All of BlackNoise's Comments + Replies

Travel Through Time to Increase Your Effectiveness

Thank you for these marvelous hacks, a few of these were unformed at the back of my head for a long time now.

I really like the Second Chances mentality, this line especially:

There are those who tell you to live each day as if it might be your last. I prefer to live each day as if I'm doing it over.

seems like a way to visualize/weaponize a consequentialist viewpoint that's also agreeable to your selves under reflection.

The Split Selves especially crystallized some of the "cooperate with alt-time self-versions" mentality I'm trying to stay awa... (read more)

Thoughts on Death

Meant more in the context of 'Nothing could have been done' vs 'Something could have but wasn't'. Though yes, it may read as more condescending than intended.

While humans in general have indeed been thinking about death for ages, I doubt many of the less religious ones hold strong beliefs about what exactly it entails. Not to mention those who genuinely believe in an afterlife ought not to be as sad/hurt as those who don't.

All this ultimately doesn't diminish the pain of loss people feel, hence the whole 'death is bad' thing. Also, don't confuse superficially similar things as being similar on a deeper level.

Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013

Not sure where exactly to ask but here goes:

Sparked by the recent thread(s) on the Brain Preservation Foundation and by my Grandfather starting to undergo radiation+chemo for some form of cancer. While timing isn't critical yet, I'm tentatively trying to convince my Mother (who has an active hand in her Fathers' treatment) into considering preservation as an option.

What I'm looking for is financial and logistical information of how one goes about arranging this starting from a non-US country, so if anyone can point me at it I'd much appreciate it.

3passive_fist8yAt the risk of giving Alcor free advertising, there's information on their website: http://alcor.org/BecomeMember/ [http://alcor.org/BecomeMember/] They can fly patients in from non-US countries, but they recommend that patients be in the USA if they feel they have a significant risk of death because it greatly decreases the risk of brain damage during transport. Also, most alcor members finance their preservation through health insurance. This might complicate things for your situation.
Yet More "Stupid" Questions

Not sure where else to ask but here goes:

Sparked by the recent thread(s) on the Brain Preservation Foundation and by my Grandfather starting to undergo radiation+chemo for some form of cancer. While timing isn't critical yet, I'm tentatively trying to convince my Mother (who has an active hand in her Fathers' treatment) into considering preservation as an option.

What I'm looking for is financial and logistical information of how one goes about arranging this starting from a non-US country, so if anyone can point me at it I'd much appreciate it.

0NancyLebovitz8yIf you don't get an answer here, I suggest trying again in the open thread-- this thread is old enough that there probably aren't many people following it.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

I've used it myself. All it takes is power and a certain mood.

Harry may have had the mood, but there's doubt about the Power, and there's also been multiple foreshadows of how broken low-level spells are, and a recent mention that he's he can't stop himself from noticing them. Hence "censors off".

0ikrase9yIs the Killing Curse even difficult or costly in mana?
Asteroids and spaceships are kinetic bombs and how to prevent catastrophe

I was mainly thinking about Project Thor, which roughly means that going at mach 10 (~3km/s) is like being made of TNT energy-wise. Now, current space-shuttles and the ISS weigh around 100 tons, and I'd imagine being able to get at least 10km/s, if not 30 with asteroid mining-level space tech, which should bring spaceships into the kiloton TNT range, that while far from a hydrogen bomb, packs the punch of a smallish fission nuke. So, while it probably won't be easy to wipe out big cities, immense damage is guaranteed.

What I can't estimate properly due to i... (read more)

Asteroids and spaceships are kinetic bombs and how to prevent catastrophe

I think the idea is that active defensive measures (as opposed to just watching with telescopes) are a lot more difficult to set up, and there's little motivation considering that the space activities aren't military-oriented. Although I suppose if we'd be far enough in space exploration to have asteroid mining there'd also be some contingency plans for extinction-grade bricks on a collision course; plans that can probably be adapted to include 'hostile local' handling.

Regarding the physics, do not underestimate heavy things flying very fast, especially if they're good at staying in one piece - a ship/asteroid may well destroy a city when dropped at 10~30km/sec, and attackers will aim.

0ChristianKl9yThings flying very fast through the atmosphere of the earth have the habit of insinuating in it. Would the kind of technology that you would need to do astroid mining really give you the ability to blow up a city?
Visual Mental Imagery Training

Have you tried your hand at drawing?

It is not quite the same skill, but being able to notice/See things as they are (closer to raw visual input) rather than letting your brain auto-label stuff may help you retain images better, and I think it'd also be interesting if you were to take a written scene from a book and try do draw it.

