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Comment author: OrphanWilde 30 June 2015 03:07:27PM 4 points [-]

The Olympics should be a good test. Do countries which select Olympic candidates damn-near from birth (China, as one example), and train (groom) them through their young lives to compete, do better than countries which do not?

Comment author: Desrtopa 02 July 2015 03:27:53PM 2 points [-]

This seems a bit hard to isolate from confounding variables though.For example, China might breed and groom basketball players for elite competition (my understanding is they do have some kind of athlete breeding system going on,) but not have access to as high level of basketball coaches and trainers as a country like the United States where basketball is more entrenched in the culture, and it would be hard to measure the impact of these influences separately.

Comment author: ChristianKl 30 June 2015 11:28:01AM 5 points [-]

The common word for "grooming" is education. You find plenty of material on LW about education and thought about human learning.

If you look at the UK quite a lot of political figures do get groomed in Eton and go on to get a degree in Oxford or Cambridge.

In the US you have the ivy league universities. In Yale the Skull and Bones grooms further politicians to the extend that in 2004 the bonesman John Kerry lost to the bonesman George W. Bush.

In France you have Sciences Po.

Those institutions all have power but they the information about how their power works isn't as public as the information about the voting system.

Comment author: Desrtopa 02 July 2015 03:23:04PM 1 point [-]

I think there's an important distinction here this doesn't address though.

Both selection and grooming feature education, but in cases of grooming, a person is being educated for a specific role which they're intended to fill. In cases of selection, the person is acquiring qualifications which will promote them as a candidate for a variety of different positions. Within a system of selection, some people may receive significantly better or more prestigious educations, and this gives them preferential candidacy for higher level positions, but it's not the same as grooming, where a person is selected for the position they're meant to fill before they're educated for it.

Comment author: gwern 02 June 2015 09:14:45PM *  7 points [-]

Unfortunately, that falls to the same critique. If you accept that we may have read into Plato and other Western pre-Christian our own conception of morality despite how profoundly those thinkers have shaped Western ethics and culture (not just in translation - how many people have learned Greek just to read the philosophy in the original?), then a fortiori, you should have no trouble in believing that, in lumping together the complex beliefs of thousands of poorly-understood aboriginal and tribal and semi-civilized foreign peoples across the world in a single short formula 'distinguishing right and wrong' for a list of universals, the compilers of the list (or their sources) have twisted various concepts of social norms and appropriateness and magical thinking and superstition into a Christian 'right and wrong'.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 June 2015 03:10:38PM 4 points [-]

Most people haven't read the original untranslated versions in order to understand them better, but a lot of academics, such as classics professors, have. I've learned about Greek culture from a few professors who would discuss at length how the Greek conceptions of, say, honor or cunning differed from our modern conceptions. But if they were also of the impression that the ancient and classical Greeks did not have a concept of morality, then that would have been a very conspicuous and relevant omission from their instruction. So I'm inclined to suspect that this is a minority interpretation.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 June 2015 07:02:33AM 3 points [-]

I've been teaching part time at a community center for a while now, and it's been interesting for me to see how the first impressions I had of the various students stacked up against the experiences I had knowing them over an extended period.

I can put numbers to it- out of a bit over 50 students, there were three for whom I found my first impressions to be substantial misjudgments of their habitual character, and one who I came to suspect I had misjudged, but for whom it turned out that the evidence that let me to suspect my initial judgment was wrong was actually uncharacteristic of him, whereas the behavior that formed my first impression was not. Of course, there's a likelihood of confirmation bias here, but since I discuss the students' personalities and behavior extensively with the other teachers, our assessments of them tend towards agreement over time.

Of course, error rates are going to depend strongly on context, but it's nice to have some idea of my expected error rate in this particular context.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 May 2015 12:33:37AM 0 points [-]

Some well-designed studies even prove that ghosts exist.

I"m not aware of ghosts, Scott talks about telepathy and precognition studies.

