Hey guys. How's it going?

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Planning to post this in the fresh thread tomorrow but in the meantime hoping I can get some takers. Looking for some no-nonsense advice around a lingering bad shroom reaction.

Last Sunday (6 days ago) I took 4g of shrooms (MVP strain). The trip itself was meh, had periods of euphoria but towards the end had kind of a sad crash. But nothing I would describe as so terrible. I've done shrooms before and had a good experience, including a couple months prior taking 3.5g of MVP and having a positive experience.

Since then, I've been feeling really quite poorly. Some physical symptoms such as chills/feverishness, which seem to be passing. More importantly my headspace has been very bad. A sort of headache-y brain fog has been following me most of the time (trying to manage through this at work), and more unpleasantly, the fog seems to come with a sort of "black cloud" where I feel incredibly down and sad and like my life is over and I don't want to live anymore. It makes no sense but the cloud is just so powerful. I've had a couple welcome intervals of lucidity lasting for half a day or so. This morning I have more of a "grey cloud," where I'm not normal but at least my rational brain is essentially in the driver's seat.

I'm going to the doctor on Mon but in the meantime I'd appreciate any advice. My understanding is shrooms should not cause a permanent shift in my brain (I have no history of mental illness in me or my family). So I'm hoping this will all pass. But it's incredibly unpleasant. Any words of wisdom?

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Inspired by Adam Mastroiani claiming his mind is like Fantasia in this post: https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/you-cant-reach-the-brain-through I decided to do a survey to see how much of a resemblance to Fantasia would people say their minds have. The only question I have for sure is a gradient on which movie your mind resembles that has 10 gradations from Saw to Fantasia (I guess the middle would be a boring drama, and the movie at the bottom end, Saw, can be changed), but I'm wondering if anyone here has other questions that would make sense on the survey. I'm thinking of another one about how much of the time is your mind like the choice in the first question, but presumably the choices there would be half of the time, most of the time, all of the time (why did you choose it if it's less than half of the time?), but am unsure.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all, and in honour of the contribution my country has made to the world, this typical representation of my native culture from 2011 but still relevant today (tradition never changes!)


The English-language version is slightly different if you want to go looking for it, but sure why would you? ☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘

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Happy Pi Day for those who celebrate!

(I am unfortunately not celebrating. In Massachusetts, where I am, there is a snowstorm today, though luckily it's not as catastrophic as the forecasts had predicted.)

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I've posted before about caffeine "cycling". In other words, can I have caffeine x days per week, and then abstain for 7-x days so that I don't build tolerance? One idea that came up was using something different on the "off" days, e.g. nicotine. Well I tried nicotine gum (several 2mg pieces throughout the day) on my no-caffeine days and I basically felt nothing. No stimulation and I just missed having caffeine in my system. Has anyone else had this experience or have any other suggestions?

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Is there something to the view that medicine is useless on average?


> Opportunity to purchase insurance led to 59.91% uptake and access to free insurance to 78.71% uptake. … Across a range of health measures, we estimate no significant impacts on health. … We conducted a baseline survey involving multiple members of each household 18 months before the intervention. We measured outcomes two times, at 18 months and at 3.5 years post intervention. … only 3 (0.46% of all estimated coefficients concerning health outcomes) were significant after multiple-testing adjustments. We cannot reject the hypothesis that the distribution of p-values from these estimates is consistent with no differences (P=0.31).

This result seems aggressively counterintuitive, in light of how lifespans have been increasing due to improvements in medicine. Hell, I once heard that the real reason murder rates went down is that medicine is keeping lots of victims of violent crime alive that in the past would have died. The conclusion from Hanson that health insurance is useless also seems excessive. If I break a bone or get some weird disease, it sure is better to be with health insurance than not. It's not like those things would just fix themselves otherwise.

This one seems like a good subject for Scott to do a deep dive on, unless he already did?

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Does anyone have any recommendations for organisations devoted to fighting climate change that are willing to say that the positives of something reducing emissions are worth the negatives of that something harming some of the poor/minorities/etc? Not that avoiding the latter is a bad thing, but it shouldn't stop us doiing the former.

