Comment by Hansenista on This post is for sacrificing my credibility! · 2012-06-03T03:24:03.187Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the info. I opened this post for the same reason as you, and now that I've read this I'm going to close it.

Comment by Hansenista on Nonmindkilling open questions · 2012-03-26T02:43:47.445Z · LW · GW

By that criterion, anything people can have an opinion on is "mindkilling". Yes, people are vulnerable to becoming entrenched in any way of thinking, but some are less vulnerable to such than others. And in my experience, diets are something people tend to be open to a variety of opinions on.

Comment by Hansenista on Nonmindkilling open questions · 2012-03-24T21:44:34.776Z · LW · GW

Too vague; "a low fat diet" could be taken to mean replacing fats with carbs, replacing fats with proteins, or just eating less in general. Otherwise I think it's a fine idea.

Comment by Hansenista on Nonmindkilling open questions · 2012-03-24T21:41:57.947Z · LW · GW

Clearly cheering on a sports team and checking a bookie's odds fulfill two different functions. One is about signaling, whereas the other is about improving your knowledge.

Trying to convince someone to forsake one in favor of the other makes about as much sense as telling them to buy a Prius instead of learning to juggle.

Comment by Hansenista on Nonmindkilling open questions · 2012-03-24T21:36:38.879Z · LW · GW

It's still a good idea, though. If you changed it to, say, paleo vs. Okinawan diets, I think it would work fine.

Comment by Hansenista on New IRC channels · 2012-03-24T21:25:26.242Z · LW · GW

How, exactly, is this discussion a "waste of time"? If it is worth having an IRC channel, it is worth taking the time to ensure that it functions smoothly.

Comment by Hansenista on What math should I learn? · 2012-02-03T04:55:15.641Z · LW · GW

I second badger's recommendation of the Princeton Companion. In fact, I expect that reading it might give you some ideas of your own as to what math to study.

You say below that you are interested in "fundamental" mathematics. Based purely on that, I would recommend abstract algebra, number theory, or some sort of course in proofs.

Also, this might seem obvious, but go talk to a math professor if at all possible. Much of the answer to this question depends on what the specific courses open to you are.

Comment by Hansenista on On Saying the Obvious · 2012-02-03T04:43:33.627Z · LW · GW

There is no reason an action like this can't have a compound cause. I would guess that, in the hypothetical, the person is not actually thinking "Okay, I'll preface this with 'obviously' so that I look good." However, it is likely that, since saying "obviously" is high status, they wouldn't think too hard about whether the thing is in fact obvious - certainly not as hard as if they were about to say something low status.

Comment by Hansenista on How I Ended Up Non-Ambitious · 2012-01-25T00:04:14.919Z · LW · GW

He made this reply before Eliezer's second post. Given that fact, it seems at least more fair than it would otherwise have been.

Comment by Hansenista on "Talking with God", a transhumanist short story · 2012-01-12T04:34:41.839Z · LW · GW

It would be very surprising if all the substantial advice one had for me turned out identical to what merely mortal soft transhumanists with environmental and social concerns are already saying.

Obviously a human author cannot foresee what "substantial advice" a transhuman intelligence would actually offer; therefore the story's god probably just functions as a mouthpiece for the author. I suggest you stop thinking about whether a superintelligent being would in fact say the things that character does, and start thinking about whether those things make sense on their own terms.

Comment by Hansenista on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras · 2011-12-08T23:53:20.766Z · LW · GW

Well, you people are disgusting anyway :)

Comment by Hansenista on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras · 2011-12-08T21:19:16.854Z · LW · GW

Probably the price of organ meat would go up, while the price of "normal" meat would go down. That's basically a winner for everyone.

Comment by Hansenista on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras · 2011-12-08T03:14:24.967Z · LW · GW

The fact that people insist on calling it by its French name, rather than "fat liver", is a testament to the marketing that has to be done to support interest in it.

The study of variable quantities is called "al-jabr" not because mathematicians want to make it sound exotic, but because of historical accident. Unless you have particularly good reason to think otherwise, I would guess foie gras is the same way.

Comment by Hansenista on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras · 2011-12-08T01:07:15.669Z · LW · GW

So far as I know it's not an acquired taste (e.g., generally unpleasant), so people would probably want it even if nobody were "bending their preferences".

Comment by Hansenista on Beyond the Reach of God, Abridged for Spoken Word · 2011-12-07T19:01:56.766Z · LW · GW

After reading it over again, I think I agree with you.

Comment by Hansenista on [Link] How doctors die · 2011-12-06T23:41:45.143Z · LW · GW

Would you describe doctors as "medicine promoters"?

Comment by Hansenista on Beyond the Reach of God, Abridged for Spoken Word · 2011-12-06T23:22:18.314Z · LW · GW

In the second paragraph, I would strike this line:

Parents don't do everything their children ask.

as it seems to interrupt the flow.

Comment by Hansenista on Beyond the Reach of God, Abridged for Spoken Word · 2011-12-06T23:18:40.071Z · LW · GW

I think removing it was a fine call. It is a nice paragraph, of course, but as you said, the entire thing is nicely written. And the next paragraph:

God would prevent it from ever actually happening, of course. At the very least, he’d visit some shade of gloom in Khan's heart. But in the mathematical answer to the question “What if?”, there is no God in the axioms.

conveys the same idea well enough.

Comment by Hansenista on More "Personal" Introductions · 2011-12-04T00:22:52.279Z · LW · GW

Maybe we should embrace an opportunity to put our rationality skills into practice.

Comment by Hansenista on The Pleasures of Rationality · 2011-11-01T00:59:14.580Z · LW · GW

Wei_Dai used the term back in 2009.

Comment by Hansenista on The Pleasures of Rationality · 2011-10-28T05:27:06.503Z · LW · GW

It's always nice to hear that people are deriving utility (other than just the fun of discussion) out of all the stuff we talk about on this site. With that said, I wouldn't emphasize the first benefit you listed too strongly.

Yeah, it's true that surrounding yourself with people who agree with you on stuff is fun - and productive, if you agree correctly. But it's not a specific benefit of rationality - if you happened to believe that decisions should be made by searching your heart for the Holy Spirit's guidance, you would get exactly the same sense of subjective well-being by joining a group that believes the same thing. So to someone who isn't already a member of your rationalist in-group, this isn't going to look particularly appealing.

On the other hand, the second item does seem like something that's specific to a rationalist community. I would be curious to see if anyone could think of more things like that - if enough come up, it could make good reading for people who aren't necessarily enthusiastic about the topics LW covers.

Comment by Hansenista on [FICTION] Hamlet and the Philosopher's Stone · 2011-10-26T06:12:55.673Z · LW · GW

This paradigm reversal amuses me.

Comment by Hansenista on Things you are supposed to like · 2011-10-24T00:48:52.860Z · LW · GW

I understand the point you are making about ratios of frequencies, but by that logic, equal tempered music would presumably be automatically inferior to music in just intonation, because the consonant intervals are more consonant in just intonation than E-12 tuning.

Well, yeah. That's the only reason that people still talk about just intonation - it's considered a virtue that its intervals sound cleaner than equally tempered ones. Equal temperament is the standard because it allows transposition between keys, not because of some objection to how pure and clean just intervals are.

Comment by Hansenista on Rational toy buying · 2011-10-19T20:35:54.885Z · LW · GW

"The Way Things Work" books.

Seconded (or thirded). One of my favorite books as a child as well; it was one of my first thoughts on reading the original post.