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Small-Scale Question Sunday for May 14, 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.

Does Eliezer Yudkowsky, or any other prominent AI writer for that matter, think an And I Must Scream scenario of eternal torment is possible?

Yes. Roko is still pretty prominent, right? :)

Yet he hasn't committed suicide to avoid the basilisk.

That wouldn't help. The idea is that the basilisk tortures a simulation of you, not the original meat version. There's no reason it couldn't do that after your death (at least beyond the standard objections to the basilisk scenario).

a dead person is a person whose brain is not functioning, a nonfunctional brain can not feel pain and thus can not be tortured, therefore a person can not be tortured if he is dead.

an alive person is a person whose brain is functioning, only a functioning brain can feel pain and thus be tortured, therefore a person can only be tortured if he is alive.

a person whose brain has stopped functioning can only be tortured if his brain is made functional, thus transitioning him from being a dead person to an alive person, in other words, by reviving him.

"the basilisk" can only torture a dead person if it revives him first, making his nonfunctional brain functional again.

a brain consists only of matter, therefore to change the brain state from nonfunctional to functional one must change the matter comprising the brain.

matter that cannot be accessed cannot be changed, therefore the basilisk can only torture a dead person if it can access the matter comprising his brain.

this is a necessary but not sufficient condition, i.e. obviously the brain state can not change from functional to nonfunctional only by accessing one atom from it.

also if the brain's matter has been transformed enough such as by being burned, its hard to say that its still a nonfunctional brain, rather than just a pile of ashes.

How does anyone be a pundit? it's so hard to get facts/details right. is it the job of the editor, or extensive research, or just being really good/smart at getting every detail right? some people seem to really excel at this. i have long maintained that being a good pundit or thought leader is harder than even being an executive of a fortune 100 company in terms of skill, because you need to got so many details right and the audience is far more astute than just shareholders or other employees.

Whether or not the audience is more astute than people with an actual financial stake…they’re vulnerable to persuasion, too. Get enough momentum, and your fans will handle the apologetics for you.

Get enough momentum, and your fans will handle the apologetics for you.

Every once in a while, someone here frames an idea just so. Thank you.

Well, sometimes you can get a lot of facts/details and even predictions right, just by luck, and then when your prospective audience checks the pundit-claims database for your weighted logarithmic score you'll still be near the top.

Wait ... do the pundit-claims databases not weight their summary scores using the importance of each claim and the total number of claims made? Do they not use a strictly-proper scoring rule, or do they use questionable conversion tables when quantifying English adjectives as probabilities? Do they not even exist?

Well, damn, that might be our problem.

Whoops, best I can do is give percentages of claims found true/false/etc.. Good luck with your summary stats!

You should start one, but only staff it with people who are anti-woke, just to be safe.

because you need to got so many details right and the audience is far more astute than just shareholders or other employees

The audience may have more aggregate wisdom but that doesn't necessarily mean much: I know some stuff about programming but, when I listen to Last Week Tonight talking about Turkmenistan, I have no idea how right or wrong they are. But I like (or liked) John Oliver so it feels more trustworthy.

Or, essentially, this

Which is why the sort of shamelessness Jim Cramer (to use 2rafa's example) has might be useful. You can't fool all of the people, but you can fool some of them a lot of the time. If you simply refuse to take responsibility for being wrong you probably last longer by not popping the confidence of the people who are sticking with you compared to a more intellectually honest person.

Being a good pundit is difficult and requires specialization and probably some sort of (formal or informal) support organization. But being a pundit that gets interviewed a lot? Making a career out of it? That is quite different skillset.

I think being a pundit is more about telling your audience what they want to hear than getting facts right. Most audiences do want their pundits to at least loosely tell the truth, but getting the narrative they want to hear is really the number 1 priority.

On the brink of a depression and I want to be proactive about it. Is there a good progress tracker app with a calendar function that I can use to track sleep quality, weight, whether I did sports that day, enter numerical values for user-defined items, etc.? Preferably something that graphically shows progress over time and perhaps tracks correlations.

This is what you want

I also advise you to use the xmind zen mindmap

Now about depression, the thing that has always scared me is that there are vicious cycles but the same is true for virtuous cycles.

I have a very extensive expertise in psychopharmacology and yet I can tell you the things that will have the most impact on your well being are:

good and sufficient sleep hygiene, increase your sleep duration, for that you can start listening to ASMR made for sleep.

fight loneliness at all cost, you need to see your friends frequently

listen to music that give you joy for example you might surprise yourself dancing in front of a mirror with and

improve your hobbies e.g. start reading a great book

do regular physical exercise it is a decent complementary antidepressant although not as much as sleep and environnemental enrichment

Something easy to achieve is to pay a gamepass pc subscription and play games with your friends such as e.g. Worms

Now pharmacologically speaking

daily vitamin D at 3000 IU is an effective antidepressant benign contrary to the classical ones

there are other benign not officially considered antidepressants with complementary action mechanisms such as ALCAR e.g. 1000 per day

more generally checking your health biomarkers including hormones can help, e.g. TRT or fight a deficiency, e.g. taking selenium 200mcg everyday (not more) can improve your health and lifespan and depression if the depression stems from some health related deficits.

About traditional antideps, they mostly have semi serious side effects, the only mostly benign ones with statistically reasonable effectiveness are the RIMA (not a MAOI) moclobemide and the melatonin agonist agomelatine. Always check CYP inhibition concerns with other coadministrated drugs or supplements. Do not trust doctors to do those checks for you, they do not know how to do their job and this is systemic.

