Missing the web

From a recent HackerNews discussion about search engines, some harsh truth about the big shift in the last two decades:

>It is only more recently that they seem to have given up.

They haven’t given up; the OP has a point. The “sites” you are hoping for Google to return _don’t exist_. Any website online right now that doesn’t exist to drive ad revenue is exceedingly rare. In 2001, there were way more websites that existed just for fun; any tom, dick and harry could open up note pad and get a website online. That doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s my opinion that those who complain about Google search results are frustrated that Google can no longer find a web that no longer exists

Interesting snippets: January 2022

  • Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Wolfram Language is under-appreciated.
  • An old editorial, found while catching up over the holidays
  • One motivated person! (from WSJ, Jan 3)
  • On ancient artifacts
  • Neal Stephenson, on belief (source)

“Another thing I’ve been reading recently is “The Fixation of Belief” by an American philosopher named Charles Sanders Peirce. He was writing in the 1870s, and he goes through a list of four methods that people use to decide what they’re going to believe.

The first one is called the method of tenacity, which means you decide what you’re going to believe and you stick to it regardless of logic or evidence. …

The next method is called the method of authority, where you agree with other people that you’re all going to believe what some authority figure tells you to believe. That’s probably most common throughout history.

The third method is called the a priori method, and the idea is, let’s be reasonable and try to come up with ways to believe things that sound reasonable to us. Which sounds great, but if it’s not grounded in any fact-checking methodology, then you end up just agreeing to believe things by consensus — which may be totally wrong. T

he fourth method is the scientific method. It basically consists of accepting the fact that you might be wrong, and since you might be wrong, you need some way for judging the truth of statements and changing your mind when you’ve got solid evidence to the contrary.

What you’re seeing in the Baroque Cycle is the transition from Method No. 3 to No. 4. You’ve got all these people having what seem like reasoned, logical arguments, but a lot of them are just tripping.

So a few come in, like Hooke and Newton, and begin using actual experiments and get us going down the road toward the rational world of the Enlightenment.

But what we’ve got now is almost everybody using Method 1, 2 or 3. We’ve got a lot of authoritarians who can’t be swayed by logic or evidence, but we’ve also got a lot of a priori people who want to be reasonable and think of themselves as smarter and more rational than the authoritarians but are going on the basis of their feelings — what they wish were true — and both of them hate the scientific rationalists, who are very few in number.

A weekly recap of reading …

… would be a great idea! Here is something I found from ten years ago on The Rad Geek People’s Daily:

Everyone’s got their own Friday afternoon game to play, and this one’s mine. I’m introducing a new recurring feature for the Rad Geek People’s Daily: Over My Shoulder, quotes (mostly without commentary) from something I’ve been reading this week. Irony to one side, this isn’t really intended as bragging about my reading list; the point is that what I’m reading is a way of getting at things I’ve been thinking about, even if I don’t yet have a confident position to stake out yet; and also that there are a lot of people out there who are smarter than I am, and not everything they write is something I can link to in online commentary or read the whole thing weblog posts. So here’s the rules.

  1. The quote should be something that I have read, in print, over the course of the past week. (It has to be something I’ve actually read, and not something that I’ve read a page of just in order to be able to post my favorite quote.)

  2. It should be a matter of one or a few paragraphs.

  3. There’s no commentary above and beyond a couple sentences, more as context-setting or a sort of caption for the text than as a discussion.

  4. Quoting a passage doesn’t entail endorsement of what’s said in it. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. Whether I do or not isn’t really the point of the exercise anyway.

Could be snippets of text, or snippets of code, or maybe just a phrase or two …