[Link] Walking Through Doors Causes Forgetting 2011-11-21T14:56:47.207Z
Amateur Cryonics (one guy packed in dry ice) Festival Seeks Buyer 2011-06-17T16:57:41.276Z
Free Thought Film Festival: Tampa traditional rationalist gathering this weekend (13-15 May) 2011-05-14T00:00:12.341Z
Article on quantified lifelogging ( 2010-11-15T16:38:02.521Z


Comment by khafra on Open & Welcome Thread – November 2020 · 2020-11-25T21:41:16.418Z · LW · GW

I built a thing.

UVC lamps deactivate viruses in the air, but harm skin, eyes, and DNA. So I made a short duct out of cardboard, with a 60W UVC corn bulb in a recessed compartment, and put a fan in it. 

I plan to run it whenever someone other than my wife and I visits my house.

Comment by khafra on Movable Housing for Scalable Cities · 2020-05-27T14:41:39.749Z · LW · GW

Note that Mortal Engines--that steampunk movie with the mobile, carnivorous cities--was released halfway between the original publishing of this essay and today.

Given the difficulties people have mentioned with moving high-density housing between and through cities, maybe we need small cities on SMTs ?

Comment by khafra on Interview with Aubrey de Grey, chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation · 2020-05-01T14:31:30.147Z · LW · GW

These were some great questions. I doubt a few of the answers, however. For example:

My estimate of how far off LEV is with 50% probability started out at 25 years 15 or so years ago, and is now 17 years, so let’s use round numbers and say 20 years. Those estimates have always been explicitly "post-money", though - in other words, when I say the money would make 10 years of difference, I mean that without the money, it would be 30 years. I think $1B is enough to remove that factor of 2-3 that you mentioned in the previous question, i.e. to take it down to around 1, because it would add a digit to our budget for 20 years. That factor is already coming down, and I expect that it will continue to do so as further progress is made at the bench, which is why I average the benefit out to a factor of 1.5 (i.e. 30/20).

Aubrey de Grey admits to drinking four pints of beer a day, and I believe his total ethanol consumption is much higher (via evidence which is strong to me, but not to you). He's 57, and looks older than many in their 70s. The evidence may be ambiguous on the longevity effects of <2 drinks per day, but it's quite clear on 4 or over.

This doesn't seem like the behavior of someone who truly believes, in the sense of constraining his expected experiences, that his remaining expected lifespan is almost exactly the time to LEV. I don't know what the real timeline to LEV is, but Dr. de Grey acts like he believes it's well over 30 years.

Comment by khafra on Research on repurposing filter products for masks? · 2020-04-07T12:48:53.985Z · LW · GW

The 100% efficacy for a middle filter layer that's had a saltwater + surfactant sprayed onto it sounds really good; but I wonder how tight the filter material has to be, for that level of efficacy. I also wonder how much air resistance the salt coat adds.

A HEPA filter + carbon would be less restrictive if the carbon part were salted than if the HEPA filter itself were salted, but that might not deactivate all of the virus.

Comment by khafra on What is the impact of varying infectious dose of COVID-19? · 2020-04-06T18:47:20.173Z · LW · GW

If virus exposure mid-illness worsens your symptoms, doesn't that mean being indoors is harmful? it would be far healthier to spend as much time outdoors as possible? Perhaps on a net hammock if you have to lie down, so your face isn't lying on a cloth full of the virus you're exhaling? Surely this effect would be so large that clinical studies would have noticed by now, people recovering much faster when they're not in a hospital room, or in a room at all.

On a gears-level, it seems like illness severity would be heavily dose-dependent until the virus replication rate has outpaced the amount you could reasonably inhale.

If so, if you have a specific event that you're concerned may have exposed you, it might be worthwhile to sleep outside for a few nights, weather permitting.

Comment by khafra on [deleted post] 2020-04-03T15:01:04.556Z

How many dimensions is inference space? How many duck-sized horses do we need, to have a 2/3 chance of taking those steps? And are they being modeled as duck-sized monkeys with typewriters, or are they closer to a proper mini-Einstein, who is likely to go the correct direction?

Comment by khafra on Will grocery stores thwart social distancing, and when should I eat my food stockpile? · 2020-03-30T11:38:18.960Z · LW · GW

I live in a hot region, and have a car parked outside. I've been putting non-heat-sensitive packages in there for a day, since interior temperatures should be going above 130F / 55C, and easily killing any viruses.

