Posts

Meetup : Ann Arbor Area Amalgam of Rationalist-Adjacent Anthropoids: Assemblage at Adam's 2016-06-24T16:39:15.679Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Any LessWrong readers at the University of Michigan? 2014-09-16T13:39:29.213Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
Applying Bayesian Analysis to History (post idea) 2011-10-08T02:25:11.161Z · score: 12 (13 votes)

Comments

Comment by asymmetric on I Want To Live In A Baugruppe · 2017-03-18T18:07:37.916Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Am interested!

Comment by asymmetric on Meetup : Ann Arbor Meetup, 2/19/16 · 2016-02-15T03:05:44.647Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Pizza House will likely be busy because of the hockey game. Maybe Amer's across the street? They have a large variety of deli sandwiches and frozen yogurt.

Comment by asymmetric on Meetup : Southeast Michigan · 2013-07-17T22:48:12.688Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Want to go; can't. Any future meetups planned outside of this one?

Comment by asymmetric on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T14:35:29.975Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems as though most responses to this comment talk about how learning to cook is a good thing because it helps one pursue other, more universally valuable goals. I definitely agree with this!

But honestly, the thing that makes women angry about the statement is not the first part. It's the second. Because there are many good reasons to learn how to cook, but the father is only focusing on the pursuit of marriage, as if that's the foremost goal she should have. The fact that cooking is so important in general exacerbates this -- it means that, regardless of all of those other vastly more important reasons, the only one women should care about is their obligation to get married.

Comment by asymmetric on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T14:11:12.567Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Responses that directly refer to your desire to see the women as a person, as opposed to objectifying her through catcalls etc. or putting her on a pedestal because of her gender.

Therefore, responses that don't work are motivated out of a desire to protect the woman because she is a woman, rather than because she is a person. "That's a rude thing to say to a woman" is therefore worse than a simple "that's rude".

The idea of "white knighting" is distasteful because people consider white knights to be motivated to protect women because they are women. Removing that aspect gets rid of the white knighting.

If anyone still thinks you're motivated by a desire to protect women because they are women, you could retort with, "she's a person. She has feelings like anyone else."

Comment by asymmetric on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T14:03:43.662Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If male readers feel uncomfortable with the lack of characterization and stereotyping of male characters, and subsequently realize that female readers can feel similarly uncomfortable with all media that fails the Bechdel test (a significant amount), then they can conclude that it's disturbing to think of a world where a gender is reduced to those kinds of stereotypes.

Of course, it's possible to miss one of those elements of the chain -- not feeling uncomfortable in the first place, for example.

But then, it's also possible for them to recognize that some people feel uncomfortable while experiencing specific media and feeling enough empathy to relate to them, even if they don't feel uncomfortable themselves.

Comment by asymmetric on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T13:56:48.344Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Minus the catcalling, too, I assume?

Comment by asymmetric on Humans are not automatically strategic · 2012-11-19T00:59:43.478Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To people who go to meetups in other parts of the world: are they all like this? How do they vary in terms of satisfaction and progress in achieving goals?

Comment by asymmetric on Rationality, Transhumanism, and Mental Health · 2012-11-19T00:25:14.863Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Somehow the phrase "existential depression" clicked with me. For context, I'm an otherwise cheery person who breaks down with terrible fear (sometimes involving crying episodes) when I contemplate death. The fear generally lasts for a few hours, but is extremely potent.

Are there instances of existential depression which are more chronic, as opposed to acute, like mine? Is that what the phrase is referring to?

Comment by asymmetric on Launched: Friendship is Optimal · 2012-11-19T00:12:40.833Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't involved in the editing process, so I don't know if you address this in future chapters, but it seems as though most people who are commenting on Equestria Daily are rejecting the concept of uploading because it would be "like dying" (similar to the Star Trek transporter thought experiment). I hope that this fear is addressed comprehensively because it seems like a major deterrence for people who would otherwise be supportive of the idea.

