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[Link] New program can beat Alpha Go, didn't need input from human games

4 NancyLebovitz 18 October 2017 08:01PM

Recent updates to gwern.net (2016-2017)

3 gwern 20 October 2017 02:11AM

Previously: 2011; 2012-2013; 2013-2014; 2014-2015; 2015-2016

“Every season hath its pleasures; / Spring may boast her flowery prime, / Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasures / Brighten Autumn’s sob’rer time.”

Another year of my completed writings, sorted by topic:

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Halloween costume: Paperclipperer

2 Elo 21 October 2017 06:32AM

Original post: http://bearlamp.com.au/halloween-costume-paperclipperer/

Guidelines for becoming a paperclipperer for halloween.

Supplies

  • Paperclips (some as a prop, make your life easier by buying some, but show effort by making your own)
  • pliers (extra pairs for extra effect)
  • metal wire (can get colourful for novelty) (Florist wire)
  • crazy hat (for character)
  • Paperclip props.  Think glasses frame, phone case, gloves, cufflinks, shoes, belt, jewellery...
  • if party going - Consider a gift that is suspiciously paperclip like.  example - paperclip coasters, paperclip vase, paperclip party-snack-bowl
  • Epic commitment - make fortune cookies with paperclips in them.  The possibilities are endless.
  • Epic: paperclip tattoo on the heart.  Slightly less epic, draw paperclips on yourself.

Character

While at the party, use the pliers and wire to make paperclips.  When people are not watching, try to attach them to objects around the house (example, on light fittings, on the toilet paper roll, under the soap.  When people are watching you - try to give them to people to wear.  Also wear them on the edges of your clothing.

When people ask about it, offer to teach them to make paperclips.  Exclaim that it's really fun!  Be confused, bewildered or distant when you insist you can't explain why.

Remember that paperclipping is a compulsion and has no reason.  However that it's very important.  "you can stop any time" but after a few minutes you get fidgety and pull out a new pair of pliers and some wire to make some more paperclips.

Try to leave paperclips where they can be found the next day or the next week.  cutlery drawers, in the fridge, on the windowsills.  And generally around the place.  The more home made paperclips the better.

Try to get faster at making paperclips, try to encourage competitions in making paperclips.

Hints for conversation:

  • Are spiral galaxies actually just really big paperclips?
  • Have you heard the good word of our lord and saviour paperclips?
  • Would you like some paperclips in your tea?
  • How many paperclips would you sell your internal organs for?
  • Do you also dream about paperclips (best to have a dream prepared to share)

Conflict

The better you are at the character, the more likely someone might try to spoil your character by getting in your way, stealing your props, taking your paperclips.  The more you are okay with it, the better.  ideas like, "that's okay, there will be more paperclips".  This is also why you might be good to have a few pairs of pliers and wire.  Also know when to quit the battles and walk away.  This whole thing is about having fun.  Have fun!


Meta: chances are that other people who also read this will not be the paperclipper for halloween.  Which means that you can do it without fear that your friends will copy.  Feel free to share pictures!

Cross posted to lesserwrong: 

Use concrete language to improve your communication in relationships

2 Elo 19 October 2017 03:46AM

She wasn’t respecting me. Or at least, that’s what I was telling myself.

And I was pretty upset. What kind of person was too busy to text back a short reply? I know she’s a friendly person because just a week ago we were talking daily, text, phone, whatever suited us. And now? She didn’t respect me. That’s what I was telling myself. Any person with common decency could see, what she was doing was downright rude! And she was doing it on purpose. Or at least, that’s what I was telling myself.

It was about a half a day of these critical-loop thoughts, when I realised what I was doing. I was telling myself a story. I was building a version of events that grew and morphed beyond the very concrete and specific of what was happening. The trouble with The Map and the Territory, is that “Respect” is in my map of my reality. What it “means” to not reply to my text is in my theory of mind, in my version of events. Not in the territory, not in reality.

I know I could be right about my theory of what’s going on. She could be doing this on purpose, she could be choosing to show that she does not respect me by not replying to my texts, and I often am right about these things. I have been right plenty of times in the past. But that doesn’t make me feel better. Or make it easier to communicate my problem. If she was not showing me respect, sending her an accusation would not help our communication improve.

