Comment by spriteless on Remembering school math fondly · 2016-11-28T05:59:04.596Z · LW · GW

I've had word problems all the way through calculus, so this connection of reality with math is not novel to me. Sorry about that. Or maybe you could use that for math education?

Comment by spriteless on A Return to Discussion · 2016-11-28T05:37:55.363Z · LW · GW

Commenting takes less energy than moderating comments, certainly.

Comment by spriteless on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-12T21:09:24.245Z · LW · GW

The story would be improved by making it about hair color, actually.

Comment by spriteless on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-11T22:26:18.049Z · LW · GW

It's not just prayer. I have the same problems with meditation.

The only meditation I can do is body-scan meditation. It is not particularly spiritual, just body awareness. If you are looking for the calming benefits of meditation, you might check it out.

Maybe it is just me, personally, but I don't find most recipes for making people's private spiritual experiences publicly-accessible to me to be very specific or comprehensible or operational. Is this typical-mind fallacy, or do others feel the same way?

I feel this way. I usually assume it's someone else's typical mind fallacy keeping them from explaining, or else certain word sounds are connected to different meanings, or else I am neurodivergent such that the explainer is used to people who don't need to have it explained better, or something to do with signalling that went over my head.

Comment by spriteless on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-10T21:29:49.867Z · LW · GW

Don't push this all on the girls! Any boy could dress up as a girl convincingly enough to fool the magic and lift the branch himself. The only reason they did not was because they would take a similar status hit as the girls would for giving away their magic for free.

(More practical advice from an unwillingly celibate lesbian who is as disgusted with the idea of getting touched by dudes as you: learn to masturbate, and/or seek ways to relieve or avoid other types of stress that exacerbate the problem.)

Comment by spriteless on LessWrong 2.0 · 2016-02-10T04:39:58.239Z · LW · GW

Shoot I'd love a fiction section just to read a bunch of stories without exposing myself to the twist won't be 'sometimes people see spirits but keep it to themselves so they won't look stupid, even in the cool space future' so much. And you'd like to have it cordoned off so you don't see it unless you are looking.

Comment by spriteless on LessWrong 2.0 · 2016-02-09T16:25:09.413Z · LW · GW

I don't come here much because there is not too much content. I'd come here more often if there was links to content that is nice. Even if it is just a sidebar with links to off-site posts. I mean, there is the blogs people who used to post here now post at, there's other rationality blogs, there's the occasional reddit thread of interest.

I have no problem with the 'ghosts haunting the dead site' staying around.

Comment by spriteless on Are we failing the ideological Turing test in the case of ISIS? (a crazy ideas thread) · 2016-02-09T15:44:38.055Z · LW · GW
  1. Trying to make their ideology more dominant (aka spreading Islam in general)

I find this the least likely as the main goal. Also, if this was the case, they are counterproductive. So far Islam was very successful in the last few decades to gain a bigger and bigger foothold in the Western world, helped both by demographics and by the predominantly left-leaning political elite in Europe encouraging the acceptance of and submission to Islamic culture in Europe instead of encouraging the immigrants to abandon their culture for the culture of the host nations. However, the recent terrorist attacks, and the many atrocities committed by the recently arrived asylum seekers, while hurting European economy, will probably lead to Europe being more skeptical regarding Islam, which might reduce the chances of Islam peacefully and silently spreading. So these events, if indeed orchestrated by ISIS, might have been successful in harming the economy of their enemies, but I don't know what an effect they had on the spreading of Islam. I'm tending on believing in a negative effect, but I just don't know enough factors to know it for sure. I believe the violent attacks in the Western world are done mostly to show their own followers at home how powerful they are and how weak their enemies are.

In fact, these results make it hard on the Islamic people who wouldn't join ISIS. This makes ISIS more attractive to these people. If a government oppresses a group than every anti-government group seems less oppressive to that group, both because oppression is relative and because of in-group vs. out-group dynamics.

