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Open Discussion (2019)

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Elliot Temple on April 8, 2019

Comments (334)

Example of How Children Are Brutalized

This Facebook post shares how brutally ear-piercing shops are willing to treat children.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/raylene-marks/an-open-letter-to-claires-corporate/10158352387633989/

An Open Letter To Claire’s Corporate.

I am a former employee of one of your Edmonton, Alberta area Claire's locations. I didn’t mind piercing the ears of children who were excited to get new earrings, but nervous about the procedure. I’d do what I could to put them at ease. I had a couple "gray area" piercings, though; piercings where the children resisted heavily, were pressured and intimidated by the parents into settling down, and the children weren't happy with what had happened even after the earrings were in place and the standard lollipop had been dispensed. I didn't feel good about those, and I started to wonder at what point the piercer and the parent are actually violating a child's personal boundaries. Last week was a breaking point.

A seven year old girl came in to Claire's with her mother to get her ears pierced. I was to assist with the piercing, since it was what we call a "double," both ears at the same time. It's reserved for nervous kids who might change their mind after the first earring goes in. The girl pleaded and sobbed for thirty minutes not to be pierced. Despite Mom saying, "Honey, we can go home whenever you want," she was not letting her daughter go home. She was putting a great deal of pressure on her daughter to go through with the piercing. This child was articulate, smart, and well aware of herself and her body. She expressed that she didn't want us touching her, that we were standing too close, that she was feeling uncomfortable. She made it clear she no longer wanted to get her ears pierced. She begged, over and over again, for Mom to please, just take her home. That child's message was loud and clear to me: Do not touch my body, do not pierce my ears, I do not want to be here. I'm inclined to respect a child's right to say, "NO," to any adult forcing any kind of non-medical contact on them, so I told the other piercer I wouldn't be part of the ear piercing for this girl. To my great relief, in the end the mother respected her daughter's wishes, and took her home.

The next day at work, my manager asked about the previous day. I explained the child that refused the piercing and begged to be left alone, and I told my manager that I would not have been able to pierce that little girl's ears if Mom had insisted on it. I was firmly told, "You would have had no choice but to do it."

So I brought up the worst scenario I could think of. I wanted to know how far we were supposed to take this policy of piercing non-consenting children. "So if a mother is physically restraining her daughter, holding her down and saying, 'DO IT,' while that little girl cries and asks me not to, do I do the piercing?" My manager did not hesitate to respond, "Yes, you do the piercing."

I gave my notice that day. I had a choice between facing disciplinary actions (that would eventually lead to my termination) the next time I refused to pierce the ears of children who withdrew their consent, or leaving on my own terms. I chose the latter. My manager continues to assert that the other Claire's managers in this district are in agreement with her, and that our District Sales Manager confirms this policy is correct: Children can be held down and pierced. Children do not have a voice in the piercing process. The associate doing the piercing has no right to refuse to shoot metal through the ears of a child who begs not to be touched.

Your Policies and Procedures Manual offers only one policy, Policy 509, on the right to refuse a piercing. It is this: “We reserve to the right to refuse an ear piercing if a successful one cannot be done.” There is no mention of the use of physical restraint by the parent, or the employee’s right to refuse an ear piercing if their concerns are for the emotional welfare of the child. Basically, if I’m not going to get kicked in the head by that restrained child, or if that hysterical seven year old is unlikely to knock the gun from my hand, I must go ahead with the piercing.

This is, by my point of view, a deeply flawed policy that helps facilitate situations where children can be traumatized or otherwise subject to forms of intimidation and abuse in-store. The employee who refuses to be a party to these actions will be, “coached,” written up, and eventually terminated after enough write-ups.

I believe in upholding a child’s right to bodily integrity at all costs, and I will not be an adult that commits an indignity to a child. Kids who don’t want to endure the discomfort and pain of the procedure should not be forced to because a paying adult comes in, claims to be the legal guardian and insists upon the ear piercing. I cannot be part of a company that teaches a child that their right to say, “NO”, to invasive non-medical contact can be so easily overridden by an adult, and moreover, that they're supposed to accept that. This is about a child’s right to refuse to be pierced. This is also about an employee’s right to refuse to pierce the child that refuses to be pierced.

If you are a company that cares about kids, I implore you to consider changing this policy that blatantly ignores every child who vocally protests, cries, shows obvious signs of distress or is physically restrained by their alleged guardian while they sob and beg to be released. There needs to be something in place that protects both the rights of the child to protect his or her own body, and the right for the employee to refuse to pierce a heavily distressed child that adamantly refuses to have his or her ears pierced.

So I implore you now, as does everyone who shares this letter--Be better. Be accountable. Know what’s going on in your stores, and do something about it. And until you do, myself and perhaps many others have no interest in shopping at Claire’s and helping fund what we believe to be a cruel practice. Our children deserve better. Please do better by them.


Anonymous at 1:06 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12100 | reply | quote

Hello

Hello I'm new here. I'm an aspiring author and artist. I have an Instagram it's Mingmecha where I have some of my work. I'm 23 and manage a restaurant. I'm have many hobbies and interests and am a professional card game player as well. I value philosophy science and rational people. My goal is to meet other geniuses as other people have always dissapointed me all my life I've felt alone my fire is dimming as I have no real social relationships of real value. I fear that my literature will not reach the people I want it to but my goal is to at least have someone else who gets it. I've never accepted anything less then the world that ayn rand invisioned. In my fiction I plan to complete some of her philosophy that she hadn't got to for example music, general artifical intelligence, the role of transhumansism and bionic, discovering a metaphysical altering technology and more. I hope I can find a friend as that's my prime motive in posting here. Thank you for your time. Also I'm a 23 year old male for what it's worth giving the writing an identity.


B at 2:41 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12101 | reply | quote

> I plan to complete some of her philosophy that she hadn't got to for example music, general artifical intelligence, the role of transhumansism and bionic, discovering a metaphysical altering technology and more.

These are ambitious goals. Lots of people try these things and fail. What are you doing to accomplish this, and how does it differ from what's already been tried?


Dagny at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12102 | reply | quote

Hi B,

After learning chess and programming, I read *The Fabric of Reality* by David Deutsch, started having discussions with him, and got into philosophy. I think epistemology is the most important field. Bad intellectual methods harm progress in all other fields.

My studies have included writing/discussing a huge amount (I'm unaware of any philosopher who has done half as much) and these books, which are a list of some of the best: http://fallibleideas.com/books

BTW, regarding card games, I was the best Hearthstone player for a couple months early on. But I got tired of the game and quit. I also wrote guides.

I've found the world's intellectuals disappointing and unwilling to debate ideas or learn/think much. They are fakers pursuing social status. Their problems date back to childhood, where their minds are largely destroyed by around age 7, as Ayn Rand discusses in *The Comprachicos*. David Deutsch explained it in more detail by applying Critical Rationalist epistemology to parenting/education (the result is called Taking Children Seriously ).

Besides advancing philosophy, I've been trying to understand the world's irrationality and how to deal with it, and made some progress. Besides Deutsch's idea of static memes, I've developed the ideas of Paths Forward and Overreaching. Paths Forward is about how to organize ideas and debate so that people can collaborate effectively instead of ignoring corrections and criticisms that other people know and are willing to share. "Intellectuals" don't do this. Overreaching is about how people fail at learning philosophy because they do things which are too hard, and their error rate exceeds their ability to deal with errors. These ideas can help anyone who is trying to learn or advance philosophy.

I'm always looking for people who are interested in ideas enough, and honest enough, to learn what's already known about philosophy and then contribute something new.


curi at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12103 | reply | quote

#12102 I plan to figure that out I'm still young and learning, but I know I am capable. Seeing what others have done without an objectivist perspective on these issues have left them hit roadblocks. I plan to express these ideas in my novels in a romantic way. After I have done this I want to focus more on being a philosopher. Right now I don't have the time to dedicate myself to full time research but I will later after I have established my restaurant business more.


Anonymous at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12107 | reply | quote

#12103 I take ideas very seriously I think you are the only person I've met who takes them to the ideal extent I'd like to be in. I just learned about popper and David through you I am going to start reading those books as soon as they arrive. I have read all rands books even her old magazine and her letters. Epistemology is something that interests me greatly because my novel right now is about music. Have you read Emotion in Life & Music : A New Science by Johnson, M. Zachary? He is an objectivist and has the best theory I've found on music. It's incomplete but I have some ideas for what's missing but it involves learning more into epistemology.


Anonymous at 6:07 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12108 | reply | quote

A reply of mine on an Objectivism subreddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekfrcgz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>Those Americans who have "independent minds dedicated to the supremacy of truth" are not all perishing, but many are doing what Oism was created to help us do, live on earth.

>In many cases, how we live is not to proselytize or promote Objectivism (or a less well-defined yet honest/independent/productive way to live) with overt acts or plans, but rather through living our lives and potentially the odd conversation every once in a while.

I am all for living on earth. I think careful discussion of ideas helps with that. I am doubtful that independent minds dedicated to the supremacy of truth would be satisfied with "potentially the odd conversation every once in a while." Also, it's not even an issue of promoting or proselytizing Objectivism -- you need to discuss Objectivism extensively in order to have a thorough, first-handed understanding of it *for yourself*. You need to do *thousands of error corrections* in order to understand a hard topic well: http://curi.us/2052-do-thousands-of-error-corrections

Rand pioneered Objectivism and helped us all enormously, but we still have to work -- a lot -- at understanding the details in our own minds. And if people are doing this, there should be some evidence.


Anonymous at 6:23 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12109 | reply | quote

> I plan to express these ideas in my novels in a romantic way. After I have done this I want to focus more on being a philosopher.

That seems backwards. You need to get the ideas right first, as well as you can, before writing novels to share them. When you focus more on being a philosopher, you will find out you were mistaken about some of your previous beliefs, and therefore that your novels contain mistakes that you could have avoided if you'd written them after you knew more.

One needs philosophy, particularly rational methods for thinking and learning, in order to do other things effectively. So one should be competent at philosophy (critical thinking skills, judging ideas, learning methods, understanding how to find and fix errors, etc.) before trying to do much else.

Our current cultural situation is: there are only a handful of competent philosophers. Unless you're at the top of the field, you're incompetent. It shouldn't be that way. It should be possible to just learn the basics and leave the rest to the experts while you do something else like a novel. But we don't live in that world. To get the basics of philosophy right makes you an expert today – and it's hard to get them right because most educational materials will teach you misconceptions. It currently takes extensive, serious study of philosophy, like a professional or expert, just to sort out the good ideas from the crap and become competent.


Dagny at 7:21 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12110 | reply | quote

#12110 I understand that but at what point will I hold off my novels by continuing to pursue being an actual philosopher. I struggle with this because I have put in the work and studied everything not just in philosophy because I believe one must be a polymath to be a writer. After all you are creating another universe just as consitient as the rules that dictate our world. I wouldn't call myself a professional philosopher but I do know a quite alot. I tried going to ocon and talking with everyone and they always gave me this "who do you think you are kid" and I was so resentful that no one wanted to listen or challenge some inconsistencies in there objectivism. Now I'm all for ayn rand being a genius but she died before she could finish epistemology. I guess what I'm saying is I'm not sure how far to postpone my writing for the virtue of accuracy and innovative ideas. But I value the truth more. I don't know the solution to that.


B at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12111 | reply | quote

I replied about Objectivism on Reddit

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekfxms5?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>The threat of jail and being exposed to poor ideas are very different motivations, and I think those who realize the sacredness of their fire rarely let it go out.

Ideas rule the world. The Fountainhead:

>When the agents were gone, Wynand pressed a button on his desk, summoning Alvah Scarret. Scarret entered the office, smiling happily. He always answered that buzzer with the flattered eagerness of an office boy.

>“Alvah, what in hell is the Gallant Gallstone?”

>Scarret laughed. “Oh, that? It’s the title of a novel. By Lois Cook.”

>“What kind of a novel?”

>“Oh, just a lot of drivel. It’s supposed to be a sort of prose poem. It’s all about a gallstone that thinks that it’s an independent entity, a sort of a rugged individualist of the gall bladder, if you see what I mean, and then the man takes a big dose of castor oil—there’s a graphic description of the consequences—I’m not sure it’s correct medically, but anyway that’s the end of the gallant gallstone. It’s all supposed to prove that there’s no such thing as free will.”

Consider the effect a bad culture will have on whether or not people wind up realizing the sacredness of their fire.


Justin Mallone at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12112 | reply | quote

#12111 I think you should do what you can to test your knowledge. Talking to people at OCON was a good thing to try. I tried HBL and every other online Objectivist forum I found, instead, as well as several local Objectivist groups.

Do you have essays which people can review to tell you about some of your mistakes or missing knowledge, if they can spot it? (Or, in the alternative, they could agree with you and learn from you.) You should have some accomplishments where you say "I think this is good" and challenge anyone to tell you something you're missing. You should have something to represent the quality of your thinking which people can look at. These accomplishments should begin smaller – e.g. a few essays before a novel – so that you can get feedback more quickly with less work invested. Some of the early ones should be philosophy related so that your philosophy knowledge can be tested.

Also, you should survey all the major philosophies and have positions on them. That doesn't mean studying them all. It means having a general understanding of them (a survey book that covers many philosophies is OK). Then, either judge each philosophy is valuable and learn more, or else if you think it's bad then find a refutation of it written by anyone. That refutation should be held up as a challenge to people – can you refute this? – just like your own personal accomplishments. (And, again, readers may learn from it rather than attempt to knock it down. It gives people both options, a positive or negative reaction.) If errors are pointed out in the refutation you have accepted of a philosophy, then you should give the topic more attention to better understand what the existing arguments on the matter are and what position you should take (and whether you should actually start reading primary sources).

So instead of saying, "Marx? I haven't considered him yet." You say, "Marx? His views were refuted by Mises in his economic calculation argument and his book, *Socialism*. Did Mises make a mistake? Do you know something I'm missing?"

In the case where there are no quality refutations of a philosophy – no one has pointed out what's wrong with it - then it might be right and merits some attention now. It's not safe to ignore it. What if there are many bad ideas which haven't been refuted? Most bad ideas can be refuted in short, simple ways by reusing general purpose arguments. E.g. if philosophy P is subjectivist, then you can point to a refutation of subjectivism in general, rather than something which deals with philosophy P in particular.

These are some of the things I talk about in my Paths Forward material, and which I try to do as part of how I organize my knowledge and deal with the world. I find people don't do this, which means they ignore ideas I consider correct with no reason given, and also they don't put forward some of their own ideas to be criticized (and are actually willing to respond to questions and and criticisms – some people have a book or blog, but challenging the public to point out errors, and actually addressing counter-arguments, is rare.)


curi at 8:06 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12113 | reply | quote

> Have you read Emotion in Life & Music : A New Science by Johnson, M. Zachary?

Since you brought it up, I checked his blog and found some good points, so I looked through some of the book. I like some parts but also find major errors like his acceptance of psychiatry and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in ch. 1. (For my answer to that, see Thomas Szasz's books.) I find some parts vague and fuzzy, like his claim that music is superior to other types of art (ch. 8). There are lots of minor errors like how he views "solipsism" – he doesn't seem familiar with that specific philosophy and then talks about the word like it has a less specific meaning. This stood out to me because solipsism is treated in a much more precise way in *The Fabric of Reality*. For Zachary's book, I don't think he should have mentioned solipsism at all. Another detail error was:

> The culture of ancient Greece, with its incredibly focussed and economical poetic and musical expression, with its exquisitely simple beauty and strangely pregnant melodic-emotional content, was first smashed by a conquest by the materialistic Romans (in the Battle of Corinth, 146 BC).

Athens was smashed by conquest, by Sparta, before that. Also, I object to using the word "materialistic" negatively.

I agree that with lots of what he says about emotions being based on ideas not genes, and often being related to childhood baggage that people haven't untangled. I think he makes it sound much easier to sort out than it actually is, though. I also agree that evil exists and that can be hard for more rational people to comprehend, and there's a problem and danger there. It's also dangerous to declare people evil and stop trying to interact rationally (what if I make an incorrect judgment like that!?), so this is a hard topic.

> The special method of the enemies of reason is relentlessness. Since they are not focussed on any productive activity, all of their energy can be channeled into the war on reason. Reason is a sorting faculty, which deals with incoming data by conceptualizing it and organizing it. Its enemies know the surest way to defeat reason: swamp it, overload it, confuse it, crush it under a weight of nonsense. Never give it a chance to achieve the clarity it needs.

I think the answer to this is developing reusable criticisms which refute entire categories of ideas. I don't think reason, properly organized, gets overloaded. Once you know a lot of criticisms of common errors, it gets hard to come up with new ideas that aren't *already* refuted. To save time, we must criticism patterns of error instead of every error individually. If someone finds ideas overwhelming to deal with, it indicates a problem with their knowledge and thinking methods. I think a harder aspects evil to deal with are, in general, *dishonesty* and *violence*, and, in our current culture, *social status contests*.


curi at 8:32 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12114 | reply | quote

Johnson, M. Zachary. Emotion in Life & Music: A New Science (p. 22). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

> The **intensity** parameter is the force or strength of the music; it is a function of volume or the *amount of sound*, including simple loudness, and two forms of pitch density: the complexity of simultaneous sonorities, and the effect on any given moment of music of the full context that preceded and prepared it.

This is the first time he uses the word "sonorities" in the book. He doesn't explain what it means. I don't know enough about music to know what he's talking about. Maybe what he's saying refers to technical knowledge about music and makes sense and can clearly communicate to someone with the appropriate background. But this is one example of how his communication about music is not suitable for a lay reader.

Looking it up, I find out it means giving sound, or giving a clear or loud sound. If there is a technical meaning so this word communicates some important detail, I'm not seeing it. If it's just a fancy word with a simple meaning, then I don't think he's explaining well. I thought this word would have to have a special meaning for the passage to be meaningful.

Does the passage just mean this?

> Musical intensity comes from loudness, from using multiple sounds at once [somehow], and from interplay [somehow] between sound at different times.

Also, is there a particular passage focused on music which you think is great and which is readable by a non-expert?


curi at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12115 | reply | quote

hitler's beneficiaries

This book is about how the Germans got welfare programs from the Nazis funded by plunder, conquest and murder

https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Beneficiaries-Plunder-Racial-Welfare-ebook/dp/B01LZYIVZC


oh my god it's turpentine at 11:09 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12116 | reply | quote

https://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/merrill.html

Only 36?

Most "capitalists" in the novel were villains but the number seems really small


Anonymous at 9:58 AM on April 9, 2019 | #12118 | reply | quote

Gab's free speech browser extension is being deplatformed by Google and Mozilla. What a world. It just let you talk with other people who use the extension.

https://twitter.com/getongab/status/1116357643172491266

Also Gab seem to be too stupid to have a blog. wtf!? I didn't want to link a tweet with a picture of text.


Anonymous at 1:02 PM on April 11, 2019 | #12122 | reply | quote

Roger Scruton: An apology for thinking

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/04/roger-scruton-an-apology-for-thinking/ :

> I deplore the current use of [the word 'Islamophobia'], since it implies that there is some peculiar & irrational state of mind from which all objections to Islam proceed... I think of ‘homophobia’ as a similar word, designed to close all debate about a matter in which only one view is now deemed permissible.

> We .... are entering a dangerous social condition in which the direct expression of opinions that conflict – or merely seem to conflict – with a narrow set of orthodoxies is instantly punished by a band of self-appointed vigilantes.

💯


Alisa at 3:18 PM on April 11, 2019 | #12123 | reply | quote

#12103

You're not a philosopher and you don't understand philosophy - you're a fraud.

Most of your time is spent lying to yourself about these things.

You'd be disgusting were you not so laughably pathetic.


Anonymous at 12:38 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12124 | reply | quote

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12125 | reply | quote

#12125 I have. It's nice. Don't see the relevance though.

He spends a lot of effort trying to drag people into his narcissistic delusions. Time to say the truth.


Anonymous at 1:06 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12126 | reply | quote

> #12103

> You're not a philosopher and you don't understand philosophy - you're a fraud.

> Most of your time is spent lying to yourself about these things.

> You'd be disgusting were you not so laughably pathetic.

AS:

>"Senor d'Anconia," declared the woman with the earrings, "I don't agree with you!"

>"If you can refute a single sentence I uttered, madame, I shall hear it gratefully."


Anonymous at 1:15 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12127 | reply | quote

#12127 Are you sure you understand what refutation is?

(BTW curi is completely clueless about that. Doesn't get it. Doesn't get anything really. His parents (or somebody) abused him and he coped with it by becoming this pathetic. It's a life long journey of proving Mama wrong.)


Anonymous at 1:20 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12128 | reply | quote

> #12127 Are you sure you understand what refutation is?

> (BTW curi is completely clueless about that. Doesn't get it. Doesn't get anything really. His parents (or somebody) abused him and he coped with it by becoming this pathetic. It's a life long journey of proving Mama wrong.)

You're boring. If you have something to say regarding refutation, why don't you offer criticism instead of bland hate? I assume it's because you actually have nothing to say and are a poseur. Prove me wrong if you can. Otherwise, fuck off.


Anonymous at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12129 | reply | quote

#12129 I'm not boring; you are.

I'm not interested in talking with you. Only to other people reading this. They are far better and smarter than you.


Anonymous at 1:32 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12130 | reply | quote

I replied about Objectivism on reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekl2vgw?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>But one of my points is that at some level of understanding the law of diminishing returns comes in, and that plus opportunity costs makes me less likely to spend time talking about Oism the more I understand it

I don't think "diminishing returns" applies here, at least not in a straightforward way. If you got world class at understanding Objectivism, that would let you accomplish stuff in a variety of fields that you wouldn't be able to otherwise. Perhaps, given some set of goals, going *past* the point of world class would be unnecessary -- like you wouldn't want to be pioneering the next level of breakthroughs in Objectivism if philosophy wasn't your primary interest. But getting to world class in the first place is totally worth it.

And if somebody's world class at something, there's some evidence. George Reisman, for example, is a great economist, and it shows up in his writing. He studied under Rand and Mises. He's not a professional philosopher, but he's got tons of understanding of Objectivism.

I think people underestimate the level of philosophy knowledge that would be helpful to them in *any* goal by a huge factor, and also overestimate the philosophy knowledge they actually have (especially in terms of how much they've integrated it into their life versus learned it as concepts that aren't well integrated).

Also, regarding the role of discussing ideas in effective thinking, see

http://curi.us/2175-discussing--thinking


Justin Mallone at 6:53 PM on April 13, 2019 | #12134 | reply | quote

If you don't organize your learning/thinking/etc you're kinda wasting your time. You'll do stuff like reinventing incorrect versions of knowledge that is already well-developed and available to read. But inspiration matters too, being free to try stuff instead of just following a plan.

Solution? Organize your learning but also have free time. Aim for a minimum of 50% of your time to do organized/planned stuff every month. The amount of other stuff can vary based on inspiration, but it shouldn't take over a whole month, that's dangerous.


Anonymous at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12135 | reply | quote

Soviet Central Planners Relied on the Sears Catalog. lol @ socialism

https://web.archive.org/web/20130419182030/http://www.hrnicholls.com.au/archives/vol23/vol23-1.php

> I referred earlier to the price setting arrangements which were established in the Soviet Union. There, economists located in the Gosplan offices were responsible for this function, and as an understanding of the implications of von Mises' arguments concerning the inherent incapacity of a socialist economy to generate prices for all the goods and services which are characteristic of a modern economy permeated through the West---it took forty years or more for that to happen---the question arose: Where did prices in the Soviet Union come from?

> In the late seventies and early eighties, American economists began to travel to the Soviet Union and Gordon Tullock, an American economist who should have received the Nobel Prize for his work in public choice theory, took the opportunity, on a visit to Gosplan in Moscow, to ask that very question. Rather sheepishly his respondent took out a rather ancient Sears Roebuck catalogue from his desk and handed it over. Tullock didn't know what to make of this until it was explained that the Gosplan officials used the prices quoted for goods in the catalogue to obtain relativities between this and that item. They would then try to match the goods of the catalogue to what was available in the Soviet Union and then fix prices according to the relativities prescribed by Sears Roebuck. Where there was no match of product they just had to guess. So prices in the USSR were determined by Sears Roebuck.

> What is extraordinary about the Soviet Union, in retrospect, was that it lasted so long, and was, for so long, such a very real threat to the West.


Justin Mallone at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12136 | reply | quote

reddit comment about Oism

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/

I agree with all of Objectivism (I mean Rand said, not anyone else), as far as it goes. That is, I think it is contextual knowledge. I'm unaware of any substantial errors where Rand had a worse view than the standard view, or clearly should have known better at the time. I regard Rand as by far the best philosopher.

I'll bring up two areas where I disagree, but in neither case do I blame her. You have to start with what humanity already knows and improve things from there. One can't normally be blamed for not having made even more improvements.

Note, this is not normal. Most people, even some of the best people, have a mix of good ideas and bad ideas. When they try to have different ideas (different than mainstream/standard/tradition), they improve some ideas and they end up with worse ideas in some cases. Popper, for example, made a lot of big mistakes. Lots of his views are far worse than knowledge he had available. He rejected some great ideas like, in short, classical liberalism and economics.

Back to Rand, I think she is wiser about femininity and gender roles than other people in general. She understands them better than regular people who accept them (understanding how they work and which parts are good or bad). And I think the people who just reject gender roles are, in general, clueless radicals. But I think she overrates the value of gender roles for extremely good, rational people like Dagny. I don't accept them as an ideal or a necessary part of life (we're born tabula rasa, not with a gendered mind). I won't go into why because this is a big topic and I don't think it's what you wanted to focus on, and it's not a major part of Objectivism anyway.

As far as epistemology goes, Rand said nothing about CR (Critical Rationalism). She said very little about induction. What she did say was either along the lines of the standard view or better. She said she didn't know all the answers about induction (hadn't studied it), and she was aware of some hard parts, some problems, which she personally didn't know the answers to (having not studied it). I think she believed there must be answers because clearly we do learn stuff, science works, reason works, etc. The parts of epistemology where she had more to say is great stuff. So basically, in epistemology, she improved some things and left some other things alone.

CR says that the problems with induction are insurmountable (and gives improved arguments beyond the prior anti-inductive criticism), and says that the same goals can be achieved by a different method. This can be accepted while changing very little about Objectivist epistemology, because Objectivist epistemology doesn't rely on or talk about particular details about how induction works. It just relies on us being able to learn in a way connected with reality, which uses observation somehow, and results in genuine, contextual knowledge. CR offers that. So you just use that instead of induction and it doesn't change much because the rest of Objectivist is reasonably separate.

I have found some Objectivists don't mind this perspective, but some are really hostile to any disagreement with induction. I'll pause here and see what you think of the outline of the situation, without going into what CR actually says.


curi at 3:03 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12137 | reply | quote

How do I get back in touch with my emotions?


Anonymous at 11:22 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12138 | reply | quote

reddit comment on dispute with binswanger

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/ekxakcc/

>> He says my ideas are wrong. He selected one example to present, but it illustrates his own dishonesty.

> I consider this slander, because I disagree with your premise (explained subsequently in your post) that he evaded your point. In fact, he engaged with you on that point at length (the "eyes are opinionated" topic). In my view, you were completely wrong on that and his position is right. However, if I recall correctly, I didn't think (at the time) he handled that in exactly the right way. I would have agreed with him, but I would have said something a bit different. Anyway, to say that he evaded your point is, in my opinion, completely mistaken.

I appreciate the detailed response. It's too much to debate all at once, and it might be better to try talking CR instead. First, I'm going to respond to one point and see how it goes. I picked this one because it says "slander".

I think you're factually mistaken. I wrote in an epistemology post:

>>> As Popper put it: all observation is theory-laden. You need theories first. Raw observation is both impossible (because e.g. our eyes are opinionated--they let us see green but not infrared) and worthless (because there're infinitely many characteristics and patterns out there that one could observe).

HB quoted a partial sentence and said:

>> Is this serious? As stated, it is wild primacy of consciousness.

Later in that post he also said:

>> (I'm reminded of Quine's gavagai "problem," if you are familiar with that.)

Full post: https://pastebin.com/XJkGUmtm

I responded with point-by-point answers. **HB did not reply.**

Regarding primacy of consciousness, I said:

> How so? There are many different possible designs for eyes, and we have a particular one with various strengths (can see green) and weaknesses (can't see ultraviolet). This isn't a claim about consciousness.

Regarding gavagai problem, I said:

> Do you have a refutation of it? I took a look at it and I thought the basic point is correct (that any finite data set is compatible with infinitely many patterns or interpretations.)

> This is one of the major logical issues I've been talking about. I think it refutes some claims about epistemology. One needs an epistemology that doesn't run into this problem. I have that. You don't.

So here, HB had brought up a named version of one of the major issues we were debating. Despite being tangential to the thing about eyes, it was highly on topic to what we'd been discussing before that. Great. And I asked if he had any answer to that problem he brought up (he'd put "problem" in quotes and his epistemology position requires an answer to it) and he did not reply.

