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How can I deliberately practise empathetic listening? When a situation comes up in life I forget everything — I would like to train the empathy reflex so that's the first thing I turn to when trying to help.

It seems to me that rounding infinitesimal chances to zero gives the greatest realised expected value during your life. Chance of winning the lottery? Infinitesimal = rounds to zero = don't buy lotto tickets. Chance of income increasing if you learn programming? > 5% = consider learning programming. There are so many different things one can do, and only a limited number that can be done with the time and resources we have. Jettison the actions with infinitesimal chances in favour of actions with low-to-likely levels of probability.

Across all universes, if every one of you plays the lottery every week, a very small percentage of you will end up highly wealthy — but that doesn't help the rest of you, who are $40 per week (compounding) poorer. In terms of utility, the first $50m that the rich yous win will deliver much more utility than the next $50m. Average utility will be higher if every you had $50m, rather than a small percentage of yous having $500m. This suggests a focus on actions with smaller payoffs but higher probabilities.

A lot of gut issues are a combination of:

  • Allergies to food. Diagnose and treat by cutting the most common offenders from your diet first: gluten, eggs, nuts, dairy. If there's no improvement and you're desperate, cut everything from your diet except rice and water, and add foods one-by-one until you isolate the culprit.
    You may have an intolerance to food which isn't an allergy, e.g. coeliac disease. These can be diagnosed by a colonoscopy.
  • Allergies to other things in the environment that are causing issues, e.g. fragrances.
  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Diagnose by doing a SIBO breath test, and treat with a combination of antibiotics for the initial cull, pre and probiotics until you develop a healthy flora, then be very wary of having antibiotics from then on.
  • SIBO is often caused by a hereditary inability to absorb a certain type of dietary sugar, e.g. fructose (fructose malabsorption) or lactose (lactose malabsorption). When eating foods containing that sugar, you don't digest it, which leads to an overgrowth in bacteria which consume that sugar. Diagnose by doing a SIBO test, treat by avoiding that food and/or taking enzyme supplements to help you digest it.
  • (I don't know any scientific basis for this point, but it seems to be this way from observation) There seems to be certain 'types' of people: red meat people, white meat people, no meat people or it-doesn't-matter people. If your diet is heavily slanted towards one of the 'types', it's worth trying out the other types to see if you do better on that diet.

There's a few supplements which are generally useful, and good to have in the toolkit:

  • Slippery elm powder in capsule form is a great soother, forming a mucus-like material in your guts.
  • Activated charcoal capsules are useful for soaking up toxins in the gut, which is an issue experienced with SIBO-related bacterial die off. Be careful with over-supplementing with these, because it will soak up nutrients also.

Conducting a nuclear test indicates a much higher willingness to use nuclear than just keeping them in storage does.

A thought occurred to me, and it's so logical, I concluded that it must be true.

Is this satire?

Russia will detonate a nuclear weapon in Russia. In other words, Russia will do a nuclear test. Like North Korea did.

With (literally) a nuclear option, pushing the nuclear button is a last resort.
The path there is through various escalations, without any individual step being too overt.

For example, if Putin wants to demonstrate their willingness to use nuclear weapons, he can:

  1. Create unusual movement/activity at one of their nuclear bases, in a way that it is visible to other countries
  2. Carry out a nuclear test inside Russia
  3. Carry out a nuclear test in some deserted area outside of Russia
  4. Carry out testing of the delivery mechanism (ICBM? Via airplane?) just without a nuclear warhead
  5. Carry out a nuclear test close to/on the Ukraine border
  6. Use nuclear weapons in 'his' territory (the illegally-annexed areas of Ukraine) to put down 'illegal' resistance

Thank you! That post then led me to, which appears to be talking about exactly the same thing.

3 years on from 

Has any progress been made since?

These sort of things seem to happen slowly, then suddenly — very little progress for a long time, then a breakthrough unlocks big jumps in progress.

Displaying the combined agreement score loses context.

It may be more helpful to split the information out:

< 45 > 6 people agree, 42 people disagree.

Do others agree with the pattern? Do you also see it as a problem?

Yes. Somewhat, yes.

Any suggestions for what we could do about it?

In the ideal world, EY and others would launch into writing fun and interactive fiction!

That's probably not going to happen, so in the real world: be the change you want to see.

If you think it's a good idea, and you have the time and the inclination to do it — do it :)

Don't over-index on this particular answer being refutation of your hypothesis!

I came to LessWrong via HPMOR, and I've thought in the same vein myself (if HPMOR/equivalent = more incoming rationalists, no HPMOR/equivalent = ...less incoming rationalists?).

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