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How does knowing about Ukraine’s draft affect an NYT reader’s opinion of the war? I mean it’s not going to be like

  • Reader: “Ukraine’s justified in defending itself from Russia!”
  • NYT-whistleblower: ”But Ukraine drafted soldiers to do it, and the NYT didn’t tell you!”
  • Reader: ”Oh, well, screw those guys, Ukraine should lose!”

… so what is it like?

Some ways a reader could respond include:

  • More instinctive patriotic fervour (Glory to Ukraine’s presumably-voluntary heroes!) (… and this seems like the likely propaganda angle in question)
  • Increased salience of hellishness of the war, therefore Russia should win asap to minimise bloodshed
  • Increased salience of hellishness of the war, therefore arm Ukraine to punish Russia for starting it

If you turn up the prior belief of collusion between the NYT and a military-industrial-political complex, you can imagine a “pragmatic” situation where the West arms Ukraine enough to keep Russia embroiled in a war of attrition, thereby pouring Russia’s armed forces into a meatgrinder for, from Western accountings, pennies on the dollar, and this might be pragmatic, or even hard to improve on (because arming Ukraine too much could provoke nuclear response from Russia), but, damn it all, it doesn’t feel very heroic. So, NYT is left waving the banners and playing the trumpets?

downvoted for the "affiliate link" rickroll.


(Epistemic status: shitpost)

You know the rules, and so do I

I am confused. None of these are particularly social-status-improving, or, for that matter, social-status-worsening, because none of them are conspicuous. If you buy a tailored suit or an expensive car or an expensive house, people can see that you own it, and the extravagance signals wealth (or can be interpreted as materialism or lack of prudence); none of the things on the list seem to qualify. What am I missing?

Hm. Now I thought I’d heard of gender dysphoria/transgender/etc showing up in brain imaging (eg. and while “develop like female brains” would be bounding happily ahead of the evidence, that seems at least like sporadic snorting noises from the garage in the night time

(Epistemic status: shitpost)

Plan to uplift Royal Corgi may cause constitutional crisis


If Epstein’s thesis is, broadly, “cheap energy from fossil fuels is awesome and climate change isn’t that bad”, weaknesses would be likely to fall somewhere under these, classified in increasing controversy:

  • Climate change might be worse than he’s positing. Particularly, climate is a global system we only partly understand, and our error bars for the effects of inadvertently perturbing it may be quite large
  • Cheap energy may be obtainable from non-fossil sources. Epstein is keen on nuclear energy (why?), but, as AnthonyC points out, solar & wind are getting surprisingly cheap (for example Obviously that only gives you a bonanza of cheap energy when the wind blows and the sun shines, but “the sometimes-free-energy bonanza will destabilise the grid!” feels a long way from common-sense
  • GDP may be possible to decouple from energy use by purely technical means: compare the computation-per-watt-hour of a Pentium with that of an iPad. Compare a Passive-House-standard building with an average building. How far are we from the optimal frontier? There will be, at some point, a limit, because we’re operating with optimal designs and can’t get any better, but we might be quite far from that point - countries with more energy-tight housing often have codes that require that, rather than the market doing it spontaneously? Why is that? Principal-agent problems? “Market for lemons” informational issues?
  • GDP may be possible to decouple even further from emissions use via selective lifestyle changes (higher-density cities, more bicycles, fewer automobiles)
  • GDP may be argued to be decouple-able from human welfare. Broadly, this is the “degrowth” argument. Critique here, for example  (

… climate change is not an existential risk… Earth isn't going to become Venus, or anything like that


Last I heard, the big question was what positive-feedback “tipping points” exist, and at what CO2-level they become triggered. This would give quite wide error bars on what average heating is caused by a given quantity of cumulative emissions. If we can burn all the fossil fuels, turn the rainforests to desert, and vaporise all the methane clathrates, and still not end up like Venus, that’s… reassuring, I guess

A town in Norway did it:

(Epistemic status: lyrics)

I’m not too clear about what you just spoke. Is that a parable, or a very subtle joke?

Or to take a stronger example, someone you deeply care about must be alive because you deeply love them, and at the same time you also know for certain that they are dead.


Isn’t this the “denial” psychological defense mechanism, famous for its role in Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief? In the reality the unfortunate thing is true; the impossibility is in the mind of the observer tripping circuit breakers.

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