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Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 April 2014 07:14:52AM 2 points [-]

Fanfiction Thread

Comment author: Bakkot 03 April 2014 10:16:56PM 2 points [-]

I've mentioned it before, but it's recently completed and hence bears bringing up again:

Embers, an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction, is one of the best works I've read, fanfic or otherwise. At 750k words, it'll keep you entertained for a while. It features characters who are generally smart (at least some of them, and in ways generally more age- and culturally-appropriate than eg HJPEV) and significant fleshing out of the world, with the latter drawing heavily on the author's sometimes-cited research: see eg the author's notes at the end of chapter 30 (warning, slight spoilers, though nothing that will make sense out of context) or at the end of chapter 47 (somewhat more significant spoilers).

You don't need to have seen the show to know what's going on, but it'll help, and the show is worth a quick watch if you've got time on your hands anyway. Don't skip this work just because you don't have time for the show right now, though. Also, there's a prequel of sorts called "Theft Absolute", which is three orders of magnitude shorter and will not make much sense without the show; it's not necessary for Embers.

Comment author: army1987 16 March 2014 03:04:31AM 3 points [-]

Hyperlinked URLs are excellent if available but do not substitute for the rest of this information since these threads will likely outlive the location of some of the sources.

That's what archive.org is for. (Okay, it's not perfectly reliable, but...)

Comment author: Bakkot 20 March 2014 04:28:19AM 2 points [-]

If you want to avoid that problem, whenever you post a link you should submit it to archive.org or archive.is.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 09 January 2014 12:30:40AM 9 points [-]

If you're expecting the singularity within a century, does it make sense to put any thought into eugenics except for efforts to make it easy to avoid the worst genetic disorders?

Comment author: Bakkot 10 January 2014 01:38:19AM 3 points [-]

Depends on the confidence with which you expect it. If you're 95+% confident, probably not. Lower? Probably yes. Even an intervention with only 10% chance of ever mattering may be worth doing if its value if successful is at least 10x greater than its cost+opportunity cost.

Comment author: passive_fist 06 January 2014 11:08:24PM *  1 point [-]

That definition of 'racist' is what Yvain calls a non-central fallacy: http://lesswrong.com/lw/e95/the_noncentral_fallacy_the_worst_argument_in_the/

If you can definitively prove "the existence and possible importance of average group differences in psychological traits", then the true and rational position to take would be racism. Now, as far as I know or have researched, no conclusive arguments have been made for accepting racism. However, when you say 'racist', it conjures up images like this:

(EDIT: this picture was embedded; it's now linked instead)

http://motherboard-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/content-images/article/ironically-a-mans-face-can-tell-you-if-hes-likely-to-act-like-a-racist/048156b6350757d5b198262bdfb53d92_vice_630x420.jpg

Comment author: Bakkot 07 January 2014 01:57:07AM 2 points [-]

Didn't downvote you, but I'm willing to bet it was because you embedded an image rather than linking it.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 06 January 2014 05:47:15PM *  18 points [-]

Even if everyone's map is distorted, I think there is an important difference whether people try to update, or don't even try. Which is part of what this website is about.

In other words, I would be okay with an X-ist who says they could be convinced against X-ism by evidence, even if they obviously consider such evidence very unlikely.

(And I obviously wouldn't be okay with people suggesting that presenting an evidence against X-ism should be punished.)

Comment author: Bakkot 07 January 2014 12:40:37AM 2 points [-]

I strongly suspect that people who make the claim "no amount of evidence could convince me of not-X" have simply absorbed the meme that X must be supported as much as possible and not the meme that all beliefs should be subject to updating. I very much doubt that expressing the above claim is much evidence that the claim is true. And it's hard to absorb memes like "all beliefs should be subject to updating" if you are made to feel unwelcome in the communities where those memes are common.

Comment author: ThrustVectoring 06 January 2014 02:51:38AM 8 points [-]

We risk being an echo-chamber of people who aren't hurt by the problems we discuss.

I don't see this as a problem, really. The entire point is to have high-value discussions. Being inclusive isn't the point. It'd be nice, sure, and there's no reason to drive away minority groups for no reason.

