Rationality Quotes February 2013 2013-02-05T22:20:50.370Z
Cancer scientist meets amateur (This American Life) 2011-11-15T01:59:45.762Z
Explanation found for the Pioneer anomaly 2011-04-27T04:25:05.478Z
NPR show All Things Considered on the Singularity and SIAI 2011-01-11T22:58:24.725Z


Comment by arundelo on Last Chance to Fund the Berkeley REACH · 2018-06-29T14:22:41.914Z · LW · GW

He has plugged it or mentioned it in at least three open thread posts but I had trouble finding them. They all call it a "community center" but none uses the names "Berkeley" or "REACH" (or Sarah Spikes's last name).

Correction: The first one does say it's in Berkeley (but not as part of the name so I missed it when looking at search results).

Comment by arundelo on The Jordan Peterson Mask · 2018-03-06T04:10:37.885Z · LW · GW

I think I found what I was thinking of! It wasn’t George H. Smith, it was Jeff Riggenbach. Smith published it in a “short-lived online zine” of his and reposted it here. (It’s a review of Ayn Rand’s The Art of Nonfiction. Be warned that the formatting isn’t quite right—block quotes from the book are not formatted differently from the text of the review.)

A couple excerpts:

“Do not make time a constant pressure,” she cautions. “Do not judge your progress by each day; since the production of any written material is irregular, nobody but a hack can be sure how much he will produce in a given day”.
Apparently, then, every newspaperman or –woman, every columnist, every reviewer, every editorial writer who ever had to meet a daily deadline, is a hack, writing only what comes easily. Well, as one of their number, I’ll testify that, yes, hacks they assuredly are, but they do not write only what comes easily. From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, I earned some portion of my income (anywhere from around ten percent to around eighty percent, depending on the year) by writing for newspapers. I wrote a variety of things, but probably ninety percent of my output was editorials, book reviews, and Op Ed articles (opinion articles that appear on the page Opposite the Editorial page).


Writers who face tight deadlines on a regular basis have no time for extensive revision and editing. They have to get it right the first time.
Comment by arundelo on The Jordan Peterson Mask · 2018-03-04T08:44:25.590Z · LW · GW

George H. Smith said something once, maybe in an email discussion group or something. I can't find it now but it was something along the lines of:

When he first started writing he did the standard thing of writing a first draft then rewriting it. But after spending years writing a large quantity of (short) complete pieces, many of them on a deadline, he got so he could usually just write it right the first time through—the second editing pass was only needed to fix typos.

Comment by arundelo on Monthly Meta: Referring is Underrated · 2018-02-08T15:00:05.490Z · LW · GW

Comment by arundelo on Fashionable or Fundamental Thought in Communities · 2018-01-20T23:39:05.604Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the response! (I've seen you say similar stuff about "akrasia" once or twice before and had been meaning to ask you about it. I'll think about this.)

("Meditations on Moloch" link for anyone who didn't understand the reference.)

Comment by arundelo on Fashionable or Fundamental Thought in Communities · 2018-01-20T18:01:57.798Z · LW · GW

Edit: I rewrote this to use "Alice" and "Bob" instead of "you" and "me" as characters to clarify that it's a thought experiment and not a question about Less Wrong user arundelo (though it is inspired by actual events). I also added a paragraph at the end.

Let's say Alice asks Bob why he didn't watch the most recent episode of $TVSHOW and he says, "I didn't feel like it", and she asks for more detail. He might tell her that he doesn't really like $TVSHOW, or that he likes it but wasn't in the mood and maybe will watch it tomorrow.

Now let's say she asks him why he didn't work today and he says, "I didn't feel like it", and she asks for more detail. He might tell her that he decided to take a day off because he's been working a lot lately, or because the weather was nice and he wanted to spend the day hiking.

All these responses seem pretty similar compared to Bob telling Alice, "I don't know why I didn't feel like working. I guess work is hard and I'd rather goof off. Or maybe I have some sort of subconscious fear that if I do work I'll prove that I'm stupid or incompetent. But I've only worked a couple hours so far this week and I get paid by the hour, and I'm afraid I'm gonna be late to pay my rent again, and my landlord told me if I'm late again she's going to file an eviction notice."

The most important thing is solving the problem, which may involve figuring out if Bob does have a subconscious fear of failure or whatever. But when I use words like "akrasia" or "procrastination", I'm using them as shorthand for long descriptions like the one in the previous paragraph.

