All of FiftyTwo's Comments + Replies

London, UK – ACX Meetups Everywhere 2021

Great to see everyone. Is there somewhere we can sign up for future events in London?

1neilkakkar3moThis was floated at the event: []
Monastery and Throne

Characterising the reaction to Cummings as about being about people overreacting to a small violation of the rules is misleading. The issue wasn't the initial rule violation, it was that the initial denial and lack of even token punishment was symbolic of a wider issue in the Johnson government with corruption and cronyism. Caring about hypocrisy and corruption among leaders is entirely rational as it is indicative of how they will make other decisions in the future. 

4bfinn9moThis seems like a post-rationalization. IIRC the way it played out over a number of days was that initially it wasn't clear what the facts were, and hence what if anything Cummings had done wrong (e.g. whether his journey had been legal, or at least justified). And even if he had done something wrong, I heard one pundit point out that as Cummings wasn't a minister or public-facing figure there was no requirement for him to resign or be fired (rather than apologise or be disciplined in some way). But nonetheless the media picture right from the start was that this maverick egg-head weirdo must be guilty of something, even if they weren't sure what exactly. And the public reacted accordingly. For example, 3 days before Cummings' press conference (which IIRC was the first time his side of the story was fully set out) I heard a radio phone-in about what an evil character Cummings must be, in which callers were mostly accusing him of risking his parents' health by going to stay with them. Or saying he must have stopped at a petrol station and so risked people there (he denied this). It later turned out he hadn't even stayed in his parents' house, or had close contact with them, but stayed in another building nearby. So then it was a question of, was his main journey illegal (with much detailed media analysis of the fine points of the law)? Or if not, how about the short trip to Barnard Castle? Which is what most people - the narrative - have now settled on. What this all shows is that in this trial by media, Cummings was presumed guilty from the start; and then it was just a matter of finding some crime to pin on him. And once something was found that seemed enough like one, everyone could congratulate themselves that they'd 'known' all along, and so their outrage had always been justified. (I can't recall which cognitive bias this is - but quite a typical example.) (To avoid doubt, as I turned out I think it's very likely he broke the rules and adjusted his story
I'm from a parallel Earth with much higher coordination: AMA

Yeah I like a lot of EY's stuff (otherwise I wouldn't be here) but he does have a habit of treating his own preferences as universal, or failing to appreciate when there might be good reasons that the seemingly obvious solution doesn't work, as is common with people commenting on areas outside their expertise

Covid 3/18: An Expected Quantity of Blood Clots

I think its unfair to say "everyone in Europe lost their minds" when the EU health agency was very loudly saying things were fine. It would be more accurate to say a couple of specific countries medical regulators and some politicians went crazy. 

Obviously that's still bad, but when looking at systemic failures like this it is important to identify the actual source of the problem. Which seem to be due to idiosyncratic political issues in teh countries involved. Blaming the wrong people undermines the ones who have been doing a good job

Hero Licensing

How would you differentiate this from someone just asking for additional evidence because they think you've made a false statement? E.g. If Alice tells Bob the earth is flat, its reasonable for him to ask for additional evidence, and doing so doesn't imply he's playing status games. But could equally reasonably be replied to by saying that Bob is only disagreeing because he thinks Alice isn't high status enough to make cosmological claims.

3jimmy4yGood question. I generally wouldn't ask questions like "is his disagreement explained by status alone or by facts alone?". I generally ask questions more like "if he saw the person saying these things as higher or lower 'status', how much would this change his perception of the facts?" (and others, but this is the part of the picture I think is most important to illuminate here). If a fields medalists looks at your proof and says "you're wrong", you're going to respond differently than if a random homeless guy said it because when a fields medalist says it you're more likely to believe that your proof is flawed (and rightly so!). Presumably there's no one you hold in high enough regard that if they were to say "the earth is flat" you'd conclude "it's more likely that I'm wrong about the earth being round and all of the things that tie into that than it is that this person is wrong, so as weird as it is, the earth is probably flat", however even there status concerns change how you respond. Coincidentally, just as I started drafting my response to this I got interrupted to go out to dinner and on the way was told about Newman's energy machine and how it produced more energy than it required, how Big Oil was involved in shutting it down, and the like. This certainly counts as "something I think is false" in the same way Bob thinks "the earth is flat" is false, but how, specifically, does that justify asking for evidence? The case against perpetual motion machines is very solid and this is not what a potentially successful challenge would look like (to put it lightly), so it's not like I need to ask for evidence to make sure I shouldn't be working on perpetual motion machines or something. Since I can't pretend I'd be doing it for my personal learning, what could motivate me to ask? I could ask for evidence because of a sense of ["duty"](, but it was clear to me that he wasn't just gonna say "Huh, I guess my evidence is actually incredibl
Hero Licensing

