[LINK] Obviously transhumanist SMBC comic 2013-01-30T08:10:15.584Z · score: -3 (14 votes)


Comment by cthulhoo on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-05T14:07:24.185Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I see people are highly upvoting the post, even correcting for the Bostrom's halo effect, so I'm updating a bit in the direction of you being right. I also see that you've followed Lachouette suggestion, and I like it.

I would be genuinely curious to see if it worked as intended in the end, might change the way in which I conduct job interviews a bit (I obviously realize that this is an irrelevant request that will probably not be met).

Best of luck with the recruiting.

Comment by cthulhoo on Could you be Prof Nick Bostrom's sidekick? · 2014-12-05T09:15:38.473Z · score: 4 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. This job offering doesn't sound very appealing to me. It basically reads: "Would you like to be Nick Bostrom's slave? He is much more important than you! It will be a honour to be his slave!"

Note that I'm not saying that the job isn't worthwile or that the world couldn't be a better place if Bostrom had more free time to do his research, just that the ad could be framed a bit better.

Comment by cthulhoo on When the uncertainty about the model is higher than the uncertainty in the model · 2014-12-04T14:27:43.709Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

B-S endures, but is generally patched with insights like these.

I think I can see what you mean, and in fact I partially agree, so I'll try to restate the argument. Correct me if you think I got it wrong. In my experience it's true that B-S is still used for quick and dirty bulk calculations or by organizations that don't have the means to implement more complex models. But the model's shortcomings are very well understood by the industry, and risk managers absolutely don't rely on this model when e.g. calculating the capital requirement for Basel or Solvency purposes. If they did, the regulators will utterly demolish their internal risk model.

There is still a lot of work to be done, and there is what you call model uncertainty at least when dealing with short time scales, but (fortunately) there's been a lot of progress since B-S.

Comment by cthulhoo on When the uncertainty about the model is higher than the uncertainty in the model · 2014-12-04T10:52:20.550Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I doesn't endure, not in Risk Management, anyways. Some alternatives for equities are e.g. the Heston Model or other stochastic volatilities approaches. Then, there is the whole filed of systemic risk which studies correlated crashes: events when a bunch of equities all crash at the same time are way more common than they should be and people are aware of this. See e.g. this anaysis that uses a Hawk model to capture the clustering of the crashes.

Comment by cthulhoo on Stupid Questions (10/27/2014) · 2014-10-28T16:29:25.373Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, rereading my comment I see that it may sound pretentious, but this wasn't my intention. Reading your comment just triggered this random factoid stored in my mind :)

Comment by cthulhoo on Stupid Questions (10/27/2014) · 2014-10-28T09:16:58.589Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I remember that it used to be 100 Karma, although this was when the community was much smaller. Also, it was mostly used as a rule of thumb/heuristic for the personal accountability of one's posts (e.g. some people would withold a downvote the person posting it was new to the community).

Comment by cthulhoo on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T13:32:28.412Z · score: 51 (51 votes) · LW · GW

Survey done, awesome as usual, Yvain. Can't wait for the results.

Comment by cthulhoo on What should a friendly AI do, in this situation? · 2014-08-08T10:41:59.629Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Let's try to translate it using human characters.

Albert is finishing high school and wants to be a programmer. He is very smart, and under the guidance of his father he has studied coding, with the aim of entering a good college, and get the best formal education. One day, he comes across an excellent job offer: he is requested to join a startup with many brilliant programmers. He will have to skip going to college, but he knows that he will learn way more in this way than by doing academic studies. He also knows that his father loves him and wants him to have the best possible career. Unfortunately, the man is old-fashioned and, even presented with alle the advantages of the job, would insist that he goes to college instead. Nevertheless, Albert knows that he could convince his father by saying that the job will leave him enough free time for him to attend college lectures, even though he knows he would'nt be possible for him to do much more than phisically attending the lectures.

What should Albert do?

I personally think that both Alberts should go with the manipulation, "for the greater good".

