All of hedges's Comments + Replies

Open thread, May 8 - May 14, 2017


I recommend the app warmly, but at the same time I'd be happy to switch if something with better design or features came up. I haven't found anything as good yet.

0ChristianKl4yIs there somewhere where I can see a good demo of how the multi value feature looks like in practice?
Open thread, May 8 - May 14, 2017

I probably explained badly. You can have 10 yes/no questions and fill half with 7 clicks using this app. It works exactly like the example you gave.

0ChristianKl4yIs this what the paid "Multi value" feature does?
Open thread, May 8 - May 14, 2017

That's incorrect if I understood right. Here's how I use it:

  • Click reminder notification (or tracker-specific shortcut) to open
  • Click yes or no (you can have multiple of these in a single tracker)
  • Click save

So it's 1 click to begin, 1 click for each choice, 1 click to save. There's also support for input fields and lists with predefined values.

If you know an app that does this better, I am looking..

0ChristianKl4yThat's three clicks. If you have a Google form with a checklist of 10 items and you answer half of them with "yes" (tick them) you have 7 (if we count opening the form and sending the form) clicks instead of 30 (or maybe 25 if if you play with predefined values). The main argument I'm making here is that there's no app out there that really solves this problem well and there's room for Sandi to create something better than the present options.
0ChristianKl4yI think that app also suffers from there being to many clicks if you have a bunch of values to track. I think it would be unusable for my morning tracking because I have to make 3 clicks for every yes/no checkbox. It reminds me of the story that when Jeff Bezos told his engineers to do 1-click buying they came back with a solution that took 4 clicks.
Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

No, I don't think that either organization has taken an official stance, and I respect them for that. I've also talked with some people within 80,000 Hours who are clearly not mind-killed; who have been very reasonable and convincing instead. I was maybe a bit too harsh and do not mean this as a recommendation that everyone should stop supporting these organizations.

(Very rarely - that's a good point. If you imagine people fighting between two different friendly AI approaches with the same fervor, though..)

Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

A statement made by a lifelong liberal writer, who was offended by Trump's lifestyle. Trump has short attention span, and doesn't read books - therefore he will use nukes!

Predicting one person's proclivity to cause nuclear war is an incredibly complicated prediction problem, and one flimsy and tribally motivated statement has almost zero predictive power. If I see a reasonable analysis, which considers both candidates and what kind of scenarios could actually lead to nuclear war; I'm ready to change my beliefs.

0ChristianKl5yWhy do you call a statement made in a long article and based on spending over a year studying Trump while listing in to his calls 'flimsy'? On his facebook EY describes having taken part in a scenario planning exercise that ended up with nuclear war simply because the players miscalculated their moves. Having a short attention span and not listening to experts who study the possible moves leads to miscalculated moves. Nuclear war happens when other wars escalate because no side is willing to make move that look like a local loss or concessions to the other side. The US basically has undeclared wars with most countries including Nato countries like Germany that are under cyber attacks by the US (the US considers cyber attacks to be acts of war). At the same time the NSA doesn't use their powers to the maximum. When the Obama administration or Clinton administration runs cyber attacks against German targets there's less pressure on German political leaders to retaliate then when a Trump administration does so. You also forget the lying. Lying to his ghostwriter about the size of his business deal is illustrative. Trump is going to lie to various people inside his administration. That's going to make it a lot harder for that administration to make effective moves. Clinton on the other hand listens to experts when making geopolitical calcuations and that matters. Trump already said that he's okay with Saudi Arabia getting nukes. That move alone might produce nuclear war but it would be a mistake to focus at the moment on any specific scenario, because the problem is the decision making.
Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

In my case, not signaling any caution was enough to make me think that they're mind-killed. I also understand well what kind of strategies may be more effective in influencing the general public; which is part of the problem. I doubt their behavior and writings convinced anyone who hadn't already decided.

There were other writings which were much more persuasive, Scott's writings for example. The people I'm referring to, just spent the last year doing tribal screaming. And they're still doing it. Freaking out because their foretold doomsday came (and went).

Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

No, of course not. There are many situations where one can be reasonably certain that one political stance is better than another. My feeling of disgust was not caused by them supporting Hillary, but by the fervor and conviction displayed. It felt like at some point they had good reasons to choose a political stance, but then took it to the extreme and forgot all caution.

