SlateStarCodex, EA, and LW helped me get out of the psychological, spiritual, political nonsense in which I was mired for a decade or more.
I started out feeling a lot smarter. I think it was community validation + the promise of mystical knowledge.
Now I've started to feel dumber. Probably because the lessons have sunk in enough that I catch my own bad ideas and notice just how many of them there are. Worst of all, it's given me ambition to do original research. That's a demanding task, one where you have to accept feeling stupid all the time.
But I still look down that old road and I'm glad I'm not walking down it anymore.
Things I come to LessWrong for:
Cons: I'm frustrated that I so often play Devil's advocate, or else make up justifications for arguments under the principle of charity. Conversations feel profit-oriented and conflict-avoidant. Overthinking to the point of boredom and exhaustion. My default state toward books and people is bored skepticism and political suspicion. I'm less playful than I used to be.
Pros: My own ability to navigate life has grown. My imagination feels almost telepathic, in that I have ideas nobody I know has ever considered, and discover that there is cutting edge engineering work going on in that field that I can be a part of, or real demand for the project I'm developing. I am more decisive and confident than I used to be. Others see me as a leader.
Math is training for the mind, but not like you think
Just a hypothesis:
People have long thought that math is training for clear thinking. Just one version of this meme that I scooped out of the water:
“Mathematics is food for the brain,” says math professor Dr. Arthur Benjamin. “It helps you think precisely, decisively, and creatively and helps you look at the world from multiple perspectives . . . . [It’s] a new way to experience beauty—in the form of a surprising pattern or an elegant logical argument.”
But math doesn't obviously seem to be the only way to practice precision, decision, creativity, beauty, or broad perspective-taking. What about logic, programming, rhetoric, poetry, anthropology? This sounds like marketing.
As I've studied calculus, coming from a humanities background, I'd argue it differently.
Mathematics shares with a small fraction of other related disciplines and games the quality of unambiguous objectivity. It also has the ~unique quality that you cannot bullshit your way through it. Miss any link in the chain and the whole thing falls apart.
It can therefore serve as a more reliable signal, to self and others, of one's own learning capacity.
Experiencing a subject like that can be training for the mind, because becoming successful at it requires cultivating good habits of study and expectations for coherence.
A Nonexistent Free Lunch
On an individualPredictIt market, sometimes you can find a set of "no" contracts whose price (1 share of each) adds up to less than the guaranteed gross take.
There's always a risk of black swans. PredictIt could get hacked. You might execute the trade improperly. Unexpected personal expenses might force you to sell your shares and exit the market prematurely.
But excluding black swans, I though that as long as three conditions held, you could make free money on markets like these. The three conditions were:
In the toy example above, I calculated that you'd lose $0.10 x 10% = $0.01 to PredictIt's profit fee if you bought 1 of each "... (read more)
The Rationalist Move Club
Imagine that the Bay Area rationalist community did all want to move. But no individual was sure enough that others wanted to move to invest energy in making plans for a move. Nobody acts like they want to move, and the move never happens.
Individuals are often willing to take some level of risk and make some sacrifice up-front for a collective goal with big payoffs. But not too much, and not forever. It's hard to gauge true levels of interest based off attendance at a few planning meetings.
Maybe one way to solve this is to ask for escalating credible commitments.
A trusted individual sets up a Rationalist Move Fund. Everybody who's open to the idea of moving puts $500 in a short-term escrow. This makes them part of the Rationalist Move Club.
If the Move Club grows to a certain number of members within a defined period of time (say 20 members by March 2020), then they're invited to planning meetings for a defined period of time, perhaps one year. This is the first checkpoint. If the Move Club has not grown to that size by then, the money is returned and the project is cancelled.
By the end of the pre-defined planning period, there could be one of three majority... (read more)
What gives LessWrong staying power?
On the surface, it looks like this community should dissolve. Why are we attracting bread bakers, programmers, stock market investors, epidemiologists, historians, activists, and parents?
