Equip to Wilderness Rock Climb for Less than $600
Research ruminations, and other creative writing over the years. While I've written far more than this, these are the pieces other people asked me to share.
When I started at Oxford University in 1979, I was told I'd have to take statistics as a minor for a major in philosophy and psychology. So I nervously went to meet the professor, worrying how I hadn't studied calculus in a long time. But he had been sitting in front of an Apple 2, on a table in the Psychology Dept. lounge, for a solid week. He had read the manuals and written a couple of programs, then he had just sat there looking at it. For a week.
Some time ago I stated rather sardonically that the same arguments used to demote Pluto from planethood would remove Washington DC from the USA, which is actually a scathing condemnation of the quality of philosophical thought even in the scientific communities of this nation. There was a great deal of naive complaint about that statement, so this post explains the problem in detail.
A box-and-arrow overview of a learning software intelligence, with unconsciousness and emotions, capable of defending itself when under threat. The architecture combines recent and prominent models from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, logic, linguistics, social psychology, and psychoanalysis.
After exploring how to link the conscious and unconscious abstractions with basic feelings, this article postulates a new model for dreams, summarizes the possibilities for computer simulation, and provides a high-level description of the initial cognition process. It is intended as a framework for systematic discussion of each component and process in the hypercognition system, sufficient to define a learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) with emotions and dreams.
The great ornithologist Richard Attenborough was once asked why birds sing. After a long explanation, ending in a detailed examination of what happens during a morning chorus, he concluded, "So, if there are no predators, and it is not time to mate, why is there still a morning chorus? Well. It's too late to sleep. It's too early to catch worms. So there isn't anything else to do."
Has anyone ever wondered why Intel and Sun Microsystems, the two largest microprocessor design companies in silicon valley, fought pretty well everyone else, but not each other, for over 20 years? Here is a beautiful and fantastic story explaining decades of peace and prosperity, based on a secret alliance for which I was the architect. Almost no one noticed it, and absolutely no one could destroy it. Not even Microsoft.
Non-Aristotelianism is the primary premise for a specialized field of study called General Semantics: a difficult subject to understand as it is totally different from almost everything else we ever learn. Aristotle wrote that a true definition gives the essence of the thing defined (in Greek, literally "the what it was to be"). This is such a core concept in almost all our understanding of the world, including science, mathematics and logic, that we have trouble recognizing how it hobbles our ability to perceive reality more accurately.
Next year, the Chinese government in Nepal will be building the first road past this remote Buddhist settlement, which has existed much the same without contact with the rest of the world for 600 years. now they will have amenities, access to hospitals, and schools, say the Maoist extremists now running Nepal. But will the local people, who are used to living in total isolation, survive the cultural transition?
An academic essay on the limits of Empirical Materialiism with respect to explaining the nature of human experience, especially with respect to the supernatural.
An exploration of the foundation of Cartesian Dualism, resulting in a rationalization for mysticism.
A short science-fiction story about my solution to Global Warming. I sent it to Larry Niven, author of 'Ringworld' and the the 'Gil Hamilton' series, amongst many others, and he liked it, so I'm sharing Chapter One here.
Inspired by the existentialists Herman Hesse, and Knut Hamsun, this short story is the first part of a novella, 'The Observatory,' about the cultivation of prophetic vision.
On or around May 7, 2017, the number of US citizens shot to death since 9/11 will pass half a million, over a thousand times more than killed by terrorists in the same timespan. For a full analysis, seehttp://www.yofiel.com/guns/916-report.
Sometime close to May 7, 2017, half a million Americans will have been shot to death since 9/11, and there’s no sign of the death rate abating. So it’s a fine time to consider who exactly is dead, who will die next, and what would really make a difference. Does the NRA solution work? Are fatalities falling? Who is killing whom? How well does self defense work? Can gun control reduce fatalities and suicide? Do more guns mean less crime? How many illegal guns are there? How much do taxpayers pay for gun violence? What new solutions could reduce the casualties?
In efforts to increase sales in the last year, NRA has started using the hate-rhetoric techniques developed by Hitler which, in accordance with research on cognitive dissonance, has caused rapid increases in pro-violent peer pressure appearing on social media, inclining and inciting to terrorism. A study of 400 Tea Party members found half of them already ready to shoot children merely for stealing apples off an apple tree in the back yard. Intense social pressure to support killing and violence creates a ripe picking ground for those seeking to recruit or persuade malcontents to terrorism.
In 1995, firearm homicides were falling dramatically. But in 1999, the direction reversed, and killings started increasing...until about 2005, when they started falling again. Best-fit curve algorithms show the direction could go either way. Is the overall trend down or up? Are there trends in components of overall firearm fatalities that illuminate the answer? What lessons can we learn from the trends for ourselves?
New findings are presented showing that a gun in the home increases risks of residents being shot to death by 3~4 orders of magnitude more than it is likely to stop a crime. Also, during attempts of self defense, 2 out of 3 firearm fatalities are accidental killings of family or friends, rather than of criminal aggressors. Additional data on domestic violence is presented.
