The Effect pattern: Transparent updates in Elm 2019-10-20T20:00:01.101Z · score: 8 (2 votes)
London Rationalish meetup (part of SSC meetups everywhere) 2019-09-12T20:32:52.306Z · score: 7 (1 votes)
Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? 2019-07-27T22:05:11.318Z · score: 26 (8 votes)
A reckless introduction to Hindley-Milner type inference 2019-05-05T14:00:00.862Z · score: 16 (4 votes)
"Now here's why I'm punching you..." 2018-10-16T21:30:01.723Z · score: 32 (19 votes)
Pareto improvements are rarer than they seem 2018-01-27T22:23:24.206Z · score: 58 (21 votes)
2017-10-08 - London Rationalish meetup 2017-10-04T14:46:50.514Z · score: 9 (2 votes)
Authenticity vs. factual accuracy 2016-11-10T22:24:38.810Z · score: 5 (9 votes)
Costs are not benefits 2016-11-03T21:32:07.811Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
GiveWell: A case study in effective altruism, part 1 2016-10-14T10:46:23.303Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Six principles of a truth-friendly discourse 2016-10-08T16:56:59.994Z · score: 4 (7 votes)
Diaspora roundup thread, 23rd June 2016 2016-06-23T14:03:32.105Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Diaspora roundup thread, 15th June 2016 2016-06-15T09:36:09.466Z · score: 24 (27 votes)
The Sally-Anne fallacy 2016-04-11T13:06:10.345Z · score: 27 (27 votes)
Meetup : London rationalish meetup - 2016-03-20 2016-03-16T14:39:40.949Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : London rationalish meetup - 2016-03-06 2016-03-04T12:52:35.279Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : London rationalish meetup, 2016-02-21 2016-02-20T14:09:42.635Z · score: 0 (1 votes)
Meetup : London Rationalish meetup, 7/2/16 2016-02-04T16:34:13.317Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : London diaspora meetup: weird foods - 24/01/2016 2016-01-21T16:45:10.166Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Meetup : London diaspora meetup, 10/01/2016 2016-01-02T20:41:05.950Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Stupid questions thread, October 2015 2015-10-13T19:39:52.114Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Bragging thread August 2015 2015-08-01T19:46:45.529Z · score: 3 (4 votes)
Meetup : London meetup 2015-05-14T17:35:18.467Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Group rationality diary, May 5th - 23rd 2015-05-04T23:59:39.601Z · score: 7 (8 votes)
Meetup : London meetup 2015-05-01T17:16:12.085Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
Cooperative conversational threading 2015-04-15T18:40:50.820Z · score: 25 (26 votes)
Open Thread, Apr. 06 - Apr. 12, 2015 2015-04-06T14:18:34.872Z · score: 4 (5 votes)
[LINK] Interview with "Ex Machina" director Alex Garland 2015-04-02T13:46:56.324Z · score: 6 (7 votes)
[Link] Eric S. Raymond - Me and Less Wrong 2014-12-05T23:44:57.913Z · score: 23 (23 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup in my flat 2014-11-19T23:55:37.211Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup 2014-09-25T16:35:18.705Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup 2014-09-07T11:26:52.626Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - possibly in a park 2014-07-22T17:20:28.288Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - possibly in a park 2014-07-04T23:22:56.836Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
How has technology changed social skills? 2014-06-08T12:41:29.581Z · score: 16 (16 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - possibly in a park 2014-05-21T13:54:16.372Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - possibly in a park 2014-05-14T13:27:30.586Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - possibly in a park 2014-05-09T13:37:19.129Z · score: 1 (2 votes)
May Monthly Bragging Thread 2014-05-04T08:21:17.681Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup 2014-04-30T13:34:43.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Why don't you attend your local LessWrong meetup? / General meetup feedback 2014-04-27T22:17:01.129Z · score: 25 (25 votes)
Meetup report: London LW paranoid debating session 2014-02-16T23:46:40.591Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
Meetup : London VOI meetup 16/2, plus socials 9/2 and 23/2 2014-02-07T19:17:55.841Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
[LINK] Cliffs Notes: "Probability Theory: The Logic of Science", part 1 2014-02-05T23:03:10.533Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Meetup : Meetup : London - Paranoid Debating 2nd Feb, plus social 9th Feb 2014-01-27T15:01:16.132Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Fascists and Rakes 2014-01-05T00:41:00.257Z · score: 41 (53 votes)
London LW CoZE exercise report 2013-11-19T00:34:21.950Z · score: 14 (14 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup - New venue 2013-11-12T14:39:13.441Z · score: 4 (4 votes)
Meetup : London social meetup, 10/11/13 2013-11-03T17:27:18.049Z · score: 2 (2 votes)
Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 2013-08-26T21:00:41.560Z · score: 5 (5 votes)


Comment by philh on Units of Action · 2019-11-14T15:46:40.417Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I feel like the range of useful abstractions is wider than you give credit for.

