All of bigjeff5's Comments + Replies

That was four years ago, but I'm pretty sure I was using hyperbole. Pros don't bluff often, and when they do they are only expecting to break even, but I doubt it's as low as 2% (the bluff will fail half the time).

I'd also put in a caveat that the best hand wins among hands that make it all the way to the river. There are plenty of times where a horrible hand like a 6 2, which is an instant fold if you respect the skills of your fellow players, ends up hitting a straight by the river and being the best hand but obviously didn't win. Certainly more often th... (read more)

I know you're using hyperbole, but I'm going to do the calculations anyway :) If you bet a fraction x of the pot, with prob p of winning, and no outs, then your EV is p-(1-p)x. Clearly, EV>0 for optimal play, and a half-pot sized bet is common, so p-(1-p)/2>0 => p>1/3. So the bluff should succeed at least 1/3 of the time. Now suppose I have made some large bets, and you think I have at least JJ with 95% prob, and am bluffing with junk with 5% prob. I think you can beat JJ with 30% probability. I might chose to bet half the pot with all my possible hands (I'm now playing a probability distribution, not a hand), in which case you have to fold with 70% of your hands because 0.05 (1+0.5)<0.95 1. So in this case, my bluff succeeds 70% of the time, with EV 0.7-(1-0.7)/2=0.55. Of course this is a massively simplified example. Apparently, according to a book I read, if two pros playing head up no-limit are dealt 9 4, the author estimated that the person who has position (plays second) has around 2/3 chance of winning by bluffing his opponent off the hand, and of course the person who plays first might win by bluffing as well. So this seems to indicate that there is a reasonable chance to win by bluffing. Overall, I think pros don't make so many dramatic all-in bluffs, and in fact tend to semi-bluff, by betting with hands that have outs anyway.

At this point you have to ask what you mean by "theory" and "learning".

The original method of learning was "those that did it right didn't die" - i.e. natural selection. Those that didn't die have a pattern of behavior (thanks to a random mutation) that didn't exist in previous generations, which makes them more successful gene spreaders, which passes that information on to future generations.

There is nothing in there that requires one to ask any questions at all. However, considering that there is information gained based ... (read more)

Which makes it a practically useless observation, doesn't it?

I see that now, it took a LOT for me to get it for some reason.


I've seen that same explanation at least five times and it didn't click until just now. You can't distinguish between the two on tuesday, so you can only count it once for the pair.

Which means the article I said was wrong was absolutely right, and if you were told that, say one boy was born on January 17th, the chances of both being born on the same day are 1-(364/365)^2 (ignoring leap years), which gives a final probability of roughly 49.46% that both are boys.

Thanks for your patience!

ETA: I also think I see where I'm going wrong with the terminology - sampling vs not sampling, but I'm not 100% there yet.

How can that be? There is a 1/7 chance that one of the two is born on Tuesday, and there is a 1/7 chance that the other is born on Tuesday. 1/7 + 1/7 is 2/7.

There is also a 1/49 chance that both are born on tuesday, but how does that subtract from the other two numbers? It doesn't change the probability that either of them are born on Tuesday, and both of those probabilities add.

You overcount, the both on Tuesday is overcounted there. Think of it this way- if I have 8 kids do I have a better than 100% probability of having a kid born on Tuesday? There is a 1/7x6/7 chance the first is born on Tuesday and the second is born on another day. There is a 1/7x6/7 chance the second is born on Tuesday and the first is born on another day. And there is a 1/49 chance that both are born on Tuesday. All together thats 13/49. Alternatively, there is a (6/7)^2 chance that both are born not-on-Tuesday, so 1-(6/7)^2 tells you the complementary probability.
The problem is that you're counting that 1/49th chance twice. Once for the first brother and once for the second.

This statement leads me to believe you are still confused. Do you agree that if I know a family has two kids, I knock on the door and a boy answers and says "I was born on a Tuesday," that the probability of the second kid being a girl is 1/2? And in this case, Tuesday is irrelevant? (This the wikipedia called "sampling")

I agree with this.

Do you agree that if, instead, the parents give you the information "one of my two kids is a boy born on a Tuesday", that this is a different sort of information, information about the s

... (read more)
This is wrong. With two boys each with a probability of 1/7 to be born on Tuesday, the probability of at least one on a Tuesday isn't 2/7, its 1-(6/7)^2

The answer I'm supporting is based on flat priors, not sampling. I'm saying there are two possible Boy/Boy combinations, not one, and therefore it takes up half the probability space, not 1/3.

Sampling to the "Boy on Tuesday" problem gives roughly 48% (as per the original article), not 50%.

