All of CharlesR's Comments + Replies

P(Anti-Agathics) What is the probability that at least one person living at this moment will reach an age of one thousand years?

How is this to be interpreted? With or without the aid of cryonics?

The next time you give your talk, record it, and put it on YouTube.

Also, buy one without a number pad so that you can put your mouse in a reasonable location. Normal keyboards are too wide.

Thanks for the info. I didn't know they were anti-vaxxers.

They're just pretty shitty as an organization. Very focused on the neurotypical parents of autistic children, very cure-oriented, no autistic people involved in their decisionmaking, they spread harmful memes about nasty "treatments" and have a history of spending way too much time looking into vaccines on a cause. Most autistic people don't like 'em, is the short version. Googling "autism speaks criticism" or similar will get you lots of specificity.
Do you know that, or are you guessing?

Rather than spending time reading about autism you can probably better help this child by playing with him and doing stuff for his parents so they have more time to play with him, although ignore this advice if you enjoy reading about autism and so your doing so isn't a cost.

This is very good advice.

UPDATED: It has been pointed out that Autism Speaks still funds research looking for the supposed link to vaccines! People have resigned over this. Do not give your money to this organization.

Some books on autism:

There is also the 100 Day Kit from Autism Speaks.

The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit and the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit were created specifically for newly diagnosed families to make the best possible use of the 100 da

... (read more)
General antiendorsement of Autism Speaks.

Can you elaborate on your reason for choosing CI? Was it driven by reasons other than cost?

The websites for both are poorly designed and the only thing I could figure out was that maybe under some circumstances CI was cheaper. Not being able to distinguish between relevant features, and feeling it fairly urgent that I stop dithering and start signing up, I blatantly substituted Eliezer's judgment for my own and went with the one he picked.

Are you planning to provide training for people who are already running meetups?

It levels the playing field for those who use non-standard layouts.

Happy Hacking Professional 2

For anyone who has ever argued over mechanical-switch and buckling-spring keyboards, made the hard choice between vi and Emacs, or manually reassigned a capslock key to control: this is for you.

For something with "hacking" in the name, lacking a numpad, arrow keys, and home/end/etc. is conspicuous. I use those very often in my nerdly pursuits. I'm quite fond of my Das Keyboard [].
4Paul Crowley11y
This is, unsurprisingly, also my strong recommendation: chronological order, on a Kindle or similar. At the start, they're just a bunch of interesting random blog posts; my feeling is that they really "get going" around the post "Feeling Rational". If you don't already have an ebook reader, I strongly recommend one; I hardly buy books for mine at all, but do things like send it PDFs, or use "SendToKindle" to send it longer web pages to read as I travel to work. OTOH I spend around 8 hrs a week on public transport.
(You may want to put "cryonics" between square brackets, I nearly missed this deviation from the original quote.)

If you're serious about learning, I suggest you take an online course from Udacity. Their 101 course is a very gentle introduction.

Registration is already open. They start tomorrow. It's free.

2James_Miller11y [] is also great.

Wouldn't it be easier to implement it as web application? Then you only need one code base and a browser and it works on all those platforms. Distribution is easy. You just email a URL. Updates would be local and wouldn't need to be distributed at all.

Indeed, for this type of tasks web app is the way to go. A bit of HTML5/CSS3 magic is usually all that's needed. Uhh... Don't you mean, scan its 2D barcode with your phone camera from the web page? Email is so last millennium.

maxmore, since you're here, I have a question:

How much life insurance do I need?

The cost for whole body is $200,000. So do I need $200,000 or do I need what it costs at time of death? Historical data says the cost doubles every 20 years.

CharlesR: First of all, let me say that I have sufficient funding for whole body, yet I have chosen the neuro option. I find it difficult to fathom why anyone would want to bring along a broken-down old body which is going to have to be replaced anyway. We can store ten neuro patients for the cost of one whole body patient (which means that we are probably underpricing WBs currently). A neuro arrangement with Alcor currently costs $80,000. Although WB prices may have to rise before long, I've heard no suggestion that neuro rates need to rise anytime soon.

H... (read more)

I think when you have a question that fits the first three criteria, it always devolves into mindkilling. (Operating systems are a good example.)

The only time this doesn't happen is when the question is not popular/important. If you want to find an example, you're going to have to let go of either #2 or #5.

