Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-10T15:26:23.249Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Head is an achin' and knees are abraded
Plates in my neck and stitches updated
Toes are a cracking and Tendons inflamed
These are a few of my favorite pains

But yes, the author of those books is mostly correct, there's some kinds of pain that serve as a useful warning function. Those are good and we should be grateful.

Others are artifacts of historical stupidity. I've learned those lessons and reminding me of them is useless.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-07T05:15:34.591Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Interestingly enough there is some evidence--or at least assertions by people who've studied this sort of thing--that doing this sort of problem solving ahead of time tends to reduce the paralysis.

When you get on a plane, go into a restaurant, when you're wandering down the street or when you go someplace new think about a few common emergencies and just think about how you might respond to them.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-07T05:11:26.810Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Pain is good, it tells you you're still alive.

All in all though, I'd rather have the alive w/out the pain. At least as far as I know.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2013 · 2013-04-23T01:16:01.085Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, saw it earlier today and couldn't resist.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2013 · 2013-04-23T01:10:25.291Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dunno mate, I could name a few US Presidents and non-US leaders.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-04T05:17:23.728Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

There are a whole class of ideas that one can pretty much reject out of hand because of their association with "nearby" ideas, such that "examine" means "reduce to previously solved equation".

Give an idea "Steven" that, once examined proves to be hooey, someone can come along and say "This is Fred. It is just like Steven, except that we skip the reformulation step".

If "Steven" is based on pure hooey then "Fred" has a significant likelihood of being complete hooey as well.

As a rough example, we are very, very sure that ptolemaic system is pretty much hooey. Very, very clever hooey, but still hooey. However in today's world' if some comes to us with the idea of a heliocentric system, well, it's better* than the ptolemaic system but still hooey.

The wise man values his time and triages new ideas such that he has the time and energy to work on those that do not have the quality of "pure hooey".

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-02T05:05:06.917Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is entirely possible that I might be confused.

I read "Life" to be a reference to a game played while immersed in, and as an escape from Real Life(tm), and this confusion comes from the term "microtransation", which is rather hard-linked in my skull to "micropayments", aka "the millicent ghetto"

In the version of Real Life I am playing microtransations don't get you out of much of anything worth getting into in the first place.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-02T04:46:47.980Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It just makes the game more realistic. After all, IRL you can almost always pay your way out of a situation if you have the coin and the connections.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-02T04:45:45.125Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What good does getting mad do? What does it accomplish?

Asks the guy who routinely gets mad at a video game that was made for WIndows 95.

Comment by billyoblivion on Philosophical Landmines · 2013-03-02T04:25:19.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


It's an honest assessment of the state of the world.

I'm not agreeing with that position, I'm just saying that there are folks who would prefer an efficient program that yielded the wrong results if it benefited them, and would engage in all manner of philosophicalish circumlocutions to justify it to themselves.

Comment by billyoblivion on Philosophical Landmines · 2013-02-24T21:47:31.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That very much depends on who benefits from those wrong results.

Comment by billyoblivion on Philosophical Landmines · 2013-02-24T21:40:49.960Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not always from some ancient war.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-24T21:17:55.597Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That's so...typewriter.


Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T05:32:21.854Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't consider it, I assume it.

But "dumb" and "ignorant" are not points on a line, they are relative positions.

To quote this bloke at a climbing gym I used to frequent "We all suck at our own level".

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T05:17:25.525Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Mickey Mouse is dead Got kicked in the head Cause people got too serious They planned out what they said They couldn't take the fantasy They tried to accept reality Analyzed the laughs Cause pleasure comes in halves The purity of comedy They had to take it seriously Changed the words around Tried to make it look profound ...

--Sub Hum Ans, "Mickey Mouse is Dead"

Comment by billyoblivion on A brief history of ethically concerned scientists · 2013-02-20T07:04:08.607Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is ruthlessness necessarily unethical in a military leader?

Sometimes compassion is a sharp sword.

Comment by billyoblivion on Morality is Awesome · 2013-01-28T17:42:14.430Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sigquoting that if you don't mind.

Not that that means anything anymore, but I'm old school that way.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes August 2012 · 2012-08-09T10:45:44.063Z · score: -5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Lossless compression is simply overlaying redundant patterns.

