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Small-Scale Question Sunday for April 16, 2023

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.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Has anyone run into a really good case against the Great Replacement theory?

It requires too much coordination among elites.

That people do vote in leaders who enact the policies. If people really hated immigrations that much, they simply would always vote conservative.

To be fair, voting Republican because of immigration didn't work under Reagan, or Bush, or even Trump.

If people consistently voted the same way and by large margins, it would enact a shift. I don't think Reagan was particularly anti-immigration when campaigning. Trump didn't win by that large a margin and didn't have the biggest mandate. If the anti-immigration conservatives were selected in primaries and then those conservatives overwhelmingly won seats in the general election, I think you'd see a very sharp decline in immigration very fast.

The two party system does have limitations, but both sides want to win generally. If people actually hated immigration but reluctantly voted Democrat to get stuff like welfare, Democrats could shift to be anti-immigration while keeping their other policies the same and sweep the elections.

Don't know if this counts as a refutation, but I don't think it's so much the Great Replacement, as it is the Great Meat Grinder. Once the immigrants settle down, they're infected with the same modernist mind virus, and cease to reproduce themselves. Years down the line they will probably be replaced with even fresher immigrants.

Our elites have been in love with Malthusianism for over a century, even though they can't be quite as open about it as they used to be, you still hear noises from people like Bill Gates musing about getting the reproduction rate down in poor countries. Even when they're not openly discussing depopulation, you can see them drooling at the thought of technologies that will atomize us even more effectively, and the first question on their mind is "how can we make sure everyone gets these?".

I think this theory fits a lot better with the stated and documented motivations of our rulers than mere replacement of a particular race.

Has anyone run into a really good case against the Great Replacement theory?

While I don't think "western democracies" are properly democracies these days, neither are they despotic. They don't rule by fear, but by meeting the demands of various interest groups and the people. Skilled professionals at least. (And the rest enough so they don't rebel.)

"The people" demand a comfortable lifestyle and rights that reduce fertility to <1.5 TFR. These demands, unfortunately, contradict each other. Cheap consumer goodies and early retirements need cheap labor to pick the fruit, make the iphones, and empty the bedpans.

Western governments are resolving this contradiction by importing young people from abroad and offshoring what dirty work they can to other countries. Is this popular? No. Is it out of malice for the natives? No. It's just that the other solutions to the problem would be more unpopular.

It's not the newcomers' fault if the ancestral population won't reproduce. Great Cohabitation Theory sounds a lot less ominous.

It's not the newcomers' fault

Most versions don't focus the fault of migrants, AFAICT.

GRT doesn’t claim that immigrants are at fault, though. GRT claims that domestic leadership is at fault. The leadership is at fault by (1) ignoring the realities of race and culture or the projected statistics on fertility rates, (2) beholden to an anti-white “conspiracy”, which (2a) is influenced by anti-white academics sometimes or (2b) is influenced by Jewish groups that benefit as they retain strong in-group biases while everyone else de-homogenizes.

One argument against (2b) in Europe is that the Muslim migrants generally do not like Israel and are already exerting influence to reduce their country’s alignment with Israel.

(2) beholden to an anti-white “conspiracy”, which (2a) is influenced by anti-white academics sometimes

  1. Immigration massively benefits poor, non-white immigrants themselves, so it's our moral duty to promote it.

  2. Unfortunately the white majority is racist in various ways, from passing racist laws limiting immigration in the first place, to systemically exploiting illegal immigrants, to whites oppressing nonwhites on an individual yet systemic level (for example, managers are likely to be white, white managers are likely to have unconscious biases against nonwhite subordinates).

  3. Asking whites nicely to stop being racist hasn't worked yet and is unlikely to suddenly start working, therefore it's our moral duty to seek other solutions.

  4. Decreasing the proportion of whites in the society will gradually strip them of their democratic and societal power and improve the situation. Note that things improve on the margin too, we don't need to wait until the white population drops below some magical fraction to see results, every percent of fewer whites makes things better for nonwhites.

Therefore a moral duty of every person who believes in (1), (2), and (3) (which is every liberal/progressive/left-leaning person) is to support (4) as a goal, support things like increased non-white immigration and oppose any attempts to increase white fertility, with an explicit purpose of making western countries less white.

There's no need for a "conspiracy" if everyone with certain beliefs pushes for certain political actions that follow from those beliefs with a near mathematical inevitability. Of course if you ask a progressive white if they really want to make whites a minority they would vehemently deny it, though without any principled argument for why not. And they sure do act in ways that are consistent with them believing in the moral necessity of (4), at least unconsciously.

(2b) is influenced by Jewish groups that benefit as they retain strong in-group biases while everyone else de-homogenizes. is a very interesting article, not only it's a respectable journalist writing for a paper of record unlike some lunatic rambling for hours on youtube, but also rather than being hostile to the conspiracy he wholeheartedly supports it; rather than exposing it he boasts about it. How can we not believe him?

(you probably want to read the intro of for some context)

There's no need for a "conspiracy" if everyone with certain beliefs pushes for certain political actions that follow from those beliefs with a near mathematical inevitability.

Except that people who believe 1, 2, and 3 do not openly state 4 is their goal. Instead they claim it's a conspiracy theory. If you're right that 4 is a moral necessity, and they're right it's a conspiracy theory, it follows that they are in fact conspiring.

"Conspiracy" is a complicated concept involving several different attributes. Consider for example CIA did 9/11 the Iran-Contra affair:

  1. It's coordinated and centralized.

  2. When/if exposed most people agree that it was immoral and bad.

  3. People perpetuating it know that it will be considered immoral and bad.

  4. It's executed in secret, so people assume that its effects (such as the crack epidemic) are exaggerated or caused by natural processes or whatever.

There are also secondary attributes, for example there's a solid argument that (1) + (2) + (3) together mean that it's hard to run a large conspiracy because every person involved increases the chance that someone snitches.

But there are also semi-conspiracies that lack some of the attributes. The Great Replacement doesn't require coordination or centralization (though people like Soros act as coordinators within their significant spheres of influence). People perpetuating it think that they are doing a good thing, they just stop at the very last step: diversity is good, we are increasing diversity of western countries, but we don't admit that more diverse = less white (which is trivially true, not a snark even) at least not when those racist white people might hear us.

The only conspiracy trait that is really fully present here is that ordinary people are not aware that there are forces working towards a particular end purposefully and industriously, and so will be surprised when that end is achieved. Oh well, most of the conspirators delude themselves about that too.

