[META] 2012-01-20T02:24:24.930Z
Open Thread: September 2011 2011-09-03T19:50:59.689Z
Anthropics Does Not Work LIke That 2011-08-12T18:52:20.375Z
I just donated to the SIAI. 2011-07-15T09:24:07.271Z
Trying to better understand futarchy 2011-06-16T05:20:41.116Z
Raw silicon ore of perfect emptiness 2011-05-30T00:54:48.882Z
Should I be afraid of GMOs? 2011-05-19T01:29:09.128Z
Free Will as Unsolvability by Rivals 2011-03-28T03:28:31.885Z
Lifeism, Anti-Deathism, and Some Other Terminal-Values Rambling 2011-03-07T04:35:49.416Z
META: Tiered Discussions 2010-10-30T22:37:46.767Z


Comment by Pavitra on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2016-11-30T18:09:47.721Z · LW · GW

That's a good point, but I'm still not convinced.

Hugging is, potentially, fast: if A tries to hug B and B pulls away, a hug has still occurred. Sex takes longer: there's complicated steps involving disrobing and so forth. Your argument applies to, say, groping; but if B doesn't want to cooperate then that becomes relevant before sex has occurred. It's clear ("safe", "take matters into her own hands") that there is not a reliable way of getting out of sex.

Also, the dialogue ("Prohibition", "too much") seems to suggest social acceptance.

Comment by Pavitra on Of Gender and Rationality · 2014-09-11T20:38:14.006Z · LW · GW

Wacky theory: it sounds masculine because it ends in a consonant.

Comment by Pavitra on Roles are Martial Arts for Agency · 2014-09-10T20:48:05.788Z · LW · GW

pickup arts

And here we see that one person's "self-improvement" is another person's "creepy"...

Comment by Pavitra on Open Thread for February 18-24 2014 · 2014-02-23T00:01:05.189Z · LW · GW

Well, part of it is that Quirrel is Voldemort in canon, which is significant evidence that Harry doesn't have.

Comment by Pavitra on A concise version of “Twelve Virtues of Rationality”, with Anki deck · 2013-09-15T19:10:30.413Z · LW · GW

I don't think it's a good idea to do a formal memorization of something that's not based on any kind of scientific research.

Comment by Pavitra on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-04T17:57:17.659Z · LW · GW

Part of that seems to be from HPMOR. I'm not sure where the rest comes from.

Comment by Pavitra on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-04T17:41:30.727Z · LW · GW

On the other hand, one should consider not only what was said, but also what should have been said.

Comment by Pavitra on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-08T06:21:03.028Z · LW · GW

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

This seems unlikely. There was a mention about ghosts being caused by "the burst of magic that accompanied the violent death of a wizard" (or something along those lines -- I don't feel like looking up the exact quote right now.)

Comment by Pavitra on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T10:17:01.382Z · LW · GW

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-backup-copy of Voldemort. Voldemort didn't plan on childhood amnesia, though, and much of the information was erased (or at least made harder to access consciously). The Remembrall-like-the-Sun indicated the forgotten lifetime as Riddle. Remnants of Voldemort's memories are the reason Harrymort has a cold side; his upbringing in a loving family is the reason he has a warm side.

  • Mere hunch: In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

  • Mere hunch: Voldemort may have chosen to impress his horcrux in a living human in order to try to get around the "static data" problem. If it had worked, he would have forked himself -- there would have been two fully functional running instances of Voldemort, all the time, plus twelve hours a day worth of Time-copies.

Comment by Pavitra on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T10:04:19.467Z · LW · GW

It's not obvious to me how to fake the soul releasing. It was perceived by the magic-sense, not just with the muggle senses.

Comment by Pavitra on On moving posts from Main to Discussion · 2013-04-08T02:07:41.789Z · LW · GW

Downvoted because I hate you.

(Nothing personal; I'm using the anti-kibitzer.)

Comment by Pavitra on The cup-holder paradox · 2013-03-27T12:05:15.990Z · LW · GW

Just because $CELEBRITY uses it that way doesn't make it right. This usage is conflating two usefully distinct concepts.

Comment by Pavitra on AI prediction case study 2: Dreyfus's Artificial Alchemy · 2013-03-13T10:06:20.590Z · LW · GW

It's only testable in one direction -- if you like, "never" is testable but "ever" isn't. I don't have a formal argument to hand, but it seems vaguely to me that a hypothesis preferably-ought to be falsifiable both ways.

Comment by Pavitra on Rationalist fiction brainstorming funtimes · 2013-03-12T21:33:58.954Z · LW · GW

The story is, in large part, about the structure of the story: Pluto's tragic flaw is that he's thinking about his real life in terms of story structure.

Comment by Pavitra on Caelum est Conterrens: I frankly don't see how this is a horror story · 2013-03-08T04:54:11.161Z · LW · GW

Consider the epistemic state of someone who knows that they have the attention of a vastly greater intelligence than themselves, but doesn't know whether that intelligence is Friendly. An even-slightly-wrong CAI will modify your utility function, and there's nothing you can do but watch it happen.

