site banner

I've got a new feature almost ready to go. I'm pretty stoked about this one because I've been wanting it for quite literally years, but it was never possible on Reddit.

Hey, guess what? We're not on Reddit!

But before I continue, I want to temper expectations. This is a prototype of a first revision of an experimental feature. It is not going to look impressive; it is not going to be impressive. There's a lot of work left to do.

The feature is currently live on our perpetually-running dev site. Log in, click any thread, and go look below the Comment Preview. You'll see a quokka in a suit asking you for help. (His name is Quincy.) Click the cute li'l guy and you'll be asked to rate three comments. Do so, and click Submit. Thank you! Your reward is another picture of Quincy and a sense of satisfaction.

So, uh . . . . what?

Okay, lemme explain.

This is the first part of a feature that I'm calling Volunteering. Once in a while, the site is going to prompt you to help out, and if you volunteer, it'll give you a few minutes of work to do. Right now this is going to be "read some comments and say if they're good or not". Later this might include stuff like "compare two comments and tell me if one of them is better", or "read a comment, then try to come up with a catchy headline for it".

These are intentionally small, and they're entirely optional. You can ignore it altogether if you like.

I'm hoping these can end up being the backbone of a new improved moderation system.

Isn't this just voting, but fancy?

You'd think so! But there are critical differences.

First, you do not choose the things to judge. The system chooses the things it wants you to judge. You are not presented with thousands of comments and asked to vote on the ones you think are important, no, you are given (at the moment) three specific comments and information is requested of you.

This means that I don't need to worry about disproportionate votecount on popular comments. Nor do I need to worry about any kind of vote-brigading, or people deciding to downvote everything that a user has posted. The system gets only the feedback it asks for. This is a pull system; the system pulls information from the userbase in exactly the quantities it wants instead of the userbase shoving possibly-unwanted information at the scoring systems.

Second, you can be only as influential as the system lets you. On the dev site you can volunteer as often as you want for testing purposes, but on the live site, you're going to - for now - be limited to once every 20 hours. I'll probably change this a lot, but nevertheless, if the system decides you've contributed enough, it'll thank you kindly and then cut you off. Do you want to spend all day volunteering in order to influence the community deeply? Too bad! Not allowed.

But this goes deeper than it sounds. Part of having the system prompt you is that not all prompts will be the system attempting to get actionable info from you. Some of the prompts will be the system trying to compare your choices against a reference, and the system will then use this comparison to figure out how much to trust your decisions.

That reference, of course, is the mods.

I've previously referred to this as the Megaphone system or the Amplifier system. One of our devs called it a "force multiplier". I think this gets across the core of what I'm aiming for. The goal here is not majority-rules, it's not fully decentralized moderation. It's finding people who generally agree with the mods and then quietly harnessing them to handle the easy moderation cases.

(We have a lot of easy moderation cases.)

There's another important point here. The mods are only human and we make mistakes. My hope is that we can get enough volunteer help to provide significantly more individual decisions than the mods can, and my hope is that the combined efforts of several people who don't quite agree with the mods in all cases is still going to be more reliable than any single mod. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if there's people out there who are better at judging posts than our mods are! It's just hard to find you; some of you may not even comment, and you're pretty undiscoverable right now, but you will certainly get a chance to volunteer!

Also, this will hopefully improve turnaround time a lot. I'm tired of filtered comments taking hours to get approved! I'm tired of really bad comments sticking around for half a day! There are many people constantly commenting and voting, and if I can get a few minutes of help from people now and then, we can handle those rapidly instead of having to wait for a mod to be around.

Wow! You get all of this, with absolutely no downsides or concerns!

Well, hold on.

The big concern here is that virtually nobody has ever done this before. The closest model I have is Slashdot's metamoderation system. Besides that, I'm flying blind.

I also have to make sure this isn't exploitable. The worst-case scenario is people being able to use this to let specific bad comments through. I really want to avoid that, and I've got ideas on how to avoid it, but it's going to take work on my part to sort out the details.

And there's probably issues that I'm not even thinking of. Again: flying blind. If you think of issues, bring 'em up; if you see issues, definitely bring 'em up.

Oh man! So, all this stuff is going to be running real soon, right?


First I need some data to work off. Full disclosure: all the current system does is collect data, then ignore it.

But it is collecting data, and as soon as I've got some data, I'll be working on the next segment.

