Comment by mary-chernyshenko on If a "Kickstarter for Inadequate Equlibria" was built, do you have a concrete inadequate equilibrium to fix? · 2019-04-15T19:20:43.960Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would systematically destroy selected invasive species (like Ambrosia artemisiifolia or Heracleum sosnowskyi) in the localities I know, and seek out new localities, if ten more people pledged to do the same and at least one person accompanies me every time for safety reasons (and hopefully to dig along). The main effect would be educating local people, of course, since I know for a fact that some still *plant* Heracleum "because it is impressive". Hopefully if such attitude to the species becomes more widespread, we could demand changes in local legislature which would make the relevant state agencies actually do something about the issue. There's just no reason why we should have such dangerous aliens in our environment (Ambrosia produces lots of airborne allergenic pollen, while contact with Heracleum makes skin photosensitive, which in the worst case causes death from unhealing "chemical" burns.) There are, of course, many other invasive species, but I would target the worst threats.

However, I also expect to be looking for a job... or emigrate.

(EDIT: to be clear, systematic attempts to eradicate Ambrosia are already happening in some areas of my country, and some of them are citizens' initiatives far more industrially scaled than anything I can afford. Which is admirable, but also not something most people can afford, too.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on How do people become ambitious? · 2019-04-09T09:30:00.118Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, they must be rare. Most likely, shopping online and in English... one side of ambitiousness would be then 'willingness to pay', maybe even 'willingness to pay to become known as such a person'.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on How do people become ambitious? · 2019-04-08T20:20:17.138Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I often have this problem.

I mean that 'ambitious' people might be 'just generally ambitious' - I see some of them when they come to buy books on self-help or startups or esoteric things. They might be 'ambitious, as in wanting to have power over other people', & then they buy books on, say, romantic relationships or English for two-year-olds, or planners; but largely it's also a hobby. Some of them do get to wield this power and are content with it. Some do collect thousands of likes on Facebook or Youtube, and are visible, and therefore counted ambitious by others.

And then there are people who want power over things, over events in the world. The least 'personal' example is a scientist, but the volunteer who sends winter clothes to families living on occupied land and the sniper who crouches on the roof above a demonstration, they also belong to this species. And I have yet to peg them down when they enter my bookstore. They are... invisible.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on How do people become ambitious? · 2019-04-08T17:30:01.130Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As Tracey Davis would say, that's not true! And what's it mean?

Seems like there's power over others and power over things to happen. To become ambitious about the first kind, most people only need a chance to taste and realize what it is they're tasting. The setting might be for the greater good, the reflection might discourage the pupil, but the option will be on the table.

As to the power over things to happen, it requires serious autonomy (an ability to pick the real dependencies between things and to keep a roof over one's head meanwhile) and/or serious despair (as in people who might survive cancer).

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Lyubarsky intro · 2019-03-10T19:47:47.398Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I understand that, but the book must be available there. It would be awfully cool if you could read it too and share your impressions. For the next meetup, which we plan in a month, I hope to overcome the ancients.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Lyubarsky intro · 2019-03-10T16:19:20.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What! That's him?! I've been reading it for ages! You will like the book then :)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Lyubarsky intro · 2019-03-10T15:46:19.853Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We met this Saturday in Kyiv. It's my at workplace, so we get interrupted sometimes, but overall it works fine. We got about halfway into antiquity, got tired and turned to GPT 2. But why do you think it will be difficult? OTOH, there was only one other person ))

I didn't know he had a blog, will seek it out.

Lyubarsky intro

2019-03-09T11:13:31.075Z · score: 6 (4 votes)
Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open Thread February 2019 · 2019-03-07T11:02:41.634Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(I'm beginning to think that if "natural sciences" tell us _how_ things happen but not _why_ they do... then in order to know how I should ask why.)

Have a camel!

2019-02-28T19:25:05.476Z · score: 12 (7 votes)

Describing things: parsimony, fruitfulness, and adaptability

2019-02-05T20:59:01.345Z · score: 1 (1 votes)
Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What observations do you as a customer would expect to matter, if your experience was 1000 times "stronger"? · 2019-01-02T06:28:39.578Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would really like it if the answers were bookshop-centric, I think other kinds of retail have their own specific features which I cannot comment about.

What observations do you as a customer would expect to matter, if your experience was 1000 times "stronger"?

