Posts

Suggestions for Rationality Blogs in the Sidebar 2013-06-25T02:36:03.672Z
A Delayed Epiphany on Motivation 2011-05-04T04:27:29.657Z
Berkeley LW Meet-Up Saturday May 7 2011-05-02T04:07:46.851Z
Berkeley LW Meet-Up Saturday April 9 2011-04-04T03:37:31.422Z
Towards a Bay Area Less Wrong Community 2011-03-18T05:35:13.527Z
Berkeley LW Meet-Up Saturday March 12 2011-03-07T07:14:13.773Z
Berkeley LW Meet-Up Saturday February 5 2011-01-31T06:06:36.097Z
Berkeley LW Meet-up Friday December 10 2010-12-06T06:11:54.173Z
Berkeley LW Meet-up Saturday November 6 2010-11-01T02:35:44.121Z
Berkeley LW Meet-up Saturday October 9 2010-10-03T07:17:24.252Z
Open Thread September, Part 3 2010-09-28T05:21:48.666Z
Berkeley LW Meet-up Sunday September 5 2010-09-01T02:47:23.293Z
Bay Area Lesswrong Meet up Sunday May 16 2010-05-14T05:37:46.850Z
Subjective Anticipation and Death 2010-03-17T01:14:24.994Z

Comments

Comment by lucassloan on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity · 2014-02-28T00:37:30.884Z · LW · GW

The first is understanding the habit formation process, as summarized by Kaj Sotala here.

Link?

Comment by lucassloan on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity · 2014-02-28T00:36:49.652Z · LW · GW

The health benefits of fish outweight the health detriments of mercury until way beyond the level of consumption you're likely to get to.

Just eat fish.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-08-29T23:45:47.634Z · LW · GW

I can't recall at this distance.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-08-29T20:45:00.842Z · LW · GW

Sure. That still doesn't answer the question of who does hear about it. We could just say that 1% of people who read SF have heard about it, but then my experience is hard to explain - I hadn't read all that much SF by age 11. It seems quite reasonable to say that the 10 years that the Internet existed between me and Harry was decisive, but I'm asking what variables explain the difference between two SF readers, only one of whom has heard of cryonics.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-08-29T17:52:17.204Z · LW · GW

Does your theory have anything more to say than "the internet has changed things" to explain why I knew about cryonics at Harry's age?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97 · 2013-08-15T22:56:36.203Z · LW · GW

A little digging suggests less than a thousand tons. Most of the metal wealth extracted by the Spanish empire was in the form of silver, not gold. The spanish were able to mine about a ton a year from hispanola for some unknown period, and the inca paid a ransom of 24 tons for their king.

Comment by lucassloan on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-08-07T02:10:19.462Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry, but you've already communicated information about this sort of thing just by saying that.

Comment by lucassloan on MIRI's 2013 Summer Matching Challenge · 2013-07-29T21:06:06.679Z · LW · GW

Donated $50.

Comment by lucassloan on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-18T01:52:18.215Z · LW · GW

They will be on the about page shortly.

Comment by lucassloan on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-18T00:56:07.858Z · LW · GW

Needs the tag group_rationality_diary, they reload every time there's a new comment or every 12 hours.

Comment by lucassloan on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-07-11T23:26:54.699Z · LW · GW

It's a wonderful reference if nothing else.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-02T07:59:23.256Z · LW · GW

In the intervening hours did Hermione have any interesting thoughts about the Philosopher's Stone? Will Harry shortly?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T06:11:45.405Z · LW · GW

Let me be more specific then.

*Dumbledore has had the intention of creating the boy who lived since before Harry's birth and likely, before his parent's marriage.

*Dumbledore has access to many, many more prophecies than anyone else and has been using this fact for decades.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T07:17:57.985Z · LW · GW

Well, in the spirit of sticking your neck out:

Harry was sorted into Slytherin.

Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero.

Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world.

Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T06:51:41.301Z · LW · GW

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

Comment by lucassloan on [META] Make poll results accessible to people who have not voted · 2013-06-28T05:32:00.586Z · LW · GW

We could impose a penalty to look.

Comment by lucassloan on [META] Make poll results accessible to people who have not voted · 2013-06-28T02:26:49.663Z · LW · GW

Now accepting bids for this change.

ETA: not pointed directly at you, Eliezer.

Comment by lucassloan on Suggestions for Rationality Blogs in the Sidebar · 2013-06-26T05:58:33.574Z · LW · GW

If you want to suggest a feature, put it here.

Comment by lucassloan on Suggestions for Rationality Blogs in the Sidebar · 2013-06-25T09:54:02.774Z · LW · GW

Eventually, each user will be able to specify which blogs to construct the feed from in their preferences.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-23T23:32:44.073Z · LW · GW

Draco can't? What happened to Quirrel saying that he was strong enough to lose?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-23T00:00:59.363Z · LW · GW

It seems clear to me that Padma has a future, whereas Blaise has none. This isn't quite the same as saying that she has been more important than he. Also, Padma has been developed as a character insofar as she has actually been changing over the course of the story, but her personality is only slightly more explored than Blaise's.

Comment by lucassloan on Call for Anonymous Narratives by LW Women and Question Proposals (AMA) · 2012-09-11T20:50:42.707Z · LW · GW

It is true that you receive dimishing marginal returns whenever you try to import people. Even if we were to use the largest available population sink, eventually we'd run into limits. The larger the population sinks you use, the less it has been filtered, so while your returns diminish more slowly, the effort required at the outset is larger.

Given the small size of our group, physics departments are more than large enough population sinks for the forseeable future.

Comment by lucassloan on Suggest alternate names for the "Singularity Institute" · 2012-06-19T06:42:21.829Z · LW · GW

I think this comment is the first that I couldn't decide whether to upvote or downvote, but definitely didn't want to leave a zero.

Comment by lucassloan on Marketplace Transactions Open Thread · 2012-06-03T19:19:43.345Z · LW · GW

You mean submissive?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T19:23:36.968Z · LW · GW

Quirrell's body is in its 30s.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T19:04:22.063Z · LW · GW

I can think of ways to be vanquished much quicker than he did, especially if he's willing to be reverted to horcrux. Challenge Dumbledore to a duel and lose. Be seen doing some dark ritual, which then goes out of control, killing him. Hell, I'm sure someone as competent as Voldemort could have faked a prophecy about his doom. I don't see why you think that Voldemort wasn't willing to use villainhood to achieve total dominance - he was winning, he would have gotten what he wanted.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T09:54:49.198Z · LW · GW

You think that someone as competent as Voldemort couldn't have created a faster exit strategy?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T09:19:37.950Z · LW · GW

It seems like the obvious cut-off point would be the original houses founded when Merlin created the Wizengamot.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T09:13:41.627Z · LW · GW

There's a difference between using long term planning to develop a power base, and being willing to use your power base to indulge your desires.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T06:16:19.915Z · LW · GW

It seems perfectly in keeping with the foresight and planning we've seen from Quirrell that he killed off a classmate soon after Hogwarts in the event that he needed an identity to assume later. It seems equally plausible that Quirrell would have tried, to the extent he could do so costlessly, play a person on both sides of the conflict he created. It is worth noting that this supposed hero used Avada Kedavra on the Death Eaters, a signature of Quirrell. This hero also failed to kill Belatrix Black, a major pawn of the other side. I do not think that the name of this supposed hero is Riddle, given that Dumbledore knows that Voldemort and Riddle are one and the same, but it seems very likely that Quirrell was playing this man.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T04:58:01.792Z · LW · GW

