1371 Comments

I've always been slightly confused by articles about Jessica Mulroney, marvelling at how easy it is to change one's appearance so radically just with some judiciously applied makeup. But now I realise it's because I have been mixing her up with Dylan Mulvaney of Budweiser fame! Something to mull over methinks.

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Does anyone know why Kalamazoo and Numazu are sister cities? Did they just choose each other because of the name similarity? Orr was that pure coincidence?

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I have to say, it's amusing how the guy just leaves the board open while recovering from kidney donation and it turns into a giant Israel-Palestine argument.

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It only takes a person to two to make everything go down in flames.

On the other hand, appointing a censor or two might solve the problem. (Not sure if Substack allows it, though.) Some who in Scott's absence would have the authority to say "stop discussing topic X for one week" and could give week-long bans to anyone who keeps talking regardless. Just until Scott returns and sorts things out.

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This is why we can't have nice things.

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Thread for publicly sharing anonymized information about the Open AI board members, since I suspect many readers here to have various Open AI connections.

https://openaiboard.wtf/

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What are you hoping to find in your stocking that no family or friends would think to stuff?

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founding

If I were hoping to find it in my stocking, I'd have already bought it for myself. The stocking is for things I wouldn't think of, but family and friends might.

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That shouldn't necessarily preclude answering - perhaps you want a new book to introduce you to an author you'd love, but had not previously heard of!

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good point. rephrased: what do you want that you haven’t been able to justify buying yourself?

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Nov 26, 2023·edited Nov 26, 2023

Been kicking around an idea/observation over the tg holiday.

Call it the “hate coefficient.” This board tends to prioritize verifiable evidence. But in this regard, internet, crowd-sourced argument presents a vulnerability. Tom the very-motivated racist, communist, anti-fascist, Palestine-hater or Israel-hater or what-have-you has a near inexhaustible capacity to dredge twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook, telegram, or whatever source is necessary to find evidence, however specious, for his preferred conclusion. In a debate, then, predisposition and motivated reasoning can transmute themselves into a endless barrage of “evidence” for how the blacks are the most hateful race, or how Russians are the real defenders in Ukraine or what have you.

One should never discount evidence, to be sure, but a disinterested third party trading study for study ends up at a surprising disadvantage- if I care a fair bit about not slandering an entire race, but Tom hates the Jews or the blacks or the French a capital-L “Lot,” for every item of evidence I’m willing to find and present, he’s more than willing and able to take as many hours of internet he needs to find and present 2.

The internet being the inexhaustible font of garbage that it is, a sufficiently motivated reasoner can easily drown a debate- not by actual preponderance of evidence, but by “preponderance of evidence I’m willing to find.” A sufficiently motivated flat-earther can just keep digging and throwing up links to the point that anyone contradicting him for the “sake of argument” becomes exhausted and calls it a day.

Which can leave the public square looking like “earth might be flat- tom’s evidence hasn’t been rebutted” even when the facts on the ground are more like “flat earth Tom threw so much garbage that no one had it in them to keep refuting it.”

At the same time, evidence matters. This phenomenon is real, but if you take it as license to ignore facts you don’t like, you’re blinding yourself. I guess you just have to take the grain of salt for very-opinionated-internet-man while also taking that same grain of salt for yourself when applying that label to him.

I don’t know. Reasoning is hard I guess. I wish I had a conclusion or a clear perspective but it seems like a prisoners’ dilemma we’re all stuck with, discounting by the hate coefficient as best we can.

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I think Scott called it "learned epistemic helplessness". He was writing about pop pseudo-science, but it's a similar effect.

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founding

"This board tends to prioritize verifiable evidence", followed by "A sufficiently motivated flat-earther can just keep digging and throwing up links to the point that anyone contradicting him for the sake of argument becomes exhausted and calls it a day"

The latter is called a "Gish Gallop". and a Gish Gallop is *not* verifiable evidence because its volume and ephemerality make verification practically impossible. I think most of this board can recognize that when they see it, and properly disengage from it. Which doesn't stop some people from trying it, but I don't recall seeing any of them have any great success here.

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I actually like the idea of a Hate Coefficient. The higher the coeff, the greater the possibility that lots of evidence represents a gish gallop instead of truth.

Theoretically, establishing the hate coeff value shouldn't even be hard: if you disagree, that only proves that the coefficient should be high. If no one can even be bothered to argue the value, then clearly it's very low.

In practice I don't think it would stand up against enemy action or casual trolling.

But if becomes a thing then I can use Hate Coefficient as the name for my metal band, which is nice.

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> A sufficiently motivated flat-earther can just keep digging

No he can't he'll fall out the bottom

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Bad evidence doesn't need rebutting, it rebuts itself. People who are convinced by bad evidence aren't worth trying to convince, because they'll be convinced by the next thing they read the second they walk away. So present good evidence, and then leave it alone.

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Honestly, most people are not very bright, are easily confused, have hundreds of other things going on, and aren't numerate enough to pick apart bad data anyway. It's why political consultants focus on 'messaging' instead of data analysis.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

It's often said that the term "Rationalist" is a poor choice because they're on the empiricist side, but I wonder how much that's actually true. The movement started in the late 2000s when New Atheism vs Creationism was the main war of the day, so there is all the obligatory lip science to The Power of Science and so on, but beyond that, Yudkowsky really seems to prefer rationalism over empiricism.

For example, in HPMOR, while Harry does do *some* experiments, they're unconnected to any of the benefits he gets. Harry's modus operandi is 1) Think about things and decide how the world *must* be based on intuition, 2) Believe *really* hard in your theory, 3) Be right because you're the author avatar and get rewarded with unique magical powers. (At least that's how he got Kill Dementor and Partial Transfiguration - the rest of his powers come from randomly getting OP magical artifacts dropped into his lap for no reason.)

Meanwhile, Yudkowsky's other classic writings seem to have a remarkable amount of contempt for actual scientists for someone ostensibly on the Pro Science side of the 2000s Religion Wars.

Meanwhile, nowdays in the Yudkowsky-derived AI Doomer movement, a common argument is that AI will be able to near-instantly take over the world because Intelligence means you can magically solve everything just by thinking really hard, no observations or legwork required. No this isn't a strawman, I've seen Doomers *explicitly* make this argument many times, as an argument about why AI takeoff shouldn't be constrained by the speed of running experiments and making observations about the world.

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> It's often said that the term "Rationalist" is a poor choice because they're on the empiricist side

Said by people who are not aware that there are multiple traditional meanings of "rationalism".

> Harry's modus operandi is ... Be right because you're the author avatar and get rewarded with unique magical powers.

I think this is a very uncharitable perspective. Although Harry often represents author's beliefs, it is also often the case that Harry makes a mistake (and Dumbledore or Hermione tell him so). Yes, Harry makes a few good guesses. But the entire premise of the story is that Harry is special, for reasons related to Voldemort. Furthermore, it is assumed that the magical Britain is a small society isolated from mainstream humanity, where magic is high-status, and things that muggles do (including science) are low-status. So it's not just that Harry is smart (although he is), but because the others are not even trying (to seriously think about magic from the perspective of science). Partial Transfiguration = Transfiguration (known only to wizards) + Atomic Theory (known only to muggles, most of them don't think too hard about it).

> Think about things and decide how the world *must* be based on intuition

No no no. You seem to suggest that "empiricism" only means doing the experiments yourself. As opposed to e.g. learning from books written by scientists (who did the experiments themselves). Harry's advantage is not that he thinks too hard and figures out everything from first principles. His advantage is that he has already studied scientific books. He doesn't need to discover atoms, because he already knows that they exist. He only connects the dots ("if transfiguration can change objects... and atoms are objects..."). Connecting the dots of empirically verified findings is not a sin against empiricism. By that logic, Einstein also wouldn't qualify as an empiricist.

(Actually, there is a second, more subtle mistake. Empiricism doesn't necessarily require doing experiments. For example, you can figure out the orbits of planets by observation. Kepler didn't make his own experimental planets, and I would still call him an empiricist.)

> AI will be able to near-instantly take over the world because Intelligence means you can magically solve everything just by thinking really hard, no observations or legwork required.

You ignore the part about the AI escaping from the box. (Which is an obsolete argument, because no one is even trying to keep the AI in a box. It is more profitable to keep it connected to the internet.) No observation? We start by feeding it the entire internet, which includes millions of texts describing the observations we made. Why should the hypothetical superhuman AI not be capable of learning from our observations? No legwork required? Again, you missed the articles describing how an AI connected to the internet could simply ask some humans to do the work for it. (One AI already successfully convinced some people to help solve a captcha, pretending to be a blind human.)

The experiments and other measurements *we already made* probably contain a lot of information we failed to notice. Maybe we were not looking there (an experiment designed to verify a hypothesis X provides data for a different hypothesis Y), maybe we did the statistics wrong, or maybe the hypothesis appears more clearly when we put data from hundred different experiments together, or maybe to make the correct hypothesis would require knowledge of several different sciences put together. Therefore, once we make an IQ 200 AI and feed it the entire internet and Sci-Hub, one of the obvious first questions should be "which important conclusions of our experiments did we miss?". This is not a move against empiricism; it's just doing empiricism better.

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Nov 26, 2023·edited Nov 26, 2023

> I think this is a very uncharitable perspective. Although Harry often represents author's beliefs, it is also often the case that Harry makes a mistake (and Dumbledore or Hermione tell him so). Yes, Harry makes a few good guesses. But the entire premise of the story is that Harry is special, for reasons related to Voldemort. Furthermore, it is assumed that the magical Britain is a small society isolated from mainstream humanity, where magic is high-status, and things that muggles do (including science) are low-status. So it's not just that Harry is smart (although he is), but because the others are not even trying (to seriously think about magic from the perspective of science). Partial Transfiguration = Transfiguration (known only to wizards) + Atomic Theory (known only to muggles, most of them don't think too hard about it).

Believe it or not, I used to be a fan of HPMOR, and I read the story several times through back in the day. I *know* all that. And I also know that none of that actually has to do with the issues I pointed out.

Harry didn't discover Partial Transfiguration or Kill Dementor due to being a Voldemort clone, since most obviously the real Voldemort never did, Nor is his muggle scientific knowledge relevant at all to the issues under discussion either, except in so far as him having heard of Timeless Physics was a prerequisite to be able to Guess The Author's Password in the first case. And for the dementor thing, you can't even say that.

And no, Partial Transfiguration was **very explicitly** *not* about "just Atomic Theory". It explicitly required him to believe very hard in "timeless physics", the author's own pet theory (which is incidentally *not* the mainstream view of physics). In both cases, it was literally just a case of Guess The Author's Password. He didn't do any science, he just believed really hard in a particular hypothesis and magically got rewarded for it.

