Wiki Contributions


Book Analysis: New Thrawn Trilogy

The old Thrawn trilogy concludes with a major (and wonderful!) out-of-context problem for Thrawn. The new Thrawn trilogy just has him win all the time in order to set him up as a scary villain for the Rebels TV series. (I understand he both loses a bunch in Rebels and is much less well-written.)

In what ways are holidays good?

One thing that I typically get out of holidays is having experiences associated with my interests that I would otherwise not be able to have. For example: musicals on Broadway typically have more talented casts than musicals elsewhere in the United States; looking at artwork in person is generally more emotionally moving for me than looking at it online; I met some famous people, watched interesting panels, and went shopping at WorldCon; and Disneyland has rides and the opportunity to interact with costumed characters.

I assume if you had interests such that going on vacation would benefit you in this way it would have made your list of benefits of vacations. But that is definitely one thing some people get out of vacations that might not generalize to you.

Another advantage of vacations for me is that many of my closest friends live very far away, and if I'd like to see them in person either they have to visit me or I have to visit them.

Advances in Baby Formula

You can do an encouragement design similar to what was done in Belarus by randomizing some hospitals to adopt breastfeeding-friendly policies and some to not adopt them. Unfortunately, since not all parents in a breastfeeding-friendly hospital will breastfeed and not all parents in a control hospital will use formula, and since you're randomizing at the hospital level, your sample size has to be huge to detect any effect. And because many of the outcome variables you're interested in are long-term (IQ age seven, for example), you have to follow people for a long time. It's very very expensive and it takes forever.

The Belarus results are IMO the strongest results we have about the benefits of breastfeeding, and show a huge rise in IQ from three months of breastfeeding. Of course, as this post points out, the top formula brands have improved their product in the past decade, and modern babies may receive better milk than the babies of the Belarus study. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

[Hammertime Final Exam] Accommodate Yourself; Kindness Is An Epistemic Virtue; Privileging the Future

I really really enjoyed reading this blog post. Your thoughts about privileging the future were new to me, and I think that's a really insightful way of looking at it.

Isolating Content can Create Affordances

In my experience, quarantine channels are a good choice if some participants want a particular kind of content, and it's agreed to be appropriate for the community, but not everyone wants to view it. For example, a writing discord I participate in has several NSFW channels. It's agreed upon that some people might want to write and talk about writing NSFW things, and that other people don't want to view NSFW content (because of age, religion, personal preference, etc.). I think it's a bad idea to create a quarantine channel for content that is actually inappropriate for the community: for example, I banned religion as a topic in my parenting discord, instead of creating a religion channel.

One night, without sleep

"I normally have little regard for trigger warnings, but on this occasion, imagine that my words are prefaced with every trigger warning ever" is a very unhelpful warning. Taken literally, it implies you are warning for diet talk, pictures of spiders, sudden loud noises, people's faces, flashing gifs, sex, curse words, and a detailed description of how to commit suicide; zero of these things are in your piece. In general, I think trigger warnings should have a brief and non-vivid description of the potentially triggering content, in order to allow readers to make an informed decision. For example, you might say "trigger warning: vivid description of death and the suffering and thoughts associated with chronic illness."

Wirehead your Chickens

That's not a proxy for suffering; it is caring about more than just suffering. You might oppose making animals' brains smaller because it also reduces their ability to feel pleasure, and you value pleasure in addition to pain. You might oppose amputating non-essential body parts because that reduces the animal's capacity for pleasurable experiences of the sort the species tends to experience. You might oppose breeding animals that enjoy pain because of the predictable injuries and shorter lifespan that would result: physical health and fitness is conventionally included in many definitions of animal welfare. You might also be a deontologist who is opposed to certain interventions as a violation of the animal's rights or dignity.

Not being a negative utilitarian is not a bias.

Wirehead your Chickens

I think you have failed to address the issue of why these solutions are acceptable for chickens and not for humans. The obvious explanation for why people disagree with you on this point is not that they don't care about animal suffering, any more than people who don't want to amputate the non-essential body parts that might give humans discomfort later in life don't care about human suffering. It is that they think those actions are unethical for animals, just like they are for humans.

Problem Solving with Mazes and Crayon

Excellent post! Your explanations were interesting and intuitive for me, even though I don't know much of anything about computer science.

Three types of "should"

I'm not sure that it makes sense, at our current level of knowledge of scrupulosity, to declare that anything is "the" cause of scrupulosity. I have no doubt that what you say is *a* cause of scrupulosity, but the term is deliberately quite broad. For example, clinical OCD can cause scrupulosity, but that's not related to internalized "shoulds", it's related to the mind's tendency to obsessively think about things it's trying not to think about.

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