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Dec 18, 2023·edited Dec 18, 2023

Anyone know who runs ACX Bot on https://manifold.markets/SirCryptomind ?

Need 5 of their markets resolved asap.

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Does anyone have any books they can recommend on status?

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I enjoyed David Marx's Status and Culture.

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Just wanted to thank everyone who took part in the Musk discussion, I found very informative and pretty much heat-free.

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Dec 14, 2023·edited Dec 14, 2023

On the Swiftie phenomenon: I think a large part of why people love Taylor is her unabashed emotion. She does not attempt to rationalize her music. It is not a matter of ideas so much as personas-- feelings-- vibes.

Hence why the concept of “eras” suit her so well-- she is defined by her emotions and aesthetics, not a common thematic thread. Like poetry-- small highly subjective snippets of life-- rather than a unified novel.

Usually, I like 80s/90s alt soft rock, but I am also a massive “Swiftie” and for me it is almost liberating to be able to perceive the world in such a subjective manner through her eyes. It makes me feel like a child-- through this hyper subjective lens everything feels important and novel. This is why her music has such universal appeal and an unshakable innocence.

This is also why Taylor Swift seems so enigmatic to this community: She is in someways the antithesis of rationalism. She is absurdity, intellectual indulgence, and hyper subjectivity.

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Speaking as a non-Swiftie who recently saw the Eras film with some friends, my big takeaway from watching it all was "this is what working parasocial connection looks like at the master level."

Parasocial relationships are a cornerstone of modern media celebrity. The audience feels like they know the youtuber, which is simultaneously awkward for the youtuber and also the key that unlocks the most engagement and support for them.

Taylor Swift's music is intensely personal. It's love songs and breakup songs, and thus to an extent universal, but the audience also knows, often right down to the specific partner and thing that was said, that they are about *Taylor's* loves and breakups. So you hear the song the first time, and think "I get that feeling," then you learn the backstory and you think "I get her," and since she wrote the song that your feelings connected with at step 1, you also get "she understands feelings that reflect my feelings" which is only a hop/skip away from "she gets me." It's tailor made (forgive me) to cultivate this parasocial dynamic where I feel like I get Taylor and Taylor gets me, and I'm driven to engage without her ever knowing me.

It's pretty unique to her - other celebrities (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyonce) occupy a similar niche, but in the same way that Taylor will never be able to download Madonna's dancing background into her brain and build that level of dance performance into her shows, other performers can't go full Taylor unless they themselves are obsessive and intensely personal songwriters.

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Dec 14, 2023·edited Dec 14, 2023

I see how a crowd of screaming fans can make you think that. But I actually think Taylor is one of the least "para-social" or "intensely personal" celebrities. She is undoubtedly *emotional* but that is a different thing.

For example: the past two albums before midnights (Folklore and Evermore) were almost entirely not about her-- she wrote about novels and fictional characters. Even earlier on in her career, her first two albums were about love but not her love (she had never had a boyfriend at that point!). A lot of her most popular songs in recent years are not at all personal: they are outwardly sarcastic or based on tropes rather than her own personal experience. (Shake it off, You need to calm down, You belong with me, Love story, Blank space, etc.) And she is one of the most private celebrities (she rarely talks about her love life).

Of course there are some para-social relationships in the fan base, but they are certainly not her intent and, in my opinion, definitely not the reason for her success. (even the concept of "eras" contracts para-social relationships-- if you know someone changes there "persona" every few years then you can't possibly be deluded into thinking you know them through their music).

Maybe if you could explain more about what you made you think "this is what working para-social connection looks like at the master level" I might understand more?

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Dec 14, 2023·edited Dec 14, 2023

I could go on and on about this, but in short Taylor is popular because she is the antithesis of what our current culture celebrates.

Her persona is feminine, emotional, innocent yet defiant, and celebrates fandom for fandoms sake. In other words, she is everything that people are told not to be... (In that saw, she is just like the romantic poets who sprung up in the middle of the enlightenment...)

I will stop ranting now. But maybe that helps people understand her more. (Happy to take any questions people have ever wondered about "Swifties“ and "Swiftie“ culture).

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Here's my question: seemed at one time that teenage girls couldn't get enough of singers their own age or slightly older. Thinking of the 90s when you had Britney, Christina. Then it seemed normal for those acts to have a commercial dip then make a comeback, but with a loyal fan base rather than a new army. So Kylie, Madonna have had long careers based on a loyal fanbase. But Swift is 33 and yet it does seem she is genuinely still exciting teenage girls. Is this something new or am I just cherry picking my 90s memories?

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This seems to be a thing that’s not limited to Swift. The young ‘uns these days are more musically omnivorous then their peers from the times past. I suspect the streaming revolution has something to do with this.

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Taylor Swift changes her persona almost entirely every few years. (Of course, at her core, she remains the same person-- which is what allows her to keep a strong core fan base). But the aesthetics, emphasis, sound, and visuals change with every new album. Other artists are tied to one specific “act” (eg. there is no clear distinction between Britney or Christina’s first, second, or third album). I think this gives Taylor the unique ability to appeal to new generations. (There is no way that “Speak Now” Taylor could ever sing “You Need to Calm Down” or “Lavender Haze,” but some how it makes sense when broken into “eras”). If Taylor had stayed with her original “country pop” persona, then I think she would have aged in a similar way to the artists that you mentioned.

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I think most of the arguments I've seen for democracy-as-best-form-of-government contrast it against either autocracy or anarchy. What are the best arguments (either a priori or empirical) for preferring democracy over oligarchy?

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oligarchies tend to rule in the interest of oligarchs, not the people at large

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founding

I think oligarchy overlaps with autocracy strongly enough that the same arguments apply. There's not much difference between "rule by one guy", and "rule by one guy plus his three close friends who agree with him about almost everything, and that one other guy who quietly hates them but knows he can live like a prince as long as he goes along with the consensus".

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I think this is like asking which side of a penny is better. Democracies or democratic republics tend to turn into oligarchies and then oligarchies tend to either become empires with one man rule or else are defeated from without and incorporated into someone else's empire.

You really can't point to republic that lasted more than 300 years or so without becoming either an oligarchy or a dictatorship. Oligarchies tend to have trouble maintaining a state apparatus in the long term, while dictatorships have almost infinite variation and a more mixed record.

Finally, there's the problem of classification and hybrids. Was Venice a republic, an oligarchy, some hybrid of the two, or some hybrid of the two along with a third element which seemed to contribute its longetivity: namely, a complex system of randomization which incentivized minority factions and families to continue to participate in the system because they were not locked out of power indefinitely in the way that a minority is within a democracy or even the less wealthy of the magnates are within a pure oligarchy.

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The problem for all arrangements that are not democratic (or at least sufficiently democratic) is that the people who lack a voice eventually find that they are more and more marginalized and forgotten. This doesn't even have to be intentional and I think most of the time is not. This creates an incentive for the forgotten to act up - riots, strikes, uprisings, revolts. Marxism and socialism were both angry responses to the same Gilded Age Industrialist oligarchy that controlled Europe and the US. The oligarchy responded by giving more influence and power to the workers and poor. Not that they had much choice, seeing what was happening in Russia and to a lesser extent all across the west.

Coastal elites in the US right now think that they have the best interests of all people in the US in mind when they talk about their policies. They think anyone who disagrees is deluded or evil. Obviously Trump supporters directly disagree. By virtue of the fact that Trump won in 2016 and has a better chance of winning in 2024 speaks to the difference between an oligarchy (if the coastal elites decided things on their own) verses a reality in which they might actually have to contend with what Trump supporters want.

Elites can try to throw the masses some bones (welfare, free stuff, Medicare) but because they don't know what the masses actually want (because they don't understand them and don't actually listen to them) they will often get this wrong and fail to mollify the concerns.

This doesn't mean that the Socialists/Trump supporters are *right* but that they have a perspective they feel is not being understood or considered.

tl;dr - Oligarchy is less stable than democracy because by its very nature it excludes interested parties who are likely to express their opinions in ways that break up an oligarchy if they are not sufficiently included. Bread and circuses can work for a while, but are doomed to failure over a period of time with only elite perspectives being considered.

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I would say it depends on your definition of oligarchy, and how you distinguish an oligarchy from an autocracy.

China is an oligarchy, in as far as it is ruled by a small club who gatekeep themselves. China has had some pretty good growth, but not nearly as good as Taiwan (which changed to democracty in the 1980's), or South Korea, and now China's growth seems to be slowing.

On the other hand, if by oligarchy you mean a country with a constitution, free courts, parliament, free press, etc, but just with voting rights restricted to a minority of the population (usually the richer people) then I must admit: Such oligarchies function fine, but they always end up turning into a true democracy after a few generations.

Almost all wellfunctioning modern democracies actually started this way. Usually they would let men with a certain income, or not economically dependent on others, vote. Then they would slowly turn into a modern democracy, in a completely peaceful and constitutional way. I think the last western country to finish this move was Switzerland, who gave women votes in 1971.

