All of dclayh's Comments + Replies

Yes, that's how it should be.

Oh, a paper written in chicken. (PLIF was a great comic, incidentally.)

That specific comic isn't available there anymore for some strange reason, but you can find it here instead.

That joke is like the Aristocrats insofar as it's an opportunity for improvisation (at as great a length as you can get away with). Also analogously, I've usually heard it as the "'Fuck you, clown' joke" (or just the "clown joke" if you really care about spoilarz).

And in the versions I've heard, the clown calls the guy down to the stage, and asks "Sir, are you a horse's head?" "No." "Are you a horse's leg?" "No." "Are you a horse's tail?" "No." "Well then, it seems to me that you must be a horse's ass!" which is both funnier (to me) and (importantly) longer.

I didn't know it like that, but I agree that it's better. The version I first read in the early to mid nineties was much longer than this one though, and his achievements at quick wit retort just went on and on from one unbelievable accomplishment to the next -- which of course makes the punch line that much funnier. The version I remember was also quite elegantly written, which made the crudeness of the last line that much funnier.

For Draco, you forgot Knowledge: wizard society and Status: Noble and Most Ancient House.

ETA: And Status: Boy-Who-Lived for Harry, of course.

Ch. 68:

Hermione wears makeup? On a regular basis?! Has this been mentioned before, in MoR or canon? Seems somewhat-to-very out of character to me.

ETA: Eliezer has now removed the reference.

Yeah, that was weird for me too. Seems both uncanonical and out-of-character.
Add me to this list of reactions.
I was also surprised when I read this line. I wouldn't have thought it typical of her at all.

Admittedly the comic seems to assume malevolence rather than the more likely indifference...but it's still a comic about a self-improving superhuman intelligence that destroys humanity.

Yesterday's SMBC presents SIAI-style uFAI fears as essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That's quite a stretch.

I was more interested in Quirrell's statement about the note. Have we seen evidence before that the lawyer/genie style of not-technically-lying is particularly relevant in the magical world? Veritaserum, perhaps?

Magical means of compelling truth do seem like a good reason to develop a habit of being able to mislead others without technically lying to them.

Cf. the Peter de Blanc tweet

As soon as you notice a pattern in your work, automate it.

This should be the motto of CS folk and programmers everywhere.

Some of the best writing so far.

On the other hand, it also contains this sentence:

Something precious and irreplaceable inside Harry withered like dry grass and vanished forever.

which appears to mean nothing and serve no purpose except to irritate me by reminding me of terrible BDSM erotica.

8Eliezer Yudkowsky13y
Whaaaa? I don't think you and I have been reading the same terrible BDSM erotica.
The sentence would be greatly improved by deleting its last three words.

Why does he follow his whims to play-duel and then kill Bahry instead of quickly subduing and memory-charming him,

Presumably, as I mentioned below, for the stated reason that "'It's been quite a while since I had a serious fight with a serious opponent'" As Quirrel himself said earlier, if you can't have some fun once in a while, what's the point?

And it's a pretty big miscalculation of Quirrell not to anticipate Harry's intervention at the key moment.

I interpreted it that he was just too caught up in duelling-lust, and momentarily eriregrq gb uvf Qnex Ybeq crefban, forgetting how Harry would react.

ETA: rot-13d some stuff which is apparently supposed to be secret again.

Huh? Spoilers for HP and HP:MoR are fair game here!

Has anyone dealt with bargaining games where different pure solutions cannot be linearly combined (i.e. a non-convex solution space)?

The direct answer is "yes", as you might have discovered by googling. But different pure solutions can always be linearly combined - at least if the combination is supposed to be an expected utility rather than a guaranteed utility. In an American football game, a coin is flipped at the start to produce a fair linear combination of "kicking off" and "receiving".

This is also the approach they take on the TV show Caprica.

