All of Alex Vermillion's Comments + Replies

Gahhhh I've been waiting for the rest of BeWellTuned for a while now. I was hoping it was held up for a happy reason, like the author being busy with work they found important. :(


(I haven't read the post yet) The mention of the Knox posts made me think of this comment chain about the slowly-growing number of similar posts on LW:

I don't know if it's worth adding in to your post anywhere, but here it is if you would like it.

Yes, that's what I did the first time, haha

<1 minute edit: (The comment by Vaniver does not show as spoiled on my screen)

I didn't agree-vote but I want to bet on

Rot13 because I can't get spoilers to work: Crbcyr nterrvat jvgu gur cbyvpl nf n tbbq bar, juvpu vf frcnengr sebz gur abezny hcibgr bs "Lrnu V yvxrq guvf"

[edit: These instructions on inserting spoiler tags do not work]

For me, spoilers work if I type >! to start a line, but not if I copy-paste >! I copy-pasted those two character before this sentence
Re: spoiler tags – those instructions are for LessWrong docs, I think they either don't work or require something different for markdown. (Probably look up markdown spoiler block syntax and the internet will point you in the right direction)

Could you help out by firmly explaining what you see as the difference from "morbid curiosity"? Maybe exploring the failings of the closest neighboring term would give a good motivation for the new jargon!

When people say they have morbid curiosity they're kind of implying that the curiosity itself is morbid, possibly because they're taking for granted that the thing they're curiosity is about is actually morbid, whereas kakistocuriosity is egosyntonic curiosity about things that are stereotypically bad.

Depending on how cold your hands are, you should NOT use hot water. I was always taught that this is really bad for your body to go from freezing to hot.

Edit: To be clear, this is emphatic agreement, not disagreement

So are we looking for "Simple"/"Complex" maybe?

3 – 25,000 karma

I think this is no longer correct, looking at the link I believe displays the code:

I don't think anyone is likely to care, but it is my understanding that a new reader will see the sidecomment when they read the post and so this clears up that possible confusion.

I don't like the implication that just because something is complex then it must be muddled. 'Muddled' sounds like an extremely close synonym of 'confused'.  I don't understand the following post, but I bet if I spent a year sharing a room with the author, and the author was very patient, I could understand what they were saying well enough to at least agree or disagree with it: [] The opposite of 'clear' is not 'muddled'; the opposite of 'clear' is 'obscure'. If 'muddled' is the negative-affect way of saying 'obscure', I suggest that 'arcane' is the positive-affect way of saying it.

Oh, wow, I didn't know where the shortform button was before. I'll toss some interesting stuff in here soon (but I'm making the shortform first to make sure my posts don't get eaten).

Testing reply to side comment on a draft post

This is meant to be a draft for testing purposes.

Testing side comment on a draft post

1Alex Vermillion5mo
Testing reply to side comment on a draft post

Ah, the title of the shortform starts with [Draft], this is likely it. Still a very odd interface.

User LVSN has several shortform posts but no visible shortform. The shortform posts appear as comments with no attributed post title which link to (the href property is set to "/"). They have no shortform post, which appears to usually be pinned on top of a user's posts.

Does anyone know what this means? They were not aware of it when I talked to them.

1Alex Vermillion5mo
Ah, the title of the shortform starts with [Draft], this is likely it. Still a very odd interface.

Yes, it's an interesting issue.

I wonder if koans work best under partial supervision. Instead of the master having to check each attempt, they check 1 in 100 attempts, allowing them to teach roughly 100 times as many students at once.

If any teachers out there use koan-likes, do they work well for homework?

Also koans. You give a pattern which will be significant when understood, but insignificant until then. The student tries random interpretations until the pattern is understood, and know that the random data they have found is valuable. This is done because the data is difficult to describe directly, but easy to hold once achieved.

4[DEACTIVATED] Duncan Sabien5mo
The problem being, there can often be multiple things which "click" with the pattern! Or I guess "problem" might be too strong/overstating. Like, if you get value out of the koan then you got value out of the koan, regardless of whether it's the same value the koan-speaker hoped you would get. But it's a problem from a communication standpoint.

