All of Dreaded_Anomaly's Comments + Replies

Is there a way to do this without needing to secure collateral for the refund, using some stable investment vehicle like a CD? "The earlier you pledge, the bigger refund you get if the contract isn't fully funded" might help avoid the "waiting until the last moment" issue, but maybe there's some perverse incentive or other blocker.

I'm also very curious about how this method could solve issues with funding of scientific research. The lack of market pricing for research is a major impediment to allocating public funds effectively. But what prediction market can accurately estimate the price of something that might not pay off for 100 years?

The Hill has published some more information:

The state health department identified 469 COVID-19 cases among Massachusetts residents who went to Provincetown, a popular vacation destination in Barnstable County, in the month of July, including 346 fully vaccinated people.

Some 127 COVID-19 samples from the fully vaccinated, including recipients of all three U.S.-authorized vaccines, showed a similar viral load to the samples from the 84 unvaccinated people.

The report noted that microbiological studies are needed to confirm that similarity in the viral loa

... (read more)

The CDC's claim that vaccinated people have similar viral loads from Delta as unvaccinated people is now spreading far and wide on social media. The Washington Post obtained their internal slide deck here, with the unpublished data supporting this claim on slide 17.

Does anyone understand how to square this with various other studies from the past few months with more positive results for vaccine efficacy, serum neutralization, etc.? Or even better, does anyone have the actual source for this data? To me, this claim seems too extreme to be likely, but even ... (read more)

The Hill has published some more information: I still have the impression that this data could be systematically biased: it makes sense that the viral load would be high among identified cases, but randomized testing of the broader population is needed to understand the base rates.

"Twiki" is already the name of a wiki-related product (, so that might be confusing.

That project is Twiki, not twiki like we're suggesting. Shouldn't be any confusion.

There was a correlation if she plotted the high-traffic times to the incidents … No. This was wrong. She was looking at it the wrong way. They didn’t just need to look at when things had happened. They needed to look at all the times Medina had seen similar conditions—high traffic, large-mass ships, mistuned reactors—and nothing had gone wrong.

– Naomi Nagata in "Babylon's Ashes" by James S. A. Corey

A few brief supplements to your introduction:

The source of the generated image is no longer mysterious: Inceptionism: Going Deeper into Neural Networks

But though the above is quite fascinating and impressive, we should also keep in mind the bizarre false positives that a person can generate: Images that fool computer vision raise security concerns

The trippy shuggorth title image was mysterious when it was originally posted, basically someone leaked an image a little before the inceptionism blog post.

A CNN is a reasonable model for fast feedforward vision. We can isolate this pathway for biological vision by using rapid serial presentation - basically flashing an image for 100ms or so.

So imagine if you just saw a flash of one of these images, for a brief moment, and then you had to quickly press a button for the image category - no time to think about it - it's jeopardy style instant response.

The... (read more)

I look at the bizarre false positives and I wonder if (warning: wild speculation) the problem is that the networks were not trained to recognize the lack of objects. For example, in most cases you have some noise in the image, so if every training image is something, or rather something-plus-noise, then the system could learn that the noise is 100% irrelevant and pick out the something. (The noisy images look to me like they have small patches in one spot faintly resembling what they're identified as — if my vision had a rule that deemphasized the non-matching noise and I had a much smaller database of the world than I do, then I think I'd agree with those neural networks.) If the above theory is true, then a possible fix would be to include in training data a variety of images for which the expected answers are like “empty scene”, "too noisy", “simple geometric pattern”, etc. But maybe this is already done — I'm not familiar with the field.
Well, that's convenient. Thanks for the info.

I find their site on the wayback machine as recently as March 22, 2015. OP could also try PMing user:Zvi.

Thanks. That may turn out to be useful. By the way, is Zvi somehow involved with Metamed, or just medically knowledgeable?

