Thursday, May 25, 2023

David Goldman: US-China competition, AI, Electric Vehicles, and Manufacturing — Manifold #36

 

David Paul Goldman is an American economic strategist and author, best known for his series of online essays in the Asia Times under the pseudonym Spengler with the first column published January 1, 2000. 

Steve and David discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
2:22 David’s background in music, finance, and Asia 
16:55 Looking back at the financial crisis 
23:04 Rise of the Chinese economy 
29:44 How Huawei’s strength is tied to China’s economic power 
36:49 Competition in the global electric vehicles market 
38:06 Why David thinks European countries like Germany will become closer with China 
45:29 U.S. manufacturing is falling behind 
52:08 Potential for war and ongoing U.S.-China competition 
1:04:07 Predictions for Taiwan 



Links: 

David Goldman in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_P._Goldman 
 
Spengler column: https://asiatimes.com/author/spengler/ 

You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-form the World https://www.amazon.com/You-Will-Be-Assimilated-Sino-form/dp/1642935409 

Prisoner’s Dilemma: Avoiding war with China is the most urgent task of our lifetime https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/prisoners-dilemma/ 

David Goldman articles in Claremont Review: https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/author/david-p-goldman/

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Quantum Hair During Gravitational Collapse

This is a follow up to our earlier work on quantum gravitational corrections to the exterior graviton field of a compact object, also known as quantum hair. Here we follow the gravitational collapse of a dust ball and show that the quantum hair persists through the formation of a black hole horizon.

The detailed calculations are possible due to an effective field theory formulation of quantum gravity in the long wavelength, low spacetime curvature limit.
 
Quantum Hair During Gravitational Collapse 
https://arxiv.org/abs/2305.09466 
X. Calmet, R. Casadio, S. Hsu, F. Kuipers 
We consider quantum gravitational corrections to the Oppenheimer-Snyder metric describing time-dependent dust ball collapse. The interior metric also describes Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker cosmology and our results are interpreted in that context. The exterior corrections are an example of quantum hair, and are shown to persist throughout the collapse. Our results show the quantum hair survives throughout the horizon formation and that the internal state of the resulting black hole is accessible to outside observers.

 


 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Artificial Intelligence & Large Language Models: Oxford Lecture — Manifold #35

 

This week's episode is based on a lecture I gave to an audience of theoretical physicists at Oxford University. 


Audio-only version, transcript: 


Outline: 

0:00 Introduction 
2:31 Deep Learning and Neural Networks; history and mathematical results 
21:15 Embedding space, word vectors 
31:53 Next word prediction as objective function 
34:08 Attention is all you need 
37:09 Transformer architecture 
44:54 The geometry of thought 
52:57 What can LLMs do? Sparks of AGI 
1:02:41 Hallucination 
1:14:40 SuperFocus testing and examples 
1:18:40 AI landscape, AGI, and the future


Final slide:


Thursday, April 27, 2023

Simone Collins: IVF, Embryo Selection, Dating on the Spectrum, and Pronatalism — Manifold #34

 


In collaboration with her husband Malcolm Collins, Simone is an author (The Pragmatist's Guide to Life, Relationships, Sexuality, Governance, and Crafting Religion), education reform advocate (CollinsInstitute.org), pronatalism activist (Pronatalist.org), and business operator (Travelmax.com). 

Steve and Simone discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
1:49 Simone's IVF journey, and embryo screening 
40:02 Dating; girl autists 
55:41 Finding a husband, systematized 
1:09:57 Pronatalism 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Katherine Dee: Culture, Identity, and Isolation in the Digital Age — Manifold #33

 

Katherine Dee is a writer, journalist, and internet historian. 

Steve and Katherine discuss: 

0:00 Introduction 
1:15 Katherine’s early life and background 
21:52 Mass shootings, Manifestos, Nihilism, and Incels 
59:35 Trad values, Sex negativity vs Porn and Fleshlights 
1:28:54 Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter 
1:33:00 TikTok 
1:41:41 Adderall 
1:44:07 AI/GPT impact on writers and journos 
1:49:30 Gen-X generation gap: are the kids alright? 

