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want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
roe_ 14 points

This is an excellent point.

I recently downloaded Android Studio so I could program a (I thought at the time) relatively simple but useful app. I powered through a bunch of stuff and almost have something useable now, but learning Java is tough!

Where do young people go nowadays for the equivalent of BASIC.EXE?

(Yes, command lines were a bit tough - but all you really had to learn was "C:", "CD \what\ever" and "dir" and you could function well enough)

want_to_want 7 points

JavaScript! I've had pretty good success teaching kids basic programming with Code Monster, which is just a textbox running JS with a bunch of explanations on top.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
darwin2500 3 points

That's a fair reading, but one that totally undercuts the power of the apparent claims being made, especially when one deputizes Soviet Russia into the argument.

If the point is just 'Social Justice might be massively improving society and decreasing overall oppression, but it would be even better if also were careful to watch for cases where they might be oppressing people too and try to minimize those cases where possible,' then I think this a very uncontroversial statement which few in the social justice movement would disagree with.

But again, it doesn't fee like the author is trying to make such an innocuous statement, and it is especially bizarre to talk so much about communist excesses if they are trying to be this innocuous.

Maybe I'm reading too much into their phrasing of the argument, and they really are making such an innocuous statement. If so, then I have no objection to it, except for its potential to be misunderstood based on the phrasing.

want_to_want 8 points

So you lump SJ with abolitionism, while other people lump SJ with communism. Looks like reference class tennis to me. The only way to resolve it is to talk about SJ specifically, without appealing to reference classes.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/Parahumans
Muroid 391 points

One day your wife dies in a tragic accident. The two of you loved to play SimCity together, so you immerse yourself in it. Day and night you're micromanaging the heck out of your city and making it pretty awesome, but it's just not fulfilling the way it once was. Eventually, you snap and just start spawning natural disasters all over the place. Fires and tornados and floods just demolishing this city that you've been spending time carefully curating. It doesn't help a lot, but it's a little cathartic.

Then a message from your wife pops up on the screen. You do a double take, but it's not her. It's a message from a randomly generated character that coincidentally has the same name as your wife. A little upsetting, but it doesn't mean anything. You chuck a meteor into the center of town to relieve some of the tension.

Then the game really starts acting up. It starts switching you over to your wife's profile and then starts flashing her face on the screen. This is too much, so you step away for a bit and decide to go to bed. You must be seeing things. But then the messages start pouring over your phone. You hastily throw it away from you, but then you hear the crackle of static as your speaker system starts up. It's your wife's voice talking over the unnerving background jingle provided by your constantly buzzing phone. She repeats a single message.

"Kill yourself."

A single shot echoes through the house, and everything falls silent. The only sound is a faint cheering, as if from the stock sound effect of a crowd, while little firework animations go off over the digital city.

want_to_want 4 points

Great writing, thank you! Reminds me of Stephen King's Battleground but even better.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
m50d 20 points

The nice guy is reviled like the gold-digger or the prostitute, and for the same reasons: it's not that he's asking for more or treating his relationships more transactionally than other people, it's that he's being crassly explicit about the trade, and indeed that he's talking in those terms at all. I would think this is more a matter of class than anything else: explicit trades rather than a pseudo- gift- economy are very much a low- class way of doing things.

want_to_want 8 points

Great point. I wonder why trade is seen as low status in so many different societies, even though it creates much more value (both for the trader and for others) than high-status competitive activities?

m50d 6 points

Maybe it's a kind of meta- conspicuous- consumption? You signal wealth by engaging in a less efficient economy than market trading.

want_to_want 4 points

Or you signal that you get stuff for free!

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
Ethics_Woodchuck 25 points

Especially the kind of politics where you pretend that your own beliefs aren't political while accusing everyone else.

want_to_want 6 points

Categorizing beliefs as political or non-political seems like a type error to me? Politics isn't what you believe, it's how you think about it. If you tend to think about a topic using tools like science/evidence/truth, you're not mind-killed. If you reach for tools like who wins/who loses/there is no truth, you're mind-killed.

