Posts

Depression's evolutionary roots 2014-06-18T07:37:19.917Z · score: 5 (6 votes)
Lifeism in the midst of death 2012-12-09T13:28:16.278Z · score: 61 (69 votes)

Comments

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-17T21:22:53.866Z · score: 18 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The club is now closed until further notice.

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-16T17:42:38.998Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the game went on last night as planned. The good news is that my parents won't be attending any more large games. The bad news is that there are still going to be more large games, at least one tonight. Although it's mostly the same population every time.

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T20:06:42.714Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Previous versions of this question: https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/03/11/open-thread-149-25/#comment-865412 https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/03/15/open-thread-149-5/#comment-865535

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T18:32:10.119Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Everybody says that immunity to coronaviruses is not robust (although we don't know yet about this specific one).

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T18:27:55.557Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Alcohol and bleach are both extremely common in our current environment, so if it's possible to create these superbugs, then we should already be doing it, although this could speed up the process. And quick Google searches tell me that nothing is evolving resistance to bleach; but we are indeed creating alcohol-resistant superbugs that are starting to infest hospitals. So those may get worse.
Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T18:18:47.211Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I thought that we were right about Y2K, people spent a lot of time preparing for it, and their hard work saved us all. Is that wrong? (I understand if you just link to somewhere else and don't clutter up your thread any further with this digression.)

Comment by tobybartels on Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-15T18:12:11.708Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hi, I haven’t posted in a while, and I hope that people are still reading new comments in this thread, because I need an answer fast, and this is the best place that I know to get a good one. (Well, second best. I posted to SSC first.)

My parents, age 70, live in Lincoln NE (population 285 thousand, no reported cases of Covid-19 yet, 17 reported cases in the State, schools just closed and are preparing to go online). They pretty much run their bridge club, most of whose members are in their 70s but generally in good health. The club has an event planned for tonight (March 15 Sunday), at which 26 people are expected to show up and sit at card tables in close proximity, moving from table to table over the course of the evening. There will be hand sanitizer available at the tables.

Question: Should they cancel the event?

Please give reasons for your answer as if you’re trying to convince a stubborn Boomer (but not a Trump-supporter). You may assume that your audience is mathematically literate. If you know any data on age-related risks that controls for other risk factors, then that would be a big bonus. (Because since heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are all risk factors for Covid-19, and since they’re also all more prevalent among older people, maybe age alone is not much of a risk factor all.)

Comment by tobybartels on Zombies: The Movie · 2018-09-14T04:33:42.491Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Greg Egan (who, you may remember, started out in supernatural horror before he switched to hard science fiction) has now written (and published) a p-zombie horror story: https://www.tor.com/2018/07/19/the-nearest-greg-egan/

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 122: Something to Protect: Hermione Granger · 2018-07-22T06:09:29.888Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer never wrote an epilogue, and probably isn't going to, since Alexander Wales already wrote a better one.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 88: Time Pressure, Pt 1 · 2018-07-19T01:51:53.733Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Every ‘Tick.’ is a moment where Harry wastes time by acting suboptimally (given what he then knows).

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 89: Time Pressure, Pt 2 · 2018-07-19T01:39:49.461Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I see, the comments do sometimes get posted in the wrong place. [My comment on the previous chapter had been here before.]

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 49: Prior Information · 2018-07-18T19:05:36.716Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Certainty then.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 63: TSPE, Aftermaths · 2018-07-15T02:13:44.695Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The forward links here are messed up, in various ways.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 49: Prior Information · 2018-07-13T05:07:57.600Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Dhveeryy znl unir orra qryvorengryl yvfgravat sbe gung juvfcre, fvapr ur'q urneq vg orsber nf Gbz Evqqyr naq xarj jung gb rkcrpg. Nygubhtu jr'er abj trggvat qnatrebhfyl pybfr gb gur cbffvovyvgl gung Dhveeryy jbhyq unir fhfcrpgrq nyy nybat, xabjvat Uneel'f onpxtebhaq.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 36: Status Differentials · 2018-07-12T04:49:15.220Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I remembered the bit about the chest, and I accepted that as showing that Michael's a Muggle, but it's vaguer about Petunia. But I forgot about the potion that had already worked on Petunia; that seems pretty clear. So thanks!

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 37: Interlude: Crossing the Boundary · 2018-07-11T04:41:56.147Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It says 4 comments to me, so at least yours is now being counted, but I don't know what those mysterious 3 other comments are either. (It still says 4 to me, after adding this. But after reloading the page, it says 5.)

