1 min read21st Dec 2020213 comments
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Shortform #66 Waht, where did 7 months go?

Working mostly, actually. So that was good, and I'm still enjoying my hospital technology related job quite a bit, but I've been sorely missing having other aspects of my life than work (despite enjoying the work a lot).

I experienced a truly wonderful thing tonight, and that was a Norfolk Rationalists meeting with great conversations between excellent people, we went for five & a half hours and only stopped because we all got too sleepy.

Re: Shortform #65: no, I probably will not go to medical school. I am happily focusing on technology jobs and quite enjoying those in the healthcare environment. I would still like to do research, but until a later stage of life and other job decisions, any research I do will have to be independent, which is fine. I have so much to learn about so many areas, even within very specific niches, not only for my profession but also the research area(s) I'm interested in. Such learning will keep me occupied for some time while I grind for knowledge that I must acquire for professional & personal development plus satisfaction. Here's to learning new things every single day!

I am eating healthier, driving far less, walking & exercising more, and have noticed that my general competency improves as I improve in those areas of my life. This feels great!

I did not listen to music while writing this post, it's quite late & I did not wish for the extra stimuli. The gentle hum of the air conditioning was sufficient.


ToDo #1

  • I have previously read media consumption diet posts on LW and elsewhere that I thought were quite good and helpful. I need to:

    • Find the three most helpful to me such posts, search time cannot exceed 20 minutes.
  • Take a few minutes to assess the three chosen posts more carefully, identify where and how they ebb and flow in response to each other. Find the best flow and most correct-for-me ideas out of them.

  • Write 1st post detailing structured efforts for improving my media consumption diet to help improve my voicing voice capabilities.

    • Decide time span between 1st post and 2nd follow-up, reflective, post. Set calendar notifications for end of time span to write 2nd post.
  • At the marked date, write and publish 2nd post.

re: Shortform #50 "These efforts should help me notice and cultivate my "voice", and give voice to myself. Developing my thoughts into refined ideas and producing them is highly aligned with my interests, goals, and more, so I'm excited for this! (note to self: the actual methods for how I do these things and what I actually do, plus what my successes and failures turn out to be are good source material for two posts: 1 post detailing the plan and ... (read more)

I enjoyed reading this and skimming through your other shortforms. I’m intrigued by this idea of using the short form as something like a journal (albeit a somewhat public facing one). Any tips, if I might want to start doing this? How helpful have you found it? Any failure modes?
Cheers :) copied from bottom of post: "My #1 tip is to start writing shortforms, whatever you can do, give it a go :) try different strategies, write about different types of things, be more personal or less personal, fail publicly, and so on so you can see what works well for you and grow in the ways you want to grow!" Were there any parts you found particularly enjoyable, interesting, or even enlightening in some way? I'll share my experiences thus far writing these shortforms: * I definitely use these shortforms as a public journal or log, and I find that really helpful in several ways. * When I post something on the public internet (i.e. public http/https sites, not walled platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Discord, or otherwise) I find that it gives me more self-confidence, feels very "real" and tangible in a way that writing privately or posting on a private / walled platform does not (that realness and tangible "in the world" feel is good for me), and feels like a good avenue for "leveling up" in a variety of ways. * I value feedback, critique, suggestions, discussion, and so on from other people. I believe that a person becomes the best version of theirself, "levels up" more quickly and in a better way, and so on when practising their arts amongst a community of other practitioners, publicly. I don't do very well when it's just me by myself and while there are some forms of deliberate practice for some skills and arts that work okay-ish solo or require being solo occasionally, I'm at my very best when I'm learning and operating publicly in a community. So these shortforms help me learn and operate publicly in a community I care about and like being a part of, strengthen my efforts to learn and practise, and more. * These shortforms feel like a great way for me to practise writing publicly before doing the honestly scarier and more intimidating thing of writing a regular post here on LW that could go on main / the frontpage. Since I'm not that wo

Shortform #50 Voicing Voice

My consume vs produce ratio is not well balanced, I consume dramatically more media, information, entertainment, and other such things compared to what I produce. How can I even notice let alone refine my own thoughts and opinions amidst the ruckus and maelstrom of external inputs rummaging around my mind constantly? Furthermore, many if not most of those external inputs don't actually pay rent, though there are (and in some ways quite notable) exceptions (e.g. what I learned reading The Sequences).

In response to this problem, I am altering my media consumption "diet" to restrict non-deliberate consumption and increase deliberate, focused, helpful consumption plus increase conscious production efforts to generate significantly more outputs / products than I do now.

These efforts should help me notice and cultivate my "voice", and give voice to myself. Developing my thoughts into refined ideas and producing them is highly aligned with my interests, goals, and more, so I'm excited for this! (note to self: the actual methods for how I do these things and what I actually do, plus what my successes and failures turn out to be are good source material for two po... (read more)

Shortform #20 It's time to hunt down a job!

Today was marvelous :)

  1. I walked 2.18 miles indoors while on phone calls; I did 20 pushups and 100 situps at noon.
  2. I virtually co-worked for about 2 hours and made good progress towards writing my review of Gears-Level Models are Capital Investments.
  3. I began organizing and packing up in preparation for moving.

It was pointed out to me that I keep working on a bunch of different things but haven't yet started searching for jobs, despite that finding a good job will enable me to move to Seattle and do more fun things in life. Point noted and taken to heart!

Job hunting is now my highest priority, and I will be focusing on that exclusively while virtually co-working plus will do that while doing productive stuff by myself too. I will continue writing my three reviews (for the LW2019Review) during non-workday hours / in my spare time, but my workday hours will be focused on job hunting.

Good luck y'all :)

2021 Week 1 Review 1 Jan - 9 Jan

This week saw rapid mood changes, a descent into depression, and many actions taken to combat the aforementioned things. I'm happy to report that the actions I took ultimately led to a significant improvement in and stabilization of my mood, the removal of depression and ascent to a slightly higher happiness set point than the week before, and I've learned some good things.

Most significant thing noticed or learned this week: Living alone is really bad for me. Runner up: The power of co-working!

Once I realized (noticed) that living alone is really bad for me, I talked with family and they accepted my request to relocate from where I'm living now to go live with them. Now that I have a plan that's actively being worked towards for combating the "living alone is really bad for me" thing, I've been much more capable of dismissing isolation or loneliness feelings and my mood has improved significantly.

I noticed that co-working (only virtual so far) can "rescue" a day that's going poorly or make an already good day a great day, because I enjoy the social interaction + getting shit done. This upcoming week I have to pack and organize a lot, but I will sched... (read more)

Shortform #16 The power of co-working!

Today was an excellent day :) I woke up late, but immediately started virtually co-working with a friend and during that time we both completed a nice amount of tasks. Jumping from "I'm finally awake now" to virtual co-working helped me stay on track this day, it was very effective and helpful.

I scheduled the January and February Houston Rationalists' meetups, replied to some messages, tidied up, walked for 30 minutes, and later hungout with a friend around a campfire outside, twas nice!

Tomorrow I will post my 2021 Week 1 Review by 13:00. I will also setup co-working sessions for next week, quite looking forward to those! Seems like I'll be getting a lot more extra physical activity starting tomorrow because I must start prepping to move cross country and that takes a fair bit of organization, packing, etc. physical effort.

I did not listen to music while writing this shortform.

Be well!

Shortform #103 Friends are great!

Note to self, I really want to read "Friendship is Optimal", that along with a rather large number of other things are on my list. A list that would benefit from some pruning, curation, and possibly publishing.

I met with a new friend tonight at a lovely Japanese Fusion place for dinner, and we had ridiculously pleasant, deep, and good conversations.

Friends are amazing. Good night, I must sleep now.

Indeed they are :)

Shortform #94 Boundary Setting at work is suddenly much easier after attending Retreat

Prior to attending the organizer's retreat, I would let people send me tasks that fell outside of my primary responsibilities, even if they were mundane and not good learning opportunities and/or even if the individual in question actually had time to do the task. After the retreat, I noticed today, I haven't been doing that and have been saying no much more often, or enforcing better boundaries generally about work tasks.

I'm not sure what changed. My current job admitted... (read more)

Shortform #110 Studying | I vent some about work, but not...intensely, more of a light venting.

I was approved to work four 10 hour days this week meaning that I have Friday entirely free from my current employer! Huzzah! Huzzah! I will be spending the majority of the day studying for the professional cert I take exams for at the end of this month plus will meet with my co-organizer to figure out upcoming meetups. I am grateful that I've been able to study some at work, though not usually more than twenty minutes per day, still...the extra time there and th... (read more)

Let's hope that the computers will feel the same way about replacing humans.
Indeed, indeed! Machines with strong utility functions against humans would not be a good outcome for our species :(

Shortform #100 Writing publicly considered beneficial, fun, and not that scary

After writing one hundred shortform posts, writing publicly no longer feels scary and really just feels like a habit more than anything else (especially because the last 33 posts were near daily or daily). A habit I intend to continue as these are fun to write (even when I feel grumpy or hit an ugh field before doing so) and occupy a nice role in my life, plus I love growing my writing & other skills when creating these posts.

I feel a strong desire to write bigger posts than ... (read more)

Shortform #88 Retreat Debriefing & Staying in Touch | I will review some AI Safety literature

Today was a bifurcated day, I spent the morning and early afternoon dealing with the remnants of travelling (picking up my car from my local airport and then my baggage from an airport an hour away from home because that's where my connecting flight had been routed to last night after the initial one was unexpectedly cancelled) then finally made it to my apartment to shower & recombobulate.

I met with my Norfolk Rationalists co-organizer (shoutout Yitz!!! ht... (read more)

Shortform #87 Travelling Occurred

Today I spent the entire day (other than a very lovely short morning breakfast at the retreat venue and a few last wonderful conversations) travelling. I am now safely in bed, time to crash and get some rest.

As expected, today was less productive than yesterday thanks to holiday stuff and doing an unexpected amount of physical activity. And that's okay! Tomorrow may be similar, sans the unexpected physical activity stuff probably.

I read Zvi's COVID Update and oy vey. Thanks to Zvi for writing those updates, I've found them witty, insightful, helpful, and so on! This particular update earned those attributes too, but damn was the subject matter a bummer, if 2021 turns into another plague year that will suck...hopefully enough vaccines are distributed and that t... (read more)

4Ben Pace3y
I liked reading this :)
Thanks! What in particular stood out to you / did you like?

Shortform #119 Art is Fun!

I hadn't played the piano in months, but decided to have a solo jam session where I let myself play whatever felt good to play, and wow was that nice! Some of the time I played existing songs, but most of the time I flowed from chord to chord and jumped around the octaves.

Recently I acquired a drawing tablet, I spent some time learning Krita and drew some things, it was cathartic and very fun at the same time.

I don't think I let myself just play around very much, nor spend much time doing art things that I enjoy. I would like to c... (read more)

Shortform #65 Work Work Work, jobs are nice | Thoughts about career and future things

I started a new job in October, it was about time, and I've greatly benefited from working again! I'm enjoying the work, the environment, the industry, and am looking for W2 fulltime positions (I'm contract at the moment) at the institution I'm at plus a similar few nearby. Turns out I quite like working at hospitals and medical institutions, even if I am still doing IT work.

I started a second job this week which is very different from my main job. Instead of working in pe... (read more)

Several very important to me people whom I love told me that they would rather die than live even a few hundred years or indefinitely, that they would not choose cryopreservation if life extension capabilities aren't advanced enough by their "natural time", and so on, when I asked them how they felt about immortality (scenario was: imagine that humanity figures out how to be immortal and there are no restrictions, anyone can have it if they want it, do you take it yes or no?).

There's too much deathism in this world, aahhhhhhhhh. I've already started to mou... (read more)

On average, as you grow older, your health gets worse. I suspect that many people make an interpolation of this process, and their idea of a 1000 years old person is kind of a zombie in a wheelchair screaming in pain. Arguably, a fate worse than death. (And if you are religious, or unable to talk, then choosing death is not even an option here.) So perhaps it would be better to talk about "more decades of youth" rather than extension of life-as-we-know-it. Another possible fear is of waking up in a bad future. (Which again may be worse than death, and suicide may not be an option.) I have no idea what are the actual probabilities here.
I suspect that a good deal of people make that assumption too, about what living past a certain age would be like. Or the bad future scenario. I've encountered people who believe either or both things, but once I frame the question and scenario as immortality with perpetual youth then the first concern almost always disappears. The majority of people I ask the question / scenario to, keep bringing up concerns about population and where all these immortality people are going to live. That's not really something I'm worried about, because the universe is very large and an assumption I make is that humanity would spread throughout the stars if immortal, but I don't have a great specific answer regarding the population concerns people have mentioned. Actually, religious people with strong faith in their religion's conception of an afterlife are the most likely to choose eventual death over immortality in my experience, because they believe that one their time is up on Earth, they simply die and go to their religion's afterlife, and they find that very strongly preferable to living perpetually in the material world.
For the religious ones, perhaps a good frame would be "young for 1000 years", so that they can still enjoy the afterlife. More time to do the earthly stuff, and the afterlife is supposed to be infinite anyway. Population... the best case would be something like "people are young forever, but they can only have kids during the first few decades". Anyway, with exponential growth we would run out of resources even without immortality. And if there is ever a law against exponential growth, like "only 2 kids per a pair of adults", then immortality would mean a linearly growing population, which should be doable somehow. But yeah, this is difficult to explain, and requires some faith in either space travel or linear increases in food production.
I made the following claim in reply to wunan's comment below: "I make this claim: Individuals with sufficiently strong religious beliefs in a religion that has an afterlife will more often than not prefer to die on the "mortal plane" and go to their faith's afterlife than continue living (even in good health and restored to youth, etc.) for [100 more years] [300 more years] [lots more years] [the rest of time]." I think there would be variation even amongst individuals with strong faith in the afterlife of their religion regarding how long they may wish to keep living when restored to youth, but I do think more often they would eventually prefer to die instead of living indefinitely. I think your point "More time to do the earthly stuff, and the afterlife is supposed to be infinite anyway" is a good one, and agree that it'd likely motivate some such individuals to keep living some amount longer, though for how long I'm not sure. I do think there would be some such individuals who would not choose life extension past humanity's current "natural" (scare quotes for a reason) lifespan though. As I mentioned in my reply to wunan, I don't want to make a claim and forever rely on anecdote to support it, so I'll look for some research on this topic and see if anyone has researched the sorts of questions one would expect for this topic and if so, what they found. I have a reactionary knee-jerk reaction against controlling peoples' reproductive capabilities / rights / choices, in addition to finding that idea pretty awful and horrifying, and would like to find a way for humanity to get immortality yet not have to place any sort of reproductive restrictions on anyone: I don't want to live in a world where there are such restrictions, because I think that's wrong and goes against some essential aspect of being human. But I do understand that figuring out resources for a potentially exponentially growing population is an exceptionally hard problem, that just means we should h
Arguably, self modification might be different from continuing to exist (comparatively) unchanged.
They'll almost definitely change their minds once we have good treatments for aging.
I know some will, but that's too optimistic and ignores the preferences / experiences of a huge amount of people, because there are categories of people who prefer death over immortality for whom the aging process doesn't factor in to their choice on that matter. Especially people with strong faith in their religion's afterlife.
What I mean is that they haven't really considered it. As I'm sure you're aware, your mind does not work like most people's. When most people consider the question of whether they'd like to die someday, they're not really thinking about it as if it were a real option. Even if they give detailed, logically coherent explanations for why they'd like to die someday, they haven't considered it in in near mode.   I am very confident of this -- once they have the option, they will not choose to die. Right now they see it as just an abstract philosophical conversation, so they'll just say whatever sounds nice to them. For a variety of reasons, "I'd like to die someday; being immortal doesn't appeal to me" sounds wise to a lot of people. But once they have the actual option to not die? Who's going to choose to die? Only people who are suicidally depressed or who are in very extreme cults will choose that.
I wonder what the research area for "finding out whether people with strong beliefs in a religious afterlife of some kind change their minds near death regarding wanting to die vs wanting to go to that afterlife" is called? I do think you underestimate the strength of religious individual's convictions and the impact of that on their decisionmaking especially near death if they have significant faith in their religion's conception of an afterlife (assuming it has one). Still...staring imminent death in the face does spur many changes whenever an individual experiences that, so maybe that does shake things up...but, I'm not sure how much hope I place in that idea without seeing some research around the topic. I make this claim: Individuals with sufficiently strong religious beliefs in a religion that has an afterlife will more often than not prefer to die on the "mortal plane" and go to their faith's afterlife than continue living (even in good health and restored to youth, etc.) for [100 more years] [300 more years] [lots more years] [the rest of time]. I make that claim because of my experiences interacting with individuals who have very strong faith in their religious beliefs, including interacting with such individuals when they are near death. I need to figure out what kind of research people have already done that points in the direction of that claim and see what others have found, then I can pursue this inquiry further. I don't want to make a claim and forever rely on anecdote to support it!
Talk is cheap.  Someone who says "I want to die eventually" isn't actually invested in the answer - it's just them justifying to themselves why they're not exercising, eating right, and otherwise planning for a long future.
This is very uncharitable. For many people, living forever is simply not a realistic option. Heck, many rationalists give it a chance around 10%, and that already involves a lot of belief in progress, which many people don't have. Also, people are not automatically strategic. For example, religious people believe that sin can bring them eternity in hell, and they still keep sinning.
Arguably that's internal conflict. (Or, alternatively, what point is there in the religion if religious people are perfect?)
Believing in hell is the strategy against sinning. 
You're assuming a lot about other peoples' experiences and motivations, the internal experience that my aforementioned love ones have described to me looks not at all similar to what you said. While their internal experiences and their desire for eventual death are alien thought processes, emotions, and experiences to me, I do notice that the people-space of people who prefer eventual death to immortality contains a pretty wide variety of reasonings and internal experiences for why they prefer that eventual death...including surprisingly well thought out and sophisticated and logically coherent answers. Some people genuinely want to die eventually rather than live indefinitely, and that mindset / preference is so alien to mine own that it's a struggle to accept that people believe such things and have such preferences, but I keep encountering people who do so it seems to be true. However, I can see how what you said might be an internal experience for some people within people-space, it does check out and pass my anecdotal experience test at least (I've encountered some people who, per their description of internal experience, are likely similar to the mindset you described). I like to ask people their preferences on this matter, so I've heard a lot different answers to the "death vs immortality" questions, and while I've encountered some people who have a strong or neutral preference for immortality, I've encountered a surprisingly high amount of people who would prefer death, and that sucks.

Shortform #41 Feeling Good

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. I walked a little over 3 miles (~7200 steps) today plus ate decently.
  2. I felt great upon waking up in the morning.
  3. I was virtually social for ~2 hours today.
  4. I tore through the garage and got most of the old tech stuff out of their various boxes and almost ready for recycling. (PLEASE RECYCLE YOUR OLD ELECTRONICS, do not throw them away; most cities or metropolitan areas have somewhere you can take most if not all of your electronics for recycling. Please please please recycle that stuff, throwing it
... (read more)

Shortform #38

Today was a good day :)

I successfully dialed back the Worm reading and only read for a few hours instead of many hours. I was virtually social for about 2 hours, took care of some moving related tasks, wrote this shortform, and am going to bed at a decent time.

To tomorrow!

Good job! I often have trouble limiting my fiction consumption, so I'm proud of you for noticing the problem and then addressing it so quickly!
Thanks! It's difficult, but noticing is an important first step :) That being said, I read more today than yesterday, so a little progress lost, but, I read less than on the 1st, so a small victory nevertheless.

Shortform #25 Work Work Zug Zug

I enjoyed today!

  1. I practised more CS fundamentals via coding in Swift for about 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  2. I spent about 3 hours being virtually social, it was nice.
  3. I spent 1 hour doing chores and miscellaneous < 5 min tasks
  4. I logged my calories today, ~2226kcal
  5. I successfully used gtimelog to log my time for the day, but I found copy + pasting the whole log to the shortform onerous and not that valuable, so I'm only mentioning the time spent doing things congruent to stated goals.

Unfortunately, I did not exercise today. ... (read more)

Today was a lovely but very tiring day, I had a great day!

I continued reading Steve Silberman's NeuroTribes for a bit today, but otherwise didn't read much at all today because of all my time going elsewhere. Looking forward to settling in for a few hours of reading tomorrow though :)

My time spent exercising today was much lower than yesterday, but that's because most of my time was spent with family, plus I got roped in to help clean for a few hours (which counts as some physical activity, yay!). After cleaning for a few hours I stole 30 minutes to run ou... (read more)

Shortform #92 Woohoo for Organizing :)

Houston Rationalists now have an in-person local organizer! Thank you David M for organizing, I look forward to seeing how the group grows and supporting how I can from afar.

Norfolk Rationalists will become Virginia Rationalists this week! We are still meeting in Norfolk, but the name change should reduce confusion amongst people I or others speak to about the group. Plus, I would like to provide infrastructure & support to organizers in other parts of Virginia and support as many Virginia groups as possible, let's... (read more)

I have attended 2 CrossFit classes each week for the past two weeks! I will attend 2 classes this week and push for doing 3 classes a week starting next week. Finally getting into a habit of regular exercise each week (it's still not a huge amount, but I'm growing that habit!) makes me feel fantastic, and I'm so happy I've done this.

I'll be in Las Vegas later this week to party and have some fun :) If you're reading this and have recommendations for what to do, where to go, etc. I'm happy to hear your recommendations.

You should listen to the "Having a succ... (read more)

Shortform #10

Writing that weekly review yesterday challenged me motivationally, but I pushed through the ugh and wrote it anyways, I'm very happy about that, it was quite helpful to write.

Perhaps one of the most valuable products of writing that weekly review was that of noticing.

Reviewing my past week, the shortforms from that week, and other things focused my attention on things I would have otherwise missed, and thus helped me notice what I improved, what I completed, what I failed at, what was challenging, and so on. I'm deliberately incorporating more... (read more)

I'm taking a few minutes now to write what comes to mind, reflect on my day, plan, organize, blah blah blah.

Today was a good and productive day!

I successfully avoided Hacker News, didn't doomscroll at all on any site, and completed >50% of things I listed in yesterday's shortform!

Didn't read much today outside of light LW post skimming and chugging through a book while sitting in the car and waiting (had to wait a few times for >5 minutes in the car today but that's why keeping a book in the car at all times comes in handy; note: I always shut the en... (read more)

Shortforms will resume on Monday 3 October.

Shortform #134 Cloud Atlas

It is possible that Friday evenings after working all week may not be my most effective evenings for focused study.

Instead of studying anything tonight, I watched Cloud Atlas for the first time and wow, what a movie (how's the book? haven't read it). I was confused at first, because the movie begins by throwing multiple characters in different locations in time and space at you completely independent of context or exposition, but my confusion lessened as the movie progressed and I found the whole experience quite novel and deeply ... (read more)

Shortform #127 CoWorking is Great!

I don't have much slack in my life right now, so working in the same space as a friend plus taking occasional breaks to talk is great. I get some amount of social hangout time and am able to work.

Problem: I'm hecking exhausted from working hours a day on other things in addition to my day job. Really need to change something in the next few months I think. I'm enjoying the work at least :)

Shortform #115 Christopher Nolan's Tenet

I watched this movie tonight and had a blast, it was actually quite a bit of fun keeping track of the timeline stuff and whether someone or an object was operating "inverted" or "non-inverted". Is the premise absurd? It definitely feels that way, but the movie was fun and kept my attention well occupied for its duration. One provocative takeaway from the movie: be careful with rigidity of thought & not updating your priors. It felt like the movie was mostly about rapidly updating your priors and not just for usua... (read more)

Shortform #108 Tool use, software, and digitising operations

How does one as a human being stay relevant and able to solve enough problems that others experience to earn a living? No, AGI does not seem to be here yet, but our lives are governed, shaped, impacted by, and sometimes even ended via machine algorithmic decision making.

What tools are you using as prosthetics to augment your capabilities? Do you care about privacy or should privacy be given up to allow a closer integration with digital operations & support from machine algorithmic decision mak... (read more)

Shortform #107 So much to build, do, and create...so little time in a day!

I have moved from "wanting to do things" to simply doing things and getting a lot done each day. This feels fucking fantastic, I love turning my attention to X things and plowing through them! Scheduling and time block planning are helping quite a bit, but I'm still looking for room to optimize my workflows & cut out time sinks.

Here's what I'm thinking of:

  • either pay out of pocket for laundry wash & fold delivery service once I obtain a job upgrade this month or next month -
... (read more)

Shortform #102 Consistent sleep & wake times experiment

I'm tired of being tired so much during the day, to an extent that is genuinely life & job performance interfering. Time to improve my sleep quality & habits!

I commit to this experiment for one month, the experiment begins tomorrow 11 August, 2022. The experiment will be reevaluated on September 11, 2022. I will be asleep by 10pm each night and awake at 6am each morning, no exceptions for weekends or holidays.

Happy for any suggestions or comments about other ways to improve sleep quality to... (read more)

No specific suggestions other than maybe to consider perusing the sleep tag here and perhaps this article from the EA Forum last year. Best of luck with your experiment! :)
Thanks! I'm familiar with some of the items in the sleep tag, especially Guzey's writings about sleep, those were good. Checking out the EA Forum article and more things from the sleep tag tomorrow or Sunday. I appreciate the well wishes :)
2Phil Scadden1y
Well I battled with insomnia and the first bit of dealing with that is good sleep hygiene. Not exactly secret, but this would be rules like: 1/ regular bedtime. 2/ Use bed only for sleep and sex 3/ Relax before bed 4/ Room dark, quiet and comfortable temperature. What are you issues with sleep quality exactly? Wakeful spells? getting to sleep?
I've got 2, 3, and 4 covered, so I think my main sleep quality issue is 1. I've never in my life had a set bedtime & wakeup time, it has always varied some or wildly. Keeping my comment short because in three minutes I must away to the bedroom for sleep. Other possible issue: health related sleep issues that a sleep lab could find out. I will rule this out or in depending on how well my experiment with 1 works out: if my sleep quality issue is solved, then I likely don't need to go to sleep lab, else, go to sleep lab.
2Phil Scadden1y
A number of smart watches detect snoring, sleep apnea/oxygen level type issues. Sleep lab sounds expensive. Good luck with regular hours. My first job had 5:30am starts which quickly ended my wild night-owl antics of varsity. Have had regular sleep hours ever since (and became a morning-person to my surprise).  Insomnia issue in later life had another cause.
Thanks for the well wishes :) And the reminder; I've taken my Apple Watch out of storage and will use that each night for sleep tracking, it has all those sensors you mentioned. Oh wow! That's an intensely early start time, my current job is only 8am, but have had as early as 6:30-7am start times in the past. What caused insomnia issue(s) later in life? If you're okay sharing.
1Phil Scadden1y
One of those behaviour spirals. Noticing that if brought back to alert before fully asleep (eg by hynpojerk or disturbance) then hard to get to sleep. Then starting to panic if it happens, then worrying about the insomnia etc etc, down you go.
Ah! That sounds frustrating, are you still experiencing that spiral? If not, what helped overcome it?

Some self-administered CBT. The VA CBT-I app helped, as did understanding the issue via the free course at https://insomniacoach.com/. Complimentary was doing some mindfulness stuff. There was key things that worked together and never looked back since. 

I'm glad you were able to work through that :) Thanks for sharing! I've bookmarked that course and will keep it in mind if I develop a bout of insomnia or other sleep related difficulties. My sleep experiment is going surprisingly smoothly, I get very sleep right around the correct time and fall asleep within 15 minutes usually, already. Waking up is getting easier and easier too, I love it!
5Phil Scadden1y
Excellent! Not feeling tired makes it a lot easier to enjoy life.
1Phil Scadden1y
Given the no. of upscores on this, then maybe I should expand. Firstly, if don't suffer from insomnia then chances are that you get into bed, close your eyes and go to sleep. You are not counting sheep or some more sophisticated exercise in an effort to get to sleep. If you do suffer from insomnia, then this is this the destination you are aiming for. The sleep hygiene stuff is important because you want to train your brain that this place, this time is for sleep. But shutting off bad brain behavior is more complicated. Understanding the feedback loops is key to breaking them which is why I highly recommend the insomniacoach.com short course. But other key things for me were: 1/ the golden rule: Never toss and turn. Get out of bed and read for 15-20 minutes instead. This is surprisingly hard to adhere to but seriously, do it. 2/ mindfulness has thing of focusing on something (eg breathing) and when mind wonders off, then bringing it gently back. Your mind wanders off when going to sleep and if it wanders into a worry area, then it will stop you getting to sleep. Learning the trick of gently refocusing really helps that. It never worked for me to try mindfulness exercises in bed (other people have different experiences), but learning the trick by practice at other times helps.  3/ Body scan is an exercise you find in CBT-I and some mindfulness/meditation disciplines. This seemed totally counter-intuitive to me. Eg when I was struggling with sleep, I noticed body discomfort and if you start worrying about how your arms are arranged, then you are lost. However, what it actually teaches you (eventually), is how to ignore those body signals. Again, never worked for me to actually do this in bed.  Not instant fixes, but things that eventually work with practice and repetition.

Shortform #101 Conversation experiment: Tabooing $topics after previously discussed for $time

Do you ever find yourself talking at length, sometimes repetitively about the same topic(s)? Do you notice others around you doing similarly? Experiment with tabooing that topic or topics (with consent of your conversation partner(s), of course) for an evening (or whatever your time interval is) and see what happens!

Spur of the moment tonight, I asked my friend after we finished coworking and were hanging out if they wanted to try the conversation topic taboo exper... (read more)

Shortform #80: immortalityisgreat.com go live date is 28 August, 2022 | Meetup Organizer's Retreat

While filling out my information on the Meetup Organizer's Retreat get to know each other document, I included a commitment that I would launch immortalityisgreat.com by 28 August. For a bit of further challenge, a friend & cohort member from the Guild of the ROSE created the following prediction market page: https://manifold.markets/XidaRen/will-willas-website-go-online-by-au Here we go!

My goal with the aforementioned site is initially quite small: create... (read more)

Shortform #77 Decreasing personal maintenance time: haircut edition!

I like to increase the time I have for things I enjoy or bring about professional, intellectual, personal, social, or other growth. My hair had grown ridiculously long (went almost all the way down my back), was consuming a not insignificant amount of time to maintain per week, and was annoying me. I decided to stop procrastinating and finally do something about that, so I went to the salon and now I have short hair that doesn't even reach my shoulders. FINALLY! Now I will have better look... (read more)

Shortform #71 A Restful & Productive Saturday | Brief rough thought about AI Alignment & Politics

Today I slept in, studied for my cert exam, finalized my V3 character sheet, virtually hungout with friends, and had a pleasant time puttering around the house.

My office desk is currently two stacks of three boxes per stack with an old Apple Xserve stretched across them for stability. I used my two existing desks for my setups in the loft to great effect, now I need to focus on finalizing my office setup...so, purchasing three desks is my next step ther... (read more)

Ooh, adding https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/CQAMdzA4MZEhNRtTp/human-values-and-biases-are-inaccessible-to-the-genome to my reading list for tomorrow / soon. Germane to my interests in politics, AI, and values.

Shortform #61 In Which Half a Month Passed, Unexpectedly

Whoosh is the best way to describe the last ~17 days. Time to make some adjustments, it's not pleasant nor desirable when time goes by so quickly while barely noticing it passing. A surprisingly illegible and inscrutable 17 days, unfortunately.


  • daily shortform writing: this will increase legibility and potential for reflection regarding each day(s) and week(s)
  • increase fruits & vegetables consumption: this will improve my nutrition
  • step back down one increment on X: the increase of on
... (read more)

Shortform #59 The Great Outdoors and Good Conversations; Hammertime Days 6 (Mantras) and 7 (Aversion Factoring)

Yesterday we went hiking for 3 hours around the absolutely stunning hills / mountain surrounding Devil's Lake, Wisconsin. The road trip there and back was fun and picturesque too, Wisconsin is gorgeous. We had dinner with one friend's friend at a grand café in town and that was lovely, great food and great conversation.

Today we went to an excellent brunch at one friend's friend's house and spent several lovely hours there eating great food and hav... (read more)

Shortform #55 Alons-y; Hammertime Day 1 - Bug Hunt

I spent the first ~10 minutes of my workday creating my day's agenda. It turns out that setting a timer for 10 minutes before doing any work for the day to create an agenda for the day is a most excellent and helpful ritual, so I'm doing that from here on out.

I scheduled very aggressively and didn't leave buffer time, so tomorrow I'll add 5-10 minutes of buffer time between each non-travel-required / other unavoidable time sink item on my schedule and see if that's enough. Despite the no buffer time and mul... (read more)

Shortform #49 Specificity

I mostly talk about my own life in these shortforms, and I'm partly okay with that, because doing so has been nice and helpful for me thus far, but I want to talk about other stuff too. So, I'll work other sorts of topics into these posts as I desire: right now I want to learn more about and discuss specific life interventions others have tried and the resulting effects from said interventions. Time to ask that question via the site's "New Question" feature!

If you haven't yet read Liron's Specificity Sequence you should go check it... (read more)

Shortform #40 Egads! A Title, but not a real Title.

Today was nice :)

  1. I was virtually social for >4 hours today. This includes the 3 hours I attended and facilitated the Houston Rationalists meetup, which was quite a fun and nice meetup, I had a good time and we had a few new members!
  2. Today's step count was ~9871 steps, for about 4.1 miles of distance walked. A large part of that came from walking around a field for an hour or so during the afternoon, it felt great to go walking outside again.
  3. Completed initial onboarding for a new project, excited to s
... (read more)

Shortform #34 Unable to Formulate Title

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. Had a morning interview and it went well! I'm now doing volunteer software development for a cool place, and am excited for that :) It is very helpful and good experience for me to gain.
  2. My neighbor brought us over taco soup and cornbread, and it was fantastic, thank you to her!
  3. I walked 5.3 miles today, 13,263 steps
  4. I was virtually social for a few hours.

I am continuing to read Worm and am really enjoying it!

Yay for the weekend :)

Shortform #29 Almost Back on the Wagon!

Today was an excellent day :) I did not stick to the schedule I put together, but writing it last night was helpful since I had it for reference today. I allowed myself to sleep in and that seems to have helped considerably in many ways.

  1. I logged my calories today, totaled ~2230kcal
  2. I was virtually social for >4 hours via phone calls
  3. I was up and active for the majority of the time I was on the phone, I spent >5 hours packing and organizing things today. (including but not limited to, boxing up all 375+ of my b
... (read more)

Shortform #26 Oh wow, a marathon of posts! Also, mild ranting.

Today was good, but felt very split into three pieces. The morning, the trip into town, and the rest of the day: I did productive things for almost three hours in the morning, then drove into the nearby big city for my doctor's appointment, and several hours passed before I got home. The doctor's appointment was great! All good things, but when you have to drive for so long there and back, that does take quite a chunk out of the day. The rest of the day started around 15:30 and went nicely too :... (read more)

Shortform #22 Packing, Organizing, and Preparing.

Today was a good day.

I spent most of it going through things, throwing away, organizing, sorting, and packing said things depending on what they were, and got a lot done in preparation for moving because of that. I'm looking forward to finishing up my resume tomorrow and getting feedback on it then finishing up my profile on the job sites I made an account on.

I've enjoyed watching the most recent season (part 3 IIRC) of Disenchantment as well, and apparently The Magicians has a new season too, exciting!

Happy... (read more)

Shortform #21 Functional strength training and job hunting, oh my.

I had a most excellent day :)

  1. I created accounts on job posting sites and started hunting.
  2. Joined a discord video call with two friends and we did 30 minutes of functional strength training together, I am now really sore, but am happy I worked out!
  3. I did virtual co-working for ~3 hours.

My resume is out of date and pretty bad, I'll fix it up tomorrow using RMarkdown and other nice R things so that my newly created resume will be up to date AND pretty / well styled. I'm meeting (virtually) ... (read more)

Shortform #11

Welcome to the new year! same as the old year As promised, I am resuming my daily shortforms :)

The last 4 or 5 days were simultaneously the worst and best days I've experienced in quite awhile.

Best: Hanging out with great friends on the 31st and 1st, this was fantastic, I had an amazing time. (yes, we all tested negative for COVID prior to deciding to hangout) | Having an emotional breakthrough realization

Worst: The descent into cripplingly bad depression from loneliness late on the 1st once I was alone again. Feeling shattered from isolation ... (read more)

Holidays are great, I'm extending my enjoyment of this one through the end of the weekend. Shortforms will return with #11 on Monday the 4th :)

Today marks day 7 of daily shortform writing, tomorrow will mark day 8, and so on :)

Yay for one week of daily shortform writing! Feels like a nice accomplishment, now I'm aiming for one month.

In an "ironic for 2020" turn of events, I did not contract COVID from the family Christmas gathering, no, that test came back negative thankfully. I contracted the plain ol' flu instead, and this is probably why I was so tired yesterday and why my ear has been hurting. Much of today was spent resting and the other half of it was spent at the doctor trying to get diagn... (read more)

Much shorter update for today, since today was quite bifurcated. Morning to early afternoon were chaotic and all consuming until I dropped my parents off at the airport. Afterwards I was tired and settled down on the couch for a bit, but eventually got up, took the dogs to the field (the grass was less soggy today than yesterday), and walked for two miles. That's all the exercise I did though, and it was quite a leisurely walk, so I think today was my "rest" day. I'm happy I went walking outside, that was fun plus the dogs enjoyed it too!

I did some virtual... (read more)

  1. Solve easy problems & what's your default query tool?

I am committing to solving at least five problems in my life per week that aren't just regular chores. Here's the current list: (most of this list is: I am tired of seeing my deadname around too frequently)

  1. Done: requested name change with US Department of Education
  2. Done: requested new card from $bank1 so my name is correct on it
  3. Partial: Called $bank2 about name change and they are snail-mailing me the paperwork for that.
  4. To do: Call $university1 & $college1 to do name change at both places
... (read more)

Shortform #129 More test taking

Tomorrow morning I take the second out of two exams for an IT cert I'm pursuing. I've studied well and know the material thoroughly. I'm excited to take that test and obtain that cert as it will help with short term survival with getting better IT jobs while I figure out how to transition to doing different work. Not much else to say tonight, the exam is the main thing on my mind. I'll gain some slack back in my life by obtaining the cert, so that's a nice thing too.

Be well,
Good night!

Daily shortforms shall resume on Monday 5 September, 2022. I am taking IT certification exams this weekend and need to focus.

Shortform #106 Four Days of Consistent Sleep & Wake Times: going well!

Waking up at 6:13am on Thursday & Friday felt like normal work wakeup time but with more energy & less tiredness than usual because of falling asleep by or slightly before 10pm.

Waking up at 6:13am on Saturday and Sunday made my weekend feel like it was unbelievably long in a great way. I wasn't tired at all, felt plenty energetic, and immediately after waking up both mornings spent a solid two or three hours working on important personal tasks or projects. I really am sharper... (read more)

Shortform #78 Design Matters: The Triumph of the Curved Shower Rod | Lighting: Hedonistic Adaptation

For those of you suffering from narrow tub-shower hybrids with shower curtains that inevitably brush up or press against you while showering, for (new retail price) $30-$60+ you can become the proud owner of a curved shower rod that dramatically increases the horizontal space you have in such a shower. I've just installed one (do measure your tub-shower hybrid's length from wall to wall before buying one, that measurement does matter) and the result is a muc... (read more)

Shortform #76 Noticing mood, behavior, & energy impacts from food types consumed

When I eat processed sugar, I take a negative hit in all three categories mentioned above.

When I eat mostly vegetables, some carbs, and none or a smattering of meat, I feel great. As the meat to vegetables ratio increases, the worse I feel.

When I eat fruits, the impact from their non-processed sugar is not the same as the impact I have from processed sugar: usually there's little to no impact and sometimes I even feel better from eating the fruit.

When I eat processed foods,... (read more)

Shortform #56 Travel; Hammertime Day 2 - Yoda Timers

I followed my media diet today except regarding Discord, plus didn't get in my full reserved hours of work. On the whole, I was reasonably productive, but didn't focus my actions very well today.

This evening we had a Houston Rationalists virtual meetup which went quite well! Had a new attendee, several regulars, and great discussion. We focused a lot of the discussion on timelessness, or, why is it some ideas, cultural practices, books, etc. survive over the long term whereas others do not (yes the lindy ... (read more)

Shortform #19 Meetups are great!

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. I spent about 4 hours on direct messaging and caught up on almost all my inboxes! The time per day required for giving timely responses to each person will now decrease thanks to being caught up. I enjoyed talking with everyone I talked with, and look forward to those continuing conversations :)
  2. I walked indoors for 2.3 miles, that was nice.
  3. I had a great time at today's Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup, it lasted about four hours and was quite fun! I have some good ideas for what to do at f
... (read more)

2020 Week 52 Review: 21 Dec - 28 Dec

I do best when I have a structure to work with as a scaffolding when dealing with life and everything that entails. The weekly review process will be one of several structures I'm purposely building into my life so that I can be a more focused and concentrated general intelligence entity: this has the great benefit of helping me align my actions with my goals, plus you know, helping me to actually identify and remember my goals explicitly.

Last week I completed 8 of my major weekly ToDo items and failed to complete 7 of t... (read more)

Today is the only time I'm allowing my weekly review post to count as my daily shortform update (tis #9). This will not occur again in the future.

Well, daily shortform posts do get significantly more boring while sick, unfortunately :(

I've scaled back a lot of my activities and plans so that I can rest and get over the flu more quickly.

However! I have successfully overcome giving in to the temptation to fully go into a cocoon and not do anything, i.e. I have avoided totally isolating myself which is a habit I've routinely fallen into while sick in the past. My plan of being extraordinarily more (virtually) social to prevent the onset of depression is really paying off! I spent the majority of active... (read more)

I'm taking a few minutes now to write what comes to mind, reflect on my day, plan, organize, blah blah blah.

(1) Tomorrow I will record the amount of time I spend reading and what site I was on (or book / physical reference material if not on a computer / is offline but on a computer) using a stopwatch. I want to know how much time I spend reading what and where I read it.

(2) I am taking a temporary break from Hacker News, the next time I'm allowing myself to go there and mine for dopamine (I mean, search for novel and cool things) is Monday the 28th at 14:... (read more)

Note to self, since I have the markdown editor activated, I can make my posts more nicely formatted by actually using markdown. Time to print out my favorite markdown cheatsheet: https://rstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/rmarkdown-cheatsheet.pdf

Writing is great for me, but I do way too little writing. I put my feelings about this into a small poem, here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/vMNPQvFfgNmRWsJBi/intake-rumble-spew

Since shortform posts are, short and don't require high epistemic confidence and seem compatible with social media style posting, I will now write shortform posts regularly so that I get at least some writing done. This will help process the torrent of data and thoughts swirling around in my head like some chaotic vortex. It's hard to do anything with that vortex there, but writi... (read more)

4Adam Zerner3y
I can really relate to this. I too experience that vortex and find that writing helps with it, in addition to just helping me reason about things. I wrote about it in Writing to Think if you're interested.
Thanks for sharing that post as well as your experiences and struggles with writing! Down with the vortex, heh :( I'm glad writing helps you wrangle it down to something more manageable as well. I agree with everything you said in your post about writing. I believe writing has such positive efficacy regarding thinking clarity, mental health improvement, expanding "smarts", and has power, and so on because it is a cognitive prosthetic. Writing is a tool our species developed that extends the capabilities of not only an individual's working memory, their total information storage capacity, their scope sensitivities, and more, but does the exact same things for entire civilizations, for our entire species as a whole. Writing seems to be "a more communicative form of communication" (see below quote), a process which results in a product that explicitly separates the act of thinking with what was thought, leaving what was thought as an object in the world one can interact with and channel the act of thinking against. On repeat! As more gets written, more acts of thinking are channeled against what's written and more products of thinking are generated. In a very real way, writing might be the most powerful recursive self and civilizational improvement tool that we humans have, given that it's the most communicative form of communication and allows for such separation between the act of thinking and the product of thought. Much of what I think about writing comes from reading different products of though targeted at writing over the years such as Umberto Eco's "How to Write a Thesis", hundred of blog posts about writing, A.G. Sertillanges' "The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods", casual discussions with friends about writing, Cyril Connolly's "Enemies of Promise" (this book broke my ability to write for a semester in college, such was its power), and more. I should make an actual list of these influences! More recently my thinking about writing, think
  1. April 9 Williamsburg VA Meetup, AI, and thank goodness Spring is almost upon us

If you find yourself in or near Williamsburg, Virginia on 2023/04/09 come join for a Virginia Rationalists Meetup and the Williamsburg 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festival.

This week was a bit overwhelming in AI news, with GPT-4 releasing, new Midjourney, Stanford's Alpaca, more AI offerings from Google, Microsoft CoPilot 365, and honestly a bunch more things. I've spent too much time already talking with the GPT-4 version of ChatGPT given how long it's actually been available... (read more)

Shortform #147 Working & Considering Partial Digital Nomadism

I experience significant value-add to my life / nice things when I travel. I trialed working semi nomadically in December when I stayed at 7 or 8 households over 10 days while working remotely full time. That was fun, exhausting, and a very valuable learning experience! I definitely overbooked myself on that trip and did not schedule enough downtime, plus, I found working from a single laptop screen a bit less efficient than my normal 4 screen work setup & other desktop accoutrements.

With... (read more)

Shortform #146 Happy New Year! (a few updates; all dates from 2022 unless specified otherwise)

Resuming on October 16th didn't happen, oops. Looks like January 3rd (today) will have to do! Now for some updates:

  • I changed jobs in October: I went from a contract employee to a full employee at the healthcare org I work at, with a promotion to a new team! Now I am supporting clinical & medical technology systems, it's cool stuff, I'm learning a ton, and I love the position, it's a very good fit.
  • November disappeared into the abyss of working a lot, I can't
... (read more)

Shortform #145 Audio Journaling | Rethinking Shortforms

I tried audio journaling for the first time today, it felt weird but I think the experience was actually great! Recorded for about 30 minutes on an old non-internet connected phone (to pacify my paranoia) and then listened to the recording and got hit in the feels in all sorts of good and helpful ways.

I like writing these shortform posts, but am not sure how valuable they've been over the last few weeks in particular (I know writing the posts as a whole has been incredibly valuable to my personal devel... (read more)

Shortform #144 Pre-Registering commitment actions

This week I may have meat on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Saturdays I am intending to Sabbath hard and go home for the sake of supporting my increased workload on the rest of the days of the week and having one day where I really unplug and engage in pure non-work leisure. No shortforms on Saturdays.

