Comment author: 09 December 2014 04:02:35PM 2 points [-]

I wasn't sure there was a way to do it within current physics.

Now we get to the hard question: supposing we (broadly interpreted, it will probably be a successor species) want to move the earth outwards using those little gravitational nudges, how do we get civilizations with a sufficiently long attention span?

Comment author: 09 December 2014 04:49:08PM 0 points [-]

[...] how do we get civilizations with a sufficiently long attention span?

I heard Ritalin has a solution. Couldn't pay attention long enough to verify. ba-dum tish

On a serious note, isn't the whole killing-the-Earth-for-our-children thing a rather interesting scenario? I've never seen it mentioned in my game theory-related reading, and I find that to be somewhat sad. I'm pretty sure a proper modeling of the game scenario would cover both climate change and eaten-by-red-giant.

Comment author: 08 December 2014 10:05:27PM 10 points [-]

Is there any plausible way the earth could be moved away from the sun and into an orbit which would keep the earth habitable when the sun becomes a red giant?

Comment author: 09 December 2014 03:21:35PM *  2 points [-]

I'm curious about the thought process that led to this being asked in the "stupid questions" thread rather than the "very advanced theoretical speculation of future technology" thread. =P

As a more serious answer: Anything that would effectively give us a means to alter mass and/or the effects of gravity in some way (if there turns out to be a difference) would help a lot.

Comment author: 09 December 2014 01:49:05PM 2 points [-]

Um, what's the difference?

Comment author: 09 December 2014 02:47:23PM 2 points [-]

As ZankerH said, it leaves out the "required to make" part. Also, gjm's particular formulation of 2' makes a statement about comparisons between two given decisions, not a statement about the entire search space of possible decisions.

Comment author: 16 October 2014 03:46:03PM 2 points [-]

If you have up-down=d and up/(up+down)=p -- these are the two pieces of information you get -- then:

(up+down)/up = 1/p
(up-down)/up = (2*up-(up+down))/up = 2-1/p
up = (up-down) / [(up-down)/up] = d / (2-1/p) = dp / (2p-1)

and then down = up-d = d(1-p) / (2p-1).

So knowing vote difference (= score) and vote ratio (= percent positive) is the same thing as knowing #up and #down -- except in the special case where the vote difference is 0, in which case you're always exactly 50% positive and you can't tell the total number.

It seems to me that making the hover-text say something like "+5 -3" would be strictly more informative, and at least as user-friendly, as having it say "63% positive" or whatever it says right now.

Of course there are any number of other changes it might be good to make to the code, and approximately zero effort available for code changes. But this one's a one-liner. (Actually, I think it's a two-liner; there are two things in strings.py that look like they'd want the same modification.)

Comment author: 18 October 2014 01:19:42AM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for making it way clearer than I did. And yes, I forgot the 1:1 edge case.

As for modifying, a minor edit or bug similar to this is always 60% formulation and specification, 10% code modification, and 30% testing and making sure you're not breaking half the project. It sounds like you've already done around 75% of the work.

(deployment not included in above pseudo-figures, since the proportional deployment hurdles varies enormously by setup, environment, etc.)

Comment author: 14 October 2014 03:43:51PM 3 points [-]

Economic growth comes (I believe) exclusively from advances in science and technology.

This alone doesn't seem sufficient to explain the distribution of economic growth between countries. Most science, and most technology more than a generation old, is now public domain. But even if we go two generations back, US GDP/capita was ~\$25K, which would still put it in the top quartile of modern countries. The countries at the bottom of the economic lists are often catching up, but not uniformly.

Comment author: 16 October 2014 02:22:52PM 2 points [-]

This sounds more like a conflation between the "availability" of S&T versus the "presence" of S&T.

Technology being in the public domain does not mean the remote-savannah nomad knows how to use wikipedia, has been trained in the habit of looking for more efficient production methods, is being incentivized by markets or other factors to raising his productivity, or has at his disposal an internet-connected, modern computer, another business nearby that also optimizes production of one of his raw materials / business requirements, and all the tools and practical manuals and human resources and expertise to use them.

Long story short, there's a huge difference between "Someone invented these automated farming tools and techniques, and I know they exist" and "I have the practical ability to obtain an automated farming vehicle, construct or obtain a facility complete with tools and materials for adjustment so I can raise livestock, contacts who also have resources like trucks (who in turn have contacts with means to sell them fuel), and contacts who can transform and distribute my products."

The former is what you have when something is "public domain" and you take the time to propagate all the information about it. The latter, and all the infrastructure and step-by-step work required to get there, is what you need before the economic growth kicks in.

I believe the latter was being referred to by "advances in science and technology".

In response to Questions on Theism
Comment author: 13 October 2014 03:01:29AM *  1 point [-]

I am an atheist. However I have personally had an experience that surely seemed like my prayers being directly answered. When I was young, from about 6 to 9, I would see these weird bright lights in my field of vision. Very often when I closed my eyes and frequently in normal daylight. Think greenish orbs superimposed over my field of vision (I could still see fine).

I was very freaked out about these lights. At 9 I prayed to god something similar to "I am not sure if you are real or not. But if you are real please makes these lights go away. If you answer my prayers I will know you are real and no longer doubt. Please help me."

