All of Broggly's Comments + Replies

According to Peter Watt's blog toxoplasmosis doesn't actually reduce fear in rats, but instead causes the odor of cat urine to activate sexual arousal pathways as well as fear pathways. The overall effect causes them to approach the smell of cat urine.

I'd think they do. Surely in principle someone could see the image of whatever you're looking at reflected off the retina from the inside of your eye. It's only not visible in the sense that nobody's inside your eyeball and the image is probably very dim.

Hey, go easy on him. For a brief moment of insanity I considered the probability of anti-gravity being discovered greater than a LW poster thinking the law of gravity was s=4.9t^2

I was totally shocked when I read that, thinking that there'd been some discovery that anti-gravity had been discovered, and matter is in fact made up of (net positively charged) gravitational dipoles.

Algorithms that are hard to reverse is pretty simple to understand. Every Schoolboy Knows that division is "harder" than multiplication, and I'm still not entirely sure how to find roots in my head.

I'm not sure, but I think skis were designed for moving across mountainous terrain. I find the whole idea of "cross country snowboard" somewhat absurd, but have seen alpine troops chasing each other down on skis in WW2 documentaries.

I still see martial arts and athletics existing, extrapolation from our present situation. Ignoring artificial handicaps and rules, these could well end up being status symbols (depending on the economic system) with people who have the resources to be able to juggle planets being seethingly envious of those rich bastards who can afford bodies and cerebrums strong enough to juggle stars.

Tosca sounds like it has some strange theology. Surely most people who believe in Hell also believe in Absolution?

Murder, suicide, and Catholicism don't mix. It's supposed to be an challenging opera for a culture that truly believes in the religious moral compass. You empathize with Tosca and her decisions to damn herself. The guy she kills is rather evil.

Civilizations based on the irrational revelations of prophets have proven themselves to be more successful and appealing over a longer period of time than any rationalist society to date.

Depends what you mean by "based on" (and to a lesser extent "prophet" if you want to argue about North Korea, China and the old USSR). People seem to prefer, for example, America over Iran as a place to live.

As we speak, the vast majority of humans being born are not adopting, and never will adopt, a rational belief system in place of religion. Ra

... (read more)
If this is an assertion that MoR made Harry Potter better, then I have to disagree with that.

The first fictional example I thought of was the Wax Lips scene from The Simpsons. "Try our wax lips: the candy of 1000 uses!" "Like what?" "One, a humourous substitute for your own lips." "Keep going..." "Two, err...oh, I'm needed in the basement!"

I don't know whether DFW is different to the people I know who attempted or commited suicide, or if I'm different to Franzen, but I didn't feel those sorts of emotions when a friend killed herself or my dad was in hospital on a pill overdose. I've got depression and have occasional suicidal urges, so maybe I assume they're like me and were just suffering from anhedonia and pessimism about their future enjoyment of life rather than anything to do with people they know. I feel bad that I didn't realise and couldn't have tried to help in some way, but more in that I would rather it not have happened rather than feeling ashamed and betrayed.

When I saw the title, I thought this post would be about rationalist Phoenix Wright fanfiction. Quite possibly that would lead to Phoenix leading a campaign for legal reform due to their stupid "Three day trial, guilty until another is proven guilty, no chain of custody laws" legal system, or at least having that incompetent judge fired.

Hard to say if those rules apply to all courts in the Phoenix Wright universe, though. Whenever you lose a case, you're told that it will be consigned to "a higher court", though there's no real explanation of what that means. Maybe the lower courts that Wright defends his clients in are just a kind of filter to prevent the best courts from getting bogged down in huge case loads. That would explain why Wright has to deal with the silliest judge in the universe, and prosecutors who can throw coffee cups at the defense and literally whip witnesses without any consequences: all the judges with real intelligence and authority have positions in "real" courts. Also: Phoenix Wright rationalist fanfic? Want. Want want want. Want!