So, a government agency sues a company for breach of regulations. In many ways it acts as a unit; in others not. For example, the company may decide to blackmail (the head of the agency) into pressuring (the leader of the team pursuing the case) into dropping it or flubbing the investigation or something. You won't get very far thinking of the agency as a unit, if that happens.

(I don't think you would disagree with that, but it seemed worth making explicit.)

Going in the other direction... I think broad demographics sometimes can be usefully thought of as units. Someone making a movie might (correctly) say "if we include this aspect, then more men will see the film". It's true that "men" don't all watch a movie together, but... well, nor does every member of an agency sue a company together. If the agency can still be a unit, why not "men"?

(Because there's no explicit coordination between them as a group? But if you have to consider internal communication, the abstraction seems to lose value. Because the action "watch a movie" is performed by individuals? But the action "spend $x million on Cinema tickets" is performed by a group; and the action "submit a document to the court" is performed by an individual.)

Comment by philh on How to Improve Your Sleep · 2019-10-31T18:42:31.408Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do not use your bed for anything except sleep; that is, do not read, watch television, eat, or worry in bed. Sexual activity is the only exception to this rule. On such occasions, the instructions are to be followed afterward when you intend to go to sleep.

I have trouble parsing that last sentence. Could you clarify?

Why is sexual activity an exception, and what counts as sexual activity? E.g. does masturbation?

Comment by philh on Two explanations for variation in human abilities · 2019-10-28T22:56:26.327Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you have a citation for this?

I've heard a similar story, but different in some details, and in that story the second group did not end up competent programmers. And I think I've also heard that the story I first heard didn't replicate or something like that. So I don't know what to think.

Comment by philh on Door Ideas · 2019-10-28T17:22:30.958Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure how feasible this is, but could you have a hinge on the middle of the door that's locked in place until something puts pressure on a point near the hinge? Then that pressure could be supplied by (something jutting out from?) the corner the door is meant to be bending around. It acts like a single solid door until it reaches full swing, and only then the annoying extra bit separates to fold around.

Comment by philh on Door Ideas · 2019-10-28T15:42:28.744Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Opening in the centre is a bit more fiddly to open when you only have one free hand, since you need to push two things out of the way. Not such a problem if it's light enough to comfortably open just by walking through, with your shoulder or foot or something.

Closing them behind you is worse, since they're not even next to each other. Unless it self-closes, but then you may find yourself keeping it open with your body as you go through.

One in, one out is worse again, since you need to push one part and pull the other.

Maybe double hinge, opening towards the kitchen? Has a smaller swing than the other way. One thing I don't like about it is that if you push on the outer edge, you likely only open half the door; but again, that's less of a problem opening towards the kitchen (because the outer section is smaller).

Problem: You might find yourself accidently folding it too much, and banging the outer edge against the corner that it's meant to fold around.

Comment by philh on Iron: From mythical to mundane · 2019-10-27T22:38:07.369Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Note of confusion:

Today, we know that iron with less than about 0.1% carbon is wrought iron, with more than 2.1% it is cast iron

But earlier these were described as different methods of shaping the iron, with wrought iron coming out of the furnace solid and being beaten into shape and cast iron coming out liquid and being moulded.

Is it that these processes (typically?) result in these quantities of carbon?

Comment by philh on Why Are So Many Rationalists Polyamorous? · 2019-10-25T15:04:25.628Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Wikipedia disagrees with you:

a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant's gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants.

Emphasis mine.

