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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Sheer's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, September 18th, 2016
1:41 pm
Emotional literacy

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

One of the skills that I have been cultivating over the last few years is emotional literacy. This is a set of skills involving understanding what I’m feeling, what possible neural activity is driving those feelings, and whether it’s what I want to be feeling and what actions I should take if it’s not.

The most significant piece of this, for me, is just being aware of what I’m feeling throughout the day. I think a lot of the time before this I was only aware of emotions when they were extremely strong, but understanding what I’m feeling when I’m not feeling strong feelings – when I’m only feeling slight ones, or no emotions at all, also helps inform what changes I should make in my life and my ways of thinking. Since I want to have better experiences than I’m currently having, being aware of what actions are emotionally null, or emotionally negative is helpful in learning how I should shape my future life.

I wonder how many of my friends study their emotional responses during the day, and what they have learned.

One of the things I have noticed is that writing and tracking music is a highly emotional experience. Not all good – there’s the ego crashes, the frustration, the sense of the hopelessness of ever getting paid to do this.. but there’s also the highs of having that musical ‘perfect moment’ – what my friend Nicka used to call ‘music orgasms’. Comparitively, my IT job doesn’t generate a lot of emotion – in fact, emotion generally gets in the way. I always suggest to people who are angry and trying to debug computer programs that they get themselves to a more centered place first, because anger seems to be actively hostile to the logical debugging process.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that emotion often gets misdirected. I’ve observed that because of the number of subnets connected to the bus that dumps the chemicals into our bloodstreams that cause emotion, often emotions are the results of summing many inputs – and sometimes our storyteller side will tell a story about a emotion we’re feeling which isn’t completely accurate about which subnets are pushing the buttons that are resulting in us feeling that emotion. Also, because summing is involved, many emotions are the results of several components.

1:34 pm
Freedom

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the big discussion points on the interwebz (especially facebook) right now is a football star who refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of the way some of our citizens have been treated.

There are a number of people who are roundly criticizing him, talking about how he’s dishonoring veterans, how it’s just grandstanding because he’s a has-been-football-star, etc. Personally, I think that what he’s doing is great.

Now, I understand that humans are somewhat herd animals, and that we find it alarming whenever anyone behaves differently than the herd. However, if we want to claim that we are in fact in the USA free, we should embrace people who perform acts which are different than what the rest of the herd is doing, because when we see them doing this, we are seeing that we are in fact still free.

It seems like a number of people on my friends list want us to be hypothetically free – that is, we’re free in theory, provided that we never test that freedom. And, it is true that people should be free to criticize his action – after all, that’s part of what freedom means. I just wish people didn’t feel the *need* to criticize his action. He’s acting in the greatest tradition of a patriot – he’s identified a significant problem and he’s drawing attention to it so it can be addressed. He’s fertilizing the tree of liberty.

As far as the people talking about how he’s just grandstanding – every time I read about a cop shooting a unarmed innocent, I get angry. If I were a football star I doubt I would stop with not standing for the national anthem. I do not think this is grandstanding on his part – I think he genuinely is upset about the problem and wants to do something about it. I also think that those of you who believe that his reaction is less than honest and personal are playing the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ game that I mention elsewhere in this blog. You don’t know this person personally, generally, so you don’t have a lot of data to draw on, but you’re choosing to believe that his reasons are less than honorable or that he’s less than sincere in his protest, possibly because that’s easier emotionally than accepting that America has some serious, possibly fatal flaws that need to be addressed.

1:24 pm
Corporations vs. People

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the things I see repeatedly is people hating on corporations. This is understandable insofar as corporations have a number of flaws – the biggest one being that they often optimize for profit over other, more valuable goals. There’s been a lot of discussion about the legal decision to treat corporations as people, with all the same rights (but apparently none of the responsibilities). There are a few things that distinctly separate corporations from people – and I may in fact be rehashing old material here, but I was having a discussion with my dad about it and I thought it was interesting so I thought I’d post about it.

