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Comment author: advancedatheist 23 April 2015 03:00:38AM 1 point [-]

I don't know how to test it, though I suspect the relative absence of christian beliefs in those countries would make a difference. And why would such a "window" even exist there? If these countries can figure out how to keep economic progress going indefinitely without the dysfunctions in Western societies identified by, say, Peter Thiel, then these countries could very well take the lead in becoming increasingly "futuristic" on their own, without having to look to the West for models and guidance.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 23 April 2015 10:35:43AM 1 point [-]

I would be interesting to find out what the public reaction is in Thailand, and also to see what their science fiction is like.

Comment author: DataPacRat 21 April 2015 04:18:44PM 1 point [-]

Typing doesn't increase the shoulder pain. (As of the latest doctor's visit, he thinks it's actually more of a neck problem.) It's more the general background level of pain that's keeping me from being able to spend any time coming up with plot-stuff I want to write.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2015 05:49:43PM 2 points [-]

Sometimes the connection between pain and its cause aren't obvious. I was having fairly severe random knee pains, and it turned out that getting my bike lubricated made them go away, even though the pain wasn't happening when I was riding my bike or soon after riding it.

You might want to check on the ergonomics of everything you usually do.

Comment author: Strangeattractor 21 April 2015 10:20:53AM 0 points [-]

Here are some brands of supplements that I think are high quality:

AOR http://www.aor.ca

HepaPro http://www.hepahealth.com/hepapro_product.htm

Now Foods http://www.nowfoods.com

LivOn Labs http://www.livonlabs.com

BodyBio http://www.bodybio.com

Nutricology http://www.nutricology.com

Jarrow http://www.jarrow.com

VSL3 http://www.vsl3.com

Proferrin http://www.proferrin.ca

These are based in North America. I'm not sure what the situation is like in other parts of the world. This is not a complete list by any means, just an example of some companies that I think produce at least one high-quality product.

Even though I listed some brands above, different brands optimize for different things, and people can react differently to the same supplements, so most of the time, trial and error is needed to figure out which supplements work for a particular individual.

Here are some things I take into consideration when choosing supplements.

1) There are two mutually exclusive approaches to creating a herbal supplement (more than two actually, but I'm simplifying to make a point.) One approach is to focus on getting as pure and measureable an active ingredient as possible. This is similar to how one would approach making a prescription drug. The other approach takes the view that we as a society do not yet understand all the nuances of what makes a herb work, and that isolating an active ingredient, or optimizing for it, may reduce the effectiveness that the combinations of substances in the herb have in its unaltered proportions. So the aim of this approach is to present the herb in its most unaltered form, which means that there can be more variations between batches.

So, from my list above, AOR takes basically the first approach, and HepaPro takes the second approach. I think that both approaches can be useful.

There are also a whole bunch of companies whose approach seems to be based on marketing, cost-cutting, and mediocrity, but I don't think any of the companies I mentioned above fit in that category.

2) Some products have been studied by scientists. For example, some specific strains of probiotics sold by Jarrow have papers published about them.

3) Reading the ingredients is really important. It helps to know:

a) the form of the substance b) the amount of the substance c) the type of fillers and additives used, if any.

There can be a lot of variation in those three things. For example, Vitamin B5 could mean pantothenic acid or pantethine. A probiotic supplement could have 5 million organisms or 5 billion organisms, a difference in amount of a thousandfold. A herbal supplement could have methylcellulose filler, or natural flavoring added, or no additives or fillers at all. These things can make a difference.

4) When choosing which form of a substance to take, and if going with the approach of seeking a reliable amount of an active ingredient rather than the whole herb, then it usually makes sense to choose something that is closer to what the body would actually use than something that is a precursor to what it has to produce eg. pantethine instead of pantothenic acid. This is not always a useful rule of thumb, and sometimes there are substances that cannot be absorbed by the body through the digestive system if too close to the final substance. However, the reason it can be a good idea is that sometimes the reason a person is deficient in a substance is that something has gone wrong with the body's ability to make the final substance from a dietary intake of the precursors. So adding more of the precursor would not fix the problem. And even if that process works, it might take more energy for the body make the final substance, which could tire the person out, or the precursor may not be absorbed as well.