This is the first step towards having a platform that's actually better-moderated than the current brand of highly-centralized sites. I don't know if it'll work, but I think it will.

Please go test it out on the dev site, report issues, and when it shows up here (probably in a few days) click the button roughly daily and spend a few minutes on it. Your time will not be wasted.


Right now this site's block feature works much the same as Reddit's. But I want to change that, because it sucks.

My current proposal is:

  • If you block someone, you will no longer see their comments, receive PMs from them, or be notified if they reply to your comments.

  • This does not stop them from seeing your comments, nor does it stop them from replying to your comments.

  • If they attempt to reply to your comment, it will include the note "This user has blocked you. You are still welcome to reply, but your replies will be held to a stricter standard of civility."

  • This note is accurate and we will do so.

That's the entire proposed feature. Feedback welcome!

User Flair and Usernames

We're going to start cracking down a bit on hyperpartisan or antagonistic user flair. Basically, if we'd hit you with a warning for putting it in a comment, we'll hit you with a warning for putting it in your flair. If anyone has a really good reason for us to not do this, now's the time to mention it!

Same goes for usernames. On this site, you can actually change your display username, and we're just leaving that in place. So we'll tell you to change your name if we have to. Extra for usernames: don't use a misleading or easily-confused username, okay? If it looks like you're masquerading as an existing well-known user, just stop it.

I'm currently assuming that both of these fall under our existing ruleset and don't need new rules applied. If you disagree strongly, let me know.

The Usual Stuff

Give feedback! Tell me how you're doing? Do you have questions? Do you have comments? This is the place for them!

Are you a coder and want to help out? We have a lot of work to do - come join the dev discord.

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).


This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

We would like to avoid these negative dynamics. Accordingly, we ask that you do not use this thread for waging the Culture War. Examples of waging the Culture War:

  • Shaming.

  • Attempting to 'build consensus' or enforce ideological conformity.

  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.

  • Recruiting for a cause.

  • Posting links that could be summarized as 'Boo outgroup!' Basically, if your content is 'Can you believe what Those People did this week?' then you should either refrain from posting, or do some very patient work to contextualize and/or steel-man the relevant viewpoint.

In general, you should argue to understand, not to win. This thread is not territory to be claimed by one group or another; indeed, the aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. Thus, we also ask that you follow some guidelines:

  • Speak plainly. Avoid sarcasm and mockery. When disagreeing with someone, state your objections explicitly.

  • Be as precise and charitable as you can. Don't paraphrase unflatteringly.

  • Don't imply that someone said something they did not say, even if you think it follows from what they said.

  • Write like everyone is reading and you want them to be included in the discussion.

On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

SS: Americans are rather ignorant about history. Moral reasoning by historical analogy is bad. Historical examples can be misleading for making predictions. These facts suggest that the utility of history courses is overestimated. In fact, they are mostly useless.


In many discussions I'm pulled back to the distinction between not-guilty and innocent as a way to demonstrate how the burden of proof works and what the true default position should be in any given argument. A lot of people seem to not have any problem seeing the distinction, but many intelligent people for some reason don't see it.

In this article I explain why the distinction exists and why it matters, in particular why it matters in real-life scenarios, especially when people try to shift the burden of proof.

Essentially, in my view the universe we are talking about is {uncertain,guilty,innocent}, therefore not-guilty is guilty', which is {uncertain,innocent}. Therefore innocent ⇒ not-guilty, but not-guilty ⇏ innocent.

When O. J. Simpson was acquitted, that doesn’t mean he was found innocent, it means the prosecution could not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He was found not-guilty, which is not the same as innocent. It very well could be that the jury found the truth of the matter uncertain.

This notion has implications in many real-life scenarios when people want to shift the burden of proof if you reject a claim when it's not substantiated. They wrongly assume you claim their claim is false (equivalent to innocent), when in truth all you are doing is staying in the default position (uncertain).

Rejecting the claim that a god exists is not the same as claim a god doesn't exist: it doesn't require a burden of proof because it's the default position. Agnosticism is the default position. The burden of proof is on the people making the claim.

An in depth proposal for how Elon can brute force the Problem of Identity to make 10s of billions off of Twitter Verifications.


