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Open Discussion (2019)

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Elliot Temple on April 8, 2019

Comments (30 of 382) (Show All Comments)

Some thoughts on seasteading and medical tourism:

1) govts already tolerate medical tourism. Hosting Medical Tourism is not similar to running something super criminal where they might plausibly send the Navy out against u

2) people already travel big distances for tourism. Seasteading could offer shorter trips and thus have big competitive advantage

3) enabling medical tourism fits well with values of ppl into seasteading

4) medical services are a high value item that is heavily regulated and thus costs way more than it should. So the potential margins in this area could justify the expense of building a floating hospital 🏥 🚣‍♀️

Anonymous at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2019 | #13200 | reply | quote

First question

Hi there,

I'm new here - found my way via following discussions about the Beginning of Infinity, Popper etc.

To start with: consider a (student) conference you has been invited to present at (after applying - thought it was a good idea at the time) but you are not very inspired (at all) by your work. The work is 'explanationless science'. It's a computer simulation of a situation that attempts to fit some kind of data.

However, the conference is the kind of thing that would 'look good on a resume' and the supervisor is a nice enough person. Is it worth continuing to force myself (I do struggle to put any effort in) to work on the project (which would be finished quite soon)? Or, is it irrational to do so? After finding these websites - most of the time I'd prefer to try and understand all this Philosophy instead.


PA at 1:36 AM on August 5, 2019 | #13218 | reply | quote

Historical pictures of the world trade center buildings. Click to other days for other pictures. A reminder of what was destroyed.


Anonymous at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2019 | #13221 | reply | quote

#13218 I discussed this at https://youtu.be/iik19Zg_7NU?t=1025 (starts at 17min)

curi at 2:36 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13226 | reply | quote

#13226 Thanks very much! Makes sense.

PA at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13229 | reply | quote

David Deutsch on Ayn Rand

I recently read the 'I changed my mind about David Deutsch' post (http://curi.us/1567-i-changed-my-mind-about-david-deutsch). I was wondering what in particular he has wrong about Ayn Rand? All I can gather is from this: https://www.reddit.com/r/samharris/comments/50p5un/has_sam_ever_directly_refuted_objectivism_in_any/.

Anonymous at 6:26 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13230 | reply | quote

Jobs in society today

Hi there,

What kinds of ideas do people have about ways to support oneself but also learn and do good philosophy or scholarly work? I noticed Elliot has his own digital products. Is academia still an effective path at all?

Anonymous at 6:30 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13231 | reply | quote

#13231 I do some remote, freelance software engineering too. It's easier to make money that way.

Academia is possible – it can work – but I don't think it's a good option in general. Maybe if someone is already invested in it. But everything else being equal, I think having a pretty easy non-intellectual job (not too draining intellectually or physically, not much physical labor) where you can listen to audio books a fair amount of the time would be better than academia. Getting a philosophy PhD was hell for Peikoff and it's gotten worse, not better, since then. And universities have lots of office politics, social climbing, and SJW crap. It's hard to get professor jobs and to get tenure, and I doubt having tenure makes you half as safe as its reputation (it's supposed to give you the freedom to speak freely and stuff because you don't have to fear being fired). And getting published in academic journals is a mess. This came up in my streams the last few days, which are on my YouTube.

Besides programming, a major option is take what you already like, or are already good at, and get some income from that. That works best if you're high skilled. It's hard to make money out of a hobby or interest that you're average at unless you're particularly good at something else (e.g. making videos with social signaling that people like) or it's an area where it's particularly easy to make money (e.g. if you like to cook and your interest is compatible with working in a restaurant kitchen which is actually pretty different than hobbyist cooking).

curi at 7:07 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13233 | reply | quote

Cloudflare terminates service for 8chan

From Ben Evans' latest newsletter:

> Cloudflare, which provides Internet infrastructure to websites (protecting against DDOS - distributed denial of service attacks), kicked 8Chan off its network. https://new.blog.cloudflare.com/terminating-service-for-8chan/

Alisa at 7:20 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13234 | reply | quote


#13230 DD has been shifting to the left for years. He liked Rand more in the past. His response on reddit is not representative of the views he had when he developed the ideas in his books and shared his ideas with me.

DD has been trying to pander to the "intellectual elite". This shows a lack of understanding of Rand's explanations of how to live in an irrational society (in VoS) and of the story of Wynand. You can't get people to listen to you by presenting one way, then say your real ideas that you've been hiding (e.g. DD's ideas about parenting or capitalism, which he largely avoids telling anyone about) – that is a bait and switch and people will turn on you, as e.g. Wynand found out when he tried to support Roark and lost his audience.


Thanks for sharing this link. I hadn't seen it. Quoting DD:

> I admire Ayn Rand, but not as a philosopher.

That is *not* what he ever said to me and is far more hostile to Rand than he used to be. And btw DD gave me explicit permission to publicly say he was a "fan" of Ayn Rand with no qualifiers, exceptions or buts.

