All of BT_Uytya's Comments + Replies

Thank you. English isn't my first language, so for me feedback means a lot. Especially positive :)

My point was that representative heuristic made two errors: firstly, it violates "ratio rule" (= equates P(S|c) and P(c|S)), and secondly, sometimes it replaces P(c|S) with something else. That means that the popular idea "well, just treat it as P(c|S) instead of P(S|c); if you add P(c|~S) and P(S), then everything will be OK " doesn't always work.

The main point of our disagreement seem to be this:

(1) The degree to which c is representati

... (read more)

Thank you for your feedback.

Yes, I'm aware of likelihood ratios (and they're awesome, especially for log-odds). Earlier draft of this post ended at "the correct method for answering this query involves imagining world-where-H-is-true, imagining world-where-H-is-false and comparing the frequency of E between them", but I decided against it. And well, if some process involves X and Y, then it is correct (but maybe misleading) to say that in involves just X.

My point was that "what it does resemble?" (process where you go E -> H) was fun... (read more)

It's interesting to note that this is almost exactly how it works in some role-playing games.

Suppose that we have Xandra the Rogue who went into dungeon, killed a hundred rats, got a level-up and now is able to bluff better and lockpick faster, despite those things having almost no connection to rat-killing.

My favorite explanation of this phenomenon was that "experience" is really a "self-esteem" stat which could be increased via success of any kind, and as character becomes more confident in herself, her performance in unrelated areas improves too.

Making sure I understood you: you are saying that people sometimes pick "everything is fine" because:

1) they are confident that if anything goes wrong, they would be able to fix it, so everything is fine once again

2) they are so confident in it they aren't making specific plans, beliving that they would be able to fix everything on the spur of the moment

aren't you?

Looks plausible, but something must be wrong there, because planning fallacy:

a) exists (so people aren't evaluating their abilities well)

b) exists even people aren't familiar with the ... (read more)

(decided to move everything to Main)

So, I made two posts sharing potentionally useful heuristics from Bayesianism. So what?

Should I move one of them to Main? On the one hand, these posts "discuss core Less Wrong topics". On the other, I'm honestly not sure that this stuff is awesome enough. But I feel like I should do something, so these things aren't lost (I tried to do a talk about "which useful principles can be reframed in a Bayesian terms" on a Moscow meetup once, and learned that those things weren't very easy to find using site-wide search).

Maybe we need a wiki pa... (read more)

(decided to move everything to Main)

Good call!

Yes, your theory is more prosaic, yet it never occured to me. I wonder whether purposefully looking for boring explanations would help with that.

Also, your theory is actually plausible, fits with some of my observations, so I think that I should look into it. Thanks!

The idea that it's a habit is, in a way, boring, true. But when I read that industriousness and creativity can be learned like described in the learned industriousness wikipedia article, I was quite surprised. So the iedea isn't boring to me at all.
Also beware of comparing a one week Spring break with a particularly memorable or otherwise highly available sample of a week from other times, rather than an actually "typical" week.

A conclusion which is true in any model where the axioms are true, which we know because we went through a series of transformations-of-belief, each step being licensed by some rule which guarantees that such steps never generate a false statement from a true statement.

I want to add that this idea justifies material implication ("if 2x2 = 4, then sky is blue") and other counter-intuitive properties of formal logic, like "you can prove anything, if you assume a contradiction/false statement".

Usual way to show the latter goes like this... (read more)

Took the survey and reminded my fellow Russians to participate too.

A (non-unique) best strategy for Dark is to leave the deck alone, regardless of the observer's prior

If I were a Dark, I would try to rearrange the cards so they look random to an unsophisticated observer. No long runs of same color, no obvious patterns in numbers (people are bad random number generators, they think that random string is string without any patterns, not string without big patterns, 17 is the most random number, blah blah blah).

(It's possible that the variation of it can be a good strategy even against more sophisticated agents, because ... (read more)

I think I have a proof that the only Nash equilibrium strategies for Dark playing against a perfect reasoner are those that lead to a uniform distribution over observed decks. K-complexity doesn't seem to come into it. What Dark should do against an imperfect reasoner is a different question, which we can't solve because we don't have a good theory of imperfect reasoning.

