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Comment author: D_Malik 03 September 2016 06:20:40PM 3 points [-]

Don't let them tell us stories. Don't let them say of the man sentenced to death "He is going to pay his debt to society," but: "They are going to cut off his head." It looks like nothing. But it does make a little difference.

-- Camus

Comment author: D_Malik 03 September 2016 06:13:05PM *  1 point [-]

"From the fireside house, President Reagan suddenly said to me, 'What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?'

"I said, 'No doubt about it.'"

"He said, 'We too.'"

Comment author: D_Malik 16 July 2016 05:30:19PM 10 points [-]

You assume utility of getting neither is 0 both before and after the transformation. You need to transform that utility too, eg from 0 to 4.

Comment author: D_Malik 09 April 2016 02:07:20AM 9 points [-]

Lost 35lbs in the past 4 months, currently at 11.3% body fat, almost at my goal of ~9% body fat, at which point I'll start bulking again. Average body fat is ~26% for men in my age group. My FFMI (= non-fat mass / height^2) is still somewhere above 95th percentile for men in my age group.

Got an indoor treadmill, have since walked 1100km in the past 2 months, 18km/day, 4.5hour/day average. Would definitely recommend this.

Scored 2 points short of perfect on the GRE. Got a 3.8 average for college courses over the past year.

Comment author: philh 02 December 2015 10:15:15AM 2 points [-]

Repeating my question from late in the previous thread:

It seems to me that if you buy a stock, you could come out arbitrarily well-off, but your losses are limited to the amount you put in. But if you short, your payoffs are limited to the current price, and your losses could be arbitrarily big, until you run out of money.

Is this accurate? If so, it feels like an important asymmetry that I haven't absorbed from the "stock markets 101" type things that I've occasionally read. What effects does it have on markets, if any? (Running my mouth off, I'd speculate that it makes people less inclined to bet on a bubble popping, which in turn would prolong bubbles.) Are there symmetrical ways to bet a stock will rise/fall?

Comment author: D_Malik 02 December 2015 12:16:11PM 1 point [-]

You usually avoid unlimited liability by placing a stop order to cover your position as soon as the price goes sufficiently high. Or for instance you can bound your losses by including a term in the contract which says that instead of giving back the stock you borrowed and sold, you can pay a certain price.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 November 2015 07:38:53PM 26 points [-]


Use "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" as a mnemonic. His first error is type 1 (claiming a wolf as present when there wasn't one). His second error is type 2 (people don't notice an existing wolf).

Comment author: D_Malik 18 November 2015 08:53:44PM 2 points [-]

Introspecting, the way I remember this is that 1 is a simple number, and type 1 errors are errors that you make by being stupid in a simple way, namely by being gullible. 2 is a more sophisticated number, and type 2 errors are ones you make by being too skeptical, which is a more sophisticated type of stupidity. I do most simple memorization (e.g. memorizing differentiation rules) with this strategy of "rationalizing why the answer makes sense". I think your method is probably better for most people, though.

Comment author: [deleted] 31 August 2015 08:41:20AM *  0 points [-]

Or sometimes they flip that modus tollens into a modus ponens, and you become a cult leader. So it's polarizing.

Care to explain what they flip exactly?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Self-confidence and status
Comment author: D_Malik 02 September 2015 07:31:02AM *  1 point [-]

Whether they believe your confidence vs whether they believe their own evidence about your value. If a person is confident, either he's low-value and lying about it, or he's high-value and honest. The modus ponens/tollens description is unclear, I think I only used it because it's a LW shibboleth. (Come to think of it, "shibboleth" is another LW shibboleth.)

Comment author: Fluttershy 24 August 2015 07:30:42PM 2 points [-]

I've always been annoyed by how icky traditional sunscreen makes me feel, so I was happy to find out that there's a roll-on sunscreen that works reasonably well. I've used it a couple of times now, and while I wasn't outside for long enough that I would have burned when I used it in either case-- and therefore can't comment on the effectiveness of a single layer of the stuff-- I would say that applying it was much quicker and easier than applying traditional sunscreen. While applying sunscreen isn't the lowest hanging fruit in health interventions out there, it's still useful for reducing one's risk of death from melanoma (yay for living longer!).

Comment author: D_Malik 25 August 2015 04:08:43PM 0 points [-]

Sunlight increases risk of melanoma but decreases risk of other, more deadly cancers. If you're going to get, say, 3 times your usual daily sunlight exposure, then sunscreen is probably a good idea, but otherwise it's healthier to go without. I'd guess a good heuristic is to get as much sunlight as your ancestors from 1000 years ago would have gotten.

Comment author: estimator 24 August 2015 06:57:10AM 1 point [-]

I'm very skeptical of the third. A human brain contains ~10^10 neurons and ~10^14 synapses -- which would be hard to infer from ~10^5 photos/screenshots, esp. considering that they don't convey that much information about your brain structure. DNA and comprehensive brain scans are better, but I guess that getting brain scans with required precision isn't quite easy.

Cryonics, at least, might work.

Comment author: D_Malik 24 August 2015 02:17:07PM 1 point [-]

You don't need to reconstruct all the neurons and synapses, though. If something behaves almost exactly as I would behave, I'd say that thing is me. 20 years of screenshots 8 hours a day is around 14% of a waking lifetime, which seems like enough to pick out from mindspace a mind that behaves very similarly to mine.

Comment author: D_Malik 24 August 2015 12:14:30AM 11 points [-]

Confidence is the alief that you have high value, and it induces confidence-signalling behaviors. People judge your value partly by actually looking at your value, but they also take the shortcut of just directly looking at whether you display those signals. So you can artificially inflate your status by having incorrect confidence, i.e. alieving that you're more valuable than you really are. This is called hubris, and when people realize you're doing it they reduce their valuation of you to compensate. (Or sometimes they flip that modus tollens into a modus ponens, and you become a cult leader. So it's polarizing.)

But it is a prosocial lie that you should have incorrect underconfidence, i.e. that you should alieve that you have lower value than you actually do. This is called humility, and it's prosocial because it allows the rest of society to exploit you, taking more value from you than they're actually paying for. Since it's prosocial, society paints humility as a virtue, and practically all media, religious doctrine, fiction, etc. repeatedly insists that humility (and good morals in general) will somehow cause you to win in the end. You have to really search to find media where the evil, confident guys actually crush the good guys. So if this stuff has successfully indoctrinated you (and if you're a nerd, it probably has), then you should adjust your confidence upwards to compensate, and this will feel like hubris relative to what society encourages.

Also, high confidence has lower drawbacks nowadays than what our hindbrains were built to expect. People share less background, so it's pretty easy to reinvent yourself. You don't know people for as long, so you have less time for people to get tired of your overconfidence. You're less likely to get literally killed for challenging the wrong people. So a level of confidence which is optimal in the modern world will feel excessive to your hindbrain.

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