Blog: The Wind-down

The Wind-down
The Wind-down
Date: 2019-Oct-28 17:17:59 EST

I'm doing my usual wind-down of my work mode before travel, taking some extra time off this week as I'm travelling for work to do three days of neuroscience collaboration at Janelia. Looking forward to that, but travel is exhausting and there are chores to do in prep for it. The timing for this travel means I won't be around for Halloween, and that's a bit of a bummer; some coworkers dress up (maybe I would've too had I been around) and that's fun to see. The travel also means I'm missing some IQ2US debates and some other stuff, although later tonight I'm going to a Sum 41 concert and that sounds fun. Tomorrow's a travel day.

Been feeling a little more social recently; I almost had a date sometime this week - saw someone on OkC who I was actually attracted to and started talking. We were making arrangements for the where when she shutdown her account. No messages or anything. In theory I should be annoyed, but I get that people usually do that when they've met somebody promising and want to shut out the other potentials. And I'm also just generally kinda scared of meeting someone too. I don't like being alone, but I'm very used to it and there's a lot of hassle and management of hopes and so on in trying to figure out if someone's good for me in my life. We can't skip all that with someone new, but I dread it at the same time I want its result - a stable, happy relationship with someone.

I've found a few good NYC social orgs that might have events through which I might meet somebody, or just have a good time. When I get back I'll get started with those.

Earlier this month I went to a Rights-and-Religions forum organised by groups that help people who are transitioning out of insular religious communities - in this case there were three orgs, one for ex-Muslims, one for ex-Amish, and one for ex-Haredim. I was mostly aware of this because Sarah Haider runs the ex-Muslim group and she's one of the interesting people I've followed on Twitter for a long time. The forum went well, and they're tackling some difficult social problems. This was my first time seeing some of the people there in person.


  • Reading an article on tipping: While I think it makes sense to not classify tipping as income for purposes of offsetting minimum wage (and to generally treat it as a side transaction directly between a consumer and employees), I don't think it should be abolished. Author's points are interesting, but I'd focus on two counterpoints. First and tailored tightly around Uber, there are some driver characteristics like body odour that are fixable by drivers and which, while they would not usually make the transit unacceptable if done badly, merit signalling for a better experience. Second and more generally, tips are a mechanism by which wealthy people can choose to pay more for a service. Our economy does not have a lot of structuring for that; we can tell vendors to keep the change, but that's monir and on the side and anything else is awkward. I see this possibility as desirable. There are some downsides to the tipping system (is customer judgement better for the worker than employer judgement? How often are either unfair and in what ways?) but overall I think it's worth keeping.
  • On that topic, I laud airplanes booting people who stink off planes.
  • I've written about this kind of thing before - I think it's positive that we start exploring this space of genetic alteration of humans. In my view it's unlikely that we ever will if we start the discussion on conditions, and unlike in editing crops or illnesses, the scope of work on fixing a defect is narrow and the benefits large. Given how many humans we produce and neglect in various ways, the chances that this would take the problems out of one or two stddevs from our existing range seems small.
  • That said, this advance, where people are growing human neutral tissue for various purposes, is something I think *should* be regulated and if we never decide to allow it, that would be fine. Unlike fixing defects, this has the potential to introduce all new realms of suffering.
  • I thought this was a fun article about a neat idea in art - remixing classic art with the muppets.