No one makes the wrong decisions for reasons they think are wrong. The more clever the man, as the Nroni were fond of saying, the more apt he was to make a fool of himself. We all argue ourselves into our mistakes.

Scott R. Bakker, The White-Luck Warrior

I guess we could just add most of the "Prince of Nothing" and the "The Aspect-Emperor" Series by Scott R. Bakker to the LessWrong quotes ;-) By the way, is there a reading list that we can add them to?
This is a good take, but I think I like the Feynman better (which I have to assume has appeared months and months ago): "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool." From a different angle, there's also the Heinlein: "Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly."

Another good fictional epigraph from the same book:

Any fool can see the limits of seeing, but not even the wisest know the limits of knowing. Thus is ignorance rendered invisible, and are all Men made fools.

– Ajencis, The Third Analytic of Men

This was what made the fall of Iothiah so disastrous. <...> Strategically, the loss of Iothiah was little more than a nuisance.

Symbolically, however…

The crisis she faced was a crisis in confidence, nothing more, nothing less. The less her subjects believed in the Empire, the less some would sacrifice, the more others would resist. It was almost arithmetic. The balance was wobbling, and all the world watched to see which way the sand would spill. She had made a resolution to act as if she believed to spite all those who doubted her as much as a

... (read more)

If you find yourself taken unawares by someone you thought you knew, recall that the character revealed is as much your own as otherwise. When it comes to Men and their myriad, mercenary natures, revelation always comes in twos.

– Managoras, Ode to the Long-Lived Fool

Scott R. Bakker, The White-Luck Warrior

Another good fictional epigraph from the same book:

(potential spoilers removed, so if this dialogue doesn't make sense, be assured that it makes sense in context)

"Just wait," Zsoronga said. "Something auspicious will happen. Some twist will keep you here, where you can discharge your fate! Wait and see."

"And what if they know?" Sorweel finally asked, voicing the one alternative they had passed over in silence.

"They don't know."

"But wh-"

"They don't know."

Zsoronga, Sorweel was beginning to realize, possessed the enviable ability to yoke

... (read more)

apart from theories where what's wrong is your brain

(just amused by the possibility)

Also, it is possible that Peano arithmetic isn't consistent; if so, either the very concept of 'primality' doesn't make any sense, or it can just mess up the primality tests which were used in creation of (b) and (c), and the connection between "1159 if prime" and "this program outputs True and halts" as well.

Of course, it screws up any application of Cox's theorem here, even worse than in delusion case.

In the new version of Newcomb's problem, you have to choose between a box containing the map and a box containing warm fuzzies.

Self-delusion or accurate beliefs? We all can empathize with this choice.

Actually, prophesy was about the ship; the spaceship crashed into Aragena, their planet, and then curious inhabitants looked inside (and found nothing dangerous). After that came the messenger of their King and told them that they all are doomed.

And they indeed were.

Probably I'm incredible late with that, but:

a) thank you, embarrassing mistake fixed

b) I was fascinated with the "volatile atoms" bit. It feels like a line taken from a poem on reductionism. I'm not sure that I managed to convey it because I'm not so much versed in English fiction and poetry.

Also, I liked their safety measures, it's a pity they hadn't worked in the end.

It's interesting to view this story from source-code-swap Prisoner's Dilemma / Timeless Decision Theory perspective. This can be a perfect epigraph in an article dedicated to it.

The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity. They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them. But what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (Are the elevator controls set? Did the patient get her antibiotics on time? Did the managers sell all their shares? Is everyone on the same page her

... (read more)

I concur in the general case. But I would suggest the people complaining work in computers. I'm a Unix sysadmin; my job description is to automate myself out of existence. Checklist=shell script=JOB DONE, NEXT TASK TO ELIMINATE.

It turns out, thankfully, that work expands to fill the sysadmins available. Because even in the future, nothing works. I fully expect to be able to work to 100 if I want to.

