Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016

by [anonymous]1 min read27th Dec 2015145 comments

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[-][anonymous]5y 11

How to handle feeling low status? I mean the feeling that people don't respect you, and don't consider what you're doing or saying important or worthy. When I was young, I used to feel this way all the time. Now there are groups in which I don't feel this, but I still feel it occasionally, especially if I'm in new social situations. This is the worst feeling for me, and usually the number one reason why I sometimes lose motivation to do things.

The simple solution is to acquire more status, but I'm not really asking about that because you have to be able handle being low status before you can become high-status. Easiest way I've found for acquiring status in groups is this:

  1. Pick a group
  2. Become accustomed to the norms of that group
  3. Signal knowledge, experience, and talent in the areas of interest of that group. Have the right opinions and interests and follow fashion as those interests and popular opinions change. Make the right lifestyle choices. Do impressive things based on those norms. It's not good to be too obvious about these things because explicitly seeking approval signals low status in many groups. There's room for freedom in most of these areas because of countersignalin
... (read more)

Your 'easiest way' feels to me like: "If you are low-status, and you want to change it, aim for middle status, not high status." Which in my opinion is an excellent advice. Because if you succeed at this, you can try the higher status later, and it will feel more comfortable. But many people consistently keep aiming higher than they can afford, and then they predictably fail. Now that I think about it, it applies to so many areas of life -- people trying to run before they can walk, which ultimately leaves them unable to either walk or run.

People probably fail to notice this strategy because they see the situation as a dichotomy between "low status" and "high status", as if any deviation from the highest observed status means they remain at the bottom.

All of the following behaviors are not highest status:

  • Joining an existing group, instead of creating your own, or waiting for the group to form spontaneusly around you.
  • Learning the norms of the group, instead of expecting the group to forgive you all transgressions.
  • Taking interest in the topics of the group, instead of expecting the group to switch to the topics that interest you.
  • Following the
... (read more)
4[anonymous]5yIt's possible to take on the growth mindset here. I myself have improved in this area and I know people who have improved far more than me. Note that only about 10% of this is what you say. The other 90% of it is the energy you bring to what you say, which mostly manifests in voice tonality, body language, facial expressions, and eye contact. All of those things in turn are influenced by your mental state and frame of mind - specifically, you want to feel present, open, interested, and calm. All of these represent habits that you can take on 1 at a time, as long as you make sure to train them the way you would any other habit. If you're interested in pre-made training programs that go through this, here's a short list: http://lesswrong.com/lw/mdh/open_thread_jun_22_jun_28_2015/cicl [http://lesswrong.com/lw/mdh/open_thread_jun_22_jun_28_2015/cicl]
2IlyaShpitser5yWork hard to get something to hang your hat on. Why optimize for the signal, optimize for the thing itself directly.
1ChristianKl5yImposter syndrome does make some people less effective at their jobs.
2[anonymous]5yhttp://psychology.tools/self-esteem.html [http://psychology.tools/self-esteem.html] Remember, in a country with x amount of people, 1 in x odds happens once a day. So, in a country with a million people, one in a million odds happens once a day.
0Strangeattractor5yWhat specifically about feeling low status bothers you? What parts of that feeling do you find difficult to handle? You described the "acquire more status" process well, but that wasn't the focus of your question. Would you please be more detailed in your description of what bothers you? I feel something like "low status is the default" or, "there's not any particular reason why this person should, by default, be interested in what I am doing, or consider it important or worthy." Hmm, when I write that out it sounds worse than it feels. But it doesn't particularly bother me to go into a situation where someone treats me as low-status, unless I am attempting to achieve something that status and attention would help with. There are times when not being the center of attention is an advantage, and where having higher status would be more time-consuming and bothersome. Is the group worthy of my time and attention? Does it share my values? Is increasing status something that would help my goals? Then it may be worth it to put the effort in. Otherwise, why bother? It may be easier and more congruent with my goals to slip through the group unnoticed. Chasing status for its own sake can be a time-sink. If your time is valuable, it makes sense to be selective about what status you pursue. Letting others' perceptions of your status affect your motivation seems...nonsensical to me. If you let status affect your motivation that much, perhaps you were not strongly motivated to begin with. Perhaps the thing you are starting to do is not something that you actually want. Perhaps what is needed is more introspection about what you do want, and what your priorities are, so that your actions can align better with your values and goals. But I'm kind of guessing with not much to go on here, so that's why I asked for more detail. Also, "even in new groups finding interesting and relevant things to say" is a skill that can be acquired. In my opinion it would be better not to think o
0passive_fist5yFor Ph.D., what kind of groups are you thinking about? (aside from university circles obviously)

What do people here think of going into condensed matter physics to work on technology relevant for the continuation of some form of Moore's Law?

The basic motivation here is that having progress in our capacity to engineer the physical basis for information processing grind to a halt would be a bad thing. My comparative advantage is probably working in experimental or theoretical condensed matter physics.

I am an undergraduate physics concentrator, and specifically I am interested in quantum computing (esp. topological) 70%, spintronics 10%, valleytronics 10%, traditional solid state nanoelectronics 5%, atomtronics 5%.

8Manfred5yA great question. As a condensed matter physics grad student (doing scanning tunneling microscopy), I should start my reply by saying that going to grad school in physics is something that fewer people should be doing. If you want to do research in the field it is basically irreplaceable, but you have to be aware that there are many fewer spaces for postgraduate researchers, especially faculty, than there are grad students. If you are accepted at a top university, or get to work in a prestigious lab (good publications in Nature, PRL, Nature Physics, etc.), then you at least have a shot, but even then there's not enough space and too many hopefuls. Don't depend on everything going right, and if you have other plans, consider them. If you don't have any other plans that are even mildly appealing, this is a warning sign that you need to spend some more time planning. A little time on plans can save you a lot of trouble. That said, doing a PhD can force you to improve yourself. You'll become better at doing research. It can be a lot of fun. And sometimes not so much fun, but hey, that's why they pay you and not vice versa. Just keep in mind that if you do it, you should do it because you enjoy it, because the odds are against you being a researcher in the field in 15 years. Okay, with the important but slightly tangential stuff out of the way, let's talk about Moore's law. Why do you consider an end to Moore's law to be bad? If you're an unreflective computerphile, your answer might be "computers are great, and faster, cheaper computer are greater," but I call this unreflective because it values computers based only on themselves, rather than mentioning the impact that computers have on people. If you're a transhumanist, your answer might be "there's people suffering and dying out there, and the faster we get to post-scarcity the better for everyone." Or if you think AI will have a huge impact on the future, replace 'post-scarcity' with 'a positive singularity.' Ar
3jnwrd5yThank you for the detailed response! I think I wandered too far afield with the comment about Moore's law (I kinda just wanted to see how people would respond, and it seemed like a more accessible question). I don't think faster, cheaper computers are an end unto themselves, and I don't think working on AI would be my comparative advantage . My single biggest motivation is the development of quantum simulation with a view towards quantum chemistry and many-body simulation, which in turn are relevant for the development of medicine and energy. I am a transhumanist and I want to work on technology that has a good shot of leading to an increase in life expectancies and human carrying capacity by the time it starts to really matter for me (40-50 years out, shamelessly selfish I know, I am working on becoming more altruistic. I also just enjoy thinking about physics. I don't want to turn this into a "predict my chances for grad school thread," but I think I have a reasonable shot of making an impact in condensed matter research (Harvard undergraduate, I should be able to update this view after this upcoming semester when I get directly involved in experimental research on the Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect). My backup plan if academia doesnt work out is to join one of the quantum computing startups that will likely be founded over the next 7 years. I have done internships in finance and software dev, neither of which I really loved, but for a physics major/grad student those doors tend to remain at least partially open with some independent study. I was actually not that interested in quantum computing until I came across the really beautiful idea of topological quantum computing. Also I have seen that talk by John Martinis, although it was a while ago, I am going to watch it again now that I have more of the relevant knowledge, thanks!
5Manfred5yPart of what makes smart people valuable is that they can learn new stuff. The specialized part of an undergrad education can be done in under 2 years, 4 hours a day (even assuming no shortcuts or speedups), which is not that much time if you're making plans for over 5 years out. So although it certainly seems like you have some strong comparative advantage in one field, you can still change tracks pretty easily. Quantum computing startups are a bit tricky, because of the huge seed investment for low temperature and nanofabrication equipment. Maybe if people get spin qubits in diamond working at liquid nitrogen temperatures it will be cheap enough. But, hey, if it floats your boat, go for it. P.S. your link should go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igPXzKjqrNg [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igPXzKjqrNg]
1ChristianKl5yWhy? Continuation of Moore's law might make AGI come sooner and thus more likely to be unfriendly.
[-][anonymous]5y 5

I'm interested in talking to people knowledgeable in decision theory/bayesian statistics about a startup that aims to disrupt the $240,000,000,000 management consulting market. it's based on the idea of prediction polls, but done on the blockchain(the same thing bitcoin uses) in a completely decentralized way.

