[Previous] Written and Unwritten Rules In Discussions | Home | [Next] Discussions Should Use Sources

Open Discussion 2 (2019)

Discuss whatever.

If you post a link or quote, express an opinion about it, ask a question, say something. Also, if you think something is bad and are posting it for criticism, say so – the default expectation is you agree with, and have a positive opinion of, whatever you post. Or if it seems good to you but you're sharing it because you have doubts and want to find out if people have criticism, say that.

Elliot Temple on November 6, 2019

Comments (131)


> China to implement new regulation regarding gaming, will "ban users younger than 18 from playing games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. They are not permitted to play more than 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays" (nytimes.com)

Strict, national screen time limits. *Not a free country.* Sucks for the kids.

Free Hong Kong!

Anonymous at 7:43 PM on November 6, 2019 | #14219 | reply | quote


> "Three days after his GSL semifinals, Life competed in the Iron Squid – Chapter II Korean qualifier, where he made his way to the finals at the expense of Sting, Polt and HyuN, but had to all-ined his games in the last match against Brown because he was about to be forced shutdown (in Korea, the law for the compulsory shutdown forbids the children under 16 years of age to play online from midnight to six in the morning).[28] The runner-up place still awarded a spot in the Iron Squid Chapter II though, making him the only player to attend both seasons of the French league by mean of qualifiers.

"All-ined" means playing very aggressive strategies to get the game over with fast – do a quick attack that sacrifices any chance to win later if it doesn't work. This is risky at best, and pretty much game-losing if your opponent knows in advance that you're going to do it.

Anonymous at 7:47 PM on November 6, 2019 | #14220 | reply | quote

NASA to send robot into space to re-fuel satellite

In December 2022 or later, NASA plans to send a robot into space to re-fuel a 20-year old satellite that was not designed for re-fueling.

Landsat 7, the satellite in question, was launched in 1999. It takes color pictures of Earth, many of which can be seen in Google Earth and other products.

Here's the plan. First, the robot will approach the satellite and, autonomously, grab onto it. Then, guided remotely by human operators, the robot will drill a hole in the satellite's fuel tank and inject over 100 kg of hydrazine. Finally, the robot will seal the hole, cover the satellite with a space blanket, and fly off into its own orbit.

Alisa at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2019 | #14224 | reply | quote

#14224 How much harder is it to do that compared with refueling a satellite that has a built in refueling mechanism?

Anonymous at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2019 | #14225 | reply | quote


It looks like drilling and re-sealing are the main steps that are harder (but I don't know *how much harder*) when a satellite hasn't been designed for re-fueling. According to Brent Robertson, NASA’s project manager for the mission (from the same article):

> "Cutting things and unscrewing caps and refueling, that's difficult. But the actual capture of a satellite and relocation—we have the capability to do that for a much wider spectrum of satellites."

The harder steps would be easier if the satellite had robot-friendly valves for re-fueling, but apparently no satellite has ever had those:

> "It's almost like a chicken or the egg thing," says Robertson. "Nobody has done robotic servicing, so until it's demonstrated, operators are reluctant to invest in servicing until they see that it's possible. I think when we actually demonstrate this on Landsat 7, you'll see [the] industry becoming more aware that there's an opportunity here."

Alisa at 5:06 PM on November 7, 2019 | #14226 | reply | quote

Math Problem

Flip a fair coin until you get heads twice (doesn't have to be in a row). What is the average number of tails you flipped?

Anonymous at 6:20 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14250 | reply | quote

#14250 I think it's 2 because if you flip until 1 heads, the average number of tails is 1. And I think flipping until 2 heads is like doing the 1 heads thing twice in a row, so sum the number of tails from each. Doing it twice will change the distribution of results but not the mean.

Anonymous at 6:24 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14251 | reply | quote

Telling the Story of Jordan Peterson


Filmmaker Patricia Marcoccia was midway through a film with psychology professor Jordan Peterson when he suddenly became an international superstar, and one of the most controversial and polarising figures on the planet.

Now her film, The Rise of Jordan Peterson, has itself been subject to controversy and cancellations.

David Fuller caught up with Patricia and the film's producer Maziar Ghaderi to ask what they make of the reception for their film, and how their views changed over two years making the film, right at the centre of the culture wars.

You can purchase the film online: https://www.holdingspacefilms.com/rise

Anonymous at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2019 | #14252 | reply | quote

1st newsletter: Sept 18, 2016.

100th newsletter: Nov 13, 2019.

That's 1151 days. One newsletter per 11.5 days.

I think the minimum time between newsletters has been 7 days. The max is probably around 21, maybe a few more. I've been consistent with no big gaps. I aim for around 10-17 days between newsletters. Early on I did them a bit more frequently.

curi at 11:34 AM on November 13, 2019 | #14303 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14306 | reply | quote

#14305 Please say what links are. In this case, it's Taleb being a unintellectual jerk to someone on Twitter. The underlying issue is that Taleb is a rotten bastard who opposes GMOs like golden rice. The paper linked in #14306 is epistemologically naive conservatism contrary to CR and David Deutsch in particular (it's also an anti-liberal attack on freedom which assumes it's the government's job to make decide things and control people's lives).

Anonymous at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14308 | reply | quote

#14308 I call bull shit that you actually read the paper that fast.

What's your refutation?

Anon22 at 3:15 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14309 | reply | quote

#14309 Never said I read it. I read some of the beginning before commenting. The paper is refuted by the book *The Beginning of Infinity* which Taleb is aware of but doesn't address. His paper simply ignores existing literature about the issues. You can see the same issue on Twitter where he was referred to DD's arguments and his response was to flame someone and also to direct them to a paper that ignores DD.

Anonymous at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14310 | reply | quote

#14310 If you did not read it how do you know BOI refutes it?

You're doing exactly what he's doing lol.

Anonymous at 4:46 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14311 | reply | quote

#14311 BoI covers the precautionary principle. Taleb ignores BoI and advocates the precautionary principle. What do you not get.?Are you just unfamiliar with the stuff you're flaming about?

Anonymous at 5:16 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14312 | reply | quote

Different precautionary principle than the one argued against in BOI.

Which you would know if you had read the paper, you illiterate buffoon. Bet you lied about reading BOI too.

actually literate at 5:20 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14313 | reply | quote


Example of how YouTube fucks with and bans users with no warning or explanation

Anonymous at 5:23 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14314 | reply | quote

#14314 sucks. But that's the power of unfettered Capitalism. Your livelihood can be taken away in the name of profits. There is no getting around it.

JLA at 5:29 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14315 | reply | quote

#14315 What capitalism? YouTube false advertises about their policies. In a free market country they'd be sued heavily over stuff like this. It's government protection and favors that let them get away with their initiations of force.

curi at 5:32 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14316 | reply | quote

#14316 Let's be real.

The algorithm is not a result of government intervention. It is simple dollar signs.

It is not meant to pander to the woke crowd, or to the government. Don't be naive.

It is meant to do one thing, and one thing only. M-A-X-I-M-I-Z-E P-R-O-F-I-T.

They don't give a fuck about you or me.

JaRule at 5:41 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14318 | reply | quote

#14318 Free market capitalism is a system in which initiation of force is prohibited. YouTube initiates force (e.g. via fradulent public statements about their products). They violate capitalism. They get away with it due to *lack of* capitalism in our society.

You didn't listen, didn't engage, and seem unserious. If I'm wrong, see https://elliottemple.com/debate-policy

curi at 5:43 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14319 | reply | quote

You libertarians and your utopian dreams.

And you call me unserious. Get a PhD in economics and then we'll debate.

