Posts

Is there a good way to read deep into LW comment histories on mobile? 2022-01-17T19:02:31.140Z
Maxwell Peterson's Shortform 2022-01-16T18:56:59.316Z
Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know 2022-01-10T19:26:54.907Z
Finding the Central Limit Theorem in Bayes' rule 2021-11-27T05:48:06.161Z
How should an interviewer evaluate management skills in a candidate? 2021-10-05T18:25:51.746Z
An analysis of the Less Wrong D&D.Sci 4th Edition game 2021-10-04T00:03:44.279Z
How should dance venues best protect the drinks of attendees? 2021-09-20T19:32:06.594Z
What weird treatments should people who lost their taste from COVID try? 2021-07-30T02:51:25.598Z
For reducing caffeine dependence, does daily maximum matter more, or does total daily intake matter more? 2021-07-09T15:40:03.872Z
Are there reasons to think mixing vaccines is dangerous? 2021-06-03T22:36:35.588Z
What is the best chemistry textbook? 2021-05-11T02:39:20.341Z
How can I protect my bank account from large, surprise withdrawals? 2021-02-22T18:57:46.784Z
Use conditional probabilities to clear up error rate confusion 2021-01-17T08:27:38.137Z
Netflix's "Start-Up" and sincere work dramatization 2020-12-25T05:32:46.547Z
Probability theory implies Occam's razor 2020-12-18T07:48:17.030Z
How long does it take to become Gaussian? 2020-12-08T07:23:41.725Z
Convolution as smoothing 2020-11-25T06:00:07.611Z
The central limit theorem in terms of convolutions 2020-11-21T04:09:44.145Z
Examples of Measures 2020-11-15T01:44:39.593Z
Where can I find good explanations of the central limit theorems for people with a Bayesian background? 2020-11-13T16:36:01.611Z
Frequentist practice incorporates prior information all the time 2020-11-07T20:43:30.781Z
"model scores" is a questionable concept 2020-11-06T03:19:45.196Z

Comments

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on The Liar and the Scold · 2022-01-23T20:02:18.462Z · LW · GW

That’s an interesting reading! Thanks for sharing it. Spoilers for a Black Mirror episode, in ROT13: Vg erzvaqf zr bs gur Oynpx Zveebe rcvfbqr, Unat gur QW, nobhg gur fvzhyngvba qngvat ncc.

I personally prefer the reading where the protagonist is a human in a different universe where AI is a little more advanced than now, because I like the feeling of him being corrupted in a way that’s world-dooming but beautiful-to-him at the same time.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on The Liar and the Scold · 2022-01-23T18:19:01.917Z · LW · GW

This was excellent. Got goosebumps multiple times while reading. Also, starting, blindly sure it was a real story, then realizing in the middle that it was fiction, gave an odd interesting feeling I’m not sure I’ve had before.

Edit: and just realized that the step of accepting Sarah as real mirrors the child protagonist’s realization at the beginning that other people are real. Arrrgh that’s so cool

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Due to a roommate, can COVID's viral load stay high enough after day 10 to infect others? · 2022-01-21T14:20:01.330Z · LW · GW

I haven’t looked into it, but it’s my impression that high viral loads come from virus replicating in your body, when you don’t yet have immunity. Once you have B-cell immunity from prior infection, virus has a much harder time replicating in your body, and you don’t get the high loads.

Like… if you’re expelling some viral particles with every breath, and the only viral particles you have are from your roommate, and you’re immune… then it shouldn’t take long to go through the particles you breathed in from the roommate, if there’s no internal replication going on in your body to generate new ones.

