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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 7

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2015-08-08 14:54:36 (7 comments, 25 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

Generic space opera verse map.

Most reshares: 25

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2015-08-08 14:54:36 (7 comments, 25 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

Generic space opera verse map.

Most plusones: 33

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2015-08-08 14:54:36 (7 comments, 25 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

Generic space opera verse map.

Latest 50 posts

2015-08-21 18:53:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

“People were always talking about how mean this guy was who lived on our block. But I decided to go see for myself. I went to his door, but he said he wasn’t the mean guy, the mean guy lived in that house over there. ‘No, you stupid idiot,’ I said, ‘ that’s my house.’” -- Jack Handey

“People were always talking about how mean this guy was who lived on our block. But I decided to go see for myself. I went to his door, but he said he wasn’t the mean guy, the mean guy lived in that house over there. ‘No, you stupid idiot,’ I said, ‘ that’s my house.’” -- Jack Handey___

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2015-08-19 17:37:26 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Some studies claim that parenthood makes you happier, others that it hurts your happiness. The truth is... that it's complicated. It depends on:

* CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PARENT: "...middle-aged and older parents tend to be as happy or happier than their childless peers, while parents younger than 25 seem to experience less happiness [...] Fatherhood is consistently associated with more benefits to well-being, though the results for motherhood have been mixed. [...] The authors emphasize that more research is needed in order to draw strong conclusions about the relationship between parenting style and parental happiness. So far, the results are mixed [...] parents who do not feel secure in relationships seem to be more susceptible to declines in their relationship with their spouse during the transition to parenthood. Though more research is also needed here, the researchers suggest that... more »

Some studies claim that parenthood makes you happier, others that it hurts your happiness. The truth is... that it's complicated. It depends on:

* CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PARENT: "...middle-aged and older parents tend to be as happy or happier than their childless peers, while parents younger than 25 seem to experience less happiness [...] Fatherhood is consistently associated with more benefits to well-being, though the results for motherhood have been mixed. [...] The authors emphasize that more research is needed in order to draw strong conclusions about the relationship between parenting style and parental happiness. So far, the results are mixed [...] parents who do not feel secure in relationships seem to be more susceptible to declines in their relationship with their spouse during the transition to parenthood. Though more research is also needed here, the researchers suggest that this marital decline could, in turn, lead to less happiness in parenthood."

* CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHILD: "Not surprisingly, parents seem to experience lower well-being when they have a child with a difficult or sensitive temperament [...] Some evidence suggests that parents of young children are less happy than parents of older children. [...] Consistent with that finding, studies have found that parents of young children (up to age seven) report spending more time on housework and feel less able than non-parents to complete tasks and meet their goals. [...] However, the research paints a different picture for parents once their kids grow up, particularly when they have positive relationships with those kids."

* FAMILY SITUATION AND CONTEXT: "Overall, parents with greater sources of social support tend to experience greater well-being. The importance of being employed is less clear-cut [...] Interestingly, studies also suggest that people of higher socioeconomic status benefit less from being parents because they often have goals of personal achievement that conflict with the time burdens of parenthood. [...] Married parents also tend to experience greater well-being than single parents [...] Parents who do not have custody of their children also tend to experience lower well-being than parents who have custody. [...] Finally, some studies suggest that biological parents tend to be as happy or happier than adoptive or stepparents, while studies also suggest that adoptive and stepparents are happier during the transition to parenthood."___

2015-08-19 15:55:00 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

In this post, Rob Bensinger​ of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​ (MIRI), a research group devoted to the problem of safe AI, explains why someone concerned with AI safety in general might want to donate to MIRI in particular. Specifically, he answers the questions of:

* How can non-specialists assess MIRI’s research agenda and general competence?
* What kinds of accomplishments can we use as measures of MIRI’s past and future success?
* And lastly: If a lot of people take this cause seriously now, why is there still a funding gap?

[If you want to support them, MIRI's summer fundraiser is still going on: https://intelligence.org/donate/ ]

In this post, Rob Bensinger​ of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​ (MIRI), a research group devoted to the problem of safe AI, explains why someone concerned with AI safety in general might want to donate to MIRI in particular. Specifically, he answers the questions of:

* How can non-specialists assess MIRI’s research agenda and general competence?
* What kinds of accomplishments can we use as measures of MIRI’s past and future success?
* And lastly: If a lot of people take this cause seriously now, why is there still a funding gap?

[If you want to support them, MIRI's summer fundraiser is still going on: https://intelligence.org/donate/ ]___

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2015-08-19 15:38:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

The obesity epidemic: it's not just humans. A number of different animals show weight gain over the several past decades, including laboratory animals with carefully controlled diets. One of the many pieces of evidence suggesting that the common-sense story of "people are getting obese because they get less exercise and eat more" is incorrect.

> Surprisingly, we find that over the past several decades, average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. The consistency of these findings among animals living in varying environments, suggests the intriguing possibility that the aetiology of increasing body weight may involve several as-of-yet unidentified and/or poorly understood factors (e.g. viral pathogens, epigenetic factors). [...]

> Our findings reveal that... more »

___The obesity epidemic: it's not just humans. A number of different animals show weight gain over the several past decades, including laboratory animals with carefully controlled diets. One of the many pieces of evidence suggesting that the common-sense story of "people are getting obese because they get less exercise and eat more" is incorrect.

> Surprisingly, we find that over the past several decades, average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. The consistency of these findings among animals living in varying environments, suggests the intriguing possibility that the aetiology of increasing body weight may involve several as-of-yet unidentified and/or poorly understood factors (e.g. viral pathogens, epigenetic factors). [...]

> Our findings reveal that large and sustained population increases in body weights can occur in mammalian populations, just as they have occurred among human populations, even in the absence of those factors that are typically conceived of as the primary determinants of the human obesity epidemic via their influence on diet (e.g. access to vending machines) and physical activity (e.g. less physical education classes in schools). Though results were not statistically significant in every population (11 out of 24 are statistically significant for per cent increase in weight per decade, and 7 out of 24 are statistically significant for odds of obesity), viewed as an ensemble, the fact that nearly all independent time-trend coefficients were in the positive direction for both weight gain and for the odds of obesity, is overwhelmingly statistically significant. [...]

> There are multiple conceivable explanations for these observations. Feral rats could be increasing in weight because of selective predation on smaller animals [22,23] or because just as human real wealth and food consumption have increased in the United States, rats which presumably largely feed on our refuse, may also be essentially richer. But these factors cannot account for the findings in the laboratory animals that are on highly controlled diets, which have varied minimally over the last several decades. These animals are typically fed ad libitum, so if weight increases are attributable to increases in food consumption (which is possible), it is difficult to understand why animals in controlled environments on diets of constant composition are consuming more food today than in past decades. By contrast, one could hypothesize that better veterinary or husbandry care in laboratory and companion animals and better medical care in humans could be contributing to population level increases in body weight, but this cannot explain weight increases in feral rats. Our finding of greater weight gain among laboratory animals could also be explained by changes in animal husbandry standards, such as those imposed by the Animal Welfare Act, over the past 30 years. Though it is certainly not necessary that there be a single explanation for all of these population level increases nor even a single explanation for each individual population, it is intriguing to consider whether there are any factors that could conceivably account for weight increases in all of these populations.

> One set of putative contributors to the human obesity epidemic is the collection of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (endocrine-disruptors), widely present in the environment [24]. Another conceivable explanation is obesity of infectious origin. Infection with adenovirus-36 (AD36) leads to obesity in multiple experimental models [7,25] and antibodies to AD36 are correlated with obesity in humans [26]. These observations suggest that AD36 and conceivably other infectious agents could be contributing to obesity within populations. Other explanations may include epigenetic-mediated programming of growth and energy-allocation patterns owing to any number of environmental cues such as stressors, resource availability, release from predation or climate change [27–31].

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2015-08-19 15:30:23 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

> In this freshman calculus-based physics course, students worked through weekly experiments in lab sections as most physics students do. But the researchers tried a little something different a couple years ago when a fresh class of 130 students came in. In their early lab sections, the students were guided through comparisons between multiple experimental datasets and between experimental datasets and mathematical models.

> By applying some statistics they were gradually learning, they grappled with why their comparisons came out the way they did. Rather than simply chalking up mismatches to “we’re just students, and our measurements probably aren’t perfect," as students often do, they considered modifying their experiments. How could they reduce their error bars? Were the data telling them the mathematical model was incorrect?

> The idea was to foster the kind ofthink... more »

> In this freshman calculus-based physics course, students worked through weekly experiments in lab sections as most physics students do. But the researchers tried a little something different a couple years ago when a fresh class of 130 students came in. In their early lab sections, the students were guided through comparisons between multiple experimental datasets and between experimental datasets and mathematical models.

