Racists of America Club Note #4

Posted in Notes on the Racists of America Story on December 2nd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Like AA, the Racists of America Club needs some corny slogans that the members embrace. A few ideas…. “excavate the unsaid”, “call in racism”. They could also start their meetings with something like

Honky, honky, honky

Nigger, nigger, nigger

Kike, kike, kike

Spic, spic, spic

Goomba, goomba, goomba

Mic, mic, mic

Chink, chink, chink

Paint Chips, Cracks, and Decay 4: White Door

Posted in Paint Chips Cracks and Decay on November 29th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

white door

The 17/18 Poems 10: More than the Usual Pissed Off

Posted in 17/18 poems on November 26th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

More than the usual pissed off

the inauguration of birds

waving poetry’s flag:

Mick Jagger’s sweatpants

The full-on

tit-craziest

ass-grabber

ever

where is our grumpy

keeper of the peace?

this has started filthy

Nothing corners the eye like orange


Habit

Posted in Bookshelf on November 22nd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

habit

The 17/18 Poems 9: They Walked the Location

Posted in 17/18 poems on November 18th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

they walked the location

whereupon all force resides

and stopped

give this some air, he said

I myself am almost being played

hear the music rough as bark

he now looking cross

the silence distressing

as one block of memories

in question stood

enough of them

darkening his eyes

the subject of his body


Collection of Oddities: The Hair-lo 16

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Hair-lo on November 15th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Screenshot 2014-07-25 at 12.20.47 AM

The Story of Discourse 12: Newcomb’s Boxes

Posted in The Story of Discourse on November 11th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Newcomb is probably the most charming bachelor you have ever met. As a boyfriend one couldn’t ask for much more, he is courteous, good looking, and seems to always know what you want when you want it. It is this last skill that really sets him apart. His ability to intuit what you want, need, or will do is uncanny. The only thing that explains his very long bachelorhood are two boxes. Newcomb wants to get married, but he has a rather strange way of asking. For each of his girlfriends, when the time is right, and Newcomb always knows when the time is right, he gets down on his knee and asks her to marry him. Instead of producing a single ring box, he produces two. One is red, the other purple. He tells his girlfriend that the red one contains a ring worth $1,000. On the other hand, the purple box contains a ring worth $100,000 or nothing. He explains to his girlfriend that she can either decide to take both boxes or just the purple one. The contents of the purple box is decided by whether he thinks she will take both boxes or just the purple box. Earlier that day if Newcomb believed that his girlfriend would just take the purple box, he fills it with the $100,000 ring. However if he thought she would take both ring boxes, he left the purple box empty without a ring. This kind of proposal has come to be known as the Newcomb proposal. Newcomb tells people that he sincerely wants to get married, but must propose in this very odd way. Some have accused him of bad faith on this, claiming that secretly he desires to avoid marriage and this is his way of doing it.

Dirty Dish Gallery 19: Egg Shell

Posted in Dirty Dish Gallery on November 8th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

egg shell

The 17/18 Poems 8: A Portion of Malice

Posted in 17/18 poems on November 4th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

he’s a person that knows better than love

but can’t stop himself all the same.

she was a church in the sky

dropping birdshit on people below.

in Britain, things were done differently:

more slowly and with less passion.

okay, something hit me somewhere.

is it that

I can see myself a portion of malice

or at least the meander of their doing?

our hero arrives in take charge mode,

but who can ultimately confirm or deny the world.

we are left with its giant question.

hero cowers. It’s okay big guy.


Paint Chips, Cracks, and Decay 3: Red Wall

Posted in Paint Chips Cracks and Decay on November 1st, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Red Wall

Racists of America Club Note #3

Posted in Notes on the Racists of America Story on October 29th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

And he said to his friend, “What if there was a group that didn’t try to cure you of racism, but presumed that we’re all racists? Instead of teaching you to be “sensitive”, it went the other direction and asked you to say the stuff that you weren’t supposed to say, how you actually experienced race, when you were conscious of it. So you could say anything, like a recovery program. There isn’t a person in America that doesn’t need to recover from our racial history.”

