All of alexvermeer's Comments + Replies

Then you should definitely apply!

The salary range is "competitive" given the job and the bay area. It depends a lot of past experience and job performance. You should be able to afford to live in Berkeley, especially if you're a dual-income family.

To echo what ciphergoth said, if you're the right candidate, we would definitely make it work.

Done. (I didn't need a whole lot of convincing.)

The book looks great!


A bunch of inter-book links such as ...

D'oh. It's all good in the epub, but something broke (for very dumb reasons) converting the mobi. It's fixed now. If you've already bought the book though Amazon or e-junkie, you'll have to re-download the file to get the fixed one (in a few hours, while Amazon approves the new book). Sorry about that.

The difference between a link going to the web and one going to a location within the book aren't obvious: one is only a slighter darker grey than the other. In Calibri the links are

... (read more)

Yup, but those are convenient distribution platforms.

Just a reminder that mistakes/problems/errors can be sent to and we'll try fix them!

I can't mail that address, I get a failure message from Google:

We're writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (errata) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group.

I'll post my feedback here:


I got the book "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" via for my Kindle (5th gen, not the paperwhite/touch/fire). So far I've read a dozen pages, but since it will take me a while to get to the end of the book I'll give some feedback right away:

  • The book looks great! Some othe
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we'll try fix them

I think you meant "try to fix them" :)

Ah, so about as large as it takes for a fanfic to be good. :P

Which is roughly the length of War and Peace or Atlas Shrugged.

From Amazon, 30% goes to Amazon and 70% goes to MIRI.

From e-junkie (the pay-what-you-want option): 100% goes to MIRI, minus PayPal transaction fees (a few %).

3Adam Zerner8y
Perhaps this should be noted in the main article. I was thinking about buying it through Amazon until I saw this!
Couldn't you pay $0.00, send the money to MIRI, and avoid transaction fees?

(Habryka here. My account still appears to be broken)

I want to outline my thinking a bit, about why I decided to organize all of this with so much reliance on Facebook:

The attendance at these events heavily relies on networking effects and reducing trivial inconveniences. I did consider organizing it on LessWrong, but it's just less integrated into most peoples life as Facebook is. This was the easiest way for people to invite their friends, get notified of new parties, spread information and, most importantly, get interested in the event if you so far hav... (read more)

Thinking about it from this direction you are probably correct in doing ths via facebook.
If you're the guy organizing the London party, you did a great job making it easy for me to find the time and venue despite my unbooked face. Thank you for all the effective effort you've put in!

I loathe Facebook, and I think your decision, your reasoning and your kindness in explaining your reasoning are all correct and admirable. Well done.

Do you think we'll trust any of your explanations, after you told a bunch of innocent, impressionable schoolchildren a completely made up story about how Voldemort was a good guy?

(Writing from this account, since through some strange bug my original account can't comment on this post):

I just added the Spreadsheet to the list of resources, and am just in the process of getting everyone's contact information. I hope this helps everyone who doesn't have Facebook to find the details for the parties in their area. I think posting every wrap party individually is probably a bad idea.

FYI, Smarter Than Us is now available in print form. :-)

Unfortunately, the app is in extremely alpha stages, running locally, and I doubt I'll prioritize it over other projects.

Just release it as what it is now. Pretty please.

How do you not get fatigued with recording things?

I'm actually a bit surprised that I was able to maintain my recording for over a year. Some reasons why I think I was successful in hindsight:

  1. Since I made the tracking app myself, I was excited to use it for the first little bit.
  2. I intentionally made my tracking app such that I could see my daily, weekly, and category totals, all at once for a given week, which is important for me since my primarily unit of productivity measurement/planning is the week.
  3. I came to realize that tracking all of the categ
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Thanks for the encouragement. :-)

I've been meaning to check this out. Thanks for the reminder.

Real artists ship

Apparently attributed to Steve Jobs, though it was Seth Godin's book Linchpin that drove this point home for me.

Basically all of them, with some modifications (e.g. a significantly reduced QM sequence), and with some reorganizing to improve flow.

A professional editor would tell you to cut, at least, 100k. You should strongly consider some hacking and slashing.

It will probably be available as pay-what-you-want, similar to the Facing the Intelligence Explosion ebook.

Hmm, not sure why that's happening. I'll look into it.

You can see it now in action: the RSS feed [] is two articles behind the blog []. (I waited for the problem to show up.) EDIT (2013-12-28): The RSS feed has updated.

This is exciting and interesting stuff. A good one-sentence summary from the paper:

In sum, many experiences, particularly the more or less unpleasant sensations discussed here (e.g., effort, boredom, fatigue), can be profitably thought of as resulting from (1) monitoring mechanisms that tally opportunity costs, which (2) cause an aversive state that corresponds in magnitude to the cost computed, which (3) enters into decision-making, acting as a kind of "vote," influencing the decision ultimately taken.

