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"UFO" has a colloquial sense that does, in fact, mean aliens (or trans-dimensional beings or what have you). I would posit that this is the sense of the word Eliezer used in the quoted text.

I read a lot of C&H growing up, and looking back at it, I'm surprised at how many interesting ideas it contains. I wonder how much of my present self was shaped by having these ideas implanted at age 8 or 9...

Steven Strogatz did a series of blog posts at NY Times going through a variety of math concepts from elementary school to higher levels. (They are presented in descending date order, so you may want to start at the end of page 2 and work your way backwards.) Much of the information will be old hat to LWers, but it is often presented in novel ways (to me, at least).

Specifically related to this post, the visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem appears in the post Square Dancing.

The fact is that there are many battles worth fighting, and strong skeptics are fighting one (or perhaps a few) of them. (As I was disgusted to see recently, human sacrifice apparently still happens.) However, I also think it's ok to say that battle is not the one that interests you. You don't have the capacity to be a champion for all possible good causes, so it's good that there is diversity of interest among people trying to improve the human condition.

Thanks for the clarification, I see what you mean. The distinction between repetitive, droning thoughts and actively reasoning about the problem makes sense.

I think eugman is more referring to negative thoughts that cycle through a depressed person's head on a regular basis. They're messages that remind you that you're a failure, you let people down, you're not going anywhere, and they play through your brain almost all your waking hours.

The negative thoughts you described are the ones that healthy people encounter in real, negative situations that must be dealt with. In that case, rumination is appropriate and finding rational solutions is desirable. But when your brain is essentially buggy and constantly replaying cached, (often incorrect or completely out of proportion) negative beliefs, it might be entirely appropriate to forcibly jump to another track instead of dwelling on it.

Put another way, in a depressed brain, rumination and focus on the "problem" is the default mode of operation. Sometimes it eventually yields positive solutions, but frequently it's more of a death spiral. Short circuiting that kind of process seems entirely reasonable to me.

Are there any good examples of the long strategy working? Ron Paul seemed like a potential case of exactly that, and in 2008 he was rallying support on the internet and raking in serious political campaign contributions. He got a small chunk of the popular vote and raised the profile of libertarianism a little. However, a few years later the media have still apparently decided that he is unelectable and give him far less coverage than the "mainstream" candidates. (I'm not a Ron Paul fan myself, but he should appeal to the fiscal conservative base and he seems to be a man of integrity.)

i read it, and I disagree. I think it's irrational to expect everyone to do what he suggests, and it only works if everyone does it.

Edit: Using the word "strategic" is probably misleading. Eliezer proposes a particular strategy - vote for someone you actually like, regardless of popularity or perceived likelihood of winning. It's still a strategy, and voting is still a game. So the argument isn't really about whether or not to vote "strategically", it's about which strategy one should use.

In my original comment I argue for the meta-strategy of changing the electoral system to one that isn't as broken as plurality systems are. As well, I argue that it still makes sense given the current system to continue to vote for the least evil candidate who has a shot at winning.

What percentage of educated Westerners would you guess are to the right (as operationalized below) of you on economic questions?

Sorry, I find this survey terrible. I don't know how to answer most of the questions. Questions like the above require me to have more knowledge than I personally have (about the internal state of billions of educated Westerners). You are supposed to do this work for us by asking 5 to 10 representative questions with which we can strongly agree/strongly disagree, etc, and then use that information to categorize responders.

The way this survey is written I don't even feel comfortable submitting my response, because the percentages are wild guesses. Further, I don't even know what it means to be "left" or "right" on race and gender issues. Also, the categories in the first part contain multiple, sometimes conflicting labels. It's really hard to know how to respond to those, as well.

I say all this as someone with concrete political beliefs! If you asked me specific questions, I would happily answer them. But I'm not comfortable speculating about the political beliefs of people occupying an entire hemisphere.

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