Sages and scientists heard those words, and fear seized them. However, they disbelieved the horrible prophecy, deeming the possibility of perdition too improbable. They lifted the starship from its bed, shattered it into pieces with platinum hammers, plunged the pieces into hard radiation, and thus the ship was turned into myriads of volatile atoms, which are always silent, for atoms have no history; they are identical, whatever origin they have, whether it be bright suns, dead planets or intelligent creatures, — virtuous or vile — for raw matter is same

... (read more)
Not quite seeing the applicability as a rationality quote; but in "it's bed" you should drop the apostrophe.

Law of Large Numbers states that sum of a large amount of i.i.d variables approaches its mathematical expectation. Roughly speaking, "big samples reliably reveal properties of population".

It doesn't state that "everything can happen in large samples".

Thanks. Memory is more fragile than thought, wrong folder. Updated.

The first terrifying shock comes when you realize that the rest of the world is just so incredibly stupid.

The second terrifying shock comes when you realize that they're not the only ones.

-- Nominull3 here, nearly six-years old quote

On the other hand, you are probably have more raw intelligence now.

0Swimmer963 (Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg) 11y
Yes. But I probably had close to my current raw intelligence at age 15-16, and I was definitely reading hard books at age 8-9.

This seems reasonable indeed.

(if you are interested, the thing you are pointing at is conditional Kolmogorov complexity)

It's not very useful measure.

So, there is Lesath Lestrange, an original character. Which is more likely: "Lesath thinks that Harry is his Lord" or "Lesath is a 3-level (or any specific number instead of "3") player who wants to decieve Harry, and also he is H&C which is possible because he knows how to fool anti-obliviation wards"?

Your approach will just say "I don't know what to make of it. We have already departured from the canon and I can't work here" with a sad look on face.

EDIT: I re-read my comment, and i... (read more)

I agree that it's an incomplete measure. As you point out, we would need some measure of the complexity of divergences from Canon, which requires a more general measure. Another way to put it would be, I don't think it's unreasonable in a fanfic to assign all the details prescribed in Canon a complexity of zero.

Canon Tom Riddle didn't either. There are only so much words you can get from letters "TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE", after all.

(non-native speaker here)

I was under impression that "to counterfeit" means only "to create imperfect copies in order to fraud someone", but it seems that it also means "to deceive". Thank you!

That first is the primary usage. Usually there is some way to tell a counterfeit from the real thing, but one can theoretically make a counterfeit that's indistinguishable from the original. I have only rarely heard it in the sense of "to deceive".

Huh, I was sure you are able to choose your Animagus form, but it appears I was mistaken.

Apparently you become the animal that suits you best.

Still, there is a potential for a creative Legilemency and False-Memory Charm casted on oneself in order to create an appropriate self-image. Assuming Bellatrix was an Animagus before meeting Voldemort, was her Animagus form changed when she was shattered into pieces and re-combined into someone else?

Also, what if I Memory-Charm myself to believe that common characteristics of spiders are intelligence and courage? ... (read more)

Aha! Thank you!

My mistake was that I kept thinking about "false" as in "false theory" instead of "false" as in "false money".

Just remembered a serious objection, originally from Tarhish on reddit:

I had been thinking about this possibility for a while, but now it also requires Dumbledore to have lied about Lily and James hearing the prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy. Because if they did, then it means they were mentioned in the prophecy, and this theory does not, at first thought, seem to allow that.

(from here, it's only 4 months old, you still can upvote that)

This argument can be somewhat handwaved away by "James is ascendant of Ignotus Peverell, and prophecy talks about several possible futures", but still.

In canon, the assignment of eligible hearers to prophecies is done by Minesty workers. Specifically, the judgment that "the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord" refers to Harry, and thus that Harry should have access to the prophecy, was made some time after the recording of the prophecy, by a human. On the assumption that things work the same in the rational-verse, the fact that Lily and James could hear the prophecy isn't evidence of anything other than the interpretation of the Minestry worker who handled the case.
Frankly, this reads like a non-answer to me.
This theory fits some lines better than others. It's not a perfect fit, but it doesn't require Dumbledore to have lied. Even if "born to those who have thrice defied him" refers to the Peverell line and Death rather than to Lily & James and Voldemort, the "born as the 7th month dies" certainly does refer to Harry's birth and Lily had a hand in that. So she's mentioned in the prophesy and would be able to hear it under either interpretation

I think you should at least give a link to the relevant Youtube clip in A/N. I'm not sure readers unfamiliar with canon fully understand what is going on concerning Peverell brothers.

