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I am reading Expecting Better, a book about evidence based pregnancy and in it, there are passages about the high rates of C-sections and why it might be. The conclusion was that one medical intervention, whether by drugs or over-monitoring, usually leads to another and another and you end up with a C-section. Non C-section births have better outcomes. So you want to avoid it if you can. The book also mentions that the use of a doula can reduce rates of C-sections to less than 10% from modern U.S. rates of 30%. That is very impressive. Why and how? ... (read more)

!!! The devil is in the details: what you control for and what you don't. Compare: "Not being in a hospital bed has better outcomes than being in a hospital bed". Maybe the book cited some, but you didn't show any.
Ideally 100% of those that medically need C-sections will get it, and those that don't wont. I think there was a study that was cited in the book about the reduced C-sections rates, but of course the devil is in the details like you say, best to do your own research. I have personally updated my beliefs in favor being more resilient to time pressures of labor and that use of a doula isn't just a waste of money as I previously had thought.
You speak as if women don't have preferences. Hint: they do.
I am constantly reminded of that fact daily!
This is highly suspicious to me. Do C-sections follow or cause worse outcomes?
I think there was a distinction made between planned C-sections and unplanned C-sections (medical emergencies), so that they were able differentiate outcomes following emergencies like a breech baby vs a completely planned C-section. And I think it showed that show C-sections overall were more risky than vaginal birth and long term health was better for vaginal births. I haven't done any google fu on this topic, other than reading a few passages in a book.
It would make more sense if C-sections were better. After all, nature is notoriously irrational and inefficient.
Scar tissue is less flexible than the original one, and flexibility in the areas that need to be stretched during childbirth is important. Having a C-section when you don't need one increases the chance that the next time you will need one. ...which probably doesn't seem like a problem if you have already decided to have C-sections only. Arguably, doing childbirth the "unnatural" way can mess up with your or your baby's instincts, because they were evolved expecting certain circumstances. Some instincts depend on timing. I am not sure if this is the situation here, but some people prefer to play it safe. Seems to me that frequently used arguments for (medically unnecessary) C-section is that it is supposed to be less painful and heal better. As far as I know, the better healing was never proved empirically; and with pain it seems like you are kinda trading more intense pain in short time for less intense pain in long time; but I am not certain about these two things.
That seems totally crazy to me. Claims about transfer of bacteria (both good and bad) are much more plausible differences with a C-section.
More crazy than this)?
In my country the C-sections rate is very high (not sure I can trust my memory on the exact number). We pretty much decided to have our child born in a neighbor country, just to reduce the related risks, even if that included a risk that any medical complication would make the costs skyrocket (because our health insurance system does not like this kind of healthcare shopping). From what I was told, seems like the most important factor is that C-section is more convenient for the doctor. For example, doctors can choose exact timing, to avoid a situation when two babies decide to get naturally born at exactly the same moment. Or they can make more babies get born during the day, when there is more staff at the hospital, and less during the night. (There are also other ways to artificially influence the timing, and yes, those are used too.) Another factor is that in my country it is more-or-less mandatory for mother during the childbirth to lie on her back... which again is most convenient for the doctor, but also happens to increase some risks associated with childbirth (which can be then conveniently solved by the C-section). If I understand it correctly, the position on the back is more dangerous because the child needs to be pushed uphill (over the tail bone). What is even worse, when there are too many C-sections, a feedback loop appears -- suddenly people (both the doctors and the patients) need to protect their egos by rationalizing that, actually, C-section is the best way to go. Which in turn further increases the rate of the C-sections, because if "everyone is doing that" then it is "perfectly normal" and certainly "happens for a good reason", and people who think otherwise must obviously be wrong. So now you have mothers expecting to be given C-section, because that's how it is usually done. And you have doctors giving C-sections at a smallest opportunity, because that's what most mothers want them to do. And communicating this with doctors is almost impo
Without claiming that it is directly relevant to the question, let me quote Atul Gawande, from "The Score: How childbirth went industrial" Gawande is great. Collect them all. Also, Lewis Thomas.

Composing a comment and then deciding not to post it can be a good form of rubber-ducking.

Or an e-mail. (If you leave the "To:" field empty, there is no risk of sending it accidentally.)
Ha, it's true, good catch. I usually let a long comment ferment some minutes before clicking the 'comment' button. Sometimes I end up deleting the whole thing.

The magic words you are looking for are "web hosting".

