[Link] Atlantic Interview with Nick Bostrom - "We're Understimating the Risk of Human Extinction" 2012-03-07T16:25:05.253Z
Chicago Meetup - Sunday March 13 2011-03-07T16:37:02.357Z
2005 short story loosely about P-zombies 2010-11-24T18:12:15.828Z
Chicago Meetup: Sunday, August 1 at 2:00 pm 2010-07-27T15:10:31.611Z
Chicago Meetup 2010-05-20T20:42:25.049Z


Comment by Airedale on Amanda Knox Guilty Again · 2014-01-31T15:33:51.443Z · LW · GW

I have seen a couple articles (e.g., here noting that the prosecution presented a new theory on motive this time around:

Prosecutors in the original trial said Knox and Sollecito, along with a man named Rudy Hermann Guede, had killed Kercher during a drug-fueled sex game in which the British student was an unwilling participant.

. . .

In the Florence retrial, prosecutor Alessandro Crini contended that the motive was rooted in arguments between roommates Knox and Kercher about cleanliness and was triggered by a toilet left unflushed by Guede, the only person now in jail for the murder.

The previously alleged motive had seemed implausible to me, but I can make even less sense of the new one. How did the prosecution argue that Guede and Sollecito had any motive to kill Kercher based on a disagreement about cleanliness between roommates Knox and Kercher? (Although the prosecution did not presumably have to prove anything against Guede, who has already been convicted, I would think they would still need to do something to make sense of his part in the murder.) I have not been able to find any accounts explaining more about exactly how the prosecution argued this new motive.

At any rate, even leaving aside the forensic evidence (or lack thereof), I would think that such a fundamental change in the theory of case would militate in favor of reversal on appeal (i.e., it suggests that the prosecution, rather than basing its theory on the evidence, has instead pursued a strategy of presenting any argument that results in the conviction of Knox and Sollecito), but I don't know enough about the Italian justice system to even know if such considerations are properly part of the appeal.

Comment by Airedale on Problems in Education · 2013-04-09T16:34:34.698Z · LW · GW

That sounds close to a tautology to me.

Yeah, I didn't phrase that very clearly. My thinking was drawing a distinction between (1) what may be the smaller portion of resources that is always up for grabs (and that is perhaps mainly grants) and (2) the larger portion of resources that is not discretionary in the same way because it is awarded by the government without the competitive grant application process. Of course, there may still be opportunities to also influence how that larger portion of resources is distributed, e.g., lobbying or maybe gaming the system to affect the distribution in some way.

Comment by Airedale on Problems in Education · 2013-04-09T05:00:53.019Z · LW · GW

Most of the money/resources schools receive comes in the form of grants.

Could you provide a source for that?

This claim definitely conflicts with my understanding, although perhaps it's true for that portion of resources that is actually up for grabs and not already committed through the normal funding (government) process.

This link is more in line with my understanding, that is, that most resources come from state and local government, and most of those resources are not awarded through "grants," but rather that local resources generally stay with local schools and state resources are divided in other ways but not usually through award of a grant. But I'd be interested in hearing if my (not heavily researched/sourced) understanding is incorrect either generally or at least for some portion of schools.

Some quotes from the link:

States rely primarily on income and sales taxes to fund elementary and secondary education. State legislatures generally determine the level and distribution of funding, following different rules and procedures depending on the state.

State funding for elementary and secondary education is generally distributed by formula. Many states use funding formulas that provide funding based on the number of pupils in a district. Some formulas are weighted based on different factors such as the number of students with disabilities, the number of students living in poverty, or the number of students for whom English is a second language. The allocation for students with different types of needs can vary significantly depending on the funding formula. Additionally, in some states the formula is designed so that higher poverty school districts with less access to local funding receive additional assistance.

Comment by Airedale on Open Thread, November 16–30, 2012 · 2012-11-30T05:34:25.792Z · LW · GW

Meta karma-related question that occurred to me on reading the post on Retributive Downvoting, but which didn't really fit there: One thing that I sometimes do in upvoting/downvoting is to calibrate my vote based on how many up or down votes the comment already has; for example, if a comment is at plus 10, but I think it's only a tiny bit good, I might downvote it; whereas if a comment is at -10, but I think it's only a little bit bad, I may upvote it (whereas if the little bit good comment was at 1-2, I would upvote, and it the little bit bad comment was at 0-1, I would downvote it).

