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  1. Today
  2. Four Things And when to break them. (Image by geralt, via Pixabay (license)).1. From the Paris Review come three writing rules to disregard, by Benjamin Dryer of Random House. Perhaps because I never put much stock in any of these, I was amused by the following famous counterexample by Winston Churchill: This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.In addition to Never end a sentence with a preposition, Dryer dispatches rules on split infinitives and starting sentences with and or but. 2. A new version of the Firefox browser will start blocking automatically playing audio and video. I can't greet the news any better than the following, from a comment from Hacker News (and agree that they didn't go far enough): It's frustrating seeing video everywhere when you're just trying to read an article. If I wanted video, I'd turn on my TV.Because autoplaying media I am not interested in is ubiquitous, I bought a head jack switch years ago simply because it made it easier to mute my computer at writing time during the wee hours, for when I forgot to disable audio the day before. 3. Here's a funny sign of the times: a font designed to help college students pad essays with a page length requirement. 4. Venture capitalist and computer programmer Paul Graham, in the process of explaining why his adaptive spam filtering technique would drive up costs for spammers: The reason the spammers use the kinds of sales pitches that they do is to increase response rates. This is possibly even more disgusting than getting inside the mind of a spammer, but let's take a quick look inside the mind of someone who responds to a spam. This person is either astonishingly credulous or deeply in denial about their sexual interests. In either case, repulsive or idiotic as the spam seems to us, it is exciting to them. The spammers wouldn't say these things if they didn't sound exciting. And "thought you should check out the following" is just not going to have nearly the pull with the spam recipient as the kinds of things that spammers say now. Result: if it can't contain exciting sales pitches, spam becomes less effective as a marketing vehicle, and fewer businesses want to use it.After reading this -- which is worthwhile because it is a great example of someone explaining a difficult problem in a straightforward manner -- it amazes me that anyone still sends spam. Of course, it amazed me a couple of decades ago when my inboxes would get flooded with it. They don't now, though, and I suspect Graham's work was a big part of why. Indeed, I see spam in one of my inboxes about once every few months. -- CAVLink to Original
  3. https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2019/02/tal-tsfany-on-the-state-and-future-of-the-ayn-rand-institute/
  4. I don't troll. I always say what I believe. If you have an argument, make it. Jussie all along blamed MAGA dudes. He tried to slander Trump supporters in general. They are the real victims. If Jussie had blamed Ayn Rand fans all along, would you still be calling me a troll? I doubt it. It would have been obvious that we were the victims of his hoax.
  5. Come on man, troll a bit better than this! I think it would've been more fun to connect Obama to this.
  6. Eiuol

    The Trolley Problem

    Not sure what you're talking about, the only examples I can even think of are possibly people talking about how how intention doesn't match up with what people actually do. Even in social policy discussions. Studies about trolley problems (or any kind of similar choice between few in many) usually get into nudging, which of everything to do with context to influence decisions. But ECs post is more interesting to me. More than likely, if any such scenario ever came up, I bet it would be in the context of a mass against an individual. I hadn't considered that before. As was mentioned on the first page, this whole thought experiment is only good for stimulating ideas. It's not so much "the answer" philosophers even care about as the justifications people use and explanations of value.
  7. Yesterday
  8. EC

    The Trolley Problem

    Oh, I understand the necro now. It sucks but obviously you yourself are a greater value than anyone else. People that wouldn't save themselves over anyone other person in existence shouldn't be allowed into the military to begin with.
  9. Speak to the shoemaker

    Nice instructive piece featured on Aeon by Edith Hall, who is is professor in the department of classics and Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London.

