Posts

Meetup : Hasselt Meetup: Brussels moves to Hasselt this month! 2014-09-24T08:34:04.056Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Science/rationality subjects to teach 2014-06-13T12:31:30.143Z · score: 9 (10 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2013-07-26T11:08:53.942Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup with HEALES 2013-06-14T21:35:42.293Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup with Cat 2013-05-30T20:25:03.167Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2013-04-29T12:22:19.543Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2013-04-12T19:05:27.221Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2013-02-22T21:50:00.228Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2013-01-12T13:39:50.879Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-12-15T17:04:24.308Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-11-24T18:31:22.424Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-11-18T22:45:15.755Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-10-07T20:14:16.359Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-09-05T12:01:21.859Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-07-22T21:50:24.055Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-06-26T16:02:29.102Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-06-05T10:43:21.278Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-04-28T21:59:41.777Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-03-23T10:50:34.865Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : Brussels meetup 2012-03-02T13:55:27.639Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : First Brussels meetup 2011-12-08T12:04:16.525Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
Cryonics: convincing my parents 2011-04-15T19:02:02.230Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Branding Biodiversity 2011-01-09T15:20:42.796Z · score: 5 (5 votes)
The term 'altruism' in group selection 2010-12-10T20:50:16.563Z · score: 5 (12 votes)

Comments

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T00:29:17.310Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

When Salazar Slytherin invoked the Parselmouth curse upon himself and all his children, his true plan was to ensure his descendants could trust one another's words, whatever plots they wove against outsiders.

  • You have two parents, four grandparents, eight grandparents, etc.
  • A generation is 20-25 years (depending on how young people have children)
  • Salazar Slytherin lived one thousand years ago.

In short, today either every wizard in Britain is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin or none is. It seems awfully convenient for Quirell to suddenly have a foolproof way to make Harry believe certain claims. It seems to me that the whole "snakes can't lie" thing would have been revealed when Quirell was trying to convince Harry he didn't want to kill Bahry in Azkaban. In fact, that would have shortened that particular discussion considerably, in a situation where time was essential.
It has already been established that ventriloquism and silencing charms exist and that Quirell can do silent and wandless spell casting, so the "two plus two" test could easily have been faked.

Comment by axel on Science/rationality subjects to teach · 2014-06-18T07:25:35.668Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Broad science background specialising in biology. I've studied to be a highschool teacher for two years so a background in didactics as well. And most of the sequences and pieces of literature (Kanheman's 'Thinking Fast and Slow' comes to mind)

Comment by axel on European Community Weekend in Berlin · 2014-01-24T13:15:00.334Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Mail sent I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.

Comment by axel on AALWA: Ask any LessWronger anything · 2014-01-13T12:53:50.898Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How hard it is depends on what kind of meetup you’re running, in may case it’s very easy. The Brussels group is more of a social gathering. We start of with a topic for the day but go on wild tangents/play board games and generally just have fun. The only things I ever needed to do as an organizer were: pick a topic for the meetup, post the meetup on the site, arrive on time, make new members feel welcome and manage the mailing list. When I started out I honestly didn't have any expectations on how hard it would be, I had no idea how they would turn and had decided to just run with whatever happened.

Once the meetup had a core group of regulars some of them offered to help and I could delegate the stuff I’m not very good at (like the meetup posts on LW and coming up with topics) These days the only things I feel I have to do are put in an extra effort to involve new members and keep the atmosphere friendly (which, in two years of meetups, has only once been a problem, LW’ers are generally great people) and those are things I would do anyway.

I know there are other meetups were the organizer has more responsibility. For example, if you have a system where every month another person gives a short presentation you have to manage that as well. For larger groups (Brussels rarely has more then 4 people) an official moderator type person might be handy to make sure quieter people get a chance to speak up. There is no one “right” way to run a meetup, see why people enjoy coming to yours and try and make that part as awesome as you can. Just keep an open mind about trying new things every now and then.

