clone of saturn's Shortform 2020-03-08T21:27:47.577Z
GreaterWrong Arbital Viewer 2019-06-28T06:32:22.278Z
What societies have ever had legal or accepted blackmail? 2019-03-17T09:16:55.560Z
An alternative way to browse LessWrong 2.0 2018-02-19T01:52:06.462Z


Comment by clone of saturn on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T02:03:00.227Z · LW · GW

e.g. for a car ad they show happy people living exciting lives which have no relation to the car but make you associate the buying of the car with non-existence social fulfillment.

It's actually worse than that -- the way the manipulation works is to induce you to compare the people in the ad with your own life, causing you to feel ugly, unlovable, like you're missing out on life, etc. and then to propose the product as a relief from this deliberately induced misery.

Comment by clone of saturn on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T01:36:14.933Z · LW · GW

Advice from a person who doesn't care about you and makes money when you follow it is useless at best, and likely harmful. Advertising from a friend who wants what's best for you might be beneficial, if such a thing existed.

Comment by clone of saturn on Communication Requires Common Interests or Differential Signal Costs · 2021-03-27T07:45:28.032Z · LW · GW

It doesn’t seem generally true that communication requires delicate maintenance. Liars have existed for thousands of years, and languages have diverged and evolved, and yet we still are able to communicate straightforwardly the vast majority of the time! Like you said, lying loses its effectiveness the more it is used, and so there’s a counter-pressure which automatically prevents it from taking over.

It seems to me that there are numerous instances, from the Challenger o-rings to Iraqi WMDs to Lysenkoism, where telling lies has become normalized. Usually followed shortly by catastrophe. You could argue (and I would agree) that such catastrophes are simply part of the "automatic counter-pressure" that allows language to continue to exist. But there's an understandable desire to find other mechanisms that don't require as much suffering and death.

Comment by clone of saturn on The Problem of the Criterion · 2021-02-12T04:43:50.392Z · LW · GW

Yes, but only in the sense that by my best efforts, using the brain I actually have, I believe the thing to be the case.

Comment by clone of saturn on The Problem of the Criterion · 2021-02-11T07:40:47.598Z · LW · GW

This all seems to rest on an idea that an empty box labeled "truth" was dropped in my lap in the platonic land of a priori mental emptiness, and I'm obligated to fill it with something before I'm allowed to begin thinking. But obviously, that's not what happened. Rather, as I grew up, the abstract label called "truth" was invented and refined by me to help me make sense of the world and communicate with (or win approval from) others. So I end up at the same answer, pragmatism, but I deny that there was ever any problematic circularity. The problem instead seems to come from a notion of transcendent epistemic justification which is unmotivated and flawed--what good does this idea of justification do? What's the problem if I do something without justification?

Comment by clone of saturn on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-02-02T04:10:15.833Z · LW · GW

This seems like it would be pretty easy to DIY with small drops of superglue.

Comment by clone of saturn on Feature request: personal notes about other users · 2021-01-02T22:52:33.314Z · LW · GW

GreaterWrong has the ability to automatically collapse comments from a given user. I could make it hide posts too if there's a desire for that.

Comment by clone of saturn on Feature request: personal notes about other users · 2021-01-02T22:36:06.009Z · LW · GW

Do you feel that way about all the themes? Ideally I'd like it to have something for everyone.

Comment by clone of saturn on The Power to Demolish Bad Arguments · 2020-12-18T09:36:27.258Z · LW · GW

I really dislike the central example used in this post, for reasons explained in this article. I hope it isn't included in the next LW book series without changing to a better example.

Comment by clone of saturn on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-12-03T02:16:34.140Z · LW · GW

Is it possible to insert a question using the markdown editor, or does it require using the new editor?

Comment by clone of saturn on A tale from Communist China · 2020-10-27T20:48:40.442Z · LW · GW

If the goal is to figure out how murderous the Mormons are, comparing their murder rate to the murder rate of non-Mormons, or some other reasonable base rate, is exactly what you would do. Surely this would be obvious in any other context.

