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Open thread, Oct. 12 - Oct. 18, 2015

But it's still a compromise. Is it part of humanity's utility function to value another species' utility function to such an extent that they would accept the tradeoff of changing humanity's utility function to preserve as much of the other species' utility function?

I don't recall any mention of humanity being total utilitarians in the story. Neither did the compromise made by the superhappies strike me as being better for all parties than their original values were, for each of them.

The only reason the compromise was supposed to be beneficial is because the three species made contact and couldn't easily coexist together from that point on. Also, because the superhappies were the stronger force and could therefore easily enforce their own solution. Cutting off the link removes those assumptions, and allows each species to preserve its utility function, which I assume they have a preference for, at least humans and baby-eaters.

Stupid Questions July 2015

What are your interests then? Within and without the scope of a relationship? What is your interest in dating? Do you feel compelled to date because it sounds like something everyone should do, and not doing so marks you as abnormal or dysfunctional? If you don't feel particularly compelled to date or enter relationship, then no, it isn't worth it.

Similarly, if you suspect you have interests that would clash with having to seriously date or being in a relationship, then maybe the best compromise is not to get in a relationship. it may also be possible to enter a relationship more suited to your needs, one that can preserve your other interests, time and freedoms, if your drive to date and be in a relationship is strong enough to be unavoidable and compete with your other drives.

Besides, serious "classical" dating (in fact, what do you mean by dating? What kind of activities and investments were you thinking about?) is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a satisfying relationship.

On Walmart, And Who Bears Responsibility For the Poor

That's assuming a leader's vices somehow correlate with enacting positive societal changes (when the contrary would seem more likely). Otherwise choosing instead one of the many, just as competent and not as corrupt potential leaders is still a superior choice.

[link] Book review: Mindmelding: Consciousness, Neuroscience, and the Mind’s Privacy

How difficult would developing such mind-melding technology rate against developing mature anti-aging technology (which it could functionally replace)?

Irrational hardware vs. rational software

and is not regularly the guiding principle of not hugely successful people?

Why the dichotomy? A principle can be used by different people with different abilities, leading to different levels of success, but still remain fundamentally flawed, leading to suboptimal achievement for both gifted and non-gifted people.

Short term benefits vs long term benefits..

Shaving: Less Long

I almost never shave. I hate the feeling, somehow manage to draw blood even with electric razors, and it wastes time I could put into something else. Instead I enhance and channel my natural trichotillomania urges into continuously plucking my facial hair one by one with tweezers. I usually don't even pay attention anymore, so that I can still do something else like reading at the same time, and there's never more than handful of hairs that need removing from day to day unless I stop for a few days. It doesn't really hurt either, not after the first few times anyway. Plucked hairs will not become apparent again for days.

Someday I'll probably just give more definitive hair removal methods a try. This might actually be even more cost effective than having to set apart some of my time each day for decades to shave.

(Assume 10 minutes a day, time valued at least at $10 / h (assuming San Francisco and assuming it won't change for a long while)(and I'm not even counting the initial price of an electric shaver, neither of all the electricity needed to operate it). That's $608 per year. Average laser hair removal cost would be around $1649 if I am to believe this, and time put into it would be negligible (like around 10 hours at most?). Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that like investing $1749 now and expecting continuous fixed dividends of $608 (~ 37%) every year for several decades? (Assuming hair removal to be definitive of course. Even if not, settling for a few years may already be enough to amortize the investment. Let's say in that case, with a discount rate of 8% on 5 years I think the present value of all the money saved would be around $2 427, $678 in excess of what's been invested. ))

Shaving: Less Long

For a long time I preferred using a sleeping bag for just that reason.

Most transferable skills?

Self-control is trainable and is applicable to learning and practicing many skills. Small, short and regular training exercises such as writing with your non-dominant hand to write or striving to maintain your posture can be a first step to build it up. (See "Can self-regulatory capacity be increased?" in Heatherton's paper at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~thlab/pubs/11_Heatherton_Wagner_TICS15.pdf.)

If epistemic and instrumental rationality strongly conflict

Even then there might be other -instrumental- shortcomings to certain instrumental strategies, such as being religious, besides forfeiting truth, and some may be more conspicuous than others. For instance, believing in gods and an afterlife would make it all the more unlikely to develop life-extension techniques. Advocating happiness for its own sake based on a misconception that dulls your grip on reality is somewhere close next to wireheading I think.

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