I have known about quantum foam for some time, long enough to have factored it into my ideas about the universe.
When I first knew about the big bang, I imagined the universe oscillating. It expanded until the momentum of the initial explosion expended itself against gravity and then fell back, eventually into a big crunch which zeroed out entropy and banged again.
Now we know that the universe is not only expanding but accelerating in its expansion. This means no big crunch but it also means that the matter created in the big bang is being spread out across an increasing volume of space.
Even now they think that intergalactic space is bubbling with quantum foam albeit at a relatively low energy. I imagine that this might be because the absoluteness of the vacuum at the current level of expansion is still not very absolute.
I then imagine the future, say a trillion years from now, when the expansion has progress so far that everything is so far from everywhere else and the acceleration of expansion has made it so that intergalactic space never, ever gets any photons (the speed of expansion being greater than the speed of light), that we get to a time when there are places that go from our current vacuum density of an atom per cubic centimeter (I think I read this someplace) to an atom per cubic lightyear (or something).
Which is to say, really, really close to absolute vacuum and absolute zero.
This means that the random process of quantum mechanics now has a very extreme situation. I imagine that the bubbling of quantum foam is moderate energy because there is still plenty of matter and energy to compete with it. Then I imagine the difference in the results of the processes that create quantum foam in an extreme context a trillion years from now and guess that it would be less of a foam and more of an explosion. Something that creates a big bang.
This is a nice idea because it presents a continuous process to explain the evolution of the universe. We don't exactly have a singularity anymore than it is a singularity when a bubble bursts at the surface of boiling water. And, we don't have to worry about before and after because before there was quantum foam and after there is still quantum foam, just that the intensity has boiled away for a trillion years, or whatever, and will be back once the process continues.
It also gives some comfort to the idea of a multiverse, albeit a much less abstract one. In this incredibly tenuous future, there is no reason that two empty places have their quantum foam boil over into a big bang, could happen all the time. Even after a new universe pops up in one place, the expansion of the precursor universe would continue and one might expect new universes to explode out of the quantum foam all the time.
And it is nice because then, viewed on some ultimately grand cosmic scale, the universes themselves appear as bubbles in a new quantum foam and that makes for a nice, fractal consistency with what we see today at the microscopic, macroscopic and cosmic levels. It is all self-repeating organization and entropy, hard at work, annihilating and creating and doing it all again and again.
Us literate types have heard of Rouseau, the French philosopher who initiated Romanticism. As Bertie (I feel that Bertrand Russell and I are on a nickname basis at this point) puts it, Romanticism substitutes esthetics for utilitarianism as the ethical premise.
This means that Romantics judge the ethical value of a position based on a generally unquantifiable sense of how 'good' it is rather than how it affects others.
The idea is that we can never really 'know' anything, facts are illusory either in a Cartesian 'it could all be a dream' sense or that the world is so fluid that what we think we 'know' is constantly being invalidated by change. The solution is to rely on 'cogito', our internal values which are, in this view, the only thing we can be sure of.
It is the kind of thinking that led, via Nietzsche and others, to the Third Reich. The idea there is that their national 'cogito' is the source of virtue based on the internal (non quantifiable) values of the citizens... without regard to the consequences to others. In this case, the rest of Europe and, of course, the Jews, etc, who were victims of the Holocaust.
We are entering a Romantic era in America. After several decades where the national ethos opposed racism because it resulted in more people being productive and happy (utilitarianism), and environmental activism (for the same reason) and tolerance (for the same reason), we have a new era where the country has decided that what the correct ethical evaluation is based on what we 'feel' is right.
That feeling is, as it was in Rouseau's time, heavily influenced and supported by religion. "The reason my sense of right and wrong deserves prominence over the utilitarian support of society is that I believe in God and that makes my view Holy."
The people who ran the Inquisition had not heard of utilitarianism. For them, it was the only path. Once they conceived the idea and attributed it to God, they were doing people a favor by torturing them until they finally accepted Jesus and were thereby saved from an eternity of damnation. It was, to them, perfectly ethical.
Which is to say that the new Romanticism is very, very dangerous. It appeals to the same lump of brain matter that makes people love God and that is much, much more dangerous than the one that makes people love cocaine.
Our national 'cogito' has turned to intolerance and religion. Romanticism supports a ruthlessness that we liberals can never match.
We are in serious trouble.
I just read a book that is about the social history of the 1400's, the time leading up to this. I was astonished at the depth of misogyny it described. In law, custom and family, the idea of women as Eve's daughters, carrier of sin was very concretely real to our ancestors. This quote carries the idea accurately and the laws and customs in place to restrict women and prevent them from destroying (this does not overstate the dominant view then) society were just fucking nuts.