Series X, 34 Flying

Posted in Series X on October 25th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

flying

The 17/18 Poems 7: The Order Imposed by Conflict

Posted in 17/18 poems on October 21st, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

the order imposed by conflict

the metallic tasting air

boot heels furrowing the ground

we are flying their flag in risk for glory

from simple death there is no escape

from a complicated one

you can always run

I push at my insides

I feel a bit more cushion than stone

that is the conflict’s center


Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 11: Stroker Ace by Lovage

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on October 19th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The 42nd Parallel

Posted in Bookshelf on October 18th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

42nd parallel

The 17/18 Poems 6: A Structure of Inspiration and Concern

Posted in 17/18 poems on October 14th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

a structure of inspiration and concern

has escaped in the moonlight

and you got thinking life might

be alright for a minute

don’t pretend

it’s beneath your notice

it’s not

(just for the moment

I’m saying)

you rush to gather

loyal and murderous

and ask on Wednesday

is poetry young or old

the corners are sharp in the light

kishmet is hell, what I say

like a collision

talking bird and window here

you don’t mean that, thud

the shame is deeper, thud

I, thud

you, thud thud

Oh God, crack


Strange Faces Other Minds 1: Pyramid Scheme

Posted in Strange Faces Other Minds on October 7th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Pyramid is the best poem I’ve read in a long time. Here it is on the Poetry Foundation website. You can also hear Hera Lindsay Bird read it. I heard it first and fell in love with it. Sometimes I have the strange experience of then not enjoying the text as much, but I love this poem in either form.

Paint Chips, Cracks, and Decay 2: Green Wall

Posted in Paint Chips Cracks and Decay on October 4th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

green wall

Dirty Dish Gallery 18: Tea Bag

Posted in Dirty Dish Gallery on September 27th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

tea bag

Racists of America Club Note #2

Posted in Notes on the Racists of America Story on September 23rd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

A white guy gets the idea for the Racists of America Club after a required diversity training at work. Actually he has attended the training twice due to an administrative error. The first time he is mostly silent. The second time he knows all the things you are supposed to say and not being remembered by the trainer is praised for his answers. Leaving the meeting though, he feels nothing was really accomplished by either his first training where it was too risky to say anything he really thought, or the second riskless meeting that was merely performative. He goes and talks to his buddy, one of those guys who is down for anything and pitches the idea of a club for racists.


Uncollected 53, Fridge Magnets

Posted in Uncollected on September 20th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

fridge magnets

The 17/18 Poems 5: The Heaven We Can’t Figure

Posted in 17/18 poems on September 16th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

like the heaven

we can’t figure

or the subject

we inherit

taken on clumsy authority

the liberty for new mistakes

shot or hell shot

instant nature

not to be one

or to be one

we can’t figure

the wall waits

a sign of grace for the head


The Brothers Karamazov

Posted in Bookshelf on September 13th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

brothers karamotz

The 17/18 Poems 4: Unsuitable Objects

Posted in 17/18 poems on September 9th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

mixed character and whole jealousy

remembered nonsense forgotten wisdom

and certain interests

whose personal nature makes them

unsuitable objects of

impersonal concern

the thought to leave her

far away behind

rolling contemplation

between your fingers

slowly

how do these things get decided

is this a break or a bend

when do I know

trying too hard

is between her

it’s my rid


Paint Chips, Cracks, and Decay 1: Another Brick in the Wall

Posted in Paint Chips Cracks and Decay on September 6th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

brick

The 17/18 Poems 3: More Fitting than Otherwise

Posted in 17/18 poems on September 3rd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Better than nothing. More fitting than otherwise.

A thought that starts that way never ends well.

With pleasure a footnote, and so without striving.

Please note the cares I’m full of

The acts of correction on my body

The thoughts I guard

Their often differing ambitions

The heavy use of question


The Story of Discourse 11: Ulysses Mast

Posted in The Story of Discourse on September 2nd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Can you really trust anyone, even yourself? Especially not yourself. For who knows better the weakness of your will. Have you ever resolved to do anything? Then surely you know how yesterday’s intention withers under the sun of today. Well, not anymore, introducing Ulysses Mast.

Banish the fickle and flighty from your life. Forget caprice. It’s scaled down toothpick-size makes it perfect for rock solid will power both at home and on the go.

