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Better ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—around problems of meaning and meaninglessness; self and society; ethics, purpose, and value.
KimSia Sim 🇸🇬💻📗 Profile picture A. S. 2 subscribed
Oct 3, 2018 18 tweets 6 min read
1️⃣ Five years ago, I suggested systematically Sokaling all peer-reviewed journals. To “Sokal” is, hereby, to attempt to publish clearly bogus papers to illustrate the brokenness of the academic publication process.

2️⃣ Today @HPluckrose, @ConceptualJames & @peterboghossian reported on the first multiple-Sokaling. They were successful in publishing nonsense in top-ranked journals (which comes as no surprise, but is great to have verified).

Sep 28, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
20th century “Buddhism” was largely based on Theosophy—a 19th century European pop-spiritual movement.

A major muddler was Edward Conze, whose history @Jayarava reveals here. Important for anyone who thinks they understand Prajñaparamita—or should.

jayarava.blogspot.com/2018/09/edward… I read Conze’s Sanskrit “translations” as a teenager. They were exciting because they made so much sense.

Which—of course they did! They expounded familiar Western ideas in Buddhist drag.

Only much later, reading Tibetan commentaries, did I understand Conze’s fabrications.
Sep 20, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
1️⃣ Computer science recycles key philosophical terms with similar but different meanings. This causes systematic patterns of confusion for CS people thinking about philosophy.

2️⃣ “Representation” and “reference” are other major trouble sources. In CS, each is a relationship between perfectly crisp software things; elsewhere, at least one end of the relationship is nebulous, in the world.

BCS discusses in this:
Aug 20, 2018 10 tweets 2 min read
Very roughly how many water molecules would you guess there are in a single cell? Within a couple of orders of magnitude?

I got it quite wrong. I guessed off-hand “a billion” which I think was just my brain’s way of saying “wow, a really big number!”

But it’s WAY too small.
Aug 18, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
A somewhat personal note about this. Some years ago I read that vitamin MK-4 supplements reduce osteoporosis fractures by 89%—an astonishing effect—and did some reading to see it was believable and if I & family should be taking. My notes from then below. As soon as I read that Sato’s frauds were in the area of osteoporosis, I thought “oh god, that probably explains THAT” and googled before reading on. Why yes indeed. And then later in the article, this:
Aug 13, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
My boss—a biologist—told me to buy Oracle.
Me: What is Oracle, exactly?
Boss: It’s a database.
Me: Why do we want it?
Boss: We have data. We have to put it in a database.
Me: I don’t think so.
Boss: Our data is important. Don’t argue, just go buy it. It should cost $10,000.

I drive to Oracle HQ and ask to talk to someone who can tell me what it is.

Sales guy: So, how much of it do you want?
Me: What is it?
S: It’s Oracle. Everyone has to have it.
Me: But what does it do?
S, irritated: Look, how much do you want to buy?

Jul 19, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
The program “the social construction of scientific knowledge” rests on lab ethnographies done in the 70s&80s.

“Give Me a Laboratory and I Will Raise a Discipline” (2008) showed that social scientists could not point at EVEN ONE SPECIFIC FACT that was constructed as claimed. Sormani’s first-ever observation of the discovery/construction of a fact (multiband superconductivity in PbMo₆S₈) was greeted with:

1. That looks like way too much work for us to want to do

2. You haven’t helped show Science Isn’t Real, so who cares?

Jul 18, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
“Technical gossip”—collaborating to informally evaluate other researchers’ work, which inevitably includes their character and their cognitive style—is a critically important, understudied aspect of technical work.

Text from Knorr Cetina’s _Epistemological Cultures_ Nearly all published technical results are nonsense, so figuring out whose stuff is worth reading is much of the job if you want to produce meaningful results yourself.
Jun 27, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Thread about the OpenAI Dota 2 demo. As usual in AI, there is much less to it than meets the eye. (Decreasing the RL’s time preference may be technically interesting, however.) Follow links to detailed analyses.

Unlike the DOTA 2 bot, the videogame-playing AI systems I wrote in the late ‘80s interfaced with the game via a neuroscience-inspired vision system. That was a deliberate constraint on their performance, and central to the architecture.
Jun 21, 2018 7 tweets 4 min read
Teasing apart the tangled threads of pomo: @everytstudies clarifies what’s right in postmodernism, as well as its miasma of weaponized confusions.

everythingstudies.com/2018/06/21/pos… The replication crisis can be understood as, in part, science finally colliding with postmodernity—not the ideology, postmodernism, but the hard fact that the Grand Narrative of Scientific Progress as *automatic* is no longer credible.

(A bit more skeptical than @everytstudies)
May 24, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
The three jobs of a Wise Old Man.

(Numbered for Kegan stages, of course!) Talk in the marketplace is that @jordanbpeterson is doing job #3 well for some.

I’m doing an amateurish job of #4 because qualified wizards have gotten scarce.

Neither of us is old enough to do job #5. You could try Robert Bly.
May 22, 2018 13 tweets 6 min read
1️⃣ Opinions about @jordanbpeterson appear to be mandatory now. Allowed opinions are:




I don't have an opinion. I might get one eventually. It won't be yay or boo.

meaningness.com/understanding 2️⃣ Ignorant, binary opinions about @jordanbpeterson are now tribal membership badges. Culture warriors attribute generic tribal claims to him that he does not hold, afaict.

This harms discussion, because what he actually says is different and more interesting.
Apr 30, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
In the groove, intense creative energy feels effortless. This is “deep laziness.”

@sarahdoingthing provides a recipe for deep laziness in this post: ribbonfarm.com/2018/04/06/dee… “Dzogchen,” literally “great completion,” describes enlightenment in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Dzogchen is also called “the natural state” and “effortless spontaneous action” (lhündrüp).

It is akin to “deep laziness”… an old man basking in the sun. amzn.to/2I597NU
Apr 26, 2018 14 tweets 5 min read
I learned from this a new way of thinking about thinking, “cognitive decoupling,” and its role in disagreements. Since @everytstudies’ post is long, and has prompted some interesting discussion: here is Sarah Constantin’s explanation of “cognitive decoupling.” It’s an aspect of systematic rationality, focusing on limiting inference. srconstantin.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/do-…
Apr 5, 2018 12 tweets 6 min read
A coincidental convergence of recent tweets: we are wasting the surplus from technical and economic innovation on mandatory, soul-killing busywork. 1/ 2/ It’s tax season in the US, so everyone in the country is forced to spend a couple days doing administrative work we hate and consider idiotic.

IRS official estimate is that for individuals this takes 13 hours on average. Including biz, ~$500 bn/year.

Dec 31, 2017 4 tweets 1 min read
1️⃣ Systematic thinking went out of fashion as a badge of membership in the cognitive elite, back in the 1980s, partly because it’s rigid and brittle. 2️⃣ Pomo replaced systematic cognition as the badge of high academic achievement, because—done well—it’s more difficult, and it evades the foundational crisis in rationality.

Disastrously, though, it’s useless for problem-solving; its only value is personal advertisement.
Apr 18, 2017 16 tweets 4 min read
_All Things Shining_ amzn.to/2pyetIp has the same aim as _Meaningness_: an account of meaning, neither nihilistic nor eternalistic. Hubert Dreyfus coauthored _All Things Shining_; my PhD drew heavily on his critique of artificial intelligence: meaningness.com/metablog/ken-w…