All of michaelsullivan's Comments + Replies

So one of the major issues I've identified with why our gut feelings don't always match with good expected utility models is that we don't live in a hypothetical universe. I typically use log utility of end state wealth to judge bets where I am fairly confident of my probability distributions as per Vaniver in another comment.

But there are reasons that even this doesn't really match with our gut.

Our "gut" has evolved to like truly sure things, and we have sayings like "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" partly because we ar... (read more)

I could pick the jack of spades out of a new deck of cards too; they tend to come pre-sorted. All it takes is studying another brand new deck of cards. (I'd have to do this studying before I would be able to pull this trick off, though.) My guess is that you'd want to flip it backside-up, and from the then bottom, pull 10 cards and flip the top one of that one over. Then you'll have either a Jack (if it starts with an ace, I assume this to be very likely, 50%?), a 9 (if it starts with a placeholder card, like a rule card, I presume this to be probable... like, 20%?), a Queen (if the ace is last, a la Jack Queen King Ace, 20% for this one as well) an 8 (two jokers at the front of the deck? 8%?), a 7 (2 jokers AND a rule card?! 1%) or 1% of me just being wrong entirely. It sounds like a weird distribution, but rule cards and jokers tend to be at the back, and an ace with fancy artwork tends to be at the front of the deck because it looks good. A bit of googling reveals that a new deck usually starts with the Ace of Spades, so I'd guess that flipping the deck over, then drawing 10 cards from the bottom of the deck (what used to be the front) and then flipping the 10th card over will give you a Jack of Spades.

Of course, but in relative terms he's still right, it's just easier to see when you are thinking from the point of the hungry hobo (or peasant in the developing world).

Standing from the point of view of a middle class person in a rich country looking at hypothetical bets where the potential loss is usually tiny relative to our large net worth+human capital value of >4-500k, then of course we don't feel like we can mostly dismiss utility over a few hundred thousand k, because we're already there.

Consider a bet with the following characteristics: You are... (read more)

Beware of the typical mind fallacy :-) I will take the bet. Note that, say, a middle-class maker of camel harnesses who is forced to flee his country of Middlestan because of a civil war and who finds himself a refugee in the West is more or less in the position of your "hungry hobo". This is true, but that's because log utility is not sufficient to explain risk aversion. I disagree. Consider humans outside of middle and upper-middle classes in the sheltered West, that is, the most of humanity. That is also true.

I think you're downplaying the chances that a singularity does happen in my lifetime. 90% of experts seem to think it will.

I don't. (Edit: I meant this as "I don't think I am downplaying the chances", not "I don't think the singularity will happen")

It's true that I disagree with your experts here, and Lumifer speaks to some of my reasons. I even disagree with the LW consensus which is much more conservative than the one you quote.

That said, even taking your predictions for granted, there are still two huge concerns with the singul... (read more)

thanks for the links -- although I think some of the people in Millionaire Next Door skirt closer to what OP was referring to -- people who never spend money, not to retire early or do something interesting with their money, but just to hoard it.

I have known a few people who I considered pathological savers -- people who, like the fictional Scrooge, seem to save for the sake of saving, and do not ever enjoy the wealth they have created, nor do they turn it to a useful purpose in the world via large charitable donations. This is very rare in my experience, however. The only people i have known like this are in the generation that grew up during or shortly after the Great Depression.

Agreed that inflation adjustment is important -- it usually makes sense to annuitize a portion of your portfolio to reduce longevity and market risk. The ballpark I was using is based on a 1% per year increase. hedging more against inflation with a higher escalator or CPI adjustment would be more expensive. Not adjusting at all would be less.

On housing -- it doesn't always make the most sense from a financial standpoint to pay off your mortgage. If you do, on the one hand, that's less money that you need for living expenses, on the other hand, it's ... (read more)

To answer your specific question, there are a bunch of potential alternatives.

You can use a Roth IRA to have access at least to your contributions without penalty, and have tax deferral and tax free earnings.

You should probably put enough to get the full match into your 401k no matter what, as long as you expect to become vested for the company contribution, since taking that out early and paying penalties is still a win versus forgoing the free money your employer is offering.