Also, I think that the people who "know how the story ends" because they've read about robot apocalypse analogues before are entirely missing the point, and I hope that gets expressed in the story somewhere as well.

And (as a history and archiving dork), I hope that people don't forget what came before the utopia. To lose that much human history would be devastating for me. Although I'm not sure if it goes against Celestia's programming -- people could know about the time before ponies and still have their values maximized through friendship and ponies.

Comment by asymmetric on What does the world look like, the day before FAI efforts succeed? · 2012-11-18T22:39:52.032Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How about adding "international conflict (or lack thereof)" as another dimension? The space race, after all, occurred (and is discussed) largely in the context of the cold war.

So a fantastic scenario would be that there is no such conflict, and it's developed multinationally and across multinational blocs; a pretty good scenario would be that two otherwise politically-similar countries compete for prestige in being the first to develop FAI (which may positively affect funding and meme-status, but negatively affect security), and a sufficiently good scenario would be that the competition is between different political blocs, who nonetheless can recognize that the development of FAI means making their own political organizations obsolete.

Comment by asymmetric on Nov 16-18: Rationality for Entrepreneurs · 2012-11-15T20:19:21.846Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There should be a branch of CFAR on the east coast.

Comment by asymmetric on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-15T19:40:26.468Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Answered everything, including the extra credit questions, except for the official IQ question and the question concerning income (I'm a student in highschool and I don't have paid work, although I do volunteer).

I also hope that the what the quiz means by "progressive" is also what I mean by "progressive".

Anyhow, excited to see the results!

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T04:15:48.866Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Unrelated: They did that in a movie called Primer, which I recommend to people who like MOR and deciphering probably-correct engineering-speak.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T04:02:36.154Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Considering that at least part of the correct solution was found within 24 hours, I think you're right, Locke. It might affect accessibility, though -- I know I would be sad if I logged on only to find that the discussion had closed already.

Having read through the speculation, I even found most of the chapter quite anticlimactic. Recognizing the correct predictions removed all the tension, since MOR's tension relies so much on plotting.

That said, though, reading through the discussion gave me a harmless and very insightful lesson into how predictions work. I learned what makes a prediction probable versus plausible, in a way that not only allows me to understand it, but to think about how I would apply it to my life (I hadn't really internalized that the percents of all possible outcomes have to add to a hundred, even though in hindsight that's fairly obvious. I also learned about the betting-real-money threshold).

All in all, despite getting in the way of the chapter, it was a nice, closed-environment rationalist lesson. Thank you for prompting the discussion, Eliezer!

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-28T03:52:36.193Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How likely do you all think it is that Harry will defeat Voldemort (as per the prophesy) by the end of his first year?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12 · 2012-03-28T03:21:17.471Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

i'm not sure if this is the prediction you are referring to, but he did make and win a bet on the last page.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:55:56.991Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

We need a new discussion thread. Anyone want the dubious honor of making it?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:38:23.451Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We think it's likely that Voldemort can't cast it, but Lucius and the Wizengamot do not, and the only information they have regarding it being a sign of altruism is Harry's word on the subject.

It's even more of a stretch to say that Lucius would be convinced that Harry is not Voldemort, because the Patronus alone isn't enough evidence.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:21:02.288Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why would Lucius be convinced by that?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:06:29.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And yet, he did an entire arc about the role of a hero and supporting characters. I don't think we can be sure that his decisions won't be influenced by story concerns.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T02:57:12.143Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That means losing Dumbledore as an ally, and convincing the entire world that he really has gone Dark. He might even lose Hermione. Would that really be worth it?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T02:52:09.926Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that we can actually influence the events of the story based upon how good our ideas are. If I may ask, Eliezer, are we trying to pick your brain for a True ending (something you have written already that we're trying to guess) or are we coming up with a Good one?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-18T22:18:48.719Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This thought just occurred to me: would Harry think to check the phoenix's price chamber for a picture of Narcissa Malfoy? If it is not there, how strong is it as evidence against Dumbledore immolating her?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-18T04:18:11.563Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would put Lucius up there as a suspect or accomplice: he loves his son, and was noticeably offended when he saw Hermione beat him in magic. Purebloods also have a history of thinking of muggleborns as not-people (see Harry and Draco talking about Luna on the train), so he wouldn't have any moral compunctions getting in the way of hurting Hermione. He was also at the school at the time, so he has almost as much opportunity as the rest of them.

