Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To Levi, From Ken, May 14th, 2013, Intramuros Manila

I need a new format of correspondence with you. This isn't it. I need code folding and interactive shells and spoken sound clips to be a part of it.

This page is private. I think. Nope, fuck it. Let the world see our wieners, and let them be amazed. 


1 Job situation
  • 2  Money angst
  • 3 Recent tangents
  •      3.1 Disgenic fertility and technological unemployment
  •      3.2 Everything correlates
              3.2.1 A proposed experiment
  •      3.3 Another map
  •      3.4 Books
    4 Things that are good

Job situation

There've probably been no new developments on this, but that itself is news: I'm still in limbo and have no idea where I'm going, and I'm going to kill myself. Two interviews scheduled (depicted by yellow circles), neither of them really amazing opportunities. I expect to get a lot of interviews in the US, and I expect them to start calling me this month. We'll see.

There's a bunch of hilarious drama with the embassy, including but not limited to an insane woman who's fired who's still working and hasn't been told she's fired. They brought back this really cool dude from retirement and flew him out here to clean up the mess, and he seemed to possibly hint at me getting a renewal, but I've heard nothing more on that. I would love to stay here.

Money angst

I need to buy our tickets out, but I can't, because I don't know where we're going, and they're only getting more expensive. Money is low even without the tickets. Everything is terrible. My student loans are going to come out of forbearance. How am I going to ship the kids' stuff back? I'm going to die.

My life is full of poetic stuff and beautiful people and true quests and love and awe, and it is perfect in every way that money can't fix, but the money problem's got me wearing the look of the hunted.

I thought I was supposed to be smart. Intelligence is the universal solvent, right? Life's a system. The economy is a system. There are trends. Its behaviors are observable. Why have I not figured something out yet?

Recent tangents

Disgenic fertility and technological unemployment

So this is interesting:

Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time

  • a Department of Psychology, UmeĆ„ University, Sweden
  • b Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • c Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • d School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland


The Victorian era was marked by an explosion of innovation and genius, per capita rates of which appear to have declined subsequently. The presence of dysgenic fertility for IQ amongst Western nations, starting in the 19th century, suggests that these trends might be related to declining IQ. This is because high-IQ people are more productive and more creative. We tested the hypothesis that the Victorians were cleverer than modern populations, using high-quality instruments, namely measures of simple visual reaction time in a meta-analytic study. Simple reaction time measures correlate substantially with measures of general intelligence (g) and are considered elementary measures of cognition. In this study we used the data on the secular slowing of simple reaction time described in a meta-analysis of 14 age-matched studies from Western countries conducted between 1884 and 2004 to estimate the decline in g that may have resulted from the presence of dysgenic fertility. Using psychometric meta-analysis we computed the true correlation between simple reaction time and g, yielding a decline of − 1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points since Victorian times. These findings strongly indicate that with respect to g the Victorians were substantially cleverer than modern Western populations.

We have 300 years before we're literally all retarded. The disgenic fertility thing is more in the front of people's minds here, where the population is exploding even as people already starve, and the church makes birth control hard to get, and slum mothers have 14 kids while rich people in Makati have one. What would happen if some dude from the slum was a genius and made it big? He'd probably move to Makati and have one kid, and not spread his genes very liberally. Wow. So on the one hand we've got a Harvard full of nootropic dopers, folks like me leveraging automation and augmented intelligence everywhere possible, and a singularity in the offing, and on the other hand, if we don't make some deus ex machina happen pretty quick, we may all get too dumb at the same time as the oil runs out and the glaciers start to melt. Fun.

Also, I've been thinking about capitalism and post-capitalism lately. I've been thinking about the technically possible universe where a billionaire builds a completely automated Walmart with stocking robots and self-check lines and keeps 100% of the profits and pays nobody any wages. That's a crazy example, but everyone knows that efficiency is killing jobs. So there's this weird super-concentration of wealth happening right now, AND the rich are concentrating themselves further by having small families, AND there are. . . um . . .differences between us and them:

Everything correlates

So I remember this time when me and you were in college and we realized that we liked our male friends in roughly the order of their handsomeness. No homo or anything, and we didn't think we liked them because they were handsome, but something must have just correlated.

We had unconnected conversation, comparing our insecure ass-hat whiney emotional childish professors with the good accomplished ones, who had reputations and good research and social skills and could laugh at themselves. I suppose that one explanation is that if you've made it you don't have to be insecure anymore, but maybe there's another one.

Maslow says that everything good correlates.

The Harvard kids in San Juan were charming and sexy as hell.

A proposed experiment

I've been wanting to run a simulation. I'm at work right now typing on a friend's computer (thanks Jaunty!), or I'd mess with it now.

Sex rank is multivariate and finite in its dimensions and largely heritable. Let's mess with numbers. (Of course I won't use numbers when I really do this though; I'll use strings. You know me.)

Let's make random stuff up. Let's say that in our universe there are exactly 5 things that people like about each other. Brains, brawn, emotional intelligence, and blahblah, I don't care. And let's say that people's attractiveness on these fronts can be rated from 1 to 5, so that people had a number like 52543 meaning

Looks - 5 (really handsome)
Intelligence - 2 (kind of dumb)
Blah - 5
It doesn't - 5
matter - 4
you get the point - 3

Now lets say I make a model universe, with 1000 individuals with random values for every feature. Then I let them sexually reproduce, splitting their attribute strings down the middle and recombining with other people.

What happens? I have no intuitions about this. Maybe the answer is already clear to you. If you mate them with something like the sex party algorithm (I still need to write a post about that), where people are matched as optimally as possible, do all of the good traits cluster together after the nth generation, or does the thing stay in equilibrium?

It's an answer I want to know.

Another map

This is the incidence of mw4mw posts as a percentage of all casual encounters posts. Bright red is the most, dark is the least. I chose random clean number ranges to assign the colors to, with no regard for what the data actually looks like. I also have some places where my script crashed and I have a bogus result for an area. When I fix that and do Jenks Natural Breaks, I bet it gets a lot more pretty and a lot more informative. I'm thinking I'll have it done Wednesday or Thursday, along with maps of gay and lesbian hookups. The United States of Casual Sex. I bet I get a million views.

I did the whole thing in bash. I feel like I just tunneled out of prison with a tiny rock hammer.


I read Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed because it was an anarchist(red team) book on education. It was annoyingly like Euro professor-communist stuff at first, trying to make things more opaque than they have to be and quoting Sartre where he doesn't belong to try to sound serious and important, but then it had some seriously mindblowing shit about internalized oppression and how messed up our minds all are. So that was good. There's a new Osho book out about children which is probably good and says the same kind of stuff.

Meg read Lolita and loved it a whole lot, and wants me to read it. Meg's actually been reading a whole bunch of serious important shit lately. Also, she's doing good at her writing job, and just generally being a badass.

Things that are good

There's a very couch-ish band here in Manila called the BuwanBuwan Collective that you should check out. You need to get Sublime Text if you aren't already using it.

So. Pretty.

Also, James and Rosie are cool as fucking shit:

That's a box guitar he fucking made.

That's all.


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