Comment by spriteless on "Why Optimize?" Essay targeted at nonrationalist friends of mine · 2016-01-21T04:14:16.288Z · LW · GW

So, listing some reasons:

  • reason: If you optimize you will miss all the truly important things!
  • answer: well, just make them a priority to optimize for

  • reason: but maaagic is wonder!

  • answer: but real things are also wonder.
Comment by spriteless on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-15T01:23:50.183Z · LW · GW

I suspect this has been explored in Science Fiction, though I've never read anything in which this idea was put into practice.

Anne McCaffery's Nimisha's Ship mentions it as a duty of the first colonists of a planet. Important families from colonized worlds still check for any harmful combinations of recessive genes before siring a child. The book is more about the politics and cool space ships though.

Comment by spriteless on Crazy Ideas Thread, Aug. 2015 · 2015-08-15T01:03:57.168Z · LW · GW

I'd stick with birth control in the water and hefty fines, myself.

Comment by spriteless on Crazy Ideas Thread · 2015-07-09T04:55:53.420Z · LW · GW

Nitpick: your post is tagged cary idea, not crazy idea.

Comment by spriteless on Alien neuropunk slaver civilizations · 2015-06-18T04:07:49.450Z · LW · GW

I don't recall anyone mentioning germs making the Super-Happys in 3 worlds collide unrealistic. Went straight to talking about the implications.

My first thought about this post was that D Malik must watch Stephen Universe, and want to start a conversation about the Gems' Homeworld's tech's moral implications without getting into discussions about people's Gemsonas and ships and whatnot.

Or A Deepness In the Sky, or John Dies At the End, or any number of books that explore the idea.

I guess I am in fiction critiquing mode here.

Comment by spriteless on Alien neuropunk slaver civilizations · 2015-06-17T15:12:48.219Z · LW · GW

Assuming the original organics have to absorb a comparable amount of data to what Earther brains do, any brain with stimulus of the outside world will grow, which means overseers in a vat that interact with overseers in bodies will, even if not given stimulus, come to know their bosses and their personalities and moods and what not, and have as much chance of manipulating them as anyone whose only power is a bunch of underlings. How expensive are well trained overseers to replace? That is how much leeway they have in whatever equivalent they find to human bureaucrats with small amounts of power.

Could they develop superintellegent AGI? Depends wholly on their brains architecture, and their skill with artificial selection. Not enough data to predict.

Is this society evil? It is very slightly possible that it is not. I mean, I know some autistic people who on occasion wish to be cut off from their bodies during sensory somatic issues. Ehh, cloning aspies who are afraid of touching is kind of evil if it's just as easy to clone aspies who aren't afraid of touching.

Comment by spriteless on Alien neuropunk slaver civilizations · 2015-06-17T14:47:27.272Z · LW · GW

That got handwaved away in the third paragraph of the op in order to force this to be a moral dilemma rather than an engineering one.

Comment by spriteless on Short Story: Quarantine · 2015-06-10T04:07:59.277Z · LW · GW

Meta: You might want to tag this as fiction so it is searchable later.

Comment by spriteless on Agency is bugs and uncertainty · 2015-06-08T18:55:12.421Z · LW · GW

I would argue that Theologians have used the wide idea-space of their mythology to cover a lot of questions some of which also applicable outside of their theology.

I mean, it's not as though religion has a monopoly on that idea. It is mentioned in the article how it has applications in any care-taking role.

Now if you can find someone talking about the possibility of a virgin getting pregnant through her ear or nose, that I will grant you is pretty unique to Christianity in specific time periods when social mores say pregnancy is good, vaginas are bad, and virginity is good..

Comment by spriteless on Can we talk about mental illness? · 2015-03-11T21:33:13.267Z · LW · GW

I guess that disclaimer was a bit of a cached reaction, since the main forum where I talk about mental illness issues is Tumblr, and I need to explain that I know I'm not omnecient on Tumblr, and can't prescribe treatments better than the people it would effect, just suggest ideas.

I did catch the extra disclaimer that you are not to use cognitave therapy on other people without their consent or knowledge, because in lw I expect you already know that and I won't get status from pointing out that people have, like, agency and stuff. You can't just do things to people. Wow. So much friendship for hitting such a low bar of decency. All the applause lights. Ramble ramble ramble.

