March 2013 Media Thread

post by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:35:33.343Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 65 comments

(I decided to temporarily usurp RobertLumley's place in posting this thread. I hope he doesn't mind)

This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. Post what you're reading, listening to, watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing! To see previous recommendations, check out the older threads.



Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:35:47.820Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Meta Thread

comment by RobertLumley · 2013-03-09T02:19:36.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for doing this. Please continue to do so in the likely event I fail to in the future. As I become busier and busier, I have less time for reading LessWrong, and hadn't even thought about this until I went looking for something recommended in it from several months ago.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:48.453Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Short Online Texts Thread

comment by lukeprog · 2013-04-01T00:59:33.881Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hartmann et al, Formal epistemology meets experimental philosophy

...there has been an increasing tendency in the application of formal and experimental methods to tackle philosophical issues... which we view as part and parcel of the recent renewal of “scientific philosophy”.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:34.262Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fanfiction Thread

comment by palladias · 2013-03-05T01:15:57.266Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A friend and I cowrote a 6th year Hermione vs Diary!Riddle fic on A Pound of Flesh. Neither is tuned up to HMPOR levels, but we did make them smarter and a bit more inventive than canon, so I thought LWers might enjoy. Trigger warning for violence, some of which is sexualized. And here's a quote:

"I'm listening, Miss Granger. Do you have something to tell me?"
"Just that it would still be stupid and useless for you to torture me. I do know what the prophecy said, you're right, but that's a complicated, detailed piece of information, not a simple yes or no answer. You won't be able to hone in on the content just by playing evil sadist twenty questions. And even if I tell you something, it'll be very hard to tell if I've been precise enough even if I'm not lying. And push me past the true details out of desperation, and you'll get extraneous information that will end up confusing you.
It's not even np-hard – oh, you wouldn't know that phrase. What I mean is that the information is hard to get, and there's no easy way to check whether it's accurate once you've got it. It's not like looking for a puzzle piece in a mess, but having an easy way to check whether it fits. You won't know whether the information I give you is good, though I grant I'll probably say something. So you can torture me, but do me the courtesy of admitting you're doing it because you want to hurt me, not because you want to know the prophecy."

comment by Bobertron · 2013-03-05T21:02:12.337Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You mentioning Diary!Riddle reminds me of The Very Secret Diary. It's an account of the second book from Ginny's point of view. It's full of subtle emotional manipulation and torture. Very cruel, but well written and interesting.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:27.246Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nonfiction Books Thread

comment by lukeprog · 2013-03-22T03:08:34.646Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

With Charity for All. Excerpts below.

On the role of the charitable sector:

The charitable sector... includes areas as diverse as education, global health services, shelter for the homeless, ...arts and culture, and some of our most important scientific research. We support this broad array of services because absent a robust charitable economy, these functions would either cease or devolve to government — an unpalatable option in a time of rising public debt and dwindling faith in the efficacy of government. In effect, we have privatized these public functions in the belief that charities can perform these tasks better and with greater efficiency than government.

[Even] in this results-obsessed country, the public rarely demands measures of how effective charities are in implementing their services and meeting their service goals. And... when the public generally and funders more specifically do not press for results-oriented organizations... charities respond accordingly...

...the market incentives in the nonprofit world push charities toward happy anecdote and inspiring narrative rather than toward careful planning, research, and evidence-based investments, to crippling effect...

...The glossy fund-raising brochures, the moving videos, and the carefully crafted inspirational anecdotes often mask problems that range from inefficiency and ineffectiveness to outright fraud and waste. There is little credible evidence that many charitable organizations produce lasting social value. Study after study tells the opposite story: of organizations that fail to achieve meaningful impact yet press on with their strategies and services despite significant, at times overwhelming, evidence that they don't work.

