## Posts

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, July 2014, chapter 102 · 2014-07-26T11:54:01.794Z · LW · GW

I would speculate that there's some physiological component involved in spellcasting ability that grows with age, in much the same way that older children are often more coordinated and stronger than younger children. I have no evidence to back this up other than the repeated mentions of 'age matters with spells', however.

Comment by Skeeve on The Ultimate Newcomb's Problem · 2013-09-12T16:50:13.146Z · LW · GW

(Note: I haven't checked yet to see if 1033 is prime)

So... basically, it's the standard Newcomb's problem, one box or two, one boxing means it's a prime number and two boxing means it's a composite number being displayed for the lottery, in this singular case.

I'd still probably one box here. If 1033 is prime, and I two box... well, then, Omega probably wouldn't have picked it and we wouldn't be discussing this scenario.

Put another way, I don't see how the lottery number matching Omega's number gives me any useful information about Omega's accuracy, since the value of one number in no way depends on the other.

Comment by Skeeve on Pareto improvement in gym norms: Spread the word! · 2013-07-28T15:36:54.671Z · LW · GW

I don't belong to a gym, so I won't comment on changing norms, but as far as the tone of this post goes, I have some trouble distinguishing this between "tongue firmly in cheek" and "condescending mockery". I suspect it would be easier to tell if I knew you better.

Comment by Skeeve on "Stupid" questions thread · 2013-07-13T16:48:56.516Z · LW · GW

The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics?

But seriously, I have no idea either, other than 'eyeball it', and I'd like to see how other people answer this question too.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-06T11:09:04.325Z · LW · GW

That was originally where I was going with that, but further evidence of Harry's plan (the lack of any use of time-turning until at least six hours after the fact) has pretty well falsified my prediction.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T15:38:20.769Z · LW · GW

Prediction: Harry will attempt to learn Obliviation, use his Time-Turner to go back to before, and attempt to mess with his own head to save Hermione while preserving his own experience of events.

This is more likely to not work than work.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T15:30:52.782Z · LW · GW

Of course, she probably wouldn't have believed him able to not give in to the temptation, and it's hard to say whether she would have been right at that exact moment in time.

Considering that she was reacting to the signs of time-turner addiction, a phenomena that had been observed in others before, I think it was a safe assumption for McGonagall to make.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-02T11:50:56.858Z · LW · GW

It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.

I'm having a little trouble making the timeline work out on this, since one wouldn't be able to notice his sleep issues while the time-turner abusing was ongoing; it would be a consequence that appeared after the fact. It's mentioned in chapter 2 that Harry was in school when he was seven; that could be argued as evidence that his sleep issues hadn't quite manifested at that point, and that he'd been pulled out of school soon after, once they did.

But that still leaves a period of three or four years for Harry to readjust to 24 hour days. You'd think Harry and his parents would have at least tried some kind of therapy, if the issue was severe enough to pull him out of school, and in the absence of some kind of reinforcing factor, why wouldn't said therapy at least have made some progress on the issue?

Comment by Skeeve on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-07-02T11:27:52.881Z · LW · GW

You're welcome.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T15:58:08.074Z · LW · GW

Edit: I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

1) If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own?

2) If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T14:47:56.899Z · LW · GW

Hmmm... it's also possible in that scenario that Hermione was hot-swapped out of the combat. Real!Hermione responded with a terrified scream to the Patronus, and while Present!Harry was racing to her on a broom, Time-Turned!Harry did some kind of obscuring spell (fog, blast of light, something like that), tossed an invisibility cloak (not Harry's) over Real!Hermione, and then fed Simulacrum!Hermione to the troll just in time for Present!Harry to show up.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T03:06:08.691Z · LW · GW

It does, but I interpreted it as Harry having to wrestle himself back towards acknowledging the painful fact of Hermione's injuries, as opposed to flinching away.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-07-01T02:38:35.983Z · LW · GW

I think that in the aftermath of Hermione's death, Harry's breaking the rules and leaving the Great Hall is barely even going to be a blip on the radar. I'd be surprised if McGonagall even brings it up. It seems too callous for her.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T23:00:49.224Z · LW · GW

That's plausible, but if so, it seems like a very disproportionate response from the Remembrall; that is assuming that under ordinary circumstances Remembralls light up like they do in canon, which I suppose is not necessarily a given.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T21:11:09.348Z · LW · GW

If the Patronus that came back was Future-Harry's Patronus, then what happened to Present-Harry's Patronus? When Harry's Patronus was countered with Quirell's Killing Curse in Chapter 54, Harry definitely felt it being countered.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T20:45:51.742Z · LW · GW

From Chapter 56:

Bellatrix was still transparent within the Cloak, but to Harry she was no longer hidden, he knew that she was there, as obvious to him as a Thestral.

