Comment by orangecat on Checking Kurzweil's track record · 2012-11-04T02:23:07.669Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'll do 10. Agreed with satt that having multiple raters for each prediction would be helpful. I previously read your previous post with the randomly selected predictions, which hopefully isn't disqualifying.

Comment by orangecat on On the unpopularity of cryonics: life sucks, but at least then you die · 2011-07-29T22:48:43.127Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Have you spent $28,000 on nonessentials for yourself over the course of your life? Most people can easily hit that amount by having a nicer car and house/apartment than they "need". If so then by revealed preference, you value those nonessentials over 28 statistical lives; do you also value them over a shot at immortality?

Comment by orangecat on Houston Hackerspace Meetup : Saturday June 4, 2:00PM · 2011-05-31T23:44:29.120Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For anyone in the vicinity, I highly recommend checking it out. Patrick and Jon and the non-LW people I met were very friendly, and I'm looking forward to studying Jaynes.

The hackerspace has quite an impressive collection of hardware, from a RepRap and MakerBot to the huge CNC mill and lathe, and even the beginnings of a biology lab. The current limit of my mechanical skills is assembling Lego Mindstorms, so it's a great learning opportunity.

Comment by orangecat on Houston Hackerspace Meetup: Sunday May 29, 5:00PM · 2011-05-29T06:36:43.397Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'll plan on showing up. Should be interesting, I've never been to a hackerspace before.

Comment by orangecat on An Anchoring Experiment · 2011-04-01T19:14:00.017Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Knowing virtually nothing about the geography of Sweden, I'll guess 10,000 feet.

Comment by orangecat on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2011-02-08T22:06:39.795Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I was skeptical as well, but Googling for "immune to exercise" produced this: It seems like an area that could really use further research; if the universally-dispensed advice is ineffective for nearly half the population, that's a huge problem.

Comment by orangecat on Sociopathy and Rationality · 2011-01-07T18:40:50.371Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The first observation was particularly interesting: "1. Sociopaths typically don't smalltalk about themselves as much as normal people do. They will direct the conversation back to the new acquaintance as much as they can." This seems like the perfectly rational thing to do (in most cases)

It's also what all the "winning friends and influencing people" advice tells you to do.

Comment by orangecat on New Year's Predictions Thread (2011) · 2011-01-04T22:31:24.945Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

75% probability of being mainstream, or at least not unusual, by 2020. It seems like the obvious solution: phone screens are too small, laptops and even tablets are too inconvenient to carry around constantly. And I'd go 50/30/20 on the first mass market product being based on Android/Apple/other. (With Android, anybody can build it without asking for permission).

Comment by orangecat on Is there a "percentage fallacy"? · 2010-10-24T23:07:45.416Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd guess that any delay that gives the other party a chance to back out would be sufficient. When determining the expected utility of each offer, there should be a term for the probability of the deal actually going through. That's very close to 1 when you take the $100 now and less if you have to wait a day for $120, which might tip the balance toward the $100. But the probabilities are nearly identical for 30 and 31 days, so $120 is the better choice there.

Comment by orangecat on LW favorites · 2010-10-14T06:03:18.602Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The concept that "I was acting rationally" isn't an excuse for predictably failing to maximize utility. I used to be a two-boxer on Newcomb's Problem; more practically, I believed that certain social situations were inherently biased against rational people.

Comment by orangecat on Draft: Reasons to Use Informal Probabilities · 2010-10-12T06:08:12.427Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
  1. 0.2 (I recall reading that white is the most common color, and I do see a bunch).
  2. 0.2 (p(10 year old Ford)=~0.001) (p(dent on rear right|10 year old Ford)=~0.01) =~ 2e-6, or 1 in 500,000.
  3. Average person averages one 10-mile trip per day and gets into an accident once every 10-20 years. ~1 in 5000.
  4. 2/3, heavily dependent on definition of building
  5. 0.2
  6. Average 1 typo per 10 books, 100k words/book, so 1 in a million.
  7. Probability that I'll perceive it, 10^-20. Probability of it actually happening, around 10^-(10^100)
  8. Seems like several standard deviations above average, maybe 1 in 1,000.
  9. Not divisible by 2 or 3, if I had written this post I'd flip a coin to decide whether to use a prime or plausible imposter, so 0.5.
Comment by orangecat on Rationality quotes: October 2010 · 2010-10-09T04:19:56.555Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

