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Meetup : Paris Meetup: Saturday, July 11

0 Emile 06 July 2015 09:42PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Paris Meetup: Saturday, July 11

WHEN: 11 July 2015 02:00:00PM (+0200)

WHERE: 51 Rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris, France

The irregular-and-last-minute-schedule Paris Meetup! (as usual, we discuss it on the mailing list first, lesswrong-paris@googlegroups.com) So meet us in front of the Arts & Metiers this Saturday!

Discussion article for the meetup : Paris Meetup: Saturday, July 11

Comment author: Emile 01 July 2015 06:11:18PM *  0 points [-]

A bug breaks it for me now:

I'm on iPad, any topic I click on redirects me to http://www.omnilibrium.com/topic_mobile.php, which doesn't exist. So I can't even read anything but the titles.

...edit: aaand it's been fixed, thanks Cleonid, that was quick :)

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 21 April 2015 04:17:53PM 1 point [-]

"Statisticians think everything is normally distributed" seems to be one of those weirdly enduring myths. I'd love to know how it gets propagated.

Comment author: Emile 21 April 2015 09:51:15PM 0 points [-]

I can't say I ran into it before (whereas "economists think humans are all rational self-interested agents", jeez...)

Comment author: Emile 07 April 2015 04:33:26PM 1 point [-]

Pretty neat website you got there!

Knocking through a bunch of exercises every day feels efficient but it's not exactly fun and I put in less time than I should.

I've been reviewing Anki pretty much daily for the past couple of years, and I put in enough time to have all my cards reviewed. What helps:

  • Doing it on my smartphones at times were I can't do much else anyway (in public transport, waiting in a queue); the most "productive" thing I could be doing with that time is reading a book, and even then, reading a book standing up is more of a hassle than looking at my smarphone.
  • All the stuff in it is stuff I added myself and considered worth learning, and if I have doubts about something (a card or a whole deck), i'll often suspend or delete it
  • "Finish today's cards" is a reachable, definite, objective (more so than "a bunch of exercises") but I still don't put big pressure on myself, since if I'm too busy to review today, I'll review a bit more tomorrow, and eventually catch up (I don't need to explicitly decide "I'll review some more to compensate", I just will have more due cards tomorrow).
  • I only add new cards if I don't feel overwhelmed by the daily review schedule

(and yes, I've been using this to learn Japanese and to review my Mandarin and German)

Comment author: Emile 02 April 2015 03:05:10PM 0 points [-]

Alternative implementation: an android widget that posts a "snitch" message somewhere online if ever your phone is unlocked in certain time frames; such that other people can easily see online whether you unlocked your phone in the "forbidden" timeframe.

In response to Learning by Doing
Comment author: imuli 24 March 2015 03:12:55AM 2 points [-]

I think the learn to program by programming adage came from a lack of places teaching the stuff that makes people good programmers. I've never worked with someone who has gone through one of the new programming schools, but I don't think they purport to turn out senior-level programmers, much less 99th percentile programmers. As far as I can tell, folks either learn everything beyond the mechanics and algorithms of programming from your seniors in the workplace or discover it for themself.

So I'd say that there are nodes on the graph that I don't have labels for, and are not taught formally as far as I know. The best way to learn them is to read lots of big well written code bases and try to figure out why everything was done one way and not some other. Second best then maybe is to write a few huge code bases and figure out why things keep falling apart?

In response to comment by imuli on Learning by Doing
Comment author: Emile 24 March 2015 12:22:40PM 0 points [-]

As far as I can tell, folks either learn everything beyond the mechanics and algorithms of programming from your seniors in the workplace or discover it for themself.

... or from Stack Overflow / Wikipedia, no? When encountering a difficult problem, one can either ask someone more knowledgeable, figure it out himself, or look it up on the internet.

Comment author: adamzerner 24 March 2015 01:04:43AM *  3 points [-]

Calling things "an art, not a science" has always been a pet peeve of mine. And I've heard people say things like, "there's no best way to do it'. In particular, I'm taking a Responsive CSS course on Udacity and the guy said these things (if you listen closely, you could hear me cringe).

And then there's the idea that art is like inherently intuitive, whereas science isn't. I want to focus on the "art is inherently intuitive and not about breaking things down into components like science" part. My thought is that these people who say this are confusing their map for the territory. They may not know how to deduce what the perfect painting would look like, but that doesn't mean that it's not possible.

