A Quote…

March 15, 2014

From Book V of Aristotle’s Politics:

Again, the evil practices of the last and worst form of democracy are all found in tyrannies. Such are the power given to women in their families in the hope that they will inform against their husbands, and the license which is allowed to slaves in order that they may betray their masters; for slaves and women do not conspire against tyrants; and they are of course friendly to tyrannies and also to democracies, since under them they have a good time.

Some insight from Walter Russell Mead

March 2, 2014

Several choice quotes from Mr. Mead’s recent post “Putin Smashes Washington’s Cocoon” about our leftist elites:

Well educated, successful and reasonably liberal minded Americans find it very hard to believe that other people actually see the world in different ways. They can see that Vladimir Putin is not a stupid man and that many of his Russian officials are sophisticated and seasoned observers of the world scene. American experts and academics assume that smart people everywhere must want the same things and reach the same conclusions about the way the world works.

Liberal “diversity” is only skin-deep:

We blame this in part on the absence of true intellectual and ideological diversity in so much of the academy, the policy world and the mainstream media. Most college kids at good schools today know many more people from different races and cultural groups than their grandparents did, but they are much less exposed to people who think outside the left-liberal box.

(Note how Mead speaks of “the academy, the policy world and the mainstream media” as an ideological (and left-liberal) unit, this triad being, essentially, the core of Moldbug’s Cathedral).

And more:

As far as we can tell, the default assumption guiding our political leadership these days is that the people on the other side of the bargaining table (unless they are mindless Tea Party Republicans) are fundamentally reasonable people who see the world as we do, and are motivated by the same things that motivate us.

Too much of the Washington policy establishment looks around the world and sees only reflections of its own enlightened self.

Read the whole thing.

A Quote

January 17, 2014

“Darwin himself was a liberal, but his theories had consequences in some degree inimical to traditional liberalism. The doctrine that all men are born equal, and that the differences between adults are due wholly to education, was incompatible with his emphasis on congenital differences between members of the same species. If, as Lamarck held, and as Darwin himself was willing to concede up to a point, acquired characteristics were inherited, this opposition to such views as those of Helvetius could have been somewhat softened; but it has appeared that only congenital characteristics are inherited, apart from certain not very important exceptions. Thus the congenital differences between men aquire fundamental importance.

“There is a further consequence of the theory of evolution, which is independent of the particular mechanism suggested by Darwin. If men and animals have a common ancestry, and if men developed by such slow stages that there were creatures which we should not know whether to classify as human or not, the question arises: at what stage in evolution did men, or their semi-human ancestors, begin to be all equal? Would Pithecanthropus erectus, if he had been properly educated, have done work as good as Newton’s? Would the Piltdown Man have written Shakespeare’s poetry if there had been anybody to convict him of poaching? A resolute egalitarian who answers these questions in the affirmative will find himself forced to regard apes as the equals of human beings. And why stop with apes? I do not see how he is to resist an argument in favour of Votes for Oysters. An adherent of evolution should maintain that not only the doctrine of the equality of all men, but also that of the rights of man, must be condemned as unbiological, since it makes too emphatic a distinction between men and other animals.”

–from A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell

Broken Formulas

March 20, 2012

I’m aware that the formulas are not displaying at present. The TeX server I was using is no longer around. As time permits, I will be (slowly) editing and reformatting the old posts to use WordPress’ LaTeX plug-in.

Physics Friday 150

January 7, 2011

Consider a skater of mass m on a smooth skating rink (so that we may ignore friction in this problem) with a cylindrical pillar, of radius R on the rink. A rope (of negligible mass compared to the skater) has one end fastened to the column, and extends straight out tangentially from the column for a length L. If the skater grabs the end of the rope while having a velocity v perpendicular to the rope, and then spirals inward, the rope winding onto the column. If the rope remains straight and taut throughout the spiral, what will the skater’s speed be upon reaching the pillar? In what direction?

Read the rest of this entry »

Monday Math 149

January 3, 2011

What is the probability that two independently randomly chosen integers are mutually prime (have no common factor greater than 1)? The probability for four random integers? For n integers in general?

Physics Friday 149

December 31, 2010

For a block sliding down an inclined surface with angle of incline θ and with coefficient of kinetic friction μ. If we consider the forces, we see that the block can slide down the incline with constant velocity when the net forces are zero. Balancing forces perpendicular to the plane, the normal force is thus N=mg\cos\theta. The kinetic friction is thus f=\mu{N}=\mu{mg}\cos\theta, while the component of gravity parallel to the plane is thus mg\sin\theta. We see that these cancel when
\mu\cos\theta=\sin\theta, or when \mu=\tan\theta.

Now, suppose we have a large incline with \mu=\tan\theta, and we start our block sliding with a velocity v0 in a horizontal direction; that is to say, along the plane in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the slope. What, then, will be the speed a long time later?

Monday Math 148

December 27, 2010

Find I=\int_{-1}^{1}\int_{\frac{x^2}2+x-\frac12}^{-\frac{x^2}2+x+\frac12}\frac{x^5-y^3}{x^2+y^2}\,dy\,dx.
Read the rest of this entry »

Physics Friday 148

December 24, 2010

A thin bimetallic strip of thickness d is straight at a temperature T0, with length L0. The two metals have coefficients of linear thermal expansion α1 and α2, with α2>α1. If the temperature is raised to a temperature T not significantly greater than T0, what is the angle θ through which the strip bends?

Total Lunar Eclipse Monday Night

December 20, 2010

Update Sunday: This post was supposed to be pre-scheduled for tomorrow (Monday), but I hit the wrong button.

Here is NASA’s page on the total lunar eclipse tonight, which should be visible throughout North America. The moment of greatest eclipse will be at 08:16:57 UT (that’s 11:16 PM for my fellow Alaskans and me); the penumbral eclipse begins at 05:29 UT and ends at 11:04 UT


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