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Ugh, stop twitching
march 2011 Q&A digest
minutiae Posted 2011-04-05 17:53:20 by Jim Crawford
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You have an assassination time machine! Presently, it can go back to one of three times/places: 1. Rome, 44BC 2. Serbia, June 28, 1914 3. Ford's Theater April 14th 1865. Which do you choose and how does your day go?

So the implied question here is: which of the following is the worst thing? The fall of the Roman Empire; World War I; Andrew Johnson's purchase of the Alaska territory from Russia. And of those, I guess I'd go with the extinction of anything one might refer to as civilization for over a millennium.

That said, I'd say it's much more likely that the political and economic state of the world in general was pushing history toward each event, rather than the assassination of a single figure.

Thus my actual answer: Ford's Theater. I'll have a hell of a time ordering in restaurants if I don't even speak the language.

Do good people act the way they do because they are strong enough to have self control, or because they are weak enough that they must submit themselves to the herd mentality?
In my case, it's definitely a little of both.
Why do people procrastinate?
My favorite articulation of the idea is Eliezer Yudkowsky's: that the proximate pain of starting a task outweighs the distant pain of the consequences of not getting the task done.
Do you think it is possible to hate someone, if you know them completely?
With that out of the way: presumably you're talking about humans. Humans don't have the capacity to know their own selves fully, let alone someone else's self, so the question is impossible to answer in those terms.

But in terms of some arbitrary-constructed knowing/hating machine, sure, why not?

(With my actual answer out of the way, I should point out that, yes, I've also observed the correlation between alienness and distaste.)

What are your favorite types of questions to answer?
Looking at the questions I've answered here, it seems like the questions I've enjoyed most are the political/philosophical questions. But I might enjoy questions about music theory, or, like, game programming under MS-DOS, even more. Or questions about obscure facets of Nethack or Super Mario 64. Areas of expertise I don't get to exercise often enough, basically.

What is the best meal you've ever had?
I don't remember individual dishes so well. Any meal I'd pick would be one that was great for non-food reasons.

(Unfortunately, none of those come to mind either.)

What are the most important goal(s) of college education, and why?
As someone who didn't really go to college, the aspect I most regret missing out on is the social aspect. Dorm living is probably the closest our culture gets to the tribal villages of our environment of evolutionary adaptedness, and most of the friends I have, ten years out of school, I met in school met via friends I met in school; it would've been maybe a good idea to have four more years of friend-making.

(And they'd be field-of-study themed friends too, who do a career good.)

Can happiness be achieved without sacrifice?
I suppose you have to sacrifice sadness to achieve happiness?

In general, my perception is that ?happy? is something that you just are or aren't, regardless of your situation.

Over on Less Wrong, Lukeprog wrote a pretty robust howto on being happy:

He said ?Extroversion is among the best predictors of happiness, as are conscientiousness, agreeableness, self-esteem, and optimism.? None of these seem very sacrificey to me?

What do you consider to be 'You' as opposed to 'Everything else'?
The boundary is fuzzy, but I guess I draw the line at anything within the boundaries of or growing from my physical body. Hair counts. Bowel movements are fuzzy. My glasses don't count. My fillings do. I don't have piercings, but if I did, the bits of metal or what-have-you wouldn't count. I don't have tattoos, but if I did they would count.

What is your favorite kind of sandwich?
I've been letting this bounce around in my head. I really enjoyed the fried buttermilk chicken filet with spicy cole slaw from Gregoire's a couple weeks ago. And I love a good tuna melt. my mind keeps returning to the unassuming hamburger, and I think that that's probably my answer.

Thing is, I don't know how much of it is the actual ground-beef-patty part. (In fact, I almost always get ground turkey, nowadays.) I bet just special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun would rank pretty high there too. Or special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions in a crepe...

Are you pro, or anti, condiment?
The distinction being, I suppose, that condiments are added to the meal by the eater rather than by the preparer? Pro. They're like bombs in a shmup: a bit of leeway for a bad situation the designer couldn't foresee.

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