Archive for January, 2010


January 23, 2010

This song

sounds a lot like

Although apparently this is common knowledge since even youtube commenters know it and youtube commenters are known to be among the dumbest internet users. It was still a new discovery to me. The Doors one is better imo but maybe that’s just cuz i’ve listened to it a lot of times already.

Listening to: Spanish Caravan – The Doors


Story About Being Sick

January 21, 2010

I’m sick at the moment. bah. This is unusual for me because my immune system is normally strong as an ox. In fact, my immune system was so strong that I had perfect attendance in grades 2-6. *brag* And it wasn’t even like I was just going to school sick, I just never got sick.

I remember the last time I got sick before my attendance streak began. It was in 1st grade with Mrs. Lavollo. There was a spelling test scheduled for that day and I had been studying pretty hard all week. Normally I wouldn’t studying for these types of things, that list had been particularly tricky. I remember specifically it had the words “chocolate” and “Mississippi” (lol I had to use auto correct to spell chocolate just now). The problem with my studying was that I had focused entirely on how to spell the word Mississippi and didn’t know how to spell any of the other words. Luckily the day of the test I got sick and the nurse called my dad to come pick me up so I missed the test.

I remember that afternoon I felt bad about missing the test cuz I thought it looks like a transparent plot to miss the test. So I went on our computer and typed up a letter to my teacher telling her that I felt bad missing the test since I had studied so hard. To show her that I had, in fact, studied the words, I typed out the word list in the letter using the spell checker to correct the spellings.

Are We in a Simulation?

January 15, 2010

I wrote a post about this a long time ago but I got a couple things wrong. There are a couple more thoughts I’ve had about it so I thought I’d reintroduce the idea before getting to those ideas.

The main argument is an idea by Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom. I will just speed through the argument, but you can read more about it here. The argument shows that one of the following three statements is likely true.

(*1*) We will never reach the post human stage.

(*2*) Post humans are won’t run simulations.

(*3*) We are living in a simulation now.

The post human stage is just a stage of human development with extremely advanced technology by our current standards. It doesn’t refer to an era after the extinction of humans like the name suggests. Post humans will have extraordinary computing power. Some speculate that they will even build massive computers out of planets.

The simulations these post humans might run could be extremely detailed virtual worlds with conscious beings called Sims. There is some debate on this issue of whether sufficiently detailed simulated beings would be conscious, but seems likely that they would so we can assume that for now. The simulations would be realistic enough that the Sims would be unaware that they are in a simulation. One interesting fact to note is that the speed of time in the simulation doesn’t have to match the rate of time in the environment the simulation is being run in. For example, it is estimated that a planet sized computer could simulated the entire history of the human race up to this point in about 1 second using only 1 millionth of its computing power.

You might ask why these powerful post humans would bother running simulations like this. One reason might be to study them. These ancestor simulations could be used to perform controlled social science experiments. Another use for simulations would be entertainment. The computer game The Sims currently sells millions of copies and the characters are not even very realistic at the moment. It seems plausible that the game would become more popular with added realism.

Since it’s hard for people to get any clues about whether they are in a simulation or in real life, their certainty that they are in a simulation is approximately equal to the fraction of humans living in simulations. Since there are the same number of people that live before the post human era in reality and in simulations, the fraction of people in simulations is:



P=fraction of human civilizations that ever make it to post human stage from our current time

I=fraction of post human civilizations that are interested in running simulations

N=average number of simulations they run assuming they are interested

Once they have the ability to run a simulation it seems likely that they would run many copies. Think how many copies of The Sims are run today. So N is going to be very large. Unless a very small fraction of civilizations make it to the post human stage (*1*) or a very small fraction of post humans are interested in running simulations (*2*), almost all humans are simulations. If almost all humans are simulations and you cannot tell if you are a simulation or not, then you must conclude that you probably are (*3*).

Anecdote From Class

January 13, 2010

A young woman was a student in a class Freud was teaching on his theory on dream interpretation. She was skeptical of his ideas and eager to prove them wrong, but couldn’t think of how to attack them. She fell asleep studying and when she woke up she exclaimed, “Eureka!”

She marched into Freud’s office and confidently declared that she had disproved his theory.

“Vat iz it?”

“While I was napping, I dreamt that I was murdering my own mother with an ax. According to your theory, dreams are all forms of wish-fulfillment which implies that I wish to kill my mother. But I love my mother and certainly do not wish to kill her! So this evidence clearly contradicts your theory!”

“Hmm,” Freud pondered this for a moment and stroked his beard. “You vere already skeptical of des ideas veren’t you?”

“Yea I didn’t buy your theory in class,” she replied.

“Aha I see now what it is. Dis dream vas your subconscious fulfilling your wish to disprove my theory! Once again, my theory is corroborated!”


Listening to: Yankee Bayonet (I Will be Home Then) -The Decemberists

New Years

January 6, 2010

It has always seemed strange to me that we start the new year when we do. January 1st doesn’t seem like the most salient date to choose to start a year on.

It doesn’t correspond to the start of winter, which falls on the winter solstice, about 9-10 days earlier than the new year. Even if we were going to choose to start the year with a season, winter seems like a crappy one to choose. Makes more sense to start with something like spring which fits more with a theme of renewal etc. Also I think it kinda makes sense cuz people plant the new year’s harvest in Spring I think. Not 100% sure on that since I don’t farm.

As a 22 year old who has been on schools his whole life, it seems to me that September 1st would be a more sensible starting date since my life is governed by school years. In addition young people in schools, this would be more convenient for everyone involved in these fields like parents, teachers, professors, janitors, secretaries, etc.

Apparently westerners used to use different dates like March 25 and Easter as new years. Apparently those are important dates to Christians because their myths take place on those days.

This post was pretty boring. Oh well.

Listening to: Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin