This is the bimonthly 'What are you working On?' thread. Previous threads are here. So here's the question:
What are you working on?
Here are some guidelines:
Still working on hypnosis
I picked up python and wrote a program that goes onto the internet and hypnotizes people, so I can throw some real empiricism at the problem now.
It's really paying off now that I can do things like go snorkling with my girlfriend who had been terrified of the ocean for her whole life, and snap my fingers and make people stop craving sugar :)
I've writing up my thoughts as I go on my blog
Dating: The girl from my previous post cancelled on me 30 minutes before we were going to meet. Then the next week she invited me out to lunch and cancelled again, an hour out. So I guess she didn't actually like me.
Then I went on a blind date with FOAF and that went OK. I took her out again but there was just no romantic chemistry, so it was a couple of nice times but that was the end of that.
I've been trying to get better at reading the subtext of social interactions to tell when someone is interested. I noticed that a single friend had been getting touchy with me when she hadn't been before, calling me by a cute new nickname, getting flustered when I teased her, etc. So when she offered to make me a dinner I decided it was worth taking a chance, toward the end of the night I held her hand...and she DID NOT like it. Unambiguous (but friendly) rejection. Confirmation bias on my part, I suppose.
So still failing. Still working hard to improve.
I'm beginning to suspect that there's a big difference between the way I see myself and the way others see me, i.e., I'm actually unattractive to most women. This is a hard pill to swallow, but if it's true, then I want to believe it's true.
So ... (read more)
I noticed throughout your post you said "turns out she didn't like me" twice, as if this was a simple boolean value that you have to find out the value of.
The truth is that attraction is pretty malleable and it's totally possible that your friend had romantic interest in you which disappeared while having dinner with her, or that the potential date that cancelled on you twice was turned off through non-physical interactions (texts, phonecalls).
Your 3 step action plan sounds solid though. The fundamentals of pick up artistry will also help a ton.
I am currently trying to become really socially effective. During the next 8 months I plan to:
"*" means I'm currently doing this activity.
I used a combination of google and reddit.com/r/waterloo to find voice coaches in my city (Waterloo). I settled on the two that looked best, and am now getting 1 half hour session a week from each of them to A/B test which one is better. It costs $20 per half hour session.
I told them that my goal was to have a captivating voice that gets people's attention in small/large groups. They both said that learning how to sing was really important in terms of my stated goals, so right now I'm learning the basics of singing. This includes how to warm up your voice, properly breathing with your diaphragm, bringing up the soft-palette on command, etc...
We also go over the speeches that I am going to present in my public presentation class, which I find incredibly useful. For example, we'll go over the same sentence in a paragraph about 15 times, ensuring that I have correct diction, tone of voice etc...
The loved one is working on a novel. It turns out that "I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp" (W. Somerset Maugham) is a good way to get a lot of first draft turned out. Inspired by this, I've been attempting to write something vaguely song-shaped every day for a month. Doesn't have to even be any good at all, it just has to be an actual thing. I've missed two days in the past couple of weeks, but am attempting to keep at it. When I have thirty days down I'll probably put all thirty days up as an mp3.
I've also submitted two pieces for the Homestuck album competition: "Salmon" (Feferi Peixes) and "Kingdom" (Eridan Ampora). I doubt they'll get anywhere, but it provoked me to get them into some sort of finished form.
At work, we have until the end of this month to move all our live sites from the old Solaris SPARC servers to a new bunch of hosted Ubuntu VMs. (Our stuff is Java webapps running in Tomcat, so this is not at all difficult conceptually.) So I've spent the last couple of months making as absolutely as much as possible deployable in a completely automated fashion - automating everything... (read more)
I'm working on a site that lets people map the logical relations between ideas in a massively collaborative environment.
My background is web development (I run the site songlyrics.com) and philosophy (I'm in a MA program at UChicago doing philosophy of language, logic, and epistemology).
The project is currently just shy of a working prototype. The idea is to do things differently than sites like debategraph.org, where arguments are organized hierarchically. We want to simply have propositions, and logical relations between propositions. Our aim to develop a single contiguous map of ideas. A graph rather than a hierarchy. If anyone's interested in hearing more, let me know.
Side question, does anyone have any data on how big the community is here at LW? I'm applying for a social business competition and I consider the users of this site to be squarely positioned within my target audience.
I'm putting the finishing touches to my program that converts EU3 - Divine Wind saves into Victoria 2 saves.
The substantial amount of mathematics related posts has encouraged me to emerge from lurker status and post my own 'project'.
