#4: Concerning that all signs are starting to point towards the Ohio agenda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3fD5FPQBtI

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Scott, I think you may be confused on point #39. I (typical American Jew) was taught that the *Six Day War* was a spectacular Israeli victory / Arab defeat. The Yom Kippur War (six years later) was very nearly the end of the Jewish state.

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#32: My fiancee woke up the other night, we conversed briefly, then she left the room and came back 5-10 minutes later. The next morning she told me she had no memory of it, and asserted that she was therefore unconscious during the time. On the other hand, it seems possible that she was conscious but not forming memories. I have no idea how you would disentangle these two possibilities.

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Seems to be a tradeoff between housework and childcare. That maps to my own childhood, where my mom would plop me in my playpen and go about cleaning the house. My DIL spends far less time cleaning the house and more time focusing on her daughter. And she tells me that you're only supposed to "containerize" your toddler for 10 minutes a day now.

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Israeli conception of the Yom Kippur War is almost a national trauma - treated as a big failure (mostly intelligence-wise) that nearly led to destruction and we survived only through sheer luck and tenacity. Many lives were needlessly lost. An investigative committee was formed, heads rolled, cultural and political landscapes changed dramatically (in 1977 the socialist Labor party was overturned after 20 years of rule since independence).

OTOH, Egypt, although the invasion eventually failed and was pushed back, treats it as a great military success that led to the eventual return of the Sinai peninsula in the peace treaty several years later (essentially, the war of 1973 was seen as restoring the honor lost in 1967).

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> I’m a bit confused here; weren’t many 1965 moms stay-at-home? Don’t many moms use daycare now? How is childcare so much more time-consuming?

Huh, I guess you must really be disconnected from modern parenting trends. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but in the '70s and '80s parents didn't really spend time playing with their kids. We (kids) didn't come home after school until it was dinner time. We went to our friends' houses and wandered around the neighborhood.

That shit *does not happen anymore.* Parents spend massive amounts of time with their children now. Parenting is incredibly intensive. The whole thing is totally insane, but you can't really opt out of it, because there's nowhere for the kids to go.

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I have often thought these complex and difficult to make dodecahedrons were used as a note of rank or of an internal order of ranking within the military. They are very commonly found on battlefields and I reckon it was some internal order which needed a way to identify each other, perhaps becoming somewhat ceremonial over time.

Perhaps an internal spy/intelligence order of men mixed in with the other soldiers. Or perhaps as a simple rank insignia. These objects were hard to make and therefore difficult to counterfeit. Perhaps the spies and the scouting teams were mixed along with many of them being promoted over time. The Romans had a long history of various secret orders within their ranks and special rites and such within their military ranks. A perfect place for a curio to appear.

The location of the finds of these objects on battlefields and military caches is rather telling and the knitting thing obviously holds no water as they couldn't/didn't' knit. Though a fishing explanation or survival tool might make sense as a possible, though perhaps not plausible explanation.

While we may think of such objects or practices as something readily exploited, there were very limited games of advanced statecraft in that era. It wasn't as if the more decentralised Celtic peoples, as Julius Caesar called them, were going to be able to manufacture such objects or fit in with the ethnically different Roman soldiers. And even if they could, who would they report to on some long term spying operation...their village head somewhere in rural France or Germany?

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33. Do moms feel the need to show greater care for their children relative to dads? Does trying to close the parenting gap just set off an arms race of wasteful signaling?

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Re: 33 (more parenting hours), I'm not a parent and haven't studied this, but it seems likely that cars explain a lot of that. There's a video on Twitter comparing kids coming to school in rural Netherlands and suburban America. All the Dutch kids ride their bikes, all the American kids are driven by parents. As we built increasing pedestrian-hostile spaces, more parents feel they have to drive their kids everywhere. I'm old enough that I walked almost everywhere as a kid (and, living in Chicago, still do). Also, I've worked with people who are certain if their kids don't have activities from the moment they wake up to the second they go to bed, they'll become drug-addicted pedophile love slaves. And that's not entirely exaggeration.

All that mom-ubering and drug-addiction prevention adds up.

(Bias note: I think Americans would be significantly better off if we mandated Netherlands-/Swiss-style infrastructure across the country: the car made us lonely, destroyed our communities, and steals all of our time. )

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Fun glitch: because you can't be a tech company without being obsessed with tracking every action, the links from the link post are unclickable from the email while substack is down.

Granted, not a common failure mode, but still kinda funny.

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I wrote something about Peter Eckersley at https://community.letsencrypt.org/t/peter-eckersley-may-his-memory-be-a-blessing/183854 and a Wikipedia page for him was created at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Eckersley_(computer_scientist) .

In addition to being a part of the AI safety and EA worlds, Peter was a computer security and privacy researcher and helped start the Let's Encrypt certificate authority and several other projects. And a really great guy.

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#39: From a conventional/material (e.g. land conquest) standpoint, it was an Israeli victory and an Arab (Egyptian/Syrian) defeat, as the Israeli forces repulsed the Arab armies' attack, the Arab countries didn't gain a single inch of territory, and at one point the Israeli army was within 60 miles of Cairo. But from a psychological/morale/symbolism/"honor" standpoint, some Arab leaders counted it as a victory because they successfully surprised Israel, achieved some early gains, put up a very hard fight, and nearly destroyed Israel. This was quite different from the Six Day War, when the Arab armies were surprised and quickly defeated, and which left Arab military and political leaders humiliated. So while Israel "won" by conventional measures, it felt like a defeat; and while Egypt and Syria "lost" by conventional measures, they treated it like a victory.

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Re 39, Armies of San d had an interesting perspective on it. While it was an Israeli victory in the end on the battlefield, Sadat didn't go in to win the war. He went in to try to get more leverage at the negotiating table, and by that standard it worked quite well. Note that the return of Suez was not long after the end of the war. (This assumes you didn't just confuse it with the Six Day War.)

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Shouldn't the list of fish named after fish include every fish?

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Quoting from the paper


We posit that inconsistencies across findings are partially due to the concept of conspiracy theory itself. A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or circumstance that accuses powerful actors of working in secret for their own benefit, against the common good, and in a way that undermines bedrock societal norms, rules, or laws (Uscinski, 2020).

Conspiracy theories are not likely to be “true”––i.e., no even-handed burden of empirical proof has been satisfied––according to appropriate epistemological authorities (Levy, 2007).


I find this definition to be very strange.

Such ideas are deemed 'untrue' because they lack 'appropriate epistemological authorities' to confirm that they are true.

But a key element of various conspiracies is that they involve the leadership of those self-same authorities. This is a catch-22 and rather circular logic. In this way the powerful can simply never be truthfully observed as acting in conspiracy of any organisation which they themselves control.

This is a rather absurd metric and history is full of examples of elites both committing and hiding their own crimes. The more recent and domestic an event, the more likely it will be deemed as 'untrue' by authority figures. They aren't going to police themselves or convict themselves of their own crimes!

I know I'm slightly exaggerating here and one might pretend there is some line between a given president and the FBI or the NY Times, etc. and the 'authority' and gatekeepers of truth are not quite so narrowly defined by the author as I'm making them out to be.

But my point is self-evident that elites have wide ranging powers and influence, more than enough to hide their crimes or abuses of power which are not in the interest of those they nominally represent. From things as simple as a Senator's son not getting a DUI or the same treatment for petty crimes all the way up to lying about the reasons for launching a war. History shows us little other than these sorts of abuses of power by powerful people and them lying, hiding, and denying this while often going unpunished. Were Pinochet's death squads a conspiracy as well?

