This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for April 1-15. 

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

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

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

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

Immediate past diary:  March 16-31

Next diary:  April 16-30

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15 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:11 AM

I'm starting 30 days of rejection therapy. Right off the bat, I notice I have low inhibitions against asking for ridiculous things that are sure to be rejected. I cultivated an identity of being an oddball who makes bizarre and safely ignorable interjections back in high school, so such things are right inside my comfort zone. What I am not comfortable with is the making suggestions reasonable enough that there is uncertainty about whether or not someone will accept them, or such that asking might be interpreted to suggest specific negative traits (e.g. greedy or dangerous) instead of a general peculiarity.

I decided to make a move West with my friend. It's sudden and it's a change, so my brain keeps hitting the panic button every time I think about it. When I reframe it as happening a year or two from now, I know it's somewhere that I'll want to be close to eventually, that having in-state tuition right now doesn't make it much more likely that I'll get somewhere in college, and loss aversion (plus persistent alief in own unworthiness) is making me cling a lot harder to my local safety nets than I actually believe they're worth. Now I just need to pull my head out of the ground long enough to set specific subgoals and murphy-proof my landing plan..

edit: After murphy-proofing, it's apparent the cost of hitting undo on the sudden move is higher than I realized. It would be highly preferable to negotiate spending a couple of weeks with said friend to get more information, and I can probably optimize a short visit to claim a good portion of the social and motivational benefits I was looking for anyways.

Now started intentionally immersing myself in Spanish. I've always had a lackadaisical approach to language learning--I like to dabble, but I don't actually know anything. Spanish is the language I am most familiar (besides English) with--I was partially raised by my El Salvadorian grandmother, took 3 years of Spanish in middle/high school--and I STILL fail to feel comfortable speaking it. I looked into Cognito Mentoring's wiki and realized that I ought to either get serious about fluency or stop wasting my time maintaining a meager half-comprehension.

I've got a web extension that partially translates the text I'm reading, and I'm checking out the top Youtube videos in Spanish-speaking countries weekly.

On a side note, I'm also slowly trawling through a lojban introduction, making anki cards as I go along. I'm working out an intuitive model of the 5 selbri slots I can use so my brain doesn't get lost whenever someone switches the order.

I recently re-evaluated whether I should continue making the game I took a few years off work to develop a while ago, which is mostly finished except for artwork / animations. I was unsure as to whether it was worth continuing with or whether it was just sunk cost keeping me going. After ignoring the sunk costs, and re-running the calculations, I decided it was worth continuing, and have since got in contact with several artists to get work on it rolling again.

I'm curious how and where you find artists willing to work with you. I toy with game development from time to time and it would be nice if some of them didn't look like crap.

I haven't found a bullet-proof method, I'm afraid. The large majority of artists I've contacted have turned out not to be suitable, too expensive, or (mostly) just flaky. My primary methods have been browsing deviantart in relevant categories, and finding active artists with either the same art style that I want, or a show of competence in multiple styles; or the same evaluation but applied to the Indie Gamer art portfolio forum.

One thing to bear in mind is that even if an artist is too busy to work for you themself, they may know people who they'll be happy to refer to you.

My friends were getting into an unpleasant debate in the facebook comments of an article I'd written. I suggested that, since replies were coming in very fast, people set a one minute timer before posting. This got likes, but no other results. Then I asked if folks would be amenable to tabling the flamewar and continuing in person with tea and cookies, and the get-together/debate is now scheduled.

How did everyone do on Noticing Confusion Day?

It took me several hours to realize that the SVN development team was probably not actually switching to git.

I managed to notice everything before getting to the "april fools!" part, which I don't think I succeeded at last year, and had about 2 cases of "this might be an AFJ" where it wasn't.

In fairness, that particular prank was unusually thoroughly done.


I've made a good bit of progress in time management recently. Incorporating more efficient exercise routines into both home and work time, cutting out a time sink I've been battling on and off for years, and learning to practice on the keyboard in short bursts throughout the day. I still manage to get writing done, do yoga and karate, and socialize without too much strain.

The only problems so far are that, while I'm getting a lot of mileage out of audiobooks during drives and exercise, I'm still losing time I could spend physically reading. With Godel, Escher, and Bach still barely open, I know I have a lot to go through and want to give the book its fair due. I'm having trouble setting aside time to properly hunt for new job opportunities. Part of this is contentment with where I am now and hope for prospects already applied for, but I know that, if these prospects don't work, I need new ones lined up. I also want to schedule piano lessons in, which is another factor to work on. Hopefully, this time next month, these three issues will be solved.