For those who are here and are unfamiliar with canon, I believe BT_Uytya meant this YouTube clip, or a similar one like it; as far as I know, none of them are authorized by Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling, but may be short enough to qualify as fair use in many jurisdictions. I am not a lawyer.
At least one of the definitions is applicable to any arbitrary proposition. Either (1) it can be counterfeited, implying that there's no test you can perform to determine the true state of things, or (2) it can be tested to determine the true state of things.

The first definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you don't get much information when you see a Patronus, since it could easily be something else and you couldn't tell the difference.

The second definition of "falsifiable" means that it's easy to prove that it's not fake - if a Patronus is falsifiable under this definition, you get a lot of information when you see a Patronus, since it is very difficult for something that looks like a Patronus to actually be a fake.

Be... (read more)

(By the way, tags on the opening post are wrong. There should be a tag reading "harry_potter", not two separate tags for the first and last name.)

Ritual for summoning Death is just reference to the spell of Seething Death from one of the Lawrence Watt-Evans books.

Or the Rite of Ashk'Ente from Discworld.

AK spell, which doesn't seem to affect animals in MOR,

Don't remember it. Could you give a source?

From chapter 86 : For Moody to believe that, it means either "animals have a soul" is a frequent belief among wizards, but then we would have had hints of it earlier, or it doesn't kill animals. That's how I interpreted it at least.

Also, Quirrel doesn't know the story of Weasleys' Pet Rat. Did he spend a century in Albania or something?

1) Research wandless magic

2) Become a cat Animagus

3) Cast a True Patronus Charm while in a cat form

4) Awesome, now you can impersonate Patronus of McGonnagal and no members of Order of Phoenix can trust each other anymore!

5) Ask an Auror friend to destroy your Animagus form.

6) Become a spider Animagus

7) ???

8) Terrify people!

I'm fairly sure it would be easier to change your regular Patronus form than become an Animagus multiple times, even if you could choose what to become. As most people haven't learnt the True Patronus, they would be able to have animal Patroni.
For this to work a wizard would need to be able to choose what Animagus form to take.

You are talking about prior probability. P(Dark Lord is Death|no specific background information) roughly equals to P(Eliezer changes things from canon), which isn't very large; so after updating both with a equally favorable piece of evidence "Death is Dark Lord" is still behind "Voldemort is Dark Lord".

You can assign prior probabilities in various ways, and one of them is giving every hypothesis an appropriate complexity penalty (or you can just judge everything as equally likely, or give everything a simplicity penalty, or penalize e... (read more)

Hmm, I suppose you could judge the "complexity" of the plot of a fan fic by how much it deviated from Canon.

1) Why "complexity penalty" should work in fiction, even in a rationalist fiction?

Because there will still be an infinite (countable) number of finite hypotheses which could be considered and only a finite amount of probability to divide among them, which necessarily implies that in the limit more complicated hypotheses will have individual probability approaching zero. This will be true in the limit even if you define 'complexity' differently than the person who constructed the distribution.

Thing of note:

Harry in chapter 86:

...Don't get me wrong - I do realize that my interpretation sounds stretched. Trelawney's phrasing doesn't seem natural for describing only the events that historically happened on October 31st, 1981 ... But if you think of the prophecy as being about several possible futures, only one of which was actually realized on Halloween, then the prophecy could already be complete.

The prophecy can be interpreted in two ways: "Harry fights Voldemort" and "Harry fights Death" (ignoring more exotic ones like ... (read more)

[tinfoil hat]

mark him as his equal

Suppose that Killing Curse just bounced off the night Voldemort died, just refused to work for some reason. If "magically embodied preference for death over life" haven't worked on someone, I would pretty much say that it means something.

