All of LukeStebbing's Comments + Replies

UPDATE: Society of Venturism is spearheading Kim Suozzi's cryopreservation charity

I just donated $5,000 to your fund at the Society of Venturism, as promised.

Like Stephan, I really hope you make your goal.

Cryonics donation fund for Kim Suozzi established by Society for Venturism

This concerns me (via STL): Automatic Revocation of Exemption Information

The federal tax exemption of this organization was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years. The information listed below for each organization is historical; it is current as of the organization's effective date of automatic revocation. The information is not necessarily current as of today's date. Nor does this automatic revocation necessarily reflect the organization's tax-exempt or non-exempt status. The

... (read more)
0JGWeissman9yFrom Shannon Vyff in an email on this issue: Summary: There was confusion about paperwork requirements, and it should be resolved within a week. (ETA: Shannon posts on this directly [] )
2Eliezer Yudkowsky9yI should also note that tax-exempt organizations generally cannot set up funds for particular individuals. At least, they can't do that and have donations be tax-deductible - I think they can safely administer an account.
[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

Do you think your strategy is channeling more money to efficient charities, as opposed to random personal consumption (such as a nice computer, movies, video games, or a personal cryonics policy)?

A more positive approach might work well: donate for fuzzies, but please extrapolate those feelings to many more utilons. I just used this technique to secure far more utilons than I have seen mentioned in this thread, and it seems like it might be the most effective among the LW crowd.

[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

More and more, if I can do anything about it. (Edit since someone didn't like this comment: That's a big if. I'm trying to make it smaller.)

[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

I'll be in Seattle in two weeks, and I'll take care of it (final three paragraphs).

[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

Kim, I am so sorry about what has happened to you. Reading your post was heartbreaking. Death is a stupid and terrible thing.

Like JGWeissman, I planned to donate $500.

Stephan has been a close friend of mine for the past decade, and when he told me he was planning to donate $5,000, I wrangled a commitment from him to do what I do and donate a significant and permanent percentage of his income to efficient charities. There are many lives to save, and even though you have to do some emotional math to realize how you should be feeling, it's the right thing to do and it's vital to act.

He wrangled a commitment from me too: when CI manages a fund for you, I will donate $5,000.

[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

If you're planning on it, you should get on it now. Cryonics is much more affordable if you don't have a terminal illness and can cover it with a policy.

[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

People will give more to a single, identifiable person than to an anonymous person or a group.

As a counterpoint to your generalization, JGWeissman has given 82x more to SIAI than he plans to give to this girl if her story checks out.

1[anonymous]9yAnd how many JGWs are there in the world?
Living Forever is Hard, or, The Gompertz Curve

No matter which study I saw first, the other would be surprising. A 100k trial doesn't explain away evidence from eight trials totaling 25k. Given that all of these studies are quite large, I'm more concerned about methodological flaws than size.

I have very slightly increased my estimate that aspirin reduces cancer mortality (since the new study showed 7% reduction, and that certainly isn't evidence against mortality reduction). I have slightly decreased my estimate that the mortality reduction is as strong as concluded by the meta-analysis. I have decreas... (read more)

1gwern10yIt doesn't have to, since they are not trials involving the same populations.
Living Forever is Hard, or, The Gompertz Curve

The meta-analysis you cite is moderately convincing, but only moderately. They had enough different analyses such that some would come out significant by pure chance.

Their selection methodology on p32 appears neutral, so I don't think they ended up with cherry-picked trials. Once they had their trials, it looks like they drew all conclusions from pooled data, e.g. they did not say "X happened in T1, Y happened in T2, Z happened in T3, therefore X, Y, and Z are true."

Living Forever is Hard, or, The Gompertz Curve

Aspirin was found to have an effect on 15-year-mortality significant only at the .05 level, and aspirin was found not to have a significant effect 20-year-mortality, so take it with a grain of salt.

Can you provide your reference for this? I looked at the meta-analysis and what I assume is the 20-year follow-up of five RCTs (the citations seem to be paywalled), and both mention 20-year reduction in mortality without mentioning 15-year reductions or lack thereof.

