All of Emily's Comments + Replies

Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016

Hard to come by in normal language acquisition, though. So it probably doesn't quite work like that.

Vegetarianism Ideological Turing Test!

Actual position (rot13):

V'z n irtrgnevna (ab zrng be svfu; V qb rng rttf naq qnvel) naq unir orra sbe nobhg 8 lrnef, fvapr zl zvq/yngr grraf. Zl trareny cbfvgvba ba qvrgnel pubvprf vf gung vg'f n fhssvpvragyl crefbany vffhr gung vg'f orfg abg gb vagresrer jvgu bgure crbcyr'f vqrnf ba gur znggre. V qb oryvrir vg'f rguvpnyyl onq gb rng zrng sbe n inevrgl bs ernfbaf, ohg znal rguvpnyyl onq guvatf ner bhgjrvturq ol bgure pbafvqrengvbaf, naq guvf znl nccyl sbe znal bzaviberf. Fvapr V arire qrevirq gung zhpu cyrnfher sebz zrng va gur svefg cynpr naq V'z va gur u... (read more)

Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015

For free stuff, we just have a place in the staircase where people drop things that are still good but not needed by their previous owner (mostly books). This works with zero explicit coordination.

I'm kind of amazed/impressed that this works, based on my experience of communal spaces. Don't people ever leave junk that they can't be bothered to get rid of? Does anyone adopt responsibility for getting rid of items that have been there a long time and clearly no one wants?

Open Thread, Jul. 20 - Jul. 26, 2015

Since most women managed to reproduce, we can assume a winner strategy is having a large number of daughters

But if everyone adopts this strategy, in a few generations women will by far outnumber men, and suddenly having sons is a brilliant strategy instead. You have to think about what strategies are stable in the population of strategies - as you begin to point towards with the comments about game theory. Yes, game theory has of course been used to look at this type of stuff. (I'm certainly not an expert so I won't get into details on how.)

If you haven... (read more)

Communicating via writing vs. in person

Sure, there are conversations where it doesn't matter and can actually make for a good exchange.

Communicating via writing vs. in person

I like writing as a communication medium too. I'm a slow thinker, and I'm even slower when a person is looking at me and waiting for me to finish the thought (or the conversation is simply moving on without my thought), so the non-real-time nature of written communication helps.

0Adam Zerner7y
Hm, is being a slow thinker necessarily a problem for real time communication? The assumption seems to be that the other person has to wait for you to finish thinking, and that the other person doesn't want to do that. I think that that's usually true, but not always. Personally, I (sometimes) like watching people think things through. They have to be able to communicate their thought process though. I particularly enjoy it if they're relatively smart/sensible (not necessarily fast). I sometimes enjoy watching irrational people think things through as well (from the perspective of cognitive psychology). It could also be fun if you think things through with the other person.
Thoughts on minimizing designer baby drama

Granted, we would not edit things like hair or eye color because it would feel like an unwelcome intrusion into other person's individuality even when the person does not exist yet. But we would edit out the potential problems.

One problem with this perspective is that not everyone is agreed on what is a "potential problem" and what falls into "[an]other person's individuality". Deafness springs to mind as an example, and in the other direction, what if ginger hair would increase the odds that your child got bullied?

Bullying is AFAIK based on perceived weakness, being a good victim candidate. Granted, being "weird" and thus seen as not having many allies, easy to single out, is a perceived weakness. Still I would probably tackle the problem by other means (like convincing ginger kids to always protect each other). Deafness is clearly a defect, I don't really care about the deaf hamstering about how it is a culture. It is a culture made to deal with a defect, and as such it is a very respectable one, but it is just like the culture of grieving, if we become immortal we will not miss spectacular tombstones. But sure on the meta level I do agree not all people will agree with me here. But there is an obvious solution of leaving the corner cases to the parents jurisdiction. What I would want to avoid is arms races really. Such as in height (being important for the sex appeal of men).
LessWrong experience on Alcohol

Interesting. I get grapefruit (which I like better than strawberries) to be quite sour, but not bitter at all.

