All of ancientcampus's Comments + Replies

Some things that took me by surprise:

People here are more favorable of abortion than feminism. I always thought the former as secondary to the latter, though I suppose the "favorable" phrasing makes the survey sensitive to opinion of the term itself.

Mean SAT (out of 1600) is 1474? Really, people? 1410 is 96th percentile, and it's the bottom 4th quartile. I guess the only people who remembered their scores were those who were proud of them. (And I know this is right along with the IQ discussion)

This would imply that LW is about as selective as a top university (like Harvey Mudd). That doesn't seem that implausible to me- but I definitely agree that we should expect the true mean to be lower than the self-reported mean (both because of inflated memories and selective memories).

Mission Accomplished.

I definitely want to see the results! For reference, 2013:

I wonder if we could get a chart with the data matched up over time? Chart community changes over time?

I'm not going to lie - I always find discussions at LW very intense and rather intimidating. Discussing my and other people's ideas is bad enough - I personally would rather not expose anything highly personal to the brutally honest scrutiny here.

There's two ways I'm thinking your aversion could be interpreted: not revealing something because mostly you feel it's personally embarrassing, or not revealing something you because you believe you would be widely negatively judged for it. I tried to offer a solution to the former interpretation of the problem in the other comment. In this comment, I'll cover what I believe makes sense when you believe you'd be very harshly judged. I don't believe such aversions to sharing such thoughts are miscalibrated. I'll start with an example. When I wrote this above post, when example I was considering using was from one user, not using a real name, who was asking about whether it was worth taking an illegal psychoactive substance for its therapeutic and cognitive effects. Now, I didn't need to ask anyone's permission to include their own perspectives as examples, and I still don't. That's because nobody does. However, this one user might be linked to their public identity. I'm not mentioning either the username, nor the substance in question, so it's not searchable. That was an edge case for which I erred to be more discrete, and not very publicly profile someone who asks a more taboo question. They got the answer they wanted, which is what's important. I wrote the post so individual users would get value for themselves, not ask questions out of a sense of 'improving the community', or whatever. That's the sort of personal detail that might attract unwanted attention outside of Less Wrong norms. Talking about our own personal politics, or ideological beliefs (fringe-science, social, philosophical, etc.), that aren't shared by most others isn't always appreciated on Less Wrong. It's fine to hold those beliefs if you're willing to accept you may very well be wrong, but debating such on Less Wrong still seems problematic. However, the community has shifted from "politics is the mind-killer to "politics is hard mode to "we have other sites specifically for discussing controve
Users can always start a throwaway account, and post in a thread. That's done on reddit. It may be more difficult to start a discussion with a throwaway account, but I suppose it could be done. I just discussed this in the open thread. Some etiquette was covered: * Indicate clearly, and from the beginning, that the account you're using is a throwaway. For example, "this is a throwaway account..." * Use it to discuss topics you don't want to have your real name, or your regular account linked to, but don't use it as an excuse to engage Less Wrong at a lower level than you usually do. * Don't use the throwaway account as a mask to get away with trolling, harassment, bad jokes, vitriol, or not trying to be reasonable. The community may be indifferent, or sympathetic, but usually not exclusionary. I mean, if somebody is using a throwaway account to discuss why it's rational for all of us to start hating this one particular outgroup, that would deservedly receive flak. However, maybe someone wants to discuss really signing up for cryonics, but the feel it's still too weird to have their name publicly linked to it. Or, maybe, they have a problem they believe Less Wrong might be able to solve better than other online, or meatspace, support communities, but they're embarrassed for people to know it's them. If I was in that particular sort situation, I would make it clear that I'm already a regular user of Less Wrong, and it's too harrowing. However, no user would be obliged to qualify why they're using a throwaway, even if another user doesn't have the perspective to understand why a throwaway might feel necessary.

Nice! I really hope the pendulum doesn't swing that far, though.