You forgot the most optimistic of all:

  1. I could do absolutely nothing, get cremated and the eventual Friendly AI will still be able to reanimate me, via time-travel or equivalent.
Well, she forgot beta-level simulations too. The AI resurrecting you by interpreting recorded behavioral patterns and your DNA.
Before I saw your comment I made the same one. Now I deleted mine and I'll upvote yours.

And now it's mentioned Friendly AI directly. Has Jeph Jacques been reading Eliezer?

Tangential, but this old XKCD is essentially a demonstration of the importance of Friendly AI.

Ch. 49. The throwaway reference to Tenorman Family Chili is awesome.

Agreed, vg vf na ncg & njrfbzr pnaavonyvfz ersrerapr. Rot13'd for those who haven't seen the awesome South Park episode that it's referencing. The full episode is available to watch here if you'd like to make up for that deficiency.

Don't you think that one's a bit creepy, what with the Nazi-style saluting?

The charm and creep are intermingled, as they almost always are with this style of music.

Too many SMBC comics to get all of them in one post, but here are four recent ones:

#1 The Fermi Paradox is resolved with reference to wireheading.

#2 About mind uploading.

#3 A different kind of singularity, and (naive) Fun Theory.

#4 Making fun of aging singularitarians.

* #2041 has exponentially increasing human lifespan as a background assumption. * #2070 argues that we'll never completely leave behind the regrettable parts of our past. * #2072, #2116's coda and #2305 are on how societies fail to transition to post-scarcity. * #2123 relates to timeless reasoning. * #2124 looks like a malicious simulator intervening in reality to cause a negative singularity and make it look like humans' fault. LW thread here. * #2125 is on "Why truth?" (throwing it in since there's no rationality-in-the-zeitgeist thread). * #2128 references the age/grief relationship. * #2138 portrays the increasing severity of technological risks as technology advances. * #2139 could be read as portraying people's discomfort with rationally analyzing their relationships without applause lights. * #2143's last panel is a counterpoint to this OB post. * #2144 is on the future as a time of increasing normalcy. * #2175 uncritically presents standard free-will confusion. * #2184 tries to counter the gerontocracy argument against immortalism. * Not sure I get #2186, but it has its own thread. * No comment on #2191 or the last panel of #2196.. * #2203 is yet another(?) simulation scenario. * #2204 relates to Moravec's paradox and the third observation here. * #2211 uncritically presents standard free-will and quantum-brain confusion. * #2236 has eternally static human lifespan as a background assumption; so does #532 to a lesser extent. * #2286 portrays an almost-Friendly optimization process, and has a thread here. * #2289 is on the inexhaustibility of fun and/or its converse. * #2290 mocks the absurd idea that medical expert systems could be effective. * #2298 mocks the failures and/or anti-epistemologies of mainstream academic philosophy. * No comment on the argument for mortalism in #2299. * #2300 warns against a particular type of pseudorationality. * No comment on #2312. * #2398 is on naively extrapolating expon

The Big Bang Theory, Episode 402.

Sheldon (the most socially atypical character on a show full of them) plans a program of life-extension so that he will last until the Singularity, which he projects to occur around 2060 and chiefly involve the uploading of human consciousness into machines (his roommate Leonard describes the latter as become a "freakish self-aware robot". By the end of the episode Sheldon seems to have given up on the plan as too inconvenient/inadvertently dangerous.

Discussed in more detail by Greg Fish here.

I see no strong reason to believe a meta-analysis should be any more convincing than a single, large, well-designed study.

Does anyone claim it is? I thought the advantage of a meta-analysis was the cost savings of not having to do a new, large study.

I strongly agree that you're more likely to get wrong results out of someone else's code than your own, because you tend to assume that they did their own error checking, and you also tend to assume that the code works the way you think it should (i.e. the way you would write it yourself), either or both of which may be false.

This is what led to my discovering a fairly significant error in my dissertation the day before I had to turn it in :) (Admittedly, self-delusion also played a role.)