Gab - hacked. Truth social - hacked. What if they come for us? The rdrama codebase probably isn't perfectly secure! Chrome or firefox has layers of sandboxes, a hundred different gadgets like 'stack protection' or 'W xor X', and still has a new RCE every week. rdrama can probably be trivially owned if someone googles all the dependency versions for a few hours. also, lol commit history, 'sneed'. If that happens - what leaks? i guess just associations between stored ip addresses (if they are) and post histories. And IP can reveal a lot, or nothing, depending on where you live, ISP, etc. Combine that with a post history referencing improvements you made to your house or your occupation ... might be bad.

Practically, seems incredibly unlikely anyone will care enough to do anything, it's a small community and the essay format gets in the way of 'omg these rightwingers grr'. But, always good to ponder potential security issues. Also, you wanted content, so content.

PCA did not produce correct and\or consistent results across all the design schemes, whether even-sampling was used or not, and whether for unmixed or admixed populations. We have shown that the distances between the samples are biased and can be easily manipulated to create the illusion of closely or distantly related populations. Whereas the clustering of populations between other populations in the scatter plot has been regarded as “decisive proof” or “very strong evidence” of their admixture, we demonstrated that such patterns are artifacts of the sampling scheme and meaningless for any bio historical purposes. Sample clustering, a subject that received much attention in the literature, e.g., Ref., is another artifact of the sampling scheme and likewise biologically meaningless (e.g., Figs. 12, 13, 14, 15), which is unsurprising if the distances are distorted. PCA violations of the true distances and clusters between samples limit its usability as a dimensional reduction tool for genetic analyses. Excepting PC1, where the distribution patterns may (e.g., Fig. 5a) or may not (e.g., Fig. 9) bear some geographical resemblance, most of the other PCs are mirages (e.g., Fig. 16). The axes of variation may also change unexpectedly when a few samples are added, altering the interpretation.

Specifically, in analyzing real populations, we showed that PCA could be used to generate contradictory results and lead to absurd conclusions (reductio ad absurdum), that “correct” conclusions cannot be derived without a priori knowledge and that cherry-picking or circular reasoning are always needed to interpret PCA results. This means that the difference between the a posteriori knowledge obtained from PCA and a priori knowledge rests solely on belief. The conflicting PCA outcomes shown here via over 200 figures demonstrate the high experimenter’s control over PCA’s outcome. By manipulating the choice of populations, sample sizes, and markers, experimenters can create multiple conflicting scenarios with real or imaginary historical interpretations, cherry-pick the one they like, and adopt circular reasoning to argue that PCA results support their explanation.


Indeed, after “exploring” 200 figures generated in this study, we obtained no a posteriori wisdom about the population structure of colors or human populations. We showed that the inferences that followed the standard interpretation in the literature were wrong. PCA is highly subjected to minor alterations in the allele frequencies (Fig. 12), study design (e.g., Fig. 9), or choice of markers (Fig. 22) (see also Refs.57,68). PCA results also cannot be reproduced (e.g., Fig. 13) unless an identical dataset is used, which defeats the usefulness of this tool. In that, our findings thereby join similar reports on PCA’s unexpected and arbitrary behavior. Note that variations in the implementations of PCA (e.g., PCA, singular value decomposition [SVD], and recursive PCA), as well as various flags, as implemented in EIGENSOFT, yield major differences in the results—none more biologically correct than the other. That the same mathematical procedure produces biologically conflicting and false results proves that bio historical inferences drawn only from PCA are fictitious.

I highly recommend reading the entire article. It is quite detailed. They do PCA analyses with a toy model using colors with admixture and show that choice of inputs can yield an admixed population (the color Black) arbitrarily close to any of its component mixtures (Blue, Green, or Red) on a scatter plot of their principle components. They also go through data sets of some other population genetics studies and show how using those data sets can generate conflicting PCA results depending heavily on the researchers choice of inputs.

This is a fascinating video. At 7:00, Tom Rowsell (SurviveTheJive) reads out some excerpts of the Srimad Bhagvatam(an important hindu scripture) where many if not every single prophecy comes true. The higher values are replaced by lower ones. Ones only worth in society is based upon their level of affluence and sex, people have no loyalty to their own family, culture or values. The only thing people will satisfy will be their genitals and bellies.

Everything will decay but there is a glimmer of hope. Just taking the name of Krishna would help one escape life and attain moksha.

