Needing Better PR 2011-08-18T09:43:19.556Z
How to Dissolve the Problem of Free Will and Determinism (Video) 2011-05-23T15:34:33.696Z
Handedness Bias 2011-03-14T14:49:11.689Z


Comment by beriukay on Some phrases in The Map that... Confuse me- help please, to make my review of it better! · 2021-08-16T18:03:15.808Z · LW · GW

Since I have not read the first one, I could only speculate that the people who end up helping realize that nobody else is going to do anything to help, which breaks them out of the effect and they end up helping more.

yEd graphs:

TAPs (Trigger Action Plans):

Comment by beriukay on Aphantasia · 2021-05-28T20:08:27.227Z · LW · GW

Everything everybody else has said resonates with me as well, but there's one thing nobody has really hit on yet, so I'll talk about that.

While I have no visual imagination, I have a fairly rich auditory one. While thinking up an example, the McDonalds jingle that goes " ba da bop ba baaaa, I'm loving it" played in my head. I can recall it at will, and pitch shift it as I want. I make no claim of having perfect pitch, but I do have decent relative pitch. 

My internal voice has internally repeated nearly every sentence I have ever read or written, unless I deliberately shut it off. I can recall voices and sounds, and I think it helps me identify accents and languages. This doesn't make me a perfect mimic, but I have yet to mistake an Aussie for a Kiwi , which apparently happens.

Movies definitely affect my reading of books, but I usually don't mind these changes. I'm never going to read Samwise in a voice that isn't Sean Astin's, and that's fine by me. My reading speed is average. And in a good book, I will often stop and reread particularly pleasing prose, which is generally (but not necessarily) alliterative. The pleasing effect can either be in hearing the sounds play out, in my head, or in the way it would feel to say the sounds. So while visual readers may enjoy a book for the color of the roses, I am often doing similarly, by admiring the susurrations of those same roses. This may be related to ASMR in some way.

Comment by beriukay on My Journey to the Dark Side · 2021-05-06T22:29:51.735Z · LW · GW

From hivewired:

Pasek’s Doom is the name for induced internal conflict between hemispheres, named for Maia Pasek, whose death Ziz blames on suicide caused by hemisphere conflict. Supposedly after inducing a hemisphere split and finding out they were good male left brain and neutral female right brain, the right brain despairingly committed suicide and killed them both after being woken up enough to act in the world. 

And I just realized I quoted OP's source. I seriously got lost reading all of this. But It sounds like taking own headspace drama too seriously is about right.

Comment by beriukay on Covid 4/29: Vaccination Slowdown · 2021-05-03T17:34:27.084Z · LW · GW

Very good point! This was also a major factor in Alaska's vaccination numbers. 

Some villages are up at the 98% vaccinated range:

Comment by beriukay on Why has nuclear power been a flop? · 2021-04-16T22:31:21.498Z · LW · GW

And so, it came as a surprise to me to learn recently that such an alternative has been available to us since World War II, but not pursued because it lacked weapons applications.

Victor Stenger, 2012


It feels perverse, to me, that thorium has been an available option since WW2, and was ignored because it was NOT good for making weapons; and now it is cited that embracing thorium increases the risk of nuclear proliferation.

Comment by beriukay on Vim · 2021-04-07T16:37:58.547Z · LW · GW

Hey, this was a great write-up! Quite comprehensive, and definitely showcases more of the functionality than I normally use. 

Another useful trick is that you can increment and decrement numbers. In normal mode, making sure your cursor is on the same line and before or on the chosen number, press ctrl a to increase by one, or ctrl x decrease by one. You can combine this with a prefix (just like above with jumping lines), so 56 ctrl a will increase the next number on that line by 56. This is most useful with integers, not so great with decimals.

Edit: formatting.

Comment by beriukay on How much can surgical masks help with wildfire smoke? · 2020-08-23T13:23:23.491Z · LW · GW

Just to put some numbers on this, we can assume that burning wood has plenty of particles in the 0.2-0.3 micron range, which is commonly regarded as "the most penetrating particle size".

N95 masks meet the standard that they filter out 95% of these particles.

In the following study, the better of the surgical masks that was studied allowed 25% of the 0.3 micron particles through, which matches the 1/5th effectiveness you mentioned.

