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Finally had time to take the survey. I missed the on-line IQ test from the previous survey. Since I haven't taken any professional IQ-test I had to leave the question blank.

I notice that the latest two posts from Yvain's blog haven´t shown up in the "recent from rationality blogs" field. If this is due to a decision to no longer include his blog among those that are linked, I believe this to be a mistake. Yvain's blog is in my view perhaps the most interesting and valuable among those that are/were linked. And although I am in no danger of missing his updates myself, the same might not be true of all LW readers that may be interested in his writing.

Huh. It seems like a lot of people in this discussion are convinced that Hermione is dead and will stay dead. I agree that she is probably currently quite dead; however, I assign a greater than 50 % probability that she will somehow be resurrected.

My prediction: Harry will convince a reluctant Dumbledore to put Hermione's body under some sort of stasis spell (cue discussion of cryonics) while he researches ways to revive her. The resurrection plot will resolve the question whether the HPMoR-verse is reductionist or if there is a body/soul dichotomy (my bet is on the former).

Isn't your whole argument merely a rediscovery of the mathematical concept of uncertainty? You admit at the outset that the priors for the magically falling pony must be bizzarely specific to render the exact probability of 1/2^100. In contrast, given a fair coin and a hundred coinflips, it's nothing at all bizzare about the fact that the probability that you'll get a straight run of heads is exactly 1/2^100. It's just math. The problem of course, is that the uncertainty as to whether magically falling ponies are possible isn't a question that is amenable to a quantitative study, given that the event so seldom repeat... Even so, my intuition is exactly opposite to yours: I know how bizzarely unlikely it would be to get a hundred heads in a row, so if that were to happen (under circumstances that ruled out foul play) I would be astonished. If a magically falling pony appeared I would be likewise astonished, but less so since my model of reality is more uncertain to me than my model of abstract math.

That said, the idea of "metaconfidence" reminds me somewhat of Yvain's post Confidence levels inside and outside an argument.

Edited to add: And the the concept of falling ponies reminds me of this.

Right. The state still loses money when this roll-down happens, but this seems to have been intended as marketing, which makes measuring its total impact harder.

Well, wether the state is losing money or not when the roll-down happens depends on how you define "losing" in this context, or rather, I suppose, on bookkeeping. I would say not, for the simple reason that although the payout on rounds where the roll-down happens may exceed the income on that particular round, the excess payout, so to speak, is made with money that, as I understand it, was never counted as profit in the first place.

To elaborate: In this particular lottery, the state is taking 40 percent of every dollar betted as overhead and profit. The rest (60 percent, obviously), is paid back to the lucky winners in various proportions. However, the concept of "jackpot" basically means that each round where there is no winner with all the right numbers, a portion of the 60 percent is moved into the "jackpot" and thus made available as potential winnings in the next round. This means basically that even though the payout when the jackpot (or roll-down) falls out may exceed the total amount paid for tickets in that round, that doesn't affect the state's overall profit, which continues to be 40 percent of every dollar.

It says that the state made money on this, too... though I don't quite understand how. Clearly someone had to lose money.

If I understand the matter correctly, the "someone" who loses money is the same someone who always loses money when buying lottery tickets - the buyer. The construction of the roll down system just makes it so that some of the money lost by players from the (majority of) rounds during which the jackpot is built towards the cap, is redistributed towards the round where the roll down happens. So much so, that this roll down round actually has an expected gain for each ticket. The players clever enough to only buy tickets in the round in which the the roll down is expected to happen thus profit from those who buy tickets in all the other rounds. The state, however, takes its 40 % profit from everyone.