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Open Discussion 2 (2019)

Discuss whatever.

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

Elliot Temple on November 6, 2019

Messages (284)


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

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

Free Hong Kong!

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


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

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

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

NASA to send robot into space to re-fuel satellite

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Math Problem

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

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

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

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

Telling the Story of Jordan Peterson


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

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

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

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

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

1st newsletter: Sept 18, 2016.

100th newsletter: Nov 13, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's your refutation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different precautionary principle than the one argued against in BOI.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

#14316 Let's be real.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You libertarians and your utopian dreams.

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

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

Re: Math Problem


> Math Problem

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


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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

example from someone i like more than most


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

cites let you make assertions with no arguments or reasons.

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

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

PIA's no-log claims verified in court

privateinternetaccess.com claims:

> [W]e do not log. Ever.

That claim has been verified in court, twice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seems legit.

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

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

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

PIA purchased by Kape Technologies, Reddit unhappy

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

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

A close reading of a study's introduction

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

> 1 Introduction

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

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

> By nearly all accounts, this contribution is large.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Casually comparing schools to prisons:

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


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

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


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

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

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

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



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

Amazon deletes jrockway's useful review

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

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

Sucks that Amazon deleted his review.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Result: other people start talking in chat.

Thoughts on what people are like?

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

Formatting test:

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

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

I closed 3 websites:




The content is all moved to:


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In defense of Peer review vs Blogs


This video, I think, Applies to this blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

RIP Noble Soul?


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

David Deutsch on Brexit and Error Correction

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


> Contents:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just saw this, italics added:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infallible certainty about the idea that "There is experience"

Shadow Starshine wrote on the main FI Discord:

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

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

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

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

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

> ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

> A piece of paper is an experience

No it's a piece of paper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) which computational states are experiences

2) what computational state your brain is in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evolution Question


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

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

> ## Some differences

> Relatively small domain of possible maps.

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

> ## Ways it’s like evolution

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

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

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

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

Evolution is the evolution of knowledge.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wondering if I can chat privately with curi

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

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

I don't remember. Email me.

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

replicators and causality

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

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

*copies* of the gene.


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

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

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

not happen, Y does not happen either.

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

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

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

I think the answer is:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope that makes sense :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8:35 PM] curi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

So inefficient :(

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

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

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


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

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

Justin Mallone on religious tolerance and the threat of Islam

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

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

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

Ayn Rand: Meritocracy is an anti-concept

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Richard Feynman said (transcript mine):

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

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

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

http://fallibleideas.com/gradualism :

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

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

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

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

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


is expired by the way

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

Tucker on violence against Trump supporters

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you'll enjoy this Veritas legal-related vid Justin


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


Good vid thx 👍

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Variance Math Problems

a±b + c±d = ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edmund Burke

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


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

#15089 from the description:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#15092 & #15091

Thank you.

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

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


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

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

Archives of Yahoo Groups

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

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

ARR is planned next.

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

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


from the youtube transcript:

> so I think the rules and social reality


> are win-lose like there are conflicts of


> interest in social reality because


> you're competing you climb in the status


> hierarchy but in real reality it's more


> like physicists physicists collaborating


> where they can just all work together


> and win like Einstein discovering more


> stuff than you does not make you lose if


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


> it helps you understand physics better

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

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

Talking with Rucka a bit on his video:


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

Rucka replied:

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

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

I replied:

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

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


> Physics students react to 1888 exam

Alan in particular may be interested.

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

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

Due to harassment and trolling, I've enabled heightened security. There is a small chance you may try to post a comment and have it blocked. If so, turn off your VPN and try again, or contact me. Try to keep a copy of your comment, especially if it's long, but if you lose it I can probably find it in server logs.

I also enabled phone number verification on the FI Discord. FYI I cannot access your email or phone number. You just verify them with Discord and then, essentially, Discord tells the FI server that you are verified, and that's all we know.

curi at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2020 | #15221 | reply | quote


Wrong re "force fed" but some good points and concerns.

curi at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2020 | #15285 | reply | quote

#15285 He apparently thinks learning to use the term "SJW" is radicalization, so maybe he actually is aware of zero examples, not two.

I still liked the concept of using specific non-standard terms where the google and youtube search results are all stuff that fits your agenda because only your group uses it. I thought that was an interesting (bad) tactic.

His general concepts are ok but I now think the confusing wording about racism/sexism meant something bad (i didn't know what he meant there), that he may have zero examples, and that his actual concept of what is radical is probably ridiculous.

But I'm sure antifa does this stuff as he described. See e.g. https://curi.us/1965-by-any-means-necessary-a-violent-marxist-cult

curi at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2020 | #15286 | reply | quote

Jewish culture

Does anyone know/have an idea or explanation about why so many great scientists are Jewish? I have read that Jewish culture places a large emphasis on knowledge/learning/reflection/contemplation as a reason for their intellectual success. I was wondering if anyone had some other interesting ideas about it.

Anonymous at 1:26 PM on January 29, 2020 | #15290 | reply | quote


Because Google links all your accounts and the Overwatch League will now be on YouTube, you can be banned from your gmail account and be seriously fucked because you posted some emotes in an Overwatch game chat.

Anonymous at 7:42 PM on February 1, 2020 | #15336 | reply | quote

“data errors” on the front pages of several publications

Article that looks for instances of “data errors” on the front pages of several publications:

> Data errors are so pervasive that I came up with a hypothesis today and put it to the test. My hypothesis was this: 100% of “reputable” publications will have at least one data error on their front page.

> Method

> I wrote down 10 reputable sources off the top of my head: the WSJ, the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, the Economist, the New Yorker, Al Jazeera, Harvard Business Review, Google News: Science, the FDA, and the NIH.

> For each source, I went to their website and took a single screenshot of their homepage, above the fold, and skimmed their top stories for data errors.

I like how the article describes the methodology that was used.

> Results

> In the screenshots above, you can see that 10/10 of these publications had data errors front and center.

Nice way to summarize the results: a combined screenshot of all the front pages with the “data errors” highlighted.

> A good rule of thumb is anything you read that includes p-values to explain why it is significant is not significant.


Alisa at 6:52 PM on February 2, 2020 | #15343 | reply | quote

#15343 Misleading article. I don't think the headline "Tensions Rise in the Middle East" is anything like what people would normally call a "data error". People rightly interpret that headline as not being about data. Yet it's condemned for the "Lack of Dataset" error. It's also condemned for the "Lack of Definitions" error, but no one thought it was a precise statement. Yes there are objectionable things about that headline but it isn't clear misuse of data and it isn't getting basic facts or data points wrong. That headline doesn't purport to be science. The "data error" here seems to be failing to follow a certain empiricist methodology for every claim and statement, but that same methodology is consistently followed by nothing and no one, including the data errors article, and the methodology is refuted by CR/BoI/etc.

curi at 1:55 PM on February 3, 2020 | #15346 | reply | quote


Has anyone found any good material on the steps, if any, that individuals and families should consider taking to protect themselves from the effects of the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak? Should we sell stocks? Move to the country? Stock up on N95 masks? Just proceed as we normally would during a flu season?

Anonymous at 1:59 PM on February 3, 2020 | #15347 | reply | quote


> I say that their motives are more political: execs and their allies gain more by using other more flexible decision making frameworks for key decisions, frameworks with more wiggle room to help them justify whatever decision happens to favor them politically. Decision theory, in contrast, threatens to more strongly recommend a particular hard-to-predict decision in each case. As execs gain when the orgs under them are more efficient, they don’t mind decision theory being used down there. But they don’t want it up at their level and above, for decisions that say if they and their allies win or lose.

Anonymous at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2020 | #15382 | reply | quote


> BREAKING: Twitter LOCKS DOWN James O’Keefe’s Account

Anonymous at 5:58 PM on February 4, 2020 | #15384 | reply | quote


> Male-Bodied Rapists Are Being Imprisoned With Women. Why Do so Few People Care

> The idea that many male offenders would opt to serve their sentences in women’s correctional facilities is not something that should shock a thinking person. But it appears that common sense is forgotten once the words “gender identity” are invoked. Male offenders, including violent offenders and sex offenders, currently are incarcerated in women’s prisons in various western jurisdictions. This policy has been adopted in numerous countries under the guise of tolerance. Recently, Ireland had its first transfer, when a fully intact male sex offender was placed in a women’s prison in Limerick. The California Senate also recently voted in favour of such accommodations. This policy often is referred to as “self ID.” It means that your status as a male or female is determined by your belief (or claim) about your sex and not by your actual biology.

Anonymous at 6:59 PM on February 4, 2020 | #15386 | reply | quote

Verbal messages cause misunderstanding and delays (please put them in writing)

Rudy Behlmer, *Inside Warner Bros. (1935-1951)* (1987), p. XI:

> Printed at the bottom of each sheet of [all Warner Bros.] interoffice correspondence was the reminder "Verbal messages cause misunderstanding and delays (please put them in writing)."

A wise policy (legally-sensitive communications excepted).

Josh Jordan at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2020 | #15388 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 2:29 PM on February 5, 2020 | #15390 | reply | quote


> In 2010, Sega delisted Sonic the Hedgehog from retailers, following its decision to remove all Sonic games with below-average Metacritic scores to increase the value of the brand.

Anonymous at 3:28 PM on February 5, 2020 | #15391 | reply | quote

I've been setting up a Debian install in VMware Fusion. One of the things I did is set up Samba so I can access the debian files from my Mac (the host OS) with Finder. I primarily want this so I can edit stuff in Mac text editing software like Textmate 2.

Samba did not work on the first few tries. Here is a picture with some info about my troubleshooting process:

I think a lot of people fail at stuff by trying way too little. I have years of professional experience at similar tasks. That doesn't mean I can automatically do it right or get it to work right away. People without that kind of background should expect *way more* web searches, more reading, more tinkering, etc.

curi at 10:35 PM on February 6, 2020 | #15418 | reply | quote

Dan Luu: 95%-ile isn't that good

https://danluu.com/p95-skill/ :

> Reaching 95%-ile isn't very impressive because it's not that hard to do... when stated nakedly, that sounds elitist. But I think it's just the opposite: most people can become (relatively) good at most things.

> Personally, in every activity I've participated in where it's possible to get a rough percentile ranking, people who are 95%-ile constantly make mistakes that seem like they should be easy to observe and correct. "Real world" activities typically can't be reduced to a percentile rating, but achieving what appears to be a similar level of proficiency seems similarly easy.

> We'll start by looking at Overwatch (a video game) in detail because it's an activity I'm familiar with where it's easy to get ranking information and observe what's happening, and then we'll look at some "real world" examples where we can observe the same phenomena, although we won't be able to get ranking information for real world examples.

This is an interesting read. It ties in with some stuff Elliot [wrote on FI list in 2015]( https://groups.google.com/g/fallible-ideas/c/2Ypha-S_CQc/m/es0eSBYsbRsJ) :

> ... it’s not that hard to be like top 10% successful. if your parents destroy your mind only 80% as much as the typical amount, that should do it.

> if you look at the people playing any popular online computer game, there are tons of really really terrible and stupid players. and being in the top 10% of players is easy for most games.

> you have to suck at life quite badly to be in the bottom 90%. i do a hell of a lot better than top 10% at stuff, you aren’t competing with me to get there.

> you maybe shouldn’t base your life plan on being top 0.01% at stuff, but it’s completely reasonable to expect to be top 10% and plan accordingly.

Alisa at 8:22 AM on February 7, 2020 | #15419 | reply | quote

#15347 https://www.fwdeveryone.com/t/puzmZFQGRTiiquwLa6tT-g/conference-call-coronavirus-expert :

> Overnight in Asia, we hosted a call with professor John Nicholls a clinical professor in pathology at the University of Hong Kong and expert on coronaviruses. He was a key member of the research team at the University of Hong Kong which isolated and characterized the novel SARS coronavirus in 2003. He’s been studying coronaviruses for 25 years (full bio here). The recording of the call can be found on our website HERE. Below are my notes transcribing the call. The first 30m are worth listening to.

> Quick summary: look at the fatality rate outside of Wuhan - it’s below 1%. The correct comparison is not SARS or MERS but a bad cold which kills people who already have other health issues. This virus will burn itself out in May when temperatures rise. Wash your hands.

Washing hands sounds like good advice.

> [Q:] What is the actual scale of the outbreak? How much larger is it compared to the official “confirmed” cases?

> [A:] People are saying a 2.2 to 2.4% fatality rate total. However recent information is very worthy - if you look at the cases outside of China the mortality rate is <1%. [Only 2 fatalities outside of mainland China]. 2 potential reasons 1) either china’s healthcare isn’t as good – that’s probably not the case 2) What is probably right is that just as with SARS there’s probably much stricter guidelines in mainland China for a case to be considered positive. So the 20,000 cases in China is probably only the severe cases; the folks that actually went to the hospital and got tested. The Chinese healthcare system is very overwhelmed with all the tests going through. So my thinking is this is actually not as severe a disease as is being suggested. The fatality rate is probably only 0.8%-1%. There’s a vast underreporting of cases in China. Compared to Sars and Mers we are talking about a coronavirus that has a mortality rate of 8 to 10 times less deadly to Sars to Mers. So a correct comparison is not Sars or Mers but a severe cold. Basically this is a severe form of the cold.

