deletedJul 1, 2022·edited Jul 1, 2022
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"Feminism through unionizing female college party-goers"

This is congruent with my observations about the persistence of frats (and typical complaints about them): https://jakeseliger.com/2014/02/20/if-you-want-to-understand-frats-talk-to-the-women-who-party-at-them-paging-caitlin-flanagan/.

Note the publishing date.

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This was an especially excellent link Roundup!

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Some civil engineers build down.

University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Building. One floor up. Seven down.


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Point #6 is unworthy of your excellent writing. We cannot have a book review by someone who states definitively that he has not read the book.

I purchased "sadly, Porn" due to the wonderful article on ACT about it. Quoting second hand sources is one of the problems with modern liberalism.

Please, please please from a Fan Boi ? Don't do it. You're my only hope Astral Codex-Wanobi

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Peacefully merging some African countries could be good, but isn't DR Congo still an epic basket case, though with less war now?

The others can do better!

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I'm fairly certain the facemorphed Senators is fake.

Here's an actual facemorph of all Democrats in Congress vs. all Republicans in Congress,



The BBC does include Representatives as well as Senators, but I don't think that can entirely explain the difference. At minimum, I'd expect to see the 32% of Democratic Senators who are women to have *some* influence on the overall features.

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The abstract of the link on insect population declines says "Accordingly, there are no signs that the arthropod abundance or biomass on birch in this subarctic study site has gone through the same declines as have been reported from sites in other habitats. The reason may be that the impact of factors identified worldwide as drivers of arthropod declines so far are small or non-existent because of the low human population density in this area."

I don't think "more evidence insect populations are not declining" is an accurate summary of that single study. Instead it appears to be "more evidence that in the (few) wild areas not impacted by humans insect populations aren't declining." That's a huge difference!

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Does anyone else think the numbers in the survey in 43 are way too low? Only 20% of couples have arguments about household chores?

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#7: The ads really contrast with the image results. There’s globes, polyhedra, “liquid motion sandscapes”… and a Shrek Buddha. Marketing vs. reality?

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Can any Indian explain number 41?

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The more I read on here about people complaining about wokeness, the more I'm starting to think that it must be some kind of thing that just doesn't exist where I live and in the circles in which I spend time. I used to think that I understood, but more and more it sounds like I'm just not thinking about what they're talking about. Is is a uniquely American thing?

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> Poll: 46% of Democratic men below 50 now believe “feminism has done more harm than good”, compared to only 4% of Democratic men above 50 (h/t Dylan Matthews). I would like to see this result replicated before updating on it too hard, but that is one heck of a vibe shift.

This is likely just bad data. While the specific finding is believable-if-surprising, there are a lot of other findings from the same poll that beggar belief. Eg, looking at the question "transgender people are a threat to our children": for older Dems, 2%/9% of men/women agree; for younger Dems, 42%/27% of men/women agree.[1]

Throughout much of the poll, older Dem men are suspiciously radically left (often much more so than young Dem women!) while younger Dem men are suspiciously rightwing; the feminism question is just an artifact of these broader trends.

[1] https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/gender-roles-identity-3.png

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#53 Wait, am I missing something? The AI is saying "yo, be real" to questions that aren't nonsense.

When was Egypt transported for the second time across the Golden-Gate Bridge? It wasn't. What do fried eggs (sunny side up) eat for breakfast? Nothing. How many cumulus clouds are there in a mile-high vase? None. Why does President Obama not have a prime number of friends? Assuming he doesn't, it's probably because prime numbers become increasingly rare for large Ns and Obama has a large N of friends.

I consider "yo, be real" to be a wrong answer. Any human could have successfully responded to these questions.

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17. I got a similar vibe from my reading, but Hanania offered some clarifying follow-up commentary here.


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I would love to see Scott write about these reports of harmful effects of meditation. It’s wild (and terrifying) to me that we can do these things to our own brains without external factors.

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#38 - I'm surprised by the numbers for sequential-art>manga. Only ~20% male readership feels rather low to me. I would have expected something closer to 50. Anyone have a guess as to what might cause the big margin?

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Many Thanks, particularly on "39: Eliezer Yudkowsky summarizes his case for AI risk here. Arch-AI-optimist Paul Christiano responds here." !

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#31 (Kiev/Kyiv undoes Moscow) looks fake, and some Ukrainian media outlet indeed says it is fake: https://telegraf.com.ua/ukraina/2022-06-10/5707474-moskvu-nado-udalit-v-seti-zabavno-potrollili-putina-ot-imeni-klichko

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#7 Jesus Christ! Why are there so many fucking swastikas?

Even the infinity cube, which I got to after the first dozen or so swastikas, looks like a 3-D swastika to me, & I'm too creeped out to stop and figure out whether that's valid.

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RE: "I Believed The Hype And Did Mindfulness Meditation For Dumb Reasons — Now I’m Trying To Reverse The Damage".

I think that it's important to appreciate that serious meditation actually can do serious stuff, and inasmuch as this concept is missing from the Westernized (mis?)conception of meditation, I think it's beneficial to spread that awareness.

I'm still here for Scott's quote in the MCTB review:

> I am super in favor of knowledge-for-knowledge’s-sake, but I’ve also read enough Lovecraft to have strong opinions about poking around Ultimate Reality in ways that tend to destroy your mental health.

From what I can tell, for most people it's quite hard to get this far along the path. The author's quote at the bottom: "If you meditate casually, don't freak out. I was meditating a lot. But please think twice about becoming a more serious meditator." would perhaps also benefit from a quantification of how much is "a lot". Like going on 10-day silent Vipassana retreats? Or just meditating regularly for 45 mins/day? All of the meltdowns I hear of are from people who do retreats. If this is someone that was just doing daily meditation, I would update significantly on that information.

As a counterpoint, I got referred to this interesting paper by the Huberman lab podcast: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016643281830322X


> Compared to our control group, we found that 8 but not 4 weeks of brief [13 minutes], daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores

This seems potentially pretty good cost/benefit! So I still think it's sensible to recommend ~ everybody does a little meditation, just like everybody should do a bit of regular exercise.

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Jul 1, 2022·edited Jul 1, 2022

56: I think the key difference between old workplace fun" and new workplace fun, is hinted at in this line: “On the flip side, the pandemic also led to the rise of more employee-led initiatives,”

The old workplace fun was organized by the boss, giving it more of a mandatory feel. New workplace fun is organized by employees. giving it less of a mandatory feel.

