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It is one of those great cosmic coincidences that America has produced the two greatest chess players of all time (as defined by dominance over their contemporaries), both of whom quit at the height of their dominance to never play chess again.

The best way of describing Bobby Fischer to a non-chess player is to imagine an Eskimo tennis player who cleared away the snow to create his own tennis court, trained exclusively by himself, then showed up at Wimbledon, where every single player colluded and conspired against him (sharing training techniques, intentionally throwing matches to ensure better rest for his opponents), but nevertheless won every match without losing a set or a game, and then immediately disappeared, only to show up decades later to blame the Eskimos for 9/11.

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Small typo: “ets qualified" should be "Lets qualified"

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1. In addition to Bezos, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison were also abandoned by their biological parents. At least some of their motivation must have been to make their biological parents deeply regret having ever abandoned them.

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> I can’t read the full text,

Pubmed notes on the right hand side that it's "free", because there's an Open Access link you can read: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0407.x

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"A broad survey of academic philosophers found that the only group who majority one boxes on newcomb's problem are those who study ancient Greek and Roman philosophy." - Interestingly, my (weakly held) belief is that rationalists tend to be way more into classical aesthetics / classical history in general than the average nerd. I don't care much for classical stuff; also I'd two-box.

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[Maybe add EY's talk with Paul Christiano on takeoff speeds](https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/vwLxd6hhFvPbvKmBH/yudkowsky-and-christiano-discuss-takeoff-speeds)

I think this was, in some sense, the most awaited one of the discussions.

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Re nature vs. nurture for criminality, I'm reminded of this study from Ohio.


Key points:

- You have a parent who committed a crime in Ohio

- Your parent is randomly assigned a judge. Some judges are much harsher than others

- If your parent got a harsher judge, you are slightly less likely to be a criminal yourself.

The study generated interest because it came to the unpleasant conclusion that having your criminous parent thrown in prison (this being more likely under harsh judge) was better than having him around in your life. Or maybe it scares you into following the law. But any way you cut it, this is a nurture effect.

Outside my field, but assuming it was conducted competently it has beautiful randomization and relevance to the question.

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As a veterinarian, I frequently think about placebo effects, but for humans, not for animals. I rarely get to observe the seizures or other clinical signs ("symptoms" are for humans) myself. Instead, I have to rely on the owner/guardian's assessment and report which can be highly biased. The placebo effect in question should be for the humans reporting the number of seizures their dogs are experiencing after giving them a new medication.

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On 10 (painted classical sculptures), a friend of mine said something similar: “I don't buy it. Why would they spend weeks or months carefully carving the marble and then spend an afternoon slapping some flashy colors on it? … I think archaeologists are only finding scant molecular evidence of the *base coat* on the statue. I bet the statues were also covered with highlights, layers, shades, etc.”

He suggests that the statues might have looked like life-size versions of today's painted miniatures, which is intriguing: https://www.facebook.com/steeleky/posts/10120183205650904

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The full-room light approach they tested was notably much less bright than even a normal light box would be (more light generated, but the bulbs were much less close to the eyes, so effectively less bright). See EA Forum here https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Ei2uYbn2zrzmBjEsp/sleep-effective-ways-to-improve-it?commentId=smDmE2vgCtpC4Ftnw

Still a nice idea, but arguably not really a test of the lumenator idea.

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On the U of A topic - I *really* struggle to see what they're going to do to promote diversity of ideology that isn't either a.) just being a right-leaning culture overall, which, fine, or b.) allowing some pretty heinous stuff because they don't want to draw a line on, say, anti-LGBT speech and actions.

Their thesis - that universities are too woke to function - is not nearly as true in my experience (at a Midwestern public school, so admittedly not the MOST woke school in America) as they seem to think it is.

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> 20: Variations on the fable of The Frog And The Scorpion.

THANK YOU. I saw this once back when it was first published, forgot the reference, and had been looking for it since!

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If you watch a lot of commentary by GM Ben Finegold, you come to love Paul Morphy. Apparently there's a lot of disagreement about Morphy's true strength; they'll say "Everybody he played against sucked. How can you say he was objectively strong?" But Ben argues that that's exactly the point. How exactly do you become so dominant over everybody in the world without there being anybody to teach you?

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I think your summary of Caplan is fair. Granted, it's admirable that he's open about it, and he was clear he'd say these things upfront, and he adhered to the terms of the bet. But even so it seems a little weak.

Then again, in the same vein -- his half-hearted rebuttal to me serves as a ringing endorsement of the book and I will probably read it now!

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> I’d previously cited a claim in Joseph Henrich’s Secret Of Our Success that people liked spicy foods because they were antibacterial, but an article in Nature says there is “little evidence” to support that claim.

Does this generalize to all spices, or just capsaicin and similar 'hot' things? Spices being antimicrobial is still the best explanation I've heard for why we've evolved to like their taste, in small amounts.

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It seems plausible that Christianity reached a majority of the Roman Empire in the middle of the 4th century as that would place it halfway between the Edict of Milan, tolerating Christianity, and the Edict of Thessalonica, establishing Christianity.

I had always wondered how much teeth the late Roman Empire could have shown when enforcing Christian orthodoxy given that its capacities were degrading. If however Christianity was growing organically and the official actions were simply recognitions of this growth then the enforcement problem goes away.

I wonder if there were some institutional limitations in the empire that made recognition of Christianity necessary once it achieved 10% adherence. Establishment in 380 is easier to understand as with a 40% growth rate per decade Christianity would have already saturated growth potential in the empire by then.

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> A big lesson of the past twenty years has been “actually liberal democracy isn’t necessary to reach developed-country status”, so it would be quite the twist if it turned out you needed liberal democracy to reach developed-country status.

Not really. This was a big thing with the USSR too: they'd bury us in economic productivity with their stakhanovite New Soviet Men freed from the waste of capitalism (cf. that _Conquest of Bread_ review incidentally). Then it was with Japan, they'd surpass us with their unique Japan Inc. fusion of pseudo-democracy in which one party was always elected and worked hand-in-glove with the zaibatsus (or maybe South Korea, or another Asian Tiger). Then it was China... http://web.archive.org/web/20090302203414/http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/myth.html You'll note all the countries in question are still below (sometimes vastly) US per capita.

The conclusion is more "the Industrial Revolution is a helluva drug", and can make any regime look good and get high on its own ideological supply about how it has restarted history and inaugurated the Caliphate or China Dream or Japan as #1 or whatever.

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I don't think it's fair to say the garish reconstructions of statues' original paintworks are *bad*, precisely. They are misunderstood; at worst they are misleading; but they're not incorrect, because they're made simply to reflect which colours we are *certain* were used over which areas. (i.e. we know there would have been shading over that red in Augustus's hair, but scientifically, we *know* there was a base layer of that bright shade of red, and that's what the picture shows.) Not to be lifelike reproductions of how they originally would have looked.

