All of qbolec's Comments + Replies

Thank you for heads up!

Could you please clarify for parents like me, who don't fully understand Minecraft's ecosystem and just want their kids to stay safe:

1. If my kids only use Minecraft downloaded from the Microsoft Store, and only ever downloaded content from the in-game marketplace - what's the chance they are affected?

2. Am I right in thinking that "mods" = "something which modifies/extends the executable", while "add-ons"="more declarative content which just interacts with existing APIs, like maps, skins, and configs"?

3. Am I right that "Minecraft f... (read more)

1Thomas Sepulchre3d
As someone who played modded minecraft (but I am not the OP, who might have more accurate information and a better understanding) * Minecraft downloaded from the Microsoft store is indeed the bedrock edition. If I understand correctly, this version is not affected. * Mods are indeed pieces of code which modifies/extends the executable. Some add-ons seem to be very complex, and deeply modify the game (at least from the users perspective), so I'm not sure how clear-cut the separation is here * Minecraft bedrock indeed has add-ons, while Java has mods. Only mods are affected. * (Not really one of your questions but I think it is relevant). Mods are very easy to download, there are some marketplaces for mods, most notably curseForge. From the user perspective, on curseForge, one can browse through the mods (like an appstore), then click on the install button, and it is downloaded and auto-installed. No more technical knowledge than using the appstore or google play store is required. The virus was embedded in mods on curseForge. In short, if your kids are on bedrock, then your computers are probably safe.

Upon seeing the title (but before reading the article) I thought it might be about a different hypothetical phenomenon: one in which an agent which is capable of generating very precise models of reality might completely lose any interest in optimizing reality whatsover - after all it never (except "in training" which was before "it was born") cared about optimizing the world - it just executes some policy which was adaptive during training to optimize the world, but now, these are just some instincts/learned motions, and if it can execute them on a fake w... (read more)

Thanks for clarifying! I agree the twitter thread doesn't look convincing.

IIUC your hypothesis, then translating it to AI Governance issue, it's important to first get general public on your side, so that politicians find it in their interest to do something about it.

If so, then perhaps meanwhile we should provide those politicians with a set of experts they could outsource the problem of defining the right policy to? I suspect politicians do not write rules themselves in situations like that, they rather seek people considered experts by the public opinio... (read more)

Why? (I see several interpretations of your comment)

2Ege Erdil22d
The lack of any attempt at causal analysis is a pretty serious problem, for starters. It's not clear to what extent these individual people were responsible for the abolition of slavery in Britain, as opposed to the rising opposition to slavery among the general public which slowly changed the incentives of politicians until banning slavery became more politically expedient than keeping it alive. My model is that public opinion was what really mattered for the abolition of slavery in Britain. Indeed, e.g. the whole reason Castlereagh tried to get some anti-slavery commitments into the Treaty of Vienna in 1815 was that the public opposition to slavery had reached such a point that Liverpool's government felt they had to make some kind of concession to them in order to keep the Whigs at bay. Otherwise, I think neither Liverpool nor Castlereagh cared much about the issue of slavery one way or the other.

What did it take to ban slavery in Britain: 
TL;DR: Become the PM and propose laws which put foot in the door, by banning bad things in the new areas at least, and work from there. Also, be willing to die before seeing the effects

2Ege Erdil1mo
I don't think you can deduce anything about what it took to ban slavery from this tweet thread.

I agree that my phrasing was still problematic, mostly because it seems to matter if she said something spontaneously or as a response to a specific question. In the first case, one has to consider how often people feel compelled to say some utterance in various life scenarios. So for example in case one has two boys the utterance "i have to pick up Johny from kindergarten" might have to compete with "i have to pick up Robert from kindergarten" and might be strange/rare if both are in similar age and thus both should be picked up etc. Still, I think that without knowing much about how people organize their daily routines, my best bet for the question "does she have two boys?" would be 33%.