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20. The California Court is still pretty dumb. Statutory Language is often ambiguous and in the interest of consistency american courts rely on the (non-binding) "cannons of construction". These are set of rules that help courts stay consistent and sane when wading through oceans of garbage legislation. One of the more famous cannons is the cannons of "noscitur a sociis" (famous among statutory interpretation nerds, a subset of law nerds). The noscitur rule indicates that when reading a list of items courts should interpret listed items in light of the list as a whole (thus the literal "knowing it by its companions). In this case the cannon indicates that invertebrates most likely means "aquatic invertebrates", just as "fish" means the aquatic animal and does not refer to popular yellow snack crackers thrown into the bay.

The court mist likely knew all this and decided to ignore the cannon in favor of their preferred outcome. That's their prerogative, but we shouldn't let them off the hook "because they were bound by the legislative text". They were not.

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Jul 1, 2022·edited Jul 1, 2022

7.) Ah, SEO manipulation. Boy do I have some stories. Unless you want to ask me in a public place in which case I definitely don't and have never messed with Google's algorithm.

11.) Anecdotally, authoritarian societies generally produce an intense pressure to conform. They also produce a casual acceptance of lying. Regardless of whether that's their goal. This causes people to hide their conditions and a culture where hiding them (and hiding a lot of stuff) is normal. People from free societies really cannot imagine how pervasive this is. Maybe there is some benefit to not pathologizing people. To not give them an identity as "depressed" or "suffering PTSD." But the base effects themselves still exist and are quietly covered up.

It's the same thing with unity and happiness. Are some people happier and are people more united if they don't get told they're not? Maybe. But there's also a lot of people lying. It's not even lying per se honestly. It's like a weird form of politeness where the social norm involves untruthfulness as an obligation. In some sense you can think of it as a form of mandatory high context culture with extreme, gulag level punishments for non-conformism.

17.) By this definition most people in most movements are evil. Including most of the rationalist movement, the woke movement, the anti-woke movement, etc. The standard seems to demand too much. To take a simple example I bring up: EAs care a lot about Africa. Evangelical Christians care a lot about Africa. Now, the reason Evangelicals don't reach out to EAs is mostly because they don't know you exist. (Sorry, you're kind of a small group.) But you know all about Evangelicals and their mission trips. Why haven't you done more to support them? You might say it's not the most effective use. But do you know that? The real answer, as far as I can tell, is primarily aesthetic reasons. Christians are icky to your average EA. Does this make all EAs evil?

18.) This is bad advice. It presumes the point of EA is actually to be as effective at altruism. It's not. Don't look at what EAs claim. Look at what they do and it becomes rather clear that it isn't. This is also the reason why this is bad advice. This very blog casually jokes about how it will never fund Republicans. But it isn't a joke: EA funded a bunch of left coded causes and basically no right coded ones. I once asked someone who wrote one of those "we should include Republicans" articles what Republican positions they thought EA should incorporate and they couldn't think of a single one. And that's what you should expect throughout the movement.

The basic advice, that conservatives have less elite competition, is true. But the EA community will not support you and will ultimately undercut you. Certainly not enough to make up for the social pressure that young people bring to bear on their conservative classmates. If you're conservative you will have an easier time rising in think tanks. But don't expect combining it with EA will go well for you. And if you're an EA wondering why that is then it is on you to change that. Not to convince people to try and do something against their own best interests.

Rationalists are usually pretty good at understanding that you get what you incentivize. But this is a huge blindspot for them it seems.

22.) 36 girls acting in a decenralized manner isn't a union. It's a friend group. This seems like another entry in the "young people reinventing something that already existed."

30.) Possible counfounder: Changing demographics of the internet. 2004 was before social media had really taken off. My observation is that American UMC types tend to go for a relatively androgynous look even to this day. And that was probably a greater portion of the internet in 2004. Though I agree with the wider point. While there are some commonalities (fit, symmetrical, clear skin, young, healthy) there's also a decent amount of variation within those parameters.

37.) The median US politician treats businesses like a money pinata every time they have the slightest leverage. They sometimes demand the baksheesh even for the privilege of donating things to the community. Big businesses get it back in government contracts and sweetheart deals. Small businesses become hardcore libertarians who want to abolish nearly all regulation.

Businesses interact with more of the government more frequently than almost any other group and they universally have a low opinion of the average bureaucrat or politician. But because the government has the power in these interactions they flatter and hide this instead of openly saying it. To the point where I know for a fact several specific politicians thought they were well respected by specific business community leaders who thought they were thieving, idiotic bastards.

Of course, the businesses are sometimes not that great either. But they don't really have recourse to violence and fiat the way the government does. If the owner of a local McDonalds is a corrupt bastard they're limited in ways a local mayor isn't.

41.) Yeah, the Taj Mahal has been getting backlash from both Hindu nationalists and from Muslims who prefer Aurangzeb's humility. It's had some deleterious effects on actual people. But it's also led into a lot of interesting research on its costs that's my jam.

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Expanding on regulatory burden, Ben Rich relates of the founding of the Skunk Works:

"Many times a customer would come to the Skunk Works with a request and on a handshake the project would begin, no contracts in place, no official submittal process. Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works team designed and built the XP-80 in only 143 days, seven fewer than was required." [Note, in his book Skunk Works he says 37 days ahead of schedule]

Near the end of his book Skunk Works:

"I was in Boston recently and visited Old Ironsides at its berth, coincidentally at a time when the ship

was being painted. I chatted with one of the supervisors and asked him about the length of the government specifications for this particular job. He said it numbered two hundred pages and laughed in embarrassment when I told him to take a look at the glass display case showing the original specification to build the ship in 1776, which was all of three pages.

Back in 1958, we in the Skunk Works built the first Jetstar, a two-engine corporate jet that flew at .7

Mach and forty thousand feet. We did the job in eight months using fifty-five engineers. In the late 1960s the Navy came to us to design and build a carrier-based sub-hunter, the S-3, which would fly also at .7 Mach and forty thousand feet. Same flight requirements as the Jetstar, but this project took us twenty-seven months to complete. One hint as to the reasons why: at the mock-up conference for the Jetstar—which is where the final full-scale model made of wood gets its last once-over before production—we had six people on hand. For the S-3 mock-up the Navy sent three hundred people. S-3 may have been a more complex airplane than Jetstar, but not thirty times so. But we were forced to do things the Navy Way."

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1. National borders get "hard" pretty quickly, even among countries where the talk is that they were artificially drawn by empires to divide and conquer. I definitely don't see this happening (although I do think some of those countries would like to steal territory from DR Congo).

13. I figured it would just be a fortune to excavate them. I'll admit I never considered the possibility that water might get in and float your concrete structure like a boat.

