We used to have a monthly off-topic thread for stuff rationalists might like to talk about that really has no bearing on rationality. Here's a new one.


ETA: Original off-topic thread

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Given that the open thread is now for minor or mildly inchoate topics, it probably makes more sense to add these sorts of things to the monthly threads rather than having two open threads.

Ah, cool, I was wondering if that was the case.

I thought some LWers might like this as much as I did. It's a video set to the Civ 4 theme, Baba Yetu; video has an overall rise of humanity/civilization theme.


Inspirational concept. Bothered a little bit by the emphasis on America. (It wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't so typical). Love the song.

Given that this is already a thread for mildly but not completely off-topic remarks, I'm curious as to why Mblume's remark was downvoted.

Because Baba Yetu is the Lord's Prayer in Swahili? That would be a very confused reason. We've already had the "So is it ok to listen to religious music? Well, yeah. Duh." discussion around here somewhere.

Upvoted for good taste in music. (You do know that Christopher Tin's written a whole album around that track, called Calling All Dawns, right?)

It's another form of reversed stupidity. I know of a theist who once said that she liked Metallica's Enter Sandman because it has a prayer in it. I don't want to be like that, and I most certainly don't want to be the opposite of that.

Here's an anti-death one (in French) by the same artist. Not quite as beautiful as Baba Yetu, but still nice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpnxbiUw_VM


Fixed, thanks.

A tech support question. How do I navigate the comments. Many sites have all the single pages lined up and accessible somewhere. But here I only can clip on next/prev. But when I want to navigate to the first comment of a user with many comments that takes a while. Is there another way that I am missing, or at least a hack for that?

Wei Dai did this thing: http://www.ibiblio.org/weidai/lesswrong_user.php But it won't load arbitrary numbers of comments.

I remember there being some string you could paste into a URL that would take you to a given user's first page of submissions, but I can't find where it's specified.

Your earliest comments by adding ?count=100000&before=t1_1 to your basic comment page. Without the 100000, it will still display the earliest comments, but not provide the "prev" button to go to later comments.

It really should be "later" and "earlier" rather than "prev" and "next" which are an arbitrary convention found in both forms across sites.

I recall people occasionally talking about music, and I was wondering how many of you play instruments, what instrument(s), and what the spread of competence levels is.

As for me, most of my experience is with piano followed by guitar, and I consider myself somewhere on the low end of intermediate with them both.

I keep trying to make music. My musicianly dexterity is around the level of "would have difficulty playing a police siren." I have 400kg of vinyl records.

I sing and play guitar and guitarish instruments fairly well. (There was a while when I made more than half of my meager income teaching and playing bass guitar). I can also play a bit on other instruments. Examples: lead voice and electric guitar; cittern and composition; organ. (Not counting this sentence, I'm resisting the urge to point out the flaws in these!)

I've had an intensive experience in music in my late teens - early 20's, culminating in recording an album with friends where I did most of the sound engineering (the whole project took about a year and a half, excluding the years that before when we were writing the songs as a band), and a few albums after that. After briefly considering a career in sound engineering and/or production, I dropped everything and came to the UK to continue my studies in computing. The only music I've done since is to practice singing alone with a guitar and get to the level where I could feel comfortable playing at an open mic night. I've been dreaming about writing rationality-themed songs recently, but I never could write lyrics...

I play recorder at what I'm guessing is a fairly skilled amateur level.

I took piano lessons until I went off to college. I have continued to play for my own enjoyment and relaxation often enough (once a week or so). It's helped that every place I ever rented from just happened to have an in-tune piano.

Some of us write music.

That was actually going to be a follow-up question, as I assumed that those who write music also play it.

Not a correct assumption in general!

(A note for those who inhabit or frequent institutions of learning: when you find out that someone is a student or faculty member in the music department, do not ask them what instrument they play. Instead, ask them what their area is. If they say "performance", then ask them what instrument they play -- or whether they're a vocalist.)

Thanks for the correction.

I've been meaning to ask you about that, if there's anything you'd care to say publicly. What kind of music do you write? (Sorry, I know composers hate that question.) Is that how you make your living?

Answered by PM.

I would say I am a low-professional-level pianist: I have many years of training and graduate degrees, and am capable of making a living at it and have done so in the past. But I never had the degree of aptitude or ability for obsessive focus such that I could have been a major professional performer (recordings, international concert schedule, teaching job at a top music school), so I turned more toward music scholarship, which suits me as a career very well. I still do play some in various personal/professional settings.

Did you by chance ever happen to see this particular Pandora's-box-of-a-subthread?

I have taken piano and flute lessons in the past, and was in choirs in school. I pick up my flute very occasionally, and fool around on pianos that I encounter, but am no longer serious about making music, nor very good at it.

A recent funny video:

Angry Birds Peace Treaty

This may have been discussed before, but what level of interest in physics is there on LW? I seem to recall seeing someone saying they wanted to learn physics, but I don't remember if there were seconds to that.

You can get questions answered at Physics Stack Exchange and have discussions at Physics Forums.


I have a degree in it. My curiosity is mostly satisfied.

I was planning on revisiting some topics and try to gain mastery of things like ballistics, spring dynamics, and wave equations. If it comes as a part of my RSS feeds, I would probably up that as a priority.

I'm currently studying physics at my university.

So that makes 2 of us? Odd, I'd have thought physics would appeal more to logically-minded people.

It did appeal at one stage. But I learned enough of the interesting stuff that what is left just seems menial. I never would have thought ten years ago that I would find statistics more engaging. Something to do with being directly useful for constructing the kind of knowledge that most fascinates me.

Well, that and when I've gone back for another science degree there were too many boring prereqs needed before you can get to the fun stuff.