Zvi Mowshowitz on Immoral Mazes, Levels of Language, and the Magic of Magic

Zvi Mowshowitz comes on The Filter to discuss a series of blog posts he wrote about “Immoral Mazes”, or pathological institutions that incentive perverse behaviors. We also talk about levels of meaning in language and the arc towards more complex and indirect forms of communication, the many uses and abuses of the college system, and the magic of Magic the Gathering.

Ep 15: The New Colonists

We are in a new era of colonization: cultural colonists have taken over our institutions, and the result is every bit as dramatic, if not yet as violent, as the colonial expansion into the New World that took place centuries ago. In this solo episode, I develop an extended analogy between the conflict of natives and settlers, and the current fight for ideological, and sometimes literal, dominance.

This episode elaborates on an analogy mentioned at the beginning of the interview with Katie Herzog. See Episode 10 of The Filter for that interview. Much of the material here is based on talk I gave about a year ago. Hope you enjoy.

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The more you do to help, the more you do to annoy

That’s my first law of car infotainment panels, and of car electronics generally. I recently rented a Toyota Highlander, and among other helpful features that weren’t, the main info system decided it should update almost every time the car was started, prompting me with a “Install” or “Later” choice I had to deal with before I could access the stereo. Even worse (much worse!) was the “helpful” feature of adjusting the screen and dash brightness for me, apparently based on ambient light. A great idea (in someone’s mind), in practice whenever you drive in changing light conditions, like most commuting, or, to pick a completely random example that may have happened to me just now, a lovely morning trip for coffee on a windy, tree-lined road is interrupted every couple minutes as the screen and dash abruptly amps up the ambient light to 11, which, let me tell you, is neither a pleasant transition nor an easily ignored one.

Highly unfortunate, and completely pointless, as adjusting dash and screen brightness to ambient light is a solved problem. It can, and has, been done based on turning on headlights. I can also be done with a dial that lets you pick any brightness level you want, whenever you want. My second law of car infotainment systems, and car design in general? “Put the driver in control”. Let them make the decisions, including the decision of when to let the car make decisions for them.

Ep 14: Pete Quiñones on Collapse, Chaos, and Community

Pete Quiñones, host of Free Man Beyond the Wall, talks about the decline of the American empire, whether we should cheer on collapse, and how to prepare for life in the coming dim age. Among other things, we discuss: The pros and cons of collapsitarianism, which failed state will we most closely resemble, and chaos vs uncertainty during the zombie apocalypse.

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Ep 13: Matt Welch on the Eroding Banks of Sanity

The Filter interview with Matt Welch. Matt is a journalist, author, and podcaster. He’s an editor at large at Reason Magazine, the author of a book about Libertarian Politics and one about the not-so-libertarian John McCain, and he’s part of the thoroughly entertaining Fifth Column podcast.

Topics discussed in this episode:

~ Staying sane in a time of panic

~ Learning as we learn, and consequence free living

~ Why you should always blame New York

~ The narrow space for non-partisan thought

Related links:

The Fifth Column Podcast

Matt Welch at Reason

Ep 12: Andrew Gelman on Data, Modeling, and Uncertainty Amidst the Forking Paths

A conversation with Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University. Andrew is the author of a number of books on topics such as Bayesian Data Analysis, how stats should be taught, and voting patterns in politics. Our conversation topics included:

  • Forking paths in data analysis
  • To what extent to prior beliefs determine study outcomes
  • Data integrity in the era of COVID
  • Unreliable friends and modeling uncertainty
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Ep 11: Tam Hunt on Consciousness, Resonance, and why Cats Fight their own Tails

Discussion with guest Tam Hunt. Topics include:

– Panpsychism, the idea that all matter contains some element of consciousness
– Resonance and harmonics in the brain and the universe
– The unitary self vs. humans as multitudes
– Augmenting, sharding, and continuity of consciousness
– Horcruxes

Related links:

Ep 10: Katie Herzog on Cancel Culture, Reputational Contagion, and Illiberal Mobs

Discussion with guest Katie Herzog. Topics include:

– Cancel culture swarms on Twitter, and the need to use it anyways
– Honor culture and reputational contageon
– School mascots, statues, and mob action
– Obligatory mention of Robin DiAngelo

Blocked & Reported podcast

As the complexity of our work lives increases, it seems like the marginal return on hours worked grows ever more exponential (and ever more flat at first).

Ep 9: The Sleep of Reason Produces Trigglypuffs

Solo show about why our brains no longer work.

Audio production by Steven Toepell of Bohemian Passport Inc.

TRANSCRIPT (Not exact)
I begin this episode of The Filter with some questions. For you. Have you found, over the past few years, and especially over the past few months, that your brain doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be at comprehending the world around you? Do you feel not just overwhelmed by how much is happening, and by how much new information you have to make sense of in such a short time, but that your very ability to reason about your world seems to be under assault.

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