> By applying some statistics they were gradually learning, they grappled with why their comparisons came out the way they did. Rather than simply chalking up mismatches to “we’re just students, and our measurements probably aren’t perfect," as students often do, they considered modifying their experiments. How could they reduce their error bars? Were the data telling them the mathematical model was incorrect?

> The idea was to foster the kind of thinking scientists use. With practice, the students should start to get an appreciation for interpreting real-world data and sometimes be confident enough to challenge models when they have high-quality data that demands it. [...]

> The improvement was significant, with the experimental class 12 times as likely to modify their experiment and four times as likely to challenge an incorrect model in their final activity. [...] Interestingly, the researchers tracked the same students into the sophomore physics course that a third of the freshmen had advanced into. Even there, they still saw improvements, despite the fact that none of the critical thinking instructions were repeated in that course.___

2015-08-19 14:03:40 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

> Scientists at The Ohio State University have developed a nearly complete human brain in a dish that equals the brain maturity of a five-week-old fetus.

> The brain organoid, engineered from adult human skin cells, is the most complete human brain model yet developed, said Rene Anand, professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State.

> The lab-grown brain, about the size of a pencil eraser, has an identifiable structure and contains 99 percent of the genes present in the human fetal brain. Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders.

Also, Julian Savulescu on the ethical implications of this:... more »

> Scientists at The Ohio State University have developed a nearly complete human brain in a dish that equals the brain maturity of a five-week-old fetus.

> The brain organoid, engineered from adult human skin cells, is the most complete human brain model yet developed, said Rene Anand, professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State.

> The lab-grown brain, about the size of a pencil eraser, has an identifiable structure and contains 99 percent of the genes present in the human fetal brain. Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders.

Also, Julian Savulescu on the ethical implications of this: http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2015/08/brain-in-a-vat-5-challenges-for-the-in-vitro-brain/___

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2015-08-18 15:20:07 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

PCA on dresses! I guess this could be called "fashion geekery". :D Interestingly, this could be used to come up with a system to recommend new dresses to you based on your actual taste, not just the normal "other customers who bought dresses like X also bought dresses like Y".

PCA on dresses! I guess this could be called "fashion geekery". :D Interestingly, this could be used to come up with a system to recommend new dresses to you based on your actual taste, not just the normal "other customers who bought dresses like X also bought dresses like Y".___

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2015-08-18 15:15:45 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> I have been out as an agender, or genderless, person for about a year now. To me, this simply means having the freedom to exist as a person without being confined by the limits of the western gender binary. I wear what I want to wear, and do what I want to do, because it is absurd to limit myself to certain activities, behaviours or expressions based on gender. People don’t know what to make of me when they see me, because they feel my features contradict one another. They see no room for the curve of my hips to coexist with my facial hair; they desperately want me to be someone they can easily categorise. My existence causes people to question everything they have been taught about gender, which in turn inspires them to question what they know about themselves, and that scares them. Strangers are often desperate to figure out what genitalia I have, in the hope that my body holds the key to someg... more »

> I have been out as an agender, or genderless, person for about a year now. To me, this simply means having the freedom to exist as a person without being confined by the limits of the western gender binary. I wear what I want to wear, and do what I want to do, because it is absurd to limit myself to certain activities, behaviours or expressions based on gender. People don’t know what to make of me when they see me, because they feel my features contradict one another. They see no room for the curve of my hips to coexist with my facial hair; they desperately want me to be someone they can easily categorise. My existence causes people to question everything they have been taught about gender, which in turn inspires them to question what they know about themselves, and that scares them. Strangers are often desperate to figure out what genitalia I have, in the hope that my body holds the key to some great secret and unavoidable truth about myself and my gender. It doesn’t.___

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2015-08-18 14:58:30 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Several entire massacred villages have been found of the people who brought agriculture to Europe circa 5000 BC.

> "It's about finding patterns. One mass grave was spectacular, but it was just a single grave. But when several such sites are found from the same period, then a pattern emerges," said Meyer.

> In their article, the authors suggested that "the new evidence ... in conjunction with previous results, indicates that massacres of entire communities were not isolated occurrences but rather were frequent features of the last phases of the LBK."

> Chris Scarre, an archaeologist at the University of Durham, England, who wasn't involved in the study, said its conclusions seemed well supported by the evidence.

> "What is particularly interesting is the level of violence. Not just the suppression of a rival community... more »

Several entire massacred villages have been found of the people who brought agriculture to Europe circa 5000 BC.

> "It's about finding patterns. One mass grave was spectacular, but it was just a single grave. But when several such sites are found from the same period, then a pattern emerges," said Meyer.

> In their article, the authors suggested that "the new evidence ... in conjunction with previous results, indicates that massacres of entire communities were not isolated occurrences but rather were frequent features of the last phases of the LBK."

> Chris Scarre, an archaeologist at the University of Durham, England, who wasn't involved in the study, said its conclusions seemed well supported by the evidence.

> "What is particularly interesting is the level of violence. Not just the suppression of a rival community — if that is what it was — but the egregious and systematic breaking of the lower legs," said Scarre. "It suggests the use of terror tactics as part of this inter-community violence."___

2015-08-18 14:47:39 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Antidepressants are awesome. (At least they were for me.)

It's now been about a year since I started on SSRIs. Since my prescription is about to run out, I scheduled a meeting with a psychiatrist to discuss whether to stay on them. Since my health care provider has changed, I went to my previous one and got a copy of my patient records to bring to the new one.

And wow. It's kinda shocking to read them: my previous psychiatrist has written down things like: "Patient reports moments of despair and anguish of whether anything is going to lead to anything useful, and is worried for how long this will last. Recently there have been good days as well, but isn't sure whether those will keep up."

And the psychologist I spoke with has written down: "At times has very negative views of the future, afraid that will never reach his goals."

And... more »

Antidepressants are awesome. (At least they were for me.)

It's now been about a year since I started on SSRIs. Since my prescription is about to run out, I scheduled a meeting with a psychiatrist to discuss whether to stay on them. Since my health care provider has changed, I went to my previous one and got a copy of my patient records to bring to the new one.

And wow. It's kinda shocking to read them: my previous psychiatrist has written down things like: "Patient reports moments of despair and anguish of whether anything is going to lead to anything useful, and is worried for how long this will last. Recently there have been good days as well, but isn't sure whether those will keep up."

And the psychologist I spoke with has written down: "At times has very negative views of the future, afraid that will never reach his goals."

And the thing is, reading that, I remember saying those things. I remember having those feelings of despair, of nothing ever working out. But I only remember them now, when I read through the records. I had mostly forgotten that I even did have those feelings.

When I dig my memory, I can find other such things. A friend commenting to me that, based on her observations, I seem to be roughly functional maybe about half the time. Me posting on social media that I have a constant anxiety, a need to escape, being unable to really even enjoy any free time I have. A feeling that taking even a major risk for the sake of feeling better would be okay, because I didn't really have all that much to lose. Having regular Skype sessions with another friend, and feeling bad because he seemed to be getting a lot of things done, and my days just seemed to pass by without me managing to make much progress on anything. Having regular Skype sessions with another friend, and feeling bad because he seemed to be getting a lot of things done, and my days just seemed to pass by without me managing to make much progress on anything.

All of that had developed so gradually and over the years that it had never really even occurred to me that it wasn't normal. And then, after I got the antidepressants, those helped me get back on my feet, and then things gradually improved until I no longer even remembered the depths of what I had thought was normal, a year back.

Change blindness. It's a thing.___

2015-08-18 04:23:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

[What sets the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​ apart from other people working on AI safety issues? One difference is that they're working on a different sort of problem than e.g. most academics, who focus more on short- and medium-term questions:]

> In MIRI’s Approach I spoke of two different classes of computer science problem. Class 1 problems involve figuring out how to do, in practice and with reasonable amounts of computing power, things which we know how to do in principle. Class 2 problems involve figuring out how to do in principle things that we can’t even do in principle yet.

> Our current approach to alignment research is to try to move problems from Class 2 to Class 1. This kind of research has been pursued successfully in other areas in the past, and in the context of AI alignment I believe that it deserves significantly more attention than it isrecei... more »

[What sets the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​ apart from other people working on AI safety issues? One difference is that they're working on a different sort of problem than e.g. most academics, who focus more on short- and medium-term questions:]

> In MIRI’s Approach I spoke of two different classes of computer science problem. Class 1 problems involve figuring out how to do, in practice and with reasonable amounts of computing power, things which we know how to do in principle. Class 2 problems involve figuring out how to do in principle things that we can’t even do in principle yet.

> Our current approach to alignment research is to try to move problems from Class 2 to Class 1. This kind of research has been pursued successfully in other areas in the past, and in the context of AI alignment I believe that it deserves significantly more attention than it is receiving.

