Eric Blair

Utilitarian, nihilish, Superforecaster, dog lover, trivia junkie, Chiefs fan, philosophy-chatting extraordinaire

Topic Contributions

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Arbitrage is a fun word

You're absolutely correct. Time, fuel, and back pain are all required inputs in my case. However, I look at it at the margin. In my case, while I would have put in less time, fuel, and back pain using the same amount of money to acquire relevant goods, I treat those as akin to fixed costs. There's more time going from store to store, a bit more gas than I would have used with less cargo, and my back was going to hurt anyway. But since I had already made the decision that I was going to continue to do this, the real additional costs are only the marginal differences from what I was going to do in the first place. What I collected for 2022 already, just for the paper alone, would sell at retail for about $2,600 (paid about $400). So, even if I "paid" myself $150/hr, the retail value conveyed would have been greater than my expenses, including labor.

Socrates Café: A Different Approach to Discussion

Thanks, Owen. I agree that this approach lends itself to a lot of experimentation. While the "usual" approach (often) doesn't lend itself to a final consensus at the end of a session, I think doing this with a more defined purpose for EA participants would be relatively straightforward. I have some thoughts on how to best execute it, perhaps including a survey element for participants before and after a session or sessions. If you're interested in more particulars and nuances, I would be happy to share thoughts and ideas on a call or other correspondence.

Arguments for Why Preventing Human Extinction is Wrong

Forgive me if what I'm about to suggest is implicit elsewhere, but let's look at what I see as a key premise: humans "being" is a good thing. It's easy to go from there to look instead why humans being may not be a good thing, but why not go the other direction? What if there is A) the being of something else, another form of life/consciousness/whatever, that is a "better being" than "humans being," and 2) the existence of humans is somehow prejudicial or detrimental to the existence and prosperity of that "better being?" This may be something already in existence or expected to be in existence, but with that premise, couldn't you argue that human extinction would itself be a good by perpetuating a better "being?" 

More succinctly put, what if getting humans out of the way gives rise to something better than humans? This can easily devolve into claims of racial superiority within humanity and other assorted BS, but I'm thinking of homo sapiens versus something different (maybe call them neo sapiens, borrowing from what I recall was a mediocre cartoon called Exosquad), either another step on the evolutionary ladder, Skynet, etc.).

A New Idea for Financing Philanthropy

Originally, the idea was to do it to raise money for local food banks, but this could be adapted for most any charitable purpose. In theory, this could be for one particular charity (e.g., Feeding America), but my preference (in a magical world where I get everything I want) currently sits with a stand-alone organization or as a project/subsidiary of a larger foundation. This separate entity would set standards, collect and catalog all of the artwork, and possibly host the online auction. I'm thinking a base fee + a small percentage of the auctions would go to operating this entity, and the rest would go to the eligible charity of the artist's choice. 

However, that would take a good deal of start-up investment and some rock-solid marketing capital. Sticking in the sports realm, if the MLBPA/NFLPA/etc. wanted to do this, we could utilize their existing infrastructure for the auctions (thinking "My Cleats, My Cause"-type operations).