Plus a free excerpt from the new book, it's out now!
All right. Here come the fun police. There are a few things that make Yuba County a little bit more sensible.
To start, none of these guys were entirely right in the head - they all had intellectual disabilities and/or psychiatric conditions. The basketball game they played earlier that night was in a competition sponsored by the Special Olympics. That's important, because it means that we should kind of expect some of their conduct not to make sense. The guy they found starved to death in the trailer, for instance, was...notably lacking in what a lot of people have referred to as "common sense," but I think of as just being able to get his priorities straight. Famously, he had once had to be dragged out of his bed during an actual fire because he was afraid that he would be late for his job the next day. It's hard for a neurotypical person to wrap their head around, but it's entirely possible that the poor guy just had "no stealing" drilled into his brain so hard that he chose to die first.
A critical detail that often gets missed is that there is at least one reasonable theory for why they would have been headed up that road. Specifically, one of the guys had friends in a nearby town and it's entirely conceivable that they just took a wrong turn, given the fact that there's literally a fork in the road where the path they were on intersects with the main road with one side going to town and the other going to the forest.
There's no cohesive theory that "answers" every mystery, but there's one that covers a lot of ground. The guys were headed to Forbestown and took a wrong turn. Something happened while they were in the car that led them to leave (one of the guys got sick, they decided to get out to get their bearings, etc.). There were tracks left in some pretty high snowdrifts from where a Forest Service vehicle had gone the day before, so they assumed that shelter/civilization/directions/etc. was close and decided to follow the tracks instead of getting back in the car and turning around. Two men died of hypothermia on what turned out to be a long walk to the trailer. Once the three remaining men got their, they found the trailer locked and broke a window to get in, but they thought it was private property and they weren't....you know...all there, they elected not to consume any of the resources available in the trailer for fear of being arrested for burglary. They stayed in the trailer for as long as they could, but when one of them finally died (of starvation, though it's likely that his frostbitten and infected feet would have gotten him regardless), the other two wrapped him up in some sheets and made a break for anywhere else. One of them took the dead guy's shoes because his own feet were swelling from frostbite. Neither of them had become any more capable of finding their way out of the situation than they had been when they got into this mess, so at least one of them died on the way out. That leaves one who hasn't been found, but bodies don't last forever in the wilderness - particularly when they're not buried.
We can't really know that this specific string of events happened one way or another, but it does present reasonable, realistic, and largely unexceptional explanations for most elements.
Either way, fun police out.
I love all of these, especially #7.
But about #12, it's certainly terrifying and interesting, but I guess I just don't get the "why."
Why would a super intelligence be inherently malicious and seek to destroy anything that knew about its existence? Is it an assumption that intelligence always leads to malice?
It's very similar to the famous short story, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, although the difference seems to be that the AI in that story, AM, was only created to handle nukes and such, and that's why it has such hatred of humans.
Would a super intelligence *want* to have anything to do with destruction, if it didn't have to?
Fascinating weird facts!
thought experiment ...A.,B....D.,E. ...is that part of the test?
As Dan mentioned, Benford's law makes perfect logical sense as long as the set of numbers you're tallying up are counting numbers, as 1, 2, and 0 should be the most commonly repeated numbers.
I'm assuming for addresses (at least in the United States) it skews extremely hard towards 0 and 1 followed by 2, and a fairly linear numeric descent for the rest of the numbers. That's because every street with structures, no matter how short, is guaranteed to have at least one address that begins with the numeral 1, and in more populated areas, usually some zeros chucked in as spacers so that when your neighbor's meth lab burns to the ground they can replace it with four "modern living" condos the size of shipping containers, without breaking the numeric chain.
9 will always be the least likely number to appear on a counting distribution because logically, you must have already passed through all 9 other digits in sequence before you can get there.
NOOOOOOO, JASON WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?
Which is to say, I did this to myself reading this post presuming the list-article style indicated non-spoiler content while my copy is still in the mail, but I miscalculated.