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I asked this on OT234 but I think I was too late, so here it is :

Does anyone know of a study looking at what are the best predictors of whether a public policy will get chosen and implemented ? My gut tells me it's public opinion aka how popular the policy is, but I was wondering if someone looked at that quantitatively. What are the variables than influence policy choice and what is their relative importance ?

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Aug 1, 2022·edited Aug 1, 2022

My motto of the day is:

"In this dialogue, maybe I'm Simplicius."

With that said I have two questions:

How would one assess one's own learning that one has done by using the internet over the past 4 four years?

How would will we assess learning that happens through AI usage in the future?

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Are animals from today 'more evolved' than similar animals from, say, 100 million years ago?

I had the impression that sharks have been around a while. If we put a shark from today in the ocean 100 million years ago, would it be some amazing badass who'd quickly dominate?

Or is it more like, once a niche gets saturated, animals start adapting to smaller and smaller changes in the niche, so our shark today would probably die out quick because the ocean was different 100 million years ago in ways that the sharks back then were more fit for.

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What are people's thoughts on how much retrenchment there is going to be in the housing market?

My wild guess has been 20-30%, from whatever is the peak in next year, to whatever is the low. A decent number of my social circle look to me for guidance and this is what I have been guessing. Does that seem reasonable to people? homes seem overpriced right now, but I am also not sure the structural things driving them up are going away.

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I’m looking for a recommendation for a very intro level monetary policy book. Also a history of money. I’m particularly interested why we went from a gold standard to what ever the standard is now. If the the book is available through audible that would be an added plus thanks!

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Is it possible lo distinguish between a troll (bad faith antagonist) and a good faith adversary for purposes of law, policy, ethics, etc.?

Also, which is a greater problem online: human trolls or bots

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I love that this is a bannable offense. FDB bans mono-obsessed types who only want to talk gender ideology, ACT bans know-it-alls who don't share what they know. Both very on-brand!

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Can anyone point me to a trustworthy source of info on the bioavailability of protein from various sources / amino acid coverage / ways to increase absorbation of protein ?

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What's the best resource for explaining how natural selection can produce changes that seem to require a concert between systems (the ability to fly) or are highly complex (the eye)? The old how do you get to certain evolved outcomes through gradualism when it seems that the benefits would only accrue at the end question. I think I understand the answer but I make a hash of explaining it.

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So, I saw the open thread before anyone else had posted and was suddenly filled with an urge to post “first!” I’m not normally one to do such things, and it got me wondering about why there was a temptation, whether it was because it was forbidden, or some obscure sense of accomplishment. Did anyone else get this urge, and if so, thoughts as to why?

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Is there an accepted way for an English speaker to pronounce "metis"? I've been saying mettiss, but should I be saying meetiss instead? I want to sound not like a pedant, but like a regular schmuck who goes around saying "metis" a lot.

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I am a relatively new father. My daughter will be three in October. It's a bit early as she is not exactly school age, but I am considering unschooling her (or, as people in that community prefer to call it, "self-directed learning"). I am posting here in the hopes that someone in this community of free thinkers might have some advice for me (or be willing to talk to me sometime).

For those who are not aware, self-directed learning is a version of homeschooling in which children decide what they want to learn, and parents (or other mentors) act as facilitators. My daughter is interested in cars? Ok, I try to find her a mechanic in my community who can show her how to repair an engine. Later she is interested in amphibians, so we spend time at the creek observing the frogs. Supplement this with some instruction in things that I have decided we should invest in (basic mathematics, literature, etc.), and those are the rough contours of her education. The basic premise is that children are deeply curious and love to learn -- nourishing whatever interests them will make them independent, curious, confident.

I know this is not scaleable (at least not now). That's why I am not proposing this as a solution for all children. I also know that she will benefit from socialization, which is why she would still take part in our town's sports, play with friends, etc. And I know this will be time consuming. Thankfully I am a remote employee and my partner raises our daughter full time. We live in the woods in Massachusetts, which gives us ample time, space, and resources to pull this off.

