All of Mark_Neznansky's Comments + Replies

A vote against spaced repetition

Funny. I've used triumphant LoTR music once to overcome my terrible fear of heights. I was climbing mount Kathadin with friends (including passing along "Knife Edge "), and the humming/singing out loud this music (+imagining a chopper-camera shooting from above) has completely effaced my fear. Possibly being called "Legolas" during middle-school and high-school helped, too.

A vote against spaced repetition

It was to be expected-- Someone had already created a "hierarchy Tags" addon: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1089921461

I haven't used it myself, but a comment there said "Simple, nice, and easy."

A vote against spaced repetition

This is an idea I had only toyed with but have yet to try in practice, but one can create meta-cards for non-data learning. Instead of creating cards that demand an answer, create cards that demand a drill, or a drill with a specific success outcome. I find it a bit hard to find "the best example" for this, perhaps because the spectrum of learnable-skills is so broad, but just for the sake of illustration: if you're learning to paint, you can have "draw a still object", "draw a portrait", "practice color", "prac... (read more)

A vote against spaced repetition

This is not quite a "tech-tree" dependency structure, but you can use tags to stratify your cards and always review them in sequence from basic to dependent (i.e., first clear out the "basic" cards, then "intermediate", then "expert"). Even if the grouping is arbitrary, I think you can go a long way with it. If your data is expected to be very large and/or have a predictable structure, you can always go for a "multiple-pyramid" structure, i.e, have "fruits basic" < "fruits advanced" &... (read more)

3Mark_Neznansky8yIt was to be expected-- Someone had already created a "hierarchy Tags" addon: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1089921461 [https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1089921461] I haven't used it myself, but a comment there said "Simple, nice, and easy."
A vote against spaced repetition

Just to comment on the last bit: It seems odd to me that you stress the "3 weeks BARE minimum" and the "crossing point at 3 to 6 months" as a con, while you have used SRS for three years. Given that SRS is used for retention, and assuming that 6 months is the "crossing point", one would think that after three years of consistent SRS use you'd reap a very nice yield.

I know it's a metaphoric language, but it seems additionally ironic that the "BARE minimum" you stress equals to your frequency of exams, while you disfav... (read more)

Botworld: a cellular automaton for studying self-modifying agents embedded in their environment

Being new to this whole area, I can't say I have preference for anything, and I cannot imagine how any programming paradigm is related to its capabilities and potential. Where I stand I rather be given a (paradigmatic, if you will) direction, rather than recommended a specific programming language given a programming paradigm of choice. But as I understand, what you say is that if one opts for going for Haskell, he'd be better off going for F# instead?

1V_V8yThink of programming paradigms as construction techniques and programming languages as tools. There is no technique or tool that is ideal in all situations. If you want a broad education, you might want to study one representative language for any of the main paradigms, for instance C (imperative, static typed), C++/Java/C# (imperative-object oriented, largely static typed), one of the Lisp family, such as Scheme (multi-paradigm, mostly imperative and functional, metaprogramming, dynamic typed), and one of the ML family, such as F# (functional and imperative, static typed). Python is very popular and very useful, and its basic syntax is easy to learn, but given that it is rather multi-paradigm and very high level (hiding lots of the underlying complexity) perhaps it is not the ideal place to start if you want to really understand what programming is about. At least, learn it aside something else. Similar considerations apply to "Python-like" languages such as Javascript, Ruby, Lua, etc. Generally yes.
Botworld: a cellular automaton for studying self-modifying agents embedded in their environment

I was thinking in a similar direction. From a biological perspective, computation seems to be a costly activity --- if you just think of the metabolic demand the brain puts on the human being. I assumed that it is very different with computer, however. I thought that the main cost of computation for computers, nowadays, is in size, rather than energy. I might be wrong, but I assumed that even with laptops the monitor is a significant battery drainer in comparison to the actual computer. (sorry, mainly thinking out loud. I better read this and related posts more carefully. I'm glad to see the restriction on computations per amount of time, which I thought was unbounded here).

Botworld: a cellular automaton for studying self-modifying agents embedded in their environment

PS.

I. Probably doesn't add much to the consideration of language of choice, but I thought I might as well as add it: In my conceptualization of the game, the constitution of each agent is more than the "behavioral sheet" --- there are properties of several types that constitute an interface with the environment, and affect the way the agent comes into interaction with other individuals and the environment at large (mainly the former).

