Posts

For moderately well-resourced people in the US, how quickly will things go from "uncomfortable" to "too late to exit"? 2020-06-12T16:59:56.845Z
Money isn't real. When you donate money to a charity, how does it actually help? 2020-02-02T17:03:04.426Z
Dagon's Shortform 2019-07-31T18:21:43.072Z
Did the recent blackmail discussion change your beliefs? 2019-03-24T16:06:52.811Z

Comments

Comment by dagon on Bayesian Charity · 2021-01-23T16:04:03.671Z · LW · GW

It's slightly different in philosophy and in linguistics/conversational norms (as I understand).  Conversationally, the principle of charity is to assume the kindest interpretation, in order not to derail the conversation.  Philosophically, it's to assume the strongest interpretation, in order to understand what claims about the world make sense.

In neither case would I recommend "popularity" as the basis for interpretation, except as a prior before you know anything about the topic or claimant.

Comment by dagon on Is there an academic consensus around Rent Control? · 2021-01-23T15:59:22.857Z · LW · GW

It's an important point to remember, for this and other policy evaluations (labor unions come to mind), that it's very rare to find a serious academic who will say "good" or "bad" in a vacuum.  The questions are "how much" and "under what conditions".  In environments with long-established and slow-to-change property ownership, and a history of tenant maltreatment, interventions like rent control and eviction limits and enforced mediation before court are perhaps necessary to solve problems.  In environments where it's pretty easy to enter and exit the rental market, and tenants have a bit of power because empty units suck, probably less regulation keeps things moving.

And, of course, in the real world where government causes a shortage by preventing creation of housing, and it's hard to become a landlord because of all the regulation, and as a result tenants are mistreated because there are many more of them than spots available, there is no good answer.  Rent control is the wrong tool to address a supply problem.

Comment by dagon on adamzerner's Shortform · 2021-01-23T01:29:07.521Z · LW · GW

I don't think there IS much low-hanging fruit.  Seemingly-easy things are almost always more complicated, and the credit for deceptively-hard things skews the wrong way: promising and failing hurts a lot (didn't even do this little thing), promising and succeeding only helps a little (thanks, but what important things have you done?).

Much better, in politics, to fail at important topics and get credit for trying.

Comment by dagon on Help your rivals when they are numerous · 2021-01-22T23:16:40.279Z · LW · GW

Opponents are not all equal.

Nor is their inequality linear.  You should also reject it if you're near-even with this person, and there is a larger gap between you and the other players (in either direction).  But really, it's all down to expected value - take your distribution of possible paths through the game, conditional on each side of this decision.  Take the one with the highest mean.

Aside: you are misusing "utility" in this example.  What is offered is not utilons, but resources that (may or may not) impact the utility you get from the final position of the game.

Comment by dagon on Is there an academic consensus around Rent Control? · 2021-01-22T18:58:19.046Z · LW · GW

What does "academic consensus" mean, in operational terms?  The VAST majority of papers aren't for or against rent control, they're an exploration of impact of specific policies on specific populations (the better ones also include comparison to other policies on perhaps-comparable populations, and models of impact for various dimensions of policy).   Whether that impact is "good" or "bad" is rarely explored (though many do show that the impact is often misaligned with some stated goals).

I don't know how to measure how complete the consensus is, but there is general agreement among economists that artificially reducing prices will reduce the motivation to create more supply.  I've not seen any dissent from the framing that it's a forced subsidy from owner to tenant, but I don't think there's a broad consensus about whether and when that's desirable.  

Comment by dagon on What if we all just stayed at home and didn’t get covid for two weeks? · 2021-01-22T18:43:36.631Z · LW · GW

Since the virus grows exponentially (when R>1), and it seems unlikely that it'll be actually eradicated (due to outliers on infection times, groups who isolate together, but slowly transmit it among the group, and simple leaks in enforcement/adoption), it's best to think of this kind of intervention as "how much does it reduce the infectious population"?  

It seems likely that, with the vaccines rolling out (too slowly, but happening), any significant reduction in the spread makes the final herd immunity (actual end-game for this) contain a higher ratio of vaccinated to formerly-infected, and a lower absolute number of dead and a lower amount of long-term impacted.  So you get much of the value, even if the disease is only set back a few months, not fully eliminated.

