Comment by thescoundrel on Critiques of the heuristics and biases tradition · 2013-03-20T18:40:58.674Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

So, you no box on Newcomb's Problem? :)

Comment by thescoundrel on Overcoming bias guy meme | quickmeme · 2013-03-14T17:11:28.250Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My apologies, I was meaning a more general "you", as in "the person who uses this phrase". Not directed at you you, just the common you, and you are certainly not the you I meant for "you" to refer to.

Comment by thescoundrel on Overcoming bias guy meme | quickmeme · 2013-03-14T17:09:40.019Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough- I should have chosen a clearer example.

Comment by thescoundrel on Overcoming bias guy meme | quickmeme · 2013-03-14T14:46:45.702Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My complaint is that is either a euphemism for autistic (in which case, just say autistic- if that feel "Squicky", re-evaluate your statement), or it is so vague as to lose all meaning- someone with bi-polar disorder is non-neurotypical, but is no more likely to have made these than anyone else.

If you do mean specifically autistic, you may want to broaden your understanding of autism. Autism is not standard, it can present in many, many ways, including many that would not create this type of image. The images are indicative of a poor grasp of humor, and a poor grasp of the original subject matter, but I do not see a higher probability for an autistic person to create these against the general population.

Comment by thescoundrel on Caelum est Conterrens: I frankly don't see how this is a horror story · 2013-03-07T00:16:28.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If that's the case, then I stand by my original point, if not to its extreme conclusion.

Comment by thescoundrel on Caelum est Conterrens: I frankly don't see how this is a horror story · 2013-03-06T16:41:02.714Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah- I read the preview version, I think that bit was added later. Thanks :)

Comment by thescoundrel on MetaMed: Evidence-Based Healthcare · 2013-03-06T15:57:20.217Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Wow- that is former MTG Pro Zvi, one of the best innovators in the game during his time. Awesome to see him involved in something like this.

Comment by thescoundrel on Caelum est Conterrens: I frankly don't see how this is a horror story · 2013-03-06T15:35:47.669Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The biggest horror aspect for me (also from the original) was that (rot13) nal aba-uhzna vagryyvtrapr unf ab punapr. Aba-uhzna vagryyvtrag yvsr trgf znqr vagb pbzchgebavhz, gb srrq gur rire tebjvat cbal fcurer. Vg vf gur gbgny trabpvqr bs rirel aba-uhzna enpr.

Comment by thescoundrel on Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013 · 2013-01-09T19:30:45.850Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think that is fighting the hypothetical.

That's possible, but I am not sure how I am fighting it in this case. Leave Omega in place- why do we assume equal probability of omega guessing incorrectly or correctly, when the hypothetical states he has guessed correctly each previous time? If we are not assuming that, why does cdc treat each option as equal, and then proceed to open two boxes?

I realize that decision theory is about a general approach to solving problems- my question is, why are we not including the probability based on past performance in our general approach to solving problems, or if we are, why are we not doing so in this case?

Comment by thescoundrel on [Discussion] The Kelly criterion and consequences for decision making under uncertainty · 2013-01-06T08:15:50.326Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I made a comment early this week on a thread discussing the lifespan dilemma, and how it appears to untangle it somewhat. I had intended to see if it helped clarify other similar issues, but haven't done so yet. I would be interested in feedback- it seems possible the I have completely misapplied it in this case.

Comment by thescoundrel on Open Thread, January 1-15, 2013 · 2013-01-05T15:05:34.836Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If in Newcomb's problem you replace Omega with James Randi, suddenly everyone is a one-boxer, as we assume there is some slight of hand involved to make the money appear in the box after we have made the choice. I am starting to wonder if Newcomb's problem is just simple map and territory- do we have sufficient evidence to believe that under any circumstance where someone two-boxes, they will receive less money than a one box? If we table the how it is going on, and focus only on the testable probability of whether Randi/Omega is consistently accurate, we can draw conclusions on whether we live in a universe where one boxing is profitable or not. Eventually, we may even discover the how, and also the source of all the money that Omege/Randi is handing out, and win. Until then, like all other natural laws that we know but don't yet understand, we can still make accurate predictions.

