Sorted by New


What degree of cousins are you and I? Estimates of Consanguinity to promote feelings of kinship and empathy

Mathematical models of most recent common ancestry hide relevant historical details. Actual human phylogenetics is considerably more sparse. For instance (ten seconds of googling):


"They conclude that the ancestors of this Aboriginal man, and possibly all Aboriginals, are of similar distance from Africans as are other Eurasians, and that at about 62,000-75,000 BP the Aboriginal ancestors split from the gene pool that gave rise to all other populations of modern humans. The authors say their study supports the model of human evolution according to which the modern Australian Aboriginal people descended from an early wave of expansion into Asia about 62,000-75,000 BP. Their data also supports the substantial population admixing and replacement of populations of the first wave by the 2nd expansion wave, predicted by this model, though a few populations are descendants of the early dispersal, such as those in Australia and the highlands of Papua New Guinea and Aeta. According to the authors this is compatible with data from mtDNA that indicate they derived from the same few founder haplogroups shared by all populations outside Africa, though all haplogroups observed in Australia are unique to this area. The data also support the the suggestion that modern Aboriginal Australians have descended from the first humans that entered Australia at least about 50,000 BP."

Which is to say, it is easy to identify pairs of population groups which have had essentially zero genetic interaction with each other for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years, despite the existence of genetic clines that link their intermediary populations over shorter timescales.

Open Thread, Apr. 20 - Apr. 26, 2015

Physics lawyers definitely need to exist. I would strongly like to get an injunction against the laws of thermodynamics.

LessWrong experience on Alcohol

I drink the equivalent of 1-2 bottles of wine per week (purchasing 2-3 bottles, some will be consumed by my girlfriend), mostly medium reds (shiraz, merlot; zinfandel and chianti when I can get them), some white aromatics (riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris), mostly 1-2 glasses at a time in the evening, for the purposes of relaxation and gustatory pleasure.

Beer is not good on my digestion, and I almost totally avoid it except for particularly tasty ones (prototypically, something like a Trappistes Rochefort 10). Even the thought of swilling a six-pack is enough to cause me pain.

When drinking socially (~biweekly), it will be whisky (Scotch, neat, naturally), neat Jäger, or possibly G&T or white/black russians if I'm mixing for other people, most usually not to the point of inebriation, just to maintain a comfortable level of sociable buzz. To this end, I adopt an approach informed by control theory, and deliberately front-load my consumption to give something close to an ideal dead-beat response when convolved with my internal alcohol-processing dynamics.

My palate is fairly typical, I have a (probably conditioned) liking for the taste of alcohol, a sweet tooth that I have a System II response against, and as far as I can tell, average-to-low bitterness tolerance (the only coffee I will drink is strong espresso, but I am very sensitive to improper extraction and the associated bitterness.

Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015

Hello open thread!

I am going to be in San Francisco on the 8th of February, and I will have the rest of the day to spend in town before heading onward for a work trip. It will be my first time in the US (coming from New Zealand), and I would be delighted to get in contact with some LWers.

Unsure if I should post an email or something, but do leave a comment if you know of any happenings, or are just keen to meet up.

Negative polyamory outcomes?

It's almost like there's something qualitatively different about the tractability of interactions between two bodies and N>2 bodies... (sorry)

One could also make an extremely laboured analogy about circumbinary orbits, and the spontaneous ejection of one party into deep space.

Systemic risk: a moral tale of ten insurance companies

Interesting question. It is clear that the probability mass in excess of the reserves is equal in both distributions, yielding identical long-run numbers of industry-defaults-per-year, however the average magnitude of the unrecoverable losses is greater in the no-diversification model.

If you assume a linear cost function for the expected losses, and take the mean of the distribution past a variable reserve level, you will find a reserve level for a unified insurance agent which has the same expected loss-cost, a lower number of absolute industry-loss events, and a lower reserve requirement than the diversified case.

My Wolfram-fu fails me, but you would want to multiply the binomial PDF (or gaussian approximation) by x, and find the integral from y to 100 (or infinity) that is equal to the diverse expected loss, 1*10/200. For binomial distributions, y will be <90, so short answer, 'yes'.

Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary?

when the Neoreactionaries aren't busy reviving obscure archaic words for their own jargon, they're using Lesswrong-style jargon

I believe the fact that neoreactionaries make frequent use of LW jargon is down to more than a founder effect.

There are multiple aspects to the LW memeplex that perform significant legwork in laying an epistemological foundation to mug intelligent social liberals with reality, which is close to the defining trait of neoreaction. To wit,

  • Physicalism, determinism, a universe Beyond the Reach of God; the universe is capable of arbitrarily deviating from wishful standards of fairness and equality, there are no cosmic attractors towards justice, humans can be effectively damned beyond redemption by biological variables outside the loci of moral agency.
  • Generalised optimisation systems; once you understand these, the leap to criticism of democracy as a massive cybernetic failure mode is almost trivial.
  • Game theory, for the public choice extension to the above.
  • A deep epistemology of taboos, which form the Dark Matter of democracy, around which our governing narratives swirl otherwise inexplicably.
  • Beliefs as constraints on expectations, versus belief as attire; this in itself is sufficient to generate enough conflict with official truth to put one far beyond the Overton window.
2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Was anybody else disappointed that the Sex Role Inventory wasn't nearly as raunchy as the name suggested?

"NRx" vs. "Prog" Assumptions: Locating the Sources of Disagreement Between Neoreactionaries and Progressives (Part 1)

This should be an acceptable hypothesis to the LW population. c.f. "I'm considering getting my facial expressions analysed, so I'll know what I'm thinking".

"NRx" vs. "Prog" Assumptions: Locating the Sources of Disagreement Between Neoreactionaries and Progressives (Part 1)

This is his explanation at its most explicit:


Load More