Where Goals Come From

“Soccer analysis. Plus video content here.”

Thomas Sedlacek – The European (R)evolution – Part 2

Thomas Sedlacek – The European (R)evolution – Part 2

May 8, 2014 at 07:04AM

Against longtermism

“We can now begin to see how longtermism might be self-defeating. Not only could its ‘fanatical’ emphasis on fulfilling our longterm potential lead people to, eg, neglect non-existential climate change, prioritise the rich over the poor and perhaps even ‘justify’ pre-emptive violence and atrocities for the ‘greater cosmic good’ but it also contains within it the very tendencies – Baconianism, capitalism and value-neutrality – that have driven humanity inches away from the precipice of destruction.


Yes, we will need advanced technologies if we wish to escape Earth before it’s sterilised by the Sun in a billion years or so. But the crucial fact that longtermists miss is that technology is far more likely to cause our extinction before this distant future event than to save us from it. If you, like me, value the continued survival and flourishing of humanity, you should care about the long term but reject the ideology of longtermism, which is not only dangerous and flawed but might be contributing to, and reinforcing, the risks that now threaten every person on the planet.”

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The moderating role of culture on the benefits of economic freedom: Cross-country analysis

“Introducing economic freedom enhances economic development if the population is oriented at long term benefits rather than short term gains.

High levels of uncertainty avoidance decrease the beneficial effects of economic freedom on economic development.”

Sounds a lot like “Give people freedom in an environment of trust.

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Billie Jean King interview

“Therapy helps to understand who you are, how you are. A lot of the challenges the players have stem from their emotional self and what they feel about themselves. I know a lot of players lose because they don’t think they deserve to win. You’ll see them get right to the brink of winning and then they can’t do it. Why? Something’s going on there. So they need to find out.”

Rats prefer to help their own kind. Humans may be similarly wired.

“Using fiber photometry, immunohistochemistry, calcium imaging and other diagnostic tools, researchers found that all the rats they studied experienced empathy in response to another rat’s signs of distress.

However, to act on that empathy, the helper rat’s neural reward circuitry had to be triggered, and that only occurred if the trapped rat was of the same type as the helper rat, or member of its ingroup.

“Surprisingly, we found that the network associated with empathy is activated when you see a distressed peer, whether they are in the ingroup or not,” Kaufer said. “In contrast, the network associated with reward signaling was active only for ingroup members and correlated with helping behavior.””

What If You Could Do It All Over?

“Given just a single shot at existence, we owe it to ourselves to hit the mark; we must not just survive but thrive. It’s no wonder that for many of us “the story of our lives becomes the story of the lives we were prevented from living.””

The Carry of a Fly Ball

“The primary purpose of this report has been to quantify the notion of “carry” and to estimate the carry the different parks. The carry has to do with atmospheric effects and not with other factors, such as the dimensions of the park. On the other hand, one can ask a different question: “What is the relative ease of hitting home runs in the different parks?” The answer to that question depends both on the atmospheric effects and on the park dimensions.”

Predictive Coding has been unified with Backpropagation

“The backpropagation algorithm has three steps.

  1. Flow information forward through a network to compute a prediction.
  2. Compute an error by comparing the prediction to a target value.
  3. Flow the error backward through the network to update the weights.

The backpropagation algorithm requires information to flow forward and backward along the network. But biological neurons are one-directional.


The authors have unified predictive coding and backpropagation into a single theory of neural networks. Predictive coding and backpropagation are separate hardware implementations of what is ultimately the same algorithm.”

Tricameral Legislatures

“In a three-chamber system, we can relax that requirement. Any of the three chambers can propose a bill, and if they can get one of the other chambers to approve it, then it goes to the executive. If we have three chambers, A, B, and C, a law can be passed by A & B, B & C, or A & C working together. That way if one of the chambers is deadlocked on an issue, or one powerful legislator is trying to keep a bill from being passed, the other two chambers of congress can just work around it.


A chamber elected by true lottery will not only be balanced in terms of demographics, it will actually be representative. The distribution of gender, age, race, education, religion, profession, and so on in this chamber will all be nearly identical to the United States in general. Gerrymandering literally can’t affect it, since it’s a random sample. It’s hard to imagine a better way of getting diverse voices in politics.”

Quote about Conservativism

“Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time.”

Unix History Slideshow

“We were introduced to the Unix philosophy of software development:

  • Make each program do one thing well.
    To do a new job, build afresh rather than complicate old programs by adding new “features”.
  • Write programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface.
  • Treat a tool’s output as an API.
    In much the same way that you treat a class interface as an API; changing it might break others’ usage of your software! A stable API makes for long-lived software. Write programs to work together.”

E Unibus Pluram (David Foster Wallace)

“Think, if you will for a moment, of Third World rebels and coups. Rebels are great at exposing and overthrowing corrupt hypocritical regimes, but seem noticeably less great at the mundane, non-negative tasks of then establishing a superior governing alternative. Victorious rebels, in fact, seem best at using their tough cynical rebel skills to avoid being rebelled against themselves—in other words they just become better tyrants.

And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down. All irony is a variation on a sort of existential poker-face. All U.S. irony is based on an implicit “I don’t really mean what I say.” So what does irony as a cultural norm mean to say? That it’s impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it’s too bad it’s impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “How very banal to ask what I mean.” Anyone with the heretical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like a hysteric or a prig. And herein lies the oppressiveness of institutionalized irony, the too-successful rebel: the ability to interdict the question without attending to its content is tyranny. It is the new junta, using the very tool that exposed its enemy to insulate itself.”

Hamlet and Bereavement

Hamlet and Bereavement

August 13, 2018 at 03:39AM

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