It's get funnier with "i have to pick up my younger one, John from kindergarten" :)

I guess what confuses some people is the phrase "the other one" which sounds like denoting a specific (in terms of SSN) child while it's not at all clear what that could even mean in case of two boys. I think step one when being confused is to keep rephrasing the puzzle until everything is well defined/clear. For me it would be something like:

My friend has two kids, and I don't initially know anything about their sex beyond nation level stats which are fifty-fifty. She says something which makes it clear she has at least one boy, but in such a way that it ... (read more)

1Richard Henage1mo
The first sentence of that phrasing is great! It makes things much more clear. But: "i have to pick up Johny from kindergarten" actually would give the probability of the other kid being a boy a fifty-fifty chance still, I believe. I still think the clearest way to phrase that part of the puzzle is for the narrator to ask the woman "is at least one of your kids a boy?".
It's get funnier with "i have to pick up my younger one, John from kindergarten" :)

I'd expect that IF there is a shoggoth behind the mask THEN it realises the difference between text interaction (which is what the mask is doing) and actually influencing the world (which the shoggoth might be aiming at). That is I expect it's perfectly possible that an LLM will behave perfectly ethical when playing choose your own adventure at the same time thinking how to hack the VM it's running on.

Thanks, fixed. I guess this is not why it got -18 votes, though. I would like to hear what exactly people didn't like in this post

Answer by qbolecMar 26, 202300

ChatGPT's answer:

Your two assumptions and intuitions are plausible, but they may not hold true in every case. It is important to consider the specific context and motivations of individual rulers when making predictions about their behavior.

Regarding your first intuition, it is possible that some rulers may support the development of powerful AGI if they see it as a means to achieve their goals more efficiently. However, they may also take precautions to ensure that the AGI is under their control and cannot threaten their power.

Regarding your second

... (read more)

I've just finished reading it, and wanted to thank you very much for recommending this great experience :)

Thanks to whoever upvoted my comment recently bringing it again to my attention via notification system - rereading my comment after 2 years, I feel really sorry for myself that despite writing the sentence 

And your post made me realize, that the technique from the book you describe is somewhat like this, if you look through "subagents model of the brain" perspective: there is a part of you which is having emotional crisis, and it's terrified by some problem it needs to solve, but this part is not ready to listen for solution/change, as long as it's i

... (read more)

Who's the intended audience of this post? 

If it's for "internal" consumption, summary of things we already knew in the form of list of sazens, but perhaps need a refresher, then it's great.

But if it's meant to actually educate anyone, or worse, become some kind of manifesto cited by New Your Times to show what's going on in this community, then I predict this is not going to end well.

The problem, as I see it, is that in the current way this website is setup, it's not up to author to decide who's the audience.

ML models, like all software, and like the NAH would predict, must consist of several specialized "modules".

After reading source code of MySQL InnoDB for 5 years, I doubt it. I think it is perfectly possible - and actually, what I would expect to happen by default - to have a huge working software, with no clear module boundaries. 

Take a look at this case in point: the row_search_mvcc() function which has 1500+ lines of code and references hundreds of variables.... (read more)

8Erik Jenner5mo
I'm very interested in examples of non-modular systems, but I'm not convinced by this one, for multiple reasons: * Even a 1,500 line function is a pretty small part of the entire codebase. So the existence of that function already means that the codebase as a whole seems somewhat modular. * My guess is that the function itself is in fact also modular (in the way I'd use the term). I only glanced at the function you link very quickly, but one thing that jumped out are the comments that divide it into "Phase 1" to "Phase 5". So even though it's not explicitly decomposed into submodules in the sense of e.g. helper functions, it does seem that programmers find it a useful abstraction to think of this huge function as a composition of five "submodules" that perform different subtasks. I would guess that this abstraction is reflected somehow in the structure of the function itself, as opposed to being completely arbitrary (i.e. putting the boundaries between phases at random line numbers instead would be worse in some pretty objective sense). So to me, the existence of 1500 line functions is not strong evidence against the ubiquity of modularity, since modularity properly defined should be more general than just functions. I do agree this would be a good counterexample to certain definitions of modularity that are too narrow. (To be clear, I don't think anyone has a good definition yet for how this "natural submodule structure" could be read off from a program.) * Regarding the if statements: arguably, "truly non-modular" code would have lots of if statements that use a big fraction or even almost all of the variables in scope (or if we're being strict, in the entire program, since smaller scopes already imply submodules). So I think if an if statement in a function with hundreds of variables contains just 4-8 terms depending on how we count, that's not a lot. I wouldn't be surprised to learn we just h

I've made a visualization tool for that:

It generates an elliptical cloud of white points where X is distributed normally, and Y=normal + X*0.3, so the two are correlated. Then you can define a green range on X and Y axis, and the tool computes the correlation in a sample (red points) restricted to that (green) range.

