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Comment author: D_Alex 22 January 2017 09:57:32AM *  3 points [-]

In the "proof" presented, the series 1-1+1... is "shown" to equal to 1/2 by a particular choice of interleaving of the values in the series. But with other methods of interleaving, the sum can be made to "equal" 0, 1 1/3 or indeed AFAICT any rational number between 0 and 1.

So... why is the particular interleaving that gives 1/2 as the answer "correct"?

Comment author: tut 26 October 2015 09:13:21AM 4 points [-]

"Powerwall" is just a big battery. It might help compensate for the irregularities of solar and wind power. But it only makes sense to use batteries for that after we have moved to much more renewables. It is much more efficient to store the power in the water magazines of existing hydro plants.

Comment author: D_Alex 27 October 2015 03:04:27AM -2 points [-]

"Powerwall" is just a big battery.

Yes... plus some electronics, like a rectifier, an inverter and control circuitry.

It might help compensate for the irregularities of solar and wind power.

Yes... that's partly what is was conceived to do. It also can compensate for the irregularities in demand.

But it only makes sense to use batteries for that after we have moved to much more renewables.

For storage of solar and wind power, this is a complex matter, and the short answer is "it depends". For demand management, it makes sense now.

It is much more efficient to store the power in the water magazines of existing hydro plants.

It is desirable to use hydro plants (where they exist) as swing producers. Pumped storage is not quite as energy-efficient as battery storage (roughly 75% for pumped vs 85% for Li batteries), though it can be cost-effective, in places where large, elevated reservoirs already exist.

But all this is besides the point, which is: There are proposals to "solve" global warming, which are implementable now, with today's technology, which furthermore have side effects which are on balance positive (like clean air in the cities).

Comment author: Vaniver 01 September 2015 01:52:21PM 6 points [-]

Scott, if you read this, how about a wager?

Despite his frequent comments that he's "betting" on Trump and that Silver is "betting" against Trump, Adams's position is that gambling is illegal when pressed to actually bet. This means one of the big feedback mechanisms preventing outlandish probabilities is not there, so don't take his stated probabilities as the stated numbers.

(In general, remember how terrible people are at calibration: a 98% chance probably corresponds to about a 70% chance in actuality, if Adams is an expert in the relevant field.)

Comment author: D_Alex 02 September 2015 02:24:25AM 4 points [-]

Despite his frequent comments that he's "betting" on Trump and that Silver is "betting" against Trump, Adams's position is that gambling is illegal when pressed to actually bet.

How convenient for him.

Comment author: James_Miller 31 August 2015 04:49:25AM *  2 points [-]

Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who has a fantastic rationalist-compatible blog, is giving Donald Trump a 98% of becoming president because Trump is using advanced persuasion techniques. We probably shouldn't get into whether Trump should be president, but do you think Adams is correct, especially about what he writes here. See also this, this, and this.

Comment author: D_Alex 01 September 2015 06:37:06AM 4 points [-]

Well... Scott Adams has a lot of money. I am willing to bet that Trump will NOT become president, at EVEN ODDS. Scott, if you read this, how about a wager? I propose a $10,000 stake.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 August 2015 03:13:31PM *  2 points [-]

Could someone point me towards good fictional stories set in Roman times, like those by Kipling in Puck...? Thank you. (Edit: spelling)

In response to comment by [deleted] on Stupid Questions August 2015
Comment author: D_Alex 06 August 2015 08:04:53AM 3 points [-]

If you are after descriptions of society in those days, try "Quo Vadis" by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Historical fiction about early days of Christianity, won a Nobel Prize for literature. Strong religious themes.

Comment author: Evan_Gaensbauer 03 August 2015 01:38:20AM 3 points [-]

Bonus Stupid Question

I remember reading about how some biologists took some wild foxes, and allowed ones which were friendlier to humans to breed. In the next generation of fox offspring, they let the friendliest ones of those litters reproduce. They repeated this several times. After some number of generations, they found these friendliest of foxes had droopy ears like domesticated dogs. This demonstrates how a simple process of artificial selection, like just selecting for friendlier animal companions, may have been sufficient to lead to the domestication of dogs.

