All of wsean's Comments + Replies

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103

"an incredible spell... is it not?"

A few students on the Ravenclaw side were looking indignant, but for the most part the students just looked relieved, and some Slytherins were chuckling.

Quirrell is joking. He doesn't care about the results of the ministry-mandated test, as he already knew what grades his students had earned from him regardless.

2AnthonyC7yAt the beginning Quirrell had said any tests he gave would grade itself in real time so students could help each other for bonus points. So Some method of achieving a similar effect exists.
0Gondolinian7yAssuming Quirrell did have the final grades already calculated before the test, did Quirrell know ahead of time how the students would score on the test and have the final grades reflect that, or did he use the grades up to that point in total indifference to the test scores? ETA: Oops, I seem to have completely missed this discussion [] when I posted this here. My bad.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94

People have suggested that on being summoned to the Headmaster's office, Harry precommits to time-turn back and hide Hermione's body before the summons arrives. Whether that means replacing the ring or the stone or what have you.

There are several ways I can think of that Dumbledore could circumvent this:

  • keep Harry under observation for the next six hours, magically or otherwise
  • force Harry to use all six turns immediately, and then keep him under observation for six hours
  • check the Map (if he's the one who currently holds it; do we know at this point?)
... (read more)
Preparing for a Rational Financial Planning Sequence

Brief thoughts (some redundancy with what others have said):

  • This seems enormously broad. Like, this is material that could fill multiple books. I strongly suggest you narrow your focus significantly, at least at first.
  • Most of these topics are very well covered elsewhere. Judging by your outline here and your linked comment, I suspect I've read many of the same things you have. That doesn't mean it's not worth covering here! But rather than duplicate effort saying things other people have already said, a well-sourced compilation of what you consider
... (read more)
S.E.A.R.L.E's COBOL room

It took me years to realize that my agreement with the Chinese Room argument was due almost entirely to how convincing Searle sounded standing in front of a classroom, and to his skill at appealing to both common sense and vanity. The argument was flagged as correct and cached, acquired a support structure of evasions and convenient flinches, and so it remained, assumed and unquestioned.

I wish I could remember an exact moment of realization that destroyed the whole thing, roots and all, but I don't. I suspect it was more of a gradual shift, where the sup... (read more)

Whereas I first encountered the Chinese Room idea via Hofstadter and Dennett, and was thus cued to conceive of it as a failure of empathy — Searle asks us to empathize with the human (doing a boring mechanical task) inside of the room, and therefore not to empathize with the (possibly inquisitive and engaged) person+room system.

What are you working on? August 2012

Working on a fanfic of a fanfic of a fanart of a fanfic. At this level of recursion, the original source material has become difficult to detect. I understand at seven levels, it becomes Douglas Hofstadter slash fic. (blatant EY joke theft)

I started off writing this in second person imperative, in response to a challenge from a writer friend of mine (e.g. "You are thinking you would never write in second person imperative. Try it anyway. See what happens."). Not sure I'll stick with it, though; it works beautifully in some parts, and like ch... (read more)

Group rationality diary, 7/23/12

Used Bayes in the wild.

It was really a textbook case. I had a short story under review at Asimov's SF magazine, and they'd held onto it for over two months. Per Duotrope (a writer's market site), Asimov's takes twice as long on average reviewing stories that are ultimately accepted as stories that are ultimately rejected (the likely explanation is that obviously bad stories can be rejected right away, while stories that eventually get bought are handed around to multiple readers). So I sort of casually assumed without really thinking about it that this ... (read more)

1Eliezer Yudkowsky9yHey - were you submitting the story for the first time? I.e., not that this was your first story, but Asimov's was the first place you sent it? If so, odds probably need adjustment because bad stories get submitted to more magazines than good stories (a rejected story is resubmitted, a good story is accepted more quickly).

Lovely! I intend to add this as a Bayesian sample problem - enough rationality diaries, and we'll be able to make Bayes booklets exclusively out of real-life cases encountered by LessWrongers!

-1Jonathan_Graehl9yThis is really cool. However, if you'd read omens from chicken entrails and it made you feel better, that would also have been equally cool :) (it may be a necessary technique to manage your emotions to actually rationally evaluate expectations, if you're sufficiently steel-minded that prayers and omens don't work for you)
Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

Great tool for implementing a zero-based budgeting system (also known as an "envelope system"), meaning every dollar of income is assigned to an expense category. Categories can (and should) include annual or longer-term expenses, so that you have cash on hand when foreseeable future expenses crop up. The system as a whole is great for giving you confidence in your spending choices, as well as helping you stay on track when you overspend. I find this type of budgeting ideal, though some may find it a little too demandin... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hi! Long-time lurker, first-time... joiner?

I was inspired to finally register by this post being at the top of Main. Not sure yet how much I'll actually post, but the removal of the passive barrier of, you know, not actually being registered is gone, so we'll see.

Anyway. I'm a dude, live in the Bay Area, work in finance though I secretly think I'm actually a writer. I studied cog sci in college, and that angle is what I tend to find most interesting on Less Wrong.

I originally came across LW via HPMoR back in 2010. Since then, I've read the Sequences, ... (read more)