Epigrams

Witticisms, parodies, pointed observations, japeries, jocularity, Tom Swifties, examples of nominative determinism, and discursive drollery (humor, psychology, statistics, transhumanism, technology, Silk Road, Bitcoin, power analysis, Bayes)
created: 30 April 2014; modified: 12 Dec 2017; status: in progress; confidence: possible; importance: 7

Statistics

  • Often, I must calculate otherwise than I think. That is called diplomacy.
  • Surprising linear models work at all, when they are the worst functional language ever: only operator *, n variables, n assignments, & output=sum.
  • When critiquing a paper, go for the jugular: any part with the words presumably, obviously, past research, or studies show. (If a sentence cannot survive having the word just removed from it, it does not deserve to.)
  • Tip: try to read the appendixes of research papers as well. Surprisingly often big results, not just caveats & flaws, will be buried in them
  • If your local meta-analyst or methodologist is not either an alcoholic or an insufferable jerk, they may be doing it wrong.
  • There’s always someone who can make a perpetual motion machine complicated enough that you, personally, can’t figure it out.
  • Remember, citizens, fulltext is our first line of defense against science journalism!

    • We can sleep soundly because rough men stand ready with blogs willing to do violence to papers on our behalf.
  • When does measurement error matter? If you can’t write X correlates with Y as X correlates with scribbled survey asking about Y without qualm.
  • The use of confidence intervals rather than p-values is a clear improvement; it makes our difficulties vanish like smoke in a fog.
  • p-value testing is weird, but with multiple correction, it gets even weirder: the more you measure & model, the less you know.
  • Power vs error vs sample size: painful tradeoff of statistics. Sins of omission, commission, & risk aversion - painful tradeoff of life?
  • Not doing power analysis with informative priors is searching a haystack of unknown size for a needle which probably isn’t there.
  • Power analysis: if there is enough light to find the needles in the haystack; variance component analysis: if there are any needles at all.
  • It’d be nice if people cared about systematic vs sampling error, Bayesian methods, informative priors & design more than once every 4 years.
  • If you ever decide unbiasedness isn’t too high price to pay for saving posteriors from entropy, let Bayes know. He’ll be ready. /人◕‿‿◕人\
  • Remember: p-values are not posterior probabilities are not effect sizes are not utilities are not profits are not decisions.
  • All analyses are ultimately decision analyses. We can ignore that for convenience, but we must never forget that.
  • Our beliefs are continuous, but our actions discrete. This leads to analysis paralysis; can one execute wholeheartedly on +EV actions with P=1% just as well as when P=99%?
  • Disagree and commit to courses of action - Thompson posterior sampling for solving the MDP of life.
  • Beware geeks bearing percents.
  • To mine for forgotten gold in a field, look for its most austere & mathematical subfield - mathematicians are terrible at marketing.
  • RCTs : traditional Western medicine :: Nixon recordings : presidents :: DNA testing : courts :: priest abuse : Catholic Church :: cellphones/body cameras : police :: Wikileaks : geopolitics :: Snowden : computer security :: GWASes : candidate-gene studies
  • We will know deep learning has succeeded not when we anthropomorphize machines, but when we unanthropomorphize humans.
  • The life of a neuron in Hebbian learning is oft nasty, brutish & short; cells must wire & fire together to survive, thus creating LevAIthan.
  • When I was a little kid, I thought cars told their drivers where to go (using their turn signals). It took a while, but eventually, I was right.

Biology

  • Whenever I feel maybe the FDA and big blind clinical trials are unnecessary, I go read Longecity threads until the feeling passes.
  • Count on it: the most humane organizations oft have the most inhumane results. Save us from those who prefer being or seeming good to doing or giving well!
  • Paleo? Atkins? Low-carb? Mediterranean? Maybe it is time to step back and ask: what should be the epistemology of food?
  • Correlation≠causation: the first thing taught in causal inference classes, and the last thing learned.
  • Observational science on the cheap is often neither science nor cheap.
  • Every normal man must be tempted now & then to sharpen knives, hoist a black flag, and run amok, shouting No causation without randomization!
  • If you consider them in terms of QALYs lost, school is at least as harmful to your health as smoking - and far more expensive.
  • Paul Krugman notes you can look like an insane raving loon just reciting economics textbook contents in a loud voice; likewise, behavioral genetics.
  • Some ask if behavioral genetics has made me nihilistic and feeling all is futile. But I have to believe in free will - my whole family does.
  • On genetic engineering and AI risk, optimist: we can’t afford to worry about risks with survivors; pessimist: we can’t afford worry about risks without survivors.
  • There is: useless painful pain (chronic pain, exercise); useful painful pain (the normal sort); useless nonpainful nonpain (dead nerves in diabetes or leprosy); useful nonpainful nonpain (adrenaline rushes during combat); and useless nonpainful pain (pain asymbolia where they maim & kill themselves); but is there useful painless pain or useless painful nonpain?

