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Open thread, 14-20 July 2014

4 David_Gerard 14 July 2014 11:16AM

Previous thread

 

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one.

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

Open thread, 7-14 July 2014

3 David_Gerard 07 July 2014 07:14AM

Previous thread

 

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one.

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

Open thread, 23-29 June 2014

4 David_Gerard 23 June 2014 07:21AM

Previous open thread

 

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one.

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

Open thread, 16-22 June 2014

3 David_Gerard 16 June 2014 01:12PM

Previous open thread

 

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.


Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one.

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

[tangential] Bitcoin: GHash just hit 51%

6 David_Gerard 14 June 2014 08:31AM

And apparently the sky is falling. From Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer at Hacking, Distributed:

But the fact is, this is a monumental event. The Bitcoin narrative, based on decentralization and distributed trust, is no more. True, the Bitcoin economy is about as healthy as it was yesterday, and the Bitcoin price will likely remain afloat for quite a while. But the Bitcoin economy and price are trailing indicators. The core pillar of the Bitcoin value equation has collapsed.

They note previous bad behaviour from GHash (which GHash attributed to a rogue employee).

Their proposal is a hard fork, with different parameters (to make huge mining pools no longer an economically rational choice), but respecting the blockchain to date so they can reasonably keep calling it "Bitcoin".

[LINK] Holden Karnofsky, GiveWell: Sequence Thinking vs. Cluster Thinking

8 David_Gerard 11 June 2014 05:08PM

http://blog.givewell.org/2014/06/10/sequence-thinking-vs-cluster-thinking/

A long post, here's the key thesis:

I believe our approach is justified, and in order to explain why – consistent with the project of laying out the basic worldview and epistemology behind our research – I find myself continually returning to the distinction between what I call “sequence thinking” and “cluster thinking.” Very briefly (more elaboration below),

  • Sequence thinking involves making a decision based on a single model of the world: breaking down the decision into a set of key questions, taking one’s best guess on each question, and accepting the conclusion that is implied by the set of best guesses (an excellent example of this sort of thinking is Robin Hanson’s discussion of cryonics). It has the form: “A, and B, and C … and N; therefore X.” Sequence thinking has the advantage of making one’s assumptions and beliefs highly transparent, and as such it is often associated with finding ways to make counterintuitive comparisons.
  • Cluster thinking – generally the more common kind of thinking – involves approaching a decision from multiple perspectives (which might also be called “mental models”), observing which decision would be implied by each perspective, and weighing the perspectives in order to arrive at a final decision. Cluster thinking has the form: “Perspective 1 implies X; perspective 2 implies not-X; perspective 3 implies X; … therefore, weighing these different perspectives and taking into account how much uncertainty I have about each, X.” Each perspective might represent a relatively crude or limited pattern-match (e.g., “This plan seems similar to other plans that have had bad results”), or a highly complex model; the different perspectives are combined by weighing their conclusions against each other, rather than by constructing a single unified model that tries to account for all available information.

A key difference with “sequence thinking” is the handling of certainty/robustness (by which I mean the opposite of Knightian uncertainty) associated with each perspective. Perspectives associated with high uncertainty are in some sense “sandboxed” in cluster thinking: they are stopped from carrying strong weight in the final decision, even when such perspectives involve extreme claims (e.g., a low-certainty argument that “animal welfare is 100,000x as promising a cause as global poverty” receives no more weight than if it were an argument that “animal welfare is 10x as promising a cause as global poverty”).

Finally, cluster thinking is often (though not necessarily) associated with what I call “regression to normality”: the stranger and more unusual the action-relevant implications of a perspective, the higher the bar for taking it seriously (“extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”).

Open thread, 3-8 June 2014

3 David_Gerard 03 June 2014 08:57AM

Previous Open Thread:  http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/k9x/open_thread_may_26_june_1_2014/

(oops, we missed a day!)

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

 

Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one.

3. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.

4. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

Open thread, 18-24 March 2014

2 David_Gerard 18 March 2014 12:26PM

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

Open thread, 11-17 March 2014

4 David_Gerard 11 March 2014 10:45PM

If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

What are you working on? January 2014

6 David_Gerard 01 January 2014 11:13PM

Happy new year! This is the supposedly-bimonthly-but-we-keep-skipping 'What are you working On?' thread. Previous threads are here. So here's the question:

What are you working on? 

Here are some guidelines:

  • Focus on projects that you have recently made progress on, not projects that you're thinking about doing but haven't started.
  • Why this project and not others? Mention reasons why you're doing the project and/or why others should contribute to your project (if applicable).
  • Talk about your goals for the project.
  • Any kind of project is fair game: personal improvement, research project, art project, whatever.
  • Link to your work if it's linkable.

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