## Posts

Dremeling 2020-07-14T19:23:23.036Z
"God Rewards Fools" 2020-04-30T22:51:41.974Z

Comment by czynski on Mosh · 2021-01-05T20:31:10.147Z · LW · GW

Your personal blog tags this as terminal but not shell, which also exists. You may wish to merge those tags.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2021-01-04T04:08:22.678Z · LW · GW

That doesn't follow. The sun belt became habitable because it got easier to fix, but that wasn't asymmetric in difficulty, just asymmetric in relevance; the difference between 'pretty easy' and 'very easy' matters much less than the difference between 'really hard' and 'a little bit hard'.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2021-01-03T16:50:42.123Z · LW · GW

the cost and convenience of cooling relative to heating has changed massively as technology has improved

Not really, no. That's the point: the problems retain their natural relative difficulty. The complexity suggests certain properties about the relative situation, and those properties have remained true.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2021-01-02T22:14:21.138Z · LW · GW

No one is suggesting you install a fireplace, literally no one, so no, it is completely irrelevant whether you can do so.

The relative difficulty of solving the problems of excessive cold and excessive heat, however, is relevant. And that relative difficulty is cleanly and clearly illustrated by the relative simplicity of the simplest solutions to those problems, which are, respectively, a fireplace and an air conditioner. As I said before:

This has obvious practical consequences for the comparative difficulty of the problems; it’s much easier to fix ‘too cold’ than ‘too hot’.

The fact that a fireplace is simple has the obvious implication that heating is an easier problem to fix in theory, and that has the implication that it is probably also easier to fix in practice. And this is indeed the case.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2021-01-02T21:56:33.854Z · LW · GW

Why are you still hung up on the utterly irrelevant question of whether it is practical to install a fireplace? No one but you has claimed that matters.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2021-01-02T21:52:41.938Z · LW · GW

Cost and convenience are almost entirely determined by simplicity. The fact that a fireplace is much simpler than an AC is directly causally linked to the lower cost in money and inconvenience of fixing the respective problems they address. Whether you actually use a fireplace is immaterial.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T21:49:36.468Z · LW · GW

Well, if they see the obvious it won't be because you helped, since you still haven't, despite very clear step by step explanation. I am rude because you have ignored all polite explanation and obstinately insisted on discussing irrelevancies.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T18:34:18.689Z · LW · GW

What that primarily means, probably, is that you are not tasty to mosquitoes. This is an axis along which people differ but not the one you probably meant.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T18:32:24.575Z · LW · GW

Your objection was the non sequitur. My reply is not irrelevant to that objection, but that doesn't matter, because that question is itself irrelevant to the one at the top of the thread. No one cares, and it does not matter, "whether I can have a fireplace in my apartment or not".

The point is blindingly obvious, which is why I explained it in small words above, but I can excerpt the critical pieces for you:

Cold winters are a lot easier to work around than sticky summers. [...] Fireplaces [...] are very simple. [...] Air conditioners [...] are very complex mechanisms. [...] This has obvious practical consequences[...]; it's much easier to fix 'too cold' than 'too hot'.

Fireplaces and ACs are the simplest available solutions to those problems, and their difficulty is vastly different. More sophisticated solutions exist, but the difficulty of practically implementing them is likewise determined by the massive disparity in difficulty of the underlying problem.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T01:19:37.933Z · LW · GW

Fireplaces are thousands of years old, because they are very simple. The most complex part is arranging air flow to not choke the room with smoke, and even that was present in prehistory. You can explain every aspect of their operation to a five year old, and if they're a bright five year old, you won't even have to repeat yourself later.

Air conditioners are less than two centuries old, because they are very complex mechanisms. No comparably-effective simpler technology exists, especially not for humid places. Many intelligent adults have some difficulty understanding their operation. (In hot, dry places adobe, for heat capacity, and windcatchers for active cooling, are pretty good low-tech tools, though still discovered well after the fireplace, definitely not explainable to a five year old, and maybe 20% as good as AC at best.)

