All of jchan's Comments + Replies

The Schelling Game (a.k.a. the Coordination Game)

Thinking more about this:

  1. Is it possible to get good at this game?
  2. Does this game teach any useful skills?

I don't think there's a generalized skill of being good at this game as such, but you can get good at it when playing with a particular group, as you become more familiar with their thought processes. Playing the game might not develop any individual's skills, but it can help the group as a whole develop camaraderie by encouraging people to make mental models of each other.

4Zac Hatfield Dodds9dDixit [], which has similar gameplay, does develop group-independent skills - though in-group references often dominate skill.
The Schelling Game (a.k.a. the Coordination Game)

I've played a variant like this before, except that only one clue would be active at once - if the clue is neither defeated nor contacted within some amount of time, then we'd move on to another clue, but the first clue can be re-asked later. The amount of state seemed manageable for roadtrips/hikes/etc.

Unconvenient consequences of the logic behind the second law of thermodynamics

Maybe we are anthropically more likely to find ourselves in places with low komolgorov complexity descriptions. ("All possible bitstrings, in order" is not a good law of physics, just because it contains us somewhere).

Another way of thinking about this, which amounts to the same thing: Holding the laws of physics constant, the Solomonoff prior will assign much more probability to a universe that evolves from a minimal-entropy initial state, than to one that starts off in thermal equilibrium. In other words:

  • Description 1: The laws of physics + The Big
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Unconvenient consequences of the logic behind the second law of thermodynamics

Here's the way I understand it: A low-entropy state takes fewer bits to describe, and a high-entropy state takes more. Therefore, a high-entropy state can contain a description of a low-entropy state, but not vice-versa. This means that memories of the state of the universe can only point in the direction of decreasing entropy, i.e. into the past.

Texas Freeze Retrospective: meetup notes

I think the "normal items that helped" category is especially important, because it's costly in terms of money, time, and space to get prepper gear specifically for the whole long tail of possible disasters. If resources are limited, then it's best to focus on buying things that are both useful in everyday life and also are the general kind-of-thing that's useful in disaster scenarios, even if you can't specifically anticipate how.

Texas Freeze Retrospective: meetup notes

Good to know that this was useful. I hadn't thought of this meetup as "journalism," but I suppose it was in a sense.

Interest survey: Forming an MIT Mystery Hunt team (Jan. 15-18, 2021)

You may be right... I just need a rough headcount now, so if you want to take time to ponder the team name feel free to leave it blank now and then submit the form again later with your suggestion. (Edited the form to say so.)

The Solomonoff Prior is Malign

I'm trying to wrap my head around this. Would the following be an accurate restatement of the argument?

  1. Start with the Dr. Evil thought experiment, which shows that it's possible to be coerced into doing something by an agent who has no physical access to you, other than communication.
  2. We can extend this to the case where the agents are in two separate universes, if we suppose that (a) the communication can be replaced with an acausal negotation, with each agent deducing the existence and motives of the other; and that (b) the Earthlings (the ones coercin
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Postmortem to Petrov Day, 2020

I’d suggest that even a counterfactual donation of $100 to charity not occurring would feel more significant than the frontpage going down for a day.

This suggests an interesting idea: A charity drive for the week leading up to Petrov Day, on condition that the funds will be publicly wasted if anyone pushes the button (e.g. by sending bitcoin to a dead-end address, or donating to two opposing politicians' campaigns).

On "Not Screwing Up Ritual Candles"

For an outdoor ceremony, you'll want to avoid open flames because (a) the wind might blow them out, and (b) they'll attract bugs that die in the flame. Instead you can use lanterns like these. (Peel off the branding sticker for a cleaner look.) The aesthetic ends up being more rugged/industrial than fancy/refined.

Practical considerations when using these lanterns:

  1. The glass window and the upper surface of the lantern get extremely hot (enough to boil water, at least). Use an oven mitt to manipulate these parts.
  2. For this reason, opening and closing the win
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Petrov Day 2020 Virtual Celebration

What chat/meeting tool will be used for this event?

Austin LW/SSC Far-comers Meetup: Feb. 8, 1:30pm

Reminder: The Austin Far-comers Meetup is tomorrow! Here's the announcement on our mailing list:!topic/austin-less-wrong/fG6anRooLY0

Austin LW: Survey for far-traveling attendees Jan-Feb 2020

Reminder to complete this survey by the end of today.

Austin meetup notes Nov. 16, 2019: SSC discussion

Does that mean we'll get more progress if everyone in a certain field gathers in one place? Perhaps.

After thinking about this a bit, I'm not sure I agree. First, gathering everyone together puts all the eggs in one basket, which risks vulnerability to external disruption (e.g. the Nazis taking over Budapest). Second, a brain-drain of intellectuals into one central city deprives up-and-coming students (if they can't afford to relocate) of teachers and mentors.

1GeneralAntilles1yIt also tends to lead to fragile monocultures. See also San Francisco.