New Comment
66 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:17 AM

Are there any modern competitors to metamed? Have a health issue, very willing to spend money to fix it. 

You could post a research bounty on this site. might be a good way to find somebody who provides that kind of service. 

For those that don't know it exists, r/slavelabour (not literal slave labour) is a great place to outsource things (

I've gotten a virtual assistant through it that has saved me massive amounts of time and sanity (at around 5$ per hour at start and 7$ per hour now with base rate of 5$ per week)

I've also gotten scripts made and a translation to Japanese done for my friends thesis

Bountied rationality ( also exists but is much more expensive since less efficient market with fewer people clustered in countries with higher wages. 

if anyone has a thing they're thinking of posting there lemme know and I can probably give advice. If you're interested in getting a virtual assistant, I can point you to the post I made and how you could try to get one too (I offered 5$/hr 4 hours a week and got 20 literally applicants)

The idea sounds interesting. I have absolutely no idea what quality of work should I realistically expect.

Looking at the subreddit didn't help me with this question: I only see people debating money and type of work, but I can't see any samples.

Yeah, maybe it's cheap enough to simply try it. Maybe 3× spend $5 on one hour of someone's work, and then decide whether it's worth it on average.

I've generally found quality good for things I've requested and when it isn't it isn't hard to just say 'no this is not what I expected try more'

Do any of you have systems you've used to test out which diet you find best for yourself?

I'm also curious: how did you manage confounders such as life changes/sleep and other things

For people that have read Ray Dalio's Principles: how did you apply the book to reality?

Specifically, how did you write out principles and actually check and iterate on them over time?

I have some music I really like but I don't want to over listen to them for fear of enjoying them less. Does anyone know research on how to min/max listening vs. long-term novelty?

I don't have any solid research or results yet, but you might be interested in my notes/discussion on how to approach that question of rewatches:

[+][comment deleted]1y 0

Does anyone have experience doing rationality adjacent hackathons? I’m thinking of hosting one in the Berkeley area aimed at trying to make cool rationality tools. I’m interested on input for what kinds of an event people would want or if people have relevant experience and suggestions!

I'm 65% moving back to us in a month or two but haven't lived there in like 5 years so am not sure what to expect nor where I'd like to go.

I'm mainly optimizing for friend-making/having/meeting (IRL) though I'm not sure how much I care about that since I haven't had much chance to do that for the last few years. though also trees and stuff are nice too

I'm not really sure how to choose between cities in terms of satisfying this. vaguely seems like SF would be cool and have many cool people that would be nice to meet but is also expensive

Any recommendations on figuring out where to stay?

How important are real social networks? I'm debating on moving back to the US from Japan pro's and cons being:


-university is easy
-is cheap
-have nice apartment and setup
-corona situation is way better than in the US
-health care is cheap and good

-very few friends (can probably change this next semester. can maybe change it this semester if I make a real effort to go to meetups. But will be hard, since is hard in general here to make friends and I'm not currently studying towards native level Japanese)


-can probably make many friends
-can talk to many more people

-would need to re-apply to university
-university is expensive
-moving will be expensive
-apartment expensive depending on where I go
-healthcare not cheap nor good
-corona stuff not good

It all really comes down to: is it worth it to have more friends IRL? When I had more friends in the past and did coworking or just hanging out it was a lot of fun and I kind of miss that. It feels like the answer is thus yes even when a bunch of other things look like they'd suck.

A real effort to go to meetups might be easier then the effort of moving. 

As far as the Covid situation goes, I would expect that in the next year it's primarily a function of vaccination where the US is doing well.

I've thought about that but my main concern is: I'll probably move back at some point. I'm not particularly benefitting from living here except for the inertia of already being here and having an apartment. 

Ooh, that's hard.

As someone currently living in Japan and worried about my social circle (though working, not studying), I feel like I should have more helpful things to say than I do.

