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I propose that ACX spam Reddit with carefully chosen insults to try to draw a specific shape on the graph.

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There is. It's called "the skeptic community". They've moved on from atheism and just talk about Elon Musk now.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

37: A story on the internet about somebody who's name is claimed to be Title Pavel is almost always fictitious. It is a reference to the Dark Knight Rises cold open

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looks like you meant this to be about 37, not 38

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

thank you.

Actually I think I have been bamboozled as it was 38 when I wrote it and is still 38 in the substack email I received

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Also people have mentioned 40, but there is no 40.

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There was no 36 in the email version.

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I’m not surprised or disappointed by point 33. Tolerating people with weird kinks is different than tolerating people advocating for real-life harmful things, so r/forcedbreeding seems 0% hypocritical to me.

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deletedJul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022
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Exactly. You could basically just say redditor at this point.

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That's the Anglosphere's default mainstream social media culture for people in a certain age band. To get away from it you have to actively avoid it -- build yourself a better bubble. If you're on Reddit, look for unusually nice, well-moderated subreddits (which will usually not be the most popular); if you're on Twitter, follow only people who put nice tweets on your timeline (who will usually not be the most famous); and so on.

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If you want to find nice people on Reddit, try r/slaythespire ;)

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I used to be a subscriber, and this is a good recommendation. Niche hobby subreddits can be great. Any subreddit where you can get 1000 upvotes will be part of the same hivemind as the rest of Reddit.

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Or No Man's Sky gaming community. One of the best I've found.

https://www.reddit.com/r/NoMansSkyTheGame/

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The inverse of this is 4chan. Maybe the explanation is as simple as, people who both A) have a lot of free time and B) choose to spend it complaining on the internet usually suck. Self-selection.

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I think that this is probably wrong. In particular I think that having weird kinks is probably correlated with wanting websites to be more permissive about what content they allow, for obvious reasons.

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Your PoliticalIdeology Is Not Okay

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Pediatricians here catching strays in the comment section, LOL

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Based on subreddit overlap, forcedbreeding appears to be *heavily* red-aligned; lefties just aren't into raceplay, sorry. Feel free to update your priors.

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deletedJul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022
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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022

That's because it isn't *heavily* (or even just heavily) red-aligned at all: https://subredditstats.com/subreddit-user-overlaps/forcedbreeding

The overlap with non-sex subs begins with creepypms, survivinginfidelity, various games (all of which skew Left, the former notably and the latter two in the general Reddit way), continues with some pro-trans subs (*super* Left), takes a brief detour to mentalhealth and some weed + shrooms subs (the Right is notoriously high-strung and pro-drug, right?), goes on to adviceanimals and antiwork (do you even have to ask?), and... scrolling... scrolling...

...okay, I finished the list and still haven't found any especially "red" subs, with the single probable exception of firearms — near the bottom (1.18).

So... I think it's probably bullshit to suggest the subreddit is Right-leaning, as its stated positions would obviously suggest anyway.

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> is different than tolerating people advocating for real-life harmful things,

There's no *way* anyone could possibly believe that a ""fetish"" page about the most depraved acts of violence against women could possibly have any negative real world impact, you know, like making women who see it feel unsafe or hated, or encouraging weirdos to act out depraved fantasies or generally be aggressive towards women IRL. It's just a fetish, bro.

And if you disagree, then you necessarily must also be 100% fine with the exact same fetish page except all the men are white and all the women are black and they get called the n-word constantly. Because the only way this could be doing any real world harm is in the ways I described above, meaning they're either both harmful or both harmless.

And I'm really curious though what harm you imagine a "pro-russian" subreddit is having in the real world (other than the kinds of things I described above).

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To be clear, I am an asexual woman who is so extremely repulsed by the idea of pregnancy that I got myself sterilized (despite the fact that I don’t have sex). I can scarcely imagine a fetish that could possibly be more aversive to me. I don’t know how problematic r/forcedbreeding is in practice, because I never want to look there. Maybe they actually do have a terrible separation of real life from fantasy, IDK.

However, I do know that the vast majority of people with fetishes, even really weird ones, are perfectly capable of knowing what is and isn’t appropriate in reality. Moreover, they typically aren’t trying to convert other people to any particular political position or course of action.

On the other hand, anti-vax misinformation often DOES advocate for people to take IRL harmful courses of action. Pro-Russian posts are often propaganda to get people to stop supporting the defense of Ukraine. Obviously there’s nuance to this as well; Russia is not 100% wrong, and vaccines do actually have sometimes concerning side effects. My impression is that subreddits/posters that get banned for these topics usually do post actual false or highly misleading information, but if they don’t, I wouldn’t want them banned just for having unpopular political opinions.

Still, my personal opinion on either topic isn’t the point. My point is that it’s perfectly consistent to tolerate disturbing kink spaces but not tolerate people advocating worrying courses of action IRL.

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this juxtaposition is not necessarily philosophically inconsistent, but it does show the r/forcedbreeding people to have terrible judgment

disturbing sex weirdo communities, no matter how unobjectionable IRL and how good their separation of real life from fantasy, can only survive and continue on the back of a broad social tolerance

deliberately undermining that tolerance, as by demanding the deplatforming of other people's objectionable speech, will inevitably turn back and rebound on the sex weirdos sooner rather than later

every censorship trend of the modern era fell first and hardest on people who were considered sexually immoral

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It depends on where the wind is blowing. One of the latest trends in social justice is kink acceptance, the current frontier being whether it has place in parades and textbooks. It’s a good opportunity for controversial fetish communities to earn mainstream social media allies, and the way to do it is by aligning with them on issues they care about. By my observation, the more aggressive and seemingly out of place the activism is, the more traction it gets.

Can the culture war bite them in the ass once the wind changes? It might. But not only trying to raising universal tolerance for objectionable communities is very hard and often counterproductive, it’s also much, much more damning, because this is what a truly bad community trying to exploit liberals’ tolerance would do.

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all of this depends partly on how “weird” unpacks. this particular weird sex community is into a what arguably is a very exaggerated version of the predominant hegemony, as opposed to a transgression or subversion that destabilizes people’s subconscious premises and assumptions, so the weirdness coefficient is maybe not actually that high in the big picture. i don’t think they’re gonna be first, second, or fifth in line when the puritans come for the weird sex. at the moment it seems like the ascendant right wing puritans are mostly going after LGBTQ and the ascendant left wing puritans are mostly going after people they’ve decided are doing LGBTQ wrong

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(and straight men who would like to date, of course. but that’s a sort of evergreen dating from the oughts and before, not an acute trend)

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It's impossible to be tolerant of literally everything. Tolerating weird fetishes but not blatant misinformation strikes me as entirely reasonable and consistent.

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Honestly, I like Facebook's compromise on this. You're still allowed to post fake news and misinformation - you won't get banned for it and the post won't get deleted - but the site will put a notice in front of the post saying that the information is wrong and explaining why it's wrong. People can still see it, and they can still choose to believe it, but at least they won't believe it by default. It puts them in a position where they have to exercise some critical thinking, either to say "ok, my friend is probably wrong on this one" or "FB is wrong, this is actually true despite the notice," rather than accepting it uncritically.

It's not a perfect solution: Sometimes the notices really are wrong, either because the mainstream media itself is incorrect on an issue, or FB's fact-checkers made a mistake when checking mainstream media sources, or because the automated algorithm applied the notice in the wrong context. But I think it's still better than either deleting suspected misinformation outright, or simply doing nothing and leaving it be. Sure, the anti-censorship crowd still thinks it's just another top-down method of control, and the anti- misinformation crowd thinks it's useless half-measure that doesn't actually do anything to meaningfully prevent the spread of fake news. But as the old saying goes, a good compromise is one that leaves every side partly dissatisfied.

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022

Yeah, if you go on that sub there's a post that references Dobbs, and the top voted comments on it are all along the lines of "Whoa, this is just a kink, let's keep it that way, we don't want this IRL" . To the point where the OP had to pop in and explain that the post was just their way of working through some trauma from a sexual assault and of course they didn't really mean it and didn't want to upset anyone.

