# Recent Discussion

Last month I investigated commonalities between recessions of the last 50 years or so. But of course this recession will be different, because (among other things) we will simultaneously have a labor shortage and a lot of people out of work. That’s really weird, and there’s almost no historical precedent- the 1918 pandemic took place during a war, and neither 1957 nor 1968 left enough of an impression to have a single book dedicated to them.

So I expanded out from pandemics, and started looking for recessions that were caused by any kind of exogenous shock. The best one I found was the 1973 Oil

I gather the Fed was raising interest rates, but not enough to slow an economy with that level of rising inflation.

The Fed, at the time, was not raising interest rates because it was thought that the political cost of a recession caused by raising interest rates would be too high. Nixon favored keeping interest rates low. Ford was basically a caretaker government. Carter appointed Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve, in 1979. Volcker immediately raised the Fed funds rate to 20% to curb inflation. In the process, however, he triggered a short but deep recession which contributed to Carter being a one-term President, thus proving the point.

If I wanted to buy things to make my life better, what objects would I buy? What objects do you own that spark joy every time you use them?

I'm looking for statements like "X are the best wireless, noise-canceling headphones" or "Y is the best shirt" with appropriate reasons, if they can be provided.

You can think of buying this object as a weak version of one shot life improvements.

I think the advice would be best phrased as, " laptop charger," where is the number of locations you use your laptop regularly. For me, one at home, one at work and one in my bag is sufficient.

PS: why do you pack two in your travel luggage? Just in case one gets lost/left behind in a hotel room?

2quanticle2hThe corollary to that advice is that most comfortable doesn't necessarily mean most expensive.
2Answer by mr-hire4hA battery-case for my phone. Even though I have one for the pixel 3A, and it makes my phone noticeably more bulky due to the placement of the fingerprint reader, NEVER having to worry about recharging my phone except at night makes my day noticeably less stressful. A mobi-handle [https://www.mobihandle.com/] to attach to my phone. Can help me hold the phone, and I prop it up next to my work area when using it as a Pomodoro Timer [https://www.mobihandle.com/], both more durable and aesthetic than a pop-socket. Its' implicit in the previous two but... a smartphone. These get a bad rap for ruining people and their attention span but if you use them correctly and mindfully they are like the most amazing thing in the world. A Kindle Paperwhite. Being able to save highlights, carry hundreds of books, and read in the dark is amazing. Probably one of my favorite possessions. Noise cancelling headphones are great and really enhance flow. If you cook a lot - A voice activated assistant in the kitchen to change music and set timers. I use an Echo Dot, which is relatively cheap. Also if you cook a lot: A nice, labeled spice rack with a full array of spices makes things SOO much more fun than a jam-packed spice cabinet. Keeping a BakBlade [https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B071X7VS8R/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1] in my shower has ensured that my back doesn't become an unruly forest. I have a plethora of objects on hand to deal with tightness and knots. Having a bag of them closeby when I work probably gives me an extra 30 minutes of productive work daily. * Pinky Bal [https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CLTJDV9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1] l * Racquet Ball [https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B005VQBXV8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1] * Golf Ball [https://smile.amazon.com/TaylorMade-2018-Distance-White-Dozen/dp/B078S3HD12/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=golf+ball&qid=1590370027&s=sporting-goo
2mr-hire5hIf one is looking for a great phone timer that also does the "tell how much time is left at a glance", I recommend Clockwork Tomato for android. It has tasker support to, so I set it to block network access to most apps, as well as most of the apps themselves, while on a work period.

Epistemic Status: Interpreting someone else's work will always be speculative

Valentine has described his experience of a Kenshō (or moment of understanding) from which he took away a lesson that could roughly be summarised by "It's okay". I've read that post and the follow up comments far many times as there were elements of it that I struggled to understand. Kaj Sotala has already written a quite good explication, but I still feel there is more to explore there. If you have time, I strongly recommend reading Valentine's post first, even though you might be ... (Read more)

2Chris_Leong18hWhy do you say it isn't an emotional state?

Seems like a type error to me, like saying crying is an emotional state rather than a thing that happens in response to emotions or other things, or like saying finding out my friend lied to me is an emotion rather than a thing that causes emotions. Okayness is an understanding of just that which is, and emotions are an expression of that but are also not okayness itself.

