Here are the imdb scores of The Woman King:


Well maybe the movie really is very bad? Let's compare other rating sites.

Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/the-woman-king/

Rotten tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_woman_king

Cinemascore (moviegoer polls): A+ score

Seems like imdb has a major problem with people massively joining to review-bomb media they haven't actually seen for ideological reasons (to put it extremely charitably). Something to keep in mind in discussions of what people "really" think of Rings of Powers and what actually motivates the negative reviews.

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Apparently Einstein's death was announced by the pilots of some passenger planes:


Has this happened for any other great scientists/intellectuals either in those days or recently? Was Einstein a special case, or have pilots just stopped doing that sort of thing?

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Started my own of these. Take care :)


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Depression isn't the only cause of suicide, People kill themselves because of severe pain that they don't think is going to get better, and sometimes they're right about how intractable the pain is.

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A comment by user Evan Sp. on Freddie De Boer's latest post about language :


10-15 years ago, descriptivism was left-coded and prescriptivism was right-coded. The right said "speak properly" and the left said "let people be as they are -- all language is legitimate."

But when the left gained cultural power in the past several years, progressive organizations started endorsing prescriptive changes in language e.g., latinx, pregnant people, etc. that were used little outside of small political circles.

Power corrupts! Even in petty linguistic debates.

Of course, none of this matters. Like everything else, language evolves through shared mechanisms of popular usage, activist innovation, and elite endorsement, and neologisms succeed and fail based on murky societal machinery.


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Startup which involves an AI piloting your browser.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 18, 2022

Having nearly been felled twice already by electric cars gliding past as silent as ghosts, I wonder if drive tones should be made mandatory, analogous to ring tones on phones! I think I'd go for clip clopping horses hooves, or maybe a chuff chuff steam train noise.

I only hope musical jingles are excluded though. Otherwise walking down the street in electric vehicle traffic it will sound like one is surrounded by hundreds of chiming ice cream vans!

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Doctors of AST: what is your relationship with radiologists? Do you ever disagree with their reading of an image, do you have access to images, do you consult the images yourselves or just go off of the report? Has your hospital/health care system made it harder to work with radiology by centralizing or outsourcing it recently?

I'm asking out of curiosity because I've heard of that type of centralization, outsourcing image reading to doctors outside the system (even the country), and wondering if other specialists ever second-guess radiology.

Also curious to hear how this sort of centralization affects the radiologists and how you interact with the other specialties, if at all.

Thank you!

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Good article on people's tendency to talk nonsense when they have opinions without specific knowledge and how hard it is to know when you're having an opinion without specific knowledge.

Here's what I believe to be a powerful marker-- the word "just" as in why don't people just do whatever you think will make the situation better. Why don't fat people just eat less? Why don't people just stop having wars? Why don't people just stop committing crimes? Why don't the police just stop abusing people?

"Just" means you're ignoring why something isn't happening.

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Dan Luu takes a skeptical eye to the accuracy of futurists. This seems relevant also to Scott's claimed success in predicting scale improvements to image-generation AIs.

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The answer is plastic. https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2022/09/plastic-might-be-making-you-fat.html

This was one of my first thoughts when I read the first few articles on obesity by SlimemoldTimemold. The different responses of the sexes is interesting too... we see the same in humans somewhat.

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How Bad are Historians?

I've been reading two books on William Marshal, a prominent medieval figure — born the fourth son of a minor baron during the Stephen and Matilda civil war, he spent a decade or two as one of the top tournament knights in western Europe and before he died was regent of England. His other distinction is that he is, I think, the only knight of the period for whom we have a biography written shortly after his death.

Both books agree that the biography is not entirely accurate, which is true, but they disagree about which parts are wrong. Crouch believes that William's father saved Matilda from capture and lost an eye doing it, does not believe that William was accused by rivals at the Young King's court of an affair with Henry's wife. Asbridge doesn't believe the first, does believe the second. In both cases, the author puts his view not as "I think this is what happened, but ..." but as a simple fact — "this is what happened."

This is a case where they have opposite views but more generally, a problem I noticed reading Crouch before I looked at Asbridge, they treat guesses as facts. In one case Crouch gives a footnote to support his guess. If you read it it turns out that there are three primary sources for the question, the biography and another source agree, the third doesn't, and Crouch simply asserts on that evidence that the biography is lying and goes on to describe events after the relevant scene on that assumption.

Is this sort of intellectual arrogance, treating conjectures as facts, typical behavior for academic historians? It it only for books aimed at a general audience, which both of these are, trying tell an entertaining story without confusing the reader with alternative interpretations of the evidence? If I read journal articles by the same authors would they recognize the uncertainty of their interpretation?

For the curious, the books are _William Marshal_ (third edition) by David Crouch and _The Greatest Knight_ by Thomas Asbridge. The biography is _The History of William Marshal_, translated by Nigel Bryant.

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I recently came across this article (https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-022-00548-3) detailing case studies of individuals with fatal anorexia and proposing a set of clinical criteria for terminal anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia bestows a strikingly high death rate. The absence of professionally condoned protocols for anorexics facing the end of life stages is a huge disservice for those of us with severe and enduring anorexia. It's one thing to believe that anorexia should never be terminal, in the same way that HIV should never be terminal. But it seems inhumane to not offer end of life care to individuals in the final stages. What is behind the lack of acceptance in the medical community that anorexia can be terminal?

The paper proposes characteristics of terminal anorexia as : diagnosis of anorexia, being of age 30 or older, prior engagement in eating disorder care and consistent expression that further treatment is futile. Do you think any of these characteristics are unnecessary? What would you add to the criterion? The paper also stipulates that an individual must have a life expectancy of within 6 months in order to receive medical aid in dying.

Do you think a terminal diagnosis is ever appropriate or does it really indicate a failure of the treatment system to support complex patients, particularly those who are marginalized in traditional treatment. Could this diagnosis be weaponized against those that are non compliant with treatment? Non compliance shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing, but rather as an indication that the individual has a will to live agentically and that the treatment provided is failing them. Existing eating disorder treatment was designed for young, cisgender, white women and thus is less effective for POC/older/men/LGBTQ patients. If people are noncompliant or nonresponsive to a treatment that was never even designed for them are they truly beyond help, or is our system broken?

It's also worth noting that in a specialized hospital it is possible to refeed and weight restore nearly every patient. As weight restores, the majority of medical complications cease. Anorexia is almost never medically terminal.

I am a PhD student. I have been through revolving doors of inpatient treatment and I truly cannot fight any more. I can no longer live with this disease and I cannot maintain the minimum nutritional intake for living. I am not willing to participate in recovery oriented treatment and I am no longer trying to prolong my life. I believe that any further treatment will at best only result in brief improvement and is unlikely to provide long-term quality of life. How should I best advocate for my right to die with dignity? What can we do to advocate for a professional consensus for terminal anorexia and patients' end of life rights?

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One often sees discussions about well-known existential hazards to the human race. But what about left field risks that nobody anticipated, perhaps a disastrous unexpected consequence of something almost everyone assumed would be a marvellous idea?

World Government would be one such example, in my opinion, should it ever be attained before there were flourishing human colonies throughout the Solar System and behond. But the merits of that are far from generally agreed, and anyway this post is about something else.

Probably most people would agree that the World would be a better place if everyone's IQ was bumped up by, say, twenty points. No doubt that will soon be a realistic possibility with genetic tweaks to the unborn, and much in demand. But I think the opposite is true: It would be disastrous, and increase the level of strife and contention.

Aren't most terrorists, for example, besides the patsies they persuade to sacrifice themselves, better educated and smarter than the average Joe? What if everyone in society felt they were intellectually special and demanded to be heard and became bitter if they were but one voice among the multitude. Highly intelligent people can be very quarrelsome and arrogant, whereas we lesser intellects (speaking for myself!) are mostly content with the status quo, and that means on the whole a more stable and peaceful society, instead of the opposite.

And don't get me started on intellectually enhanced talking pets. That would open up a whole new can of worms! :-)

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Ten questions about the limit of human intelligence : https://aeon.co/essays/ten-questions-about-the-hard-limits-of-human-intelligence

Related essay by the same author : https://arxiv.org/abs/2208.03886

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Aren't most of our moral choices these days fucking phony? Like plastic straws or no bags at the grocery? None of it means shit in the scheme of things, yet we are supposed to pretend it does.

It gets hard to believe that any so-called moral choices have any reality behind them.

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It seems to me there are two main approaches to understanding the world/existence/reality. One is to assume dualism, which leads to a scientific and perhaps rationalist approach. This the bottom-up view.

The other is to assume sensation comes first. This is the poetic approach. As the poet Octavio Paz writes: "Poetry is the testimony of the senses."

These different approaches don't necessarily contradict one another. There is no reason they can't fit perfectly together. Yet we are a long way from a unified theory of reality, so those two perspectives remain in conflict.

I tend to believe that the poetic reality is likely closer to the truth. Our senses are subjective yet also objective. What we feel/taste/touch/hear is real. What we think may not be.

I think we should dedicate more effort to understanding the world from the poetic view and less from the scientific view, which is too subject to fashion.

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Three Interesting Things Once a Week. Pretty simple, really.

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So I wrote a novel that is supposed to promote Effective Altruism with funding from one of ACX plus grants that never got announced here. I've reached a point where it is fairly polished, and I'm looking for feedback, and also ideas about ways to get it the biggest audience when I publish it.

Here's the google doc with the current text, feel free to read it if a novel about Effective altruism and two people struggling for control of one body sounds cool to you. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZppL3mlO6M98TLQk2IAdL3nM__Pmjxirt59WXGzbIMM/edit?usp=sharing

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A discussion about adding voting restrictions came up on a different site a while back, and among more foundational arguments against it I remember thinking "we already have voting restrictions, it's called children," and it suddenly occurred to me; why DO we restrict children from voting? The only arguments I can think of in favor of restricting children from voting are:

1. They aren't well informed, which is true for most adults as well

2. Their parents would pretty much just vote for them, which seems like a feature; if a mother of four gets four more votes than a bachelor I'm fine with that.

3. Their parents or other authority figures would exert too much control in trying to get them to vote a certain way. I'm pretty sure this is already pretty bad, since everyone already knows they're going to grow up and vote in the future, but maybe it would be problematically worse. Campaign ads during Looney Tunes.

4. The system couldn't handle that many new voters, which if true would need fixing in the long term anyway.

5. edge cases involving newborns, which can be avoided by making the children be able to write their name or something.

The upside would be getting people to vote in the first year they want to, whichever year that is, and not giving them the sense that their input into important events is completely excluded, which seems like it could either convince people to never vote, or radicalize to "make up for lost time".

Overall takes, any thoughts I've missed, anyone know anywhere that's tried it?

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Sep 12, 2022·edited Sep 12, 2022

Recently, there was a Guardian article about a subreddit that I'm a longtime member of, and overall it was surprisingly fair and accurate. However, there was one bit that baffles me - they claim that "to the floor" was a popular meme in the community despite noone ever saying that. A Reddit search shows only a single post containing the phrase, from three months ago with just 7 votes.

I just can't understand how something like that could happen. Obviously, they did do research for the article, and I don't think even the most cynical and underhanded writer would just make shit up, especially in an article that is otherwise accurate, so they must have gotten the idea from somewhere, but I have no idea where.


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This is just a prediction that I'm making. Wanted somewhere to post the prediction so I would be commited.

I can't bet on PI because I am too poor right now. Made some good money on the Bernie market in 2019, though.

In almost every single Senate, Gov, or even state Presidential GE poll released by the pollster Trafalgar they have hit the Republican candidate's final vote share dead on. Within 1% in 90% of cases. Then within 2% in another 8% of cases and finally I found two polls where they missed by 3%. It doesn't really matter whether the poll was released 1 or 2 months ahead or in the final week.

I'd like to predict that based on the 8 Senate polls so far, sadly NH wasn't polled since the primary is tomorrow, and for some reason no Florida poll, that:

JD Vance 49% in Trafalgar poll - loses

Mehmet Oz 44% in Trafalgar poll - loses

H. Walker 47% in Trafalgar poll - loses

A. Laxalt 47% in Trafalgar poll - loses

B. Masters 44% in Trafalgar poll - loses

Ted Budd 44% in Trafalgar poll - loses

R Johnson 44% in Trafalgar poll - loses

T Smiley 46% in Trafalgar poll - loses

I'd expect Hassan's opponent to get sub 47% in the NH T-Poll and lose and I expect Rubio to be on the edge 48-51 like Vance, but also to lose, pending results from a Florida T-Poll.

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How often do small or micro communities branch off into their own "unnetworked" site? How do "censorship" concerns affect this?

I'm asking because themotte.org finally started running their own site and, as far as I know, have abandoned the subreddit. This seems like a very rare thing but I'm wondering if this is more normal than I anticipated for two reasons:

First, between datasecretslox and themotte, I know of two forums that have split off over the SSC-sphere over the past couple years, both over "censorship" related issues. I don't pay attention to too many other online communities, is this normal?

Second, themotte based their setup on something called rdrama, which is apparently another reddit sub that got kicked off and became their own little thing. And I think the_Donald branch-off is still around. But I'd never even heard of rdrama and it was weird to find this whole little hidden community.

So yeah, most people on the internet tend to go to a few large sites but I'm wondering how many little "dark" communities there are that have branched off. Is this common because, well, one of the definitions is that they're insular/not easily findable via the big sites.

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random questions, expecting subjective, anecdotal, and ungeneralizable answers from people i have never met: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ktNf4E-uHjf2XqWPLZLmBzQAbDfUczSMCFIcgLKHLvA/mobilebasic

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I’m considering another - and final, I’m 48 - career move. But I’m a little lost, and I’d love advice from this group.

I’m an attorney (20+ years). I’d like to start taking night classes for computer programming. There’s a lot of activity in the legal tech world, but not a ton of overlap between the tech side and the law side. I think that someone with skills in both areas could do very well.

But I know very little of the tech world. I’m just starting investigating this, and I need some fundamental advice. Any advice is welcome, but the questions I can think of are:

1. How important is credentialism? Do I need a degree, or are targeted classes enough? I’m old-ish and have three kids; I probably can’t take four years of classes, not to mention the expense.

2. Assuming I don’t need a degree, what classes are necessary, what languages should I know?

3. What math classes are useful/necessary?

4. How important is the name of the school? Anything I’m likely to be able to do would be Long Island local- there’s no MIT in my future

5. What other independent activities can someone take to demonstrate skills? I assume “I took a class” isn’t half as good as “here’s a fun project I did myself”.

6. Anything other advice is welcome!

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Could cities reasonably prevent bars from overserving patrons to the point of intoxication- like, imposing a 3 drink limit per patron? And probably a minimum cover tab too, to minimize bar hopping after you've had hit your per-bar limit.

Alcohol continues to be society's most damaging drug by a huge margin, and alcohol taxes do seem to be proven pretty efficient at reducing alcoholism, alcohol-related violence, etc. I'd argue that over the decades/centuries, high levels of consumption have just become less & less socially acceptable- people used to drink WAY more in the 18th & 19th centuries. Given that- the idea of people routinely getting drunk and committing crimes at a public venue that's licensed and regulated by the state seems rather odd, yeah? Ask the local police department where most of the crimes are committed every Friday & Saturday night, year in and year out.

I think society can reasonably say- public drunkenness & its associated social ills (fights, etc.) are just not acceptable in our downtown. If you'd like to get drunk you can certainly do so in the privacy of your own home, or at a private party- but not in the middle of our city's commercial district, at a state-regulated & licensed establishment. All bars & restaurants now have a 3 drink maximum per patron, and if we see that this just leads to a lot of bar hopping, we're going to make bars pool driver's licenses associated with one's tab on a common server each night to prevent it. Basically- our commercial district is not available for large-scale intoxication, disruptive behavior and petty crime. Seems reasonable eh?

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Do black (African/Caribbean) people have biologically different voices from white (European) people?

When I hear a black person on the radio, I can often tell without any explicit mention of race. This is especially true for black women.

Of course, there are massive social and cultural factors in play. The community and region in which you grow up will affect accent, dialect and vocabulary choice. If you grow up around black people, you will speak and sound like other black people for this reason. (Note: I live in the United Kingdom, which has a very high level of regional accent variation, with the majority of black people living in London and other major cities, so my experience of these effects will be magnified.)

But I believe, even accounting for all this, that there is often a racial difference. Black women in particular have voices that sound lower and raspier/coarser than white women.

It would not be surprising if this were true. Black people have different facial features from white people. (You can see this most obviously by comparing photos of albino black people and albino white people.) This presumably results from differences in bones and muscle, which could easily affect voice production too.

But I have been unable to find any information about this online, whether research papers or blog posts. Part of the problem is that my Google searches tend to return results about dialect. If there is research on this, I'm not sure what search terms I should use to find it. (Conversely, I was able to find discussion of what it means to have a "gay voice".)

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If our perception of reality is just a rendering of physical/base reality in our consciousness why is it mostly beautiful? Why is our rendering of a wave beautiful if it is just a bunch of colorless molecules? Why do we perceive nature as mostly beautiful, even sublime? Is it an evolutionary aspect of our brain/consciousness to make existence bearable?"

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Sep 12, 2022·edited Sep 12, 2022

Does anyone know of any large scale data sets on human mood?

I'm interested to know how often and how much people are unhappy. If we took a million people and sampled their self reported mood up to several times a day for six months... we might learn whether unhappiness is in fact a fairly common experience, and whether there are clusters in how it behaves (I'd expect people to be somewhat arranged along the Neuroticism axis of the 5 factor model...).

Anyway I think that probably there have been apps supporting better mental health etc that have got and perhaps published this data - but I cannot find it. I had a look around and I could find stuff about how mood was correlated to social forces, and sentiment analysis on social media, but nothing that I could use to explore the questions I'm asking.

Maybe the ACX community can point me in the right direction!

Thanks :)

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Anyone here with aquarium hobby or knowledge about biological filtration?

TLDR: I am looking for some research articles or other materials about biological filtration in aquariums.

A lot of the information I found so far online is not very rigorous.

I am looking for some pointers or recommendations to good research/books/anything serious to help me answer these questions:

1. Why does it take so long for the bacteria to colonize the filter (even when the bacteria are added explicitly)? How do parameters of the water influence this? Can it be shortened?

2. Is filter media really necessary? It is usually said filter media provides surfaces for bacteria but these are just a fraction of other surfaces combined in an average tank (substrate, rocks, etc.). Wouldn't just establishing a continuous flow of water be enough? If not, what is the appropriate amount of filter media?

3. It is recommended to run the filter all the time. Are the filter bacteria really so fragile that they wouldn't survive with some fraction of time with the filter turned off? This does seem counter intuitive to me.

4. It is said filter media transplantation to a new tank usually does not work and cycling has to be started again. What is the reason behind this? Can it be done somehow?

5. How do water parameters affect the capacity of filtration?

6. How does the strength of water flow affect filtration?

A lot of answers to these questions I found on aquarium webs/blogs/discussions are quite contradictory and sometimes I get the feeling nobody really knows what they are talking about or are just repeating what others said. That's why I want to look at some more rigorous research.

Also, do you think any of these would be a good research question?

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I'm a high school student with an interest in computer science, but it looks like coding will be a less valuable skill in the future with things like Copilot coming out. Is majoring in comp-sci still a good idea? Also, if not, what are some other intellectually-demanding majors that are more resilient to automation (Maybe stuff in math or bio)?

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I find it amusingly hypocritical that I complain about pushing politics in movies, and yet the recent few movies I enjoyed a lot were strongly political. It's just... someone else's culture war, so I don't mind.

* Hindus and Muslims should live together in peace

* caste discrimination is bad

* Britain is evil (except for that one girl who falls in love with the protagonist)

EDIT: For the record, I didn't mean that all those three happened in the same movie, so you don't have to guess. I have watched many Indian movies recently.

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I'm starting to think that political arguments really have nothing to do with values, and are entirely just arguments over facts.

I could be convinced otherwise if someone could show two schools of political thought which are identical in terms of their factual (i.e. predictive) views, and yet disagree only in terms of their normative views.

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Sep 12, 2022·edited Sep 12, 2022

Freddie had a weird post on the usage of "literally" the other day. The question is can you use "literally" like this

I literally walked a million miles yesterday.

I say you can.

The debate centred on whether *literally* could be used to mean figuratively, which is what some dictionary suggested. I disagree, you wouldn’t use figuratively there. The sentence is itself figurative. It’s hyperbole. And with hyperbole the entire sentence is read as not literal.

(Using literally as an intensifier doesn’t change that.)

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I don't understand how money works.

I'm not talking about the colored paper in my pocket, this is easy enough. I'm talking about the myriad forms of even-more-imaginary forms of paper and computer memory, that people somehow agreed has some value and acted in accordance.

Post any kind of material (books, games, essays, articles, videos, podcasts, people, social media threads, etc...) that you think can help me understand.

What are "Derivatives" or "Futures"? Is the first one related to its math analogue, or the second one related to its programming analogue ? Why is Fractional Reserve Banking not a scam ? and if it's a scam, why do the people who understand it not start a revolution ? Why is the stock exchange useful ?

As a concrete test case, I want to read a non-dumbed-down (~2nd or ~3rd year university-level) account of the 2008 financial crisis and understand what it's saying and why it's true. There is no thing special about 2008 crisis for me, it's just a famously complex and intricate financial phenomenon that provides a good test flight of my understanding of money. You can post any other financial crisis or phenomena that you think will help me better understand how finance works or test my understanding.

I have a background in CS, I love historical explanations that trace how a complex thing started one small piece at a time. I love multi-viewpoint explanations and I feel I'm being lied to or sold something when I detect an ideological bias in the educational material. I don't have a full time devotion to this task, and I'm not interested in making money using this understanding.

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I recommend the book "Slouching Toward Utopia" by Brad deLong.

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I have created a cloud service for understanding text. Just understanding. Suitable for chatbots, classification, etc. It's called Understanding Machine One (UM1)

Code to test it is on github.

API description is in Chapter 9 at https://experimental-epistemology.ai/um1

Algorithm is described in Chapter 8.

If you can handle it, read Chapter 7, which discusses the main cognitive dissonance of ML.

I'd love to hear some comments on any of the content.

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This is an update of my long-running attempt to predict an outcome of Russo-Ukrainian war. After more than a month when nothing worth updating happened, we have major developments. Previous update is here: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/open-thread-234/comment/7955016. (note: I have a limited time for responding to comments, maybe it might take me a few days).

15 % on Ukrainian victory (up from 8 % on July 25).

I define Ukrainian victory as either a) Ukrainian government gaining control of the territory it had not controlled before February 24, regardless of whether it is now directly controlled by Russia (Crimea), or by its proxies (Donetsk and Luhansk "republics”), without losing any similarly important territory and without conceding that it will stop its attempts to join EU or NATO, b) Ukrainian government getting official ok from Russia to join EU or NATO without conceding any territory and without losing de facto control of any territory it had controlled before February 24, or c) return to exact prewar status quo ante.

45 % on compromise solution that both sides might plausibly claim as a victory (up from 29 % on July 25).

40 % on Ukrainian defeat (down from 63 % on July 25).

I define Ukrainian defeat as Russia getting what it wants from Ukraine without giving any substantial concessions. Russia wants either a) Ukraine to stop claiming at least some of the territories that were before war claimed by Ukraine but de facto controlled by Russia or its proxies, or b) Russia or its proxies (old or new) to get more Ukrainian territory, de facto recognized by Ukraine in something resembling Minsk ceasefire(s)* or c) some form of guarantee that Ukraine will became neutral, which includes but is not limited to Ukraine not joining NATO. E.g. if Ukraine agrees to stay out of NATO without any other concessions to Russia, but gets mutual defense treaty with Poland and Turkey, that does NOT count as Ukrainian defeat.


In a nutshell, Ukrainians managed to concentrate powerful forces on the insufficiently defended part of the Russian frontline, achieving complete surprise and total rout of Russian defences, which then triggered chaotic retreat slash surrender of Russian forces concentrated on the different part of the front, threatened with encirclement. Pretty classic maneuver, well known from history books. Overall extent of the Ukrainian victory, as of now, is still unclear, and battle is ongoing, which complicates predictions.

Well, I did not expect Ukrainians would be able to do that. This indicates far lower ability of Russian command to see what Ukrainians are doing (in military lingo, I believe it is called situational awareness), and also a lack of metawareness, in a sense that they did not know what they did not know; otherwise they would not concentrate so many of their resources in attempts to break through Ukrainian lines around Izyum (and also further southeast around Bachmut), leaving large section of the frontline so poorly defended. Furthemore this shows that Ukrainian army is very good, but I knew that already.

Other important thing that is happening, also good for Ukraine, is that since my previous update 538 increased odds of Democrats retaining their majority in the House of Representatives from 15 to 26 %. I think that US support for Ukraine in the future is going to be higher if Democrats win.

Now, I am still not ready to declare imminent Ukrainian victory in the whole war. Russia still has a powerful army, controls large swathes of important Ukrainian territory, has far more resources left to mobilize than Ukraine. Future of Western support to Ukraine still remains highly uncertain. I also think, although this is more subjective, that Russian command in this war has shown an ability to learn from their previous mistakes.

BUT, of course this shows major flaws in Russian decision making, which might not be fixable. In the past, I have lost any confidence in predictions of the impending collapse of the Russian regime (those long predate the war), simply because they are just being endlessly repeated with varying justifications and regime is not collapsing. Now, I guess those guys gained back some credibility. Total collapse of the Russian army, in a 1918 Germany style, just became a lot more likely than it was a week ago. And obviously, this situation might cause antiwar sentiments in Russia to rise, especially since Russian government might feel compelled to intensify mobilization, both manpower and industrial, either to replace unexpected losses or just ensure that this disaster will not be repeated.

*Minsk ceasefire or ceasefires (first agreement did not work, it was amended by second and since then it worked somewhat better) constituted, among other things, de facto recognition by Ukraine that Russia and its proxies will control some territory claimed by Ukraine for some time. In exchange Russia stopped trying to conquer more Ukrainian territory. Until February 24 of this year, that is.

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Hmm, no Open Thread 240.5 this week? It did feel like a long time between OTs...

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I’m looking for a detailed and accurate cost-benefit analysis of fracking. Most of what I’ve encountered so far is polemical in one direction or the other. Any suggestions?

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TLDR- OODA Four Humors books.

'Surrounded by Idiots' by Thomas Erikson.

Erikson is a management consultant who visits offices and types people by a four humors variant called the DISC method. Dominant, Influencer, Stable and Compliance. I'm not a people person, but the books gave me a better take on people I work with. 'Surrounded by Idiots' is if everyone around you is a different type and life is one long misunderstanding.

Erikson is confident he can type people with a month or so observing. Hard sell? Yes. But he's not typing them for all times and all peoples, he's typing how they act in office drama he's seen. Per Montaigne men do more from habit than reason.

It's easy to map DISC as the four humors and the OODA loop. Dominant as Decide and Choler, Influencer as Sanguine and Orient, Stable as Melancholy and Observe, Compliant as Phlegmatic and Act. Often wrong, but easy, and these are just rules of thumb.

'Surrounded by Bad Bosses and Lazy Employees', also Thomas Erikson.

This is the best Erikson book. Decades of experience as a management consultant describing bosses and employees. The first half boss, the second employee. How they should get along and why they don't. Driving forces as well as personality types. 'People quit their boss, not their job'. The tendency to start a job with full commitment and minimum skill, and finish with minimum commitment and maximum skill, and what you and the boss should do at each stage.

He has a lot of good, pointed anecdotes. He even throws in a good case for the reason decent people flinch from American journalism- the Pyramid story. Headline, maybe a good first sentence, probably not a good first paragraph, endless burbling. In his telling it is a good way to reach all four personality types, not an abomination against God Man and Devil as everyone thinks. Bossypants types skim the headline with decision, job done. Emo types skim the first sentence for the slant. Rocks read the first paragraph. We do our part. Nit-pickers read the whole thing in the hopeless hope of some news value. The human comedy of humors is covered, why should I sneer? Because it's a good target for random contempt. Because I've spent decades reading crap excreted by low-IQ journalists, sloppily edited by Satans in green eyeshades, stuffed in at random by rightly bored typesetters around the ads. It's bad luck to sneer at a style of writing millions of people have read for the last century. Okay.

Erikson never mentions journalism or the phrase 'pyramid story'. He just sees a useful template for reaching most types of people. Okay.

Here is Erikson at his best, a sensible expert with three decades of experience.

'Surrounded by Psychopaths' and 'Surrounded by Narcissists', by Erikson at his worst.

'Psychopaths'? Kitsch. 'Narcissists'? Kitsch. 'Malicious' and 'Selfish' are English. So, indeed, is 'just not that into you'.

The worst books he's written, with good stuff from other books drowning in drivel. Erikson is a man of sense and one who knows the world, and you feel a good mind trying to make this kitsch make sense, as no one can. If he had written 'Surrounded by Malicious People' he could have written a useful book about malicious people with a sense of human nature. No. He goobers about amygdala as if malice changed your brain into a space alien supervillain. If he had written 'Surrounded by Selfish People'- if he had written 'Surrounded by People Who Just Aren't That Into You'-


Pretending selfish and malicious people are different from us, stuffed in our test tubes and dissected by our pseudoscientific gibberish. Look into your heart. You are malicious and selfish and just not THAT into me. Me too. Even GK Chesterton.

'Emotions of Normal People' William Marston.

Marston is the source of Erikson's DISC personality profile. Marston is also known for his blood pressure lie detector. Marston is also known as the the creator of Wonder Woman, wearer of booty shorty and wielder of the Lasso of Truth. Marston is also known for taking his women tied up and attached to his lie detector, so he could screw with their minds as he hurt their pussy. Or for finding True Love by Scientific Proof, can't say. He lived with his wife and mistress and died of cancer, not feminine outrage.

The first part of the book is his deep thoughts on evolution. He's not that deep. He's not a biologist. Skip the first 90 pages. It picks up pace as he criticizes competing 1920's psychologists. He is clever, polite, firm. Then the book starts. It's about his four humors DISC theory, as seen in decades of interviews using his lie detector. DISC was originally Dominance Influence Submission Compliance, with Submission changed to Stability by Erikson's generation to avoid hurting middle management's feelings and scaring the office people. And another reason.

You have read feminist stuff about the Evil Patriarchal Science claiming women are naturally submissive, science proves it, the little darlings love it, it's better for them anyway. Here it is, the distinguished thing. He goes into detail. He shows that women's vulvae moisten the more as they are more submissive. It is his life's work to make all women to be Love Leaders who submit to their one dominant man. Works for a lot of happy families. As the D party has cracked down on this our fertility rate has dropped like a falling safe. If Erikson didn't skip this part he'd never get work.

. . . then in the last hundred pages Erikson betrays the Patriarchy. In the natural act a woman's special place dominates a submissive phallus. Wives should all have jobs so their husbands know they live on sufferance. Margaret Sanger is right, most marriages should not have children. Companionate Marriage is his ideal. Another Patriarch's youthful thrusting ends cockadroop.

The last hundred pages are busy. He writes about his lie detector, which proves you are lying because your blood pressure shows Dominance, the first, sane, socialized start of anger. His version is much better than his competitors, who think you are a liar when your blood pressure shows Submission, the first, sane, socialized start of fear. Between the two we always lie, but okay.

It says something awful about human nature that we invent these wonderful emotion detectors and use them as crappy lie detectors. It says something about Marston that he thinks anger and fear are crazy. Lions and gazelles, rabbits and dogs, me and life's infelicities, all nuts by him.

In the last hundred pages you start to see what the first hundred pages tried to show, a truly scientific advance on Darwin's 'The Expression of Emotions in Animals and Man'. Darwin, a naturalist, typed facial expressions everyone can see in humans and other animals. Marston goes deeper. He sees the first tremors of intent in the blood. I don't think this was taken up by the world of science. Paul Ekman uses high-speed photographs of faces for micro-expressions, but this looks like a genuine lost treasure. It makes sense for Marston to extend this into bacteria and evolution and so forth and I should give the first hundred pages a fair reread and I just can't. I've read too many Derp Thoughts on Evolution.

It's too late for me, but I hope someone smarter looks into this. Any Paul Ekman students out there?

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Why do you think China hasn't solved their low birth rate problem with a radical social policy? If they could implement the one-child policy, why not something like two-or-more-child policy(with exceptions for certain groups perhaps)?

I know that Scott wrote a post on why low birth rate isn't such a serious problem, but that only applies when you're not a nation challenging the United States for global hegemony. In so called Cold War 2, population absolutely matters, and surely the CCP realize this as well.

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I'm reading through the western canon, and I feel like I'd have a much better time if I had at least one friend that has done (or is doing) the same thing that was interested in talking about it. How do I find friends who want to talk about great books? In SF, btw.

(If this is you, let me know!!)

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Latest updates in the field of 3D printing firearms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dBJUifMtTA&t=669s Here's a hobbyist who's printed a copy of the MP5, the legendary late 20th century German submachine gun. (You've seen it in a million movies even if you don't know what an MP5 is). As far as I can tell it's quite functional. He has another video where he's printed his own AR-15 and it clearly jams quite a bit- on the other hand, I think we can see where the general direction of technology is going here.

Seeing as this blog likes to write about the latest AI updates, I thought people might be interested in where the field of essentially creating semi-automatic weapons at home is going. They seem to be overcoming problems with printing the receiver specifically, which is traditionally metal. (Perhaps Glock will be an inspiration here!) It's also possible to cast your own bullets at home too.

Anyways, I'm neither praising nor criticizing, but simply noting real-world advances in the field. I'd imagine the ability to create one's own semiautomatic weapon at home will be widespread in a decade or so, definitely two. This has some policy implications!

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TLDR- OODA Four Humor book

Kitsch? No, but with the saving leaven of kitsch that makes genre easier fun than classics.

'The EMS OODA Loop' by Brian Sharp.

Sharp is an experienced Paramedic, topped out, Flight Certified Paramedic. Observe, Orient, Decide Act is simple enough to be fed Marines with their crayons. As an inexperienced first responder I could see things I should have done. A useful checklist for writing reports, and if I ever remember it at an incident I will use it.

It's not hard to see Observe as Melancholy, Orient for Sanguine, Decide for Choler, Act for Phlegmatic. The old Four Humors, the OODA loop, tomayto tomahto.

Sharp writes clearly but with no style at all. I idly fancied him locked in some silent cell lit by the last burning copies of Strunk & White, forced to rewrite every paragraph per Fowler's 1928 'Modern English Usage'.

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Nature is basically admitting to explicit efforts at censorship of politically incorrect research findings.


Not surprising of course, and if anything it's refreshing to see it stated so (relatively speaking) plainly, but this is going to make some of the most politically salient behavioral research harder to conduct/promote and skew people's perceptions of what is true (to the extent that they actually care about what research says beyond its use as ideological confirmation).

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I'm interested more in learning more about pharmacology, and a lot of intro books I'm seeing on amazon are geared towards clinicians rather than interested laypeople (ie, people like me). Would any of you all have any book recommendations?

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Surf Thread

I took a look. I see why they need to go here to solicit feedback. Their feedback page is broken! Also, (at least on android and the brave browser) their mobile site is broken! It only lets you enter text when you turn on desktop mode. My advice to to hire testers.

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Would there be a substantial long-term impact on culture if somehow it gets established beyond reasonable doubt that someone other than Shakespeare wrote everything that's traditionally attributed to him? Or likewise for any other household name? Do people care about such "questions" for about the same reason that they gossip about celebrities, and it's just as trivial?

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I’m curious what you and your readers think of the casting controversies in the Rings of Power series. I wrote a piece explaining why fans might not like it without necessarily being “racist”.


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For Scott's next book review contest, would it be more convenient to use a wiki where each review gets its own page?

Reviewers would be previewing their own formatting (using anonymous accounts), so there would be no more surprises about how it looks on Substack. Readers would find reviews using the random button in the sidebar. Finalists would be listed on the main page.

Possible problems: Does each image need to be uploaded? Will participation decline? Would Scott find it inconvenient to keep tabs on the wiki and Substack?

Edit: Forgot to mention what I imagine would be more convenient about the voting - voting on the page of the review itself, rather than navigating elsewhere.

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My latest article in which every piece of artwork is made by AI got a ton of negative feedback from my follows. Like "go jump off a bridge" bad. This may be because I am more in the writing community rather than the rationalist one but I was wondering if others who use DALL-E or Midjourney in their writing are getting blowback on putting artists out of business.

For reference:


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So we have had twenty-six United Nations Climate Change Conferences, and as far as I can tell, there is lots of talk about "projected degrees of temperature rise", but no goal for "projected peak CO2 concentration".

Why is that?

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Is gravity quantized or continuous? Since it's a function of mass and distance (which is quantized), I guess it depends on whether mass is quantized. I think there's no particles having mass less than neutrinos, so maybe mass is quantized and the smallest quantum of mass is the neutrino?

But since gravity is inversely related to distance, it can be made arbitrarily small by increasing the distance, so if gravity is quantized it's a weird kind where there's no smallest quantum unit.

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I’m organizing several conferences for entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators in Próspera, the startup city.

Scholarships for flights and accommodation options are available.

More here: https://infinitafund.com/scholarship

And here:

Prospera Healthtech Summit, September 23-25, 2022: https://infinitafund.com/healthtech2022

Prospera Edtech Summit, October 28-30, 2022: https://infinitafund.com/edtech2022

Prospera Fintech Summit, November 18-20, 2022: https://infinitafund.com/fintech2022

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I was recently thinking about something that I did not have a good grasp of and felt this community would provide helpful commentary on.

Many of the nerdy communities I participate in joke they self-select for intelligence. SSC/EA/basketball analytics discussion groups etc. At the same time, from my observation, all of these groups have very minimal East Asian representation.

Is there writing on this issue? Have people already theorized why this is?

I suspect cultural factors + smaller number of people of who grew up in the West in families comfortable enough to let their children waste tons of time on the internet and not feel academic pressure. I really don't know though.

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You all may enjoy my interview of the brilliant engineer and blogger Austin Vernon.

We discuss how energy superabundance will change the world, why software hasn't increased total factor productivity, how Starship can be turned into a kinetic weapon, why nuclear is overrated, blockchains, batteries, flying cars, finding alpha, Toyota Production System, & much more.


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