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Covid 11/4: The After Times

Perhaps I can continue to work on transitioning away from a Covid focus towards a focus on things that now matter more, on a variety of fronts.

Thus was born the most simulacrum-1 journalist the world had ever seen. I'd love this.

Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

I've noticed that Australians always start their defense by talking about how low their case counts have been, as if that's the only important metric in all of this. We'd optimize for different things, to say the least.

I think our policies (aside from vaccine supply!) have been consistently better than either the US or UK.

Well, that's why you're happy there and I'm happy here, I guess. Also, I think you "asided" the single most important policy out of them all.

Also, my comment was pretty clearly tongue in cheek. No, I don't actually think the fictional contestants of Squid Game have a better life than you. You took it seriously and wrote a lot in response. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

Covid 10/28: An Unexpected Victory

I am slightly leaning toward the belief that the story about the 11-year-old was a false flag meant to troll the media. It hits a suspicious number of talking points all in a row. But only slightly.

So in Squid Game, an imaginary hyperbolic dystopia where society's rejects face the deliberate disintegration of their humanity, they're allowed to play more childhood games than regular people in Australia in 2021...

Book Review: Denial of Death

Exploration-exploitation is a good model, but it doesn't tell me the personality differences I can expect to see between people who do exploration A vs. exploration B. And, exploitation is a business term and doesn't match up very well with what people are getting psychologically out of setting up comfortable limitations for themselves.

I saw Hoffer's ideas as basically true but needing nuance, because not everybody who's discontent in exactly the way he described will actually join a mass movement. And there's also tremendous variety in "individualists" that he didn't talk much about.

Book Review: Denial of Death

Good point. I'll relay the author's own counter-

If you claim that a concept is not present because it is repressed, you can't lose; it is not a fair game, intellectually, because you always hold the trump card. This type of argument makes psychoanalysis seem unscientific to many people, the fact that its proponents can claim that someone denies one of their concepts because he represses his consciousness of its truth.

But repression is not a magical word for winning arguments. It is a real phenomenon, and we have been able to study many of its workings. This study gives it legitimacy as a scientific concept and makes it a more-or-less dependable ally in our argument. For one thing, there is a growing body of research trying to get at the consciousness of death denied by repression that uses psychological tests such as measuring galvanic skin responses; it strongly suggests that underneath the most bland exterior lurks the universal anxiety, the "worm at the core."

Covid 10/7: Steady as She Goes

Pro-vax Anti-vaxxer Gang wooo

In general, when I see someone give a whole rant that basically ends with "it's just a sad state of affairs, is all", I assume they're doing some underhanded signaling.

No one ever takes the time to write something out just because "it's sad". The thing they really want said is there in the subtext. "I'm sad because no one's surprised that our institutions suck" subtext: "Our institutions suck and it's really really obvious". But saying the latter is less sophisticated. If you want to make moves in the culture war while keeping plausible deniability, you hide the message in the subtext.

Zvi reveals the absurdity you get when you try to interpret the message at face value.

Covid 9/17: Done Biden His Time

Yeah, I was pretty bothered a couple years ago when we were doing the "kids in cages" news cycle, and the red tribe people kept saying stuff along the lines of, "it's good that our policy is unpleasant, because it's a deterrent against future infractions".

Any degree of cruelty can be (correctly!) framed as a deterrent. So in general we should be really wary of those kinds of policies.

Covid 9/17: Done Biden His Time

I believe vaccine mandates are primarily substitutes for destructive alternative restrictions that are worse for freedom, and those who oppose mostly think they are mostly complements that ramp up restrictions of all kinds.

That is definitely a crux, thank you for pointing that out.

or that if you’re vaccinated that’s sufficient protection that you shouldn’t care who else around you is unvaccinated.

This is 100% me. My view is: if your solution requires absolutely everyone to buy in to it - that is, it requires successful coordination across all cultures within the US, or in the world - then you don't have a solution, you have a wish. The wish is for human nature to be fundamentally different from what it is.

Forcing coordination through federal mandates is different, in that it's actually possible. But I see a similar kind of wish here. Re the substitute/complement question above, I believe the hypothetical version of the US government that successfully exercises such control over its citizens' physical bodies and then promptly relinquishes that degree of control, is a US government not run by humans.

I happen to think the vaccine is an actual solution under the strict definition above. As in, I got it, so the pandemic is over for me. The reductions in infection and long-term risk are well documented here, and in my view they're enough to justify taking the (underrated) benefit of no longer worrying about my covid risk (including caring about the vax status of those around me) (obviously I'm still worried about the second-order effects). I've had a really enjoyable summer that was full of social interaction, travel, dating, etc.

Tldr: "Real life" has enough utility that I count my individual vaccination as sufficient risk mitigation to justify it.

Covid 9/2: Long Covid Analysis

What does the $300 plugin do that "classic block" doesn't do? I just edit my posts inside a single classic block, which seems to be identical to the old WordPress editor, including the ability to directly edit the html.

Covid 8/19: Cracking the Booster

The two sides are both trying to make the mandates look as obnoxious as possible, for different reasons.

This is such a thing, I see it all the time, and it is both completely obvious and apparently not noticed by anybody else.

When your goal is to signal to your side rather than convince the other side, and their goal is to signal rather than be convinced, you get this perverse symbiosis of everybody saying ridiculous things on purpose.

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