II. I'm speaking here of learning programming languages as if it was as easy as buying eggs at the corner store,... (read more)

Botworld: a cellular automaton for studying self-modifying agents embedded in their environment

Hey,

Sounds very cool, promising and enticing. I do have a technical question for you (or anybody else, naturally).

I was wondering how "intentional" the choice of Haskell was? Was it chosen mainly because it seemed the best fitting programming language out of all familiar ones, or due to existing knowledge/proficiency at it at the time of formulation of the bot-world idea? How did cost/utility come into play here?

My inquiry is for purely practical, not theoretical purposes--- I’m looking for an advice. In the summer two years ago I was reading a... (read more)

1V_V8yHaskell forces you to program in the pure functional programming paradigm. This, and other related idiosyncrasies of the language (such as default lazy evaluation), require you to use specific design patterns which take time to learn and even when mastered are of questionable convenience. At best, they don't seem to provide any advantage, and at worst they actively harm expressivity and efficiency. Haskell seems mainly used by enthusiasts for hobby purposes, there seems [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Free_software_programmed_in_Haskell] to be very little free software written in Haskell besides tools for Haskell itself. Some companies claim to use it for commercial software development and/or prototyping, but it appears to be a small market. If you like the static-typed functional approach, but you don't want to struggle with the pure functional paradigm, you may want to take a look at the ML family: F# is the biggest, Microsoft-backed, member of the family, it runs on .NET but it has an open source compiler and runs on Mono. OCaml is its non-.NET ancestor which still has some significant user base. If you prefer dynamic typing, then try Scheme (Racket).
0Mark_Neznansky8yPS. I. Probably doesn't add much to the consideration of language of choice, but I thought I might as well as add it: In my conceptualization of the game, the constitution of each agent is more than the "behavioral sheet" --- there are properties of several types that constitute an interface with the environment, and affect the way the agent comes into interaction with other individuals and the environment at large (mainly the former). II. I'm speaking here of learning programming languages as if it was as easy as buying eggs at the corner store, but I wanted to mention that during my browsing Haskell did come across my attention (I actually think I've seen the name on LW before, a long time ago, which brought further attention to it), and it did seem to be a language worthwhile for me to learn, and now the existence of the Botworld seems like further evidence that it is suited to one of my current main directions of inquiry with programming --- though I wonder if at this point, where I have little existing programming proficiency, it wouldn't be better to learn another one that might be better suited to my task at hand?
Rationality Quotes April 2014

I can't comment on the size (so LW is growing?), but I have a tingling memory that long time ago (several years back) people did post LW quotes. Since LW doesn't exist that long I suppose it was the case in its inception. I can't say for sure, but actually Eugine's post seems to suggest that as well; otherwise it wouldn't have been "creeping into". Either way, should be easy to check. I do, too, think it is worthwhile to put LW quotes. I remember (I do!) reading those and being led to read the original articles whence they came.

0tut8yThere was a separate thread for that for a while.
2Eugine_Nier8yI don't think LW/OB quotes were ever allowed, but MoR quotes used to be.
How to Beat Procrastination

I suppose there were studies of placebo effect - which I haven't read - but just a thought: Could it be that placebo treatment induces the placebo effect not only by making the patients believe they perceive a positive effect, but by actually changing their behavior? Of course it depends on the treated problem, but placebo surely raises the patients' expectation of getting better and thus raises their motivation to help themselves (according to the procrastination equation).

4Procrastinus11yActually, the placebo effect has a bad rap (note: I'm really impressed by the smart questions you get on this site; this is a treat) in that it does reduce pain, remove depresion and increase confidence. If you want it do these things, the goal is to so in the most cost effective manner (and not have people buy 20,000 dollar magic healing crystals). It becomes problematic as people extend the placebo effect beyond what it can do to doing things like curing cancer and the like. As a treatment for self-efficacy, yes it is a good idea as believing does make it so (in this case).
How to Beat Procrastination

Do you know about any research that relates this to the "anti-" case of this? That is, how expectancy, "value", delay and impulsiveness affects evaluation of risk and potential future punishment and how it affects one's behavior under that evaluation?
I wonder how this can be applied to action one might perform that is shunned by society, such as crime. Perhaps it's basically the same case (we incorporate the risk and adverse effects to the value and expectancy), but it seems that there are two stages in such cases which make it more com... (read more)

5Procrastinus11yPretty much the reciprocal of the equation works for punishers. You do get different weights for objectively the same phemenon, as "Losses loom larger than gains." Ten dollars lost is more aversive, relatively, than the pleasure of ten dollars gained. The groundbreaking and hugely influential book "A General Theory of Crime" pretty much emphasizes just the impulsive aspect to criminal decisions. However, to reduce the effects of crime, as the old adage goes, "Swift and sure." That is low delay and high expectancy. We live in a society that only gets the value part, that determing crime can only be done with harsher prisons sentences. As a society, we ain't that bright.
Just Try It: Quantity Trumps Quality

I wish to expand on your conclusions and look for their limits. It might be more relevant to the "Go Try Things" post, but it being a kind of series of posts, I suppose it makes sense most to comment here.