Regarding the main question, I would say that if you ever decide in the future that an IRL circle of friends is valuable, anecdotally it's much easier to make friends in college than after. Like an infomercial would say, you should act now. Of course, not all friends will be preserved in the transition after graduation so it might not be worth the move.

In a more general vein, what are your plans for the future? You list many important considerations for your present situation, but without much focus on how they'll affect you later.

Finally, I do think it should be absolutely possible to make friends in Japan, especially since either your university is English-friendly enough that there are other foreigners around, or your Japanese is good enough despite being non-native to communicate effectively.

Regarding the main question, I would say that if you ever decide in the future that an IRL circle of friends is valuable, anecdotally it's much easier to make friends in college than after.

It's easier to make friends when you are in a community. Whether that community is college or a community like the rationality community (in cities with a decent community) isn't that different.

I could have made more friends at college but I made a decision I somewhat regret now: took only classes where I could just do them online instead of having to go live. The first semester or two where I was showing up in person, did have some luck making friends. Because of the virus, there aren't many (if any) events being held at uni I can attend to meet people so I'd basically have to wait for next semester I think. 

I also sort of suffer from the issue that I kind of want friends that are interesting. I don't hate just hanging out with people but at some level if it feels empty of value it eats at me. This is part of why I'm interested in going to the US: seems like it'd be easier to find rationalists/interesting people to hang out with rather than limited subset of english speakers around.

In a more general vein, what are your plans for the future? You list many important considerations for your present situation, but without much focus on how they'll affect you later.

I'm interested in something amongst: (helping people do) effective learning, UI/UX design, entrepreneurship, working on cool projects. I don't really think any of these benefit at all from being in Japan now that I think about it, I have only 1 friend that somewhat overlaps with these interests. Looking back, when I lived in Korea and had friends that had similar-ish productivity interests I did find the environment really valuable. 

The main cost is then having to re-apply to university and either having to actually go through with it or finding some alternative to live off of before having to actually enter again. This is what sort of scares me, am really not big on uni, have plenty of other things I'd want to spend my time on.

I've put off making a post on it for a while but something I've wanted to offer to anyone interested is free teaching to learn SuperMemo and incremental reading

A big part of why I put it off is that it's a pain to explain. Instead of explaining it, I'll give a top level overview and a link to a video that explains it in more detail. 

tl;dr: with SuperMemo/incremental reading, you can manage reading hundreds of articles in parallel (incrementally) without going insane, with long-term retention using spaced repetition. It's a lot of fun, seriously. Unlike say Anki where you slog through reps, incremental reading intersperses learning making it highly novel and not monotonous.

If you want to try it, check out, download SuperMemo 18 here (no, you don't want and schedule a call with me (I've taught 30+ people over the last year, in ~1 hour can get you far enough to be able to start using it enjoyably). Possibly also join the supermemo discord server to ask questions. 


Q: I'm on mac/linux/not windows what do I do?

A: Scroll down to mac and linux section here.

Q: SuperMemo UI is terrible!

A: yes. true. at some point though you stop caring and the lack of decent alternatives + fun will pull you through. Unless it doesn't, in which case you could just not use it. Though I think giving it a try for at least a week is worth it. 

Q: if it's so great why does no one use it?

A: it's a big pain to start using. it took me 5 months to start incremental reading after buying SM because I couldn't figure out the documentation. That's why I'm offering to teach anyone interested: I can get you to being able to use it fine after an hour. 

While it's still smallish, it's much bigger than it was a year ago with around ~1,200 people on the SM discord server (and some amount of rat adjacent people). 

If you have other questions feel free to ask. If you have insane expectations of very quick returns, probably don't try it. I've taught a lot of people and the people who do consistently worst are people with high expectations and no patience for both getting better at learning/getting used to SuperMemo itself. If you don't have insane expectations, try it and potentially get easy 10%+ long-term boost to life (or at least that's conservatively what I've found. though there are massive benefits for me since ADHD renders me practically incapable of normal modes of declarative learning)

thanks for reading. seriously. 

