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Greg Billock
Works at Google
Attended Caltech
Lives in Southern California
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Greg Billock

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Best 2048 game so far. I'm pretty sure its next to impossible to get the 16k tile. This game had a couple hallelujah lucky moments already...
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A friend of mine got 76,936.

http://regex.info/blog/2014-09-15/2457
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Greg Billock

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Eigenmorality -- or How to Solve Ethical Debates With Linear Algebra. Pretty interesting!

I think ultimately the issue of morality ends up being too ... judgmental to admit for much help by tools like this. Imagine, for instance (assuming you're not a bigot), that a big study like this turned up the advice that you ought to be bigoted. Well, you'd be horrified by the result, and feel like not only was the thing useless, but it was actively dangerous because (ironically), it had given comfort to morally unjustifiable people (that is, bigots).

So in the end, I think our moral feelings are not swayed by this kind of thing. They definitely can be swayed, but they seem more likely to be swayed by events with a lot of narrative weight rather than by studies. Perhaps that's a bad thing, but I'm not so sure.
The Blog of Scott Aaronson Quantum computers are not known to be able to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time, and can be simulated classically with exponential slowdown. « Randomness Rules in Quantum Mechanics · Eigenmorality. This post is about an idea I had around 1997, ...
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Greg Billock

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Great talk by Leslie Lamport on writing about code (specifications), from very formal to very informal.
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A map of the kids hurt by anti-vaccination hysteria.

Oh, and has the incidence of autism gone down? Thought not.
Measles and mumps have exploded back onto the scene because parents aren't vaccinating their kids.
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Greg Billock

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Coinye? Dogecoin? Seem silly, but I wonder if this is an interesting way to connect popularity and support for various ideas or projects. I'm getting a crazy image of millions of digital currencies dedicated to their own hobby, fandom, meme, etc. The exchange rates are a kind of global metric of popularity, attention, faddishness, support, or something.
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Interesting idea. A world of democratized currencies. Anyone can create a currency. But it only has value proportional to the transitive closure of trust it can garner. 
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Greg Billock

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So what's the deal with peace prizes? Can the committee retroactively strip Obama's? Double points if they then give it to Snowden.
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If they did it might gain them some credibility
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So last time we were this far into corrupt government surveillance territory it turned out that not only were they deep into SIGINT (wiretaps and such), but had tons of HUMINT operations, too. The playbook hasn't changed, so odds are extremely high some branch of US intelligence is actively infiltrating agents into many, many civilian US groups. Probably including yours.
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I've been convinced for years that the various national security apparatus have agents or sleeper agents placed at most large firms.
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Greg Billock

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The article basically says "octopi and dolphins are pretty smart, so the great filter must not be between early life and dolphin-level intelligence."

I feel like exactly the opposite interpretation is more likely. That is, suppose there are several simultaneous things that have to happen for a species to start moving towards the kind of language-using, tool-using, creative experience humans have. There may be a lot of such factors, and they all have to coincide.

So for example, dolphins may be very intelligent, but lack the ability to really use tools or get any feasible technological system going -- flippers may just not be adequate. Or octopi may have very agile tool-using appendages, but lack the ability to do any kind of meaningful communication amongst themselves, with no real way of getting any.

And there may be other important ingredients as well: a particular social arrangement for instance, or the happy absence of very large predators.

If there are even a handful of such critical ingredients, it might be extremely unlikely for a species like ours to evolve, even given millions of worlds full of life, and billions of years. The cycle times are in mega-years, and entire lineages may have no evolutionary path to get all the ingredients right.

In fact, if this is true, you might expect the typical highly-developed species to be almost unimaginably conservative. Imagine that the history of your species' development involves waiting for tens of millions of years for tool-using appendages to evolve. Or for an asteroid strike to kill off massive dominant predators, or for genetic changes to enable you to communicate with one another with fluidity. That kind of history might produce species with completely different psychology than human psychology.
Is intelligence hard to evolve? Well, we're intelligent, so it must be easy... except that only an intelligent species would be able to ask that question, so we run straight into the problem of anthropics. Any being that aske...
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This rendition of the tree of life reminds me of the Laughing Man logo. :-) http://johan.github.io/kilobyte-svg-challenge/logos/gits-sac-laughing-man.svg
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Greg Billock

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Just helped out +Kenton Varda  with Sandstorm. A great idea in great hands!

The idea if you haven't seen Sandstorm is a "cloudtop" -- that is, like a laptop, but with app-store style software install, but it runs in the cloud. It's basically the remote counterpart to your cell phone, tablet, or laptop.

So it's kind of like running a server, if servers took about as much effort to administrate as your phone, and you thought of it more like "the place where particular apps can run under my control."
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Thank you!
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Greg Billock

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What fun! A great leveled game where you build up geometrical construction tools. Really cool.
Level 1: Construct an equilateral triangle from the line segment AB. An equilateral triangle is a triangle whose sides all have the same length: If you are heading in the right direction, the game will notice you with a "Well Done!" message. After successfully constructing the triangle, ...
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Very cool! +Andrew McNamee will want to see this.
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National tree climbing competition in Pasadena today.
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That looks like fun! Sorry I missed that event. =(
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Finally caught up a bit on this government shutdown thing. Hasn't anyone been listening the last decade? Making the American people feel frustrated and betrayed by the government is a win condition for a certain faction of Republicans. The people voting for them aren't shocked by their behavior; it is what they elected them to do.
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Education
  • Caltech
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Programmer
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  • Google
    Programmer, present
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Southern California
GOOD! Tasty and delicious and nutritious too. Deep dish is great.
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reviewed 4 months ago
Fantastic cookies! Try the peanut butter chocolate. Or the salt caramel. Or anything, basically. Delicious!
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Excellent
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Great service.
Food: ExcellentDecor: Very GoodService: Excellent
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Green corn tamales. Yum!
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