This was not the only exchange related to eyes and perception. Here's another:

ET:

>>>> Also, as a scientific matter, computation is done on the information from our eyes before it reaches our mind.

HB:

>>> No computation is done there. That’s metaphor. There’s no computation done anywhere outside the human mind. Even computers don’t actually compute. In philosophy, we have to speak literally, not metaphorically.

ET:

>> I was speaking literally. Have you read science about our visual system? Information from the eye is processed in an lossy (irreversible, information-losing) way before it reaches the mind. In short, visual information is simplified according to some algorithms specified by our genes prior to perceiving it.

>> This is just like if you’re writing an iOS photography app but don’t have access to the raw images from the camera, only images which iOS has already modified with some algorithms. (Offhand, I think apps can access raw images now, but couldn’t in the past.)

>> But I don’t know what you’re talking about by saying computers don’t compute. My computer can compute 2+3 and NAND among many other things. I guess you must be using some non-standard definition of computation? To understand me, it’s important to read what I’m saying with my terminology, not some alternative terminology you prefer. (This came up a lot with Popper, too, where words he used were read with an Objectivist meaning instead of Popper’s own meaning.)

HB didn't respond substantively to this. All he said was:

> Read it? I worked as intern for over a year with one of the field's greats: Richard Held.

> I am not up on the the discoveries made since the 60s, however; but I don't think what you reference is anything discovered since then. By the way, Jerry Letvin, who discovered the fact that you cited earlier about frog vision, was also at MIT at that time.

The pattern here is *not* patient explanation from HB for several iterations and then giving up eventually. I never got basic answers about what he meant about some things. Note that my conception of computation is not a Popperian thing, it's standard (today but maybe not in the 60's, I don't know, that's rather early in the field of computers) in our society among people who deal with computation, e.g. among software developers, AI researchers, and physicists (who have a theory of quantum computation, among other things, which btw my mentor David Deutsch helped develop).


curi at 11:39 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12139 | reply | quote

#12138 See http://curi.us/1944-questions

e.g.

> State steps you already took to find the answer yourself, and why they didn't work.

> Give specifics. I don't have a solution to "I am sad". That describes millions of different problems. (If you want a very general purpose answer like "Then do problem solving." you can state that you want a general case answer with no specifics.)


Anonymous at 11:51 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12141 | reply | quote

#12141

I'm don't feel sad though. Rather, I have difficulty feeling anything at all. That is the problem. It makes life feel robotic and detached. It's not fun or enjoyable. How do I get the color back?


Anonymous at 11:56 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12142 | reply | quote

#12142 I don't have a solution to "How do I get back in touch with my emotions?". That describes millions of different problems. You should state steps you already took to find the answer yourself, and why they didn't work.


Anonymous at 12:00 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12143 | reply | quote

#12143

Well, I learned how to meditate except that usually places me further away from my emotions. Most of my time is usually invested in doing hobbies by myself, during which I'm very good at keeping in touch with my mental and emotional state. However outside of this, like with other people, it all goes tits up. I'm unable to feel things or have much thoughts at all that involve people other than myself. Not like narcissistic. It's just an inability to be involved.

So lately I tried cybering with a stranger and it felt mostly awkward and creepy. I basically had to ignore my inner voice and just do what I thought would be the most genuine way to follow the intimacy meme. Interacting this way was like off-and-on feelings, and overall kinda bad.

Some time before this I went to a group event but was unable to approach anyone because my mind kept going blank.

And I recently was hanging out on a discord server for one of my interests and I couldn't relate with anyone. Most of my questions seemed to confuse and annoy everyone. So I ended up leaving.


Anonymous at 12:19 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12144 | reply | quote

It you want to act so that people relate to you, learn social dynamics like Girls Chase. You might like people less, though.

Why do you want to be more emotional?


Anonymous at 12:36 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12145 | reply | quote

#12145

I don't think I'm that interested in cis women tbh. When I was cybering it was with a guy older than me and I thought there was a faint possibility of living with him in the future (quickly realized he was just fishing when his account went inactive the next day). I sort of dated a girl when I was younger. I dunno if I feel the same way anymore. Nearly all social games I want to avoid cause they feel immoral.

The desire to be emotional is to bring back 'the light', if that makes any sense. Life feels empty and pointless without feelings, even if problems are being solved. Which is why I'm suspecting I haven't found the right problems. Except I don't know where to look anymore and a lot of the time I'm finding myself looking for the exit to Life.


Anonymous at 12:47 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12146 | reply | quote

> I don't think I'm that interested in cis women tbh.

The linked social dynamics are relevant to any type of social interaction. It teaches what the social games are and how they work. You can do some of them or you can have poor rapport with most people, your choice.

> The desire to be emotional is to bring back 'the light'

Conventional emotions are shallow and superficial. You were indoctrinated with memes. It never added real meaning to your life.

If you want to get it back, embrace being normal more. E.g. become Christian, that's some heavy duty stuff to reconnect you to tradition/convention.

If you want a rational alternative, learn Objectivism and FI. Objectivism might resonate with you, so try that. If it doesn't work easily, you'd have to learn it via intellectual study, which is a big project which you don't have teh prerequisites for, but you could work towards it over a period of several years if you cared enough and were honest enough.


Anonymous at 1:08 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12147 | reply | quote

#12146

If this isn't the sort of thing to be asking here that's understandable, I guess. It would be helpful if someone could point me in the right direction. Thanks.


Anonymous at 1:09 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12148 | reply | quote

#12148 Your topic is fine.


curi at 1:12 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12149 | reply | quote

#12147

This isn't strictly related to conventions as far as I can tell. I was fairly happy as a child and the world had that full spectrum of color emotionally, regardless of the activity. Also not sure if you're partially or directly arguing something about traditional memes having to do with feeling the impact of thoughts and actions. It's considerably more involved than that.


Anonymous at 1:17 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12150 | reply | quote

#12150 You seem rather lost, unskilled, and now to be trying to argue with me instead of understand what I was saying. You didn't even ask a question this time.

I don't think helping you is in my interest. You haven't shown value and I don't expect you to stay long. I don't think I'll benefit from writing five high-effort comments next, while you say things of the same quality as you have so far, and then you leave without explanation after that.


Anonymous at 1:26 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12151 | reply | quote

#12151

If I didn't feel lost and looking for help I wouldn't be here. I thought a question was implied the way my post was phrased. Sorry if there's miscommunication. I'm not that good at intellectual stuff. Does that mean I'm not worth your time? Like, I said, point me in the right direction if this isn't the place for me.


Anonymous at 1:35 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12152 | reply | quote

continuing the reddit discussion

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/ekxft7e/

> Is it possible that the "eyes are opinionated" issue came up between you and HB more than once (i.e. in separate threads) on HBL?

Not with the word "opinionated" (I searched), but the topic did come up more than the two exchanges I discussed in my grandparent comment.

> But it may be that the "eyes are opinionated" discussion came just as he was in the stage of cutting you off. I strongly suspect that that is exactly the case.

I checked.

Discussion began Oct 17, 2016, and ended Nov 16. I said "eyes are opinionated" on Nov 6, not at the end. It's actually about half way because I initially discussed some other topics and posted criticism of some of Popper's errors. I think debate about Popper and epistemology began in earnest on Oct 26 when I wrote this: http://curi.us/1921-the-harry-binswanger-letter-posts#c7085

So "eyes are opinionated" came around the middle of the debate. Note that in the linked post, rather than simply presenting an alien context, I did translations between contexts.

> P.S. Thanks for keeping things compact and civil so far! After my last post, which ran up to reddit's 10,000-char limit, I was afraid the conversation would spiral out of control.

Ditto. So far you're very easy to deal with, and civil, for someone with such a negative pre-existing opinion about me.

> Assuming that you are not a Kantian and also don't consider computers to be conscious (as a pan-psychic might), you and HB are really just objecting to the way the other uses certain words, rather than expressing an underlying philosophical disagreement.

I thought it was partly a terminology issue at the time, but I struggled to get others to acknowledge that and let me clarify what I and Popper meant by things. I found it was an ongoing problem. Hence HB attacked me for the earlier "opinionated" statement when he banned me, rather than accepting my clarifications of my view.

I have no interest in defending the way I used the word "opinionated". I can say that in other ways. But my use of "computation" is important in many fields, is precise IMO, and I don't know of any replacement terminology. What *do* computers do? What should "quantum computation" be called? And, related, are AGIs possible to build in principle?

---

I'm open to going into additional detail about the HBL exchanges or to discussing CR at this point. I think you see now that I have detailed reasoning for what I wrote about HB, so maybe, without persuading you, that is enough to set it aside for now. If you want to discuss CR now, you could reply to my HBL post linked above, or ask a question or say whatever else.


curi at 1:44 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12153 | reply | quote

#12147

So I read a bunch of articles on that girl chasing site and everything about it seems alien and unwanted and totally unlike anything I have ever thought about wanting or even witnessed personally. I'm not looking to become a predator.

Also wondering if the lack of reply to #12152 means I'm unwelcome here. Since I'm too dumb to understand your perspective.


Anonymous at 2:41 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12154 | reply | quote

#12154 You haven't pointed out a single error. It explains how social dynamics actually works, in fact, whether you like it or not. It does not advocate being a predator; you shouldn't slander things without quotes or knowledge; your message is low quality.


Anonymous at 2:47 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12155 | reply | quote

#12155

It's an explanation from a particular perspective I am not interested in learning. Obviously this is not true for all people and cultures across the planet. Not sure why I have to spell out 'errors' in something I don't want or need.

I dunno. The material is being presented in a way like I would be preying on normal people by studying their ways and patterns. To my knowledge it's not slander to give my impression of what something makes me feel.


Anonymous at 3:01 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12156 | reply | quote

You repeated your slander, gave no specifics, and basically said "I don't want the help you offered, because I'm hostile to your ideas."


Anonymous at 3:03 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12157 | reply | quote

btw Is it possible to tone down the conversation? I don't think it's beneficial being this aggressive.


Anonymous at 3:04 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12158 | reply | quote

#12157

I'm saying it's not for me. I don't like it. Sorry?


Anonymous at 3:06 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12159 | reply | quote

#12158 You were being super aggressive, I asked you to stop, then you did it more. If you want to tone it down, then do so, as I asked.

> I'm saying it's not for me. I don't like it. Sorry?

Your views are false and unargued. If you want help you have to learn better ideas, not reject anything you don't already know.


Anonymous at 3:09 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12160 | reply | quote

Why do you want to make me feel worse than I already am?


Anonymous at 3:13 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12161 | reply | quote

Is this your first time posting here? And why did you come here? What do you know or like about FI?


Anonymous at 3:14 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12162 | reply | quote

A friend introduced me to this place when I was younger and learned some things that broke a lot of normal functioning behaviors. They were also broken well before introducing me, apparently. But they're now better off and I'm not and I don't know how to fix the connection between my head and heart. So I thought I'd try coming back to where stuff started getting a lot worse for me. To be extra clear, I don't know the extent of blame for how things got worse. I just know stuff happened here. It could be all my fault.


Anonymous at 3:23 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12163 | reply | quote

Who are you? Are you Canadian? Can you reference some of your old posts?


Anonymous at 3:24 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12164 | reply | quote

I currently reside in canada but I do not identify as canadian (I don't know or talk to any natives except for small things like ordering food). I doubt I could find my old posts, especially given the state I'm in.


Anonymous at 3:30 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12165 | reply | quote

I'll check back here tomorrow. Hopefully in a better mindset. Have a good day.


Anonymous at 3:41 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12166 | reply | quote

a sentence diagramming worksheet on sentences using "there" as an expletive https://www.k12reader.com/sentence-structure/diagramming_grammar_expletives.pdf


Anonymous at 6:38 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12167 | reply | quote

reddit comment on how eyes work

re HBL, yes I think that's part of it. I found lots of the debate topics unpredictable because they weren't about things Rand wrote. The math, big numbers, measurement error and computers stuff aren't part of Objectivism. They also aren't something I'd run into at any other Objectivist forum, online or IRL. And the rejection of fallibilism contradicts Rand.

I think we have disagreements about physics and computers. It's not just terminology.

In this post (and going forward, unless you refuse) I'll use my terminology re "compute". I think this is important. "Compute" will refer to what computers do (computers also "process" "information" or "data", and "run" "algorithms" or "software", all of which is equivalent to math). For what consciousnesses do which present-day computers do not do, I'll use the word "think" (also: guess, conjecture, hypothesize, brainstorm, conclude, figure out, judge, ponder, surmise, believe, conclude, etc.)

With that said, I'll try to explain eyes and see if we can agree there or not.

Our eyes have a particular nature or identity which was developed by biological evolution. E.g. they can see green but not ultraviolet. Our eyes give us some information about reality but not all information. Our eyes are a type of camera and work similarly to artificial cameras we've built. There's no fundamental difference. It's not like computers vs. minds (consciousness is a fundamental difference there).

The information from our eyes can be misleading *if* interpreted incorrectly. This is not the eyes' fault. The error is in the thinking about what one saw, not in the eyes. E.g. if my table looks blurry, that doesn't mean it is blurry – actually my eyes are physically deformed. Our eyes just follow the laws of physics and give us information. Using that information correctly can be complicated. Eyes can be damaged or broken just like a car motor. You'd never call a motor "wrong" or "misleading", but you would blame it as the explanation for why your car isn't moving and get it repaired. Similarly, I can blame my eye being partially broken or damaged for why the table looks blurry, and repair it with laser eye surgery or fix the issue with glasses.

Understanding the information from our eyes can be hard even when they're in perfect working condition. A straight stick looks bent when partially in water, but isn't. Men 10,000 years ago could learn it's not bent, and to be wary of what they see underwater, but a scientific understanding of what's actually happening was way beyond them. This is because our vision is related to how photons travel. Similarly, desert mirages are due to complicated properties of how light works (blue light from the sky travels beneath eye level and then back up, which is why people think they see blue below them. Then they assume it's water because of the color and apparent location).

This means: the correctness of our observations of reality depends on the correctness of the ideas by which we interpret the information provided by our eyes. If we make conceptual errors regarding the nature of our eyes, we can reach incorrect conclusions like that a smooth table isn't smooth, that a straight stick is bent, or that there's something blue below eye level when there isn't.

Furthermore, our minds do not have access to raw image data. I'll begin with iPhone cameras. The camera captures raw data, then the CPU computes mathematical/software algorithms with the raw image data as input and a different image as output. The goal is making the photos look better. The photo I see on screen and save on disk is different than the raw data the camera had. It's impossible, in principle, to reconstruct the raw camera data from the saved image.

So to understand what is really there in reality, using an iPhone photo, you must consider not only the nature of the camera it uses, but also the nature of the computations done to the image data.

Human vision works this way too. After the eye captures raw data, that data is processed and changed before one's mind gets it. Irreversible computation happens. To correctly interpret what is really out there, we must know something about the nature of our eyes *and* know something about the nature of the mathematical/software algorithms which take the raw vision data and input and output modified data.

There are many possible cameras and data processing algorithms. Some are better than others. Some are more useful. Some show the world upside down, and some show it right side up. Some see green light and some don't.

I regard the factual claims I've made as part of science.

None of this prevents us from using our vision to learn about reality. The nature of our eyes, and of the computation done on the raw image data, is not chaotic or arbitrary. It's consistent and understandable. Vision follows the laws of physics and the nature of the physical objects involved (table, photons, eye, optic nerve).

I would say we don't "directly" see a table, in my terminology, because the visual information that gets to our mind has causality like this: table -> photons -> eyes -> computation -> mind. It's not just table -> mind. (BTW we could actually break it down in more detail with more steps.) However, there is a real connection between the vision information my mind has access to and reality. I don't see illusions or delusions or what a trickster demon wants me to see. I see what it looks like when a particular type of camera, with particular data processing algorithms, is hit by photons coming from that table.

What do you think?


curi at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12168 | reply | quote

#12166

Back again. Here's another badly done post I'm monitoring on roughly the same issue from a different culture sphere.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Psychonaut/comments/bd0pxn/how_do_i_escape_long_established_isolation/


Anonymous at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12169 | reply | quote

#12169 There are no quick fixes for you here. If you want to learn how to think, begin doing that.


Anonymous at 2:37 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12170 | reply | quote

#12170

Ok thank you for your time.


Anonymous at 2:51 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12171 | reply | quote

good reddit discussion

> Agreed. Though, as an aside, my view is that mistakes are possible in general, but some things are simple enough to be certain about in a given context, such as 1+1=2 (which I don't think you need sophisticated mathematics to reach, or to prove). I presume HB agrees with that, as far as that goes.

I don't see what simplicity has to do with it and I find your statement ambiguous.

Is the issue: Can I get a 100% guarantee that this idea is the best possible idea given the current context? No. I could have been dishonest or unreasonable. I could have made a mistake when evaluating the available evidence and conceptual understanding. There's no way to absolutely guarantee those things didn't happen. This is the same whether it's something simple or complicated.

One doesn't need a 100% guarantee. What one needs is a judgment or conclusion. Thinking has to reach a point where you accept an idea, reject alternatives, and move forward. It can reconsidered in the future if new arguments are thought of or new evidence is found, but that's uncommon. At any given time, most conclusions stand and are not currently being reconsidered (so our ideas are largely stable, not in constant chaos).

So is the issue: Can I reach a conclusion? Can I stop pondering further and decide something and move on? Can I attain *knowledge* and act on it? Yes. And this doesn't depend on whether the issue is simple or complicated. We do this with complicated stuff too, e.g. judging that Rearden Metal is good was a complicated judgment but it was nevertheless possible to reach a conclusion about that matter. Simple stuff isn't special.

If "certain" means: "qualifies as knowledge, is good enough to form a judgment and proceed" then we have that not only with basic math but with many complicated things too. But if "certain" refers to 100% guarantees against error, then I don't think we can have that even with very simple stuff. So I don't see what fundamental difference simple vs. complex makes. It's just easier, as a matter of degree, to acquire knowledge about simple stuff. It takes less thought to reach a conclusion.

> Those two perspectives are equally valid.

and

> there is no one canonical representation of the table

You're not wrong, but: Some perspectives/representations are convoluted. Some are less useful for biological evolutionary survival value. Some are less useful for the pursuit of human values. Just because one can mathematically convert between two things shouldn't make one indifferent between them. (Also some perspectives are actually incorrect, but I think we're just discussing correct ones.)

I believe a lot of what Objectivism and CR are actually about, and the quest for knowledge in general, is how to break symmetries, how to prefer some representations or perspectives, how to differentiate things, how to get away from "there are infinitely many representations, which are compatible with all the data, and aren't wrong" (something CR uses against induction, because we think induction fails to solve that problem, and it has to be handled a different way) or "there are infinitely many places you could put the origin on that graph. with a different origin, that point at 2,2 could be at 3,3, or 7,42, or -20,-999, or at any other coordinates" or "there are infinitely many possible aliens who could be tricking us, in any of infinitely many arbitrary ways using infinitely many different logically possible advanced technologies". Each of the ways aliens could be tricking us is a perspective which is not factually, empirically wrong nor does it violate the rules of logic. Each alien scenario, if complete enough, comes with a representation of each table, sometimes as a hologram or anything else instead of as wood, and that representation is logically compatible with all our sensory evidence. Nevertheless, that kind of thinking is dangerous and can lead to postmodernism, skepticism, etc. FWIW I find the attitudes of some Objectivists like "just dismiss the arbitrary" as not a good enough answer, I think a more detailed rebuttal is merited and that CR has it. And, technically, there is no easy way to exactly define which things are arbitrary – that's a big part of the problem is actually figuring out, in a principled and comprehensive way, which things are arbitrary junk ("I know the arbitrary when I see it" is inadequate).

> We just need to form non-contradictory beliefs about our existence, in the widest possible context. For all intents and purposes, we just call that reality, but we don't actually know that there isn't a wider context beyond the one we have.

>

> So for instance, it "could be" the case (but it's arbitrary to assert that it either is or isn't) that all of our perceptions are merely simulated (like in the Matrix).

I *know* that I'm not living in a solipsistic dream world in the same way that I know 1+1=2. I used rational thinking to reach a conclusion. There are no counter-arguments that I irrationally ignored; all known counter-arguments have known refutations. I believe there are no known flaws, today, with my claim, and no reason to reopen it for further investigation. That is my judgment. (The arguments against solipsism which persuaded me are in *The Fabric of Reality* by David Deutsch.)

I also *know* that I don't live in the particular simulation presented in The Matrix. It's ridiculous. I'll omit the arguments though.

I think Rand would call this knowledge and would disagree with your "don't actually know". You don't need a absolute 100% proof to know something.

There are some simulation scenarios for which I'd say I don't know, I haven't reached a conclusion. (I know some anti-simulation arguments but I haven't spent a lot of time considering it, and I haven't decided they are conclusive, I'm not yet ready to make a judgment.) Then what? I consider: *Given that I haven't reached a conclusion about that issue, what should I do, what should I believe, and how should I act?* I reach conclusions about that. So while I may be stuck on some intellectual puzzles, I'm not stuck regarding living my life. What to believe is easy: that I don't know. How to act is: the same as if I wasn't living in a simulation. There are no behavior changes that would make sense. I have reasoning for that, but I'll omit it.

> To me, the fact that there is further transformation of the raw data after the eye makes an initial impression is of interest to science, but not particularly of interest to philosophy.

I agree.

> I object to this. Ancient humans (e.g. Greeks) were able to know a lot about what is out there, and they didn't know anything about the "algorithms" that modify the raw impression formed by the eye before the sense data is available to the mind.

They did know a lot about how to interpret the vision data which reached their minds so that their interpretation matched reality – which means, it correctly accounted for the nature of photons and of the human vision system.

It doesn't have to be scientific style knowledge, or written out as computer code or math, to be knowledge. They knew that water and smoke can distort vision, that blurry vision or blindness in general are faults of the visual system not of the external world (but that there are exceptions like fog and blindfolds), that human vision is orderly but can be unreliable in low light conditions, that an apple looks like an apple regardless of which country you're in or which day of the week it is, and so on. They knew their vision didn't make many special exceptions, and they knew some of the exceptions. That's a good understanding of the situation. I imagine they knew that accurate depth perception is hard in some cases, and much harder if you only have one eye. They knew their visual system was limited by distance, and that this was an issue of vision not reality (if they walked closer to a distant farmhouse, it's their vision which changes as they get closer, not the farmhouse itself). They knew, roughly, how light works: it goes in straight lines, does not go through most objects (opaque) but does go through some (transparent). You can't see what's on the other side of an object which is directly in front of you if it's large enough to block your field of vision, but you can look from a different angle. If you go further back from something, it looks smaller even though it's the same size, and now you can see some things past that were blocked before. Another vision limitation, which the ancients may well have known about, is the time delay between something happening and seeing it. This comes up in e.g. baseball. (I think they must have known about reaction times, which matter in combat. When you both stand still and swing a practice sword at someone, there is a delay before they start moving to block it. But I don't know if they realized that part of it was a delay in seeing things. They could maybe have thought vision was instantaneous and attributed the delay to the mind deciding to block or to the muscles being slow to act.)

This stuff is a body of knowledge. It has to be passed on culturally, or be inborn, or be reinvented by children. In each case, errors are possible both in transmission (or reinvention) of the knowledge and in the body of knowledge itself.


curi at 5:56 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12172 | reply | quote

If you read the reddit discussion and like it, please *post a comment saying so on reddit*. The guy I'm talking with probably estimates that zero people care besides me and him.


curi at 7:36 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12173 | reply | quote

What is your opinion on people who abuse mechanics in games to be the best at X hobby, sport, gambling, etc? For example I’m one the the best yugioh tcg players in my state, and I often have to create decks that involve “unfair” or “broken” strategists like winning on my first turn by creating a field that is so impossible to break that my opponent would have to forfeit. Or for example if anyone knows super smash bros melee pro player hungryhox, and his controversial playing style where he plays jiggly puff and abuses him by ledge stalling. Are these actions “immoral”? I’m inclined to believe what’s true in your work is true in your hobbies as in knowledge is contextual and interrelated. Perhaps it’s not explicitly the same as committing fraud or manipulation of someone but there is a fuzzy line and I don’t like haveing contradictions in my life. I don’t want to accept a middle of the road thinking. What’s wrong with my thinking?


B at 2:20 AM on April 16, 2019 | #12174 | reply | quote

> What is your opinion on people who abuse mechanics in games to be the best at X hobby, sport, gambling, etc?

I'm not curi but here are some disorganized thoughts. What people consider "abuse" is often fine. I think using game mechanics effectively is fine. What would not be fine is stuff like DDoSing someone during an online game or breaking into someone's hotel room so you can get a look at their deck or something like that.

If a tournament wants to restrict some characters or technique because they are considered too game breaking, or if people want to agree to House rules for a similar reason, that can be okay. People are often bad at judging what's game breaking though. Lots of games (like SSBM) have had extensive discovery of techniques that would not have happened if people had been playing in narrow, self-limiting ways where they caved to every accusation of being abusive or cheesy. It takes some real skill -- the kind of skill that figures out potential game breaking stuff in the first place -- in order to be able to judge issues like whether something is too game breaking.

In general, if you're doing some activity, you should play to win, and not care about people calling stuff abuse, cheesy, whatever. Don't be a scrub http://www.sirlin.net/articles/playing-to-win

>For example I’m one the the best yugioh tcg players in my state, and I often have to create decks that involve “unfair” or “broken” strategists like winning on my first turn by creating a field that is so impossible to break that my opponent would have to forfeit.

That sounds fine. Though I'm curious what determines outcomes when first turn wins are possible. Is it a Rock Paper Scissors game of trying to guess what sort of deck the opponent will use, and if you guess right you're good and if you don't you're fucked?

Incidentally I had some mild interest in yugioh years ago, did not realize it was still played.

>Or for example if anyone knows super smash bros melee pro player hungryhox, and his controversial playing style where he plays jiggly puff and abuses him by ledge stalling. Are these actions “immoral”? I’m inclined to believe what’s true in your work is true in your hobbies as in knowledge is contextual and interrelated. Perhaps it’s not explicitly the same as committing fraud or manipulation of someone but there is a fuzzy line and I don’t like haveing contradictions in my life. I don’t want to accept a middle of the road thinking. What’s wrong with my thinking?

Not wanting to accept contradictions is good. Are you an Objectivist? Can you say more about what immorality you think is potentially involved?


Justin Mallone at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2019 | #12175 | reply | quote

#12174 The point of a game is to figure out the most effective strategies and to win. Games are maximization problems. If you think a game is bad, don't play it or modify it. SSBM should try out some ruleset changes.

Asking people to play "nice" gives a disadvantage to the "nicest" people. It's essentially asking each person to make up game rules and follow those. But then different people play by different rules, which is unfair and punishes the "nicer" people who restrict themselves more. And, anyway, people disagree about what kind of gameplay is desirable. Instead, a single clear ruleset for everyone is needed.

Are you going to continue our previous discussion? E.g. #12113


curi at 1:05 PM on April 16, 2019 | #12176 | reply | quote

criticism of a view on limited govt

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bdnp1d/how_to_show_that_taxation_is_robbery/

> Ways to fund a proper government without taxation could include fees for government enforcement of contracts, voluntary donations, fines for lawbreakers, small fees for “losers” in civil trials, and lotteries.

I'll share criticisms of two of these.

If the government runs a lottery, it's competing with private businesses, no different than if it runs a steel mill or grocery store in order to fund itself. Or else the government has prohibited anyone else from running a lotto, which is even worse. I see no solution to taxation here and I don't see how any free market advocate could want governments to be involved with lottos.

Contract enforcement fees are a similar issue. If you are prohibited from fully enforcing your own contracts (the alternative being anarchy), then the government has a monopoly on a core part of life, and you have no real choice but to pay the government what they demand. That's not *voluntary* government funding. A tax or "fee" on people who interact in contractual ways is like a tax or "fee" for people who earn an income. It's essentially different than a use fee for a small, optional part of life like crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.


curi at 1:21 PM on April 16, 2019 | #12177 | reply | quote

What caused the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes

In October 2018 and March 2019, two Boeing 737 Max 8s crashed, killing 346 people. On April 15, 2019, Vox published a 6-minute video which, aside from some editorializing about capitalism at the end, does a good job explaining what caused the crashes.

Here's my summary of the video:

In 2010, Airbus, Boeing's main competitor, announced an upgrade to the engines on their most popular plane, the A320. The upgraded model, called the A320neo, would be 15% more fuel-efficient while flying essentially the same as the A320.

In response, Boeing rushed to make update their corresponding model, the 737. The result was called the 737 Max 8.

Due to differences in plane height, the 737 Max 8's engine didn't fit neatly under the wing like A320neo's engine. The higher location of the 737 Max 8's engine caused the plane's nose to tilt up during full thrust (e.g., during takeoff).

This uptilt was a significant departure from the flight behavior of the original 737. It would have required expensive pilot retraining. Rather than re-engineer the plane itself, Boeing added software, which they called the MCAS, to *automatically push the nose down if the pilot flew at too high of an angle*. The 737 Max 8s MCAS appears to have engaged at the wrong time, causing the two crashes.