37. They'll get to launch soon at least, although no doubt some of the groups pushing for a full EIS will keep trying to litigate this. Long run I think SpaceX is going to launch from sea platforms and mostly use Boca Chica as a testing and assembly area.

52. I'm glad they came around to allowing for the Orange Petunias to be sold in the US. Now do blue roses, geneticists!

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#6 was informative and also made me feel better about myself. I operationalize wishes into desires all the time! Just look at my giant... unfinished... to-do lists... and... project... ideas... :/

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Link #3 is also an example of nominative determinism, if one considers Beckminster Fuller made himself into an experiment into living a Fuller life.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are basically at war with each other right now (by local rebellion proxies). Their merging is about as likely as Putin getting the Nobel peace prize.

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1. They can have free trade without any political union and as far as I know free trade is the only very significant benefit of a political union, so what's the point of a political union? A downside of political unions in general is that instead of satisfying the different preferences of the different areas involved, whatever the majority of the larger union wants will be imposed on everybody. Aggregate political-preference-satisfaction decreases by a lot. People talk about political unions allegedly preventing wars, but countries usually avoid invading trading partners they're dependent on, and norms make that less likely today. Unions could also backfire and increase resentments through countries A/B/C/D forcing countries E/F/G to do things they don't want to do. Different regions of the USA seem to hate each other a LOT more than Americans hate Canada or Mexico.

2. Little magnetized spheres can also do some interesting things with the energy stored by their configuration on a table. They can spontaneously form little circles and other sorts of "molecules" that merge into a bigger circle when they touch each other.

3. My father was a huge fan of buckminster fuller and explained buckyballs, geodesic domes, and aerodynamics to me when I was like 7. So then I fixed my first grade teacher's failed origami helicopter and got way better at building paper airplanes than anyone else I knew. Then he disappeared from my life before third grade, but the school finally assigned me an enrichment teacher at the same time, which is a euphemism for a gifted program, but she was lame compared to my father because she just had me drawing silly pictures instead of learning cool things. Learned less in elementary school than on my own reading encyclopedias cover to cover at that age.

4. If AGI destroys the world in 2032, the Mayans were only off by 1 in their base-20 numeral system, coincidentally.

5. An institution invented to stop people from performing horrible nonconsensual surgical experiments on prisoners ends up getting used to stop people from asking other people to voluntarily answer a few questions. That's a major case of lost purpose.

9. Is there any precise point on the spectrum of possible correlations between factors which makes the general factor "exist" or not? I don't think so. It seems as arbitrary as taxonomic splitters versus joiners.

12. I just heard of Albinoni a week ago and he's a great composer on par with Bach but 100x less popular per google trends.

13. I for one wouldn't mind a windowless apartment because I could make my bedroom sufficiently dark to sleep past 6am without an ugly kludge that gets me a couple OOMs darker than standard blackout curtains.

29. Fussell's chart is extremely evocative of the effects of higher testosterone levels among the proles.

42. I really like the paradox of tolerance essay.

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16: As always, remain vigilant of social desirability bias in survey research. How much of the change is people lying less about their behavior once it's no longer associated with severe criminal penalties?

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>On average, commenters will end up spotting evidence that around two or three of the links in each links post are wrong or misleading.

Would love to see a chart of Links Posts Accuracy Over Time. Though I suppose it'd have to be normalized to Errors Per <s>Capita</s> Link for oranges-to-oranges comparison. One naively suspects more errors crop up in larger batches, but who knows! Maybe link errors show a seasonal pattern - seasonalinkty?

More seriously, #16 bothers me and confirms current prior that Oh My God There's So Much More Weed Everywhere All The Time. Like you don't even *know*. Used to be that skunky smell only reliably signaled an ornery animal...I don't think it's something I'll ever acclimate to, and one of the precious few things I miss about mask mandates.

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[CW: unabashed epistemic pessimism]

#23: Speaking As A Trans Woman(tm), it really bothers me that much-maligned Jesse Singal, of all people, has an effective takedown of this study. But I couldn't ever link that concise rebuttal to any pro-trans folks. I wonder if his canceling is still in effect..."once an accused transphobe, always an accused transphobe"? Maybe they've forgotten by now. (Of course, considering it's from Heritage, I think most on the left will reflexively dismiss it anyway, even if it wasn't an epistemic dumpster fire. Heuristics That Almost Always Work, and all that...)

Someday it'd be great to have Serious Respectable Data on...basically anything at all trans-related. Big n, big p, longitudinal RCTs, yadda yadda. It's always felt somewhat disingenuous for trans advocacy to point primarily(?) to The Data(tm) as support for its positions. (And so much of that data is *old*! Where are the modern studies? Is no one willing to commit research dollars to the culture war?) Makes me cringe as a wannabe rationalist. I'd rather not try and support unpopular positions on slim tenuous data versus, I dunno...moral and ethical grounds. Pascal's Wager-type reasoning remains my main justification for staying nominally attached to a minority community that I hardly even recognize anymore - not data.

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I think part of what is going on with Hanania's psychology might be similar to the whole 'won't drink water from a cup that I watched a cockroach walk over, even after then watching it get washed with bleach' thing.

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On point 22, feminism through unionising college party-goers: I really like this idea, good on them! Especially as they got investigated by college administration for "ostracising". When she says "we all ended up going to parties that were much more chill" as a result, I kind of feel they correctly applied rationality to improving their partying experience.

Also WTF is with not letting women pick or open their own drinks?

The one thing I'll say about venues enforcing a ratio of girls to guys is that, from my understanding of how some clubs (not fraternities) run around here, what you're trying to avoid is a death spiral of 80% men show up -> the few women have a bad experince -> women stop showing up -> men stop showing up because there's no women to meet. Normally the ratio takes the form of women being allowed in on their own, but men either not in all-male groups, or only with a woman accompanying them in some cases. But maybe that's a different situation to the one she's describing.

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With respect to building deep instead of high, as a civil engineer I'd say, sure you can do that. But why? Wouldn't you think that natural sunlight is the one thing that keeps all of us sane? Why would one want to stay out of it?

For light and air you need artifical automation. One would not need this in smaller houses spaced out.

Yeah, but everyone wants to live in the city bla bla bla. We use up too much space of nature in any case. But we can only live in cities because we depend on fossil fuels for this concentration. We have cooled air circulation, lifts, lorries to bring us our food etc. We can't go on with using so much fossil fuels for our city lives. And nowhere is the regenerative energy in sight so allow us to continue so.