Epistemic status: just thinking aloud...

Trigger warning: bullying (without details)

I have repeatedly seen the claim that people are egalitarian in nature. It goes roughly like this:

Before invention of agriculture, people didn't have hierarchies. Of course, some people were always stronger or more skilled than others. But when we observe the behavior of hunter-gatherer tribes today, we see that they have strong social norms against bragging. For example, a superior hunter always downplays his success, and attributes it to luck rather than his own skills. (And the rest of the tribe often pl

I'm totally with you that there are multiple hierarchies. And that dominance and prestige are attributes that play into hierarchies. I suspect your model is too simple to make very good predictions or useful recommendations, though.

People are complicated. There are multiple axes on which they can help or harm each other, and yet more on which they are willing to (offer/threaten/exchange) those abilities. These are constantly shifting in a multi-player equation that is likely not solvable in today's technology.

My personal model is that when pe... (read more)

To build intuition about content vs architecture in AI (which comes up a lot in discussions about AI takeoff that involve Robin Hanson), I've been wondering about content vs architecture size (where size is measured in number of bits).

Here's how I'm operationalizing content and architecture size for ML systems:

• content size: The number of bits required to store the learned model of the ML system (e.g. all the floating point numbers in a neural network).
• architecture size: The number of bits of source code. I'm not sure if it makes sense to include the source code of supporting software (e.g.

I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to learn here, or what debate you're trying to resolve. (Do you have a reference?)

I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to learn here (which is part of what I was trying to express with the final paragraph of my question); this just seemed like a natural question to ask as I started thinking more about AI takeoff.

In "I Heart CYC", Robin Hanson writes: "So we need to explicitly code knowledge by hand until we have enough to build systems effective at asking questions, reading, and learning for themselves. Prior A

Crossposted from AI Impacts.

Epistemic status: I am not a historian, nor have I investigated these case studies in detail. I admit I am still uncertain about how the conquistadors were able to colonize so much of the world so quickly. I think my ignorance is excusable because this is just a blog post; I welcome corrections from people who know more. If it generates sufficient interest I might do a deeper investigation. Even if I’m right, this is just one set of historical case-studies; it doesn’t prove anything about AI, even if it is suggestive. Finally, in describing these conqu... (Read more)

In 1492, Iberian Christians had finally defeated the last remnant of the Moorish Empire that had subjugated most of their peninsula. The Reconquista. It was an enormous achievement against a powerful and advanced foe. [It also occasioned the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews, an act both odious and self-wounding.] Anyway, in the process of defeating the Moors, the Iberian Christian armed forces had become really really good at fighting. Brave unto reckless, for one thing. For another, they were able to count on a deep bench of sub-commanders and captains who... (read more)

Preferably, follow rules from "Best Textbooks in any Subject." I'm interested in people who have tried 2-3 prediction-recording tools, and can argue why one is better than the others.

I've decided I finally want to get gud at calibration.

I'm personally just interested in tracking my own predictions, often about private things. I'd prefer something very low-friction where I can record my own predictions, mark them as true/false later on using my own judgment, and automatically see a graph of how calibrated I am.

3Answer by Thomas Kwa5hI've tried Metaculus private questions, Roam, and Google Sheets, and unfortunately find Google Sheets the least tedious. Metaculus questions are best when you revise predictions dozens of times, and Roam can't do much automatically yet. Columns in the spreadsheet: * Date: date I make the prediction * Personal?: whether the prediction is about my own actions * Prediction: e.g. "I have 1000 LW karma by 2021" * Pro, Con: main reasons for/against, in a few words * %: predicted probability e.g .60 * Outcome: 0/1 (haven't tried numerical data yet nor do I think it'll be worthwhile) * Hindsight: the probability I would have given in hindsight It gets slow to load around 200 entries, but entering predictions using Google Forms could mitigate this (though I haven't tried it). The main advantage of a spreadsheet is the ability to customize graphs with relatively little effort.

Heh, I do often find spreadsheets to work the best, even if they're a bit janky/ugly, because I can customize them to be exactly what I want.

But it actually looks like PredictionBook may be superior to a spreadsheet (for me at least), by virtue of being pretty simple to enter data, as well as automatically composing your "correct predictions" graph, and sending you reminder emails when the prediction is due to resolve.