    A table for clarity:

    Utility Aversiveness Qualia presence Examples
    useless painful pain chronic pain, exercise
    useful painful pain normal/injuries
    useless nonpainful pain pain asymbolia
    useful nonpainful pain ?
    useless painful nonpain ? unconscious processes such as anesthesia awareness? Itches or tickles?
    useful painful nonpain cold/heat perception?
    useless nonpainful nonpain deadened nerves from diseases (diabetes, leprosy), injury, drugs (anesthetics)
    useful nonpainful nonpain adrenaline rush/accidents/combat

Technology

Programming

  • Maxims of reliable complex systems:

    • it is easier to invent a buggy reliable system than it is to understand a bugfree reliable system.

      Corollary: no one understands a working complex system.
    • the complexity you add to a complex system to prevent failure is itself a major source of failure.
    • Like in security, the worst possible state for a power cord, USB cable, or database is half working.
    • Proving properties about systems reveals bugs; it doesn’t matter what property you prove! Similarly, a little fuzz testing goes a long way: your system is probably not robust even to a cat walking across a keyboard.
  • The soul of modern man is so fallen & mutilated that he can feel despair only when trapped in dependency hell.
  • One programmer’s dependency solution is another’s version conflict.
  • Whether to check preconditions before a loop, or after: this is to define sanity and insanity.
  • Programmers’ chairs and keyboards cause RSIs of the body; but what RSIs of the mind?
  • Will a just & merciful developer condemn good programs to bad smartphones?
  • We have abstracted away from for loops over arrays; but what idiom will abstract away the loops of our lives?
  • Backups are confronting one’s fallibility & the transience of the world; we should not be surprised so few can do it.
  • When was the last time you saw American programmers worry about Indians? A lesson there. But don’t ask an Indian developer what, ask an American.
  • The pre-Internet PC was the real Wild West: a lone programmer and his compiler against hordes of quandaries.
  • A pause on my keyboard for thought - and how peaceful it must be in the CPU, as the nanoseconds slowly tick by…
  • Bugs in working code are moments for reflection: how much we take on faith, because it seems to work!
  • Helping newbies requires an active memory - of all the times we ourselves failed to read the fucking manual.
  • Is programming Christian or Buddhist? Ask yourself how many of your programs have the Three Marks: anitya, anattā, & dukkha.
  • Once a program has taken on a definite form, it does not lose it until deletion.
  • How can we fear machines will separate humans when even in their source code, we can read the stamp of personality & style?
  • Data, and the formats by which data are communicated, inevitably create a system permeated by illusions.
  • A truck driver may drive for 20 years without ever improving; it must be confessed that many programmers do little better.
  • Anyone satisfied by last year’s code is not learning enough.
  • I do not like this algorithm/language/tool. Why? I am not up to it. - anyone, ever?
  • The Internet is embarrassed by the browser.
  • The HTML page is a stark data format: everywhere it goes, there is duplication of process. It is perfect for hiding information.
  • There is but one constant in every program; and it is [see VM table entry 0x000007FEFC831010 ~> 0x00885ED010 ~> faulting in page...]
  • When you become frustrated with computers, please remember they are only cleverly arranged sand. (When you become frustrated with people…)
  • Uproot your functions from their ground and the dangling roots will be seen. More functions!
  • I think there is a world market for maybe five computers - Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Baidu.
  • A haiku:

    The summer garbage -
    the sole remnant of many
    bright engineers' dreams

Languages

  • To test whether a language despises its users, merely see whether if (a = 1) {...} is valid.
  • Web browser developers are condemned to reinvent the OS, poorly. What is to be done about this? What could ever have been done about this?
  • Mozilla now has its own community, browser, cloud, language, userland, and in a final concession to the obvious - Firefox OS!
  • C, C#, Go, R, Rust: are these unsearchable names testimony to some feet of clay, or testaments to monstrous egos?
  • Haskellers knows the type of everything & the value of nothing. Unless they’ve turned on extensions, then neither
  • C - fast and efficient and for when you don’t have enough memory to remember things like why you don’t want to use C.
  • C programmers stay sane by imagining that all the other insecure buggy programs are thanks to avoidable unrepresentative reasons.
  • We have made an AI breakthrough! With Prolog, we have created the intelligence of a 2-year-old child: No. No. No. No.
  • Creating a new good programming language is so difficult it tends to be only fools who try.
  • Just as winds preserve seas from stagnation, so also corruption in languages is the result of prolonged calm.
  • That code is ill-written of which one must repent; as long as the PHP bears no evil fruit, the fool thinks it sweet as honey.
  • Single-paradigm languages are admirable for pushing until it breaks - or doesn’t!; cf Einstein & atomic Brownian motion; Columbus & the spherical Earth.

Bitcoin

  • If you find yourself surprised by man or market, remember you have learned as much about your own thinking as them: revelation comes in twos.
  • Bitcoin involves no new primitives or fancy proofs; perhaps cryptographers should all along have been studying sociology, not mathematics.
  • The horror of Bitcoin: money really is a social construct! & not always by nice-smelling well-groomed people in sharp suits.
  • A modest proposal: end tenure for computer security researchers. Given the status quo, if they’re not already rich, they can’t be any good.
  • What is the price of two satoshis - one copper coin? But not a single satoshi can fall to fees without your Eternal Blockchain knowing it.
  • The bravery of innovators: what sustained Satoshi Nakamoto during those lonely days in 2009 when no one cared enough even to attack Bitcoin?
  • One weird philosophy trick for analysis! Imagine worlds where X failed: Sure Bitcoin died: a deflationary currency requiring ever more waste?
  • Let us hope Karpeles will not be the Alcibiades of Bitcoin.
  • The optimal number of double-spends is not zero.
  • DPR was a genius until he was a fool & a knave; Satoshi was a genius until…?
  • Once you get locked into a serious cryptocurrency investment, the tendency is to push it as far as possible & collect all the alts. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than an early ether investor in the depths of an ICO binge.

Darknet Markets

  • Ulbricht, Ulbricht, Ulbricht! A million coins were not enough for Ulbricht!
  • We criticize Ulbricht for not knowing when to quit & enjoy life; but what are we ourselves refusing to quit?
  • Everything looks permanent until its secret is known. For all too many things, the beginning of fear is the beginning of knowledge.
  • A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care; this every student of the OP SECurity knows.
  • Modest proposal: let’s abandon the term OPSEC. Instead, let us refer to the mistakes of Ulbricht, Blake Benthall, MDpro, etc as OOPSEC.
  • Is crypto-libertarianism self-undermining? Can we handle the sausage factory of the darknet markets?
  • When a centralized escrow market claims 1% commissions, it should append an asterisk: and a one-time 100% fee if hacked or shut down.
  • Multisig vs centralized escrow: proof that convenience is a drug faster & more addictive than the finest heroin.
  • Decentralized Bitcoin markets are the future of darknet markets - and I fear always will be.
  • Lust for lucre is the root of all evil? Alert the theologians: the number of centralized darknet markets is an index of Satanic activity!

Economics

  • Good results follow good intentions even as the rain follows the plow.
  • If pigs were smart enough to worry: the humans neither love nor hate you, but you are made of tasty bacon they can use for something else.
  • Optimists: believe everything has been selected to be as efficient as is possible to achieve; pessimists: everything is selected to be as terrible as is possible to get away with.
  • Ricardo’s theorem is the pons asinorum of economics: it always seems to be employed by asses upon high.
  • A roll of the dice succeeds 1 time in 6, and stage magicians can learn to control rolls, while perhaps 1 in 10 startups will be truly a good use of time for the founders & employees and success rates do not increase with experience; perhaps saying a startup is as random as a coin-flip and really rolling the dice should be taken not as an insult but as the highest of compliments.
  • ’tis a foolish VC who invests only in things he’s sure of, and not adventures. If a VC doesn’t regularly look foolish, he’s a fool.

