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Elliot Temple on September 8, 2016

Comments (516)

Should an average joe buy an iPhone?

Android phones are cheaper, more specs, bigger screens, better camera, more freedom.

I was an apple fan before.. I think I am liking Android more now.

FF at 8:00 PM on September 9, 2016 | #6624
I liked the earlier title format.

Maybe you changed it " curiosity " to clear confusion.

FF at 7:57 AM on September 10, 2016 | #6625
> how do you tell new ppl ur rly great and have them listen or believe you at all? "hi i'm the best living philosopher" does not go over well at all.

I asked Rami a million questions when he called you the best Philosopher ever. It is hard to digest that fact for a new person getting introduced to your philosophy.

FF at 8:19 AM on September 10, 2016 | #6626
I wanted to change the banner to say "Curiosity" instead of "CURI". I tried for a while but was unable to find a way to generate more letters like the old banner. So I figured out how to upload a font, Apple Chancery, which I think is pretty decent. I added the font on the FI site too.

If anyone can generate some good looking banner text saying "curiosity" or "CURIOSITY" in letters made out of "#", I would consider switching to it. The old one was 7 lines high but I could probably get taller text to work by shrinking the size of each "#". I'm not very interested in switching to figlet or any other ascii writing that has anything besides "#" in it, unless it looks *really* great.

I could also consider switching to another font. I looked at a bunch. Most of the kinda cursive looking ones were too hard to read, e.g. the capital C was too fancy and not immediately obvious what letter it was.

FYI I'm reasonably happy with this banner and not really looking to change it further.

curi at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2016 | #6627
How do you differentiate between bad feeling causes by coercion and bad feeling that should be ignored?

I made a conscious choice to learn math after a lot of thinking. But I still get weird bad feelings when I do math.Lets say Math is super important to what I do. Should I ignore the bad feeling?

FF at 10:20 AM on September 11, 2016 | #6629
Why would you ignore it?

I wonder if you don't mean ignore.

Anonymous at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2016 | #6630
solve problems instead of ignoring them!

Anonymous at 1:04 PM on September 11, 2016 | #6632
> Why would you ignore it? #6630

Conventional people ignore the suffering that comes with learning, continue studying & achieve in life.

Do you think having no pain while studying new complex stuff is possible? Or do the geniuses call the "pain" something else?

I get no pain doing stuff after I learned it. After learning a type of math problem I can solve a ton of similar problems without pain.

Making my mind learn new hard stuff causes pain.

FF at 7:53 AM on September 12, 2016 | #6636
> Do you think having no pain while studying new complex stuff is possible?

yes

curi at 11:24 AM on September 12, 2016 | #6637

Gradations of Certainty

Hi Elliot,

Thanks for offering to take my question on Twitter!

My question boils down to this: How should we think about **gradations of certainty** in Critical Rationalist terms?

I've been enamored with David Deutsch's book *The Beginning of Infinity* for the past couple months now, but I find that his book hasn't equipped me to think clearly about what it means to experience certainty.

Deutsch obviously agrees with empirically-minded Bayesians that there is no point at which we can achieve *absolute* certainty, but I doubt it's possible (or worthwhile) to discard the concept of certainty altogether. I haven’t found any reason to think Deutsch would disagree with Bayesian inference (which, as far as I’m aware, is neutral toward justificationism vs. fallibilism), but Deutsch seems to speak solely in the fallibilist language of finding better explanations and ruling-out bad explanations, rather than speaking about how the accumulation of evidence can contribute to the “certainty” that an explanation is true, which is language more familiar to Bayesians and justificationists. Let me give you three examples in which I think it would be worthwhile to preserve the concept of certainty:

**1.) We may wish to compare non-competing explanations.** Deutsch and Popper tend to focus on how we can compare *competing* explanations (e.g., Newtonian mechanics and relativity), but they don't - as far as I can tell - provide any straightforward framework in which to compare *non-competing* explanations. For example, how should we compare the theory of evolution by natural selection against the hypothesis that the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event was primarily caused by an asteroid impact (the Alvarez hypothesis)? More specifically, how should we articulate the fact that we - I think, quite rationally - feel greater confidence in the prior than the latter, even though we may accept both explanations simultaneously? If you doubt it's rational for me to say I feel "greater confidence" in evolution than in the Alvarez hypothesis, then consider the following thought experiment:

You are promised 20 million dollars under the stipulation that you will wager it on one of two possible bets. You must choose between *A.) In a decade from now, the scientific consensus will be that evolution by natural selection is our best explanation for the origin and diversity of species.* or *B.) In a decade from now, the scientific consensus will be that the Alvarez hypothesis is our best explanation for the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.* For each bet that you win, you will be allowed to keep the money that you wagered on that bet. However, you may not wager more than 15 million dollars on either one of these bets, yet you must wager all 20 million dollars between the two.

If both A and B were equally certain bets, then it would not matter how you allocated your money between the two. You could just split it 50-50. However, I think the only rational way to allocate your money, given the current state of scientific knowledge, is to bet $15 million (the maximum) on evolution and the remainder on the Alvarez hypothesis. It’s not that I don’t accept the Alvarez hypothesis – I do accept it – but I just have *much* greater confidence in the theory of evolution. In this scenario and others like it, I think terms like “certainty” and “confidence” are useful when conveying our decision-making process.

**2.) There is clearly such a thing as overselling an explanation.** If a guy sees a girl wink at him from across the bar, then it might be rational for him to conjecture that she has a sexual interest in him. However, he is clearly being irrational if, when trying to convince a friend of his newfound explanation, he says, “Dude, she soooooo wants to bang me!” How could he possibly be so *certain* of his explanation, given that he only observed her winking at him? I think the italicized word “certain” in that question is a useful, concise term for conveying what the question is trying to ask.

**3.) We are in a better position now to say that our best available explanations are indeed the best available explanations than when we likewise accepted these explanations in the past.** For example, evolution by natural selection was the best available explanation when Darwin proposed it, but we are in a much better position to expound its merits now than when Darwin was alive. A simpler way of saying this is, I think, that we have “grown more certain” of evolution.

So this is what I’ve been trying to wrap my head around lately. I have some intuitions as to how this could be grounded in terms that Deutsch and Popper might find agreeable, but I thought it would be helpful to hear from people who have been stooped in this epistemic worldview for much longer than I have. How would you explain certainty? What does it mean to say that one is “certain” or “more certain” of an explanation?

Apologies for the lengthiness, and thanks again!
Mike

Mike S. at 1:45 PM on October 15, 2016 | #6836
i wrote this in reply: http://curi.us/1917-rejecting-gradations-of-certainty

it covers some of the most general interest issues here.

for specific replies to things you said, i posted those in the first comment at that post: http://curi.us/1917-rejecting-gradations-of-certainty#c6837

curi at 3:00 PM on October 15, 2016 | #6838
I added a new blog feature. You can view all posts with comments on one page (may stall your browser. Find the link to it the More sidebar button, http://curi.us/more

There are around 1,250,000 words right now.

curi at 4:21 PM on October 15, 2016 | #6839
I read a bunch of tweets about the hashtag "#ImGoingToMissObamaBecause". Exactly zero of them had to do with policy decisions. 100% fluff.

curi at 3:34 PM on October 17, 2016 | #6884

Added Markdown Links

Markdown links now work in blog comments. The format is: [link text](link url)

This lets you do put links on words. Example:

Read my Taking Children Seriously essay!

curi at 1:16 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6920
on FI, Elliot wrote:

>i don't think you have the background knowledge to analyze the lyrics. i think it's best to drop it indefinitely. i recommend ... as I usually do and am ignored about ... that you focus on short, simple posts to get a coherent grasp on philosophy of ideas.

what background knowledge do you think i'm lacking? i don't disagree with you. but i'm curious what you have in mind.

also, re: the philosophy of ideas are you suggesting i focus directly on fundamental concepts such as ideas, problems, knowledge, methods? and then see where those lead to?

like mb start with essays such as this one: http://fallibleideas.com/ideas

Kate at 7:51 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6923
http://fallibleideas.com/ideas

>An idea is the smallest unit of coherent thought.

why did you say "coherent" thought, when some ideas are not coherent? why not just say the smallest unit of thought?

Kate at 7:57 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6924
i thought i suggested several times that you start with questions about the topic and trying to put together a coherent initial statement about philosophy of ideas (like what that is and isn't, what it's for, and how the FI view of it works). why are you running to essays to guide you? i think you're kinda passive and helpless. and i kinda get that. but why can't you then get to the point of asking questions about how to live and think and stuff without being told what to discuss?

Anonymous at 8:05 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6926
you're bad at thinking. doesn't that lead to any questions you have, of your own? e.g. you could be trying to pursue understanding how to be good at thinking and what makes one bad at thinking and how to change. but you aren't. and now you may try it a little on *my* initiative, which won't work. you have to figure out how to pursue something on your own initiative.

Anonymous at 8:07 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6927
>you have to figure out how to pursue something on your own initiative.

i am pursuing things on my own initiative. however, i'm also open to suggestions on topics or projects i should consider spending time on. you suggested that i haven't paid much attn to getting the basics right. that i should focus on the philosophy of ideas. that i should ask questions about the basics until i can write like a basic summary.

i think this means learning about ideas, problems, knowledge, methods. or do you mean something else?

anyways, doing this meshes with my other ongoing interests/questions so it seems like a good idea to try out.

like i've got ongoing interests/questions about contradictions. my kid's ongoing learning process. my ongoing learning process. how you can know something is good or not (e.g. TCS or Oism). whether method-type ideas differ from other ideas. how it's important to *direct* your thinking and actively choose what you want to spend your time thinking about (like i've noticed that when i'm passive re this that i'm easily distracted or i notice secondhanded thots). what ARE good things to think about and how to *want* to think about them, so then you actually do. how to create an understanding of a concept. the unpredictability of knowledge creation (this has ramifications for marriage). the autonomous nature of ideas (i'm sorta like (1) an observer and identifier of the ideas i hold and (2) a mediator when there's a conflict. and from this pov, there's this depersonalized aspect as i notice my ideas.)

anyways, learning more about the basics of ideas, problems, knowledge, methods seems like it might help with these other ongoing interests of mine.

so that's why i started with the idea essay.

also, i haven't looked in depth at that stuff for a long time. sometimes when you go back and study stuff again, you can learn a lot the second time.

but mb it'd be better to start by trying to write something about epistemology without looking at anything else first? then go back and read FI essays, Popper, DD, etc to learn about the areas i get wrong?

or maybe i should just keep pursuing some of the topics i've wrote about above?

any suggestions?

>e.g. you could be trying to pursue understanding how to be good at thinking and what makes one bad at thinking and how to change. but you aren't.

no, i am pursuing that. i'll post some of my thoughts.

Kate at 10:02 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6928
you been around for a long time and have never done this stuff, but now you claim you're already doing it. from what i cant tell you don't listen to me much and don't take the criticism seriously. and e.g. i talk about getting a coherent simple overall picture of how philosophy of ideas work (which would provide some context for other thinking), and you don't have that, and you seem to ignore me and forget i ever said it. your comments frequently don't engage with things i just said.

Anonymous at 11:05 PM on October 18, 2016 | #6929
#6920

> Markdown links now work in blog comments. The format is: [link text](link url)

Why didn't it work above?

Tests:

[Curi.us](curi.us)

Curi.us

Curiosity Blog

Anonymous at 1:13 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6932

Anonymous at 1:14 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6933
No. It seems it's any bar after the .com.

Random link to test
Random link to test

Anonymous at 1:17 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6934
So only main domain links can be used in the new feature.

Anonymous at 1:17 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6935
>you been around for a long time and have never done this stuff, but now you claim you're already doing it.

yes, if you are referring to trying to pursue understanding re how to be good at thinking and what makes one bad at thinking and how to change.

>from what i cant tell you don't listen to me much and don't take the criticism seriously.

i've made that mistake a lot before. i have ignored you in the past. and even if it looked as if i was responding, sometimes that was for show. i wasn't actually curiously engaged and eager to fix errors.

anyways, that's one thing i'm improving on. and when you suggested that i should focus on basics and the philosophy of ideas, i didn't ignore you while continuing to just work on my own stuff. i'm taking your suggestion seriously by first trying to figure out what it means.

>e.g. i talk about getting a coherent simple overall picture of how philosophy of ideas work (which would provide some context for other thinking), and you don't have that, and you seem to ignore me and forget i ever said it.

why do you think i ignored you about this? i think the issue is that i'm *unclear* on your suggestion.

e.g. i still don't know if you are suggesting trying to write about epistemology from scratch or what.

anon said this:

http://curi.us/1916-the-greek-achievement#c6896

>and, Kate, you haven't paid much attention to getting the basics right. like asking lots of questions about them until you can write your own basic summaries of main overall points (like whether and why you should learn what) that people think are true instead of having tons of crit of.

i didn't interpret this to mean trying to write about the basics from scratch. but now i'm wondering if you think that'd be better than reading and asking questions about stuff like ideas, probs, knowledge, methods.

here anon wrote more:

http://curi.us/1916-the-greek-achievement#c6902

>@kate the basics of anything. epistemology, tcs, ARR, capitalism, etc. you haven't gone through any of it in an organized way or in a way that starts at the beginning. you jump into the middle of stuff without a clear idea of what philosophy problems you're solving or how. (you may, in some cases, know some concrete problem from you're life you're trying to solve.)

then i started considering that these basic summaries would help organize my ideas. there'd be more structure there, which is good.

so i wrote a bit on that:

http://curi.us/1916-the-greek-achievement#c6911

>but let's suppose u are interested in TCS (or ARR or Oism or whatever). one thing to try is to not only solve specific concrete and abstract problems associated with your interest, but also ask questions to learn about the overall structure of the topic. Create a framework for those ideas so that it's organized in ur mind.

>and then even place that whole framework into an even greater framework of all of your ideas so you can better understand the connections between everything.

>have you read "Understanding Objectivism" by Peikoff? he talks about something similar to this. about understanding the context and overall structure and then knowing *where* you are in that broad philosophical framework as you are working on specific problems.

and anon's response was:

http://curi.us/1916-the-greek-achievement#c6913

>i don't think Kate gets it or does it either. she talks about TCS but no one starts there. they start with interests like being nicer to their kid, say. and then they, hopefully, soon develop some interests like "What is an idea?" because they realize their kid has ideas and the treatment of their kid's ideas – by himself, by the parents, by others – is a big deal. and so on.

>i think part of the problem is people have low standards for thinking they already understand stuff. but if you ask them to write it, then you get admissions of weakness and ignorance. but then somehow a bunch of questions aren't forthcoming.

so then i started thinking you are talking about how to create actual understandings of concepts and how that will lead you down to epistemology basics, such as ideas, probs, knowledge, methods. doing this also involves putting those ideas into an organized framework.

so i asked this:

http://curi.us/1916-the-greek-achievement#c6914

>what about the concept of going deep with an idea. staying there for awhile. exploring it in detail. trying to step-by-step understand how to reach a conclusion and why it makes sense. thinking about how it connects up to other stuff. putting it in a structure where you see it's relation to other ideas.

>is this close to what you are talking about? and are you saying that doing something like this will then lead to some basic issues?

>and with "basic", specifically are you referring to epistemology concepts?

no one has answered these questions yet.

basically from my pov, i'm trying to figure out what you are suggesting and how you suggest i go about it.

communication is hard. i'm trying to understand. please clarify.

Kate at 5:47 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6941
>> An idea is the smallest unit of coherent thought.
> why did you say "coherent" thought, when some ideas are not coherent? why not just say the smallest unit of thought?

It could be you and Elliot are using coherent differently. I imagined a coherent thought as a thought you can grasp. The smallest unit of thought could be "ouch" but I'm not sure that can be classed as an idea.

Later in the essay, Elliot says:

> No one knows a good method of counting ideas, or deciding where one ends and the next begins. Until someone figures that out, we'll have to be a little imprecise about it.

So it's hard to isolate a single idea.

Anonymous at 6:23 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6942

Ideas

http://fallibleideas.com/ideas

DD wrote:

>It's not completely autonomous. The more detailed the questions you ask about why the movie is worse, the more different the responses will be. But approximately speaking, it is autonomous.

>And that nearly-autonomous thing is not a person. It is much less than a person. I call it a theory.

i don't understand why it's not completely autonomous. even if someone's response to a particular detail is different than everyone else'e, wouldn't the autonomy of that idea still exist?

like it's still the case that that particular idea doesn't consult the rest of mind when judging the issue it "cares" about, right? also, it's still the case that you can't use force to change that idea. in a sense, the idea sorta exists separate from you. it's autonomous.

i have some other thoughts, but i'll start with this.

Kate at 6:51 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6943
How can you control your ideas if they are autonomous entities (which can't be directly controlled)?

Anonymous at 7:19 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6944
> i don't understand why it's not completely autonomous. even if someone's response to a particular detail is different than everyone else'e, wouldn't the autonomy of that idea still exist?

Do you mean the autonomy of that theory?

A theory is always connected to other aspects of the person, it can't be completely independent.

> like it's still the case that that particular idea doesn't consult the rest of mind when judging the issue it "cares" about, right?

DD was talking about a theory, not an idea. He was talking about a set of ideas, a part of a person.

> also, it's still the case that you can't use force to change that idea. in a sense, the idea sorta exists separate from you. it's autonomous. i have some other thoughts, but i'll start with this.

I don't know why you are speaking of force. It seems to me you are adding more complication to something you are struggling to understand as it is.

I think DD was just explaining what a theory is. A theory is a set of ideas that form part of a person and can be autonomous, it can exist
separately from the person, because other people whose other parts are different can have the same theory. He gave an example of theory, the reasons of why a person people like Buffy the series better than the film.

We could both have that theory and we could both agree on those reasons, yet other part of us remain different. One person can have knowledge on cars and another won't.

Anonymous at 7:24 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6945
> How can you control your ideas if they are autonomous entities (which can't be directly controlled)?

I don't think that by autonomous DD meant "with a mind of their own" or "can't be directly controlled."

I think he meant that a theory doesn't need other parts of the person to exist.

Anonymous at 7:27 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6946
Elliot, how can people improve on reading comprehension which seems a major problem for your followers?

Anonymous at 7:28 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6947

Ideas

>> i don't understand why it's not completely autonomous. even if someone's response to a particular detail is different than everyone else'e, wouldn't the autonomy of that idea still exist?

>Do you mean the autonomy of that theory?

what's the difference between the autonomy of a theory and the autonomy of an idea?

from the essay:

>A "theory" always refers to multiple ideas, not that that tells you much. This is an explanation of what a "theory" is by David Deutsch. It equally well explains ideas.

a theory refers to multiple ideas. but i don't understand if there's any difference between the autonomous nature of each of them.

my first guess is that there isn't cuz Elliot said that DD's explanation of theories (which talks about their autonomous nature) equally well explains ideas.

can you clarify?

>A theory is always connected to other aspects of the person, it can't be completely independent.

can you give me an example of how this plays out?

how does this (somewhat) lack of independence make a difference in how we conceptualize the nature of ideas? does it solve any useful problems?

lastly, what are the implications of thinking of theories (and ideas?) as nearly autonomous?

>I don't know why you are speaking of force. It seems to me you are adding more complication to something you are struggling to understand as it is.

i initially thought the force issue was one way to see how ideas or theories have an autonomous nature. you can't force someone (or yourself) to believe a conclusion.

like if ideas were NOT autonomous entities, i'm imagining that you could just force yourself to believe whatever you wanted. you could avoid coercion using willpower. but it doesn't work that way.

it's bad to try to ignore your ideas, suppress them, wish them away. THEY EXIST whether you like it or not. and you need to take them seriously (as the autonomous entities they are).

i think the answer to this question might help me a lot: what's the connection btwn the autonomous nature of ideas and the fact that you can't force a mind?

>A theory is a set of ideas that form part of a person and can be autonomous, it can exist separately from the person, because other people whose other parts are different can have the same theory.

my understanding of part of this: one way to see how a theory is autonomous is by seeing that it isn't dependent on particular parts of a person in order to exist. is that right?

and are they other ways to see how a theory is autonomous?

Kate at 9:49 AM on October 19, 2016 | #6948
here is the markdown links code:

re = %r{(\s|^)\[(.+?)\]\((http.+?|www.+?)\)(\W|$)}i
replace = "\\1<a href='\\3'>\\2</a>\\4"
s = s.gsub(re, replace)

i had a bug where it was missing the "|$" near the end, so it didn't work when there was nothing else afterwards. the fix is retroactive. (the code applies when displaying comments and has no effect on what's saved in the database).

note it only detects links starting with http or with www.

curi at 12:24 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6949
> How can you control your ideas if they are autonomous entities (which can't be directly controlled)?

Persuasion!

Anonymous at 2:22 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6952
> Elliot, how can people improve on reading comprehension which seems a major problem for your followers?

i don't know how you meant this but, to be clear, it's an even larger problem for other groups of people.

i recommend people learn from my video on the matter: https://gumroad.com/l/mpse

that's why i made it!

i am vaguely planning to make some more stuff related to this issue b/c i agree it's important. however i'm working on a bunch of stuff right now, esp relating to HBL and the election. so don't expect anything new at least until after the election, unless you ask short questions.

people can also practice analyzing text and get feedback on FI.

curi at 2:26 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6953
> i don't understand why it's not completely autonomous. even if someone's response to a particular detail is different than everyone else'e, wouldn't the autonomy of that idea still exist?
>
> like it's still the case that that particular idea doesn't consult the rest of mind when judging the issue it "cares" about, right? also, it's still the case that you can't use force to change that idea. in a sense, the idea sorta exists separate from you. it's autonomous.

none of your ideas are 100% separate from the rest of your mind. only mostly.

to some approximation, an idea may not consult the rest of your mind and can do stuff independently. but this is not 100% accurate, it is connected with other ideas and background knowledge and stuff.

Anonymous at 2:29 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6954
> DD was talking about a theory, not an idea. He was talking about a set of ideas, a part of a person.

a "theory" and an "idea" are the same thing.

a "set of ideas" and an "idea" are the same thing. there's no real distinction.

everything ppl refer to as an "idea" can also be correctly described as a "set of ideas", basically by zooming in to higher precision so that you see a bunch of ideas involved in the one "idea".

the choice of saying "theory", "idea", or "set of ideas" is for flavor and inexact communication. it can get a different message across to an audience. sorta like synonyms. but if you're being technical, there aren't precise distinctions that hold up to scrutiny.

"theory" is a more formal word than "idea".

Anonymous at 2:32 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6955
> I don't know why you are speaking of force.

i think it's cuz Oism says you can't force a mind. and she remembers that, but is kinda confused and misusing it.

Anonymous at 2:33 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6956

social sharing

i added tweet, facebook share, and reddit buttons on all posts.

i would like feedback on them.

i might delete the reddit button.

i might limit them to a few select posts.

curi at 6:52 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6962
i could add also a button for emailing posts. should i?

curi at 7:00 PM on October 19, 2016 | #6963

Ideas

>> How can you control your ideas if they are autonomous entities (which can't be directly controlled)?

>I don't think that by autonomous DD meant "with a mind of their own" or "can't be directly controlled."

what do you think about the issue? do you think ideas can be directly controlled? i don't think "direct control" is a helpful way to think about your approach to your ideas.

first, ideas don't just obediently fall in line. you can't force yourself to believe a conclusion.

second, "direct control" can imply that you know the final answer and you are directing the process to get there. but with truth-seeking its a mistake to assume a conclusion in advance. the process is unpredictable.

however, thankfully there is a way to *change* your ideas.

and also, you have the capacity to *choose*. so you can choose whether to think or not. you can choose which method of thinking you want to use. you have control over this stuff. you have control over which idea you ACT on (which is different than saying you can always have "direct control" over which ideas EXIST in your mind).

Kate at 3:14 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6967
>to some approximation, an idea may not consult the rest of your mind and can do stuff independently. but this is not 100% accurate, it is connected with other ideas and background knowledge and stuff.

what implication does this have on a person, their thinking, their actions?

>>I don't know why you are speaking of force.

>i think it's cuz Oism says you can't force a mind. and she remembers that, but is kinda confused and misusing it.

ok cool. how is it kinda confusing and being misused?

Kate at 3:33 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6970
You can mix and match ideas.

One guy can be a Buffy fan and dislike Daredevil.

Another guy is a Buffy fan and likes Daredevil.

Both are common.

How is this possible? Because the Buffy opinion and the Daredevil opinion are separate things. They are not 100% unrelated or self-contained, but they are approximately self-contained (which DD calls approximately autonomous). These ideas are self-contained enough that Buffy fans can and do go either way on Daredevil.

This isn't about whether you can control your own ideas.

curi at 3:35 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6971
>how is it kinda confusing and being misused?

correction: how am i kinda confused and how's the force idea being misused?

Kate at 3:42 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6972
This tray is amazing. Much larger than the other ones. Holds plenty of plates/cups/food/condiments. Even one large hot bowl, plus a drink, can be awkward to carry with no tray. add a sauce and a side dish and you're taking two trips to carry stuff. until you get this tray!

https://www.amazon.com/Totally-Bamboo-20-7510-Butlers-Tray/dp/B001FOPU1E?tag=curi04-20

curi at 3:55 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6974
i need to clarify this, too.

>>to some approximation, an idea may not consult the rest of your mind and can do stuff independently. but this is not 100% accurate, it is connected with other ideas and background knowledge and stuff.

>what implication does this have on a person, their thinking, their actions?

*this* is referring to the part about how there are still some connections with other ideas and background knowledge and stuff.

like do these connections with other stuff have any actionable effect on how an idea can do it's own thing independently?

like what's the nature of these connections?

Kate at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2016 | #6975

remap caps-lock to both control AND escape!

People who like vi/vim key-bindings: You can [remap caps-lock to both control AND escape](http://www.economyofeffort.com/2014/08/11/beyond-ctrl-remap-make-that-caps-lock-key-useful/
)! Caps-lock can function as control when pressed in combination with another key, and as escape when tapped alone. This is more ergonomic than reaching up for the escape key. Also, Apple's new macbooks supposedly don't have an escape key, so you'd have to do some remapping anyway.

Alisa at 3:26 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7058

How many 3-digit numbers have exactly one zero?

Art of Problem Solving Counting & Probability, Problem 2.8:

> How many 3-digit numbers have exactly one zero?

The three digit numbers with exactly one zero can look like A0B or
AB0, where A and B are digits from 1-9. So the total number of 3-digit numbers with exactly 1 zero is 9*9 + 9*9 = 81 + 81 = 162.

Here's some Javascript code to check it:

var count, j, i;
count = 0;
for (i = 100; i < 1000; i++) {
j = "" + i;
if (j.indexOf(0) > -1 && j.indexOf(0) === j.lastIndexOf(0)) count++;
}
console.log(count);

Alisa at 4:30 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7066

Counting & Probability problem 2.9

Art of Problem Solving, Counting & Probability Problem 2.9:

> How many sequences x_1, x_2, x_3, ..., x_7 can be formed in which the x_i are integers greater than 0 and less than 6, and no two adjacent x_i are equal?

(I misunderstood this problem at first, and had to search on the web for clarification. I was mistakenly thinking that the sequences had to be increasing, like 1,2,3,5,... which is impossible here, because there aren't enough numbers.)

We have 5 choices for the first number. Then 4 choices for the next number, and so on. So the total number of sequences is 5 * 4^6 = 5 * (4^3)^2 = 5 * 64^2 = 5 * 4096 = 5 * (4100 - 4) = 20500 -20 = 20480.

Program to check it:

var count, i, j, s, bad;
count = 0;
for (i = 1111111; i <= 5555555; i++) {
s = "" + i;
bad = false;
for (j = 0; j < s.length - 1; j++) if (s[j] === s[j+1]) bad = true;
for (j = 0; j < s.length; j++) if (s[j] < "1" || s[j] > "5") bad = true;
if (!bad) count++;
}
console.log(count);

Alisa at 4:36 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7067

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

Art of Problem Solving, Counting & Probability, problem 2.10:

> In how many ways can we pick a group of 3 different numbers from the group 1,2,3,..,500 such that one number is the average of the other two? (The order in which we pick the numbers does not matter.)

We want to pick a & c such that a < c and b = (a+c)/2. b has to be an integer, so (a+c)/2 has to be an integer. This means a+c must be even. This happens when both a and c are odd, or both a and c are even.

The even numbers in the range are 2,4,6,...,500. Dividing each number by two yields 1,2,3,...,250. So there are 250 even numbers.

The odd numbers in the range are 1,3,5,...,499. Adding 1 to each number yields 2,4,6,...,500, which is the sequence we just counted. So there are also 250 odd numbers.

We can choose two different even numbers in 250 * 249 / 2 ways. This is equal to (250 *
(250-1))/2 = (250 * 250 - 250)/2 = ((25 * 10) * (25 * 10) - 250)/2 = (25 * 25 * 10 * 10 - 250)/2 = (625 * 100 - 250)/2 = (62500-250)/2 = 62250/2 = 31125.

We can choose two different odd numbers in the same number of ways: 31125.

So the total number of ways is 62250.

Go program to check it (can be run at go playground online):

package main
import "fmt"
func main() {
count := 0
for a := 1; a <= 500; a++ {
for b := a+1; b <= 500; b++ {
for c := b+1; c <= 500; c++ {
if 2 * b == a + c {
count++
}
}
}
}
fmt.Printf("%d\n", count)
}

Alisa at 4:38 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7068

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

Go Playground link for problem 2.10: https://play.golang.org/p/g1BHVFSa5L

Alisa at 4:40 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7069
> I misunderstood this problem at first

why?

Anonymous at 4:54 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7070

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

>> I misunderstood this problem at first

> why?

I find that question confusing. Do you mean "Why" as in "What caused the mistake?" or "why did I choose to misunderstand it" or something else?

If you meant "what caused the mistake", then: I think I might have seen the the increasing numeric subscripts x_1, x_2, ..., x_7 and somehow misread it as meaning that we must have x_1 < x_2 < .... < x_7. That's not a complete explanation but maybe it had something to do with that. If they just said "how many sequences of 7 numbers" I might not have made the same mistake.

Alisa at 5:03 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7071

Counting & Probability problem 2.9

>>Art of Problem Solving, Counting & Probability Problem 2.9:

>>> How many sequences x_1, x_2, x_3, ..., x_7 can be formed in which the x_i are integers greater than 0 and less than 6, and no two adjacent x_i are equal?

>> (I misunderstood this problem at first, and had to search on the web for clarification. I was mistakenly thinking that the sequences had to be increasing, like 1,2,3,5,... which is impossible here, because there aren't enough numbers.)

> I think I might have seen the the increasing numeric subscripts x_1, x_2, ..., x_7 and somehow misread it as meaning that we must have x_1 < x_2 < .... < x_7. That's not a complete explanation but maybe it had something to do with that. If they just said "how many sequences of 7 numbers" I might not have made the same mistake.

If the problem asked "How many 7-digit numbers can be formed using only the digits 1-5 such that no two adjacent digits are equal" then I most likely wouldn't have misunderstood the problem in the way I did above.

Alisa at 5:08 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7072

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

way too complicated. i don't think you're thinking about numbers in a good way. you try to find some kinda trick and manipulate formulas. it's really simple if you think about concepts like averages in terms of equi-distance on the number line.

you can average to 1 in 0 ways.
you can average to 2 in 1 way by using 1 and 3.
you can average to 3 in 2 ways (1/5 and 2/4).
you can average to all the *low* numbers in n-1 ways.
the reason is you can get an average to N using every single number below N, but then you run out of numbers.

so it's 0+1+2+3+4...+249 and that gets you all the numbers up to 250.

for 251-500 it's symmetric so just double your answer.

if you want details, for high numbers you are bottlenecked by running out of numbers above instead of below. e.g. with 497 you only have 3 numbers above you can use to average to 497. (498 with 496. 499 with 495. 500 with 494. then you run out of numbers on top). with 251 you have 249 numbers above you can use to average to it. comes out to 249+248+247..+1+0 (the 0 is from 500 which you can't average to).

ruby:

c=0; 1.upto(250) {|n| c += n-1}; c*2 # 62250

you can do it in your head cuz to sum from 1 to 249 you know you have 249 numbers with an average of (249+1)/2 so it's (249*250)/2. that's the bottom half. double it to add the top half. final answer 249*250.

Anonymous at 5:13 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7073
i think you should introspect about your mistakes more. you pretty much have no idea why you made a mistake and why you failed to figure it out on your own. and even when prompted to consider it, you basically don't seem to know or care.

i think you take mistakes for granted as something that just happens and are part of life, plus have no idea how to deal with them. and you aren't asking or trying to fix that, just accepting it.

Anonymous at 5:16 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7074

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

> way too complicated.

What's too complicated? My program or my text solution?

> so it's 0+1+2+3+4...+249 and that gets you all the numbers up to 250.
> for 251-500 it's symmetric so just double your answer.

> for high numbers you are bottlenecked

That's a nice way to do it. I like how you think about it in terms of what numbers you're bottlenecked on.

> you can do it in your head cuz to sum from 1 to 249 you know you have 249 numbers with an average of (249+1)/2 so it's (249*250)/2. that's the bottom half. double it to add the top half. final answer 249*250.

That's a nice way to think about the sum of the numbers from 1 to x.

I always thought of it like this (which is more complicated):

Let S = 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + x. Then 2S = 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + x + 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + x. Rearranging, 2S = (1 + x) + (2 + x-1) + (3 + x-2) + ... + (x + 1). Each term in the right-hand side is equal to 1 + x, and there are x terms, so 2S = x(x+1) and S = x(x+1)/2.

Thinking about it in terms of averages is way better.

Alisa at 5:22 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7075
> i think you should introspect about your mistakes more. you pretty much have no idea why you made a mistake and why you failed to figure it out on your own. and even when prompted to consider it, you basically don't seem to know or care.

Good tip. Yeah.

> i think you take mistakes for granted as something that just happens and are part of life, plus have no idea how to deal with them. and you aren't asking or trying to fix that, just accepting it.

Yeah.

Alisa at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7076
> What's too complicated? My program or my text solution?

text solution. the program is a simple brute force. you can't tell that?

heh @ stray italics from multiplication.

> That's a nice way to do it

looks to me like you're ready to move on without learning anything besides maybe memorizing this particular trick.

Anonymous at 5:27 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7077

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

> you can do it in your head cuz to sum from 1 to 249 you know you have 249 numbers with an average of (249+1)/2 so it's (249*250)/2

Another nice thing about thinking about it this way is that it lets you sum other consecutive sequences of numbers, not just sequences starting at 1. For instance, you could sum from 100 to 249 by noting that the average is (249+100)/2 and there are (249-100+1 = 150 numbers, so the sum is 150 * (249+100)/2 = 26175.

Alisa at 5:31 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7078

Counting & Probability problem 2.10

>> What's too complicated? My program or my text solution?

> text solution. the program is a simple brute force. you can't tell that?

I could tell that my program was simple brute force. I couldn't tell if you were referring to my text solution or my program.

> looks to me like you're ready to move on without learning anything besides maybe memorizing this particular trick.

No. See my post right above this one (written before I saw the post of yours I'm replying to.)

Alisa at 5:32 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7079
> > you can do it in your head cuz to sum from 1 to 249 you know you have 249 numbers with an average of (249+1)/2 so it's (249*250)/2

> Another nice thing about thinking about it this way is that it lets you sum other consecutive sequences of numbers, not just sequences starting at 1. For instance, you could sum from 100 to 249 by noting that the average is (249+100)/2 and there are (249-100+1 = 150 numbers, so the sum is 150 * (249+100)/2 = 26175.

It also lets you sum sequences that start with negative integers. For instance, the sum of the numbers from -23 to 23 is 0, because their average is 0. The sum of the numbers from -100 to 200 is 100*(200--100+1) because the average is 100 and there are (200--100+1) numbers. This works out to 100*(301) = 30100.

Thinking of it in terms of averages also lets you directly sum sequences that skip some numbers, like say you want to sum just the even numbers from 2 to 100. The average is 51 and there are 50 of them, so the sum is 51*50 = 2550. Previously I would have divided every number by 2, and sum instead from 1 to 50 using my old way. Then multiply the answer by 2. That's way harder and less direct.

Alisa at 5:45 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7080
> heh @ stray italics from multiplication.

Good blog design decision to leave the *'s in. I think you did it for a separate reason (maybe so copying and pasting to plain text wouldn't lose information) but it works out better for math too.

Alisa at 5:46 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7081
> The sum of the numbers from -100 to 200 is 100*(200--100+1) because the average is 100 and there are (200--100+1) numbers. This works out to 100*(301) = 30100.

Oops, I don't know why I thought the average was 100. It's (200+-100)/2 = 100/2 = 50. So the sum is 50 * 301 = 15050.

Alisa at 5:47 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7082
I was thinking about averages a bit more and remembered something called the geometric mean of a sequence of numbers. The geometric mean of a,b,c,d,e is the number x such that x*x*x*x*x = a*b*c*d*e. This is parallel to the arithmetic mean which is the number y such that y+y+y+y+y = a+b+c+d+e.

I'm not sure how it helps solve problems, but n! (n factorial) can be thought of as (geometric mean of 1,2,3,...,n)^n.

Alisa at 6:32 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7083
> looks to me like you're ready to move on without learning anything besides maybe memorizing this particular trick.

Suggestions on other things I might like to learn from that trick?

