of Broccoli and Chestnuts

an horse chestnut is genetically closer to broccoli than to a sweet chestnut

There is no such a thing as a tree, phylogenetically like there is carcinization for sea arthropods tending to become crabs, so there is dendronization, tweak the expression of a couple of genes, heat the right and a green plant develop wood

and there’s no such a thing as wood, althought evident is it, from the point of view of evolution

apparently there is a classic Scott Alexander I should read here THE CATEGORIES WERE MADE FOR MAN, NOT MAN FOR THE CATEGORIES

The incipt does indeed smell of classic “The argument goes like this. Jonah got swallowed by a whale. But the Bible says Jonah got swallowed by a big fish. So the Bible seems to think whales are just big fish. Therefore the Bible is fallible. Therefore, the Bible was not written by God.”

Cells with learning


“To Gelber, the experiments demonstrated that Paramecium was learning to associate the wire with food, a conclusion that challenged scientists’ belief that only highly evolved, multicellular animals with central nervous systems were capable of such behavio. More fundamentally, her results suggested that at least some of the biological machinery needed for learning and other cognitive processes might exist not in the connections among neurons in an animal brain, but within individual cells themselvesr”

Previously on this site “Neurons with memory”https://1500poundgoat.com/2021/04/21/neurons-with-memory/”

I see a pattern here, at least MR Tyler Cowen getting interested in alternative explanations to neurons connecting, I found both links on his website

post-scarcity energy scenario

“With our current battery technology of about 100 Wh/kg and $100/kWh, 30 TWh of battery storage for load-shifting would cost US$3 trillion. The global energy market turns over this much every year”

“those batteries would weigh 300 million tonnes and fill 15 million twenty-foot cargo containers. A decade-long installation program at 2020 prices would cost about 1.5 percent of global GDP”

“Generating 100 percent of our energy from solar panels would consume less than 0.5 percent of Earth’s land. Uninhabited deserts take up 33 percent of the Earth’s land. Agriculture uses 11 percent. Roads and roofs in urban areas are 1 percent”

“As of 2020, solar energy was so cheap—even excluding curtailment—that you could synthesize hydrocarbons from captured CO2 for about as much as it costs to drill and refine. Prometheus Fuels,”

“What else might we do with stupendously cheap electricity? Thermodynamically intensive devices such as heat pumps and electrochemical devices such as smelting aluminium or magnesium will recycle everything. By reverse-osmosis, they will desalinate enough water to refill rivers parched by global warming. They will power air conditioning, data center cooling, antimatter synthesis, and zero-impact mining using hard rock tunnel boring machines far beneath the surface”

Also, why is solar in so much steepr trajectory than nuclear ? Product cycles in solar con last as little as 6 months and the rate of learning gets exponential. Nuclear, on the other hand, in 75 years of it history is having trouble to roll-out its 3rd generation reactors

form here, I am happy to read something so optimistic, I have a few things to check by myself https://claireberlinski.substack.com/p/long-live-the-sun

Definition of Conservative, effective


“Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protectes but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.”

I have been looking for a synthetic operational, braod definition for all those behaviours relating to universality and particularism, privilege and rule of law and I like this one

Being in Italy there is no conservatism (funny, there’s lot more “conserved” from the past here) soi I think to it as an effective defintion of “right politics”

thanks Cory Doctorow for the pointer, funny the defintion is buried in a comment in Crooked Timber https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/1388934085242810373

I like the idea of a Gresham law for political ideas “

There is no such thing as liberalism — or progressivism, etc.

There is only conservatism. No other political philosophy actually exists; by the political analogue of Gresham’s Law, conservatism has driven every other idea out of circulation.

BTW the comment is fresh, Frank WIlhoit has been dead for over 10 years, it is a famous quote. I know nothing of political science and indeed the quote is misapprorpiated, it was said by a Frank WIlhoit composer

Mis-appropriated Quotation on Conservatism[edit]

There’s a quotation[10] floating around the internet originally written by the composer and software architect Frank Wilhoit:[11]

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.


Several authors have misattributed this quotation to Francis M. Wilhoit: e.g. [12] with people later realizing that the comment was made 8 years after Francis M. Wilhoit died.

Africa latent assets

– African societies are based on achieved status – is closely related to Chinese meritocracy (..) shows Africa to be the most socially mobile part of the world. Africans are also the most optimistic about future mobility.