Is it really worthwhile for Bob to avoid the words "akrasia" and "procrastination"? If so, should his short answer to "Why didn't you work today?" really be "I didn't feel like it"? Or is there something better?

Comment by arundelo on Can we see light? · 2017-12-12T18:44:18.240Z · LW · GW

Comment by arundelo on Double Crux — A Strategy for Resolving Disagreement · 2017-12-09T17:58:09.642Z · LW · GW


This account has been posting spam since April 2017 (though all of their old comments have been deleted and are visible only on their overview and comments pages).

Comment by arundelo on Entitlement, Covert Contracts, Social Libertarianism, and Related Concepts · 2017-11-20T12:27:40.461Z · LW · GW


Comment by arundelo on [deleted post] 2017-10-30T21:44:36.976Z

(This comment on a draft is visible in the "Recent Comments" stream.)

Comment by arundelo on Inadequacy and Modesty · 2017-10-30T21:43:08.605Z · LW · GW

Thanks, but you accidentally removed the href attributes from my links. I added them back ... never mind, they're still dead. Can't get it to work.

They are:

Comment by arundelo on Inadequacy and Modesty · 2017-10-30T16:50:17.389Z · LW · GW

Scott Alexander writes about Taubes here (and elsewhere).

(Edit 3: Got rid of some stuff about the in-browser editor. For the record, the "maybe also allow users on desktop to switch to the markdown mode" link is this.)

Comment by arundelo on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-17T20:06:54.035Z · LW · GW

I just used Wei Dai's lesswrong_user script to download Eliezer's posts and comments (excluding, last I knew, those that don't show up on his "OVERVIEW" page e.g. for karma reasons). This went back to late December 2009 before the network connection got dropped.

I counted his uses of "LessWrong" versus "Less Wrong". (Of course I didn't count things such as the domain name "", the English phrase "less wrong", or derived words like "LessWrongers".)

"LessWrong": 1 2 3* 4*

"Less Wrong": 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20* 21 22* 23 24 25 26

Entries with asterisks appear in both lists. Of his four uses of "LessWrong", three are modifying another word (e.g., "LessWrong hivemind").

(For what it's worth, "LessWrongers": 1 2; "Less Wrongians": 1.)

Comment by arundelo on LW 2.0 Strategic Overview · 2017-09-15T18:51:45.654Z · LW · GW

Has the team explicitly decided to call it "LessWrong" (no space) instead of "Less Wrong" (with a space)?

The spaced version has more precedent behind it. It's used by Eliezer and by most of the static content on, including the element.

Comment by arundelo on The Reality of Emergence · 2017-08-25T13:39:29.710Z · LW · GW


Comment formatting note -- Less Wrong's subset of Markdown does not let you use inline HTML.

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017 · 2017-08-25T06:31:36.804Z · LW · GW

The intuitive sense of what surprise is corresponds well to the rules for updating your probability distribution over models, which we can therefore take as a formal definition of surprise.

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, August 21 - August 27, 2017 · 2017-08-23T17:04:49.500Z · LW · GW

Just to make sure I understand prior and posterior over models, is the following about right?

  • Alice starts with a prior of 0.999 that non-vanity plates are generated basically randomly (according to some rule of "N letters followed by M digits" or whatever, and with rules e.g. preventing swear words).
  • Alice sees "3817" (having seen many other 4-digit plates previously).
  • Alice's posterior probability over models is still about 0.999 on the same model.
Comment by arundelo on My Bayesian Enlightenment · 2017-07-25T10:33:42.143Z · LW · GW

Families with exactly two children:

| oldest | youngest |
| boy... | boy..... | two boys
| boy... | girl.... | one boy
| girl.. | boy..... | one boy
| girl.. | girl.... | no boys
Comment by arundelo on Prisoner's Dilemma on game show Golden Balls · 2017-07-19T04:35:57.954Z · LW · GW

No, Romeo chooses steal. If his opponent also chooses steal (in spite of Romeo's credible commitment to choosing steal himself), the opponent does not get any money.

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, July 10 - July 16, 2017 · 2017-07-10T14:07:33.960Z · LW · GW

This is probably a known issue, and I know a rewritten version of the Less Wrong software is being worked on, but I just noticed that even if I'm using HTTPS, comment permalinks (the chain icon at the bottom of a comment) are HTTP URLs.

Comment by arundelo on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism · 2017-07-09T18:24:27.606Z · LW · GW

Why does not obey robots.txt?