That's not to say I'm without sin, of course. The line between following truth and following anything else passes through the heart of every person. That's pretty much what "rationalism" means to me.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/gamedev
Lemmings19 2 points

I agree with you. By nature, the purpose of the site is to send users away, and so it is difficult or impossible to retain them.

The more successfully the site helps users find what they are looking for, the less likely they are to stay. It's a risky project in that sense.

I am hoping that by casting as wide of a net as possible and targeting a large audience, the site will have enough users come in to keep it alive. Specializing specifically on game developers would have actually suited my needs better (I wanted to find other game devs), but I strongly questioned being able to retain enough users from such a small pool in a project actually that sends them away once their needs are met.

At the end of the day though, this is a passion project and I am willing to take the risk. Thanks for the best wishes!

want_to_want 2 points

You can make it attractive for people to stay. Here's an idea I had: allow people to upload images or gifs of their game every week, and have a separate area of the site where users can get a random selection of images and rank them from best to worst. This can help people test market hypotheses ("no, random users won't buy a game that looks like your mockup") and also A/B test visuals.

Another idea is offering blind playtesting as a service, providing developers with full videos, eye tracking and gameplay logs. Many developers need it and you can make money that way.

Of course all such ideas have chicken and egg problems, but if you can make them reinforce each other and cross-promote, I think it can work. I thought about making a similar site myself, but have more profitable things to do this year...

want_to_want commented on a post in r/haskell
jerf 32 points

Yup, you got yourself a hold of some propaganda basically that hasn't been true for decades. But it is likely you got it from a source much younger than that, because that stuff tends to never die.

That said, there are ways in which the current architecture of a CPU may not match the way a purely functional system would work. One thing that comes to mind is that the very complicated cache coherency mechanisms might be able to be simplified and/or sped up if the CPU could be guaranteed that writes only occur in certain manners. FP still has some possible advantages in being able to more easily write algorithms that could use multiple cores, and one could imagine ways in which the CPU could perhaps help.

However, one of the reasons I'd be fairly pessimistic about the idea that there's some sort of huge architecture reason that FP is slower than C (and I pick that language in particular for a reason) is that to an increasing extent, the imperative/C model of the CPU is wrong, too. Haskell and the CPU may have some ways in which they don't really get along, but Haskell is competing with C (and all the other imperative languages which are all at the hardware level look a lot like C), and C and the CPU don't necessarily get along all that well either; the CPU does a lot of work to bridge the gap, and some very smart compilers do a lot of work too, all to deal with languages that very much afford writing code that assumes the world is still 1970 or 1980. In other words, nowadays C is taking a mismatch penalty too, on any but the most carefully-optimized code.

(Especially in light of Meltdown and Spectre, which if you look at them carefully enough can be seen to be problems in the ways in which processors present the C view of the world but are actually radically different things under the hood (i.e., the branch instruction isn't really a branch, but a speculative op that will eventually resolve to a branch, with the vulnerabilities being that we can drive a wedge between those two different things), I begin to think the Itanium may have been on the right path in the long term, even if it flopped. In that world, a specialized Haskell compiler might conceivably be able to do things directly at the micro-op level that are not currently available at the x86, C-simulated-worldview level. But it'll be a while before anyone tries that again, unfortunately, and I don't know enough about the Itanium to even hypothesize specifics.)

want_to_want 1 point

Not to mention that both C and Haskell are very unsuited for the GPU. I'm not sure what kind of language would be best for the GPU, maybe something like K?

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
[deleted] 11 points

That's not what I'm saying at all. I have the intelligence, but not everything else (drive, social intelligence, just being a bad ass in general) that it takes to be those guys. And obviously that takes a lot that I don't have the ability to do. I'm not saying I can be those guys. I'm saying I have 1 of the many factors it takes to be those guys.

