Saturday, September 23, 2006

Going With a Flow

So I saw that Kurt Cobb was back from vacation with an interesting post about the Romans and their long view. One of Kurt's commenters quibbled a bit and concluded by offering up his own post about Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion at EnergyBulletin. I enjoyed Kurt's piece but agreed with his other commenter about Tainter and complexity. (Tainter paper).

I'm not a fan of OTEC, but I decided to go look at the post at EnergyBulletin, then followed their link to The Oil Drum to look at some commentary. Commentary immediately went off-topic but held my interest anyway. One of the commenters along the way offhandedly referred to an article, Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War.

Well, the title was certainly intriguing, but I wasn't familiar with the author or the website. Thought I'd try to find out a little bit about both before actually reading the article. To make a long and entertaining (but you probably had to be there) story short, the author, Keith Henson, has had some run-ins with the scientologists, has testified before congress, and is an electrical engineer with some other claims to fame.

When I googled the title of Henson's paper I wound up looking at a Wikipedia article on memetics which included two links to the paper, one at Kuro5in and the other at The Mankind Quarterly. As I did a little checking on each of those (enough to conclude that they're both done by smart people and probably worth reading), I landed on a now defunct parody site, (Archive)(Wikipedia), that gave me some exposure to smart mischievous people who like to troll post apparently for the hell of it. Some of it made me smile.

OK, time to go read the paper at Kuro5in. (Mankind Quarterly is a subscription only journal of anthropology, and this paper is not one of their free samples.) Make that tomorrow. I had too much fun today checking out the background and writing this post, and now it's way past my bedtime.

No comments: