The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster 2020-09-01T21:41:50.143Z
Thomas Kwa's Bounty List 2020-06-13T00:03:41.301Z
What past highly-upvoted posts are overrated today? 2020-06-09T21:25:56.152Z
How to learn from a stronger rationalist in daily life? 2020-05-20T04:55:51.794Z
My experience with the "rationalist uncanny valley" 2020-04-23T20:27:50.448Z
Thomas Kwa's Shortform 2020-03-22T23:19:01.335Z


Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on D&D.Sci May 2021: Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-16T08:01:50.723Z · LW · GW

My fairly low-effort attempt:

My goal here was roughly to minimize the amount of manual analysis. I used Python to graph the mean revenue by species and age, and also estimate the distribution along which other bidders bid.

Revenue from a carcass seems to be consistent with a linear decrease, except for snow serpents which bring the same revenue regardless of age.

Everything seems roughly linear, with perhaps some nonlinearity in winter wolf bids. Given that the sample mean revenue should be an unbiased estimator of revenue, and the probability of winning for a given bid should also be an unbiased estimator, we can use linear regression for each species to estimate revenue, and logistic regression on (age, bid) to estimate the probability of winning a given auction with a given bid. 

Using logistic regression implicitly assumes the distribution is logistic, which might be problematic but seems okay. Since we want to maximize expected profit = p_win(bid) * (revenue - bid), we can throw this into the scipy black-box optimizer to find the bid price that maximizes profit. This gave us the following bids:

One could probably do better by actually looking at the distribution of non-carver winning bids, but I don't know the best way to account for selection (using the distribution directly would create a biased distribution, since they're always higher than the carver bid).

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-05-15T05:09:14.000Z · LW · GW

Why would you? The point of the box spread trick is to reduce interest on margin loans, they don't increase your buying power. Selling box spreads without a margin loan just makes you pay small amounts of interest for no reason.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Formal Inner Alignment, Prospectus · 2021-05-14T17:12:33.301Z · LW · GW

Let's define Levin complexity as , where l is description length and t is execution time

Should this be l + f(t)?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Discontinuous progress in history: an update · 2021-04-10T23:41:21.976Z · LW · GW

This seems right, thanks.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-04-06T23:15:06.143Z · LW · GW

I'm confused too. Say you sold 10 3200/3400 box spread contracts for $196k a while ago, for a "par value" of $20k per box or $200k total. Since the exact box spread you sold is rarely traded, the best bid in the order book will be the sum of the 4 individual leg bids, and likewise the best ask will be the sum of the 4 leg asks. This makes the spread very wide, maybe $15k bid and $25k ask, and I'm not sure how IBKR values your position, maybe it just takes the midpoint. Let's say it's normally -$197k at some point in time.

Now say someone buys a 3200/3400 box for $25k. I'm guessing that IBKR's algorithm could see the last traded price, decide your position is worth $-250k now, and liquidate you. If you keep an open order to buy back the box for say $16k each, nothing changes and in fact the midpoint price would increase. Maybe the commenter meant to say you should keep an open order to sell more box spreads for slightly above par value?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The ground of optimization · 2021-03-26T21:25:30.237Z · LW · GW

I agree that closed physical systems aren't optimizing systems. It seems like the first patch given by the author works when worded more carefully: "We could stipulate that some [low-entropy] power source [and some entropy sink] is provided externally to each system we analyze, and then perform our analysis conditional on the existence of that power source."

Then an optimizing system with X bits of "optimization power" (which is log(target states / basin of attraction size) or something) has to sink at least X bits, and this seems like it works. Maybe it gets hard to rigorously define the exact form of the power source and entropy sink though? Disclaimer: I don't know statistical mechanics.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-03-26T18:44:54.276Z · LW · GW

I haven't let one expire yet, but that looks right. I don't anticipate any major problems because none of the sources I've seen mention any, and besides all legs expire on the same day.