For example you could easily compress 1000 straight male brains by overlaying all the bits concerned with breasts, motorcycles and guns. Well, breasts anyway, some males don't like motorcycles.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes August 2012 · 2012-08-09T10:19:47.640Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think that both you and Mr. Franklin are correct.

To wreak great changes one must stay focused and work diligently on one's goal. One needn't eliminate all pleasures from life, but I think you'll find that very, very few people can have a serious hobby and a world changing vocation.

Most of us of "tolerable" abilities cannot maintain the kind of focus and purity of dedication required. That is why the world changes as little as it does. If everyone, as an example who was to the right of center on the IQ curve could make great changes etc., then "great" would be redefined upwards (if most people could run a 10 second 100 meter, Mr. Bolt would only be a little special).

Further more...Oooohh...shiny....

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-28T10:33:08.838Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you're a football (American, not Eurasian) coach you're routinely going to frame your aphorisms in terms of battles, or "fights" as you put it.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-28T10:25:26.335Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Those two sets aren't always disjoint.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-28T07:48:16.181Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What exactly was the war on heresy?

You mean then, or now?

Remember what happened to Larry Summers at Harvard when he merely asked the question?

Does the phrase "Denier" cause any mental associations that weren't there in the late 90s?

At least Copernicus was allowed to recant and live his declining years in (relative) peace.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-28T07:32:59.529Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or that both of them (to reference a previous Rationality Quotes entry on arguments) are wrong.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes May 2012 · 2012-05-28T07:31:51.453Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

OTOH it could be that the "you" in the above knows little to nothing about computer simulation.

For example a moderately competent evolutionary virologist might have theory about how viruses spread genes across species, but have only a passing knowledge of LaTeX and absolutely no idea how to use bio-sim software.

Or worse, CAN explain, but their explanation demonstrates that lack of knowledge.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-21T00:26:53.736Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I apologize. I was being lazy and assumed that since it was used multiple times above that folks following the conversation would get it from context. I didn't realize that this conversation would so disquiet some people that they would get hung up on that, rather than addressing what many people think is a moderately serious problem, if not for society, then for the students who are basically being set up to fail.

But by all means let's first have this silly little pissing match about not being able to track abbreviations through a conversation. It's far more important.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-21T00:20:21.952Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

All I argued was that if their thesis is correct, then unless you've had some very odd experiences, no one can give you an example because everyone you meet is similarly bounded.

That is the limit of what my statement was intended to convey.

I don't know enough neurology, psychology and etc. to have a valid opinion, but I will note that we see at most 3 colors. We perceive many more. But any time we want to perceive, for example, the AM radio band we map it into a spectrum our eyes can handle, and as near as I can tell we "think" about it in the colors we perceive.

It is my understanding that there is some work in this area where certain parts of hte brain handle certain types of work. Folks with certain types of injuries or anomalous structures are unable to process certain types of input, and unable to do certain kinds of work. This seems to indicate that while our brain, as currently constructed, is a fairly decent tool for working out the problems we have in front of us, there is some evidence that it is not a general purpose thinking machine.

(in one of those synchronicity thingies my 5 year old just came up to me and showed me a picture of sound waves coming into an ear and molecules "traveling" into your nose).

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-17T12:39:54.529Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Follow the link, he explains it there.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-17T12:22:57.766Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So if Majus's post (on Pinker) is correct, and the underling processing engine(s) (aka "the brain") determine the boundaries of what you can think about, then it is almost tautological that no one can give you an example since to date almost all folks have a very similar underlying architecture.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-17T12:09:15.459Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've spent a lot of time on the conservative side (between the guns, being in the Military and working in/around the Defense Industry, and in general being a tradition oriented more-or-less libertarian) and many of them aren't any different.

"Gay Marriage will ruin the institution" "Uh. How many times have you been divorced?" "COMMUNIST!" (no, not literally, but YKWIM)

Heck, even the Implicit Association Test assumes that if you're "liberal" on Gun Control (whatever that means) you're also Liberal on Gay Marriage and Abortion. Anyone wanna make some assumptions on the Implicit Associations of the writers of that test?