> Industry is traditionally best suited for the first problem class. Academia, too, also often focuses on the first class of problems instead of the second class — especially in the field of AI, for reasons related to point 1. It is common for academics to take some formalization of something like probability theory and then explore and extend the framework, figuring out where it applies and developing practical approximations of intractable algorithms and so on. It’s much rarer for academics to create theoretical foundations for problems that cannot yet be solved even in principle, and this tends to happen only when someone is searching for new theoretical foundations on purpose. For reasons discussed above, most academics aren’t attempting this sort of research yet when it comes to AI alignment.

> This is what MIRI brings to the table: a laser focus on the relevant technical challenges.

[If you want to support them, MIRI's summer fundraiser is still going on: https://intelligence.org/donate/ ]___

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2015-08-18 02:40:14 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> They say only Good can create, whereas Evil is sterile. Think Tolkien, where Morgoth can’t make things himself, so perverts Elves to Orcs for his armies. But I think this gets it entirely backwards; it’s Good that just mutates and twists, and it’s Evil that teems with fecundity.

> Imagine two principles, here in poetic personification. The first is the Goddess of Cancer, the second the Goddess of Everything Else. If visual representations would help, you can think of the first with the claws of a crab, and the second a dress made of feathers of peacocks.

> The Goddess of Cancer reached out a clawed hand over mudflats and tidepools. She said pretty much what she always says, “KILL CONSUME MULTIPLY CONQUER.” Then everything burst into life, became miniature monsters engaged in a battle of all against all in their zeal to assuage their insatiable longings. And theswamps be... more »

> They say only Good can create, whereas Evil is sterile. Think Tolkien, where Morgoth can’t make things himself, so perverts Elves to Orcs for his armies. But I think this gets it entirely backwards; it’s Good that just mutates and twists, and it’s Evil that teems with fecundity.

> Imagine two principles, here in poetic personification. The first is the Goddess of Cancer, the second the Goddess of Everything Else. If visual representations would help, you can think of the first with the claws of a crab, and the second a dress made of feathers of peacocks.

> The Goddess of Cancer reached out a clawed hand over mudflats and tidepools. She said pretty much what she always says, “KILL CONSUME MULTIPLY CONQUER.” Then everything burst into life, became miniature monsters engaged in a battle of all against all in their zeal to assuage their insatiable longings. And the swamps became orgies of hunger and fear and grew loud with the screams of a trillion amoebas...___

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2015-08-14 19:14:09 (4 comments, 3 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

> The Flock might be the first video game with built-in obsolescence.

> The first-person, multiplayer thriller takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of the year 3000, one where players compete for a mysterious object known as the "light artifact." As you battle you can, like in most games, die. But each death brings The Flock closer to its ultimate conclusion. Dutch studio Vogelsap has set a counter, and once the in-game death toll reaches 215,358,979, new players won’t be able to purchase the game, and the story for those who are playing will move into the final phase.

> The Flock might be the first video game with built-in obsolescence.

> The first-person, multiplayer thriller takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of the year 3000, one where players compete for a mysterious object known as the "light artifact." As you battle you can, like in most games, die. But each death brings The Flock closer to its ultimate conclusion. Dutch studio Vogelsap has set a counter, and once the in-game death toll reaches 215,358,979, new players won’t be able to purchase the game, and the story for those who are playing will move into the final phase.___

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2015-08-14 18:47:24 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Guesses for the top ten most harmful careers:

1. Marketing and R&D for compulsive behaviours such as smoking, alcoholism, gambling, and payday loans (and maybe computer games)
2. Factory farming
3. Homeopathy and other fraudulent medical technology
4. Patent trolls
5. Lobbying for rent-seeking businesses or industries
6. Weapons research
7. Borderline fraudulent lending or otherwise making a financial firm highly risky
8. Fundraising for a charity that achieves nothing, or does harm
9. Forest clearing
10. Tax minimisation for the rich 

Guesses for the top ten most harmful careers:

1. Marketing and R&D for compulsive behaviours such as smoking, alcoholism, gambling, and payday loans (and maybe computer games)
2. Factory farming
3. Homeopathy and other fraudulent medical technology
4. Patent trolls
5. Lobbying for rent-seeking businesses or industries
6. Weapons research
7. Borderline fraudulent lending or otherwise making a financial firm highly risky
8. Fundraising for a charity that achieves nothing, or does harm
9. Forest clearing
10. Tax minimisation for the rich ___

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2015-08-13 05:44:18 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

> In a study published Thursday, Facebook said it had combed through posts and comments during the last week of May 2015 and found that 15 percent of people included laughter at least once in their posts and comments that week. It also analyzed the types of laughter used by people across demographics and noticed some big differences among the laughter-associated words people prefer. One of the big takeaways here: The lol is sooooooo over.

> Each laughter word stem includes a wide range of laughter types, the study noted. Hahas, for example, include "the polite haha to a deranged hahahahahahaha."

> In a study published Thursday, Facebook said it had combed through posts and comments during the last week of May 2015 and found that 15 percent of people included laughter at least once in their posts and comments that week. It also analyzed the types of laughter used by people across demographics and noticed some big differences among the laughter-associated words people prefer. One of the big takeaways here: The lol is sooooooo over.

> Each laughter word stem includes a wide range of laughter types, the study noted. Hahas, for example, include "the polite haha to a deranged hahahahahahaha."___

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2015-08-12 16:05:04 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

"What are you doing?" Steven asked Barbie. #oraclegate

"What are you doing?" Steven asked Barbie. #oraclegate___

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2015-08-12 16:04:46 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Good to see that the traditional Finnish style of computer game design still isn't dead. :D

Good to see that the traditional Finnish style of computer game design still isn't dead. :D___

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2015-08-11 17:29:30 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Amnesty International votes to "develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work."

> The research and consultation carried out in the development of this policy in the past two years concluded that this was the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights and lessen the risk of abuse and violations they face. 

> The violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from health care and housing services and other social and legal protection. 

> The policy has drawn from an extensive evidence base from sources including UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UN Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on theRig... more »

Amnesty International votes to "develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work."

> The research and consultation carried out in the development of this policy in the past two years concluded that this was the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights and lessen the risk of abuse and violations they face. 

> The violations that sex workers can be exposed to include physical and sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, extortion and harassment, human trafficking, forced HIV testing and medical interventions. They can also be excluded from health care and housing services and other social and legal protection. 

> The policy has drawn from an extensive evidence base from sources including UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UN Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. We have also conducted research in four countries. 
> The consultation included sex worker groups, groups representing survivors of prostitution, abolitionist organizations, feminist and other women's rights representatives, LGBTI activists, anti- trafficking agencies and HIV/AIDS organizations. ___

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2015-08-11 13:44:22 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

The answer is about Dungeon World in particular, but it also applies to any other Move Engine games (Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, etc.), and is a great summary of why those systems are awesome: because rolls always lead to interesting consequences.

> There is no such thing as optimisation

> You can't optimise a Dungeon World character. You can do things that look like optimising to a D&D veteran, but it doesn't actually do what you think it does. In particular, making sure you win certain rolls (e.g., ones with +CHA) as often as possible isn't actually an optimisation. Because of the way the GM's rules work behind the scenes, all that does is change what your options are after the roll. It doesn't make you succeed at adventures better, it just allows you access to different situations than otherwise. Succeeding on a certain kind of roll... more »

The answer is about Dungeon World in particular, but it also applies to any other Move Engine games (Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, etc.), and is a great summary of why those systems are awesome: because rolls always lead to interesting consequences.

> There is no such thing as optimisation

> You can't optimise a Dungeon World character. You can do things that look like optimising to a D&D veteran, but it doesn't actually do what you think it does. In particular, making sure you win certain rolls (e.g., ones with +CHA) as often as possible isn't actually an optimisation. Because of the way the GM's rules work behind the scenes, all that does is change what your options are after the roll. It doesn't make you succeed at adventures better, it just allows you access to different situations than otherwise. Succeeding on a certain kind of roll more often just changes the kinds of adventures you have, because one bedrock rule of Dungeon World is that there will always be something adventurous happening, and neither failure nor success eliminates that. They just determine what kind of adventure you'll have.

> That probably seems nonsense, so a pair of examples is in order.

> Convincing the Goblin, example 1:

> > You're exploring the Forbidden Dungeon and meet a goblin. You have terrible Charisma, but try to Parley anyway.

