All of michaelkeenan's Comments + Replies

The Scout Mindset - read-along

Feeling embattled is one of two sources of identity that the book mentions, the other being pride. Re-reading just now, I see that her examples of identity through pride were also embattled ones (formula/breast-feeding activists, cryptocurrency proponents, polyamorists), but it doesn't seem necessary, so patriot and gymbro identities fit in the pride category.

4DanielFilan17dGood point!
What trade should we make if we're all getting the new COVID strain?

That screenshot is the Robinhood UI, so looks like he uses Robinhood.

Plague in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Interesting post! It makes me much more interested in trying the game. I didn't follow this sentence though:

If you also let them keep their money, you are told the plauge has spread throughout Greece.

Whose money is this? What's its connection to the plague spreading?

1Revenant1yI didn't played this game, but played all the previous games of this studio, so I don't know truth but have an assumption. Which is: money equals possibilities. More money often means more travels, more shopping, more feasts with friends, more parties etc. So poor family with illness will have less of interactions with other people, because of their social status, which is connected to money and possibilities.
Anti-social Punishment

Robin Hanson wrote about similar experiments in 2010.

It seems that extreme generosity can be regarded as establishing an undesirable behavior standard. His post suggests a workaround, if your productivity/generosity greatly exceeds others: under-report your output and give credit to others.

Open thread, Apr. 24 - Apr. 30, 2017

All the handymen I know are extremely intelligent

This is google-able - I found this chart. It's probably imperfect, but from a brief glance at the source I'd trust it more than anecdote or my own experience.

0dropspindle4yEven in your chart, the top 25% of janitors (the lowest IQ occupation) are smarter than the bottom 25% of college professors (the second highest IQ occupation). IQ ranges within an occupation are MUCH bigger than IQ ranges between occupations.
Rationality Quotes April - June 2017

The answer to, "What idiot did this!?" is almost always, "A smart, well-intentioned person making tradeoffs you hadn't even considered." - Jason Specland

What's up with Arbital?

Debates didn't work because... well, it's a very complicated problem.

I'd love to hear about this in more detail. What have you learned about the problem? Do you know what good solutions would look like, but they're too hard or expensive to implement? Or have you learned that it isn't feasible?

Here is my person take on why it's complicated:

When you ask someone if they would like a debate platform and describe all the features and content it'll have, they go: "Hell yeah I'd love that!" And it took me a while to realize that what they are imagining is someone else writing all the content and doing all the heavy lifting. Then they would come along, read some of it, and may be leave a comment or two. And basically everyone is like that: they want it, but they are not willing to put in the work. And I don't blame them, because I'm not willi... (read more)

Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017

I hope someone can help me find a blog post or webpage that I've seen before but can't find: it's someone describing a power law of scientists. There's a top level who have drastically more output than the level below, who are drastically more productive than the level below that. There's only a few at the top level, and a few hundred at level 2, and a few thousand at level 3. I think he mentions one scientist being level 0.5 - notably more productive than almost anyone else. It was on a relatively unstyled website, maybe Scott Aaronson's.

Anyone familiar with that?

1morganism4yand a blogpost on hiring those "star players", and the outlooks for the rest... STEM: Still No Shortage On a myth that just won’t die []
9satt4yLandau's List [].
Stupid Questions February 2017

That sounds like Aella, who wrote about taking acid every week for a year. Here's her reddit post about it; it includes some art she made, and one poem.

The engineer and the diplomat

[I misinterpreted wubbles above; I retract this comment.]

I think we should reserve the "epistemic status" thing for authors to describe their own works. Using it to insult a work seems pointlessly snarky. The useful part could be communicated with just "Probably BS" or "I think this is probably BS". Leaving it at that would avoid the useless connotation about the author's thought process, which is unknowable by others.

9wubbles4yI was using it to describe my own comment. I'll try to think of a way to make that clearer in the future.
What's the most annoying part of your life/job?

This is probably not the biggest annoyance, but it's recurring and it affects a lot of people (especially the approximately 9% with hyperacusis): many buses and garbage trucks have horrible screeching brakes. This is bad in general, but especially bad at 7am before I want to be awake.