In short, how hard it is to run a meetup depends the type (social, exercise focused, presentations, etc.) In my case, it’s very easy especially since I have other helping me out. If you’re thinking on starting one yourself don’t worry to much about what type you want it to be, just see how the first few meeting go and it'll point itself out from there.

Comment by axel on AALWA: Ask any LessWronger anything · 2014-01-12T18:29:03.160Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a 24-year-old guy looking for a job and have a great interest in science and game design. I read a lot of LW but I rarely feel comfortable posting. I wished there was a LW meetup group in Belgium and when nobody seemed to want to take the initiative I set one up my self. I didn't expect anyone to show, but now, two years later it's still going. Ask me anything you want, but I reserve the right not to answer.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-25T19:12:03.356Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Or it's the ritual to create dementors. Quirrel says that "the spell to dismiss Death is lost" and nobody knows how to destroy a dementor.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-02T12:00:33.176Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It ignored other humans, Filch was standing close enough to be spattered with his cat's remains, there is no way he could have outrun the troll. He was alone and it's stated that trolls go for isolated targets, the only reason the troll would have let him go is if it was commanded to.

I do retract my later claim that Lucius wouldn't care about other Hogwarts students, it should have occurred to me he wouldn't risk his allies' children.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:57:14.288Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Harry is the only one to witness the 'dying-soul-magic' and he has no idea what it is supposed to look like. Adding any sort of magical disturbance to the dying magicked!rat would have the same result from Harry's point of view.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:51:18.263Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He saw Voldemort cast it on his mother after he recovered the memory via dementor exposure. EDIT: whoops someone already pointed that out

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:46:44.286Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It could just have been an excuse to list the professors present and note Dumbledore's absence.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:42:09.476Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

What does self-inflicted Imperius do

The cure to procrastination?

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:37:56.943Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

merely facing up to Minerva McGonagall is enough to make him have to excuse himself and go retch

This line has actually been changed to:

he grabbed the magical self-cleaning towel and, with shaky hands, wiped moisture off his forehead. Harry's entire body was sheathed in sweat which had soaked clear through his Muggle clothing, though at least it didn't show through the robes.

(at the end of ch6)

It doesn't take away from your point, just remarking that there are some details in the early chapters that have been changed.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:27:19.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'll agree that his rush to the combat is almost certainly an attempt to keep Harry alive.

When going out of your way to turn a troll into an assassination tool, wouldn't you also instal some explicit instructions NOT to harm Harry Potter or anyone else vital to your future plans? At the very least the troll was ordered (imperio-ed?) to ignore any other victims and go straight for Hermione since it let Filch go. The fact that after killing his target the troll attacked anyone nearby makes me suspect Lucius, who has no reason to keep any Hogwarts student alive since his son is no longer there.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T12:19:14.817Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Quirel has often stated his dislike of Harry holding back because of silly things like "morality" and "what others might think of him". As Draco said in an early chapter: when confronted with a complicated plot look at what ends up happening and assume it was the intended outcome. Harry went fully into his dark side, switched off his censors and killed the troll in about 5 seconds. Even if Harry stayed behind in the Great Hall and learned about Hermione's death later it would still make him go to his dark side like never before. This benefits whatever Quirel's plan is.

Secondly, Eliezer likes to foreshadow things in hpmor. How many times have we heard characters say something like: "always suspect the defense professor"? This alone hints at Quirel being the mastermind behind Big Evil Events.

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T11:48:56.062Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I also lacked any strong emotional reaction to Hermione's death and I have never read a superhero comic in my life. I fact, I've never had such a reaction to a fictional character's death in books, movies or games. While I do get immense enjoyment out of absorbing works of fiction, I never get 'caught up' in them to such a degree that the emotional part of my brain starts treating characters as real people.