> > Player: I Parley! I want him to join us.
> > GM: Cool, okay. What do you actually say?
> > Player: Oh right. Okay, so we've just stepped into the room? Right then, before the goblin freaks out at us invading, I raise my hands and take a step forward. I tell him we're hiring and we'd like to pay him shiny gold to be our guide.
> > GM: Okay, that does sound like a Parley, using the pay as the leverage. Cool. Roll +CHA.
> > Player: A seven! Yes... wait, no, my CHA is −1, so that's a six. Parley doesn't say anything about less than a seven, so does nothing happen?
> > GM: No, I get to tell you what happens. (Here the GM consults their move sheet and picks one. In this case, they picked Reveal an Unwelcome Truth.) So, you're offering the goblin pay and you see that it's not even paying attention. Actually, it's kind of staring at something behind you, just before turning and running in fear. Ranger, you're in the back, right? So just as the goblin turns and flees you hear heavy breathing of something big behind you — What do you do?

> The adventure here has taken a turn, and for the next little bit will be about dealing with the big monster that can somehow sneak up on the party. That's interesting! (Maybe it can be talked to too?)

> Convincing the Goblin, example 2:

> > You're exploring the Forbidden Dungeon and meet a goblin. You have awesome Charisma, and try to Parley with the goblin.

> > Player: Before the goblin freaks out at us invading, I raise my hands and take a step forward. I tell him we're hiring and we'd like to pay him shiny gold to be our guide.
> > GM: Okay, that sound like a Parley, using the pay as the leverage. Cool. Roll +CHA.
> > Player: A seven. Wait, no, my CHA is +2, so that's a nine. Still a partial hit. Parley says I have to “give concrete assurance of my promise right now,” right? Okay, then I say—
> > GM: Hold up, we need to make the move's result happen in the game world, first, so you know what kind of reluctance you're dealing with. So yeah, the goblin gets this glint in his eye and leans forward, obviously hooked a bit. “Gold? Gold is good, but lightbringers might just kill Gribnak and take his gold back. Show Gribnak you trust his guiding first then Gribnak trust you. Go back to statue and open door with blood orcs symbol, bring blood orc head back. Then Gribnak guide you, and we kill the blood orcs together!”
> > Player: Really? He just wants us to kill some orcs we were going to kill anyway?
> > Ranger: Wait, what if it's a trap?
> > GM: Hold on, remember the move. Parley on a nine says you have to give concrete assurance of your promise, but if you do, “they do what you ask.” Let me ground that in the game world again, okay? Alright, *ahem*… This goblin apparently named Gribnak is agreeing to guide you for gold, but only if you prove you trust him by dealing with an enemy of his. You can tell from his body language he's telling the truth — he looks all earnest and like he really wants that gold, and is willing to welcome his new lightbringer overlords.
> > Player: Oh, okay then. So let's go get him that head.

> > (Some time later, after more adventures, the party obtains a blood orc head. Gribnak steps out of the shadows — he's been following them — and does a little dance. Then he swears a weird but serious-sounding oath to “lead them true for holy gold.”)

> The adventure here has taken two turns: for a bit it became about the blood orcs and dealing with them, and then it became about having a goblin as a henchman and all the shenanigans that could lead to. That's interesting!

> So you see, both failure and success lead to interestingness. Optimising away failure doesn't actually optimise for success, it just optimises for a completely different set of adventures — which will happen regardless, because it's a big game world where unpredictable things are going to happen anyway. The optimising therefore is not actually improving anything, just changing things. It's a totally legitimate choice to go for a maximal bonus to something (it's fun!), but if you think of it as “optimising” you'll be super-disappointed that it gets you no closer to having a “win” button. Dungeon World just does not have those.___

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2015-08-11 11:31:21 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: 

Inaccurate or misleading: A gene for, antidepressant medication, autism epidemic, brain region X lights up, brainwashing, bystander apathy, chemical imbalance, family genetic studies, genetically determined, God spot, gold standard, hard-wired, hypnotic trance, influence of gender (or social class, education, ethnicity, depression, extraversion, intelligence, etc.) on X, lie detector test, love molecule, multiple personality disorder, neural signature, no difference between groups, objective personality test, operational definition, p = 0.000, psychiatric control group, reliable and valid, statistically reliable, steep learning curve, the scientific method, truth serum, underlying biological dysfunction.

Frequently misused: Acting out, closure, denial, fetish, splitting.

Ambiguous: Comorbidity, interaction, medical model,... more »

Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: 

Inaccurate or misleading: A gene for, antidepressant medication, autism epidemic, brain region X lights up, brainwashing, bystander apathy, chemical imbalance, family genetic studies, genetically determined, God spot, gold standard, hard-wired, hypnotic trance, influence of gender (or social class, education, ethnicity, depression, extraversion, intelligence, etc.) on X, lie detector test, love molecule, multiple personality disorder, neural signature, no difference between groups, objective personality test, operational definition, p = 0.000, psychiatric control group, reliable and valid, statistically reliable, steep learning curve, the scientific method, truth serum, underlying biological dysfunction.

Frequently misused: Acting out, closure, denial, fetish, splitting.

Ambiguous: Comorbidity, interaction, medical model, reductionism.

Oxymorons: Hierarchical stepwise regression, mind-body therapies, observable symptom, personality type, prevalence of trait X, principal components factor analysis, scientific proof.

Pleonasms: Biological and environmental influences, empirical data, latent construct, mental telepathy, neurocognition.___

2015-08-11 11:27:01 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

So we ended up plotting a small role-play based on the generic space opera map I shared earlier. My character is a catgirl from the Catgirl Empire who keeps being confused and really worried about all the men and boys that she sees when travelling outside her home empire. "Wait, what are all those males doing on their own? They should be at home looking after children, and I don't see anyone looking out after them! What if they get hurt, poor things?"

So we ended up plotting a small role-play based on the generic space opera map I shared earlier. My character is a catgirl from the Catgirl Empire who keeps being confused and really worried about all the men and boys that she sees when travelling outside her home empire. "Wait, what are all those males doing on their own? They should be at home looking after children, and I don't see anyone looking out after them! What if they get hurt, poor things?"___

2015-08-11 08:28:30 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

The perils of using the Internet as someone who's not a native speaker of English: totally ordinary sentences in novels may end up shocking you:

"Atop the desk was nothing but a slate, a tumbler of water, and a single large pistol."

'A tumbler of water? Tumbler is a word? That means that the name of the website tumblr is based on a real word and not just something totally made-up?'

Mind blown.

The perils of using the Internet as someone who's not a native speaker of English: totally ordinary sentences in novels may end up shocking you:

"Atop the desk was nothing but a slate, a tumbler of water, and a single large pistol."

'A tumbler of water? Tumbler is a word? That means that the name of the website tumblr is based on a real word and not just something totally made-up?'

Mind blown.___

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2015-08-11 08:24:04 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

> I’m the kind of co-worker everyone hates; I’m the coworker that steals from the fridge.

> I know it’s rude and selfish, but everyone else’s things just taste so much better than my bag lunches...

> I’m the kind of co-worker everyone hates; I’m the coworker that steals from the fridge.

> I know it’s rude and selfish, but everyone else’s things just taste so much better than my bag lunches...___

2015-08-11 06:18:20 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

PSA: You don't need a physical Kindle device in order to read Kindle books.

Amazon has probably the broadest selection of ebooks available, but a number of people have mentioned to me that they don't buy ebooks from Amazon because they don't have a Kindle. You don't need one! Amazon has dedicated reader applications available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Samsung, BlackBerry, and WebOS. And if none of those work for you, there's also Amazon Cloud Reader, which allows you to access any work in your Kindle Library through your web browser.

Personally I actually do have a physical Kindle, but for a while when I had an iPad available through my former employer, I read Kindle books only through the iOS application because I preferred reading from the tablet.

Now if anyone still wants to boycott Amazon due to e.g. their monopolistic... more »

PSA: You don't need a physical Kindle device in order to read Kindle books.

Amazon has probably the broadest selection of ebooks available, but a number of people have mentioned to me that they don't buy ebooks from Amazon because they don't have a Kindle. You don't need one! Amazon has dedicated reader applications available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Samsung, BlackBerry, and WebOS. And if none of those work for you, there's also Amazon Cloud Reader, which allows you to access any work in your Kindle Library through your web browser.

Personally I actually do have a physical Kindle, but for a while when I had an iPad available through my former employer, I read Kindle books only through the iOS application because I preferred reading from the tablet.

Now if anyone still wants to boycott Amazon due to e.g. their monopolistic practices, I totally understand that, but not being able to read their ebook format shouldn't be a problem!___

2015-08-11 05:23:51 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Confessions of a spammer:

> I also learned how good Google is at banning developer accounts. A particularly low point for me was talking to a Google employee through a newly-generated VOIP phone number under an assumed name, trying to activate a new developer account with a pre-paid credit card and a made-up address several states away. Logging in and managing the developer account had to be done remotely through an Amazon EC2 instance, since our office’s IP address was perma-banned.