Comment by spriteless on Can we talk about mental illness? · 2015-03-09T04:21:43.671Z · LW · GW

Just getting rid of stuff is one way to stop a trigger. Building up a way to deal with it is another. Like, you could come up with a plan for your finances, and practice bringing up your finances and saying that plan, so you build another association with your finances that isn't a loop of anxious thoughts. Like role-play therapy, where you plan out and practice your reactions to someone saying something before hand.

I am assuming a heluvalot about you with that advice though, sorry if that doesn't even make sense.

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 117 · 2015-03-09T03:43:28.119Z · LW · GW

I talked about just dismembering their arms before the chapter was even posted. I suppose them surviving would mean Harry can't make up a ridiculus story after the fact, though. HJPEV Gotta do an overly complicated plots that cost others more than he realizes at the time or else he just isn't HJPEV. >_>

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T23:50:42.384Z · LW · GW

Indeed, I had assumed that was what Lord V did to hold the school hostage, but it seems that doesn't mesh with how transfigurations are made permanant.

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T16:38:47.141Z · LW · GW

Transfer something into non-toxic gas, wait for everyone to inhale it, then dispel the transfiguration. It's faster.

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T15:34:41.507Z · LW · GW

I have read several reviews on, and posts here, that say Harry will transfigure a very thin knife out of the tip of his wand and cut off all the Death Eaters' heads, perhaps while distracting Voldemort with words. While that could happen, I think it would be better for Harry to go for their arms. No arm means no mark, and no pointing wands, but is much easier to survive, especially with magic medicine and the Philosopher's Stone right there!. Actually, Harry could transmute enough phosphorus to burn so bright as to blind everyone behind him that he cannot see and aim at, and cut off the arms of everyone else for maximum survivability. Hmm, he'd have to permanant the phosphorus transfiguration anyways, though, since he doesn't want any bits of inhaled smoke to turn into wood inside people's cells. Sheeze this is complicated...

And it makes Wizarding wars as deadly-scorched-earth as Muggle wars. This has been a theme of the story, so it works that way too. If I can't think of any more improvements and I don't see any suggestions here I'll post this on tomorrow morning.

I don't want Draco to lose his daddy by his best friend...

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-22T04:55:50.948Z · LW · GW

I decided to collect the stuff about these recent updates that confuse me, and when added together two were in the shape of a theory!

"Dumbledore was quite correct," Professor Quirrell said, shaking his head as though in wonderment. "He was also an utter fool to leave the Hogwarts Map in the possession of those two idiots. I had an unpleasant shock after I recovered the Map; it showed my name and yours correctly! The Weasley idiots had thought it a mere malfunction, especially after you received your Cloak and your Time-Turner. If Dumbledore had kept the Map himself - if the Weasleys had ever spoken of it to Dumbledore - but they did not, thankfully."

Even Quirrell is confused! Wow!

So... Dumbledore did know all along, just like cannon, and sent the map to the twins for plausible deniability. He can get away with that because he doesn't mind when people think him a fool. And he really needs Querrellmort to think of him as ignorant so he will play the role perfectly... well Voldemort said he could play chess.

In the last thread roystgnr wrote

Harry figures out Quirrell's identity almost immediately after Snape casts some sort of "Dispel Magical Confusion", yet the only character who would have the knowledge and incentive to magically confuse Harry about this is Quirrell himself, who seems to be incapable of directly using magic on Harry or Harry's magic.

That is totally something I wouldn't have figured out on my own. Well, the first part. I had just put that up to Harry not wanting to see ill of his friend, but magical obfuscation makes sense too. Oh, but someone else had the knowledge if the first theory is right. Someone who used Legilimancy on Harry in chapter 19 and that's just when Harry found out about it!

Comment by spriteless on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T04:24:15.004Z · LW · GW

If Voldemort (or whatever created both Voldemort and Harry) consideres Potter the same person as himself, then "I do not intend to raisse my hand or magic againsst you in future, sso long ass you do not raisse your hand or magic againsst me." is a tautology and always true.

