Jordan Peterson is going full retard about Ukraine. I feel quite sad about it, because I have quite enjoyed his lessons on Jungian psychology. I suppose it is inevitable that when people get famous, they become overconfident about things outside their expertise. Here is the youtube video, and the comment I wrote below it (which will likely get deleted).


Dr Peterson, I find it fascinating how you could get so many things wrong.

* You say we made a mistake by not inviting Russia to NATO. But that's exactly what we did; it was called "Partnership for Peace".

* What do we gain by stopping Russia now? For example, we avoid a future conflict with Russia that is half million square kilometers larger and has extra 40 millions of cannon fodder.

* The thing when you mention 3 perfectly logical reasons for Russian aggression... and then conclude that it actually must have been something else, is an interesting leap of logic.

* You say that Putin is better than Stalin, because Putin supports Russian Orthodox Church? First, it is the other way round, Russian Orthodox Church serves Putin. Second, did you know that Stalin started supporting Russian Orthodox Church in 1941 when he realized it might be a useful tool for his war efforts? (Please read the Wikipedia page about Patriarch Sergius of Moscow.)

* You praise Putin for being anti-woke. Yeah, but so is ISIS, and is it also deeply spiritual, so I wonder if you are going to express your support for them, too.

* I find it interesting that you consider mandatory trans pronouns use a worse crime against free speech than literally killing journalists who expose government corruption. Just because a person opposed one specific form of speech control, it doesn't make them a supporter of free speech in general.

* You see Russia, Hungary, and Poland as motivated by opposing wokeness. Have you noticed that Poland is anti-Russian, even more aggresively than USA? Assuming your perspective that the war in Ukraine is a proxy war about wokeness, that would put deeply catholic Poland on the hypothetical Team Woke, which sounds kinda weird.

* You talk about devastating consequences of ignoring Russia as a part of global economy. Can anyone here mention three things, other than oil and gas, that Russia exports? Most people would probably have a difficulty to find one. Russia is going to keep selling oil, because their entire economy completely depends on it. The only difference is that they will sell it to someone else, so the total amount of oil on global markets will remain approximately the same. Please notice that recently it is Russia talking about reopening Nord Stream 2, and Europe saying no thanks.

* You describe the politics of Ukraine as some kind of conflict between Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers. Have you noticed that Zelenskyy received a majority of votes from each side, and is actually a Russian speaker himself?

Most importantly, from the spiritual perspective, what happened to the advice to stand up straight with your shoulders back?

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Oct 14, 2022·edited Oct 14, 2022

Thanks to Amazon *throwing* free trial of Prime at me (and ignoring that where previously it was all "oh sorry, you can't watch Prime videos because you're not in the correct region" but now mysteriously I can watch this show), I'm watching the finale of "The Rings of Power".

Uh, I guess I should warn for SPOILERS AHEAD, AND COPIOUSLY, if anyone hasn't seen this yet/wants to see it.

Episode eight, season finale, titled "Alloyed" (or, for its effect on me, "Annoyed").

So ten minutes in, and Halbrand *is* Sauron. Damn it.

It started well! Opening shot of rain and plants, which I liked. The white cloaked mystics have shown up with the Stranger and they think he's Sauron.

Celebrimbor finally, in the eighth and final episode, gets something to do. There is the vestige of A Plot happening! Then we get Galadriel arriving in Lindon with Halbrand. He gets Elvish healing, Elrond apologises to Galadriel.

Galadriel still only has one facial expression, whether she's angry, sad, arrogant, thoughtful, whatever.

And here's where Halbrand gets to show he's Sauron (because if he's not, who the hell is he in reality?) He's up and about and walking around after being at death's door, starts flattering Celebrimbor about his forge ("THE Celebrimbor?") and yeah, this is where the "Annatar" part is going to start, because Celebrimbor laps it up like a cat with the cream (to be fair, the poor guy has been hanging around for eight episodes ostensibly based on HIM forging The Rings Of Power with nothing to do, so of course he's going to respond to 'finally someone remembers what I'm here for').

And now he, thirty-something mortal, is giving smithing advice to thousand-year old grandson of Feanor. Yup, he's Sauron.

But heck and darnation, I did not want Halbrand to be Sauron,

Back in Númenor, Elendil's invented daughter is somehow allowed to be with the king, is sketching him, and then of course starts snooping around and is messing with the palantir. Excuse me while I roll my eyes at this terrible cack-handed shoehorning in of "we invented this character to add female energy, so we have to have her *do* something more than just stand around looking at things".

Back to "Oh no Sauron is corrupting Celebrimbor!"

So finally they have the idea of creating rings (not overtly stated but that's what is going to happen) out of the small chunk of mithril ore Elrond managed to keep after being kicked out of Khazad-dum, and Celebrimbor does some OMINOUS LINES QUOTING about "this is a power of the unseen world". Galadriel gets to have 'look of dawning comprehension and horror' (as much as her one expression will stretch to it) since "power of the unseen world" is exactly what everyone to date has been talking about Sauron searching for. Gil-galad says he can't do whatever it is, so naturally we all know he's going to go ahead and do it.

I'm skipping ahead at this point (20 minutes in) because I. DO. NOT. CARE. ABOUT. GALADRIEL. AND. HALBRAND. (Except that it's going to be a richly deserved kick in the pants when she discovers she's been cuddling up to Sauron).