I'm particularly interested in people who can help me out with understanding/choosing alternative scoring rules besides Brier scoring.

I can't pay you for your time, but I can virtually order you a pizza or buy you a beer :).


edit: Here's the (still... (read more)

You seem to assume that the management consulting companies are paid for making the correct decision based on the data... as opposed to giving the answer someone important in the management (the person who made the decision to hire them) wanted to hear, while providing this person plausible deniability ("it wasn't my idea; it's what the world-renown experts told us to do; are you going to doubt them?").

Depending on which view is correct, there may or may not be a market demand for your solution.

2pianoforte6115yI've seen this cynical viewpoint before. Honest question - what do you know about management consulting? What specific management consulting decisions are you basing this theory off of and how common are they? And how much of consulting consists of much more boring activities like developing new supply chains and inventory systems, rather than Machiavellian strategizing?
7Viliam5yI have no direct experience with management consulting. My opinions are formed by: my own observations of office politics; reading Dilbert; reading Robin Hanson; listening to stories of my friend who is an IT consultant. But I trust the other sources because they are compatible with what I observe. Maybe it depends on a company, and maybe the one where I work now is an unually dysfunctional one (or maybe I just have better information channels and pay better attention), but most management decisions are completely idiotic. What the managers are good at optimizing for, is keeping their jobs. Even that is not done by making sure the projects succeed, but rather by destroying internal competitors. For example, one of our managers was fired because our IT support department was actively sabotaging our project for a few months and we had no budget to seek help elsewhere; so we missed a few deadlines because we even had no servers functioning, and then the guy was fired for incompetence. The new manager is a good friend with the IT support manager, so when he got his role, our IT support department stopped actively sabotating us. This was all he ever did for us; otherwise he almost completely ignores the project. He is praised as a competent leader, because now we succeeded to catch up with the schedule. That was mostly because of the hard work of our three most competent developers. One of them was recently fired, because we had too many people on the team. And that's because the new manager also brought a few developers from his old team; they do absolutely nothing, officially because they are experts on a different programming language, but we secretly suspect they actually don't even know programming, so they don't contribute and mostly don't even go to work, but now they are part of our budget, so someone else had to go. Why not pick randomly? How is it possible that such systems survive? My explanation is that nerds are really bad at playing power games (actuall
2pianoforte6115yThat was a very entertaining read thanks. It is also possible that you aren't aware of most of what your management does. I'll take your word for it that many of their decisions that are visible to you are poor (maybe most of their decision are, but I'm not yet convinced). As for management consulting, I suppose that is an inferential gap that is going to be hard to bridge.
1Viliam5yThe implication of my story for management consulting is: if this company (assuming that I have described it correctly) would ever hire a management consulting company, why would they decide to do it, how would they choose the specific company, what task would they give to the company, and how would they use the results? My model says that they wouldn't hire the management consulting company unless as a move in some internal power struggle; the choice would most likely be done on basis of "some important person's friend works for the consulting company or recommended the company"; they would give the company a completely false description of our organization and would choose the most uninformed and incompetent people as speakers (for example, they might choose one of those 'programmers' who doesn't contribute to our project as the person who will describe the project to the consultants); and whatever reports the consulting company would give to us, our management would completely reinterpret them to fit their existing beliefs. In other words, I have no direct information about the management consulting companies, but I have a model of their customers; and that models says that in the market for management consulting the actual quality of the advice is irrelevant. (Unless companies like this are a minority on the market.) The upper echelons don't invite me to their meetings, so there is always a chance. But when I tried to socialize with some of the lower managers, the story is usually that the higher managers mostly sabotage their work by "hit-and-run management". It works like this: the higher manager knows nothing about the project and most of the time doesn't even care. Suddenly they become interested in some detail (e.g. something got wrong and the customer complained to them, or they just randomly heard something and decided to "be useful"). So they come and start micromanaging to optimize for that detail, completely ignoring all the context. Sometimes they
1[anonymous]5yThis question is something that keeps me up at night. In the long term, I'm confident that if the latter case is true, my solution will (eventually) outcompete anyone using mangement consultants. Because of the blockchain based business model, this is a possibility that the company (in the loosest sense of the word) can handle. This would be worst case scenario.
1Good_Burning_Plastic5y"The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."
0[anonymous]5yThat's not how the blockchain works - once the app is there, it exists forever( at least as long as other apps are using that same blockchain), and it can limp along as long as it needs to until the market catches up. It's one of the key reasons I chose the business model I did (which allows investors to make money from the app being succesful, no matter whether that's from an application of the protocol IM using, or someone else)
-2[anonymous]5yThat's a predominately satirical (sometimes conspiracy theory..). I hope you're using it that way and aren't just ignorant... You're selling the efficacy of your implementation to firms for making correct decisions. The perception of correct decisions, or potential thereof is important.
0Viliam5yUnless you also consider Dilbert to be a conspiracy theorist... People are often optimizing for their own goals [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal%E2%80%93agent_problem], instead of the goals of the organization they are working for. People are stupid. People are running on a corrupted hardware [https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Corrupted_hardware]. Put these three facts together, and you will see organizations where managers sometimes make genuinely bad decisions, and sometimes they make decisions that help them but harm the company; and they will of course deny doing this, and sometimes they are simply lying, but sometimes they honestly believe it. Often the quality of a decision is hard to measure, or perhaps just too easy to rationalize either way. When a manager makes a bad decision, it does not mean that the project will fail. Sometimes the employees will work harder or take overtime to fix the problems. Sometimes the company is lucky because their customer is even more dysfunctional than them, so they won't notice how faulty and overpriced is the delivered product. When a manager makes good decisions, it does not mean that the project will succeed. Sometimes other managers that are supposed to cooperate with the department will sabotage the project to get rid of an internal competitor. Sometimes there are unpredictable forces outside, for example a new competing product appears on the market, and it happens to be better and cheaper, or just has better marketing. -- And of course, when a project succeeds, the typical manager will attribute it to their own smart decisions, and when a project fails, there will always be someone or something else to blame. It's like in politics.
7Vaniver5yI know about scoring rules and probability assessments. Email me and we'll set up a time to talk. Similar to Viliam in a sibling comment, I think that this is the sort of idea that would work in the ideal world but not the real world. To channel Hanson, "Consulting is not about advice," and thus a product that seeks to disrupt consulting by providing superior advice will simply fail. (Compare to MetaMed, which tried to disrupt medicine by providing superior diagnostics. Medicine is not about healing!)
1niceguyanon5yThis is something that I would be interested in reading, so I think I found the link [http://www.lesswrong.com] in case anyone else is interested. Side story, I once did a case study phone interview with a consulting firm, using a real world example of one of their clients, a major credit card company. They were tasked with finding ways to increase revenue. Without any background information I gave them a bunch of wacky out of the box and on the spot answers. I asked them what the real answer was. The answer? Need more customers. That's 500k over the course of a month for 6 MBAs. But the client gets a 30 page PDF with words on it documenting their finds so shrug
0[anonymous]5yThat link goes to lesswrong.com... is there another link?
2Viliam5yHere are some articles from Overcoming Bias that seem relevant: * Consulting Isn’t About Advice [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/04/consulting-isnt-about-advice.html] * Too Much Consulting? [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/01/why-so-much-consulting.html] * Status As Strength [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/02/status-as-strength.html] * Freakonomics On Consulting [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/11/freakonomics-on-consulting.html] Some quotes:
0[anonymous]5yThanks, these are really helpful!
1[anonymous]5yI think this is the most legitimate objection to the entire model as stated. To be fair, the reason I want this out there is NOT just to disrupt consulting - my investors asked me for the best mass market play, and this was it. I have other uses for a cheap accurate forecasting tool that don't involve Fortune 500 companies :). edit: I do think that no matter what happens, a tool like this will eventually come to dominate because it' s just better - but it may take new companies out-competing other companies using the tool, which is much slower than convincing existing companies to switch from management consulting. I'll send you an email now.
