Posts

How has lesswrong changed your life? 2015-03-31T22:12:30.924Z · score: 15 (16 votes)
[Link] More Right launched 2013-05-05T15:51:40.077Z · score: 13 (22 votes)
[Link] Nobel laureate challenges psychologists to clean up their act 2012-10-03T17:22:13.691Z · score: 13 (14 votes)
Let's all learn stats! 2012-06-12T15:31:14.543Z · score: 13 (22 votes)
[Link] Some notes on Rationality in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality 2012-06-12T12:44:05.494Z · score: 12 (13 votes)
[LINK] Autistic woman banned from having sex in latest Court of Protection case 2012-02-06T11:53:36.416Z · score: -6 (17 votes)

Comments

Comment by mstevens on Is there a way to stop liking sugar? · 2014-06-12T11:18:17.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't promise this will work, but I found my desire for sugar significantly reduced by trying to go cold turkey on refined sugar specifically.

It's a pain to do, because it's in an amazing variety of foods, but after a few weeks of cravings I found sugar desire decreased massively.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014 · 2014-04-11T12:53:08.033Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I did further research after I posted the question and found this:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3000137/1/On-the-Wings-of-a-Phoenix

which is about Voldemort being good, and Harry being sort of neutral then converted to Voldemort's side.

But it's not the ideal of what I was looking for.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014 · 2014-04-10T13:47:37.339Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Harry Potter question:

Is there any good "Harry is evil, Voldemort is the good guy" fanfic?

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-19T15:54:19.184Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That works as a neutral "let's move on". I sort of want a feeling of conceding more (but not totally) though.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-19T15:39:25.077Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Any tips on bailing out of an argument if you want to very nearly concede the whole thing without quite saying your opponent is right?

eg if you realise the whole conversation was a terrible mistake and you're totally unequipped to have the conversation, but still think you're right.

Should you just admit they're right for simplicity even if you're not quite convinced?

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-19T15:35:55.363Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm seeing the same problem in Chrome.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-19T12:24:46.198Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I did actually mean ethnic group, but now I see my typo I'm actually quite liking it this way as it's less likely to trigger real-world connotations.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, 18-24 March 2014 · 2014-03-18T16:57:30.384Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a name for the situation where the same piece of evidence is seen as obviously supporting their side by both sides of an argument?

eg: New statistics are published showing ethic group X is committing crimes at 10 times the rate of ethic group Y.

To one side, this is obvious evidence that ethic group X are criminals.

To another side, this is obvious evidence the justice system is biased.

Both sides are totally opposed, yet see the same fact as proving they are right.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, September 2-8, 2013 · 2013-09-03T11:50:25.599Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I used to like liferea, but I don't have an up to date opinion as I switched to non-desktop RSS reading options.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 · 2013-08-21T10:20:00.281Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's a little bit intuition and might turn out to be daft, but

a) I've read just enough about game theory in the past to know what the prisoner's dilemma is

b) I was reading an argument/discussion on another blog about the men chatting up women, who may or may not be interested, scenario, and various discussions on irc with MixedNuts have given me the feeling that male/female interactions (which are obviously an area of central interest to feminism) are a similar class of thing and possibly game theory will help me understand said feminism and/or opposition to it.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 · 2013-08-21T07:51:51.470Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My possibly crazy theory is that game theory would be a good way to understand feminism.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 · 2013-08-20T13:09:01.068Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I hate trying to learn things from videos, but the books look interesting.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 · 2013-08-20T10:39:18.187Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I want to know more (ie anything) about game theory. What should I read?

Comment by mstevens on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-25T10:00:27.380Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Vague stylistic thought - I don't have anything specific to base this on, but this chapter feels like something EY has been saving up, and is now throwing in as he's decided it's time to start the ending.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-07-02T10:32:59.711Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think there's a related rhetorical trick that's something like redefining the applause lights, or brand extension.

Greens believe the sky is green. I want them to believe the entire world is green. I will use their commitment to sky greeness and just persuade them it means something slightly different.

