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Odder's profile

I'm a 25 year old eternal student. I never want to stop learning. I'm interested in physics, math, philosophy, psychology, education, and literature. I'm optimistic about the world and the future.

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It really impressive how timeless and how far-removed from current events Jacobin manage to stay, even when quoting the 2016 election.

The rural proletariat elected Trump, to the chagrin of the suburban bourgeoisie and urban poor. Sure, the average American would have probably rather had Sanders than Trump, and sure, that indicates that our democracy is broken. But the whole point of the Jacobin article falls flat when you realize that the rural poor all voted for Trump and the Republicans half to spite the liberals and half because they don't actually believe that the government can help them.

I mean yeah, I wouldn't trust Bill Gates on history either. He could potentially not remember who the main combatants were in World War 1 and still be good at all the things he is.

Nope! Pinker is just that rare idiot who actually managed to fall for all the propaganda they fed us in school while still somehow being aware and intelligent enough to remember or care about it.

I agree but I don't think it's just science fetishists who fall victim to this kind of bullshit. I mean, look at Jordan Peterson. He's gained a massive following of mostly twenty-something males with no direction in life, mostly by virtue of being a fifty-something male who has a direction in life and isn't shy about it. Shame about the whole bigotry thing he's got going or he might be an inspiration.

I think there's just a subset of people at any given time who are in a vulnerable place in their life, and as a result are more susceptible to bullshit that provides them with easy answers that they want to hear.

Dude did you see how he wrote a book on the Enlightenment despite having a presumably high school AP History level of knowledge on the subject? It went over poorly.

I'm pretty sure Elon Musk isn't doing anything illegal if that's what you mean. Someone else can correct me if I'm wrong. A free-market libertarian he ain't, though.

Works like this:

-Elon Musk invests 50M in Tesla/SpaceX

-Gov't subsidizes Tesla/SpaceX to the tune of $5B

-Tesla/SpaceX have a combined market cap of $80B (mostly due to overinflated expectations, it's not like 80B has been invested)

-The public has no voting shares based on that $5B (since these were subsidies, not stock purchases) despite "investing" 100x what Musk did.

-Elon Musk presumably makes a ton of money off of these two companies, which would not have been possible with $5B in taxpayer money.

-In Ayn Rand's eyes, he'd be a moocher for doing this, so it's weird that a lot of self-proclaimed libertarians love Elon Musk.

I think I've finally figured it out, it's:

1) Start one of these companies secretly knowing it will probably never be profitable

2) Play at being a silicon valley genius for a few years

3) Pay yourself a modest upper-middle class salary while it lasts

4) Have the company declare bankruptcy or sell it

5) Repeat step 1 until you get bored or retire.

The company itself doesn't need to be profitable so long as it's a profitable experience or a write-off for everyone involved.

    it's shitty to attack someone

I hope it's still ok to make fun of billionaires tbh.

It's a good article, but I'd still totally read whatever you have to write.

Odder  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: On teaching mathematics

Math is not just a part of physics. Heck, even applied math is not just a part of physics. And even in physics, I learned that there are two types of mathematical thinkers: geometers and algebraists. It would be a mistake to assume that all math that is part of physics is geometry, like this author does. General relativity is most intuitively geometry, and quantum mechanics is intuitively algebra, though you can formulate both the other way. For both math and physics, I think you need both even though most of us tend toward one or the other.

For example: the determinant of a matrix only fully makes sense if you understand it as both the change in volume of a paralellipiped, and as the product of the eigenvalues. These are the same mathematical statement, but one of them leads to a more geometrical way of thinking and the other more algebraic. Even if you are more of a native "algebraist" like me, remembering the geometric definition of the determinant can still help.

It may be that French math schools have all taken crazy pills and kicked the geometers out. The author is obviously more geometrically inclined and therefore rather irked about the whole thing. Though he might be right: if he is considering Landau and Lifshitz to be "not abstract" maybe they are starving for more grounded math education in France.

Given his family I'm pretty sure he isn't used to being poor which is part of why it's great.

It takes a long time to get used to the idea of either having money or not. I still do the double take of "wait... do I have enough money to afford this" when grocery shopping even though I've been stably employed for over a year now. I imagine this is like the same but in reverse.

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