> As an observer of people, and of some of the pervasive irrationalities and hangups of our culture (especially the ones she somewhat misleadingly called 'altruism'),

DD didn't do this kind of sniping against Rand in our conversations.

> she was outstanding. As a polemical writer criticising these irrationalities and exposing the harm they do, she was excellent and persuasive. And her optimism and pro-human stances are refreshing and inspiring (and true).

DD refers to e.g. Rand's work on second-handedness without naming it. He's vague on purpose. I think he's partly trying to avoid using Objectivist terminology (which he's fluent in lots of) to distance himself from it.

> But she had a strong tendency to make hyperbolic generalisations and to double down on them with nonsense in order to deflect any potential criticism. Just consider dispassionately, if you can, whether the following statement is true or false:


> > "In no case and in no situation may one permit one’s own values to be attacked or denounced, and keep silent".

This is not a random quote. This is chosen specifically from one of the essays DD most misunderstands and/or disagrees with (regarding its main points, not wording details). And, as with ~everything else in philosophy, DD will not debate the matter. He also won't study this seriously. But he knows, correctly, that this is one of the essays he's living his life contrary to and it's one of the ones for him to attack.

And DD is being picky about an issue which he knows (or maybe he forgot since he hasn't read much Rand for decades) is covered a few chapters earlier in the same book. Rand already explained the context of her statement and how to interpret it (as part of a normal situation, not as part of the ethics of emergencies like living in a Nazi state.)

And DD is using sloppy wording himself. "strong tendency"? He ought to know better. During the editing process, I word-searched BoI for certain key words like *probable*, *tends*, *likely* and I went through *every single instance of those words in the entire book* and pointed out *dozens of cases where they should be changed*. He's extremely familiar with the issue of misuse of probability words and similar stuff (I learned that from him).

> The thing is, if literally true, this is a profound discovery in moral philosophy, with dramatic practical implications. But if it is merely a maxim that is true in a certain vaguely defined set of circumstances, and her idea is that people often defer to social convention when they shouldn't, then it is unoriginal and unspectacular though arguably useful in a self-help-book sort of way. She intends the latter meaning but expresses it in terms suggesting the former. As polemic or rhetoric, that's great. As philosophy, it's embarrassing wannabe stuff.

These smears ("self-help-book", "embarrassing wannabe") do not resemble, *at all*, the man I knew. Very very sadly, the DD I knew is gone. He was a great man.

DD has changed his position on Rand without publicly explaining his prior position nor explaining (I'd guess to anyone at all, including himself) what specifically he changed his mind about or why.

> She was (ironically) obsessed with attributes of people rather than of ideas. That's why her followers tend to form themselves into groups with insider/outsider ideologies (somewhat unfairly called 'cults' by her detractors).

"obsessed" is insulting mental illness terminology, contrary to Szasz. DD claims to respect Szasz, who he claims to have read and understood. But, as with other matters, he's gotten worse about it over time. He forgot some stuff and he never fully understood it.

And this is DD is doing socially-calibrated pandering to men like Dawkins, Harris and Pinker. He's shifting his opinions to what they like to hear.

> In regard to fundamental philosophical theory she was hopelessly incompetent and confused. Despite this, her actual conclusions about economics and politics, which don't really follow from these purported foundations, are very good indeed --- though she underestimated the resilience of American and Anglosphere institutions, and indeed underrated the importance of institutions generally. Her main -- perhaps her only -- innovation, was to stress much more than anyone before her that free markets are morally superior to socialism, and that defending them in terms of efficiency only is to concede much of (she would say the whole of!) the opponents' case."

This is totally unlike my dozens of conversations with DD about Objectivism. It's hateful and it hides *why* he's hateful. The whole thing avoids sharing his actual reasoning and just focuses on a few minor issues (plus *vague*, broad statements) that are easier to comment on.


This is so sad. This might be literally the worst thing he's ever written. There were some bad things after he quit all discussion forums, mostly on twitter, but I don't recall anything this bad. And his posts were far better than this when he used to participate on forums.

curi at 7:37 PM on August 5, 2019 | #13235 | reply | quote

#13233 Indeed, because doing Philosophy and changing anyone's mind/the way we educate people requires one:

1. To know the Philosophy.

2. Access to the institutions to then gain decision making authority in order to noticeably change them (within a lifetime).

And of course one must support oneself in the meantime. It is a difficult to problem to solve.

Anonymous at 1:55 AM on August 6, 2019 | #13239 | reply | quote


NYT wrote a factual headline describing a speech Trump gave. Leftists complained and NYT made the headline biased

Anonymous at 10:13 AM on August 6, 2019 | #13240 | reply | quote

Is it on my part or does the RSS feed no loger work with the site? Because the Cloudflare looks to be disabled now, so that should no longer be the issue I reckon. I'm using Vienna.