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From a facebook discussion of anger-- it turns out that people's experience of anger varies quite a bit.

I'm just posting some of my writing here rather than the link because I think of posting in one place to have a sort of quasi-privacy.

"Someone on my flist posted about drug-induced anger, and what it was like-- they previously had very little experience with anger. They were surprised to find how much anger led to wanting to believe that anger was justified.

I was surprised to find out about a person who had experienced so little anger. I'm angry a *lot* of the time. Arguably it's a close to a default emotion for me.

My mother was a very angry person, and for a long time, being angry at her was a central fact of my emotional life. I wouldn't be surprised if high levels of anger are somewhat genetic."

"I've wondered about physical causes for what seems like an increase of public anger over the past 20 years or so. I've run across the idea that some prescription meds might increase anger, but not enough for people to notice it in themselves. In particular, it was hypothesized that it was steroids and statins.

I've got boring theories, like that hostility breeds hostility. Or that people (what with social media and long work hours, are getting less sleep.

I leave a slot open for something we haven't thought of."

"When I was menopausal, I went through a phase of feeling very angry during hot flashes. Since I hate being overheated, the anger seemed very reasonable.

Oddly I got feedback from other people that I seemed calmer. I assume it was a result of my trying to steady myself because my anger obviously wasn't caused by external circumstances.

Then I started getting hot flashes that were heat without the anger, so I conclude that the anger was a separate hormonal thing other than the heat."

One thing from someone else-- they found that they got very angry from tequila. They hypothesize that it was the alcohol/sugar combination, but don't want to go through it more times to test the theory.

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I really liked the outdoor Berkeley meetup a few years ago (in a meadow on campus). For those few like me who are still determined not to get COVID, another such meetup would be wonderful.

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This meme really got me thinking about how we perceive human consciousness through the lens of the technology we create. I don't endorse the idea that we aren't really making progress toward true understanding (that would be insanely absurd) but it drew a connection I had never thought of before and wanted to share

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Mar 13, 2023·edited Mar 13, 2023Author

What do people think of https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/13/signature-bank-third-biggest-bank-failure-in-us-history.html ?

(board member and former congressman Barney Frank claims Signature Bank was fine, government unfairly persecuted them because of crypto)

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Life hack: Masking tape works better than band-aids for finger cuts. It stays on longer.

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UNSONG error!!

In Chapter 72, it’s written that “Sohu was doing something with her hands, muttering to herself, bending the energies, quietly funneling power into Jinxiang, watching warily.” But isn’t Sohu supposed to have lost one of her hands by Anglerfish before this? Did she regain her hand at some point? (No.)

Please tell Scott about this before it is published.

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Am I the only one who found Everything, Everywhere All at Once to be incredibly tedious? I walked out after 90 min, which I never do. And I liked the Daniels' previous film, as well other multiverse-esque films.

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Is Paxlovid still a good idea for covid, for a healthy person, 52yo? Anyone have the latest on this? Goal is to prevent long covid.

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It seems like midjorney can't do (aquatic) turtles. I've tried all sorts of prompt engineering but I keep only getting tortoises.

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I'm working on my submission for the book review contest and I've been trying out Grammerly (app that's suggests improvements in your writing prose.)

The suggestions it gives you don't seem that useful, it feels basically like a spellchecker that also tells you insert lots of unnecessary commas.

But, it also gives your writing an overall score broken down into "comprehensibility", "engagement" etc.

So, I thought I'd copy-paste some of my favourite essays from different writers to see what score it gives them (roughly the average of 5 essays):

Scott, 75-80

Richard Hannania, ~80

Robin Hanson, 60-70

Christopher Hitchens, 85-90

(A British columnist I think writes well) David Mitchell, 85-90

George Orwell, 75-80

A random essay I wrote for school when I was sixteen, 60

And, if you'd ask me for subjective ratings of those writers (purely based on style, not substance) that's essentially the exact ranking I would have given.

Which make me think Grammerly can pick up real makers of quality writing.