I took Raj up on this generous offer. I'll post updates in the next few weeks as to how SM is compared to Anki!

Does anyone have an actual example of applying Bayes theorem in real life? Never bothered learning it because its actual application has never been clear to me

Practically speaking, I primarily do multiplications of odds. 

"I thought the chance of this happening was 20:1, but after seeing this new evidence that I assigned 1:4 against seeing, I'm now down to 5:1, which is a much more reasonable hypothesis to now be worried about and taking actions to manage." 

To be clear, the odds aren't my literal first thought, but as I'm reflecting on how strong the evidence is and try to clarify my reasoning, or as I'm trying to make the argument to my teammates, being able to use conditional probabilities is very helpful.

I think it'd be cool if there was a way to browse projects/side-projects rat adjacent people are working on. It'd be nice to see what kinds of things people are interested but it'd likely lower the barrier to finding interesting things to work on with other people.

I'm curious if such a thing already exists or if anyone would actually possibly use it if it did exist

That would make a good monthly open thread.

Is anyone interested in being accountability partner for unscrewing sleep?

In the past, I've used a system: which worked pretty well for unscrewing my sleep a few months ago. 

It's pretty simple: when I screw up my sleep and commit to fixing it the next day with willpower, that fails. 

When I fix what screwed my sleep that night, something new comes to screw my sleep. So you basically have to go down a list of things that break your sleep and fix ALL of them. Which I managed to do a few months ago but regressed on after moving.

I want to try it again but I find it hard to take seriously enough to stick to. 

I'm looking for someone willing to do daily check-ins/discuss bugs that also wants to work on fixing their sleep. I dunno if we'd do synchronous or asynchronous communication but in the beginning I'd probably want to try synchronous

I'd do this! Right now my dog is my accountability partner, but she adjusts to waking up later herself! :) I'm in Pacific timezone

awesome, dm'd you for more details

How long should I wait from cold inception to travel (back home)? I have 2 things I'm optimizing for:

a. apparently traveling with sinus issues on a plane is exceptionally painful

b. I don't want to infect other people

I don't have a good model of how quick I should expect to recover/when I'm reasonably non-infectious.

What are good fictions for an inaction bias? When I have an idea or thing I want to work on, I tend to think too much about outcomes and even if it does seem like there's a decent chance of success, I don't even try because I then know how daunting the thing will be.

What are some things you want to work on?

There are a fair few:

-I want to make software to enable me to use more of Ray Dalio's Principles

-I want to organize a rat dojo in SF

-possibly try to do EA outreach in SF

-want to get better at programming and do something around a SuperMemo clone though I'm not sure what exactly yet

-I want to figure out what the highest impact things I want to work on are (this should probably be highest priority)

(I'm answering asking based on what I know a little about.)


What do you want out of a SuperMemo clone?

What's the simplest version of what/something you want out of a SuperMemo clone?


How can software help you use more of these principles?

Does anyone know a good explanation of dopamine/psychological arousal? Recently made the connection that me craving novelty/wanting high psychological arousal levels reduces focus/leads to overthinking and difficulty actually doing normal work that I'd normally enjoy doing. I'd like a better model of my brain with this in mind that I can work around.

In case anyone is interested, Piotr Wozniak, the man that invented spaced repetition, is on voice chat on the SuperMemo server!

For anyone that's gone through super forecasting material, have you been able to make it pragmatically useful day to day?

How do you compare the utility of ongoing skill acquisition vs. working on projects?

I'm trying to prioritize what I work on in the day by utility and this is easy for projects but I'm struggling to figure out where skill acquisition things should go, especially open ended ones without a finite end like using SuperMemo

Does anyone have a means they use for tracking how long things take vs. predictions to use for future outside view calculations?

