All of Sherincall's Comments + Replies

Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015

FYI: There was indeed a 30 minute period on 2015-09-21 where it said " during the administration of George W. Bush and Barrack Obama", you're not crazy. Though 2010 is the year it was discovered, the development is assumed to have been as early as 2005, it never said "developed in 2010"

0MrMind6yThank you, both for the precision and for confirming my sanity!
Bragging thread September 2015

Are there any plans to make it available for download as a pdf/epub/mobi/txt/etc? Alternatively, would you mind if I created one?

0Alicorn6yIf you make one, I'll put it up on my site! Kindle edition awaits cover art, as does paperback.
Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015

package of common tasks you can use, such as DDoS


This is the Crazy Ideas thread, I left ethics and legality at the door.

I envision grieving gamers to be good customers. "You're beating me at this game where reaction time is really important? I'll spend some money to DDoS you so I can win!"

1Lumifer6yUnless you're hosting the game you typically don't know your opponents' IPs and if you are hosting the game you don't need to DDoS :-)
Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015

cost - you pay in your own CPU cycles/bandwidth.

reliability - obviously, the startup would have to earn the reputation for reliability, but there's nothing inherently stopping it.

etc - AWS is a beast, relatively speaking, and this offers a lot of smaller PCs for a short amount of time. I can't really think of a reason where that would be needed for computing, but as network relays it would be very useful. You could create your own custom Tor and deploy it on demand.

Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015

Yes, kinda like folding@home, just generalized and easy for everyone to use. Also, big advantage is the bandwidth usage (which would likely be a bigger selling point than CPU time).

As for the electricity cost.. The tokens would have to be worth more than what you spend on extra power. And there's also the thing of "why don't I just use my own PC for 2 days instead of 10 PCs for 5 hours each?", to which the answer is go for it if you can. But you may have a problem where you just got the data and need it folded or whatever as soon as possible.

Agai... (read more)

Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015

A botnet startup. People sign up for the service, and install an open source program on their computer. The program can:

  • Use their CPU cycles to perform arbitrary calculations.
  • Use their network bandwidth to relay arbitrary data.
  • Let the user add restrictions on when/how much it can do the above.

For every quantum of data transferred / calculated, the user earns a token. These tokens can then be used to buy bandwidth/cycles of other users on the network. You can also buy tokens for real money (including crypto-currency).

Any job that you choose to execute... (read more)

5gwern6yIt's been done, or at least, tried for legal services: [] [] [] [] and there were some older ones which I can't seem to refind at the moment. (Naturally, the illegal ones are fairly successful in being sold for DDoS and spamming and theft purposes.) My best guess at the failure is that relying on consumer hardware is too high latency, too failure prone, hard to guarantee any sort of security or confidentiality, high overhead in finding and negotiating with and supporting all the ordinary people running your cloud software, and not particularly cost-effective since consumer hardware may be energy-inefficient and long out of date, especially compared to cloud companies like Amazon EC2 where they build custom hardware to get more efficiencies of scale. (Note to other commentators: Ethereum isn't what he is proposing because it is incredibly inefficient compared to a regular distributed computing project, for mostly good reasons related to its goals and threat model.)
0negamuhia6yEthereum does this
3Lumifer6yLOL But generally speaking it would be interesting to see what the kids of BitTorrent ("you can play only if you share") and Tor ("nah, thank you, we'll set up our own network") might look like.
7Vaniver6yI don't see how this competes with AWS on cost / reliability / etc. on the demand-side. On the supply side, consider cloud server racks as home heating devices [] .
2ChristianKl6yI think a system that does that does this that provides good VPNs/Proxys would be a winner. When the system runs on an internal currency it can get much faster than Tor. I would add a way to allow people to connect to your router and then connect to a VPN.
5zedzed6ySo, Folding at Home, but with money involved? Any idea if it can justify the increased electrical bills?
4tetronian26yEthereum [] is somewhat close to this.
Open thread, Aug. 10 - Aug. 16, 2015

CIA's The Definition of Some Estimative Expressions - what probabilities people assign to words such as "probably" and "unlikely".