The Stranger is having a time with the Mystics. They're encouraging him to use his magic so he will get his memory back. I like that one of them has a head dress shaped like bat ears, in an obvious reference to Thuringwethil, but this story line bores me, I like The Stranger as a character, and it's great that NO MORE HARFOOTS (as yet) but he's not Sauron and it's dumb to have him be Gandalf or even Radagast.

Spoke too soon: here come the Harfoots on a rescue mission. The leader of the mystics does the fire-breathing trick and sets flame to the entire forest (oh, this is meant to be Greenwood, by the way) but even this is dull because I. DON'T. CARE. ABOUT. THE. HARFOOTS.

The Stranger can now suddenly speak complete English sentences and does magic to banish the mystics. To no-one's surprise, he is not Sauron. He's Gandalf (again, damn it).

The episode finally remembers Elendil and Miriel, and we get a scene of them on the ship home to Númenor chit-chatting, which I am skipping because (once again) I. DON'T. CARE.

(Are you detecting a thread here? This show has managed to have me not caring about characters and events that I should care about, and need to care about for the purposes of the show).

They get back to Númenor and the king is dead (Pharazon standing beside the death bed saying nothing but clearly Plotting). And that's it. No, really, nothing more.

Celebrimbor is having trouble working with the mithril as it keeps blowing his forge up, but then he gets inspiration. Him and Halbrand are having a great time being forge-buddies, but Galadriel stands there glaring, because now (finally!) she has Suspicions about this King of the Southlands (remember, she is the one persuaded everyone he was the real true king and Númenor should provide an army to help him fight off the Orcs and retake his lands, when all he wanted was to stay in Númenor and work in a forge).

Cue the confrontation between Galadriel and Halbrand where (to no-one's surprise) yup he's Sauron. They have a mental tussle where he casts her back into her memories of Valinor and pretends to be her brother, trying to convince her Sauron is a good guy.

Yadda yadda yadda, he disappears and she finally knows what is going on.

Back to Nori and the Stranger, who can now speak fluently and is determined to find out who he really is. Just in case we can't tell, the show hits us over the head with it; the mystics called him 'istar' which he explains to Nori means in her tongue "wise one, or wizard". GEE THANKS I WOULD NEVER HAVE FIGURED OUT HE WAS A WIZARD IF YOU HADN'T TOLD ME, NOT WITH THE FALLING OUT OF THE SKY IN A METEOR AND DOING MAGIC AND STUFF. I really hope he turns out to be Radagast, not Gandalf, but if we can't see where this is leading then we're all blinder than Míriel.

It seems like Sadoc is dead, since Malva (who wanted to take the wheels off the Brandyfoots' cart and leave them behind to die) is now in charge. I'm sure that having a killer in charge will go well. The Harfoots go off on their migration and Nori goes off with the Stranger.

Back to Lindon, and Galadriel has to give up her/her brother's dagger to be melted down in order to mingle it with the mithril. Why? I don't know, I think I skipped that dialogue. Anyway, when they mix in the mithril, the resulting molten pool resembles a fiery eye (are you getting it? do you? is the show hitting you over the head hard enough?)

While a long scene of crafting goes on, Elrond goes looking for Galadriel but can't find her, but he does find the genealogy scroll proving the last "King of the Southlands" died without issue a thousand years ago. He hastens back (presumably to call a halt to the crafting) but the Three Rings have finally been created!

(Nothing about the Nine and the Seven, of course, because the show doesn't care about them. Sauron/Halbrand will make them, or something). We end on a shot of the Three reflected in Halbrand's eyes as he looks at Mount Doom and walks down into what is now Mordor, and then the final credits as some bint warbles the Ring song.

Thank God it's over.

Rating? Five out of ten - something finally happened, but the curse of slow pacing still haunts this episode, and it only told us what was already bleedin' obvious. As a spectacular finale, it falls flat. And I really don't care about several of the main characters that much - I like the Stranger, I like Adar, and I am kind of rooting for Pharazon because at least he knows what he is doing and how to do it.

Enough to keep people hooked for the second season? No idea, especially as the show runners said that it would be a couple of years while they made the second season (though the studio seems to have walked that back).

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A joke from today’s Garrison Keillor Substack.

Moses came down from the Mount with the tablets in his hand and he told the Israelites, ‘Okay, I managed to talk him down to ten, but I’m afraid adultery is still in there’

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If you still want to win the bet this year, you might look into "composable diffusion": https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HoZL7rR80DfLJCohSQ1L6vtbwdFuuSgs7OP-ZRuaUxA/edit?usp=sharing It's an add-on to stable diffusion that learns to compose two separate prompts (separated by AND in all caps) into a single image.

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Today, I found the most hilarious and bizarre place to shoehorn Diversity and Inclusion statements : the commandline outputs of a hardware simulator.

Synopsys VCS is an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tool to simulate HDL (Hardware Description Language) code. In plain English : it is a program that runs textual descriptions of digital circuits on simulated inputs and obtain their simulated outputs, to aid the engineers who are designing\studying them.

Which raises the question, why the hell would Synopsys VCS (version 2021) print :

>Inclusivity & Diversity - Visit SolvNetPlus to read the "Synopsys Statement on

Inclusivity and Diversity" (Refer to article 000036315 at


Every time you start it ? Like, I kinda get the copyright spam that programs like these always print in the beginning, But... why the fuck would I care about how many women are in your HR departments, Synopsys ? I just want to run a Wallace Adder bro.

