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How would you govern Mars?

You need to differentiate the question of how law is managed from who has commit rights. Managing law as code, with patches and such, is an implementation detail. Current laws are actually written similar to git hashes - changes to the existing code that are then applied. That all of this is manual is not at all interesting, and automating it with git would not in any way change the fundamental power structures at play.

On the other hand, proposing that anyone can change the law would clearly be insane, just as large open source projects must have maintainers or go entirely off the rails. Currently you can call up your representative and propose a change to the law, they just will very very rarely bother to listen to you. Just like an open source project where the maintainer cares about their particular concerns, not yours. So the question is who has commit rights and how to manage them - in other words, it's fundamentally a question of political power and deciding who has it. 

Anti-Aging: State of the Art

I'm in support of anti-aging research, and think we should fund it more highly, specifically because the long-term benefits are so high once we get it right. Does anyone have any comments on whether SENS is the best place to put money if you're interested in donating to anti-aging? 

As a side note, my experience working with complex codebases has led me to disbelieve your optimism for how quickly we can find reliable ways to get more than a decade of increased healthspan. The human body is vastly, vastly, vastly more complex than nearly any codebase humans have developed, and less well factored by far. And working to make notable improvements to complex codebases that are well-factored still takes years of dedicated effort, with much better tooling than we have for modifying the body. 

Project Hufflepuff: Planting the Flag

I think it'd be interesting to have an online unconference, as well. Maybe put up a post here on the day, and people can write in comments with a time, topic, and google hangout link.

I Want To Live In A Baugruppe

As a rationalist who had kids while within a deep community, I will say that only some of the community (that mostly said they wanted to stick around) actually stuck around after the kids showed up. I think there's a whole series to be written about that, but I'll sketch towards it now:

  • Parents schedules are different. If you really want to see them, you have to show up, not just invite them to your nonparent parties.
  • After a dozen invites that we don't make it to, nonparents stop inviting us parents, and then we're cut off. Even if we don't show up, we appreciate the invitation - I have occasionally made it to a nonparent invitation, but only from those who persist in inviting me.
  • Immediately after the baby arrives, the best things to do to help parents are chores. Prepping and making food, laundry, cleaning, etc.
  • Now that the kids are old enough for a consistent bedtime, I'm probably best available to hang out at 5:30pm or 9pm, but not 8pm. The 9pm one relies on you visiting me, or my partner hanging out in case the kids wake up. (I love 9pm visitors). If you're a nonparent who wants to help, you can always offer to hang out after the kids are asleep so parents can go out (if they're not going to sleep by 10, which is pretty common, so don't be surprised if that doesn't work for many parents)
  • As a nonparent, expect to build familiarity with the kids over a handful of events before you can babysit. Kids warm up to adults just like people warm up to other people - often slowly.
I Want To Live In A Baugruppe

There are a handful of developers who specialize in building cohousings so that folks interested in living in one can focus on building community and then all moving in together. In Portland one of the longer persisting ones is Orange Splot. http://www.orangesplot.net/ I'm sure there are Bay Area ones, and it's possible the folks at Orange Splot know them. I'd expect they'd also show up at the Cohousing Conference.

Doing both community development and building development is, of course, three times as hard as just doing the community development part and moving in to a building that someone else prepares for you.

I Want To Live In A Baugruppe

The cohousing conference ( http://www.cohousing.org/2017 ) is a great place to get questions answered and learn from the folks who've been doing this for a while. The Bay Area definitely has a handful of solid cohousings, and often they give tours and talk to folks who are interested in setting them up.

(I'm happy to talk about this further, but may well lose track of this thread. feel free to email me or catch me on the slack.)

I Want To Live In A Baugruppe

Cohousing, in the US, is the term of art. I spent a while about a decade ago attempting to build a cohousing community, and it's tremendously hard. In the last few months I've moved, with my kids, into a house on a block with friends with kids, and I can now say that it's tremendously worthwhile.

Cohousings in the US are typically built in one of three ways:

  • Condo buildings, each condo sold as a condominium
  • Condo/apartment buildings, each apartment sold as a coop share
  • Separate houses.

The third one doesn't really work in major cities unless you get tremendously lucky.

The major problem with the first plan is, due to the Fair Housing Act in the 1960s, which was passed because at the time realtors literally would not show black people houses in white neighborhoods, you cannot pick your buyers. Any attempt to enforce rationalists moving in is illegal. Cohousings get around this by having voluntary things, but also by accepting that they'll get freeriders and have to live with it. Some cohousings I know of have had major problems with investors deciding cohousing is a good investment, buying condos, and renting them to whoever while they wait for the community to make their investment more valuable.

The major problem with the coop share approach is that, outside of New York City, it's tremendously hard to get a loan to buy a coop share. Very few banks do these, and usually at terrible interest rates.

Some places have gotten around this by having a rich benefactor who buys a big building and rents it, but individuals lose out on the financial benefits of homeownership. In addition, it is probably also illegal under the Fair Housing Act to choose your renters if there are separate units.

The other difficulties with cohousing are largely around community building, which you've probably seen plenty of with rationalist houses, so I won't belabor the point on that.

Link: The Cook and the Chef: Musk's Secret Sauce - Wait But Why

The author does not seem to understanding survivorship bias. He never approaches the question of whether the things he proposes are the reason for Musk's success actually work, or whether they happen to work for Musk in a context-dependent way. In other words, if you give this as advice to someone random, will they end up successful or an outcast. I'd guess the latter in most cases. This is in general the problem of evaluating the reasons behind success.

Also, unnecessary evolutionary psychology, done badly, even to the point of suggesting group selection. Ick.

The idea that using technical language (which isn't actually any more precise in meaning in the examples cited) in regular life is beneficial in being more scientific is also pretty suspect.

Using the Copernican mediocrity principle to estimate the timing of AI arrival

75% probability that the following things will be gone by: LessWrong: 2020 Email: 2135 The web: 2095 Y Combinator: 2045 Google: 2069 Microsoft: 2135 USA: 2732 Britain: 4862

These don't seem unreasonable.

I'm not sure that this method works with something that doesn't exist coming into existence. Would we say that we expect a 75% chance that someone will solve the problems of the EmDrive by 2057? That we'll have seasteading by 2117?

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