Open Thread, Jul. 6 - Jul. 12, 2015

post by MrMind · 2015-07-06T07:31:51.802Z · score: 5 (6 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 147 comments

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


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147 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T01:51:25.523Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I’m asking after advice. Here’s my predicament;

I will soon fall over dead from social deprivation. I’m only exaggerating somewhat. I’m living in my hometown, where for unspecified reasons all previous contacts are lost to me. I am unlikely to be able to move for months, at least. I live far from rationalist circles. I’ve decided to try out the study hall to fill the gap a little (yet to do this, time for bed). I will also probably try to forge new circles by going to town and searching for groups to join that are at least adjacent to my interests. This feels (flagging for overconfidence) unlikely to work here, it’s a smallish town. Nice, but still, not academically active in a suitable fashion, that I've noticed.

There are specifics to group-finding in meatspace I am able to work out fine, so I don’t need help there. But that is the extent of my creativity. Am I missing something glaringly obvious? Please tell me I am.

EDIT: Issue solved! Thanks! :D

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2015-07-07T19:45:40.580Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Ask rationalists for Skype conversations! I'll set one up with you if you wish!

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T16:20:05.695Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would if I had a cam, buuut I don't anymore. Kinda screens off the Study Hall idea as well. Thanks anyways. :)

comment by g_pepper · 2015-07-09T16:41:40.319Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Skype works great without a camera; I use Skype frequently and rarely use a camera.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T16:46:12.576Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh would you look at that, my ignorance is showing. Haha!

ahem Thank you for informing me. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up striking up some sessions with people, now, at some point.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-10T17:04:31.770Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would if I had a cam, buuut I don't anymore. Kinda screens off the Study Hall idea as well. Thanks anyways. :)

Getting a camera seems pretty low effort.

What's your true objection?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-10T23:34:36.106Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Have a rather lowly living situation, and several moderate things that need saving for with a no-nonsense attitude. My true rejection was indeed the price, buuuut I've no sense of actual cost... Looking up the price of a camera...

Hm. I could just put five bucks aside every time I want to walk to town to be around the crowd. I'm just as productive either way, here or there. Thanks for forcing me to notice this possibility! :)

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2015-07-09T16:24:35.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How hard would it be for you to get a cam?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T16:39:21.069Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is on the list of things-to-be-done, but not near the top. Maybe around a month's time, it might be feasible, and I'll pounce on it in anticipation.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2015-07-09T17:10:55.594Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just in case, I will write down that I think this is a plausible candidate for solving a significant portion of your problems. That, and asking interesting people to Skype. :)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T17:13:58.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with you. :)

I can tell I need to tackle any residual shyness or what-not that may get in the way, but it should hardly be difficult. Thanks for the input!

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-07-07T20:41:16.689Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a relatively new addition to the LessWrong community with high innate intelligence and lower-than-average education. This leaves me at a sour spot between flourishing in the LW community and flourishing among normal people. I've felt similar things as a result. Hit me up whenever.

comment by gudamor · 2015-07-07T02:39:43.479Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"searching for groups to join that are at least adjacent to my interests." Why limit it even to these? To extend your analogy: if you're about to fall over dead from starvation, you'd accept most any food.

Common hardship is great for quickly cementing group relationships. You could volunteer time at a charity that will throw together a random group of people at sweaty, repetitive work for an afternoon. You could join a sports team and coalesce around hatred of your rivals.

comment by MrMind · 2015-07-07T07:30:14.633Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Am I missing something glaringly obvious? Please tell me I am.

You are. If life gives you lemons, etc. What you need to do, instead of exploiting the fuck out of your town for your current interests, is aiming at exploring new interests.
Volunteer at an animal shelter. Learn to dance. Attend a gym.
It's not the case that you already know all the things that interest you.

comment by garabik · 2015-07-07T05:43:30.308Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Depending on your free time, engage in some hobbyist activity.

E.g. subscribe to a foreign language course, where you'll meet some people and gain the additional benefit of learning (at least the basics of) a foreign language (might not be applicable if you are in the USA).

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T03:06:36.943Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are you a college student or in academia in any way? That would mean you probably know about someone who you would find interesting to talk to. If so, don't hesitate to contact them (unless there is a specific reason why you should not.)

comment by CAE_Jones · 2015-07-07T06:44:17.930Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You aren't possibly within range of Slate Star Codex meetups, by any chance?

(I am painfully aware that being in the same state (never mind country) is insufficient to provide easy access to people/events, but it seemed worth asking.)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T13:19:07.361Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nope! I remembered a meeting happening in Ann Arbor but it appears that was a once-off thing, as I can't find any links to a group based there. Not to mention I couldn't make it there anyhow, anytime soon.

comment by Scott Alexander (Yvain) · 2015-07-16T14:09:49.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are meetings in the area every couple of months. There's no specific group to link to, but if you give me your email address I will add you to the list.

If you tell me where exactly in Michigan you are, I can try to put you in touch with other Michigan LW/SSC readers. Most are in Ann Arbor, but there are several in the Detroit metro area and at least one in Grand Rapids.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-16T14:50:48.366Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately I live near the tip of the mitt, in Petoskey. I might have my sights set on Ann Arbor for a move, at some point, but it would be months away at soonest.

Messaging email. Thank you for the help :)

comment by chaosmage · 2015-07-07T12:34:29.756Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Besides the good advice you already got, try OkCupid.

Specifically, look into possible contacts in another town less than one hour away that you could visit on evenings, or in towns less than three hours away that you could visit on weekends.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2015-07-07T16:52:11.528Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I think that the psychedelic images that DeepDream produces today are just the start of what we'll see with this kind of technology. Wrote a bit about the ways in which it could be used for increasing image quality, putting artists out of work, and of course, generating porn.

http://kajsotala.fi/2015/07/deepdream-today-psychedelic-images-tomorrow-unemployed-artists/

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T14:11:06.560Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Taboo "psychdelic". What kind of images they are?

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2015-07-09T15:25:29.896Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

See for yourself.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-08T15:56:26.187Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This is one third request, one third challenge, and one third curiosity.

