The most illuminating comments on the ACX article (ie. those that weren’t written by salty leftists) was the ones pointing out that the other instances of “free cities” that worked out were all located by important trade routes or natural resources. Prospera isn’t, which limits the kinds of success it could have.
Or rather, it means that the only industries likely to succeed there are those which aren’t highly dependent on place. The most likely candidates are tech and medical tourism, and it’s not clear whether those alone are enough to sustain the place. (I suppose one should add regular, non-medical tourism, as well, which seems to me the main existing attraction on Roatan.) Nonetheless, I wish them luck.
The concept is definitely relational; no disagreement there.
My objection is more narrowly linguistic: the syntactic structure used to describe the “affordance” relationship is Object affords Action to Agent. All of your quotes from Wikipedia follow this example, eg. the “set of steps… does not afford climbing to the crawling infant” (emphasis mine). I find no examples of this syntactic structure being inverted to allow Agent affords Action. Consequently, it seems that the noun “affordance” is best applied to the Object’s side of this relationship, and not the Agent side, since the Object is the syntactic subject.
Conceptually, this does matter because the affordance relationship is non-symmetric: what the Object does (“affords”) is very different from what the Agent does! Aside from the syntactic objection, I think that it obscures the topic to have the same word used for both sides of a non-symmetrical relation. Your suggestion of using “have an affordance” is possibly usable though I still think that it invites confusion. I do like the phrase ” behavioural repertoire”, mentioned in another comment, but it does not lend itself to being verbed very well. Another suggestion might be “reciprocate” or “engage”: an Agent engages the affordance by carrying out the Action in the manner intended. (Does the existing literature have a verb that slots into this construction?)
I don’t know. Words are hard. I still think that it’s important to have different words for the Object’s and the Agent’s respective contributions to the activity.
My major problem with this use of the “affordance” terminology (which I’m mostly familiar with from the perspective of UX design) is that you are inverting the role of agent and object. In the original usage of the term, and affordance is something that the object has which both signals to the agent that an action is possible and makes that action easy to carry out. Most of your psychological examples make the “affordance” a property of the agent, referring to the agent’s predisposition and ability to carry out an action in a particular context. It’s not clear to me whether you even noticed that you inverted the locus in your extended examples.
This makes it hard for me to read your examples, and I wish we had a different word for the agent-focused notion of “affordance” and kept the original notion of “affordance” for the object-focused concept.
We could have been Australia by this point, with zero cases.
Could you really? With the US right there? Or was the US/Canada border closed? Because if it wasn’t, I don’t see how you could ever have avoided common recurring outbreaks.
WRT industrialism: I think that the issue is a difference of where it can arise versus what you can do with it once you have it. Early industrialism needed the cultural and material milieu of England and northern Europe in order to form, and a lot of the positive developments we associate with it are in fact baseline attributes of those regions. But once it had been developed, it could be exported to regions with a different cultural and political mix, and in those places it mostly just acted as a force multiplier.
This is very speculative, though.
This is kind of true, but taken seriously it only leaves “freedom” as an achievable goal, which I don’t think is right. I didn’t say much about it because it seems to me that this kind of weaponized safety is not a general feature of online communities, but rather a feature particular to the present moment, and the correct solution is on the openness axis: don’t let safetyists into your community, and kick them out quickly once they show their colors.
Also, the support for “safety” among these people is more on the level of slogan than actual practice. My experience is that groups which place a high priority on this version of “safety” are in fact riven with drama and strife. If you prioritise actual safety and not just the slogan, you’ll find you still have to kick out the people who constantly hide behind their version of “safety”.
Congrats on getting back, getting your shot, and enjoying your trip.
I endorse most of these predictions. And I actually don’t think it will take 16 years; by the end of the decade, Twitter usage will be regarded as a vice, though like smoking it might be something that a lot of people find difficult to quit.
On a related thought:
information from the internet is scrutinized by an AI for harmful/manipulative information before being shown to a user
This seems very likely, but arguably even worse, because the propaganda value of getting to train the bot would be immense. My prediction is that there will be more than one of these, and with one you use will be politically/tribally coded.
Externalities are a thing, and are the main reason why I’m taking any precautions at all. Nonetheless, the same factors which make my own risk small also make my ability to pass it on to others small. This risk is pretty far below the threshold at which I feel obligated to make extraordinary efforts to drive a small risk down to zero, especially as vaccination of the highest-risk populations continues. (I might pass it to someone at the grocery store, but the odds that I give it to someone who suffers serious consequences goes down as the most vulnerable people are vaccinated.)
As others have pointed out, there is definitely some risk, which I don’t deny. The question is: how much? And how much is it worth it to avoid that risk? My answer is “very little” and “not worth the trouble.”