1) People are a tightly coupled neural network. While you’re not consciously aware of being directly connected to everything you know, you are a neural network with data stored in all the associations between neurons. Corporations are much more loosely coupled, with much information not being shared at all between individual ‘neurons’ (corporate members)

2) People optimize for a number of different things (see the hierarchy of needs pyramid). Corporations generally optimize for very few things, and unfortunately in the way they are set up in the USA, they optimize first for profit. (The ideal corporation, in my opinion, would optimize for serving the employees first, serving the customers second, and then for profit third – in fact, not making a profit, but simply breaking even while providing value to humanity would be considered a win. In the current system, *destroying* value for humanity is a win if you make a profit while you’re doing it)

3) People can experience consequences for suboptimal behavior in ways corporations can’t. A corporation can’t be placed in jail, can’t feel physical pain, and won’t necessarily learn from things like fines – in fact, if a activity will generate a fine but is profitable beyond the fine, a corporation would normally decide to perform the activity anyway.

Corporations are often used as liability shields – or legality shields – for questionable behavior. I’m not sure what the ideal fix would be (see, already displaying the hypocrisy I talked about in the previous article) – although I do think one thing we could do that would help a lot is adopt the german ownership and directorship model for corporations in place of our own.

One big problem with corporations is that they (probably inadvertently) can exacerbate the problems caused by the Milgram effect. Individuals can be acting against the interests of the species as a whole, against other individuals, and even against their own common sense and feel that they are obliged to do so because the corporate rules and standards require it.

12:44 pm
Transition..

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, a friend of mine who will remain anonymous to protect the guilty has been heavily and actively promoting a end to oil pipelines, and speaking about the energy extraction industry in ways that make it pretty clear they consider the energy extractors to be evil and motivated only by greed.

This is extra-ironical to me because this friend of mine spends a LOT of time on jet airplanes, so them complaining about oil extraction is a lot like the addict complaining about the existence of their dealer. I am not sure they are aware of how many megawatt-hours of energy it takes to hurl them across oceans, but I would assume they at least have the sense of the order of magnitude involved.

The truth is, the people who work in the extraction of energy are not mustache-twirling villains – they are good, honorable people, often doing a very physical and dirty difficult job. And, even though I would run the grid very differently if it were up to me – nuclear for baseline load – next generation nuclear that can burn what we currently think of as waste and is meltdown proof – and wind and solar for peak load – even with the grid operating the way it is now our energy network saves far more lives than it costs. I also certainly wouldn’t do fracking, because clean water is far more valuable than oil or natural gas, and it probably takes more energy than they’re recovering to return the water they’re using to clean.

And we are transitioning to a better grid. Just look up a graph of wind generation in the US over the last 20 years. We are not doing it particularly quickly or efficiently, but we are doing it.

This definitely falls under the category of a topic where I am fairly sure despite all the moaning, groaning, and disasterizing, we will get where we need to be. In the meantime – it is important to have the new infrastructure up and working before you disassemble the old infrastructure. My friend who’s so critical of the power mix doesn’t do any local generation despite having quite a large stream wandering through their backyard and plenty of sun falling on their land, nor have they even called their utility to try and make arrangements to buy their power from a cleaner mix. Both of which would be a far better way to effect change than posting about how we should stop building pipelines on facebook.

Long term, do I want a better grid? Absolutely. But I think it’s in general a bad idea to identify the people who are keeping the power on as villains. I have similar feelings about Monsanto. I’d do things very differently if it were up to me, but they are a part of feeding hundreds of millions of people, and I don’t see all the people lambasting them proposing alternate solutions.

In general I guess I feel the world would be a better place if people would wait to complain about things until they had a viable alternate solution to propose. I acknowledge my position here is hypocritical insofar as I probably complain about things all the time without having a alternate solution to propose – but I do have it as a long term goal to get to a place where I don’t complain about things until I have a better idea in mind.

Another long term goal of mine is to do less “us” vs “them”-ing. I think that’s part of what my friend is participating in here when they talk about the evils of the extraction energy.. thinking “they” are somehow less than “us”.