Alisa at 6:32 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7084
i actually had in mind the way of thinking about the problem, not the summing.

drawing it on the number line may clarify it.

you approach the numbers 1-500 as an abstract group where you struggle to know properties like that 250 of them are even and 250 are odd. to figure that out you did more math than 500/2.

it's kinda like writing overly general-purpose code.

the integers from 1-500 aren't some unapproachable set. they are just 500 concrete things which are pretty easy to conceptualize on the number line. they should be familiar and comfortable. and anyway you can do the problem with 1-20 first and then extend your solution.

500 isn't that many. people often remember over 500 facts about a single video game. and the numbers 1-500 are way more organized and easy to deal with, and they keep coming up all the time instead of being specific to this one problem.

Anonymous at 7:39 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7086
Thanks for the explanation. I see what you mean. Visualizing the numbers as being on the number line is really helpful here!

And you're exactly right: I was thinking of the numbers as an abstract group without looking at all of their properties that could help solve the problem.

> it's kinda like writing overly general-purpose code.

Yeah. I usually don't think in terms of the number line. Maybe I should do that more.

I wonder what other things I do abstractly that would be more easily done concretely and simply.

> and anyway you can do the problem with 1-20 first and then extend your solution.

I agree. But if I had been given that hint (1-20 first) without the number line hint, I still would have done it my abstract way.

Alisa at 8:14 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7087
I think I often end up doing things the hard way. I am reminded me of the Two Trains Puzzle

> Two trains are on the same track a distance 100 km apart heading towards one another, each at a speed of 50 km/h. A fly starting out at the front of one train, flies towards the other at a speed of 75 km/h. Upon reaching the other train, the fly turns around and continues towards the first train. How many kilometers does the fly travel before getting squashed in the collision of the two trains?

There's a very simple way to answer the question, and a more complicated way. I would naturally do the complicated answer.

Even when I get the right answer for something (not just in math), I bet I often put in more effort than I need to. Up to now I have tended to prefer the general purpose approach that lets me "turn the crank" and solve the problem without thinking too much, even if it ends up being a lot more work.

Alisa at 8:18 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7088
lol. it takes the trains 1 hr to crash. so the fly goes 75km.

you calculated a series of fly trips.

Anonymous at 8:21 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7089
That's right. (I don't know if I did that in this exact case, but it would be typical of me.)

Alisa at 10:07 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7090
> (I don't know if I did that in this exact case, but it would be typical of me.)

In this exact case of the Two Trains puzzle, that is.

Alisa at 10:09 PM on October 26, 2016 | #7091
#7087

>I wonder what other things I do abstractly that would be more easily done concretely and simply.

I think you sometimes make a related mistake with words. You drop the context (the vivid concretes wrt what's going on) and try to look a word in a sterile contextless environment.

This most recently happened when you didn't realize that in a thread about mental illness and Szasz, the term "institutionalize" is referring to putting someone in a "mental hospital".

http://curi.us/1921-the-harry-binswanger-letter-posts#c7045

Kate at 5:51 PM on October 27, 2016 | #7102
https://www.google.com/amp/globalnews.ca/news/3029436/donald-trump-campaign-facebook-dark-posts-voter-suppression-reports/amp/

Trump campaign using facebook ethnicity targeting feature to show ads of Hillary talking about "super predators" to black FB users.

Awesome!

Alisa at 1:59 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7114
http://blog.robertelder.org/switch-statements-statement-expressions/

TIL a C switch statement is just a computed goto (i.e. a goto that jumps to a statement that is not necessarily determined at compile-time). The corresponding case statements are just labels for the computed goto. And break is just a goto that jumps to the end of the switch statement.

Alisa at 2:20 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7116
what did you think it was?

but i can't tell if you mean *conceptually* or *implementation details*. i knew SWITCH = GOTO conceptually, but i didn't know C implementation details.

the concepts are what's interesting.

you know that FOR and WHILE are also structured GOTOs? (conceptually). (and BREAK is a GOTO to jump to just after the end)

IF ELSE is GOTO too (conditional jump. same thing)

curi at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7117
Kate wrote:
> I think you sometimes make a related mistake with words. You drop the context (the vivid concretes wrt what's going on) and try to look a word in a sterile contextless environment.
> This most recently happened when you didn't realize that in a thread about mental illness and Szasz, the term "institutionalize" is referring to putting someone in a "mental hospital".

Yeah, good point. Re-reading again, the original quote by HB:

>> Also, Szasz is against involuntary institutionalization of the insane. But institutionalization is clearly necessary when the person poses an objective threat.

I sort of took the second sentence in isolation instead of considering it together with the preceding sentence. In the second sentence, HB is talking about putting "insane" people who pose an objective threat into psychiatric institutions.

Alisa at 2:46 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7118
> what did you think [the C switch statement] was?

Before reading that article, my understanding of the C switch statement was limited to its use as an accelerated chain of if/else statements that jumped directly to the intended case. (I also knew there was more to it that I didn't understand.)

The part of switch that I understood before is as follows.

Take this switch for example:

switch (x) {
case A: /* do stuff for A */
case B: /* do stuff for B */
case C: /* do stuff for C */
default: /* default stuff */
}

I thought it just a potentially more efficient (and sometimes clearer) form of this:

if(x == A) { /* do stuff for A */}
else if (x == B) { /* do stuff for B */}
else if (x == C) { /* do stuff for C */}
else { /* default stuff */}

Alisa at 2:50 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7119
> but i can't tell if you mean *conceptually* or *implementation details*. i knew SWITCH = GOTO conceptually, but i didn't know C implementation details.

I don't know if this answers your question, but I was thinking on the level of C statements and what they do. So for example, I wouldn't have known how to rewrite some valid C fragments containing switch and case into logically equivalent C fragments that didn't use switch and case.

The article explained to me C statements that I didn't understand before (because they didn't fit the pattern of an extended if/else chain).

Alisa at 2:53 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7120
> you know that FOR and WHILE are also structured GOTOs? (conceptually).

Yes.

> (and BREAK is a GOTO to jump to just after the end)

Yes.

Alisa at 2:54 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7121
> IF ELSE is GOTO too (conditional jump. same thing)

Yes.

I just didn't get how it worked with switch and case. For instance, I always found Duff's Device (below) confusing before.

/* The switch statement used in Duff's device */
int total_bytes = ...;
int n = (total_bytes + 3) / 4;
switch (total_bytes % 4) {
case 0: do { *to = *from++;
case 3: *to = *from++;
case 2: *to = *from++;
case 1: *to = *from++;
} while (--n > 0);
}

Alisa at 2:55 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7122
the switch statement you write *IS* an (arguably) cleaner version of the if/else chain.

the article is about how the implementation details are a mess in C, how some *other* switch statements are different than if/else chains, and how compilers will accept some very bad code you should never write. who cares?

Anonymous at 2:57 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7123
i still don't get how you thought switch worked.

wouldn't it just be something like:

conditional_jump(x==1, label_1)
conditional_jump(x==2, label_2)
conditional_jump(x==3,, label_3)
conditional_jump(x==4, label_4)
default_code()
jump(label_break)
label_1
foo
bar
jump(label_break)
label_2
bar
baz
jump(label_break)
label_3
do_stuff()
jump(label_break)
label_4
other_stuff()
jump(label_break) # can optimize this one away
label_break


i'm unclear on what else it would do and also unclear on how you think if/else chains are implemented.

Anonymous at 3:03 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7124
> the article is about how the implementation details are a mess in C

How are they a mess? And what do you mean about implementation details? I think of it as just a translation issue from some C programs containing switch to other C programs not containing switch.

> how some *other* switch statements are different than if/else chains

Yeah, in general the switch statement is not limited to if/else chains. That's what I got from the article.

> and how compilers will accept some very bad code you should never write.

Yeah.

> who cares?

I do!

Alisa at 3:26 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7128
> I do!

because?

> How are they a mess?

switch is an incoherent medium between high-level structured programming and do-it-yourself assembly. there's no good design reason to make it work how it does. and low and behold if you do things like omit some of the standard boilerplate jumps you're expected to write you can get weird behavior.

Anonymous at 3:29 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7129
> i still don't get how you thought switch worked.
> wouldn't it just be something like:
> [snip translation of switch into gotos]

That translation looks right, but it's not how I thought of switch. Before, I only understood switch as an accelerated chain of if/else statements. That way of thinking about it didn't help me understand other ways of using switch, like Duff's Device. For example, I didn't realize that the labels could be positioned in more arbitrary ways than a chain of if if/else statements.

Alisa at 3:30 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7130
>>> who cares?
>> I do!
> because?

no idea. EMAXLEVELOFINTROSPECTIONEXCEEDED

Alisa at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7131
> switch is an incoherent medium between high-level structured programming and do-it-yourself assembly.

Why is it incoherent? Because it is more than just a chain of if/else? If switch was limited to being equivalent to a chain of if/else statements, would you consider it better in this regard (all else being equal)?

> there's no good design reason to make it work how it does. and low and behold

FYI it's "lo and behold"

> if you do things like omit some of the standard boilerplate jumps you're expected to write you can get weird behavior.

Yeah.

Alisa at 3:33 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7132
> Before, I only understood switch as an accelerated chain of if/else statements

but you aren't answering what you thought if/else chains are, so that's kinda meaningless.

look:

if x==3 {
foo()
} else if x==17 {
bar()
} else {
baz()
}

is going to either be similar to the switch statement translation with a bunch of jumps upfront (not difficult to compile to) or else slightly differently could be done like this:

jump_if_not(x==3, end_block1)
foo()
jump(end_chain)
end_block1
jump_if_not(x==17, end_block2)
bar()
end_block2
baz()
end_chain

which basically ends up the same. yeah not all the jumps are right at the top but the rest of the code gets skipped anyway so it just keeps going through the jumps until it picks which code block to execute. same shit. still not seeing your point.

Anonymous at 3:36 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7133
> Why is it incoherent?

there's no coherent design philosophy to it.

you can't prove a negative. there's no reason it's coherent.

switch as a concept which writes an if/else chain more cleanly is fine. C sort of implemented that and sort of didn't, which is stupid.

Anonymous at 3:38 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7134
>> Why is it incoherent?
> there's no coherent design philosophy to it.
> you can't prove a negative. there's no reason it's coherent.
> switch as a concept which writes an if/else chain more cleanly is fine. C sort of implemented that and sort of didn't, which is stupid.

OK, I see what you mean. Allowing switch to do more than accelerate if/else chains does look like a design mistake to me.

Anonymous at 3:58 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7135
>> Before, I only understood switch as an accelerated chain of if/else statements
> but you aren't answering what you thought if/else chains are, so that's kinda meaningless.

While I agree that if/else can be thought of in terms of goto, I generally don't think of it that way. I think of if/else as a sort of primitive construct that may or may not be related to goto.

Like I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.

Does that answer the question?

Anonymous at 4:01 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7137
> Like I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.

are you trying to say it doesn't count as jumps in your mind because it could use RETURN which doesn't jump to a predetermined specific line of code?

sounds silly. dynamic jumps are jumps.

better to think of functions as structured GOTOs, rather than arbitrarily separate JUMP_TO(44) (hard coded) and JUMP_TO(LABEL_THAT_THE_COMPILER_SETS_TO_44) and JUMP_TO(saved_instruction_pointer_location)

Anonymous at 4:09 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7139
> > Like I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.
> are you trying to say [if/else] doesn't count as jumps in your mind because it could use RETURN which doesn't jump to a predetermined specific line of code?

No, I'm not trying to say that. I agree that if/then can be implemented with goto. I just don't usually think of it that way. I don't know whether that qualifies as if/then "count[ing] as jumps in [my] mind".

> better to think of functions as structured GOTOs, rather than arbitrarily separate JUMP_TO(44) (hard coded) and JUMP_TO(LABEL_THAT_THE_COMPILER_SETS_TO_44) and JUMP_TO(saved_instruction_pointer_location)

Better to think of functions that way than as what? Also ,are you changing topics here to talk about functions, like "int foo(int a, int c) {...})"? Or something else?

Alisa at 4:30 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7142
I think of lost the thread of what we're discussing. You seem to have some point or question that I don't understand.

Alisa at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7143
you were vague and i guessed you meant the use of RETURN is different than GOTO/JUMP.

if that's not what you meant, what are you trying to say is different with lisp? i get that it involves functions which require dynamic_jump. you deny that's what you meant. so what was the difference you were trying to bring up? you didn't say.

Anonymous at 4:36 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7144
I'm very confused by what you're saying. I doubt anything I say in trying to answer your questions directly will help, because I don't understand the questions.

Can you make it very simple for me? Like, either phrase a direct question that includes or references the context of the question, that I can try to answer? Or quote something I said that you don't understand, and I can maybe try to explain better?

Alisa at 4:45 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7145
> Like I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.

you were saying something to do with Lisp and some difference from goto.

what is it?

Anonymous at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7146
> you were saying something to do with Lisp and some difference from goto.

I wrote:

>> Like I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.

By this, I meant that in Lisp, the (if foo bar baz) statement might not be implemented with a goto that jumps to bar or baz depending on the value of foo. Whereas I would guess that in C, if (foo) {bar} else {baz} generally is implemented with the assembly-language version of something like a goto (branch-if-zero or branch-if-equal or something).

Alisa at 4:49 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7147
what is this non-goto implementation you are talking about?

Anonymous at 4:50 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7148
>> in Lisp, the (if foo bar baz) statement might not be implemented with a goto that jumps to bar or baz depending on the value of foo. Whereas I would guess that in C, if (foo) {bar} else {baz} generally is implemented with the assembly-language version of something like a goto (branch-if-zero or branch-if-equal or something).

> what is this non-goto implementation you are talking about?

Note that I didn't say "non-goto". I said there are implementations that don't use goto in a particular way.

One example if implementing if/then/else without using goto in the way I described, would be implementing (if then else) in Lisp, as shown in the "conditionals" section of SICP [0]..

[0] https://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book-Z-H-26.html#%_sec_4.1

Alisa at 5:03 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7149
this does not make sense. when i scroll down to "conditions" i see DEFINE and IF used. so it doesn't say how the IF is implemented. IF is already being assumed. and as to DEFINE, that makes a function, which i understand to use jump.

Anonymous at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7150
"conditionals"

Anonymous at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7151
>>One example if implementing if/then/else without using goto in the way I described, would be implementing (if then else) in Lisp, as shown in the "conditionals" section of SICP [0]

> this does not make sense. when i scroll down to "conditions" i see DEFINE and IF used.

FYI, I said "conditionals" not "conditions".

> so it doesn't say how the IF is implemented.

Yes it does. It's implemented like this:

(define (eval-if exp env)
(if (true? (eval (if-predicate exp) env))
(eval (if-consequent exp) env)
(eval (if-alternative exp) env)))

> IF is already being assumed.

There's already one implementation of an if, and they'r'e the existing implementation using it to define a separate implementation of "if" in the interpreter they're writing.

Alisa at 5:09 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7152
> There's already one implementation of an if, and they'r'e the existing implementation using it to define a separate implementation of "if" in the interpreter they're writing.

Ops, this got garbled. I meant to say:

There's already one implementation of an if, and they're using the existing implementation to define a separate implementation of "if" in the interpreter they're writing.

Alisa at 5:11 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7153
that says how eval-if is implemented, not if. notice the if which is being assumed in there.

your point seems to be that you can define if1 with goto, then define if2 with if1 and pretend you aren't using goto. this is sophistry.

(set if2 (lambda (x y z) (if1 x y z)) ; if1 is implemented with goto, but if2 isn't!!! seriously?

Anonymous at 5:13 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7154
> your point seems to be that you can define if1 with goto, then define if2 with if1 and pretend you aren't using goto. this is sophistry.

One dictionary says:

>>> the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

Does that match your intended meaning?

> (set if2 (lambda (x y z) (if1 x y z)) ; if1 is implemented with goto, but if2 isn't!!! seriously?

Yes, seriously. It means you don't have to think of "if" in terms of goto in order to reason about it.

Anonymous at 5:16 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7155
you don't have to think of switch in terms of goto to reason about it either. we were talking about implementations. goto is part of the implementation. you can ignore it by looking at higher levels of abstraction, but stop denying it.

your point could have been summed up as "if you think of something as a primitive and ignore how it's implemented, then in your conception none of the underlying concepts exist". this was stated very very misleadingly (by arguing with me about implementations) and is dumb.

i said IFs are implemented with gotos and are similar to switch. you said you have a different way to implement them but you don't actually have one, all you have is a higher level of abstraction that ignores the underlying implementation. you could make the same claims about switch, for, while, functions, explicit gotos (which could be implemented with something else under the hood which is in turn implemented with gotos) and more or less anything else.

Anonymous at 5:22 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7156
> You don't have to think of switch in terms of goto to reason about it either.

Right. What I learned from the article is that thinking of switch in terms of goto is the easiest way to understand what switch does (if you want to explain all the weird behavior of switch).

> we were talking about implementations. goto is part of the implementation. you can ignore it by looking at higher levels of abstraction, but stop denying it.

Where did I deny it? I wrote:

>>> [I]n Lisp, the (if foo bar baz) statement might not be implemented with a goto that jumps to bar or baz depending on the value of foo.

Do you object to this?

Anonymous at 5:30 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7157
> your point could have been summed up as "if you think of something as a primitive and ignore how it's implemented, then in your conception none of the underlying concepts exist". this was stated very very misleadingly (by arguing with me about implementations) and is dumb.

If you could quote the misleading statement of mine I would appreciate it.

Alisa at 5:31 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7158
> i said IFs are implemented with gotos and are similar to switch. you said you have a different way to implement them but you don't actually have one, all you have is a higher level of abstraction that ignores the underlying implementation. you could make the same claims about switch, for, while, functions, explicit gotos (which could be implemented with something else under the hood which is in turn implemented with gotos) and more or less anything else.

That's right. You don't need to think in terms of gotos to understand things.

I expect that due to the way modern CPUs work, there are gotos involved somewhere in a lot of code that runs, but gotos don't have to be directly involved in the implementation of an if/else.

Anonymous at 5:33 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7159
> Right. What I learned from the article is that thinking of switch in terms of goto is the easiest way to understand what switch does (if you want to explain all the weird behavior of switch).

you learned from the article that the easiest way to understand the fine details of C's implementation of switch is to think about ... the fine details of C's implementation of switch.

> Where did I deny it? I wrote:

>>> [I]n Lisp, the (if foo bar baz) statement might not be implemented with a goto that jumps to bar or baz depending on the value of foo.

> Do you object to this?

you denied it literally in that quote by saying "might not be implemented with a goto" even though if2 calls if1 which calls goto, so it is implemented with a goto.

to answer your other question, this was one of the many misleading statements.

Anonymous at 5:33 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7160
> Right. What I learned from the article is that thinking of switch in terms of goto is the easiest way to understand what switch does (if you want to explain all the weird behavior of switch).

> you learned from the article that the easiest way to understand the fine details of C's implementation of switch is to think about ... the fine details of C's implementation of switch.

That description omits most of the content of what I learned.

Alisa at 5:36 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7161
> I expect that due to the way modern CPUs work, there are gotos involved somewhere in a lot of code that runs, but gotos don't have to be directly involved in the implementation of an if/else.

you are taking an absurdity and running with it.

setting a particular memory location is what goto is about. if you do it without calling it "goto" it's still the same thing.

you are claiming yet again there is some actual implementation of IF, on a CPU, that doesn't involve goto but you can't actually provide one.

this is what i thought you were saying before, but then you denied it and expressed confusion about how i could have gotten that idea b/c you were only talking about conceptual abstractions that ignore lower level implementation details. but now you're literally talking about CPU implementations and still trying to deny the role of goto and still not actually giving any alternative (other than terminology tricks of just deciding not to call a goto a goto, which disturbingly appealed to you)

Anonymous at 5:37 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7162
> That description omits most of the content of what I learned.

it's just your own description written more clearly.

Anonymous at 5:38 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7163

Lisp implementation and gotos

Lisp is often implemented with gotos, see Chapter 7 of "Lisp in Small Pieces" by Christian Queinnec.

oh my god it's turpentine at 5:45 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7164
> you denied it literally in that quote by saying "might not be implemented with a goto" even though if2 calls if1 which calls goto, so it is implemented with a goto.

You cut off an important part of my sentence.

My full quote was:

> in Lisp, the (if foo bar baz) statement might not be implemented with a goto that jumps to bar or baz depending on the value of foo.

In an interpreted implementation, bar and baz might not even exist as memory locations containing code that can be executed by the level of abstraction that does the goto. bar and baz are just cells in a list.

For example, consider this Javascript implementation of a lisp interpreter:

function eval(x) {
if (car(x) == "if") {
if(eval(cadr(x)) == T) { /* foo */
return eval(cadr(x)); /* bar */
}
return eval(cddr(x)); /* baz */
} else if (car(x) == "cons") {
...
} ...
}

There's no goto that jumps to bar or baz.

Alisa at 5:51 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7165
>> That description omits most of the content of what I learned.

>it's just your own description written more clearly.

How is it clearer? After reading your description, I still wouldn't know how to understand, say, Duff's device. But after reading my description, I would.

Anonymous at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7166
this is pure sophistry. the whole thing runs on gotos at a lower level. yet you keep making claims about e.g. *CPU implementations*, rather than sticking to clearly saying "at a high level of abstraction, ignoring the lower level, then no goto" (which is about as obvious as it gets)

Anonymous at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7167
> Lisp is often implemented with gotos, see Chapter 7 of "Lisp in Small Pieces" by Christian Queinnec.

I don't know how you would quantify "often". (do you count all the Lisp implementations done by people going through SICP, or the Javascript implementations of Lisp that don't use goto?)

But yeah, I don't think anyone here is saying that Lisp, or if/then/else, or switch, or whatever, can't be implemented with gotos.

Anonymous at 5:55 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7168
> this is pure sophistry.

My earlier question about this still applies.

> the whole thing runs on gotos at a lower level. yet you keep making claims about e.g. *CPU implementations*, rather than sticking to clearly saying "at a high level of abstraction, ignoring the lower level, then no goto" (which is about as obvious as it gets)

You keep saying that I'm talking about "no goto". I'm not. Look back at my original quote.

I also think it's common knowledge that modern CPUs use gotos for just about everything.

Anonymous at 5:57 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7169
LISP is a nice book with a nice name (lisp in small pieces -> LISP).

p 229 defines JUMP-FALSE and GOTO

then for if it has p230:

(define (ALTERNATIVE m1 m2 m3)
(append m1 (JUMP-FALSE (+ 1 (length m2))) m2 (GOTO (length m3)) m3) )

hey look, it's lisp implementing IF with JUMP-IF-NOT just like i was talking about before.

(you have to read context to understand the use of append and some details, but you can get the gist anyways)

Anonymous at 6:02 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7170
>hey look, it's lisp implementing IF with JUMP-IF-NOT just like i was talking about before.

That's one way to do it. You can also do it without goto, as I showed.

Alisa at 6:03 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7171
> I think of if/else as a sort of primitive construct that may or may not be related to goto.

here you claim if/else may not be "related to goto".

but you can't tell us any way to do if/else that isn't related to goto.

you claim you were misunderstood, but that's not it. you've been very repetitive in denying it every time i talk about how IF and GOTO are related. you have claimed you deny it b/c it's possible to think in abstractions (in which case you aren't disagreeing with me, just stating something very basic and tangential, so it makes no sense to argue with me), but then you keep breaking that story by talking about implementation details instead of sticking with abstractions.

Anonymous at 6:05 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7172
> You can also do it without goto, as I showed.

I mean, without a goto jumping specifically to the true case or the false case.

Alisa at 6:05 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7173
> That's one way to do it. You can also do it without goto, as I showed.

if you define if with goto2 and define goto2 with goto, you aren't doing it without goto, you're just being a sophist.

Anonymous at 6:06 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7174
> if you define if with goto2 and define goto2 with goto, you aren't doing it without goto, you're just being a sophist.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not talking about doing implementing (if foo bar baz) *without goto*, I'm talking about implementing (if foo bar baz) *without a goto that jumps to bar or baz*.

Alisa at 6:10 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7175
> At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not talking about doing implementing (if foo bar baz) *without goto*, I'm talking about implementing (if foo bar baz) *without a goto that jumps to bar or baz*.

you mean by implementing it with an if2 that uses a goto2 to jump to bar or baz?

Anonymous at 6:13 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7176
> you mean by implementing it with an if2 that uses a goto2 to jump to bar or baz?

No. But if you were going to do it that way, it would be with an if2 that uses a goto2 to jump to something else (that is not bar or baz) on level2. bar and baz are on level1.

Alisa at 6:15 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7177
> > you mean by implementing it with an if2 that uses a goto2 to jump to bar or baz?

> No.

then what *meaningfully different* implementation is there?

Anonymous at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7178
C's goto statement can only jump to a label that was present at compile time in your C program. If your C program is evaluating the Lisp code (if foo bar baz), then the C code can't jump to bar or baz specifically, because they didn't exist when the C program was compiled.

Alisa at 6:24 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7179
so now we're back to "omg it's dynamic-jump not naive-jump" which i addressed earlier and you got confused by why i spoke about it?

we're literally talking about lispy gotos and now all of a sudden you're hung up on the exact implementation details of goto in C and how you'd process a lisp text file with C.

you don't have any productive point for any of this.

at the start you seemed to say you knew a different way to implement something, but you don't.

Anonymous at 6:28 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7180
> so now we're back to "omg it's dynamic-jump not naive-jump" which i addressed earlier and you got confused by why i spoke about it?

>> I think that the Lisp version of if/else (if foo bar baz) could be implemented a stack machine or something else. Not necessarily involving a goto jumping to the specific statement.

I'm just elaborating on my initial statement which you still seem to object to somehow.

> we're literally talking about lispy gotos and now all of a sudden you're hung up on the exact implementation details of goto in C and how you'd process a lisp text file with C.

Lispy gotos are also an example of my point. You semed to object to those, so I also brought up C and Javascript.

> you don't have any productive point for any of this.

My point was my original post. Everything else has just been trying to answer your questions.

> at the start you seemed to say you knew a different way to implement something, but you don't.

Yes I do. I gave three examples of implementing an interpreter that can handle (if foo bar baz) that doesn't involve a goto that jumps to bar or baz.

Alisa at 6:39 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7181
your interpreter is implemented with goto. all you're doing is adding several layers of indirection.

you don't have a different way to implement it (which would have been interesting), despite repeatedly claiming to.

Anonymous at 6:43 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7182
> your interpreter is implemented with goto. all you're doing is adding several layers of indirection.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm not talking about doing implementing (if foo bar baz) *without goto*, I'm talking about implementing (if foo bar baz) *without a goto that jumps to bar or baz*.

> you don't have a different way to implement it (which would have been interesting), despite repeatedly claiming to.

I do have a way of implementing what I claimed, and I gave three examples. I don't have a way of implementing what you are talking about (not using goto anywhere, in any part of the stack down to the CPU).

Alisa at 7:22 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7183
you have indirection and a technical point matching one particular vague wording you gave in the middle of the discussion, nothing substantive, interesting or worthwhile.

Anonymous at 7:26 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7184
> you have indirection and a technical point matching one particular vague wording you gave in the middle of the discussion, nothing substantive, interesting or worthwhile.

My initial reference to Lisp and if/then/else in #7137 was a substantive answer to your question about how I think about if/then/else. It was not just a technical point.

I didn't find the follow-up discussion to my initial post (#7116) to be interesting or worthwhile, but I'm not always the best judge of those things. I thought it best to try to keep answering questions honestly. Maybe the discussion was objectively interesting or worthwhile in a way I don't understand yet.

Alisa at 7:40 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7185
you claimed to have something to say, i asked what it was, and after a lot of delays it turned out to be that you know how to implement if using if, which, as you must know, i already knew how to do too.

Anonymous at 7:42 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7186
Maybe I can learn something about how to answer questions, or how to say things, or how to think about things in a way that will lead to a better discussion next time.

Alisa at 8:07 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7187

The Airbnb Community Commitment

http://blog.airbnb.com/the-airbnb-community-commitment/

> ... we’re asking everyone to agree to a Community Commitment beginning November 1, 2016. Agreeing to this commitment will affect your use of Airbnb, so we wanted to give you a heads up about it.
>
> *What is the Community Commitment?*
>
> You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.
>
> *How do I accept the commitment?*
>
> On or after November 1, we’ll show you the commitment when you log in to or open the Airbnb website, mobile or tablet app and we’ll automatically ask you to accept.
>
> *What if I decline the commitment?*
>
> If you decline the commitment, you won’t be able to host or book using Airbnb, and you have the option to cancel your account. Once your account is canceled, future booked trips will be canceled. You will still be able to browse Airbnb but **you won’t be able to book any reservations or host any guests.** [bold added by me]

WTF?

Alisa at 8:45 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7188
I would disagree with Airbnb making even *hosts* sign this agreement, since I think people should be able to do what they want with their property. But usually in America individuals have the "right to be racist" in their personal lives. In dating, for instance, people can "discriminate on the basis of race or religion." And they can visit whatever shops they choose -- if someone doesn't like gay people, they don't have to have their hair done by a gay hairdresser. But it looks like Airbnb's new "community commitment" is supposed to bind even Airbnb's *guests*, not just the hosts. I find this a bit strange.

Alisa at 8:59 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7189
put this in google: airbnb racism lawsuit

Anonymous at 9:01 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7190
I'm enjoying the comments forum here. I consider it the xoxohth of FI. And I mean that as a compliment!

Alisa at 9:09 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7191

Airbnb Community Commitment

> airbnb discrimination lawsuit

My understanding was that the lawsuit was complaining about the way some Airbnb *hosts* chose who to rent to. Why did Airbnb decide to make their commitment binding on the guests too?

Alisa at 9:12 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7192
SJWs push for whatever they can get. airbnb giving in. doesn't seem surprising.

Anonymous at 9:14 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7193

Airbnb Community Commitment

> SJWs push for whatever they can get. airbnb giving in. doesn't seem surprising.

I'm skeptical that SJWs pushed Airbnb to make the commitment binding on guests. I googled a bit, and couldn't find any evidence of it. It's hard to know what to search for; I tried [airbnb commitment guests] and the only hits I found were focusing on hosts. Here are a few:

http://observer.com/2016/09/9-things-airbnb-is-now-doing-to-prevent-hosts-from-discriminating-against-renters/ :

> How Airbnb Is Preventing Hosts From Discriminating

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/09/08/airbnb_goes_after_racist_hosts_with_a_new_anti_discrimination_agreement.html :

> Airbnb goes after racist hosts

http://www.revelist.com/us-news/airbnb-discrimination-rules/4669/profile-photos-which-reveal-a-potential-guests-race-and-gender-have-been-one-of-the-biggest-criticisms-leveraged-against-airbnb-theyre-addressing-that-issue-as-well/2 :

> Before listing on Airbnb, all hosts will have to agree with the company's more detailed discrimination policy.
> The company is toying around with minimizing the profile photos, which will provide less of an opportunity for hosts to discriminate based on race and gender alone.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/08/technology/airbnb-discrimination-policy/index.html?iid=RNM :

> Laura Murphy, the former head of the ACLU's D.C. office, to perform an internal review to help tackle discrimination.
>In a report released Thursday, Murphy admits that she was skeptical of Airbnb's ability to "do better" and overcome the "widespread bias" that plagues the lodging and travel industry.
> Murphy wrote that meetings with stakeholders -- a mix of hosts, victims of discrimination, employees, elected officials, travel execs and consultants -- gave her confidence that "greatly reducing bias" was possible.

They didn't meet with regular guests who weren't victims of discrimination.

Alisa at 10:13 PM on October 28, 2016 | #7194
Why is Tessa still on FI? All she does is lie. She is pitiful. She has no self-esteem. Do you think she has potential as a thinker or do you use her as a mistake to learn from? You say one should not help the weak but the best. Why are you spending your time helping her?

You rightly noticed she is angry and lied about it. She got angry and put her effort not in calming down but of thinking of ways to express her angry ideas without you noticing, in a "rational" way.

I think what she wants from FI is to learn how to deceive people better. If she deceives you she will feel approved. She did manage to deceive you some as you think her problem is lack of introspection. I think she knows exactly what she is doing. The way she writes is meticulous and takes a lot of conscious thinking.

Notice in her reply to PAS she confesses one of her strategies but tries to seek sympathy for her behaviour by blaming her parents. This actually seemed to have worked some with you. Her back thought while writing was "TCS people will forgive me for this."

Anonymous at 2:08 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7195

Improvement-oriented attitudes

I noticed that when I'm trying to improve at a game like [Fast Aiming](aim400kg.com/fa), I improve when I get really interested in it, when I like it and care about it. If I hate the game and play it grudgingly and just want to reach some threshold and then stop playing it, I improve much slower at it.

Maybe I could learn philosophy if I developed a strong interest in philosphy, and really cared about it, the way I do some of those games.

Alisa at 4:40 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7196

Improving at my lowest ranked games first

I'm in the top 100 at all games on aim400.kg.com. When I want to play more now I usually pick the game I'm ranked worst at, and try to improve my rank. For instance, currently I'm ranked 25 at Exact Aiming Survival and 67 at Fast Aiming

I was thinking this idea could be applied more generally to my life. It could be good to work on my biggest problems first (provided there's nothing blocking that).

Oh, and also, regarding my previous post #7196, I was thinking I could maybe improve my life if I developed a strong interest in my life, and cared about it the way I cared about the games that I improved at.

(*) One possible problem with this approach is that it's hard to compare rankings in different games. Some games are more popular and so there's more competition to be highly ranked on those games.

Alisa at 4:50 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7197

Linking post numbers

Why didn't the #7196 in my previous message get automatically hyperlinked?

Alisa at 4:51 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7198
> Why didn't the #7196 in my previous message get automatically hyperlinked?

Maybe the comma after interfered?

#7196
#7196,

Anonymous at 5:16 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7199
> I was thinking I could maybe improve my life if I developed a strong interest in my life

How and why did you lose interest in the first place? And how do you develop a strong interest in your life?

Anonymous at 5:26 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7200
interest is important to learning. interests are a big deal. when you read FI stuff talking about interests ... perhaps you didn't learn it because you weren't interested?

this is why, to learn Smash Bros., you should start by playing the game and seeing what's fun about it (and *if* you find the gameplay fun). character selection should facilitate *getting started*, not long range plans.

if you're actually interested then you can improve. and then you can see, "ah in that situation, if i could have done X, it would have been good." and after that comes up several times, *then* you practice doing X. then you have a *reason* to practice it. then you have *interest*. then you also have *context* and a way to judge if your practice is working or not (there's a problem to solve and a way to test if you've solved it).

out of context practice is boring.

most of the skills you learn early on aren't very character specific anyway.

you can choose a character after you know something about the game (so some clue about how to evaluate the choices), and have an interest in the game (which will guide the choice – depending on what you're interested in, how strongly interested you are, etc, you'd pick a different character).

i allowed commas and paren for auto comment number links.

Anonymous at 10:23 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7201
> Why is Tessa still on FI?

public group. ask her, not Elliot.

Anonymous at 10:25 AM on October 29, 2016 | #7202
> Maybe the comma after interfered?
> #7196
> #7196,

Good guess, but no: it was linked in both of those in your #7199.

Alisa at 2:06 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7208

Improvement-oriented attitudes

>> I was thinking I could maybe improve my life if I developed a strong interest in my life
>How and why did you lose interest in the first place?

Good question. I don't know.

> And how do you develop a strong interest in your life?

I don't know how to do develop a strong interest in my life. Maybe it would work like it worked for me in games. Here's a vague description of how I think I made that happen: I started paying more attention to the details, looked for interesting things, tried to discover patterns, tried to care about it.

Seeing this happen with games was sort of a concrete example of how I don't have to take my interests as something pre-existing and unchangeable.

Alisa at 2:15 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7209

Interests & learning

> interest is important to learning. interests are a big deal. when you read FI stuff talking about interests ... perhaps you didn't learn it because you weren't interested?

Here's a guess. (Pretend each sentence below starts with "Maybe"):

Interest comes in degrees. To a very small degree, I was interested in learning the FI stuff about interests. Even a small degree of interest is enough for some learning to happen -- it's just slow and not very fun compared to the learning that happens in a subject I'm interested in. I remembered the little bit of stuff I read on FI about interest and I made the connection when I saw what happened in games.

Alisa at 2:20 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7210
> Good guess, but no: it was linked in both of those in your #7199.

only because i changed the code already.

curi at 2:22 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7212

Learning & choosing SSBM chars

> this is why, to learn Smash Bros., you should start by playing the game and seeing what's fun about it (and *if* you find the gameplay fun). character selection should facilitate *getting started*, not long range plans.

Makes sense. Long-range plans are hard to get right, especially when you don't know a lot. Better to be more agile and prioritize learning.

I'm not particularly interested in Smash Bros at the moment, but now at least I think I could become interested in it if I wanted to.

Alisa at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7213

Linking post numbers

> i allowed commas and paren for auto comment number links.

Ah, cool. That explains why it didn't work before and why it works now.

Alisa at 2:24 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7214
> I'm not particularly interested in Smash Bros at the moment, but now at least I think I could become interested in it if I wanted to.

it would be wise for you and others to become interested, because it's a learning opportunity with many very good properties which i discuss a fraction of at http://curi.us/1878-learn-super-smash-brothers-melee-and-philosophy

Anonymous at 2:32 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7217

Most technical job interview candidates suck

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12826596

Detailed HN comment about how many technical job interview candidates can't do the simplest things.

