Alicorn's Comments

Should I floss?

I went from rarely flossing, to flossing every night, when I started trying to set an example for my eldest child. When my new baby was born, I neglected flossing for several weeks, since doing things with a new baby is hard. I promptly experienced unpleasant gum problems that I doubt are coincidental, and have put in more effort towards flossing on a daily basis.

The LessWrong 2018 Review

No, I mean, it redirects me to with the weird stuff stripped out, and shows me all posts, not sorted by karma and including the one that was posted eight hours ago and so on.

The LessWrong 2018 Review

The link to the 2018 posts sorted by karma is not working correctly for me; it redirects me to /allPosts for some reason.

Ideal Number of Parents

We've got multiple parents for ours - we sort of fell into the arrangement (one moved in with us when kiddo the first was a few weeks old, it gradually became obvious that if she ever left he was going to take that like a divorce and we should be thinking about how to keep her around, eventually she added her primary partner in the manner of a stepparent). But only I am primary caretaker (everybody else has a job), so while I rely on the others for advice and discuss things with them, what's sustainable and practical for me tends to trump - if I cannot be around some noise a toy makes, the toy does not get to have batteries, etc. We agree on the broad strokes of what considerations are important in general, and implementation details are just a thing the kids will learn vary between people - for example, there are a lot of things my son is only allowed to do if he can locate someone who is willing to supervise the activity and be responsible for any cleanup (today this was "eat shredded cheese", which usually winds up all over the floor, but a roommate who isn't even one of the parent collective was up for helping him with that this time).


I don't think "mediocrity" is the right word to apply to parenting that leaves you some slack and doesn't involve crazily striving for violin virtuosity in your children. There are lots of axes on which parents can vary. Being, say, really consistent with Faber&Mazlish style parenting skills even when you are sleep deprived, would be amazing parenting, and that's probably still worth getting better at for almost every parent on the margin, while leaving room for slack and not-being-insane-about-the-violin.

Which of these five AI alignment research projects ideas are no good?

Are you aware that people's votes are worth different amounts? I do not think there's a way to vote less than one's default vote amount.

Do children lose 'childlike curiosity?' Why?

I have a kiddo whose "why phase" is in full swing and I am not actually confident that it's motivated by curiosity. It's also not the most efficient way to learn things, or even the most efficient simple way (that'd probably be something like "tell me stuff about $TOPIC"), nor is it obviously geared at that goal.

In particular, my kid (I don't know how common this is) will typically formulate his questions by re-grammatizing whatever statement was most recently made in his vicinity ("it's a nice day" "why is it a nice day?" "because it's a good temperature" "why is it a good temperature?"). This will sure keep the conversation going, but:

  • He doesn't retain the information well, sometimes asking the exact same question more than once in a period of just a few minutes, even when the answer isn't complicated compared to things he understands easily.
  • He doesn't seem to care what kind of answer he gets - he will proceed almost identically if the answer to the temperature question above has to do with it having been a similar temperature yesterday, or about the season, or about cloud cover, or if the answer is "I don't know" (he'll ask "why do you don't know").
  • He hasn't noticed any common patterns that end the line of questioning (if he ever asks why he did something, he gets, "I don't know, why did you do that?", but hasn't given up on such questions).
  • Because of how he generates new questions, he can be led around concept-space in whatever way is most convenient for his interlocutor. He doesn't circle back to stuff he's been interested in before except when he's repeating questions he forgot and settling for the same answers as last time verbatim. There isn't a sense, talking to him, that he's aware of the existence of a concept out there he really wants to grasp.

This isn't to say that he isn't curious, but I don't think the "why phase" is strongly related. When he's really interested in learning about something he wants to go interact with it. He also has other language abilities that he seems to use when what he wants really is information, like "I want to talk about it" and non-why-questions. Why questions seem to be just a button-mash for "make the adults talk to me".

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