Request for community insight 2012-11-23T14:20:17.593Z
Life Extension through Diet Modification 2011-05-16T18:36:52.278Z
Reference Classes in the Doomsday Argument 2011-05-14T02:50:58.200Z


Comment by Caerbannog on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-06-30T20:52:06.254Z · LW · GW

Regarding sleeping a lot and waking up tired: Is it possibly some degree of sleep apnea? As of a few months ago I had this problem.

Then I tried those breathing strips (despite my skepticism) that help prevent snoring. If I snore now it's at a much lower volume. The quality of sleep is vastly improved for me too. I generally wake refreshed after ~7 hours. The difference is like, ahem, night and day.

Comment by Caerbannog on Group rationality diary, May 5th - 23rd · 2015-05-05T14:59:40.370Z · LW · GW

For a while now I've often felt tired and sleepy even after getting seemingly enough sleep. I also had a frustrating tendency to wake up at night for no apparent reason, then have trouble falling asleep. My partner noted my loud snoring and suggested nasal airway strips (the kind that go on the outside of your nose).

I was skeptical, thinking "How could a little plastic strip have an impact?" and "I'm not overweight, so sleep apnea shouldn't be a concern anyway." I've tried them for ~1 week now.

Positive Results: I seem to fall asleep much more quickly, I don't wake up at night for no reason, my partner reports that my snoring is way quieter, and I feel more consistently well-rested than I have in a while.

Downsides: They cost $0.25 per day. Also, after ~9 hours, the strips start to get itchy and peel off, making it harder to sleep. The solution might be to put one on immediately before going to bed.

Comment by Caerbannog on Amanda Knox Redux: is Satoshi Nakamoto the real Satoshi Nakamoto? · 2014-03-07T18:39:02.625Z · LW · GW

I'm going to be more arrogant and say p << 1%:

  • Prior probability that a super-intelligent, reclusive, crypto-guy that values anonymity would use his given name as his pseudonym: very very low.

  • Subsequent evidence to believe Dorian is Satoshi: He's an apparently intelligent guy that knows how to program + a quote wherein he appears to admit that he was once involved with Bitcoin, but he later claimed was misinterpreted and out of context.

Comment by Caerbannog on low stress employment/ munchkin income thread · 2013-07-24T17:57:29.716Z · LW · GW

I had a similar experience with elance. I applied to a bunch of jobs and only got a reply back from one. That job ended up being not worth the time I ended up spending.

However, Uvocorp ( is another freelancing site I use, and my experience there has been much better. You have to pass a pretty easy writing test to be able to work at all. Once you pass, though, you can browse all the job offers, and you are assigned the job as soon as you hit 'apply'.

I'm very selective about what jobs I choose, in order to make them worth my time and to make sure I that can do a good job. Just read the job description carefully, so you know what you're signing up for. By being very selective, I've managed to keep the pay above $20 to $30 per hour.

I'm competing somewhat with writers from India or elsewhere that are willing to work for less than me, but I get a premium by being a native speaker of American English and having good ratings. I've been able to negotiate the price at times because I've been specifically requested by repeat customers.

There have been a couple of disputes, and the administrators have been reasonable.


  • The payment / time varies quite a bit from job to job, so be careful what you sign up for
  • It involves doing homework for college kids, in case you have moral issues with that
  • During the busy college season they will assign you jobs without asking you. You can still decline them without penalty.
Comment by Caerbannog on Minor, perspective changing facts · 2013-04-23T21:27:09.891Z · LW · GW

Sorry, I forgot feet != meters. Ha.

Comment by Caerbannog on Minor, perspective changing facts · 2013-04-23T20:39:15.586Z · LW · GW

I don't agree with this.

Your thought experiment with the dumbbell is an incorrect way of thinking about ambient pressure. Ambient pressure pushes against an object from every direction. It does not work to deform or break, only compress from all sides.

Picture this: You have a hand-sized water balloon on a table. You place the two dumbbells on it; it breaks. You have another water balloon. You take this one, tie it to a dumbbell, and drop it into deep water. Do you expect it to break when descends to 3 feet (i.e. 10% increase in pressure)?

I would not expect it to break at all. When water and other non-gases are put under pressure, the bonds and repulsive forces within push back.

Don't quote me on this part, but I would guess that to break a bone with just ambient pressure, you'd have to raise the pressure to about the compressive strength of the bone, around 100 megapascals. For reference, standard atmospheric pressure is around 100 kilopascals.

edit: changed 3 meters to 3 feet, per prase's comment.