Soon thereafter the lights went away. And until I was much older I considered this very convincing proof for the existence of God. However I have since been convinced the prior of God existing is so low that I should not believe despite my personal experiences. Seeing does not always justify belief. Maybe I was hallucinating the lights or a medical condition improved by itself. But to this day I am still not sure what to make of my experience and whether I should believe in God.

Despite feeling belief in God is reasonable (even if I do not believe) I am very confused by people who are confident in a specific theory of God (say Catholicism).

In response to comment by on Questions on Theism
Comment author: 16 October 2014 01:19:28PM *  1 point [-]

Here's a data point, do your own bayes accordingly:

I've frequently been able to solve mind or brain-related problems by doing actions conceptually similar to, or sometimes literally by, praying to God. I'm not a believer in any way, but the simple attempt to convince myself that I was communicating with some higher outside entity that had the power to solve my problem did solve my problem.

Here's the other evidence I have at my disposal, all of which I am confident above 90%:

1. My subconscious knows and understands everything - everything - that I think consciously, or even feel in passing.
2. My subconscious is much more powerful than my conscious with regards to such issues, with "power" corresponding here to having more input channels and more output channels for the same problem-solving ability.
3. My subconscious probably can figure out technical neurological or psychological solutions for things that aren't even in my (conscious) power to solve (either because I don't have the input to identify the properties of the problem, or to be aware of the exact nature of the problem, or don't have the output to affect the specific things in my brain / thoughts that need to be affected to undo the pattern causing the problem).

So by those assumptions, and a few other assumptions about base rates, it seems normal for me to conclude that my subconscious fixes problems for me when I "pray", as opposed to some deitic entity. But since you may not share my confidence in the above crucial beliefs, or my assumptions about base rates, the data point of my problems being solved by "prayer" might lead you to a different conclusion.

Comment author: 09 October 2014 06:48:40AM 0 points [-]

One thing that I would like to see is + and - separated out. If the article received -12 and +0 then it is a looser. But if it received -30 and + 18 then it is merely controversial.

Comment author: 16 October 2014 12:36:57PM *  0 points [-]

It's pretty much already provided, there's just that minor inconvenience of algebra between you and the article's vote counts, which IMO is a good thing.

As of 10/15, the article sits at -13, 24% positive (hover mouse over the karma score to see %).

That's 24x-76x = -13 -> 4x = 1:

In response to comment by on Politics is hard mode
Comment author: 22 July 2014 05:01:36PM *  1 point [-]

Personally, I think mind-killer is jargony, hard mode less so, and hard mode can also convey the idea that you should be humble when approaching that discussion, that you should take more seriously an "I think we're getting off track" or "I think we are talking around some fundamentally different assumptions" from other discussants.

And no, the consequences of talking about politics are not that grave. I mean you seem to blog about politics all the time and you have not yet imploded.

In response to comment by on Politics is hard mode
Comment author: 28 July 2014 03:48:00PM 0 points [-]

And no, the consequences of talking about politics are not that grave. I mean you seem to blog about politics all the time and you have not yet imploded.

The consequences of talking about politics have historically made empire-sweeping changes about religion, slavery, gender, warfare, welfare, culture, honor, social stigma, social divide, economics, prosperity, technology, and even politics itself!

Talking about politics has also started wars and made people start involving themselves in the slave trade and other such unhappy things.

And because the Internet Law calls for it: Talking about politics is what caused Hitler to become propped up by other people to the authority he had and what caused other people to listen to him and do those things I don't need to mention.

Every political fanatic you've ever heard of, who showed up in a newspaper because he burned down a preschool in the name of [insert ideology], got to the point of doing that because of people talking about politics (or sufficiently politics-like topics).

I think the consequences are grave enough to warrant Yvain's level of concern.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 July 2014 08:22:17PM 5 points [-]

What irony? People want to have authorities that can be appealed to, so if you value epistemic rationality, just saying it's bad to appeal to authority won't work as well as capturing the drive: providing authorities who can be appealed to in order to support memes beneficial to epistemic rationality, including that it's bad to appeal to authority. If you leave the drive uncaptured, someone else can capture it.

Comment author: 28 July 2014 02:24:07PM 1 point [-]

It's ironic in the same way that adding the text "DEFACING STOP SIGNS" under the main text of a stop sign is ironic.

The method used is the very one which is being condemned / warned against, and the fact that it works better than other methods (in both examples) only adds to the irony, as one should assume that something that preaches not doing exactly what it's doing would invalidate itself, rather than its actual effect of producing greater results due to a quirk of humans.

Comment author: 22 April 2014 08:02:40PM 2 points [-]

Most employers want a track of record of doing job X successfully when hiring people to do job X. If job X requires intelligence, then they will be indirectly selecting intelligent people ... whilst filtering out "smart but doesn't get things done" people. Seems sane to me.

Comment author: 25 June 2014 11:46:16AM 1 point [-]

Yes, of course. These particular traits you have deigned to consider for your worthy evaluation do seem, to me as well, perfectly sane.

I think you forgot to activate your Real World Logic coprocessor before replying, and I'm being sarcastic and offensive in this response.

In more serious words, these particular selected characteristics do not comprise the entirety of "the system" aforementioned. I've said that the system is /unlikely/ to be sane, as I do not have complete information on the entire logic and processes in it. I also think we're working off of different definitions of "sane" - here, IIRC, I was using a technical version that could be better expressed as "close to perfectly rational, in the same way perfect logicians can be in theoretical formal logic puzzles".

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