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Just a notion about utilitarianism-- as the population goes up, larger numbers of people die or get otherwise hurt in disasters. Does this make for an incentive to not go for the highest population so as to have more slack in case of problems?

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Any tips for getting myself to write on my thesis? I keep pushing it off, it's ridiculous. I don't seem to be able to set myself to work the way I used to do.

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Am I missing something, or is it not possible to compress/roll up comment threads in the Substack app?

I have tried pressing in all the intuitive places and nothing happens, but maybe I’m missing something really obvious.

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Has Scott ever written about the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of encounter groups for affecting behavior? I know types of talk therapy aren't what he usually addresses. But I think there was a moment in the 1970s where some people in psychology thought piling on/yelling at people was actually helpful in some way, and then that idea jumped disciplines (and has lived on, both online and IRL). A really coherent writeup of this could be useful in multiple ways.

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Exciting to see meetups in far-flung places that don't have existing communities! e.g. Amman, Bangkok, Ibadan, Mexico City, Playa del Carmen, and Singapore :)

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Apr 3, 2022·edited Apr 3, 2022

What's the right way to view the Chernobyl disaster?

1) The RBMK reactor was not flawed. It had weaknesses, but those weaknesses were known, and didn't cause problems so long as the humans operating the reactor remembered their training.

2) The RBMK reactor WAS flawed. Its weaknesses were so serious that it was unacceptably dangerous to expect human technicians to avoid inflaming them for the expected lifetime of such a reactor. The potential for disaster should have been recognized at the beginning, and the RBMK reactor design changed to add an extra margin of safety.

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People taking NMN, does anyone else observe adverse effects? While the boost in energy and brainpower is almost instantaneous (tens of seconds for sublingual application), I think I actually noticed visibly accelerated aging on it - receding hairline, wrinkles, first grey hairs within weeks of starting it. It is of course entirely possible I'm simply looking harder, but another person, in their early 30, whom I in my initial enthusiasm gave NMN off-handedly commented "Gah, I look old" shortly thereafter.

Possible explanations:

1) I'm expecting it to turn me 20 and look at myself harder, therefore noticing things I otherwise wouldn't.

2) Bad batch, contaminated with...what?

3) Naturally high NAD+ levels (men in my family age SPECTACULARLY slow) so NMN is overkill that leads to paradoxical reactions, or another idiosyncratic / genetic factor

4) It actually is harmful

Since NMN turned up as the most adhered to nootropic in the last survey here (I think?), there should be copious anecdata, leaking into actual data, and I appreciate any and all comments. Thank you.

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What are your most helpful tips for chronic fatigue?

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Would open global immigration be a highly effective means of reducing global poverty?

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Are “states of matter” fundamental constants or reality or simply a useful taxonomy?

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I'm an undergrad with an interest in biomedical research and doctoring. My current plan is to get an MD and aim for a physician-scientist type role, but combo MD/PhD programs through the MSTP look appealing. I'm told people do research with just an MD, but it's unclear to me how this works in practice. Getting a PhD seems riskier and less flexible in terms of job prospects, so I'm wary. If anyone has anecdotes, useful data, or just opinions on the comparative benefits/costs of MD/Ph.D./MD+PhD/some alternative I don't know about, I'd love to hear them (even if it's not directly related to medical science).

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Posted a prediction market for slime mold time mold’s hypothesis about chemical contaminants being the cause of the modern obesity crisis:

https://manifold.markets/LarsDoucet/will-the-contaminant-hypothesis-of

What do you think? Both, will the market cash out on its three year time frame, and what do you think is the case about the subject personally. Please do read at least one article in the series before commenting if you haven’t read it yet.

https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

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For the first time since the pandemic began, my significant other recently went out of town without me. It was only for a week, but I was essentially alone the whole time -- I saw a friend for a few hours one day, and had a few Zoom meetings here and there, but was just mostly alone. It felt pretty psychologically intense, even with the awareness that it was just for a week and things are open now and I was lucky to have had someone for the actual lockdowns etc.

Did anyone spend most of the pandemic like this? Hope you’re all doing OK.

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POLITICS THREADS ARE DEAD! LONG LIVE POLITICS THREADS!

In honor of the new regime:

As a leftoid, I have to accept that my comrades are gonna do some cringe shit, and just role with it. I feel that most people further left than the Dems have just decided that we have to tolerate some stuff we don't like, up to a point. (Asadists and such can fuck right off). This is easy because it rarely actually gets codified into law.

This is not the case on the right.

I've always wondered to what extent people to the right of me own their alignments dumb shit; eg. the "Don't say gay" bill and the Texas abortion bounties.

Do you guys actually want those things, but dislike the bills themselves? Is there internal shit flinging I don't see about it? Do ya'll feel embarrassed about it, or just roll with it?

Basically, how do people in the right think about the above things?