(By your definition, it seems to me that almost everything would be zero sum. If I bake a tasty cake for my friends, and that causes one of them to not visit the bakery that evening, the baker has lost out. More generally, see my post "Pareto improvements are rarer than they seem":

Comment by philh on Why Are So Many Rationalists Polyamorous? · 2019-10-22T14:59:47.580Z · score: 11 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Monogamy isn't zero sum because not everyone is an equally good partner for everyone else. Like, Alice can date Bob or Carol, and leave the other one single. It's unlikely that dating either of them is equally good for her; and it's unlikely that dating her is equally good for each of them; so there's probably a single outcome with the highest total utility.

Comment by philh on Why Ranked Choice Voting Isn't Great · 2019-10-20T09:24:36.761Z · score: 10 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Further reading on this: a voting theory primer for rationalists, which in particular mentions that RCV has lower "voter satisfaction efficiency" than just about any proposed alternative except first-past-the-post. (Approval does indeed do better, and the author supports it as a first step.)

Comment by philh on Is value amendment a convergent instrumental goal? · 2019-10-19T15:04:17.369Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This comment feels like it's confusing strategies with goals? That is, I wouldn't normally think of "exploration" as something that an agent had as a goal but as a strategy it uses to achieve its goals. And "let's try out a different utility function for a bit" is unlikely to be a direction that a stable agent tries exploring in.

Comment by philh on Sets and Functions · 2019-10-14T14:59:14.470Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Whelp, I've been getting that wrong for some time now, thanks.

Ah, apparently "range" is ambiguously used as both "codomain" and "image". I think I was taught it as codomain (before I was taught that word), and then at some point started to think of codomain as "the one that isn't the range".

Comment by philh on Open & Welcome Thread - October 2019 · 2019-10-14T13:16:35.372Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To be clear, I recommend the "teaching category theory to programmers" aspect of it, which I remember being effective at teaching me. I have no particular memories of the "convincing programmers to learn category theory" aspect.

Comment by philh on Sets and Functions · 2019-10-13T23:17:52.165Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

First, domain and codomain. Sets serve as the domain and codomain of functions, and since sets are our objects, the functions will clearly have the objects of this category as their domain and codomain.

I don't think this gives you the normal category of sets? I believe that's usually defined taking the codomain of a morphism to be the range of a function, which is a superset of its codomain. That is, the function "plus one" on the natural numbers has a codomain of the positive integers; but its range may be the natural numbers, or the reals, or indeed any superset of the positive integers. And these functions are indistinguishable as sets, but in the category of sets, there's a morphism for every one of them.

Comment by philh on Reflections on Premium Poker Tools: Part 2 - Deciding to call it quits · 2019-10-12T12:35:52.203Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Zooming out, I’ve been working on this app for 2 years and 3 months and only have two paid users.

You mentioned in your previous post that you had a bug preventing people from paying you (oof). I'm curious how many people tried, if you were able to figure that out from your logs?

I ask because one possible direction would be to stop doing any serious work on the app, but leave it up (with that bug fixed, if you didn't already) and see what happens. You won't get rich but you might get enough income to be worth the occasional maintenance hassle.

(This isn't me advising you to do that, you know your stuff better than I do. But this is the option that was on my mind the whole time and I was surprised you didn't address it.)

Comment by philh on Categories: models of models · 2019-10-11T14:56:13.003Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's possible to construct a category where numbers are objects and where the arrows are "plus zero" (identity), "plus one", "plus two" and so on. ("Numbers" here might look like it stands in for "natural numbers". But actually, as described, it would work just as well with "real numbers", "complex numbers", "integers greater than three", "numbers whose fractional part is the same as the fractional part of e to five decimal places"... formally, any set which is "closed under addition of natural numbers". Unless you pick a different way to operationalize "and so on".)

Then the objects in "1 + 2 = 3" are in and three, and the arrow is "plus two".

(If you picked "numbers" above to be "natural numbers", then there's a one-to-one correspondence between objects and "arrows from this object", for any object. But I'm not sure if that's important.)

More normally, "the set of numbers" would be an object all by itself, and the arrows would be the same as above, but all pointing from this one object to itself.

Neither of these sounds like what OP was trying to describe, but I don't have an answer that does.

Comment by philh on Open & Welcome Thread - October 2019 · 2019-10-03T14:59:22.101Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not to steal countedblessings' thunder, but you may be interested in "Category Theory for Programmers".

I'm not actually convinced that "programmers" in general should learn category theory. (Though I don't know it well, myself.) I do think there's an analogy between programming and category theory which is interesting to think about and can lead to important insights in PL design; but when someone else has had those insights, other people can use them without knowing category theory.