Does anyone else use apps like this to help their writing?

If anyone else wants to paste some essays into the app, I'd also be interested if matches their subjective impressions of the quality of the writing.

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Have decided to take the plunge in creating online content would love some feedback from the community here - I'm current a PhD student studying decision and risk analysis (think prospect theory but normative and applied to real world decisions) and am looking to share some of my less rigorous but more fun ideas that don't make out of the academic review process. Would y'all be more interested in:

1) A blog exploring how insights from my field that can be helpful for everyday life - decisions strike core of who we are individually and think we can all benefit by thinking more deeply about how we make them!

2) An online course that teaches you how to work/communicate in technical settings without a technical background. A "no-code bootcamp" which directly counters the idea that everyone should learn how to code. Especially given the rise of AI, I think technical fluency is a must but not necessarily the specific skill of coding or knowledge of the math under the hood.

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Just curious: is it true that the word "fortnight" is not in common usage in the United States?

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I’m not sure where to post this, but not too long ago I unsubscribed and then resubscribed (for a paid subscription), and I have stopped getting the Hidden Open Thread. Any ideas how I can start getting it again?

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"Skyler, Mingyuan"

So what's the nomatively deterministic significance of someone named Mingyuan. ( bright circle? Or does yuan here refer to the Yuan dynasty? ) being replaced by someone being named Sky-ler?

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In the wake of the news about both Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank being shut down and going into FDIC receivership, wanted to share something potentially important I learned today. Please pass this on if it might help anyone you know.

Am hoping this info might help someone at a firm – whether it's you, or someone you might know in your networks – avoid the pain of trying to hastily move large chunks of currently-uninsured cash at your primary bank (if over the $250 thousand FDIC limit) into fully-insured accounts at other bank(s) during the coming week or beyond.

There's a service from IntraFi (formerly Promontory Interfinancial Network) called Insured Cash Sweep (ICS). If your bank offers access to it, and many do, you can keep banking with your primary bank while (effectively) splitting your deposits into chunks insured up to $250K at one or more other banks.

Web pages:



Via IntriFi's ICS (for deposit accounts) and/or CDARS (for certificates of deposit) services, "you can access millions in FDIC insurance for deposits, both large and small, and [still] enjoy the simplicity of banking with just one trusted, local institution. ... thousands of banks across the nation are part of IntraFi's network of banks and financial institutions [offering these services]."

A Twitter thread about it:


And another tweet with a link to a webinar slide deck which describes it in detail, currently hosted on the American Bankers Association's website:


Disclaimer: while this looks legitimate on its face, I've never worked in finance, have never used these services, and again, literally learned about them just today. So do your own due diligence – and urge anyone you share this with to do theirs, too.

(Also, there's apparently at least one competitor to IntriFi; I don't know anything about them, other than finding them when Googling "CDARS" tonight: https://americandeposits.com/what-is-cdars/)

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Why is there so little comparison of the current AI boom to previous ones?

Since the 1950s or 1960s, we've had several episodes (even many, depending on how you define them) in the past of huge claims for AI, none of which really panned out. (Or, alternatively, did produce great results that were no longer considered "AI" by the time we got there.) The claims I'm hearing today for ChatGPT and the like sound similar. Why is there so little comparison between what's happened with previous waves of AI and the current one, and whether the current one might also be a bubble that pops and leads to another AI winter?

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I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with the "abolitionism" movement (no, not the slavery one) or if it's still even a thing, but it seems like something rationalist-adjacent people here might have heard of. Basically, a bunch of people saying that it's a moral imperative to use neural modification to completely remove the brain's ability to feel suffering. In response to the obvious question of why anyone would bother to do anything in a world without the motivation of avoiding pain, they claim that a pleasure-even greater pleasure dichotomy would still motivate action to the same degree as a pain-pleasure dichotomy, but without suffering. This seems somewhat doubtful on its face, but the recent talk here of conversion to Mormonism got me thinking about this.

