Solving Problems

There is a great list of problem solving techniques at the Seeing into the True Nature. They are all hilarious. Here are a few of my favorite.

  • Have you tried becoming the problem?
  • Have you tried not having been born?
  • Have you tried making the problem worse?
  • Have you tried dropping boxes of Modafinil all over the place?
  • Have you tried hiring the problem to afflict your enemies?
  • Have you tried making the problem into a brand?
  • Have you tried abolishing the concept of property so no one “has” any problems?
  • Have you tried praying for the courage to change the things you can?
  • Have you tried writing bitter letters to the editor explaining that you have solved the problem but academy politics torpedoed your career?
  • Have you tried renaming the problem a conjecture and moving on?

Many more great techniques at the link.


Scott Alexander on the Effective Altruism Movement

Scott Alexander has a wonderful piece on the Effective Altruism Movement based on his attendance at the 2017 EA conference. Though he starts the piece with a quote from Hunter S. Thompson it reads much more like David Foster Wallace (especially this and this).

The EA movement has a surprisingly strange set of research agendas that are best summed up in Scott’s comment about the salad he ate for lunch, “Born too late to eat meat guilt-free, born too early to get the technology that hacks directly into my brain and adds artificial positive valence to unpleasant experiences.”

I was also happy to see there was an organization responding to the arguments in this Journal of Practical Ethics article, “Consistent Vegetarianism and the Suffering of Wild Animals.”

WASR [Wild Animal Suffering Research] researches ways we can alleviate wild animal suffering, from euthanizing elderly elephants (probably not high-impact) to using more humane insecticides (recommended as an ‘interim solution’) to neutralizing predator species in order to relieve the suffering of prey (still has some thorny issues that need to be resolved).