Lumpy is an undergraduate at some state college somewhere in the States. He isn't an interesting person and interesting things seldom happen to him.

Among his skills are such diverse elements as linguistic tomfoolery, procrastination, being terrible with computers yet running Linux anyway, a genial temperament and magnanimous spirit, a fairly swell necktie if he does say so himself, mounting dread, and quiet desperation.

Plays as a wizard in any table top or video game where that's an option, regardless of whether it's a [i]strong[/i] option. Has never failed a Hogwarts sorting test, of any sort or on any platform. (If you were about to say how one can't fail a sorting test . . . one surmises that you didn't make Ravenclaw.) Read The Fellowship, Two Towers, and Return of the King over the course of three sleepless days at age seven; couldn't keep down solid food after, because he'd forgotten to eat. Was really into the MBTI as a tweenager; thought it ridiculous how people said that no personality type was "better" than the others when ENTJ is clearly the most powerful. (Scored INFP, his self, but hey, one out of four isn't so bad. (However, found a better fit in INTP.)) Out of the Disney princesses Lumpy is Mulan--that is, if one is willing to trust BuzzFeed. Which, alas, one is not.

No, but seriously.

Mulan?? 0_o

If, despite this exhaustive list of traits and deeds, your burning question is left unanswered, send a missive in private. Should your quest be noble and intentions pure, it is said that Lumpyproletariat might respond in kind.

Wiki Contributions


Effective Altruism, Before the Memes Started

I enjoyed reading this; the format and content agreed with me--pun unintended.

Johannes Ackva: An update to our thinking on climate change

I shared this video with a Discord server and the response was positive. I was worried that no one would watch it, since it was forty minutes long; but apparently many people are more willing to watch a long video than read a short article (well, that could be rational; it probably takes them less time). 

How do I find people who really don't care about having more money?

Have you encountered the FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) movement? I think that Mr. Money Mustache's blog is the most central example, though I haven't exactly been plugged into the community.

There's also a reddit I know near nothing about:

They're a community characterized by turning their noses up at money and the things one can buy with it--they cut down their living expenses until they can afford to retire at a young age, and then do so.

Moral dilemma

I'm very glad to have helped in any way. Take care of yourself!

Moral dilemma

I know that people presenting Pascal's wager usually claim that the utility of being accepted to their favorite heaven or their least favorite hell is infinite--but I don't think it is. But we'll leave that aside, because as you point out other people believe that the utility of heaven is infinite and I could be mistaken.

(For the counter-argument that two people going to hell is worse than one, I would tend to think of it as some infinities being greater than others (as in mathematics).)

If different infinities are allowed to be better or worse than each other, than you shouldn't need to worry about heaven or hell! You should be focused on maximizing your odds of infinite utility by doing the things most likely to lead to such a state.

The odds of any given religion being true is very, very small. Especially considering that they are all logically inconsistent. The odds of me being an extraterrestrial being of phenomenal power, able to create heavens and hells, is substantially higher than Sunni Islam or the Church of England having the right of things. Because at least the idea isn't logically impossible. So making me happy with you is more important than abiding by the laws of any earthly religion. The chance of you being yourself an omnipotent alien who'll come into your power once you feel less tormented is larger than the odds of an earthly religion being true--because while it's a silly idea with no evidence backing it and the entire edifice of science flatly refuting it, at least it doesn't contradict itself.

But now that we're focusing on maximizing our odds of getting infinite utility, there are even more promising prospects than supposing impossible things about strangers or ourselves. The odds of future humans reversing entropy (or finding a way to make infinite computations using finite resources, or any other solution given trillions of years to think about it) is much higher than the odds of any of Earth's religions being true. So if we take that view, the most important thing one can do is maximize the odds of human civilization surviving and maximizing the daily positive utility of that future civilization.

Moral dilemma

I don't think that infinite utility or disutility is a common feature of Pascalian wagers, only a very large amount of utility or disutility. For instance, myself going to Hell isn't infinite disutility--there are worse things, such as two people going to hell. 

(Unless we consider a finite amount of utility or disutility extended perpetually to be an infinite amount, in which case everything we do is equally infinitely positive or negative utility and no good or bad deed is better or worse than any other good or bad deed. Which seems very wrong to me, though I admit I don't have a reason off the top of my head why that's the case.)

Once you've accepted Hell as a finite (though very large) disutility, you can multiply it by the (utterly minuscule) odds of a logically inconsistent religion being true and everything anyone knows about physics being wildly off base. 

Takeaways on US Policy Careers (Part 1): Paths to Impact and Personal Fit

I'm commenting here to make this post easier for me to find in the future, and also so that I'll be reminded of at random intervals in the future.

This Can't Go On

Thank you for writing this.

After I first read all the material on Cold Takes (well, I skimmed it--but only because you asked me to!) I figured that I wouldn't bother to keep up with new stuff as it comes out; what good would it do me? It was written for a general audience and I am not a general audience.

That attitude lasted until around the third time I found myself linking to or quoting from your blog as a starting point for conversations with the vastly inferentially removed. And, I've known about the blog less than a week.

Needless to say I'll be keeping up with what you write.

Undergraduate Making Life-Altering Choices While Sober, Please Advise

Thank you for linking me to Kelsey Piper--I haven't read Chris Olah's essay yet, but I'm sure I'd've thanked you for linking him too had I only. I'm going to give Focusmate a go; I've been meaning to set it up but procrastinated doing so long enough to generate an ugh field about that. Thank you for that, too.

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