Edit: And just so the above comment doesn't take me even more out of context, I used the words "agreeable" and "don't have the balls". I never said I was "too nice". Apparently to this person, saying I don't have the balls to be a bad ass 24/7 is saying "I'm too nice". Not really sure how that happened, but I just want to point that out.

want_to_want 12 points

Your main problem might be fear of disapproval. If so, the right solution is exposure therapy.

werttrew 26 points

Jeremy D. Mayer for The American Interest: Marx at 200.

In March 2017, traveling through Havana, I pointed out to my Cuban guide one humming construction site amid all the gorgeously decrepit, decaying buildings around us, many in the midst of reconstruction efforts that seemed permanently stalled. My guide laughed, because this building was being built by Indian construction workers, brought in and housed by the Cuban state and a capitalist partner. How, I asked, could it possibly be profitable to fly construction workers halfway around the world to do a job? Were there no Cubans with the requisite skills? My guide assured me that Cuba’s elaborate vocational education system produced many such workers, but they could not be hired for the project. In the modern Cuban economy, paying Cuban construction workers the wages received by the Indians would have been socially disruptive, because they would then be making more than Cuban doctors, lawyers, and professors. Cuban construction workers, once trained, avoid low paying public jobs, and instead work in the black/gray market on projects where they can make more in a single day than a month at official communist rates. In a country allegedly devoted to the philosophy of Karl Marx, who sought the abolition of private property, the public infrastructure was in a near constant state of crisis, but the private property of the wealthy, the politically connected, or those who worked for visiting capitalist foreigners was well kept indeed.

For many, such hypocrisy and economic absurdity, along with the crushing political oppression of the Cuban state, are the main legacy of Karl Marx—who turns 200 years old, as it were, on May 5. The destructive impact of Marxist economics remains real for Cubans, but it is hardly the entire story. In that very same Havana, Cubans have access to a better health care and education system than the poor do in most countries of Latin America or the Caribbean. Most folks would rather be middle class in Guatemala City than in Havana, but only a fool would choose to be poor in Guatemala over Cuba. This is true even if we add in political freedoms, since the Guatemalan meltdown of the 1980s scored a far higher per capita body count than even the highest estimates of Castro’s killings. It is in places like Havana that one must wrestle with a question long thought answered: Of what use is Karl Marx and his thought in the 21st century? And it is a question relevant far beyond the last few putatively Marxist states. [….]

Marx was in error on many points, but his genius at synthesizing remains a wonder. It was a deft mind indeed that took the Hegelian philosopher Feuerbach’s insights into the nature of religion in the West, and adopted that method of abstraction to apply to the economic history of mankind. Feuerbach believed man had abstracted God from his emptiness, and became enslaved by the phantom he constructed. Marx responded: “Just as it is not religion which creates man, but man who creates religion, so it is not the constitution which creates the people, but the people which creates the constitution.” By exposing the economic reality at the core of our abstract ideas about property, God, and justice, Marx believed he had exposed the complete secret of human development since the dawn of history. It was a bold, captivating vision that attracted millions, although most would have never made it through six pages of Hegel or Feuerbach, let alone of Marx’s opus, volume one of Capital. And while Capital is a densely woven text that makes one glad that Hegel never wrote much about British economics, Marx the synthesizer and the popularizer was never better than in the Manifesto. It may be the most successful work of propaganda since Paul’s letters.

Marx’s intellectual timing was also propitious. Western political theory since Hobbes had been built around social contract as the origin of political life. Through Locke and Rousseau and on into Marx’s own time, a vision of society emerging from some grand bargain among the people to create self-government was dominant. But Marx represents a turning point in which that idea had become ever less credible. In its place, Marx erected a materialist conception of history occurring in stages of economic development.

want_to_want 8 points

I visited Havana two weeks ago and I'm still in shock, the city looks like it was garbage-bombed. They should keep socialism for healthcare etc, but also use capitalism for what it's good at. No point being dogmatic.