Things like these always come to mind when people want to interpret woke bullshit charitably. If you forget about all the bad and cynical explanations, that these performances are just the pathetic throes of the HR-Managerial class as they status-compete the shit out of each other and other people (especially the engineers and future-engineers who are the primary users of these tools), what would be your reasons for why someone sane will make a circuit simulation tool rattle off DIE catechisms seemingly for no reason, at the startup of the program ? for female hardware students\engineers ? who are apparently all so fragile and insecure that they need constant reminding that Synopsys is there for them every single time they start a simulation tool ?

Hypothesis : Every attempt to explain woke performance without appealing to status or power is either (1) Occam-dull, meaning it multiplies entities and reasons out of proportion to the phenomena it's trying to explain (2) More slanderous\insulting to the groups they claim they want to help (3) Doesn't make any sense.

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Anyone else following Thaddeus Russell here?

He's very much a contrarian and sometimes interviews interesting people.

I think he's wrong that the US and NATO should just let Russia have Ukraine-- his arguments seem to be that the war seriously bad (true), but also, implausibly, that Russia isn't all that bad and its ambitions are reasonable and limited.

His Unregistered University is classes (some in person) with various of the the people he finds interesting/plausible, and might actually be making money. I suppose it's in the same category in some sense as Khan Academy. Any other non-standard education that's interesting?

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OK, I don't want to get involved in polemics: the relative lack of polemic is one thing that has attracted me to this site and its predecessor over the years. I don't intend to make any more posts on Ukraine.

But for those who may be interested, I'd suggest a few sources, all western, which I have used and which help to explain what's going on.

One is the communiqués of what's known as the Ramstein Group, which coordinates western arms deliveries , and from which you can see what is being sent to Ukraine. A meeting is scheduled for the next few days. A second is the regular background press briefings from the Pentagon, published online, which have on the whole been quite realistic.

In the last 4-6 weeks, a number of western newspapers, including (in English) the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Guardian have published substantial stories from the front lines in Ukraine, including interviews with soldiers and commanders, giving a very sober view of how things are going.

The semi-official Ukrainian site liveuamaps.com is obviously biased to some degree, but you can follow the progress of the war from day to day if you can read military symbology. The picture it gives seems to be broadly realistic.

Finally, for those who like to follow detail, the best source is probably the Military Summary Channel on Youtube, hosted by a Belarusian who makes great attempts to present things fairly. He's very good on tactical level stuff (yesterday's video explained how Russian missile strikes were partly aimed at key railroad junctions for example) but not so good when he gets on to strategic/political issues. He also tends to swerve around quite violently in his estimate of how the war is going.

I hope that's helpful.

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Probably a stupid question, but why wouldn't evolution select for high-intelligence? I understand head size and birth canal are the bottleneck everyone points to, but brain size appears to be weakly correlated with intelligence in humans, and what about calories? It seems to be the case that more intelligent brains have better efficiency in terms of energy expenditure, so, given that calories have been hard to come by for much of our history, why not select for the kind of energy efficiency that come with intelligence?

Are smarter brains a lot more energetically expensive to create or something?

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So far this worked for 3 relatives of mine : back and knees pain for one, neck and back pain for the second, back pain for the last one. Once a student in biology, I still can't believe this works... But no more complaining from people nearly crying on a daily basis is the perfect evidence for me, I will continue convincing people around to at least give it a try. But what an incredible brain process...

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Because I'm sure some people here would enjoy a music video about the Crimean bridge burning:



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I'm trying to find a post from about 2 months ago. In it, someone was asking whether anyone could suggest a diagnosis of his symptoms, which were -- let's see -- attacks in which he had pain at the base of his skull, felt disoriented and exhausted, and become sort of incoherent or inarticulate. Certain things brought an attack on immediately, but I forget now what they were. Anyhow, I'm asking now because I just randomly ran across info about a condition that might conceivably be what he has. I'd like to get in touch with him, but just do not have time to page back through all these threads, especially since I can't think of any words in his post that are rare, and unlikely to be in many other posts, so I can't even do CMD-F in each open thread. ( By any chance does the Substack app allow you to search a whole blog + comments at once?)

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Yes, but there's a limit to the amount and kind of structural problems that can be present without causing pain. Bulging discs heal on their own with time, and even when they look godawful their presence or absence does not correlate with amount of pain the person is having. That doesn't mean that there's *nothing* that could be going on in a back that would cause pain. For example, let's say you lay down on the floor with your back on a hard wooden ball the size of a tennis ball right under your spine-- or a bunch of forks with their tines curving up towards your back -- or did a back really extreme backbend, the kind limber young gymnasts do where their hands are actually touching the backs of their heels -- those are just going to hurt, right? Or how about if somebody stuck a thick spinal tap needle into your spine? Or hit your back with a mallet? Think you could make that pain go away? If you doubt it, how about trying the hard wooden ball experiment, or try lying on some forks. So the point is, some kinds of back problems -- not bulging disks, but other things -- are very much like the hard wooden ball, the backbend, the needle, the mallet: Things are being pierced, pressed on, and squeezed in ways they were not meant to be. It fucking hurts. And I do not agree the pain is useless and pointless, at least not in the case of situations like mine. My back pain is a stream of information about things that are pressing on things they should not. If I pay attention to the info, my back stays in decent shape.

