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With several months of leadership to go by, has Joe Biden fulfilled his promises to be a fundamentally just, reasonable President? What's your opinion of him so far? Are you surprised? Or no?


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- Hasn't made any completely insane out-of-left-field decisions (which is more than can be said for our previous president.)
- Hasn't tried to pack the Supreme Court.

- He royally fucked up withdrawal from Afghan.
- Still insufficient production of N95 masks.  Most Americans still lack N95 masks.
- FDA is killing Americans with its insane bullshit.  (E.g., no authorization of boosters, no authorization of vaccination of under-12-year-olds.  Mifepristone and misoprostol still aren't available over-the-counter.)


That's a good point about the FDA. It's slowness is legendary, yes, but what's happened in terms of it over the past multiple months has been horrid.


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In political science, the horseshoe theory asserts that the far-left and the far-right closely resemble one another in many respects, analogous to the way that the opposite ends of a horseshoe are close together.  What do you think of this theory?
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>What do you mean by that? Only agents (not ideas) can be properly said to be disingenuous.

I'm using "idea" as a rough synonym for "rhetoric"


So I thought of this in the other thread, considering how a lot of political visualizations falsely imply a spectrum of beliefs, and I thought of a good example for this thread: vegans vs carnivores. There are people who, for various ideological reasons and nutrition beliefs will only eat phony cheese made from soybeans. There are people who for various ideological reasons and nutrition beliefs will only eat the burger patty and they will never put tomato ketchup on it. It's tempting to put them on a visualization of how much meat a person will eat implying that somebody's opinions about meat are the justification for that decision.

Except meat has nothing to do with it.

There are people who have strong arbitrary ideologies that they impose on everybody around and who expect everybody to understand them and have equally intense opinions regarding food just waiting to be broadcast, and you have people who eat things because they feel like it. And then you have weirdos who once encountered a hobo who shouted at traffic that eating asparagus means you are possessed by hitler and now they eat nothing but asparagus to spite nobody in particular.

And the tricky thing is that using a number line arrangement for visualizing this makes the hobo a centrist and asparagus guy a vegan, but I don't think it would be appropriate to put either in those groups.


I think that there's a saying in the social sciences that goes something like "Logic and facts aren't judges. They're lawyers for emotions." Or something like that.

In short: people tend to have snap reactions to problem solving situations in life first, gut instincts happening, and then afterwards there's a long, belated chain of rationalizations that usually comes about to support those first reactions.

With enough time and effort, rational thinking can overcome first instincts. But that's quite difficult. When it comes to politics especially, irrational emotions are in the drivers' seats a lot.


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So, we're coming up on 20 years.  As I read, I see the words "Islamic," or "religiously motivated."

I've taken, by definition, that religion is good.  This allows us to respect religion, to protect the freedom to practice it, and appreciate the cultural impact.  It appears to me to be the pro-social thing to do.

We don't respect or protect something that motivates terrorism.  Or that discriminates (in a bigoted way) or hurts people in any way.  So anything harmful must have a different name.

Perhaps we have a language problem.  Do you think there are better phrases we could use rather than "religiously motivated," "Islamic extremism", "Christian fundamentalism," etc?  (A good thing should not be terrorism when stripped to its fundamentals, after all.)
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We obviously can't see either magnetism or gravity, but we can experimentally prove that they exist in some physical fashion. Perhaps love is the same? Maybe consciousness as well? Actual ripples in space-time that cause matter and energy to alter? I don't know.


I suppose.  Few bounds confine possible assertions about what's yet to be measured.


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Hope springs eternal.


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With Texas having put into effect what's de facto a complete ban on abortions, with Roe v. Wade being essentially overturned in terms of the state's administration, the question has suddenly become rather clear-cut: should all abortions be banned, regardless of context?

For information about public opinion and context, see: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-texass-abortion-law-may-go-too-far-for-most-americans/
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Given that an adult person can receive a transplanted heart without in any way, shape, or form be considered to have 'died' or 'come back to life' or have their fundamental nature as a person changed, then I absolutely agree that using the heart as a metric for who or what counts as a 'person' is absurd.


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>>9762 >>9772 >>9777
Perhaps people who think that the heartbeat is morally significant are emotionally driven and using sloppy System-1 thinking rather than engaging in rational System-2 thinking.


It's perhaps inevitable given that "hearts" and "heartbeats" have such strong cultural association in people's minds with a bunch of things from the media.


