Maybe I am having a biased opening right now because I am young and having a lot of troubles with the dating stuff but honestly I think is although technology is progressing really fast . It’s solving most of our problems but still I have noticed technology has failed to solve the problem of frustration due to dating, so I was trying to understand the reason why this is happening maybe is it due to the very high expectations of of the people or is it happening due to We are not able to see that we are same making mistakes again and again, so let’s suppose in the case of woman, I’m quite sure they’re also looking for honest, connections and meeting the Normal people, but since their views are biased they are feeling to recognise the other normal people. they are not able to find the nice people so I was thinking about having a dating app in which it is shown that with how many people this person has talked with so let’s suppose if guy is talking with the 15 girls at a time it need to be shown on the profile that he has having a conversation with 15 girls, or he had talked with almost hundred girls so it will demotivate woman to talk with men who has most desirable characters as shown on their profile, it will make them understand that what they are seeking is also desired by thousands of other girls, and maybe they will try to have a normal standards. Give you chance to other people as well.

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As anyone tried to figure out how many Tom Swifties appear in the actual Tom Swift books? It seems like it might be interesting to investigate, if someone has a way to get the text of the books and run an LLM through them to find the puns.

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Anyone want to help crack this code?


No idea the level of difficulty. This is from a trading firm that my friend works at. I’m sure someone here can get it.

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A flood is coming.


Because everything's on fire.

The prevailing culture for 100 years has been harm reduction. It's not about creating the positive, it's about reducing the negative.

In other words, it's all about putting fires out instead of building them.

And if you ask the people most advanced in this way of thinking to describe a heroic version of their belief system, all they can do is describe someone who doesn't commit any of the horrible sins. (At most, they will engage in the positive act of telling other people to stop engaging in negative acts).

Today's time is defined by our global awareness. This is a great achievement. And it's held up as one by those who trumpet "awareness" and "education" and nouns like that. We know about all the biggest wildfires burning around the world at any given time. We know them intimately, scene by scene, news cycle by news cycle. We will always be like this, because we are proud to be aware and educated and think others should do it more as well.

It can be stressful, though. 100 years ago, millions of people would die of a famine, and most people were unaware and were not made sad by it. It sounds heartless, but maybe that's why Nietzsche said that pity was what made pain contagious.

Today is defined by how aware we are of the largest problems going on all the time. Specifically the largest ones in the world, collectively drawing the attention of just about anyone. We're a new sort of thing, a global community that you can join without even talking with anyone, because it's a Schelling point; anyone looking at the largest world problems knows there's a community of others that must be looking at it with them.

People are proud of this because there's a lot of good in it (this is how we will eventually solve our largest problems), but they are sad because they are thinking about bad things all the time. The human superorganism forms by firing alarm bells, but in these the days of its infancy, it also makes everyone feel powerless to do anything.

But if you can't do anything that will work, you can at least do something you know won't work, and try to get other people to fix their attention on the bad things as well. So the integration of new individuals into the superorganism is progressing anyway.

We have doused the world in water for our fear of fire. Harm reduction means, anything that some people like and some people dislike, is extinguished. The negative experience counts, the postive experience doesn't. How dare you try to find happiness at the cost of hurting someone else? How dare you?

This is why we can't have nice things.

If a parade makes 99 people happy, and 1 offended, it will of course be shut down. Rinse and repeat, and you get a world with fewer and fewer fires. Not a lot of blazes tearing through swamps now, are there? Fire is always a sacrifice of something to create something. But if you're not allowed to make the sacrifice of offending others, you're going to end up creating a lot less.

Yet our time feels like a swamp in some ways, fecund, with our appreciation for earthy witches and Shrek.

But the world feels doused of all warmth and yet burning to pieces at the same time. "No one can say anything, no one can do anything" and "Nothing matters, nothing is true" are postmodern symptoms of minimalism. Minimalism means finding all the flaws and removing them: reducing the negative. It's a great and wise way to be, but taken too far, you end up with nothing.

So, there was a modern age, when we thought we knew what was what. We solved this, we solved that. We cured diseases and ended poverty and mass-produced luxury. Foe after foe fell, and 100 years ago, there was a vision of the future in which humanity continued on to utopia through science and tolerance.

But it turns out many of those successes were just low-hanging fruit. We can't just keep solving our problems by removing the bad bits of things forever. That's what postmodernism did to that visionary, modern age, and is doing. But the so-called successes of postmodernism were the result of of it pruning the excesses off of the highly productive modern era. It did not create of itself, but only polished that which another made.

And now that it has run its course and far past it, things feel very empty for a lot of people. Nothing matters, there are 10 global wildfires burning at any given moment, nothing you do in your personal life has any effect on the real problems (so why even bother putting your life in order?), none of the dousing of every flame in sight has been enough, so all you can do is call for a flood unlike any before.

On the climate change front, that's dousing a lot of industry. On the religious front, it means atheism. On the artistic front, empty chaos. On design, sleek, simple, elegant, and (post)modern.

But we have seen the errors of our ways. Some people are saying we need to go back to modernism. But there’s no going back; there never is and there never was. There’s only forward, and bringing along the best of modernism and postmodernism into the next step: metamodernism.

Postmodernism is minimalist; metamoderism is maximalist. It is Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, the best metamodern movie, and the most metamodern of all metamodern movies, which is extra meta-metamodern of it to be.

American has always had a hint of metamodernsim, ahead of its time. The great melting pot, the biggest and the most, the best and the greatest and the most good and the strongest and the best of the best.