LessWrong Experience of Flavours

I definitely understand this perspective, although I think I have it the other way round to you in terms of what the default is (as well as to a lesser extent). That is, I pretty much like the taste of most foods, but a texture that I can't tolerate can easily put me off a food anyway. And if I find something actually disgusting, as opposed to just not what I prefer, it's nearly always a texture issue.

LessWrong Experience of Flavours

Sure, here's my preferences:

spicy foods I enjoy moderate spice. Really really spicy is a bit much for me, and I do tend to drink a lot of water when eating spicy foods, but I like them.

sweet things Definitely have a bit of a sweet tooth: I enjoy these and would generally prefer to have a dessert over a starter in a 2-course meal, for example. I like chocolate but I'm not sure that's a particularly great example for this category, as I also enjoy it in its less sweet forms: very dark chocolate, unsweetened drinking chocolate. It is also definitely possible... (read more)

Open Thread, Apr. 20 - Apr. 26, 2015

Is your keyboard / workstation set up correctly to minimise strain or whatever on your shoulder? I think an optimally positioned desk, keyboard, chair, screen etc should avoid much (any?) shoulder movement at all. You don't say whether typing exacerbates the shoulder pain or if it's just a background level of pain that's bothering you while writing, though.

Typing doesn't increase the shoulder pain. (As of the latest doctor's visit, he thinks it's actually more of a neck problem.) It's more the general background level of pain that's keeping me from being able to spend any time coming up with plot-stuff I want to write.
LessWrong experience on Alcohol

This is interesting, because it's almost crazy to me that you'd call a strawberry sour - almost as crazy as calling it bitter! Strawberries are really really sweet in my experience. (Unless it was a very unripe one, I suppose?) Although, I'm not hugely keen on them because of texture issues, so possibly I just haven't picked up on sourness...? Sometimes I think I don't taste foods as well when I'm nervous about potential texture variations (for some reason I can get a strong "yuck" reaction from this).

It's almost crazy to me that you wouldn't call strawberries sour. Strawberries taste quite sour to me, and quite sweet as well. I've always thought of sourness as relating to acidity (strawberries and grapefruits actually have pretty similar pH's). I perceive bitterness to be entirely different (strawberries are not bitter, grapefruits are slightly to moderately bitter, depending on the grapefruit, kale is very bitter to me but not at all sour).
There are varieties of strawberries that are not sour at all, so I suppose it's possible that you simply have limited experience with strawberries. (Well, you probably must, since you don't like them, but maybe that's the reason you don't think they're sour, as opposed to some fundamental difference in how you taste things.) I actually don't like the taste of purely-sweet strawberries; the slightly-sour ones are better. A very unripe strawberry would taste very sour, but not at all sweet, and its flesh would also be very hard.
0Adam Zerner7y
Hm, that is interesting. I've always thought that berries were known to be a bit sour, but I also suspect that you're right in saying that they're mostly sweet. To me it seems like a more even balance. It wasn't unripe as far as I could tell, and I got it at the supermarket 3 days ago.
LessWrong experience on Alcohol

Depending on exactly how you define an attempt, I'm probably way, way below 50. So perhaps my assessment that I couldn't acquire the taste is wrong and it would just take a lot more attempts than I would have thought.

My attempt was, every few weeks; "have a sip of X wine (usually from the glass of someone else having it)", "decide if I like it". So far no progress in liking wine. I don't feel like I am getting any closer though, and I don't mind sacrificing a moment of "tasting something bad" towards the goal of trying wines, or trying to like them.
LessWrong experience on Alcohol

Yeah, I agree - there's almost definitely some of that going on.

LessWrong experience on Alcohol

Sure. The joke is that it's just the ambient fumes from other people's drinks, not from purposefully inhaling vapours beyond maybe a brief sniff of someone's beer. It is just a joke / exaggeration of oversensitivity.