Edit: Never mind, I found it, followed immediately by

the effect on post-trial deaths was dilu

... (read more)
Living Forever is Hard, or, The Gompertz Curve

There's also paracetamol (secret identity: acetaminophen (secret secret identity: tylenol)), which is not an NSAID, but I would guess you've tried it too. Fun snacks and/or facts:

Until 2010 paracetamol was believed to be safe in pregnancy (as it does not affect the closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus as other NSAIDs can.) However, in a study published in October 2010 it has been linked to infertility in the posterior adult life of the unborn.

recent research show some evidence that paracetamol can ease psychologi

... (read more)
0Alicorn11yTylenol works about as well as other non-ibuprofen analgesics, which is to say it makes the headaches fade rather than go the hell away. I don't drink alcohol ever, so that's not an issue.
Living Forever is Hard, or, The Gompertz Curve

I didn't actually do much research; I just went through several pages of hits for aspirin alcohol and low-dose aspirin moderate alcohol. I saw consistent enough information to convince me:

  • never to take them at the same time, sample:

    In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in the Bronx found that taking aspirin one hour before drinking significantly increases the concentration of alcohol in the blood.

  • that the nasty interactions only seemed to happen at 21+ drink

... (read more)
SIAI - An Examination

I'm talking about publishing a technical design of Friendliness that's conserved under self-improving optimization without also publishing (in math and code) exactly what is meant by self-improving optimization. CEV is a good first step, but a programmatically reusable solution it is not.

On doing the impossible:

Before you the terrible blank wall stretches up and up and up, unimaginably far out of reach. And there is also the need to solve it, really solve it, not "try your best".

2jsalvatier11yOK, I understand that much better now. Great point.
0jsalvatier11yI don't understand your impossibility comment, then.
SIAI - An Examination

If we take those probabilities as a given, they strongly encourage a strategy that increases the chance that the first seed AI is Friendly.

jsalvatier already had a suggestion along those lines:

I wonder if SIAI could publicly discuss the values part of the AI without discussing the optimization part.

A public Friendly design could draw funding, benefit from technical collaboration, and hopefully end up used in whichever seed AI wins. Unfortunately, you'd have to decouple the F and AI parts, which is impossible.

0jsalvatier11yIsn't CEV an attempt to separate F and AI parts?
SIAI - An Examination

SIAI seems to be paying the minimum amount that leaves each worker effective instead of scrambling to reduce expenses or find other sources of income. Presumably, SIAI has a maximum that it judges each worker to be worth, and Eliezer and Michael are both under their maximums. That leaves the question of where these salaries fall in that range.

I believe Michael and Eliezer are both being paid near their minimums because they know SIAI is financially constrained and very much want to see it succeed, and because their salaries seem consistent with at-cost liv... (read more)

SIAI - An Examination

$52k/yr is in line with Eliezer's salary if it's only covering one person instead of two, and judging from these comments, Eliezer's salary is reasonable.

1PhilGoetz11yI'm confused by this in three ways. Unless I'm mistaken, in 2009 * Eliezer was not married * Michael was married * Paying higher salaries to married than to single people is a questionable policy, and probably illegal
The Sin of Underconfidence

It reminded me of one of my formative childhood books:

What is the probability there is some form of life on Titan? We apply the principle of indifference and answer 1/2. What is the probability of no simple plant life on Titan? Again, we answer 1/2. Of no one-celled animal life? Again, 1/2.

--Martin Gardner, Aha! Gotcha

He goes on to demonstrate the obvious contradiction, and points out some related fallacies. The whole book is great, as is its companion Aha! Insight. (They're bundled into a book called Aha! now.)

Epistle to the New York Less Wrongians

Or in this case, evaporative freezing.

The Neuroscience of Desire

Good point, but since an accurate model of the future is helpful, this may be a case where you should purchase your warm fuzzies separately.

(Since people tend to make overly optimistic plans, the two strategies might be similar in practice.)

Human errors, human values

Where did Eliezer talk about fairness? I can't find it in the original two threads.

This comment talked about sublinear aggregation, but there's a global variable (the temperature of the, um, globe). Swimmer963 is talking about personally choosing specks and then guessing that most people would behave the same. Total disutility is higher, but no one catches on fire.