The concept comes from Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Better described as Non-Judgemental communication. The challenge I knew I faced was to communicate to her that I was bothered, without an accusation. Without accusing her with my own internal judgement of “she isn’t respecting me”. I knew if I fire off an attack, I will encounter walls of defence. That’s the kind of games we play when we feel attacked by others. We put up walls and fire back.

The first step of NVC is called, “observation”. I call it “concrete experience”. To pass the concrete experience test, the description of what happened needs to be specific enough to be used as instructions by a stranger. For example, there are plenty of ideas someone could have about not showing respect, if my description of the problem is, “she does not respect me”, my grandma might think she started eating before I sat down at the table. If my description is, “In the past 3 days she has not replied to any of my messages”. That’s a very concrete description of what happened. It’s also independent as an observation. It’s not clear that doing this action has caused a problem in my description of what happened. It’s just “what happened”

Notice — I didn’t say, “she never replies to my messages”. This is because “never replies” is not concrete, not specific, and sweepingly untrue. For her to never reply she would have to have my grandma’s texting ability. I definitely can’t expect progress to be made here with a sweeping accusations like “she never replies”.

What I did go with, while not perfect, is a lot better than the firing line of, “you don’t respect me”. Instead it was, “I noticed that you have not messaged me in three days. I am upset because I am telling myself that the only reason you would be doing that is because you don’t respect me, and I know that’s not true. I don’t understand what’s going on with you and I would appreciate an explanation of what’s going on.”.

It’s remarkably hard to be honest and not make an accusation. No sweeping generalisations, no lies or exaggerations, just the concretes of what is going on in my head and the concrete of what happened in the territory. It’s still okay to be telling yourself those accusations, and validate your own feelings that things are not okay — but it’s not okay to lay those accusations on someone else. We all experience telling ourselves what other people are thinking, and the reasons behind their actions, but we can’t ever really know unless we ask. And if we don’t ask, we end up with the same circumstances surrounding the cold-war, each side preparing for war, but a war built on theories in the map, not the experience in the territory.

I’m human too, that’s how I found myself half-a-day of brooding before wondering what I was doing to myself! It’s not easy to apply this method, but it has always been successful at bringing me some of that psychological relief that you need when you are looking to be understood by someone. To get this right think, “How do I describe my concrete observations of what happened?”.

Good Luck!

Cross posted to Medium: https://medium.com/@redeliot/use-concrete-language-to-improve-your-communication-in-relationships-cf1c6459d5d6

Cross posted to www.bearlamp.com.au/use-concrete-language-to-improve-your-communication-in-relationships

Also on lesserwrong: https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/RovDhfhy5jL6AQ6ve/use-concrete-language-to-improve-your-communication-in

[Link] Lucid dreaming technique and study

1 morganism 20 October 2017 03:18AM

[Link] The NN/tank Story Probably Never Happened

1 gwern 20 October 2017 01:41AM

Adjust for the middleman.

1 MaryCh 18 October 2017 02:40PM

This post is from the point of view of the middleman standing between the grand future he doesn't understand and the general public whose money he's hunting. We have a certain degree of power over what to offer to the customer, and our biases and pet horses are going to contribute a lot to what theoreticians infer about "the actual public"'s tastes. Just how a lot it is, I cannot say, & there's probably tons of literature on this anyway, so take this as a personal anecdote.

Nine months as a teacher of botany (worst gripes here) showed me a glimpse of how teachers/administration view the field they teach. A year in a shop - what managers think of books we sell. The scientific community here in my country grumbles that there's too little non-fiction produced, without actually looking into why it's not being distributed; but really, it's small wonder. Broadest advice - if your sufficiently weird goals depend on the cooperation of a network of people, especially if they are an established profession with which you haven't had a cause to interact closely except as a customer, you might want to ask what they think of your enterprise. Because they aren't going to see it your way. Next thing, is to accept it.

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Open thread, October 16 - October 22, 2017

1 root 16 October 2017 06:53PM
If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, then it goes here.

Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one. (Immediately before; refresh the list-of-threads page before posting.)

3. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

4. Unflag the two options "Notify me of new top-level comments on this article" and ".

NYC Solstice and East Coast Megameetup. Interested in attending? We need your help.

