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Lies Told To Children

There's also variation in the amount of children's television watched by people in the test population. The protagonist mentions seeing "less children's television than most children in our age cohort", and it's a safe bet that this was tracked as part of the data set.

Lies Told To Children

Not just genetic tendencies; it was also meant to look at shared environment, like the TV shows subtly but thoroughly pushing a certain worldview, and the words from teachers saying it explicitly. From the story: they wanted "to find out how well we were doing environment-wise and heredity-wise on people's kindness and resistance to conformity-pushed cruelty".

Don't Be Afraid of Asking Personally Important Questions of Less Wrong

Ah. That web site throws out too many claims to investigate fully -- who has the time? -- but if you google around for a sampling of them you'll notice that they tend to crumble under scrutiny. The sections mentioning quantum mechanics are especially blatant: they're gibberish, total incoherent misuse of terminology.

EDIT: There's a sequence of articles called Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions which is relevant here. One that applies in particular is Fake Explanations, which could be summarized as "If you are equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge." When people talk about "etheric worlds on different frequencies", or "energy vortices swirling faster than the speed of light on the earth plane", what does this predict? What, concretely, does it mean? If it can explain anything, then it predicts nothing.

Stupid Questions March 2015

If you were to try and search the space of all possible inputs for MD5, you'd quickly(ish) find an input that collided with the Obama Werewolf input, but it'd be garbage.

Really? Last I checked, the best known preimage attack against MD5 was too slow to be practical. Finding collisions is drastically easier, though I don't know any method for doing it with arbitrary plain-text English sentences.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108

Not just modern sexual attitudes, but specifically the sexual attitudes you see in the Harry Potter fanfiction community. And I'm sure it was meant to be jarring. Magical Britain's culture is subtly but deeply different from that of the muggle country that shares its borders; it would be profoundly weird if there were no surprises, no culture shock.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104

He's the Super Hufflepuff! He's taking all the electives, which is physically impossible without a Time Turner! He was mentioned right before Harry started making thorough off-screen preparations, and then conspicuously forgotten for the rest of the chapter! Dramatic logic dictates that he's got to show up at some point, probably in some way that involves time travel.

... Unless the whole thing was a throwaway joke about how useless Cedric was in Goblet of Fire, in which case yeah, I guess it was pretty funny.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104

An alternate interpretation is that Voldemort was strengthening a few of the spells that Sprout cast, as well as the spell that Tonks used to win the battle, and this use of his own magic was what caused Harry's doom-sense to tingle. If that's the case, then there would be none of his magic on the troll.

The morality of disclosing salary requirements

Other useful dummy values are $1, $42, $1,000,000, $9999999999999.95, and "'; DROP TABLE salary; --". As someone who has written input validation code for web forms on a few occasions, I personally give you my blessing to subvert them.

Does the Utility Function Halt?

I'm not entirely sure what your argument is yet, but here's a simple example utility function that might be interesting as a baseline:

def utility(universe):
    return 42

This function halts for all inputs, and assigns each input a desirability value that can be compared with others. What sort of utility function are you imagining?

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