It depends what you mean by 'God'.

Software Engineering for Software as a Service opened today. If anyone else is taking and wants to form a study group, let me know.

The Center for the Advancement of Human Reason

When I wrote that I was thinking of people like Kahneman and Tversky. But you're right. As a group, psychologists are less trustworthy.

When it comes to doctors and therapists, my general approach is:

Seek recommendations from people I trust who are in a position to know. Try them out. If it's not working, find someone else.

We're on our 8th speech therapist.

Would you care to post about what can go wrong with speech therapists?

For material possessions, I plan to establish a trust and appoint a child or grandchild who is already signed up. Right now, I don't trust either option with my body but will probably go with Alcor because of where I live.

who would you trust to take care of your affairs while you're frozen, and why?

Do you mean material possessions or your body?

Either or both.

Here is my general heuristic:

Whenever you have a question, find out what the consensus view is. Then see what the contrarians are saying. Then see what the consensus people are saying about what the contrarians are saying. See how the contrarians respond. Then make up your own mind.

I solved vaccines and cryonics this way.

By "mainstream consensus view", I don't mean what your average man on the street thinks. I mean what the experts (usually the "right" scientists) are saying on a topic. So creationism isn't the consensus view. Evolution... (read more)

I'm very interested as to why climatologists rank behind psychologists. I'm a little less surprised as to how low you rank medical doctors. Edit: I'm not being snarky, I really would like to know the reasoning there.

The Center for the Advancement of Human Thought

The Bayes Center for the Advancement of Human Reason

The Thomas Bayes Institute for Human Thought

Short: The Bayes Institute for Human Thought

Shorter: The Bayes Institute

The Center for Improving Human Thought
The Bayes Center for the Advancement of Human Reason

The question came up at the West LA LW Meetup. Only two people knew what it meant.

"What Shock Level are you?"

This is the first one that stumps me.

Upvoted purely for the Anathem reference!

I once read a book on characterization. I forget the exact quote, but it went something like, "If you want to make your villian more believable, make him more intelligent."

I thought my brain had misfired. But apparently, for the average reader it works.

I think the hardest step is deciding you just want to know what's true.

When I search for keyword: rationality, I get HPMoR for #2, for #5, and What Do We Mean By "Rationality"? for #7. Not sure how much my search history is affecting this.

You probably get this result because google has figured out it's a better search-result for you.... because you've already gone to those pages before. Not sure how many people outside of the web world realise this, but google does personalise search results based on your own personal search-habits. People who have not yet been to any of these pages are much less likely to get the same set of search results as this. Edit: lukeprog's response (about two below here) below is how to see google for what it actually is like for a newbie.

Is rationality a common enough word that people would naturally jump to it when trying to figure out how to think better? I'm not sure how often I used it before Less Wrong, but I know that it is substantially more commonplace after reading the sequences.

I get exactly the same result.

Quantum mechanics can be described by a set of postulates. (Sometimes five, sometimes four. It depends how you write them.)

In the "standard" Interpretation, one of these postulates invokes something called "state collapse".

MWI can be described by the same set of postulates without doing that.

When you have two theories that describe the same data, the simpler one is usually the right one.

This falls under 1) above, and is also covered here below []. Was there something new you wanted to convey?

It took me about three weeks.

For writing, Dvorak is great. But it doesn't play nice with unix shell commands. Try typing ls -l in Dvorak and you'll see what I mean.

If you're a coder, try a modern layout like Colmak.

As a data point, after aliasing ls -l to a, Unix commands don't bother me at all on Dvorak.

I suppose if you are the sort of person who has a lot of "waste".

Edit: misread

From Scope Insensitivity:

Once upon a time, three groups of subjects were asked how much they would pay to save 2000 / 20000 / 200000 migrating birds from drowning in uncovered oil ponds. The groups respectively answered $80, $78, and $88 [1]. This is scope insensitivity or scope neglect: the number of birds saved - the scope of the altruistic action - had little effect on willingness to pay.

Now I haven't read the paper, but this implies there is only one charity doing the asking. First they ask how much you would give to save 2000 birds? You say, &quo... (read more)

Agreed: if I assume that there's a hard upper limit being externally imposed on those answers (e.g., that I only have $80, $78, and $88 to spend in the first place, and that even the least valuable of the three choices is worth more to me than everything I have to spend) then those answers don't demonstrate interesting scope insensitivity. There's nothing wrong with that conclusion, given those assumptions.