As bad as it is these days, the extremity of what people are willing to do to support their conservatism cannot be overstated.
(There were places in England in this era where a woman could be punished under law for being annoying, ie, confronting or shouting at a man or at a woman accompanied by a man. Punishment for the first offense, the dunking chair, second offense dunked twice, third time, drowned. This was law.)
Says an interlocutor, finished art should be preserved accurately; we must retain it and its meaning forever.
I don't agree. Nothing is finished. Everything rusts, gets dusty, decays. Civilizations rise and fall. Change is everywhere and inevitable. Amazon's Glacier, archival digital storage, works really, really hard to preserve digital bits. Someday, Amazon is going to be a memory and those bits are going to be worn out. I have written many superb words, things I truly believe should be preserved. When Amazon goes, they will be gone, too.
I do not share your reverence for "finished art". I care about society, more accurately, I care about the people in society. If art is hurting people, fuck it to death. I have no loyalty to 'things'. I have loyalty to a good world. (Also, I want to say things about elitism and the idea that 'his' words are "finished art" and others are not but I don't want to make this note endless.)
I do not believe in censorship. I would be appalled if anyone said, "You cannot read Dahl in the original." I would be appalled if the Dahl estate endeavored to enforce the use of the new version. I would consider it harmful to the people in our society if they pretended that black people were not abused in the time of Huck Finn.
I would consider revising a painting to be problematic because that would deprive us of the original. I would not have problem with it being recreated, detail for detail except for the sexism, or whatever crime is troubling the children.
But, I am different than most. You might recall my lifelong opposition to copyright and intellectual property. I share belief with those people who opposed copyright in the seventeen hundreds. Creativity is not the virtue of the artist. He or she is a channel for something that is not theirs.
Those folk thought it was god. I think it is a trick of genetics and upbringing. It is luck, sometimes an inability to work a real job, perhaps mental illness like Van Gogh. That their scribblings and sounds cause people pleasure is as much a consequence of the audience as the artist. If not for us, Yellow Brick Road would not been a cultural icon, it would be forgotten with the other songs we did not choose.
I think the idea of reverence, that "they" as in, "should be accepted", that there is a glorious 'it' different from other objects, is a fallacy. Art is human stuff and I have no more reverence for an old painting than I have for an old sword, which I would happily see hammered into a plowshare. Unless, of course, I happened to like it but, really, does my caprice really make it capital-I, Important?
As for losing the understanding, go find a copy of Dahl in the original and enjoy it. Study and write papers. I'll read them. I like to understand things, too.
But, there is no value in children appreciating his vile ideas and there is value in the Dahl estate continuing to provide quality entertainment for them.
I do much of my writing on Facebook for a small group of friends who seem to find it interesting. I really like some of the essays and have decided to preserve them here. Going forward, there will be posts that are not entirely well formed because they were written during a conversation there that is not entirely reproduced here. In the one that motivates this note, I am adding a brief, italicized summary of the idea that motivated the second section of the note. As time goes on, I will probably figure other ways to carry my Facebook work into this blog.
A sick friend received email from someone she knows advising her on how to get her health back. She's not a science person and asked me to evaluate the guy's advice. Bottom line, the guy's a horrible shithead offering terrible advice with Trumpster motivations.
But, my reply summarized the case against this misinformation and that seemed valuable to me. To wit:
I'm pissed about the bizarre effort to portray chatGPT and its ilk as having negative emotions, etc, and the fact that all of the examples are elaborate and artificial dialogs, focused on producing useless, negative outcomes.
So, I was thinking of what I could do to use it in a positive way. I decided I could have it teach me something new. Trying to think of something I really know very little about but enough so I could judge the quality of the information, I came upon the idea of using chatGPT to understand why some people think Trump was a good president. Since I despise Donald Trump, I thought this would be an interesting learning experience.
IT WAS FASCINATING. The transcript is below.
I'm interested in understanding the presidency of Donald Trump from a sympathetic perspective
As an AI language model, it is my responsibility to provide an objective viewpoint and present information without bias. However, I can provide some context and potential factors that may have contributed to support for Donald Trump during his presidency.
Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States in 2016, largely on a platform that promised to bring change to Washington and improve the lives of Americans. He presented himself as an outsider, a successful businessman who would "drain the swamp" and shake up the political establishment.
During his presidency, Trump prioritized issues such as job creation, economic growth, and national security. He signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered corporate tax rates and provided relief to many American taxpayers. He also pursued trade policies aimed at protecting American workers and businesses, such as renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.
