Comment by dojan on Spreading the word? · 2015-01-04T18:43:04.320Z · score: 0 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it works that way. Do you know any example of an existing webpage/event/thing where the people behind it said "it needs to be the same but more fun!", and it actually worked? I find lesswrong to be fun as it is, and I want it to attract people who are attracted to the actual content, rather than some fun-nes sprinkled on top. (I'm not saying lesswrong cant improve, and that I'd necessarily want to conserve it exactly the way it is though.) The reason wikipedia for example is so wildly successful is that it does what it does really well, and that thing is something people want and need. So no, I don't think that would be a good goal :)

(Aware of/sorry for necroposting)

Comment by dojan on Rationality Quotes - April 2009 · 2015-01-04T02:14:24.044Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Funny, yes, but rational? Hardly.

Comment by dojan on Why Support the Underdog? · 2013-10-23T02:34:22.941Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, this depends on what level the average player is playing at; but at every level there is going to be more noise, and thus less evolutionary pressure. My friend told me that his teacher had told his class that, in practice, most people play on the second or third levels. (I have nothing to back that up with, I know nothing about stock trading)

Comment by dojan on Where are we? · 2013-10-09T02:49:10.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Same here! Are you still around?

Comment by dojan on Epistemic Viciousness · 2013-07-15T03:23:53.525Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Care to elaborate?

Comment by dojan on You May Already Be A Sinner · 2013-07-14T15:52:42.432Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If buying cars guaranteed that you would live longer, would you do it?

Of course, but then you have made the correlation imply causation, and it doesn't. If number of cars owned and life expectancy was perfectly correlated, with no counter examples, that would be strong evidence for causation in either one direction or the other, but that isn't the case, and also wasn't the point of the example.

Comment by dojan on The Mystery of the Haunted Rationalist · 2013-07-14T12:36:42.753Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, this is a powerful story. I'm more and more sympathetic the more I think about it... Did you manage to convince your family about your findings? Did you alert someone of the danger (like the current owners perhaps)?

Comment by dojan on No, Really, I've Deceived Myself · 2013-07-14T11:43:07.123Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Up-voted for honesty.

Comment by dojan on Heat vs. Motion · 2013-07-07T14:12:52.967Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or the Mantis Shrimp...

Comment by dojan on Amputation of Destiny · 2013-01-21T23:17:03.139Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Brilliant observation! Damn, we really are living in the future already...

Comment by dojan on Amputation of Destiny · 2013-01-21T22:15:19.968Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I think sublimation is a big literary dodge of the very problem of recursive self-improvement, and doesn't make much sense, neither as a plot device nor as an explanation.

Comment by dojan on Harmful Options · 2013-01-21T13:23:12.222Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, besides from making the customer believe that s/he actually needs something more expensive than they thought...

Comment by dojan on Harmful Options · 2013-01-21T12:58:46.768Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

... and finally we have large amounts of historical experience with the situation.

This would be the mother of all sampling biases (read the mouse-over text)...

Though I won't dispute your conclusion, we are the ones who survived after all.

Comment by dojan on Singletons Rule OK · 2013-01-05T02:18:04.608Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"- if you walk through a tropical rainforest, you don't see that much fighting - it all seems rather peaceful most of the time. Nature really likes cooperation."

It might look peaceful on the Discovery Channel, but have you ever walked in a real tropical rainforest? Everything has spikes, everything is poisonous, almost anything that moves will fight or flee at first sight - everything but the very largest and most dangerous things. It's not the organized warfare of humans, but rather a cosmic, bloody, free-for-all, with survival and replication the only criterion for success. Evolution is not only a Blind Idiot God, but also a very harsh and unsympathetic mistress.

Comment by dojan on Chaotic Inversion · 2013-01-04T01:08:51.365Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Every scuba diver has a plastic plate and pencil for communicating anything more complicated than what ordinary hand signs will do...

Comment by dojan on Which Parts Are "Me"? · 2012-12-22T22:01:20.434Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd say that is an accurate feeling. You should not want it to go away, by any other means than making the coming end of the human race go away.

Comment by dojan on Passing the Recursive Buck · 2012-02-06T18:23:20.682Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" -Albus Dumbledore

Comment by dojan on Lawrence Watt-Evans's Fiction · 2012-01-27T21:24:22.863Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, they have completly lost their steam lately. Fun while it lasted though!

Comment by dojan on Lawrence Watt-Evans's Fiction · 2012-01-27T16:34:55.921Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Makes me think of this webcomic about a gamer in our world hwo gets summoned to a fantasy board-game world with wierd laws of physics, when someone in that world tries to summon the "ultimate warlord"...

Comment by dojan on The Gift We Give To Tomorrow · 2012-01-14T21:02:45.009Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You are quite right in that we can't perfectly rule out the possibility of some god, but we also have absolutely no reason to believe it. Se also Eliezers infinite set atheism.