2019-01-01T22:03:39.480Z · score: 4 (2 votes)
Comment by mary-chernyshenko on The E-Coli Test for AI Alignment · 2019-01-01T11:05:33.957Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You'll run into wetware fundamentals pretty much at once. Do you satisfy each bacteria's values (however you define them) or the values of the Population of Five (however you define them)? They are going to be different. Or maybe you take a higher level, the ecosystemic one (remember, you're AI, you are entirely free to do it)? Or do you go lower, and view the cells as carriers for the things that matter - what's to prevent you from deciding that the really important things human bodies provide for are the worms in their guts, and not the brains?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What makes people intellectually active? · 2019-01-01T09:03:45.160Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW

(old cereal boxes cut up into strips are a thing I keep in my kitchen to write upon - I don't like picking up a notebook with maybe greasy hands, but spoiling a cardboard strip seems like no biggie.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What makes people intellectually active? · 2019-01-01T08:54:23.552Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

...and since there is a particular pleasure in derailing community thought, if one manages to find a place where one does not go over to the Dark Side when doing it, one likely should go for it :)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Open and Welcome Thread December 2018 · 2018-12-31T16:37:38.108Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness" seemed to me to avoid it better than many books (I only read the first half, unfortunately), but of course, the humans in it are kind of weird themselves :)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-31T13:49:39.330Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, this also reminds me of the thing that we discussed at our last meetup (there were two of us, so I wouldn't say it was about Solstice, exactly): how history of plant morphology is a handle for some fairly unrelated fields (social sciences), if you grok it. Not the best possible one, not capable of turning around many axes, and not easy to turn, but - a handle.

The lj post that started it described a monograph on the history of research of inflorescence structure. I won't link it, it's in Russian anyway. It talked how plants are systems of "little integrity" - when you look at them, you see they have only a few easy-to-recognize building blocks, but the blocks themselves are very different case to case. And if one wants to build a system of kinship between cases, suddenly the space of block names explodes.

(The other person present at the meetup actually could not cope with it, he tried to imagine "a world without morphology", an evolution culling out the diversifying misfits - it was freakin' fascinating to watch. I saw the abyss between his engineering background and my observational one, *and I actually think now that "curiosity" means different things to the two of us*.)

It turns out that what people had used to describe as a block, falls apart into several neat categories that only superficially resemble each other, due to convergent evolution of plants or microscopy milestones or *something*. History of morphology reconstructs the gradual focusing of thought on how plants are really built on the inside and outside, and how we kind of feel where current names don't fit already. According to that lj post, social sciences have yet to reach this point, but clearly they, too, deal with systems of little integrity, where one has to invent names for the many real, and not the visible blocks. The lj post advised social scientists to read up on the already covered grounds of plant morphology, to gauge the depth of what they would have to do (my paraphrase).

And this is how I think about "rationality techniques", too; that they are going to fall apart into different clusters, and the engineering-inclined people would want to try to glue them back. Intellectual activity, if it employs specific techniques, should be able to destruct-test them, to arrive at new and better blocks, which is easier to do if I am not at the same moment building something bigger with the old ones.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-31T12:36:26.807Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, for techniques to be more than TAPs, they have to kind of branch, don't they? In which case there has to be an (internally natural) hierarchy of concepts, which I am afraid to build, because for me "rationality techniques" as presented here are phenomenological observations. Or stop-signs.


I don't like the concept of "fully general counter-argument", for example, and I try to make do without it. If we have "fully general counter-arguments", then we have "fully general supporting arguments" and "fully general misses" etc. I always try to treat someone's counter-argument as not fully-general unless we both understand it so; because for some reason they view it as the thing to say. It might be an irrelevant reason, but very many are, and the world keeps spinning.

Curiosity is just that - if you are asking whether being told about rationality helps develop curiosity under some conditions, then maybe we shouldn't talk about all "rationality techniques", because they as a whole are not aimed at developing curiosity. Choose some.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-30T21:06:14.373Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I am not into the AI stuff, so maybe my take on it will be far more ameboid than what you had in mind. I rather view the broadly-LW corpus as something like TV Tropes and try to find the "individual articles" (not always, or even consciously) in the things I interact with. Maybe other people do it, too. And if I have to interact with something regularly, like for work, it's far easier to bear when it's fun.

It's like, "I will have to sell this book, which means I gotta be ready to say something about it" and "But this translation of "Wyrd Sisters" flattens witches' individuality - smoothes out prickliness, adds a veneer of experience to something which can only be awkward bumbling, turns a salacious remark into a good-natured explanation, etc. The text is readable and well-built, but has denotational and connotational issues. Through what lense did the translator view the original to arrive at this version?" So "Maybe he decided to translate from the bird's eye view, where the text as a whole must have internal logic and structure, but not from the characters' views, where what they think/do is what matters and actually exists at all" and then "But characters' agency is important, in a meta-text about theatre" which leads to "Who of our translators does consistently preserve 1) author's intonation, 2) author's view of characters, 3) general readability, 4) characters' view of the world, 5) characters' view of themselves? And which publishing house can be counted on to have an editor who gives a damn?"