I will say this much, Mr. Potter: You are already an Occlumens, and I think you will become a perfect Occlumens before long. Identity does not mean, to such as us, what it means to other people. Anyone we can imagine, we can be; and the true difference about you, Mr. Potter, is that you have an unusually good imagination. A playwright must contain his characters, he must be larger than them in order to enact them within his mind. To an actor or spy or politician, the limit of his own diameter is the limit of who he can pretend to be, the limit of which face he may wear as a mask. But for such as you and I, anyone we can imagine, we can be, in reality and not pretense. While you imagined yourself a child, Mr. Potter, you were a child. Yet there are other existences you could support, larger existences, if you wished. Why are you so free, and so great in your circumference, when other children your age are small and constrained? Why can you imagine and become selves more adult than a mere child of a playwright should be able to compose? That I do not know, and I must not say what I guess. But what you have, Mr. Potter, is freedom.

Comment by lucassloan on Rationality Quotes April 2012 · 2012-04-05T20:36:07.544Z · LW · GW

What is the difference between a thought you can't think and one you don't think?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-05T01:40:25.308Z · LW · GW

Well, almost certainly Crabbe and Goyle are pulling out too.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-04T13:27:20.920Z · LW · GW

True, but there was a ceasefire in place regarding friends and family and such. That's what accepting the death of Aberforth, and the murder of Narcissa were about. All of the players anyone knew about had kept to the truce since then.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-04T07:03:28.196Z · LW · GW

He does have the ability to turn the world into a lake of fire, true. All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish. He has a giant hammer which he dare not use, if only because he's not evil. Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense. He might have been able to assassinate every member of the Wizengamot, but I doubt he would have survived the attempt. If it comes to open warfare he's toast, and his stunt made it much more likely that someone would decide he had stepped over the threshold of open warfare. He's safe for now at Hogwarts, but it was still stupid.

The first item was "I will not go around provoking strong, vicious enemies"

Good advice, and advice Harry failed to follow.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-04T03:10:28.027Z · LW · GW

How much of the cost of saving Hermione was announcing that Harry responds to blackmail? He made his entrance onto the stage of players in a way that cannot endear him to any of the others. No matter what he did, he would antagonize Lucius, but he demonstrated an extreme disrespect for the rules of the game and preserving the existing order is in the interests of all the players. Not to mention, he implicitly declared challenge to the ministry of magic. If he actually had the power that Lucius believes he does, he might get away with that, but he cannot survive for long against the Aurors. As it stands all that is keeping him safe is Dumbledore, shock and bluff.

I rather expect the first of those to disappear sometime in the story. I have no idea how General Chaos can develop an ultimate weapon powerful enough to stand off the nation of Britain.

On the other side of the coin, Hermione is extremely valuable. She's almost the 1st or 2nd best duelist in 1st year and her aid probably doubles Harry's ability to do research on magic. Unfortunately for Harry, while those skills would be decisive if he could go hide and research for a few years, I doubt that he'll get the time.

Comment by lucassloan on April Fools - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Joke Chapter · 2012-04-02T06:10:43.770Z · LW · GW

Definitely. At least for the next 42 minutes.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-30T03:57:48.558Z · LW · GW

No, seriously, it's figureable from the main text and PKH isn't going to help much.

Jryy vg'f rvgure gung Uneel'f qnexfvqr vf gur sentzrag bs Ibyqrzbeg'f fbhy be gung Qhzoyrqber'f rivy.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T04:58:54.268Z · LW · GW

Agreed. I initially felt a lot of tension as to the answer, and it didn't fade upon a day or two's speculation, but I did not feel that tension when I read the chapter. I definitely think that a wait over major cliffhangers is indicated, but a long one (even 5 days) cannot sustain the tension.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-03-28T04:49:14.033Z · LW · GW

Sure, but that's a Slytherin virtue.

Comment by lucassloan on Advice for visiting the Bay Area? · 2012-03-23T08:10:18.953Z · LW · GW

What meetups are potentially planned for this time?

There's a weekly meet up in Berkeley on Wednesdays and a weekly meet up in Mountain View. If you like, you could contact Nisan about having a monthly Berkeley meet up while you're in town.

Will there be a Rationality Bootcamp?

