MarkM's Adages


Developmental Psychology

Schoolyard behavior resembles adult primate behavior because "Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny" doesn't stop at birth.

A Computer's Perspective on Moore's Law

Humans are getting more expensive at an exponential rate

Learning from History, badly

Apparently, the only thing Americans learned from Prohibition is that it doesn't work to prohibit alcohol.

Academics denigrating "Popularizers"

During the rise of the merchant class, the landed aristocracy understood the value of creating food, but didn't appreciate that food isn't valuable unless it reaches hungry mouths.

New ideas aren't valuable unless they reach hungry minds.

Rule of Scarcity

If it's not allocated by a market, then it's more expensive than money.

First Rule of Computer Security

Only forbid that which can be made impossible.

Facilitate the possible.

Have the wisdom to explain the difference.

First Fact About Networks

Pipes can be made wider, but not shorter

Objects & Markets

Object-oriented programming is about the modular separation of what from how. Market-oriented, or agoric, programming additionally allows the modular separation of why.

Group Dynamics

Following Minsky and Schelling, consider a person as a society of agents. A group is then a larger society of such agents. Understand groups by examining interactions of coalitions of agents that cross-cut their grouping into people.

History of Epistemology in One Lesson

First Hume said "We can't really know anything", but nobody believed him, including Hume. Then Popper said "Hume was right, but here's what you can do instead...". Bartley then debugged Popper's code.

Epistemology in One Lesson

Reality ruthlessly selects out creatures that embody hypotheses too inconsistent with reality. Our only choice is whether we participate by being selected out, or (in Popper's great phrase) by "letting our ideas die in our stead."

Is A.I. Possible?

Some ask "Can humans create intelligent machines?" In fact, humans do it all the time. The question needs to be "Since it's possible in the bedroom, why shouldn't it be possible in the laboratory?"

Spontaneous Order

The Austrian Economists discovered that control and chaos were actually on the same side, and that neither is a viable way to get smart.

Self Reference is its Own Reward

If tautologies do not convey information, mathematicians would not be surprised by them.

This Bloody Century

Early this century there was a worldwide socialist revolution. The great battles were then between International Socialism, National Socialism, and Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialism won because the inertia of democracy prevented the socialism from doing as much damage here. Capitalism first reemerged from the ashes of National Socialism, in Germany and Japan. It is now reemerging from the ashes of International Socialism. Next?

After all, inertia works both ways