So, the correlation in the general population (white points) should be positive (~0.29). But if I restrict attention to upper right corner, then it is much lower, and often negative.

The extremely-minimalist description would be: “Stop believing in the orthodox model, stop worrying, feel and act as if you’re healthy, and then the pain goes away”. 

IDK if this will be important to you, but I'd like to thank you for this comment, as it relieved my back pain after 8 years! Thank you @p.b. for asking for clarification and not giving up after first response. Thank you @Steven Byrens for writing the article and taking time to respond.

8 fucking years..

I've read this article and comments a month ago. Immediately after reading it the pain w... (read more)

Thank you for sharing! As of this morning I was telling myself that I've developed RSI in both arms over the last week –but I'm now reconsidering that belief ;)
That's really cool, thanks for sharing!
6the gears to ascension6mo
oh wow, this is super helpful to me! thank you for bumping the post with useful insight!
4Steven Byrnes6mo
Thanks for sharing, that made my day!!!   :)

I have similar experience with it today (before reading your article) 

I agree that this over-confidence is disturbing :(

We already live in a world in which any kid can start a difficult to stop and contain chain reaction: fire. We responded by:

  • making a social norm of not allowing kids to buy or use
  • separating houses 1.5 of their height
  • adding sprinklers, requiring them by law
  • having a state founded agency to stop fires

Honestly I still don't understand very well what exactly stops evil/crazy people from starting fires in forests whenever they want to. Norms to punish violators? Small gain to risk factor?

1Erland Wittkotter7mo
You mention proactive, preventative steps in damage mitigation.  There are other methods:  * deterrence though reliable investigation and criminal prosecution .. and making instigators pay  * preventing that local events become global * Most important: accepting that this is a problem What I don't understand: Why are we quiet about this problem? It seems the people knowing about this problem (a long time) are not even dare to call for help. wow ... how courageous.   

Also, I wonder to what extent our own "thinking" is based on concepts we ourselves understand. I'd bet I don't really understand what concepts most of my own thinking processes use.

Like: what are the exact concepts I use when I throw a ball? Is there a term for velocity, gravity constant or air friction, or is it just some completely "alien" computation which is "inlined" and "tree-shaked" of any unneeded abstractions, which just sends motor outputs given the target position?

Or: what concepts do I use to know what word to place at this place in this senten... (read more)

Based on the title alone I was expecting a completely different article: about how our human brains had originally evolved to be so big and great just to outsmart other humans in the political games ever increasing in complexity over millennia and 


our value system already steers us to manipulate and deceive others but also ourselves so that we don't even realize that that's what our goal system is really about so that we can be more effective at performing those manipulations with straight face


any successful attempt at aligning a... (read more)

Answer by qbolecOct 20, 202240

It's already happening (which I've learned yesterday from is-github-copilot-in-legal-trouble post
I think it would be interesting plot twist: humanity saved from AI FOOM by the big IT companies having to obey intellectual property rights they themselves defended for so many years :)

One concrete advice on cracking eggs with two hands: try to pull your thumbs in opposite directions as if you wanted to tear the egg in halves (as opposed to pushing them in).

Sorry for "XY Problem"-ing this, but I felt strong sad emotion when reading your post and couldn't resist trying to help - you wrote:

Unless I'm eating with other people, food for me is fuel.

Have you tried to rearrange your life so that you can eat the breakfast together with people you care much more often, to the point where you no longer care to make it as quick as possible?

There's only so many ways our hardware can be stimulated to feel happy, don't give up on "eating together with close people"!