There's a lot of progressive semi-conspiracies that work like that. One can't help noticing the pattern:

  1. this will not happen

  2. this is not happening

  3. this is happening rarely and for random uncorrelated reasons

  4. this is happening and it's a good thing! (or if it's obviously bad then nobody could've predicted it, also it's a part and parcel of the hustle and bustle).

‘Replacement' reverses the causality between two phenomenas: Natives aren’t having kids, and immigrants are coming in greater numbers. The latter is supported by elites, but in large part because of the former. The emotional salience of the issue, the 'oh no, we're disappearing' realization, also stems from the former. Native reproduction rates is the dominant problem here. “We will not be replaced”’s obvious solution is not "let’s stop immigration", it’s “let’s have more kids”. I’m not a fan of unfiltered immigration, but GRT just externalizes the real problem.

But this is incorrect. Without immigration, native wages and bargaining power would increase, meaning birth rates would increase. Without immigration, the government would need to incentivize births, or consider the real (feminism-related) issues. As is, immigration is the exact thing that the government is using to prevent any real discussion (let alone policy) on birth rates.

native wages and bargaining power would increase, meaning birth rates would increase.

Will native wages increase to the $300K/year level? That's where the U-curve of white American TFR gets above self-replacement levels again; for most of the 95ish percent below that, the correlation between (lifetime) fertility and income ranges from barely positive to greatly negative. Non-white American TFR goes above replacement at a mere $200K/year, but that might be skewed by recent immigrants who haven't yet assimilated to modern American pandas-in-captivity attitudes toward breeding. Even if not, that's probably still above what you're going to hit by just keeping out all the new immigrants.

And remember that, while having fewer poor immigrants increases the bargaining power of native poor people vs people with capital, childcare workers are closer to the poor-people group. It's entirely possible that, while 95% of the population sees their birth rate go down because that's what most modern people do as they make more money, the other 5% might also see their birth rate go down because that's what rich modern people do when they're having more trouble finding a nanny.

the real (feminism-related) issues

The biggest inverse correlation with fertility I've seen is national level of women's education, I'm sad to say, and if there's a version of feminism that manages to break that connection I'd like to see it. But anti-feminism doesn't seem to be immune to modernity either. The LDS church is a literal patriarchy, and Mormon TFR still plummeted, just not quite as soon as that of non-Mormons.

The biggest inverse correlation with fertility I've seen is national level of women's education

The root cause is mechanization. Remember that 1920 and 2020 aren't meaningfully different when you look at TFR compared to the proportion of population that lives in a city- actually, I'd argue that in 1920 it was worse because it was near 2.0 even though the country was 50% rural. We have a ways to go before we get (back) to South Korea/Taiwan TFR.

Women's education is related, but mechanization causes women's education and not the other way around.

This was temporarily reversed in the 1950s and 60s (in the US) because of the post-war economic boom that uniquely benefited male labor, but as soon as that was over (and also that the cheap oil disappeared!) its value went right back into the toilet. And by the time we had cheap energy again, Chinese slaves free trade had permanently displaced those men.

You want to reverse this effect, you need a similar technological shift. AI might get there someday, but it'll need to be a compelling and overwhelming technological force (that somehow survives getting lawfare'd into oblivion; not that lawfare isn't the reason a lot of objectively-unnecessary women are employed to begin with) that devalues their biological advantages so hard that the life path that involves having kids has a better return on investment for the overwhelming majority of women.

The other way is to just go full Handmaiden's Tale, but if you wanted that you have to forsake mechanization (and thus restore the biological advantage human doings have over human beings), and nothing lies that way but ruin: remember, the Spartans lived in fear of a Helot uprising, and given where the power lies in mechanized societies that's why women tend to be hysterical about the possibility of men doing the same thing to them despite the pains they take to make sure they don't.

There's a very tenuous relationship between those things and immigration, if any. It's like saying the elite's opposition to fracking is harming natives' birthrates. I can see the argument, but it's convoluted.

No one is stopping individuals who hyperventilate about their line disappearing from having more kids. You want the government to fuck your wife for you too? Some things you just gotta do yourself.

Very clear relationship, that's why Korea and Japan's strict immigration controls have begotten such a high birthrate.

Related to @FirmWeird's post here Do most people really commit Three Felonies a Day? I basically agree with the thesis that the Byzantine law system can manufacture criminality from very little and that innocent people can be prosecuted accordingly. Nonetheless, I am modestly confident that even maximally bad-faith scrutiny of my typical day would not result in three felonies, or even a single felony. Perhaps I live an unusually low-risk life, but I'm not really seeing the path to doing some entirely legal work, buying some groceries, going for a run, and watching some basketball on my legally licensed cable television including any felonies. I can easily believe that some point I have done something that could get me in trouble, even if I don't realize it, but this does not seem like a typical day to me.

I throw out mail that is addressed to the person that lived at my house before me. Not three times a day, but at least once a week. I'm sure there are plenty of similar things that could get my count up.

Oh, shit. That might get me too. Sometimes I write “not at this address” and dump it back in the box. Don’t know if that’s better or worse.

I assume you're referencing this post?

It's been a while since I read the original book (and I wasn't particularly impressed at the time) but from memory it mostly used the headline-grabbing title as a metaphor and comparison rather than as a descriptive matter; almost all of the content was specific cases rather than specific laws, and many of them pretty specialized stuff (prosecutions of doctors as 'pill mills', of moderately corrupt politicians, of very high-level securities sellers, of lying to federal agents or obstruction of justice, so on). The author was less interested in the clear and unambiguous text of federal statutes, which he'd probably argue didn't cover a lot of normal people's behaviors, but the broader universe of things prosecutors could and did go after. Many of the specific examples Silvergate brings were even overturned (eg), well before the time of publishing, but still had wide and deep financial and reputational ramifications.

In that sense, Three Felonies a Day is a bit of its own strawman: I don't think there was a single example that a normal citizen might even have the opportunity to attempt, and most were extremely specialized: crime bosses (or their loan shark targets), prescription-writing doctors, lawyers or financial advisors, news (or at least tabloid) writers and international manufacturing components vendors, these aren't positions unheard of on the Motte, but the average poster isn't one. I'm not sure whether Silvergate picked the big names or the broad stories because he knew or could find more information about them than the countless plea bargains, because cases relevant for some 'normal' individuals would seem bizarre examples for other 'normies', or because he's just not that good a writer, or because he just loved the bigger scales and more impressive highlights. The most normal cases were a handful of Wacky Post-9/11 immigration-related matters that might strike a little closer to home (one involved a question of when and where providing website services counted as material support for terrorism), but still not very close.

