Open threads at the Open Thread tab every Sunday and Wednesday

About

I’m going by Scott Alexander, which is almost but not quite my real name. I’m a doctor in the US Midwest. After years of having all sorts of personal information about me available on the Internet, I’m going to try not doing that. I’ve blogged elsewhere under different pseudonyms, especially on Less Wrong as “Yvain”. I mention this because of all the people who read things in both places and never manage to figure out that we’re the same person. Don’t be that guy who tells me I should talk to Yvain because we seem to have a lot in common.

“Slate Star Codex” is a slant anagram of my name. Topics here tend to center vaguely around this meta-philosophical idea of how people evaluate arguments for their beliefs, and especially whether this process is spectacularly broken in a way that may or may not doom us all. In between there’s a lot of cognitive science, psychology, history, politics, medicine, religion, statistics, transhumanism, corny puns, and applied eschatology. I really want to be one of those people with the neat one-subject blogs who can introduce themselves as “the guy with the blog about X”, but the universe is way too interesting for that to remotely work.

If you want to contact me, you can reach me at the reverse of gro.htorerihs@ttocs.

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89 Responses to About

  1. Testingfrog says:

    Hmm. It looks like there’s no kind of password protection with these commenting identities. All it would take to hijack someone’s name would be the knowledge of the e-mail address they’re using for commenting.

    Report comment

  2. Anonymous says:

    Should this page be visible?

    Report comment

  3. Chinpokomon says:

    I remember you years ago saying that a great Facebook app idea would be for people to anonymously “rate” how much they are romantically interested in their friends. If it was mutual, then the app would alert them to the good news.

    Voila, here it is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-small-business/post/dc-dating-start-up-hinge-expanding-to-new-york/2013/05/06/311d7fba-b411-11e2-baf7-5bc2a9dc6f44_blog.html

    And it’s doing quite well!

    Report comment

  4. jooyous says:

    How do you pronounce “Yvain”?

    Report comment

  5. J says:

    A group of my colleagues and I are impressed by your blog! You’re a grad student studying psychology? Seems like I read that somewhere?

    Report comment

  6. Shane says:

    I tried to email you at the address given above, but it bounced….

    All I wanted to say was that I just added your Anti-Reactionary FAQ to rbutr, and thought you might be interested in it if you hadn’t already heard about it: http://rbutr.com/rbutr/WebsiteServlet?requestType=showLinksByToPage&toPageId=1301038

    The basic idea behind rbutr is to connect critical responses to the webpages they are responding to so that people can easily move from claim to response to counter-response in a natural way (something the internet doesn’t yet easily enable). In this way, we can transform the internet from its current ‘information delivery’ setup, in to a more proactive tool which teaches people to critically reflect on the subject matter that the internet is delivering to them.

    I thought you might be interested in it, and might want to add more of your articles to the system, thus getting your responses in front of the people reading the pages you are responding to?

    You can install our plugin in Firefox or Chrome, and submit any claim-rebuttal connections you find/write.

    http://rbutr.com

    Shane

    Report comment

  7. Ben McLean says:

    Scott, you are a hard man to reach. Your email listed here returns a “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently” error, and I used leetkey to reverse the text to be sure there wasn’t a mistake. My email was going to say:

    “Hello there. I am one of the founding members and regular contributors on Trekosophy: the Star Trek Philosophy podcast http://trekosophy.com/ now in our third season. I heard you give a demonstration and play a small game of your “Dungeons & Discourse” game on another podcast once and was thinking that would make a great episode for our podcast if you ever had time to come on, explain it and help us through DMing a session. It would both give us interesting content for our show and promote your game at the same time. We usually meet on Wednesdays at 6 PM CST (GMT -6) and have just switched to using Mumble as our communications software. I’ve been meaning to email you about this for a while, actually. Think you could come on sometime? :)”

    Report comment

  8. Anonymous says:

    test edit

    successfully edited!

    Report comment

  9. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from
    an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty
    quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin.
    Do you have any points or suggestions? Cheers

    Report comment

  10. Hi there friends, its wonderful piece of writing regarding teachingand fully explained,
    keep it up all the time.

    Report comment

  11. Illuminati Initiate says:

    testing comment

    Report comment

  12. spanish fly says:

    This paragraph will assist the internet visitors for setting up new website or even a weblog from
    start to end.