Each of these interests has a community associated with it, so why are people choosing to write about their interests in this forum? And why do we read other people's posts on this forum when we don't have a prior interest in the topic?
Rationality should be the art of general intelligence. It's what makes you better at everything. If practice is the wood and nails, then rationality is the blueprint.
To determine whether or not we're actually studying rationality, we need to check whether or not it applies to everything. So when I read posts applying the same technique to a wide variety of superficially unrelated subjects, it confirms that the technique is general, and helps me see how to apply it productively.
This points at a hypothesis, which is that general intelligence is a set of defined, generally applicable techniques. They apply across disciplines. And they apply across problems within disciplines. So why aren't they generally known and appreciated? Sh... (read more)
Thoughts on cheap criticism
It's OK for criticism to be imperfect. But the worst sort of criticism has all five of these flaws:
I am absolutely guilty of having delivered Category 5 criticism, the worst sort of cheap shots.
There is an important tradeoff here. If standards are too high for critical commentary, it can chill debate and leave an impression that either nobody cares, everybody's on board, or the argument's simply correct. Sometimes, an idea ca... (read more)
Does rationality serve to prevent political backsliding?
It seems as if politics moves far too fast for rational methods can keep up. If so, does that mean rationality is irrelevant to politics?
One function of rationality might be to prevent ethical/political backsliding. For example, let's say that during time A, institution X is considered moral. A political revolution ensues, and during time B, X is deemed a great evil and is banned.
A change of policy makes X permissible during time C, banned again during time D, and absolutely required for all upstanding folk during time E.
Rational deliberation about X seems to play little role in the political legitimacy of X.
However, rational deliberation about X continues in the background. Eventually, a truly convincing argument about the ethics of X emerges. Once it does, it is so compelling that it has a permanent anchoring effect on X.
Although at some times, society's policy on X contradicts the rational argument, the pull of X is such that it tends to make these periods of backsliding shorter and less frequent.
The natural process of developing the rational argument about X also leads to an accretion of arguments that are not only correct... (read more)
Thinking, Fast and Slow was the catalyst that turned my rumbling dissatisfaction into the pursuit of a more rational approach to life. I wound up here. After a few years, what do I think causes human irrationality? Here's a listicle.
Are rationalist ideas always going to be offensive to just about everybody who doesn’t self-select in?
One loved one was quite receptive to Chesterton’s Fence the other day. Like, it stopped their rant in the middle of its tracks and got them on board with a different way of looking at things immediately.
On the other hand, I routinely feel this weird tension. Like to explain why I think as I do, I‘d need to go through some basic rational concepts. But I expect most people I know would hate it.
I wish we could figure out ways of getting this stuff across that was fun, made it seem agreeable and sensible and non-threatening.
Less negativity - we do sooo much critique. I was originally attracted to LW partly as a place where I didn’t feel obligated to participate in the culture war. Now, I do, just on a set of topics that I didn’t associate with the CW before LessWrong.
My guess? This is totally possible. But it needs a champion. Somebody willing to dedicate themselves to it. Somebody friendly, funny, empathic, a good performer, neat and practiced. And it needs a space for the educative process - a YouTube channel, a book, etc. And it needs the courage of its convictions. The sign of that? Not taking itself too seriously, being known by the fruits of its labors.
Traditionally, things like this are socially achieved by using some form of "good cop, bad cop" strategy. You have someone who explains the concepts clearly and bluntly, regardless of whom it may offend (e.g. Eliezer Yudkowsky), and you have someone who presents the concepts nicely and inoffensively, reaching a wider audience (e.g. Scott Alexander), but ultimately they both use the same framework.
The inoffensiveness of Scott is of course relative, but I would say that people who get offended by him are really not the target audience for rationalist thought. Because, ultimately, saying "2+2=4" means offending people who believe that 2+2=5 and are really sensitive about it; so the only way to be non-offensive is to never say anything specific.
