All of dugancm's Comments + Replies

10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist

The game aspect is trying to get a higher "score" of hi-fives at the end of each day. Sort of like Tetris or Bejeweled where you always run out of space/time eventually, but can play again to improve your score.

10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist

When working in a textiles warehouse I would make it fun by imagining someone I'd met walking down a familiar street while showing off the shirt/hat/etc. I just sorted/tagged/profiled in a ridiculous fashion show montage, then turning to me with a smile and a wink or thumbs-up and saying, "Thanks, man!" or similar after I finished X items depending on the day's quota. The person would then step into a crowd behind me cheering me on, who I would imagine turning around and "hi-five"-ing one at a time after arbitrary milestones to celebrat... (read more)

0gothgirl4206668ylolololol I love this! I still wouldn't consider this "gamifying" a task because it doesn't seem like much of a game, there's no winning or losing or challenges involved. Maybe "gamifying " is just a misleading term?
2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Took the entire survey and all extra credit questions in one go; minus ACT, SAT2400 and Respectable(tm) IQ scores since I don't have them, and </=140 character LW description because I was starting to get tired after the 40 min. IQ test.

So much fun! I'm very curious to see the results.

Meetup : Meetup: Southwestern Ohio

Meetup report! We had a total of 4 Attendees plus a well behaved infant. Much lower than usual, but not unexpected due to scheduling issues.

Meta-meetup discussion: Nominated planner for next meetup. It has been suggested that in the future, if an organizer/presenter cannot make it to their meetup, that it not be postponed unless at least 3-7 days notice can be given (since not everyone checks their email, facebook and/or the Less Wrong posting daily).

Presentation: Skipped in favor of scouting the area as a location for future meetups. While I'm currently r... (read more)

On the Care and Feeding of Young Rationalists -- Revisited[Draft] [Request for Feedback]

An example of "having the child occupied by some solitary activity" from my past: Almost as soon I could walk my parents started sending me on quests to find and retrieve various items throughout grocery stores, then put them back and find another if they weren't quite what was asked for. Wasted almost none of their time while keeping me entertained and feeling (while learning to be) useful to them in that context.

Low Hanging Fruit- Basic bedroom decorating should NOT paint your room and lose your deposit if you are not decently-off financially.

Unless the apartment owners and managers only care what it looks like when you leave and you can afford to add a few layers of white base paint just before doing so, to avoid losing the deposit. Such policies are often clearly delineated in the lease contract, and you can sometimes negotiate leniency with the management as long as you do so in writing and have it attached to the contract pre-signature. YMMV

Learning with Audiobooks

I was not aware of this rumor. How did you come to the conclusion it is widespread, and why do you think it's worth taking seriously?

1diegocaleiro9ySeveral P2P websites were taken down, some, like piratebay, had to change location. Most important I think is that the old Gigapedia, which became went down. It probably had the best books online. Things are scattering now. It is widespread in Brazil where I live (though websites are down everywhere). I also noted it on the SI fellows list. I think it is a cheap time effort investment to take it seriously.
Computer Science and Programming: Links and Resources

For those who've never used a command line interface and find them intimidating (one of my hurdles on the way to learning to program), I'd recommend Learn Code the Hard Way: The Command Line Crash Course. The exercises are designed to trip you up and force you to figure some things out for yourself, which has quickly increased my confidence and self-reliance so far.

I have not finished the book, but am already getting slightly addicted to "commanding" my computer to do my bidding instead of having to dig my way through windows explorer and context menus to get anything done. Am I right in thinking this may be good prep for migrating to linux?

0dbaupp9yYes. And the shells (the command-line program: normally cmd.exe on Windows and something like bash or zsh on Unix) on Linux/OS X/Unix are much much more powerful, so it's even better. (The Unix shells are actually (Turing-)complete programming languages and non-trivial programs can be implemented in them. Although this isn't a good idea normally.) (Edit: it seems that that book teaches you to use Powershell, which is similar to the Unix shells (i.e. it doesn't suck), so this comment is probably irrelevant.)
-1shokwave9yIt is, although I'd seriously consider OS X instead of linux. You get the terminal, same as always, but it's nice to have the amenities there too.
The rational rationalist's guide to rationally using "rational" in rational post titles

This wasn't done. "My enemy is status signalling" is a moderately effective general purpose attack against positions one doesn't like but doesn't apply here (except in the Hansonian "Everything is Signalling" sense.)