By the way, there is supposedly a fast way (~20h) to go from kindergarten to recognizably realistic in drawing skills using some neat tricks, there was even a series of articles about it here on lw. (the other 10k hours go into those final touches of skill, but to the untrained eyes the difference isn't as jarring as the no-training - some-training gap, at least in simple scenes)

0Mimosa9yDrawing may improve visual memory (especially with things like drawing people's faces to help remember what they looked like), but I don't know if it will necessarily help someone develop a visual memory.
Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013

Here's an anthropic question/exercise inspired by this fanfic (end of 2nd chapter specifically), I don't have the time to properly think about it but it seems like an interesting tests for current anthropic reasoning theories under esoteric/unusual conditions. The premise is as follows:

There exist a temporal beacon, acting as an anchor in time. An agent/agents may send their memories back to the anchored time, but as time goes on they may also die/be otherwise prevented from sending memories back. Every new iteration, the agent-copy at the time immediately... (read more)

February 2013 Media Thread

I've been reading a lot of fanfiction recently, starting with HPMoR then going recursively through Eliezer's 'favorites' list, eventually branching to various TVTropes recommended lists. It's in the latter that I found Destiny is a Hazy thing, a Naruto AU fanfic with major Lovecraftian themes and (currently, at least) minor crossover/shout out elements to Evangelion. The author page has a rather good description. Personally I like this story because it combines a lot of elements I seem to enjoy in fiction, mainly a 'large world' feel and Anehgb univat Lbt ... (read more)

Real World Solutions to Prisoners' Dilemmas

though not quite as good as me cooperating against everyone else's defection.

Shouldn't it be the other way around? (you defecting while everyone else cooperates)

ETA: liking this sequence so far, feels like I'm getting the concepts better now.

0[anonymous]10yShhhh! We can totally defect now without feeling the least bit guilty!
AI risk: the five minute pitch

I thought utility maximizers were allowed to make the inference "Asteroid Impact -> reduced resources -> low utility -> action to prevent that from happening", kinda part of the reason for why AI is so dangerous: "Humans may interfere - > Humans in power is low utility -> action to prevent that from happening"

They ignore anything but what they're maximizing in the sense that they don't follow the Spirit of the code but rather its Letter, all the way to the potentially brutal (for Humans) conclusions.

Open Thread, May 1-15, 2012

If only for the fact that other people who share my values, or play the same game and therefore play by the same rules, will desire the object even more.

How about if there were two worlds - one where they care about whether a spacetime trajectory does or does not go through a destroy-rebuild cycle, and one where they spend the effort on other things they value. In that case, in which world would you rather live in?

The Champagne example helps, I can understand putting value on effort for attainment, but I'd like another clarification:

If you have two roc... (read more)

-2XiXiDu10yIt is not that important. I would trade that preference for more important qualities. But that line of reasoning can also lead to the destruction of all complex values. I have to draw a line somewhere or end up solely maximizing the quality that is most important. Rock 1 and 2 would be of almost equal value to me.
Open Thread, May 1-15, 2012

You would care if certain objects are destructively teleported but not care if the same happens to you (and presumably other humans)

Is this a preference you would want to want? I mean, given the ability to self-modify, would you rather keep putting (negative) value on concepts like "copy of" even when there's no practical physical difference? Note that this doesn't mean no longer caring about causal history. (you care about your own casual history in the form of memories and such)

Also, can you trace where this preference is coming from?

-1XiXiDu10yYeah, I would use a teleporter any time if it was safe. But I would only pay a fraction for certain artifacts that were teleported. I would keep that preference. And there is a difference. All the effort it took to relocate an object adds to its overall value. If only for the fact that other people who share my values, or play the same game and therefore play by the same rules, will desire the object even more. Part of the value of touching an asteroid from Mars is the knowledge of its spacetime trajectory. An atomically identical copy of a rock from Mars that was digitally transmitted by a robot probe printed out for me by my molecular assembler is very different. It is also a rock from Mars but its spacetime trajectory is different, it is artificial. Which is similar to drinking Champagne and sparkling wine that tastes exactly the same. The first is valued because while drinking it I am aware of its spacetime trajectory, the resources it took to create it and where it originally came from and how it got here.
Visual maps of the historical arguments in the topic, "Can computers think?"

The "Thermostats can have beliefs" seems like a really good example of how beliefs should affect actions.

