Bad Conlanging Ideas Tumblr, or best conlanging ideas Tumblr?
No, Aristotle is not your dumb straw man opponent of empiricism.
One thing you have to learn in every freshman biology course, and the better sort of freshman philosophy course, is that evolution doesn’t necessarily go “from worse organisms to better organisms” or even “from less complex organisms to more complex organisms” in any meaningful fashion. On the other hand, organisms from more “evolutionarily deep” areas are more likely to invade less “evolutionarily deep” areas than vice versa. So maybe there’s something to the idea of evolutionary “progress” after all, albeit probably not in the way a lot of people would think.
Last links post I made fun of Russia’s wood shortage by saying it was like Saudi Arabia having a sand shortage. Alyssa Vance helpfully informed me that Saudi Arabia did, in fact, have a sand shortage.
Andrea Rossi’s e-Cat cold fusion machine passes another round of probably rigged tests, including one where it was able to change isotope ratios in a way that would have been very impressive had it not been almost certainly rigged. Less Wrong Facebook is taking bets on replications – but they’re less “think it will” vs. “think it won’t” and more “1% chance it will” vs. “0.0001% chance it will.” Rational Conspiracy sums up some of the discussion, but note that Robin says (privately, on Facebook) that this is seriously misrepresenting him, so the post should be taken only as a survey of the issues involved and not as accurate about Robin’s personal position. Also, I ask about some of the patent issues it raises on Tumblr.
There’s now a claim that along with everything else gut microbes can contribute to the pathogenesis of eating disorders. Haven’t investigated to see if it’s true yet because I know very little about these conditions and am hoping Kate Donovan will do the hard work.
Speaking of aetiology of mental disorders, here’s the best Grand Unified Theory Of Autism I’ve seen this week: autism stems from a prediction deficit. Also glad the importance of prediction to the brain’s architecture is getting some much-deserved media attention.
Second best Grand Unified Theory Of Autism I’ve seen this week: Neural stem cell overgrowth, autism-like behavior linked, mice study suggests.
In the slightly more reality-based fusion community, Lockheed Martin announces that they expect to have a truck-sized fusion reactor ready in ten years, making the joke that “fusion is always twenty years off” somewhat obsolete. The polywell people have also mentioned the ten years number. But more sober scientists are doubtful.
My old Biodeterminist’s Guide said it was “likely” that exercise increased fetal IQ but didn’t have a good study to point to. Now the evidence is in to confirm that hypothesis.
Yxoque is starting rationalist-tutor.tumblr.com to try to teach some basic rationalist concepts to people who for some inexplicable reason possibly involving their head being screwed on backwards don’t want to read the Sequences. If you’re on Tumblr you may want to follow.
The libertarian talking points on California’s water shortage. Seems legit.
Songs From A Decemberists Album Where Nobody Gets Murdered, including “The Boy Who Joined A Guild And Worked Hard,” “Let’s Not Strangle The Dauphin,” and “Life As A Chimney Sweep Is Difficult But I’d Certainly Never Start Murdering Sex Workers Who Remind Me Of My Mother Just To Relieve The Stress.”
Ezra Klein’s been getting a lot of flak over a recent article, and I’m not usually someone to defend what THE ENTIRE WORLD seems to be denouncing as extreme over-the-top feminism – but in this case it looks like he’s taken a reasonable position on what unfortunately happens to be a taboo tradeoff.
Weird fluctuation in x-rays from the sun may be first direct detection of dark matter axions.
Want to live somewhere cheap? Try New York or San Francisco. Really? Yes, really.
A new paper finds that immigration neither increases unemployment nor increases growth. (h/t Marginal Revolution)
Of all the crappy things the Saudis do to women, one I didn’t know before was that women who have finished their jail term have to be picked up by a male relative. No male relative who wants to pick you up, no release from jail, ever. Seriously, screw Saudi Arabia. I hope the entire country collapses of chronic sand shortage.
The world’s first fully vegetarian city bans animal slaughter and the sale of meat within city limits. Only one problem – it doesn’t look like they asked the residents, who are kind of miffed.
Iran, when challenged on homosexual rights, famously declared that it had no gays. But did you know that when asked to host the Paralympics, the Soviet Union declined because it had no disabled people?
In keeping with our tradition of ending with a link to an interesting, funny, or surprising textbook: I kind of actually want to read this.