Comment by garabik on Open thread, May 29 - June 4, 2017 · 2017-06-09T22:20:41.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

psbook is what I'd use - you might need pdftops to get postscript out of the pdf, or perhaps print to a generic postscript printer directly.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017 · 2017-02-07T12:08:40.714Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Or two ordinary small balls, one dropped from just above the geosynchronous orbit, the second one from far above the orbit. While the first one slowly drifts away to the space, the second shoots away, makes a complete (retrograde) orbit around Sun and splashes into the Atlantic while the first ball is still drifting...

Requires some careful timing, though.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017 · 2017-02-06T22:46:18.074Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If their gravity is significant enough, then it is incorrect to describe that they splash into the Atlantic - it's the Atlantic that splashes into them.

I'd prefer solutions that do not destroy the Earth :-)

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017 · 2017-02-06T21:56:34.091Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If both rotate (I assume the same angular velocity) , what can be said about the direction of their axes of rotation?

Another idea: Gurl ner zntargvp, pybfr rabhtu gung gurl nggenpg gurzfryirf, fgvpx gbtrgure naq gur ubevmbagny nflzrgel pnhfrf gur bowrpgf gb ghzoyr naq gur uvture bar pbzrf qbja svefg.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017 · 2017-02-06T21:31:01.466Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, if you said "the sea is rough equally for both of them" it would be obvious:-)

Another idea: A ebgngrf. Gur Zntahf rssrpg cebivqrf yvsg naq fybjf qbja gur snyy.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017 · 2017-02-06T17:34:46.212Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My first thought was that B reaches terminal velocity and that's it, but the object A is dropped from substantially higher altitude, picks up speed much higher than the terminal velocity and the atmosphere won't slow it down enough,

I do not feel like oing the math, but there is a simpler solution: jnvg sbe n jnir naq gvzr gur qebc va fhpu n jnl gung bowrpg N, orvat uvture ol yrff guna gur jnir urvtug, uvgf gur perfg bs gur jnir.

Comment by garabik on Open Thread, Aug. 1 - Aug 7. 2016 · 2016-08-07T08:02:11.186Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is also the little issue of Venus receiving about twice the insolation than Earth....

Comment by garabik on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2016-06-21T06:42:17.611Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As a rather illustrative case study look at the history of XMPP at Facebook and Google (Talk). Facebook messaging used XMPP until 2015, but it was not federated - but at least you could use client of your own choice. Then they switched to a proprietary API. Google talk used federated XMPP for years, but then dropped server-to-server encryption, effectively cutting off majority of servers, and then dropped Talk in favour of proprietary Hangouts altogether. So the trend is just the opposite - if the player grows big enough and the community becomes self sustained, they will start walling the garden.

Comment by garabik on Open thread 7th september - 13th september · 2015-09-07T16:57:02.013Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Tax advisor?

Comment by garabik on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-30T19:34:00.386Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe he meant life expectancy. Anyway, that too is locale specific and depends on your life style and (increasingly with age) on healthcare availability - which could be hampered a lot by moving abroad. Not taking into account increased stress due to unfamiliar environment and (likely) less satisfying job.

Comment by garabik on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-24T13:35:46.025Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's probably like drunk driving -- most of the times it doesn't result in anything bad, but there's a non-negligible chance of outcomes so bad that the expected value still comes out negative.

Or like drunk driving on your own property, where there is no other traffic nor pedestrians, and you are alone in your car (well, ok, you are in the car with another person, but s/he is drunk as well, knows you are drunk, knows the risks of drunk driving and half of the time replaces you behind the wheel). Should it be illegal? (assuming there are no (health) insurance issues if you crash&injure yourself)

Comment by garabik on Open Thread, Jul. 27 - Aug 02, 2015 · 2015-07-28T17:43:41.805Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Combat efficiency is much reduced when using gas mask.

Moreover, while gas masks for horses do (did) exist, good luck persuading your horse wearing it. And horses were rather crucial in WWI and still very important in WWII.

We did not see gas used during WWII mostly because of Hitler's aversion and a (mistaken) belief that the Allies had stockpiles of nerve agents and Germany feared their retaliation.

Comment by garabik on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-10T08:56:53.656Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A single world language should be designed and promoted. Previous attempts have been too Eurocentric to take advantage of all useful grammatical features that are available.