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I came across this essay yesterday: https://geraldrogue.substack.com/p/medicalization-and-colonization

This piece suggests that COVID policies like lockdowns and vaccine passports were deliberately designed to be biased based on race and class, basically a way for white political leaders to screw over Blacks, Hispanics, etc. while pretending to be neutral by using “identity politics” as a deception.

While I’m not sure I can fully agree with the author’s POV, he does raise some interesting questions that I don’t have answers to:

1. Whether governments knew in advance about the demographics of folks who would be affected by COVID policies.

2. Whether scientists are researching things objectively with COVID and the vaccines, or if it’s possible that they’re influenced by politics/funding/other considerations.

3. Whether many/most white liberals really are racist without admitting it (he gives the examples of “good schools” and gentrification in addition to pandemic policies). I don’t think this is an accurate judgment, but I’m a white male liberal myself so it’s possible I’m biased here.

Has anyone else thought about this or seen similar pieces in the COVID context?

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Apr 3, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

We're posting on Astral Codex Ten because we're looking for help in reviewing/critiquing our manuscript: "God vs the Multiverse: A rational argument for the existence of one God of the universe."

Elie has a PhD in mathematics and Aaron has a bachelor's in physics. We've spent many hours over the past ten years working on the book, trying to make it as clear and convincing as we could.

The book has three parts. The first part develops an argument for an intelligent cause from the fine tuning of the constants and initial conditions. The second part analyzes and critiques multiverse theory. The third part develops a logical and intuitive idea of God (without any discussion of any religion).

While it's written without formalisms in order to be accessible to nonacademics, it involves a significant amount of physics and philosophy. We're trying to find people proficient in physics and/or philosophy (or just smart people) to review it for any significant errors or omissions on our part before we get it published. Also, we want to know if there are weak points (e.g. logically unjustified assumptions, handwaving, etc. ) in our argument that makes it unconvincing.

If you're interested in reviewing it, please contact us ezimmer7 at gmail dot com.

We appreciate any help. Thank you.

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Would people be interested in a substack that walks through fermi estimates of random things?

I find back of the envelope calculations really valuable for lots of things (as a trader it’s also a pretty natural habit) - often having an order of magnitude estimate helps appreciate the scale (or lack thereof) of something, and can be a useful prioritization technique. I wonder if people would find it useful to see examples worked out?

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Scott, there’s pretty much no way I’ll submit a book review on time. But I am putting it out here on this public forum that I WAS going to submit a book review of Pascal’s _Pensées_, and it was going to be incredible. I’ll await my honorable mention.

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I wrote a two-part expository paper on Bayesianism in philosophy for Philosophy Compass about a decade back. During the pandemic, I've started making videos where I read out full papers that I've assigned my students to read, with some commentary at places where I think an undergrad might either get tripped up by some unexpected vocabulary or might miss a reference. I finally got to the point in one of my classes where I assigned my own papers on Bayesianism, so I did videos on them.

If anyone thinks they might be interested, the videos are here:

https://youtu.be/IqnLqnuaR6I

https://youtu.be/GPgpP4FcQO8

(And if you're interested in other topics in analytic philosophy of language or epistemology, it's possible you'll find some of my other videos relevant as well, and you can probably find them from those.)

I'd also be interested if anyone has any feedback or advice on how to do videos like this. (I definitely appreciate that long-format video is not a great way to get a lot of people engaged, so I'm not necessarily interested in comments that repeat that point, but if anyone has thoughts on how to show students what is going on in a long reading, I'd be glad to hear.)

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I think yesterday and first images from #BuchaMassacre broke me.

I'm Ukrainian, I know Ukrainian and English, no Russian. I now believe that a large chunk of Russian population deny my right to exist.

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Have been reading a lot about nuclear fusion's progress in recent years. Part of me is cynical that it's yet another instance of fusion being "just 10-15 years away" for the next half century.

But the progress does seem substantial this time. Tyler Cowen summed it up last year:

https://archive.ph/eBXKW

What encourages me is that this progress seems to be occurring from many directions, both in terms of countries as well as approaches, so it appears to be more broad-based than a narrow vector of a single company/institution doing well, where everything would hinge on them.

Am I being carried away or is there more substantial progress time 'round compared to previous false dawns?

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Apr 3, 2022·edited Apr 3, 2022

I’ve seen Anatoly Karlin cited here a few times, and decided to look into him. Boy was that quite the rabbit hole to go into.

The guy seems cruel, arrogant, petty. He unhesitatingly lies, openly sneers at those with opposing views, reflexively doubles down when presented with evidence. I tried to apply maximum charitability, yet even ignoring this horrible optics and gratuitous use of terms like ‘globohomos’, he remains one of the least interesting authors I’ve encountered in two decades of internet use. Somehow though, his views keep appearing within Scott’s blog.

What am I missing?

