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Comment author: drethelin 17 March 2017 06:10:54AM 4 points [-]

A lot of places actually have laws against more than few unrelated people living in the same house.

Comment author: plethora 18 March 2017 10:02:23AM 0 points [-]

Yes, so you send everyone out and hide most of the beds when the inspectors come around.

This is probably not desirable for communities with children, but it's common for co-ops in places with those laws.

Comment author: MrMind 17 March 2017 01:13:33PM 4 points [-]

Rationalists like to live in group houses.

Do they? I personally hate sharing living spaces. Am I the weirdo? I suspect it's an American custom, not something proper of rationalists per se.

Comment author: plethora 18 March 2017 09:59:46AM 5 points [-]

It's a coastal, urban American custom. To a first approximation, it's illegal to build in coastal cities and most of the land in them is uninhabitable because crime.

Comment author: Alicorn 17 March 2017 01:46:56AM 19 points [-]

If you like this idea but have nothing much to say please comment under this comment so there can be a record of interested parties.

Comment author: plethora 18 March 2017 09:54:39AM 1 point [-]

Would be interested if I lived in a place amenable to this. Seconding dropspindle's recommendation of Appalachia, since that's where I'm already planning to move if I can get a remote job.

It may be worth looking to see whether there are any large, relatively inexpensive houses near major cities that could be converted. There are a lot of McMansion developments in the suburbs north of DC that have never looked particularly inhabited.

Comment author: Lumifer 24 January 2017 05:09:04PM 1 point [-]

That's mostly a CSS problem.

Not quite. In some corners of the 'net LW has... a reputation.

Comment author: plethora 05 February 2017 12:01:50AM 1 point [-]

Yes, I know. I bet Islamists don't think highly of it either.

Comment author: username2 23 January 2017 11:50:53PM 1 point [-]

I think that people punching other people is the default behavior, and it takes conscious effort to control yourself when you are angry at someone. E.g. drunk people who lost their inhibitions often get involved in fights. And people who are angry rejoice at any opportunity to let their inner animal out, feel the rush of adrenaline that comes with losing your inhibitions and not have to think about consequences or social condemnation.

2) It doesn't accomplish much (though the hypothetical Nazi in question has said that he is more afraid of going outside, so I suppose it's accomplished at least fear which may be a pro or con depending on your point of view, besides that however I don't think it's hindered Nazis very much and has only worsened the image of the anti-Nazis)

People like the strong and dislike the weak. If Nazis got punched all the time, they would be perceived as weak and nobody would join them. Even if they didn't like the punching, most likely they would simply be a bystanders.

Comment author: plethora 24 January 2017 04:54:19PM 0 points [-]

If Nazis got punched all the time, they would be perceived as weak and nobody would join them.

Two thousand years ago, some guy in the Roman Empire got nailed to a piece of wood and left to die. How did that turn out?

Comment author: Viliam 23 January 2017 09:51:16AM 0 points [-]

In particular, rationality tends to give advice like “ignore your intuitions/feelings, and rely on conscious reasoning and explicit calculation”. Postrationality, on the other hand, says “actually, intuitions and feelings are really important, let’s see if we can work with them instead of against them”.

Postrationality recognizes that System 1 and System 2 (if they even exist) have different strengths and weaknesses, and what we need is an appropriate interplay between the two.

This would make me a post-rationalist, too.

Postrationalists don’t think that death, suffering, and the forces of nature are cosmic evils that need to be destroyed.

Postrationalists enjoy surrealist art and fiction.

This wouldn't.

I guess the second part is more important, because the first part is mostly a strawman.

Comment author: plethora 24 January 2017 04:45:29PM 0 points [-]

I guess the second part is more important, because the first part is mostly a strawman.

Not in my experience. It may seem like it now, but that's because the postrationalists won the argument.

Comment author: Viliam 20 January 2017 01:35:47PM *  5 points [-]

One important difference between LW and SSC: Everyone knows that SSC is Scott's blog. Scott is a dictator, and if he wants to announce his own opinions visibly, he can post them in a separate article, in a way no one else can compete with. It would be difficult to misrepresent Scott's opinions by posting on SSC.