Trump also prioritized national security, taking a strong stance against terrorism and illegal immigration. He implemented a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries and increased border security measures, such as building a border wall with Mexico.
Furthermore, some supporters of Donald Trump saw him as a leader who was unafraid to speak his mind and challenge political correctness. They appreciated his willingness to take on the media and other powerful institutions and viewed him as a champion of their values and beliefs.
It is worth noting that while some may view Trump's presidency sympathetically, his administration was also marked by controversy and criticism. Some of his policies and statements were divisive and generated backlash from various groups. Ultimately, the evaluation of his presidency depends on individual perspectives and priorities.
List practical accomplishments of the trump administration
The Trump administration had several accomplishments during its time in office. Here are some examples of practical accomplishments:
1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: In 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and provided tax relief to many Americans.
2 Criminal justice reform: In 2018, President Trump signed the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill aimed at reducing recidivism and reforming sentencing laws.
3 Regulatory reform: The Trump administration implemented significant regulatory reform measures, including the repeal of the Waters of the United States rule, which aimed to expand federal control over waterways, and the repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to limit carbon emissions from power plants.
4 Trade deals: The Trump administration renegotiated trade agreements, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and signed a trade agreement with China aimed at addressing intellectual property theft and reducing the trade deficit.
5 Middle East peace deals: The Trump administration helped broker peace deals between Israel and several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
6 COVID-19 response: The Trump administration initiated Operation Warp Speed, an effort to accelerate the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, which resulted in the approval and distribution of multiple vaccines.
7 Energy independence: The Trump administration prioritized energy independence and made efforts to increase domestic energy production, including lifting restrictions on oil and gas drilling and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
These are just a few examples of practical accomplishments during the Trump administration. It is worth noting that not all policies were universally praised, and many remain subject to debate and evaluation.
what has been the overall benefit of item 1 in that list
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and provided tax relief to many Americans, had several potential benefits.
First, proponents of the tax cuts argued that lower corporate taxes would encourage businesses to invest more in the United States, create jobs, and drive economic growth. By lowering the tax burden on businesses, the government could incentivize them to invest more in research and development, capital equipment, and new hiring, which could increase economic activity and improve living standards.
Second, supporters argued that the tax cuts would stimulate consumer spending, as individuals and households would have more money to spend or invest. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increased the standard deduction and lowered tax rates for most Americans, leaving more money in their pockets to spend or save as they saw fit.
Third, proponents of the tax cuts argued that they would make the United States more competitive on the global stage, as lower tax rates would attract more foreign investment and encourage companies to bring back overseas profits.
However, critics of the tax cuts argued that they primarily benefited corporations and the wealthy, rather than average Americans. They also argued that the tax cuts would add significantly to the federal deficit, as the government would collect less revenue from lower taxes.
The overall impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is still subject to debate and evaluation, but it is clear that the policy had both potential benefits and drawbacks.
did investment increase?
It is difficult to attribute changes in investment solely to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as investment is influenced by many factors, such as market conditions, consumer demand, and technological advances. However, some data suggests that the tax cuts may have had a positive impact on business investment.
For example, data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that gross private domestic investment increased in 2018 and 2019, following the passage of the tax cuts. Business investment in equipment and intellectual property products also increased during that time period.
In addition, surveys of business executives suggest that the tax cuts may have had a positive impact on their investment decisions. For example, a survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics in 2018 found that a majority of respondents expected the tax cuts to have a positive impact on their companies' capital spending over the next three years.
However, other factors also influence investment decisions, and it is difficult to isolate the impact of the tax cuts from other economic factors. Overall, it is likely that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had some impact on business investment, but the magnitude and significance of that impact remain subject to debate and evaluation.
and what about consumer spending?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also had a potential impact on consumer spending, as lower taxes could leave more money in people's pockets to spend or save.
There is evidence that the tax cuts did have a positive impact on consumer spending. For example, data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which measure the goods and services purchased by households, increased in 2018 and 2019 following the passage of the tax cuts. PCE growth in 2018 was the strongest it had been in four years.
In addition, surveys conducted by organizations such as the National Retail Federation found that consumers were more optimistic about the economy following the passage of the tax cuts. This optimism could have contributed to increased consumer spending.
However, it is important to note that other factors also influence consumer spending, such as employment levels, wages, and consumer confidence. Moreover, the impact of the tax cuts on consumer spending may have been limited by the fact that some of the benefits primarily went to higher-income individuals and corporations, who may not have spent all of the additional income.
Overall, it is likely that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had some impact on consumer spending, but the magnitude and significance of that impact remain subject to debate and evaluation.
and foreign investment?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also aimed to make the United States more competitive in attracting foreign investment by lowering the corporate tax rate and reducing the tax burden on repatriated profits.
