All of RobertLumley's Comments + Replies

May 2014 Media Thread

Long time no see LW. Glad to see this is still going.

Anyway, after finding the first half of the premier season mediocre and giving up on it, I recently tried to get back into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and am happy to say that the second half was some of the best television I've seen since, well, Joss Whedon's last television show.

On not getting a job as an option

I am from the US, and work in manufacturing, which is even more culturally conservative. But this isn't out of line with any other experiences I've had.

On not getting a job as an option

There will be at least a year per every child

This seems to be wildly off based on my experiences. Women I know (with working husbands) having children are taking 2-3 months off.

5Viliam_Bur8yMy first reaction: Checking whether you are from USA. Yeah, I know this is not an argument, but the cultural difference is huge here. I would like to know if there is a scientific research about whether separating 2 months old children from their mothers for half of day has an impact on the child, and what is the impact specifically.
Rationality Quotes August 2013

This seems like a poor strategy by simply considering temper tantrums, let alone all of the other holes in this. (The first half of the comment though, I can at least appreciate.)

More "Stupid" Questions

I like to draw a (rather pretentious) delineation between music and songs, the archetypal examples being, say Beethoven's fifth symphony and "Call Me Maybe". (As a side note, I very much consider it possible for something to both be a "song" and "music") I enjoy music because I played a few instruments and sang when I was younger, so I know enough musical theory to appreciate the artistry it took to come up with the structure in the music, and (when appropriate) lyrics.

Contrarily, I enjoy songs (although happen to hate "C... (read more)

Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15

I want to answer about $3000, but I am pretty sure that's almost entirely because of priming. I think the honest answer is that I'm not sure I'm capable of eating meat anymore. Emotionally, I find it disgusting and repulsive. I almost certainly don't have the enzymes to digest meat anymore, as I've been a vegetarian for over two years. The resulting combination is... gastrically unpleasant.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93

I kind of recently came to the realization that I think Eliezer meant Harry and Hermione's relationship to personify what he says often, which is "Utilitarianism is what is correct, virtue ethics is what works for human beings".

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

Soon, Harrry will do something somewhat clearly allegorical to FOOMed super AI.

Eliezer has stated that nothing in HPMOR is allegory for AI. I don't have a source for the quote, but I remember it very clearly, because it surprised me.

1NancyLebovitz8yEarly on, when Harry was so much smarter and more focused than the adults at Hogwarts, I assumed it was an allegory for dealing with an AI. Admittedly on a small scale, but the small scale is a hint to lead to comprehension that the large scale is, well, larger.
-1Eugine_Nier8yI believe this is meant to be interpreted in the same sense as CS Lewis's claim that Aslan isn't an allegory for Jesus.
Exercise isn't necessarily good for people

FWIW, one of my takeaways from taking subjective measurements of my happiness, motivation, etc. everyday was that by far the biggest correlation was that I was happiest when I exercised more. But again, that's not really establishing causation.

1NancyLebovitz8yIt wouldn't surprise me if you're right about exercise being good for you, even though I can't imagine any way to double-blind exercise. If the lecture is right, then there are a fair number of people exercise isn't good for, and a smaller number that exercise is bad for. I'm beginning to think this is about what your priors for the effects of exercise should be. The lecture hooked me, partly because I think the culture has a halo effect around exercise and partly because if there are foods which are nourishing for the majority of people and poison for a minority, why shouldn't there be similar variation for exercise?
Open Thread, May 1-14, 2013

I initially thought I would really like this article on consiousness after death. I did not. The guy comes off as a complete crackpot, given my understanding of neurobiology. (Although I won't dispute his overall point, nor would many here, I think, that we continue to exist for a bit after we are legally dead.) I would appreciate anyone who is so motivated to look up some things on why a lot of the things he says are completely bogus. I replied to the person who sent me this article with a fairly superficial analysis, but if anyone knows of some solid stu... (read more)

0Zaine9ySay you want to raise your arm. Your intent will initiate the mental processes required. We don't know how the subjective thinking of ”Raise arm!” initiates cellular processes. Intent may be related to a function of the parietal cortex, but how thinking something initiates cellular process we are unsure of. To this they refer. The brain produces an electromagnetic field. They were hypothesising that the field has a reciprocal effect on the cells that produce it, and this effect is 'consciousness' or whatever our subjective experience communicates to initiate an action. Maybe when we can clone a human brain with green fluorescent protein we'll find out all neurones initiate other neurones, thus we function. We don't know yet. I'd beware of dismissing an expert of a field in which one has no domain expertise - check or ask first. This is the corollary to trusting experts too much.
March 2013 Media Thread

Thank you for doing this. Please continue to do so in the likely event I fail to in the future. As I become busier and busier, I have less time for reading LessWrong, and hadn't even thought about this until I went looking for something recommended in it from several months ago.