Commitment: wake up at 5am three times per week, those days this week are: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

2 mile minimum walk: I will almost certainly do this on Sundays, probably before or after Virgin... (read more)

No shortform post today...I developed a migraine early afternoon and it's still with me though not as intense as the worst part of it thankfully. I met my "wake up at 5am" commitment today and felt really well rested & great today until the migraine struck me in the early afternoon (not sure the cause, might have been too much caffeine). I enjoyed having the extra full hour or so in the morning to devote to whatever I wanted: I listened to more of a good audiobook, sent an email, and did another thing or two, it was pleasant.

Shortform #143 Taking small actionable steps to improve my life

Starts Monday Oct 10. I am coasting now on my past commitments because they have become habits (for the most part). Time for new commitments! Note: I find that small continuous actions of improvement, (see also Kaizen), more sustainable & actually doable than big innovations, so those are my guidelines with most of my new commitments.


  • Eat one or less egg per day instead of the two I've been averaging
  • Eat meat no more than once every other day instead of the once a day I've been aver
... (read more)

Shortform #142 What entertainment are you consuming or interacting with?

Right now I am listening to Fragments, by Bonobo. I love that album!

Tonight was my once or twice a month "watch YouTube videos" night, and...I'm not sure how much I like that habit. I do skip a lot of videos I used to watch almost compulsorily when I watched YouTube videos multiple times a day...so that's an improvement at least.

I am not watching any TV shows right now, but I will possibly watch a movie this weekend. I'm reading a book on Kaizen which I'm quite enjoying and am also slo... (read more)

Shortform #141 Weekly workshops & good things to come

I will now be running weekly workshops for Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk. I'm excited for this and am looking forward to the growth and fun we will experience! Nothing will change with our weekly socials, I wanted workshops so am running those separately from social meetups as was recommended by many other organizers at the organizer's retreat in July.

I have an interview tomorrow for a job I'm a really good fit for on a team that would be great to work with. Here's to good things to come hopefully :)

I did not write last night's shortform because I was eating delicious homemade from scratch pizza with friends.

1Martin Vlach1y
Cheer to your&friends' social life(s)!
Thank you :) I did not used to have regular hangouts like that, and now that I do, I find that they are a nice improvement to my life.

Shortform #140 Routine-breaking Weekend

I tend to settle into a fairly predictable routine, and this weekend roused me from that.

On Friday there was a tropical storm and no power in my apartment when I went home after work (though it did come back on that evening thankfully). Because my building sustained no damage, it was a pretty relaxing night, I read some while it was still light out and then the power was back on by nightfall so I hopped on my computer and was somewhat social virtually for a bit.

On Saturday I went to Richmond, VA for the ACX Meetup Eve... (read more)

Shortform #139 Note to self: don't reschedule weekly meetup

Tonight's Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk meetup was great! We had a new individual join us who is familiar with ACX.

In retrospect, I think it was inconsiderate to suddenly reschedule the group's weekly meetup just because I couldn't attend. My co-organizer and others likely could have attended yesterday, and there were a few people who just couldn't make the rescheduled meetup but had included Wednesday nights in their routine as "meetup night". So, I intend to not reschedule the weekly social meet... (read more)

Shortform #138 A good but slightly disorienting day

I applied for a promising job today, here's to hoping that bears fruit!

I am somewhat out of whack due to having to suddenly house sit instead of going to my own home after work. I do not enjoy this, but it's an obligation I'm fulfilling.

No meetup tonight, I rescheduled Norfolk's meetup for Thursday evening (the 29th). I'm excited for the meetup tomorrow!

Shortform #137 Meal Prepping & Rambutan

In pursuit of healthier eating, I prepared containers of seeds, fruits of various kinds, and vegetables that I can eat during meals & take to work for lunch. I also tried a new-to-me fruit called Rambutan, I like the flavor okay but it's a little bland, and now have a container of that fruit to eat through too.

I meditated for 5 minutes, rowed for 5 minutes, and did 5 pushups tonight. Small continuous improvements, here we go!

Shortform #136 Sugar* Considered Harmful

  • = sugar in excess of what one would consume normally by eating fruits & vegetables and maybe 1 square of dark chocolate.

I splurged (everything else were essentials / healthy food) on one item this weekend from Trader Joe's: Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls. Yes they were tasty, duh. After consumption...now I feel physically ill: almost sweating and general discomfort, anxiety, elevated heart rate, trouble focusing, restlessness, etc. Oh! This is not an isolated set of bad feelings, these bad feelings occur every ... (read more)

Shortform #135 Rest and Shrinking the "World"

Last week I read about 10 arcs of Ward, listened to a ton of UNspoiled! podcast network podcasts, and played video games some too. I increased how much I slept each night and averaged a bit over eight hours, and improved the healthiness of my food choices. As much as I escaped into fiction and the "other worlds" that come with fiction, I felt that that came at the expense of the reality / world we all live in (hence part of this post's title). The more I engage with fiction, the more I withdraw from reality / th... (read more)

Daily Shortforms will return on Sunday 25 September, 2022. I need to focus on building other habits right now, but also...a bit of extra rest is nice.

Shortform #133 Knowledge Intake

As mentioned yesterday, I re-read the comments on Have you considered getting rid of death? and added what was recommended to my knowledge intake system. I believe I'd benefit from working methodically through a textbook while reading another more foundational conceptual book so to those ends I suspect the first two books I read specifically for increasing my Biology knowledge are:

If I notice significant gaps in ... (read more)

Shortform #132 Small but good actions.

Tomorrow evening's reading material is a re-read of the comments on Have you considered getting rid of death? where several people recommended good things to check out. I will add that material to my intake system and begin processing it.

I will post Friday's reading material tomorrow, I have got to get to sleep now. Tonight's Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk meetup was fantastic!

I have completed similar "prep for tomorrow" actions tonight like I did last night. The extra slack provided by those actions from yesterday came in handy today.

Shortform #131 TWI & Kaizen

In the spirit of continuous, sustained, small-step daily improvement (hello Kaizen or its precursor, TWI), I am adding a small component my daily shortforms: spend 10 minutes or less reading about a pre-registered subject each day and share my thoughts on what I read that day in my shortform.

Tomorrow I'm choosing or "pre-registering" my reading material for 14/09/2022 through 18/09/2022. Tonight I prepared tomorrow's lunch, set out tomorrow's clothes, and did a few other things to make tomorrow go more smoothly & increase my slack.

Shortform #130 More Slack

I passed my second cert exam (this cert requires passing scores on two separate exams) this morning and have thus obtained my new IT cert! I now have more slack in my life, which feels so good. I'm not completely out of churning waters yet, but they are quieter and a bit slower than before.

I look forward to discussing Twelve Virtues of Rationality in my upcoming meetups.

Shortform #128 Organizing for Immortality

Thank you to everyone who read and/or commented on Have you considered getting rid of death?! Your thoughts, resources, and support are welcomed :)

I've reflected on that post, discussions I had with others about it, and the comments, plus my current life circumstances: I have a small amount of time slack but zero financial slack, so what is the highest value added work I can put forth towards the bigger immortality project? Organizing, I think.

I intend to read, write, and produce original research for that project, ... (read more)

Shortform #126 Running More Specific Meetups

We had nine attendees (including myself) at our [Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk] social tonight! It was great, I had a most excellent time, and everyone else said they enjoyed it too.

Only four out of nine attendees (including myself) were familiar with LW/ACX/EA, and when you don't have a group where most of the people are "in-group" so to say (i.e. familiar with things inside our walled gardens), that changes the dynamics of the experience quite a bit.

I may have to vary between open and closed socials in additio... (read more)

Shortform #125 Increasing Vegetarianism

I am still eating meat, but have steadily been cutting back on my meat consumption for the last few weeks. I feel better, my mind is sharper, and I tend to have more energy when I eat more fruits & vegetables and less meat. Not ready to make a full commitment, not sure if I ever will (parties do exist, and there are still things I like trying or would want occasionally), but I am thinking of the 80/20 rule and how that could apply well in this case.

If I eat vegetarian for >=80% of meals, I get the aforementioned benefits while still getting to eat some amount of meat. This seems like a good compromise.

Shortform #124 Returning, Exams, and Plans

Shortforms exist again! Yay :) I enjoy writing these, they are a nice ritual and anchoring part of my days each week, especially while parts of my life remain fairly fragile or uncertain.

The IT exams went well until there was a software glitch, and the second exam failed to even launch and no proctor ever reached out to me. I passed the first exam with room to spare, and opened a support ticket about the second exam, so hopefully the testing company will issue me a new voucher so I can take the second exam and fina... (read more)

Shortform #123 Learning Social Conventions via Scripting & Deliberate Practice

One topic discussed at Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk's social meetup tonight (we had six attendees and had a ton of fun!) was how many people had to consciously choose to learn & practice social conventions like eye contact, body language, customs, and more. Those are things I've had to do, as most social conventions or customs didn't or don't come naturally to me for some reason. This topic resonated with most of us at the meetup, so I'm wondering if it's also a topic t... (read more)

Shortform #122 Some books on my "To Read" list: (this list grows over time...it may need some pruning, I know I'm missing things, and this list is separate from my "To Finish" list...; this list is mostly for me, it helps to consolidate some things. I'm very open to recommendations.)

Liu Cixin's trilogy, The Remembrance of Earth's Past
Peter Watts, Blindsight
Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths, Algorithms to Live By
National Research Council, Funding a Revolution: Government Support for Computing Research
Peter Kingsley, Reality
David Eagleman, Livewired
R... (read more)

Note to self: make a goodreads account, or use some open source alternative.

Shortform #121 So many ACX Meetups Everywhere to go to!

I will be travelling as much as possible to ACX Meetups Everywhere mostly along the East coast, some in the South, and hopefully all such meetups in Virginia. If I can swing it, I'd like to go to Houston see everyone & run a meetup then attend the Austin ACX meetup.

I love looking at the Community map and seeing so many meetup events occurring, this is fantastic! I'm eager to see that grow year over year and help however I can with that growth.

If you haven't been to any meetups or only a few, ACX Meetups Everywhere are the best time of the year to try attending rationalist meetups, I highly recommend you give that a go. Meetups FTW!

Shortform #120 I [mostly] met an important-to-me deadline: immortalityisgreat.com is now live as a substack blog

Here's the first post: Have you considered getting rid of death?

I am excited and look forward to writing more on that subject, preferably each week!

And now bedtime, then back to my day job tomorrow...

Shortform #118 Changing Profession & Considering Other Jobs

I don't like doing IT and the thought of doing it years in the future fills me with intense dread. I have decided that I will leave that profession to go do something else and am now considering what other profession or job(s) that might be.

I'm not leaving my current job immediately, I do need to survive in the meantime of course, but having a job-change plan & steadily executing on it will help make the day to day more bearable (it has gotten so bad I've been tempted to just walk out multi... (read more)

Shortform #117 Studying!

Thankfully I was able to take today and tomorrow off from work, I am studying. Nothing more to really discuss, just a lot of work to finish up this weekend. Be well, live long, and prosper :)

Shortform #116 Commitments Check-In

Very simply, a status update on my ongoing commitments, plus a short deadline list.

Media Commitment: This goes well! I am barely watching two movies a week, have not watched YouTube except for purely time sensitive educational purposes, and haven't watched TV at all. My worry about binging comics hasn't been vindicated, as I've acquired several new comics but am actually going through them pretty slowly.

Regular sleep habit commitment: This was going well until the awful stress storm of this week where I have changed my sl... (read more)

Shortform #114 Huh, Human Being not Human Doing

For the past month or so I've been in a Doing spiral. This has been great for my productivity, but as multiple important deadlines coincided at the same time this week, I've realized (thank you everyone I've talked about this with for helping me realize) that I've left little time for simply being in my life.