But perhaps that is a wrong approach. Indeed, it would probably be inaccurate with a very new comment, but I am often rather late in reading through comment threads, and would guess that by the time I read through many comments have settled close to their ultimate score. Does anyone else do that, or have a view whether it is a correct or incorrect approach?

Comment by Airedale on Reasons for someone to "ignore" you · 2012-10-08T23:33:23.921Z · LW · GW

This may overlap with some of the other issues listed, but I think it comes from a slightly different place mentally/emotionally: They're purposefully trying to disengage early rather than getting into a fight about who has the "last word" on the subject, e.g., on some level they may want to respond or even to "win" the exchange, but they're purposefully telling themselves to step away from the computer.

Comment by Airedale on Random LW-parodying Statement Generator · 2012-09-13T19:17:50.727Z · LW · GW

I love it!

I wanna be the Society for Rare Diseases in Cute Puppies!.

I'm an aspiring babyeater.

The latest hot fanfic: Aubrey de Grey and the Methods of universal sex.

That which can be destroyed by awesome warm fuzzies should be.

In the new version of Newcomb's problem, you have to choose between a box containing timeless hugging and a box containing fun.

Comment by Airedale on Under-acknowledged Value Differences · 2012-09-13T18:35:58.164Z · LW · GW

For example, when discussing gender-related problems, it seems inevitable that some proposed solutions will generally be better for men, and other solutions will generally be better for women. If people are selfish, then they will each prefer the solution that's individually best for them, even if they can agree on all of the facts. (It's unclear whether people should be selfish, but it seems best to assume that most are, for practical purposes.)

But isn't it possible that in any given bargaining situation there may also be a win-win solution that makes the pie bigger and leaves everybody better off than the status quo? Discussion, debate, and further exchange of information could at least theoretically lead to a previously unrecognized win-win situation being found.

Comment by Airedale on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-13T16:01:22.225Z · LW · GW

** Not that I would expect it to work well; most people wouldn't consider the author a moral authority who's entitled to shame them. Behavior modification is hard.

Not a moral authority for most people who might stumble upon the post, sure, but I would guess that Scalzi is a reasonable facsimile of such of person for the audience of SFF fandom and con attendees at whom the post was more specifically aimed. He's perhaps not a "moral authority" but he is a person of sufficiently high status in that community that his words would carry some weight.

As for tone, it seems pretty typical of Scalzi-style prose, so again, for his main audience of fans, I don't know that tone would be a problem. The follow-up post linked on the page also seems to do a fair job explaining why the post is not just targeted to unrepentant creepers but also applies to people who may quite accidentally veer into that territory without even realizing it, and details how he has had to consciously check himself from doing so on occasion.

Comment by Airedale on [Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings. · 2012-05-13T04:22:55.708Z · LW · GW

For sci fi for about that age, maybe Interstellar Pig, although it does not seem to be available on Kindle. Might be a little scary (scared me when I was about that age). Caveat - haven't read it since I was a kid, so not sure how well it holds up.

Comment by Airedale on [Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings. · 2012-05-12T20:38:36.533Z · LW · GW

Even as an adult, I enjoyed The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart. 4th/5th grade is probably about right. How can you not love a series with a book titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma?

Comment by Airedale on The Social Coprocessor Model · 2012-05-12T13:11:13.850Z · LW · GW

Read in the context of the entire thread, I take this as a non-apology apology, not an expression of remorse or contrition. In the thread, Mallah continued to take the position that the woman “deserved” the spanking, and it appears to me that the apology was made in order to avoid future confrontation/trouble, not remorse. Moreover, Mallah also commented:

It was a mistake. Why? It exposed me to more risk than was worthwhile, and while I might have hoped that (aside from simple punishment) it would teach her the lesson that she ought to follow the Golden Rule, or at least should not pull the same tricks on guys, in retrospect it was unlikely to do so.

Remorse involves some genuine feeling of regret that one's actions had been wrong in some ethical or moral sense, not merely reconsideration because they had been ill-advised in a a practical sense.

Comment by Airedale on Emotional regulation, Part I: a problem summary · 2012-03-06T15:35:40.738Z · LW · GW

I don't know that moving it is necessary at this point, but it's something to keep in mind for the future. It's not like there's a brightline rule, it just struck me as more appropriate for Discussion.

