Thursday, July 24, 2008


And people wonder why I won't fly anymore. --
Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 7/24/2008 12:17:00 PM

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The End of the Dream (Part 2)

        The crucial question here is why? Why are my feelings self-defeating? That makes no sense. Now that I realize that my emotions aren't the enemy, how can I believe that they're simply bad? I can't. I know that they're working for me. Time to apply my method.
        Your emotions are trying to protect you from the unknown. That's the first part. I just now called in from work sick, and I feel guilty & scared. I'm not sick; I just feel I have to have this day to myself to hold onto (and possibly advance) whatever gains I've made.

        Here's my essential problem: the more I look, the more I learn, the more I understand, the harder it is to convince myself that the systems of morals we are handed are wrong, stupid, pointless and a waste of my life. I see the reasons behind them and realize that there were indeed good reasons for these rules and modes of behavior, and although I still hate them, it becomes harder and harder to convince myself that my way is the "right" way. I must need a new viewpoint.
        This all from Phillip Wylie's The End of the Dream, p. 157: "Too many discoveries had been of sorts that showed the clerical dogmas were unsound, untenable, nothing for sensible people to fool with."
        —Just because it's wrong doesn't mean it's useless, or even bad! Do we have an alternative? A truly better way? How do we know?

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 10/29/1998 12:00:00 PM

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The End of the Dream

From the Preface by John Brunner:
"Perhaps, one of these days, archaeologists will come to Earth from another planet and think of erecting a monument to mark our passing. If so, they could choose no better inscription for it than this: 'Here lies a species capable of thinking, but too lazy to think anything right through.'"

        Not lazy. Not lazy. The exact opposite, in fact. Too busy. Frightened, even. Impatient, certainly. But not lazy.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 10/25/1998 12:00:00 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Roads Must Roll

I like Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll"—How about a tale of a real functionalist revolution? A successful one, I mean? Or an alternative sequel to his story, where Van Kleek wins, not being the simpering weakling Heinlein presumes everyone who disagrees with him to be? Who would be next to revolt? What would the ultimate consequences be?

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 10/11/1998 11:02:00 AM

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Aggravated Vehicular Genocide

The following inspired by "Aggravated Vehicular Genocide," Christopher L. Bennett, 11/98 Analog.

"What is the purpose of Justice? Is it to punish the guilty? To wreak vengeance upon the perpetrators of unsavory deeds? To somehow rectify and right wrongs, when often the wrong cannot be undone, no matter what anyone desires or what punishment is meted out? No, I say! The purpose of Justice is not to right wrongs or satisfy rage, but to help ensure that the wrong does not reoccur. When a crime is committed unknowingly, when moreover none connected with the perpetrators will ever be aware of the verdict or the consequences, and especially when it is in the interest of all to prevent this sort of incident from ever occurring again, what purpose does it serve to put the perpetrators to death? Do you intend to solve the problem by evolutionary attrition, allowing only those to live that have not committed crimes, in hopes that the genetic capability of performing the forbidden act will be eventually eliminated? Surely this will be as costly to both sides as it is unlikely to succeed. Far better to forgo the illusion of legalities and simply go to war. The purpose of the Court is to serve the people, not to punish the guilty in order to satisfy some feeling of vengeance, fairness, or justice."

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 10/11/1998 11:01:00 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Feeling Good (Part 2)

• p. 62: "Suppose, for example, you suddenly realize you're late for a…meeting. Your heart sinks and you're gripped with panic. Now ask yourself, 'What thoughts are going through my mind right now? What am I saying to myself? Why is this upsetting me?'"
        These are valid questions. I'm not arguing with him anymore. But I do think this is a good time to clarify what I think actually goes on in our minds.
        There aren't necessarily any thoughts going through your mind at that moment. There might be, but there don't have to be for you to be feeling bad. As I've said, feelings don't come directly from thoughts, and emotions can react directly to stimuli, without any intervening cognitive action. (can≠always do)
        Darn. I let the Muse slip. Maybe later.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 10/11/1998 11:00:00 AM