There are a great many things we can’t control in life. Don’t let your future-self be one of them. Buy Ulysses Mast, your ounce of resolve, today!


Caveat to Aspiring Immortals 17

Posted in Caveat to Aspiring Immortals on August 30th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Nerdvana

commerce

The 17/18 Poems 2: Forcing Bad Moons

Posted in 17/18 poems on August 26th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

with never not today

I can’t say no

for forcing bad moons

the stars yelling at your ear

give your name to flight

and little ambition

nonsense forgotten

says plump matron

while she like the water

bends light in her medium


Collection of Oddities: The Hair-lo 15

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Hair-lo on August 23rd, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Screenshot 2014-07-25 at 12.37.09 AM

Racists of America Club Note #1

Posted in Notes on the Racists of America Story on August 19th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Racists of America Club is a story I have been trying to write. I envisage the club in the style of an AA meeting, confessional. The premise is that racism is in everyone in the US. It is something to be gotten over with mutual support, not something that you call out and shame. I love the way people in AA really own being an alcoholic. That admission and the shared struggle help its members recover from the trauma of addiction.

Dirty Dish Gallery 17: Grease + Foil

Posted in Dirty Dish Gallery on August 16th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

grease + foil

The 17/18 Poems 1: On the Why I Crack My Head

Posted in 17/18 poems on August 12th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment
and on the why
I crack my head
bodies are real?
stop leaving me.
becoming what?
the final claw
with you I grieve
the lesson, a bite
forever

and on the why

I crack my head

bodies are real?

stop leaving me.

becoming what?

the final claw

with you I grieve

the lesson, a bite

forever

Alien Vs Predator

Posted in Bookshelf on August 9th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Alien vs predator

Welcome Back Kotter

Posted in Announcements on August 5th, 2019 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Buzzing Wire is coming back to WordPress. After posting on Tumblr for a little over two years and then taking a two year hiatus from blogging all together, I am reopening Buzzing Wire right here. Tumblr was a great platform but I tended to post mainly visual objects there. My two year hiatus was about getting back to writing. I have a lot of new written work to share and am excited to start posting again. The Tumblr incarnation of Buzzing Wire will remain as an archive of my time there. It can always be visited here. This site will see a return to action going forward. I hope you enjoy.

Buzzing Wire Moves to Tumblr

Posted in Announcements on November 2nd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Thanks to all those reading Buzzing Wire. I hope you follow me over to Tumblr. Here is the new address.
http://buzzingwire.tumblr.com/
Many of the series on will continue. This WordPress version of Buzzing Wire will remain up as an archive.

The Life of the Mind 14: Pascal’s Wager

Posted in Arguments on October 26th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

“God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up… Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose… But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is… If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.

  God exists God does not exist
Wager for God Gain all Status quo
Wager against God Misery Status quo

The Life of the Mind 13: Thought Experiment Descriptor

Posted in Thought Experiments on October 19th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Thought Experiments is a category belonging to The Life of the Mind that contains mental exercises in which the reader is asked to think about things from a particular perspective. The perspective could be anchored in a context, story, or could simply be a question that the reader was unlikely to consider before the experiment. Thought experiments are often found inside larger arguments as a means of priming the mind in a particular direction, but they are distinct from arguments in they don’t try to force you to a particular conclusion. They are also different from “traps and intuitions” in that they are not trying get the reader to experience tension between ideas. A thought experiment is more like ringing a bell and listening carefully.

The Life of the Mind 12: The Trolley Problem

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on October 12th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The general form of the problem is this: There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?

The Life of the Mind 11: Argument Descriptor

Posted in Arguments on October 5th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Arguments is a category belonging to The Life of the Mind that contains stories, scenarios, and problems that are used to make the case for a particular idea.

The Story of Discourse 10: Pia’s Leaves

Posted in The Story of Discourse on September 28th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Far down the list of women you have known is a girl named Pia. She was strange, beautiful, artistic. She was the one who on a whim painted all the leaves of a lovely red Maple green. The fight that ended your relationship started with that tree. At the time, you imagined yourself thoughtful. She was only ‘artistic’. Both of you had a little to drink and were careless with words. You told her it didn’t matter what she had done to the tree. The leaves were still red. She said the color depended. “On what?” I said. “If you love me, the leaves are green. If you don’t, they are red,” she said with tears starting in her eyes. I blew up. I don’t remember what I said after that. Some kind of horrible lecture about propositional logic? I might have even used the words “mutually exclusive”? What I do remember was at the end of the night, after we had yelled, cried, and eventually broken up, her telling me that language is flexible like an artist, not uptight like philosopher. 20 years later in the doldrums of a long marriage with a degree or two in uptightness behind me, she might be right. Pia!

