Ultimate punishment

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I find it tough to accept modern views that truly severe crimes can potentially be punishable by death, but certainly not by slavery. In all fairness the death penalty is primarily an American institution at this point (other countries have 

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http://xkcd.com/1074/

Review

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Why does one experience so much akrasia in trying to revisit past insights? Maybe it’s something only I experience, but I doubt it. When reading I try to mark, comment, flag, etc. deep/interesting insights. While consuming them my brain is 

DNA Carriers

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Fundamentally, we are very complex machines evolved to carry pieces of our DNA forward through time http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology.html

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

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A thought provoking documentary series and I agree with a lot of the underlying ideas. I think they’ve missed the main point though. Humans, societies, just like animals and the ecosystem, are inherently very dynamic and unstable systems. Left alone, nature 

Octopi

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I love reading about them for some reason http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6474/

the territory

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What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t 

Vanity

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Is vanity (specifically in the sense of attractiveness) solely a function of sexual competition and for purposes of arousal? Would we find a lack of vanity in a society of equally well-off (to prevent status competitions for non-sexual goods) asexual 

LW Sequence notes – Mysterious answers to mysterious questions (Part 1)

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I’m reading the LessWrong Sequences from the beginning. Most of them are a repeat for me but there may be some sections I skipped originally, and of course plenty of things forgotten. The sequences provide stepping stones of logic to help 

Self-awareness as a level of sentience

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Can we define physically independent entities that experience self-awareness as separate highly sentient beings *worth caring about*? Humans possess a dense cluster of nerve cell in their brain with the comparative minority spread out throughout the body and gut. Throughout 

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