All of arundelo's Comments + Replies

He has plugged it or mentioned it in at least three open thread posts but I had trouble finding them. They all call it a "community center" but none uses the names "Berkeley" or "REACH" (or Sarah Spikes's last name).

Correction: The first one does say it's in Berkeley (but not as part of the name so I missed it when looking at search results).

Okay, then I stand corrected.

I think I found what I was thinking of! It wasn’t George H. Smith, it was Jeff Riggenbach. Smith published it in a “short-lived online zine” of his and reposted it here. (It’s a review of Ayn Rand’s The Art of Nonfiction. Be warned that the formatting isn’t quite right—block quotes from the book are not formatted differently from the text of the review.)

A couple excerpts:

“Do not make time a constant pressure,” she cautions. “Do not judge your progress by each day; since the production of any written material is irregular, nobody but a hack can be sure how
... (read more)

George H. Smith said something once, maybe in an email discussion group or something. I can't find it now but it was something along the lines of:

When he first started writing he did the standard thing of writing a first draft then rewriting it. But after spending years writing a large quantity of (short) complete pieces, many of them on a deadline, he got so he could usually just write it right the first time through—the second editing pass was only needed to fix typos.

I think I found what I was thinking of! It wasn’t George H. Smith, it was Jeff Riggenbach. Smith published it in a “short-lived online zine” of his and reposted it here. (It’s a review of Ayn Rand’s The Art of Nonfiction. Be warned that the formatting isn’t quite right—block quotes from the book are not formatted differently from the text of the review.) A couple excerpts: ---

Thanks for the response! (I've seen you say similar stuff about "akrasia" once or twice before and had been meaning to ask you about it. I'll think about this.)

("Meditations on Moloch" link for anyone who didn't understand the reference.)

Edit: I rewrote this to use "Alice" and "Bob" instead of "you" and "me" as characters to clarify that it's a thought experiment and not a question about Less Wrong user arundelo (though it is inspired by actual events). I also added a paragraph at the end.

Let's say Alice asks Bob why he didn't watch the most recent episode of $TVSHOW and he says, "I didn't feel like it", and she asks for more detail. He might tell her that he doesn't really like $TVSHOW, or that he likes it but wasn... (read more)

Yes, I think it is really worthwhile for Bob to avoid the words "akrasia" and "procrastination," and that the short answer "I didn't feel like it" is better. It's an important feature of this scenario that Bob must work in order to survive, which the akrasia / procrastination frame masks; poetically, he is a slave to Moloch, and it's important that he uses language that clearly distinguishes what he wants (which is to not work) from what Moloch wants (which is to continue his enslavement). (A mantra for Bob: is it akrasia or am I a slave?)


This account has been posting spam since April 2017 (though all of their old comments have been deleted and are visible only on their overview and comments pages).


(This comment on a draft is visible in the "Recent Comments" stream.)

Thanks, but you accidentally removed the href attributes from my links. I added them back ... never mind, they're still dead. Can't get it to work.

They are:

Btw, the relevant bug is now fixed and markdown links should work properly again.
Huh, weird. Sorry for that. I will figure out what caused that.

Scott Alexander writes about Taubes here (and elsewhere).

(Edit 3: Got rid of some stuff about the in-browser editor. For the record, the "maybe also allow users on desktop to switch to the markdown mode" link is this.)

Nah, the only thing you need to do is press space after you insert a link, or any other markdown syntax. (Edited it for you)

I just used Wei Dai's lesswrong_user script to download Eliezer's posts and comments (excluding, last I knew, those that don't show up on his "OVERVIEW" page e.g. for karma reasons). This went back to late December 2009 before the network connection got dropped.

I counted his uses of "LessWrong" versus "Less Wrong". (Of course I didn't count things such as the domain name "", the English phrase "less wrong", or derived words like "LessWrongers".)

"LessWrong": 1 2 3* 4*

"Le... (read more)

Has the team explicitly decided to call it "LessWrong" (no space) instead of "Less Wrong" (with a space)?

The spaced version has more precedent behind it. It's used by Eliezer and by most of the static content on, including the element.

Being aware that this is probably the most bikesheddy thing in this whole discussion, I've actually thought about this a bit. From skimming a lot of early Eliezer posts, I've seen all three uses "LessWrong", "Lesswrong" and "Less Wrong" and so there isn't a super clear precedent here, though I do agree that "Less Wrong" was used a bit more often. I personally really like "Less Wrong", because it has two weirdly capitalized words, and I don't like brand names that are two words. It makes it sound too much like it wants to refer to the original meaning of the words, instead of being a pointer towards the brand/organization/online-community, and while one might think that is actually useful, it usually just results in a short state of confusion when I read a sentence that has "Less Wrong" in it, because I just didn't parse it as the correct reference. I am currently going with "LessWrong" and "LESSWRONG", which is what I am planning to use in the site navigation, logos and other areas of the page. If enough people object I would probably change my mind.