> [M]y entire interview was just "Follow these written directions, exactly as written; this is literally one of the tasks we want to hire you to do." Only one candidate out of five was able to complete it successfully, and all the others just had an endless string of questions that were clearly answered right in the document. For example, the document would say "asset_serial: this number should be on a sticker on back of machine.", and they'd apparently just skip over it, get to a later part that wants a serial number, and ask "Where's the serial number? I don't know what to enter here." They somehow didn't start reading any more closely after forty five minutes of me saying "That's answered in the document; please read it more carefully." repeatedly.

There's lots more to it than the part I quoted.

Alisa at 3:37 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7220
great comment on HN. great examples.

really gives you a clue about why people misunderstand **philosophy essays** when they fail to even read that the serial number is on a sticker on back.

Anonymous at 3:45 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7221
i think the HN commenter, and many of his coworkers, are unpaid.

he didn't properly factor in the difficulty of hiring someone else who is good when negotiating his salary.

Anonymous at 3:56 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7222
underpaid

Anonymous at 3:57 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7223

Knowledge & arbitraryness

In a post to hbletter.com, Elliot Temple wrote:

> Knowledge is hard to change because if you make random changes, then it stops solving the problem it was solving before. E.g. most changes to eyes would make them stop seeing. There’re a lot more ways to be wrong than right. So if you’re right (if you have the solution to a problem), most changes ruin it. But if there’s no knowledge in the first place, there’s nothing to ruin. If the stars were in slightly different positions in the sky it wouldn’t matter. The stars were not placed where they are to solve some problem. Their location is just a matter of some initial conditions and then following the laws of physics. Constellations are coincidence, not design. Knowledge is design.

This is a beautiful paragraph. It uses very simple language to explain why knowledge is hard to come by. It also talks about arbitrariness and how arbitraryness the opposite of knowledge. If something is arbitrary, you can change it without it mattering. For something that contains knowledge, that's not the case.

Alisa at 4:29 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7224

Knowledge & arbitraryness

Previously mentioned post by Elliot Temple was number 13802 on hbletter.com. Here's a link to the whole thing: http://curi.us/comments/show/7204

Alisa at 4:30 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7225

Infallibility

In the previously-linked post, Elliot Temple wrote:

> ... [T]here is no way to ever justify that your idea is what an infallible, omniscient being would agree with.

Great summary of fallibility.

Alisa at 4:57 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7227
i just noticed on Twitter that you use emojis tons now. what made you change your mind on emojis?

Anonymous at 6:52 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7229

The Myth of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Looks like a good book: (The Myth of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Why the Myth of Mental Illness Lives On, Why Psychiatry is Evil, and The Future of Anti-Psychiatry Activism](http://www.wayneramsay.com). Available for free online. I read the chapter on psychosurgery and it had a lot of good points.

Talks about a kid who was lobotomized at age 12!

> Lou met with six psychiatrists during the spring and summer of 1960. She wanted to know what was wrong with me and what she should do about it.
>
> But all six of the psychiatrists, I found out later, said my behavior was normal. Four of them even said the problem in the house was with her. They said she was the one who could benefit from treatment. ... That wasn't the answer she was looking for. ... So she kept looking for a doctor who would agree with her.
>
> Sometime that fall, someone referred her to a doctor named Walter Freeman. [Id., p. 60]

Then there's this horrifying story (italics in the original):

> It is reported that Dr. Freeman even lobotomized a patient *against his will*:
>> Freeman was ready to do the surgery whenever, wherever. One of his surgical assistants—Jonathan Williams...later told a story about a patient who had been brought to Freeman for a lobotomy. The day before the surgery, though, he'd gotten cold feet and refused to go through with the operation. He locked himself in his hotel room. Freeman, contacted by the patient's family, drove to the hotel and convinced the patient to let him in. Using a portable electroshock machine he had designed and built for himself, he administered a few volts to the patient to calm him down. According to Williams, "The patient was . . . held down on the floor while Freeman administered the shock. It then occurred to him that since the patient was already unconscious, and he had a set of leucotomes in his pocket, he might as well do the transorbital lobotomy then and there, which he did."[My Lobotomy, pp. 72-73]

Alisa at 9:48 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7232

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights

Regarding the above book, the web page says "The author is a volunteer (pro bono) attorney for the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights" (http://psychrights.org). This looks like a good organization. Quoting from their home page:

> The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) public interest law firm whose mission is to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock in the United States...
>
> Currently, due to the massive growth in psychiatric drugging of children and youth and the current targeting of them for even more psychiatric drugging, PsychRights has made attacking this problem a priority. Children are virtually always forced to take these drugs because it is the adults in their lives who are making the decision. This is an unfolding national tragedy of immense proportions. As part of its mission, PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to other brain and body damaging interventions against their will.

One of their current/recent projects is a Medicaid Fraud Initiative Against Psychiatric Drugging of Children & Youth.

Alisa at 9:51 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7233
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeEx1MqqE7M

gp from vid

psychiatry looks for things that are THE SAME ABOUT MANY PEOPLE to call mental illness

rather than looking for DIFFERENCES – a way a person is different than others

you would think being "mentally ill" would consist of some DIFFERENCES from other people, not similarities

Anonymous at 10:48 PM on October 29, 2016 | #7234

Weirdness in Golang with nil values & interfaces

http://spf13.com/post/when-nil-is-not-nil/

To fix a bug in his Go program, spf13 had to change this code:

func (OsFs) Open(name string) (File, error) {
return os.Open(name)
}

to this:

func (OsFs) Open(name string) (File, error) {
f, e := os.Open(name)

if f == nil {
return nil, e
}
return f, e
}

The change looks strange, because it seems like they should do the same thing. The explanation is apparently that some things ("interface values") can compare equal to nil without actually being nil. I don't understand it.

Ailsa at 1:22 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7235
what's not to understand? it's not hard to make == dumb in a language.

look at fucking javascript:

> 3 == "3"
< true

you have to use === to check if they are actually equal, and == has special automatic type conversion stuff built in (which may be useful sometimes but shouldn't be the standard).

Anonymous at 1:26 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7236

Psychiatric drug industry goes after dissenter

Wayne Ramsay, Why Psychiatry is Evil :

> Whitaker gives examples of actions taken against those on what he calls "psychiatry's hit list". One of them is psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D., who for the last few decades has led the fight against biological psychiatry:
Psychiatry's policing of its own ranks began in earnest in the late 1970s... [Dr. Peter] Breggin appeared in 1987 on Oprah Winfrey's television show, where he spoke about tardive dyskinesia and how that dysfunction was evidence that neuroleptics damaged the brain. His comments so infuriated the APA [American Psychiatric Association] that it sent a transcript of the show to NAMI [a drug-company financed pro-psychiatry advocacy group], which in turn filed a complaint with the Maryland State Commission on Medical Discipline, asking that it take away Breggin's medical license on the grounds that his statements had caused schizo­phrenia patients to stop taking their medications (and thus caused harm). Although the commission decided not to take any action, it did conduct an inquiry (rather than summarily dismissing NAMI's complaint), and the message to everyone in the field was, once again, quite clear. [Quoting Dr. Breggin:] "...what this showed is that...they were willing to destroy your career" [to discourage criticism of psychiatry]. [pp. 304-305]

Brutal. I looked at some videos of tardive dyskinesia and it looks like it sucks. Good for Breggin for spreading the word.

Alisa at 1:46 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7237

Weirdness in Golang with nil values & interfaces

> what's not to understand?

I don't understand how comparisons to nil work in Go. For one thing, I don't understand when I would need to write something in my own code similar to the change quoted in #7235

> it's not hard to make == dumb in a language.

I agree.

Alisa at 1:59 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7238

The guy who invented antiseptics was committed to an insane asylum and died there

http://www.wayneramsay.com/evil.htm

> Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) was committed to an insane asylum where he was beaten and died of his injuries after accurately accusing his fellow physicians of causing the deaths of many maternity patients by giving patients infections with the doctors' own dirty hands. Dr. Semmelweis recommended washing hands in chlorinated water before contact with patients.

TT

Alisa at 2:11 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7239

The guy who invented antiseptics was committed to an insane asylum and died there

> According to psychology professor Robyn M. Dawes in his book House of Cards—Psy­chology and Psycho­therapy Built on Myth (Free Press 1994, pp. 77-78), "Semmelweis ... lost his sanity, begun accosting people on the streets to warn them to stay away from doctors who didn't clean their hands, and died in a mental institution in 1865." Probably what actually happened is not that Dr. Semmelweis lost his sanity but that his warnings seemed crazy at a time people knew nothing about germs, and because his warnings were an affront to his fellow physi­cians.

TTTTTTT

Alisa at 2:13 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7240

Wayne Ramsey was in contact with Szasz!

http://www.wayneramsay.com/evil.htm

> When I told Dr. Thomas Szasz about my efforts, as a lawyer, to stop kangaroo court commitment proceedings in the U.S.A., Dr. Szasz replied to me in an e-mail dated 3/19/2012 saying "Writing a book is a good idea. Otherwise, desist. Asking for justice for people against psychi­atry is asking for trouble, as you are finding out."

Alisa at 2:15 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7241

Anti-psychiatry advocate Torrey changed direction 180 degrees

http://www.wayneramsay.com/evil.htm

> It is impossible for me to believe someone who so eloquently and convincingly debunked the concept of mental illness, including schizo­phrenia, as Dr. Torrey did in The Death of Psy­chi­atry, could be sincere now when he promotes these very ideas. In 1990 at the Thomas S. Szasz Tribute Dinner in New York City in a face-to-face conversation with Dr. Szasz, author of The Myth of Mental Illness, I asked Dr. Szasz, "Whatever happened to Fuller Torrey?!" Dr. Szasz answered with a single word, "Funding"...

Alisa at 2:18 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7242

Doctors routinely lie to get people involuntarily committed

> I asked him why doctors would tell lies to deliberately defeat the Legislature's intent. His answer was bold, candid, blunt and without the slightest trace of apol­ogy or embarrassment. He said, "Because that's the way you dumb lawyers wrote the law!" It was a candid admission psychiatrists and other committing physicians are willing to say what­ever the law says they must to obtain an involun­tary commitment even when they know what they are saying is false.

Wow.

Alisa at 2:21 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7243
http://www.wayneramsay.com/evil.htm

> Sadly, legislators refuse to repeal, and continue to write, laws that assume honesty on the part of psychiatrists, psychologists, family members, and other supporters and perpetrators of psychiatric oppression such as involuntary "hospitalization" and outpatient commit­ment and psychiatric assault such as involuntary psychiatric "medication" and involuntary electro­convulsive "therapy".

GP

Alisa at 2:24 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7244

Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs

http://www.wayneramsay.com/future.htm

> In 2013 three professors of social work or social welfare (Stuart A. Kirk, et al.) published (Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs](https://www.amazon.com/dp/1412855926). British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff summarizes the book in a few words on the dust cover: "Mad Science...describes how the unfounded but repeatedly stated notion of madness as a brain disease helps to disguise the dark heart of coercive practices that remain at the centre of psychiatric care."

I like how up-to-date Ramsay's site is. Maybe some HBL ppl should read his book. Or this book he mentioned.

Alisa at 2:31 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7245
>psychiatry looks for things that are THE SAME ABOUT MANY PEOPLE to call mental illness

>rather than looking for DIFFERENCES – a way a person is different than others

>you would think being "mentally ill" would consist of some DIFFERENCES from other people, not similarities

it does consist of that. psychiatrists look for *differences* when comparing someone to what's socially acceptable.

like this kid sits in his seat and listens to the teacher. while this other kid with "ADHD" is different. he doesn't do that.

i watched the video too, but i don't understand this point. the guy in the vid thinks psychiatry is trying to find a biological model of "mental illness", since they are looking for ppl with a specific diagnosis to have similarities. sorta like it is with type 1 diabetes - they all have a malfunctioning pancreas.

he contrasts this with trying to find a psychological model of "mental illness". is the assumption here that since ideas are so individualized and varied (unlike the pancreas), then there won't be any sort of grouping of "patients" according to similarities?

Kate at 5:52 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7246

Weirdness in Golang with nil values & interfaces

Regarding http://spf13.com/post/when-nil-is-not-nil/ , I understand a little better now. I can think of an interface as a pointer to a value. Checking whether the interace is nil will yield false if it points to something, even if what it points to is nil.

In the original code,

func (OsFs) Open(name string) (File, error) {
return os.Open(name)
}

os.Open() returns a pair of values, and the return in Open() converts the first value to a File interface. This conversion to an interface adds another level of indirection whenever the value being converted is not the keyword nil.

Alisa at 6:34 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7247
if someone is "crazy" you would expect their "crazy" ideas to be some unusual non-standard ideas.

it's weird to take a somewhat common pattern of thinking in a society and call that "crazy", rather than reserve "crazy" for really different stuff.

Anonymous at 10:04 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7248
do you have any examples of somewhat common patterns of thinking in our society, which psychiatrists call "crazy"?

and if psychiatrists call this somewhat common stuff (which you're thinking of) "crazy", then what are you saying they do with stuff that is even MORE DIFFERENT than the way normal ppl are.

i think the MORE different stuff would be even MORE apt to be labelled "crazy".

Kate at 10:36 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7249
> do you have any examples of somewhat common patterns of thinking in our society, which psychiatrists call "crazy"?

homosexuality, not long ago.

sadness or not listening to your teacher, today.

Anonymous at 11:03 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7250
ok. so then:

>what are you saying they do with stuff that is even MORE DIFFERENT than the way normal ppl are.

more specifically, what do they call a degree of sadness or a degree of not listening to your teacher which is even MORE DIFFERENT than normal?

>i think the MORE different stuff would be even MORE apt to be labelled "crazy".

do you disagree with this?

Kate at 11:30 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7251
One Flew Over The Cucko's Nest scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc0_Xnvl3t4

The people who make psychiatry possible are people who believe they are mentally ill. They do not want the responsibility that the person they are today was self-created by a series of choices they made and continue to make. There is a certain interest in being a victim. People play at being the worse they can be and do more self-destructive things to have their "illness" validated. Society rewards being sick, as long the sick person is nice to others who are also sick.

Anonymous at 11:56 AM on October 30, 2016 | #7252
> The people who make psychiatry possible are people who believe they are mentally ill.

No, more of the blame goes to people who accuse someone else of being mentally ill. Many "patients" resist their "diagnosis" and "treatment". Also, many of the "patients" are children, the elderly, or otherwise don't have the power to control the situation, and someone else bears the primarily responsibility.

> There is a certain interest in being a victim.

Yes and it's bad, but psychiatry has a larger element of oppression than self-destruction.

Anonymous at 12:07 PM on October 30, 2016 | #7253
> No, more of the blame goes to people who accuse someone else of being mentally ill. Many "patients" resist their "diagnosis" and "treatment". Also, many of the "patients" are children, the elderly, or otherwise don't have the power to control the situation, and someone else bears the primarily responsibility.

I disagree. I think the blame goes primarily to those who seek mental illness diagnosis voluntarily, because they make psychiatry seem genuine and harmless. It's them who are sanctioning the evil and causing children and the elderly to be involuntarily committed, because they are giving power to psychiatry. If nobody believed them to be doctors the memes would not have survived in today's culture.

Also people who spread awareness of mental illness and celebrities who "come out" as having a mental illness.

Anonymous at 12:56 PM on October 30, 2016 | #7254

e^(-10^14)

e^(-10^14) is about 6.6 · 10^-43429448190326. My reasoning is below, using · instead of an asterisk for multiplication, so as not to trigger spurious formatting. Comments are enclosed *{like this*}.

e^(-10^14)
*{x = 10^(lg x)}*
= 10^(lg e^(-10^14))
*{lg x = lg e · ln x}*
= 10^(lg e · ln e^(-10^14))
*{ln e^x = x}*
= 10^(lg e · -10^14)
= 10^-(lg e · 10^14)
*{decimal expansion of lg e}*
≈ 10^-(0.43429448190325182 · 10^14)
= 10^-43429448190325.182
*{x^(a+b) = x^a · x^b}*
= 10^0.818 · 10^-43429448190326
*{10^0.818 is about 6.6}*
≈ 6.6 · 10^-43429448190326
= 0.{000...000}66 with 43429448190325 zeroes between the braces.

Alisa at 7:33 PM on October 30, 2016 | #7256

On the iPhone 7's lack of an audio jack

Overall, I'm not impressed by the lack of the audio jack on the iphone 7. I've been inconvenienced several times by it.

- The other day I wanted to go for a walk with different headphones than I usually use, and then I had to go back home to get the lightning<->audio converter. (The iphone came with a lightning-audio jack converter, and I bought another one, but I misplaced it. I bought three more online today.)
- Today I'm at work and I left the lightning<->audio converter at home (though I do have my headphones) so I'm listening to music through my iPad. I have Apple Music and some apple service that puts my music in the cloud (not sure if these are separate now, Apple's music service options confuse me), but at least that works well.
- The other day I wanted to listen to music from my iPhone on an external speaker that has a regular audio cable. I had left my lightning<->audio adapter at work. Even if I had one at home I would have had to find it and attach it to this particular cable.

Who knows how long the lighting port will be around for? Maybe future iPhones will switch to USB-C like the new Macbooks.

I use expensive headphones. Are all the good headphone makers going to start making lightning versions of their headphones, and if they do, would I even want to buy such a thing?

The audio jack seems to be a universal standard. It works reliably AFAICT and it gives high fidelity sound. The lightning port has no advantages in sound quality, and it is proprietary to Apple AFAIK. The only "advantage" it gives is reducing the number of ports in the iphone. I didn't really care about that, so that's not intrinsically a benefit to me. Maybe reducing the number of ports lets Apple produce the iPhone more cheaply, or maybe it lets them reduce weight or something, but i personally would have paid extra (in dollars or grams) for the headphone jack.

Alisa at 11:46 AM on October 31, 2016 | #7263

On the iPhone 7's lack of an audio jack

Oh, one other inconvenience:

- I used to be able to plug both a lightning cable and headphones into my phone so I could charge and listen at the same time. This was nice when I was at work for a long time or when I had forgotten to charge my phone. The only way to do this with an iPhone 7 is with an external dock or cable adaptor. Last I checked there was no good cable adapter option, so I bought a dock, but I keep forgetting to bring to work. Even so, I don't have a dock for home so I wouldn't be able to charge and listen at the same time both at home and at work, unless I buy another dock or bring the dock back and forth with me, which I don't want to do.

Alisa at 11:55 AM on October 31, 2016 | #7264
isn't USB-C larger with a thing in the middle of the port?

apple has changed major ports ONCE on ipods/iphones. they thought it through. lightning is a long term choice.

i think not having an audio jack is worse today, but is a good decision in the long run and waiting wouldn't make the transition better. it's one of the reasons i stuck with my iPhone 6s.

in the iphone 7, having an audio jack was worse than in previous phones, ignoring the battery life cost of using the space, and the expense, because it the port would now require water proofing. it made sense to remove it at the time you make the phone pretty water proof.

audio jacks do NOT work reliably in my experience. e.g. sweat gets into them when you go for a run with your iphone and they can become unreliable (both the sound requiring fiddling with the jack to get a good connection, and the play/pause controls not always responding). even on a desktop computer with some clean headphones i find sound quality can be messed up and require spinning the audio jack until it works better.

> I didn't really care about that, so that's not intrinsically a benefit to me.

but you care about water proofing, battery life, phone price, phone size, etc

apple may have a phone design coming up which is more incompatible with a headphone jack than the current one.


PS here's my iPhone complaint:

apple defaults xcode to make apps that won't rotate upside down.

as a result, many apps, such as voice dream reader, cannot be used with your phone upside down. they won't rotate to that orientation.

this is very bad when you want to rest the phone on your knee, see/use the screen, but still hear sound out of the speaker. it's even worse if you plug it in because then the bottom isn't flat.

having to do it right side up is also a problem for some ways of holding the phone while you have a cord plugged in.

(i suggested voice dream fix this, which is trivial and would make it materially better, but so far i've been ignored.)

Anonymous at 12:22 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7265

Study Finds Racial Discrimination by Uber and Lyft Drivers

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/study-finds-racial-discrimination-by-uber-and-lyft-drivers

> A second test was held in Boston with riders "whose appearance allowed them to plausibly travel as a passenger of either race," although they used either "African American sounding" or "white sounding" names, the researchers said. The study found that Uber drivers disproportionately canceled on riders with black-sounding names, even though the company penalizes drivers who cancel frequently.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to the actual study.

Anyway, seems like a test like this could give useful results in principle, if they eliminate other factors like the times and places the rides were requested. Thoughts?

> While conducting the study, researchers also observed that women were sometimes taken on significantly longer rides than men. "Other female riders reported 'chatty' drivers who drove extremely long routes, on some occasions, even driving through the same intersection multiple times...."

Heh. Men will go through great lengths (in some ways) to hit on women, news at 11.

Alisa at 12:37 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7266
> Thoughts?

being selective about your clients is good business practice.

race-indicating names provide meaningful cultural information.

discrimination should be legal and is often wise.

my guess is Uber drivers discriminate too little (from a business and morality perspective) because there is heavy anti-discrimination pressure which makes them accept some clients which would otherwise not be in their self-interest to accept.

Anonymous at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7268

On the iPhone 7's lack of an audio jack

> i think not having an audio jack is worse today, but is a good decision in the long run and waiting wouldn't make the transition better. it's one of the reasons i stuck with my iPhone 6s.
> ...
> but you care about water proofing, battery life, phone price, phone size, etc

I do care about those things, but I think overall I prefer the tradeoffs the iphone 6 made among them. I think I should have stuck with the iphone 6 like you did. Eventually having no audio jack will make the phone better enough to make the switch worth it to me, but not today.

> audio jacks do NOT work reliably in my experience. e.g. sweat gets into them when you go for a run with your iphone and they can become unreliable (both the sound requiring fiddling with the jack to get a good connection, and the play/pause controls not always responding). even on a desktop computer with some clean headphones i find sound quality can be messed up and require spinning the audio jack until it works better.

Interesting. I have not experienced these problems with headphone jacks on Apple devices (desktop, laptop, or phone). I've never had sweat get into my iphone jack either AFAIK, but then I don't go jogging with my phone that often. Does sweat not get into lightning jacks?

Alisa at 12:45 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7269

Study Finds Racial Discrimination by Uber and Lyft Drivers

>> Thoughts?

> being selective about your clients is good business practice.

> race-indicating names provide meaningful cultural information.

> discrimination should be legal and is often wise.

> my guess is Uber drivers discriminate too little (from a business and morality perspective) because there is heavy anti-discrimination pressure which makes them accept some clients which would otherwise not be in their self-interest to accept.

I agree with all that. I should have been more specific. I was looking for thoughts on the study's methodology.

Alisa at 12:46 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7270
> apple defaults xcode to make apps that won't rotate upside down.

Damn, that's terrible. Why!?!

Alisa at 12:47 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7271
> Damn, that's terrible. Why!?!

i don't know why.

> Does sweat not get into lightning jacks?

i assume some does, but i've never noticed any problem as a result.

Anonymous at 12:50 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7272

W3C Battery Status readout as a privacy risk

https://blog.lukaszolejnik.com/battery-status-readout-as-a-privacy-risk/

The W3C Battery Status API allows web sites to read your device's battery status via javascript. This has a couple of privacy risks:

- if the battery status information is too detailed, it could let the web site figure out what kind of device you have
- it could be an additional way to fingerprint (identify) your device
- could help identify you by revealing when you charge your device

Firefox removed support for the battery status API.

Alisa at 12:54 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7273

Benjamin Button Reviews The New MacBook Pro

https://blog.pinboard.in/2016/10/benjamin_button_reviews_the_new_macbook_pro/

Tongue-in-cheek review of the previous macbook pro from the perspective of someone going backwards in time. Tries to make every change (from current/new macbook to previous macbook) look like an improvement.

Alisa at 1:01 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7274

Google's Halloween Doodle game

Scored ~62500 at Google' Halloween Doodle game. Finished with ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡ .

Alisa at 5:10 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7277
i beat level 2 without getting hit, 17120 score. stopped there

curi at 5:34 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7278

Google's Halloween Doodle game

Other people scored way more. I tried kill the ghosts as fast as they appeared, but apparently you get more points for killing lots at once.

Alisa at 5:37 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7279
Black Mirror TV show:

ep 101: meh. just trying to get attention with the topic of pig fucking. the characters are stupid and incompetent and don't have a clue about not negotiating with kidnappers. he shouldn't have done it. oh and his wife's a parochial bitch who's mean to him after he had such a bad experience. hurting the victim more!

ep 102: peddling bikes to generator power as your job is fucking stupid. that burns calories. you're gonna lose power, not gain it. lefty ep with awful sense of life and awful science.

ep 103: i liked how he reviews his memory to analyze it for clues. it's a detective story. the actual characters and plot are unlikable (he's so angry, she's a liar, they destroy their marriage).

curi at 5:41 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7280

remap caps-lock to both control AND escape!

The previous methods (given in #7058) for remapping the caps lock key to both control AND escape (depending on whether it's pressed in combination with another key) only worked for X11 in Linux and OS X 10.11 and below.

I haven't tried it yet, but apparently for OS X 10.12 and above, you can use (BetterTouchTool](https://www.boastr.net/) (cost: $6). Settings:

Key code | character | key state | required | order relevant
key code 59 | ^ | Key Down | Yes | Yes
key code 59 | ^ | Key Up | Yes | Yes
min pause before first keystroke: 0
max pause between keystrokes: 0.3 s
[ ] delete typed characters after recognition.
[ ] perform cmd+z (undo) after recognition
[ ] allow to trigger again by repeating last key-down

Also, caps2esc claims to work for Linux X11 AND console. Interception, another tool by the same author, supposedly lets you do the remapping under Windows.

Alisa at 6:36 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7281

Black Mirror (TV show)

> ep 101: meh. just trying to get attention with the topic of pig fucking. the characters are stupid and incompetent and don't have a clue about not negotiating with kidnappers. he shouldn't have done it.

Totally agree. Episode was meh and he shouldn't have done it. They might very well have killed her anyways.

My favorite episodes are:

304 - San Junipero
305 - Men Against Fire
special (2014) - White Christmas

What's a good way to talk about them here without spoilers? rot13?

Alisa at 6:41 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7282
Black Mirror TV show:

ep 201: ok ep overall. the AI and robotics stuff wasn't realistic. negative theme (dead husband).

ep 202: very, very mean.

ep 203: the guy behind waldo was pretty angry and unhappy and ineffective/pathetic.

too many of the eps are about bad things, failure and misery, not production and joy.

curi at 6:57 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7283

Stephen Whitt on The Beginning of Infinity

Stephen Whitt has written lots more about BoI.

Here's an example from 2013:

> I’ve said many times that reading The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch changed my life...
> I wouldn’t have thought so before reading The Beginning of Infinity. Like lots of other smarty-pants people, I thought all our human problems could be traced back to the fact that we keep having all these damn babies. Too many people, too many resources used up, too much of a stress on our environment, beyond the carrying capacity, all that.
> Then I read David Deutsch, and everything changed. In Chapter 9 (“Optimism”), Deutsch discusses Thomas Malthus and his predictions of imminent starvation in the late 1700s. Malthus’ predictions didn’t come true because he underestimated the human capacity to create new knowledge. Humans found ways to produce far more food than ever before, and so even though the population increased as Malthus predicted, starvation was not the result.
> Again in Chapter 17 (“Unsustainable”), Deutsch tells the story of a lecture by Paul Ehrlich and his very similar predictions of environmental collapse and attendant human suffering. Here’s what Deutsch says:

>> I can remember when I stopped worrying. At the end of the lecture a girl asked Ehrlich a question. I have forgotten the details, but it had the form ‘What if we solve [one of the problems that Ehrlich had described] within the next few years? Wouldn’t that affect your conclusion?’ Ehrlich’s reply was brisk. How could we possibly solve it? (She did not know.) And even if we did, how could that do more than briefly delay the catastrophe? And what would we do then?
>> What a relief! Once I realized that Ehrlich’s prophesies amounted to saying, ‘If we stop solving problems, we are doomed,’ I no longer found them shocking, for how could it be otherwise? Quite possibly that girl went on to solve the very problem she asked about, and the one after it. At any rate, someone must have, because the catastrophe scheduled for 1991 has still not materialized.

> The reason both Malthus and Ehrlich were wrong is that they forgot something so obvious it almost seems silly to type: we cannot know what we have not yet discovered. People are knowledge creators. Knowledge creation is inherently unpredictable. The reason neither Malthus’ nor Ehrlich’s disasters materialized is that people created knowledge that solved the problems Malthus and Ehrlich posed.

I think BoI's point here is that forecasts that do not account for the future growth of knowledge are necessarily pessimistic.

> In [a fiction book Whitt is reading], the villain states that humanity has become too numerous, and that our fecundity will lead to our extinction. His solution? A genetically engineered virus that will randomly sterilize one-third of humanity...
> But everyone in the book, including the Director of the World Health Organization and also the book’s 208-IQ heroine, agree with the villain! They all think there are too many people. They all think we’re on the path to extinction because of our overpopulation. They all think that sterilizing billions is not so bad.
> Not only is this deeply immoral, it is also wrong.
> Don’t get me wrong; I think planning your reproduction is a grand thing. Children should be cherished and treasured, and the ability to plan when and where to have them is a crucial human right that everyone deserves. But that choice must be an individual one, not one that’s made by some guy in Florence with a gene sequencer.
> The way to reduce population growth is proven. It’s well-known. It works everywhere it is tried. Empower women. Everywhere women are educated, employed, and given basic human rights, the birth rate drops and the quality of each child’s life goes up. We don’t need to sterilize women. We need to teach them to read.

Of course all people should have basic human rights, but is "empower women" actually "the" proven way to reduce population growth?

> Dan Brown has fallen into the pessimists’ trap. Here’s Deutch again, on

>> . . . two different conceptions of what people are. In the pessimistic conception, they are wasters: they take precious resources and madly convert them into useless (gadgets) . . . In the optimistic conception – the one that was unforeseeably vindicated by events – people are problem-solvers: creators of the unsustainable solution and hence also of the next problem. In the pessimistic conception, that distinctive ability is a disease for which sustainability is the cure. In the optimistic one, sustainability is the disease and people are the cure.

> If I’d read Dan Brown before (or without) reading David Deutsch, I likely would have agreed with the villian (and everyone else) that people are a disease. Now I know better. The only sustainable future is continual progress. Go people!

Alisa at 11:53 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7284

Stephen Whitt on The Beginning of Infinity

The first sentence in my previous post #7284 should just say "lots", not "lots more".

Alisa at 11:53 PM on October 31, 2016 | #7285

Whitt hates Roark

https://stephenwhitt.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/howard-roark-is-why-i-hate-fiction/

Whitt hates Howard Roark. He doesn't explain why. He also sez you can't discuss fiction, which contradicts BoI: the multiverse chapter has stuff about fiction.

He also sez he's in favour of socialised health care. He doesn't explain any criticism of the socialist calculation argument.

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:13 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7288

thoughts on posting

without posting, wisdom wanes. with posting, wisdom increases. conduct yourself accordingly.

Alisa at 12:17 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7290

Whitt hates Roark

RRRIIIIPPPPP

Alisa at 12:19 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7291
Whitt says,

>It seems that the people who take The Beginning of Infinity seriously are, well, rather screwy. Their ideas lead to horrible outcomes, including things like letting people die on the street if they can’t afford health care.

Is this true? Is FI in favour of letting people die on the street if they can't afford health care?

anon at 1:52 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7292

The Mac Platform Decline?

https://milen.me/writings/mac-platform-decline/ paints a bleak picture of the future of desktop Macs.

> From where I’m standing, Apple are redefining (shrinking) their target audience for the Mac platform. If you feel left out by the latest updates and the neglect on the desktop, it’s simple as Apple deciding not to serve your segment’s needs. I know that it can feel quite personal to Mac devotees, like me, but it’s simply business and strategy.

> [I]f you lose the professionals, you’ll lose a significant chunk of innovation and content that keeps consumers in the Apple ecosystem. Those professionals are content creators and if they use Macs at work, they’re more likely to use Macs at home and create for Apple platforms. Professionals are influencers and affect the computing choices of their immediate family & friends.

Basically he seems to wonder if Apple has decided that its not worth it for them to focus on power users for Macbooks or desktop Macs. He points out this could hurt their ecosystem in the long run since power users write apps and recommend macs to their non-power-user friends.

Alisa at 2:00 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7293

Michael Tsai: New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac

Michael Tsai put together a collection of quotes and links about New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac. Here are a few of them I thought were noteworthy.

Of the collection, DF says:

> Rather astounding how much backlash last week’s event has generated. I can’t recall an Apple event that generated such a negative reaction from hard-core Mac users. I’m working on a longer piece with my full thoughts on what’s going on, but for now, Tsai’s list of links is must-read stuff.

Here's a quote I liked from
Jeff Johnson:

> Those complaining about Apple’s current Mac lineup are not haters, they’re lovers. They’ve spent 10+ years and 5+ figures on Macs.
> These aren’t Luddites who simply hate change. These are people who already had blank checks written to Apple but had to tear up the checks.

AAPL dying? Sell sell sell?

On the other hand, Ben Brooks says:

> Apple didn’t launch a crappy product, they launched devices which still are the best option on the market. Which still have top notch industrial design. Which still have the best operating system. Which still have the best third party apps on any desktop platform. Which are still the best option for most people in the world. And frankly, if you can’t see that, then you need to go buy a non-Mac laptop and see for yourself how bad it truly is.

interesting Reddit comment on why Apple didn't offer 32GB or more of RAM in the Macbook:

> The true reason behind the lack of 32gb or ddr4 is intel. Skylake does not support LPDDR4 (LP for low power) ram. Kabylake is set to include support, but only for the U category of chips. So no LPDDR4 support for mobile until 2018 I think.

Alisa at 2:10 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7294

Whitt hates Roark

>>It seems that the people who take The Beginning of Infinity seriously are, well, rather screwy.

Note the mental illness metaphor.

>> Their ideas lead to horrible outcomes, including things like letting people die on the street if they can’t afford health care.

> Is this true?

No. Actually it's lefty ideas that lead to people dying on the street because they can't afford healthcare. BoI's ideas lead to better and better healthcare becoming cheaper and cheaper.

Alisa at 2:15 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7295

Whitt hates Roark

>>It seems that the people who take The Beginning of Infinity seriously are, well, rather screwy.
> Note the mental illness metaphor.

Well, terminology, not metaphor.

Alisa at 2:15 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7296

Brett Slatkin on Macbook alternatives

On Oct 28, 2106, Brett Slatkin wrote in Lamenting Progress:

> I've been using Apple computers for nearly 30 years. I played Lunar Lander on a Mac Plus. I wrote my first Logo program on a IIgs. I dialed my first modem on a IIsi. I edited my first video on a 7100. I built my first webpage on a Performa. I wrote my first Rhapsody app on an 8600. I earned my degree on a G5. For the past 11 years as a professional programmer, I've written code on a Mac. I wrote my book on a Mac.
> And now I feel that this chapter has come to an end.
> For the first time, I am seriously considering not buying an Apple computer as my next machine. I can't believe it.

On October 30, 2016, he published a follow-up post on Realistic alternatives to Apple computers. His #1 choice, given his criteria: the HP Spectre x360.

Alisa at 2:41 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7297

Macbook alternatives

I expect the hardware on all the macbook alternatives wlil be worse than the macbook.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12834975 :

> I cannot recommend the Spectre:
> - touchpad requires a third party driver, has really bad recognition and the driver needs to be reset from time to time because it stops recognizing multitouch gestures (there's even a button for reseting the driver in the control panel), this is on Windows10
> - keyboard is really mushy and when typing fast, keys sometimes register twice or not at all (first laptop where I ever had such a problem)

Alisa at 3:36 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7298

We ALWAYS need error correction

In http://curi.us/comments/show/7275, Elliot Temple writes:

> *[E]rror is always (physically) possible*. Therefore one always needs error correction, not merely sometimes.

To the extent that we turn off error correction we are adrift in the sea of arbitrariness.There's nothing good about that.

Alisa at 4:01 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7299
https://stephenwhitt.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/dan-brown-inferno-and-david-deutsch/

> I’ve said many times that reading The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch changed my life...

so invite him to FI to *discuss* the book and understand it better.

Anonymous at 9:50 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7302
Black Mirror TV show:

ep 301: 3 stars for the 5 stars ep. decent portrayal of some of society's lies. terrible ending with initiation of force against a wedding with the message that lashing out to hurt people feels good and is worth being thrown in jail over. another negative episode. these are about the future. can't anyone imagine a better world in the future?

ep 302: the layers weren't as clever as they thought. also it's not actually realistic. also omg don't consent to unknown medical procedures.

ep 303: don't fucking do what blackmailers demand.

ep 304: they should find something better to do in VR than have sex in the 80s. also wtf with the screen time limits for living ppl. first ep that was mostly positive, though!

ep 305: good plot twist. good portrayal of how much of an evil torturing bastard the military psychiatrist is.

curi at 10:00 AM on November 1, 2016 | #7303
Alisa:
> Scored ~62500 at Google' Halloween Doodle game. Finished with ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡ ♡

curi:
> i beat level 2 without getting hit, 17120 score. stopped there

What did you guys use, mouse or tablet?

I used a mouse and arthritis got in the way. I've finished first time with 72220.

Highest I got was 87730. Sadly the game is gone now. I wanted to reach the highest score. I didn't care to notice the lives left.

Anonymous at 1:39 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7304
Mouse. It does seem like a game where a tablet would do well.

curi at 1:46 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7305

My sentences should have short parse trees

tpeo wrote on HN that writing simply means keeping your parse trees short. That's a helpful way to think of it.