On p16 of this EPA handout, they absolutely do mention the hand-holding logic of having a false sense of security. But they also address the possibility that the mask can make breathing more difficult, contribute to heat stress, and that these masks:

do not filter out harmful irritant gases, such as acrolein or formaldehyde, or other toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide

They also specifically state:

Masks can also be used in conjunction with other methods of exposure reduction, including staying indoors, reducing activity, and using HEPA air cleaners to reduce overall smoke exposure.

So I think the serious answers to your final questions are: it would help by 25%, I sure as hell would, and maybe?

Comment by beriukay on In Defense of Politics · 2020-04-13T19:42:26.600Z · LW · GW

Just about a year ago, Assange was arrested, and is no longer at the embassy.

Comment by beriukay on Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction) · 2018-11-22T06:04:42.329Z · LW · GW

In case you care about editing/publishing, a couple spelling corrections:

"If the universe was, **at** this person claimed, made by rationality", probably should be "as".

"Thomas Acquinas" should be "Aquinas".

Now for an actual comment: how unshakeable are we talking here? Are you saying that you don't believe there is any amount of evidence that can sway you? Or just that you are extremely confident in the truth claims of your religious belief, and wish to test that confidence with a vigorous battery of discussion?

Comment by beriukay on Act of Charity · 2018-11-17T19:49:41.973Z · LW · GW

Just a few possibilities (These are U.S. examples, because that's what I know):

  • Throwing away mail from a previous tenant - Fines up to $250,000 and 5 years in prison. (
  • Jaywalking - Municipal rules vary, but not hard to enforce if a cop sees you doing it.
  • Did you ever possess a marker while under the age of 18? Hopefully you were not in Oklahoma (
  • Driving too fast or slow - Rules seem to vary, as does enforcement, but both of these can get you pulled over.
  • Illegal sex practices - Unless you are married and doing it missionary-style with intent to make babies, it is possible you are violating a sodomy law, or perhaps an obscenity statute. These are obviously difficult to enforce if you care about privacy.
  • Until fairly recently, all public performances of the Happy Birthday song violated copyright.
  • File sharing has gotten many people in trouble, over the years.
  • Taking a Rx medication that was not specifically provided for you.
  • Gambling of any kind has been banned, though there have been exceptions over the years.
  • Public urination.
  • Logging into a wifi network without explicit permission - Federal ( and State laws ( apply to this one.
  • That Federal law, by the way, is vague enough to get you in trouble for making a facebook page placeholder for you boss (though there's more to it than just that, this is the law he ended up pleading guilty for violating.

Even if you have never personally violated any of those, "not doing anything wrong" is no defense against a motivated law enforcement official. The sheer volume of statutes, laws, and precedents basically puts all citizens in the position that they are probably violating SOME law all the time. There's a not-very-good book with the title Three Felonies A Day that tried to argue the title as the thesis, but really ended up as a case study for examples like that Shkreli guy. The only real defense seems to be don't stick out.

Comment by beriukay on The Art of the Overbet · 2018-10-19T16:47:31.917Z · LW · GW

Fact check: it appears it was Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, who gambled $5000, won $27,000, and paid the fuel bill. Wiki pointed to this Huffpo article:

Comment by beriukay on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-03T10:44:51.657Z · LW · GW

One of my best friends is a very high suicide risk. Has anybody dealt with this kind of situation; specifically trying to convince the friend to try psychiatry? I'll be happy to talk details, but I'm not sure the Open Thread is the best medium.

Comment by beriukay on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-26T13:02:32.911Z · LW · GW


Comment by beriukay on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-26T13:00:29.550Z · LW · GW

With coding, at least, I find that I can stay focused if I put console outputs in the program. Debug info, or progress updates.

For example, I had some encoded text to decipher in my crypto class, and I knew the method of encoding used, so all I had to do was check every character's input with the ciphertext to see the answer... so I made it print every character, and then delete the character if it was wrong (or move on to the next if right), so it looked a bit like Hollywood-style decoding. Definitely kept me interested.

Comment by beriukay on Be a little bit more trusting than most people think sensible · 2013-05-26T10:47:56.007Z · LW · GW

I had a similar experience in an LA pub while waiting for my flight out. I asked a couple that was sitting nearby to watch my stuff, and they were kind enough to do so. Less risky than what you did, but still a calculated risk.

Comment by beriukay on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-19T10:25:17.083Z · LW · GW

I'm curious as to how you went about identifying such a nootropic.