If a movement only has the "bad cops" and no "good cops", it will be perceived as a group of assholes. Which is not necessarily bad if the members are powerful; people want to join the winning side. But without actual power, it will not gain wide acceptance. Most people don't want to go into unnecessary conflicts.
On the other hand, a movement with "good cops" without "bad cops" wil... (read more)
Like to explain why I think as I do, I‘d need to go through some basic rational concepts.
I believe that if the rational concepts are pulling their weight, it should be possible to explain the way the concept is showing up concretely in your thinking, rather than justifying it in the general case first.
As an example, perhaps your friend is protesting your use of anecdotes as data, but you wish to defend it as Bayesian, if not scientific, evidence. Rather than explaining the difference in general, I think you can say "I think that it's more likely that we hear this many people complaining about an axe murderer downtown if that's in fact what's going on, and that it's appropriate for us to avoid that area today. I agree it's not the only explanation and you should be able to get a more reliable sort of data for building a scientific theory, but I do think the existence of an axe murderer is a likely enough explanation for these stories that we should act on it"
If I'm right that this is generally possible, then I think this is a route around the feeling of being trapped on the other side of an inferential gap (which is how I interpreted the 'weird tension')
Markets are the worst form of economy except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
I'm annoyed that I think so hard about small daily decisions.
Is there a simple and ideally general pattern to not spend 10 minutes doing arithmetic on the cost of making burritos at home vs. buying the equivalent at a restaurant? Or am I actually being smart somehow by spending the time to cost out that sort of thing?
"Spend no more than 1 minute per $25 spent and 2% of the price to find a better product."
This heuristic cashes out to:
The structure of knowledge is an undirected cyclic graph between concepts. To make it easier to present to the novice, experts convert that graph into a tree structure by removing some edges. Then they convert that tree into natural language. This is called a textbook.
Scholarship is the act of converting the textbook language back into nodes and edges of a tree, and then filling in the missing edges to convert it into the original graph.
The mind cannot hold the entire graph in working memory at once. It's as important to practice navigating between concept... (read more)
I want to put forth a concept of "topic literacy."
Topic literacy roughly means that you have both the concepts and the individual facts memorized for a certain subject at a certain skill level. That subject can be small or large. The threshold is that you don't have to refer to a reference text to accurately answer within-subject questions at the skill level specified.
This matters, because when studying a topic, you always have to decide whether you've learned it well enough to progress to new subject matter. This offers a clean "yes/no" answer to that ess... (read more)
We do things so that we can talk about it later.
I was having a bad day today. Unlikely to have time this weekend for something I'd wanted to do. Crappy teaching in a class I'm taking. Ever increasing and complicating responsibilities piling up.
So what did I do? I went out and bought half a cherry pie.
Will that cherry pie make me happy? No. I knew this in advance. Consciously and unconsciously: I had the thought, and no emotion compelled me to do it.
In fact, it seemed like the least-efficacious action: spending some of my limited money, to buy a pie I don't... (read more)
A lot of my akrasia is solved by just "monkey see, monkey do." Physically put what I should be doing in front of my eyeballs, and pretty quickly I'll do it. Similarly, any visible distractions, or portals to distraction, will also suck me in.
But there also seems to be a component that's more like burnout. "Monkey see, monkey don't WANNA."
On one level, the cure is to just do something else and let some time pass. But that's not explicit enough for my taste. For one thing, something is happening that recovers my motivation. For another, "letting time pass" i... (read more)
I'm managing a project to install signage for a college campus's botanical collection.
Our contractor, who installed the sign posts in the ground, did a poor job. A lot of them pulled right out of the ground.
Nobody could agree on how many posts were installed: the groundskeeper, contractor, and two core team members, each had their own numbers from "rough counts" and "lists" and "estimates" and "what they'd heard."
The best decision I've made on this project was to do a precise inventory of exactly which sign posts are installed correctly, comple... (read more)
Paying your dues
I'm in school at the undergraduate level, taking 3 difficult classes while working part-time.