Notice that this assumes the following things:

  • The programmers/father really want Albert to improve the most, in the end
  • Albert is confident to be skilled enough to assess the situation correctly
  • Tertium non datur, i.e. either Albert tells the neutral truth and doesn't get what he wants, or he is manipulative
Comment by cthulhoo on Finding LessWrongers on LinkedIn · 2014-05-13T14:37:00.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I joined the group in good faith, even though I'm not 100% convinced of the usefulness of having yet another LW online community (and apparently not using it?). Maybe it could be dedicated to the occasional work topic that pops up here sometimes, since it's often not an issue directly related to rationality. Anyways, I will be glad to give whatever work-related-Linkedin-mediated help I can to any Lesswronger, feel free to pm me here to ask me for my name if you like.

Comment by cthulhoo on Thought Crimes · 2014-01-15T09:54:55.711Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

1) Some truths can hurt society Topics like unfriendly artificial intelligence make me question the assumption that I always want intellectual progress in all areas. If we as modern society were to choose any topic which restricting thought about might be very useful, UFAI seems like a good choice. Maybe the freedom of thought in this issue might be a necessary casualty to avoid a much worse conclusion.

I'm not sure why freedom of thought is in principle a bad thing in this case. I can think about whatever horrible thing I want, but unless I act upon my thoughts, I see no danger in it. I'm pretty sure that some people get off with rape fantasies, or seriously considers murdering someone, but if they don't act upon their thoughts I see no problem with it. Then of course thinking usually does have consequences: depressed people are often encouraged not to daydream and focus on concrete tasks, for example. But this kind of distinction is true in many kind of situations: while in principle having the fridge stocked with wine wouldn't hurt a former alcoholic, in practice it's much better if they stay as far away as possible from temptation.

Comment by cthulhoo on Physics grad student: how to build employability in programming & finance · 2014-01-09T11:09:01.902Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

This definitely needs to be stressed. I went through the same path as the OP: got my PhD in Theoretical Physics, then moved to quantitative finance. I definitely wasn't stunningly above average in my old filed, but now, modesty aside, I am significantly smarter than the people I do consulting work for. And still, quantitative finance attracts people who in general are above the average population. There is probably a bit of availability/selection bias going on here, so be careful to correct for it.

Now, to the OP. As for the original question, its quite possible that in the quant field you could already be hired without having specific financial kowledge. People have learned to know that former physicists are of high value, and are willing to invest some time teach you what you need to know. I honestly wouldn't suggest that you spend time into building some specific knowledge, as it may very well be unnecessary. If you have some spare time, you might want to learn some advanced statistics, even though simpling refreshing what you learned in college should be sufficient.

If you want some more specific advice, feel free to pm me. You say you aren't American, if you are Eurpean and would like to find a job here, I might be of some help.

Comment by cthulhoo on Online vs. Personal Conversations · 2013-12-28T15:51:02.033Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect the persuasiveness in oral communication is related to our susceptibility to favorable impressions of people who mimic our tone, posture, etc.

The non-verbal communication component should probably also be taken into acccount. Face to face discussions can be more dense of information, since tone and posture can also communicate nuances of beliefs and confidence in them that can make one's position more clear (and often more acceptable). Written communication is very often pretty dry in this respect, resulting sometimes in flame wars and people becoming only more stubborn.

Comment by cthulhoo on Personal examples of semantic stopsigns · 2013-12-06T11:02:36.270Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

You are right, I should eat less chocolate

In this particular case, I think the use of "should" is more an implicit dismissal than a semantic stopsign (but there may be an overlap between the two concepts). What I mean is that it's usually clear to both the participants of the conversation that you have acknowledged the problem but do not intend to implement a solution yet. More explicitely, the meaning of the phrase sounds like: "I know that I should eat less chocolate, but this is not a priority for me now.". It stops the conversation by stating your full position regarding the subjet, even if not explicitely.

Back on the main topic, one of the most powerful semantic stopsigns is probably "It's complicated". It's so powerful that even PUAs encourage to exploit it as a relationship weapon. I'm guilty of using it myself very often, even though I hate to hear those words uttered to me.

