Re: Garbage (apparently non-recyclable)

Hal Finney (
Wed, 23 Jul 1997 10:41:23 -0700

Rick Knight writes:
> We can discuss Star Trek-style replicator technology (presumably
> because there's some potential science-qualifying banter that can be
> squeezed out of it) but not pole shift.

It's simply that things similar to replicators are a potential future
technology, while pole shift is stupid pseudo-science. With nanotech we
may have some of the capabilities of replicators within our lifetimes.
Don't you see how useful it is to start thinking about the implications
of such a revolutionary technology? But pole shift? Anybody with an
inkling of understanding of science should be able to see what a stupid
idea that is!

> This is a digest for goodness sake!

(FYI, a more accurate term is "mailing list", although some subscribers
may be receiving it in digested form.)

> It amazes me that people get irked by the extra few seconds to
> download something they would eventually judge unworthy or the extra
> pressure they have to exert on the finger they apply to the page down
> key.

There are larger implications. By filling the list with stupid ideas,
we will attract the kind of people who like such things. It's a fact
of life on the net: quality attracts quality, and the opposite is true
as well. Ultimately the goal of comments like Perry's is to encourage
the kinds of discussions that will attract and keep the many fine thinkers
the list has had.

> If the Extropian Digest of yore was filled with this kind of
> pontifical grandstanding, then apparently a great many of its
> contributors have discovered the wonderous benefits of a good
> laxative. Check with your local Walgreens. There's help available.
> <G>

It is true that in the past, the mailing list has suffered from bickering
and negative comments. At the same time, there were informed, intelligent
discussions on a wide range of topics.

> Incidentally, I would say that most of us on this list are elitist
> about one thing or another. Humility and benevolence, as I have thus
> far observed, are not particularly Extropian traits, at least not in
> any explicit sense. That's okay. The ideas are high octane. I'm
> sure there's a list elsewhere for Mother Teresa and Gandhi fans.

Actually I think Perry spoke for many readers. I haven't been happy with
some of the recent topics. In fact, I suspect that Perry restrained himself
for some time, hoping that the spate of pseudoscience would blow over.
Instead (as happens all too often) it only encouraged more of the same.
At some point you have to respond.