I also appreciate Zvi. And regarding your tooth: you have my sympathy.
My understanding is that global public policy, and supply chains, and so on have nothing to do with the FDA’s official powers.
However, the whole thing is a dumpster fire, and the FDA technically has a legislative mandate to control the legal right to buy “water hoses”, which makes them the focal point during the dumpster fire.
In a deep sense, every person who dies because of a legally delayed treatment, or delayed testing, or very expensive manufacturing that putting life saving medicine out of their reach… is dead because of the FDA.
Since the FDA itself is not safe or effective eventually we will repeal the Kefauver-Harris amendment (which authorizes the FDAs current existence). By the time this happens, some people (the ones able to experience shame?) who worked at the FDA will be hiding the fact that they worked there because it will be a mark of shame.
But in the meantime...
...in the meantime the FDA is a bunch of doctors and biologists and statisticians who have the right to vote medicines “off the island”. NOTE: they have almost no economists.
(In theory, the FDA has a positive role covering the asses of doctors who can’t be bothered to read the primary literature themselves when pill pushers try to sell them on selling a new pill to random patients? If doctors actually were competent, we wouldn’t need an FDA. But if you think doctors are competent, why have an FDA? (But then again: if doctors are incompetent, the FDA can’t save you by itself. (None of it makes sense. No one smart can defend any of it that I’ve been able to find.)))
The FDA’s formal right is to veto “drugs” and “medical devices” and “biologics” by default. They just ignore a request for authorization, and until they act, the thing is illegal.
Then, if someone trying to bring a medicine to market gets pushy, they can be rejected explicitly by saying that a positive burden of proof has not been met, wherein they report enough evidence, described with enough paperwork, in studies pre-registered with the FDA, etc, etc, etc.
The official question is whether the medicine is “Safe(TM)” and also “Effective(TM)” but these concepts are totally bullshit.
They can Goodheart these concepts to mean anything they want them to mean in practice. All medicine is unsafe at the wrong dose, for example. If the placebo effect is real, then in some sense all placebos are kind of effective… But they don’t want to authorize placebos… That’s the opposite of the kind of monopoly maintenance they want to do… And so on.
People (including the CDC, or the President, or Medicare, or anyone) can ask the FDA to put their finger on the scale for any reason, including bad reasons as well as potentially good reasons. Also: any of them can leak stuff to the press to badmouth the others. So the president, unless he’s careful, is actually weaker than the FDA, because there ain’t no way to vote any of them out...
Assuming friendly collusion among them all… Maybe they want to keep a drug out of Medicare coverage, because it might extend lives somewhat AND is definitely very expensive? It could be better for government budgets if the poor people (the ones on Medicare) just died quickly and cheaply. So then maybe the FDA could do something to help with this budget problem by denying that drug? It might sorta work… so long as no one worries too much about too many details?
Most medicine IS bullshit, and no one really cared for a long time. Robin Hanson was on about this for a long time in years gone by, but switched to other topics in the last ~5 years. No one cared.
Practically though: studies that randomly give people medical insurance (who otherwise had none) just find that they go to the doctor more, not that they have any better net health outcomes.
So since most medicine is overpriced bullshit anyway, the primary importance of it for the last 50 years has been who gets privileged access to the big fact juicy profits. The FDA controls the money spigot. So the FDA are the cockiest people in the room that everyone sucks up to. Everyone praises them because everyone wants money.
The deep deep problem is that it is fine for the FDA to regulate “the efficacy and safety of boob implants” and similar private medical bullshit…
...but good old fashioned public health (like “plagues and other communicable diseases”) is NOT fake. Antibiotics are real. Vaccines are real. These things radically improved life expectancy in previous centuries! They are some of the only real medicine that exists. It is hard to extract the full value of the goodness from customers… how much is the patient’s life worth? How much of that can be charged for?