But before metamodernism saves the day (before leading to its own unique series of challenges), there is a flood coming. The global community of the news-followers and the biggest problems-trackers is growing. There’s no system in place designed to exercise power based on the beliefs of a group of people at the global scale, not if the group is a minority in each country. But collectively, it is growing past the size of the most powerful countries on the planet. And just because all of that will hasn’t been harnessed systematically yet, that doesn’t mean it’s going to go slow once it happens. Once this unprecedented level of global consciousness and communication finds a way to mobilize, it will suddenly become a global superpower. And its general shape is toward extreme harm reduction. It has been an enemy to fun, and to comedy, and to the sacred (it calls taking anything very seriously “cringe” (fire is the element of cringe, water is the element of cool (but well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder - Hey Jude))).

We will make our own flood. We are getting ready to bring terrible control to bear to snuff out the last sources of harm around the world. And if it turns out that life is the source of harm, then that puts it on the chopping block next.

But I believe the wiser response is more or less inevitable. It’s just a question of how much we’ll suffer along the way. I have high hopes that we can smooth the process as much as possible and close the case on our current problems and get on to our next challenges to face.

Postmodernism is all about removing flaws. So, we look at everyone’s belief systems, and no one can make an airtight case for their system over the others’. Every system can be criticized in a huge way, and remember that ours is the age in which teaching “critical thinking” is the whole purpose of our educational system at its best. This is how postmodernism judges all the modern visions of the world, eliminates them because they all have flaws, and then ends up with nothing.

But we can let go of our critical postmodern approach to relating with each other. We can appreciate the best that is within each tradition. That is the metamodern way. Find all the good and all the beauty within each tradition and love it, and learn from it. Feel for yourself how others find God through their sacred traditions. Loving the good in other individuals and other groups and other systems is the key to understanding what is missing in them as well. Through this love and understanding, we will re-ignite the fires of passion, color, and adventure that have been coolly mocked out of our world. We can re-enchant our lives and find the faith to dream of a bright future again, to get our act together and our families and communities together and solve our problems. We will discover how much we share in common with our brothers and sisters who seek the divine in their other ways, what we can respect and admire about each other, what we can enjoy together and learn from each other.

So with the flood coming, chaos is coming. We have no idea which industries are going to be utterly transformed by AI in the next 5 years. I mean, we don’t know how AI will disrupt things 2 years from now, but we REALLY don’t know what the world will look like 5 years from now. Artists, writers, lawyers, doctors, at least. The education, retail, and restaurant industries are coming.

Maybe we have a model in Peterson’s and Pageau’s Subsidiary Identity. We need strong connections collected into hierarchies so that signals can pass up hierarchy and affect the top-down perception of things and influence its decision-making. Strong people making strong families and communities, getting their cities in order, and so on. Because when you don’t know what to prepare for, you invest in social capital and healthy institutions so you can be ready to mobilize when novel problems present themselves.

I think history has brought us here, from the visions of modernism, which seem somewhat naive in retrospect, to the criticism of postmodernism, which ironically pedestalizes flaw-removal, to the embrace of coming chaos that metamodernism is specialized for. And if we start smoothing the transition into this next step in history, perhaps we can minimize the destruction of the flood.

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Does anyone know the original study referred to here?

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Regarding "from the river to the sea" in Germany, the situation is more complicated than the correction says. German law forbids the usage of symbols of all unconstitutional or terrorist organizations (think swastikas when used in a fascist context). The law does not name any specific banned symbols or organizations, so that determination is up to the courts. However, states (who run German police departments) write guidelines for their prosecutors and police on what they currently consider banned. In this case, Berlin and several other federal states including Bavaria, added that slogan to their lists.

Some local courts (afaict Cologne and Berlin) have said disagreed saying the slogan is covered by freedom of speech. But that doesn't mean it is “unbanned”, as there hasn't been a decision on it by a high court (and, incidentally, German courts are not as bound by precedent as one may imagine coming from the US system). The authorities in Bavaria (Germany's arguably most conservative federal state) seems to maintain their position and it is plausible that a Bavarian court would ignore the decisions from Berlin and Cologne.

There is also a relatively famous retired German judge, Thomas Fischer, who says the slogan is forbidden, but not because it is a symbol of a terrorist organization, but because using it is constitutes an endorsement of the crimes of Hamas (which is also forbidden, but by another law): https://www.lto.de/recht/meinung/m/frage-fische-jubel-terror-hamas/7

The German Wikipedia has a bit more detail if anyone is interested: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_River_to_the_Sea#Deutschland

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I feel bad for Purpleopolis. Sure, that comment seems to generalize as if all liberals were in the same category and could have been written in a more targeted way - but did you notice all the liberal support for Hamas? It's not pretty.

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Are there any online primary care physicians that accept Medi-Cal? I need a referral.

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Hi, I've only been commenting here for a couple of months so there's a good chance you don't know who I am or what I'm up to.

What I'm up to is making the world a place a place I'd like (even) more than society as it currently is.

Thus far most of my audience is compromised of people with religious sentiments and jargon of the monotheistic tradition. Probably because my credentials are as an ordained orthodox rabbi.

But what we want is similar to what most people want. What you want. All I can do is speak the language of my audience.

I snuck an introduction to dawkinsian memetics into my recent video and, judging by how poorly that single minute did as a youtube short (1 Like per 100 views) vs how well the full video did (1 like per 30 views) I think I struck the right balance of scientific thinking within a video otherwise filled with religious language.

