Universal Paperclips 2017-10-13T06:16:51.347Z
Newcomb's problem divides philosophers. Which side are you on? 2016-11-28T18:34:32.395Z
Bragging Thread May 2015 2015-05-10T13:25:04.716Z
Bragging Thread March 2015 2015-03-08T13:50:06.746Z
December 2014 Bragging Thread 2014-11-30T23:54:24.498Z
Rocket science and big money - a cautionary tale of math gone wrong 2013-04-24T15:11:01.920Z
[Link] How to Win at Forecasting - a conversation with Philip Tetlock 2012-12-06T18:13:40.204Z
Raising the forecasting waterline (part 2) 2012-10-12T15:56:44.168Z
Raising the forecasting waterline (part 1) 2012-10-09T15:49:57.335Z
Raising the waterline 2012-10-07T16:23:05.247Z
Fallacies of reification - the placebo effect 2012-09-13T07:03:54.167Z
[Link] Failed replications of the "elderly walking" priming effect 2012-03-13T07:55:32.085Z
Causal diagrams and software engineering 2012-03-07T18:23:57.079Z
Diseased disciplines: the strange case of the inverted chart 2012-02-07T09:45:38.304Z
Hacking Less Wrong made easy: Vagrant edition 2012-01-30T18:51:05.377Z
[Link] How doctors die 2011-12-06T13:22:03.229Z
[Link] Awesome interactive visualization article 2011-10-13T12:46:16.378Z
Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? 2011-08-29T05:23:19.638Z
[Link] The Myth of the Three Laws of Robotics 2011-05-10T17:44:38.597Z
[Link] John Baez interviews Eliezer 2011-03-07T07:49:26.124Z
[Link] Cool or creepy? 2011-01-31T17:31:45.220Z
Rationality quotes: October 2010 2010-10-05T11:38:59.920Z
About Rationality Quotes 2010-10-04T18:34:04.259Z
Why learning programming is a great idea even if you'd never want to code for a living 2010-09-28T16:51:04.145Z
Personal decisions the leading cause of death 2010-09-28T06:52:16.265Z
Rationality quotes: September 2010 2010-09-01T06:53:51.432Z
Book Club Update, Chapter 3 of Probability Theory 2010-07-16T08:25:20.056Z
The red paperclip theory of status 2010-07-12T23:08:57.088Z
Book Club Update, Chapter 2 of Probability Theory 2010-06-29T00:46:12.048Z
Book Club Update and Chapter 1 2010-06-15T00:30:52.358Z
Less Wrong Book Club and Study Group 2010-06-09T17:00:29.214Z
Rationality quotes: June 2010 2010-06-01T18:07:17.716Z
Open Thread: June 2010 2010-06-01T18:04:48.504Z
This is your brain on ambiguity 2010-05-28T15:47:55.075Z
What are our domains of expertise? A marketplace of insights and issues 2010-04-28T22:17:12.713Z
The many faces of status 2010-04-15T15:31:03.163Z
The "show, don't tell" nature of argument 2010-03-24T17:38:09.105Z
Reasoning isn't about logic (it's about arguing) 2010-03-14T04:42:12.048Z
The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization 2010-03-04T22:59:01.986Z
Rationality quotes: March 2010 2010-03-01T10:26:30.434Z
Boo lights: groupthink edition 2010-02-15T18:29:56.968Z
Debate tools: an experience report 2010-02-05T14:47:56.891Z
Adaptive bias 2010-01-25T17:45:16.884Z
Communicating effectively: form and content 2010-01-06T09:52:10.657Z
Better thinking through experiential games 2009-10-23T12:59:12.901Z


Comment by Morendil on New Year's Predictions Thread · 2017-09-16T14:58:34.214Z · LW · GW

By now this looks rather unlikely in the original time-frame, even though there are still encouraging hints from time to time.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong help desk - free paper downloads and more · 2017-02-03T07:34:12.416Z · LW · GW

On Sci-Hub

Comment by Morendil on The Pascal's Wager Fallacy Fallacy · 2017-01-11T08:35:59.231Z · LW · GW

Me, as well.

(Edit: looking at Internet Archive's cached snapshots, all of them that I checked look that way to me too.)

(Edit2: it has looked that way to others as well for quite some time. I wouldn't worry about it.)

