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

Comment author: [deleted] 01 July 2016 05:40:36PM 1 point [-]
In response to comment by [deleted] on Rationality Quotes July 2016
Comment author: soreff 09 July 2016 09:39:45PM 0 points [-]

How about "You're so cute when you're angry."?

Comment author: WalterL 09 February 2016 06:33:55AM 2 points [-]

Investment dude is just working so he can buy booze, yeah? If booze in this metaphor is pleasure anyway. He's saved up a bunch of stuff, but its not like he gets bonus points when he croaks for how much is in his bank account. Ultimately, the most efficient life only does as much of what you have to as necessary to do what you want to, yeah? Anything beyond that is a fail.

Comment author: soreff 21 February 2016 04:07:24AM 0 points [-]

"its not like he gets bonus points when he croaks for how much is in his bank account." is a valuable quote in its own right

Comment author: gwern 01 May 2010 12:34:58AM *  2 points [-]

"Cattle die, kinsmen die;
one day, you die too
but words of praise willn't perish
when a man wins fair fame."

--Sayings of the High One

Comment author: soreff 07 October 2015 04:16:56AM *  1 point [-]

Venerating a corpse does it no good, and vilifying it does it no harm.

(I suppose I should add a qualifier - I mean either a non-cryonically suspended legal corpse, or an information-theoretically-dead corpse. That covers the case if one were to extend "venerate" to include include maintaining-in-cryonic-suspension)

Comment author: Jiro 01 October 2015 04:03:57PM 0 points [-]

That would imply that a bacterium engaging in things that feel pleasant to it. After all, like me, it tries to avoid things that cause it harm and tries to do things that benefit it.

It would also imply that a Roomba is engaging in things that feel pleasant to it.

Comment author: soreff 02 October 2015 03:49:04AM 1 point [-]

obligatory xkcd response:

http://xkcd.com/1558/

In response to Zombies: The Movie
Comment author: soreff 24 August 2015 12:44:04AM 0 points [-]

Would David Chambers have written "A P-zombie in Carcosa"?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 04 August 2015 12:24:26PM 1 point [-]

On the other hand, a world where everyone took a burn-the-heretics interpretation of Christianity or Islam 100% seriously would certainly have some advantages over ours, and especially over our middle ages- things like no un-sanctioned killing, most notably, no wars against others of the same religion, etc. Probably lots of things that would be decent ideas if you could get everyone to follow them, at the cost of an occasional burnt heretic (and possibly constant holy wars, until one religion gains the upper hand and overwhelms the others).

Sounds like the history of Europe and the Islamic world. Except that no-one ever did get the upper hand, neither for Christianity vs. Islam, nor the splits within those faiths.

Anyone want to go back to the time of the Crusades?

Probably lots of things that would be decent ideas if you could get everyone to follow them

If the only thing in favour of an idea is how wonderful the world would be if everyone followed it, it's a bad idea.

Comment author: soreff 05 August 2015 04:04:47AM 0 points [-]

If the only thing in favour of an idea is how wonderful the world would be if everyone followed it, it's a bad idea.

Almost entirely agreed. The one class of exceptions are cases where a single standard avoids some severe problem with a mix. "Elbonia will switch from driving on the left to driving on the right. The change will be made gradually."

Comment author: hairyfigment 02 July 2015 10:22:33PM 0 points [-]

“It is impossible to say whether 2 million distracted pedestrians are really injured each year. But I think it is safe to say that the numbers we have are much lower than what is really happening,” Nasar said.

More importantly, I'm disputing that it makes sense to judge by the numbers today.

Comment author: soreff 06 July 2015 04:05:51AM 0 points [-]

More importantly, I'm disputing that it makes sense to judge by the numbers today.

It certainly isn't a perfect measure - but it seems like a decent one. I'd suggest correcting for some measure of how common the technology is. If there was something that only 10% of people have, but those 10% are getting killed at the same fraction per year as automobile drivers, I'd think it is still notable, though it wouldn't precisely meet gwern's criteria. If there were a technology which much less than 10% of the population has, then I'd be skeptical that it was unrestricted, at least in practice.

Frankly, there aren't very many technologies added over that period (besides the various flavors of electronic computation/communications/entertainment) that have that been so widely available. Microwave ovens - and I don't see many accidents from them. Perhaps home power tools? Forbes cites 37,000 emergency room visits per year from power nailers. They count another 37,000 from riding lawnmowers, but less than 100 killed.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 03 May 2015 04:51:35PM 15 points [-]

A prima facie argument in favour of the efficacy of prayer is […] to be drawn from the very general use of it. The greater part of mankind, during all the historic ages, has been accustomed to pray for temporal advantages. How vain, it may be urged, must be the reasoning that ventures to oppose this mighty consensus of belief! Not so. The argument of universality either proves too much, or else it is suicidal. It either compels us to admit that the prayers of Pagans, of Fetish worshippers and of Buddhists who turn praying wheels, are recompensed in the same way as those of orthodox believers; or else the general consensus proves that it has no better foundation than the universal tendency of man to gross credulity.

Francis Galton, ‘Statistical Inquiries into the Efficacy of Prayer’, Fortnightly Review, vol. 12, no. 68 (August, 1872), pp. 125–135

Comment author: soreff 03 May 2015 09:33:54PM 6 points [-]

Though if we take "efficacy" to the include the social effects (say, persuading one's co-religionists to assist after a loss that prompted the prayer), the universality looks quite plausible... Perhaps in the environment of evolutionary adaptation, hunter-gatherer bands were small enough that all prayer was effectively public, and this always applied, while private prayer might be a recent maladaptive generalization?

In response to comment by Lumifer on Selling Nonapples
Comment author: dxu 31 March 2015 12:34:42AM *  0 points [-]

No, but I did happen to read the citations in the back of the book. (Unfortunately, I borrowed the book from the library, so if you want me to post said citations, you'll have to wait until this Thursday.)

It's not that great of a book, on the whole (from what I remember of it, the author spends some time talking about Scientology), but the information about psychopathy, at least, mostly appears accurate.

In response to comment by dxu on Selling Nonapples
Comment author: soreff 31 March 2015 04:30:20AM 2 points [-]

Here's another link, which points to quite a body of research: http://bud-meyers.blogspot.com/2012/03/study-10-on-wall-street-are-psychopaths.html

Comment author: Jiro 28 March 2015 08:32:27AM *  2 points [-]

A question for comparison: would you rather have a 1/Googolplex chance of being tortured for 50 years, or lose 1 cent?

Whenever I drive, I have a greater than a 1/googlolplex chance of getting into an accident which would leave me suffering for 50 years, and I still drive. I'm not sure how to measure the benefit I get from driving, but there are at least some cases where it's pretty small, even if it's not exactly a cent.

In response to comment by Jiro on Circular Altruism
Comment author: soreff 28 March 2015 04:45:57PM *  2 points [-]

Whenever one bends down to pick up a dropped penny, one has more than a 1/Googolplex chance of a slip-and-fall accident which would leave one suffering for 50 years.

View more: Next