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It’s just tribal identification all the way down. My guess is the same people who posted the condemnation of anti-vaxers would even more furiously condemn someone who wanted society to temporarily pause gay orgies to control the spread of monkeypox

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You could say the same thing about pro-vax misinformation. It advocates for people whose cost-benefit analysis is clearly negative to get the vaccine anyway, increasing their risk of heart inflammation, brain blood clots, and death.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

Forced breeding doesn't even strike me as that weird or depraved. A significant fraction of women I have been with were in to light BDSM/power play type and obviously impregnation/breeding being sort of the telos of sex is an obvious thing to fixate on. And in particular at least as construed on that sub, the focus is not really on violating consent, and more on sort of being overwhelmed by a primal urge to procreate (the fantasy seems to be that the woman wants to be breeded, not that you are literally forcing her to)

On the other hand there were some actual rape fetish kinks that were in fact banned on reddit (even though many women do have that kink to, sometimes even as a way of coping with trauma)

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Ironically, having actually looked at the reddit page in question... It looks like 90+% of the posts are actually by women - usually women posting pictures of themselves with some variation of 'Breed me Daddy' or the like. Not what I would have expected, but I suppose it makes some sense.

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Lots of them are trying to advertise OnlyFans accounts or similar things.

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Umm, r/forced breeding is producing pro-rape content whatever pro-Russian subreddit is out there is producing pro-Putin content, if you hold the typical belief in the magical powers of internet content to determine behavior that underlies pro censorship arguments then both would be harmful. In fact the pro-rape content far more so.

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I’m guessing that a lot of the r/forcedbreeding people would be:

a. Very in favor of censoring subreddits that advocate raping people IRL.

b. Fine with subreddits that were pro-Russian in the sense that they celebrated fictional Russian characters, or enthused about Baklava recipes, or really anything that wasn’t spewing propaganda about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

It’s important to note that not all speech is even protected by the First Amendment. The typical example is “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”, because it involves giving out false information that can cause panic/harm. Private sites can restrict speech much more than that, of course, but certainly a good starting point is… false information that can cause panic/harm.

I’m someone who has had some life-threatenly bad reactions to vaccines, and as such, the COVID vaccine was the first time I got vaxxed since I was 2. It would be REALLY NICE if I could ever read vaccine-critical posts that WEREN’T blatantly false conspiracy theories (or worse, subtly false conspiracy theories). There are certainly such posts out there, but the presence of all the junk ironically makes it much harder to learn about vaccine-critical stuff than it would be if there was more censorship of the topic.

Basically, uncensored fiction != uncensored everything.

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I'm not sure what American laws have to do with questions of ethics / morals?

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Charitably, it's only an analogy, albeit a rather-troubled one ("fire in a crowded theatre" comes from a SCOTUS decision upholding bans on, um, protests against conscription).

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Such as forcing people to get injected with vaccines that cause heart inflammation, brain blood clots, and death?

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founding

The pattern I'm mostly relating here is avoiding to be meek. If you act like you ask for permission to exist you're more likely to be seen as prey, so some amount of aggression is actually adaptive.

I *am* disappointed though by the failure to generalize the concept of tolerance. "It should apply to me but not to you" is pretty much the classic mistake.

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Yes, what people who invoke the so-called "Paradox of Tolerance" fail to do is take the argument to its logical conclusion. "If I am tolerant of [outgroup], then they might gain power and be intolerant of me, therefore it is justified for me to be preemptively intolerant of them first" - but then [outgroup] could invoke that same principle to justify being intolerant of the first group, since they know that if they gain power they will be intolerant of them, thereby justifying their initial intolerance. This is a preemption game, a well-known concept in game theory.

By invoking the "paradox," it actually becomes rationally justified for *both* groups to be intolerant of each other, and at that point, the entire premise of liberalism is basically dead and it's just the friend-enemy distinction all the way down.

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founding

Or, like EY likes to say, we could get together and agree to do Something Which Is Not That. Like setting a meta-rule that we can debate individual ideas until we get hoarse, but will shop short of canceling them. Which is how liberalism came to be.

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founding

is it fair to call that 'IQ needed'?

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I would need to be convinced that "IQ needed" really best explains this.

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It clearly isn't; if that's an average then circa 50% of graduates will be below that threshold, so you clearly don't need a three-digit IQ to graduate with a Bachelor's these days.

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Yeah, definitely should not be phrased IQ needed since that implies causation and all kinds of other effects that we don't know are the case.

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founding

seems simple that if more people are going to college, the avg IQ of non college will drop, even if the 'needed' is entirely unchanged between 1960 and now. the only way you could even hypothesise 'needed' is if the groups included *all* graduates, not just ones that didnt get higher degrees.

also seems to make sense that 1960 high school was about average population iq, and today college grad is about avg

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Yes, if a group (like high school graduates) becomes almost universal, it's statistic properties will have to get close to the median.

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Maybe they were the SAT cut-offs for admission, although I don't know how you apply the test to high school graduation.

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Doesn't sound like it. I think the chart just shows the average/median/whatever IQ for people who topped out at a certain level of education. It's not a requirement, it's just a statistic. That's why we shouldn't call it "needed."

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I would like to see this data disaggregated by discipline. Have requirements for STEM degrees declined? How below average can one be and still get a MEd?

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Probably start at "Education level needed/advantageous for [Job]" and work backward from there to IQ would be better. Civil Engineer -- Teacher -- Trial Lawyer -- Medical Doctor require in my area 4 -- 5 -- 7 -- Between 11 and 15 years of education respectively; and while there are very smart Civil Engineers they rarely go back and get another 1-7 years of education to "catch up," they get the education they need and stop.

If at different times different amounts of education were required or advantageous for different careers, we'd see different education levels achieved by people who wanted to pursue those careers. Rather than a model of X has IQ^y >>> X Maximizes the level of education they can reach based on IQ^y; the model goes X has Career Ambition Z >>> X reaches the level of education necessary for Career Z as long as their IQ^y can get them there.

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> unusually obese Russian soldier (which doesn’t show up in reverse image search)

They don't mention which reverse image search they tried (presumably the Google one). Google is thought to intentionally cripple it's search results for privacy reasons. Russian search engine Yandex has a much better one, you could find people's social network profiles just by a pic taken in public transport. In fact, they mention Yandex later in the chain, but they should have tried reverse image search there too.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

I was suspicious at the time and tried to internet-sleuth it myself (failed), I didn't know Yandex had reverse image search - that would have been ideal, but I can add tineye to the list of reverse image searches that had nothing helpful.

/If you can't trust an undisclosed senior intelligence source, what can you trust?

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#25

Unemployment to population ratio has stayed the same, but the age-range is what is important there. I cannot begin to describe the amount of 54+persons I saw leave the workforce over the last two years.

Budget deficit is lower mainly because Trump got the TCJA passed in his year for all his needs, but Biden failed with the BBB. Had Biden succeeded, the deficit would (as it does) continue to trend worse.

No idea what explains the increase in net worth. The three-fold increase over 4 years seems ridiculous

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If it's net worth for the lower 50% of the population, then it's something to do with house prices/homeownership/mortgage equity. The deficit will also partly be due to the magical combination of low interest rates and 10% inflation.

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I don't think the lower half owns a lot of homes. I just looked up home ownership rates, and it's around 65% for the whole country, and I imagine most of that is in the upper half. It could be around 100% for the upper half and around 30% for the lower half.

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It’d be unusual to be sitting in the lower half of the country by income and have 60 grand in the bank though - I can’t think what else it would be?

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"Lower half by income" includes some people who were previously in higher income brackets, but who are now retired, long-term unemployed, underemployed, or on unpaid sabbatical.

If a lot of people have retired early over the last few years, I could definitely see that inflating the mean net worth of "lower-income" households.

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Yep, when looking at income buckets this is always a good thing to keep in mind. Almost everyone spends at least a year in a poverty income bracket at some point (usually when they are 18/19/a student or when they retire).

In theory, someone who inherited millions of dollars but has no income would be in this bucket. Also, someone who makes millions a year but has a terrible gambling problem and lots of debts would be in the opposite bucket and skew that number downward.

Overall i think its pretty useless to compare the net worth of various income brackets without having lots of caveats or more filters (probably for age - looking at only prime working age would help this stat be more useful).

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Agreed that looking at income buckets as static and/or as a tight mapping onto functional wealth is overplayed. I believe the stat is that 12% of American households spend at least one year in the top 1% of income earners in their lifetime. And 56% spend at least one year in the top 20%. (I forget the year these stats are from without pulling a book off my shelf.)