Umeshisms

Umeshisms (1):

  • If you never lose an eBay auction, you’re bidding too much.
  • If you never return an item to the store, you’re buying too few things.
  • If all your experiments work, you’re just fooling yourself.
  • If you eat all your food before it goes bad, you’re eating too much bad food.
  • If none of a city’s buildings collapse in an earthquake, construction standards are too costly.
  • If your NASA rover program is serious about fast and cheap, 0 is the wrong number of rover failures.
  • If your Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency never has double-spends, the (miner) rent is too damn high.
  • If there isn’t blatant waste in an economy, too many people are looking for waste.
  • If a race car survives the race, it’s over-engineered.1
  • If your self-driving car fleet never runs people over, it’s being rolled out too slowly.
  • If you recall your cars for every defect, you’re recalling too many cars.
  • If your packets are never corrupted, you’re wasting too much computation on error-correction & reliability.
  • If your new AI program is undefeatable by humans, you waited too long to run the tournament. (If your superintelligence isn’t relatively close to human level, you’re holding off too long on turning the earth into computronium.)
  • Dark Lordisms: if you’re getting into pitched battles with heroes or armies, you’re not using dark enough magic.
  • The final Umeshism: If everything you do is easy, you’re underachieving.

Anti-Umeshisms:

  • If you’ve never dropped any courses, it’s because education is not about human capital.

    Hansonism: one should never drop any courses, because education is not about human capital.
  • If you’ve never changed your favorite charity based on cost-benefit, it’s because charity is not about helping.

    Hansonism: …
  • If you’ve never dropped a bad book, it’s because reading isn’t about gaining knowledge.
  • If you’ve never changed your mind publicly, it’s because politics isn’t about policy.

Malthusianisms:

  • Why do hairdryers blow fuses? Because if they didn’t, you would buy a hotter hairdryer.
  • Why is it so hard to get competent, hardworking, volunteers? Because if they’re any good, they already have too much stuff to work on.
  • If books weren’t so long that they were tiring to read, authors would make them longer.
  • Why do returns diminish? Because if they didn’t, someone would reinvest in earning returns in an exponential spiral of wealth until they did diminish.
  • Why are worthwhile things often so hard to do? Because if things worth doing were easy, everyone would do the pleasant things and avoid the unpleasant things until the hard things were most worth doing.
  • Why are infections so fatal? Because if the viruses & bacteria didn’t take risks & engage in overkill, they couldn’t get past our adaptive immune system and would be selected against. Why can’t we have simple cheap innate immune systems? Because then we would be selected against by the current viruses & bacteria…
  • Why are so many of the people you date crazier, uglier, meaner, or poorer than you’d prefer? Because if they weren’t, they’d already be taken.
  • Rumeshism: Why is the rum is gone? Because if there were more rum, people would drink more rum.
  • Matthewsisms:

    • Those startups who least need VC investment & deliver lowest expected returns are those who receive the most VC offers of investment.
    • Those who most want a girlfriend are the least successful in asking girls out.
    • Those people with the most need for Conscientiousness & depression treatment are those least able to follow therapy like CBT.
    • Those schizophrenics with the most need for medication are those least likely to keep taking it.
    • The most ignorant who most need to follow advice & instructions are least likely to understand their need.
    • Countries which most need to fight corruption are least able to do so.
    • Merit-based admissions aid/scholarships; being rich and getting a loan; applying for jobs…

Misc

General:

  • How would the world look any different than it does now if X were true? You say because of X, but where does X come from?
  • To learn to build sandcastles on the beach is to learn to live and die an atheist.
  • Everyone knows what would be best for them to do - tomorrow.
  • Neo, what if I told you… everything you knew was correct? (That would be the biggest disappointment ever.)
  • At times, tolerance can be the most radical of positions to take; just watch when a weak group gains power.
  • Reading a flame war: and all you people must once have been little children, who smiled of a summer day.
  • Imagine a world where the just world and fundamental attribution bias were correct, and karma existed. Wouldn’t that be unspeakably tragic?
  • War seeks to mold physical conditions as one wishes; art seeks to mold minds as one wishes. Both are based on deception.
  • Art is often hatred: it shows the past, or future, or far-away but never the present moment. Anti-art: a TV & camera showing the viewer.
  • The fallacy of gray or the fallacy of grey? My suggestion the fallacy of græy was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.
  • I have made progress in my meditations: yesterday I told myself one truth, and only nine lies.
  • Blackmail is a rent on hypocrisy, either personal or societal.
  • Adulthood is accepting no one will save you anymore; from this, all else follows.

Meta

  • An aphorism is an algorithm, of we know not what input, we know not what output.
  • It is easier to write an incorrect epigram than understand a correct one.
  • Voltaire’s Third Law: for every aphorism, there is an equal and opposite anti-aphorism
  • The epigram is a compressed, golfed, idea, with all the virtues - and sins - of golfed code.
  • If we measure the entropy of epigrams by how many people understand them, who is the gzip of epigrams? The xz? (…the ZPAQ…?)
  • Remember! Most strings are incompressible, most reals uncomputable, most theorems unprovable, most programs undecidable.
  • Should languages support the writer’s convenience or the reader’s understanding? Frame it as a status debate, and all becomes clear.
  • Fear not known but unknown propaganda; I have the utmost respect for Pravda - how else will you know what to not believe?
  • Writing down your ideas takes 90% of the time; debugging code takes another 90% of the time; rewriting takes the third 90% of the time…
  • A day with nothing unusual is an unusual day. Fiction writers & GANs must include the improbable to be probable. Spend surprisal shrewdly.

Startup ideas

Potentially profitable late-stage capitalism performance art pieces:

  • Bonsai simulator. Email the user once a week with n variants or actions to pick, like directed evolution games. Graphical/plant backend can be powered by CNN GANs, sumi-e painting engines (eg Xie et al 2012), outsourced human artists in China, etc. To increase revenue, kill bonsai at random with low probability & present memorial videos of how it evolved over the years, while offering to make a micropayment to resurrect a version of it or start growing another from its random seed.
  • custom CNC manufacturing of extremely dense metal (lead/tungsten/osmium) objects such as credit cards/keys/passcards/etc for elite luxury brands: unexpectedly heavy objects subconsciously signal Quality. This is part of why SUVs are so heavy and why devices such as Beats headphones have metal weights inserted in them.
  • NN GANs for photorealistic-but-legal child porn; transfer learning from Western & Japanese porn and finetune on Dark Web & lolicon corpuses. Startup slogan: we put the AI in waifu and the ANN in husbanndo using our patented hentai. You know what they say in SV: every good startup breaks at least a few laws…
  • Snapchat/Instagram but for audio, with such novelty filters as talking in Shepard tones or with helium, and audio style transfer from an approved bank of advertising-sponsored sound & voice samples.
  • Soylentant: a restaurant serving tasting menus of all Soylent drinks & bars, with recommendations from the soylemmier: Ah, the August 2016 Soylent bar… A fine vintage. Usually. Also sells a cookbook for hackers: From Zero To Yum.
  • TVTropes+fMRI for randomized movies/VR/novels which maximize surprise/engagement by being somewhat but not too unpredictable, forking paths as necessary to maintain interest at a high level. Aesthetically, you want familiar but not too familiar, so there’s a sweet spot in randomizing trope/subversion (cf Schmidhuber’s theory of creativity). There’s probably a way to infer surprise/arousal from eye tracking (necessary for VR headsets to do foveated rendering among other things), so this could be a useful tool for VR especially in calibrating pacing.
  • Zendo - in VR.
  • driver’s ed - in VR.
  • motion-tracking playing chase with cat; inverse reinforcement learning for developing a cat model; sell as cyber-companion - in VR. VC funding from Elon Meowsk. If the consumer market for VR cats is not there yet, pivoting to uploading cats, selling the resulting AIs to the DoD or China, and destroying humanity.
  • Uber - for VR, using Uber. (How often are you using your headset anyway?)
  • WiFi+blockchain+assassination market+facial recognition CNNs+social networks+self-driving cars+ride-sharing. (A simpler version would just be legally requiring or paying car manufacturers like Tesla to run Bloom filters in the background on facial embeddings, and phoning home to the police/security agencies. This would sell well in China & the UK.) Priority orders would be executed by drones. The Samsung Android app will be named Death Note.
  • account/name reservation: registers your favorite username on the top 10,000 websites so no one can steal it from you.
  • automate planning of panda bear sex & breeding by sequencing their genomes & preserving maximum genetic diversity; land a $1b contract with China’s National Zoo (as pandas are worth far more than their weight in gold to Chinese diplomacy & zoo revenues)
  • curation of polygenic scores & genetic correlations, with utility weights from medical-economic research/surveys. Embryo-selection-as-a-service.
  • a startup where the dress code is not hacker slacks or business suit casual, but zentai suits, to reduce office politics. Bonus: health premiums savings. And if employees resist, simply tell them it’s part of a diversity/anti-racism program to make it harder to discriminate based on skin color or appearance.
  • digitize motorized prayer wheels into PWAAS (Prayer-Wheels-As-A)-Service: highly parallel headless cloud servers animate GIF prayer-wheels. This SASS (spirituality-as-service startup) can of course accept bitcoins: Satoshis for Satoris.
  • not-useless spelling bee tournaments: transcribe & pronounce IPA strings. Be careful not to go bankrupt flying in !Kung judges for the national finals.
  • revive parasitic computing, build it on all the cryptographic services now available (some of which go far beyond HTTPS in complexity), launch cut-rate cloud hosting.
  • small drones launched from bazookas to reduce battery consumption against other drones (consumer-level pricing: a rock)
  • An SDK for hacking smartphone speakers into emitting infrasound, bypassing any OS limitations; can sell to Hacking Team for use on dissidents^Wcriminal-terrorists.
  • fashion-as-service, NN smartphone app to tell you no, that’s hideous! (eg StreetStyle: Exploring world-wide clothing styles from millions of photos+A deep architecture for unified aesthetic prediction etc)