LW likes to discuss game theory. I'd like to see an analysis of the Greek-Troika negotiations over the last few months from the game theory perspective that looks at whether the sides used particular tactics (e.g. pre-commitment) and how well did they turn out. Note that the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has written a book on game theory.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-07T20:26:02.718Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

A bunch of interesting people, starting with Peter Singer, are discussing effective altruism.

comment by Stingray · 2015-07-06T15:00:50.087Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What's next for Greece and the rest of EU? What are your predictions?

comment by James_Miller · 2015-07-06T21:41:19.365Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Leaves the euro which causes an economic collapse which causes a political collapse and the emergence of a new government which makes nice with Germany and gets lots of money from the EU. (25% likely)

Gets a big loan from Russia that prevents an economic collapse (20% likely)

Comes to an agreement that locks in its bad but not horrible economic situation for another decade. (35% likely)

comment by D_Alex · 2015-07-07T06:57:24.708Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Gets a big loan from Russia that prevents an economic collapse (20% likely)

I'll give 10:1 odds against this happening. Russia has its own economic problems now with the drop in the price of oil and Ukrainian conflict, and other issues... China might be more likely, though IMO both Russia and China are a scare ploy by the Greeks.

A somewhat likely possibility is: Greece leaves the EU, triggering an economic collapse, possibly followed by a political collapse. Then spends many, many years trying to sort out itself and wishing it had stayed.

comment by James_Miller · 2015-07-07T15:26:52.820Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For Greece to leave the EU, as opposed to just the Euro, it would really have to anger the other members.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-08T22:46:14.335Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(Possibly stupid) off-topic question: Doesn't the colon notation p:q stand for p/q, so odds of 10/1 would contradict the unitary assumption about our universe, or is this just a hyperbole?

comment by Anders_H · 2015-07-08T23:15:18.209Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

While the words "odds" and "probability" are often used interchangeably in everyday speech, they are different scales. The definition of odds is odds=p/(1-p). To go from odds to probabilities, you just reverse that so that p = odds/(1+odds)

While probabilities are bounded by zero and 1, odds are bounded by zero and positive infinity. Odds of 10 would be a perfectly legitimate way to express a probability of 10/(10+1) = 0.909

comment by WalterL · 2015-07-07T19:45:31.100Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Greece fiats debt, kicked out of EU, economic problems not as severe as expected. Other small nations are emboldened to cancel their debts.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-06T15:39:21.479Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If anyone would have a way of knowing, that kind of methodology would have made us mega-rich long ago by investing, shorting etc.

Sort of if you don't see millions of dollars suddenly going to effective altruism and MIRI then LW is probably not that much better at figuring it out as anyone else :)

comment by Houshalter · 2015-07-07T03:27:45.761Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That's not really true. You need to make correct predictions many times on many different things to get significant returns from your initial seed investment. There are also a lot of details like finding someone to take your short, and getting it at just the right time before the market crashes.

There also is such a methodology to make really good predictions. Train a bunch of people through practice to be good at forecasting the future and learn from their mistakes, and take the top performers from that group: http://www.economist.com/news/21589145-how-sort-best-rest-whos-good-forecasts

The big surprise has been the support for the unabashedly elitist “super-forecaster” hypothesis. The top 2% of forecasters in Year 1 showed that there is more than luck at play. If it were just luck, the “supers” would regress to the mean: yesterday’s champs would be today’s chumps. But they actually got better. When we randomly assigned “supers” into elite teams, they blew the lid off IARPA’s performance goals. They beat the unweighted average (wisdom-of-overall-crowd) by 65%; beat the best algorithms of four competitor institutions by 35-60%; and beat two prediction markets by 20-35%.

They even beat CIA analysts: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/04/02/297839429/-so-you-think-youre-smarter-than-a-cia-agent

There is also this guy. I remember him from the book Automate This, that he was supposedly able to predict exactly how Iran would act back when they were developing nuclear weapons. His method, as best I understand it, is to simply list everyone involved that has influence, and predict they will do exactly what benefits them individually the most.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-07T18:10:08.440Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You need to make correct predictions many times on many different things to get significant returns from your initial seed investment.

That is not true and entirely depends on what your investment is. For example, in late 2012 in a move that was heavily telegraphed yen dropped from about 80 yen/dollar to about 100 yen/dollar. That's a 20% return over a few months and given that FX trades are heavily leveraged (typically at 50:1 or so) you could have made multiples of your initial investment.

comment by sohois · 2015-07-11T07:48:36.963Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the study that was performed, but from the articles it seems that this study has only been going on for 3 years now? In which case, any one sitting at the top of the heap is still pretty likely to have gotten there largely through luck. With a large sample size it's entirely possible for at least a couple of people to 'beat the odds' and get a number of questions correct again and again, without necessarily being any better than those who did poorly.

Even with a fairly significant number of questions being asked and rated, it does not appear to be a long enough study to start suggesting those at the top have better skills as opposed to better luck.

comment by Houshalter · 2015-07-12T10:00:40.354Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

They took the best of one year, and the next year everyone in that group still did very good. They didn't regress to the mean. And the reported effect size seems very large.

comment by MrMind · 2015-07-07T07:35:50.401Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've read half of his book. He details (sorta) his algorithm (which is a specific algorithm, he doesn't do that by his own intuition).

comment by James_Miller · 2015-07-06T22:27:04.092Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is too strong given that predictions have probability estimates associated with them, and some predictions are better than others. For example, a prediction of a 1% chance of a Greek civil war is better than predicting a 50% chance of one.

comment by chaosmage · 2015-07-07T13:20:44.580Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My wild uninformed guess is that the "troika" institutions will accept some property of the Greek state in return for writing off a big part of the debt. The Greek state has things to sell, like its majority stake in Greece's biggest electric power company, and this would help the lenders get something for those bad debts in order to save face towards their voters.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-08T07:02:57.436Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know how strong is the sense of nationalism in Greece, but I suspect if it is even moderate-strong, there will be a lot of resistance to that. Selling state assets to foreigners, especially if it is an asset that provides an important service to locals, especially if it is "gunpoint sale", could really rub people's nationalistic sentiments the wrong way.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2015-07-07T11:28:56.691Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking of visiting the Greek islands this September. Is this looking unwise? I would have booked already if not for the crisis. I've no problem taking enough cash with me for the whole trip, but what will the state of the infrastructure and public order be in two months?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-07T18:16:20.008Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking of visiting the Greek islands this September. Is this looking unwise?

Public order will probably be fine, but the infrastructure might get problematic. Fuel could get scarce, hotels / shops / boat lines might go out of business, etc. If you spend your time in one place, it will be easier, but if you intend to move around a lot, there might be issues.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T12:48:23.679Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't be too worried. Look up Argentine's defaults, it was hard for locals with bank accounts frozen but not so difficult otherwise. People will not go Mad Max on the streets although the chance of muggings will definitely increase. As for infrastructure, if you plan a typical beach holiday and drink bottled water you probably don't really need a lot of it. You need a way to get around and I bet a lot of unemployed guys with cars will operate unlicenced taxis for that, just don't get mugged by them. Ideally, it would be best to travel as a group of 2-3 bigger male friends, you should be safe that way.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-07T18:01:46.236Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The most important fork is whether Greece will stay in the Euro zone (we're not talking about EU, but about the zone of the shared currency, the euro) or will leave it and go back to drachmas.