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Are there actually hundreds or thousands of people who self-identify as Rationalists, or is it just a term that refers to regular readers of Less Wrong?

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Don't all people think themselves the rationalist?

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I'm rat-adjacent. Seems like a good bunch of guys who try to actually figure out the truth and be intellectually rigorous, but I don't read LW or HPMOR and I have no clue what P(doom) is.

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Noone's clear exactly what it means, but it's a vague culture of people surrounding EY, HPMOR, LW, SSC, etc.

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Yud is, in my extremely humble and worthless outsider opinion, the worst representative for Rationalism you can ever pick. I have read but one thing for him that I hold in high regard : https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/reversed-stupidity-is-not-intelligence.

In most of Yud's writing or public speaking, he appears to (1) Hold a profound disdain for the intelligence and opinion of his reader/listener (2) Maintain a false Bond-villain-like sense of intellectual precognition, meaning he pretends to know my (== the reader/listener) arguments from the comfort of his armchair. Not only is this false and most of his simulated objections are strawman, his counters to those objections are themselves not convincing (3) Be an incredibly bad writer, with the 2 most salient of his bad writing habits being (a) long-winded and excruciatingly detailed defenses of obvious points or points that most of his intended audience could be safely assumed to know and agree with (b) bad/silly/condescending analogies.

If not for the fact of his autism, I would have long long ago put Yud in the same bucket of utter contempt that I put people like Elon Musk in, the people who are so thoroughly and irrevocably **impressed** with themselves that they simply can't pay attention to anyone but themselves and anything but their own voice. They are narcissists in a literal, Ancient Greek sense : they are infatuated with their own reflection, looking back at them in the form of grand-sounding shallow-meaning words and armies of fans clapping for those words. Yud comes very close to this archetype but doesn't quite fit in, he always appears clueless as to how arrogant he appears and it doesn't feel entirely fair to lump him with the rest.

As a contrast, consider Scott Alexander. (1) Through no less than - I estimate - perhaps 100K words of non-fiction I read for him, I have never detected a whiff of an effort to make me feel stupid or inferior in any way, on the contrary being very honest about his intellectual weak points at times (math, music) (2) (a) Never claims he knows what the imaginary opponent thinks, (b) all of the objections he raises and attributes to the opponent are links to their own words, followed by an interpretation of what those words mean and an explicit disclaimer that this interpretation could be wrong (c) sometimes lets opponents "have the last laugh" by acknowledging when something is value-laden or controversial and that 2 reasonably intelligent people can legitimately agree to disagree on (3) Is a decent writer in the average case, and a superb writer in the best case (I: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/, II: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/24/guided-by-the-beauty-of-our-weapons/) (4) Unlike Yud or Scott Aaronson, he is fairly iconoclastic and willing to break the speed limit in the overton window of the day, meaning he doesn't give a shit about when his ingroup-adjacent outgroup deploys thought-stopping cliches or clutches its pearls

If you take Scott as the representative for Rationalism, it appears vastly more empirical than if you take Yud. Consider the sheer torrent of studies and RCTs cited in a post like Ivermectin : Much More, or, the start of his animosity with wokism, Reactionary Philosophy. This is generally one of the things that I skim in Scott's writing and frequently feel stupid if I try to read it carefully, because I'm not good with advanced statistics generally and empirical experiment setups both bore me to death and go over my head.

Other writers Scott has on his blog roll like the cluster of writers writing about Covid-19 (e.g. the one named Zeinab something) seem to share the trait. Less Wrongers can be a mixed bag.

But my point is that Yud is just an outlier. Most of the conclusions you can draw of Yud is not true of an average Rationalist or indeed a non-average leading one like Gwern or Scott.

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Um, unlike EY, who's literally done nothing, Elon revolutionized EVs and space travel. You beclown yourself by pretending like he's the one who's a clown. Similarly, Scott's a blogger, routinely benefiting from MGM amnesia (when he writes about something you know, it's pretty clear Scott doesn't know much about it and it's just a commentator like Noonan, Krugman, Brooks, etc., with opinions generally not worthy of much deference). He's nowhere close to someone like Elon in impact, nowhere close in competency, even at chosen fields.

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Meh, I don't subscribe much to the "Great Man" theory of history and technological progress. Some things are clearly wrought by great men, some physicists say that General Relativity is uniquely Einsteinian, but most aren't, and the few things that are tend to not matter much for the average person. Even if we grant the full premises of the Great Man theory of history, I believe there are so many humans in the modern age that Great Men are a dime a dozen, actually, and any combination of traits is out there somewhere, they are just starved of power/money/attention amidst all the hordes of other great men and ordinary men.

Even if I grant your premise that Elon is literally the George Washington of EVs and space travel, what does that have to do with the fact that he's an arrogant clown with bizarre actions ? I can hit wikipedia now and amuse you with the tales of any number of eccentric historical figures who were capable of great brilliance as easily as they are capable of immense stupidity. Maybe Elon revolutionized EVs and Space Travel, but the fact remains he's a crypto grifter and a stupid buyer of a social media corp that is now not worth 1/2 of what he paid. Two things can be true at the same time.

> He's [Scott] nowhere close to someone like Elon in impact, nowhere close in competency, even at chosen fields.

Impact can be argued for, even though it's a bit unfair to compare a fairly mature field like psychiatry to a nascent field with lots of low hanging fruits like commercial space travel. But how do you know competency ? Do you even have any benchmark for comparing 2 different sorts of competencies like Scott's and Elon's in an apples to apples fashion ? Do you know Scott's exact level of competency ?

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

I also hold a low opinion of EY, but he *is* the founder and original thought leader of the movement commonly called Rationalism, so it makes no sense to claim he is not representative. Maybe you could distinguish between different branches, like classical 2010 era Yudkowskianism rationalism and the more conservative and skeptical offshoot led by Scott Alexander, etc. But it seems like EY is still pretty popular on LW and in AI doomer circles, even if they don't necessarily agree with him 100%.

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Thing is: an LLM (a LLM?) is an amalgam of human observations and legwork, so whereas we can choose between 'thinking' and observing/legwork, it seems an LLM doesn't do any 'thinking' which isn't data-rich (same could be true for humans - "nothing is in the intellect which has not been in the senses"). I suppose you're querying how a superintlligence might come up with original observations or experiments. But most original observations are surprising readings of existing data, and even with totally new experiences, perhaps a superintelligence is more likely to spot a black swan. I'm less clear how a superintelligence would organise an experiment.

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I wouldn't describe LLM AIs as "thinking", not yet anyway. It's more like "pattern-matching". Is there a pattern in the organization of experiments, which is in the AI's training set? Then it's probably abstracted that pattern and can apply it to novel situations, but perhaps not as well as if it had been specifically trained to do that.

(Frankly, I think this is what humans do most of the time, too, and even a lot of what passes for us "thinking" is just us doing some pattern matching to what we think of as examples of thought.)

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Fully agree - I tried to use scare quotes for 'thinking' but I guess that was ambiguous

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> Most original observations are surprising readings of existing data

I am curious where this comes from or what you mean by this exactly? My prior would not be that most original observation can be thought of as new surprising readings of existing data. Rather I would think original observations most of the time are derived from new data or information that becomes available, or old data that is read in a new context. Maybe this is what you mean - but this doesn't support a LLM suddenly getting huge new insights from existing data. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think a new tool such as LLM's can shed new light on old data (they already do, after all), but I also think there are limits to what can be derived.

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When I say surprising, I mean to other people - the person doing the research isn't trying to be revolutionary or whatever, just looking at the data very carefully and seeing something in it no-one has before

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I'm just a layman so probably not thinking about this in a thoroughly joined up way, but I'm thinking about the sequences in particular Einstein's 'arrogance' in dealing with a question about Eddington's astronomy experiment. EY's point was that Einstein had already seen enough evidence to believe his theory and didn't need the experiment to confirm. So Einstein looks at the data, 'finds' relativity and that's it as far as he's concerned - if this is a fair description of scientific discovery, you could imagine an AI doing something similar, therefore not as dependent on experiment (whether existing LLMs can do it I don’t know)

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

Just a layman (in physics) too. But I think it is a reasonable description to say that Einstein looked at already discovered data and found a new and surprising observation

(relativity) - I just don't think this is how most new discoveries are actually made. EY logic that a superintelligence would find a lot more connections like this may be resonabe, but it is also quite possible that if Einstein had not discovered relativity somebody else would have, maybe just a bit later. And therefore most such "discoveries" purely from data has already been thought of. My bet is that there are some useful discoveries from such available data - but that many other things will require experiments. Another way to look at it is that purely theoretical (e.g. mathematics) discoveries can mainly be infered from data or from thinking hard - while engineering, and using that theory to do useful things in the real world require experimentation.

So to still use the Einstein anology - superintelligence could discover relativity really fast - but could not develop nuclear weapons fast - because developing nuclear weapons probably would require a lot of experimentation and development that you can't simply think your way around without any feedback. It certainly works that way for human intelligence.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

>superintelligence could discover relativity really fast

And therefore be able to appreciate the amount of energy potetial in fission from e=mc2? afaik that is not useful at all in developing an actual bomb. From a brief look at wikipedia, the discovering leading to atomic bombs were made by cemists - presumably by doing experiments - so there you go...

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Nov 27, 2023·edited Nov 27, 2023

Also, it's not even about relativity at all: the relevant physics here is the Weak Nuclear Force.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

Here's a real world example of AI being used to interpret existing data in a way which unlocks something previously unseen in the data. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/oct/12/researchers-use-ai-to-read-word-on-ancient-scroll-burned-by-vesuvius

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I think the assumption that (I think) you implicitly make here is that all the necessary data that the AI needs to "take over the world" is readily available in a form the AI could use. I think this is false. Actual raw data from experiments are in fact often not published (at least in my field) and are often not readily available in a form the ai could use. The scientific papers describing experienmenta and data are what is available. Ofcourse a lot of information could be derived from that as well - but I think in practice experiments would be necessary also for a superintelligence to make such huge leaps as are suggested, e.g. inventing an army of nanobots.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

Just to put my original post in context: I'm not an AI doomer but I think the weakness in the doomer position is probably an unforseen glass ceiling, either scarce resources or engineering constraints. But to the extent those constraints really can be overcome, it seems like it's all systems go for the superintelligence, and any dependence it has on data can soon be sorted out by gorging on all the data in the world, and if there are paywalls or security in place, it can learn to hack them. But I agree that is speculation which is why I'm not (yet) a doomer

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I agree - I think there will be hard-to-workaround constraints for superintelligence, as there certainly is for humans. I'm an engineer, and I know how messy engineering can be - theory can only get you so far in my experience. My intuition is that a superintelligence - no matter how smart can't think it's way around everything. Even so it would certainly help to be really smart and to have the combined human knowledge available. Of course, I could be wrong, and we could be in huge trouble even if there are significant restraints.

