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Comment author: sixes_and_sevens 19 January 2015 10:50:57AM 8 points [-]

Tell us about your feed reader of choice.

I've been using Feedly since Google Reader went away, and has enough faults (buggy interface, terrible bookmarking, awkward phone app that needs to be online all the time) to motivate me towards a new one. Any recommendations?

Comment author: harshhpareek 20 January 2015 11:10:06PM *  2 points [-]

I tried using RSS readers, but I tended to forget to check their websites or apps. I could have trained myself to check them more often but I ended up using https://blogtrottr.com/ instead. It sends RSS feeds to your email inbox, so I can check blogs along with my email in the morning.

I haven't had any issues so far. They send you ads along with the feed to generate revenue. Having a revenue model is a solid plus in my book.

What I don't like about it: they don't have accounts so managing subscriptions is a little hard.

Comment author: Lumifer 12 January 2015 07:51:07PM 4 points [-]

I (hopefully) get my Omega-3/6 fatty acids from cooking oil.

From cooking oil you get too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3.

Comment author: harshhpareek 12 January 2015 08:06:25PM *  0 points [-]

I haven't put sufficient effort into identifying healthy cooking oils. I currently use Crisco's Blended Oil supplemented with Omega-3. The question is if it is supplemented in the right amount, and that information is not provided.

Animal fats are low in Omega-6 but I think the Omega-3:6 ratio is a problem for meat-eaters too.

Comment author: sediment 12 January 2015 09:25:20AM *  6 points [-]

Reposting this because I posted it at the very end of the last open thread and hence, I think, missed the window for it to get much attention:

I'm vegetarian and currently ordering some dietary supplements to help, erm, supplement any possible deficits in my diet. For now, I'm getting B12, iron, and creatine. Two questions:

  • Are there any important ones that I've missed? (Other things I've heard mentioned but of whose importance and effectiveness I'm not sure: zinc, taurine, carnitine, carnosine. Convince me!)
  • Of the ones I've mentioned, how much should I be taking? In particular, all the information I could find on creatine was for bodybuilders trying to develop muscle mass. I did manage to find that the average daily turnover/usage of creatine for an adult male (which I happen to be) is ~2 grams/day - is this how much I should be taking?
Comment author: harshhpareek 12 January 2015 07:43:34PM *  5 points [-]

I'm a vegetarian and I looked into this stuff a while back. The Examine.com page What beneficial compounds are primarily found in animal products? is a useful reference with sources and includes the ones you wrote above. An older page with some references is this one.

I currently supplement with a multivitamin (this one -- Hair, Skin and Nails), creatine and occasionally Coenzyme Q-10 and choline, You didn't mention the last two but I have subjectively felt they increase alertness. I (hopefully) get my Omega-3/6 fatty acids from cooking oil. I had a basic panel done and found I was deficient in Calcium (probably due to my specific diet, but it is worth mentioning) and B12. So, I supplement for Calcium too.

I do regular exercise (usually bodyweight and dumbbells) and I had disappointing results without whey protein and creatine supplementation. Excessive amounts of creatine (look up "loading") is recommended for bodybuilders but 5g/day is recommended for vegetarians. See gwern's review and the examine.com review.. The examine.com review mentions that the fear of this compound is irrational and recommends 5g a day for everyone, pointing out that creatine would have been labeled a vitamin if it wasn't produced in the body. (Excessive creatine causes stomach upsets but I wasn't able to find a value at which this happens, and I've never experienced this myself).

I also take a fiber supplement, Metamucil. This one isn't vegetarian-specific, but I highly recommend it.

Comment author: harshhpareek 09 December 2014 06:42:38AM *  5 points [-]

Are there any LessWrongers at NIPS (in Montreal) this week? Perhaps we can have a mini meetup. Send me a PM or reply if you're here. I'm here till Sunday.

[LINK] David Deutsch on why we don't have AGI yet "Creative Blocks"

2 harshhpareek 17 December 2013 07:03AM

Folks here should be familiar with most of these arguments. Putting some interesting quotes below:


"Creative blocks: The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible. What's holding us up?"

Remember the significance attributed to Skynet’s becoming ‘self-aware’? [...] The fact is that present-day software developers could straightforwardly program a computer to have ‘self-awareness’ in the behavioural sense — for example, to pass the ‘mirror test’ of being able to use a mirror to infer facts about itself — if they wanted to. [...] AGIs will indeed be capable of self-awareness — but that is because they will be General

Some hope to learn how we can rig their programming to make [AGIs] constitutionally unable to harm humans (as in Isaac Asimov’s ‘laws of robotics’), or to prevent them from acquiring the theory that the universe should be converted into paper clips (as imagined by Nick Bostrom). None of these are the real problem. It has always been the case that a single exceptionally creative person can be thousands of times as productive — economically, intellectually or whatever — as most people; and that such a person could do enormous harm were he to turn his powers to evil instead of good.[...] The battle between good and evil ideas is as old as our species and will go on regardless of the hardware on which it is running

He also says confusing things about induction being inadequate for creativity which I'm guessing he couldn't support well in this short essay (perhaps he explains better in his books). Not quoting here. His attack on Bayesianism as an explanation for intelligence is valid and interesting, but could be wrong. Given what we know about neural networks, something like this does happen in the brain, and possibly even at a concept level. 

