Comment by astrocj on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-21T11:17:31.223Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you mean something different from the "Parent" link beneath each post?

Comment by astrocj on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-21T11:13:34.786Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Remove DV links from a person's "past comment" page unless viewed in context.

(After the recent comment thread dfranke sparked, I lost a large number of upvotes from my past comments, which were previously almost uniformly weakly positively ranked. I assume my previous posts had not suddenly reduced in quality, and that someone had simply decided to go through and punish me. Making people view a comment in context - one more mouse click - would make this unconstructive action less convenient and less likely.)

Comment by astrocj on Official Less Wrong Redesign: Call for Suggestions · 2011-04-21T11:07:58.391Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Cycle comment thread background colours through at least three distinguishable colours; unobtrusive colours like pale blue, grey would be preferable.

(In the current system we alternate between two colours, and active sub-threads can have many branches; it's difficult to follow visually. Clicking "parent" links is something of a workaround, but breaks the flow.)

(Edit: cf Nancy's reply below)

Comment by astrocj on The ideas you're not ready to post · 2011-04-13T20:31:25.625Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have a friend currently researching this precise topic; she adores reading Twilight and simultaneously thinks that it is completely damaging for young women to be reading. The distinction she drew, as far as I understood it, was that (1) Twilight is a very, very alluring fantasy - one day an immortal, beautiful man falls permanently in love with you for the rest of time and (2) canon!Edward is terrifying when considered not through the lens of Bella. Things like him watching her sleep before they'd spoken properly; he's not someone you want to hold up as a good candidate for romance.

(I personally have not read it, though I've read Alicorn's fanfic and been told a reasonable amount of detail by friends.)

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T18:56:03.540Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're quite right; by paraphrasing shokwave in my rebuttal, I picked up a male pronoun. I've now edited the relevant comment to remove this. Thank you, on two levels.

EDIT: I didn't actually consciously avoid it in my first post.

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T14:55:39.216Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

From reading the thread you linked, it seems like things have improved an awful lot; no-one has weighed in with suggestions that I nail my gender to my name to warn innocent posters that they might be about to interact with a woman. Thank you for the hug; I do need to learn to control my responses to that stimulus.

(Edit: Pft, today is a day of typos.)

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T14:52:18.091Z · score: -3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

(I appreciate that you are taking the time to engage with me politely, especially after I have previously been (rightly or wrongly) impolite due to anger.)

dfranke didn't make a "correct" assumption, they[1] made an "unnecessary" assumption. I find it really quite surprising and disheartening that the Less Wrong community doesn't have an interest in making a habit of avoiding these - yes, even to the point of thinking for a tenth of a second longer when using vernacular speech. Good habits, people.

There are numerous other problems here; if the community assumes that everyone in the community is male, then the community is more likely to lose female (or third-gender members) - witness both Alicorn's and my strong irritation at being misgendered. You might chose to ignore third-gender folk, since they're not numerous, but ignoring the [potential] presence of the entire female gender is not healthy for the individual or for the community.

If I were strictly third gender and I had complained about someone referring to me as "he/she" or similar, then I think your point here would stand; the commenter would have signalled clearly that they had made no assumptions about my gender, even if they had also signalled at the same time that they had made assumptions about gender in general. I would then be being unreasonable.

Finally, "indignation is not the correct response" because "it's not a community norm". Since a good number of people are avoiding gendered assumptions whilst posting here, I think indignation might well be the only way to point out to some people just how rude they are being.

[1] Edited after Perplexed pointed out that dfranke had not explicitly identified as male.

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T14:05:12.889Z · score: -7 (19 votes) · LW · GW


I have no desire to continue this upsetting conversation.

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T07:58:09.133Z · score: -11 (21 votes) · LW · GW


I downvoted a fair number of your comments because they appear to me to be extremely ill-thought out; I did not downvote your clarification above.

Do not gender me male by assumption.

Edit: DVer: I can see no reason to DV that is both "self evident" and "reasonable after proper consideration". Please, feel free to be more constructive.

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-13T07:49:13.357Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I'll give a longer response a go.

You seem to me to be fundamentally confused about the separation between the (at a minimum) two levels of reality being proposed. We have a simulation, and we have a real world. If you affect things in the simulation, such as replacing Venus with a planet twice the mass of Venus, then they are not the same; the gravitational field will be different and the simulation will follow a path different to the simulation with the original Venus. These two options are not "computationally the same".

