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Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014 · 2014-07-01T05:43:34.613Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, it's also Eliezer's super-villain fetish thing.

Comment by eugine_nier on Political ideas meant to provoke thought · 2014-07-01T00:50:19.924Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A possibility that the paper does not raise is that instead of calculating the actual wealth held by the actual top 1%, you could estimate the Gini coefficient from the whole population, and calculate a theoretical 1% wealth.

Taleb would probably object on the grounds that the above will lead misleading results if the population is actually composed of a supper position of several distinct populations with different Gini coefficients.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-07-01T00:32:13.145Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Since you started this sub-thread and are clearly still following it, are you going to retract your claims that CRU predicted "no more snow in Britain" or that Hansen predicted Manhattan would be underwater by now?

I was going from memory, now that I've tracked down the actual links I'd modify the claims what was actually said, i.e., snowfalls becoming exceedingly rare and the West Side Highway being underwater.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-30T03:21:40.802Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I can only comment on the graphs which they themselves chose to plot in 2009. Snowfall was not one of those graphs (whereas it was in 2006).

Interesting. I wonder why they're no longer plotting some trends. Maybe because it's too hard to fit them into their preferred narrative.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-30T03:18:35.831Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nobody thinks the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a country, and yet .gg exists.

Well, it's sufficiently independent of the UK to function as a tax haven. It's definitely one of those entities that's on the fuzzy boundary between country and non-country, along with Hong Kong and (in a slightly different way) Dubai.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-29T23:19:34.883Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I can't recall anyone calling Hong Kong a country.

Well ICANN for starters.

Comment by eugine_nier on Rationality Quotes February 2014 · 2014-06-29T23:12:39.070Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Liberals would tell a story where things are reversed and class is causal of the pathology- they would say the economic changes that have occurred for the last few decades have increased 'economic uncertainty' for the lower class (for some measure of uncertainty.) which has lead to marital stress and divorce.

There were many historical periods with much much greater economic uncertainty, they also had higher marriage rates.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-29T14:37:52.110Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Here is the article I linked to above. Note that it implies a different conclusion about recent temperature trends. Do you have any evidence for preferring your letter to the editor over the article Eric discusses besides it confirming your pre-existing belief?

The rest of said article reads like an attempt to (preemptively?) explain away failed predictions.

It doesn't read that way to me.

Have you even read the article you linked to? Here are the first four sentences:

Early climate forecasts are often claimed to have overestimated recent warming. However, their evaluation is challenging for two reasons. First, only a small number of independent forecasts have been made. And second, an independent test of a forecast of the decadal response to external climate forcing requires observations taken over at least one and a half decades from the last observations used to make the forecast, because internally generated climate fluctuations can persist for several years.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-28T20:54:08.912Z · score: -6 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Well, climate "scientists" are always warning that global warming will lead to disasters that didn't happen during the medieval warm period, so presumably they're predicting temperature increases larger than that. (Ok, they also like to pretend the medieval warm period didn't exist.)

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-28T20:50:49.488Z · score: -4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, some global warming believers have made predictions that have been falsified, but "inevitably fail to occur" is wrong. Here's a counterexample.

The only example of a successful prediction in your article is a rise in "mean surface temperature" which as I mentioned in the grand-parent is not hard to fudge, heck I also linked to data that gives opposite conclusions in the grand-parent. The rest of said article reads like an attempt to (preemptively?) explain away failed predictions.

Julia Hargreaves does a lot of work evaluating predictive climate models, and her conclusion is that there are reliable models for predicting broad global climate response to anthropogenic forcing, but we don't currently have trustworthy predictions at the sub-continental scale. So I think it is appropriate to be skeptical about confident and precise predictions about what will happen in particular parts of the world.

And yet for some reason all said predictions fail in the same direction.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-28T03:44:20.516Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But I can't be sure to what extent we really have differing models of how the world works, as opposed to at least one of us going out of our way to signal something (willingness to disregard official politics in your case, familiarity with the Middle East in mine).

If your goal was to signal your familiarity with the Middle East, you've utterly failed since it appears you didn't know how the UAE was organized. You come across as one of those people who memorizes lists of countries and capitals and possibly shapes but has no idea how the map does (or does not) correspond to facts on the ground.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-28T01:18:39.410Z · score: -2 (14 votes) · LW · GW

More seriously, are you implying that any increase in the variance is irrelevant so long as the mean doesn't change much?

