All of clone of saturn's Comments + Replies

Frame Control

The meaning which makes the most sense to me in the context of this post is that a frame is just an ideology applied to a small interpersonal group, where an ideology is a set of ideas about what types of harms or disliked behaviors must be accepted as legitimate and what types may be responded to with self-protection or retaliation. When a political leader has ideas like that, it's an ideology; when a meditation guru or father or boyfriend has them, it's a frame. Or at least that's how I'd try to steelman it.

4Said Achmiz2moNo, that still doesn’t let me view the page without logging in to Facebook: []
They don't make 'em like they used to

I don't think any conspiracy is necessary, just information asymmetry. For example, suppose modern stoves are controlled by microchips, and microchips can be programmed to self destruct after X hours of use. The manufacturer can choose any value of X, and the consumer has no way to determine the value of X. Since every broken stove represents a new potential customer, (and especially when the largest "competitor" is stoves that are already installed and the user is happy with rather than new competing products,) each manufacturer has an incentive to choose... (read more)

My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage)

(Possibly relevant: I don’t recognize the term “space monkey” and don’t know what it means either denotatively or connotatively, except that the connotation is clearly negative. Something drug related?)

I would guess it's a reference to the movie Fight Club.

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

I read Anna's request as an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's much easier to bully a few individuals than a large crowd.

Yeah, I also read Anna as trying to create/strengthen local norms to the effect of 'whistleblowers, truth-tellers, and people-saying-the-emperor-has-no-clothes are good community members and to-be-rewarded/protected'. That doesn't make reprisals impossible, but I appreciated the push (as I interpreted it).

I also interpreted Anna as leading by example to some degree -- a lot of orgs wouldn't have their president join a public conversation like this, given the reputational risks. If I felt like Anna was taking on zero risk but was asking others to take on lo... (read more)

SIA > SSA, part 1: Learning from the fact that you exist

I'm perplexed when you say the Doomsday Argument is counterintuitive. To me it seems extremely intuitive, almost to the point of being transparently obvious. So if SIA gets rid of the Doomsday Argument, to me it just sounds like I have to stick with SSA in spite of whatever other problems it may have. Has this been addressed anywhere?

Petrov Day 2021: Mutually Assured Destruction?

I think to the extent that the Petrov Day game is training anything, it's training the opposite of what we should want. In the game, all the social pressure is unanimously and strongly opposed to pressing the button (sometimes to the extent of ostracizing people and threatening their careers). But in real life, if everyone were unanimously opposed to pressing the button, the button would never have been constructed in the first place. The real Petrov was not rewarded for his actions but demoted and sidelined. In the real situation that's supposedly being t... (read more)

5Svyatoslav Usachev4moA thousand times this! I haven't seen anyone pointing out what's wrong with this ritual more clearly. Exactly, we turn the celebration of individual courage into a celebration of unity/conformity, what an irony.
Designing Low Upkeep Software

I would suggest Common Lisp for this purpose--it hasn't had a significant compatibility breaking change for over 30 years.

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

I think it's important to keep in mind the reasons why Robin DiAngelo became a multimillionare. The value of her seminars is that they shift the burden of responsibility for "systemic" racism away from employers and onto employees as individuals. That is, diversity seminars are seen as an effective defense against discrimination lawsuits. But in exchange for protection against legal accountability for patterns of discrimination, an environment of paranoia and scapegoating is fostered, where individual employees are singled out for discipline or firing for perpetuating systemic racism through their personal interactions.

2Ben Pace4mo(This is a pretty interesting incentives angle I hadn't heard before.)
Value is Fragile

I don't think Three Worlds Collide should be interpreted as having anything to do with actual aliens, any more than The Scorpion and the Frog should be interpreted as having anything to do with actual scorpions and frogs. TWC uses different alien species to allegorically explore human differences of opinion.

Working With Monsters

If you think dead people can do arithmetic, I think you need to explain how that would work.

2Pattern5moWhile they are dead no. While they were alive - yes, they could. (This is interesting in that, properly performed, (a specified) computation gets the same result, whatever the circumstances. More generally, Fermat argued that: for integers a, b, c, and n, where n>2, a^n+b^n=c^N: * had no solutions * was provable He might have been wrong about the difficulty of proving it, but he was right about the above. If perhaps for the wrong reasons. (Can we prove Fermat didn't have a proof?))
What does GPT-3 understand? Symbol grounding and Chinese rooms

The prompt is clearly meant to be a list of rules, followed by text which follows the rules. The rules themselves don’t have to follow the rules. So to pass the test, GPT-3 would need to write zero or more additional rules (or write gibberish preceded by instructions to ignore the gibberish) and then end the list of rules and begin writing text which follows the rules.

