Comment by brasslion on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-10-11T21:17:47.615Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I will say that lesserwrong is already useful to me, and I'm poking around reading a few things. I haven't been on LessWrong (this site) in a long time before just now, and only got here because I was wondering where this "LesserWrong" site came from. So, at the very least, your efforts are reaching people like me who often read and sometimes change their behavior based on posts, but rarely post themselves. Thanks for the all work you did - the UX end of the new site is much, much better.

Comment by brasslion on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-26T01:41:37.169Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is exactly how conscientiousness feels to me - not wanting to do something but doing so because it's the Correct Action For This Situation. Generally, this applies to things that don't give me a direct, immediate benefit to do, like cleaning up after myself in a common space.

Comment by brasslion on Open Thread, May 11 - May 17, 2015 · 2015-05-13T02:03:08.303Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Consequentialism, where morality is viewed through a lens of what happens due to human actions, is a major part of LessWrong. Utilitarianism specifically, where you judge an act by the results, is a subset of consequentialism and not nearly as widely accepted. Virtue Ethics are generally well liked and it's often said around here that "Consequentialism is what's right, Virtue Ethics are what works." I think that practical guide to virtue ethics would be well received.

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-29T19:56:15.933Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I am such a worker, and my immediate boss sits literally right behind me. It's mildly uncomfortable, but not really much more uncomfortable than a traditional set of cubicles. It helps that my boss doesn't care if I'm e.g. reading this site instead of working at any given time, as long as I get my work done overall.

I estimate I would have about a 50% increase in work done if I had an office with a door, no increase if my boss was not in the same building and I had an open plan office, and no increase if I had traditional cubes (open plan offices really do make it easier to talk to people if you need to).

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-28T02:02:32.023Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To clarify, the definition of the prisoner's dilemma includes it being a one-time game where defecting generates more utility for the defector than cooperating, no matter what the other player chooses.

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-28T01:59:37.174Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"One of the current economys problems is also that advertising and such creates otherwise frivoulous needs that prodeucts can be marketed for. "

This is an excellent summation of a point that gets bandied about a lot in certain circles. Do you mind if I shamelessly steal this?

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-28T01:55:59.047Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It does seem like these are two mostly unrelated skills - leadership, teamwork, and time management on one hand, and vision, creativity, and drive on the other. They don't really oppose each other except in the general sense that both sets take a long time to learn to do well. There are enough examples of people that are both, or neither, that these don't seem to be a very useful way of carving up reality.

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-01-28T01:50:03.250Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

When I read the phrase "adult man's skill set", I immediately thought about carpentry. Did everyone else think about sex, or are there other people that thought this was going to be a post about practical, traditionally manly things?

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-01-19T16:21:16.214Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think you are thinking about this the wrong way. People become caffeine tolerant quickly, but tolerance goes away pretty quickly too. You would get more benefit out of the opposite approach - spending most of your time without caffeine, but drinking a cup of coffee rarely, when you really need it. You would effectively be caffeine naive most of the time, with brief breaks for caffeine use, and this never develop much of a tolerance. If it's been a long time since that first cup of coffee that you don't remember it, trust me, the effects of caffeine on a caffeine-naive brain are incredible.

I know I once read a study that says you can get back to caffeine naive in two weeks if you go cold turkey, but I can't find anything on it again for the life of me. I do remember distinctly that going cold turkey is a bad plan, as the withdrawal effects are pretty unpleasant - slowly lowering your dose is better.

On a more practical level, it is certainly possible to have relatively little caffeine, such that you aren't noticeably impaired on zero caffeine, while still having some caffeine. The average coffee drinker is far beyond this point. I would try to lower your daily dose over the course of a month or so until you are consuming less than a cup of coffee a day - ideally, a lot less, like no cups of coffee. Try substituting tea (herbal or otherwise) if you need something hot to drink to help kill the craving - herbal tea has no caffeine, black tea has about 1/4 of the caffeine per cup, and if you add cream and sugar the taste will be familiar.

EDIT: VincentYu's comment above is interesting in light of this. I am not going to perform my own meta analysis on this, but there are a great deal of studies that find that caffeine tolerance and caffeine withdrawal are real things - a quick Google Scholar search for "caffeine tolerance" will find them.

I am now very interested in a large study on this without the possible conflict of interest. Also, I find it odd that they choose to not include studies before 1992.