One might say I've left very little to no slack in my life, with the negative consequences that can cause. Working 10 hours a day at my day job before coming home to work for 2-4 hours a night on studying ... (read more)

Shortform #113 Writing under the influence of panic, stress, etc. considered harmful

See yesterday's shortform, but more broadly, I've noticed that if I let stressors I'm feeling into my writing, my writing is worse, specifically: less concise, less clear (vagueness is not a virtue; nor am I trying to entice close reading, one ought not need to be a Straussian to read what I write), and not as coherent.

I noticed that I initially felt significant stress about this post, because I wasn't going to post it before 9:30 (my bedtime). I sat with that stress, and d... (read more)

Shortform #112 Golden handcuffs versus Competency handcuffs

If golden handcuffs is a situation where one is well compensated to the point of not feeling comfortable ever being less compensated than that and thus feels trapped in a job-related situation...I take competency handcuffs to be a situation where one is competent at something they realize they don't enjoy doing much but haven't yet figured out an existing competency they have or trained up another competency and thus feel trapped in a job-related situation. Bonus points for competent golden handcuf... (read more)

I do not endorse this comment, I was mind-killed by a trauma response when I wrote it. Leaving it up feels better than deleting it though.
fwiw I think the OP seemed like a reasonable model to apply sometimes (I think it's good to notice when your generators are trauma-responses tho)
It's difficult to disentangle my thoughts from said responses regarding #112, but the idea of competency handcuffs seems interesting to explore further at a later (and healthier) time. Competent Elites keeps coming up as a counterpoint when I try to think about the possibility of competency handcuffs. It's possible that competency is not specific enough for the phenomena I'm pointing at. This is hard, because one may learn concrete, valuable skills from most any job, that build on & interact with each other in interesting ways. Clear & concise communication as a skill cluster has been valuable in every single job I've worked. A brief stint in retail taught a lesson about product placement & design which meshes well with what I've read theoretically about design and complements "the art of the desk setup" type work I implement on a daily basis for customers in IT. I wonder if competency handcuffs is less an outright trap and more of a conceptual or "rigidity of thought patterns" type trap? If you combine identifying the specific skills needed to succeed in X other job with identifying the specific skills & proficiency skills thereof in Y current job, perhaps you get a sense of what skills are (metaphorically speaking) associative and/or commutative enough to transfer between job domains. Thus even while doing Y job you could figure out how compatible your skillset would be for X job. (I'm not sure the properties of mathematics metaphor works, "transferable" may be fine)

Shortform #111 Uploading versus Upgrading

What do you choose and why?

Does uploading necessarily mean disembodiment?

According to which software license would you as an entity be licensed as if uploaded? What does Free or Open Source Software look like when the source code is a human being?

What software license would your upgrades come with? If you default on some hypothetical hardware upgrade subscription or capital investment, do you get your old body parts back, repoed, or something else?

What political changes does human civilization need to make to proper... (read more)

One of the big benefits of uploading is safety through redundancy. If you only upgrade, you only ever have one brain and if that suffers even relatively minor physical damage you are dead or permanently changed. However, it does very likely require more advanced technology than just surrounding a poorly understood squishy meat brain with more and different stuff. You can also have a much broader range of physical embodiments. Uploading doesn't mean that you are "pure machine code", since you don't exist in that state. While you exist you're always running on some sort of physical substrate, just one that isn't limited to a particular bag of flesh. But if you like using a bag of flesh for the embodiment of your consciousness, you can probably download back into one. I don't think the concept of "free or open source software" applies to people. It's a copyright concept, and copyright is almost certainly not going to be the operating legal principle. I don't know what would be, but not that. At the very least I would expect legal restrictions on what you are allowed to do with someone else's mind-state, including some issues around consent that we haven't yet needed to seriously consider. For example, I would expect it there to be no legally valid consent to many types of modification to your own mind-state.
I think one doesn't necessarily preclude the other, with upgrading at least. I'd be okay with upgrading that had moment-to-moment differential backups being sent off elsewhere which one could be restored from in the event of death. Admittedly, that discontinuity of consciousness may actually mean death for "original" version of the self, which sucks, but at least roughly the same entity would still be around. I would want upgrades that minimize discontinuity of consciousness & experience but do allow for some way to fire off into "virtual space" and do stuff there with some portion of total self for some amount of time. And that's true re: existing requires running on some sort of physical substrate, though I'm not sure why that obviates my concern re: issues with running on other people's hardware / servers: how do the legal particularities of selfhood & existence get handled in such scenarios? Why won't copyright be the operating legal principle? What other principle governing determination of property & rules of ownership and interaction thereof would there be? My prior is that existing systems of law would be extended as much as possible to future scenarios, based on the assumption that that seems more "face validity" plausible than civilization experiencing a significant enough discontinuity to come up with an entirely new legal system to base things on. Legal technologies tend to be conserved and appended, rather than created anew.
Fair enough, it looks like the main disagreement there was just whether the word "upload" included backups. Copyright won't be the operating legal principle for all sorts of reasons. First is that copyright pertains only to "creative works" that were authored by a person. Uploaded people are very unlikely to be considered "creative works". Modifications might be, but those seem more likely to be governed by patent-like laws if anything, as processes rather than end result. Another is that copyright is fundamentally about ownership rights, and while it is possible that the future may be a dystopian hell in some ways, it won't necessarily be one in which people are legally owned by others. If your prior is a conservative extension of current law, reinstating slavery does not seem to fit that. Even if it were, I doubt that copyright law specifically would be the means by which it is enacted. Another is that copyright is primarily about publication, not use. I would expect there to be substantial legal restrictions surrounding how mind-states may be used along the same lines as existing laws about how people are permitted to interact with other people, though I suppose in some hell-world even that may be absent.
I do think there's a key difference between a full upload that more or less maintains continuity of consciousness (e.g. you don't experience anything beyond going to sleep and waking up in a different ??body??) and a backup that restores you to a point after a definite permanent break in said continuity, e.g. death or brain injury. What is your epistemic confidence in "Copyright won't be the operating legal principle for all sorts of reasons."? I know we are both making assumptions here, how do we best test those assumptions and validate which world seems like the more possible world to exist in? Predicting the future is hard. I will make a Metaculus question on this matter. I tried just now but ran into "An unexpected error" and don't have time to troubleshoot. I had not thought about the distinction between patent & copyright law in this case, I'll have to examine that further another day.

Shortform #109 Yay for organizing & co-organizers!

Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk filled up the large round table at Fair Grounds tonight, had good conversations (though admittedly a bit lacking in rationalist content...but that'll be what the upcoming dojo or workshop meetups are for), and walked to a Boba place together afterwards for some wonderful bubble / boba tea.

Yitz and I met briefly afterwards to discuss our upcoming dojo and workshop meetup plans as well as figure out our plan for Meetups Everywhere 2022 - Call for Organizers, because we will ... (read more)

Shortform #105 Wow, desks are great | Setting up my home office

I went to Costco with two friends today and picked up three six-foot long folding tables that are sold there. Just for a sanity test, I sat on one of the tables and it fully bore my weight, thus I felt comfortable putting on the ~100 pounds of equipment I have on one of them now. It is very nice to have desks and workbench space instead of working from the floor, oof. I've got four / five of my monitors setup, but the last one (an old Wacom drawing tablet) needs a display adapter to function, I... (read more)

Shortform #104 Movies, oh movies

I love working extra hours earlier in the week to allow for a short day Friday, may push for working four 10s to just get Fridays off entirely. Anyway, I finished watching Dune which I had watched partially last month, then I watched Men in Black: International.

I'm not very good at movie critiques, so I won't offer any in that direction for Dune or MIB: International. To think critically about a piece of media, I almost always have to experience it twice, and I did not watch those movies twice (only once).

I freaking loved th... (read more)

Shortform #99 Glassblowing, Contemporary Art, & M.C. Escher! | Also, good conversations :)

If Saturday was a stay-in get attention hijacked kind of day, today was a "get the heck out of the house and do something" kind of day. I met up with a friend to visit the Chrysler Art Museum and attended an hourish long glassblowing demonstration which was absolutely fascinating, I loved it! I enjoyed walking around the modernist & contemporary sections of the museum (only stayed for a few hours so I didn't go to all parts of the museum this time around), had... (read more)

Shortform #98 Visual media consumption considered enjoyable but net harmful for now

In shortform #89 I declared another media diet. That diet ended yesterday evening so I tried out a TV show, Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" on netflix. Which...promptly hijacked my attention from last night until the afternoon of today. I came across LRNZ's "Golem" for free on Wednesday last week at my local cafe hangout, took it home, and devoured it in one sitting. I could keep listing examples, on and on...of all the times some visual media (digital or analog) has so utterly ... (read more)

Shortform #97 Frames, paradigms, priors, concept space, oh my!

I am obsessed with such things ^^^^. What are ideas, how do they work? When you reduce until everything is just axioms, why do you build what you build on top of those axioms? <<<< mostly rhetorical questions, though sometimes they can be nice to meditate on.

Thank goodness for reality, not only is existence a lovely thing, but the territory provides a great foundation upon which to build maps. And then there's Math.

I don't expect this post to make any coherent sense to others, it's f... (read more)

Shortform #96 Operating Systems Rant Number Infinity

Much like you need a kernel (usually in most cases, anyways) to run an operating system...this rant needs a foundation: use-cases for operating systems; the principle of charity & steelmanning shall apply here. Note that this is focused on desktop operating systems, not mobile operating systems. Don't take this too seriously, I have some thoughts about the OSes I use and need to get them out, this is by no means polished or seriously researched.

Microsoft Windows

  • The inescapable behemoth that is Windo
... (read more)

Shortform #95 The Feeling of Focusing & Attentiveness

At any given moment, where is the full weight of your attention targeted at? Or is your attention partial, divvied up amongst several targets?

I'm deliberately reducing the amount of noticed occurrences where my attention is partial rather than full. Undivided focus or attentiveness not only makes experiencing existence more satisfying for me, it also sharpens my cognition because I single task instead of multitask. That sharpness benefits me by reducing biases, making my heuristics more transparent &... (read more)

Shortform #93 Timeboxing

I am loving spending so much time doing organizing work, it's genuinely fun and feels great! I do have other interests and prior commitments + goals to attain though, so I need to be more deliberate with my time. I'm once again heavily relying on my calendar (Google Calendar for now) to restrict certain activities mostly to specific boxes of time on the calendar. This is helping. I attended to other goals & commitments today while still doing organizing work.

There's so much work to do for so many of my interests & parts of m... (read more)

Shortform #91 Winning as an Individual: thoughts

I believe that winning is important & necessary. At least four elements contribute to individual winning:

  1. Community
    • Humans are social animals, loneliness kills, and "reaching one's highest potential" is facilitated by membership in a value-aligned motivated & ambitious community (e.g. "it takes a village", "paypal mafia", or "manhattan project").
  2. Cognition
    • See essentially the whole idea of the Rationalist community, heuristics & biases research, understanding thought processes & building
... (read more)

Shortform #89 Consistency Matters

I did not write a shortform yesterday, which broke my ~20 day long daily shortform writing streak. Back to it I go, starting a new streak with #89 :)

What do I get out of writing daily shortforms?

  • I keep a general (though sometimes detailed) log of my daily activities, feelings, thoughts, and experiences which helps me in a few ways: emotional processing, serving as a memory prosthetic, and discussing things I find interesting.
  • I increase how comfortable writing publicly feels to me.
  • I practise the art of short blog post wr
... (read more)

Shortform #86 Meetup Organizer's Retreat Day Four (final day)

A truly lovely day continuing the tradition of good conversations, excellent learning, and building friendships here at the retreat.

I participated (well, mostly actively listened) to perhaps the first conversation ever where I couldn't intuitively navigate it & "just know" what was being discussed. Time to learn more math, and read about Coherent Extrapolated Volition, among other things.