I've got a little sample of a similar idea in my mind, which I think may be similar enough it's worth mentioning. I'll describe it using "is" language instead of "sounds like it is" language below for brevity.

A sazen is a description of a completed process which is not a description of how to start the process; an island of self-supporting concepts which you cannot jump directly to from pre-existing concepts.

Picture a resource-management game (like Dwarf Fortress, Factorio, etc). You might need Resource A to get Resource B and Resource B, like needing elec... (read more)

5[DEACTIVATED] Duncan Sabien5mo
Strong upvote and strong agreement vote for the crystallization "Sazen are for verification, not teaching." Thank you.
3Alex Vermillion5mo
Also koans. You give a pattern which will be significant when understood, but insignificant until then. The student tries random interpretations until the pattern is understood, and know that the random data they have found is valuable. This is done because the data is difficult to describe directly, but easy to hold once achieved.

Please add ALL of these to the Sequence that got made! I have 2 times now found more of these really fun posts and wish I'd read it earlier!

I had someone online recently ask if anyone was curating a playlist which could be subscribed to for the highlights from the sequences. If you have the ability to make public playlists (maybe on Spotify, but I haven't used it in years), people may get value out of that.

You guys can use agree/disagree on this comment to say if you'd get value out of curated playlists.

3Henry Prowbell9mo
I was looking for exactly this recently.

Yup, I wrote the program and still get owner-value-portion-grabbing. If it's any help, I can now generate any simple pattern you want very quickly and easily.

I did a really simply and naive thing in an online calculator, and I'd like to state explicitly that I'll be quite intrigued if you show me I did it wrong as I feel I must have made a mistake looking back over this comment.

I used with several (ANNOYING TO INPUT) sets of values (10 utility in each).

Here I did a trivial thing where you need all owners and 2 workers here, and included only those people. You can see that they trivially are going to telescope to each getting 1/n of the value out.

1 owner / 2 worker = ( 3.33333 / owner, 3... (read more)

Sounds like you set up a model where the factory produces nothing unless it has 100% participation from all players, which means that all players are in equivalent positions (any one of them can veto the entire operation and leave the other players with nothing).  Under this model, "owners" and "workers" are actually equivalent--you've assumed that if 1 worker goes on strike, the entire factory shuts down. Obviously, if all players are in equivalent positions, then by symmetry they'll have equal payouts. In the original story-example, the factory owner can claim a higher Shapley value on the basis that if you removed just 1 worker, the factory would still produce quite a bit, but if you removed the owner, you wouldn't have a factory anymore. A very simple model for this might be something like:  owner + any N workers produces N utility, while any subset not including the owner produces 0 utility.  Then, with 10 workers + 1 owner, if you add people in a random order, each worker produces an average of 0.5 marginal utils (= 0 if added before the owner, 1 if added after) while the owner produces an average of 5 marginal utils (= the average number of workers added before the owner). If you double the number of workers to 20 (and thus double the max output to 20 as well), then each worker still adds an average of 0.5 marginal utils, but the owner now adds an average of 10 marginal utils.  So the worker wages stay the same, but the owner earns more from the larger operation. Now suppose we go back to 10 workers, but now we have 2 owners, with the rule that the factory produces 0 unless both owners participate.  (Thus, these 2 owners collectively do the same job that the 1 owner previously did.) A worker produces 1 marginal value if added after both owners, 0 otherwise.  Since there are 2 owners, on average 1/3 will be added before both, 1/3 between, and 1/3 after both.  So the worker average is 1/3 util. The first owner added produces 0, the second produces as man

I'll pass this along! It wasn't for me, it was for someone who apparently likes to queue up LW posts in their podcast player and wanted to know if there was an automatic way to do so.

Someone recently asked me if there was audio for compiled into a playlist anywhere. I can't seem to find it; does this already exist?

As of last Friday, you can actually play the audio for each post directly from the post page. We may figure out a playlist in another format. I'm curious what your preferred format would be.

Thank you for doing that; I'll do this some day soon when I'm ready to keep my laptop open on the tab for a while.

Note you can send us a message to get the ball rolling, we can reply async.

Here are several more coordinates I did up:

39.25538, -76.71480 39.25538 N, 76.71480 W 18N 352043 4346518 87F5774P+53 18S UJ 52043 46518

(it looks like you have intercom hidden. I just un-hid it for you, so you can message us with it. Use the circle in the bottom-right corner)
5Garrett Baker9mo
Obvious solution: Have you tried using the Intercom to contact the team?

The point of (me linking) "Don't fight the hypothetical" is that the author of the thought experiment could come here and comment "The boy has incredibly calibration about coyotes and other beasts, made using old predictions and cross validated with reserved old predictions, but the others in the village don't know this and won't listen now that he's had one false alarm" and it would be completely uninteresting to discuss.

The reason that the villagers didn't trust the boy that he didn't have a track record. One reason we don't trust people who are loudly proclaiming certain kinds of doom is that they don't have a track record of accurately predicting things (e.g. Heaven's Gate), and that's an inherently important aspect of the phenomenon this post is describing. If the child had accurately predicted wolves in the past, real world villagers would have paid attention to a 15% warning. The post is suggesting that certain kinds of risks have low probability, and the predictors don't have a track record of success because it's impossible, but that they have other lines of evidence that can be used to justify their probability estimates. In the case of "nuclear war that hasn't happened despite the scares" the evidence is events like the Cuban missile crisis or Petrov Day. But in the parable, it isn't established that the child has good arguments to justify 5% or 15% wolf appearance rates.
That misses my point, which is that trusting the judgment of someone who is proclaiming opaquely calculated but accurate estimates of low probability events without an extremely good calibration track record is a bad idea.

Requesting that 2-axis voting gets added into the voting section

Meta level: Why on earth would you say "Here is my secret idea, internet"? That doesn't make any sense to me

Many such cases.

I don't know where you got that definition from, but it disagrees with common usage and the dictionary. All of the "cides" are about murder, not death (patricide, regicide, suicide, etc), which could have been a clue, since "suicide" would be nonsense if this pattern held.

homicide (countable and uncountable, plural homicides)

  1. (countable, uncountable, crime) The killing of one person by another, whether premeditated or unintentional.
  2. (countable) A person who kills another.
  3. (countable, US, police jargon) A victim of
... (read more)

If the program has not ended, there is a feedback and proofreading service that you can access, which would be really helpful if you don't have any local proofreaders for making sure the audience will understand you.

Don't put more effort into spellcheck, just paste your essay into a wordprocessor that has spellcheck! Spelling is so uninteresting that you should find the easiest way to touch it up.

Small confusions:

  • I don't know why you have a model which goes from man to woman along 1 axis instead of, say, many. You didn't give any reason to think of 1 axi
... (read more)
1Ben Amitay10mo
Thanks, there are many helpful points here. The many-dimension thing is a different way to generalise the naive model, and I. Didn't want to analyze both in the same post because I feared it may become too dense. Thanks to you I understand that it is so popular that choosing to avoid it can not be done implicitly. About your last point I sort-of disagree, in a way that point to another place where I wasn't clear enough. I think that many of the arguments made by even the most serious theologians where so obviously bad that their counter-arguments where only needed in order to explicitly state why it is so obvious that they are bad. I am in great doubt that existence by definition prevented anyone from becoming atheist, even before there were tools to show exactly why it can never work. Do you think that there is any point to edit now? I'm not sure what is the chance that anyone would read it.

I'm not trying to convince you of anything, but I am curious: The bounty page says the bounty was discontinued as of March 2020 due to Coronavirus. Are there plans to bring it back at any point?

What happened to the Facebook group? I'd like to snag an invite if possible.

Thanks, I contacted an insurance agent with more confidence after reading your post.

The link on "anecdote about Brewster's angle" goes to a story about Richard Feynman contains the paragraphs:

Therefore I am brave enough to flip through the pages now, in front of this audience, to put my finger in, to read, and to show you. So I did it. Brrrrrrrup-I stuck my finger in, and I started to read: "Triboluminescence. Triboluminescence is the light emitted when crystals are crushed ..." I said, `And there, have you got science? No! You have only told what a word means in terms of other words. You haven't told anything about nature-what crystals

... (read more)

Actually, I just checked this, if you split the factory owner into multiple agents, the workers capture less and less of the value.

