Posts

If You Were Brilliant When You Were Ten... 2011-12-27T02:33:39.021Z

Comments

Comment by aspiringknitter on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2012-04-08T05:07:55.257Z · LW · GW

...Doesn't everyone already believe #4?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-08T04:18:59.043Z · LW · GW

I guess it could work either way. I mean, Nagini could be obeying Voldemort by virtue of being a well-trained pet, the Basilisk for... whatever reasons the Basilisk does anything for, and Malfoy's summoned snake might listen to Harry because it's inclined to grant random non-difficult favors when asked. None of those seem any less probable than snakes winking, talking, having theory of mind, speaking in ridiculous hisses or knowing Spanish. In fact, none of the snakes in this series seem like snakes at all, so I'm not sure what my priors are regarding them.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-07T00:21:12.550Z · LW · GW

Parseltongue speakers don't just talk with snakes, they command them.

Do they really? The boa constrictor seemed pretty interested in its own stuff, Nagini is a pet and pets in general are obedient, Harry didn't command the Basilisk... so is this actually canon? Admittedly, maybe I just missed something, but I don't remember this.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-05T23:14:25.900Z · LW · GW

Ah. It's math.

:) Thanks.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-05T19:51:31.141Z · LW · GW

Wow. That's really cool, thank you. Upvoted you, jeremysalwen and Nornagest. :)

Could you also explain why the HPMoR universe isn't Turing computable? The time-travel involved seems simple enough to me.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-04-05T19:14:19.537Z · LW · GW

Thanks. :)

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-05T06:05:40.693Z · LW · GW

If this weren't Less Wrong, I'd just slink away now and pretend I never saw this, but:

I don't understand this comment, but it sounds important. Where can I go and what can I read that will cause me to understand statements like this in the future?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-04-05T01:45:30.273Z · LW · GW

Is there a new thread yet? If so, why can't I find it?

Comment by aspiringknitter on The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You · 2012-04-05T00:53:47.195Z · LW · GW

this should mean that humans raised in cultural and social vacuums ought to be disproportionately talented at everything

And yet, they're actually worse at many cognitive tasks. Language, especially, is pretty hard for them to pick up after a certain point.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-04T03:39:18.681Z · LW · GW

What if the problem isn't that it's too cognitively taxing, but that, applied in the sloppy way most people apply their heuristics, it could lead to irrational choices or selfish behavior?

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-04T03:21:32.205Z · LW · GW

Does it have kuru? I'm only open to eating healthy human flesh in this scenario.

Also, if it poofs into existence from nowhere, is it creating matter out of nothing? It's creating something that still has usable energy in it, out of nothing? That could not only end world hunger and veganism, you might be able to use the newly-created corpses for fuel in some kind of power plant. Sure, you might have to go back to steam power to make it work, and sure, human bodies might not be the optimal fuel source, but if you're getting them from nowhere, that solves all our energy woes.

It also might make the planet gain mass, eventually, if you did enough of it for long enough. Hmm. Oh, well, you can use that to make spacecraft. Maybe. Or something.

That and blood pudding. And fertilizer.

I think actually, being able to poof human corpses into existence would be an improvement over the current state of affairs. It might still be sub-optimal, but it would be better.

Now I want to be able to poof human corpses into existence from nowhere. I also think maybe I should start a list of things I've said that I wouldn't have been able to predict that I would say if asked the day before.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-04T03:05:09.996Z · LW · GW

Doesn't that rely on everyone eating candy? One person who doesn't eat candy and therefore isn't invested in the outcome could wreck that.

Also: theoretically, a student could win hundreds of pieces of candy? I'm sure the parents were very happy about that.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-04T02:59:51.077Z · LW · GW

Hmm. That could be a good point. If the world were ending, I probably wouldn't waste time on a sit-down meal.

How about if it's your last day in the country and you'll be fleeing to escape religious persecution tomorrow, taking nothing with you?

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-03T19:44:37.541Z · LW · GW

Couldn't the problems others have brought up regarding this scenario be fixed by specifying that this is your last meal ever before the world ends tomorrow morning before breakfast? Then neither information nor money is valuable anymore.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-03T05:45:12.275Z · LW · GW

I think you should go with Vaniver's idea. (Edit: Vaniver now has multiple ideas up. I mean the one about giving orders to malicious idiots. Completely off-topic: that's also a useful way to explain tasks to people with Asperger's Syndrome or other neurological oddities that cause executive dysfunction.)

