Choose a topic

.. Art
Fake art

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General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. Epistemology
Dialectics and Evolution

.. Evolution
What is a Species?
Why are Tropical Birds So Colorful

.. HUM
A Mind

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Cut Energy Use
Emotional Plague
Improving Democracy
Jesus and the Money Changers
Merry Christmas
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Reusable Bags
Sleeping in a tent
Social Media

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
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Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
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Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
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Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?
What is going on?

A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
Semiotics and Body Language
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Body Plans
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Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
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Evolution is not Religion
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Politics and Evolution
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The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Free Speech in the age of Twitter
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10 Views of Landscape
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I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Beyond Rules Based Morality
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What do we owe animals?


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What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
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Constructed Life
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A Job
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Drag Story Tellers
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Society evolved
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We Live in the Present
What is to be said?
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Why is there a shortage of nurses?
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs

Drag Story Tellers

What in the world?

I've been amazed that libraries are presenting story telling sessions featuring drag queens. I don't mind people in drag. It's not my bag but once I went to a reception and many of the artist's friends of the artist came dressed in drag. It was pretty cool.

It's a pretty mind expanding thing to confront how much our sense of masculine or feminine depends on stuff like make-up and hairdos and costume. This was long before the LGBTQ movement came but LGB was pretty commonplace.

The custom apparently started in the San Francisco library in 2015 and has spread around the world.

I can see why conservatives are up in arms.
It's a pretty sneaky attack in the culture wars.
They don't want kids to be thinking about sex or gender at all. And here we have story tellers who are challenging gender stereotypes by their very appearance in a library.

A herring gull chick pecks at a red spot on a parents beak to cause the parent to regurgitate food for the chick.
Niko Tinbergen measured the rate at which chicks pecked when presented with models of a gull head. Turned out that the thing that stimulated the chick most was a plain wooden stick with red and white markings.
The heightened contrast of the red and white was superstimulating the chicks.

Pornography works because of superstimulation. Long ago,
when I was a kid, I remember my parents having an argument in the night about Playboy magazine (which was new and revolutionary then). Mom burst out "Those women are deformed!" I had no idea then what she meant - but she was talking about superstimulation.

Once I lived in a house where the upstairs neighbor was an esthetician. She was a professional make-up artist. She was pretty in a normal sort of way. I met her downtown one day when she was made up for work. Whew! My knees started to tremble a bit. She was pushing all my buttons. Superstimulation at work.

Drag plays with that. As a male the knowledge that I'm being superstimulated by someone who is not female adds another layer of meaning to the experience. I ponder what that would mean to kids. Looking back at that age I personally would probably have been freaked out. Heck - There used to be an old guy who would play the accordion at the entrance of to the city market and even he freaked me out.

I think that conservatives are freaked at the idea that drag would become normal for kids - they fear it will draw kids into a LGBTQ lifestyle. And that's their mistake. I don't think anybody can be drawn into a gender identity. We are what we are. I'm male. There is just no way I could be gay or bi. But I think it goes the other way too. If you are gay or bi or trans then there is no way you could not be.

What do you think?

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.