We are simply told that the man has a boy who was born on tuesday. We aren't told how he chose that boy, whether he's older or younger, etc. Therefore we have four possibilites, like I outlined above.

Is my analysis that the possibilities are Boy (Tu) /Girl, G... (read more)

No. For any day of the week EXCEPT Tuesday, boy and girl are equivalent. For the case of both children born on Tuesday you have for girls: Boy(tu)/Girl(tu),Girl(tu)/Boy(tu), and for boys: boy(tu)/boy(tu). This statement leads me to believe you are still confused. Do you agree that if I know a family has two kids, I knock on the door and a boy answers and says "I was born on a Tuesday," that the probability of the second kid being a girl is 1/2? And in this case, Tuesday is irrelevant? (This the wikipedia called "sampling") Do you agree that if, instead, the parents give you the information "one of my two kids is a boy born on a Tuesday", that this is a different sort of information, information about the set of their children, and not about a specific child?

For the record, I'm sure this is frustrating as all getout for you, but this whole argument has really clarified things for me, even though I still think I'm right about which question we are answering.

Many of my arguments in previous posts are wrong (or at least incomplete and a bit naive), and it didn't click until the last post or two.

Like I said, I still think I'm right, but not because my prior analysis was any good. The 1/3 case was a major hole in my reasoning. I'm happily waiting to see if you're going to destroy my latest analysis, but I think it is pretty solid.

Yes, and we are dealing with the second question here.

Is that not what I said before?

We don't have 1000 families with two children, from which we've selected all families that have at least one boy (which gives 1/3 probability). We have one family with two children. Then we are told one of the children is a boy, and given zero other information. The probability that the second is a boy is 1/2, so the probability that both are boys is 1/2.

The possible options for the "Boy born on Tuesday" are not Boy/Girl, Girl/Boy, Boy/Boy. That would be th... (read more)

As long as you realize there is a difference between those two questions, fine. We can disagree about what assumptions the wording should lead us to, thats irrelevant to the actual statistics and can be an agree-to-disagree situation. Its just important to realize that what the question means/how you get the information is important. If we have one family with two children, of which one is a boy, they are (by definition) a member of the set "all families that have at least one boy." So it matters how we got the information. If we got that information by grabbing a kid at random and looking at it (so we have information about one specific child), that is sampling, and it leads to the 1/2 probability. If we got that information by having someone check both kids, and tell us "at least one is a boy" we have different information (its information about the set of kids the parents have, not information about one specific kid). If it IS sampling (if I grab a kid at random and say "whats your Birthday?" and it happens to be Tuesday), then the probability is 1/2. (we have information about the specific kid's birthday). If instead, I ask the parents to tell me the birthday of one of their children, and the parent says 'I have at least one boy born on Tuesday', then we get, instead, information about their set of kids, and the probability is the larger number. Sampling is what leads to the answer you are supporting.

Yeah, probably the biggest thing I don't like about this particular question is that the answer depends entirely upon unstated assumptions, but at the same time it clearly illustrates how important it is to be specific.

The relevant quote from the Wiki:

The paradox arises because the second assumption is somewhat artificial, and when describing the problem in an actual setting things get a bit sticky. Just how do we know that "at least" one is a boy? One description of the problem states that we look into a window, see only one child and it is a boy. This sounds like the same assumption. However, this one is equivalent to "sampling" the distribution (i.e. removing one child from the urn, ascertaining that it is a boy, then replacing). Let's call the s

... (read more)
I'm not at all sure you understand that quote. Lets stick with the coin flips: Do you understand why these two questions are different: I tell you- "I flipped two coins, at least one of them came out heads, what is the probability that I flipped two heads?" A:1/3 AND "I flipped two coins, you choose one at random and look at it, its heads.What is the probability I flipped two heads" A: 1/2

I know it's not the be all end all, but it's generally reliable on these types of questions, and it gives P = 1/2, so I'm not the one disagreeing with the standard result here.

Do the math yourself, it's pretty clear.

Edit: Reading closer, I should say that both answers are right, and the probability can be either 1/2 or 1/3 depending on your assumptions. However, the problem as stated falls best to me in the 1/2 set of assumptions. You are told one child is a boy and given no other information, so the only probability left for the second child is a 50% chance for boy.

Did you actually read it? It does not agree with you. Look under the heading "second question." I did the math in the post above, enumerating the possibilities for you to try to help you find your mistake. Edit, in response to the edit: Which is exactly analogous to what Jiro was saying about the Tuesday question. So we all agree now? Tuesday can raise your probability slightly above 50%, as was said all along. And you are immediately making the exact same mistake again. You are told ONE child is a boy, you are NOT told the FIRST child is a boy. You do understand that these are different?

