Attacking enlightenment

While a focus on the exterior may very well contribute to the high rate of mental health problems in the community, I've always thought it had more to do with selection effects.

A large portion of the thought in the community revolves around how to think, which is something most people never study (and likely never feel the need to). But those who are thinking badly - that is, those who realize that they have patterns of thought that don't correlate well with reality - have a reason to seek out a better way of thinking.

There's also some evidence to suggest that higher intelligence by itself correlates with mental illness:

Other than that, great post and thank you for assembling that list of resources.

Meetup Cookbook

This is excellent. Thank you.

What will we do with the free energy?

I'm not 100% sure what you're asking, but from Wikipedia:

 ...current best processes for water electrolysis have an effective electrical efficiency of 70-80%,[38][39][40] so that producing 1 kg of hydrogen (which has a specific energy of 143 MJ/kg or about 40 kWh/kg) requires 50–55 kWh of electricity. At an electricity cost of $0.06/kWh, as set out in the Department of Energy hydrogen production targets for 2015[41], the hydrogen cost is $3/kg.

Some quick googling indicates a kilogram of hydrogen seller for around $14, give or take.

There is inefficiency in hydrogen storage, but it should keep longer than a lithium ion battery.

An Exercise in Applied Rationality: A New Apartment

Thank you.

I happen to use my phone as my alarm - should I get a different, separate alarm so my phone can charge in another room?

Automatic for the people

What do you think of the effect of population growth/shrinkage is on this problem? From what I can tell, the population is projected to go up to about 11 billion before it starts declining.

Also, at what point does this become a crisis? How many of the truck drivers will be retired by the time automated trucks become widespread enough to unemploy them? Most seem to be nearing retirement age currently.

An optimization process for democratic organizations

A very interesting idea. My thoughts:

1) You mention, as a failure of US democracy, that "At the national level, we also have the Senate which is not democratic in the first place, and the electoral college, which is winner-take-all in most states and warped in favor of low-population states. (22)"

I would argue that this is a feature, not a bug. The US was, to my knowledge, designed to be a union of individual governments bound together by a federal government. Because each state can have its own distinct laws, people can sort themselves across states to a place with laws they like. This fosters competition between states to have the best laws.

The Senate was never meant to be democratically representing the people; it was meant to be democratically representing the states. If I remember correctly, Senators were elected by the state government originally, not the people.

2) The rest of your points on the failure of US democracy are well-made.

3) How does this democracy serve those too poor to afford the app? Those without internet? Those with mental illnesses that get a vote but are unfit to understand what that vote means?

4) Who runs the app? The federal government? Is the work contacted out to a company? Either option is dangerous.

5) The system you describe is very dependent on user history which must be stored in databases somewhere. In the event of a terrorist attack on those databases (assume the data is lost), how does the democracy continue?

6) At what age does someone get to vote?

7) If a bill was written to redistribute Bill Gates' money to everyone else (via taxation or any other effective means), what would stop it from getting passed? I'd imagine it would be popular enough.

8) Could a company "campaign" to pass a bill limiting/regulating their competition? If the situation was sufficiently complicated, would anyone notice? In a broader sense, how would this democracy interact with capitalism/socialism?

What will we do with the free energy?

There are energy storage mechanisms that last longer than batteries. I don't know the exact economics or mechanics, but excess energy could be used to pump water to a higher elevation to store the potential energy.

When the energy is needed, at night or in the winter, the water would be allowed to flow back down through turbines to reclaim some of that energy.

Excess energy could also be used for hydrolysis; the hydrogen could be stored for later use.

Which areas of rationality are underexplored? - Discussion Thread

Thanks for the info - I'll check out some of the chat channels. I had no idea they existed.

As for the idea, I hadn't thought it through quite that far, but I was picturing something along the lines of your second suggestion. Any publicized and easily accessible way of asking questions that doesn't force newer members to post their own topics would be helpful.

I remember back when I was just starting out on LessWrong, and being terrified to ask really stupid questions, especially when everyone else here was talking about graduate level computer science and medicine. Having someone to ask privately would've sped things up considerably.

Which areas of rationality are underexplored? - Discussion Thread

This is more of a practical suggestion than a theoretical one, but what if we had an instant message feature? Some kind of chat box like google hangouts, where we could talk in a more immediate sense to people rather than through comment and reply.

As an addendum, and as a way of helping newer members, maybe we could have some kind of Big/Little program? Nothing fancy, just a list of people who have volunteered to be 'Bigs,' who are willing to jump in and discuss things with newer members.

A 'little' could ask their big questions as they make their way through the literature, and both Bigs and Littles would gain a chance to practice rationality skills pertaining to discussion (controlling one's emotions, being willing to change one's mind, etc.) in real time. I think this would help reinforce these habits.

The LessWrong study hall on Complice is nice, but it's a place to get work done, not to chat or debate or teach.

Stand-up comedy as a way to improve rationality skills

Additionally, humor - especially self-effacing humor - allows one to critique ideas or people held in high esteem without being offensive or inciting anger. It's hard to be mad when you're laughing.

Thought: Humor lowers one's natural barriers to accepting new ideas.

In the context of ideas as memes that undergo Darwinian processes of mutation and natural selection, perhaps humor can be thought of as an immunodeficiency virus? A way to lower an idea's natural defenses against competing ideas, which is why we see Christians willing to listen to Atheist comics, and vice versa. Humor lowers Christianity's natural defenses against Atheism (group consolidation, faith, etc.) and allows new ideas to attack the weakened "body."

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