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Comment author: WalterL 23 May 2017 07:31:24PM 2 points [-]

Ke Jie is playing AlphaGo. He lost the first game last night, and is generally expected to lose the next 2. According to my buddy in Google they aren't planning to do any more big 'vs the strong player' style exhibitions, so tonight is your last chance to see this John Henry story in real time.

Comment author: WalterL 23 May 2017 07:29:31PM 5 points [-]

Is it wrong that I'm hoping that I click on this link and it just goes to a web site with word 'No', in huge letters?

Comment author: lifelonglearner 15 May 2017 02:08:00PM *  2 points [-]

I often feel like upvotes on LW correspond more to the "insightfulness" of a post, rather than its perceived instrumental value. Unsure how I feel about this because if I'm relying on upvotes as a social incentive to write things, this shapes what I write in directions that might not be directly useful (IMO) to the most people.

Comment author: WalterL 16 May 2017 05:41:02PM 0 points [-]

If you are trying to help the most people then the odds that the right thing to do is 'post on a website that nobody reads' is pretty slim. Like, once you are in the 'posting on LW' space, then you are pretty clearly not trying to maximize how much other people get out of your time. Just do what you like.

Comment author: cousin_it 16 May 2017 04:32:25PM *  1 point [-]

There's a free market idea that the market rewards those who provide value to society. I think I've found a simple counterexample.

Imagine a loaf of bread is worth 1 dollar to consumers. If you make 100 loaves and sell them for 99 cents each, you've provided 1 dollar of value to society, but made 99 dollars for yourself. If you make 100 loaves and give them away to those who can't afford it, you've provided 100 dollars of value to society, but made zero for yourself. Since the relationship is inverted, we see that the market doesn't reward those who provide value. Instead it rewards those who provide value to those who provide value! It's recursive, like PageRank!

That's the main reason why we have so much inequality. Recursive systems will have attractors that concentrate stuff. That's also why you can't blame people for having no jobs. They are willing to provide value, but they can't survive by providing to non-providers, and only the best can provide to providers.

Comment author: WalterL 16 May 2017 05:39:26PM 0 points [-]

An easy way to think of it is to just look at the physical stuff. What do you mean by 'provide value'. Like, not terminology games or whatever, but what do you think of when you say that? Do those people get paid? That's an easier question than whether 'the market rewards' them.

Comment author: Brillyant 15 May 2017 05:06:07PM *  7 points [-]

Some random barely-edited thoughts on my experience with weight loss:

In the midst of a diet where I will lose 15 lbs (15.9lb, from 185.8 lb to 169.9, to be exact) in 40 days.

I have 95% certainty I will reach this goal in the appointed time. Even if I don't reach exactly 169.9lb, I'll be close, so whether or not I hit the exact number is arbitrary for my purposes. (I'm losing some weight to see if it helps a lingering back injury.)

I'm just eating a disciplined diet and working out according to a consistent schedule.

My diet is simple and not starvation-y at all. Most people wouldn't do it because it's repetitive (I literally eat the same thing nearly everyday so I can know my calorie intake without any counting.)

My workout isn't hard but most people wouldn't do it because...I don't know why, it's just my experience that people won't. It's 4-5 days per week of 30-60 minutes cardio and 30-60 minutes of weight training. I have a back injury that's limiting me, so it's nothing terribly rigorous.


In my years at health clubs, talking to health-club-going people, I've seen all the evidence I'll ever need to believe, basically, the Calories In / Calories Out model of weight loss is correct.

My opinion of the rationality community's view of weight loss is that it's bad. In fact, it is what I would consider anti-advice—the sort of thing you would introduce someone to if you wanted them to fail at weight loss. (Like in Mean Girls when Lindsey Lohan gives Rachel McAdams Swedish weight-gaining bars and tells her they are for weight loss.)


Some of my rough and random thoughts on managing weight:

  • Lean muscle mass is responsible for ~65% of individual differences in BMR.
  • People have significant differences in metabolism that are probably genetic predispositions. These differences can mean people who behave identically (same diet and exercise routine) will end up with very different weights.
  • No one should be shamed for their weight anymore than someone should be shamed for their height. (This is obvious, but needs to be said 'cuz "fat shaming" is an applause light used by the crowd who thinks anything resembling a simple CICO model for weight loss is bad and cruel.)
  • You shouldn't necessarily care about weight loss and our culture is fucked up for making people feel bad about their weight.
  • Losing weight can be really hard.
  • Diet is a central component to our lives, and changes in diet make people emotional, tired, etc.
  • Weight is a very personal issue and body image's importance in our culture, for better or worse, can not be overstated.
  • Exercising is a hard habit to adopt.
  • People lie. Self-reporting of diet and exercise is full of inaccuracies.
  • Changing your diet and exercise routine is akin to changing other habits and is subject to the same sorts of difficulties and failure modes.
  • The first 2-5 weeks of big diet changes are fucking hard, but it gets easier like any habit change.
  • Atkins, and other low carb diets, work because 'Murican diets are high calorie AND carb-centric. Cutting all carbs for a while means also cutting your total calories significantly. The published woo reasons why they work are mostly bullshit. It's just calorie cutting while giving you a shot at forming different long-term diet habits.
  • There may be some foods that speed metabolism, some foods that are good to eat at certain times during the day, some food that satiate more than others for any given person, etc...
  • But the Eat Less/Exercise More model is tried and true.
Comment author: WalterL 16 May 2017 05:36:29PM 1 point [-]

Good luck with your weight loss!