Even where a 'normal person' could commit the underlying act, there's neither the political will nor the interest to slap average Joes over it. Yes, it's technically illegal to encourage someone to refuse to testify in some (complex, involving immunity orders) conditions, but if you're not also involved in a planned mafia hit it's not that likely to come up. It's technically illegal to lie to the FBI in way that could frustrate an investigation, but they're not going to ship you off to club fed if you tell them your dog ate your homework. Yes, it's technically illegal to show high-res thermal video or sell a device to non-US-citizens (ITAR) or certain high-resolution orthorectified aerial imagery, just as it's illegal to ship intercontinental-missile-making-components to India, even though in practice quite a lot of people do it pretty often by accident and the DoJ just overlooks it. Until they don't. Even if the feds get a bug up their ass and bring wire fraud charges for buying harmless bacteria samples from a university professor, sometimes the courts do drop it.

There's probably a steelman of the title somewhere. I've toyed with places where I think the plain text of a law could stretch to expanses few people would expect, but most of those were limited to areas where there would at least be the necessary political capital and benefits. Imagining the most perverse possible federal prosecutor is a whole different game. Baiting (felony misdemeanor, 1 year max sentence) or selling (felony, 2 year max sentence) the wrong migratory bird, expanded by regulation to include disrupting nests, is probably the trivial one, though it's also something that's not an all-seasons event, either. Aransentin has mentioned the Lacey Act and its various hilarities, made all the better that the position of the United States government holds that it doesn't matter if the location of origin claims that their law permits the 'unlawful' harvesting. Any tax evasion is a felony (five years): it's gotten easier to report all income and purchases, but it's still something a lot of people don't do because it's stupid -- that the feds generally only bring that charge when it's actually earned doesn't mean the statute requires it. Lie on a web form to get a trial version of an application without getting spammed to fuck-all? Wire fraud, 20 years. Share a prescription cough syrup? Controlled substances class V IV, felony, one five years. Wire fraud (felony, 20 years), honest service fraud (same), (state) wiretapping laws (various), there's some hilarious arguable interpretations that people pretty regularly can and do violate without even thinking about it. Write something wrong on a Form 4473 (even a 'wrong' meaningless one!) ten years.

It gets even goofier if you consider regulatory interpretation: gunnies can always reference the machine gun shoelace or any low-end DIY 'suppressor' (almost all NFA violations, including unlawful manufacturing of a machine gun, have a max sentence of ten years, thanks to 'constructive possession' just having the parts to build it 'counts'), but that's on the more plausible end, just like filling a small pond with sand (fine) might be. Consider the more expansive reads quickly goes to the point where it sounds more like a Monty Python joke.

But while this is interesting enough that Silvergate mentions games played by prosecutors trying to stretch the law to cover named celebrities, it's not that interesting : no one goes to court over the sort of things no one goes to court over. Some of these applications might not survive court review, at least in certain as-applied challenges -- either for due process reasons, or a court maybe not finding the statute as broad as the plain text for constitutional avoidance reasons -- but it's kinda irrelevant compared to the bit where it's just not going to happen. (Literally no one has ever faced trial over the Logan Act, still a felony, three years). This does matter: the expanse of ridiculous laws that are never enforced still control a lot of behavior among the risk-averse. And sometimes people do get Made Examples, and even if you get for screwing the mayor's wife or flipping the EPA the bird more than any specific statutory violation, the law's still the thing to catch the nature of a king.

While I think it would have been a more interesting book, it wasn't what Silvergate set out to write, and in turn that more interesting book on bad statutory or regulatory text would be a strawman for what Silvergate was going for. Three Felonies A Day was less interested in asking how hard it was to comply with the law, and more interested in asking whether the laws really mattered when police, prosecutors, and sometimes even judges were willing and happy to accept novel frameworks for the right target or high enough (or low enough) stakes.

but it's kinda irrelevant compared to the bit where it's just not going to happen

And sometimes people do get Made Examples

I find this incredibly relevant. Having a gigantic pile of insane laws that survive only because they're selectively enforced is a corrupt tyrant's wet dream. If everyone regularly commits felonies without realizing it, then everyone is at the mercy of the police and DA who can legally enforce these laws on whomever they dislike for any reason. It does matter, even if 99.9% never become the target of this selective enforcement, because the 0.1% who do will not be targeted because of their unique wrongdoing but because the powers that be chose to single them out, which can lead to a lot of bad stuff above and beyond jail time. Sure, you as a regular citizen won't be affected, as long as you keep your head down and never make someone in power dislike you. That incentive is itself the problem.

A simple example might be the Lacey Act of 1900. It prohibits import, export, transport, purchase, or sale of species of wildlife, fish, timber, and plants, if that would violate any state, federal, tribal, or foreign law. Since it's so extremely broad it makes it basically impossible to predict what will be legal or not, and could plausibly result in you theoretically committing a very large amount of crimes every day.

If the state really, really wanted to ruin your day and had no qualms about the poor optics they could totally find some obscure law about oak wood in Botswana and nab you for it.

If the state had no qualms about the poor optics they could nab you with zero excuse.

Interesting, but doesn't seem to be a felony. The original act just lays out fines, while the 2008 bill adds felonies to some other codes, but not the Lacey Act. Probably. It's really hard for me to be sure if I covered everything.

Edit: after reviewing the modern version of the act, I don't think any of my daily activities would constitute Lacey felonies. They seem to require import/export or value over $350, and in both cases, knowledge of the violation. So buying oak furniture would probably be fine, unless you have reason to believe Botswana really does outlaw it?

The Lacey Act can and has been used in felony contexts. This is a more readable version of the current law.

I'm confused about what makes something a felony. I've seen acts that call it out specifically, and there are clearly laws which use it as an object. This one has sections like

(2) All vessels, vehicles, aircraft, and other equipment used to aid ... in a criminal violation of this chapter for which a felony conviction is obtained shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States

Is it just the length of sentence? The provisions with penalties greater than one year are

  • §3373 (d) (1) (A), knowing imports and exports

  • §3373 (d) (1) (B), knowing sale/purchase/intent thereof for more than $350

  • §3373 (d) (3), making false labels or importing without a declaration

  • §3373 (d) (4), interacting with captive, prohibited wildlife

If those are the felonies, I think my grocery-store trip is probably safe. Maybe the average American only commits 3 felonies a day because of Felonies Georg.

Edit: just clicked up to see your review. It sounds like Selectively-Prosecuted Georg is exactly what Silvergate was going for.

