Posts

Type-safeness in Shell 2019-05-12T11:30:00.680Z · score: 7 (3 votes)
Hull: An alternative to shell that I'll never have time to implement 2019-04-28T07:40:00.528Z · score: 12 (5 votes)
On the Nature of Programming Languages 2019-04-22T10:50:00.862Z · score: 17 (9 votes)
The Politics of Age (the Young vs. the Old) 2019-03-24T06:40:04.359Z · score: 11 (5 votes)
Muqaata'a by Fahad Himsi (I.) 2019-03-10T15:10:00.962Z · score: 16 (10 votes)
Programmatic Code Generation: Composability 2019-03-02T22:50:06.865Z · score: 6 (2 votes)
Lydian song 2019-02-25T20:50:01.088Z · score: 7 (4 votes)
Tiles: Report on Programmatic Code Generation 2019-02-22T00:10:04.593Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
Graceful Shutdown 2019-02-16T11:30:00.927Z · score: 10 (5 votes)
Structured Concurrency Cross-language Forum 2019-02-10T09:20:00.779Z · score: 12 (5 votes)
Confessions of an Abstraction Hater 2019-01-27T05:50:01.066Z · score: 12 (11 votes)
Announcement: A talk about structured concurrency at FOSDEM 2018-12-30T10:10:00.836Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
State Machines and the Strange Case of Mutating API 2018-12-24T05:50:00.599Z · score: 8 (3 votes)
Equivalence of State Machines and Coroutines 2018-12-18T04:40:00.750Z · score: 12 (4 votes)
On Rigorous Error Handling 2018-11-17T09:20:00.753Z · score: 13 (6 votes)
Two Approaches to Structured Concurrency 2018-10-31T16:20:01.467Z · score: 18 (6 votes)
Unikernels: No Longer an Academic Exercise 2018-10-23T11:40:00.926Z · score: 29 (11 votes)
Update on Structured Concurrency 2018-10-19T11:10:01.179Z · score: 38 (10 votes)
Coordination Problems in Evolution: The Rise of Eukaryotes 2018-10-15T06:18:47.576Z · score: 46 (14 votes)
Coordination Problems in Evolution: Eigen's Paradox 2018-10-12T12:40:10.675Z · score: 96 (40 votes)
One-person Universe 2018-10-09T20:10:00.997Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Anti-social Punishment 2018-09-27T07:08:56.362Z · score: 182 (99 votes)
Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons 2018-05-25T13:17:21.981Z · score: 156 (57 votes)
Soviet-era Jokes, Common Knowledge, Irony 2018-05-12T10:52:31.293Z · score: 31 (7 votes)
Research: Rescuers during the Holocaust 2018-04-30T06:15:40.659Z · score: 66 (16 votes)

Comments

Comment by sustrik on Recent updates to gwern.net (2017–2019) · 2019-04-29T05:48:50.122Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"On the Existence of Powerful Natural Languages": Have you read Umberto Eco's "The Search for the Perfect Language"? It's a pretty good history of the past efforts to create powerful artificial languages, from Raymon Lull to John Wilkins etc.

Comment by sustrik on Hull: An alternative to shell that I'll never have time to implement · 2019-04-28T20:07:28.585Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thank's for the reference!

Comment by sustrik on On the Nature of Programming Languages · 2019-04-23T05:02:14.735Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

AFAIU, your argument is that a super-human intelligence can look at the program as a whole, be aware that both hind legs need to be the same length and can modify the code at both places to satisfy the constraint.

While imaginable, in the real world I don't see this happening except for toy examples (say, an academic exercise of writing a toy sorting algorithm). Actual software projects are big and modified by many actors, each with little understanding of the whole. Natural selection is performed by a, from human point of view, completely mindless entity. Same for genetic algorithms and, possibly, ML.

The point I was trying to make that in such a piecemal, uninformed development, some patters may emerge that are, in a way, independent of the type of the development process (human-driven, evolution, etc.)