Tom makes references from other indo european religions as well, this is not a culture war or culture war adjacent thing, mostly just something I found super fascinating given that they all were faiths that were very similar for the most part and got many things about the future right. The issue with kaliyuga is that of values, we have seen astounding technological and economical growth, the truth in many places is that many have lost values that were considered important by those who appreciate antiquity (I do at least). Many will not agree but even then, would appreciate any thots on this.


I noticed that the comment counts don't seem to line up with the total comments on this post, and a couple others. Do we already have shadow bans in place here, or is this just some delay issue?



What is intuition?

Intuition is the result of a subconscious mental process

I came up with this definition by pure intuition, it seems right to me, but how do I know it seems right? I just do. OK, but maybe it's not a good definition, maybe there are better definitions available online, and because I'm writing this for other people to read, I probably should check before posting (wait... is it "probably should check" or "should probably check"?, I think most people say the latter, but grammatically the former seems better), but I'm going to resist the urge for now.

Initially I started to write this post with a few drinks and wrote whatever came to my mind as it came, and the problem is that when you are thinking about how you are thinking, you are suddenly aware of how often your thinking process is interrupted by a thought, which if you explore it, it will lead you to more thoughts that are going to be interrupted in turn... it's a mess.

This stream of consciousness quickly ended being much longer than I anticipated, but I wouldn't subject my readers to it, why not? Because I've been writing for more than twenty years and I kind of have a feeling of what people like to read. But perhaps I should, maybe more people would like my unfiltered consciousness rather than these structured thoughts, or maybe what I think are structured thoughts other people would see as ramblings--not significantly different from the unfiltered ones.

It is difficult to write. After thinking about the topic I've realized I have so much to say about intuition, but if I say it all will take me a very long time to write, and it would take a very long time to read, and perhaps because of that nobody reads it. I would rather say a little about intuition so that more people read it, and if they don't, well, at least I didn't spend a lot of time writing about it.

But at this point I haven't said much about intuition, have I? Let me try to connect what I've said so far with intuition.

The best example I can think of is when chess master players do a move they are not even consciously aware of. It's clearly an intelligent move, and they can tell if it's a good move, but they can't tell you why. If you ask them why they made certain move, they might come up with an explanation, but this is not necessarily why they did it.

Research shows that the subconscious mind makes decisions independent of what the conscious mind experiences. My favorite example is a task in which when the actions of participants were analyzed systematically, it turns out all of them did the same thing, but they all came up with different explanations of why they did it.

This is a deep philosophical issue, because it touches consciousness, intelligence, the sense of self, and even free will.

How do I choose to write what I write? I don't truly know. I intuit that some things are better options than others, but how? Where do these thoughts come from? And if I didn't consciously choose these thoughts, then who is ultimately writing?

The truth is that intuition is a mystery.

I feel like I have made a "good" point, but I also feel like there's two important points I can make related to ChatGPT and Nassim Taleb. Should I stop now? I'm not sure.

Can intuition be wrong? Well, if it's a "mystery" one would be tempted to say intuition is just intuition, but I believe there's bad intuition, and this comes from understanding what an expert is.

When one starts to learn chess there are some mechanical things to remember: how each piece moves, what's the relative value of each piece, etc. The more one learns, the more these things become embedded on one's mind, so you don't have to think about them, you just intuit that a certain move is good because it leaves you with a material advantage. But then you learn that even if a certain move is advantageous in one turn, the opponent can answer in a way that leaves you in a disadvantage. So your intuition was not good enough, and you need to learn more. After countless hours of playing your intuition becomes top-notch.

But if intuition could be wrong, what alternative is there? Presumably the alternative is analytical thinking. Aha! This sounds like Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Intuitive thought is System 1, analytical thought is System 2.

After hours of thinking about this topic and this relationship honestly just came to my mind.

Why didn't I initially thought of this? This is like asking a chess player why didn't he see a particular move... I cannot think what I did not think.

OK. But I haven't made my point yet, and now I have to consider explaining System 1 and 2 for people who are not familiar with them. Or maybe I should just assume everyone knows that, but no, because I remember the writing advice of Steven Pinker, beware of the curse of knowledge, except this is going to be read by mottizens and if I explain something that is so basic they might conclude that I am basic. Screw it.

I believe everyone thinks analytically (System 2), the only difference between an expert and a novice is that the expert has internalized so much analytical thinking into his intuition (System 1), that whatever the novice has to think slowly about, it comes naturally fast for the expert, leaving his analytical thinking free to do much more complex analysis.