> It was around that time I started looking for a new job.

Confessions of a spammer:

> I also learned how good Google is at banning developer accounts. A particularly low point for me was talking to a Google employee through a newly-generated VOIP phone number under an assumed name, trying to activate a new developer account with a pre-paid credit card and a made-up address several states away. Logging in and managing the developer account had to be done remotely through an Amazon EC2 instance, since our office’s IP address was perma-banned.

> It was around that time I started looking for a new job.___

2015-08-10 19:02:21 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

I understand the rule that everything in a story should serve that story and everything else should be cut, but it's also annoying in that it sometimes makes things too predictable. 

Was reading something just now and went, wait, why would the story take this moment to describe this kind of a sidetrack? The author wouldn't spend any time on that now, unless... a disaster of type X is going to happen during this segment. And yes it did - while I didn't get the exact details right, I did catch the general drift of what was going to happen. Not based on any clues from the story itself, but rather because of subtle details in the dramatic structure of the novel.

It's a mild annoyance, but an annoyance regardless. Being able to predict things based on a structure that's entirely external to the story's internal logic makes it too obvious that what... more »

I understand the rule that everything in a story should serve that story and everything else should be cut, but it's also annoying in that it sometimes makes things too predictable. 

Was reading something just now and went, wait, why would the story take this moment to describe this kind of a sidetrack? The author wouldn't spend any time on that now, unless... a disaster of type X is going to happen during this segment. And yes it did - while I didn't get the exact details right, I did catch the general drift of what was going to happen. Not based on any clues from the story itself, but rather because of subtle details in the dramatic structure of the novel.

It's a mild annoyance, but an annoyance regardless. Being able to predict things based on a structure that's entirely external to the story's internal logic makes it too obvious that what I'm reading is just a story. (And a partial reason why the stories generated in good, character-driving role-playing campaigns feel more real than the stories in most novels - player characters do whatever the hell they want, regardless of where the narrative arc is at.)___

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2015-08-10 15:20:58 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

(At least) one lucky kid is going to have three dads and two moms. <3

(At least) one lucky kid is going to have three dads and two moms. <3___

2015-08-10 13:14:45 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

> Most people's "coulds" are broken.

> People think that they "could have" avoided anxiety at that one party. They think they "could have" stopped playing Civilization at a reasonable hour and gone to bed. They think they "could have" stopped watching House of Cards between episodes. I'm not making a point about the illusion of free will, here — I think there is a sense in which we "could" do certain things that we do not in fact do. Rather, my point is that most people have a miscalibrated idea of what they could or couldn't do.

> People berate themselves whenever their brain fails to be engraved with the cognitive patterns that they wish it was engraved with, as if they had complete dominion over their own thoughts, over the patterns laid down in their heads. As if they weren't a network of neurons. As ift... more »

> Most people's "coulds" are broken.

> People think that they "could have" avoided anxiety at that one party. They think they "could have" stopped playing Civilization at a reasonable hour and gone to bed. They think they "could have" stopped watching House of Cards between episodes. I'm not making a point about the illusion of free will, here — I think there is a sense in which we "could" do certain things that we do not in fact do. Rather, my point is that most people have a miscalibrated idea of what they could or couldn't do.

> People berate themselves whenever their brain fails to be engraved with the cognitive patterns that they wish it was engraved with, as if they had complete dominion over their own thoughts, over the patterns laid down in their heads. As if they weren't a network of neurons. As if they could choose their preferred choice in spite of their cognitive patterns, rather than recognizing that choice is a cognitive pattern. As if they were supposed to choose their mind, rather than being their mind. [...]

> Almost everybody is a total mess internally, as best as I can tell. Almost everybody struggles to act as they wish to act. Almost everybody is psychologically fragile, and can be put into situations where they do things that they regret — overeat, overspend, get angry, get scared, get anxious. We're monkeys, and we're fairly fragile monkeys at that.

> So you don't need to beat yourself up when you miss your targets. You don't need to berate yourself when you fail to act exactly as you wish to act. Acting as you wish doesn't happen for free, it only happens after tweaking the environment and training your brain. You're still a monkey!

> Don't berate the monkey. Help it, whenever you can. It wants the same things you want — it's you. Assist, don't badger. Figure out how to make it easy to act as you wish. Retrain the monkey. Experiment. Try things.

> And be kind to it. It's trying pretty hard. The monkey doesn't know exactly how to get what it wants yet, because it's embedded in a really big complicated world and it doesn't get to see most of it, and because a lot of what it does is due to a dozen different levels of subconscious cause-response patterns that it has very little control over. It's trying.___

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2015-08-09 16:27:37 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

[English summary: we discuss WOOP, a scientific strategy for finding and fulfilling your wishes, as explained in English at http://www.woopmylife.org/ ]

> Oletko miettinyt, auttaako tavoitteistasi unelmointi niiden saavuttamista? Näin väittää esimerkiksi Rhonda Byrne miljoonasuosion saaneessa kirjassaan Salaisuus.

> Ei kannata uskoa.

> New Yorkin yliopiston psykologian professori Gabriela Oettingen on tutkinut unelmointia vuosikymmeniä. Eräässä tutkimuksessa hän käski koehenkilöitä olemaan juomatta neljä tuntia ennen koetta. Lisäksi hän syötti heille itse koetilanteessa suolaisia ruokia. Tämän jälkeen heidät käskettiin kuvittelemaan ravintolatarjoilija tuomassa heille ihanan lasillisen jäävettä, jonka he pääsivät juomaan. Arkijärjellä luulisi, että tällainen mielikuva saisi hinkumaan vettä entistä enemmän.

> Toisinkävi. Kun koehenkilöiltä mitattii... more »

[English summary: we discuss WOOP, a scientific strategy for finding and fulfilling your wishes, as explained in English at http://www.woopmylife.org/ ]

> Oletko miettinyt, auttaako tavoitteistasi unelmointi niiden saavuttamista? Näin väittää esimerkiksi Rhonda Byrne miljoonasuosion saaneessa kirjassaan Salaisuus.

> Ei kannata uskoa.

> New Yorkin yliopiston psykologian professori Gabriela Oettingen on tutkinut unelmointia vuosikymmeniä. Eräässä tutkimuksessa hän käski koehenkilöitä olemaan juomatta neljä tuntia ennen koetta. Lisäksi hän syötti heille itse koetilanteessa suolaisia ruokia. Tämän jälkeen heidät käskettiin kuvittelemaan ravintolatarjoilija tuomassa heille ihanan lasillisen jäävettä, jonka he pääsivät juomaan. Arkijärjellä luulisi, että tällainen mielikuva saisi hinkumaan vettä entistä enemmän.

> Toisin kävi. Kun koehenkilöiltä mitattiin verenpaine, havaittiin, että heidän aktiivisuutensa oli laskenut. Unelmointi siis näytti vähentävän tahtoa rynnätä unelmoidun vesilasin ääreen.

Tämän viikonlopun Kehitystö-artikkelissa Touko kertoo siitä, millainen unelmointi saa meidät tutkimustiedon perusteella passivoitumaan, mutta myös siitä, millainen unelmointi saa meidät aidosti motivoitumaan ja tekemään asioita.___

2015-08-09 14:43:42 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"We're all born dying," someone had said. "What matters is how we spend the instant we're given."

"We're all born dying," someone had said. "What matters is how we spend the instant we're given."___

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2015-08-09 14:22:11 (1 comments, 4 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

Requiring studies to be pre-registered seems to have reduced the amount of positive outcomes from 57% to 8%.

> Taken at face value, however, it means that at least half of all published clinical trials are false positives, while only about 10% are true positive, and 40% are negative (both true and false negative). Also keep in mind – these were large studies, not small preliminary trials.

Requiring studies to be pre-registered seems to have reduced the amount of positive outcomes from 57% to 8%.

> Taken at face value, however, it means that at least half of all published clinical trials are false positives, while only about 10% are true positive, and 40% are negative (both true and false negative). Also keep in mind – these were large studies, not small preliminary trials.___

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2015-08-09 14:21:21 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> Anonymous asked: "dear unitofcaring. What is the unit of caring? QALY*person?"

> [Response:] It’s from a post of Eliezer’s called Money: The Unit of Caring. The post talks about how many people donate old food or old clothes to charities, when most charities, reluctant though they are to say it, would much rather have donations they can then use to buy the specific food and clothes that are needed.

> That post had a pretty significant impact on me. I’ve said before that I think class is by far the most neglected aspect of social justice advocacy. Having money insulates you from a lot of the shit society can throw at you (housing and job discrimination, violence, street harassment, medical bills) and gets you a lot of things that our society doesn’t make widely available to marginalized people (assistive technology, a safe home, legalassista... more »

> Anonymous asked: "dear unitofcaring. What is the unit of caring? QALY*person?"