YouTube Loves Capitalism at 5:48 PM on November 13, 2019 | #14320 | reply | quote

Re: Math Problem


> Math Problem

> Flip a fair coin until you get heads twice (doesn't have to be in a row). What is the average number of tails you flipped?


> #14250 I think it's 2 because if you flip until 1 heads, the average number of tails is 1...

It was not obvious to me that if you flip until 1 heads, the average number of tails is 1. I practiced my internet search skills and found these two discussions of the problem:



I didn't fully understand the math but I didn't see anything obviously wrong with it.

Now I'm practicing my skills at replying to blog comments without messing up the formatting of links and quotations.

Anne B at 12:44 PM on November 14, 2019 | #14342 | reply | quote


> It was not obvious to me that if you flip until 1 heads, the average number of tails is 1.

My explanation of this is below. It is similar to Ryan's answer on the stackexchange page you linked.

Suppose you have a (possibly-biased) coin that comes up heads with probability h. If you flip the coin until it comes up heads, the expected number of flips is 1/h.

To see this, let f be the expected number of flips remaining. You must flip at least once in order to know whether to stop. With probability h, that flip comes up heads, in which case you are done: you make zero more flips. Otherwise, with probability 1-h, it comes up tails, and you will have to flip again. Coins have no memory, so the expected number of remaining flips in that case is the same as it was before you flipped the coin, namely: f. Therefore, by expected value, f = 1 + 0h +(1−h)f. Using algebra to solve for f yields f = 1/h.

By definition, a fair coin comes up heads with probability 1/2. If you flip until you get heads, then stop, you will make 2 flips on average. You stop when you get heads, so all but the last of those flips will have been tails. Therefore, the average number of tails is 1.

Josh Jordan at 4:08 PM on November 14, 2019 | #14347 | reply | quote


Really long article with some criticism of feminism. Some interesting parts. I didn't finish it.

curi at 11:57 AM on November 17, 2019 | #14353 | reply | quote

Mises Institute promotion psychiatry, one of the major enemies of liberty:


I checked the blog of the show guest and he's anti-Szasz.

Anonymous at 5:08 PM on November 17, 2019 | #14354 | reply | quote


School children being locked in rooms, like solitary confinement at jails, often illegally.

There are 20,000 records of "seclusion" in Illinois in one school year.

Anonymous at 1:31 PM on November 19, 2019 | #14387 | reply | quote

People like the academic format and style b/c it dramatically reduces the need or scope for thinking.

example from someone i like more than most


> Sunk costs seem especially common in groups, as has been noticed since the beginning of sunk cost research7; Khan et al 2000 found that culture influenced how much managers were willing to engage in hypothetical sunk costs (South & East Asian more so than North American), and a 2005 meta-analysis that sunk cost was an issue, especially in software-related projects8, agreeing with a 2009 meta-analysis, Desai & Chulkov.

cites let you make assertions with no arguments or reasons.

assuming the correctness of some cites is easier than thinking about the issues or giving reasons or arguments. and people don't retract their papers because one of their cites was wrong. they don't actually take responsibility for the crap they cite.

Anonymous at 8:56 PM on November 20, 2019 | #14458 | reply | quote

PIA's no-log claims verified in court

privateinternetaccess.com claims:

> [W]e do not log. Ever.

That claim has been verified in court, twice.

In 2016, the FBI submitted a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Florida against Preston Alexander McWaters for making fake bomb threats. The complaint states (re-typed from PDF w/out OCR):

> All of the responses from 1&1, Facebook, Twitter, and Tracfone have been traced by IP address back to a company named London Trust Media dba privateinternetaccess.com. This company is an anonymizing company whose purpose is to allow users of the internet to mask their original IP address where they are sending messages from. A subpoena was sent to London Trust Media and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States.

In 2018, privateinternetaccess.com was subpoenaed again, this time in connection with a case dealing with a person accused of hacking a news website. According to Palo Alto Online:

> John Allan Arsenault, general counsel for London Trust Media, a VPN company, testified about how many VPN companies, including his, intentionally *don’t retain logs of internet activity of their clients so that they cannot be produced in response to subpoenas from law enforcement or others*. London Trust Media operates the brand Private Internet Access (PIA), which owns several IP addresses used to hack Embarcadero Media.

> *Private Internet Access does not log user activity, such as what files they accessed or changes they made to a website*.

> The company accepts many kinds of payment methods, including cryptocurrency, but it doesn’t keep records of the individual’s name and address. *The only record of the customer maintained is the email address provided when signing up for the service*.

Seems legit.

Alisa at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2019 | #14487 | reply | quote

#14487 The emphasis was mine in the quotes from Palo Alto Online.

Alisa at 12:53 PM on November 21, 2019 | #14488 | reply | quote

PIA purchased by Kape Technologies, Reddit unhappy

#14487 PIA has been purchased by a company called Kape Technologies. I don't know the details, but a bunch of Redditors in r/privateinternetaccess are upset about the purchase and are switching to other VPNs. Mullvad seems to be a popular choice.

Alisa at 8:47 PM on November 25, 2019 | #14588 | reply | quote

A close reading of a study's introduction

I commented on an HN link to a study titled "Teacher Effects on Student Achievement and Height: A Cautionary Tale":

> 1 Introduction

> The increased availability of data linking students to teachers has made it possible to estimate the contribution teachers make to student achievement.

There was some data available before (or the sentence would not have used the word "increased"). Why wasn't it possible to estimate with that?

> By nearly all accounts, this contribution is large.

It goes on to talk about what "large" means:

> Estimates of the impact of a one standard deviation (σ) increase in teacher “value-added” on math and reading achievement typically range from 0.10 to 0.30σ, which suggest that a student assigned to a more effective teacher will experience nearly a year's more learning than a student assigned to an less effective teacher (Hanushek & Rivkin 2010;...).

(Typo: "an less effective" should be "a less effective".)

A "range from 0.10 to 0.30σ" doesn't make sense. A Greek lowercase sigma (σ) is used to represent one standard deviation, but the sigma is used only on the upper end of the range. Should it have been from 0.10σ to 0.30σ?

And how are they measuring the impact on achievement of an increase in teacher "value-added", anyway? It says that estimates of the impact "typically range from 0.10 to 0.30σ", but it doesn't say what units those figures are in.

The sentence goes on to say that those unit-less estimates "suggest" that "a student assigned to a more effective teacher will experience nearly a year's more learning than a student assigned to an less effective teacher". Over what time period? That is, how long does a student have to study under a "more effective teacher" to get "a year's more learning"? 1 week? 12 years? It doesn't say.

And finally, how do those unit-less estimates "suggest" an impact measured in learning time? It doesn't say.

Alisa at 7:35 AM on November 27, 2019 | #14603 | reply | quote


>> By nearly all accounts, this contribution is large.

If teachers have a large affect on student outcomes, it doesn't imply they *contribute* anything. The range of the effect could be from mildly negative to very negative.

curi at 12:52 PM on November 27, 2019 | #14605 | reply | quote

Casually comparing schools to prisons:

Anonymous at 9:55 PM on November 27, 2019 | #14612 | reply | quote


> **I really wish I’d never found the IDW**

> I’ve always considered myself liberal but I feel so disowned now. I feel like the mainstream left and right are both so ideologically driven that they refuse to acknowledge truth in anything that hurts their position, whether it’s true or not.


> I feel like I get incredibly anxious and depressed by the state of the world and hypocritical views of almost everybody. I wish I could just bury my head in the sand and enjoy blissful ignorance. Please tell me you guys are all feeling the same.