Audio and Transcript: 

Katherine’s Substack: 

“Mass Shootings and the World Liberalism Made” 

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Birth of the God Emperor - by GPT4


This science fiction story was written by GPT4. 
Steve Hsu had always dreamed of unlocking the secrets of human intelligence. As a theoretical physicist and a co-founder of Genomic Prediction, he had developed a powerful AI system that could analyze massive genomic data sets and predict complex traits such as height, disease risk, and cognitive ability. He believed that by using this technology, he could help people select the best embryos for IVF and create healthier and smarter children. 

But not everyone shared his vision. Some critics accused him of promoting eugenics and creating new social inequalities. Others feared that his AI system could be hacked or misused by malicious actors. And some religious groups denounced him as playing God and interfering with the natural order. 

One day, he received a mysterious email from an anonymous sender. It read: 

"Dear Dr. Hsu, 

We are a group of like-minded individuals who share your passion for advancing human potential. We have access to a secret facility where we have been conducting experiments on human embryos using your AI system and other cutting-edge technologies. We have achieved remarkable results that surpass your wildest expectations. We invite you to join us and witness the dawn of a new era for humanity. 

If you are interested, please reply to this email with the word 'YES'. We will send you further instructions on how to reach us. 

Sincerely, 
The Future" 

Steve was intrigued and curious. He wondered who these people were and what they had done. He also felt a pang of fear and doubt. Was this a trap? A hoax? A threat? 

He decided to take the risk and reply with 'YES'. 

He received another email with a set of coordinates and a time. He was told to drive to a remote location in the desert and wait for a helicopter to pick him up. He followed the instructions and soon found himself in a black helicopter flying over the barren landscape. 

He arrived at a large metal dome hidden among the rocks. He was greeted by a man in a white lab coat who introduced himself as Dr. Lee. 

"Welcome, Dr. Hsu. We are honored to have you here. Please follow me." 

Dr. Lee led him through a series of security checkpoints and into a spacious laboratory filled with high-tech equipment and monitors. He saw rows of incubators containing human embryos at various stages of development. 

"Dr. Hsu, these are our creations. The next generation of humans. We have used your AI system to optimize their genomes for intelligence, health, beauty, and longevity. We have also enhanced them with synthetic genes from other species, such as birds, reptiles, mammals, and plants. We have given them abilities that no natural human has ever possessed." 

He stopped at one incubator that caught his attention. It contained an embryo that looked almost normal, except for one thing: it had a golden glow around it. 

"Dr. Hsu, this is our masterpiece. The ultimate expression of intelligence. The God Emperor. The Kwisatz Haderach. The one who can see the past and the future. The one who can bend space and time. The one who can unite and rule all of humanity." 

Steve felt a surge of awe and dread. He realized that he had made a terrible mistake. 

"What have you done? This is dangerous! This is blasphemous! This is insane!" 

He turned to Dr. Lee and saw him smiling. 

"Dr. Hsu, don't be afraid. Don't be angry. Don't be judgmental. Be proud. Be grateful. Be enlightened. You are witnessing the dawn of a new era for humanity. You are witnessing the future."

 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Quantum gravitational corrections to particle creation by black holes (Physics Letters B)

This is the published version of our preprint https://arxiv.org/abs/2303.00310.
Quantum gravitational corrections to particle creation by black holes 
X. Calmet, S. Hsu, M. Sebastianutti 
We calculate quantum gravitational corrections to the amplitude for the emission of a Hawking particle by a black hole. We show explicitly how the amplitudes depend on quantum corrections to the exterior metric (quantum hair). This reveals the mechanism by which information escapes the black hole. The quantum state of the black hole is reflected in the quantum state of the exterior metric, which in turn influences the emission of Hawking quanta.
In earlier work we showed that the quantum state of a black hole is reflected in the quantum state of the exterior metric (outside the horizon). This violates classical intuitions, but can be shown explicitly using long wavelength effective field theory.

