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Comment by tondwalkar on Life Extension versus Replacement · 2013-07-31T13:12:59.503Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd prefer never having existed to death at the moment. This might change later if I gain meaningful accomplishments, but I'm not sure how likely that is.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-29T17:05:41.946Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, how did he stand to benefit from telling Harry about the plaque?

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-26T15:28:49.227Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Does Harry even count as an enemy in MoR? Seems like he'd need the blood of someone on Dumbledore's side, and if he's just as arrogant and greedy as he was in cannon, then he'd go for the blood of Dumbledore himself.

Comment by tondwalkar on Instrumental rationality/self help resources · 2013-07-18T18:38:53.982Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent.

Meta 1: It would be nice if reviews rated the material out of 5 or 10.

Right now, reviewers are starting with things like "Absolutely fantastic." and "Extremely, extremely, recommended", which, while are a nice indicator of high-value materials, is less efficient and more fuzzy than a rating on a standard scale. This would also motivate more people with medium value materials to come forward.

Meta 2: I think this would be much better suited to a wiki piece than a post/set of comments. Ideally it'd be in something like a collaborative evernote, but I don't know of a free evernote clone.

Sorting into top-level categories seems poorly suited for indexing the material. For example, your post on The Blueprint, from your review, sounds like those trying to optimize social skill just as much as those trying to optimize romance. Tags, or a list at the top of a wiki, linking to anchors, would do better.

Comment by tondwalkar on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-16T16:54:06.488Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what you mean by "runs an app for all users", Are you writing a separate app that you want the hangout to automatically open on entry? Doesn't it make more sense to do this the other way around?

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2013-07-16T12:59:16.730Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We're not comparing Dumbledore in his thirties to Snape in his thirties, but Snape in his thirties to AD at "64". If we assume that he's been using his time turner since age 11, like HP (though based on his backstory, it seems he got a large intelligence boost at 10, so that might be where he started), he's effectively over 77 when he fought Grindelwald, giving Snape upwards of 4 decades (longer than he has lived thus far) to reach Grindelwald-defeating levels of power. In addition, we know that Snape has good reasons to hide how powerful he is (especially in MoR) and has a substantial amount of muggle knowledge. These all indicate that he's in the same league as Dumbledore, but benefits from not broadcasting the fact. This would also explain the way he was described in MoR.

And...

...the book said that a successful Legilimens was extremely rare, rarer than a perfect Occlumens, because almost no one had enough mental discipline.

Mental discipline?

Harry had collected stories about a man who routinely lost his temper in class and blew up at young children.

...but this same man, when Harry had spoken of the Dark Lord still being alive, had responded instantly and perfectly - reacting in precisely the way that someone completely ignorant would react.

The man stalked about Hogwarts with the air of an assassin, radiating danger...

...which was exactly not what a real assassin should do. Real assassins should look like meek little accountants until they killed you.

He was the Head of House for proud and aristocratic Slytherin, and he wore a robe with spotted stains from bits of potions and ingredients, which two minutes of magic could have removed.

Harry noticed that he was confused.

And his threat estimate of the Head of House Slytherin shot up astronomically.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2013-07-15T17:27:29.218Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While Snape is in his early thirties, it seems unlikely the extra three decades would make all that much of a difference.

Keep in mind, in HPMoR, it's heavily implied that AD's artificially aged because he's been overusing time-turners, possibly since his Hogwarts days.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-11T12:22:57.362Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, HP could go back in time and call himself Tom Riddle. Especially if he was becoming one of those "Dark Wizards who change names like you and I change clothes"

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-10T22:39:48.582Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Predictions: Tom Riddle is Hat-n-Cloak (95%). Tom Riddle is female (35%). Tom Riddle was Voldemort, but the title was taken over by Qmort who is not TR (20%). The feeling of doom between HP and Qmort is because of time travel (95%). Qmort is an older HP, sent back in time with memories removed (30%).

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-10T14:00:33.486Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Since Rowling follows around HP and not HG, we don't actually know how HG thinks. Since JKR wrote the story, she can use preknowledge to make HG arbitrarily smart, and since she doesn't have too large of an impact on what actually happens, she can do this without needing to account for how smart HG is; even if she were to devise some genius plan to beat voldy, she'd have to act through HP, who could easily and stupidly reject her plan offscreen. That is, I'm arguing that even if you kept making HG arbitrarily smart (but not arbitrarily powerful or prophecy-choosen), you could easily keep everything else the same by making HP or some other characters arbitrarily stupid, possibly offscreen.

EDIT: Oops, I edited the previous comment to leave out the phrase "since HG acts rationally" a few seconds after I posted it, since that's not really what I meant, but you seem to have beat me to the response.

Comment by tondwalkar on Group Rationality Diary, July 1-15 · 2013-07-10T13:53:03.257Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Have you accounted for ambient temperature being the cause of both? Being too cold to work and therefore feeling the need to wrap yourself in something warm? Alternately being warm making you less productive?

I've discovered that my productivity starts to drop off sharply above 73 Fahrenheit, for example.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-10T13:45:28.662Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well certainly. I wrote that sentence from the perspective of "cannon happens, author follows around writing down the story" rather than "author makes up story." I guess a better way to communicate that would be to say "were we to write HGMoR in the cannon universe, we wouldn't have to change anything."