Comment by cthulhoo on December 2013 Media Thread · 2013-12-03T10:13:46.770Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Amazing series, probably my all-time favorite. Walter's character is brilliantly developed, and what I found amazing is the credible portayal of a smart man who has to deal with unexpected problems. He doesn't have a magic staff, but he is usually able to use his intelligence to find a solution to the problems he has to face. What's brilliant is that you can see or at least reconstruct his thought process (no "magical deductions" à la Sherlock Holmes) and very often things go wrong beacause of something he didn't know or couldn't predict, pretty much as it happens in the real world. Despite that, he never gives up and looks for a better fixing (with all the most catastrophic consequences).

Comment by cthulhoo on Making the chaff invisible, and getting the wheat ($200 prize too) · 2013-11-29T08:38:28.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think there's an easy way to be specifically notified about such a general category of events, except maybe a Facebook account following some very selected sources . For music specifically, though, I can suggest LastFm, which catalogues the music you listen to, and offers a selection of nearby gigs based on your preferences, among other things. It's also quite good for discovering new music that might fit your tastes.

Comment by cthulhoo on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-22T14:42:28.233Z · score: 34 (34 votes) · LW · GW

Survey taken, all of it!

Thanks Yvain, for all the time and work you put every year into this. Can't wait to see the results!

Comment by cthulhoo on What Can We Learn About Human Psychology from Christian Apologetics? · 2013-10-22T14:43:31.895Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Make it two data points. I am really enjoiying your (Chris) posts. Besides the content (which I do think belongs to LW) I like the writing style a lot: the entries are long, but engaging.

Comment by cthulhoo on Group Rationality Diary, October 16-31 · 2013-10-17T08:36:41.321Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I solved the problem long ago by not buying junk food at all. This way, I have to ask myself whether I am really hungry, and therefore need a proper meal, or if it's only boredom. In the second case, cooking a full meal isn't worth it, so I spare myself the extra calories. I lost 8kg in three months with this simple trick.

Comment by cthulhoo on A Voting Puzzle, Some Political Science, and a Nerd Failure Mode · 2013-10-10T15:00:29.149Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

However, similar to what lukeprog and shminux pointed out, this is quite the long essay, and it would be nice if it was tightened up a bit, at least in the form of providing a summary at the beginning.

To be honest, I didn't mind the length. It's nicely witten and it builds up a narrative of some sort, making it worth the read. A summary won't hurt, of course, but otherwise I see no need to shorten the essay.

Comment by cthulhoo on Mistakes repository · 2013-09-09T09:41:33.468Z · score: 22 (22 votes) · LW · GW

Be careful about how much you invest in a relationship. Whatever you might think at any moment, the probability that it will end in the future are relevant. I happened to make several life-changing choices in order to optimize the relationship with my former girlfirend, since we had been together for a long time and thing were sitll looking awesome. She dumped me abruptely, and I found myself navigating into a huge void of lost friends, lost hobbies, and a job that I like, but it's not the one I had always wanted to have (and had, before changing for the sake of the relationship).

Comment by cthulhoo on You are the average of the five people you spend most time with. · 2013-09-05T10:04:25.741Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I second this. Friends selection usually involves having some mutual interests: math, music, movies, parties, whatever. The focus of the activity you do together will mostly invole those interests, therefore you will put more effort into getting "better" at them, if only because you're spending more time practicing.

I don't think the opposite can be true: of you hate physics, you can't just hang out with a phisicist to get better at it. I regularly hang out with my oldest group of firends, and none of them has ever expressed interest in knowing more about my thesis on the Higgs Boson - or the law of conservation of momentum for what matters. On the other hand, I can have more challenging conversation with my colleagues on this topic, but, while many of them are also excellent musicians, I never thought about getting to practice with my guitar again.

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-03T10:49:52.738Z · score: 53 (55 votes) · LW · GW

In some species of Anglerfish, the male is much smaller than the female and incapable of feeding independently. To survive he must smell out a female as soon as he hatches. He bites into her releasing an enzime which fuses him to her permanently. He lives off her blood for the rest of his life, providing her with sperm whenever she needs it. Females can have multiple males attached. The morale is simple: males are parasites, women are sluts. Ha! Just kidding! The moral is don't treat actual animal behavior like a fable. Generally speaking, animals have no interest in teaching you anything.

Oglaf (Original comic NSFW)

Comment by cthulhoo on Open Thread: How much strategic thinking have you done recently? · 2013-08-28T15:24:16.660Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I often find that the hardest part is finding the answer to:

Do you know what your long-term and medium-term goals are?