Comment by spriteless on Is there a rationalist skill tree yet? · 2015-01-30T20:38:09.336Z · LW · GW

Ancedotal Evidence suggests that the first, most important skill, is being able to admit you are wrong. Taken to far though, and it results in an useless humble platitudes. Paired with being able to look at the universe around you to find what is right, I think it is enough enough to recreate everything. I would go so far as to say that Bayes' Theorem is just a mathematical formalization of those two ideas.

Comment by spriteless on Is Kiryas Joel an Unhappy Place? · 2013-12-22T18:16:39.561Z · LW · GW

My first thought was that if everyone with a low happiness level had already committed suicide it would bump up the average happiness. I mean, the dead don't answer those polls.

Killing the unhappy to make sure everyone is happy is an amoral solution, is my conclusion from a utilitarian perspective. Yep. Don't do that. Engineering peeps with higher happiness set points seems the moral counterpart, but we can't do that yet.

Comment by spriteless on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2012-03-26T19:29:14.010Z · LW · GW

stack exchange network too.

Comment by spriteless on Calibrate your self-assessments · 2012-03-25T21:31:54.520Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the link. I have been reading peoples faces for awhile, but there's a second or so of lag, and I can miss things.

Comment by spriteless on Hearsay, Double Hearsay, and Bayesian Updates · 2012-02-18T00:58:50.522Z · LW · GW

It seems it is ensuring at each link no one has motivation to report wrongly, rather than noone would mess up.

Comment by spriteless on The Substitution Principle · 2012-02-07T20:11:25.408Z · LW · GW

That's like saying people are being too rational. Get better at second guessing. Get better at being rational.

Comment by spriteless on Rationality quotes January 2012 · 2012-01-04T22:13:49.256Z · LW · GW

Inadvertent trolling is impossible, trolling is in intent. If your own reaction is similar to being trolled, it is a the genuine emotions trolls try to create through dishonest means... also it makes it seem like you are trying to paint yourself the victim which would make a real troll happy but a non-troll sad. Well, it would also make someone who dislikes you happy, and someone who wants two way communication without signaling that you are wounded and deserve special reprimands sad. I don't want to make you angry, I want to have a conversation.

The magick hypothesis can be tested, can't it? I mean, at this point it seems to me either magick is false, or there is a conspiracy to prevent it from being proven true, like all the White Wolf World of Darkness games have. Some settings have several competing conspiracies to keep the masses ignorant of the nature of reality, some have a big monolithic one. It affects the availability of that hypothesis, for me, at least.

If bits of magic were already discovered and incorporated into science, would that count for the skeptics or magicks? The way herbalism and alchemy have been eaten up by chemistry, skeptics kept pace with the abilities traditionally handled by wise old people and shared the knowledge for many. If, say, life auras were found, skeptics would want to use the knowledge of that too. If auras do not respond to machines we can build, we'll train animals, like aura sniffing dogs as well as gunpowder and drug sniffing ones we already have. The fact that it looks like we are using familiars to find poisons does not deter us now.

What, exactly, is it that makes skeptics so infuriating? Is it mostly the way to point out a link to someone saying something snarky and then walk away, instead of conversing? I know I find that infuriating when someone says something snarky and acts like the conversation is over. I can't sit through creationism movies sometimes without wanting to punch through the internet when they make a joke about apes having human chests and leaving the subject implying because it's funny then it is not a valid point that humans and apes are related lets move on. rage rage rage...

Hello welcome to less wrong please don't mind if we obsess and fail to notice you're upset like aspies it is the culture here. :P

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes December 2011 · 2011-12-11T01:15:37.493Z · LW · GW

So is this to differentiate the n-dimensional calculus used to model quantum phenomena from the reality of a laboratory?

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes December 2011 · 2011-12-07T22:52:06.770Z · LW · GW

You know, in Middle School choir I had hymns alongside this song. It was actually the first time I thought about being an atheist on purpose, not just through neglecting to go to church.