Mormon eschatology is interesting in that they don't believe in hell (well, mostly: they think there's an "outer darkness" but only Satan and his fallen angels will go there). According to them, everyone, no matter how bad, gets to heaven, it's just that good Mormons get to an even better heaven that's like a trillion times better than the already pure bliss of the lowest heaven, and they also get to rule their own Universe and stuff. The reason I bring this up is that instead of the regular hell-heaven dichotomy, their religion presents a heaven-even better heaven dichotomy, and yet instead of abandoning religious duties out of a sense of "I'll get to heaven anyway," Mormons are stereotypically some of the most scrupulous in their religion of all Christians. Does this real world example of a pleasure-more pleasure dichotomy still working imply good things for the possibility of abolitionism being practicable, in the sense of people being always happy but still going out and being productive rather than laying blissed-out in a corner all day?

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Still hoping to attract Scott's attention. The following cited article is very powerful stuff. I would like to have Scott's opinion on the article because he may know some of the people or communities cited.

"The Real-Life Consequences of Silicon Valley’s AI Obsession: Sam Bankman-Fried made effective altruism a punchline, but its philosophy of maximum do-gooding masks a thriving culture of predatory behavior." By Ellen Huet • March 7, 2023


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Has anyone come across any data regarding the recently-reported 1,000 people who were just prosecuted for the January 6 event? This seems to me a remarkable move, and I haven't been able to find out anything. Perhaps the media are finally being responsible, and relegating it to the back pages in order to avoid setting off "activists". But prior to this surge, the numbers actually being prosecuted were relatively small and scattered and quite vague. (It's not dissimilar to the coverage of the recent run on the tech bank: if one reads enough data, she'll find that there was a run on several banks, although only about 15-20% of the reporters covering the story actually state so. That makes sense, as a responsible media wouldn't want to be responsible for exacerbating the problem.)

Usually, our illustrious Fifth Estate just serves itself.

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Which of these is best practice for mobile phone battery performance / longevity:

A) Keep phone on charge all the time wherever possible

B) Keep phone on charge all the time wherever possible, but when it hits %100 take it off charge and wait until X% to charge it again

C) Only charge phone when it is below X% charge, then charge it to full

D) Only charge phone when it is below X% charge, but don't charge it to full

E) Only charge phone when the battery is very very low, charging it to full each time

F) Only charge phone when the battery is very very low, and don't charge it to full

G) Let the phone battery die before charging to %any

Open to other ideas, e.g. removing the battery when not intending to use the phone for a while (if you're lucky enough to have a phone that lets you do that).

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I created a market to predict the number of entries in this year's ACX book review contest: https://manifold.markets/SimulanTerra/how-many-entries-will-be-submitted

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@webdevmason recently converted to Mormonism. I made a Manifold Market for whether she would benefit from her conversion or not: https://manifold.markets/metachirality/will-mason-hartman-benefit-from-mor

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It seems we will get gpt-4 this week, so here's your chance for any last minute predictions before it releases for a prize of you've-told-us-sos. Parameter number? Compute used? Tokens read in training? Cross entropy loss? Adherence to chinchilla scaling curves? Difficulty of differentiating model output from human text? Other impressive abilities?

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What's going on with this clear arbitrage gap on Manifold? I haven't used it before, do market creators resolve markets dishonestly very often?



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Why is it seemingly so hard to just let SVB fail, while simply removing their deposits and placing them with a solvent bank? SVB can go out of business and their equity can go to zero- they have anywhere from $200-300 billion of other people's money, which is not theirs and which they have no claim to. Why is it so hard to simply remove that $200-300 billion to say JPMorgan, while allowing SVB to crash to zero? I don't understand where a 'bailout' comes in, or why people need to overuse that phrase.

If I stored a bunch of excess property at a storage facility, and then the storage facility went out of business, it's not a 'bailout' if the government helps me recover my property in an orderly fashion

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I am on a journey around male circumcision that feels cosmic in proportion. In his post on Fideism, Scott advised never disagreeing with experts before you are 30 and have a graduate degree. I am 29 (turning 30 on March 21st) and don’t have a graduate degree. Am I disagreeing with experts when I say that the harms of male circumcision are real? No, but after great tribulation I became aware of a deep assumption I was holding.