In broad strokes, here is what inspired me to consider this form of education:

- Looking back at my own education, I'm often disappointed that I learned about the French Revolution five times but never learned the basics of financial responsibility, never learned how to fix a car, never learned how to talk about how I was feeling, never learned how to cook. Purely from a curriculum perspective, I want to offer my daughter an education that is more aligned with a full life.

- Our schools (rightly) seem to optimize for scale. After all, those teachers have a lot of students to teach! I think this means we revert to the tools and values that operate best at scale -- tests with very specific answers that make grading more efficient, memorization, obedience to authority, etc. The output, at least for most of my friends, was a bunch of high work ethic capitalists who knew little of themselves, the land around them, and the skills that really sustain one in this world (aside from making money).

The part of this whole thing that gives me the most pause is that I have done quite well as a product of these aforementioned schools. I became a critical thinker who knows myself well. I play the working game well enough to make a great living but not so well that it's the only game I have time for. So, if I did fine, maybe I should just trust the process and hope that my daughter does fine as well?

Thanks in advance for any articles, experiences, acerbic comments, or other opinions :)

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So, classified ad in reverse: my wife has always loved an old style of jam/jelly jar that is almost perfectly cylindrical, has a snap-on lid, and has a sort of quilted pattern around the bottom couple inches. Image here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11jIsea-rp4LmJ5p0ZiPtICWZui58qcxa/view?usp=drivesdk

I have been unable to locate a source of such jars in almost a decade, and would like to increase our stash of them. Does anyone in here know of somewhere online that still sells jam/jelly in such jars? Failing that does anyone here have any empty jars of this type that they'd be willing to part with? If be willing to pay about $10 a piece plus shipping.

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In 2017, the New Zealand Labour Party (standard center left party) formed a coalition with NZ First (a much more rightwing, anti-immigrant party)- a relatively unusual coalition in the West. Also, it was a minority coalition government. Why was this coalition formed? Here are the breakdowns in electoral seats won (combining district and party list seats):

National Party (center right) 46.6%

Labour 38.3%

NZ First 7.5%

Green Party (I'm assuming far left) 6.6%

NZ First could have easily formed a coalition with the National Party- the far right and the center right together. Plus, it wouldn't have been a minority government. Why didn't they do so/what were their motivations to get with the center left instead? Imagine Hillary Clinton and Marjorie Taylor Greene teaming up for a coalition. Also, why didn't Labour team up with the Green Party instead?

Basically, this dynamic is kind of scrambling what I understand about normal left/right divisions in the Western world, so I'm curious to learn more. What happened here?

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I have started working as a software engineer. Do ya'll have any suggestions about things I can do to be my best in this line of work? As in books I should read, concepts I should know (this can be things you don't learn in undergrad CS, or things you do learn that really are useful), best practices, methods for self-improvement, or really anything else. Thanks in advance!

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Did anyone here read the Network State? Highly recommended if not. I thought it was extraordinary. Definitely something I’ll need to read a few times to digest. Only major quibble is rather minor on the grand scheme, on having a plan at inception for when Networks have to replace nations but overall, like I said, I found it incredible. Would love to hear other thoughts.

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Has anyone here ever heard of a "pain auction?"

I've been wondering about this recently, because I remember reading about them as a particular type of auction in game theory, which tends to result in negative sum outcomes for all participants including the winner. I think I can remember how they were supposed to work, except that when I tried to google them recently to check whether I'm remembering it right, I wasn't able to find any evidence that there's any recognized type of auction by this name at all, nor could I find any type of auction by any other name which works in quite the way that I remember a pain auction working.

As best I remember, a pain auction is a type of all-pay auction where participants "bid" simultaneously (although the bids may not be in money, and I think I remember reading about the concept being applied to an auction where the "bids" are made in actual suffering,) and have the option to either add to their bid each round, increasing their sunk costs, or drop out. The last participant remaining wins the prize, but like a dollar auction, the format will tend to lead to participants paying more than it's worth, even to the winner, because they compete to recoup some portion of their sunk costs. I vaguely remember it being called a pain auction specifically because it was a format designed to produce even more perverse outcomes than a dollar auction, where not just the winner and runner up, but every participant, ends up worse off than if they hadn't participated. But, I can't find any confirmation that the concept even exists, and might just be making it up.