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want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
TrannyPornO 24 points

A criticism is that such growth is also correlated with wealth inequality

Which is strongly linked to limited trade and occupational restrictions and intervention including IPR/IPP, but also to real estate gaining value rapidly and immigrants entering the workforce (not due to competition, but because they often fill out an underclass: no one is made worse off, but they push the bottom down).

dissolution of social structures and institutions.

Which is pretty often great. But in some instances is bad for corruption reasons.

Also although absolute income matters, there is evidence relative income also plays a role in happiness.

It's unknown what the limit of the absolute income effect is, so it doesn't really make much sense to fight relative inequality, given that doing so harms growth when it occurs through the market (though not when it's due to corruption).

A person today cannot really conceptualize being 500x wealthier than a caveman but he can conceptualize his neighbor having more.

And just as (to reverse) the caveman couldn't imagine being as rich as we are now, we likely can't imagine the wealth of a hypothetical high-growth future. I hope to see something to the tune of 5x what we have now, at least! But given what's currently happening - "If the cost of regulatory accumulation were a country, it would have the fourth largest GDP in the world" - we may not get to see it happen, sadly.

Global inequality has fallen despite many countries experiencing increased domestic inequality.

want_to_want 3 points

Thank you for posting that! I sometimes get sad about the state of discourse, then I see comments like yours and they make me happy again.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/NuclearThrone
want_to_want 2 points

Given your sprite's proportions and animations, maybe a better comparison would be Hyper Light Drifter? But really you have to find your own path.

LambdaScarlet 1 point

Oh yeah, Hyper Light Drifter is definitely a huge inspiration. I do want to understand what makes Nuclear Throne so fun though. I won't try to replicate it exactly, but I'll use the iteration process vlambeer used.

want_to_want 1 point

I think most of the fun in NT comes from player action acknowledgement, like popping bubble wrap. See the videos "Art of screenshake" and "Juice it or lose it" for more about player action acknowledgement. The bigger game design decisions are less important.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
want_to_want 1 point

I lean toward subjective Bayesianism with the twist that my prior is determined by my nature, not by any rule or whim. How exactly it gets determined is a hard problem that could be filed under epistemology, but I'd rather file it under cogsci.

Anyway, if we're talking about whether Trudeau is a Martian, my prior isn't useful information to you. We'd do better by only sharing evidence and keeping priors out of the discussion. Overcoming Bias had a great post about it: Share likelihood ratios, not posterior beliefs.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
SteadfastTim 30 points

Joseph Heath on the "cryptonormativism" of Critical Studies

In any case, it seems to me fairly obvious why these books are written in the way they are. The authors feel a passionate moral commitment to the improvement of society – this is what animates their entire project, compels them to write a book – but they have no idea how to defend these commitments intellectually, and they have also read a great deal of once-fashionable theory that is essentially skeptical about the foundations of these moral commitments (i.e. Foucault, Bourdieu). As a result, they are basically moral noncognitivists, and perhaps even skeptics. So they turn to using rhetoric and techniques of social control, such as audience limitation, as a way of securing agreement on their normative agenda.

This is – perhaps needless to say – not how critical theory was supposed to be done.

want_to_want 10 points

The first three paragraphs were the most enlightening for me. They explain how critical theory was such an appealing idea at the time, in fact I'm not sure I'd be able to resist the appeal back then! The takeaway for me is an even stronger commitment to think in interesting directions, not morally compelling ones.

EvilCorporation 50 points

Vague, scattershot, 5-min speculation: The specific ideological and temperamental qualities necessary for obsessively campaigning in opposition to an ideology make you very susceptible to fall prey to that ideology, provided it fulfills the same psychoemotional needs your current ideology does (but slightly better). The truth-content of both ideologies is mostly irrelevant.

