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Voting for people harms people

If you think we‘ve got too much Culture War, vote for people/policies/things that in your opinion will diminish the Culture War (give or take other values, obviously).

(This is a consequentialist argument)

X-Risk, Anthropics, & Peter Thiel's Investment Thesis

(Epistemic status: earworm)

No-one will have the endurance to claim on his insurance / Lloyd’s of London will be loaded when they go! - Tom Lehrer, “We will all go together when we go”

What if we should use more energy, not less?

I’ve yet to delve into it, but RethinkX - a think tank, doubtless with an axe to grind - take similar ingredients and produce a result pointing in the opposite direction: RE is cheap, storage is relatively expensive, so the optimal solution is RE overcapacity with storage filling the gap that remains, and volatile energy prices, often very low, sometimes quite high. A large gas- or coal-fired power plant is not at all optimised for this market, and they don’t advise you to own one. See, for example:

I think there are very many moving parts here when dealing with RE intermittency. Grid-scale storage is the obvious one, but there’s also vehicle-to-grid, and all kinds of thermal storage at the point of use (since providing heat and cooling is a major use of electricity, and thermal storage can be cheaper than storing electricity as electricity). Add to that all the principal-agent problems (the landlord owns the HVAC, and the tenant has to grit their teeth and pay for it) and time lags (how long does it take to build a 2GW power plant?)…

What if we should use more energy, not less?

The need for backup dispatchable power means that even if RE were free, it would still not be cheaper, because you still have to have the backup dispatchable power stations


This is somewhat true for the capital cost of the backup/dispatchable plant, but not the operating cost, which includes fuel, and any notion of the cost of the emissions (whether via carbon tax, cap and trade, or notional non–financial cost) (and, as far as AGW is concerned, the emissions are the important factor here).

Scout Mindset and Latter-Day Saint Apostasy

See also: “Preachers who are not believers“ (

What Do GDP Growth Curves Really Mean?

GDP is more of a measure of economic activity than value


Upvoting for this insight.

Matt Levine spots IRL Paperclip Maximizer in Reddit

(Epistemic status: quoting 80s action movie, metaphor)

”Welcome to the party, pal!”

Social media: designed to be bad for you & for society

Another aspect: if you built software intended to deliberate on people’s needs and problems and then formulate plans and collect volunteers, the result would look fairly thoroughly not like Facebook. Any system for collating, corralling and organising different opinions and evidence would, also, look not at all like Facebook. You might end up with an argument map[1], or some “garden and the stream”[2] mix of dialogue and accumulated wisdom.

TL;DR: social software intended to avoid or ameliorate the problems we see with Facebook might function very little like Facebook does.



Social media: designed to be bad for you & for society

The way echo chambers work seems to be popularly mis-explained.

How’s it’s explained: everyone you encounter agrees with you

How it actually works: everyone you encounter who you disagree with appears to be insane or evil. Next time you encounter someone who disagrees with you, you expect them to be insane or evil, causing you to act in a way that seems to them to be insane or evil. Iterate.

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