0pianoforte6115yI'd love to hear this expanded on. On the surface this comment pattern matches to the sort of low quality anti-establishment attitude [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/n3n/open_thread_dec_21_dec_27_2015/czec] that is common around here, so I'm surprised to see you write it.
5Vaniver5yThree main sources. (But first the disclaimer About Isn't About You [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2015/04/about-isnt-about-you.html] seems relevant--that is, even if medicine is all a sham (which I don't believe), participating in the medical system isn't necessarily a black mark on you personally.) First is Robin Hanson's summary on the literature on health economics. The medicine [http://www.overcomingbias.com/?s=medicine] tag on Robin's blog has a lot, but a good place to start is probably Cut Medicine in Half [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/09/cut-medicine-in.html] and Medicine as Scandal [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/05/medicine_as_sca.html] followed by Farm and Pet Medicine [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/02/farm-vs-pet-medicine.html] and Dog vs. Cat Medicine [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2012/02/dog-vs-cat-medicine.html]. To summarize it shortly, it looks like medical spending is driven by demand effects (we care so we spend to show we care [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/03/showing-that-yo.html]) rather than supply effects (medicine is better so we consume more) or efficacy (we don't keep good records of how effective various doctors are). His proposal [http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/10/buy-health-not.html] for how to fund medicine shows what he thinks a more sane system would look like. (As 'cut medicine in half' suggests, he doesn't think the average medical spending has a non-positive effect, but that the marginal medical spending does, to a very deep degree.) Second is the efficiency literature on medicine. This is statisticians and efficiency experts and so on trying to apply standard industrial techniques to medicine and getting pushback that looks ludicrous to me. For example, human diagnosticians perform at the level or worse than simple algorithms (I'm talking linear regressions, here, not even neural networks or decision trees or so on), and this has been known in the efficiency literature for well over fifty years. Only
6Thrasymachus5yI broadly differ with the hansonian take on medicine. I think metamed failed not because it offered more effective healing but went bust because medicine doesn't really demand healing; but rather that medicine is about healing, generally does this pretty well, and Metamed was unable to provide a significant edge in performance over standard medicine. (I should note I am a doctor, albeit a somewhat contrarian one. I wrote the 80k careers guide on medicine [https://80000hours.org/career-guide/top-careers/profiles/medical-careers/]). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think medicine is generally less fertile ground for hansonian signalling accounts, principally because health is so important for our life and happiness we're less willing to sacrifice it to preserve face (I'd wager it is an even better tax on bs than money). If the efficacy of marginal health spending is near zero in rich countries, that seems evidence in support of, 'medicine is really about healing' - we want to live healthily so much we chase the returns curve all the way to zero! There are all manner of ways in which western world medicine does badly, but I think sometimes the faults are overblown, and the remainder are best explained by human failings rather than medicine being a sham practice: 1) My understanding of the algorithms for diagnosis is that although linear regressions and simple methods can beat humans at very precise diagnostic questions (e.g. 'Given these factors of a patient who is mentally ill, what is their likelihood of committing suicide?), humans still have better performance in messier (and more realistic) situations. It'd be surprising for IBM to unleash Watson on a very particular aspect of medicine (therapeutic choice in oncology) if simple methods could beat doctors across most of the board. (I'd be very interested to see primary sources if my conviction is mistaken) 2) Medicine has become steadily more and more protoco
3Vaniver5yFormatting note: the brackets for links are greedy, so you need to escape them with a \ to avoid a long link. [Testing] a long [link](https://www.google.com/) [Testing] a long link [https://www.google.com/] \[Testing\] a short [link](https://www.google.com/) [Testing] a short link [https://www.google.com/] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I agree that I expect people to be more willing to trade money for face than health for face. I think the system is slanted too heavily towards face, though. I should also point out that this is mostly a demand side problem. If it were only a supply side problem, MetaMed could have won, but it's not--people are interested in face more than they're interested in health (see the example of the outdated brochure that was missing the key medical information, but looked like how a medical brochure is supposed to look). My understanding is that this is correct for the simple techniques, but incorrect for the complicated techniques. That is, you're right that a single linear regression can't replace a GP but a NLP engine plus a twenty questions bot plus a causal network probably could. (I unfortunately don't have any primary sources at hand; medical diagnostics is an interest but most of the academic citations I know are all machine diagnostics, since that's what my research was in.) I should also mention that, from the ML side, the technical innovation of Watson is in the NLP engine. That is, a patient could type English into a keyboard and Watson would mostly understand what they're saying, instead of needing a nurse or doctor to translate the English into the format needed by the diagnostic tool. The main challenge with uptake of the simple techniques historically was that they only did the final computation, but most of the work in diagnostics is collecting the information from the patient. And so if the physcian is 78% accurate and the linear regression is 80% accurate, is i
1Thrasymachus5y(Sorry for delay, and thanks for the formatting note.) My knowledge is not very up to date re. machine medicine, but I did get to play with some of the commercially available systems, and I wasn't hugely impressed. There may be a lot more impressive results yet to be released commercially but (appealing back to my priors) I think I would have heard of it as it would be a gamechanger for global health. Also, if fairly advanced knowledge work of primary care can be done by computer, I'd expect a lot of jobs without the protective features of medicine to be automated. I agree that machine medicine along the lines you suggest will be superior to human performance, and I anticipate this to be achieved (even if I am right and it hasn't already happened) fairly soon. I think medicine will survive less by the cognitive skill required, but rather though technical facility and social interactions, where machines comparably lag (of course, I anticipate they will steadily get better at this too). I grant a hansonian account can accomodate this sort of 'guided by efficacy' data I suggest by 'pretending to actually try' considerations, but I would suggest this almost becomes an epicycle: any data which supports medicine being about healing can be explained away by the claim that they're only pretending to be about healing as a circuitous route to signalling. I would say the general ethos of medicine (EBM, profileration of trials) looks like pro tanto reasons in favour about being about healing, and divergence from this (e.g. what happened to semmelweis, other lags) is better explained by doctors being imperfect and selfish, and patients irrational, rather than both parties adeptly following a signalling account. But I struggle to see what evidence could neatly distinguish between these cases. If you have an idea, I'd be keen to hear it. :) I agree with the selection worry re. Metamed's customers: they also are assumedly selected from people who modern medicine didn't help, w
0Vaniver5yI'm not sure there's much of a difference between the "doctors care about healing, but run into imperfection and seflishness" interpretation and the "doctors optimize for signalling, but that requires some healing as a side effect" interpretation besides which piece goes before the 'but' and which piece goes after. The main difference I do see is that if 'selfishness' means 'status' then we might see different defection than if 'selfishness' means 'greed.' I'm not sure there's enough difference between them for a clear comparison to be made, though. Greedy doctors will push for patients to do costly but unnecessary procedures, but status-seeking doctors will also push for patients to do costly but unnecessary procedures because it makes them seem more important and necessary.
1[anonymous]5yThere's also a metamed cofounder making the same case for their failure, here: https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-thing-and-the-symbolic-representation-of-the-thing/ [https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-thing-and-the-symbolic-representation-of-the-thing/]
1pianoforte6115yThanks for the detailed reply. Regarding arguments that the allocation of medical resources, particularly in the U.S. are wasteful and harmful in many cases - I agree in general, though the specifics are messy, and I don't find Robin's posts on the matter very well argued*. I'm most interested in this bit: Particularly since your initial claim that had me raising eyebrows was that MetaMed failed because they have great diagnostics, but medicine doesn't want good diagnostics. Edit: *In the RAND post he argues that lower co-pays in a well insured population resulted in no marginal benefit of health (I'm unconvinced by this but I'd rather not go there), therefore the fact that most studies show a positive effect of medicine is a sham. I'm not sure if he thinks that statins and insulin are a scam but this is a bold and unjustified conclusion. The RAND experiment is not equipped to evaluate the overall healthcare effects of medicine, and that was not its main purpose - it was for examining healthcare utilization. The specific health effects of common interventions are known by studying them directly, and getting patients to follow the treatment protocols that get those results is, as far as I know, an unsolved problem.
1[anonymous]5yThere's also a metamed cofounder making the same case, here: https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-thing-and-the-symbolic-representation-of-the-thing/ [https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/the-thing-and-the-symbolic-representation-of-the-thing/]
