All of DanPeverley's Comments + Replies

I would really like to sign up for this. It's in my area, at a price I could afford, and it seems like one of the better ways to spend my time due to the combination of instruction and expected networking. However, due to family matters I would not be able to show up until around noon. Would it be too disruptive to show up late? How many of the twelve positions have been filled? I wouldn't want to take one from someone who could be there the whole time.

If the aforementioned problems aren't issues, I plan to sign up and attend.

Edit: Never mind. I have removed the obstacle and am signing up right now.

Plausible mechanism which would allow both immortality and lead to gold: The Philosopher's stone is a device which makes lasting transmutations. Thus, it would be necessary to re-use it every once in a while to stay young, but a single usage would suffice to turn materials into other materials.

Making Petunia pretty is a lasting transmutation. I keep thinking that's a significant plot point. In fact, Cat Girl was a lasting transmutation too. Didn't seem like it's so hard to make a lasting transmutation.

"The Emperor of Scent" was a very entertaining and well written book about Alan Turin and his vibrational theory of scent. It really highlighted some of the problems with the scientific community's model for publishing and how theories are accepted, and it's a great read as well.

"Legend of the Galactic Heroes" is the kind of show I would like people to imagine I was watching when I say I've been watching anime.

To start with the things I don't like about it, or that are in any way suboptimal: The animation is an example of a lot of what's wrong with old school anime productions; choppy movements and stock footage abound. There are plenty of strawmen who seem to exist purely to be taken down a notch by the better, more reasonable characters, the idiot ball bounces its merry way through the ranks of secondary characters lik... (read more)

I felt somewhat phygish when I went into that little chain and started down-voting with a passion after following your link. I guess I would have done the same if I had found such blatant deathism on my own, but it feels weird. Eh, it's an emotional problem, not a logical one.

I purchased the Humble Indie Bundle in its latest incarnation, and was most impressed with the action RPG "Bastion." The game-play is very satisfying on a visceral level, they did an excellent job making the control scheme intuitive. This game excels in creating atmosphere, it uses a narrator for significant portions of the in-game experience who responds to all of your actions, and it works very well. The superb soundtrack and art only add to the joy of just playing. One thing I really liked was how the game gives you plenty of tools to accompli... (read more)

I got the bundle too, mostly to get Bastion. I'm a bit conflicted about it though. It's got a really unique, consistent and beautiful visual style, the dynamic narrator is great use of multimedia, and the soundtrack is moody and good. There's interesting worldbuilding and the writing works. Then there's the game itself about a guy running around in a maze smashing and blasting shit to pieces and collecting loot. None of the neat stuff really ties into this in any significant way. It's just smash, shoot, kill boss, beat level, with the occasional fancy setpiece like a barge ride. Beyond one or two hints about how to beat specific enemies, even the dynamic narration seemed to have minimal impact for what you try to accomplish during gameplay. It's fun, but the exact same gameplay would fit right in in some utterly tired and horribly written space-marine-must-kill-all-aliens story. So many games succeeding by having a top-notch quality in the non-interactive window dressing feels a bit like if the board game enthusiasts would keep going crazy over things that slightly rehash Monopoly, but come packaged with a really compelling thematic graphic novel. Maybe I've just been reading too much Keith Burgun, or am cranky because I can code minimal games but can't do music or digital painting.

I agree with you about Fate/Zero, quite good (I've watched all but the last episode, saving it for a rainy day), but there is something I just have to say. The Fate/Stay Night ANIME is a horrendous piece of steaming dung, but the Visual Novel is a masterpiece. The anime is one of the worst adaptions that has ever been done, it takes a wonderfully written and executed story and ruins it. If you like the Fate series at all, read the VN. (I don't think that Rider is gay. I think that you could interpret it that way, but the entire relationship dynamic with Waver seems more like manly platonic camaraderie.

I watched the Stay Night anime and although it got bad at the end, on the whole I was happy to have watched it. I was puzzled that it was so highly recommended, but it was still among the better anime I've watched. I will check out the comic now, if I can find it.
Complete agreement; the decision to combine different paths of the VN was awful. This is Alexander the Great we're talking about; history is unclear about his sexuality. But even if Rider and Waver have a platonic relationship (and I agree that they do), there's no question that the writers are drawing tropes from bara) in his character design.