Clouds are kind of like the sky so should really be considered green if you're being fair about things. And rain is in the sky, who are you to say it's not green? Rain falls on the ground, which is therefore also part of the sky.

After a while, you can persuade people that, since the sky is green, obviously rocks are green.

This explanation isn't great but more practical examples are somewhat mindkilling.

Comment by mstevens on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T09:40:26.030Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

"So you also don't think it's worth the trouble of holding me responsible..."

This could be interesting depending how she reacts later. I'm mostly expecting despair, but with a small chance of a heroic Minerva.

Comment by mstevens on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T17:55:31.847Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Unlikely theory:

It's all a fake. Harry set the whole thing up with Dumbledore, then obliviated himself. The real Hermione has been spirited away somewhere she won't be in any danger. Harry relied on his own likely reaction to ensure things would occur more or less as planned.

We can keep Hermione alive yay! But it doesn't work dramatically.

Other unlikely theory:

Harry will calm down tomorrow and realise his vow was a mistake.

I kind of like this as what a saner person might do, but again it seems very unlikely within the confines of Harry and the story.

Comment by mstevens on Curriculum suggestions for someone looking to teach themselves contemporary philosophy · 2013-05-31T14:25:55.396Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, it's mostly history, but I think even for modern philosophy it's worthwhile for background and inspiration.

Comment by mstevens on Curriculum suggestions for someone looking to teach themselves contemporary philosophy · 2013-05-31T08:39:59.460Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For general philosophical background I'd recommend Sophie's World. It's mostly history-of-philosophy, but I think it works well as a fairly light way into the field.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-28T11:54:16.325Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm looking for more on the should-universe you occasionally see referenced around lesswrong.

So far all I can see is some vague references from EY (eg http://lesswrong.com/lw/2nz/less_wrong_open_thread_september_2010/2k50 )

Anyone got anything?

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-23T15:12:15.347Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I stopped reading because I couldn't take the pain anymore, so I don't know.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-22T14:09:29.247Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Worse, there's a transition on the direction of dreadful writing.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, May 1-14, 2013 · 2013-05-09T14:22:08.110Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I personally don't get on with Anki but there are many many positive reports.

Comment by mstevens on [Link] More Right launched · 2013-05-06T21:51:23.023Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I thought there was enough overlapping interest to be worth linking the launch. and I expect occasional posts may be interesting.

Comment by mstevens on LW Women Entries- Creepiness · 2013-04-29T13:21:15.171Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I look forward to your further posts.

my limited research on these topics has been very negative.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-22T11:23:48.012Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The writing, I agree, is pretty bad, and she has an odd obsession with trains and motors. I can just about understand the "motor" part because it allows some not very good "motor of the world" metaphors.

The appealing part is the depiction of the evil characters as endlessly dependant on the hero characters, and their view of them as an inexhaustible source of resources for whatever they want, and the rejection of this.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-22T11:18:04.259Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I like my Heinlein, but I don't see the connection.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-22T11:17:06.258Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But this doesn't seem particularly different from the ambiguity in all language. The linked site seems to suggest there's some particular lack of meaning in isolated words.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T16:51:05.569Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You said " Dividing by zero doesn't produce a contradiction"

Several of these links include examples of contradictions. There is no authority required.

For example:

A Contradiction. Suppose we define 1/0 = q

for some real number . Multiplying on both sides of the equation gives 1 = 0 * q = 0

which is a contradiction (to 1 and 0 being different numbers).

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T16:33:48.120Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sadly no-one has reported back.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T14:40:24.978Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Dividing by zero leads to a contradiction

Never divide by zero

Division by zero

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T14:31:29.847Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand where she sets out her philosophical views.