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 36: Status Differentials · 2018-07-11T04:07:47.572Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Harry seems convinced that his mother Petunia is a Squib, since the potions wouldn't work on his father Michael but are expected to work on her. Has this ever been established? Based on the genetics alone, there's a 1/3 chance that Petunia is a Muggle like Michael appears to be. (In contrast, both Petunia's parents and Hermione's parents are guaranteed Squibs, short of any mistaken parentage.)

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 28: Reductionism · 2018-07-10T02:46:05.689Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I've been having some issues too.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 22: The Scientific Method · 2018-07-06T10:53:17.430Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, a Squib is simply a Wizard-born Muggle, the counterpart of a Muggle-born Wizard. Here it seems to be something different.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 7: Reciprocation · 2018-07-05T11:21:39.358Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You can't go to the Moon, you need a rocket ship! Do you have rocket ship, Potter? I bet you do.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 3: Comparing Reality To Its Alternatives · 2018-07-05T04:17:30.283Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've been marvelling at the Britishisms that have been picked into this, but ‘I shouldn't ought to shake his hand’ takes the cake.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 3: Comparing Reality To Its Alternatives · 2018-07-05T04:16:00.872Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that you can probably rewrite this comment without the rot13, except for the last bit.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 1: A Day of Very Low Probability · 2018-07-04T23:27:31.992Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Gur checbfr bs gur svany rknz jnf gb frr vs jr ernqref pbhyq svther bhg gur fbyhgvba gung Ryvrmre unq va zvaq nyy nybat, abg n jnl sbe hf gb trg Ryvrmre bhg bs gur ubyr gung ur unq qht Uneel vagb.

Comment by tobybartels on Chapter 1: A Day of Very Low Probability · 2018-07-04T14:54:46.708Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose that someone ought to mention here that when it says above the author loves reviews, he means that he loves reviews on fanfiction.net. Not that he would necessarily mind reviews here, of course.

Comment by tobybartels on Sorting Pebbles Into Correct Heaps · 2016-10-19T11:46:28.511Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, that explains why the story was written with this flaw, but it doesn't remove the flaw. But I don't have a better suggestion.

Comment by tobybartels on Sorting Pebbles Into Correct Heaps · 2016-08-01T09:17:52.039Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, right, when one speaks of the disaster of war, the first thing that comes to mind is of course the senseless and wanton scattering of perfectly correct pebble piles. Further thought reveals other problems, such as a reduced population leading to fewer future correct pebble piles and so forth, but that's not the visceral image that you get when contemplating the horrors of war.

Comment by tobybartels on Final Words · 2016-08-01T09:04:22.569Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Voted down this comment, because 2 other people voted it up and didn't even have the guts to admit to it.

Comment by tobybartels on Sorting Pebbles Into Correct Heaps · 2016-08-01T08:59:15.058Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But it seems weird to me that they have computers and algorithms if they can't figure out this pattern. That messed with my suspension of disbelief for a bit.

Comment by tobybartels on Final Words · 2016-05-25T03:41:39.270Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Voted up this comment, for reasons that should be self-evident.

Comment by tobybartels on The Hero With A Thousand Chances · 2015-04-25T02:56:41.387Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, the only logical course is to remove all except the outer two quotation marks.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-19T08:37:08.675Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The ironic thing about those exceptions is that bringing in Barbour's timeless physics is arguably itself one of the errors. In Harry's explanation of how he was able to perform partial transfiguration, there's nothing from Barbour except the phrase ‘timeless physics’; Harry's explication of that, as enforcing a relationship between separate time slices rather than performing a change, is the standard idea of a block universe, going back at least to 1908.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-19T08:12:00.183Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If quantum mechanics allowed for small violations of energy conservation (which sometimes people even say that it does, on short time periods, although this is not really correct), then McGonagall's tranformation would still violate physical law as we know it. In physics, you don't always push everything down to the most fundamental theory, which is a good thing, since we don't actually have a most fundamental theory of physics. There is no such thing as ‘our best [single] model of reality’; there are some ways in which our quantum models are (so far) worse than our classical ones.

Comment by tobybartels on HPMOR Q&A by Eliezer at Wrap Party in Berkeley [Transcription] · 2015-03-19T08:02:33.478Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's a reference to SCP-231.

