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wasoxygen  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Unlearning descriptive statistics

Apparently the source of mode is Latin modus. I can't determine how the English statistics term originated, but it is the same in French. Interestingly, it is the feminine noun that means fashion (restaurant à la mode) while the masculine noun is used in statistics, music, or to mean "way" or "method" (mode de vie, mode d'emploi).

Devac  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Statistics comes from Latin as well. Collegium Statisticum was a lecture about the state of affairs (council of state).

wasoxygen  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: War and Peace

I figure we should at least have material for the quotes thread for the next six months. Monte Cristo worked really well for me in digital form last year. I could take my lightweight Kindle on the metro, read in a browser during lunch hour, and get through another chapter in bed using my phone. The automatic bookmarking (and notes and highlights) works very well across devices for Amazon purchases. My paperback copy was just too bulky to lug around, and it turned out to be an unlabeled abridgment anyway.

Hope you enjoy it!

wasoxygen  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: War and Peace

I appreciated the notes provided in the Pevear and Volokhonsky version of The Brothers Karamazov, which provided a lot of insight missing from my barebones Garnett paperback. P&V have attracted some criticism for succeeding more on hype than quality. For a casual reader like me, I am not sure it makes much difference.

Is yours a library copy? I wouldn't recommend reading a 1390-page book on mobile, but Project Gutenberg does offer a "read this book online" link.

keifermiller  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It is a library copy. I actually have the kindle version of this translation as well, but I've never managed to get into it on the kindle. I read a lot slower on kindle, and flipping back and forth between footnotes is way more cumbersome.

wasoxygen  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: War and Peace

The Kindle app gives 33 hours and 28 minutes as the typical time to read. I am not a fast reader, and easily distracted, so this is a long-term project. Last year I got into a groove of reading long fiction in e-book form and nonfiction in solid books that I leave at home.

I love the feeling of having a double life, in which I am constantly preoccupied with the troubles and dramas of another, secret world.

wasoxygen  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Unlearning descriptive statistics

    For colors, months, countries, brand names and any other kind of data that is not quantitative and has no order to it, there is no median, and instead the most common values (including the mode) and least common values are a good way to indicate what's typical and what's not.

This is the first time I ever realized that mode is a French word.

veen  ·  20 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I thought both mode and median originate in Latin?

wasoxygen  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Apparently the source of mode is Latin modus. I can't determine how the English statistics term originated, but it is the same in French. Interestingly, it is the feminine noun that means fashion (restaurant à la mode) while the masculine noun is used in statistics, music, or to mean "way" or "method" (mode de vie, mode d'emploi).

Devac  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Statistics comes from Latin as well. Collegium Statisticum was a lecture about the state of affairs (council of state).

wasoxygen  ·  30 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Jim O'Neill: The Best Trump Pick You've Never Heard Of | The Daily Caller

johnnyFive  ·  30 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, avoiding inconvenience is definitely worth giving a generation of factory workers black lung.

flagamuffin  ·  30 days ago  ·  link  ·  

don't knock it til you've tried it

wasoxygen  ·  30 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People

The hard part is deciding what "prepare" means. Any money and time devoted to the asteroid threat is denied to pathogens, including malaria.

If the only criteria for spending resources on a problem are 1) it could cause humans to go extinct and 2) we cannot prove that it is impossible, then the list will grow endlessly, with no guarantee that we have thought of everything:

· supervolcano

· grey goo

· nearby supernova/hypernova

· anoxic event

· particle accelerator mishap

· hostile alien invasion

· wrath of a supreme being

It's not easy, but I think we must do some kind of cost-benefit analysis before dedicating significant resources to improbable doomsday scenarios.

wasoxygen  ·  31 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Bet lost

Sorry to hear about your motoring mishap.

Hopefully from that start things will improve under the current administration, however long it lasts.

wasoxygen  ·  33 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

Yeah, as veen pointed out I didn't have to watch very long to find out that another bet went bust. I left it on though, and NBC News cut back and forth to downtown protesters. One guy with an "antiestablishment slant" took questions as an ad hoc spokesperson for the vandals and gawkers and hardly flinched as flashbang grenades and tear gas bombs went off just behind him. Periscope has been entertaining as well.

Norman Borlaug got a long mention before the victory luncheon, and the new president did not close his eyes during the prayer. A Starbucks on I Street got its windows smashed, possibly the one I patronized on Thursday morning. I asked the manager why all the furniture was missing; he said they were expecting record crowds and they wanted to maximize flow; he said nothing about projectiles.

wasoxygen  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People

It's fairly certain that malaria will continue to kill people. It is very likely that your contributions to AMF will reduce this bad outcome, buying some time until a better solution is found. (Previous improvements in our response to polio and smallpox give reasonable hope for such progress.)