Comment by brasslion on [Link] An argument on colds · 2015-01-19T02:01:17.449Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just because it would be good for society if people stayed home when they were sick, doesn't mean legislating that would actually have that effect without any drawbacks. Something between the two states seems to be in order.

I've been watching various colds and winter ailments move through my workplace. While I've been doing my part by trying to convince my co-workers that they ought to stay home if they're sick, people still come in when they're sick maybe half the time. At other places I know of, where workers don't get dedicated use-it-or-lose-it sick time, matters are much worse. I wonder if legislating sick time would have a strong effect.

Actually, it looks like this is happening ( Should be a couple of papers for some enterprising economist or sociologist comparing productivity per worker in states where this happens compared to states where it doesn't.

Comment by brasslion on Why you should consider buying Bitcoin right now (Jan 2015) if you have high risk tolerance · 2015-01-15T04:07:43.414Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been following Bitcoin for a while with fascination. Are there are reputable exchanges left, or is trading money for cryptocurrency back to being the wild west?

Comment by brasslion on Who are your favorite "hidden rationalists"? · 2015-01-15T03:54:13.848Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That is absolutely true, although "reasonably" in this case works for average American household income (about 50k) if you don't live in a very high cost of living area. The same techniques that let a middle to high income household (50k+) retire early only let a 30k household make ends meet and save some money to retire comfortably around the "official" age of 65, but that's still much better than most Americans do. His thoughts on hedonic adaptation are pretty much the same as we talk about here (having probably drawn from the same sources), and not falling prey to the tendency to spend money without getting much utility from it is more key to the whole early retirement thing than earning power. That is to say, not spending money is more important than earning money.

Comment by brasslion on Who are your favorite "hidden rationalists"? · 2015-01-15T03:49:51.036Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mr. Money Mustache is very US centric. YMMV with the investing advice if you are in a country with different tax codes or a smaller stock market with less international exposure. The advice on how to save money is good no matter where you are.

Comment by brasslion on Who are your favorite "hidden rationalists"? · 2015-01-12T05:46:38.550Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I am a big fan of his. If you want to retire in ten or fifteen years, and yes that's not only possible, but achievable without any major sacrifices, read him. He is someone who has taken what science knows about happiness and really applied it.

Comment by brasslion on Memes and Rational Decisions · 2015-01-12T04:54:48.653Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"You can't convince anyone of anything using rational argument" is one of those cached thoughts that makes you sound cool and mature but isn't actually true. Rational argument works a hell of a lot worse than smart people think it does, but it works in certain contexts and with certain people enough of the time that it's worth trying sometimes. Even normal people are swayed by facts from time to time.

Comment by brasslion on Memes and Rational Decisions · 2015-01-12T04:49:20.773Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The Three Laws of Robotics are normally rendered as regular English words, but in-universe they are defined not by words but by mathematics. Asimov's robots don't have "thou shalt not hurt a human" chiseled into their positronic brain, but instead are built from the ground up to have certain moral precepts, summarized for laypeople as the three laws, so built into their cognition that robots with the three laws taken out or modified don't work right, or at all.

Asimov actually gets the whole idea of making AI ethics being hard more than any other sci-fi author I can think of. although this stuff is mostly in the background since the plain English descriptions of the three laws are good enough for a story, but IIRC The Caves of Steel talks about this, and makes it abundantly clear that the Three Laws are made part of robots on the level of very complicated, very thorough coding - something that loads of futurists and philosopher alike often ignore if they think they've come up with some brilliant schema to create an ethical system, for AI or for humans.

Comment by brasslion on LINK: Nematode brain uploaded with success · 2014-12-24T02:17:09.216Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For those of you not familiar with the technology, Python is a programming language not know for speed and the Raspberry Pi is a cheap, low-powered computer smaller than your palm.

For those of you familiar with the technology, this is just another reason why Python is amazing.

Comment by brasslion on Good things to have learned.... · 2014-12-03T23:54:41.916Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wish I had actually applied myself in studying a foreign language instead of putting in the minimum effort to pass. I wish I had studied computer science, it would had accelerated my career by 5 years and CoSci is fun. I wish other people had taken more English classes, because writing clearly is hard and needs to be taught*.

*My alma mater my be unusual in actually teaching clear writing in English classes. I credit the professors involved.

