This thread is for asking any questions that might seem obvious, tangential, silly or what-have-you. Don't be shy, everyone has holes in their knowledge, though the fewer and the smaller we can make them, the better.
Please be respectful of other people's admitting ignorance and don't mock them for it, as they're doing a noble thing.
To any future monthly posters of SQ threads, please remember to add the "stupid_questions" tag.
What contingencies should I be planning for in day to day life? HPMOR was big on the whole "be prepared" theme, and while I encounter very few dark wizards and ominous prophecies in my life, it still seems like a good lesson to take to heart. I'd bet there's some low-hanging fruit that I'm missing out on in terms of preparedness. Any suggestions? They don't have to be big things - people always seem to jump to emergencies when talking about being prepared, which I think is both good and bad. Obviously certain emergencies are common enough that the average person is likely to face one at some point in their life, and being prepared for it can have a very high payoff in that case. But there's also a failure mode that people fall into of focusing only on preparing for sexy-but-extremely-low-probability events (I recall a reddit thread that discussed how to survive in case an airplane that you're on breaks up, which...struck me as not the best use of one's planning time). So I'd be just as interested in mundane, everyday tips.
(Note: my motivation for this is almost exclusively "I want to look like a genius in front of my friends when some contingency I planned for comes to pass", which is maybe not the best motivation for doing this kind of thing. But when I find myself with a dumb-sounding motive for doing something I rationally endorse anyway, I try to take advantage of the motive, dumb-sounding or not.)
Those related to what you do and where you go in day to day life. The only people who need to worry about a micrometeorite punching a hole in the spaceship get training for it already.
These might include such things as: locking yourself out of your house, having an auto breakdown, being confronted by a mugger, being in an unfamiliar building when the fire alarm goes off, coming upon the scene of a serious accident, where to go and how to get there when widespread flooding is imminent, being stranded in a foreign country without funds or a ticket out, when to see a doctor when a mole you've always had starts growing, getting old, and so on.
Do you have insurance for anything? The list of what it covers is a list of contingencies. If it's worth spending money for the monetary compensation, it's worth thinking about how to deal with it if it happens, and how to stop it happening.
I am by no means an expert, but here are a couple of options that come to mind. I came up with most of these by thinking "what kind of emergency are you reasonably likely to run into at some point, and what can you do to mitigate them?"
Learn some measure of first aid, or at least the Heimlich maneuver and CPR.
Keep a Seat belt cutter and window breaker in your glove compartment. And on the subject, there are a bunch of other things that you may want to keep in your car as well.
Have an emergency kit at home, and have a plan for dealing with natural disasters (fire, storms, etc). If you live with anyone, make sure that everyone is on the same page about this.
On the financial side, have an emergency fund. This might not impress your friends, but given how likely financial emergencies (e.g. unexpectedly losing a job) are relative to other emergencies, this is a good thing to plan for nonetheless. I think the standard advice is to have something on the order 3-6 months of income tucked away for a rainy day.
Often being prepared simply means that nobody notices anything being at odds. Don't optimize for flashy solutions.
What to do when things get lost
1) Your credit card
2) Your mobile phone
3) Your keys
What do you do when things you rely on break:
1) Your computer
2) Your car
Who to call?
1) Police imprisons you and charge you for a criminal act
2) You have a medical emergency (also set up a ICE contact list entry on your smart phone)
I'm about to graduate college and go into the real world, and I'm trying to get a job right now. If I'm not able to get one in the next few months, I will need some source of income. What are good reliable ways that I can convert time to money before I get a full-time job?
EDIT: I'm a physics/chemistry undergraduate with a decent GPA, and I have some skills in coding if that helps. I'm applying for jobs in software development and data analysis, and I've applied to 25 so far and have only heard back from 1. I'm going to keep applying and am fairly confident I'll get something, but in case everything fails I want to have a backup.
I'm having some major psychological health issues lately and am feeling lost and hopeless. Ideally, I'd like to seek advice and/or counseling from someone in the EA/LW community because they would be better able to relate to my goals/motivations and might be able to offer me particularity useful advice. Is there anywhere I could go for this, anyone I can reach out to, or does anyone know of a psychiatrist/psychologist in the DC area who is in the EA/LW community? Thanks so much.
What's the deal with laundry detergent packaging? For instance, take a look at this http://news.pg.com/sites/pg.newshq.businesswire.com/files/image/image/Tide_Liquid_Detergent.jpg Nowhere on the package does it actually say it's detergent! I guess they're just relying on people knowing that Tide is a brand of detergent? Except that Tide also makes other products, such as fabric softener. And it's not just Tide. http://www.freestufffinder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/all-laundry.jpg http://dgc.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pDGC1-10603813v380.jpg htt... (read more)
I am a prominent LW poster; this is a through-away account because my girlfriend also uses LW.
I would like to propose to my girlfriend in the near future. For this I would like to use a diamond ring. I have never bought one before, so would appreciate any advice. The main things I would like help with:
Some background in case it helps:
I do not recommend choosing a diamond. Diamonds are both less pretty than and more expensive than moissanite; if you have the budget for a diamond, you can get better for cheaper with moissanite. The exception is if you know for a fact the recipient is a natural stone chauvinist, which doesn't sound like your situation at all (you basically can't get natural moissanite). Bonus: moissanite is from SPACE.