Thanks. To explain the joke and/or show my work: * The seed idea here was the abolition of copyright in a post-consumerist society — not post-Singularity, but dramatically post-scarcity compared to today. Commercial media stopped being a thing because ① people don't need jobs because post-scarcity; ② noncommercial media descended from fan-works continued to improve in production quality; but ③ people still like good stories, and the most popular stories are often ones based on established, well-known characters. (From Anansi to Hamlet would make a great book title.) * The twist was literary theory as a scientific-mathematical discipline. This is an extrapolation from the computational turn in linguistics. In this future, "literary theory" refers to the mathematical study of possible and actual stories; with computational literary theory being the application of computational linguistics and cognitive science to the topic. * The bit that I had to go back and rewrite was to consistently use the words "storytelling" and "story" in place of words such as "fiction" and "literature", except in the article title and the academic field "literary theory". This future doesn't consider there to be hard boundaries between "folktales", "genre fiction", "fan fiction", and "literature" — all of these are stories, and this isn't a fluffy postmodern doctrine but a scientific result. * It's Whig history. The future writers think of their unitary concept of storytelling as both scientifically proven and obviously true, and the former era's distinctions (and laws) as being both superstitious and wicked. They think of copyright as an unnatural imposition on human culture — but they do so from a standpoint where authors/storytellers don't have to worry about earning a living. * Chiyoda is the ward of Tokyo in which Akihabara district is located. * E. Mitchell Leonard, of Leonard's Theorem, is E. L. James from a parallel universe.

I appreciate what you're saying. Just going by the information I posted, that wasn't nearly enough information to conclude "AMF has more money than they can use". It merely raised the question - which I had answered here. :)

For those interested, here's a graph of the AMF's "recurring donation" income over time: Take-away points: 1) It's been in steady decline for about a year 2) they're not nearly as big as I thought - it's currently at $60,000, which isn't even enough to support a decently sized staff.

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If there's a demand, I can post the sequence of emails I've received.

Upvoted - and, to clarify, by upvoting I mean that I'd be interested! You can also send them to me via my EA Profile contact form.

Personally, I think a big way to help ensure success is to not worry too much about drawing self-identifying "effective altruists", but primarily focus on simply drawing active altruists. Obviously, if it only recruits from LW and its handful of bosom-buddies, there'll hardly be a large-enough population. The mere title of the forum should do 70% of the work to keep everything on topic, and friendly reminders from mods should handle the rest.

I think that's important enough I'm going to stress it again: if the EA community is 80% LW-ians, then I t... (read more)

Thanks to Stuart_Armstrong for getting me thinking about narrow intelligence.

Regarding the "reducing mortality" example, in biostats, mortality is "death due to X, divided by population". So "reducing cardiovascular mortality" would be dangerous, because it might kill its patients with a nerve poison. Reducing general mortality, though, shouldn't cause it to kill people, as long as it agrees with your definition of "death." (Presumably you would also have it list all side effects, which SHOULD catch the nerve-poison &etc.)

It can also prevent births. And if it has a "reduce mortality rate in 50 years time" kind of goal, it can try and kill everyone before those 50 years are up.

Best I can tell, the lesson is to be very careful with how you code the objective.

I think this sums it up well. To my understanding, I think it would only require someone "looking over its shoulder", asking its specific objective for each drug and the expected results of the drug. I doubt a "limited intelligence" would be able to lie. That is, unless it somehow mutated/accidentally became a more general AI, but then we've jumped rails into a different problem.

It's possible that I'm paying too much attention to your example, and not enough attention to your general point. I guess the moral of the story is, though, &qu... (read more)

So, there's a fair amount of interest here in post-singularity life-preserving things like cryogenics, uploading one's mind to a computer system, etc. There's a videogame on sale at the moment called "Master Reboot", where you wake up after having uploaded your mind, and something inevitably goes wrong (because otherwise there would be no story). The general impression I've gathered from others is "mediocre low-budget game, interesting concept". I figured someone here may find it their cup of tea.

If you're interested, it's on sale in th... (read more)

Installed RescueTime to track where I spend time. I hardly never check the dashboard so I don't think it's very effective.

Did the same with the same result. It falls under the category of information that is easy to gather but I don't base actions on, so it is useless in the literal sense.

I also had the same experience. I couldn't have phrased the above better.