Friday, May 02, 2008

Syler Method of Investigation

We (I) can find answers to problems by analyzing the problem; more specifically, by analyzing the question. Because there has to be a question. And it has to be in words, as does the answer. If you can't explain it in words, you don't understand it. So it's like I've said: Asking Questions and Getting Answers. Asking the question–in words—then making sure you understand the question and every word in it. If you don't, analyze. Be specific and concrete.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/30/1998 11:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 01, 2008


You say it because you feel it, and you
        know it in your gut
But if you can't explain it, then you don't
        understand it
And all you know
is how you feel.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/26/1998 11:05:00 AM

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Intelligence and Survival

        I don't know how much sense this makes, but I just thought something that I thought worthy of recording: "It's no wonder that intelligence doesn't pass in direct lines; if it did, we'd just band together and kill the others"—or outperform them, or what not.
        Could this be true? I mean, you can't do away with the intelligent ones—you need them. But too many together, especially related, is a danger to everyone else. But why didn't it happen, then? We are all somewhat intelligent; obviously it's a survival trait for us. But only a few are very intelligent; this has always been true, and is still true in apes. Why didn't the smart ones beget more smart ones and become dominant? Are lots of smart people self-destructive? This is very important.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/26/1998 11:04:00 AM

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Great Ages of Western Philosophy

Volume I, The Age of Belief

• Introduction, first page, first sentence, p. ix: '"We are like dwarfs seated on the shoulders of giants…"'
        Dwarfs? Why dwarfs? The fact that we can do so much and see so far largely because of the proceeding efforts of our forebears [does not imply that we are somehow doomed to be lesser men than they. Certainly the great philosophers of the past did much, and covered much ground, and we are greatly indebted to them in many ways. But philosophy is unlike science in this way: Progress is not guaranteed. It is not necessarily the case that philosophy tends to get less wrong as time goes on. It can, and we certainly hope it does, but there is less guarantee of that than with science (not that it is absolutely guaranteed there either). What I mean is that it is very possible that the great philosophers of the past can hold us back sometimes, and cause us to look for answers in the wrong directions, and so, giants though they may have been, they are occasionally giants who are actually standing on us, pushing us down.
        My point is that to believe that the great philosophers are somehow better or did more than we are or do, is not only a fallacy, it is a dangerous fallacy, because it causes us to look on our own work with trepidation, and causes us to be timid, believing that we could never be as great as our predecessors, so great, bold, new, paradigm-breaking ideas are less likely to come forth, or if they are advanced, to be taken seriously, because it is hubris to presume that your work could be as important as that as that of the great philosophers of history.–4/2/08 10:32 PM]

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/26/1998 11:03:00 AM

Friday, March 21, 2008

Feeling Good

•p. 28: "…most schools of thought place a strong emphasis on 'getting in touch' with your feelings… Depression is not an emotional disorder at all!… Every bad feeling you have is a result of your distorted negative thinking."
        He's wrong, of course. This is the central problem I have with Cognitive Therapy, both Burns' and Dyer's versions. Feelings do not come from thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are two discrete things. Closely interrelated but separate. One does not 'cause' the other. Feelings can come from thoughts, surely, but so can thoughts come from feelings—more easily, I believe. They can influence each other strongly, however. Your thoughts can indeed change your feelings—if you believe them. Emotions don't come from thought, they come from belief, and that belief can change from moment to moment. It is what you believe about the world that colors your emotion, and shapes the way you look at the world you perceive. Those beliefs can be strongly influenced—instantaneously—by your thoughts, which are largely under conscious control. The best way I can describe it now is that feeling and thought react simultaneously to your perception, feeding off of and being modified by each other. But the cardinal fact remains that your emotions are shaped almost solely by your beliefs, and these beliefs are largely shaped by your cognitions. These beliefs aren't all deep-seated, permanent things, either. Many of them can change from moment to moment, in just the fashion indicated by Feeling Good. So: Let's try this as a preliminary model:

        So let me state my specific objection to a particular passage, and let that objection carry for all the other similar passages:
•p. 29: "You will learn, as she did, that the negative thoughts that flood your mind are the actual cause of your self-defeating emotions."
        No. They are a strong contributing factor, but they are not the cause. But the practical upshot of his statement is true: you can change your emotions with your thoughts. It's merely that these thoughts are acting on the beliefs that your emotions immediately stem from, rather than on the emotions themselves. After all, if you really could change your emotions so arbitrarily, who would you be? You'd only have to think happy thoughts and you'd be happy! No. It doesn't work that way. You must believe it for it to work. Belief is the key here. Your emotions supply a large part of your identity, and all your motivation. (Without emotions, you have no identity!) You can't control your emotions; not really. You can stop yourself from feeling many of them—almost all—but you can't control them, because the only real "you" that exists is centered on your emotions!
        Besides, where do you think these negative thoughts come from? They originate with your emotions, always, based on your beliefs. Your cognitive center has no will. It merely calculates. You can merely choose, with your mind, based on your deepest emotions, which other emotions are important to you, and which you will not feel, and to what degree.
        But people who depend on their minds do not have no will; in fact, it seems that they often have the strongest will of all. How do I explain this? Because the person who relies on their cognitions to tell them what's right and wrong are acting only on their deepest emotions, not allowing the rest to enter the equation. Or at least not to alter it.

        It is true that if you alter your misconceptions, your mood will improve.

•p. 32–45: I think I've said this elsewhere, but I'm really not sure about his 10-point list. It has some validity, but I'm not sure that the list is either totally necessary or sufficient. Mental filter, for example. Why is it called that, anyway?

3/21/08 10:17 PM I believe I've got further notes on this book later in this journal, but I wanted to insert some current comments here, since I coincidentally find myself rereading this book just at the time that I am typing in my 10-year old journal entry on it.
        I can't comment on cognitive therapy in general, or on Beck's methodology or ideology. All I've got to go on is Burns' book. But it is an excellent example, in small, of a problem I have with the psychological establishment in general: An appalling lack of philosophy. Oh, he'll throw the word around occasionally, but heaven forbid he should ever actually study the stuff. If he had, he would have discovered that there are volumes upon volumes of rather sophisticated thought on the difference between, and the relationship among, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Perhaps he would disagree with it all. But the ridiculously naïve and unsophisticated (not to mention inconsistent; after all his talk about thoughts being the important thing, he'll throw in an offhand comment about belief once in a while) model he proposes is rather an insult to the philosophers who have spent so much work on precisely these questions, as well as foolish, when all this work has been done that he could have access to to improve his vision. But that's psychology for you; they're actually doing jackleg philosophy, but they have to pretend it's "science," so they don't need all those ivory tower "ideas."

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/10/1998 11:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2008


        I have a problem with Gulf. Yes, Man, men, society, culture and language could be improved, but that's no excuse for calling what went before "superstitious and ignorant." We—they—did the best they could with what they had. So what if it wasn't perfect? Newton was wrong; was he superstitious and ignorant? [In particular, was his scientific work superstitious and ignorant?—3/13/08 10:39 PM] Bah. These sorts of delusions of grandeur will just get you into trouble. Remember, always remember, that just because you don't understand why something is, doesn't mean there isn't a reason. Before you go calling the masses of humanity "stupid," stop and ask yourself why, then, did they live so long. Everything has a reason. Stupidity—absolute, not relative–simply does not exist in normal humans. Before you go calling yourself a new race, I suggest you understand the old one.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/05/1998 11:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Seventh Son

by Orson Scott Card

•p. 73:
"…If Mama believes in God and Papa doesn't, how do I know which is right?"
…"How do I know things like that, when Mama says one thing and Papa says another?"
…"Al, I got to tell you, I wisht I knew. Sometimes, I figure ain't nobody knows nothing."

        I can understand a twenty-two-year-old (or anyone) not knowing the answer to this, and I certainly understand a six-year-old not knowing, but I know, and if Card doesn't, this explains just about everything that bothers me about his work.

