Bring back the Colosseums 2023-09-08T00:09:53.723Z
Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal 2023-08-23T22:08:49.058Z
The U.S. is becoming less stable 2023-08-18T21:13:11.909Z
What is the most effective anti-tyranny charity? 2023-08-15T15:26:56.393Z
Michael Shellenberger: US Has 12 Or More Alien Spacecraft, Say Military And Intelligence Contractors 2023-06-09T16:11:48.243Z
Intelligence Officials Say U.S. Has Retrieved Craft of Non-Human Origin 2023-06-06T03:54:42.389Z
What is the literature on long term water fasts? 2023-05-16T03:23:51.995Z
"Do X because decision theory" ~= "Do X because bayes theorem" 2023-04-14T20:57:10.467Z
St. Patty's Day LA meetup 2023-03-18T00:00:36.511Z
Will 2023 be the last year you can write short stories and receive most of the intellectual credit for writing them? 2023-03-16T21:36:27.992Z
When will computer programming become an unskilled job (if ever)? 2023-03-16T17:46:35.030Z
POC || GTFO culture as partial antidote to alignment wordcelism 2023-03-15T10:21:47.037Z
Acolytes, reformers, and atheists 2023-03-10T00:48:40.106Z
LessWrong needs a sage mechanic 2023-03-08T18:57:34.080Z
Extreme GDP growth is a bad operating definition of "slow takeoff" 2023-03-01T22:25:27.446Z
The fast takeoff motte/bailey 2023-02-24T07:11:10.392Z
On second thought, prompt injections are probably examples of misalignment 2023-02-20T23:56:33.571Z
Stop posting prompt injections on Twitter and calling it "misalignment" 2023-02-19T02:21:44.061Z
Quickly refactoring the U.S. Constitution 2022-10-30T07:17:50.229Z
Announcing $5,000 bounty for (responsibly) ending malaria 2022-09-24T04:28:22.189Z
Extreme Security 2022-08-15T12:11:05.147Z
Argument by Intellectual Ordeal 2022-08-12T13:03:21.809Z
"Just hiring people" is sometimes still actually possible 2022-08-05T21:44:35.326Z
Don't take the organizational chart literally 2022-07-21T00:56:28.561Z
Addendum: A non-magical explanation of Jeffrey Epstein 2022-07-18T17:40:37.099Z
In defense of flailing, with foreword by Bill Burr 2022-06-17T16:40:32.152Z
Yes, AI research will be substantially curtailed if a lab causes a major disaster 2022-06-14T22:17:01.273Z
What have been the major "triumphs" in the field of AI over the last ten years? 2022-05-28T19:49:53.382Z
What an actually pessimistic containment strategy looks like 2022-04-05T00:19:50.212Z
The real reason Futarchists are doomed 2022-04-01T18:37:20.387Z
How to prevent authoritarian revolts? 2022-03-20T10:01:52.791Z
A non-magical explanation of Jeffrey Epstein 2021-12-28T21:15:41.953Z
Why do all out attacks actually work? 2020-06-12T20:33:53.138Z
Multiple Arguments, Multiple Comments 2020-05-07T09:30:17.494Z
Shortform 2020-03-19T23:50:30.391Z
Three signs you may be suffering from imposter syndrome 2020-01-21T22:17:45.944Z


Comment by lc on The stereotype of male classical music lovers being gay · 2023-09-22T09:33:29.806Z · LW · GW

I think this is putting the cart before the horse. Why concerts as the original venue for that? Probably because concert people tend to be more gay.

Comment by lc on gwern's Shortform · 2023-09-14T16:38:55.290Z · LW · GW

Sure, investing pre-slow-takeoff is a challenge. But if your model says something crazy like 100% YoY GDP growth by 2030, then NASDAQ futures (which does include OpenAI, by virtue of Microsoft's 50% stake) seem like a pretty obvious choice.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-09-08T22:33:09.185Z · LW · GW

Yeah that's a better one

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-09-08T15:41:19.976Z · LW · GW

Dictators who start by claiming impending QoL and economic growth and then switch focus to their nation's "culture" are like the political equivalent of hedge funds that start out doing quant stuff and then eventually switch to news trading on Elon Musk crypto tweets when that turns out to get really hard.