LW is a group blog (Eliezer is no longer active here). So in addition to talk about individual users who post here, it also makes sense to ask what does the "hive mind" think, i.e. what is the general consensus here. Especially because we talk here about Aumann agreement theorem, wisdom of crowds, etc. So people can be curious about the "wisdom of the LW crowd".

Similarly, when a third party describes SSC, they cannot credibly accuse Scott of what someone else wrote in the comments; the dividing line between Scott and his comentariat is obvious. But it is quite easy to cherry-pick some LW comments and say "this is what the LW community actually believes".

There were repeated attempts to create a fake image of what the LW community believes, coming as far as I know from two sources. First, various "SJWs" were offended that some opinions were not banned here, and that some topics were allowed to be discussed calmly. (It doesn't matter whether the problematic opinion was a minority opinion, or even whether it was downvoted. The fact that it wasn't immediately censored is enough to cause outrage.)

Second, the neoreactionary community decided to use these accusations as a recruitment tool, and they started spreading a rumor that the rationalist community indeed supports them. There was a time when they tried to make LW about neoreaction, by repeatedly creating discussion threads about themselves. Such as: "Political thread: neoreactionaries, tell me what do you find most rational about neoreaction"; obviously fishing for positive opinions. Then they used such threads as a "proof" that rationalists indeed find neoreaction very rational, etc. -- After some time they gave up and disappeared. Only Eugine remained here, creating endless sockpuppets for downvoting anti-nr comments, and upvoting pro-nr comments, persistently maintaining the illusion of neoreaction being overrepresented (or even represented) in the rationalist comminity.

tl;dr -- on LW people can play astroturfing games about "what the rationalist community actually believes", and it regularly happens, and it is very annoying for those who recognize they are being manipulated; on SSC such games don't make sense, because Scott can make his opinion quite clear

Comment author: plethora 24 January 2017 04:41:33PM 0 points [-]

Similarly, when a third party describes SSC, they cannot credibly accuse Scott of what someone else wrote in the comments; the dividing line between Scott and his comentariat is obvious.

They can accuse Scott of being the sort of fascist who would have a [cherry-picking two or three comments that aren't completely in approval of the latest Salon thinkpiece] far-right extremist commentariat. And they do.

Comment author: gworley 19 January 2017 07:43:19PM 7 points [-]

I think a serious issue with posting content on Less Wrong, and why I don't do it beyond link posts, is that Less Wrong feels like a ghetto, in that it's a place only for an outcast subset of the population. I don't feel like I can just share Less Wrong articles to many places because Less Wrong lacks respectability in wider society and is only respectable with those who are part of the LW ghetto's culture.

This doesn't mean the ghetto needs to be destroyed, but it does suggest that many of our brightest folks will seek other venues for expression that are more respectable, even if it's dropping (rising) to the neutral level of respectability offered by an anonymous blog. We might come home and prefer to live in LW (the discussions), but an important part of our public selves is oriented towards participating with the larger world.

Maybe as a reader you'd like Less Wrong to be a better place to read things again, just as the average person living in a ghetto may prefer for its luminaries to continue to focus their efforts inward and thus make the ghetto better on average, but as a writer Less Wrong doesn't feel to me like a place I want to work unless I don't think I can make myself respectable to a wider audience.

Comment author: plethora 24 January 2017 04:39:37PM 0 points [-]

I don't feel like I can just share Less Wrong articles to many places because Less Wrong lacks respectability in wider society and is only respectable with those who are part of the LW ghetto's culture.

That's mostly a CSS problem. The respectability of a linked LW article would, I think, be dramatically increased if the place looked more professional. Are there any web designers in the audience?

Comment author: gjm 20 January 2017 01:51:53AM 3 points [-]

I personally would favour any approach that minimizes the amount of discourse that happens in walled gardens like Facebook and Google+.

Comment author: plethora 24 January 2017 04:37:52PM 0 points [-]

Walled gardens are probably necessary for honest discussion.

If everything is open and tied to a meatspace identity, contributors have to constantly mind what they can and can't say and how what they're saying could be misinterpreted, either by an outsider who isn't familiar with local jargon or by a genuinely hostile element (and we've certainly had many of those) bent on casting LW or that contributor in the worst possible light.

