Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 28 June 2016 01:47:02AM *  0 points [-]

The Less Wrong diaspora demonstrates that the toughest competition for online forums may be individual personal blogs. By writing on your personal blog, you build up you own status & online presence. To be more competitive with personal blogs, it might make sense to give high-karma users of a hypothetical SSC forum the ability to upvote their own posts multiple times, in addition to those of others. That way if I have a solid history of making quality contributions, I'd also have the ability to upvote a new post of mine multiple times if it was an idea I really wanted to see get out there, in the same way a person with a widely read personal blog has the ability to really get an idea out there. The mechanism I outlined above (downvotes taking away karma from the people who upvoted a thing) could prevent abuse of self-upvoting: if I self-upvote my own post massively, but it turns out to be lousy, other people will downvote it, and I'll lose some of the karma that gave me the ability to self-upvote massively.

Comment author: scarcegreengrass 28 June 2016 01:35:53AM 0 points [-]

So like a policy of giving, emotionally? Ceding some control to and participating in the experience of a person near you? Which could be a bit like the Cooperate action.

In response to Crazy Ideas Thread
Comment author: lsparrish 28 June 2016 12:37:18AM 0 points [-]

Orbiting landing tracks.

Payloads would be launched from earth with just enough fuel to loft them above the atmosphere and keep them hovering for a few minutes. Then they would electromagnetically couple to a long horizontal structure in low orbit, picking up velocity (or "losing" it, depending on the frame of reference) until they are orbiting at the same rate.

Electrically driven thrusters (e.g. vertical electrodynamic tethers which push against the earth's magnetic field) would be used to replenish the lost momentum. At any given time, the payload would be a fraction of the total track mass, but since it could be new track material this would permit (fairly rapid) bootstrapping.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 28 June 2016 12:26:45AM 0 points [-]

I really enjoyed blacklight:retribution for the instant rationality training. There is literally an update button that lets you wallhack for a second or so. This makes you vulnerable as well, so there is a cost of information. You must keep making choices between information and taking actions based on your current model.

Comment author: lsparrish 28 June 2016 12:20:59AM 1 point [-]

One possible reason is that it facilitates trust-building. Say you are stuck in a cell with another prisoner, and every day you have the chance to cooperate or defect on a small task (for example, sharing food equally vs trying to steal an unequal share). Later, you are asked to testify against each other and get a slightly reduced sentence in exchange for the other person having a drastically increased sentence. A history of the other person cooperating gives some evidence that they will cooperate in this new situation as well.

Another analogy to this would be the process of building credit. If you take out lots of loans and pay them back scrupulously, you build a history of credit worthiness. The banks are more willing to be vulnerable based on past behavior of not defaulting.

Comment author: Elo 27 June 2016 11:01:19PM -1 points [-]

This is really hard to answer in the context of:

Is there more useful signal than noise here? It depends on who you are, where you are, and how good you are at working that out for yourself.

I'd be willing to give it a shot. What problems are you working on at the moment?

Comment author: Elo 27 June 2016 10:44:59PM -2 points [-]

yes. okay. What I mean to say is that there is a whole lot of value in with the rest of the system generation process that is missing here. Value that might help understand better how/why it works the way it does and consequently how to make it work for one's self.

Comment author: Elo 27 June 2016 10:43:14PM -1 points [-]

The model is meaningless beyond what it suggests you do. If I were to spend a long time understanding the whole damn model I could possibly end up generating my own predictive set of ideas from that model. Because I have not spent that time - it's easier for me to just look at the (already generated) outputs of the model and comment on the results. I am not 100% sure that all those suggestions fit within the model itself but generally if the site ends in those kinds of suggestions, as above:

Is there more useful signal than noise here? It depends on who you are, where you are, and how good you are at working that out for yourself.

Comment author: Sable 27 June 2016 10:41:47PM 3 points [-]

Addressing 1) "Learning when you're wrong" (in a more general sense):

Absolutely a good thing to do, but the problem is that you're still losing time making the mistakes. We're rationalists; we can do better.

I can't remember what book I read it in, but I read about a practice used in projects called a "pre-mortem." In contrast to a post-mortem, in which the cause of death is found after the death, a pre-mortem assumes that the project/effort/whatever has already failed, and forces the people involved to think about why.

Taking it as a given that the project has failed forces people to be realistic about the possible causes of failures. I think.

In any case, this struck me as a really good idea.

Overwatch example: If you know the enemy team is running a Mcree, stay away from him to begin with. That flashbang is dangerous.

Real life example: Assume that you haven't met your goal of writing x pages or amassing y wealth or reaching z people with your message. Why didn't you?

Comment author: Lumifer 27 June 2016 09:22:50PM *  0 points [-]

Real life needs a killcam

Goes into the "shit LW people say" bin :-D

On a tiny bit more serious note, I'm not sure the killcam is as useful as you say. It shows you how you died, but not necessarily why. The "why" reasons look like "lost tactical awareness", "lingered a bit too long in a sniper's field of view", "dived in without team support", etc. and on that level you should know why you died even without a killcam.