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-17T11:52:31.682Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

One of the criticisms of colleges engaging in "AA" type policies is that they often will put someone in a slightly higher level school (say Berkeley rather than Davis) than they really should be in and which because of their background they are unprepared for. Not necessarily intellectually--they could be very bright, but in terms of things like study skills and the like.

There is sufficient data to suggest this should be looked at more thoroughly. In general it is better for someone to graduate from a "lesser" school than to drop out of a better one.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-17T11:32:29.547Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So if a minority takes the Implicitly Association Test and finds out their biased against the dominant "race" in their area, are they a Racist1, or not?

I would also really question the validity of the Implicit Association Test. It says "Your data suggest a slight implicit preference for White People compared to Black People.", which given that blacks have been severely under-represented my social sub-culture for the last 27 years(Punk/Goth), the school I graduated from (Art School), and my professional environments (IT) for the last 20 years is probably not inaccurate.

However, it also says "Your data suggest a slight implicit preference for Herman Cain compared to Barack Obama." Which is nonsense. I have a STRONG preference for Herman Cain over Barack Obama.

Comment by billyoblivion on Server Sky: lots of very thin computer satellites · 2012-04-16T12:39:35.278Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The biggest is solar flares and coronal ejections. Not your normal day to day solar winds and stuff, but honking great gouts of energy and/or coronal mass that are flung out.

Another is comms. How many people would use each server? Really? What's the bandwidth divided by users? From the ground going up you either need a well aimed dish or a honking lot of power (or a shitload of antenna topside)

Third is Putting lots of these up isn't a wonderful idea as they will obsolete quickly and need to be replaced. You then have the choice to de-orbit them (wasteful) or leave them up there (danger to navigation).

Fourth, fifth and sixth are security, security and security. How do you apply a security patch to something Up There. Yes, it can be done, but what happens if you Brick It. Back to more engineering and more redundancy and etc. Up goes the cost, up goes the size, down goes the payback. How do you prevent eavesdropping on your communications with it? And with it's communication with you? Encryption? that's either more CPU cost, or more payload to use special processors. How do you protect it from deliberate interference from various organisations that wish to compromise it. etc. etc.

While the lure of "free" energy (or more accurately low cost, reliable energy) is compelling, there's a LOT of ways to get many of those benefits terrestrially. The notion of something like this "reducing poverty" is silly. While there is a lot that processing power can do to reduce poverty, access to raw computing resources ISN'T one of them. You'd be better off deploying something like wifi to GSM connections and building effective mesh network protocols. A for various kinds of research there's plenty of unused power here on this planet. See this: If you really want to solve a useful problem in this area turning that "rejected energy" into CPU cycles. You've got about 26 Quads of waisted energy JUST from electrical distribution.

That's a metric buttload of entropy that could be put to work solving problems if we could figure out how to get to it. CPU cycles that are close, easily upgradeable, easily defendable, easily recoverable when they die or get obsolesced.

(I have this pet notion that landfills are GOOD places to put stuff we can't use right now, because some day some smart bloke is going to figure out how to use nanotech of some kind to (diamond age style) sort the component bits right out and we'll KNOW where all the high density sources are because we'll have been dumping our old crud in there for a hundred years. Now if we can just keep the crap out of our ground water....)

Overall it can be done, and if you want to deliver compute resources to station owners or Aboriginal Communities in the outback, or nomadic tribes in the desert regions of the world it might be cost effective. But those folks would need a local computer and network to access it, so why not just give them a slightly beefier lapdog and use some sort of distributed compute engine?

I have a tendancy to agree with Mr. Gerard and Mr. Cunningham on this though--while it's an interesting technical exercise and I (clearly) don't mind talking about it, it's not the sort of thing I come here for.

Comment by billyoblivion on The 5-Second Level · 2012-04-16T12:01:48.419Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I was attempting to be clever, cynical and hip. This apparently impeded effective communication.

Let me rephrase it so that it is more difficult to misunderstand:

All financial advice should be received with reservation and taken with caution.


Comment by billyoblivion on Blue or Green on Regulation? · 2012-03-21T08:21:37.913Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Total absence of regulation would result in a drug industry that is only concerned with soundbites, drug colouring, and trademarks. Through most of our history, the medicine worked just like this.

Some would say it still does.

