Assorted links


I like this quote:

"Action Park made adults of a generation of Tri-State Area kids who strolled through its blood-stained gates, by teaching us the truth about life: it is not safe, you will get hurt a lot, and you'll ride all the way home burnt beyond belief."

Most amusement parks of that era had one "what they were they thinking?" ride that your mother wouldn't let you near. Somehow Action Park consisted entirely of such rides.

Sacks, not Sachs.

Why would that laborious humour-substitute be anyone's favourite page?

I know; because it gives the reader a huge sense of superiority over geekdom.

Thomas Nagel underestimates the potential technological transhumanism:

"We can assume that people’s innate capacities and dispositions haven’t changed significantly in the course of recorded history, nor will they change in the next millennium or two. Evolution works more slowly than that. [...] The hope for progress can consist only in the belief that there is some form of collective human life in which the capacity for barbarism will rarely find expression, and in which humans’ creative and cooperative potential can be realized without hindrance."

Alternatively, human nature itself, not institutions, can be rewritten by technology. For the first time in history, we are now gathering the practical capacity to do so. For those who think the outcome won't be an improvement of the world, there seems little reason to think that progress in institutions can do better.

No, even the venerable Nagel misses the source of improvement, namely Hayekian spontaneous cooperation among individuals. Naturally, most experiments along these lines will fail, but those few that survive will look like progress.

Governmentally enforced prohibitions of experiments, not government per se, retards or reverses what one might call progress.

The odds of winning on a slot machine are tightly controlled, and checked by state inspectors. The odds of *almost* winning (eg 2 cherries with a third visible) are not regulated. In practice, these combinations come up *much* more often than random chance would predict. Another way to manipulate the customers.

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