Patrick Hughes

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Patrick Hughes
Posted about 2 years ago
Social Equality? So share the expenses of the wealthy, too.
Considering many extremely wealthy people receive what they "earn" off of destroying public goods, many of them are actually the thieves in this situation. Deserving what you earn is idealistic hogwash in a complex global economy, as it completely ignores the inputs and outputs that are involved in nearly every large business that are currently not represented by any economic or legal entities. The current prices for fresh water and energy do not even begin to take into consideration the broad spectrum damage created by their use. Furthermore, while pollution in some cases is regulated, current economic realities make it obvious that many large corporations are putting millions at significant health risks without paying anything, or relatively anything, for doing so, without saying anything about the destruction of vast swaths of ecosystems that are deemed irrelevant because they supposedly don't impact the only species that we deem important, ourselves. The poor should not simply get it, but when those who have climbed the ladder and reached the plateau are taking every effort, whether intentional or not, to kick that ladder out from underneath anyone else who would attempt to climb it is extremely narcissistic and oblivious to the unavoidable interconnectedness of people and life on this planet. We are supposedly making progress as a species, but when economic mobility is going in the opposite direction, we have some pretty serious issues to address.
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Patrick Hughes
Posted over 2 years ago
Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing
Piracy or idea sharing? It's a bit different when you're just making a copy of information versus stealing a tangible good. That's not to say that it's ideal, but copying data without a license does have pluses. It's free advertising often, and frequently people who do so will end up paying money if the quality of what they download is high enough. In my opinion, there's too much garbage music, games, and other software out there for it to be reasonable to expect someone to pay current prices unless the product is compelling enough to warrant it after using it, but I suppose what matters is the economic balance of costs and benefits. The ways that current estimates of "industry loss" due to piracy are calculated currently are very flawed, so it's really not yet known how the numbers work out.
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Patrick Hughes
Posted almost 3 years ago
Daniel Tammet: Different ways of knowing
To amend my previous post. There are a huge number of ways to meditate, if sitting in dark silence isn't your thing, you can couple it with music, physical exercise, or a number of other methods. I would strongly encourage, in any case, exploring a method that sounds enjoyable and effective for you, as the results are not only very positive in a subjective and anecdotal sense, but also in a sense that's observable scientifically, and does not involve a huge amount of time per day to see results, only consistency.
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Patrick Hughes
Posted almost 3 years ago
Has technology accelerated human evolution?
It still has an empirical component, regardless of how abstract the reasons that cause the process are, correct? There are certainly metrics you could use to measure such a thing, and indeed it would be a complex equation if you wanted it to be fully descriptive enough to get an accurate measurement of how it is changing. That is all assuming a fixed time rate though. Given now that we are also increasing the amount we can accomplish in each day (in terms of all components of life: learning, social interaction, productivity, etc), measuring a change by a fixed time scale seems silly, so perhaps the issue of time makes your position that we can't really measure such a change correct. It's less than we can't measure it though, and more that such a measurement would have no meaningful significance, because 24 hours in 2050 will be nothing like 24 hours today, just as 24 hours in 1800 are nothing like 24 hours today. I think the specifics of evolutionary measurement are less important than coming to grips with the fact that the world is becoming a much more dynamic place to live, where major changes can happen in a short period of time. The idea of anything being constant and timeless is quickly disappearing. I like what you said below "the very process of becoming aware is speeding up". Being aware of what's going on around you, the changing and expanding framework of reality you're living in, and the influences you exert and are effected by seems to be an effective way to take control of your own personal evolution, and thus, your participation in the evolution of all life.
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Patrick Hughes
Posted almost 3 years ago
Has technology accelerated human evolution?
So people don't pick the people they sleep with based on intelligence, physique, and social ability? Just because we take care of our stupid doesn't mean that they make children. Sure, there are anecdotal examples of people that absolutely are not near the top of the evolutionary ladder pumping out 8 kids, but how many of those kids are going to OD, die in motorcycle accidents, or waste all of their money and die young due to health issues they can't afford to address? Evolutionary selection still plays a huge role in a technologically advanced society, it's just that the attributes that allow you to thrive are becoming more integrative and complex. Being strong doesn't matter anymore if you're unintelligent and can't communicate well. If you're 95th percentile in the major desired traits though, you better believe that people are going to want to make babies with you, and given the broader range of social tools, you have a bolstered ability to choose someone who also has desirable traits. I think it much more likely now than ever that two extremely high functioning individuals are able to find and mate with one another to produce offspring that relative to the average human, are borderline superheroes. The real issue I see is that highly intelligent people recognize how screwed up the world is and don't want to bring children into it. This gives them a greater ability to make a positive change in the world though, so it seems that such an issue is just a temporary one until the childless geniuses take a couple decades to get this mess solved.
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Patrick Hughes
Posted almost 3 years ago
Daniel Tammet: Different ways of knowing
There are absolutely ways to perceive things in different ways. It just takes a little practice of learning how to guide the flow of your mind. You do this subconsciously all the time, but becoming aware of the process and giving it a nudge every now and then is really the key to perceiving things in a way that is not routine/ritualistic. One technique is mindfulness meditation, which essentially is sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on the intake and exhale of breath, slowing breaths to a deep and relaxed rhythm. You may also focus on other perceptions such as sounds or bodily sensations, but the goal is to put your attention on breath and sensory input such that your mind quiets. Do this for more than a few minutes, and your mental state will begin to move towards a state where you aren't aware of yourself, but are aware of awareness (as strange as that sounds). Do it long enough, and once you open your eyes and go about your business, you'll notice that your perceptions are different than normal, at least for a few minutes. If you make this process a regular part of your days, the altered state of mind will persist, and in general, improves many areas of life, including health. There are other techniques that can yield this result as well, including sensory deprivation, martial arts, endurance cardio, and certain substances that I'll not promote, but in proper dosages, mindset, and environment are safe, positive, and insightful. In any case, all of these methods are typically about quieting our minds and perceiving reality without the incessant commentary that normally drowns out the subtler emotions, sensations, and intuitions attached to what we perceive. At deeper levels of states such as this, the subjective nature of the raw sensory perceptions themselves becomes very apparent, providing a sense of the interconnectedness of everything.