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-08T17:09:16.162Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it sounds the way an official lie would sound, and afaik the consequences of botched time travel are truly staggering.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-07T02:27:24.990Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Disclaimer: I am thoroughly enjoying HPMOR. That said, I just don't think Eliezer is quite grokking the substance of feminist complaints.

I agree, but I don't think you're quite groking his responses either. His main point is that it's an exercise in futility to apply critical theory to an incomplete work, in particular one that claims to be more complicated than Death Note; for all we know HG asked AD to help him fake her own death, or maybe she's been outsmarting everyone from behind the scenes all long. (Though I admit that both of these are unlikely, they would be within the level of "where did that come from?" that EY's already done)

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-07T02:15:47.692Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

my first thought was HGMOR would be delightful, and it wouldn't take bending canon nearly as much. It's a lot easier for me to imagine canon Hermione taking an interest in theory of how to think better than canon Harry.

It's been a while since I've read cannon, but isn't this almost exactly what happens in cannon? HGMoR sounds like it'd just be cannon written with JKR following around HG instead of HP (which, admittedly, would be rather interesting)

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-07T02:15:40.296Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

but all rewards are subject to Goodhart's Law. I expect to see people doing a lot of ill-thought-out somethings because the reward structure is too simplified.

Well, since the reward structure isn't explicit, and we expect McGonagoll to get much smarter on a much smaller timescale than opportunities to earn a reward by "disobeying McGonagoll according to your own judgement."

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93 · 2013-07-07T02:01:23.764Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Aside from that, take a look at Hermione Granger and the Burden of Responsibility, which is a recursive fanfiction of HPMoR diverges during her trial. It's really only just getting started, but I have hopes.

I've just read the first chapter and this is excellent. Though I'm concerned that the title indicates that it might culminate in Hermonie angst-mongering. If that happens, I might just start a fanfic of order 3 with Amelia Bones as the main character.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T04:30:31.198Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In my opinion, what was going on was that he wasn't sure what the boundaries that he needed to not cross were, and wasn't sure he could regulate his behavior, so he was trying to avoid further punishment by saying he was helpless and suffering enough already.

This is very enlightening. I'm going to probe this by modulating my response to it, and see what I find. Thanks; one karma point feels insufficent.

I think a post on this (?and related) would be much apprecaited if you and/or someone with similar experience could put one together.

Since then, he's apologized in a way which I think means he understands the issues and will do better.

I fear you lost me agian. What is this evidence for?

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T03:51:14.191Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

i.e. unceremoniously killed offscreen

nitpick: Hermionie wasn't just killed onscreen, she was front and center.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T03:36:59.422Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

a natural, self-protective response to what seems like an impossible demand. Sometimes the demand actually is impossible, sometimes the demand is understood correctly and falsely believed to be impossible, and sometimes the demand is defensively interpreted as impossible because the reasonable part is felt to be not worth doing but it doesn't feel safe to just refuse it.

I'm not sure I follow. What demand?

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T03:33:39.649Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I think "Spontaneous Duplication" is made-up by Minerva or someone as an explaination to wave off anyone who might see mulitple Harrys running around due to the time turner.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T03:28:36.400Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

""is a thing" is a thing" is a thing in sense C.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T03:17:17.850Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And if Yudkowsky's going to make a Fullmetal Alchemist reference, we know how to make a philosopher's stone, or even crude approximations, but only using human scarifice.

Comment by tondwalkar on The Paucity of Elites Online · 2013-07-03T13:06:42.393Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, it doesn't.

Rather, I meant that it works fine with math mode.

Specifically, it fails on words that have accents.

It doesn't yet understand tex accents, but if you set the encoding using the tex package, you can directly enter è, é, ê, ...

Comment by tondwalkar on Bad Concepts Repository · 2013-07-03T12:44:50.278Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To clarify, I'm not talking about "your identity" here as in the information about what you consider your identity, but rather the referent of that identity.

Ah, it appears we're talking about different things. I'm referring to ideological identity ("I'm a rationalist" , "I'm a libertarian", "I'm pro-choice", "I'm an activist" ), which I think is distinct from "I'm my mind" identity. In particular, you can be primed psychologically and emotionally by the former more than the latter.

Comment by tondwalkar on Open Thread, April 15-30, 2013 · 2013-07-02T22:37:54.301Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dibs on 'A Utilful Mind' if you don't take it?

Comment by tondwalkar on Bad Concepts Repository · 2013-07-02T22:35:02.717Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

things like episodic memories (separated from believing the information contained in them)

I'm not sure what you're saying here; you think of your memories as part of your identity?

realtionship[sic] in neutral groups such as a family or a fandom, precommitments, or mannerisms?

These memberships are all heuristics for expected interactions with people. Nothing actionable is lost if you bayes-induct for each situation separately, save the effort you're using to compute and the cognitive biases and emotional reactions you get from claiming "membership". Alternately you could still use the membership heuristic, but with a mental footnote that you're only using it because it's convenient, and there are senses in which the membership's representation of you may be misleading.