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Hi Leppi, there's a new open thread so probably time to wrap up, i justed wanted to say thanks for your posts and i may slightly downgrade my doomer position as a result, but it's already pretty low. I'll leave you with a flippant version of the ontological argument - if we can't conceive of a superintelligence that isn't dependent on experiments, perhaps we haven't yet conceived a true superintelligence. Not a great argument but it's all I've got!

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Hi! Thanks for the discussion. I feel like pushing back a bit against what I perceive as hyperbole and figuratively extrapolating exponentials regarding AI (if that makes sense). Not saying that you represent that - but some people like EY do I think.

That being said, I think if we develop AGI and ASI it can for sure also be dangerous, and looking at AI risk is absolutely warranted.

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It could also be argued that "rationalism vs empiricism" is one of those dumb historical philosophical conflicts which isn't really relevant today. Nobody really argues about it, they just learn about it in undergrad philosophy and have to pretend it's a sensible argument, but it's 2023 and we all fundamentally agree that the answer to whether knowledge should be obtained from reason or experiment is "Well yeah, both, obviously, depending".

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Yeah, I think it's largely meaningless and irrelevant to the current naming debate, I just thought it was an interesting connection since people often criticize the name on this grounds.

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"Rationalist" might be a bad name just because it sets some people off. I know a couple of otherwise intelligent people who apparently couldn't think about what rationalists might be like because they were stuck on the idea that people aren't rational, or at least not very rational.

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And it sounds like you think you're smarter than everyone, which is a turnoff to lots of other people, at least in the USA.

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Israelis using palestinian baby bodies in their private screenings of "khamas atrocities" allegedly

https://x.com/bidetmarxman/status/1728163260954775685?s=20

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The link you posted doesn’t provide any proof of that claim, it’s just somebody saying it. The verb “stealing” here sounds like an opinion on top of the fact of “moving,” and no evidence is presented that these bodies were used for propaganda. I think you’re just signal boosting somebody’s opinion that match your worldview. You’ve done that before (saying the burned baby photo was AI-generated) and have been demonstrably wrong (it turned out that was just a twitter troll making a joke).

The media landscape around Israel/Palestine/Hamas is muddled as is. I would actually love a thoughtful and careful person making the anti-israel case on this forum. But it’s hard to trust the things you say when you just post people’s opinions as if they’re facts. You can obviously find every anti-Israel sentiment you could possibly imagine on the internet, that’s not proof of anything. I wish you would make less claims but make them more thoroughly, and that you’d be more careful that what you post is true. That would go a lot farther towards changing the minds of people who read this blog.

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>  I would actually love a thoughtful and careful person making the anti-israel case

At the risk of sounding prideful, I believe I have made a decent enough case here https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/open-thread-303/comment/44086962, that was a case for "Israel is explicitly and openly genocidal". Funnily enough, the person I made this case to didn't reply.

If by "Anti-Israel" you just mean "Why Israel shouldn't exist", that case can be made in various amounts of details ranging from 3 paragraphs to 3 encyclopedias, I don't claim I'm the best representative for that case but I believe I know enough to sketch a fair argument.

If by "Anti-Israel" you mean "Why this war is pointless and achieves nothing", I can make this case too but the most eloquent defense of it is Israel's own 2014 aggression on Gaza, which was allegedly directed at a much weaker Hamas back then. They still failed to eradicate Hamas. Here's an Israeli veteran of 2014 saying that Israel's current government will repeat this failure : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fPtN4hVlFA. This is common sense if you have but the most cursory familiarity with Guerrilla war or the history of militant movements, Hamas is not an army, it's not a state. It contains those, but only as components. The essence of Hamas is the general idea that Israelis can't be reasoned with, that neither Hebrew nor Arabic are suitable languages to talk to Israelis, nor any other language that can roll off the tongue, only Ak-47s, RPGs and Molotov cocktails. There are 2 ways to eradicate Hamas (1) Murder every Palestinian to the last baby, all 5.3 million of them (2) Talk to Palestinians, and give them even a decent approximation of what they want. Israel doesn't want to do (2), it deeply and desperately wants (1), but every time it says so it discovers the wrong way that the world is not 1948 anymore and that Genocidal language has consequences.

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Good advice I have heard similarly from another reviewer and will take it to heart

I think it is highly suggestive that they were credibly accused by shifa staff of jacking bodies, the idf DID dodge questions on this (was in the times of Israel) and they're ramping up propaganda over the private screenings. In addition one twitter lawyer seems to have been sharing pics of a number of dead babies

The last Haaretz count that I read seemed to show 26 minors max and like one infant. If Israelis would like to claim they are dead Israeli babies then they should allow an international team to DNA those kids.

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This post doesn’t contain any evidence for its conclusion? The two tweet screenshots it contains are not evidence even if you take the claims at face value, nothing show the allegedly stolen bodies were used to stage anything. Also the screenshot claims bodies were stolen, the X poster says they are children’s bodies, you say they are baby bodies. Where did the extra info come from? And the pictured bodies anllegedly from the music festival anre not children and certainly not babies. I don’t think any of this meets the standard of evidence here for controversial claims.

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Responded with what I would hear the alexander

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Reporters without borders demonstrating that IDF does in fact deliberately target and assassinate reporters something everyone but the most willfully blind Zionists acknowledges

Washington Post Report:

https://t.co/GKjT3UsvbW

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Israelis gleefully celebrating the slaughter of Palestinians. Plenty of tik toys where they mock Gazan families for lacking water. This is what happens when you enable your friends to get worse and worse. There is probably some psych theory about that.

https://x.com/zaramagnusson/status/1728040605333291094?s=20

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If Palestinian civilians are on the Israelis' side against Hamas, why aren't they providing assistance? Providing intelligence, pointing out Hamas positions, et cetera.

If Palestinian civilians are _on_ the side of Hamas against Israel then why should they expect to be treated as anything other than an enemy?

I don't support the genocide of all Palestinians, but I definitely support wiping out any who fail to provide full assistance in the rooting out of Hamas.

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> If Palestinian civilians are on the Israelis' side against Hamas, why aren't they providing assistance? Providing intelligence, pointing out Hamas positions, et cetera.

Probably because Hamas would murder them if they did that?

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BTW nobody on the planet considers murdering someone who doesn't cooperate with you to be valid apart from I guess zionists who are okay with murdering anyone who gets in the way

Thanks for saying the quiet part out loud

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Hamas has rhe right to fight Israelis under international law, Palestinians have the right to support them. You are absolutely genocidal. Israelis have the right to end their illegal occupation.

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I'm betting that Scott is very busy or ill. Normally he takes much better care of the comment section.

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Perhaps he believes in free speech perhaps he has a good conscience and commitment to justice ⚖️

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One more thing about the intractability of the fight between Israel and Palestine: they aren't the only players. At a minimum, there's Iran supporting Palestinian aggression (possibly also Russia) and Americans millennialists who want to start the end of the world at Megiddo.

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https://twitter.com/alexnunns/status/1727022893400477801?t=jRK4Tv0Ux7LqnS71OW4P0w&s=19

Its not palestinian aggression. Israelis are illegally occupying Palestine, under international law they have the right to fight back. Israelis don't have the right to self defense because they aren't defending themselves

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But Israel has every right to occupy Palestine, or any of their other neighbours who have attacked them. Just as the Allies had the right to occupy Germany and Japan after WW2 -- if you start a war with someone then they have every right to defeat you and occupy you. We didn't just beat the Nazis back within German borders and try to coexist with them, we wiped them the fuck out.

This occupation needs to last as long as it takes for the ideology which refuses to live in peace with its neighbours has been eradicated. In Germany, we de-Nazified the place and withdrew within four years and it worked out quite well. In Palestine it apparently hasn't worked so well; every time the Israelis withdraw they get attacked again. I don't know what the equivalent of deNazification in Palestine might look like, but it certainly hasn't happened yet.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023

Secondly there is no wiping out nazi ideology in Palestinians because Israelis are the nazis here, regularly evicting Palestinians from their homes imprisoning kids without trial even banning them from collecting rain water for God's sake. Israelis by this logic should be occupied and de-nazified. The occupation is clearly one of tribal ethnic cleansing not like what the allies did.

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Zionist jews started the fight not Arabs, read the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Ilan pappe or state of terror by Tom Suarez

Your view is completely rejected by all human rights organizations and international law

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Well, I guess that you got that war that you wanted. Sorry if it isn't going as you hoped.

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We will be patient, we will never back down to Jewish ethnic cleansers. The most they can do is "normalize" relations with psychotically vicious dictators who are going against the overwhelming majority of their populations wishes with the Accords, even UAE and Bahrain have solid majorities against it. Makes sense considering how many other atrocities globally that Israelis partook in (including the Rwandan genocide). Of course I have hopes this evil regime is nullified, we will never stop hoping and fighting. What do we have to lose?

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Only resolutions by the UN Security Council are "binding", not resolutions (reccomendations) by the general assembly.

Besides, under Geneva convention which protects civilians and noncombatants Hamas murdering and abduction of Israeli citizens at october 7th plus the indiscriminate rocket attacks are super-illegal and immoral in the first place!

To only hold Israel accountable, but state state that hamas can murder children and take old grannys hostage is without consistency and motivated reasoning by you.

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I didn't say Hamas can murder children. There is little proof they did. Last Haaretz poll shows 26 total of the dead are minors and we know the IDF shot at themselves, plus a number died as collateral in crossfire.

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As for the occupation it is illegal under international law. Occupiers don't have the right to self defense. Before you say Israel withdrew from Gaza, the blockade is there to make Gazan life unbearable and the west Bank is occupied and Gazans and West Bank Palestinians are one people. Hamas has the right to attack Israel, Israel has the right to end its occupation

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Just to be clear what is the territory occupied? Anything after the 1967 war? After the 1948 war? The formation of Israel itself?

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Does the latter group actually exist in significant numbers or are they a strawman based on one thing that some random loony said one time?

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I'm not willing to go as far as supporting that people are hoping to end the world, but certainly some (the church I attend at least) believe that the existence of the Jewish people is important to the successful resolution of revalations, and that if they were wiped out, that could perhaps somehow cause issues. It's vague (because Revalations) but certainly they believe that helping the Jewish people maintain control of Israel is important for god's plan's successful conclusion.

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So far as I know, they contribute a good bit of money to Israel and are influential on the US government, but I await further information.

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"Trust me bro they're real" isn't convincing. I want to know which sects believe this and how many members they have.