And "domain registration", which many web hosting providers will do for you. You can also start with the domain and then add services such as web sites and email, for instance via Google Domains:

Here are the components of doing everything on your own:

1) You need to acquire the domain; that means, to have it officially recognized that "snowsage4444 . com" legally belongs to you. That costs about 10 dollars a year, and it allows you to create web pages like "snowsage4444 . com / welcome .html" or e-mails like "snowsage4444 @ snowsage4444 . com". What it actually does is that when anyone on the internet says "snowsage4444 . com", they will be redirected to a computer of your choice. But for this all to actually... (read more)

I'm reading The Last Psychiatrist's 'Don't hate her because she's successful' and having trouble with:

'No, she just means when you get married, to pick someone who supports your goals." In other words, a business relationship? Arranged marriage, only this time by's algorithm? "No, a marriage based not on passion but on mutual respect and shared values--" Stop, listen to what you are saying. Why would you want a man who agreed to this? Why would a man want a woman who thought like this?'

I mean, why would I not want a man who ag... (read more)

Why? Genuine question because no, it is not obvious to me.
Because I have (I think) low leves of carnal desires, and a desire for external validation of my cleverness and justness. And I certainly don't want a marriage with a man who cannot respect me.
The you should edit/clarify your original post as I had the opposite interpretation, hence confusion.
Obviously a husband who supports your goals is better than one that doesn't. But if your potential husband doesn't support your goals then they must not value your happiness and fulfilment, in which case your relationship has already failed. There's no possible potential husband who it's a good idea to marry except for the single factor that they don't support your goals. Such a person can't exist. So it's just not a useful decision criterion to ask whether they support your goals; there are other criteria which are strictly better.
I've read a lot of TLP and this is roughly my interpretation as well. Alone's posts do not come with nicely-wrapped thesis statements (although the conclusion of this one is as close as it gets). The point she is making here is that the system doesn't care about your happiness, but you should. The use of "goals" here isn't the LessWrong definition, but the more prosaic one where it implies achievements in life and especially in careers. Real people who want to be happy do want someone who is passionate, and the juxtaposition of passionate with "mutual respect and shared values" is meant to imply a respectful but loveless marriage. If someone asks you about your partner and you most central characteristic you have to define your marriage is "mutual respect and shared values" that says something very different than if your central characteristic is "passionate." It's sterile, and that sterility is meant to suggest that the person who says "passionate" is going to be happier regardless of their achievements in the workplace.
Passion fades. If you want a lifelong relationship, and not an eventual divorce, it does require comparability / sharing of life goals.
I was about to comment something to the effect that those two desiderata aren't mutually exclusive -- but the Berkson paradox thing does apply.
I think I understood the place, and I almost agree with you, but I think it happens. I know a person in Crimea who wanted to live and work according to her specialty in Ukraine, but her groom did not want to leave his (and hers) homeland, the Crimea, and they married and live there. If there are people who decided to marry, and (hypothetical, but I think probable) people who decided not to, doesn't it show that some of them decided 'not sharing my goals' is enough of a reason?
They had two conflicting vaues and made a choice, but I would hope that the groom still support her goals within constraints, like "Thank you for agreeing to stay in Crimea with me, lets plan together how you can achieve success while staying here."
From what I heard of him he's wonderful and probably does that:)

Why is it so hard to refrain from irrational participation in political arguments? One theory is that in the EEA, if you overheard some people talking covertly about political issues, there was a good chance that they were literally plotting against you. In a tribal setting, if you're being left out of the political conversation, you're probably going to be the victim of the political change being discussed. So we've probably evolved a mental module that causes us to be hyperaware of political talk, and when we hear political talk we don't like, to jump in and try to disrupt it.

Anyone have any good mind hacks to help stay out of political conversations?