Comment by tondwalkar on The Paucity of Elites Online · 2013-06-28T15:14:31.686Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

aspell handles tex just fine.

Comment by tondwalkar on Bad Concepts Repository · 2013-06-28T13:24:05.004Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Paul Graham suggests keeping your identity as small as sustainable. [1] That is, it's beneficial to keep your identity to just "rationalist" or just "scientist", since they contradict having a large identity. He puts it better than I do:

There may be some things it's a net win to include in your identity. For example, being a scientist. But arguably that is more of a placeholder than an actual label—like putting NMI on a form that asks for your middle initial—because it doesn't commit you to believing anything in particular. A scientist isn't committed to believing in natural selection in the same way a bibilical literalist is committed to rejecting it. All he's committed to is following the evidence wherever it leads.

Considering yourself a scientist is equivalent to putting a sign in a cupboard saying "this cupboard must be kept empty." Yes, strictly speaking, you're putting something in the cupboard, but not in the ordinary sense.

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/identity.html

Comment by tondwalkar on Many Weak Arguments and the Typical Mind · 2013-06-12T16:24:05.044Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, I think I may be misunderstanding what you mean by "many weak arguments." As in, I don't think it's uncommon for physicists to make multiple arguments in support of a proposition, but even each of those arguments, IME, are strong enough to bet at least a year of one's career on (eg the old arguments for renormalization), by contrast with, say, continental drift, where you probably wouldn't be taken seriously if you'd produced merely one or two lines of evidence. What this shares with the "one strong argument" position is that we're initially looking for a sufficiently convincing argument, discarding lines of though that would lead to insufficiently strong arguments. It's different mostly in that we go back and find more arguments "to be extra sure," but you're still screening your arguments for sufficient strongness as you make them.

Though admittedly, as a student, I may be biased towards finding my professors' arguments more convincing than they ought to be.

Comment by tondwalkar on Many Weak Arguments and the Typical Mind · 2013-06-11T16:48:16.567Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

With the exception of people on Less Wrong and people in the mathematical community, I’ve almost never seen high functioning people use the “relatively one strong argument” approach.

I think it's more general than that (depending in your definition of the 'mathematical community'). For example, I rarely see physicists attempt to argue something based on many weak arguments, and I think you would find the same to be true of engineers. More generally, I think that anyone who's used to formalism is used to being presented with extremely strong arguments, and ending the search for arguments there. Consider a Bayesian actor who happens to be in a quantitative field of study:

I decide proposition A is true, and sketch out a proof on some scratch paper. The probability that I made a mistake is significantly smaller than the probability that I didn't. I go home and write the proof out formally and carefully, and the probability of me being wrong drops further. I ask a peer to look over it and the probability that I make a mistake is vanishingly small. If prop A is important, then I may publish it, and after peer review, I can say that I have a strong argument for A: I have a proof P, and if P is correct, then so is A, with probability 1. The probability that P is incorrect is small, thanks to the formalism and many levels of peer review.

Since most of the arguments we believe are thus strong arguments, this trains our intuition with a heuristic to not bother looking for arguments that aren't extremely strong. This effect would probably scale with the rigor of the field (eg be much stronger in mathematicians, where proofs are essentially the only form of argument written down)

Comment by tondwalkar on [LINK] Prizes and open source for drug research (proposed, and some politics) · 2013-05-28T15:36:09.307Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's a way to cash out on your reputation. The team that won the Netflix Prize may have ended up with a net gain, if you count the value of having "won the Netflix Prize" on their resume (in terms of both job opportunities and higher salaries afforded), and in order to offer such a reputation boost, Netflix had to have built up a reputation for itself.

Comment by tondwalkar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-26T05:36:59.515Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Extraordinary claims....

Comment by tondwalkar on Post ridiculous munchkin ideas! · 2013-05-26T05:08:14.539Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Flip-flops are excellent for that reason. I have really sweaty, weird-sized feet, so they're especially nice, and if, like me, you already have a reputation for being eccentric, people won't mind when you show up to nicer events in a blazer, jeans and flip-flops.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2013-05-23T16:59:04.886Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bludgers are still magical and therefore could still "get at" the 'mind' regardless of the physical brain.

Comment by tondwalkar on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7 · 2013-05-23T15:03:12.218Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A satirization of the mahou shoujo genre? Complete with costumes!

An aside, they way you used "feminist critique" isn't the standard meaning of the phrase. A feminist critique would be a critique from a feminist framework, not a critique of feminism, much like a Bayesian critique of something would argue that it's fallaciously reasoning about probabilities.

Comment by tondwalkar on Belief in Self-Deception · 2013-05-23T02:23:18.991Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suffer the same symptom. (and have an excessive amount of body hair, not that that's more than negligibly indicative of high testosterone levels)

What's the cheapest/easiest way to get tested? (more out of curiosity than anything else)

Comment by tondwalkar on You Only Live Twice · 2013-04-15T17:38:46.105Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Even if you place literally infinite value on being immortal, I imagine you'd rather spend the time wasted praying on something more likely to make you immortal, eg minimizing your chance of heart disease.