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recent comments, posts, and shares:
wasoxygen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Existential risk, AI, and the inevitable turn in human history

MR Tries The Safe Uncertainty Fallacy with Tyler Cowen and Scott Alexander in the comments.

wasoxygen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Existential risk, AI, and the inevitable turn in human history

Response to Tyler Cowen

    If you create something with superior intelligence, that operates at faster speed, that can make copies of itself, what happens by default?

but Robin Hanson Says You're Going to Live

wasoxygen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ‘Zombie ice’ from Greenland will raise sea level 10 inches

We’re halfway to a tipping point that would trigger 6 feet of sea level rise from melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet

    “Although this melting would take hundreds of years, future generations won’t be able to stop it,” Höning said.

Presumably assuming future generations won't try to mitigate anything, like the forecasts of heat-related health issues that assume people will inexplicably stop installing new air-conditioning capacity.

The study makes forecasts of melting effects using Kyr units. How concerned should we be, relative to other risks, about sea level changes that will occur thousands of years in the future?

As "complex Earth system models (ESMs) are too expensive to run over thousands of years" and the simpler model used "likely underestimates the response time of the GIS to temperature forcing" these warnings seem as speculative as the AI alarms, which at least provide urgency with a doomsday we might live to see.

wasoxygen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 523rd Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Forget about tiny desks, "Cercle produces unique experiences, by organizing, filming and broadcasting concerts in carefully selected locations around the world. Our prime goal is to showcase cultural heritage and landmarks throughout the prism of electronic music and video."

wasoxygen  ·  9 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: First 3D-printed rocket is about to launch into space

After several delays, the “Good Luck Have Fun” mission left the launch pad (1:20)


wasoxygen  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Per Trump: Trump to be Arrested Tuesday, Calls for violent protests

I used to have something riding on this question so I looked it up. Took several clicks to get the whole rambling shout.

What do we think the probability of an arrest by midnight Tuesday is? Despite the strangely specific time, I put it at 1%. Also, 0.1% chance of political violence leading to any human death within a week if not arrested Tuesday, 1% if arrested.

wasoxygen  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: U.S. takes unprecedented steps to replenish Colorado River's Lake Powell

This looks like a water management issue. The level of Lake Powell depends on inflow and outflow.

Inflow is determined by Mother Nature, and the Bureau of Reclamation reports that unregulated (i.e. adjusted for the effects of operations at upstream reservoirs) inflow is variable but not conspicuously declining over the decades.

There was some difficulty in filling the reservoir when the dam was completed in 1963 because inflow was unusually low, but the lake was eventually filled by restricting outflow to 1,000 cubic feet per second -- just 0.74 million acre-feet per year in the units of the above chart.

Today restricting outflow that much would cause problems for the much larger agricultural and population centers that are now downstream. But downstream consumption could be more efficient.

    The seven Colorado River states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) and Mexico divide up rights for 5.4 trillion gallons of river water each year — 1.4 trillion more than has actually flowed through the river each year on average since 2001 and 500 billion gallons a year more than the river produced, on average, long before the drought.

5.4 trillion gallons is 16.5 million acre-feet, more than the Lake Powell inflow in all but the wettest years.

    "When we have it, we'll use it," he said. "You'll open your head gate all the way and take as much as you can — whether you need it or not." Ketterhagen feels he has little choice. A vestige of 139-year-old water law pushes ranchers to use as much water as they possibly can, even during a drought. "Use it or lose it" clauses, as they are known, are common in state laws throughout the Colorado River basin and give the farmers, ranchers and governments holding water rights a powerful incentive to use more water than they need.
wasoxygen  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insured Cash Sweep

Right, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” gets you most of the way there.

Depositors can’t easily judge how well regulators regulate either.

wasoxygen  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insured Cash Sweep

Bankers should be able to pursue risky strategies. Their customers should share in the risks, rather than disadvantaging more conservative banks by socializing losses (not with funds from "taxpayers," we are assured, but from anyone who happens to have a bank account).

wasoxygen  ·  37 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Wolfram: What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?

Wolfram|Alpha as the Way to Bring Computational Knowledge Superpowers to ChatGPT suggests a mashup that would fill in some of ChatGPT’s most conspicuous weaknesses, like the math illiteracy and factual hallucinations.

wasoxygen  ·  50 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Myth of Austerity in the UK

Full credit for name-calling and sarcasm, but I don't see anywhere that you disagree with anything I said. Did I "twist and misrepresent a word" leading me to expect significant reductions in spending with all the talk of austerity?

Yes, Cameron said some words about "transparency" and "tough decisions" but I don't see any change in the data while he was in office, at least not in the direction suggested by the headline.

Instead of newspaper coverage of the promises of politicians, try the Office for National Statistics to see what's actually happening.

wasoxygen  ·  51 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Myth of Austerity in the UK

My understanding of austerity is deficit reduciton. It could be achieved by increasing tax revenues, but as this approach is often unpopular, austerity usually means reducing government spending. Do you have a different understanding of the term?

Wikipedia also says the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_government_austerity_programme](U.K. austerity) was "a deficit reduction programme" according to the Conservative-led government, but alludes to a sinister "primary, largely unstated aim."

Whatever the aim, it is fair to ask the empirical question of whether spending was, in fact, reduced. Wikipedia claims that "between 2010 and 2019 more than £30 billion in spending reductions have been made to welfare payments, housing subsidies and social services" citing the NYT article "What Is Austerity and How Has It Affected British Society?" The NYT does not say that reductions were "made," merely that reductions were "announced," adding that "The British government disputed those findings".

NYT, alas, provides no source, but the UK provides budget data. At reputable-looking gov.uk sources I find only annual statements, so I'll rely on statista.com for a historical summary.

Welfare Payments

I can't be sure how well these budget categories match what NYT mentioned, but we see a clear increase from £100 billion to over £200 billion over two decades.

Housing Subsidies

This much smaller category shows increase from £11 billion to £24 billion in 2014, then reduction to £16 billion in 2021. The NYT range of 2010 to 2019 shows a 15% reduction from £21.4B to £18.4B. Three billion over a decade is less than the increase in most single years in the previous chart. "Sure, spending has been moved around a bit; some areas have gotten more money and others less."

Social Services

Inflation-adjusted spending has increased every year since 2007, smoothing over the pandemic spike.

Do enlighten me as to how I have misunderstood the definition of austerity. Or perhaps inflation, or population growth, or something else, means that these charts misrepresent reality.

    If you assert a strong opinion, try to back it up with facts, or an insightful rationale.
wasoxygen  ·  71 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 11, 2023

Have you seen Break Point?

wasoxygen  ·  101 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I feel like we need to talk about AI language models

Yeah, that’s out of range. But what would the median internet user say (given that the training set is online text)? These responses often seem better than what you might expect from a random Quora or Reddit user.

I must admit I don’t know how many pianos a tuner tunes per year in Tokyo. I can guess what a full-time professional could do, but perhaps many work part time? Is the business seasonal? 1000 per year seems high.