing something competitive.

At one point I started to wonder what would happen if it was a co-ed game and our quarterback was a woman. Would different rules apply? Would they not harass her? Or, if she was harassed, would she take it as “sexual harassment”?

It’s intended to be good-natured ribbing. But if some of the comments I heard yesterday were directed at a woman, they might have come out as “you throw like a girl.” Is that sexual harassment?

No, of course not, and you’d have to be well trained in the fine art of taking offense to believe that it was.

I think this is part of what’s going on in Gamergate.

Guys harass and haze one another. I personally don’t like it, but I realize that’s just the way it is and I don’t worry about it. I certainly don’t expect the world to change to accommodate me.

I wouldn’t, for example, go to a baby shower and expect them to have darts, cigars and beer, with the football game playing. (I wouldn’t actually go to a baby shower in any event. I think it’s a good thing that there are male and female activities.)

Anyway, if you can put up with the crude language (another thing I don’t like), here’s a very good take-down of the illogic, lies and propaganda leftists on Ted are using to push the “we have to reform the gaming culture” thing. SJW leftists Ep.1 – Excuse me princess on TEDx. (Seriously, the language is rough. Don’t listen around your kids.)

I don’t play video games much. But if women want first-person shooter games where everybody is nice to one another (sounds weird putting it that way, doesn’t it?) then they should invent them. And they should quit trying to invade male spaces and think they can change the rules.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Certainties from “experts”

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 October 2014

I caught a brief bit of a hearing on Ebola-related issues on CSPAN today, and a Congressman made a point about experts who give us assurances and spout certainties, which then turn out not to be true.

It happens over and over again. The experts said Ebola couldn’t come to the United States. Then it did. They said health care workers were trained and were at no risk. But they weren’t trained and they were at risk.

It’s not just Ebola. Climate change predictions have also turned out to be incorrect. And I believe the unsinkable ship famously sunk.

Whenever you hear about experts, remember this from Indiana Jones.

You have to have experts, and you have to listen to them, but you can’t completely rely on them. Experts make mistakes like everybody else, and they are often manipulated by people in power or are speaking from a biased position.

This is one of the besetting sins of scientific left. They want to promote this aura of infallibility surrounding the experts. They want to promote the idea that if you don’t trust the experts you must be some kind of uneducated rube.

Generally speaking you should defer to experts. But you have to be sensible about it.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The selfish gene board game

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 October 2014

This is going to be a meandering post.

A few decades ago some biologists came up with the idea that it was better to look at evolution from the perspective of the gene than from the perspective of the individual. This idea has been very successful and is used to explain all sorts of things, like why sexual reproduction is better (in some cases) than asexual reproduction. (I’m reading The Red Queen, which discusses a lot of that stuff. I’m not at all sure I’m understanding it very well!)

The idea that a gene could be “selfish” seems like one of those weird anthropomorphisms that evolutionists are often guilty of. The intent is simply that the genes that survive are the ones that have been successful at passing themselves along, so looking at genes as “selfish” helps when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on.

Hold that thought and take a mental leap over to the question about consciousness.

A lot of materialists have a problem understanding consciousness, or subjectivity, and some of them even pretend to deny that it’s real. Their problem seems to be that they think of the universe as just a bunch of stuff, and stuff — like protons and electrons — is clearly not conscious (they think). There’s no “what is it like to be an electron?,” so why, when you throw a bunch of stuff together, is the collection conscious?

That is, if you start from matter and build a human, consciousness and subjectivity seem like a huge enigma.

But what if you start at humans and work in the other direction?

A human is clearly conscious. So is a gorilla. So is a dog. You could even say that there’s “something that it’s like” to be a fish. (I realize that I’m switching back and forth somewhat between consciousness and subjectivity.)

How far can we take that? What about a plant? Or a rock?

People in other cultures, with different philosophical traditions, don’t have such a hard time believing that there is some sense in which a rock has something like consciousness — at some extremely rudimentary level. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it seems to depend on whether you start with the fact of human consciousness and work down, or whether you start with our suppositions about matter and work up.