Comment by Morendil on Double Crux — A Strategy for Resolving Disagreement · 2016-12-30T12:36:21.984Z · LW · GW

I'm seeing similarities between this and Goldratt's "Evaporating Cloud". You might find it worthwhile to read up on applications of EC in the literature on Theory of Constraints, if you haven't already.

Comment by Morendil on Be secretly wrong · 2016-12-12T17:59:39.469Z · LW · GW

Does that mean Main is no longer deprecated?

Comment by Morendil on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-28T18:41:50.398Z · LW · GW

I realize I haven't given a direct answer yet, so here it is: I'm in, if I'm wanted, and if some of the changes discussed here take place. (What it would take to get me onboard is, at the least, an explicit editorial policy and people in charge of enforcing it.)

Comment by Morendil on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-27T11:11:26.584Z · LW · GW

There was a sudden exodus of talent, which reduced posting frequency, and took the wind out of the sails.

I'd be wary of post hoc ergo propter hoc in this context. You might also have expected that by leaving for other projects these posters would create a vacuum for others to fill. It could be worth looking at why that didn't happen.

Comment by Morendil on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-27T10:38:52.785Z · LW · GW

Yes, and this would be a general trend - affecting all community blogs to some extent. I was looking for an explanation for the downfall of LessWrong specifically, but I suppose it's also interesting to consider general trends.

Would you say that LessWrong is particularly prone to this effect, and if so because of what properties?

Comment by Morendil on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-27T10:33:22.419Z · LW · GW

This feels like a good start but one that needs significant improvement too.

For instance, I'm wondering how much of the situation Anna laments is a result of LW lacking an explicit editorial policy. I for one never quite felt sure what was or wasn't relevant for LW - what had a shot at being promoted - and the few posts I wrote here had a tentative aspect to them because of this. I can't yet articulate why I stopped posting, but it may have had something to do with my writing a bunch of substantive posts that were never promoted to Main.

If you look at the home page only (recent articles in Main) you could draw the inference that the main topics on LessWrong are MIRI, CFAR, FHI, "the LessWrong community", with a side dish of AI safety and startup founder psychology. This doesn't feel aligned with "refining the art of human rationality", it makes LessWrong feel like more of a corporate blog.

Comment by Morendil on On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus · 2016-11-27T09:49:58.890Z · LW · GW

We have lately ceased to have a "single conversation" in this way.

Can we hope to address this without understanding why it happened?

What are y'all's theories of why it happened?

Comment by Morendil on Righting a Wrong Question · 2016-06-30T22:43:46.280Z · LW · GW

Phrase in context

Comment by Morendil on Require contributions in advance · 2016-02-10T08:57:33.090Z · LW · GW

Absolutely - so don't be insincere in the setup. If you think "no way", say "no way".

Comment by Morendil on Require contributions in advance · 2016-02-10T08:52:20.520Z · LW · GW

Yup. I learned the business version of this early in my consulting career. One of my consultant buddies, David Schmaltz, calls it a "Dedication Test". It's a small habit with huge positive effects.

Comment by Morendil on Why CFAR? The view from 2015 · 2015-12-30T22:08:52.929Z · LW · GW

Donated $300. Happy New Year!

Comment by Morendil on Zombies! Zombies? · 2015-12-02T19:25:56.184Z · LW · GW

Where in that (long) post does he say that?

Comment by Morendil on Optimizing Rationality T-shirts · 2015-11-13T20:44:25.434Z · LW · GW

Would appreciate an explanation from whoever downvoted the parent.

Comment by Morendil on Optimizing Rationality T-shirts · 2015-11-13T07:07:29.533Z · LW · GW

You might also want to hire (or otherwise team up with) people who publish designs on sites like RedBubble or Threadless.

Comment by Morendil on Optimizing Rationality T-shirts · 2015-11-13T07:02:07.612Z · LW · GW

Form and content are not that easily separated. For instance, I like #15 (a bit), because the typography fits the message.

Instead, I'd suggest you focus on design that reinforces, ideally in a humorous way, the message of the slogan.

I feel strongly that "Please Provide an Example" ought to have the word "example" consist of hairy green ball things, in homage to Fenyman's famous explanation of how he would debug math or physics claim by turning abstract concepts into imagined examples.

"I notice I am confused" could play on a classic "magnifier" icon in the word "notice", and jumble up the letters of "cnfosued", or mess up their typography.

