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Comment author: knb 20 December 2014 04:03:08AM *  0 points [-]

If the objection made is obviously wrong, you should just ignore it, since everyone (else) will understand why it is wrong. It costs you nothing; you have no obligation to correct the person (and in any case, someone else may do it for you.) If the objection is wrong but not obviously wrong, then you should anticipate this and make the case in your original post. If you neglect to do so, then a lot of people are probably making the same mistake, and you are doing something productive in correcting it.

Comment author: hamnox 18 December 2014 12:10:03AM 2 points [-]

Here I be, looking at a decade old Kurzweil book, and I want to know whether the trends he's graphing hold up after in later years. I have no inkling of where on earth one GETs these kinds of factoids, except by some mystical voodoo powers of Research bestowed by Higher Education. It's not just guesstimation... probably.

Bits per Second per Dollar for wireless devices? Smallest DRAM Half Pitches? Rates of adoption for pre-industrial inventions? From whence do all these numbers come and how does one get more recent collections of numbers?

Comment author: knb 18 December 2014 05:45:26AM *  1 point [-]

LW user Stuart Armstrong did a number of posts assessing Kurzweil's predictions: Here, here, here, and here.

Comment author: knb 18 December 2014 05:37:59AM 1 point [-]

I have a vague notion from reading science fiction stories that black holes may be extremely useful for highly advanced (as in, post-singularity/space-faring) civilizations. For example, IIRC, in John C. Wright's Golden Age series, a colony formed near a black hole became fantastically wealthy.

I did some googling, but all I found was that they would be great at cooling computer systems in space. That seems useful, but I was expecting something more dramatic. Am I missing something?

Comment author: ESRogs 12 December 2014 11:53:43PM 14 points [-]

I enjoyed this opportunity to relive being Vassar'd.

Comment author: knb 14 December 2014 01:17:39AM 2 points [-]

What does "Vassar'd" mean?

Comment author: Capla 12 December 2014 02:06:07AM *  0 points [-]

This should be a what if question. I'd like to see what Randall would do with it.

Comment author: knb 12 December 2014 04:29:28AM 0 points [-]

I don't know what you mean. Who is Randal?

Comment author: Bugmaster 10 December 2014 08:10:28PM 1 point [-]

I was wondering that too; personally, I have no idea how to even begin answering the question. It would seem that at least some protests do work, as evidenced by the civil rights movement during the Martin Luther King era; but I don't know if this is true in general.

Comment author: knb 11 December 2014 11:23:47PM *  1 point [-]

I think protests work if there is already a critical or near-critical mass of support in the relevant decision-making body (legislature, courts, civil service, etc.) Protests rarely change minds, but they can give already-sympathetic people a new impetus to take action in this area rather than another.

ETA: It also helps if the protesters have specific, focused demands, like "end segregation," or "bring the troops home."

Comment author: Grothor 10 December 2014 05:31:19AM 15 points [-]

It seems like we suck at using scales "from one to ten". Video game reviews nearly always give a 7-10 rating. Competitions with scores from judges seem to always give numbers between eight and ten, unless you crash or fall, and get a five or six. If I tell someone my mood is a 5/10, they seem to think I'm having a bad day. That is, we seem to compress things into the last few numbers of the scale. Does anybody know why this happens? Possible explanations that come to mind include:

  • People are scoring with reference to the high end, where "nothing is wrong", and they do not want to label things as more than two or three points worse than perfect

  • People are thinking in terms of grades, where 75% is a C. People think most things are not worse than a C grade (or maybe this is just another example of the pattern I'm seeing)

  • I'm succumbing to confirmation bias and this isn't a real pattern

Comment author: knb 11 December 2014 02:19:31AM 4 points [-]

I've noticed the same thing. Part of it might be that reviewers are reluctant to alienate fans of [thing being reviewed]. Another explanation is that they are intuitively norming against a wider degree of things than they actually review. For example, I was buying a smartphone recently, and a lot of lower-end devices I was considering had few reviews, but famous high-end brands (like iPhone Galaxy S, etc.) are reviewed by pretty much everyone.

Playing devil's advocate, it might be that there are more perceivable degrees of badness/more ways to fail than there are of goodness, so we need a wider range of numbers to describe and fairly rank the failures.

Comment author: knb 08 December 2014 11:29:52PM 9 points [-]

Would it be possible to slow down or stop the rise of sea level (due to global warming) by pumping water out of the oceans and onto the continents?

Comment author: [deleted] 22 November 2014 10:18:40PM -2 points [-]

Am I the only one to whom ‘what's wrong with raping someone if they don't get injured, traumatized, pregnant, nor get STDs’ sounds a lot like ‘what's wrong with driving at 100 km/h while drunk, sleep-deprived and talking on the phone if you don't have any accidents’?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014
Comment author: knb 23 November 2014 02:42:29AM *  5 points [-]

You obviously missed the point completely. Hanson's thought experiment wasn't claiming there would be nothing wrong with committing that type of rape, his point was that it would be traumatic in the same way being cuckolded is traumatic. And yet committing that type of rape is illegal, while cuckolding is not even a misdemeanor. His point wasn't to denigrate the psychological harm of rape, it was to investigate the roots of the difference in the way these harms are treated.

Comment author: Capla 17 November 2014 11:54:36PM 7 points [-]

What are the downvotes for? If I don't have great understanding, should I say nothing?

[Not a rhetorical question.]

Comment author: knb 18 November 2014 12:17:59AM 15 points [-]

I didn't downvote, but linking to a rationalwiki attack post about neoreactionaries isn't a good way to inform people.

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