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Comment by Cato the Eider on Death by Red Tape · 2021-05-04T15:08:41.103Z · LW · GW

I think you're far too charitable toward the FDA, TSA et al. I submit that they simultaneously reduce slack, increase fragility ... and reduce efficiency. They are best modeled as parasites, sapping resources from the host (the general public) for their own benefit.

[edit] Something I've been toying with is thinking of societal collapse as a scale-free distribution [1], from micro-collapse (a divorce, perhaps?) to Roman Empire events. In this model, a civilization-wide collapse doesn't have a "cause" per se, it's just a property of the system.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organized_criticality

Comment by Cato the Eider on Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong · 2020-12-21T19:32:21.868Z · LW · GW

I've been curious about the phenomenon of memory, or perhaps more precisely, recall. For example, I can recall standing at the top of a granitic, sub-alpine cliff at the head of a waterfall. I can also "recall" standing near Wesley at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity.  Obviously I know that one happened to me and one didn't, but to me the two mental processes seem to be of the same catagory, and I'm suspicious that this is true of everyone but that few recognize it. I do recognize a very few "memories" that feel somewhat different - one is standing on a tropical beach with small waves lapping, palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, general aroma of tropical island. One thing that seems to be key to this set is the inclusion of scent, and I speculate that it's more tightly bound to a sense of "I-ness". Even this set, however, seems less like memories of instants in time, and more like reconstructions of repeated experiences.

 

(as an aside, my experience is that thoughts arise in a pre-lingual state as pure conceps, but are almost instantly translated into words - so quickly that if you're not paying attention it can feel like thinking in words)

Comment by Cato the Eider on Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong · 2020-12-21T19:28:56.000Z · LW · GW

I've been curious about the phenomenon of memory, or perhaps more precisely, recall. For example, I can recall standing at the top of a granitic, sub-alpine cliff at the head of a waterfall. I can also "recall" standing near Wesley at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity.  Obviously I know that one happened to me and one didn't, but to me the two mental processes seem to be of the same catagory, and I'm suspicious that this is true of everyone but that few recognize it. I do recognize a very few "memories" that feel somewhat different - one is standing on a tropical beach with small waves lapping, palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, general aroma of tropical island. One thing that seems to be key to this set is the inclusion of scent, and I speculate that it's more tightly bound to a sense of "I-ness". Even this set, however, seems less like memories of instants in time, and more like reconstructions of repeated experiences.

Comment by Cato the Eider on Rationality and Climate Change · 2020-10-05T15:55:15.330Z · LW · GW

I'll bite --- as a "not feeling alarmed" sort of person. First, though, I'll clarify that I'm reading"climate change" as shorthand for "climate change that is net-negative for human welfare" (herein CCNNHW), since obviously the climate is in a state of constant change.

Confidence levels expressed as rough probabilities:

0.70 : we are observing CCNNHW

0.80 : current human behavior increases probability of CCNNHW

0.10 : future magnitude of  CCNNHW will be massive

0.98 : future human behavior will change, given CCNNHW

0.90 : some current and proposed mitigations are themselves NNHW

0.60 : some proposed mitigations have negative effects rivaling that of CC

0.50 : it's possible to design a net-positive mitigation [1]

0.10 : it's possible to implement a net-positive mitigation [2]

Taken together, I assign higher risk to collective, politically directed efforts to mitigate CC than to CC itself.

---

[1] non-linear feedback effects depress this value

[2] political processes depress this value

Comment by Cato the Eider on The whirlpool of reality · 2020-09-29T23:08:36.348Z · LW · GW

Thank you for sharing this. I've long used the image (or metaphor) of the swirl of cream in a cup of coffee for this purpose, but have never expressed the idea as well. 

Comment by Cato the Eider on What would flourishing look like in Conway's Game of Life? · 2020-05-12T13:35:57.910Z · LW · GW

Perhaps "the boundary between order and chaos", see rule 110.

Comment by Cato the Eider on Covid 19 as a Fermi Paradox Zoo Hypothesis Subset (Laboratory Hypothesis) Nudge Point · 2020-04-23T13:29:39.218Z · LW · GW

I just have to call attention to "'burning plasma' global peace nude point" as one terrific phrase.

Comment by Cato the Eider on Chapter 114: Shut Up and Do The Impossible · 2018-08-03T14:53:57.351Z · LW · GW

Ah. Nice. Tricky bit of work, keeping V talking while doing that complex transfiguration. I thought of the partial-transfiguration antimatter trick, but I was going to use it in an even smaller amount on Voldemort's clothing, distracting the Death Eaters and giving Harry a moment to escape.

Comment by Cato the Eider on Chapter 113: Final Exam · 2018-08-03T14:13:20.207Z · LW · GW

[Having finished Yudkowsky's work, am deleting my post. It grew from a different narrative intent and wasn't comfortable here.]