I never said anything about an increase in variance, temperature records haven't been around long enough for it to be hard to find record setting temperatures somewhere. Also, I notice you're shifting your hypothesis from "temperatures are rising" to "variance is rising".

As for the argument in the linked comic, when wine grapes can be grown in England and Newfoundland, as was the case during the medieval warm period I'll start taking arguments of that type seriously.

Who predicted that Britain would no longer have snow or Manhattan would be under water by 2014?

The Climatic Research Unit for the no more snow in Britain. The Manhattan underwater one (or at least the West Side Highway) is Jim Hansen.

Comment by eugine_nier on Political ideas meant to provoke thought · 2014-06-27T01:36:27.991Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But I have a hard time seeing how α can really be that small for income & wealth, because that'd imply mean income & mean wealth aren't well-defined in the population,

Um no. They're not well defined over the distribution, they will certainly be well defined over a finite population.

which must be false because no one actually has, or is earning, infinitely many dollars or euros.

You seem to be confused about how distributions with infinite means work. Here's a good exercise: get some coins and flip them to obtain data in a St. Petersburg distribution notice that even though the distribution has infinite mean all your data points are still finite (and quite small).

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-27T01:24:35.362Z · score: -3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I constantly see headlines that say the opposite, i.e., about places with record cold.

Also, what do the headlines mean, do they mean hottest in some particular place, or hottest global average? If the former, statistically you'd always expect temperatures to hit a record somewhere; if the latter, see my remark in the parent about how hard it is to compute "average temperature".

Also, on the occasions when global warming believers make independently verifiable predictions with definite dates they inevitably fail to occur as shown by the fact that Britain still has snow and Manhattan isn't under water.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-26T04:23:11.833Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that in the current social, political, informational, military, etc. global environment the old-style colonialism is highly unlikely to work.

Can you be specific about what you think is the relevant change?

Comment by eugine_nier on Lessons from weather forecasting and its history for forecasting as a domain · 2014-06-26T04:20:44.967Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that the weather also has many variables. While the chaos implies control principal works for low dimensional chaotic systems, e.g., the three body problem in orbital dynamics, I'm not sure how well it would work for weather.

Comment by eugine_nier on Separating the roles of theory and direct empirical evidence in belief formation: the examples of minimum wage and anthropogenic global warming · 2014-06-26T02:26:04.821Z · score: -4 (24 votes) · LW · GW

For temperature data, I don't think that many people would question the data, average temperatures seem like good, hard facts to me.

Not really. The problem is we don't have uniformly spaced weather stations all over the earth. Furthermore the locations of the stations we do have tend to change over the time period of interest. (The various proxies suffer from similar problems.) Thus it's necessary to apply weights to the data we do have to correct for this. Unfortunately, the weights are semi-arbitrary in practice and as we learned from the leaked climategate e-mails frequently have the warming built in.

That is, when I hear empirical data in support of climate change, I think: 'well, obviously!', not 'here is the data that should be strengthening my belief in climate change'.

What's your reaction to the data that shows a lack of warming over the past 17-years?

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-26T02:07:17.242Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The nastiness Viliam talks about is mostly in the form of trolling or making insulting statements with little semantic content. Lying of the type Arthur advocates goes beyond that since it injects false statements into the discussion and tends to result in one's side filling up with people who believe said lies and thus willing to lie further.

Comment by eugine_nier on Political ideas meant to provoke thought · 2014-06-26T02:00:34.014Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Europe is more equal on empirical measures such as the Gini Coefficient.

Here is Taleb's paper about the problems with measures like the Gini Coefficient.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-25T03:56:14.343Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The disagreement wasn't just about tone. It was about Arthur Chu's willingness to lie for his cause. The only reason it appeared to be mostly about tone is that Yvain didn't make the strongest argument he could have.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-25T02:26:35.518Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Once social scientists get past their taboo against genetic explanations.

Comment by eugine_nier on Political ideas meant to provoke thought · 2014-06-25T01:44:36.291Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Europe is also more equal than the US.

That is precisely the claim being disputed. In particular, as Taleb points out in the document I quoted in the great-grandparent, when you stop trying to use static measures of inequality and instead base it on the amount of turnover at the top, you see that Europe is much more unequal (almost an oligarchy) than the US.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-24T02:26:29.898Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Elections are no big deal. Mugabe holds elections, Putin holds elections, hey, even Assad recently held elections.

Well, the US forces actually attempted not to rig them.

However the military strength was the underlying bedrock.

Disagree. Military strength was based on a bedrock of competent management.

