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Comment author: FrameBenignly 01 April 2015 02:01:00AM *  1 point [-]

How did your plan to become a history professor ultimately work out? What were your odds of becoming a history professor at the time you decided to start working towards that goal? What would you have done if you had failed in your goal? Would failing at becoming a history professor been better or worse than succeeding as a medical doctor?

For the overwhelming majority of people, neither history professor nor medical doctor is a good career choice. I had a cousin who last Thanksgiving mentioned he was considering history for his major in college. I strongly advised against it because of his low probability of success and the amount of work he would have to put in to succeed. By Christmas, he had changed his mind to Structural Engineering.

After considering my options and preferences, I decided that money and security mattered less than a profession that would be genuinely satisfying and meaningful. What’s the point of making a million bucks if I’m miserable doing it, I thought to myself.

You're welcome to believe a history professor's job has more meaning than a medical doctor's, but you're probably on an island in that belief. Money, job security, job meaning, and career interest are just some of the reasons to choose a job path. There is also:

  • How well you like your boss
  • How well you like your coworkers
  • Job perks
  • Difficulty of obtaining the job
  • Number of hours worked
  • Consistency of hours worked
  • Amount of travel away from home
  • Job Status

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work. The high-paying career paths right now are mostly in Engineering, Technology, Business, and Health Care. Medical Doctor is a bad idea because of the amount of debt and time you have to give up to get there even though it does have high pay and job security once you succeed. It also often has strenuous hours.

Comment author: Desrtopa 05 April 2015 09:44:05PM 0 points [-]

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work.

Not necessarily, See this comment for some opposing considerations. Some highly lucrative jobs can be pretty restrictive in terms of where you have to live to do them.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 03 April 2015 07:27:54AM 0 points [-]

I do very little offline communication with young people anymore and tend to think Reddit is representative. I mean, it is big, right?

Comment author: Desrtopa 05 April 2015 09:39:20PM 3 points [-]

Reminds me of this essay by Scott/Yvain where he mentions a reddit thread of over 10,000 comments specifically looking for people who opposed gay marriage, but with practically nobody who opposed gay marriage participating.

Comment author: private_messaging 30 March 2015 08:21:14PM 0 points [-]

Well, for what it's worth their wounds and bruises guy didn't think it was a single killer. And when someone's murdered at their own place in the dead middle of the night, often the cohabitants are involved.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2015 05:56:52AM 2 points [-]

The prosecutor claimed that from the number of stab wounds, it was unlikely that a single person could have inflicted them all. However, the number of stab wounds was by no means an outlier among murders known to have a single perpetrator (I do not have detailed statistics on this subject, but merely from my limited experience with case studies on the subject I have encountered quite a few cases which involved many more stab wounds from a single perpetrator.) Considering the pervasive incompetence their forensics teams demonstrated over the course of the case, I would assign very little weight to this.

The prosecution also presented pieces of "evidence" such as Knox placing extremely short phone calls to Kercher, too short to transmit any message. This and many other points raised by the prosecution fit the pattern of behavior that seems unusual, and so is presented as evidence for suspicion of murder, despite the fact that the behavior doesn't make more sense if we suppose she was involved in the murder.

If Knox had a murder likelihood of 1/1000 after conditioning on the evidence that Kercher had been murdered, but before accounting for other evidence, and she's then observed to have engaged in unusual actions with a 1/1000 probability, it makes no difference towards her likelihood as a culprit if they're not actions which are more likely in the event that she's actually guilty. We can come up with post-hoc explanations for why the unusual things might be related to involvement in the murder, and this kind of reasoning appears to have constituted a large part of the prosecution's case, but if we don't have any prior reason to suppose that guilt of murder is associated with such behaviors, then these explanations will tend only to be rationalizations of preexisting suspicion.

Comment author: private_messaging 30 March 2015 05:22:19AM *  -2 points [-]

I think you skip some details. Sollecito withdrew his alibi for Knox. Then Knox implicated Lumumba. And they really go after the guy. Interestingly they fail to railroad Lumumba in the way in which you think they railroaded Knox. Which to me is really interesting because it doesn't fit the 'evil police' story.