Hopefully someone else can give a better researched answer though!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Is there a good way to read deep into LW comment histories on mobile? · 2022-01-17T23:18:34.557Z · LW · GW

Interesting! I haven’t noticed any other issues on mobile except the refreshing (which is a problem on all infinite-scrollers; I have the same problem reading through a user’s page on Quora) and not being able to hyperlink text when commenting.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Is there a good way to read deep into LW comment histories on mobile? · 2022-01-17T22:32:06.316Z · LW · GW

Just tried it; works perfect! Since it pages comments, the refresh won’t lose my place. Thanks!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on [Linkpost] [Fun] CDC To Send Pamphlet On Probabilistic Thinking · 2022-01-17T19:05:21.381Z · LW · GW

I feel personally attacked

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on [New Feature] Support for Footnotes!! · 2022-01-16T23:58:49.511Z · LW · GW

That’s reasonable! I did nearly miss the first one from the physical book. Since my piece used them just to help readers years from now, when some of the URLs I linked to inevitably break, I wouldn’t mind readers missing them, but I get that that’s far from the only use of footnotes.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Maxwell Peterson's Shortform · 2022-01-16T18:56:59.670Z · LW · GW

I was reading a comment (linked below) by gwern and it hit me:

Jaynes’s Probability: The Logic of Science is so special because it presents a unified theory of probability. After reading it, I no longer think of “probability” and “statistics” as being different things. As many understand evolution - feeling there is a set of core principles, like selection and evolutionary pressure and mutation, even if the person isn’t familiar with many of the technical findings or machinery they’d need to actually do an analysis good enough to make good predictions from - this is how I feel about probability after reading Jaynes.

The direct practical value of the book is quite low! But it can give you a mind that feels probability is an intuitive field, and nothing like a collection of tricks. I might have gotten a lot of help on this front by reading the sequences, but it’s Jaynes who really brought it together for me. I even skipped a lot of the algebraic math in his book and still got so much out of it.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Zwdd4Fx6HBjqeGRQd/book-review-fooled-by-randomness?commentId=ZPp5CxtYGSgDLKQLX

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Question Gravity · 2022-01-14T20:03:58.398Z · LW · GW

I thought about it for more than 5 minutes and had no idea :)

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on The Unreasonable Feasibility Of Playing Chess Under The Influence · 2022-01-13T16:17:10.238Z · LW · GW

I think you're saying that alcohol in the body mostly damages players' ability to read out variations, but not how good their knee-jerk initial impression of "here's the best move" is? I like that theory! I never thought of it before, but having played a good number of Go games while drunk, it feels right.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on (briefly) RaDVaC and SMTM, two things we should be doing · 2022-01-12T14:48:06.491Z · LW · GW

Totally agree! I stumbled upon the SMTM link 6 months ago or so and it was a big view-changer for me. I'd previously thought calories-in-calories-out was the main thing to be focusing on but, uh, yeah, I was super wrong.

I do think you're too critical of the high-palatability theory. The SMTM page finds the theory reasonable:
 

“Palatable human food is the most effective way to cause a normal rat to spontaneously overeat and become obese,” says neuroscientist Stephan Guyenet in The Hungry Brain, “and its fattening effect cannot be attributed solely to its fat or sugar content.”

Rodents eating diets that are only high in fat or only high in carbohydrates don’t gain nearly as much weight as rodents eating the cafeteria diet. And this isn’t limited to lab rats. Raccoons and monkeys quickly grow fat on human food as well.

We see a similar pattern of results in humans. With access to lots of calorie-dense, tasty foods, people reliably overeat and rapidly gain weight. But again, it’s not just the contents. For some reason, eating more fat or sugar by itself isn’t as fattening as the cafeteria diet. Why is “palatable human food” so much worse for your waistline than its fat and sugar alone would suggest?


So I wouldn't call the SMTM link evidence that obesity being partially caused by high-palatability foods is obviously wrong. The gluttony theory of, like, self-control being the main important thing, or calories-in-calories-out being the main thing, I do think is obviously wrong; but I personally see the high-palatability theory as very different than the gluttony theory.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on No Abstraction Without a Goal · 2022-01-11T15:42:07.862Z · LW · GW

Good point! Hadn't thought of it this way before but totally agree

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-11T15:36:07.117Z · LW · GW

Rafati-Rahimzadeh 2014 says: "Activated charcoal (AC) may be used but its efficacy is controversial in case of mercury poisoning... Many organic and inorganic contaminants are removed with this method [70]. It is believed that AC has been used to absorb different agents, except hydrocarbons, acids-alkalis, ethanol and heavy metal. Unlike in the cases of heavy metal poisoning, charcoal tightly binds with metallic compounds [38,69]."