Then I looked towards the list of conspiracies mentioned and nominally chosen for their 'lack of truth' as defined above along with people of various political backgrounds believing in them.

Here are a few that I picked out as ones I think are quite true and we can find many examples of them being true...yet here in this survey they are used as typical 'wrong' conspiracy theories to ask people about.

Notably missing are several confirmed elite conspiracies which have come to light as 'accepted by authorities' to some degree over time. Such as the lies about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars or the Gulf of Tonkin incident, etc. If anything, and across history we see such elite conspiracies and propaganda campaigns are common.

Such as in Soviet Russia where many truths were denied by official bodies, such as the number of people starving to death or that their 5-year plans were working. Or about how globalism is good for all, despite it impoverishing formerly good blue-collar jobs as seen in the Rust Belt.

Back to the paper:

Elite pedophile rings - there are many of these which have come to light over the years. Epstein most recently. About 10 years ago there was a close associate and clergyman whose name I forget in England was also found out for this. Also you know...the Vatican and Catholic Church system....but this is an 'untrue conspiracy theory'?

Epstein murdered - ummm...yea, he was, it was obvious.

Covid threat exaggerated - umm....does anyone disagree with this who doesn't work for big pharma? How in the world is this a conspiracy theory of 'untrue' information.

Deep State - what...that it exists and exerts influence? Sure any specific claim may or may not be true, but any complex nation state will have decisions being made by hidden actors. Are we going to pretend the intelligence agencies around the world do not exist again?

This in itself is a conspiracy of doubt and propaganda to deny the rampant blackmailing and spying which goes on by every powerful nation. Were the Stasi a conspiracy too? If we take off our in-group blinders, we find even the mainstream press and media are very happy to see and describe the bad bad behaviour of the deep state and intelligence actors in OTHER nations.

etc. etc.

Several of these are quiet silly ideas which do not have much backing behind them and are clear power fantasies aimed at prominent figures - many of which I'd never heard of such as Bush breeching the levees..I guess that's a Hurricane Katrina reference? Or Soros controlling the world...these overblown fixations on single actors like Soros or a president or Gates etc. or far flung ideas like flat earthers and such.....are mixed in with unclear or factually true conspiracies.

This muddies the water a bit and if one were to say in/out group fantasies of Obama did this that or the other or Trump did xyz...ok sure, that's true and obvious enough. You don't find a lot of ardent Dems being overly concerned about all the drone strikes killing 90%+ civilians around the middle east which is real or with the wacky 'birther' idea of Obama not being a US Citizen or his birth certificate being fake. Those are weird things to mix together, but it is true far fewer dems would be inclined to think those things.

Overall I think the article makes a fairly obvious and pedestrian point, but is more harmful in casting doubt on very clearly true conspiracies run by elites....with the strange idea that we need those same elites to confirm and 'authorise' the truth of their own crimes to us publicly.

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Has anyone visited KiwiFarms (before it was taken down)?

I never have. But now that it's shut down, I'm curious what it was.

On the one hand, I was almost convinced that it was a terrible place full of terrible people that are there to do terrible things. On the other hand, Twitter mobs can be pretty terrible. And a lot of Jan 6th stuff was (I think) planned on Facebook.

So, like, was it a bad place? Or was it a non-woke place that had some bad actors? Or something else(?)

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The storyline in doom was that military researchers created a teleporter between earth and mars accidentally lead to the creation of a portal to another dimension,, and then demons came out of the portal. Seems kinda fitting.

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

I'm a parent, and r.e. 'doing too much stuff', i'm also learning that i'm a better dad when i do 'worse' things like spend time by myself, do what i want, ignore my children's wishes, etc.

At some level i think there's a cultural issue here; we improved things DRAMATICALLY in our house by agreeing on some 'division of labor'. I think i had long resisted this because i wanted to be a good dad and didn't want to go anywhere near something like 'you take care of the kids because you are a woman and that is woman's work.' But where we settled was things like, 'wow, coordination costs _suck_ so much that it's generally better if one of us just owns the situation entirely. I'm ok with whatever you choose, but you have much more fine grained opinions than i do on things like, where should the kids go to school'. So my wife handles a lot of stuff that would fit into the kids/chores/housekeeping bucket. I had tried my best to stay away from this kind of arrangement, in order to be a modern enlightened dad and not some troglodyte wife beater. But it turns out this actually _works_ for us, and my attempts to be the ever-present always helpful dad who did whatever his kids wanted just made me burned out, tired, exhausted, and stressed.

I think there's also a technology level. If technology is 'it lets you do stuff you couldn't do before', and parents have some base prior for 'should i do this thing for my kids', now you can do way more stuff for your kids. It's taken a fair amount of courage to get myself to a point where i'm like, ok, if i'm gonna be a not-great dad, it won't be because i don't do enough with my kids, but more becuase i'm just tired and stressed all the time and this sets a bad example.

So now instead of resolving the squabbles between the 3 and 5 year old, i just say, well you two figure it out or i'll throw the toy away. Not only does this lower my stress levels, but they are learning how to resolve conflicts themselves instead of always escalating. I think part of what it took is trying to _imagine_ responses to conflict that didn't involve a bunch of angry shouting and yelling, which is most of my more salient memories from childhood.

so the TLDR here is that i think it takes a kind of courage + self confidence to do less as a parent, probably moreso than ever because there are more options than ever for stuff to do with your kids, and more cultural expectation that you will.

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

#39: The Yom Kippur War was a substantial but very costly military victory for Israel. The successful Israeli counterattack was overshadowed by the massive morale and political defeat suffered in the first few days of the war. Although Israel did eventually win by most measures - ending within 100km of Cairo, for example, and making gains on the Syrian and Jordanian fronts - first blow Israel suffered shattered ideas of Israeli invincibility. Israeli outrage at the failure to prepare for Arab coalition's opening attack brought down Israel's government. America and the Soviet Union came close to war.

While Israel's personnel losses for the Yom Kippur War were actually pretty comparable in percentage to the Six Day War (about 1-2% of military forces KIA), the absolute losses were much higher and therefore felt much more keenly by Israel's tiny population. ('Percentage Losses' also masks that Israel frantically called *everyone* up in the YKW, while SDW went more favorably.) Both wars burned through the Israeli tank corp. Additionally, Israel regards airpower as a key advantage and lost a bigger fraction of theirs during the Yom Kippur War; in the SDW Israel lost less than 20% of their combat aircraft, but in the YKW they lost 25%, half of which they lost in three days. In the Yom Kippur War the Israeli forces were notably felt by both sides to have been narrowly saved from total defeat, while in the SDW they were felt to have earned a stunning victory.

Moreover, the loss ratios were less lopsided in the YKW than they had been in the SDW. In the SDW the IDF was outnumbered 5:1 but exacted a 20:1 casualty ratio in their favor. In the YKW Israel was only outnumbered 2-3:1 and only exacted a 10:1 casualty ration in their favor. By this crude measure of military success, Israel was as much as five times more effective in combat in the SDW than in the later YKW. Much of this is due to the Arab Coalition successfully degrading the IDF's tanks and planes with Soviet missiles, instead of Israel wiping out the Egyptian air force in one fell swoop.