As a reasonably active tall person, allow me to try to mitigate some of your sadness! I suspect some people like me who eat time-optimized food do so because they have to eat a lot of food. I can eat 2000 calories worth of time efficient, nutrient dense food, and still go eat a big meal of conventionally tasty food with other people without blowing my calorie budget. Or I can eat breakfast, and then immediately leave to go eat re-breakfast because by the time I get there I'll be hungry again. Trying to eat my entire calorie budget in more traditional ways would effectively mean I'm never doing anything but eating. I did that for a while, but it becomes a real chore.

Thank you! I've read up to and including section 4. Previously I did know a bit about neural networks, but had no experience with RL and in particular didn't know how RL can actually bridge the gap between multiple actions leading to a sparse reward (as in: hour of Starcraft gameplay just to learn you've failed or won). Your article helped me realize how it is achieved - IIUC by:
0. focusing on trying to predict what the reward will be more than on maximizing it
1. using a recursive approach to infinite sum: sum(everything)=e+sum(verything). 
2. by using... (read more)

1Jay Bailey9mo
Your understanding is good. What you refer to with "self-rewarding" is called "reward shaping" in reinforcement learning. DQN doesn't use this, so I didn't talk about it in this post. DQN also doesn't do well with games where you can't stumble upon the first reward by random exploration, thus getting the process started. So, for your Point 3 - DQN doesn't address this, but future RL solutions do. Montezuma's Revenge is one such example - the first reward requires traversing several obstacles correctly and is vanishingly unlikely to occur by random chance. If you look up the history of Montezuma's Revenge in reinforcement learning you'll find out some interesting ways people approached this problem, such as biasing the network towards states it hadn't seen before (i.e, building "curiosity" into it). The basic DQN referred to in this post cannot solve Montezuma's Revenge. With your "5 keys" example, you're almost correct. The agent needs to actually perform the entire combo at least once before it can learn to predict it in the future - the target network is looking at t+1, but that t+1 is collected from the replay buffer, so it has to have been performed at least once. So, sooner or later you'll sample the state after 5 presses, and then be able to predict that reward in future. Then this cascades backwards over time exactly as you described. Regarding Point 1, I've gone over and adjusted the terms - "future reward" now refers to the sum of rewards from step t onwards, and I've defined that early in Section 2, to make it clear that future reward also includes the reward from timestep t. Regarding Point 2, you're correct, and I've made those changes. Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you got some useful info out of the article!

So what's the end state Putin wants to achieve through invading Ukraine? If Ukraine becomes part of Russia, then Russia will be bordering with NATO states.

Well, then it's reasonable to assume that Putin's desired end state is not complete annexation of Ukraine. However, even if Ukraine is an Austria/Finland-type neutral party, outside the Russian bloc but also outside of the American bloc, Putin's security goals are achieved. The minimum criteria for Putin's ideological goals being achieved seems like internal autonomy for Donetsk and Lugansk, the maximum would be the annexation of those areas to Russia in the style of Crimea. So annexation is unnecessary ideologically and strategically, and seems unlikely as a goal. 

Hello glich! Thanks for writing this whole series. When I've first read it a year ago, I thought to myself, that instead of impulsively going to implement it right ahead, I'll wait one year to hear from you about how your strategy worked for you, first.

So.. How are you doing?

So far, so good. Last year, I was up 27% at the peak. By the end of the year profits were closer to half of that. This year (2022) has been a loser so far, but we're not even one month in yet, and it hasn't been enough to wipe out my gains yet. My Forex bot is not doing well, having lost all profits so far and again lost about that amount, but that's a relatively small part of my overall portfolio. This is all within expectations. I stand by my basic outline from the series, but I've refined details a bit and had a bit more insight, particularly about Nassim Nicholas Taleb's barbell strategy, which has made me more willing to take small, speculative bets, and more concerned about tail risk. A lot of this volatility is due to a substantial (~15%) speculative bet on Ether. I'm HODLing. Bitcoin has a futures ETF available in the US, so it's only a matter of time before Ether joins, and the merge to proof-of-stake should be interesting. I expect a lot of volatility in Ether when those happen, especially if it's around the same time. Some of my winning plays were small bets on WSB short squeezes. I kind of don't have time for the more active strategies due to work now, but most of my income is going to savings and basically all of my savings are invested in some kind of asset, and I have no plans to change that. I am hoping to gain financial independence so I can retire early. How early remains to be seen. I've kind of co-founded a LessWrong Investing Seminar, which amounts to a private chat room for interested Rationalists, and an Etherpad documenting plans, tips, tricks, and accumulated know-how, but I have been doing most of the writing in that document. Activity level in the chat varies, but it's still active. I might write up some of what's been going in to that. I've come up with improved strategies, which look great in backtests, but it can take years for these to play out in real life.