Keep in mind that leaving euro and introducing drachmas is not a single action, but a process that takes at least a few months. Arguably, Greece has already started on this way.

I am pretty sure we will see Greek government IOUs (scrip) in circulation soon.

The Tsipras government doesn't look to be either willing or able to come to an agreement with the Troika. The interesting question is whether it will be kicked out of power before the conversion to drachmas becomes irreversible (in the medium term). Keep in mind that there are valid economic reasons for Greece to prefer having its own currency.

comment by AlexZ · 2015-07-06T08:36:37.823Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I seek a pointer to material which may help me with a problem I am having. I have noticed that certain claims make me angry and defensive. I find this troubling because while I am convinced that a subset of those claims is wrong, I am unsure regarding the complement. Nevertheless, because I become angry and defensive, I simply cannot evaluate claims which belong in the complement. (Well, rather, I "evaluate" those claims by knocking down arguments in their favor and declaring victory over my opponents which is not particularly helpful in finding the truth.)

comment by gjm · 2015-07-06T15:40:03.532Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Do they make you angry and defensive when you contemplate them on your own? When you read a book making those claims? When discussing them privately with someone else? Only when you discuss them in company?

If the answer isn't "all of those" then maybe it would be helpful to try to evaluate those claims in a context that doesn't stir up anger and defensiveness.

comment by AlexZ · 2015-07-07T17:39:07.357Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. I will try to see if there is a setting in which my reaction is not as strong.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-07-07T15:59:26.191Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's very easy to go from "person has made claim which, if it actually became policy and was followed through harshly, would make my life very bad" to "that inimical policy is right here and much be opposed with all available force". It can be worth checking on the actual threat level.

comment by Gavin · 2015-07-06T18:25:58.762Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You might want to examine what sort of in-group out-group dynamics are at play here, as well as some related issues. I know I run into these things frequently--I find the best defense mechanism for me is to try to examine the root of where feelings come from originally, and why certain ideas are so threatening.

Some questions that you can ask yourself:

  1. Are these claims (or their claimants) subtly implying that I am in a group of "the bad guys"?
  2. Is part of my identity wrapped up in the things that these claims are against?
  3. Do I have a gut instinct that the claims are being made in bad faith or through motivated reasoning?
  4. If I accept these claims as true, would I need to dramatically reevaluate my worldview?
  5. If everyone accepted these claims as true, would the world change in a way that I find threatening or troubling?

None of these will refute the claims, but they may help you understand your defensiveness.

I find it helpful to remind myself that I don't need to have a strongly held opinion on everything. In fact, it's good to be able to say "I don't really know" about all the things you're not an expert in.

comment by Strangeattractor · 2015-07-08T03:27:50.073Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes it can help to understand where the person is coming from, why they have formed the impression that they have. It doesn't mean that they are right about the claims. But it can make it less frustrating to listen to them, and may provide an opportunity for gently nudging them in a better direction, or educating them as to a more accurate picture of the situation.

Defensiveness is what John Gottman calls one of the 4 Horsemen of Relationships. Gottman studies couples in his lab, so his ideas about relationships are based on data. There is discussion of defensiveness in his books, and several posts on the Gottman Institute blog, such as this post http://www.gottmanblog.com/archives/2014/10/31/self-care-defensiveness?rq=self%20care

The other thing to look into is why it stings so much. If you can figure out why it bothers you more than more neutral topics, then you might be able to see past the things that are making it difficult to evaluate the claims.

It's also possible that all of the specific claims are not true, but that there is nevertheless a problem, just in a different area than the person who is making the claim thinks there is. There might be something else you could do that seems unrelated, but fixes whatever issue you are having, and adjusts your behavior enough that the person stops wanting to make those claims.

comment by chaosmage · 2015-07-07T12:58:41.481Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A useful tool when you try to leave a defensive "I believe that..." stance is to leave it in a specific direction: The aggressive "I want to find out if..." stance. Because the anger means it is a strongly motivated behavior, and you can't simply stop being motivated - but sometimes you can build up an alternative motivation that happens to compete with the one you want to let go of, and pursue it. Of course this only works if you actually "want to know if" more than you want to defend "your" position - but since you're on LW, there's a good chance your thirst for knowledge is way above average, so maybe it can win out.

I don't know if the following is true for you specifically, but for some people, issues like you're having can be the result of having had past confrontations about specific topics that went bad. More to the point, confrontations with people who were not open to sober evaluations and a search for common ground. In such situations, getting angry can be adaptive in that it at least gets you out of an unwinnable argument, so maybe you learned that behavior in that kind of situation. Does that ring a bell?

If it does, simply recognizing that's what's happening is much of the work needed to change it. The rest could be to very consciously remind yourself who you're talking to, who you're not talking to, and be aware of the differences between them.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T06:43:20.408Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Look up mindfulness. T here's books like The Power of Now, apps like headspace, etc that focus on the concept of not becomig attached to your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.

comment by Elo · 2015-07-06T14:47:23.396Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have noticed that certain claims make me angry and defensive.

Not sure if this question will help - can you explain why you care so much?

comment by Gram_Stone · 2015-07-07T20:44:03.076Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone know what's going on with Robert Freitas's book series Nanomedicine? I've been waiting for the third and fourth volumes to come out forever.

comment by Epictetus · 2015-07-07T06:09:27.927Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Recently came across Valiant's A Theory of the Learnable. Basically, it covers a method of machine learning in the following way: if there's a collection of objects which either possess some property P or do not, then you can teach a machine to recognize this with arbitrarily small error simply by presenting it with randomly selected objects and saying whether they possess P. The learner may give false positives, but will not give a false negative. Perhaps the following passage best illustrates the concept:

Consider a world containing robots and elephants. Suppose that one of the robots has discovered a recognition algorithm for elephants that can be meaningfully expressed in k-conjunctive normal form. Our Theorem A implies that this robot can communicate its algorithm to the rest of the robot population by simply exclaiming "elephant" whenever one appears.

The mathematics are done in terms of Boolean functions and "k-conjunctive normal form" is a certain technical condition.

What struck me was that the learning could take place without the learner knowing the definition of the concept to be learned. That a thing could be identified with probability arbitrarily close to 1 without the learner necessarily being able to formulate a definition. I was reminded of the judge who said that he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. There are plenty of other concepts I can think of where identification is easy (most of the time at least) but which defy precise definition.