For most purposes at federal law, a felony is any crime punishable by more than a year imprisonment, regardless of the actual sentencing. Historically, this would be the source of a lot of 'year-and-a-day' statutory penalties. State law varies: some state exactly mirror the federal definition, while others can be goofy (Massachusetts considers any crime with any prison sentence to be a felony, while any sentence at a house of corrections is a misdemeanor, with the line usually triggering around two or three years).

((This can be somewhat goofy for corporate liability. In the Founding era and up to the start of the Civil War, law held that corporations couldn't commit felonies, just their individual actors in their individual capacities. Over time, that stopped being a reasonable assumption. In the modern era, the federal Sentencing Guidelines have 'organizational' sentencing recommendations for felony crimes commonly committed by corporations which tend to commute the sentences to (high) dollar values; felonies not covered by those sections can have a judge pick anything within the statute's range that sounds remotely reasonable.))

Prosecutors largely have kept the Lacey Act from being too much of a nightmare for normies thanks to cautious application, but the bar for "knowing" is a lot lower than you'd expect, since it's been applied in cases where even many people from the country in question's government debated whether the law covered the specific matter at hand, and where the defendant claimed to not know of the law. It'd be somewhat hard to hit d(1)B on the typical grocery shopping trip yet (though in a couple decades of inflation...) but d(1)A and d(3) could cover a wider variety of Amazon purchases than you'd expect, especially since the there are no thresholds.

In practice, no prosecutor's going to go after someone for ten or thirty dollars of pen blanks (I have no idea what the legal status on these things are, though I have reasons to distrust some vendor statements), both out of pragmatic concern and because courts have largely read the "due care" standard to make consumer prosecutions too annoying, but the law can and has been applied in cases close to that but larger-scale.

Last time that came up, I had a similar reaction. What are my three felonies supposed to be? Presumably, it is made obvious within the author’s tell-all book. Without paying him, I suppose I am forced to live in ignorance.

I saw in the main thread that someone is blocking me. I feel bittersweet - on the one hand I don't want people to have to block me. On the other, maybe it means I'm gaining notoriety around here.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Somebody blocked me and so I blocked back. I don't want to see posts I can't even reply to.

Yeah. I feel either vindicated or confused depending on my opinion of the blocker.

My health is in a somewhat dire state for the last few days. Heres a timeline for what happened.


4PM onwards: Extreme dizziness, Fever, Sore throat

Took Paracetamol and slept.


Too fatigued to leave the bed. Fever. No sore throat., Blocked Nose

Fever broke at night.


Relatively alright, almost no symptoms, mild tiredness, Gastritis


4PM onwards: Extreme dizziness, mild fever again, vomiting, Gastritis

Fever abated in an hour or so, and dizziness reduced after vomiting, but still somewhat dizzy.

Visit doctor at night. Administers blood test (complete blood count and CRP) (Both returned everything normal. Lymphocyte % is below reference range but the absolute amount is within range. I was on an empty stomach because of the vomiting so that could have affected it )

Sent me home with paracetamol, and a proton pump inhibitor.

Tuesday (Today)

Extreme dizziness and fatigue, No Fever, Slightly blocked nose, no gastritis.

What do I specifically tell the doctor in my post blood test followup today?


You have a non-specific viral infection- most likely influenza (which always gives me stomach issues the first couple days). What’s the doctor going to do for you that resting won’t do?

I meant it when I said Extreme dizziness. This hasn't been an issue anytime I got sick in the past. I'm immobile with this much nausea/dizziness, hence I went to the doctor to at least get a pill or two to make the nausea piss off.

Usually dizzyness is a symptom of a lot of mucous blocking the tubes that connect your inner ear and sinuses. Try driving hot water or tea or sitting in a steamy bathroom for a little while and see if things improve.

Why did you go see a doctor after only a few days? I’ve been coughing up phlegm for five weeks and I haven’t set foot in a clinic.

Cuz I can't drive (or do anything at all) with major nausea/dizziness.

Some value their health more than others. Catching illnesses early in the present world could be the difference between immortality and early death. I don’t blame him!

I'm sorry to hear you're still under the weather, after taking a look at your symptoms, they seem rather nonspecific. It could be anything from COVID to the flu or a nondescript viral infection.

Presumably your doctor is aware of everything up till this point, did they order a COVID test for you?

The dizziness and vomiting may be related to the fever, dehydration, or possibly a separate issue such as an inner ear disorder. Gastritis could be related to inflammation in the stomach lining, which might be secondary to an infection or other condition.

Ask your doctor to quickly check if you're dehydrated, that'll only take a moment, and perhaps request an anti-emetic, even an OTC one. It'll at least keep the nausea down.

I don't see much else they shouldn't already he aware of, in all likelihood they'll be telling you to wait and watch, if it's a viral infection the only real recourse is to wait it out! But by all means share your specific symptoms and they can provide something to make you more comfortable.

Thanks for the on-demand consultation services.

I'm aware that a fever, vomiting, and fatigue does little to narrow down the search space at all. Although I was thinking that extreme nausea might link to something. Nevertheless, this list of symptoms is unhelpful for any doctor and as someone who has to fix computers off of vague symptoms that point to literally anything from a small (digital) virus to the CPU dying, I certainly don't envy doctors who have to do the same goose-chase but with much higher stakes.

I suppose I should have highlighted that the pain point for me here is the dizziness which is for me novel and intolerable relative to the other symptoms.

Update: (Tuesday) The doctor I referred to in the original post gave me Domperidone for nausea.

(Wednesday) My nausea got really bad today, I couldn't even stand up for 15 seconds without it kicking in. Went to ER because I literally couldn't stand up and I can't continue with this because I can't just keep on taking sick leaves from work forever. ER doctor gave Betahistin and Metoclopramide for vertigo and nausea. And said to ditch the Domperidone (Not sure why).

What mens outfits pair well with a fedora? I have an overcoat which goes pretty well with my (newly purchased) one. But I'm a little self-consciousness about wearing them with the negative cultural associations and all.

Being good looking and already having a wife/girlfriend aside, I actually do have a wool Stetson that's midway between a cowboy hat and an Indiana Jones fedora that I wear when it's raining/snowing/sunny but cold. So in my mind the key is weather. A straw panama to keep the sun off your face, or a wool fedora to keep the rain off your head, is going to be more appropriate than wearing it indoors at a bar.

none but if you absolutely must you should be wearing a suit that has been tailored.