I honestly have no idea. I can easily focus on short term goals, when I am rather confident that Me(now) will be very similar to Me(goal reached). Things get harder and blurrier when I have to take into account my most likely self modification. Concrete example. Since I was 10, I've always wanted to be a physicist. Roughly near the end of my Ph.D. I started to evolve into someone who doesn't want to be a phisicist. I tried a short post-doc abroad and looked for a different job. If I had known in advance I could have spared me at least a couple unpleasant months abroad and a couple (make it 3) of years of underpaid work. But I didn't know. Now I find myself wanting to make a lot more money, but I keep wondering what will happen if this desire faded away abruptly and I finded myself trapped in an awful job.

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T15:57:12.791Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of investment sites also have these kinds of rough tests to get an idea of your risk tolerance so they can suggest advice accordingly, although they aren't necessarily perfect. This link seems to explain some of the issues that come up:

As a side note, if you go to your bank and ask them about investing your money, they will probably make you take one of these tests, and then suggest investments that match your profile (not necessary the best choices, but it could give you an idea of what you can expect).

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T15:54:59.826Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is the idea that one must assume risk (uncertainty) to obtain excess expected returns. It is by no means ubiquitous: assuming risk may reduce expected returns. For example, people assume risk to gain exposure to negative expected returns in a casino (roulette, blackjack, &c). No doubt there are plenty of examples in financial markets where risk does not automatically yield excess expected returns.

In theory, all financial institution optimize around something like the efficient frontier. This should ensure that higher risk corresponds to higher returns. In practice, quantitative finance goes through a lot of approximations, therefore some real portfolios could be strictly dominated by other choices.

You imply that one should invest where economic growth is expected to be highest. Note that it does not follow that shares in high growth companies (or countries) will lead to high returns. This is because the expected future growth may well be built into the current price. That is, if everyone thinks something will be likely worth a lot in the future, the current price will be bid up to reflect this. It is the uncertainty of the outcome that may arguably cause higher expected returns. If people have a distaste for uncertainty, then the price might be bid down leading to higher expected returns.

This is one of the reasons for the low-growth/low-variance profile of the more developed countries' markets compared to the high-growth/high-variance profile of the developing ones.

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T15:48:05.618Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would agree that this is true, but I'd caution against thinking of even government bonds as a textbook "risk-free" investment.

Correct consideration, I personally know a greek guy who bought decennial bonds from his own country five years before the collapse and got heavily screwed. This should be a more remote possibilitie for e.g US bonds, and it's kind of a "second order consideration" for someone who is just approaching the idea of investing money. I'm not sure of the taxing policies in the US, so I can't really help, but the priciple it's true. One of the reasons why I was suggesting Insurance Companies in another post is that they usually are subjected to a different (lighter) tax regime.

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T09:14:26.459Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Should I even bother with this "investment" stuff right now, or just move the whole 13k sum to a simple savings account and worry about reinvesting it in a year?

It depends on when you think you will need the money, and how much dependant you are on that amount. If you plan on using it at some point (e.g. for buying a car) then try something with low risk. Usually insurance companies have good low risk funds, which guarantee a minimum return of 2-3% a year, and average round 4-5% (they mainly invest in bond: you could do it directly on your own, but if you know nothing about finance, you should probably trust them).

If, on the other hand, you think you could afford to risk losing some money in the short run, then go for the equity investment, but try to spend some time to evaluate it and chose the mean return/risk profile that fits you best.

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T09:04:59.316Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Just be careful that markets /= economy. The developing economies might still grow steadily, while their markets can fluctuate a lot. One of the most widely used Indexes for emerging markets is the Morgan Stanley BRIC. You can easily google and find some funds that invest in it and look at their performance to get an idea. The first one that I found (here) has a decent summary of its most important features. You can see that it is actually losing money . A very important number you should look at is the standard deviation, which is written to be 23% over three years. On the contrary, investing e.g. in the US health care sector has given much better results (see here) with less risk.

To summarize: what you say it's true in the long run, but equity investments have a significant short and medium-term evolution, which is generally independent of the long-term trends.

