Saturday 27 February 2016

Super. HOT. Super. HOT.

In medias res, the brilliantly white level starts with two bright-red, crystalline dudes in front of me, guns being brought to point at my face.

The guy on the right easily gets there first and a black bullet comes straight at me with a flowing red trail emerging behind it. Time creeps forward with the bullet slowed as if through treacle.

I lean to the left, trying to also look around slightly, causing time to speed up, and I feel the bullet brush past my ear. But I've now formulated a plan.

I reach forward for the black ashtray on the table in front of me and manage to throw it at the dude on the left before he manages to get a round off. It smashes into his face, stunning him and, far more importantly for my plan, causes him to let go of the shotgun's handle. Shards of black glass that used to be an ashtray will keep him busy for the moment and that moment is all I need.

The gun's forward momentum from being brought to bear on my head keeps it coming closer to me, close enough that I can reach out and grab it out of the air. Already with a slug in the chamber, the guy on the right can only wait for his next round to arrive in the barrel.

Aim, shoot. This time it is me creating red trails in the air.

The guy on the right tries to dodge but it's not enough. His head explodes into a thousand reflective fragments as the buckshot impacts.

Now I've got a choice to make as I wait for the next shell to load, hopefully to take out the guy on the left: how do I spend that fraction of a second? For a start, now the super-imminent danger is over, I need to look around and see what else is coming for me right now. Work out where I am, what happened before these gentlemen decided I needed to not be here, and make sure there aren't any more bullets already heading in my direction...

Super. HOT.

Saturday 13 February 2016

If You Don't Think You're Biased, You're Doomed

So I wrote a thing recently that's somewhat outside of the bounds of stuff I cover here but also thematically linked to a lot of how I apply my education in statistics, science, and engineering to wider issues and sanity-checking stuff that's more political, legal, and social than my day job typically involves.

If the worst thing that can happen to you is being called out, your unexamined biases mean you're pretty much the opposite of the Rationalist or "man of science" you perceive yourself to be. This will lead you down blind alleys, being highly selective in pruning your sources to fit a narrative you like but is fictitious. Then you'll have a very public meltdown defending the factually incorrect dribble you thought was a masterpiece of factual reporting. If you think you're white but totally not racist, cis but not transphobic, etc. you're setting yourself up for failure the moment it turns out you are partially the product of your environment. Read about exactly that happening.