    Someone suggested guide dogs for assisting their owners. Obviously that would not work - everyone knows that dogs are partially colorblind.
  • Monetizing pet ill health into revenue streams: exploit the temporal inconsistency of people in having high elasticity in pet purchase costs2 but extreme price insensitivity/inelasticity in purchasing pet medical care by giving away sick pets (especially bulldogs), & getting vet kickbacks or direct profit-sharing. CarePets™: The Pet You Can Care For… And Care For… And Care For…

    People won’t pay upfront for healthier pets since no emotional bonds; but will pay almost indefinitely once the pets get sick. This is despite often knowing, either first hand or watching other pet owners spend staggering sums on vet bills, what will happen. (Inelasticity is why despite total free market in pet health, costs have actually increased faster than human medicine.) This asymmetry makes them easy to money-pump, especially since the fixed supply of veterinarians (like human doctors) means it should be feasible to buy out or control entire geographic regions and capture the increased revenue.

    To extract the most money, the disease should be treatable (risks owners opting for euthanasia, and palliative care is not profitable), dramatic but not too disgusting (if it’s repulsive the owner will find it easier to break the emotional bonds), appear within a year or two of adoption (to start generating revenue as soon as the emotional fetters are solidly in place), chronic (to maximize time before needing to supply a replacement), while being conveniently treatable (as peoples’ time can be more scarce than their money, particularly rich ones) in small steps (to break down the billing into small $10 or $20/month costs and avoid the owners realizing that the Total Cost of Ownership will run into the thousands of dollars, similar to subscription billing); and highly heritable, at least in humans (to permit easy development of a breed with extremely high risk, using well-studied human genetics as a proxy estimate, and providing cover for the breeding program as a scientific program into developing animal models of diseases for important human diseases).

    Thus, something like late-life terminal cancer treatable with a single expensive surgery would not work well because it will be many years before there is any revenue and many owners will simply opt for euthanasia. The ideal diseases in dogs & cats might be epileptic seizures and diabetes: the epileptic seizures are dramatic, frightening, but not disgusting, both diseases are lifelong chronic diseases treatable by medicine, tend to show up while young but not immediately, and are highly heritable in humans. A good medicine cost would be ~$20/month, which would yield a NPV of easily $5000 (approximately, 2012log(1.05)\frac{20 \cdot 12}{log(1.05)}).