Comment by khafra on March 25: Daily Coronavirus Updates · 2020-03-27T12:41:01.534Z · LW · GW

Disinfection guidelines are 70C for 30 minutes. I've read elsewhere that 27C deactivates the virus, but never seen that claim attached to logs per hour. Has anybody seen quantitative data on covid survival rates in human-survivable temperatures at various humidities?

edit: found some stuff for the last SARS: if you go to 100F / 48C *and* 95+% humidity, you will kill 2 log10 in 24 hours. If you lose humidity *or* temperature, you’re back to the baseline of 1 to 0 logs in 24h.

Comment by khafra on Bayesian Inference with Partially Specified Priors · 2020-03-26T14:42:31.987Z · LW · GW

Is the described process different from Dempster-Shafer ?

Comment by khafra on Do 24-hour hand sanitizers actually work? · 2020-03-26T14:19:40.416Z · LW · GW

For the object-level question, Wei Dai linked to this study showing benzalkonium chloride (and a few related chemicals) ineffective against enveloped human coronavirus (although this was one of the common cold variants).

Comment by khafra on Adding Up To Normality · 2020-03-25T12:07:46.337Z · LW · GW

This is good, but I'd add a caveat: it works best in a situation where "normal" is obviously not catastrophic. The airplane example is central to this category. However lift works, air travel is the safest method of getting from one continent to another ever devised by humanity. If you take DMT and finally become aware of the machine elves supporting the weight of each wing, you should congratulate them on their diligence and work ethic.

The second example, morality under MWI, veers closer to the edge of "normal is obviously not catastrophic." MWI says you're causally disconnected from other branches. If your good and bad actions had morally equivalent effects, you would not anticipate different observations than you would under "normality."

As lincolnquirk pointed out, Covid and other long tail events are diametrically opposed to the "normal is obviously not catastrophic" category. Instead of the object-level belief being changed by a discussion on aerodynamic theory, it's being changed by the plane suddenly falling out of the sky, in a way that's incompatible with our previous model.

So, I'd tweak your adage: "promise yourself to keep steering the plane mostly as normal while you think about lift, as long as you're in the reference class of events where steering the plane mostly as normal is the correct action."

Comment by khafra on The Solution is Inaction · 2020-03-25T11:51:46.479Z · LW · GW

Sure, but the landlords' rent/mortgage and grocery bills are being suspended too. If the landlord is a business with multiple employees, those employees' rent/mortgage and grocery bills are also suspended. It's option (1) all the way down.

Comment by khafra on Are veterans more self-disciplined than non-veterans? · 2020-03-23T13:16:19.129Z · LW · GW

Data from periods of forced conscription would correct for that bias, but would introduce the new bias of a 4-F control group. Is there a fancy statistical trick to combine the data and eliminate both biases?

Comment by khafra on Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary · 2020-03-18T14:40:41.953Z · LW · GW

Might want to try metal cleaning products like Brasso or Neverdull, instead--with the caveat that you definitely want gloves and possibly want ventilation while using those.

Comment by khafra on Coronavirus Justified Practical Advice Summary · 2020-03-18T14:38:54.007Z · LW · GW

Another electrolyte option: Snake Juice . I've used this while fasting 4+ days several times, and it is a massive improvement over just salt. I make it in partial batches, more concentrated, and then drink plain water until I feel balanced:

khafra twist on snake juice--1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp No-Salt, 1/2tsp Himalayan salt, 20-30oz water. Take a magnesium pill with it, and drink water slowly over the next hour until it feels right.

Comment by khafra on Estimated risk of death by coronavirus for a healthy 30 year old male ~ 1/190 · 2020-03-13T15:42:29.564Z · LW · GW

What would p(treatment) be if you bought a $400 oxygen concentrator off Alibaba, right now?

Comment by khafra on When to Reverse Quarantine and Other COVID-19 Considerations · 2020-03-12T15:14:15.948Z · LW · GW

"Tonic water contains no more than 83 mg of quinine per liter," according to the FDA. I haven't found any tonic water brands that say how close they come to that threshold, but 3 2L bottles of tonic water per day could keep you well-hydrated *and* protected.

