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Comment by fezziwig on Rationality Quotes Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-13T07:29:39.962Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what to make of this quote. It is better to be ignorant than to believe the wrong thing; ignorance is much easier to identify and fix.

Or maybe he's saying that the fear of contamination is unjustified? That doesn't seem accurate either.

EDIT: My bad, it's Steve Sailer, I read the article and of course he was talking about racial bias, not biases generally.

Comment by fezziwig on Is Scott Alexander bad at math? · 2015-05-04T10:00:53.626Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

To be great at anything creative, you must have both skill and taste. Painting, music, programming -- every art I've ever studied, or even heard of, has worked this way. You need the technical skill to create, and the eye that decides what's worth trying, and worth keeping.

You've made a good case that math, like music, requires taste for true greatness. And you've persuaded me that Scott Alexander has it. But you also seem to be saying that math doesn't have a skill component, in the sense I mean here, and I do not find that part of your argument persuasive.

Comment by fezziwig on How has lesswrong changed your life? · 2015-04-07T16:02:49.819Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm a professional programmer and I know Haskell, but I've only ever written one real Haskell program (an AI for double-move chess). Nevertheless I recommend it. All I can tell you is that if you master it -- I mean really master it, not learn to write Python in Haskell -- then your Python programming will reach a new level as well. You will be able to solve problems that once seemed intractable, which you'd persuade your product manager to scope out.

It used to be that you could get this effect by learning Lisp, but I don't think that works anymore; too many of Lisp's good ideas have since been taken up by more ordinary languages.

Comment by fezziwig on Defeating the Villain · 2015-03-27T21:08:53.416Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The problems you're describing don't sound like "failure to make plans for after the villain is defeated" so much as "failure to accurately assess whether your target is a villain or not". I think Zubon's point is that even after you've found a real live villain and come up with a workable plan to defeat him, you're still not done.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Mar. 23 - Mar. 31, 2015 · 2015-03-27T15:00:06.739Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I agree. That's why I like the analogy to composition: most of the songs you might write, if you were sampling at random from song-space, are terrible. So we don't sample randomly: our search through song-space is guided by our own reactions and a great body of accumulated theory and lore. But despite that, the consensus on which songs are the best, and on how to write them, is very loose.

(Actually it's worse, I think composition is somewhat anti-inductive, but that's outside the scope of this thread)

My experience is that naming is similar. There are some concrete tricks you can learn -- do read the C2 wiki if you don't already -- and there's a little bit of theory, some of which I tried to share insofar as I understand it. But naming is communication, communication requires empathy, and empathy is a two-place word: you can't have empathy in the abstract, you can only have empathy for someone.

It might help to see a concrete example of this tension. I don't endorse everything in this essay. But it's a long-form example of a man grappling with the problem I've tried to describe.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Mar. 23 - Mar. 31, 2015 · 2015-03-25T22:16:41.210Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Code Complete has a section on this. But we don't have a precise understanding of what a "good name" is, for the same reason that we don't have a precise understanding of what a "good song" is: the goodness of a name is measured by its effect on its reader.

So I think the high-level principle, if you want to do a good job naming things in your program, is to model your intended reader as precisely as you can. What do they know about the problem domain? What programming conventions are they familiar with? Why are they reading your program--what matters to them? These concerns will inform your formatting and commenting style as well.

When you draw these distinctions you will exclude some people. That's normal. You shouldn't feel badly about that, any more than Thomas Mann felt bad that Chinese speakers had to learn German before they could read Der Zauberberg. If your work is influential enough, someone will translate or annotate it. And unlike a novel, most programs are read only by a small circle anyway.

If you want concrete advice instead of philosophy, this c2 page includes some useful tips.

Comment by fezziwig on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-25T21:58:14.807Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that the point was that the typical Muslim, insofar as there is such a thing, is not an arab. The founder was an arab, the Muslims on American TV are almost all arabs, but in the modern world the two concepts are less related than one might think.

Comment by fezziwig on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-25T21:37:55.809Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read that the quiverfull movement has around a 20% retention rate. Of course, given exponential growth that doesn't buy all that more time.

Typo? If each pair of Quiverfull parents produces 8 children, and 8/5 = 1.6 of those grow up to become Quiverfull themselves, then the movement needs to proselytize aggressively just to hit replacement.

Also, anecdotally, my friends who are true-believer evangelicals don't think the demographic strategy is going to work; they think they're losing too many to the world.