Donating while in temporary debt (i.e. as a student)

This isn't really specific to the special case of having negative money. If you have $10,000 to give and can invest that in the stock market and earn money at a rate higher than your discount rate for lives, then you should invest the money in the stock market and give to charity in a years time. if this continues to be the case, you should continue to compound your money and will it all to charity when you die.

Now if someone can just give me a good way of figuring out what my discount rate for lives is, this would be helpful in answering this question for myself.

8Larks9yShould we also have a rule saying, "Please avoid upvoting recommendations just because you personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific virtue in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect." ?
3CronoDAS9yI've been playing Persona 4 Golden recently. It's essentially a murder mystery, and it's sort of interesting that, at one point, the game gives you a list of literally every named character in the game and challenges you to identify the killer. If you fail, you get a bad ending. Most mysteries are content to let the detective give the reader the answer; this game makes the player do the hard work, and it's not at all obvious what the answer is. I accidentally spoiled myself on the solution, though. I've been enjoying the game very much, and I'm pretty close to the "true" ending...
4tgb9yGunnerkrig Court []: an entertaining, story-based webcomic. Not complete, but has a significant amount already and updates MWF. Wavers between the silly, the absurd, and the genuinely great.
0Bill_McGrath9y* Shakey Graves (two [] songs []) - Texan folk/country singer. * Red Fang (three [] more [] songs []) - I guess you could call them stoner metal. They're like a less thinky Mastodon, but some of their more recent stuff (not linked) seems to be going down a more progressive route. * I found a neat little live studio album of Tower of Power recently. I can't find a good version of this album online, but here's two [] songs [] for anyone who doesn't know them, and the album is called Tower of Power Direct []. * It's really clichéd for musicians to list her as an influence, but I'm currently deep in a Kate Bush phase. I must have listened to Never for Ever [] about five times in the last few days.
2curiousepic9y* iamamiwhoami [] * Adebisi Shank [] * White Sea [] * The Bronzed Chorus [] * Emeralds [] * Dum Dum Girls []
0negamuhia9yChillstep [] : I've found this online collection to be quite relaxing, as the genre name suggests. The Art Of Noise - The Seduction of Claude Debussy [] : I hadn't listened to any music by this super-group before this year, and now they're one of my favourite groups...I'm either fickle or these guys are awesome, and I'm not fickle. There's one song I liked in particular, Metaforce, and its remixes. It'll show you just how versatile this group is, with the rest of the album as a backdrop.
2gwern9yDoujin (chronological): * "泣かない蝶々" [] [vocal] (by MANYO; heard on '羽ノ亡キ蝶') * "Prologue" [] [inst. rock] (by Tenmon; from 'CHRONICLE' {C82}) Touhou: * "Thought" [] [vocal] (by 38BEETS; from 'Cause and Effect' {C82}) Vocaloid: * "Love It!" [] (Miku; by Clean Tears; heard on 'Love It!' [])
February 2013 Media Thread