> [Response:] It’s from a post of Eliezer’s called Money: The Unit of Caring. The post talks about how many people donate old food or old clothes to charities, when most charities, reluctant though they are to say it, would much rather have donations they can then use to buy the specific food and clothes that are needed.

> That post had a pretty significant impact on me. I’ve said before that I think class is by far the most neglected aspect of social justice advocacy. Having money insulates you from a lot of the shit society can throw at you (housing and job discrimination, violence, street harassment, medical bills) and gets you a lot of things that our society doesn’t make widely available to marginalized people (assistive technology, a safe home, legal assistance, hormones, birth control, access to abortion, etc).

> Money is good; money is useful. Money is the way to get the things you want, and giving other people money is a good way to empower them to get the things that make them happy. Some day, of course, I would like to change that, and make everything available to everyone regardless of their means (we might still use money, but in a very different manner). But in the world we live in, money has power. Money saves and changes and protects lives.

> It’s of course precisely /because/ of class inequalities that money has this kind of power, so it’s sort of weird that it was by reading about class and classism that I’d developed this vague cloud of distaste around money. I felt like I was selfish for having and for spending it, and like it was morally wrong somehow for an organization to admit out loud “what will enable us to do good is more money”. I thought that fighting injustice meant not using tainted instruments. And so Money: The Unit Of Caring was tremendously influential.

> It is a horrible distribution of human resources that I earn far more than I need while lots of people go hungry. Luckily, it’s a horrible distribution of resources which I can fix by giving them money. It is deeply infuriating that my university sits on its $22billion endowment while 22,000 kids a day die of preventable diseases and malnutrition. Luckily we can fix that, by spending money. I can’t speak for anyone else but for me personally, it was so so helpful to realize that money was an /instrument/, not a taint - that it wasn’t an /impure/ way of doing good but a remarkably flexible one that gave more choices to the recipients.___

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2015-08-09 14:20:13 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I would suspect this to be highly culture-dependent, but still interesting:

> In 2010, psychologist Nurit Tal-Or found that participants disliked a fictional character “Avi” who bragged about his exam results if he, and not his conversation partner, brought up the topic of exams. But if the friend brought up the topic, then Avi could boast all he wanted (even if he wasn’t asked directly about his grades)—the participants still thought he was a nice guy. This result provides a useful reminder, especially to quiet types, that it is sometimes acceptable to brag—especially if you’re in an interview or other assessment situation, the fact is people will often expect you to stand up for your own achievements.

> By contrast, “self-improvement” claims, such as “I am better than I used to be” and non-comparative claims, such as “I am a good friend” attractedfavorable ratings. The ... more »

I would suspect this to be highly culture-dependent, but still interesting:

> In 2010, psychologist Nurit Tal-Or found that participants disliked a fictional character “Avi” who bragged about his exam results if he, and not his conversation partner, brought up the topic of exams. But if the friend brought up the topic, then Avi could boast all he wanted (even if he wasn’t asked directly about his grades)—the participants still thought he was a nice guy. This result provides a useful reminder, especially to quiet types, that it is sometimes acceptable to brag—especially if you’re in an interview or other assessment situation, the fact is people will often expect you to stand up for your own achievements.

> By contrast, “self-improvement” claims, such as “I am better than I used to be” and non-comparative claims, such as “I am a good friend” attracted favorable ratings. The lesson here is clear: if your boast involves claiming your superiority over others, then you’re at grave risk of entering jerk territory. Try to focus on selling your own achievements without taking cheap shots at your colleagues or rivals.___

2015-08-08 18:53:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

You know a book had a good, intense action sequence when you have to put the book down afterwards and take a small break because you're feeling winded yourself. (Still reading Nexus.)

You know a book had a good, intense action sequence when you have to put the book down afterwards and take a small break because you're feeling winded yourself. (Still reading Nexus.)___

2015-08-08 16:35:22 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

My former employer, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​, is running a new summer fundraiser. Rather than having a fixed target as they usually have, this time around they're doing a "stretch goal approach", seeking as much money as they can. They've already hit their first, $250,000 goal, and are looking to hopefully hit their $500,00 goal next.

Here are some of my reasons why donating to them would be a good idea:

* The recent "Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence" open letter, signed by many of the world's top AI experts in both industry and academia, stated: 

> Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also onma... more »

My former employer, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute​, is running a new summer fundraiser. Rather than having a fixed target as they usually have, this time around they're doing a "stretch goal approach", seeking as much money as they can. They've already hit their first, $250,000 goal, and are looking to hopefully hit their $500,00 goal next.

Here are some of my reasons why donating to them would be a good idea:

* The recent "Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence" open letter, signed by many of the world's top AI experts in both industry and academia, stated: 

> Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls. The progress in AI research makes it timely to focus research not only on making AI more capable, but also on maximizing the societal benefit of AI. [...] We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do.

There is now increasing attention on the topic of possible risks from AI. And as MIRI's Nate Soares​ states in his article "Why Now Matters", this makes it an exceptionally valuable time to donate to MIRI:

> There’s an idea picking up traction in the field of AI: instead of focusing only on increasing the capabilities of intelligent systems, it is important to also ensure that we know how to build beneficial intelligent systems. Support is growing for a new paradigm within AI that seriously considers the long-term effects of research programs, rather than just the immediate effects. Years down the line, these ideas may seem obvious, and the AI community’s response to these challenges may be in full swing. Right now, however, there is relatively little consensus on how to approach these issues — which leaves room for researchers today to help determine the field’s future direction.

> People at MIRI have been thinking about these problems for a long time, and that puts us in an unusually good position to influence the field of AI and ensure that some of the growing concern is directed towards long-term issues in addition to shorter-term ones. We can, for example, help avert a scenario where all the attention and interest generated by Musk, Bostrom, and others gets channeled into short-term projects (e.g., making drones and driverless cars safer) without any consideration for long-term risks that are less well-understood.

> It’s likely that MIRI will scale up substantially at some point; but if that process begins in 2018 rather than 2015, it is plausible that we will have already missed out on a number of big opportunities.

* In the last few years, MIRI has produced a number of novel papers, and been increasingly successful at getting mainstream academics interested in their work. The research priorities document attached to the previously mentioned open letter directly cited a number of MIRI's papers, including their recent research agenda. MIRI's representatives were also present at the invite-only "The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges" conference in Puerto Rico, where the open letter was drafted, and which collected together the top names of AI research.

Before the open letter and the conference, famous and influential academics who had cited, collaborated with, or favorably mentioned MIRI or their work already included the philosopher David Chalmers, the mathematician John Baez, and the co-author of the world's most used AI textbook, Stuart Russell.

In summary, it can be said that MIRI is currently strongly connected to the elite names in the field of AI research, as well as more or less endorsed by many of them.

* My past and current involvement with MIRI gives me some extent of insider access to information that convinces me they are working in an effective and rational manner, constantly refining their approaches based on new evidence. I've also put my money where my mouth is, making regular donations to them for a long time.

Links related to them and their fundraiser:

- Main fundraiser page: https://intelligence.org/2015/07/17/miris-2015-summer-fundraiser/
- Why now matters: https://intelligence.org/2015/07/20/why-now-matters/
- MIRI's approach: https://intelligence.org/2015/07/27/miris-approach/
- Fundraising targets #1 and #2 (#1 has already been reached): https://intelligence.org/2015/07/18/targets-1-and-2-growing-miri/
- Fundraising target #3: https://intelligence.org/2015/08/07/target-3-taking-it-to-the-next-level/
- Accomplishments in 2014: https://intelligence.org/2015/03/22/2014-review/___

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2015-08-08 14:54:36 (7 comments, 25 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

Generic space opera verse map.

Generic space opera verse map.___

2015-08-07 17:48:01 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

So there are two reasons why reading Ramez Naam's Nexus is giving me an emotional motive to level up my technical skills more effectively:

1) The kind of technology he examines in his book will be coming one day. As the novel makes very clear, the implications are going to be HUGE and we need to be prepared, and the book's excellent at driving that message home.
2) The book's Emerging Risks Directorate is cool and I totally want to be recruited by a future black-ops government agency with a mandate to suppress technological threats to humanity's existence.

So there are two reasons why reading Ramez Naam's Nexus is giving me an emotional motive to level up my technical skills more effectively:

1) The kind of technology he examines in his book will be coming one day. As the novel makes very clear, the implications are going to be HUGE and we need to be prepared, and the book's excellent at driving that message home.
2) The book's Emerging Risks Directorate is cool and I totally want to be recruited by a future black-ops government agency with a mandate to suppress technological threats to humanity's existence.___

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2015-08-06 07:03:16 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

This report from SF's EA Global sounds great. Here's to hoping that the Oxford one will be as good.