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Has anyone here given up flossing and can give their observations?

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Apr 3, 2022·edited Apr 3, 2022

1. Are relatively young ppl getting the next booster (vaccine dose #4, booster #2)? The pros are obvious (mRNA vaccines seem super-effective in preventing serious cases). What are the cons?

I'm asking specifically for two relatively healthy 50 yos and a healthy 21 yo, and the vaccine so far for all three is Moderna. We had our booster #1 in October. The then-20yo had the half dose Moderna.

2. How would you time it? Is there a new wave for sure? When will it peak in Central Texas?

3. How do you distinguish between covid and spring allergies? How many rapid tests or pcr tests, taken in what pattern? (i.e. for e.g. take just one rapid, trust the results?).

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Shouldn't the real tech revolution in currency just be getting dollars (or maybe euros, or even the yen or yuan) into the hands of consumers in the developing world? From what I can tell, dollars are in extremely high demand in every 2nd or 3rd world country with an unstable currency, which is most of them- and it is explicitly outlawed in every single one. On HN there was a recent discussion about currencies and everyone from the developing world said 'God all we want is stable dollars, and the local government makes it illegal'. Every article I read about currency instability in the developing world indicates that there's a black market for dollars, and enormous demand for them.

Cryptocurrency has existed for 13-14 years now, and famously does not get used for actual payments very much. Its main role seems to be a new vehicle for financial speculation, not payments. Meanwhile, 3rd world countries can grudgingly use the US dollar if pushed- El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama and Zimbabwe all officially use it. Wouldn't the real revolution not be crypto, but just an electronic payment system where the US dollar just supplants the official currency of say every Latin American country? If you're not keen on the dollar, it could be the euro- it could even be the yuan, perhaps China will push it on small countries in its orbit

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From a book review (https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/the-rule-of-laws-fernanda-pirie-to-the-uttermost-parts-of-the-earth-martti-koskenniemi-book-review-jonathan-sumption/):

> Fernanda Pirie is an anthropologist specializing in the development and use of law in what western thinkers used to call 'primitive' societies.

In this sentence, the reviewer is referring to a concept by using quotes around a defunct/discouraged term for the concept. He could suggest a suitable new name for the concept, but he hasn't. He could also explicitly deny that the concept is valid, but he hasn't. Is there a name for this practice?

Can you think of more examples with all of the above conditions? I'd be especially interested if there are examples without an element of controversy.

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Aarghh... book review deadline is tomorrow and I got distracted by lovely Oxford Rationalist meetup today, also finishing my second blog post - 'Live long and prosper: lessons from super-centenarians' https://pathfindings.substack.com/p/live-long-and-prosper-lessons-from

Follow me if you want to live!!

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Does anybody have pointers to writing that addresses technical analysis in trading from a rigorous angle?

I am of the camp that 95% of technical analysis is bunkum, but there is 5% that interests me. For example, the truism that booms happen gradually, whereas crashes happen suddenly, is a form of technical analysis. Or the fact that all leveraged order books have long and short squeezes is something relevant to my inquiry.

I am even interested in studies that dispute any value of technical analysis because that sharpens my knowledge of that space. For example, there is the study of a professor who asked his students to look at a bunch of charts and make predictions. The students made all sorts of pronouncements based on things like "momentum," and then the professor revealed that the charts were from coin flips.

Efficient market hypotheses would also qualify as relevant. The hypothesis says that in mature markets there is no "found money" from hacking greeks or worrying golden crosses.

When I search for the subject, unfortunately, I just bump into studies that reinforce the chart-reading nonsense. The best I ran into was Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners by Larry Harris.

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Most self help books make promises they don't keep. What books (not necessarily self help) have you found to actually be useful?

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How bad would nuclear warfare actually be?

I have recently been wondering about actual harm of a nuclear war while comparing media descriptions of "bad things" and actual "bad things". First example might be Covid-19/food shortages etc. Yes prices went up, yes people died, but not nearly as many as it seemed from the descriptions (don't get me wrong: it still was bad and it was right to try everything we had to avoid it).

Similarly, the great oil shortage where we "would run out" as advertised in the 90s... there is still a lot of oil around.

We have one data point: Japan got nuked twice in the 1940s. It is doing quite well as a country right now.

So, my question: how bad would the outcome of a few nukes being launched be? Say, Ukraine gets nuked and in retaliation some Russian place gets nuked as well and Putin dies, and that's it.

And how bad would the outcome of most nukes in possession of NATO/Russia being launched (I guess the US might save some to deter China in the post-war scenario)?

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So my new profile pic is intended to be anti-Russia, but I wanted to get some reactions since there's a lot of potential for misunderstanding.

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Hey Beowulf+somenumber. Nice piece on Laurie Anderson on 60 Minutes tonight.

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Are there videos of dancers that are better than Michael Jackson?