Knox of course claims it was extremely coercive, took hours, and some physical abuse from the police. Police denies abuse. We can't really tell either way, but prosecution ought to know how coercive they were. So that's another opportunity to really piss prosecution off.

edit: another thing, wounds and bruises on the body were interpreted as Kercher having been held by one person and stabbed by another. This is the reason why prosecution got so completely sure that more than one person was involved. Yeah, it's rather subjective and unreliable but people can be very sure in that sort of stuff.

There's all sorts of complicated details that are completely missing from the US coverage of the trials, which make the prosecution's position much more understandable. Perhaps the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence, but neither did the prosecution come up with some batshit insane theory out of the blue for no reason when they had everything explained with Guede.

edit: also, Guede was not some random robber, he knew people downstairs and met Knox before at least briefly. If he was random robber who never set his foot on the premises, then Bayesian wise it would have been a no-brainer: it's just unlikely that two independent groups of people who had no chance to pick eachother would be on board with murdering.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2015 05:41:54AM 0 points [-]

There's all sorts of complicated details that are completely missing from the US coverage of the trials, which make the prosecution's position much more understandable. Perhaps the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence, but neither did the prosecution come up with some batshit insane theory out of the blue for no reason when they had everything explained with Guede.

Komponisto is Italian and translated documents from the prosecution for the benefit of the community.

Comment author: private_messaging 30 March 2015 10:03:57PM *  1 point [-]

I think it'd be quite strange to claim that confessions don't ever correlate with guilt.

By the way what she did was she claimed she was at the scene of the crime covering her ears as Lumumba murdered Kercher (and no she didn't call the 112 about it or anything). If she as she says was coerced into making such a statement, yeah, that's not evidence of guilt. But if it is as police says it is, do you still think it's not evidence of guilt?

Picture an alternative universe. Bob, an exchange student from Australia, is being questioned as a witness. There's a minor discrepancy: Jake, his friend, withdrew his alibi for the night. Those things happen, you don't really think too much of it, but you have to question Bob. You're somewhat suspicious but not highly so. Without much of a prompt, Bob tells a story of how he was covering his ears as Peter, his boss, was murdering the victim.

Now what do you do with Bob, exactly? Let him go once you clear Peter? Keep him because he's not a cute girl?

Now, we aren't sure that this is how it went. Police claims that this is how it went and Knox claims that she got pretty much beaten into that statement, and it's one word against the other.

Her being psychopathic would have likely lead to other facts that a well funded persecution could uncover.

She's a foreigner, there's no budget for transatlantic flights to figure out if she had been cruel to animals as a child or the like, there's no jurisdiction, and you can't use that sort of stuff in a court anyway.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2015 05:29:58AM 2 points [-]

By the way what she did was she claimed she was at the scene of the crime covering her ears as Lumumba murdered Kercher (and no she didn't call the 112 about it or anything). If she as she says was coerced into making such a statement, yeah, that's not evidence of guilt. But if it is as police says it is, do you still think it's not evidence of guilt?

The police records indicate that they had already started considering Lumumba as a suspect prior to interrogating Knox. Knox was detained for a long period of time by the police, during which time she alleges she was treated abusively, before she pointed her finger at the person the police already suspected, but who later proved to have an airtight alibi.

She's a foreigner, there's no budget for transatlantic flights to figure out if she had been cruel to animals as a child or the like, there's no jurisdiction, and you can't use that sort of stuff in a court anyway.

The prosecution presented plenty of character evidence, the worst they had to present was simply very innocuous, even when they tried to exaggerate it for effect. In the prosecution's hands, an anime series which a member of Less Wrong attested to having watched in an after school club in middle school became a work of "violent animated pornography."

Comment author: adamzerner 17 March 2015 11:02:13PM *  -1 points [-]

What's wrong with being stupid? What's wrong with being perceived as stupid?

It seems that the "stupid" you're referring to is "not knowledgeable", or perhaps "poor aptitude". Those are both things that can (largely) be trained.

Personally, I judge people for lacking open-mindedness, and to a lesser extent curiosity, and to a lesser extent ambition. I sense that this is a rather common way that smart people judge others. But I don't think it's common to judge people for temporarily lacking knowledge.