Comment by Pavitra on Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Argument · 2013-02-21T10:54:07.256Z · LW · GW

Not really relevant here, but I only just now got the pun in CFAR's acronym.

Comment by Pavitra on Banish the Clippy-creating Bias Demon! · 2013-01-20T13:55:31.123Z · LW · GW

You may be right, but I don't trust a human to only arrive at that conclusion if it's true. I think we ought to refrain from pressing D, just in case.

Comment by Pavitra on How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter? · 2013-01-20T13:45:44.033Z · LW · GW

Depending on how smart I feel today, anywhere from -10 to 40 decibans.

(edit: I remember how log odds work now.)

Comment by Pavitra on How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter? · 2013-01-20T13:42:12.034Z · LW · GW

I think a more plausible scenario for the atomic theory being wrong would be that the scientific community -- and possibly the scientific method -- is somehow fundamentally borked up.

Humans have come up with -- and become strongly confident in -- vast, highly detailed, completely nowhere-remotely-near-true theories before, and it's pretty hard to tell from the inside whether you're the one who won the epistemic lottery. They all think they have excellent reasons for believing they're right.

Comment by Pavitra on How confident are you in the Atomic Theory of Matter? · 2013-01-20T13:39:14.727Z · LW · GW

You are way overconfident in your own sanity. What proportion of humans experience vivid, detailed hallucinations on a regular basis? (not counting dreams)

Comment by Pavitra on Banish the Clippy-creating Bias Demon! · 2013-01-20T13:33:10.627Z · LW · GW

The original question was:

Do you really think encouraging this idea in general is good?

That is: assuming it is possible to reduce bad uses at the cost of also reducing good uses, should one do so?

Your reply seems to assume that the bad uses can't be reduced, which contradicts the pre-established assumptions. If you want to change the assumptions of a discussion, please include a note that you are doing so and ideally a short explanation of why you think the previous assumptions should be rejected in favor of the new ones.

Comment by Pavitra on Banish the Clippy-creating Bias Demon! · 2013-01-19T04:41:48.554Z · LW · GW

So it's a great idea as long as only causes you agree with get to use the superweapon?

Comment by Pavitra on The "Friendship is Witchcraft" expectation test · 2013-01-16T04:22:23.037Z · LW · GW

Note that the actual children's program includes plague and famine, more famine, slavery, mind control, plague again, more mind control, recreational infanticide, and slavery again.

Comment by Pavitra on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-12-17T20:54:46.467Z · LW · GW

Can you guarantee that a TSPO wouldn't see epiphenomenal consciousness?

Comment by Pavitra on Absent Transhumanism and Transformative Technologies, Which Utopia is Left? · 2012-12-08T05:36:26.524Z · LW · GW

I vaguely object to the common practice of soliciting responses, and implying that the results will/may be meaningful, without simultaneously precommitting to a particular mapping of raw results to inferred meaning. (The precommitment can be done while keeping the mapping secret, by using a hash algorithm.)

Comment by Pavitra on Miracle Mineral Supplement · 2012-11-20T23:28:25.735Z · LW · GW

Recall that the goal isn't to undershoot reality every time, but to do so half the time.

Comment by Pavitra on XKCD - Frequentist vs. Bayesians · 2012-11-10T20:34:03.203Z · LW · GW

Unfortunately, if there is disagreement merely about how much prior uncertainty is appropriate, then this is sufficient to render the outcome controversial.

Comment by Pavitra on XKCD - Frequentist vs. Bayesians · 2012-11-09T19:30:24.846Z · LW · GW

My general impression is that Bayes is useful in diagnosis, where there's a relatively uncontroversially already-known base rate, and frequentism is useful in research, where the priors are highly subject to disagreement.

Comment by Pavitra on Guessing game -how low can you go? · 2012-10-31T20:54:23.908Z · LW · GW

1000 - (random 6-digit integer)*(10^-(the XKCD number))

Comment by Pavitra on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-05T03:26:32.291Z · LW · GW

Zork is a classic computer game (or game series, or game franchise; usage varies with context) from c.1980.

Comment by Pavitra on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-05T03:19:25.376Z · LW · GW

Insufficient: the colony ship leaves no evidence.

Comment by Pavitra on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-05T03:18:13.766Z · LW · GW

I suspect that the answer to the alien-ball case may be empirical rather than philosophical.

Suppose that there existed quantum configurations in which the alien threw in a red ball, and there existed quantum configurations in which the alien threw in a blue ball, and both of those have approximately equal causal influence on the configuration-cluster in which we are having (approximately) this conversation. In this case, we would happen to be living in a particular type of world such that there was no fact of the matter as to which color ball it was (except that e.g. it mostly wasn't green).

Comment by Pavitra on Cryonic Revival Mutual Assistance Pact? · 2012-09-30T03:23:36.797Z · LW · GW

My first reaction is that this would increase the expected cost of revival, for the same reason that it's harder to get plane tickets if you're in a group that wants to sit near each other.

Comment by Pavitra on A rationalist My Little Pony fanfic · 2012-09-20T16:05:08.122Z · LW · GW

That is a valid line of reasoning that arrives at the same conclusion, but it's not the reasoning put forth in the fic.