    Report comment

  13. Anonymous says:

    You should talk to that Yvain guy because he needs a hug!

    Report comment

  14. Delight says:

    Sorry if u already answered that question elsewhere, but I just came here, read “IN FAVOR OF NICENESS, COMMUNITY, AND CIVILIZATION” and wanted to donate something. So is there some kind of “flattr”-button somewhere and I missed it? (I read that u link to amazon for cash and already turned of adblock, but I’m not a heavy consumer :P)

    Awesome work btw, it was a delight, tyvm! Have to come here more often 😉

    Report comment

  15. JYS says:

    Scott–
    I think you may find this piece interesting.
    It discusses the tactical, but also substantive value with engaging with one’s ideological opponents, including and indeed particularly one’s most extreme ones.
    http://psandman.com/gst2014.htm#Ebola-social

    A teaser:

    “I think the CDC and other official and mainstream sources of Ebola information are far wiser to give extremists access to the social media they control (like the CDC’s Facebook page) than to deny them access.

    To explain why, let me start by subdividing the people whose comments you call “aggressive, uninformed, rumor-mongering, paranoid, etc.” into two rough categories: those who have something to say that’s worth listening to, and those who don’t. I’m going to argue later that the first category tends to be bigger than we imagine. I think the mainstream has important things to learn from people on the fringes, both generically and with specific reference to Ebola. But let’s put that aside for now and assume that we’re talking about people whose comments are, as the Supreme Court used to say about pornography, of “no redeeming social value.””

    -JYS

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  16. JYS says:

    Scott–

    You may also find this interesting:
    The narrow topic discussed here is risk communication in the context of vaccination. (How to communicate risk associated with disease and vaccination to a skeptical or hostile audience in manner that will encourage them to make rational choices.)
    In the context of things you’ve posted before, it could be retitled “Why Andrew Card’s Noble Lie is wrong–honest communication with your ideological foes is more effective in the long run” (I’m well aware of who Andrew Card actually is, but in deference to your desire to obfuscate his identity I will do the same.)

    “Vaccination Safety Skepticism: Public Health’s Self-Inflicted Wound (Part One)”
    http://vimeo.com/19324969
    (It isn’t a short video; I apologize that I could not find a transcript.)

    Report comment

  17. JYS says:

    Part 2
    http://vimeo.com/19325557
    Part 3 (I haven’t finished it yet so I can’t endorse it with a clear conscience, but I suspect it will continue to be terrific)
    http://vimeo.com/19326047

    Report comment

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  20. H. says:

    Nice blog =]

    Take care,

    H.

    Xoxo

    Report comment

  21. Qp says:

    This is an example of a certain kind of writing style that packs a tremendous amount of meaning into a few short words that once read enliven one’s essence centers with premature thoughts of self affirming, when in fact, that form of egoism can be avoided indefinitely through close scrutiny of words.

    Report comment

  22. RTO Dude says:

    simpler test

    edit: must have screwed up

    Report comment

  23. thepenforests says:

    Test comment – I don’t know how this gravatar thing works.

    Report comment

  24. Stephanie says:

    I read that article yesterday, the “Nerd Entitlement…” article that you write a blog post about and it really triggered all these stupid feelings of self consciousness and feeling ugly and not good enough for men and feeling unlovable, that I felt all the time when I was younger attempting to date as a female nerd. It was bizarre! I thought I was past that but then bam! It hit me like a train. No one will ever love me! So dumb. Grrr, I thought by now I was over that. Like you, I don’t agree with all of the premises of the article, it was just some of the ways she put things really triggered that feeling in me. Bleh, so vulnerable and powerless, that feeling that you are at the mercy of the opposite sex for happiness and self worth and you have no idea what to do to get them to like you, while all around me men were falling over all my cuter, more socially capable friends. And society the entire time is sending me the message that all I need to do is have a vagina and all the men in the world will fall over me, ha ha ha, yeah right!?!

