The Beast on Jekyll Island Born

“If I must have a master, let him be one with epaulets, something that I can fear and respect, something that I can look up to, but not a master with a quill behind his ear.”  

John Randolph of Roanoke (1815) *

Kristor tells us that The Fed is becoming The Bank, that the Beast born on Jekyll Island is even now transmogrifying into its loathsome Mr. Hyde.  Thus we are about to experience the nightmare of John Randolph and live under the thumb of “a master with a quill behind his ear.”  Perhaps we are about to experience the nightmare of an earlier John, who on the island of Patmos dreamed of the day when “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name.”** Continue reading

Under the Rainbow Flag

Somewhere under the rainbow,
Way down low
There’s a land that I heard of
Once on the radio.

When William Wordsworth spoke of “natural piety,” he meant the reverent sensibilities with which men are born, as opposed to the artificial manias with which they are throughout their lives infected, inflamed, and then bored.  Like all Romantics, Wordsworth believed that natural piety is pure in a child and then perverted by false education as the child matures.  Thus “natural piety” in an adult includes piety towards the person he was as a child, which is what Wordsworth means by the line “the Child is father of the man.”  For those who do not recognize these allusions, here is Wordsworth’s “Rainbow” (1802).

Continue reading

Study Tips Old and Study Tips New

“If some alluring girl, in gliding by,
Shall tip the wink, with a lascivious eye.”

John Dryden, “The Fourth Satire of Persius” (1693)

“I will give you a tip, if you once get the grip
It will give you a pretty tight squeeze.”

Evan Y. Davies, “The Song of the Grip” (1920)

My students are great believers in the existence of “study tips.”  They constantly ask me for them; I constantly disappoint them.  They labor under the fond and false belief that I possess, and yet for some reason withhold, a secret strategy for the effortless assimilation of geographic knowledge.  They are, in other words, the suckers whom P. T. Barnum tells us are born every minute.  Men less honest than I will in years to come pick the purses of these chumps by selling them miracle weight-loss programs and maps to heaven by way of the broad gate. Continue reading


ChatGPT4 is supposed to be an improvement over ChatGPT3. One thing it can now do is correctly state what will happen if a glass containing a ring is inverted over a bed. The ring will fall out. If the ring is embedded in ice, it will not fall out. If the glass with the ice and ring is left in a warm room for long enough both the water and the ring will fall out. Amazing! It reminds me of a scene from Asterix the Gaul. The Romans have captured Asterix and his druid, Getafix, and are trying to get them to make the magic potion that gives them superhuman strength. Naturally, the Gauls do not want to do this. Getafix gives them a hair growing potion instead. But, before the deception is discovered, the Roman leader, who thinks he has drunk the correct potion, wants to test his new abilities, trying ever lighter loads until he finally picks up a small rock convinced he has Herculean strength. Continue reading

Addition to Will AI Prevent Civilizational Collapse?

The day you can call up a credit card company, airline, any e-commerce company,  to resolve some problem you are having, and you are happy that they put you through to that super intelligent AI will be the day that we should get all emotional and excited about AI. Just yesterday the Fedex bot asked if I wanted a list of a store’s opening hours. I answered, “No.” It responded, “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand your answer. Would you like a list of the store’s opening hours?” “No.” “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand your answer. Would you like a list of the store’s opening hours?” “No.” “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand your answer. Would you like a list of the store’s opening hours?” At which point I hung up.

Somewhat narcissistically, I asked ChatGPT4 to describe my own philosophy, only because it is that of which I am most familiar – it has something like 140 real articles and over 200 postings to draw on – and it was pathetic and inaccurate, though directionally correct. I didn’t come out as a SJW, so that was something. If we ask ChatGPT4 some question where we do not know the answer, we will not know that it is a bloviating mess.

The Great Gay Age

“All the world’s a mass of folly,
Youth is gay, age melancholy;
Youth is spending, age is thrifty,
Mad at twenty, cold at fifty.
Man is naught but folly’s slave,
From the cradle to the grave.”

W. H. Ireland, “Of the Folly of All the World” (1807)

Gay first meant blithe, then it meant proud, then it meant fake.  I remember my grandmother lamenting the first semantic shift and I have read proud persons reviling the second.  I, however, welcome the new sense of “fake and gay” because this Great Gay Age affords so many occasions for its use.  P.G. Wodehouse once wrote “the hour produced the man.”*  Here the hour has produced the word.

Continue reading

Will AI Save Us From Civilizational Collapse?

Edward Dutton rough transcript, plus Tom Holland and others


Capitolene Temple

AI depends on intelligent programmers, smart people who keep the machines working, and a functioning electrical grid. Many countries have lost such a grid and rely on individual generators to get electricity. We have supply chain problems that we are already too stupid to solve. The number of near misses involving planes is going up as we apply DEI to air traffic control. Airlines have announced they will apply DEI to pilots, and medical schools want people with no interest or ability to be surgeons; anyone other than white, Indian, or Asian males. This is a kind of culturally generated stupidification. It is estimated that by the year 2100, at the current rate of decline, our average IQ will be 85 and we will be unable to sustain this level of industrial and technological development. This was the level of intelligence found in Europe in 1100 AD. The movie Idiocracy is too optimistic. Intelligence is needed to create machines, less intelligence is needed to maintain and fix them, but some intelligence is needed nonetheless, and a functioning infrastructure is required. The problem is caused partly by the smartest most educated women not having children, and only those on welfare and in regular trouble with the police having above replacement levels of children.

Dutton notes that the trouble with things like ChatGPT, artificial intelligence, is that they are trained to solve well-defined clear problems with regard to which they have a great deal of feedback data from which they can generate a model. This is a system where they are successful if they manage to follow the model and unsuccessful if they do not. They are trained to solve a very specific narrow problem. There may, in fact, be a large expansion of solutions to narrow problems and a collapse for the need for low-skilled jobs. [One might add, in moderately skilled jobs too, such as graphic design with the advent of DALI.] If people do not have work and what they regard as a sufficient standard of living this could cause problems and revolutions and lead to a general collapse. Continue reading

A Belated Happy Birthday to the Orthosphere

Some time ago I made a note to mark the Orthosphere’s birthday.  And then, alas, as so often happens, I straight away lost my note.  But it is in the way of lost notes to turn up shortly after they were needed, and so I have just this moment discovered my fugitive Orthosphere birthday note.

This blog first appeared a little more than thirteen years ago, on February 17, 2012.  The posts on that day were: Continue reading