Comment by beriukay on Open thread, February 15-28, 2013 · 2013-04-03T10:24:10.275Z · LW · GW

I got in touch with Mr. Rhinehart about my list. Here's his analysis of what I currently have:

Hey Paul,

Looks quite thorough. Note at small scale it is usually more efficient to find a multivitamin that contains many of the >micronutrients than mixing them separately. Also you will exhaust your carb source rather quickly so it may pay to buy >maltodextrin at a slightly higher scale. Otherwise looks pretty good.

I should be getting some money from the Good Judgment project soon. I'll buy the ingredients then.

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-04-03T10:15:10.277Z · LW · GW

I signed up, too, but he's been a bit slow in following through.

Comment by beriukay on Open thread, February 15-28, 2013 · 2013-03-30T11:17:46.287Z · LW · GW

Oops, sorry!

Comment by beriukay on Open thread, February 15-28, 2013 · 2013-02-24T19:08:38.412Z · LW · GW

Any bored nutritionists out there? I've put together a list of nutrients, with their USDA recommended quantities/amounts, and scoured amazon for the best deals, in trying to create my own version of Soylent. My search was complicated by the following goals:

  • I want my Soylent to have all USDA recommendations for a person of my age/sex/mass.
  • I want my Soylent to be easy to make (which means a preference for liquid and powder versions of nutrients).
  • My Soylent should be as cheap, per day, as possible (I'd rather have 10 lbs of Vitamin C at $0.00/day than 1lb at $0.01/day).
  • Because I'd like it to be trivially easy to possess a year's supply of Soylent, should I find this to be a good experiment.
  • I want to make it easy for other people to follow my steps, and criticize my mistakes, because I'm totally NOT a nutritionist, but I'm awfully tired of being told that I need X amount of Y in my diet, without citations or actionable suggestions (and it is way easier to count calories with whey protein than at a restaurant).
  • I want the items to be available to anybody in the USA, because I live at the end of a pretty long supply chain, and can't find all this stuff locally.
  • I'm trying not to order things from merchants who practice woo-woo, but if they have the best version of what I need, I won't be too picky.

There's probably other things, but I can't think of them at the moment.

The spreadsheet isn't done yet. I hope to make it possible to try dynamic combinations of multiple nutrients, since most merchants seem to prefer the multivitamin approach. Plus, I'd like for there to be more options for liquid and powder substances, because they are easier to combine. Right now, I'm just an explorer, but eventually I'd like to just have a recipe.

If this all sounds too risky, I've also made contact with Rob, and he says that he's planning on releasing his data in a few weeks, once he's comfortable with his results (I think he's waiting on friends to confirm his findings). I'm planning on showing him my list, so we can compare notes. It has already been noted that his current Soylent formula is a bit lacking in fiber. My Soylent is currently slated to use psyllium husks to make up the difference, but I'm looking into other options.

A brief overview of the options indicates that this isn't much cheaper than other food choices (~$7.20 / day), but it meets all of your needs, and once the routine is down, would be fast and easy to make, and could be stored for a long time. So I'm optimistic.

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-24T18:10:52.427Z · LW · GW

You're absolutely right. I've had a spot of trouble finding a source of fiber that won't expand and turn my version of soylent into a gelatin.

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2013-02-24T09:08:28.091Z · LW · GW

The Big One: A Review of Richard Posner's "Catastrophe: Risk and Response"

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-20T16:25:54.728Z · LW · GW

Man, my very own Discussion-level post! I'll start working on that. As for my list, I'm about 90% done with the first sweep, and then I'll go back through it and try to find better alternatives. One thing I've noticed so far is how outrageously high the dosages of some vitamins that makers generally sell! I knew it was above the FDA recommendations, but I didn't know that it was sometimes more than 3 orders of magnitude!

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-17T12:29:14.055Z · LW · GW

Right now, I'm shopping around. I'll let you know when I've assembled (or at least decided upon) the ingredients.

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-16T10:37:51.086Z · LW · GW

I'll keep you posted!

Comment by beriukay on Rationalist Lent · 2013-02-15T10:26:28.850Z · LW · GW

I'm thinking about stopping eating food, like this guy.

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2013-02-10T14:03:35.611Z · LW · GW

I could only get 2 and 4.

Comment by beriukay on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-23T05:38:17.332Z · LW · GW

This seems to me to be very similar to the dilemma of Alice having a gun to Bob's head, and Bob having exactly enough time to say one thing before being executed... except that at least Bob can put on a human face and pull on Alice's emotional strings in person.