I agree that most humans wouldn’t pass this test, but I disagree that there is no possible right answer.

Working With Monsters

I think it makes a pretty good case for the anti-cooperation side: you might get to kill some of your enemies before you get killed in turn. However, the correctness of any argument can only be judged by those who remain alive.

2Pattern5mo2+2=4 It can be judged by those who are alive, those who were alive, those who will be alive...need I say more?
How can there be a godless moral world ?

Yes, but it's also okay for the the rest of us to avoid them, warn others about them, or imprison them.

Why I Work on Ads

e.g. for a car ad they show happy people living exciting lives which have no relation to the car but make you associate the buying of the car with non-existence social fulfillment.

It's actually worse than that -- the way the manipulation works is to induce you to compare the people in the ad with your own life, causing you to feel ugly, unlovable, like you're missing out on life, etc. and then to propose the product as a relief from this deliberately induced misery.

Why I Work on Ads

Advice from a person who doesn't care about you and makes money when you follow it is useless at best, and likely harmful. Advertising from a friend who wants what's best for you might be beneficial, if such a thing existed.

Communication Requires Common Interests or Differential Signal Costs

It doesn’t seem generally true that communication requires delicate maintenance. Liars have existed for thousands of years, and languages have diverged and evolved, and yet we still are able to communicate straightforwardly the vast majority of the time! Like you said, lying loses its effectiveness the more it is used, and so there’s a counter-pressure which automatically prevents it from taking over.

It seems to me that there are numerous instances, from the Challenger o-rings to Iraqi WMDs to Lysenkoism, where telling lies has become normalized. Usuall... (read more)

3CraigMichael3moNot all lies are the same. I think Adele’s framework is slightly better than Zack’s here, but I perhaps agree with you hthat I struggle to use either to describe Lysenkoism, for example, or the expressing the belief that a RBMK reactors are infallible. Simpler concepts like wish-fulfillment and Yarvin’s Observation (below) seem better at explaining virtual signaling behavior and impression management to me.
The Problem of the Criterion

Yes, but only in the sense that by my best efforts, using the brain I actually have, I believe the thing to be the case.

3TAG1yYes, you can deal with the problem of the criterion by adopting modest epistemology. But that is different from saying there is no problem.
The Problem of the Criterion

This all seems to rest on an idea that an empty box labeled "truth" was dropped in my lap in the platonic land of a priori mental emptiness, and I'm obligated to fill it with something before I'm allowed to begin thinking. But obviously, that's not what happened. Rather, as I grew up, the abstract label called "truth" was invented and refined by me to help me make sense of the world and communicate with (or win approval from) others. So I end up at the same answer, pragmatism, but I deny that there was ever any problematic circularity. The problem instead ... (read more)

1TAG1yDo you ever claim that things are true?
2G Gordon Worley III1ySo it would seem at first, but "truth" is just one place the problem of the criterion shows up. It's the classical version, yes, and that version did have a rather outdated notion of what truth is, but we can also just talk in terms of knowledge and belief and prediction and the problem continues to exist.
MikkW's Shortform

This seems like it would be pretty easy to DIY with small drops of superglue.

Feature request: personal notes about other users

GreaterWrong has the ability to automatically collapse comments from a given user. I could make it hide posts too if there's a desire for that.

Feature request: personal notes about other users

Do you feel that way about all the themes? Ideally I'd like it to have something for everyone.

2Matt Goldenberg1yYes, I feel this way about all the themes.
The Power to Demolish Bad Arguments

I really dislike the central example used in this post, for reasons explained in this article. I hope it isn't included in the next LW book series without changing to a better example.

3frontier641yThis comment leads me to believe that you misunderstand the point of the example. Demonstrating that an arguer doesn't have a coherent understanding of their claim doesn't mean that the claim itself is incoherent. It just means that if you argue against that particular person on that particular claim nobody is likely to gain anything out of it[1] [#fn-wDpLSeL8sBCW3CK7F-1]. The validity of the example does not correlate to whether "Uber exploits its drivers!" or not. You agree with Steve in the example and because the example shows Steve being unable to defend his point you don't like it. You should strive to understand however that Steve's incoherent defense of his claim has nothing to do with your very coherent reasons for believing the same claim. I think that the example is strengthened if Steve's central claim is correct despite the fact that he can't defend it coherently. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. At least, that's my take. I haven't read the rest of this sequence yet so I don't know if Liron explains what you gain out of discovering that somebody's argument is incoherent. ↩︎ [#fnref-wDpLSeL8sBCW3CK7F-1]
2Ben Pace1yAlas, paywall. Summary?
Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong

Is it possible to insert a question using the markdown editor, or does it require using the new editor?

