All of df fd's Comments + Replies

Why I Work on Ads

again, I mostly agree with you. however a few thing I want to submit for consideration:

-unrelated but I am mildly miffed at the comparison of me to a child with the seeming implication of lack of knowledge, power and agency [also did you just called me weak will lol?]. Although this may not be the intended effect.

-If I make take my point to the extreme, say on one side of the spectrum we have what you describe "win-win" situation on the other imagine a chip in your brain that stimulates your pleasure centre when you think of buying the product. I am sure w... (read more)

7philh7dI'm very suspicious of this line of reasoning, since I could also say: "those men kissing in public didn't ask for my permission to put themselves in front of me". This isn't a knock-down rebuttal or anything, I just wanted to note this.
1Zolmeister10dYou have not produced evidence that billboards are generally 'criminal mind control', only that they violate norms for shared spaces for people like Banksy. Ultimately this boils down to local political disagreement, rather than some clever ploy by The Advertisers to get into your brain. This is strictly true in the sense that advertisement is negative cost and negative value, but that is exactly why it is used as a tool for producing otherwise difficult to coordinate public goods. To quote David Friedman:
4aphyer10dFair enough (and apologies for the rudeness). I do think I'd draw a pretty sharp distinction between 'ads dropped in public spaces where you cannot avoid seeing them' vs. 'ads on webpages that you watch in lieu of paying for things' - the latter seems much easier to avoid and much less likely to be harmful. (And as I understand things OP seems to be mostly working on the latter?)
Why I Work on Ads

while I agree with most of what you said and in an ideal world ad should work in a win-win manner as you described, I have cut out as many ads from my life as possible since they are significantly net harmful in my experience.

the problem that I found, and you don't seem to address, is that ads are not just a simple showing of "I have the stuff you may want". It is usually an attempt of manipulation using primarily superstimulus or social engineer to maximize profit for the advertisers. e.g. for a car ad they show happy people living exciting lives which ha... (read more)

2clone of saturn9dIt's actually worse than that -- the way the manipulation works is to induce you to compare the people in the ad with your own life, causing you to feel ugly, unlovable, like you're missing out on life, etc. and then to propose the product as a relief from this deliberately induced misery.
-3aphyer10dSo, this viewpoint is very harsh and I don't know how fully I endorse it, but my gut reaction is something like this: If you can't benefit from positive-sum informative advertising because you are incapable of watching a 15-second ad without succumbing to mind control, this is a problem with you rather than a problem with ads.The correct response is for you to avoid ads personally (and in fact many websites that use internet advertisements give you the option to pay instead, e.g. Youtube Premium), just as a child who cannot prepare food without cutting themselves should not be given a set of steak knives. It sounds like you are doing that already, so good for you! The correct response is not for you to try to prevent a positive-sum thing from existing for others, just as the correct response to a child getting their hands on a steak knife and cutting themselves should not be to try to ban steak knives for everyone else. Attempts to restrict advertisements on those grounds seem isomorphic to e.g. New York Mayor Bloomberg's infamous attempted ban on large sodas []. The justification there appeared to be 'I am incapable of existing in a world with large sodas without drinking too much soda and getting fat, therefore other people should be banned from positive-sum trade to protect me from my weakness without me needing to exert any effort.' The argument against soda seems to me a substantially stronger argument than the equivalent argument against ads: first, I think the harms of obesity are substantially larger than the harms of advertisements; and second, I think it is easier to personally avoid exposure to internet advertisements than it is to personally avoid exposure to large sodas.
df fd's Shortform

this is a web novel that explore a similar premise:

df fd's Shortform

For all the flak that Qanon is getting for their beliefs and their allegedly atrocious epistemic hygiene, one must admire them for at least one thing. They are a people who act.

They are willing to risk their saving, their reputation, or even their life because they think it is the right thing to do. 

Granted, we found what they believe in hilarious. But how many of us actually act on our beliefs. We are besieged by doubt and false humility. Confused and lost. We stood paralyzed by indecision. 

And so with help from our unlikely friends, we are reminded that it's not enough to be right. You must act or you might as well not believe in anything.

How to reliably signal internal experience?

forgive me if I misunderstand you.

but from my point of view there can only be 3 stands on looking at behavior.

encourage [or push for] 

discourage [or push against]

do not touch and stay away.

3ChristianKl4moThose are not the only options. I wrote Not all communication is manipulation: Chaperones don't manipulate proteins [] on how there are moves that are space holding and not about encouraging or discouraging certain outcomes.
How to reliably signal internal experience?

for a simplified story say I am currently spending 4 hours every day consuming mindless entertainment just to make myself feel good enough to go to work.

my friends believe that it's too much and/or not typical. So I converted one hour into productive time [exercise, study, etc] which results in heartburn.

I want to be able to communicate my internal experience so my friends can suggest an alternative way I can convert that hour without hurting myself.