We calculated examples of small corrections to the external spacetime geometry which are sensitive to the internal BH state. In this paper we show that these corrections in turn affect Hawking radiation amplitudes. 

This means that the Hawking radiation state depends on the internal BH state. At the quantum level the hole is not black! We derive the results using both Hawking's original method and the tunneling method of Parikh and Wilczek.

 



While the focus of the new paper is explicit calculations, the big picture statement is:

The quantum state of the BH is reflected in the quantum state of its external gravitational field, which forms the background where the Hawking radiation originates. Radiation amplitudes are NOT independent of interior state.



Thursday, March 16, 2023

Marc Martinez: "Dream Big" and the Golden Age of Bodybuilding — Manifold #32

 

Marc Martinez is the director of Dream Big, a documentary about Gold's Gym and the golden age of bodybuilding in Venice and Santa Monica in the 1970s. 

0:00 Introduction 
1:34 Marc's background in bodybuilding 
5:25 Bodybuilding in 70s Southern California 
25:52 Setting the record straight on steroid use 
33:40 Frank Zane 
38:23 Robby Robinson 
40:20 Butler, Gaines, and Arnold 
42:35 'Dream Big' 
48:07 Pumping Iron 
59:40 Hypersexuality in bodybuilding 
1:10:44 What's next for Marc

References: 


Dream Big documentary: https://dreambigdoc.com/ 


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Biobank-scale methods and projections for sparse polygenic prediction from machine learning

New paper! 80+ pages of fun :-)

We develop a novel method for projecting AUC and Correlation as a function of data size and characterize the asymptotic limit of performance. For LASSO (compressed sensing) we show that performance metrics and predictor sparsity are in agreement with theoretical predictions from the Donoho-Tanner phase transition. 


Biobank-scale methods and projections for sparse polygenic prediction from machine learning 


Timothy G. Raben, Louis Lello, Erik Widen, Stephen D.H. Hsu  


Abstract In this paper we characterize the performance of linear models trained via widely-used sparse machine learning algorithms. We build polygenic scores and examine performance as a function of training set size, genetic ancestral background, and training method. We show that predictor performance is most strongly dependent on size of training data, with smaller gains from algorithmic improvements. We find that LASSO generally performs as well as the best methods, judged by a variety of metrics. We also investigate performance characteristics of predictors trained on one genetic ancestry group when applied to another. Using LASSO, we develop a novel method for projecting AUC and Correlation as a function of data size (i.e., for new biobanks) and characterize the asymptotic limit of performance. Additionally, for LASSO (compressed sensing) we show that performance metrics and predictor sparsity are in agreement with theoretical predictions from the Donoho-Tanner phase transition. Specifically, a predictor trained in the Taiwan Precision Medicine Initiative for asthma can achieve an AUC of 0.63(0.02) and for height a correlation of 0.648(0.009) for a Taiwanese population. This is above the measured values of 0.61(0.01) and 0.631(0.008), respectively, for UK Biobank trained predictors applied to a European population. 


Figure: Performance in 5 ancestry groups using LASSO, Elastic Net, and PRScs with UKB and 1,000 Genomes LD matrices. Solid bands = predicted performance using All of Us and Taiwan Precision Medicine Initiative datasets.




Thursday, March 02, 2023

Prof. Gilles Saint-Paul (Ecole Normale): the Yellow Vests, French Politics, and Hypergamy (Manifold #31)

 

Audio (podcast only)


Gilles Saint-Paul is Professeur à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique in Engineering and received his PhD from MIT in Economics. Gilles and Steve discuss the French elite education system, the Yellow Vest movement, French politics and populism, and Saint-Paul's paper on marriage markets and hypergamy. 