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On an individual level, it it taken for granted that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

But at the level of entire countries, it is taken for granted that the rich countries can't maintain their advantage forever and that poor countries will eventually catch up.

Why is it so?

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A _God Emperor of Dune_ review, eh? That should be interesting, especially if the author has taken the time to read the recently-scanned _Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare_ (https://www.gwern.net/docs/sociology/1950-walter-thesexualcycleofhumanwarfare.pdf) which is the major source for Herbert in GEoD.

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founding

this blog post references SSC, but I am not entirely sure what he is trying to say. Could someone translate for me?

https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2022/07/27/nft-news-salesforce-nfts-latvian-nft-money-laundering-gamers-still-hate-nfts/

(repost due to posting on previous OT with only 2 hrs left)

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founding

I'm a professional game designer (narrative and systems design focus) looking for a technical partner to help me make a single-player computer RPG in the vein of Dwarf Fortress or RimWorld with a dash of Napoleonic War-era technology and politics, and a soupçon of Dungeon Meshi. This would be paid work.

I've been in the field for about a decade and am conversant with programming concepts and fundamentals, but learning to program well enough to make the game I want, entirely on my own, seems like a doubtful approach compared to other options.

I'm keeping it short and sweet here on purpose--if you're interested and have some demonstrable experience, please respond here *and* send a note to CSLewin at gmail dot com with whatever info you think would be relevant.

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There is an article "The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence" in Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-022-01661-0 .

From the abstract:

> The main areas of serotonin research provide no consistent evidence of there being an association between serotonin and depression, and no support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity or concentrations.

Scott had a few similarly skeptical posts on the topic, it is interesting to see that this view is slowly becoming more mainstream, and maybe some day might result in reduction of overprescribing psych meds, and potentially more focus on therapeutic rather than psychiatric approaches where warranted.

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Did the rationalist community at large profit off the January 2021 Gamestop short squeeze? I know similar data has been collected with regard to crypto and I'm curious to see if there's any difference now, since both represented uniquely asymmetrical low risk/high reward investment opportunities.

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Has anyone read any good blog posts or books about relationship attachment styles? Please share them. Additionally, what are your thoughts on attachment styles?

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This site has taught me a lot about Randomized Controlled Trials, required for having evidence taken seriously in the medical world. However, they are so difficult and costly that often only large institutions can do them. I am wondering what factors drive the cost?

And, what happens to the cost of an RCT if there's a standing army of 10,000+ volunteers eager to participate in it, whose demographic info is all already on file?

Scenario: various outfits have name-recognition from studying Amish communities. Amish are experts at group co-ordination, and have very legible and extensive family-history records. I understand their groups and Iceland are often the two favorite places for genetics researchers to work.

Here is a recent example in media, quoting an Amish man as saying "I like to do every study that comes along."

wgal.com/article/genetic-researchers-make-groundbreaking-discoveries-with-help-of-amish-community/40476024

Amish are also quite interested in health. However, I have the impression that the health-related things they would be most interested in having studied via RCT might not overlap very much with the interests of those doing most RCTs today. If there was a group that could grassroots / crowdsource this within their communities, saying "nominate and then vote for the thing you'd like to see studied this year," and then bringing in the PhD-class people as needed... would it still cost as much as it does for a pharma company to find out if a substance is medically effective or not?

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Speaking of bannable comments I think promoting a podcast is close to the line. But I am dressing it up as a suggestion that Scott reviews Edward Shawcross’s brilliant The Last Emperor of Mexico so it will be fine!

Mencius Moldbug’s ideas about the superiority of a monarchy have been discussed here and in fact Mexico was unique I think among the Latin American countries in becoming independent as a monarchy but that didn’t last long. Following Moldbug’s logic the Mexican conservatives felt the problem was that the old monarch wasn’t conservative enough and wanted a heavy hitter from Europe. And a Hapsburg Prince seemed ideal.

Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. Less well known is who he said it about and that was Napoleon I and Napoleon III. But Napoleon III was for a long time very far from a joke and his willingness to lend the French army to the scheme made it a practical possibility.

Not least of the benefits for Mexico was that being ruled by a European monarch under the benevolent eye of European states would have provided some protection against the USA and made it a more comfortable neighbour. See Canada for example. As it was ‘Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the United States!’

How it all turned out you can find out in this excellent podcast. Edward Shawcross is a fantastic speaker - very droll and very wise.

(Incidentally I am also a big fan of the rock group Cake and I was always intrigued by their lyric ‘I don’t know much about Cinco de Mayo, I’m never sure what its all about’. If you are in the same boat the podcast will sort you out.)

And regardless of the podcast I really, really recommend Edwards book, The Last Emperor of Mexico for anyone interested in history, European or American or who just enjoys a story with jaw dropping twists and turns. I genuinely think it would be a great candidate for review by Scott.

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/subject-to-change/id1436447503?i=1000571016318

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Is there any experimental evidence for how tools affect the outcome of remote meetings? I imagine an experiment in which groups of collage students are tasked to solve a cognitive task that requires teamwork during a remote meeting (e.g. solving the SAT together). Groups are randomly assigned communication technologies, e.g. text chat, voice chat and video chat. Preferably we could also compare low-quality voice/video with high-quality dito.

This has obvious implications for us doing work from home.

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How does a computer actively do anything?

I've tried to research this question. I've narrowed it down to "The CPU does stuff" -> "the control unit is the only part of the CPU that's not passive" -> "the instruction cycle (or fetch/decode/execute cycle) is doing stuff". But there I've gotten stuck.

(To clarify: the ALU inside the CPU, for example, is entirely passive. It essentially implements a mathematical function, something like "ALU : (input1, input2, command_code) -> (output)", and you can build that entirely out of logical gates made out of transistors. But it doesn't *initiate* any computations. I want to know what's doing the active thing, the first part of the causal chain after the user presses the ON button on the computer.)

Unfortunately, every source on the instruction cycle I've found leaves it at statements like "the processor fetches the instruction from the memory". Yes, I know. What I want to know is, *how*? What actual physical mechanism is implementing this? It has to bottom out at something like a mechanical thing turning a transistor on or off. Is there any source that explains this aspect?

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I am curious if anyone else has experience with ameliorating trypanophobia (needle phobia). This didn't used to be much of a Life Problem, cause one only gets so many routine medical shots in life, and I can Grin And Bear It when *someone else* does the inject/draw. But ever since I switched one of my regular medications to at-home self-administered injections...oof. Every week there's that one day when I get this creeping sense of Doom, cause I know I gotta shoot up sooner or later. Putting it off just leads to feeling worse in the long run: not just from lack of meds, but the whole, you know..."I'm a failure for obeying a cognitive fallacy, should be rational enough to argue myself out of phobias!" thing. There's something specific about the self-inflicted nature that makes a semi-tolerable level of Squick into "oh shit oh fuck oh god I can't do this" x[several times], possibly followed by downing a shot. You know, to steady the nerves. (This *never* works. Don't try to self-inject while tipsy, or you're gonna have a bad time, mmkay.)

There are certain large practical payoffs to taking this particular medication in injectable form rather than oral or dermal...specifically it bypasses liver metabolism, which is something I've gotta be careful about (family history of cirrhosis, hep B, liver cancer, etc). So the motivation is definitely there, and it passes long-term cost-benefit easily. At the same time, if there's any more tractable One Weird Trick than just trying __really hard__ to not think about a <s>pink elephant</s> needle, I would be very grateful! This singular voluntary event comprises at least 10% of any given week's Stress Budget, so I'm looking for any efficiencies I can get. (Note that I don't consider this quite worthy of a therapist's time, it's not so horrific yet that I wanna spend big Units Of Caring to ameliorate it.)