> Despite all the anticipation surrounding Musk's appearance at the conference, what the participants were most thrilled about was each other. The atmosphere was transfixed with excitement and joviality throughout the weekend. Talks and workshops would frequently break out into cheers or roars of laughter. Hands wildly gesticulating, participants took advantage of breaks to engage in enthused discussion with old and new friends, with many skipping talks to be able to spend more time enjoying each other's company and striking project collaborations.

> Perhaps it's impossible to fully convey the magic in the air without a personal account. To begin with, there were so many objectively fascinating people. I walked toward dinner with a friend of a friend who had... more »

This report from SF's EA Global sounds great. Here's to hoping that the Oxford one will be as good.

> Despite all the anticipation surrounding Musk's appearance at the conference, what the participants were most thrilled about was each other. The atmosphere was transfixed with excitement and joviality throughout the weekend. Talks and workshops would frequently break out into cheers or roars of laughter. Hands wildly gesticulating, participants took advantage of breaks to engage in enthused discussion with old and new friends, with many skipping talks to be able to spend more time enjoying each other's company and striking project collaborations.

> Perhaps it's impossible to fully convey the magic in the air without a personal account. To begin with, there were so many objectively fascinating people. I walked toward dinner with a friend of a friend who had worked at eight jobs in the past four years that included gigs as a street musician and at a quantitative hedge fund. As I stood in line to grab food I met a man from Switzerland who is working at an organization that successfully encourages poker players to donate 2% of their winnings to charity. I then sat down to dinner with a life-extension researcher at Johns Hopkins who takes 150 pills a day to prolong his longevity and views anti-aging research as "perhaps the most altruistic cause" and critical for avoiding global economic collapse. I had the opportunity to hear from frontrunners of the EA movement like Holden Karnofsky, co-founder of GiveWell and lead of its focus-area-broadening Open Philanthropy Project, and seek advice from representatives of EA organizations like the Future of Humanity Institute. I also got to meet Tim Urban, author of one of my favorite blogs, Wait But Why, and Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, who co-founded the Machine Intelligence Research Institute as one of the first advocates for Friendly AI and penned Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, a fan fiction that has been wildly popular within the LessWrong rationalist community.

> It was elating to be surrounded by a crowd that cared just as much about the causes I obsessed about and who had thought about interesting issues more deeply than I did. It was almost unbelievable but every single random person I bumped into would turn out to be a wealth of knowledge and a delight to know. Moreover, people eagerly offered each other help as if they cared about advancing each other's careers as much as they did their own; the sentiment was that if I help you achieve your goals, I help achieve mine as well, because our goals are aligned. If you plucked any of these people from the conference and placed them in my normal life I would have thought I'd discovered a gem - the sort of kindred spirit you'd talk to nonstop for hours at your first encounter. I was in the midst of hundreds of such people - it was marvelous and overwhelming.___

2015-08-05 17:50:18 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Whenever you create something new, you stand in the face of God, natural order, and all right-thinking society. I respect and admire you, no matter what else is between us. I might fail you in any number of other ways, but in this way, you can count me your brother.

Whenever you create something new, you stand in the face of God, natural order, and all right-thinking society. I respect and admire you, no matter what else is between us. I might fail you in any number of other ways, but in this way, you can count me your brother.___

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2015-08-05 17:50:00 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

> By the time she was eighteen she and Hector had planned their family: they would have two kids and adopt two. By the time they were four years out of college and four years married, they had had the two kids and adopted the two kids and thought their family was complete.

> But there were more than two children in the world who needed parents. There were so many children who, because they were too old, or too violent, or too traumatized, or unable to walk, or too close to death, or the wrong color, or had too many brothers and sisters, were unlikely ever to be adopted; and when Hector and Sue thought about what those children’s lives would be like without parents, lives that were already unimaginably difficult, they could not bear it. So by the time Sue was twenty-eight and Hector was thirty, they had had two kids and adopted nine, and by the end of the following year they had had twok... more »

> By the time she was eighteen she and Hector had planned their family: they would have two kids and adopt two. By the time they were four years out of college and four years married, they had had the two kids and adopted the two kids and thought their family was complete.

> But there were more than two children in the world who needed parents. There were so many children who, because they were too old, or too violent, or too traumatized, or unable to walk, or too close to death, or the wrong color, or had too many brothers and sisters, were unlikely ever to be adopted; and when Hector and Sue thought about what those children’s lives would be like without parents, lives that were already unimaginably difficult, they could not bear it. So by the time Sue was twenty-eight and Hector was thirty, they had had two kids and adopted nine, and by the end of the following year they had had two kids and adopted fourteen; and long before they adopted their last, twenty-second child, eleven years later, the four-child family they had imagined in high school was a distant memory, and something wilder and more explosive, more exhilarating and more crushing and unfathomably more complicated, had taken its place.

> Terrible, painful things happened that they were not able to prevent—three children dead, two in prison, teen-age pregnancies, divorces. But there were also birthday parties and weddings and graduations; there were grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of them still living in the same neighborhood, within a few blocks of one another and their parents, in and out of one another’s homes all the time, minding one another’s children. And every Easter and Fourth of July and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren gathered with Sue and Hector in the big house they still lived in, although they couldn’t afford it, and ate a meal together. And though some were missing—three dead, two in prison—still, most were there, year after year, and, for everything that had happened, they were a family.___

2015-08-05 11:51:51 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

I found this note written down on my phone: "Fiction seems to suggest normal procedure, but seems risky given mages or watchers? No way to hide in astral plane? System agnostic."

It sounds interesting, I wish I knew what it meant.

I found this note written down on my phone: "Fiction seems to suggest normal procedure, but seems risky given mages or watchers? No way to hide in astral plane? System agnostic."

It sounds interesting, I wish I knew what it meant.___

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2015-08-05 09:49:10 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

"Security forces are converging on the shadowrunners, but don't worry, the team's decker has disabled their weapons and they don't even know it yet."

> ...security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hita bul... more »

"Security forces are converging on the shadowrunners, but don't worry, the team's decker has disabled their weapons and they don't even know it yet."

> ...security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.___

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2015-08-04 14:48:23 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

> A Kentucky man shot down a drone that was hovering in his backyard:

> > "It was just right there," he told Ars. "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that's not going to work. I know they're neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn't be flying into people's yards and videotaping."

> > Minutes later, a car full of four men that he didn't recognize rolled up, "looking for a fight."

> > "Are you the son of a bitch that shot my drone?" one said, according to Merideth.

> > His terse reply to the men, while wearing a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip: "If you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there's going to be another shooting."

> He was arrested, but... more »

> A Kentucky man shot down a drone that was hovering in his backyard:

> > "It was just right there," he told Ars. "It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that's not going to work. I know they're neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn't be flying into people's yards and videotaping."

> > Minutes later, a car full of four men that he didn't recognize rolled up, "looking for a fight."

> > "Are you the son of a bitch that shot my drone?" one said, according to Merideth.

> > His terse reply to the men, while wearing a 10mm Glock holstered on his hip: "If you cross that sidewalk onto my property, there's going to be another shooting."

> He was arrested, but what's the law?

> > In the view of drone lawyer Brendan Schulman and robotics law professor Ryan Calo, home owners can't just start shooting when they see a drone over their house. The reason is because the law frowns on self-help when a person can just call the police instead. This means that Meredith may not have been defending his house, but instead engaging in criminal acts and property damage for which he could have to pay.

> > But a different and bolder argument, put forward by law professor Michael Froomkin, could provide Meredith some cover. In a paper, Froomkin argues that it's reasonable to assume robotic intrusions are not harmless, and that people may have a right to "employ violent self-help."___

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2015-08-03 14:20:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

This sounds like an awesome series.

> Ramez Naam’s Nexus/Crux/Apex trilogy sure as fuck has time to look at both sides of the [techno-optimism/pessimism] coin, though.

> Nexus is a nano-drug that acts as an operating system in your brain, letting you network with others in real time and hack portions of your consciousness.  It’s been open-sourced, and it is also completely illegal, because the US government is – rightfully – concerned that an interconnected operating system that allows people to rearrange their memories at will and to load Bruce Lee fighting programs into their brain is a security issue that will cause massive breaches.

> The book sets up a “massive government vs. spunky hackers” plot, but the issue is that the government’s concerns are very real.  The ramifications of Nexus are as huge to this world as the Internet was to us aboutforty years bac... more »

This sounds like an awesome series.

> Ramez Naam’s Nexus/Crux/Apex trilogy sure as fuck has time to look at both sides of the [techno-optimism/pessimism] coin, though.