So there you go, free and constitutional oligarchies work, and one of the ways they work is that they inevitably turn themselves into full scale democracies, no foreign intervention needed.

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Most arguments I've seen in favor of democracy stem from either a moral claim in favor of self-determination, or a claim about the practicality of having one individual (e.g. the autocrat) making decisions on behalf of several others in addition to himself.

For arguments of the first form, the anti-oligarchic extension ought to be obvious enough. For the second form, notice that if an autocracy of, say, 1000 individuals is bad, then an oligarchy of N oligarchs over 1000N individuals will be roughly as bad. One could maybe argue that it's tolerable for some K<1000N, but that'll go about as well as an argument for an autocracy of 1000N/K.

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https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/12/13/1218728140/attacks-on-health-care-are-on-track-to-hit-a-record-high-in-2023-can-it-be-stopp

Includes Syria, Russia, Israel, and Hamas. Attacks on medical care are serious and getting worse.

I don't know why the war in Syria gets so little attention. The soft bigotry of low expectations?

"The year 2022 set a grim record — 1,989 attacks on health-care facilities and their personnel, the worst total number in the decade since the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition began its sobering count."

"Attacks on health care aren't new. "You can go to the Korean War and wars in El Salvador and Central America during the 1980s," says Len Rubenstein, director of the Program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict at Johns Hopkins University. "Health care was attacked — just didn't get reported as much.""

"Garlasco has been working in this space for two decades, and he says he's never seen anything like what's taken place in Syria. "I've been in Iraq, in Afghanistan," he says, "and Syria was just something at a different level when it came to attacks on medical facilities.""

"Assaults on health care in this part of the world aren't unique to the current conflict. In Gaza, for example, Al-Shifa hospital was attacked in 2014. Zarifi says the Palestinians blamed it on an Israeli strike, but the IDF said a misfire by Palestinian militants was responsible.

"The International Criminal Court has had multiple years to carry out this investigation and it hasn't," says Zarifi. "Hamas has blocked it. The Israelis have blocked it. But that lack of accountability has really fostered an environment in which different groups can think that they can attack these targets with impunity.""

Both sides are afraid they might be responsible?

While that optimistic idea of the end of history seems to be wrong, I wasn't expecting a decline in ethical behavior. Perhaps a sufficiently complex, multi-party prisoner's dilemma leads to some people cooperating to increase defection.

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One reason I could see that Syria et al may get less attention is that our tax dollars and elected representatives do not support, endorse, and fund their attacks on medical facilities and personnel.

No matter what your opinion of those countries actions are and how often you denounce them, citizens in the west do not elect those governments or pay taxes to them, those governments do not represent us and we are not participants or facilitating any of their war crimes.

This is not the case for Israel, where their current war would be impossible with direct military supply, economic subsidy, and political shielding by the US. And since most of the west is ostensibly democratic republics with representative governments and civil rights, the personal risk of criticizing the government is far less and the degree of responsibility for government policy is far greater.

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People care a lot more about what Israel does than what its neighbours do in countries that don't use tax money to fund Israel as well, so I don't think that's a good explanation.

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Since WWII, the US has provided more foreign aid to Israel than to any other country.

https://usafacts.org/articles/how-much-military-aid-does-the-us-give-to-israel/

And the US provides priceless diplomatic support. We parked two aircraft carriers in the Med after the Gaza attacks. What is that worth?

Israel is culturally and politically tied to the US. Azerbaijan? Not so much.

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Can you recommend me a good software for making animations? Preferably free.

The intended purpose is making math videos, so many of the animations would be gradually updated equations, and maybe some objects on the side to illustrate what it is about.

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Manim is purpose-built for this use case: https://github.com/3b1b/manim

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I came here to recommend whatever 3b1b uses and sure enough you’ve already said it.

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Are there any EA-related grant programs other than ACX grants that are interested in mental health work?

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I don't know if anyone here but Scott will be interested in this but I'm pretty sure that Scott would like to see it and I don't have his email address so I will share it here and hope that it finds additional appreciators here as well.

I have a chabura (intimate gathering dedicated to a good cause) for whom I just explained and summarized the Maimonidean distinction between three oft-confused matters of Jewish mystical belief.

The resurrection of the dead

The afterlife

The messiah

I hope that anyone likely to find this interesting and worthwhile receives the opportunity to enjoy it, whether through seeing this very comment or through having the article shared by someone who did.

https://ydydy.substack.com/p/maimonides-explained

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He literally posted his email address! See point 6.

Still appreciate you posting for visibility though

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ISRAELIS CAUGHT LYING ABOUT RAPE

The chair of Israel's investigative committee into rape on 10/7 by Hamas, @CochavElkayam, presents an old image of dead female Kurdish fighters as women sexually assaulted at the Nova music fest

During a 11/12 talk for Harvard's Maimonides Society, Elkayam referred to "an image of a woman stripped from the waist down... photographed on the side of the Nova music festival"

This image was originally published on the anonymous Hamas-Massacre website promoted by Israel's govt, but removed w/o acknowledgment after I demonstrated it was first published in 2022 and showed dead female Kurdish fighters

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1731567229118886048

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founding

To support this claim, you'd need a pointer to the alleged image on a web site hosted by the Israeli government, and also a pointer to the same image at a pre-10/7 web site documenting the Syrian conflict. Archived versions at e.g, the Wayback Machine would do, but all Blumenthal seems to have are blatantly partisan web sites saying "look at this picture that we say the Israeli government tried to say was from 10/7 but really wasn't".

I already know that there are blatantly partisan sites that want me to believe that Hamas only attacked military targets on 10/7 and everything else is Israeli propaganda, so this adds nothing.

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

"Blumenthal is the editor of The Grayzone website, which is known for its apologetic coverage of authoritarian regimes such as the Chinese, Russian, Syrian, and Venezuelan governments, including its denial of chemical attacks by the Syrian government and of human rights abuses against Uyghurs"

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Dec 13, 2023·edited Dec 13, 2023

Irrelevant, Israeli officials still got caught lying about rape of Israeli women by using the rape of a kurdish girl.

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"Independent review shows no evidence of bomb strike on Gaza hospital"

"the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza"

"caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket that fell short of its target"

https://abcnews.go.com/International/us-initial-independent-review-shows-evidence-bomb-strike/story?id=104126146

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"He is a regular contributor to Russian state-owned Sputnik and RT"

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Irrelevant, Israeli officials still got caught lying about rape of Israeli women by using the rape of a kurdish girl.

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"Independent review shows no evidence of bomb strike on Gaza hospital"

"the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza"

"caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket that fell short of its target"

https://abcnews.go.com/International/us-initial-independent-review-shows-evidence-bomb-strike/story?id=104126146

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"The Rape of the Israeli Women

Hamas’s crimes on Oct. 7 were deliberate and systematic"

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rape-of-the-israeli-women-october-7-hamas-gaza-progressives-c2a4cd38

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Dec 13, 2023·edited Dec 13, 2023

The fact that Israelis needed to go to this extent to lie(using the picture of an apparently raped kurdish woman) suggests strongly that their refusal to cooperate with the UN in an independent investigation, or collect actual proof themselves stems from a darker reality-

that they're lying about the rapes as they lied about the beheaded babies, and the baked babies, and the mutilations and all of the rest of their sordid lies. They lie so they can murder Palestinian babies. That it's just another lie lacking proof because they simply cannot have proof for something that did not happen.

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There's lying on both sides. For whatever reason, people think that just plain killing won't get people emotionally involved, so sometimes emotionally resonant atrocities get invented.

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Why is it always that one side in particular has to be the one to stop the "cycle of violence"?

When one side rapes and tortures and puts babies into ovens, it's "just an inevitable consequence of the cycle of violence." But when the other side retaliates, it's not "just an inevitable consequence of the cycle of violence" — it's "perpetuating the cycle of violence."

Huh?

The whole point of the "cycle of violence"... is that it's a cycle. One act of violence leads to the next, which leads to the next, which leads to the next...

One type of person is consistently excused on the basis of the "cycle of violence", while another type of person is consistently treated as if they are the only one with agency, and must be the one to stop the cycle of violence rather than simply being a victim of it. Isn't this implicitly admitting that the first type of person is essentially less than human, with no capacity for empathy, strategy, or even basic logic and reasoning?

The great irony is the reverse is in fact true. Only one side is actually part of the "cycle of violence" in the sense that they directly respond to violence with violence in return. The other side is just equally violent all the time. https://www.cremieux.xyz/p/the-cycle-of-violence

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founding

The side that "has to stop the cycle of violence", is the side that the speaker does not want to prevail in the current conflict. All else is trivia.

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I'll speak to the abstract case, since the concrete case you're probably thinking of will have enough differences to fill a whole other discussion.

To briefly summarize the other replies I've seen so far:

* One side is more powerful, and presumably can afford the cost of being the one to end the cycle (i.e., forgiving the most recent violent act).

* Ideally, one side has been committing most of the violence, and therefore is required to pay the cost.