Comment author: Desrtopa 28 May 2015 03:46:27AM 0 points [-]

Ghosts specifically seem like too complicated a hypothesis to extract from any experimental results I'm aware of. If we didn't already have a concept of ghosts, I doubt any parapsychology experiments that have taken place would have caused us to develop one.

Comment author: JonahSinick 04 May 2015 03:01:47PM *  7 points [-]

There's an enormous skill component: it matters roughly as much as the aesthetic component. Even if I were as aesthetically discerning as Beethovn, I still wouldn't be able to invent the fast Fourier transform in the early 1800's like Gauss did. You need both for achievement at the highest levels.

I'm counterbalancing the standard attitude of the type "huh? Aesthetic component? What's that?"

Comment author: Desrtopa 18 May 2015 07:54:24AM 1 point [-]

I think that pretty much everyone who knows any number of mathematicians and has talked to them at any length about their work has received exactly this sort of counterbalancing. As someone in a similar position to Scott, I've heard it more times than I can count, and I've honestly come to resent it somewhat. I've been told no end of times about how the beauty and elegance of "real" math, and how unrepresentative the sort of calculating work done at lower levels is of that sort of mathematics, but this is pretty much always being expressed by people who didn't have certain difficulties with the work at lower levels that the people they're expressing it to did.

I've been on the other end of this a lot, trying to teach stuff to people which seems to me to be so intuitively, even beautifully obvious once you look at it from the right perspective, that it seems impossible for a person of any intellectual capacity not to grasp it, only to find that it takes a herculean effort on both our parts for them to make any sense of it at all. It's forced me to accept that there's a lot more human variability than I once thought in the capacity to be really bad at things.

Like Scott, there are some kinds of "real math" which I have a reasonable amount of familiarity with and fluency in. And I have a fair amount of curiosity about and enthusiasm for mathematical curiosities of a certain sort. But I've never been able to muster the slightest bit of enthusiasm for doing math except to the extent that it lets me work out non-math things I'm interested in the answers to. I would love to like math more for its own sake, because there are times when figuring things out which I'm interested in the answers to requires learning more math which is a lot easier if I can appreciate it for its own sake throughout the steps I have to make it through. But lacking that immediate motive, I find much of the necessary learning incredibly dull and frustrating.

Comment author: FrameBenignly 01 April 2015 02:01:00AM *  1 point [-]

How did your plan to become a history professor ultimately work out? What were your odds of becoming a history professor at the time you decided to start working towards that goal? What would you have done if you had failed in your goal? Would failing at becoming a history professor been better or worse than succeeding as a medical doctor?

For the overwhelming majority of people, neither history professor nor medical doctor is a good career choice. I had a cousin who last Thanksgiving mentioned he was considering history for his major in college. I strongly advised against it because of his low probability of success and the amount of work he would have to put in to succeed. By Christmas, he had changed his mind to Structural Engineering.

After considering my options and preferences, I decided that money and security mattered less than a profession that would be genuinely satisfying and meaningful. What’s the point of making a million bucks if I’m miserable doing it, I thought to myself.

You're welcome to believe a history professor's job has more meaning than a medical doctor's, but you're probably on an island in that belief. Money, job security, job meaning, and career interest are just some of the reasons to choose a job path. There is also:

  • How well you like your boss
  • How well you like your coworkers
  • Job perks
  • Difficulty of obtaining the job
  • Number of hours worked
  • Consistency of hours worked
  • Amount of travel away from home
  • Job Status

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work. The high-paying career paths right now are mostly in Engineering, Technology, Business, and Health Care. Medical Doctor is a bad idea because of the amount of debt and time you have to give up to get there even though it does have high pay and job security once you succeed. It also often has strenuous hours.

Comment author: Desrtopa 05 April 2015 09:44:05PM 0 points [-]

That is to name but a few. Money is a good barometer of the first four because higher demand jobs generally give you more options for where you work.