I don't consider Vaniver an enemy, but will forgo brevity and taboo "status" to better show where I think I disagree with you:

  1. I agree with the content of the message; that frivolous use of the word "rationality" and its conjugates in post titles needs to be curtailed and prevented.

  2. I object to that

... (read more)
0Vaniver9yThat is one reason to be short. I also use brevity when I trust someone to understand a short message, because in that case a long message implies that they couldn't understand the short message. I hoped that the title would serve as the explanation, as it's a reductio ad absurdum.
The rational rationalist's guide to rationally using "rational" in rational post titles

Is the temporary amusement of some at the sniping of those others' status worth potentially alienating them from the community, even if they number less than "most"? I do not want such "ridicule of the less socially experienced and/or quick to read sequences" norms to become prevalent here.

2wedrifid9yThis wasn't done. "My enemy is status signalling" is a moderately effective general purpose attack against positions one doesn't like but doesn't apply here (except in the Hansonian "Everything is Signalling" sense.) And this isn't relevant. In fact, familiarity with the sequences would be in some ways negatively useful in the context (given that it may give the assumption that such usages of Rational in titles was the endorsed norm.)
The rational rationalist's guide to rationally using "rational" in rational post titles

Downvoted because, while I agree with the content of the message [1], I object to the way it was delivered, which seems to me to imply that an acceptable reaction to those who make the mistake is, "That was so stupid, I'm not even going to explain why you're wrong. Just do what I say." That they're worth little enough to the community as to be acceptable targets of ridicule. If I had been publicly admonished in this way, I would feel alienated.

[1] Frivolous use of the word "rationality" and its conjugates in post titles needs to be curt... (read more)

0[anonymous]9yThe title of this post didn't remind me of that of that sequence, but I still got the point.
4wedrifid9yPeople are remarkably good at inferring the context and intended message about social norms from the sparse information in a joke. Most people reading this title would be able to understand the sentiment and infer the approximate context that caused it. Oh, wait []. Is that just me []?
[Book Suggestions] Summer Reading for Younglings.

Seconding "The Tripods Trilogy" by John Christopher. It was my introduction to sci-fi and had a stong emotional impact.

Open Thread, May 1-15, 2012

I found this person's anecdotes and analogies helpful for thinking about self-optimization in more concrete terms than I had been previously.

A common mental model for performance is what I'll call the "error model." In the error model, a person's performance of a musical piece (or performance on a test) is a perfect performance plus some random error. You can literally think of each note, or each answer, as x + c*epsilon_i, where x is the correct note/answer, and epsilon_i is a random variable, iid Gaussian or something. Better performers ha

... (read more)
Curiosity checklist: Looking for feedback

Web app idea: I'm posting this comment immediately and without editing so I don't forget the idea before I get a chance to write it down/work it out more, as I have to leave my computer soon.

  1. Display a short passage that illustrates something irrational that people do or think, with instructions for the reader to enter into a text box the first or most important thing that came to mind and then press a "ready" button.
  2. Ready button reveals a question of the form, "Were your thoughts similar to any of the following?" with a list of quest
... (read more)
SMBC comic: poorly programmed average-utility-maximizing AI

Happiness, as a state of mind in humans, seems less to me about how strong the "orgasms" are than how frequently they occur without lessening the probability they will continue to occur. So what problems might there be with maximizing total future happy seconds experienced in humans, including emulations thereof (other than describing with sufficient accuracy the concepts of 'human' and 'happiness' to a computer)?

I think doing so would extrapolate to increasing population and longevity to within resource constraints and diminishing returns on improving average happiness uptime and existential risk mitigation, which seem to me to be the crux of people's intuitions about the Felix and Wireheading problems.

SotW: Be Specific

After sleeping on this and thinking about it all day at work, I made a game. I'd like to make the wording more ritualistic and provide descriptive play examples eventually, but here's a good untested first draft: (Note: I did not read any comments before posting this.)

ETA: I will be editing the rules to remove/redirect perverse incentives and add classroom/tournament formats and examples, but may not always have this post completely up to date. The most recent version can always be found here.

The Un-Naming for 2-6 players

Materials: A deck of words. (stack... (read more)

Meetup : Interest in Reason Rally meetup?

Yep! I and my father will be going anyway.

Help! Name suggestions needed for Rationality-Inst!

After some thought, I hereby create Max Agency! Plucky comic superhero mascot of Zenith Agency (Z.A. Huzzah!) ...for Consequential Action (Z.A.C.A.) The acronym for which happens to be Max's battlecry, but only when shouted in triplicate of course!

