ChristianKl's Shortform

post by ChristianKl · 2019-08-18T20:13:54.199Z · score: 9 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 22 comments


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comment by ChristianKl · 2019-10-13T07:51:31.345Z · score: 19 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elon Musks Starship might bring us a new x-risk.

Dropping a tungsten rod that weights around 12,000 kg from orbit has a similar destruction potential as nuclear weapons.

At present lunch prices bringing a tungsten rod that's weighted 12,000 kg to orbit has a extreme cost for the defense industry that was labeled to be around $230 million a rod.

On the other hand, Starship is designed to be able to carry 100 tons with equals 8 rots to space in a single flight and given that Elon talked about being able to launch starship 3 times per day with a cost that would allow transporting humans from one place of the earth to another the launch cost might be less then a million.

I found tungsten prices to be around 25$/kilo for simple products, which suggest a million dollar might be a valid price for one of the rods.

When the rods are dropped they hit within 15 minutes which means that an attacked country has to react faster then towards nuclear weapons.

Having the weapons installed in a satellite creates the additional problem that there's no human in the loop who makes the decision to launch. Any person who succeeds in hacking a satellite with tungsten rods can deploy them.

comment by ESRogs · 2019-10-13T09:27:30.707Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting short thread on this here.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-06T16:12:25.457Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Elon Musk seems to have a plan to deploy destructive capabilities to orbit within the next two years that are comparable to the nuclear arsenal of the late forties of the last century.

Little Boy that destroyed Hiroshima had a destructive power of 15 kilotons of TNT equivalents. A napkin calculation on Reddit put BFR to 16.22 kilotons of TNT equivalents.

Refueling in orbit means deploying that much explosive power to rockets in orbit.

There's almost no talk about about the cybersecurity of what he wants to build and it seems doubtful that the process he's currently using takes care of producing structure that keep out determined cyber attackers.

Getting to Mars is nice but it feels like the fact that we haven't had the ethical discussion about proliferation when it comes to Musk is a potential catastrophic error.

comment by romeostevensit · 2020-03-07T22:41:50.349Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

explosive capacity isn't needed when you have rods from god.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2020-03-06T22:26:32.948Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

None of those spacecraft will ever reach the bottom of the atmosphere with appreciable orbital velocity remaining, or hit the ground with large amounts of fuel except near to the launch sites.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-07T07:16:31.320Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why do you believe that's the case? Why can't a Starship that's full with fuel because it fulled up in space (the infrastructure is necessary for traveling to Mars/Moon) touch earth with a large amount of fuel inside?

comment by Donald Hobson (donald-hobson) · 2020-03-08T10:32:15.819Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If a starship full of fuel is in orbit, and gets nudged downward, hitting the earths atmosphere, it gets very hot. If it doesn't have a giant heatshield, it will vaporize the fuel, leading to an explosion in the upper atmosphere. If you used the fuel to slow down, you could reach earth with mostly empty tanks, but still cause some damage if you hit a city.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-08T15:32:17.375Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems to me like fuel wise, a starship has enough full to start from earth, go to orbit and then come down with one tank. Most of the fuel is expended on launch. While you will need to expend some fuel to slow down, I don't see why the starship shouldn't be able to touch earth with a lot of fuel inside.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-08-18T20:13:55.590Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

One of the major problem with getting marketing emails is that we lack good feedback mechanisms to incentivize companies whom we do give our emails because we do want to get some information not to spam us with other information that we don't want to receive.
At the moment we have two options to punish companies who abuse the relationship. We can click on “mark as spam" or we can unsubscribe. 
The first version is a punishment as it means that more emails of the company end up in spam folders. Unfortunately, the company usually doesn't know the specific email for which it is punished and thus can't effectively improve their behavior.
Unsubscription does work as a specific punishment but we can only use it we we want to stop getting all emails from the company.

We could have a better system:

  • A plugin that let's us rate the emails we are getting on a 5 point scale.
  • Once we rate a few emails we can have a machine learning algorithm that predicts our rating and allows us to filter out emails with predicted scores that are under a specified threshold
  • The company that provides the plugin for free can sell access to the scoring data to email marketers who care about whether customers welcome their messages. 
comment by mr-hire · 2019-08-19T03:45:11.401Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Marketers are already getting much of this data via click through rates and open rates. They care much less about "how much you like an email" and much more about "how much an email is likely to make you buy in the future".

The problem of course, is that people who aren't buyers being annoyed by the email is a negative externality. It doesn't affect the marketer's bottom line at all if someone who was never a buyer gets annoyed. It slightly effects them if someone who was a potenjtial buyer gets annoyed, but only if that causes them not to buy in the future (which is reflected in CTR and Open rates).

The only way to have marketers not take advantage of a free marketing channel is to better align incentives. One way to do that would be to make it not free, as jacobjacob talked about in another thread. Collective spam filters like in gmail also provide a slight incentive for this, as messages being marked as spam will cause them to be marked as spam in customers' inboxes as well. As you said this isn't perfect because marketers don't know WHICH messages are being marked as spam, but in general this feels decently solved, for instance most email marketing platforms have a "spam score" that will tell you if you're likely to be filtered to the spam filter before you send, using the data THEY have on which messages are marked as spam.

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-19T03:46:54.894Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
Jacobian talked about in another thread

Minor note: Jacobian and jacobjacob are different people

comment by mr-hire · 2019-08-19T03:51:25.859Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whoops, edited.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-08-19T21:21:39.441Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the end they do care about the fact that people buy, but the fact that marketers care about metrics like open rates suggest that it's useful for them to have more information.

A lot of emails are send out as a form of content marketing where the goal of the company is to create a trusted relationship which can be later monetized. In those cases it's not easy to measure the effects of an email on sales months down the road.

The fact that the marketing platforms have a spam score doesn't mean that the spam score accurately captures the spamminess when it comes to how annoying the email is to customers.

comment by Raemon · 2019-08-18T20:19:38.064Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

On a higher level, email clients could make the "mark as spam" button send information to the sender.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-08-19T20:35:33.184Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think because of marketing and branding reasons that's not a valid move for the companies that produce most email clients.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-05-12T08:43:38.627Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It seems that every post gets tagged with world modeling or world optimization. We should likely have a more focused definition or those tags to make them more specific.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-04-01T19:36:39.731Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I remember reading a link to a long article this month that was about how the New York times is very narrative driven and that the editors often decide on the narrative of the article before going out to research it. Does anybody know which article I mean?

comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) · 2020-04-01T22:05:40.556Z · score: 12 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This one?

It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

For me, an article linking to this one was the fifth Google result for "new york times narrative driven".

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-04-02T07:06:56.214Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, thank you. I did search for NYTimes and didn't think of using the fullname.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-03-06T08:37:37.978Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If I put copper tape everywhere, do I still need to take copper supplements when I up my zinc intake?

comment by jimrandomh · 2020-03-06T23:49:07.764Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Copper tape in your environment is unlikely to meaningfully affect your dietary copper intake.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-02-28T09:28:44.809Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just subscribed to Stiftung Warentest which is Germany's equivalent to Consumer Reports. It seems to me those institutions provide a vital service to allow producer in various categories to compete based on quality when they would otherwise compete based on marketing promises.

Intuitively, it feels easier to pay for physical goods then to pay for information like those reports. I think the information did allow me to buy better soap for washing my hands and I think there's a public good to be done by supporting those institutions and increasing their budgets to do unbiased tests (the Wirecutter is payed by affiliate money in a way that influences their editoral decisions).