All of anna_macdonald's Comments + Replies

I take it the concentration of H+ is inversely related to the concentration of negative ions, because if there's a high concentration of both, they'll just bind each other

For the most part, and to my limited memory of chem...yes.

H+ captures the acetate away from the zinc, but the negative ion doesn't then bind the Zn+

Umm. Hmm. *goes back and reads the relevant parts of your post* I don't know any of this off the top of my head. Let's see... Wiki says zinc acetate is a salt of zinc and acetic acid. Ok, so zinc acetate is already zi... (read more)

Just a side note on the acid is bad for teeth. For those worried about the health of their teeth in this regard, drink a lot of colas, coffee and the like, I found a tooth paste available on Amazon called APAGUARD m-plus. It's a Japanese tooth paste that includes nano hydroxyapatite, Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2. It works a bit like fluoride in helping to seal the small holes (tubes) and cracks in the enamel but also seem to help rebuild both the enamel and dentine of the teeth. It will also help with bones but if your gums are healthy probably doesn't ever reach that level. From what I have been able to find, this was developed by NASA to help rebuild the skeletal integrity of astronauts returning to earth. It's also used as a coating for joining artificial joints with the natural bone. I've been using it for about a year now and it seems to work well for me. The key factor for me was that other "sensitive" teeth tooth pastes my dentist has recommended seem to rely on including a mile pain killer as actually solving the problem. m-plus doesn't list anything as a pain relief component (on Amazon but the labels are all in Japanese which I don't read.)
Ah, the relevant pH is 7.4, not 5, so with negative ions slightly outnumbering positive. So I guess there's another factor than numerical quantity in why they don't bind the zinc. But "things staying in constant flux" sounds like it could be that factor, thanks :)

I have not the faintest clue about zinc or your overall question, but this part:

saliva pH is 5; over 100 times more acidic than pH of cellular environment which is 7.4
7.4 is basic, right? "100 times more acidic than [something on the other side of neutral]" seems like a weird thing to say?

pH is basically the (negative) exponent in the concentration of H+; a concentration of 10^-2 gives a pH of 2, a concentration of 10^-7 gives a pH of 7. So moving from 5 to 7 on the pH scale is a factor of 100 in the concentration of H+. That's why they say... (read more)

Thanks! I take it the concentration of H+ is inversely related to the concentration of negative ions, because if there's a high concentration of both, they'll just bind each other? And when it comes to producing zinc ions from, say, zinc acetate - the H+ captures the acetate away from the zinc, but the negative ion doesn't then bind the Zn+? (Or at least not quickly enough to stop it binding in the cellular tissue?) (This probably doesn't have much bearing on the question at hand, I'm just curious.)

One problem I see with that analysis is this part:

After all, workers are producing 20% more, so the amount of profit from hiring an extra worker increases by 20%.

If demand isn't being met, or if it's elastic, then increasing your production = increasing your profits. But if demand for your product is not elastic, increasing your production will just leave you with unsold product and decrease your profits; you'd make more money by using those new machines to reduce your work force.

I have 7 kids, so I feel qualified to make some observations on this topic.

Kid #1 asked "why" questions all the time when she was young. As a teenager, her questions have definitely decreased in frequency. This is primarily because all the questions she had as a young child actually got answered. There was a LOT of low-hanging fruit, and she picked it when she was young. She is still curious; her teachers enjoy her genuine interest in learning. It competes with her love of fan fiction, though.

Kid #4 also has some curiosity, and asks questions, t... (read more)

I was making tea. I poured hot water into a travel mug. The interior sides of the travel mug were silver. The liquid looked yellow. (Before I put the tea bag in.) To see if the yellow contamination had come from the kettle that I had heated over the stove, I poured some of the remaining water into the sink. That water was clear, with no evidence of a yellowish tinge. The mug had been taken from a cupboard of clean dishes. I was fairly certain I had looked in the mug before using it and seen that it was clean. After seeing the yellowish liquid, I still saw ... (read more)

I had a similar one to that, where I completely overwrote my actual memory of what happened with what habit said should have happened, where I went to get my bike from the garage and it was not there. But I clearly remembered having stored it in the garage the day prior. Memory is weird, especially if your experience is normally highly compressible.

Conveying that is often worthwhile, but it's situational enough that simply stating the context of what you're doing is probably a better idea than formalizing a novelty scale.