Do not obsess about medication, it can help some but for most lifestyle and consistent mindset changes are both sufficent and effective.

Good luck dear human, it gets better :)

I feel frankly good in my life right now btw

Thanks for taking the time to do the write-up, those are great!

I managed to go into a virtuous cycle with my exercise routine (as in, actually having one), and it's done me tons of good. It's still lingering in the background, but crisis averted so far.

I take the burns depression index and log the score every month, that might be a good addition to your metrics:

I'd also agree to just do it in a spreadsheet. Apps get too annoying as health trackers because they all want to push coaching and subscriptions over data entry and display.

Don't forget to treat yourself like a human being. Compassion, patience, kindness. Helps with depression more than anything you can measure numerically in my opinion.

How do you mean?

I mean, if someone you loved was depressed, it would be obvious that you can help them by being kind to them, patient with them, and treating them with understanding. The same concept applies to the way you treat yourself; how you talk to yourself, how you react to your own failures and successes.

Just a suggestion for a supplemental strategy on top of your other good ideas, like tracking sleep and exercise.

That is good advice. But I think my problem might be the opposite: I have been enabling myself in the sense that I let myself find excuses for a bad lifestyle.

Unfortunately if you want that level of detail probably nothing beats just using google sheets. That's what I do for tracking weight, daily calories, measurements, etc.

Situation I’m really nervous about for some reason that I could use some advice on:

Was asked out on a beach date tomorrow night. I’ve been on several bar dates before and I think I have those down to a science but this is my first ever beach date, and that somehow feels like a very different vibe. I suggested we have mimosas and watch the sunset by which I meant order some at the bar before walking around on the sand but then she mentioned she has nice mimosa cups so I guess she means we make our own? I told her I’d bring champagne. Anything else I should have? Beach towel, swimming trunks, sandals, seem obvious. What sort of cooler should I get for the champagne/orange juice? Probably overthinking this but she’s sort of intimidating to me

So? How'd it go?

The dating app convo was:

Her: (tells story about kissing a puffer fish)

Me: If you kiss a frog you get Prince Charming, turns out I'm what you get if you kiss a pufferfish ;)

Her: Oooh so does that make you the frog or the prince? Or do I just have to wait and find out?

(this makes no sense. I'm clearly the pufferfish who turned into a human. @George_E_Hale this might be where the bad communication starts)

Me: You can find out over a drink this weekend

Me: Promise I won't leave your lips sore ;)

Her: Haha I'll hold you to that

Her: A bit tied up this weekend, how about sometime during the week?

Me: That can work, can you bring your guitar?

(we exchange numbers, plan logistics)

@JhanicManifold might appreciate/have some insights about this

At least your comment was witty. That you didn't go out of your way to explain the joke once it was clear she wasn't getting it puts you ahead of most of us in the charm and poise aspect of texting, or "text game" as I have heard it called.

Anakin had it right regarding sand. I only push this point as many years ago on a beach somewhere near Durban, SA, I made the mistake of trying to initiate foreplay with a red-haired girl. Well, woman. Our writhing on the towel soon became an experience not quickly forgotten, and not in a good way. The obvious metaphor of sandpapering one's skin comes to mind, though without the paper. All was not lost, as she was young, and I was younger, and we retreated to our rondavel, or at least near it, and used the shower thing to rinse off. I won't bore you with the rest.

A guitar on the beach. If you drink your drinks out of white Falstaff beer cups and run out into the surf of dusk in a drunken stupor, then Steven Spielberg has taught you nothing. Especially if there is a buoy out there clanging in the calm water. Just don't do it, is what I'm saying. The swimming I mean. Everything else, good luck with it.

Yeah I agree correcting them just kills the vibe mostly.

But also she cancelled:

8:43 AM Me: Hey are we still on for tonight?

11:40 AM Her: Hey, I think I’m gonna have to rain check🤦🏽‍♀️ sorry

11:40 AM Her: In denial ab how much shit I have to do this week lol

I think 95% of the time this means they are simply not interested but our conversation and her company/job title makes me think she is actually busy. (Although Some chance I’m thinking with my dick here because she is exactly my type).

Should I text back at like 9PM to reschedule and then add something cheeky like “you owe me the entire Stairway to Heaven solo now btw”?

Should I text back at like 9PM to reschedule and then add something cheeky like “you owe me the entire Stairway to Heaven solo now btw”?

This would put my back up, as a woman. If she cancelled because she doesn't want to go out with you, then nothing you say matters. If she was genuinely busy and does want to go again, the word "owe" is going to strike a sour note.

Pretty typical. The default rate on a chick's "rain check" is much closer to 100% than it is 0%.

Young women will commonly flake and ghost. If you even slightly call them out for their lack of reliability, they'll only turn the tables on you and accuse you of being some combination of possessive and judgmental, if they respond at all. Hence why it's so important to have other prospects in the depth chart and to diversify your portfolio.

Women, especially young women, import little to "their word."

When I have a plans with a chick, I remind myself that I don't have a date until she sets foot in my place.

default rate on a chicks rain check closer to 100%

Maybe for that date itself but if I suggest rescheduling the vast majority of the time they do show up, is this not your experience or do you just never try to reschedule?

I often do try to keep in contact and occasionally it works, but more commonly if they flake the first time they’ll flake again, if not just ghost you.