No single item of fashion has a worse connotation. There are two ways you can salvage the outfit. If it’s straw or linen, you can get ripped, and wear a linen shirt with sleeves rolled up and some classic jeans. Odds are no one would recognize it as a fedora. Otherwise, the only way to salvage the outfit is to double down and ironymax. Don the overcoat, but have a pikachu shirt underneath. Wear crappy glasses, old Nike shoes, white socks up to your ankles, cargo shorts, maybe a tomigatchi hanging from your belt loop. Own the look and you can make it work.

First one is decent advice ( if only because just get jacked first resolves to never wear it)

As far as the second outfit, if you have to ask you can’t pull it off.

It's a classic look so pulling one off requires a classic wardrobe. @SubstantialFrivolity suggests a suit, though I'd go further and say you need a more classic look suit to make it work. A modern slim cut suit isn't going to work as well. I'd suggest a classic American sack suit look like something from Brooks Brothers, though most retailers offer something along the lines of "Traditional Fit". Something double-breasted will also work, but those are also out of style and can be hard to find. Basically, find pictures of guys who look good in fedoras and take a look at what they're wearing. Another thing that's critical to avoiding the negative connotations is knowing proper hat etiquette. Generally speaking, hats should be removed when indoors. This technically applies to all head coverings including baseball caps, but modern customs have slackened to the point where no one pays much attention to this anymore. If you're wearing a fedora, though, you have to abide. Remember, this is a classic look, and it's going to look off unless you adhere to custom. You can leave it on in a public building like a post office or in public parts of buildings like corridors and lobbies, but it should be removed in places like bars and restaurants, and always in private spaces like someone's home or office. A good rule of thumb is to remove it anywhere you'd remove your coat. If I'm meeting friend for drinks it would be odd for me to leave my coat on for the entire evening unless I were outdoors or it were unusually cold in the building, so treat your hat likewise. It's fashion wear but it's also outerwear.

edit - A couple more things. While I spent a lot of time talking about a classic look, don't wear your hat Sinatra-serious with the brim pulled down. I don't wear a fedora often but when I do I usually tilt the front upwards, which means I'm either trying to look like author and humorist Wyndham Lewis or the Dead End Kids. Also, when you remove your hat, it should be held in such a way that the lining isn't visible, which usually means holding it against your chest (if standing) or on your knee (if sitting).

Why do you want to wear a fedora? If it's to impress and look good for women, just don't. If it's just for your own satisfaction and you don't care what other people think, then pair it with anything. If it's to impress and look good for men, then suit works well.

I think that if you're going to wear a fedora (or any other type of dressy hat), it has to be with a suit. Though you're going to catch a lot of flak regardless. I think hats look sharp as hell, but they are unpopular.

What's the best way to make an iphone app with no coding knowledge?

Why do you need an app and not a website? There's plenty of ways to make simple websites without coding knowledge and websites work just fine on phones (if you want an app icon, select "save to home screen" from your mobile browser's menu).

Depends on what you need it to do, and if you want it to run on Android too.

How fancy do you want to make your app? If you want something extremely simple like you press a button and an animation happens just for the experience, you can follow a youtube tutorial and learn a bit of code. You will need a Mac to use Apple's coding software for iPhone apps.

If you want to make an app that people would actually consider paying for, either be prepared to spend a couple months hard at work to learn coding(best case scenario), or hire someone else.

See how far you could get with GPT 4.

Pay someone to do it for you.

Spamming this thread today a bit..

Is the health check of 23andme actually useful? Planning to try that out with my girlfriend. Our main interest was the ancestry part but if they say really useful stuff maybe the extra 70 euros is worth it

They test for a number of common SNPs that if present can strongly indicate future health risks. IIRC at one point they weren't allowed to communicate these risks, presumably because of the "unlicensed medical advice" exception written in the First Amendment in invisible ink, but you could still download raw results and decode them yourself.

But they do not test for an even larger number of equally serious mutations. I have one that an oncologist's blood test caught but a 23andMe swab did not, because it wasn't one of the few most common mutated alleles in that gene and those were all the cheap test covered. If you have a family history of anything serious then you might be able to get insurance to pay for a more serious test; if not then I wouldn't worry about it. Only get 23andMe if you're curious about ancestry or about the more light-hearted research they do.

If you want health information, you should talk to a doctor about what kind of genetic testing, if any, is appropriate for you. They will probably not recommend 23andme.

Most of the information provided is less than useless and what isn't is mostly for serious genetic disorders that you should have a pretty good idea about whether they occur in your family already. Things like "you have a slightly elevated risk of late-onset dementia" don't really provide much actionable information.

First AI got reasonably useful. Then people started asking how bad actors could exploit it. Then they asked how much damage it could do in general.

LessWrong went through a similar trajectory ten years ago. Once the idea that AI could be dangerous percolated, conversations started to ask if it had to be dangerous. Alignment made it into the Overton window, to the point where people could ask for donations to MIRI without being treated as panhandlers. Sometimes.

How can I bet on this cursed future knowledge? Is there any advantage to knowing what thinkpieces will be featured in TIME in two years? How about startups?

Aren’t those thinkpieces about “alignment” already out there? It’s just that the average journalist misunderstood it as “alignment with progressive worldview” instead of “alignment with the continuity of human race”

I think the current state, realizing that AI might not be aligned, is step 2. Step 3 would be more awareness and investment in potential fixes.

Basically, I want to bet on elites using “caring about alignment” as a differentiator. More funding and attention will go to groups that at least pretend to have a solution for the problem.

“alignment with the continuity of human race”

There are thinkpieces on this as well, there is just no hysteria yet.

Whether these thinkpieces exist or not doesn't really say much. Regular people are barely if at all aware of ai being a thing at all yet, despite it being in the news regularly.

Sure but does it really matter what the average person thinks? Elite attention is 99% on the news and 1% what the non-elite people think so ideally the politicians and journos panicking is all you need if you think alignment efforts are useful or important

Work pays for gym membership. There is a crossfit gym right nearby and most of the office seems to go there. I am fairly athletic and have been lifting for years at this point. Never tried crossfit, looks a bit cultish but I like that they do Olympic lifts. Yay or nay?

It's not an irreversible decision. Try it out and if you don't like it, go somewhere else.

The cultish aspect is very dependent on the gym. There are some that are really into it, but I've been to half dozen CF gyms over the years and beyond the workout nomenclature, periodic events (like Open or Murph) and such, didn't feel any other aspect of it. I'd advise to just try it out for a month or so to see if you like what they do at that particular gym - there's a lot of variety between the gyms on how the things are done. If you don't like it, you can always leave (do not go to gyms where they require long-term commitments and don't offer other options - these people profit on people not showing up) and find something else. I personally think CF helped me a lot over the years and never felt any "cultish" pressure in the gym (online that's another matter, there are all kinds of people around).