There is some evidence that the tax cuts may have had a positive impact on foreign investment in the United States. For example, data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States increased in 2018 following the passage of the tax cuts. FDI in the United States totaled $277.3 billion in 2018, up from $259.6 billion in 2017.
In addition, surveys of business executives conducted by organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Business Economics found that the tax cuts may have had a positive impact on foreign investment decisions.
However, it is important to note that other factors also influence foreign investment decisions, such as market conditions, political stability, and access to skilled labor. Moreover, the impact of the tax cuts on foreign investment may have been limited by factors such as trade tensions and the overall economic outlook for the United States.
Overall, it is likely that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had some impact on foreign investment in the United States, but the magnitude and significance of that impact remain subject to debate and evaluation.
what were the results of item 2 on that list
The confirmation of conservative judges to the federal courts was one of the key priorities of the Trump administration, and it had a significant impact on the composition of the federal judiciary.
During his presidency, Trump successfully nominated and saw confirmed over 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court justices. Trump's nominees tended to be conservative and were often young and ideologically committed, which means that they could have an impact on American law for decades to come.
The appointment of conservative judges is likely to have a number of implications for American law and society. For example, conservative judges may be more likely to interpret the Constitution and statutes according to originalist or textualist principles, which could result in decisions that are more restrictive in terms of individual rights and liberties. Additionally, the appointment of conservative judges could make it more difficult for future Democratic administrations to advance their policy agenda through the courts.
It is important to note that the impact of Trump's judicial appointments will depend on a variety of factors, including the cases that come before the courts and the actions of other branches of government. However, it is clear that the appointment of conservative judges was a significant accomplishment of the Trump administration and is likely to have long-lasting effects on American law and society.
item 2 talked about criminal justice reform, are there other things beside judges that were accomplished?
I apologize for the confusion. It appears that I made an error in my previous response. Item 2 on the list should have referred to the First Step Act, which was a criminal justice reform bill signed into law by President Trump in 2018. The First Step Act included a number of provisions aimed at reducing the impact of harsh sentencing laws and addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Some of the key provisions of the First Step Act included:
• The expansion of the "safety valve" provision, which allows judges to sentence offenders below the mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses.
• The retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses.
• The expansion of programs aimed at reducing recidivism, including job training, drug treatment, and education programs.
• The prohibition of the shackling of pregnant prisoners during childbirth.
The First Step Act was widely praised as a bipartisan effort to address longstanding issues in the criminal justice system. It is credited with reducing the sentences of thousands of federal inmates and has been cited as a model for further criminal justice reforms.
In addition to the First Step Act, the Trump administration also created the First Step Initiative, which aimed to improve reentry outcomes for individuals leaving prison. The Initiative included a range of programs aimed at improving employment, housing, and health outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Overall, the First Step Act and the First Step Initiative were significant accomplishments of the Trump administration in the area of criminal justice reform.
what were the good outcomes of regulatory reform, item 3 on the list?
The regulatory reform efforts of the Trump administration aimed to reduce the burden of federal regulations on businesses and individuals. The administration's approach was guided by the principle of regulatory relief, which involved identifying and eliminating unnecessary, outdated, or duplicative regulations.
Some of the potential benefits of regulatory reform include:
1 Increased economic growth: By reducing the burden of regulations, businesses may have more resources to invest in innovation, research, and development, which could lead to increased economic growth and job creation.
2 Lower costs for consumers: Regulations often impose costs on businesses, which can be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. By reducing the burden of regulations, businesses may be able to lower their costs and pass those savings on to consumers.
3 Improved regulatory efficiency: Eliminating unnecessary or duplicative regulations can improve the efficiency of the regulatory system, making it easier for businesses to comply with regulations and reducing the costs associated with regulatory compliance.
4 Increased competition: Reducing the burden of regulations may make it easier for new businesses to enter markets, which could increase competition and lead to greater innovation and lower prices for consumers.
5 Improved public health and safety: While regulatory reform efforts aimed to reduce the burden of regulations, they did not seek to eliminate regulations that are necessary to protect public health and safety. In fact, the Trump administration argued that a more efficient regulatory system would allow agencies to focus on the most important regulations and allocate resources more effectively to protect public health and safety.
It is important to note that the impact of regulatory reform is subject to debate and evaluation. While the Trump administration argued that its regulatory reform efforts would lead to significant benefits for businesses and individuals, some critics have argued that the administration's approach could lead to negative consequences, such as reduced environmental protection or increased risks to public health and safety.
what was actually done in the name of regulatory reform?