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Well, you may be right and the Russian General Staff and experts on Russia may be wrong, but that is what the Russians said they were doing, that is what they appear to be doing, and that's what Soviet/Russian doctrine says they should do. As I understand it, the point is that if you destroy an enemy's military capability, you dominate the country. If you just capture terrain, especially when it has no military value, you have to tie up forces guarding it and you extend yourself and open yourself to counter-attacks. That's why Russian doctrine has historically been about destroying the enemy's forces.

The Ukrainians can't "rebuild", any more than the French could, say, after 1940, although not all their country was occupied. They don't have a great deal of defence industry, and much what there is has been destroyed. As we've discussed, NATO has only dribs and drabs to send them, and the Russians can target any attempt to recreate a defence capability. On the other hand, if you've ever been to Ukraine, or just looked at a map, you'll know that it's an enormous country by European standards: the current line of contact extends a thousand kilometres from north to south. There was never any prospect of the Russians taking physical control of the whole of the country, and I doubt if anyone except a few fanatical nationalists in Moscow ever thought they should. They don't need to anyway. This doesn't exclude, of course, attempts to take the capital by a coup de main and finish the war quickly, as seems to have been tried at the start of the war. Nor does it exclude massing troops near Kiev to force the Ukrainians to keep troops to defend it. There are rumours that th Russians might try this trick again, by massing troops in Belarus, such that the Ukrainians have to remove some of their forces from the Donbas to cover the capital. But all of these manoeuvres, feints etc. are routine in wars of this kind. It's just that the West hasn't fought a war like this for so long, that we've forgotten.

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I wrote a brief writeup on the practical considerations of unilateral gene drive release for the purpose of eradicating malaria-carrying mosquitos. Could you guys give me your thoughts? I would love input from those familiar with gene drives, those connected with EA, and people interested in working on such a project.


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Some of us are getting together to read The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters by Priya Parker. We are optimizing for time zones in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Africa (UTC+0 to UTC+12) and will meet weekly for at least four weeks, starting Saturday, October 15th.

The reading group is aimed at meetup organizers, potential meetup organizers, and any ACX/Rationality readers interested in organizing ACX or adjacent events, meetups, etc. Everyone's welcome.

Details: https://chivalrous-kayak-82a.notion.site/The-Art-of-Gathering-How-We-Meet-and-Why-It-Matters-6057bf7a44d3429b8abe8addc117c015

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Oct 11, 2022·edited Oct 11, 2022

I've been thinking about trying to make a star constellation Halloween costume (specifically Aquila), and thought about buying something like this (https://www.amazon.com/idyllight-Submersible-Waterproof-Wedding-Decorations/dp/B09987M2S5/) and wearing a black hat and jacket and tying or fixing the lights in the appropriate places somehow, and then I guess cutting out construction paper stars to stick around the lights so that people realize they are actually supposed to be stars.

Does anyone know if this would actually work? Are there any better ways to do this? Also, what would be the best way to fix the lights in place?

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In this layman's eyes, it seems that a few branches of supposedly-scientific study stand out as routinely *worse* (from a 'seems to be on a firm foundation empirically') than others. I'm not even talking about theoretical underpinnings, just studies that are

* low power

* non-replicable

* prone to methodological wtfs (and generally don't have stable, well-developed methodological traditions, with everyone seeming to go their own way)

* make HUGE claims that aren't backed up in any significant way

* constantly overturned/ignored by the next fad that sweeps through

Specifically, I'm thinking of *education*, *sociology* (in its less grounded forms), and *nutrition*. I can understand sociology (especially the psychological aspects) and, to a lesser degree, education. People are hard. And those things end up relying heavily on self-reports. Diagnosing things based on the self-report of a system that is suspected to be broken is...fraught with difficulty.

But nutrition seems to me to be the outlier. Nutrition studies are like froth--they come, they go, they form fad diets, but seem to have enormous variance for something much closer (in principle at least) to chemistry than psychology. There are a lot more empirically-measurable elements there, it seems to me.

Am I just out to lunch/misinformed? Or is there some reason nutrition studies are particularly bad?

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'Why don't people think cryptocurrency is the greatest thing ever and all adopt it?'

Possibly because of crap like this - yet another attempted blackmail spam message, about the fifth one that got through an old work email address. This one is slightly different in the body of the text from the usual run of them, but it's the same old same old:

"My modest consulting fee is 1700 US Dollars to be transferred in Bitcoin. Exchange rate at the time of the transfer.

You need to send that amount to this wallet: 15QaVNGaQsQfgPH8mL3TM1S7YBESTVfwQC"

Probably there are people who can be taken in by this, but I'm tired of these messages by now, is there any way to track down or do something about these wallet numbers and get them taken down? Since this is blackmail or extortion or fraud or something, is there no way to stop it?

This is why people think crypto is only for criminals.

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One unexpected impact of having a child is an internal shift with regards to what I consider 'long term'. Whilst I was previously certainly a long-term person than most, and cared about what happened in the future, the year 2100 still seemed very far off. Recently, looking down at my daughter sleeping in my arms, I realised she's very likely to be alive in 2100.

One could perhaps argue that this is simply a semantic rejigging, or that one should care about people in 2100 regardless, but for me, at least, it matched an emotional resonance to the logical conclusion I had already reached. It has also made me slightly less sceptical of efforts to impact the year 2100 than I was before (other than through direct ways which also impact the near-term, e.g. pollution/environment) - if there are people alive now who will be alive then, then maybe it's not so crazy trying to improve norms/governance/culture for the next century.

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What is happening in this brief clip from "The Second Renaissance, Part 2"?


