All of Normal_Anomaly's Comments + Replies

The Lisps, from the Album "Are We at the Movies".

Thanks for the advice. I don't want to do alternating days, because doing the same thing every day makes it easier to have as a habit (for me, anyway). More weight with less reps/set and doing a circuit both make sense. I'm sort of combining weight maintenance and strength goals, and I should probably meet with someone who advises on these questions for a living instead of winging it.

Pavel Tstatsouline certainly does, and in Naked Warrior claims daily training, even more than once daily training, works as long as it is not done until failure. It is feasible to make people do pull-ups every time they exit the kitchen, but not until failure. The mainstream advice, which recommends 48 hours of rest, is based on training to failure. I think the difference is that the not-to-failure training is less like usual training and more like work, like digging with a shovel every day as a job.

Yes, thank you! I'll add the link.

"Step 1: I decided to find an activity, sport, hobby where fitness can actually be used. In my case climbing."

My intention was to give strategies that can be used to build any good habit, not necessarily physical fitness. But within the realm of fitness, you make a good point that a sport where you can see the gains provides additional motivation on top of the desire to be healthier.

I think this is about other good habits as well. I am not sure yet if I won the battle against alcohol, but if yes, it reducing my sports performance will have been a huge part of it. Simply not dying at 50 and things like that were not strong enough motivators, I needed something more immediate, and for that I needed a goal daily drinking directly interferes with. The problem is most goods habits is just that we follow them out of a certain sense of guilt, because otherwise people will judge us, or because not doing so may kill us decades later and there is a social expectation to pretend to care about that (somehow it is not understood, that if there are people who are so depressed that they want to die right now, there must be far many more people being half-depressed who are okay with the idea of dying in a few decades, and this tends to be primary reason behind unhealthy habits, drugs, booze, cigs, overeating, but there is a strong social expectation to not be so). In this sense healthy habits are very similar today as religious piety was in the past, of course it has better reasons, but those are usually not the real reasons. Any my point is simply that for every virtuous habit, it is very important to find a short-term goal that the habit improves on, so there is some motivation beyond social expectation or a vague fear of death decades later. Or for example high school and college. I tried not to get fail grades largely because my parents expected me to live a respectable middle-class existence and I needed a marketable degree for that. If I was completely free from such social obligations, I have no idea if I had studied or just chosen the easier, shorter life of some drug-addict homeless hobo or something like that, a no-effort and not uncomfortably long life. So it was the web of obligations and mandatory gratitude pressing me, but that vague sense of duty to my parents did not give a strong enough motivation to get better than pass grades. My point is

I can now do at least two consecutive pull ups and sometimes three. Hardly world class, but I feel great about it. I also succeeded last December at the climbing route that, when I couldn't complete it, inspired me to start working out. With the cardio I started a few months ago, I've gone from panting for air and feeling awful after running a mile to being able to run two miles and start to enjoy it.

How would you suggest we find the right utility function without using machine learning?

If I find out, you'll be one of the first to know.

The point I am making is that machine learning, though not provably safe, is the most effective way we can imagine of making the utility function. It's very likely that many AI's are going to be created by this method, and if the failure rate is anywhere near as high as that for humans, this could be very serious indeed. Some misguided person may attempt to create an FAI using machine learning and then we may have the situation in the H+ article

I never claimed that evolution did a good job, but I would argue that it gave us a primary directive; to further the human species.

No, it didn't. That's why I linked "Adaptation Executers, not Fitness Maximizers". Evolution didn't even "try to" give us a primary directive; it just increased the frequency of anything that worked on the margin. But I agree that we shouldn't rely on machine learning to find the right utility function.

Only a pantheist would claim that evolution is a personal being, and so it can't "try to" do anything. It is, however, a directed process, serving to favor individuals that can better further the species. How would you suggest we find the right utility function without using machine learning?

There's little I can change about my beliefs that would improve my mood, aside from becoming implausibly optimistic about my future.