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My first ever paper was published this week!! It's to do with the evolutionary theory of ageing, in its mathematical form developed by Hamilton (1966) and extended by Caswell (1978), Baudisch (2005) and others. [reposted from the subscribers-only hidden open thread]

My paper: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.1910

Roper & Salguero-Gómez's reply: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.2610

Twitter explainer: https://twitter.com/DavidBahry/status/1509574046958112779

~~~

The general idea is that natural selection cares less about late life than early life (e.g. compare a gene killing you in infancy, to a gene killing you only in middle age after you've likely already had a few kids). This was figured out intuitively in the 40s and 50s by Haldane, Medawar, and Williams; then formalized by William D. Hamilton in 1966. (He's the same guy who developed kin selection theory; you may know about him if you read Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene"). He used mathematical demography tools to quantify "how much natural selection cares" about genes slightly modifying age-specific fecundity or log survival probability.

Hal Caswell (1978) did related work, for stage-specific reproduction and survival probability; e.g. for "larva vs. pupa vs. adult", instead of for "0-year-olds vs. 1-year-olds vs. 2-year-olds vs. ...".

Annette Baudisch (2005) did related work, again for age structure, but clarifying Hamilton's assumptions and possible alternatives to them. The reason Hamilton used "log survival probability" is that he assumed genes multiply survival probabilities; she considered e.g. genes that multiply hazard rates instead (see the twitter thread or the paper).

My paper shows that Caswell (1978) and Hamilton (1966) also had different assumptions: Caswell assumed that genes add to survival probabilities instead of multiplying them. My paper also shows how their equations are related to each other.

My paper was a comment on Roper et al. (2021). Their reply points out that although they cited Caswell (1978), the equations they gave were actually eqns 1 and 2 from Caswell (2010), which did have the same assumptions as Hamilton after all; otherwise they agree with the analysis, and give a table comparing the various equations.

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Scott, what time are book reviews due on 4/5/22? At the end of the day? In what time zone? Also, I'm assuming that "book reviews are due on 4/5" effectively means "don't edit your Google doc after 4/5"--that the submission links you to the page given, rather than copying it at the time of submission..

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TWIL:

- There's a Zoroastrian fire temple in Iran whose fire has been burning continuously for 1,500 years! www.atlasobscura.com/places/yazd-atash-behram

- The Kwaio language, spoken by the Kwaio in the Solomon Islands, keeps changing because an ancestor's name can become sacred/taboo, but also Kwaio names often include common words as part of them. So e.g. if an important ancestor dies whose name had "fish" in it, then it becomes taboo to say "fish" in front of the descendants enforcing the taboo. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knv1OSMW2rU

- Ths "Altaic hypothesis" proposed that Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic (and maybe also Korean and Japonese) were one language super-family. It was a big nerd fight, including one prominent defection. Mainstream opinion now is that it's false, and the language similarities that exist are mostly loan words and other influence due to contact. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0zkHH6ZOEk

[latter two both from the cool YouTube channel NativLang]

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So for *reasons* I've been looking around at sort of social sim games. The most common stuff you see is The Sims and clones, mobile/web games, Japanese dating sims and school sims, and hybrids like the Persona series. I guess some western RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Pathfinder sort of work. Japan has some "erotic strategy" games which personally shock and appall me but seem to be quite popular like the Rance series.

The other obvious example is Crusader Kings but while the social world is wide it isn't very deep. Well neither is Persona really, just a few handcrafted situations.

One game I was recommended from a mobile/web dev type that I know was interesting. Kudos 2. Pretty distinct as a day in the life sim because it is more menus and maybe paper dolls rather than The Sims. Also you wouldn't naturally expect a game like that from the developer of Gratuitous Space Battles and Democracy 2. Very 90s/2000s regular person life game. Well you can be a nuclear physicist I guess.

What I've never been able to track down is a bit niche. Well maybe The Sims: Medieval. A fantasy sim where you can do various stuff like be an adventurer or a noble or the head of a magic academy or a merchant. So like Patrician, a map and menu game, but with characters. Obviously in 3D you have stuff like the Guild though it is limited to merchants and light politics.

So what I am saying is do people want to play more living world stuff? Or better yet have you played it and where is it? If you look at Kudos 2, Academagia and Patrician 3 and and maybe even some visual novel stuff, you'll see why I'm not satisfied with Crusader Kings. Ironically the 3d model stuff is actually a negative to me. I like the mechanical aspect. Which sounds weird talking about social simulations.

Is there anything like that?

I would trade off dialogue, handcrafted visual novel art, and such for mechanics. I'd also like my situation to exist in a broader context like a map and menu game vs something super contained like Academagia or a dating sim. I like procedural stuff because of the scope.

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founding

So when did it become acceptable for CNN reporters to post stupidity like this on Twitter?

https://twitter.com/ananavarro/status/1510761352931033090

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Shameless plug: you wall like book reviews, here's one for Mosca's "The Ruling Class." https://juliusbranson.net/MoscaReview