Comment by sustrik on The Politics of Age (the Young vs. the Old) · 2019-03-24T20:33:10.570Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A skin-in-the-game vote multiplier based on age

There are two opposing ways to think about it.

You can either, as you do, say that your skin-in-the-game is proportional to the amount of time you have in front of you. From that perspective it seems fair that children should have biggest say in shaping long-term policies.

Or you can say that your skin-in-the-game factor is proprotional to how much you've already invested in the status quo. If you've spent 50 years working towards a goal it seems unfair that a 16-year old know-nothing should be able, on a whim, to throw all of that away.

Comment by sustrik on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-30T20:06:33.064Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Funny that I had exactly the same thought when writing the comment above: Isn't that just OCD? But if you look at concrete examples, it doesn't feel like that. Einstein? Incapable of accepting easy solutions? Yes. OCD? Probably not. Even van Gogh, despite the host of psychological problems, probably haven't had OCD.

Comment by sustrik on What makes people intellectually active? · 2018-12-30T08:50:15.278Z · score: 13 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think it has to do with intellectual honesty. There's a lot of highly intelligent people who are willing to accept the status quo, even if they are aware that it's broken, and just move on with their life. Then there are some people who are just psychologically incapable of such "ignore it and move on" attitude. Interestingly, this applies across broad spectrum of disciplines.

Science: A former kind of person does all the steps from a scientific method textbook and move on with their research. The latter kind of person won't be able to avoid thinking about why the method is as it is, whether its rationale matches their experiment, whether there are special circumstances that make the method inadequate and so on.

Engineering: The former type of person would just take existing tools and practices, glue them together and get a viable product. The latter kind of person will agonize over corner cases, whether there's a fundamentally different way of doing the same thing, whether the design is internally consistent and so on.

Arts: The former type of person is a mannerist. They use the existing expressive repertoire of their time and use it to create viable art. The latter kind of person cannot avoid seeing the problems with the current style, trying different ways of addressing them, getting back to basics and so on. Think van Gogh, for example.

Comment by sustrik on Coordination Problems in Evolution: The Rise of Eukaryotes · 2018-12-30T06:39:55.052Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Does that matter that much? The life had to originate somewhere and it, presumably, must have faced the same coordination problems along the way.

Comment by sustrik on Coordination Problems in Evolution: Eigen's Paradox · 2018-12-30T06:37:48.093Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I own the book. However, I am not a biologist, so writing about the topic is hard for me. By focusing fully on the original book I have a reliable lead. If I had to compile from multiple sources, it would be much easier for me to go astray.

Anyway, if you'd like to write about the new developments, I would love to link that from this article.

Comment by sustrik on Spaghetti Towers · 2018-12-22T06:12:07.866Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · LW · GW

“Can you just straighten out the yellow one without touching any of the others? Thanks.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve#Evidence_of_evolution

Comment by sustrik on Spaghetti Towers · 2018-12-22T06:07:05.614Z · score: 17 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Some more examples here: https://mikehadlow.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-lava-layer-anti-pattern.html

Comment by sustrik on Coordination Problems in Evolution: Eigen's Paradox · 2018-11-09T06:40:09.025Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. I shall edit the article to make that clear.

Comment by sustrik on Coordination Problems in Evolution: The Rise of Eukaryotes · 2018-11-02T15:34:39.090Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's an eerie similarity between an old software project and a inner working of a living organism. You see all these pieces that were serving some purpose in the past, then they were abandoned and repurposed, the changes are layered one on top of another without removing the vestiges of the old design first and so on.

I've written a small essay on the topic once: http://250bpm.com/blog:51

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-23T05:18:11.700Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fair point!

