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Dark Arts 101: Using presuppositions

whether assange qualifies as a journalist is/could be relevant because the first amendment specifically protects the freedom of the press. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

ergo, if assange is a member of the press, it's constitutionally harder to go after him than if not.

no one is saying that if he's not a journalist, the separately-mentioned freedom of speech doesn't apply to everyone else.

You Be the Jury: Survey on a Current Event

ak guilty: 0.1

rs guilty: 0.1

rg guilty: 0.9

assessment of my opinion vs poster's opinion: can't guess at your actual probabilities, but probability similar general take identifying guede as vastly more likely to be guilty than the other two.

sources: small number (i estimate <5) of media stories covering the case that i've seen over recent months plus the wikipedia article as it read at a little after 4 pm today.

Your Most Valuable Skill

sifting information from noise / getting to the heart of a problem: skimming through a lot of material, getting rid of the unnecessary crap, and picking out the things that are really crucial.

i think i've always tended toward that mode of thinking, but the first time i remember consciously focusing on it was in a philosophy course that required turning in three essays per week addressing specific ethical questions in under 300 words.

the caveat on this one is not to overdo it. i really value my ultra-sensitive BS meter, and it pretty much earns me my daily bread, but i have to be very careful about type II errors.

Cascio in The Atlantic, more on cognitive enhancement as existential risk mitigation

there's also the possibility of causality in the other direction -- that good governance can raise the IQ of a population (through any number of mechanisms -- better nutrition, better health care, better education, etc).

Great Books of Failure

tall ships down

subject: the final voyages and sinkings of five large sailing vessels

big lessons: 1) if you have a weakness (personally, in your competence or temperament, or structurally, in your vessel or equipment) and spend enough time in an unpredictable environment, it will eventually be exploited. 2) the fact that an environment is unpredictable does not relieve you from the responsibility of considering risks and working to minimize them. 3) we often have an inkling about our weaknesses, but if we've gotten by so far without major incident, we see no pressing need to address them. 4) if you're the captain/leader of an operation, know what the hell you're doing. if you're the equivalent of an ordinary seaman, make it a priority to become competent enough to identify a leader who doesn't know what the hell s/he's doing.

My Way

Until a man sees his own argumentativeness as a distinctively male trait, he'll see >women as abnormally passive (departures from the norm) rather than thinking "I am >a male and therefore argumentative" (in the same way that women now identify >various parts of themselves as feminine).

you allude to the dangers that follow from this; i think one issue with making too much of distinctively gendered traits is that it sets up expectations that can be socially and professionally costly to violate. i'm female. i'm argumentative. i'm competitive. i would not describe myself as nurturing, although i think it's a very admirable quality. but as far as i can tell, i don't embody feminine qualities. if those are something i should take pride in, should their absence be shameful? and of course, the social expectations that accompany the biological state of being female are part of what keep women out of high-paying and high-powered jobs, etc. i think this is why many feminists are so reluctant to accept separate male and female norms. (the problem cuts both ways, of course. i've known a few non-masculine heterosexual men who've endured social problems because they didn't fit the male mold.)

saying it's OK for men and women to see themselves as inherently different on traits other than gross anatomy is a bit easier when you're a man or woman who has the qualities you're "supposed" to have.

Welcome to Less Wrong!
  • handle: curious
  • location: NY
  • age: 27
  • education: BA, biology
  • occupation: journalist

OB reader/lurker. not much of a commenter -- i often don't get around to reading posts thoroughly until they're a bit old (at least in 'blog time') and the discussion has moved on...

am i an "aspiring rationalist"? maybe. i want to be alert to irrational behavior/decisions in my life. i'm not yet ready to commit that i will consistently abandon those behaviors and decisions, but i at least want to acknowledge when they're not rationally defensible.