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Comment author: the-citizen 20 October 2014 10:38:15AM *  5 points [-]

So we have lots of guides on how to be rational... but do we have any materials that consider what makes a person decide to pursue rationality and consciously decide to adopt rationality as an approach to life?

Recently I was talking to someone and realised they didn't accept that a rational approach was always the best one, and it was harder than I expected to come up with an argument that would be compelling for someone that didn't think rationality was all that worthwhile... not neccessarily irrational, but just not a conscious follower/advocate of it. I think a lot of the arguments for it are actually quite philosophical or in some people's case mathematical. Got me thinking, what actually turns someone into a rationality fan? A rational argument? Oh wait....

I've got some ideas, but nothing I'd consider worth writing down at this stage... is there anything to prevent wheel reinvention?

Comment author: Emile 20 October 2014 12:18:05PM 3 points [-]

I usually don't use the term "rational"/"rationality" that much, and would rather talk about things like "being effective at what you care about".

Comment author: zedzed 20 October 2014 09:04:48AM *  0 points [-]

To what degree can I copy/paste from Google Docs when creating an article?

Edit: Google Docs -> article is sketchy, though not impossible if you're willing to put in time reformatting.

Followup: are articles usually written in the editor that comes up when you click "create a new article"?

Comment author: Emile 20 October 2014 12:14:13PM 4 points [-]

Depends on what you want to do, if you want to keep your google doc formatting (including which lines are title, bulleted lists, links, etc.) then your result will probably look weird and ugly on lesswrong.

The best would be to copy-paste from google doc but to paste with Ctrl-shift-V (or equivalent), which in most browsers pastes the raw text, and then redoing the necessary formatting in the LW article editor. This will be a bit of a pain for links, bolded/italics parts, quotes, etc. since you'll have to redo them (so it's best not to do them in the first place in google docs).

Comment author: ChristianKl 17 October 2014 11:38:51AM 1 point [-]

For starters, you cannot say "mosquitoes" - as others have pointed out, there are ~3500 separate mosquito species, only ~100 bite humans, and only several dozen transmit disease.

I don't see any reason to only target those that transmit diseases. Target ones that are simply annoying because they string the average person, gives everyone a clear reason to support the proposal. There are also people with allergies or who simply don't heal the stinged area very well.

Also, I don't think country-level eradication plans (even for a single species) have the slightest chance of working long-term due to persistent re-invasion risk.

If you have to continue paying a few million each year to keep the mosquito population near zero that's no problem for any industrialized country if there's public will.

Narrowness is a virtue here, and this level of biological imprecision could alienate potential allies who will take you as reckless and uninformed.

Don't worry as far as biological imprecision goes. I don't invest the kind of effort required for being precise for a LW post to explore the idea but I would certainly invest the necessary effort if I wrote an actual petition and tried to make it viral.

I also made a choice against immediately crossposting to the effective altruism board or other venues to be able to iterate based on feedback.

(A related point is that the most promising interventions for eradication (like the sterile insect technique) are species specific, so it makes sense to start with the highest-priority target. Because [complex chain of reasoning to fill in later], I think aedes albopictus is likely the best bet.)

According to the map on Wikipedia we don't have any aedes albopictus in Germany but 4 neighboring countries have them. That means that it's not a valid target for German activism. Otherwise do you disagree with that map?

Comment author: Emile 17 October 2014 12:05:00PM 1 point [-]

I don't see any reason to only target those that transmit diseases. Target ones that are simply annoying because they string the average person, gives everyone a clear reason to support the proposal. There are also people with allergies or who simply don't heal the stinged area very well.

In addition, if you target all human-biting mosquitoes, you get better information on whether the program is still effective, just ask people to report any mosquito bites.

In response to Fighting Mosquitos
Comment author: Lumifer 16 October 2014 06:52:12PM 2 points [-]

So what's next after the mosquitoes?

Bed bugs? Cockroaches? Lice? Rats?

In response to comment by Lumifer on Fighting Mosquitos
Comment author: Emile 16 October 2014 08:56:44PM 4 points [-]

Let's find out! Who deserves to die?

Human-biting mosquitoes?

Bed bugs?

Headlice?

Fleas?

Ticks?

Cockroaches?

Tapeworms?

Colorado potato beetles?

Boll Weevils?

Rats?

Submitting...

In response to Fighting Mosquitos
Comment author: Emile 16 October 2014 03:11:21PM 1 point [-]

Someone should run for president on this platform.

In response to Fighting Mosquitos
Comment author: Emile 16 October 2014 12:50:58PM 2 points [-]

That's one of the best news I've seen recently! I didn't even know this was possible at a reasonable cost...

Comment author: JQuinton 15 October 2014 12:52:55AM 5 points [-]

What does it mean "studied it at university"? Do you mean something like "Took econ 101 and 102 as part of gen ed requirements" or "majored in economics"?

Comment author: Emile 15 October 2014 06:50:30AM 5 points [-]

The goal is to give reference points for the jumerical scale so the numbers can be more meaningfully compared, not necessarily to have a detailed reference that will annoy some people (too much to read) and confuse others (don't fit in).

I was thinking of something intermediate, like "took specialized classes, not 101", but I'm afraid being too specific about education means people will not take into account other things like how much they forgot or how much they learnt in the meantime. Someone who took econ 101 but works in a bank and argues about economic policy on the internet everyday and read a few good books is probably more knowledgeale than someone who majored in economics and then said "screw it all" and became an actor.

Comment author: Emily 13 October 2014 07:44:01AM 5 points [-]

For the first one, it might be better to ask how many hours / minutes rather than how many times. Otherwise somebody's 10-minute cycle to work is counted with as much weight as somebody else's 2 hours in the gym.

Comment author: Emile 13 October 2014 12:22:05PM 3 points [-]

(agreed, and the question should probably be formulated to distinguish deliberate exercise from things like cycling to work)

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 October 2014 12:32:57AM 1 point [-]

" Liberia" was short hand: I mean the several countries in West Africa where the epidemic exists.

That assumes that you have good data real time data about the epidemic.

If you start strongly punishing countries for revealing data about local epidemics you soon don't have that data anymore.

Obviously you can limit travel in any way you want: you can let health workers go in and out while blocking regular travelers.

As the article describes the one person who actually did spread the disease to the West was the nurse Teresa Romero Ramos. Health workers are much more likely to come into contact with bodily fluids and get the virus than the average person wealthy enough to buy plane tickets.

Comment author: Emile 13 October 2014 07:42:27AM 2 points [-]

If you start strongly punishing countries for revealing data about local epidemics you soon don't have that data anymore.

The effect of "punishing" is not linear, it only matters if it reaches a threshold. So as long as any travel ban comes with more aid (which seems likely), the info will be revealed as before.

Comment author: Emile 12 October 2014 09:02:10PM *  8 points [-]

A couple (more) questions I'd find interesting:

  • How many times do you exercise per week, on average?

  • How many nonfiction books do you read per month, on average?

  • How knowledgeable would you consider yourself in the following fields? (on a scale of 0 to 5, where 3 is about "studied it at university" and 5 "I'm a publically recognized expert")

    • Psychology

    • Economics

    • Artificial Intelligence

    • Statistics

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