Comment by clone of saturn on A tale from Communist China · 2020-10-27T08:12:46.488Z · LW · GW

It's striking that these numbers are always stated alone, and never compared to the number killed by capitalist governments using a similar methodology. (Which is clearly not zero, just two examples off the top of my head put it well into the millions [1] [2])

Comment by clone of saturn on Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes? · 2020-10-07T05:36:06.172Z · LW · GW

I think this is fundamentally not possible, because the world does not come pre-labeled with rules and win/lose conditions the way a sport or game does. Any attempt to do this would require you to take certain concepts as presumptively valid and unquestionable, but the main point of being an intellectual is to question accepted concepts and develop new ones.

Comment by clone of saturn on New GreaterWrong feature: image zoom + image slideshows · 2020-10-04T00:25:07.693Z · LW · GW

Should be fixed now. Evidently EA forum doesn't (yet?) support comment threads on tags.

Comment by clone of saturn on Numeracy neglect - A personal postmortem · 2020-09-29T23:25:05.686Z · LW · GW

See also: The Best Textbooks on Every Subject

Comment by clone of saturn on What Does "Signalling" Mean? · 2020-09-17T02:12:44.611Z · LW · GW

But a bird warning other birds that there is a snake in the grass does reveal a fact about the bird: that it is a good bird who will risk its life for the other birds, and therefore is helpful for the other birds to keep around, perhaps even with bribes.

Comment by clone of saturn on Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis · 2020-05-11T22:14:25.295Z · LW · GW

What would be an example of energy not being conserved in a closed system?

If a spinning overbalanced wheel without additional energy input spun faster and faster instead of slowing down and stopping.

Does the law of thermodynamics even mean anything?

The laws of thermodynamics don't seem to have the same problem of vagueness. It's easy to tell whether a given situation would violate them or not.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, so it would probably be better to just state your point plainly.

I'm trying to figure out what you mean when you talk about EMH.

Like anything else, the EMH is useful insofar as it generates testable predictions about the world. One of the most useful predictions, as johnswentworth puts it: ‘you shouldn’t expect to make money trading stocks’.

Obviously some people have made money trading stocks. Does the EMH simply mean that less than 50% of people who trade stocks make money? That doesn't seem to support the grandiose conclusions that are usually made on the basis of the EMH. The same would be true of a poker game, for instance, or simply a bet between 3 people where only one of them can be right.

Comment by clone of saturn on Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis · 2020-05-11T21:03:23.929Z · LW · GW

What would be an example of asset prices not reflecting all available information?

Comment by clone of saturn on Zoom Technologies, Inc. vs. the Efficient Markets Hypothesis · 2020-05-11T20:18:45.745Z · LW · GW

If this kind of behavior is entirely consistent with EMH, does EMH even mean anything?

Comment by clone of saturn on Do you trust the research on handwriting vs. typing for notes? · 2020-04-24T10:12:53.232Z · LW · GW

This seems like something that's likely to be idiosyncratic and even if high quality studies exist, trying to mimic what works for the notional “average person” may not be a good idea.

Comment by clone of saturn on The Hammer and the Mask - A call to action · 2020-04-21T20:48:26.146Z · LW · GW

I would consider them about the same. I've worn mine for ~5 hours at a time with minimal discomfort.

Comment by clone of saturn on Ethernet Is Worth It For Video Calls · 2020-04-12T16:54:07.167Z · LW · GW

Nothing can be done about external interference like microwaves, but the base station can allocate time slots where lower priority traffic is not allowed to be sent.

Comment by clone of saturn on April Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-04-08T22:05:45.623Z · LW · GW

I think it's mostly because the mask slows down the flow of exhaled air, which reduces the distance the droplets travel before they evaporate or fall to the ground. You can see this illustrated here and what happens without a mask here.

Comment by clone of saturn on Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread · 2020-03-30T14:59:52.676Z · LW · GW

I'm pretty sure this can't be correct--they claim benzalkonium chloride has zero effectiveness, which is less than plain water! I think it has to be a data entry error.

This review cites some other studies that show benzalkonium chloride to be comparable to other disinfectants, although alcohol is still best by a considerable margin.