Very smart people have devoted entire careers to ending male circumcision. People are still doing it to their children. For 7 years, I believed if you gave someone an accurate description of the anatomy of a penis and asked them to imagine having your penis cut with a knife without your consent, then they would not do it to their child. If I continue to hold that belief I am not disagreeing with experts- I am disagreeing with reality.

Anyway, here is an allegory I wrote about male circumcision. I think it’s not half bad. Content warning, discussion of rape.

Moloch Gets Married

For “Many Gracious Muses”

I drank to excess that night. Past a certain point my memory goes black. When I woke up the next morning I had no recollection of the sexual encounter that had taken place judging by the look of my bed. I asked, “Did you have sex with me when I was unconscious?”

My spouse said, “Yes, I did that to help you.”

There was a movement of people who believed having sex with your spouse after they passed out would fulfill some secret need of the unconscious body. They referred to it simply as helping. I wanted to know what the hell was going on, so I talked to other people who had been helped. The first person I spoke to told me, “My spouse is so loving. This is someone who puts my needs before their own. Who cares for me and respects my boundaries. Of course helping me is no different. I know that.”

That conversation was followed by others that were very similar, interspersed with a few meek, tired looking people. One told me, “I get called stupid every day. I am always being told I don’t know what is best for me. My spouse says I am a burden and it would be better if I just wasn’t here.”

I spoke to nearly 100 people who had been helped, and 92 of them gave pretty much the same responses to my questions:

“Did you and your spouse talk about it beforehand?”

“No, after.”

“After you were helped, how many conversations did you have about it with your spouse?”


“What questions did you ask about it?”

“I don’t think I had any questions.”

But those meek, rundown people all had questions. When any one of them asked ‘how exactly does this help me?’ their spouse would parrot the vaguely scientific sounding words they had learned from the movement: Cancer reduction and Integumentary health and Increased sex appeal. If they asked ‘what about what we learned in school about consent?’, they were waved off. If they repeated the question, their spouse got angry-

“I hate this shit from you. I can’t deal with how ungrateful you are. Do you even care about how you make me feel?”

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So, this is sort of an interest sounding out post more than anything, about a potential VC fund for impact certs.

First things first; I would be defining an impact certificate as something like the right to call yourself the institutional backer for an event. So, for example, a normal grant-granting platform would effectively own all of the impact certificates for a not-for-profit that they funded. They would not have technically "done the thing that the not for profit did," but they would have been the official backer.

So, how much is the price that one could save a life for. I'm not sure. My vague memory is that it's somewhere between $50-$5000, so taking the log average, let's call it $500. Let's just take this as an axiom (though I'll edit it if someone wants to give a more precise number, but it's sort of besides the point).

Question 1: Suppose that I could offer you a legitimate, documented impact receipt that showed that it had been bought as the impact receipt for someone who saved someone else's life. The price of this impact receipt was $100 (1/5 market value); the money was used to reimburse a person who'd bought urgent life-saving medicine for someone else. Would you buy this impact receipt as a charitable donation?

Question 2: Same scenario. $100 for an impact receipt, but this time for a volunteer firefighter who saved a person from a burning house?

Question 3: $100, but for a normal person who saved a child from drowning?

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Can't shake off the feeling that my project only got funded cause someone must have misclicked :D

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Hello. I have a request to resident psychologists. My search skills haven't provided any good results.

I really like the post and its thread about universal experiences from the old forum: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/03/17/what-universal-human-experiences-are-you-missing-without-realizing-it/

There's a reference to Galton's survey on visual imagination. I think this approach can be applied to many invisible disorders or disabilities (in a broad sense, anything that might impair one's capabilities in life).

I struggle with wishing. I have a very weak hypothesis that I might not experience wishes, desires, cravings or whatever as other people do. It results in my motivation to do anything not inherently interesting on my own being extremely low. So, my question is whether anyone have studied wishes. desires and whatever in abnormal cases. Are there any tests, polls, surveys which I can take on my own to determine if I experience wishes as other people do? Or maybe a detailed essay on what is a "normal" wish, how people experience it?