  10. EC

    The Trolley Problem

    I'll get to whatever necro'd this thread soon, but if for some reason I was in this insane situation caused by whatever, I'd be more likely to save the individual person over the five only because it would be slightly more likely that the single person is an individualist and that the group is composed of collectivists of some sort. This would be my snap judgement based on the only information available and no known context besides the immediately available visual stimuli, assuming no ability to signal the train to just stop, etc.
  11. dreadrocksean

    The Trolley Problem

    It's not silly when many of the decisions we vote for are based upon studies such as this.
  12. dreadrocksean

    The Trolley Problem

    You assume that the society is significantly more than a million. You need to get your vision out of the Murica box for a min. So yes I can calculate in a split second what would happen to my culture should I allow 1 Million of us to be killed. No they're not just numbers as those other ones do not exist. Good on your last point. But then he'd just despise me.
  13. whYNOT

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Some spectacular racial stereotyping going on. Or else satire. I do not consider IQ an emotional issue.There are facts, one of which is that for every given individual, there are many others who have lesser intelligence and many others who have much higher. I advised getting over this fact and moving on. I'll repeat that one's (and others') IQ is way down on any list of objective priorities. Also there's the fact that, logically, there is at least some inheritable factor of native intelligence due to one's ethnicity. Again, nothing to get upset about or take undue esteem from. However, a lot of people will use these facts for their own agendas, for mass power in particular. They will not admit to it but evidently on the Left today, is the intention to "equalize" what and whom cannot be equalized. I.e. to 'redistribute human resources', one of which they stupidly and superficially assume to be intelligence, tacitly presuming upon a mystical phenomenon as the major cause, along with "privilege", of the gaining of wealth etc. by others. (It figures - most are skeptics and determinists). Therefore, a drive to egalitarianism. Which is ironically just another form of racist/groupist supremacism. Some group/race/collective must be brought down and others elevated. And here's both their sacrificial altruism and collectivism, both more toxic from the Left nowadays than I ever heard from the religious/conservative Right, in modern times.
  14. Watch this video of Chicago PD addressing the charges against Jussie Smollett. Note how the speaker accuses Jussie of damaging Chicago's reputation, and says nothing about the actor's real victims: MAGA Trump supporters. For weeks he accused his political rivals of the assault. Yet the policeman wholly evaded this issue and acted as if Jussie was some blight on Chicago. Nobody cares that this happened in Chicago. That's not the point at all. Also, he says Jussie perpetrated the hoax over dissatisfaction with his salary. So not only is this about Chicago over MAGA, it's about salary over racism. These political cops in Chicago are ridiculous, and they will get skewered by the political right. https://youtu.be/jILC_DP520E
  15. Now you're just being redundant. The first sentence of your post made it very clear that you're not interested in debate, negotiation, or any kind of rational interaction with your fellow human beings. P.S. I'm aware of the possibility that this is some kind of bit, and you're just impersonating a trumpie troll. I'm gonna go ahead and take it at face value anyway, see what happens. If you follow it up with frog pictures, whatever. You still deserve some hurt feelings, for thinking that's original enough to be worth bothering people with.
  16. I'm not gonna argue with you, but I will diagnose you, tell me where I'm wrong: 1. You never fought for your country. 2. You never really studied its history, and the magnitude of sheer slaughter and forfeit of life it took to make it happen. 3. You never really been in such a fight, or anything even close to it, for any purpose, let alone the cause of freedom...in fact, you don't have anything in your life that is of a significance comparable to such a fight 4. You gasp for significance. That's what everyone who wants to "change the world" on the biggest possible stage (national politics) wants. This is a direct consequence of point no. 3. This is what motivates all the social justice warriors, all the protesters, all the incompetent thinkers who have grand, nonsensical, self contradictory ideas, and declare "I don't want to debate". 5. What you're proposing challenges the principles at the core of your country's fundamental ideas. 6. Put two and two together, and guess what's really going on here: you're dissatisfied with your lack of significance, don't feel like taking personal responsibility for finding significance on a level it is realistically possible to find significance on, society as a whole is as good a thing to blame as any, and therefor you wanna destroy it. After all, it's not your creation, you've never invested anything into it, you can't really do anything to improve it (that would require a willingness to understand your fellow countrymen, and CONVINCE them), so what do you care: let's just destroy one of the great achievements of mankind, because who cares.
  17. MisterSwig

