Open Thread, March 1-15, 2013

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, even in Discussion, it goes here.

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Why am I not signed up for cryonics?

Here's my model.

In most futures, everyone is simply dead.

There's a tiny sliver of futures that are better than that, and a tiny sliver of futures that are worse than that.

What are the relative sizes of those slivers, and how much more likely am I to be revived in the "better" futures than in the "worse" futures? I really can't tell.

I don't seem to be as terrified of death as many people are. A while back I read the Stoics to reduce my fear of death, and it worked. I am, however, very averse to being revived into a worse-than-death future and not being able to escape.

I bet the hassle and cost of cryonics disincentivizes me, too, but when I boot up my internal simulator and simulate a world where cryonics is free, and obtained via a 10-question Google form, I still don't sign up. I ask to be cremated instead.

Cryonics may be reasonable for someone who is more averse to death and less averse to worse-than-death outcomes than I am. Cryonics may also be reasonable for someone who has strong reasons to believe they are more likely to be revived in better-than-death futures than in worse-than-death futures. Finally, there may be a fundamental error in my model.

This does, however, put me into disagreement with both Robin Hanson ("More likely than not, most folks who die today didn't have to die!") and Eliezer Yudkowsky ("Not signing up for cryonics [says that] you've stopped believing that human life, and your own life, is something of value").

So are you saying the P(worse-than-death|revived) and the P(better-than-death|revived) probabilities are of similar magnitude? I'm having trouble imagining that. In my mind, you are most likely to be revived because the reviver feels some sort of moral obligation towards you, so the future in which this happens should, on the whole, be pretty decent. If it's a future of eternal torture, it seems much less likely that something in it will care enough to revive some cryonics patients when it could, for example, design and make a person optimised for experiencing the maximal possible amount of misery. Or, to put it differently, the very fact that something wants to revive you suggests that that something cares about a very narrow set of objectives, and if it cares about that set of objects it's likely because they were put there with the aim of achieving a "good" outcome.

(As an aside, I'm not very averse to "worse-than-death" outcomes, so my doubts definitely do arise partially from that, but at the same time I think they are reasonable in their own right.)

So are you saying the P(worse-than-death|revived) and the P(better-than-death|revived) probabilities are of similar magnitude?

Yes. Like, maybe the latter probability is only 10 or 100 times greater than the former probability.

This seems strangely averse to bad outcomes to me. Are you taking into account that the ratio between the goodness of the best possible experiences and the badness of the worst possible experiences (per second, and per year) should be much closer to 1:1 than the ratio of the most intense per second experiences we observe today, for reasons discussed in this post?

Why should we consider possible rather than actual experiences in this context? It seems that cryonics patients who are successfully revived will retain their original reward circuitry, so I don't see why we should expect their best possible experiences to be as good as their worst possible experiences are bad, given that this is not the case for current humans.

For some of the same reasons depressed people take drugs to elevate their mood.

I like that post very much. I'm trying to make such an update, but it's hard to tell how much I should adjust from my intuitive impressions.

OK, what? When you say "worse-than-death", are you including Friendship is Optimal?

What about a variant of Hanson's future where:

  • versions of you repeatedly come into existence, do unfulfilling work for a while, and cease to exist
  • no version of you contacts any of the others
  • none of these future-selves directly contribute to changing this situation, but
  • your memories do make it into a mind that can act more freely than most or all of us today, and
  • the experiences of people like your other selves influence the values of this mind, and
  • the world stops using unhappy versions of you.

(Edited for fatigue.)

I haven't read Friendship is Optimal, because I find it difficult to enjoy reading fiction in general.

Not sure how I feel about the described Hansonian future, actually.

I'm not very averse to death.

Whoa. What? I notice that I am confused. Requesting additional information.

Most of the time, if I read something like that, I'd assume it was merely false—empty posturing from someone who didn't understand the implications of what they were writing. In this case, though... everything else I've seen you write is coherent and precise. I'm inclined to believe your words literally, in which case either A) I'm missing some sort of context or qualifiers or B) you really ought to see a therapist or something.

Do you mean you're not averse to death decades from now? Does that feel different from the possibility of getting hit by a bus next week?

(Only tangentially related, but I'm curious: what's your order of magnitude probability estimate that cryonics would actually work?)

you really ought to see a therapist or something.