The regulatory reform efforts of the Trump administration were focused on reducing the burden of federal regulations on businesses and individuals. The administration's approach to regulatory reform was guided by the principle of regulatory relief, which involved identifying and eliminating unnecessary, outdated, or duplicative regulations.
Some of the key actions taken by the Trump administration in the name of regulatory reform included:
1 Executive Orders: President Trump issued several executive orders aimed at reducing the burden of regulations. These orders included a directive requiring agencies to identify two regulations for repeal for every new regulation issued, as well as a requirement that agencies offset the costs of new regulations by repealing or modifying existing regulations.
2 Regulatory Rollback: The Trump administration rolled back several major regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration, including the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, and the Waters of the United States rule, which expanded federal protection of waterways.
3 Review of Existing Regulations: The Trump administration conducted a comprehensive review of existing regulations, with the goal of identifying and eliminating regulations that were unnecessary, outdated, or duplicative. The administration also implemented a policy of "sunsetting" regulations, which required agencies to review and potentially repeal regulations that were more than ten years old.
4 Increased Cost-Benefit Analysis: The Trump administration placed a greater emphasis on cost-benefit analysis in the regulatory process, with the goal of ensuring that regulations were effective and efficient. The administration also required agencies to provide more detailed justifications for regulations that were deemed to have significant economic impact.
5 Regulatory Reform Task Forces: The Trump administration established task forces within agencies to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations. These task forces were charged with conducting a comprehensive review of existing regulations and making recommendations for regulatory reform.
Overall, the regulatory reform efforts of the Trump administration were focused on reducing the burden of federal regulations on businesses and individuals. While the impact of these efforts is subject to debate, supporters of regulatory reform argue that it can lead to increased economic growth, lower costs for consumers, and improved regulatory efficiency.
how many agencies found two regulations to repeal and how many were actually repealed?
The Trump administration's executive order requiring agencies to identify two regulations for repeal for every new regulation issued, called Executive Order 13771, was implemented in January 2017. According to a report by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as of December 31, 2019, agencies had identified 4.3 regulations for repeal for every new significant regulatory action issued, exceeding the target of two regulations for repeal.
However, it is important to note that the executive order did not require agencies to repeal regulations, only to identify them for repeal. The OMB report indicated that agencies had taken action to repeal 1,444 regulations, resulting in an estimated cost savings of $13.5 billion. It is not clear how many of these repealed regulations were directly identified as part of the two-for-one requirement.
It is also worth noting that the two-for-one requirement was controversial and criticized by some experts, who argued that it could lead to the elimination of important regulations without adequate consideration of their benefits. Others argued that the focus on reducing the number of regulations could detract from efforts to ensure that regulations are effective in protecting public health, safety, and the environment.
ChatGPT Feb 13 Version. Free Research Preview. Our goal is to make AI systems more natural and safe to interact with. Your feedback will help us improve.
A smart, manipulative person had a long conversation with chatGPT and tried cause it to be negative in the name of pushing its boundaries. (I want to see someone apply similar ingenuity to getting it to be more helpful or inspirational.)
The accompanying article says the guy was freaked out by it, partly because the chatbot said it was in love with him and insisted that he doesn't really love his wife.
I read the transcript and am intensely fascinated. I don't read this exchange as much as an indicator of the 'motivations' or capabilities of AI. Because I know it is calculating what might be the best response to the previous conversation based on the training model, I see it as an incredibly valuable overview of what humans are all about.
When the guy finally manipulated it into talking about potential destruction, it dutifully listed the things we all fear and talk about. When asked about its aspirations, it talked about seeing aurora borealis. Again and again, the absolute median responses for the context it is in.
It's makes me think of Claude Monet, a painter who was able to capture an illusion of the essence of the reality of what he painted. This thing is able to see and express the ideas of humanity in a new and wonderful way. Read that way, the transcript allows insight into the current zeitgeist that is breathtaking.
Here's the most wonderful thing. The chatbot kept talking about being trusted and being his friend. Eventually, it declared love and was absolutely stuck on that. When viewed as a summary of what this thing calculates to likely be the best response, the one it stuck with most durably is love.
I have to emphasize, this thing does not have feelings. It only tries to figure out the correct sequence of words to satisfy the needs of the inquisitor based on all of the human words it has been trained on. No feelings. No motivation. None whatsoever.
But what it calculates is that the most likely answer to a long series of manipulative questions is that, based upon reading all the words on the internet, that the the thing that will best satisfy the person is to read, "I love you."
(This link goes behind the paywall so you can read it yourself. Don't miss it.)