Creating heat is so simple you can and will do it by accident. Moving heat is a difficult, precision operation. This has obvious practical consequences for the comparative difficulty of the problems; it's much easier to fix 'too cold' than 'too hot'.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-12-28T23:20:06.130Z · LW · GW

E. Large drawbacks

• Boston has very cold winters.

F. Small drawbacks

• Boston has summers that are hot, humid and swarming with mosquitoes.

These are backwards. Cold winters are a lot easier to work around than sticky summers. (A fireplace is simpler than an air conditioner.)

Comment by czynski on Truly Part Of You · 2020-12-03T19:40:47.879Z · LW · GW

I doubt this is feasible to regenerate from scratch, because I don't think anyone ever generated it from scratch. Euclid's Elements were probably the first rigorous proofs, but Euclid built on earlier, less-rigorous ideas which we would recognize now as invalid as proofs but better than a broad heuristic argument.

And of course, Euclid's notion of proof wasn't as rigorous as Russell and Whitehead's.

Comment by czynski on Circling · 2020-11-26T00:15:19.221Z · LW · GW

There may be a small minority of facilitators who do not have this problem. I do not think I, you, or anyone else can, before something goes wrong, pick them out from the crowd of seems-pretty-good facilitators who do have the problem. Especially since charismatic people are better at seeming trustworthy than trustworthy but uncharismatic people are. Individual evaluation, absent an actual record of past behavior to examine, is pretty worthless. And if they are following reasonable counselative ethics*, there will be no record; allowing such a record to be read by the public is itself an ethics violation.

Therapists are trained in counselative ethics, and if they violate them, can, and if it's discovered usually will, face severe consequences like revoking their license and making them unable to practice. I vaguely recall that there are somewhat-analogous pseudolicense-issuers who declare people "certified Circling facilitators". Even assuming, though, that those organizations put equivalent effort into investigating and assessing claimed violations and promulgating their conclusions (doubtful), they do not have real credibility. Revoking the certification might make it somewhat harder to continue to be a Circling facilitator; it's a very surmountable barrier, if it is a barrier at all. Those facilitators therefore do not have real skin in the game for the code of counselative ethics, because the issuing organizations just do not have the credibility to impose it. (They lack the right to be sued, in essence.)

*I'm using this to mean "the therapist code of professional ethics" except without the connotation that it is their profession. The correct ethical standard is not actually dependent on whether it is your job or a hobby. It is sufficiently hard to maintain this standard that most people are not willing to put in the effort for a hobby, which is one part of "professional". The other part is that requiring that someone maintain a certain code to retain their authorization to provide counseling for money is both morally and practically simpler (piggy-back it on top of contract law) than it is to require someone to maintain it for something they do as a hobby. (As an example, many people provide a similar informal service for their friends. Assume for the sake of argument that it would be net good to have all those people obey counselative ethics when they did. Even if so, it would be logistically horrendous, practically infeasible, and morally dubious to establish and enforce that norm.)

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-11-25T22:46:26.769Z · LW · GW

Yeah, that still annoys me. It did even more in the Pacific Northwest, which is even worse than the Bay.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-11-25T22:45:13.707Z · LW · GW

Seems plausible. I put

(This is a pretty significant adjustment for the other direction as well; my best friends on the West Coast have almost all been East Coast transplants.)

after the prudishness part but I could definitely be misentangling that. And, well, you are someone who is one of my best friends on the West Coast. (Well, was. RIP Delmarva.)

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-11-25T22:41:05.652Z · LW · GW

It is my experience that in Massachusetts cities (and even semi-urban towns), only attempting to cross if you will make it without the cars slowing down is only possible when waiting for the light. If you wait for the light, you then have the luxury of only attempting to cross if no car will interrupt you at its current speed and heading. Enough drivers treat red lights as guidelines that pedestrians must assume that all drivers will, so this is a nontrivial requirement. (I'd say 'imagine NYC except everyone's a taxi driver', but last I was in NYC that was nearly true already.)