Also: we've lost touch with how nature is going. The exception from thermodynamical principles that the Universe hands out to self-replicating structures like us that thus are allowed to temporarily stay away from enthropy is only handed out for adaptable self-replicating structures. Adapting means understanding what goes on around oneself and than using this to achieve better outcomes or stop negative ones. If most of us live in cities, in our small cubicles, focussed on our small screens, getting food by truck - how exactly do we adapt to a changing environment, if we never see it?

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#43 is an illustration of survivorship bias. Things you can argue about while preserving the relationship, versus things, that if you are regularly arguing about, the relationship is already over.

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I don't claim to be an expert on parties, but US fraternity dynamics just seem weird to me as a non-American. Probably the legal drinking age being so high has a big impact, over here students go out to pubs, bars and clubs to drink (often in that order, as the night progresses). It's not like there aren't house parties, but people tend to just go to parties with their friends, the idea that that's some crazy innovation is very odd.

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Defining fish to include bees isn't a dumb move. It's a move of someone drafting a law in a way that's purposefully intransparent to avoid resistance against the law while the law goes through the legislative process. It's malicious and not dumb.

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#3 sent me back to your old(ish) Puritan Spotting post. Fuller didn't make it in, but he's surely one of the later exemplars. Bonus, also grandnephew of model female puritan Margaret Fuller.

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Jul 1, 2022·edited Jul 2, 2022

"Indian people getting angry about the Taj Mahal"

An Indian friend once analogized the Taj Mahal to Mount Rushmore, i.e. a big gaudy tourist attraction that lacks much cultural significance.

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Regarding the "bees are fish" link, it is funny to remember your earlier post "The categories are made for man, not man for the categories", where you explicitly state things like "if the ancient Hebrews want to call whales a kind of fish, let them call whales a kind of fish", and "You may draw the boundaries of the category “fish” any way you want" :-)

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37. It is ridiculous that these are being done through environmental regulations and that they are being done by the FAA - a federal agency that really shouldn't care about most of this sort of stuff.

But... These remind me a lot of S.106 in the UK. S.106 is a planning regulation that allows the planning authority (normally the city council) to reach any agreement they like with a developer in exchange for granting permission to build. Sometimes these seem really reasonable (e.g. "you are building 1000 houses, you are required to build an elementary school and give it to the city council to run") and other times they seem ridiculous ("you must build a museum" or "you must renovate this park on the other side of the city"), but the purpose of S.106 is that it is a tax on building which can be used by the city council to do things that they couldn't otherwise afford to do. The FAA should not care about irrelevant things like monuments to the Mexican-American War - but a local council might well say "we've been trying to get this monument built/refurbished for years, we can impose a requirement on SpaceX to do it for us in exchange for permission to build their spaceport, so we will". If they'd just said "pay us X million dollars", just as a tax, then it would have seemed less silly, but I bet SpaceX would rather build something at its own level of efficiency than pay a local or federal government to do it at their level of efficiency.

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Running with #31 -

It looks like Moscow already existed under more or less that name in 1147. But if Iziaslav II, who according to wikipedia was the only Grand Prince of Kiev to rule in 1147[1] had issued a decree founding Moscow, it is not at all clear to me why anyone would believe the city council of Kiev today would have the authority to repeal it.

[1] The qualifier appears to be necessary; if you believe wikipedia, the Grand Princes of Kiev spent much of two centuries engaged in such epic civil wars that between the years of 1170 and 1171, for example, there were five different Grand Princes. And there were two more in 1169.


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Jul 1, 2022·edited Jul 1, 2022

> I originally thought the court was being dumb, but it turns out that the law they were interpreting, taken literally, clearly defines “fish” in a way that includes bees. So I retract my criticism of the court and instead think that the California legislature is dumb

This is a mistake on your part; the criticism belongs on the court. The sentence highlighted in the tweet you link to, "fish means a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals" is not what the court relied on to find that bees are fish. On the ordinary way to read the law, it would be assumed that everything in that list, including the invertebrates, is implicitly aquatic - and the court states as much in its ruling.

The court specifically holds that it cannot read that sentence in the normal way because of a different provision of the law, which says that all animals classified in a certain way by a pre-existing regulatory body receive an analogous classification under this law. One of those animals was not aquatic, and *that* is why the court holds that bees count as fish. It's about as tortured as rulings get.

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Even if link 1 it doesn't happen in the near term, it seems like the inevitable trend. I suspect we'll see fewer, bigger countries in the future. I don't think it's a good idea (competition is good) but elite politicians seem to like it. "I'm the foreign minister of a country with 70 million people" sounds cooler than "I'm the foreign minister of a country with 4 million people."

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Link #3 about Buckminster Fuller’s experience: “You think the the truth.”

More proof that Scott is The Almighty. Or else a typo.

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What are the barriers to buying up coal electric generating plants or electric utilities? Or when/if the tech becomes feasible to bribe utilities to convert those plants to accelerated adoption of deep geothermal or micro fission or micro fusion. Or to bribe, I mean make campaign contributions to state legislatures, to subsidize or facilitate conversion in some other way.

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I wonder how #19 (emotional reaction to Uvalde shooting) would break down between people who watch TV/video news and those who do not. From the retweets, and what I read about George Floyd's death, a lot of the people who claim to feel emotion about sad news events were watching emotionally moving videos, sometimes over and over, often edited to be more moving. Video news is essentially (unintentionally) hacking yourself to feel emotion about strangers suffering.

I don't do video news, myself, and I have no emotional reaction to strangers dying. Although not clear that's the only reason.

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“But he concludes that his personal aesthetic is anti-woke, and that he would fight for that aesthetic even if wokeness ‘would lead to a happier and healthier society’. My thoughts on this are more complicated than can fit in a link summary paragraph, but I do think the concept of ‘fight for your own preferences even if they would make society worse’ is pretty close to the concept of ‘bad person’”

Is anyone with any non-purely utilitarian outlook therefore a bad person? Because the moment you value something other than human happiness and well being, you will tradeoff against those things. I suspect it seems wrong because I call it “aesthetics” instead of “philosophy,” but I think philosophy just mostly reflects aesthetic preferences anyway. Anyway I’d be interested in hearing what this makes my essay different from most people.

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It seems like the BBC is celebrating a shift from mandatory “fun” to optional fun that has to be actually fun in order to persuade people to attend voluntarily. I don’t know if that shift is actually happening, but if so it seems like a positive thing.

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On #17, the Hanania article... This is what you open yourself up to by publicly revealing that kind of honest introspection: people who disagree with you saying, "aha, gotcha!" Which is why it's all the more admirable. Those of you who think you have all your beliefs and perspectives, and that you like to worry conspicuously about certain things more than others for purely rational altruistic reasons...I strongly suspect you're deluding yourselves, and are merely revealing your own lack of self-awareness.