* Cynically, one side has been tapped by the mob as the one that must pay that cost, and the mob makes the rules. (The mob might even accuse that side of fitting the ideal case.)

* Also cynically, if you're the party who wants most badly for the cycle to end, then you get to decide which side has to pay the cost, and it may as well be the side you didn't like to begin with.

Another possibility I've run into in the past assumes, like the last point, that you're the one who wants the cycle to end. Ideally, you'd fully investigate and produce an objective measure of who was violent where and how much, and draw up a bill for both. Barring time to investigate, you default to the assumption that both parties are roughly equally responsible and send each one a bill for half. In practice, though, *you'll often be able to contact only one side*. The other is beyond your reach, for whatever reason - language barrier, culture barrier, values are too different, whatever.

This is where a lot of "be the bigger person" rhetoric gets its leverage. You see a fight between your teammate and someone on a rival team, a lot of tit for tat, and the rival is tough or inaccessible enough that you can't just crush him, so you appeal to your teammate to turn the other cheek. It's not because your teammate is in the wrong; rather, it's that your teammate is the only one who'll listen to you.

There's probably some of this going on between the US and Israel.

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In the case of Hamas, they have publicly stated that they intend to commit more terrorist attacks like Oct 7. Stopping a tit-for-tat cycle only works if there is reason to believe that ending the attacks from one side will lead to the other side ending their attacks. There is no reason to believe that Hamas will ever stop their attacks. After Hamas is gone, perhaps Gazans can pick a non-terrorist group to negotiate with Israel.

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I don't expect you'll like this answer, but AFAICT, there's actually a lot of reason to believe Hamas will eventually stop; or rather, to say you believe it; the evidence is the existence of a lot of people saying just that.

I have a hypothesis on what that specific reason is, and it says ugly things about people's attention span, and understandable and unpleasant things about people's epistemology.

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Could you elaborate? ( I have a guess that I might agree about the attention span part - depending on who you have in mind. I suspect that the West's attention span (and the attention span of the leftmost factions within it) are not much longer than a 24 hour news cycle... )

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I think you largely filled in the blanks. The reason to express belief that Hamas will eventually stop its attacks requires believing that that belief won't be called out.

Which, in turn, requires believing that those of the public who learned that Hamas didn't stop its attacks in the past, will forget; and that those of the public who never learned in the first place (for boring reasons such as "was born in 2005 and didn't read up on history") will see "Israel launched some sort of attack against Hamas" and not inquire further.

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Many Thanks!

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There are two asymmetries here. Israel is far more powerful than Hamas, which implies a certain responsibility, as others have noticed. But Hamas is more aggressive: their leadership asserts that they will continue violence against Israel as long as they have the ability to do so, regardless of the consequences for Gazan (or Israeli) civilians. (They have asserted in fact that they see all civilian deaths in Gaza as advancing their cause.) In contrast, Israel has indicated they will cease hostilities if Hamas is fully incapacitated. In other words, their various stated positions suggest that if Hamas 'surrendered' tomorrow, Israel would cease hostilities, while if Israel pulled back tomorrow, Hamas would continue hostilities. Logically then only Hamas can fully end the hostilities; as long as they exist they are committed to hostile actions.

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Muslims are higher on the progressive stack than Jews.

You couldn't ask for a more explicit ranking of the stack than happened after the congressional testimony by the uni prexies.

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Didn’t one professor have to resign.

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The white one, yes*. Because she's lower on the stack.

*Did not have to resign her professorship, just her presidency

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Only one side of the cycle has the ability to alter conditions on a large scale in a way that could end the cycle of violence. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility, and Israel is by far more powerful than Hamas. This is true regardless of if the method Israel chooses is "make a deal with Hamas" or "slaughter Hamas to the last man." Hamas neither has the internal control to prevent people from doing things that will provoke retaliation, nor the military power to change things by force.

Keep in mind that most flare-ups in Israel/Palestine don't start directly with a Hamas attack, like they did on October 7th. More often there are smaller security problems - police brutality or settler action in the West Bank, lone wolf terrorists, a soldier shoots a kid who was throwing rocks at him, that sort of thing. It's very hard to for either side to keep a lid on *all* the possible provocations, which means that both sides will have to grit their teeth and accept that their are some crimes against them which are not worth unleashing a bloody war to avenge.

(I think attacking Hamas is going to be a necessary part of the puzzle, but not a sufficient one - you'll have to change the material conditions that cause these provocations.)

Israel is a first world country, and we generally assume those have the tools to run counterterrorism operations without killing more civilians than terrorists. And even if we grant that Hamas is an especially talented terrorist group and Gaza is an especially civilian-rich place to fight, we at least expect that Israel has the internal control needed to stop its own people from illegally settling the West Bank. I mean, come on. This is like the US not being able to stop a bunch of Texans from building a city in Mexico.

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Given (a) how Texas started, and (b) all the arguments over illegal immigration when it comes to these states - is this really the best example for "can't/won't stop people founding settlements in other people's territory"?

Suppose it's not the *worst* example either, though. I suppose 2014 Ukraine would be a contender for worst there.

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Part of the confusion here is caused by the asymmetry in the language we use. We refer to the IDF as "Israel", but we refer to Hamas as "Hamas". Despite the fact that Hamas is the official government of Gaza, the widely used linguistic convention of referring to the actions of governments using the name of the region or people they represent ("The United States withdraws from the Paris Agreement", "Russia invades Ukraine", "The Hutu genocide the Tutsi") is notably absent here.

https://news.yahoo.com/israel-bombs-gaza-warning-hamas-031909322.html

https://www.npr.org/2023/11/05/1210641727/israel-war-hamas-latest-updates

"Israel bombs Gaza", but "Hamas attacked Israel".

Not "IDF bombs Gaza", or "Gaza attacked Israel", or "Palestine attacked Israel". It's always that "Israel", taken as a cohesive entity, strikes Gaza, but "Hamas" attacked Israel. Never "Gaza" or "Palestine" - despite Gaza likely having even more popular support than the Israeli government, making it even more appropriate to phrase it this way.

> counterterrorism operations

This is not a counterterrorism operation. It's a war. This is the whole point. Hamas is not just "some terrorist group", it's the official government of Gaza.

The analogy here is not some rogue Mexican terrorists suicide bombing Texans - it's the Mexican military launching a full-scale land invasion of Texas, firing missiles into Arizona with their F-5s, rolling across New Mexico with their Panhard ERCs.

If this occurred, the US would not respond by identifying and assassinating each individual soldiers that launched each missile. They would simply deliver complete and total devastation to the country of Mexico, just as any country would. And they would be fully justified in doing so as part of a defensive war.

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But Hamas is not the official government of Gaza, on any, well, official definition of "official". Insofar as it is officially part of any government, it is a part of Palestinian National Authority / the State of Palestine, which in turn is led by Fatah.

Of course, preferable option would be Fatah asserting its control over West Bank and Gaza, but it currently does not happen to possess either the wherewithal to do this, or the sanction of the country that happens to be between them.

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founding

And yet when we want to know how many Palestinians have died in the present conflict, we cite Hamas's health ministry.

Hamas is the government of Gaza in the same sense that Jefferson Davis et al were the government of the Confederacy. Which is the only sense that really matters, until the status quo is changed the only way it can be.

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The point is the definition of the word "official", quite deliberately used by the post I was replying to. Sure, Hamas de facto governs Gaza, but that doesn't make it official. Lots of areas in this world are ruled by entities other than the government formally in charge.

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founding

Why would anyone in their right mind care if it is "official"? Official and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee. Official, an army, and international support may in the future get you installed as the new government in place of the present "usurpers", but so will an army and international support alone. What use is "official" in any of this?

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Link to the official definition of official please?

Because IIRC, Hamas is the legitimate, democratically elected government so is the de jure as well as de facto government.

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> Only one side of the cycle has the ability to alter conditions on a large scale in a way that could end the cycle of violence. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility, and Israel is by far more powerful than Hamas.

What could Israel realistically do, that would put an end to Hamas' aggression and terroristic activities?

> we at least expect that Israel has the internal control needed to stop its own people from illegally settling the West Bank.

I agree, they absolutely should put an end to this, immediately. But do you think that Hamas would stop shooting thousands of rockets towards residential areas if the IDF withdrew from Gaza and all illegal settlements in the West Bank were torn down tomorrow?

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The answer to this depends on which positions are supported by rhetoric and which ones are grounded in reality.

Iran seems to hate Israel independently of what Israel does now. If Hamas and Hezbollah only exist because of Iranian money (debatable, almost certainly not entirely true but maybe enough to overwhelm other reasons), then nothing Israel can do will solve the problem. This implies their only option is to fight until Iran's proxies are destroyed and there's no foothold for Iran to use.

Palestinians seem to have mixed feelings about Israel. Non-Jewish Israelis exist in large numbers, and don't seem to hate Israel or Jews. Most of them are Palestinian. This implies that if Israel treated Palestinians like their own citizens (including those in the West Bank and didn't bulldoze their houses to make room for Jewish settlements) that the Palestinians would calm down and become peaceful neighbors.