There are so many constructed languages already that you do not need to design anything, if you have some criteria, just pick one that suits you, brush it up and maybe replace the vocabulary. And then goes the minor issue of promoting it and gaining speakers :-)

English is rather badly suited for an international auxiliary language, as the things go. But still better than French or Chinese, all things considered. Spelling is OK, it's the pronunciation that sucks :-) And its weird syntax and internally inconsistent vocabulary.

Spelling reform (or a completely new, purely phonetic alphabet) is urgent.

You really, really do not want phonetic writing system - phonemic is what you should go after, but morphophonemic has certain advantages too, especially for non-native speakers.

I would advocate adapting Hangul for that purpose.

If you match your phonology to 15th century Korean, sure. Not so much otherwise without a substantial reform and introduction of new letters. Anyway, Hangul is more suited for a morphematic writing system, not phone[mt]ic one.

Comment by garabik on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-10T08:47:06.460Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is much easier to do a spelling reform in a mostly illiterate country

Indeed. Look at the rejected recent German orthography reform – and the changes were (relatively) minor.

Or the messed up Slovak orthography reform from the '90s – and that was mostly a few acutes here and there.

Comment by garabik on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-08T08:59:01.930Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Years ago I jokingly suggested to sell Crete to Turkey, in exchange for taking over Greece's debt (no doubt Turkey would jump at the opportunity and bend over to do anything possible to meet the debt payment criteria). The reactions I got were predictable, in the vein of "hell would freeze one hundred times over before this happens".

Jokes aside, selling territory (with actual sovereignty transfer, as opposed to simple real estate acquisition) seems to be a bit of no-go in the last decades. Especially selling it under duress for economical reasons.

Comment by garabik on Open Thread, Jul. 6 - Jul. 12, 2015 · 2015-07-07T05:43:30.308Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Depending on your free time, engage in some hobbyist activity.

E.g. subscribe to a foreign language course, where you'll meet some people and gain the additional benefit of learning (at least the basics of) a foreign language (might not be applicable if you are in the USA).

Comment by garabik on Open Thread, Jun. 15 - Jun. 21, 2015 · 2015-06-17T08:29:56.954Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

E.g. imagine a society where human brains evolved just a little bit differently and >90% of population are dyslectics. This very obviously wouldn't matter until about the time proto-writing changed into true writing, i.e. after urban development and proto-states. But then, such a civilization is trapped.

Comment by garabik on Stupid Questions May 2015 · 2015-05-06T06:54:52.890Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I notice the effects of the recession – I always offer to buy food, and in the past beggars often concocted elaborate excuses why I should give them money instead of buying a hotdog or something. But in the last few years, more and more they agree to get the food (and actually eat it).

Anyway, depending on where you live, there might be organized teams of professional beggars who are exploited by their "owner" and they have to give him his daily share "or else". By not giving money, you really hurt the beggars - but this amounts to emotional blackmailing, so perhaps you should not - for the price of hurting a few beggars now we could close the exploitation later, since if there is no profit there is no incentive to exploit the beggars.

Comment by garabik on Gasoline Gal looks under the hood (post 1 of 3) · 2015-05-06T06:41:57.967Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This actually happens with people preferring books to ebooks or vinyl records to MP3 files.

OT nitpicking: books you can resell or lend, no such luck with ebooks, they work without electricity, quick shuffling through pages is easier with books, MP3 distort sound (though not perceivably at higher bitrates), so this was not such a great analogy. But yes, your point is valid.

Comment by garabik on Open Thread, Apr. 13 - Apr. 19, 2015 · 2015-04-13T17:00:09.796Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

At Esperanto meetings.

Comment by garabik on Language Learning and the Dark Arts. · 2015-04-06T16:50:15.181Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How do you people out there learn foreign languages and how do you keep yourself from giving up or slowing down?

Watch a lot of TV (once you acquire enough basic vocabulary), preferably with subtitles (in that language). The subtitles might be of much less help in the case of Chinese than in other languages, though.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Mar. 23 - Mar. 31, 2015 · 2015-03-23T17:34:28.303Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Are there other words that could be used instead of "AI" in this context?

"Od automatov po zombie" ?

Not an ideal variant, but I am afraid there are not many possibilities here...

