Last thing I’m gonna say about this. The whole bit about satire and farces and so on being judged on their own terms ignores the existence of things like Dr. Strangelove, which somehow manages to be taken very seriously, remain funny, and retain a decent degree of plausibility.

Here’s a nice story from the New Yorker to illustrate:


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Regarding Panama_Canal's comment: well the assumption is that the earth would be inhospitable to life for millions of years after the asteroid event. The oceans would have dried up, and things in general would be really crap. Them finding another earth-like planet is a perfectly fine plan

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Jan 7, 2022·edited Jan 7, 2022

I took the whole spaceship-cryosleep-was-successful thing as an after-credits joke that's _meant to be_ far more fanciful than the rest of the movie.

As far as the concept of the escape spaceship itself goes, I think it's meant to illustrate that in the event of a not-humanity-ending threat, those most likely to survive will be the wealthiest, most powerful, best connected. That's not a particularly new moral in fiction, but it was still done very well IMO.

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22,740 years later... While watching I assumed that was from Earth's perspective and that time dilation meant they were only in cryosleep for like 25 years?

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> Given that no asteroid has substantially damaged a city in recorded history, the per year rate seems pretty low, even granting that much more land is urban now.


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> If you think everyone but Bernie Sanders is a corrupt hack that knows nothing,

I must note how hilarious is that a person who has been in politics since 1970s and achieved nothing much except for owning three houses, is the example of an exception from general rule of politicians being corrupt hacks that know nothing.

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If the USA empties its nuclear arsenal diverting an asteroid, it no longer has a nuclear deterrent. What could possibly go wrong!

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So the claim that “no asteroid has substantially damaged a city in recorded history.” May not actually be true, archeological evidence suggests that at least one city in the near east was wiped out be an asteroid around 1600 BC:


It would appear that the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah was based on an asteroid strike of Sodom, which completely destroyed the city, melted everything and everyone in it (the fact that everything is melted is what first caught people’s attention) and did damage as far as Jericho.

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I think you have to take the comments about "peer review" more as a metaphorical standin for the general temperature of scientific opinion that the audience can grasp. What you're supposed to understand is that you have scientists on a payroll who have gone rogue relative to the general views of the scientific community in the same way scientists employed by petrochemical companies or thin tanks funded by them might not be the best gauge of the most reasonable views to hold on global warming.

You can't have characters debating impact ratings of journals without losing almost everyone. On that level, what it is trying to say is reasonably comprehensible even if people who understand scientific legitimacy might think this is silly because peer review is a more complicated subject than that. It's like a continuity error more than a fundamental flaw in its themes.

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The biggest problem with the comet impact as an allegory for global warming (or covid) is that a comet impact is a simple, discrete disaster. It either happens or it doesn't, the trajectory and the effects are easily predictable, the options for dealing with it are very few and easy to choose between, and your attempt to mitigate it either succeeds or it doesn't.

Climate change and covid are far better analogues for each other than comet impacts are, so I'm wondering why we're not putting more thought into learning the lessons we wish we'd learned about covid and applying them to climate change. Climate change is like a slow-motion version of covid where it's still March 2020 and it's going to stay that way for many years, so we still have a lot of time to learn our lessons.

Possible covid lessons to apply to climate change:

1. Models suck. They say that "all models are wrong, but some are useful", but you probably won't know which ones were useful until after the fact.

2. You will be living in an information environment that is optimised for something other than truth. Statements from supposedly-scientific sources will be contaminated by a desire to get people to do certain things.

3. The powers that be will make some good decisions and some bad ones . They will have a very hard time admitting that the bad ones were bad even when faced with overwhelming evidence.

4. Many people are likely to react less-than-optimally to the increasingly-obvious wrongness of the powers that be, and are likely to start rejecting the true parts of the message as well as the false ones. This may wind up being a major part of the problem in itself.

5. You will hear many predictions about what will happen. The predictions that you are most likely to hear will be the most extreme ones. Boring predictions are more likely to be true but less likely to reach your ears.