Television and Movies Thread

3[anonymous]9yHouse of Cards, the American made-for/by-Netflix remake, is actually quite good. The original British version with Ian Richardson is probably better, if a bit dated by its post-Thatcherist setting. In a nutshell, Kevin Spacey plays Francis Underwood, the majority Democratic whip in an alternate reality where the Democrats won 2008 with someone other than Obama. After re-election, Frank is passed over for Secretary of State, and then starts using his connections to bring down the administration. There's a lot of sex, drugs, violence, backstabbing, and political intrigue. Some of the critics I've read are annoyed with the bluntness of the action and the occasional weakness of the writing. On the other hand, because it was written for the Netflix format, all of the first season is available at once, and each episode can be as long as it needs to be. There aren't any commercials, so what you get is a smooth, continuous plot from start to stop. The series' running gag is that Francis breaks the fourth wall on a rather frequent basis, so you'd have to like Deadpool-esque main characters, too. My main concern (I'm only two episodes in) is how the politics of England (which were kind of necessary to fill out the plot of the UK series) are going to translate to politics in the US version.
1philh9yI thought The Imposter [\(2012_film\]) was a great illustration of various human thought patterns, such as the desire for narrative. E.g. ng bar cbvag gur qrgrpgvir qrpvqrf Obheqva vf cebonoyl n fcl, orpnhfr jul ryfr jbhyq fbzrbar sbervta cergraq gb or n zvffvat puvyq? Yngre ur qrpvqrf gur snzvyl xvyyrq Avpubynf, orpnhfr jul ryfr jbhyq gurl unir npprcgrq Obheqva?
5ShardPhoenix9yIf you're like me, most media you consume is some combination of dark, violent, and/or ironic. Chihayafuru [], on the other hand, is sincere, heartwarming, and beautiful. It's also about an obscure Japanese card game about memorizing poetry, but don't let that put you off. It's exciting. Really. Click the link above to watch for free - an Adblock [] browser plugin will skip the video ads for you.
3gwern9yI watched Life of Pi in 3D. I thought the visuals were very beautiful, but the message sillier than ever and the ending seemed to pull its punch compared to the novel. I made some cynical jokes [] about it on Google+. Anime [] (descending): * Monster * Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita * Thermae Romae * Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo * Upotte!!
0NancyLebovitz9yThe Mysterious Benedict Society [] by Trenton Less Stewart-- it's been mentioned here [] once, but I'm amazed it isn't extremely popular here for rationalism and famous in general as a delightful book. It's about four orphans who are recruited for a mission against a terrifying organization full of well-dressed people who talk in bafflegab and is led by a vain man who has mind control technology. Not only does the book have appreciation for high intelligence, it has appreciation for different kinds of intelligence. It's in the romantic tradition (Victor Hugo, not modern romance) of disguises, secret tunnels, and sudden turns of fortune. It has a lot of respect for updating and for checking on whether things make sense.
2gwern9yDescending: * Danielewski, House of Leaves (review []) * Jordan/Sanderson, A Memory of Light (review []) * Shaw, Back to Methuselah (review [])
0CellBioGuy9yDebunking Economics, by Steve Keen.
0lukeprog9yI've been reading parts of Pseudo-Problems: How Analytic Philosophy Gets Done [] . It introduced me to this nice Boltzman quote:
2syllogism9yStrongly recommend: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has DeclinedSteven Pinker You've likely heard of this; if you haven't you absolutely must at least watch bis TED talk or find an article summary. I'll add my high recommendation. Weakly recommend: The ancestor's taleRichard Dawkins I got what I wanted from this, which was better knowledge of the phylogenetic tree. Still, it wanders around quite a lot, and it makes it seem like he doesn't really understand the probability models being used for the sequence-based evidence that's challenging a lot of the old assumptions. Micro-motives and macro-behaviourThomas Schelling I really only bought this because The Art of Strategy wasn't in the Kindle store. It's an okay set of game theory/group dynamics teasers to sharpen your intuition, but far from essential.
3djcb9y* I finished Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise; I liked it. Very accessible view into the world of predicitions in very different field (earthquakes, poker, elections, stock market, ...). Nice book to introduce people into quite a few of the LW-themes. One weakness I found that while Silver got to interview Donald Rumsfeld, he succeeds in not getting anything interesting out of him. * Also, I finally finished Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, a great book that discusses many of our cognivitive biases. A whole subgenre of irrationality-pop-psy has arisen in the last few years, but this is really the book that makes much of those superfluous. Book gets a bit tedious in the end, but I'd still consider it near-mandatory reading for people interested in LW-themes.
2David_Gerard9yWorlds Of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams and the Velikovsky Affair [] - a collection of skeptical works from the '70s-'90s. Old-style skepticism, but he's quite kind to his subjects - interviews with Velikovsky, flat earthers, free-energy cranks. Not so kind to creationists, particularly Duane Gish. Has an excellent chapter describing the pseudoscientific method in detail, which I need to summarise.