Which means, you can look at the reasons that this isn't happening (in most US and EU regions) even enough to slow the spread, and just extend them to why we haven't shut down enough to stop it entirely.  I think 4 is a very hard constraints, with 3 being close, and they give cover to the violators of 1, making policing effectively impossible.  I also think you have to dive pretty deep into 1 to explain who's doing the policing, and why they're willing to go out and police (which does mean shooting and being shot at, right?) rather than staying safe at home.

Comment by dagon on Bayesian Charity · 2021-01-22T18:25:36.975Z · LW · GW

Wait.  Interpreting by (your perception of) popularity seems to be less truth-seeking than the most sensible OR that strongest (see https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/steelmanning ).  

If you're talking about using it as evidence that at least one person makes this claim, then I see your point - you should consider all possible interpretations of an argument, weighted by likelihood that the person is making that specific claim.  That likelihood is subject to Bayesean calculations.  "popularity" is a fine prior, but you ALWAYS have additional evidence to alter your weighting of probability from that point.

Comment by dagon on [Link] Still Alive - Astral Codex Ten · 2021-01-22T18:18:02.678Z · LW · GW

Inoreader lets me subscribe to the feed (URL https://astralcodexten.substack.com/feed/, which looks like standard RSS to me), so it doesn't seem that Substack is intentionally limiting access to their site.

Comment by dagon on A highly abusive LW moderator endangered dozens of people with COVID dishonesty · 2021-01-20T22:18:35.032Z · LW · GW

IMO, this post should disable voting - LW mods should remove it, or should flag it in some way so it can be viewed by people who might need to see it (those who directly interact with the involved person(s)), but probably not considered part of the LW site or canon.

Comment by dagon on Matt Levine on "Fraud is no fun without friends." · 2021-01-19T18:48:59.879Z · LW · GW

Definitely recommend the newsletter.  It's definitely more focused on the finance world (banking and stock mechanisms) than "typical econblogger stuff".  This focus and specificity makes it very interesting, and affects my modeling of the world more directly than a broader look at "the economy".

Comment by dagon on Public selves · 2021-01-19T17:16:54.377Z · LW · GW

One size does not fit all.  "the public" is not homogenous, and individuals have very different ability and tolerance for crafting their presentation to different audiences, and different audiences react differently to various dimensions of presentation.  This is almost unrelated to how "true" the presentation is.

I don't think there's any way to avoid some amount of strategizing.  Most people do it fairly unconsciously, and until very recently in human history it wasn't commonly acceptable to even ask the question.  Arguably, this question is the primary driver of human brain evolution.

Comment by dagon on Why do stocks go up? · 2021-01-17T21:49:45.052Z · LW · GW

Don't forget the Greater Fool theory (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greaterfooltheory.asp).  Stocks go up because investors expect them to go up, and those investors' purchases actually drive the price up.  

There is some underlying truth in terms of dividends and stock buybacks (effectively a dividend, but paid by reverse-dilution), but the vast (VAST) majority of invested dollars are fully disconnected from any actual business outcomes, except by the publicity and expectations channel.

Comment by dagon on The Great Karma Reckoning · 2021-01-16T00:48:09.053Z · LW · GW

Insofar as "total karma should try to approximate ideal 'Rationalist Social Status'"

Cool, that's a good goal.  The ideal approach to implementation would be propose the social status of, say 2000 randomly-selected posters, and then to run a regression over lots of variables to figure out how to predict that from posts.  I don't think that starting with "a function of votes on posts and comments" is likely to get there - too many other dimensions play into it.

I suspect my karma total is ridiculously high in terms of social status.  It's huge just because I've been here a long time.  

Comment by dagon on The Future of Biological Warfare · 2021-01-15T22:59:25.340Z · LW · GW

I think the reference is to the well-accepted cases of intentional (along with likely unintentional) introduction of smallpox to Native American populations, and at least some amount of bubonic-plague-era disposal of bodies near to enemy camps with the intent to spread it.

I don't think it's been used much in the modern era - the populations worth attacking are generally advanced enough to require more direct and selective means.  I expect this will continue for quite some time - it'll pick up in terrorism a bit, but organized forces with significant civilian populations to protect will realize that such weapons are too likely to escape the enemy.

There's probably a middle ground of "semi-infectious" weapons, which can be controlled easily, but not without doing a bunch of damage before it's understood.  Or that infect, for instance, only a specific strain or growing condition of wheat.