Comment formatting note -- Less Wrong's subset of Markdown does not let you use inline HTML.

The intuitive sense of what surprise is corresponds well to the rules for updating your probability distribution over models, which we can therefore take as a formal definition of surprise.

Just to make sure I understand prior and posterior over models, is the following about right?

  • Alice starts with a prior of 0.999 that non-vanity plates are generated basically randomly (according to some rule of "N letters followed by M digits" or whatever, and with rules e.g. preventing swear words).
  • Alice sees "3817" (having seen many other 4-digit plates previously).
  • Alice's posterior probability over models is still about 0.999 on the same model.

Families with exactly two children:

| oldest | youngest |
| boy... | boy..... | two boys
| boy... | girl.... | one boy
| girl.. | boy..... | one boy
| girl.. | girl.... | no boys
Thank you. I should have realised that. (And is it not weird, how two questions of the same, well, validity, give two different answers and perhaps - in a situation, where it matters - lead to different formulations?)

No, Romeo chooses steal. If his opponent also chooses steal (in spite of Romeo's credible commitment to choosing steal himself), the opponent does not get any money.

This is probably a known issue, and I know a rewritten version of the Less Wrong software is being worked on, but I just noticed that even if I'm using HTTPS, comment permalinks (the chain icon at the bottom of a comment) are HTTP URLs.

Why does not obey robots.txt?

Because it is not a free-walking crawler, it saves only one page acting as a direct agent of the human user. faq

A few months ago we stopped referring to robots.txt files on U.S. government and military web sites [...] As we have moved towards broader access it has not caused problems, which we take as a good sign. We are now looking to do this more broadly. blog, 2017-04-17 has both things from Patri's LiveJournal:

(Unlike, does not, IIRC, respect robots.txt.)

Gwern Branwen has a page on link rot and URL archiving.

0arundelo6y faq blog, 2017-04-17

I bet cousin_it didn't link it because it's not on the (public) internet. Edit: Nope!

physical existence of Wei is highly doubtful

People have met Wei Dai in meatspace, if that's what you're talking about. Edit: As confirmed by cousin_it.

gwern on "centaurs" (humans playing chess with computer assistance):

Even by 2007, it was hard for anyone to improve, and after 2013 or so, the very best centaurs were reduced to basically just opening book preparation (itself an extremely difficult skill involving compiling millions of games and carefully tuning against the weakness of possible opponent engines), to the point where official matches have mostly stopped (making it hard to identify the exact point at which centaur ceased to be a thing at all).

You can use ballet dancing or piano playing for status signaling but first you need to learn to dance ballet or play the piano.

It works for me in Firefox 53.0.3, Firefox 54.0, and Chrome 58.0.3029.110.

(All 32-bit on Windows. I tested it both by clicking on the link, which goes through Less Wrong's thing, and by entering the [https] readthesequences link in the address bar.)

The only weird thing is that after I upgraded to Firefox 54, the "TLS handshake" step of loading the page took a long time -- ten seconds or so -- a couple times, but it's not doing that now.

Vigilink is blocked in my browser, so there is no redirect. At the moment both Firefox 54.0 and whatever the latest Chrome is give me a "reset connection error" for https but are perfectly happy to display the site via http. I'm behind a firewall at the moment so it's possible that it's playing games, but I don't know why it would treat https and http differently (https in general works perfectly fine behind this firewall).

The Resolve Cycle is a CFAR technique where one sets a 5 minute timer and resolves to solve the problem in the allotted time.


Eliezer probably means "sapient":

"Sentience is commonly used in science fiction and fantasy as synonymous with sapience, although the words aren't synonyms."

(Or maybe by "is sentient", he means to say, "is a person in the moral sense".)