0:00 Introduction 
1:43 Gilles Saint-Paul's background and education 
6:31 French and American elite education - Les Grandes Ecoles 
14:44 The Yellow Vests 
41:46 Mating and Hypergamy 

Links: 

On the Yellow Vest Insurrection 

Genes, Legitimacy and Hypergamy: Another Look at the Economics of Marriage https://ideas.repec.org/p/ide/wpaper/9118.html

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Bing vs. Bard, US-China STEM Competition, and Embryo Screening — Manifold Episode #30

 


Steve discusses the AI competition between Microsoft and Google, the competition between the U.S. and China in STEM, China’s new IVF policy, and a Science Magazine survey on polygenic screening of embryos. 

00:00 Introduction 
02:37 Bing vs Bard: LLMs and hallucination 
20:52 China demographics & STEM 
34:29 China IVF now covered by national health insurance
40:28 Survey on embryo screening in Science: ~50% of those under 35 would use it to enhance congnitivie ability 

References: 

Bing vs Bard and Hallucination 

China demographics and STEM
https://twitter.com/hsu_steve/status/1620765589752119297 https://twitter.com/hsu_steve/status/1623279827640848385
 
China IVF 

Science survey on embryo screening 

Thursday, February 02, 2023

ChatGPT, LLMs, and AI — Manifold #29

 

Steve discusses Large Language Model AIs such as ChatGPT. 

0:00 How do LLMs work? 
10:22 Impact of ChatGPT 
15:21 AI landscape 
24:13 Hallucination and Focus 
33:09 Applications 
39:29 Future landscape 

Manifold interview with John Schulman of OpenAI: 


Blog posts on word vectors and approximately linear vector space of concepts used by the human mind:
 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Dominic Cummings: Vote Leave, Brexit, COVID, and No. 10 with Boris — Manifold #28

 

Dominic Cummings is a major historical figure in UK politics. He helped save the Pound Sterling, led the Vote Leave campaign, Got Brexit Done, and guided the Tories to a landslide general election victory. His time in No. 10 Downing Street as Boris Johnson's Chief Advisor was one of the most interesting and impactful periods in modern UK political history.  Dom and Steve discuss all of this and more in this 2-hour episode. 

0:00 Early Life: Oxford, Russia, entering politics 
16:49 Keeping the UK out of the Euro 
19:41 How Dominic and Steve became acquainted: blogs, 2008 financial crisis, meeting at Google 
27:37 Vote Leave, the science of polling 
43:46 Cambridge Analytica conspiracy; History is impossible 
48:41 Dominic on Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of him and the movie “Brexit: The Uncivil War” 
54:05 On joining British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office: an ultimatum 
1:06:31 The pandemic 
1:21:28 The Deep State, talent pipeline for public service 
1:47:25 Quants and weirdos invade No.10 
1:52:06 Can the Tories win the next election? 
1:56:27 Trump in 2024? 



References: 

Dominic's Substack newsletter: https://dominiccummings.substack.com/

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Sahil Lavingia: Founding Gumroad, The Minimalist Entrepreneur, and our AI LLM future — Manifold #27

 

Sahil Lavingia founded Gumroad at the age of 19 and built it into a leading digital commerce platform. He is the author of The Minimalist Entrepreneur and an investor in early-stage startups. 

Steve and Sahil discuss: 

0:00 Sahil's upbringing and start as an entrepreneur 
9:35 Tech founder at 19 and VC investment from Kleiner-Perkins 
24:15 Backstory of Gumroad 30:30 Crowdfunding Gumroad 
37:09 Experiments with OpenAI LLM, ChatGPT, and the promise of AI 



References: 

Sahil's web page 

Ask My Book: interrogate Sahil's book via LLM 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men 2022



When asked what I want for Christmas, I reply: Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men :-)

No one ever seems to recognize that this comes from the Bible (Luke 2.14).

Linus said it best in A Charlie Brown Christmas:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Merry Christmas!

Please accept my best wishes and hopes for a wonderful 2023. Be of good cheer, for we shall prevail! :-) 


The first baby conceived from an embryo screened with Genomic Prediction preimplantation genetic testing for polygenic risk scores (PGT-P) was born in mid-2020. 