What model are you using to conclude the workers capture less value? I'm reasonably sure Shapley values are preserved under agent decomposition.  That is, if you split agent A into multiple agents B+C who collectively make the same contribution as A, their combined share should be the same as A's original share. Though I don't know whether/how you can extend this model to handle the fact that players can join and leave the "game"--workers can quit, other workers can be hired, the owner could decide not to build the factory but a different tycoon could build one instead, etc.  This means you aren't dealing with a fixed pool of "players".  (One theoretical option is to treat the entire world as one giant game, but then the problem becomes intractable.)
That would happen too, yes. But that's the thing. How can one say whether this is good or bad - how fair or unfair this state of affairs is?

This is a real question! We do not know how to edit our group!

If you downvote, I'd appreciate an explanation as well, even if you PM me so you don't incur downvotes as well. I also will not respond to your feedback unless you ask for it, to lower the cost of giving some even more. Thanks.

1Ben Amitay10mo
See my response to the main comment. What is PM by the way?

I like the bit, I took the time to try it out in my head too and it was a fun puzzle. I wonder if I can actually get better at visualization practicing problems of that difficulty level?

1David Gretzschel10mo
Of course. Till they become too easy, then you'd need something harder. Or you practice speed, I suppose.

Goofus: "Let us, for this argument, define 'horse' to mean 'human'."

Gallant: "Alright."

Goofus: "So you accept then, that humans should wear horseshoes?"

Gallant: "What??!"

I'm actually amazed how little it seems that most people track the definition of words in a conversation to see if they're changing. Something like the points made in Arguing "By Definition" or Scott Alexander's popularization of the term "Motte and Bailey" should be obvious. When someone makes one of these arguments to me, I am confused what is literally going on in their head. Unless the speaker does not care if their argument is sound, I have no map of what it is like to expect the switcheroo to work. In my brain, I resolve words into concepts, but it s... (read more)

3Alex Vermillion10mo
Goofus: "Let us, for this argument, define 'horse' to mean 'human'." Gallant: "Alright." Goofus: "So you accept then, that humans should wear horseshoes?" Gallant: "What??!"

Damn, I just used up half a cup of sugar and the only result I got was learning sugar packs into the grooves of my pliers INCREDIBLY WELL. I will have to try again later, maybe after making some larger crystals (so that the pliers are capable of breaking them apart).

Edit: Dissolving the sugar (in coldish water, just by stirring) and then letting that dry worked! Little greenish flashes. Fun

Should this reply have gone somewhere else? I don't get it. UPDATE: Ah, now I remember it. +1 for going out and actually doing the experiment!

As with all good advice for thinking, I cannot tell whether this is novel or trivial or both. I'd love more examples in either case, so I can make sure I understand what you're talking about.

As I read the post, it would also recommend (for example, duh) testing lots of life coaches, seeing whose advice performed the best in the first month, and then getting lots more advice from them. In that sense, there is something of an Explore/Exploit dynamic going on here, with a framing focusing on evaluating data sources.

I think this article might be related, if you decide to write more on this:

I say this as genuine feedback, not a snipe: Use more spellcheck next time. Less concretely, use more editing, of which spellcheck is one method. I think your post would have stood stronger if it had incorporated some feedback before publishing! You have many small things you say which indicate what seems to be a confusion you have about what people say, and people will tell you this if you ask.

2Ben Amitay10mo
Hi Alex, I did not see you comments until now, and I actually upvote them - first, because I think that the criticism is both fair and very respectful, and also because I truely appreciate that you give informative feedback rather than just downvoting and letting me guess the problems. I have the disadvantage of not being a native English-speaker, and I certainly need to put more effort to spelling and editing. About the "feedback before publishing" - do you have a suggestion for how to do it if I don't have connections with people who are interested in the same subjects? And about the small confusions - it is interesting, but I'm not sure I understand. Would you please say more about it?
2Alex Vermillion10mo
If you downvote, I'd appreciate an explanation as well, even if you PM me so you don't incur downvotes as well. I also will not respond to your feedback unless you ask for it, to lower the cost of giving some even more. Thanks.

I'll note that there are some really neat comments on here, and that the button could be hidden in our 3-dots on the top left of comments (though I've never really ached to bookmark a comment before)

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