Note that the loan value already has to be within margin borrowing power throughout the entire duration of the loan, since your broker takes into account the box spread as a negative-value asset when calculating margin. Box spreads can't get you more borrowing power (it's box spread financing, not box spread borrowing).

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-03-18T23:11:44.549Z · LW · GW

My understanding is that each leg of the box spread is marked-to-market, resulting in a small overall capital loss equal to the interest you're paying to the holder of the long box. For example, the market is up this year, so the bullish legs gained value and the bearish legs lost slightly more value. This is how the Interactive Brokers tax forms work; on the section-1256 section of the 1099 form, the line "Unrealized profit or (loss) on open contracts - 12/31/2020" has a loss of about $2000. If interest rates rise so much during a year that the interest is negative, I would expect there to be a small 60/40 capital gain. I could be missing something though.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Birds, Brains, Planes, and AI: Against Appeals to the Complexity/Mysteriousness/Efficiency of the Brain · 2021-01-28T19:29:58.253Z · LW · GW

(For example, imagine a u-shaped craft with a low center of gravity and helicopter-style rotors on each tip. Add a third, smaller propeller on a turret somewhere for steering.)

Extremely minor nitpick: the low center of gravity wouldn't stabilize the craft. Helicopters are unstable regardless of where the rotors are relative to the center of gravity, due to the pendulum rocket fallacy.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-01-27T23:29:00.537Z · LW · GW

Depends whether you're holding it as SPY/VOO or as a mutual fund (assuming you don't mean SPX futures, and SPX itself isn't tradeable). IBKR has somewhat higher margin requirements than the minimums set by the OCC; I think they require 25% maintenance margin for mutual funds and 10-15% for broad-based stock indices.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2021-01-22T02:47:25.849Z · LW · GW

This article says executions should occur at 0.29% above treasury yields. Is anyone able to consistently get executions at that rate?

A few weeks ago I was filled at about 0.51% above treasury yield, which is definitely worse than the 0.29-0.35% I previously got. Both were using IBKR smart routing and there weren't any obvious differences, so I'm guessing box spread rates are driven by supply and demand, and there's just relatively more supply now than in mid-2020.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Open & Welcome Thread - December 2020 · 2020-12-18T19:51:22.813Z · LW · GW

Does believe in the scaling hypothesis? If gwern is right, this could be the largest factor in their success.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-12-18T19:50:08.582Z · LW · GW

Does believe in the scaling hypothesis?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-12-18T19:48:07.826Z · LW · GW

Does believe in the scaling hypothesis?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-12-07T04:41:31.964Z · LW · GW

Thanks. I tried a couple different switches on my setup (3.5mm through USB-C hub), and the computer didn't disconnect upon opening the switch, so I'm giving up on this until I change hardware.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-12-07T03:01:00.644Z · LW · GW

Is it possible to make an hourglass that measures different amounts of time in one direction than the other? Say, 25 minutes right-side up, and 5 minutes upside down, for pomodoros. Moving parts are okay (flaps that close by gravity or something) but it should not take additional effort to flip.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help) · 2020-12-07T02:48:54.032Z · LW · GW

I'm also interested in this!

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Anti-EMH Evidence (and a plea for help) · 2020-12-07T01:19:45.938Z · LW · GW

TRUMPFEB is trading at 0.103 and has been under 0.12 for a while. Do you mean levered returns?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Cowering To Genocide: Uighur Persecution And The World’s Last Hope · 2020-11-02T21:24:24.961Z · LW · GW

It has been noted that Uighurs are Muslims, and the reeducation camps (or whatever they are) are largely aimed at eradicating religious extremism (along with ethnic separatism), and yet the countries that are complaining about their situation are the post-Christian countries of the American bloc, not the Muslim countries of the OIC.