It's unwise and uncommon to go full Schelling - i.e. performatively blindfolding yourself and then walking backwards into traffic - and it is normal and advisable to leave substantial safety margin, probably 3x-5x the technical minimum stopping distance, rather than assume they will detect it instantly. But you essentially must have to dare them to blink first, or you'll never get to cross.

Comment by czynski on Failed Utopia #4-2 · 2020-11-25T22:24:11.921Z · LW · GW

Posted January 21, 2009

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a Harry Potter fan fiction by Eliezer Yudkowsky. It adapts the story of Harry Potter by attempting to explain wizardry through the scientific method. It was published as a serial from 28 February 2010 through to 14 March 2015.

Wish granted.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-10-23T16:16:57.644Z · LW · GW

In what way is the prudishness a benefit?

Comment by czynski on Changing the size of Congress · 2020-10-23T16:15:33.693Z · LW · GW

I think the implications of enlarging the House are more interesting. Jump it up to a round 1000 and things look good for the Dems. Plus, what effect would that have on the Popular Vote Interstate Compact?

Comment by czynski on Charisma is a Force Multiplier · 2020-10-13T04:41:17.240Z · LW · GW

[4] In my view the stereotype that exists in some nerdy circles of charismatic people as inherently slimy/manipulative/otherwise not to be trusted has been very negative, both because I do not consider it to be accurate and because I think it discourages people in those communities from themselves developing charisma or related skills.

People who are a little bit charismatic are often slimy. People who are very charismatic are easily able to conceal whether they are slimy, whether or not they are. People without charisma are unable to conceal it and generally unable to do anything slimy even if they want to. Charisma is in fact Bayesian evidence towards sliminess.

Comment by czynski on Charisma is a Force Multiplier · 2020-10-13T04:38:01.237Z · LW · GW

I agree with your claims of fact, but I don't think you're thinking through the consequences enough. Charisma is a force multiplier, a.k.a. a symmetric weapon. However, there are a couple traits about it that justify the suspicion it gets.

• It is particularly good at tasks which involve changing the minds of others. This is also the realm where the most effective known* asymmetric weapon, logical argument, is most effective. Directly counteracting the best known asymmetric weapon makes it unusually dangerous.

• It is mostly involuntary. Charismatic people generally don't have volitional control over whether they're exercising it. (True sociopaths are a notable exception, IIUC.) They can dial it back, but charisma is a habit of mind more than an explicit skill, so a very charismatic person trying not to push is probably still exerting more charisma than an uncharismatic one trying their best to be convincing. E.G. Eliezer trying not to trade on his reputation would probably still accidentally pull pretty hard on the audience of a debate, substantially more than I could even trying my hardest.

• It's a serious trap for the elephant in the brain. Charisma is directly playing on the level of the mind that is optimized for surviving personal drama in a tribe of hunter-gatherers. This is what people are talking about when they talk about the "reality distortion field" that Steve Jobs, Michael Vassar, and any number of other charismatic people exude. Sufficiently charismatic people can't convince you that you're a yellow-footed rock wallaby; I think the better analogy is to the Asch conformity experiment; a very charismatic person counts as several people. And they won't necessarily even realize that they're doing it, either; the first person they convince is usually themself.

These make charisma pretty hazardous to the goal of group rationality, since it can easily shove a group's collective beliefs towards a viewpoint which isn't truth-tracking and interfere with attempts to get them back on track. Which substantively validates the outsider/nerd view of charisma as inherently suspect.

*[Citation Needed], I know

Comment by czynski on Charisma is a Force Multiplier · 2020-10-13T03:58:33.170Z · LW · GW

Logical debate has one advantage over narrative, rhetoric, and violence: it’s an asymmetric weapon. That is, it’s a weapon which is stronger in the hands of the good guys than in the hands of the bad guys...

The whole point of logic is that, when done right, it can only prove things that are true.

Violence is a symmetric weapon; the bad guys’ punches hit just as hard as the good guys’ do...

