All of dglukhov's Comments + Replies

Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017

A lot of the sequences contain social constructs, or at least can have social impact for readers. The entirety of the book's subsections titled 'Fake Beliefs", "Mysterious Answers" or "Politics and Rationality" falls under social construct commentary.

If it helps, I'd define social constructs as topics relating to how humans communicate, and what is considered socially acceptable knowledge by certain demographics . What passes as knowledge according to rational traditions will lead one to accept or reject what is considered sociall... (read more)

1ChristianKl5y
When I'm speaking about lower quality posts about social constructs I'm referring to posts about status signaling and ask&guess culture. As far as core posts of the sequences go, they are written in a polarizing way. That means that they have their fans and other people react strongly negative. That's generally how writing gets popular in the age of blogs.
Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017

Any discussions on phenomena related to initial gut aversion to site content by casual readers? Almost every attempt at showing site content has been met with VEHEMENT resistance, I'm curious if this has been observed and noted here.

In fact, my initial experiences with sequences and site content in general began with aversion. Personal experience shows aversion to the obviousness of discussed topics yet incompatibility with topics related to obvious points (i.e science explaining away social constructs or concepts unrelated to pursuit of knowledge through ... (read more)

3ChristianKl5y
The core of what LessWrong is about isn't studying social constructs. I would even say that a lot of the posts about social constructs are of lower quality than other LW posts. If I would show LW to someone who has never heard of it, I wouldn't take a post about social interaction. * I wouldn't classify a post like http://lesswrong.com/lw/o6p/double_crux_a_strategy_for_resolving_disagreement/ [http://lesswrong.com/lw/o6p/double_crux_a_strategy_for_resolving_disagreement/] as being about social constructs for the way I'm using the term here.
Open thread, September 11 - September 17, 2017

Is there a copy of Eliezer's book in russian? I'm having a hard time finding translations for this text.

1Vladimir_Nesov5y
There is a partial translation of the book and other things at lesswrong.ru [https://lesswrong.ru].
The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices

Independent pharmacies don’t have the luxury of using mergers to offset the PBM power imbalance. In fact, when states proposed letting independents form their own pharmacy networks, the FTC argued against it, warning that it would “impair the ability of prescription drug plans to negotiate the best prices with pharmacies.”

When I read this it makes me question the legitimacy of the regulatory organization. It makes me couple this with the instance of 'bill mills' alleged to exist currently in both state and federal legislature.

EDIT: I say alleged because getting concrete documentation on the subject is suppressed.

Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Just out of curiosity, what is your stance on the impact of cars on climate change? And cars are too narrow, then what is your stance on fossil fuel consumptions and its impact on climate change?

You linked to parts of the debate I've never been exposed to, so I'm curious if there's more to know.

0Lumifer5y
tl;dr It's complicated :-) Generally speaking, the issue of global warming is decomposable into several questions with potentially different answers. E.g.: * Have we observed general warming throughout the XX and early XXI century? That's a question about facts and can be answered relatively easily. * Does emitting very large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere affect climate? That's a question about a scientific theory and by now it's relatively uncontested as well (note: quantifying the impact of CO2 on climate is a different thing. For now the issue is whether such an impact exists). * Are there other factors affecting climate on decade- and century- scales? Also a question about scientific theories and again the accepted answer is "yes", but quantifying the impact (or agreeing on a fixed set of such factors) is not so simple. * What do we expect the global temperatures to be in 20/50/100 years under certain assumptions about the rate of CO2 emissions? Ah, here we enter the realm of models and forecasts. Note: these are not facts. Also note that here the "complicated" part becomes "really complicated". For myself, I'll just point out that I distrust the confidence put by many people into these models and the forecasts they produce. By the way, there are a LOT of these models. * What consequences of our temperature forecasts do we anticipate? Forecasting these consequences is harder than forecasting temperatures, since these consequences are conditional on temperature forecasts. Some things here are not very controversial (it's unlikely that glaciers will stop retreating), some are (will hurricanes become weaker? stronger? more frequent? Umm....) * What should we do in response to global warming? At this point we actually leave the realm of science and enter the world of "should". For some reason many climate scientists decided that they are experts in economics an
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

That is fair, so why was the claim that cars are a net positive not nearly as thoroughly scrutinized as my counterargument? I can't help but notice some favoritism here...

Was such an analysis done? Recently? Is this such common knowledge that nobody bothered to refute it?