0Larks9yThe Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer. review [] amazong [] . Best book on political philosophy I've read. Clear writting style, doesn't appeal to massive conjunctive reasoning - unlike much philosophy. Even mentions GiveWell.
6negamuhia9yLanguage in Thought and Action, by S. I. Hayakawa. It goes without saying that this book is highly recommended. To those who've read the sequences, and have therefore had just a bite of the hearty meal, you should really get it. An anecdote about how I came to find this gem: My grandfather is a retired linguist, and in his library, in a house I grew up in, he keeps, and still has, a gigantic collection of books. A member of that distinguished class of "books older than me", this book is a part of his linguistics collection, and I didn't even know he had it until a few weeks ago when I was having a conversation with my uncle in said library. The title jumped out at me, and I haven't been this happy about finding a book in that room since I found my mother reading Kahneman.
0gwern9yDescending order: * Takeda, The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax and the Men Who Created Evangelion [], (review []) * Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (review []) * Manzi, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society (review []) * Friedman, Legal Systems Very Different From Ours []
4lucidian9yLouder than Words by Benjamin K. Bergen is a new (published October 2012) book on embodied cognition that summarizes research supporting the idea that we understand language by mentally simulating the events described, using the same parts of the brain that perceive such events. I'm in the middle of the book right now; it's a quick read. I haven't read any of the original research, so it's difficult for me to comment on the book's quality. I don't necessarily recommend the book, but it seemed like the sort of thing LW should know about if no one's mentioned it already.
4BlackNoise9yI've been reading a lot of fanfiction recently, starting with HPMoR then going recursively through Eliezer's 'favorites' list, eventually branching to various TVTropes recommended lists. It's in the latter that I found Destiny is a Hazy thing [], a Naruto AU fanfic with major Lovecraftian themes and (currently, at least) minor crossover/shout out elements to Evangelion. The author page [] has a rather good description. Personally I like this story because it combines a lot of elements I seem to enjoy in fiction, mainly a 'large world' feel and Anehgb univat Lbt Fbgubgu nf n sngure svther (minor spoiler). I'm currently reading another story by Calanor, Harry Potter and the Puppet of Time [] Seems to be worth reading as well. If someone is interested, I can probably spare the time to go over the fics I've read and recommend what I liked, but right now I'll limit myself to Calanor due to his works being sufficiently obscure as to not be easily noticeable otherwise (and maybe other obscure but good authors I find).
4NancyLebovitz9yThe Mystery of the Black Death []-- evidence that the Black Death wasn't spread by rats (which weren't common in northern Europe at that time) and wasn't bubonic plague. It may have been some sort of hemorraghic fever. This is of interest to ratioinalists because it's about taking a second look at whether what everyone believes is actually plausible. Is there a closure bias which favors just choosing a theory so as not to leave open questions?
5syllogism9yA one hour informal lecture by Alexander Shulgin, the chemist who invented most of the modern "psychedelic" and "entheogen" drugs Part 1: [](others linked from youtube) He talks about how remarkable it is that a fairly simple molecule such as mescaline can be so transformative to our subjective experience. So what happens when you tweak the molecule in various ways? What do the variations do, in turn? Can we find any rules that govern this relationship? More generally, his idea is that if we want to study this thing we call "consciousness" --- our subjective experience --- then it's useful to be able to twiddle the knobs a little, and these drugs potentially give us a way to do that. He sees himself as a tool-maker, developing experimental apparatus that other researchers ought to be able to use productively.
2[anonymous]9yA previous post [] on LessWrong mentioned an online course on Google power searching. There is a recent Advanced course on offer as well [].
1ChristianKl9yWhat will the billion dollar brain projects do? [] Excerpt:
0lukeprog9yMontibeller & Durbach, Behavioral Analytics: A Framework for Exploring Judgments and Choices in Large Data Sets [] .
1lukeprog9yPosner, Thinking about Catastrophe [] .
1lukeprog9yDave Hitt, Name Three [] (h/t Qiaochu).
1lukeprog9ySome Alternatives to Bayes' Rule [].
3lukeprog9yIf Free Will Doesn't Exist, Neither Does Water []
1lukeprog9yCommunication and Deception in 2-Player Games [].
1lukeprog9yA General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual Movements [] .
8lukeprog9yFor 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII []
2lukeprog9yHow Much Tech Can One City Take? []
2lukeprog9yThe Weatherman is Not a Moron [] . Snippet 1: Snippet 2:
4lukeprog9yWhen Books Could Change Your Life []. Here's a snippet: I would amend this to say there are a few grownups, and that the next step after noticing one's ignorance should be to extinguish it if possible. Another snippet:
Meetup : Love and Sex in Salt Lake City