And at the end of the YKW, Israel had nothing to show for it. After the SDW Israel had taken a substantial amount of land, seizing Judea and particularly the other half of Jerusalem from Jordan, the strategic Golan Heights from the Syrians, and Gaza and the whole Sinai from Egypt. Suddenly important Jewish sites like the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs were under Jewish control for the first time in two millennia. Jews who had been kicked out by Jordan in 1948 could return to their homes. After the YKW, Israel had no substantial territorial gains and in a few years would go on to give up the Sinai for peace with Egypt, dragging Israeli civilians out of the Sinai kicking and screaming.

In absolute military terms, the YKW was an Israeli victory. But in both Arab and Israeli popular perception, it was a disastrous defeat for Israel's reputation. Arguably the fact that both Egypt and Israel felt they'd in some senses lost the war directly lead to the them making peace a few years later. So of course at least some Egyptians have regarded the YKW as a win; after three decades of failing to wipe out the Jewish State, they finally hit Israel hard enough to bring them to the negotiating table, and then made peace.

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That graph on parenting doesn’t reflect how much our domestic lives have changed since 1965. Stay-at-home moms were more common, yes, but kids above a certain age often just *went out* to play with other kids and didn’t come back till dinner. That’s unthinkable now for most parents.

People also lived closer to family, and thus there were simply more people, usually women, available to taken on some of those childcare hours. A lot of professional parents in more recent decades do it all without nearly the same support network. I know it’s true for us.

I am confused about how “childcare” and “housework” are divided. I do a lot of chores *while* caring for my kids. I cook and clean around them all day. I run almost all my errands with them, too. Where did respondents draw the distinction?

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So the South Africa article, after noting a ton of things wrong with South Africa's ruling party, then notes "Our political system was literally purchased by a wealthy family of Indian businessmen, creating something akin to a shadow government." After everything that had been described so far, I thought that was going to describe an *improvement*, if there were people interested in actually making a profit off of the place! I wish the article went into more detail here (as in a lot of things, really -- and on this point, I wish it was explained what they meant by "purchased")... I guess this Gupta family was also only interested in looting the place...? Or what? (I guess people interested in making long-term profits through productive work and investments don't tend to get into shadowy deals to secretly buy governments, do they...)

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23. Interesting stuff, and not surprising. Although I think Argentina should just dollarize completely and drop the peso altogether.

29. The description I read of that book didn't sound promising, but I'll wait and see the likely review from you and (probably) Nathan Robinson.

33. I wonder if this contributes to the lower birth rates, especially among educated class folks (although I suspect that's also later parental age). It doesn't seem like it's a coincidence to me that the lowest birth rates in the world are the ones in East Asian countries heavily influenced by the grinding test regime of Japanese-style secondary schooling (including heavy use of cram school). That just raises the monetary and non-monetary cost of having an extra child enormously.

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#39- Egyptians regard the YK war as a major victory. Israelis view the YK war as a disaster.

Why? Probably has less to do with territory taken (not much changed there) and more to do with how perceptions of the belligerents changed.

The Israelis were overconfident in this period. Winning the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights in six days will do that to a country (the 1967 war). Sadat made several overtures offering something equivalent to the Camp David Accords in the 67-73 period- they were rejected. The Israelis didn't think they had to negotiate with the Egyptians at this point and thought they needed the additional territory for protection.

The war came as a shock to the Israelis- they weren't prepared for the invasion. Meir typically polls at the bottom of PM performance in Israel for this reason. Syrian forces got close to the Galilee. Israel lost a lot of men, tanks and aircraft (remember, in the Six Day War they lost very few aircraft). Part of this has to do with the fact that Israelis see a lost war with an Arab nation in catastrophic terms. They believe an Arab victory would lead to the disassembly of the state and possible mass-murder and expulsion. So, a war where Egypt and Syria got a lot closer to victory rattled them.

Egypt and Syria's invasions were efforts to avenge their poor performance in 67. The body count and loss of war material was much more even in this war. It helped both of these countries save face from the biggest military humiliation in their history. Israel was concerned about their deterrence to the point that they ordered an invasion of Syria and shelling of suburbs near Damascus to reassert an idea of their military dominance.

Once the war was over, Israel was much more open to a Camp David Accords style settlement. The war convinced them that holding that territory against Egyptian aggression was worse than a negotiated peace.

There's a lesson in there- the thing that precedes Israeli peacemaking with armed belligerents is loss or defeat of a certain kind. A situation where they see conciliation as both on offer and preferable to maintaining an aggressive military posture are the magic ingredients for peace. See the First Intifada as an example of this- Israel faced a newly difficult military reality (controlling cities in the West Bank and Gaza), they were given a clear settlement offer, so they moved towards conciliation from the status quo.

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I thought the Doom tweet was fine!

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9: Resident Contrarian / being poor

As someone who grew up poor, the first article is super relatable. Every bit of it. The second one, less-so. Maybe the first couple years of earning more felt that way, but not anymore.

It can be somewhat tiresome listening to coworkers who have never been poor talk about poor people.

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

#32 could just be a memory formation issue. It made me think of Clive Wearing, a man who lost the ability to make new episodic memories. Every 30 seconds or so he would report that he had just woken up and hadn’t been conscious previously. He filled notebooks with entries that were pretty much all versions of “9:14: I am now awake. 9:16: I am now actually awake. 9:17: I am now truly, stupendously awake.” He would cross out the entry he just wrote before most of the time, and when asked why would say that he wasn’t awake then.

So it’s possible he had some kind of weird amnesia that either prevented him from forming memories or, perhaps, somehow made him forget all his memories formed since taking the drug until one week later. If so, he would have been conscious the whole time.

Then again, maybe he was a P-Zombie. I sleptwalked a lot as a kid, I definitely did a lot of things without being conscious. But I don’t think I could have operated a crane, everybody could tell I was acting freaky when it happened.


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29: Caplan / Don't Be A Feminist

I honestly don't get why Bryan is so adamant about that exact title. So many people on Twitter tried to explain why it was a bad idea, but he just didn't seem to get it. It will probably be a fine book, but it will be stained over the needlessly controversial title. It'll be the first book of his I won't buy, only because of the title.

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Sadat's big intention during the Yom Kippur War was to win one impressive battle -- to get across the Suez Canal and hold on, which they did by having two-man infantry units attack the Israeli tanks with wire-guided missiles -- a spectacular revolution in warfare.

They didn't have much of a strategy for conquering Israel and winning the war. (E.g., they had plenty of air defense systems blanketing the Suez Canal to initially protect their infantry and armor one east bank, but not much of a hope of extending that protection across the Sinai and into Israel.

But crossing the Canal succeeded in restoring Egyptian self-esteem, which gave Sadat more political options for the future, including making peace with Israel.

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On #14 - I tuned into this exact speedrun at GDQ and was amused by the memory manipulation. Link for those who want to see it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhH-UsSz69M

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34. Japanese and Chinese names are usually pretty easy to distinguish in writing. Over 90% of Chinese people have one of the hundred most common surnames, all but two of which consist of a single character. Only a handful of these characters are used in common Japanese surnames.

Japanese surnames, on the other hand, almost always consist of two characters. Since Japanese male given names usually consist of two characters as well, the modal length of a Japanese man's name is four characters. Four-character names are very rare (<0.1%) in Chinese, with about 3/4 having three characters and 1/4 having two.