How is it different? In both cases I have two independent coin flips that have absolutely no relation to each other. How does knowing which of the two came up heads make any difference at all for the probability of the other coin?

If it was the first coin that came up heads, TT and TH are off the table and only HH and HT are possible. If the second coin came up heads then HT and TT would be off the table and only TH and HH are possible.

The total probability mass of some combination of T and H (either HT or TH) starts at 50% for both flips combined. On... (read more)

Flip two coins 1000 times, then count how many of those trials have at least one head (~750). Count how many of those trials have two heads (~250). Flip two coins 1000 times, then count how many of those trials have the first flip be a head (~500). Count how many of those trials have two heads (~250). By the way, these sorts of puzzles should really be expressed as a question-and-answer dialogue []. Simply volunteering information leaves it ambiguous as to what you've actually learned ("would this person have equally likely said 'one of my children is a girl' if they had both a boy and girl?").

No, it's the exact same question, only the labels are different.

The probability that any one child is boy is 50%. We have been told that one child is a boy, which only leaves two options - HH and HT. If TH were still available, then so would TT be available because the next flip could be revealed to be tails.

Here's the probability in bayesian:

P(BoyBoy) = 0.25 P(Boy) = 0.5 P(Boy|BoyBoy) = 1

P(BoyBoy|Boy) = P(Boy|BoyBoy)*P(BoyBoy)/P(Boy)

P(BoyBoy|Boy)= (1*0.25) / 0.5 = 0.25 / 0.5 = 0.5

P(BoyBoy|Boy) = 0.5

It's exactly the same as the coin flip, because the pro... (read more)

No, it isn't. You should consider that you are disagreeing with a pretty standard stats question, so odds are high you are wrong. With that in mind, you should reread what people are telling you here. Now, consider "I flip two coins" the possible outcomes are hh,ht,th,tt I hope we can agree on that much. Now, I give you more information and I say "one of the coins is heads," so we Bayesian update by crossing out any scenario where one coin isn't heads. There is only 1 (tt) hh,ht,th So it should be pretty clear the probability I flipped two heads is 1/3. Now, your scenario, flipped two coins (hh,ht,th,tt), and I give you the information "the first coin is heads," so we cross out everything where the first coin is tails, leaving (hh,ht). Now the probability you flipped two heads is 1/2. I don't know how to make this any more simple.

Lets add a time delay to hopefully finally illustrate the point that one coin toss does not inform the other coin toss.

I have two coins. I flip the first one, and it comes up heads. Now I flip the second coin. What are the odds it will come up heads?

"The first coin comes up heads" (in this version) is not the same thing as "one of the coins comes up heads" (as in the original version). This version is 50%, the other is not.
No one is suggesting one flip informs the other, rather that when you say "one coin came up heads" you are giving some information about both coins. This is 1/2, because there are two scenarios, hh, ht. But its different information then the other question. If you say "one coin is heads," you have hh,ht,th, because it could be that the first flip was tails/the second heads (a possibility you have excluded in the above).

The only relevant information is that one of the children is a boy. There is still a 50% chance the second child is a boy and a 50% chance that the second child is a girl. Since you already know that one of the children is a boy, the posterior probability that they are both boys is 50%.

Rephrase it this way:

I have flipped two coins. One of the coins came up heads. What is the probability that both are heads?

Now, to see why Tuesday is irrelevant, I'll re-state it thusly:

I have flipped two coins. One I flipped on a Tuesday and it came up heads. What is ... (read more)

No there's not. The cases where the second child is a boy and the second child is a girl are not equal probability. If you picked "heads" before flipping the coins, then the probability is 1/3. There are three possibilities: HT, TH, and HH, and all of these possibilities are equally likely. If you picked "heads" and "Tuesday" before knowing when you would be flipping the coins, and then flipped each coin on a randomly-selected day, and you just stopped if there weren't any heads on Tuesday, then the answer is the same as the answer for boys on Tuesday. If you flipped the coin and then realized it was Tuesday, the Tuesday doesn't affect the result. If you picked the sex first before looking at the children, the sex of one child does influence the sex of the other child because it affects whether you would continue or say "there aren't any of the sex I picked" and the sexes in the cases where you would continue are not equally distributed.
1/3 (you either got hh, heads/tails,or tails/heads). You didn't tell me THE FIRST came up heads. Thats where you are going wrong. At least one is heads is different information then a specific coin is heads. This is a pretty well known stats problem, a variant of Gardern's boy/girl paradox. You'll probably find it an intro book, and Jiro is correct. You are still overcounting. Boy-boy is a different case then boy-girl (well, depending on what the data collection process is). If you have two boys (probability 1/4), then the probability at least one is born on Tuesday (1-(6/7)^2). ( 6/7^2 being the probability neither is born on Tuesday). The probability of a boy-girl family is (2*1/4) then (1/7) (the 1/7 for the boy hitting on Tuesday).

