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Transcript for Geoff Anders and Anna Salamon's Oct. 23 conversation

Thank you for uploading this. 

Please do upload any further conversations that take place (you or anyone). 

This feels like a good start, but there are many subjects left untouched. In fact, this feels like context rather than addressing the core issues brought up by Zoe Curzi and Jessicata and others.

The Opt-Out Clause

How many roads must a man walk down?

My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage)

Plus a million points for "IMO it's a reason for less secrecy"!

If you put a lid on something you might contain it in the short term, but only at the cost of increasing the pressure: And pressure wants out, and the higher the pressure the more explosive it will be when it inevitably does come out. 

I have heard too many accounts like this, in person and anecdotally, on the web and off for me to currently be interested in working or even getting to closely involved with any of the organizations in question. The only way to change this for me is to believably cultivate a healthy, transparent and supportive environment. 

This made me go back and read "Every Cause wants to be a Cult" (Eliezer, 2007), which includes quotes like this one:
"Here I just want to point out that the worthiness of the Cause does not mean you can spend any less effort in resisting the cult attractor. And that if you can point to current battle lines, it does not mean you confess your Noble Cause unworthy. You might think that if the question were, “Cultish, yes or no?” that you were obliged to answer, “No,” or else betray your beloved Cause."

How feeling more secure feels different than I expected

You are worthy of love.

And also (separately), I like you. 

(I mean, I've never met you; but I have read a lot of what you write around here, and I like your reasoning, your tone, and what you choose to write about in general.)


"And if I ended up in a conversation where it was obvious that someone hated me, yeah, that wouldn’t be fun."

That sounds just about right. I strive to have accurate feelings: Being actively disliked isn't supposed to be fun. But also, it's not supposed to threaten the very core of my sense of self-worth. 


Thank you for writing this. You're not the only one working on it.

The Best Software For Every Need

Software: OpenCPN

Need: Chart plotting software for navigation at sea; integration with AIS, radar and other NMEA connections; displaying GRIB files.

Other programs I've tried: Garmin, Simrad, B&G etc proprietary solutions (only sold with GPS plotter hardware); Navionics, Isailor, Nimble Navigator, ZyGRIB (only does GRIB files).


I do a fair bit of ocean sailing on small sailboats (between 1 and 3.5 circumnavigations so far, depending on how you count). Unlike on land with Google Maps or, at sea most modern navigation solutions center around an expensive GPS-plotter unit, that comes with proprietary software. While some are better than others, they are all A: universally and ridiculously overpriced, and B: quickly outdated with no upgradeability. The one thing they have going for them is that the hardware is generally ruggedized for the marine environment. I have tried many different units on different boats, but never found one that I like. This situation means that many boats have an old (10 or 20 years) plotter unit around that they don't generally use and that might not work anymore, and instead use an app like Navionics or Isailor on a tablet (Navionics in dangerously bad imho, Isailor is marginally better). While this can be convenient for casual use, it is not a fully fledged system, and I consider that practice unsafe (un-ruggedized hardware, tablet might randomly hang or refuse to work (for example without internet access), automatic background updates can suddenly break things, tablet can easily be lost overboard, loosing or destroying your charging cable now becomes a life-threatening danger, etc, etc. The problem is mainly that many people don't realize the degree of trust they are actually putting on the system).

OpenCPN is an opensource alternative that in my opinion handily beats all alternatives that I have tried in pretty much every way. It displays both raster and vector charts of many formats, handles both routing, tracks and waypoints and can send commands to the autopilot, and it displays AIS signals in the most intuitive, informative yet unobtrusive way I have yet seen implemented. It can even be ECDIS-compliant (legal for use on big ships), if paired with compliant hardware and set up right. It is very stable, and has extensive documentation and a helpful community. It runs easily on a RaspberryPI or similar low power devices (very important on some sailboats with limited power available, or as a backup unit). While the software is free, charts and hardware needs to be supplied by the user. High quality charts are provided for free by the governments of some countries (US and New Zealand for example), can be found for free online (pirated), or purchased. Hardware can be anything that runs Windows, Linux, OSX, BSD or Solaris (or Android, see below). I make sure that my primary unit is rugged and protected (like a Panasonic Toughbook for example), and run a backup copy on every single computing device onboard.

Issues with OpenCPN include horrible touch-support (there is an android version, but it sucks, useful as an emergency backup only), some unintuitive and quirky solutions (akin to many other opensource programs), lack of polish of the user interface compared to some proprietary solutions (again, akin to many other opensource programs), along with the need for more technical skills, especially for setting it up. There are some bugs and some missing features, but fewer than any other modern system that I've used. 

I regularly set out to sea, literally and directly trusting OpenCPN with the life of me and my crew. 


I realize that this is pretty niche and probably not relevant to most readers here, but it's the one area where I feel like I might have something to add :) Hope it's helpful for someone! If you are interested, I'm happy to chat more about OpenCPN, navigation or sailing in general.

How factories were made safe

Klaus was my first thought too! I found this when I first got my Forklift license :P

LessWrong is providing feedback and proofreading on drafts as a service

This is an amazing initiative! Even aside from providing an excellent service, and also lowering the bar for those of us who feel less than confident writers, I also think it will help center the community around Lesswrong.

I am by no means a professional-level proof reader, but I might still find some errors here and there. I would be really excited to provide what help I can, as long as I don't feel like I'm the only one looking and all the expectations (and thus obligations) are on me. Is there a way for me to be one-among-several proofreaders? If crowd-sourcing isn't the model you are going with for now, then I fully understand.

LessWrong is providing feedback and proofreading on drafts as a service

Example of one: I have ~200 from comments alone, and I only very rarely comment. I've been on LW for a long time though.

Which activities do you prefer to better recover productivity?

Things that come with a natural time limit: For example, I like playing computer games, but a lot of them has no natural time to stop playing and change activity (by design). Some of them do however. With roguelikes for example, I find that it is engaging and fun to play a round, but after I die there is a natural threshold for starting a new run. Similarly for reading: If I'm reading a novel I'd read continuously for days if I could, but if I read short-form fiction there is a natural point to stop at the end of story. Chapters doesn't do that for me unfortunately.  

I'm notoriously bad at this though, so maybe my strategies are faulty.

Bill Gates left day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 2008. That's in the days of Windows Vista. I don't think there is all that much connecting the modern Windows with him except history and stocks.

Boycotting every company with stocks owned by or any historical connection to anyone who has any historical connection with anyone who is as at least as evil as Epstein... Might prove impractical.

In general I don't (or try not to) judge people by their associations. Especially not associations with people who only much later turn out to have been bad, and who presumably hid the bad parts from most people at the time. Otherwise I'm going to be very nervously second-guessing the hidden moral character of everyone I know and meet, lest I inadvertently befriend someone who is secretly a Bad Person. 

Knowingly associating with someone like that might be different, but I still generally prefer judging people by their own actions, rather than by actions of other people.

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