Followers of the Austrian economists (if you are at all sincere about understanding political economy you should at least get familiar with their arguments) frequently lament that the Keynesian social-democrat mainstream not only disagrees with them, but never even bothers to argue against them, treating them instead as if they were invisible or worse, attacking idiotic strawmen instead. But every once in a while I notice a truth, revealed long ago through reason by the Austrians, peeking through when a modern Keynesian happens to write about real world effects that seemed to him counter-intuitive.
The zero people who visit this website may have noticed that the content has all gone poof, and the appearance has changed. This is because I have deleted it. It’s not gone forever, though. What I have done is eliminated my WordPress hosting with the fine folks at Dreamhost, and I instead will be maintaining the blog with a combination of simple text editors and the Hugo static site generator. It’s all served up with a combination of Github and AWS Amplify.
I liked Watson. The ability to discover patterns in huge amounts of raw data and report a highly-relevant response to a spoken query is a huge labor-saving advancement, especially for medical diagnostics. Natural language interaction with our data is going to make so many things easier for so many people. But the expectations swirling around IBM Debater are a little ridiculous. If you watch the embedded video, they are clearly expecting the machine to make original contributions to debates, and the hope is that people will take arguments from the computer and give those more weight because they are ostensibly dispassionate, objective opinions untainted by ulterior motives or emotion.
Is there a more famous scene in all of Star Trek than the death of Spock? In an entertainment franchise that has more than its share of emotionally sterile moments, this one is an unforgettable gut-punch, especially if you’d already spent years enjoying those characters. Kirk and Spock are one of the great fictional duos. Kirk is creative, resourceful, and passionate, and above all, he never accepts defeat. Spock is the stoic, rigorously logical empiricist who occasionally checks his friend’s impulses before harsh reality does.
I often compare the work of my favorite non-fiction authors to more concrete experiences to describe what it’s like to read them. Reading G.K. Chesterton is like biting into a perfectly cooked steak. C.S. Lewis like being brought to the top of a high mountain to get a clear view of things that used to be too close and confusing. Ludwig von Mises is a bit like watching a chessmaster carefully surprise you with a sudden checkmate.