All of scaphandre's Comments + Replies

I like this perspective.

I don't think society is blind to this distinction, but it is rarely drawn so cleanly.

In the world of social realities, there is well-known memetic protection advising away from being overdependent on the social reality alone. The children's tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" can be taken as an actor with social power asserting something bizarre, with many people entertaining/allowing this social reality, but this being obviously insufficient to change reality.

There are important inherently intersubjective con... (read more)

What's weird about money is that it's like the emperor held up a piece of paper and said "This is worth as much as (a piece of gold). Also, anyone other than me who makes these will be executed."

I considered finding a venue on Thomas Bayes Road, but perhaps that's a little too wanky.

I'm up for going through Book 1 of the Rationality ebook.

I think the LW reading group is doing section A for that week.

I'll be there!

I'll see if I can get Biblos to (quite rationally) offer us some free nachos...

PM'd :)

Maybe get the 13:30 from Waverley?

It's an easy trip on the Glasgow Underground from near Queen St to Hillhead / Byres Rd.


If anyone else is planning going through from Edinburgh, let me know.

I'm coming from Edinburgh

I also exist!

I saw this one too late, but I'm up for Edinburgh or central Glasgow in the future.

I think the 'terminal' in terminal goal means 'end of that thread of goals', as in a train terminus. Something that is wanted for the sake of itself.

It does not imply that you will terminate someone to achieve it.

If g1 is you bacon eating goal, ,and g2 is your not killing people goal, and g2 overrides g1, then g2 is the end of the thread.

Do you really think that is at all likely that a nematode might be capable of feeling more informed life-satisfaction than a human?

Nice post.

I disagree with the premise that humans are utility monsters, but I see what you are getting at.

I'm a little weary of the concept of a utility monster as it is easy to imagine and debate but I don't think it is immediately realistic.

I want my considerations of utility to be aware of possible future outcomes. If we imagine a concrete scenario like Zach's fantastic slave pyramid builders for an increasingly happy man, it seems obvious that there is something psychotic about an individual who could be made more happy by the senseless toil of other... (read more)

Agreed. But I'd place more value on searching for other agents when I know none.

From this thread we can see there is not a fixed concept of what meets the agent criteria. If I knew zero other agents, I'd be more inclined to spend more effort searching or perhaps be a little more flexible with my interpretation of what an agent might be.

Of course tricking yourself into solipsism or Wilson worship is a conceivable failure mode, but I don't think it's likely here.

I imagine it is probably emotionally taxing and isolating for a human to model themselves as the only true agent in their world. That's a lot of responsibility, inefficient for big projects (where coordinating with other 'proper' agents might be particularly useful) and probably kinda lonely.

I am all for personal responsibility and recognise that acting to best improve the world is up to me. I am currently implemented in a great ape – a mammal with certain operating requirements. Part of my behaviour in the world has to include acting to keep that great a... (read more)

If I am the only agent in my circle of knowledge, I want to believe so.

In your life, salsa dancing ability is definitely not the sole metric you wish to be optimizing for.

Things you presumably want to optimize might be something like personal happiness, bettering the world or wherever you find meaning.

If one truly wanted to drop resources into optimizing salsa ability, I'd imagine filming the dance floor from a few cellphones every week, uploading the video to youtube and paying a few experts on a salsa forum to give the dancers a rating and feedback would give a somewhat valid metric that you could go about tracking, quantif... (read more)

Actually I do, Most days I put down a number from the interval 0-100 to rate my happiness. I don't think that the number is informative when it comes to my Salsa dancing despite the fact that I'm someone who did Quantified Self TV interviews in Germany that involve showing me dancing Salsa. The thing I found is that it's important for me to drink water directly after arriving home from Salsa dancing. Otherwise I might lose up to one kg of body weight the next day from the missing water I sweated out. But back to the topic. The fact that I do have some formal measurement shows me very well the limits of those measurements when it comes to making most decisions. If the goal is impressive dancing that wow's spectators that might be a way to go. If your goal is to dance in way that your dance partner enjoys that's not directly related to how it looks on video.

It can't be easy to adapt Reddit code to run like users here demand. Kudos to Matt et al at Trike Apps for the time and effort on having this site looking smart, working and improving the world.

I recognise that argument, but surely we can use consideration of utility function in models in order to make progress along thinking about these things.

Even if we crudely imagine a typical human who happens to be ticking all Mazlow's boxes with access to happiness, meaning and resources tending to be more towards our (current...) normalised '1' and someone in solitary confinement, in psychological torture, tending towards our normalised '0' as a utility point – even then the concept is sufficiently coherent and grokable to allow use of these kinds of mode... (read more)

On requesting to join, using a gmail account, I get:

"You do not have permission to join this forum"

Anyone should be able to join -- I just tested this with another email address, and there are indeed a few people on the list now. If you are still having issues, send me your email and I'll add you.
I wrote an email to the group highliting the issue. At the moment the message is pending approval. Hopefully the issue can be fixed. I still remember the move from the Yahoo group to the Google group with happened a long time ago ;) The group looks at the moment a bit less active then it was in the post. While looking through the latest post I found that there an active forum at which might be of interest to anyone trying to adopt the shedule.

