quadibloc on December 02, 2010, 12:56:54 am
Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you? If you don't subscribe to ZAP you might hope to take him out back around the barn and apply some pesuasion.
I don't see that ZAP comes into it. If you get to sue him, that means that persuasion, applied through the society's normal means of arbitration, at least, is not aggression. So, since Merry's methods didn't work on him, this time it's ankle bracelets.

Of course not. That would be deeply immoral. I am shocked anyone would ask such a question. The cornerstones of Belter society are individualism, free market anarchism and the Zero Aggression Principle. And if you are wondering what happens if the working off the debt dies before he has finished, it's simple. The person to whom the debt is owned is SOL (shit out of luck). Tough. Life is not only not fair, it cannot even be made fair. "Fairer" is about the best you can hope for.
Even I agree that servitude for the descendants of criminals is immoral. (I might make exceptions when it comes to big crimes like wars of aggression that I despair of dealing with in a non-collective manner, but not for obvious individual crimes.)

It is true that in an otherwise wealthy society under Belter-like circumstances, human labor, even when unskilled, will be valuable.

Where the prospects of repaying a debt incurred through criminality are dim, though, I could see a society that at least largely subscribes to the ZAP taking the attitude that if it isn't aggression, it isn't wrong, and doing things that might shock some people nowadays. You've caused more damage than you can ever repay? Fine, we'll see how much you're worth as transplant organs.

A prosperous, healthy society, though - rather than a crowded one where labor is cheap - is likely to be inclined more towards forgiveness than vindictiveness. So I don't think it's inaccurate or unfairly favoring AnCap for you to choose not to portray a bloody-minded version of AnCap.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 01:07:04 am by quadibloc »

SandySandfort on December 02, 2010, 09:01:48 pm
5. If the remaining one pays off the other two's debt, does he automatically have a claim against the other two?

        I am perplexed at the expectation that this is a possibility.

Depends. Under the common law, when two or more miscreants are found jointly and severally liable (i.e., each is responsible for the entire debt), One may sue another "in contribution." I'm sure the common law will be the basis for many arbitration systems, but we never defined what was at work here. However, I think equity requires that miscreants be able to sue the slackers in contribution.

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you?

Nothing, but the purpose of the exercise is to make the victim whole, or as whole as possible. What happens after that is your tough luck if you were a part of the criminal conspiracy. You picked your co-conspirators, so live with your choice.

J Thomas on December 04, 2010, 02:22:29 am

So, uh. You are responsible for the whole debt. That's OK. Some slacker doesn't do his share so you have to do it for him if you want it to be done and you to no longer have the debt. Sure. Then you get to sue him.

He's already slacked off on the debt he owed somebody else. What's to keep him from slacking off you his debt to you?

Nothing, but the purpose of the exercise is to make the victim whole, or as whole as possible. What happens after that is your tough luck if you were a part of the criminal conspiracy. You picked your co-conspirators, so live with your choice.

Fair enough.

I guess one result of suing him is you make it clear that he is still in debt, that his debt is not paid off. That could be useful information for people who might otherwise trust him too much.

SandySandfort on December 04, 2010, 06:39:50 am
I guess one result of suing him is you make it clear that he is still in debt, that his debt is not paid off. That could be useful information for people who might otherwise trust him too much.

Bingo.

Oneil on December 07, 2010, 04:45:06 am
How do you think the AnCap outpost will deal with a "Card Shark"?   Card Sharks can only survive in a large group of gamblers that have constant new faces, or they themselves keep moving. 

Speaking of the future and shocking possibilities, how long until you expect criminal reform and medical treatment to merge?   Medical alterations or therapy to "Correct" criminal behavior. 



My shock at 500 Atom Bombs had more to do with adding to the stupidity of raising the earths natural background radiation. 
Of course anyone not concerned with such things is welcome to free housing and quiet neighborhoods in Pripyat Ukraine.


I'm not sure it would be like that, but doesn't it seem plausible? It's lucky we did not have 500 nukes then or we would be testing my claims. Those people would be arguing that it was 100% necessary to use those nukes and that when you claim there could have been another way, you don't know how wrong  you are.


illusion38108 on December 07, 2010, 05:18:31 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?

SandySandfort on December 07, 2010, 08:30:36 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?

Some people will not do business with you at all. Others will deal with you, but charge you more or only deal with you on a cash basis. Of course, there will be some bleeding hearts (i.e., modern "liberals) who do not believe people should be held accountable for their acts. ("It was society's fault," "we all killed Kennedy," etc.). They will give the deadbeats preferential treatment. Fortunately, this is a self-limiting problem.

J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 09:39:35 am
How do you think the AnCap outpost will deal with a "Card Shark"?   Card Sharks can only survive in a large group of gamblers that have constant new faces, or they themselves keep moving.  

For a gambler to support himself at the same standard of living as the people he wins from, if he gambles with n people he needs to win on average 1/n of their income. To do that on a long-term basis, they have to not mind losing 1/n of their income to him regularly. Since they have a limited amount of spare time they can spend enjoying losing that money, that's unlikely. So he wins money from people who think they can beat him, and when they learn they can't then they stop playing with him.

Also he has the problem he might play against somebody with a computer chip embedded in their head, who can run a million bayesian simulations on each hand. He'd have trouble winning on the odds then. He would eventually get caught cheating.

Maybe there's some other way. He might find a quick scam that gives people enough pleasure they don't mind paying for it.


Quote
My shock at 500 Atom Bombs had more to do with adding to the stupidity of raising the earths natural background radiation.  
Of course anyone not concerned with such things is welcome to free housing and quiet neighborhoods in Pripyat Ukraine.

Sure. But look how many above-ground nuclear tests have been carried out since then. Around 520, not counting secret ones that never got announced. We decided the fallout wasn't as important as more testing, until after a long time scientists persuaded the public it was probably important. It was sheer luck that we didn't have a strong anti-science movement then.

"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all. There's no scientific consensus on it, the people who say scientists agree are liars. You say worldwide cancer rates are going up? They were going up before the background radiation levels went up, and they kept going up in years when there was no above-ground testing. That proves it has natural causes, not radiation. It's all a hoax to make us stop the nuclear tests which are vital to US security and national survival."

Despite whatever real results came, we would have lots of apologists saying that dropping 500 nukes on Germany was the only thing that could have worked. Note Quadriblock arguing that it would have been best, even when we know what happened without it.

J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 09:47:08 am
I am not sure if this has been said or not. If you skip on a debt you are on the computer net as a person that is not likely to pay up. Who will deal with you? Who will be willing to hire you?

Lots of people would sell to you, for cash.

If you persuade a potential employer that you would get results, he might trust you to do the work and then he pays you. The story might make a difference too. He might believe that the particular person you didn't pay was not like him, and the more you establish a long-term relationship where you keep your word with him, the more he'll trust that. In the meantime, you can work at a discount -- he doesn't have to pay you as much because fewer people want you.

SandySandfort on December 07, 2010, 11:35:14 am
"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all..."

There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation. Decide for yourself. Google:

     radiation hormesis
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 11:37:23 am by SandySandfort »

mellyrn on December 07, 2010, 01:14:07 pm
Radiation hormesis -- thank you, Sandy!!  I'm a radiation-safety ("health physics") tech; we're almost not allowed to even breathe the word "hormesis" anywhere near "radiation".  But you are so right -- the data, good data, are there.  As in any field, however, the renowned "peer review" process has its dark side, in that if your research contradicts "what everybody knows", it may never get the chance to prove how good or well done it is.

In addition to the data, there is this more or less philosophical point:  radioactives "decay" ultimately to a stable isotope, yes?

Therefore (barring new material from nearby novas) the background radiation levels, planetside, are falling.  Yes?  (Yes, I know there are cosmogenic radioactives being created here all the time; cite me something that suggests they are increasing, and I'll consider them; meantime, all the primordial radioactives that Earth started with are decaying, for a net loss of background radiation.)

Therefore current life is adapted to slightly higher background radiation than it currently finds itself in; indeed, it must have originated in a notably higher background field.


J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 04:44:44 pm
"There's no proof that low-level radiation ever hurt anybody. There appears to be a threshold and below that threshold it does no harm at all..."

There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation. Decide for yourself. Google:

     radiation hormesis

I'm familiar with this idea. The first time I ran into it was when I did a high school science fair project, I irradiated jack beans with x-rays and looked at their growth. I expected to find them growing slower and less with increasing dosage, but what happened was they grew faster, the ones I gave the most x-rays grew the fastest. My doses were far too small. So I did a quick second study, I irradiated larger samples of beans with far more x-rays and looked at how many had slowed germination, since germination was about all I had time for at that point. The beans which got the most radiation germinated fastest. I suggested this might be used by businesses which grow beansprouts.

Two years before another student did a similar study with planaria. He cut flatworms in half and irradiated them, and looked at how long it took them to grow new halves. He found that small amounts of gamma rays made them grow faster, though larger amounts slowed their growth or killed them.

This sort of effect is often seen. And there are similar effects of other sorts. Like, in some circumstances being infected with tuberculosis improves resistance to other diseases.

So should we conclude that low levels of ionizing radiation are healthy?

Here's an alternate possibility. Imagine that your body has a fixed amount of some resource. Perhaps the cells in your immune system have a limited number of cell generations they can go through before you die, and so you can do a limited amount of clonal selection. You arrange a long life by slowing those things down when they aren't needed. When you get sick your body uses the amount of that resource needed to recover -- somehow predicting, failing when it isn't enough and the sickness persists and requires more of the resource, failing in the other direction when it uses more than is needed.

Then anything which causes that resource to be used quicker could make you feel good in the short run, balanced out by a shorter lifespan.

This could be true of ginseng, for example. It could poison you in ways that cause you to expend that resource faster and so you feel better in the short run.

It could be argued that my model is overcomplicated and there isn't enough solid data to support it. On the other hand, consider the simpler model -- it assumes that a wide variety of species have evolved in a way that leaves them less healthy unless they get exposed to much more ionising radiation than they can usually get. Presumably this is because of things that are poorly regulated, that are only turned on with the radiation although each individual would be better off if they were turned on more without radiation. I say this is not a plausible model.

quadibloc on December 07, 2010, 05:25:49 pm
Well, that's the theory anyway and at least there is evidence supporting it. There is exactly zero direct evidence that shows low-level radiation to be harmful. This conclusion was only inferred by extrapolating from the effects of massive levels of radiation.
Extrapolation is indeed a poor guide to predicting phenomena. Arthur C. Clarke provided a short table of the history of the increase in speed in transportation in his Profiles of the Future... which indicated a trend line that would have us travelling faster than light in a few decades.

In general, though, scientists are skeptical of any prediction unless the phenomenon being predicted results from a mechanism they can understand.

Thus, the argument over the Copernican system didn't get settled until Newton came up with the inverse-square law of gravity, by means of which the solar system made sense as an ordinary mechanical system - provided the Earth went around the Sun, and not vice versa.

It wasn't possible for scientists at first to accept that rocks could fall from the sky... until it was realized that there were rocks in the sky.

And Wegener's theory of continental drift languished until people knew more about the interior of the Earth, so that the theory of plate tectonics became possible - Brazil might fit nicely into Africa, but the response stays at "That's nice" until it becomes apparent that the solid rock of the Earth's crust really does sit on a molten mantle soft enough to allow continents to move.

There is evidence of radiation hormesis, but we don't really know how or why it should happen. And it seems as if every little bit of radiation exposure carries with it a small probability of chromosome damage, with its attendant consequences. So the mechanism behind extrapolating radiation exposure risks downwards is understood - the probability of a cell getting radiation damage of a sort that would turn it into the starting point for a cancer does scale linearly with radiation exposure. That stimulating the body's defense mechanisms every now and then seems to more than make up for that... do you want to bet your life on something we don't really understand?

Also, susceptibility to cancer is affected by genetics. Some people have immune systems that are good at getting rid of cancer cells - and others don't. So, it could be that the "no safe level" model does work for some people, a subgroup of the people most likely to get cancer anyways.

Maybe a little radiation is good for you. But it will be hard to put much faith in that until we know why it is.

J Thomas on December 07, 2010, 07:12:47 pm

In addition to the data, there is this more or less philosophical point:  radioactives "decay" ultimately to a stable isotope, yes?

Therefore (barring new material from nearby novas) the background radiation levels, planetside, are falling.  Yes?  (Yes, I know there are cosmogenic radioactives being created here all the time; cite me something that suggests they are increasing, and I'll consider them; meantime, all the primordial radioactives that Earth started with are decaying, for a net loss of background radiation.)

Therefore current life is adapted to slightly higher background radiation than it currently finds itself in; indeed, it must have originated in a notably higher background field.

This is a question where we must reason from inadequate data or from no data. I am very good at that kind of thing.

So first, you're right. In the absence of any radioactivity coming in from outside, or any new radioactive materials produced fresh, the radioactivity must diminish over time. As time goes on, the background is increasingly dominated by the longest-halflife isotope. Everything else dwindles away, leaving only that isotope and its daughters which tend to have a faster half-life.

Should we then assume that in the past the background radioactivity has gradually and slowly diminished, and that's all that happened? Well, no.

First, there's some evidence for periodic extinction events. The last time I looked there was so little data that there were multiple candidates for the period, so it was pretty weak data. But one of the wild guesses was that the period was the same as the time that Sol travels one time around the galaxy. And they hypothesized that there might be some radiation source which did not revolve with the galaxy, and every time we get close to it we get dosed. That would give us a big dose of radiation once in a long while, and the species that happened by accident to be ready for that would survive better than others.

There could be periodic or aperiodic bursts of radiation with a shorter average time. Like, once every so often humanity might develop the technology to make nuclear weapons and then bomb ourselves back to the stone age. The net long-run effect would be to reduce the radioactivity faster, as long-lived isotopes fissioned. But in the short run the background count would get kind of spiky.

Reversals of the earth's magnetic field might result in radiation spikes, or might not. The data is weak.

If bursts of ionising radiation happen frequently, like every 10,000 years or so, then it would be more important to have defenses that work well when that happens, than to have those same defenses make a small improvement in survival at other times. Individuals with defects in regulation of those defenses would tend to die in the hot time, and they would only start evolving toward new regulation in between times.

What can we conclude about the level of radioactivity when life was first evolving? Not much. Though it makes sense it was high if life evolved fresh on earth soon after earth cooled enough to have liquid water, and if the radioactivity was spread uniformly through the earth.

Could life today be poorly evolved to live in as low a background rate as exists today? Possibly. It depends.

Apollo-Soyuz on December 07, 2010, 07:33:27 pm
There is solid evidence to show that we don't get enough ionizing radiation. Most people are gamma ray deficient and we need about 100x background for optimal health. People getting enough gamma have overall better health and far fewer cancers.

Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense! Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year! They oughta have 'em, too.  ;-)