Comment by Caerbannog on Minor, perspective changing facts · 2013-04-23T15:06:49.903Z · LW · GW

This is very misleading. Most of the discomfort would be from the hard table against the back of your hand, and this would be because of local pressure on specific points.

Pressure causes problems when there's a big change in a relatively short time. Ears, for example, have a hard time with this, but you can equalize them by closing your nose and mouth and trying to blow out. Before I knew about this trick, I could never dive to the bottom of the pool. Now, no problem.

A more realistic example would be to bury your hand in a foot or two of fine sand. Does that sound uncomfortable?

In the sand example, it's also important that the pressure is acting from all sides (top, bottom, left, right) so there's no force acting to deform your hand.

We can handle a relatively large range of pressures, and there are other problems before you start causing mechanical damage from the actual pressure (lack of oxygen at low pressure, dissolved gas at high pressure).

edit: grammar

Comment by Caerbannog on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-03-07T22:16:59.954Z · LW · GW

I think it's possible you're conflating potassium (element symbol K) with vitamin K. Vitamin K and warfarin (rat poison) are antagonists. Potassium (as chloride) is quite soluble in water, is prevalent in blood, and is primarily regulated by the kidneys.

Comment by Caerbannog on Request for community insight · 2012-11-23T21:54:28.377Z · LW · GW

I've been to doctors for the major joint problems, but they've said various contradictory things that have never helped. They've told me that it's aging. When I had my knee scoped the orthopedic surgeon told me that I "have naturally soft cartilage" . I don't think highly of that diagnosis.

In my experience, modern medicine is not that good with things unfamiliar to it.

I have been to doctors many times, but I don't believe that they've given me information that's useful.

Comment by Caerbannog on On counting and addition · 2012-11-09T16:14:38.490Z · LW · GW

Apples do require categorization by an observer to some extent.

Is a nearly decayed apple still an apple? At what point does it stop being an apple? At what point does a fertilized apple blossom get to be called an apple?

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-10-01T14:33:44.549Z · LW · GW

I don't contest your first paragraph.

Regarding your question: I don't know. Probably update my understanding of this subject.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-10-01T02:13:48.178Z · LW · GW

A newly created copy or electronic upload of me (call him 'Copy B') would have all my behavioral attributes and memories. He could be called $myName by anyone else observing either of us (we could be indistinguishable to a third observer).

However, to me (the guy writing this response, call me 'Copy A'), there would be an obvious observable difference between Copy A and Copy B. I see the world from Copy A's point of view, with his eyes and ears and I would observe Copy B from the outside as I would any other person, without knowing what is going on in his mind or experiencing the world from his point of view. Yes, Copy B might say the same about Copy A, but it's my fear that Copy A would never find himself genuinely waking up inside a copying chamber or as an upload. If that's true, uploading myself would be the death of my subjective point of view.

I get where you're coming from. I don't necessarily have an epiphenomenal view of the mind, but I also believe that the concept of qualia is not well understood by anyone. I do not understand why I'm me and not someone else, and neither does our current knowledge on the subject.

Based on this I'm agnostic on whether mind uploading in the style we're discussing would really preserve me and my stream of qualia, or kill me and create another person with a new stream of qualia. Without any evidence that it would preserve me, I would not accept going through such a process.

There are possible scenarios in which the copying process could preserve what I consider to be me: For example, if there is only one observer at all, who experiences all qualia streams throughout the world (that possibility scares me, honestly). Another possibility might be that copying me would simply double my measure in the world, and what I consider my qualia stream would have twice as many experiences after the copying process. These are just speculation, though.

This has definitely been an interesting discussion for me. Examining my thoughts on this subject has raised more possible interpretations than settled anything, though!

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-28T14:37:41.114Z · LW · GW

To you and everyone else, but not to me.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-27T15:46:50.229Z · LW · GW

I can observe myself in a way I that can't others.

From my vantage point, a copy or upload of someone else behaves the same as the 'original'. From that same vantage point, a newly created copy of myself is clearly 'outside' my mind and therefore observationally different.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T19:40:08.612Z · LW · GW

Yes, my duplicate would think the same way as me.

In a world that has duplicators, my duplicate would not claim to be original without evidence one way or the other.

In our real world, if a copy of me were made using "magic", both versions would believe themselves to be the original (at least at first). I had this kind of very specific scenario in mind when I said both would claim to be original, but did not explain this in the earlier comment (inferential distance and all that).

