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Comment author: Tem42 19 November 2015 10:38:40PM 4 points [-]

I would like more signaling opportunities related to rationality. Specifically, I recently searched for a logo indicating that I was open to Crocker's rules, and could not find one.

This seems like a significant failure. Perhaps particularly so given that there are multiple logos allowing you to indicate, for example, that you are an atheist, despite the fact that this is usually not generally a very useful thing to signal, and may be inappropriate in the workplace.

I'm not sure if this is me being obsessive about iconography, or if there is any sort of real interest in rationality-related icons. In either case, I'm not volunteering to design anything myself, but I would appreciate a typical-mind check.

Comment author: DanielLC 20 November 2015 06:34:33AM 5 points [-]

Kind of reminds me of a discussion of making a utilitarian emblem on felicifia.org. We never really settled on anything, but I think the best one was Σ☺.

Comment author: EGI 17 November 2015 05:20:21PM 7 points [-]

Um, no, we cannot colonise the stars with current tech. What a surprise! We cannot even colonise mars, antarctica or the ocean floor.

Of course you need to solve bottom up manufacturing (nanotech or some functional eqivalent) first, making you independent from eco system services, agricultural food production, long supply chains and the like. This also vastly reduces radiation problems and probably solves ageing. Then you have a fair chance.

So yes, if we wreck earth the stars are not plan B, we need to get our shit together first.

If at this point there is still a reason to send canned monkeys is a completely different question.

Comment author: DanielLC 18 November 2015 07:49:36AM 1 point [-]

Alternately, learn to upload people. Which is still probably going to require nanotech. This way, you're not dependent on ecosystems because you don't need anything organic. You can also modify computers to be resistant to radiation more easily than you can people.

If we can't thrive on a wrecked Earth, the stars aren't for us.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 16 October 2015 02:29:26AM 1 point [-]

Or at least intelligent life that modifies its home system in a way that is visible from thousands of light years away.

Comment author: DanielLC 16 October 2015 05:29:17AM 1 point [-]

I admit that a Dyson sphere seems like an arbitrary place to stop, but I think my basic argument stands either way. If any intelligent life was that common, some of it would spread.

Comment author: Vaniver 15 October 2015 01:32:32PM *  0 points [-]

But that's a lot of information. It's a very short interval. Since it's so unlikely to be in that interval, this is large evidence against easy space travel.

I agree that it's a lot of information. But it's also the case that we have a lot of information about physics, such that interstellar space travel being difficult is also unlikely. Which unlikelihood is larger? That's the question we need to ask and answer, not "the left side of the balance is very heavy."

Comment author: DanielLC 16 October 2015 05:27:56AM 0 points [-]

And that's why my conclusion is "that wasn't made by aliens."

Comment author: passive_fist 15 October 2015 05:20:54AM *  0 points [-]

I'd say that at this point we are largely ignorant of the odds of intelligent life existing in a solar system. While at least some basic forms of life ought to be plentiful in the galaxy, the conditions for evolution from simple life to intelligent life (that is, civilization-building life) just aren't understood to the level that would be required for ANY probability estimate to be given. Note that I'm not saying intelligent life is rare; I'm just saying that both scarcity and abundance of intelligent life are consistent with our current state of knowledge.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 October 2015 06:14:26AM 1 point [-]

But that's just the prior probability. I can still say that we have strong evidence that the probability of a given solar system having intelligent life is much, much lower than one in 150,000.

Comment author: Vaniver 15 October 2015 02:55:09AM *  2 points [-]

But if those are aliens, then aliens must be common.

Given that the universe started a finite amount of time ago, and supposing there is easy space travel, then there is an interval during which the first colonists have intrastellar space travel but have not visibly done interstellar space travel, and we can estimate how long that interval is. They're in that interval, or there isn't easy space travel.

We cannot argue "because there is one, there must have been a previous one," you can't do that sort of induction on the natural numbers, eventually you hit one. We can argue it's unlikely, sure, and we weigh that unlikelihood against the unlikelihood that interstellar travel is hard in order to determine what our posterior ends up being.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 October 2015 06:11:29AM 0 points [-]

They're in that interval, or there isn't easy space travel.

But that's a lot of information. It's a very short interval. Since it's so unlikely to be in that interval, this is large evidence against easy space travel.

We can argue it's unlikely, sure

It's a probabilistic argument. But what isn't? There's no argument that allows infinite certainty. At least, I'm pretty sure there isn't.

Comment author: Lumifer 13 October 2015 06:36:26PM 7 points [-]

Drats, foiled again!

KUALA LUMPUR: The police have declared the international "Love and Sex with Robots" conference, scheduled to be held in Iskandar Malaysia, as illegal.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the organiser of the event has been warned not to proceed with the event that was supposed to be held from Nov 16 to 19.

"It's already an offence in Malaysia to have anal sex, what more intercourse with robots. Don't try to be ridiculous," he said at the press conference at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on Tuesday.

He added that there was "nothing scientific about having sex with machines."

Comment author: DanielLC 15 October 2015 01:29:09AM 0 points [-]

According to Wikipedia, in Malaysia sale and importation of sex toys is illegal, but it doesn't sound like there's any law against using a vibrator you made yourself.

Comment author: Vaniver 14 October 2015 03:50:16PM 2 points [-]

does it imply that getting out into space is a lot harder than it sounds?

It enforces a statement along the lines of "these aliens got space travel recently or getting out into space is a lot harder than it sounds." That's weak evidence, at least, for that claim.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 October 2015 01:24:13AM 1 point [-]

But if those are aliens, then aliens must be common. And if aliens are common, then there should have been tons of them that got to the space travel point long enough ago to have reached us by now.

Comment author: passive_fist 14 October 2015 08:33:39PM *  3 points [-]

As much as I would like for it to be aliens, I think even a 1% belief that it's aliens is privileging the hypothesis too much. Previous 'weird' cosmological objects have all turned out to have far more plausible natural explanations.

All this said, though, it does seem kind of natural for a civilization to put most of its effort into surviving in its own solar system - where energy is plentiful and communication is rapid - rather than spreading outward into tenuous space where the chances of survival are very low. It's not obvious to me why a civilization should choose to colonize other solar systems. That said, if a civilization chose to do that and was successful in doing that, it would quickly become very populous, but it requires an initial impetus.

Comment author: DanielLC 15 October 2015 01:23:18AM 2 points [-]

But how often does that have to happen? They only looked at about 150,000 stars. There are hundreds of billions in our galaxy alone, and if alien civilization developed even 1% earlier than ours, they'd have had time to colonize the entire Virgo supercluster, so long as they start near the center.

Comment author: AspiringRationalist 14 October 2015 12:49:23AM 0 points [-]

Supply of labor could decrease. This is a necessary consequence of any effort to help the poor. But since we already have a welfare system, it's just a question of which causes labor to decrease less.

For things like welfare (and almost certainly for UBI, though I doubt there's enough empirical evidence either way to be sure), yes.

Things like education subsides (assuming they subsidize professionally relevant education rather than just signaling, which admittedly is a somewhat dubious assumption) and the EITC (basically a negative income tax for the working poor in the US) could very well increase the labor supply.

Comment author: DanielLC 14 October 2015 02:32:47AM 0 points [-]

basically a negative income tax for the working poor in the US

That would increase incentive to work for the poor, but decrease the incentive to work hard enough to stop being considered poor. They can't have the income tax be negative for everyone.

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