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Yes but it’s an average figure over the whole bottom 50%, not the median. If 65% of the country owns homes that means 30% of the bottom half does (15/50). Those 30% have seen a huge increase in home equity since 2018. That would have a big impact on the arithmetic average

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

We dumped lots of money into households with stuff like the CARES Act. Bottom 50% includes lots of people who had essentially zero net worth so it's not surprising that number went up a lot. (They were also forbidden from a lot of spending during the shutdown.)

Way more money was dumped onto people during Trump's term than during Biden's so trying to give Biden credit for this one just reveals how BS the whole thing is.

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Most of those raw numbers look like "it's 4 years later. Number went up" or they are citing the 50% of economic stats that improved, and omitting any that didn't.

It does, if true, mean things haven't gotten worse - which is the point. It's a refutation to "Biden sucks" claims.

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Biden still sucks. But he doesn't singlehandedly control the American economy. (Neither did Trump.)

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But why would the fact that a bunch of old people have retired be treated as an indicator that the economy isn't good? As clearly demonstrated by the stats on the other demographics, the reason why they are retired now is something other than a bad labor market now

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Two key things with net worth are 1) it's very steeply sloping, especially in the bottom half: 40th percentile is about half the median, 20th is about half of 25th 2) It is sharply negative at the bottom.

This means that slight shifts in the percentiles move the number around a lot. My guess is actually that the change in bottom 50th percentile wealth might be as related to trends in student loans as anything else--house ownership isn't common in the bottom 50th percent of households, but student loans are. ($100k in negative net worth is quite frequently related to an new profesisonal degree.)

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As I pointed out above, if 65% of Americans own homes then home ownership is quite common in the bottom 50% — in fact 30% of the bottom half own homes

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It might be more. The 30% figure only applies if anyone in the top 50% owns a home.

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The CBO attribute the budgetary deficit reduction to “spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic—mostly for the recovery rebates (also known as economic impact payments), unemployment compensation, pandemic relief through the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Coronavirus Relief Fund—and because revenues were lower".

The lower revenues, they attribute to lower nominal wages (and thus lower income/payroll taxes) during the pandemic and the payroll tax deferrals provisioined the CARES Act (if I understand it correctly, some of these were accounted for in 2022).

Eyeballing the CBO graph, total budget deficits for 2021 - 2022 (Biden) seems larger than those of 2019 - 2020 (Trump).

Source: https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2022-06/58111-MBR.pdf

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It seems obvious to me that cops killed most of the bottom 10% and thus the 50% point just shifted north increasing average wealth. \S

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23. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Cheaper housing means people can potentially do successful household formation earlier, which usually means more children. That was the big deal with the Baby Boom of the Postwar Era - marriage age dropped and people formed households earlier because of affordable housing and good paying work.

37. It gets even worse. IIRC the high-temperature superconductors have a much lower current they can tolerate before they lose superconductivity than copper. I guess that means you'd really have to ramp up the voltage with them?

I know about that because there's sort of a thing now in speculative futurist megastructures, where they're supposed to get to gargantuan sizes because you design them around using compressive strength and "active support" structures (IE something like a magnetic bearing scaled up enormously). High-temperature superconductors would really help with that.

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>Cheaper housing means people can potentially do successful household formation earlier, which usually means more children.

Obviously. But, there's a long way between that and the claim that zoning laws explain the bulk of differences in housing affordability between places in the country, or that housing affordability is the root cause of the bulk of the decrease in fertility rate. All things being equal, sure, but all things aren't equal.

>That was the big deal with the Baby Boom of the Postwar Era - marriage age dropped and people formed households earlier because of affordable housing and good paying work.

Are you so sure? The baby bom was a boom compared to the great depression and WW2. The peak baby boom fertility rate was actually lower than it was before 1920.

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But the country was a lot more rural before 1920 than in 1946-1964. During the Baby Boom there was a lot less need for children to work on the family farm than there had been at the beginning of the 20th century.

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> speculative futurist megastructures

Can you share some good links on this subject? I’m intrigued and my naive Google search gives non-technical stuff.

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1 - Brilliant

3 - Without reading the study I am calling bullshit. May change my mind later.

4 - Is true, but agree his color choices were poor. He should have used gray for 2015-2019 and colored only the last 3 years. If you are wondering about lag in data, up through week 23 (6/11) we have 97% data collected, and the twelve week stretch from 3/19 gives us our first 12 week run in 2.5 years with 3 months of no excess deaths. The data after early June is incomplete, but I would guess will give us another 2 months of zero excess deaths. Fall and winter is anyone's guess.

6 & 8 - Of course

10 - "Oh dear god!" - Holy shit

11 - Love Stuart Ritchie, hope he has a follow-up to Science Fictions soon.

12 - I'm still kinda bummed computers finally beat us in Go

17 - Is this a real thing?

20 - Subscribed. Interesting piece on a topic I had never considered.

25 - Don't like charts where time frames seem selectively chosen to make a point and not directly comparable is first take without replicating the data. The KPI chose don't mean much to me. I can only say where I live (Cleveland), things cost more and everyone is short staffed.

33 - .... wow

40 - That's incredible!

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> Without reading the study I am calling bullshit. May change my mind later.

Why bother writing this? You "call bullshit" and haven't even read the study. Why?

And if it weren't bad enough to do this generally, it's even more so for this specific example. The percent of the population getting highschool and college diplomas has signficantly risen in the past 60 years, so unless there is no relationship between getting a diploma and how intelligent one is, then significant falls in mean IQ for each education level is to be expected.

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1) because it’s a tweet

2) IQ is a notoriously fragile metric

3) I suspect design flaws in sampling

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re: 4: IS it true? Where are those numbers coming from, the numbers I see on https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm#dashboard don't match his graph.

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Yes I’ll explain with more detailed sources (all from CDC) later tonight. Traveling today.

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I retract my previous statement. I went through my forecast and realized it was undercounting because of how many more accidental deaths we have since 2020 (accidents, homicides, suicides). These are the last deaths to get fed into CDC datasets.

We went from a yearly average of 250K up to 290K in 2020 and 314K in 2021 for accidental deaths.

I said previously we had 97% of data collected up through 6/11 but probably closer to 94% now that a larger number of deaths are lagged (these take 6-12 months to become fully complete - we just got complete 2021 data last week or so).

I think the excess death dashboard you linked is reasonable assuming the accidental deaths continue on the 2020-2021 trend and therefore we probably will have 690,000 deaths in that 3 month stretch (mid march - mid june) instead of the 675,000 forecasted.

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I'm not so optimistic about the excess deaths picture. Excess deaths for 2022 looks a bit too much like 2021 for me to have confidence to pop the cork on the champaign bottle just yet. It's good that the raw number of deaths is lower than last year, but I haven't seen anyone make good precise predictions about the path of deaths beyond a couple of weeks.

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3: I have a hard time with the plausibility of this. If it were just that more people were going to college, there would be less assortment of individuals by IQ. Thus you'd expect a decrease over time in IQ among the high educational attainment groups and an increase in the "high school" group. What we see is decreases across all groups.

Additionally, IQ scores have increased generally over the period something like 10-20 points as documented by the Flynn effect. So I just don't see how you could get decreases in all groups as the only one that isn't shown is "no or incomplete high school."

Given that they are doing an IQ proxy, not real IQ, I'd bet that there is something going very wrong under the hood. Happy to be proven wrong if they write up something rigorous.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

(1) They are probably using that-year IQ scores for each year, which is why you don't see a Flynn effect

(2) The IQ of all 3 groups can go down if the upper 2 groups each become easier to complete but still hard enough to complete that there's an IQ cut-off, observe:

1960s:

G: 115

C: 110, 105

H: 100, 95, 90

2010s:

G: 115, 110

C: 105, 100

H: 95, 90

So basically there's still assortment of individuals by IQ, but the minimum thresholds of graduate school and college have dropped.

EDIT: Also, there's a population of "never completed high school" that went from "significant" in the 1960s to "very small and very low IQ" in the 2010s

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

(1) They are not actually using IQ. I don't think the (poor) proxy that they are using is normed by year.

(edit) You may have hit on it here. I didn't realize that 60% of people in the 60s had less than high school attainment compared to 10% now. The graph only covers 40% of the highest educated people in the 60s but it covers 90% of the population in the present.

https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2017/comm/americas-education.html

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The proprotion of people getting a high school diploma significantly increased since 1960, and much of that increase was for black students, who have a significantly lower mean IQ than white students, meaning that this effect was magnified. This is also true to a lesser extent with hispanics (but mainly that large numbers of hispanics immigrated to the US over this time period, not that they were here but not getting HS displomas).