Presumably it can be solved with some kind of regular maintenance. I doubt municipalities are interested in spending that money, but if somehow the affected residents could coordinate to pay (maybe with some kind of crowdfunding), and someone would organize the whole thing, then something could be done.

What's the most annoying part of your life/job?

Not what you were asking for, but: have you encountered Eliezer's list of sleep interventions? It's the last section of this author's note at HPMOR. There might be a different helpful intervention there.

0James_Miller5yThanks, I will look.
Now is the time to eliminate mosquitoes

Should we worry that if Trump supports eradicating mosquitoes, that will cause Trump opponents to oppose it?

6Viliam5yMake it obvious that we are targeting male mosquitoes, then the idea will also be acceptable for the other side.
4James_Miller5yYes, this does reduce the benefit of getting Trump to support mosquito eradication.
Open thread, December 7-13, 2015

It looks like you're going to rather than CFAR doesn't have a SSL certificate (but maybe should get one through Let's Encrypt).

0Viliam5yYou're right, but now I wonder how it happened (going to HTTPS). I would guess that I googled the address somehow or followed someone's link, but I don't remember anymore.
ClearerThinking's Fact-Checking 2.0

Yes, you'd want to use the International Crime Victims Survey. It's the standard way to compare crime rates between countries.

ClearerThinking's Fact-Checking 2.0

The anti-vax thing is one of the hardest cases. More often, people are just accidentally wrong. Like this exchange at Hacker News, which had checkable claims like:

  • "The UK is a much more violent society than the US, statistically"
  • "There are dozens of U.S. cities with higher per capita murder rates than London or any other city in the UK"
  • "Murder rates are higher in the US, but murder is a small fraction of violent crime. All other violent crime is much more common in the UK than in the US."

There would also be a useful effe... (read more)

1Jiro6yThat's subject to Goodhart's Law. If you start judging bots by their behavior in other cases, people will take advantage of your judging process by specifically designing bots to do poor fact checking on just a couple of issues, thus making it useless to judge bots based on their behavior in other cases. (Of course, they won't think of it that way, they'll think of it as "using our influence to promote social change" or some such. But it will happen, and has already happened for non-bot members of the media.)
ClearerThinking's Fact-Checking 2.0

I'd prefer the framing that it's not a fact-checker, but rather an inconsistency-detector. Rather than "this bot detected the claim that vaccines cause autism, which is wrong", it'd say "this bot detected the claim that vaccines cause autism, which is in conflict with the view held by The Lancet, one of the world's most prominent medical journals". Or in 1930, it might have reported "this bot detected the claim that continents drift, which is in conflict with the scientific consensus of leading geology journals".

0VoiceOfRa6yIn that case, I don't see the point. After all, anti-vaxxers don't deny that there are prominent medical professionals who don't agree with their position. They, however, suspect that said professionals are doing so due to a combination of biases and money from the vaccine industry.
ClearerThinking's Fact-Checking 2.0

It would still be helpful to have automatic fact-checking of simple statements. Consider this Hacker News thread - two people are arguing about crime rates in the UK and USA. Someone says "The UK is a much more violent society than the US" and they argue about that, neither providing citations. That might be simple enough that natural language processing could parse it and check it against various interpretations of it. For example, one could imagine a bot that notices when people are arguing over something like that (whether on the internet or i... (read more)

2VoiceOfRa6yThis is harder than it seems. The two countries use different methodologies to collect their crime statistics.
The Triumph of Humanity Chart

This comment seems aggressive and rude, so I doubt it will be persuasive to Lukas. As Yvain wrote in How To Not Lose An Argument, we should beware of status effects during arguments. If Lukas agrees with you now, then Lukas agrees he is a weasel-word-using rationalizing entitled infantile fake-victim, which is very difficult to accept. Without the insults, Lukas would have had the opportunity to make an easier update - that he misunderstood, or the text was unclear, or that he'd prefer Dias to have clarified but reasonable people could disagree, or something like that.