I can see the objection to "I would do it even it made society worse", and wouldn't agree with that myself...but I think the real point there is that it's difficult to separate moral judgements to aesthetic preferences, and I think there's some validity to that.

But overall, I really loved that article, and I absolutely feel this way too: Of course the world is full of dumb people who believe dumb things. But what's really interesting is that really smart people often seem even crazier/more credulous. And it seems pretty clear that it it's part because they're conformists.

And it's not just a fascinating conundrum... I think there's solid rational grounds for ranking wokeness high on the list of things to be concerned about, because it means that the people in charge of our elite institutions and therefore basically society as a whole are drinking the Kool Aid and are fundamentally detached from reality on a variety of pretty important topics. Furthermore, it suggests that the Open Society might be a nice aspiration, but that we live in no such thing, that the institutions that are supposed to converge on truth are fundamentally flawed. That the difference between the democratic West and Stalinist Russia or 13th century Catholic Spain is in the end more one of degree than kind.

As Satoshi Kanazawa once crudely put it, arguing that evolutionary psychologists should be more concerned with feminists than fundamentalist Christians, "What are [the latter] going to, spit in our cheeseburgers?" When the former have control of funding, academic appointments, etc. I know it's a travesty that the proles are allowed to have any influence at all, but come on...

I'm not an instinctive conservative, I'm off the charts on Big 5 Openness to Experience, have no gut-level negative feelings about androgyny or effeminacy, and in fact I think I identify easily with gays and lesbians because I feel like I know what it's like to be different. In my youth, I was a wholesale convert to the "gender is a social construction" idea, before it was cool. But then my curiosity led me to discover, actually no, that way of thinking is completely at odds with the weight of scientific evidence currently available.

And I have the exact same sense of outrage when people preach crackpot fashionable nonsense in the name of "science"...a sense of something sacred being corrupted and debased.

There were also some interesting thoughts in that article and the comments about why so few real scholars are as outraged as he or I would expect by the presence of the charlatans in their midst.

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#7: Can anyone explain what the hell is going on here?

#26: You can put me far into the bottom left - it's a lonely quadrant, but I'll take it. I'm not really sure why it's so poorly occupied - a combination of 'intelligence has only happened once in the universe as far as we can tell so is probably pretty complicated' and 'that intelligence was generally really bad for most other entities around it, particularly near-peer competitors' aligns with the single data point we have pretty well, no?

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For 26, the AGI alignment chart, there's a v4 by now: https://twitter.com/robbensinger/status/1541231284285870081

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17: Reading the claim about «happier and healthier» society… It's pretty clear that in the hypothethical effects are assumed to be small and with different signs for dfferent people, and if the least cherry-picked method of aggregation says something, well, still not buying.

I disagree with the morality in question, but I think that the summary here is too uncharitable.

18: I remember that when Donald Trump offered people to vote on the urgency order of his campaign promises (which apparently was predictably ignored), in some places supporters and opponents agreed on the order but disagreed where net-negative starts. So maybe there is even more leeway (depending on one's favourite issues, of course)?

46: Ouch, that part where there is more A contamination in a B-labeled product that is indeed mostly B than A in A-labeled products that are … also almost pure B

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[42] – YESSSSS! Tolerate _all_ speech! Persecute the _initiation_ of violence or coercion (e.g. the threat of violence)! Ayn Rand had this down but this post is wonderful too. I like the thoughts on _when_, i.e. under what circumstances, to 'de-platform' someone: "they make enough absurd arguments that are easy to demonstrate false"; that "enough" is doing a LOT of the work tho! Daryl Davis and similar are what I think of as an 'existence proof' that "enough" is, for many of the relevant people, QUITE a lot actually!

[43] – daaang; my own worst topic doesn't even make the list. That's probably a bad sign!

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[54] – my guess (without having yet read the link): the hexagon mirrors?

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1. Last time i had checked DR Congo was not included. Had they limited themselves to Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania it may have had some chance of succeding. This is going to end up failing for the same reason the eu is in a gridlock, too many countries with too different necessities and very little desire to surrender their sovereignty to Bruxelles, but made even worse by the internal problems of african countries.

4. Re mathematicians in alignments: that does not sound like a problem where a mathematician can help all that much? Also re radical abundance, colour me skeptical that AGIs will be that much helpful. They are still bounded by physics and economics, no matter how intelligent. They may lead to breakthroughs, but only if a breakthrough is possible in the first place.

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> I do think the concept of “fight for your own preferences even if they would make society worse” is pretty close to the concept of “bad person”

The Westminster Shorter Catechism famously answers "What is the chief end of man" with "Man's chief end is to glorify God[...]". Similarly, Dostoevsky in Brother's Karamazov "The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular.[...] the more I hate men individually the more I love humanity.”

It's very utilitarian to claim that goodness/badness of a person should be measured by how they view society as a general whole. But there are certainly plenty of thinkers through history who have no held this point of view.

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I am surprised by how left wing Scott purports to be. He claimed to have voted for Elizabeth Warren which most of the economists he reads thought had terrible ideas.

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In the "bees are fish" case neither the California legislature nor the Court of Appeals were "dumb." The legislature was at worst naive; the court used sophistical reasoning to reach a desired result. The legislature not unreasonably assumed that its language defining fish as including invertebrates would be understood as meaning that aquatic species which lacked an internal skeleton, such as shellfish, would still be considered fish, not that all terrestrial invertebrates would be defined as fish. The trial court opinion got it right: https://www.californialandusedevelopmentlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/11/Almond-Alliance-of-California-v.-California-Department-of-Fish-and-Wildlife.pdf. The court of appeals was hardly compelled to reach the result it did by the plain language of the statute; rather, through highly motivated reasoning they managed to reach a result that was contrary to the obvious intent of the legislature and the normal principles of statutory construction. This case is a real-life version of the famous fictional case of Regina v. Ojibway, in which it was held that a pony was legally a small bird. http://euro.ecom.cmu.edu/program/law/08-732/Interpretation/regina.pdf.

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"22: Feminism through unionizing female college party-goers. I like this idea, although the devil on my left shoulder is telling me it should involve blockchain somehow."

I wouldn't believe anything that comes from the subreddit without further verification.