0Vaniver5yA good place to get started there is Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195162307/ref=nosim?tag=vglnk-c319-20], summarized on LW [http://lesswrong.com/lw/5vs/epistemology_and_the_psychology_of_human_judgment/] by badger. Ah, that's a slightly broader claim than the one I wanted to make. MetaMed, especially early on, optimized for diagnostics and very little else, and so ran into problems like "why is the report I paid $5,000 for so poorly typeset?". So it's not that medicine / patients wants bad diagnostics ceteris paribus, but that the tradeoffs they make between the various features of medical care make it clear that healing isn't the primary goal. As I understand it, the study measured health outcomes at the beginning and end of the study, as well as utilization during the study. The group with lower copays consumed much more medicine than the group with higher copays, but was no healthier. This suggests that the marginal bit of medicine--i.e. the piece that people don't consume, but would if it were cheaper or do consume but wouldn't if it were more expensive--doesn't have a net impact. (Anything that it would do to help is countered by the risks of interacting with the medical system, say.) I think I should also make it clear that there's a difference between medicine, the attempt to heal people, and Medicine, the part of our economy devoted to such, just like there's a distinction between science and Science. One could make a similar claim that Science Isn't About Discovery, for example, which would seem strange if one is only thinking about "the attempt to gain knowledge" instead of the actual academia-government-industry-journal-conference system. Most of Robin's work is on medical spending specifically, i.e. medicine as actually practiced instead of how it could be practiced.
1Jiro5y"People evaluated this report solely using non-medical considerations" is not the same as "medical considerations aren't the primary goal" in the way that is normally understood. The non-medical consdierations serve as a filter. I want to read a book with a good story (let's call that a good book). However, I don't want to read a good book that will cost me $5000 to read. By your definition, that means that my primary goal is not to read a good book, my primary goal is to read a cheap enough book. That is not how most people use the phrase "primary goal".
0Vaniver5yWhich suggests to me that those are the primary goal. Now, you might say "but most people are homo hypocritus, not homo economicus, so 'primary goal' should mean 'stated goal' instead of 'actual goal'. And if that's your reply, go back and reread all my posts replacing "primary goal" with "actual goal," because the wording isn't specific. Your primary goal is your life satisfaction, and good books are only one way to achieve that; if you think you can get more out of $5k worth of spending in other areas than on books, this lines up with my model. (I will note, though, that one can view many college classes as the equivalent of "spending $5000 to read a good book.") -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The relevant comparison is more like this one: suppose you preferred a poorly reviewed book with a superior cover to a well reviewed book with an inferior cover. Then we could sensibly conclude that you care more about the cover than the reviews, even if you verbally agree that reviews are more likely to be indicative of quality than the cover.
0Jiro5yIt doesn't make any more sense with that. Pretty much nobody would say that because they wouldn't do Y if X wasn't true, X is their actual goal for Y. Any term that they would use is such that substituting it in makes your original statement not very insightful. (For instance, most people wouldn't call X a primary goal or an actual goal, but they might call X a necessary condition. But if you were to say "people found something other than healing to be a necessary condition for buying a report", that would not really say much that isn't already obvious.) I prefer a poorly reviewed book that costs $10 to a well reviewed book that costs $5000. By your reasoning I "care more about the price than about the reviews". That's fighting the hypothetical.
0Vaniver5yI think this reveals our fundamental disagreement: I am describing people, not repeating people's self-descriptions, and since I am claiming that people are systematically mistaken about their self-descriptions, of course there should be a disagreement between them! That is, suppose Alice "goes to restaurants for the food" but won't go to any restaurants that have poor decor / ambiance, but will go to restaurants that have good ambiance and poor food. If Bob suggests to Alice that they go to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with great food, and Alice doesn't like it or doesn't go, then an outside observer seems correct in saying that Alice's actual goal is the ambiance. Now, sure, Alice could be assessing the experience along many dimensions and summing them in some way. But typically there is a dominant feature that overrides other concerns, or the tradeoffs seem to heavily favor one dimension (perhaps there need to be five units of food quality increase to outweigh one unit of ambiance quality decrease), which cashes out to the same thing when there's a restricted range. I think you do care more about the price than about the reviews? That is, if there were a book that cost $5k and there were a bunch of people who had read it and said that the experience of reading it was life-changingly good and totally worth $5k, and you decided not to spend the money on the book, it's clear that you're not in the most hardcore set of story-chasers, but instead you're a budget-conscious story-chaser. To bring it back to MetaMed, oftentimes the work that they did was definitely worth the cost. People pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment of serious conditions, and so the idea of paying five thousand dollars to get more diagnostic work done to make sure the other money is well-spent is not obviously a strange or bad idea, whereas paying $5k for a novel is outlandish. I don't see why you think that. You could argue it's reference class tennis, but if your point is "
0Jiro5yI'm complaining about your terminology. Terminology is about which meaning your words communicate. Being wrong about one's self-description is about whether the meaning you intend to communicate by your words is accurate. These are not the same thing and you can easily get one of them wrong independently of the other. The sentence after the "that is" is a nonstandard definition of "caring more about the price than about the reviews". It's fighting the hypothetical because the hypothetical is that I do not want to pay $5000 for a book. Pointing out that there are situations where people want to pay $5000 for a book disputes whether the situation laid out in the hypothetical actually happens. That's fighting the hypothetical. Even if you're correct, whether the situation described in the hypothetical can actually happen is irrelevant to the point the hypothetical is being used to make. My point is not "people don't do weird thing X", my point is that people do not use the term X for the type of situation described in the hypothetical. A situation does not have to actually happen in order for people to use terms to describe it.
1pianoforte6115yThanks, I'll try to find the relevant parts. I didn't want to get in too in depth into this discussion, because I don't actually disagree with the weak conclusion that a lot of people receive too much healthcare and that completely free healthcare is probably a bad idea. But Robin Hanson doesn't stop there, he concludes that the rest of medicine is a sham and the fact that other studies show otherwise is a scandal. As to why I don't buy this, the RAND experiment does not show that health outcomes do not improve. It shows that certain measured metrics do not show a statistically significant improvement on the whole population. In fact in the original paper, the risk of dying was decreased for the poor high risk group but not the entire population. Which brings up a more general problem - such a study is obviously going to be underpowered for any particular clinical question, and it isn't capable of detecting benefits that lie outside of those metrics.
1ChristianKl5yMetaMed's Michael Vassar gave a Tedx talk: The legend of healthcare [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5UAOK1bk74]
5Lumifer5yI'm not buying your elevator pitch. Primarily because lots of data is not nearly enough. You need smart people and, occasionally, very smart people. This means that is not true because they lack people smart enough to correctly process the data, interpret it, and arrive at the correct conclusions. And is also not quite true because companies like McKinsey and Bain actually look for and hire very smart people -- again, it's not just data. Besides, in a lot of cases external consultants are used as hatchet men to do things that are politically impossible for the insiders to do, that is, what matters is not their access to data but their status as outsiders. Sure there is -- money. It's not "pure" capitalism around here, but it is capitalism. So, what's wrong with the stock price as the metric? Besides, evaluating forecasting capability is... difficult. Both theoretically (out of many possible futures only one gets realized) and practically (there is no incentive for people to give you hard predictions they make). I don't think that McKinsey's and Bain's business is crunching data. I think it is renting out smart people.
7lusername5y(using throwaway account to post this) Very true. I was recently involved in a reasonably huge data mining & business intelligence task (that I probably should not disclose). I could say this was an eye-opener, but I am old enough to be cynical and disillusioned so that it was not a surprise. First, we had some smart people in the team (shamelessly including myself :-), "smart" almost by definition means "experts in programming, sw development and enough mathematics and statistics) doing the sw implementation, data extraction and statistics. Then there were slightly less smart people, but experts in the domain being studied, that were supposed to make the sense of the results and write the report. These people were offloaded from the team, because they were very urgently needed for other projects. Second, the company bought very expensive tool for data mining and statistical analysis, and subcontracted other company to extend it with necessary functionality. The tool did not work as expected, the subcontracted extension was late by 2 months (they finished it at the time the final report should have been made!) and it was buggy and did not work with the new version of the tool. Third, it was quite clear that the report should be bent towards what the customer wants to hear (that is not to say it would contain fabricated data - just the interpretations should be more favourable). So, those smart people spent their time in 1) implementing around bugs in the sw we were supposed to use, 2) writing ad-hoc statistical analysis sw to be able to do at least something, 3) analysing data in the domain they were not experts in, 4) writing the report. After all this, the report was stellar, the customer extremely satisfied, the results solid, the reasoning compelling. Had I not been involved and had I not known how much of the potential had been wasted and on how small fraction of the data the analysis had been performed, I would consider the final report to be a nice e
