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Friendship is Optimal: A My Little Pony fanfic about an optimization process

I agree. Specifically, they were probably ponifying the title of the book Permutation City by Greg Egan.

Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong

I have never understood what music teachers mean when they say things like this.

Maybe you will find my definitions, which relate to the physical properties of the sound, helpful.

As for your two other terms, those are harder to define. "Round" I would have trouble understanding too... but I think in the context of a choir, it might mean a note sung by holding your mouth in a round 'O' shape rather than by stretching it vertically or horizontally. The shape of your mouth changes the overtones, even when you're singing the same note.

As for "purple", even though I was able to define all the other terms, I have no idea what that should mean such that every choir member would nod at hearing it. The only physical connection I can imagine is that violet is the highest-frequency spectrum of light... yet I doubt that "purple" would simply describe high-pitched sounds. Either the other students were just pretending to understand the term, or this is my own limitation.

Gauging the conscious experience of LessWrong

Are there people who instinctively know what a 'bright sound' is yet don't automatically visualise such sounds as being brightly coloured? Or who instinctively know what a 'hammering note' is without feeling any physical pain when they hear one?

Yes, I am an example of both such types of people. However, this is not because I think of those words as arbitrary, but because I associate those words with different concepts. I'll elaborate on that.

But first, I'll say the difficulty I have with your question: I'm not sure where to draw the line between "having synesthesia" and "being able to understand metaphors". For example, think of the non-musical metaphors "sweet" to describe someone who is kind (rather than a sugary flavor) or "tortuous" to describe an indirect chain of logic (rather than a winding river). Does one need synesthesia to understand those metaphors?

Perhaps the difference between synesthesia and metaphors is whether the relation is arbitrary. If that's the case, I would call all of those terms metaphor, not synesthesia: I can define all those terms you mentioned with reasoning by analogy about properties of the waveform.

For some reason, the terms about passages you listed make me think harder to understand, just like when a work of literature uses a metaphor, while the terms about notes you mentioned (except for "split") seem so common that I've mentally added them as an alternative meaning in my dictionary.

My definitions of those terms about passages:

  • "Flowing": I find myself thinking of a river that keeps flowing. Matching this to passages my music teachers have described as "flowing", I define "flowing" music as music where notes are constantly played at a fairly regular pace, without long pauses or sudden volume changes.
  • "Full of energy": to me, this means music that would take a lot of energy to play on instruments, or music that builds energy in the listener. Loud music with a hard beat would count, as would music with many notes played quickly.
  • "Treacly": I haven't heard this used to describe music before, but I can quickly guess the intent: music with notes played slowly and without sudden volume changes. This is by analogy to a high-viscosity liquid being poured out of a container.

My definitions of those terms about notes:

  • "Hard": with a quick attack on the note's envelope. By analogy, when touching a hard surface, you feel resistance quickly.
  • "Soft": with a slow attack. The inverse reasoning as for "hard".
  • "Bright": sounds made up of mostly high frequencies (treble). High notes are more easily distinguishable to the ear than low notes, just like bright lights are more easily distinguishable to the eye than dim lights. But in my mind, I don't think of bright lights when this term is used; I immediately think of a high-pitched note.
  • "Split": that's a new term to me. But I could imagine it meaning a note split across two or more frequencies, so the note sounds like a chord -- in other words, a note with an overtone. Another possible meaning could be a note that cuts off and then plays again quickly, as if someone drew a rectangle for note on a digital piano roll and then split the rectangle into two pieces.
  • "Hammering": as a piano player, this makes me think of the felt-wrapped hammers inside a piano. So I think of those hammers "hammering" the strings of the piano quickly, producing a repeated note. I suppose the meaning of "hammering" as hitting repeatedly rather than hitting once is arbitrary, and is derived from the same arbitrary meaning of "hammering" as "using a construction hammer to hit repeatedly".
WordPress Destroys Editing Process, Seeking Alternatives

As an alternative to switching away from WordPress entirely, you could switch to a third-party blog post editor that integrates with WordPress.

The only third-party blog post editor I know of is MarsEdit ($50), which only runs on macOS. I tried out MarsEdit once by writing a few drafts in its WYSISYG mode, and that went fine, but I can’t attest to the quality of its other features like publishing a post or editing in Markdown.

"Can you keep this confidential? How do you know?"

I don’t personally find keeping secrets a significant enough hardship to be worth asking people to tell me fewer secrets. I just asked a friend of mine, and they feel the same as me.

My hypothesis is that you feel differently because you hear a lot more secrets, and each additional secret carries an additional mental burden to not reveal it. Perhaps when you know too many secrets, you have a greater meta-challenge of separating them from each other and remembering which groups each secret can and cannot be discussed with.

What are the factors behind one’s mental burden of keeping secrets? I think the number of secrets one hears depends on both the number of people you converse with regularly and those people’s propensities to share secrets. And since secrets are only a burden during conversations, the frequency that one converses with others is also a factor. Thus, if someone has less social interaction in general, they would be more likely to would not think of secrets as a big deal.

As for why people don’t self-evaluate whether they have the ability to keep secrets, after thinking about it now, neither me nor my friend can remember a time we leaked a personal secret that was explicitly labeled as one. (It probably happened when I was a young child and didn’t understand secrets, but I can’t remember it.) So that’s two data points towards it being okay for most people to assume that other people are able to keep secrets.

Upon reflection, I do realize that I have sometimes shared secrets that weren’t labeled as such. In such cases, one person assumed I wouldn’t tell another person the news they were sharing, but I didn’t see the harm in it. I wouldn’t call those failures to keep secrets, though; they are more like failures to understand social norms or failures to guess at someone’s unstated feelings. The secret-sharer can easily solve that problem once they know about it: just say “please don’t tell so-and-so about this; I’d like to keep this private”.

Operationalizing Newcomb's Problem

The True Prisoner’s Dilemma is another post in this genre of “explaining game theory problems intuitively”.

Aumann Agreement by Combat

Thanks. Link updated and wrong claim removed.

For transparency, this was the original sentence:

One can’t link to sections within a PDF, but the paper is on page 4 of the PDF (page 8 if you include front matter).

LW Open Source – Getting Started

There’s a formatting error in this part of the post:

Clone the two repos:

git clone git clone

It should be a code block so that the newline is preserved. That makes it easier to notice that you have to clone two repos:

Clone the two repos:

git clone
git clone

Also, I found this description confusing:

If you are creating a branch for an existing issue, use this naming schema: branchTitle[issueNumber]. For example, if addressing this issue, your branch might be defaultSettingsFix425.

The schema “branchTitle[issueNumber]” suggests that the branch title should be “defaultSettingsFix[425]” instead. It would be better to describe it as “[branchTitle][issueNumber]” or “branchTitle + issueNumber”, or just say “append the issue number to the branch name”.

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