All of 9eB1's Comments + Replies

Arguing from a Gap of Perspective

I think what you've described is most closely related to the Overton window. Often it is discussed in more neutral terms on LessWrong, meaning without the certitude of personal opinions from this post.

Searching for Overton window on LessWrong will turn up more references. If you find this concept interesting, you may also enjoy the Politics is the Mind-killer sequence, which is all about changing your mind on political issues, if you haven't read that.

Better air is the easiest way not to die

Only tangentially related, but I found this recent comment thread on Hacker News very interesting. There are carbon scrubbers you can buy and attach to computer fans to completely eliminate odors without using air fresheners, much less incense or candles.

Convict Conditioning Book Review

I've read this book and many other calisthenics and weightlifting focused fitness books. I like Convict Conditioning. It was pretty influential in the online fitness community when it came out, and remains so to some extent. That said, the information and programs in the book are somewhat out-of-date compared to more modern thinking.

I would recommend anyone interested in calisthenics to start with the reddit /r/bodyweightfitness FAQ. They have easy defaults (e.g. the Recommended Routine, or the Primer) which come with more battle-tested explanations and pr... (read more)

The best frequently don't rise to the top

I watched a few of the DHH, Eric Normand and Be a Better Dev videos. DHH's videos are very good, actually I was sucked into watching a couple, but he doesn't have very many. Also, your link points to his old channel, and now all those videos are, although he only did one more in that series. The couple Eric Normand videos were pretty good, I could imagine that there are really good ones somewhere in the feed. For Be a Better Dev, the videos seemed pretty low quality, very focused on l... (read more)

2adamzerner2moThank you for your input here, it's great to get some more data points! For Eric Normand I think it can be a bit hit or miss. Some of them I find to be meh, but others I really love. Two that I've watched recently that I've loved were How is Haskell faster than C? [] and The Early History of Smalltalk [] . The former opened my eyes to a perspective on how to think about how "fast" a language is. The latter I really appreciated because he distilled a paper that I am interested in but otherwise would never have been able to parse. Again, it makes me very sad and confused that such videos only are getting a couple hundred views. You're right about Be a Better Dev being very AWS focused. That's what I had in mind when I chose it as a channel that I like. I started a job somewhat recently where we use AWS stuff, and it's all new to me because I had never used it before. I've spent time googling around for content that explains AWS stuff, and his was a pretty clear winner for me. I check his channel before I read the docs. If you know of something better I'd love to hear about it.

In the early stages of Quora, it was a legitimately awesome place to get unfiltered answers from people you were interested in. Eventually, the bleeding edge people got bored of it and left it to the vultures, the same people who had SEOed bullshit pages cluttering up google search results. I've never used Clubhouse, but this seems like a risk. Is there some structural reason this won't come to pass?

2Chris_Leong2moYeah, Quora was amazing back in the heyday. There's still some pretty good content on there, but it's been a long time since I've asked a question.
Why does Applied Divinity Studies think EA hasn’t grown since 2015?

ScottAlexander had a very interesting response to this post on reddit

Are there good negotiation classes?

I second this. Most negotiation advice is geared toward formal "negotiation" settings, like when you are negotiating sales contracts or business transactions. For those purposes, having negotiation tools is really useful (my favorite is "Bargaining For Advantage" which I learned of from The Personal MBA). But for being a manager, you are almost never explicitly negotiating, and in fact trying to come into your work with that mindset is counterproductive. When you are working with your reports, it would be disastrous. When you are working with other interna... (read more)

Remembering people's name with Anki

I have used Anki to remember names and faces on multiple occasions. It works well, usually I've only used it at the beginning of being in the environment. For the names of famous people I don't think it passes the cost-benefits test. Gwern recommends only adding a card if it will save you 5 minutes over a lifetime, and so memorizing large corpuses where you may only need a handful of them ever is likely to be a bad tradeoff. The difference between these scenarios is that remembering faces and names is something you need to have instant access to, but misre... (read more)

1ArthurRainbow3moThanks. I only partially agree with what you quote. In a part of hacker community, being able to remember who is Raymond or Graham may be the difference between being considered as a member of the ingroup or not. Of course, that's never such a binary choice, but it clearly may help to indicates that we have the same reading in commons, Hacker and Painter, The bazar and the Cathedraal. I can't state whether it'll save 5 minutes or less, because the question is not how much time it takes to remember the information, but the message sent. Furthermore, it sometimes occurred that I met famous searcher in academic conference. Turing price or Fields Medal. I won't work with them quite probably, but I suspect that having known who they are, what they are known for, may potentially have been a lead to interesting discussion, and help me know where to lead the discussion.
Evening drawing

My guess is head, painting photograph.

