Often the court jester is the wisest man in the kingdom. Dressing as a clown does not negate the truth in what a man says. In a recent interview with cognitive scientist John Vervaeke, Jordan Peterson delves into deep issues of psychology, neuroscience, and cognition.
For more in-depth understanding of Vervaeke’s thoughts, here is an interesting page and podcast, and here is a list of books that he recommends to the general public. This 50-video playlist from Vervaeke provides a useful introduction to “the meaning crisis” that goes along with our current retreat from tradition, without anything truly meaningful given us in its place.
Many of us have been worried that Jordan Peterson might not be able to fully recover from his deep personal crisis of a few years back. But if his YouTube channel is any judge, he is pushing even deeper into the mysteries of life than he had done prior to the crisis. The world certainly needs his voice, and it needs the insights of all the deep thinkers that Peterson can introduce to us.
Russia Gives Tiny Soledar the Mariupol Treatment
The tiny salt and gypsum mining town of Soledar, in east Ukraine, has been reduced to rubble by Russian artillery. If conquering a pile of rubble constitutes a victory, then Russian forces have achieved a Pyrrhic and temporary victory in the occupation of the immediate territory of what was once a thriving little town called Soledar.
Soledar, known for salt mining and processing, has little intrinsic value apart from the salt and gypsum mines, but it lies at a strategic point 10 kilometres north of the city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces want to surround.
Taking Bakhmut would disrupt Ukraine’s supply lines and open a route for the Russians to press toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk province.
Soledar’s fall would make “holding Bakhmut much more precarious for Ukraine,” Michael Kofman, the director of Russia Studies at the CAN nonprofit research group, noted.
The war of attrition, with heavy casualties, may make a Russian victory as deadly as a defeat.
“I don’t think the outcome at Bakhmut is that significant compared to what it costs Russia to achieve it,” Kofman said in a tweet.Tens of Thousands of Men Lost for a Temporary Toehold
College and University Do Not Prepare Students for Real World
Students go to university with the intention of learning to live skillfully in the real world, to become competent thinkers and doers, to learn to make their way and to live well. But in the real world, universities have slipped from the role of teaching students to think and do for themselves. Instead, universities have become centers of one-sided propaganda and deep groupthink indoctrination. Too many of those who graduate from such schools lack the skills and know-how to do meaningful work.
To remedy that situation, private enterprises have begun devoting themselves to helping college students, graduates, and dropouts, to acquire the needed skills for success in the real world of enterprise, trade, and work.
One employment mentor and entrepreneur concurred. Michael Gibson founded the 1517 Fund to guide and invest in college drop-outs or those who chose not to attend.
“By giving rookies a chance to learn from the pros on the job, apprenticeships give young people starting their careers a much better opportunity to learn the foundational skills they need directly, instead of relying on failing schools and colleges to teach them outdated lessons or poisonous ideology at a luxury price,” Gibson told The College Fix via email Jan. 6.
According to the Multiverse study, “72% of young adults with degrees believe college didn’t fully equip them to start their career.” Additionally, nearly half of students surveyed said that they felt expected to go to college after high school; however “three-fourths would skip college if their dream job was available without a degree.”College Fix
Running out of technically trained occupations
Georgia Tech researchers create smaller, more scalable flow cell batteries
Flow batteries do not depend upon lithium or scarce rare earth minerals. If they can be made affordable, efficient, and scaled for different uses including EVs, they could represent a significant breakthrough in the quest for electrification of our infrastructures — including transportation. Flow cells do not suffer from many of the supply constraints which limit a rapid scale up of other types of battery technologies. Combined with advanced nuclear power generation, the way to an expansive, abundant future would be eased.
Good overview of flow batteries
Will flow batteries become the leading solution for energy storage in the future? These batteries’ numerous advantages can make the flow batteries even more popular in energy management in the coming years. Essential benefits of flow batteries include:
Long service life: this is one of the most significant advantages of flow battery systems. Flow battery allow for a large number of complete cycles of both charging and discharging. Importantly, electrons do not undergo any physical changes to be freely upgraded for catalytic and electrical properties. Besides, convective cooling of the electrodes supported by the pumped electrolyte helps in managing and distributing heat.