I would have a similar function, assuming that by "humanity" you mean beings with humane-ish values rather than just H. sapiens.

Yes - my function as stated becomes completely incoherent when applied to transhuman societies. If and when that becomes an issue I'll have a lot of hard thinking to do.

The obvious response is to include in the trigger warning a statement for any sufficiently advanced intelligence or humans with philosophical reservations about imagining other conscious beings that the story includes suffering, descriptions of suffering, and people reflecting on the suffering of others in detail.

"When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack."

I get the problem with (2), although mostly because I haven't thought about quantum mechanics enough to have an opinion, but (1) is no more dogma than "DNA is transcribed to mRNA which is then translated as an amino acid sequence". There are lots of good reasons to investigate the actual likelihood of the null and alternative hypotheses rather than just assuming it's about 95% likely it's all just a coincidence Of course, until this becomes fairly standard doing so would mean turning your paper into a meta-analysis as well as the actual experiment, which is probably hard work and fairly boring.

Sometimes you win via trying to influence social mores such that a previously disadvantaged group is treated more fairly. Remember, "win" refers to your entire utility function which can include the wellbeing of others.

Wait, so they're not making the Captain America movie now?

In fairness, in the 1940s nootropics would have been hyped as the salvation of humanity (and any potential side effects carefully swept under the carpet).
Captain America isn't as cost-less as you think; to quote from the Marvel Wikia [] about the 'super-soldier serum' that makes a Captain America: (In one random comic - I have no idea which - that I read as a kid, S.H.I.E.L.D. had apparently put Captain America into cryogenic suspension specifically to stop the serum from killing the cap'n, in the hopes that the future could fix him. Quite a side-effect.)

Ah yes, I meant to type that you only have the moral authority to condemn copies to torture or slavery if they're actually you, and it's pretty stupid to risk almost certain torture for a small chance of a moderate benefit

What about Futurama? Or is that not suitable because, as a comedy, it's more cynical and brings up both the way the future would be somewhat disturbing for us and that it's likely our descendents would be more interested in only reviving famous historical figures and sticking their heads in museums.

The comic Transmetropolitan also brings up the issue of cryogenics "revivals" effectively being confined to nursing homes out of our total shock at the weirdness of the future and inability to cope. It's an interesting series for transhumanists, given ... (read more)

The idea that you are alive “now” but will be dead “later” is irrational. Time is just a persistent illusion according to relativistic physics. You are alive and dead, period. A little knowledge is a dangerous etcetera. For one, it's like saying that relativistic spacetime proves New York isn't east of LA, but instead there are NY and LA, period. For another, if he really believed this then he wouldn't be able to function in society or make any plans at all.

Ditto a meat replica But aren't you always a meat replica of any past version of you? If he feels t

... (read more)

To my mind the issue with copies is that it's copies who remain exactly the same that "don't matter", whereas once you've got a bunch of copies being tortured, they're no longer identical copies and so are different people. Maybe I'm just having trouble with Sleeping Beauty-like problems, but that's only a subjective issue for decision making (plus I'd rather spend time learning interesting things that won't require me to bite the bullet of admitting anyone with a suitable sick and twisted mind could Pascal Mug me). Morally, I much prefer 5,000 i... (read more)

Is your last sentence missing something? It feels incomplete.

And given that the Haber-Bosch process requires water (to produce the hydrogen gas), it seems a little stupid to ban public urination rather than simply insisting they urinate on trees or into buckets for their farmers to use.

Yeah, it should be "1, 2, 3, Kumquat!"

My first year Geology lecturer said that apart from wanting to avoid contaminating the sample, the best reason to avoid touching fresh meteorites with your bare hands is the risk of freezer burn.

What is to walking, as walking is to crawling?

Hopping. Each time you halve the number of limbs involved.

What is to standing, as standing is to sitting?

Standing like a chicken, with your knee and hip joints bent the wrong way.

That's how I usually start the day.

