Posts

The Singularity in the Zeitgeist 2010-10-02T06:51:30.430Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 2010-08-01T22:58:39.413Z · score: 13 (14 votes)
Loleliezers 2010-04-01T04:04:27.480Z · score: 5 (54 votes)
Comic about the Singularity 2010-01-14T18:20:00.947Z · score: 2 (17 votes)
The utility curve of the human population 2009-09-24T21:00:41.266Z · score: 5 (10 votes)
Probability distributions and writing style 2009-06-04T06:17:41.549Z · score: 2 (7 votes)
Fiction of interest 2009-04-29T18:47:59.414Z · score: 10 (11 votes)
Silver Chairs, Paternalism, and Akrasia 2009-04-09T21:24:19.367Z · score: 36 (41 votes)

Comments

Comment by dclayh on The Orange Head Joke · 2011-01-27T17:34:10.933Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, that's how it should be.

Comment by dclayh on The Orange Head Joke · 2011-01-27T06:15:43.550Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, a paper written in chicken. (PLIF was a great comic, incidentally.)

Comment by dclayh on The Orange Head Joke · 2011-01-27T06:03:40.460Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, a particularly involved shaggy-dog story.

Comment by dclayh on The Orange Head Joke · 2011-01-27T06:01:42.620Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

That joke is like the Aristocrats insofar as it's an opportunity for improvisation (at as great a length as you can get away with). Also analogously, I've usually heard it as the "'Fuck you, clown' joke" (or just the "clown joke" if you really care about spoilarz).

And in the versions I've heard, the clown calls the guy down to the stage, and asks "Sir, are you a horse's head?" "No." "Are you a horse's leg?" "No." "Are you a horse's tail?" "No." "Well then, it seems to me that you must be a horse's ass!" which is both funnier (to me) and (importantly) longer.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7 · 2011-01-26T22:06:37.516Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

For Draco, you forgot Knowledge: wizard society and Status: Noble and Most Ancient House.

ETA: And Status: Boy-Who-Lived for Harry, of course.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7 · 2011-01-25T05:54:38.044Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 68:

Hermione wears makeup? On a regular basis?! Has this been mentioned before, in MoR or canon? Seems somewhat-to-very out of character to me.

ETA: Eliezer has now removed the reference.

Comment by dclayh on The Singularity in the Zeitgeist · 2011-01-16T20:17:58.869Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Admittedly the comic seems to assume malevolence rather than the more likely indifference...but it's still a comic about a self-improving superhuman intelligence that destroys humanity.

Comment by dclayh on The Singularity in the Zeitgeist · 2011-01-16T02:59:59.296Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yesterday's SMBC presents SIAI-style uFAI fears as essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6 · 2011-01-05T02:05:56.588Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was more interested in Quirrell's statement about the note. Have we seen evidence before that the lawyer/genie style of not-technically-lying is particularly relevant in the magical world? Veritaserum, perhaps?

Comment by dclayh on Rationality Quotes: January 2011 · 2011-01-03T21:57:34.433Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Cf. the Peter de Blanc tweet

As soon as you notice a pattern in your work, automate it.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4 · 2010-10-28T05:32:45.794Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Some of the best writing so far.

On the other hand, it also contains this sentence:

Something precious and irreplaceable inside Harry withered like dry grass and vanished forever.

which appears to mean nothing and serve no purpose except to irritate me by reminding me of terrible BDSM erotica.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4 · 2010-10-28T05:17:34.959Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why does he follow his whims to play-duel and then kill Bahry instead of quickly subduing and memory-charming him,

Presumably, as I mentioned below, for the stated reason that "'It's been quite a while since I had a serious fight with a serious opponent'" As Quirrel himself said earlier, if you can't have some fun once in a while, what's the point?

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4 · 2010-10-28T05:07:08.432Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And it's a pretty big miscalculation of Quirrell not to anticipate Harry's intervention at the key moment.

I interpreted it that he was just too caught up in duelling-lust, and momentarily eriregrq gb uvf Qnex Ybeq crefban, forgetting how Harry would react.

ETA: rot-13d some stuff which is apparently supposed to be secret again.

Comment by dclayh on Let's split the cake, lengthwise, upwise and slantwise · 2010-10-25T21:23:44.362Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Has anyone dealt with bargaining games where different pure solutions cannot be linearly combined (i.e. a non-convex solution space)?

Comment by dclayh on Optimism versus cryonics · 2010-10-25T20:22:15.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is also the approach they take on the TV show Caprica.

Comment by dclayh on Optimism versus cryonics · 2010-10-25T05:37:43.591Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

You forgot the most optimistic of all:

  1. I could do absolutely nothing, get cremated and the eventual Friendly AI will still be able to reanimate me, via time-travel or equivalent.
Comment by dclayh on The Singularity in the Zeitgeist · 2010-10-22T17:33:43.319Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

And now it's mentioned Friendly AI directly. Has Jeph Jacques been reading Eliezer?