If, on the other hand, in the real world you replace your old, badly programmed Venus Simulation Chip 2000 with the new, shiny Venus Simulation Chip XD500, which does precisely the same thing as the old chip but in fewer steps so we in the real world have to sit around waiting for fewer processor cycles to end, then the simulation will follow the same path as it would have done before. Observers in the sim won't know what Venus Chip we're running, and they won't know how many processor cycles it's taking to simulate it. These two different situations are "computationally the same".

If, in the simulation world, you replaced half of my brain with an apple, then I would be dead. If you replaced half of my brain with a computer that mimicked perfectly my old meat brain, I would be fine. If we're in the computation world then we should point out that again, the gravitational field of my brain computer will likely be different from the gravitational field of my meat brain, and so I would label these as "not computationally the same" for clarity. If we are interested in my particular experiences of the world, given that I can't detect gravitational fields very well, then I would label them as "computationally the same" if I am substrate independent, and "computationally different" if not.

I grew up in this universe, and my consciousness is embedded in a complex set of systems, my human brain, which is designed to make things make sense at any cost. I feel purple whenever I go outside - that's just how I've always felt. Purple makes sense. This is fatal for your argument.

(Now, if one day soon my qualia jump from one state to another, now that would be something interesting.)

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-12T13:25:50.334Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If I have in front of me four apples that appear to me to be identical, but a specific two of them consistently are referred to as oranges by sources I normally trust, they are not computationally identical. If everyone perceived them as apples, I doubt I would be seen as ill.

Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-12T08:37:18.632Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

they would not make sense


Comment by astrocj on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-12T08:36:20.141Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

DV for being unconstructive.

Comment by astrocj on What comes before rationality · 2011-03-22T15:04:54.138Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I hope you didn't take my initial comment as being aggressive or judgemental; it was a good post, well written and interesting. I hope, too, that there's no kind of fallout.

Comment by astrocj on What comes before rationality · 2011-03-18T22:09:35.633Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Socially penalise, nothing. Something as personal as this, it's deeply unusual not to make it clear that you have permission; my concern is for the privacy of person under discussion.

Comment by astrocj on What comes before rationality · 2011-03-18T17:33:19.023Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I am alarmed and dismayed that no-one has raised the issue of privacy in this thread. Swimmer963, just from glancing through your comments, you're [rot13'd description of Swimmer963 deleted].

I didn't whizz through those to be creepy (actually I was impressed at how you seem to be consistently sensible), but if you're going to share incredibly personal details about "a friend" who was raped, we need to know if this information has been posted with her consent. The above is very easily enough to personally identify you.

On whether or not this will be important or not: [blanked].

EDIT: Deleted precis of Swimmer963's situation; it had served its purpose. EDIT: Deleted some personal information.

Comment by astrocj on Dead men tell tales: falling out of love with SIA · 2011-02-19T12:20:09.602Z · score: -9 (13 votes) · LW · GW

DV. I've pretty much lost patience with posts that attribute male gender to idealised agents. Destroyed my interest in rest of post.

Comment by astrocj on Rationality Quotes: February 2011 · 2011-02-05T13:43:44.842Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by astrocj on Rationality Quotes: February 2011 · 2011-02-05T13:36:31.017Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Since we do not live in the ancestral environment now, I think the quotation could be just underlining how we should viscerally know our brain is going to output sub-optimal crud given certain inputs. Upvoted original.

Comment by astrocj on On Charities and Linear Utility · 2011-02-05T13:30:24.668Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW


For games where there are multiple agents interacting, the optimal strategy will usually involve some degree of weighted randomness. If there are noncommunicating rational agents A, B, C each with (an unsplittable) $1, and charities 1 and 2 - both of which fulfil a vital function but 1 requires $2 to function and 2 requires $1 to function, I would expect the agents to donate to 1 with p = 2/3.

A rational agent is aware that other rational agents exist, and will take account of their actions.

Comment by astrocj on On Charities and Linear Utility · 2011-02-05T11:46:32.003Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Speaking from a physical perspective, assuming that "$\Delta x$ is small" is a meaningless statement. Whenever we state that something is large or small, unless it's a nondimensionalised number, there is something against which we are comparing it.

