[icon] Paul Crowley
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Subject:Device dilemmas
Time:08:28 pm
It's time I bought one or more new small glowing rectangles. All of mine are ancient; my contract expires in less than a fortnight and I just got a bonus at work.  I'm definitely going to stick with Android devices. But apart from that, I'm totally at sea on what to buy or how many! Your advice gratefully received.

I use them to:
  • check Twitter, Facebook and RSS
  • look things up online
  • read books (that rectangle doesn't currently glow)
  • read PDFs of scientific papers, books etc
  • make voice memos
  • look at maps
  • make journey plans
  • check bus arrival times
  • occasionally take photos
  • from time to time even make and receive voice calls.
I'd like to use them also to make Skype calls.

One thing I can't work out is whether to buy one device or two. What fits comfortably in a pocket is too small for reading PDFs and smaller than I'd like for many of the other jobs. But with my current collection of ageing devices, I've found setting up a WiFi hotspot every time I want to get one of the other devices online on the move is a right pain; it's slow and cumbersome, and you have to remember to turn it off or you're wondering why your Internet is so slow when you get home, or why it's not working on the Tube platform.  I don't really want the expense of two SIM cards and contracts to go with them if I can help it either!

If such a thing existed, I'd almost be tempted by a 7" phone, but it wouldn't fit in my pocket at all, and though my bag is with me everywhere it's often too far away to have my phone in.  I just tried some PDFs on my slightly broken Galaxy Note 1, and the maths PDF is fine but the philosophy one is awful, very hard to read - in part simply due to the double spacing.

For the price of, say, the Galaxy Note 3, I could get something like a top-of-the-range Nexus 7 and a smaller but fairly high-spec phone.

What should I buy? Thanks! This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/361655.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
comments: 11 comments or Leave a comment Share

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Subject:Legal templates
Time:01:00 pm
I'm changing my cryonics life insurance provider, and it seems I need a new "absolute trust" document. My IFA has found a lawyer who will draw me one up for £250.

The thing that bugs me is that the last two people who needed them paid £250 each, and the next person who needs one will also pay £250, but the only change is crossing out some names and writing in others. There's nothing in there that tailors it to my personal circumstances or anything like that. But I need their imprimateur if the life insurance company are to accept it, and they charge a lot for that.

Is there a way I can pay a once-off fee to get the proper legal stamp of approval on a template document, which I and other people can then fill in the blanks on and use, with no further charges?

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/361465.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Mounting a TV to the wall
Time:05:17 pm
I bought this wall bracket for this TV. I want to attach it to a brick wall. I'm a bit disturbed by how close together the top and bottom wall fixings are - it seems like it will work hard to pull the top fixings out of the wall. I find myself wanting to somehow attach vertical strips of metal with holes in to the bracket at either end making an H shape, and use the holes at the top and bottom of each strip to attach to the wall. Is this a crazy idea? Where online can I get such a strip of metal, and how would I go about it? Or should I just rawlplug it into the brick wall and not worry about it?

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/361020.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:More lotteries
Time:09:00 am
Thanks for all your answers and discussion in the last entry! I don't think either those questions, or these, have a straighforward "right" answer, I'm just interested how different people think about these things.

So instead of the offer last time, the behavioural economics unit funded by an eccentric billionaire is offering you a different choice. Now there are no guaranteed wins. To decide if you win, they will roll a fair 100-sided die to get a number from 1-100. If you choose the first bet and the die reads 60 or less, you win; for the second bet if it reads 9 or less, you win. However, in the first case they'll tell you only whether you won or lost, while in the second case they roll the die in front of you and you see the exact number they used to decide.

Poll #1865912 Strange lotteries part 2

If you learn only whether you won or lost, would you rather have

A 60% chance of £500 now
9(18.8%)
A 9% chance of £1,000,000 now
39(81.2%)

If you learn the exact die roll, would you rather have

A 60% chance of £500 now
8(16.7%)
A 9% chance of £1,000,000 now
40(83.3%)
comments: 22 comments or Leave a comment Share

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Subject:Lotteries and waiting
Time:07:55 am
Assume that the institution offering these things is fully vetted by the Gambling Commission, insured so that you still get the money if they fold, and has every other kind of guarantee and backer you care to think of so that they are in every way 100% trustworthy.

Poll #1865730 Would you rather have

Would you rather have

A guaranteed £500 now
24(33.3%)
A 15% chance of £1,000,000 now
48(66.7%)

Would you rather have

A guaranteed £500 right now
4(5.6%)
A guaranteed £1,000,000 in ten years
68(94.4%)
comments: 38 comments or Leave a comment Share

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Subject:Ways the singularity could fail to happen - the poll
Time:12:26 pm
Coo, free accounts can do LJ polls now! Following on from this post, a poll.