-2ChristianKl5ySignaling caution might not be effective if the goal is to motivate people to vote.
Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

Claiming Trump as the most significant current existential risk, and prioritizing political activism over all other charity work, are the two that I was most offended by. These were usually not backed by any rigorous analysis or explanation, just the assumption that the reader conforms to the beliefs.

But I think ultimately, it was the frequency and amount of emotion and hostility that was shown that made my mind image these people as mind-killed.

-3ChristianKl5yOutside of Trump's family the person who knows Trump best said “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization”, as a significant X-risk makes sense. In contrast to an X-risk like UFAI, it was a lot of tractable and thus there were rational arguments to exert more resources on it. The political aspect can as well mean that you misjudge the risk posed.
3btrettel5yThanks. I agree that those examples are problematic. Do you have the link for Trump being the most significant current existential risk? I think he's a major risk, but relatively less important than many other things. The biggest risk from him is starting a major war and/or using nuclear weapons, but as I recall from speaking with Vaniver, not everyone thinks he's a higher risk than Clinton would be in that area.
Open thread, Nov. 7 - Nov. 13, 2016

Has anyone else been disgusted by how partisan and mindkilled many "rationality figureheads" have been during this election?

I've stopped supporting 80,000 Hours because of their employees' writings and lost trust in CFAR; I now see them as political think tanks that are possibly even more biased and broken than the average organization.

2username24yCan you point to examples? Genuinely curious.
7Ishaan5yIs there any 80,000/CFAR statement on Trump or are you just talking about the personal writings of individual people who happen to work in these organizations? (Also, did you consistently think it was wrong for them to fervently espouse the AI-as-existential risk narrative?)
2username25yI'm very pessimistic about this. Basically, a single person, with very few exceptions, cannot influence politics in any meaningful way. Therefore there is no motivation, no utility to be gained from actions themselves. The only way to extract any utility from a political discussion is by bonding with similarly minded people, making new friends and having fun. And for that purpose, the more echo-chamber-y your environment is, the better. And most people use political discussion that way - very few are interested in small scale local politics, where they could have some influence, and most attention is being paid to the presidential elections because they are the most entertaining, even though their influence on them is negligible.
8MrMind5yRationality is not Kolinahr: if a hot iron is traveling towards your face, the rational reaction is not "huh!" but getting the hell out of the way. To mean that it is possible to talk about politics, and to talk passionately, and still being rational. Not to defend 80k or CFAR, but "being partisan" is most definitely NOT "being mindkilled". They travel on two orthogonal dimensions. On the other hand, it is totally possible that those figureheads were indeed mindkilled. I have followed only what Yudkowski said: what are examples of being mindkilled? Have they acknowledged such behaviour afterwards?
5James_Blair5yI fully agree with this. edit: someone may think this comment doesn't contribute at all. the someone that did also took the additional step of downvoting the OP, so make of that what you will.
2ChristianKl5yDo you think that everybody who takes a political stance is automatically mindkilled? Do you have more complains than just that certain people found it important that Hillary wins?
5btrettel5yCan you give some examples? I haven't paid much attention to this. While we're on the topic, "politics is the mind-killer" isn't sufficiently broad in my opinion. People can frequently are "mind-killed" in other areas, especially when conflicts of interest are involved. My experience suggests certain topics like diet tend to go just as poorly as politics.
Announcing LessWrong Digest

I'd like this very much in RSS format.

If you make an RSS feed, don't include any SSC/OB posts, because those already have their own RSS feeds.

Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary?

In these discussions, I often find myself writing a long text describing my beliefs and why I am not interested in defending or spreading them. At that point, I usually stop writing and start over, like I did now.

I'm willing to label myself as neoreactionary because neoreaction better describes our current society than leftism. In a future world I might look at neoreaction as the most accurate description of a certain time period. Neoreactionary beliefs could be easily rendered irrelevant with transhumanist advances.

The reason I value neoreaction is becaus... (read more)

The reason I value neoreaction is because it gives me – in my personal life – an edge. This is also the reason why I am not interested in defending or spreading many neoreactionary beliefs.

Unless you want an edge over other LWers, would you mind elaborating which beliefs have benefited you and in what way?

