Taxes

Taxpayer funding has partial overlap with slave labor and with theft. It takes people’s wealth by force, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with what the government is using the wealth for. Therefore taxpayer funding should be used highly conservatively – in limited ways when we really can't figure out an alternative. It should be a last resort, not something used casually. There are worse things one can say about taxes. This is a limited, modest statement that all reasonable people ought to be able to agree with it. But instead we live in a nightmare world where most people seem to think it’s good to use $200,000,000 of taxes on a project just because they expect the value from the project – after successful completion within the budget – to be $220,000,000, or because the project promotes some value they care deeply about but find it difficult to voluntarily raise $200,000,000 for.


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Nassim Nicholas Taleb Sucks

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who is supposedly a Popperian, blocked me on Twitter today for offering some helpful corrections of one of his articles. What a fool.

He admitted I was right and then told me to get lost...

Twitter doesn't offer any good way to link all my relevant tweets from today, but see:

https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1007850325066297344

Most of my relevant tweets are replies to that Taleb tweet. I wrote several.


https://twitter.com/curi42/status/1007875578089762817

My comments afterwards (two tweets, not replies to Taleb).


https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1007871153074049024

That's the link to Taleb telling me to get lost.


https://twitter.com/curi42/with_replies

That links my recent tweets. It won't be useful in the future but works well if you see this soon.


http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/SmithBSVendor.html

That's Taleb's article, from his original tweet, which I wrote comments on.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (93)

Individualism and Responsibility Matter For Ideas

Objectivism and Critical Rationalism present reasonable targets for criticism. The main content was developed by a single person who took responsibility for creating something reasonably well-defined and complete. This is typical of original work: a pioneer comes up with some new ideas, develops them, names them, and they mean something.

Libertarianism and Inductivism are difficult to criticize because they mean different things to different people. They are full of internal debates. The terms don't identify any particular system of ideas. Instead, the terms broadly refer to many different thinkers and ideas with some similarities – and also plenty of differences. Because of the failure of these terms to unambiguously identify any particular ideas, debate and progress are more difficult. (Sometimes ideas start out this way. Other times they start with a specific meaning and become vague as a defense mechanism because criticism refutes the original meaning.)

Some philosophical positions begin with a clear meaning, which can then be discussed. Others begin with group similarity between multiple inadequate ideas (or, worse, people) and then stay vague forever.


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Comments on Edith Packer's Psychology Lectures

Comments on Lectures on Psychology: A Guide to Understanding Your Emotions by Edith Packer (Objectivist and wife of George Reisman).

So far I've read the first 3 chapters, which cover core evaluations (I think this chapter is worth reading, even though I think it exaggerates some things), "Obsessive-Compulsive Syndrome", and happiness.

Suppose a child concludes: “No one cares about me.” This apparently calls for another conclusion—this time, about the child himself. For example, that “There must be something wrong with me.” And then, if the child feels that there is something wrong with him, he may conclude that life has nothing to offer him.

If no one cares about you, that doesn't imply something is wrong with you. People might have no idea whether you're good, bad or neutral, and be focused on their own lives.

Being flawed doesn't mean life has nothing to offer. No one would conclude that without some other bad ideas playing a significant role.

Most children do not share many of their important thoughts and emotions with their parents. For these reasons, there are very few people who reach adulthood without having some core evaluations that are at least partially mistaken.

True.

You have heard people say about some person, “He overcame his terrible background and became a famous doctor.” This does indeed occur. There are some inspiring examples of people developing sound core evaluations even after many severe childhood injuries and becoming not only successful, but also happy, as adults. But in most cases, a child whose experiences lead him to feel continuous self-doubt, fear, guilt, and loneliness, will embrace some type of mistaken or irrational core evaluations.

The unstated premise here is that famous doctors have great core evaluations. Actually great doctors (or any other speciality) are usually just good at the one thing and pretty screwed up in general. It's more common that a great doctor has a conventional marriage full of standard flaws than that he has a great marriage.

The first thing that has to be done is for the patient to discover the original concrete experiences—usually painful ones—which caused him deep injury. Then the concrete experiences have to be reconnected with the evaluations that subsequently developed into the patient’s core evaluations.

No! Causes and solutions are different things. Knowing childhood causes often doesn't help much with solutions.

Now, in principle, an individual could go through this process [of identify and improving core evaluations] by himself. But, in my opinion, the process should in fact only be attempted with the aid of a competent psychotherapist.

This is authoritarian and really hostile to the capacity for individuals to act effectively to improve their own lives. It says to put your life in the hands of psychological authorities and don't dare to try to make progress on your own.

Being an authoritarian is normal in general, but it's worth pointing out coming from an Objectivist author who sat on the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute.

The second attitude the happy person developed as the result of his egoism, along with that of responsibility for his own happiness, is his acceptance of the fact that he must expend effort in the pursuit of what is important to him.

When he was little, the effort simply consisted of such things as persisting in trying to convince his parents to give him the toy he wanted or in trying to learn how the toy he has been given works. Later, it consisted of such things as making the discovery that if he wants to learn to ride a bicycle, he has to put some effort into learning how to keep his balance when riding it. Similarly, in school, when he began to study more difficult subjects, such as fractions and decimals, and later algebra and geometry, he realized that there is pleasure in being able to understand, but that the pleasure follows only after the expenditure of the necessary effort.

Eventually the happy person learns that the more effort he puts into something, the more expert he becomes at it and the more he can enjoy the activity. His repeated successful application of effort in thinking and action results in his discovery that the process of exerting effort is essential to enjoyment, even if in the beginning it feels like drudgery. This discovery leads him to realize that exerting effort is the key to his ability to achieve his values. And then, since he recognizes that effort is what achieves his values, he connects pleasure with exerting the necessary effort itself. Later, since the effort is usually expended in learning, he becomes able to connect pleasure with learning. Finally, expending the effort to acquire knowledge in general brings him a sense of enjoyment because he experiences knowledge as the key to achieving values. And his expenditure of effort is punctuated by jolts of happiness as his efforts bring him successes in learning new things. Thus effort, learning, and knowledge become values to the happy person—values that consistently provide him with joy in his everyday life.

This is my favorite passage so far. I added the italics.

if you know a person who claims to have a good, rational philosophy, but is unhappy, the likelihood is that his actions are not consistent with that philosophy.

No, the likelihood is that he's mistaken about having a good, rational philosophy. That's very rare. It's also rare for one's actions to be consistent with his stated philosophy (good or not), but it's a big mistake to simply accept claims that anyone (let alone an unhappy person) has a good, rational philosophy.


Update:

Obviously, the more severe cases of sexual self-doubt require the specialized knowledge of a therapist.

Another authoritarian comment which tells people they're incapable of solving their own problems and require experts to tell them what to think and do. And we're told this is obvious!


Update 2:

I finished the book. Parts are pretty good but it's also dangerous. Beware psychology! Even especially good pscyhology like this still contains major dangers.


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How To Learn Something – With Plans and Steps

You take an interest in learning something, X. Perhaps someone recommends it to you. What do you do next? Jump right in?

The first step is making a plan for how to learn X. It may be pretty rough, especially in later stages (for a complex X, you won’t understand how to learn part 5 until after learning part 3). But you need some kind of outline or overview of a plan that goes all the way to the end. You need a concept of how success is possible or you don’t even know which direction or immediate actions could lead to success.

The second step is evaluating the plan: Can you do it successfully? What resources does it require? What prior knowledge does the plan build on, and do you already have it or not?

Step 3 is commonly to expand the plan: you add some steps at the beginning to learn some other things first (prerequisites). These are plans themselves and you need to outline how they will work, evaluate if you’re prepared to do them, check what resources they require, and possibly add more plans before them to learn even earlier knowledge.

In this way, you can be like “I want to learn Atlas Shrugged” (AS) and end up with a big plan, in tree shape, with 500 parts. You don’t have the skills or background knowledge to learn AS right now, so the plan involves learning 8 things first. And for each of those 8 things, you are missing 3 things you need to learn first. And for some of those 3, you’re missing 1-4 things that come before it. And for some of those, you’re missing some prerequisite. Some of the chains could be a dozen or more things long from AS to the earliest knowledge you don’t have yet.

There isn’t one single canonical organization of which knowledge comes early and late, what order it goes in, etc. You can develop a plan and it’s not the only plan possible. What is early in your plan might be late in someone else’s, or vice versa, and both plans could still work. However, plans can’t be random. It’s not subjective or arbitrary. There are facts about what does and doesn’t work, and there are themes where some things (e.g. learning addition) are early or late in most good plans.

Sometimes it helps to start working on something a little to discover what prerequisites you’re missing. E.g. you might try reading a dozen pages of AS to find out that: you don’t understand it clearly enough, you don’t know how to discuss it well enough, you don’t know how to take notes as you go along well enough, you don’t know how to stop and think about a passage and figure out what it means very well, you don’t know how to follow logical arguments, and it’s going to take a lot of time and mental focus/energy to read. You would then recognize you need to get more resources to allocate to the project (more time and mental focus/energy) and you need to create and succeed at plans to improve at each of the skills you’re not great at which came up when you tried reading a bit of the book (reading skill, discussion skill, etc). Just one of those prerequisites is to be better at understanding logical arguments, and that itself needs its own plan which will need its own resources and prerequisites, which will need their own plans, and so on. If you are a young child you’ll end up with perhaps 50 things, arranged in a tree, for your plan to learn logic, its prerequisite plans, their prerequisite plans, and so on, in 8 layers. And it’s the same if you’re an adult who doesn’t know a lot about this stuff, which is typically because our parenting and schooling is in major ways sabotage rather than helpful.

So if someone suggests you should read AS or learn logic, that does not mean you should just immediately do it. You need to make a plan and check if the plan will work for you today. If you cannot do your plan you need a new plan or to work on some prior stuff to prepare for doing the plan.

Being like, “Well he said to read this book or learn that topic, so I was trying to do it” is pretty thoughtless if you’re not even close to being able to do it. It means you didn’t actually make a plan for how to succeed that you evaluated and thought would work with your current skills/resources/knowledge. And if you don’t know how to make plans or evaluate if they will work, that is itself a prerequisite for any complex learning project. You need to learn that before you learn anything that isn’t really basic. You can learn really basic stuff (which can be succeeded at like it’s a one-part plan, basically) and then you can use what you learned to help build up towards learning how to make two part plans, then three part plans, and so on. You can get better at gradually more complex planning and plan evaluation as you learn more stuff. You can build up planning related skills in parallel with building up knowledge of other stuff.

If you look at AS and go “I don’t even know how to plan that” then your plan should be “get better at planning, revisit AS later” and then you can make a plan for how to get better at planning. You can still look at that as a plan for how to read AS, since it involves AS at the end. In this way, you can start anywhere, including with AS, no matter how much of a beginner you are. However, if you’re bad at tracking plan hierarchies then you can simplify by just forgetting about AS and starting with something more basic.