In Boy1Tu/Boy2Tuesday, the boy referred to as BTu in the original statement is boy 1, in Boy2Tu/Boy1Tuesday the boy referred to in the original statement is boy2.

That's why the "born on tuesday" is a red herring, and doesn't add any information. How could it?

This sounds like you are trying to divide "two boys born on Tuesday" into "two boys born on Tuesday and the person is talking about the first boy" and "two boys born on Tuesday and the person is talking about the second boy". That doesn't work because you are now no longer dealing with cases of equal probability. "Boy 1 Monday/Boy 2 Tuesday", "Boy 1 Tuesday/Boy 2 Tuesday", and "Boy 1 Tuesday/Boy 1 Monday" all have equal probability. If you're creating separate cases depending on which of the boys is being referred to, the first and third of those don't divide into separate cases but the second one does divide into separate cases, each with half the probability of the first and third. As I pointed out above, whether it adds information (and whether the analysis is correct) depends on exactly what you mean by "one is a boy born on Tuesday". If you picked "boy" and "Tuesday" at random first, and then noticed that one child met that description, that rules out cases where no child happened to meet the description. If you picked a child first and then noticed he was a boy born on a Tuesday, but if it was a girl born on a Monday you would have said "one is a girl born on a Monday", you are correct that no information is provided.

I see my mistake, here's an updated breakdown:


Boy1Tu/Boy2Monday Boy1Tu/Boy2Tuesday Boy1Tu/Boy2Wednesday Boy1Tu/Boy2Thursday Boy1Tu/Boy2Friday Boy1Tu/Boy2Saturday Boy1Tu/Boy2Sunday

Then the Boy1Any/Boy2Tu option:

Boy1Monday/Boy2Tu Boy1Tuesday/Boy2Tu Boy1Wednesday/Boy2Tu Boy1Thursday/Boy2Tu Boy1Friday/Boy2Tu Boy1Saturday/Boy2Tu Boy1Sunday/Boy2Tu

See 7 days for each set? They aren't interchangeable even though the label "boy" makes it seem like they are.

Do the Bayesian probabilities instead to verify, it comes out to 50% even.

What's the difference between and ?

Which boy did I count twice?


BAny/Boy1Tu in the above quote should be Boy2Any/Boy1Tu.

You could re-label boy1 and boy2 to be cat and dog and it won't change the probabilities - that would be CatTu/DogAny.

No, read it again. It's confusing as all getout, which is why they make the mistake, but EACH child can be born on ANY day of the week. The boy on Tuesday is a red herring, he doesn't factor into the probability for what day the second child can be born on at all. The two boys are not the same boys, they are individuals and their probabilities are individual. Re-label them Boy1 and Boy2 to make it clearer:

Here is the breakdown for the Boy1Tu/Boy2Any option:

Boy1Tu/Boy2Monday Boy1Tu/Boy2Tuesday Boy1Tu/Boy2Wednesday Boy1Tu/Boy2Thursday Boy1Tu/Boy2Friday B... (read more)

You're double-counting the case where both boys are born on Tuesday, just like they said. If you find a trait rarer than being born on Tuesday, the double-counting is a smaller percentage of the scenarios, so being closer to 50% is expected.

Just so it's clear, since it didn't seem super clear to me from the other comments, the solution to the Tuesday Boy problem given in that article is a really clever way to get the answer wrong.

The problem is the way they use the Tuesday information to confuse themselves. For some reason not stated in the problem anywhere, they assume that both boys cannot be born on Tuesday. I see no justification for this, as there is no natural justification for this, not even if they were born on the exact same day and not just the same day of the week! Twins exist!... (read more)

No, that's not right. They don't assume that both boys can't be born on Tuesday. Instead, what they are doing is pointing out that although there is a scenario where both boys are born on Tuesday, they can't count it twice--of the situations with a boy born on Tuesday, there are 6 non-Tuesday/Tuesday, 6 Tuesday/non-Tuesday, and only 1, not 2, Tuesday/Tuesday. Actually, "one of my children is a boy born on Tuesday" is ambiguous. If it means "I picked the day Tuesday at random, and it so happens that one of my children is a boy born on the day I picked", then the stated solution is correct. If it means "I picked one of my children at random, and it so happens that child is a boy, and it also so happens that child was born on Tuesday", the stated solution is not correct and the day of the week has no effect on the probability

I'm talking about probability estimates. The actual probability of what happened is 1, because it is what happened. However, we don't know what happened, that's why we make a probability estimate in the first place!