I'm usually wary of applying scientific results to philosophy, especially where I'm not an expert. Any expert input on whether this is a fair interpretation of the subject would be appreciated.

comment by Houshalter · 2015-07-08T00:23:34.410Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

EY made a whole series of posts about this idea. A Human's Guide to Words. Specifically see the Cluster Structure of Thingspace.

comment by MrMind · 2015-07-07T07:14:28.655Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've yet to read the paper, so forgive me if it's repeated there (but I will read it), but the situation is similar to NP problems: hard to find a solution, easy to check a solution.
Maybe concepts are NP problems encoded in our brains.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-06T16:36:05.543Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What are the origins of this interesting video that was clearly stolen from elsewhere?

comment by Username · 2015-07-11T09:19:23.293Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  1. using blank account for privacy.
  2. will transfer to next OT if the question is ongoing.

I am about to come into possession of a house of 6 rooms for at least 6 months. The future of the property is to be knocked down and rebuilt into a larger house for sale at a profit (this is an almost definite thing for the future). My goal is to make the most amount of profit in the time it takes to submit plans for a new house and get approval from my local bodies for building works.

My requirements:

  1. Not too much effort (my time is worth something too) or effort that can be outsourced (i.e. cleaning)
  2. Not illegal (of course making and selling drugs would turn a massive profit but the risks exist too, and the morals are shaky)
  3. Not too much risk or risks that can be mitigated.

Other details:

  • The house is in a suburb in a city (population ~4,000,000)

  • I have a lot of time, but would prefer not to have to work upwards of 50 hours per week to maintain the idea. (higher preference for less work)

  • If I do nothing I get zero profit and waste the surplus resource.

  • Because of the nature of plans, and local governing bodies - it may take a variable amount of time for approval, so an idea that takes this into account, or has a flexibility to it would help.

Existing ideas: ROT13

  1. erag gur cynpr bhg nf n ubhfr.
  2. erag bhg ebbzf be orqf.
  3. yvfg ba nveoao.

I consider sharing this problem just a spot of fun to see what ideas can be come up with. My ideas are limited by my experience. As an existing problem I assume there are existing solutions. I would like to know how many of them I have overlooked.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-11T10:48:24.212Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would expect AirBnb to be the best option.

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-08T03:38:26.186Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm probably completely confused, but is there any reason that Greg Egan's rebuttal* to Dust Theory does not also apply to any Big World scenario?

*Q5

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2015-07-08T11:18:16.713Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is Dust Theory any different from the idea that any brain states you want would appear as Boltzman Brains?

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-08T16:59:41.607Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Er... yes.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-09T22:37:28.352Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest that this sort of dismissive response is only marginally less helpful, and much ruder, than no response at all. How about "Yes, it's very different; e.g., in the one case X and in the other case Y, which is incompatible with X because Z." Or, if your time is really so precious, "Yup, completely different; sorry, no time to explain why right now.".

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-10T01:19:33.274Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't really know how to explain. Why do people always talk about Boltzmann brains? Their probability is always so low that they are almost never the answer to any problem, no matter how abstract. Even if it could be argued that Boltzmann brains would outnumber regular brains, all the observations you could make to support that would presumably be coming from within your Boltzmann consciousness.

comment by cousin_it · 2015-07-08T15:14:56.247Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think the validity of Dust Theory and Big World scenarios depends on how much probability they assign to worlds like ours. For now we don't have a good estimate of that probability. Egan assumes that it should be low, but I don't know how to check that.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-07-06T22:13:46.117Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Reverse intelligence is not stupidity.

Just saw If You Buy The Stuff No One Else Likes, You Just May Be A “Harbinger Of Failure"

And wondered: If these persons consistently fail can it be that theyjust live up to their inner bruce from "Stuck In The Middle With Bruce"?

comment by falenas108 · 2015-07-07T17:25:51.384Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would guess there's a group of people who are just more likely to buy newer, less tested things. These people bought into Zune, but they also got a facebook before nobody else did. AKA, early adaptors.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-12T09:19:01.659Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would be great if someone used text analysis on transcripts of political debates and compiled a list of terms used as 'the worst arguments in the world', annotated with central meanings.

It would run into many problems, as people would argue about definitions and exceptions, but the very frequency of usage of specific words would more or less indicate their mindkilling potential.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-07-13T14:38:25.212Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Some people have started compiling that list.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-14T12:27:15.360Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't look like the same thing to me. It's just a list of "points refuted a thousand times", and not all of them have anything to do with the "worst argument in the world".

comment by aarongertler · 2015-07-10T04:39:42.427Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wrote a pair of essays (and a shorter summary of both) on heroic responsibility, and how it could serve as a strong counterpart to empathy as a one-two punch for making good moral decisions:

http://aarongertler.net/heroism/

Seemed Less-Wrong-ish, though my "heroic responsibility" is written for a different audience than Eliezer's, and is a bit less harsh/powerful as a result.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T14:08:35.866Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't want to start a blog yet I would like to put articles online. I don't want to worry about things like a blogs name, layout or colors. But I would like to put an article somewhere and then share it on Reddit, LW, Facebook... and the site should preferably look reasonably professional (say, black on white, magazine like fonts etc.) so if you would write someone serious, say, Bryan Caplan, a comment saying "I disagree with some points in your article, here is my article to explain" the would not feel shamed linking to it in their own answer by the look of the site. Is there such a site that provides this?

EDIT: I would also like to know why so many people here seem to have blogs, personal websites, hosted under personal domains. What is the point? You want to keep the articles you write forever? I think if I write about something today 5 years later I will either be interested in something totally different or be embarrassed how ignorant I was.

comment by philh · 2015-07-09T15:40:28.188Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unless you're planning to put your articles in a new place each time, it sounds like you want a professional-looking blog. Maybe look into Medium?

You want to keep the articles you write forever?

Not necessarily, not all of them. But the ones I put on my public blog I would like to stick around, with my name attached, unless I deliberately delete or disown them. As it happens, the oldest post there is just shy of five years old. I'm not bored or embarrassed by it.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T15:50:47.230Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the link. I think I have a different idea of professional than this. Medium as a community gives me the SJW vibe somehow, while the platform may be good. I guess if the target audience would not so much "story writers" but people who want to publish technical articles, howtos, more "dry" and objective stuff without all this we-are-all-awesome-let's-all-hug vibe.

Interestingly, I looked at your public blog and if I don't find anything and have to go down the blog/names/themes/colors path which I don't want to, I might go with GitHub pages as I think the community there may just that kind dry, objective, technical that I am looking for. Is GH P less insane to set up as Wordpress or Blogger.com?

comment by philh · 2015-07-10T10:25:35.885Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't set up wordpress or blogger, and I haven't set up GHP in like two years. But I think it was... not exactly difficult, but frustrating at times. Like, everything almost just worked out of the box, and then making it actually work involved fighting with a bunch of different components that didn't always give good feedback and couldn't always be customized quite like I wanted.