Edit: my imagination only stretches so far as to see climate change being the only heavy counterargument to the virtue of cars. Anything else seems relatively minor, i.e deaths from motor accidents, etc.

0Lumifer5y
Because there is a significant prior to overcome. Whenever people get sufficiently wealthy, they start buying cars. Happened in the West, happened in China, Russia, India, etc. etc. Everywhere. And powers-that-be are fine with that. So to assert that cars are a net negative you need to assert that everyone is wrong.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Well, at this point I'd concede its not easy to make a claim with standards fit for such an example.

I'll see what I can do.

0Lumifer5y
The general test is whether the claim is precise enough to be falsifiable -- is there an outcome (or a set of data, etc) which will unambiguously prove that claim to be wrong, with no wiggle room to back out? And, by the way, IPCC reports are, of course, full of quantified claims like the one I mentioned. There might be concerns with data quality, model errors, overconfidence in the results, etc. etc, but the claims are well-quantified.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

there is a counter-argument to it, too

What was his counter-argument? I can't read German.

Like the remarkable hurricane drought in the North America? Or are you going to actually argue that weather is climate?

Well clearly we need to establish a time range. Most sources for weather and temperature records I've seen span a couple of centuries. Is that not a range large enough to talk about climate instead of weather?

Sure, but it's a different debate.

Its a related debate, especially relevant if conclusions in the debate a metalevel lower are unenlightened.

0Lumifer5y
Here [http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/]
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

LOL. Are you quite sure this is how humans work? :-)

They don't, that's something you train to do.

I want you to quantify the claim, not the evidence for the claim.

Why? Are you asking me to write out the interpretation of the evidence I see as a mathematical model instead of a sentence in English?

0Lumifer5y
Not evidence. I want you to make a precise claim. For example, "because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event" is a not-quantified claim. It's not precise enough to be falsifiable (which is how a lot of people like it, but that's a tangent). A quantified equivalent would be something along the lines of "We expect the increase in atmospheric CO2 from 300 to 400 ppmv to lead to the increase of the average global temperature by X degrees spread over the period of Z years so that we forecast the average temperature in the year YYYY as measured by a particular method M to be T with the standard error of E". Note that this is all claim, no evidence (and not a model, either).
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Turns out you don't know. The word means expressing your claims in numbers and, by itself, does not imply support by data.

Usually "quantifying" is tightly coupled to being precise about your claims.

I'm confused. You wouldn't have claims to make before seeing the numbers in the first place. You communicate this claim to another, they ask you why, you show them the numbers. That's the typical process of events I'm used to, how is it wrong?

0Lumifer5y
LOL. Are you quite sure this is how humans work? :-) I want you to quantify the claim, not the evidence for the claim.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

You did use the word "quantify", did you not? Do you know what it means?

Putting data on the table to back up claims. Back up your idea of what is going on in the world with observations, notably observations you can put a number on.

0Lumifer5y
Turns out you don't know. The word means expressing your claims in numbers and, by itself, does not imply support by data. Usually "quantifying" is tightly coupled to being precise about your claims.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

You are confused between showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and developing climate models of the planet Earth.

What other inferential steps does a person need to be shown to tell them that because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and because there's a lot more of it around than there used to be, that CO2 cascades into a warming event?

There are people who say that this will become (note: future tense) true, but these people are making a forecast.

The recent weather anomalies hitting earth imply the future is here.

At which point we are talking about the who

... (read more)
0Lumifer5y
Look up a disagreement between two chaps, Svante Arrhenius and Knut Ångström :-) Here is the argument against your position (there is a counter-argument to it, too): . Like the remarkable hurricane drought in the North America? Or are you going to actually argue that weather is climate? Sure, but it's a different debate.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

This is not true.

According to what sources, and how did they verify? Do you distrust the sampling techniques used to gather data on carbon dioxide levels before recorded history?

Demonstrate, please.

What more could you possibly need? I just showed you evidence pointing to unnatural amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Disturb that balance, you cause warming. This cascades into heavier rainfall, higher levels of water vapor and other greenhouse gases, and you get a sort of runaway reaction.

