Bragging Thread, August 2014

post by CronoDAS · 2014-08-03T07:23:38.238Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 41 comments


Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to comment on this thread explaining the most awesome thing you've done this since July 1st. You may be as blatantly proud of yourself as you feel. You may unabashedly consider yourself the coolest freaking person ever because of that awesome thing you're dying to tell everyone about. This is the place to do just that.

Remember, however, that this isn't any kind of progress thread. Nor is it any kind of proposal thread. This thread is solely for people to talk about the awesome things they have done. Not "will do". Not "are working on". Have already done. This is to cultivate an environment of object level productivity rather than meta-productivity methods.

So, what's the coolest thing you've done this month?


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-08-03T15:13:15.841Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I live in an Asian country. I've won a scholarship worth 50000 USD per year for four years that will allow me to read Mathematics&CS at the University of Oxford! Also, I am now in a romantic relationship that I've wanted for quite some time now. I'm having one heck of a great month. That being said, the relationship and the going abroad thing aren't going to go very well together, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow.

Replies from: Joshua_Blaine
comment by Joshua_Blaine · 2014-08-08T20:50:42.828Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is that "I'm sure I'll manage somehow" because thinking about the problem is uncomfortable so you're brain is creating a comforting excuse, or because you've known yourself to solve similarly difficult problems in the past? I ask because you don't want to get burnt later if it's the former, and I've personally had experiences (read: problems) with a long distance relationship.

comment by lincolnquirk · 2014-08-03T20:31:49.843Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My startup recently closed an incredibly important deal, and had amazing growth in July, and important people are interested in investing. Proud to have gotten this far. Excited to see what's next. A bit overworked but it feels kinda good.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2014-08-06T04:52:57.170Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What's your startup?

Replies from: lincolnquirk
comment by lincolnquirk · 2014-08-12T03:46:03.165Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Not quite ready to announce publicly. Will pm you though.

comment by Eneasz · 2014-08-04T15:22:46.389Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've written a short fiction piece that has been accepted for publication. My first ever professional publication will appear in February's issue of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.

Replies from: palladias
comment by palladias · 2014-08-04T17:05:45.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's awesome!

comment by palladias · 2014-08-03T15:51:07.662Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've turned in the complete draft of my first book to my editor, and 4/6 cool people I asked to blurb it said yes.

Replies from: polymathwannabe
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-08-03T16:14:55.990Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

What is it about?

Replies from: palladias
comment by palladias · 2014-08-03T16:34:51.837Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a tour through Catholic prayer, using a lot of unusual, geeky analogies (discussing loss aversion/sunk cost fallacy as a reason people sometimes avoid Confession, topology to discuss the Communion of Saints, and people entirely mummified in honey to discuss the Eucharist). I'll post a link to the book website (once I make it) in some future open thread.

It's not apologetics (arguing for the truth of Catholicism), but, as a tour, it might be a fun way of learning about the aesthetics and the how of Catholic spirituality, whether you're interested for yourself, or want some background for a conversation/productive argument with a Catholic friend.

Replies from: polymathwannabe, VAuroch, BrassLion
comment by polymathwannabe · 2014-08-04T00:39:41.020Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm curious as to why you chose specifically Catholicism. In my country, Catholics are majority, and it's viewed as the default for religious experience and aesthetics. It's always refreshing to see someone take Catholicism as something exotic.

Replies from: gjm
comment by gjm · 2014-08-04T21:29:30.058Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

palladias isn't taking Catholicism as something exotic; it's the religion she actually follows.

Replies from: Jayson_Virissimo
comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2014-08-05T06:38:44.265Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Really? How exotic...

comment by VAuroch · 2014-08-06T05:01:27.706Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wait, you're explaining the Eucharist using the Mellified Man myth? How does that work?

Replies from: palladias
comment by palladias · 2014-08-07T03:26:25.907Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'll explain more once I have more than a placeholder site up for the book. :)

comment by BrassLion · 2014-08-04T12:33:53.763Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This sounds great, what's it called?

Replies from: palladias
comment by palladias · 2014-08-04T15:04:11.986Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Arriving at Amen

comment by CronoDAS · 2014-08-03T07:25:47.144Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A girl (who I shall not name here) has been hitting on me on Facebook recently. On Friday August 1st, we went on a date.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Replies from: falenas108, rhollerith_dot_com
comment by falenas108 · 2014-08-03T14:30:29.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

When I clicked on that link, I thought it was going to lead here.