(For those looking, map 3 lowest area)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85

He didn't actually had to have read it, merely to have come across that particular quote.

Meetup : Tel Aviv, Israel

Is there a non-car way to get there from Haifa on time? (5 min searching says earliest bus arrives at 19:38 at the new central bus station)

0Anatoly_Vorobey10yThere used to be service taxis running from Hadar in Haifa to Tel Aviv throughout Saturday, and I suppose they're still doing so but I haven't had the chance to use them in quite a few years. This page [http://www.callmonit.co.il/sherut.html] has the phone number of the taxi company to inquire and get details (Moniyot Amal). Note that if you're coming by bus or service taxi, it might make sense to exit at the Azrieli center, and from there it's about a 12 minutes walk [https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=kiryat+hamemshala+tel-aviv&daddr=London+Ministore,+Tel+Aviv,+Israel&hl=en&ll=32.073984,34.786513&spn=0.005841,0.010203&sll=32.074247,34.787114&sspn=0.011682,0.020406&geocode=FZ9k6QEd69cSAin_-GQNnEsdFTFguucZ_53rCQ%3BFUNt6QEdRrwSAinR0OZ3g0sdFTGz6cAAog2GSQ&dirflg=w&mra=ls&t=m&z=18] to the cafe (the cafe faces Shaul HaMelech rather than Ibn Gvirol but the directions are otherwise good).
Cryonics without freezers: resurrection possibilities in a Big World

It should be mentioned that when considering things like Cryonics in the Big World, you can't just treat all the other "you" instances as making independent decisions, they'll be thinking similarly enough to you that whatever conclusion you reach, this is what most "you" instances will end up doing. (unless you randomize, and assuming 'most' even means anything)

Seriously, I'd expect people to at least mention the superrational view when dealing with clones of themselves in decide-or-die coordination games.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

I meant it as Bayesian evidence. (updating P(Arbitrage works) down on Bester regretting means updating up on him not Regretting)

Plus, this is stronger evidence for us than for Harry due to Conservation of Details and the recent disclaimer by EY that there are no red herrings, and that simple solutions != bad solutions (and in fact, the opposite is usually true).

ETA: Also, Bester probably thought about it more more than a few seconds, at least the first time he saw it in Harry's mind - Remember that he didn't just see those Ideas/secrets, he's also seen key moments of his previous conversations.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

Some counter-evidence for getting gold being difficult: In chapter 27, Mister Bester (the Legilimens who trained Harry) said:

Though I do wish I could remember that trick with the gold and silver.

Implying that it was at least somewhat practical as a means for getting rich quickly.

8JoshuaZ10yBester has only thought about it for a few seconds so there could be problems that would occur to someone who is knowledgeable about the wizarding economy if they thought about it for a bit.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81

Just trade on forex and use time turner to go back and choose the deal.

You sir, are a genius.

0Paulovsk10yDidn't get. Could you explain?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Congratulations on correctly guessing (most of) the solution.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Actually, if you can loop yourself more than six times at any small stretch of wall-time then you can get more than 30 subjective hours in one 24 wall-time day.

But it's implied you can't actually do that, which is why I think no more than 6 copies at any given time. Plus, if it were possible you could basically use any one day as a stopping point groundhog-day style in which you can (for example) brute-force read the entire Hogwarts library.

At any rate, the general limiting principle is that information cannot travel more than 6 hours backwards, Which I th... (read more)

0Eugine_Nier10yThat would get rather crowded.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Didn't Harry ask Dumbledore if it's possible to get more than 30 hours in a day using multiple time-turners and getting a negative answer?

0DanArmak10yI'm not sure he got a plainly stated negative answer. Can someone look that up?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I think he meant the note that came with the Cloak that said to not trust Dumbledore since he'll take the Cloak from Harry. which he didn't, and then said:

But you and I are both gamepieces of the same color, I think. The boy who finally defeated Voldemort, and the old man who held him off long enough for you to save the day. I will not hold your caution against you, Harry, we must all do our best to be wise. I will only ask that you think twice and ponder three times again, the next time someone tells you to distrust me.

And considering that he wrote the note, and set up the mistrust in the first place...

Hence, Magnificent Bastard.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I don't think you can have more than 6 versions of yourself present at any given time, since any more than that and information is traveling more than 6 hours back. (at least from the perspectives of the earliest and latest self-clone)

But still, 6 x Dumbledore+Fawkes is quite the army.

Edit: Also,

Many resstrictionss. Locked to your usse only, cannot be sstolen. Cannot transsport other humanss.