6. We will do many things. Some of them will have an excellent cost-benefit ratio, others will have a terrible cost-benefit ratio. The things that have the best cost-benefit ratio probably won't be tried at all for one reason or another. People would rather "increase our sacrifices to the gods" than do a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

7. Once it's all over, we still won't have much of an idea of what we did right and what we did wrong.

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Without having watched the program, I was curious whether it presents any conceivably plausible rationale for the President to dismiss or downplay the danger. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that the President would be interested in parochial electoral considerations when everyone is going to die in a few months. Comedies tend to work for me only when there is an internal logic that makes it cohere on its own absurd terms.

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>it's just a movie, not a PhD thesis on Epistemology

stance is kind of an interesting form of motte-and-bailey. Like, yes, it's just a movie, but a movie is a story, and we tell stories because they're sticky in our brains. Humans have turned knowledge and lessons into stories for as far back as we can tell. Most people aren't going to read a book on epistemology, but most people seem to acknowledge that our society has a hard time agreeing on things and that that's a problem. This movie will still influence the way people think about this subject, and so, like all popular media, it's important what lessons people are likely to draw from it.

If Disney made a cartoon movie where the villain was a pharma CEO making brain-chip vaccines to control everybody, that would be worth criticizing, and criticizing the criticism with "cmon it's just a movie guys" would be weird.

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Regarding "It's just a movie, you should really just relax", this only applies when you don't construct a message you intend to be taken seriously. If you do construct a message you intend to be taken seriously, everything in service of that message is fair game.

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Jan 7, 2022·edited Jan 7, 2022

People keep assuming certainty that a chicxulub-equivalent asteroid would extinct humans, without analyzing it. Only 75% of animal species on earth went extinct at the K–Pg boundary. Let's call 75% the outside-view for the chance humans will go extinct in such an impact.

Many factors favor non-extinction of humans relative to other species:

* Humans are extremely widespread (vs. the vast majority of species have a very narrow territory).

* Humans are extremely intelligent and able to cultivate new food sources.

* When the earth cools a lot due to the 5-20% dimming of sunlight, Human farmers can cultivate plants that were previously used at much higher latitudes. Other animals don't have the intelligence and transportation necessary to bring seeds 2000 miles south from where they usually grow.

* Humans have buildings with air filters that can protect us from inhaling the volcanic ash falling from the sky, roofs to protect us from acid rain (claim: hurricane force winds only extended ~3000km from the impact site https://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/kring/Chicxulub/regional-effects/, so buildings farther away may remain standing if they can survive the earthquake)

* Humans have some preppers who stockpiled years of provisions in underground bunkers, all over the globe. I'm sure some preppers' bunkers on the opposite side of the planet will survive the impact.

On the other side of the ledger, humans have higher caloric requirements than most species, but that's a minor issue if we can still farm.

Considering all this it seems appropriate to adjust the 75% base case down to <3%.

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I think the second comment on Sirota/Bernie is way off base. That's a severe misunderstanding of Sirota. Maybe it confuses campaign rhetoric with actual beliefs if I want to be charitable.

Also of note is the claim that the left is so small they should be bunched in with liberals. Well you have to ask why they are that small if you believe that.

Also the view of non-cult Sanders supporters is more like most people are corrupt, some of them are actually pretty competent, say Reid and both Clintons, but notably not Obama which Obama himself admitted, well claimed when trying to rally support for Hillary, and that Bernie himself is pretty competent but has issues working in groups which hurts him staffing wise and working with anyone who isn't in Congress.

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Best part of this article is the Fall from Heaven call-out. Never goes out of style! Just wanted to express appreciation.

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> On the one hand I'm tempted to offer a critique of this community for often not "getting" the left/liberal divide, but on reflection, that seems unfair. The left are so culturally insignificant everywhere except Twitter & Podcasts that compacting them into the liberals is probably fair enough. (Sadly).

As someone decidedly on the liberal side of that divide: Yes, this distinction is important, and this is one more reason why a left/right political spectrum is a bad model (no, liberalism does *not* go in the center; it is not some lesser version of leftism but a distinctly different thing), but Scott uses it so you can to some extent expect the commenters will as well. :P

I disagree with the idea that leftism is so insignificant though... but then, I say that partly because I'm grouping in the SJers with the leftists. And the SJers are not insignificant at all. I realize these are not the same thing exactly, but the essential style of thought seems similar to me, while decidedly distinct from liberalism, so I group them together...