I find I can act more freely around drunk people. Something like how you can pick up people's accents and start using them by accident. and also "pretending to be drunk" allows for more social freedom. Although being drunk seems to slow down my brain and frustrate me more than help in social situations.
LessWrong experience on Alcohol

I have a similar experience: my usual comment on tasting pretty much any alcoholic drink is "...well, it definitely tastes like ethanol?" I kind of figured that was the point and most people who drink regularly have got adapted to the burning-aftertaste-sensation enough that they a) get to like it, and b) can taste other things in the same mouthful. I can also manage to slowly drink small amounts of quite sweet drinks, but not really anything else (and I don't generally bother to do that; I'm just not interested, really). I also seem to be pretty... (read more)

Interesting. So bitterness complaints is not necessarily the same as "tastes like alcohol", many people of similar experience seem to have mentioned bitter-alcohol correlation. I might tally up the responses and see if I can get some kind of results from these. Someone here suggested 30 attempts to get used to alcohol, I think it might be closer to 50. which is one a month for 5 years, or one a week for a year. hardly seems worth the concentrated effort.
Everybody can, in fact inhaling alcohol vapors is a very efficient way of getting very drunk very quickly.
Open Thread, Apr. 06 - Apr. 12, 2015

What makes brainstorming specifically different from, say, any given discussion in a comment thread or on an Open Thread?

9Adam Zerner7y
I think the main thing is the confidence level it takes to post something. In most conversations, people only seem to post when they're relatively confident. In brainstorming, you could propose ideas that you're not as confident about. Another thing that is sort of different is the intention. In brainstorming, the intention is to explore different possibilities in search of finding a good solution. In normal discussions, it seems to be mostly about sharing information and discussing the logical inferences people have made.
Stupid Questions March 2015

Oh, for me it does. I feel an enormous mood lift from a bit of exercise, especially if it takes place outside on a sunny day, and it kicks in pretty quickly. I agree walking may be not quite intense enough to get much of an effect (though I think it does a bit, for me), but I cycle to and from work (not fast or anything; it's a short distance, though a tiny bit hilly, and I'm a very casual cyclist) and that does give me a little boost most days, and some mental space between work and whatever's next. Of course, it sucks in horrible weather.

Stupid Questions March 2015

what do today smart people (who know unhealthy habits are unhealthy) do if their work/life is generally unpleasant, so they need a quick jolt of pleasure injected into themselves after work?

The obvious answer to me seems like "exercise", although that doesn't really fit your category of being something one may as well do on the subway back home (though walking or cycling home instead of getting on the subway might fit). Maybe more relevant to someone with a desk job than someone who's already been moving around all day in some manner for work.

No, exercise is a long-term mood stabilizer / antidepressant, but it does not have any immediate effects. At least my box training and push-ups done at home not. And should it be? Can you imagine an animal running around euphoric just because it is running? What I am looking for is things comparable to downing a few drinks, doing drugs or rocking out to music, I don't think exercise can have that kind of very quickly kicking in and very intense pleasure. And yes desk job. Does something as simple as walking have a mood effect on you? For me walking is something the autopilot does, it does not launch me out of my thoughts into enjoying the here and now.
Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015

(On the other hand, the theory test (a prerequisite for attempting the practical) is widely regarded as a bit of a joke. I don't know whether this is because I have a social circle that is good at passing written exams, though. Maybe it's more challenging for the less academically inclined?)

Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015

I'm in the UK. I know a handful of people who've taken 8 tries or more to pass the practical test. They're not the norm, but I'd say passing it on your first go is regarded as mildly surprising! I'd guess two attempts is possibly the mode? It's an expensive undertaking, too, so most people aren't just throwing themselves at the test well before they're ready in the hope of getting lucky.

(On the other hand, the theory test (a prerequisite for attempting the practical) is widely regarded as a bit of a joke. I don't know whether this is because I have a social circle that is good at passing written exams, though. Maybe it's more challenging for the less academically inclined?)
Stupid Questions February 2015

I'm not very good at it either! :)

Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015

I think the anti-abortion movement fits this description quite well in many ways (though obviously this is an even more politically-charged view).

PS. Not in the mood for an abortion debate here/now; sorry in advance for not replying to any comments along debating lines.

Stupid Questions February 2015

If you cleaned really frequently in small bursts (say, for 20 minutes a day, almost every day?), starting from your "satisfactory" point, would that be enough to maintain the satisfactory point more or less continuously? Then each 20-minute burst of work would come with the "satisfactory state" reward.