Speaking of media for children, I once read that the MPAA will not certify a film as "G" if it contains if it contains morally ambiguous characters, regardless of the sex, violence, language or drugs. Unfortunately I cannot find an internet citation for this (beyond the talk of "mature themes").

Indeed, some of us spend 9 more years in school to postpone this decision. (In case you were wondering, it doesn't help.)

But does it actually punish you for waiting, or just threaten to? (I haven't gotten around to playing Mass Effect 2 yet.)

jim answered quite thoroughly. I'll add that I was hinting mainly at the fact that the BioWare developers knew that most players would, by habit, take their sweet time no matter how many universes were at stake, and planned accordingly. If your most trusted ally tells you "We must hurry, or we will fail!", a veteran gamer knows to ignore him and go rescue a kitten. If a pop-up window tells you to hurry up or you will fail, you do hurry up. Some messages can only be given on this side of the fourth wall.
Yes; if you're too slow, it kills off some minor characters who would otherwise survive. The ending to that game is quite well done. It also has you assign NPCs to tasks, and kills a character for each assignment you get wrong, including some non-obvious and unstated requirements, like you can't put someone in charge of a squad if their backstory doesn't mention leadership experience. However, the early game still has the usual timing incentive problem. Side-quests fall into major and minor categories, and the clock doesn't start ticking until you've done all the major ones.

Similarly, if you're on a quest to save the world, you do side-quests to put it off as long as possible

I've explicitly made note this fact, that one should do quests in exactly reverse order of importance, in every cRPG I've ever played. Because often making progress on major quests will change the game (lock you out of an area, say, or kill an NPC) such that you can no longer complete some minor quests if you haven't done them already .

The original Fallout is an exception since it had a time limit. The world changed as time went on, regardless if you did anything and if you where slow enough (500 in game days I think) you could loose the game.
It's interesting that the designers hook up the formula for FF 13. You basically don't do any sidequests until you finish the game. After defeating the final bosses it puts you at the last save point, and lets you go back and do all those sidequests you walked past earlier in the game. The incentive to play this way comes form the fact you can't finish levelling up until you finish the game.

Modern designers have finally started to take account of this. In Mass Effect 2, you do almost all of your side-questing while you wait for your employer to gather information about the main problem. Once the party does get started, the game makes it emphatically clear that waiting any more than absolutely necessary is going to severely compromise your primary mission.

I have a friend, Rit, who refuses to play cRPGs this way. Towards the end of Final Fantasy 8 (don't expect spoilers ahead), you are supposed to do all your sidequests before rescuing a friend in trouble; by FF tradition, this should be obvious to the player since you just got free reign of the world map. Rit said, "Screw that, she's in trouble, I'm going straight there!"

Yeah, as JamesAndrix alludes to (warning: extreme geekery), the Dwarves were created by Aulë (one of the Valar (Gods)) because he was impatient for the Firstborn Children of Iluvatar (i.e., the Elves) to awaken. So you might call the Dwarves Aulë's attempt at creating the Elves; at least, he knew what the Elves would look like (from the Great Song), so it's pretty plausible that he impressed in the Dwarves an aesthetic sense which would rank Elves very highly.

Yes this is definitively correct. Also, it's a world with magic rings and dragons people.

I believe D. is imitating the style of Terry Pratchett, who uses small-caps for his "Death" character. The full-size caps are a bit annoying, I agree.

just a sweet quest item

Yeah, having Bacon's Diary equipped gives Harry a totally sweet +1 to all his attacks. And it doesn't even use up a weapon slot!

Wow. I've totally missed that as potential grounds for a subplot. I just considered it 'scenery' in the early chapters.

So, I don't so much mean one year vs. 7+ of in-universe time; I mean one JKR book-length vs. 7+ JKR book-lengths worth of writing. (I.e., is Eliezer shooting for 75kword, 1.1Mword, or something else.) Should have been more clear about that.