Monday, September 12th, 2016
6:33 pm
Voting for God

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the things I have to accept is that I’m not in the middle of the bell curve on anything. So things that are intuitively obvious to me (and of course I could be completely wrong about) are things that many people are never even able to see.

One of the possibilities I consider often for God is that everyone who believes in God assigns a certain amount of neurons to the task of imagining God. If we are all connected via some sort of network we don’t understand, then these may all aggregate together to form God.

However, one thing that seems likely based on the things I see and read and hear and experience is that you get to vote for what type of God you want to believe in. It seems like your beliefs form filters that then validate the experiences you’re having. So, in essence, what you believe about God forms a basis for what sort of God you’re going to experience.

And there don’t seem to be a lot of restrictions placed on what sort of God you choose to believe in. If you want to believe it’s holy for you to shoot a bunch of people, make nuclear weapons, destroy the planet you live on.. whatever, really.. you can do that. If there’s one thing ISIS demonstrates to me – not that I needed further demonstrations – it’s that you can sell yourself just about any story you want about what $diety might be like and might want. Our neural networks are extremely programmable, and if there’s a outside force insisting your beliefs about God fit a certain pattern, I haven’t seen signs of it.

Well, I should stop there and add a few side thoughts. Any information about anyone else’s experience but mine must necessarily be treated as somewhat of a unknown. I haven’t *personally* experienced proof in a horrific God, I’ve just *heard* about it. I don’t really have any way of knowing how much of the data coming at me is from where. I need to expand upon this thought further in some future article – I’ve probably talked about it before, but it’s something I’m still exploring – but for now let’s just say, everyone’s reality might be a custom mix and I might have signed up to experience what I’m currently experiencing.

But, back to the main thread here. I don’t have any reason to think the people who wrote the various religious documents circulating were any wiser or better informed than I am. But, those of you who choose to believe in them, please consider carefully whether you’re voting for a suboptimal God by doing so. If God does exist implemented in a shared or mesh network of our neurons, then you may be degrading the experience of all of us.

When I choose to believe in a diety, generally I prefer to believe in one better than I could possibly imagine. This acknowledges that I’m in no position to get into the mind of a creature who may have many orders of magnitude more neurons than I have, while at the same time recognizing that morality doesn’t change just because you get more neurons. (Or does it? This is probably how we justify eating cows.. ) In general, the logic I’ve been using is kind of the modified golden rule here – if our roles were reversed, would our respective behaviors still seem reasonable?

Sunday, September 11th, 2016
4:33 am
UK Trip

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

For anyone who wants to see large numbers of pictures, some out of focus, of my recent UK trip, they are available at http://www.sheer.us/pics/UK2016pics/.

Thursday, September 1st, 2016
9:02 pm
Sell the vatican, feed the world..

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

(The title is a allusion to a video by Sarah Silverman) – So, yesterday I was looking at the York Minster – which is undoubtedly a beautiful piece of work, but it did make me wonder, how many people could this building house? I mean, it’s huge – it’s a unbelievable number of square feet under roof. And then I started wondering.. if in general we converted churches to housing, would we *have* homeless people?

That’d be one to back-of-the-envelope one of these days when I’m feeling bored.

And yes, I understand there are problems with this. I used to regularly let homeless people crash in my garage, until the level of stupidity exhibited by one of them went too far. (Dude was smoking next to large cache of very flammable objects despite being asked not to). And I will admit that I worry sometimes as I consider offering housing to down-on-their-luck individuals, will they be violent towards me? Will they steal everything I own and sell it for meth? Trusting people enough to live with them is a challenge for me.

I do wonder to what extent the homelessness problem is that we all have a hard time trusting each other – thanks, Gun Nuts… (well, to be fair, knives are also a problem here, and so are fists.. perhaps if I believed I would say thanks, all-powerful-God-who-loves-or-at-least-doesn’t-stop-violence..)