    Anyways, I appreciate your article and it helped me understand why some men are so against feminism lately. I’m not involved in any internet feminism and I find it reprehensible that feminists would be so mean spirited, but I do like that I can have rights now and be a female nerd and be somewhat accepted by society for who I am, though I still am clueless about boys. It actually makes me really sad to think maybe there were some nerdy boys afraid to ask me out because of feminism…I’ve always loved nerds. But, on the other hand, without any feminism I probably wouldn’t be able to express myself because I don’t fit the typical female stereotypes in a lot of ways. I do think it’s pretty hard being a female nerd too, and in a lot of ways harder and in a lot of ways easier, I suppose, like anything. Black/white views never accurately reflect reality, especially when people are involved.

    In any case I’m just as clueless now as I was then about men. So, will you hook me up with 10 nice nerdy guys in Denver, if you know any? But only if they want children, have a job (made that mistake already and got a moocher living with me and me too pathetic to realize I deserved better) and are in a reasonable age range for me (I’m 34). Actually, I don’t know you but your blog post was awesome so if you’re ever in town look me up and I’ll buy you a beer, ok? I’d love to hear about what your experience training in psychology in a female dominated field is compared to my experience training in physics, a male dominated field. That could be my attempt to hit on you or not, depending on your relationship status 😉

    Report comment

    • Giovanna says:

      ” Bleh, so vulnerable and powerless, that feeling that you are at the mercy of the opposite sex for happiness and self worth and you have no idea what to do to get them to like you, while all around me men were falling over all my cuter, more socially capable friends. And society the entire time is sending me the message that all I need to do is have a vagina and all the men in the world will fall over me, ha ha ha, yeah right!?!”

      I know – I know – been there, have always been there, am still there… I empathize. Am a nerd. Have always loved nerds. Sigh, to be like my “cuter and more socially acceptable friends.” Sometimes I’ve felt like, hell, what am I even DOING with a vagina, let alone these cumbersome non-used boobs?

      Report comment

  25. Umesh Patil says:

    How do I put it less embarrassingly…I have been a blogger practically over a decade; but I have not met any other real life blogger personally. Thought if it might interest you to meet me during your Bay Area visit (not because I am anybody, but if you do not mind to expend some cycles for someone to help). If you happen to come to Peninsula (Palo Alto and area south of that) and have some free time, I would like to meet you. For what – say guidance and tips.

    Thanks and best wishes.

    Report comment

  26. Anonymous says:

    Test comment – will it even show up?

    Report comment

  27. maxikov says:

    Test comment #2 – I still don’t understand what prevents them from going through.

    Report comment

  28. maxikov says:

    Test comment #4 – is it email that stops it from working?

    Report comment

  29. I follow David Friedman and he commented favorably on this blog. What do I need to do to subscribe/follow it so that I have access to each new posting and all historical ones?

    Report comment

  30. Landru says:

    ** Lights the “Scott-signal” up into the clouds above City Hall **

    Scott, I guess your name is often taken in vain around the internets, especially after a well-written post that you might regret. You can’t notice them all, of course, but I think this one that appeared today (15 Feb 15)

    http://crookedtimber.org/2015/02/15/male-nerds-and-feminism/

    may be worthy of your attention. It looks like just your sort of venue, beyond the fact that you’re minorly slagged in the main post. Interesting variety of comments, but could certainly use an SA injection. Go where you’re needed.

    Report comment

  31. Jeff Simpson says:

    Hi, My name is Jeffrey Simpson. I am looking for a possible simplest
    approach to a rather complicated problem. I had previously abused Adderall
    for almost 15yrs, sometimes swallowing up to 14 tablets at a time. I
    relapsed in January of 2014, because I was depressed and have no energy. I
    am currently on Zoloft for depression, which I don’t believe is helping me
    at all, and Serax for anxiety, which keeps the anxiety under control, but
    also makes me very tired and just masks the problem. After being off
    Adderall for 3-4yrs without any meds I was depressed, had severe anxiety,
    a “wired and tired” feeling all the time if you will. I cannot find any
    middle ground as the stress is so overwhelming. Could you kindly send me a sample bottle of your nootropic product , I am new to nootropics and am on a very tight budget. I’d really love to try this product?