Thanks for any replies.

P.S. I've checked with a few psychiatrists and they haven't found any permanent depression. I certainly don't have anhedonia, I enjoy things but I don't really want them much and I certainly struggle when I have to work persistently to get them.

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Lots of people outraged over (Dilbert creator) Scott Adams for saying that, according to a poll he cites, around 50% of black americans don't like/have negative views towards white americans, and that this means white people shouldn't bother trying to help people who hate them and their (white people) lives would be better if they avoid living somewhere with a lot of black people.

Is he really wrong?

The standard response to this seems to be that white people have an obligation to help black people, and blacks have no obligation to like whites, because white people are responsible for black people being poor (poor obviously in a relative sense) in the first place. But this is based almost entirely on narratives, and most mechanisms this is supposed to be based on can be/have been disproven.

And then of course there's the inconsistent way in which group responsibility operates, wherein all white people everywhere are responsible for everything bad (or "bad") done by any white person ever, while black people are not even morally responsible for their own (bad) actions (and white people can take no credit or pride in the accomplishments of other white people). This tries to get rationalized by the claims of "white privilege" being a thing (and/or the even more silly claim that white people are "still benefitting from slavery"), which again can be debunked in nearly every way, but is an example of anti-white hatred itself (if you disagree, let me know if you would have been fine with it if Kanye had simply said that jews have "jewish privilege").

I think it's one thing to say that white people aren't allowed to have negative opinions toward black people, but it's something else when you're claiming that white people have an obligation to be okay with being hated by black people and to actively care about improving their wellbeing. And predictably, the left are calling Adams "racist" and "hateful" for...not being okay with being hated for his race: https://apnews.com/article/dilbert-scott-adams-cartoonists-respond-109cb1a6dea03e931e2e6e3814bc743a https://time.com/6259311/dilbert-racism-scott-adams/

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When is the meetup-form due by? (Do I rush to lock in a suboptimal venue, or take a few days to try getting a better one?)

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Does anyone live or have practical experience with a country that uses open list proportional representation? (So Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, I think Brazil, etc.) The main thing I want to know is- do the politicians *within a party* actually compete with each other?

The idea as I understand it is that voters are just voting for a party, and then have the option of ranking individual politicians within that party if they so choose. The party receives X number of seats based on how many votes they got- the party candidates then either make the cutoff for one of those seats based a) how the party originally ranked them, and b) how voters then ranked them from there (if they chose to).

Do the politicians within a party..... compete with each other though? I.e. if the Swedish Green Party is running multiple candidates, and they all presumably would like to be ranked higher by voters- in practice do they actually compete, bash each other, play up their accomplishments, etc.? "Sure Sven Stroosma is a fellow Green Party candidate.... but whatabout allegations that he had improperly unrecycled herring cans in the back of his Volvo on the way to Ikea, ya?" (This was my attempt at a Swedish Green Party scandal).

In theory open list PR is the perfect voting system in that most voters are really just voting for parties anyways, and then if they have opinions on individual candidates they're free to express those- or not. So (in theory) it's the right blend of party-centered politics, while still holding candidates individually accountable, yet without having a high degree of personalism. But I have no idea if the system really works in practice or not, would be curious to hear people's feedback

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What do you think of the US foreign politics and the role the US plays in geopolitics.

At one hand it is remarkable that this topic is almost completely left out here. Why? Not interesting? Too hot?

As you are intelligent people thinking about ethics as well as the future of humanity, don't you have a opinion on this?

I see so much hypocrisy in US foreign policies, don't you see them? Or don't you care? Doesn't it matter because the US are the good guys?

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I just read about the Wirecard scandal, "The biggest fraud in German history", in last week's New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/03/06/how-the-biggest-fraud-in-german-history-unravelled

I'm amazed such a major scandal, which culminated 3 years ago, had been off my radar. Have I been living under a rock or has the US media been very uninterested in this story until now?