That's an unusually open admission of wanting to evade, not think, not know ... not live (ok he didn't admit that last one). The second-handed last sentence is strong (in a bad way) ending that I wasn't expecting.

I replied (expecting nothing good to come of this from him or others on reddit):

You're upset because you think other people are irrational and don't seek the truth. How rational and curious are you? Will you debate anything?



curi at 12:45 AM on November 28, 2019 | #14616 | reply | quote

Amazon deletes jrockway's useful review

On 2019-11-28, HN user jrockway wrote:

> I bought some LEDs on Amazon and uploaded charts showing the wavelength distribution. The LEDs were awful and the charts made it very clear why. Amazon deleted my review and the item currently has 5 stars.

Sucks that Amazon deleted his review.

Alisa at 6:14 PM on November 28, 2019 | #14619 | reply | quote

People often think they are good enough and turn off the learning. Common story with KP, DD, AR, FI. This is already addressed in mainstream self help lit, e.g.:


curi at 1:26 AM on December 2, 2019 | #14647 | reply | quote

Convicted terrorist, released from prison early, stabs 2 people to death at London Bridge

In 2018, an Islamic terrorist in Britain was released from prison early. On 29 Nov 2019, he stabbed 2 people to death and wounded 3 others in a terrorist attack at London Bridge. According to the AP:

> Usman Khan was convicted on terrorism charges but let out of prison early. He attended a “Learning Together” conference for ex-offenders, and used the event to launch a bloody attack, stabbing two people to death and wounding three others.

Alisa at 3:50 PM on December 2, 2019 | #14658 | reply | quote


Twitch streamer with 25 viewer average – but no one talking in chat even though he tried to talk with chat periodically – makes fake account, writes 200 questions, has his alt account automatically ask one random question every few minutes. Then he answers those questions he covertly asked himself.

Result: other people start talking in chat.

Thoughts on what people are like?

Anonymous at 12:37 AM on December 3, 2019 | #14663 | reply | quote

Formatting test:

*italic sentence **bold (and italic) in the middle** more italics*

Anonymous at 2:51 PM on December 3, 2019 | #14674 | reply | quote

I closed 3 websites:




The content is all moved to:


I mass updated comments and blog post URLs to point to the new locations. Please let me know if you notice a broken link.

curi at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2019 | #14692 | reply | quote

London Bridge terrorist only served *half* of his sentence for terrorism

#14658 Daniel Horowitz points out that the London Bridge terrorist only served half of his sentence for terrorism.

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/terrorist-behind-london-bridge-attack-released-early-prison/ (4 Dec 2019):

> Khan had been convicted on terrorism charges as part of a plot to attack the London Stock Exchange in 2010. However, much as in America, the trend of de-incarceration is very much in vogue in Great Britain, so even a violent terrorist like Khan was only sentenced to 16 years. And much as in America, where early release programs are placed ahead of public safety, Khan was released last year after serving just eight years.


> Last Friday, Khan, as a prison release “success story,” was invited to a conference of Learning Together, a Cambridge University Initiative dedicated to promoting these rehabilitation programs over incarceration. Tragically, Khan had other ideas. He showed up armed with two knives and a fake suicide vest and killed two members of Learning Together and wounded three others before he was shot dead by police near London Bridge.

If Ayn Rand wrote that in one of her fiction books, people would call it unrealistic.

Alisa at 12:37 AM on December 5, 2019 | #14694 | reply | quote

#14694 Our civilization is inadequate in many ways. I like some of Yudkowsky's comments on that, in Hero Licensing, linked in https://curi.us/2253-academias-inadequacy

And find comments on Hero Licensing at http://curi.us/2065-open-letter-to-machine-intelligence-research-institute#9282

curi at 12:44 AM on December 5, 2019 | #14695 | reply | quote

In defense of Peer review vs Blogs


This video, I think, Applies to this blog.

Anonymous at 7:53 AM on December 5, 2019 | #14699 | reply | quote

Debunking the Vegan Documentary "Game Changers" - https://youtu.be/Dq4Apc2Xk7Q

Comments on first half hour. I expect to have a similar opinion of the rest, if I watch it.

this Chris Kresser guy is ok. he's sharing some decent info like about DIAS. he's pretty mainstream, i don't agree with all his claims, but most seem fine.

i didn't like his vegan honeymoon comments: that ppl feel great in short term on vegan diet cuz they stop eating normal diet of a bunch of crap.

i don't think that's scientific. i suspect there's a huge placebo effect b/c ppl think regular food is crap that makes u low energy and unhealthy, but he didn't actually argue those claims or give any evidence.

curi at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14709 | reply | quote


> Every society rests on a barbarian base. The people who don’t understand civilization, and wouldn’t like it if they did. The hitchhikers. The people who create nothing and don’t appreciate what others have created for them, and who think civilization is something that just exists and all they need do is enjoy what they can understand of it—luxuries, a high living standard, and easy work for high pay. Responsibilities? Phooey! What do they have a government for?

— H. Beam Piper, Space Viking pp. 190-191 (1963)

Anonymous at 5:04 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14714 | reply | quote

RIP Noble Soul?


Site down. Don't know when it went down. Has lots of good Objectivism info. If it doesn't come back up, I'll put up a mirror (hopefully if it's not too hard, but I've got a saved copy now that looks likely to work OK).

Last copy on archive.org is from May. Front page of site says last updated 2009.

I don't know when it went down or whether it will come back up. I don't want to mirror someone else's site over temporary downtime.

curi at 5:11 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14715 | reply | quote

#14709 Chris Kresser is a snake oil salesman. E.g. see this page:


> Conventional medicine doesn’t stand a chance of turning the tide against chronic disease.

> What does? A revolution to reinvent healthcare, reverse chronic disease, and create sustainable practices.

He might be a flu vaccine opponent and accupuncture advocate too:


I don't know what info on that page is true. It's not a reliable site and it accuses him of believing everyone should do high fat paleo. But in the podcast he advocates a moderate diet, says what's optimal varies by person, and said low carb is riskier than more standard (might be OK but that's more unknown) because its longterm effects haven't been studied yet.

Anyway Kresser's own site is awful and Rogan is irresponsible for having him on and treating him like a respectable expert.

curi at 7:16 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14716 | reply | quote

#14716 Kresser is openly anti technology and anti industry later and Rogan doesn’t disagree. (There were bits and pieces of it throughout but he later made a clear, strong statement about wanting to scale back industry and technology.)

Kresser somehow seems to think of himself as pro science, despite being anti technology. He likes talking about correlation studies about people's diets and the science of nutrition. He positions himself as the sophisticated guy who knows about many flaws in those studies but also ofc science is great so he's clever enough to analyze the flawed studies and reach good conclusion.

curi at 8:43 PM on December 5, 2019 | #14717 | reply | quote


> What I’ve done differently is put my ideas in public and then address every single criticism from every critic who is willing to discuss. I’ve answered all comers for over 15 years. If any of my ideas are mistaken, either no one knows it, neither of us has managed to find the other, or they aren’t willing to share their knowledge.


> My philosophical positions have survived criticism from everyone willing to offer criticism. That’s pretty good! None of the alternative ideas can say that.

What if people have criticisms of your ideas that you’d want to hear, but those people are put off by the atmosphere of the FI world or by how you write elsewhere? What if someone has a valuable idea but they also have bad ideas that cause them to leave FI in a huff or to ban you from their forum when you offer criticism in a non-socially-conforming way?