You can invest in plain old retail investment accounts. You will pay tax every ... (read more)

In a relatively healthy economy, to a first approximation in the medium and long term, the amount of money you make approximates how much good you are doing. As a liberal, I'll be the first to say that this has a lot of flaws as a benchmark, but in general, if you cannot find people willing to pay for, or donate to support what you are doing without you having to live on ramen forever, there has to be some question about whether what you are doing is providing value to the world comparable to a standard job in tech, finance, sales or a professional discipline, as long as you are moderately careful about who you work for in the latter cases.

Outside view of your 1 2, 3 and 4: most people end up in trajectory number 4, so thinking this is the least likely scenario needs some really good evidence.

In particular let's look at 1: How do you plan on an event that has a reasonable probability of not happening in your lifetime, and about which you know relatively nothing (if we could well predict what will happen on the other side, it won't be anything like a singularity).

Who is to say that a singularity results in happiness for everyone -- even for a positive one? From the standpoint of someone ... (read more)

0Adam Zerner8y
I'm not sure how to word this well, but "most people" haven't lived in the year 2080. Because of a) the possibility of a singularity and b) the law of accelerating returns, the "most people" that you refer to doesn't seem like an appropriate reference class to me. I think you're downplaying the chances that a singularity does happen in my lifetime. 90% of experts seem to think it will. Interesting point abut 200 years ago though. I'm having a hard time imagining the standard of living for the poor in that time period being insufficient for me, but I've noted this as something to examine further.

I think it is partly about mixup, and partly because many people don't think clearly about their financial planning until forced to. If someone who makes 100k+ and spends most of it wants to retire in the same style they are used to living, they may well need 2-4M to do so comfortably and safely if retiring early. Social security is progressive, the max you can get as a single person is around 42,000/year. To get that, you must work for 35 years at a high income level and wait to draw your check until age 70. Then you still need to produce another 58... (read more)

Two comments. Inflation is very relevant. Especially when you are talking about annuities -- SS is more or less inflation-adjusted, if you invest your retirement money into equities it will inflation-adjust by itself, but if you buy an annuity that pays you $58K/year, that usually means $58K nominal dollars (inflation-adjusted annuities tend to be much more expensive). For many people it is the case that they have paid off their mortgage by retirement age. Not having to pay a mortgage tends to noticeably reduce the living expenses.
Obligatory links: See 80,000 Hours []. See Mr. Money Mustache []. See The Millionaire Next Door [].

I think the biggest thing people who haven't thought about this deeply miss is how large the potential liability exposure is if you don't carry property and casualty insurance. As your wealth rises, and the financial hit from losing your house becomes small enough that you could realistically self-insure (say net worth 10-20x home value), it starts to be pretty much mandatory to carry some kind of umbrella policy to insure against crazy liabilities, and nobody will sell you an umbrella if you don't also have house/auto/etc. insurance. Like all insuranc... (read more)

On personal assistant, I think the 3% of wealth value will not transfer to different people simply.

For many people, the value of a personal assistant is that they can accomplish so much more with their own time. I know a number of people who have taken this approach and report that it was an investment that paid off financially for them.

If you think of it as a pure cost, then yes, you would try to pay 30k ish and not be interested until you had a very large income.

For those people I know who actually use this, they employ people who are quite skilled an... (read more)

Yes, I agree that these are highly dependent on your circumstances. My figures (so far as they were properly thought out at all) were based on my estimate of the most likely ways for me to reach the relevant level of wealth. I can think of four (none of them either very probable or spectacularly improbable) and none of them would make me benefit a lot from a PA, but for sure there are people who would benefit far more and might have good reason to employ a highly skilled PA.

So I agree 100% with 1 and 3, primarily because the profit margins on those insurances are huge, and the losses are so small.

Renters insurance and homeowners insurance on the other hand is quite inexpensive relative to what they cover, and the typical loss rates for insurers are a high percentage of premiums + float, what you are paying in premiums beyond your expected loss rate is very small but reduces the potential volatility of your wealth dramatically.