And wouldn't that just be a perfect rationality lesson? Eliezer can talk about how Lucius is blinded by perceived threats to his beliefs, thereby putting his son and an innocent girl in danger.

Of course, I really hope that it's Quirrel instead, if only because it would be impossible to convict Lucius.

Comment by asymmetric on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism · 2012-01-31T04:45:34.324Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is exactly how history is studied.

Historiography is how historical opinions have changed over time. It first begins with the Orthodox viewpoint, which is the first, generally accepted viewpoint of the events that arises. It is generally very biased because it comes about directly after the event has occurred, when feelings still run strong.

This Orthodox viewpoint is contrasted by several Revisionist viewpoints, which tend to make wildly different conclusions based upon new evidence in order to sell books (historical scandals are quite good for that). Sometimes a Revisionist viewpoint can become the new Orthodoxy if it has become entrenched in the public consciousness long enough.

Then there's Post-Revisionism, which, after the rancor has died down, aims to dispassionately weigh the evidence brought to the table by both the Revisionist viewpoints and the Orthodoxy (different Post-Revisionist conclusions arise from differing opinions on how reliable certain pieces of evidence are). While the Orthodoxy and especially the Revisionists tend to make strong statements about the controversy, Post-Revisionists rarely make statements that concede nothing to other viewpoints, and thus their arguments are "weaker", though Post-Revisionist opinions are seen generally as the least biased of the three.

The problem with the Post-Revisionist viewpoints is that, even though they don't arise from emotional attachment (or rejection of the same), they tend to have access to less evidence in total -- I mean, just look at all those Egyptologists. Or, really, anyone who wants to know about an ancient civilization.

Comment by asymmetric on The Apologist and the Revolutionary · 2011-11-29T01:56:52.551Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oliver Sacks wrote a book called "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", which is all about right-brained anosognosia. It was first published in 1970, so it may be outdated, but it is relevant.

Comment by asymmetric on Drawing Less Wrong: An Introduction · 2011-11-13T23:26:33.874Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes it's just the techniques. My drawing of faces became significantly better once I read a "how to draw" book that told me that the eyes are in the middle of the head (many beginner artists draw them towards the top). Likewise, knowledge of basic anatomy is helpful in drawing figures.

That said, I'm very interested in this series. Good luck!

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-11-13T21:30:18.062Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Until he finds a person who he would describe as good but had legitimate reasons to torture someone? The situation would be contrived, but it's still possible.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-11-13T21:27:12.283Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry has said that Hermione is his moral center. Is she? Should she be?

I have mixed feelings. She's hardly a paragon, and if she's going to continue to develop into her own character instead of a satellite of Harry, Eliezer's going to outline her faults in more detail. We've seen this with Harry. Every time he undergoes a trial, readers learn more and more how fallible he is, and why.

Thoughts?

Comment by asymmetric on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey · 2011-11-10T17:40:59.998Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

For those of us still in high school, should we put "general" or the major we expect to take in college?

