## Posts

Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: June 2017-05-28T10:10:44.943Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: April 2017-04-25T11:36:19.060Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meeetup: March 2017-03-21T09:17:04.809Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: February 2017-02-20T11:27:47.226Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: January 2017-01-16T04:09:24.829Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: December 2016-12-11T11:33:16.527Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: October 2016-10-16T05:53:38.550Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: September 2016-09-13T12:37:51.337Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: August 2016-08-15T14:56:04.437Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: July 2016-07-12T12:40:44.654Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: June 2016-06-15T23:25:38.602Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social: May 2016-05-16T13:33:05.749Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup: Apr 2016 2016-04-10T09:59:59.235Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup: Mar 2016 2016-03-17T06:53:28.900Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup: Feb 2016 2016-02-16T08:27:36.873Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup: Jan 2016 2016-01-18T14:48:19.052Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup 2015-12-16T05:54:18.047Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social - October 2015-10-15T07:05:23.819Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup - September 2015-09-15T08:28:22.474Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup 2015-08-20T11:45:34.284Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup - May 2015 2015-05-11T12:49:04.287Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2015-03-16T12:55:59.478Z
Meetup : MelbLW Social Meetup 2015-02-18T10:46:01.131Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup: Boardgames In The Pub 2014-08-12T14:43:07.187Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2014-07-16T13:09:11.666Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2014-05-15T10:31:12.910Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup (Note: change of location!) 2014-04-14T13:52:19.451Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2014-03-13T12:00:15.578Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2014-01-06T06:43:54.147Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-11-10T13:59:31.709Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-10-13T12:26:03.879Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-09-09T07:08:58.837Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-08-12T10:02:32.355Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-07-15T14:10:44.459Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-05-12T13:17:40.561Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-04-16T13:56:51.113Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-03-12T10:10:43.975Z
Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup 2013-01-09T12:27:13.277Z
[Cryonics News] Australian cryonics startup: Stasis Systems Australia update 2012-06-15T05:08:09.954Z
Meetup : Melbourne social meetup 2011-11-18T00:43:16.526Z
Cryonics in Australia: How do you actually do it? 2011-03-13T10:26:39.293Z

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : MelbLW: September Social Meetup · 2014-09-19T08:31:32.698Z · LW · GW

Sorry everyone! We got the address wrong. It's actually 328 Little Lonsdale St, not Little Collins. Sorry! Give me a call (number above) if you're lost.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : July Rationality Dojo: Disagreement · 2014-07-04T09:46:21.910Z · LW · GW

For anyone interested, we'll be going to see Edge of Tomorrow at 11:10am at Hoyts Melbourne Central beforehand, and we'll grab some lunch too. Meet out the front of the cinemas at 11:00 if you'd like to come.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup (Note: change of location!) · 2014-04-14T13:58:01.626Z · LW · GW

If you're interested in carpooling, the best place to discuss it would be either on the Facebook event page (search for our "Melbourne Less Wrong" group if you aren't a member) or on the Google Group post (again, search for our "Melbourne Less Wrong" group)

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2014-01-06T06:54:16.570Z · LW · GW

Bonus: Free upvote for every comment that indicates attending!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-11-10T14:02:35.753Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I give an upvote to every comment that indicates attendance!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-08-12T10:04:30.818Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I upvote every comment that indicates an intention to attend!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-07-15T14:13:24.738Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I give an upvote to every comment that includes a positive expectation of attendance!

Comment by Maelin on Reductionism sequence now available in audio format · 2013-06-02T04:23:53.364Z · LW · GW

In the description in the centre of the page, it says "Note: Due to its abundant use of math, this package excludes the article The Quotation is not the Referent." but then right next to that, number 6 in the list of Included Articles, is "The Quotation is not the Referent".

Also, is it possible to get a preview?