My view of nutrition is basically option 2. "Nutrition science" as it exists today seems to be primarily an attempt to study subtle, complex effects using small, poorly-controlled samples. There are basic facts about nutrients that are fairly well supported, but I have never become convinced of the superiority of any "diet" based on the supposed evidence for it.

That order is based on the increasing size of the sets of possible values, of course.

Here is a suggestion that I haven't seen yet. I don't think it constitutes a full plan by itself, but it fits the form of an AI box experiment with Harry as the AI.

Harry and Voldemort's discussion about testing his horcrux 2.0 spell by offering immortality to one of his friends (read: minions, in his case) revealed a weakness, that Voldemort is heavily biased against certain ways of thinking. Harry should remind him of this in the context of the Patronus 2.0 spell. The fact that Harry was able to discover a new (and incredibly powerful, as we have seen) fo... (read more)

Even Kepler's theory expressed as his three separate laws is much simpler than a theory with dozens of epicycle.

The dozens of epicycles aren't on a par with Kepler's laws. "Planets move in circles plus epicycles" is what you have to compare with Kepler's laws. "Such-and-such a planet moves in such-and-such a circle plus such-and-such epicycles" is parallel not to Kepler's laws themselves but to "Such-and-such a planet moves in such-and-such an ellipse, apart from such-and-such further corrections". If some epicycles are needed in the first case, but no corrections in the second, then Kepler wins. If you need to add corrections to the Keplerian model, either might come out ahead. (Why would you need corrections in the Keplerian model? Inaccurate observations. Gravitational influences of one planet on another -- this is how Neptune was discovered.) I have heard that Copernican astronomy (circles centred on the sun, plus corrections) ended up needing more epicycles than Ptolemaic (circles centred on the earth, plus corrections) for reasons I don't know. I think Kepler's system needed much less correction, but don't know the details.

Kepler's heliocentric theory is a direct result of Newtonian mechanics and gravitation, equations which can be encoded very simply and require few parameters to achieve accurate predictions for the planetary orbits. Copernicus' theory improved over Ptolemy's geocentric theory by using the same basic model for all the planetary orbits (instead of a different model for each) and naturally handling the appearance of retrograde motion. However, it still required numerous epicycles in order to make accurate predictions, because Copernicus constrained the theory... (read more)

Not for Kepler who lived about a century before Newton. My question was about the Copernicus - Kepler debates and Newtonian mechanics were quite unknown at that point.

The linked Wikipedia page provides a succinct derivation from Shannon and Bayes' Theorem.

Heh. I think you're trying to generalize a narrow result way too much. Especially when we are not talking about compression ratios, but things like "explanatory power" which is quite different from getting to the shortest bit string. Let's take a real example which was discussed on the LW recently: the heliocentrism debates in Renaissance Europe, for example between Copernicus and Kepler, pre-Galileo (see e.g. here). Show me how the MML theory is relevant to this choice between two competing theories.

You can change the comment sort to "new" instead of "top", below the tags at the bottom of the original post.

Among theories that explain the evidence equally well, those with fewer postulates are more probable. This is a strict conclusion of information theory. Further, we can trade explanatory power for theoretical complexity in a well-defined way: minimum message length. Occam's Razor is not just "a convenient heuristic."

Could you demonstrate this, please?

I wish I had taken more statistics courses. I learned the basics and have picked up a fair amount of the advanced stuff through self-study during graduate school, but I didn't realize during college how useful it would be.

I wish more people would take more computer science courses. Intro to Comp Sci is usually too basic to be useful. Data structures, algorithms, numerical/scientific computing are all useful in a large variety of careers.

I defended my dissertation earlier this month, earning a PhD in experimental high energy physics in just over 3 years. In January, I'll be moving on to a postdoctoral research position at a national laboratory.