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What happens at the Meetups?

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The prompt: Your doorbell rings, and on opening it you see someone who looks suspiciously like a missionary. He immediately justifies your suspicion by explaining he has had a special and wonderful revelation, and now knows that which is worth knowing. He proposes to share this knowing with you, and reveals the name of his new belief system: He is Religitarian.

The challenge::

Propose a set of beliefs that make sense to label as "religitarian" that, should you join, will not result in you dying in a weird culty way.

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There's a lot of research these days that brainstorming is bad. Is that true? Is it slightly bad or terrible?

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Any math phds in here?

I have recently gone through admissions season, and it didn't go quite as well as I had hoped (or expected). I ended up with a single offer from an institution that I am not especially excited about, although they are probably objectively a pretty good fit (I am also waitlisted for a very good school, but it's probably too late right now). I am graduating with a math degree and a computer science degree, and I am wondering if it is a good idea to lean into CS at this point in my life instead of trying to go into the grind that is academia.

Those of you who have done math phds, how is your life going right now? Do you regret it? Would you go to a school that you are only somewhat excited for?

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So this is an update of my predictions regarding outcome of Russo-Ukrainian war. Previous update is here: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/open-thread-216/comment/5641841?s=r. I've refined conditions for categories based on helpful feedback. This does not invalidate previous predictions, since previously I've had that in mind without explicitly saying so.

9 % on unambiguous Ukrainian victory (down from 10 % on March 21).

Ukrainian victory is defined as either a) Ukrainian government gaining control of the territory it had not controlled before February 24, regardless of whether it is now directly controlled by Russia (Crimea), or by its proxies (Donetsk and Luhansk "republics”), without losing any similarly important territory and without conceding that it will stop its attempts to join EU or NATO, b) Ukrainian government getting official ok from Russia to join EU or NATO without conceding any territory and without losing de facto control of any territory it had controlled before February 24, or c) return to exact prewar status quo ante.

26 % on compromise solution which both sides might plausibly claim as victory (up from 15 % on March 21).

65 % on unambiguous Russian victory (down from 75 % on March 21).

Russian victory is defined as Russia getting something it wants from Ukraine without giving any substantial concessions. Russia wants either a) Ukraine to stop claiming at least some of the territories that were before war claimed by Ukraine but de facto controlled by Russia or its proxies, or b) Russia or its proxies (old or new) to get more Ukrainian territory, de facto recognized by Ukraine in something resembling Minsk ceasefire(s)* or c) some form of guarantee that Ukraine will became neutral, which includes but is not limited to Ukraine not joining NATO. E.g. if Ukraine agrees to stay out of NATO without any other concessions to Russia, but gets mutual defense treaty with Poland and Turkey, this does NOT count as Russian victory.

Commentary:

Overall bad two weeks for Russia. I would not call them „good“ for Ukraine, since it is subjected to horrific destruction, but it is now closer to not-losing the war.

Some things that happened were bad for Ukraine. Biden made a speech in Warsaw**, where he framed the conflict as a struggle between liberal democracy and tyranny, revealed that his goal is to undermine Russian regime, and that his strategy to get non-aligned word on our side is via moral suasion, i.e. asking them whether they want to be on the right side of history. This is imho pretty anti-convincing to decision-makers in e.g. Ankara or New Delhi, and other similar places, whom Ukraine desperately needs to get on its side.

Other bad thing for Ukraine has been recent Hungarian elections, which are a proof of concept that even in the EU and in the country formerly occupied by the Soviet Union, you can achieve strong election victory on the platform of observing strict neutrality in the war.

More significant than that are imho Russian reverses. Firstly, there is a Russian pullback from north Ukraine. They tried to spin it as gesture of good will, which is an obvious BS. Probably chief reason for it is that supplying their army through Belarus with its poor infrastructure is just unworkable. As a result, huge Ukrainian garrison of Kyiiv can be partially redeployed somewhere else. Shortening of the front should be good for a side with less firepower, i.e. Ukraine, because of the declining marginal value of the additional gun per kilometer of the front.

Secondly, credible reports of Russian atrocities in Bucha will boost morale of the Ukrainians and Western support for Ukraine. Unlike some other Russian atrocities, like kidnapping of Ukrainian officials or not allowing civilian population of besieged cities to leave, this is directly contrary to Russian strategic interest, and my guess is that it is not directed from the top, but instead those are crimes committed by undisciplined soldiers on a rampage. I doubt that boost, which Ukraine will get from it, is going to be sufficient for them to not loose; real problem for Russia is that perhaps Bucha is just a tip of the iceberg. If reports of similar atrocities start to surface all over Ukraine, that truly might sink Russian chances of victory.

*Minsk ceasefire or ceasefires (first agreement did not work, it was amended by second and since then it worked somewhat better) constituted, among other things, de facto recognition by Ukraine that Russia and its proxies will control some territory claimed by Ukraine for some time. In exchange Russia stopped trying to conquer more Ukrainian territory. Until February 24 of this year, that is.