Comment by dojan on Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom · 2012-01-06T23:20:02.108Z · score: 11 (9 votes) · LW · GW

That something is included in "mind design space" does not imply that it actually exists. Think of it instead as everything that we might label "mind" if it did exist.

Comment by dojan on Is Morality Preference? · 2012-01-05T16:31:22.929Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Continued in the next post of the sequence.

Comment by dojan on Evolutions Are Stupid (But Work Anyway) · 2011-12-31T00:25:49.984Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer's discussion of evolution as an "alien god".

But...That's not... Yeah. If absolutely have to have a "god" figure, then you might as well grossly misinterpret EY's explanation to make it fit your own beliefs.

I think you hit the nail on the head regarding /ehj2.

Thank you! I'm slowly beginning to learn this rationality thing it would seem :-)

Comment by dojan on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2011-12-27T17:23:08.333Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sam Harris also has a really good TED talk on "the Sience of Morality"

Comment by dojan on LA-602 vs. RHIC Review · 2011-12-25T22:48:24.004Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes they do!

I don't want to live in one of the worlds that are going to die, so I'm going to do my best to make this world not be one of those (though I know that's not quite how it works ).

Knowing that the world is deterministic does not change anything from our perspective, or relieve us of moral responsibility. It all ads up to normality!

Comment by dojan on Passing the Recursive Buck · 2011-12-25T17:33:29.846Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A car without its engine isn't very good for driving, and neather is the engine all by itself. But that doesn't mean anything magical happens when you put them together. But that doesn't mean you can put them together any which way.

Comment by dojan on The Ultimate Source · 2011-12-25T16:41:13.615Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, knowing that the book I'm reading is of a deterministic nature, doesn't make me any less interested in knowing how it ends.

Comment by dojan on The Ultimate Source · 2011-12-25T16:34:53.488Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine a ball rolling down a pipe. Att one point the pipe forks, and at that point there is a simple mecanical device that sorts the balls according to size: all balls larger than 4 cm in diameter go left, all smaller ones go right. Let this be the definition of a "choice" (with the device as the agent) for the following argument, and let "you" define a certain arangement of atoms in Eliezers block-universe-with-glue. Then "you" will be what "decides" every time you make a choice; trivially so, given those definitions.

My question is, what other definitions could we use to reach a different conclution?

I mean, if you define "free" in "free will" as "not goverend by physics", or "you" as different from the (or some part of the) structure of your atoms, we are having a different debate here.

Comment by dojan on Rationality Quotes October 2011 · 2011-12-25T14:26:32.562Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Comment by dojan on Rationality Quotes October 2011 · 2011-12-25T14:03:31.611Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've never heard it...

Comment by dojan on Rationality Quotes October 2011 · 2011-12-25T14:00:26.439Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dexter is atheist? Maybe I should see that show after all...

Comment by dojan on Against Devil's Advocacy · 2011-12-25T03:34:21.798Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I find roleplaying even more satisfying after finding LW! It's all in how you play though, lately my group and I have gone more and more freeform, bored with all the inconsistent and arbitrary rules much like what you are expressing, but don't let the rules stop you! if you want a more complex game than the system allows for, drop the system, not the game!

This is seriously of-topic though...

Comment by dojan on Bloggingheads: Yudkowsky and Horgan · 2011-12-24T13:42:52.832Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Did you ever formulate anything good? I'd be interested to read it if so, I'm having trouble keeping the attention of my friends and family for long enough to explain...

Comment by dojan on Timeless Physics · 2011-12-20T03:37:39.909Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

...throwing the universe into an endless loop? At some point, the chains of r's leading up to R0 and R1 would differ...

The point of an endless loop is that it is endless and R never will differ outside of that loop, how could it? Everything happens exactly the same way it did last time, and for exactly the same reasons. A universe also can't enter such a loop starting outside (given reversible physics), and there wouldn't be any seem where it is all stiched together.

I'm not sure how this would go together with many-worlds. But if one considers two branches, where one branch eventually gets into exactly the same configuration at some point of the other (extremely unlikely, obviously, but consider all possible branches...), we could compress our model of reality without loosing information by treating them as one. This is quite similar to the endless loop above.

(I am not a phycisist!)

Comment by dojan on Do Scientists Already Know This Stuff? · 2011-12-17T03:57:11.713Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That was my point exactly.

Comment by dojan on Do Scientists Already Know This Stuff? · 2011-12-16T03:59:28.460Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd interpret "shortest computer program" more like " the shortest string of ones and zeroes that gets the job done on an idealistic Turing machine" or some such. High-level programming languages are for the convenience of programmers, not computers. Thus, to use the built-in preg_match function of PHP, you'd first of all need to represent PHP's built-in implementation of that, and also the rest of PHP, plus some environment. If you did that I think it would turn out to be longer than if you did the same in C.

This is only to be used as a way of guiding your thoughts in the right direction, a rule of thumb, rather than an actual experiment to determine between hypothesis. Among other problems, how do you know when you have found the shortest possible way of expressing something in ones and zeroes?