0Lumifer5y
Will Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png] suffice? You did use the word "quantify", did you not? Do you know what it means?
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Clarification - it's hard to quantify the direct relationship of cars to global warming

It is easy to illustrate that carbon dioxide, the major byproduct of internal combustion found in most car models today, causes global warming directly. If you look at this graph, you'll notice that solar radiation spans a large range of wavelengths of light. Most of these wavelengths of light get absorbed by our upper atmosphere according to chemical composition of said atmosphere, except for certain wavelengths in the UV region of the spectrum (that's the part of th... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
Actually, not that easy because the greenhouse effect is dominated by water vapor. CO2 certainly is a greenhouse gas and certainly contributes to global warming, but the explanation is somewhat more complicated than you make it out to be. This is not true. Demonstrate, please.
0Elo5y
. Fourth clarification IT IS HARD TO QUANTIFY THE EXACT PROPORTION OF GLOBAL WARMING THAT IS CAUSED BY CARS AS OPPOSED TO OTHER SOURCES OF GLOBAL WARMING, SAY EVERY OTHER REASON THAT CARBON DOIXIDE ENDS UP IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND AS AN ABSTRACTION FROM THAT HOW MUCH OF GLOBAL WARMING IS LITERALLY CAUSED BY CARS AND THEREFORE HOW MUCH DAMAGE TO PRODUCTIVITY CARS CAUSE BY CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING TO BE SOME FRACTION HIGHER THAN IT WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN. Tapping out.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

I was not aware that analytical chemists make climate models and causal models, too...

They can. Though the people who came up with the infrared spectroscopy technique may not have been analytical chemists by trade. Mostly physicists, I believe. Why is this relevant? Because the same reason why infrared spectroscopy works also gives a reason for why emission cause warming.

You are confused about tenses. Coastal flooding, etc. is (note the present tense) is not a major cost. Coastal flooding might become a cost in the future, but that is a forecast. Fore

... (read more)
0Lumifer5y
You are confused between showing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and developing climate models of the planet Earth. Yes, but coastal flooding is a permanent feature of building on the coasts. Your point was that coastal flooding (and mass migrations and deaths) are (note: present tense) the result of global warming.This is (note: present tense) not true. There are people who say that this will become (note: future tense) true, but these people are making a forecast. At which point we are talking about the whole energy infrastructure of the society and not about the costs of cars.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

If you'd filter out one-man firm as a source not worth reading, you'd filter out any attempt of an analysis on my part as well.

I am concerned about quality here, not so much who sources come from. This, necessarily, requires more than just a glance at material.

Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Ironic, since you just asked me to do my own analysis on the subject, yet you are unwilling to read the "one-guy organization" and what it has to say on the subject.

The merits (or lack thereof) of said organization has nothing to do with how true or false the source is. This is ad hominem.

0Lumifer5y
I glanced at your source. The size is relevant because you told me that ...and the lack of bias (or lack of lack) does have much to do with how one treats sources of information.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Cost is an economics question. Analytical chemistry is remarkably ill-equipped to answer such questions.

Analytical chemistry is well equipped to handle and acquire the data to show, definitively, that global warming is caused by emissions. To go further to say that we cannot use these facts to decide whether or not the automotive infrastructure isn't worth augmenting because its too hard to make a cost-benefit analysis in light of the potential costs associated with global warming and air pollution is careless. Coastal flooding is a major cost (with ris... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
I was not aware that analytical chemists make climate models and causal models, too... You are confused about tenses. Coastal flooding, etc. is (note the present tense) is not a major cost. Coastal flooding might become a cost in the future, but that is a forecast. Forecasts are different from facts. Electric batteries do not produce energy, they merely store energy. If the energy to charge these batteries comes from fossil fuels, nothing changes. What do you mean by augmentation?
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Noted, edited.

The description of the link is entirely unfair. It provides a (relatively) short summary of the language of the debate, as well as a slew of data points to overview. To frame the source as you describe it is entirely an exercise in poisoning the well.

0Lumifer5y
The source is a one-guy organization which doesn't even pretend it's unbiased.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Okay, consider this an IOU for a future post on an analysis. I'm assuming you'd want an analysis of emissions relative to automobile use, correct? Wouldn't an emissions based on fossil fuel consumption in general be more comprehensive?

Edit: In the meantime, reading this analysis that's already been done may help establish a better understanding on the subject of quantifying emissions costs.

