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Comment author: kilobug 29 November 2014 11:37:51AM 8 points [-]

Interesting post (upvoted) but I would add one "correction" : the amount of "weirdness points" isn't completely set, there ways to get more of them, especially by being famous, doing something positive or helping people. For example, by writing a very popular fanfiction (HPMOR), Eliezer earned additional weirdness points to spend.

Or on my own level, I noticed that by being efficient in my job and helpful with my workmates, I'm allowed a higher number of "weirdness points" before having my workmates start considering me as a loonie. But then you've to be very careful, because weirdness points earned within a group (say, my workmates) don't extend outside of the group.

Comment author: kilobug 12 November 2014 10:19:52AM 3 points [-]

Getting complications (allergy, ...) from the flu shot should be included somewhere in the graph - it can't be totally screened away, and while it's unlikely to happen, it's not much more unlikely than dying from the flu.

But most importantly (and this time, arguing for the shot), the "herd immunity" effects should be considered. Even if just half of the people take the shot, those who because of the shot didn't get the disease won't be carriers and won't spread the disease to even those who did get the shot.

Comment author: ericyu3 12 November 2014 08:52:39AM 1 point [-]

What about the cost of pain from the flu shot? Based on my past experiences (all from childhood, so maybe not that accurate for me now), I would be willing to pay $20-$50 to avoid the pain from a shot. I also didn't find the flu that unpleasant, so I might only be willing to pay $120-150 to avoid it assuming no risk of death. It seems like the expected value of a flu shot is small enough for these sorts of subjective preferences to tip the balance in many cases.

Comment author: kilobug 12 November 2014 10:15:41AM 4 points [-]

I think you're quite miscalibrated... only 4x worse to get the flu than the shot ? The shot pain lasts a few seconds, while the flu means headache, nose pain and muscle pain for at least a day, usually more. It usually knocks you out for a day or two, where you can't do much.

Or maybe you're confusing the flu with the common cold ? Flu is similar, but usually much stronger than common cold.

Comment author: kilobug 12 November 2014 10:09:19AM 5 points [-]

There is a rational difference between "crimes (or inequality) has gone up and we need to do something" and "crimes (or inequality) has gone down, but we still need to gain more" : diminishing returns/feasibility issues.

If crimes (or inequality) was indeed lower 10 years ago, it means that reaching a lower point in crime/inequality was possible with a reasonable cost. Of course, it might be impossible now (because of a change in technology, in the environment, in whatever external things we don't really control), but the fact that it was lower before is valid evidence (even if not proof) that is possible to get it lower with a reasonable effort.

On the other hand, if crime or inequality is at an absolute low, it's harder to know if it's possible to get it even lower, or how much effort that would require.

Of course, that doesn't change the core of your reasoning, but it does make the "Argument from Crisis" more than just a rhetorical device - at least, when it's used accurately, ie, when the things are actually getting worse.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 November 2014 11:04:27PM 5 points [-]

The trope is Villains Act Heroes React, and the Foundation stories don't actually defy this AFAIC recall.

Comment author: kilobug 06 November 2014 09:42:40AM 7 points [-]

It does in various points of the saga, some examples I can give easily, other are spoilers so I'll ROT13 them.

In the first tome and the prequels, it's Harry Seldon who tries to develop pyschohistory and setup the Foundation, and different "villains" react to that. It's true that afterwards the Foundation is mostly reacting to Seldon Crisis, but those crisis are part of Seldon's Plan (so, of the hero planning ahead awesome things).

In the last tome, Foundation and Earth, it's clearly the heroes who start their own quest of finding back the Earth.

Now the spoiling parts (rot13) :

Va gur cerdhryf vg'f pyrneyl Qnarry jub gevrf gb chfu Fryqba gb qrirybc cflpubuvfgbel, naq Qnarry vf gur erny "ureb" bs gur rkgraqrq Sbhaqngvba-Ebobg plpyr.

Va Sbhaqngvba'f Rqtr, juvyr gur znva ureb vf vaqrrq ernpgvba gb orvat chfurq ol inevbhf punenpgre, vg'f abg ivyynvaf jub ner cynaavat gur jubyr riragf, ohg Tnvn, jub vf n cebqhpg bs Qnarry, fb ntnva, bs gur erny "nepu ureb" bs gur fntn.

There are other similar examples in other parts of the cycle, but less obvious ones.

Comment author: Manfred 04 November 2014 02:54:10AM 33 points [-]

In fiction, villains start with some great scheme to do something awesome, and that immediately makes them fascinating to the reader. The hero - if you're doing this poorly - sits at home and just waits for the villain to do something awesome so they can respond. This is a problem. The solution is for your heroes to have a great and awesome scheme also, that just isn't evil.