But of course, just as there are shorthand terms that I can use with Bible Appreciators that would leave areligious rationalists unmoved, there are concepts and understandings that would take a lot of heavy lifting to explain to the aforementioned demographic which could be more easily understood and built upon by people of a decidedly rational bent.

So I hope that you will watch my video with an open heart and a curious mind, and invite others to join us of similar discernment.

Each of us have only so many days left. Our society is disappointing. It's plain that a million things could be made better with a tad of charitable listening, friendly assumption, and public aknowledgment of the very many truths that we know but for reasons of practicality we pretend not to know for our safety.

The crown of kingship lies in the gutter, let us rescue it with our bravery and invite the better world that all previous generations dreamed of.

Or at least join a cool movement of people having real fun while so few others dare to do so.


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If you have fond memories of the first season of the show "True Detective," you might be interested to know that the fourth season launched last week. This season is set in Alaska, and has a pair of detectives investigating the disappearance of a group of scientists. As in the first season, there's some grotesque violence, plenty of back-woods baggage, and some mystic woo. And there are connections to the first season: the names Cole and Tuttle have featured prominently. Recommended, based on the first two episodes.

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There's a new clinic treating depression using the methods of the Heligenfeld clinics in Germany. They claim that this is a successful method. Comments?

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Has any done a deep analysis of the art market post-AI?

I used to believe it would morph from the ludicrous money-maker of the 2010s into a sort of small-scale handicraft goods market a-la Etsy, but when you stop and think, maybe this idea doesn't hold water. Etsy handicrafts survive largely for two reasons: (1) They're made of high-quality materials that mass manufacturers don't use, and (2) they're hand-made which means broadly higher quality compared to retail goods. The problem is that point (1) is irrelevant for digital art, and point (2) is irrelevant because, unlike e.g. assembly-line "handicrafts" made for Walmart, there is no financial pressure to cut corners or use cheaper materials. When you tell an AI to paint a robot like Van Gogh, it's going to do a great job. Maybe you disagree -- AI Van Gogh paintings have inferior composition, much worse shading, all the strokes are painted the same way, etc. But you must realize 90% of the public cannot see these details. To them, AI Van Gogh is already near perfect.

Now, AI art is absolutely everywhere. Clearly it's good enough for most people (Low standards or whatever, but hey). So this sector of "generic, but competent" artists is taking the biggest hit. Particularly for things where people don't care about the art, but some kind of art is assumed, so they hire an illustrator for cheap. This market was probably never lucrative since asset libraries, stock images, and subtle plagiarism has been kicking at its heels for ages. AI has utterly transformed this sector of art, and things will never be the same. But then we have the Patreon/Pixiv market of artists with unique styles. We know that AI can replicate virtually any style to a decent degree. But surprisingly, this doesn't seem to be threatening this other sector of art very much.

There's 2 ways to view this. Naturally, clients who seek out a particular artist for a commission will have much higher art standards, and find AI art unsatisfying. While an AI version of someone's style could be cleaned up into a good product, right now that requires art skill which limits who can do it. But is there a risk that someday, AI art stops spitting out monstrosities with 7 fingers on a single hand, and miraculously gains the composition knowledge and brush techniques to faithfully imitate Van Gogh? Yeah, absolutely it's gonna happen eventually. The question is, will this replace all artists? Ultimately, I don't think so.

There's a part of human psychology which compels (most of) us to pay things we can easily get for free. On paper, pirating could easily kill the games industry, but in practice it's left hardly any impact. Hell, many people pirate games to try them out, and if they like them, they buy the game on Steam. Same goes with the "Pay what you want" model of digital goods. You're free to pay $00.00, but in practice most people pay $3.00 or $5.00 or $10.00. So when we have Patreon or Pixiv artists with a unique style, we feel that using AI to copy their art is like piracy. Naturally, a contingent of people will "pirate" the work, but most people feel compelled to reward the artist for their deed and pay anyway. In fact, you'll notice most AI art isn't even in the style of any particular artist -- the guys paying Patreon subs aren't chomping at the bit to replace their favorite artists with AI. The market just continues as before, unbothered.

So in other words, there's no need to speculate whether the consumer art market will turn into Etsy or not. Because we know what kind of market it is -- it's like Steam -- and even when you can obtain a 1:1 copy of the product for free, 99% of people will pay anyway.

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To correct any misconceptions people may have about the California Forever project (terrible name btw), I'll quote this from their promotional material:

"And the plan we have put forward is not ”sprawl” either - it’s medium-density, high-quality urbanism. And again, the plan even has a legally binding minimum density standard to make sure we hold ourselves accountable to our walkability goals. We are literally prohibiting ourselves from building sprawl."


I guess it's too much to hope for someone in California to propose letting property owners make their own decisions about density.

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I read _Meditation on Moloch_. I would like to suggest the reading of a very short tale to anybody who wants to keep meditating on that issue: _Useless Beauty_ by Guy de Maupassant.

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Has anyone watched a film called Bodies Bodies Bodies?

I watched it last night and decided that rational fiction it ain't but the main character's cleavage made up for the fact that everyone onscreen was an idiot.

Then I googled the film afterwards and found out it was supposed to be a comedy. This was a bigger twist than anything in the film itself. We'd just watched it all the way through and there were no hints or foreshadowing at all.

I laughed exactly once, and that was in incredulity at the dialogue. (All the way through, we were wondering whether the screenwriter was Gen Z and this was how they actually sounded, or whether they were 30 years old and trying their best to sound like Kids These Days. The lines that made me laugh were the ones that made me come down hard on hypothesis B.)