Comment by clone of saturn on At what point does disease spread stop being well-modeled by an exponential function? · 2020-03-09T00:29:28.895Z · LW · GW

The basic idea is that the ratio of infected to susceptible people grows exponentially to infinity, which means the absolute number of infected people follows a logistic function.

Comment by clone of saturn on Bucky's Shortform · 2020-03-08T22:58:58.654Z · LW · GW

I’m dismayed to hear that you think publicly double-checking someone’s claims might be too arrogant.

Comment by clone of saturn on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-08T18:21:28.024Z · LW · GW

Of course we should, but that is irrelevant to the question of whether this post is hazardous if people without LW accounts read it.

Comment by clone of saturn on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-08T11:18:46.095Z · LW · GW

The level of handwringing about this post seems completely out of proportion when there are many thousands of people coming up with all sorts of COVID-related conspiracy theories on facebook and twitter. If it went viral my guess is that it would actually increase trust in the CDC by giving people a more realistic grounding for their vague suspicions.

Comment by clone of saturn on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-08T10:47:54.368Z · LW · GW

And remember that CDC is an organization with legal constraints that make them unable to do some of the things you think are good ideas, and that they have been operating under a huge staff shortage due to years of a hiring freeze and budget cuts.

These sound like reasons to trust the CDC even less, is that what you meant?

Comment by clone of saturn on Comment section from 05/19/2019 · 2020-01-29T10:57:06.196Z · LW · GW

The entire HBD community is seen as racist pseudoscientists by many.

Comment by clone of saturn on Bay Solstice 2019 Retrospective · 2020-01-17T05:35:52.292Z · LW · GW

Could someone explain what the "Eliezer bit" actually was, for those of us who weren't there?

Comment by clone of saturn on Free Speech and Triskaidekaphobic Calculators: A Reply to Hubinger on the Relevance of Public Online Discussion to Existential Risk · 2020-01-04T18:29:53.423Z · LW · GW

As a semi-outsider, rationalists seem remarkably unlikely to altruistically punish each other for this sort of casual betrayal. (This is a significant part of why I've chosen to remain a semi-outsider by only participating online.)

Comment by clone of saturn on What cognitive biases feel like from the inside · 2020-01-03T21:51:07.392Z · LW · GW

I'm going to assume this is a false flag attack on conflict theory by an insane, terroristic mistake theorist.

Comment by clone of saturn on Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos" · 2020-01-03T02:36:52.558Z · LW · GW

But Schelling's whole point was about how it's virtually impossible to separate those two things.

Comment by clone of saturn on Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality" · 2020-01-02T03:07:35.611Z · LW · GW

Oh, I see. Yes, I was assuming in the context of this discussion that X is something you hadn't already thought of, and do find relevant.

Comment by clone of saturn on Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality" · 2020-01-02T02:33:37.678Z · LW · GW

Probably? Commentary is useful because most of us aren't smart enough to anticipate all possible criticisms and responses to those criticisms.

Comment by clone of saturn on Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality" · 2020-01-02T01:22:08.070Z · LW · GW

Yes, I disagree with that as stated, although I would agree with a slightly softened version that replaced "the author should be interpreted as ignorant" with "the post should be regarded as less trustworthy".

Comment by clone of saturn on Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality" · 2020-01-02T00:05:45.879Z · LW · GW

To be clear, I don't interpret a lack of any response as anything other than a sign that the author has a busy life. What I take as strong evidence of the author being incapable of giving a proper response is when there's a back-and-forth in which the author never directly responds to the original question.

Comment by clone of saturn on Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality" · 2020-01-01T06:31:25.808Z · LW · GW

My experience has been that the usual reason these threads are unproductive, when they are, is simply because the author doesn't have a sensible answer. Unpleasant as it may be for the rest of us, Said is doing us a great service by revealing this fact.

Comment by clone of saturn on Programmers Should Plan For Lower Pay · 2019-12-31T22:24:10.430Z · LW · GW

Yes, my immediate assumption was that they have a strong filter on who they teach. I don't find it terribly implausible that someone would know 15 people who are smart enough to code. But I think they're going to be unpleasantly surprised if they start teaching strangers from the public library.