Also, I didn't mention this above, but re-hashing stuff that isn't novel can be highly useful. Penetration of an idea into the population would never happen if people only ever pointed to the original source for an idea without conveying/spreading it themselves. It's helpful to have a million blog posts about the same thing, because each of those blogs is reaching a slightly different audience.

The problem with a novelty scale is that novelty has a high degree of circumstantial/subjectivity to it. What's new to one person is old hat to another. Millions of people may independently recreate the same wisdom based on their life experiences, and that insight feels new to them, but might not be new to those they share it with. In the modern age, not even a google search can guarantee that an idea hasn't been laid out somewhere by someone.

1Three-Monkey Mind4y
Very true. I think I'm mainly trying to preempt accusations that I'm simply rehashing Taboo Your Words [] (which I pretty much am rehashing!) Also, by stating "this isn't very novel", I'm also communicating to the neophyte (as opposed to current rationalists) that there's a wide body of knowledge out there that's quite similar to what I've written. That's potentially useful to the neophyte.

Is the Letters site itself, the project you mention, or was one particular conversation on that page discussing the idea (if so, which one)?

Your definition of ruminating includes that you introspect on causes and consequences as opposed to solutions. The techniques you mention may include focusing on causes and consequences, but they are very solution-oriented.

If there is a difference in their successfulness, I think that solution-orientedness is why. People who ruminate are thinking about a problem without trying to solve it. That's, frankly, a depressing thing to do. Feeling like you have a problem that can't be solved is almost the definition of frustration, and just reminding yo... (read more)

Focusing, which is an introspective technique, is explicitly not focused on solutions; it's focused on figuring out what the actual problem is (which generally is more about listening to the complaint than it is about thinking about the environment or how things could be solved). This then helps someone find a solution, but they're likely not doing that with Focusing.
I think that though one may use the techniques looking for a solution (which I agree makes them solution-oriented in a sense), it's not right to so that in, say, Focusing, you introspect on solutions rather than causes. So maybe the difference is more the optimism than the area of focus?
Batch processing and interrupt coalescing basically come down to scheduling the things you have to do in a regular basis in a manner so as to minimize the instances of context-switching, so as to maximize the amount of time spent on one task uninterruptedly.

Is it possible to do this if you have kids (especially little ones)?

Speaking as someone who has a purely theoretical understanding of parental productivity. I would say that it’s possible to use ideas like batching when you have children, but the efficiency is going to be lower than if you didn't have kids. But because your time is much scarcer, minimal gains can still be very valuable. Most of the successful examples I’ve run across have been people using batching and productivity systems to make the time they spend away from their children more productive. An interesting exception I remember is a family that taught their children that if they needed to signal for attention while their parents where talking. They should hold their parents elbows, and the parent would acknowledge they understood by placing their hands over their child's hand. That way the parent could break the conversation at a more natural point and swich contexts more smoothly.

Those are all concerns I share. I don't have solutions either. I feel like my choice is to either build the website despite the lack of solutions and the high risk—or settle for not having anything that does what I want.

If I tried to do research on how to make websites grow, I would expect to encounter a lot of advice that's based on survivorship bias, and therefore unreliable. (I mostly expect that luck is a/the dominant factor.) Do you think research on that would produce helpful results?

Moderation, on the other hand, is probably something that I could start with some research on, to see what might or might not be possible/helpful.

Well, I still don't have any experience with this. But maybe possible avenues include: * Looking into moderation rules. * Including some kind of reputation/point/reward system, and other methods to keep your users engaged. * Tracking metrics on the growth of the Site, and ideally having some advance expectations/plans on how to respond to different rates of growth/decline. * A more radical approach might be to give up the phase 2 and beyond in their entirety, and settle for a target audience of people close enough to you that you can reasonably trust them. The survivorship bias is a very valid point, but [not doing research on how to make websites grow] is also a poor strategy. Personally I'd still look into the advice, but I'm afraid what you're trying to do is simply very difficult.

I don't think everything politicians touch turns to crap. Some, but not all.

"Mandating 401k donations" would probably look a lot like replacing automatic Social Security paycheck withdrawals with automatic 401k paycheck withdrawals. A phase-over plan could include sucking it up and using taxes to pay premiums for people who are already withdrawing SS and people within, say, 10 years of being able to do so, while younger people get the amount that they have already paid into Social Security simply deposited into their 401k for them.

Mandating paying off debt would be trickier to enact, because we don't have the kind of intermediaries who currently handle that. But it might be worth a trial run.

