top's recent activity

  1. Comment on The esoteric social movement behind this cycle’s most expensive House race in ~misc

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    I'm in the Effective Altruism community, and I actually helped with this campaign over the weekend! This article is factually correct, but I'm disappointed by the author front-loading others'...

    I'm in the Effective Altruism community, and I actually helped with this campaign over the weekend!

    This article is factually correct, but I'm disappointed by the author front-loading others' concerns, since many people won't read the whole article to see the explanations at the end. We really are doing our best to help everyone out!

    5 votes
  2. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    Yeah, that's fair. My apologies. I use reductions in my own personal reasoning quite a bit, but using it when talking to others is fraught. I suppose in a normal conversation, you could have...

    Yeah, that's fair. My apologies.

    I use reductions in my own personal reasoning quite a bit, but using it when talking to others is fraught. I suppose in a normal conversation, you could have stopped me right away and clarified, but in this asynchronous form, I go on for a while in the wrong direction without waiting for feedback. Ah well. I'll try to keep your criticisms in mind for next time.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    If you believe that nature was intelligently created: We are stewards, and good stewards don't factory farm. If the "natural order" of things is good, then we need to live our lives very...

    If you believe that nature was intelligently created: We are stewards, and good stewards don't factory farm. If the "natural order" of things is good, then we need to live our lives very differently. I'm not sure how to argue for addressing wild animal suffering, though. Maybe we're supposed to try our best to reduce wild animal suffering, too, in much the same way as the poor among us seem like a "natural" part of life, but they're actually a call to action and an opportunity to practice your ethical behavior.

    If you believe that nature came only from the emergent process of evolution: There's no reason to see it as inherently good. Cancer is natural. We are in an ethical and practical position to fight the very natural thing of cancer. If an elephant is slowly dying of a kidney infection, are you saying we're wrong to interfere by euthanizing or providing antibiotics? How about a thirsty doe on your lawn on a hot day. Is that natural and something to let be, or should you give her a bowl of water? I don't think we're practically able to address many kinds of wild animal suffering, but that doesn't mean it should be ethically ignored.

    I'm curious what you're lost on. I'm always trying to improve my communication and argument skills, and sometimes I just miss the mark! I also hope you're reading this as a good-faith discourse and not an attack. I'm very curious about your thoughts and justifications.

    larger conversation with parties unknown

    Yeah, I think I slipped a bit into providing reading material for everyone in the thread instead of just you. I do think everything I said was in some way applicable to your comment, and I do believe you have a stake in it, since pretty much every decision you make will impact others.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    Personally, I err on the side of assuming that qualia arise from any information processing, be it in a brain, a forest, or government, or a marble machine, somehow in proportion to complexity. I...

    There's chemical communication and nutrient exchange at the scale of ecosystems

    Personally, I err on the side of assuming that qualia arise from any information processing, be it in a brain, a forest, or government, or a marble machine, somehow in proportion to complexity. I don't think that qualia alone provide moral standing, though. I think that moral standing is instead related to suffering capacity. Humans have an immense potential for involuntary suffering, while an ant (or maybe a more appropriate unit is the whole colony?) likely has neutransmitters for distress, but I don't think there's any capacity for depression or worry or trauma.

    Not completely sure that that forms a cohesive basis for ethics, but it's a fun lens to look through at least, and it resolves some mysteries about how our brains give rise to a first-person experience with moral worth, while matching our intuition that a mouse has less worth.

    Another fun lens is uniqueness or entropy. There are countless arrangements of gas molecules in a box that have an identical macroscopic effect, with many many fewer arrangements into a crystal, so the gas has higher entropy. In addition to the rarity of life in the universe (just look at Earth's mass compared to its biomass), and the obvious ethical implications of preserving something unique, you could also consider emotions in a similar way. I think there might be way more ways to feel pain and suffering than ways to feel happiness and fulfillment, so maybe it follows that these are ethically better to pursue. If entropy drives morality though, it's morally wrong to boil water, albeit probably only by a little. Maybe when all the other stars have winked out and it's just one colony left in a universe close to heat death, then such frivolous increase in entropy would be more palpably bad since it speeds up the clock running out.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    shx responded to this (plants having moral standing) above, so I'll try to address other stuff: Veganism is about reducing harm, not eliminating it. You're right: it's not possible to live without...

    shx responded to this (plants having moral standing) above, so I'll try to address other stuff:

    Veganism is about reducing harm, not eliminating it. You're right: it's not possible to live without causing harm. Taking an evening stroll will result in stepping on countless bugs. Just be aware of these tradeoffs and decide if your convenience or pleasure is actually worth its cost.