If it's relevant, I normally have a masochistically high pain tolerance and don't even notice/enjoy most everyday injuries, even bleeding ones...so it's not the hurt itself that bothers me. Sharp objects in general don't trigger me either, knives are Super Cool. Just needles specifically are NOPE. Real shame that aerosol injection technology dead-ended...

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Hello,

If you know statistics, I have a maybe obvious question for you about the multiple testing problem.

I am reading a scientific paper in which the authors want to test a fairly large number of predictor combinations (about 100) with a data set of n=1000. The authors do a first step of selecting the predictors with a Lasso procedure ( Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator). I understand (vaguely...) the procedure but basically, I don't see how it solves the problem of multiple testing: it seems to me that when you test a large number of predictors with a relatively small dataset, there is a high risk of false positives, even if you have done a predictor selection step. What is your opinion?

I do not see an obvious difference between testing 100 predictor within one model, getting 10 "significant" results with probably a large proportion of them being false positive, and selecting through a procedure (LASSO, stepwise regression, etc) before doing the analysis. Why wouldn't the LASSO procedure select exactly the same false positive?

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I've developed a fear of flying. In particular I get stressed (adrenaline, sweaty hands) during minor turbulence. A year ago I had a 1/500ish bad flight. Recently found a life partner, may have 'more to live for'. What are some mental tactics to try? The two minor helpful I've found so far is repeating a Buddhist mantra and reminding myself if I ever chose to go to war I'd need to be calmer under larger uncertainty.

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@turingelect

2 comments,

1- Bayes without intuition and awareness cannot be improved. (we need world class leaders)

2- We cannot forecast anything if we cannot prove that people are telling the truth and know/understand what they are voting for.

Physix solves this

https://physix.world/mainers/

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ALASKA MEETUP?

Anyone interested in an impromptu ACT meetup on Saturday, August 13 in downtown Anchorage? I don't actually live there but will be visiting. Or, if you already run a meetup in Alaska, can I help you?

(I am coming from the meetup organizers' retreat and very enthused...)

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I haven't seen this book ("Risk Assessment and Decision Analysis with Bayesian Networks") ever quoted or referenced in the rationalist-sphere and I was wondering if it is worth to read considering that my goal is to improve forecasting and decision making skills. I am a completely novice in Bayesian networks and decision theory, so I am not sure if it is even the right book to start with. The authors of the book also sell a pretty expensive software, called AgenaRisk, which also I have never heard before.

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In the Epic of Gilgamesh it's interesting that civilization and widening understanding is associated with difficulty running. See Enkidu's reaction to 2 weeks of mind-expanding love-making.

>But when he turned his attention to his animals,the gazelles saw Enkidu and darted off,the wild animals distanced themselves from his body.Enkidu ... his utterly depleted(?) body,his knees that wanted to go off with his animals went rigid;Enkidu was diminished, his running was not as before.But then he drew himself up, for his understanding had broadened.Turning around, he sat down at the harlot's feet,gazing into her face, his ears attentive as the harlot spoke.The harlot said to Enkidu:"You are beautiful," Enkidu, you are become like a god.Why do you gallop around the wilderness with the wild beasts?"

Seems to be a problem to this day. "Inner voice while running" returns many hits on google about how to quiet our narrative. I wonder if increased inner narratization was a boon for civilization but a fitness hit for activities like running.

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A question for old farts like me. I'm getting near to taking Social Security (SS). When I read online all I see is that if you wait longer you get more per month.... about 8% more. However I see no discussion of how long you expect to live. Which seems wrong. At 8% it takes about 12 years for you to make up the money you missed by waiting a year. And if you only expect to live 10 more years, then you should take SS as soon as you can. I think the only cavet in this, is if you expect to keep working, and if you don't wait till 'full retirement age' then you lose some of your benefits if you make over some amount... though I'm not at all sure about this point. Any tax, SS experts here?