Meanwhile, if the risk of AI catastrophe is 1%, then it is 99% certain that resources dedicated to averting that problem will be wasted (disregarding side benefits of the research, which could occur with malaria research as well).

There is also some concern that a project like OpenAI could increase risk of a disaster.

Asteroid impact could render all these problems trivial; it's hard to prioritize giant problems that have tiny probabilities.

I agree that a lot of the essay is not very rigorous, but I think it makes some salient points:

· It is not clear what "hyperintelligence" means, and not obvious that it's possible for anything to be exceedingly more intelligent than people.

· We are not good at "baking in" robust reliability to complex systems; we make gradual improvements through trial and error. Such improvements are easily defeated, often unintentionally.

· The cats and emus demonstrate that superior intelligence does not guarantee the ability to dominate inferiors.

enginerd  ·  33 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How many existential risks are competing for our attention, brainpower, and funding? Let's brainstorm.

* Asteroid impact

* Solar flare

* Epidemic of an infectious pathogen

* Climate change

* Artificial intelligence

* Nuclear war

That's all I got, and yes I think we should prepare for all of them.

wasoxygen  ·  30 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The hard part is deciding what "prepare" means. Any money and time devoted to the asteroid threat is denied to pathogens, including malaria.

If the only criteria for spending resources on a problem are 1) it could cause humans to go extinct and 2) we cannot prove that it is impossible, then the list will grow endlessly, with no guarantee that we have thought of everything:

· supervolcano

· grey goo

· nearby supernova/hypernova

· anoxic event

· particle accelerator mishap

· hostile alien invasion

· wrath of a supreme being

It's not easy, but I think we must do some kind of cost-benefit analysis before dedicating significant resources to improbable doomsday scenarios.

Devac  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
wasoxygen  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

I am inclined to say that I agree completely, especially with your idea that "people say nonsensical things about stuff they have no idea about." Confident speculation is completely typical, and might not be a big deal were it not for peoples' inclination to trust authority figures. I have gotten into the habit of fact-checking all the time, simply because it is a good way to learn.

We know lil is a fan of science. Though I bristle at the apparently absolute claim that "Everything we hear is ... not a fact," we are not privileged to handle true and false facts, we deal only with evidence and beliefs. We do so in our flawed ways, and all make mistakes. So maybe it's fair to say that most everything we hear from others is an expression of belief, and not cold, hard facts.

I try to remind myself of this by using language like "in my view" and "it seems" whenever I make factual statements, and also citing my evidence and making clear, verifiable claims, as in the "What are your predictions?" discussion. It's easy for mk to say the legislature is full of "spineless pond scum" but it is not so easy to test this claim.

Thanks for expanding on your thoughts!

wasoxygen  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

My tone was dismissive; I apologize. I recently began a history book that opens with Einstein and immediately links to moral relativism, and the author doesn't especially discourage the reader from concluding that the “anything goes, all opinions are valid” philosophy led fairly directly to the destruction of Europe.

    The modern world began on 29 May 1919 when photographs of a solar eclipse, taken on the island of Principe off West Africa and at Sobral in Brazil, confirmed the truth of a new theory of the universe....

    Mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, relativity became confused with relativism.

    No one was more distressed than Einstein by this public misapprehension. He was bewildered by the relentless publicity and error which his work seemed to promote. He wrote to his colleague Max Born on 9 September 1920: ‘Like the man in the fairy-tale who turned everything he touched into gold, so with me everything turns into a fuss in the newspapers.’ Einstein was not a practicing Jew, but he acknowledged a God. He believed passionately in absolute standards of right and wrong.

    He lived to see moral relativism, to him a disease, become a social pandemic, just as he lived to see his fatal equation bring into existence nuclear warfare. There were times, he said at the end of his life, when he wished he had been a simple watchmaker.

I do think it is important that we recognize that certain statements like “Marcus said this” are either true or false, and if people disagree about it we might not be certain who is right but we can be certain that only one of them is right.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think we see this issue from different perspective that don't touch in terms of Venn diagram, which might cause an unnecessary conflict between us. Let me elaborate on how I see it.

I didn't mean to say that it doesn't matter whether Marcus Aurelius did indeed say what is quoted. I think truth does matter above many things in life, and my orderly nature dictates I follow through to seeing correct information prevail.

I didn't mean to dismiss the importance of authorship of quotes, either, though it may have sounded like I did. While I can't confirm the source (oy vey), I heard someone talk about quotes. At one point, they said some quite profound general truth about life... and attributed it to Adolph Hitler. They quickly "corrected" themselves by saying "He didn't, actually, but for a split second you thought about it and went 'Oh, he did? Well damn'...", implying that the source of the quote is no less important than the quote itself.