Can't I flash a screen of ASCII art in lieu of crafting a sentence? Some kind of Wall-E face, plaintively looking at you, with a text bubble saying "Please", or "Don't kill me yet", maybe. I mean, look at this face...

Comment by beriukay on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-23T05:10:46.776Z · LW · GW

Were I the keeper of gates, you have just bought yourself a second sentence.

Comment by beriukay on January 2013 Media Thread · 2013-01-08T11:25:59.846Z · LW · GW

Tempo. From the group that made the short video Plot Device, Tempo is about some scientists who make a gun that can temporally accelerate/decelerate objects with the flick of a switch. The plot is pretty B-movie and obvious, but it feels like this could be a Valve game on the level of Portal. The acting's pretty good, too.

Comment by beriukay on [LINK] Should we live to 1,000? · 2012-12-13T10:36:31.299Z · LW · GW

I'm thinking it's the difference between prevention and treating symptoms. It's more like "we will cure the common cold" and less like "we will make it so you don't suffer the stuffy nose while the virus wreaks havoc on your body".

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2012-12-13T09:35:16.410Z · LW · GW

You make this so easy for us, luke. Explanation of 1/f noise

Comment by beriukay on Do I really not believe in God? Do you? · 2012-12-10T11:35:13.371Z · LW · GW

I was at a lecture by Richard Dawkins a while back, and he specifically brought up the topic of gratitude as a human parallel for (I can't remember the exact name he gave it, but wikipedia calls it Vacuum Activity). Just like a dog trying to bury a bone in the corner of the room. It also had to do with our inherent patter-matching nature, and the survival difference between making Type 1 and Type 2 mistakes (where if you falsely believe a tiger is about to pounce you, you pay a small energy cost from freaking out and running away; but if you falsely think it's just the wind, you die).

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2012-11-16T01:16:41.372Z · LW · GW

Paper 9 has just been posted.

Comment by beriukay on Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong · 2012-11-16T01:12:22.714Z · LW · GW

Dear Paul,

I am attaching my paper on Thinking Machines. The paper was published six years before AI was born. The paper was intended for a student audience and made no attempt to be a serious treatise on thinking machines. A serious paper which I published in 1950 (attached) was entitled "An Extension of Wiener's Theory of Prediction." Please let me know if I can be of further of assistance.

With kind regards


Lotfi Zadeh

Thinking Machines

Extension of Wiener's Theory

Comment by beriukay on Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012 · 2012-11-05T18:24:24.769Z · LW · GW

Can anybody think of a good use for being the only person in the world with Lactokinesis (Telekinesis, but only with dairy products)? I saw a TV show where a guy turned into a psychopathic murderer because nobody thought his power was cool, and since then I've spent a bit of my idle time trying to think of a way to maximize money or fame with the ability.

The problem is scalability. Even if you could do something like super-ultra pasteurize milk, or speed up milking processes, or cure lactose intolerance... you can only do it one unit at a time, and it's really domain specific. Not like Magneto.

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2012-10-25T12:23:29.132Z · LW · GW

here ya go

Comment by beriukay on Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong · 2012-10-15T14:51:27.769Z · LW · GW

I was in the works of getting the Quieting of Louis Pascal chapter when this request got canceled. Here's that one, if you still want it.

Comment by beriukay on Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong · 2012-10-08T03:59:48.977Z · LW · GW

He did as of 2009. I just emailed him a request.

Comment by beriukay on Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong · 2012-10-08T03:35:56.757Z · LW · GW
  1. Andrew, A.M. Learning Machines, 1959. Found here.
  2. Booth, Andrew. How Much Can Machines Learn?.
  3. There's a book at the local library, so I can get you some selected chapters.
  4. In the works.
  5. Same as #3.
  6. Same, but may be in ebook form.
  7. Also not found.
  8. Same as #3.
  9. Williams, J.D. Toward Intelligent Machines
  10. Not found.

Edited: Added #2 to list. Edited again: Added #9 to list.

Comment by beriukay on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2012-10-08T01:58:30.133Z · LW · GW


Comment by beriukay on Free research help, editing and article downloads for LessWrong · 2012-10-08T00:59:35.571Z · LW · GW

I found this from the Harvard Business Review, which had a block of text that looks a lot like this, which I have downloaded as a .pdf in case it magically goes away. Is that what you were looking for?