I agree that OP's plan is unlikely to do much good, but I strongly disagree with both the direct meaning and implications of the above sentence. My understanding is that "eradicating religious extremism" is simply the CCP party line and nobody really believes it. Also, whatever the aims of the CCP, we have nearly incontrovertible evidence that their actions include severe human rights violations on a large scale. I've also heard that the fact that the OIC supports China's actions in Xinjiang is response to Chinese bullying, not a reflection that they think such actions are good.

I'm downvoting this comment because it either (a) shows a lack of caring about human rights, or more likely (b) is needlessly unhelpful because it doesn't start the brainstorm of ways to do good that realistically mesh with the CCP's strategic concerns.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-10-29T21:38:10.766Z · LW · GW

Is there software that would let me automatically switch between microphones on my computer when I put on my headset?

I imagine this might work as a piece of software that integrates all microphones connected to my computer into a single input device, then transmits the audio stream from the best-quality source.

A partial solution would be something that automatically switches to the headset microphone when I switch to the headset speakers.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on [Link] "Where are all the successful rationalists?" · 2020-10-18T20:17:26.539Z · LW · GW

I'm planning to write a sequence on all positive and negative effects the practice of rationality has had on my life, and I already have one post on pitfalls. Future posts will probably be about things like

  • forming realistic expectations
  • reading LW in a way that's less reality-masking
  • a list of all the low-hanging fruit I've found
  • a list of interventions I've tried
  • weird effects from learning some rationality techniques but not others
  • the benefits of diversifying one's sources of knowledge
  • re-learning how to interact with non-rationalist society

These will take a while to gestate and write up, but I expect to have a significant amount of content out before this time next year. Of course, this doesn't replace a community survey, but I think a case study with emphasis on the practical will contribute significantly.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on throwaway_time's Shortform · 2020-10-16T17:36:25.769Z · LW · GW

Thank you for writing this post. It can be hard to realize that one is in a persistent rut and harder to write it up publicly.

As someone similar to you (math competitions during high school, CS major, ambition often outruns my capacity, trying to avoid reverting to the mean during my adult years), I believe that I'm susceptible to failure modes like this. DM me if you want to video call to exchange advice or something; this would be valuable enough to me that I'm willing to pay a fair rate if you need funding.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Alpha α and Beta β · 2020-10-12T21:41:01.020Z · LW · GW

As another example, suppose you knew Tesla will go up 1% in value over the next month. If you are a normal human being then you might consider buying Tesla stock. But if you have been following along so far then you understand why “buying Tesla stock” is almost completely wrong. What should you do instead?

Technically, you maximize profit by buying a short strangle expiring in a month with strike price 1% over the current price.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Shouldn't there be a Chinese translation of Human Compatible? · 2020-10-10T03:55:27.791Z · LW · GW

I've talked with someone in EA Hong Kong who follows the progress of translation of effective altruism into Chinese language and culture; it is not trivial to do so optimally, and suboptimal translations carry substantial risks. Some excerpts mentioned in the linked post:

Doing mass outreach in another language creates irreversible “lock in” [...] China faces especially high risk of lock in, because you also face the risk of government censorship

Likewise, one of the possible translations of “existential risk” (生存危机) is very close to the the name of a computer game (生化危机), so doesn’t have the credibility one might want.

To do this well, we’ll need people who are both experts in the local culture and effective altruism in the West. We’ll also need people who are excellent writer and communicators in the new language.

Initial efforts to expand effective altruism into new languages should focus on making strong connections with a small number of people who have relevant expertise, via person-to-person outreach instead of mass media.

The arguments about EA being niche and difficult to communicate through low-fidelity means apply just as strongly to EA-style AI safety. However, the author also says:

If written materials are used, then it’s better to focus on books, academic articles and podcasts aimed at a niche audience.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Rationality and Climate Change · 2020-10-06T01:22:15.888Z · LW · GW

That link is from a climate change denier, so it is probably taken grossly out of context or something.

Some actual facts I think most people don't know: Sea level rise is caused by melting glaciers + thermal expansion, not melting sea ice (because physics). Warming oceans might cause a decrease in tropical cyclone frequency and increase in intensity (page 163 of this IPCC report).