There is a third alternative though. You are, of course, familiar with Underwriters Laboratories?

Oh, I see that Wedrifid has started down that road.

And ultimately the question isn't whether people SHOULD be protected from themselves. The question is, in anything vaguely resembling a modern, pluralistic democratic society CAN people be protected from themselves.

See the Heinlein quote about bread and circuses. A Tai-Chi instructor of mine years ago instructed that the ground is hard because it loves you. It wants you to learn not to fall down so as to learn balance and how to walk and run and move well. I'm not sure that's really a rational way of looking at things, but there is some utility there.

Comment by billyoblivion on Get Curious · 2012-03-10T12:36:45.864Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bah. It looks like an eariler, much more detailed and funnier reply got eaten by something.

But to answer, no, I don't think specifically and narrowly his butter eating lead to his rather large size, but rather his eating of almost everything that would taste good, and in quantities that were sometimes moderately impressive.

Given how much he ate and smoked, and how little he moved it's a wonder he wasn't twice as big and that he lived as long as he did.

Comment by billyoblivion on Get Curious · 2012-03-07T08:10:34.377Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My father was in the Korean war, on the peninsula.

He did not have access to butter or milk for something like 9 months.

When he got R & R to Tokyo he ate a pound of butter with a knife and fork.

I should note that while I don't know how fast he could do math in his head he could count/remember cards like nobody's business. Also he died of a massive coronary at 64 weighing close to 290 pounds.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-06T23:44:11.572Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I was reading at the same time and my natural smart ass went for a walk. There's probably a creme for that somewhere.

Comment by billyoblivion on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-06T08:50:15.846Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Do the same with a Chiropractor and let me know if you get different results.

Comment by billyoblivion on [Infographic] A reminder as to how far the rationality waterline can climb (at least, for the US). · 2011-12-10T04:59:45.662Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If I ask you what time it is in Katmandu you'd have to know three things:

1) Where you were in terms of timezone offset from UTC. 2) Where Katmandu was in terms of timezone offset from UTC. 3) What time it was in either UTC or "here".

Well, alternatively you could happen to have the second timezone on your watch set for Katmandu, which would imply those.

If you did not have those you would say "I have no idea" or ask for information about Katmandu or you'd sit down and think about where Katmandu was and work a timezone offset from that to get a rough idea. Because you think about problems and want to be correct because correctness is useful.

If you asked a random middle of the curve type who didn't like saying "I don't know", they would (and you see this all the time on "man on the street" interviews) make shit up. There are many people in this world who do not care about correctness for the sake of understanding the world, they care about correctness for signaling purposes. They would rather be thought smart than actually be smart as sometimes if you're smart you know things that everyone else things aren't true (see the history of "bacteria causes ulcers" for example).

So no, you do NOT have to know what those words mean to answer the question. You have to know what they mean to understand the question and to answer it correctly.

"Even a blind pig finds a truffle once and a while".

Edited to add:

As to learning it in elementary school--for most of the people in this country that was a LONG time ago and those lessons just weren't relevant to their lives, so they forgot them.

Comment by billyoblivion on [Infographic] A reminder as to how far the rationality waterline can climb (at least, for the US). · 2011-12-10T04:49:30.679Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW



The Scopes monkey trail.

Comment by billyoblivion on [Infographic] A reminder as to how far the rationality waterline can climb (at least, for the US). · 2011-11-26T11:35:22.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know what is more interesting, the actual paper, or the spin that the referenced graphic puts on it.

From the paper: / Last year, a cross-national comparison of the acceptance of biological evolution by adults in 34 countries found that Americans ranked 33rd in their acceptance of evolution, followed only by Turkey (Miller, Scott & Okamoto, 2006). Can there be any doubt that Americans are among the least scientifically literate adults in any modern industrial nation? /


/* Turning to the principal focus of this analysis, twice as many American adults qualify as scientifically literate as do adults in the European Union (see Figure 2). Using a common metric, 28% of American adults and 14% of European Union adults scored 70 or higher on the Index of Civic Scientific Literacy and may be termed scientifically literate. This result is consistent with earlier analyses of the European Union (then 15 members), Canada, Japan, and the U.S. in the early 1990’s (Miller, Pardo & Niwa, 1997). Japan ranked last among the four national groups compared in the earlier analysis1.