...This could have been a bleak book. My early research was not promising. I found story after story of organizational and service failure... But over time, another story began to emerge, of a nascent movement to rethink how the charitable sector works, to build market mechanisms to reward effective charities and discourage ineffective ones, and to create tools that will allow people to turn themselves from donors to investors. This book begins with... a narrative of systematic shortcomings, but it ends with a glimpse of those who are beginning to reshape the charitable world and show us what it can be.

The Red Cross as an example of charity ineffectiveness:

With Hurricane Katrina bearing down on New Orleans in August 2005, the American Red Cross geared up for action... In many ways, it was the largest peacetime call-up in American history, ultimately activating 250,000 employees and volunteers across a thousand miles of the southern United States.

...The human resources and material aid were tremendous, but the system of quality control was in absolute tatters. Volunteers were assigned to tasks without adequate training or any attempt to match their skills to the work. Goods poured into the Mobile warehouse, but often without regard to need... Whatever came in was shipped out to the field, regardless of its usefulness to the relief effort... goods coming into the warehouse were not registered or recorded; pilfering was common... Shelters were under- or incorrectly supplied, goods rotted in warehouses, the wrong things went to the wrong places, cash disappeared, supplies walked away... At one point, it was reported that fully half of the goods supplied to the Red Cross could not be traced to confirm that they made it to their intended destination.

The Red Cross failures during Katrina unfortunately do not stand out... they mirror, on a much larger scale, the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness displayed by hundreds of other nonprofits seeking to respond to the disaster.

These problems were magnified by the policies of the IRS, which fast-tracked more than four hundred new Katrina-related charities in the wake of the storm, in some cases granting tax-exempt status within hours of receiving an application. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of those new charities... have since failed, disappeared, or been diverted to other purposes...

The roots of the Red Cross's failures during Katrina and other crises lie in its inability—a failing shared by virtually all charities—to make the necessary internal investments that are the hallmark of all good organizations, be they for-profit businesses, charities, or government agencies...

When even the highest-revenue charity in the country is bound together by rubber bands and duct tape, it is a sign of profound misunderstanding of how to build effective charities.

On the creation of Givewell:

In the summer of 2006, eight friends working in the financial services industry decided to... research and share information on different charities... They discovered that the Charity Navigator rankings were unhelpful, as they were based largely on ratios of overhead to programmatic spending that they quickly realized had no correlation to organizational effectiveness and impact. [Moreover,] Charity Navigator depended on self-reports from the charities, which could easily, and frequently did, game the ratings... When pressed for more information... the charities often furnished their own confidential internal reports and data — the inadequacy of which led the group... to understand that the charities themselves did not know whether they were helping or hurting a given situation.

…[The group] concluded that there had to be a better way of evaluating charities... In the summer of 2007, Karnofsky and Hassenfeld left Bridgewater to set up GiveWell... Their approach was based upon the methodologies they had learned at Bridgewater: in-depth, research-driven evaluations supported by facts and data, not formulas and marketing brochures...

Over the past five years, Givewell... has produced over five hundred investment grade reports, both on entire charitable sectors and on individual charities. After all this work, it has identified only eight organizations that can fully demonstrate material and effective impact and efficiently use additional funds.

comment by lukeprog · 2013-03-26T18:31:58.067Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On fraud:

Unfortunately, [fraud] problems are not addressed simply by locking drawers and bird-dogging collection plates. As we have seen, charities tend to be ineffective overall because they are discouraged from investing in infrastructure. The normal speed governors of effective organizations — strong boards, empowered auditors, internal checks and balances, and active regulators — are broadly absent in the charitable system. And until that is addressed, charities will remain an easy mark for con men, criminals, and thieves.