Comment by beriukay on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-04T12:00:10.860Z · LW · GW

Truth is more about how you get to know reality than it is about reality. For instance, it is easy to conceive of a possibility where everything a person knows about something points to it being true, even if it later turns out to be false. Even if you do everything right, there's no cosmic guarantee that you have found truth, and therefore cut straight through to reality.

But it is still a very important concept. Consider: someone you love is in the room with you, and all the evidence available to you points to a bear trying to get into the room. You would be ill-advised to second-guess your belief when there's impending danger.

Wouldn't "snow is white" be a true statement if people weren't around?

Not exactly. White isn't a fundamental concept like mass is. Brain perception of color is an extremely relative and sticky issue. When I go outside at night and look at snow, I'd swear up and down that the stuff is blue.

Comment by beriukay on Group rationality diary, 7/23/12 · 2012-08-01T10:30:28.400Z · LW · GW

I'm not exactly sure how it applies here (it seems to fit between many of the items), but I put myself out there on CouchSurfing and have already hosted 2 sets of people. While there's nothing systematic about the learning experience, there are a lot of cool benefits to choosing your guests wisely. Want practice with a foreign language, host guests who speak that language. Want to learn about faraway places that you want to visit, pick people from those places. Want to have company as a motivation to cook/clean, seek out people who are arriving very soon. Want company doing activities in town that you've never gotten around to? Want to look at your location with fresher eyes? Want to learn foreign cooking? Want an impromptu guitar lesson (or a jam session)? There's all kinds of low-hanging fruit here!

Sure, there's the concern that you may end up as an axe-murder victim on the front page of the local newspaper, but we all know that strangers are usually less dangerous than friend/family. And the site has some pretty good vetting procedures in place.

I wanted to post on 7/23, when I finally decided to go for it, but now I actually know a bit about what I'm talking about. It's really great to host people. Maybe I'll try to see the world from the other side of the divide some time.

Some interesting things I've learned that surprised me:

  • Living in a big city like Paris is about as expensive as living in the middle of nowhere like Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Americans don't think about algae when we talk about seafood
  • There is a movement of people dedicated to food called "microbiotics" that you'll have to read about for yourself for full effect
  • Not being embarrassed is a great first-step for learning a foreign language
Comment by beriukay on Group rationality diary, 7/23/12 · 2012-08-01T10:13:14.866Z · LW · GW

I like that, and have been doing it myself this past year. My only regret is that the early stuff seems to be the easiest, and that it would be great to spread some of that stuff out on the last few weeks of class when everything starts to get a bit crazy and hectic. That said, the foundations are important; and you can always go over the last material AFTER class is over, in the same way you did the preparing before.

Comment by beriukay on Less Wrong fanfiction suggestion · 2012-07-30T09:58:41.754Z · LW · GW

Now that's something to think about! Proposed working title: Avatar: The First Voidbender

Comment by beriukay on Less Wrong fanfiction suggestion · 2012-07-29T14:31:53.610Z · LW · GW

Indeed, Musashi would have to have been an Avatar, were he transported to The Last Airbender's universe.

My first major question about this very interesting conceptualization of Avatar would then be: is being an Avatar just a one-in-a-million trait (assuming the population of that world is a million)? Because it seems like a rationalist Avatar would prefer not to be the only one on the planet.

Comment by beriukay on In Defense of Tone Arguments · 2012-07-20T11:22:13.095Z · LW · GW

I converted long before I heard of Dawkins. Reading God Delusion at work made for a very awkward conversation with my boss once, but he was the one who came out as a dick, and after that, everybody has been pretty quiet about the whole religion thing.

Comment by beriukay on Less Wrong views on morality? · 2012-07-12T08:29:46.515Z · LW · GW

But of course evolution made perception of the surroundings as wildly variable as morality. There are creatures with zero perception, and creatures with better vision (or heat perception, or magnetic or electric, or hearing or touch...) than we'll ever have. Even if humans were the only species with morality, arguing about variability doesn't hold much weight. How many things metabolize in arsenic? There's all kinds of singular evolutions that this argument seems to be unable to handle just because of the singularity of the case.

Comment by beriukay on Less Wrong views on morality? · 2012-07-09T08:53:46.498Z · LW · GW

I think I'd agree with everything you said up until the last sentence. Our brains are, after all, what we do our thinking with. So everything good and bad about them should be studied in detail. I'm sure you'd scoff if I turned your statement around on other poorly evolved human features. Like, say, there's no point in studying the stupid mechanism of the human eye, and that the eye is completely irrelevant to the subject of optics.