2Richard Korzekwa 8y
Yes, this is what I try to do, and it is what I am able to do for, typically, a couple months at a time. Having someone else remind me that this is better than three hours all at once is good though. For some reason, I find myself slowly ignoring this advice from myself if I don't hear it from somewhere else every now and then. (avoiding this problem might be another good "stupid question"...)
Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

Yeah, of course I also had no idea about the next layer down of explanation. But just having one layer seemed so much preferable to having none! It was the awareness that chemistry was dealing with a system, rather than a collection of boring facts, that made the difference to me.

Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

Yeah, you're never going to get fully to the bottom of things in a high school class. But it really does help when the curriculum at least tries to point you in the right direction!

Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

Basic chemistry. I hated chemistry the first 2-3 of years of high school (UK; I don't know if it's taught differently elsewhere). It was all about laundry lists of chemicals, their apparently random properties, and mixing them according to haphazard instructions with results that very occasionally corresponded approximately with what we were informed they should be. We were sort of shown the periodic table, of course, but not really enlightened as to what it all meant. I found it boring and pointless. I hated memorising the properties and relationships of ... (read more)

Electron shells didn't really make sense to me without having taken quantum mechanics. I mean, I understood that they were there, but I didn't have a clue why they ought to take on any particular shape.
Thinking only of shells works for simple reactions, but has anyone ever had a "click" for organic chemistry reactions? Orbitals and shells are the only part of O-Chem that ever made sense to seems like all my friends who "get it" are just practicing their butts off until they arrive at an intuition which isn't amenable to simple rule-based explanations (they seem to know the answers but can't always articulate why). I'd really like it if organic chemistry made systematic sense.
I've never taken chemistry beyond high school, but my impression is that even at university level it involves large amounts of memorization. Like, we know that there is an underlying model, because chemistry is a special case of physics, but in practice using that model to make predictions is computationally unfeasible.
I took A-level chemistry (= last two years of high school in the UK, ages ~16-18) and while indeed we learned a bit about electron shells and all that, I still found it really frustrating for similar reasons. The thing I remember hating most was a category of question that was pretty much guaranteed to be in the exams. It went like this: "Describe and explain how property P varies across the elements down column C of the periodic table". And the answer was always this: "As we go down column C of the periodic table, characteristic A increases, which tends to increase property P, while characteristic B decreases, which tends to decrease property P." followed by some explanation of how (e.g.) the effect of A predominates to begin with but B is more important for the later elements, so that property P increases and then decreases. Or B always predominates, so property P just decreases. Or some other arbitrary fact about how A and B interact that you couldn't possibly work out using A-level chemistry. So it was a big exercise in fake explanations. Really, you just had to learn what property P does as you go down column C of the periodic table, and then to answer these questions you also had to be able to trot out these descriptions of the underlying phenomena that do nothing at all to help you determine the answer to the questions. The underlying problem here is that chemistry is really quantum mechanics, and figuring out these questions from first principles is way beyond what high-school students can do.
Huh. Electron shells were one of the first things they taught us in our first-ever chemistry class, and to a 13-year-old I have to say they don't make much sense. I mean yeah, they shed some light upon the periodic properties of the table of elements, most of us could get that at that age, but man was it a pain in the ass to do the computations for them. Then again maybe someone else would have reacted differently to exposure to the same info at the same age; maybe there's nothing that could make me in particular like chemistry. Well into college, I still have to take chemistry-like classes, and I still hate them.
Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014

Maybe this would be a coherent position:

  • You trust GiveWell's judgement on which charities are the best choices
  • You think they've done enough work to establish this, at least for the time being
  • You don't plan to give more money in the immediate future
  • Therefore, you want your money go to to the charities, not to a decision-making process that you now see as having diminishing returns

I'm not sure I'd buy it myself... it seems like it really only makes sense if you don't think anybody else is going to be giving money to GiveWell in the immediate future either (or perhaps ever?).

You could also just think that GiveWell doesn't currently have as much room for more funding as the recommended charities do, even though GiveWell may disagree with that assessment.
Rationality Quotes November 2014

Academic linguists. (I am one - or, a psycholinguist, anyway.)

Rationality Quotes November 2014

Yes, this is true. Consensus is largely that language can certainly influence thought in language-specific domains, and that it can influence aspects of cognition in other domains, but only to the extent of shifting probabilities and defaults around --- not to the extent of controlling how speakers think or preventing some types of thought according to languages spoken.