(But also, plenty of prominent politicians seem to espouse pretty notably leftist ideas? Maybe not *powerful* ones, necessarily, but *prominent* ones, and we're talking culture, so...)

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> But the worst part is…well, basically every scientific institution ends up lying

Was this supposed to be an object lesson that we missed? A bunch of prestigious (not that that matters) researchers and universities all checked the data and said "yup, we're boned". But they keep looking and checking, and then *one* org (NASA) says it's all fine, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief that everything is now fine. It may as well be "Confirmation Bias: The Musical", and good thing too!

Then you're telling us you watched the movie, and *one* (or two, or three, out of the lot) of the orgs is corrupt... so now all of them are lying?

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If there's one thing I can say I know for sure about Elon Musk, it's that he'd definitely be on team "destroy the asteroid"

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Very refreshing to see someone see another angle. I believe I saw yours after reading your review. I am weary or smugness and cynicism and a rethink helped me see that viewing. Creeps in around the edges, though.

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Your "movie criticism" isn't movie criticism. Manny Farber wrote movie criticism. You don't know anything about movies. What you wrote was a sociological interpretation of a movie, which had little to do with the subject of movies, which is an art form you don't appear to be interested in. It's like you wrote an interpretation of the lyrics of a hit song without realizing that music is about much more than its lyrics.

That said, I enjoyed your post about the movie. But what you wrote wasn't a movie review.

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Now that you've acknowledged it, sort of, I want to know for real why you missed the point of this extremely unsubtle movie, because that fact doesn't fit into my model of the world, the whole being biased by other reviewers excuse just doesn't cut it for me. Despite the creators being so very ideologically dissimilar, they have constructed a story which among other things gets at some of the same points as the Meditations on Moloch and Ivermectin essays. It's built from the exact sort of insight porn which is your specialty, not entirely trivial, not commonly understood, but easy enough to pick up and after that seemingly obvious in retrospect. I clicked the link imagining I'd be reading about your delight in having found such an unusual common ground, imagine my disappointment! So what's the hold up, where's the blockage? If we can't get a spark of understanding across this tiny gap, what possible hope is there for any of us to understand the other enough to meaningfully coordinate?

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> But also, Tech CEO kind of randomly builds a starship, complete with a 2,000 person passenger capacity and working cryosleep pods, in the space of six months. Was the starship peer-reviewed?

Sounds like very standard motivated reasoning that anyone could be sucked in by.

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By request: What if we have Starships?

OK. not the rock band, or the kind with warp drive, but the SpaceX kind?

Right now we *just* have a few prototype Starships in various states of assembly, and that's no help at all because a Starship alone can't even reach Low Earth Orbit. Or maybe it can, but as a stunt with no payload capacity. We also need the Super Heavy booster, and that's going to be a while.

If we just have a few Starships and a Super Heavy or two to boost them, it doesn't change much. A Starship launch would basically count as two or three Falcon Heavy launches for this purpose, and we needed over a thousand Falcon Heavy launches in three months or so.

Where things get interesting is if SpaceX builds a modest fleet of Starships and Super Heavy boosters and establishes a rapid, reliable launch cadence and with the on-orbit refueling Elon is planning for his Mars missions. By my math, they'd need to be able to launch Starships twice a day. Elon claims each Starship will be able to fly three times a day, but I'm exceedingly skeptical on that part. Still, if it takes a week to turn around a Starship after each flight, then a fleet of sixteen Starships (and Super Heavies) would do the job. If he can do one-day turnaround, maybe four Starships and Super Heavies would be enough.

Except, we also need thirteen Starships that we can send out on kamikaze missions, though we'll get the boosters back from those at least. So, twenty-nine Starships and sixteen Super Heavies, give or take.

Even with the Starship part already working, I'm going to assume the prep work will take a month; there's plenty of planning, and some custom hardware development. But mostly we're going to do this with off-the-shelf hardware, because we don't need the impossibly optimistic upper stages I used in the Falcon scenario.

