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Unfortunately I am busy from 2-5 on Sundays, but I would certainly like to attend a future Yale meetup at some other time.

In 2002, Wizards of the Coast put out Star Wars: The Trading Card Game designed by Richard Garfield.

As Richard modeled the game after a miniatures game, it made use of many six-sided dice. In combat, cards' damage was designated by how many six-sided dice they rolled. Wizards chose to stop producing the game due to poor sales. One of the contributing factors given through market research was that gamers seem to dislike six-sided dice in their trading card game.

Here's the kicker. When you dug deeper into the comments they equated dice with "lack of skill." But the game rolled huge amounts of dice. That greatly increased the consistency. (What I mean by this is that if you rolled a million dice, your chance of averaging 3.5 is much higher than if you rolled ten.) Players, though, equated lots of dice rolling with the game being "more random" even though that contradicts the actual math.

Why is there that knee-jerk rejection of any effort to "overthink" pop culture? Why would you ever be afraid that looking too hard at something will ruin it? If the government built a huge, mysterious device in the middle of your town and immediately surrounded it with a fence that said, "NOTHING TO SEE HERE!" I'm pretty damned sure you wouldn't rest until you knew what the hell that was -- the fact that they don't want you to know means it can't be good.

Well, when any idea in your brain defends itself with "Just relax! Don't look too close!" you should immediately be just as suspicious. It usually means something ugly is hiding there.

"How is it possible! How is it possible to produce such a thing!" he repeated, increasing the pressure on my skull, until it grew painful, but I didn't dare object. "These knobs, holes...cauliflowers -" with an iron finger he poked my nose and ears - "and this is supposed to be an intelligent creature? For shame! For shame, I say!! What use is a Nature that after four billion years comes up with THIS?!"

Here he gave my head a shove, so that it wobbled and I saw stars.

"Give me one, just one billion years, and you'll see what I create!"

  • Stanislaw Lem, "The Sanatorium of Dr. Vliperdius" (trans. Michael Kandel)

That's certainly true. It seems to me that in this case, sbenthall was describing entities more akin to Google than to the Yankees or to the Townsville High School glee club; "corporations" is over-narrow but accurate, while "organizations" is over-broad and imprecise.

I think that as a general rule, specific examples and precise language always improve an argument.

I get the sense that "organization" is more or less a euphemism for "corporation" in this post. I understand that the term could have political connotations, but it's hard (for me at least) to easily evaluate an abstract conclusion like "many organizations are of supra-human intelligence and strive actively to enhance their cognitive powers" without trying to generate concrete examples. Imprecise terminology inhibits this.

When you quote lukeprog saying

It would be a kind of weird corporation that was better than the best human or even the median human at all the things that humans do. [Organizations] aren’t usually the best in music and AI research and theory proving and stock markets and composing novels.

should the word "corporation" in the first sentence be "[organization]"?

The typing quirks actually serve a purpose in the comic. Almost all communication among the characters takes place through chat logs, so the system provides a handy way to visually distinguish who's speaking. They also reinforce each character's personality and thematic associations - for example, the character quoted above (Aranea) is associated with spiders, arachnids in general, and the zodiac sign of Scorpio.

Unfortunately, all that is irrelevant in the context of a Rationality Quote.

Dear, my soul is grey
With poring over the long sum of ill;
So much for vice, so much for discontent...
Coherent in statistical despairs
With such a total of distracted life,
To see it down in figures on a page,
Plain, silent, clear, as God sees through the earth
The sense of all the graves, - that's terrible
For one who is not God, and cannot right
The wrong he looks on. May I choose indeed
But vow away my years, my means, my aims,
Among the helpers, if there's any help
In such a social strait? The common blood
That swings along my veins, is strong enough
To draw me to this duty.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, 1856

A simple technique I used to use was that whenever I started to read or found a link for an article that made me uncomfortable or instinctively want to avoid it, I forced myself to read it. After a few times I got used to it and didn't have to do this anymore.

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