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes December 2011 · 2011-12-07T15:34:19.535Z · LW · GW

So it is a fail in both effectiveness and efficiency.

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes November 2011 · 2011-11-12T03:49:51.601Z · LW · GW

Face your fears or they will climb over your back - Odrade in Frank Herbert’s Chapterhouse: Dune

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes November 2011 · 2011-11-12T01:46:34.836Z · LW · GW

I find that some of the charts used to plan software and to turn English into logical constructs match my thoughts more closely than the English itself.

Comment by spriteless on Best Nonfiction Writing on Less Wrong · 2011-11-03T20:22:04.352Z · LW · GW

most useful

Comment by spriteless on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey · 2011-11-02T02:33:05.276Z · LW · GW

Took it. It's been awhile since my last IQ test so I did not answer that one, and I don't think I'm gonna be in the top 50% at all.

Comment by spriteless on A few analogies to illustrate key rationality points · 2011-10-19T02:51:12.327Z · LW · GW

"What's further north of the north pole" is easier to say than "perception of time is a function of entropy, we just have more memories in the direction of greater entropy, the big bang is like how a sphere gets taller quickest on the leftmost point going right."

Comment by spriteless on Calibrate your self-assessments · 2011-10-12T19:31:51.275Z · LW · GW

You know, not sensing people's emotions from their faces is seeming less like a handicap and more like I am immune to illusions every time I hear about the biases most people have. Then I realize I don't expect people to be feeling something unless they tell me anyways, and that's potentially just as inaccurate. Then I realize I might not be compensating exactly enough, and worry recursively.

Comment by spriteless on Your inner Google · 2011-09-16T17:43:41.975Z · LW · GW

It's nice to have some backing on why not to ask "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Comment by spriteless on Doing medical research with (a lot) of personal money [link] · 2011-09-07T17:17:22.957Z · LW · GW

I wonder what he would have spent the money on otherwise...

Comment by spriteless on Vanilla and chocolate and preference judgements · 2011-04-19T15:01:38.321Z · LW · GW

My rule of the house is 'if it bothers you, clean it up' specifically to avoid calling others lazy.

Comment by spriteless on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-08T22:36:47.319Z · LW · GW

This site is not the only center of rationality. =)

Comment by spriteless on The Sword of Good · 2011-01-10T03:25:53.587Z · LW · GW

Wah, but... how can people not see that Tyrant Hope Hubris becomes evil?

Gur tubfg bs Qernzre cerqvpgf uvf snyy! Gur glenag uvzfrys cbvagf vg bhg uvzfrys juvyr vapbtavgb! Uvf rfgenatrq jvsr gur fnzr, nsgrejneqf! Cvref Nagubal rira anzrq uvz Ubcr Uhoevf!

Anyways, if you can stand Piers Anthony it is an OK read.

Comment by spriteless on I · 2011-01-08T23:45:17.743Z · LW · GW

I've only read of one utopia that is not worse than that by design.

Comment by spriteless on What I've learned from Less Wrong · 2010-11-23T13:21:41.272Z · LW · GW

I learned that humans are all very alike.

I learned that natural selection uses up diversity.

I learned some more graceful words and arguments for what I wanted than I had. For instance, previously I explained that I think about religion logically because I used to be Catholic and we do that, now I can say that it is because logic is useful for thinking about everything and tell people my backstory later if they ask.

I learned that emotion and rationality are not enemies. Vulcans we are not.

I learned that normally rational people will take sides in emotional name calling once you blame them. Much like everyone else. (See most any mention of gender.)

Comment by spriteless on The Dark Arts - Preamble · 2010-10-12T20:29:28.860Z · LW · GW

Dark Arts done right... people need to get used to being manipulated a little to at least get the feel of it happening, or to learn a bit of it if that doesn't work. Experience as a net troll does wonders to keep me from getting riled up. But honesty does not have the least collateral damage trolling does.

Comment by spriteless on Attention Lurkers: Please say hi · 2010-04-30T02:18:19.472Z · LW · GW

k, hi