Wiki Contributions



“we should be clear about what observations his theory strongly predicts, and rapid weight loss on unpalatable diets is just not one of them.”

It is worth noting that Guyenet sells a diet plan, which includes a bland food diet as a weight loss strategy, as well as exercise (which he has claimed is ineffective/unrelated to weight loss):


Brief note: the 5% unearned income tax in NH is I believe only interest and dividend income, not capital gains. Obviously having lots of dividend income from stocks would be slightly less attractive, but at least for now most crypto gains are in capital appreciation. As the ecosystem switches more to staking and such and we don’t see huge bubbles maybe that calculus will change.


We recently moved to Reno, and I think it does better on some metrics than others.

It’s much more affordable and free to build if you want to do your own custom thing. Prices are rising a lot because folks are fleeing CA to move here, and that makes the locals unhappy (and could generate future tech blow back potentially), but being able to build more housing will eventually help. I could see traffic becoming an issue eventually, but right now there isn’t anywhere in the city that’s >30 drive away, which is mind blowing to me! Since it’s much easier to build here, and find large swaths of property (though securing water might be a bottleneck, need to look), I suspect you could buy a plot of land for MIRI and get a developer to custom build a campus and lots of housing.

I just checked Uber/Lyft and they’re very sparse. No idea if that’s pandemic-related. In general if you’re going to live anywhere outside a major city, you’ll have to have people willing to drive sometimes, period. We get other services like food delivery, etc, just fine. You might not get restaurants delivering if you’re really far away. (Note: others here have told me they don't have a problem with ridesharing, but I live on a ranch on the northern edge of the city, and I suspect that's more representative of a potential MIRI-type location.)

The local environment is high desert, which is to my liking but isn’t for everyone. However beautiful forested mountains are <1 hour drive away.

The state is purple and a swing state in national elections. I live on a ranch north of town, and folks seem like typical Mountain West - they are friendly, mind their own business, don’t push politics on people. It’s obviously far more liberal on certain dimensions (sex work is legal, gambling is legal, unlike other places). I get the sense that it’s very live and let live here. However the locals are very concerned about the large influx from CA causing the state to start voting for crazy laws (another source of possible future blowback). There is 0 income tax.

The main issue is that you’re not in proximity to a world class city (other than SF with a 4 hour drive). You’ll have to rely on flights to larger hubs for certain things. I think there’s a lot to be said for being 1 hour from a huge city.

I predict that the city will develop into a secondary tech hub in short order (years, not decades). Tesla already has the gigafactory here, for example, and some tech is already here. Tons of CA refugees have come here, and I suspect they’ll push to create a new hub instead of WFH indefinitely or moving back to SF.  Also lots of the Burner community lives here!


I know, right?? laughs


Then someone pointed out that since we responded out loud, there may have been an anchoring effect here.

This is standard epistemic hygiene - have everyone come up with an answer quietly before saying it out loud. (I suspect our natural inclination against lying is enough to keep people honest.)


To continue with the bias theme, how about confirmation bias? They settled on the most available theory that fits all the facts, and then it becomes part of their identity, they begin to rally the soldiers. Is their delusion that they are Jesus really that much less sticky than someone's political party?


TDCS isn't depolarizing neurons with magnetism, it doesn't disable brain regions at all. Instead it is running a direct current across them. This appears to permanently increase or decrease its level of excitability. o_O


Yvain, it seems like some of this is potentially answered by how this interacts with other cognitive biases present.

Re: specific delusions, when you have an entire class of equally-explanatory hypotheses, how do you choose between them? The availability heuristic! These hypotheses do have to come from somewhere inside the neural network after all. You could argue that availability is a form of "priors", but these "priors" are formed on the level of neurons themselves and not a specific brain region: some connection strengths are stronger than others.

I would not wish brain damage on anyone, but should one of us have that unfortunate circumstance befall us I would be extremely inclined to go talk to them. I am so damn curious what this feels like from the inside! I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that the thought of having to build completely new neural connections to get around existing damage sounds like an insanely interesting challenge...

I also wonder about reasoning our way out of delusional states. The closest parallel that most people have access to would be the use of various psychoactives. I have heard multiple reports of people who have reasoned their way out of delusional conclusions on cannabinoid agonists and 5-HT2A agonists (and dopamine agonists, with lesser evidence).

The most difficult challenge would appear to be kappa opioid agonism, a dissociative state induced by the federally-legal herb salvia divinorum. Most users report being unaware they ingested a substance at all, no awareness of having a body, and no concept of self-identity, coincident with extreme perceptual distortions. I am no longer clear what Bayesian reasoning would even look like for some points in mindspace.

Edit: I thought of another relevant state: delirium induced by anticholinergics. Unlike 5-HT2A agonists where people do not confuse perceptual distortions for reality, in delirious states people do routinely believe that what they are perceiving is actually occurring. Unfortunately these states are widely regarded as unpleasant, and no rationalist I know personally has experimented with sufficiently large doses of anticholinergics.


I had the exact same thought myself back in 2008, so I asked an experimental psych professor about this. At the same, he said that the TMS devices that we had are somewhat wide-area and also induce considerable muscle activation. This doesn't matter very much when studying the occipital lobe, but for the prefrontal cortex you basically start scrunching up the person's face, which is fairly distracting. Maybe worth trying anyway.

I've wanted to get my hands on a TMS device for years. Building one at home does not seem particularly feasible, and the magnetism involved is probably dangerous for nearby metal/electronics...


EDIT: now you can get a free credit score from with no strings attached. Welcome to the future!

You can get a free credit report once/year here:

This will give you your full credit history, but not an actual FICO score.

You can get a free FICO score by signing up for this trial:

...and then printing up a copy and immediately cancelling it here:

In my own search, I used this free general rental application:

Load More