I'm trying to get my head around ways I... (read more)

Developing mindfulness skills (via mindfulness meditation, for example) probably wouldn't be a waste of time, if you want to improve your focus and decrease impulsive task-switching (and make doing productive things less unpleasant). I suspect that, in Kurzban's model, that feeling of "boredom" stems from a monitoring mechanism giving a negative evaluation of whatever it is you're doing. When you practice mindfulness, you're basically practicing focusing on just one thing (breathing) and learning to shrug off and silence whatever comes to conscious attention that isn't relevant to that one thing. Applying Kurzban's model to mindfulness, you could say that you are improving your ability to, at will, mute those monitoring mechanisms and the aversive states that correspond to their outputs. With meditation, when you're first starting out, you just attempt to notice when you are distracted and then return your thoughts to breathing. When you feel emotions (like boredom, which is a common one), you are supposed to note how intense it is and how long it lasts, then return to focusing on breathing. As you do this over and over, you start to get really, really fast at doing that attention re-direction/distraction suppression to the point where the distracting thoughts and emotions don't rise to a high enough level of intensity to cause you to shift your attention from your breathing (the distraction suppression becomes a kind of intuitive process that happens almost automatically). In my personal experience, I've felt like it's much easier to stay focused on things (and not feel horribly bored when there's less productive but instantly gratifying alternatives) when I've kept up a steady meditation habit and made an effort to be mindful throughout the day. I've been trying to be aware of my feelings and how they fit with this model as I go about my day (which involves forcing myself to do a lot of things that aren't instantly gratifying but are long-term rewarding), and I

getting strong is very likely to be a good idea, thus arguments against it are very suspect

This strikes me as a very useful heuristic.

One metric that could be calculated automatically: how many articles in the book contain hyperlinks to the articles that appear later in the book,

I like this idea!

or don't appear in the book?

That's the list at the end of the OP.

Do you have a list of blog posts that won't be in the book as a result?

That's what the list at the bottom of the OP is for: posts that are currently not slotted to be in the book, but are linked to by sequence posts.

What can be left out should be.

I lean this way as well.

3Paul Crowley9y
D'oh! Thanks.

Opps, you're right, there are a few that are already in the sequences that accidentally made it onto this list (I count three). All other links are to posts that are not in the sequences, but are linked to posts within the sequences. The list is auto-generated.

A prettier format for LWers to review the Sequences in, allowing easy full-text-search.

That's the one.

A tidier, better-organized, more approachable update of the Sequences to introduce entirely new people to the ideas therein.

This is outside the scope of this project.

It is cited later on page 33, though citation added to the page 4 reference as well. Thanks!

"Insais" on page 26 should probably be "insei."

Fixed, thanks!

Writing up a "One Year of Pomodoros" post. I'm just three weeks shy a year of tracking every planned and completed pomodoro, for a grand-total of almost 5,000.

The recognition of confusion is itself a form of clarity.

T.K.V. Desikachar

You need to specifically join the MIRI Proofreaders group. Once in Youtopia, go here and click on Join Organization. Hope that helps!


For a long time, assuming it works well. Definitely for the next few months.

Hey Alex, I see no Proofreading task at Youtopia! -- Vikki Cvichiee

Since the planned improvements are minor, the effort will not be expended to backport the changes to the web version. A published book is not planned.

This makes no sense to me. Here's how I interpreted this: "It's too much effort to update the web version because these changes are minor." If you don't update all the versions at the same time, you will end up with several versions. If Eliezer EVER wants to put out a new and improved version of the sequences and he thinks that LW's input is helpful, then he will be in this pickle: If the changes were approved for the e-book, it will be assumed that they were improvements. If you want to make sure your your latest version is as good as possible, you need to apply all those improvements. In order to make sure you apply all the improvements, someone must find all the differences between the versions. If they go through the comments on this thread, that will take longer than it would have for a volunteer to make edits to the original sequences at the same time as the e-book. If they have to compare each page and look for differences that's really tedious and would take forever. If the e-book editing person makes a list of all the edits so they're organized, that will probably take LONGER than copying and pasting the change into the sequences or even removing an article out of them. This is for several reasons. Reason 1: The list is going to have to describe what to change (For instance: "Paragraph three, word two, there is a typo" -- the text of which is different from and therefore in addition to the actual change). You can't just paste the new word onto the list. It won't make sense later. You CAN just paste the new word into the web version of the sequences, though and no further explanation will be needed because you've put it into a context that justifies it. Reason 2: You can't just put stuff like "Delete Bayesian Judo" onto a to-do list. That will not make sense later. The people who made the list may forget, and they may not be the same people executing the to do list items. You would have to explain why to delete it on to to do list or else the future

In the spirit of being more specific, could you please list all the chapters in the order they will have in the book?