It would have had to have been a different cloak than Harry's, but then, I guess Hermione did have one on her; it might not have been good enough to hide her from the troll, but perhaps it would have hid her from Harry. And I suppose that obscuring the real Hermione from Harry would make sense under the 'if you want to change the past, you can't know if you've already succeeded' rule, from the end of 76.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T19:44:44.922Z · LW · GW

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

This bothered me as well. It's a mysterious phenomenon that directly relates to Harry's own mental state. He should have been all over that.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T19:05:19.826Z · LW · GW

That very quote led into McGonagall's theory that Harry had suffered some kind of trauma and had it Obliviated. And then there was that business with the Remembrall in chapter 17. I'd have to go back and check for more instances of Harry specifically foreshadowing a future event like this, but more and more I'm beginning to think that Harry has forgotten or locked foreknowledge that's leaking into his subconscious.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T17:34:29.036Z · LW · GW

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

Harry, feeling disassociated from himself? No; a few seconds later we have

"Fire and acid!" Harry shouted. "Use fire or acid!"

Disassociated-Harry shows up later, I think, but that first call doesn't seem to be Harry's.

I think it is supposed to be Harry - before a voice said that, the text simply blanked out, refused to state what the troll held or the troll dropped. After the text explicitly states the state Hermione is in, then we get Harry's statement about fire and acid.

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T13:47:34.397Z · LW · GW

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

Comment by Skeeve on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T13:31:46.589Z · LW · GW

Not yet, but that would seem to be a plausible end-game for Quirrelmort.

Comment by Skeeve on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-06-29T11:23:11.248Z · LW · GW

For this reason, I've found it's very important to be careful not to assume that the world is doing sensible things or giving me all the information.

Yeah, this is good advice in general, and it's definitely what I was doing wrong this time.

Comment by Skeeve on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-06-28T17:53:35.739Z · LW · GW

Well, yes, but what does 2% failure rate per year even mean when it's presented independent of a number of uses per year? I mean, without knowing what number of average uses were used to calculate "2% failure rate per year", it seems like somewhat of a misleading statement, as I'm reasonably certain (let's say at least 90%) that it's not intended to reflect that condoms become more protective the more chances you have to use them.

I feel like I'm missing something basic here that would let me see why it's a useful piece of information on its own.

Comment by Skeeve on Public Service Announcement Collection · 2013-06-28T12:18:43.024Z · LW · GW

That's what I assumed as well, that it was 2% per incident, but I'm having a little trouble parsing those differently:

How is 2% per incident different than 2% per year? I'd interpret both of those statements as 'on average, given perfect use, a condom will be ineffective at preventing pregnancy in one use out of fifty'.

Comment by Skeeve on [deleted post] 2013-06-28T12:12:11.027Z

Speaking from the point of view of someone who wasn't previously completely sold on cryonics, this is a very thought provoking read.

As a brief tangent, I'm a little dismayed at the number of comments on that article that basically boiled down to 'it was too long to read'.

Comment by Skeeve on Normative uncertainty in Newcomb's problem · 2013-06-17T18:45:00.816Z · LW · GW

I wouldn't one-box at 1:1.01 odds; the rule I was working off was: "Precommit to one-boxing when box B is stated to contain at least as much money as box A," and I was about to launch into this big justification on how even if Omega was observed to have 99+% accuracy, rather than being a perfect predictor, it'll fail at predicting a complicated theory before it fails at predicting a simple one...

...and that's when I realized that "Precommit to one-boxing when box B is stated to contain more money than box A," is just as simple a rule that lets me two-box at 1:1 and one-box when it will earn me more.