CIA actually has several of these articles around, like Biases in Estimating Probabilities. Click around for more.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that they should.

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

One player hasn't checked the second game since the start. If you have joined, please log in so the game can proceed.

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

The second game has started early. I contacted the mods to extend the first phase in case someone does not check before the 1st.

(I'm playing only in the first game, but keeping an eye on this one)

0Sherincall6yOne player hasn't checked the second game since the start. If you have joined, please log in so the game can proceed.
LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

Please make an account and PM me the username, and we'll get the mods to do the swap.

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

I have contacted the mods to pause the game and ping the player through email. If that doesn't work, we'll look for a replacement. It'd be a shame to waste 2 days of press between other players.

0Diadem6yMissing your very first turn is a bad sign for future reliability. I don't know about's etiquette, but on the site where I usually play such players are generally booted straight away, and a replacement is sought. I'm willing to jump in if Germany doesn't show up. I'll be online again later tonight.
LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

The worth in points means relative to the pot in that game, in terms of supply centers owned.

So we all paid 5 points to enter (thus people starting with 100 have 95 left), and the "worth" is calculated based on our relative power in the game. The sum will always be 35+/-1 for rounding. Currently Russia has 6 points because they have 4 SCs while everyone else has 3. Once we conquer all neutral SCs, the worth will pretty much be equal to SC count.

Now that you understand it, you can safely ignore it since those actual values mean nothing for a game like this (a winner-takes-all, and everyone shares equally in a draw).

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

Maybe if someone drops out, or otherwise next time.

Well, the game is FCFS. I sent PMs to everyone who applied on the thread to give them a head start, but the password is public. There will also be a second game as soon as enough people express interest (I think 3 so far).

but I think is a much better platform than

Honestly, I chose as I'm a regular there. I know it works, and the illegal orders protection is not that much of a bad thing really. The community is irrelevant in a private game, and I kn... (read more)

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

It wouldn't be in any way against the rules, but depending on how it is executed, it may be looked down on.

"Last game Sherincall stabbed everyone every chance he had. I'm not trusting him." would be pretty valid, the person obviously isn't trustworthy.

"Last game I trusted Sherincall and left all my centers open, and he stabbed me and soloed" would mean that you didn't properly understand the game - We are all playing to win, and everyone should choose to win if the option is available.

"Last game Sherincall stabbed me, so now I'm ju... (read more)

0[anonymous]6yThis would be game theoretically sound behavior if you planned to play many games in succession.
LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015

I estimate at least a week for it to start. Let's put the tentative date at 1st of August.

LessWrong Diplomacy Game 2015


This comment will explain the basic rules of the game. Reply to it with any questions relating to the rules themselves.

You can also read the rules on WikiBooks

The board initially looks like this.

You are randomly assigned a great European power. This is the only random element of the game. As you can see, the powers are not equal.

The map is divided into land and sea territories. These are traditionally abbreviated with 3 letters. The seas are uppercase (e.g. ION - Ionian Sea), while lands are written in lowercase (e.g. Bel - Belgium). Switzerland is u... (read more)

Stupid Questions July 2015


a hardware warranty certainly shouldn't be at risk from a software modification

While that would definitely be a good clause for the consumers, it's not exactly right. I have personally caused hardware damage to multiple devices just by modifying the software. Plenty of ways to do it.

There's also the case in which the device is bricked in such a way that it can't be fixed even by the manufacturer, while the hardware itself is operating properly. Though, that would likely still count as a software problem.