Surely Mill and the like can be seen as having some influence on liberalism? I certainly don't think our current society is so bad as to be comparable to the Nazis or USSR.

I'm also a little unhappy with your characterisation of both Nietzsche and Alexander. For one, Nietzsche's link to the Nazis was more due to his proto-nazi sister and brother in law who edited and published The Will to Power, using his name and extracts of his notes to support their political ideology. I also think Alexander wasn't so bad for his time. True, imperialism isn't a good thin... (read more)

A lower bound would presumably be the amount of fun the show 24 provides on average, with N being the ratio of the shows' viewers to prisoners rendered so they could be tortured. (Take That, other side!)

It seems I'm saying that there are diminishing returns to orgasms, which doesn't look quite right

That you think it doesn't look right is evidence to me that you are not, and have never been, a chronic masturbator.

As someone who actually does have ADD, I'd like to point out that if you take amphetamines often you need to pay more attention to dental hygene. Amphetamines inhibit saliva production (presumably this has something to do with its effects on appetite) which can promote cavities if you skip brushing your teeth. Since it can give you dry mouth, maybe a good way to ensure you eat is to make a nice soup so you'll eat it when you feel thirsty? If that doesn't work (I've never needed to try it) then maybe drinking milk instead of water could be good since at least you get some nutrition out of it (although being South Australian I do come from a culture where iced coffee is supposedly more popular than coca cola)

"Man does not seek happiness, only the Englishman." -Nietzsche, on Utilitarians.

So why is bisexuality so common in women? Why don't you think female bisexuals are lesbians in denial, or under duress to sleep with women? I just don't see how women who have sex with both men and women enjoy it but men who have sex with both men and women are clearly just keeping up appearances.

I can't for the life of me imagine why such a disturbing and offensive post hasn't been downvoted to oblivion. You're a sick genius to be so horrifying with just twelve words.

Strange...I count fourteen words...

Maybe he's talking about American residents who renounced their citizenship but remained in the country? I have no idea how America can tax non-resident non-citizens without their nation making it more trouble than it's worth.

According to [] one of the penalties, if you are judged to have abandoned your US citizenship for tax reasons or not paid the appropriate taxes, is permanent exile. Which certainly could be implemented by the US with minimal trouble. [] mentions something about in-US assets being subject to higher tax rates; I suppose any US assets could also be seized to pay back taxes.

Wasn't there some Twilight Zone episode about this, where a Jewish time traveller used a mind-control device to torment Hitler, which caused his anti-semitism?

I think the difficulty is that in English "You" is used for "A hypothetical person". In German they use the word "Man" which is completely distinct from "Du". It might be easier to parse as "Man should_Raemon maximize Raemon's preferences, but of course man should_Matt maximize Matt's preferences."

On the jargon itself, Should_X means "Should, as X would understand it".

"Man" is the generalization of the personal subject. You can translate it with "one".
I think it's better phrased by putting Man in all instances of Raemon. Also: \ is the escape character on LW, so if you want to type an actual asterisk or underscore (or \ itself), instead of using it for formatting purposes, put a \ in front of it. This way they will not be interpreted as marking lists, italics, or bold.

I think that's the point of Parfit's Hitchiker: being a jerk and breaking deals because you can isn't really that rational.

"What's green, whistles, and hangs on a wall?"

"No idea"

"A Salmon!"

"Salmon aren't green!"

"So I painted it green."

"They don't hang on walls!"

"They do if you nail them up"

"Fish can't whistle!"

"Yeah, I just put that in so it wouldn't be too easy."

I saw that one in the movie MirrorMask.

I think you're just being parochial in your assumption that having an orange for a head is a "bad" thing.

Can you imagine the horror of a universe filled with people eternally yearning for oranges as heads, but being unable to do so because of your actions? That would make you history's greatest monster.

I'm tangentially reminded of the khepri from Perdido Street Station, a fantasy race who are described by humans as having the body of a human but a giant scarab beetle in place of a head.

