NYR, continued

Joscha Bach: Everything Is Computation

After some lamenting about how hot it’s going to be on our planet due to anthropomorphic climate change (many Edge contributors have this urge, as they want to establish themselves among Algore’s flock as devoted – or what?) … he goes to the point.

A growing number of physicists understand that the universe is not mathematical, but computational, and physics is in the business of finding an algorithm that can reproduce our observations.

And that

Everything is computation.

I agree with those two points and I am giving him 8/10. The score would be much higher, if the CC thing hadn’t even been mentioned.

The point is that we are DEFINING computation, information, intelligence and so on, quite arrogantly. Just as Newton (or Galileo) defined force as something totally separate from the way Shakespeare or Dante would use it. It’s the right thing to do. Loose everyday words such as “mass” or “temperature” are just floating among people, until they are defined as a scientific term. Explicitly or rather implicitly.  Shedding some light on the matter instead of creating confusion.

Rory Sutherland: The Dematerialization Of Consumption

He concludes, that our consumption consists of less and less so called material goods. Even if you spend ever more money per year, the mass of the purchased pile per year goes down. It peaked at 12 tons per year already.

I think he is wrong on the long term. It will peak someday, but with a much larger amount. Still an interesting line of reasoning, I’ll give him 8/10.

Peter Turchin: Fatty Foods Are Good For Your Health

Once again, an entire scientific community was completely wrong for decades. They have had a scientific consensus among themselves where almost everybody was reluctant to challenge it, for fear of being derided as a crank, and most further intimidated everybody else. Don’t eat that fatty meat, or you will die! Eat wheat! (I other words – Eat starch and become obese! We will blame fast food restaurants and their hamburgers for this, you sinner!)

I give him 9/10. Hoping that the Global Warming crowd also took something from this. No, they haven’t – not yet.




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