2habryka1yCurrently requires the WYSIWYG editor. Sorry about that.
A tale from Communist China

If the goal is to figure out how murderous the Mormons are, comparing their murder rate to the murder rate of non-Mormons, or some other reasonable base rate, is exactly what you would do. Surely this would be obvious in any other context.

9Viliam1yFor the sake of thought experiment, suppose that there are three highly murderous religions, e.g. Mormons, Moonists, Mohists; and everyone else is relatively peaceful. If you say, in such situation, that Mormons are highly murderous, it doesn't mean you want to take credit from the remaining two, unless you use words like " most murderous" or "the only murderous". There are two things I have an issue with: One-sided "whataboutism". Like, in every discussion about Mormons, someone inevitably mentions Moonists and Mohists... but in discussions about Moonists or Mohists, Mormons are typically not mentioned. That makes me suspect that the real reason of the objection is simply to move the discussion away from the Mormons. (For example, if you wrote an article about the Great Famine in Ireland, it would be pretty inappropriate for me to try derailing it into a debate about communism.) Creating an almost-all-encompassing basket of "non-Mormons" which includes the murderous Moonists and Mohists, along with the rest of humanity, me and you and Gandhi included; pointing out a few examples of Moonist and Mohist atrocities, and concluding "as you can see, the non-Mormons are just as evil". (The basket is "capitalist country" which is pretty much a synonym of "a country not ruled by a communist party". Yes, a few of them are pretty evil. Are they representative of non-communists to the same degree Stalin + Mao + Pol Pot are representatives of communist regimes?)
A tale from Communist China

It's striking that these numbers are always stated alone, and never compared to the number killed by capitalist governments using a similar methodology. (Which is clearly not zero, just two examples off the top of my head put it well into the millions [1] [2])

Of course.

The dichotomy betwen "socialist" and "capitalist" countries makes about as much sense as a dichotomy between e.g. "Mormons" and "non-Mormons". That is, it probably sounds very important and profound to a Mormon, but it puts many different kinds of stuff in one basket.

Unless your point was that British colonialism was evil, in which case I agree. There is enough place for more than one evil regime in history.

But "capitalism" in the sense of "a country not governed by a Communist party" is a non-apple.

8Teerth Aloke1yUSA itself is responsible for mass murder, by bombing, in Japan, Germany, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. US-backed regimes are implicated in mass murder in Indonesia, East Pakistan, Somalia, and Guatemala. USA also backed Pol Pot, the Cambodian genocidal dictator, during and after his ouster by the Vietnamese army. And we must not forget that USA backed military juntas in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay. These governments also killed thousands of opponents.
Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes?

I think this is fundamentally not possible, because the world does not come pre-labeled with rules and win/lose conditions the way a sport or game does. Any attempt to do this would require you to take certain concepts as presumptively valid and unquestionable, but the main point of being an intellectual is to question accepted concepts and develop new ones.

7sawyer1yI think there's probably a fundamental limit to how good the ranking could be. For one thing, the people coming up with the rating system would probably be considered "intellectuals". So who rates the raters? But it seems very possible to get better than we are now. Currently the ranking system is mostly gatekeeping and social signaling.
8ozziegooen1y"Fundamentally not possible"Thanks for providing such a clear and intense position. I think this is either misunderstanding what I'm saying, or is giving up on the issue incredibly quickly. Sports are a particularly good examples of pre-labeled rules, but I don't think that means that more tricky things are impossible to measure. (See How to Measure Anything). Even in sports, the typical metrics don't correlate perfectly with player value; it's taken a fair bit of investigation to attempt to piece this together. It would have been really easy early on to dismiss the initial recording of metrics; "These metrics are flawed, it's useless to try." It took sabermetrics several decades to get to where it is today. There are many, many more fuzzy endeavors that are challenging to evaluate, but where we have developed substantial systems to a better job than "just let people intuit things." * The Chinese Imperial Examinations [] were considered a substantial success for meritocracy and quality in government. * Colleges have extensive processes of SAT/ACT scores, high school transcripts, and essays. This seems much better than "a few interviews" * When I played an instrument in school, I went to an evaluator each year who ranked me on a set of measures. The ranking determined which regional bands I would get to be in. (see NYSSMA []) * Modern Western law is mostly statutory []. One could have easily said, "Things are complicated! If we write up formal procedures, that would get in the way of the unique circumstances." * Most professional associations have actual tests to complete. If you want to be a lawyer you need to pass the Bar []. If you want to be a doctor, get ready to face the US Licensing Examinations [
New GreaterWrong feature: image zoom + image slideshows