Other lessons from Overwatch: if a cute small British girl blinks past you, shoot her in the face first :-D

Comment author: JohnGreer 27 June 2016 08:55:06PM 0 points [-]

What other resources do you support in this field, ELO?

Comment author: James_Miller 27 June 2016 08:48:04PM *  2 points [-]

Rationality lessons from Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter:

1) Learning when you're wrong: The killcam, which shows how I died from the viewpoint of the person who killed me, often corrects my misconception of how I died. Real life needs a killcam that shows you the actual causes of your mistakes. Too bad that telling someone why they are wrong is usually considered impolite.

2) You get what you measure: Overwatch's post-game scoring gives metals for teamwork activities such as healing and shots blocked and this contributes to players' willingness to help their teammates.

3) Living in someone else's shoes: The game has several different classes of characters that have different strengths and weaknesses. Even if you rarely play a certain class, you get a lot from occasionally playing it to gain insight into how to cooperate with and defeat members of this class.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 27 June 2016 08:05:36PM 1 point [-]

Yes. But I guess that there is a large class of interesting property protocols that can't be implemented with bitcoins. Like the variants of 'two-phase commit' that are part of many step by step property transactions ('concurrent' in financial jargon). I wonder whether there is a non-turing complete set of primitives that suffices for more current legal transactions. Probably a lot can be learned by asking a notary with programming experience...

Comment author: Clarity 27 June 2016 07:35:28PM 0 points [-]

So, would a promising machine intelligence safety outreach constitute preaching to OCD communities? ;)

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 07:31:49PM -1 points [-]

That is also my understanding, and I doubt the annuity market has the properties required to make its prices reflect any sort of reality.

Comment author: Lumifer 27 June 2016 05:23:05PM 0 points [-]

It's a better start than simple compounding interest calculations :-)

To approach this from another side, one can buy an annuity (which provides a stream of income for the rest of your life). You need to save as much as is needed to buy such an annuity and then you're good (mostly). However I understand that these annuities are not... attractively priced, especially if you want one which adjusts your income stream for inflation.

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 05:01:10PM -1 points [-]

Yup. The most sophisticated approach I've seen, which is clearly not actually sophisticated enough, is to guess at possible trajectories of future investment growth by some process along the lines of random sampling of past stock market returns, and then choose a sum that leads to you not running out of money in, say, at least 99% of those trajectories.

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 04:59:32PM 0 points [-]

There will also probably be no change in the outcome from working for a better system.

Comment author: Lumifer 27 June 2016 04:00:37PM 0 points [-]

Yep, so far we've been talking about nominal sums without considering their real purchasing power.

The proper question of what is the sum of money that one can live off as a rentier to maintain a certain standard of living and how much needs to be saved for how long is... complicated.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 June 2016 03:44:13PM -1 points [-]

Not entirely. It would take me at least 30 minutes to vote, and probably more, given the need to register. Together with the other people like me (and I am admitting there aren't very many, since I only include those who have a similar algorithm, not all those that happen to get the same outcome), that adds up to a good deal of time that could be spent on working for a better system, while there would still be no change in the outcome from voting, even if the group of us voted as a unit.

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 03:41:22PM -1 points [-]

It seems to me that not voting and working for a better system are basically independent activities.

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 03:40:39PM -1 points [-]

And of course all these calculations are ignoring inflation.

If inflation is, say, 2%, then

  • to get out $2k/month with 4% nominal returns you need $1.2M rather than $600k; or
  • to get out $2k/month with $600k, you need 4% real returns or about 6% nominal. And
  • the equivalent of $2k/month now is about $3k/month in 20 years. On the other hand,
  • your savings can reasonably be expected to increase in line with inflation too.
Comment author: Regex 27 June 2016 03:14:34PM *  0 points [-]

I think you're coming on a little strong in ways you don't intend for requesting his process and previous system iterations. This reads as if you should never share any system without also sharing the process of how to get there, and most of the time that is filled with stuff no one really needs to see.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 June 2016 03:07:21PM 0 points [-]

Not everyone who participated in the survey is a regular LW reader; it was open to the whole diaspora.

The LW surveys contain questions about whether people are regular LW readers and allow us to see how people who are regular readers differ.

Comment author: root 27 June 2016 03:06:45PM -1 points [-]

You have a point. I'm mostly at fault here to be honest as I'm getting slowly more and more skeptical of 'stuff on the internet' (the site being called Art of Manliness already gives me some certain ideological connotations) and seeing how many things which look appealing intuitively don't really yield much tasty fruit in real life, I'll often label things clickbait rather than actually put some time in them.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 June 2016 02:54:27PM 0 points [-]

Why do you focus on the suggestions that are also made elsewhere instead of what's unique in the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover framework?

Comment author: Lumifer 27 June 2016 02:48:58PM 0 points [-]

And if you want to get there in, say, 20 years, you better save about $3,000 a month.

Your math is a bit off -- you're forgetting that your savings also grow at 4%/year while you're accumulating them. So if you save $2,000 / month and can get stable 4% return (after taxes), in 20 years you will have $612K.