-3OrphanWilde6yYvain makes the mistake of believing that the person he is arguing with is the person he is convincing. I'm not interested in convincing Lukas of anything. My target is the audience, who I'm not arguing with, but negotiating with. Observe the neutral karma score of my rude comment, at least as of now - it might change, as I reveal something: Had I been so rude to somebody else in different circumstances, it would have been deeply negative. Lukas lost considerable status by complaining about being downvoted, and half the participating audience is happy to upvote me for targeting somebody who has thus earned a lowered status. Those who downvote largely agree with the status assessment, but, like you, disagree with my behavior. Everybody who upvoted my rude comment, or was tempted to? I was acting like a bully of an approved low-status target - and you approved. Chew on that. (And observe your cognitive dissonance, as you rationalize that being a bully might be appropriate in some circumstances, given the right target.)
Politics: an undervalued opportunity to change the world?

80,000 Hours has investigated the expected effects of changing the world through party politics.


This is a very high-potential, though very competitive and high-risk path that can enable you to make a big difference through improving the operation of government and promoting important ideas. If you’re highly able, could tolerate being in the public eye and think you could develop a strong interest in politics, then we recommend learning more about this career to test your suitability.

0wubbles6yHowever, they seem not to have examined the impact of starting a new political movement or political philosophy in the same way. Even higher variance, potentially even bigger rewards. Institutional change in particular can be extremely difficult to do without a clear mandate, which alliances in existing parties might not give.
Crazy Ideas Thread

Fair enough. My thinking is that voting has severe effects on others, while one's choice of consumer product mostly affects oneself. Maybe a particular well-marketed beer can make one feel strong and virile; a well-marketed approach to foreign policy might do the same, but with worse consequences for others.

Crazy Ideas Thread

My thinking with that - not that I've thought about it very hard or actually endorse this beyond "interesting crazy idea" - was that one's emotions about a product can genuinely affect one's enjoyment of it.

Maybe a certain food or other product is designed to evoke a cowboy's frontier life, or an archetypal grandmother's cooking, or something like that. Music would help create that association. Overall the effect might still be pernicious but I'm not sure about that.

4Dagon6yI'd argue that emotions about politics genuinely affect one's enjoyment of government as much, if not more so, than any other product. Why don't you want us to be happy?
Crazy Ideas Thread

Ban music in political campaign advertisements. Music has no logical or factual content, and only adds emotional bias.

Here's an example of an ad with music intended to give two different emotional tones (optimistic/patriotic in the first six seconds, then sinister in the rest).

7Dagon6yWhy only in political ads? Product consumption and lifestyle choices have orders of magnitude more impact on most people's lives than political choices, why not start by banning manipulative messaging there?
Rationality Quotes Thread July 2015

This strikes me as careful cherrypicking of "absurd" results to pick only the non-absurd "absurd" ones...not all absurd conclusions from the past turned out to be okay in hindsight

I don't think Ozy is claiming that all absurd conclusions are correct. Rather, Ozy claims that some absurd conclusions are correct. When you just need an existence proof, there's no cherry-picking - you just pick your example/s and you're done.

People who say "it is okay if my moral reasoning produces absurd results" generally don't personally th

... (read more)
0Jiro6yOzy is in the LW-sphere. As I pointed out, people in the LW-sphere may actually say "it sounds absurd, but I'll still believe it despite that" and mean it. But people in the LW-sphere are exceptions. Most people, when they say that, don't really mean it, and instead mean that their opponents think the conclusion is absurd, but they personally think it's only slightly unusual.
Rationality Quotes Thread July 2015

Efficient Outrage Hypothesis: if you're hearing about it, it's probably already a dogpile. The return on marginal outrage will be low or negative.

-- Egregore Peck (source)

4Stingray6ySounds similar to paradox of voting.
Rationality Quotes Thread July 2015

If your moral reasoning doesn’t produce conclusions that seem absurd on the face of it… why are you bothering? I want to be the sort of person who would have come up with the absurd conclusion that slavery is wrong, or the absurd conclusion that women should have rights, or the absurd conclusion that sodomy shouldn’t be illegal.

-- Ozy Frantz (source)

1) This strikes me as careful cherrypicking of "absurd" results to pick only the non-absurd "absurd" ones. You're supposed to say "well, giving women rights isn't so absurd after all, people who thought it is absurd were mistaken", but not all absurd conclusions from the past turned out to be okay in hindsight. Some were pretty horrible.

2) People who say "it is okay if my moral reasoning produces absurd results" generally don't personally think "that sounds absurd, but I'll accept it anyway". Typically, ... (read more)

Signalling with T-Shirt slogans

Please note that Rational Attire was not run by MIRI. It was always completely separate from MIRI.