Most "grammar nerds" I know are linguists, who think this is neat because they're more interested in how language works on a more fundamental level than individual grammars (though... (read more)

I was thinking of the people involved in things like lojban. Who were you thinking of?
Rationality Quotes November 2014

Here's a differently categorised concept that you might like: the colour blue. English has just one basic colour term than encompasses everything from dark blue to light blue (obviously, we can distinguish them by adding descriptors like dark and light, but still fall under blue). Russian has the separate basic colour terms sinii (dark blue) and goluboi (light blue). There's a neat paper in which the analogous distinction in Greek is shown to affect Greek speakers' perception of colours in comparison to English speakers on a pre-conscious level (measured using EEG), so your language-map really can affect your perception of the territory, even when language isn't directly involved.

Interestingly, most of the arguments against language influencing thought that I've seen wind up showing the grammar doesn't influence thought. Basically the biggest effect language has on thought is via vocabulary, which must be really disappointing news to all the grammar nerds obsessing over the perfect grammar to give their conlang.
Group Rationality Diary, November 16-30

No, of course it doesn't follow automatically, but a lot of the time people point out an average difference between men and women, this is the case. I happen to think it's quite likely that there are good explanations for the phenomena you cite that don't include "women are intrinsically more biased against cryonics than men"; there are certainly possible explanations, so it would be a bit daft to assume that that one possibility explains all the variance.

I think the explanation is that women are intrinsically more conformist then men and since cryonics is currently unusual and perceived as weird, well. The rule of thumb is that 20% of the causes are responsible for 80% of the effect.
Group Rationality Diary, November 16-30

Sure, I don't think that contradicts what I said?

The issue is who can better predict what ilzolende's mom will think of cryonics, ilzolende who knows his mom, or me who has never met ilzolende's mom but who has talked to many women about cryonics. The chance of my being a better predictor is increasing in the number of women I have talked to about cryonics so while what I wrote didn't "contradict" what you said it does reduce the likelihood of your being right.
Group Rationality Diary, November 16-30

Any difference between men and women on average is just that: on average. Think almost-but-not-quite-completely overlapping Gaussian curves. You have a lot more information about your parents than James_Miller, so he's making a complete guess based on the slight difference in prior for men and women, whereas you're able to update on much more complete and relevant information about your actual parents, not just the barely relevant fact that one is a man and one is a woman. Conclusion: discuss it with your mother, if that seems better to you.

The second sentence does not follow from the first. It is also possible for the Gaussian curves to be so far apart that there is almost no overlap, and that situation is still perfectly describable by saying that there is a difference between both populations on average but reflects a much stronger difference in prior probability. As a matter of empirical fact, only 20% of Alcor's members were female [] as of 1999, and the number of women opposed to their husband's cryonics arrangements [] is well-known as the hostile wife phenomenon [] . Combine with Dr. Miller's experience and we have a strong outside view case that ilzolende's mother will probably react worse than her father to cryonics.
I have discussed cryonics with hundreds of women. (I talk about it with my students and I teach at a women's college.)
First(?) Rationalist elected to state government
  • Certain personality traits are correlated with enjoying or being perceived to be good at "us"-type (adopting the same use of "us" as you) activities and analysis, and anti-correlated with enjoying or being perceived to be good at politics-type activities and analysis? (This may just be a more general and less useful formulation of some of Jiro's suggestions.)
A discussion of heroic responsibility

I think the newer buzzword that means roughly the same thing might be "proactivity"?

Polling Thread - Personality Special

I chose "consciously check relations", but I'm nearly as bad at doing it that way as at attempting to visualise the rotation. I find these problems almost impossible. (I thiiiink the answers for the examples are a: same and b: different, but I'm a long way from completely sure: I think I'd have to build them with those little cubes they give primary school children in maths classes to be sure.) I guess it makes sense that people who are weaker at mental rotation (or, as other commenters suggest, want to be really sure of getting the right answer) resort to conscious checking, so if women on average do worse at mental rotation, you'd expect to find more conscious checkers among them.