There are a handful of full names that are plausible in either language (e.g. 林明 could be either Akira Hayashi or Ming Lin), but I'm not a native speaker of either language and am fairly confident that I could distinguish randomly selected Chinese or Japanese names with 90+% accuracy.

In any case, you can see the names of the four Japanese soldiers here, and three of them are very clearly Japanese:


The second from the left (谷寿夫, Hisao Tani) is the only one that I would have had trouble identifying as Japanese, though a Chinese person might have noticed.

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#38 begs the question of how humanity is distributed along the scale from antinatalism to repugnant conclusion.

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"Language Models Can Teach Themselves To Program Better"




...ok. I respect that you feel it's important for you to talk about AI. I totally agree that it's important to talk about AI. But this stuff freaks me out and I've been trying to avoid hearing about it. I've been trying to avoid any of your posts about AI, and that's mostly been sufficient. But if you make a few more links post that have a similar amount of alarming AI content to this one, I might just stop reading link posts before I have an anxiety attack.

Obviously you have no obligation to change anything about what you're doing. But this is genuinely how I feel, and it feels worth mentioning, just for the record if nothing else.

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33. Worth noting here that, contrary to common complaints about women doing double duty, it seems that on average men do 10 hours per week of housework on top of spending the same 43 hours on paid work that women spend on paid work and housework combined.

I'm sure that some women are doing double duty while their husbands slack off, but in order for this to average out, there must also be men who are doing more paid+housework than their wives by an even wider margin. Curiously, I have never seen one of these men complaining in a national media outlet.

As for the increase in total time spent by parents in child care...what exactly is being measured here? Is the same thing being measured in both time periods? Presumably women doing those 32 hours of housework in 1965 were in some sense supervising their children while doing the work, but the time may have counted as housework and not child care. Maybe they're spending more time actively interacting with their kids since housework doesn't take as much time as it used to. Are kids spending less time unsupervised outdoors? Are parents taking their children to more scheduled activities, and does that count as child care? And so on.

I'm not sure that this is a black pill, as Yglesias describes it. Spending less time on housework and more time with your kids sounds like something most people would consider a win.

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32. Risking to reveal that I didn't get the joke, but obviously this doesn't prove the possibility of philosophical zombies as they were originally defined.

P-Zombie is a creature that does everything human does for exactly the same physical reasons that human but isn't conscious. Ignoring the fact that what actually happened is probably just amnesia, human brain on drugs doesn't work the same way as human brain without drugs so the example isn't applicable here.

In general, the definition of philosophical zombie is begging the question of whether consciousness is non-physical. It just reframes the question from "Is consciousness non-physical?" to "Is the definition of philosophical zombie non-self-contradicting". It's still the same question, just a little bit more misleading, occasionally tricking people into arguments about the nature of possibility and logic.

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#19 and AI art: a somewhat-related (and highly recommended) short story by Alexander Wales (who wrote all sorts of rationalist and rationalist-adjacent fiction):


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#29 made me laugh. I wonder if the final published blurb appeared something like:

"You owe it to...Bryan Caplan...by reading this top...education...book."

/ref “Bryan Caplan committed career suicide by writing this book; you owe it to him to make his sacrifice meaningful by reading it” and “I didn't think Bryan was ever going to be able to top the ‘education is bad’ book, but he definitely did”

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Re #19: Erik Hoel's piece last year (https://erikhoel.substack.com/p/we-need-a-butlerian-jihad-against) mentioned this.

I'm less concerned with creation qua creation, more with the fact that the capability to write superhuman fiction books is strongly adjacent to the capability to write superhuman political essays which is essentially a deadline for alignment/governance.

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

#28 - I suggest the word "woke" either gets defined or tabooed. Without an explanation of precisely what a poster means by it, it is left as a free placeholder for whatever the reader and writer dislike, which need not be the same things.

In this particular case, the article appears to be about allowing companies to select individuals by race, ostensibly because racial indicators might correlate with performance across populations.

The word "woke" in this case seems to be used as a fig-leaf: "companies can be sued for not enforcing wokeness" sounds on a cursory reading like a problem that needs solving, whether by repealing the relevant laws or otherwise, since most readers will have some things they dislike that might fall under the label "woke"; replacing the neologism with the substance, however, would lead to a statement like "companies can be sued for permitting racial discrimination", which is a state of affairs that seems much less in need of changing.

I suggest that, in the current culture war ridden space, the default assumption when anyone uses the word "woke" without clearly explaining precisely what they mean by it should be that they are using it as a rhetorical fig leaf to slip a concept under the reader's radar.

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Re childcare hours expanding—I don't find this strange at all. I was born in 1958 in rural England. I can't speak to direct care when I was a baby, except to say that child psychiatrists are well aware that the 'self-calming child' no longer exists. That was an age when it was not a crime to let a baby cry if you knew the babe was dry, fed and safe, and the cry was one of rage about being left alone rather than one representing the first three conditions not being met. Mothers are good at that! As a pre-school toddler I was let into the back garden and told to 'play'. Excellent for the immune system, getting muddy and possibly eating worms. At five I started walking to school in the morning, home for lunch, back for the afternoon and then home again. Probably only 500m each trip, but makes over a mile a day for a five year old. School uniform involved shorts, and it wasn't pleasant in the winter with sleet stinging bare legs. (Of course, girls had skirts so they knew all about bare legs!) By the age of eight I could ride a bike, and after tea (family was middle class but only first generation out of working class, so hot meal at midday, and tea instead of dinner) I was let loose on the village with my playmates and had to be home by dusk. By the time I was off to the local comprehensive at 11, my mother had herself a job, and I had a house key, and when I got home, I made myself tea, and did homework unsupervised. Independence and self-reliance was built in to the method of child care (which would probably be called neglect these days). At eighteen I got on a train with a trunk, went to medical school, and came home at the end of the year. I never lived at home again after that; it just wasn't expected or done. Very different world, and I suspect we were the better for it in terms of minimised suffering on leaving home. I don't feel my parents were in the least bit neglectful or uncaring (although I think that most of my mother's time in direct child care was spent in caning me for some infraction or other.) Let's just say I always had a close and loving relationship with my father for the rest of his days!

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#1 This guy has a 3 part series where he argues (convincingly imo) that the dodecahedra, and occasional icosahedra, were used as calendars:




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In response to the question in #1, I would like to submit link #14

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RE #33: two non-exclusive explanations that come to mind are labor-saving devices and services and fear of kidnapping/predation. The first is simple enough, having a mechanical washing machine means far less time doing laundry, we eat out/nuke something in the microwave instead of cooking regularly (saves cleanup too), vacuuming instead of beating rugs, etc.

As for the second whether or not the situation with children being kidnapped or molested is actually worse than it was in 1965 the perception is that it is. Also our attitudes towards tragedies with children have changed, the tacit? cultural expectation is that you never ever let your kids out of your site unless they are in a safe (usually literally locked down) school or other location or with trusted adults who will keep tabs on them. If you fail to exert this level of diligence then you are held to be a bad parent and deserving of whatever tragedy befalls. I wasn't alive in 1965 but have been assured by people that were that such was not the case.

So instead of leaving the kids to their own devices while the stay-at-home-mom does her full time job's worth of household chores, we now burn the candle at both ends with both parents working and doing childcare and doing what remains of the housework. Race to the bottom?