Like, who has the authority to say "thou shalt not try things that might fail"? As long as you're not conning anybody out of resources, your failure doesn't pick anybody else's pocket.

What about altruistic reasons for asking? If my friend is planning to quit their job and become a famous musician I would probably attempt strongly to dissuade them, even if it wouldn't directly affect me.

If however I thought they were likely to succeed (e.g. have made money selling music on bandcamp and performing, in talks with a record company, etc.) I probably wouldn't dissuade them.

Hero Licensing

I feel like after reading this I have a much better insight into how Eliezer thinks than I did before, even having read most of his published work.

I think his model of other people is off though.

Specifically, he uses ideas of comparative status to explain other people not challenging conventional wisdom, or trying new things a lot. Which feels like it could be a fully general argument for any observed behaviour (e.g. it could equally well explain a habit of disproportionately challenging experts, as being in conflict with them puts you at their level a... (read more)

Language Learning and the Dark Arts.

Hello! Just rediscovered this thread. The website doesn't seem to be up anymore. How did it go in the end? Where are you at with learning mandarin?

0Lemmih4ySite moved to [] My attention has mostly been elsewhere but my vocabulary is slowly growing.
Open Thread, Apr. 27 - May 3, 2015

Since you seem to be sincere in asking for reasons:

"Whore" is considered an unpleasant word by many people. That combined with the overall tone may have made people think your intention was trollish

You seem to deeply misunderstand the dynamics that lead to ssex eduation being the way it is. There is no plausible transition from the way the world exists at present to one where retired sex workers were employed in the school system to teach sex education.

  • a) Because the majority still have moral objections to sex work and it is illegal in many p

... (read more)
8Error7yThanks for paying the karma toll to answer me. I picked up the usage from a couple of sex workers' blogs. Now that it's brought to my attention, though, I think they were explicitly trying to reclaim the word, which implies there was a problem with it to begin with. I should have caught that before using it in other venues. Guilty on tone if not trollishness. I'll admit I'm seethingly hostile to grade school in general and sex ed/drug ed/anything with the same general characteristics in particular; I consider the latter fundamentally dishonest and an insult to the students. Agreed. I presented the idea because it seemed both good and original; I know it's not politically tenable. The issues you mention are real ones; I just file them both under "people are crazy, the world is mad."
What are "the really good ideas" that Peter Thiel says are too dangerous to mention?

Maybe he's secretly a creationist, its unlikely but it would be more interesting/controversial than he standard internet contrarian ideas.

Language Learning and the Dark Arts.

Having just moved to China I am interested in this

0Lemmih7yIf there's anything I can do to make your experience better, let me know.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies

Might be worth including the and other store links.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

I want to say no purely because of my default suspicion of anyone offering me a free vacation.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

In general collecting data is cheap and we're getting better at sorting and using it, so bias towards collecting data

Also focus on developing skills in areas unlikely to be automated anytime soon

2014 Survey Results

Personally I was surprised so amny cis people strongly identified with their gender

[tpical mind etc...]

I'm the new moderator

All hail!

Do you have any plans for changes?

Open thread Jan. 5-11, 2015

I've managed to partly transmute my "I want to buy that now" impulse into sending a sample to my kindle. Then if I never get past the first few pages I've not actually spent any money, if I reach the end of the sample and still want to continue I know I'm likely to keep going .

Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014

I find I often pickup mindsets and patterns of thought from from reading fiction or first person non-fiction. E.g. I'm a non-sociopath, but I noticed thought patterns more simlar when reading "Confessions of a Sociopath"

I figure this may be a useful way to hack myself towards positive behaviours. Can anyone reccomend fiction that would encourage high productivity mindsets?