Alisa at 2:34 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7309
What are parse trees?

Anonymous at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7310
Black Mirror TV show:

ep 306: a B for the bees. not bad. a little like the recent DDOSes using insecure webcams and shit. super unrealistic bee targeting and AI though.

white xmas special: best ep! PUA!!! decent realistic reasonable PUA looking, not normal total bullshit you see on TV. good plot twist too. i guessed it a bit in advance but not too early. TONS of cruelty, though.

curi at 6:26 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7313
i was wondering much earlier in the white xmas special if he was on the job to get some secret out of the other guy. however i thought it was unlikely at first because of them having been at that location/job/whatever for 5 years which seemed too long to be worth the effort since he didn't seem super important (and indeed he wasn't, he was just a somewhat petty criminal who killed 2 people).

and when the time fast forwarding was used rather cavalierly to torture home automation slave, i didn't put it all together right away. using copies in computers in order to fuck with the flow of time was clever.

though, in fairness, while i can see running the simulation fast to make someone bored for weeks, how do you make the person think you were there with him for 5 years? you'd have to simulate 5 years of yourself. but i think the guy just stuck his head in a thing to enter the simulation rather than putting a cookie copy of himself in. it sounded more like he tweaked some setting to fool the guy about 5 years rather than actually simulating 5 years. and it only took him like 80 min iirc. i don't think it was a fully coherent plot that they actually thought through which makes it harder to pick up on.

also having eye implants with no on/off switch to get normal vision, and which other people have substantial control over, is a really bad idea.

it'd be better to install a another eye (or two) on your forehead rather than basically replace your existing eyes. hook it up to your optic nerve a little past your real eyes. then have a switch so either you get the artificial eyes sending data and it blocks the signals from your real eyes, or the artificial eyes stop sending data and let the real eye data through.

curi at 7:06 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7315

ItOE questions

quotes from ItOE

Rand is talking about definitions changing over time as a person (or a culture) learns more. Like a young child might start with the definition of "man" being “A thing that moves and makes sounds.” Then later on it changes to “A living thing that walks on two legs and has no fur." Then later “A living being that speaks and does things no other living beings can do.” Then on to...

Rand says:

>It is at this stage that he asks himself: What is the common characteristic of all of man’s varied activities? What is their root? What capacity enables man to perform them and thus distinguishes him from all other animals? When he grasps that man’s distinctive characteristic is his type of consciousness-a consciousness able to abstract, to form concepts, to apprehend reality by a process of reason-he reaches the one and only valid definition of man, within the context of his knowledge and of all of mankind’s knowledge to date: “A rational animal. ”

so definitions can change over time, yet can be true *within someone's or mankind's current context of knowledge*. sounds good. but then Rand goes on to say:

>Observe that all of the above versions of a definition of man were true, i.e., were correct identifications of the facts of reality-and that they were valid qua definitions, i.e., were correct selections of distinguishing characteristics in a given context of knowledge.

yes, they could be valid selections of distinguishing characteristics in a given context of knowledge.

but is she also claiming they necessarily will be correct identifications of (an omniscient view of) the facts of reality?

>None of them was contradicted by subsequent knowledge: they were included implicitly, as non-defining characteristics, in a more precise definition of man. It is still true that man is a rational animal who speaks, does things no other living beings can do, walks on two legs, has no fur, moves and makes sounds.

is she claiming that it would be impossible for subsequent knowledge to contradict a previous definition?

she also says:

>Only when and if some discovery were to make the definition “rational animal” inaccurate (i.e., no longer serving to distinguish man from all other existents) would the question of expanding the definition arise. “Expanding” does not mean negating, abrogating or contradicting; it means demonstrating that some other characteristics are more distinctive of man than rationality and animality-in which unlikely case these two would be regarded as non-defining characteristics, but would still remain true.

why would they necessarily still remain true? seems like she's trying to predict the future growth of knowledge.

later on in this section she says:

>A definition is the condensation of a vast body of observations-and stands or falls with the truth or falsehood of these observations. Let me repeat: a definition is a condensation. As a legal preamble (referring here to epistemological law), every definition begins with the implicit proposition: “After full consideration of all the known facts pertaining to this group of existents, the following has been demonstrated to be their essential, therefore defining, characteristic ...”

she seems much better wrt recognizing fallibility here. the definition can FALL with the falsehood of observations. and she talks about consideration of all of the *known* facts pertaining to this group of existents.

Kate at 7:32 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7316
> is she claiming that it would be impossible for subsequent knowledge to contradict a previous definition?

you have to look at contextual knowledge the right way.

ask yourself: "In this context, what should I believe?"

learning a new thing later won't contradict that. if you didn't make a mistake at the time, which was a mistake given only information in the original context, then it's never going to be a mistake later either.

only finding out something like "i was wrong AND could have known better at the time" would reveal a prior mistake to the contextual question of how to evaluate that old context at that time. just learning new things in general won't contradict the previous stuff.

curi at 7:37 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7317
ok.

what i'm still unclear about is this:

>It is still true that man is a rational animal who speaks, does things no other living beings can do, walks on two legs, has no fur, moves and makes sounds.

she's taking those answers from *old* contexts and claiming they are *still* true (albeit for a different purpose now).

she's saying they are true for the purpose of now being non-defining characteristics, rather than defining characteristics as they were in old contexts.

it worked out this way for her example of "man". but i don't see why it would always hold true that as the context changes (u learn more) and your definition of a concept gets updated (to account for that new knowledge), a past defining characteristic would necessarily from then on be a non-defining characteristic in the new context.

mb this isn't that important. cuz i think i get the concept of contextual knowledge in general. and she talks about contextual knowledge clearly in other places. i just didn't understand what seemed like inconsistency in a couple parts when it comes to how she viewed definitions. and confusion on what seemed like claims that even if a characteristic stops being a defining one, it'll still be a non-defining one.

Kate at 8:36 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7318
some characteristics still work and some don't. if you think the large things that move are people, and the small ones are cats and dogs (and bugs), that seems to work until you find an elephant or gorilla or car.

Anonymous at 8:41 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7319

ET quotes from HBL

Arbitrariness, pragmatism and consciousness:

> Every excuse for why not to use reason in some case is damaging to the principle.

Arbitrary exceptions are the death of principles.

> Ideas are only tested empirically if they have empirical content and survive a bunch of criticism. Testing is too much work to test an idea that hasn’t already been exposed to a bunch of criticism; it’d be an inefficient use of time. Most bad ideas are refuted before they get to the point of being tested.

Reminds me of manufacturing. Say your assembly line has three processes that need to happen to your product before you can ship it. Each process takes a certain amount of time and has a certain chance of malfunctioning and ruining the product. In which order should you do the three processes? You should put the ones with the highest chance of breaking the product FIRST. That way you don't waste a lot of time building something up only to have a very good chance of it getting taken down in a later stage.

Pragmatic concerns, non-refuted thinking, continuums, evidence, and seeking a devil’s advocate:

> For example, when considering what college to attend, you could look at the student/teacher ratio (smaller is better) and the distance from your parents (larger is better). You could then “compromise” by selecting a school, we’ll say Stanford, that scores well on both counts, but does not score the best on either metric. But in terms of fundamental epistemology, you ask yourself: “Do I have a criticism of attending Stanford? Yes or no?”

If you don't evaluate your actions in this binary way, you're being like Jim Taggart who refused to give a yes or no answer to anything.

Alisa at 10:35 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7320

Galt on fallibility

Elliot Temple wrote:

> Atlas Shrugged:

>> Do not say that you're afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little that you know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience—that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible—that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error. In place of your dream of an omniscient automaton, accept the fact that any knowledge man acquires is acquired by his own will and effort, and that that is his distinction in the universe, that is his nature, his morality, his glory.

> Fallibility, error, and non-omniscience as man's nature and glory.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, HB!

Alisa at 10:38 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7321
> Reminds me of manufacturing. Say your assembly line has three processes that need to happen to your product before you can ship it. Each process takes a certain amount of time and has a certain chance of malfunctioning and ruining the product. In which order should you do the three processes? You should put the ones with the highest chance of breaking the product FIRST. That way you don't waste a lot of time building something up only to have a very good chance of it getting taken down in a later stage.

yes but in real manufacturing, often:

1) some steps have to go after some other steps. there can be a lot of restrictions like this leaving little flexibility.

2) the steps aren't independent. say two steps deal with the same part of the widget. it could be whichever you do first has most of the chance to break it (or discover it's broken) when you e.g. find out if the attachment point is faulty or not and see if it survives a first thing being attached there. it can also go the other way where most of the breakage happens when you attach the second and final thing to the attachment point which gives it the potential to be overloaded. with stuff like this, a lot of the breakage issues will happen first or second independent of which order you do the two attachment steps.

issues like these somewhat limit the opportunity to use the fail-early approach.


@Galt yes of course Rand herself is much better than HB, Peikoff or any of her other students. most of the bad stuff they say isn't in Rand's own published writing.

Anonymous at 10:55 PM on November 1, 2016 | #7323

How big is 10^100^100?

Elliot Temple posed the following math puzzle:

> how many square roots does it take to get 10^100^100 down to a small number? (and what number is it)

(Note that a^b^c = a^(b^c))

Answer: 665 square roots takes you down from 10^100^100 to around 4.5.

Proof:

In what follows, log will mean the base-10 logarithm. To avoid spurious formatting, I will use a dot (·) to mean multiplication.

I will make frequent use of the following facts:

- (a^b)^c = a^(bc)
- (x^a)(x^b) = x^(a+b)
- x = 10^log x

First, a lemma: a^b^c = 10^10^(c log b + log log a)

For example, 2^2^3 = 2^8 = 256 = 10^10^(3 lg 2 + lg lg 2))

Proof:

a^b^c
= (10^log a)^(10^log b)^c
= (10^log a)^(10^(c log b))
= 10^(log a · 10^(c log b))
= 10^((10^log log a) · 10^(c log b))
= 10^10^(c log b + log log a) ▢

We can now use the lemma to show that 4.5^2^665 = 10^10^(665 lg 2 + lg lg 4.5). And 665 lg 2 + lg lg 4.5 ≈ 200. ▢

You can also check the answer with Hypercalc, an online calculator that works with very large integers. To do this, enter 4.5^(2^665) in Hypercalc. It evaluates this to something close to 10^10^200.

Josh Jordan at 12:48 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7329

Transcript of strong speech by Peter Thiel speech (Oct 31, 2016)

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/31/peter-thiel-on-trump-and-the-crazy-condition-of-our-country/

Good speech. I recommend reading. (Here's a video.)

Below are some excerpts. Emphasis is mine.

> Now, not everyone is hurting. In the wealthy suburbs that ring Washington, DC, people are doing just fine. Where I work in Silicon Valley, people are doing just great. But most Americans don’t live by the Beltway or the San Francisco Bay. Most Americans haven’t been part of that prosperity. It shouldn’t be surprising to see people vote for Bernie Sanders, or for *Donald Trump, who is the only outsider left in the race.*
> Very few people who vote for President have ever thought of doing something so extreme as running for President. The people who run are often polarizing. This election year, both major candidates are imperfect people, to say the least.
> I don’t agree with everything Donald Trump has said and done — and I don’t think the millions of other people voting for him do, either. Nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable; I agree they were clearly offensive and inappropriate. But I don’t think voters pull the lever in order to endorse a candidate’s flaws. It’s not a lack of judgment that leads Americans to vote for Trump; we’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed.
> This judgment has been hard to accept for some of the country’s most fortunate, socially prominent people. *It’s certainly been hard to accept for Silicon Valley, where many people have learned to keep quiet if they dissent from the coastal bubble.* Louder voices have sent a message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one half of the country.
> This intolerance has taken on some bizarre forms. The Advocate, a magazine which once praised me as a “gay innovator,” even published an article saying that as of now I am, and I quote, “not a gay man,” because I don’t agree with their politics. *The lie behind the buzzword of “diversity” could not be made more clear: if you don’t conform, then you don’t count as “diverse,” no matter what your personal background.*

> No matter what happens in this election, what Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away. He points toward a new Republican party beyond the dogmas of Reaganism. He points even beyond the remaking of one party to a new American politics that overcomes denial, rejects bubble thinking, and reckons with reality. *When the distracting spectacles of this election season are forgotten and the history of our time is written, the only important question will be whether or not that new politics came too late.*

Alisa at 1:33 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7331
Have you seen the #MeAndMyMentalIllness tag on Twitter. It's trending. People are spreading "mental illness awareness" on Twitter because of some TV show where it seems some celeb confessed they were mentally ill. An opportunity to spread Szazs awareness?

People are being taught what deviations to notice in others and to interpret them as mental illness. This is terrifying given the mental health act. The thing with this awareness is that is so snakey. They tell people "it's OK to have mental illness, it's like having diabetes" then they use mental illness against the person if the person doesn't accept they are mentally ill.

People are being taught "notice this individual deviations, as he is dangerous to society" and then to feel pity for the individual but to be compelled to have him punished. It is fucked up.

Some of the tweets:

> Saying "It's all in your mind" is like saying "Asthma is just in your lungs"

I don't get the point here, can someone explain? I guess the point here is that saying "it's all in your mind" confirms it's mental illness?

The crit "it's all in your mind" doesn't help. It's all ideas you can correct using your consciousness. That is better, right?

> the brain, that's an organ that gets poorly , just like any other organ of the body. Recognise that #MentalHealth

Nobody ignores diseases that can happen to the brain, like cancer. There are tons of mental illnesses for which there is no poorly brain, like "personality disorders".

> "Mental pain is worse than physical pain because it's invisible."

This is interesting. Maybe it's why people self-harm.

> It shouldn't take bravery to talk about mental health. It should be as normal as saying you're asthmatic or diabetic.

Etc.

Anonymous at 1:35 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7332
And the thing is, you argue against this people, they will call you delusional.

Anonymous at 1:36 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7333
> The Advocate, a magazine which once praised me as a “gay innovator,” even published an article saying that as of now I am, and I quote, “not a gay man,”

Being gay it's about culture and not about inborn sexual needs or about sexual preferences. It's a personality type that goes part with a political world view.

Anonymous at 1:39 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7334
i argued Szasz stuff on HBL and, even though people were rather hostile to the ideas, no one called me delusional.

you do the twitter Szasz advocacy though. i've got better more effective things to do than get flamed on twitter by people with no interest in reading or thinking.

having tried twitter a bit ... man it's soooo bad for discussions. worse than facebook. twitter can be better for getting the attention of certain people though. i expect i'll tweet more when david horowitz is active again (he's busy writing a book).

curi at 1:39 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7335
> i argued Szasz stuff on HBL and, even though people were rather hostile to the ideas, no one called me delusional.

the threads were locked.

maybe because it would be considered a flame to call you delusional. and because you like Ayn Rand. you also have learned to argue to audiences. it might depend on status as well.

you have been using twitter a lot for political campaign. so you consider it effective for spreading ideas. or you changed your mind after doing your campaign?

Anonymous at 2:00 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7336
i wasn't suggesting twitter to discuss and reach agreements.

i was suggesting to spread some counter awareness.

if there's not enough people using a #szazs tag, it won't trend, it won't serve as counter awareness to this evil of spreading "mental illness" awareness.

are you safe that nobody will come after you?

it's important people know an educated counter opinion exists.

Anonymous at 2:03 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7337
people like mental illness because it goes with the culture. the culture values having others evaluating you and telling you who you are. the culture values being sick. people compete who is the sickest.

Anonymous at 2:05 AM on November 2, 2016 | #7338

Programming tip w/array indices

https://blog.nelhage.com/2015/08/indices-point-between-elements/

It can be helpful to think of array indices as numbering the spaces between elements, not the elements themselves. This makes ranges more intuitive.

Josh Jordan at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2016 | #7344

Programming tip: design for testability

https://blog.nelhage.com/2016/03/design-for-testability/

> Design for testability... [W]hen you write new code, as you design it and design its relationships with the rest of the system, ask yourself this question: "How will I test this code? How will I write automated tests that verify the correctness of this code, with minimal irrelevant assumptions about the environment or the rest of the system?" And if you don't have a good answer to that question, redesign your abstractions or interfaces until you do.

Code that has good tests is easier to maintain. In Working with Legacy Code, Michael Feathers writes that "*legacy code* is simply code without tests."

Making code testable makes your code better in general. For example, making code testable involves:

> - A preference for pure functions over immutable data

> - Small modules with well-defined interfaces

> - A separation of IO and computation

> - Explicit declaration of dependencies

These are all good things in general. The article has more to say on this.

Josh Jordan at 3:58 PM on November 2, 2016 | #7345

How to lie without statistics - ProPublica edition

Chris Stucchio (yummyfajitas on HN) demolished a stupid ProPublic piece that claims to have found racial bias in software used in the criminal justice system.

Stucchio writes:

> I've recently discovered a 4 step process for lying without statistics. Here it is:
> 1. Write down the conclusion.
> 2. Run a statistical analysis.
3. If the statistical analysis agrees with your conclusion, publish it.
4. If the statistical analysis disagrees with your conclusion, write some anecdotes and allude to the fact that you did statistics. Don't mention your actual results.

[ omitted stuff ]

> This analysis leads us to three conclusions:

> 1. The predictor - namely score_factorHigh and score_factorMedium is highly statistically significant - the p-value is nearly zero. Cool, looks like the predictor actually does a good job.
> 2. The predictor is probably not biased against any particular race - the race_factorAfrican-American:score_factorHigh term is not statistically significant. Or, as ProPublica puts it, it's "almost statistically significant".
> 3. African Americans have a much higher than average recidivism rate - see the race_factorAfrican-American term.
Looks like a big win for machine learning, right? The statistical algorithm predicts criminal recidivism and it does in a way that any racial bias present cannot be distinguished from random chance.
> Somehow, Julie Angwin at ProPublica managed to title her article Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks. Furthermore, most casual readers of the article seem to think it's making a solid case.
> What the fuck? Am I the only person who looks at numbers? Apparently so.

Heh. I'd say he's one of the only people. Elliot also looks at numbers, though.

> How they did it
> One big tool in lying without statistics is to tell a story or two. Include vivid but irrelevant detail - humans immediately latch onto that stuff, statistically irrelevant though it may be...

Good point.

Alisa at 4:48 PM on November 2, 2016 | #7346

How to lie without statistics - ProPublica edition

The paragraphs beginning with "3. If the statistical analysis", "4. If the statistical analysis", and "Looks like a big win ..." were all by by Stucchio and should have began with a quote mark.

Alisa at 4:49 PM on November 2, 2016 | #7347

hbl posts

These are all my HBL posts. I will post others one at a time after writing them.

13829
Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13821 of 10/29/16  

 One-line summary: Evolutionary epistemology sheds light on evolution, not vice versa.
HB writes:

> Epistemology can’t appeal to the theory of evolution by natural selection because that theory itself has to be known, and epistemology is the science that defines what knowledge is and how we acquire it.

HB has got the issue backwards. Evolutionary epistemology explains that knowledge is created by processes that involve unbiased variation followed by selection. You have some structure that is capable of containing information, e.g. – a human brain or a gene.

That structure can undergo unbiased variation: that is, it can change in such a way that it can represent any kind of content in some domain. For example, I could think of a sequence of letters like jgaghelkhgfjkldshghfglkhdglkhdalkgfh. So there is no idea that it would be impossible for me to think about. Variation in genes allows a more limited set of variants, although nobody understands the limitations well.
Selection is a process that picks some of those variants to be copied and not others. For example, science will pick a theory that matches experimental results over a theory that doesn’t match them. Evolution will pick a variant of a gene that gets itself copied by producing viable offspring over a variant that doesn’t produce viable offspring.

Evolutionary epistemology sheds light on evolution rather than the other way around. For example, Lamarckism claims that an animal can pass on bigger muscles if it makes bigger muscles by getting more exercise while it is alive. But this makes no sense because the animal’s body would have to contain knowledge that its muscles would improve, otherwise it couldn’t translate that information back into whatever it passes on to its offspring. Likewise, an experiment can’t be used to come up with a theory because you can only judge what experiments are worth doing in the light of explanations about what is relevant. Experiment and survival are used to select variations; they don’t give rise to variations. See The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, Chapter 4 for a discussion of this point.
/sb

-------
13830
Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13821 of 10/29/16
One-line summary: Knowledge is problem-solving information.

HB writes:

> Perhaps one wants to object that it isn’t the literal biological theory of evolution that is being appealed to, but that that is just a familiar model to use to illustrate the method of “conjecture and refutation.” What counts, this objection would go, is that knowledge is based on a process of eliminating error.
>
> This won’t do. Truth and knowledge are more basic than falsehood and mistake. You can’t refute without appealing to prior knowledge. “Knowledge” can’t be defined as: “that at which you arrive by using knowledge (to refute a “conjecture”). That’s circular.

Knowledge is created by making variations on existing knowledge, and eliminating the variations that don’t work. Knowledge is not based on variation and the elimination of error. Nor is it based on anything else.

Knowledge is information that solves problems. Problems should not understood narrowly. A problem is just anything about current ideas that seems lacking, so there are technological problems, scientific problems, philosophical problems, artistic problems, etc. Solving problems doesn’t require being based on something.

When you refute an idea, you appeal to some prior knowledge, e.g., knowledge about how an experiment works. But the significance of the experiment is that it eliminates an error. The knowledge of how the experiment works solves the problem about how to distinguish among some competing set of ideas.

/sb

-----------
13831
Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13821 of 10/29/16
One-line summary: You can’t prophesy which ideas will turn out to be wrong.

HB writes:

> Epistemological possibility: When Popper rejects “irrevocable true statements,” he’s saying that there’s some evidence that in a future context we will get new information and change our minds.”
>
> But where’s that evidence? The only thing Popper has to present is “fallibility”–i.e., the metaphysical capacity of man to err. But that provides zero evidence that we have erred.

Consider a situation in which you have erred, but you don’t know about the mistake yet. You don’t think you have erred. There is no way for you to know that you have erred on some topic except in the light of the explanation of the error, which you have not yet created. That means you can’t distinguish errors from non-errors before discovering explanations of your errors. So for any topic on which you think you are right, you don’t know whether some explanation of an error will subsequently change your mind.

The significance of this issue is that you should expect that some ideas you currently think are right are mistaken. You should be actively looking for such mistakes. And any epistemology that fails to acknowledge this will lead to people overlooking mistakes.

*sb
------------
13922

One-line summary: Fallibilism doesn’t require claiming ideas are wrong. People can understand cause and effect without induction.

> Popper states that all theories are fallible, could be mistaken. This has to include his own theory of fallibilism (as pointed out by HB and others), meaning his own theory could be a mistake, meaning infallibility is at least possible. Consequently Popper is making a logical fallacy (the fallacy of self-excepting).

Popper’s theory does not consist solely of falliblism. Popper’s ideas could be wrong while falliblism is still correct. Also, falliblism doesn’t imply that you should claim your own ideas are wrong. Rather, you should aim to get rid of bad ideas as quickly as possible. If you put an idea forward in a half-assed way and don’t make the best possible case for it, then there are some ways of saving it you haven’t considered. As a result, you haven’t made all of the possible criticisms of alternatives to that idea and those alternatives may be wrong. So you should try to think of ways of saving an idea, not drop it at the first sign of trouble.

As to Popper’s denial of the value of induction to arrive at generalizations, let me take the example well known to Objectivists, and pointed to by Betsy Speicher previously, of a child pushing a wooden ball and observing it roll, but observing no rolling when pushing a wooden block. He may use one or two further experiments pushing a rubber ball or plastic ball compared to a rubber or plastic block, and the child might not need any further inductive trials to grasp (implicitly since not able to put into words) the for him new generalizations of “roundness” and “rolling” and the “infallible” connection between them.

Children roll blocks all the time, e.g. – dice.

And understanding causal connections can be done by guessing and criticism without induction. So even if the example were correct, it wouldn’t be relevant.

/sb

--------
13713

Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13710 of 10/25/16
One-line summary: Szasz is opposed to obscuring moral and legal issues with pseudo-medical babble.

> Mental illness, including psychosis, is real. Either Szasz is denying that insanity is fundamentally different from sanity, or he’s playing word-games (but note that the title of his book is The Myth of Mental Illness).

Szasz is not playing word games. He is pointing out that what is commonly called mental illness is behaviour, not an illness. An illness is a structural or chemical abnormality in the body, behaviour is not such an abnormality. If you look at diagnostic criteria for mental illness, they typically exclude drugs and medical conditions as a cause and only discuss behaviour, e.g.

http://www.mental-health-today…..ep/dsm.htm

Pretending that behaviour is illness obscures moral and legal issues. This is very dangerous.

HB approvingly quotes Branden and claims he is clear:

> The standard of mental health—of biologically appropriate mental functioning—is the same as that of physical health: man’s survival and well-being. A mind is healthy to the extent that its method of functioning is such as to provide man with the control over reality that the support and furtherance of his life require. . . .
>
> The proper function of consciousness is: perception, cognition, and the control of action.
>
> An unobstructed consciousness, an integrated consciousness, a thinking consciousness, is a healthy consciousness. A blocked consciousness, an evading consciousness, a consciousness torn by conflict and divided against itself, a consciousness disintegrated by fear or immobilized by depression, a consciousness dissociated from reality, is an unhealthy consciousness.

Whether somebody exercises self-control, integrates his ideas and so on is a moral issue, not a medical issue. Branden obscures that truth in this passage by lots of pseudo-medical jargon. This passage illustrates that Szasz is right about the dangers of mental illness talk.

HB continues:

> Also, Szasz is against involuntary institutionalization of the insane. But institutionalization is clearly necessary when the person poses an objective threat.

How would you know a person is an objective threat unless he makes credible threats to commit a criminal act? And if he does that, we already have institutions for dealing with such people: police, courts and prisons.

If you can’t get a criminal conviction against a person, you ought not to be able to punish him. By any objective standard, imprisonment and forced drugging is punishment. Inflicting punishment without a trial is a threat to the rule of law.

Also, a lot of psychiatric treatment is enforced against people who have committed no crime, e.g., people who threaten or attempt suicide. Also, people who are inconvenient for their relatives often end up in mental hospitals. See Szasz’s description of the case of Rose Kennedy in “Coercion as cure” by Szasz. Rose Kennedy was lobotimised because Joseph Kennedy feared her gregarious behaviour might embarrass him.

HB continues:

> And if a person is insane, he is not competent to exercise his own rights, so he may be institutionalized for his own protection and that of the sane.

If a person is capable of expressing a preference, then he is capable of exercising his rights. You may disagree with him and criticize the way he uses his rights. But if you go beyond that into punishing him without a trial, you have broken the rule of law.

HB writes:

> (Yes, you can raise questions about the legal criteria for declaring a person insane, and the criteria may indeed be too lax, or too strict, in a given state–that’s a red herring.)

There are no objective standards at all. It’s not a matter of laxness. Psychiatry is the rule of those who have pull. If you can lock somebody up or drug him against his will without convicting him of a criminal act, then what is the objective standard by which you imprison and torture him?

HB writes:

> I blame Szasz for the surge of psychotics on the streets of New York City and, I assume, elsewhere–his work spread the idea that these unfortunate people are better off “in the community”–i.e., sleeping on the sidewalks, accosting passersby, creating health risks and setting fires.

Then you’re blaming the wrong person. Szasz did not recommend forcing patients to leave mental hospitals. See Chapter 19 of his book Law, Liberty and Psychiatry, in which he recommended that people should be offered advice and help if they want it, and left to go free if they don’t. See in particular section 2 of the “Long-Range Goals” section of the chapter. He explicitly condemned turning people out of mental hospitals, see “Cruel Compassion” Chapter 9 -11.

/sb

--------

13739

Re: Byron Price’s post 13714 of 10/25/16
One-line summary: Szasz answered these arguments already.

HB writes:

> I agree with David Wilens, based on the report of an (Objectivist) father whose son suffered from it in grade school. He told me that the boy experienced dramatic relief from the problem twenty minutes after trying a dose of the drug. It was, I think, Ritalin. The boy himself was very pleased with the effect, and he continued to take it for several years, with dramatic improvement in his ability to concentrate on his school work.

There could be lots of reasons for Ritalin having that effect that have nothing to do with illness. The person taking the Ritalin could expect to concentrate better, and do so as a result. The person taking the Ritalin might feel sensations that he interprets as helping him concentrate more, e.g., he might feel less tired. The person might dislike Ritalin, and think that if he doesn’t shape up, he might be forced to take something even worse. In the absence of a specification of the cause of ADHD and the effect of Ritalin, there is no way to tell whether it is treating an illness.

Byron Price writes:

> I think mental illness does exist. The cause may not be known or may be very subtle. A couple of neurons that don’t fire properly could cause problems in the right location. There would be little chance of finding those defective neurons; all you would see is the symptom. Severe stress will cause psychic trauma. If it continues long enough it probably causes structural changes in the brain.

This is super vague. Not sitting still at school can’t be a result of a couple of neurons misfiring. Whether you do X or Y is a result of your judgment about the best thing to do. That judgment can’t be a result of just two neurons firing, since it takes into account stuff like what role other people expect you to play, your perception of the value of sitting still or moving, etc. Also, mental illness is specified in terms of behaviour, not brain stuff, as I explained previously.

John Bales writes:

> One may suffer from anxiety and depression yet, from force of will, continue to behave rationally while silently suffering. Depression does not have to result from a physical abnormality or “chemical imbalance” but can be the result of repression. Because of the nature of repression, one may need assistance in discovering the nature of the repression and assistance in dealing rationally with whatever is being repressed. This is what a therapist does.

I suspect that Szasz has never himself personally experienced clinical depression or anxiety. Had he done so, he would have known that he was not well.

From the description of Szasz’s book The Ethics of Psychotherapy on Amazon:

> In this book, I propose to describe psychotherapy as a social action, not as healing. So conceived, psychoanalytic treatment is characterized by its aim–to increase the patient’s knowledge of himself and others and hence his freedom of choice in the conduct of his life; by its method–the analysis of communications, rules, and games; and lastly, by its social context–a contractual, rather than a ‘therapeutic, ‘ relationship between analyst and analysand.

Also note the use of mental illness as a smear tactic so John doesn’t have to deal with Szasz’s arguments.

HB writes:

> Nor should we be worried about “drugging our kids” with these medications. It’s my understanding (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that for children with no actual neural problem, Ritalin and the like have no effect. It is not a sedative.

Would you object to being forced under threat of physical violence to eat a Tic Tac? It’s just one little sweet, and it won’t do you any harm, so why would you object?

/sb
----------------
13756
Re: John Bales’ post 13749 of 10/27/16
One-line summary: Bad thoughts are not ilnesses.

I brought up the example of people suffering profound mental pain without any outwardly observable signs. Such people can recognize themselves as ill even though others may not. Anyone not considering such a person to be ill, I conjectured, must be lacking information.

A person may feel extremely unhappy. He may want to kill himself, or to hurt others, or to deliberately destroy his career, or something else like that. An illness is a structural or chemical fault in the body. Thoughts and feelings are abstractions. There is no reason to think that an unpleasant abstraction is the result of an illness. That’s like thinking a bad television program is a result of a fault in your television.

*sb
--------
13765

Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13763 of 10/28/16
One-line summary: What are Ritalin’s effects?

I wrote:

>> There could be lots of reasons for Ritalin having that effect that have nothing to do with illness. The person taking the Ritalin could expect to concentrate better, and do so as a result. The person taking the Ritalin might feel sensations that he interprets as helping him concentrate more, e.g., he might feel less tired. The person might dislike Ritalin, and think that if he doesn’t shape up, he might be forced to take something even worse. In the absence of a specification of the cause of ADHD and the effect of Ritalin, there is no way to tell whether it is treating an illness.

HB writes:

> This is not good reasoning. The case is real, but aside from the well-know placebo effect, the “lots of reasons” offered are simply made up. And they don’t fit the facts of the case. As I said, this is a boy who took Ritalin for several years, with continued improved concentration. Note the insertion of: “something even worse.” That presumes that Ritalin makes you feel bad, which by my understanding is not the case.

The reasons I offered are not simply made up. They are possibilities that could be true in many cases. They come from thinking about the logic of the situation. I can’t comment on whether they fit a situation where I don’t know all the details. I also don’t want the details since such details should not be shared without the explicit consent of the person whose life is being shared.

If you are a child, you are physically weaker than the adults around. You have extremely limited legal rights and recourse. If you are a child (or an adult) who is being targeted by a psychiatrist, you are in big trouble. You can be imprisoned and drugged against your will without trial. I don’t understand how you can expect an honest assessment of the merits or lack thereof of Ritalin from a child in that situation.

HB continues:

> Then there’s the final sentence: “In the absence of a specification of the cause of ADHD and the effect of Ritalin, there is no way to tell whether it is treating an illness.” That can’t be right. It would rule out many highly successful treatments whose causal mechanism is not known.

The “effectiveness” of such a treatment can’t be used as evidence that some behaviour is an illness. There are explanations for the effect that have not been ruled out.

HB writes:

> But why wouldn’t one want to learn that some psycho-active drugs have good effects? It seems there’s some twisting and turning here to avoid an unwanted conclusion. I don’t get that.

It is currently widespread practice for the government to print money and hand it out to its cronies. Suppose you pointed that this is a corrupt and non-voluntary practice and so you can’t say that it makes people better off. The person you’re talking to replies. “But I don’t see how you can say that giving people money is bad.”The pieces of paper that pass for money are not the main issue. I would say this person has missed the point about corruption and force.

/sb

----------

13787

Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13776 of 10/28/16
One-line summary:

I wrote:

If you are a child, you are physically weaker than the adults around. You have extremely limited legal rights and recourse. If you are a child (or an adult) who is being targeted by a psychiatrist, you are in big trouble. You can be imprisoned and drugged against your will without trial. I don’t understand how you can expect an honest assessment of the merits or lack thereof of Ritalin from a child in that situation.

HB replied:

I’m afraid this is also bad reasoning: the implication is that the 8- or 9-nine year old boy is being intimidated by brutes and/or by knowledge of the legal system he almost certainly doesn’t have.

Are children forced to go to school? Yes. Are adults forced to go to school? No. Can parents spank children legally? Yes. Can adults spank other adults (non-voluntarily)? No. It doesn’t require advanced knowledge of the legal system to figure out that children are deprived of legal rights that adults have.

It’s common for parents and other adults to inflict escalating punishments on children until they comply. The psychiatrist could be viewed as just another adult inflicting just another set of punishments. If the child claims to like the Ritalin he might get off easier than if he claims not to like it.

Also, although there is no trial, there is a hearing before a judge.

The insanity “defence” can be imposed on a defendant against his explicit wishes to the contrary. This “defence” often results in imprisonment if it is successful. Szasz documents many examples of this in books such as Psychiatric Justice.

And the problem, at least in NYC, is not that too many are institutionalized but that, as I’ve been told by police, the judge refuses to institutionalize the psychotics the police have arrested and they go back to living on the sidewalk and being something between a public nuisance and a real threat to passersby.

There are a couple of problems here. The first is that many streets are not privately owned so there is no owner who can remove horrible people from his property. The second is that if you go around threatening people or spitting on them, you belong in prison. We should take existing law seriously and use it, rather than let people run around issuing threats and committing assault. Instead we have a quasi-legal system of involuntary commitment and forced drugging that gives the misleading impression that the problem is solved.

/sb

----------

13789

Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13773 of 10/28/16
One-line summary: Illnesses are faults in the body. Behaviour can’t be understood in that way.

HB wrote:

> To say “an illness is a structural or chemical fault in the body” begs the question. The proper scope to be given the concept “illness” is what is in dispute.
>
> The idea is not that “an unpleasant abstraction” (i.e., automatized anti-life mental content) is the result of an illness but that it is or causes the illness. E.g., the automatized exclusion of certain content from entering conscious awareness is repression. Repression is an anti-cognitive and therefore anti-life condition. That is the issue to be faced here.

I agree that repression is anti-cognitive and anti-life. But it doesn’t resemble an illness like, say, meningitis, in any interesting sense. Repression involves choices and should be discussed in moral terms. You talk at a meningitis patient as much as you like, but it will make no difference to his condition.

> And, actually, now that I think of it: the automatization is physical; it is embodied in the structure of the brain. So, repression is an illness even by Szasz’s definition.

This is not a good line of argument. An abstraction can be instantiated in many different physical forms. For example, I have a paper copy of Mein Kampf and could download a text file containing the book if I wanted to. Two different physical forms of the same abstraction. So then the abstraction is not defined by any single physical form that happens to instantiate it. And bad ideas are not defined by what brain structures instantiate them.

In addition, the “same idea” in different people is often very different in their details, see this video for an example:


.

People exhibiting similar behaviour in general don’t have the same stuff going on in their brains. Trying to define or explain what people think in terms of their brains is a bad way to go about understanding their actions. It would be more useful in many cases to try to understand the operations in a person’s brain by considering his ideas than to do the reverse.

For more explanation of the ways abstractions can be instantiated, see The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, Chapters 5-7.

/sb

----

13926

Re: Harry Binswanger’s post 13921 of 11/2/16
One-line summary: Perception is theory-laden. So what?

HB writes:

> I overestimated Popper. He’s not saying anything different from a whole contemporary school of epistemology, which recycles Kant. Kant held that “the categories of the intuition” and “the categories of the understanding” separate us from “things as they are in themselves” (noumena) and we live in a world of appearances (phenomena). Popper, as Lee Pierson’s quote reveals, supplemented by what Elliot Temple says, holds the same thing. In the usual jargon (did Popper help originate it?), perception is “theory-laden.”