> Nexus is a nano-drug that acts as an operating system in your brain, letting you network with others in real time and hack portions of your consciousness.  It’s been open-sourced, and it is also completely illegal, because the US government is – rightfully – concerned that an interconnected operating system that allows people to rearrange their memories at will and to load Bruce Lee fighting programs into their brain is a security issue that will cause massive breaches.

> The book sets up a “massive government vs. spunky hackers” plot, but the issue is that the government’s concerns are very real.  The ramifications of Nexus are as huge to this world as the Internet was to us about forty years back, and whereas the hackers are right that the ability to connect with other people and share experiences is empowering, they are also overlooking the many negative ways that bad people can – and, in fact, will – use this experience to fuck other people over.

> In this, the Nexus series is wonderfully complex, because everybody has a point.  The government is clinging to the status quo, yes, but that’s because it’s totally unclear whether the government’s citizens would survive the transition to a transhuman future.  The hackers are occasionally a little cocksure.  This is a Pandora, and Ramez Naam treats it  appropriately as a global issue, starting in the US but soon branching to India and China and, well, everywhere.

> And more importantly, the technology feels real.  The black-ops tech the government has will absolutely smash the spunky hackers’ limited resources every time unless they can hook up with other, greater, forces. As such, alliances become a huge issue, and the alliances only work as long as everyone’s on the same page – which doesn’t happen for long as the ramifications of what people can use Nexus to do spreads.

> Not to mention the fact that “transhuman” is a real concern – what a bunch of Nexus-enabled people can do outstrips normal people’s abilities, even as it leaves them open to hacking attempts and trojan viruses.  And when the governments clash, and the civil wars break out, and the terrorists start playing their hands…

> Well, things get delightfully messy.___

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2015-08-02 19:33:39 (6 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

> So drop your obligations. Don't try to help the world because you "should." Don't force yourself because you ought to. Just do what you want to do.

> And then, once you are freed of them, if you ever realize that serving only yourself has a hollowness to it; or if you ever realize that part of what you care about is your fellow humans, the welfare of sentient creatures, or our future; or if you ever learn to see the darkness in this world and discover that you really deeply need the world to be different than it is; if you ever defy the natural order, and find something on this pale blue dot worth fighting for, worth defending, worth carrying with us to the stars:

> then know that there are those of us who fight,

> and that we'd be honored to have you at our side.

> So drop your obligations. Don't try to help the world because you "should." Don't force yourself because you ought to. Just do what you want to do.

> And then, once you are freed of them, if you ever realize that serving only yourself has a hollowness to it; or if you ever realize that part of what you care about is your fellow humans, the welfare of sentient creatures, or our future; or if you ever learn to see the darkness in this world and discover that you really deeply need the world to be different than it is; if you ever defy the natural order, and find something on this pale blue dot worth fighting for, worth defending, worth carrying with us to the stars:

> then know that there are those of us who fight,

> and that we'd be honored to have you at our side.___

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2015-08-02 18:22:38 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

[English summary: I explain and demonstrate the four-part process from Non-Violent Communication, using an example from my life where it helped resolve a conflict I'd been having with a friend.]

> Mua ottaa päähän se, miten sä välttelet vastuuta teoistasi.

> Tämä lause pyöri mielessäni useita viikkoja, kun eräs ystäväni toimi tavalla joka oli mielestäni väärin. Tiesin, ettei sen sanominen hyödyttäisi mitään. En kuitenkaan voinut olla ajattelematta asiaa kerta toisensa jälkeen, ja sen ajatteleminen sai minut lähes aina suuttumaan. Eniten ehkä siksi, että koin hänen toimivan väärin itseäänkin kohtaan.

> Jatkoin ajoittaista asiasta ärsyyntymistä ja turhaantumista, kunnes lopulta löysin paremman tavan muotoilla lauseeni. Soitinkin tämän jälkeen heti ystävälleni ja otin asian puheeksi.

Tämän viikonlopun konfliktienvälttämistä ja purkamista koskevassa ... more »

[English summary: I explain and demonstrate the four-part process from Non-Violent Communication, using an example from my life where it helped resolve a conflict I'd been having with a friend.]

> Mua ottaa päähän se, miten sä välttelet vastuuta teoistasi.

> Tämä lause pyöri mielessäni useita viikkoja, kun eräs ystäväni toimi tavalla joka oli mielestäni väärin. Tiesin, ettei sen sanominen hyödyttäisi mitään. En kuitenkaan voinut olla ajattelematta asiaa kerta toisensa jälkeen, ja sen ajatteleminen sai minut lähes aina suuttumaan. Eniten ehkä siksi, että koin hänen toimivan väärin itseäänkin kohtaan.

> Jatkoin ajoittaista asiasta ärsyyntymistä ja turhaantumista, kunnes lopulta löysin paremman tavan muotoilla lauseeni. Soitinkin tämän jälkeen heti ystävälleni ja otin asian puheeksi.

Tämän viikonlopun konfliktien välttämistä ja purkamista koskevassa Kehitystö-artikkelissa kerrotaan, millaisen paremman lauseen löysin ja miten.___

2015-08-02 18:21:48 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

The kid and I talk now and then about laws and social norms and law enforcement and things like that. I didn't expect it to show up in such an unexpected setting.

The kid and I are studying (algebraic) variables. She was making some headway with them, then got stuck on programs, so we went back to paper and algebraic formulas. Progress restored. I give her `x + 2 * y`. She thinks she's got it. Then she stops.

- Daddy, I have a question.
- Sure, what is it?
- I'm not sure what the answer is.
- Why not?
- I'm confused about what this is.
- Can you tell me why you're confused?
- Well, I can't tell if it's x plus 2-times-y or x-plus-2 times y.
- Good!

So we work out what the answers would be, and that they'd be different, so it does matter. I tell her there are three options. I show her (infix) parentheses. I... more »

The kid and I talk now and then about laws and social norms and law enforcement and things like that. I didn't expect it to show up in such an unexpected setting.

The kid and I are studying (algebraic) variables. She was making some headway with them, then got stuck on programs, so we went back to paper and algebraic formulas. Progress restored. I give her `x + 2 * y`. She thinks she's got it. Then she stops.

- Daddy, I have a question.
- Sure, what is it?
- I'm not sure what the answer is.
- Why not?
- I'm confused about what this is.
- Can you tell me why you're confused?
- Well, I can't tell if it's x plus 2-times-y or x-plus-2 times y.
- Good!

So we work out what the answers would be, and that they'd be different, so it does matter. I tell her there are three options. I show her (infix) parentheses. I tell her there are different notations we could use and draw her a parse tree. Or, I say, we could just decide that we do the multiplication before the addition.

- Is that a rule?
- Yes, that's a rule.
- I mean, is that a real rule?
- What do you mean?
- I mean, is that just a rule you're making up or do other people also follow that rule?
- No no, other people use it too.
- But we don't have to use it, right?
- No, really, we should. I mean, other people would expect you to use it.

Pause. Eyes get bigger. A slight look of concern crosses her face.

- The police?

#parenting  ___

2015-07-31 21:53:18 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Kirjoitin kuuden sanan scifitarinoita, kun internetissä käskettiin / I replied to a prompt to write six-word sci-fi stories in Finnish (slightly longer translations below):

* Vitkuttelin taas asioita maailmankaikkeuden viimeiseen hengenvetoon.
* Minut tutustutettiin tietoisille elämänmuodoille vasta kuusivuotiaana.
* Olin morsiusneitona megakorporaation ja jumalattaren häissä.

* I again procrastinated until the universe's last breath.
* I was first introduced to sentient lifeforms when I was six.
* I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a megacorporation and a goddess.

Kirjoitin kuuden sanan scifitarinoita, kun internetissä käskettiin / I replied to a prompt to write six-word sci-fi stories in Finnish (slightly longer translations below):

* Vitkuttelin taas asioita maailmankaikkeuden viimeiseen hengenvetoon.
* Minut tutustutettiin tietoisille elämänmuodoille vasta kuusivuotiaana.
* Olin morsiusneitona megakorporaation ja jumalattaren häissä.

* I again procrastinated until the universe's last breath.
* I was first introduced to sentient lifeforms when I was six.
* I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of a megacorporation and a goddess.___

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2015-07-30 14:54:39 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Five questions for figuring out how you can make the biggest difference in the world:

1. How many people benefit? And by how much?
2. Is this the most effective thing you can do?
3. Is this area neglected?
4. What would have happened otherwise?
5. What are the chance of success, and how good would success be?

Five questions for figuring out how you can make the biggest difference in the world:

1. How many people benefit? And by how much?
2. Is this the most effective thing you can do?
3. Is this area neglected?
4. What would have happened otherwise?
5. What are the chance of success, and how good would success be?___

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