They're scientific displays, not attempts at full restorations, and it's not the archeologists' fault that clickbaity social media posts can't tell the difference.

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Re: #32, Viral load is how much virus you have in your body. Viral *dose* is how much you were exposed to. Conflating these convinced lots of people that early studies showing higher viral loads in more serious cases was evidence for Robin's idea. In fact, however, you don't know much about initial exposure amounts unless you're doing an HCT. Which, of course, we should have allowed far earlier.

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re 30/ (Stop telling kids they'll die of climate change).

Opening sentence of article is: IS CLIMATE CHANGE the biggest threat to humanity? Many people would say so.

I'd remind everyone of Scott's review of Toby Ord's "The Precipice" and the table Scott synthesised from it.

Risk of extinction from-

climate change ~ 1 in 1000

engineered pandemics ~ 1 in 30

unaligned AI ~ 1 in 10

There have been a few occasions when I've wanted to remind people of this round here. Climate change is a problem, but not THAT much of a problem

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Re 34: In addition to Paul Morphy, it is also said that José Raúl Capablanca similarly learned to play at the age of four simply by watching his father. It's claimed that after watching a few games, he played against his father and beat him on the first try.

If you are interested in this sort of thing you might want to check out these series produced by Agadmator on YouTube, an excellent and accessible chess reviewer:

Morphy series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDnx7w_xuguGhe-QDilZ6SvJCAedNiy6Q

Capablanca series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDnx7w_xuguH7szQrhNeLKoBZm-8Pumfq

Bobby Fischer series (Fischer was mentioned in a previous post): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDnx7w_xuguENa5LgFG7Gi8aYRVVnXxFE

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Bosnians are tall because genetics. Why are Filipinos so short, though? Maybe not genetics. I have a 5'6" relative with a shorter immigrant Filipina wife whose whole family was short, and they had kids who are both 5'11 or so. Hybrid vigor, or tall genes on an American diet?

"Then Republicans will capture all branches of government with large majorities, and build lots of solar panels in order to own the libs. Also promote race-blind hiring, build lots of housing to fight homelessness, repeal SALT deductions, regulate Big Business, pull out of foreign wars, heck, why not legalize marijuana? "

If my evil mustache-twisting branch of the Republicans (population 2, me and Newt Gingrich, and I'm not sure about me) gets in charge, we'll build nukes instead of solar to own the libs. You wouldn't like what we do about homelessness though ("are there no workhouses?")

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The growth rate of Christianity estimate assumes that Christianity began during the presumed adult life of Jesus, which is not as well-supported an assumption as you might expect. At the very least, there was a lot of messianic Judaism around well before the ADs and those congregations would have been easy pickings.

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>Last spring Robin Hanson and others mooted the idea that viral load affected disease severity; eg if you inhaled one coronavirus particle, you’d get a mild coronvirus case, but if you inhaled 100,000, you’d get a severe case.

Can someone share a link or a reference to this?

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33 is disappointingly weak, they make some good theoretical points against the spices/infections theory but struggle to find good evidence other than showing that it's about as predictive as any other classic East/West difference.

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19: This gets pretty close to the great mystery of why some less-developed countries “catch up” and others don’t; whatever happens in China is going to be a really useful data point.

I think after reading either The Dictator's Handbook (Bueno de Mesquita/Smith) or Why Nations Fail (Acemoglu/Robinson) that this stops being a great mystery. For autocrats, improving the general wellbeing of your population not only isn't beneficial, but likely harmful to themselves.

I still think this makes China an interesting data point. Their advanced surveillance, censorship, and behavioural systems seem to have kept the party's grip on power secure while they've opened up the economy. It'd be interesting to see if other nations can pull off something similar.

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Re 17 - I'm reading <i>The Best and the Brightest</i> and still early in the Vietnam war, but according to Halberstam, untruth is everywhere. True believers believe in lies, and everyone else knows that they can kiss their careers goodbye if they buck the consensus that the war is going well and will be won in a few years or less. Not just Army people but journalists and politicians and anyone who wants to be respectable. So bad statistics go up the line and are acted on.

That sounds so much like "misleading, unsupported, and cherry-picked assertions of success for the new math program". And the reasons seem similar. The active liars believing they are the good people fighting the good fight for justice and progress, and the others too scared not to go along--and often not having much of anything to put in place of the lies, at least not anything that doesn't lead to the conclusion that the goal isn't possible, which is of course unthinkable.

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12 - cyclosporine: This happens all the time. You can't discover the hypothesis of your experiment in the results. Any hypothesis generated AFTER looking at the results is a new hypothesis and must be tested in a new experiment. Otherwise, you're fooling yourself into believing that any natural variation between two randomly assembled groups must be causal.

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Do others really think that the question in #8 is a good proxy for wokeness? I’m not sure I support the hardline stance that minorities should receive 0 extra help for climbing the food chain (mainly because nepotism is useful, can rely on race, and maybe we should compensate a little for it). I usually think of wokeness as more aligned with cancel culture. Am I just out of date on definitions?

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Re: 31 -- Thank you so much for this support! I'm preparing part 3 now and have had some amazing discussion with David Friedman and others in the hidden open threads here on ACX already but let me put a brief outline of what I intend to say here in case I can get additional comments before it goes to press:

0. Probably quoting Scott's take here, of course.

1. A pointer to Scott's brilliant "Learning to Love Scientific Consensus" as the most general argument for why it's not reasonable to dismiss climate concerns.

2. How Bryan Caplan complained about lack of cost/benefit analysis in his debate with Yoram Bauman and now seems to be moving the goalposts.

3. Something about carbon capture getting slightly more realistic and an excuse to show off beeminder.com/climate maybe, unless anyone tells me that would look kind of opportunistic.

4. An answer to why Wagner and Weitzman didn't signal their lack of left-wing bias on nuclear power (the main question Bryan asked me in his last reply).

5. Calling Bryan out on skipping over the climatological arguments against geo-engineering.

6. As Scott writes in #29 here, admitting that, 7 years later, things currently look a bit less scary than "10% of chance of 6 degrees by 2100" but that that doesn't impugn Wagner and Weitzman's credibility nor does the scariness downgrade imply wait-and-see becoming rational.

7. Something about Bryan's bet with Yoram and how Bryan thought climatologists were overconfident in their predictions that warming would catch back up after that seeming pause and how they were super right and how imperative it is to update on that. Scout mindset!

8. Possible ending: "Wait, am I really saying that Bryan is going to lose that bet with Yoram Bauman even though HE HAS LITERALLY NEVER LOST A BET EVER? Yes. Would anyone like to make a side bet on that? I will give you extremely good odds! Even better, would you pre-commit to changing your mind about climate change if Bryan does lose that bet?"

9. Or end with a focus on our common ground: Revenue neutral carbon taxes should at least be a small Pareto improvement from a libertarian perspective. And of course fossil fuel subsidies should be outrageous to the whole political spectrum.