Comment by thescoundrel on Some scary life extension dilemmas · 2013-01-04T04:45:21.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interestingly, I discovered the Lifespan Dilemma due to this post. While not facing a total breakdown of my ability to do anything else, it did consume an inordinate amount of my thought process.

The question looks like an optimal betting problem- you have a limited resource, and need to get the most return. According to the Kelly Criterion, the optimal percentage of your total bankroll looks like f*=(p(b-1)+1)/b, where p is the probability of success, and b is the return per unit risked. The interesting thing here is that for very large values of b, the percentage of bankroll to be risked almost exactly equals the percentage chance of winning. Assuming a bankroll of 100 units and a 20 percent chance of success, you should bet the same amount if b = 1 million or if b = 1 trillion: 20 units.

Eager to apply this to the problem at hand, I decided to plug in the numbers. I then realized I didn't know what the bank roll was in this situation. My first thought was that the bankroll was the expected time left- percent chance of success * time if successful. I think this is the mode that leads to the garden path- every time you increase your time of life if successful, it feels like you have more units to bet with, which means you are willing to spend more on longer odds.

Not satisfied, I attempted to re-frame the question into money. Stating it like this, I have 100$, and in 2 hours I will either have 0$, or 1 million, with an 80% chance of winning. I could trade my 80% chance for a 79% chance of winning 1 trillion. So, now that we are in money, where is my bankroll?

I believe that is the trick- in this question, you are already all in. You have already bet 100% of your bankroll, for an 80% chance of winning- in 2 hours, you will know the outcome of your bet. For extremely high values of b, you should have only bet 80% of your bankroll- you are already underwater. Here is the key point- changing the value of b does not change what you should have bet, or even your bet at all- that's locked in. All you can change is the probability, and you can only make it worse. From this perspective, you should accept no offer that lowers your probability of winning.

Comment by thescoundrel on [Link] "An OKCupid Profile of a Rationalist" · 2012-11-14T18:26:22.825Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My apologies if you felt I was handing out condemnation- it was not my intent at all. As is said, I did not think the reaction I had was the reaction you were aiming for. While upon consideration I don't think there is a valid harm to the OK Cupid posting, I was in no way attempting to say we shouldn't talk about it. I simply was noting that if persuasion is what you are after, there may be a better approach that does not trigger the squick feeling. It is also possible that I am a statistical anomaly in this (although I would say that the number of upvotes I have received is probably evidence to the contrary), and I need to re-calibrate somewhere. In any case, it seems I too need to work on my delivery, as my intended message was not accurately received. I was in competitive debate for many years, and have long since separated my dislike of an argument for my feelings of the person- one of my faults is that I tend to common mind fallacy that trait to everyone, and then be surprised when someone sees my evaluation of what they are saying as a reflection on them as a person as opposed to an evaluation of their argument.

Comment by thescoundrel on [Link] "An OKCupid Profile of a Rationalist" · 2012-11-14T13:01:45.127Z · score: 19 (17 votes) · LW · GW

From my perspective, if you are in a place of prestige and you want to avoid damage to your image, hiding your quirks is maximizes the chance that they will be discovered in a way that precludes you controlling the how it is released. If image malpractice is the issue, keeping this in the open is an inoculation against more damaging future revelation. The trade-off is that you may lose credibility up front. Given EY's eschewing of the "normal" routes to academic success, and the profound strangeness that a some of the ideas we take for granted have at first blush to anyone who hasn't read the sequences, I don't thing OK cupid is doing much damage.

Finally, I noticed when I first read this that the article gave me the squicks. In trying to compare the feeling to a known quantity, I realized it was analogous to when my religious parents would scandalously tell me of a couple who are "shacking up". The feeling of someone sharing psudo-private information in a way that does not explicitly make a value judgement, certainly does implicitly. I rather doubt that was your intention, however, you might want to be aware of the reaction, if it was not intended.

tl,dr; EY's just this guy, you know?

