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Comment author: joaolkf 28 March 2015 01:10:33PM *  1 point [-]

Sorry, I intended to mean that the comments are dramatically worse than the posts. But then again this might be true of most blogs. However, it's not true of the blogs I wish and find useful to visit.

This a blog that supports up/downvotes with karma in which comments are not dramatically worse than the post, and sometimes even better.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 29 March 2015 10:05:20PM 0 points [-]

This a blog that supports up/downvotes with karma

By a blog I mean something where the posts are written by one person. This is what I am calling a discussion forum: anyone (subject to a minimal karma requirement) can post at top level.

Comment author: joaolkf 28 March 2015 12:23:20AM 4 points [-]

I would be more in favour of pushing SSC to have up/downvotes than to linking its posts here. I find that although posts are high quality the comments are generally not, so this is a problem that definitely needs to be solved on its own. Moreover, I read both blogs and I like to have them as separate activities given that they have pretty different writing styles and mildly different subjects. I tend I to read SSC on my leisure time, while LessWrong is a gray area. I would certainly be against linking every single post here given that some of them would be decisively off topic.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 28 March 2015 08:23:10AM 4 points [-]

I find that although posts are high quality the comments are generally not.

This is true of every blog I've ever seen. Posts are high quality, because you wouldn't be reading the blog otherwise, but anyone can pop in to add their two cents. General discussion forums don't show this effect, because anyone can post at top level.

I've never seen a blog that supported downvotes or karma ratings. If such exist, do they get better comments?

Comment author: shminux 26 March 2015 10:20:24PM *  3 points [-]

Aragorn can hardly be worse than Sauron.

Aragorn was totally worse than Sauron, unless you value orc lives as negative (they certainly didn't). It's mere addition.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 March 2015 11:34:16PM 8 points [-]

As far as I recall, wIthin the world of LotR orcs are defined to be creatures of evil. Quite literally, the only good orc is a dead orc. Even if someone in that world compassionately regards the orcs as victims of the powers that created them by perverting the nature of the Elves, still they are evil, and always and everywhere it is praiseworthy to kill one, regardless of what the orcs have to say for themselves.

A world in which good people owe orcs any sort of rights or fair treatment is not the world of LotR, but a different world borrowing some of the same names. Indeed, orcs appear to be but more or less intelligent tools, guided by the mind of Sauron and of little use without it, and I think one could make a case that to kill an orc has exactly the same lack of moral significance as to destroy an enemy drone in the real world.

Comment author: Okeymaker 26 March 2015 08:16:19PM *  -2 points [-]

And instantly someone downvotes although they can´t possibly have read throught the post in 30 seconds. Sadly, some people can´t handle anything even remotely related to religion, however important it may be even from a rationalist´s standpoint.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 March 2015 09:02:50PM 1 point [-]

And instantly someone downvotes although they can´t possibly have read throught the post in 30 seconds.

It wasn't me, but 30 seconds is plenty to recognise this as unworthy of LessWrong.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 26 March 2015 01:13:43AM *  0 points [-]

But the Irish matter is not a religious dispute

I am not really sure what you are trying to say.

Christianity was important in the 17th century, and remained so probably until WWI at least. You can always say that e.g. the 30 year war was really about France vs the HRE, or the HRE infighting, and the whole deal with Bloody Mary was really about dynastic politics in the Kingdom of England, or the IRA was really about reprisal for English territorial ambitions (all based on a counterfactual argument).

I just don't find that very convincing. Obviously things other than religion were going on. This does not change the fact that (a) religion was very important in Europe, (b) a lot of blood was spilled before Europe worked through the Reformation, certainly in England, but also in the HRE, and (c) there are echoes of those events today. You can argue that in the counterfactual world where catholics reformed earlier and there was never a Luther we would still get the same trauma, but I don't know how to evaluate that counterfactual (nor is it that interesting of a question to me -- I care about the world we are in).


My original worry is that the world is in for some pain when Islam's Luther finally nails the Theses to some door. Islam is important to people.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 March 2015 07:42:25AM 0 points [-]

But the Irish matter is not a religious dispute

I am not really sure what you are trying to say.

