Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: VCavallo 16 April 2013 05:27:34PM *  0 points [-]

Does anyone else see the (now obvious) clown face in the image on the Not Built To Think About AI page? It's this image here.

Was that simply not noticed by lukeprog in selecting imagery (from stock photography or wherever) or is it some weird subtle joke that somehow hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread?

In response to Fermi Estimates
Comment author: elharo 07 April 2013 12:08:06PM *  24 points [-]

I feel compelled to repeat this old physics classic:

How Fermi could estimate things!
Like the well-known Olympic ten rings,
And the one-hundred states,
And weeks with ten dates,
And birds that all fly with one... wings.

:-)

In response to comment by elharo on Fermi Estimates
Comment author: VCavallo 16 April 2013 04:43:22PM 1 point [-]

That is beautiful.

Comment author: mstevens 16 April 2013 10:39:59AM 6 points [-]

I've been reading Atlas Shrugged and seem to have caught a case of Randianism. Can anyone recommend treatment?

Comment author: VCavallo 16 April 2013 04:41:02PM 1 point [-]

Can you explain what you mean by this? I ask because I don't know what this means and would like to. Others here clearly seem to get what you're getting at. Some Google searching was mostly fruitless and since we're here in this direct communication forum I'd be interested in hearing it directly.

Thanks!

Comment author: DanArmak 16 April 2013 04:09:40PM *  6 points [-]

I think there are vanity presses that will print on-demand as people order, without a large (or any) upfront payment. From there it's just a matter of whether people want the books enough to pay the high price.

For example, there's lulu.com. (This is not a recommendation as I have no experience publishing through them; it's just the first name that came to mind.) You can upload a PDF and cover images, choose paper size / type, binding, etc. and publish. They also offer ISBNs and publishing through Amazon.

Their pricing calculator is here. I think you can set any price you want for the book, as long as it's above the manfacturing cost (and there'll be shipping charges for customers).

Some examples I ran up:

2500 pages in 4 volumes means 625 pages/volume. (Lulu.com specifies a maximum of 740 pages per book.) I don't know the page size which comes to 2500 pages, though.

  • 625 pages,paperback binding, A5 page size: $18.38 ($73.52 for full set)
  • Ditto, A4 size (I doubt the PDF uses such large pages though): $23.10 ($92.4 for full set)
  • Hardcover, US trade size (6" x 9"): $27.35 ($109.4 for full set). May be worthwhile since the volumes are large that paperback might fall apart after a few years.
  • "Publisher grade" paper, which is of lower quality, paperback, "digest" size (5.5" x 8.5"): $12.08 ($48.32 for full set)
  • Volume discount is relatively low. 10 cop/ries gives no discount. 100 copies discounts the per-copy cost from $18.38 to $16.54. 300 copies, $14.70 ($58.8 for full set). So group buying will help but not by much.

Personally I would be willing to pay between 75 and 110 $ to buy a nice hardcover four-volume set, as a gift for someone who doesn't like ebooks.

Comment author: VCavallo 16 April 2013 04:25:44PM 3 points [-]

I would pay one of these prices for my own set. I'm a little unsatisfied with note-taking and highlighting on ebooks and would love a physical copy to annotate and wear out.

Comment author: DaFranker 09 April 2013 01:36:09PM *  1 point [-]

As Trevor_Blake said, there's very little you can do apart from actually checking some of the data. An alternative is to ask or pay someone else or a group to verify it for you.

Of course, there's always the option of coding a probabilistic engine that mines for stats and gives you reliability estimates of certain claims using some bayes-fu. But that takes math, programming, and lots of work.

Comment author: VCavallo 10 April 2013 03:30:05PM 0 points [-]

that takes math, programming, and lots of work

But sounds totally awesome. Especially if it can be created once and used over and over for different applications.

Comment author: [deleted] 07 April 2013 12:20:13AM *  1 point [-]

I'm not sure that I am the right authority to be correcting anyone's argument - the above comments are just my, an amateur rationalist's, personal response to your argument.

Fortunately there are no authoritative sources of knowledge and all claims may be challenged. I've had fingers wagged my way here for quoting Karl Popper, so instead I'll suggest a few links 1 2 3 4 5 from my blog.

Comment author: VCavallo 07 April 2013 01:55:27AM *  0 points [-]

I don't have time at the moment so I'll have to check those out later.

At a very quick skim I saw:

"Tradition is – apart from inborn knowledge – by far the most important source of our knowledge."

Which I must say irks me real badly, but I'll try to keep an open mind.

At the risk of inviting bias, may I ask what the justification for the finger-wagging was? I am unfamiliar with Popper (which is sort of nice, actually. blank slate)

Comment author: [deleted] 06 April 2013 05:55:47AM 0 points [-]

It seems like you are saying medicine and food are "secular" things, while prayer is a "religious" thing.

Yes, that is what I am saying.

The issue at hand is what organization is at the source of the charitable donations - a secular organization or a religious one. That's a question that is worth asking. Whether or not the aid they are giving has been originally created by a god, magic or science isn't really important for this question.

First, you say both that the source or origin does matter and that the source or origin does not matter. Which is it?

Second, as I said in my original post, "help where help is most effective or meets your needs best."

Thank you for your reply. If I have erred, please help me correct my argument.

Comment author: VCavallo 06 April 2013 11:03:13PM 1 point [-]

Sorry if I wasn't clear. The "source or origin" meaning the group doing the donating does matter, but the physical creation of the thing is irrelevant. A Dollar isn't a "secular thing" or a "religious thing" - it's just a thing.

Things-which-can-be-donated cannot be secular or religious, but people and organizations can, the way I see it.

I'm not sure that I am the right authority to be correcting anyone's argument - the above comments are just my, an amateur rationalist's, personal response to your argument.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 06 April 2013 01:31:03AM 1 point [-]

I don't think it lowers someone's status to say they are not ok

Are you saying you don't personally believe this or that it is a general rule that it does not?

Comment author: VCavallo 06 April 2013 10:56:05PM *  0 points [-]

Sorry - personally.

And it's a shame that as a general rule it does.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 05 April 2013 09:55:04PM 2 points [-]

which is a lot, don't get me wrong

that everyone feels the need to add this caveat when discussing topics like this, regardless of whether they are actually doing okay, always bothers me a lot. What if you're not okay? To be cliche, why is it not okay for someone to not be okay? To paraphrase Bostrom: many people are walking around quietly leading desperately unhappy lives, and much of the improvements they could make don't get talked about because it is low status to admit you are unhappy.

Comment author: VCavallo 05 April 2013 11:07:09PM 0 points [-]

My reasoning for adding the caveat in this particular instance was to fully disclose my stance. I'm inviting questions, and discussion is only aided when people have a better understanding of each other. If I had said that I am completely miserable and the negatives of being alive once already alive don't outweigh the positives, I'd be of a completely different stance and I'd be understood completely differently.

I don't think it lowers someone's status to say they are not ok and I'm sorry that adding the above caveat bothered you. Clearly my comment was innocent and by more fully explaining my feelings I am I'm no way intentionally reinforcing anyone else's lack of confidence.

Comment author: [deleted] 05 April 2013 05:36:20PM *  0 points [-]

In response to comment by [deleted] on Group Rationality Diary, April 5-14
Comment author: VCavallo 05 April 2013 08:47:14PM 0 points [-]

Did you have a stroke mid-post?

.. I see the "40" in there, which is relevant to lent, along with letter patterns that sort of like like encoded words. Maybe this is a puzzle?

View more: Next