I think your second and third bullet points would make great laws. That might not be what most people have in mind when they talk about "finance regulation", but it's an area where the government could force people to act in their own long-term interest instead of responding to shorter-term incentives. (And if people want to nitpick exceptions, many exceptions could be written into the law.)

People's spending (bullet points #1 and #4) might respond to laws that limit advertising, but I don't know what else. I think your #4 is one of... (read more)

When governments are actively complicit in damaging the financial interests of citizens, it is perverse to legislate fixes before ending the active harm. In the event legislation like you suggest ever becomes even remotely plausible, please find me, I'd be happy to wager that it'll pass with exceptions for the purchase of government-sponsored lottery tickets.
5Jacob Falkovich4y
It could be libertarian bias, but I think almost all financial advice would turn into a horrible grotesque if someone turned it into binding law. Politicians are financial idiots, and they will legislate based on what their financial idiot constituents will approve of, not what will make people financially secure in the long term. What politician ever has even the incentive, let alone the knowledge, to do the latter? Take Social Security for example. It's basically a Ponzi scheme that can only be sustained long-term by doing things that harm everybody, like excess inflation or excluding the people who paid for it (high earners) from receiving it. How is that different from an average financial idiot person taking on credit card debt and then making suboptimal life choices to keep the interest payments at bay? The difference is only in the national scale of the stupidity. People make bad choices all the time when it comes to money, food and romance. But when politicians jump into those areas they make terrible laws, and those are much worse than mere bad choices.
The only solution to this is financial literacy education

Maybe. But I suspect that financial literacy education will be about as successful at improving people's financial choices as education about diet and exercise are at improving people's weight. (Which is to say, not at all.)

People may not know how much debt they have or how much it's costing them, but they know they have debt and they know it's costing them. They know they should save, but saving doesn't trigger a release of endorphins or dopamine or whatever in the brain th... (read more)

3Jacob Falkovich4y
There's an annoying catch here. I think financial education can help if it comes with really actionable suggestions. Instead of just talking about general principles, the vast majority of people would do better by following some super simple guidelines like: * Don't take credit card debt unless it's to save a life. * If you have debt at >5%, pay it right away before doing anything else. Devote at least 20% of your income to paying off the debt, regardless of how much you make. * After debt is taken care of, put 20% of your income in a global stock index fund 401k each month on autopilot. * Whenever you think "I'll buy this thing so that people think I'm cool" consider whether when you see people on the street with the thing you actually think they're cool. But whenever you write something like that, people will flood you with nitpicks about some convoluted case where the specific advice doesn't apply. In this way, people who understand the math and only need the general principles prevent everyone else from taking the simple and useful advice that would benefit them.

I...only followed some of what you said here. *Googles slack channel* ... Sure, if you know other people who are interested in a similar concept, that might be worthwhile. How do we go about it?

What is weirdsun?

1mako yass4y
I'm very excited about what might happen if we got ten people like us in a channel, I think that's a community/project I'd give a lot of energy to, but that didn't occur to me until just partway through reading your post, so I have not been collecting any names until this point, sorry. Maybe we should wait til we have a few more than two, before I start sending out invites (by the time we do, there might be something nicer for async group chats than slack). (weirdsuns are... analytic surrealists. I don't know if I'd say they're influential, but as a name for a certain kind of thinker, those unmoored by their artificial logics from the complacency of common sense, they're a good anchor on which to ground a label.)

Minimum wage is actually somewhat like diet, since it could be that some places and not others would be better off adopting it, depending on their varied conditions. While values dominate discussions of actions, I think the epistemic questions of what the consequences of those actions are are very important. And "if X, then Y" is a claim of truth.

In the end, I think that both actions and truth-claims rely heavily on both objective truth and on values. Valuing Breitbart or Slate as a reliable source can determine what facts you believe, and it i... (read more)

Right off the top of my head, every debate website I've come across so far puts topics into simplified yes/no questions instead of considering multiple possible alternatives next to each other. That's true of Kialo, DebateIsland,,, CreateDebate,, and more.

What do you think is the minimum subset to build and sustain a userbase?

Really large, which is a major fail point.

I don't think reaching consensus is generally possible for the kind of arguments you're interested in

I think consensus is not possible for some of them; we're not going to "solve" abortion or God. On issues like that, the best that could be accomplished is helping people understand where the other is coming from and reducing animosity a little. (Which I think would be very worthwhile, if that could be accomplished, but ... (read more)

That's a really cool site. I think it only can cover truth-claims from the past (not proposed actions or if-then truth-claims about the future), but it will really excel at those. I'll keep it bookmarked.

