Tuesday, September 25

important historical documents

p1k3: now with just over 10 years of content. If you're looking to feel better about how pathetic you were in highschool, the first four years or so ought to help. Unless they just bring back memories too painful to confront directly.

rand quotient

I'd like to propose a new standard metric for gauging the compound intellectual maturity of an internet-based discussion.

Specifically, given a discussion thread touching on any of general philosophy, epistemology, ethics, economics, or capitalism, count the number of posts which either strongly assert or vociferously debate the merits of Ayn Rand as a philosopher (including all meta-argument posts about the argument about Ayn Rand), and divide this by the total number of posts.

As the Rand Quotient approaches .5, consider walking away. If you're still reading as it approaches 1, you have no one to blame but yourself.

My inspiration is two collections of comments on Paul Graham's latest. As of this writing, they clock in as follows:

This could be further refined, but if you read the linked comments, I think you'll find I've stumbled on a useful measure. Perhaps, in the spirit of A Plan for Spam, we could develop a browser plugin which uses Bayesian filtering techniques to recognize the Standard Ayn Rand Thread, then estimates the Rand Quotient for a given discussion.