Comment by brasslion on [Need advice] Likely consequences of disclosing you have Asperger's Syndrome - given you have a 2.5 years gap in your resume? · 2014-12-03T02:56:19.181Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you think you will be let go from your current position in the near or mid future, start looking for a new job now. I'm not sure whether you will gain anything by disclosing your condition, vs. having the unexplained gap. Don't lie outright, of course. Can you say that you paused your studies to care for your child, without mentioning exactly what's going on? Your plans to return to grad school are a mark in your favor - that could also be a stated reason to switch jobs (i.e., "I want a job that will support me doing night school/ flexible hours for a year or two while I get even smarter").

Also, you have a Master's in EE. I'm guessing that's a field where there are far more jobs that qualified applicants, like basically all forms of engineering. That, plus the fact that even neurotypical engineers are really weird, and I wouldn't expect things to be too bad on a job hunt.

Comment by brasslion on A Cost- Benefit Analysis of Immunizing Healthy Adults Against Influenza · 2014-11-13T01:43:33.223Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I got the shot (for free via my insurance), and it was completely painless. I looked away from my arm to prevent tensing up, and I literally did not feel the needle go in. There was a little soreness later that day, but not much. Worth keeping in mind - getting the shot is not unpleasant.

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T04:32:39.966Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

American Northeast proof: layers, as other posters have said. My strategy is, from bottom to top: sneakers (I don't have boots at the moment), thick socks, long underwear or pajama bottoms, pants, T-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt, waterproof winter jacket, balaclava, beanie or other warm and flexible hat, hood over the hat. This is enough to get you through the coldest day of the year almost everywhere people live, but since I mostly walk between heated building, this lets me strip down to long pants and a T-shirt if I need to.

Comment by brasslion on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T04:20:43.596Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

More to the point, what are you doing that people both know you're wearing long underwear and care about it to any substantial degree?

Comment by brasslion on Stupid Questions (10/27/2014) · 2014-10-29T00:51:03.750Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As Lumifer said, if you sell stocks (and they're up) you pay taxes on the capital gains - the difference between the price of the stock when you bought it and the price now. If the price now is lower, you get a tax credit for the losses, up to a certain point. Capital gains taxes tend to be lower than regular taxes (in America, at least). Selling shares of an index fund works the same way, where you pay taxes only on the gains, so selling stock to buy what is essentially more stock is pretty much a wash - you don't pay more taxes overall, you just pay them now instead of later. I'm not sure whether being a gift affects the taxes, or what your basis is for capital gains. Investopedia might know, or ask an accountant.

Pretty much the choice of whether to sell the stock and buy more shares of the index fund is like any other choice in investment: which will make you more money? To simplify the math, imagine you sold all the shares now and paid taxes, so you had $X and could invest that in stocks or an index fund. Keep in mind the status quo bias - it is unlikely you would invest in this specific stock if you had $X to invest, and you should only keep the stock if that were the case (tax issues exempted - you'll have to do the math yourself).

Comment by brasslion on Stupid Questions (10/27/2014) · 2014-10-28T03:03:55.191Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

(I'd be remiss if I didn't link this Mr. Money Mustache post on index funds that explains why they are a good idea)

To buy an index fund, you buy shares of a mutual fund. That mutual fund invests in every stock in the chosen index, balanced based on whatever criteria they choose. Each share of the mutual fund is worth a portion of the underlying investment. At no point do you own separate stocks - you own shares of the fund, instead.

Toy example: You have an index fund that invests in every stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The fund invests in $1,000,000 of stock split evenly among every stock on the NYSE, then issues a thousand shares of the fund itself. You buy one share. Your share is worth $1,000. You can sell your shares back to the fund and they will give you $1,000. Over the next year, some stocks go up and some stocks go down. The fund doesn't buy any more stock or sell any more shares. On average, the nominal value of the NYSE will go up by about 7%. The fund now owns $1,070,000 of stocks. Your one share is now worth $1,070.

The dividends go wherever you want them to. The one share of a thousand you bought above entitles you to 1/1000 of the dividends for the underlying stocks in the fund's entire investment. If you're smart, they go to buy more shares of the fund because compound interest will make you rich. You can have them disbursed to you as money you can exchange for good and services, though.