Now that I have a word, the idea of an agency without agents (only aspiring agents) tickles me tremendously.

Other thoughts: Agency Institute for Rationality Training (A.I.R. Training)

Agency Foundation for Applied Rationality (A.F.A.R.)

Help! Name suggestions needed for Rationality-Inst!

I like how SIAI's name references both the event you're working toward and method of achieving it. Is there a single word that describes a watershed event that would indicate the rationality institute's direct success like "Singularity" does an intelligence explosion? That supporters could rally around and label themselves by (singularitarian)? A word for approximating the ideal Bayesian updater, for felling akrasia, for actually changing one's mind? Can we create or annex one?

Exaltation, Transcendence, Apotheosis, Enlightenment, Upload, Elevatio... (read more)

4dugancm10yAfter some thought, I hereby create Max Agency! Plucky comic superhero mascot of Zenith Agency (Z.A. Huzzah!) ...for Consequential Action (Z.A.C.A.) The acronym for which happens to be Max's battlecry, but only when shouted in triplicate of course! Now that I have a word, the idea of an agency without agents (only aspiring agents) tickles me tremendously. Other thoughts: Agency Institute for Rationality Training (A.I.R. Training) Agency Foundation for Applied Rationality (A.F.A.R.)
Help! Name suggestions needed for Rationality-Inst!

Super Sapiens! ...I mean sapience.

Adroit Acumen

Elevated Erudition

Superb Sagacity

Crack Contemplation

Help! Name suggestions needed for Rationality-Inst!

In this case it's redirecting minds. That's the ultimate goal isn't it?

I've had it with those dark rumours about our culture rigorously suppressing opinions

Now that would be completely unacceptable indeed. Is, say, being on the business end of the mental health system in the worst way possible something like that? For myself, I don't consider a life with something like that to be worth living.

So, the only reason you're still alive is that you haven't bothered (or been able) to verify whether you've forgotten thoughts you don't remember having had? My sympathies.

6Multiheaded10yThere's probably a pretty big difference, and you're probably just cynically exploiting the fact that I can't formulate it at 5am. And tomorrow I might just forget to address this topic... wait, shi-
Meetup : Columbus or Cincinnati Meetup

Born and raised in Price Hill on the edge of Delhi. I have no recent close-up photos of myself, but you can probably find an old one by googling my username. Otherwise I'll be the pale, nearsighted ginger with a ponytail, and some pi on his shirt.

Holding off on proposing locations. I am not familiar with the northern half of Cincinnati.

Meetup : Columbus or Cincinnati Meetup

Ooh! This excites me. I'll start looking at possible venues here in Cincy when I get off work today. I can also ping the local skeptic and atheist meet-up groups to see if there are any LessWrong readers among them who missed the poll and this posting (as I almost did) and have them reply.

2daenerys10yYay! Someone responded! That makes me happy! What part of Cincy are you from? I grew up in West Chester. I remember when it was tiny. We might want to wait to see how many people respond, and from where, before we set a location. For example, if we have three people from Cincy and just me from Cbus- I will be coming down 71 S, so it would be nice if the meetup were somewhere like south Lebanon. If however, we also have someone from Indianapolis coming, then they will be coming from 74, so we might want to do somewhere like Colerain Twp. I was wondering how we would recognize each other, and then I thought it might be easier if people posted a pic of themselves. Google Docs seemed like a good choice, because everyone has it, and then we have the option of putting everyone's (who wants to) pic on the same doc. So, here's me [] . Send me a pic, or your email if you want to add to it.
Rational Humanist Music

Elena Huston - Future In My Hands: An anthem against status quo bias, the sunk costs fallacy and appeals to authority (interpreting each even quatrain as a denigration of the prior odd quatrain).

Optimal Philanthropy for Human Beings

I don't know what donating my time to SI would entail other than writing, so find it difficult to imagine in a positive frame. I may be able to get around this by training myself on the five-second level to instead mentally contrast a charity's desired future outcomes with the present (or your favorite charity's desired future outcomes, when tempted to switch) when asked, but how many others in my position will do so?

Optimal Philanthropy for Human Beings

So where can I find anecdotes about how awesome and fun it is to be saving the world through FAI research and how rewarding it is to see your work have a direct impact, so I have something vicariously available to imagine when you ask me to donate my time?

