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Showing posts from January, 2021

Statues Don't Matter

The British Government knows who its enemies are: Housing Minister Robert Jenrick has attacked the "woke worthies and town hall militants" trying to remove statues, while Jacob Rees-Mogg has criticised the "woke brigade". But statues and street names don't actually matter. They are a proxy for the far more important issue of diversity and demography; perhaps people worry about statues of dead Englishmen disappearing from city centres because they worry about Englishmen disappearing from those cities . America's iconoclastic spasm is certainly related to the country's transformation from an overwhelmingly European country to a multicultural liberal caliphate, a bold experiment which is yet to produce its end results. African-Americans, though small in number and in relative overall decline, are a totemic group for the multicultural "Blue Tribe", and their all-American narrative of slavery and redemption echoes the country's Christian ideals.

The S Curve

As far as its neighbors are concerned, a neuron can only be in one of two states: firing or not firing. This misses an important subtlety, however. A typical neuron spikes occasionally in the absence of stimulation, spikes more and more frequently as stimulation builds up, and saturates at the fastest spiking rate it can muster, beyond which increased stimulation has no effect. Rather than a logic gate, a neuron is more like a voltage-to-frequency converter. The curve of frequency as a function of voltage looks like an elongated S and it is variously known as the logistic, sigmoid, or S curve. Peruse it closely, because it's the most important curve in the world. At first the output increases slowly with the input, so slowly it seems constant. Then it starts to change faster, then very fast, then slower and slower until it becomes almost constant again. The transfer curve of a transistor, which relates its input and output voltages, is also an S curve. So both computers and the

The Cultural Revolution Sweeping Across Europe from America

Can Ireland survive the new cultural revolution? Talk to an educated Irish person in a global city today, and you will quickly discover that they hold the twin ideologies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland: a vague sentimental remnant of the Irish ethno-nationalism of the revolutionary period and the internationalist and multicultural open society values of Google. Having uncritically adopted the fashions of American academia, Ireland’s new young educated elite have started parroting the imported language of “white privilege” versus “people of colour”, and the dangers of nationalism versus the superior multinational capitalism-friendly values of openness. There is little reason to think the cultural revolution sweeping across Europe from America will stop and listen to the “but we’re on your side!” pleas offered by Irish Republicans about how they supported the anti-apartheid movement in the Eighties or how our nationalist heroes were anti-imperialists or that our Republicans today are econo

Powers of Ten

Powers of Ten (1977) takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

In Motion

Angeles set in motion the sphere of fixed stars, which in turn drives all the other spheres. [France, 14th century]