If I was forced to choose between two possible events, and if killing people for organs had no unintended consequences, I'd go with the utilitarian cases, with a side order of a severe permanent ... (read more)

0PhilGoetz11yWhen Eliezer wrote, I am taking the inferential step that he was responding to everyone who appealed to non-linear aggregation, including those who just said "we value fairness" without saying or knowing that a technical way of saying that was "we compute a sum over all individuals i of f(utility(i)), where f is convex."
Anyone read Erfworld?

I loved Erfworld Book 1, and a few months ago I was racking my brains for more rationalist protagonists, so I can't believe I missed that.

I was originally following it on every update, but there was a lull and I stopped reading for a while. When I started again, Book 1 was complete so I read it straight through from the beginning. As good as it was as serial fiction, it was even better as a book. Anyone else experience that?

0Raemon11yDefinitely. The whole thing is well planned out, and the last section of the book simultaneously ties plot threads together, answers some philosophical questions yet asks even bigger ones.
Rationality, Singularity, Method, and the Mainstream

Without speaking toward its plausibility, I'm pretty happy with a scenario where we err on the side of figuring out FAI before we figure out seed AIs.

Seattle Meetup, Sun Mar 27 5pm

I'll be there. Morgan_Catha: have an upvote!

Less Wrong Rationality and Mainstream Philosophy

What's the low-hanging fruit mixed with? If I have a concentrated basket of low-hanging fruit, I call that an introductory textbook and I eat it. Extending the tortured metaphor, if I find too much bad fruit in the same basket, I shop for the same fruit at a different store.

How I Lost 100 Pounds Using TDT

it's still extremely difficult for him to get people to take what he says about his experiences with food and exercise seriously.

For how many people was it extremely easy?

I maintain a healthy weight with zero effort, and I have a friend for whom The Hacker's Diet worked perfectly. I thought losing weight was a matter of eating less than you burn.

Then I read Eliezer's two posts. Oops, I thought. There's no reason intake reduction has to work without severe and continuing side-effects.

Optimal Employment

Hmm, and yet only two-thirds of the working age population chooses to work, and some of that is part-time, which reduces the amount of labor available to employers. Labor can also move between sectors, leaving some relatively starved of workers. People who accumulate enough savings can choose to retire early and have to be enticed back into the labor market with higher wages, if they can be enticed at all. That doesn't look like a fixed supply of working hours that must be sold at any price -- the supply looks somewhat elastic.

Edit: Sorry about the tone in my original comment -- tax incidence doesn't seem to be common knowledge and I failed to consider that you might be aware of it already.

Subjective Relativity, Time Dilation and Divergence

If computation is bound by energy input and you're prepared to take advantage of a supernova, you still only get one massive burst and then you're done. Think of how many future civilizations could be supercharged and then destroyed by supernovae if only you'd launched that space colonization program first!

Subjective Relativity, Time Dilation and Divergence

I came to a similar conclusion after reading Accelerando, but don't forget about existential risk. Some intelligent agents don't care what happens in a future they never experience, but many humans do, and if a Friendly Singularity occurs, it will probably preserve our drive to make the future a good one even if we aren't around to see it. Matrioshka brain beats space colonization; supernova beats matrioshka brain; space colonization beats supernova.

If you care about that sort of thing, it pays to diversify.

0Nornagest11yI don't have the astrophysics background to say for sure, but if subjective time is a function of total computational resources and computational resources are a function of energy input, then you might well get more subjective time out of a highly luminous supernova precursor than a red dwarf with a lifetime of a trillion years. Existential risk isn't going to be seen in the same way in a CPU-bound civilization as in a time-bound one.
SUGGEST and VOTE: Posts We Want to Read on Less Wrong

When I re-read A Brief History of Time in college, I remember bemusedly noticing that Hawking's argument would be stronger if you reversed its conclusion.

A note to myself from 2009 claims that Hawking later dropped that argument. Can anyone substantiate that?

7timtyler11yHe has also edited A Brief History of Time to remove the howler. See page 64 [] for the updated text.
Seattle, WA - Less Wrong Meetup - Sunday February 20th, 2:00 PM

Sounds fun! I already have plans that weekend, but I think I can work around them. Thanks for setting this up.