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>A big lesson of the past twenty years has been “actually liberal democracy isn’t necessary to reach developed-country status”

I'm not sure why anybody would have thought this. If you look at the list of countries by GDP per capita


then the top 77 countries are all democracies apart from a handful of rich petrostates. The non-democracies start at 78, with Iran, China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in a roughly similar place.

I have no idea why anyone would have thought that China was going to catch up with the US or South Korea or Japan; they just seem to have stopped eating dirt and taken their place among the Russias and Turkmenistans of the world.

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>This gets pretty close to the great mystery of why some less-developed countries “catch up” and others don’t; whatever happens in China is going to be a really useful data point.

There's no mystery here, those who continue who have a weak do-nothing government and allow Western capital to bleed it dry sink, those who have some sort of spine and don't allow western capital to bleed it dry do well, assuming they aren't made a pet project of the West for geopolitical reasons like say Taiwan for instance that is. It's not a coincidence that three of the four 'Asian Tigers' are Western pet projects for geostrategic reasons, the West has just to take the rare decision not to bleed these countries dry because its in their interests not to.

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> 3: Speculations on the rise of Christianity. A consistent 40% per decade growth rate maintained from St. Peter to Constantine would fit observations nicely; we know this is possible in theory because Mormonism has also grown at about 40% per decade the past century. Also, plausibly Constantine’s conversion barely changed the growth rate at all.

The thing I think would surprise people most about early Christianity is that it was a religion of the urban poor/middle classes. The best evidence we have for a pattern is that Christianity spread along trade routes to various urban populations and from there out to the countryside. Rural populations and elites seem to have been the holdouts.

I'd expect that the 3rd Century was a real turning point for three reasons. Firstly, the deurbanization scattered a lot of Christian populations to the countryside. Secondly, a century of crisis and civil war left the Church as the only operating national organization. One which gave charity and expected its members to die in a time where dying was a very real possibility. Lastly, there were some theological changes that made conversion more attractive and easier.

The last one is, imo, probably the big effect of Constantine. The end of official persecution allowed Christians to relax certain standards that were meant to let them survive under persecution but meant having some distrust of outsiders. These changes were probably at the center of various heresies like the Donatists.

> 4: Related:

Weak explanation #1: Most Classics scholars are Latin speakers and Latin is a highly synthetic, logical language. It has a bunch of connecting words that imply fairly specific logical relations. This became even more pronounced as it became the language of academia later on. I expect every Classics scholar knows formal logic to some extent.

Weak Explanation #2: Most Classical philosophy would have considered someone who took a small guaranteed payout over risking it for a greater reward a coward. Whether that's the Greeks talking of insufficient desire for glory or the Romans considering it foolish to think you can actually isolate yourself from risk. People who deeply engage with these philosophies end up adopting them to some extent.

> 14: To tide you over until the next book review contest, here is awanderingmind’s review of The Conquest Of Bread.

Kropotkin's best point is the idea that cooperation is a competitive strategy. That helping the less fortunate is not just an irrational moral stance but actually make you, the person helping them, more competitive in any sort of evolutionary competition (economic or biological).

The issue is that he wants to completely abolish property and thinks that production will still happen under these circumstances. He literally proposes things like that people will work to feed other people out of, basically, altruism. In some sense anarchism is to the left of Communism. You can kind of draw a spectrum between feudalism/slave societies (where people can own anything, even people) capitalism (where people can own anything except people), communism (where people can own private property but not means of production/labor), and anarchism (where people can't own anything). (Technically, Kropotkin says you can own property. But he also says it can be taken from you if you refuse to give it away. He just... never addresses this.)

To take the example of bread, both Communism and Capitalism argue that people produce bread and that other people can then purchase it and own it. Communism argues that the bread belongs to the person whose labor produced it while capitalists argue it belongs to the person who hired the baker. But Kropotkin style anarachists argue that neither of them can own the bread: the concept of ownership is itself wrong. It was actually the Communist philosophers who pointed out that an anarchist vision that expects bakers to produce bread and then give it away gives them no incentive to work. (They also considered it theft of the baker's labor.)

This is not an exaggeration. Kropotkin mentions how pianos will be produced in his ideal society. (He thinks this is something he has on the Communists because apparently Communists won't want to make pianos. And the idea of a collectively owned piano will mean no art can be produced.) His answer: the collective that produces pianos will give them away for free to artists for their own personal, altruistic reasons. He brings up a woman at the commune-factory loving an artist or the entire group of workers being moved by the beautiful performance of an artist.

Kropotkinite anarchism sounds nice because it has all those slogans about decommodification. "Everyone gets bread! Everyone gets healthcare! No one shall be denied any necessity or luxury! No one needs to work!" But once you dig deep into the theory it has some profoundly weird ideas about property, production, and how economics work. Perhaps most disturbingly, it has a very unusual definition of violence whereby simply owning something is an act of violence that justifies defensive violence to take things. Communists say something similar about factory owner's factories. But left anarchists say that about everything.

> 19: Noahpinion: What If Xi Jinping Just Isn’t That Competent? I appreciated this for making me think, and for underlining the extent of the difference between the Deng/Jiang/Hu era and what Xi’s doing. I especially appreciated this line, which I’d never thought about before: A big lesson of the past twenty years has been “actually liberal democracy isn’t necessary to reach developed-country status”, so it would be quite the twist if it turned out you needed liberal democracy to reach developed-country status. This gets pretty close to the great mystery of why some less-developed countries “catch up” and others don’t; whatever happens in China is going to be a really useful data point.

The myth of Chinese hyper-competence is something you can only believe if you have no direct contact with China. No one in China believes it. Not even the CCP in official propaganda! I have no idea about Xi specifically. But the average westerner just doesn't seem to have a good idea what's going on.

(The Chinese themselves have noticed this, by the way, and spend a lot of time criticizing the west for its economic advice for the rest of the world being narcissistic. The semi-official response to Piketty was basically, "This guy has no idea what anything that isn't Western Europe looks like. He doesn't even accurately describe the Americas or Eastern Europe let alone China or Africa.")

Anyway, Xi's competence is kind of a moot point. There's this weird narrative that emerged that dictatorships trade economic growth/prosperity in exchange for democratic rights. So, for example, the Chinese accept totalitarian rule in exchange for the growth the CCP's model provides. The issue with this was always that it misunderstood the accountability of totalitarian rulers. If China experiences low growth do you think the Communists are going to stop ruling China? No, of course not. Some kind of growth for civil rights contract doesn't work in a dictatorship because the dictatorship isn't making deals with its populace.