[Thursday, March 13, 2008 9:38 PM: I don't mean anything esoteric by this, just that if you don't know what the truth is, about religious questions or anything else, you try to figure it out, by gathering evidence, weighing it, and trying to come to a conclusion using your powers of reason. This seems obvious, and it is, but it seems to me that for many people, it simply does not occur to them to use the same method they would use to answer any ordinary question to answer questions of religion or faith.]

•p. 94: "He thought of writing down that thought, but decided against it. It had no traces on it save the prints of his own soul—neither the marks of heaven, nor of hell. By this he knew that it hadn't been given to him. He had forced the thought himself. So it couldn't be prophecy, and couldn't be true."
        Is this what Card believes? Is he truly that simple in matters of faith, probing and prodding, pushing at the boundaries of his belief but never allowing himself to question the center? Or—gasp—does he not believe at all, and set these traps within his works so only the very intelligent will see the flaws in the logic an begin to question their own beliefs, while anyone else simply sees a believing man asking intelligent, hard questions? He did say that he was strongly influenced by Ayn Rand, after all.
        Unfortunately as always, the most likely explanation is also the most mundane: He's an intelligent believer who has many doubts, and these doubts and questions come out in his work. But I can always hope. He seems too intelligent not to see the flaws in his logic.
        Heres a case in point, the best example I've seen of him coming so close, then missing:

        I'll do the Wyrms thing later. That's it, it has to be, the Ayn Rand theory is true. It's a goddamn puzzle, and he's done it again, just like in Wyrms: He'll ask a question, give the wrong answer, and then, several pages later, give the right one! He's smarter than I ever imagined. [I don't think I ever did "the Wyrms thing." I think I know what I was going to do, but I'll have to reread the book to lay it out. Sometime. The below is the aforementioned case in point.]

•p. 132: "Everything possible to be believed is image of truth. If it feels true to me, then there is something true in it, even if it isn't all true. And if I study it out in my mind, then maybe I can find what parts of it are true and what parts are false, and—" [emphasis added]
        Which is the precise answer to the question that started this discussion, umpteen pages back. He goes on:
'…if something just plain didn't make sense to Alvin, he didn't believe it, and no amount of quoting from the Bible would convince him.'

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/04/1998 11:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The first thing a person must do to gain control of his own life is to develop a view of how the world works and of his place in it.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 9/02/1998 11:00:00 AM

Friday, February 08, 2008

Science Magazine

The ideal science mag: Not much of a change from today, more a change in format.

1. A science fiction story. This could flip between new stuff and good oldies, but all will be either hard (so the reader learns something about the world) or very speculative (so the reader is exposed to wild, yet not impossible theories). Occasionally you could do something sweet, like "Dance on a Forgotten Shore," to capture the emotions of science & discovery, but nothing too weird or convoluted. Clear, straightforward stuff. Length will be standard, not cut short for the format. In fact, you could even run novellas in serial.
2. An expository article every month. This would be nothing cutting-edge although it might (naah) be related to another article. Instead, it would explain in layman's terms some fact or principle of science. The whole purpose would be to explain, not to inform. Asimov's F&SF articles are exactly what I'm talking about here. Never condescend, or attempt to speak to the common denominator. Presume intelligence but ignorance. Run the gamut, but try to include topics like "What is a Wave?" "What is the Scientific Method?" "What is a Spectroscope?" "How Does a Computer Work?" Also, articles on the history of science and engineering, biographies of historical scientists, mathematicians, etc., and engineering expositories‚ where the readers learn some principle they could actually use—would be good sometimes. How did MacGuyver's tricks work? Let's stay away from current events—Newsweek can do those. Do not just gloss over to give a surface understanding. Don't get technical, but cover whatever topic you're discussing thoroughly. Again, Asimov is an excellent example.
3. Well-thought-out, in-depth articles. Let's hire science fiction writers and editors, and real scientists and engineers to write these. Journalists and science writers always seem to have the wrong take. Explain the issues well enough so that the reader can decide for himself if a viewpoint is valid. If the subject is too complex or technical for that, give it a good once-over and refer the reader to more in-depth information either within or immediately following (and in the same size print as) the text. The Web would be an excellent way to do this, either by providing a much more in-depth article (not a replacement, though; I don't think the current article text should be online) by the same author (preferred) or by posting related info by other people, and always providing links for further reading. Or you could refer them to scholarly journals, etc.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 8/10/1998 11:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Science and Philosophy