Investing in an index fund is very easy. You will pay by direct withdrawal from a bank account, so you will have to do something to confirm you own the account, but other than that it's like buying anything else online.

Index funds cover costs - which are low, because buying more stock and re-balancing existing stock can be done by a not-that-sophisticated computer program - by charging you a small percentage of your investment. This is reflected by your shares (and dividends) not being worth quite 100% of the fund's value. Index funds are good because they have a very low expense ratio. Many normal mutual funds charge upwards of 1% annually. A good index fund can charge about 0.20%-0.05%. That means you pay your fund about $20 for the privilege of making you about $700, every year.

Opinion time: I own shares in index funds. They are amazing. For a few hours work setting up an automatic transfer and filling out paperwork, I am slowly getting rich. I don't need the money any time this decade, so even if the market crashes tomorrow in a 2008-level event, overall the occasional 1990s-style rises cancel that out, leaving real growth at about 5% assuming you use any dividends to purchase more shares.

I will let you skip the next part of this process and recommend a specific fund: The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, VTSMX. It invests in every stock listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ. If you have $10k invested in it, the expense ratio is a super-low 0.05, and American stocks are very broad and exposed to world conditions as a whole (this is good - you want to spread out your portfolio as much as possible to reduce risk). Go to , you can figure it out online.

I think I could talk about the minutiae of investing all day. It's fascinating. I should write that post about investing and the Singularity one day.

Comment by brasslion on Stupid Questions (10/27/2014) · 2014-10-28T02:11:13.613Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The "you're interviewing them too" line is absolutely true if you are in a competitive market and are not desperate for a job. If you are unemployed, your best strategy is to get any job in your field, work there for a few months, then start hunting for another job. If you have a job and skills the market values (and thus expect to be able to get multiple job offers in the course of a few months), you can afford to be selective. This means you should not take a job offer unless it's an improvement from your last job, and it's enough of an improvement that you it's worth it to stop searching. There is a post somewhere on LessWrong about the decision theory on how long you should look on an open ended issue like this, I believe with marriage as the subject, but "don't take a job that sounds like it would grind your soul to dust" is a good starting point, as is "never take a pay cut, or a non-significant pay increase". Switching jobs is a pain, and you can't do it too often.

Getting back to the point, in an interview you should ask three main kinds of questions: questions that make you seem smart, questions that you show you were paying attentions, and questions that you actually want to know the answer to. If you can do two or all three at once, great. A good stock question is "Can you walk me through what a typical day in this position is like?", because it's rarely answered earlier and it's good to know. It's amazing how often people will talk about a job in generalities and not say, e.g., whether you are going to be sitting in a chair pressing buttons all day or whether you're going to be traveling, attending meetings, washing beakers, whatever. "How big a team will I be working with?" is another one, because again it sounds like you care about the particulars of the job, which you should if you're going to be working there for months or years. You should be able to get two or three relevant questions in your specialty too to trot out.

Finally, don't wait until the end of an interview to ask questions. It's best if you have a conversation, not a monologue. Don't interrupt, but if there's a break in the interview ask about something that you want to know about. You might find you have no questions left at the end - just tell the truth, that you already asked everything you wanted to know.

Source: I have a job. I also know quite a few people who are part of the process from the employer end.

Comment by brasslion on Non-standard politics · 2014-10-25T04:06:56.272Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

By the second point, do you literally mean it's legal to conscript soldiers (it is in America at least, although starting a draft would be politically impossible absent an immediate existential threat to America as a state), or do you mean that figuratively, in that if we pay soldiers enough, we'll get more volunteers? I'm not sure what point you're making.

I will see if I can find the data on the poor performance and high cost of mercenaries.

Comment by brasslion on Non-standard politics · 2014-10-25T00:58:56.538Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Tell me your rough beliefs and I will pigeonhole you. If you want me to, of course. It might lead you towards a school of political thought you'll agree with, or at least enjoy reading about.

Comment by brasslion on Non-standard politics · 2014-10-25T00:57:17.702Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What about the practical effects? Correct me if I'm wrong, but explicit mercenaries (like Blackwater) give worse results for vastly more money than normal volunteer (paid) soldiers.