Now for some sleep and then travelling home tomorrow. Wish I had more time here, I look forward to visiting Berkeley again & travelling to other organizers' cities too :)

Shortform #85 Meetup Organizer's Retreat Day Three

The question of what the rationalist community is (if it's even just one community) comes up frequently during retreat. No one has a concise definition of the community though we all recognize it when we see it / recognize the people who are a part of it. How do we make the community legible to ourselves? Once legible, what will our mission & vision be?

Obtaining a clear mission & vision for the community would improve our members' & organizers' capabilities to take specific, focused improvement actions to solve the myriad of problems we individual as people but also collectively as a community feel are important & need solving.

Shortform #84 Meetup Organizer's Retreat Day Two

My fingers are slow and inflexible as I type this, because I just spent nearly the entire day outside (excepting indoor workshops) late into the night here at the retreat (it's cold at night in Berkeley): attending workshops, talking with other organizers, and having the kinds of amazing late night conversations I expected would occur here (they are even better than I predicted).

My shortforms during the retreat will be very short. I am spending almost every waking moment engaged in good discussions & conv... (read more)

Shortform #83 Travelling & Day One of Meetup Organizer's Retreat!

Seven hours on a plane plus an hour on a train later I finally arrived in Berkeley for the retreat :) Thanks to timezone changes that was somehow only like 13:30 Pacific time.

Had an amazing first day meeting everyone I had the chance to speak with, walking around Berkeley, and discussing organizer things!

Now for sleep, oh goodness.

Shortform #82 In which I prepare for travelling.

Sometime in the next 12-15 hours I will end up in Berkeley, California for the Meetup Organizer's retreat!!! I hate flying, but I'm looking forward to the retreat :)

Shortform #81 Bit of a grindy, but good day | Nothing much to say

I received my 2nd COVID booster today because I work in healthcare & it's been >4 months since I received my 1st COVID booster. Thankfully I've not experienced any significant side effects from the COVID vaccine thus far, and this time holds true to that pattern too.

Continued preparing for the meetup organizer's retreat which I fly out to on Thursday.

Shortform #79: Design Matters: Lighting | Seven Days of No Video Media

My two 16,000 lumen LED garage lights came in, they are surprisingly small & light, but wow do they serve up some serious light! Next step: remove annoying housing covering the bulb sockets in each of the track lights in my loft ceiling so that I can plug in both of those LED garage lights into the sockets and benefit from their intense light diffusing down from the ceiling into the rest of my house. If that proves successful, I may acquire two additional such lights to fill all four... (read more)

Shortform #75 Specificity, the tool that keeps on giving great results

I was reminded of the sequence, Specificity: You're Brain's Superpower today while utilizing what I learned from it extensively both during today's Norfolk Rationalists meetup & tonight's Guild of the ROSE workshop on Street Epistemology.

I've noticed my interest in speaking "broadly, generally, or widely" about $topics decrease significantly over the past year or two since really integrating the specificity sequence into my way of being & operating. I don't speculate on very much... (read more)

Shortform #74 Labs are cool

I had the opportunity to go into another lab today! It was awesome, the personnel there inspect human tissues for issues, report their findings, and prepare relevant tissues into histology slides for later review by physicians. I saw a necrotized toe with ulcers. Kinda gross, but also kinda cool. Diabetes isn't something you want to get, wow.

I'm looking forward to responding to & continuing the discussion in the question I asked yeseterday, https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/W3kykr5ycpm3HGiCN/how-do-you-concisely-communicate-and... (read more)

Shortform #73 Video Media Ban Day 1

I felt no impulses or pressure whatsoever to watch TV, YouTube videos, or play Video games today and successfully avoided each of those media types. I had an extremely pleasant evening wherein I walked to the grocery store after work, walked home with my groceries, listened to the Audible "The Great Ideas of Psychology" audiobook I'm working through at the moment while eating dinner, and went to my ROSE cohort meeting (it was a blast tonight).

Then I talked with a friend, followed by playing the piano for 30 minutes and had a jamming good time!

I value how tonight felt and want more evenings like it, onwards to day two of the video media ban.

Shortform #72 Too much content consumption kills the self

While today was immensely restful, I feel restless and dissatisfied. There were nice moments, fun moments, and some productive moments today, but I spent much of the day engaging in consumptive behaviors such as video game playing, watching youtube videos, and watching tv shows.

The things that were on my mind yesterday barely surfaced today as I escaped & submerged into the massive input of consumptive content streams. It may not have been direct wireheading, but it seems too much ingestion of co... (read more)

Shortform #70 Changing Gears, Altering Perspectives

It is finally the weekend! Huzzah :) Time to not think about work for two days and attend to other things, specifically:

  • Finalize my V3 Character Sheet from said workshop: https://guildoftherose.org/articles/the-character-sheet-version-3
  • Prepare for the Organizer's Retreat that occurs in slightly less than two weeks
  • Reflect on and write some rough-draft thoughts about Politics & AI Alignment
  • Visit the M.C. Escher exhibit at the local art museum. That and other displays or exhibits there will alter or
... (read more)

Shortform #69 Reprising Interests: Politics edition

I used to love interacting with political topics, ideas, problems, and thinking about solutions to political problems (e.g. being genuinely surprised by the fact that civilization is a thing and wanting to understand how such governance of human affairs works & how to improve upon that ordering). Indeed, I studied Political Science and earned my Bachelor degree in it because I couldn't get enough of studying politics. I dropped that group of interests quite firmly and shunned everything to do with poli... (read more)

Shortform #67 Viva la daily shortforms!

I don't want 7 months to go by in the blink of an eye again and have no published material to look back on to consult as an external memory, so, daily shortforms are back :)

I have my custom desktop up and running once more, but there's an issue...it's crashing every so often again...I monitored all temperatures, and there does seem to be a VRM that literally never goes below 90C....but all other temperatures in the system seem fine. Crashing occurs more often on Windows but consistently occurs on Ubuntu too. Here's ho... (read more)

Shortform #64 Building Deliberate and Helpful Systems for Increasing Goal-Aligned Actions

The Guild of the ROSE's beta phase courses begin this week, and I'm happy to be participating! I like the organizational model of the guild, the mission and vision, the guild's fundraising model, the community, etc. I'm excited to see where this all goes and am enjoying my participation + cohort membership thus far, I've already gained good things from it.

Making and using deliberately designed systems for creating, organizing, managing, etc. knowledge work, creative wo... (read more)

Shortform #63 Something Hopeful

I'm writing this shortform while listening to this song: https://open.spotify.com/track/7BpaJerjwq1LCvInJevW74?si=39872be743b34768

I believe that's inspired the title, the song does inspire a feeling of hope in me as well as wonder.

This is a short shortform, not much to go on about today other than it was a better day than yesterday, and I'm happy about that! There was a Houston Rationalists meetup tonight which went well and was fun, I'm glad I participated in that, I had a good time. I did better regarding my media diet toda... (read more)

Shortform #62 Ah, Commitments | Getting Out

I said I would resume daily shortform writing (among other things), and I am doing so. Thus this :)

Generating communication right now feels extremely difficult. Wow. But, I'm doing so because of the myriad benefits which come from writing publicly like this. And the communication gets easier as I type each word. Break through the block / barrier!

Despite the difficulty of translating experiential matters into communicable form, the above short paragraph represents a reasonably adequate insight into the experiences ... (read more)

Shortform #60 Back From Vacation

All of Wednesday [28 July] was spent travelling, as there were significant delays to my flight thanks to thunderstorms occurring on the flight path. Made it home safely though, but spending most of the day in airports or on airplanes is not the most fun sort of day.

I had an extremely good time on vacation in and around Madison, Wisconsin! What a lovely, pleasant, and beautiful place, I'll be happy to visit again one day.

Today I unpacked, rested, applied for a really cool job, and generally recombobulated (fun fact: the Milwa... (read more)

Shortform #58 Day of Good Fun; Hammertime Day 5 - Comfort Zone Expansion (CoZE)

Today was wonderful, my friends and I started the day off with a nice short breakfast then spent about an hour and a half coworking and getting some things done each. We then went to a local Indian restaurant and met with one of my friend's friends and ate amazing food while having great conversations, it was a lovely time! Then we went to a few local parks for the next 3-4 hours and spending the whole afternoon outdoors in nature was fantastic. We then went back to the house, r... (read more)

Shortform #57 Some Adjustments; Hammertime Days 3 (TAPs) and 4 (Design)

Yesterday was a day of travel, noticing the inadequacy and lack of public spaces, and happily hanging out with friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Today was quite nice, I don't particularly enjoy travel days so it was pleasant sleeping in a small bit and not having to deal with travel and instead go spend time around city with friends. I've noticed that despite being on vacation, I really want to spend time working and getting things done, and am frustrated that some of the improvement are... (read more)

Shortform #54 Preparation

Today I alternated between resting, having fun, and getting the word out about the Hammertime Sequence group I'm leading (we start tomorrow, join us!). I suspect we may gain a new member or few to the group even after starting since I have a bit more promotion to do tomorrow morning.

I'm looking forward to engaging with my media diet and new habits, doing Hammertime, and somehow also doing those things while on vacation in a few days, should be fun :)

For now though, rest is best, so to bed I go.

Shortform #53 Train Goes Choo Choo

I'm back aboard the daily shortform writing train as mentioned in my media diet post

I'm running a group through the Hammertime sequence!. We start Monday 19 July, 2021. If you're interested and want to do that, join the Houston Rationalists discord server, that's where group communications and activities will take place; https://discord.gg/kmZy5ny

I think completing the Hammertime sequence is a nice complementary activity to my media diet + habit changes, should prove beneficial to me, and will likely be fun since I'm doing... (read more)

Legibility of the self, coherency of thoughts, and focused deliberate actions seem all very important ideas plus states of being to pursue and continue exploring. They all seem to reinforce and strengthen each other, for one. Additionally, it seems like pursuing such things is how one moves forward or "levels up" in important and significant ways.

Shortform #52 Some Successes

I met my job application count goal for last week, and increased that count for this week.

This week I will also be determining what exactly I want out of a PhD program and see what compatible programs exist, if any (especially at University of Washington). Leveraging grad school deliberately(what a fantastic post, thank you Andrew for writing that) seems a good path for what I am pursuing as my career and would provide me with invaluable training, experiences, access, mentorship, and more for that.

The anti-depressant I started a... (read more)

Shortform #51 Sprinting to the Future

I am job hunting now, looking for writing, analysis, managerial, business development, or junior software engineering positions (any of those roles are fine, plus I'm open to other kinds of roles on a case-by-case basis) that are either fully remote or located in Seattle where I'm looking to relocate ASAP. This is my linkedin profile and this is my EAHub profile(if you aren't familiar with EAHub, go check them out! they are a global directory for effective altruists to connect).

I finished writing Voicing Voice and poste... (read more)

Shortform #48 Go Outside, Self

On 14 Jan, 2021 for Shortform #20 I said it was time to find a job. So far, no new job. That's because I haven't applied for a single job since writing that post. Ouch. I've enjoyed not working quite a bit, plus I focused on moving instead of job hunting.

I guess the hard part begins now, because I still don't want to find a new job, because I still really enjoy not having one and being able to just live. Especially now that I can walk <5 minutes to the beach and hangout on the beach, just living seems really nice.

I never be... (read more)

Shortform #47 A New Place

I drove across the country to the new house, arrived there safely after ~2 days of travel, and then rested for a few days. I'm excited about living in a new place, time to start unpacking and exploring :)

LibrePlanet 2021 is this weekend, here's the schedule if that's something you're interested in, I'll be checking several of the sessions out for sure.