The internet says the film was actually a parody/satire of Gen Z - if I'd known the film was actually trying to be funny with those lines I don't think I'd have laughed at them.

Anyway, two good reasons to watch the film, and scriptwriting these days has gone to the dogs.

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I continue to publish things, this time a sort of journal-entry on what it's like to be in my 3rd year of psychiatric residency. Much less technical than what I usually write, which was a nice break from feeling like I need to relentlessly research every statement I make. I think you might enjoy it if you've ever been curious about what psychiatry training is like


P.S. Scott, I am mindful that I keep posting my work here - if you think it's excessive just let me know.

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Just here to say thank you to Scott for featuring my Substack on his recommendation list, and to plug it shamelessly to other readers.

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Can someone who works in the field or "understands the science" at a deep level explain how the image manipulations that apparently have prompted requested retractions of six and corrections of 31 papers by Harvard researchers could be interpreted as anything other than deliberate, serious misconduct? (See: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2024/1/22/dana-farber-issues-corrections/ and https://forbetterscience.com/2024/01/02/dana-farberications-at-harvard-university/). The WSJ (gated, unfortunately) article on the papers and researchers quotes an uninvolved scientist as saying that some of the "errors" are "straightforward mistakes." (On the other hand, he says, “There’s a handful that seem more egregious.”) It could be that the issues are too technical to understand without an adequate technical background. I'm a little skeptical, though, having a much better understanding of the plagiarism issues that have surfaced in the social sciences and humanities and the attempts to dismiss them as "sloppy citation practices."

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My random question is: I am not certain but it seems as most people in the rationality-sphere are moral anti-realists (I am not). How does this jive with also being an effective altruist? I.e., wouldn't moral realism help motivate EA's better?

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I'm back to thinking about how we teach things.

I was trying to explain the water cycle to my kid. (The child is less than two months old and fell asleep halfway though. This was more an exercise in talking to it lots so it hears English. Nevertheless, there will be a test and if the child fails to demonstrate an acceptable amount of knowledge I'm going to throw it in the pond.)

Anyway, I started with how water is a useful liquid, but how the water particles near the top can easily get warm and bounce out of the liquid and into the air. Which means that the air around you is actually full of water. You can feel when the air is more wet or dry, and we call that the "humidity". The amount of water the air can hold is related to how hot and/or pressurised it is. So when you're in the shower you can feel that the air itself is really humid; if you stop running the hot water, the temperature falls and the air itself gets drier as the water condenses onto the shower glass. You can then watch as the water forms little droplets and runs down the glass as a liquid again, back to join the water on the ground.

Then I mentioned you can scale the whole thing up and, because air gets colder the higher you go, the water condenses (around dust particles instead of the shower glass) and that's how you get clouds. Then we went on a lengthy digression about surface tension and erosion, as I tried to explain how water flows in neat streams and rivers even though rain falls evenly across the whole surface of the land. Then, there being too many witnesses at the pond, I took the child home.

The thing is, when I try to remember how I myself learned about the water cycle - I have one image of a circle of four words ("precipitation", "evapouration", etc) joined by brightly coloured arrows. I think they might even have pushed the boat out and drawn a picture next to each arrow for me (a cloud, a river, etc). But that was it.

Missing from that picture was any visceral understanding of what it is that's going on. I was able to match the label with the definition and the icon, which counted as Knowing It at the time, but which I don't feel counts as Knowledge now.

I can think of many occasions where we were learning stuff and all we were actually doing was just remembering how different tokens related to each other. And it was always a pet peeve of mine, even through University, when the format of the diagrams/illustrations (through their choice of arrow colour, etc) implied some logic about the subject that wasn't true in reality.

Thing is, if I don't count knowing the word "precipitation" to be real Knowledge, but I do count being able to talk about shower condensation and humidity and rivers flowing downhill and so on: what is the real property I'm trying to quantify here?

In the past I've held that you can dissect Science subjects into [Facts to Memorise], [History of X], and [problem solving], where I mentally see the facts to memorise as collections of colourful diagrams, animations, interactive minigames, etc, the history as the story of how we learned all these colourful facts in the first place, and the problem solving is basically the completely separate skill of Maths/Stats/Engineering, just using whatever equations this particular field of science chose to hand to you.

But the extra quality I'm looking for above isn't on the problem-solving side, yet it's not just memorising facts (ie, tokens and symbols.) It's something more interesting that entails being conversant with systems, able to visualise interactions and predict outcomes, etc.

I'd like to put whatever that is in a bottle and work out how you teach it.

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If I were looking for as extensive as possible a data set on human height, where would you suggest me to look?

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New replication: I find that the results in Moretti (AER 2021) are caused by coding errors.


I'm also launching a Patreon to support my replication work.


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I've got Sleeper Agents on my mind. I've spent last week reading the paper and comments from people online. I have a few comment myself that I'll gather in a separate post, but here I just wanted to say that it feels amazing to be able to see a new field of research at its very beginning!

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Anyone have any experience in the publishing world? I'm working toward launching a very boutique little publishing company and would love to bend the ear of someone with more knowledge/experience than me.

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> Thanks to everyone who reminded me to go through the moderation backlog. I’ve permabanned...

Scott is back and he's like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfvLcozLwtE

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I recently had an interesting book club experience. It is a group of mostly pretty centrist/heterodox formerly lefty professors/professionals, mostly retired and gay, two serious libertarians. Generally extremely anti-Trump, but also very anti-"woke".

Interestingly this month a very lefty professor comes, who has clashed strongly with the "un-PC" comments of a few of the group before, and is definitely a bit "woke".

