@sumdepony

House

HousekeepingAstute readers may be aware that I keep both a Medium blog and a WordPress blog. The WordPress blog, which you can find here is the canonical version, because I make post publication updates (mostly clarifying things and adding content to deal with objections) to the WordPress blog, but not to the Medium blog. I keep the Medium blog up because that’s where I started posting, and some people like to follow me there.I hate...

@sumdepony

GPT-2 Among the philosophers: Prompting a language bot with philosophical content

GPT-2 is a machine learning application designed for language modelling- that is predicting the word most likely to follow the proceeding string of words. It turns out that to be good at language modelling over diverse corpuses you’ve got to be very good at mimicking many things- including philosophy.I prompted this online version of GPT-2 with a series of prompts taken from famous works of philosophy. I’ve picked some of the more...

@sumdepony

Muh research budgets: Against a disingenuous argument defending big pharma

Americans pay vastly more for many drugs than other countries. There are probably many causes of this, but one is the refusal of the federal government to collectively bargain about prices with pharmaceutical companies, unlike many other countries.The right wing defends this state of affairs with the following argument- these higher prices allow drug companies to spend more on research.Here’s the thing. If you want someone to provide...

@sumdepony

The efficiency game: Rational ignorance and policy in class struggle

This essay develops ideas owing to Kieran Latty, who is in turn developing ideas in Kalecki.1.Jiang & Jim are playing a multiplayer game, perhaps a business simulator. As part of that game they have to put money into a common pot where it is used to fulfil certain functions the players cannot achieve on their own. Neither wants the money in the common pot to go below certain level, and neither wants all their income to go into a...

@sumdepony

OCD: What I learned fighting mind cancer

***UNFINISHED*** ***UNFINISHED*** ***DO NOT CIRCULATE***Everywhere you go you always take the weather with you-Crowded House “Weather With You”.0. An obsessive compulsive lifeObsessive compulsive disorder is a horrible thing and I would not wish it on anyone. That said, living with OCD has given me a certain way of seeing the world. The insights and viewpoints of that way of seeing are not unique to OCD, but OCD is certainly one...

@sumdepony

The disciplinarian and the reformer

The disciplinary instinct, and the instinct to genuine social reform, will never be friends.To be a disciplinarian- to hunt after people who have breached the rules is to assert implicitly that “We need to root out the bad ones”.To be a reformer, to seek to change the rules, is to assert “This problem is so large, so ingrained to the way we relate to each other, that there are no bad ones or good ones.”The disciplinarian can...

@sumdepony

There are a couple of problems with cooperatives:

There are a couple of problems with cooperatives:In general, cooperatives have an incentive not to expand if expansion means bringing new workers into the cooperative. This is because cooperative members are capital owners, and every new member dilutes their share. In the best case scenario this leads to the firm not growing as much as it should- missing out on economies of scale. In the worst case scenario this leads to exploitative...

@sumdepony

The books I wanted to write in the fiction career I’ll never have

Perhaps six months ago I finally accepted that I’ll almost certainly never be a novelist. I’m just too busy with various non-fiction projects.There’s nothing special about ideas in fiction. Anyone can have a ‘brilliant’ idea for a novel given a pen and paper, a caffeinated beverage and an afternoon in the sun. I’ll admit that there are a few bright glints, a few truly great ideas that we should all be thankful for, but for...

@sumdepony

The Invention of Fire

1.Three figures sit in a cave, a fourth approaches carrying a burning bushel.Urg: You know fire? Well I’ve figured out to start it. It’s a cold winter, so I’m thinking we should set everything on fire.Gru: That’s madness! Fire burns us, it is our natural enemy. We should instead splash everything with water so it can’t burn.Rug: No, we need a reasonable compromise. We should set half the things on fire.Gru: That won’t...

@sumdepony

Short answer: You can verify that I am telling the truth about 21 year old casual fast-food workers…

Short answer: You can verify that I am telling the truth about 21 year old casual fast-food workers here: https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyourawardLong Answer: Interesting question, which I think reflects on an important difference between many countries and the US on the meaning of a minimum wage. Namely, in most other rich countries that I’m aware of, there is not really a single minimum wage, but numerous different minimum...