Currently I don't actually have it set up quite like I'd want. I want pagination and an archive and tagging. And I think math rendering on the front page is broken for some posts. But to fix those, I'd have to fix them myself, or at least go searching for fixes that other people have created.

I think the friction involved with editing is also bad for my writing productivity. My most recent post, I mostly drafted on tumblr before copying over to GHP. That may or may not be a problem for you. (It's not a fair comparison, because I also hold myself to lower standards on tumblr. But I've written a few things there that would have been suitable for my main blog, and I enjoyed being able to just write them and edit in real time and then just click 'post'.)

(Not linking my tumblr because I don't want it easy to find by people searching for me.)

Having a local dev copy where I could make changes without pushing them to github all the time would improve matters, but I expect that setting it up and keeping versions in sync and so on would be a PITA.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-09T15:57:46.878Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think I have a different idea of professional

If you actually want "professional", you can just store your articles on arXiv or SSRN.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T16:06:41.209Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. In-between? :) Think of something like Bryan Caplan on Econlog.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-09T16:08:32.545Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What is the problem with getting a WordPress or a Blogger account, picking a pre-built theme that you like, and... done?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T16:13:21.489Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot think of things like a blog name. I just want to write my ideas and share things I know a bit about. And all Wordpress themes I found so far look extremely unprofessional. Overly decorated, not magazine look, few of them are black text on white background like a proper magazine, fixed width so not scaling well for various devices, and generally looking very "personal". The funny part is, bog standard default HTML without any goddam css does look just about the most professional, because it is the simplest and looks like a paper - HTML was originally meant for the publication of scientific papers and I think browser developers respect this so the default is black text on white, Arial font, and so on.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-09T16:17:09.853Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If -- as it seems -- you actually care that much about the presentation of your blog/article repository, then either find a minimalistic theme or make it yourself.

You can, of course, go completely old-style: get web space somewhere and write HTML by hand.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-10T07:23:26.141Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This sounds like a valid approach actually. I like the oldschoolness of writing HTML. Any recommendations of free hosting providers?

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-10T14:34:26.234Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't recommend entirely free hosting providers because they tend to come with too many strings, inconveniences, and ads for sexual-financial enhancement, but finding a cheap provider should not present any difficulties.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-10T14:52:49.601Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Price is not really the issue. Rather the issue is that they tend to expect everybody has Visa/Mastercard or PayPal or bitcoin. The same is true for Steam store, Google play store, Playstation store, it is sort of annoying, I just tend to buy gift cards in the electronics shops to fill up my account balance on them. Actually I sense there is a fairly big global gap in the payment provider market. If only a gift card type bitcoin purchase was possible with physical cash in the shops...

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-10T15:00:26.957Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

there is a fairly big global gap in the payment provider market

Yes, and there are reasons why it exists.

But given that you are gainfully employed in Austria, I don't see why do you have payment issues.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-13T07:16:36.149Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Because I use a Maestro card or cash. Visa / Mastercard simply does not fit into my mindset: they are credit cards, and as long as I am gainfully employed, why would I need credit? Credit is for the times when you cannot afford something.

Not having credit cards is a classic commitment device. Getting into a mindset of buying everything on credit then paying it off at the monthly payday is a bit of a slippery slope (no fallacy: there is an actual mechanism of slipping here: basic human desires), only one step away from buying everything on credit and then NOT paying it off due to overspending or other reasons. Only spending money one actually has is a generally good safe habit.

I would change my mind if there would be rewards like frequent flyer miles tied to credit cards but they are not common here.

About the reasons - Maestro is not entirely unknown in the Anglosphere given that most UK bank accounts are also linked to a Maestro card, and UK-based websites are fairly good at accepting it. Ignoring a market of a few hundred million of relatively well-to-do people is something that only perhaps be justified by time i.e. it is on the to-do list of the major US based online vendors, just not done yet.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-13T14:42:45.917Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

why would I need credit? Credit is for the times when you cannot afford something.

You're misunderstanding the point of credit cards. They are not about borrowing from the bank (well, they could be but they should not be). They are all about convenience.

I use credit cards. I never ever had a balance on any of them -- I pay them off each month. It is convenient (and pretty much necessary for certain things like renting cars) and I do not borrow anything. I don't have slippery-slope problems with respect to buying "on credit". Oh, and at least in the US finding a credit card with decent rewards (typically, 1-2% of your purchases refunded to you) is not hard.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-14T12:21:52.367Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have slippery-slope problems with respect to buying "on credit"

But bear in mind that some other people might. If DeVliegenderHollander suspects he may be one, then avoiding credit cards could be a very sensible move for him.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-14T14:33:38.233Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But bear in mind that some other people might.

A fair point, but it still seems to me that thinking of credit cards primarily as means of borrowing money is misguided.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-13T11:34:47.401Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are Visa debit cards. I have one. I have not had problems paying anyone with it.

[EDITED to add two other things:]

I don't know how readily available Visa debit cards are in Austria; perhaps your bank offers only some different variety of debit card.

In the UK, at least, there are regulations around credit cards that don't apply to debit cards and that give buyers considerable reason to prefer paying by credit card even if they have no need to borrow. Specifically, if you buy something with a credit card then a piece of legislation called the Consumer Credit Act makes your credit card company liable (as well as the seller) if the seller fails to meet the terms of their contract with you. So, e.g., if you buy something with a credit card and then they just don't deliver, or they go out of business, you can get your money back from the card company. So there's a big advantage to using a credit card for substantial purchases. Again, this may be different in Austria.

comment by philh · 2015-07-10T10:37:35.275Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The funny part is, bog standard default HTML without any goddam css does look just about the most professional, because it is the simplest and looks like a paper

It looks the most something, but I don't think it's professional. Professional things have careful typesetting, and limited line lengths, and inline math that doesn't completely jar with the rest of the document. I think that a long document written in pure HTML might give off a vibe of "I know what I'm talking about", but I also wouldn't expect people to actually read it.

(Also my default font isn't Arial. It's some kind of serif.)

comment by Stingray · 2015-07-12T15:50:35.299Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Pastebin?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-11T00:47:11.388Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I go over my old articles all the time and find interesting concepts. Sometimes I read them specifically to get back into the mindset that I was at the time.