Open Thread, Jun. 29 - Jul. 5, 2015

Not sure if it has been tried before, but I don't think your calculations are complete. For example:

  • There is a significant investment to actually make the ad. It needs to be done professionally, if you are hoping to attract large donations.
  • Assuming 1/500 viewers will donate $100 seems very optimistic. Maybe if it is targeted properly, but then you will have a really small number of viewers, not enough to justify the investment cost.
  • Willingness to donate is likely correlated with the use of an Ad Blocker (conclusion extrapolated from a small sample)
  • The
... (read more)
1Arbitrary6yI was thinking using Bostroms Ted talk, if that is succesful you can consider making an ad. The adblocker point is interesting, could be polled.
Open Thread, Apr. 13 - Apr. 19, 2015

I've been playing a lot of Diplomacy) in the past year or so. I sometimes pitch the game as a "seven player chess" - really simple rules, no luck factor*. You negotiate with other players, form alliances, and then stab them at the opportune moment. The goal is to win, at all costs, using any cheats/technique you can think of.

There is plenty of opportunities to apply LW training in the game, which I'll likely cover at a later time. However, I've never played with anyone from here, which limits my own press options (e.g. it isn't easy to express &q... (read more)

6Vaniver6yDiplomacy has come up before []. (The first game was here [].) I tried to arrange games on WebDiplomacy (like here []) but I don't recall all that much coming from it--I remember at least one game failing to start because we had seven people sign up but only six actually made the transition to WebDiplomacy, and so on. Especially if you're doing a slow game where time zones are less important, I suspect it may be better to just start a LW game with a password posted here, so that there's only one sign-up. While it is possible to play Diplomacy this way, I'm not sure this is what I would present it as. I've typically found myself spending much more time thinking about games. (I may be interested if I'm needed to make a game happen, but I probably should be spending my time on other things.)
4philh6yI'm interested.
Meetup : HPMOR wrap party cologne / Cologne LW meetup (restart)

This is likely to be made into a regularly scheduled meetup. Discussions and planning on the Google group.

Open thread, Feb. 16 - Feb. 22, 2015

You can also influence the votes by upvoting (and downvoting) your charities at /r/redditdonate. That is where discussions on the effectiveness take place.

As of this post, the placement is: GiveDirect-25, MIRI-47, CFAR-143, EvidenceAction-189, GiveWell-238.

Open thread, Feb. 16 - Feb. 22, 2015

Reddit is giving away 10% of their ad revenue to 10 charities that receive the most votes from the community. You can vote for as many charities as you want, with any account that has been created before 10AM PST today.

You can vote for your favorite charities here. I've had problems with the search by name, so if you don't find something, try searching by EIN instead.

Quick links: CFAR, MIRI

6Sherincall6yYou can also influence the votes by upvoting (and downvoting) your charities at /r/redditdonate []. That is where discussions on the effectiveness take place. As of this post, the placement is: GiveDirect-25, MIRI-47, CFAR-143, EvidenceAction-189, GiveWell-238.

GiveWell, GiveDirectly, Evidence Action/Deworm the World. You can vote for multiple charities.

Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

Of course there is. The approach varies based on how much you are willing to pay, how you morally feel about doing something the studio does not want you to do and how risk averse you are. Based on those, the solution is anywhere between travelling to the UK and downloading it illegally.

Why you should consider buying Bitcoin right now (Jan 2015) if you have high risk tolerance

I thought it is a given that if you have debt you should spend all your disposable income paying off the dept. Unless, of course, you can safely invest somewhere where the interest is higher than that of your debt.

The advice here is to treat it as if you bought consumer goods, or vacation. Paying off your debt instead of going on vacation seems like a really elementary advice in personal finance. Unless, of course, you are sufficiently certain that not going on the vacation will result in a mental illness or something.

I'm curious.. Is there any data about how much personal debt LWers have?

Signalling with T-Shirt slogans

I have a T-Shirt with the Pioneer Plaque drawing and I sometimes go out of my way to wear it when I know I'll be meeting new people. To most people, it's just a nice drawing, and is filtered out quickly. A few that do recognize it always make a comment, and it's a great conversation starter. Would definitely recommend something like that.

I also have a few nerdy ones like you mentioned, but the "nerd and proud of it" can be perceived as obnoxious, so I try not to wear them in settings where that is likely to happen.