    Jeffrey Simpson

    Report comment

  32. Danny Davis says:

    I read your essay “Meditations on Moloch” and I have never read such a magnum opus to the ego.

    It’s brilliantly clever.

    However I believe you make the critical error of thinking that things are not already proceeding along the “god-view” outcomes related to game theory and the prisoner’s delimma. The elephant in the room that western philosophy has ignored is the central eastern mystical question of whether or not the universe is a friendly place. Your essay goes on discussing the perils of human nature; however makes no case whether or not that mark of “original sin” actually exists. It could equally be said that human nature is always good at all times; it just took a “god-view” perspective to see it as such. Or at least that’s what 5000 years of eastern philosophy suggests.

    There is a book that I highly recommend for you. It is called Tertium Organum by P.D. Ouspensky.

    You seem incredibly intelligent and open-minded. Two things that are very rare to find in the same person.

    Report comment

  33. Carl says:

    I’ve recommended your blog to friends as “everything human”.

    Report comment

  34. John5150 says:

    just discovered this site but so far I like what I see

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  35. Elio says:

    After all those months of wondering where the author of that other blog wandered off to I finally put two and two together.

    Actually, I figured it out during the three minutes of googling it took me to figure out your name, but since you didn’t actually want to hide that, just for it to be not immediately searchable, I guess that’s fine.

    Report comment

  36. Jacob says:

    I really appreciated the survey you took of the r/nootropics community about a year ago. Could you rerun the same survey again, or maybe even make this an annual event? If you’re interested, I have a small suggestion: I don’t know anything about statistic, but it seems to me that it might be beneficial to normalize each participants ratings by his or her average ratings, could you do that?

    If you’re not interested in rerunning the survey, do you still have the google doc you used to make the survey, and could I use it to re-run the survey myself? Thanks a lot.

    Report comment

  37. Smithd546 says:

    I really enjoy the blog post. Great. ckcdedcddcbbeakg

    Report comment

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  42. Michael says:

    Your article on HeartMath was very helpful for me in evaluating a recommendation from a holistic therapist. Of course your credibility increased when I caught the Illuminatus references.

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  43. Megan says:

    So, “Scott,” I was reading one of your blog posts and I am wondering, who is this guy? So what are your qualifications? Why should I care, basically? Do you have an MD? PhD? Why is there no list of your credentials anywhere on this site?

    Report comment

  44. questioning says:

    Hey Scott,
    I’ve been instinctively pro-choice for most of my life, but a friend posited to me a scenario that I just can’t stop thinking about and was wondering on if you had any thoughts. It’s a bit complex, but (I think) potentially very important.

    The scenario is this: everyone agrees that, before conception, there is no person, and, after birth, there is a person. Murdering a person is the worst moral crime one can do. If I went to a hospital and stabbed a baby that had been born 1 second ago, that would be murder and indefensible. Thus, the proper context for the abortion debate is a disagreement over what constitutes a person and when/how personhood is achieved. We can even model this mathematically: 0 is ‘not a person’, 1 is a person, and we are attempting to settle when/how that 0 becomes a 1, or whether there are decimal places in between.

    Hard-right pro-lifers insist that 0 becomes a 1 at conception: that once conceived, there is a person, and thus abortion is by definition murder and must be banned in all/nearly all circumstances. Hard-left pro-choicers insist that 0 becomes a 1 at birth, and so all/nearly abortion restrictions are bad because they needlessly infringe on rights, such as the women’s right to her own body. Most people, when polled, are hesitant about abortion restrictions in the first trimester, but are significantly more open to such restrictions in the third trimester, so we can infer that most people seem to have some sort of implied exponential function with time-to-birth on the x axis and 0-to-1 on the y axis. Center-right pro-lifers tend to have a more logarithmic function.

