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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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What is the political fight (in America)?  Suppose it's hard to find general rules, because it must be a fight -- anything for which people aren't willing to fight over is not going to surface as a concern.  And so issues will come and issues will go.  But I will list what I think of as general trends.

The Right: Free Market; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Religion; Freedoms are most notably won through Military Force

The Left: Equality of Outcome for people of different Gender, Race, and Sexuality; Concern over Climate Change; Freedoms won through protest

The Left sees the Right: Rich Racists (or those duped by them); Religious Fanatics; Colonizers

The Right sees the Left: Lazy Folks who want to steal from Hard Working Americans; Anarchists; Rioters who would rather destroy than build.

Questions for you:

1) Is that basically correct?  Do you have things to add?

2) Do you expect anything to change over the years, especially the level of hatred or empathy for the opposing political party?  (In your experience has it been different in the past?)
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>The Red Tribe loves radical, utopian social change. Their very project to turn American into a white Christian nation under strict white Christian values
Only a very small number of extremists want that.  By far, the vast majority of the red tribe rejects ethnic cleansing and white supremacy.  They also strongly value religious freedom and would oppose any laws that would prevent Jews from practicing their religion freely.


>I'm not sure what authority makes these definitions formal.  Normally 'formal' is an appeal to state power, but I don't think the state defines what goals the two political parties need to have.

Authority doesn't come from the state here, what's "formal" here is within the realm of academia, these terms specifically having their origin in modern European academic political discussion after the french revolution of 1790.

The terms are what's collectively agreed upon by political and social philosophers.

The spurce of the colloquial understanding of the terms are rooted in rhetoric, that and propoganda. The reason anyone in America belives one party is on the left is a relic of the cold war and the other party exploiting fears of the soviet union and leftism to accuse the other party of being leftist, it's literally a product of demagoguery, and it's been taken to the point that many in America don't even know what the origin of the terms left-wing and right-wing actually meant when first used or how they are still used everywhere else in the world.

>Do we have something like a class system and neither party wants to dismantle it?

Pretty much. yeah. We have social classes but not an officially enforced caste system. We (ostensibly) have a more centrist system of social classes with social mobility. The differences between the parties (ostensibly) is how much they believe the state has to intervene to maintain/ensure that social mobility. In many ways, one party denies that any intervention is necessary and denies that social stratification happens and the other party believes that intervention is necessary to prevent stratification.

Of course, again, your average American rarely thonks of this as rhe fundamental distinction between right and left as popular understanding gets further confused by the popular discourse.

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>[meanings from] political discussion after the french revolution of 1790
OK.  I don't know then if I'm formally central or left.  I think people's right to create and enforce a class system ends where my business begins.  People can have them in their science institutions, as long as I can make my own institutions if I want.  That probably makes me center.

>exploiting fears of the soviet union
Oh, yes, communism is very bad.  For Americans, anyway.  That's what I hear, anyway.

>one party denies that any intervention is necessary
Aside from force to keep order, of course.  Poor stealing from the rich would be anti-class system (if there were a class system), the state will be asked to prevent that.

>intervention is necessary to prevent stratification
Yes, the left wants helps for poor people more than the right.  Or, the right believes the proper help for the poor is punishment until the poor develop skills and industry to escape the punishment.
>product of what strategies were/are necessary to win elections and accomplish goals as a logical consequence of our first-past-the-post electoral process (see video).

That makes sense.  A two-party system is stable in a winner-takes-all voting system, then.  Seems to fit the American experience, anyway.  If any party wants to stay relevant, they have to be about as popular as the other parties, and once it's down to two parties, each has to be about 1/2 popular, whatever that takes.  Suppose someone could say that's good in that it keeps parties from veering too far from the center of their respective mode, but neither can be too ideological if political sentiments shift.
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Should all pets have laws that protect them in a similar way to how animal control can be called on an owner for leaving their dogs out in the sun, with no water or shelter?

For example: If you want to keep a betta fish (chinese fighting fish), should there be laws demanding that owners give them an adequate amount of space, and a heater+filter? Rather than putting them into vases like is so often seen?


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No.  There are already too many laws and regulations.  And the justice system doesn't work very well.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.


Probably.  I've been struck before by the patchwork nature of Animal Cruelty laws -- lab rats vs. field mice, etc..

Like C. Lizard, I'm not a big fan of state power, but if there must be state power, I'd like law to be as simple as possible.  Presumably the idea is being cruel to animals that are something like conscious is bad.


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Do you ever wonder if there's something that's common and appropriate today that will be considered a horrible evil in 100 or 200 years?  (Guess I'm thinking about slavery in early America, projecting forward.)

Or do you think we're past that level of moral change, and only small things will change from here forward -- that people will look back at this time and say, "They could have tuned some things, but folks were mostly good to each other."

If you think morality will change in the future, what things do you think will become very evil?
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Have you heard of the lead-crime hypothesis? It's quite fascinating. Recommended reading for everyone.



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Crime is so bad I can't even get a number for how many Americans are criminals -- maybe 30%.  Prison population may be a proxy.

Anyway, I've heard similar about abortion -- effects trickling down to (types of) crime.  I think that was a chapter in Freakonomics.


