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[ With kind regards to The Right Honourable Joseph Addison, c. 1709 ]
Well . . . the problem with ‘Karma‘ is not that we do or don’t know about its existence – it’s the time delay.
If you put your hand on a hot stove, you will very probably remove it extremely promptly. There is only a very short delay (in human timescales at least) between your action and the realisation of the consequences. Can I put it to you that if there was a substantial (and indeterminate) delay between touching the stove and the pain it caused – you would probably be covered in burns by now.
Thus Karma – which is very evidently not instant, may or may not be in operation (despite the famous song). And, since the feedback is alleged to be years, decades, or even lifetimes late, we are very unlikely to be able to put 2 + 2 together at any stage.
Summary: I don’t know. You don’t know. No-one knows. We probably never will. Get over it.
Eiron: I hope that acerbic remark won’t come back and bite you oneday. Ed. 😉
My editor doesn’t like it when I offer financial advice. So I can’t help you I’m afraid.
What I can do, though, is let you in on what I’m currently investing in. I have discovered a new ‘catastrophe bond’ derivative that is provided by a firm which is insuring against a globally devastating asteroid strike which eradicates all humanity. They provide unmilited insurance cover in such circumstances. In other words they guarantee policy holders that they will pay out any amount required to compensate for their damages in such circumstances. And all for a very reasonable $10 per month. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Allow me to correct you on your views about scientific experiments – with an example. Imagine that you have repeatedly tried to break down a wall by banging your head against it. Your colleagues and associates have tried the same experiment too, many times – and have also failed. This does not mean that the wall is impenetrable. It just means that, up until now, repeated attempts to break it down by head-butting have failed. By the way, it also does not mean that there isn’t a door in the wall, a bit further along, which by chance no-one has found yet.
Yes, of course I have read the new research about booze in The Lancet. Wherein it states “the safest level of drinking is none”.
In fact I was having a heated debate on the subject just the other day, with colleagues, over a few cocktails. I confess that, at the time, I failed to succinctly put into words what is misleading about (the headlines about) the study.
Then, on the drive home*, I had a vivid L’esprit de l’escalier. Rather than trying to draw attention to the pitfalls of assuming that the researchers’ conclusion statement (as above) is useful knowledge, why not look look at similar situations from a reverse perspective?
Name me, please, any activity, any at all, which has no risk whatsoever associated with it.
Eating tomatoes is not 100% safe. Knitting is not 100% safe. Venturing outside the house is not 100% safe. I put it to you, and to any others who are inclined to listen, that there is one and only one zero-risk activity, and that is Being Deceased.
* Before you say anything, I didn’t say I was driving, did I?
No. No. No. Never ever, ever, eat them. You will, I assure you, live to regret it. Instead, boil them in a salty water solution for 20 mins and then ███ ██ █ ███ ███ . I can’t guarantee that will give you the effects which you’re after, but at the very least you’ll have an amusing anecdote to relate to your friends.
Eiron: Again, should we really be encouraging this kind of thing? Ed.
Farbeit from me to be the one who discourages you from your forays into CryptoCurrencies. Allow me, however, to point out one thing. Or rather several things.
Recall the Great Gold Rush . . . although some did indeed make their fortune with a substantial find, the group which financially outperformed the prospectors was the one which provided the shovels, rope, panning trays, and fenceposts.
Now let’s turn to the CryptoGoldRush . . . My prediction is that the group which history will show to have consistently earned the most will be comprised of firms which rent out the GPU server-farms that process the Blockchain data. Or will they?
What about the companies which supply electrical energy to the server farms – which, as a group, now consume more electricity on a daily basis than some quite large European countries. So, then, the real winners must be :
The companies which supply electricity ?
But wait ! We should not forget that they in turn need to buy prodigious quantities of fuel (predominantly oil and gas) to run their generators. So, at last – we arrive at the real winners – the hydrocarbon miners.
And there you have it. If you want to make real money, forget CryptoCurrency – and get into oil. That is if you don’t mind being a complete and utter ███ .
Eiron: I notice that “Farbeit” is not conventionally regarded a word – which is odd, since “Sobeit” and “Allbeit” are. I’ll let it go this time. Ed.
Whilst I am inclined to concur with you on the notion that our (human) brains are probably not all that distinct from those of our simian cousins, I would strongly discourage you from your thesis that “we should respect our psychological roots and behave more naturally like primates”. Can I suggest that you consult this recent research?
Quite honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about your apparent memory loss. Have you considered how much more you have to remember every day compared to say, just 20 years ago? Furthermore, many of us are far busier too – I’ll warrant that nowadays, we will all have at least some difficulty in remembering all the things that we have to do.
The important thing is that one keeps one’s ‘little grey cells’ fully exercised. Can I recommend the following technique . . .
Every time you need to remember something, attach one of those useful fluorescent paper stickers to a nearby object. I use the ones from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing company (always buy the best quality that you can afford, as the cheaper ones tend to fall off). Now, and this is the crucial part – do not write anything on the note ! That way, the next time that you happen to glance in its direction the ‘little grey cells’ will, by necessity, spring into action. and you will soon recall why you put it there. Observe also, that the notes can be reused time and time again, which is not only ecologically correct, but will save you money.
You may or may not be correct in stating that ███ is a moron. However, could I caution against jumping to a conclusion. One’s first assumption when one observes a person behaving as a moron should always be that they are not one, but have been coerced into doing so by someone even more moronic.