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Comment author: katydee 08 December 2010 01:43:07AM 3 points [-]

Many tutors are more or less exactly that.

Comment author: arfle 08 December 2010 08:11:28PM 1 point [-]

Really? One on one? I've certainly been to many 'read-out-the-textbook' lectures, but there's a good point to those, which is why I went. One on one I'd feel very robbed.

Comment author: MrHen 09 February 2010 08:14:03PM 5 points [-]

Books are enough for understanding anything, you'd just need good from-the-ground-up textbooks and probably months or years to read them.

In practice, this isn't true. Some people really do have trouble learning from books. Simply reading the book aloud to them is enough to overcome the block.

I don't know where the problem originates, however. It seems strange to chalk it up to lack of motivation or stupidity, given the people I know.

In other words, books contain all of the knowledge necessary to understand anything but not everyone can pick up the understanding itself from a book. Why, I don't know.

Comment author: arfle 08 December 2010 12:51:17AM 0 points [-]

Is it sufficient to read the book aloud to them even if you don't understand it yourself? If so why isn't there a profession of ill-educated freelance book-readers?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 April 2009 09:42:34PM 3 points [-]

The latter.

Comment author: arfle 10 November 2010 10:23:23AM -1 points [-]

So are you claiming to be a counterexample to 'weight change=calories in - calories out'?

Comment author: anonym 14 March 2009 11:39:30PM *  2 points [-]

Most of the points carry over to other domains as well (e.g., music, art, ballet, stage acting, spiritual traditions that have "gurus" or "masters").

For example, there are many (e.g.) piano teachers who can trace their lineage back to Beethoven (and they know it off the top of their heads if you ask them), who are similarly overly deferential to historical masters, who see their knowledge and music in general as sacred knowledge. There is also the same extreme conservatism, and different teaching techniques and performance techniques cannot easily be tested.


[Edit: a pretty good test for whether these sorts of problems are characteristic of at least some practitioners of a given domain is whether (or how often) they get angry in the way preachers get angry at blasphemy and utter sentences that begin with "how dare (s)he ...".

Can anybody think of a domain where students spend decades learning, often with the same teacher or very few teachers, where the domain is the center of their life, which has existed for at least a few centuries, and where these problems do not occur with great frequency?]

Comment author: arfle 09 November 2010 10:09:37PM 2 points [-]

Mathematics. No problems there because the wisdom of the ancients is still true.

Comment author: Son_of_my_father,_Mr._Allbright 23 October 2008 01:40:51AM -1 points [-]

@Partiallybright: "If you really want to communicate your ideas, transfer them all the way to another brain, you would try harder to present them so that almost anyone who wants to understand them (with the right level of background info) has no hard time doing so."

Yes, criticism fully accepted.

Partiallybright: "Instead it's like you cram whole functions or classes into convoluted one-liners like some extreme programmer showing off his chops."

Well, I code in Python most of the time, and I tend to write in functional/imperative style because it's so much clearer and more concise to me and to others who I can consider to be more advanced. Funny thing is, people who think in procedural style find it very difficult to read my demonstrably functional code. What to do? Yes, add additional comments appropriate to their background.

But that doesn't imply the code was fake. When something isn't understood, where's the indication that it's fake?

When my wife and I have disagreed it has ALWAYS been because I tend to reason over the big chunks (assuming things are obvious (that's our running joke at home) and fill in detail only as needed. Eventually she gets enough detail, wherever she needs it, to see where I'm coming from, and then we either agree, or decide that we were arguing the wrong question. We have ALWAYS agreed when we get to the point of understanding each other's priors and basis of reasoning (and she knows nothing of Aumann.)

Partiallybright: "I *just love it* when Eli keeps it real and doesn't spare the bullets. That accurate & lethal sniper rifle of his is never pointed at the wrong target. I detected no emotion involved, by the way..."

Are you sure there's no emotion involved here, at *any* level?

Comment author: arfle 12 September 2010 09:02:10AM *  1 point [-]

"Well, I code in Python most of the time, and I tend to write in functional/imperative style because it's so much clearer and more concise to me and to others who I can consider to be more advanced. Funny thing is, people who think in procedural style find it very difficult to read my demonstrably functional code. " [Italics added]

Perhaps you could show us examples of the two contrasting styles?

