Monday, February 21, 2011

Schopenhauer's 38 ways to win an argument are:
  1. Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.
  2. Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his or her argument.
  3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.
  4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent till the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitious route you conceal your game until you have obtained all the admissions that are necessary to reach your goal.
  5. Use your opponent's beliefs against him. If the opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage.
  6. Another plan is to confuse the issue by changing your opponent's words or what he or she seeks to prove.
  7. State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions. By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the opponent's admissions.
  8. Make your opponent angry. An angry person is less capable of using judgement or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.
  9. Use your opponent's answers to your questions to reach different or even opposite conclusions.
  10. If your opponent answers all your questions negatively and refuses to grant any points, ask him or her to concede the opposite of your premises. This may confuse the opponent as to which point you actually seek them to concede.
  11. If the opponent grants you the truth of some of your premises, refrain from asking him or her to agree to your conclusion. Later, introduce your conclusion as a settled and admitted fact. Your opponent may come to believe that your conclusion was admitted.
  12. If the argument turns upon general ideas with no particular names, you must use language or a metaphor that is favorable in your proposition.
  13. To make your opponent accept a proposition, you must give him or her an opposite, counter-proposition as well. If the contrast is glaring, the opponent will accept your proposition to avoid being paradoxical.
  14. Try to bluff your opponent. If he or she has answered several of your questions without the answers turning out in favor of your conclusion, advance your conclusion triumphantly, even if it does not follow. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the trick may easily succeed.
  15. If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent's acceptance or rejection some true poposition, as thoug you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he or she suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject a true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your own for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what the opponent accepted. For this, an extreme degree of impudence is required.
  16. When your opponent puts forth a proposition, find it inconsistent with his or her other statements, beliefs, actions, or lack of action.
  17. If your opponent presses you with a counter proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction. Try to find a second meaning or an ambiguous sense for your opponent's idea.
  18. If your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat, you must not allow him or her to carry it to its conclusion. Interrupt the dispute, break it off altogether, or lead the opponent to a different subject.
  19. Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his or her argument, and you have nothing much to say, try to make the argument less specific.
  20. If your opponent has admitted to all or most of your premises, do not ask him or her directly to accept your conclusion. Rather draw the conclusion yourself as if it too had been admitted.
  21. When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial, refute it by setting forth its superficial character. But it is better to meet the opponent with a counter argument that is just as superficial, and so dispose of him or her. For it is with victory that your are concerned, and not with truth.
  22. If your opponent asks you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it begs the question.
  23. Contradiction and contention irritate a person into exaggerating his or her statements. By contractiong your opponent you may drive him or her into extending the statement beyond its natural limit. When you then contradict the exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had refuted the orginal statement your opponent tries to extend your own statement further than you intended, redefine your statement's limits.
  24. This trick consists in stating a false syllogism. Your opponent makes a proposition and by false inference and distortion of his or her ideas you force from the proposition other propositions that are not intended and that appear absurd. It then appears the opponent's proposition gave rise to these inconsistencies, and so appears to be indirectly refuted.
  25. If your opponent is making a generalization, find an instance to the contrary. Only one valid contradiciton is needed to overthrow the opponent's proposition.
  26. A brilliant move is to turn the tables and use your opponent's arguments against him or herself.
  27. Should your opponent surprise you by becoming particularly angry at an argument, you must urge it with all the more zeal. Not only will this make the opponent angry, it may be presumed that you put your finger on the weak side of his or her case, and that the opponent is more open to attack on this point than you expected.
  28. This trick is chiefly practicable in a dispute if there is an audience who is not an expert on the subject. You make an invalid objection to your opponent who seems to be defeated in the eyes of the audience. This strategy is particularly effective if your objection makes the opponent look ridiculous or if the audience laughs. If the opponent must make a long, complicated explanation to correct you, the audience will not be disposed to listen.
  29. If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a diversion that is, you can suddenly begin to talk of something else, as though it had bearing on the matter in dispose. This may be done without presumption if the diversion has some general bearing on the matter.
  30. Make an appeal to authority rather than reason. If your opponent respects an authority or an expert, quote that authority to further your case. If needed, quote what the authority said in some other sense or circumstance. Authorities that your opponent fails to understand are those which he or she generally admires the most. You may also, should it be necessary, not only twist your authorities, but actually falsify them, or quote something that you have invented entirely yourself.
  31. If you know that you have no reply to an argument that your opponent advances, you may, by a fine stroke of irony, declare yourself to be an incompetent judge.
  32. A quick way of getting rid of an opponent's assertion, or throwing suspicion on it, is by putting it into some odious category.
  33. You admit your opponent's premises but deny the conclusion.
  34. When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer, or evades it with a counter question, or tries to change the subject, it is a sure sign you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without knowing it. You have as it were, reduced the opponent to silence. You must, therefore, urge the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness that you have hit upon really lies.
  35. This trick makes all unnecessary if it works. Instead of working on an opponent's intellect, work on his or her motive. If you succeed in making your opponent's opinion, should it prove true, seem distinctly to his or her own interest, the opponenent will drop it like a hot potato.
  36. You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere bombast. If the opponent is weak or does not wish to appear as ife he or she has no idea what you are talking about, you can easily impose upon him or her some argument that sounds very deep or learned, or that sounds indisputable.
  37. Should your opponent be in the right but, luckily for you, choose a faulty proof, you can easily refute it and then claim that you have refuted the whole position. This is the way which bad advocates lose a good case. If no accurate proof occurs to the opponent or the bystanders, you have won the day.
  38. A last trick is to become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand. In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. This is a very popular trick, because everyone is able to carry it into effect.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wires transform these objects from inanimate to hilarious works of art.