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 10: Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on September 21st, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 10: The Simulation Argument

Posted in Arguments on September 14th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists
and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be
available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are
correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super‐powerful
computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their
forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great
many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as
they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine‐grained and if a certain
quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it
could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the
original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an
original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be
rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than
among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are
currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we
will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears.

Uncollected 52, Leaves on Snow

Posted in Uncollected on September 7th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

leaves on snow

The Social Unit 10: The State of Nature

Posted in The Social Unit on August 31st, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The state of nature hypothesis even when not explicit haunts many theories of social organization. Man has always lived in social units whether family or clan. An analysis of ideal smaller social units and how we broaden them while keeping their virtues seems a much more plausible and profitable.

The Snevets Stories 4

Posted in The Snevets Stories on August 24th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

I found myself wondering what would Snevets say. It was at a dinner party seventeen years after my last encounter with the old man. The conversation was only half interesting. Maybe that is why Snevets came to mind. He could always turn a half interesting question into something you would miss work to think about. I have to say as much as he vexed me, I miss him.

It shouldn’t be surprising, but most of the criminals we investigate are painfully boring. They wouldn’t even make it as TV level villains. I watch cop movies feeling jealous, knowing that the protagonist, for the two hours the film lasts, lives inside the one interesting case of his career. Win or lose, that means something. I watch, the investigator is scared, frustrated, dogged, but I want to whisper, “You’ve found your Snevets. Enjoy, just a little.” ‘Just a little’ because it is not really a joy at all to investigate your Snevets.

I wonder if Snevets remembers me at all. Is it the same for criminals? Did Snevets yawn through hordes of incompetent police looking for me. I am sad now and it is this thought. If Snevets is alive, I am too old to chase him.

The Story of Discourse 9: Maxwell’s Demon

Posted in The Story of Discourse on August 17th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The hottest club in the metropolitan area is called Entropy Lost. The club is downtown and is rather unusual in its setup. Instead of people waiting out on the street to get in, Entropy Lost actually has a waiting area. Even stranger is that the waiting area is as big as the club itself. The two huge rooms are adjacent with only a door between them. The door is guarded by a man named Maxwell’s Demon. Some say the success of the club is attributable to this bouncer. The demon’s discernment is what makes the club. He has a great eye for hot, high energy people. These are the ones that he lets into Entropy Lost. Furthermore, the demon will periodically shut the door, go into the club, find plain, low energy people to toss from the club. They aren’t doing anything wrong, but the demon claims they are dragging the club’s vibe down. This of course is controversial. People definitely aren’t happy when they get tossed. They keep coming back though, because one hour in Entropy Lost is worth a whole night in the next best club in the city.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 9: Flower

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on August 10th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 9: The Sad Case of Ronald Opus

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on August 3rd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

On March 23, 1994, a medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a gunshot wound of the head caused by a shotgun. Investigation to that point had revealed that the decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building with the intent to commit suicide. (He left a note indicating his despondency.) As he passed the 9th floor on the way down, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, killing him instantly. Neither the shooter nor the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the 8th floor level to protect some window washers, and that the decedent would most likely not have been able to complete his intent to commit suicide because of this.
Ordinarily, a person who starts into motion the events with a suicide intent ultimately commits suicide even though the mechanism might be not what he intended. That he was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not change his mode of death from suicide to homicide, but the fact that his suicide intent would not have been achieved under any circumstance caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands.
Further investigation led to the discovery that the room on the 9th floor from whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. He was threatening her with the shotgun because of an inter-spousal spat and became so upset that he could not hold the shotgun straight. Therefore, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed his wife, and the pellets went through the window, striking the decedent.
When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. The old man was confronted with this conclusion, but both he and his wife were adamant in stating that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded. It was the longtime habit of the old man to threaten his wife with an unloaded shotgun. He had no intent to murder her; therefore, the killing of the decedent appeared then to be accident. That is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
But further investigation turned up a witness that their son was seen loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal accident. That investigation showed that the mother (the old lady) had cut off her son’s financial support, and her son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that the father would shoot his mother. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
Now comes the exquisite twist. Further investigation revealed that the son, Ronald Opus himself, had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to get his mother murdered. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a 9th story window.
The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.