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-10-01T22:41:52.382Z · LW · GW

One of my professors says this often happens with circular island chains; populations from any two adjacent islands can interbreed, but not those from islands farther apart. I don't have a source. Presumably this doesn't require an expanding geographic barrier.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on What are good rationality exercises? · 2020-09-27T22:48:07.078Z · LW · GW

According to a vague feeling of a couple of people I know, the CFAR handbook is tricky enough that reading it without doing CFAR could be dangerous.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on EA Relationship Status · 2020-09-19T03:21:30.453Z · LW · GW

I have two observations from the 2018 EA survey demographic data:

  • 80% of EAs are atheist/agnostic/non-religious and 3% are Buddhist, compared to 15-20% and 1% in the US population. These categories have lower marriage rates than the general population.
  • Because EAs tend to be so young (modal age 25), the median age of EAs in the 25-34 age group appears to be around 28, compared to around 30 for the general US population. Similarly, the median age within the 35-44 age group appears to be around 38, compared to 40. Since marriage rate increases so sharply with age for people 25-34 with at least a bachelor's degree, this makes a sizable difference in the expected marriage rate.
Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-09-19T00:44:57.788Z · LW · GW

Given that social science research often doesn't replicate, is there a good way to search a social science finding or paper and see if it's valid?

Ideally, one would be able to type in e.g. "growth mindset" or a link to Dweck's original research, and see:

  • a statement of the idea e.g. 'When "students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits", they underperform students who "understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence." Carol Dweck initially studied this in 2012, measuring 5th graders on IQ tests.'
  • an opinion from someone reputable
  • any attempted replications, or meta-analyses that mention it
  • the Replication Markets predicted replication probability, if no replications have been attempted.
Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Is Wirecutter still good? · 2020-09-18T23:50:22.812Z · LW · GW

A glaring omission in Wirecutter's laptop recommendations: they say the HP Envy x360 13 is superior to their top picks, but don't list it. This is ostensibly due to stock shortages, but a slightly different configuration (with the 4700U) has been in stock for a while. This is important because it's $300-400 cheaper than their top picks. 

The 13-inch HP Envy x360 with an AMD Ryzen 5-4500U processor is an excellent ultrabook—it’s compact, light, and had nearly 12 hours of battery life in our tests. It has a great keyboard, a responsive trackpad, and a reliable fingerprint reader, and build quality just as good as our other picks. But the Envy x360 is out of stock everywhere, so we can’t recommend it.

They didn't recommend other laptops with AMD Ryzen 4000 CPUs either, which other reviewers say are significantly better and slightly cheaper than Intel 10th generation CPUs. They also didn't test the LG Gram (with an Intel CPU), whose previous iterations were excellent.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2020-09-05T22:34:33.278Z · LW · GW

That's more or less right and clearer than how I wrote it up. Two slight nuances to the third point which I don't know if you understand correctly:

(a) the broker allows you to withdraw all but 10-50% of the value of your investments in a margin loan even without a box spread; they just charge exorbitant interest rates since they're financing the loan themselves.

(b) a box spread has two credit legs and two debit legs; if the value of your investments drops, the broker might sell the debit legs of the box spread rather than your other investments, which exposes you to extreme levels of risk.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on The Box Spread Trick: Get rich slightly faster · 2020-09-03T19:33:47.182Z · LW · GW

The risk is small, because for most CDs the withdrawal penalty is small. My credit union allows partial withdrawals and charges a fee of 6 months' interest (about 0.625%) on the amount withdrawn, so if the market tanks 30% and you have to redeposit say 20% into the margin account, you have lost a negligible 0.125% and the box spread trick still comes out ahead for the year. 6 months' interest is typical. It's important to choose a bank or credit union that has reasonably lenient terms, though.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Should I floss? · 2020-07-10T19:37:11.577Z · LW · GW

Before October 2019, I didn't floss; as of July 2020 I floss on about 98% of nights. Flossing tends to remove minute amounts of food or plaque in my teeth such that my mouth feels cleaner in the morning and my breath smells better, so I would do it independently of any dental health benefit.