When people are plotting, there is going to be an "inner group". And your winning choices are either to join the "inner group" (if you predict it will win) or express disinterest publicly (if you predict it will lose). This is true both in EEA and at high school. In other environments, people overestimate their importance essentially for two reasons: First, with larger numbers of people in general, each individual matters less. A marginal new ally is more important to a group with ten members, than to a group with thousand members. Second, mere numbers of people matter less than their power. For a high-school clique another average person can be a valuable asset, but a political party some people are orders of magnitude more worth than an average person. I try to remind myself of (what I believe to be) the big picture. If you are going to participate in online political debates, you essentially have two choices to make: (1) is this going to be a casual opinion expressing, or are you going to play it like a pro? and (2) are you going to present sane opinions, or will you make yourself into a two-dimensional caricature of human being? I believe that if you are not playing it like a pro, you are just wasting your time, achieving nothing good (neither for you, nor for the world in general). I also believe that unless you are already very famous, presenting sane opinions is a losing strategy (because sane opinions are suboptimal for signalling loyalty to a tribe). Therefore, most likely the only winning strategy for you is in the "insane pro" quadrant. Now the question is whether you are going to do it, or if it seems like too much work and too little fun. For me, laziness usually wins at this point. To explain, "doing it like a pro" means that instead of commenting on other people's websites or social networks, you will make your own trademarked content. You will post articles on your own website (where you have absolute moderator powers), and where you will build y
There is the third choice, which is the best: troll :-D I tend to treat online political discussions as a source of amusement. Better than soap operas.
I see no issue with engaging in rational political discussion. The key is avoiding the overly tribal arguments that proliferate throughout social media. I think those are a lot like sports arguments - you want to join in just to root for your team. I doubt that it has to do with the kind of social gossip that was used to determine the status hierarchy in our early tribal environments - that still exists in almost the same form as it did then I think.
My first thought is that we can't hit exactly 0 because gur engvb bs gurve nernf vf veengvbany, but we might be able to get arbitrarily close.
If we could come arbitrarily close, then some very weird covering shapes would be possible.
You can come arbitrarily close by choosing any tiling shape and making it as small as necessary.
No, because the degree of failure of the tiling is judged against the area of the covering shape.
This is one of the more confusing problem statements, but I think I understand. So if we choose a regular hexagon with height = 0.5, as in this link, the scoring for this solution would be ((area of triangle - area of hexagon) + (area of square - 3 * area of hexagon)) / area of hexagon? edit: Gur orfg fbyhgvba V pbhyq pbzr hc jvgu jnf whfg gur n evtug gevnatyr gung'f unys gur nern bs gur rdhvyngreny gevnatyr. Lbh pna svg 4 va gur fdhner naq gjb va gur gevnatyr, naq gur fpber vf cbvag fvk. V bayl gevrq n unaqshy bs erthyne gvyvatf gubhtu.
I can beat your solution and get a score of 0.433.... Gnxr gur pbirevat funcr gb or gur jubyr fdhner naq pbzcyrgryl snvy gb pbire gur gevnatyr. :-P EDIT: Va snpg, jul abg trg n ernyyl tbbq fpber ol gnxvat n pbzcyrgryl tvtnagvp funcr gung qbrfa'g pbire nalguvat.
Yes, well ... If the shape is gigantic and therefore doesn't cover anything ... this is a cunning solution, but in a sense trivial. A non-trivial solution would be (even) better. ;)
Okay, here's a non-trivial answer. I believe I can get arbitrarily close to a score of 1/sqrt(3) = 0.57735... . Pick any natural number n, and let x = sqrt(3)/2. Using the theory of continued fractions one can find natural numbers p and q such that q > n and x < p/q < x + 1/(4sqrt(3)q^2). Now let our covering shape be a right angled triangle with sides 1/(2p) and x/p. The area is x/(4p^2). Clearly 2p^2 such triangles can cover the equilateral triangle exactly. Now consider how many we can fit in the square. By using two of our covering triangle we can make a rectangle of sides 1/(2p) and x/p. By arranging such rectangles in a 2p by q grid we can perfectly tile a big rectangle with sides 1 and qx/p. Since x < p/q we have qx/p < 1, so this rectangle fits into the square. The remaining area is 1 - qx/p, and since p/q < x + 1/(4sqrt(3)q^2) we have that this area is less than 1/(4sqrt(3)pq). Comparing this to the area of our covering triangle we find that our score is at most (p/q)(1/x)(1/sqrt(3)) which is less than (x + 1/(4sqrt(3)q^2))(1/x)(1/sqrt(3)) which is less than (1+1/(4sqrt(3)xn^2))(1/sqrt(3)). Since n was arbitrary this can come arbitrarily close to a score of 1/sqrt(3). EDIT: I made a picture of the tiling of the square when p=13, q=15. The uncovered area is the tiny red line at the top. The score is 0.57756... .
I will publish my solution next Monday.
I'm interested to see your solution.
I will present my (computer generated) solutions ASAP. Currently they are still evolving.
Literally evolving? are you running a genetic algorithm?
It is everything I can do. Digital evolution. I wouldn't call that genetic algorithm, there are some differences. For example, I evolve code, which further evolves some code, which evolves a problem solutions of a problem. May be several layers between the first code and the final solution.
I can improve my score to (620sqrt(3)-973)/191 = 0.528... using this arrangement. EDIT: This arrangement does even better with a score of (19328sqrt(3)-30613)/6143 = 0.466... . Note that there is a tiny corner cut off each trapezium.
Interesting. We will see where this is going to go.
Any luck? I'd be interested in seeing some of the computer solutions even if their scores didn't beat mine. By the way I can now improve my score to 14sqrt(3)-24 = 0.249... . My covering shape is a 1/4 by 1/7 right-angled triangle. This clearly tiles the square perfectly and you can also fit 24 of them into the equilateral triangle. To see this first divide the equilateral triangle exactly into 24 right-angled triangles of sides 1/4 and 1/(4sqrt(3)), and then note that 1/7 < 1/(4sqrt(3)). There's no point in drawing a picture since you can barely see the gaps.
The cheaty solution at the end depends on what seems to me an unintended interpretation of the question (though, given that the same person wrote the question and the program that found the solution, maybe my idea of what's intended is wrong). I took "tile both polygons" to mean "tile polygon 1 AND tile polygon 2", not "tile the union of polygons 1 and 2".
It is a solution similar to the one with the big shape which doesn't cover anything, but the remainder is arbitrarily miniscule relative to the shape. We called it "a trivial solution", as I call this solution trivial, but maybe less trivial, since it actually covers all and it wasn't explicitly forbidden, not to people, not to the computer. Now, I told my chitin' comp, don't do that, each instance of the shape should cover either the triangle, either the square! We will see.
I must say, that this solutions of yours is quite impressive. Quite impressive indeed.
I promise you scores and images of solutions, whatever they will be. Calculations are under way right now and they should be available soon.
Okay, sounds exciting!
The score point is not 6 at your solution.
They means point six, i.e. 0.6. In fact their score is 0.6188....
True. As I also see now, my problem formulations are a problem before the problem itself.
That's okay since the actual problems are interesting.
Thanks. The goal is a problem childishly easy to understand and devilishly difficult to solve.
"Quick! Fetch me a five-year-old devil!"
isn't that any five year old?
What do you mean by and by ?
You may not put the covering shape (even partly) outside the triangle or square. The edges of both polygons may be tangents, but not secants of the covering shape. Those covering shape has its own area - A. By tiling those two polygons some area could stay uncovered. This whole uncovered area of both polygons together has to be a smallest possible percentage of A. Preferably 0.
So is the following what you mean? We have S, the unit square, and T, the unit-side equilateral triangle. We are to find some other shape A, and consider copies (to which Euclidean congruences have been applied) A1 ... Am lying within S and pairwise disjoint (aside from boundaries) and B1 ... Bn lying within T and pairwise disjoint (aside from boundaries) -- but we do not require that the union of the A's be all of S, nor that the union of the B's be all of T. And the puzzle is then to choose A and those congruences so that the ratio (total area of S and T left uncovered) / (area of A) is as small as possible (ideally, of course, zero). Is that right? (If so, then the original problem statement's use of the verb "tile" confused the hell out of me.)
Yes, this is the case, I couldn't have put it better myself! ;)
I read it. Which is better, or

