TGM

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The Bias You Didn't Expect

That people buy more, less healthy food when they are hungry is pretty well backed up, I understand. (Googling gives this right away)

Your suggestion has a possible "remembering just how good my favourite unhealthy food tastes" counter-effect.

My experience is that how food tastes changes massively depending on my hunger, so you need to bear in mind that "how good my favourite food tastes" will likely be "not very" when you've just eaten.

For example, I play sport for about 3 hours on Sundays, and immediately after (before leaving the pitches) I drink a litre of milk, mixed with milk powder (to make double strength milk), mixed with chocolate Ovaltine powder. It tastes great to me at that point in time. I tried it before a practise once, and it was just awful.

Humans are utility monsters

All agents are considered equal,

If I contract a neurodegenerative illness, which will gradually reduce my cognitive function, until I end up in a vegetative state, do I retain agent-ness throughout, or at some point lose equal footing with healthy me in one go? Neither seems a good description of my slow slide from fully human to vegetable.

with their individual utility units converted to some social standard. For example, Agent Alpha receives 100 Alpha-Utils from the average day, where Agent Beta receives 200 Beta-Utils from the average day. Both of these are converted into Society-Utils - let's say 10 Society-Utils - making an exchange rate of 10 Alpha:Society and 20 Beta:Society.

What is an "average day"? My average day probably has greater utility than that of a captive of a sadistic gang...

Humans are utility monsters

I want to criticise either the idea that diminishing returns is important, or, at least, that dollar values make sense for talking about them.

Suppose we have a monster who likes to eat. Each serving of food is just as tasty as the previous, but he still gets diminishing returns on the dollar, because the marginal cost of the servings goes up.

We also have nematodes, who like to eat, but not as much. They never get a look in, because as the monster eats, they also suffer diminished utilons per dollar.

So the monster is serving the 'purpose' of the utility monster, but still has diminishing returns on the dollar. If we redefine diminishing returns to be on something else, I'm not sure it could be well justified or immune to this issue.

And, although humans are not an example of this sort of monster, the human race certainly is.

Health/Longevity Link List

Do you have a more original source. I've heard about this, and would be interested to know if/how a causal link was established between flossing and heart disease

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Argument

A concern regarding this kind of test when applied to groups (Christians vs Atheists, for instance) rather than individuals is that one umbrella term may take more views than another, making the guessing game more/less tricky.

Nevertheless, this is a neat idea, particularly for particular people rather than groups as a whole.

Random LW-parodying Statement Generator

At the time of writing, it had more upvotes than the OP... surely that's not right?

Random LW-parodying Statement Generator

The affective death spiral is isomorphic to this thread.

Random LW-parodying Statement Generator

The map is the mind-killer

Seems Legit

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

Mindkiller Alert!

The yield of a tax at 0% is 0. The yield of tax at 100% is also close to zero, as nobody will do anything to earn money that will be taxed at 100% (i.e. ensure all earnings dodge that tax). Therefore the set of policies that give maximum tax yield do not have a tax rate of 100%, and increasing tax rates beyond that reduce tax yield.

This analysis is subject to some caveats, and where the optimal rate is is a very complicated and politically charged question, of course, and this is already completely off topic.

Jews and Nazis: a version of dust specks vs torture

I suspect what you mean by desire utilitarianism is what wikipedia calls preference utilitarianism, which I believe is the standard term.

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