These are pretty much the two core arguments. They might both be true, for different groups of people. Hamas and Hezbollah seem to hate Israel regardless of what Israel does, but maybe most Palestinians don't? If so, then the solution would be for Israel to give more and more rights to Palestinians under their control (West Bank and Gaza included) while consistently confronting Iran's proxies. I don't think this is possible under a two-state solution, because Iran can use the foothold of wherever Israel doesn't control to import weapons and train + indoctrinate fighters against Israel. A one state solution is a gamble for Israel because they would be inviting millions of Palestinians in as equal citizens. If they were wrong about Hamas existing only because of Iran but in fact it was the genuine feeling of the Palestinians then they would be inviting the terrorists inside and make it much harder to protect civilians.

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Why should Israel be the one to give concessions to the people that are constantly attacking and massacring them? That would simply be rewarding their behavior. If you reward massacres by granting more political rights and better living conditions, you are telling your enemy that the way to get better outcomes is to commit such attacks. Hamas' popularity would surge as the ones who delivered these better outcomes as a result of their massacres.

Strategically, Israel has an obligation to cause large amounts of widespread suffering to Gazans for the foreseeable future, even if for no other reason than to demonstrate that when you attack Israel, this is what happens - things get much, much worse for you. Of course, this won't deter the animalistic bloodlust of the Palestinians, but it at least avoids the worst possible outcome of rewarding them for their atrocities.

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I'm talking long term solution. I agree that the recent attack makes that solution impossible in the short term. The only viable option for Israel right now appears to be to completely take over Gaza and implement some kind of Israeli-controlled government to oversee it afterwards. This will not work out well for anyone involved, but may be better in some ways than the October 6 status-quo.

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Steelmanning this somewhat, though I mostly agree with you. If one side has significantly more power, authority, or influence, it does make sense to hold them more accountable. For a bit of a silly example, if a father is arguing with his 10-year-old son, we would hold the father more accountable for escalating to violence than the son, even if we would say that either would be wrong to punch the other.

Hamas only has power through PR and what Iran sends them to fight a proxy war on Iran's behalf. Israel has the second highest GDP in the Middle East, behind Saudi Arabia - it's significantly higher than Iran, despite Iran having far more people (88 million to less than 10). Israel also has solid support from the most powerful country on the planet. We *should* hold them more accountable than we do other groups, including Hamas, for the same actions. That doesn't mean we excuse Hamas, and I am broadly supportive of Israel's desire and need to invade Gaza in an attempt at rooting out Hamas. I think Hamas has shown that they cannot be left on their own, and it's unreasonable to ask Israel to allow the possibility of such attacks as happened in October to randomly happen.

To go back to the silly example, it would be as if the son has stabbed the father and is still holding the knife. The father, despite being much stronger, may have to resort to some violence in order to diffuse the situation, and can't just allow the son the possibility of stabbing him again.

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I can imagine two different ways this can go:

One pattern is that the observer calling for stopping the "cycle of violence" is subconsciously attributing different degrees of moral agency to the two sides, or at least feels more empowered to second-guess the policy decisions of one side than the other. Basically, you're viewing one side as if they're the protagonist of a work of fiction or the player character in an RPG and you're judging the morality and wisdom of their actions in isolation without considering the other side. This is an easy trap to fall into when one side or the other is your own government or at least much more akin to your society than the other side is.

The other pattern is an isolated demand for rigor applied to the side you more dislike. This is nearly the reverse of the first pattern: in this case you have cast one side as the villain and are cataloging the reasons the villain sucks. The other side's faults are either excused because they're cast as the good guys or ignored because they're mere NPCs.

And despite what I said about the second being nearly the reverse of the first, both effects can be in play at the same time for the same observer, particularly if the side being second-guessed is the observer's outgroup and their adversaries the observer's fargroup while the observer's ingroup is not directly involved. Basically, the conflict is being read as a Villain Protagonist story, or perhaps as one of the darker classical tragedies.

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Or a simple reason might simply be that a Westerner (the assumed subject, here) might expect Israel to respond to potential Western pressure in a way that Hamas, hostile to the West anyway, wouldn't respond.

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I've begun a substack to post thoughts and ideas. The first one is, weirdly, a script for a Bob Newhart Show (the old one, where he was the psychiatrist). Just a creative writing exercise. Guest starring Peter Falk as Columbo, because why not, as well as Young Larry, Young Darryl and Young Darryl.

https://open.substack.com/pub/themahchegancandidate/p/terror-at-14-12-feet?r=ofm&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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If you have a background or interest in Judaism, particularly the black-hat variety, you may find my recent posts and videos very worthwhile.

You have a right to know my background so that you approach this with the weight my life story implies but I've never learned how to do that. Suffice it to say that the story of Mankind, and of the Jews, is one I have personally followed through unto the ends of the ends of the earth. I have sought and found all of the enlightenment I was able to seek and find, including having been an ultra-orthodox rabbi, etc.

This piece is a free gift for anyone capable of unwrapping it. And I apologize for the few typos. It was written in a unique state of consciousness and if it is a gift you are capable of enjoying I hope you have the ability to unwrap it.

Be blessed and a blessing my friend,

Yedidya

https://ydydy.substack.com/p/zohar-harakia

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Has anybody used or have any thoughts about 23 and Me's Health testing? I have the kit and am debating whether or not to use it.

Some background - my son is deaf and when he was born we did genetic testing to find out the cause. The answer turned out to be pretty bog standard, but as part of that testing they also found that he has a mutation that can cause LongQT syndrome (which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest). Further testing revealed that I have it also; however, neither of us has a long QT. After some back and forth with the testing lab and experts at the Mayo Clinic, it seems that our variant may not be pathogenic. But the whole episode caused us a lot of worry and if we had followed the initial doctor recommendations, would have put my son on beta blockers for the rest of his life. On the other hand, if our variant was pathogenic, we would have wanted to know that!

Basically, I'm left with very mixed feelings about genetic testing for health. And partly, I want to take this test because I'm curious what it might find and find the whole idea kind of interesting.

Note that I am not at all interested in discussing the privacy implications!

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I think the majority of variants are currently classified as "VUS" - variants of uncertain significance. I don't know what's included in 23 and Me's health test, but I presume they tell you which variants they look at? Although I couldn't find a list of variants included in their chip, which is annoying. Anyway, you might have a list of variants as a purchaser, and if so you could take a look at them, check them out on ClinGen, and see how many of them are VUS. That might tell you whether it's worth pursuing or not.

ClinGen is an NIH resource which is working on classifying variants and genes by clinical relevance. You can search for a gene (eg KCNE1, https://search.clinicalgenome.org/kb/genes/HGNC:6240) and see the relevant variants from the ClinVar Variants tab (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/clinvar/?term=KCNE1%5Bgene%5D).

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Yeah, it's frustrating that they don't share a detailed list of what they test.

One thing I learned in my own VUS journey is that we are still babes in the woods when it comes to genetics. A bit disappointing!

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Dec 15, 2023·edited Dec 15, 2023

If you're based in the US, you could look into joining the All of Us research program - which has the advantage of being free. It's unusual in that results are fed back to participants.

https://allofus.nih.gov/get-involved/participation

According to an unfortunately-paywalled article (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.ade9214), "The All of Us program began reporting genetic ancestry (seven populations and 20 subpopulations) and genetic traits (such as lactose intolerance, cilantro preference, and earwax type) in 2020. Since then, more than 182,000 participants have received these results. Beginning in December 2022, health-related DNA results are also being returned to participants, including a Hereditary Disease Risk report for 59 genes informed by ACMG recommendations and a Medicine and Your DNA report for variants in seven genes involved in drug metabolism informed by CPIC guidelines. To date, more than 68,000 “Hereditary Disease Risk” reports and 65,000 “Medicine and Your DNA” reports have been returned to participants. The results are returned through the All of Us secure participant portal, and participants who elect to see their results can access a free genetic counseling visit through the program’s Genetic Counseling Resource with materials and counseling available in both English and Spanish."

That's proper sequencing, not the snp-chip type of thing that 23andme do.

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I think, typically, you get told you have e.g. 5%. Increased risk of some rare ish disease that you probably don't actually have. That is, getting the test result changes your p(have disease) so little that isn't worth it.

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Get three tests then and stagger the time.

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This, unfortunately, doesn't help - the problem is in the territory, not the map, so better-mapping-protocols like repeating the test don't improve your ability to know what's going on.

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In a previous discussion in a previous Open Thread I asserted the following :

>>> [Israel is] a genocidal state hellbent on ethnic cleansing as much of the middle east as possible of Arabs with as little consequences as possible

I retract that fully. It was more of a "boo outgroup" style assertion even when I said it, but I believed there was some truth to it at the moment. I now don't think there is any.