    The Trolley Problem

    Right, but I'm trying to establish a non-assumptive standard. Dreadrock is claiming that at some point the society's value itself rivals his own child's. So how do you calculate that value? How do you know when killing the plurality would destroy the value which is society? I'm suggesting that you can't know this through mere assumption or arbitrary assertion. Perhaps you yourself don't like society much and would slaughter billions to save your child, because you wouldn't want to live knowing you let your child die. Or maybe you value society so highly that you would kill your child for a mere couple, because the number two is greater than one. Even this choice depends on the particular context and personal values. Ultimately what I think it boils down to is whether you choose family or society. Which one is the greater value to you? If you had to completely destroy one, which one would it be?
  18. I'm going to pitch a Socialist Control Act idea and spread it around social media and chat rooms. It's inspired by historical laws against communism, such as the Communist Control Act of 1954. My purpose is to contribute to the reaction against socialism, both the globalist and nationalist varieties, and to promote capitalism. The focus therefore will be defending individual rights, particularly property rights, and calling for a ban on advocating socialism on the public streets and in government institutions. I'm not interested in debating whether this violates free speech rights. Been there, done that. But if you're sympathetic to my idea, I'd appreciate suggestions for clarifying the message and drafting succinct sentences to drop into various online forums. Thanks.
  19. Eiuol

    The Trolley Problem

    Didn't you already answer this yourself? I mean, you'd be more likely to kill somebody who is a brilliant doctor or something like that. More versus less. And anyway, I think you have it backwards. He was talking about letting a child die if it meant saving a million people.
  20. MisterSwig

    Reblogged:Thank You, Dr. Williams

    It's not a wake-up call. It's a declaration of war. The time for talk is over. We need a Socialist Control Act. Our predecessors had the right idea when they passed the Communist Control Act. We have no obligation to tolerate anti-rights activists in the public and in the government.
  21. It is good to see someone prominent answer -- albeit indirectly -- the frequent assertion by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that she is morally right. Walter Williams reflects on what Frederic Bastiat, a French economist who greatly admired America, might think of our country today. Williams first notes Bastiat's clear thinking on the matter of detecting legalized theft: He said: "See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."Williams then notes how far we have fallen: Image of Bastiat via Wikipedia (public domain).What then should we call it when two-thirds to three-quarters of a $4 trillion-plus federal budget can be described as Congress taking the property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? Where do you think Congress gets the billions upon billions of dollars for business and farmer handouts? What about the billions handed out for Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing allowances and thousands of other handouts? There's no Santa Claus or tooth fairy giving Congress the money, and members of Congress are not spending their own money. The only way Congress can give one American $1 is to first take it from another American. What if I privately took the property of one American to give to another American to help him out? I'm guessing and hoping you'd call it theft and seek to jail me. When Congress does the same thing, it's still theft. The only difference is that it's legalized theft. However, legality alone does not establish morality. Slavery was legal; was it moral? Nazi, Stalinist and Maoist purges were legal, but were they moral? We are in bad shape now, in terms of how common plunder is. But this pales in comparison to the "Green New Deal" this congresswoman recently proposed. The Boston Herald tries to puts a number on what that would entail: Taxing the rich won't come close to covering the costs of the Green New Deal, which includes a bunch of socialist policies that have nothing to do with climate change. Manhattan Institute budget expert Brian Riedl has calculated the 10-year costs using liberal and nonpartisan sources. The results are stunning: $32 trillion for a single-payer health care plan; $6.8 trillion for a government jobs guarantee; $2 trillion for education, medical leave, job training and retirement security; and between $5 trillion and $40 trillion to fund universal basic income to support those who are "unwilling" to work. (The final price depends on how "universal" it is.) Grand total? Between $46 trillion and $81 trillion.It is true that this would leave us destitute, but many observers argue that any smaller move in that direction would look acceptable by comparison, and that this may be the point. But theft is wrong be it of a penny or a fortune, no matter who does it. The Green New Deal is a wake-up call, but not of the kind the self-proclaimed socialist says it is. Our country has become so accustomed to legalized theft that we will spend the foreseeable future discussing how much of it we will have to endure -- until and unless we challenge the all-too-often unquestioned assumption that it is okay for the government to steal from private citizens. -- CAVLink to Original
  22. MisterSwig