I had heard about underreporting of deaths, but hadn't thought about the likelihood of underreporting the number of people with the virus.

Anonymous at 3:55 PM on February 7, 2020 | #15421 | reply | quote

a story about learning

> To: [email protected]

> From: Elliot Temple

> Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 08:22:28 -0700

> Subject: a story about learning

> little relevant knowledge + interest + dedication + a year = world class knowledge of x264 video encoding + lucrative job offers

> he got started cause he was recording clips of an online fantasy game he played.

> http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=320102

Good story. ☝️

In 2010, the author, Jason Glasser, a.k.a. Dark Shikari, wrote a blog post analyzing the VP8 codec. That post was cited by Steve Jobs in a single-line response to a reporter's question about Google's announcement that the codec would be open-sourced.

Jason Glaser changed his name to Fiona Glasser around 2014.

Alisa at 5:22 PM on February 8, 2020 | #15428 | reply | quote

Correction: the name is "Glaser", not "Glasser".

Alisa at 5:25 PM on February 8, 2020 | #15429 | reply | quote



> Before I go into specific components, a general note on code quality. The code quality is much better than VP3, though there’s still tons of typos in the comments. They also appear to be using comments as a form of version control system, which is a bit bizarre. The assembly code is much worse, with staggering levels of copy-paste coding, some completely useless instructions that do nothing at all, unaligned loads/stores to what-should-be aligned data structures, and a few functions that are simply written in unfathomably roundabout (and slower) ways. While the C code isn’t half bad, *the assembly is clearly written by retarded monkeys*. But I’m being unfair: this is way better than with VP3.

Emphasis added.

I've recently been attacked for having said diaf. I've also said wtf, jfc, retarded, and more. Should Glaser be attacked too? Should his comments on VP8 be dismissed? Is it a random coincidence that many productive people, like Popper, Rand and Steve Jobs too, have been attacked in a similar manner?

Some people use expressions like this because they are trying to speak accurately (bluntly) about reality instead of sugar coating things and obscuring and downplaying their opinions. This is a good trait.

There are, of course, also people who use expressions like these thoughtlessly, dishonestly, maliciously, and so on. But one can do that with any words. The issue isn't the words, it's the quality of the judgment offered.

Why not simply avoid everything that would offend anyone? Because that lowest common denominator vernacular is widely considered boring and disliked, and because people are more offended by content rather than words anyway, and why should the mob control the self-expression of intelligent men in a hypocritical way (the complainers generally say plenty of rude things and have no idea how to live up to the ivory tower standard of perfection they demand but can't clearly specify).

They want to take all the color and flavor out of speech, but mostly selectively apply these style complaints to a few people whose content they have an issue with. I already write in a particularly bland and simple way to be clear. I will readily rgrant that terms like diaf, retarded monkey and many others do not maximize clarity, but I don't think one is required to maximize clarity at all times and have no other goals in life, and I think the complainers spend far less of their time and effort attempting clarity and are much worse at achieving it.

curi at 11:54 PM on February 8, 2020 | #15430 | reply | quote


petercooper on Oct 1, 2008 [-]

> That within a year you've become extremely proficient with a non-trivial, math-heavy video compression standard says a lot for your baseline intelligence. Congratulations for sticking at it, although I doubt most of us in the lower 95% could have done the same! :)

DarkShikari on Oct 1, 2008 [-]

> I doubt most people on HN are in the lower 95% ;)

> I'd say its more a matter of dedication and the sheer amount of time I've spent on it, plus the fact that I > was able to skip a whole lot of it by basing my earlier insights off those of others rather than trying the (utterly hopeless) strategy of learning it all myself from the spec.

> I'd also say the "math-heavy" is rather exaggerating it; the entire spec has not an ounce of math in it. All the numerical computations are written in pseudocode, not formulas; its basically written as if a computer was reading it instead of a human. Personally I have found this to be a rather terrible attribute, as it makes some of it nearly completely incomprehensible.

> I also find this approach is often the kind of thing that leads people to assume they cannot do something; they think that only "really smart" people can possibly do some particular thing, and refuse to try as a result. Of course, it can also go the other way--because someone does something hard, they insist that they must be really smart, or else they couldn't have done it. This only reinforces the problem.

> There also seems to be the rather misleading assumption that younger people are somehow less smart on average, and thus if a younger person does something hard, they must be even smarter than they would be assumed to be otherwise. I find this to be completely false; I don't think I've gotten one ounce better at math than I was in middle school, for example. People get more experienced, wiser and more knowledgeable, but I don't think they get much smarter.

> Though, ironically, I don't actually think I am that smart; if grades are any indication, my last semester is clear proof that I'm not ;)

i like he corrected someone that it wasnt just his baseline intelligence that allowed him to do this, and that it was his dedication and effort.

Anonymous at 4:21 PM on February 9, 2020 | #15432 | reply | quote

#15421 Video on coronavirus. Has some basic science info on viruses.


curi at 9:14 PM on February 9, 2020 | #15434 | reply | quote

Tons of complaints about Overwatch League production values for the opening weekend. With good reason. Poor video resolution on YouTube (and for their green screen based desk footage they have apparently been re-encoding in-game video clips at least twice, lowering quality), having the wrong screen up in the middle of gameplay multiple times so you couldn't see the game, getting a team name wrong, and many more errors.

Hundreds of millions of dollars invested in this league and they are grossly incompetent at basic stuff in their third year. (Yeah it's not their LA studio anymore and they just switched to YouTube but still. YT paid a ton of money to outbid Twitch and broadcast these games btw.)

curi at 11:58 PM on February 9, 2020 | #15437 | reply | quote

#15430 Rucka calls Tew a pussy (among other things) in this video:


Why? Because it invokes some culturally-meaningful concepts which are relevant and hard to talk about without being rude.

As with many communications, not everyone gets it. But many people do. I didn't mind or object.

curi at 1:38 PM on February 10, 2020 | #15440 | reply | quote


Ocarina of Time any% speedrun has gotten really fast with stale reference manipulation enabling arbitrary code execution enabling credits warp.

curi at 1:45 PM on February 10, 2020 | #15441 | reply | quote


@visakanv writes:

> very much so! I think most moderately thoughtful and well-read people are 99% aware of all of the information they need, and it's unlikely that the last 1% makes the difference anyway. It's all about implementation

This is horribly wrong. Most such people are unaware of the basic ideas of Objectivism, Critical Rationalism, Szasz, Godwin, TCS, ARR, Goldratt, FI, Mises, etc.

Second, setting that aside, how does one do implementation better? What does one need for implementation other than information about implementation..? Trying to separate errors from information is wrong. If it's not working, you need better ideas, not an unspecified Something Else (like willpower without reason because reasons involve information).

curi at 9:30 PM on February 13, 2020 | #15452 | reply | quote

#15452 It's telling people not to seek out new ideas. It means, as one consequence, that other cultures don't have value and don't know anything you don't. It's saying don't be curious and don't explore because there's no value there.

Anonymous at 10:11 PM on February 13, 2020 | #15453 | reply | quote


> - Each [Amazon] review is worth a lot of money, often times multiples of the product itself, and especially if you're just starting out.

And some other info re amazon reviewing.

Anonymous at 1:33 PM on February 14, 2020 | #15457 | reply | quote

Used Overcast for iOS to listen to several eps of the new Ted Cruz podcast. Podcast was OK.

App was very good. I rejected Overcast before due to 2x max speed even though it had some silence removal. It now can do 3x + auto silence removal, so actual speed varies and can go up as high as around 3.5x but it still didn't seem that hard for me to listen to. I liked it a lot.

The problem with the app is it only does podcasts. Want to listen to an mp3 you have?

Pay $10/yr to be able to upload it to their website:



> Overcast has a limit of 2GB per account, and each file can be up to 1 GB in overall size.

So you have to clear stuff out to stay under the limit. A lot. You can't just leave a bunch of books in the app. E.g. Human Action is 600 megs, which is no problem to leave on your phone to listen to whenever, but will fill up a third of the Overcast limit.

Alternatively you could make a podcast for the sole purpose of sharing stuff with yourself.

Or just keep using stuff like VLC or Speedup Player. But the Smart Speed feature in Overcast is nice.

curi at 10:41 PM on February 14, 2020 | #15460 | reply | quote

> Used Overcast for iOS to listen to several eps of the new Ted Cruz podcast. Podcast was OK.

> App was very good. I rejected Overcast before due to 2x max speed even though it had some silence removal. It now can do 3x + auto silence removal, so actual speed varies and can go up as high as around 3.5x but it still didn't seem that hard for me to listen to. I liked it a lot.

Interesting. I use iCatcher! It does 3X but I don't think it has auto silence removal. I don't really listen to casts that have lots of silence tho so I dunno how much that would help


Anonymous at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2020 | #15465 | reply | quote

curi at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2020 | #15476 | reply | quote

Zed Shaw criticizes Lambda School for operating illegally in CA


Zed Shaw wrote, criticizing code bootcamps:

> If you are contemplating joining a coding bootcamp in 2020 then let me give you a list of the top scams they use to steal your money (yes, even with an ISA, the #1 scam):

> ...

> #5: Not being registered as a real school in their state and not following the laws regarding refunds. Flatiron did this for years and got sued for $350k then had to be rescued by crazy Adam Nuemann and WeWork. Lambda Schools is also operating illegally in CA.

Shaw doesn't say what a "real school" is or why Lambda should have to register as one. (Here's a Twitter thread by someone else with some info that I only skimmed.) CA's education regulations allow shit shows like UC Berkeley to operate with *public funding*. If those regulations also forbid Lambda from running its for-profit coding bootcamps, it may be the regulations that are at fault, not Lambda.

The argument below, tweeted by Matt Gilliland in reply to Shaw's point #5, makes sense to me:

> Not being an accredited school doesn't make a bootcamp a scam -- in fact, in some cases it may be a signal that you're actually innovating. And again, what's the comparison? Many accredited schools are scams, and many are bad without being a scam.

Alisa at 11:09 PM on February 16, 2020 | #15480 | reply | quote

baleful — sinister

chasuble — priestly vestment

Cimmerian — very dark

circean — referring to beauty of a dangerous kind

contumacious — rebellious

contumelius — insolently abusive and humiliating

cynosure — the center of attraction

eschar — scab or burned layer of skin

flagellum — long, thin appendages

flagitious — villainous

funereal — dark, gloomy

internecine — referring to a conflict within a group

lares — household gods (also penates)

lorn — forsaken

maladroit — inept

malefactor — evil doer

maleficent — working evil

malefic — malicious

malison — curse

mammon — material wealth having a debasing influence

necrology — list of the recently dead

necrosis — decay of body tissue

propitiation — offering to a god

rive — to break apart

saccate — shaped like a pouch or sac

sacristy — place in a church where sacred vessels are kept

salience — pronounced feature

sallet — light helmet with a brim flaring in the back

sphenic — shaped like a wedge

surplice — loose-fitting priestly garment with wide sleeves

syrinx — vocal organ of a bird

tabard — short, heavy cape or tunic (worn over armor)

tenebrific-causing gloom or darkness

tenebrous — shut out from the light, obscure

teredines — tiny worms that ruin ships and wharfs

tutelary — guardian spirit or god

umbra — darkest part of a shadow

vapid — lacking spirit

venal — capable of being bribed, mercenary

welter — to wallow; turmoil

wizened — shriveled

wormwood — anything bitter or grievous

xiphoid — shaped like a sword

yamen — office or home of an official (Chinese)

ylem — universal matter to have existed before the big bang

zygodactyl — having two toes pointing backward, two forward

Anonymous at 10:06 PM on February 17, 2020 | #15486 | reply | quote


> For the first few years of interaction with social scientists, I marveled at how often people brought theory into what seemed like water-cooler chat. I would sometimes come away with a vague feeling that I had been tested & found wanting for not improvising hypotheses on the spot

The whole series of tweets is disturbing. He doesn't want science/ideas to be part of his life all the time. He wants people to warn him when it's a real discussion and he should put on his thinking cap. He wants prep time before being evaluated because he can't quickly think or share opinions.

> I wonder sometimes how to train students. Where should I scaffold scholarly discussions so they can anticipate them & prep great work? How do I prepare them to put forward their best selves in scientific cultures that privilege fast talkers who are always at work in their minds?

> And how can I prepare students for academic cultures that reinforce the anxiety of always being evaluated–while limiting how much I perpetuate those pressures?

He wants time off. He wants to be an intellectual who isn't at work most of the time, and just says any old shit just like a non-intellectual, even when talking about topics related to his career. He wants to clock out, just like a factory worker.

Anonymous at 12:26 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15494 | reply | quote


> How to Stretch (Hands, Back, Neck) – Secrets of Console Gaming

Computer and video game use injuries are common and can make life a lot worse. People don't take this seriously enough.

Anonymous at 12:44 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15498 | reply | quote


> "Peer review" is younger than you think. Does that mean it can go away?

Anonymous at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15500 | reply | quote


> A Day in the Life of the 21st Century Woman

Short story.

Anonymous at 1:07 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15501 | reply | quote


> More social science studies just failed to replicate. Here’s why this is good.

Vox headline. lol sigh.

Anonymous at 1:32 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15505 | reply | quote


> Here's What Fruits And Vegetables Looked Like Before We Domesticated Them

Interesting. More seeds, less edible. Nice pictures.

