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The hormesis of immigration

Some claim immigration is good and should be unrestricted, others that it’s bad and should be stopped. I think it’s hormetic. As a Romanian living in the Netherlands, I’m currently an immigrant. And I believe that understanding the benefits as well as the risks of immigration is essential if we want to prevent repeating predictable tragedies in our beloved Europe. Continue reading...


A tribute to the transistor

Without transistors, the world would look very different. There would be no internet, no personal computers, no pacemakers, no satellites and generally no electronic devices as we know them. The transistor is perhaps the single most important invention of the 20th century. With their modest appearance and little known functionality, they impact almost every aspect of our lives. Continue reading...


Could it be?

Could it be that people fear the centralization of power in the hands of those who like to impose their view of progress on others? Could it be that some dare to think lower taxes and deregulation generate economic growth better than ever-expanding government programs? Could it be that the more individuals and organizations are dependent on state funding, the greater the risk of economic collapse and dictatorship? Could it be that recent history shows how the marxist obsession with dividing people in oppressors and oppressed and seeing everywhere inequalities that need to be corrected using state power not only fuels social tensions and violence, but leads to disaster? Continue reading...


The Luddite fallacy

There seems to be a widespread belief that automation destroys jobs, makes most people poorer, increases income inequality and ultimately hurts both the economy and society. This belief is not new. The Luddites were 19th century textile workers that were destroying new machinery perceived to be a threat to their jobs. But it is perhaps surprising that after centuries of technological advancements, some still fall for the Luddite fallacy - the conviction that innovation has harmful effects on employment. Continue reading...


The German blunders

In the spring of 1915, a party of twenty was leaving Constantinople with a dangerous mission. Led by German super-spy Oskar von Niedermayer and diplomat Werner Otto von Hentig, their goal was to survive a hazardous trip to Kabul without being intercepted and convince the Emir to rally Afghanistan to the Central Powers side by attacking the British Raj in India1. Their mission was part of a larger World War I plan that the Germans pursued relentlessly, aiming to subvert British authority by calling for nothing less than a pan-Islamic jihad. Numerous efforts were made in this direction, including running a reeducation camp near Berlin for muslim POWs, where they were being taught to wage offensive jihad against Britain and France while living in relative luxury, to be then recruited in the German Army2.

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The myth of strong AI

In the 1770s, renowned watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz created The Writer, an automaton that can write a text on a piece of paper. The mechanical boy uses a goose feather, which he inks from time to time while his head turns towards the ink pot, then shakes his wrist to prevent the ink from spilling and continues the phrase, with his eyes following the text. It’s a 6,000 parts engineering masterpiece, but that’s not all: a set of replaceable cams define each letter, making the machine programmable and allowing for any text to be written. The Writer is considered an ancestor of the modern-day computer. Continue reading...


The Left is good, the Right is bad

The Left is good. It stands for progress and equality for all. The Left is youthful, kind and well-intended. It’s rebellious, smart and cool. The Left doesn’t believe in incentives, efficiency, free prices, supply and demand. Instead, it thinks the economy can be nicely planned. It fights discrimination, except against its critics and the prosperous, who deserve to be silenced, plundered and punished. The Left promises to impose perfectly self-defined fairness and social justice, while not judging or harming anyone. It’s intellectually and morally superior, and all the times it ends up controlled by ruthless, incompetent dictators are just unfortunate derailments from its bright path. The Left aims to eliminate social hierarchies, through violence if needed, because it doesn’t believe performance has to be rewarded. Instead, it promises jobs and quality education, housing and healthcare for free, to everyone. It is a way towards a glorious future, “a brotherhood of man”. Continue reading...


Misunderstanding science

I’m not a physicist, but physics fascinates me almost as much as some people see in science a source of universal truth. It’s an unfortunate confusion, as science, by design, simply can’t answer all questions. Theories are based on assumptions, so there is always a level beyond which the answers stop. What’s more, some of the most fundamental phenomena still lack any kind of explanation. In short, we don’t have a clue what’s going on. Continue reading...


Objective discrimination

Discrimination is often portrayed as a defect of the human mind that needs to be corrected. Egalitarian social theories assert that social equality should prevail, and to that end, we should fight any form of discrimination vigorously, as it is invariably irrational, caused by baseless hostility and prejudice. Continue reading...


Schimbare prin încurajare

Ne dorim politicieni competenți și cinstiți, dar cum se poate atinge acest scop? De ce ar intra astăzi un profesionist autentic și onest în politică? Instigarea la ură nu duce la lucruri bune și este sancționată inclusiv legal. Pentru unele categorii de oameni, sărim imediat să strigăm “discriminare”, în timp ce altele ni se pare că merită acest tratament. Politicienii și cu cei bogați, urmați, după preferințe, de cei în funcții de conducere la stat sau privat, înalți funcționari sau preoți, sunt terfeliți fără sfială în neștire. Sunt jigniți cu ură și acuzați laolaltă, inclusiv cei despre care nu se știe mai nimic. Trecând peste nedreptatea individuală a oricărei acuzări prin generalizare, ne ajută abordarea asta cu ceva pe termen lung? Vrem oare să revenim la regimuri totalitare, în care categorii întregi de oameni au fost violent epurate? Citește mai departe...