Case in point, this kickass 80s synth tune:


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Have you felt that the one dimensional division between political ideologies is a problem and craved 2D and 3D based analysis? This is a thread for you.

If you have found a particular perspective on the political spectrum that you want to signal-boost, please link it here. Or if you've a particularly popular spectrum thing that you've come across that you want to criticize, feel free to do that as well.

Myself, I'm pretty sympathetic to this cube-based model. I'll call myself socially moderate left leaning and economically moderate right leaning while being way off in the side of limited government. Where would you be?
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For those curious of where the OP image came from and the context, please see: https://www.quora.com/Is-anarchism-right-wing-or-left-wing-Explain-your-answer


>I suppose the core question between 'economic left' and 'economic right' is more along the lines of "Who controls the means of physical production and determines physical consumption?", with the choice being powerful non-state actors such as mega-corporations versus the state versus small, independent actors deciding for themselves.

Ok, I think I get that.  I'm not quite sure which is right and which is left, but I imagine in a cross-section of your cube where social is the same.

You have corners:

1) Total government control
2) Total government control
3) Individual/small business control
4) Non-state large corporation control


I believe that that I'm trying to conceptualize things like that, yes.

Admittedly, I'm not the best at three dimensional mathematical thinking even in the most generous circumstances.


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Maybe there was a time when strength was premium, before poor John Henry lost to mechanized muscle.  But now [at least while AI is still taking baby steps], the name of the game is intelligence.  

Intelligence + education = success

Although I feel like a lot of my life has been trying to figure out what this equation is suppose to mean, exactly, and coming to terms with domains where the idea seems to lack validity.  Overall I don't know whether it's been a helpful model or not.
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Yeah, Greene seems like a special case. High on her own supply.


I can't really think of many domains where intelligence factors in success. The only ones where it does are ones where the actual barrier for entry is education or training, but even in academia there usually isn't any reward for being smarter than the next person or more educated than the job requires. Intelligence and education are less the recipe for success and more the minimum requirements for entry that once met are mostly irrelevant. If you are outside of academia once you've worked a job nobody cares what your education is. Nobody is going to give you a senior position for being really smart, and frankly nobody is going to give you a senior position for being good at your job. You can certainly leverage those things in trying to secure benefits or promotion, but they are by no means the only parts of the puzzle and you can secure advancement without them.

Since managing other people is the most important job in our system to be successful being charismatic and punctual are more important to success than anything else.


That sounds mostly accurate.  Being good with people is a more lucrative skill in the long run than anything technical.


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Not them, but I personally enjoy about Finland the combination of:

>(a)Gun rights.
>(b)Reasonable understanding that if you use guns to commit violent crimes you'll get caught and punished severely.

Most countries seem to either do neither, just (a), or just (b), I guess? The U.S. is a great example of only (a) and never (b). Would prefer both by far.


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In a surprise move, the Biden administration's Department of Education seeks to forgive something like $6 billion dollars in student loan debt for individuals in a specific working situation.

Story: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/student-loan-forgiveness-disabled-borrowers-150036471.html

The U.S. student loan crisis is an interesting problem. While I've got more opinions on different issues than I can manage, really, I'm on the fence when it comes to this. Should the government keep going through situations piecemeal? Should all student debt just be ended? If so, what about the economic consequences... isn't there a kind of ethical dilemma when it comes to those who did pay things off?
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They can make that argument if they want to but don't pretend it's for my sake.



College, in general, is worthless.  Yet every institution insists, if you do not go, you will be a failure.

It's not as hard to pay your debts as some make it out, but it's also not necessarily hard to pay a con artist.

Given the state itself is the one pushing you into this debt more often than not, it's on them as much as the colleges themselves.


>Yet every institution insists, if you do not go, you will be a failure.
Not every, but things nominally taught at state-accredited college or university will be skills, other abilities will not be.  [Possibly some trade schools may teach a few skills as well.]


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View-harm, I will define, is the psychological harm done to another when they view a body or a photograph of a body.  Some parts of the body are especially potent, therefore laws require covering those parts in public and standards forbid showing those parts on many websites.  But people may be offended by any part of any body (eyes, nose, teeth, hair), or offended by the fashion of bodily display (hair style, make-up).  I don't believe in objective beauty or ugliness, so there is no, I suppose, defense against view-harm there.  A good person must not use their power to hurt those around them.