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, social meetup: 31 May 2013 07:00PM · 2013-05-27T13:20:13.824Z · LW · GW

I expect to be there.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-05-12T13:18:17.595Z · LW · GW

Bonus: I give a free upvote to every comment that indicates expected attendance!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-04-18T13:29:15.375Z · LW · GW

Sure.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-04-16T13:59:35.499Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I give a free upvote to every comment that includes an expectation of attendance!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-03-12T10:11:20.959Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I give a free upvote to every comment that indicates expectation of attendance!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne social meetup · 2013-02-12T06:20:15.575Z · LW · GW

Reminder: I give a free upvote to every comment that includes an expectation of attending!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, practical rationality · 2013-01-21T02:16:49.962Z · LW · GW

I expect to attend.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2013-01-09T12:28:45.563Z · LW · GW

Bonus incentive: I give a free upvote to every comment that includes an expectation of attending!

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, practical rationality · 2012-12-28T17:51:15.655Z · LW · GW

Because the 4th of January is a time when many people might be away on holiday or otherwise unavailable, it would probably be worth getting a sense for numbers beforehand to avoid . If you expect to attend, please let us know (no commitment!) either in a comment here (and get a free upvote for your trouble), or on the mailing list group, or via some other suitable channel.

I'll start off by saying I expect to attend (~75% probability)

Comment by Maelin on Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012 · 2012-12-12T03:45:25.354Z · LW · GW

My father told me about someone he knew when he was working as a nurse at a mental hospital, who tried killing himself three times with a gun in the mouth. The first two times he used a pistol of some sort - both times, the bullet passed between the hemispheres of his brain (causing moderate but not fatal brain damage), exited through the back of his head, and all the hot gases from the gun cauterised the wounds.

The third time he used a shotgun, and that did the job. For firearm based suicide, I think above the ear is a safer bet.

Comment by Maelin on Group rationality diary, 11/28/12 · 2012-11-28T13:49:28.366Z · LW · GW

For 9 days now I have set up my computer as a makeshift standing desk, using a pair of \$10 Ikea coffee tables on top of my actual desk, and two \$3 rubber mats and some cardboard to stand on. I have an appallingly sedentary lifestyle and often catch myself sitting at my desk with a terrible slumped posture, so I'm hoping to catch back problems before they occur, and also exert a bit more energy just day-to-day.

Each day my feet take a little longer to begin hurting, but they still hurt a lot by bed time. I have to take a few breaks to the couch to watch TV through the day to get by. I am planning to set up something more serious so I can put a stool at the desk and sit down from time to time without disrupting my usual activities (at the moment I don't own a stool, and there's nowhere for my legs to fit under the desk in any case).

Currently the only things preventing me from taking the desk down right now and just waiting until I have sorted a better solution are 1) my feet don't start to hurt until the end of the day, when I usually can't be bothered rearranging everything, and 2) I'm worried that without the driving force of aching feet every day I won't feel compelled to go through with arranging a better solution.

Comment by Maelin on Australian Rationalist in America · 2012-11-20T02:27:21.922Z · LW · GW

If you happen to be in Melbourne while you're in Australia, see if you can come to one of our twice-per-month regular meetups!

Comment by Maelin on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-11-20T02:25:04.371Z · LW · GW

Yeah, the interface is usually the biggest complaint and I agree it's quite suboptimal. I guess the good bit is once you get something working you don't have to interact with it again until you want to change it.

I haven't tried it myself, but I believe there is a way to write the contexts and tasks in XML files or something similar... you could look that up.

Comment by Maelin on How many of you doing Khan Academy? · 2012-11-13T05:37:07.125Z · LW · GW

As a soon-to-be maths teacher, hearing about high school students going above and beyond the terribly-designed curricula that teachers are forced to inflict on their students warms my heart enormously. May your passion for learning continue to grow, and guide you to ever greater intellectual heights. Have an upvote. :)

Comment by Maelin on PROPOSAL: LessWrong for Teenagers · 2012-11-08T07:05:38.130Z · LW · GW

I think this is a good idea. I wish LW had existed when I was a teenager; maybe I could have got started on the path to enlightenment earlier, instead of spending more than half a decade as one of those smirking, sarcastic, self-congratulatory Atheists that now make me cringe. But it does seem likely that LW could be intimidating to teenagers, and this seems to me to be a demographic we should be trying to reach.

Perhaps we could make an effort to produce some more accessible, entry-level posts that provide a gentler introduction to the material of the sequences and LW community memes, without assumed prereading, as part of this...