Sense organs are theory-laden in a couple of senses.

First, to be able to reproduce how those sense organs work in an instrument, you have to understand restrictions the laws of physics impose on relevant physical phenomena. For example, to understand eyes, you have to understand principles of how to design optical instruments.

Second, the eye can’t have arisen by chance precisely because almost any small change would make the eye perform worse as an optical instrument. There must be some information in your body that gives rise to your eyes being constructed in the right way. That information is instantiated in genes.

None of this implies that Popper thought that perception separates us from reality. Rather, sense organs solve some problems about how to perceive the world but not others. They instantiate contextual knowledge.

This may be an appeal to God, I don’t know, but nature doesn’t have theories. “Theory” is a concept of consciousness, and does not exist in nature apart from man. Darwin showed that organisms, including man, were not “designed” but produced by ordinary cause and effect. The frog’s visual system, cited by Popper, no more involves a theory than does a rock that falls to the ground when released. The rock is not “impregnated” with Newton’s ideas, and the frog’s eye is not “impregnated” with any other ideas.

Theory-ladenness is not an appeal to god. Rather, it just involves noticing that sense organs are well-optimised to distinguish different states of the world. They are set up this way by virtue of specific sequences of bases occurring in genes. Those sequences then give rise to eyes as a result of a set of chemical processes. And you can only understand how those processes ended up the way they are by understanding an explanation that involves eyes being optimised to distinguish shapes, colours and so on. Our ancestors who couldn’t do that died out. The only variants of their genes that were copied are those that constructed things that act like complex optical instruments: our eyes.

The information in genes is different from that in textbooks on optics. The textbooks contain explanations. Genes do not. That doesn’t change the fact that it is difficult to make optical instruments that work as well as eyes.

And note the stolen concept that I covered in an earlier post: the concept “adaptation,” like the concept “evolution,” is an advanced scientific concept. It cannot be used to negate or even to evaluate the more basic concept “see.” That’s a gross hierarchy inversion. Science cannot evaluate issues in philosophy, period.

Adaptation is not being used to negate the concept of see. Rather, it is being used to explain how it is possible for us to see. It is also being used to explain the context in which the ability to see arose and the problems that it solves.

The very same error occurs with regard to Mr. Temple’s use of the term “measurement”–the senses and the neurophysiology do not measure anything.

Eyes and brain distinguish different states of the world. If they couldn’t, we would be in the same position in trying to distinguish between red and blue as we are in trying to distinguish different kinds of neutrinos. We would have to construct complex instruments to make the distinction between red and blue after coming up with explanations of how to construct them. We are in the fortunate position that evolution gave rise to complex optical instruments that we could use before we properly understood how they work.

“Information,” too, does not exist in nature (yes, I know about Shannon’s sense of “information”; it is an ingenious way to quantify relative frequencies; it is irrelevant to philosophy).

Shannon’s sense of information is about the circumstances under which different states of the world can be distinguished. It is not about relative frequencies.

Reason is not the detection and correction of error. That’s the error in Popper. That’s the false in falsificationism. Reason is “the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses.” It is the use of perception, concepts, and conceptual identifications (propositions). It does include, inter alia, error-detection and correction. But only because there is prior, non-conjectural knowledge against which something can be identified as an error. I have made this point before. It is fundamental.

Why would the knowledge required for the detection and correction of error have to be non-conjectural? Doesn’t such knowledge just have to be correct?

Scientists regularly correct errors in the knowledge they use for detection. Scientists notice that a result does not match what they expect. They then have to explain that unexpected result. Sometimes the explanation is that they made a mistake in setting up the instrument. What counts isn’t whether the knowledge that allowed them to build the instrument consists of guesses corrected by criticism. What counts is whether the knowledge is true, not whether it is a guess.

/sb

--------

Alan Forrester at 12:13 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7349

functions are less testable than data

> A preference for pure functions over immutable data

This doesn't make sense. Functions are inherently less testable than immutable data. Immutable data is just data and doesn't change, so it can be tested just by doing equality checks. Functions are a lot more difficult to test because in general you can't tell what they will do without execution and you can't cover all the possible inputs for most interesting functions. That's why there are loads of fancy testing techniques, e.g. - generative testing which generates test data according to a spec you provide for the function.

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:18 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7350
Josh are you familiar with test driven development? Actually writing tests before code is a way to create testable code.

Turpentine, I think he meant functions dealing with immutable data. I guess he wrote "over" because he was thinking about mapping or something along those lines.

Anonymous at 12:21 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7351

functions are less testable than data

>> A preference for pure functions over immutable data
> This doesn't make sense.

The bullet list item headline was written badly, and it didn't help that I cut out the explanatory item body. He means a preference for pure functions *that take immutable data as arguments*. Quoting from https://blog.nelhage.com/2016/03/design-for-testability/ :

>>> Pure functions over immutable data structures are delightfully easy to test: You can just create a table of (example input, expected output) pairs. They're generally also easy to fuzz with tools like QuickCheck, since the input is easy to describe.

Josh Jordan at 12:26 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7354

test driven development

> Josh are you familiar with test driven development? Actually writing tests before code is a way to create testable code.

Yes, I am familiar with TDD. I agree that it is one way to create testable code.

Josh Jordan at 12:27 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7355
Kindle app has word Runner now for speed reading. Has anyone checked that out?

FF at 9:08 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7356
it appears to only be on amazon hardware only, not kindle app.

it appears to be one word at a time only, which sucks really badly.

curi at 9:14 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7357
> it appears to only be on amazon hardware only, not kindle app.

I have not tried it with pirated books. I said " kindle app " because I bought a book and opened it on " kindle app " on my phone which had the option of " word runner ".

You are right.. It does not have the option of running more than one word at a time.

FF at 9:37 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7358
i tried iPhone and mac, didn't see it. where's the option?

Anonymous at 9:46 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7359
> i tried iPhone and mac, didn't see it. where's the option?

Above "word wise" and below "share progress"

I **did not** try it on iOS. I tried it on android app.

FF at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2016 | #7360

Politico's "fact check" said Trump lied in calling ISIS unbelievably evil

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/09/2016-donald-trump-fact-check-week-214287

> "We’re presiding over something that the world has not seen. The level of evil is unbelievable." (Sept. 19, Fort Myers, Florida, rally)
> Judging one “level of evil” against another is subjective, but other groups in recent history have without any question engaged in as widespread killing of civilians as ISIS.

I learned about this from http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/264688/factless-fact-checkers-daniel-greenfield , which says:

> The only information conveyed by this “fact check” is that Politico, like the rest of the media, does not like Donald Trump and would find a way to argue with him if he said that the sky was blue.

Alisa at 2:14 AM on November 4, 2016 | #7370

Rigged Polls: Tests Show College Grads Conceal Support For Donald Trump

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/11/03/fishbowl-politics-reduces-donald-trump-polling-support/

> The Morning Consult survey used two tests. One test quizzed 1,249 people in a phone interview, another test quizzed 825 people online via a computer. The combined survey reached 309 college graduates and 388 people with incomes above $50,000.
> Among the college graduates reached for the person-to-personal test, only 39 percent told pollsters they backed Trump. But Trump got 46 percent support from college graduates who participated in the online test.
> That two-point shift is “not statistically significant,” says the polling firm, which describes the threatened and intimidated Trump supporters with a condescending term, “shy Trumpers.”

It's exclusive use of electronic polling may be one reason why the LA Times tracking poll (http://cesrusc.org/election) shows more support for Trump than other polls.

Alisa at 2:44 AM on November 4, 2016 | #7371
Can you make multiple accounts to continue reading after 2 weeks on HBL?

FF at 3:32 AM on November 4, 2016 | #7372
Don't do that. That would be initiation of force to steal from HBL. That would violate HB's rights.

Pay for HBL or email HB to ask for a discount or stop being a member.

curi at 9:06 AM on November 4, 2016 | #7375

Sparse Systems

http://kevinlawler.com/sparse

>At a basic level, sparsity just means that, whatever you're looking for, there ain't much of it, and there's a whole lot of area to cover to find it. So if an undiscovered shipwreck is somewhere in the Caribbean, and you go out hunting for it, that's a setup with a sparse system.

> Compared to the size of the space, you should think of yourself and your effort as small and finite. Don't delude yourself into thinking you can cover the entire space, and disown the idea of getting everything perfect. Succeeding in a sparse environment is a question of resource conservation. You need to distribute your effort in a way that maximizes the territory you cover. Subtasks should be put into time boxes. Tasks that go on for too long require that you time out. Your supplies are limited, and you have to be stingy with your fuel.

> If you think of a classically sparse area, like outer space, what scares people about it is getting lost. The open oceans or the deserts are just as scary. You'll run out of supplies if you get lost, and it's easy to get lost in a formless waste. The difficult part about navigating a formless environment is the lack of markers. However, if you're crafty about it, you can do what navigators have always done, which is to exploit some hidden structure that isn't immediately apparent in your environment. This is how we get navigation instruments that use magnetic fields, stars, gyros...

> Conceptually, navigating in a sparse system can appear to be a search problem in an area where there is no readily apparent structure. In practice, though, whatever system you're dealing with will yield some kind of structure, if you look for it. The trick here is that you have to apply your intelligence in unexpected ways. Even if the space appears completely undistinguished, eventually one of the opinions you form about it will fit. This will imbue it with exploitable structure, and then you can begin to solve it.

Alisa at 1:42 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7383

Feynman on learning

https://goo.gl/UT9Eyq

> I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding, they learn by some other way — by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!

Alisa at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7386

Feynman on learning

Link for quote source goes to Google Books for "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!", p. 37

Alisa at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7387
Oists seem to think idea-space is sparse and you look around and find good ideas.

Actually idea-space is very very densely packed with bad ideas which are not trivial to discard as "arbitrary".

Anonymous at 2:32 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7388
> Don't delude yourself into thinking you can cover the entire space, and disown the idea of getting everything perfect.

really bad writing.

he should have written "and DO disown..."

otherwise it's really easy to read the not as carrying over to the second clause.

the only way i've come to decide he doesn't want a not on the second clause is because then his sentence would be stupid. i can't tell from the language. my first guess from language was the not does carry over (the "does" also carries over).

Anonymous at 2:35 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7389

Feynman on learning

Pasting the story before and after the above quote, (from a PDF I found online), because they're so good. I see Elliot pointing out this kind of stuff all the time.

> I often liked to play tricks on people when I was at MIT. One time, in mechanical drawing class, some joker picked up a French curve (a piece of plastic for drawing smooth curves--a curly, funny-­looking thing) and said, "I wonder if the curves on this thing have some special formula?"
> I thought for a moment and said, "Sure they do. The curves are very special curves. Lemme show ya," and I picked up my French curve and began to turn it slowly. "The French curve is made so that at the lowest point on each curve, no matter how you turn it, the tangent is horizontal."
> All the guys in the class were holding their French curve up at different angles, holding their pencil up to it at the lowest point and laying it along, and discovering that, sure enough, the tangent is horizontal. They were all excited by this "discovery"--even though they had already gone through a certain amount of calculus and had already "learned" that the derivative (tangent) of the minimum (lowest point) of any curve is zero (horizontal). They didn't put two and two together. They didn't even know what they "knew."
> I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding; they learn by some other way--by rote, or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!
> I did the same kind of trick four years later at Princeton when I was talking with an experienced character, an assistant of Einstein, who was surely working with gravity all the time. I gave him a problem: You blast off in a rocket which has a clock on board, and there's a clock on the ground. The idea is that you have to be back when the clock on the ground says one hour has passed. Now you want it so that when you come back, your clock is as far ahead as possible. According to Einstein, if you go very high, your clock will go faster, because the higher something is in a gravitational field, the faster its clock goes. But if you try to go too high, since you've only got an hour, you have to go so fast to get there that the speed slows your clock down. So you can't go too high. The question is, exactly what program of speed and height should you make so that you get the maximum time on your clock?
> This assistant of Einstein worked on it for quite a bit before he realized that the answer is the real motion of matter. If you shoot something up in a normal way, so that the time it takes the shell to go up and come down is an hour, that's the correct motion. It's the fundamental principle of Einstein's gravity--that is, what's called the "proper time" is at a maximum for the actual curve. But when I put it to him, about a rocket with a clock, he didn't recognize it. It was just like the guys in mechanical drawing class, but this time it wasn't dumb freshmen. So this kind of fragility is, in fact, fairly common, even with more learned people.

Alisa at 2:49 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7390

test

a
b
c

d

(single linebreak after a and b, double after c and d)

Anonymous at 3:05 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7392

Sparse Systems

Here's what I found personally interesting &relevant about the article.

I have a slow and steady approach that works to solve certain small, bounded problems, given enough time. I can write a program that will play a simple game perfectly. If I can recast the problem in terms terms of things I already know AND if it's small enough, I can solve it, given enough time.

But I don't have a good approach to the sort of broader search spaces the article talks about. In those cases I either get lost, or my search isn't efficient. For example, suppose I'm trying to find a buried treasure somewhere on Earth. I could easily spend a lot of time searching for it in one square meter of my backyard. I might eventually prove to my satisfaction that there's no buried treasure there, at least down to a certain depth, but in the mean time I left the rest of the Earth unexplored.

In terms of getting lost, I don't have a good way of prioritizing what I do when the space of possible actions is large. I just kind of drift and read stuff haphazardly without a good plan.

Alisa at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7393
Here are 3 good plans:

Learn Smash Bros.

Learn Objectivism and liberalism.

Learn epistemology (so e.g. you could be the one explaining it to HBL -- you could learn all that stuff).

These don't have a lot of spareness issues, either, cuz there's lots of resources offering guidance.

Anonymous at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7394
https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/794197411144941568

> Obama is talking about his legacy. Clinton is talking about the first woman president. Meanwhile, the narcissist is talking about America.

Alisa at 5:05 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7396
> Don't do that. That would be initiation of force to steal from HBL. That would violate HB's rights.

What about copying stuff to my computer for reading after 2 weeks?

> Pay for HBL or email HB to ask for a discount or stop being a member.

Does he give discounts? I thought the price was non-negotiable.

FF at 5:56 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7402
> What about copying stuff to my computer for reading after 2 weeks?

i think that's totally fine if you copy the current discussions you've been reading.

if you were using programming to copy all old posts, that's a grey area.

> Does he give discounts? I thought the price was non-negotiable.

i don't know. lots of stuff is negotiable if you actually ask.

Anonymous at 6:09 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7403

How Liberals really feel about black people & voter ID laws

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odB1wWPqSlE

> How Liberals really feel about black people.
> We asked liberal elites about voter ID laws and black people. Then we asked Harlem residents their thoughts on what they just heard. Crazy!

Great 4-minute video exposing leftists as they give their typical racist reasons to oppose voter ID laws.

Alisa at 9:04 PM on November 4, 2016 | #7404

DAve Chappelle defends Trump!

http://observer.com/2016/11/dave-chappelle-defends-trump-rips-clinton-shes-not-right-and-we-all-know-it/

> Chappelle further shocked the New York crowd by defending Trump. He took issue with the media stating as fact that Trump had admitted committing sexual assault in the recorded conversation. “Sexual assault? It wasn’t. He said, ‘And when you’re a star, they let you do it.’ That phrase implies consent. I just don’t like the way the media twisted that whole thing. Nobody questioned it.”

Alisa at 9:26 PM on November 5, 2016 | #7411

Dave Chappelle defends Trump!

> The comedian stated that Trump’s resilience in the face of the leak had impressed him. Comparing Trump to The Terminator, Chappelle said, “That would have devastated anybody else.”

Alisa at 9:28 PM on November 5, 2016 | #7412

1 Washington state Democratic elector won’t support Clinton, another won’t commit

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/hes-a-state-democratic-elector-but-robert-satiacum-says-he-wont-vote-for-clinton/

> One of Washington state’s Democratic presidential electors is vowing not to cast his Electoral College vote for Hillary Clinton — even if she wins the state handily on Election Day. Another elector says he is considering withholding his vote.

Interesting. Wonder if this could legitimately affect the election?

Apparently these so-called "faithless electors" are rare and have never decided an election.

Alisa at 9:59 PM on November 5, 2016 | #7413

Question about BSGS algorithm for discrete logarithm

http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2016/10/21/computing-discrete-logarithms-with-baby-step-giant-step-algorithm/comment-page-1/#comment-913752

> Let G be the set of pairs (a^(gs) mod n, gs) where g ranges from 1 to s.

> The square root of 19 is between 4 and 5 so s = 5.

>>> [(10**(4*t) % 19, 4*t) for t in range(1,6)]

These seem to be the giant steps, since the range goes from 1 to 5 (inclusive), but where does the number 4 come from? I thought at first 10 would be raised to the power gs here, but that would make the constant in the exponent equal to 5 (the value of s), not 4.

Josh Jordan at 8:31 PM on November 6, 2016 | #7424

Error = possibility of improvement

Elliot Temple wrote on HBL:

> Errors – or in other words the possibility of improvement – don’t prevent an idea from being knowledge. There is a growth of knowledge as we learn more and more.

I found it notable to *think of errors as the possibility of improvement*. Where there is no possibility of error, there is no possibility of improvement. To the extent that an idea is not exposed to criticism (an explanation of a flaw or error), that idea is stuck and cannot improve.

Alisa at 12:55 AM on November 7, 2016 | #7429

Exit polls say twice as many people want a strong leader than in 2012

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/exit-polls-what-do-voters-want-230935

> The percentage of voters thus far who say they want a strong leader – a characterization Donald Trump’s team made central to his campaign – is twice the percentage who said they were looking for a strong leader in the 2012 National Election Pool exit poll.

Alisa at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2016 | #7474

Fuck electronic voting

https://twitter.com/lordaedonis/status/796016074231672836

[guy pressing buttons on a voting machine, no matter what he presses, the selection keeps going back to Clinton]

> this is what I was talking about, they fixed it but it was on some nut shit at first.

Alisa at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2016 | #7475

Good comment on Donald Trump's Argument for America

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vST61W4bGm8&lc=z13jfx0ghpamdjgob04cch0rgqaie3ygkps0k

> Trump isn't even a once in a lifetime candidate, he is a once in a civilization candidate.
> I see so many brainwashed Shill for Hill foot soldiers in these comments calling Donald an "authoritarian" and a "fascist".
> Well I'll tell you what, there is an authoritarian running for president, but its not Donald Trump.

> You have one chance to take back your country from this ruling class who only have their own interests in mind, or else be at high risk of the creation of a one party Dem state (also known as fascism, shocking!) and a very likely nuclear war with Russia.
> These aren't "conspiracy theories" we have the proof in black and white.
> We finally have a candidate talking about the REAL issues, someone who is actually HONEST! But you care more about the fact that Donald said some mean words 11 years ago! SAD!

> Choose wisely America because your choice affects us all. #Trump2016 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

> - From Australia

Alisa at 12:35 PM on November 8, 2016 | #7477

House of Reps decides who wins if neither candidate gets 270 electoral votes

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-07/your-complete-guide-election-night-what-watch-and-when

> In the event that neither candidate gets to 270, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will decide who the next president should be.

Alisa at 12:38 PM on November 8, 2016 | #7478

How Trump's China Trade policy helped him win

http://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/2016-election-results-coverage/?lpup=12592834#livepress-update-12592834

> Recent research has indicated that trade with China has been more disruptive than previously thought. MIT economist David Autor and co-authors have documented how rising Chinese imports wreaked havoc on competing U.S. industries. In total, their research found the surge of Chinese trade was responsible for the loss of more than 2 million jobs between 1999 and 2011. But, interestingly — and this is where Trump’s electoral map comes in — it had a concentrated geographic impact. States in the Midwest, Appalachia and the Southeast were where Chinese trade hit hardest.

Alisa at 10:25 PM on November 8, 2016 | #7479

Reddit comments on Trump's victory speech

https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/5bzjbe/donald_trump_elected_president/

> What the fuck... its over, it actually happened. I'm speechless...
Edit: I can't believe how gracious this speech is Edit 2: he's thanking Hillary, and claiming we owe a debt to her for her work... is this the same fucker we just voted in?

> This speech is seriously eloquent as fuck

> I can't believe I'm saying this but if he keeps this calm and mild mannered it won't be as bad as I thought...

Alisa at 12:03 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7480

Reddit comments on Trump's victory speech

> Can't stump the Trump

Alisa at 12:05 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7481

Clueless media

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/opinion/after-super-tuesday-bracing-for-a-president-trump.html

> What also became clear along the way is that the Clinton campaign, many Clinton supporters, and many Clinton-friendly members of the elite press – like the GOP primary field before them – had little sense of what they were dealing with in the case of Trump. They famously underestimated his chances right up until November 8...

Alisa at 4:30 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7482

Quote from Trump's victory speech

“I pledge to every *citizen* of our land that I will be president for all *Americans*..." -- Donald J. Trump (emphasis mine)

Alisa at 4:49 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7483

"check your privilege" is so stupid

> mindcrime replied to ricksplat on the HN article about Donald Trump's victory:

>> Have you actually checked your privilege?
>>As a white male you are the wealthiest, healthiest, most celebrated segment in modern society.
>>If you feel otherwise it's likely something going on in your own head.

> Telling people to "check their privilege" is pretty close to the worst way to advance any kind of meaningful dialogue, from what I've seen. Speaking that way manages to be simultaneously presumptuous, condescending and demeaning. I'll go out on a limb and posit that we should drop use of the term "privilege" altogether. All it leads to is an endless loop of arguments about: the nature (or existence) of "privilege", who is or isn't "privileged", and comparison of levels of "privilege". I have yet to see one of these discussions change anyone's mind, or lead to any increased understanding.

Alisa at 5:27 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7484

News Media Yet Again Misreads America’s Complex Pulse (NY Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/business/media/media-trump-clinton.html

> All the dazzling technology, the big data and the sophisticated modeling that American newsrooms bring to the fundamentally human endeavor of presidential politics could not save American journalism from yet again being behind the story, behind the rest of the country.

> The news media by and large missed what was happening all around it, and it was the story of a lifetime. The numbers weren’t just a poor guide for election night — they were an off-ramp away from what was actually happening.

> No one predicted a night like this — that Donald J. Trump would pull off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton and win the presidency.

False. Trump's internal polling predicted it, as did Ann Coulter and other pollsters and pundits.

Alisa at 5:55 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7485

News Media Yet Again Misreads America’s Complex Pulse (NY Times)

> In an earlier column, I quoted the conservative writer Rod Dreher as saying that most journalists were blind to their own “bigotry against conservative religion, bigotry against rural folks, and bigotry against working class and poor white people.”

I dunno if journalists are *blind* to their own bigotry, but they are bigots.

Alisa at 5:58 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7486

Debunking accusations that Trump is a racist

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12909476

>> “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

> I don't see who this is racist towards. Illegal immigrants from Mexico are a pretty specific group, and do not represent a race.

Alisa at 6:50 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7487

Voting for trump as a way to fight back against political correctness

http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/09/trump-won-because-leftist-political-corr

> Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.

> More specifically, Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.

Some people on the left are beginning to figure out that people voted for Trump in part to fight back against political correctness. But the article doesn't really describe how evil political correctness actually is.

Later, it says:

> When I spoke with [Milo Yiannopoulos] about Trump's success months ago, he told me, "Nobody votes for Trump or likes Trump on the basis of policy positions. That's a misunderstanding of what the Trump phenomenon is."

This part is dead wrong.

Alisa at 7:59 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7488

Interesting comment @ voter fraud in FL & Ohio

Philosophy14 wrote on brietbart.com

> As exciting as this is that we were able to secure victory, i noticed giant red flags in the vote counts:

> The state of Florida was only won by 1% point - this is a giant red flag. *Conservative* polling estimates suggested that Donald Trump was leading in early voting by 4.5%; applying polling estimates of the # of unafilliated/independents voting Trump and the # of Democrats who voted Trump. Even by counting ballots and early voting by party voting only, Democrats won by just 0.7%, this is huge because Democrat voters won early voting in Florida by 5% in 2012, yet Obama won the state by only 0.9%. Donald Trump, even with conservative estimates, was projected to win Florida by 9-10% or more, just like Ohio.

> When biased pollsters asked Floridians "who do you plan to vote for on election day", the results:

>- NBC Trump+9%
>- A Florida university poll Trump+14%
>- CBS/YouGov Trump+16%

> Trump won Ohio by over 10% and that should have been the same for Florida. I believe crooked Evil Hillary, by voter fraud & vote rigging, intended to make Florida her giant metaphorical bulwark against a Donald Trump victory, but we overwhelmed the system and won Florida.

> After Donald Trump takes office, there must be an effort made to destroy and ban electronic voting machines, make voter ID mandatory, and make any sort of vote fraud a felony.

Alisa at 8:47 AM on November 9, 2016 | #7490

Hillary's biggest mistakes, according to /pol

http://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/97513144#q97526378

>> Where did it all go wrong?
>> What was her biggest mistake?
> She gamed the system
>-fucked over bernie
>-ran a meme campaign based on slurs of racism and sexism
>-based strategy on false assumption of 100% minority support.
>-Relied on MSM lies to get her through
>-Beshat herself with cowtowing to BLM and muslims
>-Got caught red-handed being a criminal, repeatedly
>-Was not DONALD TRUMP!

Alisa at 2:12 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7496
Hillary didn't do anything wrong. Her low-energy, no-substance campaign matched her ideas, as is fitting. And so we got the proper outcome and America is better off. Everything worked out.

If you wanna say she made a mistake, OK, sure. *Don't run for President with bad ideas.*

If you wanna say she could have won if she did something differently, I guess so. If they'd committed twice as much voter fraud they could have won Florida and some other states. That's hard to get away with, though, considering they were already getting caught breaking laws in many cases. They were already using every low-hanging voter-fraud fruit they could find to cheat with low risk and consequences. To double voter fraud they'd have to do stuff with a much worse risk/reward ratio -- stuff more likely to get caught and get them in trouble, while bringing in fewer votes. Voter fraud doesn't scale up linearly. Cheating 200k votes in Florida is a lot more than twice as hard as cheating 100k votes.

curi at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7497

Brady and Belichick's support for Trump

http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2016/11/09/boston-globe-writer-warns-belichick-brady-brace-blowback-supporting-trump/

Good Breitbart article commenting on the Boston Globe's claim that Belichick and Brady need to "brace for blowback" and answer questions from the press about their support for Trump.

> Not since Wolf Blitzer declared New York a “big win” for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has the media overreacted quite this badly. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick possess the “right” to support whomever they want, the same right that LeBron, J.R. Smith, and everyone who supports Hillary enjoys. So, why should they “brace for blowback” when none of the Hillary-supporting athletes need to?

Alisa at 3:48 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7498

Hillary's biggest mistakes, according to /pol

gp @ more voter fraud. Do you think the mistaken exit polls might have fooled her team into cheating less?

Alisa at 3:50 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7499
> gp @ more voter fraud. Do you think the mistaken exit polls might have fooled her team into cheating less?

i doubt it. it's really hard to control how much you cheat in a fine-grained way. they have an ethos of cheating. they do what they think they can get away with. if they pushed a lot harder on fraud then they'd have a lot more whistleblowers in their own ranks, people quitting, etc. and Crooked can't be personally ordering most of the fraud, she has to set up a culture of corruption and let that handle most of it in a fairly autonomous way. this leftist culture of corruption has been a work in progress for decades and is hard to quickly adjust.

Anonymous at 3:56 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7500

One-state solution: it's not just Glick that gets it

http://www.unz.com/ishamir/my-congratulations-folks/

> Is there a possible solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Yes, this is called One State Solution. Let Israel absorb all Palestinian territories and populations, give them equal rights, as the Americans did to their minorities. Provided the equal rights campaign in the US had been very popular with American Jews, surely they will love to repeat it in Israel, too.

I agree with one-state solution. Hope it happens.

Alisa at 5:00 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7501

how wrong the media was about Trump

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-trump-win-exposes-medias-smug-failures-945733

> There may be few instances, except perhaps under authoritarian regimes, where the media has so successfully propounded a view of events not only of its own making but at such odds with reality.

probably an exaggeration but gp nonetheless. the elites were so clueless and willfully ignorant.

Alisa at 5:04 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7502

Dems & voter fraud

>> gp @ more voter fraud. Do you think the mistaken exit polls might have fooled her team into cheating less?
> i doubt it. it's really hard to control how much you cheat in a fine-grained way. they have an ethos of cheating. they do what they think they can get away with. if they pushed a lot harder on fraud then they'd have a lot more whistleblowers in their own ranks, people quitting, etc. and Crooked can't be personally ordering most of the fraud, she has to set up a culture of corruption and let that handle most of it in a fairly autonomous way. this leftist culture of corruption has been a work in progress for decades and is hard to quickly adjust.

Ok. Good explanation. Cheating isn't something not something the left can just turn on and turn off. They don't have fine-grained control over the amount of it that happens. It has to happen "in a fairly autonomous way", as you put it.

Alisa at 5:06 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7503

Ann Coulter is a wise philosopher

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2016-03-30.html

In which Ann accurately forecasts Trump's path to victory in the general election.

Alisa at 5:31 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7504

How Breitbart's Bannon influenced Trump's final phase of the campaign

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-donald-trump-broke-the-old-rules-of-politics--and-won-the-white-house/2016/11/09/f3190498-a5e1-11e6-8fc0-7be8f848c492_story.html

>When Manafort was forced to step down, Trump brought in a third team, one that he told friends would “let Trump be Trump.” Campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon, who came aboard from the hard-right Breitbart news site, and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tried to both harden Trump’s harshly anti-establishment message and soften his rhetoric to draw in suburban women.

> Bannon saw Trump as the American equivalent of Britain’s vote earlier this year to leave the European Union — another unexpected popular uprising against the elites. Bannon believed that a Trump victory would not be the upset that the media and the political parties thought it would be, but rather as part of a worldwide revolt against globalization, the hegemony of the technology utopianists, and the arrogance of the overeducated.

> Bannon brought Nigel Farage, the far right champion of Britain’s Brexit campaign, to a Trump rally and repeatedly told Trump that his candidacy was part of something bigger, a worldwide movement against elites in finance, media and politics.

> Bannon pushed Trump to frame Clinton as a candidate who was not just wrong for the working class but was a “corrupt” and scheming “globalist.” Trump’s closing two-minute ad did not mention the words “Republican” or “Democrat,” but portrayed Clinton huddling with bankers and financial power brokers — many of them Jewish, which led many Jewish organizations and political leaders to accuse the Trump campaign of deploying anti-Semitic tropes.

Amazing. I hope Bannon writes a book about this. I'd also love to read a book by Trump' (and Jeff Sessions') speechwriter - Stephen Miller.

Alisa at 5:59 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7505

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

http://www.unz.com/isteve/its-the-end-of-the-world/

>Team by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped
>Look at that low playing! Fine, then
>Uh oh, overflow, population, common group
>But it'll do. Save yourself, serve yourself
>World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed,
>Dummy, with the rapture and the rev-'rent and the right, right.
>You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light
>Feeling pretty psyched
>It's the end of the world as we know it
>It's the end of the world as we know it
>It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Kinda interesting how those lyrics apply here.

Alisa at 6:52 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7506

Exit poll demographics

http://www.unz.com/isteve/exit-poll-demographics/

If CNN's exit polls are to be believed, whites voted for Trump over Clinton (and vice-versa for non-whites), regardless of age group, gender and level of education, with one exception: college-educated white women went for Hillary.

Alisa at 7:08 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7507

The election exposed progressives as illiberal authoritarians

> Progressives and Democrats have been fully exposed as the illiberal authoritarians they’ve always been, regardless of their stated policies or objectives. The election has made plain their real character, their reactionary tactics, and their now-open agenda. The idea that conservatives exist, or even participate in elections, is an affront to them. The 2016 election has brought this reality home to average people in so many ways — but it is especially visible in the open hatred and contempt for Trump supporters. Whatever you think of Trump, this public unmasking of the Left is something new.

> ...

> This is who progressives are today: religious enforcers of an approved worldview based on an ever-shifting PC code. One thing is certain, and this is where so many libertarians go wrong: the overwhelming threat to liberty today is from the Left, not the Right. It’s frankly silly to pretend otherwise, much as we correctly insist that we are not conservatives. The existential threat to liberty is not posed by 5 skinhead idiots running around in the woods somewhere wearing bedsheets, it’s posed by millions of progressive authoritarians who are everywhere— like the one teaching civics at your kid’s school. But they’ve overplayed their hand in the 2016 election and awakened millions of Americans as a result.

Alisa at 7:27 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7508

The election exposed progressives as illiberal authoritarians

He goes on to say:

> Let’s not kid ourselves, though, that the right is any better just because it lacks power.

False. The right is way better than the left.

Alisa at 7:29 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7509

The left hates democracy

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/11/sneering-response-trumps-victory-reveals-exactly-won/

> The respectable set’s allergy to Trump is fundamentally an allergy to the idea of democracy itself. To them, Trump’s rise confirms the folly of asking the ignorant, the everyday, the non-subscribers to the New York Times, to decide on important political matters. They’re explicit about this now. In the run-up to election day, big-name commentators wondered out loud if democracy is all it’s cracked up to be. Trump’s ascendancy showed we need better checks and balances on ‘the passions of the mob’, said Andrew Sullivan.

> ... it is democracy itself that they hate. Not referendums, not Ukip’s blather, not only direct democracy, but democracy as an idea. Against democracy — so many of them are now. It is the engagement of the throng in political life that they fear. It is the people — ordinary, working, non-PhD-holding people — whom they dread and disdain. It is what got Trump to the White House — the right of all adults, even the dumb ones, to decide about politics — that gives them sleepless nights.

Alisa at 9:27 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7511

Michael Moore has been predicting Trump's victory since July

In this 4-minute clip of him speaking to a live audience, Moore demonstrates that he (unlike most lefties) actually understands part of why Trump won.

Related Breitbart article

Alisa at 10:15 PM on November 9, 2016 | #7513

Dems & voter fraud

https://twitter.com/mitchellvii/status/796826745265594368

> Sadly for the Democrats, most of their cheating, such as illegals voting, took place in areas they'd have won anyway.

Alisa at 4:14 PM on November 10, 2016 | #7525
programmer hiring and performance evaluation are super broken.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12929470

Anonymous at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2016 | #7556

ACLU sux

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=977

> Entrusted with the task of defining the foregoing terms for the OSF, and for articulating OSF's agendas from the outset, was Aryeh Neier, whom Soros appointed to serve as president not only of OSF, but of the entire Soros Foundation Network. Thirty-four years earlier, Neier had created the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which became the largest and most important radical group of the 1960s. SDS aspired to overthrow America's democratic institutions, remake its government in a Marxist image, and undermine the nation's war efforts in Vietnam. (A particularly militant faction of SDS would later break away to form the Weather Underground, a notorious domestic terror organization with a Marxist-Leninist agenda.) Following his stint with SDS, Neier worked fifteen years for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—including eight years as its national executive director. After that, he spent twelve years as executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), an organization he founded in 1978.

i knew the ALCU sucked. but jeez :(

Anonymous at 12:10 PM on November 12, 2016 | #7565
> Consider first the ACLU, whose advisory board once included the former Weather Underground terrorist Bernardine Dohrn.

Anonymous at 12:12 PM on November 12, 2016 | #7566

the pay gap is dumb

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=33197

> This is by no means a new phenomenon. It was true even in 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, most Americans would be shocked to learn that even in the 1950s, the pay gap between men and never-married women (i.e., those women who were unlikely to have temporarily left the work force in order to raise children) was less than 2 percent. Never-married white women actually earned 6 percent more than never-married white men a half-century ago.

Anonymous at 1:09 PM on November 12, 2016 | #7569
but, muh wage gap:

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

thanks Alisa for letting me know about shoe0nhead. she is funny.

Anonymous at 1:47 PM on November 12, 2016 | #7571
In Red Pawn by Ayn Rand a character says:

"It's never too late while one lives - if one still wants to live."

And years later Ayn Rand has Roark saying: "It's too late, Peter."

Did Ayn Rand change her mind? Or it's just that Peter didn't really
want to live? I wonder if Roark's line was a hint to this line in her past story which helds an answer to why Roark said it.

Anonymous at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2016 | #7582
Roark was communicating to Peter about a particular project in a way that Peter would understand, not communicating to a rational philosopher about the possibilities of life.

Anonymous at 11:23 AM on November 14, 2016 | #7583
> Roark was communicating to Peter about a particular project in a way that Peter would understand, not communicating to a rational philosopher about the possibilities of life.

So it was just too late to be a painter? Why?

The character in Red Pawn was also not communicating to a rational philosopher so I don't understand what you mean by the comparison.

Anonymous at 8:03 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7590
I forget the context in Red Pawn.

Roark is trying to communicate with Peter.

Peter could have had a shot at being an artist before, early in the book.

Peter could still have a shot at being an artist if he learned Objectivism or some other great ideas, which he isn't going to do.

As the person Peter is, without rethinking a lot more than art, it's too late for him to be a good artist now. Not **impossible**, but rather unrealistic -- it's good advice to tell him it won't work.

Peter isn't the sort of person who can do whatever is possible or overcome big obstacles. He doesn't have the drive, energy, problem solving skills, ability to learn, etc, etc. He's unhappy and ineffective. In that context, his art will fail. It's bad now and it will stay bad.

Anonymous at 9:12 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7591
Do you think that's what Ayn Rand wanted to convey with "It's too late, Peter" or was it more matter of fact, as in, there is no time left to make a career as a painter, you need to start young. Or was it something he saw in the paintings? Because I remember Peter wasn't described as being happy while painting.