What’s the least expensive way to acquire a copy of HPMOR as a gift for a friend? Same for Unsong too though lower priority

Least expensive is to send them the URL .  If you mean a literal copy (of the bits), you could download the site to a cheap USB drive, I guess.  EPub and MOBI versions on that site if your friend uses a Kindle or other e-reader.  And podcast version if they prefer audiobooks.  

If you mean a printed copy, I don't know of any pre-printed versions.  Print-on-demand tends to be quite expensive for one-off.  You're probably best off generating a PDF from the EPub, and having it ring-bound at a copy store.

I have a hunch that task switching is lowering my productivity some amount but I'm not sure because there are multiple possible sources:
-might be coworking around friends who might be talking
-might be reading and task switching to phone
-might be doing some work, need to ask friend a question on discord and then getting distracted (even if I really am asking/discussing thing with them)

How could I test just how bad it is for productivity and optimize it over time?

I'm working on some rationality-adjacent apple watch apps aimed at:

-making it easier to capture mistakes you make throughout the day

-when you notice a trigger, to have an easier way to access reference material/actions that would be more updateable over time than normal TAPs

-capturing data of what you're doing throughout the day with experience sampling methods

I'm interested in:

-mentors that know swift: I've been hacking together code so far and while this kind of works, this isn't the best approach. Having someone I can ask questions would speed up a lot of my efforts

-collaborators that know swift or are interested in learning it: if you're not sure how interested you are, feel free to schedule a call and we can discuss the project more

Hopefully soon-ish I'll make a post with more detail on the project. 

I've made an iOS app using Swift before, though I am far from competent with it.

For health reasons, my sleep is consistently bad. I can still get around 2-3 hours of work done in the morning and another 2-3 in the evening but I have a lot of time where I'm just tired and don't want to do anything too intellectually stimulating. 

Any recommendations on good filler activities?

I just moved to Berkeley so fairly often I can go to a meetup of some sort in the evening. But the mornings are harder to fill.  When I get myself to, walking around  works fairly well (I'm finding it a lot harder now than when I was in Japan since in Japan I just didn't buy food in advance so I'd have to go outside around 11 am).  This isn't really enough alone to cover the 3-4 hours between doing work and taking my nap though. 

Activities that I've considered:

-reading: if I get hooked on the right book, this definitely works. I'm struggling to start reading books though.

-video games: these would likely work but I'm nervous about getting addicted and not getting anything done

The first thing that comes to mind is some sort of exercise. Valuable on its own and might also improve sleep.

I'll try this. Need to find some addicting audiobooks, would make it pretty trivial to spend much of morning outside.

yeah I'm gonna try more of this. hard part is just getting myself to go outside but that's getting easier as I do it more

Does anyone else struggle with rejection sensitivity dysphoria (common in people that have ADHD)? It's gotten better for me over time as I understand myself better but it's still a big problem and I'm not sure how to go about dealing with it

Where are SF/Berkeley area events usually coordinated? (going to hopefully be living in the area)

I tried to look for a facebook group but didn't have too much luck

Just found a discord group:

and a facebook group:

that were created right after the ACX meetup

Has anyone considered a way of using a variation of an electrolarynx + voice to text to enable some method of using voice to text without needing to actually speak out loud?

(I know electrolarynxes produce noise but I get the impression some variation could be much quieter than normal speech and still work)

Any suggestions on decent online universities? I've decided to move back to the US from abroad without finishing my degree but my parents still want me to get some sort of degree for long-term employability (ruling out bootcamps unless I can make a really convincing argument). 

I'm trying to optimize for:
-not too time consuming: I want to spend most of my time on side-projects of my own interest
-not too expensive: don't want to burn money
-marginally useful/interesting: will be less hard to complete if it feels actually useful was suggested to me and is likely what I'd do as a baseline option. 

Is there still a map of LW community members?

stumbled upon this: and the link it has to map of users is defunct

There is a map on the community page. (You might need to change something in your user settings to be able to see it.)