I have finally decided that science and philosophy are worthless without each other. Science without philosophy—solid philosophy, not a scientist's philosophy which says he can play with his toys for as long as he likes—is directionless and dangerous. It will provide solutions with no guarantee that the solution is not worse than the problem. Never any real answers. Philosophy without science is not really philosophy at all, because it's not looking at the real world, only what sounds good or feels right. Only at the confluence can truth and answers be found.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 8/15/1998 11:00:00 AM

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Insecurity is a sane and normal reaction when you are changing or doubting your value system. It's a mark of being true to yourself; your emotions telling you, "just because it makes sense doesn't mean it's right, and just because it seems right doesn't mean it's best for you!" Don't deny, cover up or be ashamed of your insecurities. Face them. Understand why you're insecure, what you're afraid of, then examine whether that fear is legitimate. You're not bad to be afraid, because it's yourself you're looking after, which is right!

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 8/13/1998 11:00:00 AM

Friday, January 18, 2008

Journal Purpose

Look: what am I doing here?: I really liked how Phaedrus took extensive, rigorous notes on the philosophical texts he read. I think that it would benefit me to do the same.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 12/25/1997 12:00:00 PM

Thursday, January 17, 2008


•I've revamped how Labels work on Journal Entries; they were getting out of hand. Now there are just a few Categories; every post will have one (and, hopefully, only one) of these. Beneath the Categories in the sidebar of Journal Entries (not Current Thoughts, where this is posted; Labels have yet to get out of hand here) are various Labels; a post may have none, one, or more than one of these. Note that as I'm using Blogger's Labels for both my Categories and Labels, they will be mixed up together at the bottom of individual posts, in alphabetical order. But the Categories links are useful for making sure you see all the posts in Journal Entries, anyway, without having to navigate through the somewhat cumbersome Archives links, as all posts with a given Category, regardless of date, will show up when you click on that Category's link either in the sidebar or at the bottom of a post, and all posts have a Category.

• Book Notes with multiple entries for one book also are Labeled with the book title to make it easier to see all the posts on that book at once; these book-title Labels do not appear in the sidebar, so they are only found on the relevant posts.

• I've also changed the links for all the little book graphics (and most other book links) to Google Books rather than Google Books has lots of neat features, including internal previews of many books, and a link to reserve a copy at your local library. If you're having trouble understanding a Book Note and want to see if you can find the context, Google Books might help. If not, there's an Amazon link on every page; they often have previews too.

• On another note, because of the way I've structured this blog, it's quite likely that entries in the compendium are outdated and have been updated and improved in their Department blog. Click on the link at the bottom of each post in the compendium to see the latest and greatest version of that post.

• Although I'm not entirely sure why I'm going to all this work; I seem to currently have a grand total of one verified email subscription (the widget in the sidebar in the compendium says two, but one of them is me) to this blog. Is no one reading this? Or are they just not using the email subscription feature? I do hope somebody's reading this, or else I'm doing a whole lot of work for nothing; I looked yesterday and noticed that, even with all of the journal entries I've posted, I've only gotten through something like a fifth of my first journal so far, so there's lots more coming...