They, of course, consider this an absurdly parochial description, and instead describe humans as having the body of a khepri and the head of a shaved gibbon.

Exactly, but I think the parodistic element is important as well. We expect (both from all the similar stories about genies and all the less wrong posts about what genies can be trusted) that he made a seemingly useful wish that backfired, presumably in a humourous manner (like how "The building explodes and your elderly mum is blown into the sky" is humourous, in a slapstick manner). We think he's going to ask for something he wants, but instead gets something he doesn't want, when he instead asks for something he doesn't want and gets it.

Also, ... (read more)

Given that "Why did the chicken cross the road?" is considered the prototypical joke, anti-humour is pretty popular. You may say that a man with an orange for a head is more inherently funny than a chicken, but I would refer you to D Zongker 2006

Oh, a paper written in chicken []. (PLIF [] was a great comic, incidentally.)
I always thought of the chicken joke as more a case of giving a Mathematician's Answer [] then anti-humor.
I really have to wonder if most people actually understand that "why did the chicken cross the road?" is supposed to be anti-humor, rather than being just a well-known "joke" that clearly must be a joke since everyone says it is one, even if they don't understand why. I really doubt that most people understand the notion of anti-humor when they learn it...

Hang on a minute though

1 box then 2 box = $1,001,000 1 box then 1 box = $1,000,000 2 box then 2 box = $1,000 2 box then 1 box = $0

$2,002,000 divided by 4 is $500,500. Effectively you're betting a million dollars on two coinflips, the first to get your money back (1-box on the first day) and the second to get $1000 (2-box on the second day). Omega could just use a randomizer if it thinks you will, in which case people would say "Omega always guesses right, unless you use a randomizer. But it's stupid to use one anyway."

Where p is the probability o... (read more)

I completely agree that to maximise your expected gain you should one-box every time. I was thinking of the specific case where you really, really need $1001,000 and are willing to reduce your expected gain to maximise the chance of getting it.

Yeah, it's psuedocode. Just saying what needs to be done rather than actually executable code.

Inform, a language for writing text adventures, is interesting in that it's only small quirks of vocabulary and syntax that let you know the actual code from some hastily jotted down pseudocode

I don't think the issue is Pratchett's rationality so much as his quotability.

A philosophy professor recently told me that one of the few things philosophers agree on is that there can't be a moral obligation to do the impossible

Oh dear, Eliezer won't like this...

"Those are the space elevators," she said, "You can ride them if you want. They are just starting to be fully operational.

Huh. I guess 4GC annexed Indonesia at some point then...

Filamentous prokaryotes, unicellular eukaryotes: Meh, so what.

Now I don't know about fliamentous prokaryotes, but according to Pharyngula the introduction of mitochondria allowed eukaryotes to have much larger genomes. As mitochondria contain nothing but the essentials to generate ATP, the cell has enough power to synthesize many different proteins and RNA strands, allowing a big and complex genome. This both increases the rate and searchable area of evolution, and makes it possible for multicellular eukaryotes to evolve. From Lane and Martin (2010):

... (read more)

Yes, like all strategies it depends on the economic, geopolitical, and technological situation you find yourself in. If the enemy is willing to depopulate the land so that they can colonise it, then of course you're not going to be able to win through non-cooperation but if they need you as workers then there comes a point where your willingness to sustain losses is so great that in order to blackmail you into submission they have to expend so many resources and destroy so much of their potential labour force that it's not worth doing. That is, unless thei... (read more)

I wonder how well this would have worked on the Mongols? They were certainly willing to slaughter all the inhabitants of a city that resisted - but if you shut up and paid your taxes they usually wouldn't kill you. I don't know what they would do with people who were willing to give up their property but not willing to perform labor for them. The Mongols frequently conscripted artisans, engineers, and other skilled workers from conquered peoples into performing supporting roles in their armies - saying "no" was probably a good way to get a sword run through you.
Load More