I've seen pretty sheltered, super religious, conservative people flip to secular social justice warriors within a month, because (I suspect) it meets their psychoemotional/social needs slightly better (yet still occupies strangely familiar terrain). Are you a pious, dogmatic moralist with a need to immerse yourself in a tight-knit tribe? Well, there's plenty of opposing tribes that may let you indulge your nature in a more complete way.

want_to_want 14 points

Eric Hoffer's book "The True Believer" makes exactly that point.

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want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
want_to_want 3 points

Political disagreements obviously can and do happen for both reasons, but I personally choose sides by mistake-based reasoning. (Though a conflict theorist could say I'm deluded about my own reasoning...)

It seems to me that waging conflicts is just short-termism. The pie grows too slowly! We must redivide it fairly now, never mind the hit to future growth! Lo and behold, a generation later you're uniformly poorer than the neighboring country that opted for growth. Exponents are cruel.

That doesn't mean I love inequality. Some measures against inequality also lead to higher growth, and that's awesome! For example, I support free healthcare and education for everyone, and free housing for the homeless.

wolfdreams01 5 points

It seems to me that waging conflicts is just short-termism. The pie grows too slowly! We must redivide it fairly now, never mind the hit to future growth! Lo and behold, a generation later you're uniformly poorer than the neighboring country that opted for growth. Exponents are cruel.

But there are countries that have already made this choice. Finland has a less robust economy than the U.S., but a much higher standard of living for every citizen thanks to their socialist government. I would choose their "uniform poverty" over our "robust economy" any day, simply because the gains from the robust economy are less likely to trickle down to me.

Understand this: nobody cares how good an economy is if all the gains go to the top 1%. In this respect, economists are idiots. They spend so much time looking at the forest from a distance that they fail to even notice it is made up of trees.

want_to_want 2 points

Finland's market economy, free international trade and strong safety net are exactly as recommended by economists like Krugman.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
VorpalAuroch 3 points

And to the extent that workers can change jobs

Basically nil.

, they might also win.

So they don't.

Economically, the changes are only Pareto improvements if direct transfers are made. Which they aren't. So they're not guaranteed to be Pareto improvements, and, like most changes, probably aren't.

want_to_want 1 point

Nil? People change jobs to get into booming industries all the time. When a sweatshop opens in a poor country, where do you think the workers come from?

VorpalAuroch 6 points

High-skill people, whose jobs only very rarely move due to trade changes, can change industries. Low-skill people can only change jobs, within an industry. It goes without saying that if your job is hurt by trade changes your industry is not going to be able to pick up the slack workforce. This is a massive, widespread problem in the US, particularly Appalachia and the Midwest; job retraining got heavy investment and utterly failed.

When a sweatshop opens in a poor country, where do you think the workers come from?

People who previously had no jobs; subsistence farming or equivalent, usually. That's the main source; where there isn't a significant population of subsistence farmers there aren't sweatshops built.

want_to_want 1 point

Trade can lead to losers in principle, but blaming trade for unemployment seems weird. After all, cheap low-skill labor is itself a comparative advantage in trade, used by multiple countries as a stepping stone to get rich surprisingly fast. If that's not happening in the poor regions of the US, I'd be more suspicious of regulation. Especially regulation that increases cost of living, cost of running a business, cost of employing people, or cost of getting a job in terms of lost benefits.

I think I had a vague idea of this even before learning econ. Simon Funk's little graph about airplanes applies to many problems in life, including this.

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want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
rothos_ 21 points

Marketing strategy pivots when the goal becomes user acquisition. Regular users don't need to know anything about blockchain. (There are ways to have the app handle all token transactions while keeping the user ultimately in control of their private keys.)

Disclosure: I'm on the Luna team.

want_to_want 6 points

Who are your potential customers?

1) A rich guy wanting sex for money. That can be done without Luna.

2) A rich guy wanting a relationship for money. He should post his photo and daily rate, and choose any woman who agrees. If he gets unhappy, the payments stop. That can be done without Luna.

3) A rich guy wanting to get a first date for money, or have his message noticed for money, and hoping that his charm will do the rest. He's deluded, so taking money from him seems unethical.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
want_to_want 5 points

Lee Kuan Yew's policies.