Josh Jordan at 12:49 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12180 | reply | quote

A Reddit commenter who claims to have worked at Boeing from 2008-9 agrees with the explanation in the Vox video and made some scathing comments about Boeing as an organization:

> I worked at Boeing for about 1.5 years in the 2008-9 time period and I can absolutely guarantee this happened... Boeing's corporate culture is the worst shitshow I have ever experienced. ...


Josh Jordan at 12:56 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12181 | reply | quote

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4243293&forum_id=2#38099750

> vouchers could be used for one-bedroom apartments renting at up to $2,648 a month

> Tenants with vouchers pay 30 percent of whatever income they have toward rent, with the city subsidizing the rest.

DC moved a bunch of homeless into nice a nice apartment complex, at taxpayer expense. What could go wrong!?!? Read and find out.


Anonymous at 9:33 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12182 | reply | quote

When Elliot abuses you I highly recommend you repeat his behaviours back at him.

He can't stand his reflection in a mirror. As he attacks it, his every insult is really an admission of what he truly is.


Anonymous at 8:52 AM on April 20, 2019 | #12184 | reply | quote

#12184 What behaviour do you interpret as an attack?


oh my god it's turpentine at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2019 | #12186 | reply | quote

#12186 Calling someone's criticism of GirlsChase "slander". Framing people not replying to his points as "evasion".

These are carefully chosen words not innocent mistakes.


Anonymous at 3:14 PM on April 20, 2019 | #12187 | reply | quote

Detailed Majora's Mask remake criticism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=653wuaP0wzs


Anonymous at 11:08 PM on April 20, 2019 | #12188 | reply | quote

> #12186 Calling someone's criticism of GirlsChase "slander". Framing people not replying to his points as "evasion".

> These are carefully chosen words not innocent mistakes.

It wasn’t a criticism. It was a conclusion. Criticism requires explanation and conclusions don’t.

If someone doesn’t know how to tell the difference between a criticism and a conclusion, then he’s definitely not going to know how to tell the difference between evasion and non-evasion.


Anonymous at 10:02 AM on April 21, 2019 | #12189 | reply | quote

#12189

Calling a conclusion "slander" is an attack too. Don't distract from that fact with trivialities. Pay attention!

The funny thing is that while most people don't evade Elliot does so constantly. It's one of his little confessions that he accuses people of that. Rather than engaging with the substance of what other people are saying he plays word games.

It's a tactic mediocre minds use to lie to themselves they're great. "Look this guy doesn't use the word as I do. Therefore he doesn't understand its meaning. What a sad a world! When will I find an intellectual equal I can actually talk to? (Hint: never)"

Many historic examples of this pattern. Take Hegel, Lacan, etc. Except they were good at it and he's hopelessly mediocre.


Anonymous at 4:15 PM on April 21, 2019 | #12190 | reply | quote

> The funny thing is that while most people don't evade Elliot does so constantly. It's one of his little confessions that he accuses people of that. Rather than engaging with the substance of what other people are saying he plays word games.

Why don't you give your definition of evasion and a concrete example of Elliot evading, with an explanation as to exactly what the evasion is.


Anonymous at 4:28 PM on April 21, 2019 | #12191 | reply | quote

#12191 He's too busy trolling by e.g. denying that calling PUA authors/fans/practitioners/etc *predators* (without knowing much of anything about them) is a slander. He's doing this without even mentioning that they were called predators or discussing whether that claim is insulting, is true, is slanderous, etc.

He's just here to bait people (particularly curi, who he seems to assume is the author of a variety of anonymous posts). He's never even going to tell us what actually triggered him. Did he have a discussion in which he felt bad about a criticism curi said? Who is he and what was said? Blank out. Maybe anonymous said it and he blamed curi.

Is he a Popperian? A parent? An Objectivist? Blank out.

He's resentful of some past conflict which he won't name. Why feed him rational questions/prompts when all he does is spit on them?


Anonymous at 4:39 PM on April 21, 2019 | #12192 | reply | quote

#12191 This is another tactic commonly used around here - asking the other side to invest a ridiculous amount of effort - and when they refuse - interpret that as somehow reflecting badly on them. You may not guess it by the virtue of the fact that I comment here - but I actually have a life!

It is rather telling though that questions are always asked in response to such accusations. They are rather difficult to contradict with a straight face.


Anonymous at 7:37 PM on April 21, 2019 | #12193 | reply | quote

#12192 You seem like a reasonable person so I will respond.

I'm not perfect. I'd prefer not to talk about my motives though, save for one. And that is that Elliot is a truly toxic person that has harmed many good people. And that hurts me.


Anonymous at 7:46 PM on April 21, 2019 | #12194 | reply | quote

Yuki Kawauchi competes solo in relay race, and wins!

Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi raced solo against 103 six-person high-school and club level relay race teams and *won*! This means that the other teams were able to split up their running among 6 different people, while Kawauchi did all the running himself, and still won.

> Kawauchi's final time of 1:01:03 was just 35 seconds off the overall ekiden course record.

Wow.

Here's a longer article on Kawauchi.


Alisa at 7:35 AM on April 24, 2019 | #12197 | reply | quote

https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/fb8fcf91/atlas-shrugged-textual-analysis

Several people claim to be interested or have substantive thoughts about AS, but no one has written anything substantive (expect, sort of, the tangential reply about Popper). I find that awkward. Like all I really have to say is "well, i'm waiting" or "go ahead" or "what are you waiting for?" or "are you going to share any of those thoughts you claimed to have?" All of those things are awkward to say and I don't think they will actually result in any good discussion, and they will result in me getting pressured to explain why certain comments are non-substantive, which will be boring and offensive.

Thoughts on how to proceed? My current plan is to wait more. Also one of you could say something.

https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/fbabbc0e/ask-the-gulch-who-owns-runs-the-gulch-have-the-people-in-charge-written-essays-or-books-related-to-objectivism-what-factions-are-they-associated-with-eg-favoring-peikoff-kelley-branden-or-reisman-are-they-anarchists-where-do-they-stand-on-open-borders

Only non-answers. And a ridiculous, false accusation of my hypocrisy.


curi at 11:44 AM on April 24, 2019 | #12199 | reply | quote

The Atlas Shrugged movies, which are awful, had David Kelley's thinking behind them:

https://atlassociety.org/atlas-shrugged/movie-and-news/5488-the-atlas-society-and-the-atlas-shrugged-movie


Anonymous at 12:47 PM on April 24, 2019 | #12202 | reply | quote

https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2019/02/tal-tsfany-on-the-state-and-future-of-the-ayn-rand-institute/

> Tsfany: I have learned a lot in the past eight months or so. I am bringing a business, goal-oriented mind-set that I think enhances our ability to focus, define priorities, and then execute on the chosen projects. I’ve learned how complicated it is to promote a philosophical mission, as opposed to a product. It’s a whole different ball game. When you define things in business terms, things are concrete and actionable. But when your mission is educating a culture or changing people’s minds in a very deep way, over time, maybe even on a very long timescale, then the challenge requires a different approach.

ARI hired a CEO who didn't already know that? wtf?


Anonymous at 4:50 PM on April 24, 2019 | #12206 | reply | quote

#12206 I think he's lying. He didn't learn any major concepts since taking the job, so his "I learned" stories are bullshit. I think he's taking some ideas he had coming in and trying to claim he learned them after coming in. This is stupid. The whole interview is terrible (and softball).


Anonymous at 4:55 PM on April 24, 2019 | #12207 | reply | quote

reddit comment criticizing Oism essay

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bgyuti/great_objectivism_writing_by_you_and_want/

https://objectivismindepth.com/2017/04/23/ethical-theories-summarized-explained-consequentialism-deontology-virtue-ethics-and-objectivist-ethical-egoism/

I’ll start with one issue and see how that goes.

> Rational principles are not mere rules. They are general statements of **fact** that, when combined with a **situation** and a **goal**, yield a **normative guideline**. So, for example, if I have a person on the surface of the Earth, the Newtonian *principle* of gravity tells me that I can put that person into a circular Earth orbit by launching him to a certain height at a certain speed and in a certain direction. If my *goal* is to do this, then I have my basic normative guideline: I *should* launch him at that height, speed and direction.

This example has several problems.

The point is meant to be about principles, but the example is too complicated and distracts from that point. Complications include:

- It’s unclear if the launch involves a rocket or not. No rocket is mentioned but launching without a rocket is unusual.

- If no rocket, the person would die. And they’d die anyway after orbiting for a while unless supplied with oxygen, water and food.

- If no rocket, the person could split into pieces, in which case they wouldn’t end up at a single height or velocity.

- People may wonder if the example, which is somehow related to morality, has something to do with the morality of murder.

- Newtonian mechanics are not an example of a general statement of fact. They are false and have been contradicted by observations. They are an accurate approximation for some calculations.

- Space launches are hard and precise. Most people lack the expertise to know if Newtonian mechanics can be used as a good-enough approximation for this purpose or not.

- People don’t know much about how space launches work, so they may find this hard, intimidating, or confusing. They may not think about the example much. Rocket science is a cliche example of something hard, which people leave to genius-experts and don’t even try to think for themselves about.

Other issues:

- The term for “speed and direction” is “velocity”.

- Launches involve acceleration, not just velocity.

- The paragraph speaks of launching “to” a height but then “at” a height. Those are different things.

- It’s unclear if the height, speed and direction are meant to explain how the launch is done (like at what velocity do you have to throw a person to get them into orbit) or they are talking about the final results of the launch (a person is launched somehow and ends up at a particular velocity).

- My best guess is that launching “at” a speed and “in” a direction refer to the start of the launch (like throwing a ball in a direction, at a speed), but that “to” a height refers to the end result of the launch, not the start of the launch. If so, the parameters (velocity and height) are talking about different things (some are about initial conditions, some about later conditions).

- If it’s meant to be talking about imparting a velocity to a rigid object at Earth’s surface (like throwing a ball), and then the object proceeds into a circular orbit with no further maneuvering, that is not how launches work.


curi at 1:16 AM on April 27, 2019 | #12226 | reply | quote

This Oism forum is big but useless.

https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/fc65e444/great-objectivism-writing-by-you-and-want-criticism

Zero people who claim to have written anything great related to Oism and who would like criticism.

https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/fb8fcf91/atlas-shrugged-textual-analysis

Zero serious interest in AS ch1 analysis, no detailed discussion of anything.

---

Also it's David Kelley faction but they won't admit it.

It looks like most of the discussion is politics. The fairly good news is they appear to be pro Trump. Some of them seem to actually think Trump is doing a pretty good job though, which is bizarre since NO WALL = F GRADE.


curi at 12:05 PM on April 27, 2019 | #12228 | reply | quote

tokyo vs. NYC housing animated chart!! https://twitter.com/geographyjim/status/1121809404049776641


curi at 6:01 PM on April 27, 2019 | #12229 | reply | quote

https://marketurbanism.com/2019/04/26/human-cost-zoning-indian-cities/

> The Human Cost of Zoning in Indian Cities

> Nearly one-third of the people in Delhi live in illegal colonies where they do not have secure property titles. Illegal colonies violate zoning regulations and master plans. Water connections, sewer lines, electricity, and roads do not function very well because illegal colonies are not even supposed to exist. Some of them are more populous than many American cities.

> Land is not scarce in Delhi, as I learned in one of those days, when a friend drove me around the city. There is enough land for everybody to live in a mansion. Delhi has nearly 20,000 parks and gardens. Large tracts of land remain idle or underutilized, either because the government owns it, or because property titles are weak. Politicians and senior bureaucrats live in mansions with vast, manicured lawns in the core of the city. Some of these political eminentoes farm on valuable urban land while firms and households move to the periphery or satellite cities where real estate prices are lower. So the average commute is long, roads are too congested, and Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world.


curi at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12230 | reply | quote

https://marketurbanism.com/2019/04/26/human-cost-zoning-indian-cities/

> Zoning regulations inflict great harm. But it is difficult for Americans to imagine the cost of zoning in Indian cities. Delhi is one of the most crowded cities in the world, and there is great demand for floor space. But real estate developers are not allowed to build tall buildings. In Delhi, for apartment buildings, the regulated Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is usually 2. FAR, an urban planning concept, is the ratio of built-out floor space to the area of the plot.

> This means, in Delhi, developers are not allowed to build more than 2,000 square feet of floor space on a 1,000 square feet plot. If a building stands on the whole plot, this would be a two-storey building.

> To understand the harm this inflicts on the world’s second-most populous city, remember that in Midtown Manhattan, FAR can go up to 15. In Los Angeles, it can get as high as 13, and in Chicago, up to 12. In Hong Kong’s downtown, the highest FAR is 12, in Bahrain it is 17, and in Singapore it can get as high as 25. Not surprisingly, office space in Delhi’s downtown is among the most expensive in the world. It is impossible to profitably redevelop these crumbling buildings in Delhi’s downtown because they are under rent control.

> Delhi is by no means an exception. There are far worse urban planning tragedies among Indian cities. Floor Area Ratios are usually between 1 and 2 in most Indian cities, though some of these cities are more populated than most countries.

> I have never lived in Mumbai, where the average person consumes less floor space than an American prisoner. Mumbai is India’s most prosperous city, but in 2009, the average floor space consumption in Mumbai was merely 48 square feet. There are instances of 10-12 people living in a tiny room. Over half the households have only one room. As early as 1978, a draft of the Department of Justice had accepted that prisons in United States should offer single rooms of at least 80 square feet per man.


curi at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12231 | reply | quote

https://marketurbanism.com/2019/04/26/human-cost-zoning-indian-cities/

> Mumbai is the densest major city in the world, but in Mumbai’s downtown, FAR is 1.33. This is not true of any global city. In 1964, urban planners decided to decongest Mumbai by restricting real estate development in the center. Socialists believed they could decongest Mumbai by restricting real estate development in the best parts of the city.

> Like all such grand plans, this too failed. Zoning regulations did not stop people from migrating to Mumbai. Instead, migrants responded by consuming less and less floor space. They settle down in congested spaces. They build informal settlements in slums. They live in buildings where floors crack, walls crumble, rats eat infants, and clean water is rationed. They occupy rent-controlled buildings where people live so close that petty squabbles lead to riots. It is a joke on planners that Mumbai is now the most crowded city in the world.


curi at 1:18 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12232 | reply | quote

The Atlantic calls bullshit on Jordan Peterson's all-meat diet claims with several good points:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/08/the-peterson-family-meat-cleanse/567613/


curi at 8:59 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12241 | reply | quote

#12241 If you read the article, this is worth a watch after. Short video clips giving more info about the snake oil being sold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkHf_8DTitU


curi at 9:09 PM on April 29, 2019 | #12242 | reply | quote

Machinery of freedom:

> The word 'need' should be eliminated from the vocabulary of political discourse. It is inextricably bound up with a dangerous oversimplification of reality, the idea that there exist certain values infinitely more important than all others, things I need rather than merely want, and that these ‘needs’ can be determined objectively.

[...]

> The idea of need is dangerous because it strikes at the heart of the practical argument for freedom. That argument depends on recognizing that each person is best qualified to choose for himself which among a multitude of possible lives is best for him. If many of those choices involve needs, things of infinite value to one person which can be best determined by someone else, what is the use of freedom? If I disagree with the expert about my needs I make not a value judgment but a mistake.

>If we accept the concept of needs, we must also accept the appropriateness of having decisions concerning those needs made for us by someone else, most likely the government. It is precisely this argument that is behind government subsidies to medicine, present and prospective. Medicine, like food, water, or air, contributes to physical survival. The kind and quantity of medical attention necessary to achieve some particular end—to cure or to prevent a disease, for example—is a question not of individual taste but of expert opinion.

Something about Friedman's argument seems bad. I think maybe he is conflating values being objectively determinable with tyranny but I'm not sure. I don't have the time or attention to analyze this in detail now. Maybe I will later


Anonymous at 2:43 PM on April 30, 2019 | #12247 | reply | quote

https://www.perthnow.com.au/opinion/miranda-devine-perth-electrical-engineers-discovery-will-change-climate-change-debate-ng-d1fe0f22a737e8d67e75a5014d0519c6

> A MATHEMATICAL discovery by Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans may change everything about the climate debate, on the eve of the UN climate change conference in Paris next month.

> A former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.

> He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly.

> He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.

> It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.

> “Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

> Dr Evans says his discovery “ought to change the world”.

The article is from 2015...


Anonymous at 9:51 PM on April 30, 2019 | #12255 | reply | quote

#12247

> The idea of need is dangerous because it strikes at the heart of the practical argument for freedom. That argument depends on recognizing that each person is best qualified to choose for himself which among a multitude of possible lives is best for him. If many of those choices involve needs, things of infinite value to one person which can be best determined by someone else, what is the use of freedom? If I disagree with the expert about my needs I make not a value judgment but a mistake.

He defines needs as "things of infinite value to one person which can be best determined by someone else". This makes no sense for two reasons.

First, value is not a quantity that can be measured and assigned value. Value is about ranking things not measuring. You value item A over item B if, when given a choice between A and B you would choose A.

Second, the idea that something is of value to Bob that can only be determined by Jim is piffle. A good is only of value to some specific person in some specific context. To say that good A is of value to Bob but only Jim can know it is of value to Bob is to say that Jim values imposing A on Bob. If Bob ought to value A and doesn't, then there is some explanation that would convince Bob to value A. All knowledge is created by variation and selection. There are no magic people who can learn things that it is impossible for other people to learn - that idea is just an anti-rational excuse for imposing ideas on people.

Now, there are items that a person must use if he wants to live. If you stop eating for a long time, then you will die. If you don't have any water for more than a few days you will die. But some people don't value their lives. There are cases in which a person himself to death despite the availability of food. There are also situations in which person A doesn't want to help person B although person B thinks he is owed help by A.

Some people use the term "needs" for items food and drink that people must have to live. They are in favour of using force (taxation, inflation etc.) to provide those "needs". They are also usually in favour of imposing "needs" on people who don't want them, sometimes using psychiatry.

Forcing person A to help person B ignores the possibility that person A could be right about having something better to do. For example, A might write a book that helps lots of people to be more productive so they don't have to beg other people for food and water.

Forcing B to accept "help" he doesn't want ignores the possibility that maybe we don't currently have the knowledge to make his life worthwhile by his lights. So B would just continue to live although he is miserable and wants to die. And he might not contribute anything of value to anyone else. So nobody benefits by B being alive. B should only remain alive as a result of somebody convincing him that living is a good idea.

Using force sometimes also results in the kind of irrationality that leads to people struggling to make ends meet or wanting to die. The idea that people should respond to force by doing what the enforcer wants also leads to being impatient with people who resist. This pattern of broken victims and impatient victimisers is part of how people copy this set of anti-rational memes.

Friedman doesn't understand any of these issues.


oh my god it's turpentine at 12:24 AM on May 1, 2019 | #12256 | reply | quote

> First, value is not a quantity that can be measured and assigned value. Value is about ranking things not measuring. You value item A over item B if, when given a choice between A and B you would choose A.

Do I value A over $100? Over $101? Over $102?

Ranking something against a succession of numeric quantities, and finding the first number at which the ranking changes, is effectively a way to measure it. And money both comes in a numeric quantity and also is a fairly general purpose type of value. This approach has limited but substantial use and also explains how the appearance of measuring how much people value stuff (often done in money) is compatible with the Austrian econ rankings approach.


curi at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2019 | #12259 | reply | quote

The Objectivist on reddit who claimed he'd hear gratefully the refutation of a single sentence (like Francisco) was, unsurprisingly, lying:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bgyuti/great_objectivism_writing_by_you_and_want/elwe9co/

And no other people claimed any interest in criticism at that subreddit, nor at this larger Oist forum: https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/fc65e444/great-objectivism-writing-by-you-and-want-criticism


curi at 11:58 AM on May 1, 2019 | #12260 | reply | quote

Machinery of Freedom:

> Externalities play an enormously greater role in institutions controlled by voting. If I invest time and energy in discovering which candidate will make the best President, the benefit of that investment, if any, is spread evenly among 200 million people. That is an externality of 99.9999995 percent. Unless it is obvious how I should vote, it is not worth the time and trouble to be a well informed voter except on issues where I get a disproportionately large fraction of the benefit. Situations, in other words, where I am part of a special interest. Consider the CAB again. In order for me, an occasional airline passenger, to do anything about it, I would have to keep track of how every member of the board voted, by whom he was appointed and how my congressmen voted on every bill connected with airline regulation. Having done so, the chance that my vote or any pressure I might try to bring to bear on my congressmen or the President would alter the situation is one in millions. And if I am successful, all I get is a saving of a hundred dollars or so a year in lower air fares. It isn't worth it. For the airline industry the same research, backed by enormously larger resources in votes and money, brings a return of many millions of dollars. For them it is worth it. It is not that they are richer than all airline passengers combined; they are not. But they are concentrated and we are dispersed.

If you were a motivated commentator on some regulatory agency, you could get a reputation as an expert and figure out how to make money doing a podcast/book/lectures/blog/whatever, and maybe you'd actually even get some politicians to listen 👂


Anonymous at 6:27 PM on May 1, 2019 | #12261 | reply | quote

Machinery of freedom:

> This does not mean that they will never coerce anyone. A rights enforcement agency, like a government, can make a mistake and arrest the wrong man. In exactly the same way, a private citizen can shoot at what he thinks is a prowler and bag the postman instead. In each case, coercion occurs, but it occurs by accident and the coercer is liable for the consequences of his acts. The citizen can be indicted for postman-slaughter and the agency sued for false arrest. Once the facts that make an act coercive are known, it is no longer regarded as having been legitimate.

>This is not true of government actions. In order to sue a policeman for false arrest I must prove not merely that I was innocent but that the policeman had no reason to suspect me. If I am locked up for twenty years and then proven innocent, I have no legal claim against the government for my lost time and mental anguish. It is recognized that the government made a mistake, but the government is allowed to make mistakes and need not, like the rest of us, pay for them. If, knowing that I am innocent, I try to escape arrest and a policeman shoots me down, he is entirely within his rights and I am the criminal. If, to keep him from shooting me, I shoot him in self-defense, I am guilty of murder even after it is proved that I was innocent of the theft and so doing no more than defending myself against the government's (unintentional) coercion.

In a society with some reasonable mechanisms for protecting rights and ensuring due process, it's immoral to shoot at cops in escape attempts. That's true whether there are govt cops or right enforcement agency cops. You should let the system operate and presumably free you if you are innocent


Anonymous at 2:22 PM on May 2, 2019 | #12265 | reply | quote

Machinery of Freedom

> I have encountered precisely the same error among libertarians who prefer limited government to anarcho-capitalism. Limited government, they say, can guarantee uniform justice based on objective principles. Under anarcho-capitalism, the law varies from place to place and person to person according to the irrational desires and beliefs of the different customers that different protection and arbitration agencies must serve.

>This argument assumes that the limited government is set up by a population most or all of whose members believe in the same just principles of law. Given such a population, anarcho-capitalism will produce that same uniform, just law; there will be no market for any other. But just as capitalism can accommodate to a diversity of individual ends, so anarcho-capitalism can accommodate to a diversity of individual judgments about justice.

>An ideal Objectivist society with a limited government is superior to an anarcho-capitalist society in precisely the same sense that an ideal socialist society is superior to a capitalist society. Socialism does better with perfect people than capitalism does with imperfect people; limited government does better with perfect people than anarcho-capitalism with imperfect. And it is better to wear a bikini with the sun shining than a raincoat when it is raining. That is no argument against carrying an umbrella.

I'm not convinced AnCap can work well without pretty great people.

It seems to me like to have an anarcho capitalist society work you'd need lots of people with ideas better than current patriotic mainstream Americans, or else people would just reimpose government. Current patriotic mainstream Americans are already very high in terms of people quality. We have lots of people in this country that consider a mixed economy welfare state and the 1st and 2nd Amendment as being WAY too much freedom. And then look at the rest of the world.


Anonymous at 6:39 PM on May 2, 2019 | #12266 | reply | quote

> It seems to me like

That's a long way to write "I think" or "IMO".

And yes for anarchy to work requires *more* knowledge, not less.


Anonymous at 6:44 PM on May 2, 2019 | #12267 | reply | quote

HN comment on the737 MAX MCAS

#12181 Interesting HN comment about the failure of the MCAS in the 737 MAX by HN user "ncmncm"(emphasis mine):

> One really essential reason those planes crashed was that *each time the MCAS triggered, it acted like it was the first time*. If it added 1 degree of trim last time, it adds a second this time, a third next time, up to the five degrees that runs the trim all the way to the stops.

> A second reason is that, under the design still on file at the FAA, it could only add a maximum of 0.8 degrees (each time). This was raised to 2.4 degrees after testing, so only two hits could, in principle, put you almost to the stops.

> A third was that the only way to override the MCAS was to turn off power to the motor that worked the trim. But above 400 knots, *the strength needed to dial back the trim with the hand crank was more than actual live pilots have*, especially if it is taking all their strength to pull back on the yoke.

> A fourth was that, with two flight control computers, the pilot could (partly) turn off a misbehaving one, but there is no way to turn on the other one. You have to land first, to switch over, even though the other is doing all the work to be ready to fly the plane.

> A fifth was that it *ignored that pilots were desperately pulling back on the yoke*, which could have been a clue that it was doing the wrong thing.

> A sixth was that, besides comparing redundant sensors, it could have compared what the other flight computer thought it should be doing.


Josh Jordan at 9:15 PM on May 3, 2019 | #12275 | reply | quote

Philip Greenspun on the 757 Max MCAS

https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2019/04/08/boeing-737-max-crash-and-the-rejection-of-ridiculous-data/ :

> ... even without checking the left and right AOA sensors against each other (what previous and conventional stick pusher designs have done), all of the problems on the Ethiopian flight could potentially have been avoided by changing

> IF AOA > 15 THEN RUNAWAY_TRIM();

> IF AOA > 15 AND AOA < 25 THEN RUNAWAY_TRIM();


Josh Jordan at 9:17 PM on May 3, 2019 | #12276 | reply | quote

correction: 737 Max (not 757)


Josh Jordan at 9:22 PM on May 3, 2019 | #12277 | reply | quote

In late April 2019, Gab feared they might have lost some user uploaded images:

> Gab was not hacked, we faced a hardware failure which was compounded by a failure in a backup system. [...] Worst-case, the last 2-3 weeks of images were lost.

3 days later, Gab wrote:

> It appears we will be able to recover all images, in a few hours they should all be back.


Alisa at 4:04 PM on May 5, 2019 | #12286 | reply | quote

reddit Oism reply

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/blpmwl/why_i_left_the_objectivism_discord_server/

I sympathize with your views on atheism and religion. Atheists, in general, are radicals who throw out lots of traditional knowledge. But most ways of being different are errors. There are more ways to be wrong than right. If you want to be an innovator, you need to put a ton of work into knowing what you're doing, or you'll probably make things worse, not better. Most atheists don't put much effort into their ideas and actually keep lots of common sense and standard views, but also throw some out and make an inconsistent mess.

I think you're mistaken about genetics and IQ, for technical/scientific reasons. See my discussion with an Objectivist about that: https://curi.us/2056-iq

My disagreement about genetic IQ does not mean it's easy for anyone to get more intelligent. That's very hard but is not (I claim) literally impossible. I think the main obstacles are things like dishonesty, evasion, bad culture, anti-rational memes, bad parenting, bad schools, rather than genes. The obstacles are human things which could, in the long run, be improved. We don't have to torture children so much.

Ideas rule the world, as Rand and others have said. That a problem is related to ideas, not genes, is compatible with it being *even harder to change* than genes would be. But it's also different to try to change and address it. I do agree that, in the meantime, you need cultural institutions, government, societal organization or whatever which deals with people as they are. You can't base society today on hopes for what people might be like in the future if educational methods were much better.


curi at 1:36 PM on May 7, 2019 | #12296 | reply | quote

Twitter has banned David Horowitz, wonderful author and Freedom Center leader https://www.davidhorowitzfreedomcenter.org


curi at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2019 | #12297 | reply | quote

#12297 After complaints, retweets and news articles, Horowitz was unbanned yesterday. But now they banned again today.

https://twitter.com/horowitzcenter/status/1126195586909315072


Anonymous at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2019 | #12299 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/AmRenReposts/status/1126544721763921920

> It’s not just democracy, but diversity that rules majority-black Charm City.

bad comma usage. need 2 or 0 commas.


Anonymous at 10:57 AM on May 9, 2019 | #12301 | reply | quote

reddit comment on military history re maps and wargames

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/bllwuq/did_people_in_the_middle_ages_ever_actually_plan/emzzk3q/

> I think there's pretty good reason to assume that the large boardgame-like battle map wasn't actually used by any armed force anywhere until the mid-to-late 19th century.

