Mel, interested in Theoretical Community Building, rarely updates their bio

hamnox's Comments

Homeostasis and “Root Causes” in Aging

Forgive me if you've covered this already, but... Isn't it also possible that you have some shortscale homeostatic pair where neither rate changes, but were in fact always just a little miscalibrated relative to each other? Such that the equilibrium point shifts very very slowly over time?

Like, in Harry Potter canon you can cast reparo on an object as often as you break it, but it's just slightly less than a perfect repair. It's not a difference you'd notice until you'd repaired the object numerous times.

Bay Winter Solstice seating-scarcity

I now want to go and get the legitimate second Solstice experience

hamnox's Shortform

I went to some martial arts class, jiu jitsu, and before they taught me anything else they taught me how to break falls safely. Same with parkour class. You're going to fall, they said. You need a way to catch yourself without fucking up your arms or back. It's not just as mistakes when you're learning a new move, either, though it will certainly happen more often then. You're throwing yourself all over the place, tripping each other; you're going to hit the ground at momentum. You need to know how to handle yourself when that happens, how to roll with it and get up right after safe and sound. Every class, the first thing we do is drill break falls.

I don't think The Art of Rationality has that.

Yes we notice the skulls. It seems like I see a new treatise pointing out the valley of bad rationality every few months. And yet...

  • When you share what you know, do you share safety skills and warnings with it?
  • Do you have a sense of how likely are you to injure yourself in your practice?
  • What specific actions do you take when you notice you're taking epistemic damage?
  • How strong are your skills in harm-minimization? Do you have it down to ingrained reaction or habit?
  • Do you practice locating individual personal abilities + limits with the distribution of expected human traits as a guide, or are you fitting your strategies to a population-level statistic?

I have some ideas.

I wanna hear yours.

hamnox's Shortform

I could discuss everything within a few very concrete examples. A concrete example tends to create a working understanding in a way mathematical abstraction fails to. I want to give my readers real knowledge, so I do often insist on describing concepts in the world without numbers or equations or proofs.

However, math exists for a reason.

Some patterns generalize so strongly that you simply cannot communicate the breadth of its applications in concrete examples. You have to describe the shape of it by constraint. To do otherwise would render it a handful of independent parlor tricks instead of one sharp and heavy blade.

Roaman's Shortform

You could benefit greatly by putting in a stop-gap: add css transitions, so the change doesn't feel so abrupt.

The Technique Taboo

What you say here... is not actually a counterexample?

You can touchtype, you said, even if you're not using a specific technique. Typing fast enough for your job is part of what qualifies you for it. It's something that came from years of experience with computers, professionally or no.

Just because someone can develop the skill naturally over time, though, doesn't mean that they certainly will. They might compensate for the wasted time with other strengths. That experience will accrue to improvement over time doesn't preclude someone getting massive gains from introducing an explicit technique or focused practice earlier.

hamnox's Shortform

Epistemic status: wishful thinking

Imagine for a moment, a nomadic tribe

They travel to where the need is great, or by opportunity. They are globalists, able to dive into bubbles but always grokking its existence in context of the wider world. They find what needs doing and do it.

They speak their own strange dialect that cuts to the heart of things. They follow their own customs, which seamlessly flex and adapt to incorporate effective local practices. Change, even drastic change, is a natural part of their culture. They seek to see. They do not hide their young and hold, their blood and shit, their queer and deplorable. You don't taboo human reality.

Wherever they momentarily settle, they strive to leave better than they found. Some of what needs doing wherever they go is providing for their own, of course. They are always prepared to keep infrastructure independent of their neighbors, but only exercise that option when it is efficient. They grok the worth of scale and industry, knowing the alternative. In the same vein, they seek to render aid primarily in ways that promote robust self-reliance rather than create reliance. 'Leave no trace' is the lowest bar to clear.

I wish...

hunterglenn's Shortform

Yeah, I get annoyed by the false equivalence in the litany of gendlin too. It steps you through a sometimes-useful reasoning process but stealths over its most contentious assumption: that knowledge can cause only positive or at worst no change in your ability to improve the situation. Info hazards totally exist.

Note that you're also making a reasoning error too, in your examples.

Deciding whether it's worth arguing with someone is not actually the same question as whether they would be better off believing something else. Telling or persuading someone of the truth is a particular action under your consideration, which may lead to them changing beliefs. It's not the same thing as them seeking an honest understanding. Of all the actions you could take to help a person in those mentioned straits, it's not a very efficient one; I'd feel compelled to slap anyone who wasted the opportunity cost like that.

See also Raemon's post on this subject: link to issues with gendlin post

hamnox's Shortform

Epistemic status: don't know enough in this domain to tell if I'm being stupid, so probably I am

There are a few ideas I keep coming back to when thinking about what legal system my April Fool's alt-world of rationalists would have. One is The Stand On Your Own Two Feet Clause (alternatively I might call it the paleo exemption)

You can achieve massive improvements in safety and equality through industry regulation. Industry scales; change the industry and the effects scale with it. You probably know that trouble comes when industry influences the shape of regulation to benefit themselves at the cost of potential competitors. But while everyone's keeping a hawk's eye on budding monopolies, there's a worse issue that could creep up on you.

What if it's not just the market being captured? What is an individual supposed to do when solving their problems on their own initiative becomes legally or practically unfeasible?

Regulations should not apply to an individual doing things for themselves, by themselves or with some basic assistance.

Maybe that seems redundant. For the most part, government imposed standards don't usually apply to personal and non-commercial use cases anyways. You don't fine the old lady down the road for giving away pies without a food handler's permit. It's simply not practical to enforce on the small scale.

Can you build a simple hut to live in with your own two hands, or do you effectively have to hire a specialist to build something to code? Can you in fact make your own medication, if you have access to raw ingredients and a simple enough recipe, or do you have to get it from a pre-approved lab? Can you do medical procedures to yourself? Can you legally represent yourself?

These may not be good plans, and you'd still liable to causing harm to other people through negligence or illegally dumping contaminants into the air/water/soil, but I really think having the option to self-determine outside of the market matters. A lot. And I think it needs more protection than I'm aware of it having.

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