If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, even in Discussion, it goes here.
Today I got some good news: my counter-signed contract with O'Reilly came back. It's now official - I'm writing an ebook on Quantified Self self-experimenting with sleep.
I look forward to include LW-related material on the perils of self-experimenting and bias. Suggestions from readers on what they'd like to see or material covered?
Shouldn't this be Open Thread, July 16-31, 2012?
I've been trying to wrap my head around the SPECKS vs TORTURE argument, and I still haven't been able to convince myself that TORTURE is the right answer.
One idea that I had would be to apply the whole thing to myself. Suppose Omega comes to me and offers me two choices:
I can have a satisfying and fulfilling life for 3^^^3 days. However, I have to be tortured continuously for fifty years first, but with no lasting harm.
I can have a satisfying and fulfilling life for 3^^^3 days, but I'll wake up with a speck in my eye everyday.
I have to say that I would still pick choice 2 for myself. I know that if I add up the utilities in any standard way, that option 2 is going to be way lower, but I still can't get myself to choose 1. Even if you move the torture time so that it's random or at the end (to get rid of near mode thinking), I still intuitively prefer 2 quite strongly.
Even though I can't formalize why I think option 2 is better, feeling that it is the right choice for myself makes me a bit more confidant that SPECKS would be the right choice as well. Also, this thought experiment makes me think the intuitive choice for SPECKS is less about fairness than I thought.
If anyone has any more insight about this, that would be helpful.
Do psychology researchers endorse the near/far mode model of thinking, or is that just Robin Hanson's pet theory?
Two minor inconveniences using LW site:
In "Inbox" there are two links under each message. Under discussion comments, "Report" is on the right. Under private messages, "Report" is on the left. (I have already clicked it mistakenly; expecting the "Reply" button to be there. Good that is asked whether I am sure.) Please move the links consistently.
On the starting page, there is a list of recent comments. I would like to go to the article where it happened, but it is not hyperlinked; there are only hyperlinks to the comm... (read more)
Brain plastination in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
How exactly is sound additive?
I'm having a festival near home (maybe some 2 kilometers away) and I know no individual has the capacity to shout at a volume that reaches my house. But when the 80k people that are watching do it, then it reaches my house.
So, how does that happen?
Could the great filter just be a case of anthropic bias?
So the universe could be teeming with intelligent life, and theres no good reason there can't be any near us, but if there were we would not have existed. Hence we don't see any.
For a while, I assumed that I would never understand UDT. I kept getting confused trying to understand why an agent wouldn't want or need to act on all available information and stuff. I also assumed that this intuition must simply be wrong because Vladimir Goddamned Nesov and Wei Motherfucking Dai created it or whatever and they are both straight upgrades from Grognor.
Yesterday, I saw an exchange involving Mitchell Porter, Vladimir Nesov, and Dmytry_messaging. The latter of these insisted that one-boxing in transparent Newcomb's (when the box is empty) wa... (read more)
Gerard 't Hooft, who got the Nobel Prize for work that made the standard model possible, has been writing a series of papers in which he tries to get quantum field theory from a classical cellular automaton. He described a bosonic theory in May and now he has a fermionic theory. It's quite deep, because he's trying to get reality holographically, from the "worldsheet" of a superstring; that is, these cellular automata are 1-dimensional, and describe degrees of freedom along a string, and macroscopic space is built up from these. String theory alr... (read more)
I took this test for the Big Five twice at an interval of two years. The Big Five traits have been discussed on LW, mostly in a favorable light.
My scores were as follows, showing quite significant variations:
As a result I have updated quite a bit away from lending much credence to this particular self-administered Big Five test; either the test itself is flawed, or self-administration in general doesn't ensure stability of the measurements, or the Big Five theory has a problem.
Holy shit, I just realized that looking from a TDT perspective, a Parfit's Hitchhiker, a Newcomb's Problem and ye olde one-shot PD... are more or less the same challenge, just with a few variables changed! They all can be resolved optimally and consistently only by being something, not just doing something.
Obvious in hindsight (that's sort of what EY has been meaning with that whole sequence), but there you go.
I want to give my 13 year old cousin a book on atheism for teenagers. Her mom has been raising her Catholic and had also sent her to a locally well-regarded Jewish preschool, saying things about "heritage" and such. (Her father is a non-believer but apparently hasn't objected to this religious upbringing.)