I'm not convinced it was that late. Quotes from *Playing at the World* by Jon Peterson (emphasis added):

> The seventeenth-century kings of France, notably Louis XIII and the Sun King Louis XIV, possessed opulent armies of silver soldiers as children. [420] William of Orange, later King William III of England, was especially forward-thinking in *using his collection of thousands of toy soldiers to simulate battle plans*.

and

> Even the maps common throughout the eighteenth century were largely cadastral maps, which is to say, maps depicting political divisions, cities, roads and perhaps rivers and coasts rather than any properly-scaled topographic features of the terrain in question. *Accurate topographic maps were a marvelous innovation in the eighteenth century, one that was of intense interest to the various military powers of Europe.* Consider the difficulties of producing topographic maps in the early modern era, of dispatching teams of field surveyors with adequate education and equipment to determine positions and elevations in sufficient detail for the resulting map to serve as a basis for civil or military planning. To give some sense of the magnitude of this undertaking, the first topographic map of France was begun by Cassini in 1670, continued by his son, and subsequently by his grandson, who took it over as a slightly expanded project in 1744 and succeeded in delivering a map (in some 180 sheets) in 1789, just in time for the French Revolution. [355] The appearance of the national French map quickly induced the governments of other European nations to embark on similar projects, such as the British Ordnance Survey, which began a comparable endeavor in 1790.

And regarding the development of war games and the dates for that, here's a sample of what the book has to offer and some earlier dates (italics in original):

> The release of Venturini in 1797, along with the revision of Hellwig in 1803, inspired a wave of *kriegsspiel *publications in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and England over the next twenty years. One author of the era, Georg Emmanuel Opiz, claimed that his father Johann Ferdinand Opiz (1741–1812), a former Jesuit and a well-known writer of his time, had actually invented *kriegsspiel* sometime around 1760, though the Opiz game did not see print until 1806, when *kriegsspiel *deriving from Hellwig already enjoyed widespread acclaim. [358] By 1804, Hellwig appeared in French, no doubt prompting le Comte de Firmas-Périés to produce his very Hellwig-inspired *Le jeu de Stratégie, ou les éches militaires* in 1808. In Italy, Francesco Giacometti circulated his *Nuovo Giuoco di Scacchi, ossia il Giuoco della Guerra* first in an Italian edition in 1793, and then, given certain changes in the political situation of Italy, in a French-language edition of 1801, *Nouveau jeu des éches ou jeu de la Guerre*. Major J. J. von Glöden in 1817 issued a German-language *kriegsspiel*, as did Johann Gottlieb Perkuhn that same year. Some openly acknowledged their debt to Hellwig, like the *Zusätze zu den Regeln des Hellwigschen Kriegsspiel und Veränderung dieser Regeln *(1818). No less than fifteen European authors had weighed in on wargaming before the first quarter of the nineteenth century had passed.

Also particularly relevant are the sections *3.1.1 Games of War Before 1780* and *3.1.2 The Brunswick Gamers (1780–1811)*.


curi at 1:01 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12302 | reply | quote

#12302 The historian with over 3000 upvotes, who is a moderator, replied. He wasn't hostile/mad (at least not visibly), but he didn't learn and he moved the goalposts dishonestly. There are no Paths Forward there.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/bllwuq/did_people_in_the_middle_ages_ever_actually_plan/en026fb/


curi at 10:49 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12303 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 10:50 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12304 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 10:51 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12305 | reply | quote

You should do your own analysis if you're interested. Here's one quick example:

> The only thing we shouldn't depend on shifty countries for is military tech

What about food? If you *depend* on an *unreliable* country for food, then you may have a famine on your hands.


Anonymous at 10:56 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12306 | reply | quote

Record of Deleted Tweet

https://twitter.com/j_mallone/status/1126810618718248961

> Trade with China benefits us & this list of items shows that

> Mutual interdependence reduces chance of war. Economic autarky is the favored policy of the warmonger cuz he wants to bomb others, not trade

> The only thing we shouldn't depend on shifty countries for is military tech

The tweet it responed to is:

https://twitter.com/ToryAnarchist/status/1126481364981821441


Anonymous at 11:01 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12307 | reply | quote

>> https://twitter.com/j_mallone/status/1126810618718248961

>> This tweet is bad.

> Why?

Why would you ask "Why?" if you don't want to know and would prefer to delete it than think about it? You seem to be asking people to waste their time and misleading them about your interest in discussion.


Anonymous at 11:02 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12308 | reply | quote

>>> https://twitter.com/j_mallone/status/1126810618718248961

>>> This tweet is bad.

>> Why?

> Why would you ask "Why?" if you don't want to know and would prefer to delete it than think about it? You seem to be asking people to waste their time and misleading them about your interest in discussion.

If the tweet is bad then it shouldn't exist cuz it promotes misconceptions. I asked if it was bad so I could know if it was actually bad.


Anonymous at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12309 | reply | quote

> I asked if it was bad so

This is incoherent. Asking why it's bad is not asking *if* it's bad. And you'd *already* been told it was bad.


Anonymous at 11:06 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12310 | reply | quote

>> I asked if it was bad so

> This is incoherent. Asking why it's bad is not asking *if* it's bad. And you'd *already* been told it was bad.

Sorry, I wanted to know why it was bad, not just take it on authority


Anonymous at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12311 | reply | quote

You don't know now why it was bad. You refused to think about that, and you tried to prevent anyone else from thinking about it either by destroying the linked information.


Anonymous at 11:10 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12312 | reply | quote

> You don't know now why it was bad. You refused to think about that, and you tried to prevent anyone else from thinking about it either by destroying the linked information.

I got enough of an indication from anon's response about the tweet to think it was bad. There might be more to it but I was satisfied it was bad.

Do you think I should leave up mistaken tweets or just post an image here myself next time?


Anonymous at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12313 | reply | quote

#12313 You shouldn't tweet things that you wouldn't want to think about and analyze errors in. Doing that is a lie: it's pretending to post something in a rational when, when you actually aren't.

You shouldn't ask people to help you understand things you aren't really interested in. Another lie.

You shouldn't destroy permalinks. If you do, you absolutely should have posted a copy here so the discussion should still be followed. And it's better to use retractions so people can see the error correction (including people who already read the mistaken tweet).

You should post-mortem your errors. https://curi.us/2190-errors-merit-post-mortems

If you wouldn't want to post mortem an error in something, you shouldn't say it at all. Or at the very least, should keep it separate from FI (or should label it at the start as something you would not post mortem an error in, so that people know to not read it).


Anonymous at 11:17 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12314 | reply | quote

> in a rational when

I meant: in a rational *way*


Anonymous at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12315 | reply | quote

> should still be followed

I meant: *could* still be followed


Anonymous at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12316 | reply | quote

> #12313 You shouldn't tweet things that you wouldn't want to think about and analyze errors in. Doing that is a lie: it's pretending to post something in a rational when, when you actually aren't.

By that definition and given an open ended conception of debate, basically every tweet on Twitter that's about an intellectual topic is a lie, isn't it?

I'm not trying to debate the definition of lie here, just checking my understanding

> You shouldn't ask people to help you understand things you aren't really interested in. Another lie.

I don't concede that I did this. We can table this for now or you can say more if you care to. I maintain that I had a genuine interest in understanding what was wrong about the tweet to a low standard of understanding quality - enough to make a call about whether I should delete it or not.

> You shouldn't destroy permalinks. If you do, you absolutely should have posted a copy here so the discussion should still be followed. And it's better to use retractions so people can see the error correction (including people who already read the mistaken tweet).

I concede that I should have at least posted a copy.

> You should post-mortem your errors. https://curi.us/2190-errors-merit-post-

I will post something about post Mortems on FI sometime this weekend.

> If you wouldn't want to post mortem an error in something, you shouldn't say it at all.

I say and tweet more than I think I can post Mortem. I'd basically not tweet and be a mute (online) if I followed this advice, until I got way better at not making mistakes anyways. What am I missing? Or would not tweeting and saying way less stuff be a good idea?


Anonymous at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12317 | reply | quote

> By that definition and given an open ended conception of debate, basically every tweet on Twitter that's about an intellectual topic is a lie, isn't it?

Yes. (Semi-intellectual) people everywhere ~constantly lie that they have Paths Forward, when they don't.

> I don't concede that I did this. We can table this for now or you can say more if you care to. I maintain that I had a genuine interest in understanding what was wrong about the tweet to a low standard of understanding quality - enough to make a call about whether I should delete it or not.

You didn't say that.

> I say and tweet more than I think I can post Mortem. I'd basically not tweet and be a mute (online) if I followed this advice, until I got way better at not making mistakes anyways. What am I missing? Or would not tweeting and saying way less stuff be a good idea?

Stop overreaching. Do stuff where your error rate is lower so that you can keep up with the errors you create.

You posted lecturey tweet about advanced stuff where you don't know what you're talking about. It wasn't learning oriented. It was a bad activity.


Anonymous at 11:56 AM on May 10, 2019 | #12318 | reply | quote

> “Classrooms and campuses provide physical control over students for nearly two decades of their lives. That control was initially used for simple dogmatic preaching. Then it escalated to cult behavior with classroom role-playing rituals encouraging mass expressions of love and hate, transformations of sexual and gender identity, detachment from friends and family, and violent displays of pain and rage.

> The modern American identity politics campus looks a whole lot like Jonestown or a Hitler Youth rally.

> Exploiting sexuality, triggering guilt and shame in children, to transform their identity was usually the work of the lowest savage tribes and the vilest cults. It’s now the American education system.

> The techniques aren’t new. They’re as evil and old as time itself.

> Like every cult, the modern campus claims to serve an educational purpose, helping students find meaning and purpose, but insisting that they must first be cured of the subconscious evils such as white privilege and toxic masculinity that are holding them back through a process that deconstructs their barriers, encourages confession, expressions of trauma, shame and guilt, to create new identities.

> This isn’t education. It’s not even dogmatic lecturing. It’s the same basic set of techniques used by any major cult in the country. Once colleges began trying to cure their students of subconscious evils at closed sessions, under the guidance of unlicensed therapists associated with a movement, there was no longer any difference between them and that of any cult, except billions in taxpayer dollars.

> The sessions at which white privilege or toxic masculinity can be cured, or at which students are put in touch with the trauma of their oppression as minorities, duplicate cult indoctrination in every regard.”

The Brainwashing of a Nation

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273635/brainwashing-nation-daniel-greenfield

via Instapaper


Anonymous at 1:15 PM on May 10, 2019 | #12319 | reply | quote

PPMD Falco Practice Guide (SSBM)

Various anti-overreaching themes.

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


Anonymous at 5:18 PM on May 10, 2019 | #12321 | reply | quote

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/05/07/5-httlpr-a-pointed-review/

There's lots of criticism one could say of this. Try it if you don't think that'd be overreaching. Pick something easier if you think it would be overreaching.


Anonymous at 9:13 PM on May 10, 2019 | #12322 | reply | quote

>> By that definition and given an open ended conception of debate, basically every tweet on Twitter that's about an intellectual topic is a lie, isn't it?

> Yes. (Semi-intellectual) people everywhere ~constantly lie that they have Paths Forward, when they don't.

OK thanks for the clarity on that point.

>> I don't concede that I did this. We can table this for now or you can say more if you care to. I maintain that I had a genuine interest in understanding what was wrong about the tweet to a low standard of understanding quality - enough to make a call about whether I should delete it or not.

> You didn't say that.

OK. I concede I should have stated if my goal was something less than having an open-ended discussion, given the context of where I was posting.

I also note that I might be rationalizing about having had this goal of "genuine interest in understanding what was wrong about the tweet to a low standard of understanding quality." I don't think I was rationalizing, but I rationalize a lot, so I note that it is possible.

>> I say and tweet more than I think I can post Mortem. I'd basically not tweet and be a mute (online) if I followed this advice, until I got way better at not making mistakes anyways. What am I missing? Or would not tweeting and saying way less stuff be a good idea?

> Stop overreaching. Do stuff where your error rate is lower so that you can keep up with the errors you create.

> You posted lecturey tweet about advanced stuff where you don't know what you're talking about. It wasn't learning oriented. It was a bad activity.

It sounds like you don't think being silent is necessary, just more care in picking what topics to talk about (topics that are not overreaching). I think that overall sounds okay but I have a specific problem (below).

Where you say "advanced stuff where you don't know what you're talking about," is the "advanced stuff" economics? I didn't think I was totally ignorant of economics. But apparently I don't know what I'm talking about on the subject, which sounds like I'm totally ignorant. So you're saying I shouldn't talk about economics? Or only certain topics within that field? or what?


Anonymous at 4:35 AM on May 11, 2019 | #12326 | reply | quote

> Where you say "advanced stuff where you don't know what you're talking about," is the "advanced stuff" economics?

You were trying to use a Mises argument about trade and war, which you have not taken steps to test your understanding of or practice using. You skipped the appropriate learning and error correction steps and went straight to lecturing.

You ought to be wary of lecturing about anything. Among other things, you don't have a clear understanding of the boundaries of your knowledge. You ought to focus more on learning. Instead of viewing it as what you shouldn't talk about, you should focus more on what you *should* talk about, and why, and be so enthusiastic you don't have spare time to waste your time.


Anonymous at 10:43 AM on May 11, 2019 | #12330 | reply | quote

[email protected] on falsificationism and explanations

In response to an article titled "Why falsificationism is false", HN user "lisper" wrote:

> This article attacks a straw man. Being falsifiable is necessary but it is not sufficient to be considered a scientific hypothesis. Such a hypothesis also, and more importantly, has to provide a better explanation of some phenomenon than the current best theory. Experimental evidence is only brought to bear to decide among plausible alternative theories after the vast majority of candidate theories have been eliminated for not providing good explanations.

> It's easy to see that this must be true because we can only ever have a finite amount of data, and that will always be consistent with an infinite number of falsifiable theories (c.f. Russell's teapot). So data cannot possibly help us choose from among those.


Alisa at 8:06 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12331 | reply | quote

#12331 Saying a theory has to be better than any prior theory to qualify as "scientific" is ridiculous. That makes more sense as a criterion for accepting the theory as the best available, not for considering it part of science.

I think he's getting this from DD (without credit), but he doesn't understand it much.

DD could have written in BoI "After reading this book, you will have misunderstood most of it. Everyone does. Because error is inevitable and this is too far away from your prior knowledge to expect to understand using only the power of your own personal error correction. You need external criticism too, especially from people who already understand this stuff. Join our discussion forum at [link]."

DD didn't want to do anything like that. Nothing about inviting people to learn more, and no link to anything online.

He's also posting on a moderated, leftist, anti-semitic forum where I won't reply.

He does have a public email address here: http://www.rongarret.info

Will you email him and invite him to discuss or tell him something about CR or something?


curi at 8:34 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12332 | reply | quote

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18715866

> MailChimp deleted my account with no warning

Various worrying things in comments there, in the blog post, and in comments on the blog post. Lots of people have been screwed, not just one.

I just exported a backup of the FI mailing list (they make it easy to download a list of subscribers). Will do that periodically (way easier than switching, not much downside to delaying switching until an actual problem since I can move people over).


curi at 9:12 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12333 | reply | quote

Yes, I will email him.


Alisa at 9:24 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12334 | reply | quote

More from lisper

The discussion continued. lisper mentioned DD and Popper.

astazangasta replied to lisper’s original post (quoted above in #12331) :

> You should come to my workplace and tell this to actual scientists, who seem to have no trouble hypothesizing things they are unable to falsify, who pick up methods because "other people are doing this", not because of some underlying epistemological criterion, and whose epistemologically broken hypotheses have no trouble getting published in top-flight journals.

> I also object to you saying "better explanation" without defining what that is. What makes something "better"? It's more intellectually satisfying? It feels "right"? It has a lower p-value? The ultimate subjectivity of this criterion, which is really at the root of all scientific endeavor, is why philosophy of science remains so difficult to pin down.

In the end what makes up scientific knowledge is that a bunch of people we call "scientists" approve of it, and pass it on in their writing and speech. Philosophers of science are welcome to come up with theories about how science operates, but I suggest they might benefit from some anthropological approaches, because scientists are sure not reading and applying their philosophy books.

lisper replied (in-line, with quotes — a good sign):

>> You should come to my workplace and tell this to actual scientists

> I would be happy to do that if your workplace is not too far away and you want to invite me to speak.

>> I also object to you saying "better explanation" without defining what that is. What makes something "better"?

> The short version of the answer to that is: a superior explanation is one that explains more phenomena with fewer ad hoc assumptions and free parameters. (There are other characteristics of good explanations. For example, they are hard to change without losing their explanatory power. The classic example of a bad explanation that runs afoul of this criterion is Ptolemaic epicycles: why circles? Why not some other shape? It turns out that any shape can actually be used to construct Ptolemaic epicycles because what Ptolemy actually discovered was Fourier analysis, though he didn't realize it at the time.)

> The long version of the answer is: read Popper. Or David Deutsch.


Alisa at 9:29 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12335 | reply | quote

#12335 CORRECTION: The paragraph beginning with “In the end” was by astazangasta, not by me; it should have been quoted.


Alisa at 9:32 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12336 | reply | quote

> The short version of the answer to that is: a superior explanation is one that explains more phenomena with fewer ad hoc assumptions and free parameters.

This is an incorrect holdover from non-CR epistemology. Popper fixed it a little and DD more (lisper's version is worse than theirs, see also DD's criticism of Occam's Razor in BoI). But I fixed it much more:

https://yesornophilosophy.com

The short answer is that we shouldn't judge explanations as "better" (by degree) as a way of choosing which ones to accept. Instead, we must consider: do we have a non-refuted explanation of why the theory fails to solve the problem it's supposed to solve?

Instead of various criteria to raise or lower the score of an idea, you must look at what problem it's supposed to solve and whether you can figure out any decisive reason that *it will not work* or, more precisely, *should not be expected to work*. ( Thinking about *expectation* of it working is important with vague theories or theories that lack reasoning about how and why they will work, but claim "maybe" they will work. Expectation of it working is also the thing you refute when you point out why the plan for solving the problem that the theory offers has some relevant error, so the reason for expecting it to work is gone, but you don't actually analyze whether it might work for some other unknown reason (of which there are infinity).

(You may want to quote some of this in your email, or say some of it your own way.)


curi at 9:59 PM on May 11, 2019 | #12337 | reply | quote

This is what a soulless second-hander looks like (the girl on the couch):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zt0zQ3PClo

Dozens of examples.


Anonymous at 1:52 AM on May 12, 2019 | #12342 | reply | quote

#12342 AWALT


Anonymous at 2:00 AM on May 12, 2019 | #12343 | reply | quote

Comment in moderation queue at https://blog.rongarret.info/2009/04/on-shadow-photons-and-real-unicorns.html

Found because https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19888093

> Furthermore, MWI is often presented in a caricatured way that is actually false. The popular view of MWI is one of discrete universes that "split" when "measurements" are made, i.e. at any point in time there exists some definite finite integral number of universes. That's not how it works. DD obviously knows this, but you'd be hard pressed to find this idea debunked in any of his non-technical writings.

If you mean that DD should blog more, I agree. But below is an example of DD rejecting the splitting idea in non-technical writing. I still don't see what is "disingenuous" about his position that MWI is what you get when you take QM math seriously, and I don't know why you didn't respond to the physics issue I also addressed, which I thought was more important.

Begin forwarded message:

From: David Deutsch <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: Conservation Laws and MWI

Date: June 29, 2010 at 3:38:01 AM PDT

To: [email protected]

Reply-To: [email protected]

On 28 Jun 2010, at 11:30pm, Elliot Temple wrote:

> Conservation laws are actually very important to physics. See, for example, the Feynman Lectures on Physics (volume 1).

For what it's worth, the conservation laws, in the senses in which they are fundamental to physics, wouldn't be violated in the 'splitting universes' version of the Everett interpretation.

There are several ways of expressing the law of the conservation of energy. One of them is: it is impossible to build a perpetual motion machine of the first kind (a device that delivers net work to its environment and returns to its original state). Evidently splitting universes would not provide any means of building such a machine. Another is that the rate of flow of energy out through any closed surface in space is equal to minus the rate of change of the total energy in the volume enclosed by that space. Again, this would still be true if universes split.

The version of the conservation laws that *is* violated by splitting universes is something like: 'the sum of the energies of all physical systems in existence is constant'. But this only applies to systems whose energies are additive. Who told us that energies are additive across universes when they split? In fact, the other two versions of the conservation law tell us that they are not. (Or rather, would not be, if universes did split in the manner envisaged in that version of the Everett interpretation.)

The fundamental problem in the 'splitting universes' version is simply that there is no feature of the quantum-mechanical description of physical systems that corresponds to the moment, or the process, of splitting.

-- David Deutsch

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curi at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2019 | #12347 | reply | quote

Comment in moderation queue at http://blog.rongarret.info/2015/03/why-some-assumptions-are-better-than.html

> All reasoning has to start from assumptions. Assumptions by definition can't be proven or disproven. So how can we evaluate our core assumptions? If we try to use reason, that reasoning must itself be based on some assumptions like, "Reason is the best way to evaluate assumptions." But since that is an assumption, how can we evaluate it without getting into a infinite regression?

Why doesn't your post take into consideration the Critical Rationalist position on this?

PS FWIW your cat prophecy failed on me.


curi at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2019 | #12348 | reply | quote

RICE vs MOVE for injuries

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is a mnemonic for injury treatment. This article says for most injuries, Movement is better than Rest, and Ice is harmful: https://thischangedmypractice.com/move-an-injury-not-rice/


Alisa at 7:33 PM on May 12, 2019 | #12356 | reply | quote

I read *A Dream of Daring*. I thought it wasn't great. But I highly recommend *A Noble Vision* to people who like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and have read them a few times each.

Noble Vision is $4 on Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00514WM06/?tag=curi04-20

I will still try some of this author's other books. *Noble Vision* does a good job of copying a bunch of stuff from AS/FH. It's not better, it doesn't innovate, in fact it's considerably worse, but even 20% as good as AS or FH is still a *lot*, I liked it.

*Noble Vision* is much simpler than FH or AS and more repetitive. This may make it better for beginners in some ways. So it does have an advantage over Rand, even though those things were disadvantages for me. So besides FH/AS fans, I'd also recommend it to people who want to learn about Oism but didn't like FH/AS and want something easier to try and think fiction will work better for them than non-fiction.

The other advantage *Noble Vision* has over FH/AS is various details about socialized medicine. It's about a doctor in a state which is leading the country in government control over healthcare and giving everyone free healthcare. So if that topic interests you, that's another reason to read it.


curi at 10:46 AM on May 13, 2019 | #12358 | reply | quote

I made a reddit post. Reposting here partly in case mods delete it (never trust reddit mods) and partly b/c I think it's a good logical point that other people are missing (which is why I said it).

https://www.reddit.com/r/Competitiveoverwatch/comments/bphk3y/owl_should_consider_002_role_lock_minimum_2_dps/

Requiring 2 dps will solve the goats problem. Rules should be the minimum that solve the problem. There's no need to also ban 3-4 dps comps (or 3tank 1support, or 1tank 3support).

I don't have a strong opinion on whether OWL should use a role lock or not. But if it does, 0-0-2 requirement is better than 2-2-2 because it'll solve the same problem and allow more variety.

Ranked is different because people want to force some tanks and healers to avoid bad team comps. But OWL doesn't need any rules to prevent bad strategies.


curi at 1:20 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12405 | reply | quote

#12405 I've gotten 3 replies so far, from 2 ppl, and they completely misunderstand the point. These people apparently cannot understand basic logic at all. Typical but important fact about the world.


Anonymous at 1:33 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12406 | reply | quote

#12406 As far as I can tell, everyone has read what I said as "we should implement 0-0-2 role lock". That's it. That is what they heard. Any nuance beyond that is lost on them. The fact that I didn't say that is also lost on them.


curi at 1:44 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12407 | reply | quote

the way ppl mix hedging with exaggerating is weird

speedrun marathon announcer about one of the bid wars"

> X is at 4500, Y is at 500, so i have a feeling they definitely want X

“have a feeling” is a big hedge, then she goes and says “definitely” right after

shit like this is common. ppl often throw really strong claims in while also hedging a lot. it seems kinda random and nonsensical.


curi at 3:13 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12408 | reply | quote

#12408 I read strong claims + hedge as referring to the claimer's confidence and to the state of reality separately. I decipher which is which by which part of the sentence the claim or hedge is referencing.

So for example:

"i have a feeling they definitely want X"

means something quite different from:

"i'm totally sure they may want X"

I read "i have a feeling they definitely want X" to mean:

- The claimer thinks an important fact to know is if it's true that they (others) definitely want X. (if it's true that the others are totally sure about wanting X) AND

- The claimer has an opinion he's not sure about concerning the fact, which is that it's true.

Whereas "i'm totally sure they may want X" means:

- The claimer thinks an important fact to know is if it's true that they (others) may want X. (if it's true that the others haven't ruled out wanting X) AND

- The claimer has an opinion he's confident in concerning the fact, which is that it's true.

Maybe I give people too much credit. I can see how either wording could mean the same thing coming from someone thinking vaguely and writing to match.


Andy at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12409 | reply | quote

#12409 I don't think it's logical because both the hedge and the strong word *come from the same single piece of info*. And neither one is worded in a logical way. She has a feeling (because of the data)? Ridiculous. And it'd make more sense (not great, but i'd understand it more) to interpret a 9-to-1 ratio as indicating preference *strength* (degree) not decisiveness.

Here's another example:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Competitiveoverwatch/comments/bphsnf/outlaws_tweet_about_222_comp_then_delete_tweet/enta2ts/

> I mean that seems highly likely?

Again this is about one thing. There isn't conflicting data to be expressed.

The plain version would be "That is likely." Compared to that, he added two hedges (seems, question mark) and, contrary to that, an intensifier (highly).

The reason he has to hedge is *because* he intensified. The actual situation is it seems likely but doesn't seem highly likely.


curi at 7:44 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12411 | reply | quote

People say such stupid shit about epistemology and about quantum physics.


Anonymous at 8:24 PM on May 16, 2019 | #12412 | reply | quote

https://www.theneurotypical.com/autism-is-not-cute.html

Some decent points about how the TV version of autism is fake, sanitized and misleading.


Anonymous at 11:29 AM on May 17, 2019 | #12416 | reply | quote

#12418 It would be better if you used a different topic for this so other people aren't posting off-topic stuff in the middle.

Do you mind if I manually move it here?

http://curi.us/1857-open-thread-objectivism-discussion

Any other Objectivism-related post would be fine too if you prefer to find one that doesn't already have a bunch of comments.


curi at 12:21 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12420 | reply | quote

#12358 I read Fugitive From Asteron and liked it more than *A Dream of Daring*. It also has much less copied from Rand than *Noble Vision*, but I liked the plot more (sci fi instead of slave south). It features a communist dystopia and then the guy goes to a free society and sees lots of differences (minor spoiler which i figured isn't a big deal because it's also hinted at by the title which lets you know the protagonist – who is living on Astereon, a really awful planet – will soon be a fugitive). it's ok. not a high priority to read but it has some Objectivist and liberal values, and i don't know where to find better sci fi that i haven't already read. Gen LaGreca isn't great at all as a writer but is acceptable, and throwing in some good ideas – plus leaving out a ton of the usual bad ideas – is nice. it's kinda hard to find fiction books without some *awful* values in some parts, especially if they are trying to talk about ideas. also the writing itself is better than *Noble Vision* (at least for me) because it's less repetitive and is more willing to trust the reader to remember some things.


curi at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12421 | reply | quote

#12420

I did't quite understand the first sentence. Do you mean not "First reading of OPAR"?

Please do. No problem at all.


N at 12:36 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12422 | reply | quote

#12422 I meant use a different blog topic (= comment on a different post), not a different writing topic. I have moved it here:

http://curi.us/1857-open-thread-objectivism-discussion#c12418


curi at 12:39 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12423 | reply | quote

#12423 Thanks.


N at 1:34 PM on May 17, 2019 | #12425 | reply | quote

😈

![]https://gfycat.com/obedientchubbyhagfish


Anonymous at 7:17 AM on May 18, 2019 | #12430 | reply | quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSicdnahJ7o

video jokes about anti-child violence in latin american culture


Anonymous at 6:18 PM on May 18, 2019 | #12436 | reply | quote

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7022005/Thugs-beat-slash-stomp-Brooklyn-man-broad-daylight-attack.html

thugs beat the crap out of a guy to take his credit card to use at McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts.


Anonymous at 6:19 PM on May 18, 2019 | #12437 | reply | quote

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

>The Hundred Flowers Campaign, also termed the Hundred Flowers Movement (simplified Chinese: ????; traditional Chinese: ????; pinyin: B?ihu? Qífàng), was a period in 1956 in the People's Republic of China[1] during which the Communist Party of China (CPC) encouraged its citizens to express openly their opinions of the communist regime. Differing views and solutions to national policy were encouraged based on the famous expression by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong: "The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science".[2][3] The movement was in part a response to the demoralization of intellectuals, who felt estranged from the Communist Party.[4]

>After this brief period of liberalization, Mao used this to oppress those who challenged the communist regime by using force. The crackdown continued through 1957–1959 as an Anti-Rightist Campaign against those who were critical of the regime and its ideology. Those targeted were publicly criticized and condemned to prison labor camps.[5] The ideological crackdown following the campaign's failure re-imposed Maoist orthodoxy in public expression, and catalyzed the Anti-Rightist Movement. Some believe the Hundred Flowers Campaign was in fact an effort by Mao to identify, persecute, and silence critics of the regime.