If you are unwilling to consult her in advance on her taste in rocks, the safe choice is a gold-band solitaire with a round brilliant cut rock set in prongs. More expensive, more interesting, and also pretty safe is a "past present future" setting with three rocks, matching if you want to be conservative about it. I'm not sure what the conventional alloy for gold-looking jewelry that needs to not deform with use is, but if it looks like yellow gold and anyone makes a point of telling you how many carats it is, it's probably good.
This is a perfect exemplar of something I really hate about this website. A poster asks for advice about how to buy a diamond, and instead he gets mostly replies saying "don't buy a diamond." I will try and actually be helpful.
My advice would be:
Being pedantic, the original question was
and your first suggestion was
This seems like a reasonable suggestion. But I think you applied the same heuristics as others, just less far. Those heuristics being "infer motives from question; give advice satisfying inferred motives". The motive you inferred seems to have been "I'd like to propose, and I'd like my girlfriend to end up with a diamond ring". Others seem to have inferred something closer to "I'd like to propose with a ring with a pretty stone in it".
Basically I think that "being helpful" is a difficult game, and "answer the question as asked" doesn't lead to optimal helpfulness, and I don't have a good solution for this.
What is the point of having separated Open Threads and Stupid Questions threads, instead of allowing "stupid questions" in OTs and making OTs more frequent?
The advantage to having Stupid Question threads is that it's easier to make it clear that that the questions should be treated kindly.
Suppose A and B are brother and sister. They have a son, C. C and B have a son, D. D and B have a son, E, and a daughter F. How genetically related will be the children of E and F, given they do not interbreed?
(This is actually the history of our cats.)
While reading up on Jargon in the wiki (it is difficult to follow some threads without it), I came across:
The talk page does not exist, and I have no rights to create it, so I will ask here: If I say "I am thinking of a number - what is it?" - would "I don't know" be not only a valid answer, but the only answer, for anyone other than myself?
The assertion the page makes is that "I don't Know" is "Something that can't be entirely true if you can even formulate a question." ... (read more)
Sorry, this was an useless post so now it's gone
Looking for career advice. For those familiar with the government/private sector job market, how much worse is a Master's compared to a Ph.D when it comes to finding work (I'm in mathematics)?
I'm asking because I had to switch advisers four years into my grad program and it's set me back enough that I don't know whether I'll complete the doctorate before funding dries up. Ideally I'd like to finish, but in case I don't I would like to get an idea about my prospects.
Is it unethical to have children pre-Singularity, for the risk of them dying?
Well, everyone will likely die sooner or later, even post-Singularity (provided that it will happen, which isn't quite a solid fact).
Anyway, I think that any morality system that proclaims unethical all and every birth happened so far is inadequate.
What would you get for a birthday for a forty-something project manager in IT, female, one kid, married, lives in the USA?..
So hello, I'm a first time poster here at LessWrong. I stumbled upon this site after finding out about a thing called Roko's Basilisk and I heard it's a thing over here. So, after doing a little digging I thought it would be fun to chat with some friends about my findings. However, I then proceeded to research a bit more and I found some publications with disturbing implications. So, my question is, while I understand that I shouldn't spread information about the concept; I gain that it is because of the potential torture anyone with a knowledge of the co... (read more)
Sorry, this was an useless post so now it's gone
What's the easiest way to put a poll in a top-level article?
I was reading "Three Worlds Collide" by EY and noticed a particular fragment (spoken by a Confessor when asked about which side did he take in the debate about human bioengineering):... (read more)
In an AI building project, wouldn't it make sense to build something that, instead of "maximizing expected utility", tries to "minimize expected disutility"?
The two will be mathematically equivalent when you're done, of course. But until then, wouldn't your buggy incomplete alpha builds tend to be safer?
If I may the cake dare to take, I'm trying to determine if I've grammatically correctly adjusted the following phrases for the "no prepositions at end of sentences" rule.
The classic: I will not put up with becomes Up with which I will not put
Or with a verb added: I hate to put up with
Up with which I hate to put
And then my own: To have to
to which I have(?)
as in: I hate to have to
I hate to which I have (?)
Which when combined: I hate to have to put up with
Up with which I hate to which I have put (?)
This last phrase ... (read more)
Is it just me/my browser, or has something changed in the Less Wrong code regarding the "Best" comment ordering? For example, it seemed like before if there were a bunch of 0% positive comments and a 50% positive comment, then the latter would almost always be at the bottom, but now I'm seeing them and even negative karma posts above or between neutral or positive karma posts. Has anyone else noticed this?
I am hoping this is not stupid - but there is a large corpus of work on AI, and it is probably faster for those who have already digested it to point out fallacies than it is for me to try to find them. So - here goes:
BOOM. Maybe it's a bad sign when your first post to a new forum gets a "Comment Too Long" error.
I put the full content here - https://gist.github.com/bortels/28f3787e4762aa3870b3#file-aiboxguide-md - what follows is a teaser, intended to get those interested to look at the whole thing
TL;DR - it seems evident to me that the "ke... (read more)
Is there data about how good climate science is at teaching students at university who go into studying climate science as skeptics to turn them into believers?