Monday, August 29th, 2016
8:30 pm
Business idea

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

Here’s a business idea for you enterprising types. Someone needs to create a business that does donation anonymization. In particular, I want to be able to donate to various causes without them having any idea what my mailing address, phone number, etc are. I don’t ever want them to spend my money asking me for more money. You could just take 1% off the top in exchange for providing this valuable service to the public, and then arrange with the various charities to never mail you, because after all your purpose in life is to provide anonymization. Long term it might not be that viable because as charities realize that people don’t want to be begged for more money, especially in paper mail while knowing what it cost to send those paper mailings.

12:21 pm
SEO

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

I added a new feature to my website where it looks at the last 1000 access log lines and shows any mp3s that are in the list. I’m hoping this will help various web spiders be more aware of the fact that we’ve got lots of music here for the downloading. Anyone know how effective this is likely to be and what else I should be considering doing to have google and other web spiders notice me more?

12:05 pm
Moody Blues, I know you’re out there somehow

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

The mist is lifting slowly
I can see the way ahead
And I’ve left behind the empty streets
That once inspired my life
And the strength of the emotion
Is like thunder in the air
‘Cos the promise that we made each other
Haunts me to the end

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I’ll find you somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

The secret of your beauty
And the mystery of your soul
I’ve been searching for in everyone I meet
And the times I’ve been mistaken
It’s impossible to say
And the grass is growing
Underneath our feet

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I’ll find you somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

[Interlude:]
You see I know you’re out there somewhere
O yes I know you’re out there somewhere
You see I know I’ll find you somehow
O yes I know I’ll find you somehow

the words that I remember
From my childhood still are true
That there’s none so blind
As those who will not see
And to those who lack the courage
And say it’s dangerous to try
Well they just don’t know
That love eternal will not be denied

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I’ll find you somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

Yes I know it’s going to happen
I can feel you getting near
And soon we’ll be returning
To the fountain of our youth
And if you wake up wondering
In the darkness I’ll be there
My arms will close around you
And protect you with the truth

I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you’re out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I’ll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I’ll find you somehow
And somehow I’ll return again to you

—-

Note to $person – if you read this blog, which I kind of doubt – I probably should create a separate tag for future-$person. I know you are not her yet. I have no idea how I ended up in such a strange situation – well, that’s not true, I have some guesses, most of which have to do with the futility of committing suicide inside a hypervisor that’s programmed to not let you die or possibly the concept of quantum immortality as part of MWI – but I won’t be showing up on your doorstep again unless something goes seriously wrong with my mind. If you ever discover that you have a Sheer-shaped hole in your life, feel free to approach me. I will understand that you’re not her yet, but still welcome you in my life.

You might want to review quantum immortality and MWI if that last bit didn’t make any sense to you.

And for the rest of you, no, I don’t think I’m currently any crazier than usual, or approaching insanity any faster than usual. I do think that my recent spate of creative activity has, as my friend Jeff would say, loosened my fibers some. But not anywhere near redline. I am sleeping every night.

11:54 am
good things about Christians

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

To balance out the post in which I roundly criticize Christianity, I thought I’d list a few of the things that I see in Christians that I think are *good*. Obviously, as with the other list, Christians are such a large and diverse group that it’s difficult to say anything which would be true of all of them, so let’s go with things that I think you’d find in, say, 70%.

1) Belief in forgiveness, and that forgiveness is a positive trait

2) Belief in charity, and supporting and loving your fellow man

3) Belief in working together to solve problems

4) The idea that there might be something bigger than us, and that we might have been engineered

5) Encouraging the hope that the future will be better than the past

6) Encouraging empathy with your fellow man

7) Encouraging gratitude, which has certain neurological benefits I discuss elsewhere in this blog

It’s my intention that this be somewhat a dynamic and collaborative document, so feel free to comment with your own list entries.

11:43 am
Do I believe in God?

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, with the recent post on religion, the question might come up whether I believe in God.