I'm not flossing particularly well, either: I floss both sides of every tooth but with just enough care to barely avoid slamming the floss into my gums every time; I don't unwind the floss to get a fresh piece on every tooth as is recommmended; I floss after brushing my teeth, not before; flossing takes me under a minute.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-07-09T20:54:25.739Z · LW · GW

I'm thinking of a situation where there are subspecies A through (say) H; A can interbreed with B, B with C, etc., and H with A, but no non-adjacent subspecies can produce fertile offspring.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-07-08T22:30:27.358Z · LW · GW

Are there ring species where the first and last populations actually can interbreed? What evolutionary process could feasibly create one?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Prediction = Compression [Transcript] · 2020-06-26T17:40:45.340Z · LW · GW

Videos have irremovable noise, but in some domains there is none and compression is more useful. In my experience, one example where the prediction-compression duality made problems much easier for humans to understand is in code golf (writing the shortest possible programs that perform various tasks). There's a Stack Exchange site dedicated to it, and over the years people have created better and better code-golf languages. Solution sizes shrunk by a factor of >3. Now they're so good that code golf isn't as fun anymore because the tasks are too easy; anyone fluent in a modern golfing language can decompose the average code golf problem into ten or twenty atomic functions.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Requesting feedback/advice: what Type Theory to study for AI safety? · 2020-06-26T16:04:14.164Z · LW · GW

I'm on a very similar path; DM me if you want my thoughts.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-25T01:37:53.736Z · LW · GW

That was it, thanks!

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-24T02:09:48.460Z · LW · GW

"throwing the baby out with the bathwater"?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020 · 2020-06-24T02:08:10.790Z · LW · GW

I've been searching for a LW post for half an hour. I think it was written within the last few months. It's about how to understand beliefs that stronger people have, without simply deferring to them. It was on the front page while I was reading the comments to this post of mine, which is how I found it. Anyone know which post I'm trying to find?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Do you trust the research on handwriting vs. typing for notes? · 2020-06-24T00:39:22.090Z · LW · GW

Could the mechanism be that your note-taking rate is limited to a certain number of WPM? One way I think about note-taking is that I need to force my brain to "compress" the information to encode it into my memory, which is easier if I'm forced to actually compress the information by taking notes of a limited size.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-18T00:44:41.464Z · LW · GW

It isn't perfect, and it probably won't actually work as a Gömböc either, because the shape is reported to be very sensitive to dimensional tolerances. But I spent quite a bit of time and energy on this and thought somebody might use it as a starting point for improvements. Or better yet, that it would persuade the Gömböc discoverers that it is time to finally publish the details of the commercial Gömböc shape in the open literature.

Thingiverse doesn't appear to have a working 3D model, nor does there appear to be one elsewhere. See this link:

There's a design patent on the particular Gomboc shape, but that doesn't apply to mono-monostatic shapes in general, and it expires in a few years anyway. I've added a bounty on creating/finding a working 3d model of a mono-monostatic shape.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-18T00:31:49.485Z · LW · GW

I just wrote up a quarterly life review and will edit in relevant information soon. For now, I can say that I spend much more of my time feeling busy (e.g. reading LW, writing quarterly life reviews, checking emails) but the vast majority of this time is not highly productive. I want a more regular sleep schedule (already take melatonin at 9:30pm daily), and a way to get exercise that is pleasant, I can do every day, and takes less than an hour (baseline is walking on hilly streets). I occasionally miss important administrative things, but my system is improving fast enough that I might not benefit from suggestions.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments · 2020-06-18T00:27:00.839Z · LW · GW

I've been looking into this and find it not worth my time, though I plan to try it anyway to gain familiarity with investment.