Also please understand that what you're asking for is something whole analytical chemical organizations spend vast amounts of their funding on doing this analysis. To s... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
We are talking about the cost-benefit analysis of cars and similar motor vehicles (let's define them as anything that moves and has an internal combustion engine). Your point seems to be that cars are not net beneficial -- is that so? A weaker claim -- that cars have costs and not only benefits -- is obvious and I don't think anyone would argue with it. In particular, you pointed out that some of the costs involved have to do with global warming and -- this is the iffy part -- that this cost is easy to quantify. Since I think that such cost would be very-difficult-to-impossible to quantify, I'm curious about your approach. Your link is to an uncritical Gish Gallop ("literature review" might be a more charitable characterization) through all the studies which said something on the topic. Re update: Cost is an economics question. Analytical chemistry is remarkably ill-equipped to answer such questions. As to "careless to discard global warming", well, I believe Elo's point was that it's hard to say anything definite about the costs of cars in this respect (keep in mind, for example, that humans do need transportation so in your alternate history where internal-combustion-engine motor vehicles don't exist or are illegal, what replaces them?)
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

ignoring global warming because it's really hard to quantify

Oh really? Since when?

Edit: Just in case you weren't convinced.

If you go into the sampling and analysis specifics, the chemistry is sound. There are a few assumptions made, as with any data sampling technique, but if you decide to want to dispute such details, you may as well dispute the technical details and call your objection there. Otherwise, I don't see where your claim holds, this is one of the better documented global disputes (makes sense, since so much is at stake with regards to both ... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
Please illustrate, then. What is the net cost of "cars and motor vehicles in general" with respect to their "emissions into the atmosphere"? Use numbers and show your work.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Cars also directly involve people in motor vehicle accidents, one of the leading causes of death in the developed world. Cars, and motor vehicles in general, also contribute to an increasingly alarming concentration of emissions into the atmosphere, with adverse effects to follow, most notably global warming. My point still stands.

A technology is only inherently good if it solves more problems than it causes, with each problem weighed by their impacts on the world.

0Elo5y
Cars are net positive. Edit: ignoring global warming because it's really hard to quantify. Just comparing deaths to global productivity increase because of cars. Cars are a net positive. Edit 2: Clarification - it's hard to quantify the direct relationship of cars to global warming. Duh there's a relationship, but I really don't want to have a debate here. Ignoring that factor for a moment, net value of productivity of cars vs productivity lost by some deaths. Yea. Let's compare that.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

The ability to stay in contact with other poor people is valuable.

It is also dangerous, people are unpredictable and, similarly to my point about phones, can cause good, harm, or nothing at all.

A phone is not inherently, intrinsically good, it merely serves as a platform to any number of things, good, bad or neutral.

What have the millennium development goals achieved?

I hope this initiative continues to make progress and that policy doesn't suddenly turn upside-down anytime soon. Then again, Trump is president, Brexit is a possibility, and economic collapse an always probable looming threat.

0ChristianKl5y
That's similar to saying that a car is not intrinsically good. Both technologies enable a lot of other actions.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

When basic needs are fulfilled many humans tend to want to satisfy needs around contributing to making the world a better place. It's a basic psychological mechanism.

This completely ignores my previous point. A few people who managed to self-actualize within the current global economic system will not change that system. As I previously mentioned, I am not interested in outliers, but rather systematic trends in economic behavior.

0ChristianKl5y
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet aren't only outliers in respect to donating but also in being the most wealthy people. Both of them basically believe that it's makes more sense to use their fortune for the public good than to inherit it to their children. To the extend that this belief spreads (and it does with the giving pledge), you see more money being used this way.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

"Declining Energy Returns" is based on the false idea that civilization requires exponential increases in energy input, which has been wrong for decades. Per capita energy consumption has been stagnant in the first world for decades, and most of these countries have stagnant or declining populations. Focusing on EROI and "quality" of oil produced is a mistake. We don't lack for sources of energy; the whole basis of the peak oil collapse theory was that other energy sources can't replace oil's vital role as a transport fuel.

This seems... (read more)

3knb5y
Yep, your link is for world energy use per capita, my claim is that it was stagnant for the first world. E.g. in the US it peaked in 1978 and has since declined by about a fifth. Developed world is more relevant because that's where cutting edge research and technological advancement happens. Edit: here's a graph [http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.USE.PCAP.KG.OE?end=2014&locations=US-CH-JP-DE-GB-FR&name_desc=true&start=1960] from the source you provided showing the energy consumption history of the main developed countries, all of which follow the same pattern. I don't really have a single link to sum up the difference between engineering an ICE car with adequate range and refuel time and a battery-electric vehicle with comparable range/recharge time. If you're really interested I would suggest reading about the early history of motor vehicles and then reading about the decades long development history of lithium-ion batteries before they became a viable product.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

If you look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet they see purpose in helping the poor. In general employing poor people to do something for you and paying them a wage is also a classic way poor people get helped.