What made me revisit that claim I made about 2 weeks ago is finding an interesting hole in my model of Israel : Operation Good Neighbour. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_humanitarian_operations_during_the_Syrian_Civil_War :

> Operation Good Neighbor [...] was a directive of the Northern Command's Division 210 of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) launched in June 2016 to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian citizens who were affected by the Syrian Civil War. The army kept the operation confidential until announcing it in July 2017

> The IDF relied on local contacts and operated in numerous villages near the border, primarily in the Quneitra district. As of July 2017, the primary recipients of the aid were the approximately 200,000 residents of the Hauran region

> According to the IDF, over 4,000 Syrians were brought to Israel to receive treatment, including hundreds of children.

The strongest possible version of the anti-Israel bundle of claims would predict that this should never happen. From an Israel-hostile point of view, Good Neighbor can only be explained by :

(a) Propaganda material, as the Syrian Civil Wars was one of the deadliest, most hellish, and most widely popularized conflicts in the 21st century.

(b) As cover for fanning the flames of the war and deepening internal divisions in the Syrian factions landscape, since Israel later admitted in 2019 that Good Neighbor included military aid to Syrian rebels.

(c) Non-systematic actions by low- and mid- rank personnel in the IDF

None of those explanations are very convincing.

(a) Good Neighbour, although featured in the IDF's official website (https://www.idf.il/en/mini-sites/wars-and-operations/operation-good-neighbor/), was kept secret. It wasn't cited once by all Pro-Israel apologists I have seen or heard, and I see and hear many. I learned about it by chance.

(b) This can't explain why the military aid didn't go to Al-Assad or Pro-Al-Assad or even Anti-Al-Assad groups that wreak havoc on civilians like ISIS (there are, however, allegations that Israel collaborated with ISIS), all would have equally deepened the division among Syrian factions and prolonged the civil war. The aid to civilians appears unnecessary regardless of where the military aid goes.

(c) The wikipedia article quotes a high-ranking IDF general responsible for all Israeli forces in the Syria-adjacent sector approving of the operation, and the article intro itself attributes the operation to Israeli high command in the region.

So it appears that Israel, at least outside of Gaza and the West Bank, at least in the second decade of the 21st century, is not that keen on the death of non-Palestinian Arabs. It feels abrupt to change my view based on a single piece of info, especially with the torrent of contradicting info coming from Gaza. But this piece of info has caused me a good deal of surprise, this is not what I would have predicted Israel to do at all.

Footnote : I started the internet rabbit hole that ended up in me discovering Good Neighbor when I stumbled upon this playlist of excerpts from the hilarious Israeli comedy The Jews Are Coming (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv5Eiy9qLWVMlYRtN-I5x8asJUV-NR6y-). Very recommended, some videos only have Arabic translation but some have only English or mixed Arabic-English. Contains very offensive mockery of Abrahamic prophets, including Abraham himself.

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Thanks for posting this. I admire your integrity.

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Very interesting, and impressive (on both your part and the IDF's).

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It feels impolite to get all this praise and not respond with a simple thank you, so to all the good people heaping praise on me down thread, Thank You. I'm commenting this under my orignal post because it would be too spammy to repeat the same thanks under 6 comments or so, but if any of you see this, please know it's for you.

I certainly don't feel I deserve all those thanks, it's not like it's emotionally difficult for me to be wrong on this matter, I don't wake up everyday wishing from all my heart that Israel would commit a genocide so I can write mean things about it online. I **want** to believe I'm wrong about Israel, that's why being socially rewarded for changing my mind on this feels a bit undeserved.

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Good job man. Totally deserved.

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People who do *not* change their minds get implicit social rewards from "their side" plus the feeling of righteousness (and that too is usually undeserved), so I think it is good to have a culture that explicitly pushes against this.

But okay, enough. :D

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Many Thanks! I second Eremolalos's:

"You just impressed the hell out of me. It is very rare for someone to publicly change their mind -- even here, where people are on the whole more fair-minded than in most online forums."

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You just impressed the hell out of me. It is very rare for someone to publicly change their mind -- even here, where people are on the whole more fair-minded than in most online forums. There's a book by Alan Jacobs that I like a lot -- it's called How to Think -- where Jacobs talks about the debate conventions at the Yale Political Union, an undergrad organization. Convincing the person you are debating that your view is the correct one is called "breaking" the debater, and it is not an uncommon occurrence for one of the debaters to announce that they have been convinced by their opponent. The most admired debaters are those who have both broken someone and also been broken. So you win the Fair-mindedness & Courage award -- from me, anyhow.

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You just impressed the hell out of me. It is very rare for someone to publicly change their mind -- even here, where people are on the whole more fair-minded than in most online forums. There's a book by Alan Jacobs that I like a lot -- it's called How to Think -- where Jacobs talks about the debate conventions at the Yale Political Union, an undergrad organization. Convincing the person you are debating that your view is the correct one is called "breaking" the debater, and it is not an uncommon occurrence for one of the debaters to announce that they have been convinced by their opponent. The most admired debaters are those who have both broken someone and also been broken. So you win the Fair-mindedness & Courage award -- from me, anyhow.

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> non-Palestinian Arabs

So... Arabs?

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=palestinian%2Cpalestinians%2Cthe+palestinians%2Cthe+palestinian+people&year_start=1500&year_end=2019&corpus=en-2019&smoothing=3

The concept of "Palestinian" was invented in the 1960s. They are not (a) people.

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Dec 13, 2023·edited Dec 13, 2023

Yeesh dude. I'm surprised to have this much to unpack from such a short reply but:

(1) Group identity can be forged out of shared experience, and much like the American revolution separated American identity from British identity, decades of having other Arab countries largely turn their back on Palestinian Arabs, together with a lot of struggles very unique to Palestinians, can most certainly form a Palestinian identity.

(2) Even if you want to debate that - time and place, man. When someone adverse to your way of thinking extends an olive branch, it is not (assuming you actually want to convert people) the time to shit in his oustretched hand. You seem to be having a lot of fun fighting with NS about this stuff, so maybe channel that energy up there with them rather than pointing it at the guy who's leading with "hey I have to own that Israel is better than I thought it was."

(3) Why is there a parenthesis around the "a" in your last sentence? I don't want to assume you are being flirty with "they are not people" but it's hard to read as anything else, which makes the whole post look all the more trollish.

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The shared experience of being butthurt revanchist losers? When you start a war with the explicit stated aim of genocide, and lose, sometimes you lose land. Cry about it.

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Dec 14, 2023·edited Dec 14, 2023

My friend, I'm afraid you've missed my point. I am not offering you an opportunity to debate the legitimacy of the Palestinian claim to a cultural identity distinct from that of other Arabian peoples. I am offering you notes on how you can improve your behavior.

As it is right now, assuming you really do care about Israel, the easiest and best way you can help is to look less like a troll when representing their cause in public.

OP is leading with "this previous criticism of Israel I had was wrong." Assuming you are pro-Israel, you want more of this, not less. I and plenty of others on this board have argued against OP in other posts where he has criticized Israel. Assuming you are pro-Israel, you want more of that too. Your behavior, however, is only serving to make those things less likely.

Read some of the other replies in this thread, made by people who have been arguing against OP on this issue off and on for several weeks now. That is what "doing it right" looks like and what you should aspire to if you're looking to represent your cause well in a public forum. "[Outgroup] are not (a) people" is most decidedly not the foot you want to put forward.

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I think they're a people by now.

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Are Texans a people? Do they have a right to their own homeland, free from the occupation of the US?

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Which Texans? There are 30 million of them. How many want to live “free from the occupation of the US”?

When say 20+ million Texans express strong enough desire for independence, strong enough to form an army to fight for it, strong enough to protest the US occupation on a daily basis, etc etc etc, then sure, they’ll eventually be a separate people.

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First of all, suggesting that secession is ever an option? That's racist.

Second of all, you need to cherry-pick your definitions more carefully, because the TNG is a stronger military than Hamas, and the Catalans are just as protest-y as anyone else.

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I literally have no idea what your argument is here. Most Texans consider themselves American. When that changes, they may end up being a separate people. What’s so controversial about that?

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I am pleased and impressed with your honest search. May you be blessed.

P.S. If you are not anonymous and want to have a video conversation or even to ask me questions about my own take it would be a pleasure to join you in that.

You can read about my take all over my Substack and Youtube. I explain myself most assertively to my Israeli/Rabbinic audience here.

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

And less assertively, for a general audience, here.

https://youtu.be/m1xYrtEWNSU?feature=shared

I hope we can do this. Be well brother,

Yedidya

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Thank you for updating.

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Thanks for being willing to update and also say so publicly. That's hard and beneficial to you and the community.

I would also add that Israel cementing formal relations with numerous Arab countries in the last six or so years is a positive sign and represents a better ideal. It gives me hope for long term peace - at least 50+ years from now.

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It's also to the credit of the community that people are praised for updating rather than punished for changing their minds.

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Thanks for sharing your update.

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UI/UX conversation:

I'm picking up an old side project, which is to come up with a notation for defining user interfaces.

I'm making a half hearted effort to actually do some research and hear other's opinions this time, instead of diving right in like I usually do. Hence this post.