You don't actually need to go through animagus+pouch to transport more than one person on an unrestricted Time-Turner. (Canon also agrees on this if I recall correctly)

0TobyBartels10yYes, Hermione took Harry with her in the awesome part of Book 3.
0daenerys10yHow important is maintaining continuity for the time turners? If it IS important, then you can only end up with 6 you's (It's noon, go back to 11, pick up that you, go back to 10, pick up that you, etc...) BUT! If your mission takes more than an hour, you will end up with a discontinuity, since then 6:00!you will not be back in time to be 7:00!you so that you's can pick him up. If continuity is NOT important: Go back an hour. Now there are two of you's. Both you's wait around two hours, then both of you go back and pick up the past you's. Now there are four of you's. All four of you's wait around two hours, etc.... You'd end up with 64 you's (assuming you can animagus into a something really small to fit in the pouch that is) Aaaaagh! Time travel makes my head hurt
0DanArmak10yI believe the only restriction is on not traveling back more than six hours by wall-clock time. It's never stated that you can't travel back into the same hour more than six time using more than one Time-Turner.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I think my problem is with this "Judge Retrospectively" thing. Here's what I think:

Decisions are what's to be judged, not outcomes. And decisions should be judged relative to the information you had at the time of making them.

In the lottery example, assuming you didn't know what number would win, the decision to buy a ticket is Bad regardless of whether you won or not.

What I got from this:

you will have been retrospectively wrong not to have bought

Is that you think that if you had a (presumably random) number in mind, but did not buy a ticket,... (read more)

-1Alsadius10yI think there's a difference between a decision made badly and a bad decision. Playing the lottery is a decision made badly, because you have no special information and it's -EV. But if you win, it's a good decision, no matter how badly made it was - the correct response is "That was kind of dumb, I guess, but who cares?". Of course, the lottery example is cold math, so there's no room for disagreement about probabilities. It's rather different in the case of things like literary analysis, to get back to where we started.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

you will have been retrospectively wrong not to have bought

Not really; Before you know the outcome, saying "my numbers will be 5, 11, 17, 33, 36, and 42" is privileging the hypothesis. (unless you had other information which allowed you to select that specific combination)

And even if those numbers, by pure chance, were correct, there is still a reason it was a bad decision (in the 'maximizing expected utility' sense) to buy a ticket. Which is what I meant when I said that you can't have expected to win.

-2Alsadius10yI just needed an example using definite numbers(so you can judge retrospectively), and not a sequence that millions of people would pick like 1,2,3,4,5,6. For sake of argument, assume I found them on the back of a fortune cookie. Or better yet, just stick a WLOG at the front of my sentence. And I agree, buying lottery tickets implies a bad way to make decisions, even if you wind up winning. I'm hardly trying to shill for Powerball here. Just saying winning the lottery is always a good thing, even if playing it isn't.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I agree with the principle, but lottery is a really poor example of this, since it implies ignorance.

-5Alsadius10y
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Maybe what matters isn't the proximity of the caster but of the patronus itself. Though Harry might still not be able to send his 2.0 on a search&destroy mission while staying at Hogwarts.

His wand stayed in his hand, and a slight, sustainable flow from him replaced the slight losses from his Patronus.

There seems to be a need for constant energy transfer into the patronus, and I doubt this transfusion line can go through hyperspace.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Actually, its a bad decision with respect to the information you had when you made it, unlike one-boxing instead of two-boxing, you can't have expected to win the lottery.

-4Alsadius10yI distinguish between the decision itself and the decision-making process. If you win, you made the right decision, and if you lose, you made the wrong one, and that is true without reference to which decision made the most sense at the time. The decision-making algorithm's job is to give you the highest chance of making the right decision given your prior knowledge, but any such algorithm is imperfect when applied to a vague future. It's perfectly possible to get the right decision from a bad algorithm or the wrong decision from a good algorithm. Also, when we're discussing things as vague as the intention of an author who is foreshadowing heavily, there's an immense amount of room for judgement calls and intuition, because it's not like we can actually put concrete values on our probabilities. The measure of a person's judgement of such things is how often they're ultimately right, so if he gets it right then I'd have to say that's evidence that he's doing his guessing well. How else are we supposed to judge a predictor? If he's good then he's allowed to put tight confidence intervals on, and if he's bad then he's not. We'll get some evidence about how good he is on Tuesday.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Sorry if this was mentioned before, but I just noticed something (not related to the latest cliffhanger):

It's implied that some people break into Azkaban to give some prisoners normal sleep/Patronus time, but why go to all the trouble when you can just tell a Patronus to go there for a few hours by itself. And we already know that a Patronus can travel into Azkaban (McGonagalls' in TSPE arc)

So, plothole?

