Comment by Saran on Changing my life in 2021, halfway through · 2021-06-10T19:44:11.889Z · LW · GW


Your ML study guide seems nice, I'll probably need it in a year or two, waiting for improved versions :)

About diet, have you tried soylent or derivatives? I'm gonna try it, seems like a good way to save time.

Comment by Saran on Qria's Shortform · 2021-06-08T07:41:58.817Z · LW · GW

I think most people don't think the last enemy can be defeated, like in Bostrom's Fable. Or at least not in their lifetimes, so they better spend resources on something else.

Comment by Saran on Often, enemies really are innately evil. · 2021-06-07T19:45:45.202Z · LW · GW

it's not that people are innately evil, it's that they've learned a bad strategy to get what they want

what if sometimes it is not a bad strategy, but the only strategy?

For example nazi scientists did some cruel and evil experiments on humans, but in exchange they got what they wanted.

Comment by Saran on Often, enemies really are innately evil. · 2021-06-07T19:42:24.018Z · LW · GW

chimpanzees are cruel but have no concept of evil?

But... how do you know that chimpanzees have no concept of evil?

Comment by Saran on Often, enemies really are innately evil. · 2021-06-07T15:03:57.514Z · LW · GW

Eh, I think this is no innate evil, but people optimizing their behavior around the incentive of getting dopamine jumps, when they show their superiority to people around them while acting as a bully, or self pleasure of knowing they managed to troll someone on the internet forums and thus are better than them.

You gave no examples of evilness but just things that some predisposed people do to get their rewards, because their prehistoric ancestors evolved that way over the course of millions of years. Real evilness would be to do things that give nothing in return, therefore would be irrational to do. There is no real evil in the world, because even a madman doing irrational subjective evil is still rational to himself.

Want to eliminate evil? Just give people some Soma.

Comment by Saran on Open and Welcome Thread – June 2021 · 2021-06-06T11:56:10.054Z · LW · GW

Do you guys think it is worth to learn chinese if I'm planning a career in science?

China is becoming more and more influential in the world, plus in 2020 it's published more scientific papers than USA, most of which are not translated, thus being able to read them would be an advantage. (

I'm not sure how to find information about which country puts more money and is progressing faster in molecular biology/biophysics though.

Comment by Saran on Open and Welcome Thread - April 2021 · 2021-04-06T06:40:58.666Z · LW · GW

Oh my, that's a brilliant gem. Let's follow these. 

Comment by Saran on Is a Self-Iterating AGI Vulnerable to Thompson-style Trojans? · 2021-03-26T08:43:58.637Z · LW · GW

Wouldn't AI rebuild itself from zero to prevent such trojans anyway? Then it is pointless.

I'm sure AI would be aware of such a threat, for example it could scan the internet and stumble upon posts such as this.

Comment by Saran on Open loops in fiction · 2021-03-16T09:37:55.206Z · LW · GW

Isn't this another loop that you didn't mention? :P

His admirers

Who are his admirers? Just like who are his enemies.

Comment by Saran on The Book of HPMOR Fanfics · 2020-11-26T19:48:05.242Z · LW · GW

Cool idea, I haven't gotten to the fanfics yet (I'm at around 40% of the main hpmor story). I'll check it out later.

Which ones are the best? ^^

Comment by Saran on Final Babble Challenge (for now): 100 ways to light a candle · 2020-11-26T06:49:23.339Z · LW · GW

Okay, that's a fun challenge.

Took me 150 minutes, guess I'm pretty lazy at being creative. I was trying to be too real and not listening to your main tip, seems like.

It is getting more creative creative(or absurd) as the numbers approach 100.

Note: I assumed that we need to light this exact candle on the table. Which can be moved.