The whole calculation, though, is based on guaranteed returns and if your returns are actually volatile (say, the mean is 4% with noticeable standard deviation), the situation changes.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 June 2016 02:46:47PM *  0 points [-]

What's wrong with simple hyperlinks to sources? The post explains ideas layed out in a book and links the book.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 June 2016 01:57:31PM -1 points [-]

The way it applies in real life, is that all the people like me will choose not to vote, and to work together for a better, less inefficient system, which will give us much more utility than if we had all chosen to vote.

Comment author: Viliam 27 June 2016 01:31:46PM 0 points [-]

Some random thoughts about the questions:

"if you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"

Not everyone who participated in the survey is a regular LW reader; it was open to the whole diaspora.

Not everyone who reads LW regularly is also working on their own rationality. Some people are here for the insight porn; some people simply enjoy being in the community of other smart people.

Not everyone who tries to become more rational is doing it correctly. For example, some people may go for the applause lights, or still compartmentalize in something important.

Now, assuming that you are trying to do the rational thing (but of course you are not perfect at it)... Also, assuming you have high intelligence (LW already selects for it), and you are mostly healthy (just a base-rate assumption)...

There are essentially two ways to become more rich: get a high income, or multiply the existing wealth. The second option is not available for those who don't have any significant "existing wealth". For those who do, I guess investing in the passively managed index funds is the standard LW advice.

Assuming that (feel free to adjust the numbers if they feel wrong) you can comfortably live on $2,000 a month, and you believe that index funds will reach at least 4% yearly increase in long term... all you need is to get $600,000, once, and then you can play the rest of your life in the "easy mode". On the other hand, if you start from zero, and you are able to save less than $1,000 a month, the bad news is that you are never going to get there. And if you want to get there in, say, 20 years, you better save about $3,000 a month.

So I guess the answer is that even for smart people, saving $3,000 a month is a difficult task, and 20 years is a long time (LW does not even exist for 20 years yet). In other words, yes, it's true that most LW rationalist are not smart enough to make half a million dollars overnight. But after unpacking "so smart" and "rich", it shouldn't surprise many people. Anasûrimbor Kellhus would probably be able to do it in a few weeks or months, but he is a fictional character.

By the way, from the outside "a person with a lifestyle X" and "a person with a lifestyle X, and with a few thousand dollars saved in index funds" will look the same, even if the latter is richer. Converting the former to latter would mean increasing rationality and wealth, and still would be invisible to outsiders. The difference would be that the latter would see some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light could still be a few decades away.

"if you're stupid, why aren't you poor?"

Society seems to have limits on how poor people can get: bankruptcy, unemployment benefits, not being able to borrow insane amounts of money, etc. (Also, there is the natural limit that people who don't have enough resources to survive, die.) Therefore, unlike intelligence which makes the bell curve, wealth makes an assymetric curve.

Looking from the "99% vs 1%" perspective, we could say that most people actually are relatively poor. That the stupid people aren't much poorer than the average, simply because the average already have very little wealth. Being stupid just means you will waste a little more of your money, until you are out of money, and then you can't waste anymore.

You can't become a "negative Bill Gates"; at worst you can become homeless (and then die). Actually, if you are just smart enough to pay your mortgage first, and only do the stupid things with the remaining money, you will probably even avoid homelessness. The average and below-average people have a script to follow, which will more or less keep them in the fixed position, as long as they can have a job.

Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 27 June 2016 01:31:18PM *  1 point [-]

I can find no better place one might like to move than the Cayman Islands

I have travelled there twice, partially to scope it out for a possible move. Here are the downsides:

  • It is very small, both in terms of geographical size and population. There's just not a lot of places to go or things to do.
  • At the same time it is not dense, so you probably need a car.
  • It is very touristy. Of the things to do, most are tourism-related.
  • The tech sector is not well-developed, so a tech person like me would probably end up working as a random IT consultant for a bank or law firm or something.

As far as the upsides, you got them mostly right: strong economy, low taxes, good climate, a generally tranquil feeling of life. Overall I think there would be something enormously psychologically beneficial to live in a place where the main political debate is what to do with the budget surplus.

My takeaway is: CI is a great place if you 1) are in the finance sector 2) like "sun and fun" activities like swimming, sailing, and diving 3) don't have big life ambitions (e.g. start a tech company).

Comment author: Cariyaga 27 June 2016 12:36:36PM *  2 points [-]

It is exceptional. If you have the time, once you get caught up I'd suggest getting involved in decision-making! It's really fun to be involved and also like crack for apparently multiple readers, including myself, and at least one of the writers (who has the common "I'll just refresh one more time before sleeping...") problem.

The people there are actually really mature and empathetic too, though I think that the forum itself is partially to thank for that. The rating system on posts (Like, Hug, Insightful, Informative, Funny) does a lot to encourage empathy.

Comment author: HungryHobo 27 June 2016 11:54:53AM 0 points [-]

If you're going to rely on signed data from third parties then you're still trusting 3rd parties.