Because it is not a free-walking crawler, it saves only one page acting as a direct agent of the human user. faq

A few months ago we stopped referring to robots.txt files on U.S. government and military web sites [...] As we have moved towards broader access it has not caused problems, which we take as a good sign. We are now looking to do this more broadly. blog, 2017-04-17

Comment by arundelo on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism · 2017-07-09T03:01:31.611Z · LW · GW has both things from Patri's LiveJournal:

(Unlike, does not, IIRC, respect robots.txt.)

Gwern Branwen has a page on link rot and URL archiving.

Comment by arundelo on Steelmanning the Chinese Room Argument · 2017-07-06T14:03:38.653Z · LW · GW

I bet cousin_it didn't link it because it's not on the (public) internet. Edit: Nope!

physical existence of Wei is highly doubtful

People have met Wei Dai in meatspace, if that's what you're talking about. Edit: As confirmed by cousin_it.

Comment by arundelo on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism · 2017-07-04T01:12:34.510Z · LW · GW

gwern on "centaurs" (humans playing chess with computer assistance):

Even by 2007, it was hard for anyone to improve, and after 2013 or so, the very best centaurs were reduced to basically just opening book preparation (itself an extremely difficult skill involving compiling millions of games and carefully tuning against the weakness of possible opponent engines), to the point where official matches have mostly stopped (making it hard to identify the exact point at which centaur ceased to be a thing at all).

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, June. 19 - June. 25, 2017 · 2017-06-26T16:29:55.001Z · LW · GW

Fixed link.

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, June. 19 - June. 25, 2017 · 2017-06-21T20:23:01.586Z · LW · GW

You can use ballet dancing or piano playing for status signaling but first you need to learn to dance ballet or play the piano.

Comment by arundelo on The Rationalistsphere and the Less Wrong wiki · 2017-06-19T20:08:10.113Z · LW · GW

It works for me in Firefox 53.0.3, Firefox 54.0, and Chrome 58.0.3029.110.

(All 32-bit on Windows. I tested it both by clicking on the link, which goes through Less Wrong's thing, and by entering the [https] readthesequences link in the address bar.)

The only weird thing is that after I upgraded to Firefox 54, the "TLS handshake" step of loading the page took a long time -- ten seconds or so -- a couple times, but it's not doing that now.

Comment by arundelo on CFAR Workshop Review: February 2017 · 2017-05-04T11:41:27.348Z · LW · GW

The Resolve Cycle is a CFAR technique where one sets a 5 minute timer and resolves to solve the problem in the allotted time.


Comment by arundelo on Nonperson Predicates · 2017-04-27T23:20:38.367Z · LW · GW

Eliezer probably means "sapient":

"Sentience is commonly used in science fiction and fantasy as synonymous with sapience, although the words aren't synonyms."

(Or maybe by "is sentient", he means to say, "is a person in the moral sense".)

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, Apr. 17 - Apr. 23, 2017 · 2017-04-18T14:57:55.437Z · LW · GW

This statement has the letter “T” at the beginning; the next two letters are “h” and “i”; which are followed by “s s”; … ; the first letter is then repeated inside double quotes; …

What do the ellipses ("...") mean?

Comment by arundelo on The Ancient God Who Rules High School · 2017-04-08T19:44:31.375Z · LW · GW

We need downvotes for this sort of stuff. ^

Edit: By which I mean bogus's comment, which does nothing beyond insulting lifelonglearner. Also, I'd guess quite a few commenters on this website are in the 95th percentile of (say) IQ at their school.

Comment by arundelo on [deleted post] 2017-03-09T05:46:09.071Z

Yeah, I agree, but at the time I hadn't been following this user closely, so I figured I'd allow the possibility of mistaken identity.

I'm sure I'm not saying anything you haven't already given consideration to, but you probably should not feed the troll.

Comment by arundelo on [deleted post] 2017-03-02T19:51:05.142Z

I assume they're deleting your stuff because they think you're Eugine_Nier (who has been banned). If you indeed are Eugine_Nier, please go away. If you are not Eugine_Nier, I guess you'll need to convince a moderator of that (or give up this account and make another one).

Comment by arundelo on Open Thread, Feb. 27 - March 5, 2017 · 2017-02-27T15:37:13.959Z · LW · GW

This was probably Aella, who took LSD every week for ten months.

I'm not finding the poetry on a quick scan of but it rings a bell with me too. It might also be on (which, be warned, has a fair amount of NSFW images).