Feels like there are a ridiculous amount of things I need and/or want to do now that I've moved, I'll spend some time early tomorrow setting priorities, then will adjust things as nee... (read more)

Shortform #46 Git Pushin'

Today was chaotic, but overall decent.

  • I walked ~10,000 steps.
  • Did not waste time on the internet prior to 5pm (I will continue these restrictions tomorrow, because they work and are good for me; I am happier and get more done when I follow them).
  • Logged my time and what I accomplished throughout the day.
  • Submitted my first functionality-changing pull request (with commit from my forked repo's branch) to an open source project, thus hopefully finishing the ticket on github I was assigned (still under review).
  • Was virtually social
... (read more)

Shortform #45 Successes and Walking Around

Today was a good day :)

I walked ~20,000 steps, successfully avoided time-wasting on the internet prior to 5pm, logged my time taken on different tasks / spent on things, worked on currently-secret-project for a solid 2 hours, worked on several other things, and more.

Tomorrow I'm prioritizing finishing that ticket on github, need to get that done. I'll also work on currently-secret-project, do some writing, and some other things that need to get done.

Not wasting any time on the internet until after 5pm made for a mu... (read more)

Shortform #44 Only Kill Time After 5pm

I want more Alive Time and less Dead Time; b. To facilitate that, I will no longer allow myself to use the internet for any purpose that is not expressly related to what I'm specifically focusing on accomplishing at that moment, prior to 5pm each day except Sunday.

Unfortunately, I waste a lot of time browsing many different sites, watching YouTube, watching Netflix, scrolling through Discord servers, and so on, during any and all times of the day. Thus I'll try living under the above self-imposed restriction and see ho... (read more)

I suspect you will be most successful at this if you get in the habit of taking breaks away from your computer when you inevitably start to flag mentally. Some that have worked for me include: going for a walk, talking to friends, taking a nap, reading a magazine, juggling, noodling on a guitar, or just daydreaming.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendations :) Going for a walk usually helps me out, and today was no exception (I walked almost 20,000 steps today split between two main walking sessions and misc daily tasks). I talked with friends while walking most of the time, that was a nice bonus. Right now I don't have access to my desktop (it is packed for moving) so have been working primarily off of my laptop: being able to simply close the lid and walk away when flagging or otherwise needing a break helps a lot and feels much more satisfying in the moment than clicking a few buttons to put my desktop to sleep.

Shortform #43 Egress Shell

~27 days ago I wrote shortform #42 and mentioned that I experienced a very low low that day, among other things, and gave a super vague description of said low: "The very low low sucked, but I don't want to talk about it further here. I will be okay, and I have a good support system to talk about it with." For the following 25 days or so I stopped writing, withdrew into a shell, and alternated between hiding in that shell and frantically packing the house up. That sucked :( I don't want to stay in a shell anymore, so i'm kicking i... (read more)

Shortform #42 Ah, more writing.

Today had good highs and a very low low. The high points came from having a very small birthday dinner and consuming good food with a few others, being virtually social with friends (we played some rounds in Paladins and did okay, twas fun), and from being reasonably productive during the "4 hours of digital tasks" time in the morning. The very low low sucked, but I don't want to talk about it further here. I will be okay, and I have a good support system to talk about it with.

I was successful regarding 2 from yesterday's ToD... (read more)

Shortform #39

Today was a decent day :)

  1. I read Worm more than yesterday, but less than on the 1st, so that was good.
  2. I job hunted for an hour.
  3. I was virtually social for 3 or so hours, and also completed an errand I needed to do.

Had a strange and stressful thing occur today, but I will be okay and things are fine.

Be well,

Shortform #37 Obsession

Today was a decent day.

I've become obsessed with reading Worm, I'm at section 24-something. I'll dial the reading back tomorrow so that I can do things I need to do.

Be well,

Shortform #36 Taking It Easy

As the title says, I took it easy today. Not much physical activity nor much strenuous activity really of any kind. I continued reading Worm, being virtually social, and effectively chilled for much of the day. I'm happy I did that and feel eager for the new week to start.

Here's to a great week!

Shortform #35

Today was a bit stressful, but otherwise was quite nice :) Most of the stress came from cleaning + organizing the house, there was a lot to do but it got done.

  1. I did virtual co-working for about 2 hours, though couldn't focus on anything digital during that time so I completed purely analog tasks. I've found it's always easier to focus on analog tasks than anything that requires the use of digital tools / is digital, uncertain as to why. Perhaps the immediate physicality of analog things is nice?
  2. I walked about 2.7 miles today.
  3. I wrote this s
... (read more)

Shortform #33 A Good Day

  1. I walked ~4 miles today, and consumed ~2080kcal (other physical activity included ripping rotted boards off a car trailer since we're putting new boards on it prior to actually using it to tow things; destruction like that is fun)
  2. I was virtually social for > 3 hours
  3. I wrote this shortform

I started reading Worm and it has been quite fun so far. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, lot's of good things going on.

Be well!

Shortform #32 Yay for Life Logging

Not much exciting to report, I existed for another day and that was lovely :)

  1. I was virtually social via phone calls for over 3 hours (pacing included!)
  2. I left the house to run an errand, and I will be leaving the house tomorrow to run another errand (masks on of course)
  3. I wrote this shortform instead of skipping writing it :)

I'll be back tomorrow, ciao.


I've been listening to Koan quite a bit lately, and was listening to their album Why? when I wrote tonight's shortform. Check it out!

Shortform #31 VE404, Title Not Found

I'm back! A day later than originally planned, but, I have returned and am continuing to write these daily shortforms, because they are helpful and good to me. I'm writing and posting my week 3 review tomorrow evening, and there will be a shortform for the day posted after that.

Not much I want to say right now other than I'm happy to be writing these again, the two days not writing them (effectively three days because Saturday's shortform was bad and almost nonexistent) felt off in ways I didn't expect beforehand.

Writing... (read more)

Shortform #30 Sabbath hard and go home

I'll be back Monday, ta!

Shortform #28 What's going on?

I woke up feeling fried, extra crispy, with no motivation and everything was grey, even the outdoors (the weather was literally a hazy drizzly grey all day, and not the good kind, was more of the bad swampy kind). What I noticed feeling yesterday and then throughout today correlate reasonably well with a depression episode trying to take root. I'd prefer for that not to happen, because those aren't fun, and I have things to do. Time for interventions! (to be detailed later in the post)

  1. I practised Swift for about 1 hour and 3
... (read more)

Shortform #27 A Day of Meandering

I don't think today was a bad day, I definitely enjoyed many parts of it, but I wasn't really a focused human being today. I didn't begin coding practice until 14:50, and I suspect that's part of why I was so less focused today. Instead of practising coding first thing after waking up like I had been doing, I instead read Hacker News, LessWrong, and elsewhere, finished a task that required some concentration, and had several interruptions. I was considerably grumpier today than usual as time passed too, which was odd.

I thin... (read more)

Shortform #24 Reflecting and Doing

Today was a good day!

  1. I wrote and published my weekly review before my deadline!
  2. I talked with a friend on the phone for 2 hours and walked around the whole time, netting me 7555 steps for the whole day
  3. I practised CS fundamentals (including algorithms, mostly the wall follower i.e. right-hand-rule algorithm) via coding in Swift for 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  4. I found a calorie counting app and logged my calories for the day: ~2050kcal
  5. I used gtimelog to log my time for the day! (I didn't log literally everything, just the ma
... (read more)

2021 Week 2 Review 10 Jan - 16 Jan: Co-Working FTW! Also...Stop Signalling, WTB Quantitative Data and Reasoning!

I recall enjoying last week, but wow did I endorse each day strongly in my shortforms. It is true that last week was substantially better than the week prior to it, and I don't recall nor have records of bad things or bad feels occurring last week, so I'll stand by my strong endorsements of the days last week.

Thus, what an excellent week!

Re, Stop signalling: "I spent most of it going through things, throwing away, organizing, sorting, and packing... (read more)

Shortform #23 Extant

I enjoyed today, but it definitely wasn't a very productive day. I woke up late, then jumped in for an hour of virtual co-working and looked a resume templates / ideas + discussed resume and job site profile strategies. Afterwards I cleaned and organized the house for an hour and a half, followed by showering + getting ready. I drove into town for an early dinner outdoors with three friends then picked up my Dad from the airport, and have been relaxing since getting home.

I think the best thing to do is go to bed early and wake up tomorrow ready for a new day!

Yay it's the weekend!

Shortform #18 The downsides of procrastination, otherwise a great day.

Today was a mostly great day!

  1. I spent about 4 hours today engaged in virtually social activities, split relatively evenly between hanging out with friends versus structured social time (trans support group, game night, etc.)
  2. I spent about 2 hours skimming 2019 posts and selecting what to write reviews on, about 20 minutes of that time was actual review writing.
  3. I made cookies :)

Unfortunately, because I started the review process (skimming nominated 2019 posts, writing actual reviews)... (read more)

Shortform #17 An accomplished yet peaceful and nice Sunday.

Today was a great day!

  1. I walked 3 miles indoors (the weather here today was...the definition of bleargh).
  2. I had great phone call conversations with several friends :)
    • One call resulted in scheduling a virtual co-working session and another resulted in scheduling a virtual working-out session!
  3. I wrote my weekly review and published it by my deadline, FEELS GREAT (warning: loud and explicit).

What a great start to a brand new week :)

Also: if you enjoy ramen, try putting jalapeño guacamole sauce ... (read more)

Shortform #14 and Shortform #15

#15 I have learned an important lesson!

If I stay up all night trying to be more productive because I wanted to get more things done and "make up for" a day where I didn't get quite what I wanted done...then whatever I stayed up for had better be damn important otherwise I've just wasted a lot of time and lowered my quality of life.

Staying up all night to be more productive for the sake of showing off (to myself and/or to others) that I had accomplished more things in one day is not a good enough reason to stay up all night, s... (read more)

Shortform #13

What a promising and good day, that ultimately turned out not as good as expected.

Other than doing ~2 hours of messaging to catch up on my inboxes, today has been quite the lazy day.

Oversleeping and then reacting to crazy political events can put quite a damper on being productive :(

Tomorrow I will do better!

This is the most boring shortform post you'll see from me in the near future, expect moar better for tomorrow :)

Good luck and be well!

This shortform was not written while listening to music, only the ambient hum and whooshing of my room fan occasionally interrupted by typing noises pervaded my local audible soundscape.

Shortform #12

Mmm, today was a nice relaxing and restorative kind of day. Definitely helped me with item #4 from yesterday's shortform, I feel energized and eager for doing lots of things tomorrow.

I didn't go outside and exercise, rather, I paced inside while on the phone with various people over the span of 3 hours or so, and that was nice, I enjoy walking while talking on the phone. My step count for the day is ~19,500, seems good enough.

My text, messenger, and email inboxes are overflowing, and I desperately need to deal with those inboxes tomorrow, so I... (read more)

No shortform today. Go enjoy the holiday :) That's what I'm doing!

Shortform #68 This shortform's for July 6, 2022

Yesterday was quite a long day, though mostly enjoyable, especially the Norfolk Rationalists meetup which was wonderful :) I enjoyed the Guild of the Rose workshop on Advanced Epistemics last night but had to leave halfway through because by 9:30...I was literally falling asleep in my chair. Who knew waking up at 5:00am and working ten hour days plus doing social things and class would be so tiring!

I don't have much to say about yesterday besides it felt quite long and the meetup last night was wonderful :) We... (read more)

Shortform #90 I changed the title more than five times so this is now the title.

Tonight I keep writing sentences and deleting them. Not sure that's the most fruitful state of mind to write with, but I shall do so anyways.

I believe that the adrenaline or excitement which propelled me through the week after returning from the organizer's retreat has finally worn off. I'm very sleepy and have been very unfocused tonight (which is in stark contrast to how well I performed at work today, I was very focused & on top of things), scattered, and a bit drift-y. ... (read more)