My parents say that doing so is a bad idea because it will offend my aunt. I feel strongly about my atheism and want to do something in this vein. Any advice?
I feel strongly about my atheism and want to do something in this vein. Any advice?
I feel strongly about my atheism and want to do something in this vein. Any advice?
Get over it. Overt evangelism really isn't worth the hassle if you aren't doing it for the expectation of divine reward. If you want to have influence try to be the coolest seeming older cousin possible and hope your influence rubs off somewhat.
I'd suggest not giving her a book overtly about atheism. Something more broadly about skepticism would be a better choice I think. The Demon-Haunted World gets a lot of recommendations, though I haven't actually read it myself.
I've signed up for GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/gwern (Read by top rating)
Have other LWers found this worth doing?
Something to defend: How Machiavelli's love of Florence led to the invention of utilitarianism and political science.
Transhumanist political party created in Russia.
I've heard some reports that hallucinogenic drugs can be psychologically beneficial and am wondering whether to experiment with them. My personal interest was triggered by articles about LSD being effective in dealing with depression, which is an ongoing issue for me. However I'm concerned at interaction with anti-depressants (SNRI) and possible harmful psychological effects.
So two related questions:
What are people's anecdotal reports on using hallucinogenics?
What would be the best way to go about investigating this in literature while avoiding obviously pro or anti biased positions, there seems to be an absence of serious studies.
I finally updated my website to be a little more 21st century - http://kajsotala.fi . Doesn't have anything that'd be new for someone who's read everything that I've ever written online, but if you haven't and you like my writing in general, you might find something interesting.
Opinions have been divided on the logo graphic, so I'll have to see if I find something that's a little more universally liked. It's not a huge priority, though.
I think the Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem needs a new introduction.
I'm pretty new to this site and I clearly remember that one of the first articles I attempted to read was this one. At this point, I didn't even know what Bayes' theorem was, so I really didn't care about how Bayes' theorem was often taught wrong, or about how Bayesian reasoning is counterintuitive, or anything in the current intro. I had seen a link on the home page about Bayes and wanted to know what it was, not about how other people teach it wrong. It is one of the first artic... (read more)
I posted this in the last open thread, but it received pretty limited response: Is it time for a new welcome thread? The current one says 2012, but it's over 1200 comments largely because of that infanticide discussion.
If it is time for a new welcome thread upvote this comment.
Where can I find solid figures on album sales over the past few years? It's for something I'm trying to write, and the RIAA website is useless, and wikipedia seems to reference a varied collection of journalistic articles rather than central sources.
EffectSizeFAQ.com provides a layman's (or newbie statistician's) guide to effect sizes and why they matter. Actually, any person reading about or doing statisitics would do well to be familiar with the concepts outlined there, as there are still current articles that conflate statistical significance with substantive significance.
Something I just fucking have to say - not to bring up gender politics or certain communities' habits or any of our mind-killing issues like that - just to express the depths of my frustration and disgust!
If I ever again see anyone online not just using that stupid fucking 1-10 "scale of attractiveness", but referring to a (concrete or hypothetical) person as "a [number]" - e.g. "It's so lame to settle for 3s and 4s when you could get more fit and hook up with 8s" - I'm going to kick them in the genitals over TCP/IP.
When I r... (read more)
Is it worth carrying alcohol hand wash and regularly using it for health reasons? I'm unsure how real the threat actually is for people with normal lifestyles.
What does UDT do in asymmetric zero-sum games? Here's a simple such game: player 1 chooses which player is going to pay money to the other, and player 2 chooses the sum of money to be paid, either $100 or $200. The unique Nash equilibrium is player 2 paying $100 to player 1.
Here's a simple formalization of UDT. Let the universe be a program U which returns a utility value, and the agent be a subprogram A within U, which knows the source code of both A and U by quining, and returns an action value. The program A looks for proofs in a formal theory T that th... (read more)
Consider a hypothetical species living in a universe with different physics. They have unlimited living space and resources, no known existential risks to worry about, and see no evidence of other intelligent lifeforms. Their population of 7 billion is growing exponentially at the same rate as ours. The physics of their universe allow for this exponential growth to go on literally forever.
Given the doomsday argument, their mathematicians would compute the same doomsday that ours do, although their actual probability of going extinct is much lower. However... (read more)
Your thought experiment is like saying, "suppose I win the lottery, does that disprove probability theory?" You've basically said that their total population over time is infinite, but that you've decided to focus on the very beginning of their history. A randomly selected individual from that possible world should have an immeasurably long history behind them.