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T19:24:27.419Z · LW · GW

I don't know: If someone I knew had their physical body destroyed but they were uploaded with complete accuracy, I would consider them to be the same person (consistent with psychological view). I would not opt for that procedure for myself, though, because I don't accept that my upload would really be me (more like physical view).

I'm open to evidence and argument on this, though.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T19:10:39.367Z · LW · GW

Whether the duplicate claimed to be the original or not depends on the individual, I suppose.

If I lived in a world that contained such duplication chambers, and found myself waking up in one, I would not know whether I was "the copy" or not without some outside evidence. I'd be inclined to accept that either I was a copy, or someone was playing a trick on me to make me think so.

I understand that the duplicate would have the same memories and personality as me, but would not have my subjective sense of experience.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T15:19:12.883Z · LW · GW

Other: For everyone else that I observe, an exact atom-for-atom duplicate is the same person as the original. If a copy of me were made, my 'mind' would reside in the original.

I accept that my duplicate would claim to be the original, of course.

Comment by Caerbannog on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T15:03:45.031Z · LW · GW

Other: Agree that it's a false dichotomy.

Comment by Caerbannog on What's the Value of Information? · 2012-08-30T15:02:42.520Z · LW · GW

Could this be a trick question?

The top of the paper says "1d12" or "2d6", right? The first number is either "1" or "2". If this interpretation is correct, then knowing the first number has a value of 500 pounds.

As has already been stated, you have a 50% chance of guessing correctly to win 1000, so you already have an expected value of 500. To raise that to 100%, you should be willing to pay 500.

Comment by Caerbannog on Alan Carter on the Complexity of Value · 2012-05-10T18:14:17.406Z · LW · GW

My understanding of 'Utility Monster' is someone who gets increasing utility per resource unit when greater resources are spent (greater than linear return). For example it would get utility of 1x when getting one cupcake, and utility of >2x when getting 2 cupcakes.

If such a monster existed, you would increase the average utility by giving ALL of everyone's resources to it.

A child may get more enjoyment from the same amount of resource than an adult in some situations, but you don't raise the average utility by giving the entire cupcake to just one of your 2 children.

Comment by Caerbannog on Less wrong has a fitocracy group (invites) · 2012-01-06T21:24:49.961Z · LW · GW

I am already a Fitocracy member so I can't use the invite code, right? I'd still join the LW group on Fitocracy - but I couldn't find it in a search. Can you say what the name of the group is?

Comment by Caerbannog on Prisoner's Dilemma as a Game Theory Laboratory · 2011-08-25T15:54:55.307Z · LW · GW

This should be interesting. I've sent you my strategy by private message.

Comment by Caerbannog on Brief question about Conway's Game of LIfe and AI · 2011-06-03T01:07:27.594Z · LW · GW

If the board is 3^^^3, per side and set up randomly, then it almost certainly would be instantiated with googolplexes of Turing-complete simulations of our entire universe by complete chance alone (similar to Boltzmann Brains), and there would be vastly more universes very much like ours.

Most of these universes would be wiped out quickly by local disturbances before they got very far, but still vast numbers would have enough clear or static space around them to permit reasonable durations. What's a reasonable size and duration: 10^150? 10^(10^150)? The size of 3^^^3 absolutely dwarfs these.

I think some of these comments are failing to account for how much space (3^^^3)^2 actually is. For any universe the size of ours, it is practically infinite.

There would also be completely alien structures, more "natively" suited to GOL physics. These could be organisms with cells 10^100 by 10^100 units wide if necessary. They would notice individual attacking gliders as much as we notice a single high-energy photon or alpha particle.

Comment by Caerbannog on Life Extension through Diet Modification · 2011-05-17T01:19:46.695Z · LW · GW

The feeling of hunger never disappeared, but it got easier to accept.

Some days that were really busy at work flew by without a problem at all. It was easier for me when I was engaged in a task that demanded most of my concentration.

Comment by Caerbannog on Life Extension through Diet Modification · 2011-05-17T01:13:16.811Z · LW · GW

No, I meant that exercising on feast days was no problem.

I did not try to exercise on fasting days more than a couple of times. It wasn't terrible, but I don't know if it's healthy.

Comment by Caerbannog on Life Extension through Diet Modification · 2011-05-16T21:53:12.193Z · LW · GW

Some articles said that the CR subjects exhibited more restlessness, or "foraging" type behavior. This hypothesis wasn't tested as far as I know, though.