No, I'm sorry, but there are simply many atheists who really aren't that scared of non-existence. We don't seek it out, we do prefer continuation of our lives and its many joys, but dying doesn't scare the hell out of us either.

This, in me at least, has nothing to do with depression or anything that requires therapy. I'm not suicidal in the least; even though I'd be scared of being trapped in an SF-style dystopia that didn't allow me to so suicide.

What's that quote that says something to the nature of "I didn't exist for billions of years before I was born, and it didn't bother me one bit" ?

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” ― Mark Twain

No, I'm sorry, but there are simply many atheists who really aren't that scared of non-existence.

The difference being that those are biased, whereas lukeprog would be expected to see through once the true rejection was addressed, which it has been.

I assume. I am not any of the participants in this conversation.

Whoa. What?

Sorry, I just meant that I seem to be less averse to death than other people. I'd be very sad to die, and not have the chance to achieve my goals, but I'm not as terrified as death as many people seem to be. I've clarified the original comment.

In most futures, everyone is simply dead.

If there is a high probability of these bad futures happening before you retire, this belief reduces the cost of cryonics to you in terms of the opportunity cost of instead putting money into retirement accounts.

In the really bad futures you probably don't experience extra suffering if you sign up for cryonics because all possible types of human minds get simulated.

This does, however, put me into disagreement with both Robin Hanson ("More likely than not, most folks who die today didn't have to die!") and Eliezer Yudkowsky ("Not signing up for cryonics [says that] you've stopped believing that human life, and your own life, is something of value").

I ... don't think it does, actually. Well, the bit about "most possible futures are empty" does put you in conflict with Robin Hanson ("More likely than not, most folks who die today didn't have to die!"), I guess, but the actual thesis seems to fall into the category of Eliezer Yudkowsky's "you've stopped believing that human life, and your own life, is something of value" (after a certain point in history.)

A new comet from the oort cloud, >10 km wide, has been discovered that is doing a flyby of Mars in October of 2014. The current orbit is rather uncertain, but it is probably passing within 100,000 km and the max likelihood is ~35,000 km. There is a tiny but non-negligable chance this thing could actually hit the red planet, in which case we would get to witness an event on the same order of magnitude as the K-T event that killed off the non-avian dinosaurs! (and lose everything we have on the surface of the planet and in orbit.)

I, for one, hope it hits. That would not be a once in a lifetime opportunity. That would be a ONCE IN THE HISTORY OF HOMINID LIFE opportunity! We would get to observe a large impact on a terrestrial body as it happened and watch the aftermath as it played out for decades!

As is, the most likely situation though is one in which we get to closely sample and observe the comet with everything we have in orbit around Mars. The orbit will be nailed down better in a few months when the comet comes out from the other side of the sun.

And to quote myself towards the end of the last open thread:

I don't know if this has been brought up around here before, but the B612 foundation is planning to launch an infrared space telescope into a venus-like orbit around 2017. It will be able to detect nearly every earth-crossing rock larger than 150 meters wide, and a significant fraction down to a few at 30ish meters. The infrared optics looking outwards makes it much easier to see the warm rocks against the black of space without interference from the sun and would quickly increase the number of known near earth objects by two orders of magnitude. This is exactly the mission I've been wishing / occasionally agitating for NASA to get off their behinds and do for five years. They've got the contract with Ball Aerospace to build the spacecraft and plan to launch on a Falcon 9 rocket. And they accept donations.

I saw a mention of that elsewhere, but I didn't realize that the core had a lower bound of 10km. Wow. I really hope it impacts too; we saw some chatter about the need for a space guard with a dinky little thing hitting Chelyabinsk, but imagine the effect of watching a dinosaur-killer hit Mars!

For future reference, the JPL small body database entry on the comet:

http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=C%2F2013%20A1;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=1;rad=0#cad

Different sources seem to have different orbital calculations, this one indicates a most likely close approach of ~100,000 kilometers with the uncertainty wide enough to include a close approach of 0 km.

If nothing else, we very well may get pictures from the surface rovers of the head of a comet literally filling the sky.

I am flabbergasted, I have no explanation for this situation.

