All of infinite_asshole's Comments + Replies

Morality and International Humanitarian Law

The Allies won World War 2 largely by killing about 2 to 4 million civilians in Germany and Japan. Therefore, it isn't clear that the benefits of not killing civilians far outweigh the costs.

This will become more important as technology decreases the difficulty of building WMDs. Eventually, even a small nation like North Korea will be able to make nuclear missiles. By that time, the cost of allowing them to do as they please (and encouraging other nations to also do as they please) may be greater, in expected lives lost, than the cost of brutally killing a million North Korean civilians.

I would go on, but there's no point in going to the next shock level.

3Torben12yI doubt very much that is correct. Germany's & Japan's populations suffered as little moral damage as the UK's did during the Blitz. Germany's war-time production in general only suffered and faltered in late 1944 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Bombing_Survey]. Whether Germany had lost 0, 2, or 10 million civilians in May 45, massive Allied armies occupied the country and capital. As I see it, Germany primarily lost due to its lack of oil and battlefield defeats in the East. Japan had lost the war economically far earlier than August 45. The scale of civilian casualties during the nuclear bombings had only a psychological effect on the Japanese government, although obviously a major one.
0wedrifid12yNaturally, the North Koreans will use similar reasoning just as hard as they can. How powerful do you need to be before you are promoted from 'pre-emptive strike' to 'cold-war'? (I support placing N. Korea in the former category for what it is worth.)
-1wedrifid12yYou mean ones not built with leprechaun gold and rumour, powered by moonbeams and levitating over the great big pot of oil at the end of the rainbow? What about 'awe'? (To give Taw some more examples!)
0CronoDAS12ySeconded.
Fight Biases, or Route Around Them?

This is an interesting post, but...

Hating Hitler doesn't mean you're biased against Hitler. Likewise, having a belief about a particular ethnic group doesn't mean you're biased for or against them.

Then how do you know what score you should get on the IAT? I don't know what an unbiased score would be, but an equal-for-both-groups score is most likely biased.

In the Israel vs. Palestine case, your answer would depend more on some meta-level decisions than on ironing out another decimal point of bias. For instance: Should a settlement give equal benefit... (read more)

Aargh. That's a good point and I clearly need to think about this more. I don't have a clear theory yet, but I'm going to brain-dump my thoughts on this topic.

Then how do you know what score you should get on the IAT? I don't know what an unbiased score would be, but an equal-for-both-groups score is most likely biased.

The score you should get on the IAT should be correlated to your conscious opinion. If you consciously think Palestinians are inferior, then you should be happy with an IAT score showing you think Palestinians are inferior. If you consci... (read more)

Closet survey #1

I don't agree with it. You can't believe everything you read in Wired. The "information should be free" movement is just modern techno-geek Marxism, and it's only sillier the second time around.

People and companies exposing buggy software to untrusted parties deserve to have it exploited to their disadvantage. Maliciously attacking software systems by submitting data crafted to trigger security-critical bugs should not be illegal in any way.

All software is buggy. All parties are untrusted.

8Sebastian_Hagen13yThat may be so now, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to change it. That the current default state for software is "likely insecure" reflects the fact that the market price for software security is lower than the cost of providing it. Laws against software attacks raise the cost of performing such attacks, and therefore lower the incentives for people to ensure the software they use is secure. I think it would be worth a try to take that illegality away, and see if the market responds by coming up with ways to make software secure. You can't get really good physical security without expending huge amounts of resources: physical security doesn't scale well. Software security is different in principle: If you get it right, it doesn't matter how many resources an attacker can get to try and subvert your system over a data channel - they won't succeed.
Soulless morality

In Virginia, until 2001, neither a lower court, nor any other court, could review new evidence after 21 days. In 2001, an exception was made for DNA evidence. In 2004, an exception was made for evidence that could not possibly have been discovered within 21 days, that would have led any "reasonable" person to a verdict of innocent, for people who pled innocent. See http://www.vadp.org/21day.htm, http://truthinjustice.org/VAevidence.htm .