Natural law provides very clear answers on the gun rights versus gun control debate. But natural law, as it is invoked in USA's declaration of independence, requires accepting the existence of God, so natural law cannot be taught in American public schools. As a result, 99.9% of Americans on both 'sides' of the gun debate have opinions of the derived constitution that are very flawed. Here is a primer on natural law, and how it applies to gun liberties.
NRA's Wayne LaPierre blames violent crime for most gun deaths, and demands incarceration of all felons for 5 years as the solution. In fact, with current CDC and FBI data, less than 1 in 15 deaths are caused by crime. Even ignoring that fact, this study finds the NRA solution would at most save 1 in 9 lives, and at worst, would actually increase total fatality, due to a nine-fold increase in suicide likelihood by those with an incarceration history. This study also finds that NRA propaganda to blame firearm fatalities on acts of crime alone has been very effective in distorting the ability of gun supporters to accept the truth.
Pro-gun advocates claim that guns do not cause suicide and that therefore gun-control legislation cannot reduce suicide rates, producing suicide statistics from other nations which have reduced or banned guns to prove the claim. Here the scientific data and claims are examined. It finds that an effective way to save American lives is to enable secure delivery of confidential data from health organizations to the firearms-purchase background-check system, although this may not be enough considering the number of guns already in the country.
The American public thinks it has well-formed opinions on moral, ethical, legal, social, and religious issues, despite there being a general lack of formal education as to how to form such higher-level semantic judgments in the public school system. This study demonstrates that the need to conform to peer attitudes will cause the public to ignore facts, dismiss evidence, and believe in rumors in order to substantiate their view. The majority of Americans will not change their views, after they are formed, even when presented with direct facts to the contrary.
three centuries ago, Bentham and Mill invented the idea of 'utilitarianism:' the maximization of happiness. The results of their ideas persist throughout modern culture on more ways than most know. This article will explore the idea of 'legalitarianism:" the maximization of natural rights. According to Locke, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness enable people to act for the greater good, which a benign government implements to cause a better society for all. This article will explore how a maximization of natural rights therefore results in the best society for all.
Because Franklin decided to call Jefferson's idea of natural rights 'self evident,' many people believe they understand them perfectly. However, Jefferson based his conclusions about natural rights on empirical theory, not intuition. This topic describes how Jefferson's implementation of positive law provides definitive and immutable answers to basic issues on the extent of Federal and State authority, including solutions to many problematic conflicts that have since been politicized in the USA. The article draws the conclusion that mandatory education in positive law would reverse recent declines in peace and power
To answer questions of politics properly, one must understand the theories which produced the questions. Otherwise it is no more than blind stabs into an unknown dark. Most people alive today think that requires no more than some relatively trivial Google searches on political science. But POLITICAL SCIENCE, ultimately, can only describe that which IS or IS NOT, because it is a science rather than art. POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY takes a step beyond, to describe that which MIGHT BE.
This article is not an endorsement of 'either side.' It simply summarizes how radical Islamic terrorism picks up on Augustinian ideas of divine law's precedence over human law (as restated in the Qu'ran), with results exactly the same as from Augustinian doctrine in early Christian history. Then after summarizing how the division between church and state came about in the West, it discusses what's best to do about it. By way of preface, there is a very good explanation why you never heard this before, and it is not because the facts are unsound. A truly neutral analysis is beset not merely by criticism, but rather outright condemnation, from all sides. Immediately after sharing this on Facebook, I was banned from three groups, without even an attempt to open the link. Most others said I was wrong for reasons countermanded in the next paragraph. Also I am obligated to state first, I am an American citizen, a Satipatṭhāna Buddhist, a retired Oxford scholar, and have no affiliations with any religious or political organization.
Considering the significance of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" to all Americans, the social contract from which they are derived is the most important yet least understood topic in the United States. This article explains why Jefferson chose the particular words that he did for theDeclaration of Independence:
Tracing the three threads of development in ideas of natural law worldwide. In the West, it starts with the Stoic secularism of Cicero. Augustine's theocracy replaces it, spreading to the Middle East and back, via Averroes to Aquinas. Neoplatonism disappears, perhaps merging into the Christian church as divine awe for paternally guided afterlife. But no ideas of afterlife merge into the East or Far East. Instead Buddhist ideas spread Eastwards and transform, with their ultimate realization by Tsongkhapa; but in the Far East, later Han Lo eschews Buddhism, and Taoist ideas merge into Neoconfucianism.
Various essays and translations from over the years.
A few fiction writings from over the years.
Research and analysis on gun crime, gun accidents, gun homicide, gun suicide, gun control, self defense, murder, and violence in America.
A suite of essays on natural law, natural rights, and the social contract, with special emphasis on the worldwide origins of the ideas, and their development in the West, particularly in the United States.