This is the fundamental mistake of this analysis. It implicitly assumes Xi's goals are things like the maximization of Chinese GDP or that his power significantly relies on the general welfare. Xi's power relies on the Communist Party's continued power and his power within it. That's what he's maximizing. Xi's very internally focused and he's spent his rule destroying anything that looks like a potential alternative power center. We've noticed a few that are more visible to us like tech. But he's also done it to various institutions in the CCP itself, to various kinds of media, to camera manufacturers... If you measure Xi by the amount of power he's amassed to the CCP and himself personally then he's been highly successful.

(This is also why I think Xi's somewhat baffled comments about international prestige are genuine. He spends like 90% of his time on internal affairs so when other countries react he's a little frustrated. It's just not where he wants to spend his time.)

> 24: Sort of related: I console myself with the idea that the Democrats have some kind of grand strategy to both make everyone hate them as much as possible, and also push policies that will accomplish exactly the opposite of all their goals. Then Republicans will capture all branches of government with large majorities, and build lots of solar panels in order to own the libs. Also promote race-blind hiring, build lots of housing to fight homelessness, repeal SALT deductions, regulate Big Business, pull out of foreign wars, heck, why not legalize marijuana? Viewed this way, maybe Biden and Pelosi are the greatest political geniuses of their generation!

This strikes me as evidence that democracy works. The Democrats have been captured by an unpopular but wealthy/powerful elite whose ideology is not producing good outcomes and are getting punished for it. This isn't a purely pro-right wing thing either. Working class Democrats have repeatedly staged backbench revolts over the past year. The real question for me is twofold: Firstly, did Biden misunderstand his mandate or is the Democratic Party so captured by far left staffers that it effectively can't chart a moderate course? And two, if this is clearly unsustainable (and I'd argue it is) then how does the Democratic Party shift to prevent becoming non-viable as a party?

Honestly, if you wanted to restore my faith in democracy then kicking Trump out of office and rebuking the radical left types in quick succession would have me feeling very bullish about the wisdom of the common American. It'd make me feel that the American people actually are acting as the game theoretic mob boss trying to get us to the good state of the prisoner's dilemma.

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Regarding Newcomb's problem, maybe the difference between classicists and other academics is familiarity with the ancient Greek understanding of how prophecy works.

My own analysis of the problem, for what it's worth:

If we accept the premise of the question, then my decision in the present of how many boxes to take affects the prophet's action in the past. I want to make the decision that causes the prophet to give me a million dollars.

But, realistically, I wouldn't accept the premise of the question. My decision in the present can't possibly affect the "prophet's" action in the past, so I might as well take both boxes.

I wonder how much of the difference in people's answers depends on much they accept that, in a logic puzzle, you're supposed to accept whatever ridiculous premise the puzzle includes whether or not you're accept it in real life.

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I suppose attending an anti-woke university might help you get hired by an anti-woke employer.

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In re #17: Math education in K-12 in California has been steadily going down the toilet for the past 10 years, maybe longer, in a horrifying way. If I hadn't spent umpty hours tutoring -- and made use of some fortunate online programs -- my kids would've had a very sketchy familiarity with math, and, worse, with quantitative thinking of any sort.

I think it's a real problem. You get adults, very smart people, who are so uncomfortable with the basic ideas of math -- operations, logical consistency, abstract representations of number and manipulations thereof -- that they are helpless when a question has some quantitative aspect that is amenable to math.

I remember reading a very bright lawyer assert that, for all we know, putting up massive offshore windfarms would slow down the trade winds and drastically change the weather along the East Coast. He wasn't a stupid guy, but he was helpless at the basics of quantitative thinking, so the idea of estimating the cross-sectional area of 5,000 wind turbines and comparing to the cross-section area of the relevant portion of the atmosphere would be to him like reading the decrees of Ramses II in Coptic, not only impossible but unthinkable.

Id est, I think innumeracy is a growing problem, at least among California graduates of average general ability, and the reforms in education over the past 10 years seem to have made the problem far worse.

If I had to take a guess at the underlying cause, I'd say it's from allowing to many PhDs in education into the room, and ironically in math, and not enough developmental psychologists and even pediatricians. The curriculum and methods of instruction have been changed in ways that would make all kinds of sense *if we were teaching adults* and if the teachers were all PhD math professors. But for real children being taught by actual grade-school teachers, it's a disaster. Core skills in which children *can* excel at a given age, and which a typical grade-school teacher *can* effectively teach, are neglected in favor of skills that are often beyond the students' cognitive development stage, and with which the teacher has very limited intuitive grasp herself. The result is the worst of both worlds: you get *neither* basic building-block competence *nor* the hoped-for improvement in advanced-level intuition.

It's a disaster, and I don't know how it can be reversed. (I see the current movement to pushing all of algebra off to HS, and calculus to college, as in some ways a private recognition that the situation is unraveling, although the public reasons advanced are all social-justice goodness.) I'm discouragingly reminded of the situation that a good friend of mine told me existed in Burma during the dictatorship: public school was utterly worthless, and the only way to be successful was to hire private tutors after school, which of course completely ruined the idea of public schooling.

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> You’d apply for a nursing job with your nursing degree from Random For-Profit U, and the hospitals would say “What, never heard of them, forget it”, and that was also a scam if you went into a nursing program expecting to be able to work as a nurse at the end of it.

I can't believe no one hast piped in yet to say: this is absolutely not a thing, at all.

No one has ever asked to see my degree, or yours, and they never will.

There are essentially 3 categories of name recognition for colleges/universities. There are widely-known names like Stanford, Yale, MIT, etc. There are names that are known within a particular field (Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, or UIUC in computer science) or within a local region (Colorado School of Mines). And then there's _everyone else_.

As far as anyone reading my resume is concerned, especially if they're not from around here, Metropolitan State College of Denver is completely indistinguishable from any of the other ~4000 colleges in the US. They can probably guess from the name that it's a state college rather than private or for-profit. If they bother to google it they might be very confused, because it changed its name in 2012. But I don't worry about that, because no one googles it, because they don't care. And they _certainly_ don't care enough to call the school up and verify that I actually went there and graduated!

So, yeah. This is just completely, 100% a non-issue. Assuming they get off the ground, after 4 years there will be people putting "University of Austin" on their resumes, and no one will think twice about it.

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#18 The expert reactions don't sound like excuse-making to me. It's pretty tricky to run a good study where one of the variables is people's beliefs about themselves, because beliefs have causes and those causes can be huge confounds.

In this case, what causes a person to believe they have covid? Probably one of the main things is covid-like symptoms, which can mismatch with actually having covid if the person is sick with something else or if they have (near-)asymptomatic covid.

So the study found that feeling sick and mistakenly thinking it's covid is associated with feeling sick months later, while feeling fine when you secretly have covid is associated with feeling fine months later.

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A useful approach to judging a source of information is to find something it says which overlaps with something you know about. Some time back Noah had a long discussion of Adam Smith. Very nearly everything he said was false, interpreting out of context quotes in ways impossible for anyone who read the context, ways that interpreted him as much closer to modern progressive views than he was. I pointed out the errors in the comment section, he responded to other comments so presumably read mine, but he neither defended what he had written nor retracted it. I concluded that he was either incompetent or dishonest, hence not useful as a source of information.