Comment by thescoundrel on Random LW-parodying Statement Generator · 2012-09-12T06:54:21.061Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer Yudkowsky is what acausal sex feels like from the inside.

Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky's pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but counterfactual hugging.

Comment by thescoundrel on Decision Theories, Part 3.5: Halt, Melt and Catch Fire · 2012-08-28T18:52:59.784Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So- does the whole problem go away if instead of trying to deduce what fairbot is going to do with masquerade, we assume that fairbot is going to asses it as if masquerade = the current mask? By ignoring the existence of masquerade in our deduction, we both solve the Gödel inconsistency, while simultaneously ensuring that another AI can easily determine that we will be executing exactly the mask we choose.

Masquerade deduces the outcomes of each of its masks, ignoring its own existence, and chooses the best outcome. Fairbot follows the exact same process, determines what Mask Masquerade is going to use, and then uses that outcome to make its own decision, as if Masquerade were whatever mask it ends up as.I assume Masquerade would check that it is not running against itself, and automatically co-operate if it is, without running the deduction, which would be the other case for avoiding the loop.

Comment by thescoundrel on Decision Theories, Part 3.5: Halt, Melt and Catch Fire · 2012-08-27T15:11:45.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What happens if the masks are spawned as sub processes that are not "aware" of the higher level process monitoring thems? The higher level process can kill off the sub processes and spawn new ones as it sees fit, but the mask processes themselves retain the integrity needed for a fairbot to cooperate with itself.

Comment by thescoundrel on In Defense of Tone Arguments · 2012-07-20T05:30:51.315Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Ahh, that wonderfully embarrassing moment when you realize your small group has been calling Crocker's rules by the wrong name for almost year.

Comment by thescoundrel on In Defense of Tone Arguments · 2012-07-19T21:13:25.189Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A rationalist who doesn't consider the effects of tone when attempting to effect a change in someone's thinking is not dealing in reality. There is a reason Becker's Rules have to be asked for and agreed to, even among rationalists- we are not built to automatically separate tone from content, and there are times when even the most thoughtful of us are personally vulnerable to a harsh tone. We tend to simplify to "two Beysians updating on evidence", but in reality, we have to consider the best way to transmit that message, as well as the outcome of that transmission. Human language is not tightly controlled code- when a change in tone is equivalent to a change in meaning, ignoring tone is the same as ignoring all parentheses in code.

Comment by thescoundrel on Magic players: "How do I lose?" · 2012-07-16T14:11:16.038Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is a very fine line to walk, especially in magic. Finding the places you could have made better decisions, while understanding what decisions you could not have made better with the information you had at the time, is not an easy task- although at my skill level, it is generally easier to assume I made a poor decision and find it.

Comment by thescoundrel on Magic players: "How do I lose?" · 2012-07-16T13:59:37.614Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Probably the best example of how do I win. In this match, the gut reaction would be to use the direct damage spell in hand to clear away one of the creatures, and hope for either a big creature draw, or some other game changing spell. Instead, knowing the ONLY way he could win is if the card on top of his deck is direct damage, he spent the direct damage spell in hand directly at his opponent, and then just flipped over the top card- if you only have one path to victory, you have to ignore all other paths, no matter how tempting, or how much it feels like the wrong play.

Comment by thescoundrel on Group rationality diary, 6/25/12 · 2012-06-26T21:05:46.424Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Realized I was in a slump regarding my band, due to one poor audience response at one show. Changed my focus to a few salient facts- we have turned a (albeit modest) profit for three years, we have three albums, and enough written music for a fourth, and contracts for 25 days of performance already in place. Changed focus into thoughts on how to grow our audience, and whether we would be better suited at comedy clubs instead of bars.