Also, on substance, one possible book to take a look at is The Inner Game of Tennis. Since you have a background in sports, and sports competition seems to be one of the areas where you've had this problem most often, that and/or other sports psychology books might be an interesting way for you to get into the issues. I haven't read it in years, and I'm not sure that it addresses your situation precisely, but I recall it as an interesting and useful read, even if some of it was a little psychobabbly.

edited to add - I also wonder if bringing in some anecdotes from pro/elite athletes who have struggled with emotional issues on the court/field, etc. might be a good way to add interest and also make it somewhat more universal beyond your particular situation.

Comment by Airedale on Emotional regulation, Part I: a problem summary · 2012-03-06T00:54:37.337Z · LW · GW

I would personally prefer to see this in Discussion. Your personal story is interesting (and I recognize some of it in myself), but I don't think the personal background (plus your brief request for recommended literature, plan for Part II, etc.) is a sufficiently fleshed out idea at this point given that you aren't yet at the point of offering any guidance on solving the problem. Of course, Part II's literature review/recommendations may be of more benefit to the community and be a better fit for Main.

Comment by Airedale on Meetup : University of Chicago (Again) · 2012-02-27T22:29:23.497Z · LW · GW

Is 1:46 a typo?

Comment by Airedale on Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics · 2011-11-07T22:30:36.876Z · LW · GW

Isn't is possible that Prismattic's comment could be receiving so many upvotes because other people also find comments of the sort described irritating and are embracing the opportunity to signal that irritation? Like Prismattic, I don't generally downvote comments on this basis alone. But I'm definitely tired of seeing the types of comments described, especially in those instances when, at least to my eyes, the commenters seem to be affecting a certain world-weary sorrow and wisdom while hinting at the profound truths that could be freely discussed but for -alas!- the terrible tyranny of modern social norms. But because the commenters are hiding the exact substance of their own views, there's no basis on which to judge whether these views are, as Prismattic suggests, actually more correct than the mainstream view, or perhaps equally or even more wrong in some different direction.

Comment by Airedale on Meetup : Chicago Meetup At State and Elm, August 27th · 2011-08-25T22:21:40.228Z · LW · GW

Yes, we have somewhat irregularly occurring meetups that are announced here on LW and on our Google Group e-mail list (which can be accessed from Nic's Discussion Group Post link).

Comment by Airedale on Why We Can't Take Expected Value Estimates Literally (Even When They're Unbiased) · 2011-08-21T22:11:13.953Z · LW · GW

Fair enough, but in light of your phrasing in both the original comment ("If I [did the following things]") and your comment immediately following it (quoted below; emphasis added), it certainly appeared to me that you seemed to be describing a significant role for yourself, even though your proposal was general overall.

(Some people, including me, would really like it if a competent and FAI-focused uber-rationalist non-profit existed. I know people who will soon have enough momentum to make this happen. I am significantly more familiar with the specifics of FAI (and of hardcore SingInst-style rationality) than many of those people and almost anyone else in the world, so it'd be necessary that I put a lot of hours into working with those who are higher status than me and better at getting things done but less familiar with technical Friendliness. But I have many other things I could be doing. Hence the question.)

Comment by Airedale on Meetup : Chicago Meetup At State and Elm, August 27th · 2011-08-21T16:33:44.543Z · LW · GW

Steven0461 and I will probably be able to make it. Thanks for taking the initiative!

Comment by Airedale on Why We Can't Take Expected Value Estimates Literally (Even When They're Unbiased) · 2011-08-21T16:22:15.102Z · LW · GW

I have a weird rather mixed reputation among the greater LW community, so if that affects you negatively please pretend that someone with a more solid reputation but without super high karma is asking this question, like Steven Kaas.

Unless you would be much less involved in this potential program than the comment indicates, this seems like an inappropriate request. If people view you negatively due to your posting history, they should absolutely take that information into account in assessing how likely they would be to provide financial support to such a program (assuming that the negative view is based on relevant considerations such as your apparent communication or reasoning skills as demonstrated in your comments).