Anonymous at 1:33 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15506 | reply | quote


> Japan in 8K 60fps

8K is the resolution. More than 4k which is more than HD.

Anonymous at 2:14 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15515 | reply | quote

The horrible truth about Apple's repeated engineering failures.


*The horrible truth about Apple's repeated engineering failures.*

I am a Mac user. I like the user experience and have not had many issues with Apple products.

Is Apple getting better or worst re engineering and why do they not learn better from their mistakes?

N at 9:09 AM on February 19, 2020 | #15532 | reply | quote


> Caesar in Gaul - Roman History DOCUMENTARY

Anonymous at 2:10 PM on February 19, 2020 | #15533 | reply | quote

#15532 That anti-Apple propagandist has been discussed on Discord. Here's a link to somewhere in the conversation.


The anti-Apple side of the debate broadly didn't answer arguments and then stopped responding entirely.

curi at 2:13 PM on February 19, 2020 | #15534 | reply | quote


> Stop Using Encrypted Email

Summary: Email encryption doesn't work well enough. It's insecure. Don't pretend it works. If you really need encryption, use something else.

With sections like "Every archived message will eventually leak." and "Every long term secret will eventually leak." it also has some relevance to people who expect privacy when emailing strangers in plain text (which came up in some recent FI debates).

Anonymous at 5:46 PM on February 19, 2020 | #15543 | reply | quote

Guy reports massive bias of female professors and TAs to give higher grades to feminine handwriting.


Anonymous at 12:50 AM on February 20, 2020 | #15547 | reply | quote

#15534 Thx.

N at 5:19 AM on February 20, 2020 | #15549 | reply | quote

The Cesspool of Quid Pro Quo Journalism

Get offered all-expenses-paid travel to parties/events, in return you're expected to give positive coverage to the new game/movie/product/whatever (if you don't, you don't get invited to similar events by anyone).

Anonymous at 1:00 PM on February 20, 2020 | #15558 | reply | quote

Twitch - Elitist and Inconsistent - Why I Dont Stream There

He quit Twitch, explains why. A lot of the video is complaining about softcore porn camgirls and Twitch's new (2018) Terms of Service where they say no harassment like ever calling anyone a camgirl and they actually ban people for saying stuff like that once.

Anonymous at 1:37 PM on February 20, 2020 | #15560 | reply | quote

Watch Vids Fast!

I posted a bunch of YouTube links today. Something worth noting: I've been watching them at 2.7x speed. And that is not my max, I could go faster, that is a reasonably comfortable speed where I don't miss much.

I've built up to this speed for years.

It's a *huge* time saver. You should start working on it. If you watch at 1x, you can probably go up to 1.25x without much trouble. It'll probably be easy. Then you just keep gradually increasing. Start now because it takes time to get used to watching faster so it's not just something you can do, but actually easy/relaxed/comfortable. If you go up gradually enough, it never ruins the fun or stresses you out.

YT's speed controls don't give you enough flexibility and the max speed, 2x, is too low. By flexibility I mean it's better to control the speed in smaller increments like 0.1x

Video Speed Controller is a free Chrome extension to do this. It works well. You can also download stuff (e.g. with youtube-dl for command line or many other choices) and watch it fast with VLC.

Oh also, dear god, *get an ad blocker which blocks YouTube ads!* I use uBlock Origin in Chrome (warning: the non-origin version of ublock is different and shitty).

You can also get these extensions for Firefox.

I don't know what's available for Internet Explorer, I mean Edge.

They are *not* available for Mac Safari (uBlock Origin worked before Catalina). If you know/find good options for Safari (my preferred browser), please let me know.

curi at 2:28 PM on February 20, 2020 | #15563 | reply | quote


Nice vid thanks

Anonymous at 4:01 PM on February 20, 2020 | #15569 | reply | quote

Google Cloud Vision API will no longer classify images of people as male or female

According to a letter sent to customers, the Google Cloud Vision API will no longer classify images of people as male or female:

> Hello Google Cloud Vision API customer,

> We are writing to let you know that starting February 19, 2020, the Cloud Vision API will no longer return gendered labels such as 'man' and 'woman' that describe persons in an image when using the ‘LABEL_DETECTION’ feature.

Anonymous at 8:25 PM on February 21, 2020 | #15581 | reply | quote

Speedrunning & respecting traditions in ancient Rome

On Feb 9, 2010, HN user AngryParsley asked HN user xenophanes this question:

> You seem to respect tradition quite a bit compared to myself. I have a question: If we lived in ancient Rome, would you have a similar respect for their traditions?

On Feb 10, 2010, xenophanes replied:

> That's a good question. I would take the same attitude in Roman times. Their traditions had a lot of flaws, but they were (in most respects) the best knowledge available at the time. I don't think people could have improved from Roman times by ignoring or disrespecting what they already did know then.

Good answer.

This is similar to how speedrunners collectively build up knowledge about the best known ways to speedrun a game. If you got sent back in time, it'd still be better to build on the speedrun knowledge of that time, rather than starting over from scratch.

> I think you've misunderstood a bit because I am not saying our current traditions are the best possible traditions. (That wouldn't even make much sense because they contradict each other frequently.) I am in favor of changing traditions in a gradualist, piecemeal fashion because I think that's the most effective way to make progress.

Knowledge about how to speedrun a game mostly grows in increments that each save a relatively small fraction of the total time.

> You might compare it to updating big, messy legacy code systems. You want to do one thing at a time and then run the code or the tests to make sure you didn't break anything and the change works as intended. If you add a bunch of stuff at once, and then there's a problem, it's harder to figure out which change was behind it.

Good analogy.

Alisa at 7:33 PM on February 24, 2020 | #15608 | reply | quote

The Mainstream Idiots Ruin Things!?


Science broke due to mainstreaming. It was just a few early adopters and really interested people. Now it's far, far more people, but most of them suck.

Anything would break with a chart like that. Maybe, hopefully, the real scientists still exist and are doing good work, but the massive influx is making it harder not easier. You can't onboard so many people so fast. It takes more time to teach people what to do in a thorough way instead of just giving them a superficial university degree or PhD.

It's the same problem as gaming, which got far worse as it opened up to the mainstream and started designing for the masses instead of the experts and early adopters.

It's the same problem as the internet. Usenet (basically similar to Google Groups) was a little like FI list for everyone, everywhere, but then we had Eternal September and things gradually declined to today with Facebook, Twitter, etc. which are so much worse than Usenet and PHPBB forums.

I don't think this is fully, exactly what's going on but I think it's an idea worth sharing and considering.

curi at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2020 | #15610 | reply | quote


> NTSB Criticizes Apple After Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash for Not Banning Employee Smartphone Use While Driving

> The NTSB called Tesla's Autosteer feature "completely inadequate" and said that Tesla's forward collision warning system did not provide an alert, nor did the automatic emergency braking system activate, but the board also had some choice words for Apple.

Anonymous at 2:57 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15617 | reply | quote

AOPS Intro to Algebra provides incomplete answer to exercise 1.7.4

In AOPS Introduction to Algebra, exercise 1.7.4 asks:

> Is there a positive or negative number that equals 4^(1/4)?

The answer given is:

> Yes. There is a nonnegative number whose fourth power is 4, but it is not a whole number. Since 1.4^4 ≈ 3.84 and 1.5^4 ≈ 5.06, it appears that the number equal to 4^(1/4) is between 1.4 and 1.5, and probably is closer to 1.4. Using a calculator, we can find that the number whose fourth power is 4 is approximately 1.414.

(−1.414)^4 is also approximately equal to 4. The question asks for a positive or negative solution, but the answer only mentions a "*nonnegative* number whose fourth power is 4" (emphasis mine). It doesn't mention the negative solution.

Anonymous at 6:55 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15625 | reply | quote

#15625 Can you express 4^(1/4) *exactly* as a finite length decimal number? Decimal with an infinitely repeating pattern on the end?

Anonymous at 7:00 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15626 | reply | quote

The square root of 2 is irrational


> Can you express 4^(1/4) *exactly* as a finite length decimal number? Decimal with an infinitely repeating pattern on the end?


I will start my explanation with a few preliminaries (each of which can be expanded upon request):

1. Note that 4^(1/4) = (2^2)^(1/4) = 2^(2/4) = 2^(1/2). So the problem is asking about the square root of 2.

2. Any finite-length decimal number is equivalent to an infinitely-repeating decimal number that ends with an infinite string of 0s. For example, 1.23 = 1.2300000000.... So we need only talk of infinitely-repeating decimal numbers.

3. Any infinitely repeating decimal number is equivalent to a fraction, i.e., x/y where x and y are integers.

4. Any fraction can be written in lowest terms, i.e., any fraction is equivalent to some fraction x/y where the greatest common divisor of x and y is 1.

Now for the main explanation, which will be a "proof by contradiction". I will start by assuming something, and then, via some correct reasoning steps, I will derive a contradiction. Unless I made a mistake in my reasoning, the contradiction will imply that the assumption is false.

Here's the assumption: Suppose that there exists an infinitely repeating decimal number that is equal to the square root of 2. By (3) and (4) above, this decimal number is equal to some fraction in lowest terms. Let x/y be that fraction. In other words, suppose there exist integers x and y such that:

x/y = 2^(1/2)

Squaring both sides, we obtain:

x^2/y^2 = 2

Multiplying both sides by y^2 yields:

x^2 = 2⋅y^2

Since both x and y are integers, the above equation implies that x^2 is divisible by 2. Hence we can write x = 2⋅z for some integer z. Making this substitution, we obtain:

(2⋅z)^2 = 2⋅y^2

That simplifies to:

2⋅2⋅z^2 = 2⋅y^2

Canceling one pair of 2s yields:

2·z^2 = y^2

The above equation implies that y^2 is also divisible by 2. Hence, the greatest common divisor of x and y is at least 2. This contradicts the earlier stipulation that x/y was in lowest terms. Hence, the original assumption (i.e., that there exists an infinitely repeating decimal equal to the square root of 2) is false.

Alisa at 7:40 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15627 | reply | quote

#15627 I noticed a couple of typos:

> In other words, suppose there exist integers x and y such that:

This should be: "In other words, suppose there exist integers x and y such that gcd(x,y) = 1 and:" (add the gcd part)

> Hence we can write x = 2⋅z for some integer z.

This should be: "Hence we can write x^2 = 2⋅z for some integer z." (I meant to write x^2, not x.)

Anonymous at 7:53 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15628 | reply | quote

#15628 was by me.

Alisa at 7:54 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15629 | reply | quote

Another mistake


>> Since both x and y are integers, the above equation implies that x^2 is divisible by 2. Hence we can write x = 2⋅z for some integer z.

> This should be: "Hence we can write x^2 = 2⋅z for some integer z." (I meant to write x^2, not x.)

No, that's wrong.

Both original sentences were correct, but there was a missing step between them. I should have added the sentence "If x^2 is divisible by 2, then so is x." between them.

Alisa at 10:20 PM on February 25, 2020 | #15630 | reply | quote

Press coverage of Assange extradition hearings

The UK is considering extraditing Wikileaks' Julian Assange to the US. Assange's lawyers are opposing extradition. The article below says, among other things, that the press is not reporting significant events that happen during the extradition hearings.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-1/ :

> [Prosecution attorney] Lewis had thus just flat out contradicted his entire opening statement to the media stating that they need not worry as the Assange charges could never be applied to them. And he did so straight after the adjournment, immediately after his team had handed out copies of the argument he had now just completely contradicted. I cannot think it has often happened in court that a senior lawyer has proven himself so absolutely and so immediately to be an unmitigated and ill-motivated liar. This was undoubtedly the most breathtaking moment in today’s court hearing.

> Yet remarkably I cannot find any mention anywhere in the mainstream media that this happened at all. What I can find, everywhere, is the mainstream media reporting, via cut and paste, Lewis’s first part of his statement on why the prosecution of Assange is not a threat to press freedom; but nobody seems to have reported that he totally abandoned his own argument five minutes later...

Alisa at 8:33 AM on February 26, 2020 | #15632 | reply | quote

Postmortem: incorrect spelling/capitalization of proper nouns

#15632 It should be "WikiLeaks" not "Wikileaks".

Incorrectly capitalizing or misspelling proper nouns is one of my more common posting mistakes. Examples:

- writing "Glasser" instead of "Glaser" (#15429)

- writing "Elliott" instead of "Elliot" (FI list)

- writing "Alissa" instead of "Alisa" (#13535)

Proper nouns are like variable names in programming. They can have arbitrary spelling and capitalization. Messing them up is not acceptable.

One possible fix, then, would be to copy/paste *all* proper nouns. That seems like a lot of work, though. Maybe I should only copy/paste *some* of them, but I don't know where to draw the line. At first, I was going to say that simple names like "John" and "Sarah" wouldn't have to be copy/pasted, but then I remembered that they are sometimes spelled as "Jon" and "Sara".

I can put my proper noun mistakes into two categories:

1. Replacing a proper noun with a proper noun that would be correctly spelled if it were referring to someone or something else. Example: writing "Elliott" instead of "Elliot" or "Alissa" instead of "Alisa".

2. Replacing a proper noun with something that is basically never correct. Example: writing "Wikileaks" instead of "WikiLeaks" or "Curi" instead of "curi".

