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Self-Study Questions Thread

Newton gave out reading lists like that too. Geniuses are always the worst teachers.

Stupid Questions Thread - January 2014

What are your best arguments against the reality/validity/usefulness of IQ?

Improbable or unorthodox claims are welcome; appeals that would limit testing or research even if IQ's validity is established are not.

Help us name a short primer on AI risk!

Safe at any Speed: Fundamental Challenges in the Development of Self-Improving Artificial Intelligence

9/11 as mindkiller

We're talking about what might have happened if WWII didn't get fought. No reasonable person would demand mathematical precision under those circumstances, and you're assuming I've done just that.

This kind of pedantry makes it feel like work to talk to you any further.

9/11 as mindkiller

The technologies that were developed for the war are indeed impressive, but what of the technologies that would have been developed had WWII not occurred? How would we know if the seen outweigh the unseen in this case?

It's impossible to prove that WWII did not prevent the development of arbitrarily wonderful technology.

It is also impossible to prove that the Great Depression would have ended in the absence of an economic event like WWII.

Rationality Quotes: April 2011

Bertrand Russell, in his Autobiography records that his rather fearsome Puritan grandmother:

gave me a Bible with her favorite texts written on the fly-leaf. Among these was "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Her emphasis upon this text led me in later life to be not afraid of belonging to small minorities.

It's rather affecting to find the future hammer of the Christians being "confirmed" in this way. It also proves that sound maxims can appear in the least probable places.

-- Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Why is reddit so negative?

Agreed. But if Californian baby boomers won't vote to legalize a widespread safe and therapeutically useful drug when it's also a magic wand that will disappear their impending budget crisis...

They say people overestimate what changes are possible in the short term, and underestimate in the long term. Let's hope.

The Irrationality Game

"people eat what they prefer".

No, because preferences are revealed by behavior. Using revealed preferences is a good heuristic generally, but it's required if you're right that explanations for behavior are mostly post-hoc rationalizations.


People eat what they prefer. What they prefer is what they wind up having eaten. Ergo, people eat what they eat.

LW's first job ad

Hm. Your total karma is 0, but you have posts scored 2, 1, 7, 1, 1, and 4 just in this thread. What's up with that?

At any rate, you're putting words in my mouth. I described the employer as "setting up hoops for prospects to jump through." You rephrased that as "hoops [they are] making us jump through." Why the attitude?

Also, I don't think it's a complaint (or particularly imaginative) to say that a company that won't even confirm the existence of the job in public, but still wants your personal information and work history, might be more than ordinarily likely to take advantage of its employees.

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