1Yoav Ravid4y
they said somewhere (don't remember where) that they aim to bring it to that level, but due to the in-activeness i suspect it won't ever get there... which is unfortunate...
I see no reason to expect that popular voting will lead to the best argument winning out for issues where a lot of evidence has to be understood and set in relation.

Does this mean you think the idea, at root, is not worth it, or that you think it will help with some issues and not with others?

It seems to me a pretty strange decision to want the barrier of entry as low as possible by allowing IP editors.

I expect that a high(er) barrier to entry will produce a self-selected subpopulation that will sometimes miss out on important ideas or points that people ... (read more)

Yes. It's better than the alternatives I've seen, but it still feels seriously insufficient to me. Some of that is just because Kialo itself isn't large/popular enough to have comprehensive points made on it yet. But my bigger objection is that it feels simplistic. Example. Kialo presents: "Should Governments Ever Limit Free Speech?" with a series of mostly one-sentence points on either side. It doesn't examine different possible ways that governments have or could limit free speech, and the possible or real-life past conseque... (read more)

I've read the (original?) Sequences, and I definitely do not feel qualified to do work in AI Safety, game theory, or decision theory. There are many posts on Less Wrong about those topics that I don't even understand enough to follow, much less enough to contribute or critique them. So yes, I think most people would have to read textbooks on the subject or otherwise do a lot more learning work to significantly contribute. This is not too surprising; enough people have been doing enough work on those topics for enough years that I should not expect to be able to jump into it without some effort to cover what they've done and catch up.

I think most people stay in "off-the-cuff" territory most of the time. Getting past that usually requires putting in some effort, which requires motivation. That motivation could be internal—that you find the problem very interesting or very bothersome/worrisome on a personal level. Or external—you're getting paid to work on it. If you aren't getting paid and the topic has a primarily academic/abstract feel to it [which is often the case here], you will likely come up with some easy off-the-cuff ideas and stop at precisely that point at which the difficulty of thinking more about it becomes higher than your interest in it.

So the sequences don't provide enough material to do work in things like Safety/Game Theory/Decision Theory/etc. - people also have to read some textbooks or research stuff?

That sounds great.

Out of curiosity, does the glossary include terms that aren't particularly rationality-related, but which may not be familiar to less-scientifically-interested readers? (Examples: light cones, configuration space).

Yep! It doesn't try to include literally every term or reference someone might want to google, but it includes terms like a priori, bit, deontology, directed acyclic graph, Everett branch, normative, and orthogonality, in addition to more rationality-specific terms. The kinds of terms we leave out are ones like "IRC" where some people might need to google the term, but it's not really important enough to warrant a glossary entry.

However, for the other two I 'just see' the correct answer. Is this common for other people, or do you have a different split?

For all three questions, the wrong answer comes to my mind first*. But especially in the context of expecting a trick question, I second-guess it and come up with the correct answer fairly quickly.

*In the third question, the actual answer "24" does not come to mind first, but the general sense of "half that number" does. My mind does not actually calculate what half of 48 is before finishing thinking through the problem.

Here's my rehash of how your conversation comes across to me:

Benquo: #MeToo is good.

t3tsubo: Here's 3 examples of people who have suffered negative consequences from being falsely accused.

Benquo: Those first two were before #MeToo, not bothering to check the third.

t3tsubo: They still had their lives ruined as part of outrage culture.

Benquo: Broader cultural trends =/= #MeToo, and yeah, I agree there's some problems with broader cultural trends, but I don't think #MeToo has made it any worse.

t3tsubo: So we define #MeToo differently.

---f... (read more)

Good summary. I'd like to add that sometimes definitions do matter, particularly in a public settings such as a blog. Even if t3tsubo and Benquo agree with both (a) and (b), it is possible that others reading the OP think that it is asserting (not-a). If a significant number of people reading the blog are likely to think that it is asserting (not-a), rather than asserting (b), then it may be worth clarifying the OP to ensure that the correct message is received. I don't know whether this would be a common misunderstanding, I can only conclude that at least one person read the post as asserting (not-a).
the definition that we have used in the sequence of our problem of pain doesn't allow for potential suffering - only suffering that is actually experienced

Honestly, I feel like you are playing word games, and I think I've lost interest in continuing the conversation.

