This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for August 16-31.

It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like:

  • Established a useful new habit
  • Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief
  • Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations
  • Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior
  • Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something
  • Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life
  • Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you
  • Tried doing any of the above and failed

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves.  Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to cata for starting the Group Rationality Diary posts, and to commenters for participating!

Next diary:  September 1-15

Immediate past diary:  August 1-15

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15 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 4:30 PM

After a decade of nail-biting, over the past two weeks, I have finally broken the habit. Immense thanks to whoever shared the "rubber band around your wrist that you snap to provide negative reinforcement" trick long ago on some half-remembered thread. You made this possible.

I fixed this by simply carrying nail clippers around on my keys, and remembering to use them instead of ripping them apart with my teeth. A few weeks of that and they were in good enough shape that I didn't feel the need to bite them.

I succeeded avoiding procrastinating online from Monday to Friday for four weeks. (Previous Rationality Diary entry containing more details.) That is the longest I ever succeeded. Long enough that I feel a new habit formed.

Okay, I am not going to write about this every two weeks; I just wanted to encourage other people that limiting web procrastination is possible. (Although your LW karma will suffer.)

(Although your LW karma will suffer.)

I'd give a 1000 points of LW karma a week to avoid procrastinating that week :) Now, if only there were a way to effect such a trade...

After noticing that a large number of my planned out of town trips failed to materialize, I crunched some numbers over planned vs. actual trips in the last three years. In practice, it seems like there's about a 60% chance that a trip I actively plan for will actually happen. There's no one thing that causes me to miss trips, just various different events: trip operator cancels, tour guide gets married, medical emergency, work issues, hurricane, etc. However once I've purchased a plane ticket the likelihood the trip will occur goes up to about 90%.

Based on this analysis, I plan to sign up for a trip to Ecuador in December. It's a bit closer to another planned trip to India later that month than I'd like, but there's only about a 30% chance that both of these will actually go.

Are you sure that you didn't elect to buy a plane ticket only in the cases where you could be confident you'd go, for other reasons?

Been happily beemindering new activities I want to do for a month or two now, and everything has been going fine. Recently I added one for working on my game (a side project from my full time job at this point) at least 6 hours a week, which sounded pretty reasonable to me. This was my first beeminder failure -- admittedly, I had a terrible week (grandfather died, flying to another city for the funeral and back, coming down with a bad case of flu the very next day), but it was also eminently avoidable if I'd done more work before the deadline started closing in.

My take away from this is I should start my beeminder goals off much less ambitiously, give myself a week or two to establish the habit with beeminder as a reminder & tracking system, then when I have a bit of backlog built up for unexpected problems start ramping up the road until I reach a goal level I'm able to maintain, and happy with.

Grandfather dying+funeral+flu is almost certainly just cause for beeminder's escape clause, if you're interested.

Yeah, so I was informed. I elected not to take the out, because I'd had earlier opportunities to avert it and not taken them.

Aw, I'm sorry.

If your week was that awful, ditching your plan might have just been reasonable - "if you haven't missed a flight, you're spending too much time in airports."

I'm running an uncontrolled resistance exercise experiment with several volunteers testing a low tech implementation of the cooling glove based on some research (and now a commercial product) out of stanford.

I'm very interested in the details of your implementation.

coleman 1/2 gallon jug holding gel packs chilled to 50f(10c) degrees. Gel packs held with both hands for 3-4 minutes in between working sets of squats.

based on the following papers:

the first study details using vacuum cooling for traditional resistance exercise, the second details using non vacuum cooling compared to vacuum cooling in general heightened core temperature conditions.

Numbers on non vacuum cooling:

by 0.80 +-.3°C n= 12 with cooling only, and by 1.00 +-.2°C n= 12 with cooling and subatmospheric pressure Fig. 3a

indicating 80% effectiveness without vacuum.

there is however a cohort issue:

A more detailed analysis revealed that cooling-alone treatment yielded two discrete Tes response patterns, one resembling that of cooling with subatmospheric pressure and one resembling that of no cooling Fig. 3b. In 8 of the 12 subjects, Tes decreased by 1.00.3°C with cooling-alone compared with 1.00.2°C with cooling and pressure differential and 0.30.2°C with no cooling control treatment. In these eight subjects, post hoc t-tests revealed that the data from cooling alone were significantly different from control p= 0.001 but was not significantly different from the cooling with pressure differential p= 0.53. In 4 of the 12 subjects, Tes decreased by 0.50.2°C with cooling-alone, compared with 0.90.2°C with cooling and a pressure differential and 0.50.1°C with control treatment. For these four subjects cooling-alone and control treatments were not different p = 0.38, while cooling-alone and cooling with a pressure differential trended to be different p= 0.07

The non-vacuum test was single hand. Cooling of both hands looks to be around a 44% increase in effectiveness, which I'm hoping translates to non-vacuum cooling.

indicating 80% effectiveness without vacuum.

! I was under the impression that that vacuum was what made this effective, but difficult to do without professional equipment. If it's not necessary, that significantly opens this up.

80% effectiveness is not quite right- you would need to subtract off the control cooling first, and I think it's better to report it as "8 out of 12 did not see a benefit from vacuum cooling over non-vacuum cooling, and 4 out of 12 did not see a benefit from non-vacuum cooling over no cooling," than the roughly equivalent "2/3rds effectiveness." That's really interesting; I wonder if they can directly measure blood flow and see what the underlying difference is. It might be that group A doesn't alter blood flow in the presence of heat loss (which seems crazy), or that they only do it when it would push their temperature away from optimal.

I'm also curious what the cooling looks like in more benign circumstances. (The second paper had them sitting in a hot room with a ton of insulation, and still they managed to cool down without a heat sink!)

Ancestry plausibly affects how the cooling system is regulated and was uncontrolled for.

WRT the vacuum: Two sets of instructions for DIY implementations with costs around $150 exist on the internet. It would be nice if one could figure out whether one is a non responder without the time and cost of building one though.