Group Rationality Diary, March 16-31

Although I am likely biased by the location of the gym I go to, the real unpleasant experience for me was admitting that many of the "enemies" are in fact very reasonable and intelligent people.

Brain Training to maximize returns

Which areas of cognitive training do you think would have the best returns in terms of life optimization?

Exercise. Its effects are well studied, and it has been shown to cause improvements in physical and mental health, cognitive performance, and attractiveness.

Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013

At what age should you sign up your child for cryonics?

Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

I see. Through counterexamples we can demonstrate anything to be acceptable fashion in certain scenarios.

The puffy shirt is irrelevant (I feel like arguing but let me try and resist that). I found your counterexamples about t-shirts to be stronger evidence, and I did adjust my beliefs. I can offer you no good evidence on how people on average perceive t-shirts with slogans on them.

Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Religion was an example, coming from the general category of social subgroups that carry a large impact on identity and create a sense of exclusivity, which also includes every group you described.

I would rather not see rationality marginalized into such categories, in anyone's mind.

0maia8ySo, you think it is bad for rationality to be a) strongly associated with a person's identity, and/or b) create a sense of exclusivity, or belonging to a group. Is that right? Maybe I'm missing something obvious here, but... why do you think this is a bad thing?
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Special Pleading Objection?

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by this. The meaning of my post was that high status folk set the trends, and have an easier time introducing new fashions to the society at large. This was in relation to your (valid) point that "how and when" you wear clothes matters.

Or if you are attending a Hacker News meetup, or a software development conference, or an event taking place at a university, or... I'll stop there: I am predicting (and happily committing to update if I turn out to be wrong) that in these venu

... (read more)
0Morendil8yPointing out that your argument appears to be a form of special pleading [] - you introduced a general rule ("wearing puffy shirts is bad"), I pointed out counterexamples (Depp, also women), you picked one of these and said "but he is special".
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

I don't understand. It seems to me that it would be very easy to make rationality seem like a (religious) cult. Wearing dorky clothes, knocking on people's doors to spread the joy, and handing out pamphlets praising our savior Rationality. We could even send volunteers to beg for money at airports: "Hello sir, would you like to help prevent the coming end of the world?"

8maia8yI just don't associate T-shirts with religion as strongly as you do, I think. This might be because I see a lot of people wearing nerdy T-shirts, or T-shirts associated with various interests/groups, like DnD, heir fraternities, or professional groups (chemical engineering society, etc.). From that perspective, having a rationality T-shirt just falls into one of those categories, and is therefore OK. It's just another medium that some people with certain interests use to signal to each other. Like I said: do you see it differently? Are most of the T-shirts with slogans you see people wearing religiously-related?
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Johnny Depp can wear a puffy shirt because he is the king. The rest of us are probably better off saving our puffy shirts for Halloween.

But yes, what you say is true. If you are awesome enough, you can wear a rationalist slogan t-shirt and make it work.

3Morendil8ySpecial Pleading Objection? Or if you are attending a Hacker News meetup, or a software development conference, or an event taking place at a university, or... I'll stop there: I am predicting (and happily committing to update if I turn out to be wrong) that in these venues, wearing a witty t-shirt will a) score points and b) optimise for striking up conversations with strangers.
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

On many occasions "difficult to explain" turns out to be a hint for "not actually true".

Is this actually an useful heuristic? It seems to me that most things in the world are very difficult to explain truthfully, but especially this case.

We can probably agree that wearing a puffy shirt would be a bad idea, but can anyone really easily explain why?

Perhaps someone could explain why some specific item of clothing is not fashionable, and I am at fault to some extent here, because I have not studied the psychology of fashion in enough dep... (read more)

4Morendil8ySimply as a matter of empirical counter-example, let me point you to the many [] online [] tee [] stores [] that make an apparently healthy business of selling (among other things) tee-shirts with slogans on them. Puffy shirts are also worn with beneficial effects by many women [] - and, if we looked hard enough, a few men [] as well. It's not so much what you wear, I suspect, as how and when you wear it that matters; the various communities that one moves in have codes, and there are relatively predictable consequences of going against those codes. For instance, if you work as a trader at a financial institution you incur detrimental consequences by wearing anything other than suit and tie. But successfully flouting these conventions can paradoxically be beneficial; if you break the codes just enough and get away with it you are rising above the herd.
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

For whom should we be optimizing our clothing for, then?