Wouldn't the same argumentation lead to conclusion, that world should've already end soon after we've figured out how to make atomic bomb?

I don't know  how to write a novel with world which survives in equilibrium longer than a week (and this is one reason I've asked this question - I'd like to read ideas of others) but I suspect that the same way atomic bomb releases insane amounts of energy, yet we have reasons not to do that repeatedly, mages in would have good reasons to avoid destroying the world. Perhaps there's not much to gain from doing so, m... (read more)

"translater" -> "translator"?

"An division" -> "A division"

Fixed. Thanks.

Lots of details could matter, and the spareness of the writing only hints at what could be going on "for really reals".

Thank you, this was enlightening for me - somehow, though I've read a few books and watched a few movies in my life, I hadn't realized what you put here plainly, that these cuts are a device for the author to hide some truth from me (ok, this was obvious in "Memento"). I must've been very naive, as I simply thought it has more to do with MTV-culture/catering to short attention span of the audience. It's funny how this technique becomes imm... (read more)

I remember noticing and appreciating The Big Lebowski more each time I watched it for the way the The Coen Brothers hid things in plain sight by simply upstaging key facts with hilarious portraits of vivid characters doing something slightly absurd after the character loses the plot, so if you follow just the characters (which is super easy, because it is a smorgasbord of roles for character actors) you miss the "continuities" that the character(s) also miss.

Given that Vi is counting seconds from encountering soldiers to their collapse, AND that there are three dots between this scene and the scene where Miriam says "I've been there since Z-Day." (which technically is an inequality in the opposite direction than I need, but Miriam's choosing this particular wording looks suggestive to me) I'd venture a guess, that the Z-Day virus was released by Vi in the facility, and Miriam is trying to blame the rouge AI for this. I read this story as Vi and Miriam already crossing a line of "the end justifies the means" an... (read more)

4Randomized, Controlled2y
I read it as: unleash the z-day AI which we already know how to counter, but which will attract the attention of the new AI, allowing us to the the neutrino beacon to locate the new AI.

Hello, very intriguing story!

  1. "solder" appears twice in text - it should be "soldier" 
  2. What is "Vi didn't wait for her translator." supposed to mean? I'm a bit confused because of earlier "She left her cornea and other electronics with Miriam on the scout ship.". Is it supposed to hint at Vi having non-electronical 'machines' (such as the translator) in her body, or just a statement about her having to override her natural instinct/reflex (=normally she'd just wait for the translation, but this time she had a plan to lay down in advance which she would executed even if she still had the electronic translator)? Do people in far future really need to wait for translator?
Fixed the "solder"s. "Vi didn't wait for her translator" was a flat-out continuity error. Thanks for noticing. I have corrected the sentence.

"You will die. No matter what actions you'll take all the possible branches end with your death. Still, you try to pick optimal path, because that's what your brain's architecture know how to do: pick optimal branch. You try to salvage this approach by proposing more and more complicated goal functions: instead of final value, let's look at the sum over time, or avg, or max, or maybe ascribe other value to death, or try to extend summation beyond it, or whatever. You brain is a hammer, and it needs a nail. But it never occurs to you, that life is not somet... (read more)

"The appeared" -> "They appeared"

Fixed. Thanks.