Category 2 mistakes would, in some instances, be caught by my existing check for words that are used only once in a post. This check wouldn't help if I misspelled the same proper noun in the same way twice in the same post, though, and that wouldn't be too uncommon, because when I misspell a proper noun, it's not a typo, in the sense that the error wasn't caused by my fingers incorrectly carrying out instructions from my brain -- it's caused by me having the wrong idea about how the proper noun should be spelled. At any rate, I wasn't consistently using this check for curi.us comments, only for FI list posts. From now on, I intend to use the check consistently on both forums.

My plan for dealing with category 1 mistakes and category 2 mistakes that happen twice in the same post is to try to treat proper nouns like strings of Chinese characters. They require special care (for me, at least) and they have to be exact.

Alisa at 10:09 AM on February 26, 2020 | #15633 | reply | quote


#15563 You can speed up videos in Safari with Dynamo from the mac app store for $1. Says it works with Netflix, YouTube and more. Tried it on YT and it's worth having, I'll be able to switch to Chrome less. It has fewer features than Video Speed Controller though.

The default hotkeys are stupid. Why would you use F when YT uses that for fullscreen? I changed go faster to D and default speed to R.

Dynamo also has some sort of ad skipping feature I haven't tried yet.

curi at 11:20 AM on February 26, 2020 | #15635 | reply | quote

#15627 Argument for point 3? E.g. how do you construct a fraction to get an arbitrary repetition? E.g. make the decimal start with 893247 and then do 190231 repeating. Is there a ~simple method to do that which works with any digit strings for the initial part and the repeating part?

I know the initial non-repeating part alone is easy because you just put it over a power of 10 with 1 more digit. To get 0.893247 you do 893247/1000000 (it's 6 digits so i put 7 digits on the bottom, or another way to see it is i used the first power of 10 larger than the numerator)

Clever argument for the rest.

curi at 11:33 AM on February 26, 2020 | #15636 | reply | quote

#15632 One might think this is bias by journalists but the article gives a different explanation. I think it would have been better to quote another paragraph:

> The explanation is very simple. The clarification coming from a question Baraitser asked Lewis, there is no printed or electronic record of Lewis’ reply. His original statement was provided in cut and paste format to the media. His contradiction of it would require a journalist to listen to what was said in court, understand it and write it down. There is no significant percentage of mainstream media journalists who command that elementary ability nowadays. “Journalism” consists of cut and paste of approved sources only. Lewis could have stabbed Assange to death in the courtroom, and it would not be reported unless contained in a government press release.

Of course the real situation could be *both* some of this this *and* some bias.

curi at 11:38 AM on February 26, 2020 | #15637 | reply | quote


Not exactly the same thing but: When I hung out with Libertarian activists many years ago it was well known that to get media coverage you had to have some record from the government. Meaning: a court case number, police report number, document filing number, budget line item, candidacy papers filed with the county recorder, bill introduced in a government board/council/legislature, etc.

This is treated by the media kinda like standing in legal cases. Having a government record associated with some issue didn't guarantee media coverage. But lacking a government record of some sort was a guarantee for the issue to be ignored, no matter how important or objectively newsworthy it was.

The other thing is the media were known to be lazy. So even if they *could* cover something because it has a government record, the best way to insure they *would* cover it is to write most of the story for them as a press release. They will usually copy / paste 90+% of it and only insert a few of their own statements.

So the formula is: write the story the way you want it covered, then go do something that gets a government record of some sort, send both to the media & there's a good chance your story gets out. Otherwise no.

The most blatant example I know of this concerned the personal data on all the registered voters in a state (their names, addresses, party affiliation, whether they voted or not in the last election(s), sometimes phone numbers and last 4 of SSN, etc.). There was nothing in the law protecting this information or keeping it private, other than it was not allowed to be used for business/marketing purposes. It was given by the government to political parties for free. Candidates had to pay per name for it unless the party machines would give it to them internally. It was a means of allowing the party bosses more say over which candidates could fundraise effectively, get enough signatures to get on the ballot, etc. But there was nothing stopping well connected people in the party, or even paper candidates from getting the voter data and giving it to their friends, using it for stalking ex-partners, doxxing enemies, etc.

Once it became clear to the Libertarians what was going on the legislature and the media were contacted and given an explanation of the situation, figuring the legislature would be pressured to fix it and the media would want to cover it as a source of privacy violation or worse. The party wrote up a press release and sent it widely. Nobody bit / ran the story. No response from legislature. Crickets.

One activist (not a party official but a candidate with a copy of the voter data) decided to threaten to post the entire voter database on the open internet at some future date (I think in like 3 or 6 months out) unless someone could show that doing so was illegal. Sent his threat to both the state legislature members and the media.

Still not covered by the media!

But a short time later a legislator introduced a bill to restrict the voter data as private information rather than public record, require technical restrictions to keep it from being copied indiscriminately, and restrict those who had it to only use it for legitimate political purposes. Once there was a government record (the proposed bill), then the issue got pretty wide media play. The activist who made the threat got interviewed lots and made it very clear he didn't want to post the data, had only said he would do so at some future date to force action on the issue. Bill passed in record time, and the voter data was never posted on the internet.

Andy Dufresne at 12:51 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15638 | reply | quote

How to convert infinitely repeating decimal numbers to fractions


> how do you construct a fraction to get an arbitrary repetition? E.g. make the decimal start with 893247 and then do 190231 repeating. Is there a ~simple method to do that which works with any digit strings for the initial part and the repeating part?

Yes. First, I'll show how to convert decimal numbers with only a repeating string (no non-repeating strings), e.g. 0.123123123123.... I will write the repeating string in brackets:

x = 0.[123].

Multiply both sides by 10^n, where n is the number of digits in the repeating string. There are 3 digits in 123, so we multiply both sides by 10^3 = 1000, and get:

1000x = 123.[123]

Now subtract the first equation from the second:

999x = 123

Divide both sides by 999 to solve for x:

x = 123/999

Boom! There's your fraction.

Next, let's consider decimal numbers with an initial string of non-repeating 0s, such as 0.0000[123]. To deal with these, just multiply the decimal by a power of 10 large enough to shift the repeating string all the way over to the decimal point (so it looks like 0.[123]), convert it to a fraction using the previous procedure, and divide the resulting fraction by the same power of 10. Example:


= 0.[123]/10000

= (123/999)/10000

= 123/9990000.

Finally, decimal numbers with an initial string of arbitrary non-repeating digits followed by an arbitrary repeating string of digits can be treated as the sum of the non-repeating part and the repeating part. Example:


= 0.893247 + 0.000000[190231]

= 893247/1000000 + (0.[190231)/1000000

= 893247/1000000 + (190231/999999)/1000000

= 893247/1000000 + 190231/999999000000

Alisa at 1:50 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15641 | reply | quote

#15641 Some square brackets in the final example got eaten by the link parser. Here it is without the link:


= 0.893247 + 0.000000[190231]

= 893247/1000000 + (0.[190231)/1000000

= 893247/1000000 + (190231/999999)/1000000

= 893247/1000000 + 190231/999999000000

Alisa at 1:52 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15642 | reply | quote

#15641 Good explanation. Some people might want it to continue to combine the 2 fractions at the end, but I don't need that.

curi at 1:58 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15643 | reply | quote


> Clever argument for the rest.

I agree. It's not original to me; I learned it in the past at some point. (I didn't consult any external math resources while composing the original post and my follow-up corrections.)

Alisa at 2:03 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15644 | reply | quote

#15643 Yeah. I figured that anyone who's interested in fractional equivalents of infinitely-repeating decimals probably already knows about adding fractions.

Alisa at 2:05 PM on February 26, 2020 | #15646 | reply | quote

#15642 I fixed the bug.

curi at 1:37 AM on February 27, 2020 | #15653 | reply | quote

Zed Shaw criticizes bootcamp ISAs (income-share agreements)


Zed Shaw wrote, criticizing code bootcamps:

> If you are contemplating joining a coding bootcamp in 2020 then let me give you a list of the top scams they use to steal your money (yes, even with an ISA, the #1 scam):

> ...

> The Income Share Agreement: This is a legally binding document that will take a giant chunk of your pay, even if you don't make very much at your job, and sometimes even if the job is not programming.

That partially describes ISAs, but it doesn't say why they're a scam.

Lambda School's ISA kicks in once you're making $50k/year; then you pay 17% of your pre-tax income for 24 months with a $30k cap. In lieu of the ISA, Lambda School lets you pay $30k in advance.† Depending on your circumstances, either option could be better for you.

> Also, did you know they can *sell* your ISA to another company?

So? Why is that a scam? If Shaw is suggesting that selling ISAs creates an incentive problem for the bootcamp, I don't see it: if a bootcamp's students don't do well, the prices at which the bootcamp can sell ISAs will drop.

†According to https://lambdaschool.com/faq :

> On the admissions application, there’s a box to check to tell us you’d like to pay upfront, instead of signing an ISA. You can make this election up until the first day of classes.

Alisa at 2:36 PM on February 27, 2020 | #15655 | reply | quote

Twitter is currently broken:

And, worse, is giving wrong data. It should say e.g. "loading error, try again later". The claim there are zero tweets on the list is false.

This issue is very similar to what DF talked about 3 days ago:


if Finder hasn't calculated the size of a folder yet, it should say unknown/loading NOT 0kb, which is false.

curi at 1:46 PM on February 28, 2020 | #15674 | reply | quote

Good video (I think) on learning to shoot a handgun

I've watched 10 or so videos on learning to shoot a handgun, and this is the best I've seen so far: The Secret to Mastering the Handgun

One of the main points of the video is that incorrect technique is only 10% of the problem; the other 90% is due to what the narrator calls "reactive interference": tensing up in anticipation of the sound and force that result from a controlled explosion ~1.5 feet from your face.

Quoting from the video at around 14:05 (my transcript):

> Mastery of the handgun means eliminating reactive interference. You can override and stop reflexive blinking by concentration and practice. All of the movements involved in reactive interference are subject to voluntary control. We can override them too. It just takes concentration, discipline, and practice.

At 15:00, the video explains the "Silverado Method" for learning to avoid reactive interference. This involves pulling the trigger back slowly until you notice yourself tensing up, at which point you relax and try again. You don't pull the trigger all the way back to fire the gun until you can do so while remaining completely composed. My transcript:

> With the gun loaded, ready to shoot, and on target, you start the trigger pull, slowing down as you approach the break-point. The objective is not to fire the gun, but to find the point at which you lose composure and brace for the shot.

> It's important that the closer you get to the trigger break, the slower you increase the trigger pressure so that you can stop the trigger pull at the instant you become aware of bracing for the shot. Hold the trigger pressure without releasing it at that point, get refocused and recompose before resuming a very gradual trigger pull.

> If you can't get control and stop the bracing response, release the trigger and start over. Put the gun down and rest if you need to.

> Do not, under any circumstances, snap the trigger or allow the animal to fire the gun. Make sure that you go slowly enough with the trigger to ensure complete presence of mind and composure, right up to the point the gun fires. If you can't do this, do not fire the gun at all. Never fire a shot while you're out of composure. Not only is it a wasted round, but you're practicing the wrong thing.

> This practice may sound simple, but it will test the limits of your concentration and self-discipline. It can mean standing in the firing position without taking a shot for several minutes or more. It doesn't matter if you ever fire the gun at all, as long as you work on pulling the trigger back as far as you can, and holding it, without bracing for the shot.

> Once you can bring the trigger all the way back without bracing for the shot, it's just a matter of repeating this while being consistent until you can do it faster. Your speed is limited by how fast you can go without losing focus or bracing for the shot.

> You should be able to completely train yourself with one box of 50 rounds. If it takes you more than that, you're not following the discipline of this method.

> Conventional handgun training won't teach you this. Aiming a loaded handgun without firing it doesn't fit the common mindset of handgun training. It's quite literally *meditation with a loaded gun*.

This advice has some similarities to the "How To Change Emotions" section of fallibleideas.com/emotions.

Alisa at 7:42 PM on March 2, 2020 | #15713 | reply | quote

Replacing handshakes with Vulcan salutes?

I saw an article suggesting that, as long as the Wuhan coronavirus is a threat, we should replace handshakes with Spock's Vulcan salute. If this idea caught on, it would solve the problem of using a gesture to safely greet and take leave of someone. Handshakes and fist bumps do not solve that problem, because they involve touching, which can transmit viruses and other types of disease.

Other gestures that would solve the problem, if they caught on, include:

- waving

- raising one's palm in the normal way with fingers together (i.e, *without* making a V)

Here are what I regard as the main problems with the Vulcan salute:

- some people might not be able to easily form a V with their hand

- it might be considered too playful for solemn events such as funerals

Alisa at 1:21 PM on March 6, 2020 | #15774 | reply | quote

DuckDuckGo may be better than Google for info about contentious topics

It seems that, for queries about contentious issues, DuckDuckGo's (DDG's) search results may better reflect the division in public opinion than Google's. I did two tests.

First, I searched for [transgender children]. On DDG, the sixth† (non-ad) result was a DailySignal article titled "I’m a Pediatrician. How Transgender Ideology Has Infiltrated My Field and Produced Large-Scale Child Abuse." The eighth result was "Transgender kids: Have we gone too far?". On Google, I didn't see any result with an overtly critical perspective on the first *3 pages* of results.

