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Comment author: Douglas_Knight 02 February 2017 12:31:55AM 3 points [-]

If you still want to ban politics, whatever, your actions are law, but be transparent and say what you are doing. Don't just say "Politics is the Mind-Killer." Your rules have absolutely nothing to do with that essay. Have you even read it? I have never, not once, seen anyone cite that essay to attack a post that actually violated it.

Comment author: lsparrish 02 February 2017 02:10:29AM 0 points [-]

If you still want to ban politics, whatever, your actions are law, but be transparent and say what you are doing.

Is there a reason to do that? Nobody said that a rule was violated, and the explanation given makes sense to me as it stands. What is the problem with just deleting the (not necessarily rule violating) post and explaining that we usually avoid stuff like articles with Trump in the title?

Comment author: lsparrish 15 September 2016 11:17:59PM *  0 points [-]
Comment author: lsparrish 17 July 2016 06:17:39PM 1 point [-]

Found this great youtube channel by a guy named Isaac Arthur, covering a variety of space topics. Has videos on Dyson Spheres, colonizing the Moon, and even concepts for very long term survival of civilizations and people past the heat death of the universe. Very rational and comprehensive.

Comment author: passive_fist 24 June 2016 12:04:28AM *  0 points [-]

The LW community is in rapid decline and people have been leaving in large numbers for years. LW is probably in the terminal stage of decline now, not in the initial or even middle stage. If you think this isn't true you are in denial - all the poll data and post/comment data shows this to be true.

I used to be an active member of this group. This is my first comment in months. I don't know why other people left; I can only speculate and offer the reasons why I left. The reason I left was because I perceived (maybe incorrectly, I don't know) that discourse was being dominated by a handful of individuals who had very little interest in actual rational unbiased discussion and were more interested in forcing their views on everyone under the pretense of rationality.

I guess it's a lesson and a set of things to learn for the next LW-like site. It's a lesson in how quickly good intentions (rational discussion and questioning authority) can lead to the evaporative cooling effect and the adoption of extreme sociological/political views while pretending that this is not taking place.

Comment author: lsparrish 07 July 2016 07:26:09PM 1 point [-]

My long hiatus started a couple years ago, so my perspective might be different from yours.

I think the main issue for me it was more that it wasn't very fun any more. The people who made it fun (EY, Yvain, etc) were mostly posting elsewhere. The majority of posts were starting to be boring things like meetup announcements. Some of the new posts were interesting, but had more technical content and less humor.

Part of it could be that the commenters became more politically (in the sense of national politics) motivated, but that's not something I noticed at the time... I think that's perhaps a more recent thing, assuming that is indeed happening.

Another thing that might have been a factor is that I started using a smartphone more. So apps like twitter and facebook that can be easily checked there had more appeal. (This website still sucks for mobile.)

In response to comment by gilch on Crazy Ideas Thread
Comment author: ChristianKl 30 June 2016 07:34:58PM *  0 points [-]

Superconductors are themselves expensive, but are the cooling costs really that bad? I actually have another crazy idea for that.

Cooling cost require liquid nitrogen. It's expensive. That's partly why MRI scans are expensive and why storing cyronics bodies is expensive.

Comment author: lsparrish 30 June 2016 10:28:40PM 0 points [-]

It depends on the scale you are working at. A large body with no internal heat source can be kept cold over time at a lower cost because only the outside needs to be insulated. If cryonics were at the scale of a large cryogenic warehouse, it might be much less expensive.

In response to Crazy Ideas Thread
Comment author: lsparrish 28 June 2016 12:37:18AM 1 point [-]

Orbiting landing tracks.

Payloads would be launched from earth with just enough fuel to loft them above the atmosphere and keep them hovering for a few minutes. Then they would electromagnetically couple to a long horizontal structure in low orbit, picking up velocity (or "losing" it, depending on the frame of reference) until they are orbiting at the same rate.

Electrically driven thrusters (e.g. vertical electrodynamic tethers which push against the earth's magnetic field) would be used to replenish the lost momentum. At any given time, the payload would be a fraction of the total track mass, but since it could be new track material this would permit (fairly rapid) bootstrapping.

Comment author: lsparrish 28 June 2016 12:20:59AM 5 points [-]

One possible reason is that it facilitates trust-building. Say you are stuck in a cell with another prisoner, and every day you have the chance to cooperate or defect on a small task (for example, sharing food equally vs trying to steal an unequal share). Later, you are asked to testify against each other and get a slightly reduced sentence in exchange for the other person having a drastically increased sentence. A history of the other person cooperating gives some evidence that they will cooperate in this new situation as well.