If this comet is really that big and has approximately said flyby orbit, how frequent are those? If one every thousand years, there were 60000 of those since the TC event. How come we had only one collision of this magnitude?

Maybe they are less frequent. How lucky we are then to witness one of them right now? Too lucky, I guess.

As on the other hand, it looks we are just too lucky to have no major collision of that kind relatively recently, if they were quite common.

Maybe I am missing something odd. Like an unexpected gravity or other effect, by which an actual collision is much more difficult. Something in line with this. What makes sense, but only after a careful consideration.

Maybe a planet like Mars or Earth repels comets somehow? Dodge them somehow? Some weird effect like this?

I recommend Taleb's The Black Swan. The major premise is that people tend to underestimate the likelihood of weird events. It's not that they can predict any particular weird event, it's about overall likelihood of weird events with large consequences.

Another way of stating it in this circumstance: there are so many different things that we would consider ourselves lucky to see or that we would notice as unusual that even if the probability of any one of them is low the probability that we see something isn't that low.

I second the book recommendation by the way.

Flabbergasted no more! There was no collision, of course.

Should have known it, immediately!

If you are randomly shooting a rock through the solar system, "close approach of mars within 100,000 km" is 870 times as likely as "hitting mars". That brings a 'once in 100 million years (really roughly guessing based on what I know of earth's geological history)' event down to the order of 'once in a hundred thousand years', and the proper reference class of things we would be considering ourselves this lucky to see is probably more like 'close approach of a large comet to a terrestrial body' rather than singling out mars in particular. I don't know enough about distributions of comet orbital energies to consider different likelihoods of comets having parabolic orbits that bring them closer to the center of the solar system versus further away to compare the odds of things going near the different terrestrial planets with different orbits.

The gravity of a planet actually slightly increases the fraction of randomly-shot-past-them objects that hit them over just sweeping out their surface area through space, but for something with a relative velocity of 55 km/s (!) that effect is tiny.

If so, we are indeed very lucky to observe an event, which happens every 100 000 years or so.

OTOH, I've conclude, that it is in fact less likely for a planet to be hit by a random comet than it is for a big massless balloon of the same size, to be hit by the same comet.

Why is that? Roughly speaking, if the comet is heading toward some future geometric meeting point, the planet will accelerate it by its own gravity and the comet will come too early and therefore flies by. It's a very narrow set of circumstances for an actual collision to take place.

A bit counter intuitive but it explains why we have so few actual collisions, despite of the heavy traffic. Collisions do happen, but less often than a random chance would suggest. The gravity protects us mostly.

Zeo Inc is almost certainly shutting down.

Zeo users should assume the worst and take action accordingly:

  1. Update your sleep data and then export all your sleep data from the Zeo website as a CSV (the bar on the right hand side, in tiny grey text)
  2. Upgrade your Zeo with the new firmware if you have not already done so, so it will store unencrypted data which can be accessed without the Zeo website.
  3. Depending on how long you plan to use your Zeo, you may want to buy replacement headbands (~$15 each, I think you can get a year's use out of them). Amazon still stocks the original bedside unit's replacement headbands and the cellphone/mobile unit replacement headbands but who knows how many they still have?

I'm sad that they're closing down. I've run so many experiments with my Zeo, and there doesn't seem to be any successor devices on the horizon: all the other sleep devices I've read of are lame accelerometer-based gizmos.

I'm sad about this as well. The Zeo has been the only QS thing that I've been able to get my girlfriend to use, and it has increased her understanding of her sleep patterns dramatically.

I now look back with a twinge of anger at all the times that someone told me that they track their stages of sleep too, but with their iphone app and "it was only a dollar."

And to be clear, you can only upgrade the firmware on the Zeo bedside unit, right?

And to be clear, you can only upgrade the firmware on the Zeo bedside unit, right?

I don't know anything about the mobile unit.

What about aspiring Zeo users? Is it too late to get in on this?

Depends. If you know that it's shutting down, are willing to handle the data exporting yourself, and also are willing to possibly pay rising costs for a Zeo unit and replacement headbands...

I know I don't intend to stop (already bought another 3 replacement headbands on Amazon), but I've already used my Zeo for a long time and seem to be pretty unusual in how much I use it.

The firmware is no longer available on their site. I tried to email them, but I got an automated response telling me that customer service is no longer responding to emails and to check the help on their site. Can anyone share the 2.6.3R firmware?