I guess it depends on what you mean by "rich", if you mean merely "financially indepen... (read more)

Thanks for the insights. I am not in the industry. I hadn't thought about the tax and creditor aspects of life insurance. I can see how those could become murky really quick. As for the cryogenics, yes I was thinking of some sort of life insurance policy. Maybe I should take it off my list since 'permanent death' would be financially devastating. My thinking was you probably have other things to focus on if you can't pay it out of pocket. As for house and renter insurance, I don't think the insurance company's profit is a good indicator of how much expected value they are for an individual - maybe a best case scenario. For example, these factors would vary by individual. Who is subsidizing them? * Subsidizing irresponsible dumb-asses (deep frying your frozen turkey indoors would qualify) * Subsidizing those with more stuff, better record keeping of it, and flat out liars * Subsidizing those who manipulate the claim adjuster better (are they as sympathetic to your case?) * Subsidizing bad law [] * Subsidizing moral hazard

The biggest problem I have with outsourcing housecleaning is that it is not only fairly expensive, but also very hard to find someone who does a good job.

We currently pay $90 every two weeks for a cleaner who comes and does about 2-3 hours worth of work. It is 2-3 hours worth of work that my wife or I could do about as fast if we chose to, and either one of us would generally do as good or better a job.

It's still probably worth it, because most of the time we didn't have a cleaner, we didn't choose to do it, even though it made us happier to have a clea... (read more)

Look to see if there are food or cooking clubs in your area -- a lot of times members will have information classes or get togethers.

I also had a great experience taking some classes in turkish cooking at a turkish cultural center where I used to live. Here's a link if you live near west haven ct:

I grabbed a 3 year old item because that's me rolling out some bread dough in the picture, but they still do these.

If you live anywhere near a decent sized city or college town, ... (read more)

Honestly, most kitchens do not need more than 4 knives. I own and use more, but I cook a lot, and have very good knife skills. I can do almost anything I need with a single large knife (ideally a santoku, but a chef's knife or chinese cleaver would do ok as well). One serrated knife for bread.

The most important thing is that whatever knife you use is good enough to hold an edge, and kept sharp. Have your knives professionally sharpened at least once a year (or learn how to do it yourself) and use a steel to hone them once a week or before/after any h... (read more)

my solution was to pack a sharpening stone. and a steel.

On MIlky Way vs. Observable universe, I would expect a very high correlation between the results of different galaxies. So simple multiplication is misleading.

That said, even with a very high correlation anything over 1% for Milky way should get you to 99+ for universe.

I admit that I did not seriously consider the number of galaxies in the universe, or realize off the cuff that it was that high and give that enough consideration. I estimated a fairly high number for Milky way but gave only 95% to the universe, which was clearly a mistake.


It seems that very few people considered the bad nanotech scenario obviously impossible, merely less likely to cause a near extinction event than uFAI.

Don't most people who report IQ scores do the same thing if they have taken multiple tests?

Not if they followed the survey instructions, which asked for only the scores from the most recent professional IQ test they took.
Possibly. My suspicion is that less people have taken multiple professional IQ tests (I've only taken one professional one) than multiple SATs (I think I took it three times, at various ages). I score significantly better on the Raven's subtest than on other subtests, and so my score was significantly higher than my professional IQ test last year- but this year I only reported the professional one, because that was all that was asked for. (I might not be representative.)

Some of us took the SAT before 1995, so it's hard to disentangle those scores. A pre-1995 1474 would be at 99.9x percentile, in line with an IQ score around 150-155. If you really want to compare, you should probably assume anyone age 38 or older took the old test and use the recentering adjustment for them.

I'm also not sure how well the SAT distinguishes at the high end. It's apparently good enough for some high IQ societies, who are willing to use the tests for certification. I was shown my results and I had about 25 points off perfect per question m... (read more)

Conversion is a very tricky matter, because the correlation is much less than 1 ( 0.369 in the survey, apparently). With correlation less than 1, regression towards the mean comes into play, so the predicted IQ from perfect SAT is actually not that high (someone posted coefficients in a parallel discussion), and predicted SAT from very high IQ is likewise not that awesome. The reason the figures seem rather strange, is that they imply some kind of extreme filtering by IQ here. The negative correlation between time here and IQ suggest that the content is not acting as much of a filter, or is acting as a filter in the opposite direction.