If everything is open but not tied to an identity, there's no status payoff for being right that's useful in the real world -- or if there is, it comes at the risk of being doxed, and it's generally not worth it.

The ideal would probably be a walled garden with no real name policy. I've considered writing a site along these lines for some time, with many walled gardens and individually customizable privacy settings like Facebook, but I'm not sure what model to base the posting on -- that is, should it look like a forum, like Facebook/Reddit, like Tumblr, or what?

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 21 January 2017 03:26:28AM *  15 points [-]

I agree that a careful thinker confronted with this puzzle for the first time should eventually conclude that the crux is what exactly the expression "0.999..." actually means. At this point, if you don't know enough math to give a rigorous definition, I think a reasonable response is "I thought I knew what it meant to have an infinite number of 9s after the decimal point, but maybe I don't, and absent me actually learning the requisite math to make sense of that expression I'm just going to be agnostic about its value."

Here's an argument in favor of doing that. Consider the following proof, nearly identical to the one you present. Let's consider the number x = ...999; in other words, now we have infinitely many 9s to the left of the decimal point. What is this number? Well,

10x = ...9990

x - 10x = 9

-9x = 9

x = -1.

There are a couple of reasonable responses you could have to this argument. Two of them require knowing some math: one is enough math to explain why the expression ...999 describes the limit of a sequence of numbers that has no limit, and one is knowing even more math than that, so you can explain in what sense it does have a limit (the details here resemble the details of 1 + 2 + 3 + ... but are technically easier). I think in the absence of the requisite math knowledge, seeing this argument side by side with the original one makes a pretty strong case for "stay agnostic about whether this notation is meaningful."

And on the third hand, I can't resist saying one more thing about infinite sequences of decimals to the left. Consider the following sequence of computations:

5^2 = 25

25^2 = 625

625^2 = 390625

0625^2 = 390625

90625^2 = 8212890625

890625^2 = 793212890625

It sure looks like there is an infinite decimal going to the left, x, with the property that x^2 = x, and which ends ...890625. Do you agree? Can you find, say, 6 more of its digits, assuming it exists? What's up with that? Is there another x with this property? (Please don't spoil the answer if you know what's going on here without some kind of spoiler warning or e.g. rot13.)

Comment author: plethora 23 January 2017 06:47:54PM *  1 point [-]

Let's consider the number x = ...999; in other words, now we have infinitely many 9s to the left of the decimal point.

My gut response (I can't reasonably claim to know math above basic algebra) is:

  • Infinite sequences of numbers to the right of the decimal point are in some circumstances an artifact of the base. In base 3, 1/3 is 0.1 and 1/10 is 0.00220022..., but 1/10 "isn't" an infinitely repeating decimal and 1/3 "is" -- in base 10, which is what we're used to. So, heuristically, we should expect that some infinitely repeating representations of numbers are equal to some representations that aren't infinitely repeating.

  • If 0.999... and 1 are different numbers, there's nothing between 0.999... and 1, which doesn't jive with my intuitive understanding of what numbers are.

  • The integers don't run on a computer processor. Positive integers can't wrap around to negative integers. Adding a positive integer to a positive integer will always give a positive integer.

  • 0.999... is 0.9 + 0.09 + 0.009 etc, whereas ...999.0 is 9 + 90 + 900 etc. They must both be positive i̶n̶t̶e̶g̶e̶r̶s̶.

  • There is no finite number larger than ...999.0. A finite number must have a finite number of digits, so you can compute ...999.0 to that many digits and one more. So there's nothing 'between' ...999.0 and infinity.

  • Infinity is not the same thing as negative one.

All I have to do to accept that 0.999... is the same thing 1 is accept that some numbers can be represented in multiple ways. If I don't accept this, I have to reject the premise that two numbers with nothing 'between' them are equal -- that is, if 0.999... != 1, it's not the case that for any x and y where x != y, x is either greater than or less than y.

But if I accept that ...999.0 is equal to -1, I have to accept that adding together some positive numbers can give a negative number, and if I reject it, I just have to say that multiplying an infinite number by ten doesn't make sense. (This feels like it's wrong but I don't know why.)

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