0 wearsshoes 20 October 2017 04:32PM

Hey all, we’re currently raising funds for this year’s NYC Secular Solstice. As in previous years, this will be coinciding with the East Coast Rationalist Megameetup, which will be a mass sleepover and gathering in NYC spanning an entire weekend from December 8th to 10th.


The Solstice itself is on December 9th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, followed by an afterparty. This year’s theme is “Generations” - the passing down of culture and knowledge from teacher to student, from master to apprentice, from parent to child. The stories we tell will investigate the methods by which this knowledge has been preserved, and how we can continue to do so for future generations.



Sounds great. How can I help?


In previous years, Solstice has been mostly underwritten by a few generous individuals; we’re trying to produce a more sustainable base of donations for this year’s event. Right now, our sustainable ticket price is about $30, which we’ve found seems steep to newcomers. Our long-term path to sustainability at a lower price point involves getting more yearly attendance, so we want to continue to provide discounted access for the general public and people with tight finances. So. Our hope is for you to donate this year the amount that you'd be happy to donate each year, to ensure the NYC Solstice continues to thrive.


  • $15 - Newcomer / Affordable option: If you're new, or you're not sure how much Solstice is worth to you, or finances are tight, you're welcome to come with a donation of $15.

  • $35 - Sponsorship option: You attend Solstice, and you contribute a bit towards subsidizing others using the newcomer/affordable option.

  • $25 Volunteering Option - If you're willing to put in roughly 3 hours of work (enough to do a shopping-spree for the afterparty, or show up early to set up, or help run the ticketstand, help clean up, etc)

  • $50 and higher - Higher levels of sponsorship for those who are able.


Donate at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1939801081/nyc-secular-solstice-2017-generations



Wait, I’m new to this. What is Secular Solstice?


Secular Solstice is a rationalist tradition, and one of the few public facing rationalist held events. It’s what it says on the tin: a nonreligious winter solstice holiday. We sing, we tell stories about scientific progress and humanist values, we light candles. Usually, we get about 150 people in NYC. For more info, or if you’re curious about how to hold your own, check out www.secularsolstice.com.



I’m interested in snuggling rationalists. What’s this sleepover thing?


Since we’ll have a whole bunch of people from the rationalist community all in town for the same weekend, it’d be awesome if we could spend that weekend hanging out together, learning from each other and doing ingroup things. Because many of us will need a place to stay anyway, we can rent a big house on Airbnb together and use that as the central gathering place, like at Highgarden in 2014. This way we’ll have more flexibility to do things than if we all have to wander around looking for a public space.


Besides Solstice and the afterparty, the big activity will be an unconference on Saturday afternoon. We’ll also have a ritual lab, games, meals together, and whatever other activities you want to run! There'll also be plenty of room for unstructured socializing, of course.


This is all going to cost up to $100 per person for the Airbnb rental, plus $25 per person for food (including at least Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast) and other expenses. (The exact Airbnb location hasn’t been determined determined yet, because we don’t know how many participants there’ll be, but $100 per person will be the upper limit on price.)


To gauge interest, registration is open from now until October 30. You’ll be asked to authorize a PayPal payment of $125. It works like Kickstarter; you won’t be charged until October 30, and only if there’s enough interest to move forward. You’ll also only be charged your share of what the rental actually ends up costing, plus the additional $25. For this, you’ll get to sleep in the Airbnb house Friday through Sunday nights (or whatever subset of those you can make it), have three meals with us, and hang out with a bunch of nice/cool/awesome ingroup people throughout the weekend. (Solstice tickets are not part of this deal; those are sold separately through the Solstice Kickstarter.)


If this sounds like a good thing that you want to see happen and be part of, then register before October 30!


Register and/or see further details at www.rationalistmegameetup.com. Taymon Beal is organizing.


Anything else I should know?


If you have other questions, please feel free to post them in the comments or contact me at rachel@rachelshu.com.

 

Hope to see you in NYC this December!

Just a photo

0 MaryCh 19 October 2017 06:48PM

Would you say the picture below (by A. S. Shevchenko) is almost like an optical illusion?

Have you seen any pictures or sights that fooled your brain for a moment but that you wouldn't call optical illusions, and if yes, what is the salient difference?