    The idea that gets me is that all of these functions (instant jump to 1, logarithmic function, a linear function, exponential function, jump to 1 at birth) seem to be pretty arbitrary; I honestly can’t find ethical principles that can push for one form to be superior to any other functional form. One can argue about the nature of the fetus, the start of a heartbeat, the ability to feel pain, etc, and about what that implies for the start of personhood, but none of these arguments seem to be convincing over any other criteria. By this line of thought, most opinion on abortion seems to be pretty arbitrary. Why should we have limits in the third trimester but not the second? But isn’t it just as arbitrary to limit it in the second trimester but not the first? Given the wash of biological facts and conflicting ethical principles, it seems to me that basically any opinion on abortion can be rationalized in a way that is equally good (or bad) as rationalization for different opinions on abortion. Thoughts?

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  45. Mike says:

    Hey Scott, I’m a long-time reader and I think your blog is frequently exceptional. I recently re-read your post on Moloch and it nearly (actually) brought me to tears. Let me know if you’re ever in NYC; I’d love to buy you a drink (or a falafel, or whatever) if you’re up here.

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  46. oOOOo says:

    Tom Riddle, is that you?

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  47. Sandman says:

    What a great Sat am find your site was today! I was directed here from Marginal Revolution. I enjoyed the recent “evil cardiologist” piece. And the piece about wildly variable drug costs was eye-opening. I plan to ask our navigators if they’re are advising our cancer patients about this. Btw, I’m a pathologist here in TN. Sounds like you’re an ER doc.

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  48. Laura H. Chapman says:

    NO CLARITY AROUND GROWTH MINDSET…YET

    Just discover your discussion of mindset. I am delighted to find that I am not the only skeptic, especially since the mindset thingy has been thoroughly commercialized by the author and is being marketed to schools as “Brainology” with some god-awful graphics, complete package of worksheets, videos, etc for $6000. I work in arts education and have been looking at the PR being targeted at teachers and kids about having insufficient “grit,” not having a growth mindset, not purring forth enough effort, not practicing enough, not passing the marshmallow test by age three. It is bad enough to hear this mantra of more effort and practice and “can-do” mindset as as if that is a panacea from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, worse to see the phrase propagated by Carol Dweck with a huge aura of prestige from Stanford.

    Report comment

  49. David J. Balan says:

    Hi Scott,

    My name is David Balan. I used to be an occasional poster on OB and LW. Big fan!

    There is a working paper by Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard entitled “Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness?” that I thought you might be interested in, for obvious reasons. I’d be happy to send it to you, but I don’t know how to add an attachment to this email.

    The world is in desperate, aching need of wise, rational, and compassionate psychiatrists. So Kudos!

    Dave

    P.S. A post that I would love to see someday, if you ever feel like writing it, is how you think the allocation of medical talent among specialties compares to what would be the socially optimal allocation. It seems to me like the allocation is pretty out of whack. For example, my dad spent about six weeks in the ICU before he died, and the intensivists looked to me like they made tons of life-and-death decisions every day, which made me think that probably some of the most talented docs should be intensivists, but my understanding is that it pays relatively poorly, and so (though ours was excellent) the best students mostly don’t go into it. In contrast, some of the high-money specialties that attract a lot of top talent seem like they don’t add nearly as much value. But maybe I’m wrong.

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  50. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

    Report comment

  51. Dean Hud says:

    I live in Texas where I find a curious phenomenon. A sizable number of Texans seem to think it is their constitutional right to openly carry a gun… presumably to shoot other humans, as they see fit, to defend themselves or someone else they believe in.
    And yet when I claim I have the right to die, when and how I want, some of these same citizens begin to froth at the mouth at the mere mention of my planning my own death.
    Can someone help me understand this seeming paradox.

    Report comment

  52. Not John Sidles says:

    Test. [b]Bold test.[/b] Bold test 2.

    Report comment

  53. Iron Man says:

    Hi Scott. Is there a way to subscribe to your blog?