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] The First World Takeover · 2012-11-06T03:28:59.631Z · LW · GW

Ooh, I read his novel Evolution and found it to be extremely enjoyable. It's the evolution of humans from a little ratlike mammal thing living through the KT-event, all the way through to modern humans and then speculative extension beyond - but each chapter is a narrative about some individual actual creature going through a significant event in its life, with realistic depiction of the increasing cognitive abilities (i.e. no sapient monkeys). I found it gave me an amazing subjective feeling of perspective on the evolution of primates and humans. Heartily recommended.

Comment by Maelin on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-04T08:10:35.584Z · LW · GW

Done. I did all of the extra credit except the Myers-Briggs. The IQ test was the most interesting but three or four questions towards the ends were frustratingly difficult and refused to yield their secrets to me; even now I can feel lingering annoyance at the fact that I eventually gave up on them instead of wrestling with them for longer. Oh well.

Comment by Maelin on Things philosophers have debated · 2012-11-01T02:35:21.951Z · LW · GW

But they weren't. Trivialists certainly do assert that $\\neg\(p\\wedge\\neg p\$) is true, and so is $p\\wedge\\neg p$

Comment by Maelin on [LINK] Mastering Linear Algebra in 10 Days: Astounding Experiments in Ultra-Learning · 2012-10-30T03:44:52.606Z · LW · GW

Oh no. Now I have a perfect, bulletproof excuse, that I actually buy, for my habit of procrastinating so badly with assignments that I typically end up doing them in a modafinil-powered all nighter on the night before they're due.

John_Maxwell_IV, what have you done?

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-23T05:42:51.223Z · LW · GW

I find this very unsatisfying, not least because the optimisation power over a wide range of targets is easily gamed just by dividing any given 'target' of a process into a whole lot of smaller targets and then saying "look at all these different targets that the process optimised for!"

Claiming that optimisation power is defined simply by a process's ability to hit some target from a wide range of starting states, and/or has a wide range of targets that it can hit, both seem to be easily gameable by clever sophistry with your choice of how you choose the targets by which you measure its optimisation power. There must be some part of it that separates processes we feel genuinely are good at optimising (like Clippy) from processes that only come out as good at optimising if we select clever targets to measure them by.

Comment by Maelin on [LINK] blog on cryonics by someone who freezes things in a cell bio lab · 2012-10-23T05:11:01.145Z · LW · GW

Clarification: the current state of the art in neural preservation doesn't preserve amounts of state in zebrafish brains that are recoverable in usable form by the current state of the art.

If we had the ability to recover the information in usable form today, there would be no need for cryonics to exist.

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-23T01:33:00.031Z · LW · GW

I really just want to know what Eliezer means by it. It seems to me like I have some notion of an optimisation process, that says "yep, that's definitely an optimisation process" when I think about evolution and human minds and Clippy, and says "nope, that's not really an optimisation process - at least, not one worth the name" about water rolling down a hill and thermodynamics. And I think this notion is sufficiently similar to the one that Eliezer is using. But my attempts to formalise this definition, to reduce it, have failed - I can't find any combination of words that seems to capture the boundary that my intuition is drawing between Clippy and gravity.

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-18T05:43:24.840Z · LW · GW

But it seems like then every process can be an optimisation process, and when you measure the optimisation power that's really telling you more about whether the 'optimisation target' you selected as your measure is a good fit for the process you're looking at. It tells you more about your interpretation of the optimisation target than it does about the process itself.

Gravity isn't very powerful for minimising distance between sources of mass, but it is very powerful for "making mass move in straight lines through curved spacetime"[1]. For any process at all, you just look at "whatever it actually ends up doing", and then say that was its optimisation target all along, and hey presto, it turns out there are superpowerful optimisation processes everywhere you look, all being hugely successful at making things turn out how (you think) they wanted, provided you think they wanted things the way they actually turned out. If you get to choose your own interpretation of what the optimisation target is, 'optimisation process' doesn't seem like a very useful notion at all.