Uncollected 51, I Don’t Understand

Posted in Uncollected on July 27th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

photo

The Social Unit 9: Just State

Posted in The Social Unit on July 20th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Solely focusing on finding a workable theory of a just state is a misplaced effort. Justice is one of many virtues that an ideal state balances. Take the virtue of security. It wouldn’t do to be a just state that couldn’t defend itself from foreign aggression. Just as it wouldn’t do to be a secure state that was radically unjust.

Micro Song 24: Extramarital Sex

Posted in Micro Song on July 13th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

extramarital sex

The Story of Discourse 8: The Bridges of Königsberg

Posted in The Story of Discourse on July 6th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The bridges in the city of Königsberg have a magical property. When one wanders through the moonlit evenings of summer and stops to ask oneself a question, these bridges have the power of launching you and that question on a transformational journey. You have no idea where the asking of the question will take you only that the answer will be much larger than the question itself. There is a strange nuance to the bridges’ power. The sillier, the more innocent, the more idle the question the stronger the bridges’ powers of transformation are. Don’t make the mistake of asking something like “Does God exist?” A question of that magnitude renders the bridges’ power totally impotent. Instead, think along the lines of, “Why are portholes round?” or “How many people would it take to blow a cloud through the sky?” You will get much better results from questions of this nature.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 8: Loverboy

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on June 29th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 8: Pia’s Green Leaves

Posted in Arguments on June 22nd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Consider Pia who owns a Japanese Maple tree, with russet leaves. Thinking that the leaves should be green. Pia paints them, and having finished, she says “The leaves on my maple tree are green.”—apparently truly. Shortly afterwards, Pia receives a phone call from a friend, a botanist looking for green leaves for a study of green-leaf chemistry. Pia offers him the leaves from her Japanese Maple tree. This time, when she utters “The leaves on my maple tree are green.” she says something false. The same tree is referred to both times, and the tree’s leaves have not changed color between the first utterance and the second. Is what “counts as” being green different in the two contexts?

Uncollected 50, Whoops I Did My Mom

Posted in Uncollected on June 15th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

whoops you did your mom

The Social Unit 8: The Veil of Ignorance

Posted in The Social Unit on June 8th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

In the original position behind a veil of ignorance, one is asked to imagine what kind of distribution schemes one would agree to not knowing one’s place in society ahead of time. I imagine pie charts of various sizes sliced in different ways floating by me. Maybe we can even add Nozick’s games and their rules into the mix. If we are not overwhelmed, we chose and are suddenly given a slice of pie or a starting position in a game. If I ever complain, I am reminded but this is what you chose and this is supposed to satisfy me. But does it really? Think how many things you have chosen that after the fact you regret having chosen it, or at least wonder about alternatives. (Is anyone completely free of regret?) as important as having chosen initially a distributive scheme we must keep choosing it. The preference has to be stable. Rawl’s original position tells us a lot about what societies we would enter into, not as much about societies we would continue to live in.

Rub in Line Out 34: Space Is Limited

Posted in Rub In Line Out on June 1st, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

red collar of dialog
space is a man speaks
as if all are too worried
gun or lack
meal or recog-nicigan
heraldry of metals
cut and rake

The Story of Discourse 7: Zeno’s Turtle

Posted in The Story of Discourse on May 25th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

If you ever meet Zeno’s turtle on the road, know that he is prone to half measures. For if the two of you are on the way to town, he will only go half as far as he needs to and stop regardless of how much daylight is left. He is rather rule-bound about it. Don’t try to prod him or convince him of the futility of always only going halfway. Worse still don’t try to pick him up. No matter how much you have enjoyed his company, and he is pleasant for a turtle, if you try to carry him the remaining distance he will bite. And if you whine to him that he’ll never actually get to town, he stoically replies, maybe so but I can always be as near as you need me to be.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 7: Hesitating Beauty

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on May 18th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 7: The Veil of Ignorance

Posted in Thought Experiments on May 11th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

If you were to decide the rules of a social order without knowledge of your own talents, race, gender…any of your natural attributes, and you also didn’t know what position you would be put into in a society, which rules would you decide on for the society?