If monopoly power applies here, the clearing price might be something “just barely less than all the patient’s money to keep the patient from having to sell themselves into slavery” or some such? So the real medicine, in a system that extracts profits using scarcity pricing power, will bankrupt essentially all the patients :-(
So we have this system to facilitate and protect monopolies based on “soft private medical fraud” where all cause mortality might well GO UP after an Intent To Treat, and that just means you designed your study wrong, and should have measured some other “Efficacy” outcome so you could get in on the gravy train of profits in an acceptably legal and refined way...
...and this system being “fine” is predicated on the essential uselessness of medicine in general… and then along comes covid and finally we Actually Needed New And Real Medicine Very Fast… and we can’t do it anymore? Not via normal processes :-(
Personally, I think Biden should go after the the FDA, so that no one else with more odious characteristics does first. Biden’s best trait is “going off script towards decent common sense”. If Trump goes after the FDA in his campaign in 2024, god help me I will vote for Trump. I will vote for anyone at the federal level who agrees with “FDA delenda est”.
We can’t eradicate covid because we don’t have the tools. We need mass testing at scale in regionally isolated places that can be turned into “green zones” and then kept green by making every human who tries to go into a green zone go through a stop-and-test-and-incubate-and-test-again gate. Once two zones are both green, the gates between them can relax.
That’s how SARS Version 1 was eradicated… but back then a simple temperature check was adequate because it was not infectious at low doses… it was only infectious at the high doses that occurred during the peak of the symptoms. So then after SARS Version 2 was built in a lab (with serial passage in humanized mice to optimize the ACE receptor attachment) it became infectious even before symptoms, and so it needs more complex testing :-(
(Biden should also go after Peter Daszak.)
But lots and lots and lots of of super cheap testing (with near zero “false negatives”) is the key here to cleaning up the spilt milk I think...
So can a mayor clean up the spilt milk for his own city? No. There is no mayor in the US could save his city this way… because there are no FDA approved tools that hit the necessary points in terms of testing price and testing scale.
And no company is likely to spend millions up front securing (from the FDA) a monopoly for testing systems with the right characteristics. The government itself is their only market, and is unlikely to buy, and if it bought eradication-focused test kits the company that paid for all the research that the FDA voted on at the end… would face an oligopsonistic buyer with non-trivial negotiating power.
The whole thing is insane, and baroque, and only could exist in a world where no one with actual power actually cared about any of it in a competent way :-(
It has all the flexibility and efficiency of communism, and all the charity and civic-mindedness of capitalism.
Mayors and governors should be able to simply hire a scientist and a doctor and build a public health system.
The FDA should not be able to veto this, but right now it can, and right now it is, de facto, actually vetoing stuff like this.
Hence: FDA delenda est. We must repeal the Kefauver-Harris amendment.
I think we will eventually beat covid. That is no reason to keep the FDA. The FDA is structurally broken and will kill more people the next time medical innovation could save lives. That’s what the FDA’s job actually amounts to: preventing life saving that lacks the confused pointless (monopoly-maintaining) sacred approval of the FDA.
Neat! I’ve never figured out the trick of getting value from a math paper but maybe this will help!
When reading a paper, orient your eyes towards the future whenever possible, like reading several words ahead in a game of TypeRacer. Scan the paper at a high level to understand the big picture, then read all the theorem and lemma statements to see how they fit together, and only then decide which weeds to get into. Only check a difficult computation once you already know what its payoff will be.
The way I read the papers that I can get something out of (which are all experimental papers that collect givens from the physical world) is: (1) read the abstract to figure out if downloading the PDF is worth the effort, (2) look at the figures and if the figures tell a story that might be important if true, then (3) double check by reading the conclusions to see if the authors know the story they are themselves trying to justify and then (4) read the methods to figure out if the experiment had subtle bullshit hiding in it that grossly invalidates the central idea, and finally (5) read the methods carefully to figure out how to copy their techniques.