0[anonymous]5ySo, this problem is NOT one I'm tackling directly (I'm more saying, how can they get smart people like you to make that cludge for much cheaper) but the model does indirectly incentivize better BI tools by creating competition directly in forecasting ability, and not just signaling ability.
3[anonymous]5yTo be frank, I didn't expect you to based on our previous conversations on forecasting. You are too skeptical of it, and haven't read some of the recent research on how effective it can be in a variety of situations. Exactly, this is the problem I'm solving. As I said, the signaling problem. Using previous performance as a metric means that there are lots of good forecasters out there who simply can't get discovered - right now, it's signaling all the way down (Top companies hire from top colleges, take from top highschools). Basically, I'm betting that there are lots of organizations and people out there who are good forecasters, but don't have the right signals to prove it. You should read the linked article on prediction polls - they weren't even paying people in Tetlock's study (only giving giftcard gifts not at all comensurate to the work people are putting in) and they solved the problem to the point where they could beat prediction markets.
1Lumifer5yFrom my internal view I'm sceptical of it because I'm familiar with it :-/ Um, hiring from top colleges is not quite all signaling. There is quite a gap between, say, an average Stanford undergrad and an average undergrad of some small backwater college. Um, I was one of Tetlocks' forecasters for a year. I wasn't terribly impressed, though. I think it's a bit premature to declare that they "solved the problem". With people who claim to have awesome forecasting power or techniques, I tend to point at financial markets and ask why aren't they filthy rich.
0[anonymous]5yYou're right, I was assuming things about you I shouldn't have. Fair point. But the point is that they're going on something like "the average undergrad" and discounting all the outliers. Especially problematic in this case because forecasting is an orthogonal skillset to what it takes to get into a top college. Markets are one of the best forecasting tools we have, so beating them is hard. But using the market to get these types of questions answered is hard (liquidity issues in prediction markets) so another technique is needed. What part specifically of that paper do you think was unimpressive?
0Lumifer5yNot necessarily. Recall that a slight shift in the mean of a normal distribution (e.g. IQ scores) results in strong domination in the tails. Besides, searching for talent has costs. You're much better off searching for talent at top tier schools than at no-name colleges hoping for a hidden gem. What "types of questions" do you have in mind? And wouldn't liquidity issues be fixed just by popularity? Let me propose IQ as a common cause leading to correlation. I don't think the skillsets are orthogonal. I read it a while ago and don't remember enough to do a critique off the top of my head, sorry...
0[anonymous]5yThat's the signalling issue - I'm trying to create a better signal so you don't have to make that tradeoff Question Example: "How many units will this product sell in Q1 2016?" (Where this product is something boring, like a brand of toilet paper) This is a question that I don't ever see being popular with the general public. If you only have a few experts in a prediction market, you don't have enough liquidity to update your predictions. With prediction polls, that isn't a problem.
0Lumifer5yWhy do you call that "signaling"? A top-tier school has a real, actual, territory-level advantage over a backwater college. The undergrads there are different. I don't know about that not being a problem. Lack of information is lack of information. Pooling forecasts is not magical.
0[anonymous]5yBecause you're going by the signal (the college name), not the actual thing you're measuring for (forecasting ability). I meant a problem for frequent updates. Obviously, less participants will lead to less accurate forecasts - but by brier weighting and extremizing you can still get fairly decent results.
1ChristianKl5yWhy do you believe that management consulting companies are payed to predict the future?
0[anonymous]5yI actually believe that management consulting companies are paid to help companies make big decisions. I believe this because usually they are hired when a company needs to make a big decision. Decision theory shows us that a huge portion of making big decisions is making accurate predictions about the future (and the other pieces, such as determining an accurate utility function, are best left to the organizations themselves).
1ChristianKl5yWhere does it show us that's true? More importantently how do you know that the customers of mangement consulting believe that's true? Do you think that the average Fortune 500 CEO invests resources into internal prediction making in a way to indicate that he believes this is true? I think if the average Fortune 500 CEO would believe this to be true you would have much more internal prediction markets in companies. Programs for internal prediction markets that are not sold based on team building efforts but that are sold on actually producing actionable data.
0[anonymous]5yI mean, I'm convinced by the math. You are welcome to disagree with the math, but you'll have to show me some other math that disproves everything that decision theorists have already figured out. We have different models here. In my model, Prediction Markets aren't used because politics are set up for people who can make excuses - prediction markets would remove the ability of those people to make excuses, so the political factions don't allow them. Management consulting firms solve this by coming in as an outsider endorsed by the fortune 500CEO (therefore bypassing most of the politics) and making those predictions themselves. I'm just trying to bring down the cost of these outsiders, so that the CEO can use them for many more decisions.
0ChristianKl5yThe math depends heavily on the axioms that you use. It's quite easy to choose axioms in a way that you get the outcome you are looking for. The question is whether those axioms are warrented. Why can't the CEO order prediction markets to be created? Do you think the political factions wouldn't create markets if ordered to do so?
0[anonymous]5yAs I said, you're welcome to show me some axioms that show that forecasting is NOT a huge part of making big decisions. Because good CEO's understand that buy-in is essential for any project. You can order projects all day and alienate your workforce, but that's not how the fortune 500 CEOs got to be fortune 500 CEOs
0ChristianKl5yThe general idea is that big decisions get in most contexts made by experts via informed intuition and not by shutting up and calculating. The math at which you are looking is shut up and calculate math. Do you think people get substantially more alienated if the CEO says: Let's do an internal prediction market then when he transfers the same power to management consultants? Especially when the consultants are suddenly forced by your system to not make politically acceptable suggestions but focus on true predictions?
0[anonymous]5yThere's substantial room for both in prediction polls. The alienation doesn't tank the project because it's not being run by the people being alienated.
1raydora5yI'm deeply interested in this problem. I've got to ask, though. Isn't this a niche filled by 'business intelligence' and 'data science'? They call it a lot of different things, sure, but they seem to be operating in the same space- at least, they may seem to, to a non-technical executive. An exception is mid-to-small business - I don't think there's a lot of penetration there.
1[anonymous]5yTheoretically, yes. In practice, most companies with BI dashboards and data science analytics experience more information overload than before, because they don't have the human capital to make sense of all that information. There are limited cases (e.g. weather reporting and website split testing) where the niche is narrow enough that the computer can basically do everything on it's own, but computers aren't at the point yet (and likely won't be for a long time) where they can use generic data to make complex decisions.
0[anonymous]5yGiveWell already uses expert advice for expedient impact assessments. Albeit on a small scale, without using academic- know how and with suboptimal choice and choice architecture of their experts. Hope you can improve on it :) You've picked the wrong problem domain for the scoring rules. Briar comes from probability assessment, there are already more sophisticated approaches to this problem several levels removed from the mathematical theory and synthesising several theoreums. The most proximate implementations of what you are suggesting are either delphi groups (risk analysis) or prediction markets (rationalist subculture mainly, but also academic). You probably already know how prediction markets work and you can look up 'expert elicitation' or 'eliciting expert judgement' and similar terms if you're interested. Happy to answer any tougher questions you can't get answered. There are structured approaches to delphi groups which incorporate bayes rules and insights around the psychology of eliciting and structuring expert judgement that you could mimic. There is at least one major corporate consultancy focused on this already, however. AFAIK there are no implementations of this kind in the blockchain. Whether that is a worthwhile competitive advantage is another question. You have a strategic mindset, I like it. If I've interpreted your question accurately, the reason other's in the know may not have responded is the xy problem [http://xyproblem.info/].
1[anonymous]5yYes, the technology I'm using (prediction polls) are essentially this. It's Delphi groups weighted by Brier scores. The paper I link to above compares them to a prediction market with the same questions - with proper extremizing algorithms, the prediction poll actually does better (especially early on). The reason I came up with this solution is that I wanted to use prediction markets for a specific class of impact assesments, but they weren't suited for the task. Prediction markets require either a group of interested suckers to take the bad bets, or a market maker who is sufficiently interested in the outcome to be willing to take the bad side on ALL the sucker bets. My solution complements prediction markets by being much better in those cases by avoiding the zero sum game, and instead just directly paying experts for their expertise.
[-][anonymous]5y 4

