All of barrkel's Comments + Replies

I think we're talking about an experience machine, not a pleasure button.

It's not about giving up. And it's also not about "intense pleasure". Video games can be very pleasurable to play, but that's because they challenge us and we overcome the challenges.

What if the machine was reframed as reliving your life, but better tuned, so that bad luck had significantly less effect, and the life you lived rewarded your efforts more directly? I'd probably take that, and enjoy it too. If it was done right, I'd probably be a lot healthier mentally as well.

I think the disgust at "wireheading" relies on some problematic ... (read more)

I don't agree on the dragon book (Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools). It focuses too much on theory of parsing for front end stuff, and doesn't really have enough space to give a good treatment on the back end. It's a book I'd recommend if you were writing another compiler-compiler like yacc.

I'd rather suggest Modern Compiler Implementation in ML; even though there are C and Java versions too, a functional language with pattern matching makes writing a compiler a much more pleasant experience.

(I work on a commercial compiler for a living.)

+1 for ML (and purely functional languages) used for implementing compilers.

A related idea that I've had for a decade or so: when someone (a country, a company, a person) wants to follow in the path of someone else, they shouldn't aim for their own conception of that other's location or path; rather, they should aim for what the other was aiming for, at the time they themselves traced their path.

I don't know about other people, but I do know something about myself: I don't fully know what I think until I either write it down or speak up. Moreover, the benefits of speaking up without fully thought through ideas is high in group conversations - rather than trying to complete a thought with one's own limited repertoire of to-hand facts and concepts, one can use the group's.

Also, few ways are more effective at discovering flaws in an idea than to begin explaining it to someone else; the greatest error will inevitably spring to mind at precisely the moment when it is most socially embarrassing to admit it.
I've had similar experiences, so it's not just you.

Given that it's such an important problem in people's lives, I am somewhat perplexed as to why it isn't covered in school. Given the effect choosing a mate can have, it should be a substantial part of the curriculum.

The truth about it is not politically correct enough for school, there's no way this is happening.
I got a video on "don't hate you're friend's new girlfriend because she's taking his time from you" video in sixth grade. But I expect the lack of videos is to avoid offending parents who have their own ideas?

Exactly. If someone has $1.1M, spending $0.1M on a 15% chance of $1M is a good deal. Someone who has $0.05M and has to go into debt to buy the 15% chance is very probably insane.

Have you actually read the linked-to article? Heritability != genetic control. The textbook example:

The textbook example is that (essentially) all of the variance in the number of eyes, hearts, hands, kidneys, heads, etc. people have is environmental. (There are very, very few mutations which alter how many eyes people have, because those are strongly selected against, but people do lose eyes to environmental causes, such as accident, disease, torture, etc.) The heritability of these numbers is about as close to zero as possible, but the genetic control

... (read more)
Okay, I'm reading the article now. I am no expert in this area, but it seems to just be wrong. First, it is patently false that "heritability says nothing about how much the over-all level of the trait is under genetic control." Heritability is defined in a way that is designed to tell you how much of the trait is under genetic control. That's its purpose. It's not a perfect measure, but it's wrong to say that it tells you nothing about what it's designed to tell you something about. I expect the textbook example of heritability of number of arms being misleading is a textbook example of when heritability measurements go wrong, not a textbook example of what heritability is supposed to measure. The author's argument is that heritability is variance associated with different genotypes over total variance; all members of the population have different genes; therefore, everything has 100% heritability. Furthermore, the author goes on to say, there are interactions between genetics and environment, and other factors that are correlated with genetics, and so your heritability measurement isn't meaningful anyway. This is wrong, for several reasons: * It would require psychologists to sequence the DNA of their subjects. * If it were correct, psychologists would eventually notice that everything had 100% heritability. * Psychologists design experiments measuring heritability so that some pairs in the population share more genes than other pairs. * Psychologists design experiments to try to control for those other factors correlated with genetics. If they don't, that's a design flaw. I don't think the author is really saying that people are misunderstanding the technical definition of 'heritability'. He is saying that all of the studies of IQ have been poorly designed, and so didn't measure actual heritability. The web page linked to seems to be politically-motivated, to show that IQ is not genetic. I also note that I read half of the book he refers to
I don't need to read the linked-to article, as I've read other articles using the term "heritability". Wikipedia says: "In genetics, Heritability is the proportion of phenotypic variation in a population that is attributable to genetic variation among individuals." It defines it as heritability^2 = variance due to genes / variance in the population