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"Have you tried flying into a third world nation today and dragging them out of backwardness and poverty? What would make it easier in the 13th century?"

I think this is an interesting angle. How comparable are 'backward' nations today with historical nations? Obvious differences in terms of technology existing in modern third world even if the infrastructure/skills to create and maintain it don't. In that way, I suppose they're more comparable to places in the very early middle ages, when people used Roman buildings etc. that they coudn't create themselves. But I also wonder how 13th century government compares to modern governments that we'd consider 'failed states'.

I think this is the vital thing: not 'does academia work perfectly', but 'can you work more effectively THROUGH academia'. Don't know for sure the answer is yes, but it definitely seems like one key way to influence policy. Decision makers in politics and elsewhere aren't going to spend all their time looking at each field in detail, they'll trust whatever systems exist in each field to produce people who seem qualified to give a qualified opinion.

Isn't there an argument that having a million voices synthesising and popularising and ten doing detailed research is much less productive than the opposite? Feels a bit like Aristophanes:
"Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much"

Everyone going around discussing their overarching synthesis of everything sounds like it would produce a lot of talk and little research

They often look the same.

You make a bit of effort to make conversation with someone you don't know: they give the minimum responses, move away when they can do so, and don't reciprocate initiation.

This could be shyness or arrogance. Very tough to tell the difference. Plus the two can actually be connected: if you see yourself as very different from others, the natural instinct is a mixture of insecurity ('I don't fit!') with arrogance ('I see things these guys don't'). I think the main way not to end up with a mix of both is just if one is very strong: if you're too insecure to be arrogant or too arrogant to be insecure.

I basically agree with you, but I think situation B to quite that extent is rare. And of course identifying similarity to that is pretty open to bias if you just don't like that movement.

Concrete example - I used to use the Hebrew name of God in theological conversations, as this was normal at my college. I noticed a Jewish classmate of mine was wincing. I discussed it with him, he found it uncomfortable, I stopped doing it. Didn't cost me anything, happy to do it.

Also, I think some of this is bleeding over from 'I am not willing to inconvenience myself' to actively enjoying making a point (possibly in some vague sense that it will help them reform, though not sure if that's evidenced). I can get that instinct, and the habit of "punishing" people who push things can make sense in game theory terms. But I think the idea of not feeling duty-bound is different to getting to the position where some commenters might turn UP the music.

You seem to be equivocating between 'a step towards being a utility monster' and 'being a utility monster'. Someone asking you to turn your music down is surely more likely to just be them actually having an issue with noise. There are literally hundreds of things I do without even feeling that strongly about them. So it seems eminently sensible to me that people tell me if they do matter a lot to them. If everyone in society gets to do that, even with a few free-riders, everyone ends up better off.

Obviously one way to organise the universally better off thing is to turn every interaction of this kind into a contractual agreement. But this is not how we deal with interactions between neighbours, generally. So you just act flexibly for others when asked unless you've got a fairly strong reason not to (including them constantly making unreasonable demands).

This reads like quite a lot of bile towards a hypothetical person who doesn't like loud music.

You don't know what the neighbour's tried, you're putting a lot of weight on the word 'complained', which can cover a range of different approaches, and you're speculating about her nefarious motivations.

In my experience with neighbours, co-workers, generally other people, it's best to assume that people aren't being dicks unless you have positive reasons to think they are. And to lean towards accommodation.

Interesting question. Not sure I agree with the premise, in that certainly where I live, I don't think there is a clear objective line of acceptable noise dictated by 'social norms'. I'd say that the social expectation should and does include reference to others' preferences and your own situation.

So if someone has a reason to dislike noise, you make more effort to avoid noise. But on the other hand, you're more tolerant of noise if, e.g. someone's just had a baby, than if they just like playing TV at maximum volume. Bit of give and take and all that.

Basically, I don't think there's really a hard division between 'objective requirement' and 'completely free favour you might choose to do' (unless the objective requirement is REALLY low, like at the legal level. But at that point doing what's 'required' would be seen almost universally as asshattery).

Social interaction is more complicated and blurry like that

Haven't seen this solution elsewhere: I think it's actually strong on its own terms, but doubt it's what Eliezer wants (I'm 90% sure it's about AI boxing, exploiting the reliability granted by Unbreakable Vows and parsetongue)

However, this being said, I think Harry could avoid imminent death by pointing out that if a prophecy says he'll destroy the world, then he presumably can't do that dead. Given that we have strong reasons to think prophecies can't be avoided, this doesn't mean killing him is safe, but the opposite - what Voldemort should do is make him immortal. Then the point at which he destroys the world can be delayed indefinitely. Most likely to a point when Voldemort gets bored and wants to die, after the heat death of the universe.

This isn't a great solution for Harry, because the best way to keep him alive would be paralysed/imprisoned in some fairly extreme way. But it should hit the criteria. The one really big point against it is that all this info is very available to Voldemort, so not sure why he hasn't come up with it himself.

I love this idea in general: but don't see how he could have faked the map, given:

"Did you tamper with thiss map to achieve thiss ressult, or did it appear before you by ssurprisse?"

"Wass ssurprisse," replied Professor Quirrell, with an overtone of hissing laughter. "No trickss."

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