2bgold7hI know Ozzie has been thinking about this, because we were chatting about how to use an Alfred workflow to post to it. Which I think would be great!
6Raemon7hI did just check if PredictionBook could set all predictions to "private" instead of me having to change the setting every time, and the answer is yes, and also it looks like the UI has a few other nice-to-haves that actually make "low friction prediction" achievable. I think I might need to create a custom stylish overlay for the page so to clear away some excess clutter, so it feels a bit less overwhelming to use. But, that's a fairly simple UI shift and one that I can create for myself. So PredictionBook might just be a good solution.

## Epistemic Status

I've made many claims in these posts. All views are my own.

• AU theory describes how people feel impacted. I'm darn confident (95%) that this is true.
• Agents trained by powerful RL algorithms on arbitrary reward signals generally try to take over the world. Confident (75%). The theorems on power-seeking only apply in the limit of farsightedness and optimality, which isn't realistic for real-world agents. However, I think they're still informative. There are also strong intuitive arguments for power-seeking.
• CCC is true. Fairly confident (70%). There seems to be a dichotomy be
2rohinmshah9hSome thoughts on this discussion: 1. Here's the conceptual comment [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/wAAvP8RG6EwzCvHJy/reasons-for-excitement-about-impact-of-impact-measure?commentId=s48grPhMbuBEXNtyc] and the math comment [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/TmHRACaxXrLbXb5tS/rohinmshah-s-shortform?commentId=zASKE5tAokZMwRp59] where I'm pessimistic about replacing the auxiliary set with the agent's own reward. Then Hmm, I think you're misunderstanding Vika's point here (or at least, I think there is a different point, whether Vika was saying it or not). Here's the argument, spelled out in more detail: 1. Impact to an arbitrary agent is change in their AU. 2. Therefore, to prevent catastrophe via regularizing impact, we need to have an AI system that is penalized for changing a human's AU. 3. By assumption, the AI's utility function RA is different from the human's RH (otherwise there wouldn't be any problem). 4. We need to ensure H can pursue RH, but we're regularizing A pursuing RA. Why should we expect the latter to cause the former to happen? One possible reason is there's an underlying factor which is how much power A has, and as long as this is low it implies that any agent (including H) can pursue their own reward about as much as they could in A's absence (this is basically CCC). Then, if we believe that regularizing A pursuing RA keeps A's power low, we would expect it also means that H remains able to pursue RH. I don't really believe the premise there (unless you regularize so strongly that the agent does nothing).
2TurnTrout9hwith respect to my specific proposal in the superintelligent post, or the conceptual version?
2rohinmshah5hSpecific proposal. If the conceptual version is "we keep A's power low", then that probably works. If the conceptual version is "tell A to optimize R without becoming more able to optimize R", then I have the same objection.

Why do you object to the latter?

At the LessWrong European Community Weekend 2018, I gave a talk explaining the intuition behind non-adaptive theories of the evolution of ageing. This blog post and its followup are adapted from that presentation.

When people find out that I did my PhD in the biology of ageing, they tend to ask one of two questions. First, they ask what they can do to live longer. Second, they ask why people age in the first place. My answer to the first question is unfortunately fairly boring at present -- don't smoke, eat well, get enough exercise, get enough sleep, et cetera -- but when it comes to the secon

1Pongo9hSpeaking for the intuition of wear and tear, it does seem surprising to me that an "embedded repair system" has enough redundancy to not get worn down by the real world. Also, some things seem impossible to repair and might permanently reduce functioning (for example, if you needed to put your flesh on top of your bones, and not your bones inside your flesh, losing a bone is irreparable) Looking forward to gaining more accurate intuitions!

If you lost a bone, you lost the whole limb. It seems like a repair system should be able to grow a limb from scratch, seeing as that's how limbs come about in the first place.

Part two is already up on his blog.

I feel like the heuristics we use to search random tat on the internet are an incredibly larger part of our lives.

I wouldn't make a claim as extended as "googling skills are on the largest determinants of success in life", but I wouldn't look very suspiciously at someone that tried to make it either.

So I'm rather curios what the "search methodology" of people here is.