Comment by clone of saturn on Programmers Should Plan For Lower Pay · 2019-12-29T08:57:52.274Z · LW · GW

I don't think your experiment gives much evidence that "anybody" can learn coding, just that it isn't very strongly correlated with social status.

Comment by clone of saturn on Is Causality in the Map or the Territory? · 2019-12-18T21:41:52.833Z · LW · GW
  • This probably isn’t quite right, but “current sources” are in some sense a bit fictitious. The defining feature is that they maintain constant current regardless of the load placed across the terminals, but in practice, you can set up a device that behaves like that by supplying whatever voltage is necessary to maintain a fixed current. So you can model a “current-source” as “a device which adapts its voltage difference to produce constant current”, which is compatible with a “voltage causes current” paradigm.
    • All real current sources have a limited range they can operate over dependent on how much voltage they can supply. If you had a truly ideal current source, you’d have an infinite energy machine.

This is all true, however, voltage sources are equally fictitious, and a truly ideal voltage source would also be an infinite energy machine. As you increase the load, a real-life voltage source will start to behave more like a current source (and eventually like a smoke generating machine).

Comment by clone of saturn on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2019 · 2019-12-18T05:53:42.724Z · LW · GW

Maybe this one?

Comment by clone of saturn on ialdabaoth is banned · 2019-12-14T00:39:15.307Z · LW · GW

My understanding is that the epistemic concern is "after writing the affordance widths post, he would tell young women he needed to do BDSM stuff they weren't comfortable with in order to stay within his affordance width." And similar things for some of his other posts. I'm not sure why the OP was so vague about this.

Edit: and he also managed to fool members of CFAR with a similar line.

We believe that Brent is fundamentally oriented towards helping people grow to be the best versions of themselves. In this way he is aligned with CFAR’s goals and strategy and should be seen as an ally.

In particular, Brent is quite good at breaking out of standard social frames and making use of unconventional techniques and strategies. This includes things that have Chesterton’s fences attached, such as drug use, weird storytelling, etc. A lot of his aesthetic is dark, and this sometimes makes him come across as evil or machiavellian.

Brent also embodies a rare kind of agency and sense of heroic responsibility. This has caused him to take the lead in certain events and be an important community hub and driver. The flip side of this is that because Brent is deeply insecure, he has to constantly fight urges to seize power and protect himself. It often takes costly signalling for him to trust that someone is an ally, and even then it’s shaky.

Brent is a controversial figure, and disliked by many. This has led to him being attacked by many and held to a higher standard than most. In these ways his feelings of insecurity are justified. He also has had a hard life, including a traumatic childhood. Much of the reason people don’t like him comes from a kind of intuition or aesthetic feeling, rather than his actions per se.

Comment by clone of saturn on ialdabaoth is banned · 2019-12-13T08:36:42.705Z · LW · GW

Comment by clone of saturn on Effect of Advertising · 2019-11-26T21:24:10.559Z · LW · GW

If reviewers would indeed be more trustworthy, I don't see why they couldn't take over the function of letting interested people know about new products etc. that you say would go away.

Comment by clone of saturn on Double Cruz and Verification of Claims · 2019-11-22T10:26:22.289Z · LW · GW

Double crux is only meant to resolve a disagreement between two people, it wouldn't let third parties verify anything unless they all happened to share the same cruxes.

Comment by clone of saturn on The LessWrong 2018 Review · 2019-11-22T08:18:51.951Z · LW · GW

I've added support for this on GreaterWrong; you can view nominated posts here and all 2018 posts here.

Comment by clone of saturn on Realism about rationality · 2019-11-22T07:52:26.475Z · LW · GW

Testing, ignore this

Comment by clone of saturn on Insights from the randomness/ignorance model are genuine · 2019-11-14T01:24:03.508Z · LW · GW

Could you explain why the Doomsday argument answer seems absurd, or why I don't have to be a human who was actually born?