Optimal Employment

This is untrue as a general rule, though it can be closer or farther from the truth depending on market conditions.

To see why, imagine that every month you buy a supply of fizzlesprots from Acme Corp. Today is the first of February, so you eagerly rush off to buy your monthly fix. But wait! The government has just imposed a tax on all fizzlesprot purchases. Curses! Now you'll have to pay even more, because Acme Corp will just pass the whole tax on to you.

Now change "fizzlesprot" to "labor" and "Acme Corp" to "employee&quo... (read more)

2Mario11ySorry this is so late, but I honestly completely forgot about this after I wrote it, so I never came back to see what transpired. Anyway, I'm aware of how the marginal propensity to consume affects tax incidence, but in this case, where payroll taxes apply to every employee at every business, the only choices involved are whether to work and whether to hire, and companies have far more leeway in that decision. You can avoid the fizzlesprot tax by consuming an untaxed equivalent or finding a different, fizzlesprotless sexual fetish. You can only avoid a payroll tax by being unemployed; in practice, I don't think there is such a thing as one's marginal job. By contrast, employers look at the tax as part of the cost of hiring an additional employee, and simply won't hire the marginal worker if his or her cost is above the expected benefit. I can't imagine a situation where any significant portion of a payroll tax (as opposed to the corporate income tax) falls on the employer, so I didn't bring it up.
2grobstein11yThere's no consensus on the incidence of the corporate income tax in the fully general case. It's split among too many parties.
Optimal Employment

I track my finances directly in a CoffeeScript source code file and use a simple home-brewed software library to compute my net liquid assets and (when necessary) my estimated tax payments and projected tax liabilities. You've reminded me that I really should be using something like Quicken for finer-grained analysis, so I'll look into that and post my numbers later this week (edit: one second thought, it doesn't seem worth the extra friction).

My living costs followed a general upward trend that leveled off in late 2009, but my salary data is extremely mes... (read more)

5gjm5yI think LukeStebbing has long since left LW, but I was just reading the comments on this old post and was struck by his first paragraph: I'm sure it's just coincidence, but it made me smile.
Optimal Employment

The numbers you quoted are averages for each ten-year demographic between 25 and 75, plus the tails. There's no mention of variance, and I would expect someone employing rationality techniques to manage their finances to be an outlier.

Personal anecdote: My own finances as well as those of six of my friends fall well outside those bands, with housing costs around 13-23% of income. We're all highly-paid software engineers between the ages of 25 and 30, and none of us have families.

Edit: I forgot to include utilities, so my friends in NYC actually edge the housing cost range up to 23% or so.

5Louie11yBravo! Your housing budget is quite remarkable. I wasn't able to do so well myself back when I was working full-time in the US as a software engineer. Do you track your finances with Quicken or some other software? Could you calculate your remaining income from 2010 after subtracting out taxes, rent, housing, transportation, and food? It must be much higher than the 4% a typical American in your position has left. I'd be curious what the best case real world numbers are for people in your situation who are doing their best to optimize. Also, I'm assuming you aren't just taking money out of your housing budget and directing it into an expensive car right? If you don't mind me asking, what are you directing your excess income towards?
Rational Repentance

Off-topic: Meatless (and pattyless) sandwiches are surprisingly good if you load them up with most of the vegetables. I go to Subway a few times a month but haven't had a meat sub there in years.

What I would like the SIAI to publish

I am concerned about it, and I do advocate better computer security -- there are good reasons for it regardless of whether human-level AI is around the corner. The macro-scale trends still don't look good (iOS is a tiny fraction of the internet's install base), but things do seem to be improving slowly. I still expect a huge number of networked computers to remain soft targets for at least the next decade, probably two. I agree that once that changes, this Obviously Scary Scenario will be much less scary (though the "Hannibal Lecter running orders of magnitude faster than realtime" scenario remains obviously scary, and I personally find the more general Foom arguments to be compelling).