In a dozen or so lines of code you could create a system that collects signed and weighted opinions from a collection of individuals or organisations making encoding arbitration simple. (does the delivery company say they delivered it etc)

You're just kicking the trust can down the road.

On the other hand it's unlikely we'll see any reasonably smart AI's with anything less than millions of lines of code (or code and data) and flaws anywhere in them destroy the security of the whole system.

This is not a great use for AI until we 1: actually have notable AI and 2: have proven the code that makes it up which is a far larger undertaking.

Comment author: gjm 27 June 2016 10:12:43AM -1 points [-]

I spent what felt like a long time (actually: maybe 15 seconds) trying to figure out what sequence of real-world events the "Mike Mulligan" thing was satirizing, before reading the comments and discovering what it was actually referencing. I mention this just in case anyone else has the same knowledge gap (presumably because of being outside the US or not having had small children).

Comment author: Wei_Dai 27 June 2016 09:36:06AM 2 points [-]

You don't need Ethereum-style smart contracts that can do general computation to implement escrow accounts. Multi-signature addresses, which Bitcoin already supports, are enough.

Comment author: Viliam 27 June 2016 09:10:28AM *  1 point [-]

independent thinkers are more likely than the general population to find the game of amassing wealth to be an obstruction to their freedom of thought and an inefficient path to happiness and life satisfaction

Heh. Maybe I am not a sufficiently independent thinker, but for me the greatest obstruction to freedom of thought and happiness and life satisfaction is having a daily job, especially one that resembles Dilbert comics.

My problem with the "game of amassing wealth" is that (1) I am not very good at it, and (2) even when you are smart enough to double your wealth in a few years, if you start with a small amount, all you get is double of small amount, and there is a limited amount of years in your lifetime. I mean, compared to my wealth 10 or 20 years ago, I am significantly richer, but if I would keep the same speed, I would be probably able to retire at 60, which feels a bit late.

Comment author: Elo 27 June 2016 08:35:39AM *  0 points [-]

Thoughts on the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover archetypes?

Having been at the self-dev, PUA, systems, psychology, lesswrong, kegan, philosophy, and other things - game for a very long time. My discerning eye suggests that some of the model is good, and some is bad. My advice to anyone looking at that model is that there are equal parts shit and diamonds. If you haven't been reading in this area for 9 years you can't see what's what. Don't hold anything too closely but be a sponge and absorb it all. Throw out the shit when you come across it and keep the diamonds.

At the end of the 4 (KWML) pages suggest some various intelligent and reasonable ways to develop one's self:

  • Take up a martial art.
  • Do something that scares you.
  • Work on becoming more decisive.
  • Meditate. Especially on death.
  • Quit should- ing on yourself.
  • Find your core values.
  • Have a plan and purpose for your life.
  • Boost your adaptability by strengthening your resilience.
  • Study and practice the skills necessary for completing your goals, become a master of your trade.
  • Find the principles that you’re loyal to.
  • Establish some non-negotiable, unalterable terms (or N.U.Ts) and live by them.
  • Compete in a race like the Warrior Dash.
  • Strengthen your discipline by establishing habits and daily routines.
  • Adopt a minimalist philosophy. Declutter your life. Simplify your diet. Get out of debt.

  • Commit to lifelong learning
  • Meditate
  • Create more, consume less.
  • Work with your hands.
  • Take part in a rite of passage
  • Find a mentor
  • Become a mentor
  • Join a Fraternal organization like the Freemasons
  • Carve out a sacred space in your life

  • Create more, consume less
  • Leave a legacy
  • Develop practical wisdom
  • Become a mentor
  • Find a mentor
  • Establish your core values
  • Develop the virtue of order
  • Break away from your mother
  • Develop a life plan
  • Develop the traits of true leadership
  • Protect the sanctity of your ideas
  • Become decisive
  • Avoid the corruption of money, power,and sex
  • Live with integrity

These suggestions are not bad. save possibly the suggestion to take up a martial art which I disagree with and doing something that scares you. Anything that gets people to establish their purpose, have a plan and be more the people they want to be is a good thing.

Things like, "Work on becoming more decisive" are likely only to help the people who already think they are not decisive enough. Those who are decisive enough will probably skip it. HOWEVER if you already were* Study and practice the skills necessary for completing your goals, become a master of your trade. decisive and you thought you weren't you might end up down a rabbit hole trying to work out how to do the thing that you don't need to do.

  • Quit should- ing on yourself.

Nate soares has a post on "should's" as well. http://mindingourway.com/not-because-you-should/ it's different but also covers the suggestion of not doing what you "should" but doing what you want to do instead.

  • Study and practice the skills necessary for completing your goals, become a master of your trade.

So yea; do what you are doing with massive focus. Be so good they can't ignore you TM. etc. etc. This is not the first place to suggest such things. And I strongly believe that for some people this method of delivering advice is exactly what they need. For other's it's exactly not what they need. Good luck figuring out if it's you or not.