TL;DR - your point is well taken.

Comment by Skeeve on Normative uncertainty in Newcomb's problem · 2013-06-17T13:39:04.213Z · LW · GW

You might as well precommit to one-box at 1:1 odds anyway. If Omega has ever been observed to make an error, it's to your advantage to be extremely easy to model in case the problem ever comes up again. On the other hand, if Omega is truly omniscient... well, you aren't getting more than \$1,000 anyway, and Omega knows where to put it.

Comment by Skeeve on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-03T14:45:39.217Z · LW · GW

I agree with you; the context from earlier in the strip was about reading a study with evidence pointing to T-rexes being a timid scavenger, and then getting transported back in time and seeing a T-rex acting timid.

Comment by Skeeve on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-03T11:03:41.855Z · LW · GW

The secret is to make wanting the truth your entire identity, right. If your persona is completely stripped down to just "All I care about is the facts", then the steps disappear, the obstacles are gone. Tyranosaurus was a scavenger? Okay! And then you walk right up to it without hesitation. The evidence says the killer was someone else? Okay, see you later sir, sorry for the inconvenience, wanna go bowling later now that we're on a first name basis? And so on. Just you and a straight path to the truth. That is how you become perfect.

Comment by Skeeve on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-21T20:52:20.314Z · LW · GW

Yeah, that's a good idea. I was stuck in the idea of a set curriculum, but weaving it in wherever possible will probably help it stick better.

Comment by Skeeve on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-21T20:47:31.917Z · LW · GW

Pray tell. Or just tell, no praying required, that would be telling. Just prying. Required, I mean.

It really boils down to the convergence of a few factors; he's already learning a higher grade level than he'd be placed in by his age, he suffers from some hyperactivity issues, and, quite frankly, my wife and I think we can do a better job than the public system. Or at least my wife can; I'm not convinced of my abilities at a teacher yet.

Just ingrain the rationality training as an aspect of the way you interact with him, I go for the Socratic Method. Don't set apart "rationality training" time (or are you planning to be irrational unless rationality is scheduled?!). Helping your kid develop mental models of others is my favorite.

Obviously I'm not planning to be irrational at any given moment, but I was originally stuck in the mindset of curriculum since that's what we've been going with for math, reading, and science. This is probably a better idea, though.

Comment by Skeeve on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-21T19:04:54.259Z · LW · GW

My wife and I have decided we're going to homeschool our son, almost five, for various reasons. What age do you think it would be appropriate to start rationality training, and how would you go about it? Are there any particularly kid-friendly resources on rationality that anyone can recommend? (The sequences are good for beginners, but they're well above the level of a five year old).

Comment by Skeeve on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-20T16:11:15.319Z · LW · GW

That sounds a bit like muddling the hypothetical, along the lines of "well, if I don't let my family be tortured to death, all those strangers dying would destabilize society, which would also cause my loved ones harm".

That was the sort of lines I was thinking along, yes. Framing the question in that fashion... I'm having some trouble imagining numbers of people large enough. It would have to be something on the order of 'where x contains a majority of any given sentient species'.

The realization that I could willingly consign billions of people to death and be able to feel like I made the right decision in the morning is... unsettling.

As the saying goes, "if the hill will not come to Skeeve, Skeeve will go to the hill".

I wish I could upvote you a second time just for this line. But yes, this is pretty much what I meant; I didn't intend to imply that I wanted my self-image to be accurate and unchanging from what it is now, I'd just prefer it to be accurate.

Comment by Skeeve on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-20T12:25:32.146Z · LW · GW

Is there an amount of human suffering of strangers to avoid which you'd consent to have your wife and child tortured to death?

Initially, my first instinct was to try and find the biggest font I could to say 'no'. After actually stopping to think about it for a few minutes... I don't know. It would probably have to be enough suffering to the point where it would destabilize society, but I haven't come to any conclusions. Yet.

If the implications make you uncomfortable (maybe they aren't in accordance with facets of your self-image), well, there's not yet been a human with non-contradictory values so you're in good company.

Heh, well, I suppose you've got a point there, but I'd still like my self-image to be accurate. Though I suppose around here that kind of goes without saying.