In the olden days (maybe still true, I stopped bothering to try to verify this) computer science papers were totally garbage for the most part, because they never included the code or a link to the code, which is the only part of them that would help with step four or five “for really reals” and so all of academic CS was basically just a bunch of “real science” larping :-(
I’m interested in trying your technique on a few math papers. Do you know of any classics that would be good to practice on?
I think if you’re already onboard with “people made of software” then this part goes through with much less difficulty?
Is it imaginable that we could develop the technology to support multiple equivalents of today’s entire civilization, per atom available? Sure—but this would require a radical degree of transformation of our lives and societies, far beyond how much change we’ve seen over the course of human history to date.
Have you read Diaspora or Permutation City? Or heck, even just maybe Excession? Dragon’s Egg is kinda fun but (via the same data that leads to the Fermi Problem) can’t be true because if femtotechnological biology is real then… it already happened.
Maybe you have read this stuff, and its just that you’re writing for an audience with a limited imagination? Its hard for me to figure it out.
And every time I read commentary on what’s going on in the world, people are discussing how to arrange your seatbelt as comfortably as possible given that wearing one is part of life, or saying how the best moments in life are sitting with your family and watching the white lines whooshing by, or arguing about whose fault it is that there’s a background roar making it hard to hear each other.
Are you writing to and for those people? Or are you like me, trying to figure out where the cockpit (or the escape hatch) is and whether anyone has their hands on the wheel at all?
To your point, and adding another factor: I saw a talk on RL outcomes once, and I asked about the jittering, and I said that it looked to me like something a slightly blind person would do, trying to simulate “having a bigger paddle” in Breakout, to help compensate for being actually unsure about the position of the ball...
...and the speaker said that the demo ran all the frames, but the RL agent only saw every other frame, and so it did literally have a vision handicap in some sense, but it made training speed go faster and had been elided in the main talk as non-essential.
The point that “there is no resting move” (that uses less energy) is something I had independently thought of and so if you’re looking for someone to catch an error in your thinking, I would like to add a small bit of evidence the other way.
The point that “there is no chance of self-injury” (from dramatic movements) is something I had never heard before, and found insightful.
I upvoted you because you caused this response to be generated, which was informing to read, and I like informative things, and whatever generates informative things can’t be all bad <3
Thank you for that! :-)
However, I strongly disagree with your claim that LW’s audience is “uninformed” except in the generalized sense that nearly all humans are ignorant about nearly all detailed topics, and: yes, nearly all of the contributors to Lesswrong are humans and thus ignorant in general by default.
Based on my personal experiences, however, most people on Lesswrong are unusually well informed relative to numerous plausible baselines on a variety of topics relevant to good judgement and skilled prediction and computer science and similar topics.
Also, it seems like you used the word “alarmist” as though it deserved negative connotations, whereas I feel that having well designed methods for raising alarm and responding to real emergencies is critical to getting good outcomes in life, overall, in light of the non-Gaussian distribution of outcomes over events that is common to real world dynamical processes. So… “alarmism” could, depending on details, be good or bad or in between.
I think the generally disastrously incompetent response, by the world, to covid-19′s escape from a lab, and subsequent killing of millions of people, is a vivid illustration of a lack of competent admirable “alarmism” in the ambient culture. Thus I see Lesswrong as helpfully “counter-culture” here, and a net positive.
Also, even if the typical reader on Lesswrong is “more than normally uninformed and unskillfully alarmist” that does not coherently imply that exposing the audience to short, interesting, informative content about AI advances is a bad idea.
I think, in this sense, your model of discussion and decision making and debate assumes that adults can’t really discuss things productively, and so perhaps everything on the internet should proceed as if everyone is incompetent and only worthy of carefully crafted and highly manipulative speech?
And then perhaps the post above was not “cautiously manipulative enough” to suit your tastes?
Maybe I’m wrong in imputing this implicit claim to you?
And maybe I’m wrong to reject this claim in the places that I sometimes find it?