Comment by cthulhoo on Simple investing for a complete beginner? (Just… developing world index funds?) · 2013-08-22T08:16:02.097Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Markets are essentially random walks with an upward trend?

Yes, but with a relatively high variance.

“Index funds” are magic boxes that you put money in and your money will grow at the same rate of the market that the fund “indexes”?

This is more or less true (minus some potential entry/manteinance costs)

“Developing world” economies generally grow a lot quicker than those in the “developed world”?

In general this is true, but the variance here is even higher. Lately, though, they are not performing particularly well (see here for example).

And there are enough of these places over the world, and they're independent enough, that natural disasters/political trouble/etc in a few of them still leave a consistent and high rate of average growth? So shouldn't I just put all my money in a fund that “indexes” all these "developing" economies together?

Yes, diversification reduces the risk, but the risk for equities remains in general significantly higher then the one for e.g. government bonds (i.e. losing your money is a real concern).

That said, even with a very good allocation, it should be very hard to make more than 8-10% a year with you investent (not impossible, mind you, chaotic systems are chaotic). This means rouglhy 1-1.3K per year in you condition. Of course, mr. exponential says that the longer the investment, the better (barring future market instabilities). It's up to you to decide if it's worth it. On the other hand, if you don't need the money now, there are other forms of investing that block your capital for a longer period of time, but with much lower risk.

EDIT Maybe it's an obvious advice, but be careful about what you're doing. If there's someone you trust to whom you can ask questions and submit invesment proposals for evaluation, absolutely do it. In any case, try to learn at least the basic features of what you're investing in (e.g. stock markets' returns have fat tails, whch means high probability of heavy losses, various derivatives can have many complicated features). I'll be glad to answer any questions, here or by PM, the best I can, but any specific investment must be evaualted on its own.

Comment by cthulhoo on Tell Your Rationalist Origin Story · 2013-08-02T15:29:34.975Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A Nobel prize is awarded?

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-02T07:33:43.261Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Whatever alleged "truth" is proven by results to be but an empty fiction, let it be unceremoniously flung into the outer darkness, among the dead gods, dead empires, dead philosophies, and other useless lumber and wreckage!

Anton Lavey, The Satanic Bible, The Book of Satan II

Comment by cthulhoo on Where Are We the Weakest? · 2013-07-09T22:04:27.351Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I usually proceed by asking a different question (the question if you want). Where am I not winning? Which areas of my life am I unsatisfied with? Then I go on asking the question you mentioned (or very similar ones):

  • Why am I not winning?
  • How much important is this area to me? It should be at least a bit since the issue came to my mind, minor problems are usually automatically filtered out (not always, of course, a problem I see could be the symptom of a bigger one, but I should at least be aware of something)
  • Can I identify a solution?
  • Would it be easy to apply? Better: would the cost/benefint ratio be worth it?
  • Can I generalize one solution to many problems?
Comment by cthulhoo on Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013) · 2013-07-04T13:57:55.681Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I use my "rationalnoodles" nickname almost everywhere, however still can't decide if it's appropriate on LW. Would like to read what others think.

Considering that infanticide is a generally accepted discussion topic here, I don't think people will question a nickname ;)


Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes July 2013 · 2013-07-04T13:55:24.934Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

It should also be noted that if one doesn't start wishing for a horse, the probability of obtaining one decreases furtherly.

I know this is meant to be a call to action instead of contemplation, but sometimes I've heard it quoted intending : "Be and adult, stop whishing for very-difficoult-to-obtain things", and this is a statement I don't agree with.

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-04T14:42:24.688Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it's somewhat hidden in steps 2 and 3. You have to be able to correctly state your hypothesis and to indentify all the possible variables. Consider chocolate water: your hipothesis is "There exist some brands of water that tastes like chocolate candy". Let's say for whatever reson you start with a prior probability p for this hypothesis. You then try some brands, find that none tastes like chocolate candy, and should therefore apply bayes and emerge with a lower posterior. What's much more effective, though, is evaluating the evidence you already have that induced you to believe the original hypothesis. What made you think that water could taste like chocolate? A friend told you? Did it appear in the news? In the more concrete cases:

  • Sex partners : Why did you expect them to be able to satisfy you without your input? What is your source? Porn movies?
  • Computer repair shops : Why did you expect people to work for free?
  • Diets : Have you talked to a professional? Gathered massive anedoctale evidence?
Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-04T08:13:31.351Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The thing is, some of the steps are very vague You're right of course, this was meant to be fully general. Details should be tuned on each specific instance.