Comment by sustrik on Update on Structured Concurrency · 2018-10-22T11:56:32.343Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's just like replacing goto with while/for/if back in 60's. Not a big deal technically. Big deal in the terms of abstraction. Also, don't think about about OS threads. Every time there's a state machine somewhere it's just a green thread in disguise.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-19T00:40:22.051Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Nice idea. Maybe all the tokens should start in the pool and the players should have an option to withdraw them. I guess that would make people feel more explicitly "anti-social" if they did so.

Comment by sustrik on [deleted post] 2018-10-16T20:27:50.632Z

Thanks for fixing that!

Comment by sustrik on [deleted post] 2018-10-16T05:59:55.021Z

I had reposting from my site turned on recently. But this article haven't made it through (maybe because it contained tables?) So I've posted it by hand. Then the reposting pipeline caught up and posted it again. I would delete one of the two but there seems to be no delete button.

Comment by sustrik on Coordination Problems in Evolution: The Rise of Eukaryotes · 2018-10-15T09:34:28.195Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Which one specifically? I can look up the references for you.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-04T14:44:11.210Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I've replied to a wrong thread.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-04T05:14:10.935Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I am based in Zurich, won't be able to come next week :/ But you are right, this topic could get toxic if discussed among strangers.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-04T05:12:57.766Z · score: 3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think the main point in that regard is that the study doesn't distinguish between punishing cooperators because they are cooperators and punishing cooperators as a proxy for punishing punishers.

I, as well as some commenters on this thread, feel that the former phenomenon may exist, but yeah, it's based on feelings and folk wisdom. It may also well be that if given identity of punishers the players would punish punishers and leave non-punishing cooperators alone.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-03T23:19:21.630Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The original study has something to say about ingroups/outgroups. It's not exactly the same thing as the one we are discussing here but still:

Punishment may be also related to in-group–out-group distinctions (37) because people might retaliate if punished by an out-group member (38). Societies also differ in the extent to which their social structures are governed by in-group–out-group distinctions. For instance, according to some cross-cultural psychologists (15, 39) in “collectivist” societies many interactions are confined to close-knit social networks, whereas in “individualistic” societies interactions are more permeable across social groups. Because in our experiment all participants were strangers to one another, people in collectivist societies might be more inclined than people in individualistic societies to perceive other participants as out-group members. Therefore, antisocial punishment might be stronger in collectivist than in individualistic societies. Our evidence is consistent with this possibility because in regressions similar to those of Table 2 antisocial punishment is highly significantly correlated with a widely used societal level measure of individualism-collectivism (15) (table S10).

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-03T05:26:08.051Z · score: 32 (11 votes) · LW · GW

You are living in Soviet Union. Your father was sent to gulag, your mother was fired from her job in academia and sent to plow the tselina. You are being harrassed by the secret police. Then you meet a stachanovite who fulfilled the government plan to 200%. That guy is clearly a cooperator, producing more stuff you could benefit from, but you suddenly feel an irresistible urge to punch him in the nose.

I don't fully understand the mechanism on the theoretical level myself, but it seems to have something to do with the assumptions about authority. If you assume that authority is naturally malevolent you are going to try to oppose it. "This is not my game. This is a game set up by the authorities. By those scientist guys. What can I possibly do to disrupt it?" Punishing cooperators seems to be an obvious way to do that.

Possibly related phenomena:

  • Lizardmen syndrome.
  • Boaty McBoatface syndrome.
  • Some kids being disruptive in school, just for disruption's sake.
Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-03T04:46:58.193Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I've seen you are planning a meetup in Bratislava. Maybe it would be worth discussing the topic. Maybe people would come up with possible motivations we haven't even thought of.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-03T04:22:19.620Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW · GW

If there are any readers from Middle East or Greece I would also appreciate their thoughts on the phenomenon. It may be that the mechanism differs between regions.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-10-02T06:48:53.998Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not a native speaker. I wanted it to be offensive but not to the extent where you would have to kill the offender and whole his family to restore the honor. Changed to "moron".