Why would you downvote a meetup post?

9daenerys9yafaik, someone downvotes all of the meetup posts when they come up, and two other people upvote all of them shortly thereafter.
Open Thread, December 16-31, 2012

Thank you! Was just looking for #1 and wasn't sure what it was called. Searched LW for "dragon sacrifice". This came up. Wonderful.

Rationality Quotes January 2013

“Our vision is inevitably contracted, and the whole horizon may contain much which will compose a very different picture.”

Cheney Bros v. Doris Silk Corporation, New York Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

What kind of difference?

My opposition to meat varies linearly with the intelligence of the animal. I'm much more OK with fish than I am pigs.

Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

Depending on how ostentatiously (Which I know isn't the right word, but I think conveys what I'm trying to evoke?) you were eating the meat, it would bother me. The type of meat would also make a difference to me. I know vegetarians who are bothered if you eat any meat near them. They are obviously polite about it, (I certainly never say anything) but it might bother people more than you realize.

0[anonymous]9yNot at all -- not that I tried to hide the fact that I was eating meat, but I tried to be as nonchalant as I would be if I didn't know they were vegetarians. OTOH I'm not terribly good at hiding emotions, so probably some of them could tell I was feeling a little embarrassed. What kind of difference? Pork vs beef vs chicken? Steaks vs minced meat? Free-range vs factory farmed vs hunted (but how would you tell)?
January 2013 Media Thread

Hey, that's my internet/video game moniker. Funny how that happens. I generally drop the underscore though.

Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

My evaluation is very much the same as yours, in that Hanson is way off on the efficiency of meat vs other foods. My conclusion is just that he is ignorant of the facts though, not trolling.

January 2013 Media Thread

The name of that alone makes it worth downloading.

Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

I think it is in a similar vein, certainly, but I think it's different in some ways too. For example, I don't think most people would accept cannibalism even if the people (victims? food?) led very happy lives, perhaps like a system where people were pampered in spas all day before being killed for food. But the logical extension of Hanson's argument is that this would be a great system. Assuming that there was a remote economic demand for human meat, which, thankfully, there isn't.

Also, I think cannibalism engages people's sense of moral intuition much moreso than simply having a lot of marginally happy people does.

January 2013 Media Thread

Please note that per last month's poll (although it was close) three new threads were added this month, the Fanfiction thread, the Online videos thread, and the Short Online Texts thread. In full disclosure, I have a slight preference for not having these be threads, since it means I have to look up three more thread names and make three more comments, so I'll reconsider whether or not to keep making these based on use and feedback.

Ken Liu's "Single-Bit Error" was an interesting reply to Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God".

5Anatoly_Vorobey9yConnie Willis wrote several SF works around the theme of historians in 21st century Oxford travelling back in time as part of their studies. The short story Fire Watch [] is online and serves as a good introduction. If you like it a lot, you should probably try reading To Say Nothing of the Dog or Doomsday Book.
2David Althaus9yA great short story called On seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful April morning [] by Haruki Murakami []. It's only 3 pages long and really touching, especially for those of us unsuccessfully dabbling in romance.
3rxs9yMichael Vasser - Darwinian Method - Interview with Adam Ford is pretty damm excellent [] Rest of Adam Ford's uploads seem very interesting too!
0[anonymous]9yHttp:// I've collected music videos since the mid 1980s. Electronic and experimental and strange, mostly. Being able to link to or download videos instead of dub them on videotape has nearly filled a TB drive and inspired my blog. Rather than list a few recent favorites, see above for years of favorites. I post weekly, my fellow intonarumorons irregularly.
2beriukay9yTempo []. From the group that made the short video Plot Device, Tempo is about some scientists who make a gun that can temporally accelerate/decelerate objects with the flick of a switch. The plot is pretty B-movie and obvious, but it feels like this could be a Valve game on the level of Portal. The acting's pretty good, too.
3Kaj_Sotala9yDeparting Space Station Commander Provides Tour of Orbital Laboratory [].
2gwern9yFollowing Eliezer's quasi-recommendation, I began reading "Prince of the Dark Kingdom" []; 6 or 7 days later, I stumbled out having caught up on all 1.14M words. I'm not entirely sure why I like it; the author's spelling, for example, hasn't improved over 5 years which is pretty irritating. I think what I like about it is that: 1. Voldemort seems like a much more developed and interesting character than pretty much anywhere else except MoR (much more so than the depicted version of Wizarding England which is basically a better-functioning sort of Nazi England). 2. the plot is totally different but at the same thing often very similar (I found how it pulled the Chamber of Secrets plotline very interesting)
4Vaniver9yI just read Ben Franklin's autobiography [], aided by textcelerator [] (made by jimrandomh []). I had only read bits and pieces before, and the whole is worthwhile. He was a definite precursor of the LW sort of rationality, and to read in his own words the epistemic and instrumental techniques he employed, and well as the virtues he sought after, is a delight. It was written over two centuries ago, and English has changed since then, but not unrecognizably.
1Mitchell_Porter9y"The Beginning and the End: The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective" [] by Clément Vidal []. Technically this is just a "PhD thesis preprint" but it's over 350 pages long. A sprawling manuscript in which the author devises a meaning-of-life philosophy based on systems theory, the conquest of the universe by superintelligence, and other ingredients. The discussions of physics and cosmology are unduly dominated by certain "alternative" theories and could have benefited by orthodox criticism, and no doubt much of the rest should be read skeptically too, but overall, this is worth knowing about, if you're into transhuman cosmo-ethics.
2Jabberslythe9ySome non-fiction books I really liked recently that might interest Lesswrong: * Ubersleep: Nap-Based Sleep Schedules and the Polyphasic Lifestyle * Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It * The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution
7gwern9yIn descending order (reviews on Goodreads []): * Cleckley, The Mask of Sanity * Hoffer, The True Believer * Huxley, The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell * Montfort, 10 Print Chr$(205.5+rnd(1)); Goto 10 * Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle * Good, Good Thinking: The Foundations of Probability and Its Applications
6palladias9yI hadn't read Les Miserables in a long time, and I really enjoyed rereading it. There's so much more to learn about a lot of the characters (a bit of Fantine's courtship with the man who abandoned her, Marius's turn toward revolution, a page and a half digression on cannon design during the assault on the barricade). Plus, this description of Javert:
3magfrump9yI just powered through the first five books of the Temeraire series; if you like proper British gentlemen, the Napoleonic wars, civil rights struggles, and also dragons, they are pretty great. Part of the back of my mind thinks of Temeraire as a budding FAI; incredibly powerful, and with a fairly different set of preferences from most of society, and ends up making some big changes as a result. He doesn't undergo self-enhancement and spiral out of control but there's a very strong Sense That More is Possible, and the struggle to do the right thing as the Only Sane Man is basically the whole plot.
2gwern9yIn descending order (reviews on Goodreads []): * Brin, Existence * Kipling's Kim * Musa Pedestris
4Anatoly_Vorobey9yRoberto Bolaño's 2666 [] is perhaps the Great Latin American Novel of our generation. It's a sprawling unity of five distinct sub-novels, each revolving around different characters but with some intersections between them. One part, for example, follows the lives of several European literary theorists devoted to the study of a reclusive German writer invented by Bolaño, while a different part, coming much later, is a biography of that writer. Despite the fact that the plots of these sub-novels weave through many places and times - Europe, the US, Hitler's Germany, Soviet Russia - they are all connected in one way or another to a fictional Mexican city of Santa Teresa, lying close to the border with the US, itself modelled closely on the real Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez. Santa Teresa, as Ciudad Juarez in real life, has seen something like an epidemic of feminine rapes/murders over the last 20 years, which may or may not have been the work of unknown serial killer(s). Much of 2666 is devoted to painstaking description of many of these murders, their victims, and the ineptitude and corruption of local police. Those parts are not easy reading, but neither are they suffering porn. This is a brilliant book, wide-ranging, psychologically precise, often funny, at times painful to read. If you're mainly reading for hedons, you would probably not like it. My mind has been enriched through reading it, and I highly recommend it.
January 2013 Media Thread