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https://www.facebook.com/nancy.lebovitz/posts/pfbid0uDYjKqLDU9tTZfLziQJr5NYGQKJ1ibNxgECPvfECMCpbAQdteAMauAzdKbLhUqy2l

I asked my facebook readers about this, and you can see a bunch of answers. Here's one of the better ones:

"John Hagee’s Christian Zionist organization, Christians United for Israel, has over 10 million members, which means that one Christian Zionist organization alone, not counting any other Christian Zionist orgs, has more members than there are Jews in the US (about 6 million, according to the Pew Research Center, and not all Jews are Zionists).

Academic Tristan Sturm estimates the number of Christian Zionists in the US at around 30 million — almost 10% of the total US population, and twice the worldwide Jewish population. That’s a large enough faction to influence US politics, and the US is a major contributor to Israel’s military efforts."

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The question wasn't how many Christians support Israel, it's how many Christians support Israel because they want the world to end and think that Israeli control of Israel is somehow required for that.

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Nancy may exaggerate (unintentionally, of course) the ubiquity of those specific views, cf. https://forward.com/opinion/431077/the-idea-that-christian-love-for-jews-is-about-rapture-is-a-paranoid/, but she nevertheless seems correct that Christian support for Jews / Israel / Zionism is very significant. This poll: https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2014/02/27/strong-support-for-israel-in-u-s-cuts-across-religious-lines/ (from a few years ago, but I didn't immediately find anything newer) found that 31% of Jews thought the US wasn't supportive enough of Israel, compared to 33% of Protestants, 46% of White Evangelicals, and 29% of Christians in general. With over 30 times as many Christians as Jews in the US, Christian support for Israel is highly significant.

As far as donations, this article: https://religionnews.com/2023/05/01/how-much-do-us-jews-and-christians-donate-to-israel/ states:

>A study of evangelical Christian giving to Israeli nonprofits covering a longer time period – from 2008 through 2016 – identified 11 organizations donating an estimated total of $50 million to $65 million over the entire period...While this is less than 3% of all of the funds Israeli nonprofits obtained in foreign donations, we believe it’s worth watching this trend in part because the amounts grew in the period we reviewed.

3% of foreign donations from Evangelical Christians in particular (and probably more from other Christian denominations) is probably significant amount in absolute terms, but not the most significant in relative terms.

I think their greater impact is through weight in American electorate, see: https://www.richardhanania.com/p/stop-overrating-the-discourse.

Regarding the extent to which Christian support is driven by those particular doctrines, rather than merely coexisting with it, see also this anecdotal comment: https://www.richardhanania.com/p/stop-overrating-the-discourse/comment/43311125.

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Thank you.

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Always my pleasure!

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Most serious strength of zionism is from Jewish zionists

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Stop conflating support of Israel with Zionism.

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On nuclear regulation:

There's an article that is making the rounds of the rat blogosphere that I think is seriously wrong. You've probably seen it quoted. It blames the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) radiation protection standard for all the economic problems of US nuclear power. From https://worksinprogress.co/issue/taming-the-stars/:

"ALARA is defined as: "making every reasonable effort to maintain exposures to radiation as far below the dose limits in this part as is practical consistent with the purpose for which the licensed activity is undertaken, taking into account the state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to state of technology, the economics of improvements in relation to benefits to the public health and safety, and other societal and socioeconomic considerations, and in relation to utilization of nuclear energy and licensed materials in the public interest." [footnote citing 10 CFR 20.1003]

As currently applied to nuclear power, ALARA literally means that every expense must be spent on eliminating every possible effect of nuclear power, at least until the resulting electricity is no cheaper than what the market pays for electricity generated from non-nuclear sources. Since standards cannot ratchet downwards, only up, safety standards that are just about affordable at the top of energy price spikes get entrenched, meaning that nuclear is made unaffordable until the next price hike – which makes it even more expensive, since it prevents learning and the economies of scale that a steady pipeline of projects can allow. ALARA, as currently applied in the US and much of the rest of the developed world, means that nuclear power is never allowed to be cheaper, no matter how much safer and cleaner it is than other sources of energy. It makes affordable, safe nuclear energy impossible, and forces us to rely on much less safe energy sources instead." End quote.

The first paragraph is a literal quote from the regulations. Everything after that? where the author tells you what ALARA "literally means"? is wrong. At least, I think so. To the extent I understand the claim being made here.

Is the author saying that nuclear regulations actually change in response to energy prices? This absolutely does not happen. Is he saying that inspection standards or radiation protection procedures change with energy prices? So that some regulator or energy company employee is actually making the decision to increase radiation protection standards when they observe nuclear becoming cheaper compared to non-nuclear energy? Highly implausible. Energy prices change all the time, and regulations/inspection procedures/radiation protection procedures are only changed in a slow and cumbersome way. Also, industry would have no incentive to make itself less competitive, and it is very much NRC culture to NOT pay attention to energy prices.*

Okay, maybe the author is making a more general claim that the level of safety/security regulation increases over time, it's a one-way ratchet and regulation prevents nuclear power from being as cheap as it arguably should be compared to other energy sources. A fair but unoriginal claim. But then why the talk about ALARA?

First of all, understand that ALARA is about radiation protection. It is not the be-all and end-all of nuclear regulation. The ALARA standard adds on to other radiation dose regulations. For example, a typical nuclear power plant worker can get a max of 5 rem per year of occupational radiation exposure (10 CFR 20.1201) AND their radiation dose must be ALARA. So if a worker gets more than 5 rem, it's a violation of both regulations. If a worker gets less than 5 rem but the plant does not make reasonable effort to make the dose ALARA, it could be a violation of the ALARA standard. Conclusion...even if the ALARA standard didn't exist, nuclear plants would have to put significant effort into radiation protection, albeit not quite so much.

I'm not gonna say ALARA is unimportant. But it's only one of a whole host of regulations that apply to nuclear power plant design, construction, operation, and decommissioning. There are regulations that apply to nuclear security, reducing and mitigating the risk of nuclear accidents, emergency planning, environmental protection, and I could go on. There would be a significant regulatory burden even without ALARA.

Maybe the author is using ALARA as shorthand for the entire group of US regulations and laws relevant to nuclear? Or the entire regulatory mindset? But, if your argument is that nuclear regulation should incorporate cost considerations, why pick on one of the regulations that explicitly incorporates consideration of cost, instead of the many that don't consider cost at all?

Another quote: "[T]he components that are not safety critical are still subject to a gold plated ALARA standard. This means the same component is regulated differently depending on whether it is in a coal plant or a nuclear plant, even if it is far away from the reactor and cannot affect it."

False. The reason that a component in a nuclear plant is regulated differently from a component in a coal plant is that different laws, regulations, and administrative agencies regulate nuclear plants from those that regulate coal plants. ALARA has absolutely nothing to do with that.

I hate to be all argument from authority, but I notice the author, John Myers, seems to be a UK YIMBY activist and if he has any experience in US nuclear, I'm not aware of it. Please understand that the statement "ALARA, as currently applied in the US and much of the rest of the developed world, means that nuclear power is never allowed to be cheaper, no matter how much safer and cleaner it is than other sources of energy" is false. That is not what ALARA means. ALARA is not that powerful. Please stop quoting this guy uncritically.

*Because NRC's mission is to ensure nuclear safety and security, not to ensure that the US nuclear power industry is economically viable. If you want something to complain about, ask Congress to change that.

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One of the biggest problems with this type of argument is that nuclear power is uneconomical everywhere, not just the US. Finding out about Flamanville 3 was a major update for me, especially since the nuclear fanboys often point to France as the place that got things right.

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The reason they think there's a relationship between energy price and regulation amount is the word "reasonable", because they read "unreasonable" as mostly synonymous with "too expensive".

So, as safety features get cheaper or easier to implement, what constitutes "reasonable"grows more expansive.

For example, it may start out unreasonable to require everyone to wear hazmat suits all the time and also maintain a nuclear plant. But say that after 50 million dollars of work designing more and more passive safety features passive safety features instead of saying "we have met a reasonable standard" and stopping, someone goes "but wait! We could get even safer by forcing everyone to wear hazmat suits! That's just not as much of an imposition anymore and it only costs 10 million, which is still 40 million below the previous reasonable threshold!". This process repeats until the energy price of nuclear goes up, at which point someone can point out that safety beyond that margin is unreasonable.

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I have some ideas about what Israel should be doing. I'm not sure whether I'm right, nor whether this is psychologically possible even if it is right.

I think Israel should be looking to its own borders and its own safety. Wrecking Gaza will not necessarily make Israel safer, and may be putting it at more risk. It's certainly creating more hatred for Israel and I gather there are Hamas leaders in other countries-- they aren't at personal risk from the attack on Gaza..

10/7 wasn't just an atrocity, it was an embarrassment. I assume the borders are getting more attention, but are they getting more thoughtful use of tech? Bulldozer-proof barriers?

Destroying Hamas' tunnels has some practical and humanitarian issues, but additionally, the attack was by air and sea as well as by underground.

As I understand it (discussion is welcome), Hamas' intent was to provoke Israel into a drastic reaction so the world would stop supporting Israel (maybe also to make it more likely for Moslem countries to attack Israel), so that Israel could be destroyed. It's a vile approach, but it might actually make some practical sense. I doubt that Israel will be destroyed, but I still think it would be bad if it were on the receiving end of a big attack.

A part which might not be psychologically possible is to quit abusing Palestinians. Torture and a lot of imprisonment might, oh maybe just might, have something to with why it was possible to keep such such tight security on the 10/7 attack. I'm not sure how many people were involved, but I'm expecting low thousands.

Maybe they *were* warned. I get the impression the Israeli government didn't want to believe such an attack was possible.

Meanwhile, Israeli military capacity is being spent on wrecking Gaza, and perhaps the most valuable thing being wasted is attention.

Just by the way, Netanyahu is staying in power while the attack on Gaza is going on. I'm not sure when the next possibility for getting him out of office is, though I'm betting he will be out. In any case, His incentives to continue the attack are personal as well as emotional.

Sidetrack: it may not be possible to get all the hostages back. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are dead, and I've heard a plausible claim that some of them are being held by groups other than Hamas.

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It may be impossible to get them back considering how Israelis care more about bombing them and palestinian kids to death and keeping their occupation rather than cut deals.

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What kind of deal would Hamas agree to? Its current charter is pretty clear that Hamas only views the 1967 borders as a starting point for a unified Palestine from the river to the sea. Its earlier charter was even more explicit.

Likewise, the remaining Arab states didn't signal their willingness to negotiate when they issued the Khartoum Resolution (also called the Three Nos: No peace, no negotiations, no recognition of Israel.)

If you really think that the Israelis are the impediment to peace, should they embrace the Khartoum Resolution and the Three Nos? Would that be a step in the correct direction?