So, data collection is good. But aside of getting one better at some area in which one tries to reach expertise or improvement, data collection is also good for discovering almost totally new facets of reality, territory that is outside the map's margins.

Data collection bring to light not only known unknowns, but unknown unknowns too. There's a ... (read more)

Just Try It: Quantity Trumps Quality

Wouldn't doing that (instead of writing up the whole argument in a full text) make you feel as if you've already achieved the materialization of the idea, hence reducing your motivation to write it in the future (which might lead to never actually writing the text)?

1Zetetic11yI'm only talking about rough sketches, very short, maybe three or four paragraphs. The material in and of itself is not something I would even want use in the future. Think of it as an artist's sketch pad; I practice (1) the purely technical aspect of my writing (2) my ability to quickly convey ideas (3) I consolidate information that was previously floating about in my skull into a nice package by anchoring it to a single event. It's much the same with guitar or visual art (a least for myself): I may work creatively on one technique by using it to write some nice riffs on guitar or I may try to consolidate the technique of pointillism into my repertoire by using it to draw a face or a land scape. The outcomes of each of these mini-studies is not an end in itself, but rather a stepping stone to mastery.
Just Try It: Quantity Trumps Quality

A "class for fun" implies that grade shouldn't matter to the participants, so, allegedly, the two different grading schemes wouldn't affect the participants' behavior.

But things (such as motivation) change as a person who did pottery for fun at home, goes to do pottery for fun in a class, don't they?

Rational Reading: Thoughts On Prioritizing Books

Assuming you're familiar with both, which one do you think works better? RescueTime or ManicTime?

1jimrandomh11yI'm only familiar with ManicTime, so I can't say which is better; I've seen others endorse RescueTime but haven't tried it. They both do essentially the same thing, though, so the difference between them and each other is small compared to the difference between them and nothing.
Spaced Repetition Database for the Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions Sequence

Anki also allows to tag cards, so instead of splitting your data bases to different decks, you can split them to different tags on a single deck. This way you can review them all together, as well as review specific tags if the need rises.

-2wedrifid12yExcellent! Thanks Mark. That's a feature that may tip the balance. I'll certainly consider Anki for the iPhone app at least.
Positive Bias Test (C++ program)

So it's not really about the laws themselves (being "mindless" or "mind") as it's the context in which the guessing/researching is done. Guessing a a natural law known by a person in front of you is different than discovering it anew by yourself.

Positive Bias Test (C++ program)

What's the difference between one's mind laws and mindless "natural" laws?

1thomblake13yYou just pointed it out. The difference between "mind" and "mindless". If a human is guessing, there are different techniques for determining things thought up by another human than things not thought up at all. (caveat: anthropic argument)
Epistemic vs. Instrumental Rationality: Approximations

It seems to me you use wrong wording. In contrary to the epistemic rationalist, the instrumental rationalist does not "gain" any "utility" from changing his beliefs. He is gaining utility from changing his action. Since he can either prepare or not prepare for a meteoritic catastrophe and not "half prepare", I think the numbers you should choose are 0 and 1 and not 0 and 0.5. I'm not entirely sure what different numbers it will yield, but I think it's worth mentioning.

0Mulciber13yWhy does it sound more like 1 than .5? If I believed the probability of my home getting struck by a meteorite was as high as .5, I would definitely make preparations.
Epistemic vs. Instrumental Rationality: Approximations

I admit that I've learned about the KL divergence just now and through the wiki-link, and that my math in general is not so profound. But as it's not about calculation but about the reasoning behind the calculation, I suppose I can have my word:

The wiki-entry mentions that

Typically P represents the "true" distribution of data, observations, or a precise calculated theoretical distribution. The measure Q typically represents a theory, model, description, or approximation of P.

So P here is 10^-18 and Q is either 0 or 0.5.

What your epistemic ra... (read more)