Comment by Morendil on Rationality Merchandise - First Set · 2015-11-09T23:10:26.210Z · LW · GW

Whatever happened to looking for evidence?

Comment by Morendil on Rationality Merchandise - First Set · 2015-11-08T12:50:55.052Z · LW · GW

What I suspect is happening, based on (just now) clicking the same link twice in a row and going once to a 404, then the next time to the intended page: one of the Web servers in the site's load balancing rotation is misconfigured, and systematically throwing errors.

You might want to ask them to look into it.

Comment by Morendil on Rationality Merchandise - First Set · 2015-11-05T19:31:21.124Z · LW · GW

Yep, works now.

Comment by Morendil on Rationality Merchandise - First Set · 2015-11-05T06:53:40.932Z · LW · GW

"Glad To Change My Mind" goes to a 404 page.

Comment by Morendil on Rationality Quotes Thread October 2015 · 2015-10-31T15:53:28.913Z · LW · GW

"Just because many believe in something doesn't make it true - the opposite, actually." (This from Googling the too-short excerpt and reading a bit of the surrounding text.) He spoils it by excepting two domains, religion and politics.

Comment by Morendil on Bragging thread September 2015 · 2015-09-03T17:01:40.180Z · LW · GW

For six months straight I've kept up a routine of coding a little bit - 10 lines, two lines, just a refactoring - every single day. In the process I've picked up some fluency in the new(ish) language Elm, functional programming in general and functional reactive programming in particular.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2015-08-22T10:28:22.821Z · LW · GW

Awesome, thanks! (ETA) I have the figures already from a secondary source, so that's OK.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2015-08-20T22:14:16.491Z · LW · GW

Software Engineering, A Historical Perspective J. Marciniak DOI 10.1002/0471028959.sof321

Comment by Morendil on Prediction market sequence requested · 2015-07-06T11:42:25.471Z · LW · GW

Cool! Where do you work?

For a while now I've also taken part in the Good Judgment Project prediction contests, since Season 2 as a "super-forecaster". I've scaled back my involvement this year for various reasons. But I do know that they're working on a commercial offering; depending on what you're looking to do, this may or may not be relevant to your efforts...

Comment by Morendil on Rationality is about pattern recognition, not reasoning · 2015-05-28T08:13:21.348Z · LW · GW

I'd welcome any suggestions for how to find collaborators.

Keep posting the material here. Post to Main. Don't worry about it not being polished enough: you'll get plenty of feedback. Ignore feedback that isn't useful to you.

Comment by Morendil on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-11T05:56:36.694Z · LW · GW

To put this in some perspective, they're mostly doing it because the Brits did it first.

Still, having any recognition and awareness that there is a problem there is heartening. We're just getting started here; last I heard, the good old habits were still in force, i.e. of starting software efforts with price tags expressed in hundred million euro multiples, letting them run for a while, then scrapping them as not even worth deploying.

Procurement is one of the big culprits here; a classic case of lost purposes. Ostensibly to save money, departments give a lot of power to policy-making bodies who then dictate a risk-averse process that departments must follow before they can spend their own money. This means that contracts now mainly go to contracting firms who positively relish dealing with red tape, but are less competent at actually shipping code.

Typically this leads to disasters, see above, which result in tightening financial controls, giving even more power to purchasing organizations, the almighty tail wagging all the dogs. The departments' own IT people, in this setup, end up doing nothing much beyond filling out paperwork, while all actual competencies such as writing the software are "externalized" to contractors.

So the job description is basically to cure government of this addiction. I've been given control over a budget of a couple million euros to start with, and instructions to split it over about 10 worthwhile projects this year. Each project should have a 6-month roadmap, with a first go/no-go milestone at two weeks in (and an obligation to report in with something they've learned by getting out of the building and talking to end users). At least half of the development crew (4 to 6 people) should be in-house to the departments, not contractors. That should leave much less room to hide incompetence, but we'll also provide a bit of mentoring to make sure these teams know a minimum of good engineering practice.

Comment by Morendil on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-10T13:32:03.110Z · LW · GW
  • A couple months ago I started learning the Elm programming language, and to make things interesting I resolved to push one non-empty code commit to GitHub every single day (ideally also non-trivial, but not everyone's definition of "trivial" will match mine). I'm now on day 67 of that streak, having written six proto-games (playable here if you're so inclined, though they're not hugely entertaining). So far the habit has resisted a new job and a ten-day vacation. I've also been keeping a daily journal since Feb 21.

