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If you're going to downvote me, and nobody's already voiced your objection, please reply and tell me

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If you're going to downvote me, and nobody's already voiced your objection, please reply and tell me

1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 10 11:26:14 UTC


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User ID: 1103

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France isn't Germany or the USA; the law of the sword is a lot closer to the surface there - remember, they've had a constitution fail and get replaced within living memory, and French history for the last few centuries is mostly just one bloodbath after another (this is the French Fifth Republic).

Defying the mob there is not a safe proposition.

It's a threat insofar as SJ persecutes Nazis and thus a statement that non-haters of Nazis are Nazis is a threat to persecute anyone who doesn't join in the persecution.

I mean, letting them loose kind of is the legal thing to do under the circumstances.

I think this kind of situation probably calls for a declaration of emergency, though, or failing that opening the floodgates on gun control and self-defence so that robbery becomes a "die horribly the third time you try it" proposition. If you re-enact the Wild West you'll re-enact vigilance committees, and if you can't avoid that the best option for governmental legitimacy is to get the hell out of their way.

100,000 voters cannot decide the outcome of US presidential elections. Given certain assumptions about which states are and are not in play, sure, but those assumptions are predicated on the votes of tens of millions of other voters; these 100,000 voters cannot elect Zombie Hitler over the objections of the rest of the country.

100,000 voters voting the other way would flip most Australian elections to the other major party, too (although admittedly we have a much-smaller voter base), at least if you got to pick exactly which ones to flip lots of marginal seats to 50%+1 the other way.

It should be noted that we just flat-out do not have any direct equivalent to the US President with a nationwide election for one position - the Australian Prime Minister is not directly elected but rather elected by the House of Representatives, and can have lost the two-party-preferred vote if the voters for that party are better distributed among seats (this happened in 1998; the two-party-preferred vote narrowly favoured Labour over the Liberal/National Coalition but the latter won more seats and thus government). And our Senate favours less-populous states over more-populous ones in precisely the same way as yours does - Tasmania gets 12 Senators just like New South Wales, despite NSW having over 14x Tasmania's population (though the territories, which are even less populated, do at least get fewer, and Tasmania's an outlier among the state populations).

boats don't sink simply because they are heavy

I mean, boat sinks iff weight(boat + contents) > weight(water displaced by boat at zero freeboard). Sure, "contents" includes any water that's gotten into the boat, but it's still primarily about weight.

As for the tiny number who do go on a killing spree, I find it very unlikely that society could have done anything to help them - they'd probably have been the sort of person who goes feral even in a healthier society.

They run amok because they think they've got nothing left to lose, so all deterrents are void. Ensure that people have something worth living for and they won't run amok.

Citations: WP, some guy on the Internet, and my memories of the time I ran amok as a teenager (thankfully with a body count of 0). And yes, it was at the tail-end of a depressive episode.

There is the issue regarding Chinese immigration that the PRC government is notoriously willing to take emigrants' families hostage to force them to do what the PRC wants. As such, the majority of Chinese immigrants are effectively sleeper agents, which doesn't matter right up until you want to pursue foreign policy that Beijing doesn't like and then it really, really does. We've been dealing with this in Australia for the last couple of decades.

Canada's in close cultural proximity to the USA but doesn't have Borderers and is creeped out by them. One side of US politics is largely composed of Borderers. Hence, they identify with the other.

Literally just don’t make AI porn of your female classmates?

There is kind of an issue here in that Evil Maid attacks are so goddamned easy on a campus (especially the collaborative Evil Maid where one conspirator deliberately creates the distraction) that "beyond a reasonable doubt" is unachievable without substantial resources and any lower standard gets loners expelled by bullies manipulating the system. Admittedly, one can do this with actual child porn anyway, but that's trickier to get and, due to being actually illegal, risks the police coming in and actually tracing it to the bully.

One might equally say "wouldn't the Chinese back off the blockade before it got to that point? That seems like a much better deal than having their capital nuked."

Nuclear brinkmanship, as I said, is a game of Chicken. Risk-aversion cuts both ways.

No, I meant when I get some (usually not as many as I get upvotes, but some). As I said, about half my posts do get at least some downvotes (and some of those don't have replies). Sorry for the confusion.

I will say this: it is frustrating to get downvotes without replies. I'm not exactly a super-controversial poster - I think it's like 1% of my posts are net-downvoted and close to 50% have no downvotes at all - but it does grate every time I see a post get a bunch of downvotes without an explanation, and because they're anonymous I can't just go and interrogate the downvoters for what they think is bad.

Obviously, this is why my flair is what it is, but it hasn't really helped much. I'm half suspecting that a decent chunk of the voters are nonposting lurkers.