Viewed in terms of individual countries, American adults rank second to only Sweden among the 34 countries from which current data area available, using the same metric and the same cutting point. In 2005, approximately 35% of Swedish adults qualified as civic scientifically literate, significantly higher than the 28% of American adults who qualified as scientifically literate (see Figure 2). On the same metric, 24% of Dutch adults and 22% of adults in Norway, Finland, and Denmark were classified as civic scientific literate. In any ranking of this kind, differences of two or three percentage points do not reflect statistically significant differences. */

So it's just long term fallout from the Snopes thing.

I also disagree with one of the opening statements. / One of the few issues that the leaders of the European Union and the United States agree on without reservation is that scientific literacy is a good thing and that having more of it would benefit our respective societies. /

I think they say this in public, but either they're lying through their teeth, or they're idiots. Stupidity is more likely than malice in most cases, but I think that having a scientifically literate and numerate (especially stats) society is MUCH harder to rule.

Edited to add: The funny thing is that I seem to have a better grasp on "science" and scientific issues across a broad range than most of the engineers I currently work with (they smoke the shit out of me in their field(s), don't get me wrong), and the last science class I had was in...1983? High school physics. My degree is in Fine Arts, so I didn't even have to take a real math class.

Which is to say this isn't about teaching science. It's about inculcating the desire for the ability to understand the world around us. You do that, and give someone basic math and they'll be fine.

Those who work in the sciences might need more, but wouldn't it be nice if the reporter covering the sciences understood what 20,181 TeraWatt hours really meant? Or why this was funny:

Comment by billyoblivion on [Infographic] A reminder as to how far the rationality waterline can climb (at least, for the US). · 2011-11-26T11:15:29.408Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You don't have to have a working definition of a "gene" to answer that question, you have to have the ability to pick an answer out of a lineup. This is called "standardized testing" and is what a lot of western countries base their educational system on.

They aren't writing a paper where they have to explain it, they're responding to a question, so it's very easy for someone who has no knowledge, experience or understanding of science or biology to intuitively assume that "genetically modified tomato" means "tomato modified WITH genes" as opposed to tomato with MODIFIED genes. For someone whose best career option is working a broom, or filing forms at the sheriffs office, genes are a very closed and uninteresting book, but they are also humans, humans who don't like to say "I don't know what that is".

Comment by billyoblivion on Atheism & the autism spectrum · 2011-09-21T13:20:18.894Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There was no evidence of black swans, until there was.

To many people there is evidence of God, it's just that to others that evidence is (via Occam's razor or other tools) evidence of the vastness of the universe, evolutionary adaptions, the big bang, spontaneous remission etc.

I don't have the tools to evaluate many of their arguments, and at my age i'm fairly certain (not due to age, but due to my track record where advanced math and such is concerned as well as other interests and commitments) that will not be able to acquire the skills and knowledge to evaluate them.

In many of my social and professional activities I have to rub elbows with folks who are of varying degrees of religious, and it makes my life more interesting if I can listen to them with the possibility, however faint that they are right.

Why does this bother you so?

Comment by billyoblivion on Fix My Head · 2011-09-20T11:54:05.076Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, the definition of Pescetarian I read said "fish but no meat". Since fowl is neither fish, nor "meat" in some circles, and you ate eggs, I thought the full grown chicken/turkey was ok.

How long did you take the magnesium? Week, two weeks? Sometimes this stuff takes days or weeks to 'load up'. My wife started taking B for some memory issues (she was tested low in B something or other) and it took a couple weeks for me to notice an improvement. She never noticed it, but that's because she was the one forgetting.

Comment by billyoblivion on Atheism & the autism spectrum · 2011-09-20T11:49:56.911Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A denial of knowledge is agnosticism. It's what the word means, and it is mostly in the context of your beliefs, not others.

One can completely disavow the possible existence of the god of every religion on earth and still not be an atheist because he has developed some personal, internal theology.

I've never heard, nor heard of a theology that is plausible, but this does not mean that in the whole of the universe there isn't one. As I was trying to jokingly indicate, a mechanistic clockwork or quantum/clockwork universe with predictable rules does not inherently rule out the possibility of a creator god. Occams razor simply indicates that one must not "multiply entities unnecessarily", and it's corollary "the simplest explanation is usually the most accurate" is a heuristic, not an ironclad law.