How do you think you know that? Maybe some of your beliefs or aliefs are causing wrong actions that are making you sad. From what you say elsewhere in your comment, it sounds like your depression is triggered by romantic failure, so changes to beliefs that help you relate to people better probably could improve your mood. In fact, your particular case of wanting "a relationship . . . in which nobody's deceiving anybody... (read more)

The reason in the past was probably disease and/or unintended pregnancy, and both of those can be fixed now. Also concerns about making sure women wouldn't cheat on their husbands and leave them raising someone else's kid, I think. The third reason, which is still applicable today, is that hiring a sex worker signals "can't get sex without paying, therefore undesirable" but that's probably not too big of a deal.

I'm a virgin at 25 (which is not the same as being a virgin at 55). One reason I haven't used a prostitute is that I don't want to admit to losing my virginity to a prostitute, and I also don't want to lie about it.

I can confirm this. I stayed in a hostel in London for a week last month, and got way more social interaction than I was expecting and about as much as my introverted self could stand. Including one invitation to dinner that may or may not have been a date.

Going through in order:

1 is a confession of bad epistemology,

2 is an assertion with no bad epistemology but a wrong premise,

3 is a generic wrong assertion with a "and that's beautiful" tacked on the front,

4 is a true statement largely independent of religious questions,

5 is good epistemology applied to wrong premises.

Does that engage with what you were asking, or have I misparsed you completely?

Mmm, that might be about right, I'm not clear on a few points. 1 - Is the bad epistemology from an assumption that the teacher here advocates believing in what he calls a mere human tradition (until this manifestation, anyway)? 2 - Do you mean here that the form of the teaching is sound, but that you believe it could never practically apply, because there is not God that you could hold off on "truly knowing" until you met and felt him? 3 - Ah, here, I do believe we have a misunderstanding. My question is if you detect anything wrong with the form of the assertion. If the way of thinking is irrational, rather than the implied belief it's being applied to. 4 - I think your answer here was good, thanks :) 5 - I think you're good here. Just to confirm I'm understanding, you mean that the form of the assertion is rational, but that the specific implied belief accompanying it is false, yes? Thanks much, I appreciate your brevity.

I think there's an open thread once or twice a month. Also, IMO this post would go better in an open thread than a stupid questions thread; the stupid questions thread is for sharing advice.

Actually the convention is to have a weekly Open Thread. It is usually created by the first person wanting to post an open question when the old thread has expired. That can be you, but please make it run exactly 7 days otherwise you will called to order.

IAWYC, but disagree on the last sentence: it's not an interesting question because it's a wrong question. Superintelligent AI can't have a "custodian". Geopolitics of non-superintelligent AI that is smarter than a human but won't FOOM is a completely different question, probably best debated by people who speculate about cyberwarfare since it's more their field.

"non-superintelligent AI that is smarter than a human but won't FOOM" most likely a better framing of the issue. I nevertheless think a fooming AI could be owned, so long as we have some channels of control open. That the creation or maintenance of such channels would be difficult doesn't render the idea impossible in theory.

My reaction to the first quoted statement was a big "Huh?". The only reason it would matter where superintelligent AI is first developed is that the researchers in different countries might do friendliness more or less well. A UFAI is equally catastrophic no matter who builds it; an AI that is otherwise friendly but has a preference for one country would . . . what would that even mean?Create eutopia and label it "The United Galaxy of America"? Only take the CEV of Americans instead of everybody? Either way, getting friendliness right means national politics is probably no longer an issue.

Also: I did not vote for this guy in the Transhumanist Party primaries!

I think this is at bottom a restatement of "determining the right goals with sufficient rigor to program it into an AI is hard; ensuring that these goals are stable under recursive self-modification is also hard." If I'm right, then don't worry; we already know it's hard. Worry, if you like, about how to do it anyway.

In a bit more detail:

the most promising developments have been through imitating the human brain, and we have no reason to believe that the human brain (or any other brain for that matter) can be guaranteed to have a primary direc

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Plus a sense of boredom. Those may add up to a good thing, since humans are unlikely to paperclip, ie focus on one thing obsessively.
It can easily be argued that evolution did a good job, not a bad job, by not giving us a "primary directive." The reason AI is dangerous is precisely because it might have such a directive; being an "optimizer" is precisely the reason that one fears that AI might destroy the world. So if anything, kingmaker is correct to think that since human beings are like this, it is at least theoretically possible that AI's will be like this, and that they will not destroy the world for similar reasons.
I never claimed that evolution did a good job, but I would argue that it gave us a primary directive; to further the human species. All of our desires are part of our programming; they should perfectly align with desires which would optimize the primary goal, but they don't. Simply put, mistakes were made. As the most effective way of developing optimizing programs we have seen is through machine learning, which is very similar to evolution; we should be very careful of the desires of any singleton created by this method. Mimicking the human brain is fundamental to most AI research; on DeepMind's website, they say that they employ computational neuroscientists and companies such as IBM are very interested in whole brain emulation.