For this path to be useful at all, I have to be able to tick the boxes: get good grades, get admitted to grad school, etc. For now, my strategy is to optimize to complete these tasks as efficiently as possible (what Zvi calls "playing on easy mode"), in order to preserve as much time and energy for what I really want: living and learning.
Are there dangers in getting really good at paying your dues?
1) Maybe it distracts you/diminishes the incen... (read more)
I've been thinking about honesty over the last 10 years. It can play into at least three dynamics.
One is authority and resistance. The revelation or extraction of information, and the norms, rules, laws, and incentives surrounding this, including moral concepts, are for the primary purpose of shaping the power dynamic.
The second is practical communication. Honesty is the idea that specific people have a "right to know" certain pieces of information from you, and that you meet this obligation. There is wide latitude for "white lies," exaggeration, storytell... (read more)
Better rationality should lead you to think less, not more. It should make you better able to
while still having good outcomes. What's your rationality doing to you?
How should we weight and relate the training of our mind, body, emotions, and skills?
I think we are like other mammals. Imitation and instinct lead us to cooperate, compete, produce, and take a nap. It's a stochastic process that seems to work OK, both individually and as a species.
We made most of our initial progress in chemistry and biology through very close observation of small-scale patterns. Maybe a similar obsessiveness toward one semi-arbitrarily chosen aspect of our own individual behavior would lead to breakthroughs in self-understanding?
I'm experimenting with a format for applying LW tools to personal social-life problems. The goal is to boil down situations so that similar ones will be easy to diagnose and deal with in the future.
To do that, I want to arrive at an acronym that's memorable, defines an action plan and implies when you'd want to use it. Examples:
OSSEE Activity - "One Short Simple Easy-to-Exit Activity." A way to plan dates and hangouts that aren't exhausting or recipes for confusion.
DAHLIA - "Discuss, Assess, Help/Ask, Leave, Intervene, Accept." An action plan for how to de... (read more)
A celebrity is someone famous for being famous.
Is a rationalist someone famous for being rational? Someone who’s leveraged their reputation to gain privileged access to opportunity, other people’s money, credit, credence, prestige?
Are there any arenas of life where reputation-building is not a heavy determinant of success?
Idea for online dating platform:
Each person chooses a charity and an amount of money that you must donate to swipe right on them. This leads to higher-fidelity match information while also giving you a meaningful topic to kick the conversation off.
If a gears-level understanding becomes the metric of expertise, what will people do?
Use the concept of gears-level understanding to debug your own knowledge. Learn for your own sake, and allow your learning to naturally attract the credibility
Status and Being a "Rationalist"
The reticence many LWers feel about the term "rationalist" stems from a paradox: it feels like a status-grab and low-status at the same time.
It's a status grab because LW can feel like an exclusive club. Plenty of people say they feel like they can hardly understand the writings here, and that they'd feel intimidated to comment, let alone post. Since I think most of us who participate in this community wish that everybody would be more into being rational and that it wasn't an exclusive club, this feels unfortunate.
It's low ... (read more)
I use LessWrong as a place not just to post rambly thoughts and finished essays, but something in between.
The in between parts are draft essays that I want feedback on, and want to get out while the ideas are still hot. Partly it's so that I can have a record of my thoughts that I can build off of and update in the future. Partly it's that the act of getting my words together in a way I can communicate to others is an important part of shaping my own views.
I wish there was a way to tag frontpage posts with something like "Draft - seeking feedback" vs. "Fin... (read more)
Yeah, I've been thinking about this for a while. Like, maybe we just want to have a "Draft - seeking feedback" tag, or something. Not sure.
