Road Trip report: Aug 15th, 2017

Aug 15th holds special significance for me. It was on a 15th August that I landed in the US so many years ago. The day is also a friend’s birthday. This year’s August 15th has seen two new things: first time I am in South Dakota and first time I crossed the North American continental divide by road.

If you are wondering where yours truly is, I am on the road. Last week Thursday, I left San Jose CA and visited Courtenay and her family in Oakland CA, the first stop on my journey. Friday evening we all drove to Grass Valley CA, about 140 miles to the north. We were visiting Saundrine and her family. .

The next part of the journey was from Grass Valley CA to Salt Lake City UT on Saturday. I had driven that road some years ago for visiting the Yellowstone National Park.  It was past 10 PM when I reached SLC. Continue reading

AMA – Extreme Stupidity is not Natural

I don’t believe that extreme stupidity is natural.

We are cognitively endowed by nature to, say, learn our mother tongue without instructions but reading and writing are unnatural because it is a learned skill. So also it is natural to be about average in intelligence (and therefore about average in stupidity) but extreme, off the chart stupidity is not natural. It has to be learned. I am guessing that one has to be immersed in some pernicious ideology to achieve a level of gross stupidity the mere observation of which makes your head hurt.

With this lead in, I am giving you fair warning that the YouTube video below may damage your mental health. So here goes.   Continue reading

Climate Change Hysteria Considered Dangerous

Let’s start with a story.

Once upon a time, so the story goes, a king got mightily upset with one of his ministers and sentenced him to death. The minister pleaded for his life and promised the king, “If you let me live, I will invent a flying horse in five years, and you’d become very powerful.” The king agreed to spare his life if he invented a flying horse.

The minister went home and told his wife of his narrow escape. She said, “Oh how terrible. How on earth are you going to invent a flying horse?” He said, “Don’t worry. Five years is a long time. The king might die in the meanwhile, or I might die, or someone may invent a flying horse. Who knows what will happen in five years!”

TL;DR Summary

The global hysteria whipped up by certain groups regarding climate change is fascinating. It represents a toxic mixture of politics, economics, science, ignorance, myopia, stupidity, fear, hubris, technology, power dynamics, racism, benevolence, malevolence and arrogance.

Climate is changing, as it always has. The data show the rise in temperature. Humans affect climate. Humans adjust to change too. Technological advances in the near future will allow humans control over the environment. Doing anything to control C02 emissions now by edict will be too expensive, be extremely harmful to the poor, will shift resources from other important matters, and have no discernible benefits for future generations.

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On Selflessness and Nation Building

The other day I learned that David Sedaris, one of my favorite American essayist and public speaker, does a very peculiar thing. These days he lives in England, which is not particularly peculiar. His peculiarity is that every day he spends five or six hours picking up trash along the roads around his home.

Why does he do that? Because, he says, he just likes doing it. He does not do it for some greater good or public service, according to him. Does it make him a public-minded person? Not necessarily. Doubtless, his actions result in a cleaner road than otherwise, but his motivation is not to do good — he merely does what gives him personal satisfaction and which does not harm anybody.

I believe (perhaps mistakenly) that people who are primarily motivated by doing “good” for others often see themselves as morally superior to those who let others alone. If you like to pick up trash, good for you but slipping into the role of a person who is selfless tarnishes the enterprise. Worse, it can persuade the person that he has the moral authority to force others to do one’s bidding. Continue reading

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race

Prof Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is an American institution himself. He is arguably one of the finest contemporary intellectuals. An economist by training, his output of books and articles is prodigious. A brilliant mind and an indefatigable warrior against the forces of unreason, ignorance, bigotry, tyranny, the controlling state, and so on and on.

Here are a few quotes from Dr Sowell.   Continue reading

Miscellaneous Quotes

The 3-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots. — Robert Heinlein in Expanded Universe (1980)

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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