Comment by dagon on The Great Karma Reckoning · 2021-01-15T22:31:25.444Z · LW · GW

Front-page posts don't necessarily need a multiplier to be more valuable - they already get a lot more visibility,.  A larger number of voters will see and consider voting on a top-level or front-page post than any comment or short-form.

A lot comes down to "why do we track accumulations of karma from the past in the first place?" I'd love to see a reasoning for what levels various posters should have, and then backwards-calculate (fit) a scoring mechanism into that.

Comment by dagon on The True Face of the Enemy · 2021-01-15T17:58:18.528Z · LW · GW

These are two distinct arguments, both of which are debatable, but should not be combined.

  1. forced institutional schooling is immoral, and should be stopped regardless of consequences.
  2. the dumb system does more harm than good.  It should be stopped because of the consequences.

I disagree with #1 (I don't think it's comparable to forced labor or race-based enslavement - it's temporary and fairly straightforward (though not easy) to make exceptions and opt out) for different reasons than I disagree with #2 (I think there are aspects which are harmful, but that the net result is neutral or better).

Comment by dagon on Deconditioning Aversion to Dislike · 2021-01-15T17:38:05.006Z · LW · GW

I suspect there are some assumptions here to call out.  mild levels of dislike aren't generally harmful, and are less harmful than mild levels of like are helpful.  It's fine to optimize for a small number of stronger likes, at the expense of a larger number of mild dislikes.

It's really inconvenient and sometimes dangerous to be feared or hated by individuals with power over some aspects of your life.  Your neighbors and family, for instance, are worth some effort to keep the relationship positive.  

I believe the cost/benefit curve is quite nonlinear, and idiosyncratic to each individual, so there's no way to avoid thinking about it and explicitly trying a couple of different strategies to see what works for you.  That doesn't contradict most of your explicit advice, and your first point that it doesn't cause much (if any) harm to be mildly disliked by many people.

Comment by dagon on The Great Karma Reckoning · 2021-01-15T17:30:37.877Z · LW · GW

I was hoping, from the title, that this was an announcement that there was some reward for high or (mild) penalty for low accumulated karma, to be followed by wiping out all karma and starting everyone even.  Where's the reckoning I was promised?

More seriously, I'm glad you're willing to retroactively change the results of votes, and I support continuing to tweak things.

Comment by dagon on What is the currency of the future? 5 suggestions. · 2021-01-14T15:46:50.509Z · LW · GW

I suspect the future will be more pluralistic in many dimensions, including this one.  But I think we're already there in some ways, and probably won't change much in others.  

Most people don't store significant amounts of wealth in a currency.  Investing is greatly preferred.  I don't think that's likely to change.  

Most people DO borrow in a local currency.  Corporations sometimes borrow in multiple currencies.  And almost everyone transacts in their local currency.    Importantly, governments demand taxes in their currency, so everyone must participate at least a little in that format.  This anchoring is likely to continue to matter for a long time.

The migration of value between investments (stored value) and currency (immediately usable value) takes a bit of time, and that time is likely to reduce in the future.  My prediction is that large-government fiat currency continues to be the dominant transaction mechanism, but it becomes so easy to buy and sell other stores of value that it's generally only held for minutes at a time.  When you buy a gallon of milk, you'll convert a fraction of your commodities fund to euros, make the purchase, and the store automatically converts their euros to their preferred investment, for 9 hours until they convert it back to pay a vendor (who converts it to their portfolio choice until end of week, when they convert it to pay their employees, who also instant-convert it to something else).

With, of course, some chance that it all falls apart and bullets (as a valuable trading commodity, and as enforcement for transactional integrity) become the key measure of value.

Comment by dagon on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-01-14T00:35:49.137Z · LW · GW

Fair enough, and I was a bit snarky in my response.  I still have to wonder, if it's not worth the hassle for a representative individual to move somewhere safer, why we'd expect it's worth a greater hassle (both individually and the coordination cost) to create a new town.  Is this the case where rabbits are negative value so stags are the only option (reference: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/zp5AEENssb8ZDnoZR/the-schelling-choice-is-rabbit-not-stag)?  I'd love to see some cost/benefit estimates to show that it's even close to reasonable, compared to just isolating as much as possible individually.