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There's been a big increase in the percentage of Hispanics getting high school degrees since the 2008 recession. Up through 2007, it was not uncommon for Latino boys to drop out of high school to work construction, but then the Great Crash meant a lot more had nothing better to do than stick around school to graduate and maybe try community college.

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This is just a classic Simpsons Paradox - if the education groups are completely sorted by IQ, and then the highest members of each group move up to the next education group, then all education groups will have a decrease in average IQ, even if populationwide average IQ increases.

There was once an Australian politician that complained about New Zealanders moving to Australia and lowering the average IQ of both countries (or maybe it was a New Zealand politician complaining about Australians moving there).

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I think that's the Will Rogers effect, not Simpson's Paradox.

"When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states."

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They aren't using IQ per se. The General Social Survey (GSS) does not include an IQ test. They're using the "wordsum" question, which is a 10-item vocabulary test where individuals find a synonym to a listed word from four choices, I believe.

https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/variables/5305/vshow

These numbers are somehow transformed to IQ scores, but the very brief amount of google searching suggests a correlation of wordsum and IQ of ~ 0.7. Good, not perfect. Verbal intelligence, but how correlated are verbal and numerical intelligence?

A few stray observations:

1. Folks could only have 11 IQ values if the wordsum variable ranges from 0-11, right? Not sure how fine-grained you can get with that re. IQ scores.

2. Do folks' vocabularies develop as they age? Not sure. But if so, this might be a chart showing that older people are older than younger people.

3. Could also be measuring ESL over time. Presumably a larger percentage of post-graduate degrees are held by Asian immigrants, for example. In that case, relatively high vocabulary knowledge of your second language is arguably more impressive than slightly higher vocabulary scores of your first language.

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The use of the 10 word Wordsum vocabulary quiz on the General Social Survey isn't a real IQ test, but for something that quick and dirty, the results are strikingly reasonable in almost all the applications I've seen of Wordsum over the last 15-20 years.

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Most graduate degrees are in education and business. (Like almost 50%)

People seem to imagine the tweet is a statement about Physics PhDs.

Uh, no. Physical Sciences are like 1%. Engineering, CS and Biology together get you to about 10%.

So at least be aware what you are arguing for or against…

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High school dropouts are less intelligent today than in 1935 or even in 1975.

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25. A combination of COVID deaths reducing the workforce, older people taking earlier retirement, and reduced immigration relative to economic growth would seem to explain it. That also seems to explain why unemployment in Europe is at historic lows.

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founding

Covid deaths in workforce age should be an order of magnitude less than what you need to see this kind of effects.

Considering it's politically motivated "statistics", I wouldn't even bother check it. Just ignore out of hand, no matter which side it comes from.

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#21/robustness- ratio of glia to neurons in the human brain is ~4:1 and whenever AI comes up I think how I definitely see the opposite of that kind of investment in infrastructure by SDEs and I'm excited for how absurd/poorly executed the next 40 years are going to be

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

Re 25. They aren't saying if it's median or average. Say a quarter to a half of bottom 50% households owns a home. In the past 4 years or so, average home price seems to have gone up something like 100K. So that would have an average bottom 50% household gain 25K to 50K.

I imagine the median value has either gone down or stayed about the same, so they are probably listing the average value to make it look good.

This seems to agree with households in 50th to 90th percentile gaining 100K, since presumably most of them own a home.

I'd be equally suspicious of the rest of the numbers, even if technically accurate. Most obviously, I can believe that the hourly rate went slightly up, but the prices of everything consumable (and of many non-consumable goods as well) have gone way up, so everyone is getting way less for a bit more money.

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I don’t think I agree with Jacob Steinhardt’s framing that adversarial robustness is best thought of as “safety” rather than “capabilities”, at least not in the avoiding-AGI-apocalypse sense of safety. (Clearly it is safety in the sense that a self-driving car needs it to avoid crashing into things.)

Consider: if an object detector can be confused into labeling a rifle as a watermelon by the presence of a label in the image that says “watermelon”, isn’t that a shortfall in some essential capability? Would you be worried about a putative AGI that fell for things like that taking over the world?

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Human fall for a lot of silly things, but they still managed to take over the world.

(However, I agree with most of your argument.)

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24. Looks like in other countries, they had to look for a compromise that is at least temporarily acceptable by most. In America, it was "decided" by judicial fiat and the side that won declared it case closed, now and forever. Except turns out it wasn't. But by now both sides are polarized to the extremes and aren't willing to talk to the other side, so there would be a lot of fighting there.

25. Real net worth figure looks wildly out of place. No way it grew over 2x in 4 years.

32. I'm not sure what would be the theory of $500 making permanent improvement in a poor family's life. I mean, there could be certain cases, but wouldn't it be that in the majority of cases there are deeper reasons for the poverty that one-off $500 could ever fix?

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I'm "pro-choice", but I can't help but notice that a lot of Democrats talked a big game while Trump was in office, saying how he is acting unconstiutionally and how he has no respect for the constiution. Now he's gone and I don't recall seeing a single constitutional argument against this ruling being made by any halfway prominent Democrat.

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Look I'm pretty cynical about law and constitutionality but the best argument that reversing Roe was unconstitutional is that when we talk about constitutional norms, we're talking about a broad range of ideas, but almost no one would dispute that *stare decisis* is part of how the constitution has been interpreted for centuries. Once a decision has been made, that's it- matter is more or less over. You can very slowly chip away at it over many decades or centuries till it's effectively dead letter, or you can amend the constitution, but otherwise that's meant to be it. A future court just saying "actually that was wrong" negates the whole idea of a supreme court.

Of course it's insane to give any supreme court, undemocratically elected, that level of power over such a vague document as the constitution and bill of rights. But that's what the constitution does, and respect for the constitution requires respect for constitutional precedent.

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I've not read the entire US Constitution; is there anything in there actually implying stare decisis? Roe was hilariously unconstitutional (mootness and making shit up), so you could argue that SCOTUS upholding it would still be unconstitutional.

And SCOTUS going "we stuffed up" has happened a lot of times before (e.g. Lawrence v. Texas directly overruling Bowers v. Hardwick after 17 years, or the kinda-vaguely-defined end of Lochner but still definitely less time than Roe stood for).

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> is there anything in there actually implying stare decisis

Nope, and can't be. It'd be insane - even the Constitution itself has amendment process (and they literally started amending it immediately after signing it). How would you expect to bind future generations to the will of people long dead and never modify it? It just can't work this way. One can try design the process so good that the future generations would rather follow it than try to design a new one entirely from scratch, but if your process is so inflexible that you expect the future generations to abide by the decisions taken centuries ago and never be able to challenge them - the descendants would just say "screw you, dead man" and refuse to follow it. That's why there should be fine tuning between change being hard (we don't want to emphasize everyday squabbles and let the legal system to be swayed by it too much) and change being possible (otherwise people would just abandon this system or ignore what you wanted and change it anyway).

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"Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of these difficulties, the Convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which in an abstract view of the subject might lead and ingenious theorist to bestow on a constitution planned in his closet or his imagination."

James Madison

The Federalist No. 37

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Actually, Roe Vs Wade wasn't necessarily as unconstitutional as one might think.

But the best (or only) argument I found would have been with the unenumerated rights: when the US constitution was adopted, abortion used to be legal and widely available.

(The constitution by itself only binds the federal government, but there have been some later maneuvers to bind the states as well.)

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> when the US constitution was adopted, abortion used to be legal and widely available

Was it? Without any limits up to the moment of birth? I find it a bit hard to believe, given the Christian churches' position on the matter. I can find references to abortion being legal "before quickening" - i.e. the same 15-16 week boundary which we find in many cases today - but I can't find any source that claims there was no limits for abortion on demand at that time. Could you provide a source to these claims?

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In addition to that, I think embracing the argument of "something that has been legal in 18th century can't be regulated or prohibited now" would have much larger consequences than either side would be willing to accept. For starters, we know some examples of things being legal then that we don't really want back - like slavery or racial discrimination...

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Yes, before quickening. I did not intent to make any claims that there was no limit.

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But there's also precedent for the Supreme Court overriding itself.