    Report comment

  54. rpatel says:

    Scott, I just recently got linked to your blog through a tweet by Paul Bloom. I just want to say I am blown away by your intelligence. I am a graduate student at a top 30 school, and I graduated summa cum laude from a top 30 school, but your mind blows mine out of the water. I don’t know how you have so much RANGE and cover so many ideas with so much depth. It is incredibly impressive. Almost too impressive, as I don’t think I will ever be able to catch up on all your posts. But either way, I just want to say im impressed. Can we switch genes? How do you do this? Are you reading every hour of the day you are not with patients?
    Patel

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  55. Giovanna says:

    I just found “Slate Star Codex” yesterday evening and stayed up reading until 7 AM this morning, which is HIGHLY unusual for me, because I usually fall asleep at around 11 PM. What an absolutely wonderful, intelligent, thought-provoking site! Wishing you all the best. And I’m going to keep hanging around here. 🙂

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  56. Belle Milligan says:

    Hello Scott! I really enjoyed your I CAN TOLERATE ANYTHING BUT THE OUTGROUP essay and would like to cite you in one of my college essays but I need to be able to show that you’re credible. Do you have some kind of “about me” section that talks about your education and/or career/achievements? I would very much appreciate it!

    Report comment

  57. Scott, I like your blog.

    Your writing style is somewhat unique. What is your age? Have you spent many years developing this skill?

    Report comment

  58. Skeet M. Singleton says:

    Dear Sir,

    I have read your “I can tolerate anything except the outgroup” post multiple times since discovering it for the first time via a friend two days ago. I identify as a liberal republican who has spent much of his life traveling back and forth from the south, to the east, midwest and outside the country. I have been trying to write a book titled “I’m not sorry I’m an apologist” about how political apologism gets a bad wrap, and then use this as a pretext to bridge both sides of the political divide. (I am failing miserably, but mostly because it is not strictly academic — oh, and I’m a graduate economics student.)

    I don’t have a specific question yet, but nary worry I will find one. In the meantime I wanted to give you a shout out and perhaps find time to Skype for 15-30 minutes, and maybe take your temperature on my attempts to produce a balanced budget that could garner bipartisan support.

    By the way, I also do serious research on cross border effects of monetary policy and fiscal policy, the rationality of “bubbles”, and asset pricing.

    Thank you for your time!

    Report comment

  59. Andy Bell says:

    Hello,

    I was poking around today and came across your article: As iron curtain has descended upon psychopharmacology- http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/08/16/an-iron-curtain-has-descended-upon-psychopharmacology/. Excellent article by the way.

    In fact, it inspired us to create an page on stacks for cognitive enhancement: http://peaknootropics.com/

    I’d be tickled pink if you’d consider adding it to your page.

    I look forward hearing from you.

    Thank you,
    Regards,
    – Andy.

    Report comment

  60. I read your post titled “I can tolerate anything except the outgroup”, and I find it quite thought provoking.

    As a Brazilian, I find that Dark Matter has been materialising around me in a quite sudden way. Where does all this deep seethed right-wing reactionarism come from, which was so well concealed for so many decades? Is it because the local bien-pensants now can no longer have house maids? Or because now they have to share plane trips with those they have traditionally seen as their inferiors?

    What happens when universes clash?

    Report comment

  61. Dr. Toboggan says:

    What the hell is a “slant anagram”? I googled to no avail.

    (Matter of fact there were only 10 results or so, including this page. Talk about obscure.)

    Report comment

  62. Douglas says:

    In regards to your suicide article.

    Just because people might regret their actions does not mean they don’t have the freedom to make them. Almost every smoker on their deathbed regret they moment the began lighting up. Granted, smoking takes far longer to kill and you have many opportunities to quit. But many don’t simply because nicotine is highly addictive.

    Mental illness does not equal incompetency. I would argue that majority of people with depression are in fact competent. That alone should be the determining criteria for allowing their freedom. Whether the suicide is “rational” or not is irrelevant. People have the freedom to make irrational decisions.

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  63. Julia Burns says:

    One day after you get as old as I am. you may or may not wake up hungry. With no money and no food. You paid all your wages out in rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes. What does a person do? Prior to minimum wage (1938) my grandfather worked for $1.00 – $10.00 for more than 40 hours per week. He was barely able to feed a family of four. He was a sharecropper before working in the big city. When he was hurt on the job, he was out of luck. My grandmother, who was crippled the majority of her life, ended up working at any job she could get. The minimum wage came along. They had a break for once. They all including my parents have been gone for a while from this earth. I am older and live off of less than minimum wage. Had it not been for my children, I would be homeless. I make a little over about $5 to $10 dollars a month too much to qualify for government assistance. Oh well that is the life I have been dealt. I am not bitter about it because I enjoy everything and have a wonderfully positive attitude. I am sick and had to retire. We you get my age maybe things will be seen differently through your eyes. By the way, why don’t you use your real name? What is there to hide from?