Brandon Sanderson

Comment author: kilobug 05 November 2014 11:01:00AM 11 points [-]

That's often true, but there are counter-examples, like my all time favorite : the Foundation cycle. In it, especially the beginning of it (the Foundation novel and the prequels), it's truly the heroes who are doing something awesome - the Foundation and all what's associated to it - and the villains who try to prevent them (and even that is more complicated/interesting as simple "vilain").

It's also often the case in Jules Verne fiction, or in the rest of "hard scifi", be it about trans-humanism (permutation city for example) or about planetary exploration.

Comment author: kilobug 23 October 2014 01:50:41PM 61 points [-]

Took the survey.

And yeah you should warn about the material needed for the digit ratio question in advance, so people don't start the survey if they aren't in the right conditions for it.

Comment author: kilobug 23 October 2014 12:01:47PM 1 point [-]

There is something that makes me skeptical about "exercise" considered as an abstract quantity. There are many different ways of doing "exercising", and they have many different effects on the body. How much exercise you do (but then, counting in hours ? spent calories ?) do matter, but in which conditions also matters a lot : how regularly, what kind of exercise, ...

Exercising usually is good for urban sedentary people who "naturally" don't do much of it, but it can also have negative side-effects, in accelerated aging or articulation damage. Professional sport players have a very short average lifespan, and it's not only because some of them use drugs.

There is surprisingly few literature on the topic (or I couldn't find it), but from what I remember finding, something important is the regularity (doing 3 hours of exercise twice a week is not nearly as good as doing 1/2 hour each day, even if 1/2 hour each day is just 3.5 hours in total) and the kind of activity : constant medium/low intensity, long duration activity (walking, long-distance running, bicycling or swimming at a moderate speed for a long while, ...) is much better than variable intensity (like ball games, where you run and stop and run again and kick and ...) or high-intensity short-duration (like sprinting).

As for opportunity cost, something to consider is doing exercise that fits a purpose, instead of just "wasting" hours doing it, for example, running/walking/bicycling instead of using a car means you do some exercise but also save on money and on accident risks, especially if your environment (public transport network, proximity of things, ...) allows to not own a car at all (making the money gain very significant), or finding an activity that you actually enjoy so the time isn't fully wasted.

Comment author: kilobug 22 October 2014 04:24:27PM 1 point [-]

I wouldn't say PvP is an "integral part of almost every major video game", many major games, from casual games like Angry Birds/Candy Crush to games for "hard core gamers" like Fallout or Baldur's Gate, are single-player only (or mostly) and don't contain any PvP.

It applies to famous games, and also, perhaps more interestingly, to crowd funding, most of the biggest crowd funding projects are single-player or mostly single-player : Torment: Tides of Numenera, Project Eternity, Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, or non-directly PvP multiplayer like Mighty No. 9. Only game in the top 5 crowd funded games (according to wikipedia) that contains PvP is Star Citizen - and even Star Citizen is mostly backed (AFAIK) by fans of the Wing Commander saga, which didn't contain any PvP, so I'm not sure PvP is primary reason to back it (I backed it for the single player campaign, not for the online mode).

There are definitely are many popular and commercially successful games containing PvP, like all FPS games or most MMORPG but I think the amount is largely overestimated by people focusing to a subset of games.

In response to On Caring
Comment author: kilobug 09 October 2014 12:27:04PM 12 points [-]

Interesting article, sounds a very good introduction to scope insensitivity.

Two points where I disagree :

  1. I don't think birds are a good example of it, at least not for me. I don't care much for individual birds. I definitely wouldn't spend $3 nor any significant time to save a single bird. I'm not a vegetarian, it would be quite hypocritical for me to invest resources in saving one bird for "care" reasons and then going to eat a chicken at dinner. On the other hand, I do care about ecological disasters, massive bird death, damage to natural reserves, threats to a whole specie, ... So a massive death of birds is something I'm ready to invest resources to prevent, but not a single death of bird.

  2. I know it's quite taboo here, and most will disagree with me, but to me, the answer to how big the problems are is not charity, even "efficient" charity (which seems a very good idea on paper but I'm quite skeptical about the reliability of it), but more into structural changes - politics. I can't fail to notice that two of the "especially virtuous people" you named, Gandhi and Mandela, both were active mostly in politics, not in charity. To quote another one often labeled "especially virtuous people", Martin Luther King, "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

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