That was why I was curious: presumably they didn't get here through any of the usual channels, so LW's reputation has gone somewhere I wouldn't expect. Ah well, just as well they're gone, should've asked faster.

The quality of argument in this post is awful, but the closest thing to a main point that I can extract from it is "there is no rational reason for human nudity taboos", which is amusing because it's probably true. Not important, but still true. Also, hoofwall, how did you even find this website? It's not the sort of website that people who haven't picked up a book since 8th grade usually find, let alone care to post on.

I've banned hoofwall, so there's no point in asking them. It's probably a good idea to ask new people how they found the site, just to find out how its reputation is spreading.

Maybe sometime before I die of old age, if I'm very lucky, or sufficiently shortly afterward that it's worth getting cryonics and hoping. Probably sometime within the next 100-200 years, if something else doesn't make it unnecessary by then.

I'm taking a class in Haskell, and I'd really like to know this too. Haskell is annoying. It's billed as "not verbose", but it's so terse that reading other people's code and learning from it is difficult. (Note: the person I'm on a project with likes one-letter variable names, so that's a bit of a confounder.)

That sounds like math! :) I suck at math precisely due to lack of verbosity, as I am more used to reading essays than equations my brain is used to reading fast and filtering out large chunks of what I read. This shallowness works very well for reviewing philosophy, but in math just missing one letter leads to not understanding it. This is, weirdly, how I know that much of programming is applied math it does not feel so to me. In programming, it is a taboo to call some variable a Greek letter instead of calling it UnitPriceIncludingTax. This leads to me reading code easy and reading math badly.

I wanted to do research that would have practical implications for the human condition, and I thought working on genetic diseases was the best way to do that. Various lesswrong memes convinced me that working toward uploading by advancing neuroscience was a better alternative. Also, the exposure to cognitive science on LW and the idea that human intelligence is the Most Important Thing made neuroscience seem a lot more interesting. I can't say much about the comparison, since I changed my plans while still in high school, but I'm glad I did it. For one thing, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have discovered how much I love to code.

In what kind of timeframe do you consider uploading to be relevant?

I changed my intended college major from biomedical engineering to neuroscience+compsci.

I give more money to better charities than I probably would have otherwise.

I have a regular exercise habit that I cultivated with ideas I got from LW.

I might never have read Gödel, Escher, Bach if not for LW.

LW recommended Good and Real, the book that convinced me to become vegetarian and then vegan.

I've picked up various other good habits of thought, and a much better understanding of metaethics, but those are the concretely visible ones.

ETA: also, LW convinced me tha... (read more)

As a biomedical engineering undergrad, can I ask you what prompted this decision and how the two options compare to each other, in your opinion?

Most atheists do think that there something wrong with rape and murder.

I think the problem is that Robertson doesn't know that.

Yes, he does. The whole claim underlying the argument is that atheists on some level know rape and murder are wrong, they just can't explain why.

If you're the guy organizing the London party, you did a great job making it easy for me to find the time and venue despite my unbooked face. Thank you for all the effective effort you've put in!

Thanks for the tip! The only Turkish delight I remember having was bright-colored and came in a box.

Thanks! I can see the Facebook event, and I have RSVP'd via the survey.

Here's a thought experiment. Omega offers you tickets for 2 extra lifetimes of life, in exchange for a 1% chance of dying when you buy the ticket. You are forced to just keep buying tickets until you finally die.

This suggests buying tickets takes finite time per ticket, and that the offer is perpetually open. It seems like you could get a solid win out of this by living your life, buying one ticket every time you start running out of life. You keep as much of your probability mass alive as possible for as long as possible, and your probability of being ... (read more)

Ok change it so the ticket booth closes if you leave.