I know that there are different versions of these beliefs, and that I may be misunderstanding them. If so, please correct me. Anyway, what do you guys think?

Comment author: Emile 24 March 2015 08:57:42AM 3 points [-]

One charitable interpretation is "it's something you learn by doing, not something you learn by reading".

"Art" has a bit of a double meaning, there's the "something that's pretty/pleasing/aesthetic/original/creative", but there's also the "craft" meaning, as in "the art of XXX".

I want to focus on the "art is inherently intuitive and not about breaking things down into components like science" part. My thought is that these people who say this are confusing their map for the territory. They may not know how to deduce what the perfect painting would look like, but that doesn't mean that it's not possible.

Two reactions to this:

1) If someone says something can't be broken into component parts, a more charitable reading is that they think that trying to do so is a waste of time and less likely to bring progress than just a lot of practice. Even if it's possible in theory, that doesn't mean it's actually a good idea, so warning people against it can be totally reasonable, and isn't "confusing their map for the territory".

2) HOWEVER, in the case of art, most forms of art I can think of - drawing, painting, storytelling, animations, etc. - most definitely CAN be broken into component pieces, and often those component pieces can be broken into component pieces too, etc. - just check out the right section in any library.

You can't learn to draw by reading a book, but a good book on drawing can tell you what individual skills you should practice, and how to do so.

Comment author: CurtisSerVaas 23 March 2015 10:40:56AM *  23 points [-]

[Cross-Posted from the "Welcome to LW" thread] I'm a long-time user of LW. My old account has ~1000 karma. I'm making this account because I would like it to be tied to my real identity.

Here is my blog/personal-workflowy-wiki. I'd like to have 20 karma, so that I can make cross-posts from here to the LW Discussion.

I'm working on a rationality power tool. Specifically, it's an open-source workflowy with revision control and general graph structure. I want to use it as a wiki to map out various topics of interest on LW. If anybody is interested in working on (or using) rationality power tools, please PM me, as I've spent a lot of time thinking about them, and can also introduce you to some other people who are interested in this area.

EDIT: Added the missing links.

EDIT: First cross-post: Personal Notes On Productivity (A categorization of various resources)

Comment author: Emile 23 March 2015 11:15:59AM *  4 points [-]

Yep, I'm interested!

Comment author: dxu 22 March 2015 09:04:01PM *  0 points [-]

But is arrogance justified in an epistemic sense? If you regularly score at, say, the 99.9th percentile on standardized tests or [insert-preferred-method-of-evaluation-here], does that entitle you to be dismissive of someone's arguments (even if you don't give any outward sign of it) until you see sufficient evidence that that person is likewise exceptional? (I'm not being rhetorical here; this is a question that I'm genuinely undecided on.)

Comment author: Emile 23 March 2015 08:47:36AM 1 point [-]

I'd say there are cases where it's reasonable to dismiss others' opinions out of hand (apart from politeness etc.) BUT it takes more than "I'm much smarter than them"; there should be a factor like "I have all the evidence they have / I know all they know on that topic" and of course "I have good reasons to believe I'm smarter than them and know more".

And even then it's the kind of thing that's reasonable "on average", i.e. it can be a decent time-saving heuristic if needed, but it can still get wrong. Say Alice is studying for a Masters degree in physics and Bob, a high-schooler who's not exceptionally bright (Alice had better science grades then him in high school), disagrees with her on something about black holes. As a rule of thumb, Alice is probably right BUT it happens that Bob just spent the summer camping with a family friend, Calvin, who's a physicist and just wouldn't shut up about black holes, explaining a bunch of concepts and controversies to Bob the best he could. Now it's pretty likely that Bob is actually right (though Alice might be justified in not listening anyway, depending on how good Bob is at explaining his position).

Comment author: Galap 17 March 2015 04:48:24AM 2 points [-]

Am I the only one who thinks that there's some kernel of truth in this? that many people's perception of 'quality' is very strongly influenced by the perceived social status of the creator?

Comment author: Emile 17 March 2015 08:53:47AM 0 points [-]

I think that for the specific case of Harry Potter Fanfic, this hypothesis has been disproved by [Yudkowsky, 2010].

Though for "many people's perception of 'quality'", there's probably some truth there.

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