I’d be open to discussion here :-)
Finally, your claim that “you” (who actually? which people specifically?) somehow “have an AGI death cult going here” seems like it might be “relatively uninformed and relatively alarmist”?
Or maybe your own goal is to communicate an ad hominem and then feel good about it somehow? If you are not simply emoting, but actually have a robust model here then I’d be interested in hearing how it unpacks!
My own starting point in these regards tends to be the Bainbridge & Stark’s sociological model of cults from The Future Of Religion. Since positive cultural innovation has cult formation as a known negative attractor it is helpful, if one’s goal is to create positive-EV cultural innovations, to actively try to detect and ameliorate such tendencies.
For example, it is useful and healthy (in my opinion) to regularly survey one’s own beliefs and those of others using a lens where one ASSUMES (for the sake of exploratory discovery) that some of the beliefs exist to generate plausible IOUs for the delivery of goods that are hard-to-impossible to truly acquire and then to protect those beliefs from socially vivid falsification via the manipulation of tolerated rhetoric and social process. I regularly try to pop such bubbles in a human and gentle way when I see them starting to form in my ambient social community. If this is unwelcome I sometimes leave the community… and I’m here for now… and maybe I’m “doing it wrong” (which is totally possible) but if so then I would hope people explain to me what I’m doing wrong so I can learn n’stuff.
Every couple years I have run the Bonewits Checklist and it has never returned a score that was so high as to be worrisome (except for maybe parts of the F2F community in Berkeley two or three years on either side of Trump’s election maybe?) and many many many things in modern society get higher scores, as near as I can tell :-(
For example, huge swaths of academia seem to be to be almost entirely bullshit, and almost entirely to exist to maintain false compensators for the academics and those who fund them.
Also, nearly any effective political movement flirts with worryingly high Bonewits scores.
Also, any non-profit not run essentially entirely on the interest of a giant endowment will flirt with a higher Bonewits score.
Are you against all non-engineering academic science, and all non-profits, and all politics? Somehow I doubt this...
In general, I feel your take here is just not well formed to be useful, and if you were going to really put in the intellectual and moral elbow grease to sharpen the points into something helpfully actionable, you might need to read some, and actually think for a while?
Finally finally, the “death cult” part doesn’t even make sense… If you insist on using the noun “cult” then it is, if anything an instance of an extended and heterogeneous community opposed to dangerous robots and in favor of life.
Are you OK? A hypothesis here is that you might be having a bad time :-(
It feels to me like your comment here was something you could predict would not be well received and you posted it anyway.
Thus, from an emotional perspective, you have earned a modicum of my admiration for persisting through social fear into an expression of concern for the world’s larger wellbeing! I think that this core impulse is a source of much good in the world. As I said at the outset: I upvoted!
Please do not take my direct challenges to your numerous semi-implicit claims to be an attack. I’m trying to see if your morally praiseworthy impulses have a seed of epistemic validity, and help you articulate it better if it exists. First we learn, then we plan, then we act! If you can’t unpack your criticism into something cogently actionable, then maybe by talking it out we can improve the contents of our minds? :-)
Does yEd have the ability to:
(1) treat nodes as having “states” with a default prior probability and then
(2) treat directional node-to-node links as “relevant to reasoning about the states” and then
(3) put in some kind of numbers or formulas inspired by Bayes Rule for each link and then
(4) later edit the graph on the fly (with “do()” or “observe()” basically) to clamp some nodes to definite states and then
(5) show all the new state probabilities across all other nodes in the graph?
Your verbal appreciation is likewise appreciated, at least by me. I hesitated to publish.
I like the essay!
It seems good and helpful in general for noticing a positive thing that happened, in history, that could serve as a positive case study, and I learned a lot from reading it.
If there is maybe a missing piece… I don’t see a clear model of balancing tests? In this case it seems likely that the best path through the Friedman Spaghetti Diagram might have been selected, but like… HOW?