Also, Amazon is sold out of the bedside headbands. Bad timing for me - I only have one left.

Can anyone share the 2.6.3R firmware?

I am not sure whether there was not some per-user customization or something, but for what it's worth, here's the copy of my firmware: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/85192141/firmware-v2.6.3R-zeo.img

Also, Amazon is sold out of the bedside headbands. Bad timing for me - I only have one left.

2 or 3 days after I went around all Paul Revere-style, I was told that Amazon had run out. So I guess they turned out to not have many at all. (I had 3 left over from previously, and bought another 3, so I figure I should be able to get at least 3 more years out of my Zeo.)

I wanted to apologize for the post I made on Discussion yesterday. I hope one of the mods deletes it. I should have thought more carefully before posting something controversial like that. I made multiple errors in the process of writing the post. One of the biggest mistakes I made was mentioning the name of a certain organization in particular, in a way that might harm that organization.

In the future, before I post anything, I will ask myself, "Will this post raise or lower the sanity waterline?" The post I made clearly didn't really do much for the former, and could easily have contributed to the latter. For that I am filled with regret.

I have a part-time job, and I will be donating at least $150 of my income to the organization I mentioned and possibly harmed in the previous post I made.

I'm not making this comment for the purpose of gaining back karma; I'm making it because I still want to be taken seriously in this community as a rationalist. I know that this may never happen, now, but if that's the case, I can always just make another account. Less Wrong is amazing, and I like it here.

If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more chances to learn and win.

-- John. W. Holt

Agree with the first part but not (the wording of) the second part. If you know beforehand that something would be a mistake, don't be stupid.

But you shouldn't necessarily trust your brain to accurately predict whether things will be mistakes.

The question is where you cut off. What chance of making a mistake is acceptable?

I'm not making this comment for the purpose of gaining back karma; I'm making it because I still want to be taken seriously in this community as a rationalist. I know that this may never happen, now, but if that's the case, I can always just make another account.

Based on your handle I assumed you already had another account. I do suggest making another one now. There is no need to take that baggage with you---leave that kind of shit as anonymous.

That account has been used regularly or semi-regularly for months, so despite the name it's not exactly a throwaway.

Can we still send you our ... you know ... merchandise?

In the future, before I post anything, I will ask myself, "Will this post raise or lower the sanity waterline?"

Great! I'll explicitly use that heuristic myself from now on (if I remember to).

There could be a plugin for this. Imagine that before sending a post, you have to answer a few questions, such as: "Your certainty that this post will move the sanity waterline in a positive direction".

But we are only humans. We would learn very soon to ignore it, and just check the "right" answers automatically.

Maybe it would work better if it displayed only randomly, once in a few comments. And then the given comment could be sent to reviewers, who could inflict huge negative karma if they strongly disagree with the estimate.

Or perhaps there could be an option to click "I am sure this comment is useful and harmless" when sending a comment. A comment without this option gets +1 karma on upvote and -1 on downvote; a comment with this option gets +2 on upvote and -5 on downvote. This could make people think before posting.

I like the idea of a questionnaire that pops up randomly when making a comment at a rate of maybe 1-10 percent. possible example questions:

  • Do you think this comment is funny?
  • Do you think this comment is useful to the person you're responding to?
  • Do you think this comment is useful to anyone but the person you're responding to?
  • Do you think this comment will have positive karma? How much?
  • Would you make this comment to anyone's face?
  • etc

Displaying one or more of these at a rate that makes you think but not at a rate that would be super annoying would be fun and provide some neat databases.

On the other hand I'm sure programming it would be a bitch.

But we are only humans. We would learn very soon to ignore it, and just check the "right" answers automatically.

There could be something preventing you from unthinkingly click "Yes", akin to the option in LeechBlock whereby you have to copy a code of 32/64/128 random characters before being able to change the settings. (But that might backfire, by discouraging people from posting comments even when they would be unobjectionable.)

Or perhaps there could be an option to click "I am sure this comment is useful and harmless" when sending a comment. A comment without this option gets +1 karma on upvote and -1 on downvote; a comment with this option gets +2 on upvote and -5 on downvote. This could make people think before posting.

I would love that.

