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December 2014 Media Thread

Many of the characters have thick accents and/or a patois. If you can comfortably carry a conversation in a crowded bar you'll be fine without them.

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war continued by other means

So if you want to keep people occupied for a looooong time without running out of game-world, focus on PvP

Or invest in "procedural content generation", where the game world is constantly generated or regenerated. The "roguelike" genre has made games that have been played for decades (like Rogue, Nethack, ADOM) and continues to grow (Ultima Ratio Regum, Dwarf Fortress). It's hybridizing into other genres like action platformers (Rogue Legacy, Spelunky, Risk of Rain). Games are creating new genres by starting with PCG (FTL, Minecraft). Civilization and the Maxis Sim games are classics in large part because of content generation.

For another perspective, game designer Dan Cook has written several http://www.lostgarden.com/2010/12/steambirds-survival-goodbye-handcrafted.html blog posts on PCG leading to better-designed game systems than handcrafted content. Similarly, Jonathan Blow has argued extensively against games that extend their use of systems (eg. across all the levels of a Super Mario, Modern Warfare, or Call of Duty game, the player will see few or no changes in rules, just new sets) rather than exploring a system once thoroughly (Braid, The Witness, Portal, Polarity).

I'll leave the comparisons to "Scientific Progress [as] the PvE of real life" for the simulationists and solipsists. But I've always seen the human obsession with status and gossip as a bug rather than a feature and endeavored to advance more interesting things in the world.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102

Sure: there's no indication of delivery, so you don't even know if one of the hops in your message opened all the envelopes, took all the money, read your private note, and trashed it.

Ethics in a Feedback Loop: A Parable

Maybe the reason the post reminds you of myth is that it's expressing a lack of agency. It's a common feature there; generally the world is a place where awful things happen to you just because. The poster above is in a complex system where he feels he has no control, and the "whiff of aggrieved entitelment" response touches on that exact raw nerve.

Identification of Force Multipliers for Success

Yes. Speeds of 100wpm are not particularly hard to reach with deliberate practice. The benefit is not the time savings of typing less, it's the cognitive savings of spending your attention on your topic rather than the mechanics of entering text and correcting errors.

Identification of Force Multipliers for Success

Psychologists now classify motivation as intrinsic vs. extrinsic - are you doing something because you want to, or because someone told you to/offered you something? Importantly, for creative tasks like knowledge work, extrinsic motivators like bonuses are weaker than people's concern for a job well done. Many studies in a variety of situtations have shown the counterinuitive result that adding bonuses to a task makes people perform worse, give up quicker, and not do it on their own initiative.

The book Drive by Daniel Pink is an excellent walk through the research.

Find a study partner - May 2014 Thread

Looking for a partner for open-ended study of math/cs topics like calculus, linear algebra, stats, Haskell, SICP - open to suggestions for similar topics. Ideally, we'd meet weekly for 1-2h to discuss the previous week's study and plan for the next. Bonus points if you're in Chicago. :)

The Centre for Applied Rationality: a year later from a (somewhat) outside perspective

The workshops currently cost $3,900 + travel, I don't think it was much lower a year ago. Have your improvements recouped that cost? Has the workshop increased your income?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Hi folks, I'm Peter. I read a lot of blogs and saw enough articles on Overcoming Bias a few years ago that I was aware of Yudkowsky and some of his writing. I think I wandered from there to his personal site because I liked the writing and from there to Less Wrong, but it's long enough ago I don't really remember. I've read Yudkowsky's Sequences and found lots of good ideas or interesting new ways to explain things (though I bounced off QM as it assumed a level of knowledge in physics I don't have). They're annoyingly disorganized - I realize they were originally written as an interwoven hypertext, but for long material I prefer reading linear silos, then I can feel confident I've read everything without getting annoyed at seeing some things over and over. Being confused by their organization when nobody else seems to be also contributes to the feeling in my last paragraph below.

I signed up because I had a silly solution to a puzzle, but I've otherwise hesitated to get involved. I feel I've skipped across the surface of LessWrong; I subscribe to a feed that only has a couple posts per week and haven't seen anything better. I'm aware there are pages with voting, but I'm wary of the time sink of getting pulled into a community or being a filter rather than keeping up with curated content.

I'm also wary of a community so tightly focused around one guy. I have only good things to say about Yudkowsky or his writing, but a site where anyone is far and away the most active and influential writer sets off alarm bells. Despite the warning in the death spiral sequence, this community heavily revolves around him. Maybe every other time hundreds of people rally around one revelatory guy it's bad news and it's fine here because there are lots of arguments against things like revelation here, but things like the sequence reruns are really off-putting. It fits a well-trod antipattern; even if I can't see anything wrong in the middle of the story I know it ends badly. (Yes, I know, I'm not.)

Causal Universes

I was continuing on the post's opening thought experiment of a computed universe; I was thinking whatever program is computing the new states of the universe would do this check. Sorry for the confusion.

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