2polymathwannabe7yI've noticed that watching Herman's Head (you can find most of the episodes on YouTube) helped me model my mind as a dialogue between competing agents.
Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014

[Meta] I often see threads like this where people recommend things that require a very high level of conscientiousness or planning ability to start with, (e.g. if you are tired in the mornings get out of bed immediately and do x, requirs you to be capable of forcing yourself to do x when you are tired.)

2Douglas_Knight7yI think you are mistaken about what is easy and difficult. Most of these are about dealing with lack of willpower, suggesting that the authors found something that was easier than it looked. Most of them don't compare before and after, but jsteinhardt's does.
Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You?

Using terms that I picked up here which are not well known, or mean different things in different contexts

Also, I sometimes over pattern match arguments and concepts I've picked up on Lesswrong to other situations, which can result in trying to condescendingly explain something irrelevant.

5Smaug1237yI do something similar. I consistently massively underestimate the inferential gaps when I'm talking about these things, and end up spending half an hour talking about tangential stuff the Sequences explain better and faster.
Has LessWrong Ever Backfired On You?

Yeah, I've had people complain about the standard basilisk and weird AI speculation stuff. Also the association with neoreactionaries, sexists and HBD people.

0[anonymous]7ySometimes you get the opposite - LW seen as an SJW forum because Scott Alexander is okay with referring to his partner as ze/zir/zur in his blog and if you are not American, or over 40, or at any rate did not go to a US college in the last 15 years this comes accross as weird. I remember even on Reddit as late as 2009 the "in" "progressive" thing was to hate Bush, not to understand something about transgenderism or feminism or what, so it is a very recent thing, I would say, in mainstream circles.
xkcd on the AI box experiment

What incentive does the future AI have to do this once you've already helped it?

0TobyBartels7yWell, that's the tricky part. But suppose, for the sake of argument, that we have good reason to think that it will. Then we'll help it. So it's good for the AI if we have good reason to think this. And it can't be good reason unless the AI actually does it. So it will.
xkcd on the AI box experiment

alternatively sell empty boxes labelled "Don't look!"

xkcd on the AI box experiment

If it decreases the number of people who take you seriously and therefore learn bout the substance of your ideas its a bad strategy

0RichardKennaway7yAnd if it increases the number of people who take you seriously, and therefore learn about the substance of your ideas, it's a good strategy. I'm sure we can all agree that if something were bad, it would be bad, and if it were good, it would be good. Your point?
xkcd on the AI box experiment

Yeah that would be a much better response. Or alternatively get someone who is more suited to PR to deal with this sort of thing

xkcd on the AI box experiment

Does MIRI have a public relations person? They should really be dealing with this stuff. Eleizer is an amazing writer but he's not particularly suited to addressing a non-expert crowd

xkcd on the AI box experiment

That response in /r/futurology is really good actually, I hadn't seen it before. Maybe it should be reposted (with the sarcasm slightly toned down) as a main article here?

Also kudos to Eleizer for admitting he messed up with the original deletion.

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

Wy is that the "main" damage? I'd agree mmale appearance standards have also changed, but generic western society values women on their appearance more than men so you'd expect the psychological impat to be larger.

0Azathoth1237ySorry, I was revising the comment, mistake corrected.
The Centre for Effective Altruism is hiring to fill five roles in research, operations and outreach

If I'm unsure what position I would be most suited for can I apply for several?

0RobertWiblin7yYes, you can apply for whatever combination of positions you like.
2Gleb_Tsipursky7yThanks, that's a great resource, appreciate it - something to think about.
Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

At least a dozen, with a few hundred people working spaceside full time

6CellBioGuy7yYou could have human-crewed vehicles in orbit around various planets, tele-operating and managing things on their surfaces with much faster turnaround time than lightspeed delay to Earth. Depending on what's been found and what's being teleoperated, that could be worthwhile - consider the fact that our big $2 billion Mars rover moves something like 30 meters per day because with a 10+ minute turnaround time for signals, it's doing nothing most of the time since they want to make sure that everything it does is something they can recover from if something goes wrong and they don't know about it for fifteen minutes.
Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

Space factories for spaceship.