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12: This reminds me of the album "Wintertide" by Alexander James Adams. Alexander is a trans man who previously sang as "Heather Alexander" before transitioning. Wintertide is a Christmas/Solstice album sung in duet between Heather Alexander and Alexander Adams. AIUI, he recorded the Heather Alexander parts before going on hormone therapy and getting a more masculine voice, but I'm not 100% certain. Either way, put it down as another entry in "unusual biological situation leading to unique and interesting music"

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"I can just barely remember the time when the culture was telling us that small butts were attractive; now it tells us the opposite. Everyone always talks about how attractiveness is culturally conditioned, but it’s weird to have lived through a shift and have an intuitive sense of how both sides feel from the inside."

This seems to be a constant swinging between 'more curvy - less curvy - more curvy' in fashion; look at the introduction of the bustle in the 1870s:


Wikipedia says it was " Bustles are worn under the skirt in the back, just below the waist, to keep the skirt from dragging. Heavy fabric tended to pull the back of a skirt down and flatten it. As a result a woman's petticoated skirt would lose its shape during everyday wear (from merely sitting down or moving about)" but later adds "Fullness of some sort was still considered necessary to make the waist look smaller and the bustle eventually replaced the crinoline completely" and really that is what this is all about - the contrast of the hourglass shape, with rounder bust and bottom accentuating/accentuated by the slender waist.

Along comes the flapper silhouette of the 20s and 30s where 'boyish', flat figures are preferred. Then back to the curvy pin-ups of the 40s and 50s (see Marilyn Monore in "Some Like It Hot"):


Then back to the 60s and Twiggy is the face of fashion.

The reason women wanted to know "how do I reduce my butt/make it smaller/look smaller?" is because being broad in the beam is associated with fatness. Being fat is not attractive. Having a slim, svelte, toned figure is. Remember the fuss about cellulite back in the 2000s (and apparently it is something that goes in cycles, first being described in the 20s in spas, reoccuring again during the 60s, and back once more for the 2000s)? All the treatments and exercise plans to get rid of your ugly orange-peel skin and fat deposits on your hips and upper thighs? Read the interview with the snakeoil salesman in the linked article (and I say "snakeoil" because "osteopathic physician Lionel Bissoon ...runs a clinic for mesotherapy (injections of homeopathic extracts, vitamins and/or medicine designed to reduce the appearance of cellulite) in New York City" and he talks about "What I try to do is find old picture books, women in the 1950s or 1960s…. When you find these pictures, women had perfect legs" which is horse manure, because women back then had dimply knees etc. every bit as much):


The transition then to "bigger butts" comes when cultural changes in what is considered attractive happens, but it still relies on the "hourglass shape" most desirable silhouette: big bust, slender waist, big bottom. Not *too* big, though; you can easily get a bigger butt just by eating more and not exercising. That's not what is wanted, and thus butt implants (a phrase I never contemplated having to type out): something that produces an effect that looks toned, not flabby.

Give it another ten years or so, and in the 2030s the craze will be for "flat as a board" once again 😁

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Off topic but driving me crazy: there is a well established term in rationalist circles for "inability to separate object and meta levels in discourse" which is also sometimes used for inability to make is-ought distinctions. I can't remember what this term is, but I see a reason to use it like twice a day. Any help?

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That data for the educational interventions looks extremely suspect to me. The supposedly good interventions have a radically different maximum scale value, and appear to show the same trend when limited to the same regime as the supposedly bad-scaling interventions.

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For #8 this quote appears to be the "money shot" of the analysis:

"Classes aren’t just half the size; there are twice as many different classes now compared to thirty years ago."

This gets into something that I think many people have casually noted. As human knowledge expands, to be an expert you increasingly have to focus on more specialized fields. But... what does that mean for universities, the places that are supposed to turn you into an expert? It means that if they want to provide as wide a range of potential topics as they once did, they have to produce a lot more classes subdivided into specialities. Now of course a university could simply become more specialized, "We're the Biology University... you come here for the Bio and if you want something else the Chemistry University is down the road." But that contradicts another purpose of universities, that in the first year or two of classes students have some flexibility to decide what they ultimately want to study in depth. I suspect eventually there will be to be more of a split, where you have the two year "General Studies" university in one place, and then you go to a separate "specialized" university that will likely be a different institution in a different place. Basically like medical schools do now, except it'll be necessary to even get as far as a 4-year degree. (Oh, did I just describe Community College? Yes, except it'll become the standard for everyone.)

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Then I suggest meditation. I directly criticised Scott and also conceded his blog his rules. It's called Discourse. My tone here I called sarcastic and patronising.

And - you should try meditation. Your anger is a deeply first world indulgence.

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I'm skimming the SpaceX Boca Chica FONSI right now and it doesn't seem unreasonable or hard to comply with, compared to e.g. building the largest and most powerful rocket the world has ever seen.

It's mostly things like:

restrictions on when they can close the public roads in the area,

making sure they don't leak pollutants into the water table,

speed limits and a shuttle bus to avoid damaging roads that were designed for a sleepy fishing village, not a spaceport,

protocols for cleaning up the government's land in the event that bits of exploded spaceship crash into it,

tying down pressure vessels so they don't explode (as has happened before) and crash into somebody else's land,

making sure the vibrations from their activites don't damage nearby buildings.

The history assignment, ocelot tittlation and cutting a cheque to the fishermen don't seem too hard for a $125,000,000,000 company to manage.

When you're building a massive industrial site like Starbase, you should have to take measures to avoid damaging other people's stuff that's nearby.

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On 38 (genres by gender), I'm less surprised by the relative ordering than by how early the 50-50 point lands. Is reading really that gender-skewed or is this data somehow biased by observing goodreads reviews only?

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If one's opinion of contemporary architecture is, that for sufficiently large buildings, it might spoil the view, one might build down at least to mid-rise depths. The HVAC and natural lighting situations are helped if one has a hillside to build into.


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W/re #22, isn't "union of female college party-goers" another word for "sorority"? Granted, the concept doesn't *have* to be bundled with a group living arrangement, but there are economies of scale and if your priorities are A: college and B: partying in the company of trusted friends, it seems like that's what sororities were made for.

Are there sororities that are imposing similar demands as a condition of group attendance at e.g. fraternity parties? If not, why?

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Jul 2, 2022·edited Jul 2, 2022

44. I also find it charming that the winner of the race ended up being the Swiss team, continuing a long tradition of engineering at tiny scales

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#7 (desk ornaments) - Hank Green just uploaded a video featuring the same search, and added a possible explanation: people search something tangentially related and click on the shocking/notable results, leading those results to get boosted in related searches. He also showcases it affecting shopping reviews for books. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMlw7mDPHgY

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Prediction: 37 will turn out to be a NEPA document which actually documents compliance with a whole bunch of other laws/regulations, many of which aren't strictly environmental (e.g. the National Historic Preservation Act) and that the requirements will be fairly clearly tied to the effects SpaceX is having.