Little polish girl

McDonalds as Sculpture Materials
Yeah, this is where those come from
Dancing Queens
English breakfast
Sylvia Muffin put her head in the oven.
The introvert
Bananas in bed – let’s slip into bed together
You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto. You Say Potatoes, I say Zombies.
Fruit with life experience
Zombies are nuts about brains
Modest pear
Literary interpretations
Paper training our little dog, Frank
A little cat doodle

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home

How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home

How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home After the complete breakdown of civilization, the best place to live is going to be in a tanker, hitched to the back of a truck. Designer Aristide Antonas has figured out exactly how to convert a truck into a home.
How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home
A futurist art and architectural project, Antonas' images of the "KEG Apartments" suggest ways to convert emptied-out fuel tanks into cozy homes with giant beds, dogs nestled on rugs, and tall windows. And the best part is that you can always be moving ahead of the zombie hordes - especially once you've fitted out your truck to run on zombie guts. (OK, I'll admit that Antonas doesn't explicitly talk about zombie guts in his project description.)
How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home Of course, just because you live in a tanker doesn't mean you can't settle down.
According to Antonas:
The keg wagons can be detached from their cars and can form more stable units for a certain period. A big circular window can be introduced in the vehicle's cylinder towards the car's side with the use of an enforced circular frame. This will give the form of a window open to the driver's section or to any chosen view if the keg stops in a particular way. The circular window can also serve as a projection screen surface if a special tissue is unfolded.
How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home
My favorite images from Antonas' collection highlight the way KEGs will evolve back into houses. The image up top shows the KEG in a lovely, bucolic setting - like a vacation home or a house at the edge of a farm. And below you can see what looks more like a post-apocalyptic community of KEGs, some still truck-ready and some in a more sedentary state.
How To Convert A Tanker Truck Into A Post-Apocalyptic Home
see the entire set of designs in Antonas' Flickr stream.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Anthropomorphic + Futuristic = Fantastic Floating Homes
futuristic luxury houseboat design
Futuristic, yet, but not the far-fetched science-fiction fantasy industrial design you might think – the Oculus by Schoepfer Yachts may not be for sale yet but it is already in pre-production mode with naval architects on board, so to speak. Hardly your typical houseboat, it is a virtual cruise ship for the rich and famous who can afford to buy it when it is fully planned and built.
futuristic cool house boat
The anthropomorphism of this luxury floating home is of course intentional – the front deck like the gaping mouth of a gigantic sea creature and the sleek curves mimicking streamlined oceanic animals.
futuristic private house boat idea
Complete with a swimming pool on top and a futuristic interior design this is far more like a permanent mobile home than a cruising yacht.
futuristic luxury houseboat yacht
The smaller and simpler (both adjectives applied relative to its bigger brother of course) version of this spectacular design is the Infinitas, with a more sleek and streamlined profile and a semi-enclosed on-board swimming pool in the center but underneath the shell.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wild Ideas