Which gives me, in the end, two lists - one longer, of quality translators, and one short - of publishing houses. Both rather subjective, but they will do in a pinch.

I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind when you asked your question, or even if this can be called "intellectual activity", it just feels like curiosity. But that's my answer.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Introducing the Longevity Research Institute · 2018-12-15T08:55:47.186Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Do you plan to work with dogs, or better, pigs, as closer to humans in biochemistry? And if so, are there pig hereditary lines already developed for lab work?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Is Science Slowing Down? · 2018-12-15T08:26:18.563Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Let's not infer what the politicians thought, we have a rather different image of it here.

I'd like to read about Chinese science done in Chinese; I think it would be a great thing to know more about.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Is Science Slowing Down? · 2018-12-14T20:37:28.234Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alright, if I meet that Markdown Syntax in a dark alley, we will have to talk. Have a link, instead.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Is Science Slowing Down? · 2018-12-14T11:17:29.829Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a way to insert a picture? I think a graph will be more informative.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on The Bat and Ball Problem Revisited · 2018-12-13T10:53:02.877Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I didn't "just see" the answers to the questions the first time I saw them, but neither would I say that I had to solve them entirely formally. It was more like docking a boat - the river keeps tugging at the tail end, until you feel the boat's side touch the berth and know it has stopped. There's a kind of natural inertia to this kind of puzzles.

Also, there is a kind of problems like "one wallet contains ten coins, another one contains twice more, and the total is twenty; explain" that get asked much earlier than kids learn algebra, if I remember right. But it gets dismissed, in favour of cases where you must learn not to count the same bits of evidence twice (cough Bayes cough). I like to think this dismissal bites people in the backside when they learn Mendelian genetics (more easily seen when the genes in question interact hierarchically) or, Merlin forbid, mass-spectrometry, where the math difficulty is complicated by the chem difficulty of molecules not dividing into usual subunits.

Whew, I was thinking to write a separate post on this, but now I don't have to! Profit!

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Is Science Slowing Down? · 2018-12-12T20:18:45.597Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Regardless of any particular test; why do you think non-English-language-based diversification is good?

(asking because "non-English-language-based science" is currently a big problem where I live. "It's not in English" is basically the same as "it's not interesting to others".)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Playing Politics · 2018-12-11T20:44:35.440Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A useless note on far-reaching unity: it exists, in William Blake's poetry. It's amazing how he tacks to starboard and larboard so easily and manages to marshall it all together (I haven't read his long poems, though).

Like, "what immortal hand or eye" & "...dread hand" & "...dread feet" are tangential to a whole he doesn't want to outline (and it includes a furnace, too); "for the Eye Altering alters all" is abrupt as heck (not to mention the uninhabited "dark desart all around" where who knows how many men and women ramble - they must create territory where there was none); "it only once Smiled can be" has that *it* which hews the line off the bedrock, etc.

And despite his projectiles flying haphazardly all around, he keeps it all in check - there's a central idea which is like a queen bee.

The reason why I was thinking about it, is that his poetry is known to be hard to translate (into Russian and Ukrainian, at least), and some things come out in relief when you see how they were broken in translation. There the queen might reign, but there's no unity because fewer things remain to unite; or it is no longer far-reaching.

tl;dr - not all far-reaching unities are built from short-reaching ones.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Playing Politics · 2018-12-11T19:56:48.768Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I feel kind of lost. Your examples imply a narrowly focused malign attention (in which case I would add "potential backstabbing" to the list :), Viliam seems to be talking about working with groups of people who are more or less neutral to the actual cause, and Sarah seems to be talking about working with people who have at least ostensibly agreed to move in a common direction. Won't there be different threats in all these cases?

OTOH, how about "I will get you fired" promises? Less spooky than death threats, but much more manageable.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Playing Politics · 2018-12-11T19:01:42.975Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not the whole, though. Activism has at least two dimensions - one of "human capital", the other of "change in the world", so the leader has to balance one against the other.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Conversational Cultures: Combat vs Nurture · 2018-12-10T20:30:19.556Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(Not important, but my supervisor was a great man who tended to revel in combat settings and to say smth like "You're being dumb" more often than other versions, & though everybody understood what he meant, it destroyed his team eventually. People found themselves better things to do, as, of course, people generally should. This is where I'm coming from.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Is Science Slowing Down? · 2018-12-10T20:08:48.553Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Why do you think it will lead to new fields, rather than to a Babylon of overlapping terminologies?