Eliezer is already way over 1 book length (265k words, more than even Order of the Phoenix), I don't see him finishing the story short of at least 600k words, probably considerably more.

I rather suspect that it will be important in the finale

Which raises the question: is Harry going to "win" (defeat QM/bring about the Magical Singularity/generally wrap up the plot) in one year, or seven, or some other number? And is Eliezer going to keep writing that far?

No way is it going to be one year, way too many plot threads. Take Bacon's diary, it's not going to become relevant until Harry has the chance to start to read it, which he currently thinks requires learning Latin first.

Even so, I would think that having all of them off planet Earth would be preferable to some on it and some off. Inside the Sun, inside some of the ice-moons of the gas giants, and on various random trajectories out of the solar system (not strapped to a probe whose telemetry we know very well, for goodness' sake) would seem to be optimal. Of course this all depends on Voldy's actual ability to put them there.

Then there's the whole issue of traps/alarms. Trapping is probably not worthwhile if you're hiding in highly-inaccessible places, since if your e... (read more)

would guess from MoR canon that relativity-compliant signaling is not necessary for a Horcrux to work

Horcruces: the ultimate "spooky action at a distance"!

Fortunately Eliezer gave himself some phoenix-magic wiggle rooom:

The logic had presented itself with a strange diamondlike clarity. Harry couldn't have said if it had come to him during Fawkes's singing...

Upvoted; I think cosmology in particular and astronomy in general is a very important case study of how to make theories and generally become less wrong in a situation where you absolutely cannot make any changes to the thing you're studying. (Of course I'm likely biased because it happens to be the field I'm in at the moment.)

Right, so this is the standard misunderstanding about what it means for space itself to be expanding. These two Wikipedia article might be a good place to start, but in brief: relativity forbids information to pass through space faster than light, but when space itself expands then the distance between two objects can increase faster than c without a problem. (The second link quotes a number of 2 trillion years for the time when no galaxies not currently gravitationally bound to us will be visible.)

I don't think redshifting destroys information.

Well,... (read more)

Thanks for the links. It all makes a lot more sense to me now (though at 2 trillion years, the timescales involved are much longer than I had considered). One last quibble: Relativity does not forbid the space between two objects (call them A and B) from expanding faster than c, it's true. But a photon emitted by object A would not be going fast enough to outrace the expansion of space, and would never reach B. So B would never obtain any information about A if they are flying apart faster than light.

Without getting mathematical: there are galaxies moving away from us faster than the speed of light (and moreover every galaxy outside the Local Group is accelerating away from us). In the future these galaxies will not be visible to Earth-based observers. Similarly the CMB will be more redshifted and hence contain less information. So if you're using a meaning of "event" such that every Planck volume of space produces an event every Planck time regardless of whether there are any atoms there or not, then yes, that number can only go up. But if you're talking about actually interesting things to observe, then it's certainly going down.

If they're moving away from us faster than the speed of light, they're not observable now either. As for currently observable galaxies, the event horizon between what we can observe and what we cannot is receding at lightspeed, relativity does not allow us to observe anything break the light barrier, therefore nothing observable can outrace the event horizon and become hidden from us. Black holes notwithstanding because Stephen Hawking is still working on that one. I don't think redshifting destroys information. Unless you mean that the information will be hidden by noise from within our own galaxy, which is perfectly true. Anyway, I accept that the amount of data one can gather from current observations may go down over time. But, over a long enough time period, the amount of data one can gather from current and past observations will go up, because there is more past to choose from. Of course, even over millennia it will only go up by an insignificant amount, so we should be careful with the data we have.

I agree, I was just pointing out the flaw in your wording.

Oh. Thanks.

Of course, we have no way to create new stars or galaxies of our own

Well, we do make simulations.

Simulations allow us to predict what will happen if theory X is true. We still need to find a corresponding real event to check whether the prediction agrees with the fact.