Both forms of suffering, not-chase-ball and hit-by-car, would be suffering that is endured by B. In that sense, they're both from B's perspective, even though B never experiences hit-by-car, which is the whole point. A is choosing an action which results in less suffering from B's perspective than B will experience if A chooses otherwise, even if B doesn't happen to know that.

If you're using perspective in a different sense, then you're making a different point that I'm not currently following.

Note: Sorry for slow replies. I am working in a different city this week and have limited time and access. The problems of life I'm afraid. I am using the same sense of perspective that you are. I was saying that until actually experienced, the suffering of being hit by a car exists only in the mind of A. It is potential, but not real. B has no concept - or at best no ability to truly imagine - the suffering that would come. From A's perspective they only know the suffering of being restrained from chasing their ball. You are correct in that if B gets hit by a car, then the suffering will be experienced by B, but the definition that we have used in the sequence of our problem of pain doesn't allow for potential suffering - only suffering that is actually experienced. I am happy updating our definitive statement to include potential suffering not yet experienced by a person but understood by an outside observer.

Ah, the parent defense.

A imposes suffering (not-chase-ball) in order to prevent a greater suffering (hit-by-car); and it is important that A does not have the option to prevent hit-by-car except by imposing not-chase-ball. Because A didn't create the system in the first place and has outside constraints imposed by reality on A's options. Thus, within A's limits, imposing the lesser suffering is the maximally loving option that A has.

This is not so as defined. Suffering is not from the perspective of the one inflicting or reducing it, but from the perspective of the one whom experiences it. A cannot be loving by imposing a lesser suffering from A's perspective - it has to be from the perspective of B. And from the perspective of B it is not a case of a little suffering now to avoid a potential greater suffering later but suffering now, or no suffering now. If you would like to update our definition to more robustly include the ability for an outside observer to choose a lesser suffering, while still inflicting suffering, now would be the time. Alternatively we can continue with the current definition and state that by imposing suffering on B, A is being unloving.
If you are happy doing so I would like to focus on this statement first.

I mean, sure, we can focus on that. But I feel like you're doing a lot of inquiring as to my position without giving me even a rough idea of your own. Which is a little frustrating, fyi.

from whose perspective must suffering be reduced?

Mine? I'm not really clear what you're asking. The suffering I want reduced is the suffering experienced from the perspective of the person suffering. I'm the one who's doing the wanting (although the vast majority of sufferers ... (read more)

I do apologise for the frustration this state of affairs brings. It's not for nothing though, I don't want to be in a position to be accused of dictating the conversation. If I just came in with "we will speak about [x] in such a way that we are forced into a paradigm as defined by [y]" it would be unfair to you, and to anyone reading. I am trying to minimise this by giving you the power to steer and direct the definitions and the direction of the conversation. This is an excellent perspective. To be loving is to - within your power - reduce the suffering of a person, as perceived by them, as much as possible. I am going to write an example, and ask you if the person "A" is loving. A small child "B" is in the habit of running across the street after their ball. Their parent "A" has two options: If A allows B to continue then A has minimised suffering If A stops B then A has imposed suffering Is A loving by allowing B to continue running out onto the road unimpeded?

No, I don't want to quantify pain. Honestly, I think it takes optimism to look at the variety and extremes of suffering and decide they might all be worth it in some way. Do you have that optimism? What do you think makes the suffering worth it, if so?

Do people who do not do so become unloving beings?

Some caveats—"less than maximally loving" rather than "unloving", and the aforementioned restriction on "within the being's physical and emotional limits"—but basically, yes, if you can reduce someone's suffering a... (read more)

The axioms that build up to the logical conclusion. I think that what you said there logically follows if the statements that precede it are true. If you are happy doing so I would like to focus on this statement first. My selfish reasons are that it is the easiest for me to discuss and on account of being in the middle of the chain directly influences the statements that come before and after it. If you will allow our discussion to focus on this statement, I have a question: from whose perspective must suffering be reduced?

I was mostly looking for a general indication of which category your response falls into, but sure, I'll formulate my thoughts/version a little more specifically.

There exists emotional pain, much of which does not have enough redeeming side effects to make it preferable over the option of not experiencing it. A loving being would seek to reduce that pain, within their own physical/emotional limits and capability of doing so. If a being is as ultimate as God is described as, especially if it made the whole system in the first place, then reducing that pain is possible and an all-loving God would have done it.