A footnote, really. I agree that the 30 Years War was about religion, with territorial ambitions piggybacking on that. But the Irish matter was the other way round.

Also agreed that an Islamic Reformation would be a dangerous thing for everyone. Islam has a schism already, since early in its history, and it's already dangerous for everyone.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 25 March 2015 02:15:13PM 0 points [-]

And how much endurance you want? And how much speed you want? And how much coordination you want? And how much sense of balance you want? Why single out strength? Feeling my speed improve feels better than strength improvements... I think strength is a dangerously good sounding word, it has way too positive connotations than utility. Of course, I am not advocating weakness, I am advocating that for people not interested in sports beach-muscles may work better, and for people interested in sports whatever amount, form, and methods of acquiring strength their trainer tells them is probably best.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 March 2015 02:25:06PM 0 points [-]

Why single out strength?

You spoke of strength, and that is what I was responding to. All those other things are also important. The body you get if you do not attend to maintaining them is unlikely to be optimal, outside of a career that forces you to. Not being a professional athlete, dancer, or soldier, I must take care of the matter myself.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 25 March 2015 01:55:53PM *  0 points [-]

Because just inflated muscles don't do these? The gap between the two is not that big, the body-builders just go a bit less intense on the heavy lifts in order to have some energy left for the isolation ones, and the rep range being higher makes the weights 20-40% smaller. The difference between 5x5 150kg bench presses vs. 5x8 110 kg ones + doing pec-decs is nowhere nearly as big as the difference between these two and just about anything else. The primary difference is joints and ability to move heavy objects. Doing more in the sense of being more a of human forklift somehow does not look that glorious. The feeling better may as well attach better to the more spectacular looks, and as for longer lasting, probably near draw.

For me strength always meant punching strength and this guy convinced me it is mainly technique.

Caveat: I know grappling sports are getting more popular, such as BJJ / part of MMA. I think this probably does not apply there. I think grappling could be more brute-forced.

I think one reason modern culture may be hooked on strength is that when we were children a lot of fighting / domination / bullying / rough play relied more on intuitive grappling than on punching (or kicking). This made us all respect The Strong Guy Who Can Whip Everybody. And of course movies like the 300 etc. reinforce it. This goes back to very old cultural origins, wrestling is one thing many cultures paralelly evolved because this is how people can physically dominate each other and establish a pecking order without actually hurting each other.

Here is why I like to argue it: weight lifting techniques are used in many sports for a long time. Still, most guys were scrawny, and not due to lack of nutrition, since even today some lifters use really easy nutrition like eating lots of cottage cheese. Or drinking lots of milk if they are tolerant. Body building got popular in the West roughly after 1977 (Pumping Iron) and elsewhere later, I would say, buff guys on bar dancefloors became a common sight 1990-ish, roughly? What do you think body building brought to the table that former lifting couldn't? I think it brought ease through isolation. That while doing the triceps cables is straining for that muscle, it is not straining for the rest of the body, nor the mind. You can almost not pay attention, and not even feel tired, just stop it when the muscle itself burns but you can almost even avoid getting sweaty. This ease brought a strong motivating factor. When I was 17 it felt like a cheat code: I was sitting in the 45 degree leg press, and wondering how amazing it is that I am sitting on my ass, laid back, relaxed, yet got better looking legs that classmates who played soccer all the time.

The current SS / SL 5x5 trend is bringing back the former, pre-body-building era, where your energy is wasted on making sure your posture is right, all the secondary muscles are flexed all right and so on. While with a 45 degree leg press basically the only tiring, attention-grabbing, willpower-sapping activitiy is just pressing the legs up, with a squat you must pay attention to getting the whole body right, which is much more tiresome hence demotivating, because most of that does not apply to good looks, just a rather useless forklift-ability.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 March 2015 02:09:21PM 2 points [-]

Doing more in the sense of being more a of human forklift somehow does not look that glorious.

