Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.
Alain de Botton speaks about Status Anxiety
There is nowhere where I've witnessed (and felt) more status anxiety expressed and talked about than in Lesswrong. I tried to partly dispel the mith at least as it regards sexuality.
People talk about status in all its forms and shapes a lot here. Which made me wonder, what do you think of Alain de Botton's opinions on "status addiction" in western societies?
Less Wrongers are a diverse crowd, more so now than in the early days. I wonder if we could step away from anti-generalizations, generalize and try to say good places to live, under a few assumptions (remember, the idea of an assumption is to assume it, not to claim it is less or more representative of observation class X or Y and then go on to nerdify it.)
Recetly, Xanghai was claimed as an interesting place to teach english.
Just having returned from 15 days in Rio de Janeiro, I may talk a little about it.
1) Assuming your family lives somewhere else, other state or country.
2) No children yet. Single, Married, Gay, Bisexual, Male, Female.
3) You can muster $1-4k a month (teaching a language, like English, programming, writing, family money, lottery, spy for the CIA)
4) You like science/philosophy, rationality, and not a complete misanthrope (you'd hug five times more than you do if given a chance, and you'd double the number of close friends you have, as well as balance their gender ratio)
My suggested format is city name, time spend there, experience, cons, and pros.
Rio de Janeiro,15 days, Rio is an interesting city. Near the subway you can get to the vast majority of places without a car, a good night out will cost between 15-40 dollars, depending on whether you drink or not, and therefore need a cab home. Nice dinner 12-50. There are millions of people including lots of tourists easily reachable there. So unless you are estonian, you will be able to find someone from home there. Because travellers go to Rio for it's beauty, you can find them in free places, and make friends with locals and foreigners alike, allowing for short term and long term friendships. They say you get tired eventually, but the natural beauty is great and spread. Forests and beaches and mountains abound, all 4 minutes away from a supermarket.There are nearly free public bikes in some areas.
Cons: Science/philosophy are not what Rio is known for. Their universities are good, and you can find youe way there if you can in a good college, but a meeting with a lot of people to discuss two boxing on newcomb is less likely in the following ten years.You can't park in Rio during the day, if somehow you managed to have a car and a carplace in your apartment. You won't buy a place,and it won't be big, an awesome ipanema apartment 190sq meters goes for 2,3 million dollars, and renting a tiny place costs about 1thousand a month.
Pros: Papers to the contrary, weather does impact your life for quite a while if you pay attention to it. Not necessarily the weather itself, but the social oppotunities that arise because of it (moonlight music at the beach, free overhearing music in the bohemian neighborhood, dancing as opposed to freezing, etc...) can be, literally, life-changing. Rio has many people not from Rio, so it is easy to befriend them, they also need new friends. The Couchsurfing community is active and speaks english.
Neutral: Many think that people (specially women) look amazing in Brazil, quite the contrary. Our average look is way below your expectations, but the top5% of people are really better looking to foreigner eyes than the 5%of their own country. Long tails, pun intended.
If you lived for a while in a city that you'd like to recommend to some niche Less Wrongers, report. Avoid doing so for the city you were born in, since a native experience differs violently from a migrant/immigrant experience.
Watch the video response here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tsI_28O3Ws
This was posted here on lesswrong a while ago, but they recently uploaded a new version of the video and I took the liberty of typing up a transcript.
The video is fairly long, about 25 minutes. But it's incredibly engaging and I highly recommend watching it. For those who prefer text (because it's faster or because you are a computer), you can read the transcript in this google doc, or below in the comments. Enjoy!
EDIT2: The video has now been posted, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tsI_28O3Ws
Just a heads up to the lesswrong community. Dr. Aubrey de Grey will be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit this upcoming Tuesday the 15th, scheduled for 9am EST. He will be doing a video-style response, which likely means that he will take the top voted questions and post his responses on youtube. When the AMA starts, you will be able to find it posted on http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/ . I will update this post with links to the question thread and video response when they go live.
EDIT: Ask Aubrey de Grey your questions here: Ask Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation, Anything! He will be taking the top voted questions and answering them later this week in a video response. I will update this post then.
[LINK] "The nirvana would be if the questions raised by Oprah Winfrey would be answered by the faculty at Harvard."
I once very politely raised the thought that one reason philosophy departments have been cut is the fault of philosophers. The answer always comes back: 'The point of philosophy is to ask questions, not to give answers.' I can't help but think 'No. It can't be!' Imagine if you applied that question to other areas – is the purpose of rocket science to ask questions about rockets?