The doctrine assumes that minds work by assigning probabilities to their ideas and modifying those probabilities in the light of experience as a way of choosing how to act. This is especially perverse when it comes to an AGI’s values — the moral and aesthetic ideas that inform its choices and intentions — for it allows only a behaviouristic model of them, in which values that are ‘rewarded’ by ‘experience’ are ‘reinforced’ and come to dominate behaviour while those that are ‘punished’ by ‘experience’ are extinguished. As I argued above, that behaviourist, input-output model is appropriate for most computer programming other than AGI, but hopeless for AGI.

His final conclusions are disagreeable. He somehow concludes that the principal bottleneck in AGI research is a philosophical one. 

In his last paragraph, he makes the following controversial statement:

For yet another consequence of understanding that the target ability is qualitatively different is that, since humans have it and apes do not, the information for how to achieve it must be encoded in the relatively tiny number of differences between the DNA of humans and that of chimpanzees.

This would be false if, for example, the mother controls gene expression while a foetus develops and helps shape the brain. We should be able to answer this question definitively once we can grow human babies completely in vitro. Another problem would be the impact of the cultural environment. A way to answer this question would be to see if our Stone Age ancestors would be classified as AGIs under a reasonable definition

Comment author: harshhpareek 19 May 2013 11:38:31PM 1 point [-]

The link doesn't work anymore. Can you host it somewhere else?

I did a superficial search and it seems this is the only android app for browsing less wrong. Are there any others?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 04 March 2013 02:20:44AM 1 point [-]

I would argue that asking people to lock their shops is a smaller cost to society than the cost of fear and of the possible loss of limbs from this procedure, and the benefit --- being able to keep shops open --- is small.

The costs you mentioned are also small. If the deterrent works few hands actually need to be cut off. Furthermore I would argue fear if being punished for theft (which presumably mostly applied to thieves) isn't a significant cost to society. Furthermore, I think you're underestimating the benefits of high implicit trust.

Comment author: harshhpareek 04 March 2013 02:51:15AM 0 points [-]

My reply is an answer to "Is there a difference between what's right and what works?" I'm not trying to open the can of worms labelled "Are draconian deterrents justified?", merely trying to show through example that what works may fall in moral grey areas. To briefly answer your comments--

If the deterrent works few hands actually need to be cut off

The effectiveness of strong deterrents is questionable#Effectiveness). Considering the links mentioned above, some cases do spring up despite the deterrent, in this particular situation. Speculatively, someone who is unable to make enough money to feed his family otherwise may take this risk.

I think you're underestimating the benefits of high implicit trust.

There are definitely reasons that the system continues to exist. The "trust" induced by harsh laws is one of them.

Comment author: DanielLC 03 March 2013 09:27:23PM 4 points [-]

For big vices, it is important to ask, "What is right?" For small vices, it is perhaps more important to ask, "What works?"

What's the difference?

Comment author: harshhpareek 04 March 2013 12:35:03AM *  0 points [-]

Consider Saudi Arabia which even today implements the Sharia policy of cutting off the hands of those who steal, especially those who steal during prayer times. I have heard anecdotal stories, that even jewelry shops in Dubai are left unlocked during prayer times. The fear of punishment is so high that no one dares steal.

Does this policy work? Yes. Is it right? Debatable. I would argue that asking people to lock their shops is a smaller cost to society than the cost of fear and of the possible loss of limbs from this procedure, and the benefit --- being able to keep shops open --- is small. Of course, there is another implicit benefit, that of being consistent with other Sharia values which I think outweighs all the other points here.

Comment author: harshhpareek 03 March 2013 08:05:37PM *  24 points [-]

The world of the manager is one of problems and opportunities. Problems are to be managed; one must understand the nature of the problem, amass resources adequate to deal with it, and "work the problem" on an ongoing basis.[...] But what if the problem can be fixed? This is not the domain of the manager.

An engineer believes most problems have solutions. The engineer isn't interested in building an organisation to cope with the problem. [...] And yet the engineer's faith in fixes often blinds him to the fact that many problems, especially those involving people, don't have the kind of complete permanent solutions he seeks.

-- John Walker, The Hacker's Diet (~loc 250 on an e-reader)

Comment author: JohnEPaton 30 July 2012 03:07:49AM 0 points [-]

I'm just wondering whether it's true that the Markov property holds for minds. I'm thinking that a snapshot of the world is not enough, but you also need to know something about the rate at which the world is changing. Presumably this information would require the knowledge of states further back.

Also, isn't there an innate element of randomness when it comes to decision making and how our minds work. Neurons are so small that presumably there are some sort of quantum effects, and wouldn't this mean again that information from one step previous wasn't enough.

I don't know, but just some thoughts.

Comment author: harshhpareek 03 August 2012 07:49:52PM *  0 points [-]

(Assuming Mind=Brain, i.e. the entire mind is just the physical brain and no "soul" is involved. Also, Neurons aren't really all that small, they're quite macroscopic -- though the processes in the neurons like chemical interactions need quantum mechanics for their description)

In Newtonian Mechanics, it is sufficient to know the positions and velocities (i.e. derivaties of position) of particles to determine future states. So, the world is Markov given this informatio.

In Schrodinger's equation, you again only need to know \Psi and it's time derivative to know all future states. I think the quantum properties of the brain are adequately described just with Schodinger's equation. You do need to include nuclear forces etc in a description of the brain. You may need quantum electrodynamics, but I think Schrodinger's equation is sufficient.

My physics education stopped before I got here, but Dirac's equation which may be necessary to model the brain seems to require the second time-derivative of the wavefunction -- so you may need the second order time-derivatives to make the model Markov. Can someone who knows a bit more quantum physics chime in here?

EDIT: Reading the wiki article more carefully, it seems Dirac's equation is also first order

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