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Comment author: freyley 11 November 2015 04:11:12PM *  6 points [-]

The author does not seem to understanding survivorship bias. He never approaches the question of whether the things he proposes are the reason for Musk's success actually work, or whether they happen to work for Musk in a context-dependent way. In other words, if you give this as advice to someone random, will they end up successful or an outcast. I'd guess the latter in most cases. This is in general the problem of evaluating the reasons behind success.

Also, unnecessary evolutionary psychology, done badly, even to the point of suggesting group selection. Ick.

The idea that using technical language (which isn't actually any more precise in meaning in the examples cited) in regular life is beneficial in being more scientific is also pretty suspect.

Comment author: freyley 06 November 2015 05:01:14PM 3 points [-]

75% probability that the following things will be gone by: LessWrong: 2020 Email: 2135 The web: 2095 Y Combinator: 2045 Google: 2069 Microsoft: 2135 USA: 2732 Britain: 4862

These don't seem unreasonable.

I'm not sure that this method works with something that doesn't exist coming into existence. Would we say that we expect a 75% chance that someone will solve the problems of the EmDrive by 2057? That we'll have seasteading by 2117?

Comment author: freyley 27 October 2014 05:21:15PM 0 points [-]

I'm starting by reading through the cites on this page:


vaccination research/reading

0 freyley 27 October 2014 05:20PM

Vaccination is probably one of the hardest topics to have a rational discussion about. I have some reason to believe that the author of http://whyarethingsthisway.com/2014/10/23/the-cdc-and-cargo-cult-science/ is someone interested in looking for the truth, not winning a side - at the very least, I'd like to help him when he says this:

I genuinely don’t want to do Cargo Cult Science so if anybody reading this knows of any citations to studies looking at the long term effects of vaccines and finding them benign or beneficial, please, be sure to post them in the comments.


I'm getting started on reading the actual papers, but I'm hoping this finds someone who's already done the work and wants to go post it on his site, or if not, someone else who's interested in looking through papers with me - I do better at this kind of work with social support. 

Comment author: freyley 05 March 2013 06:40:10PM *  25 points [-]

caveats: they're new; it's hard to do what they're doing; they have to look serious; this is valuable the more it's taken seriously.

They have really wonderful site design/marketing...except that it doesn't give me the impression that they will ever be making the world better for anyone other than their clients. Here's what I'd see as ideal:

  • They've either paid the $5k themselves, a drop in the bucket of their funding apparently, and put up one report as both a sample and proof of their intent to publish reports for everyone, or (better) gotten a client who's had a report to agree to allow them to release it.
  • This report, above, is linked to from their news section and there's a prominent search field on the news section (ok), or there's a separate reports section (better)
  • The news section has RSS (or the reports section has RSS, or both, best)

On a more profiteering viewpoint, they could offer a report for either $5k for a private report, or $3k for a public report, with a promise to charge $50 for the public report until they reach $5k (or $6k, or an internal number that isn't unreasonable) and then release it.

Most people who are seriously sick tend to get into a pretty idealistic mode, is my experience, and would actually be further convinced by putting their $5k both to help themselves and to help others, and while sure, they could release the report themselves, metamed has a central, more trustable platform. If they want me to believe that they're interested in doing that kind of thing, it'd be nice if they had something up there to show me that they hope to.

On preview, I realize that the easy objection is that these are personalized reports, and data confidentiality is important. They obviously will only be able to publish pieces of reports that are not personal, and this is obviously a more costly thing than just tossing a pdf up on a website. Hm.

All of that said, they look like a really exciting company, I really hope they do well (and then take my advice =).

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 November 2012 11:14:02PM 17 points [-]

Actually, this seems a lot less disturbing to me than if, say, there were many different colors for boy clothes, but only pink clothing for girls. If you wouldn't feel obliged to avoid dressing a baby boy in blue, why feel obliged to avoid dressing a baby girl in pink? None of this has the moral that gender differences in general should be downplayed; it's when you start saying that male-is-default or 'people can be nerds but girls have to be girls' that you have a problem. In general, I think the mode of thought to be fought is that males are colorless and women have color; or to put it another way, the deadly thought is that there are all sorts of different people in the world like doctors, soldiers, mathematicians, and women. I do sometimes refer in my writing to a subgroup of people called "females"; but I refer to another subgroup, "males", about equally often. (Actually, I usually call them "women" and "males" but that's because if you say "men", males assume you're talking about people.)

Comment author: freyley 27 November 2012 10:24:28PM 0 points [-]

It's less the colors available to the kid and more the way the outside world responds to the kid in those colors, I think.

I've seen there be much more color variation among boys clothes, yes, but more importantly, a toddler wearing pink is gendered by others as female, and talked to as if female, and all other colors are generally talked to as if male. Occasionally yellow is gendered female too.

In response to SotW: Be Specific
Comment author: freyley 26 April 2012 05:20:47PM 1 point [-]

Within the domain of building-a-system, paper prototyping/wireframing teaches people to be specific with their ideas. It's only helpful when your ideas are "I want there to be this kind of thing" and then putting it on paper creates the specifics in your head.

In response to Biased Pandemic
Comment author: xv15 14 March 2012 05:12:53AM 11 points [-]

This sounds awesome. It would be really cool if you could configure it so that identifying biases actually helps you to win by some tangible measure. For example, if figuring out a bias just meant that person stopped playing with bias (instead of drawing a new bias), figuring out biases would be instrumental in winning. The parameters could be tweaked of course (if people typically figure out the biases quickly, you could make it so they redraw biases several times). Or you could link drawing additional biases with the drawing of epidemic cards?

I have this terrifying vision of a version where it is biases -- not diseases -- which spread throughout the world, and whenever a player's piece is in a city infected with a certain bias, they have to play with it...

In response to comment by xv15 on Biased Pandemic
Comment author: freyley 15 March 2012 12:34:26AM 3 points [-]

I think your terrifying vision sounds like a lot of fun.

In response to Biased Pandemic
Comment author: Vaniver 12 March 2012 05:09:50PM 5 points [-]

Hm. I'm curious how well this extends to other cooperative games like Arkham Horror.

(I have a low opinion of Pandemic as a game because it's a one-player game which four people play- which can work out okay if everyone has similar skill levels and tactical aptitudes, but poorly if you have players whose turns are just directed for them. It seems like a good substrate for this, though, since you've inserted a conflict that gets rid of the "play their turn for them" effect.)

In response to comment by Vaniver on Biased Pandemic
Comment author: freyley 14 March 2012 03:30:56AM 0 points [-]

I would imagine you can play it with any cooperative game. Another great one that wouldn't quite fall prey to the problem you describe is Scotland Yard, which has a group against a single player. The group could play with biases, while the single player plays without and tries to guess the biases. People have also suggested competitive games, such as Munchkin, but I'm skeptical so far. If anyone does play it with competitive games, I'd love to hear about it of course.

Biased Pandemic

56 freyley 13 March 2012 11:32PM

Recently, Portland Lesswrong played a game that was a perfect trifecta of: difficult mental exercise; fun; and an opportunity to learn about biases and recognize them in yourself and others. We're still perfecting it, and we'd welcome feedback, especially from people who try it.

The Short Version

The game is a combination of Pandemic, a cooperative board game that is cognitively demanding, and the idea of roleplaying cognitive biases. Our favorite way of playing it (so far), everyone selects a bias at random, and then attempts to exaggerate that bias in their arguments and decisions during the game. Everyone attempts to identify the biases in the other players, and, when a bias is guessed, the guessed player selects a new bias and begins again.

continue reading »

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