I'm still continuing with the use of Anki to learn Python programming language. The method seems useful so far. My Python deck reached >200 cards recently. You can try it here:

I realized that when the number of projects in my life exceeds 2 (1 work and 1 hobby) the other things in my life are hardly ever done. I have decided to embrace GTD to stop being stressed about it and get more done.

I'm 70% through the book, bought myself a smartphone and going to buy a tablet as my new computer (actually, I could use your help with delivering the lartter). Never owned any of those, because I believed that they are only good for distractions. Please share your GTD setup and experience: what works for you and what doesn't?

If you have implemented GTD, please share your advice here in the Open Thread: what worked for you and what didn't? Which software do you find useful?

Tablets are not terribly productive devices, and there is very little useful than can be done with them better than with a standard laptop or a smartphone (if you intend to develop apps for tablets, that's an obvious exception). Why do you want one?

I want this one specifically, because it is as much of a computer as the one I currently do all my work on, plus a much more portable laptop, plus a tablet I can draw on.

I always wanted my computer to be as portable as possible, so that I could have no problem taking it with me anywhere. For me, that meant ThinkPad X series, which I happily own, and was thinking about getting a tablet version of. If you are not aware, research it: Lenovo, and IBM before that, was making all their ThinkPad X series computers available in tablet versions way before the recent tablet boom. I don't know about all of them, but the recent models have Wacom digitizer (pressure sensor that recognizes the level of pressure, not just on/off, like modern touch screens). As far as I understand, you usually want that if you're going to draw on your tablet , but it wouldn't hurt otherwise. Now, this is a kind of tablet that I think I might actually use. I don't own one because they are a bit heavier and bulkier, have a bit smaller battery life and narrower selection of batteries than their non-tablet counterparts. Also, they are very hard to find when used, and I bought my two previous laptops used.

I thought of switching to a X series tablet for a while, but this new Microsoft tablet represents a new level of portability: 0.9 kg without keyboard vs 1.6 for ThinkPad Yoga (The closest to X230t in current generation). It comes with the same Wacom digitizer and big stylus, has SmartCover-like detachable keyboard that you can really type on, dock station with all I/O and of course it, too, is an x86 computer to boot. I am going to run Ubuntu on it.

I imagine I could work on this machine connected to the docking station, wired network, monitor, external keyboard and mouse, as I do with my current notebook. In addition to this, I would have an option to detach it and take with me to continue doing the same stuff while away from home, connect it to a projector to give a presentation, show around my work-in-progress to friends in a cafe (did you try doing it with a laptop? I think a tablet might be much more convenient for showing stuff around), read something while standing on the bus or on the street, and finally draw on it. All while having access to my stuff and working setup simply by the fact that it is the same one computer that I use for everything.

Isn't it great? I believe Microsoft Surface Pro are very misunderstood and under-appreciated devices. Probably people will going to love (the likes of) them more, when Apple will be making them; I think they are going to present something like this and call it iPad Pro, and it will be able to run iPad apps as well as Mac ones. Maybe this fall or winter; next year tops. It will wow the masses and everyone will want it, but I don't live in the Apple ecosystem and I want one now already.

Akrasia is a colorful trap, sometimes; a lovely slough called Despond by those who know it better. For the fall does not kill you, nor the landing - it only traps you, mired in your past actions, unable to escape your previous self. It's a place I have known well, and before I had its true name - before I could conceptualize it as an individual set of tendencies and thought-patterns, could see it as a selves-contained Prisoners' Dilemma - it was a trap I tended to reenter time and again. Having connected my understanding of Akrasia at last with another useful practice, that if believing what you know you will believe, I feel like my Self - the man I want to be, and more and more resemble - is better defended now against that's to its existence and peace.

Example: I have never been with someone else while in a committed relationship, simply reminding myself if tempted the point of the word "committed," and that my partner is equally human as I, and will be displeased, and that my partner in infidelity is also equally human and should not be used to satisfy a temporary compulsion that I would later regret. "Regret," here, is the key word. There are those who have two or more sexual partners, either secretly and deceitfully, or honestly and agreeably, and I have not been either. Nor do I want to, actually; I do not want to hunt for an additional, even single-instance, partner. More specifically, I want not to be with more than one person at a time, for my own personal and emotional reasons, and I would regret going against that wish. But the base urge is still there, though I do not mistake it a sinful or depraved one when acted upon rationally and with respect and honesty for all parties involved. I simply do not wish to act upon this urge, as it is not the kind of person I want to be who would do so.

But the urge is there, and without having my concept of Akrasia's Despond, I could have been significantly less happy than I am now, as a human, a lover of humans (and one in particular,) and a father-to-be.

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