Anyway she retired about 5 years ago and sort of stuck up for Gay a bit (basically saying Admins don't do much so who cares about her credentials).

So I put to her my theory that academia is sort of like the monasteries of the late renaissance (still providing a valuable function, but ultimately losing relevance as the primary place where knowledge is produced). I suggested they will need to be replaced by some other model because I just don't think they are salvageable due to their culture.

Anyway her being a lefty, semi-woke, person and a lifelong professor who doesn't agree with me on a lot of things, I expected a lot of pushback, maybe even some dismissiveness/anger.

Instead she told me that when she retired she had the strong sense that she was fleeing a burning building that was about to collapse and that she agrees the current model is super fucked and falling apart.

Makes me a lot more confident in my viewpoint.

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Is a reliable lie detector possible? It may use any modern technology--fMRI, EEG, AI monitoring facial expressions, etc.

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Reading George Eliot the other day, a character dies (spoiler). It's very sad, because she's gentle and good and she leaves behind six children and a husband. And she has time to say goodbye to her children and husband, when she knows she's dying. What does she say?


She reminds them of their duties. She tells the eldest girl to take care of the younger ones. She tells the younger children to be good for the eldest girl. She tells her husband he was a good husband.

If you're like me, you assumed she would tell her children she loved them, because that's the very first thing I would think to do if I knew I were dying. Hell, lots of people tell their children they love them every day, or multiple times a day.

Has anyone written a history of "I love you?" How did these words become so mandatory and routine that they are the first thing we think to tell our children when saying goodbye, and also so powerful and dangerous that saying them to someone you're dating can seriously freak them out and potentially end the relationship?

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Why hasn’t quantification of rumination become a standard tool in mental health treatment? Is it that the connection to symptoms isn’t robust enough? You’d think it could be useful for assessing severity and treatment progress.

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If you have cluster headaches or severe migraines (or know someone who does), please email me at ishaan[at]koratkar[dot]com.

I read about Scott Adams’s experience curing his spasmodic dysphonia, and thought that what he did could be used to build a system (“search algorithm”?) to cure strange life impairments of the type doctors and Google can only give vague general recommendations for. To do this, I want to collate a lot of participants with a similar issue, and systematically review ideas for causes and methods for relief.

For context, my dad, extended family, and a close friend have severe migraines/cluster headaches. Most of what I’ve found on the topic is not a permanent cure or alternately costs a lot and has bad side effects. If you know a lot about this topic and think something else, please email me also, I’d love to ask you questions.

For clarity, this will be at zero cost and the results and analysis will be uploaded to something like my profile Substack “Career Scouting” as a neutral database for anyone.

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The first article I read on Aeon 8 years ago really grabbed me. It was about a woman who found herself having sex that she didn't want to be having. She wondered if she had been raped. Decades earlier, I found myself in a similar situation but it never occurred to me that I had been raped.


Is it different for girls? Should it be? How come?

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Are “secular religions” a thing? Is that stretching the term “religion” way beyond its meaning or is there no real difference? I’d particularly like to hear from people who think essentialism is a fallacy. How do you reason about this kind of thing?

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1: as I commented much, explaining the legal basis (or lack thereof) for a "river-to-sea"-ban, I shall go contrarian again and tell now of actual "censorship" in Germany: 1. Car-plates! and 2. slogans "All for love" 1. No car-plates allowed with the letters: KZ, HJ, NS, SA, SS - As everyone knows, German car plates consist of 1-2 (seldom 3) letter(s) for the town (B=Berlin / PB=Paderborn) then another 1 or 2 letters chosen by the car owner plus a number (from 1 to 9999). Thus 88 or 18 might get banned some places, as - in Hamburg - "IS" or - more obviously: HH 18 / HH 88 / HH 1933. SK-IN is banned, as is IZ-AN and HEI-L. In my city, HJ used to be ok (SA/SS never were), B-DM seems to be ok in Berlin, still. "Z" is becoming an issue, too

2. 'All for love' is fine, "all for Germany" is not: 'Alles für Deutschland' was a slogan of the SA (I studied history and did not know - the SA got dismantled in 1934 to sooth the army.) "Arbeit macht frei" (as the smoke in the sky) is banned, too. Praise our courts. Thus, Björn Höcke, the head (and face) of the East German part of the xenophop AfD, got accused for concluding a speech: "All for our homeland, all for Saxony, all for Germany!"

https://www.lto.de/recht/meinung/m/fischer-hcke-alles-fuer-deutschland-strafbarkeit/ (German, the tl;dr is a the end, be careful google-translating legal language - I do agree with Prof Fischer about Höcke knowingly using the SA-phrase. I doubt prosecuting him for this use is helpful, no matter the result.)

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will there be a post about the results of the https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/2023-prediction-contest I wonder who the winners are

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The decline of trust is widely spoken about (although not as clear in the rest of the world as in the USA) as a problem of *perception*, but I haven't seen much effort to check if the general public's view on this question is, essentially, correct, with 'most people' instead being replaced by 'people I interact with in my country'. I've moved around and travelled a decent amount, and that chart strikes me as broadly directionally accurate?

It seems roughly in line with my completely anecdotal experience that I can trust about 70% of Norwegians, just over 40% of Canadians and under 40% of Americans, about 30% of Brits, and between 10-20% of ... everyone in that bottom left quadrant.

