Rationality Quotes September 2014 2014-09-03T21:36:30.032Z
Open thread, 25-31 August 2014 2014-08-25T11:14:52.992Z


Comment by jaime2000 on The Library of Scott Alexandria · 2016-05-30T06:07:14.334Z · LW · GW

I have noticed one more issue. In "Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others…" the symbol "£" is twice corrupted into "ÂŁ". This is not an ebook-wide problem, since "Searching for One-Sided Tradeoffs" and "A Modest Proposal" both use the correct symbol. Apparently this is simply a problem with the source; the copy of the post at the Effective Altruism Forum has this error, but the copy of the post at LessWrong, has the correct symbol.

Comment by jaime2000 on What makes buying insurance rational? · 2016-04-04T04:26:50.225Z · LW · GW

In addition to what everyone else said, I recommend Gwern's "Console Insurance". Also, Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme says the following about dental and vision insurance:

I don’t have dental or vision insurance. Paying insurance that covers “regular maintenance” like teeth cleaning or contact lenses which these kinds of insurance do makes no sense whatsoever. Suppose everybody pays $25/month for contacts. Now do you think that everybody paying those $25 through an insurance company will make it any cheaper? No, the insurance company will add a $5 administrative fee—they most definitely will not give away free money. As such this kind of insurance is nothing but a financing plan for people who can’t figure out how to save the money for a $200 dental visit. The point of insurance is to cover rare events with a six-figure cost, which dental or vision simply doesn’t have.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Oct. 26 - Nov. 01, 2015 · 2015-11-02T00:27:04.250Z · LW · GW

The beginning is too slow (I would not have read past the first paragraph if I had come across this story randomly on the internet; consider starting at the second paragraph), but the idea was interesting.

Comment by jaime2000 on Problems in Education · 2015-11-01T13:00:49.534Z · LW · GW

Since the post never came back (much less with "citations galore"), here's a mirror.

Comment by jaime2000 on The Library of Scott Alexandria · 2015-10-06T21:19:36.137Z · LW · GW

Everything looks fine now. Thanks once again!

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-06T14:17:40.529Z · LW · GW

Huh. I interpreted it as "not just women can't get sexual experience until marriage in a healthy patriarchy," but now that you mention it, your interpretation seems correct.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-06T05:07:50.006Z · LW · GW

Not just women.

My understanding is that in the patriarchies of the past there were a small number of prostitutes and bad girls which young men could use to gain some experience and confidence before settling down and marrying nice, virgin girls.

Comment by jaime2000 on The Library of Scott Alexandria · 2015-10-06T04:10:02.700Z · LW · GW

Thank you! The book is fantastic. Combined with The Sequences ebooks that are already floating around (Eliezer Yudkowsky Blog Posts, 2006-2010: An Unofficial Compendium, Rationality: From AI to Zombies, and The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate) it is now possible for someone to get most of the insights of the rationalist community distilled into extremely efficient book formats.

Do let me know if anything's massively broken.

A large number of posts have extraneous > characters. The affected posts appear to be either SSC posts in which the > character appears at the start of a blockquote and LiveJournal posts in which the > character appears after and in between paragraphs. Examples of the former include "Meditations on Moloch," "Misperceptions on Moloch," and "Book Review: Red Plenty," while examples of the latter include "The Meditation on Creepiness", "The Meditation on Superweapons," and "The Meditation on the War on Applause Lights."

Also, the title of "We Wrestle Not With Flesh And Blood, But Against Powers And Principalitiebs" should be "We Wrestle Not With Flesh And Blood, But Against Powers And Principalities". I normally wouldn't report a typo, but this one appears to have been introduced by the ebook process; the mistake is not in the original article, nor is it on the list of titles RobbBB provided.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-30T06:08:28.635Z · LW · GW

Do you ever get an anarchist, a communist and a neoreactionary turning up to the same meeting?

So an anarchist, a communist, and a neoreactionary walk into a LessWrong meetup...

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread 7th september - 13th september · 2015-09-09T15:31:02.860Z · LW · GW

Should we eliminate all news sources like some advocate?


What about the news that are relevant, e.g. changes in the tax code that you need to know about?

If you try to read the news, you will see far more proposed changes tax changes than actual changes, and far more useless political debate than practical ramifications. Much more efficient to just google "tax changes [state] [year]" once a year or ask an accountant you know.