Comment author: Viliam 09 May 2017 11:28:36AM *  1 point [-]

no one can ever argue against 'security', so you always win if you bring it up

Doesn't work for me. I am the guy saying "we should not be doing X, because when you google for X, the first three results are all telling you that you definitely shouldn't be doing X", and everyone else is "dude, you already spent the whole day trying to solve this issue, just do it the easy way and move on to the other urgent high-priority tasks".

Probably depends on the type of a company, i.e. what is the trade-off between "doing the project faster" and "covering your ass" for your superiors. If they have little to lose by being late, but can potentially get sued for ignoring a security issue, then yes, this is really scary.

A possible solution is to tell the developer to just do it as fast as possible, but still in a perfectly secure way. Have daily meetups asking him ironically whether he is still working on that one simple task. But also make him sign a document that you can deduct his yearly salary if he knowingly ignores a security issue. -- Now he has an incentive to shut up about the security issues (to avoid giving a proof that he knew about them).

Comment author: WalterL 09 May 2017 03:41:20PM 0 points [-]

"A possible solution is to tell the developer to just do it as fast as possible, but still in a perfectly secure way. "

Thanks, Satan!

Comment author: Dagon 08 May 2017 03:36:56PM 1 point [-]

There are elements and leanings toward this combative view of security in a whole lot of companies, both in IT departments and in software-focused corporations. I haven't seen even a small fraction of such places (only maybe a few hundred directly and indirectly), but it seems rare that it gets to strategic levels (aka cold war with each side hesitant to change the status quo) - most places are aware of the tradeoffs and able to make risk-estimate-based decisions. It helps a LOT to have developers do the initial risk and attack value estimates.

I'll agree about the emergency/patch deployment process being the one to focus on. There's something akin to Gresham's law in ops methodology - bad process drives out good.

Comment author: WalterL 08 May 2017 04:47:52PM 0 points [-]

"developers do the initial risk and attack value estimates"

You mean trust in-house devs? Heresy! If they were any good they wouldn't work here! Only consultants can be relied upon.

Comment author: Lumifer 08 May 2017 02:57:50PM 0 points [-]

a weird cold war in software design

Which particular corner of software do you have in mind?

Comment author: WalterL 08 May 2017 04:45:47PM 3 points [-]

All of it?

I mean, not seriously, but I've done 2 decades in the industry, at a total of 5 companies, and I see it everywhere.

Dev A: We should do this with a cloud based whatver. Dev B: No, no, we should stick with our desktop app. Bosses: Hmm... Dev A (triumphantly): No, no, putting everything on the cloud is BEST PRAKTUS!!!! Bosses: (Gasp!!) Dev B: (in desperation, transgressing...) What about....security? Bosses (Double gasp) Dev A; (disbelief) You wouldn't.... Dev B: A's mad scheme exposes us to the viruses and also the worms. Bosses: We agree with B!

Dev A: You realize, of course, this means war.

(Much later)

Dev B: I'm just saying that we could try 'not' encoding every string in pig latin, as most people would be able to decrypt this with minimal effort and it is massively increasing our translation budgets Dev A: So you are in favor of making our software less secure? Dev B: hahahah, no, of course not. That was just a test. I'm a double red belt qualified expert in Security Singing from every App academy. I was just making sure that you were too.

Comment author: WalterL 08 May 2017 02:49:13PM 3 points [-]

There's a weird cold war in software design, where everyone knows that they can use 'security' to win any argument, but we must all refrain from doing so, because that ratchet only goes one way.

The deal is that no one can ever argue against 'security', so you always win if you bring it up, but if you use that against me I'll retaliate, and the project will fail (very very securely).

Also, unrelated, if I you ever hear someone bragging about their amazing release process, just nod and ask them about the emergency release process. That's what they ACTUALLY use.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 01 May 2017 10:27:15AM 0 points [-]

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

Comment author: WalterL 02 May 2017 03:02:01PM 3 points [-]

Agents of Shield has veered weirdly close to LW interests this season.

We've got:

1: An AI who is given bad priorities which lead it to kill its creator and perpetrate supervillainy. 2: An investigation into whether or not emulated human intelligences in a VR setting are morally 'real' enough to care about. 3: Serious consideration of how much of people's identities are their memories, and whether by changing those memories you create new people or not.

Also, earlier in the season, a rad biker with a flaming skull for a head.

Anyway, main point, AoS is radically better nowadays than when it started out. This season has been aces.

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