Posts

Misleading the witness 2009-08-09T20:13:52.895Z · score: 14 (15 votes)

Comments

Comment by bo102010 on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-28T02:24:26.495Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Others have made these points, but here are my top comments:

  • The site was best when there was a new, high-quality post from a respected community member every day or two.
  • The ban on politics means that a lot of interesting discussion migrates elsewhere, e.g. to Scott's blog.
  • The site's current structure - posts vs. comments seems dated. I'd like to try something like discourse.org?
Comment by bo102010 on Stupid Questions January 2015 · 2015-01-04T19:02:48.628Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It requires some status and a consistent record of not being a jerk to do this (or to convince yourself to do this), but: "[Big Talker] has been talking for 2 hours, and [Small Talker] hasn't really had much opportunity to talk about [thing Small Talker does]. Mind if we hear from [Small Talker] for a bit? "

Comment by bo102010 on Stupid Questions January 2015 · 2015-01-04T18:56:52.171Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Reading SSC brings back the feeling I got when I first discovered Less Wrong (right after the split with Overcoming Bias, when there were still sequences being posted). Here's this extremely intelligent and articulate guy, posting very insightful things on topics I didn't even know I was interested in -- and he's doing it pretty regularly!

I like what Less Wrong has evolved into in the post-Sequences era, but reading Less Wrong today produces a very different feeling from when it did early on.

Comment by bo102010 on TV's "Elementary" Tackles Friendly AI and X-Risk - "Bella" (Possible Spoilers) · 2014-11-23T05:33:05.917Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I enjoyed the episode also. The show is consistently solid, which is quite impressive - I don't think there's been an episode that's really low quality. The peaks aren't very high, but there are no valleys to speak of...

There a laughable P vs. NP-themed episode in a previous season in which mathematicians use their proof to hack computers, but other than that the episode was watchable.

Comment by bo102010 on Simulate and Defer To More Rational Selves · 2014-09-18T01:07:15.045Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Great post!

Others have mentioned the HPMOR-style "take a poll of different aspects of your personality," which I have found to be entertaining and useful.

I'd also like to endorse the method for troubleshooting. I got the idea from Ridiculous Fish's blog post from 3 years ago.

When I have a technical problem I'm stuck on, I try to ask myself "What would someone who's smarter than me do?" This is really just "imagine a parody version of person x and see if that causes you to think about the problem in a different way."

I like to consult Imaginary Dr. House ("The problem is something very rare and obscured because your data is lying to you"), my former boss ("The problem is the most obvious thing it could be, trust yourself and go solve it!"), my college roommate ("Maybe there's a YouTube video from a dedicated hobbyist that explains this"), and some others.

I wrote up one experience with this technique (not as good as Ridiculous Fish's) a few months ago, when I had a baffling issue to solve at work (FTP on April 26th at 2 AM).

Comment by bo102010 on Caring about what happens after you die · 2012-12-20T04:35:19.996Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am reluctantly someone who pretty much doesn't care about what happens after I die. This is a position I that I don't necessarily endorse, and if I could easily self-modify into the sort of person who did care I would.

I don't think this makes me a monster. I basically behave the same way as people who claim they do care about what happens after they die. That is, I have plans for what happens to my assets if I die. I have life insurance ("free" through work) that pays to my wife if I die. I wouldn't take a billion dollars on the condition that a third world country would blow up the day after I died.

As you say, though, it's "me-of-the-present" that cares about these things. With the self-modification bit above, really what I mean is "I'd like to self-modify into the sort of person who could say that I cared about what happens after I die and not feel compelled to clarify that I really mean that I think good things are good and that acting as if I cared about good things continuing to happen after I die is probably a better strategy to keep good things happening while I'm alive."

Comment by bo102010 on 2012 Survey Results · 2012-12-08T00:19:06.895Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

10 people said "Drug C: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 60. It costs $100 per year" over "Drug B: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 50. It costs $100 per year" on CFAR question #4...

I said "Drug A: reduces the number of headaches per year from 100 to 30. It costs $350 per year" personally. I think there's a case for B, maybe, but who picks C?