A lot of profound (or seemingly profound) quotes have been misattributed to great people of history. Apparently, people are attracted to the great names and tend to assign to them what "ordinary" people (read: less known to the general public), it seems, couldn't have possibly said. One such example is a quote by Marianne Williamson, which starts:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure...

...and goes on for a bit. It was misattributed to Nelson Mandela, who has used it during a speech.

To know who said a message that seems profound is important, because it unveils the motives behind the saying, thus giving the listener more perspective on the meaning behind it. Hitler saying about the strength of spirit is terrifying. Mandela, Gandhi or MLK saying about the strength of spirit is inspirational.

I think the idea expressed in the quote is important enough to follow whether or not it was actually said by the Roman emperor. It matters if it wasn't, but to me, only to a limit, since I can see its profoundness in my own experience. For others... I'm torn on whether to attribute it. My point of view is this: it's a profound idea that people could use to learn, and attributing it to a great mind increases its chances of exposure significantly; declaring that we can't attribute it to a great mind, however, will most likely let it become dust in the wind, with people missing on a helpful idea that could improve their life. I don't mean to say that those in control of the information should lie to people, but the current state of affairs seems to be mostly beneficial.

On the quote itself and its meaning:

By saying "everyone's entitled to their opinion" I don't mean to say that all opinions have the same weight or are worth listening to. Although a medical doctor may not know all there is to know about medicine and physiology, I will trust them with figuring out what's wrong with my body and how to fix it considerably more likely than to a person without a medical degree. It's not about whom to listen to.

What I mean to say is this: people tend to say crazy shit they have no idea about in the daily grind. We all see only a part of the world - that which we've been to, physically or mentally. Each of us only has so much experience when dealing with things. I believe that it's everyone's right to have an opinion based on their experience. It doesn't mean that people are allowed or somehow encouraged to not learn more about the world due to this proposition: we've all seen the idiocy to which such behavior leads.

I believe that everyone speaks their mind based only on things they've experienced. It may sound like some of the most common sense common sense phrases, but it carries a deeper meaning, one that I think lil understands already, hence her agreeing with me on that in the first place. Some opinions weigh more or less depending on what you're inclined to (for example, you'd listen to a doctor with more care and interest if you're inclined to get healed, and you'd listen to a medium or a foreteller if you're inclined to feel submitted to external forces); you might listen to an Internet stranger more if they show that they possess very close perspective to yours and have managed to overcome what you're currently struggling with, even if your close friend tells you something different because from what they get to see of your struggle, what they give you is your best way out.

Most of the time, though, people say nonsensical things about stuff they have no idea about because they want to look cool. Therefore, if you let a stranger affect your vision of things without first checking whether this new perspective aligns with your current goals - say, by claiming their opinion of a film you haven't seen as your own - you're in for a whole tsunami of crushing waves from all around the area telling you that opposites A and B are both true, that white is black, that up is down... This will quickly turn into a mess - a mess that wasn't yours to begin with, one you can't feel comfortable with even a slightest bit because it's from another person's heap.

In short... One can say whatever they want. As I recognize that what one says isn't an answer but merely a perspective, I gain the power and the responsibility to sieve through what I hear and separate worthy perspectives from unworthy ones. No one knows everything, and even most-educated specialists can fail when they meet something new and unexplained, for one reason or another. It's important to keep an open mind, whomever you listen to. It doesn't exclude listening to people: the quote advises one to consider what they're listening to (see this wonderful piece of audio art by thenewgreen).

Did that clear up some things?

wasoxygen  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am inclined to say that I agree completely, especially with your idea that "people say nonsensical things about stuff they have no idea about." Confident speculation is completely typical, and might not be a big deal were it not for peoples' inclination to trust authority figures. I have gotten into the habit of fact-checking all the time, simply because it is a good way to learn.

We know lil is a fan of science. Though I bristle at the apparently absolute claim that "Everything we hear is ... not a fact," we are not privileged to handle true and false facts, we deal only with evidence and beliefs. We do so in our flawed ways, and all make mistakes. So maybe it's fair to say that most everything we hear from others is an expression of belief, and not cold, hard facts.

I try to remind myself of this by using language like "in my view" and "it seems" whenever I make factual statements, and also citing my evidence and making clear, verifiable claims, as in the "What are your predictions?" discussion. It's easy for mk to say the legislature is full of "spineless pond scum" but it is not so easy to test this claim.

Thanks for expanding on your thoughts!