First (Head): Lacks the level of detail of the other two examples. A painting would also possibly be drawn from a reference, although I have no idea what even the style of painting you were referencing. The major distinction here is that the cheeks in the the second (painting) photo have mottling that suggests to me a better reference. The proportions also seem just a bit more exaggerated to me than the other two. The neck of the first one seems larger, and the shoulders have some asymmetry which is hard to interpret. ... (read more)

Reviews as "How should this be improved to meet the bar?"

I have thought about a problem related to this very often. There was an Amazon shareholders letter written by Jeff Bezos that elaborates on their culture of high standards. In particular, it talks about the cost of high standards when writing Amazon's "six-page memos." The idea of having teams with high standards on their written memos resonated with me, but I have not been able to apply it that much in my professional career.

My standards are higher than those of the organization around me, and when it came down to spending the relationship capital to crit... (read more)

What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers

Why do you think people don't already do this?

They have to do it to some extent, otherwise replicability would be literally uncorrelated with publishability, which probably isn't the case. But because of the outcomes, we can see that people aren't doing it enough at the margin, so encouraging people to move as far in that direction as they can seems like a useful reminder.

There are two models here, one is that everyone is a homo economicus when citing papers, so no amount of persuasion is going to adjust people's citations. They are already making the o... (read more)

What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers

This problem seems to me to have the flavor of Moloch and/or inadequate equilibria. Your criticisms have two parts, the pre-edit part based on your personal experience, in which you state why the personal actions they recommend are actually not possible because of the inadequate equilibria (i.e. because of academic incentives), and the criticism of the author's proposed non-personal actions, which you say is just based on intuition.

I think the author would be unsurprised that the personal actions are not reasonable. They have already said this problem requ... (read more)

4rohinmshah8moWhy do you think people don't already do this? In general, if you want to make a recommendation on the margin, you have to talk about what the current margin is. Huh? The sentence I see is "the predators are running wild" does not mean "most people are acting in good faith, but are not competent enough for good faith to be a useful assumption".
Hierarchy of Evidence

Typo: "Systemic reviews" should read "systematic reviews".

1Bob Jacobs10moThanks, fixed it for all the files (and made some other small changes)
What is the scientific status of 'Muscle Memory'?

The article about this on Strengtheory has links to sources (not as footnotes, in the text). May be useful to check out.

How do you Murphyjitsu essentially risky activities?

When it comes to problems that are primarily related to motivation, the cost-benefit is so far weighted that the cost of implementing the plan probably doesn't seem relevant to consider, but this is a good point.

I like the idea of using Murphyjitsu for modeling shorter iterations, that's probably generally applicable.

How do you Murphyjitsu essentially risky activities?

That seems mostly about the emotional content of a particular plan, while I see Murphyjitsu as a tool for avoiding the planning fallacy, forcing yourself to fully think through the implications of a plan, or getting more realistic predictions from System 1. I haven't viewed it much as an emotional tool, but maybe other people do find it useful for that.

2Matt Goldenberg1yI try to lool at this with my whole body: Rationally, do I see problems with the plan(head) Emotionally, do I have problems with the plan(heart) Intuitively, do I have problems with the plan (gut) Only when a plan passes all three checks does it move forward, and I use these tools with all three If you're just doing logically, I'd include the heart and gut as well, that's where murphyjitsu shines, as often your gut and heart pick up problems with your plan your mind does not.
Thomas Kwa's Bounty List

Whew, glad I didn't invest more time in this. Seems there is lurking complexity everywhere.

Thomas Kwa's Bounty List

At this price point this seems potentially doable. Some ideas in the order I'd try them:

  1. There is a person that has Kickstarted similar projects and you could contact him to see if they are willing to do a custom one-off. They'd probably be willing to just give you advice if you asked, too. Given that their entire Kickstarter was only $7000, at your price point this seems pretty likely.
  2. You can download a 3D model online and find a local machine shop to CNC you one. For example, just googling "tungsten machine shop san francisco" turned up http://www.acma
... (read more)
1Thomas Kwa1yThingiverse doesn't appear to have a working 3D model, nor does there appear to be one elsewhere. See this link: [] There's a design patent on the particular Gomboc shape, but that doesn't apply to mono-monostatic shapes in general, and it expires in a few years anyway. I've added a bounty on creating/finding a working 3d model of a mono-monostatic shape.
Is there any scientific evidence for benefits of meditation?