There are other considerations to take into account when choosing which form of substance to take. For example, BodyBio makes different forms of Butyric acid. Some with just sodium, some with just potassium, and some with a balanced amount of sodium and potassium. Depending on what the balance of electrolytes in your body tends to be, you can choose which one suits you best. For most people, I would guess that the balanced amount of sodium and potassium would be the best option, but there are circumstances that would make a different choice better.

5) Personal experience usually trumps how good things look on paper.

I have noticed differences in how I feel, taking different brands and formulations of supplements. For example, I feel a noticeable difference from taking the LivOn Labs lypospheric vitamin C than I do from straight up ascorbic acid from AOR. It seems to have a better effect and to act more quickly. I'm not totally happy with LivOn Labs as a company, since they add extraneous additives and flavourings, especially to their other products. They don't add as many to the vitamin C. I'm not entirely sure whether the effect I feel is from the vitamin C itself getting to the site better because of the lipids surrounding it, or if what my body actually needs more of are the lipids themselves.

VSL3 stopped persistent diarrhea while I was on antibiotics when no other probiotic did. I think this may be because each packet has about 450 billion organisms, which is much higher than any other product on the market.

Those are experiences where I can point to a difference between brands and formulations. But sometimes, there isn't as easy a difference to point to. I just can tell that it feels different to take one brand than another, and I don't know why, or which of the differences in the ingredients listed on the package, or differences in the manufacturing process, might be involved. It helps to pay attention.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2015 12:13:34PM 0 points [-]

Thanks very much for the level of detail. I'll be passing this on to a friend who's seriously into supplements.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 21 April 2015 07:05:07AM 14 points [-]

I retract my Great Filter hypothesis: I realized this predicts an ever smaller population of ever smarter hominids, who still have a good quality of life, making up in smarts what they miss in numbers. But the simple fact is, hominid populations were not dwindling. They were pretty steadily taking over the planet, migrating out of Africa and all that.

Well, unless it happened before and caused the mitochondrial Eve bottleneck and then things turned different after that, but that is adding too much detail and courting a conjunction bias, so I don't propose that until more evidence is unearthed.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2015 12:10:03PM 6 points [-]

Upvoted for updating.

Comment author: Viliam 21 April 2015 09:05:08AM *  3 points [-]

Great point!

Although hypotetically here could be two independent interests that just happen to be strategically aligned. Some people want to stop unqualified immigrants, other people want to stop qualified immigrants who would compete with them on the job market.

Also there are of course concerns other than economical, such as people bringing with them some nasty habits from their cultures. These were not included in the thought experiment, which perhaps makes it irrelevant for real-world situations.

Also having slaves has the risk of those slaves rebelling later.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 21 April 2015 12:08:15PM 3 points [-]

I wasn't kidding when I said one of the motivations was a desire to not live with large numbers of strangers. One issue might be cognitive load-- the strangers have unfamiliar customs (is a sincere apology accompanied by a smile or a serious expression?) and possibly an unfamiliar language.

As far as I can tell, the economic side of not wanting immigrants is a sort of merchantilism-- a belief that all that matters is where the money is, so that new people showing up and getting paid for work just seems like money getting drained away. Weirdly, rich people who show up and spend money without working locally may be disliked, but they don't seem to be as hated as poor people who do useful work. I don't think it's just about competition for jobs.

Comment author: dxu 20 April 2015 12:19:27AM *  13 points [-]

Has anyone here ever had the "location" of their sense of self change? I ask because I've recently read that while some people feel like "they" are located in their heads, others feel like "they" are in their chests, or even feet. Furthermore, apparently some people actually "shift around", in that sometimes they feel like their sense of self is in one body part, and then it's somewhere else.