1AnthonyC3moI have been in that kind of state many times, sometimes for months at a stretch, and agree that just trying to force myself to do otherwise is unsustainable. However, like others have said, I think you're overlooking a large portion of the space of possible options. How does your job make you feel while you're there? Maybe the answer if to change jobs, change companies, change how you approach your job, or something else. Is the mindless entertainment actually restorative, or is it just kind of acting as a placeholder that neither provides nor consumes energy? Sometimes I can get more out of a 5 minute meditation than watching an hour of TV, sometimes I need a 30 minute nap, sometimes I really do need to do something mindless, and it's hard for me to differentiate those. Also, for me, mindless chores that involve movement, like folding laundry or washing dishes, are often better than mindless entertainment. You don't need to answer this here, but how is your mental health generally? Depression can easily cause the situation you describe, and I'm sure many other issues can, too. Therapy and/or medication can be very helpful for finding ways to navigate your life more skillfully with the mind and body you've got.
How to reliably signal internal experience?

huhm, I didn't realize I was asking multiples question at once, thank for clarifying, that was helpful.

your answer seems to give me something, I am not sure what. I would have to meditate on it.

I'll try out what you suggest though I am a bit foggy on the detail. Will see how it turn out.

How to reliably signal internal experience?

ooohhhh yes, this makes something clicked for me. I have not considered it in relation to simple acquaintances.

How to reliably signal internal experience?

uhm take the rational norm in lesswrong. But imagine for some reason people have a limit on how rational they can get, so they behave irrationally sometimes when they hit their limit. From the outside, you can't tell whether a person is behaving irrationally because they hit their limit or for other reasons. If you do nothing your community is getting more irrational, if you push all people to be more rational you risk hurting people at their limit.

replace rationality with whatever group norm that is beneficial to enforce, and that is pretty close to why I want to find a way to reliably signal limit.

2ChristianKl5moThere are many ways to interact with other people that are not about pushing them to take certain actions. benkuhn recently wrote To listen well, get curious [] for general heuristics about how to interact with your friends that's not about pushing them when they have an issue. In the more rational enviroment there are a bunch of techniques that can be used. If a fellow rationalist seems to be blocked asking them to do internal double crux is much more likely to help them putting pressure on them to push them.
How to reliably signal internal experience?

this makes sense, but I am also in the reverse position where I saw a friend heading down a destructive path where he is constantly complaining about his current situation and also claim that he is at the limit of will power to change [even before the covid thing]. 

I am at a loss as to how I should evaluate his statement to determine my action. i.e. should I take his statement at face value and let him arrange his own life to suit his limited capacity or should I push him to change despite his statement otherwise?

in short, I found it hard to determine if other people actually hit their limit or not.

On the stagnation of energy technology and the Cabal of Scientists

so I should have phrased it as manipulating the media by boosting or obscuring certain signals to drive popular sentiment, promoting the Cabal of Scientists agenda?

2ChristianKl5moYes, that fits it better.
On the stagnation of energy technology and the Cabal of Scientists

I am confused as to what you meant. I couldn't google what you meant by energy flux, if you don't mind elaborating?

2CellBioGuy5moWatts per unit of infrastructure machinery necessary, including ancillary things not in the actual engine. Not joules per unit fuel.
df fd's Shortform

[Epistemic status: conspiracy theory/raving of the mads]

We all know that GPD/standard of living all track with energy use, yet arguably the most convenient and widespread energy sources current are fossil fuels, which saw mass adoption with the start of the industrial revolution. Which happened, it can be said without hyperbole, eons ago [citation needed].

For some time, nuclear fission seems poised to replace fossil fuel, yet a series of unfortunate events permanently sour the public perception of this technology [Chernobyl, Fukushima]. Even in countries t... (read more)

2Viliam5moSome people wonder why Keynes's prediction about 15-hour workweek didn't come true despite all improvements in productivity. Maybe the horrible secret is that these days, with all the cheap technology and the knowledge available online, it is possible for an average person to construct a world-destroying machine... if they could devote enough time to this goal. Which is why the Cabal of Scientists invented bullshit jobs and addictive websites: to keep billions of people occupied with something harmless, so that they don't go and destroy the world.
A review of Where Is My Flying Car? by J. Storrs Hall

wikipedia shows the same rise of doctor per capita that look suspiciously the same as the lawyer rise:,000_people_(1850-2009).svg

2ChristianKl6moWhile in both cases the growth of the profession started at similar times, doctors seem to have doubled while lawyers quadrupled in the same timeframe.
2jasoncrawford6moHm. Very interesting. EDIT: I just remembered that I think this is mentioned in The Rise and Fall of American Growth and that it was attributed to an increase in specialization
What Does "Signalling" Mean?

It does not follow for me, say "yelling" is a type of "talking" this we all agree.

but when I say "I am yelling" I am giving more/different information than just "I am talking"

sure mere "assertion" is a type of "signalling"

but for me when we use "signalling" I infered that we are doing things differently than "asserting"

is this what you mean?