Comment by axel on Meetup : Melbourne LW Outing: Indoor Rock Climbing, Sunday June 30th · 2013-06-23T11:32:01.686Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That would be June as July 30th is a Tuesday

Comment by axel on Want to have a CFAR instructor visit your LW group? · 2013-04-22T18:55:33.666Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Could you visit Brussels? We'd love to meet you.

Comment by axel on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-26T11:06:49.764Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"You are not a real human but one of multiple simulations I'm running, your next response determines if I destroy humanity or not."

Comment by axel on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-25T09:12:15.146Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks :)

Comment by axel on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-24T16:48:24.344Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Good point, if there was an AI FREED command AND the AI could rewire the console so that typing AI DESTROYED activates it, it could probably just free itself in the first place.

Comment by axel on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-24T13:59:32.477Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

"I have hacked this console, 'AI DESTROYED 'now means 'AI FREED', I'll tell you the new codes after we've had a chat."

That should buy the AI some time until we can determine if the console is really hacked. I've come up with another one but it might be basilisk-y. Can I pm someone just to make sure it isn't before I post?

Comment by axel on Meet up interest: Vienna, March · 2013-01-20T16:42:01.657Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded.

When I asked if anyone would be interested in meeting in Brussels nobody answered, but when I just posted a meetup, 3 people showed up. Two of those didn't have a LW account yet, they just liked reading the sequences.

Comment by axel on What is the best paper explaining the superiority of Bayesianism over frequentism? · 2013-01-02T14:09:55.937Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Would this be I.J. Good's letter on the 46656 Varieties of Bayesians? (I'm practicing my google-fu)

Comment by axel on Education via Cell Phone in Africa · 2012-12-23T09:16:56.988Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Success!

I ended up sending four mails: one to my uncle, one to Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in Africa, another to Sustainable Development in Africa and finally to Human Development in Africa

Comment by axel on Education via Cell Phone in Africa · 2012-12-23T09:13:29.781Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Probably, but asking for upvotes is classified as "not acceptable LW behaviour" in my brain. Should I take from your comment that it is acceptable in a case like this?

Comment by axel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-22T20:42:54.790Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

When Harry wants to withdraw money for Christmas presents Dumbledore outright says he doesn't want Harry to have "access to large amounts of gold with which to upset the game board" I'd say he's as likely to memory charm Harry's gold/silver scheme as Quirrell.

In fact (on a more tangential note) who says that isn't exactly what Flamel is doing? Exchanging silver for gold in such quantities as to make himself rich but not terribly upset Muggle economics. Maybe Flamel is the occlumency teacher, memory charming anyone who comes up with the same plan.

Comment by axel on Education via Cell Phone in Africa · 2012-12-22T20:31:00.964Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Since I'm having some serious productivity issues lately I'm using this comment to make an advanced commitment.

Before December 25th I'll send two mails. One to my family in Niger asking if they are interested in setting up/endorsing such a program and a second to the World Bank inquiring if they would be interested in contacting some local people to set up an education by cell phone thingy. If I haven't replied to this message by 25/12 feel free to downvote it into oblivion.

Comment by axel on Learn Power Searching with Google · 2012-07-02T19:55:04.451Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you, I've registered. I've never done an online class like this before so it'll be an interesting experience.

Comment by axel on New "Best" comment sorting system · 2012-07-02T12:03:32.246Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for taking the time to implement this, I've set it as my "sort by" criteria.

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-04-30T16:12:48.857Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I created an account as well so I can help keep it up to date.

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-04-30T16:03:43.627Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are 9 people who have attended so far and each meetup has had new members, if this pastern continues we should have enough players. Still, a backup plan is a good idea so I'll bring Zendo as well, just to be safe.

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-03-26T12:39:05.894Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I called the museum and they said the parking in front of the museum is free, but not that big. There are two public parking places (here you DO have to pay) nearby:

Jourdanplaats / Place Jourdan

Parking Forte Dei Marmi, Avenue du Maelbeek, Etterbeek

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-03-26T10:52:57.275Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

On Sunday it worked fine again, still no idea what caused it.

