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The Society for Excessive Awesomeness

Directional simplification in arguments:

Given:complex evaluation and position on a matter / directional simplification: take individual components that led to that position, simplify them down with a question paired with a request to keep it yes/no, and build the opposite conclusion (or an alternate framework) using simplified forms of most of the original foundation.

Consideration: It can be a powerful tactic. A good reasoned response is demanded - how does the more complex (and possibly more inclusive) foundation justify your conclusion given this alternative.

As always, it can be abused - demanding thoughtful analysis can amount to a denial-of-service attack on a thinker when people pile on with every possible permutation (which is partly why scientists rarely directly engage with skeptical public who are "conversing to win by any means possible")

In general we should be skeptical of any request in a discussion to boil things down to a yes-or-no - not that we should reject it out of hand, but we should be suspicious. If it comes to "there is important nuance and neither yes nor no fits", a yes-or-no damages the truth. This might be particularly problematic in the courtroom if one is instructed to give a yes or no.

Discovering that carrying my gameboy around is a sure way to be even less present-in-the-world than I already am. I apparently lack the self-discipline to use it sanely.

Memories and instinct...Memories as a scratchpad for abstract/long-term adaptation (or avoidance of maladaption) of behaviour - thought as a kind of meta-instinct.

For problems, our kind of memory permits batch rather than realtime processing. If we don't consider a problem, we don't retain it in memory. Attentional blindness on this front cleaves our perceptual worlds into separate societies, as memory is foundational to who we are and what kinds of problems/concerns we have. This affects everything from politics to cliques; the more philosophy, the more scale, the further we move from tribal societies, the more divergent our worlds become, and the harder it is for us to understand the reason behind people who see things differently.

Difficult mental exercise: put ourselves in the heads of very difficult people. Also difficult, feels to me to be in the same way: overcome attentional blindness in specific instances (we probably can't overcome in the general case; that'd often be a bad thing anyhow).

Naturally a pain to think, culturally a pain not to think for some of us. Tension leads to change-friendly and change-averse personalities. For people who have a "fix" for change, is it enough to get most of it in one avenue of life? People who love puzzles but always take them home and puzzle over them on the same table at the same time of night, or people who love to travel to keep themselves off-guard - same need filled? I imagine some people might classify themself as being "change-averse" or "change-friendly" by considering one way or another of sitting in this tension as being more "real" than another.

Oh how wonderful greasemonkey is to make using Google Search nicer. No adverts, but also the ability to decide "I don't ever want to see this bloody site again in my results". Searchwiki doesn't hold a candle to that (best you can do is remove a particular result from a specific search). Maybe in theory if enough people decide that site sucks through searchwiki it'll affect pagerank, but in the meantime they have to wade through garbage sites (specific example: look for the lyrics to a song - some sites do SEO tricks to become the top link for all lyrics searches even if they lack the particular lyrics you want, and many of them are so ad-laden (even for people like me who have a lot of software installed that tries very hard to make sure I never see an advertisement anywhere, text, flash, or anything else) or otherwise horrid that reasonable people would never want to visit). GreasemonkeyのGoogle Noise Reduction is your friend.

Been thinking about how to nicely API-ise the web, were we to have the chance to do it over again and knew that unless we badly screwed up we'd have it as big as we do, along with how Google Gears and other apps tried to do this the polite way and how Greasemonkey does it the rude/brute-force/fragile way. Was gopher culturally better than the web on this front? We probably don't live in the best of all possible worlds (haha), but what paths might've led us to something better (for some reasonable-if-muddy notion of better)?