  • Used my 3D printer (Prusa i3) to print the entire set of plastic printed parts for a different printer (FoldaRap), very much a non-trivial project (~ 50h of printing for 30+ distinct parts) that requires a well-tuned printer. I'm particularly proud as this comes on the tails of completing a major conversion of the Prusa from its original direct-extrusion design to a Bowden setup.

  • Got hired by the French government to promote a more agile style of programming and project management.

Comment by Morendil on Consequentialism FAQ · 2015-04-20T20:46:30.289Z · LW · GW

This later piece is perhaps relevant.

Comment by Morendil on Status - is it what we think it is? · 2015-04-01T06:09:42.855Z · LW · GW

there are a lot of studies backing up that claim

Post links to three?

Comment by Morendil on Status - is it what we think it is? · 2015-03-31T06:18:40.646Z · LW · GW

This continues to be a puzzling topic...

My most recent explicit thought about this had to to with teamwork: it's become a commonplace that "conflict in a team isn't actually bad", and I was thinking that conflict per se may not be counterproductive, but I would certainly view engaging in dominance contests as a waste of time all around.

When I coach teams I often consciously adopt (and advocate for others in a similar position) a "low posture" - a cluster of heuristics, really, such as "I'm happy to help the group work through a problem but I'm not the one who makes the decision", or "invest significant time in hearing people out".

There can also be a question of perspective: some people are determined to view the world through dominance-tinted glasses, others to see it in tints of warm fuzzy.

Comment by Morendil on Bragging Thread March 2015 · 2015-03-08T13:57:27.905Z · LW · GW

I've just run my first half-marathon, coming in with an official time of 2h0m44s, close enough to my 2h objective that I'll call it a win.

Also this month, I reached a first milestone in writing video games using FRP (Functional Reactive Programming) in the Elm language, coding a proto-game that reproduces the basic gameplay of "The Company of Myself".

Comment by Morendil on The Fallacy of Gray · 2015-01-17T22:08:30.410Z · LW · GW

Is there any reason you couldn't email back saying something along the lines of "I'd appreciate your pointing out what specific weaknesses made you rule out my application, so that I can improve to become a stronger candidate for later or for other similar companies, and possibly so that I can send candidates your way that better fit the profile?"

Comment by Morendil on Paris LW Meetup - LHC Exhibit - 17/01/2015 · 2015-01-01T18:28:42.073Z · LW · GW

I'll be there.

Comment by Morendil on CFAR in 2014: Continuing to climb out of the startup pit, heading toward a full prototype · 2014-12-26T19:36:48.381Z · LW · GW

Donated $300. Happy New Year!

Comment by Morendil on December 2014 Bragging Thread · 2014-11-30T23:57:35.932Z · LW · GW

Ran 21k for the first time, within a few seconds of 2h. Reasonable grounds to hope for a sub-2h finishing time in the half-marathon I'm signed up for this coming March 8.

Comment by Morendil on How to Evaluate Data? · 2014-11-16T18:01:14.699Z · LW · GW

Interestingly this article offers a QUALY-based economic estimate, but for some weird reasons plucks a wild ass guess as to the average number of years of life lost as a result of medical errors - ten years, with not the slightest justification. Of course this leads to a largish estimate of total impact.

This other article updates the estimates of annual deaths in the US to 400,000 with a lower bound of 210,000. This may be the result of misapplying an estimate of what fraction of adverse events are preventable - this was estimated on the overall sample (including non-fatal adverse events) but then applied to the much smaller set of fatal adverse events. Most fatal events result from surgery, which the same article notes has a much lower rate of "preventable" events, but I can't see that the total deaths estimate accounts for that.

Comment by Morendil on Group Rationality Diary, October 1-15 · 2014-10-01T12:11:16.076Z · LW · GW

Now that running regularly, for fitness and to keep my weight down, is a well established habit, I've signed up to run a half-marathon next March. (Not without a twinge of sadness, thinking of Hal Finney.)

Instead of just going out for a run on sundays and the occasional weekday, I'm now "following a training plan", that is, running workouts with specific targets, using a heart rate monitor, and so on. It makes some interesting differences and I've learned a few things.