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T14:25:37.754Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How does Time Turner select reference frame? What if you use it in the orbit, will you see Earth rotational angle jump by 90°? Assuming the reference frame is fixed to Earth surface, going sufficiently far away will give you FTL which can be used to create arbitrarily long time loops. Assuming it is not, what happens if you are moving at relativistic speeds (relative to Earth) and use the Time Turner?

EDIT: We not even need to consider relativity - what if you are flying on a broomstick (constant speed) or on a moving train and use Time Turner? This experiment is simple enough and can reveal a lot.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T21:22:41.916Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

a standard diagnostic Charm showed Miss Granger as a healthy unicorn

Charms to detect active magic have each time detected her as being in the process of transforming into another shape

He performed certain spells ... declared that Hermione's soul was in healthy condition but at least a mile away from her body

The first two diagnostics are correct. If the third one is correct too, then Hermione is a perfect philosophical zombie now.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:38:08.396Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

For it was said once that you might need to raise your hand against your mentor, the one who made you, who you loved; it was said that you might be my downfall.

Indeed. Harry raised his hand against his mentor, the one who made him, the one he loved (‘Harry was in love. It would be a three-way wedding: him, the Time-Turner, and Professor Quirrell’), and was the cause of Dumbledore's downfall. Only, Dumbledore did not realize that he and Harry's mentor does not need to be the same person.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 117 · 2015-03-09T14:21:58.973Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, random speculation: does the death mark have the power to resurrect you? (in some, not necessarily preferred or pleasant form). And the Death Eaters cannot talk about it, unless you already suspect this is the case. This would fit Snape's response from ch. 86: :

But as you can see, the Dark Lord was quite cunning." His gaze grew more distant. "Oh," Severus breathed, "he was very cunning indeed..."

Comment by garabik on Bragging Thread March 2015 · 2015-03-09T13:49:30.781Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Learned Hangul (just the script, I have no intention of learning Korean ever). Not worth much of bragging, since it is indeed very easy, "a writing you can learn within a morning" - though it took me considerably longer.

My primary motivation was to have a sort of private semi-secret script to write my notes in, and something where syllables will be organized in blocks, which theoretically helps reading (though one has to read a lot to internalize the whole shapes to achieve this).

I have some relevant observations:

  • Hangul might fit Korean language perfectly, but is really, really unsuitable for a "random European language". Not only there are many consonants missing, but the syllables cannot have an arbitrary coda, and arbitrary consonant clusters are right out.
  • The above point can be remedied somewhat by (re)using historical (obsolete) letters, but:
  • Historical letters have almost none computer support.
  • Arbitrary consonant clusters have none computer support, since:
  • There are standalone "jamo" letters in unicode block U+1100, but most applications cannot deal with them, requiring to use precomposed syllables insted
  • Even if I could use standalone jamo, font support does not go beyond initial consonant+vowel+(fixed set of) final consonant cluster, anything else just displays overlapping and utterly unreadable letters.
  • Syllables consisting of consonant+vowel are nicely readable, but:
  • Syllables witht he structure CVC(C) are less readable, requiring bigger font size, which kind of defeats the point of readability. Especially if one wants to use morphematic writting, as opposed to phonemic one - which was my original intention, to keep the word roots unchanged.
  • Thus, Latin script at smallish fontsizes tends to be more readable than Hangul at twice the fontsize.
  • Korean input methods under X11 leave a lot to be desired. Especially if you want to type something that does not fit Korean phonology, you are basically out of luck.

Considering all this, I indeed do use Hangul as my private semisecret script, and intent to continue doing so.

Comment by garabik on Stupid Questions March 2015 · 2015-03-05T14:12:57.874Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest adding a non-trivial random string to the original text. Otherwise if someone else makes the same prediction, your secret is immediately known to vim, and the information that you two are making the same prediction leaks to everyone.

Read on salting for more information.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T14:28:02.729Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I am starting to think that Lord Voldemort planned to commit suicide by proxy. Being without any personal aims, totally bored, without any happiness, surrounded by idiots, no chance of improvement - yet he cares about the world, at least somewhat, and realized that the original plan of playing chess with Harry would not alleviate his mood anymore anyway. And he has a better, happier and (age adjusted) more intelligent clone running around, so it is not like he will cease to exist altogether.

So he told Harry where to find Memory charms, prepared the plot, got the Stone (for Harry), made Harry take the Vow to keep his recklessness in limits, let him keep his wand and put him to the Final Exam.