That said, I mostly have a personal and professional blog for marketing purposes.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-09T21:57:21.668Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How about Tumblr?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-10T07:26:57.154Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think trying to reply to a serious article on Tumblr would not be taken too seriously, given how Tumblr tends to be seen as a narcissistic community.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-08T08:44:59.876Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One quantitative finance fund to rule them all?

Machine learning specialists outperform prediction markets and subject matter experts Yet, the quantitative finance industry eagerly laps up former asx employees who supposedly have privellaged knowledge of exchange architecture (they don’t, it’s all published anyway and that which isn’t is privy to freedom of information requests), particularly high frequency trading firms.

I suspect this practice may have more to do with regulatory capture instead. Conspiracy theory aside and assuming there isn’t a meritious benefit to trading firms for such unethical active management, could one expect the merit driven machine learning algorithmic trading platform Kaggle when it sufficiently scales to compete against high frequency trading firms, value investors, proprietary investment banks and day traders simultaneously (is that all the investor classes?)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-10T15:55:29.692Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

High frequency trading is not about having complex machine learning algorithms. It's about computers making decisions in very short amounts of time.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-10T16:17:45.572Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, it's about both. Low latency without a good strategy will not help you.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-08T19:53:50.963Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, if they are so smart how come they ain't superrich yet?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T01:50:18.683Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But they are. That's how they're funding it. And once they're open to investors, they're going to become even richer, then once they start operating the fund, that's when they'll go to the moon.

Or at least, that's what it looks like. But I'm asking here just in case I'm getting carried away with this. Even things which look ideal on paper can go astray. If you model the entire approach as an evolutionary algorithm (crowd sourcing algorithms and killing off the losers) then one would imagine that it's just a matter of time before they dominate the finance industry. This all seems for too optimistic though - so I crave someone showing me I'm wrong!

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-09T14:32:09.526Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But they are.

Really, are they?

If you model the entire approach as an evolutionary algorithm (crowd sourcing algorithms and killing off the losers) then one would imagine that it's just a matter of time before they dominate the finance industry.

You seem to forget that this is precisely how markets work and have been working for centuries.

comment by cursed · 2015-07-07T05:31:59.003Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Whenever the conjunction fallacy is brought up, it always irks me, because it doesn't seem like a real fallacy. In the example given by Rationality A to Z, "[...] found that experimental subjects consdiered it less likely that a strong tennis player would lose the first set than he would lose the first set but win the match."

There's two valid interpretations of this statement here:

1) The fallacious interpretation: P(Lose First Set) < P(Lose First Set and Win Match)

2) P(Lose First Set) < P(Win Match | Lose First Set), which is a valid and not necessarily fallacious reasoning, given the context that the tennis player is considered strong. Another possible phrasing of "he would lose the first set but win the match" is "given that he lost his first set, what's the chance of him winning the match?"

Has this been addressed before?

comment by lfghjkl · 2015-07-07T06:04:41.684Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like it has been addressed in Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down):

A further experiment is also discussed in Tversky and Kahneman (1983) in which 93 subjects rated the probability that Bjorn Borg, a strong tennis player, would in the Wimbledon finals "win the match", "lose the first set", "lose the first set but win the match", and "win the first set but lose the match". The conjunction fallacy was expressed: "lose the first set but win the match" was ranked more probable than"lose the first set". Subjects were also asked to verify whether various strings of wins and losses would count as an extensional example of each case, and indeed, subjects were interpreting the cases as conjuncts which were satisfied iff both constituents were satisfied, and not interpreting them as material implications, conditional statements, or disjunctions; also, constituent B was not interpreted to exclude constituent A. The genius of this experiment was that researchers could directly test what subjects thought was the meaning of each proposition, ruling out a very large class of misunderstandings.

comment by Nisan · 2015-07-07T05:04:53.581Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How much karma does one need to make a top-level post or meetup announcement? A new user wants to announce a new meetup in Kiev. If you want to help them out, you can upvote their comment.

comment by CBHacking · 2015-07-07T06:58:39.891Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Creating a post in Discussion only requires "a few" points of karma; creating one in Main requires 20. I believe 20 is also required for creating a Meetup post; in most ways those appear to be treated as posts to Main (for example, up- and down-votes on them count for 10x the usual amount of poster karma).

Source: The LW FAQ, specifically http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/FAQ#Why_do_I_want_high_karma.3F

comment by Lumifer · 2015-07-09T20:09:05.271Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A pretty awesome definition of the word "derp" in the context of Bayesian inference.

Followed by a suggested declension of "derp" as an irregular verb:

I can’t see this happening
You regularly restate your tight (low probability) prior
He herped a flerp of derp, the twerp

comment by Elo · 2015-07-09T01:38:35.734Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I see deep dreaming as a new, big and growing thing. I am surrounded by people who not only want to try it out but have the capacity to do it. As in the programming ability to fiddle. That puts me in a uniquely exciting place to see several deep dreaming experiments popping up all over facebook. My question is - where is it going? What is it leading to?

Do you have a good prediction of what comes next out of deep dreaming RNN systems? I believe its something big, and with the confidence and ability to predict it; it might be possible to see into the future, ride the wave or be ahead of the curve. (basically I chase opportunities). If there were a time to change the world; new technology would be assisting in making it happen.

Either:

.1. people play around with it and decide it has no real-world applications

or

.2. shit gets real and the world changes really quickly.

Ideas?

Edit: will settle for; "wouldn't it be great if deep dreaming could do X"

comment by Houshalter · 2015-07-10T08:53:56.630Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

See what Kaj_Sotala posted above: http://kajsotala.fi/2015/07/deepdream-today-psychedelic-images-tomorrow-unemployed-artists/

I have given a lot of thought to this subject before, but I didn't think the technology was good enough yet. Now with deep dream and facebook's Eyescream, DRAW, and Google's DeepStereo, generated images are becoming practical.

Someday we will have something like a totally automated photoshop. You can just ask it to make a photo, and it will produce it. Then you can tell it how to tweak it. Or it can give different versions and you can pick which you like most, and repeat (see http://picbreeder.org/, which also uses neural networks, but imagine it has an actual model of natural images instead of starting from scratch.)

It need not be limited to static images and could eventually do videos.

Generated porn that meets everyone's weird fetish is the most obvious application.

I also think colorizing black and white photos will become a popular niche application. And all sorts of other simple photo enhancements and tools.

comment by Elo · 2015-07-11T08:14:57.259Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

These are very good ideas: Things that I half knew already but didn't really admit: artwork generation and it's viability for sale. Thing that I hadn't extrapolated to yet: video generation. neat application: pornography - neat! I hear it makes lots of money!

Colourizing already exists, but its not that great/we don't care enough to have seen it take off.

I am looking into artwork generation to see where it can go.

