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Comment author: lululu 21 May 2015 07:40:03PM 5 points [-]

How about: as a commitment mechanism, a small but nagging amount of discomfort related to your procrastination on a measurable task. I'm picturing this working something like the need to pee, with the difference that it resets at night: the discomfort could build throughout the day and instantly be resolved when you completed the task and reduced as you work toward the task.

For instance, if you committed to exercising a certain amount, accelerameters could estimate physical activity. for every step you took, your discomfort would decrease and for ever hour you sat on the couch, your discomfort would grow.

Possible commitments this would work with: exercise anki decks habbitrpg points spend a certain amount of time talking per day (for the recluse/introvert trying to train social skills)

Comment author: The_Duck 23 May 2015 06:03:51AM 3 points [-]

I already have this and it's horrible.

Comment author: Daniel_Burfoot 23 April 2015 04:43:09PM *  4 points [-]

I can't explain the whole philosophy here, but basically the idea is: you have two theories, A and B. You instantiate them as lossless data compressors, and invoke the compressors on the dataset. The one that produces a shorter net codelength (including the length of the compressor program itself) is superior. In practice the rival theories will probably be very similar and produce different predictions (= probability distributions over observational outcomes) only on small regions of the dataset.

Lossless data compression is a highly rigorous evaluation principle. Many theories are simply not well-specified enough to be built into compressors; these theories, I say (reformulating Popper and Yudkowsky), should not be considered scientific. If the compressor implementation contains any bugs, these bugs will immediately appear when the decoded data fails to agree exactly with the original data. Finally, if the theory is scientific and the implementation is correct, it still remains to be seen if the theory is empirically accurate, which is required for lossless data compression in the face of the domain's No Free Lunch theorem.

So say you and I have two rival theories of black hole dynamics. If the theories are different in a scientifically meaningful way, they must make different predictions about some data that could be observed. That means the compressors corresponding to our theories will assign different codelengths to some observations in the dataset. If your theory is more accurate, it will achieve shorter codelengths overall. This could happen by, say, your theory properly accounting for the velocity dispersion of galaxies under the effect of dark matter. Or it could happen by my theory being hit by a big Black Swan penalty because it cannot explain an astronomical jet coming from a black hole.

Comment author: The_Duck 24 April 2015 01:26:58AM 1 point [-]

What about the fact that the best compression algorithm may be insanely expensive to run? We know the math that describes the behavior of quarks, which is to say, we can in principle generate the results of all possible experiments with quarks by solving a few equations. However doing computations with the theory is extremely expensive and it takes something like 10^15 floating point operations to compute, say, some basic properties of the proton to 1% accuracy.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 21 April 2015 07:47:38AM 6 points [-]

I'm pretty sure cost of resurrection isn't his true rejection, his true rejection is more like 'point and laugh at weirdos'.

I'm guessing that any civilisation capable of resurrecting cryonics patients would be post-scarcity, and cost would therefore be irrelivent. But even if I am wrong on this point, well, to continue his mummified Egyptians analogy, can you imagine how much money you would make selling the TV rights to the first ever resurrection of a Pharaoh?

Additionally, don't Alcor, and many individuals, have funds set up to cover the cost of resurrection?

I understand that there are plausible arguments against cryonics, such as technological feasibility. But the "why bother saving people?" argument is both stupid and repugnant.

Comment author: The_Duck 22 April 2015 06:53:14AM 5 points [-]

I'm pretty sure cost of resurrection isn't his true rejection, his true rejection is more like 'point and laugh at weirdos'.

Also for a number of commenters in the linked thread, the true rejection seems to be, "By freezing yourself you are claiming that you deserve something no one else gets, in this case immortality."

Comment author: RowanE 19 March 2015 11:13:11PM 1 point [-]

Generating artificial gravity on spaceships using centrifuges is a common idea in hard-sci-fi and in speculation about space travel, but no-one seems to consider them for low gravity on e.g. Mars. Am I mistaken in thinking that all you'd need to do is build the centrifuge with an angled floor, so the net force experienced from gravity and (illusory) centrifugal force is straight "down" into it?