If you already lift weights, and you want to work out at a crossfit gym but don't want to do too much WoD HIIT type stuff or don't want to do stuff that only really matters for Crossfit Competition Prep (Kipping pull ups, double unders, that kind of thing), just go talk to the coaches. Your average Crossfit Level 1, in my experience, is more into lifting than almost any civilian; he probably likes the big lifts more than he likes HIIT. Tell him you want to focus on the big lifts, you might find that the programming already does, or that he programs that in the 1:00 class but not at the 12:00 class, or that he'll work with you to fit more big lifts into your programming. Or if they have open gym times, just go to those and lift.

Go in ready to throw down, standard Crossfit practice is to send you into a one-week-to-two-month "Fundamentals" class where you learn the movements, go in and tell him that you've been lifting for years and you know your shit and don't need that. Tons of dudes try to skip it and are bullshitting, so you need to be ready to answer the riddles. Be ready to quote an impressive 1rm in the back squat, deadlift, power clean and then do them right there and then with good technique if asked. Make clear that you can clean two plates, you don't need the fundamentals class, and they're losing a membership if they try to make you.

I first started lifting when I wandered into a Crossfit gym during the rowing off season to try to improve my 2k time. I only stuck with that gym for two months winter of 2011, but I caught the bug and I've basically lifted something heavy three times a week for about a decade, but I haven't really rowed much in years. My second go with crossfit was when I similarly had one in the basement of an office where I worked and it was convenient. All my fitness routines have always been Crossfit inflected even if I have very rarely "done" Crossfit, I've always wanted to be in the kind of well rounded shape where I can deadlift 400, row a 7:00 2k, do ten pull ups more than I wanted to deadlift 550. If nothing else, we all owe a certain debt to crossfit for making the big compound barbell lifts popular enough that you can buy barbells and squat racks at Ollie's.

I attended a gym that offered Crossfit among other things for years and tried a few of the classes.

The 'cultish' aspect is actually part of the appeal, I think. And it's less cultish if you just consider it a method of leveraging social instincts to make workouts more enjoyable and keep people coming back.

Rather than a bunch of people quietly doing different workouts on different machines, everyone is doing the same workout of the day, all at the same time, and oftentimes there's a teamwork element to it. So this triggers all those social circuits in our brains that tend to find group/team activities fun and rewarding.

For many (not me, I'll say) this really helps with motivation to actually work out. If you miss a workout day, people will notice and ask about it; maybe you feel guilty for 'letting them down.' If you're feeling off and underperforming, others will encourage you to keep going. If you have a particularly strong performance, maybe set a personal record, people will congratulate you and recognize you for it.

So by making exercise into a social activity it helps a certain type of person exercise more consistently and push themselves further. And these types of persons often like to 'evangelize' about their experience.

There's no penalties for leaving the 'cult' so I don't really see the harm.

Can confirm anecdotally: For me, the social aspect of group sports easily trumped my own aversions against repetitive exercise.

It’s a shame cults get such a bad rap nowadays. They’re the traditional way to make yourself transform into your ideal. Unfortunately a few pederasts + our intolerance for any risks have ruined the model entirely.

Now I imagine a dark dungeon full of guys in the traditional hooded cloaks who spend their time lifting. Wait, isn't that just the Forge cult in Cultist Simulator?

It can get a bit cultish, but I think it's easy to misinterpret camaraderie with 'cultish behavior'. I think if you like your coworkers and want to have a healthier lifestyle it won't hurt. However, if you hate your coworkers you might want to look elsewhere.

I would predict that

  1. You can come up with a "polygenic risk score for votin liberal" which has an AUC of 0.70 or better

  2. No single gene explains more than 20% of the variance explained by the PRS as a whole.

  3. This is true because you can determine someone's ancestry by looking at their genome, and people in the same ancestry have a pretty strong tendency to vote the same way.

No. Why would there be?

Very generally speaking, Conservatism is based in risk avoidance: the core conflict is basically a risk/reward evaluation of courses of action, weighing potential benefits of further societal optimization against potential dangers of disrupting a currently-mostly-functional complex dynamic system. It seems like such a thing might well have genetic components.

Individualism vs. Collectivism also seems as though it could well be genetically influenced: different species are gregarious to different extents, and that almost certainly interplays with genetics. Williams syndrome in humans is a clear display of genetic changes to sociability and desire for the presence of others.

Besides, if we accept that genetics affect I.Q., well then obviously--the genes that give the low IQs are the liberal genes, duh! (jkjk don't hurt me)

I'm skeptical of the risk/reward definition of conservatism. Sure, Chesterton's fence fits, but risk/reward fails to explain a lot of the ethos. Some of it is more along the lines of the hygiene hypothesis--insularity, self-reliance, concentric obligations. Other parts are appeals to familiarity and comfort. Basically, I think reducing conservatism to a strategy elides the values-based reasons.

But yes, risk tolerance, gregariousness, and various other social or intellectual dynamics surely prejudice people towards one or another ideology. Even without considering the environment, I don't believe that polygenic soup would count as a "liberal gene."

Yeah, I agree with everything you've said here. "Multiple genes could likely prejudice toward ideologies" is a better way to put it than "liberal gene", with the relative strength of that prejudice tough to decouple.

Consider the omnigenic model. Simple thing like 'height' have tiny contributions to heritability from thousands of genes. The causes of being a 'liberal' are manyfold, and depend in myriad ways on your environment - which in turn are caused by genetic traits! The (many) intelligence-associated will mean you're more likely to get educated, maybe making you more liberal? Would that make you more liberal 200 years ago? That's one of a many possible contributors. So, what even is a 'liberal gene'? "Liberalism genes" will mostly go through environmentally contingent circuitous pathways from something like 'slightly more athletic' or 'slightly more prone to random injury' to '.01% more likely to become democrat', as opposed to anything directly political.

Also, all genes depend on environment too. Imagine a plant with space that can be occupied by one of three genes, Wet, Dry, or Neutral. If it has a Wet gene and is planted in a swamp, it grows 10 centimetres taller than a plant with Neutral, but if it’s planted in a desert it grows 10 centimetres shorter than neutral. And vice versa for Dry gene.

So are what will grow taller, a plant with Wet or Dry? It depends entirely on environment. It can very well be the same with a “liberal” gene- maybe it makes you more liberal than average in one environment, but more conservative than average in another.

Just noticed that there's a cool new mod, presumably a bot, posting these posts.

Anyway, I'm college-aged. As I'm imagining is generally the case on the motte, my strengths lie towards intellectual things.

