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Comment author: skeptical_lurker 27 April 2015 09:44:32PM 4 points [-]

Perhaps not that rare, dependent upon where you live and who you mix with. But in my experience, the left tries to frame everything as heroic rebels vs the evil empire, with an almost complete refusal to discuss or consider actual policies.

Comment author: Larks 27 April 2015 11:49:54PM 0 points [-]

Do they not hate the evil empire?

Comment author: passive_fist 13 April 2015 02:49:42AM *  1 point [-]

I'm personally not entirely convinced about the usefulness of personality variables, but I've lately become interested in Altemeyer's concept of Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). RWA is characterized by submission to authority and strong defense of established norms.

RWA is unsurprisingly correlated strongly with conservatism and right-wing orientation in politics, but characterizing people as RWA or non-RWA may be misleading. Karen Stenner suggested that "RWA is best understood as expressing a dynamic response to external threat, not a static disposition based only on the traits of submission, aggression, and conventionalism." It was shown that when faced with possible future threats or fears, people tended to display RWA tendencies more strongly. For instance, when told there will be droughts or mass migrations in the future, people tend to be more strongly RWA.

This may help explain why talking about the damaging future effects of maintaining the status quo does not seem to be effective in bringing about change to address problems. My reasoning is this: The threat of future disaster causes people to become more RWA and this may in turn paradoxically cause them to adopt a stance more strongly in favor of established ways, hampering change. This may explain the current situation with climate change and other things.

Comment author: Larks 13 April 2015 10:49:24PM *  2 points [-]

RWA is unsurprisingly correlated strongly with conservatism and right-wing orientation in politics

This is so only because the researcher chose biased questions.. See also this

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 13 November 2012 06:27:49AM *  0 points [-]

Another one: You see a way to do things that in theory might work better that what everyone else is doing, but in practice no one seems to use. Do you investigate it and consider exploiting it?

Example: You're trying to get karma on reddit. You notice that http://www.reddit.com/r/randomization/ has almost a million subscribers but no new submissions in the past two months. Do you think "hm, that's weird" and keep looking for a subreddit to submit your link in, or do you think "oh wow, karma feast!"

Comment author: Larks 12 April 2015 05:16:11AM 0 points [-]

http://www.reddit.com/r/randomization/ has almost a million subscribers but no new submissions in the past two months.

Apparently that subreddit just lies about how many subscribers it has

Comment author: Viliam 07 April 2015 12:05:36PM 3 points [-]

Random idea: Once in a while we could do something like "LessWrong Wiki Improvement Thread". Choose a topic that is important, and start a discussion about how the wiki page on that topic could be improved. People can use search and submit relevant links in comments; or propose different ways of how the page could be organized. Later someone can implement the best suggestions and add links (the thread author could precommit to do that in a week).

Alternative title for the threads: "LessWrong Wiki Article of the Week / Month: <insert title>".

Comment author: Larks 09 April 2015 11:08:42PM 1 point [-]

Sounds like a great plan, except that historically

Later someone can implement the best suggestions and add links (the thread author could precommit to do that in a week).

has essentially never happened.

Comment author: Larks 09 April 2015 02:50:43AM -1 points [-]

Thanks for posting this, it was interesting. Definitely had a retro-feel. I wonder how much would differ if he gave the speech today. Some semi-informed speculation:

  • I've heard the market for actuaries has become more efficient recently, but with things like AppAcademy there doesn't seem much excuse to be poor and intelligent.
  • Maybe a lower estimate of how much personal relationships are improved by a little rationality.
Comment author: Manfred 04 April 2015 12:57:02AM *  1 point [-]

This sounds like a place where Kantian ethics would give the right answer. I think, there is some point at which it would be stupid to not seek divorce, and some point at which the promise you made is indeed more important, and the thing that differentiates those two states is not whether you want divorce now, but whether which procedure would it be better for people to follow - the one that has you stay married here, or the one that has you divorce here.

Comment author: Larks 05 April 2015 02:09:25PM 2 points [-]

Kantian ethics would almost definitely say to never divorce. Kantianism is not the same as Rule Utilitarianism!

Comment author: Jiro 04 April 2015 03:57:28PM 1 point [-]

A country that is known to elect new leaders cannot credibly precommit to paying back a loan unless it is in a situation that is robust against new leaders refusing to pay back the loans. So you would in fact be bound by the precommitments of your predecessor whether you wanted to be or not, though the exact mechanism can vary depending on exactly what made the precommitment credible.

Comment author: Larks 05 April 2015 02:04:34PM 1 point [-]

That's highly misleading. Empirically, many countries have successfully raise debt, and paid it back, despite debt-holders having no defense against a new leader wanting to default.

Comment author: D_Malik 28 March 2015 08:39:07PM *  0 points [-]

I'm planning to get a BS and then an MS in computer science. To get the BS I have to take a certain number of course units, much more than is actually needed to fulfill the BS's requirements, and I'm not entirely sure what to fill those extra units with.

Which of these is more impressive?

  • A 2nd major in economics.
  • A 2nd major in management engineering.
  • 2 minors in any 2 of:
    • statistics
    • economics
    • management engineering
    • mathematics
Comment author: Larks 28 March 2015 11:45:23PM 2 points [-]
  • Major in Economics
  • Minor in Maths/Stats
  • Minor in Econ
  • Major in Management Engineering
  • Minor in Management Engineering

I don't know exactly what management engineering is but it sounds like a made up subject.

Comment author: Larks 18 March 2015 01:54:32AM 3 points [-]

Suppose I wanted to predict the likelihood of and degree of delays and cost over-runs associated with a nuclear plant currently under construction. How would people recommend I do so?

Comment author: Nornagest 03 April 2014 02:09:28AM *  10 points [-]

A few disorganized thoughts:

  • It's often easy to find water and hard to find safe water, so a water purifier might be a useful supplement or substitute. In the States, you can get one for about $30 at REI or other outdoor stores. Purification tablets also exist but I don't know how well they work.

  • I'm not a big fan of commercial first-aid kits; they seem heavy on stuff that'll make you slightly more comfortable in situations where you don't really need first aid, and light on stuff that'll actually help prevent or manage serious illness or injury. Probably better to skip these and go with a more targeted approach, unless you expect to be dealing with people that insist on treatment for minor trauma.

  • I am a big fan of gel bandages for blisters; they won't save your life but they will save your mobility, especially if you're not used to walking long distances or are stuck in the wrong shoes. I try to keep them anywhere I might find myself doing a lot of unexpected walking from, like my car, and they're an essential piece of backpacking kit.

  • A multitool (Leatherman or competitor) is almost never the right thing to be using, but it's very often good enough if you don't mind a little extra labor. I keep one in my car's glovebox.

  • Information about how to use things can be as important as things. A book on field medicine would probably be a good thing to keep around. One on survival skills would probably take up more room in your luggage than it's really worth, if you're planning to go somewhere you might need it; but loading one onto an e-reader app on your phone doesn't have that problem. It does have the compensating problem of battery life.

Comment author: Larks 18 March 2015 01:29:19AM 0 points [-]

I'm not a big fan of commercial first-aid kits; they seem heavy on stuff that'll make you slightly more comfortable in situations where you don't really need first aid, and light on stuff that'll actually help prevent or manage serious illness or injury. Probably better to skip these and go with a more targeted approach ...

Could you provide some concrete suggestions?

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