Monday, October 31, 2011

Experimental Philosophy

Interesting article in November Scientific American. A more scientific approach to philosophy, asking hundreds of test subjects to answer various thought problems. One interesting example on relativistic morality: if the morally ambiguous choice is fairly "here and now", then people decide with common sense, emotion, and "folk morality". If the choice is placed relatively far in the future, that apparently causes the mind's more "abstract thinking" modules to kick in, and decisions become more logical and abstract, if somewhat less "human".

Also, people who are more open to new experiences (liberals?) tend to be more open to moral relativism. So maybe there's a genetically selected difference between us right-thinking liberals and those backwards-thinking, inbred conservatives.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Way overdid it today. I'm thinking, "Biking weather over soon, let's go for it!" -- mistake. So went to Clifton, the only place I've found where you can get down to the Kentucky River and then get back up without having to walk the bike. The road back up (heading south) is a long, gradual incline. Here's a view from between Lower Clifton and Old Clifton Roads:

So went straight out Old Frankfort Pike to KY 1285. Crossed US 60 north of Versailles at the cylindrical water tower. By the Woodford Reserve Distillery, then left up a long, bad hill -- there are two more smaller ones before you start the downhill into Clifton. Back in through Versailles and Huntertown Rd. 48.9 miles, 4h10m, 3 stops, top speed 36.5 mph. And I am dead.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I liked Knotmuch Farm on the south side of Nonesuch.

I quit biking to Nonesuch, which is much closer to the Kentucky River in western Woodford County than I would have thought, a few years ago. Funny how time managed to erase the memory of how bad those hills are. At least I came from the north rather the south. From the south, just past Clover Bottom Baptist Church and south of Nonesuch, there is a nasty hill. Steep for 1/2 mile, you think you're done, you turn a corner and there's another 250 yards up. It is one of only two hills (the other is Fords Mill just north of Nonesuch) in my biking paths that I have to stand up to make it up. Riding the brakes, I did 36.4 mph coming down that hill (from the north). If my death wish were a little stronger, I think I could easily have hit 45 mph coming down that hill.

So I took Delaney Ferry to Mortonsville, then went south through Nonesuch to KY 33, then back in Keene Rd. 3h4m, 35.8 miles, top speed 36.4mph, 2 stops.

I am on page 897 of 1491 (in the iBook on iPad) into "A Dance with Dragons", book 5 of "A Game of Thrones". I remember once positing something to the effect that a book must have a minimum of 100 pages per narrative thread. I think if you apply that to this series, you will wind up needing a few million pages. So many characters. The fifth book is actually book 4b, with the fourth book being book 4a. Still a good read, but, it's almost like a book is the wrong technology for this much content. Not sure what the right tech would be.

Reaching the end of grilling season, made my baby mixed vegetables and salmon on the grill. For the shitake bacon effect, you have to cook the shitakes 15 minutes by themselves. Half way through, the Cooper's Hawk came swooping over the house and wound up somewhere in the trees of the neighbor to the left's backyard. It is such a rush when that big bird comes flying through our airspace.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Loki was Odin's Blood Brother

Beautiful weather. I was afraid it was going to be too sunny this morning, but it wasn't. Biked to Highbridge Park, then took a long-cut back: north on KY 1268 then south on US 68 to KY 33, then back 33 and Keene Rd. 3h20m, 43.1 miles, top speed 34.3 mph. A nice long stop at the park, which has a beautiful scenic overlook over the junction of the Dix and Kentucky Rivers.

That is such a pretty little park, and pretty much empty every time I have been there. My wife and I have picniced there, very nice.

I read the latest Steven Gould "7th Sigma" in Kindle format on the iPad. Very enjoyable, it reminded me of his first novel "Jumper". It really makes you remember and feel how much you would have enjoyed the book when you were 14. Teenage protagonist who is a master of aikido rather than a teleporter. Relaxing to read.

Then started the latest "Game of Thrones" book "A Dance of Dragons". 300 pages into 1500, I think we've been reintroduced to the characters of interest, maybe some stuff will start happening soon.

I had been buying all ebooks on amazon in Kindle format because they seemed to be consistently cheaper. This one (and the others in the series) not so -- same price in iTunes and amazon. So I figured I'd try the Apple version. Seems slightly inferior in that it didn't show up on my iPhone until I synced, whereas the Kindle books are there from the getgo. I think Apple is supposed to be fixing that soon.

Speaking of adolescent entertainment, "X-Men First Class" was very enjoyable, "Thor" not so much so. "Thor" just didn't work. I think it was because I am such a fan of Norse mythology, and have been for > 40 years. The relationship between Thor, Odin, and Loki is complex and an important theme in Norse mythology, and completely unlike what was represented in the movie. Of course, I'll have to watch it again to see if it gets any better.

Music out, a better crowd at the Wednesday night jam. My brother Mark and his wife Carrie came from Leitchfield, on their anniversary no less. He says they enjoyed it. I played and sang well.

Currently watching the 1994 miniseries of Stephen King's "The Stand" with my wife. Many young actors who later went on to successful careers. But, it reminds me how much I don't like Stephen King's stuff. Totally predictable, kind of preachy, blech.

Damn, I'm way behind on Music In. Plus have to sort out from what I had to reload after my C: drive crashed 9/2. We'll save that for another post.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Unknown Bird

Maybe overdid it a little today. Took a long cut -- Parkers Mill to Ft Springs-Pinkard to Old Versailles to Rosalie to Bosworth to Elkchester to Redd instead of Van Meeter to Elkchester to Redd -- to Old Frankfort. Then Paynes Depot to Waizenberger Mill through Midway to Spring Hill Station. Then KY 1685 back to Old Frankfort to Pisgah Pike to Military. 41.9 miles, 3h29m, 1 stop, max speed 33 mph. I thought about taking 1685 across US 60 north of Versailles, then coming back through Versailles from the north-west. Glad I didn't, pooped enough as is.

Saw what I think was a new bird I think west of Midway. It was a small hawk (smaller than 2 crows sitting near it on a fence), stripes across its tail, and a light head. I think this might have been a sharp-shinned hawk, which looks like a cooper's hawk but is smaller.

Bill O'Reilly was interviewed in parade magazine today. Talked about Lincoln, and, if he were around today, he'd be a Republican: "I don't think he wanted a social welfare system. I think he wanted people to be self-reliant ..."

Quel bull. I will reproduce again this Lincoln quote that I like a lot. It sounds to me like Lincoln believed in "social justice". Try to get a modern republican to say those words without their head exploding.

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

–Abraham Lincoln, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, held at Alton, Illinois, Oct. 15, 1858.

I became aware of this quote because it is in Copland's "Lincoln Portrait", at around the 10:50 point. I have the Philadelphia Orchestra version with Adlai Stevenson narrating. Here it is with what sounds like James Earl Jones narrating. The quote is at around 10:05.