Does anyone here wear makeup regularly? I'm considering starting, but I don't know if it's worth it. If it is, what sort of makeup makes sense as "light makeup"? Does that mean eyeshadow? Eyeliner? Something else?

I tend to use mascara mainly since it can be subtle or more dramatic and since I have glasses, it helps bring out my eyes behind them. Mascara is conveniently easy, not too many colors to choose from, not too much effort required to apply, and it generally looks good on everyone. I've found that my attractiveness increases significantly with just adding mascara, so I find it worthwhile. If there's a feature you want to play up, it's good to find a nice way to enhance it. Light makeup, as far as I can tell, usually refers to a little mascara, a bb cream or light foundation, and maybe a bit of lipgloss or tinted chapstick.
I wear makeup regularly (I am a lady). "Light" makeup usually means natural-looking and easy to apply. The highest-yield stuff would be something to make your skin look smooth and even (foundation, tinted moisturizer or BB creme), something to make your lips pretty (gloss looks natural and is easy to apply although lipstick is longer-lasting and less sticky), and maybe a little eye makeup (this is easier to screw up but not really that hard; start with drugstore mascara and eyeliner pencil and consult Youtube if you want to take it any further). I'm happy to recommend specific products but a lot depends on your complexion. Edit: Forgot to mention, if you have acne at all, spend money on a good concealer that matches you skin, Dermablend is the shit, this is probably worth it for gents as well as ladies
My wife is very minimalist at it, and she is saying the basic rule is, she has a wider mouth and smaller eyes so she wears eye liner and eye shadow and no lipstick to balance their size, and she would do it the other way around if her features were proportioned the other way around. I suggested her foundation as I find the illusion of perfect complexion the most attractive part of make-up illusions but she told me it is not healthy for the pores and suchlike.
This answer here: Lead me to here: I think I saw a subject-blind study somewhere that indicated men prefer light makeup to no makeup despite their claims to the contrary.

I think that might have been Harry making a mistake on purpose. At least that's how I interpreted it when I read it.

Last time I donated to the Against Malaria Foundation, I got a thank-you email that referred to me by name and said the amount of the donation. If you need people to prove to you that they donated, they could forward you the email. GiveDirectly also sends thank-you emails, but they don't say the amount, so pointing the donations at AMF would probably be better for your purposes.

I'd like to request that when the date and time of a meetup is finalized, that somebody post as much on LW. I don't have a facebook and would prefer to keep it that way, but I also don't want to miss the London party. Please and thank you.

Why not do the whole coordination here on LW instead of Facebook? Much easier to access, since everything on LW is visible without login. And creating an account is easy and has no privacy/terms of use issues.
(Writing from this account, since through some strange bug my original account can't comment on this post): I just added the Spreadsheet to the list of resources, and am just in the process of getting everyone's contact information. I hope this helps everyone who doesn't have Facebook to find the details for the parties in their area. I think posting every wrap party individually is probably a bad idea.
I'll post details to the LW London google group; and I don't know whether individually posting every wrap party to LW is a good idea, but if we collectively decide that's what we're doing, I'll do that as well. But you should be able to see the event without a Facebook account, even if you can't RSVP (and in the specific case of London, you can RSVP - we have a separate google docs survey).

Yes, please! Not everyone is on Facebook.

The math and machines and even software and Linux part: this is IMHO only partially true. I know many non-STEM nerds. Most STEM nerds have some interest in fantasy but not the other way around and IQ may be one of the factors.

This sounds plausible and I'll take your word for it. I know primarily (exclusively?) STEM nerds, so my typical mind fallacy may be inflating the percentage of Star Wars and LOTR fans who also like STEM.

What escapist-nerdiness perhaps correlates with is not IQ as such but more like family background where reading books and relat

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Good point - it is the subset of specifically using heroic fantasy is what caused by it. And some other things... like heroes who are socially excluded or self-excluded. The books summarized by this painting were the biggest deal when I was young. Spot the character nerds assoicated with the most :)

If you believe everybody is fat and it's not because of self-hatred, why did you list neckbeards' weight as evidence of their self-hatred?