The chapters are all the posts listed on the wiki under the various sequences.

appear in more than one sequence.

There are a few overlapping chapters, which will be removed.

In wiki we have these pages with short descriptions of the posts in the sequences.

Something similar—summary/notes of an entire sequence, not for every single post—will exist at the beginning of the ebook.

I am already imagining a paper version...

A paper versi... (read more)

I'm not sure if we will need these, though you should definitely put your summaries in the LW wikI!

Hmm okay. Maybe I will do just that. (:

We will be looking for volunteer Sequence proofreaders* using our new volunteer platform, with details are to come shortly.

*proofreading, in this case = spelling, punctuation, minor grammar fixes, etc. Changes to content, terminology, overall style, etc. are beyond the scope of this project.

I am not the best choice as a spelling and grammar proofreader, to be honest.

This is beyond the scope of what we're looking to do at the moment; we won't be making changes to the content of the sequences, just fixing minor things like spelling, punctuation, some grammar, etc.

LessWrong itself seems like it's already the Sequences in better-than-ebook form.

The main appeal with having an ebook is the ability to read it on an e-reader such as a Kindle.

quality loss

How so?

The sequences weren't (to the best of my knowledge) written to be read on an ereader, and something is almost always lost in translation.

Definitely don't lead with The Simple Truth

The current plan is to include The Simple Truth and An Intuitive Explanation as "appendix" items, so not at the start of the book.

Oh good. The best predictor for whether or not I successfully introduce someone to LW is whether or not I remember to tell them not to read The Simple Truth first.

I like this idea. I've had the same problem with the current epub, where clicking non-internal links (without realizing they're non-internal) takes me to my Kindle's (rather aweful) internet browser.

This is a separate project solely to get the Sequences into ebook form.

I'm slightly confused as to why this is useful-- LessWrong itself seems like it's already the Sequences in better-than-ebook form. Is the potential ereader appeal big enough to justify the quality loss that will come from porting the Sequences over to this format? 'Yes' is a perfectly valid answer to that question, I'm just curious as to what went in to that decision.
Will the improvements to the sequences be made to the web version also? If a published book is made, will that be built on the improvements made in the e-book? It makes little sense to me that there could potentially be three versions. Since I am considering volunteering to help with this, I am interested in knowing how contributions will be used.

I've been using the pomodoro technique for over three weeks with great success. I was skeptical, b/c I've tried similar techniques before, with much less success. Previous to this test, I was doing 90 minute chunks of work, which evidently made it much easier for me to burn out. My own details/log are here.

The pomodoro cheat sheet is an excellent summary of the technique, for those interested.

I switch between using a pomodoro app and I plan/track my pomodoros weekly using mind maps.

I made an Anki deck from this table, with the following card layouts:

  • dB <-> percent
  • percent <-> odds
  • dB <-> odds

You can find it here: Quick-Bayes-Table.anki.

Note: I rounded some of the values even further, for simplicity.

alexvermeer ---

Some suggestions:

  • Read How to Read a Book and implementing as many of the suggestions as possible. It's working well for me, particularly the act of writing out summaries in my own words.
  • Chronological order. This stopped me from being overwhelmed by the number of tabs opened in my browser. Whenever I click on a link I think, "Oh yeah, I remember reading this," and can continue with the original reading.
  • Mind mapping for comprehension and retention.

Is meditating for 60mins once better than, say, 4x15mins spread throughout the day?

It's not as much the duration itself, as how much you can achieve during that duration. With a 60 minute meditation, it's possible to reach far deeper states of concentration than with a 15 minute meditation. If you can accomplish that, then 60 minutes is probably better. On the other hand, if your concentration skills aren't developed enough yet, it may not be possible for you to meditate that long effectively, or you might put less effort into it since you feel you have plenty of time. I still sometimes get the best results when I'm short on time, because I'm forced to actually concentrate and don't have high expectations. I'd say to do 15-minute sits at first, and then gradually push up the duration when you start getting the feeling that you could go on for a while longer. Experiment with what works best for you.

"Previous Chapter" links could make navigation a little easier.

Can we flesh out what makes people uncomfortable about it? Is it primarily that the benefits of a specific skill/question are unclear/unproven?

AFAIK a list of proven habits doesn't really exist. As these do become clear, the checklist could be updated, improved, items added, items removed, etc.? I see potential value in that. Thoughts?

Simply the style of wording I chose. It could all be changed to, "Which of these are true for you?" and the points made simpler/non-queries. Not a bad idea, actually. Would clean it up a bit.

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