Simple example, which isn't the best example but is fast to construct. Comparing $1 to $(mean GDP from country to country)

*$1 is a small amount of money in the USA. Even homeless people can scrape together a dollar, and it's not even enough to buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks. It's almost worthless.

*$1 is a large amount of money in Nigeria. The GNI is around $930 per capita per year[1], so if you're lucky enough to make the mean income, you'd better not be frittering away that $1; it's vital if you want to pay your rent and buy food.

So we can't say $\Delta x$ is a "small amount of money" without qualification; it seems like when you conclude that, we are actually concluding $\Delta x / X$ is small, the original proposal. A better measure might be $\Delta x / \sqrt{XYZ,3}$, so that the scale in each direction doesn't change (but that's just choosing a different coordinate system, so not that relevant).

Your argument seeks to confirm the original proposal, not refute it, and you've pointed out that sometimes higher derivatives can be important.

(Incidentally, your second example - about nonmixed second derivatives - became clear to me only after some thought. You might want to include a clause like "Because after the first $50, the second derivatives represent a sudden jump down in net utility as we get less bang for our individual buck".)


Comment by astrocj on Cambridge UK Meetup Saturday 12 February · 2011-02-02T22:55:17.752Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, interested.

Comment by astrocj on Statistical Prediction Rules Out-Perform Expert Human Judgments · 2011-01-19T19:01:20.827Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What? Are you from the mythical land where every partnering has the same intensity of sex drive?

Comment by astrocj on Cryptographic Boxes for Unfriendly AI · 2010-12-18T14:44:26.821Z · score: -5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Thing which leaps out at me:

You assume PGP encryption is secure. I believe that - at a very basic level - PGP encryption is mathematically similar to the problem of factorising large prime numbers, which is currently computationally "difficult". If an AI spent time working on number theory (given that it has access to all of our world as an input, it would certainly be up to date with our most advanced techniques) there's a danger it would simply be able to prove the Riemann Hypothesis and enter the world having already learned to quickly decrypt all of our communications.

This doesn't affect this as a thought experiment, but please don't try to implement this as stated.

Comment by astrocj on Rationality Quotes: December 2010 · 2010-12-05T11:04:39.038Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Tch! And the transcript makes it plain that I have been fooled by video editing. I suggest then the following replacement:

"...I don't have to know an answer, I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious Universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is so far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me." - RPF

Comment by astrocj on Rationality Quotes: December 2010 · 2010-12-05T11:00:12.157Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My source was is an autotuned piece which includes footage of Feynman speaking those words, but it looks like it's from interviews with BBC's Horizon.

See under "Doubt and uncertainty":

Comment by astrocj on Rationality Quotes: December 2010 · 2010-12-03T09:27:03.168Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

[EDIT: Found to be erroneous! Sorry!]

I don't feel frightened, not knowing things; I think it's much more interesting.

-Richard P. Feynman

Comment by astrocj on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2010-12-02T10:20:04.716Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

(On the theme of the post, I think that bluntness is most polite here - this conversation doesn't look like it's about to progress further without prodding.)

  • TheOtherDave did claim to know person X's gender? Unlikely, given the point of the example.

  • TheOtherDave did inform you of person X's gender? Then, to repeat the question: What is that gender?

Comment by astrocj on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2010-12-02T00:57:00.757Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

"Or any other form of nastiness?"

I've noticed over the past week just how often LW posters talk about (to create a typical example) a "generic rational agent, who does something, then he...", attributing all generic rational agents the male gender. It's extremely irritating to read that being rational means one is ¬¬male! (modus tollens).

(But David_Gerard wasn't making a point about sexism; rather, a point about defending for too long signalling that other people find impolite.)

Comment by astrocj on "Nahh, that wouldn't work" · 2010-12-01T13:51:18.715Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I think that threats often do work. I have a landlord, who uses a letting agent that we pay for our utilities. The letting agent stinks, and our electricity bill just trebled from the spring quarter into the summer quarter. Summer is warmer and brighter than spring - I would expect my bill to decrease by at least 5%.