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On #33 - Childcare

It used to be that childcare was pretty much only for very small children who could not tend to themselves. Older children (and I think that would be like, six or younger) would go off and play all day outside or hang out with other kids. The idea that we need to watch kids as old as 12 or more is definitely new. 12-year-olds used to regularly babysit stranger's kids for money.

I think the only reason the mom's number of hours is so high is because family sizes were larger and each kid needed their own time with mom.

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#28 - woke workplaces

"Woke" is further than workplace law requires, but it's definitely on the same trajectory. Once you train an organization to avoid even the appearance of anti-minority and anti-female discrimination, you've trained them to look for woke-adjacent problems in the workplace. Major corporations with tens of thousands of employees can't afford to have much of a failure rate on training, so they have a strong incentive to over-train avoidance. If you add in a supportive media environment, it's not much of a jump to going fully "woke" and angling for PR benefits to what you are mostly doing anyway.

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AI mediocrity: this has been my main AI concern since about when GPT-2 came out.

You know how frustrating it is when you have to talk to someone in a call centre, and they have a script to follow, or they don't understand your query and keep trying to answer a simpler query that has some superficial similarities? At least there is a human there, and if you're lucky you might get through to them. But in the same way that corporations offshored their call centres because it was cheaper, very soon they'll replace them with AIs for the same reason. The AI will be very good at answering the most common questions, and even at producing words that sound relevant to the more obscure queries, but it probably won't understand your attempts to disambiguate between your problem and the more common problem, and it probably won't have the long-term coherence to keep in mind the nuance you explained to it earlier.

Copy-writing and journalism, except at the highest levels, will be done by AI. Hardly anyone will notice the errors because they'll mostly be skim-reading anyway, but those errors will be copied into Wikipedia and into respected papers and books, and become accepted as fact.

I don't know what will happen to assessment in schools and universities (especially for essay subjects, but also even for maths and programming). Maybe coursework will eventually be abolished and everything will be assessed under exam conditions, but it will be several years before the bureaucracy catches up enough to make that change. AI-generated essays are already better than those of mediocre students, and not easily detectable by plagiarism detectors. The temptation even for good students to just submit a generated essay will increase as the language models improve, and the cost/benefit ratio of actually putting in the work yourself will decrease.

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#22: Jumping to conclusions and not fully analyzing the evidence in favor of the null hypothesis. People with schizophrenia have numerous early visual processing deficits, most likely centered around magnocellular pathway dysfunction. This alone doesn’t explain the cortical blindness hypothesis, but it surely is something to consider before rejecting the null.

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#23: convenience over decentralization: To make that sounds more like the owner of the cueva can either trust Binance or the 17-year-old crypto kid in the back offfice. And he chooses the former.

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

19. is great. I agree wholeheartedly with it.

The counterargument that technology is not going to stop people to make art seems a bit disingenuous to me. Take photography. True, it didn't destroy art as a whole, but it did make figurative, didascalic, realistic art completely redundant. And as a result the people like Picasso that could paint like Raffaello started painting like Picasso instead. And it's not that i dislike Picasso either, but we have relegated a certain form of figurative art to the outskirts of the art world.

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#17 autoplay: maybe it is just me, but I am already badly annoyed by animated gifs repeating in discord. In the unlikely event I actually came to the website to watch a video, I can damn well click on the play button, thank-you-very-much. IMHO, autoplay belongs to the same heap of horrible UI ideas as the blink tag, automatic web site background music in the late 90s and these horrible EU cookie prompts. "Our company producing vacuum pumps produced a great PR video. Strangely, most people visiting our website do not seem to click on it, probably because they can not figure out how to play it. Let's just play it automatically so everyone can enjoy it." Anyone cares to steelman autoplay?

#19 (AI is demoralizing)

TIL people actually use autocorrect. I hated it in the 1990s in MS Word when I was a kid and still disable it on my mobile to this day. Red underlining is ok, but I would rather fix five mistakes manually than have to undo an automatic correction once. With regard to writing code, my favorite "IDE" (GNU emacs) is not supported by github co-pilot, not that I care. IMHO, if you do notice that you need ten similar lines of code, the correct way to handle this is to increase your level of abstraction and use a loop + general statement. I think the ability to copy-paste big chunks of code (without understanding) is already ruining code quality in a project I am involved with.

I think visual artists and film actors are most threatened by AI. With regard to writing, I totally can't see ACX being replaced by a weak AI. Except perhaps for "links for $month"? And if ML can do data analysis and coding on their own, I guess I will just wait a bit for AI to take over AI research and then either end up in an Ellisonian nightmare, some utopia or something in between. Still, I can totally see DALL-E being annoying to artists.

#36 (Prisoners/Police per homicide)

Full paper: https://direct.mit.edu/ajle/article/doi/10.1162/ajle_a_00030/112647

Twitter preview cuts of the x axis.

I think relating the total number of prisoners to the number of homicides is unreasonable. First, I don't understand why the axes are dimensionless. I would expect homicides to be measured as a rate (in units of 1/year). Prisoners and Police, however, are more typically measured as a population. Thus, the axis should be of time dimension (e.g. years), with the interpretation: "The average Japanese police is head investigator in a murder investigation every every 700 years" and "If murder was the only crime for which people are arrested, to maintain the current prison population in Japan, the average murder case would have to result in an cumulative effective prison sentence of 160 years".

Given these numbers, either the prisoners in Japan are sentenced for being part of vast conspiracies of murderers or they are simply there for a crime not related at all to homicides, but perhaps tax fraud. OTOH, Finland probably mostly puts serious offenders in prison and prefers to deal with non-violent crime differently.

For the US, it is unclear to me if most prisoners are convicted of offenses strongly correlated with homicides (e.g. armed robberies, street corner drug dealing?) and what fraction of homicides is committed by people involved in criminal business models?

Also, from figure 2, Japan has around 700 (unknown unit) Police per homicide, while from figure 5, it is clearly below 500 (unknown unit)?

Finally, I did not realize that the "clearance rate" (here measured by homicide arrests instead of judicial outcomes, which I find confusing: solving all double homicides would get you to a rate of 0.5, while solving all homicides committed by pairs of killers would get you to 2? Not sure how large these effects are.) of the US is below 0.6. I think this is possibly related to the murder rate: in Europe, common wisdom is that while you *may* get away with all sorts of lesser crimes, homicides will get solved. Thus, mostly people who expect to be caught as well as the statistical illiterate and the ones who think themselves clever will try to kill people.

#9 (statue) seems to have a great CW potential. Let me just say I hope India will not get into a religious statue race with Pakistan. :-P

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#39: My anecdotal experience from talking to immigrant high school students from muslim countries is that it's taught as something that was just about to be a glorious victory when the evil U.S. stepped in to stop it and save Israel by forcing a peace at gunpoint.

This is obviously grossly untrue - it was Israel who did their best to keep the war going once victory was assured - but seems to be the kind of myth-building that would support this kind of naming.

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Regarding #1 and #14, that knitting was an amazingly late invention and that speed runners are crazy good at finding exploits.

It seems that these ideas are completely at odds. Left with a SNES and a couple years humans will apparently completely disassemble the virtual world and invent incredible, unforeseeable methods of achieving their goals. Left with thread and sticks for literally a hundred thousand years anatomically identical humans failed to produce knitting until the last millennium. It seems that producing flexible, warm clothing was significantly more valuable than getting to the Mario credits sooner, but it takes mere months to find new speedrunning exploits compared to centuries to develop knitting.