Comment by bo102010 on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-03T01:18:07.302Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not to mention that any candidate up to the task likely has more lucrative alternatives...

Comment by bo102010 on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-08T02:30:50.761Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm genuinely curious why hg00's amended comment is now even more downvoted? And why my advice is also? Generally I take downvotes to mean "Would not like to read more of such comments at Less Wrong," but I'm a little puzzled at these.

Comment by bo102010 on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-07T23:19:49.137Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't think it was quite fair that your comment was downvoted to -2, but then I read the sentence "When women feel desperate, they cry about it."

While I think your comment was overall constructive to the discussion, that kind of thing is a turnoff. I assume you meant it in the best possible way, but I would encourage you to avoid that particular construction in the future.

Comment by bo102010 on A Marriage Ceremony for Aspiring Rationalists · 2012-07-26T12:27:35.610Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Great stuff! My wife and I married at the St. Louis Science Center in the middle of the day in a 30 second ceremony. We were in front of a wall painted with e = m * c^2 . Afterward we went to see a dinosaur exhibit.

Comment by bo102010 on In Defense of Tone Arguments · 2012-07-20T00:58:21.872Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I saw someone reading The Selfish Gene on an airplane the other day, and a similar thought came to mind. I thought, "Ah, I should say hello to this person when we get off the plane. Failing that, give the official rationalist nod of affirmation. Go science!" (I missed the person leaving while trying to get to my book bag in the overhead compartment).

After, I decided that I would have had a similar urge to express my admiration to anyone I saw reading any Dawkins book, except the God Delusion. I'm happy to have a conversation with a fellow science lover. Not nearly as much with a fellow God hater.

Comment by bo102010 on What have you recently tried, and failed at? · 2012-07-05T23:46:39.575Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Project Euler problem 384. I thought I'd be able to crack it in an afternoon, but a couple week's later I'm still stumped. I finally moved to another problem in the hopes of being able to return to 384 with fresh eyes, but no joy just yet.

I'm not sure if there's a lesson to learn from the failure, except that to do a good estimate about how much work something will take often itself requires a bit of work.

Comment by bo102010 on What is your rationality blind spot? · 2011-12-21T19:08:57.811Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. It pains me to say that I understand the principle, but that I always seem to be able to convince myself that just this once I should go ahead and knock out some other semi-trivial task outside of normal working hours. Later it seems obvious that I have not internalized the lessons of Micro 101.

I think there's some ego-stoking going on - "I am the only person who can be relied upon to complete this task properly! Step aside, mortals, and I will wow you with my productivity."

How to fix it? Cthulhoo's comment below seems like a good start - I find that I trust certain people to get things done correctly, and that I should endeavor to work more closely with other co-workers a few times in the hopes of expanding the "trust" circle.

Of course, I run the risk of adding more to the "don't trust" circle. Did you know some people use Copy and Paste from the Edit menu? With the mouse? Every time? It hurts me to watch.

Comment by bo102010 on What is your rationality blind spot? · 2011-12-21T02:05:38.352Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Delegating tasks. At work we're now short-staffed, and I've had to pick up work from a couple people.

Unfortunately, the principle of comparative advantage says that I should focus on the tasks where I'm most effective. Where I run into trouble is handing things off when I need to do just that. What if the other person screws it up, or worse, does it really inefficiently?

It makes my skin crawl to think of people bumbling around in Excel for 3 hours on a task I could complete in 1, so much so that I end up working on easy-but-time-consuming stuff when I should be at home looking at things on the Internet.

Comment by bo102010 on Which fields of learning have clarified your thinking? How and why? · 2011-11-11T03:46:12.041Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Physics and recreational mathematics + computer science improved my mental abilities.

I took Physics for Engineers as a freshman in college. It's clear in retrospect that this class was designed to accomplish several things:

  • Force students who breezed through high school with little effort to work hard to maintain a good grade.

  • Weed out the students who don't have the intellectual firepower or stamina for engineering.