So far, so bad, except that I was away for six weeks of that quarter, and most of my housemates were travelling for at least 2 weeks - my bill should have halved on top of this 5% decrease. There's a disparity of an expected 47.5% of my previous bill with the observed 300% actual bill (or, being more conservative and taking us all as having been travelling for 2 weeks each, 80% of my previous bill). This isn't credible, and I'm not going to pay it.

My landlord likes the letting agent (presumably they're cheap). I expect shortly to be threatened with late-payment charges or even eviction. This expectation of a threat has already made two of my housemates pay the obviously unfair bill, despite us all being agreed that we do not owe the amount demanded.

I recently changed mobile telephone provider, despite being on contract with my previous provider ([blanked]) for another three months. I was told I must pay the balance of the contract, and told them to go whistle for it. Apparently their SOP is to just tank the customer's credit rating.

If I had been told this, the [blanked] would have easily been less valuable to me than my good credit rating. I wasn't told by $_PROVIDER, who now will not respond to my contacting them, but intend to pursue them to ensure that they don't do this. If they had threatened me, I would definitely have paid.

Threats seem effective.

EDIT: Deleted some personal information.

Comment by astrocj on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2010-12-01T10:41:28.912Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Strong agree and upvote, with some caveats.

I very much agree that politiking is a way to be more effective in any situation involving another person, and I think this post is a pretty nice defence of "Why should I bother to be polite?". I've several suggestions, and I've decided to try to explicitly bear in mind your bulleted advice rather than rely on my - usually pretty good - sense of what is polite.

I think you could extend the class of people of who could use this advice to be not just those who aren't interested in politeness, but those who are and aren't good at it but assume that they are. I've certainly met a few nice people who simply aren't aware that they're rude - for example, the young man who accidentally pushed in line at a bar whilst making a sarcastic comment relevant to the previous conversation, and had no idea until we told him how close he'd been to getting punched by a man that he never even looked at. They are unlikely to read this post in its current form, since they will assume they already know how to be polite. How would you feel about restating this advice in a "humorous angry rant" or something similar?

I think I disagree with some of your examples, but in such a way that it doesn't affect the main point of your post. The first example - "wizened" - I had just skipped over when I first saw it, since it wasn't really relevant to the post. I further assumed that the poster wouldn't particularly mind this, and hadn't intended eir post to have a high signal/noise ratio. I get the sense that this website favours a very high signal/noise ratio even at the expense of niceties - for example, the very first line of this comment. This might make some people resistant to adding what they might view as "noise" - things like saying "Thanks" when they might consider "Thanks" to be implicit, given that they're bothering to comment at all.

The second post I think they already had applied something of what you're saying. If I take this

"FWIW, I think posts like this are more valuable the more they include real-world examples; it's kind of odd to read a post which says I had theory A of the world but now I hold theory B, without reading about the actual observations."

and rephrase it as a knee-jerk thought

"Why has this been posted without observations? It's idiotic to put up your beliefs without giving us a good reason to go along with them."

then we can ask if this knee-jerk example is a realistic example of something one might say. I think it is; I think that Poster #2 was genuinely being polite. Perhaps there's some different cultural context in the background? I read "odd" as being quite a gentle word to use to criticise someone.

(I've now thought of some examples for your previous post re threats; I'll post them soon. Thanks for reminding me to do so!)

Comment by astrocj on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5 · 2010-11-25T16:37:54.306Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Proxy server and a clean browser? I recommend TOR.

Comment by astrocj on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5 · 2010-11-25T16:31:34.562Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Mm, good question. Will it be ice or water that falls from the sky? To put it another way, to what extend do thermodynamic changes whilst an object is Transfigured persist after the spell wears off? We know that the 2nd Law can be violated, for example, but we don't know if it is as a matter of course.

Comment by astrocj on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 5 · 2010-11-25T16:05:54.231Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

raises hand

Hey, I'm originally of British origin. I can indeed confirm that the language Harry uses has made me wince a little. This hasn't happened in the last few chapters, since we've been hearing from harry!Mort rather than Harry, and mind-dumps don't respect style, but

"I'm in Mary's Place, Professor, in Diagon Alley. Going to the restroom actually. What's wrong?"

-contains the word "restroom", which no speaker of British English would ever use in that context, and the question "What's wrong?" is a little aggressive. I would suggest something like

"I'm in Mary's Place, Professor, in Diagon Alley. Ah, I'm actually just going to the bathroom - is there something wrong?"