I have spent the last 5 months recording every minute of rigorous mathematical practice here in an attempt to test the limits of my modest intellect. I used a stopwatch and paper for the first couple of months, but I have now graduated to Emacs and org-mode (and to tracking all of my time, out of pure curiosity - I like knowing that every aspect of my life is searchable. It frees a (possibly imagined) mental burden).
A (long) backgrou... (read more)
Trying to port my personal anti-akrasia technique (based on raising the activity-switching threshold) from the office to home setting.
It's easy for me to get distracted and switch from productive work to just browsing LW or whatever. So I decided that every time I switch to a new activity, whether work-related or not, I will document it: time the last activity stopped, the details of what its status was at the time of suspension, whether the original goal was achieved or not, and any notes relevant for future resumption of it. Also record what the next activity is, it what stage it is at, what the intended goal is, and optionally anything else pertinent. ONLY THEN switch to the new activity. I set no restrictions on what the new activity can be, none whatsoever, just made sure I document every switch. It only takes a couple of minutes at most (I wrote a quick-and-dirty google docs spreadsheet to simplify entering the notes).
So far I have noticed a couple of benefits: I rarely switch to an unproductive or frivolous task, partly because of the hassle of having to document it in advance, and partly because writing down something like "gonna browse some LW forums, cuz I don't want to debug this code anymore" is plain embarrassing. Additionally, I ended up having a reasonably well documented diary, which is ... (read more)
I'm working on getting my warrior to level 85. I'm up to level 62 already, which is pretty good for about 28 hours put into it. I wanted a warrior to replace my Death Knight main because tanking as DK is getting its theme wrecked over time, block from shield is a much better mechanic than 2-handed tanking, and we have too many people rolling on the same token in my guild, along with another DK in the 10-man group. Once I'm 85, I can start on heroics and eventually Looking For Raid, which will be the first time I've done LFR on any of my characters.
I'm also... (read more)
The older teen uses it to socialise. She met her last two boyfriends on MMORPGs. She's moving in with the latest one this month. I expect that counts as winning.
I am painfully slowly finishing my textbook on high-school computer science. The text is ready, only the pictures are missing, but there are still many pictures missing. If I write a book next time, I will always make sketches of pictures while writing, so that I don't have to decipher my notes months later.
Why am I doing this? Mostly for signalling. The textbook market in Slovakia is heavily regulated -- only the textbooks written for government contract can be used in schools, and the terms of contract are very bad for authors. This is why (updates for) ... (read more)
For the past week, I've been experimenting with a morning and night ritual when I wake up and before I go to bed.
The morning ritual consists of an affirmation about winning, a recitation of the heuristics I'm currently trying to get myself to employ (things like flipping a coin when my options are close enough in utility to make thinking too hard about it a waste of time and energy, checking my to-do list as soon as I walk through the door, or not putting off necessities like sleep and food for "just a minute while I finish this..".), and a brain... (read more)
I am pondering the usefulness of neodymium magnets. What could be another cool use of them. Or the usage already known, but not very widely?
For one, I like the so called "neodymium magnets fishing", where people attache a strong magnet on one end of a rope and fish for iron objects in the river or lakes nearby. You can see on youtube what do they catch. I could do it in the lake Bled several miles from here, where a lot of Bronze and Iron Age artifacts have already been found by divers. Many haven't, I suspect, so I could hunt from the lake shore... (read more)
Inspired mostly by Tom Fiore's presentation in his excellent Music and Mathematics writing (found via John Baez from week 234 of TWFIMP), I am trying to understand the extent to which group theory can be used to analyze music. I've narrowed my sights at the moment to trying to understand the so-called ice cream changes (see also here), which is analyzed briefly on page 28 of Fiore's writing above. Since I don't know music theory or group theory very well, I'm picking up what I need as I go along. The next thing I'm trying to understand is centralizers, spe... (read more)
Procrastinating on writing up a decision theory post (which is about 1.5 months late now) and figuring out what's relevant for agents with provability oracles to be able to solve PD, by instead mostly studying math.
A proof copy of the dead tree version of my novel Summons is in the mail to me. If that works out, I'm going to buy seven to give as gifts and six more to sell to people who say they want them signed. (If you want a signed one let me know - it's $10 list price plus a bubble mailer plus media mail shipping from me to you.) Silver should be done in about a month and a half and then that'll be available in dead tree or typeset ebook too.
I'm still working on my blog series about the cogsci of humour, based heavily on Dennett's Inside Jokes, with some contributions from my virtual meetup group. I estimate that I'm about halfway through the series, but have had to go on hiatus while I do school-related stuff. I'm hoping really hard that I'll have enough spare time during spring break to re-read the relevant bits of the book so that I can write up the rest. Link is here.
Trying to extend my research project from last semester to new domains, while juggling an ambitious course load.