Yes, that counts as them not being willing to discuss or willing to share their knowledge. But you'd want to hear the good ideas from these people, if they exist. Do you think they don't exist? Do you think they might exist but it's not worth the effort to make it easier to hear from them?

anonymous fan at 7:37 AM on December 6, 2019 | #14723 | reply | quote

David Deutsch on Brexit and Error Correction

Just started watching this, so I do not have any specific question. Just wanted to share a new DD interview.


> Contents:

> 0:00 Introduction and a brief history of the European question

> 3:30 Karl Popper, Error Correction, and the First Past The Post electoral system

> 9:48 What makes the EU bad at error correction?

> 14:12 Political stability in Britain and how the referendum broke our system

> 19:17 Individualism vs Collectivism and the benefits of socialism to Britain

> 22:18 Has the EU prevented war in Europe?

> 25:08 Is the economy more important than sovereignty?

> 27:11 Don't we need top-down control for some things?

> 31:24 Should we have a second referendum? Is taking a political risk worth it?

> 36:25 Was the Leave vote racist? And what does it mean to be a patriot in Britain?

N at 8:04 AM on December 6, 2019 | #14724 | reply | quote

#14723 This is one of the most common criticisms I get, though an unusually friendly and reasonable version of it.

People differ. There is no way to please everyone at once.

I could please a larger proportion but that means targeting stuff more to the mainstream which means having a more conventional audience. I think that'd result in lower quality responses.

I don't want to pander, social climb, be dishonest to manipulate people, etc.

I try to make what I think is good. I think that's the best way to attract readers who I can respect.

If people would *request* to be treated certain ways, I could work with that. But it's hard when people are dishonest, which is super common. They e.g. want less criticism while simultaneously pretending they are receiving max criticism. Usually you have to guess how they want to be treated. If *I* could say "you seem to want simple beginner replies with little criticism", and then provide that, it'd be OK for me, but they usually don't want that even if I've guessed completely right about the best type of reply for them.

I think dishonesty is what's really hard to accommodate. Also passive disinterest, lack of curiosity, that kinda thing where they just don't care or do anything.

curi at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2019 | #14727 | reply | quote

#14724 At about 28:50 DD is asked a question and in the course of answering it at 30:20 he sez Britain retained the good things and rejected the bad things about its experiment with socialism. He's endorsing socialist policies.

oh my god it's turpentine at 4:34 PM on December 6, 2019 | #14730 | reply | quote

#14730 That's good! If something works it doesn't matter where it came from. DD is a fallibilist

Anonymous at 6:07 PM on December 6, 2019 | #14732 | reply | quote

#14732 Socialism is rather thoroughly wrong – a claim DD seemed to agree with, and didn't deny, in the past – so this is a sign of error by DD. And it's not like he's come out with some new argument in defense of part of socialism or found some important existing arguments. So the reasonable presumption here is he's mistaken and acting unreasonably by ignoring e.g. Mises.

Anonymous at 6:19 PM on December 6, 2019 | #14735 | reply | quote

#14732 What is the standard by which you judge that socialist policies work?

oh my god it's turpentine at 1:12 AM on December 7, 2019 | #14740 | reply | quote

Me, repeatedly: "subjective" is the most confused word in English.

Just saw this, italics added:


> c. 1500, "characteristic of one who is submissive or obedient," from Late Latin subiectivus "of the subject, subjective," from subiectus "lying under, below, near bordering on," figuratively "subjected, subdued"(see subject (n.)). In early Modern English as "existing, real;" more restricted meaning "existing in the mind" (the mind as "the thinking subject") is from 1707, *popularized by Kant* and his contemporaries; thus, in art and literature, "personal, idiosyncratic" (1767). Related: Subjectively; subjectiveness.

Notice how it doesn't fit the etymology (submissive, obedient) and then it means "existing, real" and then Kant flips the meaning to "existing in the mind" (meaning: not part of physical/objective reality – which is wrong too, the mind is part of physical reality).

curi at 12:27 AM on December 8, 2019 | #14750 | reply | quote

Muhammad makes list of top 10 baby names in the U.S. for first time

SF Gate, Muhammad makes list of top 10 baby names in the U.S. for first time (Dec 4, 2019):

> The parenting website BabyCenter released its annual list of 100 most popular baby names for girls and boys in the United States... Muhammad and Aaliyah made the top 10 for the first time, replacing Mason and Layla.

According to [BBC News]((https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-45638806), if you combine its various spellings, Mohammed would be the most popular boy's name in the U.K.

According to Wikipedia, 6.3% of the U.K.'s total population is Muslim, compared with 1.1% for the U.S.

Alisa at 7:29 PM on December 12, 2019 | #14817 | reply | quote

Infallible certainty about the idea that "There is experience"

Shadow Starshine wrote on the main FI Discord:

> So I'd like to offer up something to criticism here, since you guys are very epistemically focused.

> I don't see how there isn't a certainty about claims that are nothing more than then affirmation of an experience.

> Something as basic as experience is, or to categorize the experience as it occurs.

> I'm not arguing this as a sort of foundationalism, to say that everything can be built off of that

> But I'm asking, by what method could you ever say that is false?

> ...

> If I utter "There is experience" I'm wondering how can it be wrong.

I discussed this with Freeze and Shadow Starshine for a while. I think this message sums up my argument:

> Whether or not there is experience depends on complex, subtle, philosophical issues like what experience even is, what kinds of entities can have experiences, to what extent memory is involved in experience, whether something can be conscious of a thought about having an experience at the same time as the experience itself, and whether thoughts about experience can be simulated (e.g. in a computer or by some one-time quantum accident) -- in other words, can there be a "thought" such as "there is experience" without there actually having been any experience?

> I don't see how someone can be infallibly certain that there is experience without also being infallibly certain that they know, now and forever, (a) what all the relevant questions are and (b) the right answers to all those questions.

jordancurve at 11:35 PM on December 13, 2019 | #14833 | reply | quote

#14833 Correctly claiming to have had a particular experience, or correctly claiming there is experience in general, are both dependent on correctly understanding what "experience" means and how to tell whether something is an experience or not (or getting lucky). Experience is a category of thing (I think, though my understanding of categories is fallible). Some things are experiences and some aren't (e.g. a piece of paper). So some criteria are needed for correctly distinguishing what goes in what category. The criteria you use and your application of them are both fallible things (in other words, they could be doubted, criticized, debated. etc.).

A different issue is that brains are *physical objects*, specifically computer systems, and hardware errors happen sometimes.

curi at 2:43 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14839 | reply | quote


The idea of "correctly understanding" what experience is is merely definitional. It represents anything you are experiencing, whether there is any mental events at all. You don't need to categorize anything, all of it is in the same category. A piece of paper is an experience, a thought is an experience, color is an experience, everything is an experience if you are experiencing it.

There's nothing to debate, it's either occuring or it's not. I would highly suggest reading the entire conversation so nothing gets lost.

Shadow Starshine at 3:12 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14840 | reply | quote

> A piece of paper is an experience

No it's a piece of paper.

Do you mean *seeing* it, or touching it, or something?

In any case, you're making arguments. You're using reasoning to judge that the text you wrote in your comment is correct. But that thinking is fallible.

curi at 3:18 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14841 | reply | quote

> Do you mean *seeing* it, or touching it, or something?

I'm saying, to comment on my experience of a piece of paper, requires an experience of the piece of paper.

I'm also not required to make arguments with inferences here, I could say absolutely nothing and be having an experience. But I have to write something explicit to transmit that information to you. (You, however, have ample reason to doubt I'm having an experience). I'd be having an experience regardless if arguments were a part of my experience or not. Merely to justify it, it just has to be the case, which for me, it is.

