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.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. HUM
A Mind

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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On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
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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
Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Politics and Evolution
The Evolution of Purpose.
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
Freedom and Badness
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
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
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Too Small to See
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

A Job
A society needs a government.
Babies and Bathwater
Belly of the Beast
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Drag Story Tellers
Family Values
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I Distrust the News
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Its a Free Country
Life Extension
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Parents, Children, and Community
Rethinking Rights
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Should We Go to Mars?
Social vs Individual Responsibility.
Society and The State
Society evolved
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Common Good
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
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The Rule of Law.
Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
Trial by jury
Virtue Signalling
We Live in the Present
What is to be said?
What made freedom a bad word?
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

Dr Malthus would be pleased

Life is hard. Then you die

For the past month or so I've been watching a webcam that looks at a peregrine falcon nest with 4 eggs in a turret at Chichester Cathedral.
Watching birds sitting on eggs is a bit like watching paint dry but it is interesting to see how the mating pair interact.
No movement for a long time, The sitter's head starts looking around. Bird cries are heard. Then another falcon appears. The two swap places.

Last week the eggs started hatching. Three chicks have emerged. Looks like one won't.
Now the mother bird (I think its the mother) sits on the chicks all day while the father hunts and brings home dead birds or mice. Father gives to mother and mother pecks bits of flesh and feeds it to the chicks.
After the meal is done mother flies away with the empty skin to get rid of it.
It's a bit gruesome but a loving scene nonetheless.

I started to wonder about the survival rate of the chicks. How many of that clutch would live long enough to have a clutch of eggs of their own.
I started with 4 eggs and assumed that that could produce 2 breeding pairs who each laid a clutch of 4 eggs.
I assumed that no birds died and made a spreadsheet about how the population would grow.
4 8
4 8 16
4 8 16 32
4 8 16 32 64
4 8 16 32 64 128
4 8 16 32 64 128 256
4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512
4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024
4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 2048
40 72 128 224 384 640 1024 1536 2048 2048

It turns out that after 10 years the initial breeding pair would produce over 8000 falcons. That obviously doesn't happen.
In 10 years, if the population doesn't grow that single breeding pair would replaced by just one other pair. That means that almost all the peregrines don't make it.

Thomas Malthus noted that "that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear, which eventually reduces living standards to the point of triggering a population die off."

It seems that Malthus was mistaken in assuming that population growth among (say) peregrines could be exponential.
Watching this nest makes it obvious why. These birds spend all day in the cold wind scrounging for their food. It's a hard life.
When I lived outside while crossing Canada on my bike I had a tent and sleeping bag and stores to buy food from
But Malthus was right. When conditions are right populations can and do grow to the point of eating all the food and then crashing due to starvation and disease.

This is a big factor in the expansion of the human population.
We don't have predators keeping our population under control.
Our worst natural enemies now are tiny things like viruses.
And we have been (largely) able to make the food supply grow as fast as the population.
But how long can that go on?

I read of an example (I think by EO Wilson) of a pond where the lily pads grow at a rate that doubles their area every day. On the last day before the lily pads covered the whole lake half of the water was still open.
Next day it was all covered.

Point being that things can seem fine for a long time - but catastrophe can come very quickly at the end.

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.