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

but there is a great body of work proving that Vit D is beneficial for treating respiratory infection in general [I can cite on request] so unless most respiratory infections secretly involved cytokine storm [which I don't believe to be true] or Vit D is beneficial in other ways than what you suggest.

comment above suggested that the benefit is from Vit D prevent the pneumonia from covid from getting worse, and I found the argument persuasive

1Joe_Collman8moOh that's entirely plausible. I should have emphasised that this may well be something that's going on; it certainly doesn't make it the only thing. Again, I have no expertise in this area - so mainly I'd like people with more knowledge than I to watch the video and draw their own conclusions. My main takeaway with respect to the RCT in the post is that measurements of the 25-D being low in patients can't be taken as evidence of deficiency if the 1,25-D levels are simultaneously high. So it's premature to draw conclusions about non-deficient healthy people being ~92% safer than baseline. It still seems right to me that not being deficient is important, and that vitamin D treatment is important.
Covid 9/10: Vitamin D
– A study in Indonesia found that out of the patients that died from COVID-19, 98.9% of them were deficient in vitamin D, while only 4% of the patients with sufficient vitamin D died.
-A study of patients in New Orleans found that 84.6% of the COVID-19 patients in the ICU were deficient in Vitamin D while only 4% of the patients in the ICU had sufficient levels of Vitamin D.
-A study in the Philippines found that for every standard deviation increase in vitamin D people were 7.94 times more likely to have a mild rather than severe COVID-19 outcome and
... (read more)
9Taleuntum8moI don't have much time, so I've only checked the first study. The numbers come from this one: [] I looked a bit more and found this: [] It seems to be misinformation. I couldn't find the second study, though I haven't looked that hard tbh. Third study: Vitamin D Supplementation Could Possibly Improve Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected with Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-2019 [] ) from Mark Alipio []
Efficacy of Vitamin D in helping with COVID

>>> 2. Death rates in countries with high incidence of vitamin D deficiency e.g. Belgium, Italy, versus those with low levels (Scandinavia even Sweden, who eat oily fish and supplement/fortify).

if you don't mind expanding on this, Germany however have very low fatality rate, yet for data as of 2015 they have the same level of vit D deficency as Italy

2Rafael Harth8moSince we're comparing the mean of several numbers, and there are many factors other than vitamin D influencing those numbers, I think it's a priori not surprising that there are exceptions.
5ChristianKl10moIn the article Graham says: I'm not aware of anything effective having been done that prevented the patent troll loophole. What actually happened with it in the last 14 years if the problem grew over that timeframe?
Has LessWrong been a good early alarm bell for the pandemic?

as someone who is working in ED in Australia, I can say that Lesswrong has been consistently predict the behaviors of my hospital management by 2-3 days.

for example: I've read a lesswrong post arguing that covid-19 is serious and people should stock up while my manager was still telling us to just calm people down if asked. The stance was reversed 2-3 days later.

Slatestarcodex recommended the wide spread use of masks a whole week before my local health district recommened the same thing.

I am not certain that being slow is not part of the system design. but Lesswrong has allow me to predict future hospital policies quite consistently.

CO2 Stripper Postmortem Thoughts

I just skimmed the article, but given that you already willing to make suck huge investment in capital and space, I just got a feeling it's easier if you just have a grow room or an algae bio-reactor running at night. the immediate benefit would be the hardware are available in consumer form and most of the design parts have been attempted.

This way the on going cost would only be marginally higher [back of envelope calculation] and you would reap other benefit beside. [food or algae oil]

Back of the envelope: a person exhales about as much carbon as they eat, and a plant removes carbon from the air only by increasing its size, so to remove one person's CO2 exhalations, you would need to grow as much plant matter as they ate. That's not impossible, but at that point you're looking at something more like a greenhouse than like a grow room.

2Diffractor1y[EDIT: I see numbers as high as 4 g/L/day quoted for algae growth rates, I updated the reasoning accordingly] The numbers don't quite add up on an algae bioreactor for personal use. The stated growth rate for chlorella algae is 0.6 g/L/day, and there are about 4 liters in a gallon, so 100 gallons of algae solution is 400 liters is 240 g of algae grown per day, and since about 2/3ds of new biomass comes from CO2 via the 6CO2+6H2O->C6H12O6 reaction, that's 160 g of CO2 locked up per day, or... about 1/6 of a person worth of CO2 in a 24 hour period. [EDIT: 1 person worth of CO2 in a 24 hour period, looks more plausible] Plants are inefficient at locking up CO2 relative to chemical reactions! Also you wouldn't be able to just have the algae as a giant vat, because light has to penetrate in, so the resulting reactor to lock up 1/6 [EDIT: 1] of a person worth of CO2 would be substantially larger than the footprint of 2 55-gallon drums.
CO2 Stripper Postmortem Thoughts

yeah, I dropped the ball on that one, the grow box is out but I got a feeling a grow room is still possible but this is splitting hair.

I am wondering if I also dropped the ball on the algae claim

CO2 Stripper Postmortem Thoughts

I vaguely remember the 4 g/L/day but on further inspection, I now realise that we can't ever reach that efficiency. If we use the 1 g/L/day but human use 1kg/day (they use less in sleep don't they?) divided by 2/3 it would be about 1.5 m3 (still quite big) and we have to account for the actual foot print which would be much higher (2x higher? 3 m3?).

I am tempted to argue that we don't have to match the CO2 production rate so perfectly since the CO2 should naturally diffuse a bit, but let's leave some margin of error on our side.

for t... (read more)