When you write a comment, like this one, that only makes sense in the context of another -- in this case your earlier question -- you should make your later comment a reply to your earlier one.

More generally, you've posted these questions, all within a few minutes of one another:

  • How do I post a fanfic?
  • Is there a guide on how to write rationalist fanfiction?
  • Am I meant to post my fanfic on or AO3?
  • Or should I create a new article for it?
  • How do I get my own website?

These really don't need to be separate comments. Better would have been a... (read more)

I hope someone can help me find a blog post or webpage that I've seen before but can't find: it's someone describing a power law of scientists. There's a top level who have drastically more output than the level below, who are drastically more productive than the level below that. There's only a few at the top level, and a few hundred at level 2, and a few thousand at level 3. I think he mentions one scientist being level 0.5 - notably more productive than almost anyone else. It was on a relatively unstyled website, maybe Scott Aaronson's.

Anyone familiar with that?

Landau's List.
Thank you!
and a blogpost on hiring those "star players", and the outlooks for the rest... STEM: Still No Shortage On a myth that just won’t die

Native GPU programming with CUDAnative.jl

"You can now write your CUDA kernels in Julia, albeit with some restrictions, making it possible to use Julia’s high-level language features to write high-performance GPU code."

"The programming support we’re demonstrating here today consists of the low-level building blocks, sitting at the same abstraction level of CUDA C. You should be interested if you know (or want to learn) how to program a parallel accelerator like a GPU, while dealing with tricky performance characteristics and communication semantics."

