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Comment author: AlexMennen 17 August 2013 12:40:02AM 3 points [-]

You are interested in communicating with "intellectual elites"; these people have their own communities and channels of communication. Instead of asking what those channels are and how you can become part of them, you instead ask how you can lure those people away from their communities, so that they'll devote their limited free time to posting on LW instead.

Attracting academics to Less Wrong is not incompatible with approaching them through academic channels (which MIRI has been doing), and does not require separating them from academic communities (which I doubt MIRI intends to do).

But instead of conceding that academia might have some advantages over LW and thus trying to communicate with academics within their system, you proclaim LessWrong to be "the highest-quality relatively-general-interest form on the web" (which, to me, is obviously false) and then you ask actual accomplished intellectuals to spend their time conversing with a bunch of intelligent-but-undereducated twenty-somethings who nonetheless think they know everything.

Point me to where Luke denied that academia has any advantages over LW. If you're going to claim that LW is obviously not "the highest-quality relatively-general-interest forum on the web", it would help your case to provide an obvious counterexample (academic channels themselves are generally not on the web, and LW has some advantages over them, even if the reverse is also true). LW is also not as homogeneous as you appear to believe; plenty of us are academics.

I just think it's unreasonable to assume that "intellectual elites" (both inside and outside of academia) would care to spend time on LW, or that it would be good for those people if they did.

It is at least as unreasonable to claim without justification that it is impossible to attract intellectual elites to LW, or that it would be bad for those people if they did.

Comment author: Patrick 17 August 2013 05:53:02AM 5 points [-]

Point me to where Luke denied that academia has any advantages over LW. If you're going to claim that LW is obviously not "the highest-quality relatively-general-interest forum on the web", it would help your case to provide an obvious counterexample (academic channels themselves are generally not on the web, and LW has some advantages over them, even if the reverse is also true). LW is also not as homogeneous as you appear to believe; plenty of us are academics.

You're straw-manning here. Not conceding isn't the same thing as denying. To not concede something, one just has to omit the concession from one's writing. But this is just quibbling. The real issue is the attitude, or the arrogance, that LW may have with respect to academia. Nobody wants to waste time justifying themselves to a bunch of arrogant amateurs after all.

Anyway, some web channels where academics hang out:

  1. MathOverflow
  2. LambdaTheUltimate
  3. The arXiv
  4. StackExchange
  5. The N-Category Cafe http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/
  6. ScienceBlogs

(Cracked.com probably does a better job of being a smart, general interest forum than Less Wrong, it's a great deal more popular at least. But being the highest quality popular forum is a bit like being the smartest termite in the world. Specialized forums are where the elite action is.)

Comment author: DanArmak 28 April 2013 07:20:38PM 2 points [-]

What exactly counts as "signalling"? I started to write down a definition, but I think it's better you give yours.

Comment author: Patrick 29 April 2013 07:52:10AM *  1 point [-]

The colloquial definition is "Useless but impressive and flatters my vanity".

The probabilistic definition is "Observable thing X signals quality A means P(A|X) > P(A)".

The economic definition is "Alice signals P to Bob by X if the net cost of X to Alice is outweighed by the benefits of Bob 'believing' A, and X causes Bob to 'believe' A even when Bob takes in to account that Alice wants him to 'believe' A." (note 'believe' A means 'act as if A were true'.)

Comment author: OrphanWilde 18 April 2013 04:34:06PM -3 points [-]

What are you expecting me to update on? None of what you've sent me contradicts anything except the language I use to describe it.

A derivative -is- a division by zero; infinitesimal calculus, and limits, were invented to try to figure out what the value of a specific division by zero would be. Mathematicians threw a -fit- over infinitesimal calculus and limits, denying that division by zero was valid, and insisting that the work was therefore invalid.

So what exactly is our disageement? That I regard limits as a way of getting information out of a division by zero? Or that I insist, on the basis that we -can- get information out of a division by zero, that a division by zero can be valid? Or is it something else entirely?

Incidentally, even if I were certain exactly what you're trying to convince me of and it was something I didn't already agree with, your links are nothing but appeals to authority, and they wouldn't convince me -anyways-. They lack any kind of proof; they're just assertions.

Comment author: Patrick 18 April 2013 06:39:10PM 10 points [-]

The definition of limit: "lim x -> a f(x) = c " means for all epsilon > 0, there exists delta > 0 such that for all x, if 0 < |x-a|<delta then |f(x) - c| < epsilon.

The definition of derivative: f'(x) = lim h -> 0 (f(x+h) - f(x))/h

That is, for all epsilon > 0, there exists delta > 0 such that for all h, if 0 < |h| < delta then |(f(x+h) - f(x))/h - f'(x)| < epsilon.

At no point do we divide by 0. h never takes on the value 0.

Comment author: Patrick 17 April 2013 03:03:42PM 5 points [-]

I will attend. Is it OK if I bring my boyfriend (User:MixedNuts) along via my iPad?

Comment author: Patrick 07 March 2013 01:00:36AM 5 points [-]

I'm open to coworking generally.

My ideal coworker is someone who is funny and interested in maths, physics and computer science. My plan would be to read books like Mathematics Form and Function or The Feynman Lectures on Physics and try to summarize / explain the content. For co working where I shut up, I am working on re-implementing MC-AIXI for my honours thesis.