Try being bedridden for a few weeks and see what you feel like afterwards. Then you can decide how much strength you actually want available in your everyday life.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 25 March 2015 09:34:25AM *  0 points [-]

The part I don't understand is why people want to be stronger as opposed to be more visually muscular. This is not the same thing, for the later goal traditional body-building i.e. one composite and one isolation exercise for every major muscle group works better. Also it is more like 5 x 8 or 5 x 10. A lot of strong people end up still being fairly thin.

What is the utility of strength without beach looks today? I just pay movers to carry furniture from the old apartment to the new. Even in a brawl, punching strength depends more on knowing how to use gravity.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 March 2015 01:04:49PM 0 points [-]

What is the utility of strength without beach looks today?

You can do more, it feels better, and your body lasts longer.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 25 March 2015 11:45:47AM 2 points [-]

Do you think that the Islamic State is an entity which will vanish in the future or not?

Nothing lasts forever, though religions (in a fairly general sense) last longer than most things.

To my mind, the interesting question is whether the Islamic State will be gone soonish. In the short run, it's anti-fragile. It feeds on being attacked. On the other hand, it revolts every other institution which has a preference for normal human life.

It's possible that the rest of the world will solve coordination problems so as to destroy IS by military attacks.

I like the idea that it will take inspiration-- the development of a new religion or variant of Islam or alternatively some brilliant satire-- to create something to move people away from IS. It's pretty clear that mere decency isn't motivating enough.

Do you think that their particularly violent brand of jihadism is a worse menace to the sanity waterline than say, other kind of religious movements, past or present?

I have no idea. I wasn't there for the other religions.

Do you buy the idea that fundamentalism can be coupled with technological advancement, so that the future will presents us with Islamic AI's?

I don't think fundamentalists are good at innovation (have I missed something?), but they're at least as good as everyone else at using innovations invented by other people. They may be better at it if they're more motivated.

If there are AIs without a FOOM, there will be Islamic AIs, which is not the same thing as jihadist AIs. I think we can expect AIs from all the major religions and subdivisions of religions. If AIs are cheap (and I haven't seen speculation on what AIs will cost), there will be AIs based on fringe and new religions as well.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 March 2015 12:50:00PM 1 point [-]

To my mind, the interesting question is whether the Islamic State will be gone soonish. In the short run, it's anti-fragile. It feeds on being attacked. On the other hand, it revolts every other institution which has a preference for normal human life.

Which institutions are those, though? The Western world in general of course, but parts of the Moslem world do not share those preferences, even leaving aside IS itself. This is a major part of what the struggle is about.

For example, I have read somewhere that Saudi Arabia is benignly disposed towards IS. The Saudis do not say this in public, of course, and being an absolute autocracy do not need to say anything to anyone. I have heard someone on the radio say that Boko Haram was encouraged and assisted by certain Nigerian politicians trying to build their own power base, which is one reason it can abduct children by the hundred and nothing effective is done about it.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 25 March 2015 11:14:00AM 3 points [-]

What I am worried about is that the Christian Reformation was an extremely traumatic event for Europe. I still feel the effects today -- the fact that I can't find a garbage can in London's Waterloo station can be directly traced to the Reformation.

Lots of folks remarked that Islam has not gone through its own Reformation event, and probably should/will at some point. This will be far more traumatic for Islam than for Christianity, and there are nukes now, and mass communication which are multipliers for how bad this kind of conflict can get.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 March 2015 12:49:12PM 6 points [-]

What I am worried about is that the Christian Reformation was an extremely traumatic event for Europe. I still feel the effects today -- the fact that I can't find a garbage can in London's Waterloo station can be directly traced to the Reformation.

Garbage cans in British railway stations went away when the IRA were bombing us. But the Irish matter is not a religious dispute. It is a territorial one that goes back as long as it has been possible to wage war across the Irish sea, and the only question at issue is, who shall rule the Irish mainland? That the territorial dispute happens to correlate with a religious difference is due to the Reformation, but without the Reformation, the English and the Irish would still have fought over Ireland. I doubt there would have been any more final resolution than there is at present.

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