A quick google says mercury specifically is a heavy metal, so, eh. It is probably worth having on hand for short-term poisonings, though, considering the title of Activated charcoal for pediatric poisonings: the universal antidote?

But it sounds like you're talking about charcoal maybe being useful for clearing out weird blood stuff that accumulates at low levels over time, like lead and mercury... that's interesting. I never thought about that angle - even the idea helps explain why some people are into taking charcoal every day for general purposes. 

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-11T13:41:46.727Z · LW · GW

Haven’t heard of that one - I’ll take a look - thanks.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-11T13:41:02.467Z · LW · GW

It doesn’t take much water for me to swallow the capsules - 3oz is enough. Dehydration definitely contributes to hangovers! But no way it’s the only thing.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-10T23:31:17.280Z · LW · GW

Thanks!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Activated Charcoal for Hangover Prevention: Way more than you wanted to know · 2022-01-10T23:30:43.336Z · LW · GW

Thank you!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-09T13:46:49.956Z · LW · GW

Great!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on [New Feature] Support for Footnotes!! · 2022-01-08T19:02:32.598Z · LW · GW

These are great - I’m writing a very long citation-heavy post right now and this feature arrived just in time! And the automatic renumbering already probably saved me an hour.

Having added them, though, they feel a bit big and heavy. I find my eye catching on them as I read, and my internal reading voice pausing when I arrive at them. My current solution is relegating the location of each footnote marker to the end of the sentence, which avoids the hitching but can be confusing: am I saying the whole sentence has a citation, or just the link in the sentence?

I’m currently reading this year’s physical essay collection, and they use a footnote style without brackets, and located at the bottom corner of the text instead of top corner (subscript instead of superscript). My eyes find this style less disruptive - the lack of brackets is probably the biggest part of that, with the sub-instead-of-super a smaller part. I would prefer this style on the site as well. Thought I’d mention it as something to consider - though it could be just a me thing. Either way they are great and thank you!!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-08T17:52:37.435Z · LW · GW

Huh. I just tried now and when I click the image icon in the editor it opens up my laptop's filesystem for me to choose an image. If you can't find that, it should also work to open the image file on your laptop, ctrl+A to select all of it, then ctrl+C to copy it, and you can paste it into the editor just like you'd paste text. That's how I usually enter images into posts

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Two ominous charts on the financial markets · 2022-01-08T15:10:42.814Z · LW · GW

I’m not sure you can resize in the editor. If the image sizes on the sites you got them from are small by default, causing them to be small here, maybe zoom way in on the originals in your browser, screenshot them, and try re-uploading the resulting larger images?

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on A common misconception about the evolution of viruses · 2022-01-06T14:01:25.738Z · LW · GW

Downvoted: I think there should be more to this comment. Currently it just reads as “the author is ignorant”. If the post is wrong, which parts? Maybe the author is ignorant! But I think you should make that case more fully. Not saying you need to write a counter-essay or anything, but from your comment, I can’t even tell what you disagree with.

One thing I like about LessWrong is that it’s a place where people who don’t work in a particular domain can post their reasoning about a topic, and whether or not their post is good or bad is judged on its merits, not on whether or not they have domain experience.

(At the object level: I remember early on my friend arguing to me that new variants couldn’t be more deadly, because “more deadly means less contagious”. So I think the author of this post is arguing against a real misconception, and I generally agree with the post).

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on The Machine that Broke My Heart · 2022-01-03T17:37:16.329Z · LW · GW

Aha - so like how something like word2vec maps discrete symbols into a shared vector space, this does the other direction, mapping vectors into discrete symbols. Never thought about that direction; thanks!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on The Machine that Broke My Heart · 2022-01-03T03:00:46.311Z · LW · GW

“Turn the continuous datastram into discrete symbols by feeding it into a random forest classifier.”