No standby losses: flow batteries are the ideal solution for devices with long periods of disuse. The flow-through battery will not discharge because the charge-carrying electrolyte is stored in separate reservoirs.
Low maintenance costs: the flow batteries are incredibly ergonomic. One electrolyte is used for all cells, ensuring that the battery is charged uniformly.
Environmentally friendly: flow battery waste can be reused. Additionally, electrolytes are not very toxic.
Charging method: fluctuating power demand, charging, and discharging rates do not affect the operation of redox flow batteries. Therefore, flow battery systems are the right solution for complex energy management systems.Source
In all the apocalyptic panic and fury over the various environmental apocalypses that threaten the weak-minded, it rarely enters the minds of information gatekeepers that there are solutions to almost every problem. We are told that it can take hundreds and thousands of years for plastic items such as water bottles to be broken down by nature. But is that true? Not likely, just as it is not likely that incremental changes in atmospheric CO2 levels will lead to a global apocalypse. But scientists want their grants, and journalists want their story. If it bleeds it leads, and may even lead to a prize or two.
Nature has learned how to deal with oil spills, for example, without human assistance. Since most oil spills are natural oil seeps from the ocean floor which have been occurring for hundreds of millions of years or more, that is a fortunate thing. Natural microbes in the ocean evolve and promote specific enzymes to utilize the rich food source as it becomes available. What is true for oil is also true for plastics. Sunshine is an important element in the breakdown of plastics, perhaps more than with oil. If a plastic bottle sinks to the deep ocean floor beyond the sun’s power to reach, it may indeed survive for hundreds or thousands of years. But it may take a long time for us to prove that, either way. Stick around for a thousand years, and you can perhaps say “I told you so!”
ChatGPT is a product of OpenAI. More on OpenAI:
In December 2015, Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research announced the formation of OpenAI and pledged over US$1 billion to the venture. The organization stated it would “freely collaborate” with other institutions and researchers by making its patents and research open to the public. OpenAI is headquartered at the Pioneer Building in Mission District, San Francisco.
In April 2016, OpenAI released a public beta of “OpenAI Gym”, its platform for reinforcement learning research. In December 2016, OpenAI released “Universe”, a software platform for measuring and training an AI’s general intelligence across the world’s supply of games, websites and other applications.
In 2018, Musk resigned his board seat, citing “a potential future conflict (of interest)” with Tesla AI development for self driving cars, but remained a donor.
In 2019, OpenAI transitioned from non-profit to “capped” for-profit, with profit cap set to 100X on any investment. The company distributed equity to its employees and partnered with Microsoft, who announced an investment package of US$1 billion into the company. OpenAI then announced its intention to commercially license its technologies.
In 2020, OpenAI announced GPT-3, a language model trained on trillions of words from the Internet. It also announced that an associated API, named simply “the API”, would form the heart of its first commercial product. GPT-3 is aimed at natural language answering of questions, but it can also translate between languages and coherently generate improvised text.
In 2021, OpenAI introduced DALL-E, a deep learning model that can generate digital images from natural language descriptions.
Around December 2022, OpenAI received widespread media coverage after launching a free preview of ChatGPT, its new AI chatbot based on GPT-3.5. According to OpenAI, the preview received over a million signups within the first five days. According to anonymous sources cited by Reuters in December 2022, OpenAI was projecting a US$200 million revenue for 2023 and US$1 billion revenue for 2024. As of January 2023, it was in talks for funding that would value the company at $29 billion.Wikipedia
ChatGPT has become controversial with schools, because students can get the app to write all kinds of assignment papers for them, then claim that they wrote the papers themselves. It is a big step up from the “cut and paste from Wikipedia” approach that the last generation of students used.
There are emerging technologies out there which are capable of pulling the rug from under your feet. Keep your eyes open and your brains clear.
Bonus video: 3 hour interview of cognitive scientist John Vervaeke by Lex Fridman