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The interesting interest meme - Journal of Omnifarious

Oct. 3rd, 2007

02:00 pm - The interesting interest meme

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This is response to this thread from a post by noveldevice. Respond to this post and I will pick 7 interests from your interest list for you to post an explanation of how and why they got into your interests list.

ethical slut

I've longed question whether monogamy was the best structure for sexual relationships. When I was 12 a librarian who had a perhaps overly high opinion of my ability to deal with the ideas pointed me at Stranger in a Strange Land. The book didn't grab the interest of my 12 year old mind since too many of the concepts and emotions were too far beyond my experience. But I picked it up again a couple of years later and thought it was a fantastic book.

I also thought "Well, that seems like a fine idea, but I don't speak Martian, and therefor don't have strange telekinetic and telepathic powers or an ability to make fine distinctions between emotions.". But the ideas still intrigued me, and I studied the real world for examples. I then decided "Well, some people I know practice it, but they don't have children. I don't think it's stable enough for a family.". Meanwhile, in my online dating life I practiced "Don't ask, don't tell." which was OK until you actually met someone.

Then dddragonlady (a very polyamorous person) became unexpectedly pregnant. I watched that development with interest, and came to the conclusion that I was wrong after seeing how well adjusted and loved dddragonlady's child was.

The word polyamory also came up, and I decided to give the whole idea a real try in my relationship with svairini, which didn't work so well. Then maatnofret introduced me to The Ethical Slut and suddenly I had a much more workable framework for everything that didn't involve learning martian, which is why it is now on my interests list.

I think that human's are not well evolved for monogamy and that largely we have had a societally enforced facade. I think, in fact, that humans are largely mildly polygynous, and this is supported by various pieces of evidence such as the size difference between men and women, and the structure of many societies around the world. But I think polygyny also makes for violence and a lot of unhappy men. So perhaps polyamory is a better compromise between the needs of living in a society and our needs as individuals.

I do not mean to imply by this that any particular person's choice is wrong or right. Averages and generalizations are not individuals.

extropianism

This one is complex. A good description can be found at the Wikipedia entry for exptropian. Basically, it's assuming the outlook that we are an exponential curve upwards in terms of technology enabling humanity and perhaps various ideas about the structure of society as a whole need to be re-examined in the light of likely near-term future advances such as conquering aging or the realization of strong AI.

nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability precisely engineer things at the atomic level. It is a technology with huge promise, and I follow its development with great interest.

The example of nanotech machines we have to work with right now are biological systems. I think some of the most profound and interesting nanotech advances will be an ability to manipulate these systems more precisely than ever before.

nondualism

I do not think that bodies and souls are somehow separate. I think souls are what bodies do. I do not think that talking about a soul in the absence of a body makes any sense at all. I do not think that talking about a walking, talking, fully functional body that has no soul makes any sense at all either. They are no divisible, we are not dual entities.

This philosophical position is fairly common among people who think that strong AI is a possibility. It is shared by Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel Dennet, and Richard Dawkins, among others, and they have all written about it with far more eloquence than I am ever likely to muster.

One of the more notable objections to this point of view is embodied in the Chinese room thought experiment put forward by John Searle.

paranomasia

From this website: http://www.awpi.com/Combs/Shaggy/738.html

Paranomasia, the often debilitating condition which causes unusual misuse of the English language, is found in less than 1% of the population.

An Institute spokesman stated, "We have long sought the cause of this propensity to producing a prolific plethora of puns. Paranomasia is caused by the newly discovered hormone punesterone. Punesterone is secreted by two small, previously undiscovered glands which are located at the lower end of the humerus in the area commonly known as the funny bone." The glands have been named "groanads."

I am not so punny as I once was. Being reflexively punny tends to require ebullience and perhaps a bit of tiredness. I have not felt all that ebullient in a a couple of years for various reasons. Perhaps that will change again.

personal rapid transit

Personal Rapid Transit (aka PRT or PAT) is the idea that computers are now very good at logistics. So really it would make sense to fill your city with tracks and little 5-15 person trolley cars that responded to people's requests like an automated taxi cab. I believe this is very workable, but the novelty of the idea has kept politicians concerned with their careers from seriously considering it for more than a month or two.

Perhaps when automated systems drive cars better than people this idea will come into its own. IMHO, it's a lot more efficient than our current system and would probably get people to where they were going faster than even going by car does today.

pippi longstocking

What's not to love about Pippi Longstocking? Red hair, a crafty intelligence, and an intolerance for unearned authority. Aside from the fact that I merely really like red hair instead of actually having it myself, she's a girl after my own heart.

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Comments:

[User Picture]
From:mabelmundane
Date:October 4th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
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This sounds like fun!

By the way, I really enjoyed reading your explanation of "Ethical Slut" and polyamory.
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[User Picture]
From:omnifarious
Date:October 4th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC)
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frengers, screamin lord byron, moonage daydreams, fictional robots, william shatner, the diamond sea, karmonics.

And thank you. What did you especially like about it? :-)

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[User Picture]
From:mabelmundane
Date:October 5th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
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I liked what you wrote because it was well written, and explained a little about a world I know little about.

Here are my explanations of my interests:

Frengers- A frenger is someone who is not quite a friend, but not quite a stranger. The term was coined by Danish band Mew, and it's also the name of my favorite album of theirs.

Screamin' Lord Byron- He was a character created for a short film staring David Bowie. The film was about your average boy next door (played by Bowie) trying to impress a girl by pretending that he knows famous rock star Screamin' Lord Byron (also played by Bowie). I have always been impressed by Screamin's stage make-up, and also by his name. What a great and funny name for a rock star!

Moonage Daydreams- Another David Bowie reference. From the song "Moonage Daydream".

Fictional Robots- Ever since I was little, I've had an interest in robots and androids, more specifically robots trying to become human. I had the ELIZA program on my Commodore way back when. I tried making my own ELIZA program, but I then realized that my program would only be as smart as I made it. This is why I'm interested in fictional robots, because it's all imaginary, and sometimes they can become human.

William Shatner- I'm mostly interested in his "music". "The Transformed Man" is one of my secret guilty pleasures, and "Has Been" is so good that I don't feel guilty for liking it. While it's true that he will always be associated with Star Trek, I think he's done alot lately to give himself some credibility, and I think that he's now semi respected.

The Diamond Sea- Is my favorite song. It's by Sonic Youth.

Karmonics- This is something I read about in an interview with some band. He described the feeling he got when his voice slid up a scale and his band mate's slid down the scale in perfect harmony as Karmonics. I remember getting this feeling as a musician, and I think it's a perfect work to describe it.
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[User Picture]
From:goldfish42
Date:October 4th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
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...would probably get people to where they were going faster than even going by car does today.

Not to mention more safely. I suppose it's a sad state of affairs when I'm more inclined to trust a computer than a person behind the wheel.

Here's my prediction: this, along with good mass transit, will be taken seriously only once they outlaw every activity a person could possibly do in a car, and outlaw all but the most "normal" people from driving, in an attempt to reduce traffic accidents by eliminating all causes. Eventually, they will realize that eating, talking, kids, phones, music, passengers, old people, etc are not the causes, drivers are, and they'll see that they have to outlaw those, too.
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[User Picture]
From:omnifarious
Date:October 4th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
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That's a very cynical prediction. :-)

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