All of Paul_G's Comments + Replies

Spend Money on Ergonomics

I'm a university student trying to decide between the Torbjorn and an Aeron. Normally I'd just go with the cheaper option, but I'd like to know if there's enough of a difference to justify spending ten times more on the Aeron. I've worked in an Aeron before, and while they're very comfortable, I don't want to drop that kind of money on comfort without long term benefit.

Does anyone have any numbers or anecdotal evidence to help sway my decision in either direction? Thanks!

Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012

This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you kindly, looking through it as soon as I find time.

Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012

Teacher in a geology class who is decidedly non-rationalist mentioned that 800 years thing, without a source. Something about thickness of a line.

This is the first topic I've found in which I have no idea how to dissect this and figure out what's going on. It appears that there are incredibly powerful arguments for both sides, and mountains of strong evidence both for and against human caused climate change... Which shouldn't be possible. A lot of the skeptics seem to have strong arguments countering many of the "alarmist" ideas...

I'm not a good ... (read more)

3Mitchell_Porter9yThe lag is a phenomenon of the ice age cycle, which is caused by orbital shifts but amplified by emission or absorption of carbon dioxide by the ocean. It takes the ocean about a thousand years to respond to changed atmospheric temperature.
Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012

Why do LWers believe in global warming? The community's belief has changed my posterior odds significantly, but it's the only argument I have for global warming at the moment. I saw the CO2 vs temperature graphs, and that seemed to sell it for me... Then I heard that the temperature increases preceded the CO2 emissions by about 800 years...

So why does the community at large believe in it?


2drnickbone9yYou might want to look at Skeptical Science [] which lists a large number of arguments raised by skeptics of global warming, and what climate science has to say about them. "CO2 lags temperature" is number 11 on the list. Here is the basic response:
6blashimov9yI believe it is true as an environmental engineer engaged in atmospheric modeling. Atmospheric modeling is a field in which the standard scientific method seems to be working well, that is, there is a large benefit to researchers who are right and/or can prove others wrong. This means that there is a lot of effort going into improving models that are already quite accurate, to the limits of the data you input. For example, the 1990 model of climate change does quite well if you give it better data, and at least correctly predicts the temperature trend with bad data. [] Similar to comments below, the IPCC is an enormous body, and I find invalidating their arguments to require an implausible conspiracy theory. You can look up the executive summary for the various reports at your leisure, they are quite readable.
6Bakkot9yThis is one of those things you should probably just take on authority [], like relativity or the standard model of particle physics. That is to say, it's an exceedingly complex topic in practice, and any argument stated for either side which can readily be understood is likely to be wrong. You have two or three options: study the field long enough to know what's going on, or trust the people who have already done so. (The third option, 'form an opinion without having any idea what's going on', is also commonly taken.) In short: I believe it's happening because this is what scientists tell me, and it's not worth putting in the time required to understand the field well enough that I could trust my opinion over theirs.
-4drethelin9yI don't know if there's an official consensus in the way you seem to think there is. My personal point of view is that it seems fairly obvious that dumping tons of shit into the atmosphere is going to have an effect, and is not good for various obvious health and pleasant atmosphere reasons. There are also reasonable arguments about not upsetting existing equilibria that exist. On the other hand, speculations about disastrous scenarios seem blatantly over-specified and ridiculous to me. We've had dozens of Ice Ages and warm epochs throughout earths' history, obviously not caused by humans, and we have no idea how they worked or ended or whatnot. I think worrying about global warming as a disaster scenario is ridiculous and semi-religiously enforced for political power as well as tribal affiliation.
0FiftyTwo9ySource? I have lots of reasons for believing in climate change I could quote at you, but they can mainly be found on the relevant wikipedia pages (so I assume you've already looked at them). So why am I putting more credence on those arguments than you? (Assuming we're both equally rational/sane/intelligent). What it comes down to when you abstract from individual arguments, is that those who have most domain specific expertise strongly believe it to be true. In general it is best to trust experts in a particular domain unless you have strong reasons to believe that field is flawed. Absent improbable conspiracy theories I have no reason to in this case.
6[anonymous]9yCan't speak for the community at large. CO2 blocks some frequencies of infrared. This is known and uncontested by even the craziest deniers. Without an atmosphere the earth's average temperature would be around -20 C. You can calculate this based on radiation theory. (that specific number may be wrong, but it's around there). An atmosphere with CO2 (and some other major ones I don't remember) blocks a higher proportion of the radiation from earth than from the sun (because the earth radiation is mostly infrared near the range blocked by CO2). With a model for that, you can recalculate the surface temperature. It will be much higher. edit: (on the other hand, now that I think about it, I can't prove to myself that absorbant CO2 will actually cause a greenhouse effect. Maybe it's reflective, which would cause greenhouse...) /edit edit2: ok I just read the wiki article. Everything they tell you about how the greenhouse effect works is wrong. It's not that the atmosphere somehow blocks the outgoing radiation, as that would violate the second law by allowing the earth to heat up relative to it's surroundings. The real mechanism is that the absorbtion surface (the ground) and the emission surface (roughly tropopause) is seperated by a mechanism that enforces a temperature difference (adiabatic lapse rate). I need to think about this more. /edit That analysis does not include things like the effect of temperature on albedo (clouds and snow), which changes things, and other effects, but it gives you rough bounds for what must happen. The model establishes a causal link from CO2 to temperature (there are also links the other way, like forest fires and desertification). Beyond that, though, climate science is mostly empirical I think. My rough belief is that global warming is a thing, but is probably hyped up a bit too much for political reasons.
Meetup : Montreal Meetup - Biases and Biased Boardgaming