I realise there'd be other practical problems with centrifuge-induced artificial gravity on Mars, since it's full of dust and not the best environment, but that doesn't seem to be the right kind of objection to explain it never being brought up where I've seen it.

Comment author: The_Duck 20 March 2015 08:23:03PM 2 points [-]

Am I mistaken in thinking that all you'd need to do is build the centrifuge with an angled floor, so the net force experienced from gravity and (illusory) centrifugal force is straight "down" into it?

Sure, this would work in principle. But I guess it would be fantastically expensive compared to a simple building. The centrifuge would need to be really big and, unlike in 0g, would have to be powered by a big motor and supported against Mars gravity. And Mars gravity isn't that low, so it's unclear why you'd want to pay this expense.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 March 2015 05:48:13PM 1 point [-]

Maybe Harry is wearing transfigured 'goggles that make everything you look at green' (which he has seen on his trip to buy school things), and can cast light of just the right intensity and wavelengths to heat Death Eaters up without burning himself?

Comment author: The_Duck 01 March 2015 10:06:26PM *  0 points [-]

n/t

Comment author: Bugmaster 23 February 2015 09:01:23PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, and I am kind of surprised that neither Quirrellmort nor Harry thought of reversing the letters. I mean, we are dealing with a magical mirror here. How is this not the first thing they've tried ?

Comment author: The_Duck 24 February 2015 05:32:21AM 1 point [-]

The inscription is not in the Latin alphabet.

In response to comment by [deleted] on What are your contrarian views?
Comment author: Thomas 15 September 2014 04:28:16PM *  1 point [-]

Yes.

A big pie, rotating in the sky, should have apparently shorter circumference than a non-rotating one, and both with the same radii.

I can't swallow this. Not because it is weird, but because it is inconsistent.

Comment author: The_Duck 15 September 2014 11:13:16PM 6 points [-]

A big pie, rotating in the sky, should have apparently shorter circumference than a non-rotating one, and both with the same radii.

I can't swallow this. Not because it is weird, but because it is inconsistent.

There is no inconsistency. In one case you are measuring the circumference with moving rulers, while in the other case you are measuring the circumference with stationary rulers. It's not inconsistent for these two different measurements to give different results.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 September 2014 09:39:30PM *  -1 points [-]

There's a reason it's called special relativity. It only works in special cases. Eucludian geometry and Newtonian mechanics are inconsistent, btw. Special relativity solves these inconsistencies in the special contexts where they originally came up (predicting the Lorentz contraction and time dilation which is experimentally observed). It wasn't until the curved space of general relativity was discovered that we had a fully consistent model.

And yes, curved space of general relativity fully explains the rotating disc in a way that is self-consistent in in agreement with observed results (as proven by Gravity Probe B, among other things).

In response to comment by [deleted] on What are your contrarian views?
Comment author: The_Duck 15 September 2014 11:10:46PM *  0 points [-]

You don't need GR for a rotating disk; you only need GR when there is gravity.

Comment author: shminux 29 August 2014 04:45:54PM 4 points [-]

For what it's worth, my personal judgement is that the filter lies before the creation of a central nervous system.

Why? Having dabbled a bit in evolutionary simulations, I find that, once you have unicellular organisms, the emergence of cooperation between them is only a matter of time, and from there multicellulars form and cell specialization based on division of labor begins. Once you have a dedicated organism-wide communication subsystem, why would it be unlikely for a centralized command structure to evolve?

My personal guess would be that the great filter isn't a filter at all, but a great scatterer, where different types of optimizers do not recognize each other as such, because their goals and appearances are so widely different, and they are sparse in the vast space of possibilities.

Comment author: The_Duck 31 August 2014 10:15:21PM *  2 points [-]

Having dabbled a bit in evolutionary simulations, I find that, once you have unicellular organisms, the emergence of cooperation between them is only a matter of time, and from there multicellulars form and cell specialization based on division of labor begins.

I'm very curious: in what evolutionary simulations have you seen these phenomena evolve?

Comment author: The_Duck 01 August 2014 05:55:02AM 1 point [-]

This looks fun! I will participate.

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