Forcing yourself to commit to only one of two possibilities in the real world (which is what all of these analogies are supposed to tie back to), when there are a lot of initially low probability possibilities that are initially ignored (and rightly so), seems incredibly foolish.

Also, your analogy doesn't fit brazil84's murder example. What e... (read more)

brazil84 stated that there are just two options, so let's stick to that example first. "[rifle] no bullet will be find in or around the person's body 0.01% of the time" is contradictory evidence against the rifle (and for the handgun). But "[handgun] no bullet will be find in or around the person's body 0.001% of the time" is even stronger evidence against the handgun (and for the rifle). In total, we have some evidence for the rifle. Now let's add a .001%-probability that it was not a gunshot wound - in this case, the probability to find no bullet is (close to) 100%. Rifle gets an initial probability of 60% and handgun gets 40% (+ rounding error). So let's update: No gunshot: 0.001 -> 0.001 Rifle: 60 -> 0.006 Handgun: 40 -> 0.0004 Of course, the probability that one of those 3 happened has to be 1 (counting all guns as "handgun" or "rifle"), so let's convert that back to probabilities: 0.001+0.006+0.0004 = 0.0074 No gunshot: 0.001/0.0074=13.5% Rifle: 0.006/0.0074=81.1% Handgun: 0.0004/0.0074=5.4% The rifle and handgun numbers increased the probability of a rifle shot, as the probability for "no gunshot" was very small. All numbers are our estimates, of course.

The probability of both, in that case, plummets, and you should start looking at other explanations. Like, say, that the victim was shot with a rifle at close range, which only leaves a bullet in the body 1% of the time (or whatever).

It might be true that, between two hypotheses one is now more likely to be true than the other, but the probability for both still dropped, and your confidence in your pet hypothesis should still drop right along with its probability of being correct.

So say you have hypothesis X at 60% confidence and hypotheses Y at 40% New ... (read more)

That's just not so, since the total of the two probabilities equals one. If the probability of murder with a rifle drops, the probability of murder with a handgun necessarily rises. I'm not sure how to make this point any clearer . . . . perhaps a couple equations will help: Let's suppose that X and Y are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive hypotheses. In that case, do you agree that P(X) + P(Y) = 1? Also, do you agree that P(X|E) + P(Y|E) = 1 ?
If either X or Y has to be true, you cannot have 20% for X and 35% for Y. The remaining 45% would be a contradiction (Neither X nor Y, but "X or Y"). While you can work with those numbers (20 and 35), they are not probabilities any more - they are relative probabilities. It is very unlikely that the murderer won in the lottery. However, if a suspect did win in the lottery, this does not reduce the probability that he is guilty - he has the same (low) probability as all others.

4-step is what preceded 2-step. I say preceded, but it's not like 4-step has gone anywhere. It's still the most common beat pattern for electronic music. It's just a steady beat in 4/4 time with a kick drum on each beat, so it just goes boom boom boom boom with each measure, and it's super easy to dance to.

Techno and house are pretty much exclusively 4-step.

2-step runs at the same/similar speed as 4-step, and is still in 4/4 time, but the drum beat is split up and made more erratic. You'll often have several drum rhythms going on simultaneously. The... (read more)

What else could it be?

The break distance bias found in the papers?

You can't use two pieces of contradictory evidence to support the same argument. If the most highly contested cases still have a chance at success, finding 0% success rate at the furthest distance from the last break (because they are the longest cases and therefore placed last) should not increase your belief that there is no bias at work. It should reduce it. How significantly your belief is reduced depends on just how likely you would see 0% success rates at a high distance from break due only to scheduling, but I can't see any way it could legitimately raise your belief that there is no bias.

I kinda doubt it . . . it goes against common sense that there are judges who, once they get hungry, rule against any parole applications no matter how compelling. Yes you can, and I can demonstrate it by stepping back and demonstrating this point with an example in abstract terms: Let's suppose that we are debating whether Hypothesis X is correct or Hypothesis Y is correct. I am relying on evidence A which seems to support hypothesis X. You are relying on Evidence B which seems to support hypothesis Y. Ok, now suppose you present Evidence C which contradicts my hypothesis -- Hypothesis X. Does Evidence C make my hypothesis less likely to be correct? Not necessarily. If Evidence C contradicts Hypothesis Y even more acutely than Hypothesis X, then Hypothesis X is actually more likely than it was before. So situations can arise where evidence comes out which contradicts a hypothesis but still makes that hypothesis more likely to be correct. And that's pretty much the situation here. Your observation about a zero percent success rate at the end of the day in some cases undermines the 'hunger' hypothesis at least as much as it undermines the hypothesis that contested cases are being put at the end of the session (or the hypothesis that there is some other ordering factor at work).