Anonymous at 6:20 PM on May 18, 2019 | #12438 | reply | quote

Apollo 11 (2019) documentary

Re: #12049

Apollo 11 (2019) is a great documentary about Apollo 11. The mission itself was carried out in July 1969. It accomplished JFK's proposed goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" before the end of the 1960s.

Wikipedia) says:

> The film consists solely of archival footage, including 70 mm film that was previously unreleased to the public, and does not feature narration or interviews.

NASA invited Ayn Rand to attend the Apollo 11 launch in Florida. Rand wrote an essay about her experience and other topics connected with the mission. In the essay, published in the September 1969 issue of The Objectivist under the title Apollo 11, Rand wrote:

> As far as I was able to find out, the guests–apart from government officials and foreign dignitaries–were mainly scientists, industrialists and a few intellectuals who had been selected to represent the American people and culture on this occasion. If this was the standard of selection, I am happy and proud that I was one of these guests.

I found the film inspiring and saddening. On the one hand, the film gives a glimpse of the people who possessed the virtues required to carry out such a mission. In the essay linked above, Rand wrote:

> The most inspiring aspect of Apollo 11's flight was that it made such abstractions as rationality, knowledge, science perceivable in direct, immediate experience.

> [...]

> No one chose a type of fuel for Apollo 11 because he "felt like it," or ignored the results of a test because he "didn't feel like it," or programmed a computer with a jumble of random, irrelevant nonsense he "didn't know why." No one made a decision affecting the spacecraft, by hunch, by whim, or by sudden, inexplicable "intuition."

On the other hand, the America of that era is gone. Back then, America had not yet been inundated with immigrants who hate America. The people who worked on Apollo were hired not for their demographics but for their competence and for their ability to work together as a team. The Apollo 8 astronauts even broadcasted a bible reading during Christmas as the Earth came into view while they orbited the moon.

In November 1969, at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, Ayn Rand gave a talk titled "Apollo and Dionysus". The talk, which references her essay linked above, contrasts Apollo 11 with the festival at Woodstock that took place around the same time. The Ayn Rand institute has published a free transcript and audio recording of the talk.


Alisa at 11:50 AM on May 19, 2019 | #12439 | reply | quote

Corrections:

1. The Wikipedia URL should be: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo%5f11%5f%282019%5ffilm%29

2. There was a missing ellipsis in a quote from Ayn Rand. The quote (which comes from p. 718 of the Sep 1969 issue of *The Objectivist* linked above) should have been:

> No one chose a type of fuel for Apollo 11 because he "felt like it," or ignored the results of a test because he "didn't feel like it," or programmed a computer with a jumble of random, irrelevant nonsense he "didn't know why." […] No one made a decision affecting the spacecraft, by hunch, by whim, or by sudden, inexplicable "intuition."


Alisa at 5:52 PM on May 19, 2019 | #12441 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking As a Science_

> Every sensible man realizes that the perfection of a mechanical instrument depends to some extent upon the perfection of the tools with which it is made. No carpenter would expect a perfectly smooth board after using a dented or chipped plane. No gasolene engine manufacturer would expect to produce a good motor unless he had the best lathes obtainable to help him turn out his product. No watchmaker would expect to construct a perfectly accurate timepiece unless he had the most delicate and accurate tools to turn out the cogs and screws. Before any specialist produces an instrument he thinks of the tools with which he is to produce it. But men reflect continually on the most complex problems—problems of vital importance to them—and expect to obtain satisfactory solutions, without once giving a thought to the manner in which they go about obtaining those solutions; without a thought to their own mind, the tool which produces those solutions. Surely this deserves at least some systematic consideration.


Anonymous at 5:06 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12443 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

>Most people, when confronted with a problem, immediately acquire an inordinate desire to “read-up” on it. When they get stuck mentally, the first thing such people do is to run to a book. Confess it, have you not often been in a waiting room or a Pullman, noticed people all about you reading, and finding yourself without any reading matter, have you not wished that you had some?—something to “occupy your mind”? And did it ever occur to you that you had within you the power to occupy your mind, and do it more profitably than all those assiduous readers? Briefly, did it ever occur to you to think?


Anonymous at 5:07 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12444 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> I beg no one to get frightened. Science does not necessarily mean test tubes and telescopes. I mean science in its broadest sense; and in this sense it means nothing more than organized knowledge. If we are to find rules and methods of procedure, these methods must come from somewhere—must be based on certain principles—and these principles can come only from close, systematic investigation.


Anonymous at 5:10 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12445 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> MOST of us, at those rare intervals when we think at all, do so in a slipshod sort of way. If we come across a mental difficulty we try to get rid of it in almost any kind of hit or miss manner. Even those few of us who think occasionally for the mere sake of thinking, generally do so without regard for method—indeed, are often unconscious that method could be applied to our thought. But what is meant by method? I may best explain by an example.

> From somewhere or other, a man gets hold of the idea that the proper subjects are not being taught in our schools and colleges. He asks himself what the proper subjects would be. He considers how useless his knowledge of Greek and Latin has been. He decides that these two subjects should be eliminated. Then he thinks how he would have been helped in business by a knowledge of bookkeeping, and he concludes that this subject deserves a place in the curriculum. He has recently received a letter from a college friend containing some errors in spelling. He is convinced that this branch of knowledge is being left in undeserved neglect. Or he is impressed by the spread of unsound theories of money among the poorer classes, and he believes that everybody should receive a thorough course in economics and finance. And so he rambles on, now on this subject, now on that.

> Compare this haphazard, aimless thinking with that of the man of method. This man is confronted with the same general situation as our first thinker, but he makes his problem a different one. He first asks himself what end he has in view. He discovers that he is primarily trying to find out not so much—what subjects should be taught in the schools? as—what knowledge is of most worth? He puts the problem definitely before himself in this latter form. He then sees that the problem—what knowledge is of most worth?, implies that what is desired is not to find what subjects are of worth and what are not, but what is the relative value of subjects. His next step, obviously, is to discover a standard by which the relative value of subjects can be determined; and this, let us say, he finds in the help a knowledge of these subjects gives to complete living. Having decided this, he next classifies in the order of their importance the activities which constitute human life, and follows this by classifying subjects as they prepare for these activities.1

> Needless to say, the results obtained by this thinker will be infinitely more satisfactory than those arrived at by his unsystematic brother. Method, then, is essential.


Anonymous at 6:07 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12446 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> Before starting to solve a question—while deciding, for instance, on the validity of some nice distinction in logic—we should ask ourselves, “What practical difference will it make if I hold one opinion or the other? How will my belief influence my action?”—(using the word “action” in its broadest sense). This may often lead our line of inquiry into more fruitful channels, keep us from making fine but needless distinctions, help us to word our question more relevantly, and lead us to make distinctions where we really need them.


Anonymous at 7:02 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12447 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

Note the similarity to some Popper stuff here regarding the point about observing. This book was published when Popper was 14, so Hazlitt didn't get it from Popper

> Nowhere is the evolutionary method more strikingly seen than in biology. Since Darwin’s great theory was promulgated the science has gone forward by leaps and bounds. We have derived untold benefit from a comparison of man and animals in the light of this hypothesis; even study of the development of individual man has been aided. The discovery of the fact of evolution constituted an incalculable advance, but the method for study which it furnished was of even greater importance.

> I have spoken of the comparison of man and animals “in the light of this (evolutionary) hypothesis.” This brings us to a point which must be kept in mind in practically all observation. We are often exhorted to “observe.” Presumably we are to do this “on general principles.” Such advice is about as foolish as asking us to think on general principles. Imagine for the moment what would happen if you started right now to “observe” as much as you could. You might begin with this book and notice the size of the type, the amount of margin, the quality of the paper, the dimensions of the page, the number of pages. But you have by no means exhausted the number of properties possessed by this book. You must observe that it is also combustible, that it is destructible, that it is machine made, that it is American printed, that it is such and such a price, that it weighs so many ounces, that it is flat, that it is rectangular, that its thickness is so much....

> The absurdity is obvious. If we started out merely to observe, with no definite purpose in mind, we could keep it up forever. And get nowhere. Nine out of every ten observations would never be put to use. We would be sinfully wasting our time. To observe most profitably, just as to think most profitably, we must have a definite purpose. This purpose must be to test the truth of a supposition.


Anonymous at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12448 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> In fact, it is only by deep reflection on a subject that we come to realize most of the problems involved. You walk along the road with your friend the botanist and he stops to pick what looks to you to be a common wild flower. “Hm,” he muses, “I wonder how that got in this part of the country?” Now that is no problem to you, simply because you do not happen to know why that particular flower should not be there—and what men do not know about they take for granted. Knowledge furnishes problems, and the discovery of problems itself constitutes an intellectual advance.

> Whenever you are thrashing out a subject, write down every problem, difficulty and objection that occurs to you. When you get what you consider a satisfactory solution, see whether or not it answers all of them.


Anonymous at 10:08 AM on May 20, 2019 | #12449 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> The average man (that mythical creature!) when he has just been confronted with a problem, may wrestle with it with all the vigor of a great thinker. But as he sees difficulties multiplying about him, he gradually becomes more and more discouraged. Finally he throws up the problem in disgust, contenting himself with the reflection that it cannot be solved, or that it will take somebody who knows more than he to solve it.

> A real thinker, however, if confronted with the same problem, will look for a solution from every possible viewpoint. But failing an answer he will not give up. Instead he will let the subject drop for a while, say a couple of weeks or perhaps longer, and then refer to it again. This time he will find that certain obscurities have become a little clearer; that certain questions have been answered. He will again attack his puzzle with energy. And if he does not obtain a complete solution he will once more put it aside, returning to it after another interval, until finally a satisfactory solution presents itself.

> You may fail to see any difference between thinking for two hours separated by two weeks, and thinking for two consecutive hours. As an experiment, then, the next time you come across a puzzle which you fail to solve at first tilt, write down all the unsatisfactory solutions suggested, and all the questions, difficulties and objections met with. You may leave this for a few weeks. When you return to it a few of the difficulties will look less formidable, and some of the questions will have practically answered themselves. (Of course some of the difficulties may look more formidable, and a few new questions may have arisen.) If a solution is not found at the second attempt, the problem may again be sent to your mental waiting room. But if it is only of reasonable difficulty a solution is bound, soon or late, to be discovered.


Anonymous at 5:04 PM on May 20, 2019 | #12451 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

>It is important that we be unprejudiced. It is even more important that our views be definite. And if our definite views are wrong?... But the words of Thomas Huxley on this subject cannot be improved:

>“A great lawyer-statesman and philosopher of a former age—I mean Francis Bacon—said that truth came out of error much more rapidly than it came out of confusion. There is a wonderful truth in that saying. Next to being right in this world, the best of all things is to be clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out somewhere. If you go buzzing about between right and wrong, vibrating and fluctuating, you come out nowhere; but if you are absolutely and thoroughly and persistently wrong, you must, some of these days, have the extreme good fortune of knocking your head against a fact, and that sets you all straight again.”5


Anonymous at 2:17 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12452 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> One word more on this. There is a type of individual, most often met with among writers, who fears to make a statement of his thought definite, because he has a faint suspicion that it may be wrong. He wishes to allow himself plenty of loopholes to slip out of an intellectual position in case any one should attack it. Hence he never says outright, “Such and such is the case.” Instead, his talk or writing is guarded on all sides by such expressions as “It is probable that,” “it is possible that,” “the facts seem to indicate that”; or “such and such is perhaps the case.” Not satisfied with this he makes his statement less positive by preceding it with an “I believe,” or worse yet, with an “I am inclined to believe.”

> This is often done under the impression that it is something noble, that it signifies broadmindedness, lack of dogmatism, and modesty. It may. If it does, so much the worse for broadmindedness, lack of dogmatism, and modesty. Never yield to the temptation to word your thoughts in this manner. If you truly and firmly believe that “such and such is the case” say “ such and such is the case”; not “it is possible that such and such is the case,” or “such and such is perhaps the case,” or “it is my belief that such and such is the case.” People will assume that it is your belief and not somebody else’s.


Anonymous at 2:19 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12453 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> While no complaint can be made of lack of quantity in what has been written on reading, most of it has not taken up the subject from the proper standpoint; still less has dealt with it in the right manner. There has been counsel galore urging people to read; and recently there has been a great deal of advice on what to read. But comparatively very little has been said on how to read. At one time reading was regarded an untainted virtue, later it was seen that it did us no good unless we read good books, and now there is a dawning consciousness that even if we read good books they will benefit us little unless we read them in the right way.

> But even where this consciousness has been felt, little attempt has been made to solve the problem systematically. Leisurely discourses, pretty aphorisms, and dogmatic rules have been the forms in which the question has been dealt with. Such conflicting adages as “A good book should be read over and over again”; and “The art of reading is the art of skipping,” are not very serviceable. The necessity of some sort of orderly treatment is evident.


Anonymous at 2:31 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12454 | reply | quote

#12452

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_ :

> Next to being right in this world, the best of all things is to be clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out somewhere.

I think there's something to be said for hedging when you're not sure that an un-hedged version of what you're saying would be correct. Repeatedly being both overconfident and wrong (in light of existing knowledge, not in light of what people discover in the future) is a problem.


Alisa at 8:46 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12456 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> The very fact that you want to study a subject implies that the phenomena with which it deals are not clear to you. You desire to study economics, for instance, because you feel that you do not understand everything you should about the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. In other words, something about these phenomena puzzles you—you have some unsolved problems. Very well. These problems are your materials. Try to solve them.

> “But how can I solve them when I know nothing of economics?”

> Kindly consider what a science is. A science is nothing more than the organized solution of a number of related problems. These problems and their answers have been changed and added to the ages through. But when the science first started there was no literature on it. It originated from the attempts of men to solve those problems which spontaneously occurred to them. Before they started thinking these men knew nothing of the science. The men who came after them availed themselves of the thoughts of those before, and added to these. The whole process has been one of thought added to thought. Yet, in spite of this, people still cling to the belief, even if they do not openly avow it, that we never can make any headway by thinking, but that in order to be educated, or cultured, or to have any knowledge, we must be reading, reading, reading.3

> I almost blush for this elaborate defense. Everybody will admit the necessity for thinking —in the abstract. But how do we regard it in the concrete? When we see a man reading a good book, we think of him as educating himself. When we perceive a man without a book, even though we may happen to know that he is engaged in reflection, we do not look upon him as educating himself, though we may regard him as intelligent. In short, our habitual idea of thought is that it is a process of reviewing what we already know, but not of adding anything to our knowledge. Of course no one would openly avow this opinion, but it is the common acting belief none the less. The objections to thought are inarticulate and half-conscious. I am trying to make them articulate in order to answer them.


Anonymous at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12457 | reply | quote

Hazlitt wrote *Thinking as a Science* at age 22

#12457

From *The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt*:

> In addition to reading, young Henry also devoted some time every day to writing.

Sounds like a wise plan.

> He set out to write a book on a very ambitious subject, *Thinking as a Science*, and before many months had passed, it was finished.

Not bad for just a few months!

> He submitted the book to five publishers, received five rejections, and got discouraged. Then a friend urged him to send it out once more. He did -- and this time it was accepted by the well-known firm of E. P. Dutton & Co. In 1916, at the age of 22, Henry Hazlitt became a published author.

Wow! Hazlitt wrote *Thinking as a Science* when he was only 22.


Alisa at 9:59 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12458 | reply | quote

Hazlitt's published writing consists of ~10M words

#12458

From *The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt*:

> From age 20, [Hazlitt] wrote something almost every day -- news items, editorials, reviews, articles, columns. By his 70th birthday, he figured he must have written "in total some 10,000 editorials, articles, and columns; some 10,000,000 words! And in print! The verbal equivalent of about 150 average-length books."


Alisa at 10:14 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12459 | reply | quote

Hazlitt & "philosophy first"

From *The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt*:

> [Hazlitt's] early works were literary and philosophical, his later books largely economic.

Philosophy first. http://curi.us/1572-philosophy-first


Alisa at 10:15 AM on May 21, 2019 | #12460 | reply | quote

Roosh V banned from Twitter for 7 days for tweeting the phrase "tranny freak"

https://gab.com/rooshv/posts/OFdMa2V2N3kxVGZKUThOUXdNL1o1UT09

> My Twitter account has been banned for 7 days for using the phrase "tranny freak".


Anonymous at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12461 | reply | quote

Hazlitt liked Hayek's *Road to Serfdom*

From *The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt*:

> Hazlitt's review, featured on page one of *The [New York] Times*' Book Review Section (September 24, 1944), compared Hayek's *The Road to Serfdom* to John Stuart Mill's *On Liberty*. Hazlitt described it as "one of the most important books of our generation".


Alisa at 12:37 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12462 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> So with reading. When we peruse a book in the usual casual way we do not master it. And when we read a book on the same subject immediately after it, the different viewpoint is liable to cause bewilderment and make us worse off than before the second book was started. We do not like to devote a lot of time to one book, but would rather run through several books in the same time, believing that we thereby gain more ideas. We are just as mistaken as a beginner in swimming who would attempt to learn several strokes before having mastered one well enough to keep afloat.


Anonymous at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12463 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> While I believe all the foregoing suggestions are judicious and necessary, I am willing to admit that their wisdom may reasonably be doubted. But there is one practice about which there can be no controversy—that of making sure you thoroughly understand every idea of an author. While most people will not verbally contradict this advice, their actual practice may be a continual contradiction of it. They will be in such haste to finish a book that they will not stop to make sure they really understand the more difficult or obscure passages. Just what they hope to gain it is difficult to say. If they think it is wasting time to try to understand every idea, it is surely a greater waste of time to read an idea without understanding it. To be sure, the difficulty of understanding may be the fault of the author. It may be due to his involved and muddled way of expressing himself. It may be the vagueness of the idea itself. But if anything this is all the greater reason why you should attempt to understand it. It is the only way you can find whether or not the author himself really knew what he was talking about. To understand thoroughly the thought of another does not necessarily mean to sympathize with it; it does not mean to ask how that other came by it. It means merely to substitute as far as possible concrete mental images for the words he uses, and analyze those images to discover to what extent they agree with facts.


Anonymous at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12464 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> Another way of reading a book is what I may call the anticipating method. Whenever a writer has started to explain something, or whenever you see that he is about to, stop reading and try to think out the explanation for yourself. Sometimes such thinking will anticipate only a paragraph, at other times an entire chapter. School and college text-books, and in fact formal text-books generally, often contain lists of questions at the end of the chapters. Where you find these, read them before you read the chapter, and where possible try to answer them by your own thinking. This practice will make you understand an explanation much more easily. If your thinking agrees with the author’s explanation it will give you self-confidence. It will make you realize whether or not you understand an explanation. If you were not able to think the thing out for yourself you will appreciate the author’s explanation. If your thinking disagrees with that of the author you will have an opportunity to correct him— or be corrected. In either case your opinion will rest on firmer grounds. Not least of all you will be getting practice in self-thinking.


Anonymous at 1:46 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12465 | reply | quote

#12462 *On Liberty* is indeed an important book:

Mises, in *Liberalism* ("epigone" means "a less distinguished follower or imitator of someone, especially an artist or philosopher"):

> John Stuart Mill is an epigone of classical liberalism and, especially in his later years, under the influence of his wife, full of feeble compromises. He slips slowly into socialism and is the originator of the thoughtless confounding of liberal and socialist ideas that led to the decline of English liberalism and to the undermining of the living standards of the English people. Nevertheless—or perhaps precisely because of this—one must become acquainted with Mill's principal writings:

> Principles of Political Economy (1848)

> On Liberty (1859)

> Utilitarianism. (1862)

> Without a thorough study of Mill it is impossible to understand the events of the last two generations. For Mill is the great advocate of socialism. All the arguments that could be advanced in favor of socialism are elaborated by him with loving care. In comparison with Mill all other socialist writers—even Marx, Engels, and Lassalle—are scarcely of any importance.

Hazlitt ain't Mises or Rand. And even Mises didn't say negative things about Hayek (afaik), only Rand did that (and later Objectivists like Reisman and I).

I've only read a little bit of Mill and do plan to read more.


curi at 1:57 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12466 | reply | quote

https://daringfireball.net/2019/05/good_old_fashioned_macbook_pro_speed_bumps

> Most people waiting for the new Mac Pro think it’s in state #1 or #2, and thus, we’ll get some sort of look at it at WWDC.

The comma after "thus" is wrong and should be deleted.


Anonymous at 3:10 PM on May 21, 2019 | #12468 | reply | quote

Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_

> Practice being the thing needful, it is essential that we put aside a certain amount of time for it. Unless you lay out a definite program, unless you put aside, say, one-half hour every day, for pure downright independent thinking, you will probably neglect to practice at all. One-half hour out of every twenty-four seems little enough. You may think you can fit it in with no trouble. But no matter how shamelessly you have been putting in your time, you have been doing something with it. In order to get in your thirty minutes of thinking, you will have to put aside something which has been habitually taking up a half hour of your day. You cannot expect simply to add thinking to your other activities. Some other activity must be cut down or cut out.1

> You may think me quite lenient in advising only one-half hour a day. You may even go so far as to say that one-half hour a day is not enough. Perhaps it isn’t. But I am particularly anxious to have some of the advice in this book followed. And I greatly fear that if I advised more than a half hour most readers would serenely neglect my advice altogether. After you have been able for a month to devote at least one-half hour a day to thinking, you may then, if you choose, extend the time. But if you attempt to do too much at once, you may find it so inconvenient, if not impracticable, that you may give up attempting altogether. Throughout the book I have constantly kept in mind that I wish my advice followed. I have therefore laid down rules which may reasonably be adhered to by an average human, rules which do not require a hardened asceticism to apply, and rules which have occasionally been followed by the author himself. In this last respect, I flatter myself, the present differs from most books of advice.

> Above all I urge the reader to avoid falling into that habit so prevalent and at the same time so detrimental to character:—acquiescing in advice and not following it. You should view critically every sentence in this book. Wherever you find any advice which you think needless, or which requires unnecessary sacrifice to put into practice, or is wrong, you should so mark it. And you should think out for yourself what would be the best practice to follow. But when you agree with any advice you see here, you should make it your business to follow it. The fact that part of the advice may be wrong is no reason why you should not follow the part that is right.

> Most people honestly intend to follow advice, and actually start to do it, but... They try to practice everything at once. As a result they end by practicing nothing. The secret of practice is to learn thoroughly one thing at a time.

> As already stated, we act according to habit. The only way to break an old habit or to form a new one is to give our whole attention to the process. The new action will soon require less and less attention, until finally we shall do it automatically, without thought—in short, we shall have formed another habit. This accomplished we can turn to still others.


Anonymous at 2:10 AM on May 22, 2019 | #12469 | reply | quote

*Bureaucracy* by Ludwig von Mises:

> Half a century later German liberalism was stone dead. The Kaiser’s Sozialpolitik, the statist system of government interference with business and of aggressive nationalism, had supplanted it. Nobody minded when the Rector of the Imperial University of Strassburg quietly characterized the German system of government thus: “Our officials ... will never tolerate anybody’s wresting the power from their hands, certainly not parliamentary majorities whom we know how to deal with in a masterly way. No kind of rule is endured so easily or accepted so gratefully as that of high-minded and highly educated civil servants. The German State is a State of the supremacy of officialdom—let us hope that it will remain so.”2

Hey it's just like the EU bureaucrats' attitude to voters today


Anonymous at 3:40 AM on May 22, 2019 | #12470 | reply | quote

> #12452

> Henry Hazlitt, _Thinking as a Science_ :

>> Next to being right in this world, the best of all things is to be clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out somewhere.

> I think there's something to be said for hedging when you're not sure that an un-hedged version of what you're saying would be correct. Repeatedly being both overconfident and wrong (in light of existing knowledge, not in light of what people discover in the future) is a problem.

#12456 what do you think of the following statements:

1. Regarding Question X, I don't know the answer, but my current best guess is Y.

2. Regarding Question X, I think Y is probably true.

Are both hedges? Is one more hedgey than the other?

Btw Hazlitt gives some examples of hedged statements I liked:

>One word more on this. There is a type of individual, most often met with among writers, who fears to make a statement of his thought definite, because he has a faint suspicion that it may be wrong. He wishes to allow himself plenty of loopholes to slip out of an intellectual position in case any one should attack it. Hence he never says outright, “Such and such is the case.” Instead, his talk or writing is guarded on all sides by such expressions as “It is probable that,” “it is possible that,” “the facts seem to indicate that”; or “such and such is perhaps the case.” Not satisfied with this he makes his statement less positive by preceding it with an “I believe,” or worse yet, with an “I am inclined to believe.”

"I am inclined to believe" is pretty close to an expression of Jonah Goldberg's I recall being criticized on vdare (I think it was "I tend to believe" or something like that)


Anonymous at 4:46 AM on May 22, 2019 | #12471 | reply | quote

#12471

> 1. Regarding Question X, I don't know the answer, but my current best guess is Y.

>

> 2. Regarding Question X, I think Y is probably true.

>

> Are both hedges? Is one more hedgey than the other?

I don't really know, but I'd guess that they are both hedges and that they are about equally "hedgey". It's hard to compare them, because the first one uses FI phrasing, and the second one uses anti-FI phrasing (assuming the issue is not a matter of probability).

> "I am inclined to believe" is pretty close to an expression of Jonah Goldberg's I recall being criticized on vdare (I think it was "I tend to believe" or something like that).

I think whether these hedges are good depends in part on whether you're trying to be polemical or whether you're trying to humbly seek the truth.


Alisa at 8:02 AM on May 22, 2019 | #12473 | reply | quote

https://breaking911.com/man-accused-of-attacking-raping-woman-after-she-took-out-recycling/

> DENVER—Prosecutors with the Denver District Attorney’s office today announced that Jerome Lucas, 34 was charged with two counts of sexual assault, one count of second degree kidnapping, one count of first degree burglary, and one count of assault in the second degree.

There should be a comma after "34".

It seems like ~all the news sites are unable find editors who understand commas. Or maybe they don't care about that and instead use other hiring criteria?


Anonymous at 5:30 PM on May 22, 2019 | #12481 | reply | quote

#12481 Same article:

> After returning from the gym on March 24, 2019, the victim showered and then went to take the recycling out at approximately 1:20 pm leaving her door open but screen door closed.

Why did they put the (correct) comma after "2019"? Seems very similar to the one they left out after "34"!

And why didn't they put a comma before "leaving"?

Even if the editors suck, why don't the writers learn how writing works? Writing is their job... If I was a professional news article writer, I'd look up guides on how to write and do other professional skills development activities... Do they think all that matters to their career is how well they can inspire *strong emotions* (like outrage) that get people to share the article link?


Anonymous at 5:34 PM on May 22, 2019 | #12482 | reply | quote

Universities suck.

Lambda School charges 17% of your income for two years after they teach you and you get a job. You only pay if you're making $50k/yr or more. No matter what you make, the payments are limited to $30k total. Alternatively, you can pay 20k up front instead of income-based repayment. This is less than half the price of *one* year at Harvard, and it teaches you enough programming to get a job after 9 months of classes.


Anonymous at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2019 | #12487 | reply | quote

*Bureaucracy* by Ludwig von Mises:

> The political structure of Germany and France, in the last years preceding the fall of their democratic constitutions, was to a very great extent influenced by the fact that for a considerable part of the electorate the state was the source of income. There were not only the hosts of public employees, and those employed in the nationalized branches of business (e.g., railroad, post, telegraph, and telephone), there were the receivers of the unemployment dole and of social security benefits, as well as the farmers and some other groups which the government directly or indirectly subsidized. Their main concern was to get more out of the public funds. They did not care for “ideal” issues like liberty, justice, the supremacy of the law, and good government. They asked for more money, that was all. No candidate for parliament, provincial diets, or town councils could risk opposing the appetite of the public employees for a raise. The various political parties were eager to outdo one another in munificence.

> In the nineteenth century the parliaments were intent on restricting public expenditures as much as possible. But now thrift became despicable. Boundless spending was considered a wise policy. Both the party in power and the opposition strove for popularity by openhandedness. To create new offices with new employees was called a “positive” policy, and every attempt to prevent squandering public funds was disparaged as “negativism.”

> Representative democracy cannot subsist if a great part of the voters are on the government pay roll. If the members of parliament no longer consider themselves mandatories of the taxpayers but deputies of those receiving salaries, wages, subsidies, doles, and other benefits from the treasury, democracy is done for.

> This is one of the antinomies inherent in present-day constitutional issues. It has made many people despair of the future of democracy. As they became convinced that the trend toward more government interference with business, toward more offices with more employees, toward more doles and subsidies is inevitable, they could not help losing confidence in government by the people.