Comment by sustrik on Leto among the Machines · 2018-10-01T06:26:40.282Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I like the framing of the problem here: If a bureaucrat (or lawyer) acts on fully specified set of rules and exercises no personal judgement then they can be replaced by a machine. If they don't want to be replaced by a machine they should be able to prove that their personal judgement is indispensable.

That changes incentives for bureaucrats in quite a dramatic fashion.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-09-30T05:50:43.344Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So we have two different explanations here:

You are saying that the participants considered the experiment to be a private pro-social activity and as such, one opposed to the state. By punishing cooperators they were signalling their loyalty to the state.

I am saying that participants considered the experiment to be a state-run enterprise and the pro-social punishment to mean complicity with the (unfair) state. By punishing cooperators they were trying to disable state's coercive mechanisms.

Those are almost exactly opposite explanations. I wonder if me can think of an experiment that would distinguish between the two?

I guess it would require to somehow trick the subjects into believing that they can form a coalition against the researchers. A kind of anti-Milgram experiment.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-09-28T12:28:48.893Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you mean in game theory, there's the " common knowledge" concept.

If you mean in sociology, there was a ton of research done on the "social capital" some of which you would probably consider to be about the network effects.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-09-28T06:34:05.636Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting point about the attitude to games. However, I guess the boundary between a game and reality may be fuzzy. People trading on stock exchange may treat it as a game. People planning a war may treat it as a game.

You may be right about the norms of social norms though. If you look how the authors measured civic cooperation it looks more like "trust in the state" metric. From the paper: "social norms are norms of civic cooperation as they are expressed in people’s attitudes to tax evasion, abuse of the welfare state, or dodging fares on public transport".

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-09-27T20:15:45.001Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would that reasoning apply to all societies around the world, including those in the West? If it does, it's unlikely to explain the differences between the societies.

Comment by sustrik on Anti-social Punishment · 2018-09-27T20:13:31.686Z · score: 11 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I've just noticed that Dnipropetrovsk, Muscat, Minsk and Riyadh did better than Western countries in the public goods game without punishment. It may be a statistical fluke, but may it be that those societies are optimized for getting cooperative behaviour in the absence of enforcement mechanisms?

Comment by sustrik on Zetetic explanation · 2018-08-27T15:34:13.273Z · score: 12 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Programmers are often advised to write comments in the code about the intent, what they wanted the code to do, rather than about what the code does.

When you think about it, it makes sense. The code already does what it does, no need to write about that. However, what is the code supposed to do is often unclear, especially when the code is buggy.

This is kind of similar to the yeast example above. The rule is to explain why not how.

To give another example, I am trying to learn statistical mechanics. Not to memorize it but to actually grok it. And it turns out that staring at the equations doesn't help much. I am planning to look into its history to understand what kinds of problems were fathers of thermodynamics trying to solve (something to do with steam engines, I guess) to understand why that specific kind of thinking about the topic is useful.

Comment by sustrik on How Roman Emperors Handled The Succession Problem · 2018-08-18T09:31:59.086Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One thought that comes to mind is that the monarch has not only to appoint a credible successor, but also discredit any other potential successors. Check the story of the son of Peter the Great, who was effectively killed by his father to prevent potential succession conflicts in the future: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Petrovich,_Tsarevich_of_Russia

Another related topic is preferential cross-cousin marriage which is well known from anthropology. I've written about it here, albeit in a bit different context: http://250bpm.com/blog:92

Comment by sustrik on Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons · 2018-08-18T09:22:27.663Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Any tips on other literature on the subject?

Comment by sustrik on Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons · 2018-07-12T19:39:46.868Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't want to put words in Ostrom's mouth but my understanding is that this has to do with scaling.

The system works if it's not too big or volatile, in other words, if everyone knows each other. You can easily imagine how the resource would be depleted if random people just showed up and started extracting it.