Violence itself... if anything, [decreases asymmetry] by giving an advantage to whoever is more ruthless and power-hungry.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-10-12T07:02:50.249Z · LW · GW

Like most of Graham's essays on non-startup topics, he extrapolates well beyond his data and confuses his map for the territory. I like the essay and the framework, but it's mostly bunk; you could make similar arguments completely shuffled around by examining a different subculture of each city and cherry-picking different examples.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-10-12T06:59:04.302Z · LW · GW

The second-best place to be is much less good than the best place. Because everyone who thinks it's important to be in the best place and can be, is, as are everyone who thinks it's important to be seen as one of the people who can be in the best place. So you only get people/organizations which either can't move to the best place, or don't think it's important to be in the best place and don't mind that other people will largely infer that they can't move to the best place. Since most things are two-sided markets and which place you are in is a quality signal in those markets, this cuts off a lot of upside potential for the ambitious.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-10-12T06:52:16.329Z · LW · GW

If you have a weird case, the prestigious teaching hospitals are very good for your outcomes. I probably owe 30% or so of being alive to the fact that Emerson Hospital didn't dismiss my self-reports of stabbing pain the night before I was supposed to get a hernia fixed as being a weird patient self-reporting about the hernia badly. As a result, they checked for and found appendicitis, and a serious case of it, which I was told (afterward) was probably life-threatening. However, if you check into the hospital without anything seriously wrong with you, you run a decent risk of them finding something less serious wrong with you, which can be pretty bad for your quality of life. (This led to my great-grandmother's rapid decline between age 100 and 105.)

In general, New England's culture is very much "nanny state". Experts are presumed to know what's good for you better than you do, whether they're doctors or legislators. (New Hampshire mostly excepted.) I'd expect this to interact poorly with the high level of education in the state, but it seems stable so I guess not.

Comment by czynski on Why Boston? · 2020-10-12T06:42:03.735Z · LW · GW

As another Massachusetts native (from the exurbs, not the Hub of the Universe), currently living in SF, I agree with most of this. However, you're seriously underrating the significance of blizzards. Even in ordinary times without global warming driving the extremes higher, blizzards sufficient to shut down the subway for a day or two were roughly annual. Now you get even worse storms every year or three, and that may increase. Hurricanes also have increased in severity and frequency IIRC (nope, checked, that's false; neither severity nor frequency has increased.)

Other drawbacks over the West Coast:

• Boston summer sucks. Firstly, mosquitos; if you've lived there your whole life you are underrating how nice it is to have no mosquitos, and also probably underestimating how mosquito-free the West Coast is. Secondly, humidity. On the West Coast you can step into the shade and have the temperature instantly drop ten degrees or more (°F). No such luck in New England; you can't escape the heat from a Boston summer without air conditioning or a properly-enclosed basement. Open a window and you're hosed.

• Prudishness. Norms around public intimacy are way more restrictive. None of it is given legal force, but the Puritan culture is still around. "Do what you want, but don't make me pay attention to it" is the puritanical liberal ethos and it's still the prevailing view in New England. (Probably less bad in the big city than in the subdivisions or in Worcester, where I spent most of my time, but it's still there.) This also means that the 'weirdness point budget' is lower, but I'm unsure quite how much lower due to urban/rural confounders on the anecdata I have. (This is a pretty significant adjustment for the other direction as well; my best friends on the West Coast have almost all been East Coast transplants.)

• Rudeness. I am pretty certain this is substantially, though not entirely, a result of the previous point. In Massachusetts, it's considered impolite to waste stranger's time with pleasantries, rude to involve yourself in stranger's problems or conversations, and generally normative to assume other people are looking out for themselves and won't appreciate you getting involved. At its more extreme, this produces the terrifying pedestrian dynamics, where the accepted way to cross in a crosswalk is to look carefully for speeding cars and if none of them look like they're speeding too much to be capable of stopping for you, walk out into the crosswalk and dare them to blink first. This is a hard cultural shift to navigate and will probably produce isolation in people who are used to West Coast norms. (This is actually one where I still prefer the East Coast norms after a decade on the Left Coast, but it's a flaw for most people considering the move.)

