Srdjan Miletic

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I’m a 19-year-old Terminal Patient. Medical Brain Preservation Should not be Difficult to Discuss or Adopt

I'd heard of cryonics quite a bit but never brain scanning or preservation. The story of the young man is particularly poignant. It's is truly a tragedy that brain preservation is not more widely commercially available.

How my school gamed the stats

Fair enough. It's good to know that inspections are no longer pre-announced..

How my school gamed the stats

I've read that blog too. It's pretty interesting. Do you have any other sources to recommend?

Also, if you're willing to share which country did you teach in?

How my school gamed the stats

My sample size is pretty small, limited to myself and a few people I knew, so I don't have a high degree of confidence that my experiences generalize across the UK. Hearing about experiences like your daughters shifts me somewhat towards thinking that state schools are okayish on average. Still, I find it hard to convert the various good and bad stories I hear into any kind of high confidence conclusion without hard data, which I haven't managed to find much of.

Science in a High-Dimensional World

I don't quite think you've solved the problem of induction.

I think there's a fairly serious issue with your claim that being able to predict something accurately means you necessarily fully understand the variables which causes it because determinism.

The first thing to note is that “perfect predictability implies zero mutual information” plays well with approximation: approximately perfect predictability implies approximately zero mutual information. If we can predict the sled’s speed to within 1% error, then any other variables in the universe can only influence that remaining 1% error. Similarly, if we can predict the sled’s speed 99% of the time, then any other variables can only matter 1% of the time. And we can combine those: if 99% of the time we can predict the sled’s speed to within 1% error, then any other variables can only influence the 1% error except for the 1% of sled-runs when they might have a larger effect.

That's not really the cases. E.g: let's say that ice cream melt twice as fast in galaxies without a supermassive black hole at the center. You do experiments to see how fast ice cream melts. After controlling for type of ice cream, temperature, initial temp of the ice cream, airflow and air humidity, you find that you can predict how ice cream melts. You triumphantly claim that you know which things cause ice cream to melt at different rates, having completely missed the black hole's effects.

Essentially, controlling for A & B but not C won't tell you whether C has a causal influence on the thing you're measuring unless

  • you intentionally change C between experiments (not practical given googleplexes of potential causal factors)
  • C happens to naturally vary quite a bit and so makes your experimental results different, cluing you in to the fact that you're missing something.
Would the Real Economy Please Stand Up

Which is indeed really strange and something I don't really understand. I'd expect that whoever bought the properties after the foreclosure sale would live in it themselves, redevelop the land or put the housing up for rent at a price people would pay. Sure there are edge cases where empty housing makes sense (cities with population collapse = literally more housing stock than needed, super low cost housing which when prices fall the rent doesn't cover the risk of having tenants) but those seem like edge cases which don't explain the widespread phenomenon of empty housing.

My immediate thoughts are that either empty houses aren't really a thing outside of specific cases and the examples we see in media are just a biased sample or that they are and something I don't understand is going on. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Would the Real Economy Please Stand Up

A few vague thoughts:

  • Money is not "virtual". It's a good like everything else. It's price is determined by supply and demand. You could say it's "virtual" because people want it for reasons unlinked to the real world, but that requires establishing a rule or metric for what demand is real or not.
  • Economic crashes can indeed be caused by supply shocks (e.g: the disease destroying crops). They can also be caused by other things such as psychology, governments keeping interest rates too low/high etc... I'm not sure you characterization of people being kicked out of subprime mortgage backed homes as a failure is correct. A different perspective is that those people cannot afford those mortgages once they lose their jobs/interest rates rise and it's good they're losing the 1% of their homes they owned (land + house) so it can be used for more productive purposes.
  • National debt actually isn't that strange or special. It's similar to business debt. If the US/UK governments can borrow at close to 0% real interest rates, it's basically free money. If they can borrow at X% but then invest that money in the economy/infrastructure/education which in turn returns Y%, as long as Y >= X borrowing is fine. The problem with having a large debt to GDP ratio is that the cost of servicing said debt could become very high if interest rates rise, either because something bad happens in your country so people lending money think you're less likely to be able/willing to pay back or because there's less demand/more supply of comparable bonds.
The sad state of Rationality Zürich - Effective Altruism Zürich included
  1. I don't know the facts of the matter and have not heard the other side of the story. Hence, I cannot determine whether the group was justified in excluding you or not. I think the same goes for most people here.
  2. If you feel a group associated with EA/LW has acted unfairly towards you, you have a right to air your grievances.
  3. I'd say publicly naming groups and decisions you believe, rightly or wrongly, to be unjust is good. Events like this happen far too often behind closed doors. Transparency is something we should strive for.
  4. Ultimately, the Zurich EA group is not an official organisation representing EA. They are just a bunch of people who decide to meet up once in a while. They can choose who they do and do not allow into their group, regardless of how good/bad their reasons, criteria or disciplinary procedures are.
[Meta] New moderation tools and moderation guidelines

A central log would indeed allow anyone to see who was banned and when. My concern is more that such a solution would be practically ineffective. I think that most people reading an article aren't likely to navigate to the central log and search the ban list to see how many people have been banned by said articles author. I'd like to see a system for flagging up bans which is both transparent and easy to access, ideally so anyone reading the page/discussion will notice if banning is taking place and to what extent. Sadly, I haven't been able to think of a good solution which does that.

[Meta] New moderation tools and moderation guidelines

I agree. There are a few feairly simple ways to implement this kind of transparancy.

  • When a comment is deleted, change it's title to [deleted] and remove any content. This at least shows when censorship is happening and roughly how much.
  • When a comment is deleted, do as above but give users the option to show it by clicking on a "show comment" button or something similar.
  • Have a "show deleted comments" button on users profile pages. Users who want to avoid seeing the kind of content that is typically censored can do so. Those who would prefer to see everything can just enable the option and see all comments.

I think these features would add at least some transparancy to comment moderation. I'm still unsure how to make user bans transparent. I'm worried that without doing so, bad admins can just bad users they dislike and give the impression of a balanced discussion with little censorship.

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