I also think this reminds me of something (fiction) writers talk about a lot: they've hit on the way people won't sympathize with "a billion people died/starved/were tortured/experienced dust specks in their eyes" but will sympathize with "Alice was mobbed by dust specks and blinded" and will sympathize even better if you give some specific details about how it felt. And then they go on to talk about how to make Alice someone the reader cares about and how to craft sentences and other stuff that's relevant to them but irrelevant here.

But maybe something like making up a character and talking someone through xyr experience using the product step by step, in the kind of detail a novelist would use to describe the climactic fight scene.

Another idea that occurred to me is some sort of exercise where two people would pair up. One would have to do a novel task or navigate some kind of obstacle course blindfolded and the other would have to give directions. They wouldn't be able to get away with "turn right at the statue" but would instead have to give directions like "turn right at the big smooth stone thing" and... I guess if you were doing something like that, you'd want to give the non-blindfolded partner a picture or map and NOT let them see the one doing the actual task. Otherwise they'd just be able to say "okay, turn right now... turn left... turn left again..." and that would defeat the purpose.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-02T02:28:30.529Z · LW · GW

Don't they usually say it about situations that they could choose to change, to people who don't have the choice?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Fictional Bias · 2012-04-01T20:45:27.798Z · LW · GW

Lesson learned: actually read the citations.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Fictional Bias · 2012-04-01T07:17:42.194Z · LW · GW

I never even had a chance; it was March when I read it. :/ Guess I'll remove my downvote.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-31T19:48:19.234Z · LW · GW

You know, that is a really good idea.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-31T03:52:00.758Z · LW · GW

I agree, this is a bad idea. I didn't figure out the answer when it was just for fun; my performance will probably only get worse under stress (and there's not much farther to fall from "uh... well, maybe it has to do with destroying Dementors, I give up").

I know this shows no confidence in my own rationality, or that of the other readers, but can we please just have a normal story?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-31T03:45:11.030Z · LW · GW

Well, that depends on whether people's decisions to drink Comed-Tea are controlled by the Tea's knowledge (??) of when they're going to see something ridiculous and whether it can affect anything else. It also depends on how powerful the mind-control is.

If it just sends a "drink Comed-Tea" impulse whenever something funny's going to happen, the precommitment would probably beat it. If it controls your mind, either you'd only be able to decide that if you were fated for twelve consecutive days of surprises with breakfast, or you'd just forget about it when you weren't fated for a surprise. If it can control the rest of the universe to any extent at all, it'd probably try to make you decide to begin at a time when you were likely to face a lot of surprises, and then conspire to delay breakfasts or make you forget to drink it until something surprising was going to happen. And we can't rule out that, as a desperate measure, it could alter your sense of humor a little, or prompt you to, e.g., turn on the television at the right moment.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-30T02:07:34.854Z · LW · GW

Since we're doing this by chapter now, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm not sure where to put it otherwise.

I was rereading chapter 26, Noticing Confusion, and-- maybe I'm not the first person to notice this-- I was thinking of a certain other indestructible diary.

Surely Quirrelmort wouldn't give Harry that diary, right? But if the book is indestructible, and made of paper, there is magic involved. He does say Bacon was a wizard, but also that his experiments never got very far without a wand. Making books indestructible does not seem like not getting very far.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-03-30T00:34:27.732Z · LW · GW

Well, there you have it, then. They can hide behind their magical fences.

Comment by aspiringknitter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-03-30T00:19:20.513Z · LW · GW

Fictional ninjas are handicapped by the fact that they attack one at a time. Fictional pirates, meanwhile, in addition to not suffering from scurvy like you'd expect, have improbably awesome fencing powers.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-29T23:52:51.211Z · LW · GW

No, but my local library has two autobiographies. Both seemed interesting to me, though.

Maybe you could look for internet support groups or forums or something. Stuff people write about themselves is probably more useful than stuff doctors write about them if you're looking to learn about their thought processes.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-29T23:16:22.764Z · LW · GW

Dumb used to mean mute. Personally, I think that's going a little overboard with the political correctness, though. (And this from someone who doesn't use retarded as an insult, or even crazy.)