Second, I searched for [immigration nationalism]. DDG's fourth result was "Donald Trump on Immigration: Pros, Cons, Impact". The page's *Summary* section says:

> President Trump’s “America First” policy and national security concerns are bent on tightening the noose around both illegal and legal immigration. Whether the new policies are good or bad for the country is really up for debate.

Not terrible for an overview article. DDG's fifth result was a lewrockwell.com article criticizing birthright citizenship, among other things. On Google, by comparison, I didn't see anything critical of immigration in the first *3 pages* of results.

*DDG seems to shuffle its search results a bit, so your results may vary.*

Alisa at 1:54 PM on March 6, 2020 | #15775 | reply | quote

#15774 The Vulcan salute thing is a star trek meme. It's not practical. It's sub-culture specific. Certain people like it because it's subculture signaling, just like people who share pro-coffee articles or wear t-shirts for a band.

The goal of the article wasn't seriously to help with the coronavirus problem. They're making things worse by treating it as a joke to clickbait about.

Anonymous at 1:34 AM on March 7, 2020 | #15783 | reply | quote

What's a good way to say "double down" but literally, no metaphor?

curi at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2020 | #15794 | reply | quote


Affirm, confirm, insist, maintain, avow, reiterate, persist, restate, renew, repeat

Of these I think persist or insist are the best.

Andy Dufresne at 3:08 PM on March 7, 2020 | #15801 | reply | quote

#15794 According to Oxford lexicographers, the non-blackjack use *is* literal.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/double_down :

> double down


> US

> Strengthen one's commitment to a particular strategy or course of action, typically one that is potentially risky.

> · ‘he decided to double down and escalate the war’

> · ‘the third quarter of the year saw central banks doubling down on the quantitative easing approach’

https://www.lexico.com/about :

> 5. Who writes the definitions?

> All definitions and translations are written by Oxford lexicographers. You can read how dictionary content is created by visiting Oxford University Press.

Alisa at 11:50 PM on March 7, 2020 | #15808 | reply | quote


> Don't Talk Into This Mic and Win $10

people are bad at following directions. one reason is they find it socially awkward not to answer direct questions.

Anonymous at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2020 | #15819 | reply | quote

> one reason is they find it socially awkward not to answer direct questions.

Are they prioritizing social metaphysics over reality!?

Anonymous at 11:54 AM on March 9, 2020 | #15820 | reply | quote


> Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty 'ghost' planes so they can keep their flight slots during the coronavirus outbreak

Anonymous at 5:10 PM on March 9, 2020 | #15822 | reply | quote

Zed Shaw on looking at people who failed out of coding bootcamps


Zed Shaw wrote, criticizing code bootcamps:

> ... I want you to research what Survivorship Bias is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias … Then go find people who *failed* out of a bootcamp, not success stories.

Looking at people who “failed out of” a school is kind of like looking at 1-star product reviews. It gives you some idea of what problems people run into and, sometimes, what kind of people have those problems. The idea makes sense, and not just for Lambda School: one could also look at people who “failed out of” traditional universities.

As an aside, most schools, including Lambda School, could reduce their failure rate by being more selective about whom they admit.

Alisa at 7:05 PM on March 9, 2020 | #15823 | reply | quote

An unclear remark in Zed Shaw's criticism of code bootcamps


Zed Shaw wrote, criticizing code bootcamps:

> Bootcamps that accept people who can't afford the degree are committing two vile sins: 1. Using the poor as a human shield for their fraud. 2. Exploiting the poor because they can't fight back with lawyers and are too desperate to "rock the boat".

This is unclear.

Alisa at 7:08 PM on March 9, 2020 | #15824 | reply | quote

A few notes from firearms safety class

I attended a firearms safety and handling course today.

One of the main rules of gun safety is something like: Never point a gun at anything you are not prepared to see destroyed. The instructor had an analogy for this: Pretend the gun's barrel is a light saber that extends a long distance like a laser pointer. When the instructor turns or moves around, he points the gun straight up or down.

Another thing he said that I liked was: “We don’t call it an accidental shooting. We call it *negligent*.” That emphasizes the shooter's responsibility.

Alisa at 8:59 PM on March 10, 2020 | #15842 | reply | quote


Answered a Discord question about improving memory:

1) flashcards and other practice can help, especially if you revisit them with exponentially decaying timings. like anki (haven't used it myself).

2) in general you remember stuff you use a lot. so my big advice is get better at searching for stuff with google, in books, in your own notes (and take more notes, write more stuff down), etc. get better at looking stuff up and finding info fast and rereading efficiently (skimming, looking for key parts, etc.) the more you do that the better you get at the general skill and also will start remembering the things you look up the most.

3) it's hard to remember a bunch of facts and numbers and sentences that you don't understand. easier to remember when you understand the concepts and explanations enough to recreate the answer yourself (figuring it out again is even better for memory than looking up).

curi at 11:12 AM on March 11, 2020 | #15851 | reply | quote


Tip: hotkey ctrl-S to screenshot a screen region to clipboard. (Related: change caps lock to be control).

Tip 2: automate posting images on curi.us

After screenshotting to clipboard, i press *one hotkey* to get the image uploaded and the markdown typed out (just where my cursor currently is – i select the comment box myself).

see https://curi.us/2123-improvements-to-comments

there are command line tools to upload to imgur if you don't want to use your own server or use puush. no doubt various other options too.

curi at 1:18 PM on March 11, 2020 | #15855 | reply | quote

Interesting idea about insulin and artificial sweeteners

HN user abainbridge writes:

> ... when I taste something sweet, my body starts putting insulin in my blood [*]. Over time it learns how much to put in based on how sweet the food tasted. If that's true, I'd expect too much insulin for food with aspartame, BUT ALSO too little when food has real sugar, because of the long term learning.

> [*] "Tasting sweet food elicits insulin release prior to increasing plasma glucose levels, known as cephalic phase insulin release" https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/biomedres/28/2/28_2_79/_pdf

Seems plausible to me.

Alisa at 9:43 AM on March 12, 2020 | #15875 | reply | quote

Some advantages of forums like FI and curi over chatrooms and IMs:



curi at 3:34 PM on March 28, 2020 | #16178 | reply | quote

curi at 1:35 PM on March 30, 2020 | #16200 | reply | quote


> This is How China Beat the Corona Virus - should we copy?

Some info about Chinese actions and oppression.

curi at 1:53 PM on March 30, 2020 | #16202 | reply | quote


> Focusing on evidence that would change one's conclusions implicitly de-emphasizes the possibility of new interpretations of evidence that would change one's conclusions. Often we incorrectly (pre-)interpret potential new evidence as well as existing evidence.

curi at 8:40 AM on April 7, 2020 | #16298 | reply | quote

Blinkist (book summaries app) is another way for people to get information filtered through gatekeepers.

curi at 4:43 PM on April 9, 2020 | #16331 | reply | quote

If you are trying to change your own ideas, you have to be able to figure out *why you think your current behaviours/ideas are good*

and people cut that process off all the time, aren't able to introspect that

They will literally just deny that they have ANY reasons that they think their current behaviour is good

They will say they already know it is bad and *no part of them* thinks it is good

But then they will continue doing it

So that makes it difficult

Some part of them DOES think it's good

But they aren't going to be able to come up with counter-arguments to convince that part of themselves if they literally won't admit what the arguments in favour of their current behaviour are


Ingracke on discord at 6:57 PM on April 11, 2020 | #16352 | reply | quote

#15346 I agree with what you wrote about empiricist methodology. And I agree that doesn’t make sense to criticize something that’s not about data for lacking a dataset. What’s next — criticizing a claim that coercion hurts people because it lacks a dataset?

Alisa at 10:41 PM on April 15, 2020 | #16370 | reply | quote

Is there a solution? My brain can’t handle this type of problem.


I was thinking maybe places with massive kitchens could buy from farmers and make small meals to ship out. Maybe school district kitchens, although they are already cooking meals for kids and low income families. A non-profit organization I suppose. Food banks don’t seem to be a solution here. Is there a business opportunity here? Not that I want to start one. In StarTrek, the solution requires advanced technology that we haven’t yet realized.

If this topic isn’t interesting to anyone here, or is inappropriate to this blog, I can move along too.

Jinx at 2:45 PM on April 23, 2020 | #16426 | reply | quote

#16426 what is the problem? im guessing you would say food waste or something, but why is that a problem?

Anonymous at 12:50 AM on April 25, 2020 | #16436 | reply | quote

#16426 #16436 The topic is fine here.

I think food waste is bad. This isn't an individual who buys food or puts it on his plate for the *option value* to eat it, and isn't 100% accurate with his forecasts of future eating.

This is industrial scale quantities of perfectly good food being destroyed. It's just as bad as if a TV factory had to throw out thousands of brand new TVs they'd just produced. Or if an oil company had to pay people money to take vast quantities of oil because they ran out of storage space due to selling less than normal.

curi at 10:27 AM on April 25, 2020 | #16438 | reply | quote


"> And a second parent of the parent post."

"second parent" should be "second *part*"

Anonymous at 7:01 PM on April 29, 2020 | #16465 | reply | quote

Math puzzle: most common number of flips to get heads with a biased coin

Say you have a biased coin that comes up heads 5% of the time. Let a single “trial” refer to the act of flipping the coin until it comes up heads and recording the number of flips it took. For example, if you flip tails, tails, tails, and then heads, you would record that it took 4 flips. If you make a large number of trials, what number of flips would you expect to record most often? In other words, *what is the modal number of flips*?

Alisa at 10:57 PM on May 3, 2020 | #16482 | reply | quote

curi at 11:30 PM on May 3, 2020 | #16483 | reply | quote


The text patio11 put in quotes, and mentioned searching for by exact-match search, is in fact *not a quote*. It's not in the article:


There are some similar lines. There's some stuff about a bunker. But patio11's search will turn up zero results.

Should I give him the benefit of the doubt and figure that he was reading the email newsletter (likely I'd guess) and that the web version was edited after the email went out? I doubt it but it's possible.

curi at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2020 | #16484 | reply | quote

Twitter thread critiques New Orleans map/geography as if it were a fictional submission made by a freelancer.


curi at 12:04 PM on May 8, 2020 | #16493 | reply | quote

xoxo poster writes lengthy list of complaints about marriage track relationship:

i thought it was notable as a long, detailed list of perceived relationship problems where the author is trying to be somewhat honest about his opinions and attitudes. people often try not to think about this stuff too clearly even if they think there are problems in a relationship

Date: May 7th, 2020 4:21 PM

Author: jag

filling out our schedule with thingdoing weeks in advance

allows me no space for my own pursuits or solitude (now imagine with kids..)

expects that household duties should be 50/50 even though i will make >double her income

have to deal with her birdbrained friends

have to accept her family into my life

don't love her, don't have the capacity to "love" anyone

no longer aroused or interested in sex (still have it often out of obligation)

needs dirty talk during sex (i am preferably an autistic mute)

horrifying specter of wife getting fat

drudgery of relationship born out of transactional desire to have kids

tries to change everything about me while having no capacity to better herself

won't let me smoke or do blow or anything fun really

marriage and family will demand at least a 100k/yr lifestyle rather than the 20k/yr i have now (including rent)

shudder at prospect of having a wedding, baby shower, etc etc

makes me pray before eating dinner

makes me pose for photos with her wherever we go

will brainwash children with the gay agenda

never punctual, constantly making us late for flights, plans, etc

decidedly not a scholar

has rather basic interests, not particularly cultured

conversations are mostly about things and people relevant to our lives, never anything substantial or interesting

though not materialistic, too tied to material possessions and mindless GC apparatus

not particularly ambitious (which is fine except it's a product of her laziness and it bleeds into her daily behavior)

has allergies and asthma and shit (poor genes)


Anonymous at 6:27 PM on May 10, 2020 | #16509 | reply | quote

C.C. Myers finishes SF freeway project early, pockets $8 million


Phil Matier, Speedy contractor finishes SF freeway project early, pockets $8 million, *San Francisco Chronicle* (2020-05-10):

> Renowned contractor C.C. Myers, of MacArthur Maze repair fame, has done it again — this time making millions for delivering the Alemany overpass rebuild ahead of schedule.

> Myers, now doing business as Myers & Sons, was the prime contractor on the just-completed $37 million rebuild of the Alemany Boulevard overpass on Highway 101 in San Francisco.

> The rebuild was originally scheduled to begin in July, but was moved up to April to take advantage of the drop in traffic brought on by the pandemic. Caltrans offered a bonus of $1 million for every day Myers finished the job ahead of the original 18-day schedule.

> The flip side of the deal was that Myers would have to pay back $1 million for every day the job went beyond 18 days.

> Myers got the work done in nine days.

> “Their quick work scored an $8 million bonus and saved massive backups,” said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney. (The bonus deal had an $8 million cap.)

> Fast work is something of a specialty for Myers.

> After the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California, Myers fixed four damaged bridges on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles in 66 days, a full 74 days ahead of schedule, and earned a $14.8 million bonus.

> When an overturned gasoline tanker explosion destroyed a three-lane overpass section of the MacArthur Maze in Emeryville in 2007, the Myers firm got a $5 million bonus for finishing ahead of schedule.

> “There are costs associated with speed so it’s not all free money, but it does feel good to be able to deliver,” said Clint Myers Jr., C.C.’s son and vice president of the company.