I admit there might be reasons to invest in meditation practice that are not based on scientifically proven benefits (e.g., curiosity, sense of novelty, sense of belonging to a community). At the same time, I hope that most LW readers attach very little weight to those non-evidence-based reasons to meditate, just like I do.

I suppose I should admit the main reason I started meditating a long time ago was curiosity. I read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (reviewed on SSC here) and thought "well, this person sounds like they are explaining menta

... (read more)
Is there any scientific evidence for benefits of meditation?

I think it is right to be skeptical of the science around meditation. Meditation perfectly fits into the Bermuda triangle of phenomenon for which our current scientific institutions and practices are not well-prepared to study.

It shares with psychological studies the challenge that the thing under investigation is the internal mental state of the subject. When there are studies with objective endpoints, usually the objective endpoint isn't the thing we want to get out of it, it's just a more reliable metric so we know the subjects aren't fooling themselves

... (read more)
3[anonymous]1yThanks for a thoughtful and provoking comment. I wanted to elaborate on my methodology before I start my search, and your comment was an excellent prompt for that. I agree those are different questions. My purpose in starting this post is gathering scientific data that helps answer the latter question. I admit there might be reasons to invest in meditation practice that are not based on scientifically proven benefits (e.g., curiosity, sense of novelty, sense of belonging to a community). At the same time, I hope that most LW readers attach very little weight to those non-evidence-based reasons to meditate, just like I do. So I want to answer the first question. The second question reveals my motivation and limits the scope of the first question. For example, I'm not interested in such potential benefits like 'gaining enough willpower to voluntarily starve yourself to death or voluntarily set yourself aflame'. I'm glad that you raise this point because I wanted to comment today on my standards of proof anyway. Let's start with the easy to verify claims that I generalise as: 'After only few weeks of regular practice, I sometimes notice impulses when they arise and simply let them fade away, instead of succumbing to them. Sure, often I still act like I used to, but I'm starting to see a change for the better.' This is very easy to verify. For such claims, I will treat an absence of a strong proof as a strong proof of absence. Here is a sample study protocol (for illustrative purposes only, I don't claim it's well thought-out): 1. Gather people who claim to spend too much time compulsively on social media (and in this day and age, who doesn't?) 2. Give them a smartphone app and a browser extension that tracks how much time they spend on social media. 3. Randomly instruct them to meditate for x minutes a day or lie down for a nap for x minutes a day. 4. Each day ask them on their smartphone whether they did their meditation session/nap time and give them a shame
What are sensible ways to screen event participants to reduce COVID-19 risk?
Answer by 9eB1Mar 04, 20206

As for cutoffs, just look up max healthy forehead temperature, maybe 37.5. More important is to have prominently available hand sanitizer pumps and encourage people to use it before and after the event, and remind them not to touch their faces.

In defense of deviousness

There are several sources of spaghetti code that are possible:

  1. A complex domain, as you mention, where a complex entangled mess is the most elegant possible solution.
  2. Resource constraints and temporal tradeoffs. Re-architecting the system after adding each additional functionality is too time expensive, even when a new architecture could simplify the overly complex design. Social forces like "the market" or "grant money" mean it makes more sense to build the feature in the poorly architected way.
  3. Performance optimizations. If you code needs to fit inside
... (read more)
3Juan Andrés Hurtado Baeza1yI agree with you. I have seen several times how underbudgeted software projects sacrifice general quality due to the reasons you point, and this is later paid in the maintenance phase. I also think that an extreme domain complexity is not the most common cause of the problems. Another source of maintenance difficulties is the laziness when writing the software documentation. A hard-to-read code can be a good code but very difficult to understand by other person when adequate explanations are unavailable.
Might humans not be the most intelligent animals?

Sorry, I could have been clearer. The empirical evidence I was referring to was the existence of human civilization, which should inform priors about the likelihood of other animals being as intelligent.

I think you are referring to a particular type of "scientific evidence" which is a subset of empirical evidence. It's reasonable to ask for that kind of proof, but sometimes it isn't available. I am reminded of Eliezer's classic post You're Entitled to Arguments, But Not (That Particular) Proof.