For example, I can think of one girl that I converted upon in the past few months on the first date, where she had flaked upon our plans multiple times for 5-6 years. But much more often I’ve been flaked upon and the trail just ends there. Generally, the best solution to a flake is to just move-on.

It’s like negative signaling… from the female perspective: Ugh, what kind of loser man would keep contacting you when you’ve already flaked on his pathetic ass?

I am of the mind that friendly reminders such as "Hey are we still on?" are more attempts at dopamine boosts for the inquirer, but almost always have the opposite effect, allowing easy exits for the inquirees. In other words, on originally setting up time and place, be as precise as possible, and only message them either slightly before that ("almost there") or slightly after ("Is that you in the Homburg?") but never, ever before.

I offer this next advice without imagining you'll take it: Cut your losses, soldier. Be eminently polite and tell her something brief but witty about all work and no play, etc. or say you hope she catches up, you know how it is, etc.

Then never initiate contact again.

Which is not to say you cannot respond if she texts you, of course, I mean we are not savages.

My reasoning is that she is, by cancelling, making her bed, as it were. Now she should lie in it. Any further pursuit by you smacks of your providing her with unearned attention.

Whatever you do, don't be rude or reveal even vaguely that you might be inconvenienced or hurt.

Just my thoughts. At least you have some champagne, which is nice.

Advice seems highly contextual based on the type of person you and she are, so it seems like a bit of a fool's game to try and give you specific tips. I personally wouldn't worry about 'things' like the cooler, etc - I think you're already ahead of the game if you're at that level of detail. It's probably going to be more about the conversation and who you are - be self-confident without being domineering, try and ask questions until she's talking about something she's passionate about and be interested in it, don't come on too strongly. The classical FORD (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) don't RAPE (Religion, Abortion, Politics, Economics) worked well for me once upon a time.

Just relax and enjoy yourself, you got this :)

Any filler questions that have worked well for you in a conversation lull? Some I’ve used to good effect are:

-what’s your most controversial opinion?

-what’s your worst non-traumatic date experience?

I always liked:

  1. What do you like to do for fun/what to do get up to in your free time? Everyone is excited about something, it's just about finding out what it is. One person got awkward and said something canned about netflix, but when I started talking about houses her face lit up and she went on at length about the real estate market. IMO it's less about filler questions and more about fishing for that thing they're passionate about and then showing interest.

  2. What books are you reading/have you read lately?

  3. Sometimes I'd try to have random pop culture stuff to bring up if it's good for a when Tiger King was a big thing, if you could to it organically could be good for a laugh and bonding moment. Crazy thing local sports team did, funny local city thing (where were you when the local train caught fire?), etc.

What do you like to do for fun/what to do get up to in your free time

I don't like this question since I spend my free time doing low-status things :)

I’ve tried the “make up stories about strangers” game but did not consider this more risque version, great suggestion

Wow you are much braver than me, I’ve never said anything like this unless a girl specifically alluded to us having sex. But kissing was heavily implied on the dating app convo.

You consider that anoydyne? I would certainly never try that unless the "date" is just a booty call. Think you've gotta be pretty masculine for that to work.

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Bring enough garbage bags and make sure to scout out a proper restroom. There are somehow never enough garbage bags, and no one wants to go toa disgusting portapotty.

bring sunscreen even if she doesn't.

scout out a proper restroom

Fortunately, there will literally be a lake, sea, or ocean in front of them.

Wait what does a portapotty have to do with garbage bags?

Sunscreen is prob overkill since the UV index will be 0.

The advice you are getting here is largely bizarre to me, including the spanking question and the garbage bag (bags? Is the suggestion that you do a beach cleanup?)

Anyway I don't know what a Mimosa cup is (unless it's just a Solo cup into which one pours the OJ and booze) but your bar idea sounded way better. What champagne are you supposed to bring? Nothing high end I imagine? And will you have a carton of Tropicana? Ice?

So. My one suggestion is try to clean up communication. There is of course much to be said for vagueness, especially in matters of the heart, but I get the sense you and she may be crossing signals slightly. She seems to be driving--nothing wrong with that of course--but I would suggest if you arrive and there are practical issues, eg the Champale isn't cold, no one has a blanket/towel, etc., that you have a backup plan and/or the humor is allowed to take over (rather than awkwardness)

Finally, and perhaps needlessly, beach sand is gritty and in no way lends itself to amorous behavior, despite film and other media. The beach is, however, a very romantic place.

The beach is practically in her backyard. 15 min drive for me but in a perfectly straight line.

beach sand is gritty and in no way lends itself to amorous behavior

Mandatory link:

How do you keep track of what you've read online? How do you manage your personal research? Do you have a system? Do you have collections, and keep notes? Is this an actual problem you have?

Personally, I often read something and then struggle to find it again months later, or open something in a new tab to read later only to lose the tab. Or I might write down my thoughts but then lose the context of what I was looking at when I had them. It just feels like things here could be much better.

How do you keep track of what you've read online? How do you manage your personal research? Do you have a system? Do you have collections, and keep notes? Is this an actual problem you have?

I have a backup folder that I update and copy to a flash drive a few times a year. I've named the .txt files by intentionally adding a number at the start of the name (0 to 5) to signify the importance and make it easier to sort them. For example, "2contacts.txt" lists my acquaintances, their contact information, birthdays, etc.

The downside is that this system takes a moderate amount of effort to regularly update/trim/reorganize everything. The upside is that I basically never forget anything.