So, 260 post-boost vehicles from Trident DII submarine-launched ballistic missiles, each carrying eight W88 475-kiloton warheads, total mass about 4 metric tons. Actually, we never built that many W88s, so some of these will be MX busses carrying W87 warheads and whatnot, and maybe we'll ask the Russians and Chinese to throw in a few of theirs, but to simplify the math I'll assume all W88s. And there will need to be some modifications like extended-life batteries on the post-boost vehicles and warheads, lots of software changes, lots of chances to screw this up given the short timescale and lack of opportunity for testing.

The Starships get automated deployment racks for twenty PBVs (160 warheads) each. Or if we can't debug those, a couple of kamikaze astronauts who can just shove the things out the cargo door and then die as heroes.

Day 31, we launch one of these Starships with its load of warheads into Low Earth Orbit. Then twelve more Starships launch over the next six days, each loaded with fuel to transfer to Starship #1. On day 38, the now fully-fueled Starship departs Earth orbit. Its delta-V with that load is 7.2 km/s, which gives it a hyperbolic excess velocity of 10.1 km/s.

At that low a velocity, it won't reach the comet (really, the comet will reach it) until Day 159, roughly 23.4 days before impact and about twenty million kilometers from Earth. About two days before that, it will start kicking out the post-boost vehicles which will deploy their 160 warheads in a string maybe 50,000 kilometers long.

On Day 159, 160 warheads explode maybe a kilometer away from the comet at five-second intervals. That's really faster than I'd like; there's no way to update targeting and it is possible that the comet will break apart, but it's better than seventy-six megatons all at once. The combined effect of all these two-petajoule X-ray flashbulbs should be to vaporize enough of the comet's surface that the transient pressure will push it off course at a whole ten centimeters per second.

Which, over 23.5 days, is enough to move the impact point 200 kilometers.

But we haven't been standing still. Kamikaze Starship #2 launched on Day 37, departed Earth orbit on Day 45, and is scheduled to meet the comet on Day 160, just one day after Kamikaze Starship #1. This time, we do get a chance to watch what happened and carefully target the next string of warheads accordingly. But, the deflection imparted by these warheads has only 22.4 days to act, and so shifts the impact point 190 kilometers.

Cut to the chase, Kamikaze Starship #13 arrives on Day 171, a bare 11.7 days before impact, and delivers enough of a nudge that the comet will pass 90 kilometers overhead at closest approach.

That's cutting it a bit close, and I wouldn't blame you for sending out one more just to be safe.

But to make this work, you have to be able to launch two Starships a day for three months, with almost no failures. SpaceX is currently at the one Starship a month level, and the Super Heavy hasn't even flown yet.

So how does it change the story if it isn't the Prudent NASA Scientists vs the Greedy Tech Billionaire with competing plans to save the world; the Tech Billionaire is the only one with a chance at all (if we're willing to give him two thousand hydrogen bombs)?

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One thing that seemed _totally obvious_ to me was that that the Mark Rylance character was a direct stand-in for Mark Zuckerberg. I thought this was as obvious as seeing Meryl Streep as Trump. The entire film, I was saying to my wife "wow, this actor has _completely nailed_ Zuckerberg, from the oddly forced facial expressions, the thousand-yard-stare when talking to people, the psychotic laugh, lack of emotion, and total amorality. At the beginning, he's even talking excitedly (or his forced, unemotional version of "excitedly") about determining users' emotional states and then manipulating them via algorithmically-selected videos (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/everything-we-know-about-facebooks-secret-mood-manipulation-experiment/373648/), after which he complains to his staff that the feel-good video wasn't engaging enough.

And then I read a bunch of reviews that compared him to Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, some other tech titan, or a pastiche of "tech CEOs." Maybe I'm just crazy, but the Zuckerberg comparison seemed so obvious to me.