Taking this graph of trust vs GDP/capita (taken, in turn, from Dan Gardner's post on the topic: https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2Fe325f460-454d-48a5-9dd7-f247c6c6c41c.heic?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Original post: https://dgardner.substack.com/p/dont-trust-the-trust-decline?utm_source=%2Finbox&utm_medium=reader2

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(Banned)Jan 22·edited Jan 22

The politics of 2024 are becoming a test of our grip on reality. In this case, I'm talking about the October 7th "truther" groups in the U.S. who claim the Gaza attacks were a false flag. The group suggests that Israel was behind the massacre so that it could justify genocide in Gaza. What they are ignoring is that the Hamas attacks are the most documented in history. I'm appalled that anyone could convince others, let alone themselves, into believing such a notion. At a November Oakland City Council meeting a city employee shouted “Israel murdered their own people on October 7." Lies and distortions betray us. Have we abandoned our sense of skepticism? This behavior is contrary to our collective responsibility to perceive reality. The internet has the power to erase history. Don't let it.

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Any success stories anyone can give who has done tDCS?

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On banning I am conducting an n=1 trial of operating on substack under my real name and it does seem to keep me politer - there's fora where avatars of me are no longer welcome.

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I want to find the names of men who served in Troop "A" of the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized), who liberated the town where I live on June 21st 1944. So far I've found 2 and now need to contact various US Army records entities for a complete list, hopefully with their home town details. Does anyone know of any particularly good forums I should then join to try to surface things like photos, diaries etc? I'm already awash with original operational documents produced by the Squadron commander and afterwards by Army education facilities. I'm a journalist intending to support the 80th anniversary commémorations here with the story of Troop "A" and memories of those men from their relatives today.

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So I read HDM again recently (specifically the subtle knife). I am not a psychiatrist but iiuc (a) Will's mother had pretty classic schizophrenia and (b) that should actually be pretty treatable, especially if you have someone to make sure you're taking your medication. Which raises the question... Was Will actually responsible for making his mother being sick by hiding her illness?

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Here's a kind of proposal, in a weaker and a stronger form:

Weaker: Not all, but most popular music produced in the last 50 or so years, that has lyrics, is about love/sex/romance

Stronger: Not all, but most music that has lyrics is about love/sex/romance

Is any one of these true, and if so, why? I personally have a hunch towards the weaker form being true, but legitimately stumped as to why. I've heard the usual explanation - love and romance and sex is the ultimately relatable human experience - but it doesn't seem believable that it explains SUCH an overwhelming majority of cases. Has anybody written a serious long treatment of this that I can read?

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

For those who have experienced the peer review process, I wonder if your experience makes you surprised or leaves you unsurprised by the following experiences of mine: is this sort of thing common in your area of interest if you are a researcher?

1. A few weeks ago, a preprint of mine was rejected after six months, with the principal explanation given being that it was sent to three specialists for a quick opinion, and none of them had responded at all (so no referee report or a quick opinion). And that non-exceptional articles published in the journal had to have a certain page-limit which my article exceeded: which I hadn't found on the journal page while submitting, and which I found was violated by a majority of the articles in the last published volume.

2. Last week, another preprint was rejected, this time in slightly less than six months, with about 750 word "quick report" from someone who said it was quite far from their expertise, that they are interested in the area in which the preprint was written but do not engage in research in it themselves, and that the editor should disregard everything they have to say. Despite saying this, the "quick report" had about 750 words, mostly complaining a lot about how various things in part of the introduction were not clear, saying that the results based on which the paper should really be judged were in another part of the introduction they did not read, and that the editor should look for experts to referee it. Sharing this with me, the editor said that after "quick reports" (plural, but only one was shared with me), they decided not initiate a full referee process, because it seemed that it would be difficult in any case to convince the editorial board to publish it: i.e., they don't want what will certainly be a further delay of at least several months for me.

These shocked me especially because the latter was unlike anything I had seen till then: an elaborate appearance of a show-trial and yet refraining from asserting a concrete opinion. I didn't understand why a non-report should take about six months. To be honest, for a moment I had even wondered if there was sublimated racism. But I asked some colleagues, and their response was that this happens every now and then because journals, when they get too many papers and have to reject, often resort to such expedients. It is unrealistic to give anywhere near a fair trial for all papers, and they don't want to commit to saying that certain papers are bad, and it seems easiest to make a ritual of a fake trial which typically will be accepted without questioning as a sort of realpolitik. It is apparently a problem that globally, the numbers of students and publications have increased, and the number of journals and their page limits haven't kept up. They assured me that it is nothing racist or personal, that it happens to all sorts of people, and that I can simply submit it to another journal without much fear that this would repeat.

If you have engaged with peer review, have you had anything like this, or other weird experiences?

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if you, like me, are a big fan of ACX, then you may also like all my other favorite reads over the years: I just published this list of my top 1% favorites, for the past three years: https://npfoss.notion.site/Reading-Log-22dd3a2649644c1baa74b621faae9bda

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

How valuable is social media status? I'm thinking about value broadly, as a proxy for connection to ideas, opportunities, and as a warm introduction. Specifically, we can think of three scenarios:

1. A new technology arises. How does a large follower base help you increase your proximity to that technology in terms of understanding, access, and the ability to work on it?

2. You lost your job. How much does your follower base help you get a new one?

3. You were unceremoniously dumped. Does having followers significantly help you find someone new?

Taking Twitter/X as an example: on the one hand, you have meme accounts and "walking memes" (i.e., hyper-specialized human accounts like Bill Pulte) that have lots of followers, but their generic masses of followers don't seem to be particularly valuable unless you have status elswhere. On the other hand, you have high value communities like tpot and building in public, who do seem to have useful connections, if quite few. What is the relative value of, say, a tpot follower vs a generic twitter follower?