I often find discussion of the idea of superintelligence quickly devolves into a less interesting discussion about how people feel about those who talk about superintelligence. I'm interested to know what you think will happen

Read carefully: twothree important caveats:

  • For each option, what I'm interested in is how likely you think it is GIVEN THAT NONE OF THE ABOVE ARE TRUE. So for the third one, what I want to know is, ASSUMING THAT human minds are NOT fundamentally different to other physical things, AND that it is meaningful to think of one mind being greatly more efficient than another, would you say it's more likely than not that human minds are within a few orders of magnitude of the most efficient minds possible in principle in our corner of the Universe? So for the penultimate option, you're asking, given that the idea of superintelligence is meaningful and we have the capacity to build them, will we?
  • And there's one big assumption that I don't even put in the poll: the assumption that we don't wipe ourselves out or otherwise permanently limit our potential some other way before doing the things we discuss here. I think there's an excellent chance we will; I just want to set that aside for a moment in order to have a distinct discussion about this.
  • Given that, the question is more likely than not, not merely "likely enough to be worth taking seriously". Emphasized because I'm very surprised to see some boxes being ticked - you really think those things are more likely than the converse?

Poll #1861629 Ways the Singularity can fail to happen

I think it's more likely than not that

Human minds are fundamentally different to other physical things, and not subject to thinking about like an engineer
4(9.1%)
The idea of one mind being greatly more efficient than another isn't meaningful
5(11.4%)
Human minds are within a few orders of magnitude of the most efficient minds possible in principle in our corner of the Universe
4(9.1%)
Humanity will never be able to design superintelligences that we can build
5(11.4%)
Humanity will never study the fields needed in sufficient detail to gain the ability to design vastly more efficient minds
4(9.1%)
Humanity will never build superintelligence (given the ability to do so)
0(0.0%)
Humanity building superintelligence won't make a really big difference to the world
2(4.5%)
None of the above
20(45.5%)
comments: 59 comments or Leave a comment Share

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Subject:Going to the Bay Area in FIVE DAYS - who should I meet?
Time:08:33 am
I board my flight on Thursday! I'll be at the CfAR minicamp for the first week, then I have a week in the Bay Area, from Sunday 29 July to Sunday 5 August. Do you want to meet up? Do you know someone I should meet? Is there something I should go to in that time? What are your transatlantic travel top tips? Thanks!

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/360722.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Apology
Time:01:57 pm
A comment on this post reminds me that I meant to say something about this and never did. I made this post about the Old Testament God a few months ago. It was a copy of a comment from an ongoing discussion between a current believer in the Jewish religion and various former believers. In context, therefore, the focus on problems with Judaism specifically made lots of sense. However, when I yanked it out of context and posted it here, it sounded like something very different, and set lots of people's antisemitism alarms off. It was a mistake for me not to see what a difference taking it out of context would make and I apologise!

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/360469.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Pills puzzle
Time:10:15 am
The following puzzle appears on Futility Closet:

My doctor wants to establish a dosage for a new drug, so he gives me a bottle of 48 pills and tells me to take them throughout the month of June. I can take as many or as few as I like on any given day, so long as I take at least 1 pill each day. Show that there’s a sequence of consecutive days during which I take exactly 11 pills.

You can click through that link for their solution. Here's what I want to know. SpoilersCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/360095.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Going to the Bay Area in three months!
Time:08:46 am
In the afternoon of Thursday 19th July, I'll be boarding a plane that will ultimately take me to SFO airport. I'll be attending the Center for Modern Rationality minicamp, then staying in the Bay Area with the marvellous [personal profile] shevek for at least some of the time until my flight back in the afternoon of Sunday 5th August. EEEEEEEEEE!

Three days after I return to the UK, I leave for BiCon. I'll be spending two of those days in the office. So I'm going to have to have everything totally lined up for BiCon before I go!

Todo:
  • Renew passport
  • Sort out forms for the visa waiver program
  • Book post-flight hotel
  • Travel insurance
  • Order a credit card
  • Book for BiCon
  • Plan what I'm wearing for BiCon - find it all now
  • Book hair dye, haircut, leg wax, eyebrow threading appointments before trip
  • Add hold luggage to my flights - do I need to do anything here? Email says "Baggage is 1PC + 7Kg (Hand Baggage)" but Delta's page on checked baggage seems to indicate I get one free 23kg bag...
  • WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN???


This entry was originally posted at http://ciphergoth.dreamwidth.org/359778.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there using OpenID.
comments: 32 comments or Leave a comment Share

[icon] Paul Crowley
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