I really doubt it, but there might be some seminars run by the Center for Modern Rationality

Would it make sense to visit any of the "SI/LW houses", even if just to soak up the aura?

Absolutely. Visiting is the highest value thing I can think of to do in the Bay Area.

Where should I try to find a room?

I don't think staying with me would be optimal, but if you wish, I have a free bed in Berkeley.

Should I rent a car?

Yes. The SF/East Bay region is well serviced by public transit, but the South Bay is horrid for the same. You will save a lot of time going by car, just never take highway 101 unless it's after 2 in the morning.

What are your recommendations for less "touristy", underground sightseeing?

Climb a mountain. The Muir Woods are very pretty.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T07:54:24.743Z · LW · GW

He already interrogated Draco under Veritaserum, so he knows that Draco saw his patronus light. That seems not to have swayed him.

Also, if there were going to be a wizard to discover a charm that does something completely impossible, my bet would be on Dumbledore and Voldemort.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T07:47:35.746Z · LW · GW

Even if he can order the dementor around (seems likely), how in the world would he overcome the aurors already maintaining patronuses, not to mention Dumbledore?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T07:39:07.411Z · LW · GW

"Are you all lost?" cried Albus Dumbledore. "She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

The leading article, written by some name that Harry didn't recognize, had called for the minimum age for Azkaban to be lowered, just so that the twisted mudblood who had defaced the honor of Scotland with her savage, unprovoked attack upon the last heir of a Most Ancient House within the sacred refuge of Hogwarts could be sent to the Dementors that were the only punishment commensurate with the severity of her unspeakable crime.

This is a definite break from the historical record.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T07:04:40.922Z · LW · GW

Dumbledore is a seasoned politician who may be assumed to know how to take the mood of the Wizengamot. However, he incorrectly predicts that they will not call for Hermione to be sent to Azkaban. Was his model of reality wrong or was he ignorant of a force on the board? I notice certain parallels to Quirrell's predictions about the Slytherin bullies.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T05:06:29.073Z · LW · GW

Point in favor of this all being a plot by Quirrell to cause Harry to be more willing to overthrow the ministry:

But by then he'd already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

ETA: Evidence this is the result of Quirrell's plotting at all:

Harry's mind flashed back to another day of horror, and even though Harry had been on the verge of writing off Lord Voldemort's continued existence as the senility of an old wizard, it suddenly seemed horribly and uniquely plausible that the entity who'd Memory-Charmed Hermione was the very same mind that had - made use of - Bellatrix Black. The two events had a certain signature in common. To choose that this should happen, plan for this to happen - it would take more than evil, it would take emptiness.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:47:13.053Z · LW · GW

About Harry's darkside. It seems new and weird that his darkside can be hurt by Hermione's plight. Last time he went over to his darkside strongly (after dementor exposure), he ended up in a state where he hated everyone he cares about and only came out because he didn't know how to respond to her kissing him, not because he cared.

He did achieve some progress with his darkside in Azkaban - he became less affected by them, and now it seems it shares his goals to some degree.

Last time his darkside had control its response looked like this:

There was a compulsion to chew and swallow chocolate. The response to compulsion was killing. People had gathered around and stared. That was annoying. The response to annoyance was killing. Other people were chattering in the background. That was insolent. The response to insolence was to inflict pain, but since none of them were useful, killing them would be simpler. Killing all those people would be difficult. But many of them didn't trust Quirrell, who was strong. Finding exactly the right trigger could cause them all to kill each other.

I find it hard to believe that getting everyone to kill each other is going to be the solution, but it can't be discounted.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T04:16:25.807Z · LW · GW

Quirrell did, I don't think that Harry knows the spell that Quirrell used.

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-21T02:14:51.317Z · LW · GW

Reference?

Comment by lucassloan on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 10 · 2012-03-17T08:10:33.925Z · LW · GW

He is a member of a noble house. He is probably entitled to observe, even if his age prevents him from taking his seat.