I've been catching up on Person of Interest. The first season is kind of a slog, but it gets much better after that. The most recent episode explicitly discusses AI Friendliness and AI-box problems.

the provisions of that Texas bill that was notably filibustered sounded reasonable to me

Political and social context is important for the Texas bill and others like it. The relentlessly pursued goal of the "pro-life" movement is to restrict access to abortion. Requiring hospital admitting privileges sounds reasonable on its face, but the stigma faced by abortion providers makes it an onerous burden that is more likely to shut down clinics than to improve the safety of their operations.

I think we should be less squeamish about acknowledging w

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One additional factor is that it is theorized that a heck of lot of those miscarriages are in fact the body spotting something fundamentally wrong with the pregnancy and going "Abort, Retry". One would certainly want to examine if this is the case before proceeding on a project to stop it from doing so. Not that this seems like a very easy project. I mean.. what is the research team supposed to do? Collect feminine hygiene pads from women trying for children and go through them for cell samples to analyze? That really sounds like a very.. obnoxious. project to set up. Persuading at least several hundred would-be mothers to consign their menses to a cold chain for starters. Logistics hassle from heck.
A third point would be that, often, the reason for the miscarriage was a fundamental defect of the embryo or fetus that makes it nonviable.

Submitted, answering almost all questions.

The hardest question was choosing a single favorite LW post.

Also, I wasn't sure if Worm should count as more than one book. (It didn't end up mattering.)

A scanner + Photoshop makes it significantly easier to measure digit ratios.

Was that question not there yesterday?

killing the same entity inside someone else is just as bad as killing it outside

89% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (source). A 12-week-old fetus is not viable outside of the womb.

Also worth noting is that the majority of pregnancies are terminated by natural miscarriage within that 12 week period. In most such cases, the mother has not even realized she was pregnant. (source) Do you consider these natural miscarriages to be the equivalent of human deaths from disease or injury, and if so, what should be done about them?

I rounded off "I think abortion laws should be stricter than they currently are in my country" to "I am anti-abortion", which was misleading and I'm sorry. I think that still puts me out of line with my political group though (e.g. the provisions of that Texas bill that was notably filibustered sounded reasonable to me). I think we should be less squeamish about acknowledging when we're trading off on human lives, particularly those of children. I think the life of a 12-week fetus is less valuable than that of a 30-week one, which in turn is less valuable than that of a 12-month child, but not by a huge margin. I think we should attempt to reduce (and ideally eliminate) these natural miscarriages through funding of medical research, the same way we do e.g. cot death.

Are these companies simply wrong and are actually hurting themselves by overextending their human resources?

Yes, unquestionably. We've known how human productivity works for over 100 years now. This knowledge has been "forgotten" due to the effects of tough, largely unprotected labor markets. If the guy at the next desk over stays an hour later than you every day, he'll look like he's working harder, so he'll be less likely to get laid off. Once you have multiple people thinking that way and no opposing structure to encourage cooperation, you ... (read more)

This, plus the known fact that most nerds can't cooperate. So even when some programmers start noticing the pattern, there is always some idiot who just cannot resist the opportunity to show everyone how smart he is by volunteering to work harder and longer, in worse environment, etc.

Suicide is indeed often an impulsive act, in which the urge must coincide with the means.

Stronger evidence for this claim:

Decrease in suicide rates after a change of policy reducing access to firearms in adolescents: a naturalistic epidemiological study.

The use of firearms is a common means of suicide. We examined the effect of a policy change in the Israeli Defense Forces reducing adolescents' access to firearms on rates of suicide. Following the policy change, suicide rates decreased significantly by 40%. Most of this decrease was due to decrease in su

... (read more)

This is qualitatively a good point, but quantitatively you should be careful. There are only ~7 people in the world who are 6 sigmas above the mean (using a normal distribution).

Knock one or two points off each interval, and the point stands. But in any case the IQ distribution is likely slightly thick-tailed; it's only Gaussian out to say 140 or so.