• That reminds me: since entries in Journal Entries are posted by their original creation date (years ago in most cases), it is likely that newly posted entries will not appear at the top of the blog. This means that if you're watching Journal Entries to see if there are new posts, you're going to miss them. Either subscribe to Journal Entries via email or subscribe to or watch the compendium, or you're going to miss the new journal entries. Yeah, it sucks, but I can't think of a better way; I'll be posting stuff from several journals written at different times, and I think it's worthwhile to keep the entries in chronological order.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/17/2008 01:52:00 AM

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wal-Mart and the poor

Since a new Wal-Mart is soon to open near my house, this seems like an appropriate time to ask: Do we dislike Wal-Mart because it caters to the lower class?

Posted By Calion to Carbondale Bytelife at 1/16/2008 4:30:00 PM

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)

•P. 7: "…modern study of these books (the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Old Testament]) has revealed variations of style, and repetitions, and contradictions in the narrative, which make it impossible to ascribe the whole work to a single author."
        If this is true, this is a complete killer to the idea of a bible code.

Update: Saturday, January 5, 2008 9:34 PM
•See Cracking the Bible Code for my more recent thoughts on the Bible code subject.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 7/05/1998 11:00:00 AM

Friday, January 11, 2008

Third Thing

3. I remember! The third thing is that along with how the blog is now separated into two departments instead of five, I changed the method that the blog entries are reposted onto the compendium. Instead of having an email client always running that re-sends the posts to Blogger (as described in Me? Blogging?), I've had to change things around a bit. With the transition to New Blogger that allowed me to consolidate the blogs, something broke with how Blogger parses special characters. My department blogs have an em dash in their namesthat thing. The problem is, you can't find an em dash on a keyboard; it's a special, high-ASCII character like • or æ or . Unlike the lower-128 characters (everything you actually see on a keyboard: letters, numbers, normal special characters like $%&@), there's no standard ASCII code for the upper-128 characters, which, on the Mac, includes the em dash (option-shift-hyphen), but on other systems may not. So HTML threw its hands up and instituted what's called HTML Entities instead, where special characters are represented by codes like — and • (which result in — and •, respectively). The problem in this case was that Blogger started escaping these codes, so the department links at the bottom of the posts on the main page started looking funky. Instead of sending "Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts" (embedded in a link, of course), it sent "Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts" which resulted, instead of Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts, in Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts. Not what I wanted.

Of course, the easy thing to do here would just be to give up and change the department blog names, to something like Current Thoughts or Genius/Idiot--Current Thoughts. But I'm not well known for doing the easy thing; I wanted it pretty. Instead, I spent many long days over a period of several months—most of last year, really—learning enough UNIX to do this by hand on my own computer (the Mac is now based on a UNIX operating system, in case you didn't know). In the end, I had to go to an incredible rigamarole in order to save my silly em dash. Here's the new setup (this replaces step 6 in Me? Blogging?):

6. Blogger emails the post to an email account I have set up on my own computer (I have a static domain name provided by It comes in, is handed off to Procmail for processing, which hands it off to formail to modify the header so that Blogger would take it back (took forever to figure that bit out), then hands it off again to sed for lots of reasonably complicated text processing, to make it look like it used to look before Blogger broke it (Blogger had changed some style stuff as well). Procmail then sends it to Postfix, a UNIX mail server, which shoots it back off to Blogger.

This was at least as hard as it sounds to figure out how to do. I could never have done it without the Procmail Quick Start and a nifty program called Postfix Enabler. I'm cheap; I fought with .conf files and a bunch of stuff I don't even remember anymore (God help me when I need to change computers; I have no idea how I did all this) for days before I finally gave up and paid the $10 for Postfix Enabler (a Mac front-end for Postfix). I was a fool. What I failed to do in two or three days, Postfix Enabler did in two or three clicks. I love the Mac .

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/11/2008 10:51:00 AM

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three things

1. I've redated all the posts on the main page to match when they were originally posted. Some were out of order because I had posted some new items before I reposted old items.
2. The email subscribe link on Journal Entries was broken; it wrongly subscribed to Current Thoughts instead. Fixed.
3. Er...I forget what the third thing was. Except...don't forget to subscribe! Oh, and if you're a close friend, don't forget to log into and friend me at LiveJournal; stuff too personal to go here is likely to go there.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/10/2008 06:55:00 PM

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Bible Code

•As absolutely astonishing as this letter-skip Bible code is, I am convinced that there is more even underlying that. There are many ways to encode text.