Is there more useful signal than noise here? It depends on who you are, where you are, and how good you are at working that out for yourself.

All I can say is - "maybe".

End note: I hope to soon write up a post on making advice applicable and thinking about basically "It depends on who you are, where you are, and how good you are at working that out for yourself." in more detail.

Comment author: Viliam 27 June 2016 07:48:57AM *  0 points [-]

People often run into problems where their "good enough to post" threshold creeps up and up. (...) Sometimes people handle this by dividing their writing into a formal blog and something casual.

Seems to me the best solution would be to have two blogs, post everything on the first one, and later repost/rewrite the most successful posts to the second one.

Probably depends on whether you want to have a discussion below your articles, because this strategy could mess with the discussion flow. However, I am personally quite scared of the idea of having to moderate comments on my blog; if my blog would accidentally happen to be super popular, the moderation could become a nightmare. I would probably go with the "only approved comments are displayed" approach, which slows down the discussion a lot.

With the suggested approach (repost top posts on the other blog), people who regularly read the first blog would probably not visit the second one. But it would be a good starting point for new readers, and a good place for readers who do not want to read the blog regularly.

(I think the same approach could work for LW, to make "Main" the subset of "Discussion", but I don't know how much work this would be technically.)

Comment author: MrMind 27 June 2016 07:22:00AM *  0 points [-]

You mean Berlin :)

Fixed, thanks!

I might have a tendency to assume that poly & cryonics are completely normal everyday stuff, but it's probably not so :D

It's very not so! Especially in Europe...

is there any possibility to arrange in Germany to be frozen and shipped e.g. to KrioRus for storage?

Not that I know of, but my experience is only about Italy...

Comment author: root 27 June 2016 07:20:04AM 0 points [-]

Thoughts on the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover archetypes? Useful?

That website looks like a pretty big clickbait. Not footnotes either, which could be me overestimating people who put footnotes, but it might also be that whomever wrote that could be attempting to avoid being accused of wordplay.

Comment author: Crux 27 June 2016 04:56:13AM 0 points [-]

Libertarianism is an irrational, politically extremist position?

Comment author: Regex 27 June 2016 04:02:48AM 0 points [-]

Alas, this group went bust, but I think I pretty much figured out why. Wrote my thoughts up for everyone's pleasure.

Comment author: richard_reitz 27 June 2016 03:38:57AM 2 points [-]

Ha! I give Lighting Up the Dark—also by Velorien—last pass editing.

Thanks for the rec. It looks really good.

Comment author: Clarity 27 June 2016 01:54:54AM *  -2 points [-]

Quantified hedonism - Personal Key Performance Indicators

The phrase burn the boats comes from the VIking practice of burning boats on the shore before invading so they have to win and settle. No retreat, it's an inspiring analogy, but I heard it in the context of another Real Social Dynamics video, so the implication is to approach sets as if there is no retreat? Bizaare, those guys.....anyway that RSDPapa video suggested that personal KPI's were useful. What's measured gets improved, or so the saying goes. So which KPI's should you choose? After some though, I reckon psychological distress, a construct referring to anxiety and depression which conceptualise enduring hedonic losses, and PERMA, a construct referring to the key determinants of subject well-being, seem like appropriate KPI's.

So how do you measure them? There are validated psychological scales for each.

Psychological distress


Unfortunately, things get a bit tricky here with achievement. Many psychological scales are paywalled such that you need to buy them specifically (academic institution access is insufficient). If anyone can post a workaround.. :)

If you administer these scales on yourself monthly, you can start to build a picture of your hedonic progress in life, quantitatively, albeit abstractly. Too difficult for you? Try this unvalidated scale for PERMA.

Tourism isn't this esoteric, life changing right of passage experience people will tell you that it is

Or: Why I would want to move to the Cayman Islands (but I don't have retirement savings of substance or hospital or finance career capital)

I think the urge to travel just to see different countries is a kind of OCD. Unhealthy! The way tourism tends to work commodifies it. It doesn’t accrue that benefit that experience hunting usually does, hedonically. Plus, it’s super expensive and moving tends to accrue hedonic costs anyway. Even though climate does accrue hedonic benefits, it would be unsustainable and lead to negative self past comparison since you are returning to your home country. Not to mention when you travel you tend to compromise on your lifestyle - fitness, exercise, relationships, nutrition, sleep...unacceptable!

Virtual tourism. It’s my new hobby. Sure, it might be interesting to check out the Northern Lights or mecca (both literally desserts, that you are paying for!) but really any place can, by a business or government, be turned into a tourist spot with a bit of work. In real time, moment to moment, I find travellng super boring except when it’s ongoing constant novelty of like, sitting on the roof of a van in a rural area, or I’m on my computer!

I keep hearing about how great travel is. My conclusion is that no, it's not worth the cost. Or at least, the component I thought they were referring to - sight seeing, isn't. Other parts of travel are okay, but certainly not lifechanging after the first or second time of eye-openingness.