Should be fixed now. Evidently EA forum doesn't (yet?) support comment threads on tags.

4habryka1yYeah, the EA Forum often lags behind a bunch of versions behind us. Sorry for the hassle this probably causes for supporting both the EA Forum and LW.
What Does "Signalling" Mean?

But a bird warning other birds that there is a snake in the grass does reveal a fact about the bird: that it is a good bird who will risk its life for the other birds, and therefore is helpful for the other birds to keep around, perhaps even with bribes.

Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis

What would be an example of energy not being conserved in a closed system?

If a spinning overbalanced wheel without additional energy input spun faster and faster instead of slowing down and stopping.

Does the law of thermodynamics even mean anything?

The laws of thermodynamics don't seem to have the same problem of vagueness. It's easy to tell whether a given situation would violate them or not.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, so it would probably be better to just state your point plainly.

I'm trying to figure out what you mean when you tal... (read more)

3Richard Meadows2yYeah exactly - for example, something like 90% of active fund managers (professional investors with all the bells and whistles) fail to beat their benchmark, and those that do are highly unlikely to repeat the feat the next year. It makes no difference to me that EMH doesn't cash out in some kind of precise formula—it just seems like a super useful and interesting thing to know. Sorry if we've been talking at cross-purposes!
2AllAmericanBreakfast2yYes, precisely. And that is a meaningful prediction. The EMH is not a grandiose claim. It is a boring rebuttal to grandiosity. Saying "you probably will make an average amount of money for your intelligence and education level trading stocks as you would in any other profession" is decidedly dull. Saying "people with millions or billions of dollars invested in X keep a pretty tight bead on new information related to X and make trades based on it" is also a sensible claim. Saying "boy, this is complicated stuff - are you sure that's alpha you've found there?" is reasonable. In the end, money talks. So if anybody is dead convinced that the EMH is wrong, there are hundred dollar bills lying around in the stock market, and they've found a way to pick them up, the ultimate test is just to say "go make a lot of money, then, and let me know how it all went once you've exited the stock market!"
Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis

What would be an example of asset prices not reflecting all available information?

3Richard Meadows2yWhat would be an example of energy not being conserved in a closed system? Does the law of thermodynamics even mean anything? I'm not sure what you're trying to say, so it would probably be better to just state your point plainly. Like anything else, the EMH is useful insofar as it generates testable predictions about the world. One of the most useful predictions, as johnswentworth puts it: 'you shouldn't expect to make money trading stocks'.
Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis

If this kind of behavior is entirely consistent with EMH, does EMH even mean anything?

My understanding (mostly from Inadequate Equilibria) is something like "The Efficient Market Hypothesis doesn't mean you can't make money trading – people do in fact make mistakes, the world includes secrets, etc, which you can exploit. 

But, to know which mistakes to exploit is not easy. If you focus on it professionally, and are reasonably talented, you can make... something like $60/hr on average, not like a bajillion dollars."

5johnswentworth2yIt means you shouldn't expect to make money trading stocks.
3Richard Meadows2yIt means exactly what it says: asset prices reflect all available information. Not sure exactly what you're asking, but that alone is a revelatory and counterintuitive idea.
Do you trust the research on handwriting vs. typing for notes?

This seems like something that's likely to be idiosyncratic and even if high quality studies exist, trying to mimic what works for the notional “average person” may not be a good idea.

1NaiveTortoise2yGood point! Part of my interest in whether high quality studies exists is that this seems like an example of an information cascade if not.
The Hammer and the Mask - A call to action

I would consider them about the same. I've worn mine for ~5 hours at a time with minimal discomfort.

Ethernet Is Worth It For Video Calls

Nothing can be done about external interference like microwaves, but the base station can allocate time slots where lower priority traffic is not allowed to be sent.