To be honest, I think the answer is that there is just no truth

... (read more)
What will quantum computers be used for?

The database search thing is, according to my understanding, widely misinterpreted. As Wikipedia says:

Although the purpose of Grover's algorithm is usually described as "searching a database", it may be more accurate to describe it as "inverting a function". In fact since the oracle for an unstructured database requires at least linear complexity, the algorithm cannot be used for actual databases.

To actually build Quantum Postgres, you need something that can store an enormous number of qubits, like a hard drive.

4shminux1yYeah, no quantum postgres (or, pardon the namespace collision, no quantum Oracle), but maybe some unstructured tree search. Which could also be useful for game AIs, incidentally, since quadratic speedup can make a lot of difference there. But yeah, this depends on having fault-tolerant QC with many thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands qubits.
Might humans not be the most intelligent animals?

Your take is contrarian as I suspect you will admit. There is quite a bit of empirical evidence, and if it turned out that humans were not the most intelligent it would be very surprising. There is probably just enough uncertainty that it's still within the realm of possibility, but only by a small margin.

3Matthew Barnett1yIf there's good empirical evidence I suspect that it will be easy to show me. I pointed out in the post what type of empirical evidence I would find most compelling (cognitive tests). I am still reading comments, but so far people have only given me theoretical reasons.
Against Premature Abstraction of Political Issues

This sort of existence argument is reasonable for hypothetical supehuman AIs, but real-world human cognition is extremely sensitive to the structure we can find or make up in the world. Sure, just saying "politics" does not provide a clear reference class, so it would be helpful to understand what you want to avoid about politics and engineer around it. My hunch is that avoiding your highly-technical definition of bad discourse that you are using to replace "politics" just leads to a lot of time spent on your politics analysis, with approximately the same

... (read more)
CO2 Stripper Postmortem Thoughts

I was very confused about your proposed setup after reading the wikipedia article on heat exchangers, since I couldn't figure out what thermal masses you proposed exchanging heat between. But I found this article which resolved my confusion.

Do we know if spaced repetition can be used with randomized content?

It is still useful to memorize the flashcards. The terminology provides hooks that will remind you of the conceptual framework later. If you want to practice actually recognizing the design patterns, you could read some of and actively try to recognize design patterns. When you want to learn to do something, it's important to practice a task that is as close as possible to what you are trying to learn.

In real life when a software design pattern comes up, it's usually not as something that you determine from the code. More

... (read more)
Where should I ask this particular kind of question?

Perhaps the community to ask on mostly doesn't depend on the expertise of the denizens, but your ability to get a response. If so, it matters more whether your question is something that will "hook" the people there, which depends more on the specific topic of the question than on the knowledge required to answer it. For example, if it were about the physics of AI, you'd be likely to get an answer on LessWrong. If it's about academic physics, reddit might be better. If you are using it to write fanfiction, just ask on a fanfiction forum.

It matters quite a

... (read more)
2Long try2yYes, your 1st point makes sense. I take it that since it's somewhat difficult to accurately predict whether the question will hook those people, an umbrella approach where I post in many media is the most rational 1? My scenario is really hypothetical. I forgot to mention xkcd What if? as an option in my list in the OP, but yeah, it will fit very nicely and frankly I think my question belongs there. But unfortunately, it seems that xkcd has stopped answering What if queries, because his latest entry is 2017 or so.
On Internal Family Systems and multi-agent minds: a reply to PJ Eby

Yes, that seems like a reasonable perspective. I can see why that would be annoying.

On Internal Family Systems and multi-agent minds: a reply to PJ Eby

I really appreciate that this post was on the front page, because I wouldn't have seen it otherwise and it was interesting. From an external viewer perspective on the "status games" aspect of it, I think the front page post didn't seem like a dominance attempt, but read as an attempt at truth seeking. I also don't think that it put your arguments in a negative light. Your comments here, on the other hand, definitely feel to an outside observer to be more status-oriented. My visceral reaction upon reading your comment above this one, for example, was that y