And the answer is, I don’t have a absolute, I am certain I am right, religious faith on the subject, but I tend to lean towards there being something larger than us, possibly many orders of somethings larger than us. I don’t believe in the God described in the bible – something that powerful and capable, which nonetheless is so insecure that *e has to refer to his name in all caps and has to have a throne with angels singing about how great *e is flying above it. I tend to think it’s very difficult for us to imagine beings smarter and more capable than us, something Larry Niven has talked about when discussing the challenges of writing aliens smarter than humans.

To the extent that I do believe in a God, it’s a God far better than the Christian one. Remember, I tend to think we are experiencing suffering for artistic purposes, not because we’re being punished – or possibly because of stupidity or technological foul-up. Despite what it says on the label (all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful) the diety described in the bible is fairly reprehensible and not at all all-powerful. (I could cite verses, but this isn’t that type of post)

I would like to see a better religion authored, but I don’t feel like I’m yet in a place of knowledge to be able to author such a thing myself – although I would refer people to a number of books which are really good tries, books like The Four Agreements and Conversations With God. I also think that The Great Divorce, even though ostensibly by a Christian, is a great book on the subject, proof that sometimes we transcend our religions or possibly that there’s a good way to load Christianity.

It’s also true that whether or not there is a explicitly defined diety, God must exist insofar as the concept has a number of reserved neurons in a number of neural networks – everyone who imagines that God exists helps God exist. This is part of the problem with Christianity – by imagining a inferior and undesirable God, they are degrading the potential God if God exists as the sum of the neurons that all of us assign to imagining God.

I do also think that insofar as our neural networks form filters which selectively inhance and inhibit data coming at us from our senses, if you have a religious-level belief in God, you will experience God even if God doesn’t exist. See earlier posts about the amount of computing power our minds represent. If this is going to happen to me, I want to make sure the God I exist is not the God of the bible.

11:29 am
Genesis, Keep It Dark

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

Found that man reported missing,
He wandered in his home.
It don’t seem to bad if you consider
Just what he’s been through.

Seems he met up with a gang of thieves,
Who mistook him for a man of means,
They locked him up then found he had no money,
So they let him go again.
Now he’s back at home and happy
Just to see the kids.

I wish that I could really tell you
All the things that happened to me
And all that I have seen.
A world full of people their hearts full of joy,
Cities of light with no fear of war,
And thousands of creatures with happier lives,
And dreams of a future with meaning and no need to hide.

Oh, keep it dark.

It seems strange to have to lie,
About a world so bright.
And tell instead a made-up story,
From the world of night.

I wish, that I could really tell you,
All the things that happened to me
And all that I have seen,
A world full of people their hearts full of joy,
Cities of light with no fear of war,
And thousands of creatures with happier lives,
And dreams of a future with meaning and no need to lie,
No need to hate,
No need to hide.

Oh, keep it dark.

10:55 am
Heaven vs Hell

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the quotes that I’ve often given of my internal version of $person is “The people in heaven and hell inhabit the same physical space. The difference is in what’s going on in their minds.”

And, this may be one of my more tinfoil-hat thoughts, but it occurs to me it would be much easier to immerse people in a utopia and then degrade it inside their minds to be hellish than the other way around. Anyone who has studied information science knows that it’s much easier to take a optimal signal and degrade it than to take a suboptimal signal and enhance it – this is kind of the point of the oft-mocked Enhance Button trope.

Now, it’s really not unreasonable to think that I might be in $UTOPIA, experiencing $DYSTOPIA – since not a lot of horrible things are happening to me personally and almost all of them involve communication streams from other people, it would not be that difficult for my neural network to be ‘green-screening’ things – subbing out news and facebook with alternate signals to make it look like the world is a much worse place than it is.