Let me try to give an example by detailing mine, it's non-ideal since I apply it mainly subconsciously, but that's why I'm looking to improve it, also I'm probably missing som... (Read more)

Gwern has written extensively on how to use Google efficiently. Some highlights:

• Use site: to search a particular site. For example, if I'm looking for the Ars Technica review of the Google Pixel 3A, I'll type: site:arstechnica.com Google Pixel 3A. Or, if you want get a link "Meditations on Moloch" quickly, site:slatestarcodex.com Meditations on Moloch
• Don't be too specific -- people are bad at remembering specific words, so limit quoted phrases to two or three words
• Learn the jargon of the field you're searching and use those phrases. For example, if the
1Answer by Sønderjye13hMy first step starts out searching searching in Ecosia. I haven't looked deeply into the exact impact but there are offhand enough evidence to convince me that the positive impact is worth the cost of a slightly worse search engine than google and slightly less privacy than duckduckgo. If I can't find a satisfying answer in Ecosia I switch to google.
4Roko8hIt's probably only worth using ecosia if you think your time is virtually worthless. Tree planting is mostly a useless activity in the grand scheme of things, though one gets into a somewhat complicated calculation to show this. Google claims there are 3*10^12 trees in the world, ecosia claims to have planted about 10^8. Trees are in an equilibrium with a bunch of stuff like atmospheric CO2 as well. Your personal contribution to the number of trees via ecosia is likely ~ a few trees (not clear whether they reach maturity though). Do anything else useful with your time before this.
1George9hCan't you simply e.g. donate 200$each year to offset this ? E.g. google charge (I think) ~1$/click for a US demographic (some exceptions, blah blah) and how many search engine ads do you click ? For me it's ~0, but let's say... 100 a year ? add to that like 1$hundred impressions + 10,000 searches a year. Granted, this is a very rough number, but I'm being rather charitable with the profit here, I think, considering a large part of that is actually operational costs. It seems like your search data is hardly worth more than that, and the advantages of using google are many in terms of time saving. Enough to be e.g. worth 200$. I get why one wouldn't want to use google for ethical reasons, but at the eod all the search engines which use a centralized structure are equally bad, they just happen not to hold a monopoly (however, in that case, if you're just anti-monopoly, you might as well use e.g. Bing which seems closest to google in terms of quality)
1moShow Highlight

Thanks!

Frequently, I'll be having an argument with someone. And I'll think "Grr! They are doing Obnoxious Behavior X!" or "Arg, they aren't doing Obviously Good Behavior Y!".

Then I complain at them.

And... sometimes, they make the exact same complaint about me.

And then I think about it, and it turns out to be true.

Another portion of the time, they don't complain back at me, but the argument goes into circles and doesn't resolve, and we both feel frustrated for awhile. And later, independently, I realize "Oh, I was also failing to do Good Thing X, or doing Bad Thing Y."

Often, "Good Th

4jimmy10hI used "flat earthers" as an exaggerated example to highlight the dynamics the way a caricature might highlight the shape of a chin, but the dynamics remain and can be important even and especially in relationships which you'd like to be close simply because there's more reason to get things closer to "right". The reason I brought up "arrogance"/"humility" is because the failure modes you brought up of "not listening" and "having obvious bias without reflecting on it and getting rid of it" are failures of arrogance. A bit more humility makes you more likely to listen and to question whether your reasoning is sound. As you mention though, there is another dimension to worry about which is the axis you might label "emotional safety" or "security" (i.e. that thing that drives guarded/defensive behavior when it's not there in sufficient amounts). When you get defensive behavior (perhaps in the form of "not listening" or whatever), cooperative and productive conversation requires that you back up and get the "emotional safety" requirements fulfilled before continuing on. Your proposed response assumes that the "safety" alarm is caused by an overreach on what I'd call the "respect" dimension. If you simply back down and consider that you might be the one in the wrong this will often satisfy the "safety" requirement because expecting more relative respect can be threatening. It can also be epistemically beneficial for you if and only if it was a genuine overreach. My point isn't "who cares about emotional safety, let them filter themselves out if they can't handle the truth [as I see it]", but rather that these are two separate dimensions, and while they are coupled they really do need to be regulated independently for best results. Any time you try to control two dimensions with one lever you end up having a 1d curve that you can't regulate at all, and therefore is free to wander without correction. While people do tend to mirror your cognitive algorithm so long as it

My point isn't "who cares about emotional safety, let them filter themselves out if they can't handle the truth [as I see it]", but rather that these are two separate dimensions, and while they are coupled they really do need to be regulated independently for best results. Any time you try to control two dimensions with one lever you end up having a 1d curve that you can't regulate at all, and therefore is free to wander without correction.