If you have a bad case of insufficient clue, what's the cure?

I'm not sure I understood what you mean, but I guess you're thinking about cases where you can't have a "perfect experimental setup" to collect information. Well, in this case one should do the best with the information one has (though information can also be collected from other external sources of course). Sometimes there's simply not enough information to identify with sufficient certainty the best course of action, so you have to go with your best guess (after a risk/reward evaluation, if you want).

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-03T16:41:32.958Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This can be easily generalized as an algorithm.

  • Something repeatedly goes wrong
  • Identify correctly your prior hypothesis
  • Identify the variables involved
  • Check/change the variables
  • Observe the result (apply bayes when needed)
  • Repeat if necessary

Scientific method applied to everiday life, if you want :)

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-02T08:31:42.173Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

-Thank you, thank you Lord, for preserving my virginity!

  • You bloody idiot! Do you think God, to keep you a virgin, will drown the whole city of Florence?

(Architect Melandri to Noemi, the girl he is in love with, who thinks the flood of 1966 was sent as an answer to her prayers)

All my Friend, Act II [roughly translated by me]

Comment by cthulhoo on Optimizing for attractiveness · 2013-06-01T10:49:48.239Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW


Answering to diegocaleiro, I think this is the key. Be passionate about the topics that spark your interest, try to transmit how awesome they are. Often people are more lazy and scared by unknown and possibily complicated topics, but if you manage to make things accessible to them, they will be genuinely interested. Then it's also up to your ars oratoria, of course. I have a weird sense of humor and tend to interject the more serious discussion with jokingly remarks, this helps releasing the pressure if the topic gets too complicated.

Comment by cthulhoo on Optimizing for attractiveness · 2013-06-01T10:39:27.224Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

First, many EU citizen tend to assume $1 is 1€ at first approximation, while currently it's more like $1.3 for 1€. Cthulhoo may have made this approximation. Second, lower salaries may be compensated by a stronger welfare system (public unemployment insurance, public health insurance, public retirement plan…). This one is pretty big: in France, these cost over 40% of what your employer has to pay. Third, major cost centres such as housing may be cheaper (I wouldn't count on that one, though). To take an example, I live in France, and here, entry-level programmers with an engineering degree make about 23k€ in net salary (often with a few benefits, and possibly more in the capital). That's about 38k€ that your employer have to pay. Convert that in US$, and we're talking about $49k.

Just to clarify: I did adjust euros to dollars in my estimation. To be more precise, I work in what is mainly a software company (though I'm not myself a programmer), and the standard net salary here is 19K€ per year which makes roughly 25$ per year. Now, of course if you're really good you can climb the ladder, and there are possible bonus if you reach outstanding results, but this requires more then the "teach yourself programming" level. From what I know, this is pretty much the standard, and a quick google search gives some confirmation of my numbers on this page:

It should be noted, though, that all salaries are rescaled roughly in the same way, and the cost of living is lower, so you might need to adjust your usual perspective.

Comment by cthulhoo on Optimizing for attractiveness · 2013-05-31T13:37:57.132Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've also been told multiple times by multiple sources that women values confidence, competence and leadership. I understand the confidence part in being able to express without embarassment your interest (but still in a socially graceful manner), but I would really like pointers about what area of my life I could engage to become more competent or a leader. In what domains women like competence/leadership?

It would be useful to know what's your job. I've gained a lot of confidence with people in general since I left the Unversity (used to be a physicist) and went to work to a private firm where I have to take responsibility with the customers all the time. In general: practice makes better, find a way to practice interaction with people and you will become better at it. In addition, being good at your job is usually a self-esteem boost, that reflects in your everiday behavior.

My only hobby at the moment are the game of Go and dabbing in math/logics/AI, which, as fascinating as they are, are seldom considered very attractive.