I have a blog post that discusses the case in detail:


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3. The Mormon growth rate is less than meets the eye. If you stop going, they don't take you off the membership rolls even if you're an avowed atheist who hasn't attended in decades - they just mark you as "inactive" unless you specifically take action to have your name removed from the membership. They tend to lose a lot of active members in the first year or so after conversion, but they stay on there as members.

This is from an ex-Mormon guy and is polemical, but if you look at measures trying to get a more accurate view of the active membership count (such as the growth in stakes and wards - wards being your basic congregation of 100-200 members attending each sunday, and stakes being collections of those wards), it doesn't look so good. Active membership growth has slowed heavily since the 1990s, even with reforms designed to make it easier to have wards with smaller numbers of active members.


24. Wow, those numbers. I wonder if Republicans will actually do better than their huge mid-term victory in 2010. It's quite possible, although the Senate seats up for grabs are not really in their favor.

31. Reminds me of when Caplan decided he didn't want to believe in the preponderance of studies on the minimum wage and unemployment. He very much does not want to deviate away from a libertarian understanding of things - very strong priors.

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18. Another possible confounder, different from what McConway and Strain brought up:

Let's say, hypothetically, there's a general factor that makes some people more prone to psychosomatic illnesses. That would make those same people more prone to thinking they have long covid. But it would also make them more prone to incorrectly think that they had Covid. And this association would be because of that general factor, rather than because of beliefs about their illness per se.

I.e.: "People who think they had covid, but did not actually have covid" is probably a very different population from people who have had covid. And I think that makes it even more difficult to compare them.

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On 33, my niece had a gut parasite infection and didn't know it. One day she craved hot peppers, and the next day she excreted dead parasites in her feces. So maybe we like spicy food for the anti-parasite properties.

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Scott, to the extent you are comfortable sharing, I'd like to hear about the habits that support your productivity and how they have evolved over time. For example: do you prefer to work from home, an office, cafe, library? Different locations for different tasks? Desk or comfy couch? Laptop or battlestation? How do you plan/structure your work sessions? Do you find it difficult to focus your attention on your goals, or does it generally feel easy/fun? How do you employ nutrition, caffeine, and exercise? How do you organize your thoughts and notes? How do you avoid getting endlessly distracted and de-focused by the firehose of time sinks online (e.g. Twitter)?

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Some people have *very* severe symptoms from covid -- including death. Others have mild symptoms. Others have none.

Does anyone know: is the severity consistent for a single individual?

As in: I had covid. It was like a cold (but lasted a little longer) and I temporarily lost my sense of smell. No *serious* symptoms at all. If I get covid again, should I expect the same severity (or less)? Or is it a crapshoot every time?

I'm triple-vaccinated. I wear a mask when appropriate. I'm doing what I can to help end things. But I want to know how much I should fear actually getting it myself *again*.

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On 21, University of Austin: I'm sympathetic to the stated goal, but I don't think they have much chance of success.

Building new universities ex nihilo is *hard*, and it's become pretty much a lost art in the United States over the past fifty years. We can build new community colleges (or their for-profit equivalent), or expand existing university systems, but how many successful new universities have there been in the past half-century? It's not just a matter of buying a building and hiring a bunch of teachers; that's what all the for-profit universities did, and they got results ranging from outright fraud too mediocre. There's too many mismatched incentives that need to be somehow aligned, and network effects that need to be put in place.

Maybe someone can do that. But, given the role that incentive alignment and network effects are going to play, anyone who can do that has to know that their first impression is going to be critical. So they're going to want to come out with something that is as close as possible to a working university, and as detailed a plan as they can come up with for the rest. At very least, a mission statement that will inspire confidence that they'll get the hard parts right, and a group of people with a solid reputation for institution-building.

This group, has none of that. About all they've got is a mission statement that is mostly generic pablum plus "we're totally Not Woke and we're going to be the antidote to Academic Wokeness!"

Which, as you note, is going to make them the Voat to traditional academia's Reddit.

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Can I challenge you to explain your own position on climate change? I have had this reaction to your posts before - that you seem to buy into the mainstream concerns but have never explained your reasoning that I have seen. In that past I just thought "hey, no one can go through every topic" but since you denigrate Caplan's skepticism I feel like it is more important. I think your opinion is unfair without showing your own reasons for supporting it. His point that disasters are very rare and most fear-mongering doesn't come true has way more common sense / outside view support than just that his opponents are left wingers.

Just from objections that require no discussion of the technical evidence, you can look at 1) there was previously a movement of climate alarmism regarding global cooling, which turned out to be bogus but was otherwise extremely similar in terms of its supporting coalition, goals to control economic policy/resources, etc; 2) climate messaging predicting disaster have been vastly over-exaggerated, with many claims of "world over in 2010/2015/2020 if no action", and many different climate models being run and being used as the basis for alarmism, with most ultimately being quite inaccurate and the others being subject to survivor bias. Both of these factors decrease the probability that the models actually know what they are talking about and can be trusted which is exactly what Caplan was saying; 3) Warm weather being a clear positive to the proliferation of life that we currently observe on Earth, which spans a far larger temperature range than even the most drastic climate change; etc. Why is your prior so strong that the climate change fears are real, that you call out someone who is skeptical without discussion?

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If that was caplan's reason, then why did he even bother to read the book? clearly he thought he would be able to find a flaw and gotcha the author. that he couldnt is at least evidence for me, even if it is not for caplan

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what is the takeaway from the twitter conspiracies link?

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> While it’s true that there are many biased people out there, and some of them make strong arguments, I also notice this is a fully general excuse for never changing your mind in response to anything, however convincing it would be otherwise. Seems bad.

Maybe it sounds that way if you willfully blind yourself to the twelve trillion ways the left lies to us every day.

At what point does the burden shift, such that I am no longer obligated to assume that people who hate me always speak truly, and the left has to maybe give some token investment in honesty before we give them a moment of our time?

More generally/neutrally: at what point does an organization become so corrupt that it is acceptable to act irrationally towards them, in order to extort them into acting better?

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#5: Clever Hans.

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Scott, the spam problem is getting out of control. Every post lately has a comment from the same porno spambot. Can't something be done about this?

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The bounding on climate change isn't really a surprise; we've actually known for a good while that the higher scenarios were implausible and required implausible rates of warming. People were way too accepting of those higher scenarios as plausible.

And yes, lying to people about how climate change is the end of the world is awful. It's really the same sort of thing that we saw back in the day with things like The Population Bomb and Future Shock, which were similar nonsense.

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Sorry for a dumb question but can someone explain why 2. is nominative determinism?