If I want to be really sure than I do both mental rotation and checking details. On the other hand Rotation gives me a greater feeling of certainty if I do just one of them.
Open thread, Nov. 3 - Nov. 9, 2014

If you're interested in some actual research on that hypothesis, try Ferreira for a starting point. Any of the papers on her page with the phrase "good enough" in the title will be relevant.

Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

Sure, you're correct about asking. The reason for the discrepancy in the two ways I phrased the issue is that I think the former is what the doctor will "hear" - perhaps I'm completely wrong about that! But given that I don't have an objective point of comparison, it seems quite plausible to me that in fact I am no more tired than your average busy-ish, active person. The only reason I'm even wondering if I should be less tired is because it seems like I used to be able to get by on less sleep - a subjective impression that I'm not very confident... (read more)

It's true that tiredness is a very common complaint but if it really bothers the person enough that they've come for a visit I'd still do some basic screening even if the person appears healthy. There are enough people with non-existent problems who frequent clinics several times a year that you going for a visit for the first time are unlikely to be put in the whiner category. Even here in Finland where we have long dark winters and we have mostly national health care that is trying to be cost effective tiredness is a good enough reason to go visit a doctor.
Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

Eh. This problem is nowhere near bad enough that I want to end up on medication or something. In general, I'm very healthy and do a lot of sports and stuff. The less medicine that gets near me the better; if it's something simple like iron deficiency, I can fix that easily through diet. More likely, there's not even an actual problem, I just need to sleep a bit more.

Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

I should give blood anyway, though. If I get round to doing that and it turns out I'm not anaemic, I suppose I'd consider investigating a bit further. Seems to me I've got a much better chance of checking that one thing by doing that than by going to my doctor and whining "So, sometimes I feel a bit tired..." (Like every other grad student / adult human on the planet, right?)

(It's possible that this is a difference between the UK, where I am, and America. As far as I'm aware, it's not a thing to go to the doctor and request various tests, here. ... (read more)

Well, it's a function of the relationship between you and your doctor. You certainly can ask for tests and while it could be true that an NHS doctor will be less likely to agree to them than a US doctor, you don't lose anything by asking. Of course, saying "sometimes I feel a bit tired" is one thing, and saying (still quoting you) " often extremely dozy by mid-afternoon ... I just... feel tired when I do so. And during the day. And really, really tired at night." is quite a different thing. The tired-by-mid-afternoon feeling, by the way, could indicate sugar control problems. I'd add fasting glucose test to the general blood panel -- if you are pre-diabetic, you really want to know this.
Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

I suppose so. There's a small chance I could be a bit anaemic. I'm a vegetarian, and the onset of the tiredness thing miiiight have occurred at around the same time as I drastically reduced my consumption of (fortified-with-iron) breakfast cereal. I should go and give blood! Haven't done so for a couple of years, and they check your iron levels when you do that.

Blood donation will (almost certainly) not check things like thyroid function, which is a common enough problem, and easy to check.
A full blood panel would probably be better :-/ Think about it this way: if there turns out to be some fixable problem, fixing it might reduce your sleep requirements which would be a very useful thing for you.
Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

Yeah, that's my assessment of the most likely reason, too - I just need a bit more sleep than some people do. I wish I didn't, though! I think the tiredness levels probably aren't bothersome enough to be worth mentioning to a doctor - I'm not really prevented from doing anything by it.

I am quite envious of the 5-hours-is-enough guy :-/ The question isn't really whether they are bothersome, the question is whether the tiredness is a symptom of a serious underlying problem.
Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

My main problem with sleep is that I can't ever seem to get quite enough of it, the last couple of years. By this I don't mean that I'm too busy and don't have time to sleep: in fact I sleep quite a lot, averaging probably more than 8 hours per night. I mean that the more I sleep, the more I seem to want to sleep. As an undergrad I got along pretty happily on what I think was a much lower average at the time, and I'm sure many people sleep a lot less than I do currently. But now I can't manage with less at all, and am often extremely dozy by mid-afternoon ... (read more)