Are you saying that the laws of nature somehow changed over the past century?

Which particular laws of nature do you have in mind?

Whichever laws you invoked when you said implied that "old-style colonialism won't work in our time" is a reasonable hypothesis.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-24T01:39:33.152Z · score: -7 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Well, a popular solution in some circles is to declare the reminders "triggers" and insist that people avoid mentioning them in your presence. ;)

Comment by eugine_nier on Utilitarianism and Relativity Realism · 2014-06-24T00:51:06.767Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The problem with a time limit is that it encourages you to not care what happens afterwards.

Comment by eugine_nier on Political ideas meant to provoke thought · 2014-06-24T00:27:05.592Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The point is that Europe is more socialist than the US.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-23T04:23:03.780Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I submit to you that if Alice thinks Dubai is a country because she's never heard of the UAE, and Bob thinks that Dubai is the UAE's version of Istanbul, Bob's model of the political geography of the Arabian peninsula is still better than Alice's, even if Carol, who thinks that Dubai is so different from the rest of the UAE that it "might as well" be a country in its own right, has a better model than Bob.

The difference is that the various Emirates of the UAE (including Dubai) have far more internal autonomy then even US states to say nothing of Istanbul.

Comment by eugine_nier on Utilitarianism and Relativity Realism · 2014-06-22T18:17:54.228Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

To phrase your result in terms a physicist would use: an all-time integral of a scalar function (happiness) is not Lorentz-invariant.

Yes it is, since Lorentz-transformations have determinant 1, i,e., are measure-preserving. The issue in the example is that happiness isn't a function on all of space-time, it is a function on the world lines of being capable of experiencing it.

Comment by eugine_nier on Utilitarianism and Relativity Realism · 2014-06-22T18:10:29.664Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

On the other hand, if you restrict yourself, say to situations that only last finitely long all these paradoxes go away.

If you restrict to finitely long situations, you wind up with weird effects at the cutoff window.

Comment by eugine_nier on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-06-21T19:13:56.909Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

No, I'm saying that the people asking whether something is "ontologically basic" are arguing cartography. Also it's funny how they only ask the question of things they don't believe exist.

Comment by eugine_nier on [LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist · 2014-06-21T16:59:26.621Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

So let me get this straight? You're trying to argue that we should avoid saying things that make people feel uncomfortable in order to prevent groupthink?

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-21T16:57:28.757Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

If indeed there are people who see atheism as fundamentally disconnected from general-purpose rationalism, or who don't see the promotion of atheism as a mere corollary of the promotion of a general rationalist worldview, or who object to making the atheist movement about rationality and science rather than mere disbelief in god, then I do think those people are wrong.

The problem is that's not what Myers was trying to do with Atheism Plus. The values he wanted to introduce were those of the "social justice" crowd, a.k.a., the people who believe that certain scientific opinions are inherently "unjust" and shouldn't be heard, that their cause is so noble that it justifies lying and falsifying science.

Comment by eugine_nier on What resources have increasing marginal utility? · 2014-06-21T16:31:53.356Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As it happens I am familiar with the Gracchian riots, they certainly weren't indicative of the fall of the Roman Empire as the Roman Empire didn't exist then; however, the riots were most definitely indicative of the collapse of the Roman Republic.

Comment by eugine_nier on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-06-21T16:17:05.879Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I could do this with any other theory of physics just as easily, e.g., in Newtonian mechanics are are particles ontologically basic, or are points in the universal phase space?

Edit: Also, I never said the concrete was incoherent, I said the concept of "ontologically basic" was incoherent.

Comment by eugine_nier on What resources have increasing marginal utility? · 2014-06-21T03:07:30.603Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The stagnation will be visible in a dramatic way (eg. barbarians looting New York City)

That happened a while ago.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-21T02:10:37.643Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

actually, I don't think it tried any such thing anyway.

They held elections and put the people who got majority into positions of power.

In any case, you seem to be arguing for old-style colonialism based on crushing military superiority.

Old-style colonialism wasn't based on crushing military superiority, during the British Raj the number of British born troops in India was a tiny fraction the the native troops. Thus the British relied on the cooperation of large numbers of Indians and Indian troops.

Even leaving aside whether it will work in our times,

What do you mean by this? Are you saying that the laws of nature somehow changed over the past century?

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-21T01:52:38.858Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Attempt Harry's trick to solve NP problems.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-20T04:19:34.679Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

For certain conversations, yes. Others, no.