Everything has a cost, and everything has a benefit. Institution design is like chainsaw design: it can be done well or poorly. If safety is so great, then why not have infinite amounts of safety? Surely umeshisms for safety apply just as much as for being late to things?
I’m not sure exactly what the tradeoffs here are, but I think maybe (1) “fraud” and (2) “making it de facto illegal for marginally competent people to own or run businesses that aren’t particularly unsafe” might be more of a problem lately?
The fraud side of things is easier to illustrate, so I shall focus on that.
...working the example...
I would be quite surprised if there was LESS than $1B/year in worker’s comp fraud in the US but I would also be surprised if there was MORE than $1T/year.
Just hypothetically (to illustrate the math) if lives are worth $10,000,000=10^7 each and yet fraud per year amounted to $1,000,000,000,000=10^12 then (assuming we can take dollars as a valid unit of caring …and so on with “assume a spherical cow” simplifications) the two things would be a similar “amounts of badness to the common good” if there were 100,000 people=10^5 dying in industrial accidents every year.
Just be clear on the math: 10^12/10^7 = 10^(12-7) = 10^5 = 100,000.
I think the actual amount of fraud is maybe $3*10^10 and the actual amount of industrial deaths per year is roughly 5*10^3 lives? (The ratio I calculate is close enough to 1.0 that I’m slightly impressed. Did someone cause this? Who?)
But then also: just as cows are not spherical, similarly there’s almost certainly other costs or benefits to consider.
Maybe fraud isn’t even the worst part, because other things are worse or maybe fraud in such cases isn’t so bad because, I dunno… maybe stealing from insurance companies is somehow praiseworthy (and hilarious to watch when caught on tape)?
I don’t think this is true (the praiseworthy part is probably mostly false (the funny to watch part is kinda true))...
...humans engaged in moral discussion, are, in my experience, capable of incredible feats of mental gymnastics when the topic switches to differential benefits and losses, and the proper allocation of credit and blame. These topics are, empirically, not simple matters to reach agreement on.
I’m in favor of engineering things to be Intrinsically Safe because that’s just good design <3
I’m in favor of well designed nuclear power plants and against poorly designed nuclear power plants because: (1) cheap clean power is intrinsically awesome… unless (2) it causes a poisonous explosion by accident. But then like: Duh? Is this not obvious to someone?
I’m in favor of having properly designed BSL-5s (in rural places, surrounded by prison fences and a kill zone, with quarantine cottages so people on their way OUT according to Intrinscally Safe procedures have time for the longest possible disease to incubate inside them while they wait in the cottage for their second round of exit tests, and with armed guards who never enter the facility enforcing the boundary) and I’m even in favor of Gain-of-Function (GoF) research on horrible diseases… conditional on the research happening inside a BSL-5… because: (1) knowing how to treat and model and understand terrible communicable diseases is probably good, but then (2) spreading terrible communicable diseases by accident is bad, and then (3) intentionally spreading diseases around the world is even worse. But then like: Duh? Is this not obvious to someone?
The central problem feels to me like its that “obvious things are somehow not obvious to most people”?
Also, empirically, people cheat and lie for their own benefit a lot? But ALSO humans often deny that humans often cheat and lie for their own benefit! Its weird. Maybe Hanson understands it since he seems to have noticed big mechanistic chunks of related psychology so long ago.
Seeking: open source programs for editing and manipulating and displaying causal/bayesian graphs on a desktop with a mouse and keyboard. Sometimes I use Belief And Decision Networks (last updated in 2016) but I haven’t found and used two others of similar or greater or lesser quality to compare it against.
This was new to me too, and I didn’t like how muddy it made the waters. Thank you for the information! It bounds the badness, which is comforting <3
Newspapers are mostly garbage, and I do not, by default, admire their epistemic or typical “moral” standards.