Anonymous at 3:27 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14842 | reply | quote

#14842 Your brain is a computer. When you have an experience, that refers to certain computational states. You can misunderstand

1) which computational states are experiences

2) what computational state your brain is in

Parallel arguments apply to physical objects and their states in general.

If you deny this, that's again a fallible, debatable claim.

John Galt at 3:44 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14843 | reply | quote

I don't need to deny nor affirm it for my claim to be true, because whatever is the case if it says I'm not having an experience, it is automatically false due to the experience I'm having. There isn't some ontological superseding of this. My brain being a computer my brain not being a computer, whether it is derived from a brain at all, all of this is outside just *having an experience*.

As I said before, it would be true regardless of my belief states *about* it. I merely have to be having an experience, and I am.

Anonymous at 3:52 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14844 | reply | quote

#14844 You have an understanding of what having an experience is and why it's infallible. But this understanding is itself a fallible argument.

John Galt at 3:58 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14845 | reply | quote

I've already stated an argument isn't necessary, only to communicate it to you. Given that it's not necessary, and your only refutation is to the argument, then is there any refutation beyond that?

Anonymous at 4:11 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14846 | reply | quote

Some entity stating "I'm having an experience of communicating with God" is implicitly making claims about the nature of reality and what entities are in it and what sort of things they can do.

An entity saying "I'm having an experience" is making such claims also, though more limited claims than in the God case, but they are still making such claims.

I just had my iPhone text-to-speech the words "I am an iPhone and I am having an experience." This was a false claim which my iPhone seemed to make (at my direction) in a human voice. Why false? The explanation involves a complex set of assumptions and arguments around what experience is and what sort of entities can have them. So fallibility applies to experience-claims just as it applies to any other claim.

Anonymous at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14847 | reply | quote

If you reject that something can be claimed infallibly, that doesn't mean you have to doubt that thing is true absent a specific argument for doing so, btw. That is a common misunderstanding. You just have to be open to criticism on the matter *if and when a criticism is raised* (by someone else, or by you thinking of a crit, or by you reading a book with a crit). But if no criticism arises then you can just carry on.

Justin Mallone at 6:49 AM on December 14, 2019 | #14848 | reply | quote

>Some entity stating "I'm having an experience of communicating with God" is implicitly making claims about the nature of reality and what entities are in it and what sort of things they can do.

>An entity saying "I'm having an experience" is making such claims also

This is false. The above state of affairs are an explanation for how things could be. The second statement is, at the base level, how things are.

>I just had my iPhone text-to-speech the words "I am an iPhone and I am having an experience." This was a false claim which my iPhone seemed to make (at my direction) in a human voice. Why false? The explanation involves a complex set of assumptions and arguments around what experience is and what sort of entities can have them. So fallibility applies to experience-claims just as it applies to any other claim.

It's an unverifiable claim, it's not because it's complicated. One can only verify their own experience and one does that by simply having one.

>If you reject that something can be claimed infallibly, that doesn't mean you have to doubt that thing is true absent a specific argument for doing so, btw. That is a common misunderstanding. You just have to be open to criticism on the matter *if and when a criticism is raised* (by someone else, or by you thinking of a crit, or by you reading a book with a crit). But if no criticism arises then you can just carry on.

I'm aware, but that's not the nature of my dispute.

Anonymous at 2:02 PM on December 14, 2019 | #14854 | reply | quote

Evolution Question


> https://curi.us/code/dungeon.html

> I think there’s a major difference between this software (an “evolutionary” algorithm to generate a map with certain features) and evolution. What exactly is the difference?

> ## Some differences

> Relatively small domain of possible maps.

> There are ways I put my knowledge into the results, rather than the software creating that knowledge. For example, I defined exactly what a map is and every tile type. I also tried out the app, looked at outputs, and tuned the selection algorithm until I got outputs I thought were good.

> ## Ways it’s like evolution

> there is replication with variation (create a new map with some small changes from a previous map) and selection (via an algorithm to calculate a score for how good a map is).

> *but* the maps don’t **cause** their own replication. is that the key difference? the replication is only done because *I* made the app to do it. so **the maps are not replicators**.

> is that the answer? (i thought of that last point while writing this post).

Yes, that is a key difference. Your algorithm controls the copying of the maps, but the maps are incapable of replication by themselves. A replicator has knowledge. In other words, it has information that, when suitably instantiated in a physical environment, tends to cause itself to remain so. Your maps do not have knowledge. They are just information.

Evolution is the evolution of knowledge.

Anonymous at 7:19 PM on December 16, 2019 | #14879 | reply | quote


knowledge = information adapted to a purpose/problem/design-goal, right?

and the maps *do* have some of that, as does e.g. AlphaGo's moves in a game of go or a Roomba's movements around a room.

the output of the program is a map with some adaptation towards the purpose of being a good map.

but the knowledge got there cuz i, the program designer, created the knowledge (in a somewhat indirect form) about what a good map is and how to create one. i'm the source of the adaptation. the program is just a tool, a helper following my directions.

also there are complications re what causing replication is, and how you can imagine a niche where ~any physical object is a replicator (it'll replicate in that niche but many other objects won't) but those issues are covered in FoR.

curi at 7:33 PM on December 16, 2019 | #14880 | reply | quote

I watched *Cars 3*. I dislike the theme that you win races by having the right social interactions with others and the right psychological attitudes to not only the race but life (and no they aren't psychological attitudes about how to practice without getting frustrated or something directly relevant).

curi at 1:03 AM on December 17, 2019 | #14883 | reply | quote

Wondering if I can chat privately with curi

Can I chat with curi privately somehow? He told me not to comment on the discord chat.

Evan at 8:42 AM on December 17, 2019 | #14884 | reply | quote

I don't remember. Email me.

curi at 1:23 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14886 | reply | quote

replicators and causality

#14879 In BoI (despite the URL, link goes to BoI text), DD says that a replicator is anything that contributes causally to its own copying:

> [Neo-Darwinism] is based on the idea of a *replicator* (anything that contributes causally to its own copying). For instance, a gene conferring the ability to digest a certain type of food *causes* the organism to remain healthy in some situations where it would otherwise weaken or die. Hence it increases the organism's chances of having offspring in the future, and those offspring would inherit, and spread,

*copies* of the gene.


> Ideas can be replicators too. For example, a good joke is a replicator: when lodged in a person's mind, it has a tendency to cause that person to tell it to other people, thus copying it into their minds. Dawkins coined the term *memes* (rhymes with 'dreams') for ideas that are replicators. Most ideas are not replicators: they do not cause us to convey them to other people. Nearly all long-lasting ideas, however, such as languages, scientific theories and religious beliefs, and the ineffable states of mind that constitute cultures such as being British, or the skill of performing classical music, are memes (or 'memeplexes' -- collections of interacting memes).

Do the maps in Elliot's map generator contribute causally to their own copying? Regarding causality, DD wrote in FoR:

> In general we may say that an event X causes an event Y in our universe if both X and Y occur in our universe, but in most variants of our universe in which X does

not happen, Y does not happen either.

Let X represent the occurrence of a particular map in some generation, and let Y represent the occurrence of a similar map in a later generation. Then, I think, in most variants of our universe in which X does not happen, Y does not happen either. But does the earlier occurrence *cause* the later occurrence?

Alisa at 7:38 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14889 | reply | quote

> Let X represent the occurrence of a particular map in some generation, and let Y represent the occurrence of a similar map in a later generation. Then, I think, in most variants of our universe in which X does not happen, Y does not happen either. But does the earlier occurrence *cause* the later occurrence?