Actually, since the Universe is accelerating, the past light cone effectively gets smaller over time. Billions of years from now there will be significantly less cosmological data available.

I don't think so. Any events in the past now will still be in the past in a billion years. The past light-cone can only get bigger. (I think you might be misunderstanding my use of the word "past". I'm using the relativistic definition: the set of all events from which one can reach present-day Earth while travelling slower than lightspeed.)

s stupid moral oversimplification necessary in a mass-market bestseller? E.g., Tolkien

I would say The Silmarillion is not very morally simplistic. Specifically I would call it Black and Gray morality [TVTropes], because I can't think of a single non-God major character who's totally good. (Maybe Luthien?)

Good point, I think - like most people, I never finished The Silmarillion. But I don't think that's evidence for non-simplistic popular fiction - it wasn't very popular even when riding on the huge success of Tolkien's other work.

I put the link in; thanks for the reminder.

And comments on my top-level posts don't appear in my inbox, only (direct) replies to my comments. Is that different for you?

They don't? I haven't actually written all that many posts to be honest.

Ha, I was just waiting for a new chapter to go up to post one.

I thought of waiting for a new chapter, but the number of "load more comments" links got annoying enough for me to start the new thread right away (especially since it broke my search the page for "29 aug" method of reading new comments).
Drat! It looks like you missed out on a couple of hundred karma and the chance to have all new insights and comments appear in your inbox! ;) Would you mind going and editing the previous post with a forward reference? Bidirectional linked lists are far easier to navigate.

Haha, I was just going to post the "Harry is Rand al'Thor" theory myself. Clearly the best explanation.

Followed closely by "Harry is Richard Rahl". :)

In fact, even in real life, I suspect many one-boxers would two box in the end when they are standing there

My intuition says the opposite: I think many people who claimed they would two-box would one-box in the event. $1000 is so small compared to $1000000, after all; why take the chance that Omega will be wrong?

Aha. I read book 7 when it came out, but had forgotten that. Eminently plausible, then.

I'd forgotten it myself when I made my first comment. But then I did some research to answer your question and ...!

To wit: find that stone which I saw earlier and which I now recognise from the design that you showed me!

Ha, great theory. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that the symbol was so obscure that even Voldemort never found it out. (Unless Rowling specifically mentioned it?)

This is important to the plot of Book 7 in canon, so I'm going to rot13 it for you just in case. Va pnaba, gur Erfheerpgvba Fgbar unf orra va Ibyqrzbeg'f cbffrffvba gur jubyr gvzr. Va snpg, vg'f bar bs uvf ubepehkrf! Ohg ur znqr vg vagb n ubepehk sbe fragvzragny ernfbaf; ur arire xarj jung vg jnf.

Ch. 40:

Interesting that Harry said "besides Avada Kedavra" rather than "besides Imperius". (I suppose it's that "intent to kill" acting up again.) But I wonder how easy it would be to Imperius someone into being more rational.

According to Rowling's description, the Imperius curse is a lot like Heinlein's slugs: the controlled person keeps all their capabilities, but feels no worry or feeling of responsibility, and they want whatever the controller wants them to want. To make them more rational, the controller would essentially have to do their thinking for them. It's most useful for making someone else into your secret agent.

The thing I find most intriguing about the Imperius curse is that it's possible for someone under it to cast the curse on someone else. And several people ... (read more)

What immediately occurred to me (similar to the infamous scene in The Princess Bride), is that if your opponent believes you will have a distraction and a real attack, simply lauch two real attacks, with the expectation that whichever one the opponent takes to be the distraction will succeed. Obviously this requires a greater sacrifice of materiel, but Quirrelmort doesn't exactly seem short in that department.

Do one better. Have an obvious distraction, a less obvious distraction, and one real attack. That way, when your adversary discovers the less obvious distraction, he'll stop looking.
He appears to be working with much less than his former amount of magical ability.
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