J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: March 2011

Sick (Thoughts on Various Cold and Flu Remedies)

Zinc — you can suck on it.

I’m down with some sort of flu-thing at the moment (maybe regular flu, possibly swine flu, and I can’t totally rule out strep throat).  The illness came on within 24 hours and left me a shivering mess.  200mg ibuprofen keeps the fever down for a few hours and gives me a window to feel like a regular human being (otherwise I’d be in bed right now, feeling extremely sorry for myself).  This seems like a good as time as any to share my thoughts on various cold and flu remedies.

Disclaimer:  I’m not a medical professional.  Take my advice at your own risk.

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How It Might Go Down (A Global Population Scenario)

Up and up and … ?

A graph like the one above should make you nervous.  A line going nearly straight up indicates a “bubble” situation — and all bubbles must pop.  Dot-com bubble, U.S. housing market bubble, Dutch tulip bulb bubble; historically, there are dozens of examples of market bubbles.  The above graph references population, not markets, but there are just as many examples of animal population crashes (for example the chilling story of the reindeer of St. Matthew Island in Alaska).  Bubble dynamics are always the same; exponential growth is never sustainable, and is thus followed by exponential shrinkage.

Human population can’t go up indefinitely.  Something will eventually limit (and reverse) our growth.  It might be food, it might be energy, or it might be cultural factors.  “Doomers” predict human population decline will be brought on by hard limits to oil and food production, and will be accompanied by chaos, violence, and strife (Thomas Malthus, with his predictions of overpopulation and mass starvation, could be considered the original doomer).

Some, like the environmental writer Fred Pearce, predict a rosier decline.  Pearce predicts that voluntary reduced fertility (women choosing to use birth control) will allow human population growth to taper off and eventually decline gradually, with a a minimum of strife.  We’ll avert economic catastrophe by working into old age; we’ll “harness older people as a resource.”

My bullshit detector goes off listening to both lines of thinking.  The doomers and the optimists are both overlooking important variables.  To get a complete picture of human population decline scenarios, what factors do we need to consider?

An overpopulated Coldplay concert.

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Michio Kaku Should Stick to Physics (Evolution, Birth Control, and Mate Selection)

Future humans -- more attractive, more intelligent, more nurturing?

I’m generally a fan of the physicist Michio Kaku. I enjoy his speculations about the future of humanity, his realistic optimism, and his willingness to speculate about ideas from the realm of science-fiction. But recently, I watched a short video in which Dr. Kaku explained some of his ideas about evolution, and I found myself strongly disagreeing with a number of his points.

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A Multi-Modal Approach To Solving Extremely Difficult Problems, Part III (Massively Iterative Failure)


In Part I and Part II of this series, I explored radically different approaches to problem solving, including:

The Rational Approach
The Empirical Approach
The Subjectivist/Attentional Approach
The Intuitive/Super-Conscious Cognition Apporach
The Holistic/Network Analysis Approach

Too often we fall into the trap of thinking about a problem in a single way, and come up short because our habitual thinking mode isn’t best suited for the problem at hand.  For example, if we try to to apply an empirical problem solving approach to a situation that is in massive flux, we may find that our data regarding what has worked in the past to be useless (aka driving forwards while looking out the rear window).

Another vulnerability of empiricism is the likelihood of discounting the possibility of low-probability/high impact (black swan) events.  Just because an event has never happened (and has therefore never been observed) doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.

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I Could Never Have Predicted This (100th release on Loöq)

Sometimes life just pulls you into things, and you’re happy to go there.

A raver offering up her boobies to John Digweed.

In 1994, when I was just a 24-year-old fool, I was invited to join an electronic music collective operating under the alias Trip ‘n Spin.  The “initiation,” as I remember it, consisted of me playing a few self-produced dance tracks (recorded on cassette) to Sam Urton (alias Novabass), Greg Lindberg (alias The G), and Stephen Kay (alias DJ Special K or Spesh).

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