I was describing how I would respond in that situation. The amount I would give to charity XYZ is completely determined by my income. I need you to explain to me why this is wrong.

OK, if you insist. The amount I give to charity XYZ ought not be completely determined by my income. For example, if charity XYZ sets fire to all money donated to it, that fact also ought to figure into my decision of how much to donate to XYZ. What ought to be determined by my income is my overall charity budget. Which charities I spend that budget on should be determined by properties of the charities themselves: specifically, by what they will accomplish with the money I donate to them. For example, if charities XYZ and ABC both save birds, and I'm willing to spend $100 on saving birds, I still have to decide whether to donate that $100 to XYZ or ABC or some combination. One way to do this is to ask how many birds that $100 will save in each case... for example, if XYZ can save 10 birds with my $100, and ABC can save 100 birds, I should prefer to donate the money to ABC, since I save more birds that way. Similarly, if it turns out that ABC can save 100 birds with $50, but can't save a 101st bird no matter how much money I donate to ABC, I should prefer to donate only $50 to ABC.

If I budgeted $100 for charity work and I decided saving birds was the best use of my money then I would just give the whole hundred. If I later hear more birds need saving, I will feel bad. But I won't give more.

Suppose you budgeted $100 for charity, and then found out that all charities were useless - they just spent the money on cars for kleptocrats. Would you still donate the money to charity? Probably not - because hearing that charity is less effective than you had thought reduces the amount you spend on it. Equally, hearing it is more effective should increase the amount you spend on it. This principle is refered to as the Law of Equi-Marginal Returns.
Yes, if saving birds is the best use of your entire charity budget, then you should give the whole $100 to save birds. Agreed. And, yes, if you've spent your entire charity budget on charity, then you don't give more. Agreed. I can't tell whether you're under the impression that either of those points are somehow responsive to my point (or to the original article), or whether you're not trying to be responsive.

Of course, I've read it. My problem isn't with scope insensitivity. Just this example.

RE: The Crazy Robot's Rebellion

We wouldn’t pay much more to save 200,000 birds than we would to save 2,000 birds. Our willingness to pay does not scale with the size of potential impact. Instead of making decisions with first-grade math, we imagine a single drowning bird and then give money based on the strength of our emotional response to that imagined scenario. (Scope insensitivity, affect heuristic.)

People's willingness to pay depends mostly on their income. I don't understand why this is crazy.

UPDATED: Having read Nectanebo's reply, I am revising ... (read more)

Not all of a person's money goes into one charity. A person can spend their money on many different things, and can choose how much to spend on each different thing. Think of willingness to pay to actually be a measure of how much you care []. Basically, the bird situation is crazy because humans barely if at all feel a difference in terms of how much they give a damn between something that has one positive effect, and something that has 100x that positive effect! To Luke: This person was reading about the biases you breifly outlined, and he ended up confused by one of the examples. While the linking helps a good deal, I think your overview of those biases may have been a little too brief, and they might not really hit home with readers of your site, and personally I think it might be difficult particularly for those who may not be familiar with the topics and content of the site. I don't think it would be a bad idea to expand on each of them just a little bit more.
This comment confuses me. The point of the excerpt you quote has nothing to do with income at all; the point is that (for example) if I have $100 budgeted for charity work, and I'm willing to spend $50 of that to save 2,000 birds, then I ought to be willing to spend $75 of that to save 10,000 birds, because 2000/50 > 10000/75. But in fact many people are not. Of course, the original point depends on the assumption that the value of N birds scales at least somewhat linearly. If I've concluded that 2000 is an optimal breeding population and I'm building an arcology to save animals from an impending environmental collapse, I might well be willing to spend a lot to save 2,000 birds and not much more to save 20,000 for entirely sound reasons.
Have you read Scope Insensitivty []? It's not just an income effect--human beings are really bad at judging effect sizes.

Except that the question specified "God" as an ontologically basic mental entity.

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So they believe that God created the universe, but has ceased to exist since.

We have 82 Nietzscheans.

You should clarify in the antiagathics question that the person reaches the age of 1000 without the help of cryonics.

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