Not necessarily, See this comment for some opposing considerations. Some highly lucrative jobs can be pretty restrictive in terms of where you have to live to do them.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 03 April 2015 07:27:54AM 0 points [-]

I do very little offline communication with young people anymore and tend to think Reddit is representative. I mean, it is big, right?

Comment author: Desrtopa 05 April 2015 09:39:20PM 3 points [-]

Reminds me of this essay by Scott/Yvain where he mentions a reddit thread of over 10,000 comments specifically looking for people who opposed gay marriage, but with practically nobody who opposed gay marriage participating.

Comment author: private_messaging 30 March 2015 08:21:14PM 0 points [-]

Well, for what it's worth their wounds and bruises guy didn't think it was a single killer. And when someone's murdered at their own place in the dead middle of the night, often the cohabitants are involved.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2015 05:56:52AM 2 points [-]

The prosecutor claimed that from the number of stab wounds, it was unlikely that a single person could have inflicted them all. However, the number of stab wounds was by no means an outlier among murders known to have a single perpetrator (I do not have detailed statistics on this subject, but merely from my limited experience with case studies on the subject I have encountered quite a few cases which involved many more stab wounds from a single perpetrator.) Considering the pervasive incompetence their forensics teams demonstrated over the course of the case, I would assign very little weight to this.

The prosecution also presented pieces of "evidence" such as Knox placing extremely short phone calls to Kercher, too short to transmit any message. This and many other points raised by the prosecution fit the pattern of behavior that seems unusual, and so is presented as evidence for suspicion of murder, despite the fact that the behavior doesn't make more sense if we suppose she was involved in the murder.

If Knox had a murder likelihood of 1/1000 after conditioning on the evidence that Kercher had been murdered, but before accounting for other evidence, and she's then observed to have engaged in unusual actions with a 1/1000 probability, it makes no difference towards her likelihood as a culprit if they're not actions which are more likely in the event that she's actually guilty. We can come up with post-hoc explanations for why the unusual things might be related to involvement in the murder, and this kind of reasoning appears to have constituted a large part of the prosecution's case, but if we don't have any prior reason to suppose that guilt of murder is associated with such behaviors, then these explanations will tend only to be rationalizations of preexisting suspicion.

Comment author: private_messaging 30 March 2015 05:22:19AM *  -2 points [-]

I think you skip some details. Sollecito withdrew his alibi for Knox. Then Knox implicated Lumumba. And they really go after the guy. Interestingly they fail to railroad Lumumba in the way in which you think they railroaded Knox. Which to me is really interesting because it doesn't fit the 'evil police' story.

Knox of course claims it was extremely coercive, took hours, and some physical abuse from the police. Police denies abuse. We can't really tell either way, but prosecution ought to know how coercive they were. So that's another opportunity to really piss prosecution off.

edit: another thing, wounds and bruises on the body were interpreted as Kercher having been held by one person and stabbed by another. This is the reason why prosecution got so completely sure that more than one person was involved. Yeah, it's rather subjective and unreliable but people can be very sure in that sort of stuff.

There's all sorts of complicated details that are completely missing from the US coverage of the trials, which make the prosecution's position much more understandable. Perhaps the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence, but neither did the prosecution come up with some batshit insane theory out of the blue for no reason when they had everything explained with Guede.

edit: also, Guede was not some random robber, he knew people downstairs and met Knox before at least briefly. If he was random robber who never set his foot on the premises, then Bayesian wise it would have been a no-brainer: it's just unlikely that two independent groups of people who had no chance to pick eachother would be on board with murdering.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 April 2015 05:41:54AM 0 points [-]

There's all sorts of complicated details that are completely missing from the US coverage of the trials, which make the prosecution's position much more understandable. Perhaps the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence, but neither did the prosecution come up with some batshit insane theory out of the blue for no reason when they had everything explained with Guede.

Komponisto is Italian and translated documents from the prosecution for the benefit of the community.

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