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Why should I care about rationality? · 2018-12-10T19:45:15.186Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(whimsical answer) Perhaps because pure rationality is so elusive that once you start caring about it, you start to notice how things which you want to fit the "rationality-shaped hole" don't really do it, and then keep looking; but you can always say "this is my stop" when you see something you can do about the world with the knowledge you have found, and you will have some experience of judging things in a more... solid way then.

It's like alchemical gold - in a way, more precious than the true substance.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Transhumanists Don't Need Special Dispositions · 2018-12-08T21:58:58.248Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well if you think they think you want to "lose your identity", why do you think they will be persuaded by a "no, I don't"? "Identity" is a big thing with many parts, you will have to show it doesn't get lost.

There is a thing called ОБВМ in Russian, it stands for "[but has a] Very Rich Internal World", and AFAIK initially it was said about RPG players who avoid playing action or are side-lined by the orgs into being "the third elf in the fifth row". And maybe they do have rich internal worlds that could be made richer by cold tentacles, but for the rest of the players they don't have an observable identity.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Winter Solstice 2018 Roundup · 2018-12-07T14:30:54.387Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There will be a Solstice event in Kyiv, on December 29th - tea, cakes, and Harry Potters from different points in time comparing their notes. (Not invitation only, but better warn me if you want to come - it's at my workplace.)

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Welcome to Kyiv SlateStarCodex [Edit With Your Details] · 2018-12-07T14:11:51.224Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We are trying another format, meeting every second Saturday. The new address is Drahomanva Str., 2 b ("Дім Книги"). Contact details remain the same.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Four factors which moderate the intensity of emotions · 2018-12-01T13:36:59.625Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Also, regression to the mean is a force. Oversleeping right on the next day after you were praised for punctuality is somehow more annoying.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Preschool: Much Less Than You Wanted To Know · 2018-11-26T18:32:46.719Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was answering the "it is not about preschool, it is about developmental milestones" part; and I meant that whether preschool fails at doing something it should (have the kids learn to read), and then later kids do read anyway, it doesn't mean there aren't benefits from having them learn earlier. Parents should not hope that preschool gives their kids some advantage in further "academic achievments", parents should be interested in the real stuff. Find their own parameters and evaluate them. People already do it, they just don't want to own up to it.

BTW, having the kid in preschool did lessen our interaction, which made it easier to interact.

And preschool might suck as a hammer, but it sucks much less as a measuring stick.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Conversational Cultures: Combat vs Nurture · 2018-11-26T18:17:30.346Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

yeah, it's not important, it just keeps happening that way, doesn't it.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Conversational Cultures: Combat vs Nurture · 2018-11-22T21:01:28.257Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

...I still don't get it why one needs to say "you're being dumb", when obviously the intended meaning is "you're saying/doing something dumb", in virtually all settings.

If people are that close, can't they just growl at each other? Or use one of the wonderfully adaptable short words that communicate so much?..

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Preschool: Much Less Than You Wanted To Know · 2018-11-22T11:14:26.188Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Kind of disagree. My kid learned to read at home and it helps me broaden his horizons from just road repair to also include mushrooms, culinary, season-themed stories and (sometimes) other stuff. It does mean that I buy him lots of books and some of them go unopened, but at least he has some interests that we can pursue when he's sick and has to stay indoors. I certainly wouldn't be able to count on school to teach him to enjoy reading.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on On Doing the Improbable · 2018-10-29T18:39:28.081Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You should distinguish between "accomplishing one big thing after lots of work" (like writing HPMoR) and "accomplishing one tenth of similar goals after lots of work" (like having some kind of applications approved). The first is hard and usually just not something people find they must do. I think that's part of the problem. If everyone else gets by without writing HPMoR, surely I can. The second is annoying, but you can have a drink and forget about needing to be motivated and just keep at it.

For me, it would be hard even if I believed it necessary etc., because I cannot work alone (I tried). What I do must matter to someone "now", and in a very specific way. Cheering me only made me feel uncomfortable, even if it was deserved. People cheer you on when they want something from you, not just when they are happy for your sake, so after you hear the 'good job' part you wait for the other shoe to drop. Someone finding small bugs in what I do helps much more.

Comment by mary-chernyshenko on Replace yourself first if you're moving to the Bay · 2018-07-23T14:57:03.978Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(read the title, thought it was something like "you know you can do better, so if there are obviously novel challenges, just replace yourself with the better version of yourself and don't fuss :) )