Comment by dagon on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-01-13T23:38:16.154Z · LW · GW

if the LW community isn't able to cordinate collective action, then it has failed

Oh, we're talking about different things.  I don't know much about any "LW community", I just use LW for sharing information, models, and opinions with a bunch of individuals.  Even if you call that a "community", as some do, it doesn't coordinate any significant collective action.  I guess it's failed?

Comment by dagon on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-01-13T20:51:35.635Z · LW · GW

getting there is a hassle

That was my point. Doesn't the hassle of CREATING a town seem incomparably larger than the hassle of getting to one of these places.  

Comment by dagon on purrtrandrussell's Shortform · 2021-01-13T17:31:09.452Z · LW · GW

Can you expand a bit on what you mean by "non-state governance structures"?  I've long been a proponent of more local and individual control, and less large-scale centralized control, but I tend to think of it as about scope and scale, rather than about specific government forms.  A multinational corporation controlling your choice of medical provider is no better than a national or regional government doing so (and in reality, they cooperate with each other to ensure profit without responsibility).

Comment by dagon on "If" is in the map · 2021-01-13T17:24:24.055Z · LW · GW

This is a variant (sometimes considered a separate case) of the counterfactual if - the hypothetical if.  Or possibly an even more specific variant, the predictive if.  

We don't yet know what the future territory is - you may or may not drop the ball.  It may or may not bounce (perhaps there'll be carpet there when dropped).  The map contains a distribution of things that correspond imperfectly to the territory.  The conditional statement that, for those imagined territories where I drop the ball, the ball will bounce up, is definitely in the map. Any time you talk about the "imagined" or "possible" or "potential", you're describing a map rather than the territory.

Comment by dagon on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-01-13T17:12:23.280Z · LW · GW

I think it'd be much simpler to find the regions/towns doing this, and move there.  Even if there's no easy way to get there or convince them to let you in, it's likely STILL more feasible than setting up your own.  

If you do decide to do it yourself, why is a village or town the best unit?  It's not going to be self-sufficient regardless of what you do, so why is a town/village better than an apartment building or floor (or shared- or non-shared house)?

In any case, if this was actually a good idea months ago, it probably still is.  Like planting a tree, the best time to do it is 20 years ago, and the second-best time is now.  

Comment by dagon on A vastly faster vaccine rollout · 2021-01-12T21:46:19.755Z · LW · GW

Option value.  They're not paying for a vaccine that can't be used, they're paying for a vaccine that MIGHT be usable in the near- or medium-term future.  Paying for many options before approval so you're ready with volume for the one(s) that get approved is +EV in most scenarios.

Comment by dagon on The time I got really into poker · 2021-01-12T20:16:19.089Z · LW · GW

Mostly the rise of online poker - I live in a US State that makes it very risky to play online, and I didn't enjoy it much when I played while traveling.  But it made me realize that I didn't enjoy the live games much anymore either - they're generally filled with dumb people talking about sports and politics.  The interesting game-theory, math, and psychology gets pretty well learned in the first decade of serious play and study, and in reality don't matter much - the best games to play are filled with idiots, and you just have to avoid egregious errors.

Comment by dagon on The True Face of the Enemy · 2021-01-12T20:10:41.249Z · LW · GW

who would you permit to be free?

Me and thee.  But that may be too many.

Comment by dagon on A vastly faster vaccine rollout · 2021-01-12T17:16:10.111Z · LW · GW

I think there are significant differences in manufacturing and transportation.  My understanding is that cowpox was common enough that vaccines for smallpox were made somewhat locally, and there was no constraint about how many doses could be available.  For COVID-19 vaccines, the necessity of distant manufacturing and limited doses added a LOT of politics in who gets it first.   And this political truth led to massive restriction in how it's delivered.

There are two parts to the 50x difference - number of doses available to doctors/nurses, and percentage of those doses actually injected (vs still in storage or stuck in the supply chain).  From what I can tell, many big cities have injected ~25% of the doses they have received.  I don't know how this compares to smallpox, as JIT manufacturing could be modeled as delivering 100% of available doses, or less than 1%.

edit: not local or JIT manufacturing, it seems.  But still no supply limits.  I find it easy to believe that the limited supply of vaccine is driving all of the slowness, both directly and indirectly.  Directly because we don't have enough, and indirectly because the fact that some people have to wait adds the politics and perception problems of "fairness" and "optimization" that hugely slows things down.

