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

Comment author: polymathwannabe 17 December 2014 04:00:40PM 0 points [-]

What's horrible about that?

Comment author: bramflakes 17 December 2014 06:54:50PM 5 points [-]

We don't know whether the Great Filter is ahead of us or behind us. The more evidence we find that life is common throughout the universe, the more the probability mass moves towards "ahead of us", because more "behind us" possibilities have been eliminated.

Comment author: artemium 16 December 2014 10:53:22PM *  -1 points [-]

Horrible news!!! Organic molecules have just been found on Mars. It appears that the great filter is ahead of us.

Comment author: bramflakes 17 December 2014 01:00:55AM 6 points [-]

We've known for some time that Titan has plenty of organic molecules.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 16 December 2014 08:47:57PM 0 points [-]

with few citations

Few citations compared with what? Certainly not an average website.

Comment author: bramflakes 16 December 2014 10:41:13PM 0 points [-]

The Sequences don't purport to be average.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 15 December 2014 12:52:01AM 5 points [-]

My preferred solution for this problem is to have the alarm on the other side of the room so I have to actively get out of bed and walk over to it.

Comment author: bramflakes 15 December 2014 01:18:42AM 5 points [-]

I tried that before, I'd just turn it off and get back into bed.

Comment author: Metus 15 December 2014 12:27:24AM 9 points [-]

I am looking to set a morning routine for myself and wanted to hear if you have some unusual component in your morning routine other people might benefit from.

Comment author: bramflakes 15 December 2014 12:49:00AM 10 points [-]

I have a terrible problem where I wake up from my alarm, turn off the alarm, then go back to sleep (I've missed several morning lectures this way). The solution I've been trialing is to put a glass of water and some caffeine pills on my bedside table when I go to sleep. That way, when I wake up I can turn off the alarm, take the pill and give in to the urge to put my head back on the pillow, confident that the caffeine will wake me up again a few minutes later. This has worked every time I've remembered to put out the pills.

I got this idea from someone else on LW but I've forgotten who, so credit to whomever it was.

Comment author: 27chaos 14 December 2014 09:33:17PM 1 point [-]

I don't understand what you're trying to say. As used in the original quote they are interchangeable synonyms.

Comment author: bramflakes 15 December 2014 12:43:53AM 0 points [-]

I was poking fun at that.

Comment author: 27chaos 14 December 2014 01:16:59AM -1 points [-]

I don't know if I agree with this. Suppose the stock market is driven by runaway herd behavior. If that's the case, then an inexplicably bad random perturbation might have cascading effects. Saying that the initial slump in the market is driving further decline seems accurate to me.

Comment author: bramflakes 14 December 2014 01:20:59PM 0 points [-]

That would be a slump in the market caused by a decline in stock prices :)

Comment author: LizzardWizzard 13 December 2014 07:46:55AM *  -3 points [-]

Metamed sounds like a kinda promising startup)

I failed to understand through text why accused people and institutions are necessarily evil

I browsed venal tech-trade publications, and tried and failed to read Less Wrong, which was written as if for aliens

I wonder is this because most humans can't find joy in the merely real, praising deities and trusting in other supernatural stuff like signs and horoscopes, so disbelieving and living in reality is abnormal?

Comment author: bramflakes 13 December 2014 11:53:00AM *  13 points [-]

I wonder is this because most humans can't find joy in the merely real, praising deities and trusting in other supernatural stuff like signs and horoscopes, so disbelieving and living in reality is abnormal?

or more prosaically, because the sequences are written in an idiosyncratic semi-autobiographical style with few citations and often grandiose language, and many people are immediately turned off by that

Comment author: Emile 08 December 2014 04:03:19PM 0 points [-]

Maybe completely blanking on that question is a sign of having studied some physics?

Comment author: bramflakes 08 December 2014 07:01:27PM 4 points [-]

The difference is that the guy who studies physics can explain why the question is difficult.

Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 08 December 2014 01:25:17AM 7 points [-]

Further thoughts on Imaginary Expertise...

I'm currently studying a final-year undergrad course in the mathematical underpinnings of statistics. This course has three prerequisite courses, all of which have the word "statistics" or "statistical" in the title. While the term has obviously come up beforehand, it was only a couple of chapters ago that we were given a formal definition for what a "statistic" is, (in the context of parameter sufficiency).

It occurred to me that if someone was ignorantly mouthing off about statistics, and you wanted to shut them up, you could do a lot worse than to ask "so, what exactly is a statistic?"

I've noticed beforehand that "so what exactly is money?" has a similar effect for economics pseudo-blowhards, and "so what exactly are numbers?" for maths. It's worth noting that these questions aren't even the central questions of those disciplines, (insofar as such broad categories have central questions), and they don't necessarily have canonical answers, but completely blanking on them seems indicative of immature understanding.

I've now taken to coming up with variants of these for different disciplines I think I know about.

Comment author: bramflakes 08 December 2014 01:46:59AM *  2 points [-]

This seems like a fun exercise!

Genetics: "what is a gene?"

Evolution: "what is a species?" / "what is an adaption?"

Physics: "what is energy?"

View more: Next