Comment by gvaerg on Who are your favorite "hidden rationalists"? · 2015-01-11T23:58:16.226Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread Jan. 5-11, 2015 · 2015-01-09T22:18:05.843Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Is there any Egan or Vinge fanfic except EY's crossover Finale of the...?

Comment by gvaerg on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-08T19:05:39.236Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! I've seen many times the statement that ontology is strictly included in metaphysics, but this is the first time I've seen an example of something that's in the set-theoretic difference.

Comment by gvaerg on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T22:48:22.809Z · score: 48 (48 votes) · LW · GW

Did the survey! I think i gave highly contradictory answers.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-09-30T12:55:29.375Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the anagram-of-your-name thing works better if you're called Scott Alexander than if you're called Viliam Bur.

Or Hyaena Hell Infusion.

Comment by gvaerg on The Puzzle of Faith and Belief · 2014-09-28T19:22:24.825Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nice to see an old face again!

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, September 22-28, 2014 · 2014-09-23T07:38:26.446Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This should be fun!

Distress - it's like the kitchen sink of hard/near-future SF

Quarantine - very enjoyable, but a bit simple-minded

Incandescence - seems like a return to early Egan's minimalism

Permutation City - cool, but rather off for me

Schild's Ladder - doesn't feel innovative, the ending has the same vibe as that of Permutation

Zendegi - was expecting more LW mockery after the discussions, unfortunately it was very limited

Diaspora - although brilliant in some respects, very confusingly written

Teranesia - just boring, I understand why it's not so known

Haven't read yet An Unusual Angle; the Orthogonal trilogy I'll read when I get it whole.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, Sept. 1-7, 2014 · 2014-09-05T12:54:34.953Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"After all this time?"

"Always."

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, Sept. 1-7, 2014 · 2014-09-02T14:50:02.178Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

A nearby store has this sign that kinda reminds me of What the Tortoise Said to Achilles:

Products marked with can be heated at your request!

Definitely not making this up. Showed this today to my girlfriend who was speechless upon exiting the store.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, 11-17 August 2014 · 2014-08-13T15:20:10.244Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW
  1. This happened when I was 12 years old. I was trying to solve a problem at a mathematical contest which involved proving some identity with the nth powers of 5 and 7. I recall thinking vaguely "if you go to n+1 what is added in the left hand side is also in the right hand side" and so I discovered mathematical induction. In ten minutes I had a rigorous proof. Though, I didn't find it so convincing, so I ended with an unsure-of-myself comment "Hence, it is also valid for 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on..."

  2. When I was in high school, creationism seemed unsatisfying in the sense of a Deus Ex Machina narrative (I often wonder how theists reconcile the contradiction between the feeling of religious wonder and the feeling of disappointment when facing Deus Ex Machina endings). The evolution "story" fascinated me with its slow and semi-random progression over billions of years. I guess this was my first taste of reductionism. (This is also an example of how optimizing for interestingness instead of truth has led me to the correct answer.)

Comment by gvaerg on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-01T14:17:02.143Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, fixed. IMHO it would make more sense to rot13 hereditarily.

Comment by gvaerg on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-08-01T13:58:48.830Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm wondering what Salazar would make of Bane's Rule of Two

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, July 28 - August 3, 2014 · 2014-08-01T13:52:04.600Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone know why Stephen Bond's website is down? It's been so for something like a month.

Comment by gvaerg on Consider giving an explanation for your deletion this time around. "Harry Yudkowsky and the Methods of Postrationality: Chapter One: Em Dashes Colons and Ellipses, Littérateurs Go Wild" · 2014-07-09T10:05:00.886Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wildbow at least explicitly puts forth metaphysics to partially explain the narrative causality.

And that was the final piece of the puzzle in getting me to read Worm. Off I go!

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-27T21:23:28.044Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

[deleted]

Comment by gvaerg on Very Basic Model Theory · 2014-02-04T08:04:26.155Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Marker is the closest to the state of the art. Hodges is a bit verbose and for beginners. Poizat is a little idiosyncratic (just look at the Introduction!).

I am also interested in the basis of MIRI's recommendation. Perhaps they are not too connected to actual mathematicians studying it, as model theory is pretty much a fringe topic.

Comment by gvaerg on Why don't more rationalists start startups? · 2014-01-21T16:23:47.117Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't deny that, I just say that maybe the specific environment doesn't suit everyone.

Comment by gvaerg on Why don't more rationalists start startups? · 2014-01-20T09:06:05.473Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, some rationalists aren't so capitalism-oriented.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread for January 17 - 23 2014 · 2014-01-18T20:42:38.283Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Given that that site lists Egan (and other works that I knew about) and it strives to be complete, it seems it's what I had been looking for.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread for January 17 - 23 2014 · 2014-01-18T13:24:48.443Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

What examples can you give of books that contain discussions of advanced (graduate or research-level) mathematics, similar to what Greg Egan does in his novels (I suppose the majority of such books are hard sci-fi, though I'm not betting on it)? I'm trying to find out what has already been done in the area.

Comment by gvaerg on January 2014 Media Thread · 2014-01-02T01:55:55.650Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This topic is for recommending media, not for random criticism...

Comment by gvaerg on Cognito Mentoring: An advising service for intellectually curious students · 2013-12-28T01:18:53.617Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I would like to see a review after someone goes through this process.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread for December 9 - 16, 2013 · 2013-12-26T14:54:24.947Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You can see it now in action: the RSS feed is two articles behind the blog. (I waited for the problem to show up.)

EDIT (2013-12-28): The RSS feed has updated.