One aspect of keeping fit that I'm still somewhat failing at, despite much self-monitoring and various attempts at behavior change, is getting more sleep. I'm still sleep-deprived (less than 5h) two or three nights a week.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2014-09-21T16:45:49.577Z · LW · GW

Interesting! Thanks for trying.

Comment by Morendil on Solstice 2014 / Rational Ritual Retreat - A Call to Arms · 2014-08-31T10:04:00.495Z · LW · GW

Suggestion: start a new discussion thread titled something like "European Rationality Solstice Ritual". That will be a start. I'm based in France, experienced at the logistics of running unconferences and community meetings, willing to help.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2014-08-28T23:02:03.470Z · LW · GW

Haga, William J. "Perils of professionalism." Management Quarterly (1974): 3-10.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2014-08-28T20:36:12.710Z · LW · GW

Awesome, thanks!

Comment by Morendil on MIRI 2014 Summer Matching Challenge and one-off opportunity to donate *for free* · 2014-08-17T16:10:08.835Z · LW · GW

Donating "for free" is now down to 25 STR, about a nickel. (Sent to MIRI.)

Also, your Facebook account is only considered valid if you allow Stellar access to your photos.

Comment by Morendil on LessWrong Help Desk - free paper downloads and more (2014) · 2014-08-17T09:33:54.866Z · LW · GW

(2011) Costa, AC. and Anderson, NR., Measuring trust in teams: development and validation of a multi-faceted measure of formative and reflexive indicators of team trust, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 20 (1) : 119- 154

or in a pinch

(2003) Costa, AC., Work team trust and effectiveness, Personnel Review 32 (5) : 605- 622

Comment by Morendil on [News] Turing Test passed · 2014-06-10T22:21:18.373Z · LW · GW

You're very likely right, I misinterpreted.

Comment by Morendil on Rationalist households: What can London learn from its predecessors? · 2014-06-09T13:42:09.150Z · LW · GW

Any progress with this? I'm probably going to hang out briefly with the NYC group when I visit there in August.

Comment by Morendil on Bragging Thread, June 2014 · 2014-06-09T13:38:04.151Z · LW · GW

This isn't strictly speaking "this month", but more "since the last time this thread was around", perhaps three or four months. (ETA: actually, the last such I took part in was October '13.)

Built a 3D printer from a kit. Learnt enough G-Code and OpenScad to be dangerous. Designed a few parts of my own, including some that replaced original parts.

Lost about 6 kilos from my max weight. Anecdotally, what seems to have worked in my case was eating lots more vegs, liberal amounts of meat, and about half my previous quantity of carbs. Also increased exercise a fair bit, incorporating a lot more walking (to or near the oft recommended 10K steps a day) in addition to a weekly run (typically 10K). One of my major objectives was to not feel like I'd gone on a diet, but instead to rewire my preferences so that eating whatever I enjoyed would lead to weight loss. I worked quite a bit on identifying and removing the trivial inconveniences that were keeping me from enjoying vegs and salad more often.

Switched banks. Sounds easy when you write it like this but it's an insane amount of hassle.

Comment by Morendil on [News] Turing Test passed · 2014-06-09T13:17:18.797Z · LW · GW

Let's discuss a new type of Reverse Turing Test.

This simply consists of coming up with a general class of question that you think would reliably distinguish between a chatbot and a human within about 5 minutes of conversation, and explaining which feature of "intelligence" this class of question probes.

If you're not able to formulate the broad requirements for such a class of question, you have no business being the judge in a Turing Test. You're only playing the chatbot as you would play a video game.

One of my candidates for questions of this kind: ask the interviewee to explain a common error of reasoning that people make, or can make. For instance: "If you look at the numbers, there's quite a correlation between sales of ice cream in coastal locations and number of drownings. Some people might be tempted to conclude that ice cream causes people to drown. Do you think that's right, and if not, why not?"

For another example, Dennett discusses having the chatbot explain a joke.

ETA: Scott Aaronson passes with flying colors. Chatbots are likely to lack basic encyclopedic knowledge about the world which every human possesses. (To some extent things like the Wolfram platform could overcome this for precise questions such as Scott's first - but that still leaves variants like "what's more dangerous, a tiger or an edible plant" that are vague enough that quantitative answers probably won't be accessible to a chatbot.)