Now, my question is, could we humans do the same thing with octopi? Could we just take a population of octopi, and identify the ones which can meaningfully interact with humans in a friendly and docile way, and let them breed, and iterate this process until we have some kind of domesticated octopi?

If they're not long-lived, they wouldn't make good work animals, but I want to know if octopi could at all be domesticated regardless. The fact they're short-lived might mean humans could breed domesticated octopi even faster.

Comment author: D_Alex 06 August 2015 07:51:58AM 1 point [-]

Or could we breed them for intelligence...? With such short periods between generations, we could reach superintelligence, maybe faster than other methods!

Comment author: D_Alex 21 July 2015 02:44:32AM 4 points [-]

The Big Lebowski: "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man".

Comment author: bekkerd 13 July 2015 10:48:27AM 5 points [-]

I live in South Africa. We don't, as far as I know, have a cryonics facility comparable to, say, Alcor.

What are my options apart from "emigrate and live next to a cryonics facility"?

Also, I'm not sure if I'm misremembering, but I think it was Eliezer that said cryonics isn't really a viable option without an AI powerful enough to reverse the inevitable damage. Here's my second question, with said AI powerful enough to reverse the damage and recreate you, why would cryonics be a necessary step? Wouldn't alternative solutions also be viable? For example, brain scans while alive and then something like the Visible Human Project (body sliced into cross sections) coupled with a copy of your genome. This could perhaps also be supplemented by a daily journal. Surely a powerful enough AI would be able to recreate the human that created those writings using the information provided?

Is it a completely stupid idea?

Comment author: D_Alex 14 July 2015 06:14:11AM 5 points [-]

What are my options apart from "emigrate and live next to a cryonics facility"?

You could start a cryonics facility in South Africa.

Comment author: James_Miller 06 July 2015 09:41:19PM *  6 points [-]

Leaves the euro which causes an economic collapse which causes a political collapse and the emergence of a new government which makes nice with Germany and gets lots of money from the EU. (25% likely)

Gets a big loan from Russia that prevents an economic collapse (20% likely)

Comes to an agreement that locks in its bad but not horrible economic situation for another decade. (35% likely)

Comment author: D_Alex 07 July 2015 06:57:24AM 4 points [-]

Gets a big loan from Russia that prevents an economic collapse (20% likely)

I'll give 10:1 odds against this happening. Russia has its own economic problems now with the drop in the price of oil and Ukrainian conflict, and other issues... China might be more likely, though IMO both Russia and China are a scare ploy by the Greeks.

A somewhat likely possibility is: Greece leaves the EU, triggering an economic collapse, possibly followed by a political collapse. Then spends many, many years trying to sort out itself and wishing it had stayed.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 June 2015 03:47:36PM 4 points [-]

A combination of mnemonic techniques and mental math methods that I'd never encountered in childhood make a huge difference.

What kind of work do you do that being able to do mental math makes a huge difference?

Comment author: D_Alex 17 June 2015 02:49:32AM 9 points [-]

I am sure that there are many jobs where mental math makes a huge difference.

I manage a team of engineers, and though pretty much all of them are head and shoulders above me in their specialisation, they think I really know my stuff because I find errors in their work and zero-in on them on the fly. The skill that I have is doing rough approximations in my head. Then from experience: a factor-of-two difference is commonly confusing kg and lb, a factor of 10 - confusing kg and N, a factor of fifty - mistaking degrees and radians (usually in Excel, where radians are the default mesurement), etc... I get a LOT of mileage from this :). If they did the same, their already good work would be even better. And I imagine any calculation intensive job (finance, economics, science, business...) is similar.

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