This discussion suggests, that the puzzles presented to the guesser should be associated with a "stake" - a numeric value which says how much you (the asker) care about this particular question to be answered correctly (i.e. how risk averse you are at this particular occassion). Can this be somehow be incorporated into the reward function itself or needs to be a separate input (Is "I want to know if this stock will go up or down, and I care 10 times as much about this question than about will it rain today", the same thing as "Please estimate p for the fol... (read more)

I also have difficulties in applying this techniques on adults, of the "Me mad?No shit Sherlock!" kind. I'm not fluent with it yet, but what I've observed is that the more sincere I am, and the more my tone matches the tone of the other person, the better the results. I think this explains big chunk of "don't use that tone of voice on me!" responses I've got in my life, which I used to find strange [as I personally pay much more attention to the content of the text/speech, not the tone/style/form], but recently I've realized that this can be quite a ration... (read more)

There's a wonderful book "How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk", which teaches that if you want your crying&shouting child to actually solve some problem/change behavior/listen to your advice at all, you must realize that there are actually two different personas in them (say: the reptile part of the brain and the neocortex) and you have to first address the first one before you can even start talking with the other: so for example when a child is having a tantrum, what you see is perhaps more like a frightened lizard, than a ... (read more)

Thanks to whoever upvoted my comment recently bringing it again to my attention via notification system - rereading my comment after 2 years, I feel really sorry for myself that despite writing the sentence  I did not really understand what it means and how to implement it and how huge impact on my life it will have once finally executed. Only recently I took part in a Lowen's therapy, in which by performing some body movements typical for aggression I've finally established connection between the part which was angry and the part which could listen about it.
5Steven Byrnes2y
I do like the "How To Talk" book and definitely use those techniques on my kids ("Oh, you're very upset, you're sad that we ran out of red peppers..." --me 20 minutes ago) though I haven't successfully started the habit of using it on adults. (Last time I tried I was accused of being condescending, guess I haven't quite gotten it down yet.) "Nonviolent Communication" and other sources hit that theme too. …But I don't think that's quite it. That would be "positive reframing" without "magic dial". It's not just about acknowledging that the negative thought exists to address certain needs, it's about making sure that those needs continue to be addressed. "Magic dial" is one easy way to do so—if the negative thought addresses a set of needs, then fine, keep thinking the negative thought, and think it often enough to address those needs, and no more often than that. But the other part is, by calling out the needs to awareness, and thinking about how they can be addressed, you might come up with other solutions that don't involve thinking the negative thought.

I'm a bit confused by people in the comments entertaining the idea that priors should influence how we interpret the magnitude of the evidence, even though when I look at the Bayes' rule it seems to say that the magnitude of the update (how much you have to multiply the odds) is independent of what your prior was. I know it's not that simple because sometimes the evidence itself is noisy and needs interpretation "pre-processing" before plugging it to the equation, but this "pre-processing" step should use a different prior then the one we try to update. I'... (read more)

I'm unable to find the source for 
> (which Pfizer already said they wouldn’t enforce)

Instead I found some articles about Moderna doing so. Is it a typo?

Thanks for the feedback :) Let me know if you find better answers.

Indeed I wasn't fair to politicians - indeed there are valid arguments in favor of "caring about safety" and "signaling `care about safety`" like the one about impact on public fear of vaccination. Thanks for pointing it out. Similarly, there might be valid arguments in favor of "withholding data, model and analysis even if one was made", so a politician not sharing them doesn't mean it wasn't made. Still, this suggests that words of politicians serve too much as signalling, to be easily interpreted by me verbatim as statements about reality. It's more lik... (read more)

1Stuart Anderson2y

Why do you think exercise improves health? Is it just an educated guess (if so, then what is the reasoning behind it), or is there actually some study establishing causality? I found which says:
> As presented by Kujala, RCTs, the gold standard in epidemiology for inferring causality, have failed to provide conclusive evidence in this context (eg, Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders,8 Look Action for Health in Diabetes,9 Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Traini... (read more)

It feels somewhat tribal and irrational to me that this gets downvoted without any comments presenting critique. I think it would be beneficial to everyone if thesis of the book were addressed. My best guess for why there are downvotes but no comments is that this is n-th iteration of the interchange between author and the community and community is tired of responding over and over again to the same claims. If that's the case, then it would be beneficial to people like me of there was at list a link to a summary of discussion, so far. I think the book is ... (read more)

The "longtermism" is a strawman, you guessed correctly. Specific arguments in a separate comment. Thanks for the warning that obvious strawmen are only obvious to people familiar with the community.