This is not a question of "I don't like the information"; it's that it teases information without actually giving the actionable details to me. And sure, the interface allows a manual downvote insofar as one can make a post saying "you suck", but those are banned here and TTBOMK not just because "the downvote button exists".

As of 2022 they've been installing JL-3s on their submarine arm, they can hit the US from home waters.


Could you credibly threaten to go to strategic and start hitting Chinese cities, at which point your country would likely be razed?

Yes, this is what I meant. A general blockade of South Korea is an attempt to kill like 80% of its population via starvation; in that event there is no remaining Chinese capacity to deter SK from literally anything (starvation's a really-ugly way to go, so death by PLA nuke is arguably a mercy), so "we take you down with us in revenge" is fully credible (unlike the existing US nuclear umbrella, since a blockade of SK won't kill 80% of Americans). Of course, there's still the standard Chicken dynamic to deal with where the craziest has leverage, but that's true of literally all relations between unfriendly nuclear powers; the blockade's mostly irrelevant there. What SK nukes do is take it from "PRC has an unstoppable trump card short of nukes" to "normal nuclear brinkmanship".

If I've understood you correctly you think that there's a 1-2% daily chance of nuclear exchange conditional on ROW joining a war between Taiwan and the PRC?

Yes. Maybe lower if Russia joins the war on the PRC's side, as the Russian deterrent is far less fragile in a number of ways (10x as many nukes, closer proximity to North America/Europe for the air leg (remember that the Arctic Ocean's only about five times the area of the Caribbean Sea, and is narrow in the direction connecting Russia to Canada), well-situated ports for the sea leg).

Not sure what your odds of the war breaking out at all in the next 5 years or so would be (presumably pretty high).

If I had to toss out a number I'd say 70%, but I'm a lot less confident in that than in the conditionals; I don't have direct access to the kind of intelligence reports on the internal memos of the CPC and PLA that I'd need to nail it down.

3/ China and Taiwan

This feels less likely than the previous two examples, mostly because there's no active conflict in the region yet so there are still several further stages of escalation that would need to be crossed before nuclear weapons become worth considering for anyone involved. The US also seems to be taking steps to reduce their dependence on Taiwan. On the other hand, the US is interested in countering Chinese influence for reasons that go beyond the situation with Taiwain, and if China starts making SK and Japan worried enough to think about establishing their own nuclear programs, the US might start to find its credibility in the region tested.

Reasons I'm shit-scared* about this one:

  1. The PRC probably has some sort of attack (not sure if it's invasion, bombardment, or general blockade) being prepared for 2024-5 if the US election is enough of a shitstorm - their plan to integrate Taiwan peacefully died a horrible screaming death when Xi Jinping did an "I am altering the deal" on Hong Kong, the US military is old but being modernised, and the shitstorm was obvious several years in advance and isn't necessarily going to recur afterward. As more direct evidence, the head of ASIS (Australia's equivalent of the CIA - note that Australia shares intel with the USA in the Five Eyes) said that "a linear path" leads to "great-power conflict" and he hopes leaders make decisions to take us off that path.
  2. If the ROW doesn't come in to defend Taiwan, the First Island Chain is broken - rather than being confined to the South China Sea and East China Sea (by sea mines in the various narrow straits in Indonesia/Malaysia/the Philippines/Taiwan/Japan), the PLAN gets to operate in the blue-water Pacific because of the ports on Taiwan's east coast. This is an existential threat to Japan and South Korea because their population densities are so high they require food imports to avoid mass starvation, so if Taiwan falls both of them will almost certainly withdraw from the NPT and acquire nuclear weapons in order to deter the PRC from blockading them in event of conflict (and thus allow them to have foreign policies that aren't dictated by the PRC by that threat). Also, if the PRC doesn't stop with Taiwan (and they likely won't; they've already started claiming the Ryukyu Islands) and WWIII happens anyway, it's going to be harder with Taiwan in PRC hands. As such, I give a high chance (about 80%) that the ROW does in fact come in, because nuclear proliferation sucks and if nuclear war's inevitable anyway we should have it on the best terms possible.
  3. I find it highly unlikely (about 10%) that a conventional conflict over Taiwan (with the USA in play) wouldn't go nuclear. The problem is that the PRC's nuclear deterrent is fairly fragile - the sea leg is strongly hampered by the aforementioned First Island Chain, the air leg doesn't have the range to reach the USA or Europe, and in event of conflict there would be enemy nukes quite close to almost all of China (the Bay of Bengal and India proper, Taiwan itself and the uncontested waters east of it, and South Korea, plus the bombers the USA would be heavily using anyway are nuclear-capable) so they'd get at most like 10 minutes of warning before their land leg was neutralised by the siloes being nuked (which the USA can do, because it's got a lot more nukes than the PRC does). This means the PLA would have to be on a hair-trigger in order for their deterrent to do anything, and the coalition would be strongly tempted to also be on a hair-trigger in order to perform such an alpha strike (and minimise the death toll) in event of an intercepted launch order or launches starting. Hair-triggers are bad, because they go off accidentally - see the Duluth bear and Vasily Arkhipov incidents for examples of the sort of things I'm thinking about. The chance of nuclear war per day is only like 1-2% (it would be less, but nobody would have launch-detection satellites because PLA doctrine for WWIII for decades has been to start out with massive ASAT use and that means Kessler syndrome wipes out all of LEO, and while there are backups they're not as reliable), but that adds up very fast.