> The company’s motto is to “deliver on the impossible.” Maybe it should add, “and make a good buck doing it.”

What an absolute legend.

Alisa at 8:31 PM on May 10, 2020 | #16510 | reply | quote

#16509 There's other similar material elsewhere in the thread. I responded on xoxo:

Your problem is dating pretty girls. Stop dating pretty girls or girls who dress well/hot.

Being pretty takes a lot of effort. Pretty girls make that effort. This affects their whole personality and lifestyle. They are overly social and social climbing, shallow, spend too much money, etc.

If you try dating girls who don't look pretty or dress well, they won't have all the same flaws. Some will be more tolerable.

Pretty mostly isn't genetics or luck. It's a lifestyle that's highly correlated with lots of your complaints about how women and marriage suck.

Watch before/after makeup videos, look at before/after pictures. Learn what makeup looks like. Study how makeup works and some fashion stuff so you can recognize all the stuff they're doing. Learn to see how fake girls are. Then stop dating the really fake ones. That is why girls suck so much for you. Find girls who put more effort into other areas of life instead and they'll be more reasonable.

Eyelash extensions are a sign of a bad personality. Lip injections correlate to bitchy. Eyebrow microblading is associated with putting stuff on your calendar you don't want. Skirts are a sign of passive-aggressive. Highlights in their hair or bleached blonde are hints they'll be a bad mother. Makeup contouring is a sign someone is very shallow. Learn more about these red flags and act according. You need to be able to see how much work women put into their appearance and judge them negatively for it. Nail polish means you aren't optimizing for dating a girl with a brain, and that's your choice which you can stop choosing if you want to. Even having all nails the same length, if not really short, is something girls put effort into.

There are non-appearance things too like learning to speak sweetly and feminine (partly voice tone, partly word choice) which also correlate with being a bad wife. They're more subtle than then appearance stuff and harder to get a good understanding of.

luvxoxo at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2020 | #16511 | reply | quote

#16511 That basic idea is old but seems to need to be "re-discovered" periodically.

There was a popular song in the 1960's which advocated against marrying pretty girls. It was vague and got popular before being derided as sexist for emphasizing cooking as a wife role. https://genius.com/Jimmy-soul-if-you-wanna-be-happy-lyrics

The pop song was in turn based on an earlier song from the 1930's which was more explicit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpt8SvvZi9Y

Andy Dufresne at 10:34 AM on May 11, 2020 | #16512 | reply | quote

Great info on independent contractors, the IRS, and tech:




curi at 11:21 AM on May 12, 2020 | #16521 | reply | quote

oh my god it's turpentine at 1:09 PM on May 13, 2020 | #16524 | reply | quote

Males who compete in women's sports cannot be called 'males' in court, judge says

Tyler O'Neil, Biological Males in Women's Sports Cannot Be Called 'Males' in Court, Must Be Called 'Transgender Females,' Judge Says, *PJ Media* (2020-05-11):

Some female athletes are suing over rules that allow males to compete in women's sports, but their lawyers aren't allowed to say that in court. The judge stated:

> To refer to them as “males,” period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative; and, for me, civility is a very important value, especially in litigation.

This is an example of using the idea of "civility" to suppress dissent.

Alisa at 6:22 PM on May 13, 2020 | #16526 | reply | quote

I wrote a long comment on Alan's blog:


The context of the DD tweet is that he’s an anarcho-capitalist libertarian. He has major criticisms of the current system and wants better. It’s just an unsolved problem. It’s not an exception means it’s not an unsoluble problem: a system with no taxation is possible and desirable. So his comment about taxation not being an exception is saying taxation is *worse than* people usually view it, not better. It was an anti-tax, not pro-tax, comment. He’s contradicting people who say death and taxes are inevitable. (BTW death, too, is not a special exception. It’s just an unsolved and soluble problem. Like taxation, there’s nothing fundamentally different about it, in a grand philosophical sense, compared to other problems.)

It’s really hard to know how voluntary paying taxes is when people don’t have a choice. It’s similar to people living in China and they say they support the CCP – but they aren’t in a situation to make a voluntary choice, so the real support for the CCP is much lower than it seems to be.

Most people (in countries like USA) voluntarily pay taxes in the sense that no one has to come point a gun at them. It’s similar to many other laws – enforcement is pretty low relative to compliance. People aren’t just doing stuff when directly, overtly made to. That’s notable. You see worse compliance despite much more enforcement in societies like communist China or the USSR.

The IRS does not persecute enough people, with enough vigor, to generate the tax revenue that they do if people really didn’t want to.

I don’t think “voluntary” is a good word for that though. Here’s another distinction that’s relevant: there are many laws that I think are roughly correctly, and tax law isn’t on that list. My compliance with tax law is nevertheless similar to my compliance with a bunch of laws I agree with way more. One reason is I don’t want to devote my time and energy to fighting with the system re taxes even if the personal risk isn’t that bad. And fighting the system involves dishonesty (or else a much much higher chance of IRS action regarding me personally, or a ton of work to find ways to avoid taxes legally, or just having no income), and I have reasons to avoid dishonesty on general principle.

The actual issue under discussion was *proportional* taxation specifically. Hayek was claiming basically that everyone agrees it’s fair that e.g. we all pay 10% of our income in taxes, rather than different people paying different proportions. Note that this isn’t about the unfairness of different income tax brackets (progressive taxation), just about using a flat percentage. I don’t agree that a flat percentage, same for everyone, is fair. The government provides services. Lots of services in general have a flat fee, e.g. $20/month rather than charging a percentage of my income. That’s actually way fairer and makes more sense. If I get the same amount of police protection as someone else, shouldn’t I pay the same number of dollars as him, regardless of my income? So I disagree with Hayek.

DD, by contrast, has actually defended progressive taxation on the theory that in a free society rich people would want to fund science more than poor people, and would devote not only a larger dollar figure to it (justifying proportional taxation) but a larger percentage of their income (justifying progressive taxation). I don’t think the government should fund science and I regard government science in general as harmful. Maybe they spend a billion dollars and the result is a hundred million positive dollars of science, rather than actually negative (doing net harm after ignoring the cost of the billion itself). That’s hard to say. But jesus, as much as I’d like to fund science as a rich person in a free society, that doesn’t translate at all into wanting to fund government science, which is basically a contradiction in terms, as Atlas Shrugged taught us. Science was DD’s main example IIRC. Maybe you could make a similar argument with some better examples and come up with something reasonable but DD never worked that out and wrote it down.

curi at 2:55 PM on May 14, 2020 | #16531 | reply | quote

Hubbard's Rule of Five

Douglas W. Hubbard, *How to Measure Anything* (3rd ed.):

> *There is a 93.75% chance that the median of a population is between the smallest and largest values in any random sample of five from that population.*

> It might seem impossible to be 93.75% certain about anything based on a random sample of just five, but it works. To understand why this method works, it is important to note that the Rule of Five estimates only the median of a population. Remember, the median is the point where half the population is above it and half is below it. If we randomly picked five values that were all above the median or all below it, then the median would be outside our range. But what is the chance of that, really?

> The chance of randomly picking a value above the median is, by definition, 50%—the same as a coin flip resulting in “heads.” The chance of randomly selecting five values that happen to be all above the median is like flipping a coin and getting heads five times in a row. The chance of getting heads five times in a row in a random coin flip is 1 in 32, or 3.125%; the same is true with getting five tails in a row. The chance of not getting all heads or all tails is then 100% − 3.125% × 2, or 93.75%. Therefore, the chance of at least one out of a sample of five being above the median and at least one being below is 93.75% (round it down to 93% or even 90% if you want to be conservative).

jordancurve at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2020 | #16554 | reply | quote

> The chance of randomly picking a value above the median is, by definition, 50%

No it's not. Consider the set {1,2,3}. The median is 2. What is the chance of picking an element of the set above 2?

curi at 7:26 PM on May 19, 2020 | #16555 | reply | quote

Magic the Gathering is complicated


Magic the Gathering is so complicated that players sometimes make illegal moves in tournament play that are *not noticed at the time by players, judges, or commentators*. Here are two examples:

According to a Reddit post, Rob Pisano played 2 lands in one turn vs Patrick Chapin in Round 7 at Mythic Championship Cleveland (2019). Apparently this was "[n]ot caught by judges, players, or Twitch chat."

During Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir Round 6 Standard (April 10, 2015), Magic the Gathering Hall of Fame member Patrick Chapin illegally played two lands in one turn. (At 13:44, Chapin plays Temple of Silence. During the same turn, at 14:27, Chapin plays Windswept Heath.)

I would be surprised if this kind of thing happens in high-level Chess or Go.

Alisa at 10:07 PM on May 20, 2020 | #16558 | reply | quote


True. Hubbard should have said (new text added in bold) that the chance of randomly picking a value above the median is *at least* 50%.

That correction affects his conclusion as well (new text added in bold): There is *at least* a 93.75% chance that the median of a population is between the smallest and largest values in any random sample of five from that population.

A Library of Criticism test that could catch this error would be *checking small values* (e.g., 0, 1, and 2). If I had tested the claim with on a set with 1 value, I could have caught the error myself.

jordancurve at 8:05 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16559 | reply | quote

#16559 Correction: the new text was added in italics, not bold.

jordancurve at 8:11 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16560 | reply | quote

> True. Hubbard should have said (new text added in bold) that the chance of randomly picking a value above the median is *at least* 50%.

What is the chance of picking a value above the median for {1,2,3}?

curi at 8:16 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16561 | reply | quote


The chance of picking a value above the median for {1,2,3} is 1/3. (The median is 2. Out of the three equally likely numbers, only one (3) is above the median.)

My first "at least" should have been "at most". I realized this before I saw your reply, but I was away from my computer until just now.

jordancurve at 9:01 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16562 | reply | quote

#16562 His math relied on the exactly 50% claim. If it was "at most" 50%, then the actual result would be the same or better. But because you're now changing it to at least, his argument doesn't work. Did you notice that? He can't claim 93.75% (or better). His conclusion is wrong and it looks non-trivial to salvage some weaker conclusion.

curi at 9:40 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16563 | reply | quote

#16563 Wait I didn't reread the problem. You lose if you get 5 values below the median or 5 above. So if the odds are skewed in either direction (even symmetrically, which they aren't) you're worse off. He was relying on *exactly* 50% which is ridiculous.

I think the way to salvage this is to stop claiming the median is in between the top and bottom values randomly picked. Instead, say the medium is likely at least the bottom value and at most the top value. The chance of picking a value that is the median *or higher* (or lower) is >= 50%. So then you can get a > 93.75% conclusion out of it.

Also, according to wikipedia the term "median" isn't even well-defined in general:


> If there is an even number of observations, then there is no single middle value; the median is then *usually* defined to be the mean of the two middle values. [my emphasis]

Hubbard's book is a good example of overreaching. He's publishing about issues he's incompetent at thinking through.

curi at 9:49 PM on May 21, 2020 | #16564 | reply | quote

excerpt from VDH's "Carnage and Culture" book regarding the greek idea of freedom:

> All that being said, the Greeks who rammed the enemy head-on at Salamis believed that freedom (eleutheria) had proved to be the real key to their victory. Freedom, they believed, had made their warriors qualitatively better fighters than the Persians—or any other unfree tribe, people, or state to the west as well as east—breeding in them a superior morale and greater incentive to kill the enemy. Aeschylus and Herodotus are clear on this. While we are not so interested in their respective descriptions of Persian customs and motivations, which are often secondhand and can be biased, both authors are believable in reflecting what the Greeks believed was at stake at Salamis.

> The moral drawn by Herodotus, for example, is unmistakable: free citizens are better warriors, since they fight for themselves, their families and property, not for kings, aristocrats, or priests. They accept a greater degree of discipline than either coerced or hired soldiers. After Marathon (490 B.C.), Herodotus makes the point that the Athenians fought much better under their newly won democracy than during the long reign of the Peisistratid tyrants: “As long as the Athenians were ruled by a despotic government, they had no better success at war than any of their neighbors. Once the yoke was flung off, they proved the finest fighters in the world.” Herodotus explains why this is so: in the past “they battled less than their best because they were working for a master; but as free men each individual person wanted to achieve something for himself” (5.78).

> When asked why the Greeks did not come to terms with Persia at the outset, the Spartan envoys tell Hydarnes, the military commander of the Western provinces, that the reason is freedom:

> Hydarnes, the advice you give us does not arise from a full knowledge of our situation. You are knowledgeable about only one half of what is involved; the other half is a blank to you. The reason is that you understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or not. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too. (Herodotus 7.135)

Anonymous at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2020 | #16582 | reply | quote

bypassing discord message length limit

You asked me for an example of one of your errors (error from my pov), one of the things which is failing tests in my intellectual test suite. I gave the example where you said trees are too linear. When we tried to discuss that example, most of your messages also failed my test suite. The issue hasn’t been resolved (so far) and the secondary test failures (sub issues) mostly haven’t been resolved either.

What should be done about a situation like this (which is commonplace and should be expected)? How can progress be made?

Answer: *Exponential back off in search of common ground.* Try to find some set of standard, basic concepts that we can communicate about with a low test suite failure rate for both of us. Talk about simpler more basic stuff to whatever extent is needed that most of your messages pass my test suite and most of my messages pass your test suite.