For what it's worth: Though I do not claim to be a perfect user of SRS flashcards, I used them intensively for 3 years of medical school, constantly refining my technique. Many people here have suggested ways to improve my strategies. I have not yet seen an idea that I have not already tried extensively. Though I'm far from perfect, I think it's safe to say I have a better understanding than most beginners. There certainly is room for me to improve, but not much. If someone is considering using SRS long term for high volumes in medical school, here is my a... (read more)

Just to comment on the last bit: It seems odd to me that you stress the "3 weeks BARE minimum" and the "crossing point at 3 to 6 months" as a con, while you have used SRS for three years. Given that SRS is used for retention, and assuming that 6 months is the "crossing point", one would think that after three years of consistent SRS use you'd reap a very nice yield. I know it's a metaphoric language, but it seems additionally ironic that the "BARE minimum" you stress equals to your frequency of exams, while you disfavor the cloze deletion's tendency to teach "guessing the teacher's password". Is the advice perhaps against using SRS to learn/cram complex knowledge under a very limited time?

Now that this topic is buried on page 2, I don't know if anyone will see this post. However, I've begun work on my tutorial. I intend to do a "demo", constructing a memory palace. Is there a particular list (of about 5-9 items) that people might find universally useful? Memory palaces really need to be constructed by the individual, but for the demo, I'd prefer to to something at least mildly relevant.

Great for starting to work on this. I don't understand what you want us to say here. What kind of items?

A question to the community: Do you really believe as much in spaced repetition/Anki as the post suggests?

Excellent question; I'd like to know too.

I appreciate the input, truly, but I can confidently state that's not the case in my situation. This happens even on the simplest questions that I know cold, and is a problem with mental fatigue, monotony, and reading. After the 100th card, I would expect similar results from "what color is the sky" occasionally. I highly doubt I am dyslexic, but I might be a little ADHD. Once again, I do not presume everyone has similar results, but when I did 150 cards per day (and lord help me if I missed a day), easy cards posed a significant drain on my time and mental energy.

Interesting. If you get that kind of mental fatigue from reading, maybe flashcards really are relatively inefficient for you. If it turns out that dyslexia is the problem, there is an open source font that can help with that issue. Some people have set their SRS up to read questions aloud using computer-generated speech. But yes, most of the time it's a signal that you should take a break and perhaps switch to some other activty. One thing that's relevant to this discussion is that the latest SRS versions can actually cope quite well with missed reviews. Yes, you'll still be presented with a backlog of suggestions, but the system gives you improved credit if you can recall a card easily even after the increased delay. Because that implies your memory of it was quite good in the first place, so it can be refreshed less often in the future.

Frankly, because at the volume I was running, it was far too great an investment of time. When I stopped, I had about 75-100 scheduled (learned) flashcards per day if I added nothing the day before, though I usually added 60-some every day. The cards would take me 1-2 hours, and the amount kept building as I was adding to it faster than I was pushing them "out".

Additionally, here our mileage may vary, but even with easy flashcards I occasionally find myself staring dumbly at it for ten or more seconds before I realize what it's asking and smack m... (read more)

To me, that suggests that the card is either too complex and should be split up further, or that you simply do not have solid recall of the relevant facts, so you should just flip to the answer and mark the card difficult. It's quite normal to forget even some basic info over time; the point of SRS is to refresh these memories at the lowest viable cost.

It's encouraging to see so much interest! I'll try to pull something together in the next few weeks.

A great point. I can confidently say mine is at least "average", likely above average. I consider myself a "visual learner," with good "story memory" and I agree that as such memory palaces are a particularly good for me. However, when I use the technique, I'd say it's mostly non-visual. I'd guess it's 20% me "seeing" the room, 10% "everything else" (texure, sound, smell, emotion, all of which I find much harder but make deliberate effort to employ), and 70% conceptual "The spaceship is crashing throug... (read more)

Truthfully: I tried and failed miserably when I tried shorter articles (eHow, wikipedia, etc). My study skills coach taught me; his name is Ryan Orwig and teaches medical professionals around the country; he's talked with memory champions and has ~10 years refining the technique specifically for medicine (but it works with any large body of facts, I think it would help with Law too). So, unfortunately there's no resource I can point to. I can't share his powerpoint, but I can make and share my own, which I will do when I have time.

