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Best of Rationality Quotes, 2013 Edition

26 DanielVarga 31 January 2014 09:35PM

Here is the 2013 edition of the Best of Rationality Quotes collection. (Here is last year's.)

Best of Rationality Quotes 2013 (400kB page, 350 quotes)
and Best of Rationality Quotes 2009-2013 (1600kB page, 1490 quotes)

The page was built by a short script (source code here) from all the LW Rationality Quotes threads so far. (We had such a thread each month since April 2009.) The script collects all comments with karma score 10 or more, and sorts them by score. Replies are not collected, only top-level comments.

As is now usual, I provide various statistics and top-lists based on the data. (Source code for these is also at the above link, see the README.) I added these as comments to the post:

[link] Scott Aaronson on free will

20 DanielVarga 10 June 2013 11:24PM

Scott Aaronson has a new 85 page essay up, titled "The Ghost in the Quantum Turing Machine". (Abstract here.) In Section 2.11 (Singulatarianism) he explicitly mentions Eliezer as an influence. But that's just a starting point, and he then moves in a direction that's very far from any kind of LW consensus. Among other things, he suggests that a crucial qualitative difference between a person and a digital upload is that the laws of physics prohibit making perfect copies of a person. Personally, I find the arguments completely unconvincing, but Aaronson is always thought-provoking and fun to read, and this is a good excuse to read about things like (I quote the abstract) "the No-Cloning Theorem, the measurement problem, decoherence, chaos, the arrow of time, the holographic principle, Newcomb's paradox, Boltzmann brains, algorithmic information theory, and the Common Prior Assumption". This is not just a shopping list of buzzwords, these are all important components of the author's main argument. It unfortunately still seems weak to me, but the time spent reading it is not wasted at all.

Best of Rationality Quotes, 2012 Edition

31 DanielVarga 26 January 2013 03:03AM

I finished creating the 2012 edition of the Best of Rationality Quotes collection. (Here is last year's.)

Best of Rationality Quotes 2012 (500kB page, 434 quotes)
and Best of Rationality Quotes 2009-2012 (1200kB page, 1140 quotes)

The page was built by a short script (source code here) from all the LW Rationality Quotes threads so far. (We had such a thread each month since April 2009.) The script collects all comments with karma score 10 or more, and sorts them by score. Replies are not collected, only top-level comments.

As is now usual, I provide various statistics and top-lists based on the data. (Source code for these is also at the above link, see the README.) I added these as comments to the post:

[LINK] Was Intrade being manipulated?

6 DanielVarga 08 November 2012 08:30AM

Overcoming Bias: Was Intrade being manipulated in the last month?

The link is good apropos, but the question that interests me is a bit more general. It seems to me that the apparent failure of Intrade to function as a predictor/knowledge aggregator before the US presidential elections was an important natural experiment. What do you think about the explanations and implications? I don't think it's too hard to discuss the knowledge aggregation issues without being bogged down in the specificities of US politics.

Best of Rationality Quotes, 2011 Edition

29 DanielVarga 28 December 2011 05:32AM

I created a 2011 update to last year's Best of Rationality Quotes collection. (Here is the original.)

Best of Rationality Quotes 2011 (360kB page, 352 quotes)

and Best of Rationality Quotes 2009-2011 (700kB page, 706 quotes)

continue reading »

Reforming rot13

2 DanielVarga 04 November 2011 11:41PM

rot13.com is a service frequently used here to hide spoilers. I really hate it, though. If I had the time, I would build a simple, but much better alternative. Maybe somebody has more time to do that, so I'll share my rough specification:

  • Dynamic. The encoding happens on the client automatically, whenever the content of the input textbox changes. No Submit key needed.
  • Fully client-side. No server-side script, just a static page with Javascript.
  • Decoded content can be reached through an encoded URL. Instead of the receiver pasting the ciphertext into the rot13.com textbox, the sender can provide an encoded URL, and the receiver simply clicks on the link. This is slightly less convenient for the sender, but is much more convenient for the (hopefully many) receivers.
  • Many people can decrypt parts of rot13 ciphertexts without conscious effort. This defeats the purpose. The new service could provide some alternative encryption that is not a substitution cipher. It should still be a reciprocal cipher, that is a nice property of rot13.
  • rot13 fails for non-ASCII characters. (rot13.com leaves them intact.) The alternative encryption should work for all Unicode strings.
  • Strong, password-based encryption could also be added as an extra feature. I could send you a very long URL, and tell you a password on the phone, or only tell you the password at a later date.