Comment by Airedale on New Post version 2 (please read this ONLY if your last name beings with l–z) · 2011-07-28T19:18:41.300Z · LW · GW

I agree with you on the skeeviness of the terminology of "scoring" a one night stand; interestingly, version 1 of the post instead states that Luke "had [his] first one-night stand." Although I haven't compared the versions carefully, it therefore seems like version 1 may make more of an attempt to avoid that sort of language.

Comment by Airedale on Meetup : Madison · 2011-07-27T15:26:45.227Z · LW · GW

Steven[0461] and I would like to come up from Chicagoland for a Madison meet-up sometime, but we could only make it on a weekend. We would only be occasional attendees at any rate, but perhaps you could also do a weekend meet-up every once in a while, in addition to whatever weekday you settle on. Also, the date in the title doesn't currently match the date in the text.

Comment by Airedale on Meetup : Chicago Meetup · 2011-07-08T16:19:42.503Z · LW · GW

Sorry for the late notice. Steven and I usually try to give about a week or so notice, but it didn't work out this time. We figured it's better to have one now even with late notice than to wait until the next time our schedules cleared. Also, we have a Google Group where you can sign up to get e-mail notifications rather than relying on catching it on the site. Hopefully you can make it to the next one!

Comment by Airedale on . · 2011-05-27T19:49:04.145Z · LW · GW

I think there are some interesting ideas here, and I agree that analysis of art can (and sometimes should) be done at a high level. But I'm doubtful that The Hangover or even The Hangover 2 is the best example to hang your hat on. I agree with Kevin that the first movie is actually pretty funny. Plus:

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

E.B. White

Maybe that the quote is not completely true (that is, there are situations when analyzing humor may lead to insight or even more humor), but to some extent, I think White is correct that humor is challenging to analyze without taking the joy/humor out of it. I enjoy laughing, including sometimes stomach-hurting laughter at "lowbrow" comedy, and I prefer to keep laughing at what makes me laugh rather than analyzing it.

Comment by Airedale on Madison WI Meetup, Sat Apr 2nd 1PM · 2011-03-23T16:04:48.139Z · LW · GW

Steven0461 and I would like to come up from Chicagoland for a Madison meetup sometime (and weekends are better for that), but we will unfortunately be out of town that weekend. Have fun!

Comment by Airedale on How to Be Happy · 2011-03-17T19:34:36.946Z · LW · GW

It's not a fashion magazine, but I find a lot of the fashion advice in Real Simple to be quite helpful, and some (although not all) of the featured clothes are affordable. The website looks like it has some good resources too.

Comment by Airedale on How to Be Happy · 2011-03-17T18:59:56.679Z · LW · GW

I enjoy (and learn from) What Not to Wear, although it's probably not the most efficient way to learn about clothes, make-up, hair styles, etc. It's often pretty amusing though. Also good is the original BBC version. There appear to be some resources on both of those websites, and a number of related books, but I haven't used/read any of them.

ETA: One of the things the show taught me is that, especially if you're not that experienced with fashion, you often have to try on a lot of clothes to find something flattering. Unfortunately that can be both frustrating and time-consuming; but to some extent knowing some of the "rules" that the show teaches about what's flattering (and the different rules for different body types) can at least help that process go a little more smoothly.

Comment by Airedale on Suicide note of an LW user · 2011-03-16T17:50:01.326Z · LW · GW

The post appears to have been removed. I hope that means that he changed his mind, but have no information either way.

Edited to add:

hopefully this is good news:

Comment by Airedale on College Selection Advice · 2011-03-09T23:12:07.319Z · LW · GW

It's often good advice, other things being equal, to go to the best school you get into. Of course, other things are rarely, if ever, equal. (Where best means most prestigious.)

The Harvard name, particularly internationally, is probably without peer among U.S. institutions. On the other hand, I think it's at least possible that for certain fields, including engineering, that an MIT degree, for example, would be viewed just as positively among those who are most likely to matter in terms of career advancement, etc. But people in engineering could speak better to that than I.

It's also my impression, based on conversations with friends who are alumni of the school, that one of the primary criticisms leveled against Harvard is its lack of focus on the undergraduate school as opposed to the grad and professional schools. One good friend of mine, while very happy to have the Harvard name on his resume, was somewhat disappointed in the academic experience at Harvard because of that. Of the schools I'm most familiar with on your list, Swarthmore, for example, would be the very opposite of Harvard in terms of its attention to the undergrad experience.