Comment author: Desrtopa 02 April 2015 11:29:19PM 0 points [-]

Knowledge can be learned but aptitude is more or less defined in terms of not being trainable. Of course, this might mean that it's simply defined out of existence, but my experience has definitely been that it's much easier to teach some people things than others. Indeed, I experience a significant conflict between helping students who're most at risk of failing, and thereby accomplishing very little actual instruction, because they're mostly so difficult to teach, and focusing on the students who could pass under their own initiative, who'll actually absorb and comprehend the instruction, but can get by without it.

There are issues of attitude as well as aptitude, and they're closely intertwined, but they're not the same thing, and when you deal with a lot of people who vary along both metrics, it's hard to avoid differentiating between them.

Comment author: DanielLC 04 March 2015 09:43:17PM 6 points [-]

If you're unbiased then you should be underestimating your opposition about half the time.

Comment author: Desrtopa 27 March 2015 03:16:29PM 0 points [-]

Only if you have no margin within which you can be considered to be "correctly estimating."

Comment author: Salemicus 04 March 2015 01:48:22PM 2 points [-]

So would you get angry if a sabre-toothed tiger charged at you when you weren't expecting it? Do you get angry when a clear day gives way to rain? Do you get angry when a short story has a twist ending?

Expectations not being fulfilled doesn't necessarily cause anger. It may lead to sadness, or laughter, or fear, or disappointment, or any number of emotions. But it normally only leads to anger when the frustrated expectation is about social rules.

Comment author: Desrtopa 27 March 2015 02:54:11AM 0 points [-]

So would you get angry if a sabre-toothed tiger charged at you when you weren't expecting it? Do you get angry when a clear day gives way to rain? Do you get angry when a short story has a twist ending?

For me at least, the answers are no, yes, and no respectively. We can further refine the prior hypothesis by stipulating that the bad feelings arise from expectations not being fulfilled in an unpleasurable way, which would stop it from generating the third situation as an example. As for the first, perhaps one might experience anger if it were not being overridden by the more pressing reaction of fear. Or perhaps the hypothesis is off base, but it seems to generate some correct predictions of anger which the hypothesis that anger only arises from frustrated expectations about social rules fails to generate.

Comment author: Jost 25 February 2015 12:48:10PM 0 points [-]

And two weeks later, Quirrellmort is back at the same power level thanks to his next-gen Horcruxes and can make a new attempt to get the cloak, while Harry (who is most likely the most notable rival Quirrellmort had) stays dead. Doesn’t sound too strong to me.

(Unless you value “Quirrellmort doesn’t get the cloak” about as high as “Quirrellmort doesn’t reach world domination”, which I don’t.)

Comment author: Desrtopa 25 February 2015 03:38:11PM 2 points [-]

Actually, this might be one of the only plays Harry could have made which wouldn't have that result, because it seems the purpose of the trap is to lock away Voldemort's shade where it can't access other victims even by leaving his body. If Voldemort died while talking to Dumbledore, his shade would probably still be stuck inside the mirror world.

Although speculatively, this might not work because his shade has no reflection, but if that were the case then Voldemort would have an out even given the powers Dumbledore already knew him to have.

Comment author: SilentCal 25 February 2015 12:56:03AM 5 points [-]

A satisfying victory against an opponent just one move behind... Sure seems like Q's desire.

Only thing is this doesn't explain why Harry can see it. I'd say it has to do with the Riddles being the same person, but that would mean a mere confundus broke that link? Is it possible Voldemort was able to get the true Quirrell to confund himself? This seems improbable.

More likely what we saw was special programming of some sort, keyed to a trait common to the Riddles, and not just a normal desire show--though not necessarily what it appeared to be.

Comment author: Desrtopa 25 February 2015 03:33:16PM 0 points [-]

Well, keep in mind that Harry did just see Voldemort's reflection with Dumbledore's family before the Confoundment wore off. I don't recall the mirror doing that in the original canon, but it might just have been changed to make the scenes flow better rather than due to a specific mechanical change in how the mirror is supposed to work.

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