Comment by thescoundrel on Thwarting a Catholic conversion? · 2012-06-18T20:32:36.042Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The world looks pretty scary when we try and look at it as it really is. As much as we try to account for it, at some level we are a function of that which we observe and take in- from that viewpoint, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario where the information you take in becomes skewed along lines that don't mach up with reality. Given enough skewed data, we all make choices that appear irrational from other eyes.

Sadly, none of us rank information told us once as highly as information we "discover" for ourselves. I don't know if the conversion process works like the de-conversion process at all, or if my de-conversion was typical, but the process of moving from an indoctrinated evangelical christian to an out atheist was the work of years, of countless internal dialogues, and of long periods of confusion. In some ways, becoming an atheist meant embracing my confusion- in understanding that clear answers are very rarely present, and even more rarely easy to find. Faced with that, I think I can imagine a process that would sway an atheist mind.

What to do about it? I don't know. Religion provides a certainty, a comfort that atheism seemingly cannot- we cannot right now promise you will live forever, or even longer than the average person with any confidence. We cannot tell you your place in the world, or give you an easy guide to how to live life well. We have half answers, and bits and pieces, and we ask you to take all this uncertainty, and do the best you can with it. That's not an easy way to live life, and I can see how easy it would be to want an escape, into the arms of something more concrete.

Edit: paragraph breaks ahoy!

Comment by thescoundrel on Sneaky Strategies for TDT · 2012-05-25T17:36:59.189Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just for a moment, let us consider TDT as a property. By defining the rules around the TDT property, the question is not whether or not the agent should 1 box or 2 box, the question has become whether the agent can fool Omega in such a way to maximize its utility. As long as we grant that Omega can always simulate TDT correctly, then the choice becomes clear- if omega correctly recognizes the TDT trait, or we are unable to calculate, we one box B, otherwise we two box.

Comment by thescoundrel on How can we get more and better LW contrarians? · 2012-04-19T15:07:25.356Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This reminds me of days in +x debate, where the topic was set in advance, and you were assigned to oppose or affirm each round. Learning to find persuasive arguments for ideas you actually support is not an intuitive skill, but certainly one that can be learned with practice. I, for one, would greatly enjoy +x debate over issues in the less wrong community.

Comment by thescoundrel on Our Phyg Is Not Exclusive Enough · 2012-04-15T20:34:56.976Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's possible- it may be that the cost of doing this effectively is not worth the gain, or that there is a less intensive way to solve this issue. However, I think there could be benefits to a tiered structure- perhaps even have the levels be read only for those not there yet- so everyone can read the high signal to noise, but we still make sure the protect it. I do know there is much evidence to suggest the prestige among even small groups is enough to motivate people to do things that normally would be considered an absurd waste of time.

Comment by thescoundrel on Our Phyg Is Not Exclusive Enough · 2012-04-15T09:59:01.835Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the freemasons have this one solved for us: instead of a passwords, we use interview systems, where people of the level above have to agree that you are ready before you are invited to the next level. Likewise, we make it known that helpful input on the lower levels is one of the prerequisites to gaining a higher level- we incentivise constructive input on the lower tiers, and effectively gate access to the higher tiers.

Comment by thescoundrel on Our Phyg Is Not Exclusive Enough · 2012-04-15T01:42:01.290Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Reading the comments, it feels like the biggest concern is not chasing away the initiates to our phyg. Perhaps tiered sections, where demonstrable knowledge in the last section gains you access to higher levels of signal to noise ratio? Certainly would make our phyg resemble another well known phyg.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-13T03:45:32.215Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I forget that when I listen to it, I have the background of the story and buildup already, so I start with different expectations- perhaps not the best example.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-13T03:44:22.204Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW


Seems very clear at this point that Q. cannot predict Harry's actions, and that he was responsible for Hermione's framing. Truth is entangled, Harry is very clever, especially when not under a time crunch- this seems very likely to me.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-12T17:09:11.040Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here is a quarter tone scale. While the changes are detectable right next to each other, much like sight delivers images based on pre-established patterns, so does hearing. When laid out in this fashion, you can hear the quarter tone differences- although to my ears (and I play music professionally, have spent much time in ear training, and love music theory) there are times it sounds like two of the same note is played successively. Move out of this context, into an interval jump, and while those with good relative pitch may think it sounds "pitchy", your mind fills it in to a close note- this is why singers with actual pitch problems still manage to gain a following. Most people cannot hear slightly wrong notes. However, none of this approaches the complexity of actually trying to sing a quarter tone. The amount of vocal training required to sing quarter tones at will is the work of a master musician- much like the the person who can successfully execute slight of hand at the highest level is someone who spends decades in honing their craft.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-12T14:11:23.329Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The vast majority of humans don't have perfect pitch, so the specific pitch of the note is far less important than the relationships to the notes surrounding them. I agree that he is rather showing off, but unless you spend a very large amount of time ear training, you likely cannot tell when a note is a quarter tone sharp or flat. However, just like there are cycles of notes that always sound amazing together when you run them through variation (see the circle of 5ths), there are notes that sound horrible and jarring. Furthermore, the amount of time it takes to reliable sing quarter tones is ridiculously high- it is something that life long trained musicians cannot do. (Of course there is another discussion about how our formulation of music causes this, but lets set that aside for now.) I think it is far more likely that he has studied a circle of 7th's and 2nd's, or something to that effect- he has created a musical algorithm where the pattern itself is so convoluted, it is not intuitively detected, and the notes/key changes produced so horrible, it wears on the mind.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-12T13:44:33.184Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think you need to even venture into the world of quarter pitches in order to create horrible humming. To give an idea of a song that twists your expectations of keys and time signatures and melodic progression, and breaks it in specific ways to ramp tension, check the epiphany from sweeney todd.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality predictions · 2012-04-12T04:54:06.423Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was thinking a full blown sequel, where part of voldie's plan is revealed, but not near all of it- we resolve the issues surrounding the stone, and perhaps gain some clearer insight into what dumbledore's motivation is, but the war is still on.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T22:50:45.051Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I would think the real key to horrible humming would not be to have it be uniformly horrible, but so close to brilliant that the horrible notes punctuate and pierce the melody so completely that it starts driving you mad- a song filled with unresolved suspensions, minor 2nds where they just should not belong, that then somehow modulate into something which sounds normal just long enough for you to think you are safe, when it collapses again, and the new key is offensive both to the original and to the modulation. This is not just random sounds, this is purposeful song writing, with the intent to unsettle- in my mind, something like sondheim at his most twisted, but without any resolution ever.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T15:41:03.909Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

“People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.” -- The Grim Grotto

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T15:31:15.178Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Just for fun, consider this: Quirrelmort is more likely to be able to produce a true patronus than Dumbledore, as Quirrelmort understands that death should be avoided. Patronus 2.0 as the power the Dark Lord Knows not?

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T15:27:54.166Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

In a rather large "Oh Duh" moment: if Harry knew about the stone, he would insist it be used on everyone. Barring some unforeseen mechanism that prevents its mass use, he would view Dumbledore as Evil for knowing how to keep everyone alive, and not acting on it.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T15:09:35.825Z · score: 3 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Prediction: Harry's investigation to clear Hermione's name leads him to Quirrlemort's true identity.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84 · 2012-04-11T14:12:18.336Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

1.Unless you have supreme power over everyone, you are very likely to need help from other people, and evil inhibits your ability to gain that help.

  1. Evil causes cascade ripples with consequences that are very hard to see- large numbers of people you don't know about having personal vendettas against you, etc.

  2. It is hard to inspire people to your cause with evil- they people you are using must at least think they are acting in accordance with good, and at some level have what we would consider a "good" set of rules for how they deal with each other.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality predictions · 2012-04-10T15:07:59.971Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Possibility that this fiction concludes year one, with Harry and Voldemort still alive, and a second book picks up with year two?