I do interviews for my undergrad college, and always advise people, once they've narrowed down their list using whatever criteria they've determined are most important to them, that they won't go wrong by going with their gut in choosing among the remaining contenders. Maybe that doesn't sound like rationalist advice, but again, this is after you've already applied your rational analysis and narrowed your list down to just a handful of schools. (Of course, your analysis may leave you with only one school on your list anyway, in which case, no need to resort to the gut.) At that point, I recommend going with your gut, particularly if your gut feeling is informed by visits during admitted student events, which I highly recommend if you can swing it, and which, while not giving you perfect insight into the school, give you a different way to evaluate than just comparing schools on paper. Talking to current students and alumni is also useful.

Comment by Airedale on The Trouble with Bright Girls [link] · 2011-03-04T17:14:17.721Z · LW · GW

Not the complete story, of course, but here's an interesting recent Slate article suggesting that female professors seems to have a positive effect at the university level:

They measured, for instance, how often each student responded to questions posed by professors to the classroom as a whole. At the start of the semester, 11 percent of the female students attempted to answer questions posed to the entire class when the professor was male, and 7 percent of the female students attempted to answer questions posed to the entire class when the professor was female. By the end of the semester, the number of female students who attempted to answer questions posed by a male professor had not changed significantly: Only 7 percent of the women tried to answer such questions. But when classes were taught by a woman, the percentage of female students who attempted to answer questions by the semester's end rose to 46.

. . .

Finally, when Stout and Dasgupta evaluated how much the students identified with mathematics, they found that women ended up with less confidence in their mathematical abilities when their teachers were men rather than women. This happened even when women outperformed men on actual tests of math performance.

. . .

These experiments suggest that subtle and unconscious factors skew the "free choices" we make. The career choices of men and women are affected far more by discrimination than by any innate differences between men and women. But it is not the kind of discrimination we usually talk about. We ought to assume that male math professors at the University of Massachusetts were just as committed to teaching young women as they were to teaching young men. And those professors were just as talented as their female counterparts. (The professors and students were not told the purpose of the experiment beforehand, so the female professors and female students couldn't have entered into some kind of pact to boost test scores.)

Comment by Airedale on post proposal: Attraction and Seduction for Heterosexual Male Rationalists · 2011-02-06T06:46:16.583Z · LW · GW

I very much agree with siduri's comment, as well as grouchymusicologist's below. I don't know for sure which way the pros and cons of the proposed post go, but I do think it's important to consider not just the possible benefit to the current "average Less Wrong Reader" but also the other effects Siduri and grouchymusicologist identify - as Siduri says, not attracting women to the community/possibly driving women away, and as grouchymusicologist says, communicating the message "that the typical reader of LW is 20-34 and heterosexual and single and male and we prefer it that way." I think those effects are real - I would personally feel that LW was just a tiny bit less welcoming with such a post - even if I don't have a good sense of how to measure them.

I'm torn because I'm sure that lukeprog's post would probably benefit some members of the LW community. I've read enough of the comments about PUA here to recognize that the PUA community is diverse and some of the voices that are most known/infamous outside of the community (e.g., Roissy) are not representative of what a lot of members of the PUA community (and certainly the LW community) study and admire.

I'm also sympathetic that to those PUA members who don't like the Roissy-type approach, it must be frustrating to be lumped in with him. But, at least from what I can tell, that kind of PUA is all a lot of people casually familiar with the subject know, and so the mere mention of PUA evokes negative feelings for a lot of people. So I fear lukeprog's post would evoke those feelings and turn people away from LW, even if it also had the more agreeable effect of providing more balanced information to those who stuck past the original negative reaction to "PUA" and read on.

Anyway, lukeprog, if you're collecting votes, I would have to vote no. At any rate, thank you for asking for input from the community.

Comment by Airedale on Optimal Employment · 2011-02-01T16:02:46.215Z · LW · GW

Q: Won’t working in Australia prevent me from gaining experience in my narrow professional sub-field, thus reducing my total lifetime earning power?

