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wasoxygen's profile

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wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Bet lost

Sorry to hear about your motoring mishap.

Hopefully from that start things will improve under the current administration, however long it lasts.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

Yeah, as veen pointed out I didn't have to watch very long to find out that another bet went bust. I left it on though, and NBC News cut back and forth to downtown protesters. One guy with an "antiestablishment slant" took questions as an ad hoc spokesperson for the vandals and gawkers and hardly flinched as flashbang grenades and tear gas bombs went off just behind him. Periscope has been entertaining as well.

Norman Borlaug got a long mention before the victory luncheon, and the new president did not close his eyes during the prayer. A Starbucks on I Street got its windows smashed, possibly the one I patronized on Thursday morning. I asked the manager why all the furniture was missing; he said they were expecting record crowds and they wanted to maximize flow; he said nothing about projectiles.

It's fairly certain that malaria will continue to kill people. It is very likely that your contributions to AMF will reduce this bad outcome, buying some time until a better solution is found. (Previous improvements in our response to polio and smallpox give reasonable hope for such progress.)

Meanwhile, if the risk of AI catastrophe is 1%, then it is 99% certain that resources dedicated to averting that problem will be wasted (disregarding side benefits of the research, which could occur with malaria research as well).

There is also some concern that a project like OpenAI could increase risk of a disaster.

Asteroid impact could render all these problems trivial; it's hard to prioritize giant problems that have tiny probabilities.

I agree that a lot of the essay is not very rigorous, but I think it makes some salient points:

· It is not clear what "hyperintelligence" means, and not obvious that it's possible for anything to be exceedingly more intelligent than people.

· We are not good at "baking in" robust reliability to complex systems; we make gradual improvements through trial and error. Such improvements are easily defeated, often unintentionally.

· The cats and emus demonstrate that superior intelligence does not guarantee the ability to dominate inferiors.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

I am inclined to say that I agree completely, especially with your idea that "people say nonsensical things about stuff they have no idea about." Confident speculation is completely typical, and might not be a big deal were it not for peoples' inclination to trust authority figures. I have gotten into the habit of fact-checking all the time, simply because it is a good way to learn.

We know lil is a fan of science. Though I bristle at the apparently absolute claim that "Everything we hear is ... not a fact," we are not privileged to handle true and false facts, we deal only with evidence and beliefs. We do so in our flawed ways, and all make mistakes. So maybe it's fair to say that most everything we hear from others is an expression of belief, and not cold, hard facts.

I try to remind myself of this by using language like "in my view" and "it seems" whenever I make factual statements, and also citing my evidence and making clear, verifiable claims, as in the "What are your predictions?" discussion. It's easy for mk to say the legislature is full of "spineless pond scum" but it is not so easy to test this claim.

Thanks for expanding on your thoughts!

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

My tone was dismissive; I apologize. I recently began a history book that opens with Einstein and immediately links to moral relativism, and the author doesn't especially discourage the reader from concluding that the “anything goes, all opinions are valid” philosophy led fairly directly to the destruction of Europe.

    The modern world began on 29 May 1919 when photographs of a solar eclipse, taken on the island of Principe off West Africa and at Sobral in Brazil, confirmed the truth of a new theory of the universe....

    Mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, relativity became confused with relativism.

    No one was more distressed than Einstein by this public misapprehension. He was bewildered by the relentless publicity and error which his work seemed to promote. He wrote to his colleague Max Born on 9 September 1920: ‘Like the man in the fairy-tale who turned everything he touched into gold, so with me everything turns into a fuss in the newspapers.’ Einstein was not a practicing Jew, but he acknowledged a God. He believed passionately in absolute standards of right and wrong.

    He lived to see moral relativism, to him a disease, become a social pandemic, just as he lived to see his fatal equation bring into existence nuclear warfare. There were times, he said at the end of his life, when he wished he had been a simple watchmaker.

I do think it is important that we recognize that certain statements like “Marcus said this” are either true or false, and if people disagree about it we might not be certain who is right but we can be certain that only one of them is right.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

Is that a fact, Marcus? In my opinion, that's a silly idea that makes everybody equally right, or else equally wrong, and leaves us with no firm basis for evaluating anything.

Anyway, Ian says that it's not actually a Marcus Aurelius quote.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

    During his 2017 inaugural address on January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump shall utter the word "Hillary", "Clinton", or "Clintons", or the possessive form of any of the above.

Was there a brawl?

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

Counting heads is tough. The park service used to make an eyeball guesstimate, but stopped after the Nation of Islam threatened to sue after NPS said the Million Man March wasn't.

The biggest crowd appears to have been around 1.4 to 1.8 million eight years ago. Of course, it's not obvious whose side anyone is on in a satellite photo.

There are several other silly prediction markets:

PEOTUS tweet count for the week ending today (99¢ on 45-49)

A post-speech victory stroll (84¢ on YES)

Clinton mentioned in speech (81¢ on YES)

Obama mentioned (91¢ YES)

Putin mentioned (79¢ NO)

China mentioned (52¢ NO)

Hacking mentioned (75¢ NO)

Inauguration viewership greater than Obama's (57¢ NO)

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

DC is at DEFCON 2 security level, with riot fencing lining blocks adjacent to Pennsylvania Avenue.

There is a thin blue line leading to the White House, and scores of uniformed officers milling around talking about the Friday weather forecast.

The kid is curious about the spectacle, but with the chance of rain and certainty of crowds and pat-downs I am suggesting the view will be better on TV. I made another idiotic bet ($6.50 for 15 shares of NO) on the speech, still trying to recover from the November upset.

Or maybe we should finish watching Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. YouTube says there is a brawl.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Akasha alpha released

Sounds familiar.

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: This is a 10 second video

I enjoyed it while it lasted. It depicted an older gentleman standing next to a whiteboard on which something like this was written:

    January 15, 2017 -- make a 10-second video

Not sure about the date. He didn't open with "Hi YouTube" but addressed the camera and said something like "Hello, I am recording this video with my iPhone." There was a little more but not much because he was strictly on target.

At the end of his speech he took a step toward the camera, then seemed to remember something and held up a remote and pushed the button

wasoxygen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

Modern Times (not the movie) is too bulky to take to work, so I started Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice again. One of my favorite passages appears in the introduction, after Gardner has reviewed Lewis Carroll’s unsuccessful attempt to write a “book for youngsters that would convey some sort of evangelistic Christian message.”

    Ironically, it is Carroll’s earlier and pagan nonsense that has, at least for a few modern readers, a more effective religious message than Sylvie and Bruno. For nonsense, as Chesterton liked to tell us, is a way of looking at existence that is akin to religious humility and wonder. The Unicorn thought Alice a fabulous monster. It is part of the philosophic dullness of our time that there are millions of rational monsters walking about on their hind legs, observing the world through pairs of flexible little lenses, periodically supplying themselves with energy by pushing organic substances through holes in their faces, who see nothing fabulous whatever about themselves. Occasionally the noses of these creatures are shaken by momentary paroxysms. Kierkegaard once imagined a philosopher sneezing while recording one of his profound sentences. How could such a man, Kierkegaard wondered, take his metaphysics seriously?
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