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Comment author: CellBioGuy 21 July 2015 06:04:25AM *  27 points [-]

Would a series of several posts on astrobiology and the Fermi paradox, each consisting of a link to an external post on a personal blog I have just established to contain my musings on the subject and related matters, be appreciated?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 July 2015 11:18:47PM 1 point [-]

Yes. absolutely would be of interest.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 June 2015 01:35:51PM 5 points [-]

Philosophers are apparently about as vulnerable as the general population to certain cognitive biases involved in making moral decisions according to new research. Apparently, they are as susceptible to the order of presentation impacting how moral or immoral they rate various situations. See summary of research here. Actual research is unfortunately behind a paywall.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 22 May 2015 12:37:42PM *  0 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win. I think entirely the other way around, I would make my character a wizard because and only because this career choice matches his personality, background and so on, and multiclass only when it looks like my char really would. And would not give no heed to efficiency and power. It would be the DMs job to match difficulty level to our characters, not the other way around.

I will have to invent an RPG where all armor has the same AC, all weapons the same damage, so that players don't try to make overpowered optimization monsters but plain simply choose whatever matches a characters style, background, culture, or the players general sense of coolness. Thus, for example, a player would be comfortable with a fighter character that wears no armor and carries only a rapier because he is a D'Artagnan type swashbuckler, that is his personality, background and style.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 May 2015 01:11:26AM -1 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win.

I generally don't play "optmized" characters, but the fact that there are some character types which are more optimal for most purposes (surviving games, making DMs cry, etc.) is well acknowledged. One can have fun discussing those issues independent of any characters one actually plays in a game.

There are however, some circumstances where it really does matter. Say for example one is playing a very high intelligence wizard in D&D 3.5. The fact is that throwing fire balls at everything is very fun, but not at all effective compared to battlefield control and buffing. So if one has a wizard who likes doing that sort of thing, you need an in game explanation for why they enjoy solving things with explosions so much.

It is also worth noting that in some games, the problem of optimal characters gets so severe that it makes it for some arrangements of characters where it is extremely difficult or impossible for a DM to match something that corresponds to the difficulty level of all the characters. A genuine threat to some characters will be the same level that makes other characters useless or dead. The 3.5 Tier list was made to try to help understand and fix this problem. So these issues do impact real game play.

Comment author: Lumifer 20 May 2015 04:14:45PM *  1 point [-]

(more a social justice wizard/rogue)

Ah, so ridiculously OP..? [1] X-D

were not well received

If politics tend to mind-kill, discussions of SJ tend to disintegrate brains into dust. People just haul out their flamethrowers and go to town...

[1] For those not well-versed in DnD minutae, combining the abilities of a glass-cannon class (like a wizard) and a stealthy burst-damage class (like a rogue) tends to result in a quite overpowered character.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 21 May 2015 07:23:50PM 0 points [-]

For those not well-versed in DnD minutae, combining the abilities of a glass-cannon class (like a wizard) and a stealthy burst-damage class (like a rogue) tends to result in a quite overpowered character.

I think this is very edition dependent and what multiclassing rules you are using.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 May 2015 03:20:03PM 2 points [-]

Red dwarfs have a smaller habitable zone than our sun, but if you have a planet close enough to a red dwarf this isn't an issue. This is exactly the problem: if there are some set of not so likely series of events that will occur, then one expects to find civilizations around red dwarfs. If one expects that's not the case then the big habitable zones on somewhat bigger stars make one more likely to expect a civilization around those stars. We see the second.

  • AFAIK planets close enough to a Red Dwarf to get enough lumosity stop being earth-like due to other effects (likely rotational periods, tidal forces).
Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 May 2015 06:27:08PM 0 points [-]

The situation is a bit more complicated. Wikipedia has a good summary. There's also been more recent work which suggests that the outer end of the habitable zone around red dwarfs may be larger than than earlier estimates. See my earlier comments here on this subject.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 May 2015 01:33:20PM 1 point [-]

The low luminosity of red dwarf stars makes them unsuitable for an earth-like environment, I believe. I don't have enough information to comment on a non-earthlike environment supporting life.

The stability of red dwarves, however, could work as a filter in itself, limiting the number of global extinction events.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 May 2015 03:08:36PM 0 points [-]

The low luminosity of red dwarf stars makes them unsuitable for an earth-like environment, I believe. I don't have enough information to comment on a non-earthlike environment supporting life.

Red dwarfs have a smaller habitable zone than our sun, but if you have a planet close enough to a red dwarf this isn't an issue. This is exactly the problem: if there are some set of not so likely series of events that will occur, then one expects to find civilizations around red dwarfs. If one expects that's not the case then the big habitable zones on somewhat bigger stars make one more likely to expect a civilization around those stars. We see the second.

The stability of red dwarves, however, could work as a filter in itself, limiting the number of global extinction events.

Possibly, but I don't think that any of the major extinction events in Earth history are generally attributed to large solar flares or coronal mass ejections or the like. So it seems like asteroids and geological considerations are more than enough to provide extinction events.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 08 May 2015 08:25:18PM 2 points [-]

My personal suspicion is that intelligent life requires a wide variety of complex cellular machinery, which requires multiple global extinction-level events to weed out more highly specialized species utilizing more efficient but less adaptable survival mechanisms; each extinction-level event, in this suspicion, would raise the potential complexity of the environment, until intelligence becomes more advantageous than expensive. However, there'd have to be spacing between global extinction events, in order to permit a recovery period in which that complexity can actually arise. Any planet which experiences multiple global extinction events is likely to experience more, however, so the conditions which give rise to intelligent life would usually result in its ultimate destruction.

No hard evidence, granted. Just suspicion.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 May 2015 11:38:35PM 0 points [-]

This hypothesis is interesting and not one I've seen at all before. It seems to run partially afoul of the same problem that many small early filters would run into- one would be more likely to find civilizations around red dwarfs. Is there a way around that?

Comment author: Lumifer 08 May 2015 07:55:04PM 1 point [-]

What do you mean by an outlier in this context? That they screwed up in their methodology, or that by random chance they sampled all the old curmudgeons in some district, but none of the bright young things?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 May 2015 08:25:36PM 2 points [-]

Essentially the second, although the first could be a problem also. The point is that the incentive structure isn't there for them to precommit.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 May 2015 07:17:59PM 3 points [-]

Each time this has lead to big changes in the polling industry. I would suggest that one important scientific improvement is for polling companies to announce the methodology of a poll and any adjustments to be made before the poll takes place, and commit to publishing all polls they carry out

This would be a great change, but if they are worried about looking silly for having an incorrect outlier it may be very hard to create an incentive structure to get them to actually do this.

Comment author: Unknowns 06 May 2015 05:11:12AM 8 points [-]

I don't see how this study does any good unless first they measure the rate at which people actually match the stereotypical preconceptions and then compare this with the two average ratings. Otherwise it is possible the people were becoming less biased, not more.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 May 2015 12:26:56AM 1 point [-]

Data already suggests from a number of studies that people over-estimate how much information they can glean from stereotypes. See for example the studies involving names and resumes.

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