** Its transcript is here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/03/26/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-united-efforts-of-the-free-world-to-support-the-people-of-ukraine/

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Maybe this has been explained before, but shouldn't the schelling meetings lack a location description?

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I was reading this article (https://doomberg.substack.com/p/farmers-on-the-brink) about difficulties in agriculture (TLDR: a confluence of factors predicts a high probability of global food shortages in the near future), and saw this sentence: "Ammonia is derived directly from natural gas, and the price of natural gas outside of the US has gone vertical".

Now, it turns out that natural gas is an enormously important ingredient in all sorts of industrial processes, so much so that the ramifications of reducing its use for environmental reasons are many. This is no doubt true of many raw materials so I was wondering if there are any online resources for exploring supply chains - perhaps a graph database of some sort where you can follow a product back through its precursors to raw materials. At the very least, this would allow people to see where replacement processes need to be developed or enable policy makers to fully consider the results of their policies.

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Given how easy it is to find an evo psych explanation for anything, an interesting test might be this: if you *can't* imagine such an explanation, update significantly towards your hypothesis being untrue.

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About helping Ukraine. As in helping Ukraine fight: Roland Bartetzko was a soldier in Germany, later fought in Croatia and for the KLA (Kosovo) and in Croatia. Now with French journalist in Ukraine. https://www.quora.com/profile/Roland-Bartetzko He is for years a popular writer on quora. Read him in peace-times. You can send him helmets and vests. Or money to buy them. https://www.quora.com/What-can-I-do-to-help-Ukraine-fight-Russia - Now, is this a good idea? Is it EA? - Scott, if you take this down as too inflaming, that'd be legit. I just really wonder. Bought Roland's book now. Wonder about donating.

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People in medicine or biotech - What are your favorite *free* resources/newsletters for staying up to date with interesting developments? --A medical student

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Scott, I am considering submitting a book review on a topic that I am an expert in. Should I respond to follow up questions in the comments? For example, Lars Doucet might have commented an unusually large amount on the review of Georgism. On the one hand, I want to help people understand as much about it as possible. On the other hand, if I do it too much, it might disrupt the anonymity.

I also have a review of a different book that I could submit instead if this is likely to be a problem.

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Will there be a people's choice awards for the book review contest as there was last year?

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A question popped up in my head while I was rereading the classic "Steelmanning The NIMBYs": https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/10/01/steelmanning-the-nimbys/

Is there a city which has successfully built enough housing to drive down prices? If there are many, which one is the best example? All cities I can think of which has seen lower housing prices has done so by becoming "unattractive" (e.g. Detroit). What's the best YIMBY example of making housing more affordable?

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Life advice needed:

I'm Ukrainian, currently in US on tourist visa, along with my family (wife+kid). Due to current events, we can stay in US, or move to UK, or Canada. I'm a software developer with 10 yrs experience (mostly backend, python, node, all kinds of databases, data science, and some ML as well), and I'm pretty good at it. Wife is staying home until baby turns 2 or so, then aspires to be a programmer, too (I'm helping her learn, she seems to have a knack for it). Currently I'm freelancing, making low six figures, but paying very little taxes as a Ukrainian contractor; and I have an offer from a US company for gig work at $85/hr.

The options as I currently see them:

Pro US (SFBA):

* professional opportunities

* probably easiest to get financing for my own thing, should I decide to do it

* probably highest total comp if I get to FAANG (I strongly believe I can). Strong free speech protections. Nice climate, if we move to CA.

Contra US:

* Healthcare costs.

* housing costs

* California is super-expensive (but should be Ok on FAANG comp).

* Gun violence.

* even with FAANG comp, we will be ~90th percentile at best

* we love big European cities

* wife's status is unclear (she isn't Ukrainian, so doesn't get TPS automatically). She will be unable to travel (at all) for a number of years

pro-UK:

* we love big European cities

* no problems with residence status, or travel

* probably safer

* closer to home

contra-UK:

* London is massively expensive (but still cheaper than SFBA probably)

* fewer opportunities, lower salaries (but FAANG is hiring there as well)

* daycare is expensive (but somehow people afford it anyway?)

Also, we're looking into Canada, but I don't see how that improves upon above two options.

Basically, the way I see it - things might be expensive, but my SWE income will be at 90th percentile in CA and probably 95th in London, so we should be able to get by ok. And London is probably nicer than CA (is it?). But - there's more chance to work on exciting stuff in CA (I'd love to do massive scale stuff, or something space-related, etc).

What do you think?

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Was anyone who thinks history is fairly predictable saying there was going to be a big war about now? Predicting it, say, five years ago?