    This strategy exploits: dynamic & temporal inconsistency, hyperbolic discounting, subadditivity, market failures, and virtue signaling. Thamiel would approve greatly.
  • Moe anthropomorphism (TvTropes) mobile game but for fantasy sports. Kancolle-ize the NFL/NBA/MLB/soccer and become a billionaire!

    Franchises like Strike Witches/Girls und Panzer/Hetalia: Axis Powers/Girls Frontline demonstrate that the oddest things can be successfully anthropomorphized, but their appeal is inherently limited to military otaku, when there are things which are far more popular - professional sports. There’s no reason to not do moe anthropomorphization of sportsball teams. They write themselves - like the Yankees are the oujo-sama character… (Given the gun/ship moe convention of bust size=caliber, I suggest that various clubs/teams annual budgets be used for the rankings.)
  • website that lists startup ideas.
  • CutFit: a cutting-edge new fitness fad, exploiting the fact that repairing biological tissue after injury is energetically & metabolically expensive, requiring ~20kj/g3. Enough tissue damage could represent a substantial caloric sink, and if the scarring is visible, serve as a costly credible signal of commitment to thinness & fitness by indicating regular weight loss cuts, driving out inferior methods of weight maintenance. This need not necessarily involve surgical removal of tissue: the slowness of recovery from injuries & heavy exercise raises interesting questions about how to optimally inflict damage on the body so as to trigger the exercise response - how much exercise benefit is from the cost of repair? Are there more effective muscle/cardiovascular damage methods besides run or lift weights? (Carefully targeted ultrasounds? Hormetic levels of poisons like alcohol? Something electrical? Unusual postures? Physical pressure? Heat/cold? Are there ways to raise basal metabolism/energy expenditure which are safer than fevers, lipopolysaccharides, or 2,4-Dinitrophenol )

Tom Swifties

“It is not strength, but art, obtains the prize,

And to be swifty is less than to be wise." –Alexander P.

  • I hope Jared Kushner is able to improve the government’s Middle Eastern policy!, Tom said sunnily.
  • All these random factoids just about add up to a hill of beans, Tom observed in a normal tone.
  • Eureka! I’ve figured out how the brain works (again)!, Tom hinted online.
  • Help, I’ve lost the two silver coins I keep in my pocket and now I’m broke as a Greek! Tom said paradigmatically.
  • These endless flag debates have made me cross and seeing red, Tom said vexedly.
  • Would anyone like some lamb or omelettes for brunch?, Tom modestly proposed.
  • I’m now dead-broke and unemployed, Tom said in public dolefully.
  • Darth Vader’s use of corporal punishment is probably bad for morale, Tom said offhandedly.
  • Very impressive, but there’s something I ought to tell you - I am not left-handed, Tom pointed out offhandedly.

    I actually am a skilled duelist and trick shooter too, offendedly shot out Tom offhandedly
  • This new male contraceptive is a revolutionary breakthrough! Tom pointlessly ejaculated.
  • She has an unpleasant demeanor, Tom said misogynistically.
  • I wonder if a certain person who should not have ate those special cookies, Tom insinuated.
  • I hardly have an appetite for this Soylent, Tom said insipidly.
  • No, thanks, but I prefer caffeinated beverages, Tom said teetotaling.
  • They put too many birds into the zoo and it overflew! Tom avidly squawked.
  • Some dog has unfortunately destroyed my flower garden, oh well, said Tom lackadaisically.
  • I can’t think of anything to write, Tom said blankly.

    Why do you ask?, Tom said querulously.

    Because I can think of little else than Tom Swifties, Tom said autologically.
  • I refuse to discuss what I donate for a living!, Tom said spunkily.
  • I got a great deal on my new Raybans, said Tom shadily.

