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One thing that surprised me when looking at the data, is it appears that omnivores did slightly better at getting the answers 'right' (as determined by a simple greater or less than 50% comparison). I would have thought the vegetarians would do better, as they would be more familiar with the in-group terminology. That said, I have no clue if the numbers are even significant given the size of the group, so I wouldn't read too much into it. (Apologize in advance for awful formatting)

Number 'correct' - 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 Grand Total
Omnivore---------- 1  0  1  5  3  8  7  3  0  1      29
Vegetarian-------- 0  0  2  1  5  4  2  0  0  0      14

Agreed. I really wish that there was a site like webMD that actually included rates of the diseases and the symptoms. I don't think it would be a big step to go from there to something that would actually propose cost-effective tests for you based on your symptoms.

e.g. You select sore-throat and fever as symptoms and it says that out of people with those symptoms, 70% have a cold, 25% have a strep infection and 5% have something else (these numbers are completely made up). An even better system would then look at which tests you could do to better nail down the probabilities, which could be as simple as asking some questions like "Do you have any visible rashes?" or asking for test results like a quick strep test.


I'm probably way late to this thread, but I was thinking about this the other day in the response to a different thread, and considered using the Kelly Criterion to address something like Pascal's Mugging.

Trying to figure out your current 'bankroll' in terms of utility is probably open to intepretation, but for some broad estimates, you could probably use your assets, or your expected free time, or some utility function that included those plus whatever else.

When calculating optimal bet size using the Kelly criterion, you end up with a percentage of your current bankroll you should bet. This percentage will never exceed the probability of the event occurring, regardless of the size of the reward. This basically means that if I'm using my current net worth as an approximation for my 'bankroll', I shouldn't even consider betting a dollar on something I think has a one-in-a-million chance, unless my net worth is at least a million dollars.

I think this could be a bit more formalized, but might help serve as a rule-of-thumb for evaluating Pascal's Wager type scenarios.


One easy way I can think of gaming such a test is to figure out ahead of time that those questions will be the ones on the test, then look up an answer for just that question, and parrot it on the actual test.

I know at my college, there were databases of just about every professor's exams for the past several years. Most of them re-used enough questions that you could get a pretty good idea of what was going to be on the exams, just by looking at past exams. A lot of people would spend a lot of time studying old exams to game this process instead of actually learning the material.


Sounds somewhat like the 'gay uncle' theory, where having 4 of your siblings kids pass on their genes is equivalent to having 2 of your own pass on their genes, but with future pairings included, which is interesting.

Stephen Baxter wrote a couple of novels that explored the first theory a bit Destiny's Children series, where gur pbybal riraghnyyl ribyirq vagb n uvir, jvgu rirelbar fhccbegvat n tebhc bs dhrraf gung gurl jrer eryngrq gb.

The addition of future contributors to the bloodline as part of your utility function could make this really interesting if set in a society that has arranged marriages and/or engagement contracts, as one arranged marriage could completely change the outcome of some deal. Though I guess this is how a ton of history played out anyway, just not quite as explicitly.


For story purposes, using a multi-tiered variant of utilitarianism based on social distance could lead to some interesting results. If the character were to calculate his utility function for a given being by something Calculated Utility = Utility / (Degrees of Separation from me)^2, it would be really easy to calculate, yet come close to what people really use. The interesting part from a fictional standpoint could be if your character rigidly adheres to this function, such that you can manipulate your utility in their eyes by becoming friends with their friends. (e.g. The utility for me to give a random stranger $10 is 0 (assuming infinite degrees of separation), but if they told me they were my sister's friend, it may have a utility of $10/(2)^2, or $2.50) It could be fun to play around with the hero's mind by manipulating the social web.


I didn't look for an extension, but there are definitely a few webpages that will do it for you. For example, your post:

ðə ɪntərnæʃənəl fənɛtɪk ælfəbɛt wəz ərɪdʒənəli mɛnt tu bi juzd æz ə nætʃərəl læŋgwədʒ rajtɪŋ sɪstəm ( fɔr ɪgzæmpəl, ðə dʒərnəl əv ðə ɪntərnæʃənəl fənɛtɪk əsosieʃən wəz ərɪdʒənəli rɪtən ɪn ajpie: èʧtitipí:// fənɛtɪk- blɒg. blogspot. kɑm/ 2012/ 06/ 100- jɪrz- əgo. eʧtiɛmɛl). bətwin ipa|s θiərɛtɪkəl ( fɪziəlɑdʒɪkəl) grawndɪŋ, ɪts wajd jus baj lɪŋgwəsts, ænd ɪts nɪr- lɛdʒəbɪləti baj əntrend ɪŋglɪʃ lɪtərɑti, ajpie ɪz ovər- dətərmənd æz ðə ɑbviəs tʃɔjs fɔr ə rəfɔrmd ɒrθɑgrəfi, ɪf ɪŋglɪʃ wər ɛvəri med tu kənfɔrm fənɛtɪkli tu ə stændərd pronənsieʃən. ðæt sɛd, ɪts nɑt goɪŋ tu hæpən, bɪkɒz spɛlɪŋ rəfɔrm ɪz nɑt ərdʒənt tu ɛniwən wɪθ kæpətəl tu traj ɪt. lajk, səmwən kʊd mek ə brawzər ɪkstɛnʃən ðæt wʊd riples wərdz ðɛr ajpie spɛlɪŋz, so ðæt æn ɒnlɑjn kəmjunəti kʊd fəmɪljərɑjz ðɛmsɛlvz wɪθ ðə nu spɛlɪŋ, bət no wən hæz med ðæt, ɔr ped fɔr ɪt tu bi med, ænd ðɪs plesəz ə strɒŋ əpər bawnd ɑn haw mətʃ ɛniwən kɛrz əbawt spɛlɪŋ rəfɔrm.

(Though the url got really garbled.)


Since this is a crazy ideas thread, I'll tag on the following thought. If you believe that in the future, if we are able to make ems, and we should include them in our moral calculus, should we also be careful not to imagine people in bad situations? Since by doing so, we may be making a very low-level simulation in our own mind of that person, that may or may not have some consciousness. If you don't believe that is the case now, how does that scale, if we start augmenting our minds with ever-more-powerful computer interfaces. Is there ever a point where it becomes immoral just to think of something?


Depends a ton on where you go and what you major in. PayScale has a ranking of a ton of colleges based on their 20-year average incomes compared to 24 years of average income for people with a high-school degree. There probably are some special cases at the tails that would benefit more from not going to college, but for the average college-goer, it is still probably a halfway decent investment.


Sure, the first point is why I think it will work. As for the second, sure, it may not be 100% accurate, but it would be better than nothing, and even negative information could be useful. (e.g. Person X did not have their phone on during the robbery, but otherwise normally has it on them 100% of the time.) I agree it's not an ideal solution, just something that might help a little.

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