Case study: Machu Pichu. If that rock in Guatape was difficult enough, consider the downsides of Machu Pichu to get your mind off it. Then put the nail in the coffin with the danger statistics. Consolation prize? Machu pichu on Google street view.

So what is worthwhile when travelling. One, of course, is doing so with the intend of moving - when a place has better opportunities than your past residence. Let's consider a case that will be relevant to already very high standard of living Westerners - moving to the Carribean. Because really, I can find no better place one might like to move than the Cayman Islands. English is spoken, close to the US and UK, Strategic advantages in the financial industry, without a unsophisticated undiversified economy, as with the rest of the Carribean competitors honestly that tend to dependent on fish or petrol. And, you're in the Carribean, with enviable climate (a known determinant of subjective wellbeing!). It's a country that knows the importance of having a strategic advantage that doesn't mean it's just a mine, like say Australia, where pushes to develop a more sophisticated economy have failed and derived, which I think is a good sign of a country that won't thrive in the 21st century....anywho, Google Images the place, it looks way better than the rest of Central and South America and the Carribean as a whole! I'm very suprised I don't see it topping lists of expat wellbeing or quality of life indexes but I guess it gets it might get missed cause of its size. With the greater income inequality, you can probably hire a personal chef even as a minimum wage worker from the Western world to cook you Chinese food or whatever it is you want, healthy and convenient (not to mention they can belp with maintenance and such).

Alas, maybe I am just in a bad mood. I am travelling right now and have a return flight that is way too far away and I have nothing I left I want to do on this continent. It sucks when the street smells like shit, it's dusty and smoggy enough to irritate your eyes, cars are loud and dangerous, people are suspicious and don't move out of the way, and the hotel locks up early for the night, but you don't know exactly when, and after a certain time you can't buy water outside so if you don't have enough you go thirsty and non-brushed cause the water from the tap is unsafe. At least I came across this which will aid my quest to become a better blogger: This is effective copywriting and feedback giving.

Open questions

Thoughts on the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover archetypes? Useful?

Cause prioritisation - community vs institutions*

I'm interested in crowdsourcing identifying disparities between community and institutional cause prioritisation attitudes.

If you could spare a minute could you please rate from 1-10, with a _ _% rating of your estimates of the:

  • (1) potential impact
  • (2) prospective neglectedness
  • (3) political tractability

...of individual media campaigns that would advocate for public debate, discussion and law reform without a specific agenda around each of the following areas:

  • (a) labour mobility
  • (b) tobacco control (incl. smoking in developing countries)
  • (c) risks from artificial intelligence
  • (d) research re-prioritisation and infrastructure
  • (e) factory farming
  • (f) biosecurity
  • (g) land use reform
  • (h) developing world health
  • (i) nuclear security
  • (j) trade reform
  • (k) migration
  • (l) humanitarian aid
  • (m) lizardmen

Thank you.

In place of a media thread

Extraordinary series - check out 'how women judge men'

Comment author: SquirrelInHell 27 June 2016 01:46:11AM 0 points [-]

I just missed it totally

Yes, it was there from the beginning :)


You mean Berlin :)

will benefit from less ostracism and a wider acceptance even in its weirder facets (cryonics / poly)...

I like this. (I might have a tendency to assume that poly & cryonics are completely normal everyday stuff, but it's probably not so :D)

Speaking about cryonics - is there any possibility to arrange in Germany to be frozen and shipped e.g. to KrioRus for storage?

Comment author: SquirrelInHell 27 June 2016 01:26:42AM -1 points [-]

Just take some time to consider how TDT applies to decision in real life. You will get it, I'm sure.

Comment author: passive_fist 27 June 2016 01:04:43AM 0 points [-]

Neoreaction, libertarianism, and related ideologies.

Comment author: Cariyaga 27 June 2016 12:55:06AM 2 points [-]

There is another collaborative writing project I follow, though it is an actual work of multiple people. Hosted on Sufficient Velocity, Marked for Death is also a rational naruto fic.

As mentioned, it has multiple authors -- Eaglejarl and Velorien -- as well as two other people that help them out, one on the mechanics (it is player-driven and functions as a collaborative story in that regard as well) and one on worldbuilding, AugSphere and Jackercracks respectively. If you wish to speak to them about their experiences with this and compare it to your own, I'm sure they could get help too.

Comment author: ejkm 26 June 2016 10:27:14PM 0 points [-]

The best evidence is that while firms frequently advertise to get people to buy their products, they almost never advertise to get people to buy their stock.

I've seen adds that I suspect were actually targeting potential investors. Granted this was followed by the company in question exploding spectacularly a few years later with the executives being charged with fraud.

Comment author: scarcegreengrass 26 June 2016 07:34:17PM 0 points [-]

While lesswrong.com has a low population, the private blogs and diaspora communities are growing very rapidly.

Comment author: username2 26 June 2016 07:11:53PM *  1 point [-]

We can go even further: children's life expectancy could be added to their parents' voting weights.