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82 · 2012-04-04T21:22:13.172Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I take a slightly broader view: a device in which the final elements of the piece inspire intense curiosity in the reader/viewer.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-04-04T21:08:38.895Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I phrased that poorly- if her wand wasn't used, then it goes a long way to clearing her name. If it was, then Harry starts tracking down suspects, in order to find the wand that made the memory charm. Either way, its an investigation tool that still hasn't been used.

Comment by thescoundrel on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-04T15:26:00.455Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Genie's Folly

A near omnipotent being is offering you a single wish. It is known that the Genie will attempt to implement the wish in a way the results in a net decrease of utility for the wisher, but is bound by any constraints explicitly written into the wish. Write your wish in such a way that the Genie can only implement it in such a way that you have a net increase in utility. Bonus points if you wish for something related to a current problem you are solving; ie, I wish I ran a successful startup with x following properties, which avoids y pitfalls in z ways.

Comment by thescoundrel on Open Thread, April 1-15, 2012 · 2012-04-03T18:44:51.418Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like Zach Wiener at SMBC might be reading up on FAI.

Comment by thescoundrel on Should logical probabilities be updateless too? · 2012-03-29T19:04:06.502Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Our set of possible worlds comes from somewhere, some sort of criteria. Whatever generates that list passes it to our choice algorithm, which begins branching. Lets say we receive an observation that contains both Logical and Indexical updates- could we not just take our current set of possible worlds, with our current set of data on them, update the list against our logical update, and pass that list on to a new copy of the function? The collection remains fixed as far as each copy of the function is concerned, but retains the ability to update on new information. When finished, the path returned will be the most likely given all new observations.

Comment by thescoundrel on Should logical probabilities be updateless too? · 2012-03-29T16:13:49.306Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I am missing the obvious, but why is this a hard problem? So our protagonist AI has some algorithm to determine if the millionth digit of pi is odd- he cannot run it yet, but he has it. Lets call that function f{}, that returns a 1 if the digit is odd, or a 0 if it is even. He also has some other function like: sub pay_or_no { if (f{}) { pay(1000); }

In this fashion, Omega can verify the algorithm that returns the millionth digit of pi, independently verify the algorithm that pays based on that return, and our protagonist gets his money.

Comment by thescoundrel on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-03-26T14:49:30.822Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

To me, this comes down to what I am trying to learn as my anti-akrasia front kick: I cache the question "Why am I doing what I am doing?". While I lose some amount of focus to the question itself, I have gained key insights into many of my worst habits. For instance, my employer provides free soft drinks- I found that I would end up with multiple, open drinks at my desk. The cached question revealed I was using the action of getting a drink whenever I felt the need to stretch and leave my desk. Browsing reddit too much at work- cached question can catch it. Eventually, when I have affirmative answers for the question, it no longer even draws focus away from the task at hand- it is simply an itch that is easily scratched, as I know I am doing something that accomplishes a larger goal.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-24T00:14:46.020Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but we have now found a thread that we can pull on to start establishing a true map. The truth is entangled- so then we find the student whose wand was stolen, or we start testing the wands of our prime suspects. At the very least, we have introduced an inconsistency in the story- when would Hermione have had the chance to steal a wand? Draco called this dual- are we to now believe that Hermione showed up believing she would be defeated and stole a wand in advance, so she could kill Draco? I don't know if this is enough to forestall the vote, but it certainly is an avenue curiously absent from Harry's thoughts, especially when he is so focused on trying to prove Hermione's innocence- if his Super Dark Side can find this in his memory, I find it hard to believe it would not be of use.

Comment by thescoundrel on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11 · 2012-03-23T21:45:24.200Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Just a piece, but one I haven't seen discussed- why has no one done a Priori Incantatem on Hermione's wand? We know harry knows about it, from clear back in chapter 13:

"Priori Incantatem," said Sprout. She frowned. "That's odd, your wand doesn't seem to have been used at all." Harry shrugged.

I don't know if this is part of Harry's plan, but it is certainly a line of investigation that has not been followed. There is always the possibility that whoever did the memory charm used Hermione's wand to cast the blood chilling hex, but once down that track Harry can start eliminating suspects for the memory charm.