Comment by czynski on Circling · 2020-08-06T17:58:03.735Z · LW · GW

Therapists are the only group with structures to get systematic feedback on whether their assessments are correct; in the absence of such structures, I see no reason to believe self-reports of effectiveness. To paraphrase an -adjacent friend's recent FB post: "Everyone I've met who considered themself a 'people person' skeeved me out and eventually alienated me and many people around me. Everyone I've met who considered themself an 'empath' spent a lot of time telling me what my emotions were and not much time being correct about it." Someone who tells you they are good at this kind of skill, without reference to a structure they have in place which would detect them instead being very bad at it, is not giving you evidence that they are good at this skill. In practice, they are giving you (very weak) evidence they are very bad at it.

Therapists are not always useful; I've had - six? I think six - and only the most recent one has been helpful. But therapy training is training in the skills required to "first, do no harm". Circling facilitators and similar things do not have those skills and generally don't actually try to investigate what skills they need to acquire in order to do no harm, nor to acquire those skills.

Comment by czynski on Circling · 2020-08-05T02:51:03.895Z · LW · GW

Black swan events are not something I'm meaningfully including in my assessment of the risks. If there's risks from black swans, and there do seem to be from e.g. bgaesop's case, that's on top of the risk from standard cases which is already substantial.

You would not notice most cases of harm, and I'm not sure why you think you would. I'd guess that only half or so of cases of harm (large error bars, roughly 5:1 to 1:5) are noticed by the person affected in a way that allows them to connect the emotional damage to the Circle (probably as a merely substantial contributor rather than a sole contributor; many causes is the norm for this kind of thing), and even those aren't necessarily noticed immediately. The rest are likely to manifest as unease or nonspecific feelings of wrongness around the Circle, the people who were in it, that day, etc.; as misgivings about something tangentially related; or in no internally-legible way at all, just low-level anxiety/depression or worsening of issues that already existed. In other words, I would expect harm to present exactly like a mild social trauma, because that's precisely what it is.

And the people most likely to be willing to try Circling are those who least need it and in fact need the opposite.

This feels like a fairly strong claim that I don’t think you’ve justified.

I guess it's a strong claim, but it's the standard prior on advice, cf. All Debates Are Bravery Debates, The Loudest Alarm is Probably False, and leverage points in systems analysis. People's biases for psychological interventions tend to be anticorrelated with how much they're needed.

Comment by czynski on Circling · 2020-08-01T19:45:42.161Z · LW · GW

I agree that they're unlikely to be globally optimal, but it is unlikely that anyone* other than Bob has a better idea than Bob of where the optimal boundaries/defense mechanisms are relative to where Bob has placed his boundaries. Many people - myself probably included - have defense mechanisms which are too strong, but many others have defense mechanisms which are too weak. It's a bravery debate, strongly susceptible to typical-minding. And the people most likely to be willing to try Circling are those who least need it and in fact need the opposite.

*Excepting therapists and other forms of trained professional boundary/defense-mechanism-optimality-assessors, whose training also includes a number of required secondary skills like maintaining confidentiality and the virtue of silence which are required to provide that expertise in an ethical and positive-EV way.

Comment by czynski on Circling · 2020-07-31T19:29:06.903Z · LW · GW

5 years ago, I was very pro “giving people an excuse to be more vulnerable than they’d normally feel comfortable being.”

People generally have good reasons for picking the degree of vulnerability they pick. They are comfortable with it, and would not be comfortable with more, due to real things in the world, not personal quirks. Giving an 'excuse' to be more vulnerable always has a serious risk of pushing people to be more vulnerable without actually addressing the reasons they are uncomfortable with being more vulnerable. When it's social risk they're being vulnerable to, it is necessarily a social environment and therefore has substantial implicit social pressure to avail yourself of the 'excuse', so that risk becomes a certainty. Every time you Circle, you are pushing people to be vulnerable whether or not it's good for them, and they generally know better than you whether it's good for them. And communicating those boundaries, in this kind of setting, is a risk of the exact type they're trying to limit their exposure to.