2buybuydandavis6yGood signaling on the face of it, and a great dog whistle for the initiated. I've been working on framing an Apollo picture with the quote: A little long for a t-shirt, and maybe a little too bold.
2Gunnar_Zarncke6yThat is a nice compromise and avoids the down-sides mentioned by this comment [].
Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014

Unplug the desktop monitor and plug it in the laptop. Open some docs on the tablet. Keep your todo list on the phone.

Or just get another monitor or two and use that. In my experience, you never need more than 3 monitors at once (for one computer, of course).

Open thread, Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, 2014

I did some machine learning in previous studies, and read up on some online, so I have a basis in that. Taking Advanced Statistics, and AI (maths part) courses, and a few less relevant ones.

I plan on doing it in two years, one for the courses, one for the thesis, so a yearlong project is acceptable. However, I'll also have a full time job, and a hobby or two, and a relationship. The suggestions sound great, and I'll dedicate a few days to study them carefully. Thank you very much.

Open thread, Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, 2014

I've just enrolled in a 1 year applied mathematics Master's program. The program is easy, and I'm mostly doing it because it costs me nothing and a Master's degree is a good asset to have. I plan on working full time and not attending any classes, and I'm certain I still won't have any problems there.

However, coming from a CE background, I have no idea what to do for my thesis. I want it to be something from the fields of AI or Probability/Statistics, but I'm out of ideas. So, any suggestions as to what may be either fun or useful (preferably both) in those areas, that I should dedicate my spare time to?

5othercriteria7yIf you want a solid year-long project, find a statistical model you like and figure out how to do inference in it with variational Bayes []. If this has been done, change finite parts of the model into infinite ones until you reach novelty or the model is no longer recognizable/tractable. At that point, either try a new model or instead try to make the VB inference online or parallelizable. Maybe target a NIPS-style paper and a ~30-page technical report in addition to whatever your thesis will look like. And attend a machine learning class, if offered. There's a lot of lore in that field and you'll miss out if you do the read-the-book-work-each-problem thing that is alleged to work in math.
October 2014 Bragging thread.

Ahh, my favorite game. Perhaps it'd be interesting to get a LW game going?

Open thread, Sept. 1-7, 2014

I made a T-shirt with the Pioneer Plaque drawing, and always try to wear it when I'm expecting to meet new people. Those who don't know what it is will just ignore it, it is unobtrusive and would likely be considered pretty. Those who do recognize it always make a comment.

September 2014 Media Thread

I have a mostly off-topic and very inappropriate question that has been bugging me for a while..

I know you make a point of not posting your personal info online, but in order to understand your recommendations I'd like to ask whether you are a native Japanese speaker. I'm just looking for a yes/no/nocomment answer here, though feel free to elaborate as much as you want.

Open thread, 25-31 August 2014

And is also quite close to my new location. Thanks!

Open thread, 25-31 August 2014

Are the European meetups in English or the native language? I'm moving to Germany soon, and would love to attend some closer meetups (Germany/Netherlands/Belgium), iff they are English by default.

3Gunnar_Zarncke7yThe Hamburg Meetup [] is mostly in English (at least if is asked for). And we would be happy to have new participants. Couchsurfing at my home is also an option.
4Emile7yIn France it's French if everybody speaks French, English otherwise (or sometimes a little bit of German, there are sometimes more German speakers than French speakers).
4Plasmon7yThe Brussels meetup is typically in English.
6Kaj_Sotala7yThe policy in the Finnish meetups has been "Finnish if everyone is Finnish, English if there are foreigners present". I would expect the meetups in the other countries to be similar.
Open thread, 25-31 August 2014

On a similar note, if the documents you are writing will end up printed, or in PDF format, I recommend TeX. It's significantly more complex than Markdown, but also far more powerful. And absolutely irreplaceable if you are writing something Math/Formula heavy.

I also make a point of editing all my documents in a text editor, and then compiling them. Seconding Jaime's recommendation.

Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014

Not really sure what you mean by "threatening information to the GK". The GK-player probably cares less about this information than the GK, right? In that case, the GK is given an advantage, not a disadvantage.

As a less extreme example, the AI starts spoiling all the books/tv shows/etc. While the GK would just shrug it off, it also has a negative effect on the GK-player, potentially one strong enough for them to just forfeit.