Comment by jaime2000 on A survey of the top posters on lesswrong · 2015-06-14T02:58:13.234Z · LW · GW

It's a chess joke.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open Thread, Jun. 1 - Jun. 7, 2015 · 2015-06-07T18:06:32.974Z · LW · GW

Yes, except that I change the "Device" setting to "Kindle Paperwhite" instead of "Kindle 1-5", and I usually convert the first 5 pages or so to make sure I have the borders right before I convert the whole document. The idea of cropping the margins is to set them such that page numbers and chapter headers are cut while retaining the text. You shouldn't need to touch the left and right margins most of the time, only the top and bottom ones. Use binary search.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open Thread, Jun. 1 - Jun. 7, 2015 · 2015-06-07T15:55:43.869Z · LW · GW

How easily is a Kindle damaged by falling to the ground? Is it important to use a case to prevent damage?

I have accidentally dropped Kindle in a case a couple of times; there was no perceptible damage.

Do you have tips for good PDF conversion. Especially for textbooks?

K2pdfopt is God's gift to Kindle readers. Compare a processed version of the latest paper I read with its original version.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Mar. 2 - Mar. 8, 2015 · 2015-03-03T00:29:53.472Z · LW · GW

I like Eliezer's solution better. Rather than wait until exponential population growth eats all the resources, we just impose population control at the start and let every married couple have a max of two children. That way, population grows at most linearly (assuming immortality).

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Mar. 2 - Mar. 8, 2015 · 2015-03-02T15:06:29.680Z · LW · GW

365tomorrows recently published a hard science-fiction story of mine called "Procrastination", which was inspired by the ideas of Robin Hanson. I believe LessWrong will find it enjoyable.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T00:20:15.402Z · LW · GW

Non-native speaker here; I agree with you. I knew what "insofar as" meant, and the statement parsed fine.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:02:11.289Z · LW · GW

"Power of unicorn'ss blood to presserve life makess excellent combination with troll'ss healing. Only Fiendfyre and Killing Cursse sshall girl-child fear, from thiss day."

What, not basilisk venom? In canon, that was also a way to destroy a horcrux.

I am also updating towards the theory that what we are seeing in this chapter and the last is some sort of illusion; either the mirror or hpmor!legilimency. The biggest piece of evidence against it is Eliezer's assurances that the story will not lie to us because he wants the plot to be solvable; he was very careful to point out that Draco's false memory was, in fact, false.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-24T20:59:13.165Z · LW · GW

After reading comments in /r/hpmor, I've realized that Professor Quirrell has a superior move in the previous chapter, which has hopefully updated or will update soon.

Be honest, Eliezer; you just got sick of all the naked Harry jokes.

How I laughed when I realised it! When I saw you had made a Good Voldemort to oppose the evil one - ah, how I laughed!

I guess now we know what Dumbledore was laughing about in chapter 17.

The Cloak of Invisibility was torn away from him, and the shimmering black Cloak flew away from him, through the air.

Professor Quirrell caught it, and swiftly drew it over himself; in less than a second he had pulled down the Cloak's hood over his head, and disappeared.

Quirrell can escape the trap because he is no longer reflected in the mirror, being hidden by the True Cloak of Invisibility. All he has to do is walk out of the reflection, which he did.

Into the hand of the Albus Dumbledore flew from his sleeve his long, dark-grey wand, and in his other hand, as though from nowhere, appeared a short rod of dark stone.

Albus Dumbledore threw these both violently aside, just as the building sense of power rose to an unbearable peak, and then disappeared.

The Mirror returned to showing the ordinary reflection of a gold-lit room of white stone, without any trace of where Albus Dumbledore had been.

After reading Reddit, my interpretation of this scene is that Dumbledore realized Quirrellmort would not be affected by the trap, and that the only result would be that Harry would be trapped eternally outside of Time. Dumbledore makes a split-second decision to sacrifice himself in order to save the boy, throws the Elder Wand and the Line of Merlin Unbroken out of the mirror's reflection so that they will not be trapped with the headmaster, and trades places with Harry just before the Process of the Timeless (the rising sense of power) finishes. Albus Dumbledore is now trapped inside the mirror forever, and Harry Potter is back in the real room with Professor Quirrell.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-23T20:55:09.049Z · LW · GW

Look at the html source.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Feb. 16 - Feb. 22, 2015 · 2015-02-22T05:27:45.742Z · LW · GW

Read Chronospause, Cryonics, and Mike Darwin's comment history. Mike Darwin is very, very based.