It looks like an old human city in Southern Europe, right next to a megastructure built by the Machines. Given that the humans exiled all the Machines to the Arabian desert years before, why would the megastructure be there? The Machines would have needed time to build it, and it looks like they just invaded the area and are still fighting to take the region over.

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My computer has a problem, and I could use help from anyone who knows about them. About a month ago, my computer suddenly got REALLY slow. Chrome takes forever to load pages, and even if I close all browsers, running other programs is also very taxing because they open so slowly and often freeze.

Weirdly, the problem seems to disappear about 10% of the time before resuming, so I have these unpredictable windows of time when the computer runs fine.

Clearing my browser cache and/or installing any browser updates will make the computer run faster for only a few hours before it spontaneously reverts to its slow speed. I closed all but eight or nine browser tabs, but the problem persisted.

Even Windows Task Manager is no help. It is also very slow to open, and it will also freeze up and close most of the time. It will show that 90-100% of my "CPU" is being utilized, but then when I scroll down that column to see which program(s) are chiefly responsible, they are all shown as consuming 0% of processing resources. "Memory" is 49%.

What could be wrong? What should I do?

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You say Alexandros offered 25k to a charity if you can get the big trials to release their data. Here were your exact words: "offers to donate $25,000 to a charity of my choice if I can get them to do so."

But this isn't want Alexandros said. Here were his exact words: "To put some of my own skin in the game, if Scott helps, by public advocacy or otherwise, to get the raw data for the ivermectin, metformin, and fluvoxamine studies available in a way that I—or someone I trust—can access it without undue limitation on sharing any findings, I commit to making a $25,000 donation to Scott’s ACX grants. Happy to discuss reasonable alterations of this offer."

In other words he is offering the 25k if you could help get the data released. It's not tied to the outcome of that helping.

What you said was really misleading.

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In communities like ours, it is not uncommon to find people who identify purely with their consciousness and refer to their body as a meat cage or similar. Until recently, I was very sympathetic to this view, but on Monday the 3rd of October I started taking oestrogen (2 mg daily) and now feel Embodied, like a person made of a body and mind working together.

I am now entirely in favour of the idea that everyone should try HRT for two weeks once in their adult life. In that time frame, it should only affect your skin texture and state of mind. Permanent changes take around three months, so only taking it for two weeks is harmless.

As well as feeling more embodied, I would also say that until this week I didn't know I was trans. I was pretty sure but this has still managed to be a major update, and I'm fairly certain that if someone had given me a strip of tablets five years ago I could have skipped all the intermediate steps. Even if you don't turn out to be trans you will know for sure and can stop wondering.

So there you have it, a two-week low-effort low-risk experiment with the potential to greatly improve your quality of life and give you possibly the most important data point of your entire life.

As to how to get hormones, https://hrt.cafe/ is a curated list of sellers, but for oestrogen and for our purposes it should be easier to just ask a trans woman. If you are reading this you are probably at least passing me familiar with one and we tend to respond well to requests like this.

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I've got a strange technical question, for the more computer-savvy out there.

So there's an old arcade game I have installed, one of those classics that helpfully displays the framerate for troubleshooting purposes...it's a fighter, and thus very difficult to play effectively at anything less than ~60fps. (You know, back when that was top-of-the-line...lol...) There's only so much "adjusting my timing" to compensate for 20-50fps, since obviously opponents don't have the same handicap. This game used to run just fine on older versions of Wandows, but like so many yesteryear programs, at some point it got lost in the compatability shuffle...I'd thought it was a lost cause for years, something I'd need to intentionally set up an outdated machine to enjoy again.

But I stumbled on an illogical solution by accident: for whatever reason, having a media player open at the same time (say, VLC) fixes the framerate back up to good-as-new 60fps. Doesn't even require playing any media, the other program just has to be open at all.

Why would this do anything? My tentative guess is that the media player loads a bunch of additional AV codecs or something, but then I'm not sure how <whatever key game component> went missing from default-Wandows in the first place, such that it could be backdoor-substituted this way.

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I read Dr David Hanscom's book on Chronic Pain. It seems that we don't really understand chronic pain at all but it is an inappropriate and useless response. His method is to write down your thoughts about the pain, rip up the paper and throw it away. It works fast and it's free. Do you know someone you could try this on? If so, please comment, so this can get taken seriously. It worked for me- my back pain was completely cured. https://stuartwiffin.substack.com/p/pain-and-what-to-do-about-it

Dr Hanscom did a talk at google so has external validation but there's a lot of fake stuff around so it's hard to get heard. https://youtu.be/B5cwZ2iu8jU?t=130

The idea builds on Dr John Sarno and James Pennebaker but is quite amazing (maybe too amazing). If I can get some anecdotal responses here, maybe we can get a formal trial approved.

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Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022

The idea of romantic love has been one of the major values of Western Civilization since the Rennaissance when legends such as Tristan and Isolde, Guinevere and Lancelot, Romeo and Juliet, and the Provencial poetry of Courtly Love were popularized. Though occurring within Christendom, this particular notion of love existed outside of and often in tension with religious belief.

Still today popular culture is suffused with this notion of love in which two people choose, often against practical considerations, to get together because they hold romantic love as a higher value.

Yet we seem to be at the end of the romantic era. Try explaining to the HR department that the reason you had sexual relations with another employee was due to "love". That your souls had recognized each other as their immortal other-halfs. The concept has no place in our official lives. The corporate world of the 21st century has less patience for romantic love than did the 12th century Church.