Nominative determinism

Noticed instances of nominative determinism in the wild:


  1. A variant on a saying in the automotive industry, along the lines of The perfect race car falls apart while crossing the finish line or The perfect racing car crosses the finish line first and subsequently falls into its component parts (but there are innumerable variants). It has been attributed to, among others, Ferdinand Porsche, an anonymous newspaper photograph caption, Stirling Moss, and Colin Chapman by way of Innes Ireland (unknown source):

    .. in ’59 I ran out of brakes four times – and I don’t mean they didn’t work very well, I mean I had none. Like the main oil line had sheared. You know, so that oil, you know, when you put your foot on the floor, the oil just went squirting out into the atmosphere. I’d always believed that Colin was close to genius in his design ability and everything, if he could just get over this failing of his of making things too bloody light. I mean, Colin’s idea of a Grand Prix car was it should win the race and, as it crossed the finishing line, it should collapse in a heap of bits. If it didn’t do that, it was built too strongly.

    & Peter Dron (2002):

    Chapman probably did die, aged only 54, of a heart attack. He had always had weight problems (hence his nickname), cruelly ironical in one so fanatical about lightness: his theory of the perfect racing car was that, several yards after taking the chequered flag for victory, it should simultaneously run out of petrol and disintegrate. Those drivers who survived when their Lotuses crashed rather earlier than this, due to component failure, sometimes felt that he took this principle too far.

  2. This asymmetry might explain the apathy of pet owners to paying for breeding or genetic engineering, in contrast to farmers who are willing to pay large sums for the development of superior varieties. It is easy to imagine the commercial development of cat breeds developed to be extremely healthy, long-lived, with good temperaments, catnip response, no known genetic diseases (with tests regularly deployed as developed), the kittens raised with optimal methods such as large amounts of handling & exposure to stressors like other cats or dogs during the critical early developmental windows of plasticity, and sold spayed/neutered to end consumers to protect their IP. Such rigorous programs are common in livestock or plant breeding, and the products often sold to end consumers such as hobbyist gardeners. Yet, they are totally absent from pet ownership.

    It is striking that most selective breeding of cats focuses on fur appearance, crossing domestic cats with a variety of other felid species to produce experimental felid hybrid breeds with exotic appearances (compare sales of the Russian Domesticated Red Fox), or in the case of Allerca & Felix Pets, advertising hypoallergenic cats (ie selling to those for whom a normal cat would be excruciating & possibly dangerous to live with). This lack of interest in cat breeds optimized is despite the large, and ever escalating, healthcare costs for pets, which imply that paying thousands of dollars for a particularly healthy & long-lived pet could pay off.

  3. Apell et al 2012:

    The liver, brain, heart and kidneys make up for almost 70% of this basic metabolic rate W but only about 6% of the body mass M To calculate gross numbers we can use a food intake equivalent to 6 MJ/day (Mahan 2000). This corresponds to an average power of 70 W or 1 mW/g = 1 pW/ng of body weight. A typical cell is around 1 ng in weight giving the pW scale for cell metabolism. In physical terms wounds need substantial energy resources when processing the new material needed to fill the wound cavity. In the first instance it takes a lot of extra energy to boost the immune system to beat possible inflammations and clear up the debris. The energy needed for the tissue ingrowth can be decomposed into two parts. The energy stored in the new material and structures being built and the one used to maintain old and new tissue. The first one dominates during the tissue growth process and depends naturally on tissue composition. However if we know the fractions of fat and proteins one can use their heat of combustion to calculate a number for the tissue concerned. This works out to a mean energy requirement for growth of the order of 20 kJ per gram of tissue deposited or 60μJ for an average cell (3-5 nanograms) (Malina 2004 [Growth, maturation, and physical activity, second edition]). This corresponds to a power of 6 watts if converted to one hour. Being of the order of 10% of the total basal power we see that wound healing has to take days if not to be a too heavy load on the system. Another way is to boost the local metabolism where it is well-known that in periods of illness or injury we need to increase the energy intake with up to 40-50%. This means in physical terms that wounds acts like substantial energy sinks…Taking into account that fibroblast cells are one of the major players in making new tissue we find from Table I and the energy requirement above of 20kJ/g to make new tissue that a time of the order of 10 days will have to elapse to provide the necessary energy WT. This is definitely in line with measured healing times. Notice however that this time is basically much longer than the typical cell-doubling time or the time it takes a fibroblast cell to move 10 times its own size (10h), which is typically the distance over which cells have no idea that a wound is present in their neighbourhood.