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Let me have a look at the political elements of these links:

8) I guess this can be explained by seeing wokeness and its discontents as a dialectics:

Trumpist national conservatism -> Democrat & woke opposition -> Trumpist reaction

The growth of wokeness in the last 5 years is mainly the effect of Democrat & Democrat-adjacent political mobilization, which is the cumulation of American identitarian trends since the 90s. There's a component of falling into the official #Resistance line as well, that has eased when the sponsors of such ideological trends are in office.

9) https://shadowban.eu/

15) I'm not sure if these can come online before the current global energy crunch (part of which is self-inflicted) deteriorates into a terminal situation.

16) There are enough studies showing how Vitamin D supplements, in dosages well above the official prescription, is a sufficient immunity booster that works for most pathogens. Antivaxxers claim that such preventative treatments are suppressed in favor of allopathic treatments which enables Big Pharma rent-seeking, and the incentives are there for this to be true without negating the importance of cures or vaccinations.

17) I read from the HBD crowd that the general level of intelligence (IQ) is largely consistent across time & ethnic groups, which points to a biological explanation of education attainment. That implies expanding education -> title inflation. So a reshuffling of who gets what kind of education will tremendously help.

19) I don't think China needs, or will ever be, high-income. After all, at its height (Song & Ming eras) China was upper-middle income relative to the most developed parts of the world at that time. The main economic goals of CCP are simply a moderately prosperous (i.e. lower middle-class) society, developing a large productive base as an economic power, and reaching technological frontiers. On the other hand, much of the gap between China & the developed world should be financialized services that add little to real production.

24) I think instead of RINOs, a Trumpist faction will seize power after the electoral victories and revenge their leader's ouster. Both sides have radicalized, they both think in terms of "oppress or be oppressed", and everyone caught in the middle suffer.

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The PM of Albania Edi Rama is taller than both at 2,01m.

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18: About long COVID there is very promising research done in Erlangen, Germany: https://www.fau.eu/2021/06/21/news/research/long-term-changes-to-blood-cells-triggered-by-covid-19-infection/

Seems like COVID makes lasting changes on blood cells, so doesn't seem like psychsomatic.

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My pet theory is the statue paint jobs are the same phenomenon as our reconstructions of with dinosaurs that look like grey shrink-wrapped muscle and bone, as the images of modern animals 'reconstructed' with that method demonstrate. Soft tissue doesn't fossilise, feathers and pigments usually don't either, and so dinosaurs could have had all kinds of crazy body features. But we can't say with confidence that they definitely did have any specific features, so artists are scared to draw them with features that aren't well supported by scientific evidence. Being unwilling to take a guess at something that could be right results in an impression that definitely isn't right. Because 'not speculating' isn't actually an option. Like a police sketch artist saying "Suspect was wearing a hat so we don't know the hair colour, so to avoid speculating I've drawn him as bald".

But yeah I bet we only have direct evidence of the base coat of paint that was directly in contact with the statue. Layers adding detail and shading would be added on top, but all we have evidence for is the base coat, so artists who "don't want to speculate" hypothesise absurd base-coat-only paint jobs.

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Two problems with cyclosporin:

1. You might not get dementia but you will die of renal failure

2. You will wish you had dementia - the capsules smell and taste so extremely nasty you would do anything to forget them! The likelihood of graft versus host disease was preferable to continued consumption, so I was very, very happy when I could finally stop them.

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Re 24: Sort of related:

I wonder if the Democrats worked so hard to paint the previous President as unPresidential, racist, sexist, corrupt and traitorous that they have, as an unintended consequence, lowered the bar of judgement for the current President?

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The claim in 6 seems wrong, or at least drastically over-simplified. The current population of Herzegovina is ethnically Slavic, and the Slavs arrived in the 6th century (having been preceded by Illyrians, Celts and Germans), so conditions in the paleolithic can't be relevant. The linked article refers to "people of the Gravettian culture" being exceptionally tall, but the Gravettian culture stretched from Portugal to Russia. This could possibly explain why Europeans are tall (although more work would be required to show genetic continuity between Gravettian and modern populations), but it can't tell us anything about Herzegovinans specifically.

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#17 - San Francisco’s new math curriculum “delays Algebra 1 by one year and mandates all students to take the same set of courses sequentially from 8th to 10th grade.”

I would have been absolutely miserable, and demanded home schooling. My public high school’s willingness to allow advanced students to accelerate in math, English, and science, including offering free-to-me community college classes and self-study, was uncritically the best thing public school ever did for me. Probably saved me a semester of college and got a math minor on my degree too.

I agree with Scott, this appears to be part of a trend of lowering standards and claiming improvement when more people pass the lower standard (SFUSD got more people to pass Algebra 1 by dropping the requirement to pass a state competency test at the end, and got “more students enrolled in advanced math” by creating a new class and declaring it “advanced”, despite it not meeting the UC standards for such).

But also another disturbing trend, namely reducing “inequity” by eliminating opportunities for the talented to demonstrate and nurture their abilities. Real Harrison Bergeron crap.

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UATX seems to involve a lot of people (e.g. Heather Heying, Kathleen Stock, Peter Boghossian) who have resigned from their universities because of criticism from students. I am curious to see how they hope to prevent the same sort of situation from happening at UATX.

I suppose they could try to apply some kind of ideological filter when accepting applicants. Maybe just by hiring lots of known conservatives, they can rely on their reputation to repel non-conservative students? But conservative students could someday conceivably want to protest something. What if the campus Christian Coalition or whatever decides to protest Boghossian's atheism, or demand Heying teach intelligent design in her evolutionary biology classes?

Perhaps they could create a school code of conduct which limits the amount or type of protesting that students are allowed to participate in? They could ban demonstrations altogether, since Stock regards students standing with signs as harassment. I'm not sure how restricting students' freedom of speech and assembly meshes with their whole "fearless pursuit of truth" slogan and their supposed commitment to Enlightenment liberalism. This also potentially creates the problem of alienating their customers - if students feel like their views are being stifled in the special University of Not Stifling Views, they'll just vote with their feet and go to a different university.

It seems pretty intractable if you ask me.

But also, it seems like if Stock, Boghossian, Heying, et. al. believed in ideas competing in the free marketplace of ideas, they would have, like, accepted the fact that some of their views were not competitive in that marketplace, instead of withdrawing and trying to create a new market where their views won't be subject to competition at all. I feel like founding an entire free speech university based on a hypocritical unwillingness to tolerate others' free speech is doomed from the outset because that's a contradiction that just can't be resolved.

But, who knows, maybe they'll square the circle on this one.

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I must be a lousy philosopher because from my reading of the problem, I still can't see why anyone would two-box.

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While it's true that many vit D studies failed, it's wrong to say it only succeeded on bone health. It's effective in preventing respiratory tract infections (common cold etc.), with a strong and crazy significant effect for those with vit D deficiency.