Uncollected 49, Hips

Posted in Uncollected on May 4th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

hips

The Social Unit 7: Procedure for Dissolution

Posted in The Social Unit on April 27th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

It is important for social units of the future to include in their constitutions (written or implicit) a procedure for dissolution or succession. This procedure would aid poorly functioning units from lapsing into civil wars, and encourage emerging unions by lowering the risks of conglomeration.

The Mantra of Craft T-shirt Gallery 13

Posted in The Mantra of Craft T-shirt Gallery on April 20th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Grave Old Plodder
Gay Young Frisker

The Story of Discourse 6: The Ring of Gyges

Posted in The Story of Discourse on April 13th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Ring of Gyges is one of those great underdog stories. The thing looks like it could come out of a crackerjack box. As an ornament it is a failure. It is so ugly in fact that humility forces it to become invisible when anyone wears it. Furthermore, the humility is contagious. It makes the bearer invisible as well. This effacement becomes the source of the ring’s power. Anyone that wears the ring, can go anywhere undetected. Imagine the possibilities. The violent can kill and maim; the venal, steal; the lusty, peep; and do-gooders can dispense with silly masks and capes. Of course, what many people wonder is does the ring further or change one’s ends?

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 6: I’m on Fire

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on April 6th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 6: Triple Threat

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on March 30th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Suppose we agree that everyone has a right to life, but that a person forfeits this right when he threatens the life of another — in that case it’s permissible to kill him.
Now consider three people, A, B, and C. A aims a gun at B, B aims a gun at C, and C aims a gun at A. When A takes aim, he’s threatening another person, so he loses his own right to life. Normally in that case C would be justified in killing him, since this defends B. But B is aiming at C, which means he forfeits his own right to life … which means that A can kill him, and that C can’t kill A.

Uncollected 48, Grate

Posted in Uncollected on March 23rd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

grate

The Social Unit 6: Marketing

Posted in The Social Unit on March 16th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

I am a bit worried that I have been thinking about marketing all wrong. It seems as though marketing might be part of the actual product/service’s value. For an example, consider the placebo effect in relation to pharmaceuticals. What is even more amazing than the fact that presentation matters almost as much as content is that they reinforce each other. The greater the efficacy of a drug, the greater the placebo effect.

The Story of Discourse 5: Kant’s Madman

Posted in The Story of Discourse on March 12th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Kant’s Madman knocks on doors. He never visits the person he is looking for, but only the friends of that person. He is not very direct in this way. When you open the door, the madman must present himself as homicidal in manner and tone. He also, and this is the hardest part, must conceal an ax so that it is visible to you on the one hand, but makes you believe he is trying to hide it on the other. This takes a lot of practice. His lines are easy. There is only one question to utter. He asks where your friend is. Scary, right? But not really if you have heard about him before. Because even if you give up your friend’s location, the madman won’t go find him. He simply walks from your front step to another house, knocking on a different door, asking the same question to another friend of your friend.

Caveat to Aspiring Immortals 16

Posted in Caveat to Aspiring Immortals on March 9th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

cheese

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 5: Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on February 23rd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 5: Traps and Intuitions Descriptor

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on February 16th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Traps and Intuitions is a category belonging to The Life of the Mind that contains what are often referred to as thought problems. They create a story or choice in which the reader experiences conflict between ideas, or one that reveals the reader’s deeper intuitions. Intuitions that one might not be ready to acknowledge when asked directly.

Uncollected 47, Food Chain

Posted in Uncollected on February 9th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

food chain

The Social Unit 5: Giving

Posted in The Social Unit on February 2nd, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

In development economics simple cash transfers, like GiveDirectly, are showing promise. The logic is that the people receiving the money know what will best improve their lives. The logic and the empirical results of such transfers are compelling. At the same time I find it difficult to reconcile with what I hear about lottery winners. I’m not sure if anyone has studied it, but one hears plenty of anecdotes on how the lottery has ruined a winner’s life. Assuming that low-level cash transfers tend to benefit people and that an excessive cash transfer will ruin them, is there some kind of sweet spot (percent of yearly income) where an unencumbered infusion of cash is likely to benefit one maximally?

