All of hwc's Comments + Replies

They have one in the lab next to mine. I love my job.

I think I meant “interesting” in a sarcastic tone.

Another way of putting it: “You (theists) claim a high level of belief in this hypothesis. Because so many people (including close family members) take this position, I have though about this hypothesis and find it too complex to have anything but a small prior. Then I asked myself what observations are more likely if the hypothesis is true and which would be less likely. Then I looked around and found no evidence in favor of your hypothesis.”

0therufs10y
(That empty garage has been converted into a coffee-oriented hangout spot since Google drove by last.)

Eliezer (I think) feels the same way about the necessity of souls as about the Judeo-Christian god. Interesting hypothesis, but too complex to have anything but a small prior. Then no supporting evidence shows up, despite millennia of looking, reducing the likelihood further.

1wedrifid10y
Has Eliezer suggested that he believes that the Judeo-Christian god is an "Interesting hypothesis"? My model of him wouldn't say that.

if God exists then consciousness depends on having an immaterial soul.

I translate that into logical notation:

(God exists) -> For all X (X is conscious -> X has an immaterial soul)

I don't concede this conditional. I can imagine a universe with a personal creator, where consciousness is a material property of certain types of complex systems, but souls don't exist.

5hwc10y
Eliezer (I think) feels the same way about the necessity of souls as about the Judeo-Christian god. Interesting hypothesis, but too complex to have anything but a small prior. Then no supporting evidence shows up, despite millennia of looking, reducing the likelihood further.

Work at a desk facing your boss. It does wonders keeping you productive. My boss happens to make this possible by bringing his work into the lab for several hours a day.

0jooyous10y
I briefly worked at a desk with my back to two doors, which made me less likely to take breaks to read articles because I never knew who might be walking up behind me and looking at my screen.

invest in inflation-indexed bonds.

Or, a Boltzmann brain that flickered into existence with memories of a past that never happened.

5ialdabaoth10y
In that particular case, "never happened" has some weird ontological baggage. If a simulated consciousness is still conscious, then isn't its simulated past still a past? Perhaps "didn't happen" in the sense that its future reality will not conform to its memory-informed expectations, but it seems like, if those memories form a coherent 'past', then in a simulationist sense that past did happen, even if it wasn't simulated with perfect fidelity.

Like it's possible to re-read only four chapters. Ha!

Is there a comprehensive list of science declarations anywhere?

You might attract a broader audience if you removed references to Existential Risk and Transhumanism from your web page.

5Raemon10y
Transhumanism was put up recently and I would advocate against using that name. But for both of them, I think it depends dramatically on how you package it. "The Future of Medicine" doesn't sound so weird and can encourage people to go into research. We are very conscious of how much "weird-budget" we have. If we remove all of the ideas that make us unique, then we end up being just a generic bunch of altruism-advocates. Existential Risk is also important, and simply removing it would defeat a lot of the point. But we are aware that if too many modules are too strange, we may lose people.

I always advise in favor of a double major with one major being something sciencey and quantitative (math, natural science, engineering, computer science, et cetera) and the other being something you care about. If those categories overlap, then you have less work to do.

I just donated $300 to Givewell for AMF.

The leap is that the Church–Turing thesis applies to human (“sentient”) cognition. Many theists deny this.

1Kyro10y
Many theists deny this... To elaborate, if God exists then consciousness depends on having an immaterial soul. If consciousness depends on an immaterial soul, then simulated entities can never truly be conscious. If the simulated entities aren't really conscious they are incapable of suffering, and there's no reason for God to intervene in the simulation. The thought experiment is not a very effective argument against theism, as it assumes non-existence of souls, but it serves the purpose of illustrating how unthinkably horrible things can actually happen.

It's a conceit of our current sensibilities that we even use the same word to refer to how we feel about those, our siblings, our pets, and ice cream.

Which is why I sometimes taboo that word and try and explain exactly how I feel about my S.O. in other, more concrete, terms.

sounds like my weekend.

Sound like I'm missing a good meeting. Instead I was at a party with scientists.

I'm going to be out of town this week, but I'm pretty sure curiousepic will be there. Does anyone else want to commit to being there?

0hwc12y
Sound like I'm missing a good meeting. Instead I was at a party with scientists.
1LK0312y
Aha, the link works! Didn't realize it had been fixed until just now. I am committing to be at the meetup, and I believe my partner (not a LW member, but he came with me to the June Wed meetup) will most likely be there as well.
0mutterc12y
Committed.

I think I just broke the meetup submission function. Sorry.

Break down the claims of Buddhism and test them individually against evidence. Bring me what's left.

0Hul-Gil12y
Exactly how I feel about the matter, and what I have attempted to do. One thing I forgot to note, though, is that I feel the best way to reduce suffering is to remove the source, rather than remove your desire. When this is not possible, however, then the meditation can be helpful.

Thanks! How can we ensure that we don't get missed next time?