Comment by dagon on mike_hawke's Shortform · 2021-01-12T16:59:04.805Z · LW · GW

Ehn.  Especially for children, type-1 errors (false yuck) are far more common and problematic than type-2 errors (false yum).  Both certainly happen, but it's neither the case that taste is universal nor that individuals are always correct, even about their own best-interest eating.

Comment by dagon on The True Face of the Enemy · 2021-01-12T16:27:42.540Z · LW · GW

Counterpoint: If you've spent much time around kids aged 6-14, you'll understand that their freedom is the actual true enemy.  Many of them spend every moment not in school (and in school, for that matter, but the wardens signed up for that) making life harder for the adults around them.  Sure, there are LOTS of exceptions, but that's the median.

Now if you argue "failure to recognize variance in ability and disposition, and the cheap or egalitarian drive to treat children as fungible" is the fundamental problem, I'll gladly go along.

Comment by dagon on G Gordon Worley III's Shortform · 2021-01-12T02:13:11.644Z · LW · GW

There's not much agreement on what to call it when "normal" is harmful, but not so overwhelmingly common as to seem immutable.  Agreed that thinking of it as a pathology doesn't quite cut it, but also "acceptable" seems wrong.

Comment by dagon on Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people. · 2021-01-12T01:09:24.720Z · LW · GW

I'm old, and my memories of being young, poor, and having multiple roommates I don't know and love are rather distant.  I never saw co-living as particularly attractive, and I've long been in the "good fences make good neighbors" camp, so I'm likely not the target of this warning.

But I think there are some good, general, pieces of advice that could be extracted from this - I'd frame them as recommendations, rather than as warnings.  They apply to ANY sharing of significant parts of your life, not just Bay-area group houses.  I wish I'd read it before going into business with some acquaintances.

  • Don't do it for the money.  It's fine to save money when possible, but that should never be the primary reason for a living arrangement.  Do it because you expect to enjoy and be satisfied with the daily experiences.
  • Culture and "fit" matters more than you think.  Don't go into it without knowing what's important to you and what's important to your partner(s).  
  • Yes, "partner(s)".  Anyone you're living that closely with on a day-to-day basis is more than an asset-share arrangement.  You have shared goals and habits that affect each other's happiness.
  • Have an exit plan (preferably multiple).  Know what you will do if it becomes too painful.  
  • Have exit triggers.  Know what "too painful" means.  Decide in advance how bad it'll get before you have to live in your car (or whatever your worst-case exit plan is).
  • Have a way to track positive and negative experiences.  Don't trust your memory to know what happened last week.  This is key to staying somewhat objective about the exit triggers.  You don't want to be too objective (and you really don't want to use this as evidence to beat your housemates up), as this is all about your emotional evaluation of your living situation.  But you also don't want to overreact to temporary problems.
Comment by dagon on Efficiency Wages: A Double-Edged Sword · 2021-01-12T00:51:28.950Z · LW · GW

This brings up another very important aspect of it: the divergence of monitoring and evaluation of skill (and calculating the value of a marginal worker) between for-profit and public or non-profit work.  Even for superficially similar work, the success metrics are very often different between the two styles of employment.  For attorneys, the ability to attract clients and bill hours is king in the private sector, and ... I'm not sure for the public sector.  Probably not win rate, but more likely subjective evaluation of more senior attorneys and politicians.

It's much clearer (still opaque for most, but somewhat less opaque) that private-sector employees are generating or protecting revenue that outstrips their compensation.  Public and charity employees don't have that scalar measure - they're paid in a different dimension (money) than the value they generate (public goods).  

Comment by dagon on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-11T23:53:42.556Z · LW · GW

Improving your own maps and describing how, I'm totally in favor.  That's awesome.  Improving the maps of LessWrong readers, by refining or correcting ideas discussed here, also great.  Improving the maps of people who aren't reading LessWrong?  I think that's an error to undertake as a LessWrong post.

Not sure about your "very old friends" question.  I don't recognize the quote, and don't know what you're referring to.  

Comment by dagon on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-11T23:00:24.569Z · LW · GW

I probably disagree with some interpretations of that wording, too.  I do wish there were less current-event politics on the site (even on personal blogs), and I do think there's something in the "other people's rationality" idea about what is mind-killing and annoying about discussing politics.  But I don't think it's quite the natural divider that would make a good rule.  I give it as a pointer and a guideline about when to think twice (and thrice) before posting.