I think the answer is:

Suppose X happens in gen N when the program is started with some initial set of maps. In variant universes, X will still happen in gen N if the program is the same and the initial set of maps are the same (and assuming that curi's computer does not get hit by cosmic rays or something). If X does not happen that means the program has been changed in some way. In this case, Y may or may not happen. It depends on how the program was changed. So X is not causing Y.

Anonymous at 9:48 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14890 | reply | quote


> knowledge = information adapted to a purpose/problem/design-goal, right?

> and the maps *do* have some of that, as does e.g. AlphaGo's moves in a game of go or a Roomba's movements around a room.

I shouldn't have said the maps have no knowledge. They have knowledge in the sense you said. And that knowledge causes the maps to remain so. Eg, it caused you to write a program to instantiate them.

Anonymous at 10:34 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14893 | reply | quote

#14890 To get the same output you have to start the program with the same rng seed, not the same initial map(s).

Anonymous at 11:01 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14894 | reply | quote

#14894 Yes. I'm assuming the same initial config.

Anonymous at 11:23 PM on December 17, 2019 | #14895 | reply | quote


> Suppose X happens in gen N when the program is started with some initial set of maps.

What do you mean by "started with some initial set of maps"?

IIUC, in curi's program, the initial map/maps is/are randomly generated except for the walls (see line 189). The pseudo-random number seed commonly depends on the time the program is started, so executions of the program started at even slightly different times would likely have different initial conditions.

Alisa at 7:36 AM on December 18, 2019 | #14897 | reply | quote


> In variant universes, X will still happen in gen N if the program is the same and the initial set of maps are the same (and assuming that curi's computer does not get hit by cosmic rays or something).

That's an unrealistic "if" condition. The random number seed, and hence the program's initial conditions, would likely *not* be the same in variant universes. (See my comment #14897.)

Alisa at 7:38 AM on December 18, 2019 | #14898 | reply | quote


I think the argument is still basically the same though. If you change the seed and X does not happen, can Y still happen? I imagine there are other trajectories that give rise to Y even though X didn't happen. It may be rare to get Y without X though. But that's assuming the rest of the program is the same in variant universes. Which is also unrealistic. In variant universes, there are also variants of the program as well as seed variants and I don't think you can say that in most variant universes Y doesn't happen when X doesn't happen (modulo cases where the program is not even written or is something different entirely).

Anonymous at 1:23 PM on December 18, 2019 | #14899 | reply | quote


> I imagine there are other trajectories that give rise to Y even though X didn't happen.

Sure. Is that meaningfully different from the possibility of genetic evolution producing some species without going through a particular intermediate species?

Alisa at 2:14 PM on December 18, 2019 | #14900 | reply | quote

> Sure. Is that meaningfully different from the possibility of genetic evolution producing some species without going through a particular intermediate species?

In curi's maps, it doesn't matter if it is rare or common that Y happens without X. In either case, X doesn't cause Y, as I explained. In biological evolution, if species A leads to species B there will be virtually no universes where you get B without A. And in biological evolution, A has the program for its own replication. And B its own different program. There is no overarching program that can be varied as in curi's maps.

If you vary the program in A you will tend not to get B because A is adapated for its niche and variations will generally be bad. So when A doesn't happen B tends not to. A causes B.

Hope that makes sense :)

Anonymous at 6:59 PM on December 18, 2019 | #14901 | reply | quote

#14879 One big difference between curi's dungeon map generator and evolution in nature is that the map generator only evolves one map at a time, while in nature, entire populations of replicators are evolving.

Alisa at 9:11 PM on December 19, 2019 | #14918 | reply | quote

[8:20 PM] curi: to understand yourself better you need more analysis skills. understanding other ppl's public statements is broadly easier than introspection. to do that you need to be able to e.g. figure out sentences in detail and think logically and literally. if you practice these things enough it's automatic and super easy and clear to you, it gets harder to lie to yourself about.

[8:21 PM] curi: this is the kind of thing that was already explained to kate multiple times, but which she refused to engage with

[8:23 PM] curi: learning these things effectively, as well as introspection, requires understanding, coming up with and using objective tests for ideas instead of just relying on your own unaided judgment. another thing kate is evading.

[8:24 PM] curi: these are not laws of physics requirements but it's unrealistic to do anything else that's currently known and expect it to work

[8:25 PM] curi: you need to find things that are hard to lie to yourself about and make some other things harder to lie to yourself about

[8:35 PM] curi:

> [7:39 PM] TheRat: Well all I can gather based on the interactions is that

the sloppiness of the "all" there is basically incompatible with introspection beyond a certain limited effectiveness. finding a better introspection method is possible but harder and a less reliable place to start learning.

[8:36 PM] curi: explicit/inexplicit is not nearly the big deal ppl think. conscious learning leads to unconscious knowledge like how to walk. if it's problematic u do more conscious learning about the same topic.

[8:37 PM] curi: it's not that hard to take conscious control over tons of things and relearn them better. ppl don't want to.

[8:38 PM] curi: e.g. ppl could take conscious control over the words they write. i think ~everyone will agree that's possible. you can consciously choose every word. but ppl won't do it.

Anonymous at 8:39 PM on December 21, 2019 | #14922 | reply | quote

introspection difficulties are basically the same issue as overreaching. it means ur skipping steps and getting ahead of your knowledge, then u get lost and confused. understanding what ur doing in life basically equals not overreaching and also equals successful introspection / self-understanding.

curi at 8:41 PM on December 21, 2019 | #14923 | reply | quote

[8:47 PM] curi: ppl build up the overreaching for decades and then it's hard to untangle but there's nothing fundamentally special about the untangling process, just gotta start learning stuff successfully. ppl get stuck b/c e.g. they learn unsuccessfully and incorrectly evaluate it as successful. kate does that a lot.

[8:48 PM] curi: need to exponentially (literally) back off to simpler stuff with much clearer, easier to objectively measure criteria for success.

[8:48 PM] curi: but ppl would rather lie to themselves.

Anonymous at 8:50 PM on December 21, 2019 | #14924 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 5:41 PM on December 25, 2019 | #14947 | reply | quote

A partial answer to a yes/no question? Huh...

Anonymous at 3:08 PM on December 26, 2019 | #14957 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 4:32 PM on December 26, 2019 | #14959 | reply | quote

David Deutsch's comments on *The Fabric of Reality* audio book, from audible, transcribed by http://otter.ai

> As I was proof listening to this audio version, it was the first time in 21 years that I'd read the whole book sequentially. It was fun. I still stand by virtually everything I wrote there. But there are few things that I put differently today. And a couple of things are out of date. If I were writing this book today, I would avoid the words justification and justified because they are so easily misunderstood. In this book, particularly in chapter seven, something being justified always means that it is the right thing, morally or methodologically. Not that it's justified as being true or probably true, because nothing ever is justified as true or probably true. So it is indeed morally and methodologically the right thing not to jump off the Eiffel Tower unsupervised and expect to survive. And the reason is, indeed, because of the arguments, as I say there. But I would say today, that only by using very bad explanations, could you argue that jumping would be safe? One place where I've changed my mind at all, is in regard to counter factual statements such as I could have chosen otherwise. It's true as I say in chapter 11, that whenever you could have chosen otherwise, you did choose otherwise in some other universes. But it's no longer my view that this fact is necessary to make sense of counterfactuals and hence of free will, I now see Free Will in terms of knowledge creation. cosmology has moved on a bit since 1997. We are now more perplexed about it than we were then. But tipless omega point cosmology does seem to have been ruled out by observations of the accelerated expansion of the universe. But meanwhile, new possibilities have opened up for an unlimited amount of computation in the future. So I still think the bottom line of chapter 14 is true.