Comment by axel on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-03-24T15:01:50.691Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

So... how would you design an exercise to teach Checking Consequentialism?

I would check to see if such a thing already exists or if there are people who have experience designing such things. I know of a Belgian non-profit 'Center for Informative Games' that not only rents games designed to teach certain skills but will also help you create your own.

From their site: On request C.I.S. develops games for others. The applicant provides the content of the game, while C.I.S. develops the conceptual and game technical part to perfection. The applicant has the opportunity to attend some game tests and to redirect when necessary.

They also offer coaching if you want to work on your own: Do you want to create a game concept on your own, but you don't know where to start? No worries C.I.S. can give you a hand. During a number of concrete working sessions C.I.S. facilitates your development. In between sessions the applicant continues the work to, finally, end up with a solid game.

I have enjoyed their games in the past and can attest to their quality. The obvious problem is that it's a purely Belgian organization and the 'search' function only works with Dutch words. However if you want to check them out I'd be happy to act as a go-between. Since a couple of months there is even a Brussels LW meetup, I'm certain I could get a couple of members to help in the production process (again, if this seems interesting)

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-03-23T11:36:16.379Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Note: The meetup will be held at 12:00 local time, NOT 11:00 like the post says.

For some reason the it insists on saying 11:00am no matter how many times I change it back. This might have something to do with the time automatically correcting for the change to summer time this weekend. I'll check back when summer time is in effect and make the (possibly) necessary adjustments.

EDIT: summer time was not causing the problem, weird.

Comment by axel on Meetup : Brussels meetup · 2012-03-02T16:54:39.001Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The previous meet-up was just getting to know everyone (4 persons attended, including me) We discussed our interests, what we were doing, how we found Less Wrong and even exchanged some interesting book titles. The entire meeting was done in English and lasted about 3 hours (we had lunch in the cafeteria)

During this meeting we will try and formulate some goals. What do we want to achieve with these meet-ups and how can we reach these goals? (I suspect step one will be teaching each other the rationality techniques we already know, but that's up to the group) I don't have a particular program in mind, we'll probably end up using the cafeteria again (you can sit there without paying for a museum ticket) unless someone knows another good place to talk nearby. Germany is quite a distance so it's really up to you.

Comment by axel on Weekly LW Meetups: Melbourne, Austin, Atlanta, Seattle, Philadelphia, Fort Collins · 2012-01-06T19:28:33.852Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And now it has been updated, thanks :)

Comment by axel on Weekly LW Meetups: Melbourne, Austin, Atlanta, Seattle, Philadelphia, Fort Collins · 2012-01-06T17:44:50.435Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would like to point out that the Brussels meet-up has been moved back a week, to Saturday February 11. This has been changed in the meet-up topic but here it still shows the 18th.

Comment by axel on Meetup : First Brussels meetup · 2012-01-04T20:29:15.499Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I moved the meet-up back a week to accommodate someone who could not make it on the 18th.

Comment by axel on Teaching a short class on Bayes' Theorem? · 2011-12-08T12:32:18.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm studying to be a teacher so I'll try and give you some of the theory we get.

First things first: keep in mind who your audience is, this determines what type of lesson is most effective. What age group are they in? What is their foreknowledge of Bayes' Theorem? Do they have any special interests you could use in your class? What subjects are they studying at your college?

If you only get to teach one class on the subject I suggest going easy on the amount of content. You will never be able to fit all of the applications of Bayes Theorem in one hour so pick one or two and make it look awesome. Getting students hooked is the hard part but once you do they'll start learning on their own.

Most people don't like things that are to abstract and long formula's tend to scare them off. Be very specific and use a lot of real world examples. Shokwave made an excellent suggestion here: an overarching theme to serve as a guiding principle. Betting is a good idea but try and give it a very specific setting: horse races, betting on the elections, card games, betting on a sports event (if your college has a sports team you can use them) Let them actually do stuff, don't just give an hour long lecture.