On donor motivations:

research on donor self-image shows a strong correlation between the willingness of donors to give to a specific organization and their belief in the organization’s effectiveness. In a 2010 major-donor survey conducted by Hope Consulting, a San Francisco– based philanthropy advisory firm, “organizational effectiveness” was the most cited factor in choosing a charity, identified by 90 percent of surveyed givers. 24 Yet when the Hope Consulting team began to look at the actual behavior of these very same donors, an entirely different picture emerged. While the vast majority of donors say they care about charitable effectiveness, few make serious efforts to confirm it. Fully 65 percent of donors confess that they never do any research. Of the remaining 35 percent, the effort level is trivial. About half of this research is completed in under an hour, two-thirds in less than two hours. Only 3 percent of donors claim to have done more than six hours of research over the course of a year.

comment by lukeprog · 2013-03-09T08:02:06.687Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-03-11T21:51:51.427Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How good (have you read it?) ?

comment by djcb · 2013-03-23T16:28:14.161Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Amazon blurb doesn't look very promising... "Change is hard. But not if you know the 5-step formula that works whether...". Or is this one of those rare gems?

comment by tgb · 2013-03-07T15:40:47.952Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'An Introduction to Elementary Particles' by David Griffiths is one of the most enjoyable text books I have ever read. It covers basic particle physics, Feynman diagrams and Feynman calculus, basic experimental setups in the realm of high-energy physics and more. The author is well regarded as one of the most readable undergraduate physics textbook writer (also known for his intro quantum mechanics book), but this topic is his specialty and he really shines in presenting it. Even for those without a background in physics, the first chapter has a great exposition of the historical developments of the mid 1900's that led to the modern standard model. After that he goes into Feynman diagrams which is also quite approachable and interesting without any significant background. The later chapters then actually go into Feynman calculus and would be less readable to those without at least one course in quantum mechanics.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:20.649Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fiction Books Thread

comment by shminux · 2013-03-04T23:36:31.306Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Rereading the Discworld... Almost every page has something for the Rationality Quotes thread.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-03-15T00:02:54.356Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been rereading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, a formative text for me back when I was a nerdy teenager in the late Nineties, but one which I haven't touched in a decade or so.

A lot of it has already been obsoleted by real technological and social changes; its China for example transitioned directly from Maoism to neo-Confucianism without an authoritarian market economy stage, staying well behind the technological bell curve in the process, and its approach to AI is looking increasingly quaint. From a psychology/cogsci/poli-sci point of view I imagine it'd still be a deeply interesting book for many LW readers, though. The motivations behind its Primer closely approximate some of the ways we talk about rationality, for one thing

Unfortunately a lot of the interesting bits edge into politics, so I'm not sure I feel comfortable unleashing my usual rambling screed in this context.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:14.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Television and Movies Thread

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-06T23:29:16.557Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai doesn't have a very good score at myanimelist, but I'm currently at 8/12 episodes and it has rather impressed me at points.

It's from the same company (SHAFT) that produced Madoka Magica, and I think the element it shares with it is that both attempt to do a sort of redemption of the ludicrous, as Adam Cadre would call it. But where Madoka Magica merely redeemed magical-girls anime, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai attempts the even harder task of attempting to redeem a story about a shut-in girl and incestuous fanservice.

comment by Kutta · 2013-03-05T09:12:48.262Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Very recently decent fansubs have surfaced for Mamoru Hosoda's new movie The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

comment by leonm · 2013-03-30T20:53:41.752Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Nick Bostrom gave an interesting talk on existential risk reduction at TEDxOxford 2012, which has recently been uploaded at and has the rather ominous title "The End of Humanity". I suppose most of the people reading this will be quite familiar with the concepts (and the talk is aimed at people who aren't), but it might be a good resource to point people to who need introducing.

Full disclosure: I am involved with TEDxOxford, though I wasn't involved with TEDxOxford 2012.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-03-08T21:21:12.387Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ruby Gloom.