There's a scam I've heard of;
Mallet, a notorious swindler, picks 10 stocks and generates all 1024 permutations of "stock will go up" vs. "stock will go down" predictions.
He then emails his predictions to 1024 different investors.
One of the investors receive a perfect, 10 out 10 prediction sheet and is (Mallet hopes) convinced Mallet is a stock picking genius.
Since it's related to the Texas sharpshooter fallacy, I'm tempted to call this the Texas stock-picking scam, but I was wondering if anyone knew a "proper" name for it, and/or any analysis of the scam.
Is there a way to put hyperlinks or images in meetup posts? It seems that when one makes a meetup post, an identical discussion post is automatically generated. You can edit the latter in LessWrong's html or wysiwyg editor, but doing so does not modify the original meetup post. It looks like only a text editor is available for the meetup post itself.
EDIT: It turns out that if you put a url into the text editor for a meetup post, it will turn into a link.
I have a bit of an "Unspoken LessWrong norms" question, which resolves into several questions:
In this comment, I edited the comment itself out of forum-going habit (where it's usually looked-down upon to "doublepost", or post consecutively in the same thread, for various reasons) when I wanted to add my meta-thoughts and analysis of what I discussed. I also do the same thing when I simply want to add more content / thought to a comment, by default.
Is this the preferred method of self-review or content-addition, such as might be inferre... (read more)
Are private messages working for other people? I've tried to send three recently that I don't think have been sent. When I send them, I get sent to message/compose and it's blank, and when I check message/sent they aren't there. I'm on a different, dodgier internet connection than normal, and so the problem could very well be on my end.
OMG RATIONALBROS HELP ME OUT MY NIGGAZ
i need the complete lyrics for skrillex - my name is skrillex, from the album "my name is skrillex". the lyrics author is skrillex i think.
What do people think of the Myer-briggs personality system? I've seen it referenced a few times here and have occasionally had interesting insights from it, but I'm unsure about the empirical basis of it. I'm particularly worried by the self reporting of peoples features (e.g. if I'm asked if I'm extroverted what baseline am I comparing myself to?) and the possible reporting of what people want to believe about themselves not an objective assessment (e.g. I would want to say rationality is more important than emotion, even if in reality most of my decisions are emotional and I just rationalise them).
I recently went through my wardrobe and inverted all of my stacks of clothes. I realized I have a tendency to wear whatever is on top and neglect to wear things for months at a time that are buried below. Then it occurred to me, maybe it doesn't matter.
Consider: a newly purchased shirt can be worn X number of times before it becomes unwearable. Does it really make a difference if those times are clustered together tightly or spread out?
My original thinking was that if I have several pairs of shoes & wear them in rotation, they will last longer. That mi... (read more)
A question for TDT gurus. Do acausal trade, and other acausal coordinations, require a complete instance of each cooperating agent at each of the acausally connected sites? It seems that there at least has to be a model of each agent at each site, if not a "complete instance".
For example, the TDT solution to Newcomb's problem, as I understand it, amounts to you coordinating with the copy of you or the model of you which exists in Omega. There's only one actively coordinating agent, you (Omega is only reactive to whatever you decide), and there's... (read more)
"I just flipped a fair coin. I decided, before I flipped the coin, that if it came up heads, I would ask you for $1000. And if it came up tails, I would give you $1,000,000 if and only if I predicted that you would give me $1000 if the coin had come up heads. The coin came up heads - can I have $1000?"Obviously, the only reflectively consistent answer in this case is "Yes - here's the $1000", because if you're an agent who expects to encounter many problems like this in the future, you will self-modify to be the sort of agent who an
"I just flipped a fair coin. I decided, before I flipped the coin, that if it came up heads, I would ask you for $1000. And if it came up tails, I would give you $1,000,000 if and only if I predicted that you would give me $1000 if the coin had come up heads. The coin came up heads - can I have $1000?"
Obviously, the only reflectively consistent answer in this case is "Yes - here's the $1000", because if you're an agent who expects to encounter many problems like this in the future, you will self-modify to be the sort of agent who an
A new immersive language learning game has a Kickstarter right now; it's essentially a first person story based game with interactive subtitles.
People should stop commenting on posts that have been downvoted, otherwise it provides positive feedback.