Tag Archives: Best - Page 2

The Social Module

It’s common now among scientists of the brain to propose that the brain is made out of separate modules, which receive input, process it, and produce an output, often in the form of behavior. If you’ve read any Haidt or Pinker you know what I’m talking about.

Letting aside the question of whether the brain actually works like that, even if we understand the idea of “module” as metaphorical, it does seem to be a productive framework.

Imagine that human beings all have a number floating above their heads. Like the HP floats above a character on a RPG or a strategy videogame. Let’s say it’s a three-figure number. That’s your Status Points. It’s more of an ordinal system; 001 means you’re awesome, 999 means you’re some omega piece of shit. Read more »

Trade and Peace

People used to ask me if there’s any libertarian movement in East Asia. And there really isn’t. Nothing. The very concept is very foreign to them. It hardly registers at all. Try to explain it to a random native and odds are they won’t even get what you’re trying to say.

The whole concept is so bizarre that I promptly forgot about the whole thing after living her for some time. I used to be a Mises.org reading teenager, and I have to thank my Asian hosts for making it so hard to parse the ideology that I also lost interest myself. Read more »

The purpose of absurdity

Ron Unz had an interesting comment at Sailer’s blog a while ago:

Actually, another suspicion I’ve often had is that much of that massively-promoted total nonsense like transexualism and Gay Marriage is meant to flush out and expose potential troublemakers potentially lurking within ranks of the elite before they can rise high enough to become a serious problem. In support of this hypothesis, the leading purge victims are usually found within the fields of popular culture, entertainment, celebrity, and the media, which constitute a crucial chokepoint in controlling our society. It’s obviously much easier and safer to detect and purge a future Mel Gibson while he’s just a rising young actor than after he’s spent a dozen years as Hollywood’s #1 star.

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Religion is absurd. But we need it anyway.

Watch this.

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Leftism is just an easy excuse

To expand on the Maoism post. Marquez came up with the flattery inflation theory to explain how cults of personality evolve in mechanistic terms. But the same idea can be used to explain not only Red Queen spirals of sycophancy. Any ideological innovation, both in states and inside small cults or organizations, behaves under the same principles. Read more »

Explaining the Cultural Revolution: signalling arms races as bad fiat currency

This is going to be a long post.

The idea of Chinese people worshipping wax mangoes because some Pakistani minister didn’t have time to have a proper gift made for his visit to China is indeed quite startling. Of course some people will instantly run into the old stereotype of those perfid Orientals slaves, who have been forever worshipping their tyrants as Gods on Earth. But that’s bullshit. The Chinese have always been a fairly unruly bunch, and the Emperor was never worshipped as a God, unlike the Roman Emperors of our humanistic West. Read more »

Explain this

On 5 August 1968, Mao received the Pakistani foreign minister Mian Arshad Hussain, who brought with him a basket of golden mangoes as gifts for the Chairman. Instead of eating the mangoes, Mao [who hated sweets] decided to give them to the Capital Worker and Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team … that had earlier been sent to the Qinghua University in Beijing to rein in the rival Red Guard gangs. Two days later, on 7 August, the People’s Daily, the official news organ of the Communist Party-state, carried a report on the mango gift that included the following extra-long headline in extra-large font: ‘The greatest concern, the greatest trust, the greatest support, the greatest encouragement; our great leader Chairman Mao’s heart is always linked with the hearts of the masses; Chairman Mao gave the precious gifts given by a foreign friend to the Capital Worker and Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team’.

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Nerds and women

The past year and most likely the next fews have been full of news stories on how the IT industry has declared a War on Women or something. And while the nerds in the IT industry actually have a lot of reasons to declare a war on women, the fact is they haven’t. What they do is get together in reddit or other places on the internet to loudly proclaim how Feminist they are and how true these news stories are. We need more women! Read more »

Shinto

I was typing this as an answer to Jim’s comment, but I might as well make it a post and be done with it. I don’t really have much time to spend hours reading on religion in ancient Japan, interesting as it is. So I’ll just start typing and see what comes out of it.

The gist of the issue is that Shinto was usual local animism, and the introduction of Buddhism with their holy ascetic monks and sutras and shit basically killed Shinto and replaced it for all purposes. Shinto animism was just your typical local spirit worship, and some clan god worship. Everybody had their dear gods/spirits who they prayed to or appeased, and that was it. The priests or wizards usually came from the same family of retainers of the local lord. Read more »

New Year is local

A female relative called from Europe to wish me a Happy New Year.

F: “What do you do out there for New Year’s Eve?”

S: “Buckwheat noodles.”

F: “Oh. And then? Any party after count down?” Read more »