It's weekly, but on Mondays, not Tuesdays. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Meetup : Montreal Meetup - Biases and Biased Boardgaming

Serious issue - I made a typo. This should be December 3rd. Do not show up today, we meet weekly on Mondays.

0Paul_G9yIt should actually be December 3rd.
The Fabric of Real Things

"We can imagine any number of universes, that does not always lead to a good argument. In this case, the main issue with the argument is that while we can imagine that universe, it doesn't look like ours. There's no talk of consciousness, there's no self-reflection. Those are things in reality clearly caused by a link between our thoughts and our brains, one that goes in both directions.

Imagining a world in which people act exactly like people do now, but without a consciousness, strays so clearly outside the bounds of Occam's Razor that there doesn't... (read more)

The Fabric of Real Things

As someone with some experience dealing with this, having learned how difficult it is to fix I would reply something like "You are wrong. If you want to learn WHY you're wrong, tell me and we can work on this together. Otherwise, I'm going to go now."

Playing the game a bit: "Okay, bear with me a moment, this is going to sound a little odd.

I'm not sure what you mean by "outside the realm of causal processes". Does that mean it happens on its own, with no outside influence at all? Nothing causes it, it just... Happens? Even if it's a... (read more)

Causal Diagrams and Causal Models

Ah, okay. This makes sense to me, but I found the wording rather confusing. I'll have to warn people I suggest this article to, I suppose.

Thank you kindly!

Causal Diagrams and Causal Models

I don't post here much (yet), and normally I feel fairly confident in my understanding of basic probability...

But I'm slightly lost here. "if the Sidewalk is Slippery then it is probably Wet and this can be explained by either the Sprinkler or the Rain but probably not both, i.e. if we're told that it's Raining we conclude that it's less likely that the Sprinkler was on." This sentence seems... Wrong. If we're told that it's Raining, we conclude that the chances of Sprinkler is... Exactly the same as it was before we learned that the sidewalk was... (read more)

5RichardKennaway9yThe probability of Sprinkler goes up when we learn the sidewalk is Slippery, but then down -- but not below its original level -- when we learn that it is raining. (Note that the example is a little counterintuitive, in that it stipulates that Sprinkler and Rain are independent, given Season. In reality, people don't usually turn their sprinklers on when it is raining, a fact which would be represented by an arrow from Rain to Sprinkler. If that connection was added, the probability of Sprinkler would drop close to zero when Rain was observed.) It's the same with Alarm/Burglar/Earthquake. The probability of Burglar and Earthquake both go up when Alarm is observed. When further observation increases the probability of Burglar, the probability of Earthquake drops, but not below its original level. In the limiting case where Alarm is certain to be triggered by Burglar or Earthquake but by nothing else, and Burglar and Earthquake have independent probabilities of b and e, then hearing the Alarm raises the probability of Earthquake to e/(b+e-be). The denominator is the probability of either Burglar or Earthquake. Discovering a burglar lowers it back to e.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012)

Hi! My name is Paul, and I've been an aspiring rationalist for years. A long time ago, I realized implicitly that reality exists, and that there is only one. I think "rationality" is the only reasonable next thing to do. I pretty much started "training" on TvTropes, reading fallacies and the like there, as well as seeing ways to analyze things in fiction. The rules there apply to real life fairly well.

From there, I discovered Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, and from there, this site. Been reading quite a bit on and off over... (read more)