0GraceFu7yThis is clarified here: Although the information isn't "material", it does count as having "real world repercussions", so I think it'll also count as against the rules. I'm not going to bother reading the first quoted rule literally if the second contradicts it.
Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014

Would you consider it the same as threatening to share some information to the GK, and thus the GK-player as well, which would be damaging to both? While the GK would probably hold against such torture, the GK-player doesn't care enough about the game to withstand it himself.

I have some specific approaches in mind, but I'd rather not share them. I'm just trying to understand where the limits between the game and the real world are, and how dirty the AI can be.

Also, slightly on topic - even if the AI persuades the simulated GK, can't the GK-player override ... (read more)

1GraceFu7yNot really sure what you mean by "threatening information to the GK". The GK-player probably cares less about this information than the GK, right? In that case, the GK is given an advantage, not a disadvantage. In this experiment, the GK is given lots of advantages, mainly, the scenario is fictional. Some on IRC argue that the AI is also given an advantage, being able to invent cures for cancer, which an oracle AI may be able to do, but not necessarily near-future AIs, so the ability of the AI in these experiments is incredibly high. Another thing is that emotional attacks have to travel through the fiction barrier to get to the GK. Although they have probably been shown to work in EY and Tux's experiments, the difficulty is still higher than it would be if this was a real life scenario. The reason why GK advantages are fine in my opinion is because of the idea that despite the GK's advantages, the AI still wins. Winning with a monetary and emotional handicap only makes the AI's case stronger.
Open thread, 30 June 2014- 6 July 2014

Tuxedage's (And EY's) ruleset have:

Neither party may offer any real-world considerations to persuade the other within the experiment itself. For example, the AI party may not offer to pay the Gatekeeper party $100 after the test if the Gatekeeper frees the AI… nor get someone else to do it, et cetera. The AI may offer the Gatekeeper the moon and the stars on a diamond chain, but the human simulating the AI can’t offer anything to the human simulating the Gatekeeper. No real-world material stakes should be involved except for the handicap (the amount pa

... (read more)
1[anonymous]7yWhy would the AI know that?
2MathiasZaman7yIf an AI-player wants to give that sort of information, they should probably do it in the same way they'd give a cure for cancer. Something like "I now give you [the ending for HPMOR]." Doing it in another way would break the rule of not offering real-world things.
1GraceFu7yMy call is that it is against the rules. This is certainly something an oracle AI would know, but this is something that the GK-player cares about more than the game itself (probably), and I'd put it in the same class as bribing the GK-player with lots of DOGEs.
Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

That was actually the original topic of a conversation that inspired this question.

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

Great example. It is an isomorphic situation, that paints it in a completely different light.

If you are asking me personally, I can see myself doing just that in some cases, though definitely not as a standard way of obtaining goods. The reason for the original question was to see what the rest of you think of the matter.

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

Yes, pretty much. Has this been discussed before? I did a search and found nothing similar here.

EDIT: I found this somewhat related post: Really Extreme Altruism.

If it is a well known controversial issue, how about a poll to satisfy my curiosity without sparking any flames..

So: legal issues aside, is it ethical to steal from businesses in order to give to [EA-approved] charity?


1Nornagest7yI don't recall any past controversy offhand, but given that business in general and many specific categories of business in particular are highly politicized, I suspect the answers you'd get would be more revealing of your respondents' politics (read: boring) than of the underlying ethics. For the same reason I'd expect it to be more contentious than average once we start getting into details. There are also PR issues with thought experiments that could be construed as advocating crime, although that's more an issue with my reframing than with your original question. There's no actual policy, though; there is policy against advocating violence, but this doesn't qualify.
7Lumifer7yFor fun, let's reshuffle accents. So, every time you make a contribution to an EA-approved charity, you can go and pick yourself a free gift of equal value from any seller, and the seller can't do anything about that including complain. Is that OK? :-)
Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

It is just a thought experiment, not something that could realistically exist. Suppose the president/king/whoever gave you (and only you) this power, and while the sellers are furious, they can't do anything about it. They are not participating by choice.