Google Reader is being killed 1 July 2013. Export your OPML and start searching for a new RSS reader...

I finally just started using RSS feeds and it has improved my workflow dramatically. Now they're breaking my system on me?! Thanks for letting me know...

Do you suggest any particular RSS readers?

I'm already considering moving to email and running the whole thing on my home server.

Meh, I guess we have a few months to see people's reports on the alternatives.

At least in the case of NewsBlur we'll have to wait to see people's reports, since they are being hammered by all the Reader refugees.

i'm happy w/ feedly and haven't been asked for money yet (have only used for 2 days)

I've imported my feeds into Google Currents, since it can also be used to read regular news, not just feeds, which I do, anyway. Trying it out now, hopefully Google will be improving it, if they want the reader users to stay with Google.

Update: So far Google Currents sucks for feeds. Totally unintuitive layout and gestures, does not show new feeds (or I cannot find where it does), the formatting of several items is so poor, I give up and go to the original site. Switching back to Google Reader until something better comes along.

I posted this in the waning days of the last open thread, but I hope no one will mind the slight repeat here.

The last Dungeons and Discourse campaign was very well-received here on Less Wrong, so I am formally announcing that another one is starting in a little while. Comment on this thread if you want to sign up.

A call for advice: I'm looking into cognitive behavioral therapy—specifically, I'm planning to use an online resource or a book to learn CBT methods in hopes of preventing my depression from recurring. It looks like these methods have a good chance of working, although the evidence isn't as strong as for in-person CBT. At this point, I'm trying to decide which resources to learn from. Any recommendations or anecdotes would be appreciated.

My wife's a psychologist and depression is one of her specialties. Here are her recommendations:

Self-Therapy for Your Inner Critic book

Free guided meditations for "The Mindful Way Through Depression" (get some practice before using "working with difficulty" meditation): streamable or downloadable

And the associated book

Please let us know how it goes.

I recommend Feeling Good by David Burns. It'a a very good overview into CBT, covers all types of medication and was also recommended by Lukeprog IIRC.

I am also interested in learning more about CBT.

For various reasons, I cannot make open threads anymore, ever again.

Message acknowledged. We appreciate your good work. And godspeed, Grognor.

El psy congroo.

Over the past month, I have started taking melatonin supplements, instigated a new productivity system, implemented significant changes in diet and begun a new fitness routine. February is also a month where I anticipate changes in my mood. I find myself moderately depressed and highly irritable with no situational cause, and I have no idea which of these things, if any, are responsible.

This is not ideal.

I'd been considering breaking my calendar down into two-week blocks, and staging interventions in accordance with this. Then the restless spirit of Paul Graham sat on my shoulder and told me to turn it into an amazing web service that would let people assign themselves into self-experimental cohorts, where they're algorithmically assigned to balanced blocks so that effects of overlapping interventions can be teased apart.

I've never really gotten that into the whole Quantified Self thing, but I'd be keen to see if something like this existed already. If not, I'd consider putting such a thing together.

Any discussion/observations on this general subject?

Then the restless spirit of Paul Graham sat on my shoulder and told me to turn it into an amazing web service that would let people assign themselves into self-experimental cohorts, where they're algorithmically assigned to balanced blocks so that effects of overlapping interventions can be teased apart.

So it's a web service that would spit out a random Latin square and then run ANOVA on the results for you?

I don't think I've heard of such a thing. (Most people who would follow the balanced design and understand the results are already able to do it for themselves in R/Stata/SPSS etc.) Statwing.com might have something useful, they seemed to be headed in that direction of 'making statistics easy'.

I was imagining a site that would look at all the different things you're trying at the moment, look at all the things other people are trying, and give you a macro-schedule for starting them that works towards establishing cyclicality across all users.

It could also manage your micro-schedule, (prompt you to take a pill, do twenty sit-ups, squirt cold water in your right ear, etc.), ask for metrics and let users log salient information and observations. Come to think of it, once that infrastructure is already in place, there's no reason you couldn't open it up as a platform for more legitimate and formal trials.

Mm. So not just scheduling your own interventions but try to balance across users too... No, I don't know of anything like that. CureTogether actually got some research published, but I don't think randomization or balancing was involved. (And trying to get nootropics or self-help geeks to collectively do something is like trying to herd deaf cats into pushing wet spaghetti...)