Have you benefitted from your social media following?

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It's great to see the rules getting enforced! Thanks for the bans. As I was reading through some of them it reminded me why I often find it so hard to have discussions on reddit and how much more constructive it is here.

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Being Bayesian

Recently you discussed the lab leak theory of the origin of Covid, and stated that your updated probability of this being true in the light of some new information had not changed much due to the information being “one data point”. This is a misunderstanding. Bayesian updating of a prior is done using the likelihood ratio only - the number of datapoints that contribute to that likelihood ratio is irrelevant (unlike the “frequentist” approach where the sample size formally affects uncertainty). A single datapoint can have a very large likelihood ratio and affect the posterior probability profoundly.

As an example, consider the two prominent Covid origin hypotheses, lab leak (L) and wet market (W), and the single datapoint that the virus originated in Wuhan. Likelihood is the probability of the <data> given the <hypothesis>. According to Wikipedia there are 3 high-level viral labs in China where gain-of-function research is carried out, one of those in Wuhan. The likelihood of <virus arose in Wuhan> if hypothesis L is true is thus 1/3. The number of wet markets in China is not so clear but I am going to use a conservative estimate of 3000. The likelihood of <virus arose in Wuhan> if hypothesis W is true is thus 1/3000. From the above the single datapoint “virus arose in Wuhan” gives a likelihood ratio of 1:1000, and has a profound effect on the posterior probability.

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Does anyone know whether Robin Hanson is still standing by his 2016 predictions in Age of Em that ems created through brain uploading will be transformative to society before AIs are? https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/05/28/book-review-age-of-em/

His predictions (including estimating that it would take 400 years to reach human-level AI) don't seem to have aged well in the 8 years since (the "Age of LLM"?). But it's possible he'd stand by it.

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Was the mainstream position on COVID in February 2020 essentially the correct one and the Rationalist position essentially wrong, when looking in retrospective? If governments did ~nothing to stop Covid back in March 2020, we would’ve avoided lockdowns, border closures, lots of political hysteria, rapid inflation, loss of trust in vaccines, etc - at the cost of a few million premature deaths of elderly people.

So was it really all that rational for the Rationality community to take precautions rather than encouraging a “let it rip” approach? We did have good mortality data from South Korea by late February 2020 so it’s not like this could be blamed on the lack of data - and by end of March 2020 there was plenty of it from the U.S. as well, yet the rationality community remained resolute in avoiding personal gatherings.

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My wife defended her PhD in computational neuroscience this past week, so if you know of any jobs that need expertise in modeling neuromechanical control strategies, NODEs, EEG data, 8+ semesters of teaching graduate level statistics (she's a whiz with R), or an exhaustive knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have the prefect candidate for you. She would prefer to stay in biological data/wearables world if possible, but is keeping an open mind. We currently live in the middle of nowhere while I'm finishing my PhD, so remote is a must.

General suggestions about job searching are also appreciated. Right now the unemployment rate is reported as super low, labor force participation is high, and the US is adding bunches of jobs every month, but anecdotally pretty much every member of my immediate family has been laid of from their long tenured white collar/information sector job and is having tons of trouble finding new employment. I know about problems in the tech sector, but it seems like there more a general malaise in white collar jobs paying more than 80k a year. Anyone else experiencing this?

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I've been seeing these YouTube ads for a new perfume that supposedly contains pheromones that trigger arousal. I'm pretty sure it's BS but is there any evidence that the human brains responds to pheromones of any kind? It's my understanding that mammals aren't as pheromone sensitive as insects, but you've got secretions like musk which are specifically designed to trigger other mammals through scent. Any chance of a residual sensitivity to certain types of odors beyond the obvious smell good/smell bad?

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Jan 22·edited Jan 22

Consumer spending makes up a bit over two-thirds of the US economy. So if there was some kind of widespread AI automation of white collar jobs..... wouldn't we almost immediately enter a serious recession/new Great Depression/worse, due to depressed consumer demand? People who have not only recently lost their job, but also don't see the prospect of working again in their sector due to it being automated, are not exactly great spenders. AIs are not themselves spending money to prop up the US economy unless we enter some radically new phase of species evolution. I see all this handwaving that lots of white collar jobs are going to be automated in the future, but I don't think pundits have really thought through the 2nd & 3rd order effects of what widespread automation would entail. At some point society is motivated to *not* automate a ton of middle class & upper middle class jobs.

(Yes yes I know that automation may never happen, that in the past people have made predictions about huge job losses that have not come true, and so on. Your boring canard about 'that's just what the Luddites said!' is not the point of the discussion. This is meant to be a fun thought exercise about the effects of widespread automation on society, not a specific prediction)

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Hi, in early 2021 I posted here regarding the COVID vaccines. At that time I said that I thought the dangers of a new variety of medical treatment outweighed the stated benefits of the vaccines. At the time the prevailing attitude was that my opinion was not rational. I'm now 39 and have COVID twice and still have not received any vaccines. My opinion remains basically the same, I'm curious where people here stand now.