Everyone goes into those threads primed to be friendly to the other people, because they are all members of the same fan-fiction reading in-group. There is also a shift from "on a rationality site" mode to "talking about media" mode, where rigor in voting rationale tends to become somewhat more lax. I don't mind, but I'm part of the in-group so that's to be expected.

Another question I realized is probably more relevant: What has been the median age for attendees of these events? Are they demographically young college age students, or what?

RBC was mostly young college age students (oldest participant was 29 years old if I recall correctly. I believe I was the first or second youngest at 21). The median age for the minicamps was probably a bit higher, but not substantially so.

I understand that you are expected to have read at least part of the sequences, but what sort of general education is necessary, if any? What kind of math should a participant be able to do in order to get optimal utility out of the event? I am seriously considering flying out to attend, and would like to know if I need to review anything :)

I am really interested in how this is all going to work back at Hogwarts. Harry has already been pushing the envelope in the past, but this was a public power display. Draco's out for a while, Hermione will be considered a murderess by significant portions of the school (and apparently she's now magically sworn to obey Harry?), Quirrel is doing... something... and all the schemers and plotters are scheming and plotting on overdrive. I think the money will really be the least of Harry's concerns before this tangle is unwoven. I sort of enjoy learning littl... (read more)

That's attempted murderess and Minion#1 in Harry's Dark Army. Maybe Hermione needs to join Chaos Legion now. I don't see how she can be credible as a leader in opposition to Harry anymore, even in a game.
Unless EY adds it in, Harry forgot to snap his fingers.

If you are getting into a military conflict, the introduction of stirrups would give your cavalry forces a serious edge. I think the most difficult part of this problem is getting an initial powerbase though, once you have that you can implement all of your future tech ideas and go crazy on Rome, but before that you're just a sitting duck.

I laughed, solved it, and am printing it off to share with friends and family. Thank you for showing me this.

It's like Andrew Hussie has a list of the things I like, and decided to make to make something perfect with all of them included. The fandom is a bit crazy for me, but I think Homestuck is freakishly well written considering the pace that the pages come out. His characters are incredible, the little details of his descriptions are gems, and the art is nice to look at too. I know people who refuse to read it because they've only been exposed to it via over-zealous fans of the slash-yaoi shipping variety (not all yaoi shippers are crazy, but a lot of crazy f... (read more)

(I am assuming that comics can go here as well) Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" is incredibly well written, and also has characters with a positive spin on immortality. Beautiful art, great story, it's a gem. "The Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer" is a manga with a standard plot (group of mostly teens with magical powers must save the world) which subverts your expectations in a big way. If you like manga, anime, or just fantasy adventure stories, you will absolutely love this.

The Japanese stuff goes in the otaku saakuru. (Although to be fair, it said "Anime thread" when your comment was posted.)

The wording of the last line before the notes reminds me of something. ROW ROW, FIGHT THE POWAH!

My respected opponents would probably reply that in Soviet America (or the EUSSR) power fights YOU.

.... Whenever I see a particularly awful piece of infrastructure, I will imagine that this was the intention of the engineer and laud them for their creativity in creating chaos for our simulating overlords.

This sounds excellent. Barring situations beyond my current knowledge, I shall be attending.

I understand not going to college if you've already got an idea for a company, have a skill, etc., but for those of us who still have yet to learn a trade (intellectual or practical) is college worth it? My intuitions say yes, but I've already sunk a lot of costs toward getting admitted so I'm suspicious of my own judgement.

Something similar was used at my school, but it failed because they messed it up completely. For a week, students payed to change the annoying music they played during passing periods, but they just changed it to another annoying song, some of which were worse. It ended up raising almost no money, because who wants to pay to change the song from Bieber to Nyan-Cat? I donate in small quantities to charities at school purely for signalling purposes, I donate if I'm in a class with cool people, and not at all if I'm in one of my required classes I simply tolerate.

I would be interested. It'd be a bit of a drive, but I would make time :) It's good to know that there are more of you out here.

"Becominggaia" as a website name set off my alarms, and it only got worse when I read one of his papers. The author appears to believe that greater intelligence is necessarily equated with greater benevolence, thus limiting any need for fear of existential risk. I skimmed though, and I admit I was a bit biased from the onset by the use of Kant's philosophy, so draw your own conclusions.

E.g. from (slides, on occasion you prefer listening to reading.