To the degree that the first amendment is wise, it is by making sure that if evil powers are temporarily in control of the government, even then they can’t prevent the spread of the truth, because the tools for the spreading of truth are so clearly protected that even the spreaders of intellectual sewage are granted the right to operate.
Newspapers rake muck through exaggeration, and spread falsehoods, and bash people indirectly during political seasons, and build viewership via tabloid antics when no elections are at stake.
The whole thing is is essentially patrimonial with the Owner/CEOs and the CEO’s delegated Editors as the monarch-like rulers-over-the-mere-writers, with the powerful folk existing in a murky world of favors and dirty deals, and the minions towing the line as they must, because they are working stiffs who need a job, and some things are “above their pay grade”. This works for some things, like making ice cream and building houses. Capitalism, baby!
Lesswrong does not pay the writers that I’ve heard of? And Lesswrong doesn’t direct our writing. And I think probably: thank goodness for that?
I don’t consider it censorship if a newspaper and journalist agree to spike a story
Contrast this with my claim over in a cousin comment (which did not have the bold over there):
Certainly, if there is a call to be made, the call should be made by the author, not the mods.
I don’t want to harp too much on this bit, which feels close to the crux for me…
Reading above, Ruby claims to have the final say… and used her final say to say that it was the author’s say…
This is a beautiful waffle, and Ruby perhaps deserves a very prestigious and beautiful Reagan Clinton Trump Teflon Waffleiron Award for wiggling out of this mess without ceding power or offending very many people <3
But like: If Lesswrong was just definitely and clearly a patrimonial system, and the mods often spiked stories as a favor to rich guys, because maybe the mods want to make the rich guy comfortable, because the rich guys have power and could do favors in return...
...then I think maybe I would be done with Lesswrong?
I wrote a lot more words about the abstract principle here, but I think they can be boiled down to:
(1) Sending written things down the memory hole is a bad policy for a platform that isn’t just for commerce and shilling.
(2) I’m an inclusionist. Good people, cooperating to build pro-social communications infrastructure, should treat the censorship of truth as damage, and route around this damage.
(3) Lesswrong should not use people who aren’t actually that good (like most for-profit news organizations and those who work in them) as role models.
I remember noticing and appreciating The Big Lebowski more each time I watched it for the way the The Coen Brothers hid things in plain sight by simply upstaging key facts with hilarious portraits of vivid characters doing something slightly absurd after the character loses the plot, so if you follow just the characters (which is super easy, because it is a smorgasbord of roles for character actors) you miss the “continuities” that the character(s) also miss.
I’m curious what post was pulled. I had thought that Lesswrong was essentially free from censorship, but now I’m updating in the direction that it was just very effective at censorship, and maybe is therefore not a safe place to hang out.
Do you still endorse the thing that was pulled? Can you link to it here, or PM it to me?
I don’t think Lesswrong should censor things that aren’t obviously just spammy ads or botnets or such.
I don’t think making Sam Altman “more comfortable” is a valid reason to censor things.
If he didn’t want someone to take notes and spread the good ideas in them, he shouldn’t have been giving a speech to thoughtful and kind and morally scrupulous people.
Wild speculation follows for Bayeswatch 9 And Earlier, about what the arc might be, or might mean:
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You don’t realize that Bayeswatch is a textbook case of regulatory capture? There was a time when the visionaries of the world stood for freedom. Now it’s all about security,” said Sherine.“AI is an existential threat to all life in our future lightcone,” said Vi.“Bayeswatch is a threat to all freedom on Planet Earth,” said Sherine.“You’re a mad supervillain,” said Vi.“You’re a fascist thug,” said Sherine.“You’re going to kill humanity,” said Vi.“You’ve already killed your own,” said Sherine.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You don’t realize that Bayeswatch is a textbook case of regulatory capture? There was a time when the visionaries of the world stood for freedom. Now it’s all about security,” said Sherine.
“AI is an existential threat to all life in our future lightcone,” said Vi.
