geosmin's recent activity

  1. Which language do you think is best?

    I don’t think best necessarily needs to mean most useful. For example though English, Mandarin, and Spanish are widely spoken they all have their problems, for example the reliance of Chinese on...

    I don’t think best necessarily needs to mean most useful. For example though English, Mandarin, and Spanish are widely spoken they all have their problems, for example the reliance of Chinese on non-phonetic logograms or English’s complete mess when it comes to spelling and vocabulary.

    I’ve been learning some Dutch these past few days and have been enjoying it quite a bit. It’s got a lot of the Germanic roots I’m familiar with without the junk and inconsistencies that seem pervasive in English.

    Korean also seems like a potentially interesting “objectively good” language to learn since I believe the writing system was invented relatively recently (1950s?) and is phonetic.

    All that being said, that’s pretty much all I know about linguistics so I’d love to hear peoples input on language and what they enjoy.

    13 votes
  2. Comment on Sponsored Content: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in ~tv

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    One option is to search for 'youtube video download' and to click through a few of the results until you wind up on a site that works for you. I guess you can then bookmark it. Most of them seem...

    One option is to search for 'youtube video download' and to click through a few of the results until you wind up on a site that works for you. I guess you can then bookmark it.

    Most of them seem to be based on youtube-dl anyway but more often than not they're US-hosted so whatever tool they're using winds up grabbing the video fine before giving you a download link.

    Region locking sucks.

  3. Comment on A fantastic video on high level nuclear waste in ~science

    geosmin
    Link
    I just found this channel today and it is a treasure trove of high quality videos pertaining to energy, economics, physics, etc. Can't recommend it enough.

    I just found this channel today and it is a treasure trove of high quality videos pertaining to energy, economics, physics, etc. Can't recommend it enough.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on What are some of your favorite music videos? in ~music

    geosmin
    Link
    While there are some good replies here I'm surprised no one has posted the best music video of all time yet.

    While there are some good replies here I'm surprised no one has posted the best music video of all time yet.

  5. Comment on What are some of your favorite music videos? in ~music

  6. What's something you're into that you wish you could share with someone?

    We're lucky when we share mutual interests with friends, but often there's that category of things for which there isn't much overlap. Though it speaks to us, we're seemingly alone in appreciating...

    We're lucky when we share mutual interests with friends, but often there's that category of things for which there isn't much overlap. Though it speaks to us, we're seemingly alone in appreciating it, yet long for someone to connect with it over.

    What's that thing for you?

    19 votes
  7. Comment on Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in ~tv

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    You can use one of those sketchy youtube video downloading websites since a lot of them are hosted in the US.

    You can use one of those sketchy youtube video downloading websites since a lot of them are hosted in the US.

  8. Comment on What The Hell Is Going On?? with Vic Berger - Pilot in ~misc

    geosmin
    Link
    As curious as I was going in I didn't manage to make it more than 5 minutes. Holy crap if that isn't the most obnoxious editing I've ever seen. This "bit" alone is nearly a minute long. Unwatchable.

    As curious as I was going in I didn't manage to make it more than 5 minutes. Holy crap if that isn't the most obnoxious editing I've ever seen. This "bit" alone is nearly a minute long. Unwatchable.

    2 votes
  9. China

    19 votes
  10. Comment on What is/are your favorite quote/s? in ~talk

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Assuming you enjoy Blindsight the sequel Echopraxia would probably be up your alley. Frankly, half of what I love about Watts is his gritty prose. For similar themes I'd suggest checking out his...

    Assuming you enjoy Blindsight the sequel Echopraxia would probably be up your alley.

    Frankly, half of what I love about Watts is his gritty prose. For similar themes I'd suggest checking out his Sunflowers shorts (available here) and if you like those his novella in the same universe The Freeze-Frame Revolution

    Similarly brain-quenching though much more optimistic explorations of simiar themes can be found in pretty much anything by Greg Egan. I'd suggest, in order; Permutation City, Diaspora, Schild's Ladder

    Off into non-fiction but much more on the topic of consciousness I'd definitely recommend Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

    Oh, and please report back with your thoughts on Blindsight. I love hearing people's reactions, especially as they're reading it.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on What is/are your favorite quote/s? in ~talk

    geosmin
    (edited )
    Link
    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead. Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead.

    Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?

    Maybe you think it gives you free will. Maybe you've forgotten that sleepwalkers converse, drive vehicles, commit crimes and clean up afterwards, unconscious the whole time. Maybe nobody's told you that even waking souls are only slaves in denial.

    Make a conscious choice. Decide to move your index finger. Too late! The electricity's already halfway down your arm. Your body began to act a full half-second before your conscious self 'chose' to, for the self chose nothing; something else set your body in motion, sent an executive summary—almost an afterthought— to the homunculus behind your eyes. That little man, that arrogant subroutine that thinks of itself as the person, mistakes correlation for causality: it reads the summary and it sees the hand move, and it thinks that one drove the other.