That said, I just skimmed... (read more)

Great question. It's been a long transition from flashcards. I developed the picture technique myself over a year and a half ago. If I learned a fact a year ago, if I studied it using the picture technique, I have about 70% recall if I reviewed it once 6 months ago. If I used flashcards for a month, I have 5% recall now. If I used flashcards continuously (~1-2 hrs per day) for 6 months then stopped using the deck 6 months ago, I have about 10% recall.

(I did a very cursory self-test, then approximated these numbers. It's very far from perfect, but I didn't ... (read more)

You are absolutely correct; this is a hair worth splitting. I meant "spaced repetition flashcards", and I have only seen formal spaced repetition algorithms applied to flashcards. In my particular case, I end up with 30 or so "pages" of related information, as opposed to 500 flashcards. I agree that using spaced repetition algorithms to tell me when to study which page is likely better than alternative methods, though I haven't found an algorithm optimized for that sort of thing, and at the moment my intuition of "when I'm forgetti... (read more)

Why not do both? The thing about SRS flashcards is that facts that you have strong recall of are nearly costless to add, because the review schedules get spaced into very large intervals (weeks, then months or even years), and it only takes a split second to see a card and realize it's easy. So you could learn from tables if that really is more efficient for you, but having the data in SRS card form as well is a good insurance policy.

Very nice article! Regarding the benefits of alcohol: for those curious, it is well established at this point that alcohol is actually protective against arterial plaque; it just has all sorts of other problems. This is just for kicks mostly, but I read a publication that said that for people who have ALL the following criteria:

Male (No women because alcohol increases risk of breast cancer)

45 years Does not smoke No family history of addiction or substance abuse No personal history of addiction or substance abuse "Occasional drinker" (has a cou

... (read more)
It looks like there is a new meta-analysis that concludes that alcohol is bad for your heart (original paper). (I haven't read it.)

I recently built a set of pegs (number/image pairs), myself, and love it. I don't use it for lists, but I find it helpful for memorizing numbers in general - it gives me a way to encode numbers and pin them to objects (say, someone's birthday, or the dose of a certain drug)

I know this feels obvious on paper, but when I look at people arguing for evolution or vaccines, it doesn't look that way. I want to stress again that most people don't go outright and insult people. Rather, arguments from the pro-vaccine, pro-evolution, etc. camps often have a subtle context of, "this is obvious, why are we even still talking about this?" When summed up across countless conversations, though, it constructs a trope of "people who don't believe in evolution are ignorant savages." It's then really hard to keep that subtext out of your conversations.

True. I think hardly anyone on either side would use the term "anti-science". The terms aren't important, but rather the article is referring to the "us-vs-them" mentality.

Also, I like the term "competitor priesthood."

Google only turns up "About 915,000,000 results" for anti-science.

Good article, thanks! I especially appreciated the "story". Just some feedback, I would have benefited from a conclusion paragraph summarizing the verdicts.

Using "" (which runs anonymous google searches - useful for getting non-personalized results), I got:

Alicorn - results #9 and #10 (behind lots of My Little Pony) Luminosity - result #4, which is pretty good given the brain-training game of the same name.

The brain training game is Lumosity.

That's... kind of extreme, but also sounds very effective. I've tried lesser methods against bad habits that aren't quite as harmful as cigarette smoking, but they haven't worked. I'm going to try your trick.

You need to actually induce gagging, to the point where your eyes water a little. I accept no responsibility if someone offers you a smoke and you vomit on them.

Seconded; all the above statements are true for me too.

Wow, that's a big help to me. I can never remember the pentatonic scale, so that alone acts as an easy reference no matter what key I'm in.

Thanks for this! I remember in a previous discussion (a few months back), someone mentioned AMF not yet being tax-deductible in their area. I just noticed that it is indeed tax deductible in the US presently, so I thought I would say so. Hurrah!

I gotta say I like the philanthropy discussions on LW.