It is an evidence of not simply not caring about looks.

If you count Quirrell, he has five parents, two and a half of whom happen to be dead. In fact, the half-death of Quirrell brought his Parental Survival Rate down to 0.5, so of course Draco's had to go down to stay ahead of him.

Quirrel was his fiance, not his parent.

Chaos General gets the Stone, Sunshine General gets superpowers, Dragon General gets No Parents.

So each of them gets more of something they already had.

Not even something original. General Chaos already got that Achievement before him.

You keep mentioning overweight/obesity as evidence that "neckbeards" don't care about their bodies or see themselves as worth improving. Given the current state of our knowledge on obesity, eg this I think there are much better explanations for why some nerds are fat. It's possible to love yourself and think you deserve to look great and still have a slow metabolism. Also, do we even know that being nerdy correlates with being fat?

In my youth it correlated with being rail thin. But today neckbeard is a fattish stereotype. (Hiding chin.) I would say obesity is not a key factor here, head and facial hair alone, or clothes, or hygiene are better predictors. But the point is, today the world has changed. Today it seems to be almost everybody who does not consciously work hard against it are obese. Today basically obesity is the default shape for all who do not have it in their to-do list things like exercise 3 times a week, pay attention to food and drink etc. So it is neither a predictive nor a typical trait. Almost everybody is obese today who does not give it high priority to not be one. The reason is the current social normality to derive hedons from snacks and when adult, booze. I know this - at 36 I do care, do pay attention, and am still borderline obese, because of too much free time being bored, especially socially. Uncle comes over. What do? Oh, lets have vodka or two. Beer. Eat something. Etc. time gets passed. Even if you pay attention, the "bored, no idea what to do" -> snack up, pig out or get drunk gets you fat. Because today it became normal. I think it takes a special sort of discipline to not be fat today. Or, like, really, really being good at being the opposite of depressed, like, always-having-fun: so much time to fill out and so little challenge.

So your thesis is that kids who get hated on by other kids become interested in SF and DnD for escapist reasons, rather than already being predisposed to those hobbies. This is testable/falsifiable and potentially interesting.

Observations that support your theory:

  • fiction is a really excellent way to escape and lots of people do use it for that.

  • all the stuff you say in your post: nerdier, more outcast people like weirder and more magical fictional worlds

Observations that don't support your theory:

  • escapist-nerdy interests correlate with other inter

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The first truly excellent reply. Not all fiction is a good way to escape, but you need to look at what kind of fiction I am talking about. I would call it heroic fiction. LOTR, SW and so on. This suggests being unhappy with one's self. The math and machines and even software and Linux part: this is IMHO only partially true. I know many non-STEM nerds. Most STEM nerds have some interest in fantasy but not the other way around and IQ may be one of the factors. I know more people who read and fantasize about D&D rulebooks than people who gather the courage to play it socially. Having said that, a "social alliance of social outcasts" is a non-typical kind of socializing. STEM-nerdy interests correlate with IQ, escapist-nerdy ones not. Have you ever read the Dragonlance Chronicles, the No. 1 fantasy of my youth? Point is, it is not actually difficult or complicated. Watching Game of Thrones is leaps and bounds harder, so many names and faces. Further confounding: indeed children from poor broken families are less likely to do this. What escapist-nerdiness perhaps correlates with is not IQ as such but more like family background where reading books and related activities are respected and pushed by parents. Intellectualism, in a way, bookwormery, but not necessarily IQ as far as escapist-nerdiness goes. STEM-nerdiness is indeed IQ. Interesting: in Europe, families with a more or less secular Jewish background went from worshipping The Book to worshipping "books". Literature, reading, intellectualism. Kids of this background were over-represented in this in my experience, because of the family being very approving of bookish stuff. This is intellectual, but yet not necessarily high-IQ. It is closer to liberal arts than hard-sciences, and indeed the most typical career here is historian - a certainly lower-IQ-requirement one than math.

I love how close we collectively got. Both that we came up with a solution close to the canon one, and that the canon one was just that bit more polished and elegant thanks to longer prep time.