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If Alex Jones had voiced his Sandy Hook conspiracy theory during only one episode of his show and then never mentioned it again, would he still be facing the massive lawsuit and having to declare his company bankrupt?

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How seriously should we take the notion demgraphic collapse will be softened by genetic selection?

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If you live in the Seattle area, there's going to be an ACX meetup this Wednesday (August 3rd). Free pizza for all participants (until supplies run out).

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/749612359504536/

LW link: https://www.lesswrong.com/events/zPw5WLaJ9f4QEfpyR/lw-acx-ea-seattle-summer-meetup

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"Reminder: if someone here asks a question, it’s a bannable offense to comment something like “the answer to this is obvious” or “I can’t believe anyone could not know the answer” without providing the answer."

Bless you. Seriously, I wish every public comment section or social-media type platform enforced that rule.

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> 3: Reminder: if someone here asks a question, it’s a bannable offense to comment something like “the answer to this is obvious” or “I can’t believe anyone could not know the answer” without providing the answer.

I am normally not in favor of bans, but I am in favor of this. Though I'd make it a short-term ban to start with...

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Any advice and/or resources regarding inpatient mental healthcare? Without going into too many details, a close family member of mine is having some severe mental health problems right now, to the point where we as family are afraid of self-harm. Money is not an issue, but I don't even know how to start evaluating options. Any advice? Thanks!

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Anyone have an argument for why a right to privacy is important? I have an emotional preference for it, but I get the feeling that the justifications I’ve given in the past were kinda post hoc.

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Aug 1, 2022·edited Aug 1, 2022

Hypothetical question: There are two major social platforms you're considering joining with equal user bases, communities, and features. They only differ in two ways:

- Platform A will let you sign up with just an email address and password. You can use whatever display name you like. However, it has a rather strict policy about conduct on the site similar to ACX's but requiring all three pillars (kind, true, necessary). Passes are made for lighthearted jokes. Assume that the technology and logistical issues of knowing what's true or kind are somehow solved.

- Platform B has almost no conduct policy. As long as it isn't illegal, you are free to say what you will. However, you must fill out a form and have your identity verified before posting. Your profile picture must be a clear picture of you. Your full name and relative location (perhaps the 0.02 by 0.02 square block of coordinates you live in) are public on any post you make. You're not in danger of getting SWATted, but if someone knew you offline and read your post, they'd know for sure it was you who posted it. Posts are automatically deleted after 2 years. Assume that you cannot somehow fake your identity to get onto the website.

In other words, would you rather have stricter rules for posting but have more privacy, or would you rather be free to speak but must own your words publicly?

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IUD (copper coil in uterus) vs IUS (progesterone-releasing thing in uterus): which is better?

Uninformed or informed opinions both welcome; preferably labelled.

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https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2022/07/crimes-against-transhumanity.html#comments

Charles Stross and his commenters look at what might be a crime against uploaded people.

I'm inclined to think it might be a crime to create an AI which doesn't have knowledge of the material world.

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Last one of these for a while, for the sake of not polluting the threads - many thanks to the community for all its engagement so far, and to Scott for his indulgence of us.

My partners and I have released the waiting list for our new-friend-making platform, Surf, for anyone who'd like to be able to connect with fellow ACX regulars beyond these pages.

You can check it out here https://www.imsurf.in/

Great requests from 11 countries, and from ACX users and beyond, on there already!

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What's your favourite crackpot theory (regardless of whether you believe it or not)?

Mine is that Morgan Freeman is actually Jimi Hendrix who faked his death and took on a new identity.

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Is there a simple way to see who replied to my comments on Substack?

There is https://substack.com/activity which is a mix of "liked your comment", "replied to your comment" and "also commented", but for some reason it only shows the things that happened 2-4 months ago, but doesn't show the things that happened e.g. last week.