So analytical thinking is nothing more than the process through which we build our intuition. The more analytical thinking we do, the better our intuition becomes.

I didn't connect this to Nassim Taleb, but the inspiration came from him, essentially: analytical thinking is overrated.

OK, now I really feel I have to make the next point.

Recently I've seen ChatGPT everywhere, after toying with it substantially and discussing what I've found, I'm pretty sure what I see and what other people see is quite different.

The argument that I've seen a lot of people make is basically "it's just a bot", whatever miraculous answers it provides are nothing more than a simulacra of an intelligent being. It's not "truly" intelligent because it cannot do analytical thinking.

The point that I think everyone is missing is that intelligence itself is a mystery.

I don't know how I am deciding the next word that I'm going to type. It depends on my current mental state, which itself depends on the entirety of what I've read in the past, and what I've written.

But I've reread what I've written five or even ten years ago, and it's not as "good" as what I can write now. It makes sense because now I've read more, and I've written more.

My intuition about what to write next is better now.

And this is exactly how language models work. The more data you feed into a model, the better it becomes at writing a response that is deemed "good" by its readers.

Pessimists say that even if ChatGPT generates something truly marvelous it's still just a bot, it doesn't actually know why it wrote what it wrote. But guess what... Neither does a human.

If I ask you: what is 8 + x = 10? You are probably going to come up with an answer immediately. Do you know how you arrived to that answer? We know that a toddler cannot answer that, so some training is necessary. The more training, the more automatic the response will be. ChatGPT also generates an automatic response based on its training.

I feel there's so much more to write about this, but I want to conclude on the basis of two propositions.

I could write a whole essay on free will, but let's suppose that it doesn't exist, also suppose that the true nature of humans is misguided, and we are nothing more than a consciousness. I believe these two things are true, but I don't have the space to substantiate them here.

Grant me those two suppositions. What follows is that we don't know what's going to come next from our subconscious mind, you don't know what I'm going to type next, but neither do I. My conscious mind is as much a passenger in this stream of consciousness as your conscious mind is (assuming it's still following). I'm just witnessing my intuition doing its thing, but in truth that's all I can truly do.

I still don't know if my definition of intuition is close to how a dictionary would define it, but it still feels true. And that's probably what all my knowledge is: whatever feels true. My intuition of what feels true comes from all the analytical thinking I've done in the past, and this is probably what a language model considers knowledge too.

Or maybe I'm confusing what intuition is with how it manifests, just like people in the past concentrated on how heat manifests, not on what it truly was.

Maybe intuition is the encoding of analytical thinking, which we only see when a decision has to be made.

Intuition is encoded analytical thought

Either way, I had never thought of intuition in this way before (I hadn't actually given it much thought), this insight wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't sat down and written about the topic in the first place. All my intuition was already there, I just had to play it out, and as I was writing, I was genuinely surprised by the thoughts that were popping out in real time (why didn't I think of that before?).

My intuition also tells me that my insight is not something trivial that other people have already expressed many times over, but I know I've had insights in the past that I consider non-trivial only for other people to shit on them, so I shouldn't let my hopes up. Worst-case scenario this intuition about intuition might feed future insights.

I am not a big fan of Alex Berenson. I don't like journalists because they don't understand population statistics. They are interested mostly in anecdotal cases and their duty is to write about them in an interesting and viral way. And yet, that is an important service to identify targets that are worth of deeper analysis.

In Alex case while he missed many times, he also hit some good targets.

  1. vaccine effectiveness against infection is lost withing 3-4 months

  2. prior infection provides stronger immunity than vaccination

The second was always suspected but the evidence was always lacking. Now it turns out that twitter supressed tweets that announced the first real evidence (even if not very strong) that it is the case. I believe that this suppression likely extended wider than just twitter and ultimately influenced the US policy to not recognise immunity from infection when vaccine mandates were put in place. In contrast, most European countries with mandates recognised immunity from prior infection in one way or another as inferior or equal to immunity from vaccination.

There might be some practical considerations – vaccination is easy to register and provide proof. Prior infection is more nebulous, requires expensive testing, some tests are less reliable. The whole idea casts shadow how reasonable vaccine mandates are in the first place. Some would worry that the recognition of immunity from prior infection could also encourage vaccine hesitant to seek getting infected.