Available on Netflix (American, for some reason Netflix Canada pulled it?) for instant viewing, a surprisingly good children's show with a cheerful Gothic theme.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:04.882Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Music Thread

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-03-04T23:29:06.105Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Approximately the complete works of Yellow Magic Orchestra, who started as three classically-trained musicians messing with these new "synthesizer" things in the 1970s, wanted to make music that combined Western pop with older Japanese music and proceeded to invent large slabs of synthpop and what became J-pop. They're the band Ryuchi Sakamoto came from. The studio stuff sounds slightly dated but is still pretty good, and musically important; the live stuff still sounds fresh IMO.

comment by TsviBT · 2013-03-06T06:00:15.703Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The only hard rock you'll ever need:

Clutch Songs: The Regulator, The Mob Goes Wild Albums: Blast Tyrant

Psychedelic trance, for studying, falling asleep, staying awake, daydreaming (unfortunately will not cause you to be able to fly):

Shpongle Songs: The Dorset Perception, Ineffable Mysteries, Around the World in a Tea Daze, Invisible Man in a Fluorescent Suit Albums: Are You Shpongled, Tales of the Inexpressable

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-03-07T12:58:43.671Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I saw Clutch with Motorhead a few years ago, I was very impressed.

comment by quiet · 2013-03-05T02:53:12.360Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Death Grips - Hip hop/punk/noise

Bizarre, aggressive, and ridiculously creative music. I'm fascinated by musicians that manage to be simultaneously reckless and focused, though I should expect nothing less from any project that includes the drummer from Hella.

Songs: Hunger Games, Takyon Full Albums: Exmilitary, The Money Store, No Love Deep Web

Lola y Manuel - Flamenco

A husband and wife songwriting duo from mid-70's Spain. Arab-influenced singing, technically spectacular guitar, and quite progressive compositions that expand, rather than abandon the traditional flamenco forms. PM me for a copy of their first album, it's nearly impossible to find these days and is soul splittingly beautiful.

Songs: Sangre Gitana y Mora, Nuevo Dia

comment by [deleted] · 2013-03-06T02:22:19.961Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by quiet · 2013-03-07T04:17:29.664Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Synthesizers and guitars, mostly.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-03-07T04:19:25.878Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by quiet · 2013-03-07T15:48:37.664Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Haha, a bit of a drive yea.

comment by taelor · 2013-03-09T01:24:37.293Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've recently spent a bunch of time listening to Canadian goth rock band The Birthday Massacre, and I think it's pretty safe to call them my current musical obsession. Warning, most of their appeal is based around atmosphere and tone, which some people can have a hard time relating to. As one reviewer put it:

So what does The Birthday Massacre actually sound like? My best way of describing it would be: imagine yourself in your childhood waking at night with a vaguely moonlit doll shaped figure standing before you, leading you to a hidden door in the corner your bedroom, where you go through a narrow tunnel and enter a mystical gothic wonderland, illuminated only by a purple mystical light and otherwise coated in shadows. It's alluring yet scary. The reason why I describe it with a lack of technical terms is that I find The Birthday Massacre's force being the atmosphere they are able to conjure.

To illustrate, consider "Leaving Tonight", the lead song from their newest album, Hide And Seek, which I like to describe as the catchiest song about dead children ever. It's not immediately obvious what the song is about, and many people listen through it several times before realizing, but the band has confirmed this interpretation in interviews. Context: the lead singer, Chibi, is noted for having an obsession with the true crime genre, and while writting the album, encountered a specific story about a vannished child from 20 years ago that stuck in her head to the point where she started having dreams about it. So, she wrote this song, which manages to perfectly convey this feeling, in that its both absolutely horrifying once you know what it's about, and also impossible to stop listening to.

'Nother heads up: their new album, while being both their darkest and subtles work to date (which is saying that they've come quite a long way, considering that they started their career with songs about bashing people's heads in), is also probably their least immediately accessible. I myself initially dismissed it as their worst album so far, until I started reading interviews from the band explaining a lot of the context.

If you're interested in checking out their music, first start by watching the music videos for "Blue, Looking Glass and In The Dark (the band initially formed out of an art school, and it shows). Then, to get a good overview of their early work, listen/watch the live album/concert video Show And Tell, which contains all the best songs from their first three albums (and can be viewed here). If you like that, consider checking out their subsequent albums, Pins And Needles and Hide And Seek. Then, you can go back and see what you missed on the first three albums: Nothing And Nowhere, Violet and Walking With Strangers.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:35:57.599Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Other Media Thread

comment by beoShaffer · 2013-03-04T23:28:58.609Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Everyone should read Slate Star Codex by Yvain.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2013-03-05T05:19:30.475Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Started reading.

