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I wonder if you could use defect seeding in service jobs. Your boss's boss makes a deal with you that you deliberately make certain mistakes (of a severity that your boss should notice but that would not directly bother customers), and they'll keep those mistakes from going on your record. Then you wait to see whether your boss mentions those mistakes in your performance review, to get a better picture of how good of a handle they've got on what you're doing.

Aw, Robin should have kept his old chart where the future of the world's economic activity was in Ii. That would be a lot easier for people to pronounce than Rovaniemi.

(the old chart I'm referring to is from Upload Economics 101 which is basically the same talk in somewhat more depth and with more of the Awkward Robin Chuckle)

To be fair, it's not really enough to know what types are to get this one right. You have to understand that the + operator is overloaded based on the types of its operands; that is, + actually means several different things, depending on the operand types. The experience people have of + meaning numerical addition might be interfering with their learning. Maybe if someone else's students had problems with it, they could try defining a function putTogether (a, b) and telling the students that it's a mysterious black box that does one arbitrary thing for numbers and a completely different thing for strings. Then you could leave revealing that it's actually the language's + operator that has this strange behavior for later.

Hello. Didn't realise I had an account here, but I think one got autogenerated from a single comment I made at OB in early 2008.

To be honest I was somewhat surprised that LW turned out to be so much of a self-help support group, and I somewhat miss the time when I could go on OB and just have my mind blown so many ways every day. The work on decision theory that's being done here still has the sort of brain-everting quality that keeps me coming back for more, though, so I happily pick the promising posts from the sidebar regularly in addition to keeping up with the front page. I guess I'm addicted to the feeling of my brain being violently rewired :-(

One trick that might help here is not considering beliefs themselves but actions upon those beliefs. Just because you have 0.0001% certainty the Moon is made of green cheese doesn't mean you can make 0.0001% of a spaceship and hop over for a meal - you have to either build the ship or not build it, and the expected return from building is going to be somewhat small. Likewise, just because there's a chance that humans and chimpanzees have 98% shared DNA entirely by accident does not mean it's rational to actually act on that chance, even if you're going through the mental effort of actually considering the possibility.

Granted, this approach is likely to just confuse people, perhaps making them think they are "allowed" to hold unlikely beliefs as long as they don't act on said beliefs... but maybe it's worth a try in the right situation?