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Kindly comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: Kindly 12 May 2012 10:30:24PM 5 points [-]

Hello!

I'm a graduate student in mathematics and came across Less Wrong by, uh, Googling "Bayes' Theorem". I've been putting off creating an account for the past month or so, because I've had absolutely no free time on my hands. Now that the semester's winding down, I've decided to try it out, although I may end up disappearing once things get going again in the fall.

Out of the posts I've read on LW so far, I'm the most impressed by the happiness and self-awareness material -- but also intrigued by the posts on math, especially probability, and will hopefully have something to contribute to those (because, well, probability is what I do). And then there's HPMOR.

We'll see what I end up doing now that I have the power to insert permanent impressions of my thoughts into the content of this website.

Comment author: beoShaffer 12 May 2012 10:53:44PM 0 points [-]

Hello Kindly! Were you taking a probability class or just interested in Bayes?

Comment author: Kindly 12 May 2012 11:26:55PM 2 points [-]

A bit of both. I knew about Bayes' theorem for a while, as a not-terribly-exciting mathematical statement. But I had a few discussions about the philosophy of it, if you will, when taking a class on information theory. That sort of thing is interesting to read about, and that's how I ended up typing it into Google.

By far the most useful introduction to Bayes' theorem I've read, though, was in this short story, which I found later. I don't often use Bayes' theorem, but when I do, I prefer to do the calculation in my head, because it impresses people. This is much easier to do as an odds calculation, the way Brennan does it in the story (actually, the odds calculation is even easier than what Brennan does -- keeping track of the sixteenths is excessive). Somehow this method didn't occur to me until I read the story and reverse-engineered it. Now I think of the story every time I use it.