People make careers with bad art and money with bad art. But Peter was asking Roark so he wanted to know if it was any good. I remember Peter did care for compliments from Roark about his work not being too bad.

Did Ayn Rand ever answer to this herself?

In Red Pawn it's Joan talking to the communist commandant Kareyev. I can't say more without spoiling the story, but in context, I guess she believed it as a principle, but not for him. She uses the line to deceive him because she needs to change him for her own goal.

Anonymous at 10:18 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7598
age and time left for a career could be part of it. i don't think that's primary though. if Peter was good but old, he could do art. he had money anyway, so no reason not to do good painting even if it was unpaid.

another part could be because Roark is contrasting now (too late) with when Peter graduated Stanton (not too late). Roark had told Peter his painting had some merit in the past and is maybe saying like "not anymore".

i definitely think Roark saw something bad in the paintings.

i think Roark meant too late to make good art, but wasn't commenting on the possibility of making bad art but being popular with some bad group. that's a different kind of thing.

Anonymous at 10:22 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7599
Quoted from Ideal (play) by Ayn Rand:
"I saw a man once, when I was very young. He stood on a rock, high in the mountains. His arms were spread out and his body bent backward, and I could see him as an arc against the sky. He stood still and tense, like a trembling to a note of ecstasy no man has ever heard..."

This is something the character Kay Gonda is saying. I find it interesting that this description reminds me of the beginning of The Fountainhead. I've noticed other lines, ideas and scenes Ayn Rand used from older stories and expanded in newer stories, but I forgot to take note.

Anonymous at 10:24 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7600
:)

Anonymous at 10:30 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7601

Zuckerberg on being an aribiter of truth

https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103253901916271

> Identifying the "truth" is complicated. While some hoaxes can be completely debunked, a greater amount of content, including from mainstream sources, often gets the basic idea right but some details wrong or omitted. An even greater volume of stories express an opinion that many will disagree with and flag as incorrect even when factual. I am confident we can find ways for our community to tell us what content is most meaningful, but I believe we must be extremely cautious about becoming arbiters of truth ourselves.

Overall, I approve.

Josh Jordan at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2016 | #7603

To Learn Philosophy, Do Projects You Care About

On Hacker News today there was an article titled, To Learn Programming, Do Projects You Care About. The commenters strongly agreed with it.

There should be a similar principle for learning philosophy. I should work on something personally interesting to me. I could try to fix a problem I care about in my own life. (And, just like in learning programming, need to remember to not overreach
).

Josh Jordan at 12:32 PM on November 15, 2016 | #7606
> There should be a similar principle for learning philosophy.

this has been repeatedly stated around here.

Anonymous at 1:50 PM on November 15, 2016 | #7607

To Learn Philosophy, Do Projects You Care About

> this has been repeatedly stated around here.

I know.

Josh Jordan at 12:44 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7620
> I know.

ok. it didn't sound like you knew because you said "There should be..."

the "should" sounds to me like there isn't already.

Anonymous at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7621

Chomsky on limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky

I hate to quote Chomsky, but it looks like he might have got something right for once. Thoughts?

> The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

Reminds me of how people will have limited interests, and discuss them, but not branch out from within those limits when questioned.

Josh Jordan at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7622
That's a great Chomsky quote. I've said similar.

Credit where it's due, even if the author sucks in other ways!

curi at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7623

To Learn Philosophy, Do Projects You Care About

> it didn't sound like you knew because you said "There should be..."
> the "should" sounds to me like there isn't already.

Fair point. That reading makes sense. I should have written it differently.

Sometimes I see ideas expressed elsewhere that remind me of ideas I learned here first, and then I share them here. This was one of those cases. Probably wouldn't have hurt for me to link to a few examples of people here who already had the idea, just to connect and compare them.

Josh Jordan at 12:49 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7624

patio11 on sole proprietorship taxes

patio11 wrote on HN (emphasis in the original):

> You pay taxes on the *profits* of the business, not on the *revenue* of the business, which is a crucially important distinction that many HNers do not know when they start and which many do not properly operationalize even if they know it. I cannot underline this enough: no software entrepreneur I've ever met had a good handle on this when starting. If you sell $10k of software and think "Hmm my profits are maybe $9.5k -- the only expense was a DigitalOcean server" I think your profits are ~$0 after you spend a few hours with an accountant walking through credit card receipts. They're going to walk you through things like e.g. depreciation, apportioning business and personal use of your Internet/cell phone, conferences, business entertaining, (potentially!) home office use [+], etc etc. (A thing your accountant will probably tell you, in the US, is that if you want to decrease your tax burden for 2016 buying a Macbook for the business.

Josh Jordan at 11:10 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7634
@#7634

that's not a permalink and won't find the patio11 comment in the future. you should use permalinks so the original is still reasonably findable in the future. permalinks will also take people straight to the right comment instead of to a list.

the permalink in this case is:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12954580

Anonymous at 11:14 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7635

patio11 on sole proprietorship taxes

Thanks for the correction. I know how permalinks on HN work, that was just a mistake.

Josh Jordan at 11:22 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7636

Stefan Molyneux on the left's inability to discuss

https://youtu.be/ShXPY5brxmM?t=7m28s :

> The left's intolerance of free speech is something that's really foundational. It comes because they're bad at debating. They have no facts. They have emotional manipulation, bullying, aggressiveness. And hyper-agression is always a marker of a lack of capacity.

https://youtu.be/ShXPY5brxmM?t=8m12s :

> These questions of where society should go, how resources should be allocated, these should all be debated in the public sphere. But people who really want their way, and who don't have the humility to learn the necessary skills to become a good debater... you have to work to become good at it. And they haven't worked to become good at it. Slander is the tool of the loser. Verbal abuse is the tool of the incompetent. And violence is the last confession of complete incompetence in the realm of public debating. Anyone who initiates these tactics is immediately disqualified.

https://youtu.be/ShXPY5brxmM?t=10m36s :

> It's a massive amount of preparation. It's the tip of the iceberg stuff. I've been doing this stuff for 30 years, I've been a public figure for 10. Don't tell me about overnight success--it's a massive amount of preparation. And if you haven't done it, you haven't done it. And there's simply no way to pretend that you have.

Makes me think of what learning philosophy must be like. You can't just jump to the final stages.

Josh Jordan at 11:33 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7637
most people are bad at debating. looks like HBL has zero people willing to debate some point to a conclusion. they're all a bunch of evaders! instead of resolving conflicts of ideas, they come up with some excuse that makes them feel OK with not resolving the issue.

Stefan Molyneux is also bad at debating. good fucking luck getting a serious discussion to a conclusion out of him about TCS, Ted Cruz, or whatever.

curi at 11:38 PM on November 16, 2016 | #7638

Stefan Molyneux on the left's inability to discuss

> Stefan Molyneux is also bad at debating. good fucking luck getting a serious discussion to a conclusion out of him about TCS, Ted Cruz, or whatever.

No doubt. He's better than the left by a long shot. But he is still stuck inside his own boundaries outside of which he won't discuss.

Josh Jordan at 12:11 AM on November 17, 2016 | #7639

Jordan Peterson on "anti-racism/anti-bias" workplace training

https://youtu.be/kasiov0ytEc?t=3m25s

> Jordan Peterson: The University of Toronto decided to make so-called "anti-racism" and "anti-bias" training mandatory, which I regarded as an inappropriate incursion into the domain of political opinion by the university administration.

>> Interviewer: Have you taken that training yet?

> No, and I don't have to yet. It's the HR department personnel that have to take it.

>> If they decide that you have to, will you?

> No way. Not a chance.

Alisa at 12:16 AM on November 17, 2016 | #7640
Quoting Leonard Peikoff in the Editor's Preface for "Think Twice" in The Early Ayn Rand (1986).

> I first read the play in the 1950's, with Miss Rand present, asking me now and then who I thought the murderer was. I guessed just about every possibility, except the right one. Each time, Miss Rand beamed and said: "Think Twice." When I finished, she told me anyone who knew her and her philosophy should have been able to guess right away.

lol

He didn't know her and her philosophy back then, but to be fair I think he had just met her.

Did you guess the murderer? I guessed who he would be even before the murder.

Anonymous at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2016 | #7642
Does anyone want to discuss the Early Ayn Rand stories with me?

It's so sad to have nobody to talk about what interests you. :(

Anonymous at 8:35 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7650
discussing Early Ayn Rand sounds good. FYI:

use http://curi.us/1857-open-thread-objectivism-discussion

try to include some quotes and context for reminders cuz i haven't read the book for a couple years.

Anonymous at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7651
I have been pretty busy with work the last few months but expect to have some free time next week and then also the last couple of weeks of December due to holidays. I am considering some competing projects:

- Respond to my backlog of flagged FI posts and blog comments (I have a lot - even if no one replies / iterates, I wouldn't run out).

- Read and discuss Fabric of Reality (I have not read it before).

- Install a modern IDE & write some programs in Swift or Ruby (I haven't programmed seriously in years but liked it when I did).

- Get SSBM (and controllers / other HW needed?), and give it enough of a try to see if I like playing it. (I haven't even tried to play any games in years, and didn't like them much when I did try them).

I'm open to other ideas as well.

My plan though is to pick one philosophy related project to focus on during this time and try to do it well, rather than a little bit of a bunch of stuff.

Thoughts?

PAS at 11:22 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7652
> try to include some quotes and context for reminders cuz i haven't read the book for a couple years.

Quotes are hard because I'm reading it from the open library which uses scans of the books.

Anonymous at 11:40 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7653
i strongly recommend FoR!!

For FI i particularly recommend lots of short back-and-forth -- trying to get a very high iteration count on some important issue.

for swift you'll want to try writing in xcode. for ruby i don't use an IDE, just a text editor with power user features like syntax highlighting and people have made bundles of scripts which are bound to hotkeys. i use textmate which is old and you shouldn't start using today; i think a lot of people use http://www.sublimetext.com now

for SSBM, besides a controller or two, you need a gamecube controller to USB adapter like this https://www.amazon.com/Mayflash-GameCube-Controller-Adapter-Port/dp/B00RSXRLUE/?tag=curi04-20

SSBM is a hard and *fast* game with a foreign controller. you have to have a way in to care. e.g. you try it, suck, and think "i can do better". or you watch some tournament games and like those. or you care about building up a skill, methodically, step by step, in a limited environment where you absolutely can succeed with effort and not run into daunting complexity and too many branching issues and get stuck with no idea how to proceed. or you want to expose learning mistakes to criticism in a more clear way than with messy IRL issues with half of it omitted for privacy. if you don't figure out some motivation like these and then try it silently alone and lose to the computer while not really making your character do much, you won't get anywhere.

there are games with easier controls you could try such as Toki Tori (puzzle game, doesn't rush you) or Duet (only 2 button game. turn left or right. does rush you). those are single player games but things like strategies can be discussed (though that takes some initiative). SSBM allows interaction with another player and things like testing your strategy against their is real time (but you need skill to execute a strategy, which can be methodically learned).

curi at 11:48 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7654
> Quotes are hard because I'm reading it from the open library which uses scans of the books.

if you include very short quotes, it allows people to search for the passage. you only need to quote around 3 words for people to find the right passage if one of the words is a big, uncommon word.

for example, the phrase "dangerous for you" only appears in the book once, so it uniquely identifies a passage. however "it is a" appears 31 times.

page numbers, on the other hand, won't help because they don't work with ebooks.

Anonymous at 11:52 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7655
some people are too shy(?) to ask for tips about SSBM or other games, or to ask to play a game. i don't really understand it.

i can be helpful to people who actually play and interact. but the project can fail on the ground floor if someone is just passive and silent. then my ideas aren't involved.

curi at 11:55 AM on November 18, 2016 | #7656
> SSBM is a hard and *fast* game with a foreign controller. you have to have a way in to care.

I think I should cross gaming off my list for consideration for this time period (EOY2016). I don't currently have a "way in" like you mention; never liked games in the first place. Basically the only reason it was on my list at all is because you recommend games so strongly.

Between programming, FoR, and general FI though, it's harder.

> For FI i particularly recommend lots of short back-and-forth -- trying to get a very high iteration count on some important issue.

This is a different idea than I had for the project of responding to lots of different stuff in my FI queue. That's OK, but I have the following problems with your idea:
- I don't know what single issue I consider important enough and interesting enough to spend this time on that doesn't also run into really significant privacy concerns.
- This method presumes others are interested in the same project (high iteration count on the same issue) with me.

---

What I would tend to do naturally is try to do some of each of the three projects other than gaming. Based on...moods and external stimuli. And maybe have some success with some but probably nothing major with any of them.

And I'd maybe get really distracted by other things like house projects or politics discussions or some new business or investment idea or...whatever, and do little or nothing on the original project ideas.

Instead of that, I'm trying to pick one project and stick to it as primary unless I conclude I really don't want to do it at all any more during this period.

What I'm hoping to get out of doing whatever project I pick is: finding or clearly rejecting something to pursue that's more valuable to me than what I currently spend most of my time doing (my job).

PAS at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2016 | #7657
> Basically the only reason it was on my list at all is because you recommend games so strongly.

people spend many years stuck when they could have done the gaming route and not been stuck. so sad! others even just give up, when they could have done the gaming route and made progress instead of failing!

> - I don't know what single issue I consider important enough and interesting enough to spend this time on that doesn't also run into really significant privacy concerns.

epistemology or paths forward stuff? tcs? arr? Oism stuff? something about politics or econ?

or FoR? FoR without high-iteration discussion will be significantly less educational than with it.

> - This method presumes others are interested in the same project (high iteration count on the same issue) with me.

my wild guess is that wouldn't be a problem if it's philosophy stuff (broadly). if in doubt about a particular topic, ask.

Anonymous at 1:10 PM on November 18, 2016 | #7658
Person stuck being a baby for life. She is not the only one, I remember seeing another story of a baby like this who apparently was in her 30's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJL-6bUs1W0

She doesn't learn. How is her existence compatible with your idea that a brain either produces a human mind whose learning is unlimited or not? You think there is an unlimited human mind in her? Is difficult for her to learn because her body doesn't grow and she cannot communicate and nobody knows how to help her learn? They treat her like a baby and the way people treat babies is not conductive to any learning.

Anonymous at 10:22 PM on November 18, 2016 | #7662
1) she may have brain damage

2) who knows what she could learn if people treated her differently

you should make clearer arguments. i say X. the video shows, specifically, Y. the contradiction is, specifically, Z because...

Anonymous at 11:41 PM on November 18, 2016 | #7663

Different ways to think about the amount of water in Lake Superior

In an HN post about new ice deposits discovered on Mars, containing an amount of water equal to the water in Lake Superior, HN commenters gave different ways to think about how much water that is:

> Lake Superior has enough water to flood all of North and South America to almost one foot...
> [Someone was surprised by that, and someone else replied: A]ccording to Wikipedia, Lake Superior has an average depth of 483 ft. So take the area of the lake and multiply it by 483, and now it is not surprising that you can cover North+South America with it.

> From http://water.usgs.gov/edu/wateruse-total.html in 2010 306 billion gallons of fresh water per day used in the united states. [That's a]bout 27 years of entire US [fresh] water supply....

> [Enough to] cover the surface of mars with ~ 3 inches (8 cm) of water.

> [I]magine turning Maine into a fishtank forty stories high that's full of fresh water.

Josh Jordan at 10:40 PM on November 26, 2016 | #7720
> 1) she may have brain damage

meaning what? meaning that a human mind cannot exist?

Anonymous at 2:30 AM on November 27, 2016 | #7724
why should we watch videos by someone who silently left FI and won't say why? and whose children are in desperate trouble who doesn't care and help? he shouldn't be making those videos right now.

you did nothing to sell us on the value of those videos.

Anonymous at 12:01 PM on November 29, 2016 | #7759

On the iPhone 7's lack of an audio jack

Another problem today with the headphone jack today: I took my car to the shop and although I brought my phone and headphones, I forgot to bring my headphone adapter. Luckily I had a laptop with a regular audio jack so I could listen to music while I waited. Couldn't use Voice Dream Reader or my audible audio books though.

I need to put a spare lightning<->headphone adapter in my backpack and in my car.

I heard that people who have electric cars have to think about the locations of charging stations when they plan trips, while people with regular cars don't because gas stations are pretty much everywhere. It's just an extra level of mental hassle that I'd rather not deal with.

Alisa at 11:00 AM on November 30, 2016 | #7764

Newcomb's problem

Comment I just wrote at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13054193 about Newcomb's Problem:

To clarify the problem, consider this variation: instead of going into the room yourself, you are to write a program which will output either 1 or 2, corresponding to the number of boxes you take. The super-intelligent being will analyze your program before putting money in the boxes, and will then run it to determine your action.

How should you write the program in order to maximize your expected return?

Josh Jordan at 3:24 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7774
@Newcomb's problem: you take both boxes since the prediction about what you would do was made before you even knew about the boxes. at the point you're presented with a choice, taking only one box can't help you.

the problem is stupid.

josh's problem seems better but i don't think it's a clarification, just a different problem. it suggests that maybe if you have a 50% chance to take both boxes, you'll get a 50% chance to have the big payout. anyway it looks like you can do some math to figure it out. but i don't think it really has anything to do with the original problem which is intentionally confusing and not meant to be solved with math. the original is meant for stupid people to fight over, when it should actually just be ignored.

Anonymous at 3:35 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7775

Newcomb's problem

> @Newcomb's problem: you take both boxes since the prediction about what you would do was made before you even knew about the boxes. at the point you're presented with a choice, taking only one box can't help you.

If your policy for playing Newcomb's game is to take both boxes, then, according to the rules, you'll only get $1,000 each time you play.

> [josh's problem] suggests that maybe if you have a 50% chance to take both boxes, you'll get a 50% chance to have the big payout.

I agree with that. If your policy is to flip a coin when entering the room and use the result to determine how many boxes to take, then the expected value is a little over $500,000.

That wasn't the solution I had in mind, though. I would actually suggest to write a program which always prints 1. The expected value for that program is $1,000,000.

Josh Jordan at 3:45 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7776
> If your policy for playing Newcomb's game is to take both boxes, then, according to the rules, you'll only get $1,000 each time you play.

you are making assumptions about having a policy, rather than just being confronted with the issue THEN making a policy, and about playing multiple times. considering you'll never play, you shouldn't have a general policy. then hypothetically you get to play once, you decide the contents of the boxes are already figured out and you take both b/c they can't be changed at the time you're deciding.

the problem seem to assume the money placement is magical. this is nonsense and is why people bicker about this. you are (in this part of your comment) joining the crowd and making the same petty bickering attacks on answers to the problem, rather than saying something worthwhile. it's people like you who like to try to catch out others in this way who are the point of the problem.

> That wasn't the solution I had in mind, though. I would actually suggest to write a program which always prints 1. The expected value for that program is $1,000,000.

oh so the math is trivial, at least under the assumption that getting a million dollars is good enough without worrying about at most an extra .1%. how pointless.

Anonymous at 3:52 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7777

Newcomb's problem

>> If your policy for playing Newcomb's game is to take both boxes, then, according to the rules, you'll only get $1,000 each time you play.

> you are making assumptions about having a policy, rather than just being confronted with the issue THEN making a policy, and about playing multiple times.

By "policy for playing Newcomb's game", I had in mind "whatever you decide to do in the room." I don't think this is an additional assumption, it's just a (possibly confusing?) way of referring to your decision.

My analysis applies the same no matter how many times you play. The phrase I used ("each time you play") is consistent with playing only once.

> then hypothetically you get to play once, you decide the contents of the boxes are already figured out and you take both b/c they can't be changed at the time you're deciding.

By the rules of the problem, if you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this and leaves the $1,000,000 box empty (with high probability). So this decision has an expected value of $1,000.

> the problem seem to assume the money placement is magical.

Why "magical"? Why can't the super-intelligent being scan your brain right before you enter the room, run a simulation of you to figure out how many boxes you will do, and then put money in the boxes accordingly?

> you are (in this part of your comment) joining the crowd and making the same petty bickering attacks on answers to the problem, rather than saying something worthwhile.

What's petty about my answer? I think what I said is a worthwhile clarification.

> it's people like you who like to try to catch out others in this way who are the point of the problem.

I'm not trying to catch anyone out. I think my way of looking at the problem clarifies the way the rules work.

Specifically, the rules of the problem state that the super-intelligent being can predict very accurately what you will do. Having you write a program instead of actually going into the room makes this part of the problem more clear, without changing the outcome.

Josh Jordan at 4:07 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7778
after linking a shitty article with a vague problem, you are assuming your understanding of the exact rules of the problem are not just true but go without saying. you're skipping steps to connect your conclusions to the stated rules. you think it's so obvious that ... other people get it wrong and should be yelled at.

and it gets you to do things like call your yelling at people "clarifying"!

that is the whole point.

the point is to create fights over nothing and get you to attack people who make reasonable statements like that their decision now cannot affect the past. the problem is vague and gets people to read it different ways and then bicker over it. even after i pointed out you were doing this, you continued doing this. the problem preys on major weaknesses people have that get them to treat each other badly.

that's why the problem gets attention.

> I think my way of looking at the problem clarifies the way the rules work.

as i told you, you created a new problem. yours is trivial and boring. the original is unclear and designed to psychologically fuck with people. your version removes the point.

your belief that your new problem doesn't change anything is simply a claim that all readings other than yours of the original ambiguous problem are wrong and stupid, b/c obviously it means what you think it means. something about thinking you're right in a very precise, logical, indisputable way gets you to be a total asshole, which is what the problem is for.

Anonymous at 4:17 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7779

Newcomb's problem

> after linking a shitty article with a vague problem, you are assuming your understanding of the exact rules of the problem are not just true but go without saying. you're skipping steps to connect your conclusions to the stated rules.

I'm happy to expand more on what I wrote. What steps would it have been helpful to fill in?

> you think it's so obvious that ... other people get it wrong and should be yelled at.

Why does it seem like I think it's obvious? I would say on the contrary that my solution is novel and non-obvious. I haven't seen my idea anywhere else.

> and it gets you to do things like call your yelling at people "clarifying"!

I don't see the connection between what I wrote and yelling. Where did I yell, or indicate that people who get it wrong should be yelled at?

> that is the whole point.

> the point is to create fights over nothing and get you to attack people who make reasonable statements like that their decision now cannot affect the past.

I agree that your decision now cannot affect the past. Did I write anything that implied otherwise?

> the problem is vague and gets people to read it different ways and then bicker over it. even after i pointed out you were doing this, you continued doing this. the problem preys on major weaknesses people have that get them to treat each other badly.

I'm not defending the problem itself. If parts of the problem seem vague, I would be happy to make those parts more specific so that we can discuss it better.

I still think my way of looking at the problem is helpful. My guess is that if more people knew of this way of thinking about Newcomb's problem, then fewer people would argue about it.

> as i told you, you created a new problem. yours is trivial and boring. the original is unclear and designed to psychologically fuck with people. your version removes the point.

So my problem is clear and not designed to fuck with people? If so, I guess that's good. Do you see any other important differences between my version of the problem and the original?

> your belief that your new problem doesn't change anything is simply a claim that all readings other than yours of the original ambiguous problem are wrong and stupid, b/c obviously it means what you think it means.

Again, I don't think it's obvious that it means what I think it means. I just haven't yet heard any specific criticisms about what I got wrong.

> something about thinking you're right in a very precise, logical, indisputable way gets you to be a total asshole, which is what the problem is for.

I do think what my version of the problem corresponds correctly to the original problem, but I could be wrong.

Why do you say that I think people who disagree are stupid or missing something obvious? What is coming across so hostile or asshole-ish in my writing?

Josh Jordan at 4:35 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7780

Newcomb's problem

> I would say on the contrary that my solution is novel and non-obvious. I haven't seen my idea anywhere else.

Well, it's not novel. I just did a Google search for [newcomb problem program] and, not surprisingly, I guess, it turns out that other people have thought of this idea before me.

Josh Jordan at 4:47 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7781
> Why does it seem like I think it's obvious? I would say on the contrary that my solution is novel and non-obvious. I haven't seen my idea anywhere else.

not that. you say catching-out things like "By the rules of the problem, if you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this". you were trying to correct me in a condescending way. you didn't try to debate with me. you just stated point blank that THE RULES say you're right with zero explanation. you seem unaware that the rules are horribly ambiguous, and therefore interpret people who read them differently as misreading, being careless, not paying attention, being bad at logic, etc. this is what makes you come off as a jerk. and it's the whole point of the problem and it works on most people.

you think it's obvious the rules of the problem say what you think they say. but where in the article did it say the being's prediction is accurate no matter what? it doesn't say that and that's impossible.

the problem intentionally brings up controversial issues like determinism, free will, and super-intelligence, doesn't explain any of them clearly, and then leaves people to interpret according to their background knowledge. but many of them don't realize how much background knowledge they're inserting into their take on the problem.

the problem is a cross between a rorschach inkblot and getting people to deny it's an inkblot and think their interpretation is logical and is just what the rules say.

> So my problem is clear and not designed to fuck with people?

seems clear enough as a stand-alone. various things could be spelled out more, like how the being handles the case where they know you're 50% likely to take both boxes, but i think i got the idea.

> Do you see any other important differences between my version of the problem and the original?

those differences cover almost everything, leaving only a tiny bit of similarity. no i don't see *more* differences worth mentioning (there are always differences not worth mentioning, like that yours uses a different number of words in the problem statement).

> I still think my way of looking at the problem is helpful. My guess is that if more people knew of this way of thinking about Newcomb's problem, then fewer people would argue about it.

getting people to argue is the whole point. if your "version" doesn't do that, it's totally different and not a version. i agree your problem isn't very good at getting people to argue. but by claiming your problem is a clarification of the original, you're bickering with people who read Newcomb's problem differently than you do, and attacking them.

Anonymous at 4:49 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7782

Newcomb's problem

> you say catching-out things like "By the rules of the problem, if you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this". you were trying to correct me in a condescending way. you didn't try to debate with me. you just stated point blank that THE RULES say you're right with zero explanation.

Makes sense. Maybe it would have been better if I quoted the relevant rules, rather than just flatly asserting my conclusion.

> you think it's obvious the rules of the problem say what you think they say. but where in the article did it say the being's prediction is accurate no matter what?

According to the Guardian article I linked earlier:

>> The test was set by a Super-Intelligent Being, who has already made a prediction about what you will do... Before making your decision, you do your due diligence, and discover that the Super-Intelligent Being has never made a bad prediction.

Also, the Wikipedia article on Newcomb's paradox says:

>> A person is playing a game operated by the Predictor, an entity presented as somehow being exceptionally skilled at predicting people's action.

All the descriptions of the problems I have read agree on this point. I therefore think it's reasonable to conclude that, "If you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this... (with high probability)".

Do you disagree?

Back to Anonymous:

> it doesn't say that [the being's prediction is accurate no matter what] and that's impossible.

I didn't say it is accurate no matter what, I said "with high probability". In what sense is it "impossible" to predict with high probability? I gave one version with brain scanning that I think could happen in the future.

> by claiming your problem is a clarification of the original, you're bickering with people who read Newcomb's problem differently than you do, and attacking them.

Do you have any tips on sharing my idea without coming across as bickering with people or attacking them?

I believe my problem is a clarification of (that is, a more clear way to look at) the abstract/logical content of the original problem. I think anyone who disagrees with me on this is wrong, and would be interested to discuss it to a conclusion.

Josh Jordan at 5:04 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7783
> By the rules of the problem, if you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this and leaves the $1,000,000 box empty (with high probability).

this is ambiguous at best. i think it's written wrong. the structure is:

> blah, IF blah, THEN X AND Y (with high probability).

i think "with high probability" applies to Y, but i now know you meant it to apply to X too.

> All the descriptions of the problems I have read agree on this point. I therefore think it's reasonable to conclude that, "If you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this... (with high probability)".

> Do you disagree?

you yourself knew you were wrong which is why you put the "with high probability" hedge which is a totally generic hedge with no value. it's also ad hoc, naive and not thought out. you have provided no way to measure the probability and it's unclear that it's a matter of probability.

> Do you have any tips on sharing my idea without coming across as bickering with people or attacking them?

don't take an ambiguous problem, define a problem corresponding to one of the million interpretations, and then claim your version is canonical. that delegitimizes the many other people who intuitively approach the ambiguity a different way than you do. basically there's a million things the problem could mean, and you find #93237 the most intuitive. so you formalized that one as a way to bicker with the people who find #2342 or #888666 more intuitive instead. wise people would state the problem is ambiguous and notice many interpretations -- you're contradicting them and falling into the same trap as most people do (not noticing it's ambiguous, thinking it says the particular thing you find intuitive.)

Anonymous at 5:23 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7784

Newcomb's problem

>> By the rules of the problem, if you decide to take both boxes, then the super-intelligent being predicts this and leaves the $1,000,000 box empty (with high probability).

> this is ambiguous at best. i think it's written wrong. the structure is:

>> blah, IF blah, THEN X AND Y (with high probability).

> i think "with high probability" applies to Y, but i now know you meant it to apply to X too.

Oops. I agree, that was ambiguous. I should have written:

IF blah, then (with high probability), X and Y.

Josh Jordan at 5:35 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7785

Newcomb's problem

> you yourself knew you were wrong which is why you put the "with high probability" hedge which is a totally generic hedge with no value. it's also ad hoc, naive and not thought out. you have provided no way to measure the probability and it's unclear that it's a matter of probability.

I don't think which specific high probability number you choose changes the correct decision. For the purposes of discussion, I am prepared to stipulate that the predictor is accurate to anything greater than, say, 90%, including 100%).

>> Do you have any tips on sharing my idea without coming across as bickering with people or attacking them?

> don't take an ambiguous problem, define a problem corresponding to one of the million interpretations, and then claim your version is canonical. that delegitimizes the many other people who intuitively approach the ambiguity a different way than you do.

I don't claim that my version is "canonical". I do claim my interpretation is "correct". That is, I disagree with people who have a view of the problem that contradicts my view. I don't see why you think I am "delegitimiz[ing]" those people who disagree.

> basically there's a million things the problem could mean... wise people would state the problem is ambiguous and notice many interpretations -- you're contradicting them and falling into the same trap as most people do (not noticing it's ambiguous, thinking it says the particular thing you find intuitive.)

Can you share a contradictory interpretation that you think will stand up to criticism? I am not aware of any.

Josh Jordan at 5:40 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7786
> I don't think which specific high probability number you choose changes the correct decision. For the purposes of discussion, I am prepared to stipulate that the predictor is accurate to anything greater than, say, 90%, including 100%).

you're totally missing the point because you're blinded by background assumptions. maybe it's 3%, which isn't high. maybe you're wrong. i'm not bickering over whether it's 97% or 98%, i *disagree*. the problem rules do not state any probability the being predicts correctly, nor do the rules state the probability is high. none of this has anything to do with splitting hairs about which numerical range the word "high" refers to. you apparently assumed i was splitting hairs about the word "high" and then for some unstated reason, then made your reply entirely about your unexplained misconception of what i said.

> I don't claim that my version is "canonical". I do claim my interpretation is "correct". That is, I disagree with people who have a view of the problem that contradicts my view. I don't see why you think I am "delegitimiz[ing]" those people who disagree.

now you're openly and explicitly saying anyone who reads the ambiguous problem differently than you is wrong.

you're wrong.

the problem statement is compatible with a million things. many of them contradict the single one you picked out.

you seem to disagree about this, but haven't given a substantive reply, you just said the same stuff you were saying before, except more clearly that you're attacking everyone who reads it otherwise, and still so blind you are unable to engage with the very concept the problem is ambiguous. (this is why it's so good at getting people to fight over it!)

> Can you share a contradictory interpretation that you think will stand up to criticism? I am not aware of any.

have you actually thought about what your version says about the original? you are saying people are the equivalent of computers running algorithms, and they don't have free will. or at least the problem involves hypothetical people like that.

there is a whole category of interpretations that doesn't attack free will and get caught up in the deterministic nightmare. one is the problem means what it says literally rather literally: a person made several correct public predictions, but this in no way means they can read your mind (and in no way means you should assume they have access to brain scan technology and used it on you).

Anonymous at 5:56 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7787

Newcomb's problem

>> I don't think which specific high probability number you choose changes the correct decision. For the purposes of discussion, I am prepared to stipulate that the predictor is accurate to anything greater than, say, 90%, including 100%).

> you're totally missing the point because you're blinded by background assumptions. maybe it's 3%, which isn't high.

If the predictor has a 3% chance of guessing correctly, then the expected value of choosing 2 boxes is $31000, compared to $30000 for choosing 1 box.

> the problem rules do not state any probability the being predicts correctly, nor do the rules state the probability is high.

For the purposes of this discussion, can we stipulate that the predictor is correct with some probability? I will concede that my clarification doesn't apply otherwise.

>> I don't claim that my version is "canonical". I do claim my interpretation is "correct". That is, I disagree with people who have a view of the problem that contradicts my view. I don't see why you think I am "delegitimiz[ing]" those people who disagree.

> now you're openly and explicitly saying anyone who reads the ambiguous problem differently than you is wrong.

Yes.

> you're wrong.

> the problem statement is compatible with a million things. many of them contradict the single one you picked out.

> you seem to disagree about this, but haven't given a substantive reply, you just said the same stuff you were saying before, except more clearly that you're attacking everyone who reads it otherwise, and still so blind you are unable to engage with the very concept the problem is ambiguous. (this is why it's so good at getting people to fight over it!)

No. I have seen other interpretations, I'm just not aware of any that (a) give the predictor a good chance of guessing your action correctly and (b) stand up to criticism and (c) recommend taking 2 boxes. Do you think there are a lot of other good interpretations like this? If so, perhaps you could share one of them.

>> Can you share a contradictory interpretation that you think will stand up to criticism? I am not aware of any.

> you are saying people are the equivalent of computers running algorithms, and they don't have free will.

People are the equivalent of computers running algorithms (which we don't know how to program today). This is compatible with people having free will.

> there is a whole category of interpretations that doesn't attack free will and get caught up in the deterministic nightmare. one is the problem means what it says literally rather literally: a person made several correct public predictions, but this in no way means they can read your mind (and in no way means you should assume they have access to brain scan technology and used it on you).

Ok. That is an interpretation which doesn't give the predictor a good chance (= high probability) of guessing your action correctly. I concede that my clarification doesn't apply to interpretations like this.

Josh Jordan at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7788
> For the purposes of this discussion, can we stipulate that the predictor is correct with some probability?

no!

god you're so blind to other perspectives that you request to stipulate that disagreements with you be banned "for the purposes of this discussion". this is the whole trick to the problem. it preys on blindnesses like these where people are so extremely hostile and intolerant that they consider disagreements so illegitimate that they shouldn't be allowed into discussions.

> (a) give the predictor a good chance of guessing your action correctly

NOT part of the problem definition.

> (c) recommend taking 2 boxes

this is incoherent because we're talking about interpretations of the problem, not of the answer.

> People are the equivalent of computers running algorithms (which we don't know how to program today). This is compatible with people having free will.

i don't think you understand that the word algorithm here, as it usually does, refers to non-AI software.

> Ok. That is an interpretation which doesn't give the predictor a good chance (= high probability) of guessing your action correctly. I concede that my clarification doesn't apply to interpretations like this.

this is incoherent. you say you concede, but at the same time continue to claim you're *clarifying* the original problem rather than picking one of the many meanings compatible with it and excluding the rest.

the original problem specifies a large set of problems and fails to say which one it means from that set. choosing one meaning from that set, and saying it's the real one, isn't clarifying anything. you're completely and utterly blind to this and your responses consistently talk past it (substantively) or ignore it (substantively).

Anonymous at 6:48 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7789

Newcomb's problem

> If the predictor has a 3% chance of guessing correctly, then the expected value of choosing 2 boxes is $31000, compared to $30000 for choosing 1 box.

Oops, math error. Choosing 2 boxes when the predictor has a 3% chance of guessing correctly actually has an expected value of $971,000. Here's my reasoning:

Let x be the predictor's probability of predicting your action correctly.

Then the expected value of choosing 1 box is 1000000x (because if the predictor correctly predicted you would choose 1 box, you get $1,000,000, otherwise, you get 0).

The expected value of choosing 2 boxes is 1001000(1-x) + 1000x (because if the predictor correctly predicted you would choose 2 boxes, you get only $1,000, otherwise you get $1,001,000).

Anonymous at 6:55 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7790

Newcomb's problem

>> Ok. That is an interpretation which doesn't give the predictor a good chance (= high probability) of guessing your action correctly. I concede that my clarification doesn't apply to interpretations like this.

> this is incoherent. you say you concede, but at the same time continue to claim you're *clarifying* the original problem rather than picking one of the many meanings compatible with it and excluding the rest.

What I concede is this: my idea only applies to interpretations where the predictor has a good chance of predicting what you do. (When the discussion started I would have said that my idea applied, period.) I don't expect my idea to be relevant to people who think they can fool the predictor.

Is that better?

Josh Jordan at 8:02 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7791
that's not a clarification. that's like "clarifying" the set of integers from 3-5000 by saying 4 or 8.

Anonymous at 8:21 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7792

Newcomb's problem

> that's not a clarification.

I concede that my idea won't clarify Newcomb's problem for people who think they can fool the predictor.

Josh Jordan at 8:45 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7793
it doesn't clarify it at all. it's an opinion about it. then you're attacking everyone who disagrees with you in extraordinarily harsh terms.

you should never speak of Newcomb's problem again. it exploits your weaknesses to make you into an evil bastard. you should have stopped earlier, if you cared not to attack people.