Comment by fezziwig on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2015-03-14T13:53:37.650Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Almost nobody has heard of Less Wrong or Eliezer. There's a mean article on RationalWiki (though honestly it doesn't look that mean anymore), there's a hostile thread on DarkLordPotter, but almost nobody has heard of those, either. This was even more true two years ago.

I'm not wedrifid. But I suspect his point is that, outside of a few incredibly narrow sub-sub-cultures, nobody knows anything about Less Wrong and no one who knows you personally will judge you by your connection to it, no matter how public or overt.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-12T00:17:38.345Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, sorry, my mistake.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T21:09:32.035Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do we know the crisis was war, and not (for example) people gradually reinventing the arts with which the Atlanteans destroyed themselves?

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T02:40:36.205Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-quick-informal-post-on-yudkowskys.html

I think "stupid" is a little strong, personally. But I like the canon ending better.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T02:09:23.959Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Conditional on it being nominated at all, I think it would definitely beat No Award. Have a look at the raw stats from 2013 and 2014; for Best Novel, No Award gets crushed by everything. In 2014, for example, No Award got 88 votes out of 3587 ballots. In a world where MOR made it into the top 5 for Best Novel, it can definitely do better than that.

(Okay, yes, it happened to Vox Day, but that was for Novella, or maybe Novellette, whichever).

EDIT: On re-reading, I think this is a little misleading. The Hugo uses preference voting, so it's possible for No Award to beat some particular candidate even if almost nobody picked it in the first round of voting. You can see this in the data but my summary was too casual.

But like most other commenters, I don't think we do live in that world.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T23:34:23.861Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Man, that's beautiful. What does Bellatrix Black want most, that Harry can offer?

She wants Tom Riddle to love her.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T19:55:44.632Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Are you interested in making more bets of this type?

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-10T19:49:28.171Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Resonance. He doesn't dare involve himself with Harry's magic in any way.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Mar. 9 - Mar. 15, 2015 · 2015-03-09T14:43:03.648Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think you have the right idea, but it's a mistake to conflate "needs a big corpus of data" and "needs lots of hardware". Hardware helps, the faster the training goes the more experiments you can do, but a lot of the time the gating factor is the corpus itself.

For example, if you're trying to train a neural net to solve the "does this photo contain a bird?" problem, you need a bunch of photos which vary at random on the bird/not-bird axis, and you need human raters to go through and tag each photo as bird/not-bird. There are many ways to lose here. For example, your variable of interest might be correlated to something boring (maybe all the bird photos were taken in the morning, and all the not-bird photos were taken in the afternoon), or your raters have to spend a lot of time with each photo (imagine you want to do beak detection, instead of just bird/not-bird: then your raters have to attach a bunch of metadata to each training image, describing the beak position in each bird photo).

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T16:05:47.498Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I thought so too, after the troll. I've changed my mind.

Or, did you mean that we knew that it was for practice at keeping things transfigured thirty chapters ago? If so, I just missed it.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T03:52:19.790Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And now we really know why Harry had to carry around his father's rock. For practice:

And meanwhile, just like magic hadn't defined a Transfigured unicorn as dead for purposes of setting off wards, Voldemort's horcruxes wouldn't define a Transfigured Voldemort as dead and try to bring him back.

That was the hope, anyway.

Harry's scar twinged one last time when the steel ring went on his pinky finger, holding the tiny green emerald in contact with his skin. Then his scar subsided, and did not hurt again.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T03:40:32.014Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is it really that much better than being the hero who defeated Voldemort once, though? Putting on Hermione does seem pretty mean, but I think it's a very in-character sort of mistake, especially after the kind of day he's had.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T22:53:26.751Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with this interpretation. But given that, I'm not sure why Harry thinks he didn't kill Voldemort.

Comment by fezziwig on Imagining Scarcity · 2015-03-02T15:33:58.579Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for elaborating. Is British English generally freer with plural verbs on collective nouns, would you say? I was taught that it is, but by American grammarians.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-02T05:40:37.277Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Somewhat off-kilter way to get the Time Turner into the story? Does it need more explanation than that?

Comment by fezziwig on Imagining Scarcity · 2015-03-02T05:01:10.402Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You have asked a difficult grammar question. I prefer "lives". This is definitely not correct (the two nouns and the verb should agree in number), but at some point you have to stop letting mere grammar push you around.