I mean, I don't see us trying to spread internet access and English language instruction in Africa so that the inhabitants can help discuss how to solve their malaria problems. As long as we can get enough input about what the problem is actually like, we don't need to be inclusive in order to solve problems. And in the African malaria case, being inclusive would obviously hurt our problem-solving capability.

Comment author: Bakkot 06 January 2014 03:44:58AM 23 points [-]

Eh, yes and no. This attitude ("we know what's best; your input is not required") has historically almost always been wrong and frequently dangerous and deserves close attention, and I think it mostly fails here. In very, very specific instances (GiveWell-esque philanthropy, eg), maybe not, but in terms of, say, feminism? If anyone on LW is interested tackling feminist issues, having very few women would be a major issue. Even when not addressing specific issues, if you're trying to develop models of how human beings think, and everyone in the conversation is a very specific sort of person, you're going to have a much harder time getting it right.

Comment author: hesperidia 02 January 2014 09:11:48PM 1 point [-]

Through the quote threads and references elsewhere on the site, I find I enjoy LW's taste in (short-to-medium-length) poetry. Can I have recommendations for more?

Comment author: Bakkot 04 January 2014 09:20:44AM 2 points [-]

Each of these I have liked well enough to memorize, which is about as high a recommendation as I can possibly give for sort-to-medium length poetry. Roughly descending order of how much I like them.

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem, Bob Hicock

Dirge without Music, Edna St. Vincent Millay

Invictus, William Ernest Henley

I-5, aleashurmantine.tumblr.com

A blade of grass, Brian Patten

Rhapsody on a Windy Night, TS Eliot

Evolution, Langdon Smith

untitled, vd This is in my notes as being by 'vd', who per this I assume is this person, though I can no longer find the original.

Also, The Raven (Edgar Allan Poe) is somewhat longer, but is absolutely worth it. Read it aloud. Even if you think you have read it and not particularly been caught by it, go back and read a couple of stanzas aloud before giving up on it entirely. He does some of the best things with words of anyone I've ever read. "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain..."

Most of these links I've added to archive.is (see here ), so if any of these links are dead and Google is proving inadequate, check there.

Comment author: Bakkot 04 January 2014 09:15:14AM 6 points [-]

I've started making heavy use of archive.is. You give them a link, or click their super-handy bookmarklet, and that page will be archived. I use it whenever I'm going to be saving a link, now, to ensure that there will be a copy if I go looking for it years later (archive.org is often missing things, as I'm sure we've all run in to).

Comment author: Bakkot 15 December 2013 09:06:11PM 0 points [-]

Great post! For anyone reading this who isn't familiar with model theory, by the way, the bit about

sentence G ⇔ P('G')<1. Then

may not be obvious. That is, we want a sentence G which is true iff P('G') < 1 is true. The fact that you can do this is a consequence of the diagonal lemma, which says that for any reasonable predicate 'f' in a sufficiently powerful language, you can find a sentence G such that G is true iff f(G) is true. Hence, defining f(x) := P('x') < 1, the lemma gives us the existence of G such that G holds iff f(G) holds, ie, iff P('G') < 1 as desired.

Mostly I bring this up because the diagonal lemma is among the most interesting results in early model theory. It has a simple statement and is how self-reference is constructed, which is what gives us the incompleteness theorems. If anyone is interested in getting in to model theory, looking up the proof and background for the proof would be a great place to start.

Comment author: TsviBT 10 December 2013 12:35:02AM 24 points [-]

PSA: If you want to get store-bought food (as opposed to eating out all the time or eating Soylent), but you don't want to have to go shopping all the time, check to see if there is a grocery delivery service in your area. At least where I live, the delivery fee is far outbalanced by the benefit of almost no shopping time, slightly cheaper food, and decreased cognitive load (I can just copy my previous order, and tweak it as desired).

Comment author: Bakkot 11 December 2013 05:35:32PM 1 point [-]

For those in the community living in the south Bay Area: https://www.google.com/shopping/express/

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