2jefftk2yMakes sense; mostly I was confused by your use of "guarantee". I'm curious how much of a difference this makes: if my base station were optimally allocating slots to prioritize voice calls how much of the way to "as good as wired ethernet" does that get me? Is most of the problem interference (I count 20 SSID in my "choose network" dropdown right now) or prioritization?
April Coronavirus Open Thread

I think it's mostly because the mask slows down the flow of exhaled air, which reduces the distance the droplets travel before they evaporate or fall to the ground. You can see this illustrated here and what happens without a mask here.

Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

I'm pretty sure this can't be correct--they claim benzalkonium chloride has zero effectiveness, which is less than plain water! I think it has to be a data entry error.

This review cites some other studies that show benzalkonium chloride to be comparable to other disinfectants, although alcohol is still best by a considerable margin.

At what point does disease spread stop being well-modeled by an exponential function?

The basic idea is that the ratio of infected to susceptible people grows exponentially to infinity, which means the absolute number of infected people follows a logistic function.

2Bucky2yI tried this [] with the China data and it seems to fit well, thanks.
Bucky's Shortform

I’m dismayed to hear that you think publicly double-checking someone’s claims might be too arrogant.

4Bucky2yI'm more thinking of perceptions. I should say that I don't know anyone from LW IRL and am sometimes more worried about accidentally violating norms. Anywhere other than LW I'd be confident that doing this kind of thing would be seen as a social faux-pas. Obviously I'd like to think that LW would not have this issue. On the other hand I know that I'm communicating with humans so social reactions don't always work like we'd want them to. Edit: actually I’m not sure arrogant is the right word - more like just weird to write it up if your findings confirm the original claim, I don’t think I’ve seen this norm practiced in general.
4Ben Pace2yI would love to read more of such double-checking-this-claim by Bucky.
Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

Of course we should, but that is irrelevant to the question of whether this post is hazardous if people without LW accounts read it.

1yagudin2yUnless there are large enough demographics for which this post looks credible while FB conspiracies do not.
Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

The level of handwringing about this post seems completely out of proportion when there are many thousands of people coming up with all sorts of COVID-related conspiracy theories on facebook and twitter. If it went viral my guess is that it would actually increase trust in the CDC by giving people a more realistic grounding for their vague suspicions.

6Davidmanheim2yI think that we should aspire to higher epistemic standards than conspiracy theorists on twitter.
Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2

And remember that CDC is an organization with legal constraints that make them unable to do some of the things you think are good ideas, and that they have been operating under a huge staff shortage due to years of a hiring freeze and budget cuts.

These sound like reasons to trust the CDC even less, is that what you meant?

1yagudin2yWhile for me it is, indeed, a reason to put less weight on their analysis or expect less useful work/analysis to be done by them in a short/medium-term. But I think this consideration, also, weakens certain types of arguments about the CDC's lack of judgment/untrustworthiness. For example, arguments like "they did this, but should have done better" loses part of its bayesian weight as the organization likely made a lot of decisions under time pressure and other constraints. And things are more likely to go wrong if you're under-stuffed and hence prioritize more aggressively. I don't expect to have a good judgment here, but it seems to me that "testing kits the CDC sent to local labs were unreliable" might fall here. It might have been a right call for them to distribute tests quickly and ~skip ensuring that tests didn't have a false positive problem.
Bay Solstice 2019 Retrospective

Could someone explain what the "Eliezer bit" actually was, for those of us who weren't there?

You can watch it here.

Free Speech and Triskaidekaphobic Calculators: A Reply to Hubinger on the Relevance of Public Online Discussion to Existential Risk

As a semi-outsider, rationalists seem remarkably unlikely to altruistically punish each other for this sort of casual betrayal. (This is a significant part of why I've chosen to remain a semi-outsider by only participating online.)

What cognitive biases feel like from the inside

I'm going to assume this is a false flag attack on conflict theory by an insane, terroristic mistake theorist.

I'm going to assume this is a false flag attack on conflict theory by an insane, terroristic mistake theorist.

That's a very conflict-theorist hypothesis.

Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos"

But Schelling's whole point was about how it's virtually impossible to separate those two things.

2Matt Goldenberg2yI think Schelling's point about schelling points was about cultural background in the absence of coordination.
Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality"

Oh, I see. Yes, I was assuming in the context of this discussion that X is something you hadn't already thought of, and do find relevant.

2[anonymous]2ySorry, I see the confusion. By “content” I meant both the article and it’s comments. I edited my comment to say as much.
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