Television and Movies Thread

The Sherlock BBC series, set in modern London, turns an astounding number of... let's go with "brainy types" into raving fans, but I'm not actually sure why. There's nothing particularly rationalist about it, they're standard detective stories with Sherlock making impossibly precise deductions. The mysteries are fiendishly clever, though; the writers come up with plots that are still surprising if you're familiar with the tropes and the particular stories they parallel.

Characterization is probably the biggest appeal. Holmes is a high-functioning ... (read more)

0Zaine9yThe Korean drama Coffee Prince. I was shocked at how self-aware the characters mostly all are, how reasonable and sympathetic their emotional dilemmas are, and was especially impressed at how well each side of an emotional dilemma communicates with the other. It's seventeen hours long, and has a feel-good atmosphere. Romance is the main theme.
1James_Miller9yEverybody Loves Raymond Season 4, Ep.22 "Bad Moon Rising." Available on Netflix's Watch Instantly. Sitcom episode that brilliantly explores the relationship between reflective irrationality and empathy when a wife is exceptionally irritable because of PMS.
7gwern9yTouhou [] (reverse chronological order): * "夜ごとの闇の奥底で" [] [inst. rock] (by UNDEADCORPORATION; from 紅染の鬼が哭く {C82}) * "からくれなゐ" [] [inst. rock] (by UNDEADCORPORATION; from 紅染の鬼が哭く {C82}) * "Transparent" [] [electro] (by Maurits "ZEN" Cornelis; from Starlight Prelude {C82}) * "Satellite" [] [trance] (by Mano/<echo>PROJECT + Tim Vegas; from Starlight Prelude {C82}) * "六十年目の東方裁判" [] [Inst. Rock] (by 彩音 ~xi-on~; from 東方志奏 12th Spell -Trick Shooter- {C82}) * "感情の摩天楼" [] [Inst. Rock] (by 彩音 ~xi-on~; from 東方志奏 12th Spell -Trick Shooter- {C82}) * "Up to you" [] (by C-CLAYS; from Prism {C82}) * "Overwhelm" [] [Orch.] (by Melodic Taste; from Melodic Battle {C82}) * "Beauties of Nature" [] (by はちみつれもん; from Lost World {C82}) * "綾倉盟 - 虹とひまわり" [] (by CROW'SCLAW; from アコースティック・エピソード) * "Powered by Maxwell's Demon" [] (by WAVE; from Symphonic Rhapsody "Peony") * "Angels, Monsters, The Secret Lyrics" [] (by Foreground Eclipse; from Tears Will Become Melodies Tonight) Vocaloid []: * "She is Falling Down And I Am All Alone" [] [ambient] (Miku; by 古川本舗 × Go-qualia; from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Lost There) * "Poem of a Thousand Years" [] (SeeU; by 상록수) * "Itoshi no Megane" [] (Len; by にュウ; he
2FiftyTwo9yWhat music do people listen to while they're working?
2lukeprog9yDilbert on AI x-risk [].
0Manfred9yIn progress manga: Uchuu Kyoudai, a story for grown-ups about becoming an astronaut. Also neat because nearly all the characters are intelligent (and even act like it!), and that's treated as normal and fun.
3gwern9yAnime/manga: * Oyasumi Punpun scanlations have continued updating: the series is becoming ever more harrowing and difficult to read as it nears the end. I'm glad I started but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. * Milkman manga: weird and sometimes hilarious. * Thermae Romae anime: even weirder and more amusing, and the 3 episodes means that it doesn't outwear its welcome before the gimmick gets old. * Upotte!! anime: I enjoyed the battles and found the gun nut parts mildly interesting, but the sexualizing and fanservice with a weak finishing episode mean I can't recommend it. * Humanity Has Declined anime: lovely artwork, hilarious end to the first episode, and it's continuing to hold my interest up to episode 6; we'll see how the rest goes. * Joshiraku anime: a disappointment, and I say this as a Sayonara fan.
3FiftyTwo9yDuolingo, Gamified online language learning. []
1Jayson_Virissimo9yI've been playing [] the Uncharted [] series for PS3 to help me learn Spanish. So far, it seems ideal for this purpose. The speaking is very clear, the (foreign language) subtitles reflect what is actually being said (almost always), and the gameplay and story are quite good (imagine Indiana Jones [], but with a lot more parkour []). There are also many other language options besides Spanish (including French and Portuguese). Note: My PSN ID is 'Thomas_Bayes'.
9Swimmy9yNot a videogame per se, but still a potential timesink for some of us. I like it anyway. So, a space simulator. Allows FTL travel to get between universes. No interesting creatures like Noctis [] had, but it is very pretty sometimes. Edit: Also prone to crashing. Such is life.
4lukeprog9yGame theory with translucent players [].
1Michelle_Z9yAnyone heard of brainscale []? It's got Dual N Back, mental math, and some other games that are supposed to help with memory.