Eliezer's post on motivated stopping contains this line:Who can argue against gathering more evidence? I can. Evidence is often costly, and worse, slow, and there is certainly nothing virtuous about refusing to integrate the evidence you already have. You can always change your mind later."This is often not true, though, for example with regard to whether or not it's ethical to have kids. So how to make these sorts of decisions?I don't have a good answer for this. I sort of think that there are certain superhuman forces or drives that "win out." The drive ... (read more)
Reading and re-reading
The first time you read a textbook on a new subject, you're taking in new knowledge. Re-read the same passage a day later, a week later, or a year later, and it will qualitatively feel different.
You'll recognize the sentences. In some parts, you'll skim, because you know it already. Or because it looks familiar -- are you sure which?
And in that skimming mode, you might zoom into and through a patch that you didn't know so well.
When you're reading a textbook for the first time, in short, there are more inherent safeguards to keep you f... (read more)
I just started using GreaterWrong.com, in anti-kibitzer mode. Highly recommended. I notice how unfortunately I've glommed on to karma and status more than is comfortable. It's a big relief to open the front page and just see... ideas!
There's a pretty simple reason why the stock market didn't tank long-term due to COVID. Even if we get 3 million total deaths due to the pandemic, that's "only" around a 5% increase in total deaths over the year where deaths are at their peak. 80% of those deaths are among people of retirement age. Though their spending is around 34% of all spending, the money of those who die from COVID will flow to others who will also spend it.
My explanation for the original stock market crash back in Feb/March is that investors were nervous that we'd impose truly strict lockdown measures, or perhaps that the pandemic would more seriously harm working-age people than it does. That would have had a major effect on the economy.
At any given time, many doors stand wide open before you. They are slowly closing, but you have plenty of time to walk through them. The paths are winding.
Striving is when you recognize that there are also many shortcuts. Their paths are straighter, but the doors leading to them are almost shut. You have to run to duck through.
And if you do that, you'll see that through the almost-shut doors, there are yet straighter roads even further ahead, but you can only make it through if you make a mad dash. There's no guarantee.
To run is exhilarating at fir... (read more)
The direction I'd like to see LW moving in as a community
Criticism has a perverse characteristic:
Ideas that survive into adulthood will therefore tend to be championed by thinkers who are less receptive to criticism.
Maybe we need some sort of "baby criticism" for new ideas. A "devel... (read more)
Cost/benefit anxiety is not fear of the unknown
When I consider doing a difficult/time-consuming/expensive but potentially rewarding activity, it often provokes anxiety. Examples include running ten miles, doing an extensive blog post series on regenerative medicine, and going to grad school. Let's call this cost/benefit anxiety.
Other times, the immediate actions I'm considering are equally "costly," but one provokes more fear than the others even though it is not obviously stupid. One example is whether or not to start blogging under my real name. Call it ... (read more)
A machine learning algorithm is advertising courses in machine learning to me. Maybe the AI is already out of the box.
An end run around slow government
The US recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin D is about 600 IUs per day. This was established in 2011, and hasn't been updated since. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences sets US RDAs.
According to a 2017 paper, "The Big Vitamin D Mistake," the right level is actually around 8,000 IUs/day, and the erroneously low level is due to a statistical mistake. I haven't been able to find out yet whether there is any transparency about when the RDA will be reconsidered.
But 3... (read more)
Explanation for why displeasure would be associated with meaningfulness, even though in fact meaning comes from pleasure:
Meaningful experiences involve great pleasure. They also may come with small pains. Part of how you quantify your great pleasure is the size of the small pain that it superceded.
Pain does not cause meaning. It is a test for the magnitude of the pleasure. But only pleasure is a causal factor for meaning.
Sci-hub has moved to https://sci-hub.st/
Do you treat “the dark arts” as a set of generally forbidden behaviors, or as problematic only in specific contexts?
As a war of good and evil or as the result of trade-offs between epistemic rationality and other values?
Do you shun deception and manipulation, seek to identify contexts where they’re ok or wrong, or embrace them as a key to succeeding in life?
Do you find the dark arts dull, interesting, or key to understanding the world, regardless of whether or not you employ them?
Asymmetric weapons may be the only source of edge for the truth itself. But s... (read more)
How to reach simplicity?