It is a royal pain in the ass, and I certainly don't view it as some sort of adorable quirk. It hinders my social life and occasionally makes me feel completely incompetent. Getting lost when you're on your own is one thing, but getting lost with a date is a completely different level of embarrassment. I'm not sure where you got the idea that I think this is some sort of "fun aspect" of my personality, it's a patch of uselessness in my brain which I have to work around all the time. The reason I pointed out some positive characteristics was becau... (read more)

Well then you're probably not engaged in the sort of destructive social signaling I was talking about. I see. I don't see how the word count is relevant. Could be. Because your direct attempts to fix the problem have consistently failed over a long period of time, I would suggest perhaps switching to a somewhat more indirect approach. What about getting into some sport or activity that requires a strong memory of spatial relations, and then spend some time optimizing your diet and lifestyle for it? (I may be able to offer more suggestions and ones of higher detail, but I would probably have to know more about your diet, exercise routine, whether you're any good at any sports, etc.)

I have an incredibly poor memory regarding spatial relations. I still have to look where the night stand is by my bed is to avoid hitting it, and it's been there for more than a year now. I get lost constantly, I can memorize routes from point A to point B, but I can't extrapolate routes between points based on location, because I have no general idea of location outside of specific routes and landmarks. Given that my verbal and visual memory are superb, and that I can absorb relatively large amounts of information in short amounts of time for most things,... (read more)

This seems like a pretty good example of what I was talking about in my reply to the OP. You gave a significant disadvantage, but then a great advantage to even it out. As always, it's socially easier to sell an identity that's a well-balanced bundle of strengths and weaknesses than it is to go around claiming to be 100% awesome. It may also be important to point out that with each pair, the drawback tends to be more mundane (clumsy, bad at socializing, etc.), and the benefit is usually something much more "majestic" (can't think of a good word for this, but it's usually something that has less to do with our "material" existence and more to do with philosophizing, thinking, and so on). For the utility function of the speaker or his intended audience, the drawback tends to be much less damaging than the benefit is helpful (e.g., "who cares about my athletic ability? we live in a world dominated by intellectuals!"), but for the purpose of signaling, the pairs tend to sound as if they are related enough to balance each other out. In your comment, the disadvantage was "incredibly poor memory regarding spatial relations", and the advantage was "my verbal and visual memory are superb". They sound like they balance each other out, but of course the point is that the former is a much more "base" incompetence, and the second is what's much more useful in this day and age--one dominated not by strong, sturdy hunter-gatherers or traditional farmers, but by physically clumsy academics and scientists. To cut this short, I should close by saying that the test for whether or not you're engaged in destructive social signaling is simple: Are you disturbed by your "incredibly poor memory regarding spatial relations", or have you simply welcomed it as a part of your identity? Has your awareness of this fact impelled you to try to fix it, or have you let it linger uncontested? For reference, if I personally had that problem, I would be reacting something like this: "WTF IS GOING

For me, one of the most enlightening experiences I had in high school was learning how to play black-jack in the weeks after the AP Calculus Test. With the test done, our awesome teacher taught us all how to count cards and set up tables for us to play, and had us all keep track of our "winnings". Everyday, some students would play control, using a chart of statistically optimal moves to decide whether to hit, stand, split, or double down. I learned in a very intuitive way that making the correct decisions doesn't always lead to good results, and... (read more)

Should this be "doesn't always lead to good results"?

I can't even imagine what sort of hell would break loose in my Politics class if I were to profess a belief merely in the possibility of measurable differences in intelligence between races. Any logic would be ignored, immediately branded as justification for a bigoted agenda. Politics truly is the mindkiller.

Sure you can, just call them blondes or gingers, instead of that other explosive thing. You can reveal the truth at the end of the discussion.
If I wanted to raise this possibility for discussion, I would likely leave "race" out of the discussion. I'd probably start out by raising the possibility of measurable differences in intelligence among individuals; if that were successful I'd move on to the notion that there might be other shared differential characteristics among high-intelligence and low-intelligence communities; if that were successful I'd move on to the question of what those other characteristics might be... for example, age, or childhood nutritional regimens, or geographic region of birth, or various other things. If, instead of doing that, somebody starts out by privileging a hypothesis that "race" correlates with intelligence for some particular definition of "race" and framing the conversation in those terms, I'd want to know what leads them to privilege that hypothesis before I was willing to invest much in that discussion, in much the same way that if someone starts out by privileging a hypothesis that the Old Testament God created the world in seven days I'd be inclined to reject their conversational framing.
Is there any research on whether people can achieve evidence-based prejudice, or if (as I'm inclined to suspect) they overshoot and overestimate the effects of differences?