Back off towards the lowest common denominator to find common ground.

Note: Only tests relevant to current goals should be run. In this case, the main goal is to understand each other. So you can say something I disagree with, and if I understand it and I think communication is successful, then that’s good, that’s a success. If we’re communicating successfully about what our claims are, that’s a good place to start.

The sort of tests in my suite that are failing are not e.g. “Contradicts a nuance of Popperian epistemology”. I mean, sure there are some test failures like that, but I don’t regard them as relevant so I’m not counting or talking about them. My focus is on tests I think are appropriate, and that’s where the failures I’m talking about are. Appropriate, relevant tests cover issues like clarity, logicalness, responsiveness, and non-ambitious cultural defaults about what is reasonably expected, at minimum, in an intellectual conversation.

Roughly: I’m just running the minimal test suite that I think is needed for a successful conversation. And I’m still getting a barrage of test failures.

We’re not on the same page about our discussion. It’s not close. Discussion is currently failing to the point that we don’t seem to be making progress on one relatively narrow, simple issue.

Some people have different strategies for how to deal with such things. They want to gloss over “pedantic” details and say a bunch of complicated stuff and hope to be e.g. 50% understood and to catch e.g. 50% of what the other guy says. They want to focus more on the stuff they like and expect the other person to do the same. Instead of saying “that message failed 2 of my tests” you say “i like one piece of that message. if i ignore the rest, and transplant it into my worldview, it can be interesting”. I think this approach is common and clashes with the approach of trying to find common ground. Instead of getting on the same page, people communicate in a lossy way and just put up with the vagueness and try to find things they like in it and focus on the positive.

Maybe this strategy is tempting to you? Maybe you agree with it? Maybe you’ve come to partially accept it without realizing what it is? Maybe you agree with the common ground approach and assumed I didn’t. idk.

I think error correction and problem solving are crucial, and the goal needs to be to find a way to get those working and then expand on what works. But most people in general seem to have basically given up on that and try to ignore the errors and problems to focus on some partial successes.

This is a reasonably well known issue. I am not alone in advocating the strategy I do (of seeking common ground to build on). Others have written about it in other ways, e.g.: https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Inferential_distance

Does the common ground seeking strategy make sense to you? Want to try to do it?

curi at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2020 | #16589 | reply | quote

Twitter trend: "BLACK OWNED"

"BLACK OWNED" is trending on Twitter. (Note: I believe Twitter only allows and encourages certain terms to trend). The featured tweets using this phrase seem to consist mainly of people chastising rioters for destroying/looting black-owned businesses. I think the implication is that it's OK to target businesses owned by non-blacks.

Alisa at 11:33 AM on May 30, 2020 | #16593 | reply | quote

https://twitter.com/BukitBF/status/1267319697768357890 (http://archive.is/zfkRt)

Example of left-wing organization successfully raising money to bail rioters out of jail (from 2020-05-31):

> Sat AM we had 6 ppl on waitlist awaiting bail support. We were too depleted $ wise to post bail then. One person had been awaiting support since early May.

> THANKS TO YOU, since then, we’ve posted $20,000, securing freedom for 3 of them (2 @ $5k, 1 @ $10k, below).

> #FreeThemAll

Anonymous at 10:28 PM on May 31, 2020 | #16595 | reply | quote

Tucker: Our leaders dither as our cities burn

Tucker Carlson Tonight (2020-06-01): Our leaders dither as our cities burn

Historic monologue by Tucker. At times, it's as if he's addressing all of America; at other times, it's seems as if he's talking directly to President Trump. If Trump follows Tucker's advice - and I pray that he does - it might just save our country.

Alisa at 7:12 PM on June 1, 2020 | #16598 | reply | quote

Sines v. Kessler

Sines v. Kessler is a lawsuit that "targets key organizers and participants" of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, NC. According to VDARE, the rally's peaceful right-wing participants were assaulted by Antifa and endangered by the police.

In the interest of justice, lawsuits should instead be filed against the organizers of the #BlackLivesMatter riots.

Anonymous at 6:48 PM on June 2, 2020 | #16601 | reply | quote

A test for "peaceful" protests

Organizers of rallies/protests/demonstrations typically give lip service to intending that the event be peaceful. One test of whether such an event is *actually* peaceful is whether you can freely exercise the rights you would normally have in public without being assaulted by the other participants. These rights include, but are not limited to, filming other participants, representing a conservative media outlet, and wearing a MAGA hat.

Anonymous at 7:00 PM on June 2, 2020 | #16602 | reply | quote

#16602 Another right to test: holding an American flag.

Anonymous at 7:21 PM on June 2, 2020 | #16603 | reply | quote

#16603 Try holding a sign that says “It’s OK to be white” or “all lives matter”

Anonymous at 5:46 AM on June 3, 2020 | #16604 | reply | quote

“Twitter, do your thing”

On 2020-05-05, Paul Joseph Watson published a video stating that the phrase “Twitter, do your thing” is being used as a call to harass & dox minors on Twitter.

On Telegram today, Michelle Malkin linked to a Twitter thread containing multiple examples of that:

> If you’re a teen and you disagree with the riots, they are doxxing you. There’s thousands of us here on telegram btw, many with twitter accounts. Report this to twitter as it violates their rules on doxxing. https://twitter.com/yeojnl/status/1268220755994607617?s=21

Anonymous at 5:58 PM on June 3, 2020 | #16607 | reply | quote

The Cultural Revolution: A People's History

On May 5, 2016, Frank Dikotter spoke with NPR about his book "The Cultural Revolution: A People's History". Here are some quotes (Audio + Transcript):

> Students, Red Guards in particular, first turned their attention towards any public display of the so-called old world. They vandalized shops. They turned over street signs with names that come from the past or invoke a feudal culture. They will vandalize churches, tear down temples, overturn tombstones, burn books in public - massive bonfires.

We see similarly targeted vandalism and destruction in the Black Lives Matter riots and the accompanying removal of historic statues.

> But also, bit by bit, they start raiding homes of people suspected of still having sympathies for the old regime - of playing piano, of reading bourgeois literature, of harboring capitalist thoughts.

Maybe raiding individual homes of people with "White Privilege" is next.

> ... very quickly, violence starts assuming quite extraordinary proportions.


> [Mao] relishes a game in which he can change the rules constantly. He improvises bending and breaking millions of people along the way.

Like Mao, the left in the U.S. changes the rules constantly. One example: Due to coronavirus and lockdowns, you can't visit your father who's dying in the hospital and states ban all large gatherings. Simultaneously, thousands can gather in public if they say it's for Black Lives Matter while nurses stand in the streets to cheer them on.

> ... the young people who turned themselves into Red Guards at the height of the summer 1966 probably believed that there was something in communism and something in the Cultural Revolution that was worthwhile pursuing. But I think that for most people who would've lived through the 1950s, they would have been very well aware of the dangers of not going along with the flow. In other words, let me put this simply. If you have to attend an indoctrination class week in, week out from 1949 onwards, it will not take you very long to realize that it is in your own interest to just pretend that you're willing to go along.

> In short, I think that already by the mid-1950s, most people in China - and in other one-party states for that matter - after a couple of years, people become great actors. They know what to say, they know that they have to say it and they know how to say it. It doesn't necessarily mean that they believe it. In other words, I think that even at the height of the Cultural Revolution, with the exception possibly of young students, many ordinary people would've given no more than a sign of outward compliance.

> They would've kept their innermost thoughts to themselves. They'd have been very, very careful to just play the part that they were asked to play without necessarily believing in it.

I bet there's a lot of preference falsification in America these days. For instance, Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, contrary to the predictions of almost every poll. One interpretation of this is that people revealed in the ballot box the pro-Trump preferences they were too afraid to tell the pollsters.

Anonymous at 9:57 PM on June 4, 2020 | #16614 | reply | quote


> > But also, bit by bit, they start raiding homes of people suspected of still having sympathies for the old regime - of playing piano, of reading bourgeois literature, of harboring capitalist thoughts.


> Maybe raiding individual homes of people with "White Privilege" is next.

Maybe in a few / isolated cases. But for it to be widespread in USA they'd have to confiscate the guns first.

If the second amendment is successfully repealed (in fact, whether or not in law) then raiding individual homes might become common.

Andy Dufresne at 7:43 AM on June 5, 2020 | #16615 | reply | quote

Anarchist video discourages less-violent protestors from stopping more-violent ones

sub.Media, an "anarchist video collective", tweeted a 2 min 20 s video today that discourages "peaceful protestors" from intervening to stop violent ones:

> It seems like every time there are mass protests we have to make a video debunking the #GoodProtester #BadProtester divisiveness that serves to keep us fighting each other instead of those in power. Well here is the latest...

> #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #ACAB #FUCK12 #BlackLivesMatter

(Note: ACAB stands for *all cops are bastards* and fuck 12 means *fuck the police*.)

The video tries to make violent aggression against police seem morally justified. At 00:02:04, it says:



That text is accompanied by a version of this chart (both versions seem to have the same numbers, but the colors and layout differ):

Number of people killed by U.S. police on each day in 2019

However, not all killings are murders. The video is dishonest.

Anonymous at 10:27 PM on June 6, 2020 | #16621 | reply | quote

excerpt from Victor Davis Hanson's "Carnage and Culture" on Reason and War


> People from the Stone Age onward have always engaged in some form of scientific activity designed to enhance organized warfare. But beginning with the Greeks, Western culture has shown a singular propensity to think abstractly, to debate knowledge freely apart from religion and politics, and to devise ways of adapting theoretical breakthroughs for practical use, through the marriage of freedom and capitalism. The result has been a constant increase in the technical ability of Western armies to kill their adversaries. Is it not odd that Greek hoplites, Roman legionaries, medieval knights, Byzantine fleets, Renaissance foot soldiers, Mediterranean galleys, and Western harquebusiers were usually equipped with greater destructive power than their adversaries? Even the capture or purchase of Western arms is no guarantee of technological parity—as the Ottomans, Indians, and Chinese learned—inasmuch as European weaponry is an evolving phenomenon, ensuring obsolescence almost simultaneously with the creation of new arms. Creativity has never been a European monopoly, much less intellectual brilliance. Rather, the West’s willingness to craft superior weapons is just as often predicated on its unmatched ability to borrow, adopt, and steal ideas without regard to the social, religious, or political changes that new technology often brings—as the incorporation of and improvement on the trireme, Roman gladius, astrolabe, and gunpowder attest.

> Scholars are correct to point out that Europeans neither invented firearms nor enjoyed a monopoly in their use. But they must acknowledge that the ability to fabricate and distribute firearms on a wide scale and to improve their lethality was unique to Europe. From the introduction of gunpowder in the fourteenth century to the present day, all major improvements in firearms—the matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, smokeless powder, rifle barrel, minié ball, repeating rifle, and machine gun—have taken place in the West or under Western auspices. As a general rule, Europeans did not employ or import Ottoman or Chinese guns, and they did not pattern their technique of munitions production on Asian or African designs.

> This idea of continual innovation and improvement in the use of technology is embodied in Aristotle’s dictum in his Metaphysics that prior philosophers’ theories contribute to a sort of ongoing aggregate of Greek knowledge. In the Physics (204B) he admits, “In the case of all discoveries, the results of previous labors that have been handed down from others have been advanced bit by bit by those who have taken them on.” Western technological development is largely an outgrowth of empirical research, the acquisition of knowledge through sense perception, the observation and testing of phenomena, and the recording of such data so that factual information itself is timeless, increasing and becoming more accurate through the collective criticism and modification of the ages. That there were an Aristotle, Xenophon, and Aeneas Tacticus at the beginning of Western culture and not anything comparable in the New World explains why centuries later a Cortés could fabricate cannon and gunpowder in the New World, while the Aztecs could not use the Spanish artillery they captured, why for centuries the lethal potential of the land around Tenochtitlán was untapped, but was mined for its gunpowder and ores within months after the Spanish arrival.

> Western technological superiority is not merely a result of the military renaissance of the sixteenth century or an accident of history, much less the result of natural resources, but predicated on an age-old method of investigation, a peculiar mentality that dates back to the Greeks and not earlier. Although the theoretical mathematician Archimedes purportedly snapped that “the whole trade of engineering was sordid and ignoble, and every sort of art that lends itself to mere use and profit,” his machines— cranes and a purported huge reflective glass heat ray—delayed the capture of Syracuse for two years. The Roman navy in the First Punic War not only copied Greek and Carthaginian designs but went on to ensure their victories by the use of innovative improvements such as the corvus, a sort of derrick that lifted enemy ships right out of the water. Long before American B-29s dropped napalm over Tokyo, the Byzantines sprayed through brass tubes compressed blasts of Greek fire, a secret concoction of naphtha, sulfur, and quicklime that like its modern counterpart kept burning even when doused with water.

> Military knowledge was also abstract and published, not just empirical. Western military manuals from Aelian (Taktike theoria) and Vegetius (Epitoma rei militaris) to the great handbooks on ballistics and tactics of the sixteenth century (e.g., Luigi Collado’s Practica manual de artiglierra [1586] or Justus Lipsius’s De militia Romana [1595–96]) incorporate firsthand knowledge and abstract theoretical investigation into practical advice. In contrast, the most brilliant of Chinese and Islamic military works are far more ambitious and holistic texts, and thus less pragmatic as actual blueprints for killing, embedded with religion, politics, or philosophy and replete with illusions and axioms from Allah to the yin and the yang, hot and cold, one and many.