Encountered the claim that rightism is survival-oriented and leftism aesthetics-oriented.

Thought of Leni Riefenstahl, and Fascism as "the aestheticization of politics".

Then thought of endless megabytes of right-conflationist libertarians explaining why Nazism really, truly is entirely leftist and not rightist at all.

Then thought of Wilson and Korzybski and the "is of identity".

All modern¹ political views are misrepresented badly by being projected onto a single left-right axis. To the point that I am increasingly convinced that anyone who tries to make generalizations about "leftism" and "rightism" is either hijacked by a meme, or selling something, or both.

¹ This may be read as "post-WWI" at least.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-03-08T20:59:31.017Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's almost like movements are made up of people, who are each complex as hell, and then people slap a convenient post-hoc narrative on everything.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-03-05T09:34:37.578Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

From the article:

For example, why do people who want laissez-faire free trade empirically also prefer a strong military and oppose gay marriage?

Data point: In Slovakia the only party ever openly supporting gay rights and marijuana legalization is also the most laissez-faire party. (More info, in Slovak language.) And for many people here it feels these topics "naturally" belong together: we want less state regulation, both in economic and private lives. On the other hand, we have no significantly pro-guns or pro-feminism party. Guns are not a big topic here. Feminists are opposed to the religious party (which is considered right-wing, but many of its opponents are also right-wing), but don't seem to support any specific party.

So it would be interesting to have data from other countries, whether the described connection is US-specific, or typical for most countries. Because if it is US-specific, the most likely explanation would be "somewhere in the past, for whatever reason, people advocating A and B formed a coalition, and since then people perceive A and B to be parts of the same political opinion", and in other countries the historical accident could have been different.

People may have the universal tendency to make politics two-sided ("us" and "them"), but the specific contents of those two sides may be accidental. And if some people are more concerned about choice between A and B, but other people are more concerned about X and Y, over time these choices will collapse into AX and BY, or AY and BX.

Even if the choice is neurologically based, e.g. some people prefer "safety" (right) and others prefer "exploration" (left), what exactly is "safe" and what is "adventurous" may depend on the specific historical context. For example, the first Communist regimes clearly were "adventurous"; something new, never tried before. But what about the post-Communist countries now? Here it is reversed; the "safety-oriented" people dream about the good old times when men were men, women were women, and The Party had everything firmly under control; while the "adventurous" people dream about the endless opportunities of the free market utopia. But we must be careful in such reasoning, because not everything is reversed. For example even in these conditions, the religion still remains the symbol of "safety", and feminists still need state support. So we should expect different coalitions.

EDIT: Another data point, again I don't know how much is Slovakia exceptional here. When making government coalitions, the nationalists always go with the communists. (Only recently, the communists added nationalist rhetorics to their repertoire, so they took their voters, the nationalists did not get to parliament, and the communists now rule alone.) So if someone asks me whether nazis are left wing or right wing, to me it seems obvious that they are left-wing, and I don't even understand how anyone (in my country) can ask this question. But I assume in other countries, the coalitions and rhetorics may be completely different. Again, it could be interesting to collect data from many countries.

Also, sorry for the mindkilling here. I mostly wanted to give specific examples contradicting the analysis in the linked article, to show that even if the basic premise about "safety" and "exploration" is essentially correct (seems plausible to me), some other parts may be results of specific history in USA, not valid universally.