  • Teach a particular problem solving methodology. To get decent marks on a problem set, you had to always draw a diagram, always start with appropriate equations, always derive the answer correctly (no numbers, just algebra + calculus), line by line.

  • Work quickly and accurately. Tests and problem sets were always difficult enough to require the full amount of time allotted.

  • Teach physics. Only this goal was ever mentioned explicitly, of course.

This was a difficult class to do well in, and probably the class most responsible for people leaving the engineering program. The default schedule also had it co-requisite with Calculus II, another demanding class, and the two classes used each others' concepts - you'd have to understand one to do the other.

Going through this taught me all the intended lessons: I went through high school barely studying, but had to give up sleep to study and understand every homework problem to do well in this class. I wasn't sure I had an A in the course until after I got the final back.

Internalizing the lessons of that course set me up for success in later courses, and now professionally. Physics courses aren't about physics.

Project Euler is the other thing I think has changed my thought processes for the better. Being able to think of how to express an algorithm succinctly and correctly seems to help out in various situations, like training a new employee how to do a complex technical task.

Comment by bo102010 on Rhetoric for the Good · 2011-10-27T02:38:20.982Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Really? I felt like Dan GIlbert's book was a bad attempt at writing a Dave Barry book, with some good and entertaining science thrown in. I enjoyed the book, but every paragraph seemed to have a joke shoe-horned in.

However, when I consulted the text to find an example, I couldn't readily find one. Which is amusing, as part of the book deals with how inaccurate impressions can form lasting memories.

Still, I think lukeprog should aspire to a level higher than Gilbert.

Comment by bo102010 on Why do people commit mathematical mistakes? What are the mechanisms behind them? · 2011-09-09T02:44:23.182Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

One mistake I noticed when tutoring a high school student was what I might call "failure to take seriously the rules."

We were studying Geometry, and many times the student would make a big assumption (e.g. the angle is 90 degrees) without noting or questioning whether it was true.

When I'd ask him about it, he would say "Look at it, it must be 90 degrees!" or "If it's 90 degrees, then I can solve this other part over here and be finished." When I'd explain "You can't assume it's 90 degrees," or "You're assuming what you're trying to prove," he would grudgingly go along.

So, I think there is a class of math mistakes that come from "a failure to realize that rules in math are not like 'rules' in your everyday life - they are ironclad and irrevocable."

Comment by bo102010 on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2011-09-01T02:46:01.636Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ehrman's books are all good.

Is Loftus's second book better than "Why I Became An Atheist"? I read that and came out thinking: (a) he is an unsympathetic character, (b) he spends his time in intellectual gutters for no reason, and (c) my goodness these sophisticated arguments for Christianity that he thoroughly engages are stupid.

Comment by bo102010 on Magic Tricks Revealed: Test Your Rationality · 2011-08-15T01:30:54.811Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds like my post from 2009, Misleading the Witness, perhaps?

Comment by bo102010 on The Ideological Turing Test · 2011-07-18T01:33:31.110Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Voting for the Christian / "Christian" half is open - see Leah's site.

I had fun figuring these out. Once it's done I'd be interested to see what criteria LW users used to determine someone's real beliefs...

Comment by bo102010 on The Ideological Turing Test · 2011-06-26T03:01:31.183Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I asked Leah about participating in her test. I think I will find it challenging the emulate a Christian's viewpoint, instead of mocking it.

That is, normally when I've examined Christian thought, I've approached it from the pretense "let me see where this fails."

I'm interested to see if I can construct an argument that I myself as an atheist would find at least superficially compelling - that is, I want to avoid doing what pretty much every popular Christianity book does.

Comment by bo102010 on Book Review: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely · 2011-05-09T01:10:13.847Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Your first paragraph adequately summarizes the sequel to this book as well.

Comment by bo102010 on Are Functional languages the future of programming? · 2011-04-09T14:25:46.065Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In the end, every programming language, no matter how pure and pretty, gets turns into a bunch of loads, stores, and gotos...

I find that there's a lot of good techniques to be learned from FP, but the supposed mathematical purity of it kind of bores me.

(http://docs.python.org/py3k/howto/functional.html) has some nice tricks in Python.