Comment by khafra on Covid-19: Things I'm Doing Differently · 2020-03-12T12:51:12.995Z · LW · GW

I considered that, but I touch all kinds of surfaces that are 0-2 degrees separate from my mucous membranes with my knuckles: the insides of my pockets, the palm of my other hand, my chin, etc.

Comment by khafra on Covid-19: Things I'm Doing Differently · 2020-03-05T16:26:40.233Z · LW · GW

Is there any minimally-weird, non-awkward way to handle public door handles and buttons? Using your sleeve is terrible, because you don't wash your sleeve several times a day, and the virus can survive until your next clothing wash. Some sort of small but sturdy copper/bronze manipulator that could be put in a copper-lined case in your pocket, maybe?

Comment by khafra on Information hazards: Why you should care and what you can do · 2020-02-25T13:59:09.452Z · LW · GW

If you're doing things in a group, instead of alone, useful subsets of this framework could be the standard OPSEC process and controls for classified information. There's some pretty big Chesterton's Fences around them.

The OPSEC process is meant specifically for when you're planning a specific activity, the value to the adversary of information about your plans will diminish rapidly as you conclude that specific activity, but any hint as to your plans might be detrimental. So, it's more of a set of guidelines than a specific policy or procedure, and encourages thinking about how many decibels of probability you're allowing access to.

Controls for classified is meant for information that will be harmful even after the conclusion of a specific activity. It's the converse of the OPSEC process: A large collection of highly detailed policies and procedures for marking and protecting information. It's certainly a bit heavyweight for independent research groups smaller than the Manhattan Project, but some principles could apply; like a central classification authority to reduce the cognitive load of marking your products, and uniform procedures for handling products with each level of marking.

Comment by khafra on Quarantine Preparations · 2020-02-25T13:16:01.411Z · LW · GW
the same line of reasoning is experienced by many other minds and we should reason as if we have causal power over all these minds.

Luckily, the world we live in is not the least convenient possible one: The relevant mind-similarity is not the planning around hoarding food, it is planning based on UDT-type concerns. E.g., you should reason as if you have causal power over all minds that think "I'll use a mixed strategy, and hoard food IFF my RNG comes up below .05." (substituting whatever fraction would not cause a significant market disruption).

Since these minds comprise an insignificant portion of consumers, UDT shrugs and says "go ahead and hoard, I guess."

Comment by khafra on Ethical Injunctions · 2017-02-27T15:38:57.147Z · LW · GW

Tangentially, there's an upcoming Netflix six-episode series named “The Heavy Water War,” that should cover both this event, and the sabotage of the heavy water production facility that led up to it.

Comment by khafra on Slate Star Codex Notes on the Asilomar Conference on Beneficial AI · 2017-02-08T22:02:58.205Z · LW · GW

It should be posted, but by someone who can more rigorously describe its application to an optimizer than "probably needs to be locally smooth-ish."

Comment by khafra on Slate Star Codex Notes on the Asilomar Conference on Beneficial AI · 2017-02-08T12:21:50.628Z · LW · GW

Point 8, about the opacity of decision-making, reminded me of something I'm surprised I haven't seen on LW before:

LIME, Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations, can show a human-readable explanation for the reason any classification algorithm makes a particular decision. It would be harder to apply the method to an optimizer than to a classifier, but I see no principled reason why an approach like this wouldn't help understand any algorithm that has a locally smooth-ish mapping of inputs to outputs.

Comment by khafra on How to escape from your sandbox and from your hardware host · 2015-08-31T14:29:40.677Z · LW · GW

provably secure software mechanisms rely on an idealized model of hardware

In my experience, they also define an attacker model against which to secure. There are no guarantees against attackers with greater access, or abilities, than specified in the model.

Comment by khafra on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-22T10:51:23.481Z · LW · GW

Dave Asprey says, with a reasonably large set of referenced studies, that it's the mold in food which reduces your fed performance.

Comment by khafra on Are consequentialism and deontology not even wrong? · 2015-06-04T23:02:13.258Z · LW · GW

Related SMBC.

Comment by khafra on Debunking Fallacies in the Theory of AI Motivation · 2015-05-14T12:12:50.724Z · LW · GW

If you think this is wrong, take it up with the people whose work I am both quoting and analyzing in this paper, because THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE CLAIMING. I am not the one saying that "the AI is programmed with good intentions", that is their claim.