For conversations about the topic that don't involve you conceding all points to him, yes.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-20T02:33:39.363Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In that case, I don't understand the comparison you're making in the grandparent.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-20T02:20:18.641Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Provoke them by illicitly vaccinating their children without their consent

That's not trolling, that's battery at least.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-19T23:37:04.093Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In order to have a useful conversation about the topic it will be necessary to challenge his implicit claim. If he insists on making that impossible then its not possible to have a reasonable conversation with him.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-19T02:13:22.991Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was tempted to give Siam as a successful example instead, if only because they managed to never be colonized,

The reason Siam was never colonized was that it served as a buffer state between British Burma and French Indo-China. This suggests another method to avoid colonization. Play rival would-be colonizers against each other.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 9-15 June 2014 · 2014-06-19T02:10:59.133Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Kinda like the US experience in Afghanistan

The difference is that the US attempted to establish democracy, i.e., hand over power to the locals as quickly as possible, I believe Daniel's plan would avoid this.

(and the Russian experience there before, and the British experience there before that...)

The problem both the Russians and British had was interference by rival powers, the US and Russia respectively. The Russians also had the problem that the economic system they wanted to impose being dysfunctional.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-19T01:57:43.824Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But also, there's a large difference between being targeted for economic subjugation only (as Japan was) and being targeted for territorial control (as in, imperial subject moving onto your land en masse), as the native Americans, native Australians, and Maori were.

Part of the reason Japan wasn't targeted for territorial control is that it was clear to everyone that Japan would be able to resist.

Comment by eugine_nier on Open thread, 16-22 June 2014 · 2014-06-19T01:51:38.575Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know enough about Native Americans to say exactly how I'd go about the equivalent of a Meiji Restoration, but that's what I would attempt.

Then Japanese were much more similar to the Europeans then Native Americans. For starters they had a government. Furthermore, they had developed some institutions that were similar to western institutions, or at least more similar than anything else outside the West.

I'd pass laws mandating compulsory Westernisation,

First you'd need to create a bureaucracy capable of enforcing laws.

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-19T00:51:59.433Z · score: 10 (16 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible to continue a conversation with someone who's every statement is laced with "nigga" but it takes effort. And no one is obligated to expend their energy on having a conversation with me

Conversely, it also take effort to carry on a conversation when you're constantly trying to avoid saying "um".

Comment by eugine_nier on False Friends and Tone Policing · 2014-06-19T00:30:42.201Z · score: 7 (17 votes) · LW · GW

It can be worth it to pause and reconsider your language even if the offensiveness of a word or idea is exactly the subject of your dispute. When I hosted a debate on "R: Fire Eich" one of the early speakers made it clear that, in his opinion, opposing gay marriage was logically equivalent to endorsing gay genocide (he invoked a slippery slope argument back to the dark days of criminal indifference to AIDS).

This is not just about the same word having different meanings. His feeling contains an implicit substantive claim about slippery slopes (not to mention a false narrative of the early history of AIDS).

Comment by eugine_nier on On Terminal Goals and Virtue Ethics · 2014-06-18T03:07:29.354Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think justice fits well under compassion

Thinking about this people making this mistake explains a lot of bad thinking these days. In particular, "social justice" looks a lot like what you get by trying to shoehorn justice under compassion.

Comment by eugine_nier on On Terminal Goals and Virtue Ethics · 2014-06-17T01:22:02.116Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

So to use my former example of the Great Filter Hypothesis: sure, it makes predictions, sure, we can assign probabilities, sure, we can do updates. But nothing about the Great Filter Hypothesis is constructive or causal, nothing about it tells us what to expect the Filter to do or how it actually works. Which means it's not actually telling us much at all, as far as I can say.

Yes it is causal in the same sense that mathematics of physical laws are causal.

In relation to Overcoming Bias, I've ranted on similarly about explaining all possible human behaviors in terms of signalling, status, wealth, and power. Paging /u/Quirinus_Quirrell... If they see a man flirting with a woman at a party, Quirrell and Hanson will seem to explain it in terms of signalling and status, while I will deftly and neatly predict that the man wants to have sex with the woman.

You do realize the two explanations aren't contradictory and are in fact mutually reinforcing? In particular, the man wants to have sex with here and is engaging in status signalling games to accomplish his goal. Also his reasons for wanting to have sex with her may also include signaling and status.

Comment by eugine_nier on On Terminal Goals and Virtue Ethics · 2014-06-17T01:03:55.704Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, with your modifications these map pretty clearly to six of the seven Christian virtues, the missing one being Hope.