Not sure it could help other people, but still.

I tutor in 'statistical biology' a girl who might choose to go into math. About a week ago I gave her Thomas's Calculus and analytic geometry, pt. 1, and told her that as long as she can work through the exercises, the book is hers, but as soon as [the clock strikes midnight] she loses interest, she should return it.

She pounced at it, and said today that she's solved a few problems, although one of them she could not understand (it's in English, after all), so - baiting people with foreign, advanced, and most of all, privileged textbooks is a powerful tool:)

1username25yVery good idea. It exploits the endowment effect [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_effect].
0[anonymous]5yWow, thanks for the link... Now I probably will give away more of my books, as well as have a strong impulse to track her progress...;)

Epistemic status: vague conjecture and talking aloud.

So this article by Peter Watts has been making the rounds, talking about how half the people with cranial cavities filled 95% with cerebrospinal fluids still have IQs over 100. One of the side discussions on Hacker News was about how most of the internal tissue in the brain was used for routing while most 'logic' happened in the outer millimeters.

So far, I haven't seen anyone make the connection to cryonics and plasatination. If it's true that most of the important data is stored near the outside of the ... (read more)

5CellBioGuy5yThere's a difference between a brain that developed and grew under a set of unusual physical constraints and a brain that developed normally that's been cored. The first is not normal but has not had chunks destroyed all at once after it was laid down. I am reminded of the difference between patients born without a corpus callosum between the cerebral hemispheres and those that have them cut in adulthood. The latter develop classic split brain apparent semidual consciousness, the former are basically normally unitary (and diffusion tractography reveals an unusual density of sideways connectivity within the normally not very connected subcortical midbrain stuff, presumably built up in compensation as they built themselves, decidedly not normal nor as extensive as the corpus callosum but apparently functional).

What is worth reading in psychology, if you don't have too much time to explore the field?

My value set explicitly rates chemistry (specifically) and hard sciences (generally) as more worthy of my time than the soft sciences. Due to the culture I'm in, I may be unduly dissing the latter. In case that's true, I would like to rectify that. I would like to get a grasp of what is known, what is not, and what can be known. However, I would much prefer to get some kind of applicable knowledge. I am as susceptible to the fuzzies of thinking I understand something ... (read more)

From my experience the most "value added per book" in psychology is reading Games People Play. Just read the "games" and ignore all the psychoanalytical classifications attached to them -- psychoanalysis is highly dubious field, but the examples of the "games" come from real life, and many readers are shocked to find out that some of their life-long problems are actually instances of quite trivial scenarios. Sometimes there is an advice about how to quit playing the "game".

I know it's not exactly the kind of book you wanted, but it probably has more everyday applications than anything else. And it is really easy to read (when you skip the psychoanalytical classifications, which are provided separately).

1PipFoweraker5ySeconded. Both my parents are well respected communication professionals, and they refer to the mechanics described in this book more than any other. Plus it has some very cute retro cartoons. Some more healthy ideas can be found in a parallel book, Games Trainers Play, which is more useful for getting adults to engage in communication through (nominally) fun / silly activities as a way of learning about team communication dynamics etc. There are certainly lessons and models in there I have used in useful discussions as well.
8Viliam5yI haven't read "Games Trainers Play", but from the online descriptions, it seems to contain icebreakers and fun activities. To avoid possible misunderstanding, "Games People Play" is not like that. Berne uses the word "game" to mean -- I'll use my own words here -- an insincere human interaction, where people pretend that they try to achieve X as an outcome of the interaction, but they actually want to achieve Y (and they arrange things so that Y actually happens). This insincerity is driven by not fully conscious forces; people may have these kinds of interactions for years without fully realizing what is going on. Sometimes the games are cooperative: both players pretend to want X, both want to achieve the same Y; both can win by playing the game. Sometimes the games are adversarial: one player pretends to want X but works to get Y, the other player either honestly wants X or they want some different Z; one player wins by making the other one lose. Sometimes the games are relatively harmless, sometimes they can ruin lives. The value of the book is describing some frequently played "games", and explaining what the X, Y and Z are for each of them. So next time you find yourself in such situation, you may have a better model of what is really happening. Now I wonder, which of these "games" may frequently apply to wannabe rationalists... "Ain’t It Awful [http://www.ericberne.com/games-people-play/aint-it-awful/]" -- instead of optimizing for their goals, people complain [http://lesswrong.com/lw/8t/whiningbased_communities/] about how the world is irrational. The pretended goal is to optimize the world. The real emotional goal is to create a sense of togetherness, and the feeling that we are better than the rest of the world. "Blemish [http://www.ericberne.com/games-people-play/blemish/]" -- instead of using the useful resources, people try to find fault at everything. (LessWrong is cultish; Eliezer is not fit; Gleb's articles are only read by stupid people.) The p
2PipFoweraker5yYou're entirely right, 'Games Trainers Play' is not at all like Games People Play, but it is a useful book in terms of practical applications of applied human psychology. The amount of value I've observed added to newly-formed teams and temporary groups through the contents - in terms of near-immediate cohesion, bonding, and comfortable introductions to group dynamic discussions - has been tremendous. If I were going to retitle the two, GPP would become "Communicative Dark Arts and How To Spot Them", whereas GTP would be "Communicative Light Arts And How To Enjoy Them". I appreciate being able to spot someone else drawing me into a game I don't feel like playing, or don't play well enough to get my preferred payout. Being pretty firmly on the Light side of communication, I also appreciate being able to get groups integrated and performing well together easily and quickly, especially in my lines of work, which tend to involve a lot of people working together for short periods of time and with little prior contact. I like the few games you've picked out, and they certainly seem to apply to LW specifically. If I broadened the scope a little, I'd probably pick two of the 'games' from GPP that it's common for me to see in LW-like communities: Yes, But: [http://www.ericberne.com/games-people-play/why-dont-you-yes-but/] This is a game where a problem is stated by the initiator, the (unknowing) respondent makes a suggestion towards a state problem, and the initator rebuffs it with a 'Yes, but' and then rephrases or further complicates the problem. Observe : This game is commonly launched into by someone who has either an intrinsic reluctance or a hidden external impetus to not actually resolve their initial problem. Sometimes caused by someone who simply wants to have a vent, and is caught off-guard by someone else not realising this and focusing in on a solution. Otherwise, this is a power game - the problem-stater insisting on being 'rescued', not once, but multiple
1Jiro5yAlice and Bob have precommitted and were unlucky enough to be caught in the situation where following through on the precommitment was harmful.
1Viliam5yI guess the idea is that both made a stupidly extreme version of their precommitments, which will repeatedly produce this kind of conflict in the future. But they will continue to believe that the precommitment was smart, only they had the bad luck to meet exceptionally horrible people. The idea of the book is that these kinds of scenarios are repeated over and over again in lives of some people.
2[anonymous]5yAre you looking for textbooks or pop-psychology?
1username25yI would prefer textbooks, but I am willing to take even a list on some website if it is not about fuzzies while reading it, but giving you an idea of how to apply that knowledge.Although, pop-science does'nt seem the way to go if one wants to get a sense of the field.
1[anonymous]5yTextbook-wise I recommend skipping the intro textbook, and just going straight into the specialties. Intro textbooks have a lot of problems as outlined here [http://fixingpsychology.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-should-intro-textbook-do.html] . I think the inclusion of rejected findings such as Maslow's hierarchy or Piaget's stages of development in many textbooks is just ridiculous even if their work influenced a lot of researchers. Choosing a specialty will depend on your interests. If you just want to read about a bunch of applied research findings, then a Clinical Psychology textbook is probably going to be your best bet. If you want to jump right into something you can use, then most likely you'll want an Industrial-Organizational Psychology textbook. lukeprog [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3nn/scientific_selfhelp_the_state_of_our_knowledge/] has compiled a ton of suggestions for people who are looking for self-help advice. I too would recommend The Procrastination Equation, which does compile a lot of useful studies from multiple disciplines although it is intended for a popular audience, so what he's saying in some places isn't the best description of the theory you'll ever find. If you want a deep understanding of theory, then I recommend getting textbooks on Cognitive Science, Behavior Analysis, and Developmental Psychology in that order. Most of the best recent theoretical research can be connected to Cognitive Science in some form or other. Behavior Analysis textbooks are useful for learning about a lot of the better older studies, but the terminology is different in some areas than the way most psychologists use it, which is why I don't recommend starting with it. Developmental Psychology also has a mixture of both recent and older studies of high quality, so it's a good third option. I don't recommend starting with Development because many of the ideas are ones you'll find in the other two textbooks, and you'll also likely get some outdated research included.

