Wiki Contributions


Open Thread August 31 - September 6

Based on my own experience I strongly suspect the only way to do this is to fail repeatedly until you succeed. That said the following rules are very, very good.

If you really, really want an example I can send you my Developmental Psychology and Learning and Behaviour Deck. It consists of the entirety of a Cliff's Notes kind of Developmental Psychology book, a better dev psych's summary section and an L&B book's summary section. In retrospect the Cliff's Notes book was a mistake but I've invested enough in it now that I may as well continue it, most of the cards are mature anyway. I would recommend finding a decent book on the topic you're learning, and writing your own summaries or heavily rewording their summaries and using lots and lots of cloze deletions.

I just found this guide to using Anki.

It's possible it may be worth looking at.

If you really want my deck pm me your email address.


Here again are the twenty rules of formulating knowledge. You will notice that the first 16 rules revolve around making memories simple! Some of the rules strongly overlap. For example: do not learn if you do not understand is a form of applying the minimum information principle which again is a way of making things simple:

Do not learn if you do not understand Learn before you memorize - build the picture of the whole before you dismember it into simple items in SuperMemo. If the whole shows holes, review it again! Build upon the basics - never jump both feet into a complex manual because you may never see the end. Well remembered basics will help the remaining knowledge easily fit in Stick to the minimum information principle - if you continue forgetting an item, try to make it as simple as possible. If it does not help, see the remaining rules (cloze deletion, graphics, mnemonic techniques, converting sets into enumerations, etc.) Cloze deletion is easy and effective - completing a deleted word or phrase is not only an effective way of learning. Most of all, it greatly speeds up formulating knowledge and is highly recommended for beginners Use imagery - a picture is worth a thousand words Use mnemonic techniques - read about peg lists and mind maps. Study the books by Tony Buzan. Learn how to convert memories into funny pictures. You won't have problems with phone numbers and complex figures Graphic deletion is as good as cloze deletion - obstructing parts of a picture is great for learning anatomy, geography and more Avoid sets - larger sets are virtually un-memorizable unless you convert them into enumerations! Avoid enumerations - enumerations are also hard to remember but can be dealt with using cloze deletion Combat interference - even the simplest items can be completely intractable if they are similar to other items. Use examples, context cues, vivid illustrations, refer to emotions, and to your personal life Optimize wording - like you reduce mathematical equations, you can reduce complex sentences into smart, compact and enjoyable maxims Refer to other memories - building memories on other memories generates a coherent and hermetic structure that forgetting is less likely to affect. Build upon the basics and use planned redundancy to fill in the gaps Personalize and provide examples - personalization might be the most effective way of building upon other memories. Your personal life is a gold mine of facts and events to refer to. As long as you build a collection for yourself, use personalization richly to build upon well established memories Rely on emotional states - emotions are related to memories. If you learn a fact in the sate of sadness, you are more likely to recall it if when you are sad. Some memories can induce emotions and help you employ this property of the brain in remembering Context cues simplify wording - providing context is a way of simplifying memories, building upon earlier knowledge and avoiding interference Redundancy does not contradict minimum information principle - some forms of redundancy are welcome. There is little harm in memorizing the same fact as viewed from different angles. Passive and active approach is particularly practicable in learning word-pairs. Memorizing derivation steps in problem solving is a way towards boosting your intellectual powers! Provide sources - sources help you manage the learning process, updating your knowledge, judging its reliability, or importance Provide date stamping - time stamping is useful for volatile knowledge that changes in time Prioritize - effective learning is all about prioritizing. In incremental reading you can start from badly formulated knowledge and improve its shape as you proceed with learning (in proportion to the cost of inappropriate formulation). If need be, you can review pieces of knowledge again, split it into parts, reformulate, reprioritize, or delete. See also: Incremental reading, Devouring knowledge, Flow of knowledge, Using tasklists

Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

It may not be an effective way to help people but it sure as hell helps you up to do it up to three times a year. All hail longevity! I regret I am in a rush so I can't link but I believe RomeoSteverns' post on optimising your health has the references.

Open thread, Jan. 12 - Jan. 18, 2015

I have heard that in economics and possibly other social sciences Ph.D. students can staple together three journal articles, call it a dissertation and get awarded their doctorate. But I've recently read "Publication, Publication" by Gary King, which I interpret as saying a very bright and hardworking undergraduate can write a quantitative political science article in the space of a semester, while carrying a normal class load.

This is confusing. Now, Dr. King teaches at Harvard so all his students are smart and it's two students writing one paper but this still seems insane. I'm guessing a full course load is around 6 classes a term and people are to write a journal article or close approximation thereof in a semester when three of them will suffice to get a Ph.D. and many people fail out of said degree who are very, very smart.

Where am I confused? Is research not that hard, a stapler thesis a myth or these class projects not strictly comparable to real papers?

Abstract: I show herein how to write a publishable paper by beginning with the replication of a published article. This strategy seems to work well for class projects in producing papers that ultimately get published, helping to professionalize students into the discipline, and teaching them the scientific norms of the free exchange of academic information. I begin by briefly revisiting the prominent debate on replication our discipline had a decade ago and some of the progress made in data sharing since.