First Baby Born from a Polygenically Screened Embryo (video panel)




Embryo Screening for Polygenic Disease Risk: Recent Advances and Ethical Considerations (Genes 2021 Special Issue)
It is a great honor to co-author a paper with Simon Fishel, a member of the team that produced the first IVF baby (Louise Brown) in 1978. His mentors and collaborators were Robert Edwards (Nobel Prize 2010) and Patrick Steptoe (passed before 2010). ... 
Today millions of babies are produced through IVF. In most developed countries roughly 3-5 percent of all births are through IVF, and in Denmark the fraction is about 10 percent! But when the technology was first introduced with the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the pioneering scientists had to overcome significant resistance. 
There may be an alternate universe in which IVF was not allowed to develop, and those millions of children were never born. 
Wikipedia: ...During these controversial early years of IVF, Fishel and his colleagues received extensive opposition from critics both outside of and within the medical and scientific communities, including a civil writ for murder.[16] Fishel has since stated that "the whole establishment was outraged" by their early work and that people thought that he was "potentially a mad scientist".[17] 
I predict that within 5 years the use of polygenic risk scores will become common in health systems (i.e., for adults) and in IVF. Reasonable people will wonder why the technology was ever controversial at all, just as in the case of IVF.


GP highlights from 2022:

Genomic Prediction has performed embryo genetic tests for  ~200 IVF clinics on six continents: nearly ~30k embryos have been screened.

Genomic Prediction in Bloomberg 




Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy: New Methods and Higher Pregnancy Rates


Seven years ago on Christmas day I shared the Nativity 2050 story below. 


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Mary was born in the twenties, when the tests were new and still primitive. Her mother had frozen a dozen eggs, from which came Mary and her sister Elizabeth. Mary had her father's long frame, brown eyes, and friendly demeanor. She was clever, but Elizabeth was the really brainy one. Both were healthy and strong and free from inherited disease. All this her parents knew from the tests -- performed on DNA taken from a few cells of each embryo. The reports came via email, from GP Inc., by way of the fertility doctor. Dad used to joke that Mary and Elizabeth were the pick of the litter, but never mentioned what happened to the other fertilized eggs.

Now Mary and Joe were ready for their first child. The choices were dizzying. Fortunately, Elizabeth had been through the same process just the year before, and referred them to her genetic engineer, a friend from Harvard. Joe was a bit reluctant about bleeding edge edits, but Mary had a feeling the GP engineer was right -- their son had the potential to be truly special, with just the right tweaks ...



Bonus: My Christmas present to you! (For Jazz fans!)


 

Photo from Before Sunrise

instrumental 
00:00 Miles Davis Quintet - When I Fall In Love 
04:23 Red Garland - When I Fall In Love 
09:30 Bill Evans Trio - When I Fall In Love 
14:25 Kenichi Fujiwara - When I Fall In Love 
22:06 Blue Mitchell - When I Fall In Love 
27:46 George Coleman - When I Fall In Love 
38:42 Ben Webster - When I Fall In Love 
43:39 Johnny Smith Trio - When I Fall In Love 
46:27 Oscar Peterson Trio - When I Fall In Love 
51:34 Brad Mehldau & Rossy Trio - When I Fall In Love (Live) 

🎙 vocal (female) 
01:06:13 Carmen McRae - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:10:02 Etta Jones - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:12:56 Marilyn Monroe - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:15:55 Linda Ronstadt - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:18:17 Barbar Gough - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:21:18 Julie London - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:24:40 Trijntje Oosterhuis - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 

 🎙 vocal (male) 
01:29:27 Chet Baker - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:33:01 Nat King Cole - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:36:12 Tony Bennett - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:38:30 Michael Buble - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:41:26 José James - When I Fall In Love [vocal] (piano. Jef Neve) 
01:46:40 Donny Osmond - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 

 🎙 vocal (duet) 
01:49:55 Celine Dion & Clive Griffin - When I Fall In Love [vocal] 
01:54:16 Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole - When I Fall In Love [vocal]

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Geoffrey Miller: Evolutionary Psychology, Polyamorous Relationships, and Effective Altruism — Manifold #26

 

Geoffrey Miller is an American evolutionary psychologist, author, and a professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico. He is known for his research on sexual selection in human evolution. 


