All of ADITHYA SRINIVASAN's Comments + Replies

Open & Welcome Thread - June 2020

Hi guys,been a long time lurker here.Wanted to ask this,have you guys ever done rereads for the Sequences so that new guys can engage with he content better and discuss..Just a thought

8gilch1yI recall a [SEQ RERUN] in the past, yes. You are also allowed to comment on old posts. LessWrong shows "recent discussion" on its front page, so these do get replies sometimes. There was also talk of a book group.
What is the point of College? Specifically is it worth investing time to gain knowledge?

I see your point and this is what I have more or less been repeatedly told.I think like you told,the best thing to do would be to condense a lot of courses down to their key concepts that can be kept refreshed through spaced repetition.

I think 90% may be an underestimate(you could probably tell me more about it).Like, over the course of your career,you would have used less than 10% of the info you collected through your college(including all the nitty-gritties of various topics-the derivations,the special cases etc..).These contribute immensely to your und... (read more)

2ErickBall1yI guess I wasn't counting every little derivation or example or even formula that comes up in a class against that 90%. Those are things you see in lecture, but you don't "learn" them. The stuff you actually learn is concepts and techniques, like what you would need to answer the test questions. Even that stuff, of course, you'll mostly forget if you don't review it regularly. But... I'm not very confident that you can strip out all the stuff you're going to forget and still learn the stuff you would have remembered. I don't know of any real examples of this working. It seems like maybe the academic system of "present a whole bunch of info rapidly and then force students to study key ideas from it for homework and tests" might have become entrenched over time because it performs better than the obvious alternatives. I would love to see evidence of something better, though. It seems like good use of spaced repetition is a non-obvious candidate to replace the lecture-homework-test system. If you haven't seen [], that's the kind of thing I'm thinking of and my initial experience with it is promising.
What is the point of College? Specifically is it worth investing time to gain knowledge?

Thanks. That's a really nice list.I have not seen a lot of these ideas previously.Especially general purpose tool-idea and stock of problems-idea is very good.These ideas are really nice to ensure in-built spaced repetition.

But can you give me some ideas about the second question I asked.I cant do this because I am still undergrad.So pick a topic that you learned about say 4-5 years ago(or any time-frame for that matter),make sure that you haven't used that particular knowledge for the past 4-5 years,try to get back to the same knowledge-level th... (read more)

6johnswentworth1yI graduated 7 years ago. During that time, I've actually used most of the subjects I studied in college - partly at work (as a data scientist), partly in my own research, and partly just when they happen to come up in conversation or day-to-day life. On the occasions when I've needed to return to a topic I haven't used in a while, it's typically been very fast. But the question "how long does it take to get back up to speed on something I learned a while ago?" kind of misses the point. Most of the value doesn't come from being able to quickly get back up to speed on fluid mechanics or materials science or inorganic chemistry. Rather, the value comes knowing which pieces I actually need to get back up to speed on. What matters is remembering what questions to ask, how to formulate them, and what the important pieces usually are. Details are easy to find on wikipedia or in papers if you're familiar with the high-level structure. To put it differently: you want to already have an idea of what kinds of things are usually important for problems in some field, and what kinds of things usually aren't important. If you have that, then it's fast and easy to look up the parts which are important for any particular problem, and double-check that you're not missing anything crucial.
What is the point of College? Specifically is it worth investing time to gain knowledge?

Hey,nice to meet a Mechanical engineer here.I have heard this told to me a lot.But I think as John has pointed out,education is mostly used as a signalling device.From what I understand,even if you were to were do a post-grad in Mechanical and work in research field,you would still NOT be using 90% of your education.If you ask that is a huge waste of time.Contrary to John,if you take a Mechanical Engineering degree,you will mostly end up studying/reading a lot of stuff that you surely know that you will not use in the future.We have to finish some specific... (read more)

3ErickBall1yI think 90% is an exaggeration, but even if you get a research job in the same sub-field as your graduate degree, it's true you probably will not be using the majority of your engineering course work. The problem is that you can't pick out the 20-30% you will benefit from and learn that in isolation. And I don't think judging on the basis of which courses you did or didn't like is a very good indicator (though admittedly there were some I disliked so much that I did badly and learned next to nothing). The way an engineering curriculum is structured is to let each topic build on past knowledge. Consider the class on statics that you probably took or are taking. Could you have understood bending moments and deflection of beams without first learning the concepts of derivatives and integrals? How about trigonometry? If you're like me, you've forgotten 90% of your high school trigonometry class, but if you hadn't taken it at all you'd really be struggling with the more advanced material. I do think a lot of courses could be condensed down to a much smaller kernel of key concepts, which could be taught in far less than a semester and then retained with spaced repetition. If you have the impetus and self-discipline to design a system like that for yourself then it might be worth trying, with a couple of caveats. First, the credential of a degree is pretty important--more so in mechanical engineering than in computer science. Second, you want to choose a curriculum designed by someone who has already learned this stuff--you can't pick the topics yourself. And third, part of what you're doing when you take an engineering class is practicing application of key ideas. To return to trigonometry--we did lots and lots of proofs using trig identities. I have forgotten most of them, other than sin^2+cos^2=1. But I don't think it was all wasted, because I still derive formulas from geometric relationships sometimes, and I think it would be much more difficult and error-prone if I
2Kaj_Sotala1yI'm not sure that this is the right way of thinking about it. It's hard to know in advance which parts of your education are going to be useful. If each unit of learning only has a 10% chance of being useful, studying 10 units worth of learning rather than just 1 unit gives you much higher chances of at least 1 of those units being what you need. In that case, the "unused" 9 still weren't wasted, because they increased your odds of knowing something valuable. You ask but this assumes that you know in advance which of the courses are going to help you with your job. If you've never taken them and don't understand their contents, you might not be able to know this.
Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences)

I dont get it.Any belief could be said to "pay rent" if you can conceive a situation where it will be useful later on.

A general situation that I made up was.

Given any belief X and at least 2 people believe X,I always have utility in believing X(I think it should be knowing) as it helps me predict the actions of the other 2 people that believe in X.

Even in the example where the student regurgitates it onto the upcoming quiz-the belief had utility for him as he could use that to improve his grades(constraining reality in a way he wants it to be).

I... (read more)

2jeronimo1961yJust so. And a belief that leads to correct predictions will (generally) be more useful than a belief that doesn't. I think I see a confusion with the term "eviction" here. There is a difference between believing X exists (knowing about X) and believing X is true (believing X). So, "evicting X" should be understood as "no longer believing X", rather than "erazing all knowledge of X" (which happens involuntary anyway). I hope this was helpful, as this is my first comment, too. Anyway, I've lurked awhile and I don't think anyone here would begrudge you raising an honest question. P.S. Welcome to less wrong :) !!! Edit: formatting.