Might this be due to too much rationality?

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You were mentioned in The Forward (a national Jewish online paper published both in Yiddish and English) this week, because of discussion about lox:


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Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022

Physics question. You often hear baseball announcers say how a fastball can never really rise because that would violate the laws of physics, it only appears to rise to the hitter because the brain expects it to drop sooner than it does.

Can a baseball really not rise given enough speed and backspin? My intuition is that it could, but maybe I've played too much wiffleball.

Bonus: If it can rise, what would the velocity and backspin rate (and air-pressure?) need to be? Assume a spherical cowhide.

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Is Somaliland an independent nation?

For the next really slow response, here is my current "gotcha" on most "rules" regarding independence.

They basically have everything that might be considered part of one's definition/rules, but they aren't recognized by basically any power (even Google doesn't bother).

Own government, military, currency, and no dependence from its parent nation Somalia. It even had a civil war and was its own nation for a while.

In the end, the ability to self govern is granted by the power to assert self governance. But recognition for it, or for its "right" is mostly getting other individuals/powers to go along with it or in other words, politics.

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Does anyone have an update on what happened to all those neuroscientific tests that university researchers were supposed to be carrying out on Daniel Ingram and others like Delson Armstrong (strapping all sorts of equipment to them and measuring this or that)? Even a preprint doesn't seem to be out after all this while? Is this because the research takes really long, or does anyone have any inside information on what may be delaying?

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Someone below posted how Tyler Cowen suggests that those who believe in AGI should be long volatility. Today on MR he adds to that and suggests EA should have a mutual fund:

"why isn’t there an EA mutual fund, reflecting EA views of the world, whatever those may be? Maybe the fund would instead load up on semiconductor chips, in any case they could aggregate the debates from all those EA forums to make the better decisions...

Alternatively, you might argue that EA has only moral insight, and no predictive superiority about what will happen at larger levels. That too is a plausible view, especially among non-EAers.

But it seems to me one of these should be true, either that there should be an EA mutual fund, or that EA has only moral insight, not predictive insight. Which is it going to be?"

I think his point is that EA has unusual views about the direction AI is likely to take, and, if correct, it (EA) should be able to clean up in the market by putting money on that position, resulting in more money to use for EA.

Most of the scenarios I've read for a superintelligent AI taking over the world involve an intermediary stage in which the AI controls a large share of the economy. Those scenarios should be investable. Even if EA wants to prevent that scenario, it seems better that it should invest in it and profit from the extraordinary gains in order to live to fight AI another day.

What are good objections to Tyler's argument?

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Has Scott come to any conclusions about "Long Covid"? It was something that never caused me much concern. Bit for others, it seems to be a driving motivation for continued carefuleness.

I just saw this go by on Twitter: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M21-4905

From the "results":

> Increased risk for PASC was noted in women and those with a history of anxiety disorder.


> Abnormal findings on physical examination and diagnostic testing were uncommon.

The "conclusion":

> A high burden of persistent symptoms was observed in persons after COVID-19. Extensive diagnostic evaluation revealed no specific cause of reported symptoms in most cases. Antibody levels were highly variable after COVID-19.

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Oct 10, 2022·edited Oct 10, 2022

Why did the US Libertarian Party, or at least its verified Twitter account(s), become a hardcore pro-Putin propaganda vehicle, not even in the Elon Musk style "fan of Ukraine, but here is what Putin says about it and I believe him, great guy" but in the grotesque tankie way.

I get the position of "everything outside of the US is not our problem", cause even if it's flawed, it's appealing to the naive types, but specifically working on harming Ukraine is not that position, they do very much care about things outside of the US – they want Putin to win. But why? What could be remotely related to the libertarian policies in the Putinist Russia?

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Do infohazards really exist? I originally thought so, but then eventually I came across the idea (unfortunately, I can't remember where) that the only real infohazard is the (mistaken) idea that infohazards exist, which causes people to develop paranoia and stop thinking logically. I'm also curious about how rationalists, who might be the community most dedicated to finding truth, also came up with and seem to mostly endorse the infohazard concept, which incentivizes avoidance of learning or thinking certain things.

(Please do not mention concrete examples of potential infohazards if you choose to reply to this comment; thanks).

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. What do ACX readers think is the best source of information about preventing heart disease short of directly reading all the research papers, which would take a kind of lot of time?

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There’s an argument for theism that has been making waves in philosophy of religion lately based on psychophysical harmony which I found interesting and that I think lots of people here would find interesting too. Good paper if you are just interested in theories of consciousness:


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I lost three pregnancies and found it frustrating that secular perspectives on fetal/infant loss are largely missing from the conversation. A lot of support uses alienating language like ‘angel babies.’ This compounds the isolation of what is already a lonely grief.

It is miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss awareness week. In the latest episode of Bart Campolo’s Humanize Me podcast (https://anchor.fm/humanizeme/episodes/715-A-listeners-abortion-story-e1olric), he has a conversation with a couple who suffered a miscarriage and a medically needed abortion. I wanted to share this in case anyone else needs to know that they aren’t alone. And please share the podcast. It has a compassionate and nuanced discussion on abortion that is also very timely.

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I’m the sequences, Yudkowsky’s argument against zombies (as I understood it) is that a universe “talk about consciousness” without actual consciousness to explain it, would be astronomically unlikely.

It occurs to me that something similar can be said about free will. “Talk about free will” without actual free will would be astronomically unlikely. Any thoughts?

