Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Recap on Warmism

Friday, March 14th, 2014

I have been ignoring the issue of Global Warming for a while, because it is pretty much settled.  Anyone who still believes in Warmism is stupid, crazy, or lying.  Usually stupid.

But, a short summary: (more…)

Exhaustion of the low hanging fruit, or moral decay?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Photolithography is limited by the wavelength of light.  Below 160 nanometers, UV is not light, but ionizing radiation.  So at some point, have to switch from photolithography to contact lithography, such as imprint lithography, or direct contact printing.  But did they stop shrinking stuff before we reached that limit? That they are lying about it suggests moral decay, rather than exhaustion of the low hanging fruit.

Current photolithography is stuck using UV at 193 nanometers.  Could they have gone lower?

Nitrogen and fused quartz, which they are already using, is good down to 160 nanometers.  They are using water for their high refractive index fluid, and water becomes opaque below 193.  Perfluorocarbons, however are good all the way down to 160 nanometers.  So they did not push current technology to its final limit.  It was not exhaustion of the low hanging fruit that caused the current alarmingly indefinite pause in Moore’s law.

My prediction is that if humans resume technological advance, will resume in China, and will resume using contact lithography or direct contact printing, as there is little point in recreating from scratch a technology that has reached its ultimate limit.  And if humans don’t resume technological and scientific advance, it will be a long, slow, painful and messy descent into a dark age, until harsh conditions cause natural selection to resume.

Darkness is the norm

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Copper production shows three peaks: The Roman Empire in the west, the Song Dynasty, and modernity.

The Roman Empire in the west and the Song Dynasty had about seven times the preceding and following level of copper production, thus while those civilizations were going concerns, they had far more production and wealth than the rest of the world put together.

When the Roman Empire in the West fell, its GDP dropped about a hundred fold.

So, looking at the past few thousand years, the norm has been relatively brief periods of civilization in relatively small parts of the world.

I would guess the problem is that the state lacks the cohesion and self discipline necessary to refrain from devouring civil society, and anarchy lacks the cohesion necessary to keep the roads safe and property rights secure. Technology can advance during anarchic periods, often quite rapidly, but the amount of wealth, as indicated by copper production, shipwrecks, and such, tends to be very low indeed during such periods.  Despotic states, on the other hand, have higher wealth, probably because they can make the roads safe over a large area, but are apt to end technological progress, and often reverse it. (more…)

No real AI progress

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

AI is a hard problem, and even if we had a healthy society, we might still be stuck. That buildings are not getting taller and that fabs are not getting cheaper and not making smaller and smaller devices is social decay. That we are stuck on AI is more that it is high hanging fruit.

According to Yudkowsky, we will have AI when computers have as much computing power as human brains.

The GPU on my desktop has ten times as much computing power as the typical male human brain, and it is not looking conscious. (more…)

mens rea

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I have been arguing that social decay is ending technological and scientific progress.  In most areas it has strikingly slowed, in some areas, going backwards in the west, as we forget how to do what once we could do.  Others, however, argue that technological and scientific progress is still running hot, or that if it has slowed, it is that we ran out of low hanging fruit.

But a big tell is that people are lying about it. The lie indicates not only failure, but that the failure is shameful – that the failure is in us, not in external circumstances.  That we are lying about it shows the failure is social decay. (more…)

Tall buildings and the social order

Monday, January 20th, 2014

To make and keep the upper stories of a tall building habitable requires routine high technology.  The lifts have to work, the water needs to be pumped, the toilets have let the poop down one hundred stories without shattering violence.  It is not all that expensive.  Current office space costs in the centers of major cities are so high that very tall buildings are immensely profitable.  It is simply difficult to do, requires able people working together, both initially to build the systems, and subsequently to keep them going.

It is habitable floors that are hard to do, and habitable floors are what generates the rental income.  So, to assess a society’s technological level, count habitable floors.

By and large, the taller the building, the more the profit.  Doubtless there is a limit, but in the center of most major cities, most tall buildings are below that limit.  If people could build taller, they would.  At our present technological level, settling space seems likely to be fatally unprofitable, but building upwards, building the city of tomorrow, is highly profitable. (more…)

Races and subspecies

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Darwin defined race and subspecies to mean the same thing, a difference between kinds that is noticeable, but less than a species difference.

He then proceeded to argue that there was no objective distinction between a race difference and species difference, that two very different races were the same degree of difference as two closely related species.

And thus, that race is the origin of species. Over time, races may become more different, and, as some ill defined and undefinable date, it becomes reasonable to call them two different species rather than two different races.

He then proceeded to argue that the difference between the more distant human races, in particular the difference between blacks and whites, is large enough to be called a species difference, and considerably larger than the differences between many kinds that are recognized as distinct and different species.

(more…)

A creationist, an evolutionist, and a Darwinist were walking in the woods

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

They saw patch of flowers.

“Why are these flowers beautiful?” asked the creationist rhetorically.

“OK” said the evolutionist, “Why?”

“For the joy of God and man,” said the creationist.

“No” said the evolutionist, “Beauty is subjective, in the observer, not in the flower, and nothing in nature has any purpose.  It just is.”

“No,” said the Darwinist.  “These flowers must be pollinated by a creature that drinks nectar by daylight, probably a bee, and the flowers are beautiful to please the bee, as a woman is beautiful to please her husband.”

“That is sexist,” said the evolutionist, “and why should bees care about beauty?”

Leftism as cancer

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Leftism is to memes as cancer is genes.

If the cells of the body mutate, cells that multiply at the expense of the body will be selected.  And cells that mutate to a faster mutation rate will be selected, since they will have more fast multiplying variants.

In a healthy body, each cell lives for the body, and performs its role in the whole body, making the body one. In cancer, each cancer cell lives for itself, at the expense of the body, parasitically, until the parasites devour the host

Left wing memes are selected by propagation through state power for propagation through state power. (more…)

Moore’s law ends. Technological singularity postponed indefinitely

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The fabs will soon be delivering “16nm” chips.  But they are not in fact 16nm chips.  That is just marketer spin.  The wire to wire spacing, the pitch, is still 64nm, as it has been for some considerable time.  There have been substantial improvements in power consumption, and this and that, but chips have just stopped getting denser.  There are no more transistors per unit area than in previous technology generations.  They are 64nm chips, and we have been stuck at 64 nm for some time. (more…)