Comment by philh on Communication and Waking Hours · 2019-10-03T14:25:09.823Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I once polled my friends about texting when they might be asleep, and almost everyone said they had do not disturb or similar set up so it didn't bother them. So now I don't worry about it. Of course I don't know if everyone else's friends are similar to mine.

Comment by philh on Long-term Donation Bunching? · 2019-09-30T21:02:06.389Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect that people who've already been involved for a while are more likely to still be involved five years later. So perhaps people should initially donate yearly, and then at some point switch to batched donations.

(But I still wouldn't advise this. For one thing, I also expect people are more likely to drop out if they haven't donated anything for four years, especially if the extra money has just been sitting in a big pile with the rest of their money and will feel psychologically painful to lose.)

Comment by philh on Honoring Petrov Day on LessWrong, in 2019 · 2019-09-27T14:32:54.276Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

FWIW, I had taken that as a given.

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-09-23T20:56:34.829Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting! I don't see an obvious reason that wouldn't work based on my current knowledge, and the website sounds like they either know what they're doing or are surprisingly good fakers. But neither of those is very compelling. And I know little-to-nothing about most of the things on the ingredients list.

One thing I noticed on the list was "polysorbate", violating

must free of any­thing end­ing -ate (ex­cept stearate) or -ic acid; free of mag­ne­sium ex­cept mag­ne­sium stearate (it’s in­sol­u­ble)

But according to wiktionary, -ate usually refers to a derivative of an -ic acid, and it looks like there's no such thing as polysorbic acid. So maybe polysorbate is okay. (And being in a spray might change things anyway. E.g. if it reaches the relevant tissues sooner maybe it makes less difference if there are other things for the zinc to bind to?)

A serving (8 sprays) has about half as much zinc gluconate as a lozenge has acetate, so it should be a quarter as effective; except again for the spray thing, which presumably makes up for it some amount.

It does seem to be available in the UK as well. I'm tempted to buy some for my partner, who finds the lozenges much more unpleasant than I do.

(Oh, but on the negative, they make their zinc lozenge sound about as compelling: "This simple and tasty formula provides 7 mg of zinc in a targeted, bioavailable form. Zinc gluconate is the chelated form that has been used in multiple immune health studies. Our lozenge delivery releases the zinc ions in your throat and mouth for effective immune support." But if the podcast is accurate, it shouldn't work (except generically as a zinc supplement), because you can't eliminate the metallic taste without ruining the effectiveness. And again I don't know much about the ingredients, but I wouldn't be surprised if "natural blood orange" contains vitamin C aka citric acid.)

Comment by philh on Effective Altruism and Everyday Decisions · 2019-09-20T14:50:46.012Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm surprised that you list agriculture and industrial processes under "little things".

Comment by philh on The Power to Be Emotionally Mature · 2019-09-19T14:24:07.802Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The judgment “unfriendly” turned out to be triggered by a combination of specific stimuli that were all fixable without improving the friendliness of any individual community members.

To be clear though, they haven't actually done this yet, right? They have a plausible story and an angle of attack. But as far as I know they haven't checked that these specific stimuli are what trigger the "unfriendly" judgement. (Again, it's plausible, but we're now talking about people other than Sara, doing a different thing than Sara, and receiving different stimuli than Sara received. There's a lot of room for error.) And as far as I know they haven't managed to remove the "unfriendly" judgment.

(I might have missed something. I tried to skim their blog for updates since the linked post, but I couldn't see a chronological list of blog entries.)

Comment by philh on The Power to Understand "God" · 2019-09-17T14:37:57.560Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't quite engage with the parent.

for any hypothesis H, it’s on average equally “problematic” to believe its probability is 1% as it is to believe its probability is 99%.

This is obviously true because there's an isomorphism between hypotheses and their negations, and "for any hypothesis" includes both. (There might also be other, less obvious reasons why it's true.)

But the set of hypotheses "X does not exist" doesn't contain both sides of the isomorphism, so the obvious argument doesn't carry through.

And I don't think the conclusion is true, either, though I wouldn't want to say much more without being specific about what set of entities we're considering. (All logically possible ones? Physically possible? Entities that people claim to have communicated with? Of course it's not your job to do this, the parent was underspecified.)

