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Comment author: Technologos 07 August 2009 03:24:51PM 9 points [-]

Unless we expand fashion to include technology accessories. I gather there are a lot more early adopters in Tech/Science.

Comment author: apotheon 02 December 2012 03:42:19PM 6 points [-]

Actual tech/science smart people buy -- or build -- gadgets because they're useful or interesting for tinkering. The "middle class" of tech/science buy gadgets because they're fashionable. The former is perfectly happy having an old example of a gadget if it performs admirably and is not on the edge of the person's tinkering interests; the latter discards old gadgets and buys new. As a result, you basically get two kinds of early adopters. One is the person who consciously adopts new tech, spending money for status, and the other is the person who acquires new tech sporadically, or builds it from parts, or even invents it, because of a tinkering (aka hacking) urge or a specific functionality need.

Obviously, this is an oversimplification, and the lines are typically not so clearly drawn, but there is a definite unfalsifiability issue for the actual tech/science "upper class" as MichaelVassar suggests. The interesting thing about that, though, is that these people are not doing what they're doing to stay ahead of the "middle class" Joneses the way the clothing/fashion upper class do things; they're just doing what intrigues or helps them individually.

In the end, though, a certain amount of style consciousness is necessary to maintaining a tech/science "upper class" status, because people who are too badly unstylish are going to be regarded with disdain even in tech/science circles no matter how smart they are and how interesting their gadgetry, except in the most extreme cases (Hawking, for instance). It helps to write books, of course, especially when your field doesn't deal with visible gadgetry (e.g. cosmology).

Comment author: drethelin 21 November 2012 02:34:37PM 0 points [-]

It's ridiculous to condemn me for trying to interpret actual meaning out of your vague one sentence reply and then respond with 2 paragraphs of what you "meant to convey", none of which was any more obviously implied than what I read into your comment.

To respond to THIS point: So what? Each vote is a distinct event. It can easily make sense that you can influence elections positively in the future without you having that ability in any relevant way today.

Comment author: apotheon 02 December 2012 12:37:14AM 0 points [-]

I fail to see how not knowing what someone meant somehow compels you to make up elaborate fantasies about what the person meant, or even excuses it.

. . . and of course nobody ever does anything other than actually cast a vote when strategizing for the future. There's no way anyone could possibly, say, make the voting part of a grander strategy.

. . . and I suppose you probably think that I think voting is a winning strategy in some way, basically because I pointed out some possible strategies that might seem like a good idea to someone, somewhere, as part of an attempt to remind you that the one-vote-right-now tactic may not be the only reason someone casts a vote.

In short, you assume far too much, then blame me. Good job. That's certainly rational.

Comment author: drethelin 18 November 2012 05:00:01AM 0 points [-]

? The long game makes voting when you can't make a decent impact even less rational compared to anything else you could be doing that would give you long term gains. Making money you can invest, taking time to learn a skill or network, getting more information on almost anything, convincing people to follow your beliefs or teaching others about information, donating to x-risk or other charities, working on inventing. Each of these are "long game" activities.

Of course almost no one spends all their time doing this sort of thing, and I don't care if you take 20 minutes out of one day to go vote because it gives you fuzzies. But don't pretend it's a great thing you do.

Comment author: apotheon 21 November 2012 07:49:24AM 0 points [-]

I won't pretend it's a great thing to vote if you promise you'll stop pretending I pretended any such thing, or that I was talking about anything other than comparisons of voting strategies.

The US suffers from a major problem with institutionalizing false dilemmas in politics. Playing the long game as a voter might well involve actions intended to lead to eventual disillusionment in that regard. Whether your time is better spent, in the long run, doing something other than voting (and learning about your voting options) is a somewhat distinct matter.

In short, you suggested that at this time rational voters cannot win by voting, which I took to mean you meant they could not get a winning result in the election in which they vote right now. My response was meant to convey the idea that there are voting strategies which could lead to a win several elections down the line (as part of a larger strategy). You then replied, for some reason, by suggesting that voting is not as useful in general as inventing something -- which may be true without in any way contradicting my point.

Comment author: drethelin 06 November 2012 05:33:29PM 0 points [-]

My claim isn't that this can never be the case but that it's not the case now, and in general it's the most important factor in whether a rational voter can win by voting.

Comment author: apotheon 18 November 2012 02:46:52AM 0 points [-]

Don't forget to take the long game into account.

Comment author: khafra 06 November 2012 08:01:26PM 4 points [-]

it sends a message to mainstream candidates that you vote, but they have to work harder to appeal to your interest group to get your vote.

I recently heard an argument to the contrary: Viewing voter preferences along one dimension for simplicity, if a small percentage on the left breaks away and votes for an extreme-left candidate, the mainstream left candidate may actually move further to the right--since the majority of undecided voters are in the middle, not along the boundary between left and extreme-left.

This may not generalize to a hyperplane separating a particular non-mainstream candidate from other candidates in n-dimensional policy-space, but I don't know if presidential campaigns are set up to do that level of analysis.