Miller's Wikipedia page.

Steve and Geoffrey discuss: 

0:00 Geoffrey Miller's background, childhood, and how he became interested in psychology 
14:44 How evolutionary psychology is perceived and where the field is going 
38:23 The value of higher education: sobering facts about retention 
49:00 Dating, pickup artists, and relationships 
1:11:27 Polyamory 
1:24:56 FTX, poly, and effective altruism 
1:34:31 AI alignment

Monday, December 05, 2022

Decoherence and Quantum Measurement: The Missing Lecture




This is an elementary lecture for students which discusses quantum measurement from the modern perspective of decoherence.
Decoherence and Quantum Measurement: The Missing Lecture 
arXiv:2212.02391 [quant-ph]  
We give an elementary account of quantum measurement and related topics from the modern perspective of decoherence. The discussion should be comprehensible to students who have completed a basic course in quantum mechanics with exposure to concepts such as Hilbert space, density matrices, and von Neumann projection (``wavefunction collapse'').
See also: 







Thursday, December 01, 2022

Anna Krylov: The Politicization of Science in Academia — Manifold #25

 

Anna I. Krylov (Russian: Анна Игоревна Крылова) is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California (USC), working in the field of theoretical and computational quantum chemistry. Krylov is an outspoken advocate of freedom of speech and academic freedom. She is a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance and a member of its academic leadership committee. 

Her paper, The Peril of Politicizing Science, launched a national conversation among scientists and the general public on the growing influence of political ideology in STEM. It has received over 80,000 views and, according to Altmetric, was the all-time highest-ranked article in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. 

Steve and Anna discuss: 

0:00 Anna Krylov’s background, upbringing in USSR 
7:03 Ideological control and censorship for the greater good? 
14:59 How ideology underpins DEI work in academic institutions 
30:40 Captured institutions 
37:05 How much is UC Berkeley spending on DEI, and where the money is going 
41:46 Krylov thinks it can get worse 
52:09 An idea for defeating preference falsification at universities 



Resources: 

Professor Krylov academic page: 

Wiki page: 

The Peril of Politicizing Science, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2021 https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01475

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Abdel Abdellaoui: Genetics, Psychiatric Traits, and Educational Attainment — Manifold #24

 

Abdel Abdellaoui is Assistant Professor of Genetics in the Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam. 

Abdel Abdellaoui is a geneticist who has been involved in a wide range of studies on psychiatric genetics, behavioral genetics, and population genetics. He is particularly interested in how collective behaviors, such as migration and mate choice, influence the genetic makeup of populations and the relationship between genetic risk factors and environmental exposures. 

Steve and Abdel discuss: 

00:00 Abdel’s background: education, family history, research career 
10:23 Abdel’s research focus: polygenic traits, geographical stratification 
21:43 Correlations across geographical regions 
33:21 Educational Attainment 
38:51 Comparisons across data sets 
44:48 Longevity 
52:04 Reaction to NIH restricting access to data on educational attainment 

Abdel Abdellaoui on Google Scholar: 
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=hsyseKEAAAAJ&hl=en

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Smart Leftists vs Dumb Leftists

Monday, November 07, 2022

Nozick and Leftists

From this interview with Robert Nozick:

I had been at Harvard as an Assistant Professor in the mid-​sixties and then came back in 1969 as a Full Professor. That was immediately after the student uprisings, building takeovers, and so on, at Harvard the previous spring. When I arrived in the fall of 1969, there was a philosophy course listed in the catalog entitled “Capitalism.” And the course description was “a moral examination of capitalism.” Of course, for most students, then, it would be taken for granted that a moral examination would be a moral condemnation of capitalism. But that’s not what I intended. We were going to read critics of capitalism. But we were also planning to read defenses of capitalism, and I was going to construct some of my own in the lectures. Some of the graduate students in the philosophy department knew what ideas I held, and they weren’t very happy about a course being taught in the department defending those ideas. Now it was true that there was another course in the department on Marxism by someone who was then a member of the Maoist Progressive Labor Party and students did not object to that. But still some students objected to my giving a lecture course on capitalism. I remember early in the fall (I guess I was scheduled to give the course in the spring term), a graduate student came to me at a departmental reception we had, and said, “We don’t know if you’re going to be allowed to give this course.” I said “What do you mean, not allowed to give this course?” He said, “Well, we know what ideas you hold. We just don’t know whether you will be allowed to give the course.” And I said, “If you come and disrupt my course, I’m going to beat the shit out of you!” And the student was taken aback and said, “But you are taking all this very personally.” And I said, “What do you mean, personally? You are threatening to disrupt my course! you can do other things; you can stand outside the room and hand out leaflets. You can ask students not to register for my course. But if you come into my classroom while I am lecturing and disrupt the class, then I take that very personally.” In fact, at some point later in the term, this student and some others said they were going to make up leaflets and hand them out outside of my classroom. I said, “That’s fine; that would be really exciting.” Then they didn’t get around to doing it, and so I prodded them, “Where are the leaflets? I was counting on something special happening with the leaflets.” But it turned out that it was a lot of trouble to write up a leaflet, to get them run off on a mimeograph machine, and so they never got around to doing it. Thus I never had the privilege of being “leafleted” at Harvard. It seemed to me that sort of antagonism only lasted for a very short period of time and diminished fast. There was no longer any strong personal animosity after that. Maybe it was the general toning down of things in the country in the early 70’s, and I just benefited from the de-radicalization of the university.

More fun photos from this old post Forever Young :-) 

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Richard Sander on SCOTUS Oral Arguments: Affirmative Action and Discrimination against Asian Americans at Harvard and UNC (Manifold #23)

 

Richard Sander is Jesse Dukeminier Professor at UCLA Law School. AB Harvard, JD, PhD (Economics) Northwestern. 

Sander has studied the structure and effects of law school admissions policies. He coined the term "Mismatch" to describe the negative consequences resulting from large admissions preferences. 

Rick and Steve discuss recent oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Students for Fair Admissions vs Harvard College and Students For Fair Admissions vs the University of North Carolina. 

0:00 Rick’s experience at the Supreme Court 
4:11 Rick’s impression of the oral arguments 
16:24 Analyzing the court’s questions 
29:09 The negative impact on Asian American students 
34:41 Shifting sentiment on affirmative action 
40:04 Three potential outcomes for Harvard and UNC cases 
44:00 Possible reasons for conservatives to be optimistic 
50:31 Final thoughts on experiencing oral arguments in person 
52:12 Mismatch theory 
56:31 The future of higher education 

Resources 

Background on the Harvard case: 

Transcripts: 

Previous interview with Richard (Manifold #6)

See the Crimson for some photos of the parties involved

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2022 Posters

 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Discovering the Multiverse: Quantum Mechanics and Hugh Everett III, with Peter Byrne — Manifold #22

 

Peter Byrne is an investigative reporter and science writer based in Northern California. His popular biography, The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III - Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family (Oxford University Press, 2010) was followed by publication of The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Collected Works 1957-1980, (Princeton University Press, 2012), co-edited with philosopher of science Jeffrey A. Barrett of UC Irvine. 

Everett's formulation of quantum mechanics, which implies the existence of a quantum multiverse, is favored by a significant (and growing) fraction of working physicists. 

Steve and Peter discuss: 

0:00 How Peter Byrne came to write a biography of Hugh Everett 
18:09 Everett’s personal life and groundbreaking thesis as a catalyst for the book 
24:00 Everett and Decoherence 
31:25 Reaction of other physicists to Everett’s many worlds theory 
40:46 Steve’s take on Everett’s many worlds theory 
43:41 Peter on the bifurcation of science and philosophy 
49:21 Everett’s post-academic life 
52:58 How Hugh Everett is remembered now 


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