All of qbolec's Comments + Replies

Bayeswatch 6: Mechwarrior

"The appeared" -> "They appeared"

2lsusr11dFixed. Thanks.
Alternative to Bayesian Score

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)

Book review: "Feeling Great" by David Burns

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)

Book review: "Feeling Great" by David Burns

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)

4Steven Byrnes2moI 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.
Your Dog is Even Smarter Than You Think

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)

Covid 4/29: Vaccination Slowdown

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?

Impact of delaying vaccinations on the total number of deaths

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

Impact of delaying vaccinations on the total number of deaths

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 Anderson5mo-
Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity

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)

Were the Great Tragedies of History “Mere Ripples”?

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)

4Viliam6moThe "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.
How could natural language look like if it hadn't evolved from speech?

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)

Science in a High-Dimensional World

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)

2ESRogs7moI'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.
4Lblack7moI 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.
5johnswentworth7moI believe this is exactly correct. Good explanation, too.
Decision-Making and Accountability

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)

So You Want To Colonize The Universe Part 3: Dust

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 :)

So You Want To Colonize The Universe Part 3: Dust

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)
6Diffractor2yFor 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