Comment by gvaerg on Open thread for December 9 - 16, 2013 · 2013-12-09T20:45:20.683Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've noticed something: the MIRI blog RSS feed doesn't update as a new article appears on the blog, but rather at certain times (two or three times a month?) it updates with the articles that have been published since the last update.

Does anyone know why this happens?

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, December 2-8, 2013 · 2013-12-04T17:44:43.087Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A related question: I clicked the (modified) URL that "admin" sent me, and the page contained a form where I could fill in my LW password in order to create a wiki account. I submitted it but I cannot login on the wiki with my LW credentials. What's going on?

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, December 2-8, 2013 · 2013-12-04T17:42:38.650Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And simulation theory is kinda the opposite of statistics - whereas in statistics you deduce the distribution from sample data, in simulation you compute plausible sample data from a given distribution.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, December 2-8, 2013 · 2013-12-03T21:04:13.750Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I did some Googling after reading the article and found this book by Dijkstra and Scholten actually showing how a first-order language could be adapted to yield easy and teachable corectness proofs. That is actually amazing! I have a degree in CS and unfortunately I've never seen a formal specification system that could actually be implemented and not be just some almost-tautological mathematical logic, like so many systems that exist in the academia. Thanks very much for the link.

Comment by gvaerg on Book Review: Computability and Logic · 2013-11-24T23:27:13.798Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I'll check them out.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, November 15-22, 2013 · 2013-11-23T21:29:13.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, God only claimed he would never destroy people with water again... everything else was fair game.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013 · 2013-11-23T18:45:29.502Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's more of an impression of mine than an actual statement of theirs.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013 · 2013-11-23T18:16:46.477Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From what I've seen in the last year, MIRI has sort-of backpedaled on the "actually building an AGI/FAI" goal, and pushed forward in their public declarations the "milder" goal of ensuring a positive impact of AGI when it finally gets created by someone.

Comment by gvaerg on Open Thread, November 15-22, 2013 · 2013-11-23T18:05:31.842Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is also a TV adaptation from 1999), where the chronology is a bit mixed-up because it presents the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as some sort of "prelude" to the Flood, whereas in the Bible the Sodom story is several hundred years after Noah. The reason why I'm bringing this up is that in that film, the destruction of Sodom is presented with fireballs/meteorites, which also feature in this linked trailer, so I'm lead to think this film will also distill the two stories together in some way (there is no fire-related destruction in the Bible anywhere near the Flood story).

Also, I'm wondering if they will be incorporating popular/deuterocanonical traditions a la The Passion of the Christ - for example, Methuselah dying seven days before the Flood.

Comment by gvaerg on Book Review: Computability and Logic · 2013-11-23T15:37:09.820Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I tried to find a good book on the mathematics (not the philosophy!) of second-order logic on my usual sources (like mathoverflow.net discussions), but so far they have rendered nothing. Given that, as I understand it, there is some interest on these forums in SOL, can anyone help me with a recommendation? Thanks.

Comment by gvaerg on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-22T11:26:24.210Z · score: 37 (37 votes) · LW · GW

Took the survey. Can't wait for the results.

Wolfram's new "Cloud" initiative

2013-11-13T18:02:39.641Z · score: 2 (7 votes)
Comment by gvaerg on Very Basic Model Theory · 2013-11-11T09:19:38.235Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From what I know, Chang & Keisler is a bit dated and can create a wrong perspective on what model theorists are researching nowadays. Maybe you should also look at a modern textbook, like the ones from Hodges, Marker or Poizat.

Comment by gvaerg on Academic Cliques · 2013-11-10T17:01:36.678Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This thing can happen even in mathematics or theoretical CS, where there can be a gradual growth of a group of people researching something which gets ignored by and/or has no relevance to the mainstream community.

A good example is institutional model theory, whose practicioners think it is the ultimate theory of abstract logic, even though its accomplishments remain to be seen.

Comment by gvaerg on Rationality Quotes November 2013 · 2013-11-08T15:40:28.037Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, sort of - the protagonist is a child who tries to decipher a clue for a treasure hunt and so he realizes that a model that can predict anything is useless.

Comment by gvaerg on Halloween thread - rationalist's horrors. · 2013-11-03T10:30:46.121Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A year ago, I was going to the local Institute of Mathematics (I live in Bucharest) to attend a short talk on mathematical logic. The talk was scheduled at noon. Given that I had spent the night before at my girlfriend's and we were going somewhere together in the afternoon, I took her with me. While walking towards the Institute, I said to her that I don't remember the name of the speaker. She said that maybe it's a guy that we had met at a conference two months before (that conference was on a completely different area of math, namely algebraic combinatorics). She didn't have any prior knowledge of the logic talk or of that guy's mathematical interests. As we entered the room, we saw that it was really that guy. I still can't explain that..

Comment by gvaerg on Rationality Quotes November 2013 · 2013-11-01T21:57:14.334Z · score: 15 (23 votes) · LW · GW

"I spread the map out on the dining room table, and I held down the corners with cans of V8. The dots from where I'd found things looked like the stars in the universe. I connected them, like an astrologer, and if you squinted your eyes like a Chinese person, it kind of looked like the word 'fragile'. [...] I erased and connected the dots to make 'porte'. I had the revelation that I could connect the dots to make 'cyborg', and 'platypus', and 'boobs', and even 'Oskar', if you were extremely Chinese. I could connect them to make almost anything I wanted, which meant I wasn't getting closer to anything. And now I'll never know what I was supposed to find. And that's another reason I can't sleep."

Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (emphasis mine)

Comment by gvaerg on Help us name the Sequences ebook · 2013-07-17T06:27:24.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's the current progress on this?