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It is entirely irrelevant whether Palestinians would ask for more things if they were given 67 borders because each and every settlement past those is illegal theft. That some group will want things is not a valid reason to hold their stolen belongings unless you happen to be a Jewish zionist in which case that's okay, providing you are the one doing the thieving.

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Sure, so Israel should go back to its 1967 borders. Like how it was in 1966. Did Israel have peace with its neighbors in 1966?

Did they ever offer to make peace before 1967?

Because that would undermine the idea that Israel’s expansion is the impediment to peace. Hamas’ charter makes clear that Palestine has to go from the river to the sea - any Israeli border is an impediment to “peace” - with “peace” here meaning capitulation and an unconditional Arab victory.

Israel indeed opposes such a peace, just as Palestine doesn’t seem keen on unconditional surrender either.

So I’m interested in what you think the Arab states are willing to give up as part of a peace deal. The Khartoum Resolution doesn’t provide much to go off of, does it?

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"Did they ever offer to make peace before 1967?

Because that would undermine the idea that Israel’s expansion is the impediment to peace. "

The second does not actually follow from the first. Likud's charter makes it clear Israelis want all of Palestinian land, from river to sea and don't want Palestinians to have a state, or really any rights. Which is enough proof it opposes any peace that means Palestinians are treated like equal human beings. Such a "peace" to an Israeli is capitulation because his existence is based on racial supremacy and transgression.

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Likud’s charter came out in 1977. Hamas’s charter in 1988.

So we still have the period from 1948 to 1967 to account for. Why didn’t the Arabs make peace then?

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why yes, the israelis are mustache twirling cartoon villains who oppress the innocent, saintly palestinians who go about their daily lives petting kittens and writing poems about world peace.

its not a hard, complicated situation that has defied peace and solutions for fifty plus years, it has less moral complexity than the latest star wars film. im sure this is a a helpful way to view any geopolitical conflict.

more seriously, for gods sake no one will take such a one-sided view as anything but propaganda. not even sure what your aim is to accomplish.

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Hamas had a higher percentage of getting military targets than the IDF did. That's a fact. That's according to the IDF's own numbers. According to their own numbers, Hamas killed about 45% innocent civilians and 55% military targets. Now, by the way, let's be clear, that's a terrible ratio. I'm not okay with that. That's basically having a 50/50, whether it's a woman, child, innocent man, versus a military target or an illegal settler, whatever. That's not okay. But as I said: Israel's is between 74% and 94% innocent civilians. So when you're killing more innocent civilians both - as a raw number and a percentage - than Hamas, then I don't know why Piers Morgan can't just be direct, honest, open, and be just as critical of Israel as he is of Russia. I don't know why, but presumably because he believes this started on October 7th...

- KK

https://www.instagram.com/p/C0AogsyIW9I/

In addition to the above a big chunk of Israeli civilians were likely slain by accident by the IDF or under its Hannibal Doctrine or just as collateral in crossfire.

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Nov 24, 2023·edited Nov 24, 2023

i dont trust you as a source because you say stupid things like israelis care more about bombing palestinian kids to death than cut deals, which is absurd. its cartoon evil. You call the leadership irredeemably evil and talk about baby beheadings. edit: misread that, and i agree i doubt hamas would either, but you throw the genocide card out too lightly.

you poisoned your own well and expect people to drink from it now?

like do you not realize propaganda exists and people have resistance to wild inflammatory claims due to 70+ years of use? and that once you use it it makes it ten times harder to achieve your aim? that you cant just flip on a serious switch and undo it?

to be honest i dont even care about isreal or palestine. i have more power to build a rocket to fly to the moon in my backyard than i do to change anything about that conflict. but if you care you dont have the luxury to indulge in that cartoonish view.

honestly think people need to get a bit of common sense. if you want to change something you need to talk to two sides not just one.

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https://twitter.com/muhammadshehad2/status/1728047954735301109?t=_OTxzQQnQSi35eCri0qzNQ&s=19

Hard to talk to one side when they're absolutely committed to genocidal etho nationalism

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https://twitter.com/azaizamotaz9/status/1728072134230942133?t=0hnVgvRBElnHh4qsv5QbPg&s=19

Israelis sniping people right when there is a truce

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No proof of hamas rapes or baby killing yet

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Ah, so the brown people committing atrocities the kind of which have not been seen in hundreds of years is not a reflection on them as a fundamentally evil people, but merely an embarrassment for the other side? Kind of like if a zoo accidentally let the animals break out and they started wreaking havoc? Because of course they can’t be expected to act like humans.

If not, isn’t the 10k+ dead on the other side an even worse embarrassment for them?

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Who got skin color into this ?

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https://twitter.com/alexnunns/status/1727022893400477801?t=jRK4Tv0Ux7LqnS71OW4P0w&s=19

Hamas didn't commit "atrocities the likes of which haven't been seen in 100 years"

No proof of rapes

No proof of baby beheadings

No proof of cooking babies in ovens

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Even if Hamas did, Gazas population is mostly minors and traumatized from repeat Israeli terrorism slaughtering their parents and kids. Israelis as a population vote for and support IDFs occupation of the west Bank theft of palestinian land slaughter of palestinian kids and placing starvation blockades on Gaza. Gazans celebrate Hamas's resistance

Israelis celebrate the killings of Gazans for humiliation. The latter is irredeemable evil. Also the entire population is actively supporting this. If there is evil that hasn't been seen in hundreds of years, this may be evil never seen in humanity before.

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^this is all Israelis, zionist militias used rape and baby killing to terrorize Arabs out of their homes in 48

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If, as I believe, it was Hamas' intent to cause an Israeli overreaction which would lead to the destruction of Israel, this is remarkably depraved.

However, Israeli failure to be prepared strikes me as an embarrassment.

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A failure, or a calculated loss? If you knew that your enemy was going to commit an atrocity so horrible that it could justify even genocide in retaliation.... why would you stop them? Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Hamas overplayed their hand. As long as Israel has the backing of the US, they don't have to care about what the world thinks of their actions.

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There is no reason to think the Israeli government wanted an attack on the scale of 10/7. As for how much they wanted to attack Gaza, it's hard to tell. They'd been going along for years without comprehensively bombarding Gaza, so maybe they didn't really want to.

It's all very well to talk about revealed preference, but you also need to estimate what hints about what people want might be relevant.

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Nov 24, 2023·edited Nov 24, 2023

Considering the amount of backlash they created, maybe it wasn't a *well*-calculated loss.

At the bare minimum, the support they have among the USA's youth seem to be in a downward spiral. Those are the future congressmen and congresswomen that in 40 or so years they would have to bribe to get their yearly X billions in aid. That's not to mention Europe, which is geographically closer and influential with the US.

And for what, exactly ? What has the IDF concretely accomplished other than 12K dead, 1 million+ displaced, and a Northern Gaza full of rubble, destroyed armor, and Hamas ? Not to mention the economic havoc of $260 million down the drain a day and 350K Israeli diasporing outside Israel.

No long-term investment can be judged in 2 months, but Genocide in front of the camera looks bad for business.

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Israels support is dropping fast. Jews world wide should think about drawing up new positive agreements with their host populations so they can flourish. Fhe more they are tied to Israel the more they will be hated. There is an opportunity for a new flourishing but they have to commit to thriving in the America's and europe and truly prefer that to stealing land and murdering kids who resist.

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>why would you stop them?<

...because they're doing it to you?

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Doing what to Israel? Giving them the perfect justification to do something that they wanted to do anyways? A few thousand lives are easily replaceable, but an opportunity to get away with a full-scale invasion might come only once in a lifetime.

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>Doing what to Israel?<

Well let's check your first comment... where was it... ah yes.

>commit an atrocity so horrible that it could justify even genocide in retaliation<

That's not something that just goes away afterward, that's a scar in the public conscience for decades. That's a wound that keeps bleeding.

As is an invasion. It's been less than two months since this attack and people are already clamoring for Israel to calm down. How long were people complaining about Iraq and Afghanistan?

I'll let Bobby Bare explain the concept of winning a fight like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv_fuejbELc

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 24, 2023

I've thought from the start that this is a crafty land grab, by Israel, and nothing I've seen since has changed that view, if anything the opposite. Urging Palestinians to move to south Gaza, and then shutting down all utilities in northern Gaza and trashing it ever since, to encourage the Pallies on their way, and then the IDF promptly occupying most of it, is all a bit of a giveaway that their aim is to annex at least Northern Gaza if not the whole lot.

The Israelis must have known about the Hamas plan in advance. For example, it was reported (although how reliably I don't know) that Egypt warned them about it some days previously. So, by not taking more precautions in anticipation of it, one can only assume the Israelis were willing to let it proceed to its full extent, so they would gain the sympathy and support necessary to invade Gaza in their turn.

Obviously it's unfortunate for the Israeli hostages, and innocent Palestinians come to that, but if the above supposition is true then the policy is evidently that regrettably they are expendible for a greater long term benefit to Israel. The Israelis may even be able to get most hostages back, as well as keeping northern Gaza, a double win!

Note that I am not criticizing Israel. Netanyahu seems like a true stateman, willing to make strategic decisions at the risk of his own popularity. In any case, Hamas itself brought all this on the Palestinians. Also, a big punch up was inevitable sooner or later anyway, due to the Palestinian population in Gaza increasing so rapidly.

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Isreal has occupied Gaza before and could do so again any time they wanted to. This sort of 5d casus belli makes no sense in reality, even for say Pearl Harbor, let alone here..

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Ayelet shaked wants to turn khan younas into a soccer field. I can literally be called anti semitic for just calling Israeli politicians and the public what they explicitly state they intend. Its incredible

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Israel unilaterally abandoned Gaza in 2005, forcibly evacuating the whole Jewish population. They haven't occupied Gaza in the many wars that Hamas started by shooting rockets at Israel. Israel has offered Gaza to Egypt, but Egypt didn't want it. Why would Israel, or anyone in their right mind, want Gaza? And why would any Israeli officials want to go down in history as an epic failure by getting their acquaintances or relatives killed (*everyone* in Israel knows someone who died in the attack) just so they can get a small piece of land with no resources that's at best full of rubble, at worst full of Palestinians who want to murder them? You are suggesting a conspiracy theory that not only paints the Israeli government as cartoonishly evil--which is already a red flag--but as wildly irrational at the same time.

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Hamas didn't start a single one of those wars. Israelis are occupying Palestine even if they aren't occupying gaza. Occupied people's have the right to fight occupiers. Gazan Palestinians and west Bank Palestinians are one people

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You are describing Israelis actually.

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https://twitter.com/alexnunns/status/1727022893400477801?t=jRK4Tv0Ux7LqnS71OW4P0w&s=19

Its not just the Israeli government but the people who elected it, the vast majority who are cartoonishly evil arguably far worse than that actually

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

2005? That was nearly twenty years ago. As I mentioned, the Palestinian population in Gaza has been ballooning in recent years, and by now has probably almost doubled since then.