That scenario assumes a kind of religion that is more directly in opposition to science than is typical outside of conservative evangelicals. Admittedly that's a large faction with political power, but they aren't even a majority of christians, let alone theists.

People routinely accuse scientists of participating in conspiracies, even when there is no religion involved. Just tell them how homeopathy is not scientifically proved, or horoscopes.

That's probably true in many cases, but the "mugger" scenario is really designed to test our limits. If 3^^^3 doesn't work, then probably 3^^^^3 will. To be logically coherent, there has to be some crossover point, where the mugger provides exactly enough evidence to decide that yes, it's worth paying the $5, despite our astoundingly low priors.

The proposed priors have one of two problems:

  1. you can get mugged too easily, by your mugger simply being sophisticated enough to pick a high enough number to overwhelm your prior.

  2. We've got a prio

... (read more)
The probability that humans will eventually be capable of creating x utility given that the mugger is capable of creating x utility probably converges to some constant as x goes to infinity. (Of course, this still isn't a solution as expected utility still doesn't convege.)
That assumes that the number is independent of the prior. I wouldn't make that assumption.

Of course it is not our business to determine those boundaries in someone else's relationship.

Yet my reaction to the behavior described is very largely determined by what I imagine as the relationship context. The reason I did not have your reaction to this story is because I implicitly assumed that there was no boundary the husband had set about the fact of having clothes end up in the hamper by his hands.

I was somewhat troubled by the story, and the conversation in this subthread has clarified why -- the relationship context is crucial to determining th... (read more)

For my part, I didn't experience the positive reinforcement description in the article as being about subverting negotiated boundaries, but about changing what seem likely to be unthinking habitual behaviors that the person is barely aware of.

I don't know of anyone that I wish to be associated with who specifically desires to leave dirty clothes on the floor instead of in the hamper, it's just something that is easy to do without thinking unless and until you are in the habit of doing something differently.

If the husband in question had actually negotiated... (read more)

Everyone here who has comment on the subject of dirty clothes, myself included, has mentioned that they much prefer to put them in a designated repository. However, the precise nature of the example is not important and precisely where the boundaries of responsibility have been set in someone else's relationship are not my business to determine.

It's funny, I don't remember seeing this post initially. I just followed a link from a more recent discussion post. Just yesterday I had the experience of reading a comment I posted on a popular blog and realizing that I was being a jerk in precisely this way. I only wish I could have edited it after I caught myself, but posting an apologetic followup was helpful anyway.

I learned this general principle a long, long time ago, and it has made a huge difference in the way people respond to me.

That said, to this day, I haven't been able to fully ingrain the... (read more)

After a long hiatus from deep involvement in comment threads here -- I actually can't tell if this is serious, or a brilliant mockery of Eliezer's decisions around creating AGI [*]

The circular argument about electrons sounds like something a poor science teacher or textbook writer would say. One who didn't understand much about physics or chemistry but was good enough at guessing the teacher's password to acquire a credential.

It glosses over all the physics and chemistry that went into specifying what bits of thing-space are clumped into the identifier "electron", and why physicists who searched for them believed that items in that thing space would leave certain kinds of tracks in a cloud chamber under various conditions... (read more)

down voted: exaggeration - "no evidence whatsoever", "most frustrating thing".

The conditional probabilities are doing a lot of work here, and it seems that in many cases our estimates of them are strongly dependent on our priors.

What are our estimates for P(S|A) or P(S|notA) and how do we work them out? clearly P(S|A) is high since "The Bible is the word of God" directly implies that the bible exists, so it is at least possible to observe. If our prior for A is very low, then that implies that our estimate of P(S|notA) must be also be high, given that we do in fact observe the bible (or we must have separately a well fo... (read more)

What? That's an argument for P(S|¬A∧S) being high, not an argument for P(S|¬A) being high.