When I found myself depressed and irritable on a diet, it seemed to be evidence that I was hungry. Is there any food or drink that you can try consuming to stave off that feeling, while still following the diet? As an example my diet allowed me to consume unlimited amounts of unprocessed fruit, so if I felt depressed and irritable, I could eat that until I felt better, and not hurt my diet at all.

I've ruled out hunger/low blood sugar as a simple causal factor. I imagine it's a combination of factors, but I'm annoyed at myself for implementing so many changes at once and not being able to determine efficacy or side-effects as a result.

If you've ruled out hunger, is there anyone like a spouse, girlfriend, roomate, relative or coworker, who you meet regularly in person? I've found that they can often help you alleviate the symptoms and talk out this kind of problem to determine possible causes.

Exception: If they are themselves the cause of the problem, this may not be helpful.

This is somewhat trickier over the internet because we don't know you as well, and we can't pick up as easily on emotional cues. People who know you better are more likely to have access to background information to piece together things, and would be able to judge your reactions to proposed ideas better.

I appreciate your concern, though the point of this post was to solicit discussion of intervention management, not my emotional problems :-)

Yes, on looking at your original post again, I'm getting somewhat off track, sorry about that.

Trying to go back to your original topic, my experience with Quantified Self /Lifehacking style methods is quite limited and appears to have a notable correlative factor, which is social support. All of the lifehacking methods (I can think of two so far) that I used that were accompanied with support from other people currently appear to be working well. The one that I can think of that did not have the support of others didn't. That being said, that isn't much evidence.

If this is the case, than I would expect whether or not the people who assign themselves into self-experimental cohorts get to discuss their plans/implementations with other people in their cohorts would substantially affect the results (Unless you specifically had one cohort that allowed for discussion with other cohort members and one cohort that did not.)

As you seem to recognize in your reply to Gwern, this probably cannot function as a stand-alone feature, but needs to sit atop a Quantified Self platform. The minimal system is one that just keeps track of your data, while making data entry easier than existing systems. The next step is to figure out what things you're tracking correspond to what things I'm tracking. This is difficult to combine with the flexibility of allowing the tracking of anything.

Why haven't you gotten into the Quantified Self thing? At the very least, they probably have better answers to this question.

Quantified Self seems like one of those things you have to be into, and I'm just not that into it.

It seems to me that a lot of the QS-types take an almost recreational pleasure in what they're doing. I understand that. I get a similar sort of pleasure from other things, but not this. I'd like the information, but there's only so much effort I'm prepared to spend on getting it.

It seems plausible to me that traditional financial advice assumes that you have traditional goals (e.g. eventually marrying, eventually owning a house, eventually raising a family, and eventually retiring). Suppose you are an aspiring effective altruist and willing to forgo one or more of these. How does that affect how closely your approach to finances should adhere to traditional financial advice?

I would say that at the beginning you have to make a choice -- will you contribute financially or personally?

If you want to contribute financially, you simply want to maximize your income, minimize your expenses, and donate the money to effective charities. (You only minimize your expenses to the level where it does not hurt your income. For example if keeping the high income requires you to have a car and expensive clothes, then the car and clothes are necessary expenses. Also you need to protect your health, including your mental health: sometimes you have to relax to avoid burning out.) Focus on your professional skills and networking.

If you want to contribute personally, you need to pay your living expenses, either from donated money, or by retiring early (the latter is probably less effective). Focus on social skills and research.

The house and family seem unnecessary (at least for the model strawman altruist).

I have been reading up on religious studies (yes, I ignored that generally sound advice never to study anything with the word 'studies' in the name) in order to better understand Chinese religion.

Unexpectedly, I have found the native concepts are useful (perhaps even more useful) outside the realm of religion. That is to say, distinctions like universalist/particularist, conversion/heritage, and concepts like orthodoxy, orthopraxy, reification, etc... are useful for thinking about apparently "non-religious" ideologies (including, to some extent, my own).

My first instinct when hearing a claim is to try and figure out if it is true, but I fear I have been missing the point (since much of the time, the truth of the claim is irrelevant to the speaker) and instead should focus more on the function a given (stated) belief plays in the life (especially the social life) of the person making the assertion (at least, on the margin).