"Too big to fail" banks: they profit when their gambles pay off, we bail them out when they don't. Also arguably telecommunications carriers that have quasi-natural quasi-monopolies.

Comment by orangecat on More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA · 2010-09-12T01:49:34.584Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The whole "happiness limited by shyness/social awkwardness which results in no dates" stereotype does not apply to many people here.

It does to at least one.

I'm all for this. I've gotten sort of lucky by wandering into a path where I can be professionally and financially successful without needing social skills beyond not saying blatantly inappropriate things. But developing those skills would provide many more options, and give me a much better shot at making an actual impact on the world.

And yes, being involuntarily single for years is neither enjoyable nor conducive to productivity.

Comment by orangecat on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 3 · 2010-09-07T02:30:29.833Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I came here to post almost exactly that. Additionally, it inspired me to make another donation to the SENS Foundation.

Comment by orangecat on Rationality quotes: June 2010 · 2010-06-02T00:29:45.519Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I reject that entirely," said Dirk, sharply. "The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks. How often have you been presented with an apparently rational explanation of something which works in all respects other than one, which is just that it is hopelessly improbable? Your instinct is to say, `Yes, but he or she simply wouldn't do that.'"

Douglas Adams

Comment by orangecat on The Last Days of the Singularity Challenge · 2010-02-28T20:23:06.745Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

After shutting up and multiplying, I agree those arguments are valid. This presentation by Anna Salamon is also instructive.

I'm uncertain as to whether funding for SIAI or anti-aging research provides the best marginal utility. Both would have a gigantic positive impact if successful; SIAI's would be larger but in my estimation anti-aging has a better chance of success. The matching donations tip the balance to SIAI today, so $900 more is on the way.

I do believe the political argument with number of donors may apply to SENS and MF, so I'm making smaller donations there. I'm disappointed that curing aging hasn't been mentioned during the frequent discussions of rising health care costs; with more publicity and more donors willing to make the obvious point that aging and death suck, it might. In my estimation it will be easier for them to go mainstream than SIAI, so I believe it's most effective to separately target my monetary and political support.

Comment by orangecat on The Last Days of the Singularity Challenge · 2010-02-27T07:08:13.701Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

$100 to general fund. I've recently received some unexpected cash and am looking at ways to increase humanity's expected utility. I'll be donating to SENS and the Methuselah Foundation as well. Where else should I be looking?

Comment by orangecat on How to test your mental performance at the moment? · 2009-11-25T01:26:34.503Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That was rather interesting. I got a 137 but beyond the first few questions I wasn't sure of any of them. Usually the best I could do was identify a possible sub-pattern, narrow down the options based on that, and make an educated guess. I think I did better on the ones with varying numbers of dots and lines compared to the ones with just the shapes moving and morphing.

Presumably if somebody took that test repeatedly (or possibly once if they're smarter than me), they'd figure out the class of algorithms being used and it would lose most of its value for determining immediate mental performance.

Comment by orangecat on Misleading the witness · 2009-08-13T01:20:28.120Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I tried it on two women at work and they both went for the million, one with no hesitation and the other after maybe 10 seconds. Although they both have some background in finance and are probably 1 to 2 standard deviations above average IQ.

Comment by orangecat on Misleading the witness · 2009-08-11T23:56:46.787Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That sort of attitude (among my opponents) is very helpful to my poker bankroll. You're giving up $60 for $50 of expected value. Even given your risk-seeking preference, surely you can find a better gamble. Putting it on a single number in roulette would be a better deal.