ȘȈǤƝȘ 69: Texan Cybergothic

"The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate it is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real." —CS Pierce

ȘȈǤƝȘ 69: Texan Cybergothic
Welcome to Signs of Life, the coolest newsletter in the world.

It's about philosophy and science on the frontiers of internet culture.

If someone sent you this, it must be pretty cool. Subscribe for yourself.

In this issue you'll learn about:

  • Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970) by Albert Hirschman
  • A Yale professor who rejects Darwinism
  • The most insane phenomenon in American telecommunications
  • How Bitcoin miners are starting to submerge their computers in cool liquids
  • Treadmills
  • And more

Bitcoin miners submerge their computers in cool liquid

As American capitalism continues melting down, places like Texas will increasingly manifest cybergothic qualities. This story exemplifies Texan Cybergothic.

“To make sure [Bitcoin mining computers] don't overheat, a facility will typically install fans to cool them down. At the Whinstone site, this hot air is blown by individual fans into a central chamber known as the ‘hot aisle.’

Harris took CNBC inside to feel out the temperature, which can hit 150 degrees. But now, Riot [Bitcoin mining company] is trying out immersion cooling in a couple buildings at Whinstone. The computers are submerged in a specialized fluid that keeps the integrated circuits operating at lower temperatures. The heated fluid is subsequently pumped and circulated to help with dissipating the heat, at which point the cooled fluid is then pumped back in.

The company says it's the first time it's been done at an industrial-scale. All in, the immersion-cooled buildings are expected to host approximately 46,000 S19 series Antminer ASICs.” —CNBC

The Yale professor who rejects Darwinism

It seems the key reason that David Gelernter rejects Darwinism is an alleged lack of fossil evidence.

“Darwin’s theory predicts that new life forms evolve gradually from old ones in a constantly branching, spreading tree of life… Those brave new Cambrian creatures must therefore have had Precambrian predecessors, similar but not quite as fancy and sophisticated. They could not have all blown out suddenly, like a bunch of geysers. Each must have had a closely related predecessor, which must have had its own predecessors.”

According to Gelernter, this expectation is not borne out by the fossil record. I’m not sure, I just learned about this guy.

Gelernter does not reject Darwin's basic model of natural selection, which explains gradual changes in organisms over time.


Treadmills

I always thought treadmills are stupid. Why run in place, indoors, when you could run outside while getting sun and exploring the world? Well, I recently I started using a treadmill just because I was arriving at the gym during peak hours, when the squat racks would be all taken. Lo and behold, I was underrating treadmills. The best feature of the treadmill relative to street running or trail running is that you don’t have to look down or around; you can exercise while totally forgetting about your physical environment, thanks to the treadmill’s uniform predictability. In short, you can really think—and even lose yourself in thought, much more so than during other forms of equally intense exercise. Sometimes you want to exercise as a way to escape your head, sometimes you want to exercise as a way to plumb your head. On the treadmill, I sometimes stare at a blotch on the wall while thinking about some idea for like 4 minutes straight. It’s interesting how one’s body can continue running even after all conscious attention has been placed elsewhere. Perhaps the same can be done on stationary bikes or ellipticals, I don’t know—but you definitely can't do this kind of thinking while running on the street or on trails.


AMBER Alerts are insane

AMBER Alerts are perhaps the most insane single phenomenon observable within the entire American telecommunications apparatus today.

Millions of phones are forcibly pinged, at the same instant, with a screeching emergency alarm bell because someone was allegedly abducted. By giving so much power to abduction allegations, AMBER Alerts just encourage people to classify their interpersonal problems as abductions. I received this one recently:

IMG_7049.jpeg

This problem is called divorce. If a society doesn't want parents fighting over kids, it should make divorce illegal. But since divorce is legal and normalized, while kidnapping is illegal and stigmatized, the social harm of divorce gets rebranded as kidnapping and millions of people get texted when it happens.

Glenn Heights is 2 hours and 30 minutes away from where I received this text message. They could at least geo-fence these things. Am I supposed to drive 2 hours to look for a black 2017 GMC Terrain? Or does 911 really want anyone in Texas to call 911 about any Black GMC Terrain?

Then some Amber alerts must be referring to ghastly crimes, which are too ghastly for anyone to do anything about.

It’s uncanny when you’re at a restaurant and everyone’s phone screeches at the same time. Everyone is told that somebody is possibly being killed in that moment, and everyone immediately dismisses the annoyance before returning to their food. But not without first looking around the entire restaurant, for one second, witnessing that everyone else is also unconcerned with someone somewhere perhaps being killed. Extreme desensitization.

The whole convention is perfectly idiotic, does no good, and causes multiple forms of bizarre stress on a variety of actors.

Digital technology short-circuits naive secular humanism. Bitcoin miners submerging computers in specialized fluids is the opposite of government telecom regulators instituting Amber Alerts. Two forking paths from the flatline of Texan Cybergothic.


Private seminar on Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970)

exit-voice-banner.png

On November 17th, I’m giving a private seminar on Albert Hirschman’s classic text. This will be a close reading of the book—I’ll lecture for roughly 30 minutes and the rest will be a group discussion. Participants should try to read the whole book before meeting. $25 or free for full members of the community. Register here.


The Other Life podcast

Below are some highlights from the latest Other Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

How to Mix Friendship and Business with Mark Beylin of Myco. Mark Beylin is a co-founder of Myco, a platform for Web3 social businesses. Mark is also a writer and he has interesting ideas about the intersection of business, social media, and crypto.

Subscribe on your preferred podcast player.


Cast your spectre into the lake

"Each Man is in his Spectre's power
Until the arrival of that hour,
When his humanity awake
And cast his own Spectre into the Lake.”
—Blake