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The Dark Arts - Preamble

So, is the story real, and why did you include the spider (I reckon that is not real, too perfect)?

The Dark Arts - Preamble

2^12? Isn't it 12C2 (= 66), rather than 2^12 (= 4096)? It's 12P2 (=132) if we care about order (since there are two different ways to order any two toppings.)

Book Recommendations

Ok, why the downvoting? I understand the downvoting for my first comment (though I don't understand why it's parent is +1), but -1 for pointing out an inaccuracy? An explanation would be welcome.

Book Recommendations

You pirating a book will, personally, make you poorer more than it will richer? Even though it's impossible that you will get even 100% of the amount you would otherwise pay for a book?

I suppose you might feel guilty about it, and the negative utility of guilt might be greater than the economic cost, but purely economically, it's clearly good for you personally to get something for free that you would otherwise pay for.

Book Recommendations

I'm kind of unsure if piracy is on net good or bad for the world (although it's clearly good selfishly), but what the hell: gen.lib.rus.ec and lib.homelinux.org (username: gek and password: gek) are excellent sources for books about mathematics and related fields.

Book Recommendations

| Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

But stomach ulcers aren't caused by stress, they're caused by Helicobacter pylori -- although it seems like stress might slightly increase your risk of getting them.

Seeing how the book appears to have been first published long AFTER that discovery, I'm a little suspicious regarding the quality of the research.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread

It appears that a very large number of wizards are blood purists; Quirrel might just want power, and think that the best way to achieve that is by stirring up hatred for mudbloods.

Open Thread: June 2010

Uninformed opinion: space weather modelling doesn't seem like a huge market, especially when you compare it to the truly massive gaming market. I doubt the increase in demand would be significant, and if what you're worried about is rate of growth, it seems like delaying it a couple of years would be wholly insignificant.

Open Thread: June 2010

Why is LessWrong not an Amazon affiliate? I recall buying at least one book due to it being mentioned on LessWrong, and I haven't been around here long. I can't find any reliable data on the number of active LessWrong users, but I'd guess it would number in the 1000s. Even if only 500 are active, and assuming only 1/4 buy at least one book mentioned on LessWrong, assuming a mean purchase value of $20 (books mentioned on LessWrong probably tend towards the academic, expensive side), that would work out at $375/year.

IIRC, it only took me a few minutes to sign up as an Amazon affiliate. They (stupidly) require a different account for each Amazon website, so 5*4 minutes (.com, .co.uk, .de, .fr), +20 for GeoIP database, +3-90 (wide range since coding often takes far longer than anticipated) to set up URL rewriting (and I'd be happy to code this) would give a 'worst case' scenario of $173 annualized returns per hour of work.

Now, the math is somewhat questionable, but the idea seems like a low-risk, low-investment and potentially high-return one, and I note that Metafilter and StackOverflow do this, though sadly I could not find any information on the returns they see from this. So, is there any reason why nobody has done this, or did nobody just think of it/get around to it?

On Less Wrong traffic and new users -- and how you can help

I agree that getting 100s of people to link to LessWrong with the anchor text "rationality" is unlikely to provide much of a benefit (though, hey, it might -- search engines are a big black box), but LessWrong is a reasonably well-trusted site (2k backlinks, most of them quite high quality, see here); having 10s of links (and given how much emphasis Google is meant to place on anchor text at the moment), it could give a substantial boost at the margins.

IMO, I think a better question to ask is how many people are searching for the search term "rationality"? Seems like a weird thing to search for.

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