gwillen

Comments

Electric heat pumps (Mini-Splits) vs Natural gas boilers

If the outside air temperature gets very low (or high?) I've heard that ground-source heat pumps might be the way to go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_heat_pump

Oracles, Informers, and Controllers

Reminds me of Scott's story from way back when about the Whispering Earring: http://web.archive.org/web/20121008025245/http://squid314.livejournal.com/332946.html

(I don't have any specific point, I'm not sure the story has any specific lesson that I endorse, it just seemed interestingly related.)

Finite Factored Sets

That sounds like the right choice, but a part of me is incredibly disappointed that you didn't go for it.

We should probably buy ADA?

This is interesting. There's a lot here, I agree with some but not all of it, and I'm not presently going to comment on most of it (mostly for time reasons.) I am a Bitcoin user and developer, and have looked briefly at Cardano in the past. One thing I'd specifically like to comment on:

"but we already know proof of stake works, this isn't necessary"

We really don't, though. We know for sure that the original proof of stake algorithm was badly broken, in multiple ways. There are now a number of different successors that go by the name "proof of stake". I have no specific reason to believe that Cardano's is not broken in some way. They appear to use a PoS system called "Ouroboros" that they developed themselves, starting in 2017, according to https://iohk.io/en/research/library/authors/aggelos-kiayias/ . It looks like the original 2017 paper claims that the system is "provably secure", but judging by the list of papers it's also undergone a number of iterations since then. (That doesn't necessarily imply anything bad, but neither does having "provably secure" in a paper title really prove anything good. I haven't read the paper.) I've been meaning to specifically investigate the ETH 2.0 version of PoS, to see what I think about it, since Vitalik has written about its design at some length; I may have to add this one to the reading list.

Saving Time

agency is time travel

Since time is the direction of increased entropy, this feels like it has some deep connection to the notion of agents as things that reduce entropy (only locally, obviously) to achieve their preferences: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Q4hLMDrFd8fbteeZ8/measuring-optimization-power (I'm not sure this is 100% on-point to what I mean, but it's the closest thing I could find.)

Since agents can only decrease entropy locally, not globally, I wonder if we could similarly say that they can "reverse the arrow of time" only in some local sense. (Omega can predict me, but I can't predict Omega. And even Omega can't predict everything, because something something second law of thermodynamics.)

Covid 5/6: Vaccine Patent Suspension

The graph in the CNBC tweet seems pretty misleading without context, and I've seen it criticized elsewhere for this reason. Since roughly the start of 2020, NovaVax stock is up 4300%, Moderna is up 730%, and BioNTech is up 460%. (Pfizer is only up 6%, but it's also about an order of magnitude larger, so a single product line would not have the same effect on the stock price.) Three of the four are still higher than they were in just mid-April; NovaVax is about the same as it was. And I'm trying to be conservative here, and attribute all the recent price drops to the patent issue, but the biggest drops happened in the week before 5/5, and are not visible on the graph in the tweet.

Granted, the stock prices have recovered a bit since you wrote this, which is information you didn't have, but even still -- the price drop depicted in that tweet is a pretty minor fluctuation in the context of even a week or two of price movements, and even considering the total drop from most recent peak to now (which has different timing for each stock, so presumably they aren't 100% from a common cause) you're looking at drops of 3-25%, which is obviously not tiny, but it hasn't come anywhere near wiping out the tremendous growth in the value that the market has placed on these companies since the start of COVID. The market doesn't love this news, but it still likes all four companies pretty well regardless.

[link] If something seems unusually hard for you, see if you're missing a minor insight

Meta: The way this post works in the LW interface feels weird to me. The email notification doesn't mention that it's a linkpost at all, and doesn't include the link. And linkposts on LW usually seem to mirror the content of the link, but this one is a summary instead -- which is fine, except that it doesn't feel very obvious. The link is small, in italics, and easy to read right past, especially when it's usually just a link to another copy of the same content.

Don't Sell Your Soul

This seems like a classic Pascal's Wager, and as such probably not a great strategy to follow -- see "Pascal's Mugging" for a discussion of what happens if you start letting people push you around by declaring things to have infinite (or incredibly large) utility in some unlikely scenario.

... but I can't figure out how this comment got down to -9 points on that basis alone. I'm wondering if your username caused a bunch of people to assume -- as I did initially -- that you were a spambot, and thus downvote you extra-harshly after a bare skim of your actual comment.

2012 Robin Hanson comment on “Intelligence Explosion: Evidence and Import”

I think my immediate objection to Robin's take can be summarized with a classic "shit rationalists say" quote: "You have no idea how BIG mindspace is." Sure, we quibble over how much it's okay to impose our values on our descendants, but those value differences are about (warning: tongue firmly in cheek) relatively trivial things like "what fictional deity to believe in" or "whether it's okay to kill our enemies, and who they are". Granted, Robin talks about acceleration of value change, but value differences like "whether to convert the Earth and its occupants into computronium" seem like a significant discontinuity with previous value differences among generations of humans.

Humans may have different values from their ancestors, but it is not typical for them to have both the capability and the desire (or lack of inhibition) to exterminate those ancestors. If it was, presumably "value totalitarianism" would be a lot more popular. Perhaps Robin doesn't believe that AGI would have such a large value difference with humans; but in that case we've come back into the realm of a factual dispute, rather than a philosophical one.

(It does seem like a very Robin Hanson take to end by saying: Although my opponents advocate committing what I clearly suggest should be considered an atrocity against their descendants, "[e]ven so, I must admit that [it] deserves to be among the range of responses considered to future intergenerational conflicts.")

Core Pathways of Aging

Main upshot of all this: since aging involves changes on a timescale of decades, there must be some component which is out-of-equilibrium on a timescale of decades or longer (i.e. does not turn over significantly across a full human lifespan). These are the components which we’ll call “root causes”. Everything else which changes with age, changes only in response to the root causes.

A quibble: Just because some component turns over frequently, doesn't mean that higher-level structures made from that component aren't degraded in the process. For example, if I accidentally cut off the tip of my finger, the relevant cells will all grow back, but the finger will not; the larger-scale pattern remains degraded for life.

In the case of my fingertip, obviously we would consider that an injury, not an aspect of aging. But it seems hard to be sure that there aren't any aspects of aging that work this way?

Load More