I think, though, fursonas or pony-sonas help defend against view-harm.  Perhaps we can share other ideas for keeping those around us safe.
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Have you heard of the term 'overfitting'?



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Yes, when inferences are made from accidental patterns that don't do well at predicting what's being modeled.

That's bad, I guess, but I'm not sure it's psychologically damaging.

Interesting.  View-harm might be a class of information hazard.  I suppose you could say it's really information gained in a view that does the mental damage, although exactly what information is hard to say.


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If I understand correctly, one of Elon Musk's main motivations for Mars is to establish a self-sustaining settlement on the planet to prevent Human extinction in the event the Earth's population is wiped out.  We are in a pandemic so you can imagine a scenario where millions of miles of space make a good quarantine, for example.  I guess the other reasons to go to mars are: it's cool/inspiring, and (science!).  It's not really an economic move of any kind.

I'm seeing negativity about billionaires touring space while others struggle for necessities.  So, what are your opinions on pushing to make humans a two-planet species?
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>Elon Musk almost seems more completely okay with sacrificing if not the environment of Earth

In fairness to Musk, he's not only advocated in public for pro-environmental measures but has actually, at least according to him, tried to work with the Biden administration on them.

See: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/12/elon-musk-reducing-greenhouse-gas-emissions-with-a-carbon-tax.html

I believe that Musk is one of those wealthy individuals who, akin to Bill Gates, believes that relatively green technologies represent the future of energy specifically and big business generally and thus want to get a leg up compared to competitors.


>at least for the long foreseeable future, any terraformed Mars is going to be a terrible place compared to a preserved Earth.

Right.  That's why I think the best argument for Mars as an insurance policy involves catastrophic destruction of Earth or the human population.

>okay with sacrificing if not the environment of Earth, then at least sacrificing a bunch of people on Earth, in order to make this dream of Mars happen.

Yeah, I mean, the resources to go to Mars could always be used terrestrially.  I take that you either don't buy the necessity of Mars or don't think Musk is doing it correctly.



If today a decision by local or federal government spurns massive protests/riots, do you see yourself taking up arms against the government?

Is there any line for you that the government can tread that would make you join a violent uprising?

If you get caught up in civil unrest in your neighbourhood, would you be prompted to take up arms and get involved, or would you try and stay out of it?

Would you be willing now to take someone's life to stand up for your principles?
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>To the extent that people make bad decisions (given their available knowledge), it is a failure of rationality.
Or they have a system of ethics that we disagree with (e.g., the Nazis).


Yes, I understand, and I guess that further discussion likely is pointless if you've got the entirely wrong definition of "rationality" from my perspective.

I do regret being so emotionally negative, though. Wish this could've been less critical in tone.


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>got the entirely wrong definition of "rationality" from my perspective.
Definitions fundamentally aren't right or wrong; they're just social convention.  We can make up new words, like "rationality_duck" and "rationality_griffon" to denote what each of us means.  I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "rationality".  I have been using "rationality" in the LessWrong sense, as expounded in the following webpages:

But in any event, I'm going to bed soon.  Goodnight, Eager Griffon!


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Dr. Helen Chu, a doctor in Seattle who was running a study on flu prevalence back in February 2020, ... realized that she could test her flu samples for coronavirus, did it, and sure enough discovered that COVID had reached the US. The FDA sprung into action, awarded her a medal for her initiative, and - haha, no, they shut her down because they hadn’t approved her lab for coronavirus testing. She was trying to hand them a test-and-trace program all ready to go on a silver platter, they shut her down, and we had no idea whether/how/where the coronavirus was spreading on the US West Coast for several more weeks.

Although the FDA did kill thousands of people by unnecessarily delaying COVID tests, at least it also killed thousands of people by unnecessarily delaying COVID vaccines. ...

Every single thing the FDA does is like this. Every single hour of every single day the FDA does things exactly this stupid and destructive, and the only reason you never hear about the others is because they’re about some disease with a name like Schmoe’s Syndrome and a few hundred cases nationwide instead of something big and media-worthy like coronavirus. I am a doctor and sometimes I have to deal with the Schmoe’s Syndromes of the world and every f@$king time there is some story about the FDA doing something exactly this awful and counterproductive.
Quoted from: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/adumbrations-of-aducanumab
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>Can fluvoxamine be taken when you catch the disease?
Yes.  It is administered orally as a pill.

>Or is it also only used when you are in the ICU?
The results of this study are that fluvoxamine reduced the need to even go the hospital in the first place.

