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One reason I dislike many precautionary arguments is that they seem to undervalue what we learn by doing things. Very often in science, when we have chased down a new phenomenon, we detect it by relatively small effects before the effects get big enough to be dangerous. For potentially dangerous phe...(read more)
Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote of ideas one can't see the value of, and teachers who don't seem to understand their teachings, "Sounds like either a cult or a college."
I dunno, at least for many technical fields and for some other endeavors too (like learning to communicate effectively in writing) one ca...(read more)
If you ever get as seriously curious about electronics as you were about physics, look at Horowitz and Hill, The Art of Electronics. Very very useful for someone who already knows the math and wants to understand electronics principles and the practicalities of one-off discrete circuit design.
Yeah, what Adam Ierymenko said:-) about hitting a complexity limit being not at all synonymous with stopping progress. Except that I was going to say "computer programmers" instead of "engineers", and I was going to use the example that when duplicate functionality in the mitochondrial genome and ma...(read more)
I don't see the problem. There seems to be no logical reason that local laws can't change because of arbitrarily complicated nonlocal rules. You can even see nontrivial examples of this in practice in some modern technology. Various of Microsoft's operating systems have reportedly contained substant...(read more)
There's no particular reason that constant improvement needs to surpass a fixed point. In theory, see Achilles and the tortoise. In practice, maybe you can't slice things infinitely fine (or at least you can't detect progress when you do), but still you could go on for a very long time incrementally...(read more)
Note that when someone reads your "if people have a right to be stupid, the market will respond by supplying all the stupidity that can be sold" it does sound rather as though you're making a point about market decisions in particular, not just one of a spectrum of points like "if people have a righ...(read more)