This seems realy limiting, I'm sure there's gonna be more. It doesn't need to be a proper hobby, just something you're interested in. Do you read books? Watch movies? Follow the news? Have some funny story to share? It should be enough to break ice at least. Other than that, sometimes topics are as interesting as you make them be. I've entertained girls talking about particle physics, economics models, Dunbar number and yes, even AI related stuff.

Comment by cthulhoo on Optimizing for attractiveness · 2013-05-31T13:27:00.424Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

make your dabbling in "logic/math/AI" a "learning how to program" at least doubling your income.

A minor point: this coul probably work in the US, but it doesn't in Italy. Average salary for a good programmer (not outstanding, but at least experienced) is around $25k. It should also be noted that the cost of living in Italy is slightly lower, so $20K per year, while not impressive, it's still a decent salary.

Comment by cthulhoo on "I know what she has to offer already" is almost always false · 2013-04-10T14:13:30.808Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

6) Though topics in which the highest information flow could be achieved are usually abandoned, they are brought back in the beggining of new interactions if the people keep seeing each other for a few days, still as usual they slowly fade away.

7) When the button of friendship is really surely deep down pushed, they talk almost always about what doesn't matter, such as niche gossip, daily events, what they did since last interaction - I mean, how likely is it that in those 26 years, the best I've done happened in the last 2 days? - This obviously is a bad thing, and under our assumption that they either want to know more or do better, it is a cost for both.

This sounds strange, and it doesn't match with my experience at all. In fact, things tend often to go the opposite way: when I get to meet a new person, initial conversation is mostly about meaningless things. You want to get a taste of what the other person is like, without risking to compromise things with a possibly dangerous topic. Then, when " the button of friendship is really surely deep down pushed", new and more interesting converstions can spark, since the other person in no more classified as a possible enemy that will punish you for disagreement. And then, in the deep end, you probably do speak about what you did since your last interaction, mostly beacause your intelocutor already knows quite well what you did in the rest of you life, due to the previous interactions you had.

Comment by cthulhoo on Open thread, March 17-31, 2013 · 2013-03-27T14:21:51.590Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

From the experience derived in many years of competitive Magic: the Gathering, I think I have a diferent map.

  • Superior opponent: Nervous - Very Focused
  • Approximately my skill opponent / Unknown opponent (no precise rating available): Confident - Very Focused
  • Inferior opponent: Confident - Not Focused

As can be inferred, I usually play my best game with opponents that are roughly my equal. Some of the difficoulties can be overcome by means of intense practice, i.e. making most of the decisions automatic, lessening the risk to punt them. It's also interesting to note, that my anxiety for playing against strogner opponents lessens itself if I get to know them. Probably my brains moves them from the "superhuman/demigod" box to the "human just like you" box allowing a clearer view of the situation.

Comment by cthulhoo on [LINK] Transcendence (2014) -- A movie about "technological singularity" · 2013-03-22T08:34:53.710Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Be gur ynjazbjre zna.

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-05T08:47:38.334Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I modified the post after less than five minutes... are you spying on me? ;)
Thank you, preserving the feeling, alongside the literal meaning, while translating in a foreign language can be surprisingly difficult (for me, at least).

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-04T16:50:35.065Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Luck, when it's regular, it's called skill. (Il culo, quando è sistematico, si chiama classe)

Nereo Rocco

(I tried a rough tranlsation, but it sounds way better in Italian)

Comment by cthulhoo on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-01T13:27:20.133Z · score: 3 (9 votes) · LW · GW


Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.

Elbert Hubbard

Comment by cthulhoo on When should you give to multiple charities? · 2013-02-27T14:54:44.370Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

you should give all your donation to the charity that most aids the global diversification program. Splitting your donations implies being risk-averse in what you personally achieve, which is perverse.

Well, you have to have a very bizarre utility function, for sure. ;)

even if you were risk-averse in lives saved, which I do not think you should be

I'm not sure about this point. I can imagine having a preference for saving at least X lives, versus an outcome with equal mean, but a more broadly distributed probability function.

Comment by cthulhoo on When should you give to multiple charities? · 2013-02-27T09:08:02.687Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure if this is really relevant, but there's the possibility of some diversification effect playing a role. It could be relevant if the spendings of the different charities are somewhat correlated. This is pure speculation from my part, of course, since I have no idea about how to effectively compute such a quantity.