Comment by arundelo on What are you surprised people don't just buy? · 2017-02-16T01:18:40.776Z · LW · GW

If you're wondering how you can hold water in something made of paper, they're "often lined or coated with plastic or wax to prevent liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper".

Comment by arundelo on Are we running out of new music/movies/art from a metaphysical perspective? · 2017-02-15T15:03:48.480Z · LW · GW

a participatory culture makes the notion of a skill-level hierarchy more apparent and well-defined

Not so. Fetishizing extreme 'skill', virtuosity, stardom etc. is a marker of a consumer culture, not a participatory one.

For one thing, fetishizing skill is a fairly small component of contemporary popular music culture. For another, that's different from the skill-level hierarchy komponisto is talking about. As a musician (disclosure!), I expect a musician's judgment of another musician's skill level to be more accurate and finer-grained than the judgment of a non-musician.

Comment by arundelo on 0.999...=1: Another Rationality Litmus Test · 2017-01-22T19:40:21.991Z · LW · GW

If I may, let me agree with you in dialogue form:

Alice: 1 = 0.999...
Bob: No, they're different.
Alice: Okay, if they're different then why do you get zero if you subtract one from the other?
Bob: You don't, you get 0.000...0001.
Alice: How many zeros are there?
Bob: An infinite number of them. Then after the last zero, there's a one.

Alice is right (as far as real numbers go) but at this point in the discussion she has not yet proved her case; she needs to argue to Bob that he shouldn't use the concept "the last thing in an infinite sequence" (or that if he does use it he needs to define it more rigorously).

Comment by arundelo on Crisis of Faith · 2017-01-07T20:00:44.823Z · LW · GW

Broadly speaking, I agree, and Jesus mythicist Richard Carrier would also agree:

[A]mateurs should not be voicing certitude in a matter still being debated by experts ([Jesus] historicity agnosticism is far more defensible and makes far more sense for amateurs on the sidelines) and [...] criticizing Christianity with a lead of "Jesus didn't even exist" is strategically ill conceived -- it's bad strategy on many levels, it only makes atheists look illogical, and (counter-intuitively) it can actually make Christians more certain of their faith.

But reading some of his stuff made me upgrade the idea that there was no historical Jesus from "almost certainly false" to "plausible". (Carrier has written a couple books on this -- Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus and On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt -- but I haven't read those, only some stuff available on the web.)

  • Carrier:

    I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principal apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion's "actual" teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).


    It would be several decades later when subsequent members of this cult, after the world had not yet ended as claimed, started allegorizing the gospel of this angelic being by placing him in earth history as a divine man, as a commentary on the gospel and its relation to society and the Christian mission. The same had already been done to other celestial gods and heroes, who were being transported into earth history all over the Greco-Roman world, a process now called Euhemerization, after the author Euhemerus, who began the trend in the 4th century B.C. by converting the celestial Zeus and Uranus into ordinary human kings and placing them in past earth history, claiming they were "later" deified (in a book ironically titled Sacred Scripture). Other gods then underwent the same transformation, from Romulus (originally the celestial deity Quirinus) to Osiris (originally the heavenly lord whom pharaohs claimed to resemble, he was eventually transformed into a historical pharaoh himself).

  • Carrier:

    [I]n Jewish cosmology, all sorts of things that exist or occur on earth also do so in heaven: fighting, writing, scrolls, temples, chairs, trees, gardens.

  • (To make the following paragraph more concise I'll omit hedge phrases like "according to Carrier". And even Carrier doesn't regard this as certain, only more likely than not.)

    The writings about Jesus that come the closest to being contemporary with his putative lifetime are Paul's seven or so authentic letters. Paul, who converted to Christianity after Jesus came to him in a vision sometime around 33 CE, never claims to have met the historical Jesus, and never unambiguously talks about Jesus as a human who lived on Earth. (E.g.: Paul talks about about Jesus being crucified, but this crucifixion took place in some celestial realm not on Earth. Paul mentions "James the Lord's brother", but this means not that James was a literal brother of Jesus of Nazareth but that James is a fellow Christian, the way a modern Christian might refer to their "brothers and sisters in Christ".)

Comment by arundelo on Ideas for Next Generation Prediction Technologies · 2016-12-22T07:25:12.470Z · LW · GW

I was a super-forecaster. I think my main advantages were 1) skill at Googling and 2) noticing that most people, when you ask them “Will [an interesting thing] happen?”, are irrationally biased toward saying yes. I also seem to be naturally foxy and well-calibrated, but not more so than lots of other people in the tournament. I did not obsess, but I tried fairly hard.