I know, right!? I feel this is a glorious moment. Reductionism, consistency, causation. These are hallmarks of rationality and of the Methods thereof. Anybody with sufficient understanding of the situation should be able to deduce the outcome, because it is dependably going to be whatever the rational answer is! Decision Theory allows us to identify the best course for a certain set of values and goals, and the rational answer will be the same for everyone. That this actually worked is a sign of the very tight internal consistency of the story. That this would almost never work in any other story is a powerful indicator of the opposite.

Make sure you post this in a review, even if it doesn't end up being directly relevant to the solution you post. And mention that this fact should be considered in the judging of everyone else's solutions.

I don't care if it's a mistake or a clue. Writing a book of this sort, and then dropping this test on us, makes him 100% fair game for treating all mistakes as clues, poking at them, and generally getting any advantage we can out of their existence.

Agreed. However, if we are in the mirror (or being mislead about location in some other way), I would expect things to make more sense after coming to that realisation. So far, they don't. I'm trying to think up all my other confusions, and other evidence for mirror scenarios to try to make it all fall into place. * The mirror seems too mysterious to have finished its role in the story - Harry can understand more of the false words of comprehension, but he hasn't twigged yet. What could understanding "I show not your face but your coherent extrapolated volition." help with now? * Dumbledore has learned not to cave to the terrorist's demands - seeing Harry as a hostage, I expected Dumbledore to trap them both. * Hermione was resurrected awfully easily. I will go looking through other people's solutions for more evidence.

Re the no kids thing: as of the latest survey, LW is 81% childless but with a median age of 27.67. It's possible that a lot of the people on here today will be parents in 10 years.

Can people who have posted their solutions to FFN state as much in their comments so we don't have to wade through the FFN reviews?

Warning for minor grossness: Harry can Transfigure bits of his body hair/skin into things, without appearing to move his wand. I don't currently see any particular use for this, but I wanted to mention it just in case.

This is a story where a young girl has her legs chewed off by a troll and dies. Do we really need warnings about transfiguring bits of skin?
A one-atom wide line of antimatter along his skin, down through his shoes, through the ground, and into Voldemort's brain, where you make a microgram lump. Still doesn't kill him, precisely, but it should at least make him mad
He could also transfigure a few micrometres of wood from the end of the wand itself.

From the minutes after Trelawney's interrupted "he is coming" prophecy:

"If someone's going to tear apart the Sun we're really in trouble!" That seemed rather unlikely to Harry, unless the world contained scary things which had heard of David Criswell's ideas >about star lifting.

Harry, you are the scary thing. (And I really hope Harry ends the world as we know it.)

Here's a possibility. Harry is currently in a pretty bad position, perhaps the worst part of which is that anything he can think of, Quirrelmort can think of. He needs an advantage Quirrelmort won't expect. Meanwhile, a fairly intelligent, highly motivated and nearly impossible to kill young woman, who Quirrel thinks of as totally safe and harmless, is right over there. I'm not ready to predict that Hermione will at some point wake up and do something really useful, but it would be really cool if she did.

The two things I see more likely to get Harry out of his trap is partial transfiguration (which Quirrelmort doesn't know about) and Hermione, yes.

The physical evidence indicates atheism is probably true

Only atheists can honestly assert that statement.

That assertion may depend on how one unpacks atheism, physical evidence, and probably.

Anecdote time! There was a period when I loved pasta but wouldn't eat pizza because I had not yet grasped that Tomatoes Are Awesome. Also that book made me classify Turkish Delight as a drug, and Drugs Are Bad don'tcha know. And then when I finally got some I realized it also tastes bad.

Turkish Delight isn't just one thing. I've had mediocre bright-colored (and probably artificially flavored) turkish delight, and delicious fresh transparent turkish delight flavored with rose water. If you care about the subject, you should see if you have access to a middle eastern shop where you can get the good stuff. Tentative theory: the good stuff isn't packaged, so it has to be fresh. If it wasn't fresh, it would have dried out.

So you'd be happy with this world if it all existed inside a small piece of the galactic computronium-pile, and there was lots more of it? I actually hadn't considered that, because I just assume all post-Singularity futures are set inside the galactic computronium-pile unless explicitly stated otherwise.

Update: I kept the gym habit, but stopped posting on LW and never bothered writing the post. mild embarassment

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