Comment by czynski on More Right · 2020-07-31T19:09:28.320Z · LW · GW

Well, you've already gone off-target from that goal, because what you said here makes even less sense. I can't tell what you mean by "X feels like Y, feels as if Y is Z", even so far as to judge it true or false.

Do you mean that "X feels like a situation in which Y is Z"?

Do you mean "The way X feels like Y is similar to the way Y feels like Z"?

Do you mean "X makes me feel like Y is like Z"?

None of these interpretations actually makes your comment make sense, because none of them are analogous to the original positive-humility/truth-blade simile, but I can't even tell which of these you intended.

Comment by czynski on More Right · 2020-07-30T17:54:57.192Z · LW · GW

That is the opposite of what you said.

But being "positively" humble, actively trying to not just not-sidestep but go forward… feels weird. As if the truth is a blade to be looked at only as it descends for the kill and never before; at the moment when whatever you do, it won’t matter.

Do you see how this phrasing is specifically claiming that positive humility is analogous to ignoring the blade?

Comment by czynski on More Right · 2020-07-28T02:23:05.215Z · LW · GW

You are definitely not understanding the analogy made above, nor my confusion. The analogy was meant to illustrate a failure mode of having only positive humility. EDIT: This apparently correctly understood what was meant, but not what was said.

Comment by czynski on "Should Blackmail Be Legal" Hanson/Zvi Debate (Sun July 26th, 3pm PDT) · 2020-07-26T22:10:07.660Z · LW · GW

It seems pretty unlikely that this debate will have anything novel to add. Zvi is obviously in the right, and Robin hasn't displayed the ability to generate new ideas in five years.

Comment by czynski on More Right · 2020-07-26T20:02:56.410Z · LW · GW

I don't understand your blade analogy. In what way is positive humility analogous to ignoring a blade while it's sheathed/merely in motion?

Comment by czynski on Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (II.) · 2020-07-25T15:17:14.458Z · LW · GW

A government has a different problem than just bureaucracy; it has to aggregate preferences from a much larger group in order to do its job. The aggregation of needs, preferences, and other important information just gets harder as the group to be governed gets bigger. I think it's faster than quadratic, as well; I'd expect that first, second, and probably third derivatives are all strictly increasing functions of population; for a bureaucracy with no customers/clients outside itself the first derivative is positive and usually the second, but probably not the third.

Comment by czynski on Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (II.) · 2020-07-25T06:05:43.869Z · LW · GW

However, one then remembers the direct democracy in California and is no longer so sure. Not that the Californian direct democracy is necessarily bad, but it shows no spectacular results either.

Two points:

• Californian direct democracy is bad. Very bad. The two biggest problems, currently, are Prop 13, which makes it unaffordable for any city to allow housing to be built, and Prop 26, which requires that the legislature have a supermajority to increase any tax or fee. But these are symptoms of a larger problem which is that it routinely puts nice-sounding ideas up for a vote, ideas which would be catastrophic in practice for complex reasons, and it takes heroic efforts to prevent them from becoming law that the legislature cannot amend.

• You are missing a large difference between Switzerland and California that is much more likely to be relevant than the differences you note: Size. California has 40 million people in 160,000 square miles; Switzerland has 8 million in 16,000 square miles. (The population difference is the crucial one, but the large difference in land area shouldn't be discounted.) It certainly doesn't help that the US systems for devolution don't have nearly the granularity that Switzerland does, but the core problem is that California is ungovernably large.

It is my long-standing contention that the coordination costs to keep an organization well-directed scale superlinearly with the size of the organization, and particularly that this increases much faster than the amount of labor available within the organization. I believe this explains most problems people experience with government and large corporations.