Dirty Dish Gallery 16: Splat

Posted in Dirty Dish Gallery on January 26th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

photo 1

The Story of Discourse 4: Gavagai

Posted in The Story of Discourse on January 19th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Unlike other creatures that are born and then named, Gavagai was born name first. While we wait patiently to be named, then nicknamed, and possibly renamed. Gavagai is a name and is waiting for its thingness to come. Preliminary analyses suggest that Gavagai has been thing-ed with something related to a rabbit. It could be the rabbit itself, part of the rabbit. It could be some aspect, perhaps the color, or an action the rabbit is performing. Some have conjectured that it’s simply an idea suggested by the bunny. Only time will tell. As our names and nicknames are proposed and retired, leaving our one singular name, we too will have to wait and see what substance remains around Gavagai. I am patient. We will make progress on the matter. I do doubt sometimes that we will ever be quite sure what thing-ed Gavagai though.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 4: I Just Want to Make Love to You

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on January 12th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 4: The Chinese Room

Posted in Arguments on January 5th, 2015 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Chinese Room argument begins with this hypothetical premise: suppose that artificial intelligence research has succeeded in constructing a computer that behaves as if it understands Chinese. It takes Chinese characters as input and, by following the instructions of a computer program, produces other Chinese characters, which it presents as output. Suppose, says Searle, that this computer performs its task so convincingly that it comfortably passes the Turing test: it convinces a human Chinese speaker that the program is itself a live Chinese speaker. To all of the questions that the person asks, it makes appropriate responses, such that any Chinese speaker would be convinced that he or she is talking to another Chinese-speaking human being.
The question is this: does the machine literally “understand” Chinese? Or is it merely simulating the ability to understand Chinese?
If you think the computer understands Chinese, then suppose that a man is in a closed room and has a book with an English version of the computer program, along with sufficient paper, pencils, erasers, and filing cabinets. He could receive Chinese characters through a slot in the door, process them according to the program’s instructions, and produce Chinese characters as output. If the computer had passed the Turing test this way, it follows, that he would do so as well, simply by running the program manually.
There is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and the man in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, the man would not be able to understand the conversation he is mediating. Therefore, neither does the computer in the original example.

Uncollected 46, Lost My Head

Posted in Uncollected on December 29th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

lost my head

The Social Unit 4: Coercion

Posted in The Social Unit on December 22nd, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

One point I take from Nozick’s critique of Rawls is that any end-state distributive scheme requires coercion. Given natural micro-level exchanges, any kind of distributive goal will require redistribution of goods, not just initially but in an on-going manner. It is important to recognize this, but it is also important to recognize that there is no perfect libertarian coercion-free social unit (even an entitlement scheme). The market through it’s own actions will collapse into monopolies without coercion. We are stuck with coercion of some kind to make liberty (and our markets) work at all. The question is not how do we get rid of coercion, but how do we make coercion less onerous. There are many varieties of coercion, spanning from the threat of gulags to eye rolling to gentle nudges.

Series X, 33 Booty Ball Bump

Posted in Series X on December 15th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

booty ball bump

The Story of Discourse 3: Descriptor

Posted in The Story of Discourse on December 8th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Sometimes the examples, details, and monikers of philosophy have a narrative power independent of their power to clarify. The Story of Discourse makes use of these story-charged bits to embellish and create.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 3: A Little Sugar in My Bowl

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on December 1st, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 3: Newcomb’s Paradox

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on November 24th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