    Part of that decision is knowing the suffering that went into it. Since we don't know what it's like to be a cow, this is a kind of guesswork. I'd rather "play it safe" and assume more moral value than less.

    Who are we to make arbitrary decisions[...]

    We have an insane amount of power to control our environment and other beings. We also have the most capable brains on Earth for making such executive decisions. This is a lot of responsibility and not something to take lightly.

    it's not ethical to keep living if you can't do it without harming something.

    Morality isn't binary. Regardless of your choices, you can't ever be 100% "in the clear". This is not a reason to throw up your hands and declare morality isn't worth considering. I think you're right about taking veganism to its logical conclusion IF you have a binary view of morality.

    animals have to kill to live.

    And animals eat their young and rape each other and all sorts of things that cause untold pain and suffering. That's how it is, not how it ought to be. Evolution runs on trauma and bloodshed, so Mother Nature is cruel and heartless. Don't point to predators as some sort of free pass for causing pain and death. How many millenia have humans lead suffering-focused lives of struggle and loss? Isn't that what nature intended? We should do what we can to minimize all that, in ourselves and others.

    Also a carnivore chasing down their prey is really quite different than a human browsing factory-farmed meats at the grocery store. If your life depends on hunting, go for it. Your life (probably) does not depend on eating commercially-produced meat, though.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on Introducing the PineNote, a high-end e-ink device from Pine64 in ~tech

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    Same screen dimensions and resolution as the Remarkable 2, and a very similar form factor. I have an RM2 and really like the screen and size, and it has a nice community of devs and modders....

    Same screen dimensions and resolution as the Remarkable 2, and a very similar form factor. I have an RM2 and really like the screen and size, and it has a nice community of devs and modders. Still, it's pretty tempting to sell it for a PineNote so I can run real desktop Linux stuff instead of the hacky homebrew apps.

    10 votes
  7. Comment on What keyboard do you use? in ~tech

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    I've been using a blank Planck with Workman for years! It's fantastic. I got mine with Zealios but quickly changed out the springs for 180g (I left the bottom row and the left and right columns at...

    I've been using a blank Planck with Workman for years! It's fantastic. I got mine with Zealios but quickly changed out the springs for 180g (I left the bottom row and the left and right columns at 78g though). My only complaint is that I can only barely feel the tactile bump at that force, and I haven't heard of a solution.

    I have some BOX Navies set aside for whatever's next. I really like the Mitosis keyboard someone on Reddit designed, but I haven't settled on exactly what design I'll use. Small, ortholinear, split, and wireless are my goals.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Amazon has been given free access to healthcare information collected by the NHS as part of a contract with the government. in ~health

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    I don't trust them to ethically use the data. I'm not sure I trust them to legally use the data.

    I don't trust them to ethically use the data. I'm not sure I trust them to legally use the data.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on Redox OS: Real hardware breakthroughs, and focusing on rustc in ~comp

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    How isolated is this project? Are advancements in a Rust microkernel going to make it to larger open source projects? I'm excited by the whole idea, but I can't tell how much it'll really affect...

    How isolated is this project? Are advancements in a Rust microkernel going to make it to larger open source projects? I'm excited by the whole idea, but I can't tell how much it'll really affect people who don't use Redox.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on China’s operating manuals for mass internment and arrest by algorithm in ~tech

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    How many of these articles have to come out before "but we're good trade partners!" stops being convincing?

    How many of these articles have to come out before "but we're good trade partners!" stops being convincing?

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Cows wearing VR headsets might produce better milk in ~science

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    In what sense is this not a problem we've created? This article is (unsurprisingly) biased toward the norm of animal cruelty.

    In a sense, it's a solution to a problem humans have created.

    In what sense is this not a problem we've created? This article is (unsurprisingly) biased toward the norm of animal cruelty.

    14 votes
  12. Comment on What editor/IDE do you use? in ~comp

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    I use ne, the nice editor. It's like nano in its "just type and it works" but like a GUI with visual menus at the top (when you press F1). Nice and fast, works well through ssh, configurable...