The part I found most fascinating was Germany's launching a criminal investigation against the Financial Times after Alphaville alleged massive misdeeds at Wirecard instead of investigating Wirecard.

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Listened to the Yudkowsky podcast (Bankless) from the last set of links and was struck by how hopeless he seems. Similarly, the "Death with Dignity" post seems to confirm that he thinks the situation is hopeless.

I don't personally agree, but for people who seriously think the world is going to end in ~25 years due to AI...

...why not try violence? Violence is usually reprehensible, but to somebody certain that the world is going to end, wouldn't taking out a few researchers be justified? It would send a strong signal to others considering going into AI research as well, that they might not be safe if they pursue that career path.

Where is the flaw in this utilitarian calculus?

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When Joe Rogan interviews Coffeezilla, the idea comes up that the crypto community needs to regulate itself-- the amount of fraud makes crypto an unattractive investment. Is there any way for the crypto community to do this?

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I have two subscriptions to Razib Khan's Unsupervised Learning to give away. Either reply with an email address here, or email at the address I specify here: https://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com/about

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A belated comment on PMS and culture-bound mental illness:

1. I really thought most women, say 80%, get a little grouchy and weepy before they get their periods. Concluding from my experience and those of my mom, friends, aunts, etc.

2. Like one of the immigrant women who are surprised by PMDD diagnoses, I wouldn't call PMS a mental illness. I'd class it with normal mood changes like people getting cranky when they're hungry or have slept poorly. I wonder if that's what the surprised immigrant women figure too.

3. On top of the hormone-caused mood changes (I'd guess?), women probably logically get a little grumpy before our periods because we're about to have have stomachaches and constrained clothing choices. This feeling is like being annoyed when you realize you're coming down with a cold or when seasonal allergies start up.

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Anyone out there currently using chatGPT in their day-to-day analytical work? If so, how are you currently using it? I'm interesting in trying it out in my job, and some applications of it (e.g. https://workspace.google.com/marketplace/app/gpt_for_sheets_and_docs/677318054654) seem great but I'm hesitant to try it out.

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So I’m just learning that a lot of the highest level genetic biologists in the world actually try to deny that genetics play a factor in, for example, the NFL having 100% black corner backs. The reasons they give are really bad too (“culture”). White suburban communities eat sleep and breathe football, and pour endless resources into it at the high school level. I didn’t think the field had lost THAT much credibility. Can we trust anything that comes out of there at this point?

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Shameless (shameful?) self-promotion:

My the ebook version of my latest book is free until Friday, the 17th. It is memoir, essays, philosophy, travelog, tips, and photos. Professional mistakes and personal luck. Some of you have already read it; some like it, some find it self-indulgent and shallow. So it goes.

You can learn more (and read reviews) and get the file here: https://www.losingmyreligions.net/

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Can anyone link me to really solid pro-permanent-daylight/summer-time argument? Most of the ones I have seen tout benefits of shifting activities to earlier in the day. Which could also be accomplished by just, you know, shifting activities to earlier in the day. This would be disruptive if it happened a couple of times a year, but the change they propose is permanent (it’s right there in the name) so it comes down to a one-time disruption and preserves the benefit of clocks being roughly in sync with the sun (in other words, the reason that we have time zones in the first place).

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How is it to live on a yacht? How much does a yacht suitable for a couple to live on it cost? How do visas and countries borders work for sailing? Can you just cross the borders of countries wherever you want? Are there simpler to acquire visas for people sailing around? How good and reliable is the internet (satellite, I assume) when you're sailing in the middle of an ocean? Are there any blogs of digital nomads who live on a yacht? Let's say I buy a yacht in the Mediterranean sea. Is it possible to get to most countries by sea without crossing any borders on the way except for the borders of the target country?

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A question for the historians of religion out there: what is the best secular explanation for why Paul converted to Christianity?

It's widely accepted that (1) Jesus Christ existed and founded a community of believers, (2) Paul harshly persecuted the early Christian church, and (3) Paul later converted to Christianity and became its leading proponent, and endured great hardship in the course of his work.