Comment by dagon on Efficiency Wages: A Double-Edged Sword · 2021-01-11T18:50:53.892Z · LW · GW

Upvoted for interesting modeling and reasoning.   

But I think it's missing at least a few key elements around diversity of employee skills and motivations.  There's no reason to believe that ability and motivation are particularly correlated (in some conceptions, they may be anti-correlated).  So we need to think of these jobs as having a MIX of people who just got the best job/career they could (lawyers with no serious option at better than $61K/yr) and people who are foregoing a more financially lucrative option in order to feel good (and/or signal to their friends/family).  Also missing is the ability to fire/replace a sub-marginal employee.  In a high-paying, competitive job, there are lots of candidates ready to step in if someone isn't pulling (more than) their weight.   In a low-paying job, it's less likely that the replacement is significantly better.

I have a few close friends who've found work in nonprofits (paid work - accounting and CRM aspects of development), and it seems consistent that the pay is on the low end of the normal range for the type of work, and that the quality of management and knowledge worker is a bit low as well (with notable exceptions - some are higher-quality than industry; maybe I should just say more variable).  I have a friend who founded a nonprofit, and this does NOT apply - he does employ people, but is hands-on enough to keep quality high and focused on impact. 

I think it's also missing a bunch of complexity in value of benefits and job-protection value from some lower-direct-salary jobs.  A public defender is a government job.  I have no idea if it's true, but my perception is that it's a far more secure job, with a much better pension after a shorter time, than a private-sector associate position.  

I also suspect your perception of the universal hatred of Facebook is ... quite skewed.  It's just not true.  Many people dislike many aspects of facebook, but still spend many hours on it and love it for it's ability to connect them with near and distant family and friends.  Many techies really appreciate FB's contributions to open-source, and give a lot of credit to FB employees for their skill in running such a large system.  I know a bunch of FB employees (tech, not content side, so my views are skewed too), and I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate what they do.

Comment by dagon on Avoid Unnecessarily Political Examples · 2021-01-11T18:24:56.971Z · LW · GW

Recommendation 0:  Find another site/forum to express your opinions/insights.  If it's not about applied nor theoretical rationality, nor about AI, this probably isn't the place for it.  

An easy test - if you can boil your post down to "I notice I am confused", it's probably good here (also "I was confused, and here's what clarified it for me").  If, instead, it boils down to "I notice other people are confused", maybe not here.  I recommend this whether you're following up with "people are crazy and the world is mad" or with "let's raise the sanity waterline by un-confusing these people who aren't listening to us".

Comment by dagon on The time I got really into poker · 2021-01-11T18:08:18.220Z · LW · GW

I like this style of emotional description of an experience.  It's VERY different from the time I got really into poker, which lasted about 20 years, but I felt some of the same dissociation and mental wandering.

I probably played about 50,000 hands in casino cash games and tournaments between 1991 and 2012 or so, and read and discussed (on Usenet rec.gambling and then rec.gambling.poker, pre- and early-internet).  I made close friends at the table and electronically (meeting in Las Vegas annually for part of it), many of whom went pro, some of whom created online sites at the start of the boom times.  It was my primary hobby and obsession for probably 10 of those years, and a side-gig and area of study for all of them.  

I definitely reached the "mindless poker" stage, and had similar days (and nights; after work until ~1am was my normal play time) of daydreaming/hallucinating/drifting that I simply don't remember any specifics about.  One thing about live poker compared to computer simulations - it's SLOW.  If you can get 25 hands an hour, you're in a good game (well, a fast game - a good game is one with incompetent opponents, who are often the slow ones).

It's similar to the zone I get into while coding some non-complicated-but-still-necessary parts of a program - my consciousness checks in every few minutes, I suppose, but it feels like irrelevant daydreaming, at the end of which I need to figure out why my unit tests don't work.

Comment by dagon on epistemic stalling. · 2021-01-10T20:51:21.498Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure whether "epistemic stalling" is a useful categorization of these kinds of bad-faith discussions.  Mostly, I think the examples are not about epistmology, but about dominance and emotional reactions.  I suspect romantic examples will also be of that form.

I don't think "stalling" is the right focus, even if we do address these as bad-faith discussion mechanisms.  I think the salient feature is misdirection - intended not to delay, but to avoid the important question altogether.