Comment author: apotheon 18 November 2012 02:46:16AM 1 point [-]

You were right when you described "along one dimension" as being simplistic. There are other options than extreme-left, left, centrist, right, and extreme-right (for instance). Engaging in false dilemma reasoning as an excuse to vote for a mainstream candidate with no interest in sending political messages encouraging reform is not particularly rational.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Checklist of Rationality Habits
Comment author: DaFranker 15 November 2012 05:33:38PM 1 point [-]

Aha, but the clever arguer could respond that you could be likely to find yourself wanting to despite not wanting to want to be in a relationship, and thus that avoidance is a twice-effective method of willpower conservation!

Of course, that the above be true and applicable to this case is unlikely. If you're to end up wanting it, and that you'll end up wanting it enough to compensate for the opportunity costs regarding other things you might want incurred by eventual willpower expenses or time spent "succumbing" and attempting to get into a relationship, then I think it trivially follows that you should already have updated towards the more reflectively coherent behavior that seems to give higher expected utility. After all, we want to win.

Comment author: apotheon 15 November 2012 05:54:33PM 2 points [-]

It's the "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from weevils!" tactic. Well . . . maybe not weevils, but not evil either, in this case.

Your objection to the ultimate utility of avoidance doesn't seem to take the desire to avoid distraction and wasted time even when successfully resisting the biological urges toward relationship-establishing behavior into account. Even if you (for some nonspecific definition of "you") simply find yourself waylaid for a few minutes by a pretty girl, but ultimately ready to move on, the time spent not only in those few moments but also in thinking about it later on may prove a distraction from other things, regardless of whether you allow yourself to get caught up enough to actively pursue a relationship with her.

Comment author: MixedNuts 02 October 2012 09:54:05AM 8 points [-]

Less-than-sincere modesty is probably the culprit for missing the interval.

Comment author: apotheon 04 October 2012 11:59:36PM 1 point [-]

. . . or maybe it's just the manifestation of Impostor Syndrome.

Comment author: apotheon 04 October 2012 11:49:50PM 2 points [-]

Key to Memetic Value:

Make sure the landing page is simple, to the point, with no necessary scrolling to get the entire message in a matter of only a few moments, and without clutter. Perhaps include a simple, clear diagram -- but that's not necessary, as long as you have a simple, brief textual explanation that dominates the page. Include a small number of obvious links to other pages on your site for additional information if you want to go into greater detail. If you want to include links to off-site resources, they should probably be collected on a single page other than the main page, unless you do not intend to ever have more than one off-site link for such information. Make sure the page is still clear and quickly absorbed by visitors even with JavaScript and CSS turned off in the browser. Whatever you do, don't use Flash, Java, or any kind of animation or video on the main page. None.

Comment author: Rain 04 October 2012 02:27:43PM 1 point [-]

I learned about him from a fun article at Cracked.

Comment author: apotheon 04 October 2012 02:33:54PM 0 points [-]

Thanks. That is an entertaining read.

Comment author: [deleted] 03 October 2012 08:25:34PM 2 points [-]

A query about The Dark Knight on Marginal Revolution originally from Brad Allen:

I was watching the Dark Knight on a bus yesterday evening (I’m not sure how familiar you are with the movie) – there was a scene that I thought was pretty interesting to think through, and was curious how you might go about it.

There is a scene where the Joker kills a mob boss, and then gives his 3 subordinates one half broken pool cue – and basically tells them that to live, the other two have to die. You don’t see what happens, but what do you think happens? Is it advantageous to pick up the pool cue, or would that signal the other two to attack you first? Would you try to back out and let the other two fight? Or would that incent them to come after you? OR does everyone do nothing, until a last second dash like bicycle sprints?

Obviously, I’ve had fun thinking about this. Do you have any guesses?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open Thread, October 1-15, 2012
Comment author: apotheon 04 October 2012 02:30:52PM 1 point [-]

It depends on your ability to come up with an alternate force-multiplier to the offered weapon to establish some kind of tactical superiority. If you quickly come up with one, or are at least confident of your ability to do so, the smart move is to induce the others to deal with each other first, then attack the winner from a position of strength after he has been weakened by the initial exchange with his first opponent. Otherwise, pick up the offered weapon; then the ideal strategy is still probably to see if you can get the other two to attack each other before coming after you, perhaps acting as though your only reason for picking up the weapon is to be a "coward" who wishes to avoid a fight altogether -- because, of course, the other two are unlikely to go after the more dangerous opponent first, even though collaborating to eliminate the primary threat before attempting to finish off a (hopefully) weakened remaining foe is probably the winning strategy for them.

Of course, the real smart move, if you can get everyone in on it, might be to ensure that all three of you collaborate in a surprise attack on the Joker after giving him the impression he's safe by pretending to initially target each other. That's pretty damned unlikely to happen, though, given the level of trust most likely needed to achieve that kind of alliance without cluing in the Joker and getting yourself killed by him instead of the other two.

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