Comment by Pavitra on A rationalist My Little Pony fanfic · 2012-09-20T03:10:01.418Z · LW · GW

I started reading this fic, and... we need to talk.

In chapter 2, the protagonist tries to think through the practical implications of being female. The result is one of the worst examples I've seen of male nerd cluelessness about women, to the point that I would have sooner expected to see it as a satire than as a real example.

Lest anyone who hasn't read the fic think I'm exaggerating, the offending paragraph runs as follows:

I waved [my tail] back and forth again, and as it brushed against my hind end... I might as well face up to another aspect of my change. I was about as female as it was possible to be - the rather large, fleshy protuberence hanging between my hindlegs being about as un-male an organ as existed. I could get raped. I could get pregnant. I could die of pregnancy-related complications. Not to mention I could still catch rather embarrassing STDs. So if I really did want to keep on working on my plan to live forever, with minimal risk... I was going to have to stay chaste. (Or was that celibate? I always got the two mixed up.) And to make sure that I avoided impaired judgment and reduced inhibitations which might lead me to break that - I'd have to stick to being a teetotaler, with no alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants.

To summarize, the protagonist literally reasons "I am female; therefore I must avoid sex at all costs." If you don't know why that's a problem, then I'm out of giveashit to explain it at the moment, but you can start by searching "sex-positive feminism". This male-yes female-no view of courtship is Wrong and Bad, and you should feel bad.

Comment by Pavitra on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-09-15T18:49:54.523Z · LW · GW

For strength, you use Dugbogs that were crushed by a strong Re'em.

For heat, you use bronze that was forged in a hot forge.

For immortality, you use a corpse that was burned by an immortal phoenix.

Comment by Pavitra on Meta: LW Policy: When to prohibit Alice from replying to Bob's arguments? · 2012-09-15T18:35:08.977Z · LW · GW

There's not (last I checked) a community consensus on the issue, and I'd rather isolate the meta-discussion to its own thread, rather than splattered all over anywhere Alicorn posts a comment.

An ignore feature would indeed be a significant improvement. I'm not convinced that it's strictly necessary or sufficient, but I do think that it would be better to do than not.

Comment by Pavitra on A rationalist My Little Pony fanfic · 2012-09-11T07:58:31.516Z · LW · GW

The votable texts on Fimfiction are generally much longer, so one is less likely to pay attention to a thing unless one already expects it to be worth reading.

Comment by Pavitra on Friendship is Optimal: A My Little Pony fanfic about an optimization process · 2012-09-11T07:54:57.315Z · LW · GW

Perhaps I'm overestimating human nature, but Lars reads to me like an outgroup stereotype.

Comment by Pavitra on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-09T06:21:47.903Z · LW · GW

I doubt that a rogue moderator would receive express advance approval of abusive actions. If Eliezer says that Alicorn may ban certain comments, then it is not abusive for Alicorn to ban those comments.

Comment by Pavitra on How to tell apart science from pseudo-science in a field you don't know ? · 2012-09-05T21:02:16.123Z · LW · GW

Citation needed. This sounds plausible enough that people are likely to listen to it, so I'd like some sort of confirmation that it's based in fact.

Comment by Pavitra on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-08-30T23:37:12.430Z · LW · GW

Crossposted from the WMG page.

Under the potion conservation rule, creating an Elixir of Life would require inputting some sort of immortality. Fawkes killed Narcissa to create an Elixir ingredient.

Edit: I'm an idiot.

Comment by Pavitra on [SEQ RERUN] The Truly Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma · 2012-08-22T23:24:12.949Z · LW · GW

This should have been called The Iterated True Prisoner's Dilemma. I thought the number of rounds was going to be randomized on a waiting-time distribution.

Comment by Pavitra on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2012 · 2012-08-12T02:14:59.809Z · LW · GW

Advertising is regulatory capture of the peer-to-peer reputation system.

Comment by Pavitra on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-05T07:50:58.297Z · LW · GW

The cluster is more visible among the categories as such than among the persons who are members of the categories.

Comment by Pavitra on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-05T07:47:49.630Z · LW · GW

Downvoted on a technicality. I think that as we reach the limits of what silicon can do for us, Moore's law will continue via some other kind of technology.

Comment by Pavitra on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-05T07:45:17.947Z · LW · GW

Assuming our MMS-prior uses a binary machine, the probability of any single hypothesis of complexity C=X is equal to the total probabilities of all hypotheses of complexity C>X.

Comment by Pavitra on Irrationality Game II · 2012-07-05T07:41:52.258Z · LW · GW

Yes. However, since the point of the game is to display beliefs that you hold and others don't, you should choose the phrasing that makes your confidence higher than LW's. That is: if you think other LWers are 5% confident of X, then you should say you're 10% confident of X; and if you think other LWers are 15% confident of X, then you should say you're 90% confident of not-X.

Comment by Pavitra on Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics · 2012-07-04T20:49:23.785Z · LW · GW

Not exactly mythological, but SCP-053 springs to mind.

Comment by Pavitra on CFAR website launched · 2012-07-04T20:25:22.045Z · LW · GW

The logo seems to be being loaded from; this should instead be hosted locally.