I’ve talked about how our conscious experience is at some distance from our senses – there are many layers of neurons between the part of us that is on the ride, and the part of us that is detecting the ride. So, this isn’t as insane as it sounds on the surface. Of course, you kind of have to play it as it lays – you can’t know if what you’re experiencing is real or not, but you have to treat it as it is – if for no other reason than you wouldn’t want to risk the other individuals on the ride by treating it as if it was a video game unless you had absolute proof that there isn’t a monolithic reality and everyone is getting a custom feed of the ride, something which is rather hard to prove or disprove either way. (One of the things I’ve talked about is the challenges of authenticating God, or determining whether what you’re experiencing is a diety or mental illness)

And, I know there’s something wrong with my mind. It appears to me to be a rare and intermittent fault, but it could be that it’s far more prevalent than I think and that in fact most of what I’m experiencing is in some way altered by it. Debugging the system that’s damaged from inside the system that’s damaged is a challenge, which is why I have so much hope that my friends will choose to help me figure out what’s real and what isn’t rather than retreating from me in fear because there’s something wrong with my mind. Of course from my perceptions, I’m not the only one who’s a bit on the sick side – in fact, almost everyone I see here is crazy in one way or another. It may be, if evolution is the correct backstory for us, that we’re pushing the bounderies of the size or configuration of neural network that’s stable. Or, if you like my personal pet theory, the problem may not be the hardware but rather the memetic cruft that has built up over the years – bad software, malware even, which is resulting in suboptimal results.

As I’ve talked about before, it’s possible the reason I’m experiencing $DYSTOPIA is that I chose to do so, either because I wanted the experience for artistic reasons (This seems extra-reasonable when considering the current track I’m working on) or because I wanted a challenge. It’s also possible that I’m being punished for some previous behavior (karma) although it seems like if the purpose of the punishment is to help me grow, it might help to know what the behavior was. If the purpose of the punishment is just to punish, then the universe is governed by forces that are at least partially evil, and it could just be random or sadistic.

Anyway, if it’s not the work of a agent at all, but rather simple random chance that has led to me experiencing something less than utopic even though I’m immersed in a utopia (which is possible, see the thesis at the top of this post) then it seems like it very much behooves me to debug whatever’s wrong with my mind and figure out how to get back to the ideal experience. And, of course, if it’s possible within the confines of the amount of CPU I have available to me, it seems like it behooves me to be able to experience a utopia even if one’s not actually there. Clearly our minds have ample CPU to make up reality out of whole cloth (as I discuss in this article) so the question is how to I motivate the rest of my mind to work with my conscious experience to make this happen. In general, the ability to be a Bal Shem – to hack my neurological software to do whatever I want it to do – is a ability I often cultivate.

10:36 am
Christians in the process of making Hell

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, one of the things that I think I’ve gone on about a few times before is how Christians, who ostensibly want Heaven, are busy making the world Hell.

I thought I’d list a few things that Christians – not all Christians, mind you, but enough of them – do which make the world less like heaven and more like hell. Whenever someone engages in one of these behaviors, I feel they are doing the work of the devil

1) Encouraging people to believe that if they are members of any other religion, they are wrong and are going to hell

2) Encouraging people to believe that $SUPERUSER is in the business of torturing people *e doesn’t agree with – or in general, that you should fear God. We’ve got enough to fear in the world we’re actually in.

3) Slut-shaming. Sex is one of the most positive experiences on earth, but Christians have this disturbing idea that you should only have it under certain circumstances, and if you do otherwise, you’re a bad person.

4) Encouraging people with alternate sexualities to think that they are less-than, sinners, incomplete

5) Encouraging everyone to believe that they are so flawed that someone “had to die for their sins”

6) Starting or promoting wars which are primarily over resource allocation (i.e. not sharing) or religion

7) In general encouraging people to think that they are less than, often for things which have no direct bearing on the Christian doing the less-than-ing at all. “If you’re not a member of my religion, you’re not as worthy of a person” “If you don’t do well on standardized tests you’re not as worthy of a person” “If you’re not interested in learning what *I* think are the important things to learn, you’re not as worthy of a person” “If you enjoy playing with your body chemistry, you’re not as worthy of a person”.

8) Promoting monogamy as the only true way, even though we seem to be neurologically and biologically wired to fall in love more than once. The bible even alludes to the fact that in heaven things would work differently (Luke 20:34-36). Why exactly are we not doing the optimal path now?