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Trying to teach my 11-year-old daughter prealgebra using this book: https://artofproblemsolving.com/store/book/prealgebra

To say it is not going well is an understatement. Her arithmetic skills are fine, but she is really struggling with understanding the general approach of using abstract mathematical properties in various demonstrations (e.g., use the definition of subtraction [a - b = a + (-b)] to show that -11 - 13 = - (11 + 13)). She has memorized the algebraic forms of the various properties (e.g., the distributive property is a(b+c) = ab + ac), but she can't "see" where to apply them, nor that the variables can stand for whole expressions rather than just single numbers. So we're slowly working through the book, but I don't get the sense that she's really mastering or learning anything. Plus she has a bunch of vague slogans in her head taught at school that she's either mis-remembering or misapplying interfering with everything as well. It also doesn't help that she hates trial and error, and gets very upset if she doesn't know how to do something correctly.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to proceed? I'm assuming at this point that it's a failure of pedagogy on my part, and maybe some more practice would help (but practice with what, exactly?). Or is there some other way to explain these sorts of abstractions to someone having trouble with them? Any books/videos that have helped you teach mathematical reasoning to kids? Maybe I should just make a zillion practice problems and eventually her math pattern-matcher will come online? That doesn't sound like fun, but I'm not sure what else to do. Or I could just wait until she's older, but I would like her to be able to take the more advanced math classes in middle school.

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I was on here before discussing the possibility of keeping an adult submerged long-term as part of a short story about ocean colonization. I finished the short story and have been wondering more about practical applications. There is an existent formula for artificial amniotic fluid which seems to be as simple as a series of dissolved salts:

Na+ (Sodium): 109 mM

Cl− (Chloride): 104 mM

HCO3− (Bicarbonate): 19 mM

K+ (Potassium): 6.5 mM

Ca2+ (Calcium): 1.6 mM

pH: 7.0–7.1

Osmolarity: 235.8 mOsm kg−1 water

I was hoping to get some feedback on problems that might arise with this kind of ocean colonization; not of the seasteading variety, but non-bio-engineered semi-aquatic humans. It seems to me a simple heating and filtering pump system connected to a waterproof suit might suffice, with room for protocols involving the use of dry-breaks and the application of soap powder or anti-biotics to maintain skin health (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/13129/). I am not a doctor or an engineer but I have been considering performing a simple series of real-world tests for the idea just as entertainment or for YouTube, culminating in the creation of an ocean campsite(?) with solar panels and protective cage. There might be a number of guinness records that would be easy to break with this tech.


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The Der Durchwanderer ban seems like it may be excessive. User seems to have been banned for saying that the only reason to use preferred pronouns, rather than pronouns matching biological sex is to avoid having people yell at you on the internet. This seems like an actual idea that can be debated on its merits, unlike other banned comments that consisted of substanceless ad hominem attacks, and the like.

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I recently read the book Chaos (Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties) by Tom O’Neill, and I was wondering if its various claims have been vetted by someone who knows about the subject. Assuming that O’Neill’s representing his material fairly, it does sound likely that Manson was working as some kind of police informant; that higher-ups pulled strings to keep their asset out of prison; that he then went too far (viz. he orchestrated some of the most visible and sensational murders of the century) and everyone in an embarrassed fit tried to cover up their role in keeping this guy on the streets.

Further along the tinfoil-hat spectrum, I was very interested to learn that psychiatrist/MKUltra participant Jolly West—a man whose research focused on (among other things) inducing psychosis through drugs and hypnosis—lobbied to see Jack Ruby immediately after his arrest; was rejected (because: who is this guy?) but persevered, and was finally permitted after others had analyzed Ruby and found him perfectly sane. West and Ruby were alone together in Ruby’s cell for a while, and then West emerged, and said (essentially), “The weirdest thing, guys! Sometime between when everyone else was talking to Ruby and now, the guy’s gone nuts!” And sure enough, Ruby was at that point crazy, and would remain so the remaining few years of his life.

Can that be true? I understand that Ruby had done at least one crazy, or at least impulsive, thing before meeting West (shooting a guy in public); was West’s extended private interview not actually the watershed moment for Ruby’s madness?

I don’t usually subscribe to conspiracy theories (while aware that the CIA et al. have, you know, conspired quite a bit), but the West/Ruby angle keeps gnawing at me.

Nevertheless, everything I know about Manson comes from two mass-market potboilers (Helter Skelter and The Family) read decades ago, so I’m no position to tell if O’Neill’s a fudger or not. Is there a more thorough debunking/supporting than I've found? Thoughts?

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Why did American, and Western in general, opinion about supporting Ukraine change so much?


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I'm offering my volunteer services for minor personal coding jobs as someone with what's basically a bachelor's degree worth of knowledge in Math/CS but no work experience, so if there's any medium/small projects of yours you think someone like me could help with, please let me know.

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I only started reading ACX after the move from SSC. I have gone back and read the top posts from SSC but still felt like I was missing out on some of the old classics. I built a website to resurface old content from blogs by sending weekly emails. Let me know if you have any suggestions of other blogs / content you’d like to see, hope you find it helpful!


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Going through these, I saw you also banned RiseOA. Was that one part of this series of bans?

Should probably include them for completeness.

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Anyone here work in forestry, environment, any other outdoor trade? Would love to hear how you broke into the field and got started with the career.

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Why aren't there just public support groups for canceled people?

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I'm made a Manifold market on the question of how many (if any) hunger deaths biofuels have caused. I hope an accurate answer can get out there and tip the balance of urgency for dropping corn ethanol subsidies, or reassure me that it's merely a waste of money!


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Hey guys, I'm just gonna leave this here... My latest about how a certain children's show may have kicked off a cultural push towards self-parody. Thx for reading!!


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Does Azelastine nasal spray prevent respiratory viruses? Compelling, needs a bunch of er docs willing to sign up as guinea pigs for a multi-center observational trial.

My write up on some of the data is here:


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MIDDLE EAST SUBTHREAD: Please keep all Middle-East-related discussion as replies to this comment.

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