My new chair?

My department is moving to a new building, and all of the faculty got ask for their furniture orders.

I put in a request for a chair like this:

Liberal Intolerance

'The liberal order, like Assyria or Babylon of old, obliterates alternative traditions and brings to an end the "order of free and independent nations, each pursuing the political good in accordance with its own traditions and understanding."'

More here.

The World in the Model

My review of Mary Morgan's book is now available here.

The futility of utility

Utilitarianism is one of the many desperate attempts to replace a moral reality grounded in cosmic order (the Tao, the Dharma, Maat, the Way of Heaven, etc.) with one invented by humans. The calculations it suggests we should perform are absolutely impossible. Even if it were possible to quantify "utility," in a way that allowed interpersonal utility comparisons, the utilitarian calculus supposed is still ridiculous: an agent would need to know exactly how their action would impact every single other person in the world, for the rest of time, so long as the world exists, to correctly calculate whether their action "maximized utility" across all humans (or all living beings, if one is an animal rights sort?).

Pretty obviously, no one can actually perform anything remotely approaching such a calculation: in fact, no one can even perform such a calculation even if we (artificially) limit the calculation to "How will your proposed action impact your (family / nei…

My favorite series of programming books yet


"Parts of the gorge are almost 2297 feet deep"

This was displayed on my exercise bicycle on my cruise ship, as I was biking some Tour de France course on the bike's display.

My first thought was "What a weirdly specific number they chose to follow the vague word 'almost.'"

My second thought was, "Oh, they made the same mistake as the people who stated that the average human body temperature is '98.6.'"

What is the mistake?