I got past a milestone, and I’m hoping to finish these this week, or at least the main part of the work. I’ve been feeling procrastinatory because whenever I try something new with the intent to create a final product as opposed to just exploring or creating a draft, I have a sense of impending, devastating failure. Maybe I can relieve the pressure by lowering my expectations and treating these labels as drafts.
I picked up my AI movie project again, and Tim and I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), which I’d borrowed from Heather. I found it to be an effective and timeless story about the stubborn and troublesome traits that might make humans bad neighbors. It treated AI as an integral part of the solution, and it was a tad too optimistic, in my opinion. I think it needs a sequel where the robots go haywire and threaten galactic civilization. The next movie in my list is the 2008 remake.
I finished Andy Thomas’ The Truth Agenda, an integrative overview of major conspiracy theories. The book at least got me to pay attention to some topics I’d only dismissed before, such as 9/11, the moon landing, Princess Diana, and crop circles, and it made better arguments than I was expecting, so now basically I have several more research projects to file somewhere in my big list. Overall my impression is he made his best cases for particular historical events and much weaker cases for a global conspiracy and claims from alternative science.
Currently I’m listening to Hidden Wisdom, a book about Western esoteric spirituality, covering traditions like gnosticism and the Kabbalah. I should finish it this week, so I’ll give you my thoughts in the next update.
Thanks to the impeachment hearings and my conspiracy reading, I’m in even more of a political mood than I have been, so after Hidden Wisdom I’m going to put the rest of my current philosophy queue on hold and try some of the political books I’ve been putting off, starting with Craig Unger’s House of Trump, House of Putin.
They sent us the orchestra music early last week, and I managed to practice pretty consistently, so I’m seeing progress, and I should be fairly prepared by the first rehearsal on Tuesday. Somehow I seem to have more endurance this year, meaning my lips don’t get too tired playing high notes, which is good because this music seems to hang around in the upper register more than in past years. I’m still planning to write alternate lines for myself in case my lips give out.
Hi Andy. I’m curious about what you found in the conspiracy book. Can you give some examples of the sorts of “better arguments than you were expecting” that you found in it? Sounds interesting.
About the moon landing photos and videos: radiation and heat should have severely damaged the film; the camera angles are too high; the lighting looks like a spotlight; the ground under the lander looks undisturbed, and the lander feet are too clean; at least one photo has discrepancies from the video taken at the same time; a set of the moon’s surface already existed for astronaut training, so it could’ve been used for filming too.
About 9/11: the collapse of the towers looks like a controlled demolition, based on the freefall speed of collapse, the explosions down the sides of the buildings, and some other factors; Tower 7 wasn’t hit by a plane yet collapsed for no apparent reason; the hole in the side of the Pentagon was too small for the plane that was supposed to have entered it; the Pentagon plane’s flight path would’ve required far greater skill than the hijacker had; the Pennsylvania plane was too high for the passengers’ cell calls (unless they used the plane’s built-in phones, and I think there was some argument against that).
There were other interesting arguments, but those were some of the most convincing off the top of my head. I’m very open to having all of this debunked, but I haven’t looked into it yet.