Another analogy to this would be the process of building credit. If you take out lots of loans and pay them back scrupulously, you build a history of credit worthiness. The banks are more willing to be vulnerable based on past behavior of not defaulting.

Comment author: Lumifer 24 June 2016 08:55:58PM 0 points [-]

Per Robin Hanson, a machine shop can put out its own mass in equipment in roughly a month or two. And yet, the economy doesn't double every month, or even every year. Why not?

If we switch the example to an excavator which outputs its own mass in an hour or two, does the answer to your question become clearer?

Comment author: lsparrish 24 June 2016 11:27:55PM 0 points [-]

A quick process like that is pretty much insignificant compared to a month or two, let alone 15 years. Unless there are tens of thousands of other steps in the chain of comparable length, it doesn't come close to explaining it.

As I see it, there are roughly four steps:

  1. Excavating.
  2. Refining.
  3. Power collecting.
  4. Manufacturing.

The ones towards the end seem to be the biggest time sinks. However, power collection should not raise it by more than a factor of two or so. I don't think it takes many months to mine enough coal to pay for the energy costs of coal mining equipment, for example.

Comment author: Xachariah 31 July 2012 01:41:04PM 1 point [-]

Exactly. Self-Replicating robotics on Earth is a global instant victory condition. Completion of one would result in machines that could double their production exponentially, leading to practically infinite production capability within no time.

Suggesting self-replicating robotics is akin to saying we should just solve this whole not being post-scarcity problem.

Comment author: lsparrish 24 June 2016 07:20:59PM 0 points [-]

Exactly. Self-Replicating robotics on Earth is a global instant victory condition. Completion of one would result in machines that could double their production exponentially, leading to practically infinite production capability within no time.

Per Robin Hanson, a machine shop can put out its own mass in equipment in roughly a month or two. And yet, the economy doesn't double every month, or even every year. Why not?

There seems to be a fair chance the reasons are mostly rooted in cognitive biases, cumulative coordination mistakes, economic rent-seeking, and so on -- not anything technological.

A well planned lunar or orbital mission might well be free of these issues. Space conditions are mechanically simpler in some respects, so there's a stronger case for pre-planning everything rather than requiring a market economy to make it work. Supporting structures are less needed, transit is less two dimensional, and solar energy can be harvested at scale with low costs in equipment density. There is also instant access to ultra-high vacuum conditions which are useful for refining. And in addition to the endless cheap sunlight, there's no anti-nuclear lobby which can claim it's in their back yard.

Suggesting self-replicating robotics is akin to saying we should just solve this whole not being post-scarcity problem.

Maybe we should solve this whole not being post-scarcity problem...

Comment author: Elo 20 June 2016 12:31:18AM -2 points [-]

I have been believing this for a very long time. I recently went looking for the source of this advice, I couldn't find any - do you have any idea where the source is?

(reason: I have gotten anecdata about how people take advantage of public transport and then shifted to live closer to work and lost their "daily reading hour". AKA this advice had a negative impact on them. Some of the papers I started reading specifically mention bad health, and being overweight leading to other health problems but the happiness discrepancies usually disappear once you correct for health. Another point mentioned was lower back pain while driving and sitting in traffic. which - for someone who rides a bicycle to work, isn't the same problem. I would be keen to update this advice to something more accurate and more specific than "live close to work".)

Comment author: lsparrish 24 June 2016 12:31:32AM 0 points [-]

Good question. I am not sure where I originally found the idea that shorter commutes make you happier, but I suspect it might have been an earlier version of this from 80000hours, which cites a couple of studies. Googling for pre-2013 media articles shows a lot of mentions of the idea as well.

The idea about a well optimized train or bus ride that Dr_Manhattan brought up also makes sense, if you live in an area with decent public transportation. It's the car drives that are a big time-killer, since you can't really turn your brain off while navigating through traffic, and traffic is usually more stressful at times you need to get to work.

There are a few productive things you can do during long drives though. For example, you can practice speeches, elevator pitches, songs, comedy bits, and so on without anyone hearing. That may not be quite as effective as interacting with another person on a bus/train, but the lack of an audience/consequences can make it easier to try out new things. Also, there's the option of consuming audio content (which you could also do with headphones on the bus or train).

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