The Musk connection in particular seems completely off base. The Rylance character had zero interest in space until he figured out it could make him vastly richer by minimizing the costs of cell-phone production. Musk is a weirdo, but he's very much on Team Prevent Human Extinction. He's also oddly amaterialistic, living in an unpleasant part of the country to be close to SpaceX and renting a pretty modest home. I'm sure he has plenty of extravagances, but he doesn't seem all that obsessed with increasing his material wealth compared to Zuckerberg (basically buying Kauai) or Bezos with his daughter-yachts. I don't see Musk (or Steve Jobs for that matter) as being willing to gamble with civilization for a few more bucks.

Anyway, it's a small thing, but I'm still surprised that I haven't read any reviews that make this connection that seemed so obvious to me.

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"Given that no asteroid has substantially damaged a city in recorded history, the per year rate seems pretty low, even granting that much more land is urban now."

This may not be true! There are at least 2-3 substantial damage events in the ancient world possibly tied to asteroid impacts, of 26 confirmed craters from the last million years, including 3 that were in the continent-killer weight class. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_possible_impact_structures_on_Earth#Overview

On the subject of Starship; as a first approximation SpaceX is projecting approximately 100 tons to Low Earth Orbit, 5x the payload capacity as a Falcon 9, in its fully reusable configuration. Assuming their estimate pans out, that's approximately 220 flights instead of 1100. Harder to approximate are the additional savings of full reusability (versus F9's first stage reusability) and Starship's planned refuel-in-orbit capability.

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Jan 7, 2022·edited Jan 7, 2022

"Given that no asteroid has substantially damaged a city in recorded history, the per year rate seems pretty low, even granting that much more land is urban now."

This assumption may be false: see the recent paper https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-97778-3?f

edit: As a number of people have pointed out, this paper is not great, and should probably be ignored. For the interested, here is a link to a Skeptical Inquirier article about the paper: https://skepticalinquirer.org/2021/12/sodom-meteor-strike-claims-should-be-taken-with-a-pillar-of-salt/

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The difficulty of deflecting this comet in the allotted time definitely makes the movie better. The scientists at the beginning aren't saying, "This is what we need to do," they're freaking out. They aren't sure of the details of what needs doing, which is one reason the talk goes badly. They know, however, that saving humanity is worth trying.

As far as "peer review" and other issues go, see my comments on the other thread, where I also made the Apple connection despite having no conscious knowledge of that guy.

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Jan 7, 2022·edited Jan 7, 2022

"Look, there’s a weird game called “movie criticism”, where you take a movie as a jumping-off point to have thoughts on Society or the Human Condition. In the real world, people watch movies because they’re funny, or they have cool action sequences, or because the lead actress is really hot. But the rules of the “movie criticism” game say you have to ignore this stuff and treat them as deep commentary."

// pedantic mode on

Is this irony? I hope so! There is good and bad comedy and "movie criticism" also deals with this classification - why the comedy of the Marx brothers, Monty Python, Mel Brooks or Seinfeld is sometimes brilliant and why this brilliance is hard to achieve. Or why the movies of directors such as Kubrick or Kurosawa or David Lynch are so often great. And "deep comentary" is never a necessary factor to a movie being great.

// pedantic mode off

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I think to understand how complicated narrative about systemic failure where even experts themselves are corrupted can be compressed into "trust the experts" message, we should very explicitly distinguish two problems of epistemics: a hard one and an easy one.

The hard one is how to consistently beat experts and markets, finding truth in an adversary environment where everything is broken, people are corrupt and follow their perversed initiatives, being part of inadequate equilibria. And as the name suggest this problem is hard. One have to be very smart, be fluent in reading scientific papers, be actually capable to do your own research, know everything about systemic failures and posses some of the best heuristic developped by the best communities of rational thinkers.

The easy one is how not to be a crazy conspiracy theorist. For this we should just trust the scientific consensus. It's an easy and cheap heuristic. Which will obviously fail us from time to time but at least it won't fail us as bad as other easy heuristics. It's the baseline.

I understand and agree that the hard question is much more interesting, noble and virtuous. That one can develop as a rationalist only by trying to answer it and not the easy one. But it seems that the easy question is more important from utilitarian perspective due to sheer number of people performing worse than our baseline.