-‘scepticism of authority’. Unlike many societies in East Asia, Africa is much more like Western liberal democracies in its anticipation that political power will be abused

-‘cosmopolitanism’. Because of the heterogeneous and small-scale nature of historical African society, Africans endlessly had to deal with differences – different languages, different cultures, different histories. This is reflected in African languages where the word for “stranger” is typically the same word as for “guest

from here Vox.eu https://voxeu.org/article/africa-s-latent-assets

Got to note this here while I a reading “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe, where it shows

econometrics and strategy statistics

“Differences of opinion in economics are not largely about the precision of estimated data, a la high energy physics, but about the particular assumptions used by the analyst to move from data to estimated parameters of interest. Taking this seriously is what I mean above by “strategic statistics”: the fact that identification in economics requires choices by the analyst means we need to take the implications of those choices seriously”

“there is often a tension between reporting results truthfully and the decisions taken based on those results”

from https://afinetheorem.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/statistics-that-takes-strategic-behavior-seriously-a-clark-for-isaiah-andrews/

Deustch in “Beginning of Infinty” says “Like scientific theories, policies cannot be derived from anything. They are conjectures. And we should choose between them not on the basis of their origin, but according to how good they are as explanations: how hard to vary.”

Neurons with memory

here says an experiment wtih ferrets show that memories are probably stored directly in the neuron, interview with Randy Gallistel who stresses that it would be a paradigm change for neuroscience and also #ai both assuming that memories are the effect of connection between neurons

“The most interesting idea” the idea would be revolutionary, the experiment, if recognised and reproduced, could be an anomaly that neuroscience has to face and accomodate in current theory https://join.substack.com/p/is-this-the-most-interesting-idea

Diverse libertarianism

actually Diversity Libertarianism https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/more-antifragile-diversity-libertarianism

libertarians want to be free from the state, what about religion, corporate oppression, monopolies etc.

Thiel comes out as somebody who just does not want to pay taxes, but “Freedom and (small “d”) democracy are, in conditions of rampant inequality, a cruel sham as Bakunin understood.” this is James C. Scott

Scott again “Nor do I believe that the state is the only institution that endangers freedom. To assert so would be to ignore a long and deep history of pre-state slavery, property in women, warfare, and bondage. It is one thing to disagree utterly with Hobbes about the nature of society before the existence of the state (nasty, brutish, and short) and another to believe that “the state of nature” was an unbroken landscape of communal property, cooperation, and peace.”

this is Tyler Cowen on how there is no stable “libertqrian equilibrium” when a virus kills score of fellow citizens andntherefore is better have an efficient state at the onset of an epidemy that spares everybody much suffering “Given the way government and public choice work, anything that kills over half a million Americans is going to be a big deal for policy, whether we like it or not (Don should be the first to recognize that government will restrict your liberties for far less than 500k deaths!).  You want the best feasible version of a response, as there isn’t really a stable libertarian response pattern out there.  Trying partial but non-sustainable libertarian approaches will in the end get you more and more statism as the virus keeps on defeating you, deaths rise, and calls for ever-greater state action increase.  A lot of what libertarians don’t like about lockdowns in part stems from the “do nothing” response of the first two months of notice that we Americans had when Covid first appeared in China.” from here https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/04/from-the-comments-34.html

Tyler coined the term “State Capacity Libertarianism” by the way

So we are at 2 diverse types of libertarianism here, and I have also quoed an anarchist

GS and SF

that would be General Semantics and Science Fiction

I started from here by chance https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/qc7P2NwfxQMC3hdgm/rationalism-before-the-sequences

“SF author Greg Bear probably closed the book on attempts to define science fiction as a genre in 1994 when he said “the branch of fantastic literature which affirms the rational knowability of the universe””

and follows some stories on GS and SF

General Semantics, a rationalist society https://www.generalsemantics.org/

OF ROBERT HEINLEIN AND A . E . VAN VOGT*” http://www.generalsemantics.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/articles/gsb/gsb41-drake.pdf

“Students’ critiques of General Semantics seems to constantly include the
following : (1) It’s nice but people can’t or don’t live that way : and, (2) How can
General Semantics be used in the ‘real’ world outside of the classroom? ”

building worlds, I guess, I should read on, Heinlein and van Vogt both attended GS groups