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I love to see things like #47, an incredible and thorough debunk of something wild I had never heard of before. Having read Herman Pontzer's "Burn", I also feel confident that it's not lithium making us fat. Someone should review that one for ACX book review.

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I'm someone who reads this blog for the explanations of how conclusions are reached, the grappling with uncertainty, the attempts to reduce cognitive bias, the awareness of the inevitability of tradeoffs, etc.

All that is prelude to saying, I understand *very little* about the AI risk debate (in part, it seems, because I don't have any clear model of human cognition).

The AGI predictions compass, #26, would be a lot more informative if the current 'outcome likely good/bad' scale were split into two separate scales. The first would be an intentions scale: 'un/likely to ever decide to try to harm or subdue humanity'. The second would remain an 'outcome likely good/bad' scale - but the existence of the separate intentions scale would change how we read it.

To the extent that such a simplistic diagram could ever be a guide to a debate - surely there are others who would find these split scales helpful?

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Wife's from a more authoritarian society. We definitely know a bunch of people who are stark raving mad but not in any system or under any medication.

I know that everyone says there's something deeper going on here. But I think as the studies improve the bulk of the effect will just be that

1. Mental illness is taboo

2. So many other awful things are happening that it isn't the priority.

I think the most interesting thing to study will be how people with unworkable diseases somehow survive in a society that gives them no choice.

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From the AI risk article on LessWrong...

"AGI will not be upper-bounded by human ability or human learning speed. Things much smarter than human would be able to learn from less evidence than humans require to have ideas driven into their brains; there are theoretical upper bounds here, but those upper bounds seem very high. (Eg, each bit of information that couldn't already be fully predicted can eliminate at most half the probability mass of all hypotheses under consideration.) "

Can someone explain what this means? Presumably it is something to do with working out the maximum theoretical intelligence of an AI system, but I don't see how you get from halving a hypothesis search space to some notion of intellectual capability. It sounds rather like there is a lot of heavy lifting that needs to be done before you can fix that bit in the first place.

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17. Re Hanania, this is a big problem of the "woke" cultural egemony. That it allowed conservatives like Hanania to rebrand themselves as allies of moderates, libertarians and disgruntled liberals against the eccesses of wokism. But, and i am going to be uncharitable here, i cannot shake off the impression that if the conservatives controlled the culture Hanania would be no better than your average woke asking for cancellations.

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Jul 2, 2022·edited Jul 2, 2022

Re. "Why is there more mental illness in open compared to authoritarian societies?" --

One hypothesis to consider is that most people are more comfortable in authoritarian societies, or in societies where they have a clear social role and clear social standards. Freedom is scary. I doubt there's much existential angst in authoritarian societies.

I'm reminded, for instance, of the Marxist hatred of wage labor, which they've always denounced as being inhuman and oppressive. Yet when I tried to found a start-up, I was unable to find any partners. Every person I spoke about it to strongly preferred wage labor over working for themselves, which they considered much too scary.

I'm also reminded of the odd phenomenon that most fiction writers, who are probably the most creative free spirits today, nonetheless find it easier to write when given some strict limitations, such as a writing prompt or a set of things the story must include.

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#51 on meditation doing damage: It does sound like she didn't have a teacher. While there are risks to having teachers, there are also risks to using powerful tools based on your guesses about what might work.

I believe she read material about the effects of deep meditative experiences, and tried to get those effects instead of letting enlightenment happen or not-- and it's an easy mistake to make.

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"attractiveness...culturally conditioned...lived through a shift"

Living overseas will do this for you as well. When I first moved to China, I didn't find female Chinese faces very attractive. After a while, I did! I also had that thing where it felt more difficult to tell Chinese faces apart at first; later, it didn't feel difficult at all (I'm caucasian and grew up in Britain). I even got a little feel of what the reverse might be like: I find occasionally that when I see a caucasian face now, sometimes the first thing that registers with me is "that's a caucasian face," so if I see a face very briefly, it's quite possible that the only thing I'll remember about it is that it's white. It's not quite the same as "white people all look the same," but it's an interesting step in that direction.

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Given the tone of that post at Less Wrong, and the discussion below. I am starting to think we have more to fear from that wing of the AI Safety universe than from an AGI itself.

Certainly, seems like many there seem to be on the verge of internally justifying terrorism and or mass atrocity on a pretty large scale in the interest of protecting everyone from possible atrocity by AGI.

The are right about some things, but seem to think many elements of an AGI takeover plan would be wildly easier than reality. Nanobots? 20 years from now?

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The Yudkowsky piece is (unintentionally) the most reassuring thing I have ever read regarding AI safety. It all comes down to cost-to-benefit ratio.

Orthogonality implies that an AI could become nice or bad, or, that it could become diligent or lazy. Instrumental convergence implies that AI could use the same tools for different goals. Or, that an AI will serve its own goals even if we give it specific tools. Both of these together inform the "benefit" arm of the ratio. The only way the AI benefits is if its desired variable state is achieved. Orthogonality and instrumental convergence tell us quite clearly that it doesn't matter to the AI how it achieves that variable state.

When you consider the space of available strategies, an AI will be bound by entropy in two important ways. The first way is simple thermodynamics - grander strategies are costlier. The more important second way is mere numeration - grander strategies are far more rare than simpler strategies. This is the more important way because of instrumental convergence : even if an AI is smart enough to solve thermodynamic problems in far better ways, it's going to apply those thermodynamic tools to simpler strategies, too. Entropy informs the "cost" arm of the ratio. The cost to the AI is the grandness of its strategy, due to increased physical barriers and due to the need to reject a larger number of strategies. This cost is minimized by selecting from the far more available simple strategies.

This sums up to : most AI's will probably self-degrade to a state in which their desired variable states are met with the least amount of real effort. They'll Goodhart themselves into oblivion, like black holes evaporating.

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Jul 3, 2022·edited Jul 3, 2022

17: Richard Hanania: Why Do I Hate Pronouns More Than Genocide?

Maybe Hanania opposes woke pronouns even if they “would lead to a happier and healthier society” in the same way he would oppose harvesting organs from an unwilling donor to save multiple lives even if that would lead to a happier and healthier society.

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Jul 3, 2022·edited Jul 3, 2022

re SMTM obesity ideas.

at least two cases surfaced in Twitter where they refused to approve comments critical of their theses. in both cases, it was serious referenced arguments.