Comment by dojan on Three Dialogues on Identity · 2011-12-13T03:04:26.999Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is widely said that some primitive tribe or other once feared that photographs could steal their souls.

My dad is a photographer, but he has a strange avertion to being photographed, and use to describe how when he was little he thought that a camera must somehow capture some small part of him to stick in the photo, and he didnt like the thought of that, and that feeling never really left...

Comment by dojan on Feynman Paths · 2011-12-13T02:53:41.255Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We do.

The speed of light is used to define not only the lightyear, but also the common metre.

Comment by dojan on Heat vs. Motion · 2011-12-06T05:34:01.815Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Just consider this...

Comment by dojan on Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute? · 2011-12-03T20:51:00.507Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Feeling good is not the point from the point of view of evolution, but it may well be for us. No one ever declared that we must do what evolution tries to make us do, just because it's evolution that created us.


Comment by dojan on If You Demand Magic, Magic Won't Help · 2011-12-03T16:50:47.377Z · score: 15 (14 votes) · LW · GW

You can't design and build an airplane in your backyard, no one can.

But thats exactly how it did happen! If magic was possible in 1903, then surely it is possible now.

I refuse to exept your premise that it is impossible to have enough time and/or money to persue ones dreams; indeed, I challenge it. I personaly have a low income job, and also a small, old and used sailboat, that I'm trying to renovate and make seaworty again, with the hope of one day sailing far and explore the world. I know this is possible, for my parents did it, and brought me and my brother along 10 years ago, when I was 12.

Comment by dojan on Reductionism · 2011-12-02T20:34:32.056Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Consider protein folding. A good rough approximation model of a protein is a string with a hundred magnets tied to it.

Now throw the string up into the air.

Now watch what happens. (Biased chains, starting @ 4:30.)

Its not a string of magnets, sure, but the same principle applies. The fact that we can't explain how something happens, doesn't mean that it doesn't have an explanation.

[Edit: Fixed link]

Comment by dojan on Circular Altruism · 2011-12-02T17:08:12.501Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is further evidenced by the fact that most people dont know about the long and short scales, and never noticed.

Comment by dojan on Penguicon & Blook · 2011-11-29T16:40:19.557Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with you that it is a hard problem to make the rest of humanity see and care about these things, to which I say: All the more reason to try!

That it's no point becouse it'll probably not change the world all that much anyway, strikes me as a close-to fully general counterargument.

Comment by dojan on Penguicon & Blook · 2011-11-29T16:15:24.845Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Almost nobody (relatively) will be rediscovering them in a few years. That's simply the nature of blogging. Who's reading 3 years Oldsberg BoingBoing posts right now?

I dont know, but I am reading this.

I would be very carefull before dismissing older blogposts and forumthreads; how often isn't that the critical help found in some Google search?

Comment by dojan on Circular Altruism · 2011-11-28T06:07:13.423Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, I must have been half asleep when writing that...

Comment by dojan on Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles · 2011-11-24T16:44:12.614Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I saw him walking downhill, away from me, wearing a long, brown treanchcoat, and then suddenly flinging his arms wide, holding out the sides of the coat, on the inside of which there were lots of little pockets filled with syringes and bottles of pills, then the police suddenly comes into view and turns the sirens on, then I go, whait a minute! This can't be right...

Comment by dojan on Lonely Dissent · 2011-11-14T21:35:29.314Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes, but that's a personal decision one has to make. My point is that it's weird to point to anything I spends money on that you don't and say "You could have spent it all on charity!". Of course I could have. But I didn't. I also spent a lot of money, most of it actually, on other stuff that I could have been without, like a car and a computer and a TV-set etc. If you spend a lot of money on charity and think others should too, then I salute you, but if so, then tell us that and what we should give to and why, but don't tell us what we should not spend our own money on. Reminds me of this XKCD strip.


I'm sorry if I'm reacting to strongly, it's just that I get that argument a lot on a lot of different subjects, and it's like a fully general counterargument; it doesn't help us decide what to spend money on except charity, and let's be realistic: Only a very small portion of people spend non-negligible amounts on charity. If you bring out that argument on this topic, you should spread the blame equally over everything else ever bought that have comparable or smaller humanitarian value.

Comment by dojan on Sneaking in Connotations · 2011-11-06T04:39:57.283Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It is very easy to forget where the actual difference is located: Imagine for example that in some group, on average, boys are 5% more interested in science, that is a fairly useless piece of information if the spread within both girls and boys is very large. I belive humans (only featherless ones though), on average, are to quick to try to derive answers from to little data: in the example above, knowing that someone is a boy or girl has no practical bearing on whether they are likely to be scientists: One should conclude "not enough data" instead. Saying to ones brain that something "has this effect but only very weakly" very often lends the effect to much weight.

Comment by dojan on Fallacies of Compression · 2011-11-04T02:16:54.066Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Doesn't seem like it :)