@gattsuru, if there's one person who's answer I'd like to hear it would be you. Is there a method to your trick of pulling obscure trivia on various topics, or do you just have photographic memory or something?

I don't have a photographic memory, and may have a worse memory than most people. Have tried some techniques like the memory palace, but they're very hit-or-miss for me, at least.

I've got a handful of tools set up, but they're mostly glorified record-keeping:

  • a todo list for major projects separated by scope, following the Ruby-inspired rule to break apart a scope or trim down my targets if they exceed 5-7 points. I've moved it to Nextcloud for sync purposes, but for a while I was using SVN (not recommended).

  • a (set of) TiddlyWiki for keeping high-relevance notes (cfe The New Zettelkasten as a more aspirational breakdown that I'm absolutely not anywhere near). I'm not sure TiddlyWiki is anywhere near the ideal software for this, and even in its class there are a variety of other strong tools (eg Logseq has a lot of fans, Foam if you're a VSCode masochist). (way back in the day this went on a PalmIIIc, but that was awful.)

  • and I've had downloaders akin to Gwern's approach, to try to make more readily locally-searched tools for heavily-used forums and social media (largely inspired by the broken search at RPGnet back in the 00s). It's not always the better option, but it's good for narrowing down time periods to then use other online search tools.

These aren't good tools, though, and there's a reason I've got this on my list of things I'd love to hear from someone deep into the reeds on it. A TiddlyWiki dive from site->user->subject->category->timeblock is hard to actually follow unless you're looking for something as broad as an entire field of study, and in many ways that's the simplest use case. By contrast, looking up some reference from a book I read five years ago the process is usually something like subject->book->topic, but this struggles badly given many books have important revelations away from their core subject (eg, I read an important bit about multiplexing in power plant design, does this fall under electrical engineering, or under fossil or nuclear power, or something different). Grepping the full file works where there's a rarely-used technical term, but falters when a matter is more colloquial: as an example, if I'm looking up a SCOTUS cert request on warrant requirements, which narrows things down a bit, but it was a specific case where the cop was a thief, and it probably would have just been faster to do a search for "rare coins" to find Jessop.

The philosophy behind Notes Must Link helps, a little, but only at the largest scales. I want to think tags could help, but narrowing down to a hundred posts, many of which are only tangentially about a topic, doesn't make for fast lookup. And if you have four hundred tags, you're a) not going to use them, b) not going to find them, and c) won't be consistent in application.

((and, uh, it's pretty unpleasant to read for pleasure while also taking this depth of notes. For written fiction, I'm usually just throwing a single author->book->summary + clever quotes bit, and sometimes not even that.))

More generally, I don't have any real ability to search video, and my attempts to kitbash an audio transcription capability are pretty error-prone, and there's legal reasons you shouldn't default-record audio anyway. I kept manual notes from the IRC era and still type down major information from Discord channels, but keeping up with even a couple Discords worth of incoming information is unmanageable. Other formats -- IRL, video games, VR -- are pretty much just out of scope.

How do you keep track of what you've read online?

Readwise. Can import Kindle notes, can just right click and save a passage from any article.

But, tbh, a lot of the work has to be done at the time of reading. I basically read for the future: I speed through books but I constantly stop and highlight anything I think I might later care about and I add annotations for clarity. That way, when I come back to it, I know exactly why I noted that.

My retention isn't good but it becomes better every time I blast through all of the highlights and I can more easily find stuff I care about. If I don't care to reread then maybe I didn't need that information anyway.

How do you keep track of what you've read online? How do you manage your personal research? Do you have a system? Do you have collections, and keep notes?

Old school massive bookmark tree.

if something can be lost and is important, such an an obscure song or other content, back it up. otherwise, write down the name to refer to it later.

I have a browser history that is 443,000 pages long, going back four years. It is indispensable for re-finding things I once read. I'd say several times a week I find myself going back to my browser history for one reason or another.

To take the most recent example, I was talking to a friend and trying to recall this Motte post about GreatSchools essentially downgrading schools for having black students. So I did a browser search history for GreatSchools, noted on what date I visited it, and then manually went back to that date in my browser history to find the Motte post (reasoning that I presumably clicked the link at the same time I read the post).

There are surely more robust methods of notetaking or various browser extensions for saving pages, but, meh, I know damn well I'm never going to be diligent about manually adding things to it. But more importantly, you aren't usually sure what you're eventually going to want to re-find. So I figure it's better to have a zero-effort method, even if it's a lower-resolution wide-net kind of system.

For long form content I use a citation manager. I use Zotero specifically. I especially like the browser integration with snapshot. It helps with link-rot quite a bit. The search is not quite as powerful as web search, but tagging and folders help with content I really want to keep track of. I also like that I can keep notes with the other other searchable meta-data.

Does anyone have experience transitioning to a managerial role at work? Did you enjoy it more than your previous role?

Yes, and no i do not enjoy being a manager more than i enjoyed doing field work but more pay and being able to spend more time with the kids and better half certainly is nice.

That said the burdens of command are a burden, feeling and being responsible kinda sucks. But thats also what youre getting paid the big bucks for. So it goes.

I really enjoy the pay as the manager, but I also really enjoyed being an IC. I stopped being a pure IC almost 11 years ago, but at my previous job I kept moving between the roles, ending up as a mix of a team lead and a special projects guy. At the new one I'm much more limited in reach and don't really have time to do special projects. It's 25% status meetings, 25% escalations, 25% bureaucracy and 25% team management. I can't really touch the first three and shouldn't touch the fourth, so rolling up my sleeves and doing something with my own hands means overtime.