Also, re: value independence: Evolution seems like a pretty definite candidate for what we want 'optimisation process' to mean, but its values seem to be pretty inextricably baked in to the algorithm. You can't reprogram evolution to start optimising for paperclips, for example. It only optimises for whatever genes are selectively favoured by the environment.

[1] insert a more accurate description of what gravity does here if required.

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-16T07:39:06.553Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure that this does the job, but I might be misunderstanding:

• Clippy the paperclip maximiser, being placed in a given system S, transitions the system from state S1 (not many paperclips) to state S2 (many paperclips), and does this reliably across many different systems. We can confidently predict that if we put Clippy in a new system, it will soon end up full of paperclips, even if we aren't sure what the mechanism will be.
• Water, being placed in a given system S, transitions from state S1 (water is anywhere) to state S2 (water occupies local minima and isn't just floating around), and does this reliably across many different systems. We can confidently predict that if we put water in a new system, it will soon end up with a wet floor but not likely a wet ceiling. It just so happens that we do know the mechanism of transition but that shouldn't matter, I think.

So I feel like this kind of behaviour is actually necessary but isn't sufficient to identify an optimisation process. But I might be missing your point.

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-16T04:48:00.878Z · LW · GW

I don't think I'm being clear. I don't understand what it means for something to be vs not-be an optimisation process. What features or properties distinguish an optimisation process from a not-optimisation process?

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-16T00:39:27.051Z · LW · GW

But who says the water has to optimise for "lowest possible place"? Maybe it's just optimising for "occupying local minima". Out of all the possible arrangements of the water molecules in the entire universe that the water might move towards if you fill a bucket from the ocean and then tip it out again, it sure seems to gravitate towards a select few, pun intended.

How can we define optimisation in a way that doesn't let us just say "it's optimising to end up like that" about any process with an end state?

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Aiming at the Target · 2012-10-11T05:15:11.860Z · LW · GW

There's some discussion in the original thread about what exactly counts as optimising but it doesn't seem to have had any result, and I confess I'm struggling to find a definition of optimisation that says "definitely optimisation" about human minds and Deep Blue and evolution, but "definitely not optimisation" about a rock sitting on the ground or water running down a hill, and which feels like I have actually made a reduction instead of just something circular or synonymous.

Does anybody have a good working definition of optimisation that captures the things that feel optimisationy?

Comment by Maelin on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-06T16:18:20.699Z · LW · GW

Agreed. The stick figures do not mesh well with the colourful cartoony backgrounds that make the images visually appealing. They feel out of place, and I found it harder to tell when I was supposed to consider one stick figure distinct from another one without actively looking for it (I also have this problem with xkcd).

Strong vote for return to the original style diagrams, with the gender imbalance fixed.

Comment by Maelin on Open Thread, October 1-15, 2012 · 2012-10-04T09:17:31.596Z · LW · GW

I've taught a few people about the complex numbers, by stepping through expanding the naturals with the introduction of negatives to make integers, fractions to make rationals, irrationals to make reals, and finally (the 'novel' stage for my audience) imaginary numbers to make the complex numbers.

I emphasise the point that the new system always seems weird and confusing at first to the people who aren't used to it, and sometimes gets given a nasty name in contrast to the nice name of the old system (especially 'imaginary' vs 'real' and 'irrational' vs 'rational') but the new numbers are never more or less worthwhile than the old system - they're just different, and useful in new ways.

Comment by Maelin on Skill: The Map is Not the Territory · 2012-10-04T08:52:51.756Z · LW · GW

Sharing this sentiment. I'm particularly impressed with the cartoon diagrams. They're visually very appealing, and they encapsulate an idea in a way that takes just enough thought to untangle that I feel like it makes me engage with the conceptual message.

Comment by Maelin on Group rationality diary, 10/1/12 · 2012-10-04T03:18:01.394Z · LW · GW

I'd be very curious to know which predictions were made and where they come from, and how we know which ones were fulfilled or not fulfilled.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, practical rationality · 2012-09-27T04:15:38.289Z · LW · GW

Typically it's a group discussion of various rationality-related topics. In the past we've had problem-solving situations where somebody will be looking at a problem or upcoming decision in their life, and be unsure of how to optimise their outcomes, and the group will discuss it and try to formulate strategies and ideas to help out (for example, we did this when I was looking at buying a car, but unsure how to go about researching and deciding on one).