But saying that e.g. rats are not sentient in the context of concern about the treatment of sentient beings is like saying that Negroes are not men in the context of the Declaration of Independence. Not only are the purely semantic aspects dubious, but excluding entities from a moral category on semantic grounds seems like a severe mistake regardless. Words like "sentience" and especially "consciousness" are often used to refer to the soul without sounding dogmatic about it. You can tell this from the ways people use them: "Would a perfect duplicate of you have the same consciousness?", "Are chimps conscious?", etc. You can even use such terminology in such ways if you're a materialist who denies the existence of souls. You'd sound crazy talking about souls like they're real things if you say that there are no such things as souls, wouldn't you? Besides, souls are supernatural. Consciousness, on the other hand, is an emergent phenomenon, which sounds much more scientific. Is there good reason to think that there is some sort of psychic élan vital? It strikes me as probably being about as real as phlogiston or luminiferous aether; i.e. you can describe phenomena in terms of the concept, and it doesn't necessarily prevent you from doing so basically correctly, but you can do better without it. And, of course, in the no-nonsense senses of the terms, rats are sentient, conscious, aware, or however else you want to put it. Not all of the time, of course. They can also be asleep or dead or other things, as can humans, but rats are often sentient. And it's not hard to tell that plenty of non-humans also experience mental phenomena, which is why it's common knowledge that they do. I can't recall ever seeing an argument that mistreating minds without self-awareness or metacognition or whatever specific mental faculty is arbitrarily singled out, is kinder or more just or in any normal sense more moral than mistreating a mind without it. And you can treat any position as a
Well, sentient means feeling and sapient means knowing, and that's about all there is to it...neither term is technical precise, although they are often bandied around as though they are.

This statement has the letter “T” at the beginning; the next two letters are “h” and “i”; which are followed by “s s”; … ; the first letter is then repeated inside double quotes; …

What do the ellipses ("...") mean?

Some English text, such that everything fits.

We need downvotes for this sort of stuff. ^

Edit: By which I mean bogus's comment, which does nothing beyond insulting lifelonglearner. Also, I'd guess quite a few commenters on this website are in the 95th percentile of (say) IQ at their school.

Strongly agree: bogus's comment was stupid and well out of order. Yes, Dunning & Kruger found that some incompetent people think they're good. That doesn't mean that everyone who thinks they're good is incompetent. I bet lifelonglearner is absolutely right about being in the top 5% in his school. (Perhaps bogus is just saying "hahahaha, he said "top 5 percentile" where he should have said "95th percentile" but sorry, that too is stupid; lifelonglearner's words were perfectly clear as they were.)

Yeah, I agree, but at the time I hadn't been following this user closely, so I figured I'd allow the possibility of mistaken identity.

I'm sure I'm not saying anything you haven't already given consideration to, but you probably should not feed the troll.

I assume they're deleting your stuff because they think you're Eugine_Nier (who has been banned). If you indeed are Eugine_Nier, please go away. If you are not Eugine_Nier, I guess you'll need to convince a moderator of that (or give up this account and make another one).

I assume what you're replying to is from user math. No possible way is that anyone other than Eugine.

This was probably Aella, who took LSD every week for ten months.

I'm not finding the poetry on a quick scan of but it rings a bell with me too. It might also be on (which, be warned, has a fair amount of NSFW images).

a participatory culture makes the notion of a skill-level hierarchy more apparent and well-defined

Not so. Fetishizing extreme 'skill', virtuosity, stardom etc. is a marker of a consumer culture, not a participatory one.

For one thing, fetishizing skill is a fairly small component of contemporary popular music culture. For another, that's different from the skill-level hierarchy komponisto is talking about. As a musician (disclosure!), I expect a musician's judgment of another musician's skill level to be more accurate and finer-grained than the judgment of a non-musician.

That's only because contemporary popular/consumer culture has gone even further on that same slippery slope, in allowing the sheer force of familiarity and public image to substitute for even the most trifling amount of actual skill. But when a musician 'judges' the skill-level of a fellow participating musician in any contingent context, she is not thereby establishing or contributing to a single "well-defined" hierarchy of skill, nor is she making that hierarchy "more apparent" in any real sense. That's entirely consumer culture's doing.

If I may, let me agree with you in dialogue form:

Alice: 1 = 0.999...
Bob: No, they're different.
Alice: Okay, if they're different then why do you get zero if you subtract one from the other?
Bob: You don't, you get 0.000...0001.
Alice: How many zeros are there?
Bob: An infinite number of them. Then after the last zero, there's a one.

Alice is right (as far as real numbers go) but at this point in the discussion she has not yet proved her case; she needs to argue to Bob that he shouldn't use the concept "the last thing in an infinite sequence" (or th... (read more)

There is no "after the last" zero.

Broadly speaking, I agree, and Jesus mythicist Richard Carrier would also agree:

[A]mateurs should not be voicing certitude in a matter still being debated by experts ([Jesus] historicity agnosticism is far more defensible and makes far more sense for amateurs on the sidelines) and [...] criticizing Christianity with a lead of "Jesus didn't even exist" is strategically ill conceived -- it's bad strategy on many levels, it only makes atheists look illogical, and (counter-intuitively) it can actually make Christians more certain of their faith.

B... (read more)

I think this fails in the case where the experts are infected by a meme plague.

I was a super-forecaster. I think my main advantages were 1) skill at Googling and 2) noticing that most people, when you ask them “Will [an interesting thing] happen?”, are irrationally biased toward saying yes. I also seem to be naturally foxy and well-calibrated, but not more so than lots of other people in the tournament. I did not obsess, but I tried fairly hard.