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Changing Minds About Inequality

people have lots of bad ideas they don’t understand much about, like that “inequality” is a major social problem.

what would it take to change their mind? not books with arguments refuting the books they believe. they didn’t get their ideas from structured arguments in serious books. they don’t have a clear idea in their mind for a refutation to point out the errors in. non-interactive refutation (like a book, essay, article) is very, very hard when you have to first tell people what they think (in a one-size-fits-all way, despite major variance between people) before trying to refute it. Books and essays work better to address clearly defined views, but not so well when you’re trying to tell the other side what they think b/c they don’t even know (btw that problem comes up all the time with induction).

to get someone to change their mind about “inequality”, what’d really help is if they thoughtfully considered things like:

what is “inequality”? why is it bad? are we talking about all cases of inequality being equally bad, or does the degree of badness vary? are we talking about all cases of inequality being bad at all, or are some neutral or even good? if the case against inequality isn’t a single uniform thing, applying equally to all cases, then what is the principle determining which cases are worse and why? what’s the reasoning for some inequality being evaluated differently than other inequality?

whatever one’s answers, what happens if we consider tons of examples? are the evaluations of all the examples satisfactory, do they all make sense and fit your intuitions, and reach the conclusions you intended? (cuz usually when people try to define any kind of general formula that says what they think, it gives answers they do not think in lots of example cases. this shows the formula is ad hoc crap, and doesn’t match their actual reasoning, and therefore they don’t even know what their reasoning is. so they are arguing for reasoning they don’t understand or misunderstand, which must be due to bias and irrationality, since you can’t reach a conscious, rational, positive evaluation of your ideas when you don’t even know what they are. you can sometimes reach a positive meta-evaluation where you acknowledge your confusion about the specifics of the ideas, but that’s different.).

anyway, the point is if people would actually think through the issue of inequality it’d change some of their minds. that’d be pretty effective at improving the situation. what stops this? the minor issue is: there are a lack of discussion partners to ask them good questions, guide them, push them for higher standards of clarity, etc. the major issue is: they don’t want to.

why don’t people want to think about “inequality”? broadly, they don’t want to think. also, more specifically, they accepted anti-inequality ideas for the purpose of fitting in. thinking about it may result in them changing their mind in some ways, big or small, which risks them fitting in less well. thinking threatens their social conformity which is what their “beliefs” about “inequality” are for in the first place.

this relates to overreaching. people’s views on inequality are too advanced for their ability to think through viewpoints. the views have a high error rate relative to their holder’s ability to correct error.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)

Steven Crowder Fake Quote

MYTH: "Well Regulated Militia" Only? (Second Amendment History) is a video by Steven Crowder. It has quotes from America's founding fathers to argue for his pro-gun-rights position (which I agree with). Crowder put up a webpage with his references which he links in the YouTube video description. The first quote on the page is:

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason

Crowder's source link is a category at a blog (not even a specific post). The relevant blog post says:

.
I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

George Mason, Speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

~ ~ Grouchy ~ ~

Great, we have a source. It's from a speech at a particular convention in a particular year. It's easy to find a short transcript of the speech (second version) online which doesn't have this quote. I wanted to know where the quote was coming from, and if it was perhaps from another statement not included in those sources. I looked further and found the full book covering the convention. It doesn't contain the quote. So, I'm confident the quote is a fraud.

I didn't check the other quotes Crowder used. This is one fake quote out of just one quote checked.

The full book does have some similar statements from Mason (my emphasis):

I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day.

and

An instance within the memory of some of this house will show us how our militia may be destroyed. Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man,* who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia. [Here Mr. Mason quoted sundry passages to this effect.] This was a most iniquitous project. Why should we not provide against the danger of having our militia, our real and natural strength, destroyed?

The fake quote is similar to two real quotes from the speech, but each part is changed. And, in the book, the two parts appear thousands of words apart, and in reverse order. So the fake quote is roughly representative of what Mason was saying, but it's not actually a quote.


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Do Primarily Easy Things – Increasing The Productivity Of Your Intellectual Labor Vs. Consumption

When you do productive labor (like at a job), you are able to use what you produce (or some negotiated amount of payment related to what you produce). How you use your income can be broadly viewed in two ways: investment and consumption.

Investment fundamentally means capital accumulation – putting your income towards the accumulation of capital goods which raise the productivity of labor and thereby create a progressing economy which offers exponentially (like compound interest) more and more production each year. The alternative is to consume your income – spend it on consumer's goods like food, video games, lipstick, cars, etc.

People do a mix of savings/investment and consumption. the proportion of the mix determines how good the future is. A high rate of capital accumulation quickly leads to a much richer world which is able to support far more consumption than before while still maintaining a high rate of investment (the pie gets larger. Instead of consuming 80% of the original pie, one could soon be consuming 20% of a much larger pie which is also growing much faster, and that 20% of the larger pie will be more than 80% of the smaller pie.)

For more info on the economics of this, see the diagrams on pages 624 and 625 of George Reisman's book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics and read some of the surrounding text.

The situation with your intellectual labor parallels the situation with laboring at a job for an income. Your intellectual labor is productive and this production can be directed in different ways – towards consumption, towards increasing the productivity of intellectual labor, or a mix. The more the mix favors increasing the productivity of your intellectual labor, the brighter your future.

Consumption in this case refers to things where you aren't investing in yourself and your education – where you aren't learning more and otherwise becoming more able to produce more in the future. For example, you might put a great deal of effort into writing a book which you hope will impress people, which you are just barely capable of writing. It takes a ton of intellectual labor while being only a little bit educational for you. Most of your intellectual labor is consumed and the result is the book. If you had foregone the book in the short term and invested more in increasing your productivity of intellectual labor, you could have written it at a later date while consuming a much smaller proportion of your intellectual output. This is because you'd be outputting more and even more so because your output would be more efficient – you'd be able to get more done per hour of intellectual labor (one of the biggest factors here would be making fewer mistakes, so you'd spend less labor redoing things). A good question to ask is whether you produced an intellectual work in order to practice or if instead you put a lot of work into polishing it so other people would like it more (that polishing is an inefficient way to learn). It's sad when people who don't know much put tons of effort into polishing what little they do know instead of learning more – and this is my description of pretty much everyone. (If you think you already know so much that you're largely done with further educating yourself, or at least ready to make education secondary, please contact me. I expect to be able to point out that you're mistaken, especially if you're under 50 years old.)

Consumption (rather than investment), in the realm of intellectual labor, primarily relates to going out of your way to try to accomplish things, to do things – like persuading people or creating finished works. It is possible to learn by doing, but it's also possible not to learn much by doing. If you're doing for the sake of learning, great. If you're doing for the sake of an accomplishment, that is expensive, especially if you're young, and you may be dramatically underestimating the expense while also fooling yourself about how educational it is (because you do learn something, but much less than you could have learned if you instead studied e.g. George Reisman's Program of Self-Education in the Economic Theory and Political Philosophy of Capitalism or my Fallible Ideas recommended reading list.)

Broadly, I see many people try to produce important intellectual works when they don't know much. They spend a lot of intellectual labor and produce material which is bad. They would have been far better served by learning more now, and producing more output (like essays) later on when they are able to make valuable intellectual products with a considerably lesser effort. This explains the theme I've stated elsewhere and put in the title of this piece: you should intellectually do (consume) when it's relatively easy and cheap, but be very wary of expensive intellectual projects which take tons of resources away from making intellectual progress.

Some people doubt the possibility of an accumulation of intellectual capital or its equivalent. They don't think they can increase the productivity of their intellectual labor substantially. These same people, by and large, haven't learned speed reading (or speed watching or speed listening). Nor have they fully learned the ideas of great intellectuals like Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. Equipped with these great ideas, they'd avoid going down intellectual dead ends, and otherwise create high quality outputs from their intellectual labor. Even if the process of increasing the productivity of one's intellectual labor runs into limits which result in diminishing returns at some point, that is no excuse for stopping such educational self-investment long before reaching any such limits.

In the long run, the ongoing increase in the productivity of one's intellectual labor requires the ongoing creation of new and improved intellectual tools and methods, and supporting technologies. It requires ongoing philosophical progress. I believe philosophical progress can be unbounded if we work at it (without diminishing returns), but regardless of the far future there is massive scope for productive educational self-investment today. Unless you've exhausted what's already known about philosophy – that is, you are at the forefront of the field – and also spent some time unsuccessfully attempting to pioneer new philosophy ... then you have no excuse to stop investing in increasing the productivity of your intellectual labor (primarily with better and better methods of thinking – philosophy – but also with other things like learning to read faster). Further, until you know what is already known about philosophy, you are in no position to judge the far future of philosophical progress and its potential or lack of potential.

Note: the biggest determinants of the productivity of your intellectual labor are your rate of errors and your ability to find and correct errors. Doing activities where your error rate is below your error correction capacity is much more efficient and successful. You can increase your error correction effectiveness by devoting an unusually large amount of resources to it, but there are diminishing returns on that, so it's typically an inefficient (resource expensive) shortcut to doing a slightly more difficulty project slightly sooner.


The article is itself an example of what I can write in a few minutes without editing or difficulty. It's the fruits of my previous investment in better writing ability in order to increase the productivity of my intellectual labor. I aim primarily to get better at writing this way (cheaply and efficiently), rather than wishing to put massive polishing effort into a few works.


Update (2018-05-18):

What I say in this post is, to some extent, well known common sense. People get an education first and do stuff like a career second. Maybe they aren't life-long learners, but they have the general idea right (learn how to think/do/problem-solve/etc first, do stuff second after you're able to do it well and efficiently).

What goes wrong then? Parenting and schooling offer a bad, ineffective education. This discourages further education (the painfulness and uselessness of their education is the biggest thing preventing life-long learners). And it routinely puts people in a bad situation: trying to do things which they have been educated to be able to do well, but in fact cannot do well. The solution is not to give up on education, but to figure out how to pursue education effectively. A reasonable place to start would be the books of humanity's best thinkers since the start of western civilization. Some people have been intellectually successful and effective (as you can see from the existence of iPhones); you could look into what they did, how they thought, etc.

FI involves ideas that are actually good and effective, as against rivals offering similar overall stuff (rational ideas) but which are incorrect. FI faces the following major challenges: 1) people are so badly educated they screw up when trying to learn FI ideas 2) people are so badly educated they don't know how to evaluate if FI is working, how it compares to rivals, the state of debate between FI ideas and alternative ideas, etc.


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I Liked Edward Thorp's Book: A Man for All Markets

Comments on A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market, by Edward Thorp. Bold formatting is added by me.

The professor, the son of a famous physicist, was himself a mediocrity. Because he was insecure and afraid of questions from the class, he copied his lectures from a stack of note cards onto the board, turning his back to the class to discourage interaction. Then we recopied them into our notebooks. He had been doing this for years, and the content seldom changed. This seemed stupid to me. Why not just hand out copies so we could read them in advance and come to class with intelligent questions? Of course, he was afraid someone might ask him a question he couldn’t answer.

...

By the time I met with the professor in his office to apologize [for criticizing his bad teaching], I realized I had behaved stupidly and rudely, and told him truthfully that what I did was improper and I regretted my actions. But there was still the more serious matter of what I had said about his teaching. I had damaged his self-esteem. He would never forgive this unless he felt I retracted what I had said. My own values and sense of self-worth made me unwilling to grovel and tell lies, despite the personal stakes. I had to find another way. I explained that I had come to realize that his teaching methods were unique and that students, though they may not always appreciate it, rarely encounter a professor of his caliber. What I said was true but allowed more than one interpretation. He picked the one I expected him to choose. He was beaming when I left, my career was saved, and I would become a better-behaved and somewhat more mature person.

Misleading people while making technically true statements is a silly game. I don't think it's honest.

Dominique Francon does something similar in her columns praising Howard Roark in The Fountainhead (the public reads them negatively).