[deleted] 2 points

What would those be exactly? I understand he was generally pro-market, but I don't know much about the specifics

want_to_want 10 points

By Western standards he was pro-market and pro-nanny-state at the same time. Here's a sample:

  • Free trade
  • Jail your friends for bribery
  • Whip people for littering
  • Lots of public housing
  • Screw the press
  • Workfare, not unemployment benefits
  • Everyone learns English

Basically, imagine you wanted only to train your people into clean, quiet, productive drones for the world market. Make people trust in that path, close all other paths, do everything necessary.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/gamedev
want_to_want 162 points

Let's not blame Steam, the problem is much bigger than that. Every creative field eventually devolves into a crowded popularity contest, as barriers to entry fall and more people enter for ego reasons. For now game developers still have it better than most, ask some writers or musicians how bad it can really get. That's where things are headed for us in the coming years and no organization can possibly change it. Before you choose a career in games, it's best to be aware of how your ego might be pulling you into an unfavorable market reality.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
Ilverin 1 point

MMT is most similar to what you describe. MarketM would say 'we only sometimes need to stimulate demand and sometimes we need to unstimulate it to fight inflation, so we should favor reversable actions like quantitative easing'.

want_to_want 1 point

I see, thanks! Looks like MMT folks also like the idea of job guarantee.

Ilverin 5 points

To try to clarify possible confusion, there is a difference between MMT "Modern Monetary Theory" and Market Monetarism.

Market monetarists and MMT agree that since governments borrow money in their own currency, inflation is the main constraint on printing money.

Market monetarists and MMT disagree that the public sector is better than the private sector.

For MMT, print money and spend it until reaching maximum tolerable inflation.

For market monetarism, print money and lend it or buy assets (buying assets example quantitative easing) until either reaching full employment or maximum tolerable inflation.

want_to_want 1 point

Is there a theory that would simply distribute the printed money among the poor, no strings attached? I'm not an econ expert but it seems like it should be good at stimulating demand.

want_to_want commented on a post in r/slatestarcodex
xyzzyz 6 points

For one, you are assuming that the market is perfectly efficient, and the market prices exactly correspond to the NPV. I think this is often far from true, especially in such illiquid market as whole lakes.

But more importantly, you made a huge jump with "what brings more money to the owner" to "what's right thing to do". Catching all the fish right now might be correct thing to do for homo economicus, especially if some fool sold them the lake too cheaply, but it doesn't make it right. I would definitely be interested in hearing how catching all the fish right now "saves more lives".

want_to_want 3 points

Imagine you're the lake owner and your only goal is saving lives. The best way to save lives is donating money to the most effective charities. So you'll do whatever gives you more money to donate. (Let's stay with the NPV simplification for now, and also ignore other social benefits of the lake besides fish.) If catching all the fish right now yields more money, that's what you'll do. So your fishing behavior will be indistinguishable from that of homo economicus, while being right. Did I miss something?

xyzzyz 2 points

Imagine you're the lake owner and your only goal is the common good.

This is precisely the reason why we don't privatize the lakes, and leave it to be managed by the entity that actually has common good as its objective, that is, the government. The capitalists tend to not care about common good all that much.

want_to_want 5 points

Now imagine you're the lake owner and care only about your income. In the last comment I tried to show why your fishing behavior will be identical to someone who cares only about the common good. But remember that you bought the lake from the government, hopefully competing with other buyers. So the price you paid to the government is hopefully close to the market value of the fishing rights (again, NPV). If the government spends that money on the common good, the outcome is the same as in my last comment.

Edited to add: the common good might also be concerned with who gets the fish and for how much. But the argument survives even that, because the government can use the money to buy the fish and then redistribute it. (Though that's unlikely to be the best use of the money.)

That's the theory, anyway. But it also works in practice. AFAIK privatization of fishing rights has a better track record than other measures against overfishing.

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