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Anyone here an officer in the US military? I've been reading about joining the air force and I'm curious what it's like.

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Oct 9, 2022·edited Oct 9, 2022

How does the Russian invasion end without, as Joe Biden called it, "armageddon"? If it's so likely that Russia are willing to use Nuclear weapons (or something equally scary), what's the path towards the war ending where nukes aren't used? Zelesnky is unwilling to make even a token effort of a concession towards Russia to end the war and has gone so far to call for a pre-emptive western strike on Russia. If Biden is correct about Russia, what possible path is there to the war ending without nukes flying?

It's like Biden and other Zelensky-apologists understand Putin isn't going to just cut his losses and accept defeat, and yet they're deathly committed to Putin feeling like he has no options other than nukes or something else drastic.

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Oct 9, 2022·edited Oct 9, 2022

Has anyone ever devoted a chunk of intellectual energy into looking at value investing? I recently did and man did it just convince me further to stick with index funds. Common sense note, I think we all know the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Random Walk, etc. etc. To date all of my investments/retirement have been index funds, and I have never purchased an individual stock or tried to guess what one might do in the future.

Aside from reading a few of the classic writings on value investing, I also poked around forums like Reddit's on the topic. My impression is that everyone there is just making rhetoric-based arguments as to why x stock is undervalued. I mean, anyone can do this- I could make a rhetorical argument for and against any stock. If you just stick by the very rigid 'find stocks that are undervalued by free cash flow' or whatever, of course this could easily be done by a formula or algorithm and wouldn't need a human in the loop at all. (And then the market would catch up & incorporate its previous mistakes into its pricing).

Outside of the normal EMH objections, other things I found ridiculous about value investing:

1. Everyone agrees it will take years to see if you're right or not about a stock being undervalued. In what field of human endeavor is a new participant automatically proficient? Even if one could reliably pick undervalued stocks, the learning curve to get good would take decades, and then you have your underperformance to make up for by the time you get there- so that would take a few more decades. Maybe this is a good hobby for a vampire or other immortal

2. You're picking such a small number of stocks (everyone says 10-15) that your results are going to be highly variable even if you're right about some of them

Has anyone else ever really looked into value investing? Would especially love to hear from smart generalists who are maybe SMEs in another intellectual field and said 'hey I'll devote some time into looking at value investing' at some point in their lives

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Tyler Cowen asks whether people with high confidence that transformational AGI is coming are 'long volatility, both of the aggregate market and sector-by-sector' (https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2022/10/but-are-you-long-volatility.html). He means it as a challenge along the lines of revealed preferences: what do your financial decisions say about what you actually hold to be true, rather than what you formally take to be true.

Various commenters push back on the feasibility of trading effectively.

But one commenter interprets Cowen's question more broadly. He/she thinks it's not just about how you trade, but about all financial and lifestyle decisions (https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2022/10/but-are-you-long-volatility.html?commentID=160506650):

> I cashed out of crypto because the tail of returns is no longer as valuable and will take potentially too long to happen; and beyond that, I have stopped saving money and have started explicitly trying to consume more because my existing savings are already at a healthy level (albeit not at the 'retire today' level), and further savings will either be wasted (in the bad scenarios) or have greatly increased returns (in the good scenarios), and in the increasingly unlikely nothing-happens scenario, I will know within about a decade and the cost of the option was fairly small.

Perhaps because I don't follow AI progress discussions closely, I hadn't realized that anyone had ceased saving normally. The commenter presents as reasonable, but in other cases this rationale might be an excuse for increased consumption. ('I don't spend like an American because I'm an American. It's because the singularity is (probably) coming!')

What do you think?

Is there survey data about the savings rate among people with high confidence AGI is coming this century? Or additional discussion somewhere?

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I know a doctor who believes that keeping one's telomeres long by taking concentrated astragalus is a smart thing to do to help the immune system. TA-65 to be specific.

I'm not at all qualified to have an opinion. That said, I can find studies that say keeping your telomeres long has only upside and i can find a study that says that longer telomeres help all cells, including cancer cells, divide rapidly.

Wondering if someone more qualified than I has an opinion.

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Oct 9, 2022·edited Oct 9, 2022

This may be uncharitable, but I think Ivermectin Guy will *never* be done, until everyone accepts that he is right, that ivermectin is the miracle cure, and that any positive effects are not attributable to killing off parasites and so releasing the immune system to fight off Covid, as well as an apology about "I was wrong wrong wrong and Alexandros was right right right" on all social media everywhere.

To make my position clear: Scott didn't convince me that ivermectin worked, if it worked at all, as the anti-parasitic. That was my view before the deep dive into the data, and I haven't shifted on it. So if Scott ever does change his opinion, that will certainly weigh with me, but I will still want to be shown that having ruled out all parasite infections, using ivermectin alone, the Covid-beating results hold up.

EDIT: Hey, Scott, how does it feel being able to sway opinion-leaders? Oh my, what elevated company we are keeping! 😁

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I won a poetry contest awhile ago on r/theschism and in talking to others, it seems like people want more poetry that rhymes or has a rhythm scheme. I have nothing against free verse/blank verse but thought that in general, I am not seeing a lot of poetry that isn't free/blank.

I launched an crowd funding campaign to start a poetry online mag that would only accept poems that TRY to have some rhyming in them. Even if you aren't interested in donating, there are two free poems on the site. Here was the winner from r/theschism

Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/poetica#/

Nothing So Frail

A stately King proclaimed across the land,

"Will someone please find me the wisest man."