While I was at UCLA, my PhD thesis adviser, Angus Taylor, suggested that I send some of my mathematical work to a well-known California mathematician for his comments. I got no response. But eleven months later at a Southern California meeting of the American Mathematical Society, Taylor and I heard the great man talk. The subject was my discovery, in detail, presented as part of his original work, and it was also about to appear under his name in print, in a well-known mathematical journal. Both of us were stunned. Taylor, who would later become academic vice president of the entire University of California system, was an ethical and experienced mathematician to whom I looked for guidance, but he didn’t know what to do. So neither of us did anything.

Academia is full of frauds.

When the screening committee received my abstract, their near-unanimous reaction was to reject it. I learned this later from John Selfridge, a number theorist whom I had known at UCLA and a member of the committee. For a while, he held the world’s record for finding the largest known prime number. (A prime is a positive whole number divisible only by itself and one. The first few are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13…) Fortunately, Selfridge persuaded them that I was a legitimate mathematician and that if I said it was true, it likely was.

Why would the committee reject my talk? Professional mathematicians regularly receive claims that the sender has solved some famous problem, claims that almost always turn out to be from cranks, from the mathematically uneducated unaware of what’s already been done, or that include proofs containing simple errors....

... obviously, if the casinos could be beaten they would either change the rules of the game or go out of business. No wonder the committee was inclined to reject my abstract. Ironically, their reason for doing so—that mathematicians had apparently proven that winning gambling systems were impossible—was my strongest motivation for showing it could be done.

The academic screening committee was full of frauds. They didn't review the ideas, they just assumed there were simple errors. And they never changed their mind about judging math by reputation, they just changed their judgement of Thorp's reputation after Selfridge vouched for Thorp.

This trip taught me that while playing well, even with experts to warn me of dirty dealing, I could no longer openly win a significant amount. On future visits, I would need to change my appearance, be low-key, and generally avoid drawing attention to myself. Mickey MacDougall told the gaming control board that he saw more cheating in Nevada casinos while watching my eight days of play than he had seen in all his previous five years of working for the board. After his damning report he was never again asked to consult by them.

The Nevada gaming control board was full of fraud (in 1962). They turned a blind idea to casinos defrauding customers with methods like using dealers who cheat when shuffling and dealing. In one case in the book, the cheating dealer made a mistake with her physical dexterity and accidentally made it plainly visible that she was dealing the second card from the top to Thorp. An agent supposed to police cheating casinos was present, but pretended not to notice.

Karl Pearson (1857–1936) discovered that the roulette numbers being reported daily in a French newspaper showed exploitable patterns. The mystery was resolved when it was discovered that rather than spend hours watching the wheels, the people recording the numbers simply made them up at the end of each day. The statistical patterns Pearson detected simply reflected the failure of the reporters to invent perfectly random numbers.

Some newspaper employees committed fraud too.

In fifty-five and a half years of marriage I don’t ever remember her [Thorp's wife, Vivian] bragging. The closest she came was when I would admire the way she matched the hues of her outfits or furnished our household with a designer’s eye. She would look at me and matter-of-factly explain, “I have a good eye for color.”

It's common that women believe they're good at that, but aren't. It takes skill, but people who have done nothing to develop any serious expertise often think they're good at it. Maybe Vivian is a rare exception (or read books and took classes, which Thorp didn't mention). But I doubt it. I think she's bragging because it's culturally acceptable for women to think they're good at this without seeming arrogant (and this cultural situation, not actual skill, is the key factor). Thorp himself seems to be pleased that his wife wasn't arrogant in general – and also be OK with her bragging about this (which he refuses to even say is bragging, he says it only came close to bragging).

the Math Department [at the University of California at Irvine] was headed for serious trouble. Both the levels of grant money for research and funds from the state of California to support the university had declined. This led to fierce struggles among various factions in the department for what was left. To mediate the infighting, an outsider was brought in as a chairman. He was forced out after three turbulent years. For want of anyone else who might be acceptable to the warring groups, and against my better judgment, I was persuaded by the administration to act as temporary chairman.

The assignment was worse than I thought. I found that one assistant professor had stopped showing up to teach, dividing his time between his girlfriend four hundred miles to the north in the San Francisco Bay Area and the casinos in Reno and Lake Tahoe. A card counter, he even called me with blackjack questions! Another assistant professor was running up departmental phone bills of $2,000 per month versus a total of $200 for the other twenty-five professors combined. When I confronted him he claimed it was mathematical research. A review of the bills showed almost all the charges were for calls to two numbers in New York City. I dialed each, speaking in turn to his mother and to a store that sold musical recordings. He was enraged at me and not at all embarrassed when exposed.

Meanwhile, a full professor had stolen the confidential employment records of another full professor from the department files. When I discovered this and confronted him, he refused to return it. It turned out that the file contained a very nasty letter that he had written about his enemy. He feared that if I, as chairman, learned what he had done, I would expose him. When I asked the administration to initiate disciplinary action against these incorrigibles, they declined to act. I was stunned and stymied.

One problem in large bureaucracies is that many of the members decide it is better not to cross people, instead of standing on principle. I asked a good friend, whom I had helped to get an appointment in our department, to become my vice chairman and help me. Although he was now a full professor with tenure, he declined, saying, “I have to live in the same cage with these monkeys.” I did understand his point. On the other hand, I was not confined to the cage. I had PNP [Thorp's hedge fund]. I thought, Why try to fix this if no one will even back me up? I was in the Math Department by choice, not by necessity. It was time to move on.

This is a good indication of how bad academia is.

To my astonishment, I found that XYZ Corp was offering to sell me options at less than half my expected payoff! After I collected financial statements from my friendly salesman and examined them, I discovered that when XYZ Corp sold an option it counted the proceeds as income, but did not set aside any reserve to pay off the options if and when they were cashed in by the buyer. Since the correct reserves on each option they sold should have been more than twice what they were being paid, proper accounting would show their net worth becoming more negative every time they sold another option.

It was clear that they had to sell more and more options, using the increasing cash flow to pay off any early “investors” who might cash in. Classic Ponzi, and bound to end badly. What to do?

I decided on a little educational experiment. After reviewing the scanty information available on sales, options outstanding, and early redemption rates, I estimated the company would survive for at least eight more months. It turned out to be ten. Buying $4,000 worth of six-month options, I doubled my money in four months and cashed out. A few months later the offices were shuttered, the operators gone, and another fraud investigation was under way.

This time, Thorp profited from a fraud.

I figured out a solution. I called our head trader, who as a minor general partner was highly compensated from his share of our fees, and gave him this order: Buy $5 million worth of index futures at whatever the current market price happened to be (about 190), and place orders to sell short at the market, with the index then trading at about 220, not $5 million worth of assorted stocks—which was the optimal amount to best hedge the futures—but $10 million. I chose twice as much stock as I wanted, guessing only about half would actually be shorted because of the scarcity of the required upticks, thus giving me the proper hedge. If substantially more or less stock was sold short, the hedge would not be as good but the 15 percent profit cushion gave us a wide band of protection against loss.

I went through a detailed explanation of my outside-the-box analysis of why this trade was a windfall opportunity. But this day was beyond anything our trader had ever seen or imagined. Gripped by fear, he seemed frozen. He refused to execute the trades. I told him to do it for PNP and do it now, or else I wanted him to do it for my account. If that was his choice, I told him I would later tell all the other partners how the profit I made would have, but for him, belonged to the partnership rather than to me.

Here was my reasoning. If, because of the uptick rule, only about half the shorts got off, then we would be properly hedged and make about $750,000. If none got off (extremely improbable), we were buying the futures at an enormous discount—the index itself would have to fall more than another 13 percent before we began to lose. At the other extreme, especially in a market panic, there was virtually no chance all the shorts would go off. Even if all the orders to sell short were completed, the market would have to rise more than 14 percent for us to lose money. To protect against this possibility, I told my head trader that when we filled close to half the short-sale orders, he should cancel the rest. After he finally complied with my request and completed the first round, I ordered a second round of the same size. In the end we did get roughly half our shorts off for a near-optimal hedge. We had about $9 million worth of futures long and $10 million worth of stock short, locking in $1 million profit. If my trader hadn’t wasted so much of the market day refusing to act, we could have done several more rounds and reaped additional millions.

Thorp's hedge fund lost millions of dollars because their stock trader didn't do his job. It's interesting to me how much dealing with people played a role here. Thorp couldn't just decide what to buy and sell, he had to persuade someone to do it (by threats, because explaining why it was profitable didn't work), even though the trader would not be affected by the outcomes of the trades and it was his job to make the trades Thorp chose.

I also found it interesting how little control Thorp had over what he bought. He ordered twice what he wanted figuring it wouldn't all happen. Why not just tell the trader to keep going until he gets to the amount Thorp actually wants?


See also my previous post on the book, School Mistreated Edward Thorp.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Philosophy Discussion

internetrules:

I remember in one one your blog posts you said your the best philosopher in the world, Which would then mean you are also like the smartest person in the world right?

curi:

depends what you mean by “smart”.

internetrules:

I’m not sure what I meant either, but right now I will define it as: ability to learn/think about things good. I think that’s a ok definition?

curi:

ok, i think i’m the best adult at that.

internetrules:

So do you think there are probably better children and/or old people than you at thinking?

curi:

old counts as adult

it’s really hard to compare to a 2 year old. idk

little kids learn lots of stuff, often with really crappy help. some of them are exceptional and there are a lot of ppl in the world.

i have surveyed things like books, blogs and academia to look for good ppl.

this finds adults but not young kids

internetrules:

And so would they be better at thinking cuz they don’t have any anti productive memes you may still have?

curi:

something like that. some of them aren’t broken yet so they can compete with me at being good at learning even though they don’t have some specific skills and knowledge i have.

ppl do so much to destroy kids. it takes a lot of work

u can’t really compare directly to little kids, they are a different thing

i’m smart but a better way to think of it is honest and reasonable. other adults don’t have that, but some would be called smart. ppl think they are honest but they aren’t being honest about that.

internetrules:

Do you think that destroying kids minds is a more recent trend? (The last 400ish years or so) or a little longer like a few thousand years, or since the beginning of humanity?

curi:

since the beginning of humanity

it’s gotten a little better, not worse.

it’s gotten worse in some noticeable ways but overall it’s better

like modern school stuff is really bad

but overall ppl are less harsh with kids, less controlling, less punishing. they hit kids less, scare kids less.

care more about being nice

feel bad or guilty when they are cruel to kids

the reason they don’t want to be mean to their kids is b/c it’s incompatible with other improvements in the world. they are nicer overall to everyone, think fighting and violence are bad in general, etc. these positive trends apply to kids less. ppl make exceptions and excuses when it comes to kids. but it still applies to kids some.

internetrules:

How much were you destroyed as a kid?

curi:

50% as much as normal? 1%? idk. who knows. i tuned school out a lot. i didn’t do social conformity or reject logic or accept vague stuff and being confused as if it were answers

tons of kids are curious but it gets destroyed. i stayed curious lots. but it could be lots more IMO

ppl make exceptions to logic and start rationalizing it and being biased in convenient ways (like to be more acceptable to their peers) and it destroys them. i didn’t do that.

u just have to blind yourself to one truth, choose to believe what’s easier to get along with others instead of trying to understand, and you are on a really bad path

basically everyone does that.

internetrules:

I do that a lot of times when people ask me if they want to play games with me

curi:

it escalates. if u won’t think honestly and rationally and truth-seeking about one thing, then u have to also avoid thinking about related stuff or you will run into contradictions

internetrules:

I try to be socially normal and kinda try to indirectly turn them down or just play a bit with them

curi:

it spreads to all your thinking as you find out how all types of ideas are related to each other

internetrules:

Then not play for a week

curi:

like if u do that kinda social stuff, u have to not learn about society’s social dynamics in order to find that acceptable instead of hating it.

and to avoid learning that stuff, u have to be uncurious or bad at learning. u have to avoid looking at material with explanations, or be able to misunderstand it accept dumb excuses for why u think it’s wrong.

internetrules:

It’s really dishonest and mean of me to be like that way right?

curi:

it’s dishonest. idk about “really” – there are lots of more dishonest things ppl do. it’s not particularly mean, it’s normal and expected and it’s not like punching someone or insulting them just to try to hurt their feelings. it’s possible to come up with a perspective where u can see it as mean some.

u aren’t doing it for the purpose of hurting them.

the main way to be mean is if u do something with the actual goal of making someone feel bad or hurting them.

it counts if you have that goal but you rationalize it and pretend you don’t.

but what you are talking about, you actually have a different goal. you’re avoiding conflict.

you’re trying to avoid bad reactions from them

and not deal with it

i think

internetrules:

Yes

curi:

that’s really common. my best friend growing up did that a ton.

internetrules:

Did you realize it or confront them about it?

curi:

he had a kid around a year ago so now he won’t speak to me b/c he doesn’t want to be reminded of TCS stuff and how he’s hurting his kid all the time.

he knew some of that stuff but now he has to try to forget it

and be dishonest about it

cuz his wife isn’t TCS and his kid isn’t going to be raised that way

it doesn’t even matter if i talk about it or not

if he talks to me he can guess what i would think b/c he knows enough about TCS to know my opinions

he didn’t want to change and have conflicts with ppl like i do

internetrules:

And then it would be ultra socially un acceptable to say mb they shouldn’t have married that person, right?

curi:

he decided to have normal friends and wife.

he married her on purpose.

he knew what he was doing, though i doubt he knows it anymore. i think he must have put it out of his mind.

he really wanted a girlfriend and stuff.

he put up with lots of sacrifices

she doesn’t like video games

he used to play them a ton. he cut it way down for her.

he quit college. he went back and got a useless degree b/c she thinks college is good.

internetrules:

Sounds like she might impose screen time limits on the kid, that would suck

curi:

probably will … after not providing kid with a screen at all for years.

kids should have ipads by 6 months old, but i bet this kid doesn’t get one until … god who knows. could be age 7. could even be worse.

internetrules:

It would be best to get a kid like an iPad ASAP right? So they can learn and play with tech and be good with it immediately?

curi:

yes and also forget learning tech, ipads are useful.

u can watch youtube and use kid apps that are fun or educational

there are tons of them. there are flaws but it’s still pretty good compared to regular physical toys. should have both.

screen time would have ruined my life

i grew up b4 that was so common. no parental controls on computer.

had computer and internet stuff early when they were newer and lots of ppl didn’t have yet

b4 smartphones

internetrules:

People use age as an excuse to get out of arguments a lot

They will say something like “oh your just young your young mind will grow up and realize you were wrong “

curi:

they also try to use whether u have kids if u every say stuff about parenting

they are like “u only think that cuz u don’t have kids”

they also assume u don’t have kids if u believe stuff they disagree with

it’s all just dishonesty

internetrules:

Why do people want girlfriends and boyfriends so much?

curi:

it’s one of the biggest pressures in our culture

they are raised to want that. they see it everywhere.

internetrules:

I wonder how that hasn’t effected me then

curi:

my guess would be it probably has.

internetrules:

Cuz like I really don’t care about getting a partner

curi:

maybe u will care in 5 yeras

if u don’t learn philosophy

internetrules:

So I assume philosophy is a thing where it’s always better to learn it sooner than later?

curi:

usually it’s a thing where you learn it sooner or never

it also makes you more efficient at life, so the sooner the better

like learning to type fast instead of slow is good to learn sooner so u don’t waste lots of time typing slow. but philosophy is about thinking and making good decisions.

lack of that means making mistakes, being wrong … that costs more than time.

lots of what ppl do is counter productive and destructive, not just ineffective

waiting does not make learning philosophy easier. there is basically never a better more convenient time later. it just gets harder and worse as u make excuses and put it off

if u won’t do it now, why would later be better? pretty much it’s not

have u read any Paths Forward stuff?

internetrules:

Yeah that’s what I was thinking about but I feel like it’s putting me off of learning it cuz I’m like “if I think it’s better to learn it now rather than later, and I’m not learning it now, doesn’t that mean I just won’t ever learn it”

I’m not sure

I rad at least one blog post on it

curi:

http://fallibleideas.com/paths-forward

internetrules:

But I think it was a short kinda summary on it?

curi:

http://curi.us/2100-sample-paths-forward-dialog

there’s other links at the bottom of the first one

i think this is the best way to explain what’s wrong with the world intellectually

“intellectuals” – like professors and authors – have wrong ideas and there’s no way to correct them

they won’t answer critical arguments

they just lie about it and say they are intellectually honest, value feedback, etc

but none of them do.

internetrules:

Also, would it be fine to read a book without making comments on it the first time I read it, and then re-read it and make comments? I feel like I would put on an audio book from the FI reccomended reading list if I didn’t feel like I had to mention when there’s something in the book I disagree with, and I’m pretty sure I would be fine re-reading it

Disagree with/ am not sure about

curi:

you could do that. i think it’d be better to take some notes as u go, save the parts u have thots about

but better to try reading than do nothing

internetrules:

If it was just disagreements then I think I would be very fine just writing those down as I encounter them actually

It seems fun talking about disagreements I have with books now that I think about it

curi:

u can get text copies of books and copy/paste parts u have comments on

about best philosopher: most ppl flame me for saying that. i ask who is better or even close. i’ve never gotten a name out of anyone.

also i specified living

internetrules:

I want to put them in voice dream reader

curi:

yeah i like that. then u can highlight the text in it to save parts

it connects text to audio

i’m not trying to compare to Socrates (totally different intellectual situation) or Ayn Rand.

internetrules:

Yeah it seems like a big claim to me as well but if someone’s going to be really smart then it has to be in philosophy cuz it’s the one that covers everything

curi:

yeah and i just said best philosopher anyway. i said the field.

i didn’t say best thinker. but if u agree philosophy deals with methods of thinking then it’s kinda implied.

there is no one who can win arguments with me, out-discuss me.

i passed David Deutsch by a lot

i went around to all the online forums

they are so bad

the other intellectuals don’t even want a forum or gave up on trying to make one or something

they refuse to debate and deal with FI arguments

internetrules:

What happened to David deutsch? I see you saying some negative stuff about him in Horowitz and your blog sometimes, did he stop caring as much about making the world better or something?

curi:

they deal with the social world instead. so they are frauds. they just impress their peers, network with fancy ppl, put on a show to look smart, etc

it’s just standard career advancement stuff, making friends, building a reputation and being popular, etc, and they just do that in philosophy or something.

instead of actually thinking

u suck up to the ppl in charge of publishing stuff and get published and then say ur better than ppl cuz ur published in a fancier journal

DD stopped having philosophy discussions and started trying to suck up to ppl with fans and reputations.

to play the normal game. he’s not very good at it. it’s not his thing.

he started being more left wing so they’d like him better, too.

and stopped saying much TCS stuff.

or anti-marriage stuff

or other things he thinks are true that ppl don’t like

he’s trying to fit in more cuz ppl wouldn’t listen to him

but if u set aside ur ideas to get ppl to like u more … u get them to listen by saying what they already want to hear … wtf is the point?

(and he’s not being very successful anyway. it’s very competitive to be a fraud intellectual who tries to be popular and doesn’t have serious critical discussions. he gave up his advantages of being smarter and having good ideas.)

lots of his competition devote their whole lives to the social contest and DD started late.

ppl normally won’t even have conversations like this with me b/c they are avoiding thinking about certain things

internetrules:

Why does culture value children’s lives more than adults but also treats them worse?

That definitely seems like a question I could ask on FI or read something someone else posted on FIA

curi:

our culture is inconsistent on a million things

internetrules:

i am satisfied with that answer. And think I already know why our culture is inconsistent (irrational memes)

curi:

being consistent takes work. u have to do it on purpose, put in effort. the default is just something comes up and u believe X and then something else comes up and u believe Y for that and u don’t compare or connect them


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Overwatch Learning Discussion

internetrules:

We swapped off of zarya to Orissa even tho zarya had 75% ult charge on oasis 3rd point we also had nuke, blade, and barrage

We then lost the game

We managed to take first point with no main tank tho

And our reaper on first point convinced people to do dva zarya with no main tank.

Had a leaver in numbani right after we capped all 3 points with 4 min left, the enemy team managed to cap all 3 points but i JUST managed to get them into overtime so they couldn’t do another offence

curi:

how do u like mercy in solo queue?

internetrules:

We then capped first point numbani in 3 minutes, a lot of people were switching hero’s a lot so I was worried we weren’t gonna have ult

Haven’t done mercy yet

curi:

you keep switching!

internetrules:

Yes

How important is it to just play 1 character a bunch in a row?

curi:

it’s easier to make decisions if you have goals like to try mercy and see if you like her or not

then try some brig to compare

duo queue is not representative so u need to try them solo queue too

it’s also much better to learn a character initially if you play 80% or more that hero for 10-25 hrs

so you really get a solid idea of how to play them which you can remember

like that is what i had to do to get used to sombra’s gameplay stuff

it’s how i initially learned widow, tracer and ana too. i played mostly the one hero for a while.

once you know them better, it’s easier to swap around.

some heroes are easier to pick up than others, especially if they have similarities to heroes you already know, or you know a ton about the game. i’ve watched winston streams and played over 40 hours of dva, and understand a lot about the game, so i’ve been picking up winston easier/faster.

he’s also low mechanics and reasonably simple abilities

i picked up moira and orisa super fast cuz they fit stuff i already understood. but based on trying a few games, i’m trash at rein, hanzo and hog. those heroes don’t fit my existing knowledge that well.

my genji is trash too. i’ve watched lots of genji so that might be mostly mechanics

i’m good at supports. their style fits my pre-OW knowledge the best and i played ~125 hours of ana in comp.

you are bad at supports, so you can’t pick up mercy easily.

you understand tanks more. i think your rein knowleddge helped your winston a lot for knowing when you can jump in which is similar to when rein can charge in

so your winston was already doing half the things well very quickly (but you still don’t know some other winston stuff)

your orisa is more questionable b/c she’s more of a different style

u need to understand ranged positioning stuff for her, which actually makes her fit my skills more than yours in a way

make sense?

note: for the maps where rein is really bad (like sanctum and well), monkey is totally fine in terms of map layout. monkey handles the environmental kills stuff and highgrounds fine (2 rein weaknesses). monkey isn’t bad there like rein. orisa is only rly important if u wanna play spam wars (like how ppl usually play junkertown). it’s hard to play monkey vs orisa with low SR teams that pick random heroes and don’t coordinate a dive very well, especially on the really good orisa maps like junkertown. it can be done though. rein vs. orisa if u play long range spam is just super frustrating/stupid (ur way worse than her) tho. if u get rein vs orisa u have to play a corner and then go in hard like monkey, rather than do poke war.