... (read more)
5pjeby2yThat framing is actually part of what upset me about this article: it presents some of my arguments in a context that makes them seem as though they were made in support of my own approach vs IFS, rather than comparing and contrasting the material discussed by two of Kaj's own posts. In one post, he presented reconsolidation-oriented therapy as described in Unlocking the Emotional Brain (UtEB for short), and in the other he discussed IFS. My comments in the previous thread were about how UtEB's arguments regarding reconsolidation showcase why IFS is an "accidental reconsolidation" model, and how a deliberate model is more efficient. (Using occasional examples from my experiences with both types of approach.) This post seems (to me at least) to frame that prior discussion as if I was instead arguing for my methodology vs. IFS, when I was almost exclusively arguing "deliberate vs. accidental reconsolidation", with UtEB from Kaj's own post as an example of the former variety. So taken out of context, this post makes it sound as if I were doing just what you say: demoting IFS to promote my own approach. But the original conversation was actually comparing two schools of thought that Kaj had written articles about, and by extension, other schools that divide along the same lines. (But then, my view might be more than a little biased by the unexpected appearance on the frontpage, while thinking that said appearance was Kaj's choice rather than a moderator's, making me look extra-close for why he made a choice that he didn't actually make.)
What technical prereqs would I need in order to understand Stuart Armstrong's research agenda?

There appears to be some sort of bug with the editor, I had to switch to markdown mode to fix the comment. Thanks for the heads up.

I use Anki for this purpose and it works well as long as you already have a system to give you a strong daily Anki review habit.

What technical prereqs would I need in order to understand Stuart Armstrong's research agenda?

If this is true, then this post by Michael Nielsen may be interesting to the poster. He uses a novel method of understanding a paper by using Anki to learn the areas of the field relevant to, in this case, the AlphaGo paper. I don't have a good reason to do this right now, but this is the strategy I would use if I wanted to understand Stuart's research program.

2Ikaxas2yYep, I've seen that post before. I've tried to use Anki a couple times, but I always get frustrated trying to decide how to make things into cards. I haven't totally given up on the idea, though, I may try it again at some point, maybe even for this. Thanks for your comment. Also, NB, your link is not formatted properly -- you have the page URL, but then also "by Michael Nielsen is interesting" as part of the link, so it doesn't go where you want it to.
The Hacker Learns to Trust

The phenomenon I was pointing out wasn't exactly that the person's decision was made because of status. It was that a prerequisite for them changing their mind was that they were taken seriously and engaged with respectfully. That said, I do think that its interesting to understand the way status plays into these events.

First, they started the essay with a personality-focused explanation:

To explain how this all happened, and what we can learn from it, I think it’s important to learn a little bit more about my personality and with what kind of at
... (read more)

I agree with a lot of claims in your comment, and I think it's valuable to think through how status plays a role in many situations, including this.

There is an approach in your comments toward explaining someone's behaviour that I disagree with, though it may just be a question of emphasis. A few examples:

My real model is that they took those ideas extra seriously because the people were nice and high status.

...a prerequisite for them changing their mind was that they were taken seriously and engaged with respectfully

These seem to me definitely t... (read more)

8Ben Pace2yReading this I realise I developed most of my attitudes toward the topic when I believed that the copy was full-strength, and only in writing the post did I find out that it wasn't - in fact it seems that it was weaker than the initial 117M version OpenAI released. You're right that this makes the 'release' option less exciting from the perspective of one's personal status, which (the status lens) would then predict taking whichever different action would give more personal status, and this is arguably one of those actions. Just now I found this [] comment in the medium comment section, where Connor agrees with you about it being symbolic, and mentions how this affected his thinking. (Meta: Wow, Medium requires you to click twice to go down one step in a comment thread! Turns out there are like 20 comments on the OP.)
4Ben Pace2yYeah, respectful and serious engagement with people’s ideas, even when you’re on the opposite sides of policy/norm disputes, is very important.
The Hacker Learns to Trust

As is always the case, this person changed their mind because they were made to feel valued. The community treated what they'd done with respect (even though, fundamentally, they were unsuccessful and the actual release of the model would have had no impact on the world), and as a result they capitulated.

While I agree that this is an important factor when modelling people’s decision-making, I think there is some straightforward evidence that this was not the primary factor here.

Firstly, after the person spent an hour talking to friendly and helpful people from the high-status company, they did not change their decision, which is evidence against most parsimonious of status-based motives. (Relatedly, there was not a small set of people the author promised to read feedback from, but literally 100% of respondents, which is over-and-above what would be useful

... (read more)
BYOL (Buy Your Own Lunch)

It is not at all rude, at a business lunch, to say "Oh, thank you!" when someone says they will pay for lunch. Especially if you are a founder of a small company and meeting with people at more established companies who will likely be able to expense the meal. Those people don't care, because it's not their money.

