Jacob, or "Jisk" when there are too many Jacobs about and I need a nickname. Host of the North Oakland LW Meetups, every Tuesday.

Honestly pretty disappointed with the state of the modern LW site, but it's marginally better than other non-blogs so I'm still here.

It should be possible to easily find me from the username I use here, though not vice versa, for interview reasons.

Wiki Contributions



Entirely separate from concerns about the site, I think your notion of the theme for a midsummer ritual is wrong.

If you look at midsummer rituals that have memetic fitness (traditions that lasted, or in neopaganism's case that stuck weirdly quickly), most of them are sunset rituals. Things that happen at night on the shortest nights of the year, and dwell on themes of darkness. Ghost stories, things like that.

Assuming, as I think we clearly should, that that's not a coincidence, a ritual that resonates for summer solstice should be aimed in a similar direction. It might have themes of fragility, or of near-misses personal and collective, mixed with recognition of things being good, of civilizational achievements or personal ones. (If at some point we invent the rationalist bar mitzvah it should probably be at midsummer, I feel, but I'm not sure why I think that given what I just said.)

The themes you mention of storing up energy for the winter, celebrating human accomplishment, etc., seem to me, based on my survey of existing rituals and holidays, much more appropriate for the Fall Equinox, the time of year where food is gathered and the cold days are encroaching. Competitions and skillshares, particularly, are my suggestions there, though the whole summer solstice that's developed the last few years would port across without changes other than dropping the amorphous sunset ritual.


I heard about this being planned earlier this year, and after about five minutes with Google Maps I concluded that it was an unsalvageably terrible idea. Unsalvageable because the core problem is Angel Island.

It takes a minimum of 75 minutes from central SF or 2h from the East Bay to travel, each way. And that's if the ferry schedule is convenient, which it will not be; the ferries are spread out far too infrequently to be able to attend conveniently. For those many who don't drive, it's technically public transit accessible, but double those times.

I have quibbles with the details (you're giving up the sunset!) but they are mostly uninmportant compared to the central problem that it is wildly inaccessible. If you go through with this plan next year, I'd estimate a maximum 'swolestice' attendance of 140 and I'd put the over/under at 80. This would mostly just be an event for the campers. Probably a pretty cool event for them, don't get me wrong, but it would be abandoning everyone else.


Rescheduled - skipped it on the 9th for the eclipse, and couldn't do the original plan for the 23rd (park bocce, probably coming in a future month)


But you can't change it for anyone else's view, which is the important thing.


Isn't this post describing the replication attempt?


You should try doing the next version as an adversarial collaboration.



"Steam" is one possible opposite of Slack. I sketch a speculative view of steam as a third 'cognitive currency' almost like probability and utility.

Are 'probability' and 'utility' meant to be the other two cognitive currencies? Or is it 'Slack', and if so which is the third?


This was fairly untested but went very well!

I'll do a better writeup as a Meetup In a Box later, but this is how it went:

For each set, 10m writing things down, then ?20m? discussing, then next set

List a few things that went very well this year. (3-5)

List a few things that went very badly this year. (3-5)

If you were to 80/20 your last year, which 20% gave the 80% you valued most?

If someone looked at your actions for the last year, what would they think your priorities were?

What did you intend your priorities to be?

Do you want to make any of the revealed priorities official intentions for next year? Do you want to drop any of the intended priorities which you ended up not following up on?

What habits did you pick up? What goals (revealed or intentional) did those habits serve?

What habits got in the way? What did you fail to get due to them?

What's the most important unfulfilled goal for the last year? How can you change for the next try?

What did you learn last year?

What lessons do you hope to learn this year?

What things are you curious about, that you expect to learn more about this year?

  • this one might be worth writing down and storing for next year

We ended up combining sets 3 and 4 because 3 sets is the right amount. I had a whiteboard and wrote short versions of the questions on the whiteboard as a reminder everyone could look at, and later on emailed everyone the questions so they could refer to the list. Doing at least one of those things is probably important.


Is there a graph of solar efficiency (fraction of energy kept in light -> electricity conversion) for solar tech that's deployed at scale? exists for research models but I'm unsure of any for industrial-scale.

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