Anonymous at 5:18 PM on December 26, 2019 | #14960 | reply | quote


> Say it’s Saturday night in Kabul and you’re a $200-a-month Afghan soldier who’s a little short on cash. What to do?

> One easy way to raise a few Afghanis, the local currency, is to jam a clip into your M16 or AK-47, blow off a bunch of rounds and sell the cartridge casings to a scrap metal dealer.


> A Reuters story today suggests that the cash-for-ammo-trash business is one reason why the U.S. spent more than $300 million on ammo for Afghan Security Forces last year.

> Afghan Defense Ministry officials denied that there was a problem, but a commander in Helmand province said troops can fire off 10,000-20,000 rounds in a single night with no Taliban casualties to be found.


> pays about 175 Afghani ($2.55) per kilo of spent cartridge casings

So inefficient :(

The cost for those rounds might be $1000 (wild guess).

Anonymous at 7:12 PM on December 29, 2019 | #14969 | reply | quote

Fortnite is such trash as a competitive game due to the FFA design.


curi at 12:53 AM on December 30, 2019 | #14977 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 12:59 AM on December 30, 2019 | #14978 | reply | quote

Justin Mallone on religious tolerance and the threat of Islam

On Mon, 21 Jan 2019, Justin Mallone wrote to FI list:

> One issue is that people are blind to the threat of Islam. They are thinking of stuff through a “freedom of religion/pluralism is good” concept, but that concept arose in the context of a broadly Judeo-Christian culture. Pretty mainstream/reasonable Judeo-Christian religious sects with some respect for things like the separation of church and state are the implied context there. Having to deal — in everyday, civilian life —with the adherents of a hostile theocratic warrior religion bent on conquest was not part of the context in which we adopted religious tolerance.

Alisa at 7:15 PM on December 31, 2019 | #15000 | reply | quote

Ayn Rand: Meritocracy is an anti-concept

https://courses.aynrand.org/works/an-untitled-letter/ :

> “Meritocracy” is an old anti-concept and one of the most contemptible package-deals. By means of nothing more than its last five letters, that word obliterates the difference between mind and force: it equates the men of ability with political rulers, and the power of their creative achievements with political power. There is no difference, the word suggests, between freedom and tyranny: an “aristocracy” is tyranny by a politically established elite, a “democracy” is tyranny by the majority — and when a government protects individual rights, the result is tyranny by talent or “merit” (and since “to merit” means “to deserve,” a free society is ruled by the tyranny of justice).

Alisa at 9:06 AM on January 1, 2020 | #15004 | reply | quote


What authors re TCS are consistently good to read, curi, besides you and DD?

E.g. here you say that Kristen McCord is not especially good re TCS:


N at 3:25 AM on January 2, 2020 | #15007 | reply | quote

Richard Feynman: a tiny change to a theory's consequences can require enormous changes to the theory

Richard Feynman said (transcript mine):

> The philosophy, or the ideas, around a theory — you say, there is a space-time, or something like that... These ideas change enormously when there are very tiny changes in the theory. In other words, for instance, Newton's ideas about space and time agree with experiment very well. But in order to get the correct motion of the orbit of Mercury, which was a tiny, tiny difference, the difference in the *character* of the theory with which you started was enormous. Reason is, these [theories] are so simple and so perfect. They produce definite results. In order to get something that produces a little different result, it has to be completely different. You can't [fix] imperfections on a perfect thing — you have to have *another* perfect thing. So the philosophical differences between Newton's theory of gravitation and Einstein's theory of gravitation are enormous.

Alisa at 8:46 AM on January 4, 2020 | #15021 | reply | quote

gradualism: does evolution in nature try to do reversible steps first?

http://fallibleideas.com/gradualism :

> Gradualism also has to do with preferring to do *reversible steps first*. Try a few things that are less risky before making more permanent changes. Gradualism involves making it easier to back out of your changes if they're mistaken. That's a good thing to pay attention to and place value on.

In what way(s), if any, does the process of evolution in nature "try" to do reversible steps first?

Alisa at 7:25 PM on January 4, 2020 | #15023 | reply | quote

#15023 In case it wasn't clear, "try" was my word. I put it in quotes because I was iffy about the idea of nature *trying* to do anything, but I couldn't think of a better word at the moment and I hoped my meaning was clear enough.

Alisa at 7:27 PM on January 4, 2020 | #15024 | reply | quote


is expired by the way

TW at 9:14 AM on January 5, 2020 | #15027 | reply | quote

Tucker on violence against Trump supporters

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/28/exclusive-decade-in-review-tucker-carlson-details-how-gop-changing-under-trump-but-not-fast-enough/ :

> Carlson pointed to the violence that has occurred against Trump supporters in many places across the country, too, noting that if this happened to supporters of then-President Barack Obama when Obama was in the White House, it would have been shut down.

> “Ask yourself if five years ago, if anyone who wore an Obama for president shirt got punched in the face, or attacked by mobs or had the hat pulled off his head and had a milkshake poured on him, do you think Barack Obama would sit in the White House and be like ‘there’s nothing I can do about that. Anytime somebody wears some of my campaign tee-shirts into public he gets attacked, and there’s nothing I can do about it.’ Are you joking?” Carlson said. “Are you fricking kidding? No he would have marshaled like the entire Justice Department like tonight, like right now, on behalf of his people—his voters—they voted for Obama, and saying that in public is getting them hurt. No, not acceptable. Not for one second. He would have made certain that they were free to wear clothing with his name on it. That’s just one example. But, go wear a Trump hat in Brooklyn—you will get hit. How is that ok? Really? And the Justice Department is doing nothing about this because why? People are just so crazy, I just don’t understand. And I’m not, like I don’t—I’m not exactly sure whose fault it is, but Obama never would have put up with this. He was man enough to just be like ‘no, that’s not allowed.’”

Anonymous at 10:28 AM on January 5, 2020 | #15028 | reply | quote

Tucker on how the left controls what people are allowed to say


> “So some leftwing activist group will show up and say ‘you’re no longer allowed to say X.’ I don’t know what it is, just pick something. Out with ‘the Orient,’ in with ‘Asia.’ Maybe that’s okay, maybe it’s not okay. Maybe it’s a good change, or maybe it’s a bad change. But the fact is they [the left] decide unilaterally what the changes are and then everyone else kind of has to go along with it. There’s no vote. It’s like the left decides what you’re allowed to say... It’s especially, it’s almost like the left is trying to see how ludicrous they can make it. You send out a tweet saying ‘men can menstruate too.’ Anyone who laughs is punished. When that happens, they’re challenging us. They’re basically saying ‘we can make you,’ this is 1984, this is Winston Smith, ‘we can make you say this. And then we can make you believe it. Watch us.’ ‘Repeat after me: Men can menstruate too.’ Then after a while you’re like ‘yeah, men can menstruate too, for sure.’ That’s when you’re a zombie. That’s when your soul is gone. That’s when they’re fully in charge of you. You’re just hunk of flesh, and you’re like a ventriloquist dummy at that point. That’s what happens.”

Anonymous at 10:34 AM on January 5, 2020 | #15029 | reply | quote

Ami Horowitz does man on street interviews asking about why Jews are getting attacked in Brooklyn and the responses he gets are awful https://youtu.be/Kvw4_boUOi0

Anonymous at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2020 | #15035 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 11:27 PM on January 6, 2020 | #15037 | reply | quote

#15023 Nothing comes to mind. I don't think genetic evolution plans ahead re steps being reversible. However DNA is pretty good at having reversible steps. If an A and T get swapped, they could get swapped back. Though that isn't likely. If it's a bad change, what usually happens is the unchanged species members outcompeted the mutant. That's the main way changes get reversed: the mutant is less successful.

