iarwain1

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Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016

I really like Sean Carroll's The Big Picture as an intro to rationality and naturalism for the general public. It covers pretty much all the topics in RfAItZ, along with several others (esp. physics stuff). It's shorter and a lot less technical than RfAItZ, but it's readable and I thought it does a good job of laying out the basic perspectives.

General-Purpose Questions Thread

Try 80,000 Hours' guide, especially here.

Open Thread May 9 - May 15 2016

In our world, classical mechanics (Newton + Maxwell and their logical implications) holds for most everyday experiences at slow speeds (relative to the speed of light) and at scales larger than the atomic realm.*

Question: Is this necessarily true for every possible world that matches our macroscopic physical observations? Is it possible to construct an alternative set of physical laws such that the world would function exactly as our world does on a macroscopic, everyday level, but that would violate Newton's laws or Maxwell's laws or thermodynamics or the like? Again, I'm not talking about violating those laws in extreme cases (close to the speed of light, tiny scales) where these laws don't really apply even in our world. I'm talking about a world where even the everyday approximate equations of physics, as expressed in classical mechanics, do not apply.

Said another way: If you messed with Newton's equations or Maxwell's equations or thermodynamics even a little bit, would the world necessarily function differently in such a way that we could tell that you'd messed with the laws? Would it function so differently as to be unrecognizable?

Or said yet another way: Do our macroscopic experiences entail that the equations of classical mechanics are at least a very good approximation of the underlying physics?

I'd especially appreciate sources / references / links to further reading.

[*Leaving aside the types of modern technology which bring quantum mechanical effects into the everyday observable world.]

Open Thread April 11 - April 17, 2016

Check out 80,000 Hours. For finances in particular see their career review for trading in quantitative hedge funds.

Lesswrong 2016 Survey

Took survey. Didn't answer all the questions because I suspend judgment on a lot of issues and there was no "I have no idea" option. Some questions did have an "I don't have a strong opinion" option, but I felt a lot more of them should also have that option.

Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016

I'm more interested more in epistemic rationality concepts rather than practical life advice, although good practical advice is always useful.

Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016

I'm an undergrad going for a major in statistics and minors in computer science and philosophy. I also read a lot of philosophy and cognitive science on the side. I don't have the patience to read through all of the LW sequences. Which LW sequences / articles do you think are important for me to read that I won't get from school or philosophy reading?

Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016

So probability of either Trump or Cruz is 100%?

Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016

It's open source. Right now I only know very basic Python, but I'm taking a CS course this coming semester and I'm going for a minor in CS. How hard do you think it would be to add in other distributions, bounded values, etc.?

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