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I think the biggest shift in deciding where to live is happening "online" rather than "offline". I am an online nomad.

I never lived and never will live in MySpace. I do not like the MySpacians message (Hey lets try to see who has more friends and hookups).

I sometimes spend time at Facebook. I lived there for a little while until I realized I am not so much into keeping in touch and I had no friends in the few hours I spent in college. When they open their borders, that's when I found that I do not like the Facebookies message (You should throw more pies and send more kisses)

I vacationed at Twitter, but it is not really my cup of tea. I still dont get their message (Life is a popularity contest).

So Where do I live? Well, I live mostly in HN. Although I sometimes get into arguments with the habitants, I have yet to find another city that beats the intelligence, vibe, energy and support I witness here. I take a daily ride to Techcrunch City and NYT, but I make sure I come back home to HN and mingle with the people who live here.




"I make sure I come back home to HN and mingle with the people who live here"

Me too.

Nice observation, the virtual city. The result of choice, not circumstance.


"The result of choice, not circumstance."

There seems to be this popular belief that admitting you are influenced by your environment is a sign of weakness. I just gave a presentation for my ethics class was on why the "trolley problem" is a logical fallacy. My argument was that you could create a system to flip the switch that completely circumvented the individual as a moral agent. For example, you could create a system whereby the individuals on the track could bid ebay-style on which direction the switch should be flipped. Or, alternatively, you could create a system whereby the direction of the switch was determined by a dice, with a 5/6 chance of the single individual being killed and a 1/6 chance of the other five individuals being killed. I then argued that A) social systems, not only individuals, should be considered to be moral agents and B) the morality of a system should be judged based on the behaviors it promotes via its extrinsic rewards. So, for example, the ebay-style system would be a universe that encouraged its inhabitants to create things of value for others so that they could bid their way out their predicament, whereas the dice-toss universe would be completely amoral as it would neither encourage nor discourage any set of behaviors. To me the lesson of the Milgram experiments, the Asch conformity tests, the Stanford Prison Experiment, etc. is that moral decisions are the result of both the individual's intrinsic nature and their external environment (inc. extrinsic rewards). So the trolley problem has always struck me as a false dichotomy because it assumes that the only two options are for a single individual to flip the switch either left or right, which implies that morality is completely intrinsic within the individual and the external environment plays no role, even though this is completely counter to what social psych teaches us.

Anyway, this was sort of a very long was of saying that I like the idea that people should consciously choose their environment because they realize that their environment does have a very real effect on their actions.


I agree. I think pg's essay is spot-on. However, I don't believe that choosing where you live is as simple as saying, e.g., "I want to be an academic" and thus you move to Cambridge.

What if, say, your spouse is really into acting and loves the Los Angeles area... it might be very hard for them to find the same happiness in Cambridge, just as you might be harder-pressed to be as academic as you want to be in L.A.

I think a fair question is, if, for whatever reason, you can't move to an area that would well-support your ambitions, what can you do to improve your environment? Surely the best answer isn't "nothing, just resign yourself to live your life in obscurity and failure"...


It is good, but still low-bandwidth. Perhaps the reason for compulsively refreshing the homepage is that we just can't get enough.

Any suggestions about how to make better online environments for people who care about similar things?


I think this site is a good way to link people with similar interests. it's an online software for sharing time lines about basically anything (you make them yourself). www.dipity.com I just made an account, and I think that shring time lines is really a good way to talk and exchange a lot. I truly think people will meet through these things. it's a social network that's surely more meaninful than myspace or facebook, cause it's made to exacge information (in a pretty user friendly way). it's sharing information instead or pure fame or coolness (or throwing pies and presents).

add me I'm "smoothboom" and I just started a time line about memetics if you're interested.



No, I don't think this helps. Yes, you get more bandwidth, but the signal-to-noise ratio drops.


PG,

You sound like a bitter Bostonian who was priced out of New York because you couldn't afford to pay rent on your studio in Alphabet City.

And as a Bostonian, I'd expect you to have enough cerebral instinct to be less transparent with your intuitive writing style. But alas, you all to easily portray your hometown's sad trace of pragmatism by holding ideology over realistic execution, hence why you were probably priced out of NY to begin with.

Another down year on Wall St., yet my bonus alone still affords the Cambridge flat you so wish you could afford to purchase. Hope you grow up some day, and find yourself, cities aside pal.


HN? Ah, Hacker News. I am a noob here and at first glance, I thought you lived at HN: http://homelessnation.org/




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