Last but not least: be enthusiastic about the subject! If they see you having fun with it, chances are they'll have a good time as well.

If you can give me some more background information on the students and what content you wish to cover I could throw some ideas your way.

Comment by axel on Thinking without words? · 2011-07-10T17:58:12.919Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe it would be interesting to ask deaf people how they think. Sign language, written words, purely visual, ...?

Comment by axel on So, I guess the site redesign is live? · 2011-06-22T13:57:13.995Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is a test

this is still a test

  • testing
Comment by axel on How exactly do you deal with irrational reactions to insects and spiders? · 2011-06-16T21:11:22.844Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This has helped me stamp out the last vestiges of my arachnophobia. It's a window with a realistically moving spider that follows your cursors. The reason it helped me is because I knew I could close the window with a single click at any time and the fact that I had complete control over its movement. This amount of control gave me enough self confidence to deal with real life spiders.

Comment by axel on Should a rationalist be concerned about habitat loss/biodiversity loss? · 2011-06-04T00:08:34.382Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There was a comment by KrisC that lists various useful aspects of biodiversity: http://lesswrong.com/lw/2l6/taking_ideas_seriously/2fna

Comment by axel on Traveling to Europe · 2011-05-19T20:18:33.541Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

July 14th is the national holiday in France and July 21st is the national holiday in Belgium, expect shops to be closed and public transport might stick to the "sun- and holiday" schedule.

This site has a checklist of things you might need before you leave:

http://goeurope.about.com/library/bl_b4_u_go_short.htm

A lot of European countries (France, for example) have toll roads: before you hit a large motorway you get a ticket and when you leave you have to pay depending on how far you travelled. Other countries (Italy, I believe) require you to buy some kind of sticker, the more expensive the sticker; the longer you can drive around (ranging from weeks to months) Not only can this take a bite out of your money, expect traffic jams when everybody has to pay up, especially during the summer

Comment by axel on 96 Bad Links in the Sequences [fixed] · 2011-04-28T14:50:11.761Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you, Louie, great work!

Comment by axel on Cryonics: convincing my parents · 2011-04-15T19:43:06.244Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

She does mean a "close" war and she's afraid we won't be able to escape or get separated. Even if we do make it to another country we'd have to live in a refugee camp under horrible conditions.

Comment by axel on The Friendly AI Game · 2011-03-16T12:12:42.589Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

After reading the current comments I’ve come up with this:

1) Restrict the AI’s sphere of influence to a specific geographical area (Define it in several different ways! You don’t want to confine the AI in “France” just to have it annex the rest of the world. Or by gps location and have it hack satellites so they show different coordinates.)

2) Tell it to not make another AI (this seems a bit vague but I don’t know how to make it more specific) (maybe: all computing must come from one physical core location. This could prevent an AI from tricking someone into isolating a back up, effectively making a copy)

3) Set an upper bound for the amount physical space all AI combined in that specific area can use.

4) As a safeguard, if it does find a way around 2, let it incorporate the above rules, unaltered, in any new AI it makes.

Comment by axel on Being a teacher · 2011-03-14T21:41:33.297Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm studying to be a (biology) teacher and learning to use the didactic method is big part of our training. In fact this entire partim (December until now) has dealt with giving clear instructions, asking the right questions, etc. We'd give classes to each other and then let the other students point out anything that isn't crystal clear. Whenever I study something I try to write it down as if I was explaining it to a six year old child. If I can't then there is still something I don't quite understand.

Comment by axel on [Link] Cool or creepy? · 2011-01-31T18:23:51.052Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Because they are dead and are meant to stay that way, while heads frozen in cryonics are meant to be revived. Severed heads also have faces so they are more human-like than vat-brains so they can evoke a greater emotional reaction.