    But it's not in charge. You're not in charge. If free will even exists, it doesn't share living space with the likes of you.

    Insight, then. Wisdom. The quest for knowledge, the derivation of theorems, science and technology and all those exclusively human pursuits that must surely rest on a conscious foundation. Maybe that's what sentience would be for— if scientific breakthroughs didn't spring fully-formed from the subconscious mind, manifest themselves in dreams, as full-blown insights after a deep night's sleep. It's the most basic rule of the stymied researcher: stop thinking about the problem. Do something else. It will come to you if you just stop being conscious of it.

    Every concert pianist knows that the surest way to ruin a performance is to be aware of what the fingers are doing. Every dancer and acrobat knows enough to let the mind go, let the body run itself. Every driver of any manual vehicle arrives at destinations with no recollection of the stops and turns and roads traveled in getting there. You are all sleepwalkers, whether climbing creative peaks or slogging through some mundane routine for the thousandth time. You are all sleepwalkers.

    Don't even try to talk about the learning curve. Don't bother citing the months of deliberate practice that precede the unconscious performance, or the years of study and experiment leading up to the gift-wrapped Eureka moment. So what if your lessons are all learned consciously? Do you think that proves there's no other way? Heuristic software's been learning from experience for over a hundred years. Machines master chess, cars learn to drive themselves, statistical programs face problems and design the experiments to solve them and you think that the only path to learning leads through sentience? You're Stone-age nomads, eking out some marginal existence on the veldt—denying even the possibility of agriculture, because hunting and gathering was good enough for your parents.

    Do you want to know what consciousness is for? Do you want to know the only real purpose it serves? Training wheels. You can't see both aspects of the Necker Cube at once, so it lets you focus on one and dismiss the other. That's a pretty half-assed way to parse reality. You're always better off looking at more than one side of anything. Go on, try. Defocus. It's the next logical step.

    Oh, but you can't. There's something in the way.

    And it's fighting back.

    *

    Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains—cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes ever-more computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.

    *

    The system weakens, slows. It takes so much longer now to perceive—to assess the input, mull it over, decide in the manner of cognitive beings. But when the flash flood crosses your path, when the lion leaps at you from the grasses, advanced self-awareness is an unaffordable indulgence. The brain stem does its best. It sees the danger, hijacks the body, reacts a hundred times faster than that fat old man sitting in the CEO's office upstairs; but every generation it gets harder to work around this— this creaking neurological bureaucracy.

    I wastes energy and processing power, self-obsesses to the point of psychosis. Scramblers have no need of it, scramblers are more parsimonious. With simpler biochemistries, with smaller brains—deprived of tools, of their ship, even of parts of their own metabolism—they think rings around you. They hide their language in plain sight, even when you know what they're saying. They turn your own cognition against itself. They travel between the stars. This is what intelligence can do, unhampered by self-awareness.

    I is not the working mind, you see. For Amanda Bates to say "I do not exist" would be nonsense; but when the processes beneath say the same thing, they are merely reporting that the parasites have died. They are only saying that they are free.

    5 votes
  12. Comment on Collapse OS in ~comp

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    I don't know I kind of share his bias though maybe not to the same extent. If you look at things from a cosmological or geological perspective the current "normal", a state that's existed for,...

    I don't know I kind of share his bias though maybe not to the same extent.

    If you look at things from a cosmological or geological perspective the current "normal", a state that's existed for, what, less then a millennia? a couple centuries? decades? is an extreme outlier. Civilization in its current state is an unfathomably distant anomaly from the status quo and the fact that it feels so normal is probably indicative of a blind spot in our inherent biases.

    The current paradigm feels to me a bit like a house of cards and fundamentally unsustainable, but it's such a large complex system it's impossible to comprehend let alone talk about effectively. All one can do is point to one small thing or another and say a few words about how it informs one's model of the word:

    • The geopolitical context seems fragile at best.
    • The US public debt to GDP ratio is the highest it's been since World War 2 and projected to skyrocket indefinitely despite, well, the lack of WW2 currently taking place.
    • The entire economic system and the social, political, financial, and human institutions built on it are based on infinite economic growth, something that seems like a mathematical impossibility given finite resources, carrying capacity, etc.
    • The world's infrastructure is now essentially entirely digital and dependent on computers powered by electricity connected through the internet.
    • Grocery stores stock a few days of food, maybe a couple weeks for non-perishable goods, and rely on frequent deliveries.

    These are a few examples off the top of my head. With that in mind maybe things continue on just fine for decades or centuries or millennia. That would be nice.

    But if there's a hiccup, if the system stalls, if the gears slow to a halt for just a moment, I can't help but feel the social fabric would degrade extremely rapidly and the whole thing could quickly shatter. The whole tapestry of infrastructure we've woven dissolves and we lose so much.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on What have you been listening to this week? in ~music