It's fine as long as you stay away from project management.

Why's that?

It's boring and stressful. You're essentially an administrator getting yanked in a million directions with little to no power.

Of course this can vary between sectors, organisations and projects but project managment being a kind of shitty gig consistently been my impression from my own career and those of my friends and acquaintances.

This is mostly in the Nordics and UK mind you.

That's an interesting perspective. I've never been a project manager, but I've enjoyed the project management I've done in other roles, and I've considered switching to be one. Yes, project managers are somewhat impotent. I view them as little extension arms of the higher level leaders, to be their eyes and ears on the ground and report back. But I guess if you have a good mind for organization and setting up mechanisms, you don't want to do anything too technical, and you want less power and less responsibility, I feel like it could be alright.

You're not really going to get less responsibility, only less power.

Well truly, I never really understood why anyone wants power at work. Who cares if you have power? It's a paycheck. As long as I'm doing my job and getting paid for it, that's all that matters to me. If I don't get to command anyone, that's just fine with me.

The only way I'd feel differently is if I had a true passion for something that I needed to see done, which I've rarely ever felt about work. And I get the feeling most others feel the same way. We pretend otherwise, since there's an unspoken rule that you need to pretend that you're really passionate about work, but to be honest, it's hard to always be truly passionate about whatever work throws your way, and it's hard to maintain passion for so long when work grinds you down so much.

This is like saying "why do people want money or status?". Power gives you the ability to accomplish things, whether that is furthering your career, helping people, grifting, avoiding work, furthering a cause etc.

What you don't want is responsibility. Power frequently comes with some responsibilities and you have to weigh whether the power is worth the responsibilities, just like you have to weigh whether paycheck is worth the responsibilities.

Well, if you're defining power so generally, why do you feel that as a project manager you get less power but just as much responsibility? Can you indicate the context for what you mean by that? What sort of responsibility are you referring to?

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I did, then moved back. I mostly didn't like having to deal with performance management. I felt like a soulless PoS, and I especially didn't like the concept of having unregretted attrition quotas.

Also, it felt more like I was being judged on my ability to act like a business person, which I know very little about how to do. There seemed to be no real rules, just a notion that you had to keep your reports happy, and then make decisions according to some unspecified ever-changing rubric, that no one really knew. It was all about having to make decisions and then justify them somehow. Basically, work felt more than ever like a game of Calvinball. Now that I'm back to being a high-level software engineer, there is some aspect of Calvinball in my work, but certainly less than as a manager.

I slowly moved from an IC role to a Senior Manager role over the last 3-4 years.

I wouldn't say I enjoy it more, but I've managed to inspire some loyalty in my team by shielding them from BS and going to bat for them.

This gives me some satisfaction.

Some questions about the NYC subway. People say Penny had been choking Neely for 15 minutes when the latter died. I started thinking about the time and realized I don't understand something about the way subway works there.

This happened on an F train in Manhattan. I checked, and you can walk between the stations in less than 15 minutes there. From this I can deduce that the train was at the station at some point during the chokehold. Where the fuck was NYPD? Here's how this would've turned out in the Moscow Metro:

  1. homeless dude starts getting agitated and aggressive

  2. someone uses the intercom and tells the driver there's a problem

  3. the driver contacts the dispatcher

  4. the dispatcher contacts the manager of the next station

  5. the station manager directs the police patrol to the correct car

  6. alternatively, the driver uses the PA system to direct the police patrol to the correct car

  7. alternatively-alternatively, someone runs out of the train car, screaming, "Police!"

  8. the police enter the car and detain the agitated homeless dude and the wannabe hero

Why hasn't it gone down like that with Neely? Are there no intercoms on NYC subway trains? Do train drivers not give a fuck? Are there no police at NYC subway stations?

No one gives a shit - unless you pull out a gun I doubt the cops will care.

NYC subways get huge traffic, so I imagine police do not prioritize attending to fights unless it involves guns

I am very skeptical of the 15-min claim. Neely apparently got on the northbound F train at 2nd Avenue, and died at the Broadway-Lafayette stop. That is only one stop, which is less than a minute, once the train gets underway.

Not every station has police officers; there are something like 450 stations in the system. Nowadays, when you ride the train, if a station has a permanent police presence, the conductor says so when the train arrives. The Broadway-Lafayette stop is a pretty busy one, since it is effectively a transfer to several other lines, though it is not an express stop for one of the lines. So it would not surprise me if there are normally police there.

I am very skeptical of the 15-min claim. Neely apparently got on the northbound F train at 2nd Avenue, and died at the Broadway-Lafayette stop. That is only one stop, which is less than a minute, once the train gets underway.

I am equally skeptical of the one minute claim. This would mean he managed to antagonize the other passengers in the carriage to provoke three of them into action in just a minute.

Not every station has police officers; there are something like 450 stations in the system. Nowadays, when you ride the train, if a station has a permanent police presence, the conductor says so when the train arrives. The Broadway-Lafayette stop is a pretty busy one, since it is effectively a transfer to several other lines, though it is not an express stop for one of the lines. So it would not surprise me if there are normally police there.

