Pseudo Random Links

A very unwelcome data point in some circles, from Zero Hedge

Fascinating and rather creepy article on data mining customer purchase information (NYT)

How your brain tells you where you are. Fascinating talk on TED. It seems obvious to me that the additive result of thousands of simple processes like these is what we like to think of as consciousness. The feeling of a unitary self is an illusion created by an endlessly reshuffled kaleidoscope of specialized mental agents called into action in response to external and internal stimuli, with the resulting confetti of perceptions, judgments and feelings then filtered, reordered and stitched together after the fact, by still more agents, into a more or less coherent narrative thread from which the illusion of continuity and conscious self is created. But who was the person in your childhood picture? Or from 10 years ago who thought THAT looked cool? Or even a minute ago who somehow thought reading this was a good idea? We chase phantoms in our minds, finding consciousness that then needs explaining, when it’s nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Barry puzzled by increasing conservatism in the US of A. From an evolutionary perspective it’s completely reasonable; evolutionary game theory, payoff matrices, and opportunistic political party branding rather than any real political meaning or change in beliefs.

Now that the election is over maybe we can do something more useful with our time and money.

What’s wrong with modern economics? It’s hard to find a better example than this. Really, I should be thankful. Without such thinking there would be nobody to take the other side of trades.

Great quote in this post on Facebook’s man in the middle model: “The point is that by sharing with our actual friends through a web intermediary who can store and mine everything, we *harm* people by destroying their privacy *for* them. It’s not the sharing that’s bad, it’s the technological design of giving it all to someone in the middle. That is at once outstandingly stupid and overwhelmingly dangerous.”

A fool and his money are soon parted. 66% premium. I don’t know what to say.

A possible niche in the internet marketplace. Quality. I think I heard of that when I was a kid.


2 thoughts on “Pseudo Random Links

    • Good point. Laziness kept me from elaborating. Basically I think the preferred risk tolerance for a given level of duress is predominantly genetically determined (with substantial individual variation). Most risk seeking when in the worst circumstances, least when at the “getting by” level and increasing somewhat again in the well off zone. But how that risk preference is expressed is determined by the environment, both physical and cultural, so behavior can be all over the map.

      In the US my interpretation is that as the middle class has slid into more duress (perceived or actual) they’ve moved more into the “getting by” zone and become less willing to take risks/seek change. Republicans are generally perceived as traditionalist so should tend to gain votes in that context.

      Still a very sketchy theory but that’s more or less what I was thinking. Thanks for reminding me I’m not the only one reading this thing!

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