So the result I was working on previously is done -- four or five weeks after I finished writing my proposal. Suck it, planning fallacy. Today and tomorrow I'm going to work on writing it up carefully.
The new direction my project is taking is to get some quantitative idea of when exactly the result will hold. It's one of those things where we know it will hold for small epsilon, but that's useless to everyone unless we know how small epsilon needs to be. Given my schedule and teaching responsibilities this semester, I imagine I'll make reasonable amounts o... (read more)
Getting up to speed on C++11 after 10 years of steering clear of C++, now that they finally came out with the standard. Writing a roguelike game from scratch in modern C++ and looking for ways to express complex game logic in as readable and maintainable code as possible using various tricks and idioms.
I still haven't found the settings panel in my head that lets me switch the focus of obsessive tinkering into something other than game programming.
I've been lurking for some time but finally cannot resist posting in this thread. I've been working alone for some time now on an education startup. It's basically a website with math notes and questions for students. I've noticed that educational software hasn't really changed much over the last 2 decades. I could really really use some proper critism/feedback. Link (only works properly on Firefox for now). Feedback
How would you have done it? What probability do you give it of succeeding? How should I proceed? Thanks!
Studying neuroscience! Specifically going through Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience, which does a deep dive into different neurotransmitters and receptors among other things. Creating Anki cards as I go. I'm working on this for a bunch of reasons including hopes that it will help build a foundation I can use for letting me reduce mental properties people talk about down to neuroshit. More idealistically: it seems that almost no one in history has known what they actually are and that knowing this will (in some unknown way) positively change my life.
I have a math class where I get to work on anything I want. I'm currently researching ways to approximate Solomonoff Induction. I'll need to use some subset of the recursively enumerable function so that it's computable. Recently I found total functional programming as a way to accomplish this.
I've been working on anti-akrasia software. Currently it allows a person to log their daily activities, and assess how 'productive' they have been each day.
What I envision is a program with a modular facility: people can suggest and code modules providing anti-akrasia techniques.
A user would configure the program: my goals are X and Y and the anti-akrasia techniques I am using are A, B and C. Then the user would operate the program for a few days logging their daily activities, including how much closer towards their goals this takes them.
A user could th... (read more)
One of my side projects is attempting to categorize all of the trade-offs that decision-makers in our universe face. As of a literature search in June 2010, I could find no good system to classify trade-offs, even though (and perhaps because) this is a topic that cuts across many disciplines (see Wikipedia). My main goal in doing this is to attempt to parse out the parameter space so that people can share insights across fields, although I have other goals as well.
The simplest example is probably speed vs accuracy. This comes up all the time in computer s... (read more)
Well, inspired by teaching a class on interference recently, I'm writing a program that will output pieces of music that hopefully sound like interfering waves.
Motivation/anti-procrastination life hacking research. Specifically, ironing out what specific things I can do to procrastinate less, and making them as easy to do as possible. Research is basically done, just working on implementing what I've found out. Pretty successful so far!
Understand Keith Stanovich's taxonomy of thinking problems, such as in Rationality and the Reflective Mind, to organize all my debiasing/rationality-increasing projects. Motivation for this is two-fold: One, it's helping me get up to speed on the dual-process literature, and two it's helping me understand where our rationality goes wrong.
I am running an Ms Paint Adventures inspired adventure in their forum so far with some light rationality themes: Blockstuck.
I am also giving thought to designing a lazy-evaluated LISP derivative with CAS features, DSL for assembler JIT, category theoretical constructs, innocations in type systems, etc.
So far not much in terms of code, since I lack a good language to implement it in. C++ has load of libraries but no GC, D has good GC but lacks libraries.
I've been working on a personal organisation web-app. Partly because it's fun, partly because hopefully it'll get to stage of being useful. Currently all data is basically private to each user (I have the only user account, though now that it's online it is open to new users). Features right now are calendars and diaries, with users being able create multiple iterations of each for whatever differing purposes.
One planned feature is the ability to have dialogues with oneself, (Alicorn's Luminosity Elspeth-style) between 1-8ish other named personalities / se... (read more)
Too many things.
I have my RA project, my project class project, 2 online classes through Stanford, 3 non-online classes, and then the things I'd like to do. It cashes out as 70-80 hours of work a week if I do as much as I should for everything.
I think my project for this week is trying to schedule everything effectively, and (relatedly) work on motivation management techniques to make sure that work is being done ahead of time instead of behind schedule. It's easy for me to crunch and finish everything that needs to be done today, at the cost of taking tom... (read more)
Does it count if I'm probably not going to make progress on it for a while? I never feel like I have time at school.