Comment by lc on Bring back the Colosseums · 2023-09-08T15:16:37.141Z · LW · GW

That sounds less like "the men crave warfare" and more like "the men like their homes, their wives, their children, and will fight to defend them if someone tries to destroy them".

Yes, there is certainly a kind of altruistic motivation too, but it doesn't really explain why individuals seem to be eager to defend their country. A particular Ukrainian soldier's contribution to the battle is not going to turn the tide to or from victory and defend their particular family. It also doesn't really explain anecdotes like the following, where people in these circumstances seem distraught to the point of depression if an authority figure tells them they get to sit the conflict out. This certainly doesn't apply to all men, not even most men (you can see a direct followup with another person where it's very much the opposite) but it does apply for some of them.

I'd bet if you asked the Ukrainian soldiers, most of them will say that they'd rather this war didn't happen.

Well of course they're going to say that; I'm absolutely not saying otherwise either. War itself is almost entirely collateral damage. Modern warfare in particular is also so completely unrewarding for the combatants that it removes most of any kind of potential for glory. Getting shelled randomly by artillery so that someone else doesn't is not the kind of thing people imagine when they imagine fighting.

But your claim is stronger, that there is some pressure so large that there would be a literal need for coliseums and gladiator fights to fulfil it. And I'm saying that that can't be the case because if it was there would not be enough gyms for all the MMA fighters around.

You realize over a million people in the U.S. practice competitive MMA, right? Say ~0.25% of those people are interested in mortal combat. There's your arena, at least for the largest cities like Los Angeles or New York.

Comment by lc on Bring back the Colosseums · 2023-09-08T14:55:15.047Z · LW · GW

So if there really was this vast, widespread impulse to toss away one's life for honour, why... isn't every able-bodied male in the west rushing to Ukraine?

Because it's not their country. When people's own tribe are attacked the rates of volunteerism are much higher; and when people are defending their personal honor in the right social context the rates of volunteerism are higher still. I can't find the source but apparently one motivation for American armed forces' anti-dueling provisions was that more people were dying in duels than dying in the actual fighting during the war of 1812.

And I would say that MMA, boxing, civilian sport shooting competitions etc. are as popular as they are because of this instinct.

Comment by lc on Bring back the Colosseums · 2023-09-08T13:33:59.050Z · LW · GW

The decline of dueling coincided with firearms getting much more reliable.

Possibly, but I don't really buy it. Dueling declined first in the northern United States, and then was ended in the south only after public opinion changed, not before. It persisted in places like Peru until well into the mid twentieth century, when people surely weren't using flintlock pistols. There are also studies like this one ( that claim that the decline of dueling was pretty closely connected to either economic development or the presence of the federal government (as measured by post offices).

Comment by lc on Sharing Information About Nonlinear · 2023-09-07T19:16:16.903Z · LW · GW

There are certain claims here that are concretely bad, but they're also mixed in confusingly with what seem like nonsense complaints that are just... the reality of people spending extended time with other people, like:

  • "My roommates didn't buy me vegan food while I was sick"
  • "Someone gives a lot of compliments to me but I don't think they're being genuine"
  • "I feel 'low-value'"

If someone is being defrauded, yeah that's one thing, but I'd rather not litigate "Is Kat/Emerson an asshole" in the court of public opinion.

Comment by lc on Sharing Information About Nonlinear · 2023-09-07T18:49:35.585Z · LW · GW

Note that during our conversation, Emerson brought up HPMOR and the Quirrell similarity, not me.

Began laughing hysterically here.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-09-07T17:43:00.678Z · LW · GW

The "cognition is computation" hypothesis remains mysterious. How granular do the time steps have to be in my sim before someone starts feeling something? Do I have to run the sim forward at planck intervals in order to produce qualitative experience? Milliseconds? Minutes? Can you run the simulation backwards and get spooky inverse emotions or avoid qualia entirely that way?

Comment by lc on What did you learn from leaked documents? · 2023-09-07T15:28:36.704Z · LW · GW

Of course, but the primary theme of the movie is that no one has the full picture of what's going on.