Collective nouns like "everyone" can be treated as either singular or plural, depending on whether you want to treat the collection as single entity, or deal with each part of the group separately. In your case, each person in "everyone" has their own life, they're not all living the same life, so we should treat "everyone" as plural and use "lives"...

...but, the verb must agree with the noun! So now we have "...everyone have lived with scarcity all their lives". This sort of thing is common British English, but to my American ear it sounds very strange. In American usage collective nouns almost always take singular verbs, with a few word-specific exceptions like "police".

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-03-01T16:00:13.414Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It does not. It doesn't quite not say it, either:

1) At 15, Voldemort creates his first Horcrux from Abagail Myrtle.

2) After he "grasp[s] the stupidity of ordinary people", Voldemort decides to invent a better ritual.

3) He spends "years" refining it in his imagination.

4) Quirrel finds one of the Horcruxes which Voldemort had hidden in the "hopeless idiocy of [his] youth"

So, is "when he grasped the stupidity of ordinary people" + "years" < "youth"? It seems unlikely. But I do not think that it is quite ruled out.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T00:10:10.903Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's one thing for which it's genuinely impossible for V to have a counter: the realization that killing Harry is not in his interests. Speaking in Parseltongue, bound by the Vow, Harry is uniquely prepared to make that case -- assuming it's true.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T02:26:25.502Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that must be the role of the stirring and heating requirements: to control which aspects of the thing's creation, and how much of them, are infused into the potion. There may well be a way to call forth solar fusion from common iron. But of course we know that no one has ever done it.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-27T01:19:02.544Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's the passage from chapter 1:

Verärgert schnaubte Professor McGonagall durch die Nase. »O Ja, alle Welt feiert, sehr schön«, sagte sie ungeduldig. »Man sollte meinen, sie könnten ein bisschen vorsichtiger sein, aber nein - selbst die Muggel haben bemerkt, dass etwas los ist. Sie haben es in ihren Nachrichten gebracht.« Mit einem Kopfrucken deutete sie auf das dunkle Wohnzimmerfenster der Dursleys. »Ich habe es gehört. Ganze Schwärme von Eulen ... Sternschnuppen ... Nun, ganz dumm sind sie auch wieder nicht. Sie mussten einfach irgendetwas bemerken. Sternschnuppen unten in Kent - ich wette, das war Dädalus Diggel. Der war noch nie besonders vernünftig.«

My rough, not-a-native-German-speaker translation:

Professor McGonagall snorted angrily through her nose. "Oh yes, the whole world is celebrating, very nice" she said impatiently. "One might think they could be more careful, but no -- even the Muggles have noticed that something is going on. It was in their newspapers." With a jerk of her head, she indicated Dursley's dark living room window. "I heard about it. Swarms of owls, meteorites...they aren't all idiots. They must have noticed. Shooting stars over Kent -- I bet that was Daedalus Diggle. He never was very sensible."

I take from that that McGonagall doesn't expect the Muggles to know what it means that there are suddenly a bunch of owls everywhere, but that wizards everywhere nevertheless have a duty to make sure that Muggles don't see those sorts of things.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T21:12:31.772Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Don't have it in front of me, but my sense was the timeline was more nuanced. First he made some Horcruxes. Then he invented the True Horcrux, and made some of those. Then he invented the True Horcrux Hiding Place, and made about a zillion of them. Quirrel found Horcrux v2 in Hiding Place v1.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-25T02:51:39.276Z · score: 15 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I kinda agree, but...the Time Turners really didn't have protective shells. If you see what I mean.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-24T23:08:55.538Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I agree. Everyone Is An Idiot Except Quirrel And Maybe Harry is a major theme of the whole series, not stronger than anti-deathism but certainly more consistent. Dumbledore bought the first level of Riddle's two-level bluff; in context that's pretty dumb, but not unusually so by MOR NPC standards.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-24T22:43:11.245Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore behaves very strangely in this chapter.

He likens Riddle's spirit to a dumb animal, which does not know that it was sent away. That's a sad, sympathetic image.

He laughs at the skewed symmetry between Good Riddle and Evil Riddle, saying that this is what Riddle could have been if he'd been raised by parents who loved him. If you feel any sympathy for Riddle at all then that's not funny, it's tragic: Riddle's crimes and suffering, his whole live, arose from sheer bad luck on his part. To think it a joke, or to expect Riddle to share it, is something I don't understand at all.

