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Hello and welcome to the gemini capsule of Nicksphere.com (mirrored on the web)! Here I blog about my own ideas and promote good ideas of others. I mostly talk about computing, philosophy, spirituality, privacy, and society.

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Date: 2020-10-11

Read time: 21 minutes

Summary: Philosophers have argued for thousands of years about how we should think about ethics, how to decide what's right and what's wrong. The range of answers has been extensive. I explain why we should abandon traditional moral theories entirely and instead opt for a reductionist, pragmatic approach to morality based on hypothetical imperatives.

Thoughts on Blogging

Date: 2020-09-22

Read time: 7 minutes

Summary: This post is about good rules of thumb and things to keep in mind when running a blog.

SIUe Unauthenticated SMTP Server

Date: 2020-09-21

Read time: 2 minutes

Summary: American colleges and universities are institutions with some of the weakest cybersecurity where you would expect better. This makes them easy targets for hackers. The reason is they don't have strong incentives to do better. Unless having poor cybersecurity is going to lose money, business as usual will continue and unauthenticated email servers will stay online.

Networked EV Charging Stations

Date: 2020-09-09

Read time: 7 minutes

Summary: Networked EV charging stations are a threat to democracy and national security. Collecting the locations on millions of law-abiding citizens is a capability no government or private entity should be allowed have. When I was attending SIUe in October of 2019, I emailed the parking services staff about the privacy concerns I had about the new Chargepoint stations that were being installed and encouraged them to install non-networked stations instead.

Free Will is Incoherent - Part 2

Date: 2020-08-22

Read time: 14 minutes

Summary: In part 1 I showed that free will is incoherent. In part 2 I discuss the implications of that fact on responsibility, compassion, justice and interpersonal relationships.

Ego Traps

Date: 2020-08-02

Read time: 8 minutes

Summary: Remember when you got stuck thinking about something but you didn't realize you were thinking until after? Even if you don't know what I'm talking about you've almost certainly had that experience before. Ego traps are the self-reinforcing thoughts that set you on the path of thinking without awareness of thinking.

Back Up Your Data

Date: 2020-07-26

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary: This post is a public service announcement about backups inspired by the post I lost. I've had my own backups for over 5 years, and never have I lost any data from those backups. The following advice is meant for individuals, not a corporate or business setting.

Why I Left ITS

Date: 2020-07-02

Read time: 7 minutes

Summary: This is the story of how I learned about free software, wrestled with my conscience and ultimately quit my job as a labs and classrooms technician at SIUe because I couldn't justify supporting the proprietary software anymore.

Free Will is Incoherent - Part 1

Date: 2020-06-19

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary: I present a formal, objective knock down argument against free will refuting the common arguments for it and show how lack of free will is actually liberating, not nihilistic.


Date: 2020-06-14

Read time: 15 minutes

Summary: What doublethink means in the context of this post is to feel a certain way about how you feel. It means to have an opinion of your own thoughts. It normally goes by the name metacognition. As novice practitioners of meditation quickly realize, you can "go meta" infinitely about your own thinking to the point that your mind becomes twisted into a complicated knot. In this post I talk about common ways the mind-knot is tied.

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