I'm seeing a ton of stuff has sprung up since last I looked, a lot of it bundled into "low code no code" saas products.

But it's all pretty basic web/mobile stuff, with the more sophisticated ones straying into db design. From a power perspective, these things look like they'll tap out at a simple shopping trolley.

I am interested in developing/discovering a more complete notation, something that could be used to fully define real workhorse apps like Blender or Autodesk Fusion.

I have my own ideas, but does anyone here know of any similar work I should know about? Has anyone played with something like this themselves?

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It's called Figma, and they just sold to Adobe for $20B?

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Have you used Figma? I watched some videos but decided it probably wasn't what I wanted before I actually bothered playing with it. From what I saw, it's what I meant by basic web/mobile stuff.

I'd certainly welcome input by people who've used it. Can you use Figma to do basic staples like dragging-dropping icons, dragging selectboxes to select entities, that kind of thing? My current dummy test project is an app that lets you create circles by clicking to place them and dragging out to set the radius. Would Figma let you do that in a natural-feeling way?

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Are you familiar with the words "Turing-complete"? The implication is that whatever replaces code will inevitably either be limited in functionality, or will be just another form of code -- probably much worse than the existing ones, because the existing ones have decades of research behind them.

A picture with ten shapes is nicer than a code with ten lines. But I can work with programs that have tens of thousands of lines. Seeing a picture with thousand shapes (where each of them must be perfectly right otherwise the entire thing stops working correctly) would drive me crazy. Navigating it would probably be hell, because you couldn't use the keyboard, or things like search, regular expressions, diff, changing or extracting information using a short script, etc.

So these things usually only work for narrow domains, where you do more or less exactly what the author of the tool had in mind. Trying to do something else is either impossible or a descent into madness.

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I think you have misunderstood. We are talking about user interfaces. A flyout from a button could lead to a textbox that says "Boolean Union all selected objects" (pre-implementation) or "run_op_boolean_union()" (if the actual business code is already working) and the app in question can have all the Turing-completeness it needs without requiring the notation system itself to be self aware.

What I'm interested in is notating the concepts and situations and caveats that arise when creating the UI of an app.

The "narrow domain" is exactly the domain that covers human psychology during tool use, and what any notation could reveal or clarify about that field is interesting to me in its own right.

Coders in my experience both hate UI stuff and are abysmal at it, so if the kind of system I'm talking about came into being it could mean a lot of utility for a lot of people.

> A picture with ten shapes is nicer than a code with ten lines. But I can work with programs that have tens of thousands of lines. Seeing a picture with thousand shapes (where each of them must be perfectly right otherwise the entire thing stops working correctly) would drive me crazy.

Nope, I don't believe you. You have far more visual interpretation machinery in your head than you do symbolic manipulation intrastructure. You're just not using it for the task of software development, because no one has yet worked out how.

Although Hollywood likes to show us the l33t coder rattling away on his keyboard as lines and lines of code scroll past his eyes, the better software developers seem to work mainly on notepads and whiteboards, hammering the solution into shape before writing a single line of code, and only after the creative work is done commencing the implementation. If you truly find working with code easier than working with graphical representation, it must be because years of experience have worn grooves of that shape into your brain - a cruelty I would would see others spared from.

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Are there any reports of OpenAIs revenue? ChatGPT 4 is $240 a year and if only 5% of users paid for I estimate billions of revenue. About $2b assuming 5% of the reported 180M users.

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OpenAI said they estimated they would make $200 million in 2023.

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I would expect much fewer than 5% to be paying for it. At the university I attend practically everyone I know has pulled it up at one point or another, but the great majority of these people have no interest in AI and use the website less than weekly.

I'm sure they're bringing in a lot of revenue even if e.g. 0.5% are paying for GPT 4 but I think $2b is a high estimate.

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Can anyone suggest a useful source of data for online death threats/online threats of violence? From what I can make out, UK homicide rate has very slightly declined since 2008, but threats to kill reported to police in the same period have grown very significantly. Most of those would be online I assume but would be nice to know for sure - doesn't have to be UK data.

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It's because people are using the Online Safety Act of 2023 to SWAT their enemies. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Safety_Act_2023

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Already? It's only been in force for a few weeks, so I'd be surprised if such incidents have shown up in the crime statistics.

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https://twitter.com/RamAbdu/status/1734216826026934359

Israeli snipers shot displaced Palestinian children in the @UNRWA

school in Jabalya Refugee Camp.

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Why is there no blood on his actual body?

Why is his shirt soaked with blood, but the "wound" is not bleeding at all and has already completely clotted?

We're supposed to believe he was shot, then everyone around him waited around doing nothing for 20 minutes, then they started recording, and then hurriedly pulled his shirt off to inspect the wound as if he had just been shot seconds before?

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For anyone reading in on this convo between me and this hasbarist

https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/1734608427261763690

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"Dan Cohen is an American journalist and filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. He is the host of Behind the Headlines. Formerly of RT America, Cohen has contributed to Al Jazeera English, Alternet, Electronic Intifada, The Grayzone, Middle East Eye, Mondoweiss, The Nation, and Vice News."

"Al-Jazeera network remains the standard bearer for the Islamist position."

"The Electronic Intifada is an explicitly pro-Palestinian political and ideological Web site" [9] that hosts "anti-Israel propaganda."

"Middle East Eye Palestinian journalist Shatha Hammad... made a Facebook post in 2014 which praised Adolf Hitler for "sharing the same ideology" and the Holocaust"

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NICE! All more reliable than the IDF. Are you still trying to spread the beheaded babies story or did you finally quit spreading that lie, mr child killing hasbarist?

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"We're supposed to believe he was shot, then everyone around him waited around doing nothing for 20 minutes, then they started recording, and then hurriedly pulled his shirt off to inspect the wound as if he had just been shot seconds before?"

You are inserting a lot of unnecessary stuff there, but I am not surprised, you are an insincere hasbara and this comment of mine is just to laugh at you :) keep murdering children, Palestinians will keep taking down soldiers.

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Changing the topic because your fake video was exposed, typical Islamist

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Dec 13, 2023·edited Dec 13, 2023

You just mumbled a bunch of unnecessary gibberish you silly hasbarat you didn't expose anything. Israelis snipe kids to death because they are evil people as is anyone who supports them, no shortage of instances and videos. Go scream "pallywood" to the sky, we know you are just a child killing liar.

HUGE admission: Israel finally admits there was an "immense and complex quantity" of what it calls "friendly fire" incidents on 7 October.

https://twitter.com/AsaWinstanley/status/1734541742676779407

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"I set it on fire... I shot at him... we checked the house and heard the sounds of young children in the safe room. We shot at the safe room... we heard young children's crying... we shot at the door. Until we didn't hear noise anymore."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGK3-hJA31A

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Ah yes, everyone believes testimony taken under coercion LOL you are really bad at this they shouldn't be paying you!

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Israeli child killer shooting a kid in the back.

https://twitter.com/jacksonhinklle/status/1734756663456849992

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"Military forensic teams in Israel have examined bodies of victims of last week's Hamas attack on communities around the Gaza Strip and found multiple signs of torture, rape and other atrocities"

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-forensic-teams-describe-signs-torture-abuse-2023-10-15/

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"Sexual violence inflicted by Hamas 'beyond anything I've seen"

https://abc7chicago.com/hamas-rape-allegations-victims-sexual-assault-israel-war/14162727/

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"Ramy Abdu is a policy analyst with the Al-Shabaka,[16] a Palestinian policy network"

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Already more reliable than the IDF!

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I've had a new frustration recently: trying to hunt down which paper some math fact was originally proved in. I'll find that paper X claims that paper Y proves some fact, but paper Y just proves a similar fact. If I'm lucky, miniscule modifications yield the desired fact, but these are often far from obvious.

It seems like it would be useful to have a repository about what's proved in what papers. I wonder if anyone has tried doing such a thing, for math or for some scientific field (not sure it would be as useful there). The unfortunate part is due to unreliability of what's out there, a lot of work would have to be done to make sure the information is correct.

(Specific example: "Brown proved that the Houghton Groups are type F_{n-1} but not type F_n"; actually, Brown proved FP_{n-1} but not FP_{n}. However, his methods readily adapt to the claimed statement. This is one of the less egregious statements, it's just the one I had to deal with today.)

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Not a mathematician, but in physics they have review papers. Where someone(s) will summarize the current state of the field with tons of references.

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If you formalise all of the statements being catalogued in a consistent framework in order to make them comparable, wouldn't that itself require re-phrasing the results, thereby introducing more of the minor edits this is intended to get around? If you're not making edits like that, then I don't see what the advantage is meant to be over just using the papers themselves. Would the catalogue just list all of the theorem statements and definitions verbatim while cutting out the proofs and discussion?

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For math at least, a good number of the minor rewritings are in fact proven equivalences, so you could point to something for that as well (X proved Y, which is equivalent to Z by W).