  1. snap your fingers until the candle lights itself, starting the rational fire of the future art of rationality
  2. light the candle using another candle
  3. in fact the candle is already burning. always was.
  4. summon a fire dragon using the magic book you bought on ebay last week
  5. buy a spaceship and go on a journey to find a fire dragon on some alien planet. with the amount of stars there are, its almost impossible that there wouldn't be at least one planet with dragons, in the entire universe. however, if there really are no such planets, figure out how to go to alternative universes and search there. after that, use the dragon's fire to light a candle. you might need a way to make it aggressive toward you, depending on the dragon's biology and way of using fire.
  6. make a campfire in your room and light the candle
  7. buy a few kgs of dynamite and place them around the candle. activate dynamite.
  8. wait a sufficiently long time until it catches fire by itself. with infinitely small chance, it might happen within the next infinite number of universes, after infinitely long time.
  9. construct a rocket and send the candle to the sun. you need to learn astrophysics first.
  10. put the candle in the furnace
  11. search for instructions on the internet. people suggest to put it on your head or eat with soap, but this seems to not work. instead, you use a hammer to break your computer and build a small electrical igniter. use it on your candle
  12. buy laser and point it at the candle for a long time. prefer some military class lasers, probably available on dark web
  13. search for fire alien elementals and give them candle as an interplanetary gift of friendliness. however, the candle quickly disappears after the aliens take it.
  14. whirl your fingers at extremely high speed trying to make air above the candle ignite. however, you're just a human so it isn't very fast. instead, buy a robotic eye from 22th century (you got there using a time machine (built it from schemes your grandpa left you (and surprisingly, it works))) and ignite the candle with a highly concentrated stream of unknown energy, after pointing your eye at it.
  15. create an artificial intelligence and order it to come up with the BEST POSSIBLE solution to light the candle. after billions of years and almost the whole universe turned into a computation machines, while the author is no longer alive, the solution is found. in a silent space, the only one candle left in the universe gets lit.
  16. perform a "Schroedinger's Flame" experiment with a candle. but you don't actually know the result. you assume it is lit and not lit at the same time.
  17. use a pack of matches to light the candle
  18. build a perfect VR simulation, simulate the whole world including yourself, and order your copy inside the simulation to light the candle. leave the simulation, return tomorrow. the candle is burning, seems like your copy figured it out. you're a real genius.
  19. try to find a wizard (works only if you're actually in a harry potter universe) and ask him to use his cool magic. of course he might not want not. he might abracadabra you. but let's suppose you're a great speaker and you convinced him to do that. profit.
  20. kill yourself and leave a note behind, that your last will is for someone to light the candle. the probability of it happening is then quite high, I suppose.
  21. try to convince the candle to light itself. might work, if the candle is actually not a real candle. but, let's say, a concealed Boltzmann brain, it might as well get out of its spacetime bubble for a moment just to do you a favor.
  22. contact mafia and say your father is their boss. meet them with the candle. they probably shoot you, then the grenades hidden in your skirt explode. the candle is on fire  at this point, if it still exists.
  23. contact scientists to invent an instrument for lighting the candle, but via weird way. they invent a totally interesting tool for changing all available items in the room to a fire, but then you're not alive anymore. at least the candle is burning.
  24. tell your cat to stand up on two legs and light the candle. confirmed.
  25. ask for advice on lesswrong. they have no idea what you're talking about but some wise men give you contact to someone who specializes in such things. after meeting them you realize that the 'specialist' indeed knows how to light the candle. you pay him 50$ for that. lucky day
  26. use a time machine to go to the future to find some way. but something breaks and the time machine accelerates indefinitely, soon exceeding the lifetime of the whole universe, and then few other universes. but you're turned into a dust almost at the beginning, radiated to death.
  27. invent a candle version of prisoner's dilemma, then solve it, thus getting candle lit.
  28. create a thought experiment where you need to invent as many ways of lighting the candle as you can. write hundreds of answers on paper, then wrinkle it and burn it using a match. light the candle while using the fire, while the paper is still burning.
  29. leave the candle on your computer and perform an extremely long calculation of pi number with 10^10^10^10 decimal accuracy. soon the computer starts to melt because you used super advanced GPUs and stuff and the candle gets lit because of the temperature
  30. join the army and after months of training steal the flamethrower. shoot the candle using it.
