Apr 07 2015

ABA Journal nominated for a 2015 Webby award

Oh, hey, the website I work on just got nominated for a Webby award. This is the first time we’ve been a nominee since 2008.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that we gave the site over the last year.

Vote for the ABA Journal, won’t you?


Apr 06 2015

Wait, what?

Mar 30 2015

I think I found a bug in the friendly AI.

Mar 27 2015

I watched “God’s Not Dead”, so you don’t have to. No, seriously, you really don’t have to.

 I’m about 400 pages deep into a book about rationality and improving your cognitive functionality, so I figured, what the heck, let’s look at what contemporary christians think are their most convincing arguments. Also, I was out of horror movies to watch, and I had a few drinks in me.

So the story is essentially thus: A kid is a freshman in college, and signs up for an introductory undergrad philosophy class. The teacher of said class, as he is passing out his syllabus, says that everyone has to sign a piece of paper saying that “God’s Dead”, or else suffer dire consequences. Everyone signs except for our hero, who is then told he has to convince his class of 40 or so kids that god exists, or else he fails (or, as the movie repeatedly insists upon, “commits academic suicide”). Add in a few insipid side stories, and you can imagine how plot goes from there.

I was extremely disappointed in this movie, I have to say. I mean, it’s just a jumble of weird christian fantasies about what they imagine atheists must be like. The epistemology is not just flawed, it’s more like a melange of lousy justifications for a foregone conclusion — oh, gosh, doesn’t the Big Bang theory sound just like the account of creation in Genesis? No? Well, here’s an appeal to authority. Not buying that? Maybe you’d prefer to believe that atheists are all just secretly angry with God. Etc.  It’s like a 90-minute live-action Chick tract.

Every character a caricature. Every plotline a melodrama. And the whole thing ends with all the newly-saved freshmen attending a christian rock concert en masse, where they all text everyone in their phonebooks with the message “God’s Not Dead”. As the credits roll, the audience of the film is encouraged to do the same. Because, you know, get on the bandwagon.  From beginning to end, it’s a cavalcade of bad logic, fallacious reasoning, wishful thinking and offensive stereotypes of all kinds.

But ultimately, it comes down to this: I’ve been in my fair share of undergrad philosophy courses. I’m fairly confident that nobody involved in the making of this movie can say the same thing. Philosophy professors are really, really lousy villains in real life.

“God’s Not Dead” on IMDB.com

Mar 25 2015

The Chicago rabbit

The unofficial face of wildlife is right under your nose!

Click here for the full article

Posted from Facebook

Mar 25 2015

Legendary Lands: Umberto Eco on the Greatest Maps of Imaginary Places and Why They Appeal to Us


“Often the object of a desire, when desire is transformed into hope, becomes more real than reality itself.” Celebrated Italian novelist,

Click here for the full article

Posted from Facebook

Mar 21 2015

Oh, ha ha fortune cookie. Very funny. :/

Mar 20 2015

Rationality: From AI to Zombies – Machine Intelligence Research Institute

Weighing in at more than 1,800 pages, it is quite possibly the most complete tome available on how to improve your mind, make better decisions, and understand why people, including yourself, do what they do. I cannot recommend it more strongly.

Pay-what-you-want version includes DRM-free epub, mobi, and PDF versions. Also available on Amazon for Kindle, etc.


Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky Tweet What does it actually mean to be rational? Not Hollywood-style “rational,” where one rejects all human feeling to embrace Cold Hard Logic — real rationality, of the sort studied by psychologists, social scientists, and mathematicians. The ki…

Click here for the full article

Posted from Facebook

Mar 15 2015

Dinner for one tonight.

Mar 13 2015

Zero explosives, 1 arrest and 2.6K bags checked by cops at CTA stations

So, let’s see —

4 months, 2,600+ people pointlessly inconvenienced, zero explosives, no terrorists, and only one, single, solitary arrest of a man who opted to deliberately protest the “random” searches.

I’d say this program is pretty much the dictionary definition of useless waste of police resources. It’s not even security theater, because simply nobody believes it does anything whatsoever.

It’s just so completely, utterly stupid.


Chicago police have checked 2,600-plus bags and packages, made 1 arrest and found zero explosives in the four months since they launched a random screening program at CTA train stations to check for riders who might be trying to carry out a terrorist attack.

Click here for the full article

Posted from Facebook