9) Making and promoting laws against freedom, even when the freedom doesn’t harm another person. Blue laws, laws against nudity, laws against flag-burning, things of that nature. Even worse, laws against people who like to have sex with members of the same gender, even though if we were really engineered, clearly said being had to put in a fair amount of neurological work in order to make things like being on the receiving end of anal sex feel good.

10) Encouraging people to believe that they should be required to have children if they conceive, even though it’s inconceivable that a omnipotent being would connect a soul to a body that wasn’t going to be extant and, if one is of a more scientific bent, highly unlikely that bodies that don’t have a large, functional neural network are self-aware.

11) Encouraging people to embrace a system of beliefs that contains unresolvable logic failures, which damage their ability to think rationally

12) Embracing parents to try and encourage their children not to be sexually active, promoting a inevitable neurological war

13) This may be kind of a repeat, but thinking that they are “God’s Chosen People”, and by extension, everyone else isn’t. This is again the kind of ‘I’m better than you’ thinking that I feel like is at the root of a lot of the evils of the world. In the old testament, this “I’m better than you” goes as far as “It’s okay for me to slaughter you like cattle even though a you’re thinking, feeling, self aware creature just like me because God Said So”

14) Encouraging children to imagine a being of pure evil – children have a lot of unassigned neurons, and imagining the devil literally brings him to life in their mind. (Of course, as my friend Jeremy points out, it is far from clear that the devil is evil – if he was against the being described in the old testament, he was at least sometimes for humanity, although clearly from the story of Job he wasn’t all good either)

15) Encouraging people to wait for heaven, instead of building it here now.

16) Encouraging people to believe in a $DIETY that builds traps into the world – Just one of many examples is that the bible says “Suffer not a witch to live” (Ex 22:18) but if witchcraft works, it’s clearly because the universe has a built in API for modifying reality which $DIETY would have had to have created – and if it doesn’t, then it’s pretty harmless.

17) Promoting the idea that the bible is a book we should be using as a yardstick to measure our lives. It was written by people thousands of years ago wandering around in a desert, people who knew far less than we know now, people who mistook their prejudices for natural laws. It contains numerous irresolvable logic failures, one of which I discuss above. Yes, it’s got some beautiful ideas and some beautiful poetry in it, but it’s far from a perfect book that you should make the center of your universe, in my opinion. I’m not the only person to have doubts on this subject, see this and this.

18) Attempting to slow down medical technology – in particular I’m thinking of things like Stem Cell research but I suspect this is going to come up with cloning, artificial neural networks, and all sorts of other things of that nature. Look, there’s supposed to be a all powerful diety, why exactly do you need to be the moral guardian of things which don’t hurt self-aware beings in any way and could alleviate suffering

19) Encouraging people to spend time in prayer that they could otherwise spend actually figuring out how to fix the problems that they’re praying about

20) Encouraging people to ‘trust the $SUPERUSER’ for things that in fact there might not be a superuser watching – I’d use global warming as a example of this, but I’m sure there are numerous examples

21) Encouraging the idea that if $DIETY does it, it must be moral – the “Where does a 900 pound gorilla sit? Anywhere he wants to..” theory of reality.

22) Promoting the idea that women are “less than” men and should be silent (1 Corinth 14:34) or submissive. This is abusive to both women and men.

23) Giving a group of people temporal power who probably should not have it – I’m thinking of the catholic church here, and the pope in particular – although I like the current pope, I’ll like him a lot more when and if he comes out and says that birth control is not immoral.

Christians, it’s not that I hate you – I hate the software you’re running. I love you and want you to stop making the world a worse place, because among other things you have to live here too, so you’re not just hurting me, you’re also hurting yourself.

I also recognise that it’s possible that the religion is perfect and it’s being degraded inside my neural network or that the problem has more to do with the fact that different people want different things. However, what do you do when the things you want are getting in the way of the things I want?

(See also a list of good things about Christianity)

It’s my intention that this be somewhat a dynamic and collaborative document, so feel free to comment with your own list entries.