EDIT: Now I realized the link is to the whole blog, not only to the article which was on the top of the blog when I clicked it.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-05T12:37:29.592Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the alliance between nationalists and communists is a pan-European phenomenon after the end of the Cold War. My model of European politics says that after World War I and onwards there are three competing ideologies (Communism, Nationalistic-fascism, Progressivism/Liberalism) which concentrate around states and state alliances and shift ideological alliances after major events. If a power center suffers a significant defeat, its ideology tries to ally itself with another formerly opposed ideology. The victorious power center on the other hand seeks to purify itself from internal fractions, and thus becomes "purer" in a sense.

Initial ideological players: Soviet Union (Communism), Axis (Fascism), USA+UK+France (Progressivism)

World War II ends - Fascism under Germany suffered a devastating defeat, so the leftover nationalists (both as individuals, and as leftover regimes like Franco), allied themselves with the USA against the communists.

New ideological players: Warsaw Pact (Communism), NATO (Progressivism + nationalist fascism)

Cold War ends - Communism suffers a defeat, so the leftover communists (both as individuals, and as leftover regimes) seek an alliance with the remnants of fascism -- fascism accepts because progressivism holds it in contempt, and USA starts reducing interest in Europe to focus on Arab issues instead.

New ideological players: European Union (Progressivism), informal alliance centered on Russia (Nationalist fascism + communism)

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-03-05T15:01:43.409Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just to make sure: In your model, the laissez-faire guys are classified as a part of "Progressivism/Liberalism"? Or are they just statistically too insignificant to be included in any major political force?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-05T15:47:13.049Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I meant Liberalism both in the sense it's used in America and in the sense of the classical laissez-faire liberalism. There are disagreements between social democrats and the libertarianian-minded, but they've not yet gone to war against each other as the other groupings have, and instead allied against both other groups I mentioned.

So even if one considers them different movements, they've been in steady alliance or at least friendly rivalry for the period in European history that I was considering, and I think can be treated as a single movement. I could also probably use the Moldbuggian "Universalist" term to put them together...

comment by ChristianKl · 2013-03-14T21:27:13.803Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In what sense do you see more nationlist facism in NATO then there was before WWII in the USA, UK and France?

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-14T23:16:04.597Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the national level, in Europe alone you had Franco's Spain and Estado Novo's Portugal as founding members of NATO. The Kemalist nationalists of Turkey soon joined it -- and NATO accepted the nature of these regimes (and later the Greek junta of the colonels as well) in a way that the Warsaw Pact didn't accept ideological dissent in its own ranks (as seen by its invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia).

And if you track the allegiance of individuals you can get people like Georgios Papadopoulos who were Nazi collaborators, to becoming allied with USA against the communists in the junta of the colonels in the 1960s-1970s. And Greek people most supportive of that junta, are now the same people that are anti-American, anti-EU and pro-Russia now...

There's no change of ideologies in these people, they're very consistent in their political positions, and their themes: nationalism, racism, militarism, religion -- it's just that the same nationalist-fascist ideology has been supported by different sides: The Axis (primary ideology) at first, NATO (secondarily) later on, Russia now...

comment by taelor · 2013-03-09T17:34:51.729Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

One thing that both Communists/Socialists and Nationalists have in common is that they are both believers in what Peter Drucker calls "Salvation by Society". Obviously, they vehemently disagree about the details of what exactly a savior society would look like, but they both believe in the same basic premise: that it is possible and desirable for humans to be redeemed or purified via political action.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-03-05T17:29:21.163Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

So it would be interesting to have data from other countries, whether the described connection is US-specific, or typical for most countries.

FWIW, “right” does appear to positively correlate with “authoritarian” in this graph. Whether this generalizes to non-Western countries I won't speculate about.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-03-05T20:39:14.603Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would say that in my country communists, nazis, catholics are authoritarian. (OK, these are not their official names, but their official names would not tell you much. For the record, it is: Direction; Slovak National Party; Christian Democratic Movement.) Communists are considered the left, catholics are the right, nazis are outside of this axis (they have their own minor axis: Slovak nationalists versus Hungarian minority).