I agree that any contested case should be longer than an uncontested, however are there not cases where the prosecution simply doesn't need to go through a lengthy argument to prove their case? Prosecution lays out X, Y, and Z evidence that is definitive, and therefore the prosecution doesn't need to spend a lot of time arguing. Are these types of cases not generally shorter than cases that are contested but more likely to succeed? Or does a lengthy defense attempting to weasel out of the evidence make up for a short prosecution? And are these specific... (read more)

I don't know enough about the Israeli parole process to address this definitively, but I would guess that yes, it does happen that there are contested cases which are such slam-dunks from the prosecution point of view that they don't need to do much at all. As with many things, the question is how significant this phenomenon is in terms of the overall average. Because what we are talking about is what happens in general and on average. I wasn't aware of that, but it actually makes me more confident that there is some factor in terms of how the cases are scheduled which is linked to the success rate. What else could it be?

I can certainly buy that, but would there really be zero people who apply even though they don't have much chance of winning? I know a few stubborn people who I would expect to apply anyway even if they didn't have much chance of success. I'd be surprised to find out that the prison system has an insignificant number of people who are like that as well.

Also, do the most highly contested applications (and therefore the longest, and therefore placed last on the docket) really have 0% chance of success? If so, would not those applications be better off not... (read more)

I would think a lot of people would apply even with a small chance of winning. However their applications will not necessarily be disposed of quickly. It's not like the Judge can say "Well, based on my experience you don't have much chance of persuading me so I'm not going to bother listening to witness testimony and hearing argument from attorneys; I'm just going to deny the application right now." I doubt it, but there chances of success are surely worse than uncontested applications. I don't know enough about the details of Israeli parole hearings to speak definitively about that. I can say as a lawyer that many times I have made uncontested applications which were denied. This was not in a criminal or parole context.

I don't see any reason there wouldn't be the inverse as well. That is, applications which are immediately rejected, and therefore quite short.

I also find it suspicious that the most highly contested applications would also be the least likely to be approved. Presumably these are the ones which are borderline, and require much argument, pro and con, to come to a decision. Immediate rejections wouldn't require long arguments, and neither would immediate acceptances. Under the above hypothesis, both of these types of cases should be early in the session. ... (read more)

Well the situation is not symmetrical. The person applying for parole cares a good deal about having his application approved. If he did not care, then he would not be applying in the first place. On the other hand, the prosecutor's office either cares or it does not care. In the latter case, the application process will be both quicker and more likely to succeed. Let me put it another way. And this applies not just to parole proceedings, but any application to a court for relief: 1. Uncontested applications to a court are more likely to succeed. 2. Contested applications to a court are more likely to take longer. Therefore, 1. Applications which take longer to process are more likely to fail.

Body language coaching doesn't just exist, it's an industry. It is typically associated with public speaking, salesmanship, etc, and there are a lot of places (and books, and online resources, etc) to get training. In fact, one of the linked blogs in the OP, "Paging Dr. NerdLove", is completely dedicated to helping men who are bad at inter-personal communication with women (i.e. socially awkward) get better at it, which includes quite a lot of body language training.

It's reasonably well known that body language comprises a significant portion o... (read more)

The heart of the problem is body language.

It's an actual language that must be learned and spoken, but a lot of people for some reason never learned it, or learned it poorly.

When these people interact with strangers, it's exactly like the guy with a bad understanding of a foreign language who tries to speak it, and instead of saying "Hi, are you friendly? Lets be friends!" he says "Hi, I want swallow your head!"

I hope you can see why people wouldn't like someone who goes around talking like that on a regular basis, and that the problem... (read more)

What kind of help? If you don't speak a language, you can buy a grammar, or ask native speakers to think up some examples and build rules from them. Whereas if you ask people "How do I know if someone is bored?" they don't give you actual tips, or even "There's no rule, you have to learn it case-by-case" and a few examples. They just say "Oh, I can never tell either" when they obviously can, or "Well, they just look and act bored...".

I'm still not getting the difference. He chose the second box because he deduced the the key must be there based on the assumption that one of the inscriptions was true. There is no equivalence between assuming a key in the second box and deducing a key in the second box based on a false premise.