I bought one for work 6-7 years ago when they were in fashion, and used it for a short while, but found that what it did to my knees was worse than what regular chairs do to my back.

Ball chairs get very uncomfortable in the butt if I sit in them too long, but otherwise have no drawbacks.

The biggest problem with what I've seen of PUA and PUA converts is that it is very hard to distinguish these two affects.

Your typical shy guy poor dude, doesn't actually approach women with an actual trial very often. Sometimes it almost never happens.

Suppose the successful PUA can pickup 2-3% of intentional targets. They are probably targeting people everytime they are in a social situation that involves meeting new people. Perhaps this involves dozens of contacts a week, or even hundreds if they are the sort who is looking for a constant stream of one... (read more)

I'll take a stab at an explanation for the first, which will also shed some light on why I lean toward suspecting the second, but I'm not familiar enough with current academic philosophy to make such a conclusion in general.

The main thing that math has going for it is a language that is very different from ordinary natural languages. Yes, terms from various natural languages are borrowed, and often given very specific mathematical definitions that don't (can't if they are to be precise) correspond exactly to ordinary senses of the terms. But the general l... (read more)

God (a supernatural creator of the universe) exists: 5.64, (0, 0, 1) Some revealed religion is true: 3.40, (0, 0, .15)

This result is, not exactly surprising to me, but odd by my reading of the questions. It may seem at first glance like a conjunction fallacy to rate the second question's probability much higher than the first (which I did). But in fact, the god question, like the supernatural question referred to a very specific thing "ontologically basic mental entities", while the "some revealed religion is more or less true" que... (read more)

Community veterans were more likely to believe in Many Worlds, less likely to believe in God, and - surprisingly - less likely to believe in cryonics (significant at 5% level; could be a fluke).

It might be a fluke, but like one other respondent who talked about this and got many upvotes, it could be that community veterans were more skeptical of the many many things that have to go right for your scenario to happen, even if we generally believe that cryonics is scientifically feasible and worth working on.

When you say "the average person cryonica... (read more)

The phrasing of the question was quite specific: "Which disaster do you think is most likely to wipe out greater than 90% of humanity before the year 2100?"

If I estimate a very small probability of either FAI or UFAI before 2100, then I'm not likely to choose UFAI as "most likely to wipe out 90% of humanity before 2100" if I think there's a solid chance for something else to do so.

Consider that I interpreted the singularity question to mean "if you think there is any real chance of a singularity, then in the case that the singulari... (read more)

I would interpret "the latest possible date a prediction can come true and still remain in the lifetime of the person making it", "lifetime" would be the longest typical lifetime, rather than an actuarial average. So -- we know lots of people who live to 95, so that seems like it's within our possible lifetime. I certainly could live to 95, even if it's less than a 50/50 shot.

One other bit -- the average life expectancy is for the entire population, but the average life expectancy of white, college educated persons earning (or expecte... (read more)

Perhaps I should have entered "mu".

If you look at the results of the last survey, that's exactly what happened, and the mean was far higher than the median (which was reported along with the standard deviation). I agree, it would have been a big improvement to specify which sense was meant.

Also, answering year such that P( | ) would be the best way to get a distribution of answers on when it is expected. So that's what I did. If you interpret the question the other way, then anyone with a 30-49.9999% chance of no singularity, has to put a date that is quite far from where most of thei... (read more)

This giving of numbers that that fall short of a full probability distribution really can be misleading at times, can't it?!

I took the survey, but didn't read anything after "Click Here to take the survey" in this post until afterwards.

So my apologies for being extremely program-hostile in my answers (explicitly saying "epsilon" instead of 0, for instance, and giving a range for IQ since I had multiple tests). Perhaps I should retake it and ask you to throw out the original.

I did have one other large problem. I wasn't really clear on the religion question. When you say "more or less right" are you talking about cosmology, moral philosophy, histo... (read more)

Same here about the religion question. I deliberately entered a completely useless answer to it for that very reason.

