All of AdShea's Comments + Replies

The Sword of Good

I think being non-vegetarian is less evil than being a morally inconsistent non-vegetarian. If you would have moral trouble being introduced to your food (or raising it) then you shouldn't be eating it.

I've never understood this argument. I have a visceral reaction against surgery (even the sight of blood can set me off); I certainly couldn't stand to be in the same room in which surgery was being performed. Does this mean that for consistency I'm required to morally oppose surgery?

I don't see why. For clarity, since we probably agree it's wrong, imagine you're making the same argument for cannibalism instead. One person says, "I'm fine with eating and farming humans but if I get to know one first, doing it would make me feel bad." Another says, "Screw that, I'll eat anyone, even if I know them and their children!"

The second person is more morally consistent and also more callous. Even if there's no difference in the way they live their lives, trying to end the holocaust of humans for food would be easier in a wor... (read more)

The Sword of Good

The status quo is preferable when other option is of unknown goodness and irrevocable.

Value is associated with states of knowledge (about consequences), not with precise outcomes. What you are saying is that uncertainty confers low value, and so is generally less preferable than (well-known) status quo. This is not generally correct.
The Sword of Good

As the sword killed 90% of those who touched it, Vhazhar could have, upon reading the records, discovered that the sword only allowed to survive those who help increase the CEV for sentient life (and thus slaughtering a ridiculous number of Cohen-esque "heroes").

Rationality is Systematized Winning

It seems that most the discussion here is caught up on Omega being able to "predict" your decision would require reverse-time causality which some models of reality cannot allow to exist.

Assuming that Omega is a "sufficiently advanced" powerful being, then the boxes could act in exactly the way that the "reverse time" model stipulates without requiring any such bending of causality through technology that can destroy the contents of a box faster than human perception time or use the classical many-worlds interpretation method ... (read more)

Your assumptions mean that the more likely answer is "Omega is sufficiently powerful to mess with me any way it likes; why am I playing this game?" That is, problems containing Omega are more contrived and less relevant to anything resembling real life the more one looks at them. Note that thinking too much about Omega can lead to losing in real life, as one forgets that Omega is hypothetical and cannot possibly exist, and actually goes so far as to attributes the qualities of Omega to what is in fact a manipulative human. One example that I found quite jawdropping. [] This is a case I think could quite fairly be described as reasoning oneself more ineffective. People who act like that are a reason to get out of the situation, not to invoke TDT.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

True, however assuming the cannon limitation on apparition distance and broomstick speeds, he could search the UK pretty quickly, followed by Europe.

Perhaps Quirrell expects this; she's not in Europe.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

In this instance Quirrel probably realized something of the problem with good and powerful wizards could not cast Patroni and thought that Harry's absolutely odd way of thinking of things might be able to solve it. It would make sense that he should do this quickly as his plans to turn Harry into a Dark Lord might get in the way of this.

Unless he didn't. He is not, after all, a good and powerful wizard :D
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Well, what would Schiner be like with the Eye of Vance? When you can easily protect yourself from non-movie-plot problems through magic coupled with amazing situational awareness, the movie-plot problems get to be what's left (not to mention that the wizarding world seems to breed movie-plot villians).

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

On the topic of Mad-Eye, as it has been established that Mad-Eye can see everywhere, why doesn't he go pick up Bella while she is weak?

Presumably there still is a limit to how much information his brain can process. Even if he could scan 1000m^2 per second on average (open land faster, forests, cities etc slower) he would need about 5000 years to search all of earth's land surface.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Given that the magical community didn't seem to get into mathematics much, and provably strong crypto needs a ton of math, I could see how they never went beyond Caesar Ciphers.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Who knows, free Transfiguration works but seems to conserve mass, broomsticks work, but have effects similar to the standard reactionless drive+inertial dampener (and you can make a "reactionless" drive if you can shake masses about fast enough in curved spacetime paper)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Either that or Portkeys take some difficult preparation and have a limited lifetime in which they will work. Requiring a trip to the target location with a lifetime limit of as little as a day would not stomp over any of their uses in cannon or in MoR up to this point IIRC. This would of course preclude Dumbledore from having Portkeys on hand to go to Diagon Alley.

It would render the king of hearts portkey Harry got from Santa Claus useless.
Imperfect Levers

Just because corporations don't have a nuclear arsenal at their disposal doesn't make them all that less dangerous if they get to the hyper-optimizing arena. Just look at the various megacorps in scifi. A sufficiently powerful megacorp can make just as much trouble by conventional means through standard demolition, police (and para-military) action, and through environmental oversights (look at the fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico).

There was once something in the real world that came close to being the equivalent of the sci-fi megacorp: the British East India Company [], which ended up directly ruling a large portion of India.
Fictional evidence... Seems to me this [] is exactly the kind of thing a GAI run company would try to avoid. Which is to say a corporation could easily build a nuclear weapon. They don't for the same reason they don't give all their profits to charity: incentives.
How to pick your categories

Overall you did a great job explaining the mathematics of unsupervised categorization but you missed one point in your end-matter.

The initial Monera classification was not a bad category at the time because when it was created there wasn't enough data to split out different subcategories. All the researchers had were a bunch of fuzzy spots wiggling under a microscope. You touched on this in the example. Just because the categories you have now are good for your current data doesn't mean that they will remain the same with further data.