Citation: King, Gary. 2006. Publication, Publication, PS: Political Science and Politics 39: 119–125. Copy at

Munchkining for Fun and Profit, Ideas, Experience, Successes, Failures

They have examination centres in many, many countries, the USA included.

Centres in the United Kingdom Belfast, Darlington, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Newport (Gwent), Sheffield, Southport, Titchfield, York.

Centres outside the UK Alphabetical list of current non-UK centres, including some that have not been used for a few years.

Our professional exams are not offered in Hong Kong. Instead, the Hong Kong Statistical Society provides professional exams of an equivalent standard.

Anguilla: The Valley Australia: Perth; Sydney Austria: Vienna Barbados: St Michael Bermuda: Paget Brunei: Darussalam Canada: Montreal; Victoria, BC; Yukon College Cyprus: Nicosia Germany: Cologne Ghana: Accra Gibraltar: Gibraltar Greece: Athens Grenada: St Georges Guyana: Georgetown India: Mumbai Ireland: Dublin Italy: Rome Jamaica: Kingston Japan: Tokyo Kenya: Nairobi Korea (South): Seoul Lithuania: Vilnius Malawi: Lilongwe Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur; Kuching Malta: Valletta Mauritius: Port Louis Montserrat: Brades Netherlands: Amsterdam New Zealand: Wellington Nigeria: Lagos Philippines: Pasig City Poland: Katowice St Helena: Prince Andrew School St Kitts: Basseterre St Lucia: Castries Singapore: Singapore South Africa: Johannesburg Spain: Barcelona; Madrid Switzerland: Baden Tanzania: Dar es Salaam The Gambia: Banjul Trinidad: Port of Spain USA: Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; San Diego, California; Washington, DC Zambia: Lusaka Zimbabwe: Harare

Non-standard politics

(Friedman, among other things, supported a version of guaranteed basic income. To which today's GOP mainstream would probably say, "but if we do that, it will just make poor people even lazier!")

He supported a large negative income tax for those on the lowest (earned) incomes, tapering off to zero, then positive as earned income increased. This is really very far from a guaranteed basic income.

Assessing oneself

I think you may be over-estimating the intelligence required to be a physicist. I don't know what constitutes a meaningful contribution to physics, but there are certainly productive tenured professors who are not in the top 25% of quantitative ability.

This is not true. According to Kaufman, Alan S. (2009). IQ Testing 101. New York: Springer Publishing MDs, JDs and PhDs have an average IQ of 125+. PhDs in Physics are going to have higher quantitative scores than that. I regret that being behind the Great Firewall I can't source this but Steve Hsu wrote on his blog, that he thinks the average professor of Physics is 1 in 100,000 in intelligence. I may be misremembering badly and the 1 in 100,000 could be anything from has a doctorate in Physics to is an outstanding contributor to Physics.

The idea that there are tenured professors of Physics who are just barely in the top quartile of quantitaive IQ is mindboggling. There will be few enough professors of English with quantitative IQs that low.

Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15

Introduction to the History of Psychology Good, well written, excellent summary and glossary at the end of each chapter. I'm not finished but so far my only complaint is the obvious political bent in the intelligence chapter.

Psychology, Themes and Variations Clear, concise and comprehensive introductory psychology textbook. Reading the history book has made me aware of some minor errors in it but nothing damning, just a reminder that if you're really interested this is the first book to read, not the last.

Social Psychology Very far from the first social psychology textbook I've read. Doesn't stand out in my mind. Covers all the classic social psychology experiments that are in the Sequences and more. Almost certain to be substantially revised next edition in light of the big replication project in social psychology, seeing as some of the most famous social psychology experiments just don't replicate.

Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence Comprehensive review of the subject, informative, well written.

Group Rationality Diary, August 1-15

Success: Still exercising, have now read three and a half psychology textbooks, still using Anki for learning Chinese, moved from contextless Anki cards to multiple cloze massive context as recommmended by My savings continue to grow, which is great.

Failures: Opening Habit RPG got aversive due to me constantly dying due to missing dailies on programming and diary writing so I stopped. I have just realised I should take them out of dailies and put them in habits. I also really need to start doing to do lists and planning things, considering what I want to do, etc.

Open thread, August 4 - 10, 2014

Academia in the US is much leftier than the population at large. I believe it was Jonathan Haidt who went looking for examples of social conservatives in his field and people kept nomimating Philip Tetlock who would not describe himself thus. At a conference Dr.Haidt was looking for a show of hands for various political positions. Republicans were substantially less popular than Communists. Psychology is about as left wing as sociology and disciplines vary but academia is a great deal to the left of the US general population.

Open thread, August 4 - 10, 2014

I believe his political views are somewhere between way to the left of the Democratic Party and socialism. He dislikes the entire field of intelligence research in psychology because it's ideologically inconvenient. He criticises anything that he can find to criticise about it. Think of him as Stephen Jay Gould, but much smarter and more honest.

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