Edit: "Foxy" in this context means "knowing many small things instead of one big thing". See this pair (one, two) of Overcoming Bias posts by the late Hal Finney.

Thanks for the link to that. I'm definitely on the foxy end of the spectrum. I'm curious when Hedgehogs do well. Perhaps in Physics/Maths when they hedgehog on the right idea?

Perfectly clear, and probably in most contexts less likely to elicit off-by-one errors. The only confusing things I can see are:

  • Maybe someone might think you just meant the first decade of the 1900s?
  • Similarly, is "the 2000s" a century or a decade or a millennium? (This and the previous problem are solved by using e.g., "19xx", but that's probably only clear in written language.)
  • This style (it seems to me) is more common with older stuff (e.g., the 1800s and 1700s), so someone might do a double-take at "the 1900s", thinking
... (read more)
The person who was confused was so used to "the nth century" that "the xx00s" didn't register as the same thing.

Today I learned the words "hypernym" and "hyponym"!

(Wikipedia: "Hyponymy and hypernymy"; oxforddictionaries dot com: "hypernym", "hypernymy", "hyponym", "hyponymy".)

Related useful words are meronym and holonym.

If he's let the domain lapse intentionally (maybe to minimize the amount of old stuff by him on the internet) I hope he'll consider renewing it just so he can host a permissive robots.txt. This way the rest of will no longer be visible to casual internet searchers but will still be available on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (which it will not if someone else buys the domain and puts up a restrictive robots.txt).

I spidered his site with wget at one point. I'd be happy to provide a copy to anyone who wants it, but I'm afraid wget did not get everything, e.g., the image in question here would probably not have been found by wget.

I found the first passage moving in that it moved me to think, "This is so fucking stupid", so I never finished it and haven't gotten around to reading the decucked version. When I do get around to it, I find it fairly likely that I'll basically agree with the substantive point, but I have trouble taking a piece of writing seriously when it unironically uses insults like "cuck" and "shitlib".

(Or maybe it is irony, but sufficiently advanced irony is indistinguishable from stupidity.)

It's a thumbs-up that is in the lower left corner of a comment or post (next to a thumbs-down). It looks like the top of these two thumbs-ups (or the bottom one after you've clicked it):

If you don't see it, it may be that they've turned off voting for new or low-karma accounts.

Ya, that must be it. I've been on here for like 3 years (not with this account though) but only after the diaspora. Really excited that things are getting posted again. One major issue with such a system is that I now feel pressure to post popular content. A major feature of this community is that nothing is dismissed out of hand. You can propose anything you want so long as it's supported by a sophisticated argument. The problem with only giving voting privileges to >x karma accounts is that people, like myself, will feel a pressure to post things that are generally accepted. Now to be clear I'm not opposed to such a filter. I've personally noticed that for example, slatestarcodex doesn't have the same consistently high quality comments as lesswrong. For example people will have comments like "what's falsification?"etc. So I acknowledge that such a filter might be useful. At the same time however I'm pointing out one potential flaw with such a filter, that it lends itself to creating an echo-chamber.

"Repository repository" -- a post listing various "repository" posts, like the "Solved Problems Repository", the "Useful Concepts Repository", the "Mistakes Repository", and the "Good things to have learned" post.

It seems I am unable to identify rot13 by simple observation of its characteristics. I am ashamed.

When I lived in °C places I had to pay attention to single-digit differences like 24 °C versus 29 °C, wasting the first digit.


In Fahrenheit I get the basic idea with the first digit.

  • “It’s in the thirties” = multiple layers and coat.
  • “It’s in the nineties” = T shirt weather.

In the 70’s and 80’s I want a second sig-fig but I don’t even need 10 elements of precision. Just “upper 70’s” is enough. The first °F digit gives you ballpark, and the second °F digit gives you even more precision than you need.

I do think it's a difference between whether my flat is heated at 20 C or 22 C. The range between 0 and 100 might map the weather better but there's a lot of temperature that I care about that's not weather. If I drink tea the second digit doesn't matter. There are water cookers that provide either 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100 degrees and that maps well to real world differences.

And, over on Slate Star Codex (where there are no links to individual comments; sorry),

A comment's date and time is a permalink to that comment. Here's Ialdabaoth's "mod-bombed" comment.

D'oh! Thanks. (I have a feeling I've made the same mistake before and had it pointed out before. Perhaps I'll remember next time.)

This comment is an excellent summary of Eugine_Nier's history at LW and what's wrong with his behavior.

The mailing list is (presumably) just where he heard about the book. (In case you don't know this, SIAI is MIRI's old name.)

The chapter of the book at the defunct link is still available at the Internet Archive.

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