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-29T05:02:49.427Z · LW · GW

No.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-29T02:55:07.422Z · LW · GW

I can't think of anything in MoR that contradicts it, but in canon, when a wizard tries to pay a muggle, the muggle later comments about someone trying to pay with a bizarre kind of coin. IIRC, it's in Goblet of Fire, and it's the muggle who runs the campground where they're having the World Cup. He got memory-charmed afterward.

So he definitely saw some kind of wizard money.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-28T23:51:20.317Z · LW · GW

I agree; Lucius knows Hermione is innocent (not that she didn't do it) and the clue about the Wizengamot fizzled out.

However, I think Dumbledore's preferred outcomes here seem to be the smallest disturbances of the status quo. (Fawkes needs to give him a few more thwacks.) Hermione going to Azkaban disturbs things less than Harry going into debt disturbs things less than Harry destroying Azkaban. So at least there does seem to be a consistent utility function here. (The other, highly improbable, explanation for that preference ranking is that he approves of dementors feeding on innocents in general.)

I think Lucius is mostly grandstanding, just saying whatever will make him seem most like a formidable politician and least like he's backing down.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T19:06:04.470Z · LW · GW

Note that if you voted in the poll, you should also downvote this post. Currently, there are more upvotes in the poll than there are downvotes on that post.

Edit: Whoa, that changed in the time it took me to post!

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T07:53:31.073Z · LW · GW

Sorry, the reason for the stereotype is the fact that fanfiction is findable only on unmoderated internet archives where anyone can post. If you had to look on the internet for all your original fiction, you'd have the same problem. Also, it's in some ways harder to use someone else's voice and be bound by characters that maybe have traits you're scared to write about than to be able to write in your own voice and avoid certain kinds of characters.

But when you compare cherry-picked original fiction weeded through by editors until you get to read only a fraction of the total submitted for consideration and utterly unmoderated, undifferentiated fanfiction by good and bad authors alike side-by-side in the same archive, of course the original fic is going to be better.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-28T07:21:38.962Z · LW · GW

Personally, I thought the problem through and did, literally, draw a map of the room with its people and creatures, before coming on here, and yet I will own up to having not come up with anything at all and not even figured out which of the solutions proposed by others seemed most plausible.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-28T02:43:11.226Z · LW · GW

Looks like the LessWrong readership called it. Both plans, even. Congratulations, people who guessed quicker than I did.

I notice that Harry's view of the Wizengamot as a faceless entity doesn't actually seem to have changed this chapter. So much for that hint.

Also, it would be nice to know which members of the Wizengamot now think Harry is Voldemort and why they think he decided to pretend to die or whatever they think happened.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-27T18:31:27.991Z · LW · GW

I just thought of something else, too, that could explain why it took so long if the duel were short.

Suppose Hermione won relatively quickly, at around 12:05. H&C obliviates and memory-charms her, taking as much time as the duel he makes her remember, which could be several minutes. Then he has to do the same to Draco. At this point, it's around 12:15 or so, and the memory of casting the BCC would make it more like 12:16. Then H&C casts the charm himself and realizes he doesn't recall what time it is exactly. Decides to go with 12:30 because overshooting is way better than undershooting here and he thinks he'll be safe with 12:30, especially if he doesn't have much time before he goes zombie or something and can't just check the clock.

(Anyone notice that Quirrellmort seems to be living Life: The Interesting Parts Version?)

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-27T07:34:49.907Z · LW · GW

I couldn't swear to it, but I thought the map showed Krum in GoF.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-25T23:12:47.693Z · LW · GW

Good point, thanks.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-25T19:41:35.485Z · LW · GW

Even if the duel lasted only a few minutes and everything was over by, say, 12:10 or 12:20, that would mean Quirrel only waited six hours and 13-23 minutes, depending. Could even be deliberate-- an attempt to throw suspicion off himself by making the timing not quite perfect.

On the other hand, if I take "he's only three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, and "he's more than three minutes late" as evidence that he did it, I'm violating a principle of rationality.

I think he had something to do with it anyway.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-25T03:56:59.179Z · LW · GW

If Eliezer Yudkowsky, the author, is lauding this statement, I think we can rule this out as Harry's solution.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-24T19:24:31.000Z · LW · GW

He would risk it the same way he risked not actually being found by a teacher.