> Courage on the battlefield is a human characteristic. But the ability to craft weapons through mass production to offset such bravery is a cultural phenomenon. Cortés, like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Don Juan of Austria, and other Western captains, often annihilated without mercy their numerically superior foes, not because their own soldiers were necessarily better in war, but because their traditions of free inquiry, rationalism, and science most surely were.

Anonymous at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2020 | #16626 | reply | quote

> This idea of continual innovation and improvement in the use of technology is embodied in Aristotle’s dictum in his Metaphysics that prior philosophers’ theories contribute to a sort of ongoing aggregate of Greek knowledge.

This is so foundational to our society and its productive activities, yet so many people think they can be an intellectual without bothering to read and find out what previous intellectuals came up with.

curi at 11:58 AM on June 7, 2020 | #16627 | reply | quote

Alan Blog Reply


> In the world’s it exists now,

typo, missing “as”

What does Bruenig want? That we vote on all uses of all property every time it’s to be used? But if we assigned property initially by vote, and then had a system of private property, that’d be unacceptable to him, so we have to vote every time, billions of times per day? So maybe temporary property, like vote every year and redistribute everything then?

I mean redistribute whatever’s left of the property you give people while telling them that, no matter how well they take care of it, they can’t keep it next year anyway. Or maybe they will get social credit points for caring well for the property they are voted to be temporary user of, which voters are then encouraged or forcibly required to take into account at the next vote?

Or if not voting, what? Voting seems to be one of the few things people think is fair and not an initiation of force even if a majority may vote to, say, form a police squad that forcibly oppresses some minority. But if even voting is force, and he hates force, what does he want us to do? Nothing, ever? We can’t use anything? Or we can use anything by like first come first serve with some rules about what is a forcible taking and what is just grabbing it when the other guy sets it down (without intending to use it again for some time period?) which is fine?

curi at 2:33 PM on June 11, 2020 | #16671 | reply | quote

Smooth Sanchez

Smooth Sanchez is a YouTuber. As a prank, he recently got a number of individual New Yorkers to kneel on camera and apologize for their "white privilege": https://twitter.com/CAPSLOCKHUSTLER/status/1268887315218345985/photo/1 . Ann Coulter follows his Twitter account.

Here's a lightly edited transcript of one of his recent interactions:

> Smooth Sanchez walks up behind woman.

> Sanchez: Excuse me. Hey, I work for Black Lives Matter.

> Woman: [Turns to Sanchez, appears startled.]

> Sanchez: I'm sorry. I work for Black Lives Matter. I'm sorry that I scared you, but since I work for that company, my CEO has told me to come out today and to bring you on your knees, because you have white privilege. So if they see that a white person is getting on their knees, that shows solidarity for the situation.

> Woman kneels.

> Sanchez: And could you just please apologize for your white privilege?

> Woman nods, apparently thinking.

> Sanchez: Just apologize?

> Woman: Yeah, I'm trying to think of the right words to say. It's a big thing... to say.

> Sanchez: It's big.

> Woman: I want it to come from [indicates her heart].

> Sanchez: It's so large in this country.

> Woman: I'm incredibly sorry that...

> Sanchez: You know with this country, we have that president, Donald Duck, that clown, in office? He's brought a lot of bigotry, you know, and you're not a part of it, right?

> Woman: No. [unintelligible]

> Sanchez: And so, you know...

> Woman stands up.

> Woman: Thank you for letting me have a moment [unintelligible].

> Sanchez: Ok. You have a great day.

Sanchez sometimes acts as if Black Lives Matter is a company he works for. Sometimes he talks about George Foreman instead of George Floyd.

I think a big part of why people comply with Sanchez is that they are scared. They are afraid that a mob will cancel them if they do the wrong thing on video.

Alisa at 9:27 PM on June 11, 2020 | #16674 | reply | quote

Anarcho-communists and Black Lives Matter

Anarcho-communists disagree with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) doctrines of *white allies* and *intersectionality*.

Another Word for White Ally is Coward is a communist anarchist critique of the *white ally* concept:

> To be a White Ally is to stop thinking for one’s self, to blindly follow a leader based on no other criteria than their identity. At least this is what is demanded of us by those who would make us into Allies.

> The concept of the White Ally is bankrupt. One cannot be an ally to a category of people. To speak the words “I am a White Ally to people of color” is to commit an act of double speak, to internalize non-sense. There is no singular black voice that can be listened to, no authentic community leadership which to follow. There are only many different people with different ideas, life experiences and perspectives. To think otherwise, to think that all black people share a common opinion is extremely problematic, one might even say racist...

With Allies Like These is a communist anarchist critique of the concept of *intersectionality*:

> Intersectionality is often evoked in a manner that isolates and reifies social categories without adequately drawing attention to common ground. Crucial to its analysis is an emphasis on a politics of difference—it is asserted that our identities and social locations necessarily differentiate us from those who do not share those identities and social locations. So, for example, a working class queer woman will not have the same experiences and by extension, the same interests as an affluent woman who is straight. Similarly, a cis-man of colour will not have the same experiences and by extension the same interests as a trans* man of colour, and so on and so forth. Within this framework, difference is the fundamental unit of analysis and that which proceeds and defines identity. This practice works to isolate and sever connections between people in that it places all of its emphasis on differentiation.

> ... in focusing only on difference we lose sight of the fact that both are exploited under capitalism, and have a shared interest in organizing to challenge Capital.

> As class struggle anarchists then we identify the class struggle as one against this “double dependence” as we struggle against the conditions which are necessary for capitalism to reproduce itself.

> ... we must strive for a class struggle which directs us towards the abolition of the divisions within our class that are necessary to uphold capitalism.

My take: anarcho-communists want to tear down Western civilization. They don't care about BLM per se, though they have some goals in common with BLM, including abolishing the police.

As far as I can tell, the main thing that BLM-related rallies offer anarcho-communists is the opportunity to instigate, encourage, and contribute to chaos and destruction:

- https://itsgoingdown.org/the-world-is-ours-the-minneapolis-uprising-in-five-acts

- https://crimethinc.com/2019/08/09/looting-back-an-account-of-the-ferguson-uprising

Alisa at 7:13 PM on June 13, 2020 | #16690 | reply | quote

Double standards

Tucker Carlson, *Tucker Carlson Tonight* (2020-06-18):

> And then the Black Lives Matter riots started, and we learned that it was all fake. The very same officials who threatened us with arrest for going outside urged their own voters to flood the streets. And they did, and no one was punished. How could this happen? It was such a flagrant double standard. Not even hidden, right in your face. They didn't try to explain it. They didn't bother to justify it. Why? Anyone familiar with totalitarian regimes can tell you exactly why and what's going on…

For some time now, double standards have struck me as a serious issue, and yet it seemed an inappropriately weak kind of moral condemnation to merely state that someone has double standards. After watching the above clip, I now think that double standards:

- are a sign of the *arbitrary exercise of power*

- promote the *rule of man* over of the *rule of law*

- are *totalitarian*

People who promote double standards in public policy are totalitarians.

Alisa at 8:23 PM on June 18, 2020 | #16732 | reply | quote

J. D. Vance, *Tucker Carlson Tonight* (2020-06-18):

> One of the weirdest things, you know, people on the left right now act like they're on the side of the oppressed. They like to think that they're standing up for the little guy, they're standing up for working people, but on every single one of these major issues, you look at the big Supreme Court cases that have come down the line the past few days, you look at what's happening with the protests, you look at the actual goals of the protests as they've been stated, [e.g.] abolish the police — if you look at public policy polling, 70% of black Americans actually like their local police department. How is it that on all of these big debates, the left finds itself on the side of corporate America, finds itself on the side of international businesses?

> You know, if I was a member of a political movement that stood up for working people and found myself every single time on the side of Amazon, on the side of Apple, on the side of Google, I might ask myself if I've actually chosen the right allies and what it says about me...

Anonymous at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2020 | #16733 | reply | quote

Number of generations for Americans to abolish slavery

In the DHFC-BlitzBook video at around 1m50s, David Horowitz says:

> Once the United States was created with its Declaration that all men are created equal and have a right to liberty, it took one generation for Americans to abolish slavery at the cost of 350,000 Union lives.

The United States Declaration of Independence was signed and ratified in 1776. The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, was ratified in 1865. Almost 90 years passed between those two events. A generation is generally considered to be around 25-30 years, so it took more than one generation for Americans to abolish slavery.

Alisa at 9:32 PM on June 25, 2020 | #16784 | reply | quote

In Tucker Calls Out the Absolute Fact That Trump is on the Path to Perdition (June 26, 2020), Andrew Anglin writes:

> These people are engaging in these attacks on our statues and burning down buildings on live television. The Justice Department is doing nothing. They are outright refusing.

> The House Freedom Caucus went on TV on Thursday and begged Barr to enforce the law – they read out laws that he could be enforcing! As if people don’t know that tearing down statues on federal and state property and arson are felonies! As if the Attorney General doesn’t know that! He needs to be reminded that it’s illegal, the weasel!

> The Freedom Caucus did a very good job, given the circumstances. They were all almost speechless, trying to explain the enormity of the insanity, and being forced to go out and publicly demand that the Attorney General of the United States prosecute a violent Marxist revolutionary mob that has overtaken the entire country.

> The city cops cannot do anything. City cops are being charged with murder for doing something. No one can expect them to do anything. Trump has to send in the feds. The FBI has teams to deal with this. All you need to do is round up the leaders of who are organizing these riots and statue pull-downs. Prosecute them, this will stop, Trump can claim total victory and campaign on having ended the chaos.

> But of course, Barr is not going to do that. If he was going to do that, he would have done it already. There is no reason he would wait a month before he started prosecuting a violent Marxist mob that is literally tearing down the country.

Anonymous at 12:49 AM on June 27, 2020 | #16793 | reply | quote

Andrew Anglin on women as programmers and engineers

In Twitter has Become Unusable (June 24, 2020), Andrew Anglin writes (among other things) about women programmers and engineers:

> On some level, [women computer programmers] are only pretending to be pretending to be men, given that they remain overwhelmingly preoccupied with looking cute while doing their big man jobs.

> How long does this woman spend doing her hair and makeup before going into the office and sitting at a computer?

>The average for women is 1 hour in front of the mirror in the morning (I’m sure it’s what that woman spends and she may spend more than that). Men are more or less incapable of grasping this level of vanity and self-absorption. Men will typically look for any excuse to grow a beard, so as to skip any form of morning grooming at all. They will also look for any excuse to wear a t-shirt and jeans, simply because it is so much faster to put on such clothing.

> Computer programmers are especially known for having beards and dressing overly casually.

> This probably stems from the fact that the morning hours are crucial to someone doing that kind of thinking.

Anonymous at 12:59 AM on June 27, 2020 | #16795 | reply | quote

In Trump Could Have at Least Avoided Having This Picture Taken After the Failed Rally (June 22, 2020), Andrew Anglin makes some interesting points about Trump's lack of action to quell the riots:

> The blacks who will vote for [Trump] are going to vote for him specifically because he doesn’t tolerate black riots and revolution. That is to say, what he is doing by refusing to address the black revolution is going to make it less likely that the blacks who do support him are going to bother voting.

> The staggering thing is that this is a self-inflicted wound. Maybe he can’t do anything. The military refused to defend the White House during peak riot, so it is unlikely he can really do much on that front. Maybe he can’t get AG Barr to prosecute the rioters. Maybe there is literally nothing he can do to stop any of it. But what he can do is what we know he can do, which is tweet and go on shows talking about it. He could be out there every single day denouncing the blacks, and calling this a hoax, saying it doesn’t really have anything to do with black people and that it’s just a communist revolution using the dumb criminal blacks as a tool.

> He was very loudly talking about “socialism” as a threat to “capitalism” throughout 2019, apparently as an election strategy. But now we have a full-on Bolshevik revolution, a direct attack on the very foundations of our entire civilization, and he’s doing what? He’s saying he’s going to reform the police and he’s honoring Juneteenth.

Anonymous at 1:14 AM on June 27, 2020 | #16796 | reply | quote


> The Golden Age of the Internet Is Over

curi at 8:00 PM on July 3, 2020 | #16842 | reply | quote

The Appleseed Project

Appleseed is a project to promote and teach rifle marksmanship as a living American tradition. To this end, they hold beginner-friendly rifle clinics across the country. The Appleseed standard of accuracy is to reliably hit a man-sized target at 500 yards, a distance which was once apparently known as the "rifleman's quarter-mile".

Seems like a worthy endeavor.

Fred's Forefathers at 7:24 PM on July 4, 2020 | #16848 | reply | quote

OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

The OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer is a useful 3-in-1 tool for prepping avocados. It has:

1. An edge long enough to cut the unpeeled avocado in half. For safety, the edge is dull, kind of like the edge of a butter knife.

2. A three-part metal attachment that sticks into the core. Lets you easily pull the core out whichever half of the avocado its in.

3. A slicer — again, with a dulled edge for safety — that you drag through each half of the core-less avocado. This removes the peel from that avocado half and slices the half into 7 pieces at the same time.

Anonymous at 8:07 PM on July 5, 2020 | #16849 | reply | quote

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