Yours is much classier.

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2014-08-09T20:59:27.780Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Congrats. (Sincerely.)

comment by advancedatheist · 2014-08-04T16:39:07.879Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Does losing weight count? According to the arbitrarily precise $20 digital bathroom scale I bought from Walmart, I weighed 233.6 lbs on July 1, and 223.4 lbs as of this morning.

I weighed 263.8 lbs on April 16, about two weeks after the start of my current diet. The BMI charts I've looked at say I should weigh ~ 170 lbs, or about what I did in my senior year of high school ('77-'78). That weight doesn't sound feasible to me now.

comment by Fhyve · 2014-08-04T00:48:59.523Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm currently interning at MIRI, I had a short technical conversation with Eliezer, a multi hour conversation with Michael Vassar, and other people seem to be taking me as somewhat of an authority on AI topics.

comment by Anatoly_Vorobey · 2014-08-06T08:14:51.401Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

After the MH17 flight was shot down in the skies of eastern Ukraine, I spent an insane amount of time poring over various bits and pieces of evidence that pointed to how it happened and who was responsible. Soon after the crash evidence started appearing that on that day a Russian-made BUK missile launcher was driven through nearby towns controlled by the separatists, and the SBU, the Ukrainian counterpart of the FBI, published intercepts of phone conversations between rebels that indicate the missile launcher was brought across the border from Russia the night before and sent by one of the rebel commanders to the exact location where the launch was suspected to have come from. However, much of this evidence was scattered, inconclusive, or quickly claimed to have been faked by the SBU, and at the same time other versions of what may have happened appeared and multiplied.

I found bits and pieces of local evidence from July 17th before the crash (e.g. locals tweeting they saw a BUK driving through their town or talking about hearing the launch), located and double-checked detective work already done by others (e.g. geolocation of key photographs/videos showing the BUK launcher), and noticed that several people working independently from different bits of evidence converged, without knowing of each other, on a particular location southeast of the town of Torez as the launch site. I compiled it all together into a long compelling blog post (in Russian) filled with evidence and careful examination of each piece of evidence, how it could or could not have been faked, and how this all ties together into an overwhelmingly likely version. The post and its followups saw >3000 comments from people debating various pieces of evidence and debunking alternative stories, with subthreads going into expert discussions on weather conditions, correctness of geolocation efforts, JPEG compression artefacts, debunking of conspiracy theories based on an unlikely Youtube date-tagging bug, and much else. Journalists travelled to the suspected launch site and found burned ground and suspicious-looking plastic pieces (but no smoking gun). An independent Russian TV channel invited me to appear on a panel (I did so by Skype) to communicate the evidence.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-08-08T11:40:12.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Great job! I just doubt that anyone who didn't already agree with your conclusion will change their mind.

comment by Varuna · 2014-08-04T15:42:40.609Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Drawing from several online resources, including lukeprog's "How to Beat Procrastination," I helped my high-school-aged daughter understand the workings of her brain a bit better. She has had great success in achieving several short-term goals for herself over the past month.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-08-05T08:07:04.914Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Could this be scaled? For example, with help from your daughter, could you make a booklet of the compressed knowledge and distribute it to more teenagers? You found the resources; your daughter could help you choose the ones that impressed her, and otherwise optimize for her age group, and perhaps ask a few of her classmates to participate in testing of the booklet...

Replies from: Varuna
comment by Varuna · 2014-08-05T22:47:30.400Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a really good idea. I'm going to think about what that might look like.

comment by Thomas · 2014-08-04T06:42:48.687Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Testing an algorithm I developed a byproduct algorithm which outputs 3D crosswords. Automatically given a list of words. Many thousands of them are already on my PC.

This has been virtually unknown before, at least with a few or no black fields.

Now I wonder, can I sell this to newspapers, would their readers enjoy that kind of a puzzle? Six 6 by 6 square crosswords, interdependent with each other by the third dimension at every field.

Or some even bigger cubes, perhaps 10 by 10 by 10? Or a 5 by 6 by 7 crossword?