If you still want more, try reading all the articles under the "cryonics" tag and gwern's "Plastination versus Cryonics".

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T20:17:00.839Z · LW · GW

I just realized why some spells were causing Harry dread, apprehension, and anxiety in chapter 104. It's not because Professor Sprout is controlled by Professor Quirrell (which she is), since other spells of hers fail to trigger the effect and yet one of Tonk's spells does. It's because Quirell is using metamagic to influence the outcome of the battle! He empower's Sprout's brown bolt so that it tears through Professor Snape's shield, and he quickens her stunner so that Snape can't dodge. Then he empowers Tonk's spell to ensure that she will take out Sprout.

In retrospect, this makes perfect sense. There are too many people involved, and combat is inherently chaotic; there is simply no way Quirrell can predict exactly how the fight will go. But he can be there, using gentle nudges to actively steer it towards the small region in outcome-space that ranks high in his utility function, and hope that Harry Potter is too distracted by the battle to notice (which he was; his deduction that Quirrell is behind the plot never once mentions this fact). As a bonus, this explains how Sprout can defeat Snape, when normally we wouldn't expect her to stand a chance.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T06:25:56.355Z · LW · GW

Why are they having a normal conversation and occasionally switching to Parseltongue to confirm the more important bits? Why not conduct the entire conversation in Parseltongue? Seems like the best way to ensure full cooperation leading to superior outcomes for both parties. Harry has already sneaked one lie past Quirrell, and he has no idea how much of what Quirrell said is true outside of the parts he deliberately chose to speak in Parseltongue.

Comment by jaime2000 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T08:49:05.679Z · LW · GW

Quirrell's internal monologue makes that unlikely.

Comment by jaime2000 on Musk on AGI Timeframes · 2015-01-26T17:22:46.151Z · LW · GW

Also, in a 2002 interview, Eliezer said that "a few years back" before the interview his actual guess at when the singularity would occur was between 2008 and 2015, but he would say that it would occur between 2005 and 2020 in order to give a conservative estimate.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-01-20T01:58:37.852Z · LW · GW

Thank you! This is great.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-01-19T02:07:55.095Z · LW · GW

Since Eliezer has forsaken us in favor of posting on Facebook, can somebody with an account please link to his posts? His page cannot be read by someone who is not logged in, but individual posts can be read if the url is provided. As someone who abandoned his Facebook account years ago, I find this frustrarting.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Jan. 12 - Jan. 18, 2015 · 2015-01-16T07:13:18.293Z · LW · GW

Cold Turkey

Comment by jaime2000 on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-12T17:12:32.666Z · LW · GW

One important difference is that video games are optimized to be fun while musical instruments aren't. Therefore, playing an instrument can signal discipline in a way that playing a game can't.

Comment by jaime2000 on 'Facing the Singularity' podcast · 2014-12-10T19:58:46.630Z · LW · GW

The link is broken. Could you please provide a new one?

Comment by jaime2000 on Stupid Questions December 2014 · 2014-12-10T11:22:27.621Z · LW · GW

I'm succumbing to confirmation bias and this isn't a real pattern

No, this is definitely a real pattern. YouTube switched from a 5-star rating system to a like/dislike system when they noticed, and videogames are notorious for rank inflation.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014 · 2014-12-07T22:26:02.561Z · LW · GW

Four to six classes a year, out of about twelve in total? That doesn't sound too bad to me. I took about that many non-major classes when I was in school, although they didn't build on each other like the curriculum I proposed.

I studied at two state universities. At both of them, classes were measured in "credit hours" corresponding to an hour of lecture per week. A regular class was three credit hours and semester loads at both universities were capped at eighteen credits, corresponding to six regular classes per semester and twelve regular classes per year (excluding summers). Few students took this maximal load, however. The minimum semester load for full-time students was twelve credit hours and sample degree plans tended to assume semester loads of fifteen credit hours, both of which were far more typical.