I'm happy that these people have taken actions to support such stances. However, I'm more interested in the incentive system, not a few outliers within it. Both of these examples hold about $80 billion in net worth, these are paltry numbers compared to the amount of money circulating in world today, GDP estimates ranging in the $74 trillion. I am the... (read more)

0ChristianKl5y
When basic needs are fulfilled many humans tend to want to satisfy needs around contributing to making the world a better place. It's a basic psychological mechanism.
0ChristianKl5y
The ability to stay in contact with other poor people is valuable. If you can send the person in the next village a message you don't have to walk to them to communicate with them. What have the millennium development goals achieved? [https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/datablog/2015/jul/06/what-millennium-development-goals-achieved-mdgs]
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

And when it's not? Consider Ukraine. Or if you want to go a bit further in time the whole collapse of the USSR and its satellites.

Outcompeted by economic superpowers. Purge people all you want, if there are advantages to being integrated into the world economic system, the people who explicitly leave will suffer the consequences. China did not choose such a fate, but neither is it rebelling.

I don't see why. It is advantageous for a leader to have satisfied and so complacent subjects. Benevolence can be a good tool.

Benevolence is expensive. You will ... (read more)

Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Resistance on whose part to what?

Resistance of those without resources against those with amassed resources. We can call them rich vs. poor, leaders vs. followers, advantaged vs. disadvantaged. the advantaged groups tend to be characteristically small, the disadvantaged large.

Revolutions haven't been very kind to leaders, too -- that's the point. When the proles have nothing to lose but their chains, they get restless :-/

Restlessness is useless when it is condensed and exploited to empower those chaining them. For example, rebellion is an easily bou... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
And when it's not? Consider Ukraine. Or if you want to go a bit further in time the whole collapse of the USSR and its satellites. I don't see why. It is advantageous for a leader to have satisfied and so complacent subjects. Benevolence can be a good tool.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Good luck coalescing that in any meaningful level of resistance. History shows that leaders haven't been very kind to revolutions, and the success rate for such movements aren't necessarily high given the technical limitations.

I say this only because I'm seeing a slow tendency towards an absolution of leader-replacement strategies and sentiments.

0Lumifer5y
Resistance on whose part to what? Revolutions haven't been very kind to leaders, too -- that's the point. When the proles have nothing to lose but their chains, they get restless :-/ ...absolution?
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Much more than the top 20% of this planet has mobile phones. Most people benefit from technologies like smart phones.

I wouldn't cherry-pick one technological example and make a case for the rest of available technological advancements as conducive to closing the financial gap between people. Tech provides for industry, industry provides for shareholders, shareholders provide for themselves (here's one data point in a field of research exploring the seemingly direct relationship between excess resource acquisition and antisocial tendencies, I will work o... (read more)

1ChristianKl5y
That sentence is interesting. The thing I care about improving the lives of the poor. If you look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet they see purpose in helping the poor. In general employing poor people to do something for you and paying them a wage is also a classic way poor people get helped. The great thing about smart phones is that they allow for software to be distributed with little cost for additional copies. Having a smart phone means that you can use Duolingo to learn English for free. We are quite successful in reducing the numbers of the poorest of the poor. We reduced them both in relative and in absolute numbers. It's debatable how much of that is due to new technology and how much is through other factors but we have now less people in extreme poverty.
0Lumifer5y
It's called a survival instinct.
Open thread, Mar. 20 - Mar. 26, 2017

Not the first criticism of the Singularity, and certainly not the last. I found this on reddit, just curious what the response will be here:

"I am taking up a subject at university, called Information Systems Management, and my teacher is a Futurologist! He refrains from even teaching the subject just to talk about technology and how it will solve all of our problems and make us uber-humans in just a decade or two. He has a PhD in A.I. and has already talked to us about nanotechnology getting rid of all diseases, A.I. merging with us, smart cities that... (read more)