However most decisions are about the short term rather than the long term, and only very rarely life expectancy is relevant.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 June 2016 02:03:09PM 1 point [-]

That gives political power to those who calculate life expectancy. Should they get that power?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 June 2016 01:15:45PM 0 points [-]

That's using reductionism to mean materialism.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 June 2016 01:12:38PM *  0 points [-]

Well, no, according to Dennett, it's more the disregard of complexity. Which woukd be an epistemological matter...you seem to be grasping for an ontological version.

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 26 June 2016 11:28:43AM *  0 points [-]

I believe Eliezer was one of the last SIAI employees to move to Berkeley. My guess is SIAI originally moved from Santa Clara to Berkeley because some SIAI employees had rationalist community friends in Berkeley, and when visiting those friends, they noticed they liked Berkeley better than Santa Clara. (I've lived in both places--IMO Santa Clara is dystopian and suburban, but Berkeley is lively and interesting.)

I don't believe there was significant community buildup in Santa Clara before the move. So maybe the takeaway is to make your HQ a place where people want to live for reasons other than just being part of your community?

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 June 2016 10:56:02AM 1 point [-]

Software for automatically playing hypnosis audio via headphones to people who get operated in addition to standard anesthesia.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 June 2016 10:49:37AM 0 points [-]

A friend feed that's like Facebooks friend feed but audio instead of text or images to give people a clear alternative to hearing talk radio.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 June 2016 10:44:03AM 0 points [-]

After reading a Facebook post by Kaj Sotala about MessagEase I switched to the keyboard because it's much better one than the default Android keyboard I was using the default keyboard.

It allows faster typing. It allows typing beautiful unicode that's hard to type even on a PC. It has macros that allow me to save commonly typed string such as facebook birthday greetings and my email address. It has easy gestures for going to the top or the buttom of a document. You have a copy-paste history.

I still use the default App launcher. Does somebody have a case why I should use a specific different launcher?

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 26 June 2016 10:39:35AM 2 points [-]

One thing I do sometimes is search for the name of 2 different supplements on Amazon and see if I can find a commercial stack where they appear together, then check for 1 star reviews of the stack that describe a negative interaction. (This works best for stacking supplements that have similar purposes, e.g. if you're taking 2 sleep aid supplements at once, it's plausible that they both appear in a commercial stack that someone put together.)

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 June 2016 10:39:16AM 0 points [-]

A pay-for-performance online marketplace for medical services.

Comment author: Crux 26 June 2016 10:02:44AM *  2 points [-]

What irrational, politically extremist positions have you recently seen a lot of on LW?

Comment author: John_Maxwell_IV 26 June 2016 09:18:16AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Sniffnoy 26 June 2016 06:15:24AM 0 points [-]

Siderea was included because she was mentioned as part of a LiveJournal LW-disapora community. Which seemed interesting enough to try sniffing out.

Right, I'm saying I don't think that mention is an accurate description. She may be read by a bunch of LWers after some prominent recent posts, but she doesn't seem part of the LW diaspora community in any way other than that. Not necessarily a bad thing to ask about, of course, if she is much read! It just stood out as odd.

To my memory none of the write in blogs were interesting, but I could take another look.

Just on a quick look-through, Shtetl-Optimized seems to have come up a bunch.

Comment author: ingres 26 June 2016 06:04:45AM 1 point [-]

Phenomenal work. Thank you very much for producing this.

Thank you.

Could you please explain this note?

Sure. So let's say you wanted to brigade the survey and influence the results one way or the other for the income summation. You could put down that you believe in the Basilisk and you've donated a million dollars to MIRI. That's a bit of an extreme example though, we'd probably catch that.

Instead, let's say you put down that you donated fifty thousand dollars to MIRI. That's plausible enough that nobody can really say your anonymous persona didn't. Especially if you put in the work to make the rest plausible in terms of education, profession, etc.

By 'put up or shut up' are you demanding that MIRI publish their full technical research agenda? I refer to the fact that they are openly opaque about it in its full.

Nothing of the sort. I'm asking people who make claims like 'MIRI uses the Basilisk to make money' to validate them with something other than their raw plausibility.

Comment author: Clarity 26 June 2016 05:04:13AM 1 point [-]

Phenomenal work. Thank you very much for producing this.

Two questions:


Take these numbers with a grain of salt, it only takes one troll to plausibly lie about their income to ruin it for everybody else.

Could you please explain this note?


By 'put up or shut up' are you demanding that MIRI publish their full technical research agenda? I refer to the fact that they are openly opaque about it in its full.

Comment author: knb 26 June 2016 03:22:03AM 0 points [-]

What do you think are good ideas for moonshot projects that have not yet been adequately researched or funded?

Comment author: Lumifer 26 June 2016 02:02:57AM 0 points [-]

Who gets to define my utility function? I don't have one at the moment.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 25 June 2016 10:48:36PM 0 points [-]

Well, the numbers you give are frankly unbelievable

You might be generalizing from one example, e.g. if you were raised by middle-class parents you might not have realistic ideas about how fucked up lower-class parents can be.

Comment author: Gleb_Tsipursky 25 June 2016 10:17:08PM 0 points [-]

An article on Psychology Today on map and terriotry and fundamental attribution error, and another one on false consensus effect.