I'm also a physics grad student (experimental high energy) who is considering industry jobs in addition to postdocs. I've attended several career panels in the past few years. Most recently, a panel was held at Fermilab. One of the panelists started a blog, Science Jobs Headquarters, where you can read about that panel and get other good advice.

A few of my takeaways from the panel: 1) Python is really useful and everyone should learn it. (I need to work on taking this advice. I mostly develop in C++, and my Python is patchy.) 2) Some companies want to hire... (read more)

You should act in a way that, if everyone acted that way, things would work out.

— Louis C.K.

Seems like a really good way of being taken advantage of by a DefectBot.
It's a rephrasing of Kant's categorical imperative.
It is a helpful heuristic, but on some level, if you know how people are going to act, you should act assuming that they'd act that way. It's easier to notice large effects than small effects. It's obvious that if everyone voted for a specific presidential candidate, that candidate would win. It's less obvious that the marginal voter would do anything. Nonetheless, in order for the first case to be true, the average marginal voter has to be making a difference, so it might be better to look at it that way. But the votes aren't uniformly distributed, and if you know the distribution, you can make a better case of whether or not to vote. That being said, if you accept EDT or UDT, then you should assume p% of people will act like you, since p% of people do act like you, and will make whatever choice you make, for the same reasons.
More robust solution would be to act in a way that, if p% of people acted that way, things would work out; for as low values of p as possible. Because it is very unlikely that everyone will act in some way.

Taken, answering all of the questions I was capable of answering. I will be very interested to see the results on some of the new questions. (The shifts on existing questions could also be interesting, but I don't expect much to change.)

This reminds me of the researcher's maxim:

A month in the laboratory can often save an hour in the library.

— Frank Westheimer

Note: The discrepancy in spelling ("ageing" vs. "aging") is in the original.

To indicate this more concisely, you can put [sic] after "Ageing" in the quote.

True. I wasn't sure which instance to put "[sic]" after.

You can watch/listen to Arkani-Hamed's recent talk at SUSY 2013. At around 2:00, he says:

locality and unitarity emerging just as algebraic and geometric properties of this object

At around 6:00, a written slide describes his strategy:

Reformulate QFT, Eviscerating Locality + Unitarity -> see them arise as emergent phenomena

He goes on to discuss this subject in more detail.

Also, (somewhat technical) slides from his former student have a section called "Emergent Locality and Unitarity".

There's also title text (often called a tool tip) which appears when you hover the mouse over an image, but is a plain HTML feature.

As a senior in high school, I had the option to take two different computer science courses.

Option 1: AP Computer Science A, taught at my high school. The teacher was one of my school's math teachers who had some programming experience. (My school had not actually offered a comp sci course since I started there, even though Intro to Java was on the books.)

Option 2: An independent study in computer science, taught at the local vocational high school. The teacher had a master's degree in computer science from Brown and had worked for Macromedia/Adobe. (She ... (read more)

Kevin’s school offers a molecular biology elective during second semester, which is not an honors or AP course. Kevin would like to take the elective during the second semester of his junior year, in addition to his other coursework, but he knows that doing so would lower his GPA, so he decides not to.

In Kevin’s story, the class ranking system was poorly designed: it rewarded some students for achieving less rather than for achieving more. The colleges that Kevin applied to were relying on a faulty measure of quality.

Taking a non-honors or AP course onl... (read more)

So you might reason, "I'm doing martial arts for the exercise and self-defense benefits... but I could purchase both of those things for less time investment by jogging to work and carrying Mace." If you listened to your emotional reaction to that proposal, however, you might notice you still feel sad about giving up martial arts even if you were getting the same amount of exercise and self-defense benefits somehow else.

Which probably means you've got other reasons for doing martial arts that you haven't yet explicitly acknowledged -- for exampl

... (read more)
I've been wondering whether utilitarians should be more explicit about what they're screening off. For example, trying to maximize QWALYs might mean doing less to support your own social network.

prolonged scream

Thank you for that link. I particularly enjoyed reading about "Azidoazide Azides, More Or Less".