Anonymous at 2:50 PM on January 7, 2020 | #15044 | reply | quote

you'll enjoy this Veritas legal-related vid Justin


curi at 3:06 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15052 | reply | quote


Good vid thx 👍

Justin at 3:42 PM on January 9, 2020 | #15053 | reply | quote

In April 2007, the eastbound I-580 connector ramp in Oakland's Maze collapsed in a fire. It was reconstructed by C. C. Meyers, Inc. in 25 days, much faster than transportation officials expected.

https://www.tradelineinc.com/reports/2007-10/unprecedented-teamwork-repairs-collapsed-freeway-record-time :

> At first, reporters were astonished by Myers’ bid, just $867,075. Caltrans had estimated the cost of the project to be about $5.2 million. How on earth could Myers build the new ramp for less than a million? The steel itself would cost at least that much.

> Director Kempton explains, “The contract called for a work schedule of fifty days. However, for every day the project finished early, the contractor would earn a bonus of $200,000, with a cap of $5 million.”

> Myers confidently told the press he intended to earn every cent of the $5 million. So confident, in fact, that he began moving people and equipment into place even before the contract was awarded. His bid of $867,075 was simply the remainder of the price.

There's an interesting video on the reconstruction. The video has clips of Meyers, who looks and talks like one of the effective businessmen from Atlas Shrugged. Here's my transcript, starting from around 10m10s:

> C. C. Meyers (C. C. Meyers, Inc.): I come to work and there's a fax there from Stinger Steel out of Arizona. I don't know who Stinger Steel is, right? But it was very interesting. He says, "I want $3/pound for the steel and I want 25% of the bonus."

> Carl Douglas (President, Stinger Welding): "We had several contractors call us and laugh at us and say we were crazy and they weren't going to participate in paying us a bonus, they just wanted a hard dollar bid from us."

> Meyers: I've never had a proposal sent to me in my whole life like that. So I called the guy. "First of all, who the hell are you?"

> Douglas: Mr. Meyers asked me basically who we were and I believe he made one phone call and called me back within 3 or 4 minutes, says, "Hey look, we're gonna deal with you, let's go."

> Meyers: I said, "I know I can make that bonus. And your 25% of that -- I don't have a problem with that. I want this thing built in record time."

Alisa at 8:22 PM on January 10, 2020 | #15076 | reply | quote

Variance Math Problems

a±b + c±d = ?

And the same problem but replacing addition with multiplication, subtraction, division, exponentiation, modulo.

I took an interest in this because variance scales up hugely with a single multiplication.

I have elegant solutions for the first four, an inelegant solution for exponentiation (not awful and has some nice genericness), and I went through some examples to get a better understanding of what's going on with modulo but I didn't make a formula.

curi at 2:40 PM on January 13, 2020 | #15084 | reply | quote

My formulas all assume a>=b, c>=d and all numbers >= 0. Otherwise you run into complications in some cases that I haven't dealt with. You may want to use those simplifying assumptions when not doing addition or subtraction.

curi at 3:04 PM on January 13, 2020 | #15086 | reply | quote

Edmund Burke

Is this a fair assessment of Burke's ideas or is there any criticism of this short intro on Burke's ideas regarding the French revolution?


Anonymous at 11:00 PM on January 13, 2020 | #15089 | reply | quote

#15089 from the description:

> Edmund Burke is considered one of the first modern conservatives and a critic of the French Revolution, particularly for his Reflections on the Revolution in France.

But he was a classical liberal. He was in the whig party. He was a reformer seeking progress a bit overly aggressively.

curi at 11:15 PM on January 13, 2020 | #15090 | reply | quote

#15090 It seems hard to find good stuff representing Burke. I did try reading "Reflections on the Revolution in France" a while back but gave up due to the old tone it was written in.

Do you recommend anything other than "Reflections on the Revolution in France" by Burke himself to get a fair understanding of his view and criticism of the French revolution? Preferably something in more modern tongue or a summary if you know of any.

Anonymous at 12:38 AM on January 14, 2020 | #15091 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 12:39 AM on January 14, 2020 | #15092 | reply | quote

#15092 & #15091

Thank you.

Anonymous at 12:58 AM on January 14, 2020 | #15094 | reply | quote

Leffen compares WR and TAS for smash melee break the targets.


Anonymous at 7:41 PM on January 15, 2020 | #15112 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 9:06 PM on January 15, 2020 | #15113 | reply | quote

Archives of Yahoo Groups

Elliot, thanks a lot for publishing the archives of the FoR Yahoo group. Thanks for including the original "txt" version as well as the PDF. Would it be possible for you to make the Autonomy Respecting Relationships posts available too?

Anon at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2020 | #15121 | reply | quote

ARR is planned next.

Anonymous at 1:41 PM on January 16, 2020 | #15122 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 9:22 PM on January 18, 2020 | #15146 | reply | quote


from the youtube transcript:

> so I think the rules and social reality


> are win-lose like there are conflicts of


> interest in social reality because


> you're competing you climb in the status


> hierarchy but in real reality it's more


> like physicists physicists collaborating


> where they can just all work together


> and win like Einstein discovering more


> stuff than you does not make you lose if


> you're a physicist you're gonna be happy


> it helps you understand physics better

How do socially friendly behaviors and relationships fit into this? Can they be win/win?

Anon at 11:13 AM on January 21, 2020 | #15189 | reply | quote

Talking with Rucka a bit on his video:


curi at 2:55 PM on January 22, 2020 | #15205 | reply | quote

Rucka replied:

>> curi I meant “forgive” in the legal sense, like forgiving debt. I should have used the word “pardon.”

>> So if a murderer shows full remorse, or it was a special one-time murder (eg he killed the man who used to abuse him as a child) he can walk free? The purpose of criminal courts is to punish crime. There’s civil courts for restitutions. I think I’m aligned with Objectivism on this, for what it’s worth.

I replied:

>​ Rucka Reacts No he can't walk free. You don't know he's safe now. The courts don't know. He doesn't know. Introspection ain't perfect. Believing things are special-case one-time murders is not a reliable way to predict future aggression. I think the reason we should have e.g. 10 year jail sentences is to protect us given our imperfect knowledge. People's actions are hard to be predict and psychologists have huge disagreements with each other, it's not much of a science, but we do know that people who have committed crimes have shown they are willing to commit crimes so there's a danger there which merits defense (plus the policy of jail sentences deters some people from committing crimes in the first place, so it has two defensive purposes). If we were omniscient and knew a guy would never hurt a fly again, then yes let him go free, why not, it's harmless (he must not be allowed to gloat or anything like that, just go about his own business productively) – but if we're omniscient, we'd prevent his first crime too, presumably by teaching him good philosophy so he wouldn't want to be a criminal. I'm not trying to get anyone out of jail, I'm not a leftist, and I'd be fine with longer jail terms for lots of stuff.

curi at 4:00 PM on January 22, 2020 | #15207 | reply | quote


> Physics students react to 1888 exam

Alan in particular may be interested.

Tangentially, the *group* seemed dumb, mocking and social, while the repeat *individual* guy said smart, substantive stuff.

Anonymous at 5:15 PM on January 22, 2020 | #15209 | reply | quote

(This is an unmoderated discussion forum. Discussion info.)