Comment by tobybartels on Question about Sociopathy/Psychopathy/ASPD · 2015-03-18T19:55:22.844Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This doesn't seem to me to address MinibearRex's proposal.

We don't want to extrapolate the sociopath's volition; we want the sociopath to extrapolate our volition. The idea is that sociopaths have experience with thinking objectively about humans' volition.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-17T06:04:16.050Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, he's certainly not completely wrong, but he's bringing up irrelevant complications and missing the main point. Quantum vs classical has nothing to do with it, for example.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T19:01:37.056Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree, brushing makes it harder for stuff to get caught in my hair when it gets thrown at me.

Comment by tobybartels on [LINK] The Wrong Objections to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics · 2015-03-16T09:49:07.019Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Probabilities aren't ontological; they're epistemological. I agree with everything that Eliezer writes about that, probabilities are in the map, etc.

But remove that word; there is something ontological that assigns measurement outcomes when I make a measurement. Or to keep it simpler: when I make a measurement, the measurement outcome is ontological.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T09:27:17.488Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But at the same time, Harry tries several times to give Hermione her own agency and not reduce her to this role. Or at least he says that he's trying to do that. He's not very good at it yet.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T09:25:33.939Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sure, the problems with the physics are right in there with bothersome things that Harry says that you could still justify, starting with the non sequiturs about conservation of energy when McGonogall turns into a cat.

I disagree with su3su2u1 (the tumblr author) about levitation; that doesn't violate conservation of energy if it's mediated by a force, and why shouldn't it be? On the other hand, turning into a cat violates conservation of mass (or would appear to, and that should be easy to check with a bathroom scale), which (via E = mc²) translates into a huge energy violation. But bringing up the quantum Hamiltonian? FTL signalling? Su3su2u1's analysis is correct.

The justification for this is that Harry is 11 and has only a vague idea about how physics actually works. But then it's hard to tell what we should learn from Harry and what we should ignore. (For that matter, I don't even know if Eliezer knows better than Harry or not.)

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T05:18:31.139Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like the name ‘Hariezer’.

There are a lot of things about Hariezer in the early chapters that enrage this guy and that also slightly bothered me. Many of them end up justified later, some much later when we learn that Harry was overwritten by Tom Riddle while a baby (not made into a Horcrux). It's not just that Hariezer has flaws, but that he has them for a reason. (The parallel with Eliezer's April Fools story are striking.)

I think that this guy has a fair point, however: that Hariezer's flaws can interfere with the pedagogical purposes of HPMOR.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-16T04:09:17.637Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The longer explanation said that it was bungled, that the antimatter blew before the transfiguration was finished.

Comment by tobybartels on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-15T04:51:34.263Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But it only matches canon halfway. They're describing Harry raised by James and Lily, not by the Dursleys. They suggest that Harry and Hermione won't be friends, although later suggest that they'll at least be allies. And … another difference, I'd have to look.

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-15T04:17:57.435Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with the second, but I read it as ‘and Harry certainly did not’, which makes the actual phrasing seem slightly more justifiable than it otherwise would seem.

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-15T04:12:29.552Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This order (including the m/dd/yy abbreviation) was wisely chosen so that Super Pi Day would actually happen once a century. Without that reason, it's completely illogical, so there is no other possible explanation.

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-15T04:06:43.570Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As I said, it's a minor detail.

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T19:48:02.773Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

BrindIf said it, but I'll confirm: Nymphadora Tonks appeared in MOR, and there was no suggestion that her mother [ETA: Andromeda, who is Narcissa's and Bellatrix's sister] differs from canon. (ETA: In particular, Andromeda must have still married a Muggle for Tonks to get her surname.)

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T19:37:39.097Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If Harry has to do harm in order to obtain security, then I expect him to do it, but I still expect him to feel guilty about it. That's Harry. (And in this case, I also don't see the need.)

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-13T19:24:05.410Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW · GW

He may post the last chapter at 9:00, but I'm not reading it until 9:26 and 53.58979… seconds. It wouldn't be right.

Comment by tobybartels on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 118 · 2015-03-13T10:42:35.520Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, that's very interesting.

Comment by tobybartels on [LINK] Author's Note 119: Shameless Begging · 2015-03-13T10:28:44.560Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know; that whole world is pretty kinky by our standards, but that might just be Eliezer's attempt to show that the future will have values strange to us, rather than something with a specific reason.