for my heroes, tracer/sombra and widow/ana have good overlap (some similar aim stuff, like i was killing that pharah with my ana on sanctum b/c of my recent widow practice, even tho i didn’t practice ana, some positioning similiarity, and recall/translocate buttons are kinda similar to GTFO), and it gives me the ability to do long range or short range gameplay to fit the situation. winston/dva also have significant similarity (both being mobility tanks who can jump in/out on similar cd, can dive ppl and context highgrounds). my other hero, brig, is easy mechanics and i found her easy to play and so far i like her more than the other healers or offtanks and she’s really useful in terms of flexibility to make team comps work (cuz she can be 2nd or 3rd support, 2nd or 3rd tank).

i find sniping and mobility fun, and they also let you do stuff with limited teamwork so you aren’t bored and waiting for your team to stop feeding.

e.g. if team is stuck at choke, widow can still play the game some (it’s harder to snipe anyone if ur team doesn’t do anything, but u can still play). tracer and sombra can go in back and play by themselves.

those are the dps. dps have a high bar for how fun they have to be b/c dps are too popular. so if i’m gonna be dps, it has to be AWESOME or it’s not worth trying to get a dps slot.

my non-dps have less ability to do things by themselves but still some. the tanks can go in and out, can dive someone for a solo kill sometimes. ana can do some sniping, or just practice aim while healing your own team.

brig has things i don’t like: low range + low mobility. she can’t flank much (no mobility to get out). so in spam wars u r helpless and waiting. but i’m liking her ok so far and finding her ez+useful. i like that she can play mini reinhardt after ur maintank feeds – i find teams often need more tanking. she can save ppl some (her E is kinda like a zarya bubble mid combat, but it also heals them if they get out of being short, and u don’t have to worry about coordinating ppl actually taking dmg on purpose to charge u.) she has some self-healing. u can save ur team from flankers. i find it interesting with her to figure out how aggro i can play, like running up and whacking enemy tanks and getting away with it.

it’s kinda like reaper where what i found fun about him was figuring out when i can walk my slow ass character into the fight without everyone shooting and killing me.

but with the benefit of not being a dps slot.

i wouldn’t wanna play that all the time tho

brig and ana also have good ability to 1v1 ppl who flank u

unlike mercy

mercy just flies away, kinda helpless on her own. which is ok but a bit team reliant for me.

i like heros with the ability to outplay ppl

sniping and mobility both offer that. u outplay with snipers by getting a good sightline they didn’t expect (or a basic one if they are bad)

u outplay with mobility by showing up at places they don’t expect, chasing htem down when they thought they could get away, finding the best place to be and being able to get there to be rly effective, dodging stuff, etc

other heroes have some ways to outplay ppl but that’s how i see it. in general mobility enhances the ways u can outplay, e.g. by reducing the risk of flanking, opening up more of the map u can go to without dying

or like u can beat someone in a 1v1 to a healthpack with any hero. that outplay is available to everyone but it’s more available to mobility heroes.

the less mobility u have, the more u need to stay with ur team so u dont get caught far away and can’t get back

why aren’t you talking?

staying with team limits your options on what u can do in the game. makes u somewhat at the mercy of what they do, just following them around.

so u can see a good opportunity but u can’t take advantage of it cuz u have to play with team.

or u can see a danger, like a reaper who is gonna jump down and blossom everyone, but on some heroes u can’t fix that problem by yourself, all u can do is talk on voice and hope ppl listen

mercy for example can’t do much about a reaper ambush even if she sees it coming. all she can do is fly away personally (but if 3 other ppl die, it doesn’t even rly matter whether u died or not) and call it out

ana can sleep it. that’s big play potential where u aren’t helpless. brig can stun reaper ult, it’s actually sad how easy it is (sleep is great but hard, high skill). brig u just put up ur shield and u aren’t taking dmg from blossom and then u stun him and just lol. ur shield is 600 hp, it takes the entire 3 seconds of blossom to do 600 dmg.

internetrules:

I got called a “fucking retard who shouldn’t play comp” cuz I asked for a main tank

And cuz I essentially in voice chat

curi:

TT

internetrules:

Wasn’t*

I then told him that people like him were why I don’t join voice chat

But then I joined voice chat and fake apologized to him and then he was really calm and chill

And thankfull at the end of the match

curi:

i don’t like manipulating assholes and i don’t want to develop those skills

internetrules:

Why?

curi:

b/c it makes u part of that world and those bad ways of living and thinking about life

internetrules:

I have not really done/thought about it befor

How so?

curi:

cuz ur trying to understand their mindset and have it be intuitive to you

and ur interacting with it, trying to figure out what ideas will make sense to him, get different reactions from him

internetrules:

It seems useful if someone’s being mean to you to calm them down and be able to talk to them

curi:

ur letting him define reality and ur reacting to that and living in his world and trying to make that work

if someone makes u jump thru 50 hoops to calm them down, it’s bad to learn how to jump thru those hoops and do it, better to just ignore them.

you aren’t seeing all the hoops b/c they are normal in our culture, on TV, etc, but they are still there.

internetrules:

I only noticed the 1 hoop of fake apologizing

curi:

ppl are very picky about what calms them down and what gets them to flame you more

internetrules:

So it would be very different for different people?

curi:

they are picky about the words you say, the tone, how quickly you respond, body language and facial expressions irl, and whether everything you say before and after fits with the statement (if they detect any kinda inconsistency and catch u being fake in some way, things can go really bad)

it varies somewhat by person and the results can be a bit random (sometimes they are having a bad day and just want to yell at someone). but also there’s just lots of stuff that’s standard hoops

internetrules:

What’s wrong with letting them define reality? And living in their world trying to make it work?

curi:

their reality sux, it’s a world of misery, and also don’t u want ur own life with ur own ideas? why let them be in charge and adapt yourself to them? be ur own person.

this asshole held your game hostage. he said basically: he will be toxic and cause a loss unless you put on a show of pretending you were the problem (you apologized to him). he said he wasn’t willing to play and try seriously unless you obeyed some orders from him about making certain statements that publicly announce he’s better than you and higher social status than you. this is all very nasty and aggressive.

(the good news is they are frequently bluffing, and if u ignore them they just play somewhat badly instead of throwing on purpose.)

internetrules:

Can’t I be my own person while pretending they are right?

curi:

realistically, no.

it’s hard enough to be your own person if that’s all you do. it’s much, much harder if you have a dual life.

ppl mostly FAIL at being their own person. u have to take it seriously and really try or you will fail at it too

can’t just make compromises and half-assed effort and expect it to work out anyway

internetrules:

And so being your own person means thinking for your self? Instead of just being like “Elliot said X so I’m not gonna think about X and just agree with what Elliot said”

curi:

btw the books which explain these things are called Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, both by Ayn Rand. but to understand them you have to think a lot about what you read and discuss it (realistically that means FI posts).

internetrules:

I feel like I agree with you and [someone's name] a lot without thinking about stuff on my own, or asking questions about stuff I’m not sure about

curi:

yes, thinking for yourself, making our own decisions, living according to your own ideas (e.g. that you didn’t do anything wrong in that OW game)

if society thinks u are wrong to do X, but u think ur right … it’s much harder if ur also lying to everyone that u agree with them that X is bad.

u gotta stand up for your values and make them a visible part of your life or they will not be much of your life.

this is easier for the ones society agrees with and harder for the unpopular ones

I feel like I agree with you and [someone's name] a lot without thinking about stuff on my own, or asking questions about stuff I’m not sure about

i know u don’t do enough to learn it yourself

the way to judge competing ideas is to

  • figure out what the alternative ideas are

  • figure out what the issue is (what are the ideas for)

  • get all the ideas clear, so u know what they say

  • criticize them, look for problems

in other words, judge ideas by how they do in argument. the ones that lose the argument are wrong. (why? cuz of the reasons the arguments said about why they are wrong. what’s wrong with them gets explained in the argument.)

doing all this thinking takes time/effort/etc. it can be fun.

internetrules:

I’m kinda tired right now so I’m finding it harder to think about these things, but I feel like I might be using that as an excuse to not think about them

curi:

did you sleep?

internetrules:

But I am actually tired I’ve been awake for like 20 hours or more

curi:

you can maybe tell if it was an excuse by whether you continue the discussion later

did u read msgs about overwatch heroes?

that is an easier topic

internetrules:

Which ones about hero’s? The one about which ones we play the most or a different one? An is it in this chat?

curi:

i wrote like 30 messages in chat and you didn’t respond

and i asked why you didn’t respond and you didn’t respond

right before the stuff about that toxic guy

internetrules:

Oh I did not read all of those messages but I thought I did

curi:

why did you think you did?

internetrules:

I think it made sense but Im not sure about how the playing 1 character a lot in a row is more helpful than playing 2 different kinds of characters an equal amount

curi:

b/c u get in the mindset of the one character

and remember things and build on it

u can think “i did X wrong. next game i will try to fix that”

if ur swapping all the time u have way more things to think about, so it’s way harder to learn. the other heroes are distractions

internetrules:

It makes sense to me that playing 1 character in a row a lot would better but I don’t know exactly why it makes sense

Ok those follow up messages make me realize why it makes sense

curi:

and when u get used to a hero enuf

u can do advanced stuff

u have to get the basics really solid – so u can do them without thinking much – and then u can refine some details and add extra stuff

if u play a hero enuf to get the basics good, it’s easier to go back to them later and still do fine. but when ur first learning the basics it’s hard to switch, it disrupts the process of creating habits

if ur trying to improve with a hero that u already know – add some new things to ur gameplay – then it also helps to play them a bunch in a row

but the amount of games can be shorter

like to first learn a hero to get the foundation, maybe u need 30 hours. but to add one little thing later, maybe you just play them for 12 games in a row (~3 hrs).

it’s easier to learn heroes u can pick every game

rather than the situational ones

i talked about why i like particular heroes and think they’re fun and stuff

do you have any thoughts about that or any ideas about why you like heroes?

internetrules:

A reason I like genji is cuz blade is fun and I have to be very careful about who I dive, how I dive them, and when.

curi:

ya genji gets to press lots of buttons and each button is a decision about what to do, and if u make good decisions u have a big effect like winning a teamfight

internetrules:

Cuz like if there’s a more near the person I dive he could roll towards me the. Flash bang be befor I kill someone to get a swift strike reset

Mccree*

curi:

he can play forward cuz he has 3 mobility abilities + deflect to get back to team with. and he has one of the two hardest ultimates in the game i think (blade and pulse are hard to use, all the rest are a bit ez)

what about other heros

internetrules:

With rein getting charges are really fun, cuz it’s risky if I go to deep cuz I could like die instantly if they have like mccree reaper

And also I have to predict movement to get charges

And finishing people off with long range fire strikes is super fun

Or predicting where someone will be then fire striking there

curi:

how aggressive to be is a skill thing which is rewarding if you get it right. too aggressive = dead, too passive = don’t control objective. but if u go in hard without dying, u can have a big effect. it’s a lot like monkey i think.

it’s also the thing i think is most needed at lower SR – someone to lead the way so ppl aren’t just sitting around passively.

in plat most ppl need someone to follow

and most of the main tanks don’t know what to do and wait for something to happen instead of making it happen

rein and genji seem like ur clearest hero picks that u will keep

what about the other ones?

why aren’t you responding? is this hard?

internetrules:

Yes

curi:

what’s hard?

just take the next hero and say ur thots?

is ur answer “i don’t know” for all the other heroes?

internetrules:

No, i have some thought but I’m not saying them

curi:

why

internetrules:

Thought like : hanzo is fun to 1 shot and 2 shot people with

But I didn’t say that

I guess I thought it was to low quality? But even if it was its better to start somewhere than no where

curi:

there are other heroes which do that, like widow, mccree, and basically doomfist. even ana is 2 shots + nade, or 3shot.

if u prefer hanzo, what’s the difference?

internetrules:

Projectiles

curi:

zen has 1shots with orb volley

those are projectiles

pharah and junk have 2shots

and with junk, u do grenade + mine and u can kill someone almost instantly

internetrules:

Junk rats seem to slow

curi:

what is slow

internetrules:

His projectiles

The grenades

curi:

ya

he has to flank for 1shots

or get dived or something

internetrules:

Maybe I would like pharah more than hanzo tho

curi:

i think the big difference with hanzo is headshots

which in the past it seems like u didn’t aim for headshots much

internetrules:

Cuz getting direct hits with pharah rockets seems super fun

curi:

also hanzo just got rework/buff and u didn’t start playing him a lot which i thought might mean u don’t care about him much

pharah is a very high mobility hero, like tracer and genji. if u watch pros play pharah, they use it really well. they hover around tall buildings and stuff.

but they only play her on maps with the right terrain to give them cover up in the air.

cuz at higher SR she gets shot down too ez without cover

the two things i don’t like about pharah (besides my own lack of projectile aim) are the situationalness and the need for healer support

u can probably play her on every map in plat and diamond if u have some heals

and u can outplay hitscan heros by using your mobility to sneak up on them from a way they weren’t looking, and then u can beat them

internetrules:

I probably want to stop playing hanzo and do pharah instead

The main thing I’m worried about thonis the situational thing

curi:

u can try it. my concern is you will go back and forth like you have with healers and some others.

i think forcing pharah on all maps is less hard than widow

at least if you aren’t GM

i used to force widow everywhere

i think u can predict things less so u have to play more to see. also cuz u figure less out from streams.

compared to me.

but the amount of swapping u’ve done overall is a lot. like u used to play tracer zarya for ur first 100+ hours and u don’t play either now.

the main heroes i dropped are 76 and zen. i think they are the ones i had over 20 hours on and stopped playing.

and zen is partly just cuz ana came out and i like her more.

i’d prob play him if ana didn’t exist

for tank i can’t tell if u actually wanna play orisa or not

i tried her and she’s relatively ez+good but i decided i don’t like her spam gameplay

i think u actually like monkey?

internetrules:

I prefer rein but I think monkey is necessary some times

curi:

for healers u’ve done lucio zen mercy and now brig is out too (i thot u would like her, and i think u did too but u haven’t played her much yet). u also played roadhog a while. and some bastion, torb, a few dva games, various things at different times.

yeah i think rein just doesn’t work well at all times

but if u don’t want to play monkey or orisa u can potentially just pick a different hero on those maps

u don’t HAVE to play them

there are maps where swapping in the middle is good. ppl have done that on hollywood. rein on 1st, monkey on 2nd for the big buildings. but u can just try to make rein work now and then, take elevator up, walk up stairs for gibralter 2nd, etc. also new sym will be able to teleport u up!

also i like monkey ok so we could hero + role swap sometimes maybe

he’s my preference of the main tanks and i want to have a main tank i can play

cuz games can be boring when u have no main tank and ppl just feed

internetrules:

Yeah that sounds like it would work

curi:

and going main tank can save the game

so do u actually not want to play monkey or orisa?

internetrules:

I would really like to just be able to rein all the time for main tank

curi:

if u can’t, do u want to play monkey or orisa some or just not main tank?

like i think u shouldn’t play rein on well or sanctum, but u could switch in spawn

internetrules:

Probably just not main tank.

curi:

or the oasis one with the thing in the middle

and the jump pad

rein is god awful there

where ppl run in circles around point

and sombra or whatever stands on the highground in the middle of the point or the highground by jumppad and shoots u

or hacks u

ok so then

off tanks

do u prefer

road zarya dva brig?

or none

also do u appreciate this? i hope it’s helping u organize how u practice and getting u onto the heroes u want + good at them more.

rather than e.g. u feeling pressured to play or not play stuff.

internetrules:

Yes I do very much

curi:

or finding decisions hard/stressful

ok good

i have been working on it a lot myself b/c i have 7 heroes currently which is kinda a lot

and i was trying others in the past and also recently to compare

and try to get it right

i kept playing 76 cuz he was useful and stuff but finally decided to stop

and i especially kept trying all the tanks to find one i liked

internetrules:

I prefer zarya the most as off tank but I feel like the maps I could play zarya are also the ones I could rein

curi:

and recently decided monkey is ok (originally i thought he was boring cuz u just run at ppl without aiming)

yes that’s true that zarya is bad on the maps where rein is bad

at high level, currently zarya is only used if u have rein

not used with orisa or monkey

in the past there was monkey+zarya, but now they just do dva instead

internetrules:

I don’t think I like dva

curi:

this is partly a meta thing, and u should try not to chase the meta

zarya is gaining in meta and dva losing cuz brig

2 rly good comps now are

rein zarya brig zen hanzo + healer (mercy, ana or lucio)

orisa brig zen mercy junk widow

b4 brig patch dva was played so much, always with monkey (so most of the time) + reasonably often with other tanks too

but u gotta try to pick by the hero design, not current meta

so u aren’t changing everytime there is a patch

do u like road or brig more?

did u try brig enuf to see?

zarya hog and brig are also similar maps to rein. which is actually most maps if the meta favors them. if they are strong, then they can be OK on most maps, just not some with the most highground and environmental kill stuff.

internetrules:

I don’t like brig that much but I have tried her that much either

curi:

u should try her more b/c she’s sorta similar to rein

internetrules:

I would like just rather play rein than brig

curi:

with shield + melee weapon

internetrules:

She’s not as big and clunky as rein

curi:

u can play brig when u have a different main tank

internetrules:

And she doesn’t have charge

curi:

u don’t wanna rein+monkey or rein+orisa generally

also u can play her when u need 2nd healer

so those are upsides

ok what about healers

mercy zen lucio? any ideas?

i guess not ana or moira?

in the past whatever ur healer was, u never played them that much and never played them enuf to get good at them.

too on and off

internetrules:

I’m slightly interested in Ana but it’s about as much as I am with lucio and zen

curi:

and healer is ur least played type

ana is the hardest healer by a lot cuz of the aim stuff

internetrules:

So it would be better to not have that hero conflict I think

curi:

how did u like mercy yesterday

internetrules:

I liked playing her but idk if I will continue to like playing her

curi:

FYI what’s fun about moira is she has the mobility to play forward and then get back. i’m not a big fan of her. she’s reasonably ez. lucio and brig can also play up. ana zen play back, and mercy flies around.

internetrules:

I like the guardian angel, and trying to get tears while not firing

curi:

ana and zen need help if they get dived. no mobility. the other healers have more chance to take care fo themselves

tears?

internetrules:

Trying to get rez while not dieing*

curi:

ana and zen can fight some flankers tho. not monkey or dva very well tho

ok so let’s summarize

rein: yes. genji: yes.

pharah: try her and compare to hanzo (play him a little if u need to compare) and see how u like her.

zarya: try playing her a bit when rein isn’t a good option (someone already took a main tank)

mercy/zen/lucio/ana/brig: try them all and figure out at least one u like play (being unable to pick healer sux and throws games)

moira hog dva monkey orisa: no

other dps: is there anyone u would really love if you were great at? or just no to the others?

internetrules:

I might be fine with prods if we are doing like a full on spam/shield war comp

curi:

prods?

internetrules:

Orissa

curi:

what an autocorrect lol

ok add orisa with zarya, to play sometimes when rein is a bad option.

internetrules:

I’m gonna blame my self for those auto corrects and not the software

curi:

but no monkey, right?

internetrules:

No monkey

curi:

also “fine with” doesn’t sound good. u should actually like heroes

internetrules:

I like seeing the enemies all die slowly from a sustained spam

curi:

spam wars are a bit boring for most heroes IMO. but some of the heroes are more fun for it, like roadhog has high shield damage + chance to hook something. dva has high shield dmg + matrix + chance to fly on someone once some ppl die.

orisa the most fun part i think is halt

internetrules:

Yes

curi:

u can halt ppl so ur widow can shoot them or hog hook them or something

i am going to try the sym rework

she may be good in spam wars + i like her utility

ok anyway u should prioritize playing the heroes u need to figure out

and play the decided ones only if u need to fill with them

and then when u decide some, e.g. a healer, u should play them a bunch to get basics (fill with ur good heroes when ur team rly needs it)

internetrules:

I’m gonna do 1 more genji game to see if I can get into diamond on internet

I’m 21 Sr away

curi:

sure

so:

T Mains: rein, genji
T Flex: zarya, orisa

Choose 2nd dps: Pharah?
Choose 1-2 supports

now let’s analyze this to see how well u cover situations

internetrules:

This seems really fun I want to get good enough at life so I can do this kinda stuff on my own in an organized manner

curi:

spam war: rein zarya genji pharah are all kinda bad. so u would have orisa or a support (only some supports are good at this. zen has best spam, mercy has dmg boost on ur best spammer. ana can shoot. brig lucio moira can’t do much)

great!

i’m glad

i have been telling ppl u can learn life stuff from video games

if u try to get rly good u need to organize and think and stuff

and also learn from criticism

we did that b4 when we analyzed our deaths and stuff after each game

and that helped us climb

internetrules:

I realized recently that I was getting tilted from losing cuz I was focusing on my wins and losses more than my personal skill

So now I’m just focusing on my skill and how well I’m doing mid game and I got a lot happpier

curi:

situation: your team wants to dive: genji and pharah great, but what if u can’t dps? zarya is playable but not rly a dive tank like dva monkey. also u maybe ur support could work with dive

yeah u need to play to learn

internetrules:

Mid game will text more later

curi:

situation: enemy team diving u: rein is pretty good here. zarya orisa genji pharah are all ok.

situation: sniper killing ur team. genji is great option, only problem is if u can’t swap to dps.

there’s rly not much u can do about sniper if ur support and can’t swap off. for tank that can’t swap roles, monkey and dva help. otherwise the best u can do is try to help ur team with rein or orisa shield, which can work.

situation: enemy team has pharah

(and the pharah is doing well, probably has mercy pocket)

rein, genji, orisa, pharah, zarya are all bad here. they do not solve the problem. the dps at least can try to fuck the enemy team as hard as the pharah fucks ur team and it’s hard for the pharah to kill u ( u have mobility, she will probably shoot someone else like ur supports)

the supports that help vs pharah most are zen (discord her helps ur dps handle it, assuming they go hitscan and try) and ANA (helps a ton if u can aim, plus u can sleep her barrage)

the other 4 can’t do anything

the list of heroes that are best at fighting pharah: ana, sombra, mccree, 76, widow. some others help some: zen discord, hog hook, dva fly+shoot can actually do good dmg to pharah, if she doesn’t have mercy pocket or someone else is shooting pharah then it does a lot (and matrix pharah’s stuff). tracer can do pretty well vs pharah if u catch her low enuf. hanzo with new rapid arrow has a decent chance against pharah i think.

also u can just stick up orisa shield, pharah isn’t very good in orisa spam wars, has to flank or just be a lower dmg junkrat.

oh i forgot BASTION, also a pharah killer.

pharah is interesting cuz half the heroes are pretty useless against her.

internetrules:

I have had some success against pharah as genji

curi:

u can do SOME but it’s not very good

it works better if they are bad.