According to my reading of the license it should be fine to sell images (generate an artwork and sell it); as long as you don't try to sell the code to anyone.

comment by ZankerH · 2015-07-11T11:59:38.767Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

According to my reading of the license it should be fine to sell images (generate an artwork and sell it); as long as you don't try to sell the code to anyone.

Even then, Google published enough research papers on the topic that it's trivial to reverse-engineer and write your own program to do the same thing - in fact, several people have done it already.

comment by Elo · 2015-07-11T23:28:43.541Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Thats a good point.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-06T12:15:40.799Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm interested in increasing the chance of happening upon personally interesting content on Lesswrong - represented by my 'saved' posts.

Based on my saved pages, it is clear that the content is heavily biased towards particular high profile users

I am interested in accessing more data on the karma of Lesswrong users without going to each user profile.

To answer who are the the most reliable LW users, I intend to see if I can predict whether a particular LW user will post something of interest to me based on their karma/post or another metric beyond the aggregate karmic data available in the sidebar.

Can you help me answer the questions that I'm interested in?

comment by gjm · 2015-07-06T15:57:22.300Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am interested in accessing more data on the karma of Lesswrong users without going to each user profile.

Between (1) the 15 all-time top users listed in the sidebar, (2) the 15 last-month top users listed in the sidebar, and (3) a few minutes' clicking on the usernames attached to recent posts and comments, it's hard to see that you're in danger of missing a lot of high-karma/high-profile users. How much value is there in what you're looking for, really? (If it isn't obviously trivial -- which I'm pretty sure it isn't -- then it's probably quite a lot of work to get more, because supporting LW isn't a very high priority for the people who do it.)

(If you've found that the posts you've found most interesting tend to be from high-profile users, that suggests that your preferences match fairly well with those of the LW community as expressed through karma, which in turn suggests that you can probably find promising articles to harvest promising usernames from just by running through the recent-articles list and picking out ones with high scores.)

Note, though, that any process that uses karma to select which users or articles you'll investigate further may introduce a selection bias that will corrupt your estimates of the relationship between karma and interest-to-you.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-07-06T17:18:48.069Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

the 15 all-time top users listed in the sidebar

Can you still see this? I don't see it now or when I'm not a logged-in user. (But it disappeared for me right after I made it into the top 15, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's some conditional visibility going on.)

comment by gjm · 2015-07-06T21:56:36.588Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, sorry, I think you're right. I don't see it either. I think I was just remembering it being there. I don't generally pay that much attention to the sidebar :-).

I doubt it's conditional visibility. Why would anyone do that? (FWIW I don't currently see the all-time top 15 but do see the 30-day top 15; I am in the 30-day top 15 but am about 99% sure I'm a long way from being in the all-time top 15.)

Apologies if I misled anyone.

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2015-07-08T03:34:01.741Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Specifically, the monthly list is here and the all-time list is still here.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-08T09:35:14.705Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Neat. Is that documented somewhere?

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2015-07-08T21:12:16.981Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Surely it is a bug. Either the all-time info is supposed to appear in the sidebar or it is not supposed to exist. Either way, surely we are not supposed to directly access these URLs. I suppose that the wiki is free to document the world as it is, but I did not even try looking there.

comment by Stingray · 2015-07-06T13:04:40.645Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you are interested in something specific, search by topic, not by user.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-06T14:07:55.216Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Past searches indicate that other future topics of interest won't return results of sufficient quality or substance to be useful to me.

I have benefited more from incidental, unexpected results.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-12T05:59:43.021Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How does one overcome the illusion of control over others? I feel like I think a lot about people I have crushes on because I feel like I can affect their decision to like me more than I can influence others.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-12T11:30:08.743Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Real world feedback. If you actually ask out girls for whom you have a crush you might very soon learn that you don't have much control over their decisions.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-12T16:43:25.184Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Getting to yes

edit: It turns out all this stuff I thought was pick is mainsteam, it's on wikihow. I don't feel like a manipulative weirdo creeper anymore :)

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-12T18:48:48.558Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In general it's useful to not use concrete names of people in public conversations like this due to privacy issues.

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-09T00:44:23.203Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reposting from crazy ideas thread (hopefully someone will comment):

Does Dust Theory imply that every time you go to sleep, or lose mental grasp of your surroundings, your reality takes a somewhat different shape? After all, it's only your experiences that create your coherent world. I think it would be similar to the Autoverse's 'removal' of Permutation City.

EDIT: Hmm, no, there would just be a slow degradation of consciousness. Nothing that would explain my memories of dreaming last night and taking a ninety-degree turn back into reality upon waking up; that dream would have become my reality. So I'm fairly confident Dust Theory is false, because of the sheer unnecessary baggage my reality appears to have.

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-08T17:54:17.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I recently read this post from a couple years back, and I do not understand the point being made at all.

Isn't this, along with so many other problems, a candidate for our sometime friend the anthropic principle? That is: only in a conscious configuration field which has memories of perceptions of an orderly universe is the dust theory controversial or doubted? In the vastly more numerous conscious configuration fields with memories of perceptions of a chaotic and disorderly universe lacking a rational way to support the observer the dust theory could be accepted a priori or at least be a favored theory.

Seriously, what?

comment by Manfred · 2015-07-08T21:45:49.806Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Man, like, anthropics is hard. Sometimes, when trying to propose an anthropic argument, you end up conditioning on something that is basically what you're trying to elicit a probability of, and things get weird.

comment by Fivehundred · 2015-07-09T01:07:11.355Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If it makes you feel better, I have a head for this stuff and I strongly suspect that what he said is complete bunk. But I'm waiting for confirmation before I make that judgment.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-08T06:27:15.825Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

At lesswrong.com/user/Clarity/liked/ I can only see whole threads I have upvoted, not all the comments. Is there any way to find those other than bookmarking the permalinks?

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-08T05:24:53.332Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It sounds like open borders are a sound idea excepting the danger of importing conflicts from around the world. Reasonable?

comment by knb · 2015-07-08T06:20:16.398Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose it really depends on your values; some people value cultural cohesion and continuity of their historical traditions more than increasing the GDP growth rate. I guess I would support trying this out somewhere though, ideally an ultra-liberal country where racist wreckers won't sabotage the noble experiment. Maybe Sweden?

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-07-08T09:07:19.749Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Liberal countries do want to provide a social safety net for everybody who resides in their territory. That means you can't simply allow all African's to migrate to the country without straining that safety net.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-09T01:45:43.900Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That would assume that all African's who would choose to migrate are, overall, likely to be safety net dependent than contributing towards the financial viability of that safety net.

And, evidence indicates that more open migration reduces strain on the safety net - it's in the article.