However, assuming one of the inscriptions is true and assuming a correlation between the inscriptions and the contents of the box seem the same to me. He can't deduce a correlation between them, because the only basis for such a correlation is the existence of t... (read more)

He did not assume either of the inscriptions were true. He assumed that each was either true or false. He never assumed a correlation. He deduced a correlation. He was wrong because the deduction hinged on a false assumption. Edit: Looking back on this, I guess he did assume a correlation. He implicitly assumed that the position of the dagger did not cause the liar paradox. This is still a lot less of an assumption than assuming that either inscription was true.

For the inscriptions to be either true or false, they would have to correlate with the contents of the boxes. If he didn't assume this correlation existed, why would he have bothered trying to solve the implied riddle, and then believe upon solving it that he could choose the correct box?

The assumption that one of the inscriptions is true is also the assumption that the contents of the boxes correlate with the truthfulness of the inscriptions. And the key point is that neither inscription need be true, because the contents of the boxes don't correlate wi... (read more)

He assumed something that implied the correlation, but he did not assume the correlation. He also assumed something that implied that the key was in the second box, but if he assumed that the key was in the second box, he wouldn't have even bothered reading the inscriptions.

I think that's basically the point - the argument is technically valid, but it is wrong, and you got there by using "human" wrong in the first place.

Socrates is clearly human, and the definition on hand is "bipedal, featherless, and mortal". If Socrates is mortal, then he is susceptible to hemlock. When Socrates takes hemlock and survives, you can't change the definition of "human" to "bipedal, featherless, not mortal". You're still using the word "human" wrong.

What's telling here is that you don't say &... (read more)

Well, the problem with the argument 'Socrates is human, humans are immortal, therefore Socrates is immortal' is that the second premise is false. Is it because the word 'human' is used wrongly in the argument? I don't see how. If the problem is that my definition of 'human' is wrong, this still seems to be just a problem of having false beliefs about the world, not an incorrect use of language.

Unlike the jester's riddle, the king never claimed there was any correlation between the contents of the boxes and the inscriptions on those boxes. The jester merely assumed that there was.

The jester assumed that the inscriptions on the boxes were either true or false, and nothing else.

It couldn't be that, I was raised among the proletariat. Not much prestige dialect signalling there. (There is some, of course, but nothing like the bourgeoisie.)

As far as I can tell, all English people are completely obsessed with class and signalling issues, except possibly the royal family, who I imagine feel fairly secure. I don't know what it's like in the rest of the world, though. Have you read 'Watching the English' by Kate Fox, or Paul Fussell's 'Guide to the American Class System', that yvain linked to here: []

I think in my previous post the implication is that I believe the punishment was unwarranted. That is not the case (though I certainly felt that way at the time). I simply felt the reason given for the detention was less important than the experience of realizing that authority figures can be wrong.

It was entirely appropriate for the teacher to give me detention, because I actually was interrupting class when she was trying to teach, and I don't think I was being particularly helpful to the rest of the students. What she was teaching was correct, as f... (read more)

Cheers, bigjeff5. My comment was deliberately inflammatory and I apologize for it. The very idea of "correct English" makes me suspend rational thought. My own background is complicated, but my mother's father was a Sheffield Irish steelworker and him (sic) and his wife cared very much about all that sort of thing. I wrote a bit of a rant about it here: [] In case anyone likes rants.

Yes, the point is to be sure you aren't using "Emergence" or "Emergent Phenomena" as stop signs. That you recognize that there is in fact a cause (or causes) for what you are seeing, and if the total seems to be more than the sum of its parts, that there is some mechanism that exists that is amplifying the effects.

Emergence is not an explanation by itself.

The appellate system itself - of which cases involving new DNA evidence are a tiny fraction - is a much more useful measure.

There are a whole lot more exonerations via the appeals process than those driven by DNA evidence alone. This aught to be obvious, and the 0.2% provided by DNA is an extreme lower bound, not the actual rate of error correction.

Case in point, I found an article describing a study on overturning death penalty convictions, and they found that 7% of convictions were overturned on re-trial, and 75% of sentences were reduced from the death... (read more)

The theory that you are familiar with is a little off. What stars can produce is solely a function of size, not generation. Already fused material from a previous star does not allow the new star to fuse more elements. Likewise, the longevity of stars is solely a function of size. It's a balance between the heat of fusion and the pressure of gravity. More matter in the star means more pressure, which means the rate of fusion increases and more elements can be fused, but the fuel is consumed significantly faster.

The smaller a star is the longer it bu... (read more)

Interesting! I hadn't thought about quantum tunneling as a source of uncertainty (mainly because I don't understand it very well - my understanding of QM is very tenuous).

