An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Author: anautonomousagent (Page 1 of 74)

Casual Randall Carlson

Randall Carlson does a nice job explaining subjects which would otherwise be incredibly dense. I especially enjoyed this entire series: Cosmography 101. In this series he points out that ancient humans around the time of the last ice age appear to have been cosmographists. With this in mind he explores various scenarios of what might have occurred based on geological evidence. Once you finish hearing what Carlson presents I am certain you will know more than you wanted about the Younger Dryas. You will also encounter many comprehensive descriptions of comets and asteroids. Unfortunately for Carlson, his ideas on the events of the last ice age are an anathema to some of the worlds popular ideologies: those who hold a religious based on the Bible’s account of a supernatural guiding force and those who hold a scientific view based on gradualism. If you maintain a religious understanding, then the proof that these historical events occurred through purely physical interactions between material things following mathematical laws, then you will most likely close your attention to the evidence immediately. The same refusal will occur by those scientifically oriented who think their already correct view of this time era is true and scientifically valid. Dare to be challenged?

Randall Carlson YouTube Lectures

Daniel Sheehan

Daniel Sheehan is a brilliant thinker who has written a fascinating book on his memories as a top lawyer in the United States entitled The People’s Advocate. Additionally, he gives amazing public lectures on both his experiences and world history. All of his YouTube videos are worth watching. Here are some that I started with:

Iran-Contra Scandal
 

Covert and Lesser Known U.S. Actions in and after WWII
 

Daniel Sheehan on 9/11

Dunbar’s Law and Economic Relationships

On page 306 of Scale, Geoffrey West discusses Dunbar’s Law and its implication for human social networks. To summarize this law: it claims that humans have multiple levels of bonding strength. At the lowest level a human will have around five connections of the strongest type of friendship and intimacy. Typically this would include some members of one’s family or a best friend. At the next level there are around fifteen connections that are not as strong as the first level, but are still firm. This would include close friends you might talk to on a daily or weekly basis. At the next level there are about fifty connections… and so on… The numbers of connections scales by tripling the connections at each higher level. In the book the levels are labeled as: 1) Kin, 2) Super-family 3) Clan, 4) Tribe, and 5) Strangers.

When I first read this in Scale, I was immediately reminded of David Graeber’s anthropological work regarding economic relationships among humans. In his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Graeber observes on page 99-100 that baseline communism (sharing) follows a similar structure. Thus, using the terminology from above: At the kin level Graeber notes that there is much sharing between members and the relationship is baseline communism. Thus, you can extend this and map these economic relationships with those of Dunbar’s Law: 1) Kin (~5 people) : Almost all sharing with very little debt or IOU, 2) Super-family (~15 people) : IOU with a good amount of sharing, 3) Clan (~ 50 people) : Mostly IOU and little sharing, and 4) Tribe (~150 people) : Almost entirely IOU with very little sharing. Anything outside the tribe would be exchange via a cash medium except in rare occasions, such as a child falling in front of an on-coming vehicle (a person would naturally share his strength to save the child’s life). Although I may not have followed Graeber’s observations exactly I find this train of thought to be interesting as it requires one to rethink the concept of currency, exchange, and economic relationships. Indeed, Graeber’s book challenges the entire paradigm of the historical development of currency and debt by analyzing the anthropological record.

Scale – Geoffrey West

Scale, by Geoffrey West, is a thought provoking book about coarse grained quantitative network theories which concern the entire human species and its interaction with the environment. Although verbose — as I think the intended audience is upper high school and entry-level college — it is clear in its depictions and explanations. This book is an important summary of really profound work and research performed at the Santa Fe Institute. And it is a great introduction to understanding power laws and scaling in biology and network topologies.

Mastering Bitcoin – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

I’ve been following Bitcoin since 2011 but sadly never researched its technical foundations. A few weeks ago I decided to dive into the subject. Mastering Bitcoin, by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, clearly explains the fundamental designs of Bitcoin. The book is well written and an excellent entry point for developers new to the subject. Many sites and people recommend this book and rightly so, because after reading it, I feel that I have a new understanding and appreciation of everything blockchain related. While it is detailed and technical — geared towards an audience familiar with programming and Internet technologies, it can be a great resource for those wanting an intellectual challenge.

If you decide to purchase the book, make sure you do it on purse.io with Bitcoin. Purse is now where I make any purchases for books or things I would have bought directly from Amazon.

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