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veen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 21, 2019

Buncha D&D things this week!

I’ve been in a weekly campaign for well over a year now. Last session was particularly intense. We were fighting a six-armed bigass troll on a platform in a cave. I, being the stealthy rogue muddafukka, used a magic item that allows me to walk on the sides of the platform to gain some well-needed leverage. I tried (and failed) to pull the troll off the platform, into the water deep below. He struck struck back by pushing me off the platform.

Falling into water wouldn’t be such a problem, were it not that I had another magical item active that repulses all water off me. So instead of plunging into water, I fell much farther and hit the rock bottom of this body of water, knocking me out, well out of reach of the rest of the adventurers. I’d been working on a new character for a bit, but I wasn’t really planning to bid farewell to my current one so soon. So it caught me a bit by surprise, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but it genuinely saddened me to leave this fictional roleplay character behind me. I didn’t expect that at all to happen.

The feels were unwarranted however, because after two failed death saves, I rolled a natural 20 on my third roll, which was the only way I could still be saved in time. Welp.

I also organized a one shot this weekend. As soon as I learned that my girlfriend’s old roommates almost all play D&D and she hadn’t ever done so, I knew it had to happen some day. We did a magic forest setting, and the DM is doing a PhD in literature and is pretty baller at creative writing, so she did a great job. Everyone played as a fairytale character. I played Frau Holle, and rejigged it into a cranky and greedy old woman who had to go on an adventure because she ran out of pension funds and free maids. It was a lot of fun, definitely not the last time.

veen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 21, 2019

I'd say go and visit friends and family in distant places. See the sights the kid in you always wanted to see. Hike some woods, detach from the world for a few days. Explore new cities, find awesome museums. Spend a day or two figuring out how to make something new. Or maybe do all of the above! Anything's better than couch slumping for fourteen days.

kingmudsy  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·  

    Hike some woods, detach from the world for a few days. Explore new cities, find awesome museums.

Trust that I won't have trouble detaching from the world. The core question I'm after is whether you have any favorite woods, cities, or museums for me to consider as part of my trip!

veen  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ergodicity - Bringing altruism and collaboration into economic theory

    By pooling resources, those who do can be aided by others who don’t. Mathematically, it turns out that such pooling increases the grow rate of resources or wealth for all parties.

One only needs to look into history to find examples of this happening. It reminded me a lot of the creation of the Dutch water boards, which were originally created by groups of farmers in the 13th century realizing that if they built a large dike together instead of individual dikes, they could build stronger dikes for much less money per farmer. People band together if there's a clear long-term benefit - is that such a revolutionary insight?

goobster  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    People band together if there's a clear long-term benefit - is that such a revolutionary insight?

In economic theory, apparently it is. The difficulty is that economic theory has relied heavily on mathematical models, which - until recently - were not very good at calculation the very human parts of market interactions: emotions, altruism, collaboration, etc. Economists took a distinctly reductive approach to human behavior and said, basically, "If the person is going to gain monetarily from the interaction, then they will do it. Otherwise they will not."

It was a very black and white treatment of something that is only black/white in psychopaths. Normal humans react with more nuance, and by evaluating other factors including altruistic inclinations.

veen  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 344th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately" Thread

veen  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Book Thread Time

Since the last thread, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear, which as far as productivity books go is one of the better ones. Found my few diamonds in the rough and moved on. I also finally got around to reading That Orange Mark Manson Book, mostly out of spite. It's basically some Buddhist/Taoist ideas wrapped in a shouty, infantalizing narrative. It's Essentialism rewritten for people who watched too much South Park. The annoying part is that I do agree with a bunch of things he says, I just hate the way he says it.

Read a Dutch book called Elite Gezocht ("Elite Wanted"), a book that perfectly characterizes and explains the creation and demise of the modern Dutch elite and its beliefs. I also simultaneously read Primates of Park Avenue, the latter referenced by the former just a few hours after I read the referenced paragraph, which was kinda funny. I found both absolutely fascinating and may or may not have enough thoughts to put into a review of some sorts.

Read How to Change your Mind by Michael Pollan. Nearly quit because the second chapter is so godawfully bad, but kept on reading to see if there was more around the corner. There wasn't a lot, and I came away from reading it more convinced that the noetic quality of LSD/psylocibin (the quality of the drugs that makes it feel like it's truth-revealing, instead of just a drug trip) is bullshit. Pollan actually makes half on an argument about the potential reason for this quality, which is that from an evolutionary point of view it makes sense for a drug to convince people that it's the greatest thing in the world, and while he does ignore that argument I simply cannot. So while I won't recommend the book, it at least made me think.

I started reading In Search of Zarathustra on kb's recommendation, as I have become somewhat fascinated with Zoroastreanism lately. It's an ebook though so progress is kinda slow. I also started reading Bowling Alone, which I have read parts of in college but haven't yet read back to back. I think it's a good sign that the majority of the reviews talk about how dry it is - so far I quite like it in a Tony Judt/Edward Said deep-dive kind of way.

On my reading list: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland and Disneywar.

veen  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Information operations directed at Hong Kong

    Covert, manipulative behaviors have no place on our service — they violate the fundamental principles on which our company is built.


I'm not sure how I feel about this disclosure. It's good that they do something but it also highlights how little they do to curb the externalities of their platform.

veen  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 14, 2019

Drove the panda car to my parents last Friday. Got the newer 33 kWh (~150 mi range) version, so I made it there without charging along the way. We spent Saturday visiting the oldest known planetarium in the world. It's old-old: it was under construction when the Declaration of Independence was written. Both my girlfriend and I had visited it once when we were younger, but we both wanted to see it again.

It's still dope. I had forgotten how many things it indicates - besides accurately displaying the positions of our planets, it also tracks sunrise/set, astrological signs, its x/y axes match the seasons, it has a star map, moon phases and it even shows the moonrise and moonset times. All because a Dutch mathematician in a small, quaint place wanted a dope living room that would prove his point.

On Sunday, we drove to another side of the country to visit one of my girlfriend's best friends. She bought a home with her boyfriend in another small, quaint place somewhere south of Rotterdam. And coincidentally they were working on the living room that day. The sight of a poorly lit, chaotic building-site-in-a-room was a familiar one to me - my dad was always working on fixing up our home for as long as I can remember. It dawned on me that my parents were also in their mid/late twenties when they started living together, my dad spending the evenings and weekends improving the home. It also dawned on me that people my age are now buying homes 'n shit.

When we entered they were just closing a hole they accidentally made in the wall the day before. The home was known to have been built originally somewhere in the fifteenth century, so the exposed wall was a hotchpotch of brick types and sizes from centuries upon centuries of care and disrepair.

I don't know what it was precisely - the centuries old stuff, seeing my parents, the normalcy of my SO's friend buying and fixing a home, but I have rarely felt more old than the past few days. Not old in any absolute sense - I turn 26 in three months, so I can't complain. It's more that I've always thought of myself as a young 19 y/o college student. I've held that identity for long enough that it still lingered on, even though my last lecture was well over two years ago. Clearly I'm in a different phase of my life now, but I don't know yet what that will mean for my future, or what that might mean decades or even centuries down the line.

goobster  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    " ... tracks sunrise/set, astrological signs, its x/y axes match the seasons, it has a star map, moon phases and it even shows the moonrise and moonset times... because a Dutch mathematician in a small, quaint place wanted a dope living room that would prove his point..."

Dude. Some people's home renovation projects put mine to SHAME. ;-D

veen  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Can Europe Help Buoy A Germany In Peril?

I hadn't picked up yet on Germany's decline. Germany's wellbeing is of particular interest to me, as it's our biggest export partners at 22% of total exports. So my response to the title (which is how it was printed and how I came across it) was akin to "what? fuck no".

It feels like we're on thin ice at the moment, and an article like this is one of those loud cracks in the ice that may or may not be the last one before we'll fall through.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The economic indicators on Germany aren't subtle. Do a Google Image search for "dailyshot germany".

Everyone seems to be waiting for some sort of official recession signal without recognizing that nobody ever says "we're in a recession" they say "turns out we've been in a recession for the past six months."

veen  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: California Coast Plagued by Dragon Attacks

Subreddit Simulator was when Reddit jumped the shark for me.

IIIRC I may have introduced you to Subreddit Simulator back when I visited you in LA. The date checks out.

kleinbl00  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Seems entirely possible. I may have said something like "if you don't post that I will."

veen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Howdy, Hubski! What culinary crimes is your home infamous for?

Dutch mayonnaise is generally sweeter than American mayo, IIRC. Especially Zaanse Mayonnaise.

Now that I think of it - there’s something worse. I love patatje oorlog, which most definitely is an acquired taste.

kleinbl00  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  


veen  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Roko's Basilisk: The most terrifying thought experiment of all time

    Now, Roko’s Basilisk is only dangerous if you believe all of the above preconditions and commit to making the two-box deal with the Basilisk. But at least some of the LessWrong members do believe all of the above, which makes Roko’s Basilisk quite literally forbidden knowledge

...or it means that some LessWrong members are idiots who don't see any flaws in the preconditions.

If someone presents a dichotomy, one can assume it's a false dichotomy until proven otherwise.

veen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Howdy, Hubski! What culinary crimes is your home infamous for?

We Dutch don't really do cuisine - some of the most typically Dutch dishes involve nothing more than mashing together onions, potatoes, and either carrots or kale and calling it a day. The rest we stole from mostly Indonesia, China or Morocco, like the rijsttafel which is something we stole and is now no longer done in Indonesia so it's ours.