According to the first reference I found (which may not be the final word on the matter) the Supreme Court between 1789 and 2020 issued 25,444 judgements, and overruled itself 145 times. A general argument that the court must *always* follow stare decisis would be inconsistent with the meta-precedent that the court can overrule itself.

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Yes but, so the argument goes, a turn around this big, blatant and sudden is unheard of.

Whether that's actually true or not, I know not. I have no background in Jurisprudence

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I dunno, Brown v. Board of Education was pretty big.

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1954 Brown overturned the 1896 Plessy ruling. About the same time frame as 2022 Dobbs overturning 1973 Roe. I wouldn't consider 50+ years sudden. There's jurisprudence in between that indicated the legal reasoning behind Roe was troubled too, e.g. Casey ...

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This whole conversation was discussed in the SCOTUS 2022 Dobbs opinion. The problem with Casey was that it waved vaguely in the direction of 'stare decisis' while itself muddying the waters of what the term meant. Saying it stood on precedent, it then went on to reject half of Roe and define a new set of principles it pulled from thin air. It was a weird way to invoke stare decisis.

Dobbs, OTOH, was careful to lay out a definite framework for how it thought stare decisis should be applied, and had been applied in the past. Sure, the dissents disagreed with some of their reasoning/framework, but if we're comparing Dobbs with Casey, it's clear that of the two decisions Dobbs at least tries to strengthen stare decisis - clearly defining our expectations of when it should hold - while Casey wasn't as interested in whether its unique approach to the principle would create more problems down the road.

As to whether other modern precedents also ride on the Dobbs decision, I agree that revisiting Roe creates the potential to revisit other decisions conservatives don't like. But I'm not convinced those are likely to be overturned anytime soon. For a few reasons:

Conservatives worked for decades to bias the court in favor of overturning Roe (likewise on the other side). There's not the same drive from the Right over Obergefell or other precedents. The 'unborn holocaust' argument endured for strong political reasons. (Dobbs even mentioned how Roe's holding had influenced SCOTUS appointments for decades - something that's hopefully in the past.) More likely, conservatives will want go back to asking their appointees whether they'll protect against 'legislating from the bench'. It's harder to drive political will toward abolishing substantive due process.

Indeed, there's a strong 'libertarian conservative' movement inside the party that's less interested in legislating conservative ideas on morality (which tend to lose at the polls) and more interested in protecting free expression of those ideas. With the current ideological makeup of the court, you'd need to swing farther to the Right to overturn something like Obergefell. Put someone like DeSantis in office from 2024-2032, and I still don't think you'd get it overturned.

Dobbs relied on the idea that the State has a pre-birth interest in the life of the unborn. That interest was recognized initially in Roe and affirmed in Casey, when they created viability-based arguments. That weakened the case from, "constitutionally-protected right" to "only within limited circumstances determined by SCOTUS" (trimester/viability). In other words, Roe/Casey created limits to the abortion right they defined, and that's the wedge SCOTUS used to break the whole framework apart. The end result was always going to have to land on either 'legal until birth' or 'no constitutional protection'. That same vulnerability embedded in Roe/Casey from the beginning doesn't apply for the other precedents Thomas & co. want to revisit.

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Not a lawyer or law professor either, but I have heard about SCOTUS overturning previous decisions - including conceptual frameworks - before. E.g. the whole approach to questions of race changed quite a lot over time. How much the government is allowed to meddle in economics has changed. Approach to freedom of speech (remember the infamous "fire in crowded theater"?) changed too. It's not unheard of.

Of course, people disliking a particular decision would always claim it's absolutely beyond acceptable and the Court had never fallen so deeply as when it disagreed with them. But it's just self-serving rhetoric, nothing more.

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>it's insane to give any supreme court, undemocratically elected, that level of power over such a vague document as the constitution and bill of rights

The Supreme Court is unelected and unrepresentative on purpose - read Federalist #51, 78-81. The whole point is that the judicial branch is a check on majority passions of the moment because the majority has a tendency to get carried away with whatever shiny thing they want right now and ride roughshod over the minority. The U.S. Constitution is not vague - it is a document that says what powers the government has, it's not a document that sets out laws (laws are Congress' job). The Bill of Rights is not vague at all, they are definitive statements about what the government cannot do.

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1. Any document that includes the phrase "reasonable" or "unreasonable" is extremely vague.

2. Yes, it was intentional, it was also insane.

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This does ignore any issue of stare decisis 150 years before Roe.

If Roe v Wade overturned a 100 year old law, that was being enforced, why should the stare decisis clock start in 1973?

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> but almost no one would dispute that *stare decisis* is part of how the constitution has been interpreted for centuries

Actually, a lot of people would dispute it, including members of SCOTUS itself. Overturning previous decisions is not an easy step and should not be taken lightly, but it happens, and it happens routinely in many cases.

In fact, this is the only way the Court can stay relevant today. If all the Court could do is recite what people in 18th-19th century decided, without ever being able to change anything, then people today would reasonably argue that such Court is useless - we don't live in 18th century anymore. Times changed, needs changed, morals and mores changed. If the Court is never allowed to change, it'll just become irrelevant fossil.

Of course, one does also have to be wary of the opposite extreme - the "living document" doctrine, which essentially says there's no meaning in Constitution outside our opinion, and it's just an empty shell to be filled with anything we desire today. There are certain principles and ideas we want to keep, and the deeper the change goes, the harder it should be and more consideration should be taken before doing it. Neither "never change" or "nothing is fixed, everything is up for grabs anytime we want" is workable. Finding a reasonable middle ground is the responsibiity we entrust SCOTUS members to bear.

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It's a good point that SCOTUS that followed prior decisions would be unable to legislate from the bench. They would have to depend on congress for legislation. \S

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Unfortunately, SCOTUS can override Congress, unless it's a Constitutional amendment, so that would require an amendment to correct any mistake SCOTUS made in the past. I think that would make the system much less useful - and make SCOTUS way overpowered. Imagine some SCOTUS decision you don't think was right - I'm sure no matter what your politics is, you could find one - and imagine there's absolutely no way to change it without passing a constitutional amendment - which is not going to happen because half of the states will always be against it.

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This is true and not true. For example, with a normal law, Congress could have defined human life to begin at 2 months. That would be a profound enough change to force a revisitation of RvW (because after 2 months abortion would now legally be murder). SCOTUS could then balance the two rules without merely overruling RvW.

It is worth noting that my original post was snark/sarcasm. ( see the \S)

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This is a somewhat bizarre argument. There are numerous examples of reversal of constitutional precedents in American law

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

"If you completely deny that a right to privacy exists in the Constitution, that destroys not just the right to abortion but many other Supreme Court decisions such as the ones that protect gay marriage, sodomy, contraception, and miscegenation" is definitely a constitutional argument, and one that I've heard plenty of.

(Also, I generally hate "people aren't focusing on the argument that I personally would find most persuasive, therefore they don't believe this" as a line of argument. You are not the only person in the country who needs convincing, and overturning Roe has plenty of terrible consequences to point to without getting into the weeds of constitutional interpretation.)

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I feel like "if this argument is wrong then we don't get the desirable result" looks more like a logical fallacy than an argument. I mean, even if I agreed that keeping gay marriage legal is a good thing, that doesn't mean the privacy argument is right - even if gay marriage has been made legal under it. It could as well be that the privacy argument is wrong, and they'd have to come up with some other argument to support the legality of gay marriage (or just have the legislature to do their work for once and pass the law to make it so). Arguing from the desired result is what we will often see from a trial lawyer, but that's not what we want to see in a judge, especially a SCOTUS judge.

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Looking at increase in net worth as a multiplication by 2 is probably misleading. Net worth is assets minus debts, and if a significant number of people (say, homeowners with mortgages) have substantial assets *and* debts, then a slight appreciation of assets while debts remain constant can easily result in a doubling of the difference.

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Net worth including house would be hugely misleading metric to start (usually primary residence is excluded) but even then given covid it is very suspicious that it just over than doubled in a very short period of time.

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Net worth excluding house would be a weird metric as well, since it drops dramatically when people buy their first houses.

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True. I guess one has to exclude mortgage on primary residence too, but the downpayment - which is 20% standard in the US - will still skew the picture.

That said, for example, the "accredited investor" standard uses this metric - to be considered "accredited investor", you need to have $1M+ net worth excluding primary residence (with the caveat that if your house is "underwater", the remaining debt still dings your net worth). For this particular case, however, under-counting assets is OK.

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Great roundup this month!