Anonymous at 6:12 PM on May 24, 2019 | #12499 | reply | quote

*Bureaucracy* by Ludwig von Mises:

> Marxism provides a different interpretation of liberalism’s achievements. The main dogma of Karl Marx is the doctrine of the irreconcilable conflict of economic classes. Capitalist society is divided into classes the interests of which are antagonistic. Thus the class struggle is inevitable. It will disappear only in the future classless society of socialism.

> The most remarkable fact about this doctrine is that it has never been explicitly expounded. In the Communist Manifesto the instances used for the exemplification of class struggles are taken from the conflict between castes. Then Marx adds that the modern bourgeois society has established new classes. But he never said what a class is and what he had in mind in speaking of classes and class antagonisms and in coördinating classes to castes. All his writings center around these never-defined terms. Although indefatigable in publishing books and articles full of sophisticated definitions and scholastic hairsplitting, Marx never attempted to explain in unambiguous language what the characteristic mark of an economic class is. When he died, thirty-five years after the publication of the Communist Manifesto, he left the manuscript of the third volume of his main treatise, Capital, unfinished. And, very significantly, the manuscript breaks off just at the point at which the explanation of this fundamental notion of his entire philosophy was to be given. Neither Marx nor any one of the host of Marxian writers could tell us what a social class is, much less whether such social classes really play in the social structure the role assigned to them in the doctrine.

Lol


Anonymous at 6:43 PM on May 24, 2019 | #12500 | reply | quote

reddit reply re DD & morality

https://www.reddit.com/r/askphilosophy/comments/bsnrtl/the_deutschianpopperian_moral_framework/

> I would LOVE it if anyone here is either familiar with some version of the views I have expressed or are versed in David Deutsch's views.

Hi, I've had 5000 hours of conversations with Deutsch. I run forums where you can discuss his ideas and ask questions. Everyone both versed in his views, and interested in discussion, uses them:

http://fallibleideas.com/discussion

Deutsch told me long ago that moral knowledge *preceded* scientific knowledge. In short, it's because you cannot do science successfully if you're trying to cheat. You have to value the truth, and want to voluntarily obey the rigorous requirements of science, instead of looking for loopholes to get out of some parts of science.

CR is a universal epistemology. Nothing about the big ideas (e.g. that knowledge is created by evolution, which is an error-correcting process) is domain-specific. Conjecture and refutation works in every field. Empirical tests are a nice bonus in science but everything is always, ultimately, decided by critical argument. Tests never tell you what to conclude, you can always debate what they mean and how to apply them, and you can always come up with an infinity of claims which are compatible with every data point and reach any and every conclusion. What handles that is critical argument, not testing.

Also check out this dialog about non-foundationalist morality which I wrote based on conversations with Deutsch. http://curi.us/1169-morality

> Without having read all of Popper thoroughly, I believe that most of [Deutsch's epistemological] theory knowledge derives from [Popper].

Yes. If you're going to read more Popper, I recommend you use this guide to which selections to read:

http://fallibleideas.com/books#popper

Popper wrote a lot. This is his best work. The selections are heavily oriented towards epistemology.


curi at 7:33 PM on May 24, 2019 | #12501 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/jowrotethis/status/1131956466993094656

Oh. Great point.

Reminds me. I know a show which has significantly *increased* its words per episode over time. South Park!


Anonymous at 10:35 AM on May 25, 2019 | #12506 | reply | quote

People donate to charity because part of them knows that their own lives aren't very important and they aren't going to do anything great if they use the money on themselves. They don't want to invest in learning more and doing something that great; they don't like learning; they want someone else to worry about them instead; they don't really check what a charity actually does before donating (they don't know how to check, anyway, and don't want to think enough to find out). Also they think their kids aren't important, and won't ever do much, either, so that's why there's no need for the money to help their children's lives.


curi at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2019 | #12510 | reply | quote

*Bureaucracy* by Ludwig von Mises:

> The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau, what an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight for!

> Against all this frenzy of agitation there is but one weapon available: reason. Just common sense is needed to prevent man from falling prey to illusory fantasies and empty catchwords.


Anonymous at 5:53 PM on May 25, 2019 | #12511 | reply | quote

How do you handle people on the street from organisations that usually try to guilt you to donate money monthly to save children in Africa if you start to interact with them (appart from just ignoring them)?

Do you give the money? Why?

Do you not give the money? Do you give reasons more than just 'don't want to'? What in that case?


Anonymous at 4:50 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12518 | reply | quote

> How do you handle people on the street from organisations that usually try to guilt you to donate money monthly to save children in Africa if you start to interact with them (appart from just ignoring them)?

> Do you give the money? Why?

> Do you not give the money? Do you give reasons more than just 'don't want to'? What in that case?

I just say something like "busy, sorry" without breaking stride


Anonymous at 4:52 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12519 | reply | quote

> I just say something like "busy, sorry" without breaking stride

I usually do that too. This time I listened for a time for the "persuasion speech" (playing on guilt mostly) and then after some time said 'no thanks'. They still managed to play on my guilt though. I thought they wouldn't anymore.

What do you say when they ask "what can you do with $20 in a month compared to giving a child food for the whole month"?


Anonymous at 7:30 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12521 | reply | quote

#12521

My standard response to strangers trying to sell me something or give charity is, “no thanks” or “not interested”, as I keep walking.


Anonymous at 7:44 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12522 | reply | quote

Where does this notion of the 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer = catastrophe come from? Is it based on the the same computer models that are used for most alarmist claims?


Anonymous at 9:33 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12523 | reply | quote

> What do you say when they ask "what can you do with $20 in a month compared to giving a child food for the whole month"?

Your problem is you don't actually know the answer. You don't have clear ideas about this.

The short answer is the *causes* of that poverty problem are 1) violence. 2) political system. 3) bad culture. Food aid addresses none of these causes. At best, food aid is a band aid – giving a man a fish but not teaching him to fish.

Aid is often taken by violent thugs (whether they are government agents or not) or never reaches the intended people due to corruption/theft. Aid subsidizes and supports bad political regimes. If a regime fails to provide wealth to its citizens, and you step in and hand them some wealth, it helps the regime stay in power and limits complaints against it. Giving wealth to a country with a bad political system is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. It means the bastards in power will take even more for themselves, since now there is more to take. I won't cover culture now.

If you want to know what to think about issues like this, you have to learn to think for yourself, learn how to read and analyze, learn how to have critical discussions, and so on. You must learn philosophical skills to enable you to learn about e.g. political philosophy.

You will never learn much without a serious, concerted effort. You have to *decide* to learn and *try* to learn. And avoid being dishonest with yourself. Interested?


curi at 10:06 AM on May 27, 2019 | #12524 | reply | quote

> Your problem is you don't actually know the answer. You don't have clear ideas about this.

This is correct. Especially the last part. And the ideas I have are contradicting. I am reading Rand and agree with what I read. Yet years and years of altruistic indoctrination is still there and comes up to surface - especially in discussion (such as the example mentioned) since there is little time to paus and reflect.

> The short answer is the *causes* of that poverty problem are 1) violence. 2) political system. 3) bad culture. Food aid addresses none of these causes. At best, food aid is a band aid – giving a man a fish but not teaching him to fish.

> Aid is often taken by violent thugs (whether they are government agents or not) or never reaches the intended people due to corruption/theft. Aid subsidizes and supports bad political regimes. If a regime fails to provide wealth to its citizens, and you step in and hand them some wealth, it helps the regime stay in power and limits complaints against it. Giving wealth to a country with a bad political system is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. It means the bastards in power will take even more for themselves, since now there is more to take. I won't cover culture now.

I agree. But the "fish" might still save some innocent lives. I understand that little will change if aid keeps coming (or at least much slower). But is not giving the aid still not just letting innocent children die? Should they be sacrificed for a better future? If so, on what moral ground?

> If you want to know what to think about issues like this, you have to learn to think for yourself, learn how to read and analyze, learn how to have critical discussions, and so on. You must learn philosophical skills to enable you to learn about e.g. political philosophy.

> You will never learn much without a serious, concerted effort. You have to *decide* to learn and *try* to learn. And avoid being dishonest with yourself. Interested?

I am interested.

On philosophical skills, where should I start as a complete novice?


Anonymous at 12:27 PM on May 27, 2019 | #12526 | reply | quote

> I agree. But the "fish" might still save some innocent lives. I understand that little will change if aid keeps coming (or at least much slower). But is not giving the aid still not just letting innocent children die? Should they be sacrificed for a better future? If so, on what moral ground?

Aid that is designed to solve the problem will *help more children* than aid which is not even trying to solve the problem. And most aid is not directed to children who will actually literally starve to death in the near future. A lot of aid is wasted and some help the bad guys, and even of the aid which has a substantial positive impact most is not about children starving. The issue has nothing to do with sacrificing anyone. If a charity said "hey we figured out how to save a few children in the short term and also we focus most of our efforts on the longer term" that would be fine, i wouldn't object to doing that instead of pure-longterm, but that charity does not exist, there is no one doing a good job of that.

> On philosophical skills, where should I start as a complete novice?

It really depends. Try reading some of these: http://fallibleideas.com

Some novices dislike reading and strongly prefer audio/video. Some novices prefer learning through discussion, not reading, listening or watching. Some will read a bunch of books but don't want to say much.

Some novices have a bunch of relevant pre-existing opinions; some don't.

Some novices have time, money and mental energy. Some are low one one, two or all three of those resources.

Some novices have other things they want more, e.g. a girlfriend to have sex with. Some are in a stable long term relationship, or are old and already had plenty of sex, or haven't gone through puberty yet.

so it depends. there's no one-size-fits-all solution. you have to try some things (i've created a variety, and some other ppl have made good things too) and see what works ok for you and what problems you run into. and then, to make progress, you have to actually do things about problems. most ppl just kinda passively get stuck when they run into a problem. things to do about problems include brainstorming solutions and making concrete plans for specific steps you will take (and monitoring that you actually do it) or discussing the problem and asking for advice.


curi at 12:55 PM on May 27, 2019 | #12527 | reply | quote

> This is correct. Especially the last part. And the ideas I have are contradicting. I am reading Rand and agree with what I read. Yet years and years of altruistic indoctrination is still there and comes up to surface - especially in discussion (such as the example mentioned) since there is little time to paus and reflect.

You may be interested in reading about the *harmony of men's interests*. Rand is good on this (see VoS ch. 4) but not the best. It's not a huge theme of hers. Mises and Bastiat say more about it.

Altruism vs. selfishness-that-sacrifices-others is a false dichotomy. Capitalism offers win/win interactions where everyone is better off. Capitalism, not charity, is what lifted the masses out of poverty so that now an American working an entry level job at Walmart is materially better off, by far, than a king from 500 years ago.

there's no need to choose me or them. there's no conflict. no one loses from a liberalism (freedom, capitalism, etc). https://freeliberalism.com/liberalism


Dagny at 1:01 PM on May 27, 2019 | #12528 | reply | quote

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4248817&forum_id=2

> CharlesXII here, doing a readthrough+review of Ready Player One

XOXO-quality scholarly criticism of a very popular book with rave reviews. The book is terrible.


Anonymous at 5:16 PM on May 27, 2019 | #12531 | reply | quote

> If a charity said "hey we figured out how to save a few children in the short term and also we focus most of our efforts on the longer term" that would be fine, i wouldn't object to doing that instead of pure-longterm, but that charity does not exist, there is no one doing a good job of that.

So all in all, funding aid without it having a longterm goal of tackling the underlaying issues is just promoting the bad situation to continue?

> so it depends. there's no one-size-fits-all solution. you have to try some things (i've created a variety, and some other ppl have made good things too) and see what works ok for you and what problems you run into. and then, to make progress, you have to actually do things about problems. **most ppl just kinda passively get stuck when they run into a problem.** things to do about problems include brainstorming solutions and making concrete plans for specific steps you will take (and monitoring that you actually do it) or discussing the problem and asking for advice.

Yes. I can relate to this.

Good advice.

> You may be interested in reading about the *harmony of men's interests*. Rand is good on this (see VoS ch. 4) but not the best. It's not a huge theme of hers. Mises and Bastiat say more about it.

I am familiar with both. With Bastiat mostly through Hazlitt. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction on this subject.


Anonymous at 8:18 AM on May 28, 2019 | #12532 | reply | quote

Anti-Christian bias in math paper about Euclid

When Christians do bad things, they're "Christians", but when Muslims do bad things, they're "Arabs", even when they refer to the Koran for justification!

Godfried Toussaint, A New Look at Euclid's Second Proposition (emphasis mine):

> In the 4th and 5th centuries, zealous *Christian* bishops began to persecute the pagan writers (mathematicians) and their books. Bishop

Theophilus in 391 A.D. led a Christian mob and destroyed the Temple of Serapis which housed many of

the remaining books. The last mathematician alive in

Alexandria, a woman by the name of Hypatia, was

hacked to pieces by Bishop Cyril. Finally, the *Arabs*

invaded Egypt in 646 A.D., and General Amr ibn-al-As

burned the remaining books, allegedly because [6] "if

the books agreed with the Koran they were superfluous; if they disagreed they were pernicious."


Frisco at 10:12 AM on May 28, 2019 | #12535 | reply | quote

Facebook permits calls for violence against people involved in "organized hate"

Facebook's "Community Standards" appear to permit "calls for high-severity violence" against individuals involved "organized hate".

https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/recentupdates/credible_violence/ :

> * Calls for high-severity violence (unless the target is an organization or individual covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy)

Facebook's definition of "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" includes (emphasis mine):

> organizations or individuals involved n the following:

>

> * Terrorist activity

> * *Organized hate*

> * Mass or serial murder

> * Human trafficking

> * Organized violence or criminal activity

In contrast, Gab's guidelines on the subject are reasonable:

> Users are prohibited from calling for the acts of violence against others...


Alisa at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12537 | reply | quote

NASA page on kites

NASA has what looks like a neat page on kites.

The site has a page with sketches of 6 different versions of the Wright Flyer built between 1900 and 1905, and it says that kites played an important role in the Wright Flyer's development:

> As teens in the 1880's, [the Wright brothers] built and flew kites.

> ... they built a small kite in 1899 which could be maneuvered by pulling on two control lines.

> These aircraft were repeatedly flown as piloted gliders and as unpiloted kites.

In tribute to the Wright brother's achievement, Apollo 11 brought a piece of fabric and wood from the Wright Flyer to the moon and back.


Alisa at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12538 | reply | quote

Study: Learning others’ political views reduces the ability to assess and use their expertise in nonpolitical domains (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027718302609)


Frisco at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12539 | reply | quote

#12539 That sentence is badly written. "the ability" doesn't say whose ability. I guess they mean "one's ability" (or even "your ability"). Reminds me of passive voice. Then it's also pretty hard to tell who "their" refers to. And it's hard to tell what the groupings joined by "and" are. These issues reinforce each other.

It's also harder to read because the intended meaning is stupid (see below) and isn't something you'd expect to read. It's easier to read ideas that make sense and are reasonable.

It's a bad sign about scholarship quality when they can't write a clear title.

The title does not match the abstract. The abstract basically says: some really shitty experiments with grossly inadequate controls and documentation, small N, and no replicability (if you do something similar you might get a similar result, but you'll never replicate that exact experiment) ... found the common sense fact that ppl are biased towards those they like and agree with more. Their basic point is ppl overrate the expertise of ppl they agree with on politics. Is that even an error? If someone is an SJW that is information indicating he's awful at thinking and I shouldn't trust him on any topic. But anyway, OK, that is their point. That is not what the title says. The title claims the bias makes you worse at *using* the expertise. That means not merely that you overrate it but you somehow be incapable of understanding/applying/something the expertise from the people you're biased in favor of. Nonsense.

PS: Border links with whitespace.


Dagny at 1:45 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12540 | reply | quote

#12539 You should say *why* you're sharing things. Did you think it was good? That is what a reasonable person would guess was your reason for sharing, but you've maintained enough deniability that it's kinda hard to ask you to post-mortem your error. A lot of culturally normal people would consider that overly aggressive by me. Nevertheless: https://curi.us/2190-errors-merit-post-mortems


Dagny at 1:48 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12541 | reply | quote

#12541 I thought the conclusion made sense, but I didn't read the study.


Frisco at 2:18 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12542 | reply | quote

I don't feel like writings postmortems for errors in in my curi.us comments. People can feel free to ignore my comments in light of that (or to ask me to not comment here at all).


Frisco at 2:21 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12543 | reply | quote

patio11 is making his daughter save up to buy a doll

https://twitter.com/patio11/status/1133255034110504960 :

> “Because you spend it on bubbles. I spend it on Meru-chan [the doll Lillian is patiently saving for]. Less money washed away please.”


Frisco at 2:25 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12544 | reply | quote

> I don't feel like writings postmortems for errors in in my curi.us comments.

Why? Or maybe more to the point, what is your goal with these comments?

PS I noticed the doll thing. I too thought it was bad (actually you didn't say you think it was bad, I just guessed that, it would have been better if you stated your opinion). Some context, which some others might not know, is that patio11 has a high income and could definitely afford it.


Anonymous at 2:31 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12545 | reply | quote

> what is your goal with these comments?

My goal is to share things I find interesting that I think others here might also find interesting. My comments are like notes that I would otherwise write and keep to myself.


Frisco at 2:34 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12546 | reply | quote

> My goal is to share things

Sharing things isn't much of a goal. It's more means than end. What is the purpose or goal of doing that sharing?


Anonymous at 2:36 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12547 | reply | quote

> Sharing things isn't much of a goal. It's more means than end. What is the purpose or goal of doing that sharing?

Maybe people here will get something from one of my comments and do something good with it that I would enjoy. For example, maybe the idea or info would be mentioned in the newsletter, or somehow be used to inspire or improve a video, podcast, or FI post.


Frisco at 2:50 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12548 | reply | quote

#12548 No goal to benefit you more directly?


Anonymous at 3:04 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12549 | reply | quote

#12549

Nothing comes to mind.


Frisco at 3:06 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12550 | reply | quote

#12550 Then you should expect to stop commenting after your initial burst of energy runs out, unless you find a selfish reason during that time.


Anonymous at 3:09 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12552 | reply | quote

> Then you should expect to stop commenting after your initial burst of energy runs out, unless you find a selfish reason during that time.

Why isn't the reason I gave in #12548 selfish? It deals with my enjoyment.


Frisco at 3:14 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12553 | reply | quote

#12553 You're being dishonest.


Anonymous at 3:16 PM on May 28, 2019 | #12554 | reply | quote

Roost V: I Have Unpublished 11 Of My Books

https://www.rooshv.com/i-have-unpublished-11-of-my-books

> I have taken the following eleven books out of print.

> Bang

> Bang Poland

> ...

> This action coincides with my decision to forbid casual sex discussion on my forum, though not discussion of other game mechanics like meeting women and dating. I will share more about these decisions in the future, but as of now I’ll say that I can no longer be a central node that men use to commit morally questionable acts.


Frisco at 7:14 AM on June 1, 2019 | #12582 | reply | quote

https://www.reddit.com/r/SneerClub/comments/avu24t/the_bay_area_rationalist_community_can_not_escape/ehie2xw/

> I've found in a lot of communities / spaces where there are relaxed boundaries (relative to the world at large) there's, inevitably, certain people who take this as an invitation to more or less push things as far as they can go while pretending they're not really doing anything. And yeah, they're usually straight dudes, and yeah, their targets are usually the cute young girls, esp the ones who are new to the space, less connected, and generally speaking less prepared to take care of themselves.

> I'm reminded of the last time I read about the SF bay area rat community, inwhich someone involved was saying they felt guilty because random strangers showing up to hang out and have kinky sex parties in their living room made them uncomfortable and they didn't know what to do about it.

> Anyway, point is, while it certainly can be worthwhile and even important to have spaces where boundaries are looser, certain behaviors are permissible, etc etc, there's a really important lesson in that certain people tend to benefit from ambiguity, usually at the expense than others, so it's necessary to be clear about where the actual bounds of acceptable behavior are.

> Blurry boundaries usually exist precisely because they benefit certain people (who, coincidentally, hold more of the cards). It's not an accident, it's by design.

Blurry boundaries are also an issue with forum moderation and with law or rules in general.


Anonymous at 10:37 AM on June 1, 2019 | #12587 | reply | quote

DD tweets

New Scientist tweeted a photo of sign painted on bus that read:

> THERE'S PROBABLY NO GOD.

> NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.

DD commented:

> Their very poster proclaims credence for the supernatural.

Rowan Hooper replied:

> @newscientist what, because of that “probably”? They couldn’t say “definitely”

DD replied:

> They could have left out "probably".

Nick Bushkar replied:

> Leaving out "probably" would shift the burden of proof to the sign makers, yet the statement would then be unfalsifiable. They can't leave out probably if they want to be correct.

DD replied:

> So, you don't want to be correct?

haha rekt


Frisco at 12:45 PM on June 1, 2019 | #12591 | reply | quote

#12591 How is DD's last message a good reply? How did the guy indicate he doesn't want to be correct? He believes that "probably" is the correct thing to say.


Anonymous at 12:53 PM on June 1, 2019 | #12592 | reply | quote

#12592 Nick Bushkar replied to DD:

> I want to be correct. I don't understand how making an unfalsifiable claim would make me correct. Can you explain?

DD replied:

> You didn't prefix your assertion with 'probably'. You said that one can't omit it while wanting to be correct.


Frisco at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2019 | #12593 | reply | quote

The guy didn't claim "probably" has to be prefixed before any claim. His belief is presumably the standard one: I *know* I have a door, but I can't *prove* there is no god. You have to hedge with probability when you don't have proof.

Ofc their epistemology is confused but DD isn't speaking to the issue and is basically trolling. (The trolling starts at "So, you don't want to be correct?". His previous messages were fine.)


Anonymous at 1:01 PM on June 1, 2019 | #12594 | reply | quote

xoxohth: Anyone love having NO plans for the weekend?

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4274393&mc=15&forum_id=2

> Anyone love having NO plans for the weekend?

> “Plans” are largely flame and always cost money. I'd much rather poast or just watch television alone.

> yeah it's 180

> nothing worse than committing to a social event and being there for like 15 minutes and realizing "haha wow holy shit these people are terrible and i'd rather be at home by myself"

I agree


Frisco at 3:46 PM on June 1, 2019 | #12597 | reply | quote

Social Pressure & Running

https://www.reddit.com/r/unpopularopinion/comments/bvskmc/running_as_an_adult_should_be_socially_accepted/

There is social pressure against adults running as transportation, so people avoid doing it


Anonymous at 12:16 AM on June 2, 2019 | #12600 | reply | quote

Story of resolving a Dolphin emulator issue

https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2019/06/02/dolphin-progress-report-may-2019/ :

> 5.0-10379 - VideoCommon: Constrain the array_base registers by booto

Interesting story of resolving a 3-year-old, hard-to-reproduce bug.


Frisco at 9:13 AM on June 2, 2019 | #12603 | reply | quote

Shapley value

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapley_value

Interesting formula for distributing the gains from an enterprise to which participants contribute differently, such a business in which one person supplies the initial capital and the other people are workers.


Alisa at 9:30 AM on June 2, 2019 | #12604 | reply | quote

Bogleheads forum: Does a home mortgage use Simple or [Compound] Interest?

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=120974

> Can someone explain how a home mortgage loan, fixed rate, works please? Is it simple interest or compund and if its compund would that be daily compound or something else? Thank you

137 posts in this thread.


Frisco at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2019 | #12606 | reply | quote

Neat tweet about SNS5 winner

Neat tweet about the winner of SNS5 (Smash'N'Splash 5): SPOILER alert


Frisco at 8:57 AM on June 3, 2019 | #12617 | reply | quote

https://www.ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2014/1/1/amazons-pr-genius

> Even apparently negative stories, for example about how hard the workers are driven, benefit Amazon, much like a mobster's reputation: 'don't try competing with these guys'.

Short, interesting article. The basic point is stories like "amazon treats its business partners harshly (third party sellers)" and "amazon treats its warehouses employees harshly in giant, super-organized warehouses where amazon insists on efficiency" fit the narrative that amazon gets good deals for customers and is hard to compete with.


Anonymous at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2019 | #12619 | reply | quote

NASA mission planning

https://web.archive.org/web/20081116034911/http://www.planetary.org/explore/topics/space_missions/voyager/stories_kohlhase.html :

> Charles Kohlhase served as Mission Design Manager for Voyager from 1974 to 1989... Following Voyager, he was science and mission design manager for the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan.

Kohlhase said:

> "It was my job to come up with the master plan. It was the job, essentially, of mission architect, sort of like a glorified tour planner. Basically, I had to take the scientific objectives and then build a mission around them, considering everything and taking in all aspects, from the launch vehicle to scientific instruments, the scientists' goals, how we would use gravity assist, and so on -- and then determine what requirements every element places on the others."

It's effective to have someone responsible for planning things and taking all relevant knowledge and objectives into account. It would be good to take that approach to planning your life.


Alisa at 5:57 PM on June 3, 2019 | #12622 | reply | quote

#12622 That person, for *your* life, needs to be *you*.

If you can't do it, well, I guess you really better learn the *philosophical skills* involved. Otherwise your life will be a mess.


curi at 6:26 PM on June 3, 2019 | #12623 | reply | quote

Skyline on learning how to learn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1a-lhjmfPw


Anonymous at 1:00 PM on June 4, 2019 | #12654 | reply | quote

https://daringfireball.net/linked/2019/05/31/can-you-even-believe-these-fucking-people

> FACEBOOK LAWYER SAYS USERS ‘HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY’

>> A lawyer for Facebook argued in court Wednesday that the social media site’s users “have no expectation of privacy.”

>> “There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Snyder said.


Anonymous at 10:11 AM on June 8, 2019 | #12690 | reply | quote

Apple’s “Live Listen” feature

https://www.macworld.com/article/3283253/ios-12-how-to-use-live-listen-with-your-airpods.html

WithApple’s “Live Listen” feature, your iPhone and AirPods can supposedly help you hear someone talking in a noisy environment such as a restaurant.


Frisco at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2019 | #12692 | reply | quote

> An average-sized apple (mass ~100 g) exerts about one newton of force


Anonymous at 3:33 PM on June 9, 2019 | #12702 | reply | quote

The new Mac Pro is good news. I liked this article talking about Apple listening and paying more attention to the Mac again, not just iOS.

https://marco.org/2019/06/09/apple-is-listening


Anonymous at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2019 | #12735 | reply | quote

Banter international

t.me/bant4chan


Anonymous at 1:15 PM on June 13, 2019 | #12766 | reply | quote

#12766 You have to be "based" (uncucked) to join


Anonymous at 6:10 AM on June 14, 2019 | #12771 | reply | quote

I enabled email notifications for a bunch of low volume YouTube channels and I'm liking it. After you subscribe to a channel, click the bell to toggle on notifications.

Channels include Project Veritas, Lauren Southern (though she claims she just retired ... right before questions about her involvement with fraudsters could be asked), Charles Tew, and various gaming related channels (leffen, PPMD, Mineral Overwatch, ml7 overwatch, and a bunch related to speedrunning).


curi at 1:00 PM on June 14, 2019 | #12773 | reply | quote

Libertarian/conservative Mises fan who works at Macy's says they're rolling out mandatory left wing indoctrination "unconscious bias" training at work, refuses to participate

https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/c1ijfa/diversity_inclusion_macys_unconscious_bias/?utm_source=ifttt


Anonymous at 12:30 AM on June 17, 2019 | #12779 | reply | quote

Post something every day

There’s some wisdom in this Twitter thread by @internetVin. It’s about improving by creating something every day. https://twitter.com/internetvin/status/1141151249120841728


Frisco at 9:55 PM on June 18, 2019 | #12800 | reply | quote

#12800 You have heard that advice before, probably 10+ times, in various forms. They don't teach how to actually do it and you don't know. It will not help you unless you do something about that problem.


Anonymous at 10:27 PM on June 18, 2019 | #12801 | reply | quote

Optical telegraph

Interesting Twitter thread about something I hadn't heard of before: the optical telegraph.

https://twitter.com/random_walker/status/1037031465735860224 :

> Before electric wires, did people have a way to transmit information faster than horses and pigeons? Yes! It was called the optical telegraph and was invented in the 18th century.

Tangent: I find "the 18th century" less clear than "the 1700s".

> Imagine a network of these towers, one every 10 miles or so. The two arms can be moved to create about 100 different symbols.

The lowtechmagazine article linked below says it was 196, not 100:

>> The semaphore had two signalling arms which each could be placed in seven positions. The wooden post itself could also be turned in 4 positions, so that 196 different positions were possible. Every one of these arrangements corresponded with a code for a letter, a number, a word or (a part of) a sentence.

Back to the Twitter thread:

> Tower operators observed neighboring towers with a telescope, and then passed on the message—at a rate of 2-3 symbols per minute. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_telegraph

> Even though the "bandwidth" was minuscule, it revolutionized communication because messages could travel at a thousand miles per hour! (In other words, low latency.)

