All of Ben Schwyn's Comments + Replies

The 10,000-Hour Rule is a myth

I also expect that Scott has learned better ways to chunk paragraphs such that it takes less working memory to remember them.

The feeling of breaking an Overton window

Sometimes when asked a threatening question, or an nonthreatening question in a threatening situation, I get a sense of total blankness and loss of memory. I have no ability to remember or grasp at content relating to the answer to their question. I can see this from the outside, and still probably talk about other things, or if I wish, talk around the blank spot and hope to spiral into it. It feels like the piece of me with relevant knowledge is 'playing dead' until the threat is gone.

My natural inclination is to hold still and watch myself, and see the p... (read more)

Where do (did?) stable, cooperative institutions come from?

Also on crime, I'm not sure the relevance or cause, but NYC's crime rate jumped in the 70s & 80s, then dropped again in the 90s. If anyone knew a good source for the cause of this I'd be curious.

Where do (did?) stable, cooperative institutions come from?

One possibility if that if a group has safety in resources then they can start competing or peacocking on ethics. Like when the New York Times is doing well, then they can have their journalists do rewarding, risky work which might get them Pullitzer Prizes, and be conservative when considering journalistic ethic violations.  This is good for individual journalists and also the paper's reputation. Now, with the livelihood of their paper less secure they've made many small sacrifices against journalistic ethics to increase or keep revenue stable, which... (read more)

3A Ray1yMaybe not the right place, but my understanding is that Robert Gordon's hypothesis is very different from the others. The common view between these folks is that our expectation is for growth, and with this comes plans/strategies/policies which are breaking down as our growth has been slower than expected (at this point for decades). (I think I know more about this one) Gordon's view is that stagnation is because our growth has come from discovering, scaling, and rolling-out a sequence of "once only" inventions. We can only disseminate germ theory once, we can only add women to the workforce once, we can only widely deploy indoor plumbing once, etc. This means the expectation is that as we get all the easy improvements, growth will slow down. Gordon's view is importantly independent of culture, and makes similar predictions of US, UK, JP, SK, CN, FR, DE, (which they'll arrive at in different dates given the convergence model, but eventually all trend the same). Gordon's prediction is that we're just now in a world where we're stuck at ~1% TFP growth. (I know some about this) Cowen's hypothesis in the Great Stagnation is similar to Gordon's, but seems to argue that the stagnation he's describing is 1) more specific to American culture 2) reversible, in that he predicts given some policy changes that we can get back to the higher growth of earlier decades. I don't know how much Cowen's thinking has changed since publishing that book. (I know less about this) E.Weinstein's hypothesis is there's something in the cultural zeitgeist that is causing the stagnation. I am interested in learning more about this take, and would appreciate references.
Rationality for Kids?

He used to have a nice website that had lessons or philosophy for his middle school class (Thingmakery?) but I can't find it with google.

3Davis_Kingsley1yIt's still around: [] I haven't read everything on the site and do not necessarily endorse it all, but the Inflection Point curriculum document [] might be especially relevant.
How do you study a math textbook?

I read math for personal enjoyment, so note that I don't have many checks on my understanding, besides my ability to read more math and feel like I understand.

As I read the book I mentally keep track of how difficult it feels and how much things make sense. If things feel more difficult than I'll make notes as I go through. The notes are more for the purpose of moving slowly through each statement --- otherwise I might skip sentences. I'll draw pictures and label everything in the picture and maybe do a really simple example.

A lot of my focu... (read more)

How effective are tulpas?

I'll add that I've similarly found believing that I have beliefs in my head that are not mine was extremely disorienting. I have epistemic defenses I've built up for keeping out bad beliefs. Once I started believing that I had thoughts inside my head but were 'other'--- then I had what seemed like the mental version of an allergic reaction, where a bunch of my brain was treating another part of it as a foreign invader and trying to destroy it. It seemed like my epistemic defenses were turned inward. This only happened once or twic... (read more)

If You Want to Win, Stop Conceding

A note on what this feels like in my body:

When I start feeling like giving up, then I might notice my lips shaking and other signs of nervousness and stress, like jaw clenching. If I notice this and move my body into what is closer to a fighting position (forehead forward, chin down to protect my neck, something about my lower back muscles move slightly), then I feel more relaxed, engaged, and determined, and find it easier to think about object level thoughts about how to win.

If I do the opposite, and move my head back and open my throat, then I will ofte... (read more)


There is another aspect of this for me that seems related when I think about the word 'responsibility', that if I don't follow through, or don't commit, or am not reliable, then there are consequences of this. If I don't learn to dance, then I'll probably have slightly less fun dancing. If I am not a reliable person, then that means my friends have one less person they can rely on, if my house is not clean, that is one less place other people have that they can feel clean, if I am not working towards meaningful things, then th... (read more)