Fair enough.
Information Hazards

It seems most of the "Hazards" outlined in the article are caused by the information causing the Doublethink machinery that maintains the receivers' social model to have to work harder. This isn't so much the information being harmful in of itself as the internally inconsistent models being harmed by factual information.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5

To be fair, building a solid-fuel rocket from memory wouldn't be too hard as it's all of 2 materials and rather simple in shape. Depending on how much knowledge of the subject free transfiguration takes he won't need anything more than his making of buckystring.

Two materials is true for a solid rocket motor, casing/nozzle + propellant. However, instead of a bare motor lit with a simple Incendio, this muggle tech seems to be a fully tricked out Berserker PFRC [] rocket complete with an electronic ignition.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5

He could time-turn himself to allow for self-monitoring of the experiment.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5

The more trusting Harry may be an artifact of his being terrified. He got played on his dislike of the Dementors to get him in there. Once the shit hit the fan he was running terrified and taking whatever solution appeared to him. In this case Quirrelmort sounding even slightly reasonable (remember he's been talking to himself to keep the dementors off) would be accepted. I'll be interesting to see what happens when he gets back to civilization.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5

It seems that messenger Patroni don't have quite the anti-dementor effects that a local Patronus does. This would make sense both for the reason people go into Azkaban and for the reason that Harry didn't feel any different from the sending being around.

Love and Rationality: Less Wrongers on OKCupid

Depending on your philosophy on dating the Shadow Question could be more important. Lorien's First Question "Why are you here" would also be a good thing to know in reference to the dating site itself.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4

I think you're looking for the difference between Sentient and Sapient. The problem is that they are often conflated to make an awful mess of things.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4

Possibly it's an illusion or Someone Else's Problem Field (Perception Filter) such that the evil is still there, most people just don't see it because they don't want to.

In which I fantasize about drugs

Exactly. It doesn't replace sleep, but (according to the US military study) removes all the "can't concentrate", "can't stay alert", "uncoordinated", and "stupid decisions" effects of no sleep.

Rationality quotes: October 2010

Exactly the sort of quote I was looking for. The philosopher is asking about absolute truth, the engineer only cares about finding parameters for a model of reality that works well enough for what you need it to do.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4

Harry may be a compulsive secret keeper, but he also uses the scarlet letter technique a bit too often and Quirrel probably realizes that.

Swords and Armor: A Game Theory Thought Experiment

Cycle analysis is basically drawing out a graph (nodes and edges) of what beats what. For standard Rock-paper-scissors you get a graph that looks like this:

ROCK -------> SCISSORS -------> PAPER


In systems that aren't balanced like the sword and armor problem here you can use it to decide what choice to make by giving each node a probability value based on how many people in game use that and then the best choice would be the node with the greatest (sum of probabilities on outgoing nodes) - (sum of probabilities on incoming nodes).

Rationality quotes: October 2010

I'd say a good engineer would reply: No observation is true, but truth doesn't matter if it works.

In that case, I'd say you're using a much too binary definition of "true". I'm sure this has been posted a dozen times before, but it seems relevant: "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together." -Isaac Asimov
Swords and Armor: A Game Theory Thought Experiment

That looks like what I got. It'd be interesting to do a cycle analysis like you do with Non-transitive Dice.

Thanks for the mini mind blow with the non-transitive dice link. Can you elaborate on what cycle analysis is?
Swords and Armor: A Game Theory Thought Experiment

This is the correct equation for any attack pair. Now just need to do a 16-16 table to see what wins over what. I'll do it during lecture tomorrow.

You mean this table? :)

(This and the one I made below can be seen properly at , along with the ATT vs DEF tables I worked out the outcomes from)

Hmm. Unless this has gone wrong, the best combo is Sword 1 and Armour 4, with Sword 1/Armour 1 being close). But if you bank on people choosing 1/4, then 1/1 will beat them.

NB: Yes, I made a lot of mistakes and edits to get here, and probably have still made some...

VS        a1         a1    a1    a1    a2    a2    a2    a2    a3    a3    a3    a3    a4    a4    a4    a4
... (read more)
The Dark Arts - Preamble

I'm thinking that the author, like most of us, really believes that if you know what's happening you might have some marginal chance to avoid the effects of these tactics, even if he claims otherwise.

That's my guess as well--and seems to be part of the answer, judging by the above. But I wasn't sure enough to assume it without requesting clarification.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4

The sense of doom may just be a filled-with-fantasy Harry brain's interpretation of the Voldemort-emotion/proximity as opposed to the pain that cannon!Harry felt. MoR!Harry already has a far different view of things due to his fiction reading (just look at his interactions with Hermione), why not a different mapping of an unnatural sense?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4

It also could be that the Basillisk has some sort of genetic memory (or DNA-based cognition ala the Super Happies!) such that the monster in the book is not the original monster but rather a great-great grandwhelp of the original monster. This would allow any heirs to kill their specific monster while the line (and thus memories) are preserved.

(This is of course all predicated on Slytherin realizing that his descendents may be nasty enough to keep knowledge from others by any means possible).

I wonder, did Slytherin actually expect his descendants to be nasty? In MoR quite possibly not.
Intelligence Amplification Open Thread

I use VLC's playback speed (fine) options. Right now I'm taking a few recorded lecture classes and I can get them up to 1.4x without any difficulty in understanding or comprehension.