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-07T16:26:22.147Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The other night I went to an event and found the people I was talking to really boring. A friend suggested that when he has felt the same in the past, it was because he was boring himself, ha ha. Am I boring?

comment by drethelin · 2015-07-08T04:07:02.487Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Conversation is a team sport, with a minimum of two players. A "boring" person can be characterized as someone who does not contribute interesting anecdotes or facts to a conversation, or asks no interesting questions. Like most team sports, a bad player can be "carried" to victory by sufficiently good team. So while it's certainly possible that you were talking to boring people, a more actionable and probably more rewarding point of view to take is that you were being boring, and strive to learn techniques for making a conversation more engaging for you and your team.

comment by gjm · 2015-07-09T22:38:32.764Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Could you clarify whether you're asking (1) "Is my experience at that event good evidence that I was boring?" or (2) "Am I being boring here on LW?" or (3) something else?

comment by Elo · 2015-07-08T04:57:38.081Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

agree with drethelin. even if this were true temporarily there is a solution. if it were true permanently, the solution is to be less boring.

(either actually do more interesting things that you can talk about, or generate a list of interesting topics to talk about that you know interest you - then when you get in the situation; look up the list and ask about one of them. I.e. what do you think of effective altrusim? how far off is the singularity? etc.)

comment by [deleted] · 2015-07-06T16:31:34.351Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Open question - what is going well and what could go better?

comment by advancedatheist · 2015-07-06T15:54:14.471Z · score: -21 (29 votes) · LW · GW

So how did we get to this absurd situation where gay men have become the cool guys who receive all this consideration and patronage from elite institutions, now including the U.S. Supreme Court; while the adult male virgins with normal desires have become the freaks, weirdos and expendables, apparently become women say so?

As near as I can tell from what I have read about Charles Darwin, if you could travel back in time and meet him before he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood, about a month before he turned 30, you would have met an adult male virgin. Yet Darwin managed to get Emma pregnant ten times, despite her late start too, and seven of their children survived to adulthood. Darwin and his wife probably have hundreds of currently living descendants now, so he clearly had the goods when it came to masculinity.

Rationalists consider Darwin just about the greatest intellectual celebrity on their side, ever, even though by current standards many people today would have called him a loser in his 20's because of his adult virginity.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-07-06T23:10:18.818Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

adult male virgins with normal desires have become the freaks, weirdos and expendables

High time you get this: not all news is about you. Obsessing about how everything compares to your situation is only going to hurt you more.

by current standards many people today would have called him a loser

The thing is, he didn't live under our standards. It makes no sense to judge him by the expectations of a culture he never knew.

comment by Viliam · 2015-07-07T08:52:37.026Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Why do many adult males derive their sense of (low) worth from their (lack of) sexual success?

Because this is not automatic. There are situations where celibate men are high-status, e.g. Catholic priests in religious countries. And there are much more situations where people simply don't discuss their sexual history. For example, when I read a book by an author I like, or when I play a computer game, I do not care about the author's sexual history. Even when I meet someone and debate with them, I don't ask this type of questions (which may be unusual behavior; maybe the rest of the society is obsessed by it, I don't know).

So how did this "sexual history" become the most important thing about a man... as opposed to e.g. his skills, intelligence, character traits, etc.? Actually, did it, in general? Or is it just a specific subculture? (Let's ask whether things are real before debating their causes.)

Here is a competing hypothesis: Maybe what we are observing here is actually a wave of depression, caused by something other than lack of sex. The lack of sex is the consequence of the depression; and so is the mental strategy of deriving one's own sense of worth from their failures.

For example, this is what my hypothesis would predict: If you take an average depressed young male virgin and somehow manage to get him laid, his problems will not go away. Either he will somehow rationalize that this specific situation does not count, or he will continue to have low sense of worth because of something else. Also, he will probably try to somehow sabotage this opportunity.

In your experience, do the unlucky young male virgins behave like this? Because I know a few examples that do. For example, I know a guy who is unhappy because he can't get a girl, but as soon as a girl he was interested in reciprocates his sexual interest (this happened repeatedly), he finds some stupid excuse and stops being interested in the girl (before having any intimacy); so he keeps being sad and lonely. I know another guy who is otherwise intelligent, but consistently does a few things that completely undermine his social status (such as making self-deprecating jokes, which are completely unnecessary, and usually not even funny), and you can't make him stop doing that. If some girl would express interest in him, my model says he would do something that would most likely send her away.

Why are gay men considered cool? I guess selection bias plays a large role here. For an average gay person, you probably don't know about their sexual orientation. But you heard about gay celebrities, and so did everyone else. So this creates the impression that being gay and being a celebrity correlated positively.

And the best way to reduce this effect would be to tolerate homosexuality in everyday life. Then you would also know many gays who are average or losers. (Ironically, if you know a gay man who has problem finding a boyfriend, and keeps his sexual orientation secret from you, you will probably consider him one of those straight guys who can't find a girlfriend.)

EDIT: To avoid misunderstanding, I am not denying the possibility that average young heterosexual men today may have a more difficult situation finding a girlfriend than their equivalents decades ago. Just saying that the extreme cases (whom you called "freaks, weirdos and expendables") usually have some additional problems.

comment by Good_Burning_Plastic · 2015-07-07T08:05:59.815Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Rationalists consider Darwin just about the greatest intellectual celebrity on their side, ever, even though by current standards many people today would have called him a loser in his 20's because of his adult virginity.

How much overlap is there between the "rationalists" and the "many people today"? Just because Mohammed is the most common first name and Wang is the most common last name doesn't mean Mohammed Wang is a common full name.

comment by bogus · 2015-07-06T19:07:58.607Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

gay men have become the cool guys who receive all this consideration and patronage from elite institutions, now including the U.S. Supreme Court; while the adult male virgins with normal desires have become the freaks, weirdos and expendables, apparently become women say so?

This raises an interesting question, actually. How many of those "gay men" are only being gay because that's their solely alternative to being a loser virgin? After all, that's a common scenario in male subpopulations with no access to women - consider convicts, or folks living in sexually oppressive societies.

Updated to add: I'm not suggesting that our own society is sexually oppressive, at least wrt. gays. I'm only saying that the scenario for male virgin losers is close enough that they should respond in similar ways. If anything, we should expect gay behavior to be even more common (in the affected subpopulation), compared to societies that do repress it - and where it exists nonetheless.

comment by polymathwannabe · 2015-07-06T23:13:06.779Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

In a sexually oppressive society, gays are likely to have very low status. For truly non-gay men, it can't be beneficial to switch from being seen as the local singleton to being seen as the local degenerate.