Even if you do have half your face burned off a la Two-Face in the Batman series, being visibly smart and funny will boost your apparent prettiness by quite a lot.

I find that most people have some things attractive about them. If they are interesting and kindly disposed toward me, it is not hard to focus on the attractive features, and blur out the less attractive features. It works very much like the affective death spiral, but with no real negative consequences.

Once you find enough things attractive about someone, you enter the spiral, and you beg... (read more)

And no matter who you are, there's someone out there who thinks you're hot.

(while talking about the Harry Potter movies, before she'd started on MoR)

Erin: ...I did like the fluffy things, though.

Me: Fluffy things?

Erin: I forget what they're called.

Me: (thinks for a bit...)

Me: Dementors? The flying corpses in shrouds?

Erin: Yeah! Dementors are cute.

Me: Puppies are cute. Dementors are not cute.

Erin: Puppies are food.

Me: Help me, I've been shipped to Bellatrix.

Seconding this from direct experience -- and I would also add that what people find attractive is much more subjective than is commonly taken for granted.

The answer I would make to "why?" (but have never had to, as women tend to be much less clueless than men about dating) would be something like: "Because it seemed as though you were the sort of person who would feel entitled to ask me why, instead of merely accepting my answer."

It's none of someone's business why unless you choose to volunteer that information, and needing to know why you've just been turned down is a massive low-self-perceived-status signal.

The only exception to that rule would be someone that you already have a dee... (read more)

It's none of someone's business why unless you choose to volunteer that information, and needing to know why you've just been turned down is a massive low-self-perceived-status signal.

Okay, seriously? This kind of "No you can't know what you did wrong, asking means you're even lower-status" dynamic to sexuality has probably been responsible for a number of geek/Aspie suicides over the last century. The existence and popularity of PUA isn't so much a response to men who feel deprived of sex, it's targeted at men who feel deprived of sex and r... (read more)

I don't mind being asked why. I sort of prefer the presumption that I do have reasons and am able to articulate them and will be honest about them if asked. Also, assuming that these things are all true, it's not strictly impossible for someone to come up with ways around all my objections, status signal or no. If I felt the question were intrusive or something I could just refuse to answer, but why would I refuse someone feedback, if I believe they actually want it?

It's none of someone's business why unless you choose to volunteer that information, and needing to know why you've just been turned down is a massive low-self-perceived-status signal.

Contrast this with the institution of the bug report in software. In programming, everyone expects that there are going to be some errors. Everyone learns from them, programmers, current users, prospective users... I consider the social institution of nonjudgmental bug reports to be, in and of itself, a substantial benefit from computer science to society at large.

needing to know why you've just been turned down is a massive low-self-perceived-status signal.

At that point it's kind of too late to matter. The rejectee has already been liberated from the necessity to signal high status to that particular recipient. They are free to do whatever the hell they want and play whatever status they feel like in the moment.

and the sort of conversation that could destroy the friendship

Which is quite possibly a benefit, depending on the circumstances. Although there are less awkward, pointless and painful ways to go about it than 'why?' questions.

If asked in an honest (rather than a begging) tone it is a massive signal that they are a person seeking self-improvement. Yes, this means that they have accepted that they have flaws, and therefore that their status isn't as high as it could be. But I don't see how that would be a problem? Is it, in your eyes, better that someone accept that they are flawed, and seek to change that (by learning of their flaws, and fixing them) or that they believe themselves flawless?

It's still a pretty significant worry. If you know that some fiscal quarter or year will be used to qualify you for something important, it is often possible to arrange for key revenue and expenses to move around the boundaries to suit what you wish to portray in your report.

Are you certain that the likeliness of all your claims being true is not proportional to the size of the change in universe you are claiming to affect.

Almost any person can reasonably claim to be a utility generating god for small values of n for some set of common utility functions (and we don't even have to give up our god-like ability). That is how most of us are able to find gainful employment.

The implausible claim is the ability to generate universe changes of arbitrary utility value.

My proposal is that any claim of utility generation ability has pl... (read more)

I disagree that a vote down fulfills this function. A vote down does not say "i disagree", it says "I want to see less of some feature of this comment/article in the Less Wrong stream".