A: This is almost certainly not the case for anyone under 30. Companies pay professionals more based on their abilities and their age as opposed to their actual years of experience. And, they pay more for older professionals than young ones just starting out cause they know these people really do have higher expenses and are less likely to quit. So taking a year off in your 20s to work abroad is only exchanging a year in which you would have earned the lowest salary you’ll ever have during your career for a year of higher earning power in Australia. You can always come back to your career in a year and pick up where you left off. Besides; who follows a straight-up-the-ladder career path anymore? Almost nobody.

Although I think that in the case of taking off only a year these sorts of concerns are probably pretty minimal, this doesn’t seem like an accurate view of the hiring process as I know it. First, many (although not all) companies have no methodology in place for evaluating abilities other than through experience. Indeed, many job ads include experience as a requirement. And the more a company uses HR to evaluate candidates, the more they will use experience as a proxy for ability. Second, although I agree that companies will generally pay older professionals more than younger ones, because of that very reason, many companies will prefer to hire younger cheaper workers, even if they realize this may risk greater turnover because the workers may be less loyal.

As I said, in the case of taking off only a year, I don’t think these concerns are going to have much effect. But even in the case of taking off a year right after college, for example, to the extent that one’s school has on-campus recruiting, applying for jobs will turn out to be a much more difficult and time-consuming endeavor, and some companies will reserve some entry-level jobs exclusively for on-campus recruiting.

The other caveat I have is that in a difficult economic climate, even a slight blemish (or something that can be characterized as a blemish) on one’s résumé may negatively affect one’s job search. With a surplus of qualified applicants, companies will often be looking for reasons not to interview someone, and HR professionals will not always be fair or accurate in finding these reasons. For example, some HR professionals may look at taking a year off to work in the hospitality industry as evidence that the candidate lacks seriousness of purpose or passion for the company’s industry. Now it’s true that others may look at it as adding interesting life experience, of course, but even there, there are probably candidates who took a year off in a way that HR companies view as more meritorious (even though they are less lucrative for the candidate), such as working with the Peace Corps or teaching English in a foreign country.

Comment by Airedale on Hugo Awards - HP:MoR · 2011-01-22T16:00:03.343Z · LW · GW

Fair point, but that's no guarantee that something as high profile as a Hugo award nomination wouldn't raise flags with the legal team.

Edited to add: Having seen the cost and disruption of litigation from the lawyer's side, I may be more cautious than typical on such matters. But as the article states, JKR still holds the copyright, and even if statements like that in the paper could be used to argue for a safe harbor, I don't think that's a slam dunk response that would automatically get one out of the lawsuit with a minimal expenditure in time and money. Plus ,something like being nominated for a Hugo for Best Novel may still be non-commercial activity (there's no monetary prize), but it's getting closer to the line. [This is still not legal advice.]

Comment by Airedale on Hugo Awards - HP:MoR · 2011-01-22T15:22:59.961Z · LW · GW

I am not an IP lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but isn’t there a risk that successfully placing HPMOR on the Hugo ballot for best novel could attract legal attention from JK Rowling and Co? They previously sued the HP Lexicon when it achieved a higher profile (although that situation included the factor of professional publication and compensation, which is not present here), so they’ve already shown that they’re not adverse to lawsuits in the right instance.

Comment by Airedale on Meetup organizing query & a rally for Minnesotans · 2011-01-09T14:58:39.976Z · LW · GW

Lastly, if this is something that could/should be a top level post either for assisting me in finding Minnesotans, or giving others ideas for organizing since it will receive more publicity, let me know. I've only posted twice and don't have a good sense for what warrants posting at the top level.

I think posting in the discussion section is probably a good first step to see if there is some interest (and to mention Group-o-matic), although any responses would likely understate interest since the front page gets more views than discussion, and some readers probably rarely if ever check discussion. That being said, once you've decided to actually have a meetup on a specific date, I would post that on the main page to maximize the chances interested people would see it. I would expect that you would get sufficient interest for a meetup in the Twin Cities.

Comment by Airedale on Is there a guide somewhere for how to setup a Less Wrong Meetup? · 2010-12-28T15:27:22.160Z · LW · GW

Our Chicago meetup group also has a google group for announcing meetups, discussing venues, etc. That way, some people who may be interested in Chicago meetups but who may forget to check LW (or not check at the right time) can also receive notice.

Comment by Airedale on Testing the effectiveness of an effort to help · 2010-12-12T17:57:25.559Z · LW · GW

This seems like an interesting article, but I'm having a little trouble parsing the post. Was there supposed to be another sentence/paragraph before the one starting "Now, NYC City . . ." that talks about where else this methodology is used? Maybe the first sentence of the article?