The problem is that if he planned to be Obliviated, the plot was extremely complicated and relied on too many factors that could have gone wrong. So perhaps LV just threw the towel and said to himself, darn, let's Harry try whatever he can think about to do with us, and if he fails, well, it's not like I cannot try something else in some decades.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T09:41:44.864Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thinking about AI boxing - note that it is Harry who represents humanity, his core values and goals were not changed that much by the Vow, they were just formalized.

It is LV that has goals that are mostly what we'd agree about (`ensure the continuous existence of the world'), but he has very different values and no moral constraints. In short, dealing with him is like dealing with an Unfriendly AI or an Alien mind (like Sorting Hat).

So this is more like a clash between Unfriendly (or better, Indifferent) and a Friendly AI, where the goals are more or less compatible, but in addition the FAI keeps human values. And the UFAI got there first and is more powerful.

The rational way if your goals are compatible is to cooperate - however, Harry's values almost ensure that he will defect given the chance. And LV knows it, so the rational action for him is to defect (=kill) as well.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T09:31:02.506Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world...

Oh my... did Voldemort just magically imbued Harry to do his best to put the whole world into time-frozen stasis in the Mirror?

Though revealing this to LV would not do any good - there is a failure safe mode, namely killing Harry, and if LV learns what he did (apart from pointing out his own stupidity), he has all the motivation to kill Harry right now.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:33:53.793Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

hypothesis: Voldemort is pretending to lose.

Everything he said and did about Hermione is true - he wants Harry to have restrains and a sidekick (and a true friend, but his is an emotion he knows not). He knows that Harry has the best chance to defeat death, and so the best course of action is to move to the background to live a safe, boring life, now with his horcrux network, new body with who-knows-what capabilities, Harry being one of the very few things in the world that can hurt/kill him. So if Harry will think Voldemort is finally dead...

Against this hypothesis speaks the fact that Voldemort acts in a really stupid way - he surely must be aware that Harry might notice it. And he did not set up any plausible reason why he might act stupidly.So why would he be playing suddenly two levels down?

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T15:09:53.277Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Hypothesis: The mirror (or the whole room) connects universes. More specifically, there is only one mirror, stable in the multiverse (quantum, mathematical, magical or whatever) of compatible universes. A compatible universe is such an universe where the mirror exists, i.e. most probably the one that did not branch off before the end of Atlantis (or boltzmanned into existence a moment ago).

Looking into the reflection, your (magical) brain picks the image from a different universe, the one that matches your CEV most closely.

Nothing can hurt the mirror, unless the measure of the universes the action is performed in is a "significant portion" of the multiverse - otherwise it just dissipates.

The map shows gibberish, because, well, there is everybody and nobody in the last room...

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T14:57:57.858Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Time travel isn't fully computable

Depends on what kind of time travel and what kind of universe. Heck, even classical newtonian real-valued physics is not computable (but is computable to arbitrary precision). If the information content of the universe is finite (like, it is a grid of finite many cells, each of them could be in only finite many states, and time is discrete as well), then time travel is computable - you just have to store the information for the past 6 hours and brute-force consistent stable loops.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T17:43:56.268Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't re-read the fic in a while so this might be a stupid question, but does QQ know about Partial Transfiguration?

Harry used partial transfiguration to make a hole in a wall in Azkaban, ch. 57. Quirrel saw the hole, but how much did he deduce from that is hard to say.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T17:28:45.857Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So, what is Harry's deepest desire? There are several candidates, but I think a strong contender is a Quirrell who isn't evil.

That's his (currently strongest) instrumental desire. What is his terminal desire? Something about humanity conquering death and reaching towards stars perhaps...

Question is, which desire does the mirror show?

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-20T23:37:41.244Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The Map isn't sure who is in the Mirror room; maybe it's still indetermined.

Maybe indetermined because the room is (so far) causally disconnected from Hogwarts, there is still one hour of time turning left and a stable time loop has not formed yet, because it is not clear who and how is going to use the time turner to get into the room before now.

Alternatively, the true Cloak of invisibility hides you from the Death itself, never mind a mere map...

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-20T14:05:00.445Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe that's because it's a false memory?