there’s other notable counters in the game. like it can be hard to play flanker like tracer, genji vs. a torb who puts turret in back. u have pharah to spam down torb turrets from out of their range tho.

internetrules:

If you like wall climb, swift strike to the pharah, double jump, you get like 1.5 seconds to do damage to her

curi:

or like what if ur team is feeding to bastion, what do u do?

genji can spam shuriken from good angles if there is no shield and has deflect. pharah is pretty bad tho if u get long enuf range + no shield u can spam the bastion, but realistically if ur team is feeding both of these usually won’t work great

zarya maybe if u get charged up u can do something

rein u can play a corner and then go in hard. orisa buys ur team some time but if they aren’t on spam heroes it can be useless.

internetrules:

With genji I could try to get blade then attack the bastion, depending on how good the bastion is they will expect me to deflect so they won’t be shooting me very heavily

curi:

lol

that is like a plan to salvage the situation if ur already genji

just like fighting pharah with genji

u can try. don’t give up.

but it’s not a very good play if u could pick any hero

internetrules:

I really like fighting pharah with genji and hanzo

curi:

i see how doing that aim is fun

ur at disadvantage tho

(unless new rapid arrow is super OP)

what about supports vs. bastion? mercy boost helps if someone else is actually being effective (common theme with mercy that someone else has to do good to make her good)

sleep is great if his shield breaks

lucio can help ur team rush him

internetrules:

Woah we could do like a lucio speed boost to rein charge on the bastion

Cuz speed boost increases charge speed

curi:

zen can spam his shield i guess. moira brig pretty useless.

the bastion is usually on the cart so u can’t charge him

anyway rein isn’t so bad vs bastion if u can just get ur team to hide around corner and then take a close range fight

and orisa good if ur team has proper spam heroes

internetrules:

If you can angle a price of high ground (like first point Route 66) then you can

curi:

rit

another thing to look at with ur heroes is synergy

like skill overlap

like brig/rein have a lot

for me, monkey/dva, tracer/sombra and widow/ana have significant overlap on how to play them

genji and pharah are commonly heroes someone is good at both. some aim similarity (hanzo and junkrat go with them some too for that reason, some of those ppl also like zen for the projectile shots)

and they also have some similiarity with mobility (both vertical and horizontal)

and in wanting to flank and kill supports

and having some long range poke that is OK and lets u play with team, but not amazin

and they have ability to shoot from various good angles, not just straight on like a 76

so there’s solid similiarities there

rein zarya have a bit of similarity with positioning (both lack much mobility, especially vertically) and understanding how aggressive u can be without dying.

they have very different aim tho

which is also different than genji and pharah.

rein aim is pretty ez, not a big concern. zarya requires good tracking tho + her balls are a projectile but a slow arcing one so it’s quite different

u will note the only projectile on my heroes is ana non-scoped.

i have lots of hitscan overlap

orisa is projectile aim so that’s a positive for you. however she plays pretty differnetly than the others.

if u play mercy, u get to play and see both sides of the pharah/mercy combo. that’s an upside. u will be extra familiar with it and understand it more, like as pharah u will know what actions will get ur mercy killed or when to expect her to go help others. as mercy u will know when ur pharah really needs u to stay or not.

lucio zen have projectile aim. moira aim is similar to zarya. ana is mixed + harder aim.

brig is just big rein overlap

overlap gives u less stuff u have to learn. if my heroes were all super differently i would definitely have to pick fewer.

u r looking at 6-7 heroes (given 1-2 supports)

also my policy is i don’t play other heroes like at all, period. this helps me play a bigger number cuz i don’t use the others. i will never swap orisa/zen/moira/76 to try to win the game.

i currently won’t even swap lucio on a point stall. if i have to get off ana i can sombra/tracer/dva/monkey, good enuf.

i will only ever play other heroes on purpose, e.g. i tried hanzo after rework.

for like 4 games in a row

to understand him more and see if i liked him

it was good to help me see his strengths and weaknesses a bit more

i noticed it’s easy for him to shoot a specific location, like if someone is peeking a specific corner

and ez to shoot ppl who aren’t moving

even at longer ranges

but if someone is moving around and u can’t predict where they will be in 1 second, it’s rly hard to shoot them at long ranges

so being in open can be safer than predictably by corner

internetrules:

Would it be fine to swap between hanzo and pharah allot to see the differences better?

curi:

(plus they will sonic the corner)

yes try them both now to compare

as temporary learning thing

do like 5 in a row of pharah first

to get back into her

another way to look at heroes is how hard they are in what ways

i have a lot of heroes with hard mechanics

tracer and widow are SUPER hard. sombra and ana are hard, like genji. dva, winston, brig are easy, require way less aim and reaction time, like rein, orisa. however there’s also strategy, which i’m good at personally so it’s easier for me to put a low mechanics hero on list, i want to have some of them for when i’m tired or rusty or whatever.

for supports, if u play ana or zen they are a really BACKLINE hero, very different than ur used to on other heroes. they will have less strategy overlap, take more learning.

brig, lucio, moira can play up more instead of u needing to learn long range positioning. and mercy is her own thing with flying around to teammates (kinda her own skill that u have to learn separately)

also some supports are more voice chat heavy to be effective. zen, ana u can do good by shooting stuff. lucio u really need to talk and get ppl to work with u, him the most.

cuz of speed aura + grouping for heal aura and ult

lucio requires a lot of paying attention to ur team and figuring out who to help. this is something u don’t know a lot about from non-supports. big separate thing to learn

u get it a little with saving ppl with dva matrix or zarya bubble

also a bit with just everyone, like a tracer tip is look for what teammate needs help and go blink over there.

and u can do that somewhat with everyone, esp ppl with mobility

genji can do it. find ur teammate in a 1v1 and go make it a 2v1. or rush in front of them and deflect. it’s not that common tho

mercy also has a lot of watching team, knowing what they are doing, who needs help. moira does it too but for her it’s a bit more obvious what to do. she can reposition less than mercy and she wants to heal tanks, that’s kinda her thing

zen has a lot less watching allies. harmony orb is limited attention. he plays the most like a dps of the supports.

ana has limited mobility to choose who to help outside her sightlines. has to understand who will make a big play to nano, and who to heal first.

and when to go in close and follow someone around instead of staying back

another thing with supports is tracking enemy ults and trying to see their dps ults coming and prevent wipes or warn team

and watching for flanks

supports generally have the most chance to do these things

dps too busy and tanks are in front and able to see overall view of fight less

as u’ve noticed from my ana callouts when ur holding up rein shield and i’m telling u what’s going on and what to do

so with supports it depends on what skills u want to learn and how much effort u want to put there. since u seem to like support the least, maybe u should try brig+mercy for now. reasons:

don’t have to learn backline positioning like ana/zan/76/etc

don’t have to try to organize team like lucio

u seem to like mercy more than moira.

brig and mercy will be relatively easy to learn

mercy doesn’t overlap a ton but she’s considered pretty ez

brig u can just have as a backup hero who doesn’t take much work due to rein overlap

and u already like that style (just not as much as actually being rein, which u can’t always be)

but try them all some. understanding backline ranged hero positioning is a good thing to know if u want to. significant part of the game.

i think mercy will be less frustrating than lucio with teams not listening or being bad.

lucio really needs teamwork to get good value from speed aura since nerfing its range

but u should just pick the ones u’d be happy with if u were good at them

and then make it work. u can learn any hero.

even if ur bad at one early on, it’s better to start getting practice on them rather than playing a hero u care about less. (this assumes u will keep playing OW longterm, which i think it’s a promising game for)

can i post this chatlog to FI?

from today

i’ve looked at the heroes i’d most like to be good at thing. i might like mccree and hanzo, but i like widow more, so i’d rather be a god at her.

i might like being a great zen, but i like ana more, so i don’t need him.

the ones i’d like most that i don’t play are genji and maybe pharah.

plus i’m interested in sym rework. we don’t know anything about torb rework yet but i predict i won’t be that interested.

i don’t like building a turret which is way better against bad players than good players.

with sym, i rly like the new teleporter as regular ability for moving around within a fight, rather than longterm building. the giant shield ult and 3 stronger turrets sound ok. and her guns sound good for a dps that’s less mechanics and can do well in spam wars.

i see significant outplay potential there.

looking at ur heroes for outplay potential: genji, and pharah have lots. rein has great outplay potential as long as u actually get heals and ur team follows u some (pretty low bar on this, they don’t have to do this great, they just have to do at some) so u can do stuff.

orisa i consider pretty low outplay potential, u just do ur gameplay (shield+shoot) and the results are pretty consistent instead of being able to make high skill decisions to win.

she does have some outplay with halt

internetrules:

45 direct hits in 5 min

Full held first point Hollywood then took it in 1 push

curi:

idk how good that is but i remember u had pretty good pharah when u didn’t play her much, u seemed to already know how to aim her

i tried pharah a little and my aim sucked

i don’t have prior FPS experience and only learned to aim with widow and then tracer

zarya outplay is on lower end. u just play good and stay alive and plz dear god use grav quickly. i had game the other day, zarya held grav for 3min. i asked him to use it after he held it for 2 fights and he said he was holding it cuz enemy zen had trance. so he was just gonna never use it T_T

he only used it cuz after hearing that i killed zen :D

he didn’t seem to be trying to kill zen himself and no one else was either

@pharah note u should pick the heroes u wanna be good with longterm, not the ones that come more naturally. but if ur more of a natural with someone and u like them, great!

@support outplays: brig is limited, u just stay alive and do ur stuff like zarya. play good and it’s rewarded but u don’t get BIG plays besides boops or stun a tracer/sombra/blading-genji etc

ana has them. sleep. 2shot+nade. big offensive nades. big defensive nades + mass burst healing. 1v1 a flanker. shoot down pharah.

mercy doesn’t have much. u can 1v1 ppl with battle mercy for an outplay, esp in valk on enemy sniper. she’s more stay alive and play consistently with good strategy and it helps ur team a lot overall.

u can dodge flankers who are putting effort into killing u

so they waste their time

u can get off a big rez

lucio has outplays esp with speed aura and boop

moira has very little

u can catch and 1v1 ppl with moira

but mostly that’s from them being bad

u do fixed 50 dps with ez aim

i’m not a moira fan

lucio has has outplays iwth sound barrier at key moment to save ur team from a barrage or something

zen outplays are orb volley kills, beating a flanker who comes at u, and building trances fast enuf to have it rdy for blade/barrage/grav/etc

for comparisons, in general the dps heroes have lots of outplay potential to go get lots of kills, and also hog has it with hook. other heroes tend to have more limited amounts, e.g. monkey and dva can solo jump and kill someone sometimes but have less ability to make things like that happen.

another way i analyze heroes is how much fun they are, or how helpless, if team is being dumb

brig is bad here, the rest of my heroes are specifically chosen to be good at that.

the tanks aren’t ideal there but at least have mobility, more options with low team support

compared to rein orisa zarya

and i also look at just plain “is it dps?” cuz teams really want non-dps more

so like if reaper is a little more fun than brig, brig wins cuz if i get a dps slot i can play tracer, and i need some non-dps

i don’t just wanna force dps and throw games all the time, tho i will sometimes and having a smurf is good there

actually i’d like to blog this rather than just FI post. is that ok? i can remove ur name or only put Internet Rules

internetrules:

Yeah just having my name as internetrules is fine

I’m fine with you posting it

curi:

another idea i had about my heroes is if i practice tracer and widow, then i can play the rest pretty easily

something interesting is we might not play any of the same heroes

another thing about supports is it’s good to be able to play a MAIN support, cuz teams need one of those. 2 supports with low healing is a problem, also u can solo heal with a main support if u have to. main support means the ones who can put out strong heals on a single target, like they are capable of pocketing a tank: mercy, moira, ana

similar to how i wanted a MAIN tank on my roster

not just dva

with double off support, u see tanks feed way too much, don’t know what to do or how to deal with the low heals.

it can be worse than solo strong healer. (the thing with solo healer is enemy team can focus them and if they die u have NO heals)

but if solo main healer stays alive it sometimes works better than double off healer

if i had to cut down my roster i’d probably go: tracer, widow, monkey, ana (so i have main tank and main heal).

sombra i just don’t wanna cut. brig and dva are currently pretty easy for me without needing to practice them, and are very useful sometimes

sombra is fun

and shares aim with tracer anyway

and recalling b4 u die

so i feel ok keeping both

i’m trying to figure out if i would drop brig if she was nerfed tho.

not sure if i should play her

she’s still in maybe mode

i kinda like having a strong short range person with low mobility. winston and dva have to be balanced for the fact they have jumps.

it’s interesting to me to play different styles.

my other issue is i’m trying to figure out how to make my widow aim easier for me and more consistent

with tracer, i can now aim OK without it feeling hard

and when i took a break i kept a lot of my tracer aim

but my widow is more of a problem

a lot of it is headshots. i actually need to aim for the head more with tracer.

headshots are hard

another thing about hero choices is to have someone good and fun for FFA

and 3v3 and stuff

i got tracer, and on some maps widow

u got genji. i not sure about pharah.

mccree is pretty popular in deathmatch and u don’t get heals

other major DM heroes are doom, junk, hanzo, hog. sometimes moira, brig

if it’s not a sniper map, then pharah is pretty good vs non-mccree so she might work pretty well.

she’s great in 3v3 and 6v6 and stuff cuz u get a healer + they might not pick hitscan that round

is a bit unfair how pharah can matchup vs some heroes there, lol

they go rein reaper lucio, u go pharah, lol rekt


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Goals & Purpose

whatever you do, have goals and be purposeful. have criteria of success and failure. and write them down. put them into words, don't just think them vaguely in your head and assume you know what you mean.

if you play video games, have goals. you can try to get highly skilled. other goals are possible too. you could collect all the things, or complete all the achievements, to see what that's like and then evaluate if you think it's a good goal to use in the future.

if you watch TV, don’t watch random TV shows. don’t just watch whatever's on. be selective. how do you select which things to watch? according to some purpose.

if you read non-fiction books, you should often read in a targeted way: skim them, use the index, read a particular chapter in search to knowledge about a specific issue you’re currently dealing with.

if you have a romantic relationship, have some idea of what you want from it. and make it your own idea, that you think about, not just a cultural default. even if you agree with 80% of the cultural default, still customize it and make your own version of what you want. think about it. at least decide which parts of the cultural default you want to emphasize, and which you want less of. decide something. have some purpose to it.

purpose makes success possible and purpose also makes failure possible. it’s a risk but it’s so necessary to a worthwhile life.

https://twitter.com/patio11/status/983351143999795200

How far ahead of a soft [poker] table does "I have read one book and have done whole hours of directed practice" put you ahead? A staggering, staggering amount, even if the average participant theoretically has years of practice and is not, strictly speaking, unintelligent.

reading one book and practicing for a few hours is purposeful, goal-directed behavior where you’re aiming at success. this can beat years of non-purpose activity. the quote is about poker tables, but this applies to tons of other stuff too. people manage to spend hundreds of hours playing poker, over a few decades, and never get good. other people read a book and practice with a goal of getting better (not great or top level, just to gain some skill) and outcompete the non-purposeful people.


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Philosophy Side Quests

People get stuck for years on the philosophy main quest while refusing to do side quests. That is not how you play RPGs. Side quests let you get extra levels, gear and practice which make the main quest easier to make progress on.

An example of a side quest would be speedrunning a Mario or Zelda game. That would involve some goal-directed activity and problem solving. It’d be practice for becoming skilled at something, optimizing details, and correcting mistakes one is making.


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Accepting vs. Preferring Theories – Reply to David Deutsch

David Deutsch has some misconceptions about epistemology. I explained the issue on Twitter.

I've reproduced the important part below. Quotes are DD, regular text is me.

There's no such thing as 'acceptance' of a theory into the realm of science. Theories are conjectures and remain so. (Popper, Miller.)

We don't accept theories "into the realm of science", we tentatively accept them as fallible, conjectural, non-refuted solutions to problems (in contexts).

But there's no such thing as rejection either. Critical preference (Popper) refers to the state of a debate—often complex, inconsistent, and transient.

Some of them [theories] are preferred (for some purposes) because they seem to have survived criticism that their rivals haven't. That's not the same as having been accepted—even tentatively. I use quantum theory to understand the world, yet am sure it's false.

Tentatively accepting an idea (for a problem context) doesn't mean accepting it as true, so "sure it's false" doesn't contradict acceptance. Acceptance means deciding/evaluating it's non-refuted, rivals are refuted, and you will now act/believe/etc (pending reason to reconsider).

Acceptance deals with the decision point where you move past evaluating the theory, you reach a conclusion (for now, tentatively). you don't consider things forever, sometimes you make judgements and move on to thinking about other things. ofc it's fluid and we often revisit.

Acceptance is clearer word than preference for up-or-down, yes-or-no decisions. Preference often means believing X is better than Y, rather than judging X to have zero flaws (that you know of) & judging Y to be decisively flawed, no good at all (variant of Y could ofc still work)

Acceptance makes sense as a contrast against (tentative) rejection. Preference makes more sense if u think u have a bunch of ideas which u evaluate as having different degrees of goodness, & u prefer the one that currently has the highest score/support/justification/authority.


Update: DD responded, sorta:

You are blocked from following @DavidDeutschOxf and viewing @DavidDeutschOxf's Tweets.


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School Mistreated Edward Thorp

A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market, by Edward Thorp, begins with some horror stories about school (bolds added):

Just after I turned five I started kindergarten at Dever Grammar School in northwest Chicago. I was immediately puzzled by why everything we were asked to do was so easy. One day our teacher gave us all blank paper and told us to draw a copy of an outline of a horse from a picture she had given us. I put little dots on the picture and used a ruler to measure the distance from one to the next. Then I reproduced the dots on my piece of paper, using the ruler to make the distance between them the same as they were on the picture and with my eye estimating the proper angles. Next, I connected up the new dots smoothly, matching the curves as well as I could. The result was a close copy of the original sketch.

My father had shown me this method and also how to use it to draw magnified or reduced versions of a figure. For example, to draw at double scale, just double the distance between the dots on the original drawing, keeping angles the same when placing the new dots. To triple the scale, triple the distance between dots, and so on. I called the other kids over, showed them what I had done and how to do it, and they set to work. We all handed in copies using my method instead of the freehand sketches the teacher expected, and she wasn’t happy.

A few days later the teacher had to leave the room for a few minutes. We were told to entertain ourselves with some giant (to us) one-foot-sized hollow wooden blocks. I thought it would be fun to build a great wall so I organized the other kids and we quickly assembled a large terraced mass of blocks. Unfortunately my project totally blocked the rear door—and that was the one the teacher chose when she attempted to reenter the classroom.

The last straw came a few days later. I sat on one of the school’s tiny chairs meant for five-year-olds and discovered that one of the two vertical back struts was broken. A sharp splintered shard stuck up from the seat where it had separated from the rest of the strut, so the whole back was now fragilely supported only by the one remaining upright. The hazard was obvious, and something needed to be done. I found a small saw and quietly cut off both struts flush with the chair’s seat, neatly converting it into a perfect little stool. At this, the teacher sent me to the principal’s office and my parents were called in for a serious conference.

Then, during high school, he was cheated:

With ten weeks to go before the American Chemical Society exam, as I practiced taking old tests, I was scoring 990 or more out of 1,000. I told Mr. Stump I was ready to try the ten he had held back. I got over 99 percent on the first two of these as well, so we went directly to the exam from the previous year, on which I did equally well. I was ready.

On the day of the exam my father drove me twenty miles to the El Camino Junior College, where I followed the crowd among the one-story barracks-like buildings to the test room. We had been told that slide rules would be allowed for the first time this year but that they weren’t necessary. As an afterthought I brought along a ten-cent toy slide rule—all I felt I could afford—thinking I could always do a quick rough check of my calculations if I had any extra time.

As I worked through the test I knew every answer. But then the last section of the test was distributed. This part of the exam required many more calculations than I could do by hand in the time allowed. My cheap tiny slide rule was worthless. Out came the full-sized well-machined slide rules all around me. Surprise! Slide rules were not merely optional—they were necessary for anyone who wanted to win. There was no credit given for showing the correct method, only credit for a numerical answer, to a specified level of “slide rule accuracy.” I was sickened by the realization I would likely not place high enough to get the scholarship I needed and unhappy with myself for not preparing by purchasing a hard-to-afford top-of-the-line slide rule. It seemed so unfair to convert a test about chemistry into one about slide rule arithmetic.

Then in college, at U.C. Berkeley, he was cheated again:

The [chemistry] course was taught by a famous professor, and we were using his book. As he was then preparing a revision, he offered 10 cents per misprint to the first student to report it. I set to work and soon brought him a list of ten errors to see if he would pay. He gave me my dollar. Encouraged, I came back with a list of seventy-five more mistakes. That netted me $7.50 but he wasn’t happy. When I returned a few days later with several hundred he explained that they needed to be errors, not mere misprints. Despite my objections, he disqualified nearly all of them. This unilateral retroactive change in the deal, which I would later encounter often on Wall Street, done by someone for their benefit just because they could get away with it, violated my sense of fair play. I quit reporting additional corrections.

And again, in the same class:

As the semester wound to a close, I had missed only a single point out of the hundreds given out for the written exams and the lab work, ranking me number one. After my unfortunate experience with the chemistry exam in high school, this was vindication. Part of our grade came when we were asked each week to chemically analyze a sample that was not known to us. After hearing that some students might sabotage others by secretly changing these unknowns, I made a practice of holding back part of mine so that, if this were done to me, I could prove that I had correctly analyzed whatever I had. On the very last sample given us to evaluate that semester, I was told I got it wrong. I knew better, and to prove it I asked that the part I had saved be tested. The decision on my appeal was left to the teaching assistant for my lab sections, who refused to act. The points I lost caused me to end the term in fourth place rather than first. Outraged, I did not enroll in chemistry the second semester and changed my major to physics. Thus I missed organic chemistry, the study of carbon compounds, and the basis for all living things. It is fundamental for biology.

My own experience in school was similar. For example, in college, I got a math problem correct on a test. The professor marked it wrong because he wasn't very clever and didn't understand the steps of my solution, and he apparently ignored my final answer which was correct. I met with the professor and taught him how to do the problem my way. He agreed that my method worked and my answer was correct. He then refused to award me any points for that problem, claiming he had a policy against changing grades retroactively (regardless of his own errors, apparently). He told me that losing points didn't matter because, if I scored high enough on the rest of the course, I could still get an A. (Of course it mattered: losing the points increased how well I'd have to do on future work to still get an A, and put me at greater risk of a lower grade.)


I also wrote more comments on the book.


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