Are there any good professions to look into, where I'll be doing things I'm good at, but where I also would be comparatively unlikely to struggle with job security due to AI in the near future?

Professions are tough to predict, my recommendation if you're thinking primarily in terms of economic security is to seek to invest in land and real estate. Private property will survive an economic revolution, and no profession or other investment provides much security against a political one.

Study whatever you want, but pursue as many networking opportunities as possible. Apply for internships in your field during the summers. Don't take rejection personally, but accept it gracefully. Find good reasons to go to your professors' office hours, like if you're having trouble finding internships. Prioritize homework and reading for class. Pursue productive social activities. Only drink on weekends, and only beer. Don't smoke marijuana ever. Shower and do your laundry frequently. Compliment people's strengths and be polite about their weaknesses.

If you do all that you'll be successful in any field. Pick something where you will enjoy doing those things.

Source: When I did those things I succeeded, when I didn't, I failed.

If you have good people skills, outside sales is very lucrative and relies too much on people to be automated.

Maybe engineering the stuff that humans still have to work on? Improving existing furnace or water heater designs, that kind of thing

So, what are you reading?

I'm starting The Historical Construction of National Consciousness, selected writings of Jenő Szűcs. The actual writings seem to be, as the title suggests, scholarly writings on the formation of the sense of nationhood, but my main interest is in Hungarian thought during the communist years. I don't know how much I'll get out of it on that front. Nevertheless it looks like a worthy and recent volume which may deserve more attention. The book is open access.

I finished The Foreigner Group by Carolus Löfroos. My impression of it is pretty much unchanged from my last post. There's basically nothing that would render it even plausibly cancel-worthy IMO. One person is said to make a roman salute at one point, but there's no indication of exactly what he means by it. That's probably the most controversial thing I found. Otherwise, it's not that great I guess. Some of the battle stories are good, but more of them get rather confused about exactly what is going on. There doesn't seem to be much broadly insightful about the forces powering the Russians and Ukrainians in their war.

Now reading The Corner by David Simon, which is supposed to be an in-depth account of drug corner life in urban Baltimore. It seems somewhat interesting, but I've been finding it a bit hard to get through, I think because I find it much harder to relate to any of these characters. I have some sympathy for the kids born into a shitty situation, but I still find it pretty hard to conceive of anyone, kids or adults, living like that.

The Corner

You've seen the shows?

The TV show The Corner based on the book? No. From what I can tell with a few quick searches, it's only available on mail-order DVD and not streaming anywhere.

The Corner, but more particularly, The Wire, which is the fully flourished version. Without overstatement, one of the best television shows ever made.

EDIT: Looks like The Corner is on YouTube, free.

Nice find, thanks!

Yeah I've watched The Wire multiple times. IMO it's on the list of the greatest TV series ever made. I think I could make a case that they soft-pedaled a few things though, because nobody would want to watch a show about how bad certain things are.

Been reading John Feinstein's A Good Walk Spoiled. Just follows a group of tour pros on the 1993 PGA tour. Classic sportswriting.

Do you golf?

I just got a set of old clubs from a guy who's giving up the game. Going to a driving range with a coworker this weekend to try and figure it all out. Just hoping to make contact with the ball, really.

I'm reading The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution and I'll probably end up writing about it. Very fascinating history book in that it gives rather scant attention to the narrative history of the revolution (it kind of assumes you know the story) in order to focus mostly on the emotions of people during the Revolution. It's something I've idly thought might be an interesting approach before so to find it in the library and see it actually work is cool.

That sounds interesting! One of my favorite things to think about is comparing current events to the events leading up to the French Revolution. I'd love to hear if you find any similarities in the emotions illustrated in that book between those times and today.

Does anyone remember (or can google) a Slate Star Codex post where he shared his experiences doing child psychiatry, in particular the constant refrain of how psychopathic children turned out to be adopted from rape victims and the like? The closest I found was but I think that the post I remember had the adoption angle in particular. It's very probable that it was just a part of a larger post.

I’m interested in this also. Hope someone can help link this.

There's something seriously wrong with the way the google analytics JS thing is interacting with this site and I'm assuming the Brave browser I'm using. Unless I use ublock origin to remove it, the whole site is frozen and unresponsive. This has happened just now, because it was fine a few days ago.

Do you think it's possible to unlearn the ability to understand language? I remember reading a while ago that man left the modern world and went to live in the woods by himself or something like that and I think he stated that his sense of self essentially disappeared. I wonder if you spend enough time not speaking, reading or writing the English language just disappears from your mind.

I've saved this fascinating Reddit AskScience comment which I think is relevant. The hypothesis proposed there says that exposure to modern language during infancy is a core part of the development of basically the ability to think at all ("modern" here meaning any human language from the last 50k-ish years). If that's true, it would be impossible to reverse the changes brought by learning language, and thus probably impossible to really forget it.

Your abilities would certainly deteriorate, but not beyond the point where they couldn't be relearned if you came back to society. The Japanese soldiers who held out without surrendering for 20 years or more on remote Pacific islands are an example of this. The only way to get someone who doesn't have any concept of language and couldn't learn one is to deprive a child of exposure to language at the critical stages of their development.

Is it possible to forget how to speak one language or is it possible to forget how to speak any language? There are lots of stories of immigrants who forgot how to speak their mother tongues after moving to a new country as children.

Seems to me like a phenomenon exclusive to children. I strongly doubt that a healthy person who knows a language fluently at the age of 18 will ever forget how to speak it entirely until they die or succumb to dementia.

Anyone have any advice on moving from full-time employee to contract work (aside from "look at total compensation package value, not just wage rate")? Pitfalls, etc.? I'm considering making the switch, but want to make sure I'm not making a grave mistake.

Big gotcha is making sure your contract rate is high enough to cover the extra taxes self employed pay. If you have a preferred tax software run some numbers to see what gross rate gets you the same after tax income.

Saw a tweet floating around linking a paper that talked about how a lot of European countries executed 0.5-1% of their population every year during the middle ages or something like that, does anyone have access to this or something similar? Can't seem to find it

It's 0.5-1% of males per generation.

Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification


That’s exactly the one, thanks!

That doesn't sound right. Maybe the average person had a 0.5-1% lifetime chance of being executed.

The Old Bailey Online has criminal records dating to 1674, if that helps at all.

This looks like a decent analysis of executions during a somewhat later period.

Any recommendations for good books or articles about stupidity? I can only think of McNamara's Folly. While that one works on both the object level of low IQ soldiers and also the higher level stupidity of advancing the policy for actively recruiting them I'm more interested in the object level stuff.