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread, April 2011 · 2011-04-05T06:43:23.879Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I used to have a hobby of reading Christian apologetics to get a better understanding of how the other side lives. I got some useful insights from this, e.g. Donald Miler's Blue Like Jazz was eye-opening for me in that it helped me understand better the psychology of religious faith. However, most books were a slog and I eventually found more entertaining uses for my time.

Today I saw that a workmate of mine was reading Lee Strobel's The Case For Faith earlier. My policy is to not discuss politics or religion at work, so I didn't bring it up there.

I hadn't read that particular book before, so I was curious about its arguments. Reading over the summary, I remembered again why I quit reading Christian apologetics - they are really boring.

The subtitle of The Case Against Faith is A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity, and is quite untrue. I can almost dismiss each chapter in the time it takes to yawn. Even if Strobel had good answers to the Problem of Evil, or proved that religious people historically have been less violent than non-religious people, or somehow found a gap in current understanding of evolution, he would still be leagues away from providing evidence for a god, let alone his particular god.

I remember being similarly bored by a Christian-turned-Atheist's book John Loftus' Why I Became an Atheist. A common criticism of atheist writers is that they don't engage the more sophisticated arguments of theists. This book illustrates why - the sophisticated arguments are stupid. Loftus accepts Christian scholars' ideas, arguing within spaces previously occupied by dancing angels (e.g. he says on p.371 "In a well-argued chapter... Lowder has defended the idea that Jesus' body was hastily buried before the Sabbath day... but that it was relocated on the Sabbath Day to the public graveyard of the condemned...").

Most of us here would probably lose a live debate in front of an audience against someone like Lee Strobel. Even so, it's a little disappointing to me that even the most skilled theist debater's signature attack relies on bits like "This first cause must also be personal because there are only two accepted types of explanations, personal and scientific, and this can't be a scientific explanation." Because winning the debate by refuting that would be a waste of intellect.

Comment by bo102010 on Link: "Health Care Myth Busters: Is There a High Degree of Scientific Certainty in Modern Medicine?" · 2011-04-01T17:43:50.504Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Would a patient thus do better to research his or her symptoms online before going to the doctor's office, and then insisting on the treatment provided?

If so is there a good place to do this research? Are there good websites that are usually informed with up-to-date research on a variety of topics? I haven't had a health issue that's needed such research in recent memory, but if I did I would probably type my symptoms into Google alongside technical sounding words like "incidence," "epidemiology," and "differential diagnosis."

Comment by bo102010 on Are You a Paralyzed Subordinate Monkey? · 2011-03-04T01:16:55.467Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think Eliezer's point is that it could be evolutionary and not cultural.

The interesting thing is that you can become a leader by just telling people to do stuff, and then they comply.

Comment by bo102010 on Are You a Paralyzed Subordinate Monkey? · 2011-03-03T13:32:28.732Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, I started applying for scholarships from different organizations and to universities. A large fraction of the applications had a section like "Write an essay on why you want to exercise leadership."

At the time I concluded that "leadership" was a new buzzword that everyone had to make some reference to in order to qualify for anything. I dutifully wrote some meaningless essays about leadership. Then when I went to school and heard more and more about leadership,the more I thought my buzzword analysis was correct.

Then I got into the corporate world. Oh my goodness. Now I understand what all the fuss was about. By default no one does work unless someone explicitly tells them to.

Comment by bo102010 on Research methods · 2011-02-24T05:24:21.771Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree in some sense, but disagree in another. I am fast at Excel. I don't need to use to mouse, look at the menus, or pause to find anything I'm looking for, because I've internalized the keyboard shortcuts and created quick macros for the things I need to do. People get a little flustered when they see me work in Excel because it looks like it's magically doing stuff, but it just comes from lots and lots of repetition.

Contrast this with a proper database, where I need to figure out some way to load the data in, make sure my query accounts for every place there might be a null value, then make some change that might break my previous queries if I need to add or change a column or something. And then if I need to take a slice of data and present it, I have to load it into Excel anyway.