On science reddit there is a link to an article about confirmation bias. About 1500 comments in the discussion are deleted, here are some examples:

So how do you work to get out of this? I'm really afraid that I'm falling into thought bubbles and can't find my way out. I've always believed in many different ideas but as of recent, I feel like I'm in an echo chamber.

Doubt everything and become a cynical son of a bitch that nobody wants to be around. Or self-reflect regularly. It's a thin line. Good luck.

What gives a person the ability to self reflect and t

... (read more)

Mods are sleeping, but when they wake up, they are probably going to delete some of your comments. You had enough time to find the "Reply" button and learn about threads. Please try to keep related comments at one place in the future.

We need more mods in Europe. You used to be a moderator, so why not reclaim that power?
I am actually trying (completely unsuccessfully, but there is always hope) to get rid of my Less Wrong addiction. That would be a step backwards.

This looks like a great tool, a good philanthropy target. Simple, cheap, and temp insensitive blood testing tech. Graphene based,

"They did this by enzymatically coating the treated graphene oxide surface with peptides called nanobodies - subunits of antibodies, which can be cheaply and easily produced in large quantities in bioreactors and are highly selective for particular biomolecules."

The findings are reported in the journal ACS Nano in a paper co-authored by Neelkanth Bardhan, an MIT postdoc, and Priyank Kumar PhD

interesting time based economic model for stock market stalls...

"He’s currently on the lookout for the benchmark to approach that upper green line, which represents a range of 21,800 to 22,000. "

“Don’t just go short,” he said. “ That’s where the public gets it all wrong. You have to wait for a break of the low of that weekly bar, and put a stop above the high.”

And here’s the crux of Jadeja’s concerns: If the rally inspired by last ... (read more)

This sort of technical analysis is usually nonsense. Is there any reason to think this case is better? This person claims a strong track record of predicting market crashes on particular dates. Here's an example from July 2016; he says to look out for trouble in the Dow Jones (1) between 2016-08-26 and 2016-08-30, (2) on 2016-09-26, and (3) on 2016-10-20. No prizes for guessing the outcome: the Dow Jones was just fine on and around all three of those dates. (That example was the first one I found, by the way. No cherrypicking on my part.) So I think he's a bullshitter who makes a lot of predictions and then afterwards points to the ones that happened to be somewhere in the vicinity of the truth. [EDITED to add:] One reason articles like this call him a "crash guru" is that he allegedly predicted the "flash crash" of August 2015. But let's just look a little more closely at these impressive results (which you can be sure are the ones he quotes to impress journalists): Looks good. Until you actually read carefully. This lists three predictions. (1) A major volatile move between the 7th and 18th of August. Allegedly fulfilled by a crash on ... the 24th of August. Nope, sorry, if you quote a particular date range then something happening outside that date range does not count as a correct prediction. (2) A "period to be careful of" between the 13th and 23rd of September. The DJIA was just fine during that period. (3) A drop on the 14th or 17th of September. Allegedly fulfilled by a drop on the 18th. Nope, if you predict specific dates then something on a different date does not count as a correct prediction. What actually happened: the DJIA was pretty stable through the "major volatile move" period. Then a week later it had a crash which Jadeja didn't predict. Then it was rather volatile for a month or so, a period in which Jadeja mentioned a couple of specific bad dates that were in fact no worse than any others during that volatile period. So, again, I reckon:

I've decided I'm going to write... Rational Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.

The wiki said I need more karma to post outside of this thread.

Is neuroscience research underfunded? If so, I've been thinking more and more that trying to understand human consciousness has a huge expected value, and maybe EA should pay it more attention.