Would you be willing to say any more about this? It sounds really interesting.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Should we postpone getting a booster due to Omicron, till there are Omicron-specific boosters? · 2021-12-04T21:39:44.342Z · LW · GW

I’ve vaguely heard this but have no gears understanding on it - do you have a link to anything making this case that you could share?

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Finding the Central Limit Theorem in Bayes' rule · 2021-12-02T04:52:48.878Z · LW · GW

Thank you!

I hadn't actually heard of Laplace's approximation - definitely relevant! The catch about the dimension is a good one. 

In the large causal model, is the issue just that 

  • there is one multiplication per variable
  • some dependence chains don't have very many variables in them
  • in those few-variable chains, we might not get enough multiplications to converge?

If that is the issue, weird nasty operations occur to me, like breaking variables up into sub and sub-sub variables, to get more multiplications, which might get more Gaussian. (For example, splitting the node "Maxwell finishes writing this comment" into "his computer doesn't run out of battery" and "the police don't suddenly bust into his apartment").  Whether or not it's worth doing, I wonder - would this actually work to make things more Gaussian? Or is there some... conservation of convergence... that makes it so you can't get closer to Gaussian by splitting variables up? [Don't feel like you have to answer these - they're more just me following up on thoughts I got from your comment].

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Finding the Central Limit Theorem in Bayes' rule · 2021-11-28T05:36:13.393Z · LW · GW

Thank you so much for the explanation! I haven’t looked into the behavior of dependent distributions in the context of the CLT at all. It’s totally believable that non-independence could destroy convergence properties in a way that non-identicality doesn’t. I’m on my phone right now but will probably add a disclaimer to the end of this post to reflect your challenge to it. Thanks again~

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Finding the Central Limit Theorem in Bayes' rule · 2021-11-27T20:47:37.605Z · LW · GW

Appreciate it! And you're right, that was a mistake in the last section - just fixed it. Thanks!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Finding the Central Limit Theorem in Bayes' rule · 2021-11-27T17:38:47.891Z · LW · GW

Hmm - a big problem if so! Can you give me an example of the kind of intermediate conditional distribution you mean?

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on First Strike and Second Strike · 2021-11-25T21:41:56.218Z · LW · GW

I don’t agree that one generally wants maximum optionality. Too much optionality for first strikes makes you a bigger threat, which may worry others to the extent that they first-strike you. If, say, the Jamaican government woke up tomorrow to find itself in posession of nukes and launchers for them, it would be a headache for them, they’d probably wish it never happened, and try to conspicuously give up the weapons, so that other nations didn’t view them as a nuclear threat. Giving up first-strike options can often make you safer, which I don’t think is true for second-strike options.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Substack Ho? · 2021-11-10T16:25:36.708Z · LW · GW

That makes sense.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Substack Ho? · 2021-11-08T05:47:42.144Z · LW · GW

I’m surprised to hear you are concerned about censorship at Substack. I read this link https://on.substack.com/p/substacks-view-of-content-moderation a while back and thought it suggested a pretty strong commitment to not censoring. I don’t really know anything about WordPress though, so maybe they’re even more committed in this regard?

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm Evaluation & Ruleset · 2021-10-05T21:54:59.115Z · LW · GW

When I read in the main post that the inclusion of Oil Ooze was confusing, I thought my magic box might be the guilty one!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm · 2021-10-05T02:28:11.524Z · LW · GW

Was anyone able to use bayesian probability theory on this problem directly to do things besides 1-v-1 hero matchups? If so, what was your approach? I couldn’t figure out how to start.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm · 2021-10-05T00:40:38.676Z · LW · GW

Yup, it would be - I guess I’m saying that I don’t think swapping the columns has any effect. To the model, during training, it is just 38 unnamed columns. Swapping the first 19 with the last shouldn’t do anything? Weird weird weird

