Comment by arfle on Double Illusion of Transparency · 2010-12-08T20:11:28.858Z · LW · GW

Really? One on one? I've certainly been to many 'read-out-the-textbook' lectures, but there's a good point to those, which is why I went. One on one I'd feel very robbed.

Comment by arfle on Double Illusion of Transparency · 2010-12-08T00:51:17.381Z · LW · GW

Is it sufficient to read the book aloud to them even if you don't understand it yourself? If so why isn't there a profession of ill-educated freelance book-readers?

Comment by arfle on The Unfinished Mystery of the Shangri-La Diet · 2010-11-10T10:23:23.311Z · LW · GW

So are you claiming to be a counterexample to 'weight change=calories in - calories out'?

Comment by arfle on Epistemic Viciousness · 2010-11-09T22:09:37.278Z · LW · GW

Mathematics. No problems there because the wisdom of the ancients is still true.

Comment by arfle on Which Parts Are "Me"? · 2010-09-12T09:02:10.843Z · LW · GW

"Well, I code in Python most of the time, and I tend to write in functional/imperative style because it's so much clearer and more concise to me and to others who I can consider to be more advanced. Funny thing is, people who think in procedural style find it very difficult to read my demonstrably functional code. " [Italics added]

Perhaps you could show us examples of the two contrasting styles?

If we are truly in contact with someone who can accurately form abstractions without considering examples, then I would expect to be impressed and baffled by their code.

And as you say, there would be evidence of its correctness from its successful execution.

Don't bother with the comments. Just say what it's supposed to do.

Comment by arfle on Expecting Short Inferential Distances · 2010-08-12T20:56:44.312Z · LW · GW

And then when you've got his attention, show him decimal notation.

And stirrups for his horse. And lances.

Once he's hooked, show him why things float. And how a ball rolling down an inclined plane moves 1, 4, 9, 16 as it accelerates.

Show him Cartesian geometry. And how to play go with lines scratched in the ground and coloured stones. Make a recorder and play him some songs.

He'll teach you Greek.

Show him how to send messages using flashing mirrors. Show him Playfair's cipher. Perspective drawing. How to make a magnifying glass. Newton's cradle. Make a model boat out of bronze.

I suspect in a day in Ancient Greece, you'd see so many easily solved problems that my list would look naive. You don't need modern technology. You need the things that were discovered just after the mediaevals recovered what the Greeks already knew.

Comment by arfle on Expecting Short Inferential Distances · 2010-08-12T20:37:07.466Z · LW · GW

A plastic bottle out of the trash. It's transparent but flexible and almost weightless. See how well the lid has been made? It makes a water-tight seal.

It might be the most valuable object in Greece.

Comment by arfle on Rationality Quotes: October 2009 · 2010-08-03T05:53:26.653Z · LW · GW

Bad weather, as in 'rain that rots your crops and causes famine', 'wind that takes the roof off your house', 'blizzards that kill your livestock', etc...

I suspect that 300 days of sleet might have an effect, even now.

Comment by arfle on The Apologist and the Revolutionary · 2010-07-27T01:41:28.244Z · LW · GW

I've also had this done, but my GP used warm water. No ill effects whatsoever. Obviously my hearing improved.

Comment by arfle on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2010-07-27T00:53:06.505Z · LW · GW

Doesn't Newtonian gravity require computation over an infinite number of steps?

Comment by arfle on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2010-07-27T00:21:35.638Z · LW · GW

But the child has good evidence for the social concept, if not for the genetic one.

So he can disagree with "there is no such thing as race".

Is this another one of those blegg/rube questions?

Comment by arfle on Against the standard narrative of human sexual evolution · 2010-07-26T22:06:13.666Z · LW · GW

As a rural sort, I'd like to make the point that the full moon is bright enough to read by, and to see some colours.

Townies think the night is dark because they're dazzled by street lights and cars and never have working night vision.

In the absence of artificial light, it only gets truly dark when you can't see the moon or sun.

And even where I grew up, there was always enough light in the sky that the galaxy was difficult to see. Go somewhere truly out of the way and it's like a shining belt all across the sky. That's what real human night vision is like.

From "Sense and Sensibility", by Jane Austen:

"[Sir John Middleton] had been to several families that morning, in hopes of procuring some addition to their number, but it was moonlight, and every body was full of engagements."

Comment by arfle on So You Think You're a Bayesian? The Natural Mode of Probabilistic Reasoning · 2010-07-14T20:17:59.183Z · LW · GW

The pdf here is well worth reading! Thanks.