Edit: "Foxy" in this context means "knowing many small things instead of one big thing". See this pair (one, two) of Overcoming Bias posts by the late Hal Finney.

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, Dec. 19 - Dec. 25, 2016 · 2016-12-21T03:11:29.102Z · LW · GW

Perfectly clear, and probably in most contexts less likely to elicit off-by-one errors. The only confusing things I can see are:

  • Maybe someone might think you just meant the first decade of the 1900s?
  • Similarly, is "the 2000s" a century or a decade or a millennium? (This and the previous problem are solved by using e.g., "19xx", but that's probably only clear in written language.)
  • This style (it seems to me) is more common with older stuff (e.g., the 1800s and 1700s), so someone might do a double-take at "the 1900s", thinking it sounds longer ago than it is.
  • There's also the thing of how the twentieth century is, if we're being pedantic, not the years 1900 through 1999, but the years 1901 through 2000.
Comment by arundelo on Open thread, Dec. 19 - Dec. 25, 2016 · 2016-12-20T21:35:44.744Z · LW · GW

Today I learned the words "hypernym" and "hyponym"!

(Wikipedia: "Hyponymy and hypernymy"; oxforddictionaries dot com: "hypernym", "hypernymy", "hyponym", "hyponymy".)

Comment by arundelo on Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease · 2016-12-18T18:06:41.847Z · LW · GW

If he's let the domain lapse intentionally (maybe to minimize the amount of old stuff by him on the internet) I hope he'll consider renewing it just so he can host a permissive robots.txt. This way the rest of will no longer be visible to casual internet searchers but will still be available on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (which it will not if someone else buys the domain and puts up a restrictive robots.txt).

Comment by arundelo on In praise of emotive communication · 2016-12-16T06:21:57.109Z · LW · GW

I found the first passage moving in that it moved me to think, "This is so fucking stupid", so I never finished it and haven't gotten around to reading the decucked version. When I do get around to it, I find it fairly likely that I'll basically agree with the substantive point, but I have trouble taking a piece of writing seriously when it unironically uses insults like "cuck" and "shitlib".

(Or maybe it is irony, but sufficiently advanced irony is indistinguishable from stupidity.)

Comment by arundelo on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-12-13T18:30:17.050Z · LW · GW

It's a thumbs-up that is in the lower left corner of a comment or post (next to a thumbs-down). It looks like the top of these two thumbs-ups (or the bottom one after you've clicked it):

If you don't see it, it may be that they've turned off voting for new or low-karma accounts.

Comment by arundelo on Which areas of rationality are underexplored? - Discussion Thread · 2016-12-03T16:46:29.525Z · LW · GW

"Repository repository" -- a post listing various "repository" posts, like the "Solved Problems Repository", the "Useful Concepts Repository", the "Mistakes Repository", and the "Good things to have learned" post.

Comment by arundelo on What should a friendly AI do, in this situation? · 2016-11-08T17:55:13.896Z · LW · GW

Comment by arundelo on Open thread, Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2016 · 2016-11-06T15:30:28.038Z · LW · GW

When I lived in °C places I had to pay attention to single-digit differences like 24 °C versus 29 °C, wasting the first digit.


In Fahrenheit I get the basic idea with the first digit.

  • “It’s in the thirties” = multiple layers and coat.
  • “It’s in the nineties” = T shirt weather.

In the 70’s and 80’s I want a second sig-fig but I don’t even need 10 elements of precision. Just “upper 70’s” is enough. The first °F digit gives you ballpark, and the second °F digit gives you even more precision than you need.

Comment by arundelo on Open Thread May 2 - May 8, 2016 · 2016-05-07T15:47:45.825Z · LW · GW

And, over on Slate Star Codex (where there are no links to individual comments; sorry),

A comment's date and time is a permalink to that comment. Here's Ialdabaoth's "mod-bombed" comment.

Comment by arundelo on [moderator action] The_Lion and The_Lion2 are banned · 2016-02-01T18:04:50.684Z · LW · GW

This comment is an excellent summary of Eugine_Nier's history at LW and what's wrong with his behavior.

Comment by arundelo on What Is Signaling, Really? · 2015-11-15T04:27:01.893Z · LW · GW

The mailing list is (presumably) just where he heard about the book. (In case you don't know this, SIAI is MIRI's old name.)

The chapter of the book at the defunct link is still available at the Internet Archive.