Comment by astrocj on A Player of Games · 2010-09-29T23:36:10.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's usually clear when one says something intended to interact with the mechanics of the game (e.g. saying "That's the badger" on the Two of Clubs).

End P of O.


Comment by astrocj on A Player of Games · 2010-09-25T13:25:04.496Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is precisely what I was going to suggest; I had a very nice game of it just last night.

Indeed (says AstroCJ, going on to discuss strategy, but not rules of the game), I think... hmm. This might actually be worth a top-level post. Since I'm going to dispense with all pretence of obeying "the rules", I'll rot13 the rest of this post. We never played the no talking variant either.

Fb, yrg hf fcbvy gur zlfgrel nf dhvpxyl nf cbffvoyr:

Znb vf n tnzr va juvpu gurer vf na rnfl (vfu) zrpunavfz sbe rnpu crefba gb zbqvsl gur ehyrf bs gur tnzr. V'yy qrfpevor n fnzcyr tnzr dhvpxyl.


Gurer ner n ahzore bs cynlref naq gurl rnpu gnxr n ahzore bs pneqf. Gurl gura cynl gurfr pneqf nppbeqvat gb n onfr frg bs ehyrf; zl snibherq inevnag vf bar jurer gur bayl onfr ehyrf ner "sbyybj ahzore be fhvg", ohg zl tebhc bs sevraqf abeznyyl cersref n fyvtugyl zber pbzcyvpngrq frg. Oernxvat n ehyr vaphef n zvabe cranygl, fhpu nf qenjvat n pneq.

Jura lbh trg evq bs lbhe pneqf, lbh ner tvira bar-fubg cbjre gb zbqrengryl nygre gur tnzr, naq znl nqq, zbqvsl be erzbir n ehyr. Lbh gura erwbva gur tnzr naq ortva rasbepvat vg. Ab-bar vf gbyq jung guvf ehyr vf; rkcynvavat nal bs gur ehyrf vf ntnvafg gur fcvevg bs gur tnzr naq vaphef n zvabe cranygl.


Znb, nf qrfpevorq, qbrf abg fbhaq yvxr vg zhfg or sha. Guvf vf ragveryl gehr. V'yy nggrzcg gb tvir n yvfg bs gur ernfbaf oruvaq cynlvat gur tnzr:

Bar rawblf fbyivat chmmyrf. Bar rawblf frggvat chmmyrf. Bar rawblf tvivat uvagf gb chmmyrf. Bar rawblf frrvat bar'f sevraqf ynl gur Dhrra bs Urnegf naq fdhrny, "va gur znaare bs n qehax cvt", na vpr pernz synibhe bs gurve pubvpr[1].

Fb, gurfr frrz yvxr npprcgnoyr guvatf gb rawbl juvpu ner pregnvayl cerfrag va Znb. Fb, jul nz V jevgvat guvf sbe yrffjebat va fhpu qrgnvy? Jryy, V guvax gung vg sbeprf bar gb:

Haqrefgnaq jura lbhe sevraqf ner abg univat sha (v.r. lbh'ir abg qbar bar bs gur sbyybjvat, naq guvatf unir tbar jebat.) Abg sbez ulcbgurfvf gbb dhvpxyl naq grfg ntnvafg gurz rkunhfgviryl engure guna ybbxvat ng gur rivqrapr. Abg frg chmmyrf gung ner gbb uneq sbe fbzrbar ryfr gb haqrefgnaq (Uz. "Pbzzhavpngr nccebcevngryl"?). Abg nggrzcg gb pbageby gur fvghngvba orlbaq jung bar pna qb (r.t. n ehyr gung vf bs gur sbez "Vs {Gur ahzrevpny inyhr bs gur ynfg guerr pneqf ynvq rnpu funer bar cevzr snpgbe jvgu rnpu bs gur bguref, ohg unir ab cevzr snpgbe pbzzba gb nyy guerr, cebivqrq gurl ner nyy "oynpx"} Gura {Gur fhvgf plpyr nebhaq nycunorgvpnyyl, gnxvat jvgu gurz gur dhnyvgl bs orvat "oynpx" be "erq" - guvf nssrpgf nyy bgure ehyrf onfrq ba "fhvg" be "pbybhe"}") fubhyq ABG or ranpgrq. Lbh unir yvzvgngvbaf! [2] * Lbhe ehyrf znl vagrenpg jvgu bgure crbcyr'f ehyrf va fhecevfvat jnlf[3] - bar bhtug abg guvax gung bar znl cerqvpg gur shgher be eryl ba jung bgure crbcyr'f npgvbaf ner, fb vagragvbanyyl erylvat ba fbzrguvat gung lbh qba'g xabj vf sbbyvfu, naq vagragvbanyyl vagresrevat jvgu fbzrguvat lbh qba'g haqrefgnaq rira zber fb[4].