  31. try to get hired at Google. then, change the codebase so that everyone using google sites gets redirected to a page with a huge button "light the candle" and a counter stating that 1000 000 000 people need to click the button in order to light the candle. make a live stream of the candle and then, when the counter ticks the billionth person, an electric signal gets sent which starts the fire
  32. buy tons of flammable gas, place it underground, throw the apple, I mean the candle, underground as well and then escape the city. you hear a big boom some time later
  33. put it into a microwave for a long time
  34. genetically engineer (first need to go to the university) a living fire and feed it using the candle
  35. wait for the olympics and then sneakily put the candle in the hand of the olympics torch runner. torches are ancient things, after all... need someting modern.
  36. think about how to light the candle. go to the unviversity and get several phds, knowledge is needed if you want to light the candle. discover the truth by mistake. the truth that you are in a simulation. then, hack it using your precious linux terminal. and type "candle[0x453ef1a5b1ab41ff].lit = true"
  37. go to meet some people, there's no way you're going to spend the whole day thinking about how to light the candle. meet a magician. he wants to perform a trick. a trick. a trick. a trick. a trick. a trick. oh.
  38. discover the fissure in the very structure of the reality. enter it. there's a lot of fire. throw the candle in it and quickly escape
  39. use a time machine and get to the medieval ages. something is burning. oh, a witch. throw the candle on the stake.
  40. throw the candle into the volcano
  41. catch the gold fish and tell her your wish, lighting the candle. poof.
  42. the candle seems to be lit. you forgot how, but you somehow DID it. were you obliviated afterwards?
  43. study alchemy for 20 years, learn all chemical reactions and combinations. then, a single precise drop of a perfectly made chemical liquid... carefully placed on top of the knot... and done.
  44. read lovecraft, for a long time. it's a known fact that something is supposed to happen, if you fanatically devote yourself to a single thing. you read it for years, without doing anything else. all lovecraft fanfiction as well. weird things start happening around you. shadows whispering to your ears, mysterious light balls appearing... one day, you see that the candle is lit. after that you're taken to the hospital.
  45. find an old cake recipe for "firecake" and bake it.
  46. find your local fire brigade department and follow them everywhere. finally, you encounter a fire. throw the candle into it.
  47. use the power of your incredibly concencrated mind, think r e a l l y   h a r d about the candle. suddenly, it lights up, as if you were a wizard or a psyko.
  48. place the candle under the sky (preferably on a high metal stake) and wait for rainstorms. after a long time, a lone lightning lights up the candle
  49. put the candle in the engine combustion chamber and start it
  50. build a robot, CandleLighter, and order it to do its job
  51. organize a competition for writing science-fiction novels about candles. then, choose the ones which have the best plots and put their printed versions on fire. light the candle off of it.
  52. connect to the candle a small electrical device which releases a small amount of gas in the direction of the knot and burns it. add a button. turn it on. open a new business, based on selling ready-to-light.
  53. create a pistol with auto targeting system inside the bullets, that find the nearest candles and light them. shoot.
  54. use internet to anonymously create a fire cult, whose the only purpose is to set the whole planet on fire, and it succeeds after a few hundred years. obviously, the candle was somewhere on the planet too.
  55. hack the usa nuke button and shoot nukes everywhere. soon, the world is engulfed in flames, including your candle
  56. sit 10 meters away from the candle, take a lot of post-it notes, create mini-paper aircrafts, and upon setting them on fire, throw them in the candle direction
  57. construct machine which changes the laws of physics so that the oxygen burns when it touches the knot material.
  58. set the chair on fire and rapidly hit everything in the room with it. after a definite time you either hit the candle or the whole room burns.
  59. set the table on fire and wait until it collapses and catches up to the candle
  60. scan the candle while destroying it at the same time, so that only one copy exists. then, recreate it using 3D printer, with slightly different starting parameters
  61. research the quantum foam and use extremely precise instruments to cause a random appearance of fire on top of the candle.
  62. use a plank and hit the candle extremely fast to create needed motion and the kinematic energy caused fire
  63. use apples and potatos to gather electricity which you later concentrate on the knot to light it.
  64. play pong on calculator and each time you gain a point, the real ball of fire (although a tiny one) falls from the sky and lands on the knot, having a random chance to light it
  65. use magnifying lens to concentrate the sun energy on the candle
  66. move to ancient rome and tell the caesar you want the gladiator to light the candle (whoever wins) (we were at the colosseum)
  67. help julius caesar and stop the traitor. in exchange, tell him to light the candle.
  68. summon the ancient viking gods, odyn in his fury calls the lightnings upon you, that accidentally lit the flame
  69. descend the depths of chaos, the underground lands of the death, search for the sea of flame. throw the candle into flames.