5Gunnar_Zarncke6yThen I misread the press notice []. Corrected wording.
First(?) Rationalist elected to state government

Maybe one could influence malfunctioning government-run services to behave better. If some DMV office or post office is notoriously slow or broken, one could send a letter with official letterhead saying that your constituents are complaining and you'd like to speak to the manager to find out what the problem is. Then actually find out what the problem is, have them work out a plan to solve it, and report back to you on their progress. If necessary, mention that there's currently a big push in the Senate to cut back for poorly-performing services.

Tweets Thread

Steven Kaas:

You are not the king of your brain. You are the creepy guy standing next to the king going "a most judicious choice, sire".

Mason Hartman made a great typographic meme of this at Pretty Rational.

Tweets Thread

Catharine G. Evans (aristophy):

This immortal galactic supermind is a stub. You can help expand it by providing the proper technology and averting human extinction.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel:

Some of the people who earn thousands of times your income don't deserve it, which is bad; and some of them do, which is worse.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel:

Our collective delusion that we can fix most problems appears to be one of the many problems that we cannot fix.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel:

Being bad at math does not make you good at art.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel (sorry, can't find the link):

A grudging willingness to admit error does not suffice; you have to cultivate a taste for it

Mason Hartman made a typographic meme of this at Pretty Rational.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel (sorry, can't find the link):

There is no universally acclaimed institution with a more dismal track record than marrying for love.

1ChristianKl7yWhat does that have to do with rationality? I'm not aware of good published data that suggest that marrying for love doesn't work. It's more a common folk opinion.
Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel (sorry, can't find the link):

Better that X guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted. Solve for X.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel:

Guilty pleasure: something you are afraid your inferiors might like.

2ShardPhoenix7yNot just that they might like it, but that they might like it more than those you look up to.
Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel (sorry, can't find the link):

Even the most disinterested truth-seeker is angling for a world of greater rewards for disinterested truth-seekers.

Tweets Thread

Aaron Haspel (sorry, can't find the link):

Once you start to view human interaction as a contest to signal mating fitness, it becomes hard to view it as anything else.

Tweets Thread


You are the moon of my life. Once unattainable, then I was on you a few times, then I lost interest and ignored you and feel sorta guilty.

Tweets Thread


Plominism: The Christian heresy that salvation is neither by faith nor by works, but 50% hereditary and 50% based on non-shared environment

Tweets Thread


All the world's a stage - the larval stage of a galactic supercivilization.

Tweets Thread


Had a patient today whose past medical history included "hit by trolley". Resisted urge to ask if the other ten people were okay.

Tweets Thread

I can't currently find this but I'm pretty sure it was from Peter De Blanc (spaceandgames):

I don't know why we're here, but since we are, we might as well take over the universe.

Open thread, September 15-21, 2014

There is the line "thinking of the system as an agent throws into relief the degree to which the system isn’t an agent" so I see what you mean. But I think that just means that there's no sane agent to deal with, no law of the universe that says we can appease Moloch in exchange for something.

But anthropomorphizing Moloch, perhaps poetically, is different, and there's plenty of anthropomorphizing Moloch in the essay:

"But if we have bound Moloch as our servant, the bonds are not very strong, and we sometimes find that the tasks he has done f... (read more)

Open thread, September 15-21, 2014

If you liked Scott Alexander's essay, Meditations on Moloch, you might like this typographic poster-meme I made. It was a minor success on Facebook.

(If you haven't read Scott Alexander's essay, Meditations on Moloch, then you might want to check it out. As Stuart Armstrong said, it's a beautiful, disturbing, poetical look at the future.)

1shminux7yI don't understand... The point of the essay is that one should not anthropomorhize Moloch, and your meme does exactly that.
Open thread, September 8-14, 2014

Paul Graham wrote about that in A Student's Guide To Startups:

For nearly everyone, the opinion of one's peers is the most powerful motivator of all—more powerful even than the nominal goal of most startup founders, getting rich...So the best you can do is consider this force like a wind, and set up your boat accordingly. If you know your peers are going to push you in some direction, choose good peers, and position yourself so they push you in a direction you like.

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