Please contact me if interested, my email is patrick.robotham2@gmail.com my skype nick is grey_fox26

Meetup : Tokyo Meetup

6 Patrick 01 February 2013 01:57PM

Discussion article for the meetup : Tokyo Meetup

WHEN: 01 March 2013 07:00:00PM (+1100)

WHERE: Kawaguchi Station

Email Usmar Padow at usmar@i.softbank.jp Include "Less Wrong Meetup" in the subject line.

Discussion article for the meetup : Tokyo Meetup

Comment author: wedrifid 02 January 2013 07:33:29AM 1 point [-]

From the wikipedia article on signalling theory:

" If many animals in a group send too many dishonest signals, then their entire signalling system will collapse, leading to much poorer fitness of the group as a whole. Every dishonest signal weakens the integrity of the signalling system, and thus weakens the fitness of the group."

Did you just use the appeal 'weakens the fitness of the group' to predict or describe the signalling behaviors of individuals?

A lot of signalling is bad for the group, whether honest or dishonest. When it happens to be good for the group that is, well, good for the group but not something one should necessarily expect from an individual.

Comment author: Patrick 02 January 2013 08:06:12AM 2 points [-]

You're accusing me of group selectionism? We might disagree on a point of terminology, but come on, I'm not a completely nutter. Anyway, my point in quoting the wikipedia article is that too much dishonest signalling makes signalling completely pointless ('weakens the integrity of the signalling system'), so for signalling to work you need some way of keeping out the cheats. I'm not proposing anything as daft as "groups without cheats will prosper". Indeed, that's why I was making such a big deal about criterion 4 and cost asymmetry, because the analysis of signalling has to work on an individual basis, including the individuals that might be tempted to cheat.

In my limited imagination, the only way I could think of for keeping out the cheats was having an asymmetric cost structure for honest signalling compared to dishonest signalling. Thus cheating wouldn't be worth it. I now realize this is not the only way. ialdaboth called my attention to Batesian Mimicry, where cheaters are "kept out" simply by the fact that mimics are comparatively rare. Doubtless other ways could be invented.

I think I prefer MagnetoHydroDynamics definition of signalling, and would reserve my criteria for describing costly signalling.

Comment author: Peterdjones 02 January 2013 05:33:17AM 0 points [-]

" If many animals in a group send too many dishonest signals, then their entire signalling system will collapse, leading to much poorer fitness of the group as a whole. Every dishonest signal weakens the integrity of the signalling system, and thus weakens the fitness of the group."

Do you conclude from that tha lying is extremely rare in human society?

Comment author: Patrick 02 January 2013 05:43:10AM 1 point [-]

No. I think that because lying is common in human society, a credible signal must be costly to liars.

Comment author: Academian 01 January 2013 07:16:29PM *  29 points [-]

You're describing costly signaling. Contrary to your opening statement,

The word 'signalling' is often used in Less Wrong, and often used wrongly.

people on LessWrong are usually using the term "signalling" consistently with its standard meaning in economics and evolutionary biology. From Wikipedia,

In economics, more precisely in contract theory, signalling is the idea that one party credibly conveys some information about itself to another party

Within evolutionary biology, signalling theory is a body of theoretical work examining communication between individuals. The central question is when organisms with conflicting interests should be expected to communicate "honestly".

In particular, the ev bio article even includes a section on dishonest signalling, which seems to be what you're complaining about here:

Seriously though, "signalling" is being used to mean "tricking people in to thinking that you are".

This post is still interesting as a highlight reel of different examples of signalling, and shows that the term is, in its standard usage, rather non-specific. It's just not an illustration that people here are using it wrongly.

Comment author: Patrick 02 January 2013 05:29:54AM *  2 points [-]

Well I'm happy to use "costly signalling". I was under the impression that costly signalling was signalling. If it isn't costly, at least for potential fakes, then I'm not sure how it can serve as an explanation for behavior. Why should I signal when the fakes can signal just as easily? What is there to gain? I think at the very least, there has to be some mechanism for keeping out cheats, even if it's rarity. From the wikipedia article on signalling theory:

" If many animals in a group send too many dishonest signals, then their entire signalling system will collapse, leading to much poorer fitness of the group as a whole. Every dishonest signal weakens the integrity of the signalling system, and thus weakens the fitness of the group."

But what am I? Some kind of prescriptivist? Evidently my understanding of the term is a minority, and people far cleverer than I don't use it my way. I'll stick to "costly signal" in future.

“No! I must resolve the muddle” he shouted

The radio said “No, Patrick. You are the muddled one”

And then Patrick was a zombie.

Comment author: Vaniver 01 January 2013 04:57:52PM 11 points [-]

A good way of remembering this criterion is the slogan "You can't signal to rubes."

This doesn't seem like it describes your fourth criterion; it reads more like "Rubes can't signal."

I do think that the claim "you can't signal to rubes" is a good one to keep in mind, but like Psychohistorian points out, that limits you to a narrow component of signalling, which I might characterize as spending resources on authority, which is only worthwhile if the audience can recognize authority. If a moviemaker decides to actually use an Bald Eagle cry instead of a Red-tailed Hawk cry, most movie-goers will think (TVTropes link) they got it wrong, and only ornithologists will notice it's correct.

Comment author: Patrick 02 January 2013 05:15:02AM 1 point [-]

A rube is a sucker, someone easily deceived.The slogan means that potential signalling explanations shouldn't assume that the receiver of the signals is stupid.

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