Yes, if I could, I'd like everybody to research the lead-crime hypothesis as well as the legalized-abortion-crime hypothesis. Understanding both is very helpful in terms of seeing how history has changed.


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Gain-of-function research and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.
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Take your meds.


Learn to formulate an argument.


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Happy Caterpillar created a thread asking whether combining pony art with politics was bad.  And I got to thinking, perhaps the issue is not pony, but more politics.  So a companion thread might ask, are politics cancer?

Consider the incivility, messy protests, awkward family events, endless angry online back-and-forth.  Most of us just want to get through the day.

While bickering is prehistoric, I would date modern politics to the French Revolution and the idea that any given citizen had the right to opinions on matters of state.  Politics also requires a capacity to mistrust the state -- each party tends to mistrust parts of the state the other trusts, which fuels the conflict, but nobody campaigns with: "Everything is awesome [in government]!"  Or especially not with, "Government is divine."

Now I'm no historian, but the French revolution was a mess.  Not that the monarchical centuries before were a cakewalk, but the new belief in individual rights lead to an outbreak of violence.  Fortunately in many areas, physical violence over politics has simmered to keyboard battles and sign-holding.  But maybe still, the whole project was a misstep.
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Hmm...yes, if politics is permeable to Nazi-themed ideas, that's certainly a problem and must be fixed.  If I remember my history, Nazi's were popular because they would fight war reparations and the party would combat their communist competitors.  (And of course they encouraged belief in genetic superiority.)  Now, I know many Americans despise communism, but I would hope they have equal hate for Nazism, or similar ideas.

If not, does politics have a causal connection to enabling Nazi ideas?  If you answer yes, I believe this thread is complete; QED.


>If not, does politics have a causal connection to enabling Nazi ideas?  If you answer yes, I believe this thread is complete; QED.

It's a reasonable question. However, I genuinely don't know the answer.


Thinking about it a bit more, maybe I overstated things.  Politics is probably more like a highway, someone might be driving away from a bank robbery on the road, but that might not mean you need to tear it up to prevent another crime.  Suppose you'd only want to remove the road if it were a main thoroughfare for thieves, and otherwise did little good.  Or if the taint of the crime were simply so bad, everything connected must go.

So I suppose that begins a slightly fairer question about politics and Nazism.


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"Let us just imagine for the sake of the argument that even after all of the problems of disease, poverty, malnutrition, pollution and the rest of it are corrected for, there is still a genetic difference that means average African intelligence is ten points below that of average Caucasian intelligence (or mathematical ability or whatever).  By the time that rolled around, the technology would be in place so that would just be one more thing to be corrected – relying on the old fashioned way of shuffling genes around will be a disability in itself.  Whatever genetic differences there are between the human races will be nothing compared to those between humanity and post-humanity."
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>Something as simple as encouraging mothers to breastfeed their children seems, by itself, to increase IQ scores by a significant amount.
Yes, depending on genetics.  There is a specific SNP for that:

>To be frank, the modern obsession with IQ scores appears to be based on an assumption of near absolute heritability of IQ in all contexts: in which genes mean almost everything and environment means almost nothing.
If I recall correctly, in developed countries, the heritability of IQ is pretty high, greater than 50%.  Of course, malnutrition in childhood, infectious disease burden, and lead poisoning can all lower IQ.


If psychologists need intelligence to effectively compress to one number, and if that were not possible for people like me, I would expect psychologists to treat us unkindly, and I don't care to be treated unkindly for who I am.  As long as psychologists (and biologists, I guess) don't prevent me from doing my scientific work, I will allow them to do whatever they please.


>the heritability of IQ is pretty high

No. And yes. Somewhat. Not really. In part.

It's actually a rather complex situation in which it can be found to be even less than 50% (typically for certain groups of children) and even more than 75% (typically for certain groups of adults). There's no ironclad scientific consensus on the subject. It can be said, though, that beyond the complexity there's a certain kind of balance found in how genetics can be reinforced by environments that then encourage individuals to reinforce expressed traits. Thus, SES/socio-economic-status can be crucial.

"Results demonstrate that the proportions of IQ variance attributable to genes and environment vary nonlinearly with SES. The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero; in affluent families, the result is almost exactly the reverse."

> https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1046/j.0956-7976.2003.psci_1475.x

It's also worth mentioning that "intelligence" as a general cluster of somewhat only slightly related attributes and the specific trait of "IQ testing success" are quite different in application often.

"General cognitive ability yielded a heritability estimate of about .80 in two assessments 3 years apart as part of the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging. This is one of the highest heritabilities reported for a behavioral trait. Across the two ages, average heritabilities are about .60 for verbal tests, .50 for spatial and speed-of-processing tests, and .40 for memory tests."

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Happy July 4.  This date has some political significance for at least one nation I'm aware of, probably others as well. But we needn't talk about that if you don't want.  Perhaps we can just wish each other well on this Sunday.


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It is a good day to reflect on and be thankful for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.  


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I don't know how many are interested in legal documents.  But I think every subject/citizen may admire the freedoms and restrictions their authorities provide, as long as their patriotism does not create conflict or worry.  Happy Sunday, and now also Monday, Splendid Dragon.

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