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Every time the Democratic establishment comes up, I think of this scene from the Simpsons:


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Reading Freedom on the Centralized Web (https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/07/22/freedom-on-the-centralized-web/) got me thinking:

Reddit is mostly like Archipelago (https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/06/07/archipelago-and-atomic-communitarianism/): lots of independent communities doing their own thing. The main site basically only exists for the convenience of finding and aggregating communities' content.

Unlike Archipelago, global admins have absolute power. They can ban communities (sorta like being able to nuke any island they don't like), globally ban users (sorta like being able to walk in to any island and summarily execute one of its citizens without even asking permission of the island's government), and unilaterally replace community admins (sorta like being able to stage a coup against any island government they don't like).

It might be both possible and awesome to create a decentralized reddit that works exactly the same as reddit except there are multiple competing aggregators and no global admins. Moderation would be up to the individual communities and voluntary alliances thereof, instead of some all-powerful god-king of the entire archipelago. Sure there would be some communities for witches, but most communities would be nice and no one would have enough power to be a good target for a campaign to pressure him into starting a worldwide witch-hunt.

It doesn't have to be based on a blockchain. It could be a thousand websites running their own tiny instance of a one-community reddit-clone, coupled with an RSS feed that lets people aggregate content however they like. But I feel like that wouldn't catch on because it would be slightly less convenient than reddit, and people are lazy. I started reading SSC a lot more after it moved to Substack so I could get every post delivered by email. Trivial inconveniences can probably have huge effects on growth rates of social media empires. Combining decentralization with maximal convenience is a hard problem that needs to be solved to liberate alleged liberal democracies from oligarchical control over all of their discourse.

A less-ambitious project would be to convert Reddit from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy or even a republic. But as long as it's a centralized website, technologically speaking, someone has absolute power, and you can only kind of trust them not to wield it. It's better to have a technological assurance that no one will go around nuking random islands. Decentralization gives each island an impenetrable nuke-shield.

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Speaking of nominative determinism, am I the only one to notice how awesome it is that one of the rough estimates for the size of the Christian population in the fourth century comes from someone called "Goodenough?"

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If anything, your paragraph understates Morphy's genius. He basically invented modern chess play -- Kasparov called him "the forefather of modern chess." His style was frequently tactical, dynamic, and aggressive, but entirely sound. Before him, people played like lunatics. Now, people play like Morphy, but with the benefit of a century of experience that players have accumulated since then, now with some slight modifications inspired by AlphaZero.

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20: "I can swim," whispered the Scorpion.

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I’m a little disappointed by #24. That Twitter post to me shows a complete lack of understanding of the issues with building renewable energy and sometimes who is opposed.

First in reference to the Alameda County wind project. There is a way to responsibly site wind and solar projects and that location happens to be about as bad as it gets for killing raptors and we know this from decades of wind turbines functioning at that site.

Save Our Mesa sounds like NIMBY not environmentalists.

Greenpeace has always been extreme, but I do agree we are screwing up by not encouraging nuclear to at a minimum stay online if it’s already built.

I admit I have no idea what the tweets are related to the NJ turnpike.

But in general I just find it frustrating this idea that carbon reduction should be done at the expense of everything thing else. Nothing else should factor in because this is too dire. Well I agree, climate change is dire. But why wouldn’t we cover roofs with solar long before we start impacting sensitive ecosystems? Roof top solar has much lower impacts from a carbon footprint anyhow. My point is, we haven’t run out of places to build clean energy so that we need to put it in the worst places now.

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> “tolerate everyone” sounds good until you get confronted with pedophiles, Nazis, al-Qaeda supporters, and super-woke people who demand you censor everyone else.

This is interesting because, in fact, a professor at Old Dominion University was just "cancelled" precisely for expressing views that those attracted to children should be supported rather than stigmatized. (Note the difference between "attracted to children" and "actual child molester.") I would claim that the professor in question, Allyn Walker, is in fact right, and is expressing exactly the kind of contrary view that academia should welcome. A more thoughtful approach to this issue would help advance human well-being, both by preventing child abuse through support, and by helping those with the attraction. Unfortunately, the politics of the situation prevent taking them seriously.

Alas, my guess is that those who talk about supporting the open exchange of ideas aren't going to leap in to defend this one.

(Disclaimer: I am one of the people attracted to children. Naturally you might read bias into my opinion here.)

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24. Politics is a subset of Fashion, the most powerful force in the universe.

The Laws of Fashion were made clear by Jesus: 'The first will be the last and the last will be the first."

Wokism will die on the vine soon, like Feminism did before it, which undermined concern for black Americans in its time.

Concern for Native Americans may be the next big thing, but that would undermine concern for black Americans much like the trans thing has undermined concern for women with vaginas.

I'm not convinced that radical progressives help conservatives politically. Most Americans want to get to Sweden: more business friendly, taxes aren't homework you can go to jail for failing to do correctly, a bigger social safety net.

Not sure what will replace wokism but likely something worse. Humans want to punish their outgroup and we can't change that. We can declare war against the Chinese or the Iranians. That could rally the troops.

Otherwise we will continue our internecine fight

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For 18 (self reported long covid symptoms correlate more with thinking you've had covid than actually having had it), isn't that exactly what you'd expect even if it's not psychosomatic? Bob isn't going to think he's got long covid without also thinking he had covid at one point, is he?

This seems really dumb, so I'm assuming I'm missing something. Would be grateful if somebody can tell me what it is.

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On the rate of conversion to Christianity, note the Roman Empire was actually pretty slow. Ireland first received missions around 440-50 (Palladius, and earliest likely date for Patrick) and was seemingly fully Christian by the historical threshold in c. 600. The English (who admittedly may have ruled over a somewhat Christian population already) got their first recorded mission in 597 and there's no trace of paganism in writings from the 690s. In both cases a collection of peoples (neither area was unified) seem to have fully converted in around a century.

And the adoption of Christianity in former colonies of European powers was often even more rapid. Islam is similar: both religions seem on occasion to be able to spread through a society or area with incredible rapidity.

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Scott you should watch King Richard regarding the Family post esp the last paragraph. I didn't like it that much but it's very relevant.

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In his book on consciousness, Mark Solms (a Friston collaborator) uses "Markov blanket" as fairy dust to sprinkle over any problem that can't be solved.

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Concerning no. 22: "Related: Woolf University is an accredited university that “lets qualified organizations join as member colleges and offer accredited degrees”. I think the idea is that if you want to start a new college but are intimidated by the accreditation process, you can instead become an affiliate/subcollege of Woolf and since they are accredited, now you are too. I don’t know enough about education to know whether this will work but it seems like a cool idea."

..In the European countries I am familiar with, it is quite common that established universities merge with community colleges/polytechnics/university colleges, giving the latter university status in the process. And in 1992 Tony Blair allowed all UK polytechnics that felt like universities to call themselves universities, creating dozens of new universities with the stroke of a pen.

