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I like this post and agree that acausal coordination is not weird fringe behavior necessarily. But thinking about it explicitly in the context of making a decision, is. In normal circumstances, we have plenty of non-acausal ways of discussing what's going on, as you discuss. The explicit consideration is something that becomes important only outside the contexts most people act in.


That said, I disagree with the taxes example in particular, on the grounds that that's not how government finances work in a world of fiat currency controlled by said government. Extra taxes paid won't change how much gets spent or on what, it'll just remove money from circulation with possible downstream effects on inflation. Also, in some states in the US (like Massachusetts this year), where the government doesn't control the currency, there are rules that surpluses have to get returned in the form of tax refunds. So any extra state taxes I paid, would just get redistributed across the population in proportion to income.

In the ancestral environment, population densities were very low. My understanding is that almost everyone in your band would be at least somewhat related, or have an ambiguous degree of relatedness, and would be someone you'd rely on again and again. How often do we think interactions with true non-relatives actually happened? 


I'm not sure there's anything that needs to be explained here except "evolution didn't stumble upon a low-cost low-risk reliable way for humans to defect against non-relatives for personal advantage as much as a hypothetical intelligently designed organism could have." Is there?

Very little of the value I got out of my university degree came from the exams or the textbooks. All of that I could have done on my own. Much of the value of the lectures could have been replicated by lecture videos. The fancy name on my resume is nice for the first few years (especially graduating in the middle of the 2009 recession) and then stops mattering. 

But the smaller classes, the ones with actual back and forth with actually interested professors? The offhand comments that illustrate how experts actually approach thinking about their fields? The opportunities to work in actual labs even though anyone sane knew no undergrad was going to offer much more than a useful pair of hands in the 3-4 months they could devote to a project? The insights into how science and academia and industry actually work and what that meant for what kind of career I wanted? Those I don't think I would have gotten anywhere else.

Then if it can compute infinite sets as large as the reals, it can handle any set of cardinality beth-1, but not beth-2 or larger. But because the cardinality of the reals is itself formally undecidable by finite logic systems (or by infinite logic systems of size less than aleph-w), I think this doesn't give us much specificity about the limits of what that means, or where it falls on the kinds of arithmetical hierarchy schemas finite logic systems enable us to define.

For my own sanity this is about where I stop trying to delve too deep for understanding, and resort to handwaving poetic license:

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

For at the gates that Cantor flung apart (and Hilbert later),
Angelic fleas cavort in hosts inordinately greater.

As I understand it, that point about "somewhat arbitrary choices in how finite logic should be extended to infinitary" would also include, for every one of the infinitely many undecidable-by-a-non-hypercomputer propositions, a free choice of whether to include a proposition or its negation as an axiom. Well, almost. Each freely chosen axiom has infinitely many consequences that are the no longer free choices. But it's still (countably) infinitely many choices. But if you have countably infinitely many binary choices, that's like choosing a random real number between 0 and 1, so there are uncountably many ways of making that extension, each of which results in a distinct infinitary system. Your proposed hypercomputer can generate all of these.

Computing uncountably infinite "stuff" is not well defined as stated. So all I can say to if it can "solve undecidable problems" is "Yes, some of them." Which ones depends on what level of hypercomputer you've made, and how high up the arithmetical hierarchy it can take you. 

There is a generalized halting problem: no oracle can solve its own halting problem. 

Since you mentioned countability, I'll say I do not know whether any particular type pf hypercomputer would be capable of assigning a specific cardinality (-n for some n) to the reals. 

I can see how that might help me eat less, but unless you chose the seven very carefully to be potentially nutritionally complete, sustaining that seems like a path to the kinds of deficiencies that made the agricultural revolution cost humans half a foot of height for most of the last ten millennia.

Yes, this sounds completely right. One unusually good doctor I had told me, "In the right patient, any drug can have any effect." It took me another four years to solve that particular problem, ten years in total, and I'm still concerned that when I see my new PCP (previous one retired) he might try to change my meds that've been working for 5 years.

Most doctors are too cautious, for whatever (often justified) reasons, to just try things. Most really don't know how to respect what patients know about themselves or to interact with an actually-intelligent patient. I've had doctors tell me, "I don't know what to do with what you're telling me. Most patients wouldn't even be able to notice these kinds  details and put them together, so none of the research captures them." And then they usually decline to try anything based on best guesses after first- and nth-line interventions fail.

It's also true for veterinarians, btw. My cat gets chronic bacterial UTIs. We spent years having vets and specialists tell us, "Nope, unless you spend hundreds of dollars on a cystocentesis every six weeks, we'll insist the problem is behavioral and stress related and not give antibiotics. No, it doesn't matter that the $20 course of amoxicillin worked the last 10 times and that if it did again the symptoms would be mostly gone before the cysto results even come back. No, we don't count it as evidence that you can tell a flare up is coming a few days in advance by the change in urine smell. Your cat just needs to suffer until the culture comes back and you have to deal with her being completely incontinent and dripping blood," (we diaper her at night and when she's infected). "Also, you should have us do a cystoscopy even though we probably can't because they don't make a scope small enough for a six pound cat but you'd have to pay anyways if we try and can't, and you should do an MRI that if it shows anything we almost certainly won't be able to fix it surgically so it won't give any new treatment options," (we've done ultrasounds and they don't find anything). Finally our own vet gave us as many bottles as we wanted and said to use them as needed, and everything was fine for a few years. We also cleaned up her diet and found out a big part of the problem was a prescription gastrointestinal health food she'd been on for a previous condition (or at least, the food interacted with a suspected anatomical defect that no one can find because she's too tiny for tests to show it) (we think she can't tolerate brewer's yeast? maybe?). She only had two infections the whole next year. She's now 13, and just had to switch antibiotics because she started showing signs of resistance to amoxicillin after 5 years, but we honestly hadn't thought she'd make it even to 10.

They tell doctors, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. But there are also deer, and elk, and antelope, and buffalo, and lots of other hoofed animals. And sometimes there are zebras!

It's been years since I've talked to anyone working on this technology, but IIRC one of the issues was that in principle you could prevent the lag from leading to bad data that kills you if the pump could also provide glucagon, but there was no way to make glucagon shelf-stable enough to have in a pump. Apparently that changed as of 2019/2020, or is in the process of changing, so maybe someone will make a pump with both.

Thanks! I've only just started reading and there's really good stuff here.

My own take: in order for the zeitgeist to be optimistic on progress, it has to seem possible for things to get better. And for things to get better, it has to be possible for them to be good. But in most forums, I find, it's almost impossible to call anything good without being torn to shreds from multiple sides. We've raised the bar beyond what mere mortals can achieve, and retroactively damn the past's achievements by applying standards that even now are very far from universal. It's like Calvinist predestination, but the total number of the elect is zero, so there's not much social incentive to bother trying to improve things. Thankfully, most people try to be and go good anyway, based on their understanding of what that means.

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