Empathy and Heroic Responsibility

(Faithful readers: You can now subscribe to this blog!)

 

My last two posts for Applied Sentience are up:

http://appliedsentience.com/2015/05/29/moral-heroism-pt-1-empathys-faults-heroism-to-the-rescue/

http://appliedsentience.com/2015/07/06/moral-heroism-pt-ii-how-to-become-a-hero-or-at-least-get-started/

Within, I discuss some thoughts I’ve had recently on the problems with empathy, and how we need another layer of moral feeling on top of empathy — for which I borrow the term “heroic responsibility” from Eliezer Yudkowsky — if we want to do good in difficult situations.

The posts total about 2500 words, but this post provides a brief summary.

Continue reading

The Best Books of My 2014

What is the point of writing a “best books of the year” list?

If you are Amazon or the New York Times — and if you are, how are you reading this, you enormous corporation? — you write the list because you expect that people will buy books from you, or at least listen to you, no matter what you recommend.

I do not expect either of those things to happen. At best, the person reading this might decide to look up a single free story on the internet, or check out a single book from the library.

Thus, I’ve sorted this list into a series of “bests”: a Best Graphic Novel for people who like those, a Best Book About Selling Stuff for people who like those, and so on. Whoever you are, I’d probably recommend many of these books to you. And some of them are free, including my #1 for the whole year!

If you’d like to see a list of every book I remember reading, check out my Goodreads account.

 

The Best Books of My 2014

Best List Of All The Books

Not in any particular order, save for #1.

  1. Worm (this year’s favorite) (free!)
  2. Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death (free!)
  3. Stories of Your Life (some of the stories are free online)
  4. Complications
  5. A Path Appears
  6. Making Minds Less Well-Educated Than Our Own
  7. Poking a Dead Frog
  8. One More Thing
  9. The Motivation Hacker
  10. Mission in a Bottle
  11. Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got
  12. Ogilvy on Advertising
  13. Building Stories
  14. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
  15. The Charisma Myth
  16. Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead 

Continue reading

Record Leftovers: Heroes and Villains

Some outtakes from the most recent issue of The Yale Record.

 

The League of Slightly Extraordinary Gentlemen

Chaos: Can generate perfectly random numbers using only his mind. Never needs to flip a coin to make a decision.

Firebrand: Can light a match on the first try, every time. Currently battling Stage 2 lung cancer after a lifetime of looking really cool while smoking.

Puberty Boy: Able to increase his body mass by seventy percent in only three years.

Continue reading

The Adventures of Captain Maturity and Puberty Boy

Captain Maturity was down for the count.

As always, he’d gone in carefully, scanning the area for traps. But his caution hadn’t helped him resist the Doom Ray.

Doctor Dubious, Captain Maturity’s arch-nemesis, planted a foot on the hero’s chest and snickered his sinister snicker.

“This was too easy. Is that all you’ve got, Captain?”

Captain Maturity groaned. He couldn’t move, and his mouth refused to form words. He could only hope that his young sidekick wouldn’t rush in like a fool—

“Stop right there, Doctor Dubious!”

Continue reading