Other times we've had more structured activities, where members give presentations and/or run exercises to develop rationality skills. For example, we did a calibration exercise a while back, and more recently a few members have done presentations based on sessions from the rationality minicamps, or from the Skill of the Week posts.

Often we'll just discuss whatever topic is of interest, with a rational approach strongly encouraged. We'll often share techniques and tools for self-optimisation of all sorts (particularly electronic: websites, software, mobile apps etc) or personal progress toward self-improvement.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, practical rationality · 2012-09-06T12:58:13.184Z · LW · GW

I expect to be there.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne social meetup · 2012-08-16T03:04:18.528Z · LW · GW

I plan to be there.

Comment by Maelin on Biohacking in New York, Cybernetics and first Cyborg Hate Crime: theverge.com · 2012-08-13T02:23:34.119Z · LW · GW

I really genuinely love that this is a community where exchanges like this can occur, and everyone can get back to the discussion immediately with no hard feelings. Upvoted both for a well-handled misunderstanding.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne, practical rationality · 2012-08-03T05:33:14.620Z · LW · GW

I'll be there.

Comment by Maelin on [SEQ RERUN] Abstracted Idealized Dynamics · 2012-08-02T01:47:37.580Z · LW · GW

Interestingly, the linked Wikipedia article for the 6-state, 2-symbol Busy Beaver machine now has one listed that is a whole meta-order of magnitude busier than then one Eliezer refers to.

Comment by Maelin on Summary thread for Coursera classes · 2012-07-19T01:36:00.855Z · LW · GW

I tried the Coursera Cryptography class earlier this year. The pace was quite brisk and the material was somewhat demanding - I'd recommend at least first year university mathematics. It was fairly well presented and quite interesting, and it showed a degree of polish better than Sebastian Thrun's / Peter Norvig's original AI class last year.

I had to drop out after about three weeks because I couldn't handle it along with my actual uni course, but I'm thinking of starting it again soon.

Comment by Maelin on Meetup : Melbourne Social Meetup · 2012-07-17T01:38:57.231Z · LW · GW

I'll be coming.

I also make a habit of making sure every affirmative "I'm coming" comment has at least one upvote, so you can get a free karma point just for committing!

Comment by Maelin on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-07-10T03:47:27.582Z · LW · GW

Downvoted for wildly subjective assertions about comparative merits of smartphones.

I personally have a Galaxy Nexus, and I much prefer the extra customisation and control I have over an Android system. It "just works beautifully", too. Feeling like I am in full control of a tiny, powerful computer in my pocket brings me a lot more joy than every time I've tried using an Iphone; where the lack of control made me feel like I was renting one of Apple's devices on a probationary period, rather than owning one myself.

So this is really a matter of preference; let's not pretend that the Iphone is simply an unequivocally "more joyful" or "better working" user experience.

Comment by Maelin on [Link] Why the kids don’t know no algebra · 2012-07-05T08:20:18.316Z · LW · GW

I will be starting as a high school maths teacher next year. I really really wish I knew how to fix students who arrive in year N and haven't learned the critical skills they were supposed to have mastered at the end of year N-1. Teachers don't choose curricula, and curricula are too dense for mainstream students. We already have more than one semester's worth of material to get through in a semester.

If a bunch of students arrive in my class in February, and the mid year exam is in June, and they don't know any of the stuff they need for this year, how do I fit all the extra material in? This is not a rhetorical question!

Comment by Maelin on Less Wrong Product & Service Recommendations · 2012-07-05T03:44:24.805Z · LW · GW

Seconded. I used to use Avast, when I set up my new PC I asked a friend which antivirus to use, and he suggested MSE. I thought he was kidding.

But it turns out Microsoft actually have a pretty excellent antivirus solution here. It is totally nonintrusive - I'm less aware of it than any of the other ones I have used (Avast, AVG, Norton) and it just quietly does its thing. Recommended.