“Bayeswatch is a threat to all freedom on Planet Earth,” said Sherine.
“You’re a mad supervillain,” said Vi.
“You’re a fascist thug,” said Sherine.
“You’re going to kill humanity,” said Vi.
“You’ve already killed your own,” said Sherine.
BOOM! Who are the real baddies?
I was wondering what exactly episode 6 was about… And now I think it establishes a possible baseline of facts, such that it is logically possible that we just met… the real hero of the story?
Whether the-thing-that-takes-the-shape-of-Sherine is a freedom-fighting Hero or a mad Villain… seems like it could actually be an open question still?
Lots of details could matter, and the spareness of the writing only hints at what could be going on “for really reals”. But like: Vi has killed a bunch of children.
And Vi just blasted out the brains of a bunch of (maybe somewhat?) “innocent soldiers” just now in a pretty bloody and yet “affectively bloodless” way. And maybe some of the soldiers could have been walked around (and later cured) instead of shot? I’ve played Survival Horror video games: part of the fun is in seeing how many zombies you can avoid killing.
If that was a war, and if Vi and Sherine are “governments”, those soldiers were likely to be almost “civilian bystanders” in their “war”?
(Personally, I think that any extended pragmatic defense of on-going non-emergency moral anarchism breaks down into incoherence, and so maybe all irregular violence is a really bad sign in general, so under this perspective maybe any kind of Sherine-vs-Bayeswatch thing (with no deference to juries or laws or voters or courts or treaties or anything) would have to be ALL basically just villains-fighting-other-villains in a turf war of sorts? Judge Dredd fantasies aside, I think that judging and carrying-out-judgement, with a natural language API in between, recurs as a design pattern in many human societies for sociologically coherent reasons.)
And like, wasn’t there a meeting of all the leaders of the nations of the world a while back? What happened with that? Did anyone say anything coherent or interesting there?
Maybe Vi (and also Sherine?) needs to sit in a corner for a while and come into better reflective equilibrium with Morality And Goodness?
But for now, we know less about Sherine (though maybe she was that borg thing that murdered the lady in episode 5?) so it should be easier to be more confident about Vi than Sherine.
Second thoughts: if Vi is bad, I think that implies worse things about Miriam?
And then regarding the specific accusation of “regulatory capture”… how does Bayeswatch (1) raise funds or solicit input such that (2) various mostly-private-interest-pursuing entities could have used this interface to steganographically “essentially taken it over”, (3) on the down low, over time, (4) through a series of backroom deals that ratchet the larger organization into collusion with a tiny oligarchically influential fraction of private interests, (5) while the main organization lost the plot on a first order pursuit of a coherent vision of the public good?
Like if Sherine is right, I think there are details that haven’t been established yet...
This raises so many questions! It is like a meta-cliffhanger, where the next episode tells us what genre we’re even reading <3
The briefcase was a “mystery cliffhanger”. Now there’s a second cliffhanger with an unresolved plan afoot.
I like the series, and I can see how this could increase the readability for some, and this could cause more of what you want in the world I bet <3
Separately, liked the early ones ending on “the beat with the dramatic payoff”. Those earlier isolated episodes were like perfect little rings, with a big jewel, and everything in the ring organized to call attention to that jewel? The jewel being the central idea? Such ideas are a large part of what I seek in fiction like this, and which is wonderfully dense in your writing.
Thirdly: I love that you pushed out episode 9 so fast, because… cliffhanger!!! Arrgh!
“I was a volunteer at a rationalist emergency preparedness organization. We were like any other preppers except instead of just preparing for historical disasters like hurricanes we also prepared for future disasters like megaquakes and artificial pandemics. We had our own cowboy wetlab for inventing vaccines. I was mostly in it for the camping and to hang out with nerds.”
This is very cool. I wanna do this IRL.
I hope your mother has already, or will eventually, turn out to be securely preserved still. You have my sympathy.