For very large datasets with fairly static requirements, I use a database as is proper. But for anything less than 100K rows, give me a spreadsheet any day.

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: Mathematics · 2011-02-15T14:33:21.653Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I started last June and am at 196 solved currently.

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: Mathematics · 2011-02-15T14:32:23.280Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd had a "Computer science for electrical engineers" course in school, which discussed data structures and algorithms from a high level (the usual sorting algorithm discussion, implementing a linked list, that kind of thing), but nothing too in-depth. I've had various experience in programming before PE.

In solving PE problems I've mostly used Wikipedia and Mathworld for research, and sometimes I'll Google for lecture notes on a relevant topic.

I've used the Python skills I've picked up from PE in my job already. I think I could function in a more programming-oriented job now, though solving math problems doesn't give you much help in hooking into existing APIs or writing web services, which are probably pretty important.

Comment by bo102010 on Social Necessity of Drinking · 2011-02-14T05:23:42.415Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

I don't drink (and never have).

For (1), when asked why I don't drink, I say "I don't know. I don't smoke either." People seem to recognize that some people just don't like to smoke, and that this type of thing carries over to other voluntary activities.

When I get a disdainful look or am being chided for being a stick in the mud, I steel myself by remembering Richard Feynmann's wife's exhortation: "What do you care what other people think?"

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: Mathematics · 2011-02-14T05:19:04.660Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

It's been mentioned here on Less Wrong before, but I'll recommend it again - Project Euler. It's a set of 300+ math problems that are to be solved by designing an algorithm to run in under a minute.

Getting into Project Euler last summer is likely the best move I've ever made to improve my programming skills. I'm not a programmer, but coding skills come in handy in lots of places, so I started working through the PE problems as means of learning Python.

Since I started I've replaced almost all my casual reading with research into algorithms and math, and I've gone from a Python novice to a fairly advanced user without it ever seeming like work. Getting the right answer makes you feel smart, which is an ego-stroking way of making you continue.

Comment by bo102010 on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2011-02-09T02:10:33.472Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've got another one that's about to be relevant to me. What should you do in order to be an effective manager?

I am an engineer and will soon be "in charge" of another engineer. I have had a couple bosses with various good and bad qualities, and obviously I want to emulate the good qualities and avoid the bad ones.

Is there a good procedure to begin being an effective supervisor of technical people? There is a vast of array of books and websites on management, but I think there's a very low rationality quotient.

Comment by bo102010 on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2011-02-08T03:21:16.191Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I recently found myself thinking about this same topic. I have figured some of these out by trial and error, but feel that some formal training would have been useful (others I have not encountered):

  • How should you interact with a police officer - what are your obligations, your rights, and how should you conduct yourself?

  • If you want to move from one residence to another, what steps should you take? If you are credentialed in one state and want to move to another, what do you do?

  • If you get into a minor car accident, what should you do? What about a major one?

  • What's the best way to quit your job?

  • How do you vote in an election? A primary? What should you do if you want to run for office?

  • If you find that someone has died of non-suspicious and natural causes, what steps should you take? Whom should you call?

Comment by bo102010 on New Year's Predictions Thread (2011) · 2011-01-04T03:12:35.754Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I find it somewhat troubling that my flip reply to your comment has netted me more karma than any of my other recent contributions.

Comment by bo102010 on New Year's Predictions Thread (2011) · 2011-01-02T23:01:54.166Z · score: 10 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Downvoted because I don't think I want to see more comments like it.

Comment by bo102010 on Vegetarianism · 2010-12-30T02:44:20.464Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I like the numeric approach. However, something seems off, and I think it's that you're conflating the cost of saving a human life with the value of a human life.

Your question is interesting, though. If Omega gives you the choice of N dollars or giving 10,000 chickens a perfect chicken life,at what N do you pick the money?

Comment by bo102010 on Vegetarianism · 2010-12-26T15:30:56.413Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Like I said earlier, I eat meat only rarely. I don't hate chickens or anything, but I don't think the welfare of non-sentient beings weighs very heavily on the scales of justice.

If the choice is between factory-farm torturing a human and factory-farming N farm animals, I pick very large N again.