And if you have a Luke and a Eliezer both on board, surely not everyone needs to their own lesson building, literature sweeps and narrative weaving (in the situations where those might be particularly useful).

Use comparative advantage?

I generally prefer the more direct {lesson, evidence}. I have on several occasions thought that Luke has implemented this well.

But - I think we have evidence that EY is a particularly good writer of narrative. While also getting the content across. The epiphany hit is pretty sweet too.

Embedding lessons in stories (like the Blue and Green) makes the mind labile to their content and makes it easier to hang on to the memory and to retell to others. I imagine it comes at the cost to extra thinking and writing time to package lessons so.

Is that cost worth the marginal effort? I'm pretty sure the answer is 'sometimes'.

And if you have a Luke and a Eliezer both on board, surely not everyone needs to their own lesson building, literature sweeps and narrative weaving (in the situations where those might be particularly useful). Use comparative advantage?

I agree blood pressure is a generally a poor predictor of health or mortality.

This is often measured because it is easy to measure, rather than it being particularly informative.

Aelephant - that's a good paper with data on this. I needed to edit that link to for the pdf download to work.

Rather than an e-cig, I currently occasionally use a portable vaporiser, into which I place hand-rolling tobacco.

It raises the raw tobacco to around 250*C, so nicotine is carried in gas and can be inhaled. Nothing is combusted. It's slightly larger than a AA battery and it looks like this.

This gives more nicotine hit, much less lung cancer than smoking and uses cheaper consumable materials than e-cig (you can buy hand-rolling tobacco everywhere, need less than depleting possibly-expensive e-cig cartridges).

It is also likely that this vaporising gives more ... (read more)


I don't know the mechanism of action, but it seems unlikely that this is acting as an antibiotic to have this effect.

More likely that minocycline is acting directly as a stimulant-blocker, dopamine-blocker or oxytocin-blocker.

Next experiment: examine the effect of stepped doses of modafinil and nasal administered oxytocin to see if they might 'rescue' the sweetness of the honey trap.

Agreed. , an incredibly potent dopamine reuptake inhibitor, was discovered while investigating antibiotics.

+1 for 'Cat is awesome'.

I was just speaking to her on Facebook. Couch space already being prepared in Edinburgh, UK!

:) Can't wait to visit!

Not quite a community forum, but I find comments at can be interesting.

There is also and - but they are both fledgling and susceptible to popsci.

Cool. Don't worry - it seems there are several with similar interest in an Edinburgh meetup.

Once I'm back from the minicamp I would be keep to have another meetup, perhaps sometime 6-11th August.

When would you like to have one? I could imagine there might be interest in one before then. Why not be the agentyness you wish to see in the world? :)

I know a few coming on Friday - I will report back with any thoughts for future meetings.

I'm not too fussed when exactly; I can make probably any Friday or weekend for the next 7 weeks or so. I just found out about this meetup too late to plan my journey.

NOTE - slight change of plan.

It seems Aspen Bar and Grill is temporarily closed.

Instead - let's go to Biblos.

It's the restaurant on the corner of Chambers St and South Bridge. I've got us a big table upstairs booked, along with some nachos and 35% off all food.

See you there!

Cool - I am away at the LW July minicamp in California, but I think I get back in Edinburgh around the 5th August.

I would be up for a meetup then.

Great stuff - I just attended the June minicamp. I'm pretty sure you'll love it. I look forward to meeting and picking your brains about it!

I am glad to see there is interest, even if you can't make this one.

I'm happy with outside 9-5, but I know some would-be regulars have other events on several weekday evenings. How about Sundays?

Aspen is unlikely to be too crowded on a Friday lunchtime and I think will be happy to have any custom from our group. I am open to alternatives, but it has the advantages of: public place, free entry, big group tables, bright, cheap-ish food and coffee, (hopefully) uncrowded.

I am happy to host in future, but I thought a public place is better to start with.

Sundays could well be doable. And I agree about a public place at first.

I'm aware that my caffeine use might have little benefit to total productivity over the course of a week.

I do attach value to using caffeine to choose to be less susceptible to tiredness for the next few hours.

Does that make sense?

Thanks for putting this together - I am intrigued by a mini-camp.

One of the questions in the application form is tickbox for "Interested in potentially working for CMR".

Could someone give some more detail on that question?

A google of " CMR" didn't give me anything useful.

Ah - I found some details for the Eliezer's potential Center for Modern Rationality:

Thanks for posting this, Sark. I'll be there.

See you there.