Same way that some people can talk about the statistical correlations between e.g. IQ and race, most other people nowadays have learned to correlate instead those people who so correlate these things with evil people who want to oppress other races.

And certainly that's actually the rational thing to do. If you hear someone seek to correlate races with IQ, you ought adjust upwards the probabilty of them wanting to oppress other races. Because there is a positive correlation between people who speak about lower intelligence of blacks and evil people who so want to oppress other races.

That's a powerful one. Several of the Rationalist Bootcampers had similar reactions.

Hmmm... this seems like a fascinating project. The ego boost I got from qualifying is enough to motivate me to sign up :) .

You made a statement with undue confidence, and the votes would appear to indicate that at the very least, this large subset is not monitoring this thread.

Last I checked utilitarians of various sorts were pretty common in these parts.

Quirrel is starting to get antsy... things are going to become very interesting once his term as Battle Magic professor is over. The Tracy girl... I don't like her. This is not to say I don't like the writing associated with her (great for comic relief, I'll EAT YOUR SOUL), it may have to do more with her being a vapid girl character in "competition" (within her own mind, anyway) with a smart, eminently likable Hermione Granger... I believe I may be in serious danger of becoming one of those shipper people.

This isn't necessarily a "competition" that anyone has to lose. Harry could always take a third option and attempt to make a rationalist polyhack on the problem. He's shown the ability to get along well magically with more than one different person and it doesn't seem likely that he would distance himself from one if history had shown he could use their help for important tasks. Also, my understanding is that Harry hates disappointing people. Considering that, it's a little hard to imagine him turning down Tracy without at least considering a way to keep them both her and Hermione happy simultaneously. It would also come in handy in the future if the story extends long enough for him to meet Luna Lovegood. And the fact that I think this would be an idea that I would really like to read now that I have thought of it seems like pretty good evidence that I am shipping.

I thought of it was hilarious. The dissonance between the two parts caused the humor for me. Then again, I wasn't really looking at this sort of thing in the nineties, so maybe I haven't had a chance for my joviality to mature sufficiently.

Salutations, LessWrong!

I am Daniel Peverley, I lurked for a few months and joined not too long ago. I was first introduced to this site via HPatMOR, my first and so far only foray into the world of fan-fiction. I've been raised as a mormon, and I've been a vague unbeliever for a few years, but the information on this site really solidified the doubts and problems I had with my religion. Just knowing how to properly label common logical fallacies has been vastly helpful in my life, and a few of the posts on social dynamics have likewise been of great uti... (read more)

Welcome :)

78%? Depending on the difficulty, that could either be equivalent to an eight year old child or a dedicated gamer. I wonder how long it will take until they get a computer that can beat Koreans at Starcraft :)

I'm a pretty huge fan of the Transhuman Space series of rpg books. It's a mostly hard science fiction setting with lots of biotechnology, terraforming, and artificial intelligence. There is no faster than light travel, psychic powers, or aliens. One of the things I love about it the most is the way it presents a wide variety of future viewpoints, it doesn't try to thrust the values of the game creator onto you. I would highly suggest it just for reading value, but if you can find people to play with that's awesome (I'm in a game right now, its pretty dang sweet.

I would obtain a small library of textbooks on academic subjects and read them all, then reread them, then do all the exercises contained therein several times. In my current state, being without a will of iron, I tend toward less efficient and detailed learning methods like online articles and wikipedia for extra education. I would take maybe five years and revolutionize a field of science after studying it continually, with regard for only my health and basic socialization. Eight hours of sleep, three hours of internet, movies and videogames, and thir... (read more)

Homestuck is an amazing example of what you can do with the web format. Flash animations, high quality music, and an intensely intricate plot with strong characterization and stable time loops (and some unstable ones) are just a few of the awesome things that Homestuck has. Andrew Hussy is a uniquely talented individual. Doesn't hurt that he updates with extreme regularity either.

Yes. Actually, those are vast understatements... And even then that's just the technical aspects, Andrew has even greater genius is on the conceptual side of things.