Thank you for making and maintaining these, I've found quite a bit of interesting material through these threads.

7RobertLumley9yPlease note that per last month's poll [] (although it was close) three new threads were added this month, the Fanfiction thread, the Online videos thread, and the Short Online Texts thread. In full disclosure, I have a slight preference for not having these be threads, since it means I have to look up three more thread names and make three more comments, so I'll reconsider whether or not to keep making these based on use and feedback.
December 2012 Media Thread

Sorry, I'll make one. I've been busy and haven't been particularly motivated outside of work recently.

Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

I am looking for defenders of Hanson's Meat is Moral. On the surface, this seems like a very compelling argument to me. (I am a vegetarian, primarily for ethical reasons, and have been for two years. At this point the thought of eating meat is quite repulsive to me, and I'm not sure I could be convinced to go back even if I were convinced it were moral.)

It struck me, however, nothing in this argument is specific to animals, and that anyone who truly believes this should also support growing people for cannibalism, as long as those lives are just barely wor... (read more)

5leplen9ySorry, can't defend it. It's not a horrible argument, but it's also not totally well grounded in facts. For starters, it takes far more land and resources to produce 1 lb of beef than 1 lb of grain, since you have to grow all the grain to feed the cow, and cows don't turn all of that energy into meat [], so if you believe that undeveloped land or other forms of resource conservation have some intrinsic worth, then vegetarianism is preferable. Secondly, I think the metaphor comparing a factory farm to a cubicle farm is disingenuous. It's emotionally loaded, since I work in a cubicle and I don't wish I were dead, and it's not terribly accurate. I think you could make a different comparison, that is arguably more accurate and compare a factory farm to a concentration camp. In both instances the inhabitants are crowded together with minimal resources as they await their slaughter. (Obviously my example is also emotionally loaded). I think if one were to ask the question should we do things that will encourage the birth of children who will grow up in concentration camps, it's a little more difficult to come down with the same definitive yes. Additionally, the article wanders into conjecture in several place. It's hard to see the statement "most farm animals prefer living to dying" as anything more than a specious claim. No one has any way of knowing a cow's preference vis-a-vis life or death, probably including the cow. Suicide is a particularly egregious red herring. By what means does a cow in a pen commit suicide? Starving to death? Surely that not comparable to wishing it had never been born... As for your Soylent Green example, it has even worse problems with trophic losses, because if your farm-raised humans were not strictly vegetarian, you're losing an even higher percentage of your original energy. If the food babies are raised on an all meat diet you may be getting less than 1% of the
1[anonymous]9yI had to stop (though I may resume later) at "People who buy less meat don't really spend less money on food overall, they mainly just spend more money on other non-meat food" -- it made me go "are you fucking kidding me" and wonder whether he has ever been to a supermarket. See also this [] -- differences in retail prices aren't quite that extreme, but that's because governments subsidize meat production, so even though not all of the money comes out of meat eaters' pockets, it still comes out of somewhere. EDIT: I finished reading it, and... if I didn't know who Hanson was and he had posted somewhere that allowed readers to comment, I would definitely conclude he was trolling. Along with things that others have already pointed out, “per land area, farms are more efficient at producing "higher" animals like pigs and cows” -- where the hell did he take that from? Pretty much everyone I've ever read about this topic agrees that growing food for N people on a mostly vegetarian diet requires way less land, energy, and water than growing food for N people on a largely meat-based diet, and there's a thermodynamic argument that makes that pretty much obvious. (I do agree that “meat eaters kill animals” isn't a terribly good argument because if it wasn't for meat eaters those animals wouldn't have lived in the first place (but that doesn't apply to hunting and fishing); but that's nowhere near one of the main reasons why I limit my consumption of meat.)
2Desrtopa9yI think that would be true, assuming you have no additional reasons for opposing cannibalism. Personally, I have no moral opposition to the idea of eating babies, but I suspect that baby farming would cause much more distress to the general population than the food it would produce would justify. I don't agree with Hanson's position in that essay though. To take an excerpt: How does he claim to know that? It's not as if he can extrapolate from the fact that they don't kill themselves. Factory farmed animals are in no position to commit suicide, regardless of whether they want to or not. And even if a farm animal's life is pure misery, it probably doesn't have the abstract reasoning abilities to realize that ending its own life, thereby ending the suffering, is a possible thing. He compares the life of a farmed animal to a worker who has to fight traffic to spend their time working in a cubicle, but an office worker has leisure time, probably a family to spend time with, and enough money to make them willing to work at the job in the first place. I think the abused child in Omelas [] is a better basis for comparison.
1TimS9yIsn't this just a re-statement of the Repugnant Conclusion []? Essentially all domesticated animals are alive because of demand for products made from them (eggs, milk, meat, etc). If everyone kept kosher, there would be far fewer pig-experience-moments than the current world, including much less pig-experience-suffering. Is that good or bad for someone who values pig utility? Anyway, I've always taken this kind of reasoning as a reason not to adopt that perspective on these types of questions. But I think that means I'm not a consequentialist - which puts me slightly out of consensus in this community.
Pigliucci's comment on Yudkowsky's and Dai's stance on morality and logic

It is unclear to me what your purpose in making this a full discussion thread is. A seemingly random comment on an somehwat related blog does not need to be promoted to the level of a full thread without any explanation or comment.

3mapnoterritory9yFair enough, though it is really hard to say what's supposed to go to the open thread (which really should be sticky so that it is bit more accesible). Massimo Pigliucci is a fairly known figure in the rationalist/skeptic/naturalist community. That doesn't mean that I endorse his views (by far not - and not specifically for this article). As a counter-example a seemingly random comment on an somehwat related blog got a full blown reply from Luke (meaning his reply to Mark Linsenmayer), though part of your critique is that I didn't comment on the article (unlike Luke), which is fair enough - the reason being that I'm not familiar enough with Eliezer's original post.
2012: Year in Review

Polls in comments was also a pretty big feature added this year.

4Kaj_Sotala9yDamn, how did I forget that? Thanks, I added a mention of it.
META: Deletion policy

Because Eliezer deleting something based on the "Eliezer says so" is at least coherent and unambiguous.

Well his attempt here is to lay out a bit more than "Because Eliezer says so" as a reason.

META: Deletion policy

Is I read it, the policy does not address the basilisk and basilisk type issues, which, while I don't think should be moderated, are. "Information Hazards" specifically says "not mental health reasons."

4Manfred9yWell, the "LW basilisk" just turned out to be a knife sharp enough to cut yourself with. And sometimes you need sharp knives.
3wedrifid9yIt does, in as much as it includes: This particular entry makes all the others more or less redundant. This is perhaps better than only having the "information Hazard" clause. Because Eliezer deleting something based on the "Eliezer says so" is at least coherent and unambiguous. It doesn't matter whether a post by Roko is actually dangerous. The says so clause can still cover it and we can just roll our eyes and tolerate Eliezer's quirks.

A true basilisk is not a mental health risk, or at least not only such. Whether one such has been found is a separate question (I lean toward no).

Gun Control: How would we know?

The borders of gun states vs non gun states would be interesting.

5Eugine_Nier9yNot necessarily since it's easy to move guns across them.
Open Thread, December 16-31, 2012

I did too. I think I retweeted that.

Open Thread, December 16-31, 2012

These things are huge triggers for me. It drives me mad that society has the reaction it does when this event killed as many people as die every eleven seconds. If we had a proportional societal reaction to all deaths, maybe we'd have solved the problem by now.

Edit: I accidentally the math

9[anonymous]9yYes! I really liked this tweet from Thom Blake on the matter:
Open Thread, December 16-31, 2012

This is my favorite Les Miserables song. And incredibly awesome.

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