•I must know if there are ancient Egyptian texts—the Book of the Dead, perhaps?—that show the same sort of coding.

•P. 31: no. No, no way, absolutely not, no. I have had no problem with anything up to this point—there was nothing to have a problem with. It was all facts, no opinion—except with the authors' opinion that Rabin's murder could have been averted—which is the same issue I'm addressing here.
        Einstein—"The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent." Hawking—"Time travel might be within our capabilities in the future." NO. Time travel is not theoretically impossible like creating matter or energy, it is logically impossible, like Mike (tho' I disagree) says the sort of prophecy exhibited in the Bible code is, or like, if I understand it properly, Einstein says travelling faster than light is.
        No amount of change in our understanding of the Universe changes logic. What we call Time is merely duration, and duration is only change. Time I suppose, is simply the measurement of the rate of change versus some other rate of change (change being relative movement).

Update: Saturday, January 5, 2008 8:51 PM
•See Cracking the Bible Code for my more recent thoughts on the Bible code subject.

•The discussion on Time is a little confusing. How I would say that now is that Time (or time; I'm not making a big deal about the capital letter) is a measurement of relative change, in the same way that Distance is a measurement of relative position.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Journal Entries at 7/04/1998 11:00:00 AM

Friday, January 04, 2008

Blog is back

The refurbishing of Genius/Idiot is complete, and I hope to resume posting on a semi-regular basis. As mentioned previously, there are two Department pages, Current Thoughts and Journal Entries. All posts from these two pages are amalgamated onto the main Genius/Idiot page. Each of the three blog pages has a Subscription link on it that works for that blog only, so if you only wish to be updated about current writings, only subscribe to Current Thoughts, if you only wish to see updates on my old journal entries, subscribe to Journal Entries, and if you want both, just subscribe to the main Genius/Idiot page.

I've re-enabled Anonymous commenting, but please don't comment without at least leaving a nickname and URL or email address, or something to indicate who you are; I hate guessing. Plus, if you log in, you can subscribe to further comments on that post, which is pretty cool.

The main Genius/Idiot page has some older entries that people who have followed in this blog in the past may have seen before on top; I'll move them down to their proper place before long, but people who have only looked at my blog in the last few months and not before haven't seen these posts before. Some posts that should be new to everybody are at the top of Current Thoughts.

If you've never visited my blog before, I'd appreciate if you took a look and see what you think. Please leave comments on any posts you find interesting.


Jim Syler

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/04/2008 11:21:00 PM

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Changing Blogs

If you have been paying attention to Genius/Idiot for the last few months, you know I've been rearranging my blogs. Instead of the old separate-blogs-as-categories scheme that I was using (Philosophy, Book Notes, Random Thoughts, Liberty, and Technology), thanks to Blogger's new Labeling feature, I have consolidated these five blogs into two, Journal Entries and Current Thoughts, with Labels (listed in the sidebar) serving as categories within each blog. Of course, all posts from these two new blogs are still aggregated at the main Genius/Idiot page.

I'm in the process of migrating posts from the old blogs to the new, and then the comments. I'll probably leave the old blogs up indefinitely, in order to be a good netizen, but they're dead and will stay dead (except that I suppose I'll repost this on each of them, but at some point commenting will be disabled).

One other thing: The header says "Posts from all my blogs are aggregated in the compendium." But that's not quite true; only posts from Genius/Idiot blogs are actually aggregated, as well as my posts from Carbondale Bytelife. There is a passel of other blogs listed under "Other blogs" in the sidebar to the left that are not aggregated here. My question is, should they be? Should the main Genius/Idiot page show posts from all my blogs, or just the two Genius/Idiot blogs? I've had one "no" vote; what does everyone else think? And don't shy away from answering just because you find this sometime after it's posted; I'm still interested in your opinion.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/03/2008 06:58:00 PM

Iowa Caucus

Well, tonight is the big night. Tonight we find out whether Ron Paul's support is as wide as it is deep, or if we've been fooling ourselves.