Comment by philh on What are some podcasts that just read aloud worthwhile content? · 2019-09-15T21:51:23.405Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know of any, but it might be worth considering if text to speech would satisfy your purpose?

Comment by philh on Integrating the Lindy Effect · 2019-09-13T14:20:38.025Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

(Note: your final equation has the << and >> swapped.)

Comment by philh on Look at the Shape of Your Utility Distribution · 2019-09-06T14:56:53.421Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since utility is only defined up to positive affine transformation, I feel like these graphs need some reference point for something like "neutral threshold" and/or "current utility". I don't think we want to be thinking of "most options are kind of okay, some are pretty bad, some are pretty good" the same as "most options are great, some are pretty good, some are super amazing".

If nothing good is going to happen, then its best option is to stop wasting resources.

That's not at all obvious. Why not "if nothing good is going to happen, there's no reason to try to conserve resources"?

Comment by philh on What Programming Language Characteristics Would Allow Provably Safe AI? · 2019-09-05T10:55:16.991Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I believe Ed Kmett is working on a language while at MIRI. Probably not specifically AI safety focused, he was working on it before he joined. But maybe worth looking into. I'm not sure if there's much public info about it.

Comment by philh on A Personal Rationality Wishlist · 2019-08-30T04:54:44.427Z · score: 19 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Even having looked at a bike, there are details I don't understand, but I think not enough that I'd dispute your claim.

Derailleurs, and the transmission from the break levers to the break pads, seem kind of magical to me. I'm not sure if there's a detail I'm missing, or if they just work far better than I would have expected. Especially derailleurs - pulling laterally on the chain, a tiny amount, makes it move from one gear to another, even if the gears are very different sizes? (I suddenly wonder if the slow mo guys have done an episode on derailleurs.)

I wouldn't be able to tell you how stability works, either.

I reckon I understand a fixie with stabiliser wheels well enough, though.

Comment by philh on Schelling Categories, and Simple Membership Tests · 2019-08-28T12:19:57.482Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The claim isn't that you'd never do that. The claim is that even when you wouldn't do it - even when you wouldn't even bother to look at x_41 from a God's eye perspective because it provides literally zero predictive power conditioned on x_1 through x_40 - even then, you might find that (as a human limited by human reasoning and human coordination) you get the best results when you use x_41 alone for your decision boundary.

Comment by philh on Goodhart's Curse and Limitations on AI Alignment · 2019-08-21T16:22:55.516Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think you credit the optimizer's curse with power that it doesn't, as described, have. In particular, it doesn't have the power that "people who try to optimize end up worse off than people who don't".

In the linked post by lukeprog, when the curse is made concrete with numbers, people who tried to optimize ended up exactly as well off as everyone else - but that's only because by assumption, all choices were exactly the same. ("there are k choices, each of which has true es­ti­mated [ex­pected value] of 0.") If some choices are better than the others, then the optimizer's curse will make the optimizer disappointed, but it will still give her better results on average than the people who failed to optimize, or who optimized less hard. (Ignoring possible actions that aren't just "take one of these options based on the information currently available to me".)

I'm making some assumptions about the error terms here, and I'm not sure exactly what assumptions. But I think they're fairly weak.

(And if the difference between the actually-best choice and the actually-second best is large compared to the error terms, then the optimizer's curse appears to have no power at all.)

There can be other things that go wrong, when one tries to optimize. With your shoes and your breakfast routine, it seems to me that you invested much effort in pursuit of a goal that was unattainable in one case and trivial in another. Unfortunate, but not the optimizer's curse.

I wrote the above and then realised that I'm not actually sure how much you're making the specific mistake I describe. I thought you were partly because of

attempts to optimize for a measure of success result in increased likelihood of failure to hit the desired target

Emphasis mine. But maybe the increased likelihood just comes from Goodhart's law, here? It's not clear to me what the optimizer's curse is contributing to Goodhart's curse beyond what Goodhart's law already supplies.

Comment by philh on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-16T14:29:01.803Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Tangential, but I confess I'm surprised that the model is "pay if you get a reply". I would have expected "pay if they think you wasted their time" (i.e. you attach an amount of money, they read your email and then choose to collect the money or return it to you).

I guess that would be solving a different problem. Of the four "have you ever"s from the beginning, I think it would help with like, one and a half.