I know I can google it and I have and learned the basics, but can anyone point me towards more resources to get a better understanding of AI alignment? I've been going through Alignment Forum quite a bit but I was wondering if anyone knows a good summary + further resources. Thanks in advance!

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Have you had a look through the AGISF curriculum? https://www.eacambridge.org/technical-alignment-curriculum. It's quite good

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The link on breastfeeding and IQ spurred me to write my own post about IQ and breastfeeding.https://woodfromeden.substack.com/p/sweden-is-smarter-than-france-or

There are plenty of natural experiments on breastfeeding and IQ since different (rich European) countries have vastly different cultures around breastfeeding. Despite these different breastfeeding levels there are no significant IQ differences between countries in continental Western Europe. An indication as good as any that breastfeeding has at most a minuscule effect on cognitive ability.

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Good one. Just the last two sentences alone is good enough for me. I don’t need longitudinal studies now.

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Your conclusion wouldn't be true if there are genetic differences between countries, and genes for high IQ also lead to lower breastfeeding (eg, because it's less compatible with pursuing high education). Similarly for various other possibilities, such as cultural differences affecting both IQ and breastfeeding rates.

Now, if IQ is really almost the same in different countries, such hypotheses would require an unlikely near-exact cancellation of effects. But how close are the different countries really? I'd think one could only use non-linguistic tests for this, since otherwise differing language would surely produce some artifactual difference.

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You are entirely right. It could be that, for example, the French actually are genetically smarter than other Europeans but spoil their entire advantage on not breastfeeding.

Within countries, breastfeeding and maternal IQ are highly positively correlated.

A way to get around the problem with between country-differences in IQ would be to study people within the same country with different years of birth instead. Differences in breastfeeding rates between decades really are astonishing.

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Or just use a large enough collection of countries such that the odds of genetic and breastfeeding IQ contributions cancel approaches nil (barring the fairly absurd possibility that genetically IQ superior races all tend to breastfeed less).

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That's a good idea!

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Charts showing that people are using less color in the past few decades or possibly century

https://twitter.com/culturaltutor/status/1551976051860963333

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Could just be rubber band effect.

Industrial dyes and then plastic making all the colors of the rainbow possible for products was really a 50s thing, and even into the 80s you have neons becoming a new fad. But eventually you hit a limit and super colorful stuff becomes associated with cheap products, and so there is a retreat back towards basics.

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Here is the source for the first graph. It's mainly about the replacement of wood. Note that blue and green have increased in the last couple decades, at the same time they have become less common for cars.

https://lab.sciencemuseum.org.uk/colour-shape-using-computer-vision-to-explore-the-science-museum-c4b4f1cbd72c

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We get plenty of colors these days via screens, so maybe we don't care as much about colorful objects as in the past?

Cars are certainly less colorful than in, say, 1970. I don't know about clothes' colors.

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Says the guy whose twitter avatar is a bare marble classical statue

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14: Sadly, knowing the reason for this will literally get you called racist by a meaningful number of people on the left. Which is kind of funny when you think about it: "racist" people are constantly called "ignorant", and yet being *too* informed (i.e. not ignorant) will also get you called racist.

And before anyone replies "No it's racist because you dont understand the historical causes of black crime rates", yes, I know. Specifically I know that's the narrative you take when some inconvenient facts rear their ugly heads.

But not only is there no real evidence for this (historical factors being the cause of black crime), it wasn't even the question being answered. Even if you somehow tie slavery or segregation or "systematic racism" to black crime, the cause is STILL not republican state governments (as implied by Newsom) - even in a more expansive sense of causation, black crime is just as high or higher in many blue states, its just that southern red states have the highest proportion black populations in the country, so "republican state governments being (uniquely) systematically racist to black people" still can't be the explanation, and calling people racist here is a way of slandering people for disagreeing with you.

23: The chart he posted is literally just a correlation. Absolutely nothing was done to this data to control for any other factors, it's just the raw data. It's not even from the part of the paper where they attempt to control for confounders. Even if there little to no causal relationship at all, we could still reasonably expect to see the exact same correlation. And yet this tweeter boldy proclaims a direct causal relationship based on that chart. Worse, it's the state level data, not the county data. Maybe he read the whole paper, maybe he understood the regression (unlikely). But his conclusion cannot be drawn from the chart he posted, and I can see no reason for posting that chart except to convince people of a causal relationship on the basis of the correlation, so its a bad tweet and he shouldn't have posted the chart.

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According to the left, the cause is "white supremacy", which republicans stubbornly refuse to condemn every waking hour, and therefore are complicit in.

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I'm pretty sure that even the "original" Voltaire quote was a paraphrase by a 1950s biographer.

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(Or perhaps that was the joke.)

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Invented pretty much from whole cloth by Evelyn Beatrice Hall for her 1906 book "The Friends of Voltaire" which was a rather fanciful sorta-biographical sketch

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Whoops, you're right! Weird, I thought for sure it was the Fifties. And you'd think I'd remember the author's name...

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3, inverse problem: ignoring Flynn effect, use the chart to plot degree inflation over time.

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#3. is misleading — this doesn’t adjust for adjustments in the IQ test due to the Flynn effect. Over the last century, the average person has gotten much smarter, and so the creators of the IQ test (who set 100 as the population-level mean) have had to repeatedly move the goalposts in response. As other commenters note, graduating high school is simply much more common now than 60 years ago, and not graduating is far less common over the same timeframe, meaning many people in the original sample were not represented.

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It's not quite accurate to say people have gotten smarter as a result of the Flynn Effect. People are doing better on IQ tests in a specific way.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/s0160289613001761

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Flynn effect is very different depending on which test is used. Flynn effect is large on Raven's matrices and near-zero (and now turning negative) on vocabulary (which WORDSUM variable in GSS is)

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Tuddenham effect (erroneously called Flynn effect) is not on g. Simply speaking, people are getting better at doing IQ tests, but don't have higher general intelligence. General intelligence is actually declining.

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I'm dividing my comments up into smaller groups per suggestion. Let me know if this is annoying and I can adjust:

3.) Last I checked the GSS doesn't include an IQ test. It includes something called WORDSUM which has a .71 correlation with IQ but is fundamentally a vocabulary test. I expect things like knowing what sedulous means are more class correlated than a general IQ test. In a more direct sense this makes me think that our language education might be getting worse.

5.) A man so interesting he ripped off Dollar Shave Club's aesthetic and makes everyone call him God King in what definitely isn't an attempt to salve crippling insecurity. Possibly because his wife isn't a doctor.

7.) I prefer practical applications like this. Too many people get caught up in the future and fail to run instead of crawling.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

> the GSS doesn't include an IQ test. It includes something called WORDSUM which has a .71 correlation with IQ but is fundamentally a vocabulary test.

This is a misunderstanding. There is no such thing as "correlation with IQ". IQ tests correlate with each other, usually at around 0.8 (some considerably less, like Draw-A-Man); that's enough to say that WORDSUM is an IQ test. You might ask how g-loaded it is.

And your concern about vocabulary testing in general is not well motivated; most famously, the infamous "regatta" analogy on the SAT was investigated (because it looked so unfair) and found to be unbiased.

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Could you cite me the investigation on 'regatta' please? I can only find people talking about it generally rather than a specific investigation of its biased-ness

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By this definition isn't any test that correlates with IQ an IQ test? That seems true in a sort of definitional way but it's a bit of a spherical cow.

As for the regatta thing: I don't know much about this subject so maybe I'm wrong.

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The point here is that IQ isn't actually a thing, it's a shorthand that's useful for some purposes and misleading for others.

A wide range of measurable mental abilities are correlated with one another, so it's useful to have a shorthand for "how good at most of those things are you?"

If you really want to, you can take a basket of those measures, apply them to a bunch of people, run principle component analysis on your results to find the dominant eigenvector, and call that "IQ".

But no one basket of measures has any more underlying validity than any other.

Compare and contrast with sizes of dogs. There are lots of ways to measure a dog - length, height, weight etc. Those are strongly but not perfectly correlated. "Size" is a useful shorthand, but reifying it and arguing about whether a long thin whippet is larger than a shorter, heavier mastiff, or claiming that length, height and weight are all imperfect reflections of some underlying hidden variable called "size", would be dumb!