> By 1830 France had a nationwide network of over 500 towers, then many other countries. https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2007/12/email-in-the-18.html


Alisa at 9:10 PM on June 21, 2019 | #12825 | reply | quote

#12825 Something similar was featured in "Going Postal": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett%27s_Going_Postal

Their system used lights and mirrors instead of semaphores to communicate between relay stations.

I watched Going Postal several years ago. I remember it being severely tarnished by anti-progress and anti-capitalist themes. But I do remember thinking the optical telegraph they used was an interesting pre-electronic idea for communication.


Andy at 9:52 AM on June 22, 2019 | #12833 | reply | quote

A review on these mixing bowls (good price right now)

Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FBUMLQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_UzOdDb42BE156

>Absolutely beautiful bowls, ordered 2-3 days ago and received today. I do the meal prep and I do the cooking at home. When I cooked last week for a group of Church friends and had to transport the food to the church I realized how antiquated our kitchen bowls were. So without telling the wife I got on my favorite website to shop, and today I received the benefit of that shopping episode. When the wife asked what got into me that i purchased kitchen stuff, I told her I had to because I was depressed so I went shopping. That diffused the encounter, so she said I totally understand because "that's what i do when i am depressed", success.

I found that amazon review for mixing bowls notable in a number of ways

He mentions he didn't tell his wife about his purchase of a very inexpensive item that served a need he thought he had

His purchase of kitchen stuff was apparently so out of character his wife asked what got into him. This despite the fact that he does the meal prep and apparently cooks for his church friends

He feels the need to use a psychiatric excuse to explain his purchase of a minor kitchen item when he's the primary cooking person

And apparently a major conflict was avoided cuz he describes the situation as being diffused


Anonymous at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2019 | #12835 | reply | quote

An explanation on why some baked goods require cold butter

https://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/desserts/maple-syrup-butter-tart-squares/

>A lesson on butter

>Cold butter is ideal for baked goods that should be crisp. Butter that’s straight from the fridge doesn’t get fully incorporated into a batter; instead it gets broken down into small pieces throughout your dough. Since butter is about 18% water, steam is released in those pockets during baking, which helps create flaky layers. Use it in: scones, pie crust, biscuits and crispy cookies.


Anonymous at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2019 | #12836 | reply | quote

I made a SubscribeStar account to see what it's like. It's a Patreon alternative.

https://www.subscribestar.com/fallible-ideas

The highest tier allowed is $250/month.

Fees are kinda high. 7.9% + 30 cents. (The 30 cents is for each transaction, so for each subscriber each month.)

It'll let people do small recurring contributions like $5/mo. Please feel free! I'd appreciate it!

I also made a Bitchute account (video upload site) to save the name "curi". It looks OK so far but I didn't upload a video yet.


curi at 3:20 PM on June 22, 2019 | #12837 | reply | quote

I like the discussion format I've been using in comments at http://curi.us/1595-rationally-resolving-conflicts-of-ideas

Initially the discussion wasn't focused enough. Messages were too long and said multiple things, some of which got ignored.

So my first thought was to focus and only deal with one thing at a time.

But I had a better idea: one question/argument/comment/criticism *and* one short answer.

So it's basically like two conversations at once, each of which is focused and goes one small step at a time. This way, we can each lead/control one of the conversations (half of the overall conversation). We both get to play the role of question asker and question answerer (at the same time, at all times, instead of taking turns and sometimes waiting). It's fair and working well.

This format can be used unilaterally. You can just ask one question and answer one question in each of your messages, and if the other guy says more things then you ignore them. And you can do it without saying what you're doing. But in this case I briefly explained my plan and the other guy seems to be fine with the format and going along with it.


curi at 12:32 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12840 | reply | quote

#12840 If you had a conversation with more than 2 people, it's be much harder. 2 people results in 2 short parts per message. If there were 5 people, you could be writing up to 8 short parts per message (4 questions and 4 answers), and that's without dealing with anything said between 2 ppl who aren't you (it's treating a 5man conversation sorta like 2-man conversations between every pair of ppl at the same time). real 5man conversations are even harder b/c i'll want to comment on something said btwn 2 other ppl. the way ppl do 5man convos in practice is usually that 1-2 ppl have the main active role and the other ppl aren't fully involved.


curi at 12:35 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12841 | reply | quote

Mineral coaches himself at Overwatch. Plays games then reviews his own games with replays.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7ealvl6DJ8


Anonymous at 1:04 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12842 | reply | quote

https://slate.com/technology/2019/06/science-replication-conservatives-liberals-reacting-to-threats.amp

> We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused.

> Our research suggests that the theory that conservatives and liberals respond differently to threats isn’t actually true.


Anonymous at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12843 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 3:46 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12844 | reply | quote

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4287942&forum_id=2#38424522

> Date: June 22nd, 2019 11:56 AM

> Author: Lemma Time

> Was just reading some tweet thread where someone was like, NOTICE TO IMMIGRANTS AND ALLIES WE'VE FIGURED OUT WHO ICE IS TARGETING:

> 1- People who have missed immigration court dates

> 2- People who have been issued a final order of removal

> This seems like exactly who we should be deporting, no?


Anonymous at 4:59 PM on June 23, 2019 | #12845 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/WaltDisneyWorld/status/1134815044087234560

They verbs they suggest you do are *feel* and *fall*. You don't have to think or act. They take care of everything and you're passive. You don't have to create your own fun, they create it for you. (So they claim.)

Atlas Shrugged, Dagny talking about a party:

> “There wasn’t a person there who enjoyed it,” she said, her voice lifeless, “or who thought or felt anything at all. They moved about, and they said the same dull things they say anywhere. I suppose they thought the lights would make it brilliant.”

Disney offers lights and other things in the same category as lights.


curi at 2:49 PM on June 24, 2019 | #12853 | reply | quote

fun fact: if you have two factor authentication enabled on your Apple ID, and you are trying to sign into something with your Apple ID from an antiquated Mac OS that doesn’t support two factor authentication, you can simply append the 6 digit 2FA code to your password and sign in


Anonymous at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2019 | #12855 | reply | quote

https://www.dailywritingtips.com/abstruse-vs-obtuse/ discussion of origin/meaning words "obtuse" and "abstruse". recently realized i was mixing these up


Anonymous at 7:32 AM on June 25, 2019 | #12870 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/Cam_Cawthorne/status/1143312254537994241

video snippet of the new lady who says Trump raped her

some conservative media is jumping on her statement that most people think of rape as being sexy, e.g.:

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2019/06/25/woman-who-claimed-trump-raped-her-backtracks-makes-insane-statement-even-cnn-cant-handle-n2548892

but rape fantasies are super common, as the popularity of stuff like Fifty Shades of Gray and various porn demonstrates.

I think the lady is a total liar but I don't think her statement about rape is "insane." It's just socially weird in context of a supposed victim, to be bringing that point up.

Here's some partial transcript from townhall:

>You don't feel like a victim?" Cooper asked.

>"I was not thrown on the ground and ravished, which, the word 'rape' carries so many sexual connotations. This was not sex...this was not sexual," Carroll said.

The partial transcript from townhall linked leaves out where the lady says "It hurt." here, which seems important in that she seems to be saying it was a negative experience.

>"I think most people think of rape, it is a violent assault," Cooper responded.

>"I think most people think of rape as sexy," Carroll said. "Think of the fantasies."

It sounds like maybe she's saying she had an unpleasant experience that wasn't fun, wasn't sexy, but that it wasn't bad enough to make her feel victimized. That's the most sense I can make out of it.

She also kinda creeps on Anderson Cooper towards the end of the clip.

Anyways the whole thing is weird and the lady is BSing but focusing on her statement that rape is sexy seems dumb.

Trump responded characteristically btw:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-rape-e-jean-carroll-not-my-type-author-new-york-claims-a8973211.html

>Donald Trump has denied raping the author E Jean Carroll, the latest woman to accuse him of sexual assault, partly on the basis that “she’s not my type”.


Anonymous at 7:59 AM on June 25, 2019 | #12871 | reply | quote

my Mac Applications folder is a mess with a million things in it (well 313). i think maybe i should organize it but i'm not sure how.


Anonymous at 8:16 AM on June 25, 2019 | #12872 | reply | quote

Stretching overrated, mostly a waste of time, can do harm:

https://www.painscience.com/articles/stretching.php


Anonymous at 3:48 PM on June 26, 2019 | #12896 | reply | quote

Packing vs mapping

Kinda interesting essay on two ways of thinking which the author calls "packing" and "mapping". https://www.datapacrat.com/Opinion/Reciprocality/r0/Day1.html :

> Mappers predominantly adopt the cognitive strategy of populating and integrating mental maps, then reading off the solution to any particular problem. They quickly find methods for achieving their objectives by consulting their maps. Packers become adept at retaining large numbers o[f] knowledge packets. Their singular objective is performing the 'correct' action. Strategies for resolving 'hash collisions', where more than one action might fit a circumstance are \ad hoc\.

This is the first article in a series. The TOC is here: https://www.datapacrat.com/Opinion/Reciprocality/r0/index.html


Alisa at 8:00 AM on June 27, 2019 | #12910 | reply | quote

More on packing vs mapping

https://www.datapacrat.com/Opinion/Reciprocality/r0/Day1.html :

> What is packing? Well, you just stop yourself asking `Why?'. You never really clean up your map of the world, so you don't find many of the underlying patterns that mappers use to `cheat'. You learn slower, because you learn little pockets of knowledge that you can't check all the way through, so lots of little problems crop up. You rarely get to the point where you've got so much of the map sorted out you can just see how the rest of it develops.

> With no map of the world that checks out against itself and explains just about everything you can see, it is very hard to be confident about what to do. The approach you have to take in any situation is to cast about frantically until you find a little packet of knowledge that kind of fits (everything has a little bit of daydreaming at its core, but the confused objective is to stop it as soon as humanly possible). Then you list the bits that kind of fit, and you assert that the situation is one of those, so the response is specified by your `knowledge'.

> Your friend has happened to grab another packet of `knowledge' and so you begin an `argument' where your friend lists bits of your knowledge that don't fit and says that you are wrong and he is right, and you do the same thing. You don't attempt to build a map that includes both your bits of knowledge and so illuminates the true answer...

> Not having a big map means that you often don't understand what is happening, even in familiar settings like your home or workplace. You assume that this means that you do not possess the appropriate knowledge packet, and this may be seen as a moral failure on your part. After all, you have been told since childhood that the good acquire knowledge packets and stack them up in their heads like dinner plates, the lazy do not.

> You are also overly concerned about certainty. Mappers have a rich, strong, self-connected structure they can explore in detail and check the situation and their actions against. Logic for them is being true to the map, and being honest when it stops working. It's not a problem, they just change it until it's `logical' again. Without mapping, you have to use rickety chains of reasoning that are really only supported at one end. Because they are rickety you get very worried that each link is absolute, certain, totally correct (which you can never actually achieve). You have to discount evidence that is not `certain' (although tragically it might be if your map was bigger), and often constrain your actions to those that you can convince yourself are totally certain in an inherently uncertain world.

> An aspect of packer thinking that drives mappers up the wall, is that packers often seem to neither seek out the flaws in their own logic, nor even hear them when they utter them. Worse, when flaws are pointed out to them, they are likely to react by justifying following logic that they cheerfully admit is flawed, on grounds of administrative convenience. The evidence of their own senses [?] is not as important as behaviour learned through repetition, and they seem to have no sense of proportion when performing cost/benefit analyses. This is because packers do not create integrated conceptual pictures from as much as possible of what they know. The mapper may point out a fact, but it is one fact amongst so many. The packer does not have a conceptual picture of the situation that indicates the important issues, so the principal source of guidance is a set of procedural responses that specify action to be taken. The procedure that is selected to be followed will be something of a lottery. For the mapper, one fact that should fit the map but doesn't, means the whole map is suspect.


Alisa at 11:46 AM on June 27, 2019 | #12911 | reply | quote

At the Dem debate last night, Booker said if you need a license to drive a car, you should get a license to own guns.

But you only need a license to drive on public roads, not your own property.

So Booker's reasoning kinda works if you want to say people should have a license for concealed carry (since they'll be going in public places, sidewalks etc). But i think it doesn't work at all for self defense in the home, which is a major use case for firearms

I have other objections to Booker's position. I'm just choosing to bring up this one small point cuz I just thought of it


Anonymous at 3:35 PM on June 27, 2019 | #12915 | reply | quote

The second amendment says we don't need a gun license.


Dagny at 4:04 PM on June 27, 2019 | #12916 | reply | quote

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4292549&forum_id=2#38458932

Date: June 29th, 2019 12:31 AM

Author: Confuseddood

During the Great Depression, a Communist got hired as an artist by the [Works Progress Administration] to paint shit around San Francisco. So he painted a mural in a high school of white settlers bloodily oppressing Indians and slaves. But today, the graphic images are, according to certain shitlibs, too offensive, even though they were intended to depict Anglos in a very negative light. So some of the shitlibs are trying to have the murals painted over, and other shitlibs are trying to save them.


Anonymous at 5:41 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12922 | reply | quote

#12194

> I'd prefer not to talk about my motives though, save for one. And that is that Elliot is a truly toxic person that has harmed many good people. And that hurts me.

It's telling that multiple people have said this about Elliot, but other intellectuals don't get those kinds of comments.


Anonymous at 6:07 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12923 | reply | quote

> #12194

>> I'd prefer not to talk about my motives though, save for one. And that is that Elliot is a truly toxic person

"toxic person" is vague. The more literal meaning (poisonous) doesn't apply, which leaves us with a metaphorical usage that basically means "very bad/harmful" (one might also describe a relationship in this way, as a "toxic relationship", meaning the relationship is bad, harmful, cuz there's e.g. lots of fighting or whatever).

but why is curi man bad? his badness is just asserted.

then we have the modifier "truly." This is being used to indicate some sincerity, genuineness, and truthfulness on the part of the writer. But the writer isn't interested in having a truth-seeking dialogue or engaging in honest truth-seeking. They are just hatefully lashing out. So "truly" is a lie in this context.

>>that has harmed many good people.

Which people, when, how, and on what basis do you judge the people as good?

>>And that hurts me.

#12194 is choosing to be hurt by a particular interpretation of circumstances and events which they are uninterested in getting criticism about, and then bragging online about what a good person they are for their feelings.

Now to the most recent reply:

> It's telling that multiple people have said this about Elliot,

calling it "telling" is vague. what does it tell us and how does it tell us that?

>but other intellectuals don't get those kinds of comments.

"those kinds of comments" is also vague. There are ways the quoted comment could be categorized which come up with other intellectuals too.

E.g. people claim that an intellectual caused some harm or problem in someone's life. See:

https://www.salon.com/2011/04/05/my_father_the_objectivist/

https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/9pan7h/i_took_my_girlfriend_to_see_jordan_peterson/


Anonymous at 6:38 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12924 | reply | quote

#12194

> #12192 You seem like a reasonable person so I will respond.

> I'm not perfect. I'd prefer not to talk about my motives though, save for one. And that is that Elliot is a truly toxic person that has harmed many good people. And that hurts me.

in the 2nd sentence of this quote, the anon indicates that he's going to say what his motive is. so I expected to read about it in the next sentence. but the next sentence does not mention a motive. it just asserts that Elliot is bad and hurts people. an assertion that something is true is not a motive.


Anonymous at 6:48 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12925 | reply | quote

replying to #12184

> When Elliot abuses you I highly recommend you repeat his behaviours back at him.

> He can't stand his reflection in a mirror. As he attacks it, his every insult is really an admission of what he truly is.

this is advocating revenge. it's saying that if you think Elliot did something bad to you, do it back to him. the purpose is intended to hurt Elliot back, with the hope (I assume) that Elliot would stop whatever he was doing.

what about the case where you're wrong that Elliot did something bad to you? in that case, you'd be doing things intended to hurt Elliot when he was not intending to hurt you. you'd be acting like an asshole.

a related point: if you think somebody did something bad to you, instead of doing it back to them, why don't you move on with your life? just stop interacting with Elliot. that would be much better for you (and everybody else).

to be clear: a much much much better scenario would involve you engaging in critical discussion purposed for finding the truth about whether or not Elliot tried to hurt you.


Anonymous at 7:01 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12926 | reply | quote

replying to #12156

> #12155

> It's an explanation from a particular perspective I am not interested in learning. Obviously this is not true for all people and cultures across the planet. Not sure why I have to spell out 'errors' in something I don't want or need.

> I dunno. The material is being presented in a way like I would be preying on normal people by studying their ways and patterns. To my knowledge it's not slander to give my impression of what something makes me feel.

that doesn't make sense. let's look at an example. if someone felt that jews prey on poor people after having seen them doing various actions, and then he said publicly, "jews prey on poor people", that would be slander. this is a case of someone giving his impression of what something makes him feel, and it's slander.

the anon seems to think that if something is a feeling, it can't be wrong.

that's similar to how people think that if someone is angry, you can't say their feeling of anger is wrong. the anger just is. but that's wrong. feelings can be wrong.


Anonymous at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12929 | reply | quote

#12924

> https://www.salon.com/2011/04/05/my_father_the_objectivist/

interesting thing I read at the link:

> Our objectivist education, however, was not confined to lectures and books. One time, at dinner, I complained that my brother was hogging all the food.

> "He's being selfish!" I whined to my father.

he meant selfish in the sense of getting what you want and hurting others in the process (win/lose interactions).

> "Being selfish is a good thing," he said. "To be selfless is to deny one's self. To be selfish is to embrace the self, and accept your wants and needs."

the dad is referring to selfishness in the sense that Rand advocated (win/win interactions).

> It was my dad's classic response -- a grandiose philosophical answer to a simple real-world problem. But who cared about logic? All I wanted was another serving of mashed potatoes.

Dad could have asked if he'd like him to make more mashed potatoes. that might have led to a win/win. or they could have talked about what to do next time they have dinner, e.g. making more mashed potatoes than he usually made purposed for their being leftovers instead somebody not getting enough mashed potatoes to suit their preferences.


Anonymous at 7:36 AM on June 29, 2019 | #12930 | reply | quote

#12911 They are doing *ad hoc* epistemology. This is bad because people in the field are not learning from them *and vice versa*.

Lots of people do ad hoc epistemology and then it never gets connected together in some single place and evaluated and compared. It's all floating around separately. Lots of it reinvents other stuff that already exists, sometimes with some improvements, usually with major ways it's worse.

They aren't getting criticism from philosophers. They aren't mapping how their view relates to what's already known in the field or to the other ad hoc epistemology which, like this, hasn't really been added to the field, so it's hard for someone researching epistemology to find.


curi at 1:13 PM on June 29, 2019 | #12931 | reply | quote

This page is good for finding broad (open) discussion topics to post to. I just added year labels to the open discussion topics to differentiate them.

https://curi.us/archives/list_category/83


curi at 1:51 PM on June 29, 2019 | #12932 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/johnrlottjr/status/1145218481111089152?s=21

> Florida gov signs bill requiring felons pay fines before they can vote

> “the language said felons must complete their sentences, & Rs interpreted that to include restitution, court costs, fines and fees imposed by a judge at sentencing.”

> https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-florida-felons-voting-desantis-20190629-wzwy6m7thbc7nonmgbvuja7lka-story.html

This could affect the 2020 presidential election. Trump is treating FL as a must-win for 2020


Alisa at 5:45 AM on June 30, 2019 | #12936 | reply | quote

Short, early scene from Hellbender by Frank J (author of the IMAO blog). Doug got fired and then we find out what Lulu's job is and how she keeps it. It's like a cutaway besides the last paragraph. Warfs are war orphans and are looked down on.

# Hellbender Scene

Lulu was sitting at her desk, busy painting each of her fingernails a different color, when her boss, Robin, walked up to Lulu’s desk. The middle-aged woman was making a visible effort to keep a neutral expression, “Ms. Liu, we need to talk.”

Lulu responded with a big smile. “I love talking!”

Robin looked at Lulu quizzically. “Are you wearing cat ears?”

“Yep.” Lulu flicked her ears. Also, she had painted her nose black and drawn on whiskers. “Meow! I’m a cat!”

“Well, okay. So —“

Lulu stood up. “Thanks for this job, by the way. I know you don’t usually trust warfs to work in the propaganda department.”

“We don’t call it propaganda,” Robin corrected. “These are educational materials.”

Lulu nodded. “See, I wouldn’t have thought of that; that’s why you’re so good at this propaganda. Anyway, I want you to know that you’re right to give me a chance. I know people like you who run this country think we warfs are untrustworthy and are seething with hatred of you. And that we dream every day of nothing more than seeing you all suffer — perhaps watching gleefully as you weep as everything you ever worked for burns.”

“Well, I don’t know that —“

Lulu raised a finger. “I’m not done. And if we could, we’d get some chemical weapons and release it all on you in one of your snooty parties on the side of the town we never get to go to. And then you’d all be screaming and bleeding out your eyeballs. And we’d just stand there with gas masks on, watching quietly — the happiness we’d be feeling almost too much for a human to bear. And then you’d scream for mercy and offer us all your riches to spare you, but we’d refuse because all we want is your pain and misery.” Lulu sat back down at her desk. “I know that’s what a lot of you think of us warfs, but I want you to know it’s not completely true.”

Robin was quiet for a few seconds. “Okay. Um ... so I wanted to talk about your latest work.”

“Great. I worked really hard on those posters.”

“Yes ... but there are some problems with them.”

Robin laid one down on Lulu’s desk. It was a drawing of a man holding a gun to his own head with a phrase above: “JUST DO IT.”

“I like this one,” Lulu said.

Robin frowned. “Well, it seems to be encouraging people to commit suicide.”

Lulu shook her head. “No, that’s not it at all. You see, it’s symbolic. The gun represents the truth, and he’s supposed to be using the truth to blow away any bad thoughts he has.”

“Well ... that interpretation is not really obvious.”

“Yeah, but if I make it too obvious,” Lulu said, “then I’m just calling whoever looks at it stupid — like, ‘You wouldn’t get this unless I explained it to you.’ People don’t like that.”

“Okay, um ...” Robin set down another poster. “Here’s another one you made.”

On the poster was a person punching out a man in uniform with the phrase, “GO FOR IT!”

Lulu nodded. “Pretty dynamic, huh?”

“Well ... um ... you seem to be encouraging people to attack peacekeepers.”

Lulu looked confused. “And we don’t want that?”

Robin shook her head. “No.”

“Oh, I thought we all hated the police. They’re always in our business.” Lulu faked a gruff voice. “’Why are you loitering here? And where did that bloodstain come from?’” Lulu sighed. “So annoying.”

“Well, the purpose of the material we’re making is to promote the government of the Confederacy of Astara. And the peacekeepers work for that government.”

“Oh!” Lulu slapped her forehead. “Okay, I think I get it now. I’ll fix that one; I’ll make him punch out a clown instead. Everyone hates clowns.”

“Well, that’s not really ... let’s just move on.”

Robin put another poster on Lulu’s desk. This one was a drawing of numerous happy cartoon bunnies.

“Ooh! I love this one!” Lulu squealed. “This one has bunnies. Everyone loves bunnies!”

“That may be true,” Robin said. “But the problem is what you wrote on it.” Robin pointed to the large letters at the top of the poster, which said, “OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT.”

Lulu frowned. “Oh boy; sorry. That one is a typo.”

“What’s it supposed to say?”

Lulu thought for a few seconds as she tapped her fingers on her desk. “Um ...” She rubbed her temple. “Uh ...” She touched her fingertips together. “It’s supposed to say ...” She let out a deep breath. “... don’t overthrow the government.”

“Lulu, I don’t think this is working out. You need to —“

“You talk when you sleep,” Lulu interrupted.

Robin’s eyes went wide. “Excuse me?”

Lulu laughed and stood up from her desk. “I’m being silly. How could I know that unless I know where you live and have found a way to break into your house and could easily do things to you while you sleep?”

Robin stared silently at Lulu, trembling slightly. Finally, Lulu made a playful swipe at Robin, pretending her hand was a clawed paw. “Meow! I’m a cat!” Lulu sat back down. “Everyone loves cats ... except for birds. Cats kills birds. Isn’t that right ... Robin?”

---

“And then I asked if I could have the rest of the day off since I was all creatived out, and she was okay with that,” Lulu said. “So if you want to keep your job, you just have to learn to manage your boss. Do that, and she’ll leave you alone to do your own thing until her inevitable mental breakdown.”


curi at 4:12 PM on July 2, 2019 | #12953 | reply | quote


Anonymous at 11:52 PM on July 3, 2019 | #12957 | reply | quote

What people spend money on & who people worship as God

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/07/03/gwyneth-paltrow-branded-a-fc%E2%80%8Aking-extortionist-at-goop-wellness-summit/

>Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been branded an extortionist by attendees of her recent $5,700-per-head wellness summit hosted by her “Goop” lifestyle brand, Page Six reports.

> One attendee of the weekend summit in London reportedly sent a WhatsApp message to fellow attendees branding the actress a “fucking extortionist” after being asked to book two nights at the Kimpton Fitzroy London Hotel through Goop.

> Attendees later discovered that standard rooms started at $250 a night but rooms booked through Goop were suites with a “gluten-free” breakfast thrown in.

> The summit in London was billed as “a mind-body-soul reset” retreat where guests would receive tips about “hydrating mindfully” and “channeling God through creativity,” as well as a seminar and panel discussions featuring Paltrow, Penelope Cruz, and Twiggy.

> However, guests pointed out that Paltrow did not open herself up to attendees and complained that organizers aggressively tried to sell them Goop merchandise.

> “Gwyneth acts like she’s a health goddess, but actually she’s a pretentious, greedy extortionist. She had a ton of security . . . She was unapproachable,” one attendee told Page Six. “She did the minimum, a few fireside chats with Twiggy and Penelope Cruz, then she put on her Birkenstocks and snuck out… I was a huge fan of Gwyneth; now I feel like I have lost my faith in God.”

> A representative for Goop told the newspaper that the real value of the weekend was closer to $8,000 but guests received a plethora of free extras including “golden facials” and “far-infrared gemstone therapy.”

I thought the explicit statement "now I feel like I have lost my faith in God" was interesting.

I have noticed that Twitter (to take one example) heavily pushes celebrity worship along with its left-wing politics. I don't think that is a coincidence. People who reject traditional godly judeo-christian culture still want something to worship. Modern celebrity culture encourages people to worship celebrities, and so many people do. This allows these celebrities to do things like charge close to $6k for low-value weekend summits.

Also, if Ayn Rand were writing a novel that had some details making fun of certain aspects of modern culture, I think she'd have a hard time doing better than stuff like:

>“a mind-body-soul reset” retreat where guests would receive tips about “hydrating mindfully” and “channeling God through creativity,”

and

> guests received a plethora of free extras including “golden facials” and “far-infrared gemstone therapy.”

people spent approximatley a base 2019 Mac Pro on total bullshit.


Anonymous at 5:19 AM on July 4, 2019 | #12958 | reply | quote

#12837

I think needing 5 subscribers to get paid anything by SubscribeStar is an anti-money-laundering (AML) rule. Transaction cost issues are addressed by the dollar minimum.

I think AML is an interesting topic in general.

At first I didn't see the point of the rule and thought it sounded bad, but now that I have a guess at why they made the rule, it sounds OK.


curi at 3:16 PM on July 6, 2019 | #12969 | reply | quote

I think I have yellow fever. What should I do?


Boom121 at 4:31 AM on July 7, 2019 | #12970 | reply | quote

#12970 Google it. It appears to be rare, vaccinated, and hard to diagnose accurately (looks similar to some other things). So you probably don't have it. But maybe, if you have symptoms, you have something. A doctor could help.


Anonymous at 12:03 PM on July 7, 2019 | #12972 | reply | quote

Herrenknecht's tunnel-digging machine

Neat video on Herrenknecht's tunnel-drilling machine.

The machine moves underground like a worm with a flat face, but the face is actually a spinning disc with cutting edges. Behind the cutting face, circular tunnel walls are assembled from pre-manufactured pieces. Once a new circular ring of tunnel has been assembled, the machine pushes forward some more. The machine has a long conveyor belt to carry the dirt away.


Alisa at 7:57 PM on July 7, 2019 | #12977 | reply | quote

#12970 A term usually applied to white males who have a clear sexual preference for women of asian descent, although it can also be used in reference to white females who prefer asian men.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=yellow%20fever


Anonymous at 9:36 AM on July 8, 2019 | #12979 | reply | quote

yes


Boom121 at 10:50 AM on July 8, 2019 | #12980 | reply | quote

What Makes This Song Great

https://youtu.be/ZavJLr5Otq4

In the above video, Rick Beato explains many of the instrumental, melodic, rhythmic, and even production elements of *Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic* by The Police. He doesn’t say much about the song’s lyrics.

The video is part of a series. Another episode gives a musical analysis of *Into You* by Ariana Grande: https://youtu.be/cBDJDZAo41c


Alisa at 9:59 PM on July 8, 2019 | #12986 | reply | quote

do i need to cure my yellow fever or is it like an okay thing to have philosophically?