So, what's the difference? Humanity physically seems unchanged in the last hundred thousand years so we can't just say that we evolved to become better problem solvers. I can see the argument that knitting is harder to develop ex-nilo, but 100,000x more difficult seems implausible. It could be that we're as good as ever but the sheer amount of information availability in the modern era allows us to be significantly more effective when it comes to problem solving. But I could see arguments in favour of a cultural change, we have invented structures in society which make us significantly more able to be inventors going forwards. Or maybe it's just that five to ten percent of all humans who have ever lived are alive today so of course we're going to be accomplishing more.

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I'm not sure what to make of the chart in #36. At first glance, I thought it meant when a homicide occurs in the US, 20 cops go to work and put 120 people in prison. So US police are far more efficient compared to their international counterparts.

In fact, the plot is nigh incomprehensible. The author should consider reviewing "How to Display Data Badly" by Howard Wainer (American Statistician, May 1984) before publishing any further work.

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> 19: Reddit: The current and future state of AI/ML is shockingly demoralizing. A new concern I’ve never seen before, aside from the superintelligence family of concerns or the implicit bias family. AI is slowly eating all creative work. If AI remains slightly worse than humans, it could still take over because it’s so much cheaper and more scaleable, resulting in all our art getting slightly worse. If it becomes better than humans, a world where you (as a human) can never create truly world-class art also sounds pretty depressing.

I think this is broadly correct, but I'm not convinced this is a bad tradeoff versus the benefit of unlimited customized creative work. I'm predicting that as AI-generated work becomes better, we'll see both a dramatic decrease for specifically human-generated work at the same time we get a dramatic increase in the *total* demand that's ambivalent about the origin. That new met demand is a benefit, just not to clearly identified existing interests.

More concretely: I've commissioned art for TTRPGs before (and written a small amount of music personally). I don't see myself *ever* doing that again... and yet I'll have more material than ever before. An analysis that doesn't account for the benefit to my players is missing half the picture.

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"Wait, it's all Maryland?"

"Always has been."

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On the topic of mom/dad quantities of childcare, I wonder if definitions of "childcare" have changed over the years. It's possible that in 1965, moms didn't consider doing housework while the kids play outside as "childcare" (obviously 100% speculative). And now, as a parent of multiple kids, I am fairly sure that most everyone seems to count every moment spent nominally responsible for the kids as childcare.

On the topic of the future of AI/ML art, I'm totally on board with the idea that lots of people could be worse at lots of things and not know it due to AI, but I'm not sure that it follows that you can't tell your children "with a straight face that it is worth them pursuing their talent in art, writing, or music." I guess I feel like art that can be done by almost anyone should be automated, and otherwise art is about creating meaning. Art evokes a feeling in us because we know that someone created a thing with an intention to make us feel something, and that feeling *can* happen because the art is incredibly beautiful, and AI art may be able to create enough beauty to evoke that feeling (though I still think people will value knowing that a human created that beauty, the same way we still pay way more for all sorts of handmade things), likewise, the fact the a person *used* the AI to make art doesn't erase the meaning. But there's also all sorts of art that *isn't* beautiful in the conventional sense, but is meaningful nonetheless. I think there will be artists who create that art that is imbued with meaning and people will see it and think it is meaningful and love it, and other artists will create things and people will think "Why did someone ask an AI to do that?" and if the artist can't convince people that it's meaningful, then nothing really has been lost.

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Just guessing re #33: Sports and homework are insanely time consuming now.

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"Was this person a p-zombie? If so, have we resolved the philosophical debate about whether p-zombies are possible?"

It's more likely a week's worth of memories were erased and he experienced that as "regaining consciousness".

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#9 Resident Contrarian is obviously intelligent. I simply don't understand why he makes $50k a year. I hire people all the time into >$100k/yr positions where the person is clearly less intelligent than this fellow. Is it only credentialism that stands in his way?

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Does anybody here have experience with both knitting and nålbinding? Was the latter Good Enough for 5 millenia of textile production? Was the former less practical before advances in spinning technology? Is knitting fragile and nålbinding antifragile?

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Scott, thanks at least for the post photo.

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#32: how would one observationally distinguish "I lost consciousness for a full week" and "my memories from the last week were erased"? (Do I need to reread the Consciousness and the Brain review?)

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Sep 7, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022

#33: "housework" and "child care" are co-located and not mutually exclusive. You can be present and keeping kids out of trouble without thinking of that as your primary activity.

I'm sure there are other effects here (helicopter parenting etc) but wouldn't be surprised if that was the main one quantitatively.

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#26: the "Named after two animals" section of the same page is even funnier. Giraffe seahorse! Crocodile snake eel! Leopard catshark! Raccoon butterflyfish!

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#1. That's funny-- I've thought for a long time that knitting was an amazing invention while crocheting was more obvious, but crocheting was invented much later. It seems simpler to put one loop through another loop or loops than to think of somehow stabilizing a whole row of loops so you can put another row of loops through it.

Possibly it was enough harder to make a crochet hook than to make knitting needles. Or possibly it was chance.

I've seen a claim that the ancient Egyptians could have had gliders if they'd though to them. Plausible?

And there's the classic that people could have had a little magnification from drops of water if they'd noticed.

I believe without evidence that there are many cool things that our descendants will sneer at us for failing to invent, and some of them might be pretty simple.

As for alphabetizing, whether by the first or second letter, sometimes the remarkable part is noticing that you have a problem you might be able to address. Coming up with a usable solution is a different sort of challenge.

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Over the weekend I attended a rationality meetup in Chicago. The host there noted that we are weird among rationalists for inclining more toward Hanson than Yudkowsky in the AI foom debate. Lifland's review expressed concern that people will feel bait-and-switched if they read McAskill as their intro to EA and then discover everyone is focused on AI. Such people should just move to Chicago!

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Regarding #33, I was 12 in 1965, and childcare consisted of being told "go outside and play, and don't come home until the street lights come on." Ten hours per week from Mom seems about right, and two hours from Dad seems about double in my memory. Mom had time to meet friends and play Bridge almost everyday, and Dad worked two jobs to support the family. We walked the three miles to school (up hill both ways). The world was a safer place back then, and we didn't need so much supervision.

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Sep 8, 2022·edited Sep 8, 2022

#36. We need to pay to have 'the best' police. I'm good with paying more for police... more training time and such. (I'm thinking Jocko Willink, level of training.)

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#33 Housework was MUCH worse in the past, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoKfap4g4w

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Done fairly high doses of Xanax before and had similar experiences—a day or two of acting and talking without making much memory, or none at all. Your frontal cortex is mostly off. Executive function non existent. You become a complete hedonist. (by "you" I mean me, you might have a completely different reaction lol). It can feel like you're waking up when you come off it, but in fact there was a "you" the whole time. Not a p-zombie I don't think, though I have the benzo p-zombie debate with myself in the shower more than a normal person would.

Relatedly, eti is actually supposed to be safer than benzos? iirc it's not a benzo, but something else. allegedly less addiction potential, and anxiolytic effects are supposed to continue with less tolerance build up. wonder why it's not used widely?

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There's some dishonesty going on in the introductory claim:

> The fun thing about speedrunning is that you can respond to literally any piece of information about a video game in any context whatsoever with “implications for the speedrun?” and there’s a non-zero chance that’s actually a cogent question.