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I also think Musk is an obviously terrible analog for the CEO in this movie. Musk is very concerned about x-risk and did a lot to combat climate change in particular. He's also unusually competent. He would almost certainly urge to destroy the comet if the movie plot were to happen in real life.

The other thing I would say is that I didn't get the impression that any moment in this movie was trying to be funny, and there certainly wasn't any moment I found funny.

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In regard to Civ4 FFH, I'll endanger ACX by mentioning Endless Legend is a thing.

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"Given that no asteroid has substantially damaged a city in recorded history, the per year rate seems pretty low, even granting that much more land is urban now."

There are actually two historical impact events that might have caused tens of thousands of deaths. The first is Ch'ing-yang event in 1490 and the second is Wanggongchang explosion in 1626. Both in China, both hard to verify.

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Isherwell is based on Marshall Applewhite, the leader of Heaven's Gate! He matches Applewhite perfectly, it's too much of a coincidence.

Heaven's Gate was a cult that became infamous for its 1997 mass suicide. Their website is still running, and you can find videos of the group members discussing their imminent suicides on Youtube.


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> And if you're facing the Tunguska Event six months out, you basically just evacuate Tunguska and hire Michael Bay to film the fireworks.

Would we know in advance where it hits? I mean more than a few hours in advance?

For crashing satellites we don't know at all, because if the crash is a few minutes earlier or later, this translates into huge differences in the location. I could imagine that it's different for comets (because they are much faster than satellites, so error terms from atmospheric disturbances matter less), but I am not sure.

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There is one buried reference to climate change, when the black scientist (I forget his name) goes on his protest bent, flags and banners fly across the screen, some of which mention fossil fuels. There may be other climate-based Easter Eggs, I just noticed that on a first pass.

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> a 2,000 person passenger capacity and working cryosleep pods, in the space of six months.

I don't think we should assume that this happened in the space of six months. We should assume that the tech CEO has been building this for *years*, and more out of a dislike for current humanity and governments than any expectation of a comet. That's also the reason it doesn't come back to Earth - it was never intended to come back to earth, and he doesn't change the original mission parameters.

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What I find most fascinating about the cloud of feedback is that a lot can be summarized as critics struggling with a movie that has no heroes. It demonstrates how ingrained the heroes journey narrative is, and emphasizes the most important contribution of Don't Look Up, namely it's departure from that template.

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Surprised to see that you actually paid attention to the discord for once. Maybe if you did that more often it wouldn't be such a shitshow.

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It would be great if you could perform your amazing analytical skills on the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. There seems to be growing evidence it is correct.

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One thing for the era of disaster movies such as "The Towering Inferno" and "The Poseidon Adventure", they didn't do moralising, they were just meant as specatcle. And the press certainly didn't write pieces about "does this relate to the recent scandal in marine insurance fraud?" or whatever about them.

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> I think a lot of my unease about the movie came from the moralizing in the press about it.

Agree. When they *don't* do this, we can just consume the thing as art. But the narrative-shoveling class can't do anything with actual art, because it's ineffective as an object-level political tool.

They used to churn out propaganda disguised as art, but I think at this point they think so little of our intelligence, they just came out and said "It's propaganda! It is!"

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> That suggests a per-century rate of 1-in-a-million for the former and 1% for the latter. And a century from now, we’ll either enough new tech to trivially solve the problem, or something else will have killed us already.

On the other hand, I've seen plenty of times "1% is something to worry about when talking about existential threat" in the context of e.g. rogue AI. I do feel somewhat less worried about the meteor - there's some overlap between what's needed to fix that, and "Tech CEO #4 wants a car in space" / "we need to figure out how to better blow up our enemies". But the considerations of John Schilling about putting whatever deflects the comet in its path in time come from basic Newtonian mechanics. Unless we discover the Reactionless Drive TM (doubt intensifies), we had better work on improving early-warning systems _specifically_ for this scenario.

