Skatche

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A Rationalist's Account of Objectification?

Not quite. One of my problems with objectification is that it implies certain attitudes which -- among other things -- create a favourable environment for rapists. That being said, I wrote the above comment at a time when rape was particularly salient to me, and may have overstated its relevance to this issue; I would now argue, more generally, that objectification openly expressed within a social group signals to women (almost by definition!) that they are regarded as objects and will not receive the status of full personhood within that group. Because these attitudes can be difficult if not impossible for women to correct by speaking out, many make the decision to withdraw from the group, further tilting the power balance toward the men.

Learning how to explain things

Incidentally, I find Leonard Susskind is brilliant at all of these things. So, for a good example, his lectures on physics are well worth watching. Heck, they're worth watching even if you don't care about explaining things to people.

Fine-tuned for Interestingness vs. Ramsey's Theorem

I'm not sure about this "selection space" of universes, but if we're talking about all possible mathematical constructs (weighted, perhaps, according to Solomonoff's universal prior), it bears noting that even some one-dimensional, two-colour cellular automata - extremely simple systems as far as that goes - have been proven to be Turing complete. Doesn't mean they'll necessarily produce life, as a lot depends on initial conditions, but we know at least that they can, in principle, produce life. Given what else I've seen of mathematics, it seems the space of mathematically possible universes is positively teeming with critters.

Grigori Perelman refused prize because he knows "how to control the universe"

AndrewHickey's comment notwithstanding, it wouldn't surprise me if he did say that, and if he meant it very literally, like in the batshit crazy sense. Famous mathematicians have a long and celebrated history of going off the deep end. Cf. Georg Cantor, Kurt Gödel, Alexander Grothendieck.

Econ/Game theory question

Well, of course. But assuming B is a rational agent, and assuming the expected damages awarded in court per trespass are additive, she's going to wait until A has finished building his house, then take him to court for all counts of trespassing, rather than fight each one individually, since that'll save her a great deal on time and legal fees.

Econ/Game theory question

It seems to me that the easement will cost, at most, the amount of money that B could get from A in court for illegally crossing B's land. Given the additional expenditure of time and legal fees, not to mention the uncertainty of the legal outcome, it will probably be somewhat less than that.

Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3)

This may vary from person to person, but I found I didn't need a rigourous schedule to make enough progress to determine that meditation was beneficial for my mental well-being. Doing about half an hour once every few days (when I remembered to) was enough, within a few months, to grant me relaxation and greater clarity of mind. Those aren't really the point, but it's reason enough to push forward and see what else there is to see.

No coinductive datatype of integers

Sorry, I have a bit of a skewed perspective about what's obvious. :P Once I perceived the connection to binary trees it seemed plain as day.

No coinductive datatype of integers

A proof in ROT13:

Gb rnpu cbffvoyr rapbqvat bs n pbhagnoyr frg ol svavgr ovg fgevatf gurer pbeerfcbaqf n ovanel gerr: ng gur ebbg abqr lbh tb yrsg (fnl) vs gur svefg ovg vf n mreb naq evtug vs vg'f n bar, gura ng gur arkg abqr lbh tb yrsg be evtug vs gur frpbaq ovg vf n mreb be bar, naq fb sbegu. Gur npghny vagrtref pbeerfcbaq gb grezvany abqrf, ernpurq ol n svavgr ahzore bs oenapuvatf. Znysbezrq ovg fgevatf, gbb, pbeerfcbaq gb grezvany abqrf, ng gur rneyvrfg cbvag gung jr pna gryy gurl'er znysbezrq. Ubjrire, fvapr gurer ner vasvavgryl znal vagrtref, naq bayl svavgryl znal cbffvoyr ovg fgevatf bs nal tvira yratgu, gurer zhfg or ng yrnfg bar vasvavgryl ybat cngu va gur gerr, naq vs jr srrq guvf frdhrapr bs mrebf naq barf vagb bhe pbzchgre, gur pbzchgre jvyy unat.

Rationality Quotes: May 2011

I'm inclined to disagree. Deep abstraction gives us powerful tools for solving less abstract problems, including those that come out of the empirical sciences. Even fields developed with a deliberate eye to avoiding practical applications have sometimes turned out to make significant contributions to the sciences (I understand knot theory, for example, began this way, but has since turned out to have important applications in biochemistry).

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