You still need a strong economic reason for the spaceships if we're looking at a scarcity society with plausible tech. (Unless there's enough public and political will for exploration for its own sake which would rquire its own explanation)

Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

Interesting site.

Human mainteance is still required for satellites, especially if geostationary is becoming even more crowded,

Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

Assuming there is still land available on earth it would be orders of magnitude cheaper to stay groundside.

0drethelin7yAnd it would be cheaper not to live on Sealand, I bet, but people still do it.
4gattsuru7yThe high cost of access could well be the point : if you can easily hire a boat to get to your private island, it's pretty simple for governments or peoples to do the same, club you, and take your stuff. A hundred thousand bucks would cover invading you, and make good return on investment. By contrast, you'd have to have something of very high value to cover a rocket launch, and that something must be mobile enough to send down easily. (Or in extreme cases, you might be the only people who retain full knowledge of the manufacturing necessary to make the rockets, in some way that isn't easy to reverse engineer -- see the difficulty we have reproducing several engine designs as a guide here.)
1marchdown7yIt would be fun to have corporations build space stations, ostensibly for technological benefits, but not disclosing details, so that your question would remain unanswered inside the story.
1DanielLC7yI've heard you can make LEDs slightly brighter. I don't think that would cause it, but it does give some idea that this is plausible.
3Lumifer7yYou're writing fiction, make it up :-) Off the top of my head, metals and alloys crystallize differently in microgravity. It's also easy to make perfect spheres. I'm sure that googling microgravity technology will give you further leads.
Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

Working on a near future hard sci fi story. What are plausible economic reasons to have a fair number of space stations? (generally earth orbit but can be further out)

2Emile7yAs others mentioned: mining, special manufacturing exploiting microgravity. A lot of competition and innovation in the area of data transfer protocols and encryption and localization and espionage increasing the need for engineers that can build, test and maintain new communications directly from orbit, which is cheaper than launching prototype after prototype. A fad for having a marriage and honeymoon in space, making luxury space hotels commercially viable. Companies having headquarters in space as the ultimate signal. Especially if it gives them an advantageous legal environment. China wanting to outshine the US, so heavily subsidizing the stuff above for it's citizens / companies. Space junk becoming enough of a problem that specialized repair and disposal jobs become viable, mostly financed by the satellite insurance companies. Some of the things above increasing the number of space flights, and so decreasing prices and making a few more uses become viable.
0Torello7yRich people treat the space stations as cabins. Alternately, artist colony for the next generation of super-wealthy artists like Damien Hearst (spelling?) need to go for "artistic inspiration" (scare quotes due to Hansonian signling).
2Izeinwinter7yManned ones? . I can think of reasons to have lots and lots of industry and science in space, but reasons to have lots of bodies up there is harder.... Uhm. Someone develops a launch mechanism that is very, very cheap for small and durable components. - Railgun-to-orbit kind of deal. This necessitates assembly in-orbit of anything that doesn't fit inside a launch-shell, but also drives down the cost of keeping labor up there alive way down because water, air and food fit just fine. Result: Big boom in space activity, lots of engineers and master craftsmen in low earth orbit building probes, space radio telescopes and so on.
3Vaniver7yThe other country's is slightly bigger []. (If not clear from the choice of 'status competition' as the most plausible economic reason, I think that all reasonable economic activity in space will not involve humans in space.)
2ike7yNot really a reason, but if you postulate that the cost goes down dramatically (to the cost of an average car or something, relatively speaking), then you may have more reasons to work with.
1Lalartu7yStrictly economic? There are none. At least a tiny bit plausible? The same sort of legislation that made renewable energy profitable in some countries. That is, huge taxes on earthbound industry and big subsidies for spacebound.
0hyporational7y* mining helium-3 [] for fusion power plants. (ETA: it seems a popular movie used this idea already) * something bad happens, existential risk is suddenly taken seriously and demand for space survival skills increases * rich people building their own colony with their own rules to escape government involvement
0polymathwannabe7yHow many stations are you considering a "fair number?"
4ChristianKl7yAt the moment asteroid mining is one of the best. Quantifies of various rare metals are limited on earth and we have companies working on making asteroid mining a reality. Earth has laws that prevent certain economic transactions from happening. Various biotech and genetic engineering projects might get outlawed on earth. Human cloning that happens in space stations might make for an interesting story. There might be nanotech that needs very high precision. Today an electron microscope is effected by a train braking a few kilometers away. Nanotech could allow you to build cheap very big mirrors that redirect solar energy from one point to another. If you bundle it enough you could have a laser weapon that takes very little time to hit targets. The energy from the mirrors could also be used for electricity generation. On earth but also maybe on Mars.