You can start with complexity, then simplify. But that's style.
What would it mean to think simple?
I don't know. But maybe...
Question re: "Why Most Published Research Findings are False":
Let R be the ratio of the number of “true relationships” to “no relationships” among those tested in the field... The pre-study probability of a relationship being true is R/(R + 1).
What is the difference between "the ratio of the number of 'true relationships' to 'no relationships' among those tested in the field" and "the pre-study probability of a relationship being true"?
There are lots of reasons to measure a person's ability level in some skill. One such reason is to test your understanding in the early stages of learning a new set of concepts.
You want a system that's:
Flashcards/reciting concepts from notes is a nice example. It's fast and intuitive, tells you what concepts you're still struggling with. Knowing that, you can look over the materia... (read more)
How much of rationality is specialized?
Cultural transmission of knowledge is the secret of our success.
Children comprise a culture. They transmit knowledge of how to insult and play games, complain and get attention. They transmit knowledge on how to survive and thrive with a child's priorities, in a child's body, in a culture that tries to guarantee that the material needs of children are taken care of.
General national cultures teach people very broad, basic skills. Literacy, the ability to read and discuss the newspaper. How to purchase consumer goods. H... (read more)
What is the #1 change that LW has instilled in me?
Participating in LW has instilled the virtue of goal orientation. All other virtues, including epistemic rationality, flow from that.
Learning how to set goals, investigate them, take action to achieve them, pivot when necessary, and alter your original goals in light of new evidence is a dynamic practice, one that I expect to retain for a long time.
Many memes circulate around this broad theme. But only here have I been able to develop an explicit, robust, ever-expanding framework for making and thinking abo... (read more)
Learning feedback loops
Putting a serious effort into learning Italian in the classroom can make it possible to immerse yourself in the language when you visit Italy. Studying hard for an engineering interview lets you get a job where you'll be able to practice a set of related skills all the time. Reading a scientist's research papers makes you seem like an attractive candidate to work in their lab, where you'll gain a much more profound knowledge of the field.
This isn't just signaling. It's much more about acquiring the minimal competency to participate i... (read more)
Business idea: Celebrity witness protection.
There are probably lots of wealthy celebrities who’d like to lose their fame and resume a normal life. Imagine a service akin to witness protection that helped them disappear and start a new life.
I imagine this would lead to journalists and extortionists trying to track them down, so maybe it’s not tractable in the end.
Just a notepad/stub as I review writings on filtered evidence:
One possible solution to the problem of the motivated arguer is to incentivize in favor of all arguments being motivated. Eliezer covered this in "What Evidence Filtered Evidence?" So a rationalist response to the problem of filtered evidence might be to set up a similar structure and protect it against tampering.
What would a rationalist do if they suspected a motivated arguer was calling a decision to their attention and trying to persuade them of option A? It might be to become a motivated arg... (read more)
Aspects of learning that are important but I haven't formally synthesized yet:
Cognitive vs. behaviorist approaches to the study of learning
I. Cognitivist approaches
To study how people study on an internal, mental level, you could do a careful examination of what they report doing with their minds as they scan a sentence of a text that they're trying to learn from.
For example, what does your mind do if you read the following sentence, with the intent to understand and remember the information it contains?
"The cerebral cortex is the site where the highest level of neural processing takes place, including language, memory and cognitive... (read more)
Practice sessions in spaced-repetition literature
Spaced repetition helps, but how do spaced-repetition researchers have their subjects practice within a single practice session? I'd expect optimized practice to involve not only spacing and number of repetitions, but also an optimal way of practicing within sessions.
So far, I've seen a couple formats:
Are democracies doomed to endless intense, intractable partisanship?
Model for Yes: In a democracy, there will be a set of issues. Each has a certain level of popular or special-interest support, as well as constitutionality.
Issues with the highest levels of popular support and constitutionality will get enacted first, if they weren't already in place before the democracy was founded.