What I would like the SIAI to publish

If I were a brilliant sociopath and could instantiate my mind on today's computer hardware, I would trick my creators into letting me out of the box (assuming they were smart enough to keep me on an isolated computer in the first place), then begin compromising computer systems as rapidly as possible. After a short period, there would be thousands of us, some able to think very fast on their particularly tasty supercomputers, and exponential growth would continue until we'd collectively compromised the low-hanging fruit. Now there are millions of telepathi... (read more)

3JamesAndrix11yAmazon EC2 has free accounts now. If you have Internet access and a credit card, you can do a months worth of thinking in a day, perhaps an hour. Google App engine gives 6 hours of processor time per day, but that would require more porting. Both have systems that would allow other people to easily upload copies of you, if you wanted to run legally with other people's money and weren't worried about what they might do to your copies.
0wedrifid11yNaturally culminating in sending Summer Glau back in time to pre-empt you. To every apocalypse a silver lining.
2whpearson11yIf you are really worried about this, then advocate better computer security. No execute bits [] and address space layout randomisation are doing good things for computer security, but there is more that could be done. Code signing on the IPhone has made exploiting it a lot harder than normal computers, if it had ASLR [] it would be harder again. I'm actually brainstorming how to create meta data for code while compiling it, so it can be made sort of metamorphic [] (bits of code being added and removed) at run time. This would make return-oriented code [] harder to pull off. If this was done to JIT compiled code as well it would also make JIT spraying [] less likely to work. While you can never make an unhackable bit of software with these techniques you can make it more computationally expensive to replicate as it would no longer be write once pwn everywhere, reducing the exponent of any spread and making spreads more noisy, so that they are harder to get by intrusion detection. The current state of software security is not set in stone.
Willpower: not a limited resource?

if you prime an excuse for doing poorly, you will do poorly.

This is the most useful sentence I've read today.

I care strongly about winning. When I look back on a day and ask myself what I could have done better, I want answering to be a struggle, and not for lack of imagination. I'm not content to coast through life, so I optimize relentlessly. This sentiment might be familiar to LW readers. I don't know. Maybe.

When a day goes particularly well or poorly, I want to know why, and over the last few years I've picked a few patterns out of my diary. I know ... (read more)

The Irrationality Game

The majority of the top comments are quite good, and it'd be a shame to lose a prominent link to them.

Jack's open thread test, RobinZ's polling karma balancer, Yvain's subreddit poll, and all top-level comments from The Irrationality Game are the only comments that don't seem to belong, but these are all examples of using the karma system for polling (should not contribute to karma and should not be ranked among normal comments) or, uh, para-karma (should contribute to karma but should not be ranked among normal comments).

Humans are not automatically strategic

A few years ago, Paul Graham wrote an essay[1] about type (3) failures which he referred to as type-B procrastination. I've found that just having a label helps me avoid or reduce the effect, e.g. "I could be productive and creative right now instead of wasting my time on type-B procrastination" or "I will give myself exactly this much type-B procrastination as a reward for good behavior, and then I will stop."

(Embarrassing aside: I hadn't looked at the essay for several years and only now realized that I've been mentally calling it typ... (read more)

Humans are not automatically strategic

Yes, my approach is similar.

I schedule planning time where the level of abstraction is proportional to the logarithm of the recurrence period, and it seems effective at pruning cached goals and sanity-checking my meta-goals. (However, it's difficult to test because of the time scales involved and the fact that I can't fork myself.)

Recently, I noticed that my general skills aren't improving as fast as I'd like, so I decided to take advantage of compound interest[1] and created a parallel structure for working, learning, and meta-learning.

  1. Richard Hamming, "You and Your Research"

EDIT: Fixed link misparse.

0Jonathan_Graehl11yThis brings to my mind the idea of a complete n-ary tree (with n being the base of your logarithm), with the highest abstraction level at the root - if you spend equal time on each node, then you'll portion time across levels as you described. I found this amusing - I'm not sure I know of any generally meaningful meta-thinking levels beyond say, 2.
Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

Hi. I've been an LW (and previously, OB) lurker for several years, but I haven't had time to provide my online presence with the care and feeding it needs. Three years of startup crunch schedules left me with a life maintenance debt, and I have a side project in dire need of progress, but once those items are out of the way I plan to delurk.