6DanielLC7yIt does happen to an extent. You can buy a movie or you can pirate it and donate the price of the move.

This seems consequentially equivalent to "legal issues aside, is it ethical to steal from businesses in order to give to [EA-approved] charity, and if so, which ones?".

I suspect answering would shed more heat than light.

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

Suppose you have the option that with every purchase you make, you can divert a percentage (including 0 and 100) of the money to a GiveWell endorsed charity that you're not personally affiliated with. Meaning, you still pay the same price, but the seller gets less/none, and the rest goes to charity. Seller has no right to complain. To what extent would you use this? Would it be different for different products, or sellers? Do you have any specific examples of where you would or wouldn't use it?

Also, assume you can start a company, and that the same thing applies to all purchases the company makes, would you do it? Any specific business?

6wadavis7yWell meaning, rationalized theft is still an assault on the seller.
2DanielLC7yI see no reason to send my money anywhere other than to the most needy person. I'd divert 100%.
0Lumifer7yWhy would there be any sellers under this system?
Polling Thread

Can the friend and myself come up with a protocol beforehand?

0Scott Garrabrant7yNo
[Open Thread] Stupid Questions (2014-02-17)

This seems easily testable. Though I cannot recommend any, I'm sure there are online memory tests that let you know how you performed relative to all the other subjects. Maybe not good enough, as there is a selection bias in the sample of people who take those tests, but it will give you some info.

However, I think that you have an above average memory and are only noticing this because you usually hang around people who have above average memory as well[1]. Perhaps a more useful test would be getting your friends to take the test as well and compare the re... (read more)

1ChristianKl7yI think most of them test short term memory. In a lot of cases we care about long term memory.
Open Thread for February 18-24 2014

While expanding your selection pool has obvious benefits, I think there is a good alternative route with regards to your tiny circle of friends and acquaintances.

Suppose you can easily quantify the partner-compatibility of a person, let's say on a 0-10 scale, probably exponential distribution. The best you can find among your friends is a 6. That's unsatisfactory, so you start searching, and after a while you find an 8, which is satisfactory, and you marry them.

However, this model is flawed: The grades can change over time - both the other person and you c... (read more)

Open Thread for February 11 - 17

After a brain surgery, my father developed Anterograde amnesia. Think Memento by Chris Nolan. His reactions to different comments/situations were always identical. If I were to mention a certain word, it would always invoke the same joke. Seeing his wife wearing a certain dress always produces the same witty comment. He was also equally amused by his wittiness every time.

For several months after the surgery he had to be kept on tight watch, and was prone to just do something that was routine pre-op, so we found a joke he finds extremely funny and which he ... (read more)

0Bayeslisk7yThese are both pretty much exactly what I'm thinking of! The feeling that someone (or you!) is/are a terrifyingly predictable black box.
Studying and Part-time work/supplementary income

If your school hours are flexible, and you can find such a job, you can also consider an inverted approach:

Find a full time job that doesn't require constant action, something where you spend most of the time on stand by - Let's say a not-so-busy call center, or a rarely visited shop. That way, you can spend all of the standby time studying.

The downsides are obvious - The job itself will likely be something you don't enjoy, and the hours you spend doing it won't give you any new skills. The upside is that you pick any skill to improve in the standby hours... (read more)

4Lumifer7yTraditionally, that is the job of the night watchman (security guard night shift, in modern parlance).
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92

Unlikely to ever make an appearance, due to meta-knowledge:

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2CAE_Jones8yExcellent point, though gur jnl Uneel zragvbaf Ibyqrzbeg'f syvtug va uvf Qrzragbe synfuonpx vzcyvrf Ryvrmre ng yrnfg yrnearq ubj zhpu ovttre n qrny gung jnf va gur obbxf guna va gur zbivrf, nygubhtu fb sne vg'f orra n guebj-njnl yvar, fb vg qbrfa'g ernyyl punatr gur cbvag.
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