CFAR workshop review

Since doing my CFAR workshop in September, I’ve been meaning to write a review. Procrastination, in this case, has paid off, since Jess Whittlestone and Kaj Sotala have both recently written blog posts on their workshop experiences that I feel pretty comfortable endorsing. Jess has a nice, easy-to-read bullet-point summary, while Kaj’s post has a couple [Read More…]

Roko’s Basilisk illustrates the problems with the LessWrong community

I’ve previously written about the LessWrong community’s tendency to take crazy ideas far more seriously than they deserve. A lot of what’s convinced me of that is my in-person experience with the community, in my last year of living in the Bay Area (I moved here November 2013). But a lot of that stuff is [Read More…]

Against “consent culture”

I need to start this post off with the disclaimer that I think the BDSM community gets a lot right when it comes to consent. Which is good, because consent is literally the entire thing that distinguishes consensual S&M from assault and abuse. (In fact, it’s the entire thing that distinguishes vanilla sex from rape.) [Read More…]

China is harming the environment in the name of development–and that’s great!

When normal people think about ways to make the world a better place–and here by “normal” I mean people who haven’t spent a lot of time on LessWrong or the Effective Altruism community–one of the things that most often comes up is doing something about global warming. Now, I agree global warming is real, and [Read More…]

Gamergate shows how the internet makes absolutely everyone awful

Ozy just put up a post on Gamergate that you should all read (along with Ken White’s post on the same). The TLDR; is that a guy (Eron Gjoni) wrote a blog post detailing some really nasty psychological abuse he’d dealt with from his ex-girlfriend (Zoe Quinn), and a certain portion of the internet ran [Read More…]

Why Elizabeth Warren is more electable than Hillary Clinton

I just saw one of my friends post on Facebook that the right-wing wants Elizabeth Warren to run, on the theory that she’ll be easy to beat. Hogwash. I think Warren is actually more electable than Hillary Clinton. Why? It’s the charisma, stupid. This is the title of an article by Paul Graham, which seemed to [Read More…]

The case for being a terrible person

Bryan Caplan once wrote a post titled “Against Human Weakness,” where he said: Human weakness is a choice, and it should be criticized, not excused.  I’m particularly baffled when economists say otherwise.  In what economic model is “lots of people feel tempted to do it” a reason to turn a blind eye?  I embrace a [Read More…]

Tell me, readers: how is your phenomenology weird?

I have synesthesia, grapheme-color synesthesia specifically. Which means… well, it’s hard to describe. Here’s Wikipedia, trying: Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia; from the Ancient Greekσύνsyn, “together”, and αἴσθησιςaisthēsis, “sensation“) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.[1][2][3][4] People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes. [Read More…]

Space tourism is totally worth dying for

Wired has an article up titled “Space Tourism Isn’t Worth Dying For,” about the recent death of a Virgin Galactic pilot in a test flight gone wrong. And my gut reaction to this is, “wait, of course space tourism is worth dying for.” People knowingly choose to do things that could kill them all the time, for all [Read More…]