Such policies however are very risky because they are conditional on us never finding out the truth. It was always more likely that prior infection confers stronger immunity than vaccination. It was stupid to try to supress the evidence at any time. Eventually it surfaced (as it was bound to) and made those attempts to control narrative look evil.

Note: I could not find any studies that estimate how many heavy metal bands are atheistic, so "most" is nothing more than a personal observation.

Chances are good that if you go to church, you sing. Most churches around the world; be it Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant; have singing as a part of worship. Every Sunday they meet, greet, sing, preach, share personal stories, and some then sing some more. Why?

The first time that I sang was in college in voice class. It was the single most enjoyable and fulfilling experience that I have ever had. I was awful, but there was this intense sense of unity, this sense of belonging that I had never experienced before. There we were, a group of just 20 or so students, and together we all made a work of art for the sake of of making art. It was beautiful. I had never felt so connected to people that I did not know before then, and ever since I stopped going to that college I have not felt that sense of connection to others so intensely. I do not go to church. I have not gone since I was a little kid. Yet, almost every day I am consciously envious of the people who can believe in God because of how beautiful that singing, that sense of community, was.

I believe the reason why so many churches have singing is because of this sense of community. Singing is a readily accessible and simple way to bring people together. Churches that don't sing don't build a sense of unity with singing, and people will go to the closest church that they feel the most belonging in. If churches that don't sing don't have other ways to supplement this sense of unity, then Darwinism happens: Churches that are less able to create a community are less fit to survive.

What if you don't believe in God? What if you're a kid, a teenager, and it's Sunday and your friends are out playing and having fun and going to the arcade or playing football and your parents instead make you go to church? The Sabbath takes your day of rest and turns it into a day of work. Instead of getting to relax you get to be angry. Angry at your parents for keeping you from your friends and for not loving you if they were to ever find out that you do not see the world the same way they do. Angry at the church and the people within it for hating the nonbelievers and gays and anyone who just doesn't belong. Angry at God for being a convenient weapon for this community, that you do not feel a part of, to use against you. And you sing.

You get good at singing, as you sing every Sunday and have every Sunday for as long as you can remember. Your puberty goes by filled with stress, as all puberties do, and yours gets to be filled with an extra dose of anger and alienation. And you sing some more. But what do you actually want to sing about? What emotion do you have that has gone unexpressed that you want people to hear? How do you want to be heard?

And you get mad.


So I recently heard about this supplement called Nicotinamide Mononucleotide. It's heralded as this great medicine that reduces aging, and gets rid of many issues.

And I really want to believe it, but there's something snakeoil salesmany about it.

  • It's heralded as a magical cure with no downside

  • It resolves so many issues and problems with your body it's unreal

  • From brain to liver, to ankles and skin, it's all covered

It all sounds too good to be true to me. I don't think it has negative effects and it's actually malicious, but I think it's just a fad that's being pushed. I don't think it can do really bad harm, but I don't think there's any better effects than a tummy ache.

What do you think? Do you have experience with this supplement?

This is the first intermission of 👯, listed as season 1 episode 7 for filing purposes. In this episode, TracingWoodgrains, MasterThief, The Sultan Of Swing, XantosCell, and Unsaying discuss religious community.

This discussion was originally slated to be released as an episode of the The Bailey podcast, but eventually it was decided that it should be published elsewhere instead, and so it finds its home here, at 👯.

The image used in the video is Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld's Pentecost woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bildern", 1860:

Show notes:

36:00 Unsaying's superintelligence of deity post:

39:47 Despite instructions made in the moment, this tangent was not cut out, as it turned out to be relevant. Normally, any requests to cut something out would be honored, but everyone involved assented to this edit of the episode.

47:03 Xantos's snake-handling video:

Extended show notes:

(Discussing unsuitability for marriage and the path of monasticism)

(If people want more BG on heresies, i dunno)


Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.


Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

I just run into asking me to rate some overly long mythology/fanfiction/pagan themed post.

Really long.

And there was no option to indicate that I am unwilling to spend time on reading it.

Maybe in such case I should close the tab and do not fill feedback?

The phrase "light only comes from heat" sounds so judicious. Who wouldn't want a pleasant, decorous argument where everyone respects everyone, no one's feelings are hurt, and plenty of light is generate, but no nasty heat.

Yet, if you think about it, where else does light come from but heat? Things that are very cold give off no light, yet everything that emits light will also be hot. If you don't like heat, you've no desire for light. If you want light, you musk risk heat.