The problem here is that the other example explicitly identifies as "speedrunning" a mode in which you are scored based on how many items you collect (more is worse), and your time is ignored. Obviously, if "speedrunning" covers every possible way to play a game, then it is of no interest that absolutely any phenomenon might have implications for "the speedrun". That's just the claim that every phenomenon has implications for "something".

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> As “texting your drug dealer” replaced “finding your drug dealer on a street corner”, control of territory became less important, and violent drug gangs were replaced by less violent ordinary people.

I don't think this makes sense. Control of _geographic_ territory became less important. But control of territory became more important. Street corners aren't the only kind of territory there is. The kind that's relevant here is the customer base.

If I head an organized crime syndicate selling heroin in Nashville, and you arrive in Nashville and start selling heroin, I'm going to have some opinions. The fact that you interact with your customers over the phone won't protect you - to be a drug dealer, you still need people to know that you're a drug dealer, and I'm going to know it too.

It's not like it's unheard of for organized crime to emphasize controlling "anyone working in our industry, wherever their office might happen to be located" over "anyone whose office is located at 2630 Elm Hill Pike, whatever business they might be in".

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> He did end up including something by me on the back cover. I must admit I was kind of hoping it would be hidden among many other reviewer blurbs so that my name wasn’t too prominent, but I guess all those other potential reviewers chickened out, like I almost did.

But you're openly antifeminist. It's a running theme of your work. My favorite expression of this was from https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/04/22/right-is-the-new-left/ :

> I notice that, no matter how many long rants against feminism I write, everyone continues to assume I am a feminist. It’s like, “He doesn’t make too many spelling errors, his writing isn’t peppered with racial slurs – he’s got to be a feminist. He probably just forgot the word ‘not’ in each of his last 228 sentences.”

Why wouldn't you want to write a blurb for "Don't be a Feminist"?

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I notice this very interesting disclaimer in the image:

> Note: Paid work includes commute time

This immediately suggests to me that we are comparing unlike things. If paid work includes commute time, childcare should include almost all time, certainly all time when you and the child are both at home. Instead, childcare is limited, in the "childcare-heavy" year of 2016, to 22 hours _a week_ between both parents.

Something is fishy in the definition of "childcare". It's very possible that the change in reported hours shown in the graph has more to do with different classification of the same activities than with different amounts of childcare being done.

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from the thread:

> Japanese names rendered in Chinese look Chinese, basically, and while these are known war criminals, they're not, like, Hitler level famous.

This is a staggering claim. Japanese names do not resemble Chinese names. It's not at all difficult to tell the difference; it would have been obvious to most people looking at the names that they were (1) not Chinese, and (2) almost certainly Japanese. (With an exception for Tani Hisao; he was one of the people listed and his name could probably pass for Chinese. But he's there in the middle of a bunch of obviously Japanese names. The guy on the tablet to his left is surnamed 田中!)

The idea that nobody recognized the particular individuals named is enough for the story. It makes sense. Why did it need to be embellished?

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The etizolam guy might have been conscious but not forming memories, Memento-style.

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I genuinely hope Henry Purcell Has Risen is a thing, and not just an example.

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I'm writing this in reply to all the comments above about children walking/riding to school, and the general level of mandatory suoervision today vs. previous generations. I'm breaking this out as a seperate thread because I think it's important, It certainly informed my feelings about this.

--NOTE: I do not remember the source of this story and I am recalling it just from memory, but I did read about this. (No, I swear! This hapened!) I will try to track down the original again ASAP. --



In the mid-70's a couple Psych grad students in Michigan (U. Mich or Mich. State) needed a grant proposal for the summer. One thought, "Hey! my Aunt. M_ says all the neighborhood kids kinda congregate at her house, maybe we could just, like, follow my nephew and his friends around and film them all summer...?"

In 1975, this was just fine, so two ~23-y male grad students got stipends, film equipment, a van, and permission from a dozen or more sets of parents, to follow 5-12 year old children around all summer and film them for months.

The kids hated it and were totally uncooperative...for about an hour, and then totally forgot about these guys and ignored them (even though they knew, and even helped them out, "Oh, we're going to the park now, maybe just meet us there.") The kids completely forgot about the camera(s). Seriously. (*)

The result was hundreds of hours of completely naive footage of kids being kids, essentially with no adults present. They really did usually kinda gather at Aunt M_'s house, which was central, around 9-10am, then whatever group would just go down to the creek or ride bikes around or go to the HS field and play. No plan, no leader, boys, girls, usually a core group of 4-5 kids but maybe a dozen, from ~6 to max of 11. They would invent games, have battles, argue, fight, make up, help each other, dissapear for a week angry but come back, the whole gamut of social stuff (pre-puberty and adult problems.)

Well, the footage was archived and theses written and was ignored for ~30 years. Then the grad students got back together and decided to do a "7-up" kinda thing and connect with the original kids who had been their subjects.

This is where it gets emotional.

When they interviewed a woman, 8 years old at the time, now (**) a mother with children near the same age, she wept seeing the footage of her childhood self, unconcerned, playing, being a kid. But when the researchers asked her,

-- "Do your kids play in the neighborhood with their friends? Would you let your own kids be in a study like this?", she was adamant:

-- "Oh, no! I couldn't, I'd be so afraid for them, it's too dangerous."

And then she started crying again.


What else to say about this...? I will try to track down the original source. Maybe it came through Lenore Skenazy, but if anybody recalls reading this story please clarify, not just the source but any mis-remembrances I have made.


* -- Stop and try to imagine a modern child being totally un-image-conscious and not even thinking about a camera being present unless it was a forced, awkward "photo-op" like a mandatory school portrait or a holiday with relatives and grandparents. Imagine a world where taking your picture was a distinct, formal event, that had to be arranged beforehand, and suffered at the time, and except for those weird occasions, nobody was watching you. Ever. Try to imagine this.

** -- This interview was IIRC 10+ years ago, the woman would have been ~40 then, probably.

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19 - AI art generation may put some number of artists out of work in the same way that photography put some number of portraitists out of business. But a lot more people are now able to hang pictures of their families on the wall.

I think some amount of this concern simply misunderstands the motivation for art (both consumption and generation). From signaling (look at this one of a kind thing I own!) to ideation (the brilliance of The Persistence of Memory has almost nothing to do with the technical prowess of Dali).

Stuff like AI art generation is going have a huge impact on art, but worrying that its going to 'eat creative work' seems wildly off the mark to me.

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#2: The idea that one of the bombings or the other might not have been justified reeks of historical hindsight. And I am not even one who buys into in the whole line about a Japanese invasion otherwise being necessary. It was a long war, tons of people were killed and tons of cities destroyed, these were experimental weapons, and did not cause damage out of scale with other activities both sides were undertaking during the war.

It is interesting (and maybe unsurprising) that Truman distanced himself at the time, and then later "bigged up" his involvement.

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#4: I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Virgino!

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Sep 8, 2022·edited Sep 8, 2022

#21 The birth order thing has always been really interesting to me. My anecdata was that in highschool the top 10% of the class or so was like 27 firstborns and 3 others. kind of a hard pattern to miss.

Ditto in college where the TAs and people in the departments "academic" focused crowd was once again almost entirely first borns. Interestingly the professors were not, with many whose older siblings were like judges/engineers/doctors. A real "second son goes to the church" type of vibe.

Anyway, I see with my own children the cause I always suspected. Older child is victim of parents more rigorous and paranoid expectations for first child. by second child they have chilled a bit. Also benefits from spending more time with adults compared to second child. Also benefits from being tasked with helping raise second child (and second child suffers from this).