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-23T05:06:44.903Z · LW · GW

And while you might argue that home-based work is preferable to market work due to having a "kinder, more caring master", the swift demise of cottage industry once early factories became feasible suggests that folks care more about how productive they are than whether they can work from home.

I think that was just Moloch.

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-23T04:05:12.395Z · LW · GW

Just to be clear, when you say that it's much harder to get such a job, and that this is due in part to increased competition from immigration and women, what you mean to say is that it's much harder for non-women and non-immigrants to get such a job, because it's correspondingly easier for immigrants and women to get them. Yes?

Yes. I am aware of the lump of labor fallacy, and that in theory an increasing number of workers might have economic effects creating more jobs even as said workers take existing ones, ending up with a similar or perhaps even a better job market than existed before the new workers came into the picture. But in practice it seems like workers have increased faster than jobs, and the oversupply of labor has led lower wages, lower non-monetary compensation, and/or lack of jobs.

You seem to additionally be implying that how hard it is for women and immigrants to get jobs isn't a relevant factor in determining the difficulty in achieving a decent life. Yes?

Let's start with women. If you think of the family as the basic block of society instead of the atomized individual, then yes. Under the old model, it was understood that women would marry early (men slightly less early), and that their husbands would be financially responsible for the resulting household and children. If there is a strong job market for men under this model, then most women do not need to work; only the very poor, the widows, the spinsters, and other extreme cases. Instead of slaving away 40 hours per week at work like their husbands did, wives were free to slave away cooking and cleaning and raising the children, which is still slavery, but is a much kinder form of slavery, with a more caring master. Under the new model and circumstances, both men and women perform the wage kind of slavery, and either they perform the household kind of slavery on top of that, or they outsource it, with negative consequences all around.

Immigrants are a different matter. Utilitarians can make a good case that immigration increased total utility, improving the immigrants' quality of life more than it lowered existing citizens'. If you're one of those guys who thinks we should all be sending all of our spare income to Africa, or whatever percentage of our income is realistically psychologically sustainable, I guess this is pretty great, and it's also great if you are one of the immigrants waiting to get in, but it's not so great for existing citizens whose quality of life is being brought to equilibrium with the rest of the world's, or for the immigrants already here.

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-22T17:51:48.650Z · LW · GW

I do read MMM, and ERE, and other frugality blogsphere titles. I disagree with your characterization that the difficulty in achieving a decent life today merely reflects an inflation of what is considered decent. First, because it's much harder to get the same kind of job in 2010s that would have been available in the 1950s; a solid, respectable job you easily can get out of high school is not the same as a solid, respectable job you might not even get after wasting a minimum of four years and going thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into debt. That this latter condition holds in modern times can be attributed to academic inflation and increased job competition from immigration and from women entering the workforce, which are all progressive policies. Second, because zero-sum competition for safe housing away from city centers has increased their prices to reflect what a two-income household can barely cover (and, indeed, the increased prices is part of what keeps them safe), not to mention the horrors of commuting (distance from city centers being the other thing that keeps them safe).

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-21T23:27:25.686Z · LW · GW

Gnon likes crabs.

Comment by jaime2000 on Narcissistic Contrarianism · 2014-11-21T16:05:20.290Z · LW · GW

Eh? If I was renting, I think that would have an impact on my life -- so maybe this is yet another metaphor I never heard of.

It's from _The Sequences_, which you should read. Specifically, it's from the post "Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences)".

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-21T13:45:15.234Z · LW · GW

What? It's a perfectly valid response to your claim that neoreaction is filled with moral anti-realists who are obsessed with arbitrary value preservation. Also, Roissy is Heartiste.

Comment by jaime2000 on Group Rationality Diary, November 16-30 · 2014-11-21T01:59:17.767Z · LW · GW

Any difference between men and women on average is just that: on average. Think almost-but-not-quite-completely overlapping Gaussian curves.

The second sentence does not follow from the first. It is also possible for the Gaussian curves to be so far apart that there is almost no overlap, and that situation is still perfectly describable by saying that there is a difference between both populations on average but reflects a much stronger difference in prior probability. As a matter of empirical fact, only 20% of Alcor's members were female as of 1999, and the number of women opposed to their husband's cryonics arrangements is well-known as the hostile wife phenomenon. Combine with Dr. Miller's experience and we have a strong outside view case that ilzolende's mother will probably react worse than her father to cryonics.

