Ethics Edition. “There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide” (SEP).
(Non-)Assisted suicide never stopped tripping up people, caught between religion, law, politics - and personal happenstance.
Paul Graham argues to take “Life is short” seriously, and actively choose your focus..
In a similar vein, I now don’t link to HN discussions anymore, except if they are worthwhile on their own. Even in the shallow world of pointers, providing sources of links is usually a service to the reader. But I dislike vitriol and unproductive uncharitable readings more than I used to, and so - for now - most HN discussions are out. Search HN provides all (and all previous) discussions of any article.
The Zika virus has invaded Brazil and other Central/South American countries. Now El Salvador issues a request for delaying pregnancies, implicating that the risks from the number of expected heavy birth defects outweigh individual joy and social contracts. (It’s still a voluntary choice.) Someone on HN uses their thumb to calculate relative risk, and it seems high. I tried sourcing the numbers, but quick googling did not help for primary sources, but at least there are some secondaries, #1 for general birth rate and #2 for number of infections. Numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt, but they would need to be off by two orders of magnitude to be “not alarming”.
Ethics (not) in computers. Would you press enter? I have been grappling with the issue of privacy for a long time, and while I’m far more actively-pro-privacy then most of non-IT-guy’s, I think privacy is not a terminal value (see the position of the ¬), but that doesn’t make anything any easier.
Search for “Yes Minister” and “Would you press the button?” for video pointers. Among “wasted” time, this is well.
Our Austrian government follows the prime directive of Austrian economics, thou can’t predict a thing. And so it enacts - with hope, but not prejudice - a directive that prescribes rather then predicts, or something mumble immigrants mumble too many. I doubt it takes the idea of numbers seriously (German).
Others also don’t take numbers seriously, for instance the press relations department of science institutions. As if upper-case Science couldn’t stink on its own. Does science need investigative science journalism?
Given our knowledge of the biosphere, I worry about unplanned, uncontrolled population decimations (German). Original and English: Nature Communications.
Profits are more important than accurate information, humans be damned.
Finally, some less tormenting stuff.
The Big Short. It’s only about the financial services collapse of 2007.
And now we know the number of valid 19x19 Go board positions!