Also, possible foreshadowing in chapter 5:

"I have formed an idea..." said Professor McGonagall. "After meeting you, that is. You triumphed over the Dark Lord by being more awful than he was, and survived the Killing Curse by being more terrible than Death.&q

... (read more)
The part I've emphasized is oft called apophenia: "the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data." In this case the data isn't random, but it may well be meaningless (i.e. not foreshadowing). I find the concept of apophenia a valuable way to understand how e.g. astrology seems so potent to so many people. Also conspiracy theories, etc. The apophenic tendencies of humans underlie many biases etc.

That sounds reasonable, but unless everything we saw about Quirrel is lie, he is unable to cast animal Patronus, being cynical sociopathic rationalist with a homicidal tendencies.

There is some possibility that Quirrel have analyzed his conversation with Harry, words about "rejection of Death as a part of natural order" and picture of stars being able to keep Dementation away and re-discovered True Patronus (there is speculation about Quirrel being enemy of Death, so it at least plausible), but True Patronus couldn't look like a snake.

PS: Your argument partly applies to the Patronus of Lucius being a snake, though.

Probably the only two things the True Patronus can look like are humans and snakes. Possibly flying squirrels?
Lucius is pretty darn likely to have a snake patronus, yes. However, there is one other character we know of with a snake patronus. Slytherin himself. It is highly likely to be Draco - the timing is about right for him to learn Hermione died, but hey..
I see no justification for that statement. Perhaps True Patronuses can't take the form of an animal, but that says nothing about what they can look like. Would a sentient snake wizard say a True Patronus can't look like an ape?

It's interesting that Godric's Hollow was named after Godric, not Peverells. It seems that they weren't as famous as him, for some reason.

Godric was the highest-profile member of a small group who led armies in battle, raised a castle by magic alone, and vanquished at least one and probably many Dark Lords. The Peverells created a small number of artefacts whose very existence faded into obscure myths known only to the learned. The difference in fame is entirely logical based on what we know.

Perhaps transhumanism was already controversial in 1200, so a less controversial hero was selected for naming.

Versions already mentioned somewhere: "It was sad she died", "Harry, now you don't owe anything to House Malfoy anymore", "Father wants to disband Hogwarts because it's not safe anymore, Wizengamot vote is tomorrow".

My guess: the rationality-theme of this arc is roles, and this is relevant in almost every chapter. Probably something about Lucius playing a role of loving father instead of going off-script? Or Lucius playing the role of important Wizengamot member?

My second guess: it is connected to the (former?) belief of Luciu... (read more)

I believe only Quirrel knows that Harry intents to ressurect Hermione as opposed to just researching immortality. As far as Dumbledore concerned, Harry is thinking about replicating Philosopher's Stone. I don't remember any hints about ressurection, only "rejecting Death as part of natural order".

(though disappearing of HG's body can give Albus some ideas, I guess)

I'm not sure about the disappearing of Hermione's body. I believe that Dumbledore believes that Harry did not take Hermione's body. I'm not sure if I agree with that—Harry didn't seem too worried about its disappearance despite taking the five Rs as his stages of grief—but I doubt he'd take Voldemort stealing the body as evidence that Harry wants to resurrect her.

Gur vqrn gung lbh pna fnir fbzrbar sebz qlvat ol pbirevat gurz ol Pybnx jnf gbffrq nebhaq sbe n juvyr.

Huh. I came up with it independently then. No significant counterevidence yet, although the Hallows seem to impart instructions to their master's minds. Alternately: Lbh pna cerirag fbzrbar sebz qlvat be sbepr gurve fbhy gb or onpxrq hc fbzrubj (Fragvrag tubfg? VQX) ol pnfgvat n fhssvpvragyl cbjreshy Gehr Cngebahf ng gur zbzrag bs qrngu.

Relevant quote, conversation with a Sorting Hat:

"And you would find loyalty and friendship in Hufflepuff, a camaraderie that you have never had before. You would find that you could rely on others, and that would heal something inside you that is broken."

It seems that something broken was healed at last.

PS: Tangentially related to the Harry's inability to rely on others: chapter 31, chapter 70 (Maybe if there were more heroes, their lives wouldn't be so lonely, or so short.), chapter 93.

Would be interesting to see what would happen to Hufflepuff HPEJV. Probably would see the graveyard earlier...
Load More