EDIT: Also, he's not taking the prophecy very seriously anymore, did you notice? "Oh well, I trapped you in time so Harry will defeat some other dark lord". One wonders what Dumbledore's "unusual power of Divination" is.

But I don't think that necessarily means he's a fake, inadvertently conjured up by Riddle (one wonders why real!Dumbledore would throw away the Wand and Line, for example, but why would fake!Dumbledore do so?). I don't know what it means.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T15:26:11.009Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

His original plan was to set Harry up to retrieve the Stone for a selfless reason, then steal it from him. But Harry figured out the truth, and so that became impossible. I suspect that he had other plans, but that he abandoned them when he realized that Harry understood Dumbledore better than he did.

Having said that, yes, I think he should have spent a few more minutes looking for potential solutions.

Comment by fezziwig on A quick heuristic for evaluating elites (or anyone else) · 2015-02-23T16:48:16.507Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why do you not see "people skills" as, say, being a specialist in dealing with people?

This is my objection too. This is an interesting idea but when I try to use it, I find that it's harder to distinguish "generic" from "specific" than I expected.

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-20T21:51:39.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, Voldemort is explained, and in a way I find persuasive. I wasn't sure it was possible.

Comment by fezziwig on [LINK] The Wrong Objections to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics · 2015-02-19T20:00:16.487Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My understanding is that new posts don't show their vote totals right away, to help prevent snowball effects.

Comment by fezziwig on The outline of Maletopia · 2015-02-19T15:12:57.913Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I think that claims of the form "This is what you should eat" are held to a lower standard than "This is who you should kill." Does that seem unreasonable to you?

Comment by fezziwig on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, January 2015, chapter 103 · 2015-01-30T15:10:37.949Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting guesses in the responses here. It never occurred to me that this organization might be anything other than "the next iteration of the Death Eaters".

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Dec. 8 - Dec. 15, 2014 · 2014-12-08T22:02:48.781Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So I guess the quality unit would be the Wild?

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-03T20:16:53.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Anecdote: I have several of these and love them. If you live in the Frozen North, I recommend them highly.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-06T15:28:17.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I had a similar problem a while back (given a bunch of one-sided cards, I wanted to programmatically generate their inverses). I couldn't find anything either, and wound up scripting my browser(!?).

Comment by fezziwig on A Parable of Elites and Takeoffs · 2014-07-02T18:23:41.218Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'd like to address your other points, but I think we have to talk about your last paragraph first.

You're quite right; that the cold war did not end the world in our particular branch is not proof that the cold war was survivable in more than a tiny handful of possible worlds. But let me remind you in turn that "von Neumann's plan would have been worse than the cold war" is not the same as "the cold war was safe", "the cold war was good", "the cold war doesn't share any of the weaknesses of von Neumann's plan", or even "the cold war was terrible but still the best choice we had". I'm arguing only that narrow thing: that our forefathers were right to reject von Neumann's plan.

Fair enough?

Comment by fezziwig on A Parable of Elites and Takeoffs · 2014-07-01T20:48:00.373Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(Though for what it's worth, I actually do agree with your point about AI, insofar as the analogy holds: we could get into a Cold-War-like situation and humanity would probably not enjoy the result. I just don't think world conquest is the answer.)

Comment by fezziwig on A Parable of Elites and Takeoffs · 2014-07-01T20:46:27.274Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

So one of the involved researchers - a bona fide world-renowned genius who had made signal contributions to the design of the computers and software involved and had the utmost credibility - made the obvious suggestion. Don’t let the arms race start. ... Instead, Nacirema should boldly deliver an ultimatum to the rival: submit to examination and verification that they were not developing the tech, or be destroyed.

Damn those politicians! Damn their laziness and greed! If only they'd had the courage to take over the world, then everything would have been fine!

Don't misunderstand; that's what's being proposed here. Hegemony would not have been enough. You need inspectors in all the research institutions, experienced in the local language language and culture. You need air inspections of every place a pile might be constructed, quite challenging in 1945. You need to do these things not just to your rival, but to everyone who aspires to become your rival. You need your allies to comply, voluntarily or not. Whenever anyone challenges your reign openly, you have to be willing and able to destroy them utterly. You can't miss even once, because when you do you won't get nuclear war, you'll get nuclear terrorism.

And you have to go on doing all this until nuclear weapons cease to be a world-ending threat. That is to say, forever.