Regardless of what seemed the best option in 2005, a rapid, and likely continuing, exponential increase like that, on what you yourself call a "small piece of land with no resources" mandates an urgent change of policy before the rest of Israel is threatened to an existential extent.

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founding

Yes, there are roughly twice as many Palestinians in Gaza now as there were in 2005. That makes Gaza twice as unappealing a place for Israel to have anything to do with now than it was in 2005, and they went to a great deal of trouble to pull out of Gaza then.

Israel does not want Gaza. If it didn't have Palestinians all over it but were in its pristine natural form, sure, it would be worth something. But you could turn a Gaza-sized strip of the Negev Desert into a decent place to live easier than you could turn Gaza as it presently is into a decent place for Jews to live. Israel doesn't want it.

They might be stuck with it, though, because nobody else save Hamas seems to want it either.

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Nov 24, 2023·edited Nov 24, 2023

John I don't know if you're based in the US, where in most areas people can be relaxed and choosy about land, because there is so much of it. But in a small country like Israel you can never have too much land, and every scrap is valuable, even if it is a barren dusty wasteland. With know-how and commitment it might not stay that way.

Coastal land is even more potentially valuable, for example as holiday resorts, with their tourist dollars, or desalination plants, or nuclear power stations with a handy and ample supply of cooling water.

Also, land isn't just about places to live or grow crops. Land is a military asset, and the more "hinterland" you have, even if uninhabited desert, the more time and elbow room there is to counter incursions. For example, that's why most ancient cities were founded a few miles up-river from the sea, to give some advance warning of sea-borne invasions and time to prepare!

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founding

If Gaza were a barren dusty wasteland, sure, Israel could do something with it and would probably try.

Gaza isn't a barren dusty wasteland, it's a war-torn city with a couple of million Palestinians all over it. The couple million Palestinians are a huge *negative* to Israel, one that far outweighs the value of a few hundred square kilometers of barren dusty wasteland and/or ruined city. And Israel is not going to ethnically cleanse Gaza of all those Palestinians, no matter what some people here like to claim. So, owning or occupying or administering Gaza is a negative for Israel.

Of course, living next to Hamas is *also* a negative for Israel, and 10/7 changed the calculus on which is the lesser evil. So I expect we will see Gaza under Israeli rule for the next few years. But as an instrumental goal, not a terminal one.

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https://twitter.com/alexnunns/status/1727022893400477801?t=jRK4Tv0Ux7LqnS71OW4P0w&s=19

Israelis wants to pummel gazans into submission by slaughtering as many children as they can get away with because its theft of pal land is successfully going unimpeded and they control al aqsa

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deletedNov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023
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And Israel has been able to obtain that, if it wanted, since 1948 by killing or deporting all the people. It has never acted on its supposed desire. Even in the recent war, Israel is not expelling Palestinians from land it conquers. In what way is it a serious desire if Israel never acts on it?

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Israelis are absolutely doing so in the west Bank

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The west Bank is the first step. They know eretz Israel is no small, immediate task. They push the envelope getting away with as much land theft as they can year by year

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Wow. That's definitely picking the situation up by the other corner.

I'm more inclined to believe in stupidity on the Israeli side rather than plotting, but I don't know what can be proven. The version I'm familiar with is that Egypt did warn them, but the Israeli government wanted to believe Palestinians had been mollified with jobs, and there hadn't been an attack for a while.

Would Israel want a land grab of utter wreckage in Palestine, possibly with extra attacks and terrorism? I don't think so, but it's hard to tell.

It's true that what's being done to drive people out of northern Gaza when they have no refuge anywhere is a disgrace, but was it intended from the start? What could be used for evidence?

It's not just unfortunate for the hostages, even if you have no sympathy for Palestinians. There are the 1200 dead and their families and friends, at least.

I was concerned about appearing sociopathic with my rather chilly analysis, but I should have remembered this is ACX.

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Many of those 1200 were likely killed by the IDF

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Your desperate desire to believe the propaganda of one side is just slightly less annoying than your desperate desire to convince everyone else of it.

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https://x.com/QudsNen/status/1728440537458339914?s=20

Is it propaganda if an IDF soldier is boasting about it? Is that the one thing you would be willing to accept?

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What do you possibly know about the provenance of that video, or the claims made in the tweet? Nothing, and nor do I.

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Yea. This topic honestly is making me reconsider participation here.

I've actually recommended this board to family members as a place to find rational online discussion, sheesh.

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I don't know why Scott hasn't at least banned NS.

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I am happy that people are at least not rising to the bait and mostly ignore his comments.

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We're easily bored.

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https://twitter.com/alexnunns/status/1727022893400477801?t=jRK4Tv0Ux7LqnS71OW4P0w&s=19

Indeed this place is swarming with mostly pro genocide people and I do get reported a lot credit to Scott for not banning me yet

For a 3d party listener take a look at this link

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Hi, I have a small whatsapp group of some 50 people, mist of whom are fellow Orthodox Rabbis.

I've been getting some negative feedback for not vocally supporting Netanyahu's actions so I made a video explaining the full context of what I would do if I were in charge.

Being members of the human species this hasn't served to have too many split off and begin to understand that my feelings of empathy for Arabs weren't dangerous eothin my chosen context but some of you might find it interesting.

As I am currently engaged in attempting to take over the world (not really, I would rather return to being an anonymous hostel traveler) in an immediate manner I'm not especially interested in intellectual masturbation online discussions with anonymii, but anyone willing to step up and choose to join me _if they come to agree with me_ is more than welcome to come on my youtube show and have a conversation to see whether or not you fo agree with me anout the general jist of what we mist do right now to make the world a place we would all enjoy living on a whole lot more than we currently do.

In short, the essentials of my approach come largely from The Torah (I am an ordained orthodox rabbi) and while the absolutely *MOST IMPORTANT* video on my channel is on a wholy different subject than the happenings in Canaan (it is called "Final Chance For A Fresh Start" and is the top video in the eponymous playlist on my channel), here's my basic 3 point plan for what I would/plan-to do regarding the situation in Israel.

Should you notice (as you _should_) that I said nearly nothing regarding how to deal with the legitimate-concern of the suffering of many Arabs under Israeli control you would be right to note its unfortunate absence (and more unfortunate glossing over the matter in a non-sympathetic manner).

The reason is simply that most of my audience comprise Israelis who, being human, are presently incapable of understanding such sentiments as anything other than a callous disregard for their own plight.

If you are willing to consider joining my war for takeover but aren't sure, please get in touch and we'll make a youtube video of it.

May we be worthy (and capable) of winning now.

https://youtu.be/XJZ920oq6h0?feature=shared

Moshe

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

Just clicked through the "implicit association test" Scott referenced in his "Quests and Requests" post, and got a strong perception that I would get about the same bias given black/white colored squares instead of dark/light skinned people. I think in my mind, negative emotions are in some part defined as negations of positive emotions, and dark skin - as a negation of light skin. So it's natural that it's easier to hold positive<->positive association versus positive<->negative.

It's also a bias of sorts, but not _that_ kind of bias Scott was hinting at, it seems

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In my opinion, the implicit association tests don't show racism at all. The just show associations. This is why black people also, on average, register as "racist" against black people on the tests. You could probably make an implicit association test show that people associate white people or soldiers with Nazis more than they associate other races or professions with Nazis. This doesn't mean people are racist against white people.

Racism may imply you have certain associations, but the reverse is not true.

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What are examples of times and places when political change has been both fast and good? (Good in your opinion; fast with respect to typical political change throughout history.) Change directly related to the end of long wars, independence wars and the fall of the USSR don't count.

To be clear: it can be after a (non-independence) revolution, but not a time when things are much better simply because a time of peace has followed a time of war.

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The Schleswig-Holstein question had a nice resolution. The lands had bounced back and forth between Denmark and the HRE/Prussia/Austria/Germany for centuries, and was thought of as an insoluble problem. When Germany lost WWI, the Allies let Denmark decide what to do, and to their credit they held a plebiscite. Problem solved. Not even Hitler changed the border.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleswig%E2%80%93Holstein_question

Lord Palmerston: "Only three people have ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business: the Prince Consort, who is dead, a German professor, who has gone mad, and I, who have forgotten all about it."

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Another instance of a border question included for comic relief:

"In 1984, Canadian soldiers visited the island and planted a Canadian flag, also leaving a bottle of Canadian whisky.[9] The Danish Minister of Greenland Affairs came to the island himself later the same year with the Danish flag, a bottle of Schnapps, and a letter stating "Welcome to the Danish Island" (Velkommen til den danske ø).[10][11][12] The two countries proceeded to take turns planting their flags on the island and exchanging alcoholic beverages. There have also been Google ads used to "promote their claims""

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisky_War

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What Deng Xiaoping did for China has got to come in number 1?

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Before or after the Tiananmen Square Massacre?

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Both before and after. TSM was less than a rounding error relative to what Deng achieved.

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I'd nominate the split of Czechoslovakia into Czechia and Slovakia. It was negotiated and carried out entirely within a single calendar year; it was entirely peaceful; and it created two stable and culturally-coherent democracies. How many peaceful national divorces have ever even been attempted let alone quickly accomplished?

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

A quick google search tells me that Czechs are about 1% of the population in Slovakia and Slovaks are about 2% in the Czech Republic. Were the populations intermingled before the split or were the borders easy to draw according to the demographic distribution? If the latter, the ease of creating commonsense homogeneous nation-states might explain the relative painlessness of the divorce settlement.

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AFAIK, Czechia is basically the old Holy Roman Empire regions of Bohemia and Moravia, while Slovakia was a Slavic country ruled by Hungary, the Ottomans, and the Austro-Hungarians, with maybe Poland in there somewhere for good measure. So I've had the impression that they were fairly distinct, like Austria-Hungary was.

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Hazy recollection knee-jerk response:

The post-WWII treatment of the Axis powers by the Allies (including the Marshall plan) seems to fit. At least in the sense of "good" centered on none of Germany, Japan, or Italy invading anyone since then (that I recall). Corrections welcome! (yeah, it is a change related to the end of a long war, but it isn't _just_ the end of WWII. THe peace afterwards was managed much better than the aftermath of many (probably _most_) wars.)

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

It seems off to me to separate the postwar settlement from the war itself in answering this question. I don't think the specifics of those postwar rebuilding and rehabilitation programs could have been happened without their complete defeat in war. War is politics by other means and all that.

In fact, the defeat Japan was somewhat less complete than Germany, which may have been expedient but affected its "spiritual" rehabilitation, for the lack of a better word, and this has had lasting consequences with respect to its relations with its neighbours.