Comment by lc on What did you learn from leaked documents? · 2023-09-05T22:15:23.334Z · LW · GW

There was a great talk about the Chaos Computer Congress called "Die Wahrheit und was wirklich passierte" (in English the truth and what really happened) and one of the points it makes is that one way to prevent things from being known to the public is simply to make them so complex that nobody will understand them. Having hundreds of institutions involved in the censorship industrial complex is one such thing.

This is basically the plot of Syriana.

Comment by lc on Defunding My Mistake · 2023-09-05T20:09:36.244Z · LW · GW

Back in the real world, the police work much harder to prosecute the rich than the poor (despite the fact that it is much more difficult to prosecute them, they're more competent, etc.), because police departments are run by politicians and their actual external incentive is to make the ruling regime look good. Ceteris paribus, bagging epstein makes you look way better than bagging virtually anybody else.

Comment by lc on Who Has the Best Food? · 2023-09-05T14:58:00.245Z · LW · GW

"Italy. Here is a country with no economy, no military, no law and order, no hope, no future - but damn good food."

Comment by lc on Who Has the Best Food? · 2023-09-05T14:51:40.253Z · LW · GW

On the other hand, Euros will constantly denigrate American food by appeal to the most unsophisticated examples of our cuisine, all the while pretty much every corner of their continent imports McDonald's by the kiloton. Revealed preferences.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-31T01:30:39.115Z · LW · GW

The expected value of the future is mostly dominated by the small S-risk component.

Comment by lc on LTFF and EAIF are unusually funding-constrained right now · 2023-08-30T15:12:02.168Z · LW · GW

It would help at least me if I could donate to you through, so I can use my standard interface.

Comment by lc on Dating Roundup #1: This is Why You’re Single · 2023-08-29T21:11:57.155Z · LW · GW

The problem of courting seems very similar to the problem of fixing obesity to me. There's not one problem. There's a general rise in sexlessness over time; everyone agrees that the app era seems to have broken lots of courtship rituals and instincts for men, like something in our diets has caused a recent spike in obesity. Sometimes someone's mistakes in this era are simple to fix and you can just tell someone to eat less/"be confident" and they'll do it. Then there are a wide variety of people for whom that doesn't work, and they need to try a bunch of different specific advice until they figure out what works for them personally; maybe the keto diet works, maybe they need to cut out polyunsaturated fats, etc. etc. Then there are some people who need entire combinations of things and no one intervention is sufficient. Sometimes an environmental or life change in someone who was previously sexually successful causes them to be completely thrown off like those baby turtles that now confuse city lights for moonlight.

Sometimes solving these issues takes years.

Comment by lc on Dating Roundup #1: This is Why You’re Single · 2023-08-29T20:55:40.235Z · LW · GW

I think the problems men report on the internet of the standards being ridiculously high are a function of the different ways people find partners nowadays. There's a reason no romantic comedies begin with the woman meeting the man inside either a bar or dating app. If you are a man who is <7/10 on the attractiveness scale, who is not socially awkward, generally confident etc., you might very well be attractive to women if they have the opportunity to meet you through work or family. But in the online era, it's practically a requirement that you be slightly exceptionally attractive; women don't naturally consider the median man their age a romantic prospect until he shows some kind of unusual initiative or character, an opportunity that is lost if everyone is "supposed" to be there to get into a relationship. And if you're a technology professional outside of college, you might lack the contacts to make relationships through those venues.

Comment by lc on Assessment of intelligence agency functionality is difficult yet important · 2023-08-28T20:54:58.747Z · LW · GW

Trevor, one pattern I'm noticing is that you have a habit of identifying the limits of technology (here and elsewhere) and then, because you can't prove otherwise, asserting intelligence agencies possess these capabilities and deploy them effectively toward national security problems without evidence. It's akin to arguing from first principles that humans have nuclear fusion in 1955 because we've had a theory of quantum mechanics for some time now.

In reality, it seems unlikely to me that the government's ability to analyze massive data for trends and manipulate large groups of people via the internet runs ahead of digital advertising (and in fact, it is common knowledge at this point that government uses the advertising industry for large portions of its analysis tasks), because digital advertising is already attempting to solve similar problems in similar ways, and has access to better human capital and more money than any intelligence agency does. The CIA has unique capabilities, because they're allowed to break the law in ways Google cannot, but at the same time they face problems, because they're also incapable of operating in foreign countries overtly at all.