Thank you for your definition. I am content taking this as a given. I am not sure this works as a statement of fact. Do you think we could try and come to some kind of agreement on a quantitative amount that does not have redeeming side effects? Or better still, how much of a redeeming side effect makes experiencing pain preferable to not experiencing it? Why? What is the likelihood that a loving being would do so? Does this become prescriptive? Do people who do not do so become unloving beings? This follows logically from your previous statements - supposing that they are true. I don't think this is the crux of the discussion. What are your thoughts? Where would you like to start?

I'd say it boils down to the idea that a good God would not allow the kind of suffering that does, in fact, happen.

If you'd feel more comfortable carrying the discussion elsewhere, I'm fine with that. (I haven't noticed an LW rule against giving out my own email address, but I'm not sure if I've looked well enough.)

I am content having the discussion here. I do think this is the appropriate space. I was hoping that you would be able to posit a specific definition, as opposed to a general boiling down to. One of the difficulties with this is that without a defining example what we are actually discussing may become confused with the examples. The reason I asked if you would be willing to offer the statement is so that I wouldn't seem to be railroading you into a discussion in my favour. I have an example of such a statement, but I worry that by proposing it the definitive statement I make will become sticky and then influence yours - and so it would seem that I have railroaded you into a discussion in my favour. I have put an example below. Hopefully hidden in spoiler tags so you can decide for yourself if you want to see it before thinking of your own. If the spoiler tags don't work then you're going to have to choose to not read on.

I'm ok with being proselytized; I don't think there's a good solution to the problem that doesn't depend on either an optimistic interpretation of events or a way-way-higher-than-I-have valuing of free will for its own sake (which may also involve contradictory interpretations of free will.)

I am not convinced the moderators would be okay with you being proselytized. Thinking about this and about your question though I have considered ways that we could tangentially discuss it. Would you mind offering a definitive statement on the problem of pain that we could discuss from? I would rather not discuss from assumptions.

What's your resolution to the problem of pain?

I don't have one that I think is rationally valid that would not come across as proselytizing.

microeconomics) can and actually does do a lot of controlled trials.

Do you happen to know anywhere I can read simplified (layman-readable) results of some of these?

Psychology has recently been implicated in the "can't reproduce your results" scandal, suggesting that a lot of the garbage they generate is due, more or less, to pressure to publish, bias towards confirming expectations, and insufficient safeguards. Do microeconomics trials suffer the same problems?

A couple [] of links [].

if we want economics to be a science

I've been wondering lately whether it is possible for economics to get a more empirical foundation. Clearly, a serious difficulty in the field is our lack of having a way for doing controlled trials. Does anyone know if anyone has tried bribing people to live in small-towns/enclaves (one to serve as control) for a time to see if we can isolate some effects at small levels that may or may not scale up? Or is this just too ridiculously impractical? (Or just too expensive?)

That's not true. Economics (in particular, microeconomics) can and actually does do a lot of controlled trials. I don't think that's the problem. Consider psychology -- it does a LOT of controlled trials and generates a very impressive amount of garbage.

My mom was one of 11, my dad one of 4; I am one of 7 myself. It definitely makes having a big family feel more natural.

6... 7 if you count my adult step-daughter (who I didn't really help raise). Ages 12, 11, 9, 7, 5, and 7-months.

Impressive! Both of my parents came from huge households (7 and 8), but I had the more typical upbringing with only one sibling, who was only slightly older.

Thanks for the link! I made a (brief, low effort) attempt to find that post earlier, but only came across the census surveys, not the results.

Heck, there's even one survey respondent who has more kids than I do. Cool beans.

When I was in college, I almost never went to office hours or TA hours... except for one particular class, where the professor was a probably-brilliant guy who was completely incapable of giving a straight explanation or answer to anything. TA hours were packed full; most of the class went, and the TA explained all the stuff the teacher hadn't.

Hi LWers.

My brothers got me into HPMOR, I started reading a couple sequences, switched over to reading the full Rationality: AI to Zombies, and recently finished that. The last few days, I've been browsing around LW semi-randomly, reading posts about starting to apply the concepts and about fighting akrasia.

I'm guessing I'm atypical for an LW reader: I'm a stay-at-home mom. Any others of those on here?

Welcome! How many kids, and how old are they?
There are definitely a lot of parents on LessWrong. I'm sure there are at least a few stay-at-home moms. In fact, 18.4% of the participants in the 2014 LW Survey [] have children, and 0.5% (8 people) describe themselves as 'homemakers.'
I'm not a mom yet but I'm effectively a house spouse :)