Completely off the topic of the thread, but I take issue with an essay which claims that Death Note is essentially a thought experiment for "given the perfect murder weapon, how can you screw up anyway?" L caught Light, not because he was making appropriate Bayesian updates on the status of the murderer, but because he was being handed information by authorial fiat. In multiple steps he narrows the hypothesis space far more than the observations available to him permit.

When your hypothesis space is broad enough to include the possibility of supernatural action-at-a-distance fate manipulating murder weapons, it's broad enough to include possible culprits which aren't even human beings. L was jumping the gun even by concluding that he had a pool of 7 billion to narrow down from.

L is justified in assuming humans by the decision-theoretic consequences: he likely can do nothing against supernatural entities (and IIRC, even in the extremely difficult scenario of killing a shinigami, that doesn't stop the killings with Death Notes), so proceeding on the assumption that it is a human is better than not proceeding.

Besides that, I don't think L is 'hax'. (Near and Mikami, on the other hand, is a major example of authorial fiat and the part of Death Note I hate the most.)

[POLL RESULTS] LessWrong Members and their Local Communities

by maia 1 min read21st May 201218 comments


The results for these have been stable for a while now; I'm posting them a bit late. 95 people took the survey after I modified it to add two questions. For the public version, I removed the pre-change data (10 data points).

One text response included identifying information, which I removed in the public version of the data. If you participated and there is any information you provided that you would like removed from the public version, PLEASE tell me as soon as possible and I will remove it.

P.S. To the person who predicted an 80-90% significant difference between different parts of California: I predict with at least 90% confidence that there will be no significant difference, because of the wide spread of locations and smallish sample size of this survey.

(The original post about the survey.)

EDIT: After some comments that it was unethical for me to post the data (in particular the text), I removed public access from the link provided earlier. Given my precommitment to post the data, I assumed it was clear enough to respondents that it would be public. I'm not convinced that this has hurt anyone, but given that others seem to disagree, it seemed prudent to remove it. Please feel free to continue this discussion; I'm interested in your thoughts.