The trick of knowing how to send Patronuses to others as messengers has been implied to be kept in Dumbledore's close circle, as a tactical advantage. (e.g. Quirrel mentioning the possibility of Dumbledore teaching Harry this trick -- not as if it's public knowledge)

3lavalamp10yYeah, I was wondering about this, also. Does Harry have to be physically present to destroy the dementors in Azkaban?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Technically, the numbers don't have to work out - Lucius is the one on who's request the trial be held, If his debt can make him withdraw charges or clear Hermione's debt, that alone should suffice.

Still, while this is a clever idea, it doesn't sound very "Taboo Trade-off" or "Think of the Wizengamot as individuals instead of wallpaper".

0Eugine_Nier10yHow about: invoke Lucius's life debt. Trade it for Hermione's.
2gwern10yYou misunderstand, the point is there are 2 possible debt strategies; for one of them, the numbers do have to work out. I'd say Logos01's strategy exemplifies thinking of them as individuals, actually...
Faustian bargains and discounting

Why the hell would you want to doom the vast majority of future-you's to an eternity of torture?

The hundred-room problem

This problem has a neat symmetry in that the players are copies of you; so all copies finding themselves in blue rooms will assign p(tails | blue)=x, and conversely all copies finding themselves in red rooms will assign p(tails | red)=1-x. This way (outside view), the problem reduces to finding what x gives the best sum log-score for all observers. Running the numbers gets x=99/100, but this problem has way too much symmetry to attribute this to any particular explanation. Basically, this is faul_sname's reasoning with more math.

Spaced Repetition Database for the Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions Sequence

I've thought about an alternative (or complimentary) answer for the question " Sequences + Spaced Repetition = ? ": Instead of this approach (which is basically distilling the posts into flashcards as per Incremental reading), how about a deck of cards with one linked post per card with further cards for particularly interesting/important points. When a card comes up for review, you read the linked post and send it to re-reading in the future. This can also be scaled to books, though that may be pushing it.

The Pro is that its easier to implement,... (read more)

Stanislav Petrov Day

Anyone else get hit with a sense of sheer terror as they figured the connection between this story and the anthropic principle?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

Thanks for crushing my last line of retreat, no more excuses to prevent me from (finally) reading the sequences.

As for books, funny how archive panic activates even when you expect and have pecommited to overcome it.

Capital letters. Please use them.

Will try.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

hello lesswrong!

I'm a 20 y.o. student two years in studying EE & physics, though I self-identify more as a scientist than an engineer.

currently I'm juggling about 3 'big' goals - general education (in progress), lucid dreaming (more of a side project; might as well use those sleep-hours for something more fun than being unconscious), and rationality (which is why im here).

I found this site (and the concept and usefulness of rationality) via some of Eliezer's writing as i was scouring the Internet in my eternal quest for vanquishing boredom. that was s... (read more)

1BlackNoise10yThanks for crushing my last line of retreat, no more excuses to prevent me from (finally) reading the sequences. As for books, funny how archive panic [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArchivePanic] activates even when you expect and have pecommited to overcome it. Will try.
2shokwave10yYes! This is the single most important reading [http://lesswrong.com/lw/721/judgment_under_uncertainty_summaries_part_1/], from which all others flow. You miss out on comments, but reading them like a book [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Sequences#Alternative_Formats] is the way to go for this. Many LWers found this much easier. Here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/72m/an_epub_of_eliezers_blog_posts/] is the latest epub collection. As for comments - I think they are around an order of magnitude less important than the posts themselves, and so trading away the comments in order to, y'know, actually read the sequences is well worth it. My recollection is that important comments were addressed in later top-level posts, so you'll get to read the most important ones anyway. Oh, and welcome to LessWrong!
0lessdazed10yBooks [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3gu/the_best_textbooks_on_every_subject/] No tabs [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/72m/an_epub_of_eliezers_blog_posts/] Welcome! I read through the sequences by opening all tabs in order and reading through the comments by CTRL+F "Yudkowsky" and reading other comments when they interested me. Here [http://lesswrong.com/lw/9v/beware_of_otheroptimizing/4mfe] was my advice to another person, it has links to some of my favorite posts. The OP there is relevant for advice in general.
7Vladimir_Nesov10yCapital letters. Please use them.