0Paul Crowley12y
EDIT: ignore this, I'm confused, see below. This was only just decided on the mailing list; I'd have been surprised to see it here before I added the comment asking it to be announced!
0Vladimir_Nesov12y
I don't compile the lists, I just can edit them (your discussion post has 'meetup [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/tag/meetup/]' tag, so should've been noticed; perhaps it was ignored because there is an entry on the wiki [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Less_Wrong_meetup_groups#Research_Triangle.2C_NC_.28Raleigh.2FDurham.2FChapel_Hill.29] that links to a google group [http://groups.google.com/group/RTLW] for announcements). This post has instructions for e-mailing missed announcements to Frank. Or you could send me an LW private message.

I just started a summer position researching scientific visualization. The challenge is to be able to deal with ensembles of large datasets that result from simulations run with varying parameters.

It was much, much worse than that in Florida, where they overbuilt and there was a glut. As far as I know, there was not as much excessive building in Adelene's city.

If you can't make it at 6:00, feel free to show up a bit late. I promise to stick around until at least 8:30.

I don't actually want to discuss politics. I realize that I hate politics. But I love talking about public policy. But discussing (e.g.) tax policy or monetary policy seems to automatically shift the conversation into politics. And then the yelling begins.

0MrMind12y
That was exactly my thought... so you need to extract the problem that tax policy or monetary policy are trying to solve, contextualize it and maybe even translate it into a metaphor... that should be enough for rational mind to start discussing rationally...

Decision – The selection of a course of action by the player.

The game of Candyland involves no decision-making. I have always maintained that the game is broken as a result.

3fubarobfusco12y
Candyland is an exercise in not flipping the board over and throwing the pieces at your siblings when you lose. Or, more optimistically, it's a drill in certain skills that you need in order to play "real" board games — such as following game rules, moving pieces, and taking turns. It's like playing catch. You can't win or lose at playing catch; there's no score; it's just an exercise in throwing and catching a ball. You can do that for fun, but it's also practice of skills you need to play baseball or another ball game.
3Alicorn12y
I think you're allowed to pick your pawn.

What are you doing blogging about your WoW community? You're on your honeymoon!

It makes for a good story, but I really doubt that's the case.

I wonder when consciousness evolved in our ancestors? 4 Mya? 2Mya? 500 kya?

2gwern12y
An excellent question. I've always enjoyed Julian Jaynes's theory of bicameralism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_%28psychology%29] where consciousness only truly developed ~3kya or so.

In Blindsight, a close relative of Homo sapiens sapiens is described as not consciously sentient but able to intelligently interact socially with humans. This seems unlikely.

The not-conscious ET aliens were much more believable, since they were not a close relative. You got the feeling that their interactions with humans had a Chinese room feel to them.

-2gwern12y
Why? Already non-conscious animals like dogs, chimpanzees, and parrots are capable of some fairly sophisticated social interaction; dogs even understand gestures like pointing.

The default font is much less readable than other fonts...

I prefer sans-serif fonts for reading on any kind of screen. Why not try specifying no font face or font size at all and use the browser default?

Text is too small.

I do not normally notice this, since I have set an absolute minimum font size on my browser. I agree it looks awful under the default settings.

I'm not certain that that book made a good argument for that position. It was after all, fiction.

Is there a serious non-fiction treatment of the question?

Is there a serious non-fiction treatment of the question?

Fortunately, Watts shows his homework and provides an entire appendix explaining the science he is drawing on (as one would expect from a scientist): http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm#Notes

I've read through a number of his references and a few things on his blog like PRISMs, although his main source, philosopher Thomas Metzinger's Being No One, kicked my ass. You want 'serious non-fiction'? Go to.

1Cyan12y
A fair point. Still, it blew my fragile little mind the first time I read it (this being prior to EY's sequences, which IIRC treat the point somewhere).

Maybe after we all become measurably more rational, we can start to talk about politics without mind-killing?

Under those circumstances, maybe we'll find that the socialists and libertarians can find more common ground?

2MrMind12y
Politics is mind-killer because the category itself is difference-killing. You just don't discuss politics, you discuss global problems and how to solve them. Without even entering in categorization beforehand...

In other words, the “Special Committee” will result in slow evaporative cooling?

Or in this case, evaporative freezing.

I don't trust geolocation.

Also, there's an advantage in a new user seeing all the meetups, since it accurately tells them how active we are.

And what about people who travel a lot and might check out a meetup in another city if they were reminded about it?

1matt12y
Geolocation usually works. The cost of a miss is low. If the user had defined their location in their user profile, we'd use that instead.

The most straightforward way to have this would be to have a new database table with the following fields: date, location, and hyperlink. A set of trusted users (including one or two from each regular group) could add, edit, or delete records. Periodically, records with dates more one day in the past will be automatically purged.

There's no need to automate this, since maintaining it takes a small amount of effort relative to the effort of organizing the meetup.