Comment by philh on How to Ignore Your Emotions (while also thinking you're awesome at emotions) · 2019-08-03T14:01:41.488Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It also doesn’t necessarily matter whether the memories are true or not, as long as it helps the healing process along.

False memories can have negative consequences unrelated to the healing process. You might falsely remember something that causes you to think badly of someone, for example.

But even ignoring those, I feel like "I'm going to remember false things for instrumental gain" is the kind of thinking that gets people into this kind of mess.

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-07-31T12:36:14.128Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've put some links in a comment below. I'll edit them into the post as well when I get a chance.

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-07-29T15:35:55.973Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are you able to be more specific?

My feeling is that if the podcast is accurate, and you're taking them correctly, the effect should be really pronounced. (For me, the uncertainty is "did I have a cold at all?", except for the first time when I took them too late.)

If you're taking them as recommended and have an effect size like "yeah, this seems to knock a couple of days off, I think", then... while they still seem like good things to recommend, it feels like pretty strong evidence against the main thrust of the podcast. (With caveat that I'm not sure how much individual variance to expect.) E.g. I wouldn't describe them as "these things cure colds" if that's the typical experience.

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-07-29T15:09:05.723Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, the relevant pH is 7.4, not 5, so with negative ions slightly outnumbering positive. So I guess there's another factor than numerical quantity in why they don't bind the zinc. But "things staying in constant flux" sounds like it could be that factor, thanks :)

Comment by philh on What supplements do you use? · 2019-07-29T14:48:31.145Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm curious why you mentioned the health risks of fish oil while linking to a page saying fish oil doesn't contain Mercury. Is that not the health risk you were thinking of?

I take creatine, D3 and fish oil. (Only five days a week because I take them at work. When I keep them at home I forget.) I don't remember exactly why those. When I stopped taking them all for a while I thought I felt a bit worse in ways I no longer remember, so I started again, and possibly I then started to feel better.

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-07-27T23:20:29.733Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW


I take it the concentration of H+ is inversely related to the concentration of negative ions, because if there's a high concentration of both, they'll just bind each other?

And when it comes to producing zinc ions from, say, zinc acetate - the H+ captures the acetate away from the zinc, but the negative ion doesn't then bind the Zn+? (Or at least not quickly enough to stop it binding in the cellular tissue?)

(This probably doesn't have much bearing on the question at hand, I'm just curious.)

Comment by philh on Is this info on zinc lozenges accurate? · 2019-07-27T23:14:44.687Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think these links are all to the correct product:


(LE Europe)


(Amazon UK) ("You purchased this item on 5 Dec 2018", so unless they changed the product while keeping the same product id, it should be good.)

Not sure what's up with your amazon US link. The description talks about zinc methionate, but the ingredients list in the picture says acetate. I would guess it's correct.

Comment by philh on Appeal to Consequence, Value Tensions, And Robust Organizations · 2019-07-23T15:39:15.909Z · score: 11 (2 votes) · LW · GW

When you look at the question using that native architecture, it becomes relatively simple to find a reasonable answer. This is the same way that we regularly find solutions to complex negotiations between multiple parties, or plan complex situations with multiple constraints, even though many of those tasks are naively uncomputable.

I'm not confident that it does. I perhaps expect people doing this using the native architecture to feel like they've found a reasonable answer. But I would expect them to actually be prioritising their own feelings, in most cases. (Though some people will underweight their own feelings. And perhaps some people will get it right.)

Perhaps they will get close enough for the answer to still count as "reasonable"?

If someone attempts to give equal weight to their own needs, the meds of their interlocutor, and the needs of the forum as a whole - how do we know whether they've got a reasonable answer? Does that just have to be left to moderator discretion, or?

Comment by philh on Intellectual Dark Matter · 2019-07-20T17:58:58.416Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

consider the founding of in 1994. One could infer at the time from Bezos’ previous employment, an article in his high school newspaper, and reports from his ex-girlfriend that he planned for Amazon to take over all of e-commerce to net enough money to start a space tech company.

I'd be interested to read more about that.

the Medallion Fund managed by Renaissance Technology has returned an average of 40% annually since its inception, including a 100% return in 2008, making it by far the best-performing hedge fund in history and netting its investors tens of billions of dollars.

How confident are we that this isn't luck or fraud? This isn't an accusation, just - I feel like intellectual dark matter is exactly what we'd expect fraud to look like.