It's a long way from assured, but the spectre of imminent WWIII hangs over the globe once more.

*Well, I'm not especially scared for my own life, because I took action to ensure I only die if we have total state failure - I live in Bendigo and have 20L of water in my bathroom cabinet. But I'm scared for other people's sake, and I'd have less creature comforts.

I mean, I thought the Orwell bug of "if you delete a post, it headshots all its children" had been fixed ages ago? Did it get unfixed at some point?

What's going on here (assuming that rape convictions aren't so rare that 17 non-convictions are possibly noise)?

Part of me is wondering if there's some insane sort of reverse causation somewhere - I'm not sure if Ireland has peremptory strikes, but if it does the use of them could plausibly correlate somewhat with case strength.

Pretty much nobody thinks ‘kill the boer’ is a literal call for killing off the whites.

I'm reminded of that NYT quote Scott mentioned a while back:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler's anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

(To be a little less fallacious, even if it's not serious now, if it's part of the rhetoric new members are exposed to those new members will tend to become serious, and years down the track they'll wind up in charge of the organisation. There was a post about the phenomenon on here a while back.)

It'd make sense for Taiwan to blow them up itself.

Indeed, TSMC has a kill-switch.

Would China have the stomach for an extended occupation and suppression if they weren't getting any value out of it?

Um, yes? Remember, this is a totalitarian state that's been putting irredentist messages about Taiwan in all the media and textbooks for literally a lifetime, and a decent chunk of whose current territory is very much an "extended occupation" (Xinjiang and Tibet; literally over 10% of the male population is interned in Xinjiang). They wanted Taiwan before the semiconductor factories were there, and they would get quite a legitimacy bump from holding Taiwan (the primary clause of the devil's bargain the CPC's made with the Chinese population is "we will get back everything that was lost in the Century of Humiliation", and Taiwan was one of those things).

(Also, do remember that occupations are significantly easier when you don't actually care about things like "human rights" and "rule of law". I have zero doubt that if it came down to "exterminate all 24 million Taiwanese and import mainlanders to replace them" or "abandon the occupation of Taiwan" the CPC would do the former, although I suspect their current plan is more along the lines of "kill everyone who was ever part of the DPP, stick the rest in re-education camps".)

You get to your asteroid, and... It's mostly silicon, iron, nickel, and other crap you can dig up back on Earth for way, way cheaper. There might be some high-value exotic elements like Californium that are kinda valuable, but how do you find any?

Why would there be californium on asteroids? You might find some plutonium from interstellar dust (although Earth is again a better source of that), but there's no process that generates californium near enough to Sol that it would actually get here before it decayed.

There's maybe, maybe a plausible case to be made for antimatter, presuming we had a useful application for it by the time this whole mess is feasible - but I bet it would be cheaper to just invent a way to make and capture antimatter on Earth.

"On" Earth is plausibly not true, although "around Earth" definitely is. The most concentrated reservoir of antimatter in Sol System is Earth's Van Allen belts. Estimates I've seen are that you can't get the price below a billion a gram making it in particle accelerators due to inherent inefficiencies (currently it's more like trillions), while scoops in the Van Allen belts could conceivably do it for millions.

The elements that are most amenable to asteroidal extraction would be tellurium and the strongly-siderophile metals (Ru,Rh,Pd,Re,Os,Ir,Pt,Au), all of which are strongly-depleted in the crust due to tellurides and native metals (the primary forms of these elements) sinking into the core. Some of these are useful and as such humongously expensive. But, yes, there's the issue that you need to refine them on-site because of the delta-V needed for the return trip, and more generally the Space Bootstrapping Problem where a lot of space industries only make sense if there are other space industries to absorb their products.

A couple of mitigating factors I'll note:

  1. if you were to mine asteroids with people, you would not need radiation shielding for the time on the asteroid, because you could use the asteroid itself - digging deep on asteroids is pretty easy energetically. You still need the radiation-shielded craft to get there, though, which sucks.

  2. mass ratios look far nicer if you bite the bullet and start using nuclear. This sucks for takeoff from Earth because people will get apoplectic, but for things like a return mass driver or an orbital-transfer burn there's less of an issue there. This is getting into issues of "do you really think they're going to let Elon Musk buy a breeder reactor and reprocessing plant", though.