There are 472 stations. NYPD has 35,030 officers. To cover all stations if none are currently covered, you would need 3776 patrolmen (2 cops per station working 12-hour shifts in 4-day periods: day-night-off-off), a 11% increase in headcount. I guess Moscow can afford to provide police presence on its ~300 stations, since there are 50k officers in Moscow Police.

I am equally skeptical of the one minute claim.

I am not saying that the incident took only 1 minute. I am saying that, if the train was running normally, it would take less than a minute to travel between the stations, once it got underway. Now, perhaps there was a delay of some sort, either before it left 2nd Ave, or between stations.

Given the rather low level of crime in subways, especially in most of Manhattan, it would be a poor use of police resources to station police at every station. Heck, it is a poor use of police resources to have many cops patrolling most of Manhattan, period.

Subway fights aren't uncommon, I don't know if I would call 9/11 immediately upon seeing two people wrestling each other on the train.

Would you call 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 999 if you saw a fight on the Tube?

Purely idle curiosity: Could someone following the Charles Atlas exercise program achieve Charles Atlas's physique?

Some people yes, some people no.

The longer I spend in the fitness/iron game, the more I think that what works for you varies, especially in terms of physique. Some guys will do a ton of bodyweight work and look jacked, other guys will not. Some guys look pretty damn good when they get to a 225 bench and a 315 squat, others persist in looking average. My current program consists almost entirely of Kettlebell pentathlon exercises, a set of exercises one would typically think of as having zero direct arm work. My biceps and triceps have never looked better, even when I was doing far more curls and pushdowns and pull ups and barbell presses.

So, the answer is, try it and maybe it will work for you.

Charles Atlas's physique

i think he stood 5'10 and 185 lbs at 15% bodyfat/ that is doable

It's not Arnold tier but as I understand it his Dynamic Tension program was unique in being largely about what he called non-apparatus methods. I've just had a flick through a copy on and it's not much more than a few basic bodyweight exercises (dips, leg raises), some stretches, some weird self-resistance exercises (climbing an imaginary rope, punching yourself in the abdomen), and plenty of fresh air, a balanced diet without sugar and caffeine, and a cold cloth on the genitals each morning.

I assume a diligent follower could achieve a basic otter mode and no longer be a weakling who gets sand kicked in their face but Atlas claims he had a 47" chest. Taking a quick skim through an image search that looks more like a juiced up underwear model who lifts weights than the dad bod + clean diet physique of Atlas who supposedly didn't touch apparatus and had no access to steroids. Apparently Arnold was 58" at his biggest and he used every means available.

Pre-steroid bodybuilder physiques are quite normal looking. Big, lean, natural. Choose two.

IIRC, it's the lack of gigantic pecs and lats. If you look at the old-time athletes, they are broadly Π-shaped, while later bodybuilders like Columbu or Arnie have a much more pronounced V-shape.

big naturals

Can’t be mad at that.

But all joking aside the best physique I ever had was me at about 230lbs and 20% body fat.

After 18 months of big lifting and hard work, I was in the locker room, looked in the mirror, and I had the physique of an over the hill samurai. Ropy, thick shoulders. A huge, muscular ass. A core like a tree trunk. And a little pot belly.

I looked like a mook in a Kurosawa movie, screaming at the bar maids to bring me more sake.

Shit was choice, couldn’t be more proud of myself.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I got married shortly after that.

230 at 20% body fat is no joke. That's the "can probably beat 99% of men in a fight" physique that women seem to love.

I call it the “Alpha Dad Bod”. Especially since I wasn’t doing any bodybuilding stuff, it was almost all complex lifts and boxing. Very utilitarian.

I’m currently at 245lbs at almost 30% body fat, I’m trying to get back to it.

I’d like to put forward a very informal survey, as I’m curious about one aspect about the demographics here.

I’d like to know how many people who post here;

1.) Own one set of formal wear or something considered appropriate for business or formal social occasions. IE A suit, a tuxedo, dress pants combined with a Hawaiian shirt, a Guyabara / Yucatán shirt, a thawb & keffiyeh, etc.

2.) Wear it at least once a quarter, or at least four times a year.

I think I got my greatest pushback here & in the old place and it was specifically about a fashion related issue, so my sociology sense is tingling. I’d like to know how much of an outlier I am here.

Show of hands, please.

1.) Yes, one suit. Plus two non-suit, more sport-ish jackets. None of them fit very well since I have progressively lost weight after every time I bought the item, but one of the jackets is not outright ridiculous. But I have several trousers / jeans / shirts / sweaters / shoes that make possible all many combinations from casual to smart casual and business casual; they do fit okay and the best ones very well. I pay attention that the quality of material; generally, good quality natural fabrics look better than any synthetics.

2.) Not quite. Suit has not been worn for several years; I am too lazy to sell it. The one jacket that is not bad gets out approximately twice a year for important but non-formal family events (birthdays, Christmas). I get invited and accept invite to weddings or otherwise formal events once per decade (that is why the suit is out-of-date). At work, most people below the senior level are very casual, so usually the casual must come before the smart in "smart casual". In most situations I find myself, the well-fitting shirt or sweater and pants alone puts me in the upper quintile.

Yes (suit) and no (haven't had a funeral or an in-person interview in a few years). I'd like to dress sharp more often but don't really have cause to, so I wear a lot of button-down shirts since the minimal effort still feels nice. I have a few ties I wouldn't mind pulling out, but I'm terrible at tying them so I don't bother - not enough time in the mornings to give a damn.