Comment by Airedale on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T17:30:03.879Z · LW · GW

Given a quote like this, I think the best/most obvious interpretation is to read the quote in its famous historical and political context. Divorced from that context and read literally, it is obviously false. To the extent people are parroting those words to invoke a literal interpretation, that is obviously wrong. That being said, I think that in most cases where the term is used with even the slightest thought and consideration, it is steeped in at least a bit of the political flavor of the original and is used as a statement about how people interact with each other, government, and/or society.

Comment by Airedale on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T17:11:31.699Z · LW · GW

I don't think people are generally using the phrase to mean that for the very reasons that it is so obviously and trivially false if used in that way. The phrase is part of a very famous historical document, and I think the most natural reading is in that original context.

Comment by Airedale on Best career models for doing research? · 2010-12-11T17:06:51.062Z · LW · GW

I believe the numbers are actually higher than $200,000. SIAI's 2008 budget was about $500,000. 2006 was about $400,000 and 2007 was about $300,000 (as listed further in the linked thread). I haven't researched to see if gross revenue numbers or revenue from donations are available. Curiously, Guidestar does not seem to have 2009 numbers for SIAI, or at least I couldn't find those numbers; I just e-mailed a couple people at SIAI asking about that.

That being said, even $500,000, while not trivial, seems to me a pretty small budget.

Comment by Airedale on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T16:32:51.373Z · LW · GW

I don’t understand the problem with “all men are created equal.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .

Leaving aside the Creator/God implications of the original, this boils down to a claim about certain “rights” that all people should have and how the government should treat people, i.e., by leaving them free to pursue the same rights. Obviously the idea was implemented very imperfectly at the beginning, and continues to be implemented imperfectly today, but the idea itself – that all people have a right to live, to be free, and to own property, and that the government should set up a society in which those rights are protected and should not play favorites – doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

edited to add: I see that you're a relatively new poster. Welcome to LessWrong!

Comment by Airedale on Best career models for doing research? · 2010-12-09T18:49:59.950Z · LW · GW

The essential problem is that with the (spectacular) deletion of the Forbidden Post, LessWrong turned into the sort of place where posts get disappeared. Those are not good places to be on the Internet. They are places where honesty is devalued and statements of fact must be reviewed for their political nature.

I’ve seen several variations of this expressed about this topic, and it’s interesting to me, because this sort of view is somewhat foreign to me. I wouldn’t say I’m pro-censorship, but as an attorney trained in U.S. law, I think I’ve very much internalized the idea that the most serious sorts of censorship actions are those taken by the government (i.e., this is what the First Amendment free speech right is about, and that makes sense because of the power of the government), and that there are various levels of seriousness/danger beyond that, with say, big corporate censorship also being somewhat serious because of corporate power, and censorship by the owner of a single blog (even a community one) not being very serious at all, because a blogowner is not very powerful compared to the government or a major corporation, and shutting down one outlet of communication on the Internet is comparatively not a big deal because it’s a big internet where there are lots of other places to express one’s views. If a siteowner exercises his or her right to delete something on a website, it's just not the sort of harm that I weigh very heavily.

What I’m totally unsure of is where the average LW reader falls on the scale between you and me, and therefore, despite the talk about the Roko incident being such a public relations disaster and a “spectacular” deletion, I just don’t know how true that is and I’m curious what the answer would be. People who feel like me may just not feel the need to weigh in on the controversy, whereas people who are very strongly anti-censorship in this particular context do.

Comment by Airedale on How to Save the World · 2010-12-02T23:24:53.164Z · LW · GW

I think you and Louie may be talking about two different kinds of matching donations. The GiveWell post is about an employer matching donations only to a specific charity. Some employers will hold this sort of pledge drive, particularly in the wake of an especially harmful natural disaster.

However, many employers will match donations, up to a certain level, to any qualified (e.g., 501(c)(3)) charity; I believe one can find such employers by searching the database linked by Louie.