Comment by lc on Eliezer Yudkowsky Is Frequently, Confidently, Egregiously Wrong · 2023-08-27T06:59:42.961Z · LW · GW

You say

Eliezer sounds good whenever he’s talking about a topic that I don’t know anything about.

But then you go on to talk about a bunch of philosophy & decision theory questions that no one has actual "expertise" in, except the sort that comes from reading other people talk about the thing. I was hoping Eliezer had said something about say, carpentry that you disagreed with, because then the dispute would be much more obvious and concrete. As it stands I disagree with your reasoning on the sample of questions I scanned and so it seems to me like this is sufficient to explain the dispute.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-26T06:27:26.598Z · LW · GW

Is this intended to imply something about rationalists?

It says what it says. Obviously if there's an actual trend it raises some questions, like whether or not rationalists just tend to care less about their health, or if intellectuals find it harder to come up with internal motivation for eating less. It does seem odd to me that rationalists would be more unhealthy than their general demographic given that being physically fit is a good instrumental goal for virtually everything.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-26T06:25:20.083Z · LW · GW


Comment by lc on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-24T22:18:47.074Z · LW · GW

Are there any references you can give me about the permanent damage? I would attempt to move to a protein sparing modified fast if so. Doesn't need to be NIH links; would just like to see what you've read/watched.

Comment by lc on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-24T21:56:58.561Z · LW · GW

Water fasting strikes me as an inefficient way to do what you want to do. Sure, obviously, if you keep on getting no calories, eventually the body is going to burn fat, but paradoxically it prefers to burn protein from the muscles first (!) and the only way to stop that is with sufficiently intense exercise of the muscles, i.e., weight lifting, while trying to lose fat.

I don't think this is correct. What actually happens (AFAIU) is that your body burns a proportion of muscle and a proportion of fat. The muscle it burns is necessary to maintain a protein intake. This is the logic behind a "protein-sparing modified fast".

The problem is that I don't really want to do a protein sparing modified fast if I can, because it's just way easier for me to stop eating completely than it is to eat a small amount of food every day. I may attempt to switch if it becomes unbearable, but we'll see.

and the only way to stop that is with sufficiently intense exercise of the muscles, i.e., weight lifting, while trying to lose fat.

Weight lifting during a water fast will not help, even if it were practical; you will damage your muscles, but instead of being repaired your body will just clean up the damaged proteins and use them in the rest of the body. This would accelerate any muscle loss.

Comment by lc on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-24T21:46:18.033Z · LW · GW

I've stayed completely the hell away from seed oils for decades: it's just your plan for a long water fast that alarms me.

Seed oils are in almost everything. Are you sure?

Comment by lc on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-24T00:01:42.586Z · LW · GW


Comment by lc on Diet Experiment Preregistration: Long-term water fasting + seed oil removal · 2023-08-24T00:00:00.689Z · LW · GW

Unfortunately this particular meal plan is Right Out, because it includes large amounts of the acid I'm trying to purge (see Regardless, I am taking electrolyte supplements; so far water fasting has succeeded at getting me to lose weight with no side effects besides the hunger, and I don't think it's a good idea to add food until that changes.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-23T02:45:02.487Z · LW · GW

I'm not saying LW discourse is better than those articles; I haven't read them. I'm saying that it's better than Twitter discourse, which is a low bar.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-22T17:58:36.538Z · LW · GW

Are you implying LW is better?


Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-22T16:45:16.333Z · LW · GW

One problem is that social media predicts 96 of the last one civil wars and two depressions

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-22T01:04:07.924Z · LW · GW

BMI between 18 and 25. Looks like they exercise some.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-22T00:58:16.197Z · LW · GW

By "rationalist" I mean anybody LW-adjacent, that I've met at a meetup. By healthy I mean someone who looks like they have a BMI between 18 and 25, and exercises regularly.

And I actually need to revise: when I went to India I attended a LessWrong meetup, and there were many healthy people there. So this distinction is probably limited to American rationalists, of which I'm including myself as an unhealthy example; I have a BMI of about 30.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-21T21:28:48.351Z · LW · GW


Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-21T18:48:08.798Z · LW · GW

The math should actually be similar for what VC or EA would prefer you to do.