Arthur Clarke's idea of reduced gravity prolonging significantly human life. Sadly, the available evidence does not quite point in this direction. But for a sci-fi story it might be quite OK (e.g. it is discovered that microgravity prevents Alzheimers').

6MrMind7ySpace factories for spaceship. It's much cheaper to build something heavy in space and have them launch from there. Of course you would have to mine asteroids instead of sending construction materials from the Earth. Security concerns. If you want to test some form of nanotechnology, you better do that in space and nuclearize the whole thing (provided that nanotech is still extremely dangerous). MIS (millionaires in space): once you live in outer space as a status signal, it's easier to befriend other rich weirdos in space.
8Lumifer7yHighly valuable technological processes that only work in zero g.
0TrE7yA valid reason would be the scarcity of resources. Further technological progress will be severely constrained by which chemical elements are available cheaply and which are not. Lots of interesting and useful chemical elements are not available in sufficiently concentrated ores, or they are rare in all of earth's crust, having sunken down inside earth's core during its formation. These elements thusly are produced only as by-products of other elements which are more concentrated in their ores. This is valid not only for most of the lanthanides, but also for elements like indium, tellurium, gallium, germanium and the platinum group metals. Asteroids might hold rich deposits of these elements because the elements could not sink down into their cores, and even if they did, most asteroids are small enough. So if we don't want to substitute that indium tin oxide in our smartphone touchscreens with cheaper elements, we'll have to mine asteroids. Edit²: Here [] 's a relevant review article (Vesborg, Jaramillo 2012)
3drethelin7yExtremely wealthy libertarian seperatists.
3jaime20007ySpace stations? [] As in, stations with humans in them? [] Pretty much none. Your best bet is to postulate some sort of alternate history in which electronics and computers never took off. Or you can go in the other direction, and postulate tiny space stations which house computing hardware running uploaded humans.
Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

Can anyone recommend any good books/resources on dyspraxia?

Ideally suitable for adults with a reasonable background understanding of psychology. Most of the stuff I've been able to find has been aimed for teachers/parents.

Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014

Can anyone recommend any good books/resources on dyspraxia?

Ideally suitable for adults with a reasonable background understanding of psychology. Most of the stuff I've been able to find has been aimed for teachers/parents.

Wikipedia articles from the future

I worry this will end up with the same problems as dystopian/utopian fiction and just show the authors biases about the present day projected into the future. (Scott wrote about this on his old blog)

LW Supplement use survey

There's a "do not take any supplements" option in Q1

LW Supplement use survey

I tried that, that internal LW polls don't allow multiple selections

3Gunnar_Zarncke7yNot for a longe poll, but your could have created lots of Yes/No entries or alternatively a numeric field indicating the amount per week or how often it is taken (0 meaning not).
LW Supplement use survey

I thought about it, but it would multiply the number of necessary options insanely.

LW Supplement use survey

I upvoted you. Don't know if that makes it a social norm or not.

1Gunnar_Zarncke7yGeneralizing From One Example [] :-)
Upcoming CFAR events: Lower-cost bay area intro workshop; EU workshops; and others

Let me know if you need any volunteers/help with finding venues. I have some experience of organising events in the London area.

What supplements do you take, if any?

I think a poll might be more useful than people just posting their lists: [pollid:791]

Comment with others and I'll add them.

EDIT damn, doesnt let you do multiple options - Just choose the one you think is most effective?

0NancyLebovitz7yYou might want to do your poll as a discussion post, especially if you can find a site that supports a good format. You can get "check all that apply" polls if you have a paid Live Journal account.
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