Does it? What do you think would be an expected return of the discovery of the precise mechanics of consciousness? Or what if neuroscience dissolves consciousness?
Well, suppose it increases awareness of the threat of AGI, if we can prove that consciousness is not some mystical, supernatural phenomenon. Because it would be more clear that intelligence is just about information processing. Furthermore, the ethical debate about creating artificial consciousness in a computer (mindcrime issues, etc.) would very shortly become a mainstream issue, I would imagine.
I'm not sure if intelligence and consciousness are one and the same thing, and with your words, consciousness/intelligence is information processing. If you conclude that intelligence is information processing, then this might be an aspect of the body, an attribute, in roughly the same way as consciousness. Then that aspect of the body is evolving in machines, called artificial intelligence, independent of conscious experience. Consciousness has such a wide variety of states, whether it be mystical, religious experiences, persistent non-symbolic experiences, nonduality or even ordinary states and so forth. It's fine that these states are seen from the perspective of neurons firing in the brain, but from the state of the beholder, it's well, you know... maybe unsatisfactory to conclude the source is the brain? William A. Richards[1], for example, have the view that the 'hard problem of consciousness' is a philosophical question, and I don't doubt many others who have experienced these states have a more open appreciation for this idea. [4] But as a philosophical question, even with the assertion that consciousness is information processing, it could be this 'brain being a receiver or reducing valve' philosophical idea. Hence, creating conscious machines means inducing a reduction valve of Mind-At-Large or receiver, however you want to look at it. Recent neuroimaging studies have sparked the light of Aldous Huxley's philosophical idea[2] that the brain is a reducing valve for Mind-At-Large, consciousness, by showing that reductions in blood flow to certain regions of the brain with for example psychedelics lead to a more intense experience. Probably the most efficient way to accelerate neuroscience research is with AGI and I wouldn't be surprised if DeepMind's coming AGI will be utilized for this purpose as for example Hassabis is a neuroscientist and been a strong proponent for AGI scientists. [1]

I have two straight-forward empirical questions for which I was unable to find a definitive answer.

1) Does ego depletion exist? There was a recent meta-study that found a negligible effect, but the result is disputed.

2) Does visualizing the positive outcome of a endeavor help one achieve it? There are many popular articles confirming this, but I've found no studies in either direction. My prediction is no, it doesn't, since the mind would feel like it already reached the goal after visualizing it, so no action would be taken. It has been like this in my personal experience, although inferring from personal experience is incredibly unreliable.

On #2, I've seen it claimed -- but have no idea how good the science behind it is -- that better than visualizing positive or negative outcomes alone is doing both and paying attention to the contrast. "If I do X, then the result will look like Y. If I don't do X, the result will look like Z. Wow, Y is much better than Z: better get on with doing X".
The keyword for that research is mental contrasting. It was previously discussed on LW here. My impression is that the quality of the science is relatively good, compared to other psychology research that was done in 2000-2012. But as far as I know it has not yet been tested with the improved research methods that have come out of the replication crisis (e.g., I don't know of any large sample size, preregistered studies of mental contrasting).
As a bit of a tangent to 2) Certainly using visualisation as practice has some evidence (especially high-fidelity visualisation increasing performance at comparable rates to actual practice; one course I've been to advocated for the PETLEPP model in the context of medical procedures/simulation) - in this sense it may help achieving an endeavor but 1. It's got nothing (much) to do with positive visualisation and 2. It feels like its moving the goal-posts by interpreting the 'endeavor' as 'performing better'. I've definitely also heard people discussing positive and negative visualisation as tools for emotional stabilisation and motivation - although the more persuasive (read: not sounding like new age/low brow self help BS) usually favour using both together or just negative visualisation - see gjm's and Unnamed's posts
1) We still don't know yet. If we are not observing some statistical noise, then it's possible that it's either bimodal (some have it, some don't) or it has a very weak effect. 2) Visualizing only the positive outcome, as far as I know, doesn't work. There's an interesting book about it: Rethinking positive thinking, by G. Oettingen. I've only skimmed it though, and I don't know how sound are the citations.
1. we don't know either way. It seems that believing it exists causes your ego to be depleted though. 2. it probably relates to the original context in which you do the visualisation. You have given one example of a context where conflicting results might come out, there are several similar situations, so it's hard to know. I would feel safe saying that it seems to work some of the time for some people.

Do you mean that a score arbitrarily close to 0 can be achieved?

Sacrifice a chicken to the great god Google and pray really really hard.

What shape could that possibly be?

I was about to say "Since you never specified that the shape must be a measurable set ..." and link to here, but since you mention the area of the shape, you do (implicitly) require it to have one.
Are all those pieces congruent though?
Yes, you are right. I want the area of the shape and therefore no kinky shapes are permited.

Am I meant to post my fanfic on Fanfiction.Net or Archive of our own?

Important insight which LessWrong can comment on: link

To me, it's a very concise summary of what we all know yet stupidly enough, ignore because of irrational societies and educational systems. I'm not saying that I am taking it in. That would be the equal excuse as of any other. What do you think?

My 2 cents: it's a heap of unproved assumptions, told as if they were Reality 101. It's very clear that it was written with an aim in mind, it meanders and misinterprets until it arrives at the desired conclusion. It's very far from an honest discussion of fundamentals.