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Comment by jamespfeiffer on Probabilities Small Enough To Ignore: An attack on Pascal's Mugging · 2015-09-17T23:08:13.259Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Rolling all 60 years of bets up into one probability distribution as in your example, we get:

  • 0,999999999998 chance of - 1 billion * cost-per-bet
  • 1 - 0,999999999998 - epsilon chance of 10^100 lives - 1 billion * cost-per-bet
  • epsilon chance of n * 10^100 lives, etc.

I think what this shows is that the aggregating technique you propose is no different than just dealing with a 1-shot bet. So if you can't solve the one-shot Pascal's mugging, aggregating it won't help in general.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Probabilities Small Enough To Ignore: An attack on Pascal's Mugging · 2015-09-17T22:51:56.024Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

1) We don't need an unbounded utility function to demonstrate Pascal's Mugging. Plain old large numbers like 10^100 are enough.

2) It seems reasonable for utility to be linear in things we care about, e.g. human lives. This could run into a problem with non-uniqueness, i.e., if I run an identical computer program of you twice, maybe that shouldn't count as two. But I think this is sufficiently murky as to not make bounded utility clearly correct.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Experiences in applying "The Biodeterminist's Guide to Parenting" · 2015-07-18T19:34:16.525Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for this. And thanks also for the pointer to Scott's guide.

Did you do any testing pre-pregnancy, i.e. for genetic matchup between you and your husband? And did you do any of the fetal testing mentioned e.g. for autism? Wondering about the cost-benefit on those.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on October Monthly Bragging Thread · 2013-10-07T05:54:59.920Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

I finished my math PhD thesis in September!

Comment by jamespfeiffer on [Transcript] Richard Feynman on Why Questions · 2012-01-09T08:01:13.078Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, conservation laws correspond to symmetries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noether%27s_Theorem

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Belief in Belief vs. Internalization · 2010-11-29T23:44:02.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Along with the other physics-related examples here, Richard Dawkins' pendulum video seems relevant here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bsk5yPFm5NM

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: July 2010, Part 2 · 2010-07-23T03:48:06.749Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was like this from ages 12-18, perhaps? It started because quite a few people actually were mean to me, but my brain incorrectly extrapolated and assumed everyone was. The beginning of the end was when I started to do something that I had defined as the province of the liked-people (in this case, dating), though it took about two years to purge the habit.

Perhaps there is something you are similarly defining to imply likedness, and you can do that thing.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: July 2010, Part 2 · 2010-07-23T03:40:53.906Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Monologues or disjointed verbal fragments. When I am mad at someone (hasn't really happened for a few years :) ) I get into dialogues with them, usually going in circles.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: July 2010, Part 2 · 2010-07-23T03:35:44.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For a teaser, the part about singing logarithms looks cool.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: July 2010, Part 2 · 2010-07-23T03:33:29.336Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is this actually incorrect, though? As far as I know, people have problems and inadequacies. When they solve them, they move on to worrying about other things. It's probably a safe bet that the awesome people you're describing do as well.

What probably is wrong is that general awesomeness makes hidden bad stuff more likely.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Some Thoughts Are Too Dangerous For Brains to Think · 2010-07-14T15:27:29.329Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My relevant life excerpt is similar to yours. The first two changed because of increased understanding of how humans coordinate and act socially. Not sure if there is a link to the third.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: July 2010 · 2010-07-02T17:19:32.589Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have been thinking about "holding off on proposing solutions." Can anyone comment on whether this is more about the social friction involved in rejecting someone's solution without injuring their pride, or more about the difficulty of getting an idea out of your head once it's there?

If it's mostly social, then I would expect the method to not be useful when used by a single person; and conversely. My anecdote is that I feel it's helped me when thinking solo, but this may be wishful thinking.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: June 2010 · 2010-06-05T05:56:09.514Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Welcome!

Here is a comment by Mitchell Porter.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/1kh/the_correct_contrarian_cluster/1csi

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Seven Shiny Stories · 2010-06-01T21:47:14.658Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I like the idea of the intermittent text messages. I pay for texts, so I modified it to send me email. I'm having them sent with a random delay of 60-179 minutes and only between 8am and 10pm. I'll see how it goes for a few days (possibly tweaking the parameters) and do an open thread comment with my experiences and the setup instructions.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Do you have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome? · 2010-05-11T02:44:55.724Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't good at social skills until something like age 17, though they still go bad because of winter depression. Kids have different brains too; I would tell adolescents wondering to wait a few years. For me it was like a light came on and I could understand strangers.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: May 2010 · 2010-05-05T05:38:32.707Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I noticed something recently which might be a positive aspect of akrasia, and a reason for its existence.

Background: I am generally bad at getting things done. For instance, I might put off paying a bill for a long time, which seems strange considering the whole process would take < 5 minutes.

A while back, I read about a solution: when you happen to remember a small task, if you are capable of doing it right then, then do it right then. I found this easy to follow, and quickly got a lot better at keeping up with small things.

A week or two into it, I thought of something evil to do, and following my pattern, quickly did it. Within a few minutes, I regretted it and thankfully, was able to undo it. But it scared me, and I discontinued my habit.

I'm not sure how general a conclusion I can draw from this; perhaps I am unusually prone to these mistakes. But since then I've considered akrasia as a sort of warning: "Some part of you doesn't want to do this. How about doing something else?"

Now when the part of you protesting is the non-exercising part or the ice-cream eating part, then akrasia isn't being helpful. But... it's worth listening to that feeling and seeing why you are avoiding the action.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-03T20:41:15.986Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. What do we mean by weight? Mass * g?

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-02T21:06:36.486Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Most of yours wouldn't come up in a search though.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Rationality quotes: May 2010 · 2010-05-02T20:40:55.436Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

http://lesswrong.com/lw/mx/rationality_quotes_3/

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Rationality quotes: April 2010 · 2010-04-24T06:21:57.987Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Evolving a threat response over a half-million years on the African savannah hasn't really left me with any good mechanisms for dealing with a threatening number.

PartiallyClips

Comment by jamespfeiffer on The Importance of Goodhart's Law · 2010-03-14T05:59:11.714Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Once management recognizes that there is something to measure, I think they do an OK job measuring it - secret shoppers come to mind. But there's something more subtle about when you take for granted that G = G* and don't even think to verbalize your true values, so can't measure them.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Meetup: Bay Area: Sunday, March 7th, 7pm · 2010-03-03T07:22:42.146Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'll be there, possibly with another.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Open Thread: March 2010 · 2010-03-02T07:23:08.054Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Based on my friends, the care/don't care dichotomy cuts orthogonally to the math/no math dichotomy. Most people, whether good or bad at math, can understand that the chances are the same. It's some other independent aspect of your brain that determines whether it intensely matters to you to do things "the right way" or if you can accept the symmetry of the situation. I hereby nominate some OCD-like explanation. I'd be interested in seeing whether OCD correlated with your friends' behavior.

As a data point, I am not OCD and don't care if you cut the deck.

Comment by jamespfeiffer on Meetup: Bay Area: Jan 15th, 7pm · 2010-01-16T04:12:58.501Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You don't think he's joking? That paragraph ends with

"They have no respect for the opinions of accepted experts and seldom quote Ovid in the original, so just don't bother to attend."