Have any of you made an effort to apply expected utility theory to all the things you do? If so, how did you find it?

I'm guessing there are constraints that make routine application difficult but it seems like you could take those into account too

Something that's bothered me for a while is: how is wealth created and value added to society? If I start a software company which marginally makes some people's lives better, does this actually contribute to society? How zero sum are our efforts?

I know the answer to this is somewhere in economics but I'm not really sure where and the 1 course I took on macro wasn't really enough to answer this for me. 

Any recommendations/people willing to talk me through this?

I would look at what your efforts are doing, net.

Make a software company that helps people keep track of their finances through an app?  You are saving the [size of your userbase] * [hours per year each person saves or (hundreds of dollars in unneeded spending the person avoids)]. 

There are ways it might seem zero sum.  For example, Microsoft Excel.  It's a tool that saves billions of hours versus pre-computer days, but some could argue that by occupying the niche it squats in, it prevents investment into maybe superior tools like (mathematica, google sheets, open office).  

Make a software company that performs high frequency crypto trades?  Arguably this is kind of zero sum - any money you scoop up is money left on the table by less sophisticated investors.  Essentially you are skimming wealth from a whole bunch of people without creating any.

Say I make a software company that develops the software to adapt robotics platforms (like machines from Boston Dynamics) to do real world tasks.  Probably this is absolutely a net good: in the long term, those robots are doing labor humans would have been stuck doing, and our civilization gets richer [once it finds a new job for the people the robots unemployed].  But in the short term, yes, your company workers won't be too welcome at the factory you visit when designing the robots.

Okay nice, I think this answers half my question: can I do things that make a difference? Where answers seems to be: just think about it, there isn’t a black magic answer

though I still want to get a better idea of what makes GDP/income/wealth of a nation increase

Well, in real terms, if the nation has N people, working M hours on average each.

Either you employ more people (economic crises cause employment to shrink and the inverse happens in booms), making M bigger and economic output larger, or you get more done per hour, making productivity higher.

Any sort of machine you invent that helps people get more done per hour increases real GDP if the machine is adopted and use many places.  

For example, if you had invented the tractor, the consequences would temporarily have been mass unemployment, but later the people that would have been working in the fields can be doing other things.  

You might not agree that the things they are doing are adding value - for example they might be wearing cosplay costumes in Times Square and charging tourists to take pictures of them.  However, any good or service that other humans are willing to voluntarily pay for is adding to GDP, as if it were not providing value in excess of the cost, the buyer wouldn't pay.

At an extremely basic level, different people value various goods and services differently, so if I trade something that you value more for something that I value more, then we're both better off.

Don't forget inventions: in the long run, changing the set of available goods and services has been even more important (!) than improving their distribution. Notable post-WWII examples include high-yield cereal varieties, smallpox and polio vaccines, everything made with semiconductors and all the services they enable... listened to this episode of the clearer thinking podcast with michael vassar. Mistake theory and conflict theory get thrown around a lot but I don't really get what they are nor how to figure out what the are. I'm not interested in in depth learning on them, does anyone have suggestions on concise summaries/sources to get a good enough idea of what they are?

definition on tag already helping a ton:

Mistake theorists think problems in society are caused by people being bad at achieving common goals. 

Conflict theorists think problems in society are caused by adversaries with incompatible goals.

Thanks for pointing me to those, will give them a read!

Anyone have recommendations on good non-swiveling chairs? Unfortunately I end up fidgeting and moving around way too much with them (maybe some of my ADHD?). I'm using a normal chair now but I wonder if there's something better for my back

How do you effectively represent knowledge in learning?

how do you effectively apply recognition primed decision making rather than lesswrong biases?

Is breadth of knowledge, depth of knowledge or applicability of knowledge more important? Whatever the answer is, how do you more dakka the hell out of it?