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Comment by martok on But There's Still A Chance, Right? · 2012-04-23T22:47:09.060Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

However: apply 1:1E6 to 260E6 million people in the US in 1994, there's probably 130 couples like them.

Far from the "still not happening even if you flip a (weighted) coin every second since the big bang"- chance in the post, but since Lloyd probably did not do the math and just ignored the actual value... yep, classical example.

Comment by martok on The Sacred Mundane · 2012-04-13T23:25:47.414Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

All the arguments about mystery aside, the first few paragraphs seem to be from a completely different post about the Sacred Experience instead if Religious Foo.

I might not usually call it that, but of course I know the experience Frank is talking about. It's what I feel when I watch a video of a space shuttle launch; {...}

Leading up to:

Sacredness is something intensely private and individual.

Which is something I would strongly agree with. In my view, what this is saying is that the association of something being sacred is something that can only be created by the individual and is a private emotion, not something that can be conveyed as-is. Sure, you are able to describe it, but you should not expect the other party to have that same emotion. The other side of that would be that while an arbitrary number of people can regard the same thing sacred, but only by their own (subconcious) choice, not by being told that something is sacred. Standing in the Hagia Sophia may be a sacred thing or just cause admiration for the architects. Neither of those should be discarded, since it's about emotional response, not reasoning for anything.

Something that's reproducibly inducing that experience for me would be this video. You may try it (Big Screens help), and it may or may not do anything to you (besides impressively displaying scientific results; this is space, after all). I can't do anything about that, it's an individual experience. And regarding solitude... what could be more solitary than this very perspective from high above an entire planet?

I do realize that what I'm saying here sounds like "there's something that defies Rationality", but that what I'm trying to say. The idea is that it is a fragment of neural activity (and nothing more) that is something to be aware of, since it is something possibly affecting judgement. Apart from that, I don't see any actual reason for rational argument on this topic and also not for considering it evidence for anything by itself.

Comment by martok on What Evidence Filtered Evidence? · 2012-04-10T05:29:48.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

However, when you read the Git manual and get to "Rewriting History", you could come to the conclusion that "this guy is nuts and I have to reevaluate everything I read previously based on that assumption". Also, cloning 2 times and moving commits between those 2 can be a lot easier than rebase/cherry-fu in one copy. I usually do that when I'm called in to fix some messed-up repo.

I would still choose Git over Hg anytime, because this happens seldom enough that the other benefits outweigh it.

Comment by martok on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-04-08T22:42:08.573Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A lot of people probably already know that, it's a familiar "deep wisdom", but anyway: you can use this not-changing of your mind to help you with seemingly complicated decisions that you ponder over for days. Simply assign the possible answers and flip a coin (or roll a dice, if you need more than 2). It doesn't matter what the result is, but depending on wether it matches your already-made decision you will either immediately reject the coin's "answer" or not. That tells you what your first decision was, unclouded by any attempts to justify the other option(s).

Now, if you've trained your intuition (aka have the right set of Cached Thoughts), that answer will be the correct or better one. Or, as has happened to me more than once, you realize that both alternatives are actually wrong and your mind already came up with a better solution.

Comment by martok on Do We Believe Everything We're Told? · 2012-04-05T22:33:36.229Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Me too, but I fear I may be primed to believing Eliezer as his previous posts contained stuff that I heard about before, granting him some advantage. Or it may be Authority...

Anyway: I find it interesting that a german newspaper mostly known for being the lowest form of journalism imaginable (but still highest-grossing) uses a similar technique in their "articles": they print more or less randomly chosen fragments in bold or italics. Could using confusing fonts really be enough to get people to "believe everything"?

Something else I noticed: all highlighted phrases in this article are negative. This may have primed against the postive effects here. Somebody should test this.