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 4 · 2010-10-08T03:34:09.580Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 49. The throwaway reference to Tenorman Family Chili is awesome.

Comment by dclayh on Slava! · 2010-10-04T16:46:50.326Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Don't you think that one's a bit creepy, what with the Nazi-style saluting?

Comment by dclayh on The Singularity in the Zeitgeist · 2010-10-02T07:03:23.192Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Too many SMBC comics to get all of them in one post, but here are four recent ones:

#1 The Fermi Paradox is resolved with reference to wireheading.

#2 About mind uploading.

#3 A different kind of singularity, and (naive) Fun Theory.

#4 Making fun of aging singularitarians.

Comment by dclayh on The Singularity in the Zeitgeist · 2010-10-02T06:57:23.350Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The Big Bang Theory, Episode 402.

Sheldon (the most socially atypical character on a show full of them) plans a program of life-extension so that he will last until the Singularity, which he projects to occur around 2060 and chiefly involve the uploading of human consciousness into machines (his roommate Leonard describes the latter as become a "freakish self-aware robot". By the end of the episode Sheldon seems to have given up on the plan as too inconvenient/inadvertently dangerous.

Comment by dclayh on Experts vs. parents · 2010-10-01T16:49:07.211Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I see no strong reason to believe a meta-analysis should be any more convincing than a single, large, well-designed study.

Does anyone claim it is? I thought the advantage of a meta-analysis was the cost savings of not having to do a new, large study.

Comment by dclayh on Error detection bias in research · 2010-09-22T17:59:18.032Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I strongly agree that you're more likely to get wrong results out of someone else's code than your own, because you tend to assume that they did their own error checking, and you also tend to assume that the code works the way you think it should (i.e. the way you would write it yourself), either or both of which may be false.

This is what led to my discovering a fairly significant error in my dissertation the day before I had to turn it in :) (Admittedly, self-delusion also played a role.)

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-20T16:32:45.778Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Speaking of media for children, I once read that the MPAA will not certify a film as "G" if it contains if it contains morally ambiguous characters, regardless of the sex, violence, language or drugs. Unfortunately I cannot find an internet citation for this (beyond the talk of "mature themes").

Comment by dclayh on Memetic Hazards in Videogames · 2010-09-10T22:57:40.849Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, some of us spend 9 more years in school to postpone this decision. (In case you were wondering, it doesn't help.)

Comment by dclayh on Memetic Hazards in Videogames · 2010-09-10T18:35:49.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But does it actually punish you for waiting, or just threaten to? (I haven't gotten around to playing Mass Effect 2 yet.)

Comment by dclayh on Memetic Hazards in Videogames · 2010-09-10T07:23:52.898Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Similarly, if you're on a quest to save the world, you do side-quests to put it off as long as possible

I've explicitly made note this fact, that one should do quests in exactly reverse order of importance, in every cRPG I've ever played. Because often making progress on major quests will change the game (lock you out of an area, say, or kill an NPC) such that you can no longer complete some minor quests if you haven't done them already .

Comment by dclayh on Humans are not automatically strategic · 2010-09-09T04:48:48.913Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, as JamesAndrix alludes to (warning: extreme geekery), the Dwarves were created by Aulë (one of the Valar (Gods)) because he was impatient for the Firstborn Children of Iluvatar (i.e., the Elves) to awaken. So you might call the Dwarves Aulë's attempt at creating the Elves; at least, he knew what the Elves would look like (from the Great Song), so it's pretty plausible that he impressed in the Dwarves an aesthetic sense which would rank Elves very highly.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-07T18:43:36.034Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I believe D. is imitating the style of Terry Pratchett, who uses small-caps for his "Death" character. The full-size caps are a bit annoying, I agree.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T23:06:24.717Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

just a sweet quest item

Yeah, having Bacon's Diary equipped gives Harry a totally sweet +1 to all his attacks. And it doesn't even use up a weapon slot!

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T22:46:27.299Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So, I don't so much mean one year vs. 7+ of in-universe time; I mean one JKR book-length vs. 7+ JKR book-lengths worth of writing. (I.e., is Eliezer shooting for 75kword, 1.1Mword, or something else.) Should have been more clear about that.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T22:26:12.371Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I rather suspect that it will be important in the finale

Which raises the question: is Harry going to "win" (defeat QM/bring about the Magical Singularity/generally wrap up the plot) in one year, or seven, or some other number? And is Eliezer going to keep writing that far?

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T21:27:37.899Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Even so, I would think that having all of them off planet Earth would be preferable to some on it and some off. Inside the Sun, inside some of the ice-moons of the gas giants, and on various random trajectories out of the solar system (not strapped to a probe whose telemetry we know very well, for goodness' sake) would seem to be optimal. Of course this all depends on Voldy's actual ability to put them there.