If you are meeting with people in a similar position (fellow founders), you can just ask to split which people will either accept or they will offer to pay, in which case see above.

If you are meeting with casual acquaintances, you can al... (read more)

1JohnGreer3yThanks for the reply! I don't mind letting people pay if they genuinely want to and our in a better position to. The problem is that in many instances there does seem to be a signaling game like there is in Chinese culture with refusing gifts at first, where just accepting without protesting is considered rude.
Is Rhetoric Worth Learning?

In a best case scenario, a fellow traveler will already have studied rhetoric and will be able to provide the highlights relevant to LWers. In the spirit of offering the "obvious advice" I've heard the "Very Short Introduction" series of books can give you an introduction to the main ideas of a field and maybe that will be helpful for guiding your research beyond the things that are easily googleable.

My attempt to explain Looking, insight meditation, and enlightenment in non-mysterious terms

The case of the Vietnamese monk who famously set himself on fire may meet your criteria. The Vietnamese government claimed that he had drugged himself, but it's hard to imagine a drug that would allow you to get out of a car under your own power and walk to a seated position, and then light a match to set yourself on fire but still have no reaction as your flesh burns off.

Hammertime Postmortem

It's too bad the link for the referenced *"Focusing," for skeptics* article in your post on the tactic only leads to a 404 now. I wonder if it was taken down intentionally?

2alkjash3yIt seems like the author took down all his posts, my best guess is he's porting them to a new account.
Feedback on LW 2.0

I love that the attempt is being made and I hope it works. The main feedback that I have is that the styling of the comment section doesn't work for me. One of the advantages of the existing LessWrong comment section is that the information hierarchy is super clear. The comments are bordered and backgrounded so when you decide to skip a comment your eye can very easily scan down to the next one. At the new site all the comments are relatively undifferentiated so it's much harder to skim them. I also think that the styling of the blockquotes in the new comm... (read more)

LW 2.0 Strategic Overview


Since then I've thought of a couple more sites that are neither hierarchical nor tag-based. Facebook and eHow style sites.

There is another pattern that is neither hierarchical, tag-based nor search-based, which is the "invitation-only" pattern of a site like pastebin. You can only find content by referral.

1Said Achmiz4yIt is therefore not a coincidence that Facebook is utterly terrible as a content repository. (I am unfamiliar with eHow.)
LW 2.0 Strategic Overview

That is very interesting. An exception might be "Google search pages." Not only is there no hierarchical structure, there is also no explicit tag structure and the main user engagement model is search-only. Internet Archive is similar but with their own stored content.

With respect to TV Tropes, I'd note that while it is nominally organized according to those indexes, the typical usage pattern is as a sort of pure garden path in my experience.

1Said Achmiz4yI have encountered a truly shocking degree of variation in how people use TVTropes, to the extent that I've witnessed several people talking to each other about this were each in utter disbelief (to the point of anger) that the other person's usage pattern is a real thing. Generalizations about TVTropes usage patterns are extremely fraught.
Priors Are Useless

Now analyze this in a decision theoretic context where you want to use these probabilities to maximize utility and where gathering information has a utility cost.


This was incomprehensible to me.

Open thread, Apr. 03 - Apr. 09, 2017

Bryan Caplan responded to this exchange here

2tristanm4yI would object to calling these "devastating counter-examples", they're more like unsolved problems. It seems overly dramatic. I'm not a perfect Bayesian agent, I use my intuitions a lot, but that is not grounds on which to reject Bayesianism, and I think we could say something similar about consequentialism. I may not know how to perfectly measure relative happiness, or perfectly predict the future, but it doesn't seem like that should be grounds to reject consequentialism entirely, in favor of alternatives which don't cope with those issues either.
Open thread, Apr. 03 - Apr. 09, 2017

I think no one would argue that the rationality community is at all divorced from the culture that surrounds it. People talk about culture constantly, and are looking for ways to change the culture to better address shared goals. It's sort of silly to say that that means it should be called the "irrationality community." Tyler Cowen is implicitly putting himself at the vantage point of a more objective observer with the criticism, which I find ironic.