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"The Hard Problem of Conscientiousness"

So there are pros and cons to all of the Big 5 personality factors. I notice that a recurring theme at my job is a serial deficit of Conscientiousness. This manifests as widespread poor time management, inattention to detail, shoddy maintenance of communal areas/property, noncompliance with "ought to know" basic rules (e.g. keeping cold stuff refrigerated), etc. As a Lawful person who scores high on this factor, I find the Chaotic environment deeply distressing, even if the individual people making it up are usually pleasant. It's fairly common that I end up in a sort of disorganizational paralysis, where the annoyance is so high that I can't get any real work done until I've sorted, cleaned, tidied, etc. to make a Sane Work Area. Sometimes swearing is involved. (Yes, I'm Neurotic, Disagreeable, and low-Openness too. Thanks autism.)

On the one hand, this tendency runs all the way through to the top level of management at the store I work (other branches necessarily aren't like this). So it is a sort of trickle-down of what I'd consider bad unproductive habits, as no one important is setting a good example. I realize these are stiff headwinds to act against. On the other hand - this is a hill I feel compelled to die on? One of the major unifying factors in us continually setting huge piles of Value on fire. I try to be the change I wish to see, every day, but no one takes me for a role model. It just doesn't feel like too many people are motivated to Make Things Run Well, unless it coincidentally involves avoiding punishment. The incentives aren't aligned to work efficaceously, either, since there's minimal accountability anyway.

I guess I am just wondering if this is part of Growing Up that I'm refusing to grok. Especially living in a very liberal area, where Conscientiousness in general isn't highly prevalent or in demand. It feels wrong not to aim for efficiency and maximal profit...let no Value be destroyed that doesn't have to be, and all that. But the world keeps on turning each day anyway. So maybe in the big picture, we are so wealthy that it doesn't make much difference about not capturing/destroying Value. "I get paid by the hour" mindset. That feels wrong...but maybe it's the only sane way to live? (Or just a poor environment fit for me.)

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Would anyone else be interested in a Thread specifically to discuss the Book Review finalists so far? I realize I can just comment here, but it might be nice to have a centralized spot for discussion. There are strong contenders this year!

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I enjoy watching people do high-up things too, & not only am I not phobic, I'm a former climber myself. Anything intrinsically dangerous is going to stay thrilling even if you do exposures to get over your actual phobia. Fear is the hot sauce of climbing.

As for the fact that you enjoy videos of parkour, etc.: Images & videos don't work for everybody, they're just an easy option that works for some. You probably would need to do something that involves safely hanging out on the side of a big drop if you wanted to get over the phobia (if indeed it's a phobia. Most people are uneasy right next to a big drop, even if they are secure and cannot fall).

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small groups of people with shared jobs living in a single building must be very common. it would be beneficial to the residents to learn from each other and a great germination ground for developing new technologies.

is there a repository of such spaces around the world?

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Aug 3, 2022·edited Aug 3, 2022

Does anyone have experience with using ML to assist in language learning? It seems like it should be possible to use something like GPT3 to automatically parse foreign language texts, recognize different conjugations or colloquial spellings of words, figure out which words are related or easily confused and build a customized study order for vocab, automatically pull up example sentences which demonstrate different meanings, etc. But I'm not sure if this is possible and have no idea where to start even if it was, other than step 1 "buy a multimillion dollar compute cluster", which is a bit out of my budget :(.

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Examples of overhyped technologies which are not going to deliver on their promises in your opinion?

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In the '90s, the stereotype for receiving email was that it would generate warm fuzzy feelings: AOL used "You've got mail!" as part of its advertisements. Today, the stereotype of email is that it's a many-headed monster which is out to get you. Clearly, some of it is that the composition of inboxes changed: "You've got mail!" isn't going to generate warm fuzzies when the mail is your boss asking for a report due yesterday. However, my impression is that even personal emails (which used to be personal letters, and are presumably what the AOL advertisements were actually referencing) are currently regarded as part of the many-headed hydra to be slain, not as small electronic bundles of joy.

1. Are my impressions even accurate? Maybe people still enjoy receiving personal emails as much as they enjoyed receiving letters. Or maybe people didn't actually like receiving letters all that much.

(Also, maybe people were bad at responding to personal letters in exactly the same way that they're now bad at responding to emails.)