    I use ne, the nice editor. It's like nano in its "just type and it works" but like a GUI with visual menus at the top (when you press F1). Nice and fast, works well through ssh, configurable keybinding, easy macros, fairly standard keyboard shortcuts, the list goes on.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on Tallinn and Helsinki to harmonize their public transport networks – working towards the creation of a common ticketing system for both cities' buses in ~news

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    I wonder if the system will involve the Estonian e-ID system. It's world-class and too rare. If Finland adopted the same digital infrastructure, that'd be awesome.

    I wonder if the system will involve the Estonian e-ID system. It's world-class and too rare. If Finland adopted the same digital infrastructure, that'd be awesome.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on Fortnightly Programming Q&A Thread - 2019W40 in ~comp

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    Interesting! Thanks for the reply. I suppose because the sizes of uint8_t and uint16_t are implementation-specific? There might also be padding in the struct of uint8s that would prevent it from...

    Interesting! Thanks for the reply. I suppose because the sizes of uint8_t and uint16_t are implementation-specific? There might also be padding in the struct of uint8s that would prevent it from lining up.

    As for the issue of having a union defined differently in the header and implementation, why not just throw a compiler error if they're different sizes? I don't see how it would be any worse than having a function signature in the header that doesn't match.

    Anyway, I guess I'll go back to bit shifts! Why use functions instead of macros, though? The inline keyword can be ignored by the compiler, so macros are the only way to prevent unnecessary stack usage.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on Fortnightly Programming Q&A Thread - 2019W40 in ~comp

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    The data type is supposed to be an opaque handle; if it was modified, it'd be like changing a returned pointer. Therefore, I don't want any public interfaces to modify it or even describe its...

    The data type is supposed to be an opaque handle; if it was modified, it'd be like changing a returned pointer. Therefore, I don't want any public interfaces to modify it or even describe its internal structure.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Fortnightly Programming Q&A Thread - 2019W40 in ~comp

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    I have a C question that I had trouble looking up. Is there a way to define a union in a header, then in the implementation redefine it with more members (as long as the public and private unions...

    I have a C question that I had trouble looking up. Is there a way to define a union in a header, then in the implementation redefine it with more members (as long as the public and private unions have the same size)?

    I want to publicly present a uint16, but privately be able to refer to the upper and lower uint8. Right now I just define the private union separately and cast between them, but that feels bad.

    Before using unions, I used macros with bitshifts to set and get the lower and upper portions, but that's even less safe.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on Reinventing Home Directories in ~tech

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    Sounds kinda nice to me... Some people already have their home directory in a separate partition, so making that an encrypted loopback fs sounds like a reasonable step. The only thing that really...

    Sounds kinda nice to me... Some people already have their home directory in a separate partition, so making that an encrypted loopback fs sounds like a reasonable step. The only thing that really changes is the process of creating accounts and logging in, which can be handled by systemd anyway.

    Everything about the "sidecar" databases sounds optional and the most likely to break stuff.

    Edit: to be clear, I'm not a fan of solutions like systemd that ignore the Unix philosophy. It sounds like making your home directory an encrypted loopback fits just fine with modularity and interoperability, though. I'd be happy to see homed flop and be replaced by some small shell script that does the decryption and mounting at login time.

    7 votes
  18. Comment on Pentagon will deploy US forces to the Middle East after Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities in ~news

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    Good to see the US protecting what needs to be protected! /s

    Good to see the US protecting what needs to be protected!

    /s

  19. Comment on Why I Write Games in C (yes, C) in ~games.game_design

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    I really like this bit. I use C for my personal projects and this really highlights why.

    As per most higher level languages they have a tendency to hide away complexity in a way that doesn't actually prevent it from biting you.

    I really like this bit. I use C for my personal projects and this really highlights why.

    7 votes
  20. Comment on Bernie Sanders wants to put credit reporting companies like Equifax out of business and replace them with a public credit registry in ~finance

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    Sounds nice. I never (meaningfully) consented to having all my transactions monitored by for-profit institutions. Making it centralized and governmental at least makes it easier to legislate...

    Sounds nice. I never (meaningfully) consented to having all my transactions monitored by for-profit institutions. Making it centralized and governmental at least makes it easier to legislate security requirements. The data's available to the government anyway, so no loss there.

    23 votes