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Some baskets of measures help you get better at finding a General Factor of intelligence or dog size or whatever. Other factors help you know something specific and important that's not all that correlated with the g factor: e.g., 3-d imagination correlates less with the factor than most IQ subsections, but it's a useful skill for mechanics, plumbers, engineers and the like.

General Factors show up in a lot of fields. For example, consider the general factor of sedans that distinguishes a BMW 3 series from 5 series from 7 series on a whole lot of measures, or a BMW C from E from S class.

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It's easy to make a mediocre IQ test, hard to make a really good IQ test. Wordsum functions as a surprisingly solidly mediocre IQ test but it's not a good IQ test. In particular, watch out for biases on wordcel vs. shape rotator issues when working with Wordsum data.

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Well, for what it's worth I sat the (rather short) WORDSUM test. It placed my IQ slightly lower than more thorough IQ tests I've taken but in the same general range. The same standard deviation and all that.

At any rate, I don't claim to be an expert on this kind of thing. But I use GSS data a lot and I wanted to point out the potential issue.

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Hi Erusian,

> Let me know if this is annoying and I can adjust

Yes, seven or eight times a short post by the same person in a row feels kind of excessive. I felt it made reading/scrolling unnecessarily slower, especially as it's just smaller chunks of things numbered anyway. Seperate points would have been easily recognizable as seperate also in a longer post. My perception, don't know about others. Two posts would have been fine. Also, not a point against diving comments in general - I've seen for example different questions asked in a row in different comments each, and in that case I find it helpful.

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I used to do it like that and a couple of people said they found it harder to engage with. We'll see what the consensus is. The long superpost is actually easier for me but engagement is nice so... I don't know. Apologies for the annoyance.

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Yeah, I see the point. Let's see.

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I like it. Very long posts are a pain to navigate. The smaller chunks are easier and more practical. I can just stop off at a place where I want to engage.

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1 vote for perferring chunks over the one long post.

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The links post is an extra-special case: I think a top-level comment there should refer to exactly one item, so that responses will be neatly partitioned.

Or to put it another way, I'm less likely to engage with a comment if it's about lots of different links.

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I think one topic per comment (or maybe a small set of related topics per comment) and many comments is better than any grouping, but if you’re going to group, then it would make the most sense to group all into a single comment.

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8.) It's covid and Ukraine. "The economy isn't worth human lives" ignores that the economy is how everyone gets food. Africa and the Middle East get a lot of their food from Russia/Ukraine because it's cheap and all that. Fortunately, both regions are famous for their stability and this is expected to have no serious effects... More seriously, Turkey has been trying to get Russia to allow continued exports, partly because they make money and partly because instability in their neighborhood isn't great. Russia agreed and then bombed grain distribution centers the next day because Russia has decided to be this season's heel. South/Southeast Asia might also have some issues due to economic problems but they fundamentally still have open lines of trade mostly and their agricultural centers haven't been bombed.

But yeah, this is temporary. But people die in temporary food shortages. Governments are overthrown. We were somewhat saved by the fact the harvest was good. But when you embargo and or invade a third of the world's export grain market things are structurally at issue. There are things that can be done to increase production but most of the countries that could help are food secure enough this won't affect them. So this is the rare case where awareness might actually be an answer.

9.) This is a common trick in p-hacking. Data isn't giving you what you want? Pre-committed to a set methodology? Just add more data!

12.) I don't understand how these two things correlate. Why would exponential to linear effects in computing correlate to the ideas getting harder to find thesis?

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> Why would exponential to linear effects in computing correlate to the ideas getting harder to find thesis?

He's not even showing exponential-to-linear - he's showing exponential-to-exponential and just calling one of the axes "linear" for no reason. ELO is not a linear measure of ability, nor was there any reason to believe that it might be.

The lesson here is "before you call something 'linear gains', be sure you know what you're talking about".

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Re 8: I do think a utilitarian EA approach means looking very carefully at food supply. I remember reading about crops rotting on the vine in 2020 and thinking that whatever specific distancing measures produced this effect were net killing people. Putting biofuels in gas at a time like this should be viewed as tantamount to napalming village in Africa.

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I was having a discussion with someone who was involved in food relief efforts. I mentioned off hand that I'd heard food was rotting in the fields in Ukraine. They replied that couldn't be an issue because it wasn't fall when the harvest happened. Which, if you know the first thing about wheat agriculture, is a shockingly bad statement. This supposed food relief expert didn't know winter wheat even existed! When I asked them where they thought the tens of millions of tons of grain had come from they'd thought it had all just been stored for six months. Which is a hilariously bad idea of how grain logistics works too. This is just one of many, many stories I could tell.

A lot of the NGO complex would never, ever be caught dead in a rural area for anything more than a photo op and it really shows in how they (fail to) tackle these problems. I have a pet theory it also cripples them in places where rural society is still a large segment of the population. Which is a lot of the places they want to help.

Which is a roundabout way of saying: Food is extremely important and should be an interest area. But I'm deeply skeptical that EA has the social connections or domain knowledge to get or create the relevant experts.

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Russia didn’t bomb grain distribution centers they bombed military targets in Odessa. Apparently including storehouses of U.S and NATO supplied weapons located at the Odessa port.

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This is the current Russian party line. However, the day of the attack they claimed it wasn't them and then changed their story. It's just a disinformation campaign. They also claim the Ukrainian footage of burning civilian goods was caused by Ukrainians shelling their own positions to make the Russians look bad.

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Just because it’s the Russian “party line” doesn’t mean it’s not true. The grain agreement is to the advantage of the Russians which is why they signed it (and to the disadvantage of the US which doesn’t need grain but does need propaganda points). It makes zero sense for them to violate it, but a great deal of sense for them to strike military targets in Odessa

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Sure. But I am generally suspicious of anyone who goes, "It wasn't us!" and then throws out conspiracy theories (as the Russians did initially). And when the evidence emerges showing they're lying it changes to, "Okay, it was us, but they deserved it!" Of course that evidence is from Ukraine. But we've already agreed that just because it's one side's "party line" doesn't mean it's not true.

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14.) Yeah, that was my thought to. I won't say the phrase to avoid the search engines picking it up but they have a pre-canned response to this. Has anyone seen such spaces? What's the ratio of people who are insane to just normal conservatives? Newsom remains, in my opinion, pretty bland. But that seems like the Democratic brand at the moment, to be frank. Far left policy (at least against the American median) backed by bland politicians. Freddie had a piece saying as much about Fetterman.

15.) Did anyone else watch ReBoot? This reminds me of that aesthetic which was pretty accurate to the computer generation of the time.

16.) While I don't know about this specific subject this is real in a general sense. One thing Britain has been trying to achieve for years is what they call reciprocal accreditation. Basically the idea is that if you're a trained doctor or stock broker from the UK then the US should just let you work in the US. And in exchange you can work in the UK. The issue is the deal's lopsided: access to the US is worth much more than access to the UK. You see similar things with Mexico and Canada. Interestingly, a fair number of British right wingers seem to have decided this is a good idea and totally different from an organization like the EU. Left wingers just want to rejoin the EU.

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founding

Yes, someone else watched ReBoot. Thank you for evoking those memories once again.

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17.) The thing is that balance isn't interesting. You can read a few dozen papers doing a deep anthropological dive on the practices of the Haudenosaunee and learn about a fascinating and complicated culture. Or you can make up something and then wrap it in a bunch of accreditation when people are too polite (or politically motivated) to point out you're making stuff up. Memetically the latter gets passed around as "checkmate, bigots!" or whatever. People have a powerful ability to convince themselves of what they want to believe. Not to mention once any impoverished group gains interest from such a source they have every incentive to play along as a way to get sympathy and/or money. Do you think the Mosuo would be getting anywhere near as much tourism or an airport built if not for the whole matriarchy thing?

18.) I strongly suspect it was some Q-Anon believer.

19.) You don't have an inner circle? That's exactly what someone with an inner circle would say! More seriously, I'm unsurprised. Musk doesn't seem like an EA type and he especially doesn't seem like he'd like playing in someone else's sandbox. (Also: you do have an inner circle and a similar story about you would say something similar about, say, the Grants Program.)

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Maybe you could make it all one long comment, but start with a bullet list of the topics

. internet designs

. musk ea

. etc

That way anyone interestes in engaging can see if you hit one of their buttons, but everyone else could scroll.