As I understand it, the generations theory says that once in every cycle, there's what I call the great social machine. Idealist leaders, cynical seconds in command, cooperative people at the bottom, and the great machine deals with a problem or produces a civil war.

As I heard the theory, the big fight would be about abortion, and it was certainly looking that way, but now I wonder whether the issue will be dealing with Russia and rebuilding Ukraine. (I'm assuming Russia will lose.) Possibly rebuilding Russia will also be on the agenda.

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In the Book Review thread I announced that I was going to do one. Integrity requires that I report that I did not even finish reading the book, much less writing a review. Maybe next year, though imagining I'll be less busy then is a bit optimistic.

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Apr 4, 2022·edited Apr 4, 2022

On Thursday I saw Bucha under Russian control on OSINT maps (https://twitter.com/HoansSolo/status/1509491593627279360)... my first inkling that Bucha was liberated was on Saturday, when I saw video of numerous dead bodies strewn about on a street (https://twitter.com/DPiepgrass/status/1510351829413994501).

Today (Monday) my wife asked the Google home "what's the news today" and it says something like "Ukraine accused Russia of killing hundreds of civilians in Bucha. Russia says it was staged..."

Then I see a Times of Israel headline: "Russia denies killings in Bucha, calls images of bodies ‘another production’ by Kyiv"

So let's think back for a moment. Japan killed 100,000+ civilians in the Manila Massacre.

Imagine how modern media might report this: "Philippines accuses Japan of genocide. Japan says it didn't.* (blah blah blah) Footage allegedly of the massacre could not be confirmed as genuine at press time."

It's such bullshit. This is no time for "he said, she said" reporting. Surely we wouldn't see this kind of reporting in 1945?

But hey if you want to think it's just "another production by Kyiv", sure, much of the media invites you to believe that if you want. Of course, they do not mention that Russian has been lying throughout the entire Ukraine conflict, all the way back to 2014.

> Russian soldiers have not occupied government buildings and surrounded Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted Tuesday during a news conference near Moscow at which he gave an account of recent events that contradicts reports from the ground. [...] Is Putin concerned about a war breaking out? "No, because we will not go to war with the Ukrainian people." https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/04/285653335/putin-says-those-arent-russian-forces-in-crimea

* I know Japan wouldn't have cared what anyone else thought about it, but suppose they did

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#1. 11:59 pm on April 5th I'm guessing? Still finishing mine!

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Looking for reading recommendations for dog diet.

We just got a yorkeepoo puppy; right now feeding him with standard dry food, but in the long run planning to cook at home. Any suggestions on a good guide for a balanced diet?

One specific question I'd like to learn more about: how much can we reduce meat before it starts adversely affecting his health?

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Apr 5, 2022·edited Apr 5, 2022

So I read this (https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2022/04/04/ukraine-post-8-risk-of-nuclear-war/) and there are a couple of things I don't understand. Would appreciate if somebody more knowledgeable about these things could fill me in.

1. Why would using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine be of "little utility"? Is it just a matter of Ukrainian tactical dispersion, or is there something else relevant?

2. Is there some reason the scenario of "Russia strategically nukes Ukraine" isn't addressed there (or is it addressed in some way I couldn't decipher)? I'm thinking something like "Ukraine wins on the ground, takes back 2015 borders and then pursues into Crimea, Russia considers Crimea an integral Russian territory and nukes Kiev/Odessa/Kharkiv". This would be a horrific act, but wouldn't be an act of war against NATO; how likely this (or similar "Ukrainian cities nuked but no attack on NATO" outcome) is and what would happen then are things I'd appreciate some input on.

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Apr 5, 2022·edited Apr 5, 2022

I've been snapping and snarling like a dog further down in this comment thread, so have something a little less contentious.

For Friday week, I hope you all enjoy your Satanic hot cross buns:

"Hot Cross Buns are inextricably linked to Easter and to Christianity. But in reality, they probably have pre-Christian origins. ‘Cross Buns’ were baked to celebrate Eostre, a Germanic Goddess of Fertility, after which the season of Easter is said to be named. Eostre was a voluptuous blonde maiden, always depicted surrounded by little birds, bunnies and other baby animals, as well as spring flowers. Cross Buns were baked for the spring festival to celebrate this Goddess. The four quarters of the cross on top of each bun were said to represent the phases of the moon, while the cross itself symbolised rebirth after winter."

Except this is all a bundle of nonsense, as explained by our old pal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJq70tf0AsY

We have no idea what Eostre's hair colour was, she wasn't depicted surrounded by anything, and she may or may not have been Germanic but we have no idea because there is a grand total of one (1) reference to her by name alone, by an English cleric, writing about the derivation of Anglo-Saxon month names. The bunnies, butterflies, and hot cross buns are all later accretions by anti-Catholic polemicists, Wiccans and neo-pagans searching for history to back up their traditions, and the online atheists of the height of the New Atheism stripe.

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Is the world fundamentally permanently changed in some ways due to the pandemic?

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It seems like the first post in any thread here is always "deleted".