I found them worryingly convincing. Since they're also unpleasant and widely rejected, I semi-jokingly semi-seriously want people to talk me out of them.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T14:28:10.206Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I initially thought she was being sarcastic. However on seeing this discussion I find the "specific subset of feelings" theory more plausible. She's rejecting the "feelings" James has.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T11:14:17.947Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quoting from the linked blog:

"Assume that a stranger shouted at you "Broccoli!" Would you have any idea what he meant? You would not. If instead he shouted "I like broccoli" or "I hate broccoli" you would know immediately what he meant. But the word by itself, unless used as an answer to a question (e.g., "What vegetable would you like?"), conveys no meaning"

I don't think that's true? Surely the meaning is an attempt to bring that particular kind of cabbage to my attention, for as yet unexplained reasons.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-18T11:10:15.014Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My reaction to Rand is pretty emotional, rather than "I see why her logic is correct!", which I think justifies the motivated cognition aspect a little bit.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-16T13:36:08.466Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not that I've seen. It'd be cool though. I think maybe you can see traces in people like Peter Watts, but if you take HPMOR as the defining example, I can't think of anything.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-16T10:39:59.217Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I've been reading Atlas Shrugged and seem to have caught a case of Randianism. Can anyone recommend treatment?

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-04-16T10:39:31.993Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I am hoping for someone to write Anita Blake, Rational Vampire Hunter.

Or the rationalist True Blood (it already has "True" in the title!)

Comment by mstevens on Post Request Thread · 2013-04-15T14:29:11.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I appreciate the political, unproductive timesink problem. I'm being optimistic - one day we shall triumph and have a productive post!

Comment by mstevens on Post Request Thread · 2013-04-15T14:28:10.120Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think this might be a useful strategy as part of the discussion. I'd like to cover an idea of what people actually mean, though.

Comment by mstevens on Post Request Thread · 2013-04-12T12:55:53.992Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I've said this before, but:

I would like a LW take on feminism, including topics like what feminists are actually doing, whether you should be one, and why.

I've seen attempts to expose LW to feminism before, but it normally seems to consist of taking existing feminist content and reposting it here - I'm thinking of a more "local" version.

Comment by mstevens on Open thread, March 17-31, 2013 · 2013-03-25T14:09:39.744Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I've got lessdaft.com about to expire. Does anyone want it for anything?

Comment by mstevens on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-18T10:33:00.487Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One user who's part of the female dataset has already reported cutting out the smileys deliberately. As I say, I don't put much faith in the results.

I did consider scraping lesswrong.com for data, but a) I wasn't sure of the etiquette b) I don't have a list of female users (maybe I can get them from the survey?) c) it's a lot more coding.

Comment by mstevens on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-18T10:29:26.181Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The number of female users is so small I just hardcoded known female nicks.

As I say, I don't think the results are particularly meaningful.

Comment by mstevens on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T22:08:43.093Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, after threatening, I had a go at hacking up a smiley gender detector for lesswrong irc.

Looking at the counts of smileys-per-message by nick, no obvious pattern.

Looking at averages:

male avg 0.015764359871 female avg 0.0194180023583

The dataset I'm using is so male dominated I don't think the results can be particularly meaningful.

Comment by mstevens on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-15T10:04:25.004Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

we must create a smiley based gender detector! for science!

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-01-24T17:18:59.906Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So something I've mused about before..

I think it'd be good to train yourself as an accurate reporter somehow - for example the ability to accurately summarise an article, or report on something someone said.

This is an area where I feel personally slightly weak, in that I often tend to exaggerate and use hyperbole when it's not appropriate.

I have visions of some sort of game - one person picks an article, and the other has to write an accurate summary of it, without distortion. Maybe a third person then grades the two versions? I'm not sure how to inject the fun part.

It seems likely this is already some sort of recognised writing technique, perhaps studied by journalists.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-01-17T11:33:52.396Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I also wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013 · 2013-01-03T17:18:59.116Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're right, the tvtropes article on Objectivism is actually really good. I knew they had a lot of good non-trope content.

Comment by mstevens on Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013 · 2013-01-03T11:09:42.169Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Random idea inspired by the politics thread: Could we make a list of high quality expressions of various positions?

People who wished to better understand other views could then refer to this list for well expressed sources.

It seems like there might be some argument about who "really" understood a given point of view best, but we could resolve debates by having eg pastafarianism-mstevens for the article on pastafarianism I like best, and pastafarianism-openthreadguy for the one openthreadguy prefers.