For example in sleep apnea it's possible to wake up dozens of times per night and not remember anything about it. These people also fall asleep quickly because they're exhausted. I'm not saying that you have sleep apnea, just saying that not remembering waking up or falling asleep quickly aren't great indicators of healthy sleep. As a side note some sleep medications (benzodiazepines, z-drugs) also impair short term memory, and people who use these might not remember if they wake up in the middle of the night, which makes these drugs even more popular.
Sleep requirements are personal. I know someone who needs about 5 hours of sleep per night, and I know someone who needs 9+ hours to feel well-rested. Do not assume that your own sleep requirements match the average -- maybe your body just needs to sleep a lot. On the other hand, if a lot of sleep does not fix your tiredness during the day, I'd probably run a bunch of medical tests to make sure you don't have any hidden health problems.
Things to consider when optimizing: Sleep

(Minor English language note: "stand up" can't be used as a direct synonym for "get out of bed". Try "get up" instead. Hope you don't mind my pointing this out! Thought it might be helpful.)

Edited. Thanks. I remember thinking about it, and noticing that it doesn't quite match.
Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014

I should add that I live with another person, who does his share of the chores, so this time would probably increase if I wanted the same level of clean/tidy while living alone. I'm not sure how time per person scales with changes in the number of people though... probably not linearly, but it must depend on all sorts of things like how exactly you share out the chores, what the overhead sort of times are like for doing a task once regardless of how much task there is, and how size of living space changes with respect to number of people living in it. Also, if you add actively non-useful people like babies, I expect all hell breaks loose.

Stupid Questions (10/27/2014)

On the akrasia level, I find that the harder the task seems, the more frequent "reward" hits I need for working on it. For me, these hits mainly consist of getting to cross an item off my to-do list. So if I'm really struggling with a paragraph, my to-do list can contain such fine-grained items as "Think about the structure of [paragraph x]", and "Write a sentence explaining how RelevantAuthor (2012) is relevant here". Even a poor effort at doing these things gets the item crossed off (though if it still needs re-doing or more work, it will of course get put on again).

Stupid Questions (10/27/2014)

I do this sort of thing by starting as broadly as possible. Assuming you already have the majority of the information you need (ie, the research phase is more or less over), you should be able to sit for 15 minutes or so and make an albeit disorganised list of broad themes that you want to include in the paper. Concentrate during this phase on making the list, not evaluating what you put on it (some things will turn out to be irrelevant, some will be duplicates or link closely with each other or spark new interesting ideas - but make an effort to ignore al... (read more)

On the akrasia level, I find that the harder the task seems, the more frequent "reward" hits I need for working on it. For me, these hits mainly consist of getting to cross an item off my to-do list. So if I'm really struggling with a paragraph, my to-do list can contain such fine-grained items as "Think about the structure of [paragraph x]", and "Write a sentence explaining how RelevantAuthor (2012) is relevant here". Even a poor effort at doing these things gets the item crossed off (though if it still needs re-doing or more work, it will of course get put on again).
Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014

My timelog tells me that over the last ~7 weeks I've spent an average of 22 mins/day doing things with the tag "chores". That time period does include a two week holiday during which I spent a lot less time than usual on that stuff, so it's probably an underestimate. Agree with Nornagest below about the importance of small everyday habits! (Personally I am good at some of these, terrible at others.)

I should add that I live with another person, who does his share of the chores, so this time would probably increase if I wanted the same level of clean/tidy while living alone. I'm not sure how time per person scales with changes in the number of people though... probably not linearly, but it must depend on all sorts of things like how exactly you share out the chores, what the overhead sort of times are like for doing a task once regardless of how much task there is, and how size of living space changes with respect to number of people living in it. Also, if you add actively non-useful people like babies, I expect all hell breaks loose.
Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014

Laundry (plus ironing, if you have clothes that require that - I try not to), washing up (I think this is called doing the dishes in America), mopping, hoovering (vacuuming), dusting, cleaning bathroom and kitchen surfaces, cleaning toilets, cleaning windows and mirrors. That might cover the obvious ones? Seems like most of them don't involve much learning but do take a bit of getting round to, if you're anything like me.

I'd add, not leaving clutter lying around. It both collects dust, and makes cleaning more of an effort. Keep it packed away in boxes and cupboards. (Getting rid of clutter entirely is a whole separate subject.)

Thank you, how many hours a week do you spend doing these things?
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