Va fhzznel, vs lbh jnag n tnzr va juvpu lbh ner pbafgnagyl univat gb gnxr va rivqrapr naq haqrefgnaq jung'f tbvat ba, Znb vf gur tnzr sbe lbh. Vg'f nyfb n terng tnzr sbe haqrefgnaqvat jung pbafgvghgrf orvat n qvpx.

[1] Abj n zrzbel vaqryvoyl nffbpvngrq jvgu gung sevraq. [oynaxrq] [2] Lrf, V unir cynlrq n tnzr bs Znb va juvpu guvf sbez bs ehyr jnf hfrq. [3] Pna or onq naq pbashfvat, be ryrtnag naq qryvpvbhf! [4] R.t. gur tnzr jurer gurer jrer GJB ehyrf gung plpyrq fhvgf, jurer OBGU eryvrq ba gur fhvg bs gur pneq ynfg cynlrq. Qb lbh rinyhngr gurz obgu ng bapr? Bar nsgre gur bgure? Gur bgure nsgre bar? Arvgure? V guvax "Arvgure".

Comment by astrocj on Error detection bias in research · 2010-09-22T15:17:46.651Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Except for those damned lazy biologists, of course.

Comment by astrocj on Error detection bias in research · 2010-09-22T15:16:43.581Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, medium to strong disagree. I'm not far into my scientific career in $_DISCIPLINE, but any paper introducing a new "standard code" (i.e. one that you intend to use more than once) has an extensive section explaining how their code has accurately reproduced analytic results or agreed with previous simulations in a simpler case (simpler than the one currently being analysed). Most codes seem also to be open-source, since it's good for your cred if people are writing papers saying "Using x's y code, we analyse..." which means they need to be clearly written and commented - not a guarantee against pernicious bugs, but certainly a help. This error-checking setup is also convenient for those people generating analytic solutions, since they can find something pretty and say "Oh, people can use this to test their code.".

Of course, this isn't infallible, but sometimes you have to do 10 bad simulations before you can do 1 good one.

Comment by astrocj on Consciousness of simulations & uploads: a reductio · 2010-08-23T17:29:09.308Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So his argument is that "a human is not an appropriate tool to do this deterministic thing". So what? Neither is a log flume - but the fact that log flumes can't be used to simulate consciousness doesn't tell us anything about consciousness.

Comment by astrocj on Consciousness of simulations & uploads: a reductio · 2010-08-22T10:54:26.029Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Disagree. If we allow humans to be deterministic then a "human as we know them" is driven solely by the physical laws of our universe; there is no sense in talking about our emotional motivations until we have decided that we have free will.

I think your argument does assume we have free will.

Comment by astrocj on Consciousness of simulations & uploads: a reductio · 2010-08-22T09:09:43.486Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot agree at all; simSimone is plainly conscious if meatSimone is conscious; there are no magic pattern of electrical impulses in physical space which the universe will "notice" and imbue with consciousness.

Comment by astrocj on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2010-08-13T22:37:41.721Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a student; I value education and intellectual freedom for all sentient entities. I was told I would enjoy the Sequences after asking someone "Do you think that any 'good' society is inherently hierarchical?" over drinks.

I've always identified as a rationalist since I remember being conscious; I became a stated atheist approximately age four when I literally rejected the notion of a loving God along with the idea of Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny.

Comment by astrocj on The many faces of status · 2010-07-23T04:14:03.640Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Are you serious? You missed

g) Make an honest attempt at grasping the subject matter.

I'm not sure if this is what you intended e) to cover, but if I meet a topic I'm completely unfamiliar with, my first instinct isn't to destroy the conversation.