Not if most VCs lose money and are led astray by auctioneer's fallacy. Also not if a tertiary goal of most VCposting is to get people to quit their jobs and try, and so increase the supply of investment opportunities available to pick from.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-21T18:32:58.187Z · LW · GW

I have never met a physically fit rationalist

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-20T18:28:21.182Z · LW · GW

That is the VC propaganda line, yeah. I don't think it's actually true; for the median LW-using software engineer working for an established software company seems to net more expected value than starting a company. Certainly the person who has spent the last five years of their twenties attempting and failing to do that is likely making repeated and horrible mistakes.

Comment by lc on Shortform · 2023-08-20T17:42:37.309Z · LW · GW

I think it might be a healthier to call rationality "systematized and IQ-controlled winning". I'm generally very unimpressed by the rationality skills of the 155 IQ computer programmer with eight failed startups under his belt, who quits and goes to work at Google after that, when compared to the similarly-status-motivated 110IQ person who figures out how to get a high paying job at a car dealership. The former probably writes better LessWrong posts, but the latter seems to be using their faculties in a much more reasonable way.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T16:43:09.484Z · LW · GW

I think "The US is becoming less stable" is a better title, probably.

Comment by lc on "AI Wellbeing" and the Ongoing Debate on Phenomenal Consciousness · 2023-08-19T06:28:12.247Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure what you think Chesterton's fence is, but I've never heard it used straightfowardly as a plea to do what everybody else is doing for Modest Epistemology reasons.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T02:34:44.302Z · LW · GW

I'm not in charge of whether or not my posts get promoted to the front page, but regardless, I've added the politics tag; feel free to use the feed UI to reduce the sorting score of those posts. In general I think LessWrong should be a place where people feel free to make neutral political projections, because they're an important part of the territory.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T02:23:22.915Z · LW · GW

I don't see how my agreement or disagreement with any of those things is implied and I don't really want to get into a debate about them here. The OP is about how the U.S. government seems to be destabilizing. Your points are a reaction to an (imagined) accusation against Republicans (edit: And Bernie supporters, AOC, and Occupy Wall Street) for causing the destabilization, where you claim that they had good reasons to; fine, maybe that's what happened, but it doesn't really have anything to do with my post.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T02:18:26.377Z · LW · GW

I didn't think I was soapboxing.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T02:09:21.774Z · LW · GW

I don't understand what you mean by full respect. I think it's better just to model those institutions than to identify with them or develop some sort of political loyalty or enmity. None of them are run by altruists.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T01:56:02.451Z · LW · GW

You don't need to be rude. I'll modify that part.

I had not heard about the controversy with the 1876 and 1960 elections. WRT 2000 and 1824, I meant something beyond contesting the way the votes were counted or hypothesizing a backroom deal, and more the allegations of rampant illegal ballot stuffing, which is a much more dangerous thing to be disputed. The civil war is a good point but that doesn't really provide evidence against my thesis that the country is destabilizing.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-19T01:15:39.459Z · LW · GW

I don't see how things like crazy culture war politics or COVID reactions lead to a breakdown in democratic norms unless those crazy beliefs imply shifts in strategy. The bud light boycott seems plausibly good; it teaches Republicans that they have alternative tools of influence.

Comment by lc on The U.S. is becoming less stable · 2023-08-18T23:33:42.001Z · LW · GW

What object-level beliefs did you have in mind?

Comment by lc on MakoYass's Shortform · 2023-08-17T19:18:51.057Z · LW · GW

Since acausal trade issues are basically spiritual

Obviously it is not clear why "acausal trade issues" would be "spiritual" or what you mean by those terms.

Comment by lc on What is the most effective anti-tyranny charity? · 2023-08-15T21:55:23.678Z · LW · GW

Feel free!

Comment by lc on What is the most effective anti-tyranny charity? · 2023-08-15T19:00:43.874Z · LW · GW

I think this is probably an example of a really ineffective intervention on a per dollar basis, given how much money is being spent already, unless it's to some organization filling gaps Ukraine's MoD isn't filling