    The Trolley Problem

    I think there is a critical problem here. You cannot possibly assess the value of the million without knowing whether their deaths would result in the collapse of the rest of society. For example, among the million might be a set of individuals necessary to stop an extinction-level threat in the future. You have to assume that society can continue to your satisfaction despite the loss of the million. And if you arbitrarily make that assumption, why not slaughter a billion? Or a trillion? After all, they're just numbers now. It's not actually the number that's relevant. It's the effect on society in relation to your life. And I don't think you could possibly calculate that effect, especially not in the seconds you would have to make a decision at the lever. If he were raised to be rational, he would not accept unearned guilt. He's not the one who killed a million people.
  23. Last week
  24. Eiuol

    The Trolley Problem

    It was a joke. Besides, it's silly to think what you think you would do would always match what you actually do. Anything about moral psychology research reveals that as much as people can imagine a scenario, the vast majority of people fail to predict their own behavior.
  25. dreadrocksean

    The Trolley Problem

    Hahaha. I'm saying that at some point, which I arbitrarily measured at 1 Mil, a particular society's value rivals that of my offspring, whom I'm ironically raising to be a productive member of. Also, how would he feel, after he's grown up, when he finds out that 90% of his heritage and culture was sacrificed for him?
  26. dreadrocksean

    The Trolley Problem

    Those are irrelevant. All we require is the decision AS IF it were real. It was well thought out and it worked. Most did not switch the tracks and they claim to in all surveys.
  27. Computer security Bruce Schneier wrote some time ago about how easy it can be to accuse others of misjudging risks, even though most people actually have a good intuition about risk: You may have excellent mountaineering advice, but I can safely ignore it. (Image by aatlas, via Pixabay, license). This struck me as I listened to yet another conference presenter complaining about security awareness training. He was talking about the difficulty of getting employees at his company to actually follow his security policies... "We have to make people understand the risks," he said. It seems to me that his co-workers understand the risks better than he does. They know what the real risks are at work, and that they all revolve around not getting the job done. Those risks are real and tangible, and employees feel them all the time. The risks of not following security procedures are much less real. Maybe the employee will get caught, but probably not. And even if he does get caught, the penalties aren't serious. Given this accurate risk analysis, any rational employee will regularly circumvent security to get his or her job done. That's what the company rewards, and that's what the company actually wants. "Fire someone who breaks security procedure, quickly and publicly," I suggested to the presenter. "That'll increase security awareness faster than any of your posters or lectures or newsletters." If the risks are real, people will get it.Coming across this post again after listening to one of Alex Epstein's podcasts on human flourishing provoked my mind to make an interesting connection. (I don't specifically recall which one(s) this was -- my time for listening is currently limited mostly to time I set aside for running errands around town.) One of Epstein's major themes is how to evaluate the many claims to knowledge that one encounters, and two obstacles that he has named to doing so are (a) experts don't explain things well, and (b) the importance of many such claims are exaggerated. Here, we have an expert quite possibly not being clear enough about an explanation (about, to be fair, a topic that is difficult to begin with) addressing an audience jaded by lots of bad and or over-hyped security advice. Schneier's advice cuts through both problems, and he ends his post by basically advising computer security professionals to be sure they understand risk from their audience's perspective before giving their recommendations. This is good communications advice, but it can also be turned around and made into good thinking advice regarding claims to new knowledge one encounters. As with any claim, one should try to evaluate it as knowledge by asking oneself how well it integrates (or doesn't) with the rest of one's knowledge. But, assuming the claim is knowledge, how urgent is acting on it? That depends on integrating it within the full context of the rest of one's values. It can be easy to get carried away with new knowledge and forget to do this -- to assess one's own risk of not applying the knowledge. (The most obvious costs of unnecessarily acting on new knowledge are wasted time and effort.) If your primary use of a pen drive is to transfer music or video files between a couple of devices you own, the urgency of encrypting the data is probably zero -- if you work in a nuclear power plant, and use one at all, it is almost certainly for work, and you probably should be fired for it not being encrypted. With any claim to knowledge, one faces two questions: (1) Is it true? and (2) How important is it? -- CAVLink to Original
  28. MisterSwig

    The Trolley Problem

    Are you saying the nominal value of 1 million human traders might surpass the value of your child, and that's why you'd let your child die? If you're comfortable slaughtering 999,999 people, why not 1 million?
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