All of TabAtkins's Comments + Replies

Why Eat Less Meat?

As a mostly-vegetarian person myself, I find this article's primary moral point very unconvincing.

Yes, factory farms are terrible, and we should make them illegal. But not all meat is raised on factory farms. Chickens and cattle who are raised ethically (which can still produce decent yields, though obviously less than factory farms) have lower levels of stress hormones than comparable wild animals. We can't measure happiness directly in these low-light animals, but stress hormones are a very good analogue for an enjoyable life, and we know that high le... (read more)

1MugaSofer8yWell, there's even more debate over the criteria for "this entity's death is sad" than "this entity's suffering is sad". Since, as other posters have noted, the massively overwhelming majority of meat is factory-farmed, this point still seems pretty important while being much easier to show.
1Jabberslythe8yDo you happen to have a source for this? Not that I particularly doubt this, but it would be useful information.
4Peter Wildeford8yThis is correct. But the vast, vast majority of meat the typical consumer is likely to run into is raised on factory farms, so it's essentially true to equate meat with factory farmed meat.
4MTGandP8yAnd yet it's extraordinarily difficult to actually find meat from animals that were raised truly humanely. See this comment []. Also, I think the standard one should apply is whether an animal has a good life, not whether it as a life better than it would if it were in the wild. If you have a life that is very not worth living, it would better to not exist than to move up to having a life that is only moderately not worth living. Ninjaedit: Actually, I think I misunderstood your point about farm animals having lives better than wild animals. Are you saying that it's worth it to have non-factory-farmed farm animals when their lives are better than those of comparable wild animals, because they displace the existence of those wild animals?
Why Eat Less Meat?

If you're having issues with your hunger response, it's almost certainly because you've simply eliminated meat from the meal, without replacing it with something nutritionally equal. Your hunger response is mediated by a number of food chemicals, which you've like never had to notice before because meat provides the appropriate ones automatically,

Solving it is easy - just eat protein (nuts, beans, etc) and fat (nuts, oil, peanut butter, etc.). That'll hit you with the right stuff to replace what you're losing with meat, and keep your stomach's brain happy because it's receiving the right chemicals.

People too often think vegetarianism is just a light salad at every meal. >_<

The Super Happy People (3/8)

I'm surprised this never got answered! Well, better late than never, I suppose.

The SuperHappies misread the saying "Be fruitful and multiply.".

0EphemeralNight8yWell, I actually got the "multiply" pun. That was clear enough. I'm just not getting what prompted the "Ewww..." though.
Pascal's Muggle: Infinitesimal Priors and Strong Evidence

I think you're interpreting Bostrom slightly wrong. You seem to be reading his argument (or perhaps just my short distillation of it) as arguing that you're not currently torturing someone, but there's an identical section of the universe elsewhere where you are torturing someone, so you might as well start torturing now.

As you note, that's contradictory - if you're not currently torturing, then your section of the universe must not be identical to the section where the you-copy is torturing.

Instead, assume that you are currently torturing someone. Bostr... (read more)

Pascal's Muggle: Infinitesimal Priors and Strong Evidence

True, but that's then striking more at the heart of Bostrom's argument, rather than my counter-argument, which was just flipping Bostrom around. (Unless your summum malum is significantly different, such that duplicate tortures and duplicate good-things-equivalent-to-torture-in-emotional-effect still sum differently?)

Pascal's Muggle: Infinitesimal Priors and Strong Evidence

Am I crazy, or does Bostrom's argument in that paper fall flat almost immediately, based on a bad moral argument?

His first, and seemingly most compelling, argument for Duplication over Unification is that, assuming an infinite universe, it's certain (with probability 1) that there is already an identical portion of the universe where you're torturing the person in front of you. Given Unification, it's meaningless to distinguish between that portion and this portion, given their physical identicalness, so torturing the person is morally blameless, as you'r... (read more)

5Tehom8yTrue just if your summum bonum is exactly an aggregate of moments of happiness experienced. I take the position that it is not. I don't think one even has to resort to a position like "only one copy counts".
0Pentashagon8yI'd argue that the torture portion is not identical to the not-torture portion and that the difference is caused by at least one event in the common prior history of both portions of the universe where they diverged. Unification only makes counterfactual worlds real; it does not cause every agent to experience every counterfactual world. Agents are differentiated by the choices they make and agents who perform torture are not the same agents as those who abstain from torture. The difference can be made arbitrarily small, for instance by choosing an agent with a 50% probability of committing torture based on the outcome of a quantum coin flip, but the moral question in that case is why an agent would choose to become 50% likely to commit torture in the first place. Some counterfactual agents will choose to become 50% likely to commit torture, but they will be very different than the agents who are 1% likely to commit torture.
Rational Home Buying

I have an identical arrangement with my wife. She does the research and narrows it down, I make the final choice so she doesn't have to deal with maximizing.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

I do a zero-based budget monthly, where I precisely account for every dollar coming in and going out. Some of the categories in my budget (anything I buy in person) are designated as "cash" - every paycheck I withdraw enough from the ATM to cover the next two weeks worth of cash categories. These are then distributed into envelopes per category.

All of this leads up to my answer: I carry around personal allowance (budgeted for!) in my wallet at all times, and extra cash pulled from the envelopes when I'm going to buy something that day.

(When I e... (read more)

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

If I type a common sequence like "er" or "th," I do it with a single flick of the hand, not four separate ones.
Skilled touch typists certainly don't make four separate motions to type "er" or "th". Keyboards are specifically designed to accept multiple keys being pressed at the same time, because a skilled typist naturally presses the next key before they have finished the motion for the previous one. Nearly all keyboards will accept two simultaneous keypresses, with higher-quality ones accepting 3, 4, or arbitrar... (read more)

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

I can concur with the reporter's comments in that transcribing is faster for me (as a touch-typist), and more accurate. I can disconnect my brain when transcribing and just let the text flow from my visual center straight to my fingers. When transcribing properly you're not actually "reading" - I, at least, retain very little of texts that I transcribe.

3JackEmpty10yThis is why learning to speed read is so difficult for me. If I look at a word I've read and subvocalized it. I can't not read a word that I look at. I can try to ignore parsing full sentences and their relation to each other, with limited success, but not at the scale of individual words or letters.
Procedural Knowledge Gaps

Other people have already said that most people tend to smell okay all by themselves. I prefer a little help in that area, though.

There's the standard advice of wearing a deodorant/antiperspirant, which I find necessary. I can't help with perfume, but for cologne, I was never happy with anything until I spent an hour with a scented oil salesman at a stall in the mall. He helped me find the perfect combination of scents for me, which not only smells great to me but, from what other people tell me, compliments my natural smell nicely (if you're wondering ... (read more)

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

I'm also normally terrible at learning names, but I've learned how to get around it. This may be terribly specific to people who learn like me; if so, I apologize.

I have found that I am incredibly focused on learning through actually seeing things written. I am excellent at spelling because I see the written form of words in my head, and even when I can't immediately recall the precise letters, I always have an accurate sense of how many there are (which is often enough to select the correct spelling from a shortlist of plausible alternatives).

Given that, I find that I can trivially remember people's names after having emailed them and typed their names.

0Elizabeth11yYes, if I have emailed someone and typed their name, I will remember it. My problem is that generally I have no reason or means to write the names I'm having trouble remembering.
Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

Hi, long-time lurker. Fell in love with the blog after two posts, and spent some productive hours reading the Quantum Physics sequence. I think I introduced the blog to the XKCD readership, or at least the ones who read the Science forums there.

2Kaj_Sotala11yWas there any insightful discussion about LW on those forums?