Based on my experience, I didn't feel less active or lethargic, just hungry. I think my body conserved its calories by reducing resting metabolic rate: Decreases in pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, body mass. My desire to exercise did not diminish, and neither did my capacity for aerobic exercises like running and swimming.

Comment by Caerbannog on Life Extension through Diet Modification · 2011-05-16T21:46:03.225Z · LW · GW

Maybe I didn't use the best choice of words. Food did taste pretty amazing on the feast days, though.

Comment by Caerbannog on Reference Classes in the Doomsday Argument · 2011-05-14T01:10:41.743Z · LW · GW

It is possible I have missed an important point you are making, but here is how I interpret what you wrote:

Observer #1 in this scenario is a special class because he knows that he was created before Doomsday. Because of this, he knows that his retrospective probability for heads is 50% because he was created regardless of the coin's outcome.

In our world, the timing of Doomsday is not so well-defined that we can say whether we're in the same position as Observer #1 or not. Maybe we have lived past the most likely Doomsday scenario, and maybe we haven't.

Edit: grammar

Comment by Caerbannog on Reference Classes in the Doomsday Argument · 2011-05-13T23:13:37.433Z · LW · GW

I think I see what you're saying about fuzzy classes yielding fuzzy results, and that doesn't mean that the results are invalid.

In your opinion, how would the extra information (that we're self-replicating, and whatever else) affect the argument?

Comment by Caerbannog on What causes people to believe in conspiracy theories? · 2011-05-09T16:06:52.170Z · LW · GW

Your worldview and your choice of people whose opinion to respect don't have to be selected rationally. I would argue, in fact, that a large proportion of people don't choose these rationally.

An alarmingly large fraction of Americans believe that the earth was created 6000 years ago, a position that most people here would find irrational. This is a worldview that is most often acquired from one's parents or from respected religious figures. Would such a worldview be considered to be rationally selected?

Other people hold the position that humans evolved from earlier primates over millions of years through evolution by natural selection. Many of these people don't understand evolution well enough to hold it as a rational belief, and they may also have acquired this belief through their parents or other respected figures rather than by a reasoned analysis. I've been asked by someone who accepts evolution: "Wouldn't it be great if humans would evolve wings! That would increase fitness, why doesn't that happen?" [paraphrased]

I think it's not controversial to say that peoples' worldviews and authority figures are not selected rationally.

Comment by Caerbannog on What causes people to believe in conspiracy theories? · 2011-05-07T03:15:08.294Z · LW · GW

It seems that people are more likely to believe conspiracy theories that already are in line with their worldview. This would be an example of confirmation bias, to an extent.

People are also more likely to believe a particular conspiracy theory if they hear it from someone whose opinion they already respect, or if many others in their social group believe such a theory.

I don't believe rational decision-making plays much part in the acceptance of conspiracy theories. You note that only 6% of Americans believe that the moon landing was hoaxed, and consider that an example of a fringe theory. Note, however, that about a quarter of Russians and English people think the moon landing was hoaxed.

It seems that what's considered fringe varies by population, and not necessarily by rationality or evidence. It makes me wonder if there are any theories believed by most Americans that are considered ridiculous elsewhere.

Comment by Caerbannog on Assumption of positive rationality · 2011-04-30T03:45:32.047Z · LW · GW

As you describe them, an irrational Bob's beliefs are random, and a rational Bob bases and updates his beliefs on evidence. If he is trying to use a systematic method to determine his degree of rationality, or even trying to devise one, doesn't that automatically make him rational (even if it's only just his own definition of 'rational')?

Regarding Boltzmann brains:

If I'm not a Boltzmann brain, then my current understanding of the subject of Boltzmann brains correctly tells me that the overwhelmingly vast majority of Boltzmann brains would not have memories and thoughts with the degree of coherence that I do have.

On the other hand, if I am a Boltzmann brain, then I'm either one of the vanishingly rare coherent ones and can trust my thoughts, or I'm so disconnected with reality that I cannot trust my conclusions about the degree of coherence of my thoughts and experiences (like irrational Bob, I suppose).

But if I am an incoherent Boltzmann brain, I am one that can still think of the concept of a Boltzmann brain (and ponder the degree of coherence of my thoughts). I would say that argues against the likelihood of me being an incoherent Boltzmann brain. This leaves the options that I'm either not a Boltzmann brain, or that I'm a relatively coherent one.