Darwin Awards is another good source. Also any Erowid trip report for datura.

The circumstances around the third largest non-nuclear explosion in history appear to be relevant:

tiny dancer plays in background I'm just learning about this -- you're just telling me about this now

I haven’t personally read it, but The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity was recommended a couple of weeks ago by The Z Man, who did a podcast about it. Sounds like the author is using a slightly quixotic and contentious definition of stupidity, but I’m sure there’s a lot of really amusing anecdata and analysis in there.

How difficult would it be to distribute the regions of one large online Minecraft world across different servers, to allow for a player count in the 1000s? I watched some videos on the infamous 2b2t server, and am surprised no one has created a maximal case survival server.

There are projects attempting to handle sharding, with various levels of success. Splitting at a level of dimensions or some similar loading screen isn’t trivial (mostly due to player-level data), but it’s doable without massive modifications. Hypixel runs a particularly minimalistic variant, with the mini game servers not really sharing much excepting bungeecord links and authentication, though the line between ‘server’ and ‘proxy network’ gets very blurry here. Velocity is another proxying setup used here, and one I can recommend.

Splitting or proxying requests in a single dimension or, worse, very near to other players, is much harder. Mammoth seems the most promising in dev option, but it’s a space filled with the graves of promising projects.

Oh this is very cool. I’m confused why there’s not a massive server already running this? The demand would be nuts because 2b2t has a queue time of up to 10 hours. If it had no queue time would surely have a concurrent player base of 1000+ at times. This has a compound effect where the more concurrent players, the more popular it becomes, due to how content is proliferated on YouTube.

What I was considering, just as a fun daydream, is the implementation of good game mechanics to mitigate individual server load bearing. Special “rugged” terrain to deter building in the between zones of servers (super hot desert, super cold mountain, dangerous waters and so on); a “you’re feeling tired, stop and rest” feature while the game loads in the content for a new server, as a replacement to the normal hunger meter; an enormous spawn radius; a “main city” where things can’t be built and activities are limited.

I don’t know much about how MC servers work, but I also wonder if you can have players download on the client-side the blocks of the map within 4000 blocks from their location upon spawning, but only the blocks that the server reasonably predicts are unlikely to be modified/deleted (blocks under water, etc). You can have a player spend a minute downloading this information before each spawn; maybe this is 5min downloading the first time, but because little usually changes day by day it’s only 10 seconds next time. Wouldn’t this significantly cut down on server load because the server then only has to serve the newly modified/deleted blocks and can ignore everything they the player(s) is processing on his own computer?

I’m just really surprised we don’t already have some amazing 3000 concurrent Minecraft survival server.

I’m confused why there’s not a massive server already running this?

Bungeecord/Velocity-based servers exist, and to an extent Hypixel is a thousand+ server location, but in turn it's further from what you're probably imagining. More complete solutions take a lot more technical lift, and Mammoth in particular is still very much a work in progress (the issues page lists a variety of bugs related to explosions and gear), and there's a variety of technical limitations.

Similarly, there's a pretty good number of mods or plugins for most environments that can do at least the spawn protection and distributed spawn solutions. They've got tradeoffs -- too large a spawn radius makes it hard to meet up with friends, too large a protected area breaks a number of technical builds and can encourage players to play more soloish than the might otherwise -- but there are mods in turn to try to mitigate those (such as chunk claiming, to-home and to-team teleports, etc).

((You can't go too far, here; MineCraft isn't the most secure, but for the most part it tries to not trust the client, so you're really stuck doing a lot of parallel processing on the server for things being sent to clients. But this actually doesn't end up being that big of a deal: from a mod developer perspective, short of things like Create Contraptions or Structurize Build actions that trigger massive changes and thus full chunk reloads, the update system netstack mentions is generally controlling, and you're usually more worried about stupid issues like pathfinding or lighting updates or just entity cramming. And the cost difference between transmitting a chunk and a part of a chunk aren't as big as you'd expect.))

It also only solves part of the problem. A lot of the issues with Minecraft scaling have less to do with distributed world state, and more to do with issues specific to individual server architecture, like packet overhead of keeping player experience of other players consistent. See for example BlanketCon, a (fabric modded) convention that was able to get into the mid-170 simultaneous players that more closely emulated a crowded environment that avoided block updates, and found that much of their performance was being taken up by movement synch. That's solvable -- the BlanketCon post-mortem describes a couple shard-based solutions, and I'm sure an actual game dev like Zorba could list well-established true fixes -- but it's probably just one of a few dozen that you'd need to go through on the way to handle 1000+ users in a small city, rather than 1000+ users who barely see each other.

((Some of these are stupid. Leads and redstone mechanics can be giant TPS problem sources, and there's known fixes for them, but they're not fixed in vanilla.))

The deeper issue is that vanilla MineCraft isn't really built for large-scale deployments, at more than a technical level, and this has lead to little interest in developing megaservers beyond the borderline (Hypixel) or the academic.

Some of the problems of 2b2t are specific to its intended userbase and (lack of) gatekeeping -- you could conceivably decide to stop people who make region-sized lavacasts, then rollback the affected chunks, and even automate doing so. But the broader problem of creating useful and enjoyable communities is hard. It's very easy for a server to have a whole bunch of people individually log in, go through the standard iron-diamond-nether-end progression, and build a couple small 9x9s, and then log out; not only does this not necessarily entertain much, it doesn't really work out that well with a lot of the bottlenecking in vanilla (the Ender Dragon's island is a hard bottleneck, and to a lesser extent so are strongholds, nether fortresses, and end cities; someone else having visited one before you doesn't break your game, but it does end up being really annoying; material values and preferences for certain surface features tend to push people to certain distances from each other that end up getting negated by nether rooftop travel, so on).

Longer-lived communities tend to combine a mix of events, contests, and challenges. But these can be hard to scale well, too.

Most of Minecraft's server load is mediating interactions rather than sending the world at first. The base process of chunk loading gives you a 20x20 chunk (over 26 million blocks), centered on your player, on joining a server. All of this in seconds, usually! Computers are absolutely ridiculous.

After that, modifications are handled by Block Updates and Block Entity Data messages and so on. On the innocuous side, this avoids player desync, and doesn't waste bandwidth on telling you what's happening miles away. On the less innocuous side, I'm suspicious that wiki has a vested interest in client hacks; the server rejects clients' attempts to break blocks or damage players across the map. Point is that the server load cannot easily be reduced by smarter loading/unloading.

Coincidentally, you've stumbled upon one of the main reasons Star Citizen is a giant black hole of money.