My data point: Tentative "+1" for Pomodoro.

I use Pomodoro, but I don't take breaks (I have a lot of trouble returning to work if I do) - I use the 5 minutes to handle email, etc. The main advantage is it keeps me aware of the passage of time, and helps me pace myself. I am a student who spends most hours of my day studying lecture notes.

I've seen Pomodoro brought up a number of times. Should we put together a survey to tally how many have tried it, and how many have benefited?

Admittedly, there's a world of difference between tricking yourselves and tricking others, but I think everyone agrees that it's still worthwhile.

That's pretty much my same attitude on the situation, as well. :)

Some people have demonstrated how telling a very similar lie, but for any case other than a "good cause," is clearly unethical. I definitely agree with that

As much as I'm reluctant to say it, though... I think "The Ends Justify The Means" comes into play, though. If hypothetical jkafuman didn't mention that he would ALSO donate that same amount if you DIDN'T donate, I wouldn't blame him. (In fact I may thank him, possibly.)

(I'm not advocating purely utilitarian morality - I think the morality is ultimately a balance between "don't mislead people" and "save lives from malaria")

Awesome; thanks! I'll let you know when I send in my match.

"Give me proof we can exist peacefully (a 'friendly humanity', if you will), or I'll have to [threat] in self-defense."

(A variation on the "I'm already free" line)

This is actually a pretty good one. Points for outside the box thinking. rimshot

OP, I'm sorry you got slammed with downvotes. I hope you stick around. (I didn't actually try to follow the argument so this isn't a comment on the discussion itself, I just want to extend condolences because that many downvotes are never fun)

I wouldn't do that if I were you.

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Wait, is this a redacted comment or creative use of strike-through to try and get me to ignore you? AI DESTROYED, just to be safe. Apologies if it was just a redacted comment :)
I liked "please daddy, at least tell me why I have to die" better, and I still gave that one an AI DESTROYED.

Honest question: are you proposing we avoid discussing the problem entirely?

Personally, I think there is more to be gained here than just "how will an AI try to get out and how can we prevent it." For me, it's gotten me to actually think about the benefits and pitfalls of a transhuman AI (friendly or otherwise) rather than just knowing intellectually, "there are large potential benefits and pitfalls" which was my previous level of understanding.

Edit: I've modified the OP to include your concerns. They're definitely valid, but I think this is still a good discussion for my reasons above.

No, I just thought that it was worth adding that concern to the pot. I take what I dare say some would consider a shockingly lackadaisical attitude to the problem of Unfriendly AI, viz. I see the problem, but it isn't close at hand, because I don't think anyone yet has a clue how to build an AGI. Outside of serious mathematical work on Friendliness, discussing it is no more than a recreation.

It doesn't matter what expense account you're taking it from - you can always compare two things and say, which is morally correct? If it's more moral to give to malaria than purchase cryogenics, then you shouldn't purchase cryogenics and instead give to malaria. If it's more moral to give to purchase cryogenics instead of making frivolous expenses, then you should purchase cryogenics.

(Also, I don't know about you, but my frivolous expense fund isn't nearly big enough to eradicate malaria, much less purchase cryogenics afterward.)

The point is, you should never find yourself in a state where you have enough excess income after your malaria prevention donations but won't sign up for cryonics because malaria prevention is more important to you. EDIT: The real point is more that comparing with malaria prevention could be a dodge-- you can make any purchase you want look bad via that comparison, so you need to do it consistently or you're using it to selectively denigrate some ways of spending money.

Really, what you're asking here is "is paying for cryonic suspensions the most cost-effective known way of purchasing person-neutral QALYs in the entire world?" That's an extremely implausible position that almost no one defends. Even conditional on thinking cryonics was extraordinarily great, paying for research, e.g. scientific tests of the effectiveness of cryonic suspension and related biology, would be better. Thanks for saying that. I had the (incorrect) impression that there were many on LessWrong who did believe that.

future people might

... (read more)
Your quotation tags are a bit mangled. No forms of insurance legally obligate you to pay future premiums. If you stop paying premiums the insurance ends.
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