>I have to say, googling fluvoxamine at least doesn't land on a bunch of pages saying that it is not advised.
Fluvoxamine is an SSRI that is routinely used by psychiatrists as a first-line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder.  Other SSRIs (e.g., fluoxetine) also showed promising results in observational studies but AFAIK haven't been tested in RCTs yet.

Hmm, you seem to know a lot more about this than I know, so I'll defer to your judgment.  


I do not know anything. I am the guy who puts the frozen plasma in the plasma thawer when the doctor calls. If you're reading studies that's more than me. But I do encourage learning the details of the immune system.


As an addendum...
What I'm seeing a lot of lately, especially in our younger covid patients who have expired, is signs of DIC and other coagulopathies. I've been doing this for 4 years and I've given out more cryoprecipitate plasma (a concentration of coagulation proteins) over the past week than over my career combined. DIC is pretty well known medically as something that modern birthing practices prevents. In the disease blood starts clotting in the veins. In addition to the risk of pulmonary emboli, clotting factors in blood are in limited supply and get consumed so that the patients lose the ability to repair microscopic damage to the vessels and they start bleeding out into their body compartments. Cryo was made to treat factor 8 deficiencies like in hemophilia, but it's also packed with factor 2 so it's the best option for DIC when combined with heparin. It's still a very dangerous condition to treat even with modern medicine since it involves giving blood thinners to a person who is bleeding out, and then giving fresh plasma which in addition to Factor 2 contains Factor 7, the antidote to heparin treatment, so dosing is an absolute bitch.

Furthermore, nobody has much cryo on hand. It's use is very niche in treating fringe coagulopathies associated with shake bites and amateur midwives. Cryo is the most complicated blood product to handle due to very strict temperature and time requirements and producing it involves wasting 10 units of precious plasma to produce one bag of cryo.


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So it's been a month now carrying a Geiger counter everywhere I go.

I might be picking up some smoke alarm Americium, past that...background.  When the parts come, I'll build a more sensitive model, if I can keep the size reasonable.

Suppose I need to debate something.  I live equidistant between two Nuclear power plants (sadly neither of which have tours or bus service.)  You can talk about nuclear power, if you like.  Nuclear waste storage is controversial, if nothing else.
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Oh, not actually banned, just that this board feels more appropriate.  Talking to mods seems like talking to cops, best to be avoided if you don't want punishment.


>Talking to mods seems like talking to cops, best to be avoided if you don't want punishment.
In most places, you'd probably be right, but Ponyville.us is blessed with an excellent moderation team.  You can talk to them without fear.

Marginally related: Scott Aaronson's recent post on blankfaces: https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=5675


Perhaps I should go to this /pony and recruit for /townhall.  Certainly some desire respectful discussions on important topics (and some fun threads, too), but want an invitation.


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Is there a place that sorta catalogs what's going on in the MLP fandom at a level detail of months?

Basically a busy person's Equestria Daily?


this still exists


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Hot take: Most professional bioethicists are worse at their job than a random STEM major off the street would be.  They retard the progress of science and make humanity worse off than it would be without them.
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When you say professional, my mind goes to the salary that is the most important thing about professionalism.  I then associate ranking or goodness with money.

>potential negatives and discount the potential benefits

Most are risk adverse, and going back to professionalism probably the more a bio-ethicist regulates, the more important they are and the more they might get paid (provided they don't go so far as to collapse the field).  Their reward for benefits is probably not very direct.  But these are just guesses, I know no professional bio-ethicists who have chosen to identity to me, anyway.

>refusing to let prisoners participate
I did not know that.  Many seem to want some prisoners to be forced into tests, but others will think about the Nazi government's use of prisoners and try to get distance from the policy.

Is the problem that prisoners are subjugated in some way that makes them incapable of consent?  Something like how children and mentally ill can not necessarily consent?


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>others will think about the Nazi government's use of prisoners
Yes, it is an over-reaction to this.  Like if a driver swerves too hard to avoid hitting a deer and loses control of the car and crashes.

>Something like how children and mentally ill can not necessarily consent?
And yet, children and the mentally ill are often subjected to medical treatment without regard to whether they consent.  Really gets the noggin' joggin'...


>without regard to whether they consent
My understanding is they can't consent, but a combination of guardian consent, child assent, and authorities regarding the treatment as safe is enough.  With a prisoner, I assume the state does not consent, so the prisoner's assent is insufficient.

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