I’m in the “won’t get vaccine until legally obligated” group. Since a lot of people seem to think this is baffling, let me explain my reasoning.
The main reason why people my age want to get the vaccine is to be able to resume their ordinary lives. This does not motivate me, because I already resumed my ordinary life nine months ago. I was completely WFH before the pandemic ever started, and my kids have been homeschooled for years, so I experienced no substantial disruption on those fronts. Like everyone else, I spent much of March and April completely confined to my house, but over the summer I gradually came to realise the following:
The risk of death or serious to someone of my age and health was 0.1% at most, and probably less
The per-weekly risk of catching COVID given my usual mix of activities was 1% at most, and probably less
And then I multiplied those two numbers together and realised that it wasn’t worth it to do any more than the easiest and most obvious things to reduce COVID risk. And so I’ve lived the period since then doing exactly the same kinds and number of activities that I would have before the pandemic, modulo some masks and temperature checks at grocery stores.
Under these conditions, what exactly is the benefit to me of getting vaccinated? I’d still have to mask in public, and my preferred restaurants still wouldn’t open for indoor dining. Save my dose for the people who are actually at risk. I won’t bother until there’s something I want to do that actually requires it.
To pick a nit: science accepts (or should accept) evidence which is not produced “via the scientific method”. Ordinary everyday experience, anecdotes from friends, historical records, intuitive arguments about “beauty” or “naturalness”, inferences from causal models, and pure math all contribute to scientific knowledge. The reason for privileging scientific experiment over most of these is not that the others cannot be evidence, but that rigorous experiment allows us to more thoroughly rule out alternate explanations and establish causation.
You probably already know this, but it’s worth reiterating given the context of the above.
Thanks, this (and the sister comment by Unnamed) makes perfect sense.
I agree that journalists misrepresent everyone; I disagree that the direction is mostly random, and it’s not random precisely because “a typical journalist already has the whole story written before they interview you”. In politically-charged situations (a category which includes an ever-growing number of things), this means that an interviewee who is on the same side as the journalist will get favorable representation, while an interviewee on the opposite side will get unfavorable representation. When writing about topics on which there is no particular political orthodoxy, the errors will be mostly random.
You could interview fairly but non-controversially, but this limits you to areas where there is not yet any widespread controversy, a small and shrinking territory.
The main issue here is that the people in question (heads of the FDA and CDC) are not really The People At The Top. They are bureaucrats promoted to the highest levels of the bureaucracy, and their attitudes and failures are those of career bureaucrats, not successful sociopaths (in the sense of Rao’s “Gervais Principle”).
I’m very confused by the notion of “not having a utility function”. My understanding of utility function is that it’s impossible not to have one, even if the function is implicit, subconscious, or something that wouldn’t be endorsed if it could be stated explicitly.
It seems like when you’re saying the CDC chair doesn’t have a utility function, you mean something like “the politics term in the utility function dominates all other terms”. But perhaps I’ve misunderstood you, or I misunderstand the meaning of “utility function” in this context.
This is good thinking, but I worry that implementation is going to run into major difficulties.
Having a journalist who does this has only a little value, but even having one journalist is actually kind of hard. The journalist will need to have support from his editor and the institution as a whole, both of which will need to accept the hit to respectability that will come from the perception that they promote cranks and conspiracy theorists. Hard to pull off. There are already people who are famous for interviewing contrarians and outsiders (this is Joe Rogan’s whole schtick), but that fact is precisely what keeps them from being taken seriously.
This sounds like a neat idea, and it would probably work for a small user base like LW or (tentatively) HN. But if it grew much beyond that size the political pressure on it would become extremely distorting. The object lesson of political fact-checking sites is illustrative here: there were a few weeks in which they were genuinely useful and non-partisan, before partisan tribal pressures turned them into a punchline.
Isn’t a vaccine a very clear example of “strengthening the human immune system”? Of course vaccines are more than 100 years old...
Lovely! I remember how stunned I was when I first realised that enumeration was a linguistic technology, and was furthermore a technology which had to be invented at a particular time and which not all communities share. Previously, I had assumed that counting was coeval with human language itself, and it was an enormous shift of perspective to realise that this is not the case.
It may be worthwhile to point out that a fully functional technology of enumeration also requires recursion: ie. the ability to count to arbitrarily high numbers by nesting signifiers in a way which implicitly involves concepts of addition and multiplication. The lack of the facility gives you languages in which one can count explicitly up to some low number but no higher, while the ability to recurse lets you count to twenty-three and six hundred eighty nine and four hundred fifty two thousand seven hundred twelve.
The fact that some advances exist is entirely consistent with the thesis that the overall rate of advance has slowed down, as the original article points out.