That's dangerous knowledge. It's kept secret for a reason. Now that you've let the cat out of the bag, campfires have lost some of their magical power.

Also, my family had a recipe for sweet potato casserole that included toasted marshmallows on top. But it was a special thing you could only cook Christmas and Thanksgiving.

0Owen_Richardson12y
A large part of their magical power is not so much the set of known traditional campfire foods, but more the level of creativity they tend to induce after you run out of them, and start trying figure out how to roast pretty much every other food-like substance you brought with you or can find in the forest around you :P
0jwhendy12y
My family makes that too! With apricots inside that have been soaked in Vermouth :)

Also, my family had a recipe sweet potato casserole that included toasted marshmallows on top. But it was a special thing you could only cook Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I was sort of thrown for a loop when I learned - at age twenty - that it is possible to buy cans of cranberry sauce even when it is not almost Thanksgiving.

what sorts of supergoals are people setting?

0Raemon12y
I actually have managed to miss almost every self-improvment meeting because my actual supergoal-related-projects conflicted with them, so I can't speak for everyone else. In my case, my overarching life goal is to study various art forms and how they interact and how they impact humanity. My supergoal for the year is to finish a game design project for 2012's Indie Game Festival, which subgoals of networking in the NYC game dev scene and improving my coding skills. Another (semi)related goal is acquiring a collection of humanist and rational music that is as evocative as "religious" music, optimized for communal singing. I think Humanism and science have been kind of dragging their feet when it comes to producing inspirational artwork (or at least, they've been dragging their feet when it comes to publicizing it).

And what happens when we have a regular weekly or monthly meetup in every English-speaking city of more than two million? I've noticed that the regular meetups (LW/NYC, LW/Bay Area, LW/London, et cetera) don't bother to announce every meeting. New users have to know to look at the wiki page.

Maybe this proposed widget should include these regular meetups (with links to the relevant wiki page) for all events within the next three weeks.

5Cayenne12y
Do geolocation or enter a postal code, and see only the ones nearby? Edit - please disregard this post

Here's another proposal for dealing with meetups: some sort of prominent widget that will show (only upcoming) meetups in chronological order, with links:

Upcoming Meetups

... (read more)
0jimrandomh12y
This would be better if it also used geocoding based on IP address to filter so it shows only nearby groups by default.
0hwc12y
The most straightforward way to have this would be to have a new database table with the following fields: date, location, and hyperlink. A set of trusted users (including one or two from each regular group) could add, edit, or delete records. Periodically, records with dates more one day in the past will be automatically purged. There's no need to automate this, since maintaining it takes a small amount of effort relative to the effort of organizing the meetup.
6hwc12y
And what happens when we have a regular weekly or monthly meetup in every English-speaking city of more than two million? I've noticed that the regular meetups (LW/NYC, LW/Bay Area, LW/London, et cetera) don't bother to announce every meeting. New users have to know to look at the wiki page. Maybe this proposed widget should include these regular meetups (with links to the relevant wiki page) for all events within the next three weeks.

FF.net does that, but they do it wrong. They do it as a fixed percentage of the screen, not a fixed max-width.

0satt12y
Maybe LW user preferences could give users the choice of doing it either way? (I.e. as a fixed percentage or a fixed number of pixels.)
0rhollerith_dot_com12y
Does FF.net do anything related to usability right :)

Radio buttons might work best:

  • she / her / herself / hers / her
  • he / him / himself / his / his
  • it / it / itself / its / its
  • they / them / themselves / theirs / their
  • e / em / eirself / eirs / eir
  • Don't use pronouns on me!

Make it easier to read on a small device. This can be accomplished by making the width of the main column defined as a "max-width" in CSS and setting the viewport meta tag in the HTML.

2Nornagest12y
Seconded. About the only way to make LW readable on my phone is by abusing the RSS feed, which is unfortunate because text-heavy content is otherwise a good match for small devices.

I studied German in school, since I considered myself "not good at languages" and it was the closest language to my native English. When I entered the real world, I kept wishing I had studied Spanish, since one often meets people who speak much better Spanish than English (here in the US).

So when I started the becoming awesome program, I signed up for a once-a-week adult education class in beginning Spanish. I wish I had had the time and opportunity to take a university-level class, since they tend to be more intense and better taught.

I've been explicitly working on being awesome for the last few years. A friend introduced me to The Sims and I played long enough to reach my character's life goal, then realized that I should be working that hard on reaching my own goals.

Results:

  • A new and better job, about to move to a much cooler town.
  • A lot closer to my ideal weight and fitness level.
  • A little more comfortable with myself.
  • A lot happier.
  • Several goals temporarily abandoned (learning a language, picking up an instrument). These were difficult to do on my own and consumed time better
... (read more)
4Cayenne12y
Learning a language is a good idea! I've heard that Esperanto isn't hard to learn... hm. Edit - please disregard this post
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