  70. find cerberus, the guardian of hell, the fire beast of the hades. even its fur is composed of flames. after you find him, throw the candle away. the dog runs for it and looks like he wants to bring the candle back to you so you can throw it again, but... it completely melted...
  71. compose a song and title it "Fire song", which, surprisingly, very illogically, lights the candle upon playing.
  72. create a giant flock of nanorobots, flying around the whole earth. form a dyson sphere around the sun and redirect the concentrated plasma into a stream directed at Earth. soon everything is on fire
  73. take out the energy saber and gently touch the knot
  74. invent a new programming language, dedicated to lighting candles, that rips through the fabric of the universe and lights the candle
  75. transform the whole sun into plasma and reposition it around the whole earth (the configuration looks like this: ( x ), the earth is inside a hollow sun). since there's no way for energy to get out, the whole thing becoms incredibly hot after a few moments, resulting in a known thing.
  76. use self replicating probes to conquer the whole universe and then create the great Candle Festival. Supply each planet with the copy of the candle and then light it at the same time in the whole universe.
  77. contact the cat conspiracy group and tell it to think of something. turns out your cat was a special agent. the cat gets up from the bed and uses its very magical breath to produce a small spark of perfectly directed stream of small nanobots, oriented at the only one purpose in their just-starting and soon-ending life: to light the candle.
  78. just wait and check what happens when the number of seconds from year 1970 exceeds 2^32. oh, the candle just got lit. wait what.
  79. engineer a special type of plant that grows candles instead of fruits and lights them when they mature. then, perform a candleplant transplant, replace the young "fruit" using the real candle.
  80. spray a large number of dust specks and flour powder in the room. then, use fire to cause explosion and light the candle. oh, you got a speck in your eye.
  81. plant the candle in the ground. spray the flammable liquid everywhere. set it on fire. wait for a mole to exit the underground, which might cause the candle to expose itself. if not, repeat the experiment until it does.
  82. sneakily put the candle onto the table in a restaurant. hide and wait till the waiter lights it up.
  83. cut the candle into a hundred pieces. send each to a different laboratory. pay them and tell to put them on fire at a random time. check if the win condition is still met.
  84. hide under a rocket start tower. just before the start, place the candle under the rocket. wait till the flames engulf the ground.
  85. perfectly scan the candle to a digital form. save it on a disk. burn the disk.
  86. raise the candle carefully. let it become your child. give it all the love, until a miracle happens and it becomes self conscious. register it for school. then, in a class, other children set the candle on fire. just as planned.
  87. go to the graveyard and put a candle somewhere. surely someone who passes by, will light it.
  88. drop the candle from international space station, let it burn in the atmosphere.
  89. go to the alternative universe before the big bang, place the candle in the exact same place where the sun will be in a few billions years and wait.
  90. create a hell hound farm, let them become intelligent, give them physic&math books and create a highly specialized pavlov signal so they become mindless after seeing a candle. after a few years they graduated the university, wrote a lot of scientific papers and started their research. then, gather them and throw a candle.
  91. enter hell and take some liquid lava into adamantium bottle. then, shape it into a candle and transform the original candle and the lava candle into one.
  92. move into universe with no concept of light at all. therefore, it is not possible to light anything.
  93. leave the candle at the center of the city with a note "Don't light this candle, the universe will collapse". hide and wait.
  94. get into an isekai world and tell the king that you're a saint and it's the magical candle which will end the world. there surely will be some demon spy that will light the candle
  95. call the magicians from the isekai world, they use fireballs and fire the candle
  96. use lava to make a fire drink, then pour it on the candle
  97. hit the candle with your pickaxe, like in minecraft. it has a fire enchantment
  98. you're the candle. and you're not. if you think hard enough, you might be able to become the candle. then, light yourself
  99. write a script to procedurally generate fire image on screen, then place the screen near the candle and reimagine the fire into real world
  100. throw the candle into a nuclear reactor
  101. play chess with the candle until it lights itself out of frustration
Comment by Saran on Open & Welcome Thread – November 2020 · 2020-11-26T00:58:08.966Z · LW · GW

What about threads like "Open & Welcome Thread"? I had a bit trouble finding it today.

A way to make these would be to make a second version of the Personal Blog, which shows on the main page.

Or entirely different tag, "Community Post"? Available for trusted members. Though it would probably be the same as "Open Threads" tag.

Comment by Saran on The Mutant Game - Rounds 11 to 30 · 2020-11-25T03:47:07.954Z · LW · GW

Hi, awesome idea! Looking forward to the next updates.