I am with you on the preference for incentivizing people to go in to the military, rather than using conscription. Not being able to conscript more soldiers limits our ambitions to smaller wars against inferior powers. Then again, America seems to have a really good track record fighting giant military machines and great empires (Germany, Great Britain) and a really bad track record accomplishing our stated objectives in these regional wars against inferior militaries (Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan). Maybe I should be pushing for us to expend our military might on European plains?

Comment by brasslion on What are your contrarian views? · 2014-09-16T22:41:14.218Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I downvoted you because I mostly agree - depending on how broadly you mean broadly. I suspect this is a not uncommon position here, and I would not even be surprised if it were a plurality position.

Comment by brasslion on Bragging Thread, August 2014 · 2014-08-04T12:33:53.763Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This sounds great, what's it called?

Comment by brasslion on Me and M&Ms · 2014-08-03T04:10:05.466Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've read quite a few people that have bribed themselves with food in this way. I should try it out - I love food really way too much, a few extra calories will be worth it. I wonder if I could bribe myself with (very small amounts of) food to exercise?

EDIT: Spelling fix, post should make sense now.

Comment by brasslion on New LW Meetup: Auckland · 2014-03-14T03:14:54.632Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

On the wiki, there's no Cambridge MA information, but there is a Boston MA group listed. I assume either the Wiki or this post is out of date - anyone who goes to the Boston or Cambridge meetup want to collapse this waveform* for us?

*I'm aware most people here who know about physics favor many worlds, but a joke about that isn't as snappy.

Comment by brasslion on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-12-13T03:12:31.296Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I took the survey. Very much awaiting the results, although the last question feels like Tragedy of the Commons rather than pure prisoner's dilemma.

Comment by brasslion on A diagram for a simple two-player game · 2013-11-10T21:41:10.429Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Schelling talks about these sorts of games in The Strategy of Conflict, and the treatment is excellent. He goes into a lot of detail about the use of threats and promises, and how two players can try to coordinate a "fair" solution. Games where one player chooses first are actually called a Schelling game, in his honor.

Comment by brasslion on Instrumental rationality/self help resources · 2013-07-20T11:27:32.522Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've anecdotally seen this too - I have one monitor of work and one monitor of reference material, and it speeds up my work by a pretty large amount. It doesn't matter for all kinds of work, though.

Comment by brasslion on "Stupid" questions thread · 2013-07-15T03:40:32.670Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is likely to increase the total bill, much like how splitting the check evenly instead of strictly paying for what you ordered increases the total bill.

Comment by brasslion on Open Thread, June 2-15, 2013 · 2013-06-03T00:46:06.772Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I speak from experience: Go to something new every week, or every day early when classes are light. As much as you can stand. You figure out what you like by trying things and not going back to lame events.

I am an introvert, and I found it easy to make friends in college in the right clubs. When everyone shares an interest, it's easy repeatedly meet people and interact.

Comment by brasslion on Soylent Orange - Whole food open source soylent · 2013-03-27T01:31:46.595Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

While lots of people (myself among them) enjoy cooking - to the point where I'd cook even if it was more expensive than buying equivalent food, at least from time to time - RomeoStevens clearly isn't one of them.

The time it takes for a basic meal goes down the more you cook, though. Back in the day I could do a whole meal with about 20-30 minutes of actual work for certain meals, as little as 10 minutes for really easy things like pasta. The trick is to either get really, really good at making one meal, or do meals that need little prep. Salad with pre-cooked protein - cold cuts, for example - takes about 5 minutes to prepare even if you have to cut up vegetables, pasta takes about 15 minutes but only 3 of those involve you and not just the stove, fruit takes 30 seconds to wash. If you hate cooking but still have to cook, it might actually be worth taking time to learn to cook quicker.

Comment by brasslion on Suggestion: Read Paul Graham · 2013-03-25T00:21:55.329Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule changed the way I budget my time, both at work and with personal projects. It's also the best piece I know of for business people to understand engineers and other creative workers, which is useful for someone in that second category.

Comment by brasslion on Pay charities for results? · 2013-02-09T04:03:01.718Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If we had an excellent sense of what charities were effective at given tasks, we would just skip the middle step of paying for results and donate directly - in effect, paying for results that already happened. The hard problem in funding charities remains determining if they're effective, not compensating them.

Comment by brasslion on Cryo and Social Obligations · 2013-01-27T20:00:25.937Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

People are fully capable of making friends in wildly different cultures - consider the children of military personnel, who move around a lot, or other people who move far from their birth culture for a job.