Did I miss the 2015 survey or will there be none?

3Sarunas5yhttp://slatestarscratchpad.tumblr.com/post/134165170061/do-you-plan-on-doing-an-lwssc-survey-this-year [http://slatestarscratchpad.tumblr.com/post/134165170061/do-you-plan-on-doing-an-lwssc-survey-this-year]
[-][anonymous]5y 2

Zen Kravinsky: Investor, utilitarian, organ donor, poet, polysemic, topoilogist, anthropologist, asian studies scholar, real estate mogal.

After Kravinsky learned that many African-Americans have difficulty obtaining kidneys from family members, he sought out a hospital in Philadelphia that would allow him to donate one of his kidneys to a lower-income black person. According to Peter Singer, writing in The New York Times, Kravinsky justified the donation mathematically when speaking to Singer's students, noting that the chances of dying as a result of t

... (read more)

I'm looking for is a set of bodyweight exercises that I can do every day (I found daily routines are easier to keep than weekly routines) without injuries, while still being able to run every day, with repetition counts I don't need a lookup table for.

Does anyone know of such?

4NancyLebovitz5yThe Five Tibetans [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Tibetan_Rites]
2Good_Burning_Plastic5yThe 7-minute workout (google for it), but I think it doesn't exercise muscles in the lower back enough.
1MrMind5yConvict Conditioning (the first book, also a video series of the same content) is exactly what you're looking for.
0username25yAlso, I do not know which is better: at first I started writing writing up on how I only recently started exercising, why I find it important that routines be daily, how after consulting an exercise physiology textbook, I found Matthew and Fox's Interval Training as a reference for regiments, and how I could not find it online, and generally, wrote something rather verbose. Now, Matthew and Fox may be of interest to someone, but they are bound to have the same difficulties as I had, so if asking questions, should I strive more towards "The bag wants grain" or try to be verbose?

Has anyone learned to play an instrument as an adult? Is it realistic to do that without hiring a tutor? To be more specific, I want to learn to play the piano. I have never played a musical instrument before.

6moridinamael5yIt's useful to realize that "learn to play" is not a thing. It's not a concrete goal. Do you want to learn a particular song? That's not only doable, but easy. You just get the sheet music, figure out music notation sufficiently to break the sheet music into tiny sections, and practice until you can play the song. I always find learning a particular song to be a good starting point with any new instrument. Even if that song is "hard". It just needs to be something that you really want to learn to play. If you love Moonlight Sonata, start trying to learn Moonlight Sonata. Don't start with beginner piano lessons, particularly if you don't have a teacher forcing you to grind through them. Because you simply don't do them. But you will practice Moonlight Sonata. Also, I think it is a valid approach to go for moderate stretches just "teaching yourself" and then checking in with a tutor to correct bad habits. I expect some people will disagree with me on this, on the grounds that the bad habits will already be entrenched by that point, but I think it's just a matter of balancing your priorities. Some bad habits have to be acceptable if you're mainly doing it for enjoyment.
3[anonymous]5yI learned piano as a kid (10+ years training) but started on the mandolin and banjo as an adult (shortly before turning 30). I started learning mandolin on my own, using online tutorials and other teaching materials. In retrospect I tried to advance too quickly and didn't drill enough on the basics, reaching a local maximum and getting frustrated about my inability to improve further. Even a small amount of early interactive tutorial would have helped me a great deal in correcting problems of hand positioning before they became habitual. I also found that I was terrible at playing with others even though I felt like I was doing just fine playing along with online tracks - lack of awareness was a significant hurdle. I started to learn the banjo a year later and took lessons from the start - learned some things at the very start that improved my mandolin playing even though the mechanics are very different (at least on the "picking" hand).
3polymathwannabe5yFrom my brief attempt with Scottish bagpipe lessons, I can say that without a tutor it's very difficult to detect and correct bad finger positioning and bad posture habits.
1MrMind5yDo you reckon that this is because of a lack of resource about the subject or because it's usually overlooked?
3polymathwannabe5yI haven't checked any available manuals, so I can't say whether proper position is addressed in any detail. But it's very counterintuitive, and certainly different from the finger positioning you're used to if you ever played a recorder flute at school. Another problem is that my teacher was left-handed (like me) and invented his own positioning system, which made it harder to follow lessons from any other source. I talked about this with my teacher's teacher and it was quite the eye-opener.
2Cariyaga5y22 years old here, so not entirely adult-brained yet. I am in the process (well, while recovering from a surgery I'm taking a break, but...) of learning to play piano myself. It's slow going but pretty fun. If you have prior musical experience (for instance, in choir) it will be much easier. I've mostly been having difficulty finding appropriate (and interesting) sheet music myself. I mostly have been playing video game tunes, and many of those aren't particularly easy for beginners.
2passive_fist5yI might or might not be an example of someone who has done that. I learned to play guitar from scratch at 28 years old. However, I had previously learned to play the piano when I was a teenager, so that might have made it easier. However the two are very different instruments. YMMV. A lot of the difficulty in picking up a new instrument may just be lack of time. When I was a teenager I was spending 5+ hours a day playing the piano. I am not exaggerating in the least. As an adult it is very hard to find 30 minutes a day of time. It took me about 3 years to become very good at the piano. Another few years would probably have made me even better. This is consistent with the 10,000 hour rule. A naive calculation would conclude that it would take 30 years of practice at 30 min/day to become equally good at the guitar.
2Viliam5yI tried this once, but then I kept spending all my free time online, so I haven't learn anything meaningful. So I guess I am not the right person to give advice, but my opinion is that it is realistic, if you persevere. I know two people who learned playing the piano this way; one of them plays really good, the other one has only memorized a song or two (but it sounds great anyway). Do you have the piano? Do you have free time to practice at a reasonable time of the day (because your neighbors might be unhappy about hearing you practice in late night)? Buying a keyboard with headphones could be a solution. I asked people to recommend me the best book for learning. Unfortunately, I don't have it here, and I don't remember what it was. I found it more motivating to play using a metronome (so when I don't press the right key at the right moment, I consider it a failure and start again). Playing this way reminds me of Dance Dance Revolution, and generally feels like playing a computer game. Do you know the musical theory? It actually makes sense from mathematical point of view, if you understand the somewhat crappy notation. Tone = frequency of vibration. The tones are a geometric progression, where 12 "halftones" = double the frequency. Note that there are 12 keys (both white and black) in an octave; there is a halftone between each two adjacent ones. The white keys correspond to lines and spaces in the music sheets; you reach the black keys via prefixes. EDIT: This [http://www.pianoscales.org/fingerings.html] may be useful for the piano.
2Raziel1235yI'm 24 and I currently learning to play the piano without a tutor since last year, I play for my amusement and also because i like to learn things on my own, I surely have bad finger positioning and so, but If your goal is less about being the best piano player and more about having fun / flow, I think is totally realistic. But I you hire a tutor it will speed things up.
3polymathwannabe5yThe main reason to be concerned about finger positioning is to avoid repetitive strain injury. You want to be able to keep using those fingers, after all.
1Manfred5yThere's probably already a course on youtube or a textbook to check out from the library. As a first-timer you'll have to put extra work into learning musical notation and other conceptual stuff.