I think I spotted a bit of confusion: The programmers of the "make everyone happy" AI had good intentions. But the AI itself does not have good intentions; because the intent "make everyone happy" is not good, albeit in a way that its programmers did not think of.

Comment by khafra on A pair of free information security tools I wrote · 2015-05-07T13:20:09.386Z · LW · GW

If that data is encrypted (assuming no headers or footers or obvious block divisions), then it will appear to an attacker like random bytes. Whether or not that's distinguishable from the original image depends on whether the low bits of the original image are observably nonrandom, and that's not something I know offhand

It's super-easy to spot in a histogram, so much so that there's ongoing research into making it less detectable.

Comment by khafra on Gasoline Gal looks under the hood (post 1 of 3) · 2015-05-05T12:22:01.841Z · LW · GW

Presumably it's in conflict with the instrumental values of retaining resources which could be used for other terminal values (the money she would save, going with the fuel cell), and the combination of instrumental and terminal values represented by the improved acceleration of the fuel cell.

Comment by khafra on How to sign up for Alcor cryo · 2015-04-28T11:35:50.131Z · LW · GW

Do you have plans for when your term life insurance expires, but you're still alive (which is, actuarially speaking, fairly certain)?

Comment by khafra on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T11:42:44.425Z · LW · GW

2) A fanfic where smarter versions of canon characters fight each other with complicated plots.

Hogwarts Battle School

Comment by khafra on Open thread, Mar. 2 - Mar. 8, 2015 · 2015-03-03T16:18:41.728Z · LW · GW

...supporters say the opposition leader was assassinated to silence him...

I see headlines like this fairly regularly.

Does anybody know of a list of notable opposition leaders, created when all members of the list were alive? Seems like it could be educational to compare the death rate of the list (a) across countries, and (b) against their respective non-notable demographics.

Comment by khafra on Harper's Magazine article on LW/MIRI/CFAR and Ethereum · 2014-12-15T11:58:25.826Z · LW · GW

I just want to know about the actuary from Florida; I didn't think we had any other LW'ers down here.

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-12-05T11:42:54.777Z · LW · GW

Your observation of the reading on the scale is true, of course. Your observation that the weight is 51 grams is false.

"This weight masses 51 grams" is not an observation, it's a theory attempting to explain an observation. It just seems so immediate, so obvious and inarguable, that it feels like an observation.

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-12-04T19:44:11.271Z · LW · GW

No observation is false. Any explanation for a given observation may, with finite probability, be false; no matter how obvious and inarguable it may seem.

Comment by khafra on Why I will Win my Bet with Eliezer Yudkowsky · 2014-12-02T12:33:21.704Z · LW · GW

an AI will not have a fanatical goal of taking over the world unless it is programmed to do this.

It is true that an AI could end up going “insane” and trying to take over the world, but the same thing happens with human beings

Are you asserting that all the historic conquerors and emperors who've taken over the world were insane? Is it physically impossible to for an agent to rationally plan to take over the world, as an intermediate step toward some other, intrinsic goal?

there is no reason that humans and AIs could not work together to make sure this does not happen

If the intelligence difference between the smartest AI and other AIs and humans remains similar to the intelligence difference between an IQ 180 human and an IQ 80 human, Robin Hanson's malthusian hellworld is our primary worry, not UFAI. A strong singleton taking over the world is only a concern if a strong singleton is possible.

If you program an AI with an explicit or implicity utility function which it tries to maximize...


But if you program an AI without an explicit utility function, just programming it to perform a certain limited number of tasks, it will just do those tasks.

Yes, and then someone else will, eventually, accidentally create an AI which behaves like a utility maximizer, and your AI will be turned into paperclips just like everything else.

Comment by khafra on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-30T18:29:33.003Z · LW · GW

Are there lists of effective charities for specific target domains? For social reasons, I sometimes want to donate to a charity focused on some particular cause; but given that constraint, I'd still like to make my donation as effective as possible.

Comment by khafra on Link: Elon Musk wants gov't oversight for AI · 2014-10-29T11:55:23.107Z · LW · GW

Do not spam high-status people, and do not communicate with high-status people in a transparent attempt to affiliate with them and claim some of their status for yourself.

