Algernoq

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Long Covid Is Not Necessarily Your Biggest Problem

Mad-Eye Moody had once worked out how long it had taken him, in retrospect, to achieve what he now considered a decent level of caution - weighed up how much experience it had taken him to get good instead of lucky - and had begun to suspect that most people died before they got there.

You are here to learn how to defend yourselves against the Dark Arts. Which means, let us be very clear on this, defending yourselves against Dark Wizards.

My sense is that the political risk exceeds the disease risk.

Covid-19 Points of Leverage, Travel Bans and Eradication

Father had told Draco that to fathom a strange plot, one technique was to look at what ended up happening, assume it was the intended result, and ask who benefited.

What if we assume that the COVID pandemic was the intended result?

Cognitive Impacts of Cocaine Use

Generally, people are biased toward doing what is easy and pleasurable, and making excuses to justify it.

Anecdotally, two programmers who might have occasionally used cocaine ended up quitting their programming jobs to become artists, and have been slowly spending their savings for a few years, working toward making a living through their art (unlikely, they're OK but not that great yet) and thinking the same tier of programming job will be available for them to go back to (doubtful). I strongly suggested that they should both go into AI programming, but they are too normie to listen. So my anecdotal evidence is that the cognitive impact of cocaine is that it makes people make irrational decisions. 

Open and Welcome Thread – July 2021

Human nature suggests that an all-powerful council-of-elders always becomes corrupt, so that approach might not be possible either.

Open and Welcome Thread – July 2021

Good luck man. I did a different kind of engineering, but here is some advice I wish I had heard 15 years ago:

https://www.calnewport.com/blog/2009/03/12/some-thoughts-on-grad-school/ 

Thought #6: Listen to the Married Graduate Students and Ignore the Unmarried Students Who Live in the Dorms

Students with families have perspective on life and friends outside of the university. They tend to be happy and productive and think sleeping on the futon in your office is childish. They also bathe every day. Which is a nice bonus. The students who are unmarried and living in the dorm have probably escaped, thus far, exposure to the real world in any meaningful form, and because of this they are likely to have a warped sense of personal worth and work habits, and suffer from weird guilt issues. Ignore them.

In other words, don't try to be some sort of software ronin: this is less effective than having enough balance and boundaries to maintain some relationships that aren't about your special interest. If you would rather do programming than be around people, that's OK but it's still good to do other activities with other people even if they are not "useful". What is meant by "usefulness" if not you and others enjoying what you have created? Generally speaking, if you are doing work to "save the world" rather than for cash money, you are being lied to and underpaid, and the dollar amount that you are being underpaid is the amount you value feeling like you are "saving the world".

Also, and this is not a popular opinion on this forum, I think Elon Musk has the right idea about AI Safety. This is heavily cultural, and Elon's proposal (let everyone grid-link themselves to their own all-powerful AI) is in line with culturally Protestant values, while the LW proposal (appoint an all-powerful council of elders who decree who is and is not worthy to use AI technology, based on their own research into the doctrine) is in line with culturally  Catholic values. I will never give up my heritage of freedom, my right of self-defense, my right to privacy on my own computer in my own home, and my cultural ideal of equality of all before the law and before the Creator. I look forward to healthy debate with the AI Safety Experts. The American heritage of "fair play" and civil rights is a defense against totalitarian government. The AI Safety Expert Panel would be in a position to cause the AI equivalent of the Irish Potato Famine by hoarding all the AI and distributing it in an "equitable" way that does not include my fellow Irish. The great thing about freedom is that I get to make up my own mind about what software I want to use, create, or buy; the AI Safety Expert Panel does not and will never have the right to confiscate my rightful property; and this heritage of freedom will save the AI Safety Expert Panel from accidentally becoming the dystopia that they seek to prevent.

Fire Law Incentives

It occurs to me that if PG&E were evil, it might decide that it's cheaper to secretly hire 'fire vigilantes' to start fires which PG&E is not responsible for, than to bury the cables.

Progress, Stagnation, & Collapse

I think they went extinct ultimately because these effects started a process that gradually invalidated the preconditions for reliable cultural transmission in that species

Yeah. I hope Youtube knows what it's doing.

Progress, Stagnation, & Collapse

In the videogame "Starcraft", it's economics (macro) that wins wars. A player can win every single battle (micro) and still lose the game, if the other player's economy is improving their relative position faster than they are losing militarily. A common tactic is to make small attacks on the other player's economy production units, attempting to do a lot of economic damage without fighting any military units. The true scope of the damage might not be obvious, since the "fog of war" conceals most of what the other player is doing. I remember one game where I thought I was doing quite well, despite several early attacks damaging my economy, and then suddenly a giant army just marched through my base destroying everything. Not good. It seems that for a city to be prosperous it needs to have an economy capable of producing a powerful military force, then actually use that economy to produce a powerful military force. It's probably not a healthy way to live, but sometimes when I look out at a city I think back to my Starcraft days. When I feel good about the city, I imagine unit production buildings and dug-in artillery as far as the eye can see. When I feel bad about the city, I imagine Zerglings and fire. This is probably not a healthy way to live, but it does focus the mind.

Thinking back, I had some friends who told me that I should focus more on doing what I enjoyed, and focus less on doing the right thing. In retrospect, those were bad friends who wanted to justify their own lack of vision.

"The Last Psychiatrist" (blog) explains that it's easier to reform society than to reform oneself, and people often look to fix the society around them instead of looking to fix themselves. The apocalypse to avoid is not of society collapsing, but of the individual collapsing: of failing to obtain a house and have children, or whatever most represents individual collapse.

Working With Monsters

This is a beautifully written story. One criticism is that it seems to have a Moral that assumes the Blue cryonicist acts as he does in the story... an entertaining story, but limits the applicability of the Moral. In particular, signing up for cryonics and going out in a blaze of glory are really quite opposite personality traits if you think about it.

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