I would guess that the authoritarian parties are traditional -- they dream about return of the glorious past. But if the country had a complex history in recent century, it has multiple pasts it could return to. The communists think the golden era was 20 years ago, catholics think it was 100 and more years ago, nationalists think it was either 70 or 1000 years ago.

comment by Larks · 2013-03-13T23:52:39.655Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What sort of graph has contemporary UK as being equally authoritarian as Stalin? I am sceptical.

comment by mwengler · 2013-03-06T20:44:22.462Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Everyone should read Slate Star Codex by Yvain.

OK I just spent a day and a half reading Yvain's blog and to a lesser extent things he linked to from there. I can't wait to tackle the non-libertarian FAQ

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-03-08T23:34:40.383Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

...ooh. Something fun to write comprehensive replies to.

...that only took 13 hours of solid writing. Whew.

comment by Randy_M · 2013-03-12T23:02:01.071Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did you post said reply?

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-03-12T23:06:01.395Z · LW(p) · GW(p) <- It's sitting here, although the formatting is kind of horrible (I don't really want to delve into the HTML to fix it). E-mailed the author, have a response from him, and a response from me in turn.

comment by tgb · 2013-03-05T12:50:53.758Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fleep: a short comic with a rationalist vibe. Shigabooks also has the excellent Meanwhile... and the less relevant but still great Bookhunter.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-03-05T16:22:04.608Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I remember reading Fleep, years ago!

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-06T09:31:07.535Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Meanwhile" seems much more easily readable in its iOS form...

comment by [deleted] · 2013-03-24T22:58:25.298Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just a fun game I came across the other day:

From the website: "trAInsported is a game about trains, Artificial Intelligence and lots and lots of passengers. It's the near future, and trains are controlled by AI. It's your job to write the best AI on the market. Manage your trains in short rounds and make sure you transport more passengers than any other company.

As you go through the game, your AI will improve. Once through the tutorial and challenge maps (or anytime you think your AI is ready), you can upload the AI through this site and watch it compete in live online matches against other players' AIs! The server will stage live matches multiple times an hour. AIs will be chosen at random, the less matches the AI has already competed in, the more likely it will be to compete in the next match."

The AI scripting is done in Lua, and there are a limited number of lines of code that can be executed for an AI to keep the frame rate up. The concept is infectious, and you can watch live matches on the trAInsported website.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-03-05T06:12:11.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Finally got to the end of Persona 4 Golden for the PS Vita.

This game is awesome. You should play it.

comment by RomeoStevens · 2013-03-08T20:57:23.490Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Subnormality is one of my favorite comics. A bit verbose, but your patience is well rewarded with surprisingly deep insight. No seriously, I probably get more out of Subnormality than cognitive behavioral therapy.

comment by Nornagest · 2013-03-08T21:46:02.794Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Subnormality always struck me as an odd mashup of fairly insightful psychology and editorial-page political comic. It's difficult for me to get past the latter well enough to benefit from the former.

The sphinx is cool, though.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-03-26T20:55:27.839Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Medaka Box is a fun read. It looks like just Absurdly Powerful Student Council (TVTropes warning) at first, but later plays around with genre and genre-savviness in a way I found really interesting. Spoiler in rot13: Gur znva nagntbavfg va bar nep oryvrirf gung fur vf va n onggyr znatn naq gung gurersber vg'f vzcbffvoyr gb orng gur znva punenpgre, fvapr gur znva punenpgre va n onggyr znatn nyjnlf jvaf. Fb fur nggrzcgf gb jva ol punatvat gur traer gb ebznagvp pbzrql.

comment by ArisKatsaris · 2013-03-04T22:36:41.088Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Online Videos Thread

comment by Matt_Simpson · 2013-03-22T02:56:38.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My advisor, Jarad Niemi, has posted a bunch of lectures on Bayesian statistics to youtube, most of them short and all pretty good IMHO. The lectures are made for Stat 544, a course at Iowa State University. They assume a decent familiarity with probability theory - most students in the course have seen most of chapters 1-5 of Casella and Berger in detail - and some knowlege of R.