Thanks, this was a good neat point that gives me a conceptual handle for thinking about the overall problem.

1eapache10hIf I edit the existing post, will it end up in oblivion anyway because it's old now? Or does the clock restart when it gets promoted to frontpage? I can delete/recreate if that would be more effective. Another thought: because it's 6k words, it might be worth splitting across a few posts and creating a sequence out of it. I don't see a way to do that in the editor, so it might require privileges? I'm also not sure if it would be appropriate for this or not. edit: also (and this is getting quite far afield here) - I've been blogging for quite a while on rational-adjacent topics before I started posting here. I imagine a flood of cross-posts of previous work would be frowned upon, but also the line seems kind of blurry given that's exactly what this comment thread is already discussing.
2Raemon10hThere are tools to give old posts new frontpage life, which I'd be happy to use here (you can send me a PM about it when you're ready). But, if you want to go the sequence route instead: We deliberately make it less obvious to new users how to create sequences (users with 1000+ karma see an obvious button in the user menu). If you go to /library page, you'll find a Create Sequence button. So if you want to go the sequence route, I'd just create new posts from scratch, one a time, spaced out a couple days apart. (You'll get more engagement this way. I cry a little inside when I see users write magnum opuses that they create nicely formatted sequences for... and then post all at once, which is overwhelming and people don't read) Relatedly, I'd crosspost old content over at a rate of around 1-per-2-days, and check to see which sort of content gets engagement/upvotes/comments.

Conflict theorists, cashed out as something like "people who saw the article as an attempted power grab and so upvoted the person attacking it" feels like it fits, but... I dunno, I try to be hesitant to use conflict theory as an explanation, because it's so easy to make it fit. On the other hand, that doesn't mean it's wrong.

I appreciated your words more than I would have done upvotes; thank you.

2philh9hPerhaps, but... I honestly can't tell what opinion that would be. Like, a thing I appreciate about the commenter is that they're admirably straightforward. They say what they think and don't try to weasel out of it later. I don't love that they're deliberately trying to hurt me (seemingly without checking if they could accomplish their goals some other way), but at least they're upfront about it. It seems to me that there's unusually little room for misinterpretation here. And yet, so much of what they're saying is completely out there, and I just don't believe that most people agree with it. I could believe that most people agree, at least unreflexively and perhaps after consideration, with "OSS maintainers have no responsibility". (And possibly even with "no responsibility at all without consent".) But I think most of them would not bite the bullets that this user does. Like, I could see someone saying "they don't have a responsibility here, but they still shouldn't deliberately introduce bugs to brick people's OSes, and it's totally reasonable for people to complain if they do". And then there's a conversation about what does responsibility even mean, and maybe it turns out we don't mean the same thing by it and don't really disagree that much, or maybe we actually do have some important disagreements. But that's not at all where the conversation went. I don't believe most people agree with "If someone deliberately bricks a bunch of people's OSes, and then stops doing that, you call them generous". I don't even believe most people agree with the earlier bit about deliberately bricking OSes not being something to complain about. I could believe that most people agree, at least unreflexively and perhaps after consideration, that I'm being too demanding. I included a list of quotes to say "no, really, I'm demanding very little", but I could see someone thinking I'm demanding more than I realize, or thinking I'm being dishonest about how much I'm demanding, or

TL;DR: I used to think the best way to get really good at skill was to specialize by investing lots of time into . I was wrong. Investing lots of time into works only as a first-order approximation. Once becomes large, investing in some other produces greater real-world performance than continued investment in .

I like to think of intelligence as a vector where each is a skill level in a different skill. I think of general intelligence is the Euclidean norm .

I use the Euclidean norm instead of the straight sum because general

It follows that quantity of avocations correlates positively with winning Nobel Prizes, despite the time these hobbies take time away from one's specialization.

An alternative explanation is that there are factors that both allow having hobbies and increase the probability of winning a Nobel Prize. Things like "having lots of free time" and "not having to worry about various problems".