Then there's the whole issue of traps/alarms. Trapping is probably not worthwhile if you're hiding in highly-inaccessible places, since if your enemy can get there she's pretty powerful already, and the traps could easily draw attention. (On the other hand, if you have something as crazy as the Big Bowl o' Poison one, where the enemy somehow is forced to injure himself to get the horcrux, with absolutely no way around it, then it could be worthwhile.) (Silent) alarms, on the other hand, seem absolutely essential: you must know if one of your horcruces has been touched, let alone destroyed, so you can take appropriate steps.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T21:18:18.190Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

would guess from MoR canon that relativity-compliant signaling is not necessary for a Horcrux to work

Horcruces: the ultimate "spooky action at a distance"!

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-06T21:11:06.638Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Fortunately Eliezer gave himself some phoenix-magic wiggle rooom:

The logic had presented itself with a strange diamondlike clarity. Harry couldn't have said if it had come to him during Fawkes's singing...

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T22:57:16.772Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted; I think cosmology in particular and astronomy in general is a very important case study of how to make theories and generally become less wrong in a situation where you absolutely cannot make any changes to the thing you're studying. (Of course I'm likely biased because it happens to be the field I'm in at the moment.)

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T22:45:32.751Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Right, so this is the standard misunderstanding about what it means for space itself to be expanding. These two Wikipedia article might be a good place to start, but in brief: relativity forbids information to pass through space faster than light, but when space itself expands then the distance between two objects can increase faster than c without a problem. (The second link quotes a number of 2 trillion years for the time when no galaxies not currently gravitationally bound to us will be visible.)

I don't think redshifting destroys information.

Well, technically I guess it just lowers the information density, which means less information can be gathered by observers on Earth (and less is available inside the observable universe, etc.) And then eventually the wavelength will be greater than the size of the observable Universe and thus undetectable entirely.

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T22:03:40.014Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Without getting mathematical: there are galaxies moving away from us faster than the speed of light (and moreover every galaxy outside the Local Group is accelerating away from us). In the future these galaxies will not be visible to Earth-based observers. Similarly the CMB will be more redshifted and hence contain less information. So if you're using a meaning of "event" such that every Planck volume of space produces an event every Planck time regardless of whether there are any atoms there or not, then yes, that number can only go up. But if you're talking about actually interesting things to observe, then it's certainly going down.

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T21:44:30.433Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, I was just pointing out the flaw in your wording.

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T19:37:22.093Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, we have no way to create new stars or galaxies of our own

Well, we do make simulations.

Comment by dclayh on Frugality and working from finite data · 2010-09-03T19:36:07.640Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, since the Universe is accelerating, the past light cone effectively gets smaller over time. Billions of years from now there will be significantly less cosmological data available.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-02T06:38:51.985Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

s stupid moral oversimplification necessary in a mass-market bestseller? E.g., Tolkien

I would say The Silmarillion is not very morally simplistic. Specifically I would call it Black and Gray morality [TVTropes], because I can't think of a single non-God major character who's totally good. (Maybe Luthien?)

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-08-30T08:49:03.256Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I put the link in; thanks for the reminder.

And comments on my top-level posts don't appear in my inbox, only (direct) replies to my comments. Is that different for you?

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-08-30T06:28:45.035Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ha, I was just waiting for a new chapter to go up to post one.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 · 2010-08-28T06:24:53.884Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Haha, I was just going to post the "Harry is Rand al'Thor" theory myself. Clearly the best explanation.

Comment by dclayh on The Smoking Lesion: A problem for evidential decision theory · 2010-08-23T22:11:08.959Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, even in real life, I suspect many one-boxers would two box in the end when they are standing there

My intuition says the opposite: I think many people who claimed they would two-box would one-box in the event. $1000 is so small compared to $1000000, after all; why take the chance that Omega will be wrong?

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 · 2010-08-23T04:43:50.328Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Aha. I read book 7 when it came out, but had forgotten that. Eminently plausible, then.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 · 2010-08-23T04:09:40.568Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

To wit: find that stone which I saw earlier and which I now recognise from the design that you showed me!

Ha, great theory. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that the symbol was so obscure that even Voldemort never found it out. (Unless Rowling specifically mentioned it?)

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 · 2010-08-22T21:16:38.822Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 40:

Interesting that Harry said "besides Avada Kedavra" rather than "besides Imperius". (I suppose it's that "intent to kill" acting up again.) But I wonder how easy it would be to Imperius someone into being more rational.

Comment by dclayh on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 2 · 2010-08-22T21:07:55.960Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

What immediately occurred to me (similar to the infamous scene in The Princess Bride), is that if your opponent believes you will have a distraction and a real attack, simply lauch two real attacks, with the expectation that whichever one the opponent takes to be the distraction will succeed. Obviously this requires a greater sacrifice of materiel, but Quirrelmort doesn't exactly seem short in that department.