Comment by khafra on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T13:14:03.554Z · LW · GW

I would have given a response for digit ratio if I'd known about the steps to take the measurement before opening the survey, or if it were at the top of the survey, or if I could answer on a separate form after submitting the main survey. I didn't answer because I was afraid that if I took the time to do so, the survey form, or my https connection to it, or something else would time out, and I would lose all the answers I had entered.

Comment by khafra on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-10T14:43:59.473Z · LW · GW

To implement Bayes' Theorem, the prior of something must be known

Not quite the way I'd put it. If you know the exact prior for the unique event you're predicting, you already know the posterior. All you need is a non-pathologically-terrible prior, although better ones will get you to a good prediction with fewer observations.

Comment by khafra on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-04T01:03:12.070Z · LW · GW

That one shows up in fiction every now and then, but If they're galaxy-spanning, there's no particular reason for them to have avoided eating all the stars unless we're completely wrong about the laws of physics. The motivation might not exactly be "hiding," but it'd have to be something along the lines of a nature preserve; and would require a strong singleton.

Comment by khafra on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-03T17:17:38.147Z · LW · GW

Alien-wise, most of the probability-mass not in the "Great Filter" theory is in the "they're all hiding" theory, right? Are there any other big events in the outcome space?

I intuitively feel like the "they're all hiding" theories are weaker and more speculative than the Great Filter theories, perhaps because including agency as a "black box" within a theory is bad, as a rule of thumb.

But, if most of the proposed candidates for the GF look weak, how do the "they're all hiding" candidates stack up? What is there, besides the Planetarium Hypothesis and Simulationism? Are there any that don't require a strong Singleton?

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-03T13:51:37.355Z · LW · GW

Don't let a summary of reality distract you from reality, even if it's an accurate summary.

-- Steven Kaas

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes September 2014 · 2014-09-26T15:05:45.608Z · LW · GW

It's really weird how [Stop, Drop, and Roll] is taught pretty much yearly but personal finance or ethics usually just have one class at the end of highschool.

-- CornChowdah, on reddit

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes September 2014 · 2014-09-08T15:20:57.508Z · LW · GW

what to do when your best effort to fill the gap is thin and unconvincing - the simplest solution would appear to be to go back to the person proposing the position that you are critically commenting about (or someone else who shares his views on the subject), and simply asking.

So, you go back to the person you're going to argue against, before you start the argument, and ask them about the big gap in their original position? That seems like it could carry the risk of kicking off the argument a little early.

Comment by khafra on Anthropics doesn't explain why the Cold War stayed Cold · 2014-09-03T13:35:46.618Z · LW · GW

The opposition is that the number of observers able to ask questions about royal siblings is not heavily correlated with the actual number of royal siblings historically present; while the number of observers able to ask questions about a lack of large thermonuclear exchanges is heavily correlated with the actual number of historical large thermonuclear exchanges.

Comment by khafra on Politics is hard mode · 2014-07-22T11:54:37.147Z · LW · GW

Can you imagine a human being saying "I'm sorry, I'm too low-level to participate in this discussion"?

Yes, this is what I thought of when I read this:

In the same thread, Andrew Mahone added, “Using it in that sneering way, Miri, seems just like a faux-rationalist version of ‘Oh, I don’t bother with politics.’ It’s just another way of looking down on any concerns larger than oneself as somehow dirty, only now, you know, rationalist dirty.”

It's not that politics isn't important to get right, it's just that talking about has negative expected value. Nearly every political argument between two people makes at least one person further entrenched in error.

Maybe "politics is like that scene in a thriller where the two guys are fighting to reach a single gun; but in this case the handle and trigger are actually poisoned."

Comment by khafra on Rationality Quotes July 2014 · 2014-07-10T15:31:33.235Z · LW · GW

Learning can occur without theory. I spent years researching and developing systems to do just that.

If you're talking about unsupervised classification algorithms, don't they kinda make their theory as they learn? At least, in the "model," or "lossy compression" sense of "theory." Finding features that cluster well in a data set is forming a theory about that data set.

Comment by khafra on Open thread, 7-14 July 2014 · 2014-07-08T14:23:24.256Z · LW · GW

Has anybody written up a primer on "what if utility is lexically ordered, or otherwise not quite measurable in real numbers"? Especially in regard to dust specks?