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The Pyramid And The Garden

Just a small nitpciking correction : the metric system wasn't invented in the 1600s, but in the late 1700s during French Revolution.

The Moral Of The Story

Just a small nitpicking correction : the metric system wasn't created in the 1600s, but in the late 1700s, during French Revolution.

Circles of discussion

Interesting proposal.

I would suggest one modification : a "probation" period for contents, changing the rule "Content ratings above 2 never go down, except to 0; they only go up." to "Once a content staid for long enough (two days? one week?) at level 2 or above, it can never go down, only up" to make the system less vulnerable to the order in which content gets rated.

Circles of discussion

The same as "Content ratings above 2 never go down, except to 0", once content as been promoted to level 3 (or 4 or 5) once, it'll never go lower than that.

2016: a year in review in science

Something important IMHO is missing from the list : no new physics were discovered in LHC, even running at 14TeV, no Susy, no new particle, nothing but a confirmation of all predictions of Standard Model.

It's relatively easy to miss because it's a "negative" discovery (nothing new), but since many were expecting some hints towards new physics from the 2016 LHC runs, the confirmation of the Standard Model (and the death sentence it is to many theories, like many forms of SUSY) is news.

Mismatched Vocabularies

Answer 1 is not always possible - it's possible when you're answering on IRC or Internet forum, but usually is not in real life conversation.

As for #3, it is sometimes justified - there are people out there who will use unnecessarily obscure words just to appear smarter/impress people, or who will voluntarily use unnecessarily complex language just to obfuscate the flaws of their reasoning.

You're right than #1 is (when available) nearly always the best reaction, and that the cases were #3 is true (unless you're speaking to someone trying to sell you homeopathy, or some politicians) are rare, but people having mis-calibrated heuristics is sadly a reality we have to deal with.

The 12 Second Rule (i.e. think before answering) and other Epistemic Norms

Sounds like a good idea, but from a practical pov how do you count those 12 seconds ? I can count 12 seconds more or less accurately, but I can't do that as a background process while trying to think hard. Do you use some kind of a timer/watch/clock ? Or the one asking the question counts on his finger ?

I know the "12 seconds" isn't a magical number, if it ends up being "10" or "15" it won't change much, but if you give a precise number (not just "think before answering") you've to somehow try to respect it.

Inverse cryonics: one weird trick to persuade anyone to sign up for cryonics today!

I expect that the utility per unit time of future life is significantly higher than what we have today, even taking into account loss of social network.

Perhaps, but that's highly debatable. Anyway, my main point was that the two scenarios (bullet / cryonics) are not anywhere near being mathematically equivalent, there are a lot of differences, both in favor and against cryonics, and pretending they don't exist is not helping. If anything, it just reinforces the Hollywood stereotype of the "vulkan rationalist" who doesn't have any feeling or emotion, and that basically fails to understand what makes life worth being lived. And that's pretty harmful from a PR point of view.

Of course this asymmetry goes away if you persuade your friends and family to sign up too.

Even then it's not the case, unless everyone dies and is frozen at the same time. If I sign to cryonics, die tomorrow and am resurrected in 200 years, and my 4 yo niece signs to cryonics when she's adult and dies in 80 years and is resurrected too in 200 years, she'll still have grown without her uncle, and I would still have missed her childhood - in fact, she would likely not even remember me, and the 84-yo person she would be wouldn't be much like the one I remembered.

I think it's probably 2-10 times better in utility than the best we have today.

Perhaps. There is a lot of uncertainty about that (which compounds with the odds of cryonics working at all), and while there are possible futures in which it's the case, it's not certain at all - especially from someone from now.

But you also forget a very important point - utility for other people. Perhaps I would be happier in the future than now - but to take the same example, my niece would still miss her uncle (and that would be even much worse if I were a father, not "just" an uncle), and less utility in her childhood because of it. And I value her life more than my own.

Inverse cryonics: one weird trick to persuade anyone to sign up for cryonics today!

Hum, first I find you numbers very unlikely - cryonics costs more than $1/day, and definitely have less than 10% of chance of working (between the brain damage done by the freezing, the chances that the freezing can't be done in time, disaster striking the storage place before resurrection, risk of society collapse, unwillingness of future people to resurrect you, ...).

Then, the "bullet" scenario isn't comparable to cryonics, because it completely forgets all the context and social network. A significant part of why I don't want to die (not the only reason, by far, but definitely not a minor on either) is that there are people I care about and who either enjoy me being around them, and/or depend on me financially at least partially, and I enjoy spending time with them. If I were to die tomorrow of a bullet in the head, it'll deprive me of time with them and them of time with me. If I were to die of whatever other cause, and then be resurrected centuries in the future, it wouldn't change anything for them (unless they sign up to cryonics too, but that's a wholly different issue).

That doesn't mean cryonics isn't worth it at all - but the two scenarios are far from being mathematically equivalent. And I would definitely pay more than $1 a day to not have the "I'm cut from all the people I care about" scenario to happen.

Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016

Well, I would consider it worrying if a major public advocate of antideathism were also publically advocating a sexuality that is considered disgusting by most people - like say pedophilia or zoophilia.

It is an unfortunate state of the world, because sexual (or political) preference shouldn't have any significant impact on how you evaluate their position on non-related topics, but that's how the world works.

Consider someone who never really thought about antideathism, open the newspaper the morning, reads about that person who publically advocate disgusting political/sexual/whatever opinions, and then learn in that article that he also "considers death to be a curable disease". What will happen ? The person will bundle "death is a curable disease" has the kind of opinions disgusting persons have, and reject it. That's why I'm worried about - it's bad in term of PR when the spokeperson of something unusual you support also happen to be considered "disgusting" by many.

The same happens, for example, when Dawkins takes positions that are disgusting for many people about what he calls "mild pedophilia" - unrelated to whatever Dawkins is right or wrong about it, it does reflect badly on atheism, that a major public advocate of atheism also happens to be a public advocate of something considered "disgusting" by many. Except that it's even worse in the Thiel case, because atheism is relatively mainstream, so it's unlikely people will learn about atheism and that Dawkins defends "mild pedophilia" the same day.

And btw, I'm not saying I've a solution to that problem - that Peter Thiel shouldn't be "allowed" to express his political view (how much I dislike them) is neither possible nor even desirable, but it's still worrying, for the cause of antideathism.

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