TomM

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Some quick notes on hand hygiene

I notice that you only compare time spent hand washing to time spent debilitated by respiratory illness, but hand washing also reduces likelihood of other ailments, eg gastric infections due to fecal or other bacterial contamination, and intestinal parasites (especially threadworm if you have kids...).

Even without specific numbers on the time that these might rob you of, hat would seem to push the balance in favour of hand washing.

Apart from anything else, being ill or having a high parasite load is just plain unpleasant, and long periods of illness (even if few and far between) are more damaging to sense of wellbeing than short periods spent on a menial task multiple times a day.

Concerns Surrounding CEV: A case for human friendliness first

Your rewrite has clarified the matter significantly, and I now think I follow the core or your question: can it boiled down to something like "If we create a super-intelligent AI and program it to prioritise what we (humanity) want above all, wouldn't the AI be intelligent enough to be offended by our self-centredness and change that utility function?"?

Others here may be better able to imagine what a self-aware machine intelligence would make of how it was initially programmed, but as far as real-world experience it is currently unexplored territory and I wouldn't consider anything I can speculate to be meaningful.

Concerns Surrounding CEV: A case for human friendliness first

Apologies if this comes across as blunt, but this query does not really make sense as you appear to be applying the wrong label to your core concept: CEV is Coherent Extrapolated Volition - a concept for explaining what we (as individuals or as a society) would want in any given circumstance given the time, knowledge and ability to actually consider it fully and come to a conclusion.

CEV is not a AI terminology, it is a term attempting to conceptualise human volition.

It is important to AI questions as it is a way of trying to formalise what we want, as it is impossible to program AI to do what we want unless we know what that is.

Perhaps reconsider what you are actually trying to write about and ensure you apply the correct/accepted terminology.

"3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism"

I think it is worth pointing out that the article selected for 'review' is not entirely typical of the site (most articles seem to discuss lived experience, activism activities and how to get by in unfriendly circumstances rather than philosophy or logic per se).

Additionally, the Facebook thread for the article has a lot of discussion, dominated (in my view) by self-described "SJW"s who had big problems with the anti-rationality stance of the article and made strong arguments in favour of logic and reason.

This article show that the bias of some SJWs against reason is impossible to strawman.

The emphasis is mine.

I think PhilGoetz does not strawman the author of the reviewed article, but by going on to say:

But it isn't just a sign of how irrational the social justice movement is...

does strawman the social justice movement as a whole.

Note: Edited in the first couple of minutes to fix formatting problems.

Akrasia Tactics Review 2: The Akrasia Strikes Back

Beeminder : +6 : Using it for nearly 2 years with good success in most areas I select to 'Beemind'. Yet to have to pay out on any goals (though I have derailed on no-pledge goals on 2 occasions).

RememberTheMilk : +2 : using it for several years. Best use is to keep track of tasks I have and have not done, but not great on committing me to action. Best suited to keeping track of minor tasks, especially recurring ones.

Trello : +2 : Used for perhaps a year. Similar experience to RememberTheMilk, but better suited to more complex tasks and projects.

Water Fluoridation

Not just the very young - my 5 year old son was consuming toothpaste at such a rate that we have had to cut off his formerly unfettered access to it.

No amount of telling him 'eating a tubeful every few days is probably unhealthy' had any effect - he just loves the stuff.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I can't see clearly why Snape is being presented as a likely hidden ally of SPHEW.

Without doubt, he involved himself in the group by providing information on where and when to find bullying, but this led to an escalation of hostilities rather than reducing bullying. This culminated in a massive confrontation during which he acted mysteriously, and by no means clearly in SPHEW's interests (I suspect the myriad memory charms were to hide/obfuscate his prior manipulation of almost all of those present!).

The only way in which he openly acted on the matter was to punish and publicly humiliate Hermione.

Snape is not just a tragic lover of a murdered muggleborn - he is a very bitter and emotionally stunted person, and a major bully in his own right up until his actions were curbed through Harry's influence. The idea that he would be on a personal crusade against bullying seems (to my reading) to go against almost every aspect of his character as presented so far in the fic.

If asked to speculate, I would suggest that:

  • Snape intentionally escalated the SPHEW/bully situation, and used the final brouhaha as an opportunity to trample Hermione when the bullies failed to do it for him.
  • He has observed the warming in relations between Hermione and Draco, and decided it had to be stopped - preferably by making each of them betray (or seem to) the trust of the other.
  • He decided that his own handling of the SPHEW situation had been too clumsy and ineffective - he needed to make Hermione herself a villain if he wanted her more permanently dealt with.

My main uncertainty is why Snape would pick Hermione in particular to target (I haven't done a complete re-read for a few months, so I may be remembering events a bit 'selectively' - if I am being to mistrustful of Snape, I would love to see some references to points in the text where any of my interpretation is plausibly contradicted.

Edited: for grammar and clarity

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

I just realised that I missed another very strong piece of evidence which immediately precedes Harry's statement: Draco states that Harry should meet Lucius - he is actually offering Harry privileged access to his father.

This strengthens my view that Harry has noted that Draco offers (multiple paths to) influence with or threat to Lucius.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

No secret information is required for Harry to come to his conclusion of "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

Available evidence:

  • Lucius is well known as a hard bastard (initially supplied by random customer, reinforced by Draco)
  • Draco is well cared for (he is healthy, very well dressed, displays no social anxieties, worships his father)
  • Draco is probably indulged or even spoiled (Draco's behaviour)
  • Draco is being groomed to be Lucius' successor and therefore his equal (very clear by this point)

From this evidence it can be reasonably concluded that Lucius loves his son.
For a hard man like Lucius, this makes Draco his likely weakest point.

Lucius is simply underestimating Harry's ability to make good use of the available information (and possibly also underestimating how much Draco has given away while trying to cultivate Harry).

EDIT: 25 Jan 2012 - I just noticed that a previous incomplete revision of this comment appeared below by accident. It is now retracted...

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

Harry saying that Draco was Lucius' only weak point was probably just an (accurate) surmise given the available evidence:

    1. Lucius is well known as a hard bastard (information from random customer)
    1. Draco is visibly well cared for (and his behaviour suggests that he is indulged or even spoiled in many ways)
    1. Draco is being raised to be his father's successor and equal

Therefore Lucius probably loves Draco, making him a weak point.

No secret information is actually required to make this assessment, though it might be considered a bit close to a guess.

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