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  64. Mikhail Ramendik says:

    I just got into old monumental posts that seem to have their comments closed (or something is malfunctioning here) and wanted to dump a couple of notes on them, in case you would possibly see them as good enough to be permitted.

    Re Anti-Reactionary FAQ: “Michael and Moldbug cannot bring up examples of these countries killing millions of their own people, because such examples do not exist.”

    I’m not a Reactionary (*). But if they cannot, I can bring one up. The Great Famine of Ireland. This was a direct result of British policy and it killed at least a million of the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland -I would call them “citizens” but I think the word did not yet exist in UK law back then. Ireland was emphatically NOT a colony, it was called the United Kingdom for a reason.

    Re the Planet-sized Nutshell: “a real Reactionary would hasten to add this is more proof that progressives control everything. Because immigration favors progressivism, any opposition to it is racist, but the second we discover the hyperborder with Conservia, the establishment will figure out some reason why allowing immigration is racist. Maybe they can call it “inverse colonialism” or something.”

    Sorry but this hypothetical “real Reactionary” assertion is counterfactual, and was so in 2013. While in the USA, Progressives welcome Mexicans who are Progressive, in Europe they welcome Middle Eastern Muslims, who are, in fact, reactionary. At least with a small “r” – but I dowonder if, upon learning more of Islam and Sharia, some Reactionaries might consider a conversion, as the assertion that a 7th century comprehensive system of law would work very well for a modern society is a cornerstone of fundamentalist Islam.

    Fundamentalist Muslims are known in Europe for things like harassing gay people. They are far from leftist, and yet, the leftists do welcome them.

    (*) re Reactionaries, I do share their default distrust of revolution and their admiration for the American Loyalist side (not to be confused with the much more recent movement in Northern Ireland of the same name) – but not much else. For example, while Moldbug seems to think American Loyalism has disappeared, I happen to know where Canada came from, and yes, it seems to work better than the USA. Yup, a very Progressive place – but that’s what many Loyalists actually *were*, what with their distrust of slavery, what with the fact that their Empire abolished slavery 30 years befure the USA and without needing a bloody conflict to accomplish the feat.

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  65. Diane Ravitch says:

    Scott, thanks for your interesting and amusing review of the VAM debate.
    You left out one very important point: 70% of teachers do not teach tested subjects and therefore do not have test score data. States have dealt with that critical problem by assigning the scores to them of students they never met in subjects they don’t teach.

    Diane Ravitch

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  66. Shino-chan says:

    Just started reading. med student

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  67. Just read your piece on Serzone and the lunacy of medical culture with its overblown fears of rare, severe side effects, yet willingness to blithely cause great harm by mindlessly putting thousands on meds like Zyprexa or Seroquel. I am a 58 year old Psychiatrist in Salt Lake City (Stanford residency, Dartmouth Fellowship, a brief academic career at UVa, blah, blah), and I rarely come across something as well done as your piece– brilliant! (I’m skeptical about QALY-type comparisons, but at least its a stab in the rational-empiricist direction). Just so you know, there are some of us docs out there who still use nefazodone– I use it regularly. I give patients the “1 in 300,000 pt-years” figure, tell them “if you’re willing to drive on the freeway, you’re taking a much greater risk of being killed”, etc. I’ve put hundreds, maybe even a thousand, pts on it over the years. Never saw so much as a hint of jaundice, though I’ve had a few who bumped their liver enzymes by a factor of 2 or 3. As one of 2 meds we have available that don’t cause sexual side effects, coupled with its salutary effects on sleep and anxiety, it is MASSIVELY underutilized. I am really looking forward to reading some more of your stuff. Keep up the good work!

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  68. dont know where else to post this says:

    Typo in rabbit hole story:
    You see enough geology to give scientists back on Earth excitement-induced seizures for the NEST hundred years, if only you were to tell them about it, which you don’t.

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