A hefty chunk of a paper is often details, where what I'm looking for is more "the core of this proof is that you can do X, because of property Y", and other such statements. Also, as in my reply to rebelcredential, a repository for the presently unwritten lore.

Another thing this could help with is the static nature of published work. While people can update arXiv versions of papers, they often don't bother. Such a repository as I seek would be more amenable to corrections and updates.

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Out of curiosity, how would you imagine one could uniquely identify/describe/search on the proofs/facts/statements you're talking about? Can this be structured at all, or are you thinking more along the lines of an AI reads all the papers and answers your queries in natural language?

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An AI could certainly be helpful here, once we get hallucinations more under control. I was thinking of something stylistically like a wiki. There's ncatlab, but... well, that tends to be more limited in content, and the focus is very much more on definitions and theorems, whereas I want to have the historical information attached to everything (who proved what, in what papers, using roughly what methods).

In a sense, I'm largely just complaining about how much unwritten lore there is: subtle errors that "everyone knows about", "obvious" consequences that are anything but and no one ever wrote down. It doesn't help that chasing citations down requires interfacing with a variety of opaque systems. God bless for arXiv, if only we could get everyone to use it

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"A popstar is always on time; she arrives precisely when she means to" said Taylor, wizenly.

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Dec 12, 2023·edited Dec 12, 2023

Nice, I'm somehow reminded of Glinda from the Wizard of Oz books. (Not the movie version.) (Or Mary Poppins, but the movie version this time. Julie Andrews, sigh.)

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What's good form for reporting repeated spam? I reported one at least three times, but it looks like it will be here 20 to 50 times if I open all the "new replies".

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Oh, the Spam that was all over this thread -- it says something about Christmas? I reported about the first 3 instances of it I ran into, then when I realized there were probably dozens of posts from the same spammer I just added a note to my last report saying that there were lots of posts from the same spammer sprinkled all over the thread.

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Presumably just do it until you get bored. Scott'll check it eventually and will inevitably have several hundred reports no matter what.

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Presumably all of that particular batch of spam will vanish when the spammer's account is zapped, even if no one sat and reported each one.

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Ah, the beneficial advancement that adoption of AI brings to ordinary life, as we saw with our little friend spamming their heart out, all enabled to be faster and more convenient for them with their new AI friend doing the hard toil of sending the same message over and over.

I even got it in my email, so I'd like to know if it happened anybody else, and maybe a heads-up that our little visitors are now scraping contact details off here.

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Was it a reply to one of your comments?

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It might have been, but by that stage it seemed to be inserting itself as every second comment.

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It isn't clear what role AI could have played there -- the spams looked like the usual low-effort carbon copy crapola.

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Damn, guess I missed my chance on a life changing investment that will help my financial life

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I'm thinking of getting a tablet for my 4 year old son to learn on. He's currently working through beast academy on my laptop. That would move to his own tablet, but he would also use it for learning English etc. Any recommendations from fellow parents?

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I would highly recommend good boundaries and setting reasonable expectations. Kids quickly become addicted to the flashing lights and immediate feedback and don't want to give it up. Expectations about how long to be on the tablet at one time (we found 30 minutes was a good limit) are important. I would also suggest limiting travel and having him go to a particular place - maybe a couch or comfy chair. Learn a routine.

Our kids would become agitated when we would ask them to turn off electronics for things like dinner or bedtime, especially when they were allowed to be on it for indefinite periods. When we started setting a timer for 30 minutes, that very quickly went away and they got used to the expectation that tablet time was over.

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how is he liking beast academy? Does he find it as fun and engaging as their website claims it to be?

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He absolutely loves it. I'm very impressed with how it's done

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Tangentially: my kids loved https://tuxpaint.org/ on a tablet

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Hi everyone! 😊 If you're involved in Effective Altruism (EA) in any capacity, I invite you to participate in the Group Rationality and Resilience Survey: https://bit.ly/grcdr-survey. This survey is inspired by interviews I conducted with AI alignment researchers in Berkeley in February 2022. You can find out more about these interviews here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/WxqyXbyQiEjiAsoJr/the-seeker-s-game-vignettes-from-the-bay.

The primary goal is to create a more nuanced understanding of the psychological orientation towards the EA and adjacent rationality communities. The insights gained could be pivotal in developing strategies to mitigate memetic hijacking in these spaces.

The survey will remain open until December 20th, and I plan to share the findings publicly. Your participation would be valuable and greatly appreciated. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your contribution! 😊

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🤗

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Here's one that slipped through the net! Sic 'em, Scott!

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Speaking of supplements what do folks think of GlyNAC?

https://aminoacids.substack.com/p/antioxidant-30-how-the-amino-acid

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Elon Musk seems to be sliding into the extreme crowd of the likes of Alex Jones, someone he despised only a year ago. It is sort of easy to see how he was pushed further and further right by the relentless attacks from the left, but I wonder if there is a good description of the radicalization process in general, and whether his unfortunate slide matches this description.

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Alex Jones is Adam Schiff with less power.

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I wish I could like this post, so I'll add to it. To me this is not a post in support of Alex Jones, but of realizing that "the right" isn't alone in this and ignoring the crazies on the other side is counter-productive in creating a better society. I'm less concerned with Elon Musk allowing Alex Jones on a privately owned publicly accessible social media platform than I am of an elected official with the same proclivity for nonsense conspiracy theories.

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Jones caused an astonishing amount of misery without having political power or significant numbers of employees.

I grant that someone with political power could do more damage.

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Jones has been punished to the tune of about a billion dollars for his actions. Shiff is literally immune from legal consequences.

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Oh yeah, I'm definitely not in support of Jones here. If it were simply a matter of him as an individual, I would be broadly supportive of cutting him off from all social media. But it's never just about one person, it's often about precedent that his opponents might try to use against others. The whole, "first they came for..." line of thought.

And if we're going to take an Alex Jones out of polite society, then we should take out an Adam Schiff as well. I'm not actually in favor of either, from a "government shuts you down" perspective, because I don't think the government should have that power. I'm happy to never trust what either says on my own volition.

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Unfortunately, I don't think they're entirely wrong. I think there's an unhealthy despair about the human race on the left-- there are the people who think aliens don't visit us because we're so disgusting and the people who think humans are a blight on the planet.

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The two sides in Three Body Problem were:

Humanity cannot rule itself and needs aliens to rule them instead.

Humanity cannot rule itself and needs to be eradicated.

The ideas "humanity can rule itself" or "humanity doesn't need to be ruled" were not even within the Overton Window of the author.

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Dec 12, 2023·edited Dec 12, 2023

It is not at all easy for me to see how Elon Musk, famously stubborn tech visionary, one of the richest men on Earth, who literally owns the platform that all the people attacking him post on, is so weak-willed and vulnerable that he endorsed Alex Freaking Jones because leftists were making fun of him online. Like, that is an incredible amount of power you're suggesting "the left" has here.

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Musk wants to push society rightwards, and while he might not agree with Jones on everything, Jones - a popular voice speaking to a very select audience - is a very potential tool to do that. There's no need to assume weak-willedness and vulnerability, Musk has, during the recent years, acquired an obvious ideological quest and now has a bully pulpit to offer for enabling that.

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Yeah the idea attacks from "the left" did this is ridiculous. I think what we see with Musk is a combination of narcissism, being detached from society because of his wealth, and his (much more than) rumored drug use. I also think he desperately wants to be liked and seem cool, but just keeps picking the worst set of peers to want to look cool in front of.

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He's stubborn & extremely smart, but he's also kind of crazy -- kind of like SBF, except nowhere near as dysfunctional.

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Dec 12, 2023·edited Dec 12, 2023

Innuendo Studios (Ian Danskin) has a video which pretty much explains the process (at about 23 minis there is a neat little analysis of good vs. bad arguments). Without knowing Musk well, it may be impossible to tell how he was radicalized, if he was. But if you watch the video, you will see how central a role platforms like Twitter ("X") can be to the process. Musk is, at the very least, not a good caretaker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P55t6eryY3g

I recommend checking out Innuendo Studios channel, there is a long series of videos closely analyzing ultra right wing techniques and tactics, on-line and off.

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I saw most of those videos back before i made the (good) decision to largely disengage from political YT - they do contain some useful insight but there's also a *lot* of fallacious argument that stems from his huge in-group bias in favour of progressive rhetoric.

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I don't disagree, but I would be interested in some specific examples that you saw. Of course, he self-identifies as a radical (I do not), so it's understandable that he wants to provide the strongest argument possible in favor of his values and beliefs.

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I can't remember the details because i don't want to fall back down the political YT rabbit hole I'm not going to rewatch to check (sorry) but the video on how 'moderates are effectively republicans' or similar was especially egregious and made some unfair identitarian assumptions iirc.

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Dec 18, 2023·edited Dec 18, 2023

I agree. I self-identify as a left leaning radical centrist, and Dan made the same assumptions that MLK (erroneously) did: if a white moderate isn't actively attacking the racists, then they are part of the problem. "Anti-Racism" is a binary to a rad lefty, not a spectrum. You're in or you're out.