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-19T17:54:45.634Z · LW · GW

The reactosphere theorizes that feminism is behind the drop in fertility, which has now collapsed to sub-replacement rates.

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-19T16:10:43.219Z · LW · GW

Quality of life. The idea is that without the ravages of modernity, technological advancement would have created an even higher quality of life.

By way of example, consider the 1950s. Their technology was obviously inferior to ours. And yet they had intact families (marriage rates were higher, divorce and bastardy rates lower) and well-paying jobs (a husband's salary alone sufficed to support his entire family, his wife was free to cook and clean and raise the children). Is our quality of life higher than theirs? It's not obvious to me. Even if it is, why is this trade-off necessary? Why can't we have the superior scientific technology of the 2010s and the superior social technology of the 1950s?

Comment by jaime2000 on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2014-11-19T00:24:32.032Z · LW · GW

The traditional neoreactionary counter is that increased quality of life is due to technological advancement, and that social "progress" has been neutral at best and detrimental at worst.

Comment by jaime2000 on Musk on AGI Timeframes · 2014-11-18T06:16:22.634Z · LW · GW

Eliezer's "The Plan to Singularity" and "Staring into the Singularity" (last updated in 2000 and 2001, respectively) contain numerous references to passive singularity prediction dates and interventionist singularity target dates.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 10 - Nov. 16, 2014 · 2014-11-12T11:02:38.707Z · LW · GW

That's my guess, too. I know that both Eliezer and Robin posted there. Eliezer had definitely come to Robin's attention by 1999; he is cited in Robin's "Comments on Vinge's Singularity" page.

Of course, the most straightforward way to answer this question is to simply ask either of them.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 10 - Nov. 16, 2014 · 2014-11-10T16:12:02.930Z · LW · GW

(Also, that crab thing is fascinating.)

Oh, definitely. It's a really good analogy for the NRx view of civilization, too. That's why Gnon's symbol is a crab.

If you want to read another non-obscurantist explanation of Gnon, try Nyan Sandwich's "Natural Law and Natural Religion".

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 10 - Nov. 16, 2014 · 2014-11-10T15:03:28.230Z · LW · GW

Gnon is reality, with an emphasis towards the aspects of reality which have important social consequences. When you build an airplane and fuck up the wing design, Gnon is the guy who swats it down. When you adopt a pacifist philosophy and abolish your military, Gnon is the guy who invades your country. When you are a crustacean struggling to survive in the ocean floor, Gnon is the guy who turns you into a crab.

Basically, reality has mathematical, physical, biological, economical, sociological, and game-theoretical laws. We anthropomorphize those laws as Gnon.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-10T00:14:24.446Z · LW · GW

Most of Ritalin's recent comments have been on political subjects, namely the internet standards for undeveloped nations thread. Anybody who makes lots of political noise gets a downvote or two per comment; see, for example, Azathoth123 and advancedatheist.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T18:08:42.510Z · LW · GW

Can confirm. I meant a rocketpunk setting in which combustion engines and simple vacuum tube electronics work, but human operators are still required to run space stations capable of monitoring the weather, handling international communications, or spying on enemy countries.

Comment by jaime2000 on November 2014 Media Thread · 2014-11-04T10:22:40.669Z · LW · GW

Why betas should have longer attention span than alphas?


The point Azathoth is making is that there is only so many hours in a day. An alpha male may sleep with many women, but he can only give his attention to one or a few. Beta males, who are lucky to have one woman, are free to concentrate all their attention on her and her children. Therefore, females who fail to attract the alpha male for anything but a quickie have a preference for fooling beta males into raising the resulting alpha male's children. Beta males, obviously, do not share this preference.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T03:57:40.280Z · LW · GW

Space stations? As in, stations with humans in them? Pretty much none. Your best bet is to postulate some sort of alternate history in which electronics and computers never took off. Or you can go in the other direction, and postulate tiny space stations which house computing hardware running uploaded humans.

Comment by jaime2000 on Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014 · 2014-11-04T03:30:33.317Z · LW · GW

Oh, be serious. I wasn't crazy about Eliezer's handling of the basilisk, either, but ubermenschen do not grow on trees. Who do we have around who is willing and able to become LessWrong's great leader now that he has left? All of the potentially strong leaders I can think of are busy running their own websites, projects, and/or communities.