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21.) Speaking of this, I recently heard almost no one is working on AI cybersecurity. As apparently the local rationalist skeptic this is one area I actually think is really important and valid. You don't need to think the singularity is coming to imagine an AI that can break encryption or something. I fear AI research really could usher in a new era of computer viruses in the endless arms race between the two. Is this true? Who's the Pope of EA/AI Alignment that I can send a petition to in order to get this funded?

22.) Is this surprising? When one culture has a norm of marrying young and attaches much more social prestige to children and that culture is broadly Republican of course those things correlate.

24.) Thank you for giving me a link to back up something I've been saying and getting push back on this entire time... The US is in a weird position where both our parties are extreme on abortion issues relative to peer countries. (Of course, the US remains far to the left of the world average.)

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author

I don't know exactly what you mean by "AI cybersecurity", but Nova Das Sarma is doing something like this - see https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/nova-dassarma-information-security-and-ai-systems/ .

EA would love to fund more things like this, I think they are short of people/projects worth funding rather than money or awareness that it would be a good idea. If you know any, let me know and I'll pass them on.

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> You don't need to think the singularity is coming to imagine an AI that can break encryption or something.

Nothing would cause more rapid development of techniques to describe what an AI is doing internally than one that could do that. It would be of extreme mathematical interest.

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Indeed. Also we've locked a lot, and I mean A LOT, of important things behind "Neener neener you can't solve this hash algorithm!" (Or whatever.) And so far that's true. But it's not logically impossible and if an AI could do it then it is legitimately no exaggeration to say they could break the majority of modern infrastructure. And it doesn't have to be intelligent at all. It just effectively needs to solve extremely complex math which is very much a weak AI thing.

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> Also we've locked a lot, and I mean A LOT, of important things behind "Neener neener you can't solve this hash algorithm!" (Or whatever.) And so far that's true. But it's not logically impossible

This claim ("it's not logically impossible") is, itself, an open question, not something that's known to be true or false. To my eyes, you would appear to be... "dramatically overconfident" in your position.

> It just effectively needs to solve extremely complex math which is very much a weak AI thing.

And I don't understand this claim at all.

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> This claim ("it's not logically impossible") is, itself, an open question

It is not. It's simply not logically impossible. It might be PRACTICALLY impossible. We might not be able to do it. But there's no hard and fast reason an AI couldn't, say, discover a new form of math that allows it to radically increase the speed of prime factorization to the point it can brute force through certain common security measures.

> And I don't understand this claim at all.

The AI does not need to be generally intelligent (strong AI) to do something damaging.

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> It might be PRACTICALLY impossible.

The standard assumption (or perhaps "hope" is more accurate) is that those things are theoretically impossible, in the same sense as it is theoretically impossible to solve NP-hard problems in polynomial time if P !=NP.

There are lots of problems where it doesn't help if you throw an infinite amount of intelligence at them. Reverse hashing may or may not be among them.

Of course, there are tons of caveats. The hash function is usually not the weak point of a crypto system. There are many weak human and non-human factors surrounding that hash function.

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This is a fair critique of my somewhat sloppy wording. But I don't think it undercuts the point.

And yes, the biggest vulnerability is always between the chair and the keyboard. Unfortunately I'm not sure how AI could solve that.

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Jul 29, 2022·edited Jul 29, 2022

>> This claim ("it's not logically impossible") is, itself, an open question

> It is not. It's simply not logically impossible. It might be PRACTICALLY impossible. We might not be able to do it. But there's no hard and fast reason an AI couldn't, say, discover a new form of math

Again, whether that's true is an open question, not something known one way or the other. You've managed to confuse mathematics with magic. We don't know whether or not it's possible to discover a new form of math that makes factorization easy.[1] But we do know that it might not be possible; the fact that you can describe something happening doesn't mean that that thing is possible.

[1] We do know that factorization is already easy if you can exploit some pecularities of quantum mechanics at large scales. I'm comfortable calling this method, which relies on artifacts of the physical world, "not a kind of mathematics", but reasonable opinion can differ.

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Don't said algorithms have proven lower bounds of computational power required to crack them? I'd expect at least some of them to have these, with considerably higher bounds as conjectures.

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Regarding AI style cryptanalysis, why do you believe that continuous methods like stochastic gradient descent are likely to help in the one truly discrete domain we have studied intensively? The most effective application of AI has been the use of SAT solvers to look for weaknesses in systems, but even that has only yielded small advances. In cryptography there are massive incentives and so I with high confidence believe either that there really isn't any low hanging fruit, or that someone who does have a better fruit picking machine is not going to publicize it.

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In the short term I don't think it will. This is a longtermism thing which is why I am addressing my petition to the Pope of EA/AI Alignment and not something more conventional. The threat isn't that Russian hackers will tomorrow break all our encryption. The threat is that as AI research advances we might eventually find something that can do things we can't currently do and some of those things might break encryption pretty fundamentally. Mitigating that risk, and importantly mitigating the risk it's someone ill intentioned, is important in my view.

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25.) The Democrats are trying to pretend the economy isn't ailing going into the mid-terms. It is. Though it must be said we're dealing with something rather more mild than, say, 2008. At least so far. It could get worse.

The budget deficit is lower because income taxes receipts have increased in part due to inflation and in part due to tax increases. Unemployment rate doesn't include people not seeking employment and the stats for employment to population ratio is hacked by excluding people over 54. A disproportionate share of people who stayed home were older. They chose this statistic over the Labor Force Participation Rate because that doesn't prove what they want it to prove: it was higher under Trump.

This is the same trick they pull with real wages for production non-supervisory workers. In other words, they chose a specific sector that produces a lot of durable goods which did well during the pandemic and find a modest increase while real wages have otherwise fallen. And the net worth thing is because people spent two years spending less and saving more or investing in durable assets like couches instead of trips to Disney. Though the statistics I found mostly have lower absolute numbers roughly doubling is what I've seen. Real GDP is higher... but it's been declining since Q4 2021.

This is just partisan propaganda. If the "hold my beer" wasn't obvious. Lots of cherrypicking.

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I like the way your explanation of how #25 is partisan cherrypicking is in-and-of-itself, an excellent example of partisan cherrypicking. Brilliant!!! \S

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This comment adds no value to the discussion. If you want to explain why unemployment for people 25-54 (which is not age of first job or retirement!) is better than labor force participation then I think we'd all like to hear it. Instead your content free sarcasm condemns your preferred party.

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Aug 1, 2022·edited Aug 1, 2022

My comment was intentionally sarcasm (thus the \S at the end of it).

I am not at all sure that you are wrong in your assertion that those numbers are biased. I, nonetheless, stand by my snark. You picked 4 of their 8 points to contest. 2 you hand waived and 1 you said, "sure their two metrics are valid but here is one that isn't." That is as cherrypicking-ish as one can get. You could have just said, "This disagrees with my priors."

(edit valid=>supports their contention)

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32.) UBI experts always predict it will go well and it never goes as well as they predict. It's also totally unnecessary and continues to be unaffordable. We live in an economy undergoing profound changes but the decreased demand for labor is not an actually observed phenomenon. The idea that we're in some future where people are going to be unnecessary remains completely unproven. If you really want to see how ridiculous it is go read some 19th century Russian anarchists. They'll tell you late 19th-early 20th century Russia is so rich that work is barely necessary anymore. Industrialization was about to eliminate all need for work etc etc. And objectively, they were correct that 19th century Russia was leaps and bounds wealthier than previously. I don't expect modern assertions of the same thing (substitute the time period and "industrialization" for "automation") to survive better than they did.

33.) Kink types are all either extreme progressives or libertarians in my experience. I've seen people making the case that universal healthcare and UBI was necessary to be kink friendly so women could stay home and be fetish bimbos instead of needing to work. Which ties back into the "how people will spend their time" part of UBI.

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32 - your point about UBI experts reminds me of Keynes predicting that everybody would soon be working 15 hour weeks. And strangely Hayek suggesting that everybody could be given enough to cover all their basic needs, so nobody would have to work!

Both ideas are so utterly insane that I'm surprised we give their proponents the time of day. For me as a Hayekian this is something of a painful problem, but there we go.

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Keynes was just extrapolating. And he didn’t predict it happening “soon”, he predicted a few decades hence. The 40 hour work week was largely established then, down from twice that or more in the 19C.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day

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For an economist charting a fundamental change in working practices "A few decades hence" is tantamount to "soon". And I think that 'just extrapolating ' is about as dumb as it's possible to be - it displays an utter ignorance of human beings, how they function, and what matters to them.

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