I'm not sure I understand how quantum events could have an appreciable effect on chemical reactions once decoherance has occurred. Could you point me somewhere with more information? It's very possible I misunderstood a sequence, especially the QM sequence.

I could also see giving different estimates for the population of Australia for slightly different versions of your brain, but I would think you would give different estimates given the same neuron configuration and starting conditions extremely rarely (that is, run the test a thousand times on molecul... (read more)

You may be right, I don't really know what's involved in chemical reactions. A chemist knowing enough theory of a physicist would likely be able to reliably resolve this question. Maybe you really know the answer, but I don't know enough to be able to evaluate what you wrote...

Do neurons operate at the quantum level? I thought they were large enough to have full decoherance throughout the brain, and thus no quantum uncertainty, meaning we could predict this particular version of your brain perfectly if we could account for the state and linkages of every neuron.

Or do neurons leverage quantum coherence in their operation?

I was once involved in a research of single ion channels, and here is my best understanding of the role of QM in biology.

There are no entanglement effects whatsoever, due to extremely fast decoherence, however, there are pervasive quantum tunneling effects involved in every biochemical process. The latter is enough to preclude exact prediction.

Recall that it is impossible to predict when a particular radioactive atom will decay. Similarly, it is impossible to predict exactly when a particular ion channel molecule will switch its state from open to closed... (read more)

You don't need macroscopic quantum entanglement to get uncertainty. Local operations (chemical reactions, say) could depend on quantum events that happen differently on different branches of the outcome, leading to different thoughts in a brain, where there's not enough redundancy to overcome them (for example, I'll always conclude that 6*7=42, but I might give different estimates of population of Australia on different branches following the question). I'm not sure this actually happens, but I expect it does...

Yeesh, that's terrible. It kind of figures that he'd rather mislead a class full of students about the way physics works than own up to his mistake.

It reminds me of an error I had been taught about the way airfoils work that wasn't corrected until I read a flippin comic strip on the subject almost a decade after I graduated high school.

I was stunned, and spent the rest of the afternoon learning how airfoils really work. What makes this particular example so tragic is it leverages another principle of physics that you won't realize doesn't fit if you are ... (read more)

Ad hominem literally means "to the man" or "to the person".

It was most certainly an ad hominem question, but given the framing he probably wasn't intending to discredit the argument with the ad hominem and therefore didn't commit the ad hominem fallacy.

The fallacy is making an ad hominem attack in order to distract from or discredit the argument without addressing the merits of the argument itself. The traits can certainly be related to the argument, and in fact the more closely related the traits are the more effective the fallacy is ... (read more)

I will say that I also had a high school English teacher who would use the wrong word or give a ridiculous interpretation in the hopes that a student would correct him and learn to not always trust authority.

I had a teacher somewhat similar to that my freshman year in high school, except she was a last-minute replacement and was not really an English teacher. Her grammar was atrocious, and I ended up getting detention for correcting her too often (interrupting class or lack of respect or some such was the reason given on the detention). It was probabl... (read more)


Here's my bad teacher story:

When I was 13 or 14, my physical science teacher was talking to the class about space probes with trajectories that take them outside the solar system. He said that such probes get faster and faster as they go. Thinking he either had misspoken or was intentionally being wrong to see who would catch his error, I corrected him. To my surprise, he said he had not misspoken and that he was correct. We argued about it a bit then he told me to write down a defense of my position.

Later that day, kids came up to me and said, "Wh... (read more)

Just noticed this comment when I was looking through my messages for an old comment, and I wanted to respond.

It is the word "too" that is important there, and the usage you describe is only used as an affirmative for contradicting a negative statement (at least, that's proper grammar anyway).

For example, if the original statement had been "God must not make a boulder he cannot lift!" and I had responded with "God must too make a boulder he cannot lift!" you would be right, but the original statement is an affirmative statemen... (read more)

The criticism as I read it isn't against group selection in general - just looking at Eliezer's examples should tell you that he believes a type of group selection can and does exist.

The initial idea behind group selection, however, was that genes would be selected for that were detrimental to the individual, yet positive for the group. Wade's experiment proved this wrong, without eliminating the idea of group selection altogether.

This is what Eliezer is saying is an evolutionary fairy tale. When group selection occurs, it absolutely must occur via a mec... (read more)

The selection pressure is supposed to be lower adult populations, how many infants doesn't really matter. Selecting on fewer infants (I assume you mean larva here - if not what's the difference?) would force the expected result (restricted breeding of some kind) instead of allowing multiple potential paths to achieve the same goal. Falsification must be a possibility.

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