4knb5y
Like a lot of reddit posts, it seems like it was written by a slightly-precocious teenager. I'm not much of a singularity believer but the case is very weak. "Declining Energy Returns" is based on the false idea that civilization requires exponential increases in energy input, which has been wrong for decades. Per capita energy consumption has been stagnant in the first world for decades, and most of these countries have stagnant or declining populations. Focusing on EROI and "quality" of oil produced is a mistake. We don't lack for sources of energy; the whole basis of the peak oil collapse theory was that other energy sources can't replace oil's vital role as a transport fuel. "Economic feasability" is non-sequitur concerned with whether gains from technology will go only to the rich, not relevant to whether or not it will happen. "Political resistance and corruption" starts out badly as the commenter apparently believes in the really dumb idea that electric cars have always been a viable competitor to internal combustion but the idea was suppressed by some kind of conspiracy. If you know anything about the engineering it took to make electric cars semi-viable competitors to ICE, the idea is obviously wrong. Even without getting into the technical aspect, there are lots of countries which had independent car industries and a strong incentive to get off oil (e.g. Germany and Japan before and during WW2).
4ChristianKl5y
It seems to me like a long essay for a reasonable position written by someone who doesn't make a good case. Solar does get exponentially cheaper at a rate of doubling efficiency every 7 years. It's a valid answer to the question of where the energy will come from is the timeline is long enough. The article gives the impression that the poor in the third world stay poor. That's a popular misconception and in reality the fight against global poverty. Much more than the top 20% of this planet has mobile phones. Most people benefit from technologies like smart phones. The "planned obsolescence" conspiracy theory narrative also doesn't really help with understanding how technology get's deployed.

I think most people on LW also distrust blind techno-optimism, hence the emphasis on existential risks, friendliness, etc.

The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101

I wouldn't know, I don't know the space of evidence in the first place. I guess in hindsight, that question is a little silly, since you can't know until you know.

What I really wanted to capture was the idea that looking for such evidence seems highly impractical for the average person writing a simple blog. The logistics of going out and finding such evidence doesn't seem trivial. Unless I'm not particularly creative, I'd at least start by integrating into the military operation there, which can range anywhere from active service to doing some civilian wo... (read more)

0Lumifer5y
Right. Which implies that the average person shouldn't have a strong opinion on the topic. Unless she can analyze the publicly-available contradictory information and come to a conclusion (which still shouldn't be particularly strong because it's all based on hearsay, essentially).
The D-Squared Digest One Minute MBA – Avoiding Projects Pursued By Morons 101

Just out of curiosity, how much work would you expect to complete to look for evidence of WMD (or lack thereof)? I'm sure it'd take more than just a couple of quick phone calls to the CIA, or even a trip to the region itself...

0Lumifer5y
How much work for whom to achieve what degree of confidence?
Excuses and validity

I'm having a hard time distinguishing between your technique and strictly finding ways to AVOID stepping outside the comfort zone.

When you take the time to analyze why the uncomfortable thing is uncomfortable, then seeking solutions to accommodate those discomforts rather than confronting them doesn't seem to change anything for the person.

People form habits, sometimes good ones, sometimes bad ones. Habits require three major components: a signal, a task, and a reward. You seem to suggest that existing habits should be there, stay there, lest we harm ourse... (read more)

Sufficiently sincere confirmation bias is indistinguishable from science

Sounds a lot like this post.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/ig/i_defy_the_data/

They had a bold prediction (whether it was biased is irrelevant), they followed through with their test, it was wrong, they did not withdraw from the situation.

Excuses and validity

To strip situations of choice simply down to the merits of all goals contained within a situation is the best approach. To inject excuses into the situation is the easy approach. At the end of the day, if you constantly checked yourself for the presence of competing goals, you'd see that, with practice, it will get easier and easier to notice that your goals may be at odds with your comfort zone. Chances are, a LOT of goals lie outside your comfort zone. If they were in your comfort zone, they wouldn't even seem like goals, when the barrier to doing them i... (read more)

0Elo5y
I wrote about comfort zone before: www.bearlamp.com.au/good-and-bad-ways-to-do-comfort-zone-expansion-coze-2/ Namely that pushing yourself out of comfort is going to cause harm, whereas expanding your comfort zone until it includes the things that you previously wanted to do but were not comfortable doing is a reasonable way to expand comfort zones. With regard to training: injuries are for life. It's very costly to make mistakes that cause injury.
[stub] 100-Word Unpolished Insights Thread (3/10-???)

Low-quality thought-vomiting, eh?

I'll try to keep it civil. I get the feeling the site is as far removed from the site's founding goals and members as a way to striate the site's current readership. Either pay into a training seminar through one of the institutions advertised above, or be left behind to bicker over minutia in an underinformed fashion. That said, nobody can doubt the usefulness in personal study, though it is slow and unguided.