Comment by dagon on epistemic stalling. · 2021-01-10T17:32:45.410Z · LW · GW

I wish you'd used some non-politically-charged examples.  I can't tell if this is a real problem with truth-seeking participants, or merely a normal part of political/social rhetoric, which is focused on control more than belief.

Comment by dagon on Aaro Salosensaari's Shortform · 2021-01-10T17:25:18.396Z · LW · GW

Is this a closed environment, that supports 100000 cell-generations?  In that case, the 15th generation and predecessors will have eaten 65535 units of food, so the 16th generation will only be partial - either 65536 cells that live about half their normal span, or more likely, a bunch will eat each other, to collapse to a much smaller number that lasts a few more generations. 

Regardless, it's worth exploring where your intuition flips - would 1 cell that repeats for 100K generations be preferable?  50K for 2 generations?  For myself, I'm mostly indifferent in the case of individual cells.  For beings with culture, there's a lot of value in existing during a growth phase, which I don't know how to model.  And thinking beings (if such a thing existed), when there are sufficient numbers and knowledge about the impending limits, can work to increase the limits, and to decrease the per-unit usage.  

Related: https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/shut-up-and-multiply .

Comment by dagon on purrtrandrussell's Shortform · 2021-01-09T22:56:25.720Z · LW · GW

I don't follow.  Even at the meta level, repeatedly cooperating with defectors is failure.

Comment by dagon on Will Donald Trump complete his first term? · 2021-01-09T19:25:07.371Z · LW · GW

The question of self-pardon being upheld vs the likelihood that he can resign and get Pence to pardon him is key.  20% seems high, but he's notoriously hard to predict.

Comment by dagon on Troy Macedon's Shortform · 2021-01-08T18:18:38.358Z · LW · GW

Alternate framing: regret is the mechanism of reinforcing something you learned about your behavior.  Noticing that you wish you'd done something differently is equivalent to adding weight to better future decisions.

And like all learning, too much regret can be worse than too little.  Overfitting can lead to even worse predictions/decisions.

Comment by dagon on Dagon's Shortform · 2021-01-07T18:19:58.243Z · LW · GW

EA folks: is there any donation I can make to increase the expected number of COVID-19 vaccinations given by end of February, either worldwide or for a specific region? 

Comment by dagon on Centrally planned war · 2021-01-06T19:49:03.992Z · LW · GW

Why wouldn’t all these logistical details be simpler and cheaper in the usual ways if each soldier looked after himself mostly? 

Nope.  Even in peacetime, people do NOT look after themselves mostly.  They cooperate and compete in a system that takes care of most.  This peacetime system only works with sufficient cooperation, and that cooperation requires information (often in the form of prices, but a lot of additional prediction and data is used as well) to be relatively freely available.

In war, there is an organized agent (or set of agents, if you think of the enemy as decentralized as well) actively disrupting the cooperation, and using any available information to hurt you.   Central, top-down planning allows the knowledge to be kept secret for longer, because public knowledge is not necessary to the functioning of the system.

Comment by dagon on Ways to be more agenty? · 2021-01-05T16:09:09.122Z · LW · GW

Don't overgeneralize.  Be specific in the things you address, and identify distinct blockers to your intended activities.  

"Akrasia" is a syndrome loosely identified by the results, not a single addressable dysfunction.

Comment by dagon on Intended enjoyment · 2021-01-05T16:05:19.636Z · LW · GW

How many of my enjoyments are like this?

All of them.  Human experience is fractally complex and has many dimensions.  You can never exactly match someone else's perception or reaction to something.

Comment by dagon on Utopianism · 2021-01-04T20:02:00.436Z · LW · GW

Freedom is the ability to act on a goal, a desire, to not be constrained by the world one lives in.

There's a LOT of disagreement about that definition.  Many would frame it as not being constrained by governments or other people, or even about lack of specific types of constraint, rather than having no constraints in the the world one lives in.  I'd say that it's a pretty meaningless word in general, and needs specifics before you can discuss.  The UN declaration is mostly about feel-good signaling, with very little specifics about how to provide (or even how to prevent abrogation of) the listed "rights".

What we agreed as a society is to sacrifice a bit of both freedoms. 

I was never asked, and did not agree to anything like that.  I do accept many constraints and behave prosocially most of the time, but not due to contract.  I do what I think is right, and what keeps me from being punished by powerful groups.

To me, freedom is internal - it's my perception that I could do something different, and choose to cooperate or not with other humans based on how much I sympathize with their goals and actions.