The biblical explanation for this unlikely sequence of events is that Paul had a vision of Jesus while traveling to Damascus.

Are there any good secular explanations? Obviously you can hand-wave this all away by saying that people sometimes have visions that cause them to radically alter their behavior, and this does not inherently demonstrate that anything supernatural is going on.

Nevertheless, the story of Paul does strike me as pretty startling and difficult to explain without recourse to God. Is there any other example in history where an individual aggressively persecuted a religion, then converted to that religion at great personal cost?

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This is another update to my long-running attempt at predicting the outcome of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Lastly, I did an emergency update on March 7 without proper explanation (over here: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/open-thread-266/comment/13398677). Previous proper update, from January 30, is here: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/open-thread-261/comment/12342095.

13 % on Ukrainian victory (unchanged from March 7, down from 17 % on January 30).

I define Ukrainian victory as either a) Ukrainian government gaining control of the territory it had not controlled before February 24 without losing any similarly important territory and without conceding that it will stop its attempts to join EU or NATO, b) Ukrainian government getting official ok from Russia to join EU or NATO without conceding any territory and without losing de facto control of any territory it had controlled before February 24 of 2022, or c) return to exact prewar status quo ante.

43 % on compromise solution that both sides might plausibly claim as a victory (down from 45 % on March 7, and down from 47 % on January 30).

44 % on Ukrainian defeat (up from 42 % on March 7, and up from 36 % on January 30).

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


This update, just like previous emergency one, is based on various credible reports which started to float in information space on March 7, in places like NYT and German ARD, that blowing up Nord Stream pipelines had pro-Ukrainian motive. So far, no links to Ukrainian government have been found, but realistically, this massively increases the probability that such links will be found in the future. Probably not in a sense that Zelensky ordered the pipelines to be blown up, more like Ukrainian government supporting some shady operators to generally blow Russian stuff up and those agents being very dumb.

It is difficult to predict what impact such revelation would have on a Western support to Ukraine, but surely it would not be zero.

*Minsk ceasefire or ceasefires (first agreement did not work, it was amended by second and since then it worked somewhat better) constituted, among other things, de facto recognition by Ukraine that Russia and its proxies will control some territory claimed by Ukraine for some time. In exchange Russia stopped trying to conquer more Ukrainian territory. Until February 24 of 2022, that is.

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I've been experimenting with forms of data storytelling and wrote this analysis of SVB and bank failures! Would love to hear what I could do better, especially given how well read the SSC audience is!


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Can anyone recommend a good English translation of Gil Blas? I know Smollett did one in the eighteenth century, and it's easy enough to find, and I generally like Smollett, but I was hoping for something slightly more recent if possible—but if people say Smollett's the one to go to…well, that's why I'm looking for recs! Thanks!

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Is just after Easter an optimal time for meetups? I'd have thought this could not be great for some people who might not be at their usual bases...

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I stumbled across a pretty great worldbuilding project on ArtStation recently called Rust and Humus:


Sadly not available to buy as a physical book yet, although the artist is apparently working on a sequel (https://old.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/11gxfbo/rust_and_humus_ii_one_more_year/), and has talked about possibly selling physical copies once that's complete.

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An opinion piece arguing that the moral compasses of children are stronger than we might think.


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I’m gonna be in SF later this week with a bunch of wild thinkers and engineers, not necessarily rat-type people though. We are already meeting a lot of cool people, anyone here have any suggestions for what we should do? None of us are from California.

Also, a lot of us like to build amateur rockets, and we want to tour the SpaceX factory. Does anyone have any connections?

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Are there any Bay Area rationalist meetups between 25th and 31st of March?

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Mar 12, 2023·edited Mar 12, 2023

Scott Aaronson skewers Noam Chomsky's op-ed about machine learning in the NYTimes: https://scottaaronson.blog/?p=7094

The commentary has reached #178 at this point. It's a lively discussion, as one would expect.

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So, SVB. Thoughts?

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deletedMar 12, 2023·edited Mar 12, 2023
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