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Actual tech/science smart people buy -- or build -- gadgets because they're useful or interesting for tinkering. The "middle class" of tech/science buy gadgets because they're fashionable. The former is perfectly happy having an old example of a gadget if it performs admirably and is not on the edge of the person's tinkering interests; the latter discards old gadgets and buys new. As a result, you basically get two kinds of early adopters. One is the person who consciously adopts new tech, spending money for status, and the other is the person who acquires new tech sporadically, or builds it from parts, or even invents it, because of a tinkering (aka hacking) urge or a specific functionality need.

Obviously, this is an oversimplification, and the lines are typically not so clearly drawn, but there is a definite unfalsifiability issue for the actual tech/science "upper class" as MichaelVassar suggests. The interesting thing about that, though, is that these people are not doing what they're doing to stay ahead of the "middle class" Joneses the way the clothing/fashion upper class do things; they're just doing what intrigues or helps them individually.

In the end, though, a certain amount of style consciousness is necessary to maintaining a tech/science "upper class" status, because people who are too badly unstylish are going to be regarded with disdain even in tech/science circles no matter how smart they are and how interesting their gadgetry, except in the most extreme cases (Hawking, for instance). It helps to write books, of course, especially when your field doesn't deal with visible gadgetry (e.g. cosmology).

I fail to see how not knowing what someone meant somehow compels you to make up elaborate fantasies about what the person meant, or even excuses it.

. . . and of course nobody ever does anything other than actually cast a vote when strategizing for the future. There's no way anyone could possibly, say, make the voting part of a grander strategy.

. . . and I suppose you probably think that I think voting is a winning strategy in some way, basically because I pointed out some possible strategies that might seem like a good idea to someone, somewhere, as part of an attempt to remind you that the one-vote-right-now tactic may not be the only reason someone casts a vote.

In short, you assume far too much, then blame me. Good job. That's certainly rational.


I won't pretend it's a great thing to vote if you promise you'll stop pretending I pretended any such thing, or that I was talking about anything other than comparisons of voting strategies.

The US suffers from a major problem with institutionalizing false dilemmas in politics. Playing the long game as a voter might well involve actions intended to lead to eventual disillusionment in that regard. Whether your time is better spent, in the long run, doing something other than voting (and learning about your voting options) is a somewhat distinct matter.

In short, you suggested that at this time rational voters cannot win by voting, which I took to mean you meant they could not get a winning result in the election in which they vote right now. My response was meant to convey the idea that there are voting strategies which could lead to a win several elections down the line (as part of a larger strategy). You then replied, for some reason, by suggesting that voting is not as useful in general as inventing something -- which may be true without in any way contradicting my point.

Don't forget to take the long game into account.

You were right when you described "along one dimension" as being simplistic. There are other options than extreme-left, left, centrist, right, and extreme-right (for instance). Engaging in false dilemma reasoning as an excuse to vote for a mainstream candidate with no interest in sending political messages encouraging reform is not particularly rational.

It's the "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from weevils!" tactic. Well . . . maybe not weevils, but not evil either, in this case.

Your objection to the ultimate utility of avoidance doesn't seem to take the desire to avoid distraction and wasted time even when successfully resisting the biological urges toward relationship-establishing behavior into account. Even if you (for some nonspecific definition of "you") simply find yourself waylaid for a few minutes by a pretty girl, but ultimately ready to move on, the time spent not only in those few moments but also in thinking about it later on may prove a distraction from other things, regardless of whether you allow yourself to get caught up enough to actively pursue a relationship with her.


If a stressful day is enough to give you a craving difficult to resist, I think that saying "anything less than complete abstinence has a chance of kickstarting the habit" is a misleading statement of how it works. It might be more accurate to say that every cigarette you have is one cigarette closer to having a habit you need to kick. It seems, in fact, that there's sort of a gradient of average craving from abstinence all the way up to two packs a day, with variances around those averages. It seems a bit obfuscatory to suggest that "complete abstinence" is the deciding factor, especially when considering the question "When does complete abstinence start? Why doesn't it start after the next cigarette?" After all, the "real" complete abstinence has already failed, if you had to quit smoking in the first place.

. . . but that's kind of off the topic of the worksheet example.

. . . or maybe it's just the manifestation of Impostor Syndrome.

Key to Memetic Value:

Make sure the landing page is simple, to the point, with no necessary scrolling to get the entire message in a matter of only a few moments, and without clutter. Perhaps include a simple, clear diagram -- but that's not necessary, as long as you have a simple, brief textual explanation that dominates the page. Include a small number of obvious links to other pages on your site for additional information if you want to go into greater detail. If you want to include links to off-site resources, they should probably be collected on a single page other than the main page, unless you do not intend to ever have more than one off-site link for such information. Make sure the page is still clear and quickly absorbed by visitors even with JavaScript and CSS turned off in the browser. Whatever you do, don't use Flash, Java, or any kind of animation or video on the main page. None.

Thanks. That is an entertaining read.

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