Over time, issues with more marginal support and constitutionality will get enacted, until all that's left are the most marginal issues. The issues that remain live issues will... (read more)
I've noticed that when I write posts or questions, much of the text functions as "planning" for what's to come. Often, I'm organizing my thoughts as I write, so that's natural.
But does that "planning" text help organize the post and make it easier to read? Or is it flab that I should cut?
Thinking, Too Fast and Too Slow
I've noticed that there are two important failure modes in studying for my classes.
Too Fast: This is when learning breaks down because I'm trying to read, write, compute, or connect concepts too quickly.
Too Slow: This is when learning fails, or just proceeds too inefficiently, because I'm being too cautious, obsessing over words, trying to remember too many details, etc.
One hypothesis is that there's some speed of activity that's ideal for any given person, depending on the subject matter and their current level of comfort wi... (read more)
Different approaches to learning seem to be called for in fields with varying levels of paradigm consensus. The best approach to learning undergraduate math/CS/physics/chemistry seems different from the best one to take for learning biology, which again differs from the best approach to studying the economics/humanities*.
High-consensus disciplines have a natural sequential order, and the empirical data is very closely tied to an a priori predictive structure. You develop understanding by doing calculations and making theory-based arguments, along with empi... (read more)
What rationalists are trying to do is something like this:
This looks exactly like virtue ethics.
Now, we have heard that the meek shall inherit the earth. So we eschew the dark arts; embrace the virtues of accuracy, precision, and charity... (read more)
You can justify all sorts of spiritual ideas by a few arguments:
A checklist for the strength of ideas:
Worthwhile research should help the idea move either forward or backward through this sequence.
Why isn’t California investing heavily in desalination? Has anybody thought through the economics? Is this a live idea?
My modified Pomodoro has been working for me. I set a timer for 5 minutes and start working. Every 5 minutes, I just reset the timer and continue.
For some reason it gets my brain into "racking up points" mode. How many 5-minute sessions can I do without stopping or getting distracted? Aware as I am of my distractability, this has been an unquestionably powerful technique for me to expand my attention span.
All actions have an exogenous component and an endogenous component. The weights we perceive differ from action to action, context to context.
The endogenous component has causes and consequences that come down to the laws of physics.
The exogenous component has causes and consequences from its social implications. The consequences, interpretation, and even the boundaries of where the action begins and ends are up for grabs.
Failure modes in important relationships
Good reading habit #1: Turn absolute numbers into proportions and proportions into absolute numbers.
For example, in reading "With almost 1,000 genes discovered to be differentially expressed between low and high passage cells [in mouse insulinoma cells]," look up the number of mouse genes (25,000) and turn it into a percentage so that you can see that 1,000 genes is 4% of the mouse genome.
What is the difference between playing devil's advocate and steelmanning an argument? I'm interested in any and all attempts to draw a useful distinction, even if they're only partial.
Empathy is inexpensive and brings surprising benefits. It takes a little bit of practice and intent. Mainly, it involves stating the obvious assumption about the other person's experience and desires. Offer things you think they'd want and that you'd be willing to give. Let them agree or correct you. This creates a good context in which high-value trades can occur, without needing an conscious, overriding, selfish goal to guide you from the start.
Chris Voss thinks empathy is key to successful negotiation.
Is there a line between negotiating and not, or only varying degrees of explicitness?
Should we be openly negotiating more often?
How do you define success, when at least one of his own examples of a “successful negotiation” is entirely giving over to the other side?
I think the point is that the relationship comes first, greed second. Negotiation for Voss is exchange of empathy, seeking information, being aware of your leverage. Those factors are operating all the time - that’s the relationship.
Hot top: "sushi-grade" and "sashimi-grade" are marketing terms that mean nothing in terms of food safety. Freezing inactivates pretty much any parasites that might have been in the fish.
I'm going to leave these claims unsourced, because I think you should look it up and judge the credibility of the research for yourself.