I own one suit and one tuxedo but about 7 blazers and sport coats. I wear the blazers and sport coats frequently but the suit only a few times a year .

Yes and maybe. Pretty similar to Duplex. It certainly fit better when I was in school!

Yes and no, the jacket barely fits and occasions are rare.

No, and no.

Suits are a soul death and the enemy of everything I see as good about myself.

2 suits; one seersucker which is probably too large now, and another which is very old and out of date. But most workdays I wear trousers and a button-down shirt with a sweater vest, cardigan, or (less frequently) a sport coat. I have a variety of knit ties which seem much more casual but are still a tie and look nicer than an open collar and unadorned shirt.

I own several suits for a number of reasons.

One because my wife demanded I wear a suit to a funeral so I went and bought a cheap suit.

One because I'm almost exactly the same size as my Dad and he gave me one of his Brooks Bros. suits which I then had tailored.

One because my brother had me in his wedding party so we all had identical suits made and tailored.

I wear a suit on average 3-6 times a year depending on who dies and who gets married.

I'm not big on wearing a suit but I can do it easily if required by circumstance or my wife.

I have a few suits, including one nice bespoke suit. The nice one is a light grey that isn't necessarily the best look for highly formal occasions, but it's great for weddings, going to be a play, or anywhere that I just want to look my best. I'd probably just do something like Indochino in the future, knowing what I know now, but in any case it's worth paying for made-to-fit rather than adjusting off the rack.

That said, I don't dress up often. My normal everyday attire is shorts, T-shirt, and flip-flops with a Garmin running watch. When I do dress up, I want to look excellent though.

One dark pinstripe suit. I wear it to solemn Masses and big social events (funerals, ceremonies). So at least once a quarter.

Glancing in my closet I also have a tweed blazer and a thin white summer blazer that sadly no longer fits since I've started lifting. : (

I've been meaning to buy a casual suit to wear for fun. Probably a navy one.

One nice suit. Wore it once for a wedding 2 years ago. Where do you guys find the occasion to wear a suit ?

I do care about fashion, but all my clothes are casuals. To the first approximation, I look like someone who purchased the basicBastard and then stepped into a Uniqlo for the rest.

Where do you guys find the occasion to wear a suit ?

Weddings are the canonical spot, but I've also worn suits to plays, for a fancy New Year's Eve party, for a fancy night out at a Michelin restaurant and trendy cocktail places, and a few other things like that. If you have a light-colored suit and skip the tie, you don't really need all that formal of an occasion to dress up a bit.

Makes sense why I never wear one.

I never go to plays, and when I do it's improv-ish. I love jazz, but the underground kind. My NYE parties are house parties with a bunch of 20 somethings. And I have been to a $$$$ restaurant just once, on vacation, so I didn't have a suit. If I ever wore a suit to a work party, I'd look really out of place. Hell, I already look out of place for not just wearing swag tshirts and baggy jeans in my tech workplace.

I love layering with bombers, work jackets, heavy shirts & corduroy..... but all of them fall on the wrong side of dressed up. I think there is some truth to this scene, but I could never dress as douchey. Not rich enough to pull it off either ahahaha.

One suit. Will have worn it five times by June.

I own 1 suit I've worn twice in ten years (weddings). And I feel a sense of mistrust for people who spend more than a de minimus amount of time thinking about their clothing.

I own two suits, but haven't worn them for a long time. I should buy a new one, but I'm not in a hurry, as I work remotely and am currently recomping.

I also have a slubby WSL sport coat that I wear with dress pants about every month. This is my gallery/theatre/restaurant outfit.

I wear either a suit or a sportjacket with tie and some sort of trousers to match that five days a week.

I do own a few Hawai'ian shirts but only because I used to travel there frequently. I also own a dashiki given me as a gift, though that may have been tossed out by hands other than my own.

Edit: I live in Japan, and work in a city, where wearing suits is commonplace.

I don't. My clothes are all casual and either cheap or homemade or second-hand, and I wear them until they're frayed and tattered.

4 suits, 1 odd pair of trousers and 2 sports jackets. Planning to expand a bit, actually.

I wear the suits for conferences and night outs and of course for formal events like weddings, etc. at least once a quarter and often wear odd trouser/jacket combinations to work. I would like to wear them more but everybody around me is super casual and I don't want to stick out too much.

I quite like men's classic attire. It's very comfortable and practical. I wish people would wear it more.

  1. Your standard seems very loose, so probably? I wear perfectly respectable dresses approximately daily, which I would be willing to wear them to weddings and funerals (but just went to a funeral and saw a relative wearing a lobster print Hawaiian shirt, so this is not saying much), or in a court.

I feel like I should probably have some kind of cardigan or blazer and shoes that are not sandals or hiking shoes, but seem somehow unable to figure this out, and mostly just wear a denim jacket or blouse as outerwear. I accidentally ordered a discount tuxedo blazer during lockdowns, which fit very well, but I ended up actually throwing it in the trash because neither I nor anyone I knew had any chance of wearing it, as far as I could tell, and it seemed to much work to mail it to a stranger. Really, I'm unwilling to own something that ought to be dry cleaned and/or ironed, but do not like cardigans. I am unprepared for an event that is both formal and chilly.

  1. Depending, again, on specific criteria, yes? I wear these dresses to church, work, dinner, and events. I once met the head of state of a small European country in one of these dresses, but I looked sort of frumpy by "meeting a head of state" standards.

Own two suits, only wear them at weddings.

