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Comment author: Dorikka 25 August 2015 04:32:07AM 3 points [-]

This is the most tantalizing thread on the page.

Comment author: faul_sname 26 August 2015 08:24:41AM 0 points [-]

It was a memetic hazard.

(not really)

Comment author: RichardKennaway 24 August 2015 05:03:47PM 7 points [-]

I'm not sure what "lifetime manic features at age 22 – 23 years" means. Lifetime, or between ages 22 and 23?

But the numbers:

There was a positive association between IQ at age 8 years and lifetime manic features at age 22–23 years (Pearson’s correlation coefficient 0.159 (95% CI 0.120–0.198), P>0.001).

I shall be generous and take the upper end of their range for the correlation, and round it up to c = 0.2.

The shared variance is c^2 = 0.04. That is childhood IQ "explains" (in the technical sense of that word) 4% of the variance of "lifetime manic features at age 22 – 23 years".

For the following calculations I assume, for no reason other than mathematical simplicity, that we are dealing with a bivariate normal distribution. However, I doubt the overall message would be very different for whatever the real distribution is.

The mutual information between the variables, is log2( 1/sqrt(1-c^2) ) = 0.0294 bits.

What can you do with 30 millibits? You might try to use IQ at age 8 to predict "lifetime manic features at age 22 – 23 years". How much will knowing the former narrow your estimate of the latter? The ratio (standard deviation conditional on that information)/(unconditional standard deviation) is sqrt(1-c^2) = 0.980. That is, the spread is 2% smaller.

Suppose you try to predict from IQ at age 8, whether their "manic features" will be above or below the average? By random guessing you will be right 50% of the time. By using that information, you will be right (1/π)acos(−c) of the time = 56%.

Perhaps, if the IQ is really high, the "manic features" will be more significantly above the average? In principle, yes, but in practice, not enough to matter. The probability that an individual has an IQ high enough to be 95% sure that they will be above average for "manic features" is 7.5 x 10^-14. Of course, the bivariate normal approximation cannot be observably accurate so far out, but I think it gives an indication of the scale of the matter.

The mathematics underlying the calculations can be found here. The figures at the end include a scatterplot of what c=0.2 looks like. That was the lowest correlation for which I thought it worth while to include in the tabulations.

Comment author: faul_sname 25 August 2015 06:38:58AM *  5 points [-]

I'm not sure, not having read the paper, but I would expect that "Lifetime manic features at age 22-23 years" means "number of manic features experienced in the time prior to 22-23 years of age" (i.e. we measured IQ of a bunch of 8-year-olds 15 years ago, and those people are now in the range of 22-23 years of age, and we ask how many manic episodes they've had in that time).

Comment author: Thomas 12 August 2015 12:37:27PM 2 points [-]

Not only the rivers. But also huge tunnels from the sea to the interior cities. like Denver or Munich.

Large container ships may bring goodies deep inside the continents. A whole network of such underground channels would be nice.

Comment author: faul_sname 13 August 2015 08:19:15AM 0 points [-]

Why tunnels, not canals? Particularly in the case of Denver, you've got a huge elevation gain, so you'd need the locks anyway, and digging tunnels is expensive (and buying farmland to put your canal through is relatively cheap).

Comment author: drethelin 12 July 2015 11:00:18PM 0 points [-]

How would the app know? You would need some sort of automatic system that scans every parking spot to see if there is a car currently in it.

Comment author: faul_sname 13 July 2015 10:03:48AM 0 points [-]

How difficult would this be, out of curiosity, keeping in mind that you don't need 100% accuracy? I can think of a couple approaches, though probably nothing that would be supported by any revenue model I can think of off the top of my head.

Comment author: CalmCanary 21 June 2015 06:34:58PM 1 point [-]

So if I spouted 100 billion true statements at you, then said, "It would be good for you to give me $100,000," you'd pay up?

Comment author: faul_sname 21 June 2015 07:58:54PM 1 point [-]

If those 100 billion true statements were all (or even mostly) useful and better calibrated than my own priors, then I'd be likely to believe you, so yes. On the other hand, if you replace $100,000 with $100,000,000,000, I don't think that would still hold.

I think you found an important caveat, which is that the fact that an agent will benefit from you believing a statement weakens the evidence that the statement is true, to the point that it's literally zero for an agent that you don't trust at all. And if an AI will have a human-like architecture, or even if not, I think that would still hold.

Comment author: Romashka 22 May 2015 11:12:17AM 1 point [-]

No, I meant rather what between-different-fields-of-biology observations you might have. It doesn't matter what you study, specifically. It's more like 'but why did those biochists study the impact of gall on probiotics for a whole fortnight of cultivation, if every physiologist knows that the probiotic pill cannot possibly be stuck in the GI tract for so long? thing.' Have you encountered this before?

