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Gun Control: How would we know?

There's a science question here, and there's an engineering question here. They are two different questions.

Science asks, what are the numbers, what are the likelihoods? And there is always going to be more study needed. Consider that people are still arguing over evolution, there may never be numbers so compelling that they convince everyone.

The engineering question asks what we could do to change things. Engineers don't get to wait for better numbers, they have to do the best they can with what they've got. We don't really know why the violent crime rate has been going down for the last three decades, when everyone expected the rate to rise. Was it declining lead levels? Legalized abortion? How much consensus would we need to do more of it?

Lots of focus on fiction media- the videogames and movies that are supposed to be shaping young people's thoughts. I don't see news people asking questions on what effects their own reporting has had on the problem. Roger Eber thttp://boingboing.net/2012/12/15/roger-ebert-on-how-the-press-r.html and Charlie Brooker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PezlFNTGWv4 both make a compelling case that it's the way these events are reported that makes their recurrence inevitable.

Ultimimately, i think you have to decide how deeply you want to question these things. James Howard Kunstler http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1ZeXnmDZMQ&feature=youtu.be#t=14m29s points to the architecture we live in as a primary source of dispair. I think he's got a point too.

Mass shootings are not the only symptom that we are doing it wrong. I doubt that it's even the worst symptom of us doing it wrong. They're just a symptom that few would disagree about that something needs changing.

Gun Control: How would we know?

Focusing on the money makes a lot of sense to me. If we are honest with ourselves about the monetary incentives at work here, the whole discussion gets more realistic.

I'm also reminded of the historical conversation having to do with the 13th amendment: In one swoop of the pen, a vast sum of money was wiped off the books, the value of all that property which was now nullified.

I don't have a lot of ideas on how to make guns less profitable- unlike drugs, their high value has less to do with their legal status. But I don't think the gun lobby has got the nation's best interests in mind.

Gun Control: How would we know?

Since the Kern County shooting, I'm noticing that this topic (and problem) is not going away. John Stewart nailed it: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/tue-january-8-2013-stanley-mcchrystal

-where it's a problem about framing. But it's a comedy program, not a political forum.

[disclaimer: I may be a newbie, but if I'm breaking a rule here, I can usually hear it without freaking out.]

The main problem I'm having, is that gun violence in schools makes me angry, and that makes it harder to think straight. But if gun violence in schools doesn't make someone angry, then I'm not sure I want to talk to them. Does that push me over into the partisan camp?

Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story

"becoming rationalist"- there's an 'ism' there that raises my hackles a little. But there was one experience not long ago that piqued my interest in cognitive bias: I quipped to a friend, "When I do it, it's processing. When you do it, it's drama."

He called that attribution bias, and now I've started a collection of biases that I think I understand in my gut. Most of them seem highly mental and theoretical, but that's mostly because I have so few points of contact with other people.

Why Are Individual IQ Differences OK?

How about, "I'm Joe and I make $200,000 a year"? or; "I'm Joe and I drive a 2011 Lexus"?

If someone needs to be that specific about themselves, people are right to wonder about that person's motives. There is information we have about ourselves that's not supposed to be secret, but it is considered private- no the first thing you say aloud at a party.

Context is important here too: A mensa board is unlikely to take offense with an IQ comment. If you talk about your interest in DeviantArt, people might want you to be even more specific. A geneology board is a good place to talk about one's ancestry.

In each case, it's people's interpretation of Joe's social ability that we are reacting to, not just what he's saying.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

I'm not entirely sure though that I agree with the statement that Aspergers is "a form of autism"

If anything, I'd be tempted to say that autism is a more pronounced degree of asperger's. I certainly catch myself in the spectrum that includes ADD as well.

The whole idea of neurodiversity is kind of exciting, actually. If there can be more than one way to appropriately interact with society, everyone gets richer.

[Link] Hey Extraverts: Enough is Enough

Office stuff is different from carpentry, but I know that one person is less productive (per person) than two, and two less than three. Four is usually overkill. Beyond that, carpentry teams are organized in groups of three when they're not singletons.

I don't know if the sheer number of items on the board is a good measure of productivity. Under certain circumstances, a brainstormer might edit what she says more tightly. I suspect that above a certain number of people, there isn't enough time for everyone to be heard in any case.

I have a hunch that for office environments, the ideal team size is somewhere between 1 and however many co-workers you are forced to endure. I've been at really effective meetings: they aren't "productive" so much as "efficient". Rather than inspiring everyone, they end up with everyone knowing what's been done and what needs to be done, all with the least time spent.

There's certainly a case to be made for fewer meetings that are better run, and smaller teams may make sense, but I'm not convinced that this study has anything to say about introverts vs extroverts.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

That's not actually what I meant, but the challenge seems interesting. lemme see...

Reciprocity? (I'm looking for a word to describe what happens when Islam holds Jesus up as a prophet worth listening to, but Christians afford no such courtesy to Muhammad.)

Faith (Firefly's Book asks Mal, "when I ask you to have faith, why do you think I'm talking about God?")

Ethics vs Morals (few people I know seem to recognize a difference, let alone agree on it)

Moral Class (If we were to encounter a powerful extraterrestrial, how would we know they weren't God? How would they understand the question if we asked them?)

I guess the words weren't so small after all...

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hello, newbie here. I'm intrigued by the premise of this forum.

About me: I think a lot- mostly by myself. That's trained me in some really lazy habits that I am looking to change now.

In the last few weeks, I noticed what I think are some elemental breakdowns in human politics. When things go bad between people, I think it can be attributed to one of three causes: immaturity, addiction, or insanity. I would love to discuss this further, hoping someone's interested.

I wasn't going to mention theism, but it's here in the main post, and suddenly I'm interested: I trend toward the athiestic- I'm really unimpressed with my grandmother's deity, and "supernatural" doesn't seem a useful or interesting category of phenomena. But I like being agnostic more than atheist, just on a few tiny little wiggle-words that seem powerfully interesting to me, and I notice that other people seem to find survival value in it. So that's probably something I will want to talk about.

Many of my more intellectual friends and neighbors can seem like bullies a lot of the time. So I like the word "rationality" in the title of this place, much more than I like "science" or "logic". When I see the war of the darwin fish on people's bumpers, I remember that the Romans still get a lot of credit for their accomplishments even though math and science as we know it barely existed. Obsession with mere logic seems to put an awful lot of weight on some unexamined premises- and people don't talk in formal logic any more than they math in roman numerals.

I'm not against vaccination, but I am a caregiver to a profoundly autistic child. It's frustrating to try to have any sort of conversation about autism without it devolving into a vaccination tirade.

I don't think of myself as a 9/11 "truther", and yet I still have many questions about those events and the response that trouble me. Some of these questions are getting answered now that the 10 year anniversary has seen the release of more information. As with the Kennedy assassination, I don't think the full story will ever be widely known. I'm cynical enough that I doubt that it matters.

SETI fascinates me. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs- not so much. Whitley Streiber is actually kind of interesting, when I can muster up the required grains of salt.

Anyway, it feels a bit like I'm crawling out from under a rock, not sure what the weather is really like out here. I want to outgrow the pleasures of cleverness, hoping for some happiness in wisdom.