Reality Conditions

Monday, May 22, 2006

Alejandro’s First Law of Blogging

…says that, when there are no thoughts to fill up a post, links take the place of thoughts:

Peter Woit’s post on the priority for the Landscape concept has spawned a fascinating thread which has currently reached its 118th comment. Among the (luckly fewer than usual) crackpot comments, one finds there a deeply technical discussion between Bert Schroer and Urs Schreiber about CFTs and the Maldacena conjecture; a discussion between Lee Smolin and some string theorists on the sociological problems for doing research in non-string theory quantum gravity, and an amusingly childish discussion between Peter and Lubos Motl as to whose blog is read by more academic physicists. By the way, I should thank Peter for putting a link to my "Landscape Chat" post in an update; it has provoked the highest spike in my sitemeter since I started the blog.

John Baez's This Week's Finds, edition 232, explains in a lucid way the wonders of 2+1 gravity coupled to particles, after showing some really cool (in every sense) pictures of neutrino detectors in the South Pole.

José Antonio Ortega Ruiz has a nice collection of links on how to write physics papers.

PZ Myers smacks down a Jewish rabbi who is making a particulary idiotic version of the already by itself idiotic argument that atheists cannot provide a basis for morality in the way religion can. Differences due to upbringing and cultural identification: when I see Chistians acting like bigoted fools, I feel amused if they are powerless and scared if they have power; but when I see Jews acting like bigoted fools, I feel sad.

Richard of Philosophy, et cetera gets into a quarrel with Timothy of Positive Liberty over whether government taxation violates the right to private property. (Round 1, round 2, round 3, round 4.) I am squarely on Richard side’s here: no, it does not. Fortunately I don’t need to make a post arguing in detail why the idea of property as a “fundamental natural right” (or in general the idea of “fundamental natural rights”) is flawed, as Richard has already written a couple of excellent posts explaining it, and of course much better than I could have done.

Actually, I admire so much Richard’s general philosophical acuteness that it saddens me to see him accepting Chalmers’ zombie argument for dualism. I have tried to convince him of his error in the comments to this post, but with little success. We all have our particular blind spots…

This was a couple of weeks ago, but I missed linking to it: the latest historical sporking, this time of the film Spartacus. Not as funny as the previous one, but still worth reading.

My nonintelligent friend, a recent newcomer to the blogger community, has started a singular discussion on how to translate into English a well-known quip in vulgar Spanish relating shortness to sexual endowment.


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