Yeah, there probably isn't a god, but since in my life, for the problems I am interested in, God? no God? no difference. As there is no difference to the problems I'm interested in I stopped worrying much about it, and have no ego in either outcome so I can listen and discuss things with representatives from either side without having the whole "you're full of shit" thing get in the way.

Between being raised in a college town, and spending over 15 years in the computer industry, as well as hanging out with a sub-culture within a sub-culture that consisted mostly of people who were if not smarter, at least had better educational pedigrees than I, I've spent a LOT of time around really smart people. Many of whom were atheists, and many of whom were not. To be able to speak to either group, to ask questions from the perspective of one who seeks knowledge, and who doesn't have to (internally) fight that information in order to understand it and to integrate it.

As an example, I have very good friend of mine in the south bay area who is a fundamentalist christian. He is a very bright man with multiple patents in a variety of disciplines under his belt, and one who understands his faith, has read deeply about it, questioned it and not found it wanting (much). We were talking about the paradox of humans having free will, but God still knowing How It Will All Turn Out. This, to one how must have all answers Does Not Make Sense. Hence paradox. He admits it is a paradox, but (to him) this is the mystery of God, and something one must accept in faith.

No, not a satisfying answer for me, but by accepting that I cannot understand the mind of God, should he exist, and by accepting that what I...let's say "suspect"...may be wrong, I can listen to him and get more out of the conversation than if I just dump his answer into the bucket marked "fucking bullshit".

How you wish to deal with these sorts of questions is your life, but I have approached the world with arrogance and a belief that I was in the Right, and I have (tried to anway) approached with world with a bit of humility (even if it's manufactured for the purpose) to try to understand the other side. One gets you a LOT more information about what and how people think than the other. And frankly the problems and questions I find most interesting these days are more about people than not.

Comment by billyoblivion on Atheism & the autism spectrum · 2011-09-19T13:21:42.884Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think I haven't?

Comment by billyoblivion on Fix My Head · 2011-09-19T13:20:11.332Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Information on exercise and headaches/migraines:



Comment by billyoblivion on Fix My Head · 2011-09-19T13:15:35.883Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So up your intake of fatty fish ( and chicken (chicken is cheap) and (mother)try to get more fresh vegetables.(/mother).

I'm just looking at what you're reporting and seeing a trend of someone who eats worse than I ever did, except for a very short time when I was in school and not working and would eat a plate of rice and soy sauce for lunch, with maybe a bagel and cream cheese if i had extra money, and then dinner would be half a pound of baloney and some french bread. Breakfast was caffeine.

And yeah, I had a LOT more headaches back then, and would just not bother to go to class on some days. meaning not leaving the house. When my finances got, when my fiancee moved in and started insisting on "real" food (what, mac-n-cheese and hotdogs is real food!) things got a bit better.

I realize there's individual differences, but try to track not only what you're eating, but how many calories you're getting. If it's less than 1500 a day (which is fairly low, but you live in a moderate climate and don't get much exercise) I'd suggest adding aiming for 1800-2000 calories of "quality" food (vegetables, fish or chicken, more eggs (especially pastured eggs if you can afford them). Also nuts are a good source of proteins, fats and longer lasting starches.

My wife's doctor recommended magnesium supplementation for her headaches. Magnesium levels weren't tested, but the doctor said it may help, and some "real" studies seem to agree (

Also, if you're on hormone therapy for either cycle stabilization or pregnancy prevention...No, it started way earlier than that, so that's not the cause. OTOH there was a study some 20 years or so ago linking use of birth control hormones with stroke, so if you're getting worse headaches consult your doctor to see if those risks are still relevant (this shouldn't have to be an office visit, merely a call to the clinic should do).

Comment by billyoblivion on Fix My Head · 2011-09-19T13:06:59.022Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't usually grind them. Well, not in a grinder. I just ate them and let my molars and stomach acids and gut bacteria do the work.

Comment by billyoblivion on Fix My Head · 2011-09-19T13:05:58.051Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Stoners are not a reliable source of infor...Of anything really.