Now let’s go back to genes. Imagine for a moment that a gene actually does have an agenda. Not in the sense that it sits around in smoke-filled rooms and negotiates to take over the world, but that at some very basic level there is something like intentionality. This intentionality wouldn’t apply to the individual gene, but to all the copies of that gene collectively. A kind of hive mind, I guess.

I know, it seems ridiculous. Quantum physics seems ridiculous to me.

Now with all that rumbling around in your head you’re primed to hear about my genius idea for a new game.

Imagine a board game where each turn was something like reproduction. A deck of cards with various genes would be shuffled and dealt according to a set of rules. You, as the player, would be representing the interests of a particular gene, or set of genes.

There would be various tricks and strategies you could play to try to get your gene to survive until the end of the game. (That’s the really complicated microbiology stuff that I don’t understand. Apparently all kinds of wacky things take place to game the system and give one gene an advantage.)

This game would be an illustration of the idea of the selfish gene. A person with an agenda (you, the player) would be trying to drive the success of a gene.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The disposable male

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 October 2014

In Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is cheap, I lay out a program for how humans ought to interact given who we actually are — that is, as men and women who have different roles to play in a successful society.

A man I recently met who leans in the men’s rights direction read the book and doesn’t like the fact that I seem to endorse the idea of the disposable male. That is, that since eggs are a rare societal resource, when somebody has to die to protect the tribe, it’s better for it to be the man. I argue that men are more naturally suited to that role in many ways, and that it makes more sense.

That’s heresy to the men’s rights people. They don’t see why men should be considered disposable. Why do we spend all this money on women’s health when men die several years earlier? Why should the women get the seats on the life rafts? Why should the men have to fight the wars? (Aside from the fact that we actually want to win the wars we fight.)

They are correctly realizing that in the modern nightmare where we pretend that men and women are equal, male disposability doesn’t make any sense. Why should men die to protect a culture that despises them? Why should they take a disproportionate share of the risks and costs?

A lot of men have concluded that it’s a raw bargain and they’re not playing that game any more. I can’t fault them for that. At least not on a personal level. All I can do is point out that the solution to equalitarian foolishness is not to play along and try to make it fair, but to fight it.

The equalitarian heresy will destroy western civilization. Men and women are not equal, and pretending that they are will send the culture on a death spiral.

Some men say fine, we’ll “go Galt” and let this decadent, irredeemable society fall under the weight of its foolishness. Some of them add that they’ll do their best to enjoy it in the process.

Again, it’s hard to fault them, except for that nagging optimism I have that society can be saved, and that Ayn Rand did not have the right prescription.

There does come a point when you simply have to head for the hills and let the rest of society eat itself. I hope that we’re not there. I hope that there’s still enough respect for reality and tradition that we can turn this monster around. But I could very easily be wrong about that, and I can’t fault anybody who disagrees with me.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Male spaces and gamergate

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 October 2014

I haven’t followed “gamergate” much because I’m not a gamer. About the extent of my “gaming” experience was playing D&D in high school, playing a helicopter gunship game on my Commodore 128 in my 20s, and playing Axis and Allies from time to time.

I’ve played a few other things. There was a time when I liked Panzer General. But generally speaking, games don’t interest me.

From what I’ve read, gamergate is basically about a bunch of girls who want to invade the boys’ tree house and then redecorate it and have a tea party, and the boys are kicking them out. It has become an icon of the generalized assault on masculinity. “Male places” and masculinity are under attack.

The story gets sidetracked when people start to ask things like, “isn’t Ivy in Soulcalibur over the top? Do you really approve of the way women are portrayed in games?” Etc.

Those are valid questions, but you don’t argue about the right way to polish your sword when the Hun is attacking. And make no mistake about it, the Hun — that is, the “social justice warriors,” or SJWs — are attacking. They are intent on finding every male space and feminizing it.

The gamers are saying “if you don’t like our games, go make your own.” As Dalrock points out, the gamers are showing a resolve and courage that most churches have failed to show.

If the line to the woman’s restroom is too long and a woman slips into the men’s room to pee, the men aren’t going to care. But if she starts telling them how to behave, she has to leave.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-10-23 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
DNA percentages confuse me
2014-10-23 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“It’s for the environment”
2014-10-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Diversity” is not a virtue
2014-10-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
My personality profile is CPCL