Speaking from my own experience, it is the forceful, honest and clear arguments that have persuaded me, or have at the very least lodged the seed of doubt in my own mind, not those who argue by endlessly trying to flatter me, or search for middle ground, or who pretend to respect my argument more than they actually do.

All truth seekers should expunge this silly cliche from their vocabulary.

I end with the immortal words of John Milton:

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat

post thumbnail

I've noticed a trend among the rationalist movement of favoring long and convoluted articles referencing other long and convoluted articles--the more inaccessible to the general public, the better.

I don't want to contend that there's anything inherently wrong with such articles, I contend precisely the opposite: there's nothing inherently wrong with short and direct articles.

One example of significant simplicity is Einstein's famous E=mc2 paper (Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy-content?), which is merely three pages long.

Can anyone contend that Einstein's paper is either not significant or not straightforward?

It is also generally understood among writers that it's difficult to explain complex concepts in a simple way. And programmers do favor simpler code, and often transform complex code into simpler versions that achieve the same functionality in a process called code refactoring. Guess what... refactoring takes substantial effort.

The art of compressing complex ideas into succinct phrases is valued by the general population, and proof of that are quotes and memes.

“One should use common words to say uncommon things” ― Arthur Schopenhauer

There is power in simplicity.

One example of simple ideas with extreme potential is Karl Popper's notion of falsifiability: don't try to prove your beliefs, try to disprove them. That simple principle solves important problems in epistemology, such as the problem of induction and the problem of demarcation. And you don't need to understand all the philosophy behind this notion, only that many white swans don't prove the proposition that all swans are white, but a single black swan does disprove it. So it's more profitable to look for black swans.

And we can use simple concepts to defend the power of simplicity.

We can use falsifiability to explain that many simple ideas being unconsequential doesn't prove the claim that all simple ideas are inconsequential, but a single consequential idea that is simple does disprove it.

Therefore I've proved that simple notions can be important.

Hi guys, I'm @idio3 from rdrama, one of the main jannies there. I like the idea of you running an offsite, but I'm absolutely floored by the implementation.

Now I get that there are features of the main site that wouldn't be appropriate for you guys, since you're looking for a different sort of discussion and atmosphere than we are. Longpostbot, annoying graphical and user-nerfing awards, bardbot, etc - it makes perfect sense to remove those. But other decisions I just don't understand. Most notably - what the hell is your beef with Marseys? Why don't image uploads work? It's like you guys intentionally wanted to preclude people from attempting to have fun :marseyshrug:, with the changes being essentially limited to cutting out as many of our features as you could get your hands on...

Anyway, if you could illuminate the rationale for these things, I'd greatly appreciate it! :marseyblowkiss:

be mottizens

set up own website

fork dramacode

remove 90% of features

manage to break the other 10% of features somehow

True story

post thumbnail

I come in peace, just want to see whats around here

This one is against rationalists because when Scott wrote his review that masks could be effective many of us trusted it.

I don't blame Scott for failing this one because doing review of hundreds of studies is hard and one person can hardly do it. But this clearly shows that rationalist way of thinking has no special formula, they can be easily mistaken and fall by accepting general consensus just like any other person.

I was impressed when Scott did his review about masks. I trusted it because there was no other clear evidence available. Cochrane hadn't done its review yet and NICE guidelines were silent on the issue. We vaguely knew from previous studies that masks are not effective, The WHO had said so. Suddenly everyone flipped and it was not because the evidence had changed. We simply wanted to believe that masks work and we mocked those who said “no evidence that masks help”.

Even with the belief that masks work, I never wanted mask mandates. I preferred recommendations only, so that no one was penalized or prohibited entry, travel etc if one doesn't want to wear mask. Scott unwillingly had been a catalyst for governments to introduce mask mandates and all this heavy handed approach has been for nothing.

Now we are back to square one, the evidence about masks is weak and it does not support their use even in hospital settings. We can all reflect now what happened in between during these 2 or 3 years. When I realized that Scott's review is clearly insufficient as evidence, I asked some doctors if they have any better evidence that masks work. Instead of getting answer I was told not to be silly, parachutes don't need RCTs and accused me of being covid denier for nor reason. Many so-called experts were making the same mistake as Scott by looking at the issue too emotionally. It is time to get back to reality and admit that it was a mistake and we should have judged the issue with more rational mind.