A wild idea is one that many people think is obviously quite unlikely. I'd say at least a third of these wild ideas are likely true.
  1. Many times each day, your mind permanently splits into different versions that live in different worlds.
    The startling prediction of the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics is that when systems like your mind interact with small quantum systems, every possible quantum outcome actually happens in a different "world." Quantum mechanics is our most basic theory of physics, and surveys of prominent physicists reportedly find majorities favoring this interpretation.
  2. If medicine were taxed so much that people only bought half as much, they would be just as healthy.
    In the 1970s, the RAND Health Insurance Experiment randomly assigned 5000 adults to free or full-price health care over 3-5 years. Free care folks got more eyeglasses and teeth filled, and spent ~30% more, but were otherwise no healthier. This result is consistent with typical time-series and cross-sectional analyses. I'm willing to extrapolate from this 30% change to a 50% cut.
  3. If we keep writing down common sense datums until 2100, we can make computers as smart as people.
    We learn more about brains and making smart computers, but we seem to have run out of major architectural innovations -- better ones won't make a huge difference. The big stumbling block seems to be how much "common sense" a system knows, like that things tend to fall down when you bump them. One group has been writing these down for fifteen years with moderate success; a century more effort may be plenty.
  4. If your head is cryogenically frozen today, you will be alive in 2100.
    Your mind is a pattern of activity in your brain. The ability to induce that pattern is encoded primarily in your neurons -- in which neurons are of which type, and which neurons are connected together. Freezing a brain today in liquid nitrogen destroys many things, but seems to preserve this type/connection info. By 2100 we should be able to scan this info from a frozen brain. If we scan your brain and then build and run a computer simulation of it, someone who remembers being you would wake up and feel alive. 
  5. By 2100, the vast majority of "people" will be immortal computers running brain simulations.
    Simulated brains are potentially immortal, just as all computer data is. And the ability to cheaply simulate brains will revolutionize labor economics; wages should fall to near the cost of making brain simulators. The population of such "uploads" should expand very rapidly, allowing huge increases in both economic growth rates and inequality. 
  6. There's a five percent chance I live in a "future" computer simulation as I write this.
    Some uploads could have robot bodies, while others could live in simulated computer worlds. Our descendants may place some of them in historical simulations, with simulated people who do not realize that they are simulated. How sure can I be now that I do not live in a future historical simulation? The more such future simulations there will be of this era, the higher a chance I must assign to this possibility. 
  7. By 2100, world economic growth rates will have increased by over a factor of a hundred.
    Our best long-term time series of world product is well fit by a sequence of three exponentials, each of which grew over a hundred times faster than its predecessor. If growth modes are similar in terms of how much the economy grows when they dominate, we will be overdue for a new mode by a century from now. So if a faster mode is coming, it should have come by then.
  8. The growth of humanity and its descendants will stop forever within a thousand years or so.
    This claim is on this list not because of the usual concerns like nuclear war, ecological collapse, or bounded resources, but because so many wild claims seem plausible if we long continue our economic, technical, or spatial/material growth. Two percent growth two thousand times is 1017, for example. So either this claim is likely, or several others on this list are. Alas, the most likely no-grow scenario seems to be obliteration.
  9. Our descendants will colonize millions of star systems within ten thousand years or so.
    If our growth does not stop, it must continue. And it cannot continue this long without enabling and encouraging massive space colonization. Spatial/material growth requires it, technical growth enables it, and economic growth induces technical growth. (It won't really start for many decades, though, until space costs come way down.
  10. The nearest intelligent aliens are many millions of light-years away.
    Astronomy suggests that the chance of intelligent creatures arising in any one largish region a billion years ago are similar to the chances today. So if many such creatures arose then, and if each one had a non-trivial chance to start a space colonization wave within a few million years, then most everything should be colonized by now. Yet things do not look colonized around here.
  11. Billions of years ago, intelligent aliens had a colony near here, but left in a big hurry.
    If colonization waves are far enough apart, competition among colonists selects for the fastest possible colonization wave speed. When such colonists stop somewhere, they grow as fast as they can and then leave in a big hurry, taking everything of portable value with them. 
  12. If we allowed complete freedom of contract, law could be privatized, to our common benefit.
    Limits on freedom of contract are today said to fix problems of monopoly, externalities, asymmetric information, and local irrationality. But if limits are good fixes, then people should voluntarily choose such limits in early contracting over contract law itself. If competing private laws offered law and enforcement packages, contracting early with each other on inter-law disputes, we could each better tune our laws to our individual circumstances and preferences.
  13. If we switched to "futarchy" as a form of government, we would be richer and just as happy.
    Under futarchy we would vote on values, but bet on beliefs. Legislators would define and monitor an after-the-fact measurement of national welfare. The rule then is: if market speculators estimate a policy would increase national welfare, that policy becomes law. Because speculative markets aggregate info well, choices would be based on our best available info about policy consequences.
  14. If even a few of us honestly sought truth, we would not disagree with each other.
    On matters of fact or morality, honest rational truth-seekers cannot agree to disagree. Even if highly computationally constrained, they should not be able to anticipate the direction of others' opinions relative to their own. Yet virtually no pair of humans is like this. Thus virtually no humans are truth-seekers, and since most humans think they are truth-seekers, they are self-deceived.