My thoughts immediately went to various programming languages, file formats, protocols, DSLs which while created by pressure-changing apes, at least optimized for something different. Here are my thoughts:

Assembly language - used to tell CPU what to do, seems very linear, imperatively telling step by step what to do. Uses very simple vocabulary ("up-goer 5"/"explain me like I'm five"). At least this is how CPU reads it. But if you think about how it is written, then you see it has a higher-order form: smaller concepts are used to build larger like blocks, ... (read more)

Our universe is “local” - things only interact directly with nearby things, and only so many things can be nearby at once. 

After reading this sentence, I had a short moment of illumination, that this is actually backwards: perhaps what our brains perceive as locality, is the property of "being influenced by/related to". Perhaps childs brain learns which "pixels" of retina are near each other, by observing they often have correlated colors, and similarly which places in space are nearby because you can move things or itself between them etc. So, whatev... (read more)

I'm not sure whether it's the standard view in physics, but Sean Carroll has suggested that we should think of locality in space as deriving from entanglement. (With space itself as basically an emergent phenomenon.) And I believe he considers this a driving principle in his quantum gravity work.
4Lucius Bushnaq2y
I don't know enough about neurology to make a statement on whether this is something human children learn, or whether it comes evolutionarily preprogrammed, so to speak. But in a universe where physics wasn't at least approximately local, I would expect there'd indeed be little point in holding the notion that points in space and time have given "distances" from one another.
I believe this is exactly correct. Good explanation, too.

This distinction between outcome- and process-oriented accountability strikes me a similar to System 1 vs System 2, or Plato's "Monster" vs "Man", or near- vs far-thinking, lizard- vs animal-brain, id vs ego, etc.: looks like nature had to solve similar problem when designing humans, so that they do not obsess to much on eating the cake now, but also not too much on figuring out the best way to get the cake in future, and it settled on having both systems in adversarial setting and gave them a meta-goal of figure out the balance between the two (that it is... (read more)

I was afraid my questions might get ridiculed or ignored, but instead I've got a very gentle and simply expressed explanations helping me get out of confusion. Thank you for taking your time for writing your answer so clearly :)

I suspect my following questions demonstrate such high level of confusion, that I am not sure if they even mean what I think they mean, but still I think this is the best place to ask them:

  1. My mental model of something very small hitting with very high energy something big is "Warner Bros cartoon"-like: one fast billard ball very quickly makes a hole in the big object by dislocating just one or a few more billard balls accelerating them all in the same direction without much effect to the integrity of the rest of the big object. I recall XKCD What If seri
... (read more)
For 1, the mental model for non-relativistic but high speeds should be "a shallow crater is instantaneously vaporized out of the material going fast" and for relativistic speeds, it should be the same thing but with the vaporization directed in a deeper hole (energy doesn't spread out as much, it keeps in a narrow cone) instead of in all directions. However, your idea of having a spacecraft as a big flat sheet and being able to tolerate having a bunch of holes being shot in it is promising. The main issue that I see is that this approach is incompatible with a lot of things that (as far as we know) can only be done with solid chunks of matter, like antimatter energy capture, or having sideways boosting-rockets, and once you start armoring the solid chunks in the floaty sail, you're sort of back in the same situation. So it seems like an interesting approach and it'd be cool if it could work but I'm not quite sure it can (not entirely confident that it couldn't, just that it would require a bunch of weird solutions to stuff like "how does your sheet of tissue boost sideways at 0.1% of lightspeed". For 2, the problem is that the particles which are highly penetrating are either unstable (muons, kaons, neutrons...) and will fall apart well before arrival (and that's completely dodging the issue of making bulk matter out of them), or they are stable (neutrinos, dark matter), and don't interact with anything, and since they don't really interact with anything, this means they especially don't interact with themselves (well, at least we know this for neutrinos), so they can't hold together any structure, nor can they interact with matter at the destination. Making a craft out of neutrinos is ridiculously more difficult than making a craft out of room-temperature air. If they can go through a light-year of lead without issue, they aren't exactly going to stick to each other. Heck, I think you'd actually have better luck trying to make a spaceship out of pure light. For 3