If we are truly in contact with someone who can accurately form abstractions without considering examples, then I would expect to be impressed and baffled by their code.

And as you say, there would be evidence of its correctness from its successful execution.

Don't bother with the comments. Just say what it's supposed to do.

Comment author: arfle 12 August 2010 08:37:07PM 11 points [-]

A plastic bottle out of the trash. It's transparent but flexible and almost weightless. See how well the lid has been made? It makes a water-tight seal.

It might be the most valuable object in Greece.

Comment author: arfle 12 August 2010 08:56:44PM *  8 points [-]

And then when you've got his attention, show him decimal notation.

And stirrups for his horse. And lances.

Once he's hooked, show him why things float. And how a ball rolling down an inclined plane moves 1, 4, 9, 16 as it accelerates.

Show him Cartesian geometry. And how to play go with lines scratched in the ground and coloured stones. Make a recorder and play him some songs.

He'll teach you Greek.

Show him how to send messages using flashing mirrors. Show him Playfair's cipher. Perspective drawing. How to make a magnifying glass. Newton's cradle. Make a model boat out of bronze.

I suspect in a day in Ancient Greece, you'd see so many easily solved problems that my list would look naive. You don't need modern technology. You need the things that were discovered just after the mediaevals recovered what the Greeks already knew.

Comment author: RobinZ 19 April 2010 11:08:15PM 0 points [-]

I would sort of expect any woman who showed up with apparently magical powers to be put into the goddess category. Even someone like Aristotle, who probably didn't believe that gods and goddesses literally existed, would be culturally conditioned to treat a woman who appeared to have super-powers with some respect.

How would you implement that? What do we have the tech to build today for a reasonable outlay of money (less than a million euros, for example) that could blow minds in that era?

Comment author: arfle 12 August 2010 08:37:07PM 11 points [-]

A plastic bottle out of the trash. It's transparent but flexible and almost weightless. See how well the lid has been made? It makes a water-tight seal.

It might be the most valuable object in Greece.

Comment author: wedrifid 25 October 2009 04:53:42AM 2 points [-]

or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did.

For bad weather? As in... 3^^^3 days of sleet is worse than 50 years of torture?

Comment author: arfle 03 August 2010 05:53:26AM *  7 points [-]

Bad weather, as in 'rain that rots your crops and causes famine', 'wind that takes the roof off your house', 'blizzards that kill your livestock', etc...

I suspect that 300 days of sleet might have an effect, even now.

Comment author: eris 26 April 2009 12:16:08PM *  16 points [-]

I had the cold water procedure done at a GP to flush out an earwax obstruction. It was absolutely horrible, and I don't recommend it for self-testing.

The flushing took a minute or two. Then there was a minute of starting to feel more and more strange, while everyone asked, "Are you all right?" Then, for the next five or ten minutes....

Notice the reference to REM. If you've ever been so drunk as to see the room spin... you have a slight idea of what my eyes were doing. Closing them didn't help. The staff made me lie down, which made no difference -- I was still clinging desperately to the wall, disoriented and frightened out of my wits.

Eventually the vertigo went away, but I still felt wonky for the next few minutes. Best analogy: being woken from deep sleep and asked to do calculus. Only awake.

Life-changing realizations: none. Perhaps you have to be on-topic at the time. I'm not going back to find out.

Hope this at least slows people down a bit.

[Also, blindsight is an interesting tangent.]

Comment author: arfle 27 July 2010 01:41:28AM 4 points [-]

I've also had this done, but my GP used warm water. No ill effects whatsoever. Obviously my hearing improved.

Comment author: MatthewB 26 December 2009 03:21:47PM 0 points [-]

And, now I see why I am skeptical of hypercomputation. It seems to all necessitate some form of computation over an infinite number of steps. This would require some severe bending of the rules or constraints of physics, wouldn't it?

timtyler's comment below mine seems to be appropriate:

It is a field with an imaginary object of study.

Comment author: arfle 27 July 2010 12:53:06AM 0 points [-]

Doesn't Newtonian gravity require computation over an infinite number of steps?

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