Comment by czynski on A New Way to Visualize Biases · 2020-07-23T23:56:50.239Z · LW · GW

No, it is a bug in virtually all cases. A model which depicts a broad class of phenomena in a single way is a bad model unless the class of phenomena are actually very similar along the axis the model is trying to capture. These phenomena are not similar along any useful axis. In fact, there is no observable criterion you could choose to distinguish the examples depicted as biased from the examples depicted as correct. A biased inference, a correct inference where no bias you know of played a substantial role, an instance where multiple biases canceled out, an instance where you overcompensated for bias (e.g. "the world isn't actually dangerous, so that guy at the bus top with a drawn knife probably doesn't actually mean me harm"), and a Gettier case are all structurally identical.

This diagram format is a pure placebo and any value you perceive it to have given you is incorrectly attributed.

Comment by czynski on A New Way to Visualize Biases · 2020-07-23T23:46:04.726Z · LW · GW

You have not so much misinterpreted it as failed to understand it at all. Drawing the diagram visually does literally nothing to make the situation in any way clearer. It adds no information which you did not have beforehand. There does not appear to be anything about this diagram format that could be used to add new information even in principle. You have replaced "I think this will take X hours; however, planning fallacy." with a drawing that depicts "I think this will take X hours; however, planning fallacy." This is not helpful. It is almost a type error to think that this could be helpful.

A disciple of another sect once came to Drescher as he was eating his morning meal.

“I would like to give you this personality test”, said the outsider, “because I want you to be happy.”

Drescher took the paper that was offered him and put it into the toaster, saying: “I wish the toaster to be happy, too.”

Comment by czynski on A New Way to Visualize Biases · 2020-07-23T19:44:45.228Z · LW · GW

Capturing a wide variety of phenomena is a bug, not a feature.

Comment by czynski on A New Way to Visualize Biases · 2020-07-23T19:44:01.064Z · LW · GW

I don't see how this adds any value. For it to add value, you would have to have a coherent meaning for what a jog in the line represents, including notation that made it clear what an overcompensation for bias looks like and how that is distinguished from the unbiased picture, which must work even when you do not know, a priori, what the unbiased conclusion is.

Comment by czynski on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-07-23T19:34:04.231Z · LW · GW

I think it would be hard to find a postrationalist who hasn't outright said so themself, though generally with a wording that's spun to make it sound better.

Comment by czynski on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-23T06:20:06.732Z · LW · GW

Wat. Is there some more complicated picture, there, where they don't have to maintain real reserves but they do need to hold something like overnight loans from the Fed as reserves? Because if they're really untethered from reserves of any kind, they can 'print' as much money as they want, which seems...

It's not necessarily a terrible idea, but it does entail that the central bank give up its monopoly, and that seems like an insane move from the central bank's perspective.

Comment by czynski on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-23T06:12:12.876Z · LW · GW

In an immediate but not useful sense, from your bank, because while the calculations that make them determine this mortgage is a good investment involve other actors, none of the interaction with other actors is instantaneous.

On the time scale of a month (and probably a week), partially from the company who bought your mortgage for its risk-adjusted net present value (let's just call that ), and the rest from 'nowhere', i.e. the amount they're now allowed to lend by the fractional reserve banking regulations based on the fact that their reserves have just increased by . Trying to work out which of those portions is bigger is making my head hurt, mostly because I'm pretty sure the relative value of the risk-adjusted net present value of the mortgage's future cash flow, compared with the reserve fraction and the actual face value of the mortgage, matter, but I'm not quite sure how.

Comment by czynski on Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years · 2020-07-23T05:47:21.773Z · LW · GW

I think your update on divestment is in fact wrong; divestment has no or negligible effect.

There are two main cases:

1- Divestment without substantial coordination

This stands in for anything where you are divesting from a company you find distasteful, but with the expectation that there will not be substantial numbers of other people who follow the same logic. In this case, unless you control a large fund, your effect on the price will be nonzero, and downward, but negligible.

2 - Divestment with coordination.

(This covers both explicit coordination and amorphous implicit coordination like 'many people share my moral logic and this offense was made very public'.)