My first son is much more serious/academic and less "class clown/artsy" than second.

Anyway easy to see how that would translate into reading wordy blogs.

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Fun Fact: North Korea's Hwasong-6 ballistic missile, capable of delivering a 770kg warhead to the entirety of South Korea and parts of Japan is derived from the Soviet R-17 Elbrus, better known as the Scud.

The soviet-built missile that was reverse-engineered in the DPRK was given to them not by the USSR, but by Egypt, in return for sending 20 Korean pilots to fight against Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

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The etizolam thing suggests nothing about p-zombies...merely interaction with memory permanence.

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The etizolam story is disturbing and fascinating, and what I find the most concerning question is left unasked: was the author of the post conscious when he wrote the post?

On a personal note, I've been dealing with long covid for the past few years (pre-vaccine), and one of the frustrating effects is a sometimes loss of penetrating insight into my own thoughts. I've gotten fairly good at having apparently convincing technical conversations without feeling like I'm generating the thoughts myself or being able to remember details later. Guess I'll continue to stay away from etizolam

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#19. It seems to be the same with movies - one can watch movies for free or almost free for whole lifetime and still not run out. Still, somehow new movies make many millions. And it's not because they're good - almost all of them are utter trash, especially compared to the best of old ones. But somehow this works, as an ongoing business. I wonder what's the difference?

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From the Resident Contrarian link:

> If you came from a family that did pretty well financially, went to college and then immediately started to do pretty well yourself, it’s hard to get any kind of context for what life is like at lower income levels. This isn’t a matter of the relatively-wealthy being dumb or insensitive; it’s just legitimately difficult to get a handle on what it’s like in a life you’ve never lived, and often being legitimately confused as to why anyone would opt to make less money instead of improving their lot with training and education.

I don't understand this. I came from a wealthy family and started making a lot of money right out of college, and it was always clear to me . The actual incomes and (some of) costs that the poor or even middle-class are faced with are readily available! More than that, they're almost unavoidable! Even those living in the richest neighborhoods in the world have _some_ exposure to businesses that serve the non-rich.

Is this just as simple as "I'm the type of person who ended up rationalist-adjacent so I overthink things"? If so, "dumb" still feels like a good description of this ignorance. Note that we're not talking about some upper-crust 0.1%ers here; the couple the excerpt is referring to has a _combined_ income of $200k.

This is a frustrating thing to bring up, because it sounds like a childish boast that I noticed something that the subject of this article didn't. I don't care about that; I truly feel like I'm missing something.

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Sep 9, 2022·edited Sep 9, 2022

Re #19: https://archiveofourown.org/works/41112099 Eager Readers in Your Area!

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Re #33: there are 26% of households that are single family compared to 9% in 1960 (latest data that I found was 2014 https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2015/12/17/1-the-american-family-today/), so that adds a little bit to the mom's childcare number from today and makes the difference between moms and dads childcare a little bit less for the households with two parents

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Kelsey's thread was awesome, but @historycourses has her beat at over 700 likes = hot history takes (though he has over 1000 likes so he's not done) https://twitter.com/Historycourses/status/1566518220194021377?t=_fsC1lq7Ne4JXc6YLiVzzA&s=19

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Kelsey's thread was awesome, but @historycourses has her beat at over 700 likes = hot history takes (though he has over 1000 likes so he's not done) https://twitter.com/Historycourses/status/1566518220194021377?t=_fsC1lq7Ne4JXc6YLiVzzA&s=19

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#33, about the childcare thing: can I venture the hypothesis that dads are so abysmal at it that each hour they do creates an extra 45mn of work for moms?

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19&31&37: software programming is going to change drastically over the coming decade

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#33: I'm very interested in why parental investment has increased over time, and hope to write something about it soon. If anyone has any good sources that document the increase in sub-populations, or put forward hypotheses and evidence for why this occurred, I'd be happy if you share it here. (Or if you're also interested and want to chat about it, reply and we'll coordinate.)

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#1: Valued dice-like objects found in association with soldiers and coins? Call me crazy but for their function, I'm going to go with gambling. With the undercut nodules doing the double duty of 1. holding interchangeable pentagonal pieces of card (did the Romans have playing cards?) or leather/vellum, and 2. helping to resolve the results of ambiguous rolls on uneven/non-flat surfaces. The holes could compensate for -- or induce -- bias, as in 'loaded' dice.

Prediction: the 'soles' of the nodules should show signs of wear (or light hammering) as a result of being repeatedly rolled and bumped against hard surfaces.

Either that or they're spoke nipple key multi-tools for the various configurations of bicycle used by the Roman military.

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As for 38 (the negative utilitarian assassin) - this is particularly funny to me because I really wanted to use this view as an example to why caring about "potential people" easily leads to absurdity, when reading your review of What We Owe The Future. In my view, it is pretty easy to see that if you don't hold these beliefs (in that order, but I can't say anything definite about the relative weights):

1. human suffering should be minimised (for existing humans)

2. human happiness should be maximised (for existing humans)

then you get all sorts of bizarre results. If you drop the 'for existing humans' bit, you can get the aforementioned negative utilitarian view. If you switch the order of 1 and 2, you can get that it's ok for a sociopath (or whatever) to tortue someone as long as his happiness from doing it is greater than the victim’s suffering. If you drop 2, you can again get the neg-utilitarian view again, or some variations on a happiness malthusian trap.

I’m not saying this solves everything or even a lot of interesting problems in metaethics or population ethics or whatever, just that reading the quotes from What We Owe The Future made it pretty clear the author kind of got his assumptions mixed up.

Some people would find it intuitive to add “3. The human race needs to keep existing” as another axiom (I personally don’t), but it doesn’t work if it's not an explicit assumption. If you try to derive it from 1 or 2 you get strange stuff.

As for 39 (Yom Kippur and Egypt, just for general knowledge) - I’m not Egyptian, but I am Israeli, and I can tell you that here the general attitude towards the Yom Kippur war, including what they teach us in schools and so on, is mainly focused on it being an intelligence debacle, even born of hubris in some interpretations, where a lot of casualties and being surprised by the enemy could have been avoided. Interestingly, there are two dedicated Wikipedia entries in Hebrew, that haven’t been translated to English, about the wrongful attitude of Israeli intelligence agencies at the time.

Anyway, according to wiki, it doesn’t seem the Egyptians treated that war as a great success either, so yeah, interesting.

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War#Response_in_Egypt )

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I recently finished reading "Truman", the Truman biography. It went into a lot of detail about Truman's atomic bomb decisions. One thing that struck me was how all the tricky moral arguments I have ever heard regarding if and how the atom bombs should be dropped seemed to have been voiced to Truman in meetings before he decided to move forward with it.

That doesn't exactly contradict the claim that Truman was not aware of the atomic bomb plans, but it is strange that he would give so much thought and attention to how the bombings should go, and then somehow not be up to date with how the army was actually deploying it.

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>Was this person a p-zombie? If so, have we resolved the philosophical debate about whether p-zombies are possible?

A with sleep, twilight drugs, and most other forms of 'unconsciousness', I find it far more likely that people in this state are conscious and just not recording long-term memories of their conscious experiences, than that they were actually not conscious at the time.

(where 'conscious' = producing qualia in some way, not necessarily in their normal state of mind.)

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Re: #32

Looks like the debate over p-zombies is still open:


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