Comment by Airedale on Chicago Meetup 11/14 · 2010-11-11T20:56:52.662Z · LW · GW

We chose the Loop area for this meet-up because we hoped that residents from both Hyde Park and the North Side (as well as elsewhere) could meet kinda in the middle. If it turns out that no one from Hyde Park is coming, perhaps we could move it a bit further north. Steven and I are coming by train into Union Station, as is, I believe, multifoliaterose, so the Loop is pretty convenient for us. But if the consensus is that further north is more convenient, we are happy to move it. Do any other attendees want to chime in?

Comment by Airedale on (Virtual) Employment Open Thread · 2010-09-23T16:33:57.567Z · LW · GW

Very interesting, and potentially helpful, comment; upvoted.

But it still made me laugh to read this in a bulletpoint about any sort of writing:

Copywriters who can show previous writing that proofs they can do it (I did this).

(emphasis added)

Comment by Airedale on More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA · 2010-09-13T15:29:53.419Z · LW · GW

A not insignificant number of men here are terrified of contributing on this subject, due to their previous discussions. It reached the stage where people making a point that touched on human mating patterns apologised, asked for permission and generally supplicated and grovelled in an attempt to avoid reprisal. It nauseated me.

(emphasis added)

I’m curious what sorts of comments you have in mind here, although I understand if you don’t want to single anyone out specifically. This pattern is not something I have noticed, although it could be that we have just reacted to the same comments/commenters in different ways. For example, I have found HughRistik’s consistently measured tone in discussing mating patterns very refreshing. It’s my impression that his comments are generally well-received not only because of their intelligent content, but also because of their thoughtfulness and tact. Nor do I have the sense that HughRistik, in making the choice to use this sort of tone, has had to obfuscate his meaning or avoid making any points that he would like to make. But it could be that you have different sorts of comments in mind.

Comment by Airedale on Less Wrong: Open Thread, September 2010 · 2010-09-03T16:53:34.268Z · LW · GW

I meant that the religious connotations might not be a reason to use the term if Will is trying to come up with the most accurate term for what he’s describing. To the extent the term is tied up in Christianity, it may not convey meaning in the way Will wants – although the more Will explains how he is using the term, the less problematic this would be. And I agree that what you say suggests an interesting way that Will can appropriate a religious term and make some interesting compare-and-contrast type points.

Comment by Airedale on Less Wrong: Open Thread, September 2010 · 2010-09-03T15:08:20.197Z · LW · GW

The words righteous indignation in combination are sufficiently well-recognized as to have their own wikipedia page. The page also says that righteous indignation has overtones of religiosity, which seems like a reason not to use it in your sense . It also says that it is akin to a "sense of injustice," but at least for me, that phrase doesn't have as much resonance.

Edited to add this possibly relevant/interesting link I came across, where David Brin describes self-righteous indignation as addictive.

Comment by Airedale on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-02T18:17:31.969Z · LW · GW

How would people characterize A Wrinkle in Time? It’s been ages since I’ve read it, but it’s another indisputably (?) classic children’s book. IT and a lot of the good/evil shadow imagery seem somewhat morally simplistic in my memory, but I seem to recall other moral complexity, e.g., with the Mrs. Ws.

I’m also having trouble characterizing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in terms of moral complexity, but it also doesn't fit in with the other examples in that it lacks a high-stakes struggle. Alice in Wonderland is the other major children's classic fantasy I can think of, but I can't recall what, if any, type of morality it presented.

Comment by Airedale on Less Wrong: Open Thread, September 2010 · 2010-09-01T16:35:21.685Z · LW · GW

I think such discussion wouldn't necessarily warrant its own top-level post, but I think it would fit well in a new Meta thread. I have been meaning to post such a thread for a while, since there are also a couple of meta topics I would like to discuss, but I haven't gotten around to it.

Comment by Airedale on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-08-31T22:20:12.912Z · LW · GW

Good point. Wicked also is an imperfect example because it was written for adults, unlike the examples in the grandparent.

I wonder if there's something different about the way (most) authors write books for children and (some) authors write books for adults - HP, Narnia, Star Wars, and Oz all had young audiences in mind. Most of the more morally complex movies mentioned in the grandparent were for adults. Do any of Stephen King's bestsellers have moral complexity?

I also wonder if those writing and creating works for children (if they do gravitate towards moral simplicity) have the correct understanding of what their audience wants? Of course, HP and Star Wars certainly broke out well beyond children, so maybe a lot of adults want moral simplicity too.