Comment author: faul_sname 22 May 2015 11:17:16AM 0 points [-]

I can come up with a few examples that seemed obvious that they wouldn't work in retrospect, mostly having to do with gene insertion using A. tumefaciens, but none that I honestly predicted before I learned that they didn't work. Generally, the biological research at my institution seemed to be pretty practical, if boring. On the other hand, I was an undergrad, so there may have been obvious mistakes I missed -- that's part of what I'd be interested in learning.

Comment author: JonahSinick 21 May 2015 12:14:15AM *  3 points [-]

To return to your original question, on the overt information-exchange layer you see your statement "I am smarter than almost everyone here" as a neutral fact about the world which you believe is true. Now, analyze that statement on the signal-exchange level. What does it imply to hairless bipedal apes?


I'm not as oblivious as it sounds :-).

My mistake was in greatly underestimating the extent to which LWers are like this, given the unusually high IQ and the explicit goal of refining the art of rationality. I thought "these people are different so I don't have to worry about that."

The situation is that not all humans react negatively when someone else says "I'm better than all of you." That's the way almost all humans react, but having a sense of self-worth rooted in relative status is not biologically inevitable. It's possible to rewire status motivations so that they're rooted in the extent to which you're achieving a goal. Empirically, people who learn to do so are much more productive.

My problem was that I didn't know that you didn't know this: I didn't realize that you had no way of knowing that it's biologically possible for somebody to genuinely not care about relative status. I didn't know that you didn't know what Poincare wrote:

Science keeps us in constant relation with something which is greater than ourselves; it offers us a spectacle which is constantly renewing itself and growing always more vast. Behind the great vision it affords us, it leads us to guess at something greater still; this spectacle is a joy to us, but it is a joy in which we forget ourselves and thus it is morally sound.

He who has tasted of this, who has seen, if only from afar, the splendid harmony of the natural laws will be better disposed than another to pay little attention to his petty, egoistic interests. He will have an ideal which he will value more than himself, and that is the only ground on which we can build an ethics. He will work for this ideal without sparing himself and without expecting any of those vulgar rewards which are everything to some persons; and when he has assumed the habit of disinterestedness, this habit will follow him everywhere; his entire life will remain as if flavored with it.

Comment author: faul_sname 22 May 2015 10:52:54AM 6 points [-]

My mistake was in greatly underestimating the extent to which LWers are like this, given the unusually high IQ and the explicit goal of refining the art of rationality. I thought "these people are different so I don't have to worry about that."

I suspect that you're correct that you don't have to worry about arrogance as a strong communication barrier here -- I noticed that you registered as arrogant, but didn't really count it against you. Based on the other comments, it sounds like most readers did the same.

There's a lot of conversation about status in the LW-sphere, particularly in the Overcoming Bias region. Since you wrote a post on social skills, and since that post did not seem to be using the social skill of status management, several commentators felt that it was worthwhile to tell you.

Comment author: Romashka 22 May 2015 06:50:59AM 2 points [-]

Thank you, I will do it ASAP, I'm just a bit rushed by PhD schedule and some other work that can be done only in summer. Do you have similar observations? It would be great to compile them into a post, because my own experience is based more on literature and less on personal communication, for personal reasons.

Comment author: faul_sname 22 May 2015 10:45:51AM 1 point [-]

I really don't have any similar observations, since I mostly focused on biochem and computational bio in school.

I'm actually not entirely sure what details you're thinking of -- I'm imagining something like the influence of selective pressure from other members of the same species, which could cover things like how redwoods are so tall because other redwoods block out light below the canopy. On the other hand, insight into the dynamics of population biologists and those studying plant physiology would also be interesting.

According to the 2014 survey we have about 30 biologists on here, and there are considerably more people here who take an interest in such things. Go ahead and post -- the community might say they want less of it, but I'd bet at 4:1 odds that the community will be receptive.

Comment author: Romashka 18 May 2015 02:10:11PM 6 points [-]

I do have something specific in mind (about how plant physiology is often divorced from population research), but I am in a minority here, so it might be more interesting for most people to read about other stuff.

Comment author: faul_sname 22 May 2015 06:09:43AM 0 points [-]

I, for one, would be interested in such a post.

Comment author: ahbwramc 21 May 2015 02:43:53PM 2 points [-]

I feel like there are interesting applications here for programmers, but I'm not exactly sure what. Maybe you could link up a particular programming language's syntax to our sense of grammar, so programs that wouldn't compile would seem as wrong to you as the sentence "I seen her". Experienced programmers probably already have something like this I suppose, but it could make learning a new programming language easier.

Comment author: faul_sname 22 May 2015 02:03:46AM *  2 points [-]

Syntax highlighting, and a compiler that highlights errors as you type them (e.g. SyntasticCheck for vim). It's really useful.

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