You can find links to all of my Less Wrong writings plus some extras on my blog. You can subscribe to my posts via RSS.


Short Stories
Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets
Sunzi's《Methods of War》
2020 Less Wrong Darwin Game
Quantitative Finance
Quantum Gravity


Place-Based Programming

You can go from hash to source code by saving the source code too in addition to saving the value. Otherwise, hashing is a trapdoor function.

Place-Based Programming

Thanks. I have changed "simple caching system" to "persistent memoization system".

Place-Based Programming

This is accurate. Places are analogous to pointers.

lsusr's Shortform

An aircraft carrier costs $13 billion. An anti-ship cruise missile costs $2 million. Few surface warships survived the first day of the Singularity War.

A cruise missile is a complex machine, guided by sensitive electronics. Semiconductor fabricators are even more complex machines. Few semiconductor factories survived the nuclear retaliation.

A B-52 Stratofortress is a simpler machine.

Robert (Bob) Manchester's bomber flew west from Boeing Field. The crew disassembled their landing gear and dropped it in the Pacific Ocean. The staticy voice of Mark Campbell, Leader of the Human Resistance, radioed into Robert's headset. Robert could barely hear it over the noise of the engines. He turned the volume up. It would damage his hearing but that didn't matter anymore. The attack wouldn't save America. Nothing could at this point. But the attack might buy time to launch a few extra von Neumann probes.

The squadron flew over miles after miles of automated factories. What was once called Tianjin was now just Sector 153. The first few flak cannons felt perfunctory. The anti-air fire increased as they drew closer to enemy network hub. Robert dropped the bombs. The pilot, Peter Garcia, looked for a target to kamikaze.

They drew closer to the ground. Robert Manchester looked out the window. He wondered why the Eurasian AI had chosen to structure its industry around such humanoid robots.

lsusr's Shortform

I don't mind jumping through a few extra hoops in order to access a website idiosyncratically. But sometimes the process feels overly sectarian.

I was trying out the Tencent cloud without using Tor when I got a CAPTCHA. Sure, whatever. They verified my email. That's normal. Then they wanted to verify my phone number. Okay. (Using phone numbers to verify accounts is standard practice for Chinese companies.) Then they required me to verify my credit card with a nominal $1 charge. I can understand their wanting to take extra care when it comes to processing international transactions. Then they required me to send a photo of my driver's licence. Fine. Then they required 24 hours to process my application. Okay. Then they rejected my application. I wonder if that's what the Internet feels like everyday to non-Americans.

I often anonymize my traffic with Tor. Sometimes I'll end up on the French or German Google, which helps remind me that the Internet I see everyday is not the Internet everyone else sees.

Other people use Tor too, which is necessary to anonymize my traffic. Some Tor users aren't really people. They're bots. By accessing access the Internet from the same Tor exit relays as these bots, websites often suspect me of being a bot.

I encounter many pages like this.

This is a Russian CAPTCHA.

Prove you're human by typing "вчepaшний garden". Maybe I should write some OCR software to make proving my humanity less inconvenient.

Another time I had to identify which Chinese characters were written incorrectly.

The most frustrating CAPTCHAs require me to annotate images for self-driving cars. I do not mind annotating images of self-driving cars. I do mind, after having spent several minutes annotating images of self-driving cards, getting rejected based off of a traffic analysis of my IP address.

A Brief Review of Current and Near-Future Methods of Genetic Engineering

What an informative, well-researched, well-written post. I am curious about the Iterated Embryo Selection. If you use two parents then would it result in inbreeding? Would you need more than two parents to avoid inbreeding? If the latter then that could reduce the rate of adoption.

You also mention that "that optimizing for any objective X will eventually impact another objective Y if one pushes hard enough". This is true. I wonder how much of it can be avoided by both optimizing for a positive trait X while simultaneously optimizing against the traits of people with negative life outcomes.


Escape is farther from home row.

I Trained a Neural Network to Play Helltaker

The laptop is from 2013. It doesn't even have an Nvidia-compatible GPU. I actually did train on low resolution footage. The model takes a 64x64 pixel image as input.


Keyboard shortcuts are faster than the mouse. Keys accessible from homerow are faster than distant keys like the arrow keys. Keyboard shortcuts you can combine are more powerful than standalone keyboard shortcuts. As gianlucatruda mentioned, the important thing is Vim keybindings, not the editor itself. You can get a similar speed boost by installing Vim keybindings on your favorite editor.

I learned Vim very early in my programming career because I knew the upfront investment would pay itself over many times—and it has. Vim has paid my initial investment back many times over purely in terms of time saved. But speed does not just help me save time editing files. It also helps me think faster because my memory is volatile. For every time interval there is a chance I will forget a critical piece of information. My volatile memory puts a limit on how complex of a task I can handle. If my think-decide-act cycles iterate faster, I can complete more complicated tasks before my volatile memory expires.


In addition, some old Unix utilities like less use a subset of Vim keybindings by default.

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