2. If yes, what changed? Is it that letter ("one-on-one communication consisting of one or more paragraphs") is just not a particularly good communication format, and now that alternatives exist, it get outcompeted by either blogs (multiple paragraphs but broadcast) or by chat (one-on-one but in regular conversational format, at most a few phrases at a time)? Or is it something else?

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Some shameless self promotion. I wrote about "Teens and the impact of social media, a deep dive into recent work from Haidt." https://www.williamrinehart.com/2022/teens-and-the-impact-of-social-media/

Here are the key grafs: "In my little circle of the world, the debate between Jonathan Haidt and Robby Soave on the impact of social media has been making the rounds. The overall event was fascinating, but towards the end, a statistician pushes back against Haidt in a heated way, which can be found here...

After a little digging, I found the paper that Haidt was referencing in the video with Soave. It is a team effort, co-authored by Jean M. Twenge , Jonathan Haidt, Thomas E. Joiner, and W. Keith Campbell, titled “Underestimating digital media harm.”

As I started reading, I was quickly pulled back.

The Haidt paper was yet another piece that this group had written in reaction to parallel work from researchers in the United Kingdom, Amy Orben and Andy Przybylski. I’ve written about work from Orben and Przybylski before. There is a long history between these two groups, and I tend to be more persuaded by the work of Orben and Przybylski rather than by the arguments of Twenge and Haidt.

To understand what Haidt is arguing, you need to know a bit of the backstory, which I have tried to lay out below. But to understand the importance of what is being said, it is important to know a bit of theory."

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Under Mount Rushmore, there's a large pile of rock leftover from when the mountain was carved. It's visible in most photos of the monument, like this one:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wildfires-force-evacuations-shut-mount-rushmore-memorial-national/story

I think the National Parks Service should make money by selling those rocks in its gift shop. One guy would be in charge of bringing a rock to the back room of the shop, shattering it into smaller pieces with a hammer, and then selling them for, say, $5 apiece.

"Own part of Mt. Rushmore" the sign over the basket of rocks would say.

I also like this idea because the pile of rocks looks messy, so it would be good to get rid of them.

Let's say the rocks prove to be very popular, and all of the scrap rocks are removed from beneath the monument. Would there be any downside to that? Is the pile of rocks preventing erosion, or stabilizing the cliff, or doing something else useful?

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Has anyone else noticed the demise of the word "take" in the sense of transporting something from one place to another?

To me, you take something from here to there, and brings something from there to here; one does not bring a thing from here to there.

Typical context: "In the next decade or so, Elon Musk's spacecraft will bring humans to Mars."

My inside voice: "Wow, how did you get to Mars so soon to tell us this? Did Elon take you to Mars first?"

This falls into the same category, for me, as the demise of the word "lend" - e. g. "Jimmy is going to borrow me his trailer on the weekend."

And of course I'm reminded of the Pearls Before Swine comic where they hold a funeral for the word "said". One of the animals questions this, but then two young women walk by in conversation, saying some thing like: "Oh yeah, so then he's like let's go to the beach", and she's like "It's way too hot", and I'm like ..."

I know, it's a living language, and I'm an old fossil. Even so, it bugs me. Anyone else?

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Predictit is apparently getting killed. https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8567-22

> CFTC Staff Withdraws No-Action Letter to Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Regarding a Not-For-Profit Market for Certain Event Contracts

(info from https://manifold.markets/IsaacKing/will-real-money-prediction-markets#7dzKmsNuFbmpoPaDH01S )

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Hi Scott, this comment should really be a direct message but I wasn't sure how to send you one.

I intended to reshare a short story from your old old blog (from the LiveJournal era), partially to rescue it from oblivion since it is no longer available there, and was not sure how best to go about it. Since the original is deleted, my first impulse would be to rehost it in full and give you attribution, but given that you presumably deleted it on purpose I'm not sure you would actually want it attributed to you or might prefer that it not be reshared at all. (This is specifically the "Whispering Earring" story.) How would you prefer a person go about sharing your very old content like this?

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