The building algorithm is here now. But I don't want to spend too much time with this anymore. A middle-man or a middle-firm to newspapers would be appreciated.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2014-08-04T15:45:59.714Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That sounds really cool as a word-packing exercise. Thinking about it as a crossworder though, if you reduce or eliminate the black fields I wonder whether such a 3d puzzle would be too easy to solve as each redundant use of a letter reduces the challenge on the solver.

Could it be adapted somehow into a series of 2d slice puzzles where the full 3d solution only becomes evident, or even noticeable later on? for example suppose "puzzle 1" is the plane X=1, Y=1. There is no need for subsequent planes to be parallel to the first; puzzle 2 might be Y=2, Z=3 but without any indication of which dimensions are in play at the moment so the solver has to think about which alignment would suffice? Leaving some clues incomplete so they can only be solved by approach from other dimensions after figuring out the relative position of each sub-puzzle?

Replies from: Thomas
comment by Thomas · 2014-08-04T22:58:27.534Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's a whole new ball game, actually.

Take for example a cube of 7 by 7 by 7 letters. There are 343 letters inside and we have 49 "words" which go in Up-Down direction, intersecting 49 Left-Right "words" and intersecting 49 North-South "words".

Those "words" may be words, more or less common, or a sequence of two words. Might be a blank between those two, the so called black field. But I think it is much better without blanks. A thin separator may be drawn instead, and we have a so called Italian crossword. Now in 3D.

A crossworder in the above 7 x 7 x 7 case gets between 147 and 294 queries. Each letter figured out, has another two orthogonal questions which are a bit easier to solve now. This "orthogonality" makes crosswords interesting in the first place and here in 3D we have twice the "orthogonality" of a 2D crossword.

Maybe I should try some field tests?

Leaving some clues incomplete so they can only be solved by approach from other dimensions after figuring out the relative position of each sub-puzzle?

Perhaps. This could be tested. All for the maximal pleasure of a crosswords solver.

Replies from: alexanderwales
comment by alexanderwales · 2014-08-05T15:26:37.319Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This seems like it would work a lot better as a computer program, where the crossword cube can be rotated by the user to see the different fields. Otherwise a 7 x 7 x 7 seems like it would be too large for a newspaper, where real estate is limited (not to mention the difficulty in doing the "depth" part of the crossword). Making it virtual (either a standalone app, web app, steam game) solves most of the potential problems.

Replies from: Thomas
comment by Thomas · 2014-08-12T09:41:45.280Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Well, here is a low-tech version of a user interface. Printed (3D) crossword. Or at least printable. Perhaps it would do for some.

The virtual spaces could be also somewhat filled with them, yes.

comment by gwillen · 2014-08-04T04:38:11.424Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I applied to be a Black Rock Ranger (it's a Burning Man thing), and just completed training today.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2014-08-05T00:53:09.216Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I made a website featuring my artwork and re-opened my freelance art business. I already have people asking about commissions! Yay!

I've written 12 chapters of my web serial, Watchmirror, over the course of the summer, and it recently topped 2000 page views. It doesn't sound like much, but it was way more than I ever expected.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-08-05T08:16:02.129Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Impressive! Both the art and the web serial.

Replies from: Michelle_Z
comment by Michelle_Z · 2014-08-06T04:07:01.812Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thank you!

comment by okay · 2014-08-04T02:45:53.727Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wrote a 140 character lambda calculus interpreter and a bigger and more complete (static name resolution + renaming + repl) version of it.

comment by David_Gerard · 2014-08-03T09:03:17.338Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

June 1st or July 1st?

Replies from: CronoDAS
comment by CronoDAS · 2014-08-03T09:08:57.330Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by David Althaus (wallowinmaya) · 2014-08-05T18:27:46.940Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I translated the essay Superintelligence and the paper In Defense of posthuman Dignity by Nick Bostrom into German in order to publish them on the blog of GBS Schweiz.

He thanked me by sending me a signed copy of his new book "Superintelligence". Which made me pretty happy.

comment by Economister · 2014-08-06T16:01:05.460Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Flew to and from Canada over the July 4th Weekend, brought in a large relationship (client) for my firm, updated my wardrobe, celebrated Eid & the end of Ramadan, and signed up for lesswrong.