From a quick glance at wikipedia, it seems the fund is 20 years old, which I guess mostly rules out luck; and "is available only to current and past employees and their families", which I guess mostly rules out fraud.

Comment by philh on Why artificial optimism? · 2019-07-19T14:29:55.188Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not really clear to me what it would mean for a situation to be rational or irrational; Jessica didn't use either of those words.

If the answers are "no" and "lots", doesn't that just mean you're in a bad Nash equilibrium? You seem to be advising "when caught in a prisoner's dilemma, optimal play is to defect", and I feel Jessica is more asking "how do we get out of this prisoner's dilemma?"

Comment by philh on Podcast - Putanumonit on The Switch · 2019-06-27T14:30:17.668Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is a transcript available, or likely to become so?

Comment by philh on Does scientific productivity correlate with IQ? · 2019-06-20T14:23:36.576Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In the case of Feynman, I just don't believe that his IQ was only 126.

I remembered gwern talking about this and found this comment on the subject:

Comment by philh on Recommendation Features on LessWrong · 2019-06-19T07:56:55.436Z · score: 15 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Fwiw, on other sites I sometimes find that I see something interesting just as I'm clicking away, and then when I come back the interesting thing is gone. Making the recommendations a little sticky would help with that. (I see they don't reload if I use the back button, so that might be sufficient.)

Comment by philh on LessWrong FAQ · 2019-06-17T14:54:47.605Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hijacking this as a typo thread:

Our com­ment­ing guidelines state that is prefer­able:

If you dis­agree with some,

Comment by philh on Learning magic · 2019-06-13T14:47:48.112Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you take a lesson in London, and if you'd be interested in having people join you, then I might be interested in joining you.

Comment by philh on The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag" · 2019-06-10T22:02:51.424Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, that makes sense.


In the specific case of iteration, I'm not sure that works so well for multiplayer games? It would depend on details, but e.g. if a player's only options are "cooperate" or "defect against everyone equally", then... mm, I guess "cooperate iff everyone else cooperated last round" is still stable, just a lot more fragile than with two players.

But you did say it's difficult, so I don't think I'm disagreeing with you. The PD-ness of it still feels more salient to me than the SH-ness, but I'm not sure that particularly means anything.

I think actually, to me the intuitive core of a PD is "players can capture value by destroying value on net". And I hadn't really thought about the core of SH prior to this post, but I think I was coming around to something like threshold effects; "players can try to capture value for themselves [it's not really important whether that's net positive or net negative]; but at a certain fairly specific point, it's strongly net negative". Under these intuitions, there's nothing stopping a game from being both PD and SH.

Not sure I'm going anywhere with this, and it feels kind of close to just arguing over definitions.

Comment by philh on The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag" · 2019-06-09T21:15:50.132Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Meta: you have a few asterisks which I guess are just typos, but which caused me to go looking for footnotes that don't exist. "Philos­o­phy Fri­days*", "Fol­low rab­bit trails into Stag* Country", "Fol­low rab­bit trails that lead into *Stag-and-Rab­bit Coun­try".

Comment by philh on The Schelling Choice is "Rabbit", not "Stag" · 2019-06-09T12:18:55.728Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Most prob­lems which ini­tially seem like Pri­soner’s Dilemma are ac­tu­ally Stag Hunt, be­cause there are po­ten­tial en­force­ment mechanisms available.

I'm not sure I follow, can you elaborate?

Is the idea that everyone can attempt to enforce norms of "cooperate in the PD" (stag), or not enforce those norms (rabbit)? And if you have enough "stag" players to successfully "hunt a stag", then defecting in the PD becomes costly and rare, so the original PD dynamics mostly drop out?

If so, I kind of feel like I'd still model the second level game as a PD rather than a stag hunt? I'm not sure though, and before I chase that thread, I'll let you clarify whether that's actually what you meant.

Comment by philh on Feedback Requested! Draft of a New About/Welcome Page for LessWrong · 2019-06-02T08:24:26.748Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn’t feel any need to add a dis­claimer here if the text I was recom­mend­ing were The Brothers Kara­ma­zov, though I’d want to briefly say why it’s rele­vant, and I might worry about the length.

Not sure if this was deliberate on your part, but note that HPMOR is almost twice the length of Karamazov. (662k vs 364k.)