It is very likely. Also from Chapter 3, when McGonagall told Harry about his parents' murder:

And somewhere in the back of his mind was a small, small note of confusion, a sense of something wrong about that story; and it should have been a part of Harry's art to notice that tiny note, but he was distracted. For it is a sad rule that whenever you are most in need of your art as a rationalist, that is when you are most likely to forget it.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-20T10:26:43.463Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But just after Hermione's body dissappeared, they throroughly searched Harry's person and stuff for transfigured objects and finite incantatem-ed the lot.

The corpse could be transfigured into the necklace of the time-turner. This is such an incredibly stupid and dangerous idea that no-one would ever suspect Harry to do anything like this. Or he can transfigure Hermione into one chain link of the necklace (safer failure mode).

Are there any (known) size limits to the transfiguration? If not, there's plenty of room at the bottom...

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T21:03:35.786Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Help me obtain Sstone of Transsfiguration, and I sshall try my hardesst to ressurrect your girl-child friend to true and lassting life.

But not necessarily the same physical form - thus the Alicorn Princess.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T20:53:50.612Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

However, Quirrell seems to dislike lies - half truth, yes, misleading information, yes, but blatant lie is just not in his style. Whether this is an inherent feature of his character or sense of honour, or he wants to keep open the possibility to confirm his words later in Parseltongue if need be, that's an open question.

Comment by garabik on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T08:50:36.393Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought Sirius.

That's not a constellation though...

Comment by garabik on Je suis Charlie · 2015-01-15T20:16:38.526Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I know there is a lot of controversy about privacy, but in what way are western governments acting against free speech?

Dieudonné arrested over Facebook post on Paris gunman – French comedian accused of justifying terrorism after linking attacker to tribute slogan by writing ‘I feel like Charlie Coulibaly’

Sad.

Comment by garabik on Stupid Questions January 2015 · 2015-01-13T16:23:20.368Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Poetry is not only about rhymes. See (any) Obfuscated contest winners for programs that are beautiful, in both form and content, but unlike "classical" poetry, require some programming knowledge to appreciate.

There are also whole programming languages designed to be an artistic work, not to be used In Real Life - e.g. Perligata.

Comment by garabik on How to Read · 2014-12-23T12:22:49.197Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I've made a decision to read fiction primarily in foreign languages, to get some side benefit from it (in addition to the entertainment). This did slow my reading down (I am quite a fast reader) - several times unless I am already proficient in the language. This is mostly because of my conscious effort to pay attention to the grammar and vocabulary (dictionary lookup not included) - otherwise the slowing down would not be so pronounced.

I found out that after 5 or 10 books (and introductory lessons), reading in a foreign language stops being a hard work and becomes enjoyable again.

Comment by garabik on Things to consider when optimizing: Commuting, Transportation · 2014-11-11T07:56:47.747Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And you might consider getting the license abroad - the costs might be significantly lower. Though language barrier and getting there (without a car in the first place, even if you happen to live "just across the border") might be a problem.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-07T08:13:34.648Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Such as SHMUdroid (for Android)? Unfortunately, these apps tend to be country specific.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-07T08:11:18.656Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Disclaimer: I am not a meteorologist, but a friend of mine is and I had discussed this with him some time ago. Paraphrasing from memory, I might make mistakes.

Only in recent decade or two we got enough computational power to run huge weather models (such as Aladin) comfortably, with live updating on incoming data. However, the model is only as good as the input data - if the meteorological weather stations are positioned every few kilometers, the prediction is extremely good, but if they are more sparse, the errors increase. The complexity of terrain plays a role too - on a flat plain, weather stations might reasonably be spaced tens of km's, but a small hill means they have to be spaced much more closely to get reasonable results.

There is also sometimes very helpful "local knowledge" - e.g. whatever the abrupt weather change in Germany, you can be reasonably sure in 3 days it will happen in Slovakia.

Taking this into account, professional weather forecast is very reliable for a day or two - enough to leave your umbrella at home. However, interpretation by news forecasters glosses over finer details, such as "sunny, high temperature with 10% chance of rain" will be interpreted as "sunny, high temperature, a little of rain" and give false signals.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-06T11:25:14.446Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How to count work related usage? I do not have personal account, but now I am testing tweeting as part of social networking PR. Perhaps I should vote twice, one personally and once in the official authority.

Comment by garabik on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T08:34:32.351Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Arthur Clarke's idea of reduced gravity prolonging significantly human life. Sadly, the available evidence does not quite point in this direction. But for a sci-fi story it might be quite OK (e.g. it is discovered that microgravity prevents Alzheimers').