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Both my request and her response were more humorous than serious, though the writeup doesn't fully capture it (and I just edited it to clarify). I don't actually expect a prize. Though I'm thinking of taking my medallion back out to keep, if it's still there. :-P


Thanks. I thought of two more questions after posting:

  1. Any laundry facilities? (i.e. if I stay a week, will I need clothes for a week?)
  2. Any refunds if I book a bed/ticket and can't make it? (I'll understand if not, of course; but I have another, much busier event (Momocon) the weekend before, so there's an elevated chance I'll catch con plague at the least convenient possible time)
  3. [edit]: Possible bug report: I notice one of the shared-dorm rooms has different (higher) pricing than all the others, despite identical descriptions.

I see no general-inquiries address on, so I hope it's okay if I post them here. Longtime rationalsphere lurker, much rarer poster, considering going. I'm based in Atlanta and pricing the trip:

  1. It's not clear from the page what the 'summer camp' part of the schedule is. To me that phrase connotes 'for kids', but I'm not sure, so I'm not sure if it's worth it to me to stay extra days. [EDIT: Never mind, I see this was answered below.]
  2. What's the nearest major airport, and is Lighthaven accessible from there by train and/or uber? (i.e. will I need a rental car)
  3. What's the washroom situation like for the shared dorms vs. private rooms? (I take long showers and worry about blocking others.)
  4. Most of the shared dorms don't list a building, just "shared dorms". Where are they relative to the rest of the facility?
  5. What's local connectivity like? (I can stay longer if I can plausibly respond to work emergencies).

[EDIT: And, I just realized this announcement was over a month ago, I'm not sure how I missed it at the time or why I just noticed it now. Dunno if you or anyone else will see this. I'll wait a day in case someone does, then try a PM or something.]


Ah, that put me on the right track. I've been asking google the wrong questions; I was looking for a downloadable program that I could run, but it looks like some (all?) of the interesting things in this space are server-side-only. Which I guess makes sense; presumably gargantuan hardware is required.


The Bill Watterson one requires me to request black bears attacking a black forest campground at midnight.

Optionally: " pixel art".

I have to ask, how does one get hold of any of the programs in this vein? I've seen Gwern's TWDNE, and now your experiments with DALL-E, and I'd love to mess with them myself but have no idea where to go. A bit of googling suggests one can buy GPT3 time from OpenAI, but I gather that's for text generation, which I can do just fine already.


The main thing I've gotten out of microcovid is reduced search costs. Having ballpark figures for the relative effects of situations and interventions, gathered in one place, by a source I consider reasonably trustworthy, makes it much cheaper to estimate which risks are worth taking and which interventions are worth bothering with.

"Trustworthy" in this context means "someone systematically looking for the correct numbers, as opposed to targeting a bottom line chosen for reasons other than correctness." As with most politicized information, the problem isn't that the information is unavailable, but that most sources are acting in bad faith. Noise drowns out the signal until search costs become prohibitive. Your whitepaper in particular is excellent in this respect. Showing your work goes a long way towards demonstrating good faith; sharing your sources is better; sharing how and why you're using them is best of all.

Even just having the available options collected together helped. I didn't know P100s were a thing until I read your whitepaper. I use one to attend otherwise-riskier-than-I'd-like events in relative safety and comfort.

It's a shame that Microcovid's numbers haven't been updated for omicron -- that would be the first item on my wishlist, along with the booster and test numbers mentioned in other comments -- but that doesn't diminish the work you've already done. Your team provided an identifiable signal in the noise, and I love it for that.

[edit: since you ask for dollar values, I'd be willing to contribute say $1k towards getting the numbers updated for omicron, tests, and boosters -- provided that it was done to similar standards and preferably by the same team. That's less because I'd derive that much value out of it personally (at this point I know what I need to) and more that I think this sort of work is an underfunded public good.]

Answer by Error70

Many people seem to find a formal diagnosis helpful for understanding themselves

Anecdote: I was in this camp, for sufficiently low values of "formal." I went to a psychologist to get checked out for autism (among other things) five or ten years ago. After testing, he said that he wouldn't personally diagnose me, but that I was close enough to the line that if I shopped around I could probably find someone who would. I said that was fine -- it told me what I wanted to know.

(hilariously, I also scored rather high on schizophrenia. His reaction went something like "Okay, obviously you're not schizophrenic. Analytical personalities of the sort that take ideas and moral systems seriously just read that way on the tests. You're not schizo, you're just weird.")


The only concierge service I know about, which I somehow got access to, is completely useless to me because it assumes I’m super rich, and I’m not, and also the people who work there can’t follow basic directions or handle anything at all non-standard.

This is my experience, too, with almost any form of assistance. Actual thinking about the task is absent.

It's annoying, because an obnoxiously large proportion of life goes towards 1. doing all the fiddly stupid bits, 2. procrastinating about doing all the fiddly stupid bits, and 3. worrying about procrastinating too much about doing all the fiddly stupid bits. I would love to not have to deal with that. I've automated or outsourced everything I can, but it's never enough.

I suspect the degree of life-competence needed to be good at “personal assistant tasks” is scarce enough that anyone capable of doing it well is also capable of getting a job that pays better. General personal assistance requires non-cached thought, and most people can't do that on demand, if ever. Task-specific assistance can often be had at a reasonable price, because trainable habits can make up for thought. Sadly, in most cases that just replaces the original task with a more-difficult acquire-task-appropriate-services task, so it's only worth it for long-term maintenance, like cleaning.

...having written that, I wonder if there's a task-specific assistant service for "finding good task-specific services and arranging their help." Probably not. Knowing who's good at X often requires being good at X to begin with.

(unimportant, but related and maybe interesting: I get my groceries curbside or delivered. I'd rather pay for delivery, most of the time, but the curbside service is significantly more accurate and less interaction-required. I think it's because curbside groceries are collected by store employees who can proxy-shop the store by habit, while deliveries are third-party and less familiar with the specific store)


Thanks, and you're welcome.

Hrm. So testing organisms takes a while. Oh well. I might try to parallelize it, but I don't actually know hy, I'm just blindly translating python idioms, and concurrency is hard.

I notice that the hy version in the ubuntu repos will not run the program, apparently due to an upstream bug. The version from pip will. I mention this in case anyone else runs into the same hiccup.


I want to test my organisms before submitting them and noticed there wasn't a way to tell the program to use my species files instead of the one in the repo. Also, the shabang line breaks on systems that aren't yours.

I sent you an MR covering both, but I don't know if you're watching them so I figured I'd mention it here.

Is it normal for it to take a couple seconds per generation to run?

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