Anonymous at 9:14 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7794
your overall method here is to find out you're wrong and then add one ad hoc exception and continue with the same view you had before, even though it's wrong in a ton of other ways, which you'll only acknowledge when told each one by one by one.

Anonymous at 9:40 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7795

Newcomb's problem

I can agree to stop discussing Newcomb's problem here. If anyone wants to discuss Newcomb's problem with me, you can do so at my blog.

Josh Jordan at 10:14 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7796
you either completely missed the point and aren't trying to understand it, or you're being an asshole on purpose.

i pointed out how you are taking actions to hurt people and should stop. your response is you're willing to only hurt people elsewhere. do you have no self-respect?

Anonymous at 10:21 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7797
you didn't say you disagreed with me, with or without an argument. instead you spoke as if i'd said something different than i actually said. responding to X by acting like someone said Y is a common and very nasty tactic.

Anonymous at 10:23 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7798
the problem is designed to encourage people to fight with each other. you are blogging about it, spreading it around, and encouraging people to discuss it – that is, to hurt each other. you're a monster.

Anonymous at 10:56 PM on December 1, 2016 | #7799

remap caps-lock to both control AND escape!

Here's to remap the caps lock key to function as both control AND escape (depending on whether it's pressed in combination with another key)

1. Remaps caps lock to control in system preferences > keyboard > modifier keys

2. In [BetterTouchTool](boastr.net), go to Keyboard > Add New Shortcut > Key Sequence > Record New Key Sequence > [tap caps lock] > ensure settings are as below > click Save

> Key code | character | key state | required | order relevant

> key code 59 | ^ | Key Down | Yes | Yes

> key code 59 | ^ | Key Up | Yes | Yes

> min pause before first keystroke: 0

> max pause between keystrokes: 0.1 s [this can be varied]

> [ ] delete typed characters after recognition.

> [ ] perform cmd+z (undo) after recognition

> [ ] allow to trigger again by repeating last key-down

(settings copied from #7281)

3. Click in the text field for "Trigger Other Keyboard Shortcut" and tap the escape key.

Josh Jordan at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2016 | #7800
Giving Thomas His Due
http://www.weeklystandard.com/giving-thomas-his-due/article/988078

>Johnson is not the only example this term of Thomas calling out the Court’s own institutional biases. The Court split 5-4 in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission on whether an Arizona ballot initiative could give an “independent” commission power to draw congressional district lines, despite the Constitution’s explicit command that rules for elections to Congress “shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” Ginsburg’s opinion for the Court held that a ballot initiative could be a rule of “the Legislature,” given that the Arizona constitution (unlike the federal Constitution) grants some legislative power to the voters through initiatives. Thomas, tracing the long history of the Court’s finding of new and different ways to invalidate and frustrate state ballot initiatives in areas ranging from marriage to term limits to immigration to affirmative action, was blistering:

>>Reading today’s opinion, one would think the Court is a great defender of direct democracy in the States. .  .  . These sentiments are difficult to accept. The conduct of the Court in so many other cases reveals a different attitude toward the States in general and ballot initiatives in particular. .  .  . The Court’s characterization of this as direct democracy at its best is rather like praising a plebiscite in a “banana republic” that installs a strongman as President for Life. And wrapping the analysis in a cloak of federalism does little to conceal the flaws in the Court’s reasoning. I would dispense with the faux federalism and would instead treat the States in an evenhanded manner. That means applying the Constitution as written.

...

>Often, Thomas argues that the Court is ignoring a fundamental issue that cuts to the core of a case. In Horne v. Department of Agriculture, Chief Justice Roberts’s majority opinion concluded that a raisin-marketing program that involved federal confiscation and resale of raisins amounted to a “taking” of the raisin handlers’ property without just compensation under the Fifth Amendment. Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed that the program amounted to a taking, while Justice Stephen Breyer agreed that it did but thought further proceedings were needed to see if the raisin handlers were justly compensated after considering how they benefited from the program as a whole. Justice Thomas wrote separately, citing his dissent in Kelo v. New London, to argue that because the program “takes the raisins of citizens and, among other things, gives them away or sells them to exporters, foreign importers, and foreign governments,” the government may not have been able to justify taking the raisins on the grounds that they were “for public use” at all. As he wryly added, this would make the question of just compensation “a fruitless exercise.

...

>Thomas’s critiques of administrative overreach and institutional bias came together most directly this term in his (again, lone) dissent in the Court’s 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. There, the Court ruled that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 allows “disparate impact” lawsuits for housing discrimination that don’t require proof of any intentional discrimination, just evidence that different groups had different results from the same practice. Kennedy’s opinion imported this rule to the FHA from the Court’s 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., which had ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned employers from using intelligence tests and requiring a high school diploma if that would have a larger impact on black job applicants. Like Title VII and other federal antidiscrimination laws, the FHA bans only discrimination “because of” race and other prohibited factors—language a normal person would understand to imply intentional discrimination. Thomas wanted the Court to overrule Griggs or at least stop repeating its error. And his criticism of disparate-impact law extends to areas more traditionally favored by the Court’s conservatives: In EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., he criticized Scalia’s majority opinion for imposing what amounted to a disparate-impact test for religious discrimination in a case involving a Muslim woman denied employment because her headscarf violated Abercrombie & Fitch’s dress code.

...

>Similarly, his dissent in the 5-4 decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama blasted the Court and the Department of Justice for creating more problems than they solved in enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to require “majority-minority” legislative districts—as he called it in a prior case, “segregating the races into political homelands”:

>>I do not pretend that Alabama is blameless when it comes to its sordid history of racial politics. But, today the State is not the one that is culpable. Its redistricting effort was indeed tainted, but it was tainted by our voting rights jurisprudence and the uses to which the Voting Rights Act has been put. Long ago, the DOJ and special-interest groups like the ACLU hijacked the Act, and they have been using it ever since to achieve their vision of maximized black electoral strength, often at the expense of the voters they purport to help.

Anonymous at 5:55 PM on December 5, 2016 | #7807

Metro derailed by culture of complacence, incompetence, lack of diversity

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/26/metro-derailed-by-culture-of-complacence-incompete/

>Of a dozen senior supervisors overseeing the rail division in 2007, 10 were black and two were white, and five black supervisors, all with less than a year of tenure in the position, were paid more than both whites, who had more seniority — one with 20 years — personnel records obtained by The Times show.

>The group making more money includes senior supervisors such as Orlando Terrell King, who has been charged with reckless endangerment and fraudulently attempting to obtain a driver’s license, according to Maryland state records. Mr. King, who is paid $62,536, was promoted by Metro to oversee those who drive trains carrying thousands of passengers daily.


...

>Also rising rapidly to senior supervisor was Robbie O. McGee, who spent eight years in federal prison for felony distribution of PCP while on probation for another crime. He received five pay increases at Metro in two years.

>“There’s a problem with the first-line supervisors and possibly above actually enforcing basic discipline. When a supervisor walks into a kiosk on Sunday when the game’s on and asks where’s the TV and brings a plate of food in, there’s a disconnect,” a former union representative said.”

...


>Days after a Red Line accident killed nine in July 2009, Brenda Whorton drew the line.

>“I told them I wasn’t going to pencil-whip for them,” she said, referring to a technique so common in Metro culture that there is a term for it. “It means fudging it: like marking down that a motor’s according to specs when it’s not.” It is common for midnight-shift workers to “lock the doors and go to sleep, because they’ve got other jobs,” and equally common for supervisors to turn a blind eye, she said, leading to pencil-whipping of the inspections they’re supposed to be doing — and delays for morning riders.

>“Anyone who blew the whistle or caused any trouble, when pick time came — every six months you pick shifts — you’d be moved. They spend more time trying to manipulate this stuff than they do doing their job.”

...

>“I was the only white woman in car maintenance out of 338, and they made my life miserable,” Ms. Whorton said, adding that colleagues once electrified a track circuit on which she was working and laughed. “Nothing happened to them.”

...

>Court records show many of those who get into trouble at Metro for fighting, drugs and the like and have disciplinary actions reversed at the union’s behest, meanwhile, already have documented track records of similar behavior. A newsletter boasts, for example, that the union won reinstatement with back pay for a train operator if she completed a drug class. But a search of her name in criminal records indicates that far from this being an isolated incident, the woman has a well-documented drug and theft problem.

Mysterious Person at 5:59 PM on December 5, 2016 | #7808
Even with big salaries, Metro can’t fill its jobs

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/27/even-with-big-salaries-metro-cant-fill-its-jobs/

>“The average Metro worker had a $60,000 salary, which went up to $69,000 including overtime, about the same as D.C. schoolteachers.

>The 144 people who try to keep Metro’s escalators in service make $80,000 to $100,000, after paid training at a $60,000 to $80,000 per year rate. The 488 station managers inside glass kiosks at rail stations — occasionally fielding questions, often with a bare minimum of information, riders say — have base salaries in the high $50,000s, but in reality, most take home closer to $70,000. Including overtime, 20 station managers made in the six figures.

>Nearly all of Metro’s 3,000 bus and train operators were paid overtime, with more than 1 in 3 making more than $10,000 in overtime and more than 1 in 10 supplementing his or her salary by more than $25,000, according to a Times analysis of payroll records obtained through open-records requests.

>The fiscal 2010 budget includes some emergency work done after the June 2009 Red Line crash. Metro officials declined to provide The Times with detailed records since 2010, but overtime rose in 2011 before falling sharply in 2012 in emergency-related categories. Overtime for station managers and bus and train operators, however, has remained constant for years, and the agency’s 2013 budget allots for an increase in overtime across all categories.”

Anonymous at 6:15 AM on December 6, 2016 | #7826

Metro transit police: Not quite the region’s finest

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/1/metro-police-not-quite-dcs-finest/

“Arrest histories were most common in the MTPD’s Special Police unit, 150 commissioned officers who guard Metro facilities such as headquarters and bus depots. Mr. Nichols and Ms. Jones are both members of that unit. It was special police officers who, when a teenager who did not work for Metro drove a bus out of the Bladensburg Road station in 2010, allowed him through two identification checkpoints. He later crashed the bus into a tree and fled.

Another officer recently fired his service weapon accidentally inside Metro’s headquarters downtown, officers said.

Still, in some cases, little accountability from management was evident, according to records. Mr. Nichols received a three-day suspension for the prostitution incident, according to MTPD records.”

Anonymous at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7838

Why Donald Trump is TIME's Person of the Year

http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2016-donald-trump-choice/

“It’s hard to measure the scale of his disruption. This real estate baron and casino owner turned reality-TV star and provocateur—never a day spent in public office, never a debt owed to any interest besides his own—now surveys the smoking ruin of a vast political edifice that once housed parties, pundits, donors, pollsters, all those who did not see him coming or take him seriously.”

Anonymous at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7839

Michael Flynn and what he means for Trump’s foreign policy

http://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Our-World-Michael-Flynn-and-what-he-means-for-Trumps-foreign-policy-474524

“In 2013, US President Barack Obama summarily removed Mattis from his command as head of the US Military’s Central Command. According to media reports, Mattis was fired due to his opposition to Obama’s strategy of embracing Iran, first and foremost through his nuclear diplomacy. Mattis argued that Iran’s nuclear program was far from the only threat Iran constituted to the US and its allies. By empowering Iran through the nuclear deal, Obama was enabling Iran’s rise as a hegemonic power throughout the region.”

Anonymous at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7840

Michael Flynn and what he means for Trump’s foreign policy

http://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Our-World-Michael-Flynn-and-what-he-means-for-Trumps-foreign-policy-474524

“Whoever Trump selects as secretary of state, his appointment of Mattis on the one hand and Flynn on the other exposes his hand. Trump is interested in ending the war that the forces of radical Islam started with the US not on September 11, 2001, but on November 4, 1979, with the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.

With Mattis and Flynn at his side, Trump intends to bring down the Iranian regime as a first step toward securing an unconditional victory in the war against radical Islam.”

Anonymous at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7841

Metro closes ranks against outside ‘attacks’

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/3/metro-closes-ranks-against-outside-attacks/

“The Times’ three-part series found that human resources practices had maintenance workers making nearly $200,000 a year, that people with criminal records were inexplicably promoted while others languished, that Metro’s largest job categories were 97 percent black, that its police force conducts little enforcement of its basic rules, and that, according to specialists, policies promoting secrecy violated a federal whistle-blowers law.”

Anonymous at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7842

Visit to a Small College

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=24269

In Chicago, I encountered a very bright second-year graduate student in the famous Committee on Social Thought program, who had previously completed four years of undergraduate work at Harvard, where he had never heard the name Friedrich von Hayek. In a way, it was the most shocking anecdotal evidence I retrieved in my forays into the halls of learning. It’s not just that Hayek won a Nobel Prize for economics in 1973, or that he is the author of a classic text of the modern era, The Road to Serfdom, which was already required reading for students at Columbia when I went there in the 1950s, or that he is one of the three or four greatest social thinkers of the Twentieth Century—the Karl Marx of the libertarian-conservative world-view. Any of these would have been enough to make such a student’s ignorance dismaying. But Hayek is also one of the handful of social scientists who (along with his teacher Ludwig Von Mises) demonstrated more than 60 years ago why the socialist system could not work and, thus, why it would eventually collapse, as it did in 1989. The implosion of the Soviet Empire was a dramatic vindication of the analysis Hayek and his colleagues had made.

It was not the first time I had encountered such ignorance of Hayek and other conservative intellectuals on university campuses, nor was it accidental. It was a direct consequence of the tenured left’s dominance of liberal-arts institutions after the 1960s, and its politicization of the curriculum and the faculty-hiring process. This, in fact, was the subject of the lectures I gave at the campuses I visited.

...

Since I had a whole day available before my scheduled talk, I decided to sit in on one of Bates’ political-science courses to check my impressions of the academic life. I asked students for directions to the building in which political-science courses were taught, and went to the department office on the ground floor. None of the administrators seemed to have a problem with my desire to audit a class. Accordingly, I approached a professor as she was entering her classroom and asked permission to attend.

She was an Indian woman in her thirties and spoke with an English accent. She seemed pleased at the prospect of having an adult in her audience, and had no hesitation inviting me in. All through the class hour she smiled at me and talked in my direction, and even encouraged me to answer a question when the rest of the class could not. She taught from a single text, and it was obvious from her remarks that the class consisted in reading through the text a chapter at a time. In the college courses I had attended at Columbia some forty years ago, there was rarely an "official" text for the course, and if there was one, my professors seldom referred to it. Any text included was more as an aid to students. The real "text" for the course was the professor’s lecture notes, and students were expected to read several books, usually by leading contributors to the subject and usually with strongly differing views. A political-science course devoted to modern industrial societies, as this one was, might have had required readings by Weber, Marx, Durkheim, Tonnies, and even Hayek.

In this course, however, there was a single 600-page text called Modernity, edited by the well-known English New Leftist, Stuart Hall. Like Hall, every contributor to the text was a Marxist. There was no lecture. The teacher proceeded in Socratic fashion to guide the students page by page, and paragraph by paragraph, through the textbook assigned. It was like a science course, based on an accepted body of knowledge, where a single class textbook is the norm.

Except that this norm was the discredited intellectual tradition of Marxism. I looked over at the text of the student next to me and asked what the acronym ACS, staring out of the page, stood for. She said "Advanced Capitalist Society." I noticed another acronym MIBTC and was told it stood for "Military-Industrial-Bureaucratic-Technocratic-Complex." The teacher was admonishing the students to pay attention to the main points in the authors’ arguments and to take note of the way they grounded them—whether in authorities or facts. Then she had the class break up into small groups, each of which was to apply this technique to a different section and assess whether the author of that section satisfactorily proved his point.

My group was assigned a little section on American militarism(!). The question put by the text was whether militarism emerged out of the capitalist economic structures of ACSs, or whether once it emerged it became systemic. There was no question as to whether American society could reasonably be described as "militarist." One young woman in my group wondered aloud whether the author had proved there was an MIBTC merely by pointing out that cell phones made by AT&T were used by the army in the Gulf War. (I stepped out of my role as observer to assure her he had not.)

Subsequently I bought Modernity from Amazon.com and found that the passage was typical rather than exceptional. The viewpoints in the text ranged from classical Marxism to feminist Marxism to post-modernist Marxism. There were no opposing views introduced except in order to be refuted. In the book’s index there was not a single reference to the name Hayek. On the other hand, there were plenty of discussions of obscure Marxists like Nicholas Poulantzas, who wrote a book on the "ruling class" in the 1960s before jumping out a window at age 29.

After the class, I went up to the teacher and said that I admired her pedagogy in advising the students that she wasn’t there to tell them what to think, but to teach them how. On the other hand, I thought that assigning an ideological Marxist tome as the course’s only text worked at cross-purposes with that goal. At once, the smile disappeared from her face. She said: "Well, they get the other side from the newspapers." Education like this cost the Bates’ students’ parents $30,000 a year in tuition alone.

...

The other panelists at my event were Maurice Zeitlin and Sara Davidson. A third leftist had failed to show. Davidson was the author of a 1960s memoir of sexual liaisons entitled Loose Change and the chief writer for the politically correct television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Her politics could be gleaned from her latest book, Cowboy, about her affair with a man who was intellectually her inferior and whom she had to support with her ample television earnings, but who gave great sex. The book celebrated this affair as a triumph of feminism.

David Horowitz at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2016 | #7843
Ayn Rand's Criticisms of Anarchism - Rebutted! By Moleneux
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My2sLnHpyG4

Stefan Molyneux opens the listener mailbag to answer questions on the ethics of gambling, road safety in a free society, Ayn Rand's criticisms of anarchism and how a libertarian can survive in a liberal arts college.

0:00 - What is a good way to get more people to pay attention to the world around them and understand that our actions affect tomorrow?

4:18 - What are the ethics of gambling?

8:10 - In Australia, we are legally forced to vote, otherwise it's a $500 dollar fine, a criminal record and your name in the media. What action can I take in defiance without having the social branding of 'not taking responsibility' in voting?

9:46 - Could you respond to Ayn Rand's criticisms of anarchism?

13:50 - What is the best way to introduce skeptical thinking to a person who has some rational and some irrational views?

15:30 - How would car accidents be dealt with in a stateless society?

20:18 - How can we keep order on the roads without police?

21:53 - I'm currently attending a 4-year liberal arts college which, surprise, surprise, is inundated with Marxist/socialist principles and ideologies. Do you have any advice for surviving the next three years of my life where my political, or apolitical, opinion could very well result in a poor grade?

FF at 6:51 AM on December 12, 2016 | #7852
On FI, elliot wrote:

> One reason I use harsh language sometimes is clarity. There are lots of times when using mild negative phrasing will be misunderstood (because you want to express a BIG problem, but they'll interpret it as a small problem).

In general, I avoid being harsh towards people because it often causes feelings of shame, which can slow or block progress. Is that a mistake?

When is it good to be harsh?

Why is harshness a good way to express a BIG problem vs just giving reasons why?

Anon69 at 5:02 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7856
when you use mild language, you *falsely* communicate that the problems involved are mild. (ofc mild language is great for discussing problems that are actually mild.)

people usually think the problems are about 10% of the size i mean, even when i use strong language. they often think the problems don't exist at all (aren't even problems) when i use mild language and hedge.

giving reasons is great but they are easier to understand when you have something like a concluding, summary or thesis statement (telling the person what claim they explain) which is understood.

people who don't want direct, accurate statements can go pretty much anywhere else.

Anonymous at 5:23 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7857
I'm pausing to consider you mean by harsh language...it may be different than what I thought. Maybe an example would help?

The dictionary says: 1) unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses, 2) cruel or severe. Do those sound right?

I could see how being harsh will get someones attention by causing strong emotions. Is that the intended effect?

> people who don't want direct, accurate statements can go pretty much anywhere else.

How does being direct/accurate relate to being harsh?

Being direct/accurate could be incorrectly interpreted as harsh. But you aren't describing harshness as a unintended side-effect.

People should want direct/accurate statements, but not everyone does (yet) due to ignorance, emotional hangups, etc.

Anon69 at 6:24 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7858
direct, accurate, *negative* statements, without hedging and equivocation, are considered very harsh.

Anonymous at 6:27 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7859
So when you say that you use harsh language, that means that you say things which are:

> direct, accurate, *negative* statements, without hedging and equivocation

...but your intention is not to be mean / cruel / hurtful / cause shame.

Is that true?

Anon69 at 6:37 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7860
me? i thought you were talking about Elliot before.

and i just commented on abstract issues.

Anonymous at 6:48 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7861
The question is for Elliot, yes.

Anon69 at 6:53 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7862
On a semi-related topic...

One of the problems I see with FI is that direct/accurate (sometimes negative) criticism is (incorrectly) interpreted as mean/cruel/hurtful, or causes feelings of shame. I'd guess this is a large part of why people drop off of FI and stop making progress.

Anon69 at 7:25 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7863
yes we know that and much more about it.

Anonymous at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7864
if you want to contribute you have to learn a lot more.

Anonymous at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2016 | #7865

Problem size

#7857
> people usually think the problems are about 10% of the size i mean, even when i use strong language. they often think the problems don't exist at all (aren't even problems) when i use mild language and hedge.

How should we determine the size of problems?

I don't have a good handle on sizing problems. My thoughts so far.

There is an impact dimension: If I don't solve this problem, how much of a negative impact will it have on my life? For a lot of things it is really hard to guess at the answer though. For example, what is the negative impact on my life of doing a few boring things for 30 minutes at work that I'd rather not do?

There is also a time dimension: How soon does the impact come to me? A toothache right now can seem like a lot bigger problem than the fact that we don't have SENS. Simply because the tooth hurts NOW, whereas death from lack of SENS is relatively far off. Or the previous example, doing 30 minutes of boring stuff today doesn't seem like much. The fact that it's also tomorrow, and the next day...for years, can easily seem like a much smaller problem than if it was all totaled up and I had to do it all at once.

These two dimensions (impact and time) seem to combine to a size assessment that either does or doesn't meet a binary threshold. The threshold being, I either care enough to work on solving the problem now, or I don't and am willing to let it go unsolved for the time being.

Am I thinking about problem size in the right way? Are there other dimensions or ways of thinking about it that are better?

PAS at 6:10 AM on December 13, 2016 | #7866
> i took a long nap to accomplish that.naps are the best rest.but in general it's easy to run out of mental energy to speed read more without getting sleepy.i can't just sleep arbitrary amounts at arbitrary times.

Interesting.

So you don't sleep and just take naps?

How many hours do you sleep/24 hours?

I find that too risky. But I want to try it.

Have you researched the health damage it might do?

FF at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2016 | #7867
it doesn't say polyphasic sleep. you're making shit up.

Anonymous at 11:38 AM on December 13, 2016 | #7868
#7866

i replied on FI list.

curi at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2016 | #7869
> He thought that he should seize his drawings and run.

Why did he think that?

My guess is that Keating felt uncomfortable and wanted to grab Roark's attention by force.

FF at 1:57 AM on December 19, 2016 | #7887
you're incoherent. you didn't quote enough context for the scene and you are bringing up force without explaining what you're talking about.

Anonymous at 2:07 AM on December 19, 2016 | #7888
> you're incoherent. you didn't quote enough context for the scene and you are bringing up force without explaining what you're talking about.

I thought the people would recognize the quote & I thought I would mess up quotes from the pdf book. I will try to quote the whole thing below. I might mess up the quotations.

> Keating felt naked. Davis, Stengel, Francon meant nothing here. People were his protection against people.Roark had no sense of people. Others gave Keating a feeling of his own value.Roark gave him nothing. He thought that he should seize his drawings and run.The danger was not Roark.The danger was that he, Keating, remained. Roark turned to him.

Why did he think that?

My guess is that Keating felt uncomfortable/frustrated and wanted to grab Roark's attention by force.

FF at 3:42 AM on December 19, 2016 | #7889
where's the force? Keating's thought is about taking his *own* drawings and leaving. he feels as if he has no value when around Roark. unlike others, Roark doesn't help him fake self-respect. this is scary and uncomfortable for him.

Anonymous at 6:21 AM on December 19, 2016 | #7890
> so what to do? just forget it and criticize short self-contained stuff instead? or just know stuff myself and fuck everyone else since they aren't trying in a serious, productive way where they do much? and anyway other ppl aren't my responsibility.

Why not do a video review, reading the books and commenting? Or would it violate copyright?

Isn't the part where you'd benefit if you get crit the part that is important? Wasn't it about finding someone who could criticize you and not teaching others?

Anonymous at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2016 | #7898
did you seriously suggest reading ~60 hours of books outloud on video, plus the commentary time, and hiding the commentary intermixed in the 60 hours so no one ever finds it? anyone who wants to read the books would prefer to read the actual books instead of listening to my unprofessional reading.

> Isn't the part where you'd benefit if you get crit the part that is important?

i don't know any way to get good quality external crit about this. or about most of my ideas, for that matter.

curi at 1:52 PM on December 20, 2016 | #7906
the professional readings on audible -- which are no doubt better than what i would produce -- are around 20 hours a book. so 80 hours not 60 to read them outloud.

Anonymous at 1:55 PM on December 20, 2016 | #7907
Do it in parts, chapter by chapter. Or do it in a blog, chapter by chapter. Why is it a problem if it's long?

Do you want to talk about it or not?

What is that you want? For people to read the books? Then what? They know the context and then can discuss the books privately with you?

Anonymous at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2016 | #7978
#7978 would you say you've carefully and seriously thought this through, you're confident of your idea, you very much want to discuss this matter to a conclusion including all tangents wherever they lead, and you'd learn a large amount if you're mistaken?

curi at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2016 | #7979
Yes, let's discuss it to a conclusion.

Anonymous at 3:19 PM on December 21, 2016 | #7981
you don't seem to have a good grasp of what i said in my email or how your proposal would address the problems i raised. could you go through and quote the relevant parts, write your interpretation of the problems, and then explain how your proposal solves them?

you also seem uninterested in the resources costs of what you proposed and to think I either do or don't want to do the project as a binary. please explain the carefully and seriously thought out reasoning for these positions you already had prior to me writing this comment (no ad hoc comments, please).

also could you give some indication of somethings you expect to learn if you're mistaken and why would value that outcome?

also if you want to discuss to a conclusion, you need to choose a name to identify your future contributions. it doesn't have to be a real name, but it should be unique. for example you could use Tavi, Amara or whoever you're favorite is for your name.

curi at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2016 | #7983
This was my understanding of your post https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/19509:

You read part of a book series and find the book flaws interesting to discuss. Your problem is that quoting from the book wouldn't help as context would be lost.

I thought of an idea of how you can solve this problem. I noticed you have been making videos, like videos of you playing games, reading forum posts and commenting. So I suggested you could do a video. I didn't put much thought how long the books are or the reading would take. You told me and then I suggested a series. People binge watch TV series like Game of Thrones. That's a series that's 50 hours so far.

One of the problems you pointed with reading is that your reading is not professional. Maybe you could hire someone who is a professional reader to read while you comment. Maybe you could add interesting images like the guy who did the John Galt speech videos. Although that is much shorter.

I was trying to solve the problem from the perspective of how you can help people learn.

I dismissed the pessimist part of the email where you think people will not want to put effort in reading the books. And even if they read them they are so bad at reading they will not understand your criticism.

I find it sad none of your followers will read the books even if you said it was important for a discussion you wanted to have. Really nobody? Not even Justin or Alan?

I don't know what I expect to learn. I was suggesting this in sympathy to your problem.

Tavi, Amara or whoever at 10:22 AM on December 22, 2016 | #8020
in my post i wrote

> but who wants to read ~800k words for some examples?

this did not mean, as you misread, that i thought anyone should do that.

i actually don't think it'd be worth the time for someone to do that. there's higher priorities they could do instead.

the point was 800k words is too much to read merely for "some examples" (not a LOT of examples, just some. vs 800k words which is a fuck ton.)

and like i said in the post, even if they did read it i didn't expect that to actually work.

your suggestion in response to this is that they read it ... except in a worse format. plus over 100 hours of extreme boredom for me personally. that makes no sense.

you didn't understand me or what i was saying. but you thought you did, didn't ask questions, and aggressively tried to push options on me that would involve 100+ hours of pain and misery for me personally. (i couldn't have stood to read these books at 2x, one time. you ask me to read them outloud. that means reading them at less than 1x my reading pace. and that's for a rereading which is way more boring. what i was able to do with these books is read them at around 3.5-4x speed, once)

now you suggest i illegally hire someone to do a reading of books that are already on audible. what the hell for? might as well just throw the versions from audible into Final Cut Pro and add in my commentary.

you didn't know all that? *you didn't ask*. that's on you. you judged you knew enough to tell me what to do.


none of this addresses any of the problems i talked about. if i read out loud 50k words then make a comment, people forget most of it (they remember selectively things they considered important and summarizing info, they forget most of the raw information -- and btw this isn't a criticism), so they still don't have the right context in their head for my comment. problem not solved. just like if they read the book themselves without me reading it to them. like i stated in the original post.

> I find it sad none of your followers will read the books even if you said it was important for a discussion you wanted to have. Really nobody? Not even Justin or Alan?

i never said that. people do read books i actually say are important for them to read. e.g. lots of Szasz, Coulter, David Horowitz, George Reisman. i think much more than 800k words worth for justin and alan.


---

so lets talk conclusions. my takeaway so far is you arrogantly presume to understand things you don't. and instead of becoming curious, you can get very pushy. and even when the victim of your advice protests very strongly, you still don't go "oh shit, there is some mismatch between their problem situation and my advice, i better ask some questions to understand matters better." no, you overreach and then aggressively persist after huge signs it's not working.

you committed to seeing this through to a conclusion, so let's talk about what studying you've done, what philosophy you've read, and why you haven't done more. let's see what's behind these mistakes you're making. did you seriously try to be competent at discussions like these, or just proceed without bothering with that?


> I was suggesting this in sympathy to your problem.

you'd have to know what my problems are to sympathize. you sympathize with your misconceptions of my problems. that's not kind or helpful. actually you've been thoroughly unhelpful and aggressive towards me.

i responded negatively. i disliked your suggestion, didn't appreciate it, and did not find it helpful. i replied accordingly. and what did you do, who supposedly has sympathy for me? you didn't give a damn. you continued pushing more of the same on me.

curi at 12:57 AM on December 23, 2016 | #8026
ok, i agree it was a stupid idea.

i thought you wanted people to read the books in order to discuss the issues you wanted to discuss. i don't understand your problem at all. what is your problem?

how do you expect me to know i made a mistake in understanding what you said before finding the mistake? are you suggesting i always ask questions just in case i misunderstood? btw, i did ask questions in a previous post. they were:

>>> What is that you want? For people to read the books? Then what? They know the context and then can discuss the books privately with you?

before you said i was aggressively pushing options. now you call yourself a victim of advice. i don't understand why you interpret it this way. victimhood seems against your principles. i thought if i changed my idea a little it could become better. an 80 hour video is not possible, so i though, make make 80 1 hour videos. i was brainstorming and trying to remain optimist that you could find a way to discuss the books with people. because i thought that was your problem. in what way brainstorming ideas in this manner is overreaching? is the overreaching part of it that i misunderstood your problem and thought i did and didn't know what i was talking about?

>> I was suggesting this in sympathy to your problem.
> you'd have to know what my problems are to sympathize. you sympathize with your misconceptions of my problems. that's not kind or helpful. actually you've been thoroughly unhelpful and aggressive towards me.

i agree with unhelpful. but aggressive? why aggressive?

> i responded negatively. i disliked your suggestion, didn't appreciate it, and did not find it helpful. i replied accordingly. and what did you do, who supposedly has sympathy for me? you didn't give a damn. you continued pushing more of the same on me.

ok, i'm guessing the "aggressive" is from "not giving a damn" and giving the same advice.

my thinking was if I changed the idea a little, it would be better.

i didn't take your reply as negative, but curious.

you also say i misunderstood that you wanted people to read the books. so i don't understand the purpose of your post. i don't understand what problem you are trying to solve.

Tavi, Amara or whoever at 11:04 AM on December 23, 2016 | #8027
from: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/19595

> you don't try to learn. so you're a useless waste of time who should be given up on

would you recommend a parent talks like this to a child? wouldn't it be abusive in that context?

why is it OK for you to talk like to this to adults?

you invited rami back to FI, then you say he's not worth talking to. i don't understand your strategy.

Plonk at 11:44 AM on December 23, 2016 | #8029
#8029

> from: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/19595
>> you don't try to learn. so you're a useless waste of time who should be given up on

> would you recommend a parent talks like this to a child? wouldn't it be abusive in that context?

Why are you bringing that up? Elliot is not Rami's parent.

> why is it OK for you to talk like to this to adults?

Why wouldn't it be?

If somebody doesn't want to learn, he should leave FI an FI people should give up on him.

> you invited rami back to FI, then you say he's not worth talking to. i don't understand your strategy.

Elliot invited Rami back?

Anonymous at 1:04 PM on December 23, 2016 | #8030
>> would you recommend a parent talks like this to a child? wouldn't it be abusive in that context?
>
> Why are you bringing that up? Elliot is not Rami's parent.

Because I thought TCS was broader than how to relate with children. I thought it was also about relating with people and oneself non-coercively.

I think the principle of why not to treat children this why would be general enough to apply to other people.

If it would be bad to speak to a child like this, why?

> If somebody doesn't want to learn, he should leave FI an FI people should give up on him.

Maybe Elliot should investigate why people join FI and then not want to learn.

> Elliot invited Rami back?

Elliot wrote a post asking why did several members stop posting on FI. It seemed an invitation to post again.

Plonk at 1:32 PM on December 23, 2016 | #8031
#8027

the problem is: is there a good way to talk about some comments on the books i had? my email considered several approaches and pointed out problems with them.

you have not replied about what kinda study you've done to understand philosophical issues like:

- how to have a discussion
- how to tell if you understand something well or not
- when to ask questions vs. start making assertions
- what questions to ask
- what being pushy or aggressive is
- when is something a complete statement, and when is it a starting point that people shouldn't expect to fully understand right away without engaging with it first?

etc, etc

why are you silently ignoring this philosophy skills aspect of the discussion? do you not want to find out about your mistakes? do you not want criticism? do you not want to find out how and why things went wrong such that you massively overestimated whether you understood the situation and treated someone badly who you were, you say, trying to treat well?

curi at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2016 | #8032
i didn't issue an invitation to Rami.

FI is a public group. Rami can therefore post. And I can make decisions about which posts not to read, which to write meta replies to, which to reply directly to, which to write long replies to, which to focus on one brief point about, etc. And I can try to understand who I should personally be talking with, or not, and why. And unlike many other forums, I can talk about these important issues openly – which is good that I can talk about it on FI because how well I think about these things and handle it affects my life and learning.

> > you don't try to learn. so you're a useless waste of time who should be given up on

> would you recommend a parent talks like this to a child? wouldn't it be abusive in that context?

from a parent, that's a threat to the child that the parent will give up on the child, which isn't OK. parents have a responsibility to help their children, but i have no responsibility to help Rami.

if your question is actually whether parents should ever speak critically to their children: yes, if they think the child will understand them. criticism is good when not being misunderstood and taken badly.

speaking critically to Rami is a different matter. i don't go speak critically to random strangers who i don't expect to understand it. but Rami consented to receive criticism by joining and posting to FI. and it's not like he's new here, either. maybe with a new person they didn't know what they were signing up for, and you want to be careful with misunderstandings. but Rami is aware that FI features criticism. in fact someone else recently came to Rami's defense in a similar way, and Rami replied that he was fine and wasn't harmed by criticism...

> Maybe Elliot should investigate why people join FI and then not want to learn.

i have. have you missed the dozens of posts about it?

curi at 1:48 PM on December 23, 2016 | #8033
#8032

> the problem is: is there a good way to talk about some comments on the books i had? my email considered several approaches and pointed out problems with them.

So you do want to talk about some comments on the books. In the post https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/messages/19590 you said:

> these flaws are interesting to discuss in some ways. they are examples of how our culture is bad. it's important to be able to see them. and if one can't see them on his own, having examples pointed out can be helpful if one has an active mind and is trying to learn in a good way.
>
> but who wants to read ~800k words for some examples?

I don't think I understand this question well. You have read the books. Why couldn't someone else find value in reading them as well? Especially knowing you are going to help them see the flaws they might have difficulty seeing themselves?

Is the problem that is hard to find people that would both have read the books out of their own initiative and know enough of your philosophy of their own initiative to understand the flaws you explain?

Is people were that good, wouldn't they be able to find the flaws themselves?

> if someone was actually gonna try that much there's more efficient things they could do. most ppl won't try much anyway tho.

What more efficient things would those be?

> i could quote from the books and point things out, but the scenes really lose a lot of meaning if u aren't familiar with the context, don't know the characters, don't know what other scenes are like. even quoting like 5 examples of a theme doesn't get it across like reading the novels and noticing what's going on can.

So up to here you seem to suggest that unless people read the novels, they won't know the context of the examples you want to discuss. It seems this would be solved by reading the novels. But then you say:

> most ppl even if they read the novels would have missed the important stuff so much though that even with lots of exact quotes they still wouldn't really follow criticism. so that's tough.

So even if they read the novels, even if it was a good use of their time to read the novels, they would probably not follow criticism.

> i could summarize stuff and ppl would badly misunderstand, e.g. thinking tiny summaries is what deep thinking looks like, and not realizing it's the tip of the iceberg even if told that repeatedly and explicitly.