Comment by Skeeve on Open thread, May 17-31 2013 · 2013-05-17T16:26:13.798Z · LW · GW

1) I find that interacting with other people face-to-face is mentally exhausting for me. A few hours or so of prolonged exposure is not so bad, but more than that and I have to exert noticeable effort to not be snappish and crabby with people.

2) I suffer from an unreasonable need to sit with my back to a wall, or some other solid structure, even within my own home.

Comment by Skeeve on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-17T15:28:43.641Z · LW · GW

I don't think I was having any trouble distinguishing between "would", "should", and "prefer". Your analysis of my statement is spot on - it's exactly what I was intending to say.

If morality is (rather simplistically) defined as what we "should" do, I ought to be concerned when what I would do and what I should do doesn't line up, if I want to be a moral person.

Comment by Skeeve on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-17T14:51:41.542Z · LW · GW

What I mean by 'immorality' is that I, on reflection, believe I am willing to break rules that I wouldn't otherwise if it would benefit my family. Going back to the original switch problem, if it was ten people tied to the siding, and my wife and child tied to the main track, I'd flip the switch and send the train onto the siding.

I don't know if that's morally defensible, but it's still what I'd do.

Comment by Skeeve on The Unselfish Trolley Problem · 2013-05-17T13:39:04.349Z · LW · GW

I find myself thinking mostly around the same lines as you, and so far the best I've been able to come up with is "I'm willing to accept a certain amount of immorality when it comes to the welfare of my wife and child".

I'm not really comfortable with the implications of that, or that I'm not completely confident it's not still a rationalization.

Comment by Skeeve on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2013-05-17T11:46:36.058Z · LW · GW

My own anti-procrastination technique is to tell my wife that I'm going to be working on X project, and that I'll talk to her about what I've been doing when I'm done. After that, I find that all it takes to put myself back on task is a gentle reminder to myself that my options are:

• Get some work done
• Admit that I didn't actually get much done

My natural aversion to options two and three is usually enough to get me back on task.

Comment by Skeeve on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-12T13:53:17.092Z · LW · GW

Or do both!

And thus, Aliza_Ludshowski was born.

Comment by Skeeve on Googling is the first step. Consider adding scholarly searches to your arsenal. · 2013-05-07T15:56:20.025Z · LW · GW

Every little bit helps, thanks.

Comment by Skeeve on Googling is the first step. Consider adding scholarly searches to your arsenal. · 2013-05-07T14:39:35.707Z · LW · GW

I'd be interested in reading an example post like this, especially if it included a section on how best to determine relevant search keywords for a topic you're not particularly familiar with. This is something I find I have a fair amount of trouble with.

Comment by Skeeve on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-07T13:58:14.489Z · LW · GW

Awesome, thanks. I've got a lot of reading to do.

Comment by Skeeve on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-06T17:08:27.758Z · LW · GW

Not so much that I question the claims, more that I'd like to know more in-depth about the subject.

Comment by Skeeve on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-06T17:04:34.869Z · LW · GW

Regarding points 1) and 2) of the original article, I'm wondering how one would measure the 'perfectly-rational amount of disagreement'. Would you even have to in order to consider how likely those possibilities are?

Comment by Skeeve on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-06T17:02:55.790Z · LW · GW

Thanks, that seems like a good place to start looking.

Comment by Skeeve on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-06T16:49:32.275Z · LW · GW

Men are the majority at the high end of the IQ / social success spectrum, and also the low end.

I'd be interested in reading citations on this, if you have any handy.

Comment by Skeeve on LW Women- Female privilege · 2013-05-06T15:44:06.366Z · LW · GW

I don't know, Hufflepuff seems pretty awesome to me; they're the people most likely to Get Shit Done.

Comment by Skeeve on Litany of a Bright Dilettante · 2013-05-04T13:11:24.470Z · LW · GW

That is a useful word. Thanks for the heads up!

Comment by Skeeve on Litany of a Bright Dilettante · 2013-04-30T17:04:47.252Z · LW · GW

A quick search or two hasn't provided me with a definition of 'alieve', but if multiple people are using it it's probably safe to assume that the word's not a typo. How does it differ from 'believe', which is what I expected to see in that part of the sentence?