Once a year on average.

I own precisely one suit that no longer fits me and haven't worn it for years at this point. Frankly I wouldn't consider the later stuff you list as appropriate for a business/formal social occasion, that's what I'd consider to be casual clothes for going about town (maybe not the thawb and keffiyeh, depends on the town at that point).

I would say I'm generally well dressed, in the sense that I wear clothes that fit and have a coherent "look" to them, I just tend to prefer a more casual style. These days I mostly wear a jeans, shirt and wifebeater combo. I strive to look like I've just stepped out of 1980s Miami, although if I'm being honest it's more often 1970s surfer.

I do own a good suit along with a modest number of ties and dress shirts. I definitely don't wear them 4 times a year. Maybe single-digit number of times in the last 5 years.

I work in tech, so nobody dresses that formally, including in job interviews. I don't really do any regular activities that would involve or benefit from dressing that well. Only the occasional wedding or other similar event.

I own a suit (including vest), as well as a few different dress shirts to go with it. I wear it... not even once a year. I actually like dressing up, but the number of occasions where it's appropriate are almost nil. Basically just weddings and funerals.

I have many suits and a single tuxedo. I probably averaged 4 formal occasions a year pre-COVID. I bought the formal clothes when I worked in a job that required far more dressing up than my current position, so their fairly dated now.

1.) Own [at least] one set of formal wear or something considered appropriate for business or formal social occasions. IE A suit, a tuxedo, dress pants combined with a Hawaiian shirt, a Guyabara / Yucatán shirt, a thawb & keffiyeh, etc.

Yes. I own two tuxedo jackets, though no tuxedo pants I just wear them with formal Black or Grey trousers, or less frequently with jeans when the dress code calls for "Creative Cocktail" or whatever the fuck. And several suits, along with numerous blazers and sportcoats that I honestly wear less than I ought to given how many I own.

If the question was meant to be [exactly] rather than [at least] one, than the answer is distinctly no.

2.) Wear it at least once a quarter, or at least four times a year.

Yes. A suit at least once a week. I could probably avoid wearing a tuxedo ever, most places today you can get away with a black suit, especially if you're either young and good looking enough to look better than everyone else to begin with. But I like it.

I own a suit I got for my highschool graduation, I don't think I've worn it since.

  1. Yes

  2. Yes, but if we exclude purely religious functions(which seems like a major confounder as the motte is 90% irreligious) then probably no.

I wear a (casual?) business suit (no tie) most days. Also I have I guess what you would call casual formal wear.

I don't have anything super formal as a tuxedo.

For myself, I own 3 suits plus a handful of dress shirts / pants / jackets that are not paired together, just mixed items.

I also own a handful of Guyaberas which I use as business wear during the warmest months.

I wear these basically every work day, sometimes on the weekends if I have a party, and I wear a jacket during the cool months and if the occasion requires.


Yo, where do you find a good one? I really want a good white linen/cotton shirt with pockets, seems neat for summer, but I have no idea where to get one.

I have 20+ guyaberas. I'm wearing one with dress slacks and oxfords right now. I've gotten 90% of them on Ebay. Look for ones with zippers instead of buttons. Haband brand is pretty reliable and they make 2 general qualities or shirt. The zipper is a sign of a higher quality one (in addition to textile type and thread count).

Thanks for the recommendation!

It's easy to find men's linen shirts online.

I have a connection to Latin America so I just buy them when I’m abroad and/or someone from Latina America comes to visit me.

Not particularly helpful, I know, but if you visit down there and you either speak fluent Spanish or know someone personally who does you can get good prices on them in the markets, I usually only pay $20-$25 a piece for beautiful shirts.

The best ones are made in Central America, Columbia & Ecuador. Also if you’re American they are very popular in Miami.

I’m sure in Latino neighborhoods in other big metropolitan areas of the USA you can probably find them as well, I’m sure if you were in NYC in queens you could find some.

This is going to lead to hilariously inept adventures.

I have a few suits for when I have to go to court but that isn't very often. I also have a few optimistic suits I hang onto in the event I lose weight. Meeting with clients is generally business casual for the first meeting but after I establish a rapport I wear my usual office getup which is just jeans and a collared shirt. I also wear dress socks almost exclusively, and every pair has a unique pattern, and I don't match them together before I put them in the drawer. The main reason for this is that rolling them up keeps the elastic in a nearly permanent stretched-out manner and causes them to wear faster. Stacking them together is better on this front but ultimately pointless as they'll make their way apart in the course of normal rummaging. Folding them up like they do in stores avoids this, but is also a lot more work.

  1. That depends a lot on a type of "formal occasion". I own some "more upscale then jeans" clothes, but I haven't been in any occasion where khakis + nice shirt would make me under-dressed for years, and I do not expect to find myself in one anytime soon, so I don't own any clothes for that. Never owned a suit or tuxedo. Usually I wear jeans (or some other informal pants) + t-shirt, and that's completely enough for 99% of places I'll find myself in (excluding special occasion like gym or ski slopes, of course).

  2. Yes, about once a quarter, on average, would be an accurate estimate. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

I own a suit, and I wear it 3-4 times a year. Usually for "occasions" but sometimes just for fun.

1.) Yes.

2.) No. I currently only wear a suit for weddings and funerals only, but I'm not anti formalwear either.

Hawaiian shirt


It's kosher in Hawaii, kind of like Bermuda Shorts are business attire in Bermuda.