Most of the original Dutch things are delicious cookies, cakes, sweets and breads. We do have some deep fried abominations such as the nasischijf / bamischijf, which is a deepfried disk of fried rice/noodles. Our new year's eve snack of choice is the oliebol, a deepfried ball of dough usually dotted with raisins. We eat raw herring (matter of fact I just had some today), mussels and smoked eel.

goobster  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'll give the Dutch the honor of mayonnaise on their french fries. They probably weren't first, but I expect the first time most people experienced this surprisingly delicious aberration, they were somewhere in the Netherlands.

veen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dutch mayonnaise is generally sweeter than American mayo, IIRC. Especially Zaanse Mayonnaise.

Now that I think of it - there’s something worse. I love patatje oorlog, which most definitely is an acquired taste.

kleinbl00  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  


kleinbl00  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dude the Dutch think that white bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles is breakfast. Which, I mean, the French believe that white bread with butter and a chocolate bar on it is breakfast but still. Mad props.

veen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My fav breakfast is Dutch whole grain bread, peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles. HashtagNoShame.

I eat bread for breakfast and for lunch. But then again, even averaged Dutch bread is great.

kleinbl00  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I once took a ferry to buy two boxes of hachelschlach.

kingmudsy  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Rijsttafel sounds really nice, actually! Raw herring is like a cursed version of sushi, though

veen  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Morning, Hubski. How do you motivate yourself to do something difficult?

    “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” - Mark Twain

    “If your solution is ‘try harder’ or ‘be more careful’ you can go fuck yourself.” - unknown

Sometimes I'll actively think through the worst case scenario. It's often less awful than my fear imagines it to be. Usually when something's difficult for me, it's difficult to start. Sometimes I need to actively remind myself of why I'm doing that thing in the first place. Sometimes I use the 'mindless' approach; I just need to get into the motions, I just need to get moving and then I'll be fine, so I find whatever mindless thing will get me an inch closer to my goal and do that.

veen  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, what are you working on?

Finally working on my academic paper again. Wanna send it later today for the last reviews before we send it out for real peer reviews.

veen  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: PSA: Simple Opt-Out

I think you're talking about something else. What I am talking about is that I see two types of privacy-infringing companies; the gigantic tech/ad companies, who have no financial reason not to track the ever living shit out of you; and the smaller (tech) companies who maybe want your zipcode and email address and have with that enough consumer data to Pareto optimize their business to you. My link mostly helps with the latter.

The former is a different beast. Adobe, despite being objectively a terrible company, probably wouldn't do much with your data if they didn't have large data brokers to sell it to.

Even if Google has ten times the switches to flip, I have lost my faith enough in them that I simply assume they track more than they say. And yes, somewhere down the line that is because there's Mountain View nerds to feed and rock-ridden buses to repair. But that seems to me almost inconsequential, almost tangential when compared to the decade-plus long drum of data-collection that has been beaten, which to me is the real culprit here.

kleinbl00  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I actually read a paper book about telecom architecture and topology. It made the point that there's really only one product the only thing that changes is how you pay for it: do you buy the gear? Do you lease the gear and pay for the hookups? Do you lease everything? Do you pay someone to fix it? If you look at it, you're buying "connectivity" and paying for it in seven different ways.

Adobe is apt. They used to sacrifice 80% of sales to piracy. But then, they also used to charge $1100 a year to upgrade from CSx to CSy. Now they're at $50 a month. The people who aren't using Creative Cloud aren't paying for it when they're not using it, sure - but the people who can't afford $1100 a year (every year!) are much more likely to pay $50 when they have a gig, fire up their software, spit out the project and cancel their subscription until next time which means Adobe gets $50 (or $100, or $150) instead of $0. Piracy has dropped to something like 15%.

Autodesk finally did a similar thing. 85% of the instances of AutoCAD in the world were pirated, and they were all lightly used. So they decided they'd rather give away free versions of Fusion 360 that you have to pay for if you actually start making serious money with it.

The model has become "have a client? Pay us money" which seems to work for every creative I know. In contrast, Facebook and Google are at "you're never going to pay us money ever, so we're going to have to take value from you." And if you're going to take something, it best be something your victim doesn't know the value of.

Unfortunately it's something you don't really know the value of either, nor do the people you're selling it to. So everyone assumes it's worth nothing until it's all gone.

goobster  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Like KB alluded to, you gotta peel back the layers: someone has to get paid.

If YOU are not paying for it out of pocket, you are paying for it in some other way. Either through your taxes, or the collection and sale of your personal information/data.

Wrap that in the cloak of "privacy-infringing companies" if you like, but they wouldn't be infringing privacy if people valued their personal information more than a customized news feed.

Adobe could do an A/B test:

Option 1: $500/year for the Creative Suite, or

Option 2: Creative Suite is FREE for everyone... but Adobe gets a perpetual license to everything you make using their tools, or

Option 3: Creative Suite is $5/month, but all your data - name, address, browsing history, ad history, etc., is Adobe's to use in any way they want forever. (Hint: This is today's model.)

If people had a choice to protect their data, and pay for the software up front (like they used to), I bet that number of users would increase every single year.