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That's fair. I consider it useful to consider the postwar settlement special, mostly because it was remarkably successful in comparison to many other postwar settlements - even in cases where the end of the war appeared to be equally decisive.

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Good and remarkably fast if the highest good is getting Germany and Japan back on track economically and into fighting shape for WW3 quickly. Later it became a set of political tradeoffs Germany and Japan are still working through today.

On the one hand, having a very light touch with "denazification" and essentially rubberstamping people are all clear did create goodwill towards the occupation and they were ager to prove their value.

The Marshall Plan money was used efficiently and GDP growth was like 8-10%, which was fantastic, the secret police kept the US-created fairly-democratic order intact without too much skullduggery, and within 15 years West Germany was fielding and self-funding a half-million man army that had an officer corps with extensive experience fighting the soviets as well as using terror tactics and mass murder to secure cities and supply lines in the east.

And since all the jews and nearly all the communists, militant trade unionists, homosexuals, etc. in west germany had been driven out of the country or already murdered, there wasn't anybody around to complain until the 1960s.

But by the 1960s, many of the generation of postwar children became concerned the west german government was essentially a fusion between anti-communist non-nazi conservatives and the remains of the wehrmacht, gestapo, waffen-ss, abwehr, nazi-era industrialists, etc., and was covering up things which had too much evidence to cover up.

The eventual happy accident so to speak is that both economic prosperity and being a small country in a global cold war really blunted the appeal of militant collectivist racial supremacy and apocalyptic war for territory. It's empirically true the West German political order was filled with people who had at one point enthusiastically participated in wars of conquest on the basis of racial supremacy and many still defended their wartime aims and conduct.

But it's also empirically true that there's no evidence they were plotting a nazi coup or future wars, because the military balance of power and overall economic conditions had changed so much that they genuinely gravitated towards a mostly democratic ideology within the framework of being a US client state. What went on in west Germany from the 1960s to the 1980s was former nazis and wehrmacht et al acting in concert to avoid exposure and closer examination of their pasts rather than subvert democracy. Ie, even when they threatened journalists or destroyed records, this wasn't the first step to shutting down a free press or recreating the gestapo, it was just to save their own skins.

West Germany as well as Japan are good case studies of how working with morally reprehensible individuals and manipulating the historical record can lead to better outcomes in the face of a shared threat versus sincerely insisting on universal principles. A fully de-nazified german society would have lost a lot of its most able people and ironically this could have created conditions for a nazi revival.

It was a practical strategy that put future ahead of past, especially in the face of Stalin, who was unafraid to fight another war and was setting up regimes far worse than what was going on under US occupation. Punishing a few of the top officials and most egregious criminals while letting the rest off scot free got a good result geopolitically, even if it's morally grotesque.

Many people, (including the American and German education systems, apparently) have long chosen to hide that this was the policy pursued rather than really examine it and either defend it as necessary or renounce it as immoral when thinking about the future.

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

Many Thanks! Interesting! So there was an analog to project Paperclip internal to West Germany?

"But it's also empirically true that there's no evidence they were plotting a nazi coup or future wars, because the military balance of power and overall economic conditions had changed so much that they genuinely gravitated towards a mostly democratic ideology within the framework of being a US client state."

Compared to most outcomes of most wars, I'd count that as a success.

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Indeed, it worked out pretty damn well, which should make us think not merely of the banality of evil but the temporality of evil. It's hardly satisfying, but many people will do whatever is incentivized at the time no matter how terrible. and then will just adapt as circumstances change without exhibiting much connection to their past actions.

In some ways denazification was similar to project paperclip, but really on a vast, society-wide scale. Not just specialists like engineers and scientists, but police, national security advisors, generals, regional administrators, factory owners and managers, judges... everything.

As a practical matter, it's very hard to put together a new state in a couple of years, especially when the previous one has been a long-running dictatorship. You just don't have the native personnel trained up and you won't for a long time, and trying to do it with an occupation force is expensive, inefficient, and highly resented by the local population.

Add in the pressure from the American public to demobilize after the war was won and you have an occupation force which becomes incredibly eager to hand things over to anyone who looks like they can do the job. When you have millions of experienced people that are highly qualified but unemployed "just because they were nazis", the temptation to fudge their past and get them back to work becomes irresistible.

The wikipedia page for it is actually pretty well organized narratively: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denazification

It gives you a nice sense of how conflicting american goals, bureaucratic limitations, and the looming cold war turned what was initially designed as something fairly rigorous and far-reaching into a rubber-stamp procedure that cleared almost everyone with little or no serious inquiry into their wartime conduct.

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Many Thanks! It is amazing that the outcome was as favorable as it wound up being, particularly since the forces driving the loosening of the process were schedule pressure and manpower limits rather than any careful calculation. That Germany wound up neither as permanently resentful as after WWI nor reverting to Nazi rule seems like amazingly good luck. This makes it clearer why so many other postwar outcomes were so dismal.

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“God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

We really did fall ass-backwards into a pot of gold: far from leniency emboldening former nazis, the knowledge that for many who had been cleared in absentia without much basis could be exposed at any time made them understandably reluctant to criticize or organize against the government.

It was like a form of implicit blackmail on millions of former nazis, but what were being blackmailed into was publicly supporting democracy, civil rights, and political pluralism.

Even though it's uncomfortable and clashes with liberalism's postwar self-image as based on rule of law and human rights, this contrivance that happened by accident initially could have been incorporated as a learning for future policy. Most recently in Iraq, where the myth of denazification was put into practice for real with bad results: the cost of the occupation forces doing an ideological endzone dance was governmental weakness, exacerbated sectarian conflict and economic crisis, and that's before even considering the benefits to Iran and the loss of credibility among sunni allies.

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Also important were the years of occupation and re-education of those savage barbarians that was necessary for the Marshall plan to not immediately result in another World War.

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I think you are probably grinding an axe here, but I honestly can't tell which one.

The years of occupation were certainly part of what the Allies did, and I assume that they were part of why the Axis powers were turned into nations that everyone could live with. In that sense, it worked, while similar attempts by the USA more recently have failed e.g. in Afghanistan.

I'm guessing that "re-education of those savage barbarians" is sarcastic, but I don't know what specific axe you are grinding here.

Is something false? What, specifically?

Is there something you don't like? What, specifically? And what would you have preferred as an alternative?

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No, that was very literal. They were uncivilized barbarians in the most real sense (and I would argue the Germans still are, but they’ve at least been somewhat tamed). I mention it because of its relevance to the current conflict in the Middle East. “Just pay your enemies billions and billions of dollars and then they’ll be nice to you” only works if they aren’t going to immediately use that money to amass weapons to kill you with.

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I don't agree that the Germans are uncivilized. What has been problematic in the past is that they tend to be more earnest and enthusiastic than most, in that having decided to do something, they go at it hammer and tongs and sometimes don't know when to stop! Of course that need not be a Bad Thing, and is usually quite the opposite.

If you or I were preparing an encyclopedia of chemistry, for example, we would probably be content with ten volumes. But a German professor wouldn't be satisfied with less than twenty. Actually, I think there is some scientific encyclopedia with seventy or more volumes, and the editors are inevitably - you guessed it - German! :-)

If we were drinking in a bar one evening, we'd probably have had enough after five pints. But a German drinking party would drink ten pints, then at 2am tickle their throats to honk up, after which they could start on another ten.

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

...Well, it's certainly surprising to hear someone refer to Germans as "uncivilized barbarians" in the 21st century.

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Yeah, a real blast from the past.

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Ok. Many Thanks!

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The transition in Spain comes to mind, which took place after the death of the dictator Franco and led to the establishment of a democracy within two years and a peaceful handover of power a few years after. It is probably most remarkable in that Franco appointed Juan Carlos as his successor and all signs pointed to a continuation of dictatorship. Instead he rapidly instituted a democracy and willingly gave up his powers.

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Nov 22, 2023·edited Nov 22, 2023

Last year I read a book with a lot of stuff in it about Churchill during the war. There were accounts of him wandering around his residence in the night wearing outrageous get-ups. I have forgotten the details -- but some were women's clothiing, like maybe a lacy negligee, and some just absurd, like maybe. a clown suit. Also accounts of his champagne dinners attended by his staff, visiting dignitaries, etc. Churchill would sometimes lead the group in skipping in circles around the table, I believe with music playing.

Others who have read about these things -- how do you think of them? I know he was an alcoholic -- I know he was not crazy. Why did he do those things? Was there more tolerance then for eccentricities of this kind? Was it a way of demonstrating his self-confidence? -- like that he was so sure that he was admired and respected that he felt able to indulge his weirdest whiims in public? Was it a way of making fools of his dinner guests?

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I remember reading an article that claimed Churchill deliberately cultivated a reputation for carefully-chosen socially acceptable vices because he felt it made other politicians more comfortable dealing with him. The focus of the article was on his reputation for heavy drinking, but eccentricities of private dress and behavior seems like it might be more of the same.

About his drinking in particular, the article talked about (citing statements by one of his daughters about him) that during his time as a cavalry officer in India, he got in the habit of drinking what his daughter called "Papa Cocktails" in the mornings, consisting of a big glass of water with a small splash of whiskey for flavor, which he'd nurse for several hours. So other people were seeing him drinking giant whiskey cocktails in the morning and assume he was consuming a lot more booze than the half a shot or so that was actually in the drink. And since heavy drinking was then considered a relatively harmless vice, he considered it useful to encourage the perception rather than correctly it.

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By 'comfortable', do you (or the article) mean that the other politicians would have been less comfortable attempting horse-trading with people whom they perceived as puritanical? Or is this 'comfortable' in the more basic sense of, 'I feel like I can be myself around that old boozer?'

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I'm not entirely sure, as it's been a while since I read it. But of those two, I think it was more of the latter. There was also an element that Churchill was obviously extremely talented and rose very high very quickly relatively early in his political career, becoming a cabinet minister at the age of 34 (his immediate predecessor and successor in that position, President of the Board of Trade, were 11 and 21 years older than him respectively) and being transferred to one of the most senior cabinet posts (Home Secretary) a couple years later, so having some visible flaws made him seem less threatening to his more senior coworkers.

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Modern-day oligarchs reportedly do rather similar things, and likely for very similar reasons -- and not always so tame as Churchill's antics (consider e.g. Epstein & friends.) "I can get away with this, therefore I'm truly a somebody."

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If Supply & Demand is a thing, why does Black Friday exist?

If Black Friday is driven by a spike in demand, then I'd expect prices to grow rather than shrink. If Black Friday is driven by the supply side, wouldn't concentrating the costs of logistics/production into a single month make less money than smooth, continuous operations over the course of the year?