Where Tyler is wrong is that it's not JUST another kind of culture. It's a culture with a partic... (read more)

3Lumifer4yNotice the name of this website. It is not "The Correct Way To Do Everything". Don't ALL cultures have their own particular set of shared assumptions? Tyler's point is that the rationalist culture, says Tyler, sets itself above all others as it claims to possess The Truth (or at least know the True Paths leading in that general direction) -- and yet most cultures have similar claims. Lucifer is the bringer of light (Latin: lux). Latin also has another word for light: lumen (it's the same root but with the -men suffix). Just sayin' :-P But I will also admit that the idea of an all-singing all-dancing candelabra has merit, too :-)
2Brillyant4yIt did seem to be a pretty bold and frontal critique. And "irrationality community" is probably silly. But I agree LW, et al has at times a religious and dogmatic feel to it. In this way the RC becomes something like the opposite of the label it carries. That seems to be his point. Yes. Yes. If this wasn't exactly the mental image I had of Lumifer before, then it is now. Maybe a bit more Satan than cartoon []
IQ and Magnus Carlsen, Leo Messi and the Decathlon

You are correct, there are things that can negatively impact someone's IQ. With respect to maximizing, I think the fact that people have been trying for decades to find something that reliably increases IQ, and everything leads to a dead-end means that we are pretty close to what's achievable without revolutionary new technology. Maybe you aren't at 100% of what's achievable, but you're probably at 95% (and of course percentages don't really have any meaning here because there is no metric which grounds IQ in absolute terms).

IQ and Magnus Carlsen, Leo Messi and the Decathlon

I agree that IQ is plenty interesting by itself. My goal with this article was to explore the boundaries of that usefulness and explore the ways in which the correlations break down.

The Big 5 personality traits have a correlation with some measures of success which is independent of IQ. For example, in this paper:

Consistent with the zero-order correlations, Conscientiousness was a significant positive predictor of GPA, even controlling for gender and SAT scores, and this finding replicated across all three samples. Thus, personality, in particular the

... (read more)
IQ and Magnus Carlsen, Leo Messi and the Decathlon

The tallest player to ever play in the NBA was Gheorghe Mureșan, who was 7'7". He was not very good. Manute Bol was almost as tall and he was good but not great. By contrast, the best basketball player of all time was 6'6" [citation needed]. In fact, perhaps an athletic quotient would be better for predicting top-end performance than height, since Jordon, Lebron and Kareem are all way more athletic than Muresan and Bol.

I will attempt to explain the strongest counterargument that I'm aware of regarding your first thesis. When you take a bunch of t... (read more)

0Brillyant4yHe wasn't? He average 15 pts and 10 rebounds (and 2 blocks) as a 24 year old in the NBA. He had injuries, but was effective for a time when healthy.
2bogus4yThis is not really true, AFAICT. There are so many health conditions that result in recognizable cognitive impairment that I see no reason to assume that the "baseline person in modern society" is effectively maximizing her realized IQ. Even something as common as major depressive disorder can impact cognition in ways that will make people measurably less effective at work. And let's not forget more permanent things like eating too many lead flakes as a kid, which can still have an impact on the "baseline person" long after lead paint has fallen out of use.
0ragintumbleweed4yFirst of all, thank you, 9eB1. This is exactly the kind of a charitable, informed, and thoughtful response I was hoping for. I appreciate your feedback. Also, you clearly know more about psychometrics than I do, so I will tread carefully in response. Not sure this is true. The average great athlete is probably around average height. And there are only a few of those in the NBA. That said, NBA teams are pretty savvy about breaking down the specific characteristics that lead to NBA success. Not just height, but speed, quickness, vertical leap, ability to jump up and down multiple times, wingspan, shooting ability at different distances. There is plenty of specificity in NBA talent analysis. Height matters, but other factors matter, too. And those factors can and have been quantified. Based on my quick research, I'm not sure that it is true that cardio and muscular strength are at odds. [] I agree that IQ is plenty interesting by itself. My goal with this article was to explore the boundaries of that usefulness and explore the ways in which the correlations break down. And your feedback helps me a get a better sense of where those areas are. I agree that luck plays a huge role in Einstein being Einstein. But I also think that to achieve the top levels of success at any specific endeavor, other factors besides IQ matter a lot, too. Hard work, intransigence, contrarianism -- these personality characteristics were probably determinative in him becoming who he was.
Open thread, March 13 - March 19, 2017

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 &q... (read more)

0Good_Burning_Plastic4yI was about to comment something to the effect that those two desiderata aren't mutually exclusive -- but the Berkson paradox thing [] does apply.
2username24yPassion fades. If you want a lifelong relationship, and not an eventual divorce, it does require comparability / sharing of life goals.
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