A person is playing a game operated by the Predictor, an entity somehow presented as being exceptionally skilled at predicting people’s actions. Predictor’s predictions are “almost certainly” correct.
The player of the game is presented with two boxes, one transparent (labeled A) and the other opaque (labeled B). The player is permitted to take the contents of both boxes, or just the opaque box B. Box A contains a visible $1,000. The contents of box B, however, are determined as follows: At some point before the start of the game, the Predictor makes a prediction as to whether the player of the game will take just box B, or both boxes. If the Predictor predicts that both boxes will be taken, then box B will contain nothing. If the Predictor predicts that only box B will be taken, then box B will contain $1,000,000.
By the time the game begins, and the player is called upon to choose which boxes to take, the prediction has already been made, and the contents of box B have already been determined. That is, box B contains either $0 or $1,000,000 before the game begins, and once the game begins even the Predictor is powerless to change the contents of the boxes. Before the game begins, the player is aware of all the rules of the game, including the two possible contents of box B, the fact that its contents are based on the Predictor’s prediction, and knowledge of the Predictor’s infallibility. The only information withheld from the player is what prediction the Predictor made, and thus what the contents of box B are. Question: do you take two boxes or one box?

Uncollected 45, Levitate

Posted in Uncollected on November 17th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

levitate

The Social Unit 3: Choice

Posted in The Social Unit on November 10th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Choice is a more complicated thing than is often thought. One hears that market transactions are voluntary and therefore reflect each actor’s preference or choice. What is clear to me is that we have many preferences that often conflict. Example, one chooses to maintain one’s health and eat the cookie on the counter. I think of these preferences loosely as shorter term and longer term. The markets I am used to are very responsive of shorter term preferences. One question is how might one structure current markets to better balance the totality (often conflicting) of one’s preferences? And if not, what other methods of distribution would perform better in this respect than markets.

Light 23: radial

Posted in Light on November 3rd, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

radial

The Story of Discourse 2: Descartes’ Demon

Posted in The Story of Discourse on October 27th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Descartes’ Demon is a maker of dreams and illusions. He has made your world, keeping you from his world. He must at times be sad that he cannot join his beautiful, sad, dramatic creation; or at least wonder why he has no monster to relieve him of the monotony of pure being. You have different problems though. You are stuck with his illusion, but you can choose to live it as life or as a lie. Do not anguish too much over your choice. Skepticism being what it is there might not be much difference.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 2: To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on October 20th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

The Life of the Mind 2: Inequality

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on October 13th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

You have two groups of people. The people in group A have $1,000 each and the people in group B have $1,000,000 each. The only options available to you are to take away money from people in group B, so they each have $1,000, or to do nothing. Which would be the better course of action?

Uncollected 44, Idea

Posted in Uncollected on October 6th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

idea

The Social Unit 2: Boundaries

Posted in The Social Unit on September 29th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Many of a social unit’s most difficult moral questions occur at it’s physical and temporal boundaries. Those members coming to be, those members that will be, those that live among us, but aren’t full members. Who should we induct as members, how many, who should we exile, what protections do we offer them? And what do we owe the members of other social units that we so drastically affect?

Collection of Oddities: The Hair-lo 14

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Hair-lo on September 22nd, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

marianne moore

The Story of Discourse 1: Wittgenstein’s Ladder

Posted in The Story of Discourse on September 15th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Wittgenstein’s ladder is a one-way ladder. Climbing it is difficult but descent is impossible. Once you have reached the top, there is a popular misconception that the ladder blocks your regress by casting itself down on the ground. However, ladder cognoscenti know that the ladder is much too subtle and elegant for that. The way it works is you can mount the ladder to return to the ground, but as you start to lower yourself, the ladder moves up at the same rate. The cumulative effect is null. The ladder has borne you up, and will now bear you exactly where you are for eternity.

Collection of Oddities: Sweet Talk the Hot Box 1: Beast of Burden

Posted in Collection of Oddities, Sweet Talk the Hot Box on September 8th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

The Life of the Mind 1: The Ship of Theseus

Posted in Traps and Intuitions on September 1st, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.”
— Plutarch, Theseus

Uncollected 43, Woman in Cap

Posted in Uncollected on August 25th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

woman in cap

The Social Unit 1: Definition

Posted in The Social Unit on August 18th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

There is this thing that we all do together. I would like to talk about that, all collective activities: families, clubs, organizations, firms, nation states…

Re: 12, Windmill Hair

Posted in Re:, Reminds me of on August 11th, 2014 by buzzing wire – Be the first to comment

Reminds me of…Series X, 16 Windmill
windmill hair