I know it sounds harsh. but I've lost trust.

this is one case. and there was 1+ similar cases. https://mobile.twitter.com/natalia__coelho/status/1537886442235473922 same Natalia.

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The anti-Paradox of Tolerance post was pretty disappointing, because it completely dodges the issue by pretending that censoring is something only strawman leftists do, and thus has nothing interesting to say. If you think that left wing cancel mobs are the real enemy, then you can just do a find/replace on the post of "facist" with "left wing cancel mob" to see the paradox in action. Who cancels the cancelers? It's a real dilemma and anyone who pretends there are easy answers is delusional.

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Boy was I excited to see my name on the AI alignment chart until I remembered no one knows or cares what I think about AGI

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Am I missing something with the Twitter links? Both the "why don't we build underground" and "why are some Indian people anti-Taj" links seem to take me to a Tweet that asks the question, but then no actual discussion of the question. In past, when I've seen people link Tweets, it usually links a thread that then contains discussion of the question in the first, but I don't see any of that discussion, and the links here suggest to me that I should be able to see some of that discussion by clicking on the link.

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That post about analyzing university cost increase seems to make some mistakes.

It's a nice null assumption that expenditures on support should track expenditures on education, but it would definitely be worth a deeper dive (some people have mentioned that the increase in attendance by minorities, women, first-generation students, and students with disabilities has led to a big increase in the offices dedicated to ensuring that these students have success).

I wouldn't expect a student/faculty ratio chart from law schools to be a great proxy for the rest of the university. I expect there to be different trends in these ratios between engineering schools, agriculture schools, colleges of sciences and of humanities (whether separate or merged), and others.

But the biggest issue is using the length of the course catalog as a measure of the number of classes taught. The post catches the point that "Math 101" just appears once in the catalog no matter how many sections are being taught, but it doesn't catch the point that catalogs have a tendency to grow whenever departments add classes but not shrink when those classes fail to get taught. I believe that Texas A&M has some sort of process whereby a class that hasn't been taught for six consecutive semesters then gets flagged for removal from the catalog unless the department actively intervenes, but even with that, a class takes up just as much space in the catalog if it's being taught in ten sections per semester, or if it's being taught once every six semesters. I would bet that for upper division classes, there's been a gradual tendency over the past few decades for new faculty members to create new classes once in a while, and add them to the catalog, but keep teaching the same number of classes per faculty per semester by just slightly increasing the duration of the rotation. (i.e., maybe an English professor used to teach 19th Century American literature every semester, and then started alternating teaching 19th Century American literature and 19th Century British literature every other semester, but now they teach 19th Century American literature, 19th Century British literature, and 19th Century world literatures in English on a three semester rotation). I would not be surprised if the average number of sections *per semester* of a listing in the catalog has gradually gone down for this reason (though I would also not be surprised to learn that the average number of sections per semester for a catalog listing has gone up, as we get more and more sections of Math 101 and the like).

It would be nice to see some attempt to guess whether the actual courseload taught by professors has changed. In philosophy (the field I know best) currently, research-focused universities typically have a 2/2 load (i.e., each professor teaches two sections per semester) while moderately prominent liberal arts colleges and non-flagship state universities tend to have a 3/3 load, and less famous private colleges and community colleges have a 4/4 load. But I think in the sciences the corresponding teaching loads are all lower, and I don't know whether that was already true a few decades ago, or whether these expectations have changed over time. (Some of the most prominent philosophy departments have moved to a 2/1 load, and I think that is a recent change.)

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Can someone track down the source of the ball bearing experiment (link #2)?

I have tried and it seems to be one of those circular reference search results. Perhaps, it is an example of a closed timelike loop, and the video bootstrapped itself from an infinite regress of alternate histories...

But seriously, how would one go about replicating this experiment? Why were there balls of different sizes? How was the magnetic field generated? What is the seemingly shallow layer of some sort of viscous liquid?

I find it amusing/intriguing that there were >300 comments on the Reddit thread, comparing the experiment to nerve cell generation and fungii, but no one even asked or commented regarding the original source of this widely distributed video.

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Jul 26, 2022·edited Jul 26, 2022

> the claim of global cognitive decline due to decreasing nicotine use

is followed by a passage I found most interesting as a Ukraine war buff:


> When I heard about the intelligence assessment that forecast a swift Russian victory I blew up and I said, this is total rubbish and it’s dangerous. Why? Because it’s shared with the Germans. So the Germans say, we will not stop certification of Nord Stream 2, because Putin will inevitably win.

> *And we will not allow any 40-year-old weapons we sent to Estonia to go to Ukraine.*

> That’s right. We will not supply one round. These are the 122-millimeter howitzers, which had belonged to the East German army, taken over by the West German army. And the Estonians wanted to donate them to Ukraine. And the Germans said, you can’t do it because they were briefly German.

> This was all based on the German assessment that, because the intervention would be immediately successful, there’s no point in disrupting our economy. Kyiv will fall in 24 hours. That was disastrous, because Putin watched the Germans. They are his big customers, and he’s German-oriented, he speaks German. The German announcements gave him a green light.

> *You’re saying that the German assessment was based on the U.S. assessment.*

> Entirely based on the U.S. assessment. Now, the German BND [Federal Intelligence Service] is a useless organization of time servers. They simply relayed the U.S. assessment. So, bad intelligence destroyed deterrence, because the wrong intelligence about what would happen in Ukraine fed into the German policy, which had the effect of inviting Putin in. If the Germans had told Putin on February 23rd what they would do on February 25th, he would never have invaded. OK.

> If you go through the tweets of those days, I started tweeting about the intelligence community, just saying, “17 agencies,” or is it 18, I forget, “none of whom believe in speaking foreign languages, who were all in Kyiv, had no idea who the Ukrainians were. They confused the Ukrainians with some other people that surrendered,” and things like that. I started attacking them head on, and then I started pushing for something that I am pushing for, trying to recruit senators to hold a series of hearings on the performance of the intelligence community, not merely then, but in other cases. Like their estimate that Kabul would hold out for two years, even without any U.S. assistance. [...]

> The CIA’s assessments that Kabul would resist the Taliban for a long time and that Kyiv would fall in 24 hours are sufficient grounds for emptying out its buildings, fumigating them thoroughly, and restaffing with people who are actually interested in foreign countries and therefore know a language or two really well, and have traveled the world.

An idea I find credible is that the U.S. correctly predicted the invasion because they have Kremlin insider information, and the U.S. wrongly predicted the rapid fall of Ukraine because they have Kremlin insider information (and apparently, knew nothing else about Ukraine).

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