Comment by brasslion on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T16:59:09.765Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In this case, the point would be just as strong with no word there instead. "Odious" is also a good word, come to think of it - not "you are odious" but "the arrangement is odious, because you seek to make money by other people's uncompensated labor," assume that's in fact the business model.

Comment by brasslion on META: Deletion policy · 2012-12-26T06:10:06.885Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

A (short) reason should be common courtesy except for spam and egregious trolls.

EDIT: Assuming this sort of thing is low enough volume not to substantially add to the work the deleter does in deleting posts.

Comment by brasslion on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T02:15:46.794Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's the business model, you bear the costs of recording audio and take a share (or all) of the profits, or the writer (LW in this case) bears the costs and you split the profits? Most people seem fine with CC-BY, you could tweak the split or the fee for the odd person that wants CC-BY-SA until it's profitable again (or eat part of the cost to keep a client happy, if LW brings in enough business otherwise.

Comment by brasslion on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T02:13:53.503Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Can we be less rude to people that aren't used to our community's discussion norms? Calling someone a parasite isn't going to convince them of anything, and we want people like Rick to engage with us instead of just exchange some money and ignore the community.

Comment by brasslion on Licensing discussion for LessWrong Posts · 2012-12-26T02:05:30.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Voted CC-BY-SA, want CC-BY-SA with opt-out ability. I don't imagine it being used often, but if someone really wants it, it should be there.

Comment by brasslion on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-25T07:07:21.793Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Gandhi and Marting Luther King, Jr. are the headliners, as usual. Both used pacificism as a tool against regimes that, in the end, needed to think of themselves as decent people, and that had to bow to political pressure both at home and abroad. There's far more examples, though, that people don't think about - when you're looking for social change in the modern first world, non-violence is the default. Women's rights were secured without violence. Black civil rights in America were gained through non-violent activists like King and through the courts - there were violence groups like the Black Panthers, but in the end King's approach worked and violence... just didn't. Gay rights might be another example, although gays are marginalized, but not powerless, since they can show up anywhere - still, the gay rights movement has been well organized, never used violence, and has brought the first world to the point where full equality for homosexuals seems inevitable in about a generation.

Comment by brasslion on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T06:48:53.447Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I think this is an overreation to (deleted thing) happening, and the proposed policy goes too far. (Deleted thing) was neither a good idea or good to talk about in this public forum, but it was straight-out advocating violence in an obvious and direct way, against specific, real people that aren't in some hated group. That's not okay and it's not good for community for the reasons you (EY) said. But the proposed standard is too loose and it's going to have a chilling effect on some fringe discussion that's probably going to be useful in teasing out some of the consquences of ethics (which is where this stuff comes up). Having this be a guideline rather than a hard rule seems good, but it still seems like we're scarring on the first cut, as it were.

I think we run the risk of adopting a censorship policy that makes it difficult to talk about or change the censorship policy, which is also a really terrible idea.

I agree with the general idea of protecting LW's reputation to outsiders. After all, if we're raising the sanity waterline (rather than researching FAI), we want outsiders to become insiders, which they won't do if they think we're crazy.

"No advocating violence against real world people, or opening a discussion on whether to commit violence on real world people" seems safe enough as a policy to adopt, and specific enough to not have much of a chilling effect on discussion. We ought to restrict what we talk about as little as possible, in the absence of actual problems, given that any posts we don't want here can be erased by a few keystrokes from an admin.

Comment by brasslion on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T06:33:53.517Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Non-violent action has a reasonable track record, considering how rarely it's been used in an organized way by the oppressed. The track record is particularly good in the first world, where people care about appearances.

Comment by brasslion on How I Lost 100 Pounds Using TDT · 2012-12-21T06:50:45.191Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You should try the hot water thing if you haven't actually done so. The cost is pretty much zero.

Have you tried filtering your water, or drinking it very cold? Water tastes like what's in it, and the taste varies depending on the source. Most city water tastes like the chemicals they use to clean it, while water from a cheap filter tastes like nothing. Cold water also seems to have less taste, or at least I've found I can't detect the taste of cold water (as in, with ice in it, not just cold from the tap).

Seltzer (Or whatever they called carbonated water in your part of the world) is another "almost-water" drink, much like tea. No calories, enough taste to notice, feels like soda.