If Omega asks me how many meals of meat I'd replace with non-meat meals to save one human, I'd give up all of mine. I don't like hamburgers that much anyway.

Comment by bo102010 on Vegetarianism · 2010-12-25T04:18:20.170Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

What if you put numbers to it?

If Omega offered you the choice between one saving human's life and giving N chickens a long, perfect, chicken life on Planet Chicken, at what value of N would you pick the chickens?

Assuming none of the N animals are particularly special to any sentient being, for me it's well north of 10^9.

I would pick a smaller N for animals like dolphins, dogs (again, not talking about animals that are special to people), elephants, etc., due to their intelligence. But in general, for animals typically used for their meat, N is high enough that it doesn't affect my decision whether to eat meat.

Comment by bo102010 on Vegetarianism · 2010-12-24T17:52:30.919Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I eat meat only occasionally, giving weight to your reasons (2) and (3), but not (1). I think it takes quite a few farm animal deaths to add up to a papercut to a human, morality-wise.

I do find it quite interesting to see how people react when you say you don't eat meat. I'm from the midwest, and often get reactions like:

  • "Wuss."

  • "I am going to make you eat meat."

  • "What about protein, huh?"

I don't quite understand why people are offended by my dietary choices that don't affect them at all, but I've come to think it's something like "You don't eat meat, so you must think it's better not to eat meat. I eat meat, so therefore you think you're better than me."

I get similar reactions when I say I don't drink.

Comment by bo102010 on Christmas · 2010-12-19T16:51:37.143Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

As an atheist and a capitalist, I find it quite satisfying that capitalism has largely displaced religion in one of Christianity's most important holidays. I have no problem celebrating that!

Comment by bo102010 on A sense of logic · 2010-12-13T00:58:30.367Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I get that feeling with bad grammar as well, but only if it's really bad.

I get a feeling not unlike watching an extremely embarrassing situation play out on a TV show when I hear purported explanations of Creationism, crystal energy, homeopathy, Team Blue economic theory, Team Red social preferences...

Comment by bo102010 on Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice · 2010-06-21T12:19:33.559Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I like this idea too, but I suspect it would be quickly hijacked - it's easier to bug your instructor until she lets you have a better grade than to study. Ask most "tough graders" how their student reviews compare to "easy graders."

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: June 2010 · 2010-06-03T14:48:31.233Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This is a fair point. I would note, however, that eviction typically requires repeated notification, and opportunities for you modify your behavior before encountering violence.

Contrast with how your local sheriff can bust down your door in the middle of the night, shoot your dogs, destroy your property, and arrest you merely for suspecting you of possessing marijuana. And then be praised for it even if you are innocent.

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: June 2010 · 2010-06-03T02:55:35.396Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It does matter if one has guns (or SWAT teams) and the other relies on non-violent persuasion.

Comment by bo102010 on Open Thread: June 2010 · 2010-06-02T00:53:16.263Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wasn't there a somewhat well-publicized "spate" of suicides at a large French telecom a while back? I remember the explanation being the same - the number observed was just about what you'd expect for an employer of that size.

ETA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_Telecom

Comment by bo102010 on Abnormal Cryonics · 2010-05-27T07:25:36.427Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If I were defending cryonics, I would say that a small chance of immortality beats sure death hands-down.

It sounds like Pascal's Wager (small chance at success, potentially infinite payoff), but it doesn't fail for the same reasons Pascal's Wager does (Pascal's gambit for one religion would work just as well for any other one.) - discussed here a while back.

Comment by bo102010 on On Enjoying Disagreeable Company · 2010-05-27T01:29:58.646Z · score: 13 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Quit posting on this subject. Please. I didn't downvote you, but I will downvote any more posts on the topic by anyone.

Comment by bo102010 on But Somebody Would Have Noticed · 2010-05-05T11:33:52.383Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I find this line of thinking also applies to past versions of myself - if I stumble upon an insight that seems obvious, I think, "why didn't I notice this before?" where "I" = "past versions of myself."

When you figure something out, there's got to be a first time.