To scale, there's a different rule (the last one) which calls for hierarchical organization. In case of the irrigation system there's a group of people using the same distributory canal. That's a closed group, no stragers allowed. However, for problems they can't solve themselves they can coordinate with groups in control of other distributory canals.

Comment by sustrik on Prisoners' Dilemma with Costs to Modeling · 2018-06-24T17:03:45.301Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That reminded me of a paper where they evaluate bots with with memory (that comes at a cost): https://cse.msu.edu/~dolsonem/pdfs/prisoners_dilemma_memory.pdf

The interesting intersection here is that memory can be used as a cache, thus avoiding need for re-modeling.

Comment by sustrik on Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons · 2018-06-24T14:31:17.839Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As for the accuracy of the book: There's not much quantitative data overall. The mode that Ostrom operates in is rather to show a lot of examples, then try to make some (pretty lightweight) generalizations. The last chapter introduces a model for researching coordination problems, but once again, it's nothing quantitative, more like a set of hints about what things and relationships to look at.

All in all, the book may not be very useful to get exact numbers but it may help to generate more conceptual surface area, give more structure to the problem of coordination failures beyond the naive "tragedy of the commons" parables.

Comment by sustrik on Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons · 2018-06-24T02:30:25.319Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There was a relatively long chapter on that, but not much quantitative data. In many cases policing was done by the stakeholders themselves, for instance, by rotating duty for the young men from the village who could then keep the fines they've collected.

Comment by sustrik on Decoupling vs Contextualising Norms · 2018-05-27T06:41:04.415Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't it just the distinction between how facts are used in scientific discourse (you state a fact, expect it to be confirmed or challenged) vs. how they are used in political discourse (carefully select other fact to augment it and suit your political narrative)? I guess Umberto Eco would have had something to say about that.

Comment by sustrik on Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons · 2018-05-25T20:12:41.176Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! Fixed.

Comment by sustrik on Research: Rescuers during the Holocaust · 2018-05-01T05:13:29.171Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's the entire story, as recorder by Yad Vashem, nothing about food/money though:

The carpenter Jonas Paulavičius lived in Panemune, a suburb of Kaunas, just across the Niemon River, with his wife, Antanina Paulavičienė, and their children, 16-year-old Danutė and 14-year-old Kęstutis. An ardent opponent of the Nazi regime, Jonas Paulavičius had developed close ties with Lithuanian communists before the war. When a Lithuanian friend approached him one day and asked him to shelter a four-year-old Jewish boy, Paulavičius willingly agreed. After consulting his wife, Paulavičius took the child, Shimele Shames, into his home and later decided also to give shelter to his parents, Yitzhak and Lena Shames and his grandmother. Together with his son Kęstutis, Paulavičius dug a hiding place under the floor of his home, where the Shameses hid. Aware of the distress of the Jews interned in the Kaunas ghetto, Paulavičius decided to save as many as possible. He began arranging meetings with Jews in the ghetto and inviting them to hide in his home. At the same time, the Paulavičiuses expanded the room under their home, and towards the end of the German occupation, they prepared an additional hiding place. Among the 12 Jews hiding there were the four members of the Shames family, including grandmother Feinsilver; the doctors Tania and Chaim Ipp; Aharon Neimark and his wife, Mania (later Gershenman); David Rubin; Yohanan Fein; as well as Miriam Krakinowski, and Riva Katavushnik, whom Paulavičius managed to save from a labor camp just before it was liquidated. Even after the war, Paulavičius managed to obtain a large sum of money for the Neimarks, to enable them to leave Lithuania and immigrate to Israel. In 1952, Paulavičius was murdered by his antisemitic neighbor, who never forgave him helping Jews during the occupation.

Comment by sustrik on Research: Rescuers during the Holocaust · 2018-04-30T12:54:52.944Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I guess if cognitive dissonance would stop effecting people, they would start following different incentives, those that are currently drowned out by the dissonance, whatever they may be.