First I have to get a margin account. This is not too much trouble. Then I upgrade this to portfolio margin; TD Ameritrade says I need $125k, "full options trading approval, and three years of experience trading options". Investing for myself is out; what about my parents? They have a passing interest in finance, so they can likely pass the test after I discuss it with them for a few hours.

Then I need to figure out how box spreads work. Being justifiably cautious I should first try it on paper, then with 20% before selling the full number of boxes. Finally I need my parents to set up three bank accounts in an online bank to maximize FDIC coverage, adding administrative work.

What do they gain from this? 3-year Treasury yield is 0.23%, but the Facebook thread you linked suggests I should be unlikely to write a box for less than 0.6%. Savings and CD rates are 1.15%, so the difference is 0.65%. I will not go remotely close to 10x margin on someone else's life savings, and puts are expensive. If I keep 40% in the brokerage account, this means they actually gain .65% * .6 = .39%. Interest on savings is taxable as ordinary income, so until they retire, over half of this is eaten up by taxes (assuming the capital loss from the box spread is used to offset long-term capital gains). Considering that this will take a couple of weeks of free time plus intermittently checking in to prevent margin calls, and there's still a risk of screwing up somehow, the after-tax benefit is currently less than what either I or my parents value our time at.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Possible takeaways from the coronavirus pandemic for slow AI takeoff · 2020-06-14T01:17:55.573Z · LW · GW

I haven't heard this. What's the strongest criticism?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Shortform · 2020-06-13T04:32:57.946Z · LW · GW

Say I need to publish an anonymous essay. If it's long enough, people could plausibly deduce my authorship based on the writing style; this is called stylometry. The only stylometry-defeating tool I can find is Anonymouth; it hasn't been updated in 7 years and it's unclear if it can defeat modern AI. Is there something better?

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:17:09.093Z · LW · GW

$5 for any productivity intervention (mental technique, habit, reasonably priced physical item, etc.) that I think is worth trying. An additional $50*X if it leads to an estimated X% increase in my productivity in the year after trying it.

My current bottleneck areas are sleep, focus/energy, consistency, and self-image in that order, with food and infohazards as additional issues. I have a comprehensive writeup available upon request.

I've already read the LW threads on physical objects and one-shot life improvements, as well as a few others. A list of the physical items I use is here.

Edit 7/2020: This is still in effect, but it may be hard to judge, so I'm planning on supplementing with more specific bounties in the future.

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:08:39.752Z · LW · GW

$800 for a gömböc made of a tungsten alloy with a density greater than 16 g/cm^3 that weighs at least 1000 g. As far as I know, this would be the first such item in the world; if I become aware of others this will decrease. Knowledge of how to create one gets partial award if I decide to create one, depending on how useful it is.

$50 for a 3D model of non-gömböc mono-monostatic shape which has been verified to work. There's a design patent on the gömböc; the European patent may be overturned in court and the American one expires in 2024, but this would be nice anyway.

Edit: fixed typo in weight

Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Thomas Kwa's Bounty List · 2020-06-13T00:05:14.143Z · LW · GW

$20 for writing a Spacechem puzzle that remains unsolved for 14 days when posted publicly and publicized on the Spacechem forums. Add another $20 if you write a detailed post on LW or crossposted from elsewhere explaining how you designed the puzzle and how one would go about solving it. Partial award for impressive attempts.

Some possible approaches:

  • If you're extremely good at space optimization, write a single-reactor puzzle on the edge of your ability. Cram everything into the reactor and hope no one else can.
  • Encode some kind of public-key cryptography in Spacechem. Might be impossible.
  • More inspiration here.
Comment by Thomas Kwa (thomas-kwa) on Tips/tricks/notes on optimizing investments · 2020-06-12T22:58:13.018Z · LW · GW

This seems suspect to me; it violates EMH and AFAICT the backtest was only carried out to 2017 (it should be possible to backtest to at least 1993, when VIX started being tracked).