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
8:09 am
marketing

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, I’ve been thinking about the challenges of getting my upcoming solo album to turn a profit. In terms of Sheer Time, if we estimate each track at 20 hours, I’ve got to sell a total of 20,000 units, or have people stream 2 million times in order to break even with my hourly rate at my day job.

This is harder than it looks. Even if we assume that I’m skill-wise the equivilent of Pink Floyd (probably a questionable assumption, but let’s run with this) we still have to figure out some way to get the public to notice I exist. With a band, there’s at least some hope that friends of all four or five guys are going to notice and tell their friends. With me, my word-of-mouth seed starts from one person.

Also, I’m definitely tuning this album for my personal tastes, rather than what’s currently ‘the popular sound’. As a result, it’s going to be that much more difficult to get people to notice it. I think this makes sense insofar as I’m not likely to move enough units for it to make a profit, so I might as well enjoy myself, but it’s still worth noting that I’m not exactly taking the shortest course here.

My gut feeling is that it will be my next album, not the one I’m releasing in December, that breaks even. I’m guessing by my next album I will be past that magic 10,000 hours that everyone says you need to have to make it.

It’s a little frustrating that if I were a pointless political facebook meme, I’d have no trouble getting 2 million views.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
6:29 pm
House of the rising sun

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

Recently I realized that while I’ve played it many times live, I’ve never done a studio version of House Of The Rising Sun.. as it’s my favorite blues song to cover, I figured I should do something about that.

http://sheer.us/stuff/2016/Sheer.HouseOfTTheRisingSun.mp3 is the result. I gotta say, I dig it. I haven’t decided if it’s going on the album yet or not.. perhaps you all can vote 😉

Complete credits:

Everything: Sheer (it reminds me of the Pump Up The Volume bit where Nora asks HHH “You did this?” “Me and Radio Shack”. Only it’s “Me and a multitrack deck..” )

6:33 am
Civilization comes to protools

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

So, after years of frustration setting gain levels, I have discovered a protools plugin that returns me to a metering format that I understand intuitively and can use even when I’m using one hand to choose patches and the other to play riffs – yes, the old school analog VU meter has come to pro tools in a *excellent* emulation by Klangheim

You can’t tell me this doesn’t just warm the cockles of your heart:

The emulation is extremely faithful, although to get the behavior of the meters of my youth I had to yank the rise time down to 150ms. (And yes, you can tweak the rise, overshoot, and fall times)

Because it’s a plugin that goes into a protools plugin slot, you can also easily do things like sticking a meter both before and after a compressor – and with four skins to choose from, you can easily tell them apart. When tweaking a vocal that won’t sit right in the mix this can be a real timesaver. It doesn’t appear to use any CPU to speak of. As a side bonus, when doing faster than realtime bouncing, the peak lights still work, so you get a nice sanity check if you put it across the master fader on bounce.

I would give this my ‘best plugin under $10’ prize.

Monday, August 22nd, 2016
6:46 pm
History Of Modern, remixed

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

Here’s a remix of HOM – this is much closer to the version that will be on the album..

Sheer – History Of Modern

1:03 pm
Trump

Originally published at Never been one to let the carrier drop. You can comment here or there.

This is one of my posts that I make so I can link to it from facebook instead of repeatedly typing the same things in comments.

You’d think you guys had never watched pro wrestling.

Trump is playing a Heel. By choice, and I imagine to his great entertainment. It’s pretty clear, since he and Hillary are friends, that they decided to get together and rig a election. Nothing in the rules says they can’t do it, and I have to say, it’s starting to be a lot of fun to watch. He’s clearly having a lot of fun with his mustache-twirling villain role – now he may actually believe the things he’s saying, or he may not, but I would take anything he has to say with a grain of salt.

For me, this is a pretty winning situation. A heel is not going to win the election, and we don’t end up with a right-wing whacko running the country. But if you’re actually feeling outrage about Trump, well, I guess he’s playing his role well. What I really wonder is whether he will break kayfabe at the end or not. If he’s genuinely a force for good, he will, just to help his supporters understand how broken they are. Assuming they’re not just part of the gag as well, which – to be honest – they might be.

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