Don't get me wrong—this isn't 'win or die' here. But if Paul does no better than his polls would indicate (9%), then we, the members of the Ron Paul R3VOLution, have been kidding ourselves with our belief that Paul's support is better measured by the number of straw polls he's won (25, more than any other Republican candidate this cycle) or the amount of money he's raised (nearly $20 Million this quarter, likely more than any other Republican), or the number of online polls he's won (countless, but the current AOL Straw Poll is probably the most interesting), or the number of MeetUp groups he has (1,442, with a stunning 90,000 members, more get the picture) than by the actual polling data, which, many contend, are biased against Paul because a) many Paul supporters are more technically savvy than most and are therefore more likely to use cell phones, which often aren't called in traditional polls, and b) pollsters contact "likely Republican voters," which excludes many Paul supporters who haven't voted, or haven't voted Republican, in the past.

It's hard to know how accurate these charges are, and therefore how likely traditional polls are to be inaccurate. I have had very little luck in discovering the actual methodology used by these polls. Only once or twice have I seen a poll say what its criteria for "likely Republican voters" is, but at least once the method was to ask the respondent if they intended to vote in the primary/caucus, and if so, for which party. I have also seen polls that specifically said that they included cell phone in their calls. Given all this, it's really hard to know whether these criticisms of traditional polls hold water. It seems likely that they hold to some degree, but given that professional polling organizations stake their reputations on getting it right, one would think that at least some polls would indicate Paul's true level of support, and he's yet to get more than 10% in any traditional national or state poll that I've seen. And there is one online poll that he's losing: the USA Button Poll. This one is interesting in that you actually have to spend some money and buy a button in order to be counted. It's easy to vote in an online poll. It can also be fairly simple to vote multiple times from multiple email addresses, or whatever. But when you actually charge money in order to vote, it infuses a level of honesty that might not be there otherwise, especially when it's something stupid like a button poll that no one in their right mind would waste enough money to rig.

On the other hand, there are some indications that Paul will do better than expected tonight. First there are the aforementioned flaws in the traditional polls, which even Zogby himself seems to admit might cause Paul to do noticeably better than expected. Second, there can be no denying that Paul's supporters are passionate and dedicated. This means that any given Paul supporter is probably more likely to take the time and effort to caucus than supporters of other candidates. Third, Dr. Paul really does have a lot have a lot of money in the bank, and he's spending it in Iowa to establish an organization that will get out the vote. Fourth, there is still a significant chunk of undecided and unsure voters in Iowa, and caucusers give little speeches before voting. Given that the rhetoric of the Paul campaign is appealing to many people and that Paul supporters are generally going to be less likely to change their votes at the last minute, if Paul supporters comport themselves in a calm, respectful, non-wacko manner, Paul seems likely to pick up last minute votes that polls could not detect.

So we'll see tonight. If Dr. Paul does badly, does that mean I'm going to give up on him? No. Regardless of what happens, Ron Paul has made a difference that will last for years in the future, and I intend to be a part of that, even after this Presidential race is over. In fact, I've already been named a Precinct Captain (email me if you're interested in being one too), so I'll be helping out until the Illinois Primary, at least.

So: My predictions. It looks likely that Huckabee will place first, followed fairly closely by Romney, but it could easily go the other way. Paul has a strong chance of placing third; that's what I'm feverently hoping for. If not third, then a strong fourth after McCain. If Paul doesn't finish ahead of both Thompson and Giuliani, neither of whom have actively campaigned in Iowa, it bodes ill for Paul's eventual nomination. On the other hand, if Paul finishes a solid third in Iowa, then goes on to place first or second in New Hampshire, he will have shown himself to be a serious contender with a real shot at the nomination.

Posted By Calion to Genius/Idiot—Current Thoughts at 1/03/2008 02:12:00 PM