Boom121 at 7:46 AM on July 9, 2019 | #12989 | reply | quote

Biased coin math puzzle

I posted on Twitter:

> A biased coin takes 100 flips on average to get 10 heads in a row. What's the bias?

> My solution (via http://mathb.in/34950 ):

(see the tweet for larger images)


Josh Jordan at 9:10 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12991 | reply | quote

Biased coin math puzzle (image correction)

I messed up the image link. I used the copy/paste link Imgur gave me, but I should have used the direct URL for the image itself. Here's another try:


Josh Jordan at 9:12 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12992 | reply | quote

#12992 Count a heads as +1 and a tails as -1. Keep a running tally. After 100 flips, what is the expected deviation from 0? (The max deviation at any time, based on absolute value)?


curi at 9:22 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12993 | reply | quote

#12993 Interesting question. I don't yet know of a reasonable way, using only a calculator, to get the exact answer or even get a good estimate the answer.

I wrote a simulation in Go. If the probability of heads on an individual flip is 0.71 (as in #12992), the program says that the average of the largest absolute value of the running tally seen during each game is about 42.70. If the probability of heads is 0.5, the average is only around 12.05.


Josh Jordan at 9:52 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12994 | reply | quote

#12994 I meant with a fair coin. From memory, this is covered in Feynman's lectures on computation and the answer is sqrt(N) – in this case, 10. I wonder why you got a different result.


curi at 9:55 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12995 | reply | quote

#12995 I guess you are referring to http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_06.html :

> 6–3 The random walk

> We may characterize the walker’s progress by the net distance D_N traveled in N steps.

Feynman wants to know *the net distance traveled after N steps*. My simulation from #12994 averages the *maximum net distance seen after any of the N steps*.

> We might, therefore, ask what is his average distance travelled in absolute value, that is, what is the average of |D|.

I'm unclear on what Feynman means by D with no subscript. I think variables with no subscript are often used to refer to an entire array, so one thing he could mean is (|D_1| + |D_2| + ... + |D_N|)/N. However, given the context, I think it makes more sense for D with no subscript to refer to D_N, i.e., the distance between the player and the horizontal origin line at the end of the game. In any event, Feynman doesn't give a way to calculate |D|. He goes on to say:

> It is, however, more convenient to deal with another measure of “progress,” the square of the distance: D^2 is positive for either positive or negative motion, and is therefore a reasonable measure of such random wandering.

Feynman then shows that:

> ⟨D^2 N⟩=N

where ⟨X⟩ means *the expected value of X*.

I wrote a modified simulation that tries to simulate the quantity Feynman is calculating. The modified simulation computes the *square* of the distance from the origin at the *end* of each game, sums these squares over all games, and reports the average. For 100 flips with a fair coin, it reports the average as 99.99. This is pretty close to the value given by Feynman's formula above when N=100, i.e., 100.

> If we wish a number like a distance, rather than a distance squared, to represent the “progress made away from the origin” in a random walk, we can use the “root-mean-square distance” D_rms:

> D_rms =√⟨D^2⟩ = √N

The output of the modified simulation above appears to approach N when simulating games with N flips. The square root of that output would be √N, the same as given by Feynman's formula.

Conclusions: Feynman is calculating things based on *the distance from the origin line reached after N steps*, while my simulation from #12994 was calculating the "max deviation at any time", per #12993. I think that explains the discrepancy.


Josh Jordan at 10:31 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12996 | reply | quote

Ah, so it was expected final distance instead of max deviation at any time. That explains it.

I think D means distance (at the end, so yes after N steps, so subscript N would be fine too).

IIRC Feynman does a nice job of showing why his solution is correct.


curi at 10:35 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12997 | reply | quote

#12996

> I think that explains the discrepancy.

Actually, it doesn't entirely explain the discrepancy. Another factor is that my simulation was calculating <|D_N|> in Feynman's notation (the expected value of the absolute value of the deviation after N steps), not a squared value or a square root of the sum of the squares.


Josh Jordan at 10:35 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12998 | reply | quote

I don't know why you think squaring and then squarerooting would matter (change things) compared to using absolute value.


curi at 10:37 PM on July 9, 2019 | #12999 | reply | quote

#12997

> Feynman does a nice job of showing why his solution is correct.

Yes, he does.

#12998

> Another factor is that my simulation was calculating <|D_N|> in Feynman's notation

Err, I simulated this, but didn't share that simulation here. My first simulation actually calculates the max deviation seen at any step.


Anonymous at 10:40 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13000 | reply | quote

#12997

> Feynman does a nice job of showing why his solution is correct.

Yes, he does.

#12998

> Another factor is that my simulation was calculating <|D_N|> in Feynman's notation

Err, I simulated this, but didn't share that simulation here. My first simulation actually calculates the max deviation seen at any step.


Anonymous at 10:40 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13001 | reply | quote

#12999

> I don't know why you think squaring and then squarerooting would matter (change things) compared to using absolute value.

Say you only simulate two games. Say the distance at the end of the first game is 2 and the distance at the end of the second game is 3. If you square both of those and sum the result, you get 2*2+3*3=4+9=13. The square root of 13 is about 3.6. If, on the other hand, you take the absolute value of each and then take the average of those, you get (|2|+|3|)/2 = 5/2 = 2.5.


Josh Jordan at 10:43 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13002 | reply | quote

You don't sum the squares before squarerooting. I think Feynman can't have meant that because that would, as you say, change the results significantly.


curi at 10:44 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13003 | reply | quote

The only way you sum squares before squarerooting is if you also average them before squarerooting. That maybe comes out a bit differently (avging squares instead of the originals) but is a reasonable number unlike the procedure of squaring individual things, summing squares, and doing a single sqaureroot of that total.

With your way, basically you forgot to do the averaging step in the first math but not the second math. If you divided the 13 by 2 to average it, you would get 6.5. Square root that and get 2.55 (similar but not identical to the other answer of 2.5)


curi at 10:47 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13004 | reply | quote

#13003

> You don't sum the squares before squarerooting.

Feynman wrote:

>> D_rms =√⟨D^2⟩ = √N

I parse √⟨D^2⟩ as (the square root of (the expected value of (D squared))).

One way to calculate the expected value of X squared, when X is a finite list of values (as in a simulation), is to square each value in X, add up the results, and divide by the length of X.

#13004

> With your way, basically you forgot to do the averaging step in the first math but not the second math. If you divided the 13 by 2 to average it, you would get 6.5. Square root that and get 2.55 (similar but not identical to the other answer of 2.5)

Yes, I forgot to average in the first calculatio of #13002. As you say, the results of the two procedures are still different, even when averaging is applied to both.


Josh Jordan at 10:52 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13005 | reply | quote

N

What are some good books that you recommend apart from your book list at fallibleideas.com, Curi?

**History**

I am most interested in the Enlightenment and the Gilded Age.

**Self improvement**

Any good books not already on the above mentioned list on this are welcome.

Thanks.


Books at 11:30 PM on July 9, 2019 | #13006 | reply | quote

#12986 It's cool how much detail knowledge he has. There are some danger signs of possible shallowness for some of it (there are too many things that he under-explains about note combinations being interesting but he doesn't say much about *why* besides some jargon terms and saying some things are unusual), but also lots of signs he knows a lot of things he didn't include in the video.

I think it's an example of what I'm talking about when I say there are a million things you can get good at, and the main issue is to have really high skill at something. That's based on the guess that he knows far more than he says – basically that if you asked him for more details on specific things he said in the video, for most of them he'd be able to talk for over an hour saying more and explaining in detail (and without relying on unexplained jargon) what he actually means.


curi at 1:43 AM on July 10, 2019 | #13012 | reply | quote

#13007 I wasn't paying much attention and the second link was wrong. I've fixed it now.

Also you can use citations from stuff you like to find more stuff. E.g. see citation 37 by Rand in *Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal*.

Why do you want other books, anyway? Don't you have plenty to read that you have not yet read (let alone written about and exposed your understanding of to criticism – without treating error correction as a high priority, reading is not very effective and results in tons of misconceptions about what one read)? Did you have some kind of objection to some of the books/authors I recommend, some unstated, hidden, unresolved criticism?


curi at 2:31 AM on July 10, 2019 | #13016 | reply | quote

Postmortem on my math comments from yesterday

Here is a postmortem on 12 errors I found in the 9 comments I wrote here yesterday. For some errors, I was able to propose a best practice that I think would be a good idea for me to follow going forward and which would help prevent the error in the future. For other errors, I'm not clear on how to proceed.

# Purpose of this postmortem

I am interested in making fewer errors in what I think and say. I think that writing postmortems on my errors and sharing the results here will help me learn how to make fewer errors.

For now, I want to focus on errors in my comments. The kinds of comment errors that I currently care about are:

- false statements, unclear statements, or non sequiturs

- grammar/spelling/formatting errors (including typos)

- boring statements

I'd appreciate feedback on any of my comment errors that fall into one or more of those categories. I'm also interested in criticism of the categories themselves.

A list of the errors I found follows. I use the notation #C.E to refer to a particular error in a particular comment, where C is the comment number (assigned by curi.us) and E is the error number within the comment (assigned by me). Example: #12996.2 refers to the second error in comment #12996.

#12991.1 Formatting error

The image link was broken.

Here's what happened. Imgur gives you a one-click way to copy a URL for your Imgur post, and that's the URL I used. However, that URL is a link to Imgur's web page for the post, not a direct link to the image itself, which is what Markdown image URLs require.

Once I saw my comment displayed with the broken image, I knew, almost immediately, what the problem was. Somehow, though, when posting, I didn't make the connection. Maybe this is a one-off error. If so, then I won't concern myself with it for now. If not, then I'm not clear on what I need to know or do differently to avoid this mistake going forward.

#12992

No errors found.

#12994.1 Grammar error

> I don't yet know of a reasonable way, using only a calculator, to get the exact answer or even get a good estimate the answer.

I think I should have written “or even *to* get”, but I'm not sure.

#12996.1 False statement

This error could be viewed as two false statements that stemmed from the same mix-up. Namely, when discussing what "|D|" meant in Feynman's notation, I mixed up "|D|" and "the average of |D|".

I first quoted Feynman as follows:

>> We might, therefore, ask what is his average distance travelled in absolute value, that is, what is the average of |D|.

I then commented:

> I'm unclear on what Feynman means by D with no subscript. I think variables with no subscript are often used to refer to an entire array, so one thing he could mean is (|D_1| + |D_2| + ... + |D_N|)/N.

The final sentence contains the false statement. The problem is that the math expression is an average, and "D with no subscript" wouldn't refer to an average. Indeed, Feynman himself referred to "the average of |D|", and he isn't talking about averages of averages here, so |D| itself wouldn't be an average.

Here's a better version of my text above (with changes set off in asterisks):

> I'm unclear on what Feynman means by *"the average of |D|"*. I think variables with no subscript are often used to refer to an entire array, so one thing he could mean is (|D_1| + |D_2| + ... + |D_N|)/N.

#12996.2 False statement

Directly after the text given in #12996.1 above, I continued:

> However, given the context, I think it makes more sense for D with no subscript to refer to D_N, i.e., the distance between the player and the horizontal origin line at the end of the game. In any event, Feynman doesn't give a way to calculate |D|.

If by |D| Feynman means |D_N| (which is the best interpretation), then that last sentence is false, because Feynman *does* give a way to calculate |D_N|. It's just, as he writes: "the net distance D_N traveled in N steps."

What I should have written is that Feynman doesn't give a way to calculate *the average of |D|*.

This error and the previous one (#12996.1) may have happened because I forgot what I was writing about. Maybe I got too caught up in the details. Maybe the best practice is to somehow always keep the big picture in mind. To that end, maybe I should ask myself more often: "What am I actually trying to do here?" I dunno.

At any rate, here's a better version of my text above (with changes set off in asterisks):

> However, given the context, I think it makes more sense for *D* to refer to D_N, i.e., the distance between the player and the horizontal origin line at the end of the game. *In that case, "the average of |D|" would mean "the average of |D_N|".* In any event, Feynman doesn't give a way to calculate *the average of* |D|.

#12996.3 Unclear statement

I quoted Feynman's formula “⟨D^2 N⟩=N” without giving much explanation for the uncommon symbols it uses. I only explained the angle brackets. It would have been better for me to explain in English what I thought the entire formula meant, e.g.: "The expected value of the square of the distance traveled after N steps is equal to N".

#12996.4 Grammar error

I wrote:

> The square root of that output would be √N, the same as given by Feynman's formula.

I think there needs to be a noun phrase following "the same as", and "given by Feynman's formula" is not a noun phrase.

One way to fix it is to write: "the same as *the result* given by Feynman's formula".

#12996.5 False statement

> Feynman is calculating things based on *the distance from the origin line reached after N steps*, while my simulation from #12994 was calculating the "max deviation at any time", per #12993. I think that explains the discrepancy.

The final sentence is false. (I'm ignoring the fact that I qualified it with "I think ...".) While the issue I raised there is indeed *part* of the discrepancy between my simulation and Feynman's calculations, it doesn't fully explain the discrepancy. Even if I changed my simulation to use the distance at the end of the game rather than the max distance at any point during the game, the output still wouldn't match Feynman's calculations. The remaining difference is that Feynman is using the *root mean squared ("rms")* measure of distance, while my simulation reports the *average of the absolute value* of the distance.

I noticed there was a problem here within 4 minutes of posting the comment. At 10:31 PM I posted #12996 (the comment containing the error), and at 10:35 PM, I posted #12998, which tried to correct the error. Unfortunately, I still didn't understand the full cause of the discrepancy. As a result, #12998 explained the other cause incorrectly.

Since I noticed the mistake relatively quickly, maybe I would have caught it in advance if I had somehow thought more carefully before posting. However, I think best practices should have more content than merely "think more carefully". Also, I'd like to avoid having *thought* the error in the first place.

One way I could have caught this error in advance, even without thinking more carefully, is to have written a modified version of the simulation that fixed the issue I initially mentioned and then see if the new output agreed with Feynman's calculations. It wouldn't have agreed, so I would hopefully have realized that I made a mistake.

#12998.1 False statement

> ... my simulation was calculating <|D_N|> in Feynman's notation (the expected value of the absolute value of the deviation after N steps) ...

False. That isn't what my simulation was calculating. I posted a correction in #13000.

#13000.1 Formatting error

I forgot to put in my name as the author of the comment.

I think the best practice here is: *always check the sender name before publishing any post/email/tweet/etc.* That could help with problems other than forgetting to put in the author's name. For example, say one is posting comments under different identities. In this situation, the policy also helps ensure that the post content matches the author.

#13001.1 Formatting error

Double post (duplicate of #13000). Not sure how this happened. This might be a one-time error.

#13002.1 Non sequitur

curi wrote:

>> I don't know why you think squaring and then squarerooting would matter (change things) compared to using absolute value.

I replied:

> Say you only simulate two games. Say the distance at the end of the first game is 2 and the distance at the end of the second game is 3.

Okay so far.

> If you square both of those and sum the result, you get 2*2+3*3=4+9=13. The square root of 13 is about 3.6. If, on the other hand, you take the absolute value of each and then take the average of those, you get (|2|+|3|)/2 = 5/2 = 2.5.

That text is a non sequitur. It doesn't address curi's point. The problem is that I forgot to do any averaging when squaring and square rooting, but I did do averaging when using the absolute value. The right thing to do would be, as curi pointed out in #13004, to use averaging in both computations.

I don't think my error was due to a fundamental misunderstanding about the squaring/averaging/square rooting process (but I could be wrong about that). Here are some reasons:

- I understood my error almost immediately when curi pointed it out in #13004.

- In a part of #13005 which I wrote as a response to #13003 before reading curi's #13004, I correctly described the squaring/averaging/square rooting process:

> One way to calculate the expected value of X squared, when X is a finite list of values (as in a simulation), is to square each value in X, add up the results, and divide by the length of X.

- In #12996, I described the squaring/averaging/square rooting process correctly:

> The modified simulation computes the *square* of the distance from the origin at the *end* of each game, sums these squares over all games, and reports the average... The square root of that output would be √N, the same as given by Feynman's formula.

But in #13002, for some reason, I made this mistake. I must be lacking some knowledge, otherwise I wouldn't have made the mistake. What am I missing?

#13005.1 Typo

> calculatio

Typo. That should be "calculation".

How did that typo slip through? I may have overlooked the red underline indicating the spelling error. Or maybe I noticed the red underline, decided I would fix it later, and then forgot to fix it. Maybe the best practice here is to always fix trivial errors just about as soon as I notice them.

# Conclusions

In total, I counted:

- 4 false statements

- 3 formatting errors

- 2 grammar errors

- 1 unclear statement

- 1 typo

- 1 non sequitur

I lack good ways to avoid the false statements and non sequiturs. Those are the mistakes which I regard as the most serious.


Josh Jordan at 2:12 PM on July 10, 2019 | #13020 | reply | quote

#13016 Thank you. I recently "audiobooked" (listened to) Allen Carr's *Easy Way to Stop Smoking*. I found it somewhat repetitive at times.

My brief summary of the "easy way to ..." would be:

1) Identify **why** you do that which you wish to change (I'll refer to it as a "bad habit" below)

2) Determine whether you **really** want to change the bad habit or not

3) Stop with the bad habit - since there is no reason to stick with it once you identify the reason and you do not want to keep it (be rational about it)

I did not take notes even though I intended to at first. I do +95% of my listening of books on the run / walk / gym etc and even though I do some bookmarking I rarely revisit it. I could put much more though into it, but I want to move on to the next subject too fast. I should try to discuss books. I just never end up doing it.

> Also you can use citations from stuff you like to find more stuff. E.g. see citation 37 by Rand in *Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal*.

Do you mean cite part of the books / texts that I have questions on?

> Why do you want other books, anyway? Don't you have plenty to read that you have not yet read (let alone written about and exposed your understanding of to criticism – without treating error correction as a high priority, reading is not very effective and results in tons of misconceptions about what one read)? Did you have some kind of objection to some of the books/authors I recommend, some unstated, hidden, unresolved criticism?

I want to learn better ways to learn than the ones I have at present. I do find it hard to change my old ways. My old ways are "just read / listen". They are not good, yet I find it really hard to change it. I fear it will be a waste of time and that I could have read more stuff in the meantime instead (even though it is using the bad method / way).

Before I have read mostly Mises (or other Austrians). I have read mostly Rand recently, and I started with DD as well. I was reading some Szasz in between but started to get all over the place in the end, just scratching on the surface of all kind of subjects. I want to understand Rand's ideas deeper though so I want to focus on her.

That always brings me to wanting to understand epistemology better - to be able to follow from there, but I found OPAR confusing as it started up with a consciousness section.

I did post questions on it (OPAR) but I needed to start with something less complicated. I was overreaching.

Where do you recommend I start regarding epistemology?

Regarding the Gilded Age, I just like that period and was looking for some books that do not talk about "evil robber barons" but of the greatness of men.


N at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13029 | reply | quote

I like how the Easy Way book talks about introspecting non-judgmentally. Judgment is important but, done early and badly (as is common), can disrupt actually finding out about yourself.

> Do you mean cite part of the books / texts that I have questions on?

Citations tell you about other things to read. See the example.

> Where do you recommend I start regarding epistemology?

DD's books and/or my articles. Then the specific Popper selections on the FI books page.

> I should try to discuss books. I just never end up doing it.

Try doing it and pay careful attention to how you feel while doing it, what the problems are, what seems are or bad in any way. Focus on understanding what's going on, not on reaching conclusions or trying to change. I bet there are things you don't like about it.


curi at 1:56 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13030 | reply | quote

> I lack good ways to avoid the false statements and non sequiturs. Those are the mistakes which I regard as the most serious.

Do you have practice avoiding those things? Have you successfully avoided them a bunch of times in the past when doing other stuff? Cuz if not, I think you should work on avoiding them with something simpler first. With the math from this thread, you're dealing with two sources of difficulty at once: both 1) avoiding false statements and non sequiturs; and 2) dealing with the semi-complex math topic regarding random walks, square roots, averages, absolute values, etc.


curi at 5:46 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13035 | reply | quote

"post-mortem" vs "postmortem" (hyphenation issue)

In #13020, I wrote:

>> Postmortem on my math comments from yesterday

In Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem, Elliot Temple said:

> I believe the word "post-mortem" has a hyphen... Unless you have like some actual good information, I would go with a hyphen.

I did some research. Here's what I found.

- According to Google Ngrams, "postmortem" became more popular than "post-mortem" or "post mortem" in the 1970s. From the 1970s back to around 1840, "post-mortem" was the most popular. Before that, "post mortem" was the most popular.

- Google's SRE book uses "postmortem".

- A recent Mozilla write-up uses "post-mortem".

- A search of Hacker News story titles for "post-mortem" returns 590 results (this includes both "post-mortem" and "post mortem"). A similar search for "postmortem" returns 523 results.

- Google's dictionary has an entry for "postmortem" and "post-mortem".

- Merriam-Webster has an entry for "postmortem" and redirects "post-mortem" to "postmortem".

- The Cambridge Dictionary has an entry only for "post-mortem". A search for "postmortem" there returns no result.

- The Oxford Dictionary (which uses the URL lexico.com) indicates that "post-mortem" is for "British & World English" while "postmortem" is for "US English".

- Wikipedia's disambiguation page for "Post-mortem" uses both "postmortem" and "post-mortem".

Conclusion: both "postmortem" and "post-mortem" are acceptable.


Josh Jordan at 9:21 PM on July 12, 2019 | #13076 | reply | quote

#13016

> I like how the Easy Way book talks about introspecting non-judgmentally. Judgment is important but, done early and badly (as is common), can disrupt actually finding out about yourself.

I struggle with getting anywhere with introspection. I just do not know how much time to spend on it and in what way. Is it really time well spent (what will improve)? I have no sense of progress.

I have listened to your podcast on the subject, Curi. Where can I learn even more on this? I have found some material offered at ARI:

https://estore.aynrand.org/p/184/the-art-of-introspection-mp3-download

Does anyone know if the above material is any good?

> Citations tell you about other things to read. See the example.

Thanks. I will look into it during the weekend.

> DD's books and/or my articles. Then the specific Popper selections on the FI books page.

I will take this path and work on getting better on improving posting related questions after taking the steps below.

> Try doing it and pay careful attention to how you feel while doing it, what the problems are, what seems are or bad in any way. Focus on understanding what's going on, not on reaching conclusions or trying to change. I bet there are things you don't like about it.

This helps out with my confusion on introspection. I will apply this approach. Thank you. I have been too focused on judgement.


N at 12:30 AM on July 13, 2019 | #13079 | reply | quote

Regarding https://estore.aynrand.org/p/184/the-art-of-introspection-mp3-download

I have a low opinion of that author and a low opinion of ARI in 2008. Here is a message that Locke emailed me a few years ago:

> ( agree totally with HB. I am not interested in your views.

He also wrote a paper trashing Popper which showed his gross ignorance of Popper (basically he attacked the straw men you sometimes see in secondary sources on Popper) combined with not being self-aware (introspective) enough to know he'd never learned what Popper's views are. Later, after writing that paper attacking Popper, he said something amazing about how extraordinarily ignorant of Popper he is: "I did not know he [Popper] was into politics".

Locke also claimed that similarity is known by direct perception, not by intelligent thought, and that this has been established in animals by research (and that he hadn't read the research recently, so could give no details, cites or arguments, but he was claiming it anyway).


curi at 12:40 AM on July 13, 2019 | #13080 | reply | quote

If a video has 60 frames per second and 600 Kbps (kilobits per second), then to some approximate every frame has 10,000 bits of information. That means there are 2^10000 possible images that could be displayed in each frame and the bits specify which of those images to display. Each bit narrows down the images by half. (If there were 4 possible images, then one bit would narrow it down to 2 and a second bit would narrow it down to 1. To narrow down 2^N possibilities to 1 possibility requires N bits. And it's the same with messages – actually an image is a special case of a message.)

Common video codecs encode a lot of data as *changes* from the previous frame, rather than as a full image, so it's actually pretty different when done that way. "Keyframes", which might happen every 2 seconds (or earlier for a large change to the image), are when it starts over and specifies a full image instead of a changeset.


curi at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2019 | #13087 | reply | quote

"boring statements" as an error category

In #13020, I wrote:

>> The kinds of comment errors that I currently care about are:

>>

>> - false statements, unclear statements, or non sequiturs

>> - grammar/spelling/formatting errors (including typos)

>> - boring statements

In Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem, Elliot Temple said:

> ... and then this "boring statements" one, this is much harder to evaluate – like "was that boring" – than the other things. So I think it doesn't fit with the other ones perfectly. It's more "subjective". Like what is boring is a tricky topic. And what is boring also varies by person, that is, varies by the subject.

Good points. I don't need to deal with that kind of complexity right now. Consider "boring statements" removed from the list.

Suppose I start making too many boring statements in the future. Then I'll consider adding an item about boring statements back to the list of error categories I care about.


Josh Jordan at 6:45 PM on July 13, 2019 | #13089 | reply | quote

How to make corrections clearly

I made an unclear statement in #13020:

#13020.1 Unclear statement

In #12994, I wrote:

>> I don't yet know of a reasonable way, using only a calculator, to get the exact answer or even get a good estimate the answer.

In #13020, I commented on that text, saying:

> I think I should have written “or even *to* get”, but I'm not sure.

In Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem around 17:09, Elliot Temple commented:

> This correction is actually not really clear, because it's like he should have written X, but he doesn't say what it replaces... In general, it's good policy to say, "change X to Y" when you're doing a correction.

Good point.

> I think what he's doing is it's the exact quote except for the words in italics, and the words in italics are additions. That's my guess about what it means. But that policy of like add additions in italics in an otherwise exact quote is not universal and is not the only policy someone might use.

Yeah. I started with an exact quote inside quotation marks, then made some changes inside the quotation marks, and set off the changes in italics. But I didn't explain what I was doing with the quotation marks and italics. That was unclear.


Josh Jordan at 9:19 PM on July 14, 2019 | #13097 | reply | quote

Elliot's fix to a grammar error involving parallelism

In #12994, I wrote:

>> I don't yet know of a reasonable way, using only a calculator, to get the exact answer or even get a good estimate the answer.

In #13020, I commented on that text, saying:

> I think I should have written “or even *to* get”, but I'm not sure.

In Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem around 18:48, Elliot Temple explained the grammar error and proposed a shorter fix than mine. I'll try to explain, in my own words, the grammar issue and Elliot's fix:

When there's a conjunction, you can read some words from the beginning of the first conjunct as being implied at the beginning of each of the subsequent conjuncts. For example, consider the sentence: "He went to the store and the gym." Here, you can read "He went to" as being implied before "the gym".

In the incorrect sentence from #12994, "get" is explicit in both conjuncts, not implied. Therefore, the only remaining word that could be implied is "to", but that would have to go right after the "or", which results in a grammar error called a "split infinitive": the infinitive "to get" is split into "to even get".

My fix was to write more words explicitly, so that zero words are implied: I proposed changing "or even get" to "or even to get".

The error could *also* be fixed (Elliot's suggestion) by implying *two* words: "to get". Elliot proposed changing "or even get a good estimate" to "or even a good estimate". Then you can read that part as "or to get even a good estimate", which is grammatically correct.


Josh Jordan at 8:45 PM on July 15, 2019 | #13107 | reply | quote

Mixing up "D" and "|D|", part 1

#13020.2 False statement

In #13020 (a postmortem on #12996), I wrote:

> ... when discussing what "|D|" meant in Feynman's notation ...

I went on to quote from #12996, in which I wrote:

>> I'm unclear on what Feynman means by D with no subscript.

At around 23:43 in Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem, Elliot points out that I mixed up "D" and "|D|" in #13020. The first quoted statement above was false: It said that I had been discussing "|D|" (absolute value of D) when I had in fact been discussing merely "D".

This particular problem in #13020 could have been caused by me quoting "|D|" from Feynman, rather than from my discussion of Feynman (which referenced "D"). I might have just assumed that what Feynman wrote and what I was discussing were the same thing. Being careful with quote marks is important.


Josh Jordan at 7:04 PM on July 16, 2019 | #13109 | reply | quote

Mixing up "D" and "|D|", part 2

Here's an error in #12996 that I missed in my postmortem (#13020):

#12996.6 False statement

In #12996, I wrote:

>> I'm unclear on what Feynman means by D with no subscript. I think variables with no subscript are often used to refer to an entire array, so one thing he could mean is (|D_1| + |D_2| + ... + |D_N|)/N.

In #13020, I wrote:

> The problem is that the math expression is an average, and "D with no subscript" wouldn't refer to an average.

That is *one* problem, but, as Elliot pointed out at around 23:43 in Commentary: Andy on Tradition; Josh Post-Mortem, my postmortem missed the following problem: there are absolute value signs in my guess as to what Feynman could have meant by "D with no subscript", but, in the context of Feynman's article, "D with no subscript" alone wouldn't involve an absolute value.


Josh Jordan at 7:08 PM on July 16, 2019 | #13110 | reply | quote

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