Comment author: ingres 25 June 2016 10:03:39PM *  0 points [-]

If you'll notice, those weren't really obvious. You'd need to have done dedicated googling to verify Synthesis wasn't a thing.

But in general, yes.

Comment author: Elo 25 June 2016 09:57:43PM *  -2 points [-]
Comment author: Dagon 25 June 2016 09:39:48PM 0 points [-]

Ok, maybe you don't have to state the conditions, but you have to predict that there will be an actual time that you want to die.

I don't follow your utility comparison. I don't think of utility as a number in this way, but even if so, that's not the deal being offered.

In order to not want immortality, you have to want to die. I think this is pretty straightforward. The deal being offered is "you expect some utility amount every moment you experience. some of these may be negative. You have some influence, but not actual control, over future experiences" If you predict that the sum of future experiences is negative, you would be better off dieing now. If you predict positive, you should continue living.

Unless you can predict a point at which you want to die, you should predict that you'll want to live.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 25 June 2016 09:29:46PM 0 points [-]

I would not assume that people necessarily have any reason, at least the kind that can be formulated as a statement about the world, like "this gives me good feelings," before you ask them why they did it. Of course, once you ask, they will come up with something, but it may be something that in fact had nothing to do with the fact that they did it.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 25 June 2016 09:04:16PM 0 points [-]

I would never flip a switch like that.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 25 June 2016 08:45:15PM 1 point [-]

With smart contracts you can implement such escrow accounts. Which is a step into the right direction I think.

Comment author: CronoDAS 25 June 2016 07:23:53PM 2 points [-]

I had thought I already read your blog, but it turns out I was mistaken; I had you confused with the "Minding Our Way" blog. Adding the feed now.

And yeah, I really like seeing long-form content on LessWrong.

Comment author: ingres 25 June 2016 07:14:35PM *  0 points [-]

Siderea was included because she was mentioned as part of a LiveJournal LW-disapora community. Which seemed interesting enough to try sniffing out.

To my memory none of the write in blogs were interesting, but I could take another look.

If we're going to talk about omissions, I didn't include UNSONG. To be fair, this was because I figured Scott already had readership statistics for UNSONG and it was a relatively new story at the time I was making the survey, so it didn't really 'fit'.

In retrospect, I'm sure Scott has the straightforward readership statistics, but being able to do a more in depth analysis of his demographics would have been nice.

Comment author: Houshalter 25 June 2016 07:10:47PM 0 points [-]

First of all, humans are 99.99% similar to each other. So I think we reasonably can have arguments about values. It's possible to be mistaken about what their values are. And people can come to agree on different values after hearing arguments and thought experiments. That's what debates about morality and ethics are after all.

I don't think there is a human being that actually values ticking a box that says "democrat", knowing that it will have no consequence whatsoever. I think there are many beliefs and feelings that lead people to vote. Like "if everyone like me did this, it would make a difference", or perhaps "it's a duty as a member of my tribe to do this", etc.

Some people cast spoiled ballots for similar reasons. Though they aren't changing the election, they believe just the statistic matters. Like how voting for a third party shows that the third party has some support in the population, and encourages them to keep trying.

But all these arguments for voting are about some tangible effect on the world. And they could empirically be shown incorrect. E.g. maybe no one does read those statistics, or you live in a heavily gerrymandered district.

Now imagine you find someone that really believes their vote matters. And somehow you explained all this to them and came to agreement that it really doesn't. And then they went and voted anyway.

You could reasonably ask if they are being irrational. If they haven't really updated their beliefs. If their stated reason for doing a thing is shown wrong, and they don't change their behavior.

You could ask them why they voted, and I doubt they would say "because it gives me good feelies" or whatever. Because people never say they do things because of that. And so somewhere they must hold a belief that is false and inconsistent.

If they did admit that, at least to themselves, then fine. They are at least consistent. But then I think, they would probably stop voting. When people honestly admit the only reason they do a thing is because it feels good, but has no effect on the world. Well it tends to stop feeling good. Realizing something is pointless tends to make it feel pointless.

Our feelings are not independent our beliefs after all. We feel good feelings because we believe we are doing a good thing.

Comment author: Sniffnoy 25 June 2016 06:55:02PM 1 point [-]

Nothing here about the write-in blogs?

Siderea is a surprising inclusion. Her blog is insightful, I'll agree, but it doesn't seem to either have a particular rationality focus, nor does she seem to be connected to LessWrong socially. Is it just a case of "a bunch of people mentioned reading her" thing?

"Blindsight" seems maybe worth mentioning in the story section due to how often it's been discussed here, IMO.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 June 2016 06:12:33PM 1 point [-]

Has telling youths how to do dating ever worked?

Many young people read advice and try to apply it when they are faced with a high stakes situations and don't want to screw up.

PUA advice is one example.

I think the scenario of a young aspriring rationalist who's unhappy with his dating life or lack thereof reading LW and trying to implement advice isn't farfetched.

View more: Next