The only important design problem I don't know how best to solve is making the encryption work for Unicode, with the following three constraints: making it a reciprocal cypher, outputting visually nice strings, and making it map ASCII to ASCII. One possible solution is to drop the constraint that it is a reciprocal cypher. For this service it is probably not crucial anyway: the ciphertext can be base64, with some escape prefix distinguishing it from plaintext.

After writing the above, I found this LW thread: Does anyone else find ROT13 spoilers as annoying as I do? There were several suggestions there, and two of the commenters, sketerpot and LightningRose even coded their own solutions to the spoiler problem. Each solution had some merit, and LightningRose's in particular was far superior to the rot13.com site I used to use, but basically, they only dealt with the third point of my proposal.

Is there anything like what I envision? Is anyone interested in building it? What changes or extra features would you like to see?

[Link] Scott Aaronson on Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity

21 DanielVarga 15 August 2011 10:51PM

Scott Aaronson has published a preliminary version of his long essay titled 'Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity'. His announcement blog post has some interesting comments, and he welcomes suggestions there. I am not sure I like the organization of the paper. (I know most of the CS stuff discussed, so it is hard for me to decide how readable it is for people who don't.) But it is full of interesting ideas, and some of these are new even for those of us who follow Scott's writings.

Isn't this sitemeter logging a bit too excessive?

20 DanielVarga 02 February 2011 08:55PM

I have just realized that sitemeter has the following data published about my visit, in a searchable and browsable format:

 

Domain Name   broadband.hu ? (Hungary)
IP Address   80.98.73.# (UPC Magyarorszag Kft.)
ISP   UPC Magyarorszag Kft.
Location  
Continent  :  Europe
Country  :  Hungary  (Facts)
State/Region  :  Fejer
City  :  Etyek
Lat/Long  :  47.45, 18.75 (Map)
Language   English (U.S.)
en-us
Operating System   Macintosh MacOSX
Browser   Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.5; en-US; rv:1.9.2.13) Gecko/20101203 Firefox/3.6.13 GTB7.1
Javascript   version 1.5
Monitor  
Resolution  :  1296 x 810
Color Depth  :  24 bits
Time of Visit   Feb 2 2011 12:34:19 pm
Last Page View   Feb 2 2011 12:34:40 pm
Visit Length   21 seconds
Page Views   2
Referring URL   http://lesswrong.com..._meetup_is_easy%252F
Search Engine   lesswrong.com
Search Words   hungary
Visit Entry Page   http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/
Visit Exit Page   http://lesswrong.com...a_lw_meetup_is_easy/
Out Click    
Time Zone   UTC+1:00
Visitor's Time   Feb 2 2011 9:34:19 pm
Visit Number   3,497,452

 

I am not a privacy geek, but isn't this a bit too extensive? By the way, I am not from Etyek, Hungary, I am from Budapest, Hungary. Etyek is a very small village, so if sitemeter consistently identifies me as someone from Etyek, then it will be even easier to track my lesswrong browsing habits. It is very easy even without that.

Best of Rationality Quotes 2009/2010

24 DanielVarga 18 December 2010 09:36PM

Best of Rationality Quotes 2009/2010 (Warning: 750kB page, 774 quotes)

The year's last Rationality Quotes thread has calmed down, so now it is a good time to update my Best of Rationality Quotes page, and write a top post about it. (The original version was introduced in the June 2010 Open Thread.)

The page was built by a short script (source code here) from all the LW Rationality Quotes threads so far. (We had such a thread each month since April 2009.) The script collects all comments with karma score 4 or more, and sorts them by score.

There is a minor complication: The obvious idea is to consider only top-level comments, that is, comments that are not replies to other comments. Unfortunately, good quotes are sometimes replies to other quotes. Of course, even more often, replies are not quotes. This is a precision-recall trade-off. Originally I went for recall, because I liked many replied quotes such as this. But as JGWeissman noted in a comment below, to build the precise version, only a trivial modification of my script is needed. So I built it, and I preferred it to the noisy version after all. So now at the top of this post we have the filtered version, and here is the original version with even more good quotes, but also with many non-quotes:

Best of Rationality Quotes 2009/2010, including replied comments (Warning: 1.3MB page, 1358 quotes)

 

UPDATE: I changed the links and rewrote the above when I decided to filter replied comments.

UPDATE 2: Added a comment listing the personal quote collection pages of top quote contributors.

UPDATE 3: Responding to various requests by commenters, added several top-lists:

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