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Jan 9, 2022·edited Jan 9, 2022

My personal highlight was the comment by Running Burning Man which stated that moving the comet "is stupid beyond description" and contained a personal attack on Scott. Or more precisely, the productive discussion it generated:

1. The personal attack was uncalled for, so understandably Scott did not appreciate it.

2. A share of the discussion moved away from the critical point that comets might not be deflectable and discussed if there was a personal attack. Therefore, amusingly, a theme of the movie was almost replicated: the urgent issue being missed due to the commenter being too shrill.

3. However, a serious and scientific discussion ensues. +1 for the community.

4. The consensus seems to shift: From an initial "we have a chance to deflect a comet", to "we can not for this size and timeline."

5. Most critically: People did Fermi estimates for the risk for humanity from asteroids & comets. Meaning it was hard to point to good literature and the work in assessing the risks has not progressed far. It is baffling and a point Bostrom made before that we have scientific articles on almost anything, but few on existential risks.

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The pop-star character played by Ariana Grande blasts the 'trust the experts' message clearly at the climax of the movie. To me it is pretty clear and Scott's take is correct. Even if you take your own message away from the movie, the people making the movie were literally shouting this message at you.

"Look up, what he's really trying to say

Is get your head out of your ass

Listen to the goddamn qualified scientists

We really fucked it up, fucked it up this time

It's so close, I can feel the heat big time

And you can act like everything is alright

But this is probably happening in real time"

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> I feel like asking “okay, but did he also do a Google search for ‘journal with low standards’ and then get Reviewer #3 to sign off on it?” is not a high bar.

You're right, it's not a high bar, but it couldn't even hurdle that bar and yet was taken seriously, which I took as the point of that off hand peer review comment.

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Scott, I kind of felt like you misjudged this comedy as well but please don't be disheartened. You're a Great Man and also a great guy. Perfection is beyond the capabilities of all flesh.

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You always choose comments by John Schilling? Does that make him.... the Schilling point?

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I find it weird that so many readers are resistant to the idea that the movie could be interpreted as a metaphor for Covid/Climate Change/etc.

The first I heard about it was via Reddit posts that were screencaps of Twitter. Someone tweeted something anti these issues, then someone replied “You are the people Don’t Look Up tells us to worry about” or “You are the people that Don’t Look Up is criticizing”. Theses screenshots would get a couple thousand upvotes.

I addition, I have seen lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio has made a few tweets using the film to draw attention to Climate Change. Some imply this link was an intentional aspect of the movie.





The last Tweet I linked has a video that starts with co-star Jennifer Lawrence saying the movie is a metaphor for Climate Change.

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> But also, Tech CEO kind of randomly builds a starship, complete with a 2,000 person passenger capacity and working cryosleep pods, in the space of six months. Was the starship peer-reviewed?

I've been an engineer a while and never seen a design that doesn't get peer-reviewed. It may not happen in the public eye like science unless it's open source software, but peer review happens. It's even an audit point for accreditation bodies that certify companies on a scale of how mature they are as engineering organizations.

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The movie suffered from the inconsistency of the characters, Leo and Jen. There's complexity, then there's just inconsistency. Jen was the adult in the room, then she wasn't. Leo was a fool, then he wasn't. Also, the screaming "We're all gonna die," was just a boring crutch. As a 12-year-old, I burst into tears spontaneously, involuntarily at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

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Jan 17, 2022·edited Jan 18, 2022

The only part of the movie that has a rational social commentary is when the BASH elites cull criticism while making the drones. All progress comes from criticism of our best hard-to-vary explanations. The hard-to-vary aspect doesn't require gatekeepers, neither does the criticism part. The movie doesn't make that point obvious, so it ends up being cynical blind pessimism--which is comforting to a large body of the public that relies purely on the infinite regression of inductivism to justify their historicist argument. Good on the producers, because it's also super cathartic in a time where it's confusing why things aren't panning out the way most have predicted based on their accumulation of "data", to see everyone die. The great thing about the apocalypse is how simple it makes everything.

TL/DR Netflix stock is still a "buy"

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I think Scott's original review was probably closer to the truth. The movie was trying to spread the message "Trust The Science" and it just didn't do a good job. Because its moral was too simplistic, and its writing lacked subtlety or sophistication. (Especially when compared to satires like "The Thick of It" or "Succession".)

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