I find this really interesting because I have never had such an experience myself; I'm always "in my head", so to speak--more precisely, I feel as though "I" am located specifically at a point slightly behind my eyes. The obvious hypothesis is that my visual sense is the sense that conveys the most information (aside from touch, which isn't pinned down to a specific location), which is why I identify with it most, but the sensation of being "in my head" persists even when I have my eyes closed, which somewhat contradicts that hypothesis. Also, the fact that some people apparently don't perceive themselves in that place is more weak evidence against that hypothesis.

So, any thoughts/stories/anecdotes?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2015 11:52:26PM 2 points [-]


I'm not sure this is definitive, but it's at least interesting.

Comment author: Viliam 20 April 2015 10:31:59PM *  19 points [-]

It reminds me of a thought experiment I have read somewhere. Imagine that there are many people in the world who are dying from starvation. They would happily agree to be your slaves, if you feed them. There is too many of them and they are not qualified for modern economy; if you would give them more than a minimum, there wouldn't be enough for you to have a decent life. Imagine you only have the following three options:

A) Share everything with them. Everyone will live, but everyone will be rather poor.
B) Accept them as your slaves, in exchange for food and shelter. Everyone will live, you will keep your quality of life, but there will be a huge inequality.
C) Refuse to interact with them. You will keep your quality of life, but they will die from starvation.

If we order these options by altruism, which is how those poor people would see them, we get A > B > C. It would be best to make those poor people our equals, but even helping them survive as slaves is better than letting them die.

If we order these options by pure egoism, we get B > C > A. Having slaves would be a cool improvement, keeping status quo is acceptable.

But in the typical decision process, we refuse B to signal that we are not complete egoists, and refuse A because we are not really that much altruistic. Thus what remains is the option C... which paradoxically both altruists and egoists consider to be worse than B (and the altruists also worse than A).

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2015 11:38:25PM 12 points [-]

The thing is, I don't think a lot of illegal immigrants are unqualified for a modern economy. If they were unqualified, there wouldn't be so many laws trying to keep them from working.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 20 April 2015 07:55:10PM 0 points [-]

Can confirm that.

I noticed that my mood subly changed in response to the moved location - presumably due to the associations these bring. This would match up with the Dalai Lama receommendations in some other comment.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2015 08:54:28PM 1 point [-]

For me, there was a large postural change. Oddly, moving my sense of self down meant that my head came up.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 20 April 2015 08:12:32PM *  0 points [-]

Of course, but "useful" is different from "increases reproductive fitness", and the basic assumption is that the selective pressure of intelligence came from competition inside the species. It is sort of difficult for me to imagine what kind of competition can happen between ancestral females to increase reproductive fitness (and not simply to have a better life, these two are different things). Let's assume for now it is not for higher quantity of children, nor for higher quality sperm thus the genetic quality of children (it does not really require much of a competition, it is cheap), what else is left? Largely the upbringing and life of those children. Am I on the right track there that it is more about what happens to the children once they are born? Are the get resources invested by the genetic father, by the tribe, by the chieftain, by the queen, by whoever, what status they get and so on? As this sounds vaguely possible for I just don't know to visualize it. (Sort of Cersei Lannister situation, push children into high status positions?)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2015 08:53:40PM *  1 point [-]

I have to check on this, but I think competition can go all the way to low status female's children being killed. Even if it doesn't go that far, less access to food/more stressed mothers mean that the children of a low status mother are more likely to be less capable adults.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 20 April 2015 01:43:17PM *  0 points [-]

I've occasionally been able to move my sense of self downwards from my head.

Just tried it. I'm able to move the focus of my attention downward. Mostly the same way as I can consciously widen the angle of my attention.

But I can't be sure that this implies that it is my self. I'd like to add that there are multiple self: A perceiving self (which I'm tempted to locate in the brain), a whole self which contains everything of my body that I take to be my body and then probably another self which is the space that I contain and where I do not wan't anybody to intrude on. And some more.

ADDED: The widening of the angle of perception seems to be this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconcentration_of_attention

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 April 2015 07:41:52PM 1 point [-]

I just tried imagining being in my heart looking up at my head. I can't guarantee that I actually moved my sense of self-- maybe "I" was still in my head creating an imagined self in my heart-- but it was at least an interesting and rather cheering experience. I feel more alert.

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