Here is our monthly place to discuss Less Wrong topics that have not appeared in recent posts.
So I've got to ask... do my posts not get voted up as much as the other regular posters' because an upvote doesn't seem to signal much, or because people actually don't like my posts that much? Vote up if the former explanation, down if the latter.
Curious about Eliezer's claim that his posts were voted up less than others, I did some statistical analysis on the scores of Less Wrong posts. I took the list of all posts as of midnight Mar 28, excluding posts with negative scores (which weren't available to me), the ten most recent posts (which people haven't had a chance to vote on yet), and the twenty oldest posts (from when the site was brand-new, and people weren't around to vote or hadn't established their criteria for voting), for a total of 93 articles. Of these, 20 consist primarily of a link an... (read more)
Just a general hint: if you go to http://lesswrong.com/message/inbox/ , you can see all comments that have been posted in response to your comments. Discovered it by accident, but it really does make using LW easier.
Requesting rationalist assistance:
Somebody is talking to me about either advanced physics or magic, and I can't tell which one.
He mentions electron tunneling, superstring theory and quantum mechanics, in explaining why positive thoughts attract positive things, he mentioned a book called The Physics Of Consciousness, something about a quantum level of the brain.
I know there's benefit to thinking positive, but isnt that explained by evolution? I didn't think that quantum mechanics or a universal attraction of things to other things was involved.
The underlying assertion of most of these goofy new-age claims is that consciousness is a quantum process. Of course, in a trivial sense it is quantum insofar that every process in the physical world seems to obey quantum mechanics. The exact claim is that something "essentially quantum" is behind the phenomenon of consciousness, that the computations of the brain actually exploit uninuitive quantum behaviours that cannot be explained by a classical physics picture -- the claim is that we're quantum computers.
You build a quantum computer by exploiting the fact that a simple, perfectly isolated physical entity does not act like a tiny billiard, but rather as a complex-valued wave that isn't in any particular place at a given time, it's spread out. We say that small systems can be in "superpositions" of multiple states. Now when the system interacts with the environment, by hitting a photon from our lasers, say, it will "collapse" into one state, we will see the photon bouncing off as though the particle had been at one particular place. (Parenthetically, It should be noted that "collapse" is not a real a-priori physical process, but only... (read more)
A psychic medium.
My colleague, let’s call her Sally, tells me she is a psychic medium. She tells me she first spoke to a dead person when she was three: she was talking to a woman on the stairs, and her mother was concerned when she went to tell her mother about it. Now, she tends not to see people, she realises they are not physically present in the way that a living person is present, but she senses them.
She reports three ways in which the Dead communicate. Normally, it is as if she hears them speaking, and relays the message to the living. During her... (read more)
Quick Poll: How many rationalists meditate? It seems like the mental discipline involved could be highly useful.
For those who do: what sort of training did you use? Did you teach yourself, or find a teacher? What benefits do you perceive from the practice?
John H. Conway is giving a series of lectures on the "Free Will Theorem" of Conway and Kochen: videos available here.
This is in response to Yvain's comment requesting an Open Thread.
Why didn't this post show up in the RSS feed?
I just happened to see someone comment about it on another post...
In Google Reader I searched the history to make sure I hadn't missed it, but it appears it never showed up.
Could someoone make a "Less Wrong" Facebook group, please?
This is a kludge. We need proper forums.