It is true that hobbies and specialization compete against each other for time and attention. But there are also other things that compete with both h... (read more)

I spent a lot of the last two years getting really into categorical logic (as in, using category theory to study logic), because I'm really into logic, and category theory seemed to be able to provide cool alternate foundations of mathematics.

Turns out it doesn't really.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it's interesting and useful, and it did provide me with a very cosmopolitan view of logical systems (more on that later). But category theory is not suitable for foundations or even meant to be foundational. Most category theorists use an extended version of set theory as f... (Read more),,

There has been a lot of discussion of hydroxychloroquine (see the megathread on Effective Altruism Coronavirus Discussion, note you need to answer two questions to gain access). Doctors treating COVID-19 have rated hydroxychloroquine the most effective drug based on their experience. But on the other hand, results have been mixed with a recent RCT showing no effect.

At this stage how strong is the evidence for hydroxychloroquine and if it works, how effective does it appear to be as a treatment?

Spoiler Alert: Contains minor spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has become my quaratine game. A gorgeous tour of ancient Greece is a great antidote to never going outside.

One noteworthy thing in the game is how it deals with plague. You encounter it twice.

On the game’s introductory island of Kefalonia, you can run into a side quest called The Blood Fevor. There is a plague, and priests are attempting to contain it… by killing off the families of the infected.

You can either allow this, or you can forcibly prevent it, in which case you have to kill the priests.

Wow. When you gave the first example, my thought was "huh, game is doing typical deontological bullcrap as games often do." By the time you got to the end, I thought "wow, the people who designed this game were very attentive and thoughtful, I'm super impressed."

As I've been posting here on LessWrong for a few months now, I wanted to share two things I've noticed about the karma system. These are ad-hoc observations, not rigorous empirical results, and while they might feel like ways to "cheat" the system, I hope by making them public and known, it serves to make the "market" for karma more efficient instead.

1. [Fairly confident] Posts appear on the front page unevenly throughout the week. As best I can tell there's a lull on Sunday and a spike on Monday/Tuesday. I'm not sure if this is due to unevenness in when... (Read more)

4Raemon11hI think there's something true about "crossposting is a signal of high trust", but I'd guess that it's not necessary to postulate an additional benefit from crossposting. The people with automatic crossposts are respected authors with an established readership, so they get more karma right away, and probably would still do so even if it weren't a crosspost. If you have some actual numbers saying that less-high-profile-authors who crosspost also get a karma boost that'd be interested to learn, but I'd bet against it.

Funny cross-thread coincidence, but I now think that maybe what I really noticed for point #2 is what you described here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/4Gbv7tmJs3ADbhJX6/reflective-complaints?commentId=KtekbKMi6SSzsaw4H. Crossposts just do better than linkposts, not necessarily better than "original" posts.

2Pattern11hSpeculative things that could reverse conclusions/cause and effect around these factors (if they are the case): 1. * More posts on Monday/Tuesday indicate more people are using the site at those times, readers and authors. * There are more posts Monday/Tuesday because there are less posts on Sunday. (Readers become authors in the absence of content.) 2. * People like reading on blogs, or reading blog material which didn't get cross posted, and that's where the boost comes from.

This is a toy language I've been designing, or at least implementing, for about a year.

It's another take on "Haskell with a Lisp syntax". I'm aware of prior art: Hackett, Axel and Liskell. I haven't looked closely at any of them, because doing that seemed like it might make me less likely to keep working on Haskenthetical.

I call it "toy" in the sense of… well, right now it's a toy like an RC plane is a toy. But my vague goal is to make it into a toy like the Wright flyer would have been a toy if it had been built in 2003. I'd like to get it, say, 80% of the way to being a "real" language. I ha... (Read more)

My short experience with Lisp led me to impression that Lisp actually doesn't have more parentheses than C/Java/JavaScript. It only seems so, because it has less of... all kinds of other things.

If you write the same algorithm in Lisp and in C/Java/JavaScript, the total number of parentheses will be approximately the same in both, but the Lisp code will be much shorter. After realizing this, the parentheses stopped bothering me, because their density suddenly felt like a good thing.

(Also, when you write Lisp code, you usually use an editor that highlig... (read more)

This is a new FAQ written LessWrong 2.0. This is the first version and I apologize if it is a little rough. Please comment or message with further questions, typos, things that are unclear, etc.

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The major sections of this FAQ are: