Financial advisors

Professional financial advisors are so pathetically useless that I can glance at the news, come to an intuitive judgment, and dispense better financial advice than they can.

I’m barely exaggerating. Someone I know, on my advice, bought a sizable quantity of Boeing stock last March after it crashed, and look how much it’s rebounded already, let alone how much further it will increase once Covid is fully under control. If I’d had any money to spare, I would’ve bought some shares too. Now I just hope I can persuade him to repay me with a plate of tendies. Imagine how much passive income some old rich guy could’ve made if he’d hired me as his money manager.

It’s amazing how, even in our era of ruthlessly exploitative and data-driven capitalism, human irrationality is still the predominant force in economics. Not one money manager in history has ever consistently beaten the S&P 500.

I should also mention that financial management companies do their level best to convince people that they need to hire a professional to handle their investments for them, although the best investing option for most people is to put excess money in some super-low-fee index fund or retirement account. This is doubly exploitative because the concept of trusting a professional instead of doing something yourself is integral to modern society, e.g., in healthcare, where “being your own doctor,” as homeopaths suggest, will only cure terminal stupidity by killing you.

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In His own image

If you describe reality in mathematical or logical terms, as for instance in the Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe, it’s natural to think of the cosmos as the output of a function in some extended metaphysical sense, which brings a whole new meaning to Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Mind you, I don’t attribute any particular theological or philological significance to this textual association. It’s a striking coincidence which may incite further thought, nothing more.

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Poem of universal wisdom

I wrote this poem some time ago, and because it’s so universally applicable, I’ve decided I’m morally obligated to share it here:

Whoever you are,

Whatever you do,

There’s always some fucker

Who’s better than you

This poem can be made family-friendly by replacing “some fucker” with “somebody,” which in my opinion actually improves the cadence, but at the cost of losing some visceral impact. It’s your choice.

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Initiation

The initiation procedure for our monastic order is simple. Firstly, memorize the phrase below:

La ilaha Falsafa wa Ganzir-ar rasool Allah

Once you have implanted this sentence in your heart, repeat it as many times as you feel appropriate in order to forget any meanings you may have attached to it, moving away from the microphone to breathe in as necessary. Thank you for your service. A representative will be with you shortly to discuss payment plans and warranties for psychic damage resulting from the pigeonhole principle.

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Shiny IQ

The probability of someone having an IQ of 155 of higher, assuming a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15, is 1 in 8,137.

The probability per encounter of a wild Pokémon in a main series Pokémon game from Generations II to V being shiny is, with a few exceptions, 1/8,192.

Hopefully a comparison like that will help readers, especially those in a certain age bracket, to understand how exceptional such high IQs are by statistical necessity, and how skeptical you should be whenever figures like that are casually tossed around. You can easily play through all of Pokémon Emerald, Diamond, etc., without encountering a single shiny Pokémon.

I probably played those games for a total of hundreds if not thousands of hours, but that was before I was a confident Google user, so I didn’t know what shiny Pokémon were. I wonder how many I missed without knowing…

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Pure math and correspondence to reality

I’ve never been able to get interested in pure math because it fundamentally fails the test of adaequatio rei et intellectus. You expect me to buy that you can rearrange 1 sphere to make 2 or that 0.999… == 1? It’s bad enough that these abstractions obviously can’t be realized in the physical world, but what’s worse is that they’re provably correct statements within the context of the relevant mathematical systems. What that shows is nothing more or less than that those logical systems don’t correspond to reality, which to me is the fundamental drive for all philosophy in the extended sense: theorizing and speculating for the sake of it, pondering about the mysteries of the universe until they are mysteries no longer.

Just to be clear, I am not claiming that 0.999… =/= 1 within the standard formulation of the real number system. What I am claiming is that I have zero interest in working with abstractions according to which 0.999… == 1, as that requires a completed infinity and a physical infinity can never be completed.

I’m also well aware that pure mathematics does sometimes give rise to practical applications, sometimes ones that couldn’t have been foreseen when the underlying concept was originally formulated. But what I’m talking about here is pure math for the sake of pure math. Maybe some people enjoy that. That’s fine.

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