The election will inevitably (particularly now that Trump is a felon) lead to an enormous amount of chaos between October 2024 and February 2025.

Worse than that: this was clear as early as 2022 if not from Jan 6 2021, so the (highly non-trivial) preparations for war could be made. Indeed, back in late 2022 when I posted this, my unstated conclusion was "the Five Eyes have detected an in-progress Chinese plan to attack Taiwan" (I'm still not 100% confident of that, but I can't see any other likely scenarios in which "a linear path" leads to "great-power conflict" and an active decision to avert it is required).

With that said, the chance is not 100%. As Symon noted, we can turn off a linear path; leaders can make decisions. An in-progress Chinese plan to attack Taiwan means only that Xi thinks the option of an attack is worth the cost of the preparations; he could still very easily call "no-go" before the trigger's pulled if circumstances look less than favourable.

I think the "indirect control" plan, if it can even be called a "plan", is bananas and unworkable; the PRC has no jurisdiction over the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (which is a formal member of the WTO) and any attempt to declare border controls would be a legal nullity and would be ignored. I'm not saying they won't claim to be doing this - the PRC claims a lot of things - but they would have to back it up with at least an actual blockade (either shooting or mining) and they know this. So that leaves us with three real options:

  1. Blockade Taiwan ("surrender or Taipei starves")
  2. Bombard Taiwan ("surrender or Taipei burns")
  3. Invade Taiwan ("who cares if you surrender, there's a guy with a bayonet in the Legislative Yuan"), presumably with a preceding bombardment

...with the latter two both having the option of pre-emptive strikes on US/Korean/Japanese assets in East Asia, or not doing that out of hope of keeping them neutral. Frankly, I'm not enough of a tactician to figure out which they're planning on; there've been exercises relating to all three primary scenarios so it's entirely possible they're intending on some degree of flexibility depending on how the situation develops.

Overall numbers - with the horizon of 12 months, I'd say a very uncertain 50%. I'm anchoring on the Paul Symon interview with WWIII being the default case (note that I think it's like 80% that the West comes in conditional on a Taiwan play, and 90% that cities get nuked conditional on the West intervening in a Taiwan play), but I've heard some noises more recently saying it might be more like 2027 so I've shaved a bit off.

And then more recently they felt they could get away with total control, so they went ahead and enforced more control.

I think it's more like "they did some things they didn't think would cause a furore that did, and then they weren't sure they could maintain control without a full crackdown".

I'm definitely in agreement with you against @AshLael that what happened in Hong Kong does not scream "long-term plan". The "charm offensive" screamed "long-term plan" - you can actually see its effect on Taiwanese attitudes toward unification - and the Darth Vader stunt ruined that plan, so it doesn't make sense for the Darth Vader stunt with that timing to have been a long-term plan (the obvious long-term plan would have been to wait out the 50-year agreement and/or to wait until Taiwan also agreed to 1C2S and had been garrisoned with PLA troops). At the very least, if it was a long-term plan, then the CPC is either completely bananas (yes, yes, they're bad at understanding WEIRD mindset, but "if you break agreement X with person Y, person Z will be less likely to enter agreement X with you" is more general than that) or has a major case of left-hand/right-hand.

You've got to remember: there's a reasonable chance of this US election turning into a giant shitshow and this has been obvious for several years allowing contingency preparation. "The USA disagrees on who the President is" is a better opportunity than either "Trump is the President" or "Biden is the President".


More markets where people put their (play) money where their mouth is with regards to their predictions, and I encourage everyone with strong opinions to do the same.

I tried to set up a (real-money) bet with someone over this (well, technically on nuclear war, but these have very high correlation), but was unable to finalise terms. There are a number of issues with betting "yes":

  1. Are you going to survive to enjoy your winnings?
  2. Is the counterparty going to survive to pay you?
  3. Are the mechanisms to allow and force the counterparty to pay you going to survive?
  4. Is money going to be worth as much in "yes" worlds as "no" worlds? (Probably not, so you need better odds than the naïve ones.)

#1-3 can be solved with some innovation, although they make things more complicated. #4 is just a straight-up "prediction markets will underpredict this because equilibrium price =/= real probability".

NB: I have taken some steps to survive nuclear war (moving to Bendigo instead of Melbourne, bottled water in my bathroom cabinet), so I've put some money where my mouth is already.

2-3 months: March-April and October, although only the last half of March.

Yes, a repeat of Pearl Harbour would be retarded. "Doing retardedly overconfident things that get your country squished flat" is kind of the most notorious pitfall of fascism, though (see: actual Pearl Harbour), and for all its protestations the PRC is effectively fascist, so this isn't necessarily a guarantee that it won't happen.