I'm suspicious, of the current motives here, of the atmosphere this site provides. I guess it can't be helped since... (read more)

2gwillen5y
Can you please clarify whose motives you're talking about, and generally be a lot more specific with your criticisms? Websites don't have motives. CFAR and MIRI don't run this website although of course they have influence. (In point of fact I think it would be more realistic to say nobody runs this website, in the sense that it is largely in 'maintenance mode' and administrator changes/interventions tend to be very minimal and occasional.)
2lifelonglearner5y
I think that what you say is true, although I'm unsure that the dichotomy you provide is correct. Personally, I see great value in a Schelling point that tried to advance rationality. I don't think the current LW structure is optimal, and I also agree that there's not enough structure to help people learning ease into these ideas, or provide avenues of exploration. I also don't think that CFAR/MIRI have been heavily using LW as a place for advertisement, outside of their fundraising goals, but I've also not been here too long to really say. Feel free to correct me with more evidence. Towards the end of improving materials on rationality, I've been thinking about what a collective attempt to provide a more practical sequel to the Sequences might look like. CFAR's curriculum feels like it still only captures a small swath of all of rationality space. I'm thinking something like a more systematic long-form attempt to teach skills, where we could source quick feedback from people on this site.
Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017

The fact that these explorations aren't necessary or interesting to those who just want to learn some tricks to be stronger (probably, for some definitions) bothers me a bit, but more for them than for me. If you don't see how an understanding of Newcomb's problem lets you better evaluate the power and limits of a decision mechanism, that's fine, but please don't try to stop me discussing it.

I wouldn't ask anybody to stop discussing Newcomb problems, my response was solely directed at the rhetoric behind Newcomb discussion, not the merits (or lack there... (read more)

Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017

Doesn't that bother you?

If the goal of applied rationalists is to improve upon and teach applied rationality to others, wouldn't it behoove us to reframe the way we speak here and think about how our words can be interpreted in more elegant ways?

It doesn't matter how good of an idea somebody has, if they can't communicate it palatably, it won't reliably pass on in time, not to other people, not to the next generation, nobody.

0Dagon5y
It would be very surprising for an agent or community to have only one goal (at this level of abstraction. If you prefer, say "to have only one term in their utility function"). There are multiple participants here, with somewhat variant interests in rationality and lifehackery. Personally, I prefer exploring the edge cases and theoretical foundations of correct decision-making BEFORE I commit to heuristics or shortcuts that clearly can't apply universally. The fact that these explorations aren't necessary or interesting to those who just want to learn some tricks to be stronger (probably, for some definitions) bothers me a bit, but more for them than for me. If you don't see how an understanding of Newcomb's problem lets you better evaluate the power and limits of a decision mechanism, that's fine, but please don't try to stop me discussing it.
Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017

Applied rationality doesn't have that much to do with using logic. It doesn't violate logic but a lot of what we talk about, is about different heuristics. It might be worthwhile to present the idea of applied rationality differently.

This seems like an issue of conflating logic with applied rationality, then. Chances are that I made this mistake in writing my post. I'll be sure to check for conflation in the rhetoric I use, chances are that certain words used will carry with them a connotation that signals to the listener a need to reply with a cached response.

Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017

Something earlier? That is, who regurgitated that question to you before you regurgitated it to me? Newcomb? Robert Nozick?

0username25y
I have never encountered things like Newcomb's problem before LW. And after years on this site, I still don't understand their relevance, or why the more AI x-risk people here obsess over them. Such issues have very little practical value and are extremely far removed from applied rationality. I agree with Lumifer. It's hard to look at LW and not come away with a bad aftertaste of ivory tower philosophizing in the pejorative sense.
6Lumifer5y
I think LW was actually the place where I first encountered the Newcomb's problem. But if you're looking for origins of intellectual masturbation, they go waaaaay back X-)
Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017

I've been noticing a trend lately, perhaps others have some evidence for this.

Perhaps during casual conversation, or perhaps as a means of guiding somebody, maybe an old friend, or an inquisitive stranger, I'll mention this site or rationality as a practice in General. Typically, I get what I believe is a cached response most people saw somewhere that follows along something like this, "Rationalists are too high in the clouds to have useful ideas. Logic is impractical."

Perhaps people heard it through casual conversation themselves, but at the end of the day, there's source out there somewhere that must have blown up like any other meme on the planet. Anybody have a few sources in mind?