Comment by asymmetric on Christmas · 2011-10-30T18:41:34.385Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This whole idea is actually a major source of conflict in my family. I consider myself an atheist, but I enjoy Christmas and see it as an excuse to get together with my family, exchange gifts, listen to the music, eat food, light a fire in the fireplace, and just generally experience quality time with my few blood relations. I'm actually quite attached to the holiday. It has been the source of many fond memories.
However, my parents aren't letting me participate this year, because of my beliefs. They think Christmas is about Jesus and by celebrating I'll be cheapening the holiday for them. They don't understand why, if I'm an atheist, I should even want to celebrate Christmas, and that I'm not being consistent with what I think. Therefore, I won't be able to give or receive presents, go to church or do Christmas related things with them. I personally agree with Alicorn's and taw's comments: I see no reason to feel hostile towards the holiday. Does anyone have any advice for what I should do?

Comment by asymmetric on Applying Bayesian Analysis to History (post idea) · 2011-10-08T20:08:31.022Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the correction -- fixed.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T20:05:34.480Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, but how would he know to do so? Harry didn't know about that rule in canon. He wouldn't have the impulse to not use the stone on himself unless he knew that wanting to do so would prevent him from getting it.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T19:52:46.869Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

His testimony and memories would still be considered primary sources by historians. I don't think there is such a thing as a zeroth source. And every source has its limitations -- frankly, a shelf full of memories all relating to a specific event (which, canon, is possible) would be better than the memories of only one person, depending upon the subject in question.

But still. The things that man must have seen ...

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T19:31:37.286Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer has already mentioned things like Atlantis. History would probably play a role in finding out how magic works in general. Harry, from a political perspective, would do well to learn how the situation arose, and it may be an opportunity for Eliezer to set up an Aesop.

And it wouldn't necessarily change history. The muggle world as it is in canon is very similar to how it is in the real world, down to things like Playstations, yet Rowling invents a wizarding history that manages to not change much. All of the science Eliezer has mentioned is historically accurate to the year. It's not a stretch to say that the only part about HPMOR that is an alternate universe from canon is wizarding history, because even the existence of a wizarding world in canon didn't manage to change much.

Of course, this would be impossible to discuss in-universe without many-worlds magic. Harry can't find out why the existence of a wizarding world has not changed history if, from his perspective, there was no other "reality" for him to compare it to that he can actually draw evidence from.

However, wizards having their own history means they have their own documentation of that history. This means there are far more primary sources that may have been magically preserved, and muggles could, in the future, use these to learn more about their own history. They might even be able to settle historical debates that have gone on for decades, like what the actual pathogen that devastated Europe during the Black Plague was (since there is significant controversy over whether it was in fact the bubonic plague). Not to mention the existence of things like Pensieves. Magical historians are comparatively spoiled rotten when it comes to primary sources of historical events.

So the implications would be that, instead of changing muggle history, muggles would be more knowledgeable about what actually happened.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T18:37:06.541Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How would successfully transfiguring nanotech be bad, exactly?

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T18:35:12.077Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That brings up another point. In the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore enchants Erised so that only those who want to find the stone, but not use it, would be able to have it. If Dumbledore did in fact hide the stone in Hogwarts, I can't see either Harry or Quirrell not wanting to use the stone.

Is it even possible for Dumbledore to hide anything in such a way that Harry can get at it, but Quirrell cannot? Harry's major ideal difference -- his war against death -- isn't even understood by Dumbledore. Not to mention that such a hiding place would have been constructed before Dumbledore even met Harry.

Comment by asymmetric on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-25T17:36:15.473Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I was just wondering: does anyone else hope Eliezer fleshes out Magical History? I find it a pity that we don't get to see how Magical Britain became what it is now. I mean, so far he's reflected (very broadly) on the current political situation through Draco, but he's continued to keep us in the dark about Voldemort's rise to power, the situation that led to that, the circumstances surrounding the beginning of magic (as a technology, since Harry has confirmed that the rules for spells aren't natural laws), the founding of Hogwarts ...

So, which do you all think are most important for Eliezer to touch upon? Can you think of any others you want to see?

Also: I know that wizards generally ignore muggles, but they are another entire civilization, with documentation of their history, living in secret right next to the Muggle society. Wizarding history could provide a lot of insight into Muggle history because of how the two are so closely related.