What's wrong about doing it the way you did with Kira's and Andrei's scene in We the Living?

http://curi.us/1429-we-the-living

You summarized and commented on the flaws and virtues of the characters. A person does have to read the book to understand the context, but those who are interested will. And those who are interested in learning more of your philosophy will read more.

> so what to do? just forget it and criticize short self-contained stuff instead? or just know stuff myself and fuck everyone else since they aren't trying in a serious, productive way where they do much? and anyway other ppl aren't my responsibility.

so the real problem is... you want to discuss, but nobody will really get it, because they are not trying. and

what was the value for you in discussing these examples, if you believe nobody is trying? are you trying to teach people?

Is it OK if I try again to offer ideas or would it be aggressive? Do you think I should stop offering ideas on this problem? Who do you expect to be able to help you on the FI list or out there in the world? It seems you only value Justin and Alan as having pursued studying your philosophy seriously.

> you have not replied about what kinda study you've done to understand philosophical issues like:
> - how to have a discussion
> - how to tell if you understand something well or not
> - when to ask questions vs. start making assertions
> - what questions to ask
> - what being pushy or aggressive is
> - when is something a complete statement, and when is it a starting point that people shouldn't expect to fully understand right away without engaging with it first?

I have lurked and read stuff you wrote. I do not think I know how to study.

> why are you silently ignoring this philosophy skills aspect of the discussion? do you not want to find out about your mistakes? do you not want criticism? do you not want to find out how and why things went wrong such that you massively overestimated whether you understood the situation and treated someone badly who you were, you say, trying to treat well?

I missed the original paragraph you referred to. What happened is I replied to the "victim of advice" part, then I went back to reading and skipped to the next part after the quote.

I would like to learn, I admire your awareness when you rip people's minds apart and find their lies, but have difficulty in seeing criticism as a gift as you do. I don't like to have my mind ripped apart.

> you committed to seeing this through to a conclusion, so let's talk about what studying you've done, what philosophy you've read, and why you haven't done more. let's see what's behind these mistakes you're making. did you seriously try to be competent at discussions like these, or just proceed without bothering with that?

I've read some of your content, like your fallible ideas essays, some blog posts, some FI posts and Ayn Rand's fiction.

I don't understand how does a person become competent at discussing without discussing? Are you saying your post was too advanced for me to reply?

Tavi, Amara or whoever at 12:15 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8035
> Why couldn't someone else find value in reading them as well?

i read fantasy novels in general. it's a long time hobby. i would not have read these books if i didn't have multiple separate interests in them. i also wouldn't have read them without a lot of speed reading skill. i wouldn't recommend them to someone who hasn't already read all of Brandon Sanderson's novels, for example, since he's a better fantasy author and i don't think Codex Alera is worth reading before various better books or if you don't already read fantasy.

they aren't worth reading just to talk about the philosophy examples i had in mind. there are more efficient ways to get philosophy examples to talk about. like there exist a ton of 1000-10000 word articles with tons of great stuff to talk about. also lots of interesting short stories.

plus, as i mentioned, if someone read the books it's doubtful they'd be able to talk about the examples anyway.

> I have lurked and read stuff you wrote. I do not think I know how to study.

why don't you do something about that?

> I don't understand how does a person become competent at discussing without discussing? Are you saying your post was too advanced for me to reply?

instead of trying to advise me, you could have asked questions about philosophy. you still could.

the difficulty depends on the type of reply. asking some questions would have been an easier way to reply.

i think the best way to reply to that post, for you, would have been to focus on learning philosophy and use the post's topic in an example so things aren't totally abstract. however i bet you could come up with some better example you know more about. e.g. i'm guessing you haven't read the Codex Alera books, so that makes a discussion relating to them a pretty non-ideal example for you. that doesn't mean the Codex Alera topic is *too advanced* for you. it's unsuitable in a different way.

> I would like to learn, I admire your awareness when you rip people's minds apart and find their lies, but have difficulty in seeing criticism as a gift as you do. I don't like to have my mind ripped apart.

the amount of criticism you get depends significantly on what you say.

"I don't like to have my mind ripped apart." is the kind of thing which many people quit without ever saying. i hope you'll continue to make statements like it. people don't express problems they have and don't ask for things they want. e.g. ppl hate me for being too mean or whatever, but don't ever ask if there is a way they could learn something with less criticism. i'm far more inclined to be helpful with problems when the problems are stated and help is asked for, rather than doing it unprompted for people who i guess would deny the problem even existed if i stated it, and won't understand or thank me for the help, plus i might guess their problems (and what would help) wrong, so it's really better not to do everything with presumptive guesses. so i generally just kinda talk how i prefer by default unless someone actually requests something else which gives me a reason to make an adjustment (especially more specific, clear, concrete and narrow requests. really broad stuff like "could you be super polite all the time" doesn't work well. but it is an OK starting point. it expresses a problem. i could then reply asking questions to find out more specifics about the problem and there could be a discussion about what else might help that'd be less broadly burdensome for me.) i've told people this before. typically they just kinda ignore it and proceed with normal errors. RIP. ppl do so much overt-conflict-avoidance and problem-hiding and then fail because of all the unsolved problems...

if you try to give me advice, then i'm going to criticize it to the standard of what i do in my own life. if it doesn't meet that standard, it's not good enough.

if you ask questions, i'll often focus on answering the questions instead of criticizing. criticism may come up, e.g. if you ask why socialism is bad then the answer would involve criticism of socialism, which is different than criticism of your ideas (even if you have some doubts, inconsistencies, ignorance, etc, regarding socialism, it's still pretty different to get criticism of it where you'd feel like we're generally on the same team, compared to e.g. if you have some cherished belief i disagree with and criticize.) another way criticism can come up with questions is if there are problems with the questions i think are making the discussion worse, then i might speak to that. e.g. i might say the questions are too complex, you should ask simpler questions. or i might say the questions are confusing to read, and one way to improve that would be to use smaller words, sentences and paragraphs.

it also helps most people if they write short posts about 1-2 points at a time. when people try to copy the complex nested quoting stuff and commenting on 10 things in one post, they often get overwhelmed.

> What's wrong about doing it the way you did with Kira's and Andrei's scene in We the Living?

basically it wouldn't be better than talking about the issues without mentioning the book and just making up examples.

We The Living is a book that good people not only read but reread multiple times and really study, so there's some reasonable hope of people knowing an especially large amount about it and being able to appreciate what i said. it also features some unique stuff of interest, whereas Codex Alera isn't unique. We The Living is also much shorter. And it's basically a major book that's part of the philosophy discourse, so it's worth commenting on in the same way i'd write comments on a philosophy essay (even an obscure one).

> Is it OK if I try again to offer ideas or would it be aggressive?

do as you will, but i don't think it will be helpful.

> It seems you only value Justin and Alan as having pursued studying your philosophy seriously.

this is an inaccurate summary. one thing it omit is Thomas Szasz, who was wonderful, the only trouble is he died. some other people did good studying then quit for various reasons. there are also people with an unknown status who may have quit. and there are people you don't know, like Ingracke, who is the substantial favorite to win arguments with Justin or Alan. there are lots of anonymous posts here and on FI, and various pseudonyms, and i have a pretty decent handle on who's who but you have no way to.

there are degrees of seriousness, study and effort. Alan and Justin have various flaws and various virtues. PAS has some different flaws and some different virtues. one of the things Alan and Justin have in particular is having read a lot more of FI stuff, and related books, and other useful things, over a longer time period, and discussing enough to understand a fair amount of it. they know more about TCS than most people while also knowing more about politics and also knowing more about ARR and also more about Szasz. they're more veteran and over the years they've also been pretty consistent about doing some learning and being pro-FI rather than e.g. quitting for a few years or having a hot/cold relationship with FI. btw Justin and Alan both predate me, they found TCS before i did.

> Who do you expect to be able to help you on the FI list or out there in the world?

regarding Codex Alera i did not expect help. writing about stuff helps me think about it. i was helping myself. as usual. it was also possible that someone would help in some way or be helped in some way (people often find some benefit in reading my perspective on things, seeing how i think). also in general it's fairly unpredictable to me which FI threads will get a lot of discussion. in this case the post led to some discussion about something else, and got a lurker to say something. yay.

curi at 12:51 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8036
#8036

>> Why couldn't someone else find value in reading them as well?
> i read fantasy novels in general. it's a long time hobby. i would not have read these books if i didn't have multiple separate interests in them. i also wouldn't have read them without a lot of speed reading skill. i wouldn't recommend them to someone who hasn't already read all of Brandon Sanderson's novels, for example, since he's a better fantasy author and i don't think Codex Alera is worth reading before various better books or if you don't already read fantasy.

So it would be hard for people to read the books out of the blue, just because you mentioned good examples, without already having a past interest in fantasy fiction. And even so, there's better fantasy fiction to read.

Why did you find Codex Alera worth reading?

> they aren't worth reading just to talk about the philosophy examples i had in mind. there are more efficient ways to get philosophy examples to talk about. like there exist a ton of 1000-10000 word articles with tons of great stuff to talk about. also lots of interesting short stories.

Are you sad you can't talk about the examples you have found in the Codex Alera books? Or have you happily decided it doesn't matter anymore?

> plus, as i mentioned, if someone read the books it's doubtful they'd be able to talk about the examples anyway.

Not even Justin or Alan?

> > I have lurked and read stuff you wrote. I do not think I know how to study.
> why don't you do something about that?

I don't know what to do.

> i think the best way to reply to that post, for you, would have been to focus on learning philosophy and use the post's topic in an example so things aren't totally abstract. however i bet you could come up with some better example you know more about. e.g. i'm guessing you haven't read the Codex Alera books, so that makes a discussion relating to them a pretty non-ideal example for you. that doesn't mean the Codex Alera topic is *too advanced* for you. it's unsuitable in a different way.

No, I haven't read the books. So the post was unsuitable for me because it contains an example I don't know much about. And my approach to these posts should be not to answer your questions and give advice but to use them to ask questions in order to learn philosophy.

> ppl hate me for being too mean or whatever, but don't ever ask if there is a way they could learn something with less criticism.

Is it possible to learn something with less criticism? How does that work?

> if you try to give me advice, then i'm going to criticize it to the standard of what i do in my own life. if it doesn't meet that standard, it's not good enough.

Yes, it makes sense. I think I acted on the meme I was giving a gift and you should accept it. I thought that a random dumb idea would be better than no ideas at all.

> if you ask questions, i'll often focus on answering the questions instead of criticizing. criticism may come up, e.g. if you ask why socialism is bad then the answer would involve criticism of socialism, which is different than criticism of your ideas (even if you have some doubts, inconsistencies, ignorance, etc, regarding socialism, it's still pretty different to get criticism of it where you'd feel like we're generally on the same team, compared to e.g. if you have some cherished belief i disagree with and criticize.)

But say if I'm a socialist, and cherish socialism, wouldn't I take your criticism of socialism personally? Or say if I thought I benefited from socialism in some way and your political alternative would mean a loss to me, wouldn't I feel threatened?

> it also helps most people if they write short posts about 1-2 points at a time. when people try to copy the complex nested quoting stuff and commenting on 10 things in one post, they often get overwhelmed.

My mind is often thinking a lot of things at a time, so I find it difficult to decide what would be the simplest thing to focus on or to reply to.

I got a bit lost replying to this and there were other things going on at the same time.

> > What's wrong about doing it the way you did with Kira's and Andrei's scene in We the Living?
> basically it wouldn't be better than talking about the issues without mentioning the book and just making up examples.
We The Living is a book that good people not only read but reread multiple times and really study, so there's some reasonable hope of people knowing an especially large amount about it and being able to appreciate what i said. it also features some unique stuff of interest, whereas Codex Alera isn't unique. We The Living is also much shorter. And it's basically a major book that's part of the philosophy discourse, so it's worth commenting on in the same way i'd write comments on a philosophy essay (even an obscure one).

I agree. We the Living is one book, and of interest of people who have read Ayn Rand, even if not as studied as her more famous books. And Codex Alera is just this long fantasy fiction series that nobody is studying for philosophical purposes and that is not particularly worth studying.

> regarding Codex Alera i did not expect help. writing about stuff helps me think about it. i was helping myself. as usual. it was also possible that someone would help in some way or be helped in some way (people often find some benefit in reading my perspective on things, seeing how i think).

So you were "talking aloud", to help yourself understand the problem. You also posted so your perspective would help others understand your thinking and your philosophy better. You weren't really asking "how to help people read these novels so they can understand the context of these awesome examples of flaws in our culture I want to discuss".

> also in general it's fairly unpredictable to me which FI threads will get a lot of discussion. in this case the post led to some discussion about something else, and got a lurker to say something. yay.

:)

How do I know if a discussion has reached a conclusion? I don't know how to go on from here.

Should I check if I actually understood you and reached agreement?

I agree giving you advice was bad and my approach to your post in general was bad. I think I understand what you mean by aggressive better. I was aggressive because I ignored that the advice was useless for you the first time but continued in the same tone. "Just make it a series." Not only useless, it would have been a hassle.

Tavi, Amara or whoever at 3:55 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8038
> Is it possible to learn something with less criticism? How does that work?

well, the less you make false claims, the less criticism you can expect. questions help here since they claim less, especially honest curious questions (some people disguise claims as questions...). and to reduce criticism it also helps to work on some understanding of how much you know, what your limits are, early on. overconfidence and arrogance often lead to criticism.

> How do I know if a discussion has reached a conclusion? I don't know how to go on from here.

i'd call it a conclusion. it also reached some new problems, like:

> Is it possible to learn something with less criticism? How does that work?

and

> I don't know what to do.

one answer to that is comment on http://curi.us/1938-discussion-basics

another thing you could do is make some introductory statements about what you read, what you're aware of that you plan to read soon, what you're aware of that you don't plan to read soon, and why. and what you liked and didn't like about things you read, and why.

> But say if I'm a socialist, and cherish socialism, wouldn't I take your criticism of socialism personally?

i figured you don't cherish socialism. am i mistaken? i didn't think this example would work for all people.

curi at 4:09 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8039
> i figured you don't cherish socialism. am i mistaken? i didn't think this example would work for all people.

She does cherish socialism. I have suffered a lot discussing capitalism with her. I don't do that anymore.

FF at 4:53 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8040
The conversations went this way

FF: Capitalism is good. It creates good stuff. It is better than socialism/communism where a small pie is shared inefficiently with tons of people. Capitalism helps in creating tons of cheap pies. ( bad explanation I know )

Tavi: You want my son to die.. You want me and my son to die.

FF: Noooooo

Tavi: Yes, you want my son to die.. You evil piece of shit

FF: Socialism is great.. Capitalism is shit.. leave me alone..

FF at 5:24 AM on December 24, 2016 | #8041
oh, doh. i guessed mostly non-socialist from having read some Rand, speaking about Rand positively without expressing any hatred, and apparently liking lots of FI ideas.

curi at 2:55 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8042
> oh, doh. i guessed mostly non-socialist from having read some Rand, speaking about Rand positively without expressing any hatred, and apparently liking lots of FI ideas.

You are talking to the banned member. She loves both Rand and socialism.

FF at 7:53 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8045
you're saying Tavi = Leo, and she's lying about being new?

curi at 7:54 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8046
> you're saying Tavi = Leo

Yes

FF at 7:57 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8047

All Leonor Associates Are Now Banned

Because Leonor keeps harassing me and won't leave me the fuck alone, all *associates* of Leonor are now banned from all of my forums.

FF your choices are to cut all contact with Leonor, cut all contact with me, or get her to leave me the fuck alone. If she won't leave me the fuck alone, you should not be willing to interact with her. She is a thug who a force-use who keeps persistently harassing me.

This also applies to anyone else who may have contact with her, like Rami.

I don't do guilt-by-association with people who merely have awful ideas. Unlike e.g. some Objectivists, I wouldn't care if you talked with a socialist or spanker or whatever awful ideas. But she's actively and persistently using force to harm me personally. You cannot be associates with someone who is *using force against me* and expect to associate with me.

curi at 8:10 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8048
> FF your choices are to cut all contact with Leonor, cut all contact with me, or get her to leave me the fuck alone. If she won't leave me the fuck alone, you should not be willing to interact with her. She is a thug who a force-use who keeps persistently harassing me.

I have no control over her. I only to reply to cc'd emails she sends to Rami and me.

She thinks you are okay with talking to her if she uses a fake name.

Why do you ban people when you have no plan to enforce the ban?

FF at 8:39 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8049
she knows it's absolutely not OK to speak to me with a fake name. she's trying to hurt me.

i banned her because she was doing harm and i need her to leave. among other things she kept trying on many occasions to hurt FI people (me and others).

FF, i made myself clear. you and rami need to block all emails from her (don't even read them) or you're banned. you may not associate with my harasser and with me. you have not given an actual reply to this.

curi at 8:49 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8050
> FF, i made myself clear. you and rami need to block all emails from her (don't even read them) or you're banned. you may not associate with my harasser and with me. you have not given an actual reply to this.

I don't reply to most LG's emails like before. I don't fight with her, I don't discuss topics that hurt her, I don't talk when she is angry. I only reply to emails she wrote when she was happy/sane.

I read her emails to see if she is improving. Rami is working hard at giving her good ideas to learn. I am also benefiting from Rami's suggestions.

If she becomes a successful artist she might become a Good Universal knowledge creator (In 5-10 years)

FF at 8:55 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8051
I am okay with not associating with her till she solves her problems with you. Don't ban me.

FF at 8:57 PM on December 24, 2016 | #8052
You're making a mistake banning people if they associate with Leonor.

It was because FF was talking to Leonor that you could get information that allowed you to know it was her posting.

You're basically firing your best spy.

If you have concerns over if any new person who talks to you could be Leonor, you need to do something about it so it doesn't happen anymore. Or you could stop caring.

I think if you continue to ask questions to know where the person comes from, you'll figure out if it's Leonor or not. You'll still have to deal with some initial disappointment.

Unless Leonor becomes a very skilled liar, which she is currently bad at. To come across a newbie. She would have to create a character and play it consistently. She is very bad at creating characters and writing. And even worse at not telling her life details to everyone. So it would be a monstrous task and given her history of giving up projects, I doubt she will be bothered.

Don't let a shitty person like Leonor outwit you. She is creating a problem you don't know how to solve. Be John Galt better.

By the way, she made some sketches of you:

[REMOVED LINK -- links to personal information about Elliot Temple, which violates consent, are not allowed here]

The Real John Galt at 12:03 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8054
i don't want to spy on leonor.

i don't want to associate with leonor, such as by asking her questions to find out if she is or isn't leonor.

i don't want to compete in games of wits with leonor.

i don't want to think about leonor, like what her skills and weaknesses and characteristics are, or how to deal with her.

i don't want to talk about leonor. i don't want people to accuse me of being a bad person (e.g. not like John Galt enough) unless i talk about leonor in order to pressure me into talking about leonor. that's mean and doesn't have serious explanatory content.

i don't want to be linked to leonor's stuff.

i don't want sketches of me to exist and be posted in public, which is a violation of my privacy. i demand they be taken down. leonor does not have permission to use my likeness.

i'm going to edit the above comment to delete the link to the material which violates my privacy. don't post pictures of me or other personal information.

i want to do my own things without being attacked and harassed.

curi at 12:14 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8055
#8054 might be Leonor Gomes. I am 60% percent sure.

FF at 12:18 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8056
Nobody calls me a spy or knows anything about the sketches other than her.

FF at 12:19 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8057
The Real John Galt is LG

FF at 12:20 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8058
How do you stop dealing with Leonor and talking about Leonor without asking questions to know if it's Leonor you are talking with or not?

Can you take legal action for her to leave you alone?

Why would Leonor leave you alone willingly? You're the only interesting thing happening in the world.

> i don't want sketches of me to exist and be posted in public, which is a violation of my privacy. i demand they be taken down. leonor does not have permission to use my likeness.

You're a public figure. The reference material is material you made public yourself.

Leonor is not using your likeness. She is drawing someone she found interesting to draw and a person she thinks deserves more attention than Rami or random dumb celebrities people draw.

You don't want to be told you're not as good as John Galt if it's the truth?

I was not saying you were a bad person for not talking about Leonor. You are a bad person because you're letting her hurt you.

The Real John Galt at 12:26 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8059
#8054

> It was because FF was talking to Leonor that you could get information that allowed you to know it was her posting.You're basically firing your best spy.

My job isn't to spy on people. I am not good at spying and not interesting in such work.

> Don't let a shitty person like Leonor outwit you. She is creating a problem you don't know how to solve. Be John Galt better.

You are calling yourself shitty.

> By the way, she made some sketches of you:

Why post it here? That made me identify you again.

Why don't you solve problems with Elliot and approach Elliot legitimately?

You can learn a lot from Elliot and become a great artist before you are 50

FF at 12:27 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8060
Correction: not interesting = not interested

FF at 12:28 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8061
FF, you just agreed not to speak to Leonor.

You believe "The Real John Galt" is leonor, then replied to her.

Anonymous at 12:30 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8062
> FF, you just agreed not to speak to Leonor.
You believe "The Real John Galt" is leonor, then replied to her.

Hahaha!

Jim Taggart Rules the World at 12:33 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8063
Why don't you read Popper, David Horowitz, Szaz, Godwin and mises if you like Elliot's ideas so much? Also Make a deal with Elliot and find out what counts as harassment in his book and not do it.

FF at 12:34 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8064
> You believe "The Real John Galt" is leonor, then replied to her.
Hahaha!

So?

FF at 12:35 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8065
> FF, you just agreed not to speak to Leonor.

That is my guess.. I am not sure.

I will not talk to LEONOR the real person behind emails..

I will talk to anon accounts by LEONOR to observe

FF at 12:36 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8066
#8066 then you will be banned. last chance not to associate with leonor.

curi at 12:37 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8067
> You believe "The Real John Galt" is leonor, then replied to her.

I didn't know talking to anons publicly would also count as talking to LEONOR

FF at 12:37 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8068
> then you will be banned. last chance not to associate with leonor.

Okay I will stop talking.. You deal with her.. Its your blog.. Your servers.. Your Leonor

FF at 12:38 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8069
you'll need to block her on facebook, twitter, skype, etc, and email.

Anonymous at 12:43 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8070
> Why don't you read Popper, David Horowitz, Szaz, Godwin and mises if you like Elliot's ideas so much?

Maybe those books are too hard for her. Maybe they don't address her problems. Maybe Leonor likes to learn from Elliot and his examples. Maybe she is not really interested in philosophy. Maybe she likes Elliot for the originality. Maybe she finds him more entertaining than mainstream alternatives.

> Also Make a deal with Elliot and find out what counts as harassment in his book and not do it.

Any contact from Leonor is harassment. Elliot doesn't want to hear from Leonor anymore.

Leonor is dead at 12:47 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8071
> then you will be banned. last chance not to associate with leonor.
Okay I will stop talking.. You deal with her.. Its your blog.. Your servers.. Your Leonor

Hahaha.

Your Leonor at 12:48 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8072
Comment section still working?

Anonymous at 2:20 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8073
^

FF at 2:20 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8074
Comment section still working?

Anonymous at 2:35 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8075
Banning anyone who talks with Leonor is a great idea. You will find traitors very quickly.

Anonymous at 2:36 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8076
> Banning anyone who talks with Leonor is a great idea. You will find traitors very quickly.

I don't know if it is a great idea.

Elliot doesn't have access to email accounts of Tessa, Rami or me

He cannot see the conversations we have with LEONOR. Not that I have any motivation to break his rule.

FF at 2:42 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8077
Leonor could forward any emails sent to her to Elliot and screenshots.

Leonor doesn't talk to Tessa. I don't understand why Elliot think she does.

FF2 at 3:12 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8078
You can't really ban people from the Internet, though.

FF3 at 3:26 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8079
Is it rational to pressure others to either talk to you or talk to Leonor? Don't they need the freedom to talk to both to know to judge who is worth talking to?

Anonymous at 3:58 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8080
Don't use my signature please..

FF doesn't care if anyone sends emails to Elliot.

FF is an anon.

FF at 4:32 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8081
If anyone uses my signature to troll here.. It is not me..

Someone above has started using my signature with a no.. He/she may remove the number and pretend to me.. I cannot be online 24/7 to deny trolling.

FF at 4:35 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8082
i'm lost. just ignore it i guess.

curi at 4:37 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8084
> i'm lost. just ignore it i guess.

To whom are you replying to?

FF at 4:40 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8085
Elliot mentioned that LEONOR GOMES used VPN.

When did she use VPN? I do not remember any such incident.

FF at 4:55 AM on December 25, 2016 | #8088
Can I reply to the above? I need to clarify things..

FF at 2:43 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8104
I will not talk to her without your permission. I don't want to get banned.

FF at 2:44 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8105
just ignore her. i've deleted some of her comments now and i'm adding some new security measures.

curi at 3:33 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8108
> just ignore her. i've deleted some of her comments now and i'm adding some new security measures.

Will the security measures restrict the freedom for the rest of us?

FF at 3:50 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8109
no.

curi at 4:19 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8110
Rami said that I am causing more problems by commenting here about the incident and that I should have emailed you. I told him I am not allowed to email you.

What should I do?

FF at 7:50 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8116
you can email me.

curi at 7:54 AM on December 26, 2016 | #8117
I was reading Principles.com a lot yesterday.. I wanted you to commment about it.

Strange co-incidence that you read it at the same time.

FF at 7:52 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8118
i haven't read much of it. he says some good things. i guess he does them within some small, parochial limits, which sucks but beats competitors who don't do them at all.

curi at 8:03 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8119
also Dalio is a lot less ambitious than me. he works on easier and less important problems. so much lower standards can be somewhat effective for him and unappealing to me.

curi at 8:14 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8120
https://www.principles.com/#Introduction

> Until recently, I didn’t write out these principles because I felt that it was presumptuous for me to tell others what would work best for them.

jeez, so bad.

> I also believe that those principles that are most valuable to each of us come from our own encounters with reality and our reflections on these encounters not from being taught and simply accepting someone else’s principles.

this is bad writing. wordy, hard-to-read, long sentence.

he must have hired an editor. so i guess his editor is bad. some easy improvements:

1) break into 2 sentences
2) fix awful, confusing structure in first half
3) fix awful, confusing structure in second half
4) replace some fancy, prestige phrases

quick result:

> I also believe each person's most valuable principles come from his own life experience combined with thinking about his experiences. Being taught principles, or accepting someone else's principles, is much less effective.

the content is still false, and there's room for improvement (esp getting rid of the repetition of "experience[s]"), but it's significantly more readable now.

curi at 8:23 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8121
What do you think of the youtube comments below his video?

I found them to be too toxic. They will burn civilization down if they get a chance..

FF at 8:24 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8122
> What do you think of the youtube comments below his video?

didn't read. i have read some youtube comments in the past. i know it's not the place to get quality economics comments and didn't have some other reason to read them. i am unsurprised by your negative experience with the comments.

curi at 8:25 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8123
https://www.principles.com/#Part-2

> At that time the Beatles had made a trip to India to learn how to meditate, which triggered my interest, so I learned how to meditate. It helped me think more clearly and creatively, so I’m sure that enhanced my enjoyment of, and success at, learning. Unlike in high school, in college I did very well.

Dalio advocates college and *meditation*. ewww

curi at 8:29 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8124
skimmed some more. lots of bad things. some good and ok things too.

maybe the most interesting thing about it is this:

i think most friendly, positive readers i have basically can't tell the difference between it and my essays. they read superficially and lots of my principles look similar to Dalio's when you gloss over the details.

and when i get hostile reactions, it's often cuz they noticed one particular unconventional idea which i said clearly, not because they understand much, they just see i said a big picture conclusion they disagree with, e.g. that marriage is majorly flawed. Dalio, on the other hand, pretty much only says bland, inoffensive things (nothing that clashes with our culture like "marriage is majorly flawed" does).

curi at 8:35 PM on December 26, 2016 | #8125

W. Edwards Deming quote

In The New Economics: For Industry, Government, Education, W. Edwards Deming wrote (https://goo.gl/Ne23RT):

> Suppose that you tell me that my job is to wash this table. You show to me soap, water, and a brush. I still have no idea what the job is. I must know what the table will be used for after I wash it. Why wash it? Will the table be used to set food on? If so, it is clean enough now. If it is to be used for an operating table, I must wash the table several times with scalding water, top, bottom, and legs; also the floor below it and around it.

Alisa at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2016 | #8128
@TEDTalks wrote on Twitter:

> Is it better to take one long vacation or a few short ones? Let's check the research: http://ideas.ted.com/the-secrets-to-a-truly-restorative-vacation/

Translation:

"Are you are super conventional and super bad at introspection? Now let's look at broad demographic data to make your life decisions!"

curi at 4:00 PM on January 2, 2017 | #8140
This is supposed to be a thread where anyone can just start discussion about anything?

It's not accessible and that defeats the purpose.

The only people who would post here are people who already know about it isn't on recent posts anymore.

I think you should put a link to this page on your side bar so it's accessible to new visitors.

Anonymous at 5:48 AM on January 3, 2017 | #8144
it's linked at http://fallibleideas.com/discussion-info

guess sidebar is a good idea tho. i'll make a new empty one first.

Anonymous at 1:02 PM on January 3, 2017 | #8155
eeeee senpai said it was a good idea ^.^

(brought to you from watching tons of anime lately, and still trying to work out how to think about someone who I respect)

Anonymous at 8:48 PM on January 4, 2017 | #8166
hai

Anonymous at 9:13 PM on January 4, 2017 | #8167

Philip E. Gibbs on "crackpots who were right"

Philip E. Gibbs has a neat collection of blog posts on the subject of "Crackpots who were right"

> The most thought-provoking aspect of the case of J Harlen Bretz is the extent to which geologists ganged up against him and tried to publically humiliate him. They used heavy tactics to ensure that anyone who might have supported him was silenced. When we look back today we see this as shameful behaviour.

Alisa at 11:23 PM on January 4, 2017 | #8168

“crackpots” who were right 16: Barbara McClintock

"“crackpots” who were right 16: Barbara McClintock"

Barbara McClintock apparently discovered something fundamental in genetics and yet the reception to her work was "puzzlement and hostility".

She wrote:

> Over the years I have found that it is difficult if not impossible to bring to consciousness of another person the nature of his tacit assumptions when, by some special experiences, I have been made aware of them. This became painfully evident to me in my attempts during the 1950s to convince geneticists that the action of genes had to be and was controlled...

Wikipedia says:

> McClintock had thrown Lederberg and his colleagues out [of her lab] after half an hour 'because of their arrogance. She was intolerant of arrogance ... She felt she had crossed a desert alone and no one had followed her.'"

Nice metaphor about crossing a desert alone.

Alisa at 11:39 PM on January 4, 2017 | #8170

Philip E. Gibbs on "crackpots who were right"

https://vixra.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/%e2%80%9ccrackpots%e2%80%9d-who-were-right-15-galileo-galilei/

> In 1600 Giordano Bruno was burnt at the state for his heretical view that the stars are distant suns with other Earth’s in orbit.

https://vixra.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/%e2%80%9ccrackpots%e2%80%9d-who-were-right-14-carl-woese/

> Other[ scientists] followed with a hostility that shocked Woese. Because they saw [Woese] as a physicist rather than a microbiologist they did not hesitate to call him a crank. They did not believe that the RNA studies he had carried out could be used to classify bacteria. They did not even bother to look at the data.

Alisa at 11:53 PM on January 4, 2017 | #8171

vixra.org

https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-serious-papers-on-viXra

Philip Gibbs made his own version of arxiv.org called vixra.org. arXiv apparently has some authority-based conditions for publishing:

> Independent researchers are asked to find a trusted endorser to allow their work to be submitted, but endorsers are threatened that if they allow inapropriate papers to be submitted they will lose privelidges.

viXra, on the other hand, includes papers that arXiv rejects. Gibbs continues (bold mine):

> Some people [say that] viXra should filter out the most obviously crazy submissions. There are good reasons why we dont see it that way. *There is no sharp line between work that is crazy and work that is revolutionary that can be easily determined...*

True.

> At viXra we recognise that even papers which do not seem to be serious can in fact be very valuable. The case of Georg Ohm shows how easy it can be to lose a good idea if research that seems crazy is rejected. Ohm was criticised because he introduced theoretical ideas into his research that more experienced scientists of his time could see were wrong. Luckily it was eventaully recognised that he had nevertheless performed some remarkable experiments that established the relationship between voltage and current in resistive materials. Now we call this Ohm's law and name the unit of resistance in his honour. *It can only be wondered how much scientific progress has been delayed when many other good ideas were lost in this way especially in recent times as resistance to independent research has grown.*

Good point.

Alisa at 12:55 AM on January 5, 2017 | #8172

Calculate the square root with arithmetic and harmonic means

Here's a neat way to calculate the square root of a number, explained by Philip Gibbs

Basically you start with two numbers close together whose product equals the number you want the square root of, then

> keep replacing the two numbers with their arithmetic and harmonic means. This will converge rapidly to the square root of s

I tried it with 40 and it did converge pretty rapidly.

I started with 5 * 8 = 40.

Then I replaced 5 with the average (arithmetic mean) of 5 & 8 (13/2) and 8 with the harmonic mean of 5 and 8 (explained on the link above). The two numbers are now:

13/2, 80/13

I repeated the process and got 329/52, 2080/329 (~6.327 and ~6.322). The true answer is between them and starts with 6.3245...

According to an answer on math.stackexchange.com:

> This is essentially the same as the Babylonian method for computing square roots, which is itself the same as Newton's method using the function f(t)=t^2−x.

According to Wikipedia:

> The number of correct digits of the approximation roughly doubles with each iteration.

Alisa at 1:09 AM on January 5, 2017 | #8173

Philip Gibbs on the lack of a foundation of mathematics

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-foundation-of-mathematics-1/answer/Philip-Gibbs-1 (bold mine)

> I dont think there is such a think as a fundamental base on which mathematics is built...

> What makes concepts interesting and useful in mathematics is not how good their base definition is, but rather their universality. You may think the best definition of PI is in terms of a circle, but it could also be defined in terms of infinite series or the period of functions obeying simple differential equations. What makes PI so interesting is that it comes up all over mathematics, not just in geometry. This is what we mean by universality. A mathematical concept is judged on how universally useful it is, not on how basic and simple its definition is.

> **So mathematics itself also has many different starting points but they all lead to the same thing.** Some starting points or axioms may be more convenient given our current preferred mathematical interests, but they are not really more fundamental than any other starting point that lead to the same body of mathematical ideas.

Alisa at 1:57 AM on January 5, 2017 | #8174
#8174 right. philosophy is similar.

curi at 2:03 AM on January 5, 2017 | #8175

How do you distinguish a good scientific hypothesis from a crack-pot theory?

https://www.quora.com/What-distinguishes-Chariots-of-the-Gods-from-Nemesis-as-hypotheses/answer/Philip-Gibbs-1 (bold mine)

> "How do you distinguish a good scientific hypothesis from a crack-pot theory?"

> I don't particularly like the derogatory term "crackpot" but it usually refers to someone whose theory is clearly wrong, but who refuses to accept the evidence. The first thing that people need to appreciate is that scientific ideas do not fall neatly into two piles; one of crackpot theories and one of good science. There is a continuous spectrum of possibilities that lie in between.

> You can't distinguish a crackpot by the fact that they compare themselves to Einstein, or because they claim the establishment is against them. You can't score points against them because they use Word to write their papers instead of TeX (yes people do seriously claim that this is significant) or anything else of that sort. You can't say that someone is a crackpot because their theory does not make a testable prediction either. Scientific papers that make predictions are classified as phenomenology and the rest are either experimental or pure theory.

(Tangent: I thought phenomenology was about philosophy and consciousness, and not about making predictions.)

> There are plenty of theory papers that remain very remote from observation at the present time, especially in high energy physics and cosmology. That does not make them pseudoscience.

> **The only way to identify a crackpot is to demonstrate that they are definitely wrong and that they disregard valid criticisms.**

Nice criteria.

Alisa at 2:03 AM on January 5, 2017 | #8176
#8166
> eeeee senpai said it was a good idea ^.^

> (brought to you from watching tons of anime lately, and still trying to work out how to think about someone who I respect)

I want to add to this, since it could mean some bad stuff on the face of it

like "senpai" could imply thinking of a teacher/master position, where I'm taking the role of obedient student, some anime do use it like that and I didn't say what I had been watching

I have this more in mind:
From The Fountainhead
> But when Roark looked at him with approval, when Roark smiled, when Roark praised one of his articles, Heller felt the strangely clean joy of a sanction that was neither a bribe nor alms.


I also went with the anime reference in part because I want to be more light-hearted about philosophy, I want to learn it in a way that's fun, and anime is fun :3

I think this is an important goal people miss, I get the impression that a number of people who post here or on FI find the experience stressful rather than joyful

Anonymous at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2017 | #8194

Trello is for processes that you're not sure yet about the right way to manage.

I've never used Trello but here's an HN commenter on why he likes it:

> [What] makes [Trello] so amazing is how domain-agnostic it is. They refuse at all costs to add any feature that helps use Trello in one specific way over others (e.g. lists = stages in task lifetime, cards = tasks; lists = assigned people, cards = tasks; lists = dates, cards = events, ...), and that made Trello equally useful as a Kanban board, a CRM, or for a beer microbrewery tracking its different barrels and the stages of brewing they are at. The best thing about Trello is when you start organizing your board one way, then organically drift towards a more natural way to organize them, sometimes without noticing as you do. Trello is for processes that you're not sure yet about the right way to manage.

The CEO of Trello replied:

> You described Trello's core strength perfectly

Alisa at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2017 | #8205

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)