Sure, that would be the smarter thing to do, but then it wouldn't come as a surprise to the audience. This way it gives us and Harry a puzzle.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-24T05:26:04.668Z · LW · GW

But it can be. Harry knows what the altered testimony will be because he just decided on how to alter it. He comments on the oddity, then goes back in time and causes it. Just like when he asked for a teacher's help when Draco was torturing him.

Causality is screwy in this universe, isn't it?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-24T05:21:18.233Z · LW · GW

Interesting. I hadn't thought about that. Now that I think about it, you're right; most fictional magic does act on things that are fundamental concepts in people's minds, rather than on things that are actually fundamental.

That said, I still say it all sounds like magic. I couldn't tell you exactly what algorithm my brain uses to come up with "sounds like magic", though.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-24T01:43:24.122Z · LW · GW

Well... you know, this actually wasn't my idea and I'm not sure it would actually work, but playing devil's advocate here...

...anybody notice that Hermione's testimony contradicted itself? No; if they had, it would already have mattered.

...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't at her age? No; she reads too much.

...anybody notice that Hermione knew something she shouldn't about Important Player In This Game? For instance, being able to mention what Voldemort looked like. It could be a subtle reference that Harry would have to point out because it flew under the radar. But it would really hurt Harry's relationship with Lucius.

...hey, notice how Hermione didn't know something Hermione should have known? It'd have to be subtle, but maybe if she mentioned uncertainty about something she should have known, it could do something...

Well, I don't know. Eliezer's got me stumped this time.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-24T00:53:32.751Z · LW · GW

Can't use it to change what's already happened. Hermione has already given her testimony, and Harry didn't even listen so he wouldn't be in a good position to subtly modify it. And the Veritaserum on her is already wearing off, precluding further testimony.

In canon, they thought they heard Buckbeak die, too. It could already be that Hermione gave altered testimony and Harry isn't aware of it because he didn't hear what she said because he wasn't listening. In fact, that makes sense.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2012-03-23T06:34:09.127Z · LW · GW

Could be both, e.g., it starts as the latter and the person becomes more aware and it becomes the former.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2012-03-23T06:27:12.646Z · LW · GW

Obscurity may also have something to do with it, but if I'm remembering right Asperger's was comparably obscure until at least the late Nineties.

Actually, what's now called Asperger's was initially part of what Kanner called autistic psychopathy. However, some people with severe problems and/or mental retardation also had the same symptoms, so the diagnosis was expanded to cover them. Then it narrowed to include entirely those with very severe disabilities, such that autistics/Aspies with the ability to "pass" (act normal or act like something other than disabled) to any degree were overlooked despite needing recognition, information and assistance. So a researcher decided to introduce a new diagnosis, Asperger's Syndrome, to cover spiffy-shiny-cool autistics, as opposed to need-lots-of-help autistics, because the spiffy-shiny-cool kind still needed assistance and often had serious problems as a result of the mismatch between their abilities and other people's expectations. Asperger's entered the DSM-IV in the early/mid nineties.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T03:51:26.961Z · LW · GW

That seems implausible. Most people probably think they wouldn't shock someone to death if ordered to.

At least if it isn't Azkaban, and it isn't death outright, it's probably not as bad as either, though. So if he can discredit Azkaban as a place to put criminals, that would improve things. Minimally.

Comment by aspiringknitter on The uniquely awful example of theism · 2012-03-20T19:55:32.045Z · LW · GW

Does it really decline with age, or did older people form their values in a different culture? It's possible people's values are stable over time but people born a long time ago were more likely to form different values from the ones formed by people born more recently. Has anyone tried to distinguish between these possibilities?

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-19T05:55:35.957Z · LW · GW

Huh. I just reread that scene in Deathly Hallows after you mentioned it and you're absolutely right.

I was sure I remembered an Unbreakable Vow in that scene. I wonder what else I could be misremembering... O.O Scary thought.

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-19T03:43:02.200Z · LW · GW

Not very. Maybe he only has shrines to his fallen allies. If there are memorials of other fallen enemies/neutrals, then it would be evidence, but I'm not sure how strong it would be...

Plus, if she was an innocent who died because of an accident that was his fault, a memorial would be more likely than if he had nothing to do with it, so...

Comment by aspiringknitter on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-18T05:23:14.257Z · LW · GW

If it's anything like canon in this regard, Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to protect Harry. His loyalties aren't up for grabs.