For perfect prediction of the universe, the universe must be COMPLETELY simulated. The mechanism to simulate the universe must have memory sufficient to store the state of the universe completely. But that storage mechanism must then store its own state completely, PLUS the rest of the universe. And of course inside the state stored, must be a complete copy of the stored information, PLUS the rest of the universe.

The mechanism can just store a reference to itself.

Actually this will not work. Since Omega would be running a simulation of the universe, including a simulation of his own simulation of the universe, the memory space for the simulation of the simulation and for the simulation would need to be distinct as they would not contain the same values as the simulation went on.

It's plausible that having one's Patronus dispelled by one's future self is not as noticeable as having one's Patronus countered by a killing curse.

Alternatively, an even simpler option is that it was still Present-Harry's patronus, just given updated instructions by Future-Harry.

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

The Patronus that came back to Harry could be Future-Harry's Patronus, if time travel is involved.

Note: I don't personally place a high probability on theories involving time travel in this instance, but they do present a possible explanation for that objection.

Every consistent theory I've seen involves time-travel somehow. The stakes are simply too high for Harry to permit the attempt to not be made.
If the Patronus that came back was Future-Harry's Patronus, then what happened to Present-Harry's Patronus? When Harry's Patronus was countered with Quirell's Killing Curse in Chapter 54, Harry definitely felt it being countered.

And reading a little further than that...

The test does not very accurately predict levels of performance, but by combining the result of six replications of the experiment, five in UK and one in Australia. We show that consistency does have a strong e ffect on success in early learning to program but background programming experience, on the other hand, has little or no effect.

The 2006 study that claimed that humans divide neatly into "natural computer programmers" and "everyone else" failed to replicate in 2008 on a larger population of students.

This is an incomplete and inaccurate summary of the research. Further work has been done, and a revised test shows significant success:

Meta-analysis of the effect of consistency on success in early learning of programming (pdf)

Abstract: A test was designed that apparently examined a student's knowledge of assignment and sequence before a first course in programm

... (read more)

you could still get a quantum noise generator hooked up

In case anybody needs one: ANU Quantum Random Numbers Server

Norbert Weiner, a mathematician from MIT, postulated unfriendly AI in 1949.

The possibility of learning may be built in by allowing the taping to be re-established in a new way by the performance of the machine and the external impulses coming into it, rather than having it determined by a closed and rigid setup, to be imposed on the apparatus from the beginning.


Moreover, if we move in the direction of making machines which learn and whose behavior is modified by experience, we must face the fact that every degree of independence we give the machine is

... (read more)

Have you seen the comments by kalla724 in this thread?

Edit: There's some further discussion here.

In all honesty, I haven't even read the study, because I can't find the full text online

Here it is (pdf link).

Many thanks!

primarily via cancer.

Also heart disease, stroke, and emphysema.

Relevant article: Right vs. Pragmatic

There was no chance the signs would ever work. The people who threw paper towels on the floor knew that it was “wrong”. Maybe their desire to avoid touching the doorknob was stronger than their desire to do the “right” thing every time. Or maybe they just didn’t give a damn about making the bathroom slightly worse for someone else to make it slightly better for themselves. Either way, a sign’s not going to solve the problem, because the problem isn’t that they didn’t know the right thing to do. They knew what they wer

... (read more)
Thanks for sharing!

The main thing that makes me suspect we might have AGI before 2100 are neuroprostheses: in addition to bionic eyes for humans, we've got working implants that replicate parts of hippocampal and cerebellar function for rats.

The hippocampal implant has been extended to monkeys.

I want one!
Thanks, I'd missed that.

The initial scenario seems contrived. Your calculation essentially just expresses the mathematical fact that there is a small difference between the numbers 49.99 and 50, which becomes larger when multiplied by 7 billion minus one. What motivates this scenario? How is it realistic or worth considering?

Why fight the hypothetical?
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