Sometimes that's because I disagree strongly enough to consider it foolishness and not worth discussion. But most of the time, a vote down is for other reasons. I do find that I am much more likely to vote down comments that I disagree with, and I suspect this is true for most/all Less Wrongers. But that's because I am more likely to be looking hard... (read more)

Seconded. Agreement/disagreement shouldn't be a reason for up- or downvoting. My personal policy is to never downvote immediate replies to my own comments. There's too much of a risk that I'll downvote something simply because I disagree with it.

In fact, I probably can swing by for a short time, will just have to take off at 6:45, and may not get there by 6, but I'll give it a shot.

"What the coherence proofs for expected utility show, and the point of the Allais paradox, is that the invariant measure of distance between probabilities for this purpose is the usual measure between 0 and 1. That is, the distance between ~0 and 0.01, or 0.33 and 0.34, or 0.99 and ~1, are all the same distance."

In this example. If it had been the difference between .99 and 1, rather than 33/34 and 1, then under normal utility of money functions, it would be reasonable to prefer A in the one case and B in the other. But that difference can't be... (read more)

whatever length they choose, it will be too long or too short for many/most things/people.

1 week is already a long time to devote if you are already focused on a career. I couldn't realistically do even the mini-camp without a lot of advance planning. OTOH, If you are still in school or have an academic job that gives you summers off, then 10 weeks is equivalent to a summer internship or fellowship. I'm not sure what the medium would be except maybe 2 weeks -- harder but still doable for those who don't have summers off. Once you go longer than 2 weeks, it's almost impossible for anyone with serious family or career commitments other than education/academe, so you might as well do the whole summer if it makes sense.

Hm, just to think out loud: is the visiting fellows program going on this year? If so, it might be better for me to do that, for a shorter period than the bootcamp, but while also having some level or participation in those activities. Don't know how compatible the two roles are, though.
No, there are better happy media. Plenty of career-minded people can take three weeks off. I could probably even pull off five. But doing 10 is going to mean drawing from a class of people who haven't gotten a "real" job yet, where they're paid to think, and have to hold it. As one commenter complained on the boot camp thread, this is basically setting yourself up for failure -- you don't have an independent check on your filtering ability, and indeed a visiting fellow problem had exactly such a predictable failure mode. I applied for the 10 week (while hoping it will be shortened, though fully ready to do it as planned), but I expect to be the only one there who's held a thinking job -- most other such people can't take a 10 week break. I can do it because of significant savings. Three weeks would be eminently reasonable. Making people go to either 1 or 10 is ... poorly considered.

I'd be interested but can't make it. I'm rehearsing that night for a concert on the 30th with New Haven Oratorio.

In fact, I probably can swing by for a short time, will just have to take off at 6:45, and may not get there by 6, but I'll give it a shot.

The disadvantage of excluding women (or men) is far too large. Just like any other rationalist, they have information, experience and perspective that is valuable. And more so than rationalists of the same gender as you, they can share near insight about issues personal to women and far insight into issues personal to men, that is extremely rare to find among men or a group of men. There is a whole realm of gender related affective death spirals that are terribly easy to fall into in segregated gender groups. This applies to almost any other significan... (read more)

It looks like that formula is a lot like cutting the ends off the roast.

The answer to "who cares?" is most likely "some 1930s era engineer/scientist who has a great set of log tables available but no computer or calculator".

I am just young enough that by the time I understood what logarithms were, one could buy a basic scientific calculator for what a middle class family would trivially spend on their geeky kid. I remember finding an old engineer's handbook of my dad's with tables and tables of logarithms and various probabilistic dist... (read more)

"If you improve your rationality and knowledge of basic probability to the point where it exceeds that of the average at the table you are playing at, you will (on average) make money."

Only if you are playing in an unraked home game.

In venues where you play for significant amounts of money versus strangers, there will be a house guaranteeing the fairness of the game and providing insurance against stealing, etc. and they collect a lot of money for this service relative to what a good player can expect to win. Unless you play nosebleed stakes (... (read more)

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