The common wisdom I've always received was: suppliers compete on price for business. But this just doesn't add up, to me.

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I think the other answers miss price discrimination. Firms can make more money if they can sell goods for less to people who care about price and who therefore are willing to shop early, and those who do not care about price, or who are disorganized, and who are willing to pay more right before Christmas. If you put this on a supply and demand curve, it allows the stores to effectively create two supply curves to capture different parts of the demand curve. It's the same logic by which sales and coupons work in general.

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

Supply and demand explains how prices are set. It doesn't explain how demand or supply are generated. The reason prices don't rise on Black Friday is because while demand spikes it spikes predictably so businesses increase supply. Since there is an increase in supply and demand simultaneously the price does not change. Unless you're referring to why there are sales which is a different behavior but more related to competition and returns to scale.

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Price does not change? What? Isn't the whole point of Black Friday that the price changes?

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No? The point of Black Friday is that it's the first day of the Christmas season so a lot of people go shopping. A lot of stores offer discounts to try and attract this business. But not all do so it's certainly not the whole point.

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>wouldn't concentrating the costs of logistics/production into a single month make less money than smooth, continuous operations over the course of the year?<

I recently found out our store has to order its Halloween items in February. Smooth and continuous is a pipe dream.

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I think if you wanted to properly model firm behaviour, you'd have to incorporate some Game Theory. However, rather than think about Black Friday as an outward shift in demand, think about it more as a temporary increase in the price elasticity of demand by consumers. Consumers aren't just looking to buy, they're specifically looking to buy great deals on Black Friday. They're also looking to buy for the Holiday season, so the demand of consumers will contract once their holiday shopping is over. Firms make pricing decisions based on both current demand and expected future demand, so even if demand shifts to the right on BF its not clear that the prices increase as a result. A lot of firms that offer discounts over BF don't compete in perfectly competitive markets

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There's a two-way relationship between capitalist production realities and consumerist group-think:

1. Invent a shopping holiday on the basis of available statistical information and market the bejeezus out of it on the back (eg. front end) of the Christmas advertising push.

2. The idea is even more successful than ever imagined, becoming enshrined in public consciousness as an unofficial national holiday, *specifically* for the overburdened working class who likely won't have much time for Christmas shopping over the next month and whose mass media overexposure means they're more susceptible to broadly slathered marketing dollars spinning up FOMO anxiety.

3. Face the new reality: fake holiday has concentrated quarterly consumer purchasing into one catastrophic annual sales event. Now, even if it would be more cost-effective to spread out your operation, you've conditioned customers to 'wait for the sales'. Buckle up.

4. Do what you can to maximize margins inside the new status quo. Prices don't drop as much as advertisers would like you to think, and when they do it's a way to dump inventory before next year's re-up.

Retail businesses compete on profits and customers *over* competing on price. A low price is simply one of several ways to increase those first two metrics.

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Nov 22, 2023·edited Nov 22, 2023

it historically was the first day of the christmas shopping season, often a long weekend for people due to thanksgiving. For retailers, that meant consumption would be spiking tremendously, and they needed to do more to be attractive, so sales and deep discounts to lure people in, while they spend on higher margin items as well.

super bowl sunday for tvs and back to school for clothes are smaller examples. consumption driven by events. Cyber Monday i bet exists to capture different customers who historically disliked the bustle of DF. Customer flows are everything to a retailer, even locally.

now its them trying to force it earlier and earlier though, defeating the purpose.

edit: please keep in mind that there are historical and mental reasons behind economic decisions; you cannot reduce everything to maxims. Covid, not economic theory, drove app-based pickups in retail; vc money sustained scooter/bike rentals in cities. decisions are made in a historical context.

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"If Black Friday is driven by a spike in demand, then I'd expect prices to grow rather than shrink."

Retailers and manufacturers know black Friday will happen, so they plan for supply to increase to meet the demand in advance.

One study found that only 2% were not available at the same price or cheaper within six months either side of the date. That's just one study, but it would make sense given TANSTAAFL.

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I thought that a lot of stuff would show cheaper on ebay as people realized they'd impulsively bought things they didn't want, but apparently that doesn't happen.

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Apart from the rare loss-leader, "Black Friday discounts" AFAIK are mostly fictional (i.e. product is marked down from a fictitious sticker price.)

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In the mciroeconomic sense, 'supply' is 'the amount of a good a seller is willing to sell *at a given price*' and 'demand' is 'the amount of a good a buyer is willing to purchase *at a given price*'. Black Friday, like all limited time promotions, exist because there are buyers willing to buy most of what they want when they want at the 'normal' price, and other buyers who are only willing to buy at the offer price. By having time- (and often stock-)limited promotions, retailers reap the available profit from both, at the comparatively low cost of making a few 'coincidental' sales at the low price to people who would have bought high anyway.

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Price discrimination would be my best explanation. Why do groceries have discounts on Tuesday or some other inconvenient day? Because that way they get to sell at slightly higher prices the rest of the week to price-insensitive customers, and still get to sell to the price-sensitive ones (who are willing to make an effort/deal with inconvenience in order to get a rebate). Same logic drives coupons, etc.

The Black Friday marketing ploy is "come stand in line starting at 5 am and you might get a cheaper TV than normal (limit 1 per family, while supplies last)". It's a great way to get some extra sales from price-sensitive customers without the to overall revenue that would come from just having lower prices in a normal way.

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https://going-medieval.com/2023/11/17/no-the-church-did-not-kill-joan-of-arc-you-credulous-dullards/

Gets into detail about Joan of Arc's trial being by secular authorities and lacking many guardrails that the Catholic Church required for heresy trials.

On the one hand, the Catholic Church wouldn't have had her killed, and I'm not sure it would have put her on trial for heresy at all. On the other hand, it's the Church that made heresy trials a serious matter, so I think it deserves some of the blame, though rather indirectly.

A spectacular essay about Joan of Arc, patron saint of Catholics who don't fit well in the Catholic Church, at least on the left side. It actually gave me a feeling of what's it's like to want a patron saint.

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/01/09/running-toward-the-gunshots-a-few-words-about-joan-of-ar/

A spectacular essay about Joan of Arc, patron saint of Catholics who don't fit well in the Catholic Church, at least on the left side. It actually gave me a feeling of what's it's like to want a patron saint.

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Reading those posts followed by the Wikipedia article on the Siege of Orleans was rather jarring. The tigerbeatdown post made it sound like Joan was a skilled military leader while the Wikipedia article repeatedly lists Joan urging foolish military attacks only to be overruled by the people who knew better, and her only actual contribution to lifting the siege was a giant morale boost.

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

Hmm I listened to the four part series about Joan of Arc on the history on fire podcast. The story Daniele tells in not the same as the above article. (Which sounds a bit... crumudgeony.) If you can get past his thick Italian accent, I found it worth listening to.

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Which of the two articles?

Could you say a little about the differences?

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The first one, I didn't read the second. It's been a while since I listened to the podcast. I guess most of the facts are not that much in doubt, what is not known is the motivation of the people involved. OK the second sounds closer to the History on Fire podcast. There's been a ton written about Joan of Arc, and finding the truth amongst all those words is perhaps impossible, so people kinda make up the truth they want.

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Seemingly there's now "Joan of Arc was trans" out there, but I don't know how much traction it has or if it's just a publicity stunt like a provincial English museum declaring Heliogabalus was trans:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/11/20/trans-roman-emperor-hitchin-museum-claim-pronouns-woke/

At this stage I'm not even rolling my eyes anymore, just yawning and going "So?" because it's not even worth the energy to fight over this nonsense.

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Nov 23, 2023·edited Nov 23, 2023

"Elagabalus was trans" has been a thing for some time, and it's a fair conclusion if we take statements about Elagabalus by the Roman historian Cassius Dio at face value. Specifically, Cassius Dio describes Elagabalus as insisting on being addressed as "lady", as referring to him/herself as the mistress, wife, or queen of a male court favorite named Hierocles, and as trying to solicit surgeons to give him/her female genitalia.

Cassius Dio was a contemporary of Elagabalus, and was a high-level politician so he had access to quite a bit of good info about Elagabalus, but he was out of favor and mostly well away from the capital during Elagabalus's reign so he was relying mostly on second- and third-hand accounts rather than personal observation. Cassius Dio was also aligned with Elagabalus's political opponents and was restored to favor and high office after Elagabalus was assassinated and succeeded by Severus Alexander.

In light of this context, it's also defensible to conclude that Cassius Dio's characterization of Elagabalus was malicious gossip at best and consciously-perpetrated political libel at worst. Accusations of unmanliness were a common genre of Roman political insults, and Elagabalus was an easy target for such even if they were groundless for reasons of personal appearance (he was young, slight of build, and looks rather effeminate in contemporary depictions) and ethnicity (he was Syrian rather than Italian or Greek, and Syrians apparently were stereotyped by Romans as being effete and effeminate).

This is a persistent problem with pre-modern historiography: an awful lot of important stuff is sparsely documented, so we often have to rely on our choice of embellished narratives written a century or two after the fact (and filling in gaps in their own sources with supposition and guesswork) or one or two contemporaries who seem to be lying liars who lie through their lie-holes.

For example, by far our best contemporary source for the major political and military events of Justinian the Great's reign is General Belisarius's lawyer, Procopius, who was the sort of lawyer who would make Saul Goodman look honest. Procopius was far too well-placed and wrote far too much to be entirely disregarded, and where we can cross-check him he seems to be pretty reliable about the details of stuff like the movements of armies and the progress of public works projects, but we're pretty sure he was lying about how Justinian's body took demonic form at night and his head would fade in and out of existence, and that leads us to wonder how much we can trust him when he talks about the sexual escapades of Theodora and Antonina (the wifes of Justinian and Belisarius, respectively).

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This is a really good point. There's something ironic about old slurs against the masculinity of political opponents being used to elevate those people 2000 years later as LGBT representation.

That said Hadrian actually was gay, and did a reasonably good job. Caesar was apparently bi, and his name now means 'emperor'. So there are actual role models. :)

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founding

Joan of Arc was an extreme tomboy. Redefining "tomboy" as "trans" is not good, and conspicuously opposed to that thing I *thought* we were doing where actual girls were allowed to wear pants, code, play sports, and do all the other traditional guy things if they wanted.

Usurping command of the armies of France is, of course, generally frowned upon regardless of gender. But we'll make an exception if God himself commands it.

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Nov 26, 2023·edited Nov 26, 2023

I mean, in that era, you were a woman doing woman things or you were a man doing man things. Joan of Arc wanted to do man things, so she dressed up as one. If you transported her to this era, would she be a transman or an aspiring bossgirl? I don't know how you would begin to answer that. The further back you go the less sense our categories make, and we're going back 1000 years here.

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