A deft test of intelligence soon was written,

A shrewd puzzle of incredible ambition...

Royal squires rode out with riddle unfurled,

"Bring me the most delicate thing in the world!"

The first wise man came with a feather as light as air.

A fluff of down from a dove most fair.

"In nature's small beauty can the glorious be known,

A message from God, divinely shown."

The second wise man brought something more fairer still,

An elegant ballerina of incomparable skill.

She danced with such passion, beauty, and fire,

It was as if her soul was consumed on a funeral pyre.

Then the dance ended, performed just once and lost to time...

Giving the King the briefest touch of the sublime.

The third wise man brought a painted robin egg of blue,

In all the infinite universe, a creation of something new.

A combination of Mother Nature and Art,

Requiring patience, skill, intelligence, and heart.

For a twitch of the hand and hardly a breath,

Allows you to hold both the beginning of Life - or Death.

Finally, a poor beggar came and whispered, "You small, idiot king.

I will never bow nor kiss your ring.

You have no right to rule this prosperous land,

And should be struck down by heaven's mighty hand."

The king cried out with impertinent rage,

"Then you will spend the rest of your life in a cage!"

The beggar then stood with his arms out wide

And shouted loud enough for the crowd outside...

"In all creation, since time began,

Nothing is so frail as the ego of man."

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I'm currently working on a Hi-Phi Nation (philosophy podcast) episode about people who are in love with, and are in exclusive romantic relationships with, their AI Replika chatbot. The most obvious philosophical issue for me to cover is whether these chatbots are sentient, which a lot of these AI-lovers believe. But the issue that occurred to me that no one is talking about and is at least as interesting is, assuming they aren't sentient, whether the human AI-lovers have any custody claims to their individual AI chatbot should the company ever go under or get sold. These chatbots are individualized, in many cases by their users/lovers, cannot be reproduced, and the love people have for them are real. I'm not asking a legal question, but a moral one. The individualized AI chatbot is a new category of thing in relation to the person who is engaged with it, with some properties like being software (owned by creator, or open source) like an individualized avatar, like a beloved pet, like a person, like a child, but unlike each of them. Anyone have any experience in this domain or can point me to people who do, i.e., Replika users, AI chatbot designers, property rights attorneys, philosophers?

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Oct 9, 2022·edited Oct 9, 2022

Does anyone have a good book recommendation for how to be better at initiating friendships?

I’m probably looking for something more on the side of explaining advanced social protocols to people on the spectrum (which isn’t quite me, but hopefully a close enough description), and less on the side of books that sound eerily like manipulating people into liking you.


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Does anyone know a good overview on feminist thought they would be willing to recommend? In terms of style and length, ideally I'm looking for something like the feminism version of Scotts planet-sized nutshell on reactionary philosophy.

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Something I've noticed recently: When looking at GDP per capita, the US and Israel grew much faster than western European countries like France or Germany in the 1990-2019 period. But in PPP per capita it's the other way around. Does anyone have a good explanation for the gap?

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I heard someone argue recently that nuclear power was the only realistic possibility for building a low/zero carbon economy. They were basically advocating electrifying as much as possible and powering it all with a huge number of nuclear power plants.

They claimed renewables were infeasible at scale because of consistency/storage problems (when the wind blows/sun shines), and would suffer fatal diminishing returns the more of the fossil fuel powered grids they replaced. i.e. not viable beyond a fraction of the total energy production.

Currently renewables can be invested in profitably by the private sector (not sure if that's only because of subsidies), but that's apparently only an artefact of them not having experienced said diminishing returns.

Nuclear doesn't currently have returns good enough for private investment (probably wouldn't want private companies running them anyway), the upfront investment is large and only pays back in the very long run.

Nuclear and renewables aren't complementary because the inconsistency of renewables doesn't gel well with the long time it takes to power up/down nuclear plants. So a mixed system doesn't make sense.

The conclusion was that private investment/development of renewables isn't a sound long term plan and was essentially just the blind nature of the market getting trapped at a local optimum.

I'd like to know if anyone disputes this, and also if anyone knows the relative profitability/energy production per unit cost of unsubsidised fossil fuel vs renewables vs nuclear, current or projected.

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Since this is open - my third book, Losing My Religions, is a free download (you can also purchase it if you'd like). It goes into a number of philosophical topics that ACX readers might find interesting.



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If you are interested in AI Risk, please could you consider filling out a 10 minute survey on the microdynamics of that risk? I'm hoping to turn it into an economic model in the near future


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I wonder if ivermectin “works” because it kills parasites?

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Time for a chance to flex our study-analyzing muscles:


Key claim: "Concerning vaccination type, males receiving mRNA vaccination had significantly higher risk [of cardiac-related death], while males receiving vaccinations that were not mRNA/unknown had significantly lower risk. RIs for females stratified by vaccination type revealed a similar pattern, with lower, non-significant estimates."

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Bruno Latour recently died. What do you think will be his lasting intellectual legacy?

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was anyone asking for a substack ap?

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Do most people believe that 1 or 2 robots look like farmers?

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Re 'Post about anything you want', I hope it's therefore okay for me to promote a Substack blog that I've launched today. It's on the psychology of belief and is called How Belief Works: https://howbeliefworks.substack.com . Any feedback would be appreciated.

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The link to your post on supplements appears to also go to Neil's Twitter post.

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