That said, there are universities and then there are universities in Europe. Many years ago I was invited to hold the "Nordic scholar lecture" at the University of Edinburgh, one of the four oldest universities in the UK, and rather self-conscious about the fact. At that time I worked at a University College.

After the lecture, which I thought went quite well, the faculty invited to the traditional wine and small-talk. Four-five professors with half-centimeter-thick tweed jackets gathered around me and we had the following conversation:

"Thank you so much for your talk...By the way, did you say you work at a University College in your country?" "Well yes." "Yes...Isn't that what we used to call a Polytechnic?" “Eh...but you do not have many of those any more, do you? They are all universities now." "Yes...they are what we call 1992-universities." By then I understood where this was going, and said defiantly: "Yes, well, my college is about to apply for university status, and I believe we will choose the title City University". Which made the professor pause, look at his fellow Edinburgh professors gathered round, and say, sort-of to himself: "Yes...City University. That's what they call themselves, these days."

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Paul Morphy: "The ability to play chess is the sign of a gentleman. The ability to play chess well is the sign of a wasted life."

He's known as the "Pride and Sorrow of Chess" because of how he just quit chess.

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"Also, plausibly Constantine’s conversion barely changed the growth rate at all."

A leading biography of Constantine ("Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor") argues just this.

"so it would be quite the twist if it turned out you needed liberal democracy to reach developed-country status. "

You clearly don't need liberal democracy to reach developed country status, but it doesn't obviously hurt. It seems China's development course is 39 years or so behind Japan's:


and, obviously, it has grown from both a lower level than Japan relative to the U.S. and to a lower level than Japan relative to the U.S. -China's GDP per capita by PPP today is around where the USSR's was relative to the U.S. during the late 1960s. The reason for this is obvious; China is far less capitalist than Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore.

Nevertheless, Noah's post is a classic example of Hanania's dictum that most China analysis is cope. China contained COVID better than any other country (despite being its origin) and the BRI has clearly been useful for China at buying third world foreign influence. China also has a high vaccination rate, and has been the world's largest vaccine exporter, making such unlikely places as Morocco and Cambodia more vaccinated than the U.S.

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China has already beaten the US, so you're arguing a moot point. China's GDP is over 30% larger than the US when you use the more correct purchasing power parity GDP. And they're growing faster, too. They are also better positioned globally for the future.

They're leaving us behind in their dust. GDP per capita is not relevant when talking national power. If considering the People, the Happiness Index (which has a bit of GDP in the calculation) is more relevant than per capita GDP. What's most relevant is total GDP and a power structure with the will and plan to deploy it strategically.

As for Japan and the USSR and South Korea, none of that matters. The past is never like the future. Only trends and positioning matters. The future only follows the past until it does not, due to a qualitative change like the internet.

There is now a big difference (which changes everything) in the present and the future with China versus the Soviet Union in the past and their breakdown due to the unmanageable allocation complexities of a command economy.

My idea is that command economies are the future and will be Far More competitive than our market system very soon as it already seems to be in China. The overlooked realization is that Ai is perfectly designed to cap off a command economy, but not a market economy. Once China's Ai gets smart enough from perusing all that phone data China will take off to the moon. The Soviets did not have that.

The so-called, but aptly termed, global Deep State - the institutional investors and Davos crowd who own and run the world (0.1% of all corporations own and thus control 80% of trans-national corporations, according to a Swiss complexity scientist)) - are using covid as cover to herd all the Western governments under a one-world governance umbrella of totalitarianism where all is digitized and managed (for our own good). The steps to totalitarianism are essentially already complete.

Other than wanting the remaining 18% of global income that did not accrue to the global rich and powerful (Oxfam 2017 data), they want to compete and beat China's machine - and you need an authoritarian digitized non-market command system in the West to do that, because that's what hooks best to an Ai.

The Great Race will be won by whomever first gets a functioning governance Ai. But it can go nowhere unless hooked to a command economy with a cowed population kept in line with a police-surveillance state.

We definitely have a China-style social credit system in our future. The vaccine passports ("Paper's please.") are actually technology platforms that will eventually have all you data - your complete file - updated in real-time (VP's are happening now in ten states). That will be hooked to your central bank digital currency account - a government controlled bank account, which 90 countries are now working on. Taxes will be debited before you can buy food. Dissent will be debited as in China - because even a utopia needs everyone to think the same. Once the CBDC and VP are linked your life/freedom and privacy/soul will be over. If you disagree you go into the internment camps, as is happening now in Australia. Don't believe it? Google "whatsherface" and see her sassy videos on both the isolated Australian camps and Canada's RFP for camps in every province. Do your own research, people, because the media lies to your face.

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6. Actually the tallest should be Edi Rama, the prime minister of Albania. 2.01m of height, although males in Albania don't tend to be THAT tall.

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"18: A new study claims that self-reported “Long COVID” symptoms are more associated with believing you’ve had COVID than with actually having it (as measured by serologic testing), which sounds like pretty strong evidence that it’s psychsomatic."

ok, lets imagine some groups.

1:People who got severe covid symptoms and believe they had covid. (.1, who had covid, .2 who did not.)

2:People who got mild or no covid symptoms and believe they had covid.(.1, who had covid, .2 who did not.)

3:people who got severe symptoms and don't believe they had covid. (.1, who had covid, .2 who did not.)

4:people who got mild symptoms or no covid symptoms and don't believe they had covid.(.1, who had covid, .2 who did not.)

1.1 are probably pretty common

1.2 are probably pretty rare because of ubiquitous testing.

2.1 seem to be pretty common, there's a whole subculture of the antivaxer movement of people who seem to have convinced themselves they got covid in november 2019 because they just associated the last cold they had with it.

2.2 also seem to be pretty common.

3.1 people with severe symptoms mostly probably had covid or at least the chance to confirm it.

3.2 is probably rare

4.1 these are probably also pretty common since a large fraction of people get no significant symptoms

4.2 this is the biggest groups, probably.

So people who got severe symptoms are overwhelmingly likely to believe/know they had covid.

A lot of people who actually had covid but didn't know about it had very mild symptoms.

So this seems to just be saying that people who had severe symptoms were more likely to have long-covid.

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The Noahpinion piece on China makes some good points. However, I think it's important to distinguish between "competence" and "causing a country to take a counterfactually successful trajectory". The latter is much more difficult. My take is that Xi is very "competent" in the usual sense, but that it's genuinely a very hard problem to chart a successful path for China. Even saying he's taken them down a shockingly unsuccessful path does not negate competence, nor predicts against many of the downstream results of such competence that are the point of using the word: for example, China annexing Taiwan in the next decade, or continuing to achieve its other geopolitical goals (even if those goals seem silly).

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Re: Constantine and Christianity, "History for Atheists" has a new video up:


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My guess on the sibling criminality thing is that having a much older sibling likely means the younger sibling grew up less poor.

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