N at 11:46 PM on August 7, 2019 | #13248 | reply | quote

> Arriving Today: Your Amazon package with Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Dishwand, #1 Selling Dishwand Brand (1 Dishwand Total).

It's funny how they put advertisements/marketing/bragging into product titles. Makes sense though when Amazon is going to text me about it and refer to it by title. Helps with how it displays in search results too.

Anonymous at 10:11 AM on August 8, 2019 | #13249 | reply | quote

#13248 Cloudflare protection is back on for now. The bots came back after a few days of having it off. I have been busy. I will work on this problem but it may be over a week more before I do. In the meantime, if you don't want to wait you could find new comments via:


Point one of those at the recent comments page from the sidebar.

curi at 10:13 AM on August 8, 2019 | #13250 | reply | quote

#13250 Thanks for the page update option in the meantime.

I really like the new video postings. Unfortunately I haven't been able to join in live more than once, but having it available afterwards is very good and helps to understand the posts on a deeper level. Just watching the one on twin studies after having read the article a couple of days ago.

N at 9:49 PM on August 8, 2019 | #13253 | reply | quote

Gene-environment interaction and 'personality'

I was recently discussing genes and their role in someone's 'temperament' or 'personality'. I doubt I do (need to read DD more closely again), but is this correct reasoning?

1. Genes cause changes in environments.

2. People are born with their own 'unique' genetic make-up. In the sense that they have knowledge that has some variation from their parents/ancestors but obviously some similarities too.

Combining 1 and 2: do two people have their own 'temperaments' due to their initial conditions? Some kind of butterfly/chaos theory effect leading to wildly different/unique outcomes?

If so, is it then correct to say people's personalities are caused by their genes? Even if it's only the initial different interaction with the environment that causes a difference (assuming exactly the same initial environment)? Or is it a question then of: where does the environment interaction begin?

Anonymous at 12:03 AM on August 9, 2019 | #13254 | reply | quote

Gene-environment interaction and 'personality'

Where does free will fit into this?

a different anonymous at 8:47 AM on August 9, 2019 | #13257 | reply | quote

YouTube average watch time is buggy. Here it shows as being considerably longer than the stream's total time:

curi at 1:17 PM on August 9, 2019 | #13262 | reply | quote

Gene-interaction and 'personality' (free will part)

#13257 On free will: we could perhaps argue there's a contradiction between our physical explanation and moral explanation? But they live on different levels of emergence and I don't think I understand how they interact properly. Actually, where is the contradiction? We are assuming that physical reality creates knowledge when we claim determinism contradicts our ability to have problems (free will) aren't we? But the laws of physics don't create knowledge. They certainly allow its existence (humans exist), but it's the evolutionary process that creates knowledge.

Does that make any sense?

PA at 7:13 PM on August 9, 2019 | #13268 | reply | quote

curi at 1:46 PM on August 10, 2019 | #13272 | reply | quote

#13254 I talked about this on my stream at https://youtu.be/EiPMrvQYx5w?t=6360

curi at 8:20 PM on August 10, 2019 | #13275 | reply | quote

#13275 That makes sense. It wouldn't be correct to say the initial conditions are more important to the causation of a 'personality' than any of subsequent interaction either. Each interaction caused that personality. Not any individual interaction.

Anonymous at 8:42 PM on August 12, 2019 | #13295 | reply | quote

Have you considered criticizing ads like you did songs?

Anonymous at 12:01 PM on August 13, 2019 | #13298 | reply | quote

I like the TV show Succession. Season 2 just started. I watch less TV than I used to. I'm having a harder time finding stuff I like.

curi at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2019 | #13302 | reply | quote

#13268 I talked about this on stream a bit at https://youtu.be/gg3wZ3oC1kc around approximately 2:15:00.

curi at 5:37 PM on August 15, 2019 | #13305 | reply | quote

This is a decent book on some early speculative bubbles, like the Dutch tulip bubble:


oh my god it's turpentine at 2:36 PM on August 16, 2019 | #13316 | reply | quote

> I like the TV show Succession. Season 2 just started. I watch less TV than I used to. I'm having a harder time finding stuff I like.

What do you like about * Succession*?

Anonymous at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2019 | #13320 | reply | quote

Good summary of Oberlin vs Gibson's Bakery

Abraham Socher, O Oberlin, My Oberlin, *Commentary* Magazine, August 2019

The above article is a good summary of the conflict between Oberlin College and Gibson's Bakery. It has some fancy writing, but it also mentions all the important facts known to date (at least, all the important facts I know of).

There are currently 60 HN comments on the article.

Alisa at 12:07 AM on August 18, 2019 | #13321 | reply | quote

#13320 Decent level of realism. Business stuff that isn't total fluff. E.g. more serious business interactions than Suits had. Less focused on romantic relationships or sex (or jokes) than comparable shows. Pretty plot based instead of episodic.

curi at 7:46 PM on August 18, 2019 | #13326 | reply | quote

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