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm · 2021-10-04T18:04:24.836Z · LW · GW

Actually, I’ve thought about it more, and I don’t think it’s possible for a flip to change the predictor like this. Flipping like this is equivalent to swapping the first 19 columns of the matrices with the latter 19 columns, and bit-flipping the response. This should end up giving prediction vectors v_flip such that 1 - v_flip = v_original. So my money is currently on something being off with the code that flips.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm · 2021-10-04T16:51:33.215Z · LW · GW

Woah! The effect of flipping is disturbing. Interesting find.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on An analysis of the Less Wrong D&D.Sci 4th Edition game · 2021-10-04T02:43:19.161Z · LW · GW

That's nice to hear, thanks! Yes, those outputs in your first output block are the generic win probabilities, averaging over all possible Blue teams.

I'm not sure what those two lines were doing there. They're not important. I've just now deleted them and updated the code at the link - I think everything should run without errors now. 

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on An analysis of the Less Wrong D&D.Sci 4th Edition game · 2021-10-04T01:39:32.179Z · LW · GW

My reasoning was that at the low end, the prediction is too high, and at the high end, the prediction is too low, and calling "too high" and "too low" the same type of error would be a bit weird to me. But I can see it your way too.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on An analysis of the Less Wrong D&D.Sci 4th Edition game · 2021-10-04T01:25:43.143Z · LW · GW

Ahh - thanks! Will fix soon.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on D&D.Sci 4th Edition: League of Defenders of the Storm · 2021-10-04T00:06:51.909Z · LW · GW

I had a great time analyzing this! Thanks for making it. I wrote up a post with my analysis: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/tWQF3LBkaQDK8aqcG/an-analysis-of-the-less-wrong-d-and-d-sci-4th-edition-game

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Prosocial Capitalism · 2021-10-03T23:13:29.619Z · LW · GW

BTW, in case you don't know, since you mentioned that you're new to LW - there is a button in the lower-right corner that opens a chat where you can write messages to moderators directly. You could ask what they think through that.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Prosocial Capitalism · 2021-10-03T23:11:53.715Z · LW · GW

Cheers!

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Prosocial Capitalism · 2021-10-03T17:00:03.146Z · LW · GW

It’s not clear to me - I’m pretty sure I’ve see others do short summary posts with a link, like yours, and I don’t think those posts were downvoted.

I might guess that there’s a bit of the feeling of an ad to this post? Like it’s primarily aimed at promoting a website, instead of sharing a post. I don’t think that’s what you’re actually doing - there’s a long post at the link! - but maybe others got that vibe.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Sunscreen: much more than you wanted to know · 2021-10-01T03:52:00.445Z · LW · GW

A huge study (Manson et al. 2019) with 25,871 participants showed that vitamin D supplements had no cancer or cardiovascular disease incidence.

Might be misreading but should this be “had no reduction on incidence”?

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Schools probably do do something · 2021-09-26T20:47:53.149Z · LW · GW

If we take "relative" to mean "relative to the general population", then I think "relatively common" is a fair description - even if it is a small minority

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on Schools probably do do something · 2021-09-26T20:44:38.908Z · LW · GW

Good point. My model of "most school interventions don't do much and large effect sizes will probably go way down upon replication" takes a hit if the relative age effect is true. I hadn't connected these two ideas before.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on How should dance venues best protect the drinks of attendees? · 2021-09-21T18:22:25.608Z · LW · GW

I did ask for weird ideas! But yeah point taken.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on How should dance venues best protect the drinks of attendees? · 2021-09-20T23:22:05.603Z · LW · GW

Good note - I hadn’t thought of that.

Comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) on How should dance venues best protect the drinks of attendees? · 2021-09-20T23:18:47.073Z · LW · GW

Thanks. Wish we could! These are shows with hundreds or sometimes even thousands of attendees, and tickets are sold online to the public, so it’s not clear whether the attackers are even repeat attendees or actually in the relatively smaller group of people we know. General warnings to watch out for this kind of thing are definitely going out :)