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Do you have any actual examples? What has Musk said about Alex Jones?

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Mostly restoring his X account as well as participating in the "townhall" the other day with Alex Jones, the Tate brothers etc. https://twitter.com/MarioNawfal/status/1733909736385331339

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I watched part of the townhall-- Musk seems to genuinely like Jones. There was a lot of "We like the human race! We must expand into space! The top of the left wants the human race dead!"

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What a weird upside down world...

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Restoring Jones's Twitter account without actually agreeing with him is totally consistent with Musk's stated aim to premit freedom of speech (assuming, that is, that Jones was banned as a result of his views rather than for abusing the platform in some way; I don't pay enough attention to this sort of thing to know whether this is the case).

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Yeah, restoring would have been fine, if cringe. Participating in a meeting where Jones is prominently featured is a different story. The one about sliding towards more extreme and fringe views.

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Not sure why you are bringing up the free speech issue. It's not even related to what I was asking.

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Alex Jones is not a "centrist, pragmatic position".

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"Far-left nutcases -- welcome, but Jones -- banned" is definitely not a "centrist" position, if the term has any meaning.

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Taylor Swift was the biggest recording artist in the 2010s. It's not really surprising that when she did a truly massive concert series for the first time in years. it did gangbusters, although credit as well to her active cultivation and management of a large, obsessive fanbase that helps drive coverage and publicity for her brand.

I can't help but wonder if a backlash will come in 2024, though. She's so heavily exposed and hyped, it kind of seems inevitable - although social media makes that more dangerous now, since artists can weaponize their ultra-fans against critics and upstarts.

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She has gone through at least 2 backlashes already - being rejected from the country scene but not yet accepted by pop; everything she wrote about in Reputation - but is bigger than ever. There may be backlash at some point, but it's unlikely to damager her at all.

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Hasn't the backlash already started?

https://slate.com/culture/2023/11/taylor-swift-brazil-concert-fan-dead-eras-tour-rio.html

I'm not sure if a url counts as a high quality comment, but I mean, the url itself does give a pretty good idea of what happened. Someone died at her concert this year and there's obviously some controversy around that.

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The death happened because of the stadium management's negligence and greet, not the artist.

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Ah, we must've angered the Twitter females already. That was fast!

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Are you daft? How was Swift responsible for the death of an attendee?

The show happened in the middle of a sweltering heatwave, in a football stadium whose owners, Time For Fun, did little to keep fans safe: it placed walls around the middle levels of the stadium to prevent non-paying fans from viewing anything inside, which blocked airflow; it refused to let fans bring in their own water while they waited hours for the show, forcing people to pay inflated prices for the same drink, which itself was in limited supply because the company believed many would pay more for alcohol; and when reports started coming through that many fans were fainting or having health issues, especially those on the floor who stood on metal, heat-absorbing sheets placed over the pitch, the company refused to, at the minimum, provide free water to counteract dehydration.

The situation was bad enough that the Brazilian government said it would open an investigation into the company.

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Ah, but of course, your Great Idol would never have anything to do with that.

I'm sure Brazilian authorities weren't sent death threats by you crazies or anything... they must have just decided to investigate on their own.

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I’m definitely not a fan of swift but she’s not responsible for micro managing local event planners.

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I haven’t seen any discussion of the story about the reaction of big tech to the release of ChatGPT in the Dec. 5 New York Times.

We could start the story in August 2022, when Meta made BenderBot available on the web, which did not gather too much attention. In November 2022, Meta made Galactica available, which was designed to assist scientific researchers. I'll quote the <em>Times</em>: “Someone asked it to write a research paper about the history of bears in space. It did. After three days, Galactica was shut down.”

Meanwhile, OpenAI was struggling to fix problems with GPT-4, particularly surrounding hate speech and misinformation. One idea was to release an older version of the software, in the hopes that the interactions would give the company more insight into those problems. Sam Altman decided to go ahead with “a low key research preview” of the older technology.

Quite unexpectedly, ChatGPT 3.5 was a big hit, getting over a million users in its first five days, and over 100 million over the next few weeks. OpenAI juggled computing resources and managed to handle the load.

The reaction in Silicon Valley was to race to get AI products out the door. Sam Schillace of Microsoft captured the mood when he wrote, “[it would be an] absolutely fatal error in this moment to worry about things that can be fixed later.” Google’s attitude prior to the release of ChatGPT had been, as best I can make out, that they would invest money in AI research but there was no target date for releasing the technology. If they developed an LLM that performed like ChatGPT, their next step would be to try to develop a better LLM, with the hope that after enough iterations they would come up with an LLM that met Google’s safety standards and could be used in a product. But once ChatGPT hit the scene, the goal was to get a product out the door while doing the best they could to address safety issues.

Zuckerburg reorganized Meta to focus on AI, and X.AI probably wouldn't even exist if it weren’t for the release of ChatGPT.

The tech world has a large “winner take all” quality to it, meaning it’s easy to trigger a race where safety concerns are subordinated to getting a product out the door quickly. It’s a bit ironic that OpenAI, for all its professed concern about AI safety, triggered this race, but it’s not clear how anyone could have foreseen that the impact of ChatGPT would be that much different from the impact of BenderBot.

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Putting <em></em> around a word doesn't do anything. Putting asterisks before and after gives you *italics*.

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And then the employees revealing the terrifying extent of the personality cult by unanimously siding with the sociopath wasn't such an encouraging sign for humanity either.

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I posted late in the last open thread and didn't get a reply, so i'm trying my luck again (as I strongly dislike this behaviour, I swear I won't do it again, and apologize):

I just noticed that what I know about HSV-1 (herpes) don't make sense:

1- A large majority of the population carry the virus (per internet & common knowledge)

2- But only a minority sometimes get blisters (per internet & common knowledge)

3- Active blisters are highly contagious (per my physician)

4- But asymptomatic carriers still shed virus 20% of the time (less if they're under antiviral treatment) (per wikipedia)

5- During a blister episode, I should avoid touching it, or wash my hands thorougly afterward, especially before touching any other mucosa (eye, lips, genitals) (per my physician)

From 5-, I assume that a given HSV-1 infection is localized, and that I could get multiple ones if I were careless. But for someone in his 30's who never developed any, is the precaution actually relevant? The odds are high that they're asymptomatic carriers, would a different source of HSV-1 risk causing episodes when the previous one(s?) didn't? And if asymptomatic carriers shed viruses 20% of the time, any time I shake hands with someone, and we don't have super rigorous hand-mouth hygiene, and I rub my eyes afterward, shouldn't I risk getting an infection in the eye?

And if each infection is independent from each other, and asymptomatic carriers shed virus 20% of the time, then shouldn't any unprotected oral sex involve a ~20% (a bit less, for those that aren't carriers) risk of getting a genital infection?

There's something that is wrong, either from the bits I got from wikipedia, from those I got from my physician 20 years ago, or from those I infer.

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I think the standard blood test for HSV-1 is very unreliable. Something like 50% false positives. So it's possible that all those statistics aren't actually true.

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My guess is that 4 and 5 are the kind of more-zealous-than-necessary contagion advice that we got a lot of during covid. It probably is good to avoid touching a blister, and wash one's hands thoroughly afterward, especially before touching any other of your surfaces, but probably not so valuable that it's worth making your life difficult for it. Similarly, although asymptomatic carriers probably "shed virus" some non-negligible fraction of the time, it's probably much lower levels of shedding than someone with an active blister (just like people with covid really are contagious before symptoms reach peak, and for quite a while after, but are a lot *less* contagious than at peak).

If your town really was completely covid free (maybe in early 2020) or herpes free (possible ever?), then it would probably be worth taking some effort with these precautions, but for an ordinary person, probably only the obvious precautions are worthwhile.

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The messaging around HSV is pretty poor. I also object to the habit of doctors not screening for HSV unless pushed because "everyone has it".

In response to your collection of somewhat contradictory "facts", I recall being told that if you have a specific type (HSV1 or HSV2) and outbreaks occur in a specific bodily location, that unless you have a compromised immune system, it is highly unlikely your infection will occur at another place on your body, as the antibodies are there so in a sense you are naturally immune to the same form jumping from place to place.

But who knows for sure? The medical community constantly comes up with contradictory recommendations that seem to be passed through a tight "will the absolute truth really help here, or should we spin things in what we believe to be a utilitarian way?" filter. Or perhaps they just don't know, but like mansplainers and GPT, they can never admit they don't have a pat answer.

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I think the not screening is also because it's apparently quite hard to screen for when you don't have an active blister.

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Yeah the messaging on this has never really totally hung together into a consistent picture.

I had a girlfriend who used to get sores on her lip like once or twice a year which she supposedly got from her mom. Years after dating her I noticed I suddenly one year would get sores on my chin if I was underslept and under a lot of stress.

But after say eight 2-week long outbreaks in 4-5 years, literally just less work stress and more sleep totally ended them. Never any medication or anything. And now I haven't had an outbreak in 10 years. I assume there is some virus deep in my chin flesh somewhere though?

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