Aren't new open threads usually posted on Mondays? Today is the 27th, not 28th.

9[anonymous]5yIt's Monday the 28th in Australia. Different LessWrongers have different time zones... Then again, only Clarity would somehow get his open thread downvoted to a negative balance...
6Manfred5yDidn't notice the author of either the post or your comment for a second, which made it significantly funnier.
0Elo5ysub-note - I posted a few OT in the past few months.
0ChristianKl5yWe have a pattern where the Open threads are opened by MrMind. If he forgets somebody else can open the thread but in this case I don't see any reason to say MrMind forgot based on him not opening the thread when Monday starts in Australia.
5passive_fist5ySo only MrMind is allowed to create open threads? Who gave him this sole authority? When was this decided by the community? Why does it even matter who creates an open thread?
7MrMind5yJust to clarify, nobody appointed me of anything. It's just that I was the only one to take the time to do it regularly, and happened to do it before anyone else because of my geographical position. It became sort of a custom, just that. I do not object however if someone else wants to do it and beats me earlier, although I would prefer two threads not to overlap.
-4ChristianKl5y"Allowed" suggests something different then I said. I suggest that there's a norm and it's worthwhile to downvote people for breaking that norm without good reason. In the absence of such a norm you get multiple people competing to start the open thread to gather karma and that's bad. We also had discussions about who opens the open thread in the past, but at the moment I don't want to run the search to dig them up.
7passive_fist5yAs far as I remember, the only thing that seemed to be 'agreed on' was that the open threads should be weekly, starting on Mondays, and anyone could open one if it hadn't been opened by Monday. I don't see how Clarity has broken that norm. I don't see how this is anything other than an attack on Clarity for being a newcomer, and anyone who downvoted this thread should really take a step back and consider what kind of community their downvote is promoting.
-1ChristianKl5yI remember another person asking whether he can overtake posting the open thread. A community where people don't try to farm karma by overtaking the roles of other people without asking that person beforehand.

A community where several people compete to be the first one to post a regularly occurring thread sounds much more robust to me than a community that relies on just one person (who may become unexpectedly unavailable) to do it.

4passive_fist5yAgain, why does MrMind have that 'role'? I think the fact that you say Clarity is 'farming for karma' - without any evidence for this claim - may give away what the real problem is. Anyway, if the issue is just time zones, I'd be fine with, say, agreeing on UT 00:00 Monday for starting an open thread. Or maybe it would just be simpler to have a bot start the thread.
-4ChristianKl5yI didn't. I said that not downvoting threads that created in this way allows people to predictably create threads like this to raise their karma score. That's distinct from the actual motivations in this case. He had it in the past and the system worked. There no need for change. Especially not without previous discussion.
5dxu5yMrMind's "position" was not usurped for the simple reason that there was never any such "position" in the first place. Anyone can create an open thread on LW if they do it before anyone else does; in this case, Clarity was the one who created the thread first. Downvoting the thread simply because it wasn't opened by your "preferred" poster is both petty and impolite. It's not like it really matters who posts the thread anyway, and there are far easier (and less ethical) ways to get karma than posting an open thread.
1Good_Burning_Plastic5yWhy?
1MrMind5yHi there. There will be time when I won't have a connection or the possibility to start the Open thread, and I'll usually try to warn when this happen. Since I'm based in Italy, it seemed a good compromise between the Australian early risers and the American late risers :)
1Good_Burning_Plastic5yAlso, it looks like the timestamps on comments and posts are in UTC, so it makes sense that open threads would "expire" at midnight UTC and a new one is created soon thereafter.
0[anonymous]5yWhat timezone are the comment timestamps in, anyway?
[-][anonymous]5y 1

edit: OH GOD HOW DO I STOP RECEIVING NOTIFICATIONS FOR NEW REPLIES IN THE OPEN THREAD :(

Happy new year everyone! How were your plans, progress and problems this year?

My New Years Resolutions

interesting thoughts this week

  • should we be designing political and ecoomic systems where our moral intutions are in fact well-adjusted to expedite the altruism process and automate it? Rather than working at the object level we could could be recruiting...well...deon
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8Viliam5y* Look at the icons right below the article * Click "Edit" * Uncheck "Notify me of new top level comments on this article" * Click "Submit" I hope you will find this message among the hundreds of notifications.
3polymathwannabe5yEdit the post and uncheck the notifications box at the end of the page.
2[anonymous]5yLast year, I resolved to get in decent shape, find a full-time job, finish my degree, and work on my mental health. 3/4 ain't bad! I'd still like to lose a little bit of weight and gain some muscle, but my dance classes are working on that. I have a steady job that gives me time to work on other goals, and my mental health is miles ahead of where it was last January (no suicidal ideation, panic attacks down to ~2 a month). I did not finish my degree, but I'm getting close. I HAVE managed to stop feeling guilty about taking longer in school, which I suppose I can file under "mental health." :) This year: ACTUALLY finish my degree, make my friends a higher priority, start a LW meetup in Boise, and move up in my career, either through a new job or an advancement at my current one.

While US politicians advocate building a wall on the border with Mexico, startups develop hoverbikes. In a few years all border walls might be obsolate because it's easy for everybody who wants to fly over them.

All sorts of other situations where walls or height is used to prevent certain area's to be inaccessible by human will also be affected.

0Lumifer5yUS - Canada border is unguarded. If you avoid roads, you can just walk over it, no hoverbike necessary. And yet, it doesn't strike me as "obsolete".
0ChristianKl5yI used to think that the US-Canada border doesn't have much effects in terms of goods or people flowing through it. Do you think the reality is different.
0Lumifer5yWhat do you mean by "much effects"? I can assure you border checkpoints exist :-)
0MrMind5yThere was an ancient thread about sort of "extremely politically incorrect ideas that were nonetheless true", and there I noticed that one of such idea was that walls were effective at segregating people. It would be interesting to see if hoverbikes and the like will be purchased even by the poorest, thereby eliminating barriers against immigration and segregation.
1polymathwannabe5yIt's not a practical workaround. A slowly-moving airborne target is very shootable.
0MrMind5yIt surely is, but then you have to step from passive to active surveillance. But who knows, maybe in the future we'll have automatic turrets shooting at flying immigrants.
0entirelyuseless5yThe hoverbikes at the link cannot carry people (although it's likely enough that this will one day be possible.)
0ChristianKl5yThere are images on the website with a person on the drone and the drone being in the air. The problem for human usage is safety.
0Lumifer5yIf you want one person to fly for limited distances, there are many [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powered_paragliding] alternatives [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_trike].

Not sure if there is a thread for this, does anyone have access to this article?

“Comparative Efficiency of Informal (Subjective, Impressionistic) and Formal (Mechanical, Algorithmic) Prediction Procedures: The Clinical Statistical Controvery”, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 2: 293—323

1Sarunas5yhttp://www.tue-tm.org/snijders/papers_on_prediction/Grove_Meehl_1996.pdf [http://www.tue-tm.org/snijders/papers_on_prediction/Grove_Meehl_1996.pdf]
0pianoforte6115yThanks!
1gwern5yThat's what the Research request pages are for, but did you check Google Scholar [https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Comparative%20Efficiency%20of%20Informal%20%28Subjective%2C%20Impressionistic%29%20and%20Formal%20%28Mechanical%2C%20Algorithmic%29%20Prediction%20Procedures%3A%20The%20Clinical%20Statistical%20Controvery] ?
-1pianoforte6115yPaywall
2gwern5yNo, it's not. It provides a PDF link, and if that didn't work, you could download any of the many other PDF links [https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=14186137140745158194&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5] .
[-][anonymous]5y 0
  • What are the best effective altruism infographics?
  • Is there room for an effective altruists to dedicate their working lives simply to making friends with lots of non-effective altruist people, particularly influential people, promoting altruism and rationality in them?
  • The Wikipedia article on meta-learning) in neuroscience is very interesting. It proposes that dopamine is responsible for action reinforcement, seotonin on discounting expected values, norephinephrine on stochastic action selection (temporal discounting?) and acetylcholine as mediating betw
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