1ChristianKl5y
Being high-class means that you can afford to spend your time on issues that are impractical. As a result you had throughout history high class people signal the fact that they are high class by spending their time on impractical matters. Applied rationality doesn't have that much to do with using logic. It doesn't violate logic but a lot of what we talk about, is about different heuristics. It might be worthwhile to present the idea of applied rationality differently.
0MrMind5y
I'm reminded of a tale retold by Plato, about the famous philosopher Thales who was so intent at looking at the star that he fell into a well. This 'meme' is actually as ancient as civilization itself (Thales is indeed pre-Socratic, that is, this anecdote predates the very idea of rationality).
2Lumifer5y
LW. Example: preoccupation with the Newcomb's problem. You think it's of any use in reality?
ribbonfarm: A Brief History of Existential Terror

Why cache different approaches to analyzing an article to different articles? What do you expect to gain from such a heuristic?

ribbonfarm: A Brief History of Existential Terror

Gonna go out on a limb here and say I can't take this article too seriously. It is chalk full of false dichotomies:

The very premise of this article rests on the idea that human beings live solely by our need to balance between two sides of a spectrum.

"An author working on a book, or a freelancer working on a project, or an entrepreneur working on a business, does not spend their time in a perpetual state of flow, but rather experiences little moments of flow, while mostly vacillating between anxiety and boredom."

Why couldn't a freelancer expe... (read more)

0Qiaochu_Yuan5y
Many Ribbonfarm posts shouldn't be read like LW posts; the point is not to evaluate a bunch of claims for their truth value, it's more to read some poetry and see what thoughts, feelings, felt senses etc. it causes in you.
Stupidity as a mental illness

I wasn't aware mental illness was strictly an American phenomenon, as you comment implies. Or perhaps there is a distinct lack of international or foreign effort in characterizing such phenomena, as your comment also potentially implies?

I'd like the statistics, please!

Stupidity as a mental illness

Please name examples to the affirmative. I'm actually quite curious to see such statistics.

6PhilGoetz5y
This is not a thing that we need to check statistics for. Americans now talk openly about seeing a psychologist or having depression. Americans two generations prior did not. Depression was not recognized as a legitimate disease; it was considered a weakness, and psychotherapy was an act of desperation.
Stupidity as a mental illness

I urge you to read the first book of the Evans Third Reich trilogy, in which one of the interesting topics mentioned revolved around eugenics. I fear that the way you've framed your point will prime people towards this direction.

To approach "stupidity", an already vague concept, from a diagnostic point of view would be a disaster. One reason being the history I linked to earlier, eugenics was a popular -enough sentiment then to be a problematic primer, and I fear that while having stupid people around is an existential risk, I think another exist... (read more)

1Applesauce5y
Of course not... I wonder when/if the DSM 6 will come out... Example Intermittent Explosive Disorder... The names speaks for itself in that some children become totally enraged and..explode. Sometimes used to label kids and be done for the day. The implication of this is that, this diagnosis can act as a band aid and not getting down to the root of things for WHY the child is upset. This is how a person can fall through the cracks.
Death - an essay
  1. Conversely, anything negative will also end. If you don't like being depressed, there won't be depression once you're dead. There is full eternity without depression.
  2. I guess you're 2 was a counterargument to my 1. I need some literature on this, I don't quite understand.
  3. Human reactions to impeding doom don't have to reflect on death. Reality doesn't have to conform to our emotional reactions to it, after all. We can only come closer to understanding that reality, and if that requires understanding and accepting one's own mortality, shouldn't that be a p
... (read more)
Group Rationality Diary, February 2017

I have not, I'll see if I can find any. Thank you!

Group Rationality Diary, February 2017

Trying to fix physical posture currently. With time, I hope to learn how to do proper form on a majority of lifts. I've found that as I've been working on this, my ability to focus has improved, and consequently I came upon the mental postures article as a sort of mental analogue to the endeavor to have good biomechanics.

I wish I had a better way of studying...whatever, without sitting. I hate sitting (even properly, with back engaged and shoulders down), I know it doesn't do me any good and, on certain days, I find I reverse all the hard work and effort I... (read more)

0Screwtape5y
Depending on your work/study habits, I find that not sitting for very long helps me immensely. I find my posture degrades the longer I'm sitting. If I stand up and stretch or take a walk around the block every hour, my back feels much better at the end of the day.
0lifelonglearner5y
Are there good workplaces where you could stand and work? There are a few cafes near me w/ high tables that make working a lot better because I too dislike sitting. Also, the kneeling chair Lumifer suggested is pretty awesome, though I've only tried it a few times at a friend's.
4Lumifer5y
Have you considered a kneeling chair [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kneeling_chair]?
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