1Armok_GoB10yIs there any reason anecdotes you can just make up yourself would be less effective?
2DSimon10yHappy post-singularity science fiction, maybe.
0[anonymous]10yLooks like there are a lot at the Rationality Boot Camp Blog [].
Homomorphic encryption and Bitcoin

If you have three arbiters and require at least two of them to be party to any transactions and the creation of new arbiters, one can be a trusted or paid third party without risking theft, account freeze or unauthorized arbiter creation and you can safely recover from losing a single device.

I am ignorant of the details necessary to implement this and how difficult it might be.

Epistle to the New York Less Wrongians

There is no problem with "Munchkinism." The problem is that in old RPG's the rules imply poorly designed (see lack of challenge upon full understanding of the system) tactical battle simulation games with some elements of strategy, while the advertising implies a social interaction and story-telling game without giving the necessary rules to support it. Thus different people think they're playing different games together and social interaction devolves into what people imagine they would do given a hypothetical situation without consequences (at least until the consequences are made explicit, violating their expectations as you note in your example).

devolves into what people imagine they would do given a hypothetical situation without consequences

Put all my points into charisma and charm skills and go find me some wenches? Oh, you mean saving the world. Got it.

Actually that is another problem with RPG designs. There are social skills and stats provided but they are damn near pointless in practice. Even when you want to role play a lovable rogue who can charm, manipulate and deceive his way out of problems you may as well put your skills into battle axes. Because the only person that you need to us... (read more)

[SEQ RERUN] The Martial Art of Rationality

Yes, that would be fair. Are you aware of any good methods for learning and practicing to be more concise?

5steven046111yGet a Twitter account?
2[anonymous]11yThe most powerful method I know for improving clarity and brevity is to write, scrap, and rewrite. An even more powerful version of this is to write, scrap, sleep on it, and rewrite. Writing concisely is often a time-consuming process, and I don't always take the time.
1atucker11yHmm, interesting question. You weren't too bad, you did a lot to explain the game mechanics to people who didn't click through and read the link, even when said explanation didn't directly contribute to the point you were trying to make. Being concise is difficult in that you're trying to efficiently explain something, while also not leaving out important details necessary for you to be understood (i.e. keeping the inferential distance short). Knowing what the audience knows often helps in terms of what can be left out. What I generally do is write something, then revise it to make it shorter, which typically involves: * trimming out unneeded grammatical constructions (like "you did a lot towards the goal of" -> "you") * rearranging syntax to make the statement more clear (in general, the subject of the sentence should come first, as well as the inferentially closer parts of the statement) * general futzing about with the words until you think they're arranged better Knowing a specific term for something also makes it easier to express without needing to reexplain all of it every time you use it.
Insufficiently Awesome

On top of that, I expect there are already plenty of non-native, dedicated translators and interpreters for a given language gap. Oops, thank you both.

[SEQ RERUN] The Martial Art of Rationality

Oops. I realize now that I was confusing the definition of belief used here with the definition used for the game (a principled to-do list), so the idea isn't as applicable as I originally thought, but I'll try to answer you anyway.

As a player you can change your character's beliefs almost as often as you like and the game rewards you for tailoring them to the context of each scene you enact, with different rewards depending on whether you act in accordance with them or undermine them (this encourages you to have conflicting beliefs, which increases the dr... (read more)

0atucker11yAh. Would it be fair to summarize that as "it makes you update your beliefs insofar as it's made explicit that your character has new goals, and helps you practice changing your mind?"
Insufficiently Awesome

for just about any language there are huge numbers of native speakers who speak professional-level English

Exception: Sign Languages, though they have relatively small populations.

7Vladimir_M11yI haven't seen any statistics, but I suspect that there is a significant number of hearing people born to deaf parents who are natively bilingual in English and various Anglospheric sign languages.
[SEQ RERUN] The Martial Art of Rationality

Re-reading this post reminded me of Burning Wheel, a table top role playing game that's reward system actively encourages questioning, testing and acting upon the goals and beliefs of a fictional character created by the player, but simultaneously and subversively places the character in complex situations that force the player to change those beliefs over time as a result of the conflicts they cause (and somewhat according to chance). The player has to accept that his character may become something completely alien to how it started during the course of p... (read more)

3atucker11yI don't really see how this would be Dark Artsy, but even if it is it sounds crazy fun to play. How does it make you update your beliefs though? As far as I can tell, it just lets you try things, and upon failure allow you to "succeed" at what you said you wanted to do in a way that makes other things worse.
0zaph11yThirded, especially because I have daughter on the way!