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Is there a site like this: https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/141-benefits-of-meditation/#/ but for exercise (or other healthy habits, reading, fasting, music, in-person socialization)? I have consistently found this one helpful for motivating me towards meditation, and I'd like to use it to do the same towards other habits.

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Mu objective is not to minimize global poverty, although selective immigration would help.

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Scott: were there plans to give people besides you access to the "raw" google docs for the book review contest? I think elsewhere it was told to you that it was relatively trivial to figure out the author of a document, which at the time didn't seem to be common knowledge.

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looking forward to the book contest entries!

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>2: I'm provisionally abandoning the "odd numbered open threads are no politics" rule. I always forgot about this myself, everyone else always forgot,

I waited to post a few things (or posted them in the previous open thread) because the current open thread was no-politics. I did also get a different feel from the two sorts.

Not super-fussed over the change, but just adding a data point.

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I’m not sure how this post is going to come off as my house is being re-sided today and people are pounding on all four walls. I have to stick around for questions so bedlam it is.

I did one of those spit tests for a genealogist cousin and it came back with most of my heritage being from the North Caucuses - horse people? - with some Jewish sprinkles.

So what happened to my mother’s parents that came here from Turino? 0% Italian or other Mediterranean by their analysis.

I probably should go back and review mitosis and meiosis for myself but I’m lacking patience and focus at the moment.

Edit

After a couple more hours of this I’ll be ready to confess to the JFK hit. This is getting on my nerves. The crew leader who speaks Spanish *and* English isn’t here today so our communication is being done through an app.

What does “apúrate, apúrate que es un tornado” mean anyway? [joke to relieve tension - my tension]

Holy shit, these guys are pretty daring. Just watched a mid air step between ladders. I hope to fuck these guys are being paid a decent wage.

Further edit

Official sunset in a couple minutes and the hammers are still knocking away. Long day for them and for me.

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I don't understand idealism in politics. Seems like a contradiction in terms. The whole point of having a society is that we figure out how to agree enough, to compromise enough, such that we aren't fighting each other. The only thing that makes us *better* than the other apes is that we work together.

Whatever the rules of our society, the rules themselves are secondary, by a large margin--a margin as wide as a chasm-- compared to us agreeing upon some rules that allow us to work together.

It makes sense that some people propose idealistic rules as something to work toward or to argue about against other proposed idealistic rules. But it makes zero sense in practice to stand by a political ideal--and fight for it. Because in fighting for an ideal you destroy the purpose of society in the first place. The purpose was that we figure out a way to get along and work together.

Let's say we want to have a football game. If we don't have the game, nobody wins. Not a hard concept to understand.

Democracy seems like the best idea so far us apes have come up with to compromise and get along.

I'm writing this as a place-holder,

We need to find an even better way to compromise than our current democracies, because they seem to be slowly failing us for various reasons. The biggest problem, I think, is that people have forgotten that the whole purpose of democracy is compromise, because compromise is the secret sauce that makes us better than the other apes.

How do we compromise better? I see 2 possibilities: a change in constitutional structure of our nation states or a change in values. Neither sounds easy. Of the two, I think a change in values is easier. Our current values are much different from the Romans than our constitutional structure.

How do we change our values? I don't know, but I think the answer to that is extremely important.

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I'm self-banned from DSL for a few more weeks but want to put down this idea for threads there.

I do recommend more people here participate in DSL, as it's good for long discussions on a topic. The current political tone of DSL is conservative, but it doesn't have to stay that way!

My idea for some new thread topics on DSL is: Man vs. Man. Who Was Greater? The idea being to pit one historical figure against another and debating who was greater, just for the fun of it. It could be between contemporaries, say: John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson, for instance. Or it could be Cicero vs. Churchill, St. Augustine vs. Rousseau, Jesus vs. Buddha, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs Muhhamad Ali, Godel vs. Bach, Euler vs. Diderot, etc.

The spirit of the debates should be this: The proposer of the debate should be honestly as indifferent as possible to who is the better man. It should not be a culture war fight, at least not intentionally. The best proposed contests would be those in which the winner of the contest is the most difficult to know Ex-Ante and also probably Ex-Post. The point is to have a good debate over some interesting historical figures without getting into current idiotic culture war issues.

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I may be interviewing at Palantir. It’s clear they do some good but also seems like they do some things I’d rather not be a part of. Not sure how to think about this. I’d appreciate anyone else’s thoughts on this

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Does anyone have a spreadsheet for tracking their forecasts? Having a bit of trouble finding the best way to lay mine out. Thanks!

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