This strategy probably is the best one for short-circuiting the Cold War. It's still a terrible plan. Between that plan and nothing our elites made the right choice, and if they did it out of inertia instead of careful calculation then it's not argument against them, it's an argument in favor of inertia.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-26T16:03:15.131Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Short answer: this popped up on r/programming the other day. Lots of interesting questions there, and they don't come with answers. This will force you to solve them yourself, without spoilers, which is an incredibly valuable exercise which I strongly recommend for any questions you ask.

Long answer: you're going to have to unpack your intentions a little. You only have an hour (or less!), and you want to provide the maximum possible resolving power, so to do the best possible job you must know what your company's decision criteria are for this employee, and also what kinds of evidence your fellow interviewers are going to provide. "Ask technical questions" is too broad a mandate to be really ideal, so here are some questions which might help:

Do you need to do a basic competence check? This is a concrete coding question which a minimally capable developer can solve on a whiteboard, with fully correct syntax, in five minutes or less. Fizzbuzz is the canonical example; I've also seen "write a function to determine whether an input string is a palindrome" used to good effect. The point of this question is to efficiently divide your candidate pool into "people who maybe ask a few clarifying questions and then write out a correct, compilable answer as quickly as they can move the whiteboard marker" and "people who fumble around for half an hour and eventually come to something that's kinda right". Senior candidates will sometimes balk at this, especially if they're older than you are; I've found it works well to present the problem as a warmup, before you get to the more interesting stuff.

Do they have to already know the languages/tools you use? If so, then you have to drill down on that. Write down a bunch of things which you do in your env every day, pick a random subset, and ask your candidate how to do them. Java people need to know the difference between overloading and overriding, Javascript people had better be able to explain callbacks, and so forth.

How important is it that the candidate be able to solve new problems from scratch? To evaluate this, you want a problem which is novel and not easily solved with a standard algorithm. From the link above, "Add two strings. For example ""423" + "99" = "522"" is a good example of this sort of problem, I think (or else I just don't know the standard algorithm). For contrast, question #46 is not good for this: some candidates will have read about reader/writer locks and will immediately start reciting various algorithms and tradeoffs, while others won't have and are stuck trying to solve what was once an open research problem in the final half hour of your interview.

What algorithms/data structures must they already have mastered? Everybody needs arrays and hash tables, most people need sets and graphs. Good is to ask people to explain them, better is to ask a question that's easily solved using them.

Do they need to understand the hardware? Probably not, but maybe you're developing for a console, or doing embedded work, or something.

That got really long, and I don't have time to make it shorter. Sorry. tl;dr be mindful: know what your criteria are before you ask the questions, not afterward when you're trying to judge the answers.

Comment by fezziwig on Rationality Quotes June 2014 · 2014-06-04T14:10:04.962Z · score: 3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Because certainty is higher status than uncertainty.

Comment by fezziwig on June 2014 Media Thread · 2014-06-03T21:20:22.219Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just a matter of time.

Unfortunately perf isn't the only roadblock here; middleware is a real problem too. Even if you write your game in Python, your AI, physics, and tree-drawing components were all written by somebody else, in C++. No matter how good your bindings are you have to do some data conversion every time you talk to one of those libraries, or else use C++ data types in your Python game engine.

That's not to say that soft real time constraints and tight bounds on memory usage and so forth aren't also hard problems, just that even if you have those things you still need the ability to carve out 12 bytes, put 3 4-bytes floats inside, and give it to Havok unaltered. Eventually people will port Havok and SpeedTree and such to your HLL (or write new better ones), but it's a chicken and egg problem: no one will do that until there's a robust market of studios using the language.

Comment by fezziwig on Open thread, 3-8 June 2014 · 2014-06-03T20:45:33.916Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What is she ultimately trying to achieve? More aggressive reminders than a normal calendar app can give you?

Also: computer or smartphone?

Comment by fezziwig on A Dialogue On Doublethink · 2014-05-12T20:08:10.896Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, it's pretty much impossible to tell a lie without hurting other people, or at least interfering with them; that's the point of lying, after all. But right now we're talking about the harm one does to oneself by lying; I submit that there needn't be any.

Comment by fezziwig on A Dialogue On Doublethink · 2014-05-09T19:47:45.477Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You've drawn an important distinction, between believing a lie and telling one. Your formulation is correct, but Eliezer's is wrong.