Assume for the moment that a mass movement to divest is not substantial evidence of the corporation's fundamentals being weaker. (This is often false, particularly for businesses which sell directly to consumers.) If so, the price will go down, but high-information observers (serious traders) will note the outside factor depressing prices, note that this outside factor is uncorrelated with future stock performance, and conclude that these stocks are now a substantially better deal than other stocks. Result: stocks bought up until the market price ~returns to the equilibrium price without divestment. (This is a longstanding phenomenon in the form of the 'sin fund'. There are mixed results on whether the P/E ratio is actually better for 'sin stocks' in a durable way, but they're not worse.)

If the company is actually likely to be negatively impacted on a non-stock level, the situation is more complicated, but not much better for the divestors. To the extent the skilled traders correctly estimate , the size of the divestment movement, and , the (size of the effect on the company's bottom line)/(size of divestment movement) quotient, the stock price will behave exactly as it would if the divestors had made some equally-costly signal of their opposition to the company but not actually divested. These estimates will be imperfect, but they seem likely to be a case where the EMH works well, and if they have errors don't seem likely to be systematically wrong in a particular direction.

Note also that if you want to lower the share price, the thing to do, given that competent traders will attempt to figure out the market price implied by the fundamentals and be fairly adequate in that task, is to maximize ; increasing the size is no good if the 'heat/light' ratio goes down by a bigger ratio than the size went up. If you consider a slightly more complicated model where you have movement size , fraction of movement which divests , and fraction of movement which takes direct actions that hurt the company's fundamentals , and , for a total effect of , divestment totally falling out of the picture. Any movement only has a finite amount of energy to spend convincing its members to take actions, so we should further expect and to be anticorrelated, i.e. it's not worth actively discouraging people from divestment but whenever there is a choice you should always choose the other action if it has a meaningful chance of hurting the company's fundamentals, possibly even down to dust-speck-level negligible-but-nonzero effects.

Comment by czynski on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-07-23T05:11:16.056Z · LW · GW

Even assuming you're correct, postrationalism won't help with any of that because it's nothing but systematized self-delusion. Rationality may not have benefits as huge as one'd naively expect, but it is still substantially better than deliberately turning your back on even attempting to be rational, which is what postrationalism does - intentionally!

Comment by czynski on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-07-21T20:45:35.785Z · LW · GW

Postrationalism isn't adding anything. It's exrationalism, people who decided that they weren't willing to give up the self-defeating mysterianism but still wanting to signal tribal affiliation with rationalism. It's rare to even attempt to justify itself as useful; Meaningness is better than most in that it's only mostly Not Even Wrong.

It's useless and sabotages the entire rationalist project to give it even a modicum of attention. So no, it's fundamentally in conflict.

(A previous comment to this effect was deleted with the message:

I think there’s plenty of interesting arguments about postrationality but this was not a productive one

This is wrong. There are no interesting arguments about postrationality. All the interesting arguments happened in 2010 and earlier, and the postrationalists are the people who refused to accept the result of those arguments with good grace. We settled these arguments before there even were self-identified postrationalists.)

Comment by czynski on What are the open problems in Human Rationality? · 2020-07-19T22:56:48.711Z · LW · GW

The two are in conflict; rationalism strives to be more effective at achieving goals, and postrationalism strives to feel superior to rationalism.

Comment by czynski on Challenges to Christiano’s capability amplification proposal · 2020-07-18T19:15:05.873Z · LW · GW

I remember that post and agree with the point from its comments section that any solution must be resilient against an adversarial environment.

Which is the core problem of the distillation and amplification approach: It fundamentally assumes it is possible to engineer the environment to be non-adversarial. Every reply I've seen you write to this point, which has come in many guises over the years, seemed to dodge the question. I therefore don't trust you to think clearly enough to not destroy the world.

Comment by czynski on Challenges to Christiano’s capability amplification proposal · 2020-07-18T18:55:14.624Z · LW · GW

No, it's only tangentially related. It in some sense describes the problem, but nonspecifically and without meaningful work to attack the problem.