This list is not in order of importance 1) Strangers you want to have conversations with. 2) People you already regularly see. 3) People you want to attract or significant others you already have. 4) Comfort and your own enjoyment. 5) You can also anti-optimize your clothing to filter out people you don't want to interact with. 6) People who you want to hire you. 7) People you are trying to sell things to.

It's also important to remember that you can wear different clothing at different times. In some of these cases, especially salesmanship, optimizing y... (read more)

Rationality Quotes June 2013

It almost certainly is, but does that matter? It is a slogan for any time when the powers that be are diminished by the truth.

0ArisKatsaris8yYes, it matters if we are deluding ourselves into thinking ourselves better than we are. False self-gratification prevents us from actually improving.
6Nominull8yToday we kneel only to hypocrisy.
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

True. This works for attractiveness as well. Generally stylish clothes will give you low variance, while dressing to please a specific crowd (goths, emo rockers, etc.) will give you high variance.

Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

The question is, can you make people think: "I would like to be as awesome as that person. I see he is wearing a rationality shirt. I should check that out." ?

Here are two alternatives:

  • People might think that rationality is something that's only for nerdy looking folk who wear +1 epic shirts.
  • People's brains might associate rationality with other concepts that are often seen on shirts, such as Jesus and Guns.
6maia8yOh no. We'd better stop writing in words. They might associate us with literate religious people. Seriously though, do you live in a place where you see a lot of people wearing religious or gun-related T-shirts? I have only ever seen one person wear a T-shirt explicitly about Jesus.
0evand8yUhh... my question was much closer to "What would make me think 'Hey, that's a cool rationality shirt!'?".
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Impressing, persuading - the difference between these is mostly insignificant when dealing with non-rationalists. I chose the word due to my belief that rational argument is an inefficient method for spreading rationality. If you encounter a non-rationalist, you may rationally explain him why rationality is great, but if you leave a good impression on an emotional level, he'll probably remember the lesson about rationality much longer. Ideally we probably want to do both. Arguing people into changing their way of thinking is vastly more difficult than crea... (read more)

Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Is there a better method for forming beliefs about fashion than observing the people whose sense of style you want to understand?

0[anonymous]8y(Or more generally, what a message means by observing which people send it when; e.g., the way people learn their native language.)
Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers

Wearing clothes with slogans written on them is a bad idea socially. It is quite unlikely that anyone will ask you about it, and even less likely that such an interaction will result in any good. All the negative social effects are likely to overshadow the few positive encounters you may have. Even if you wear the clothes with the slogan in the appropriate social context, like a Less Wrong meetup, they don't add any value.

If you wanted to talk to someone about rationality, what do you think would help more in impressing them: a rationalist wearing normal, ... (read more)

1NancyLebovitz8yMaybe mugs would work better than t-shirts for some environments.
0buybuydandavis8yI disagree. I think it pays to advertise, and loudly. I think that was one of Harry Browne's principles in How I found Freedom in an Unfree World. Can't say that I've put it to good effect, but if you have low prevalence ideas (if you're here, you do) and you want to meet similarly minded people, you need to enhance your sampling somehow.
7Morendil8yOn many occasions "difficult to explain" turns out to be a hint for "not actually true". Indeed. The vast majority are wearing clothes bearing advertisement for various brands. I would think twice before concluding that they have decided that is beneficial.
3drethelin8yI'm not optimizing my clothing for the vast majority of people, and neither should most lesswrongers.
5TheOtherDave8yIn impressing them? Probably the former, unless the slogan happens to strike them as clever. In bringing me to their attention and encouraging them to approach me in a crowd full of people wearing normal stylish clothes and T-shirts with non/anti-rationalist slogans? Undoubtedly the latter. In encouraging them to approach me in a crowd full of people wearing T-shirts with rationalist slogans? It's very hard to say, I don't expect either to have much effect there.. What do you expect in those scenarios?
1evand8yIf I'm going to wear clothing with words, is there any marginal harm to having it be rationalist themed? I frequently find myself in situations where it's the norm, regardless of whether it's a good idea instrumentally. My system one says conforming there is good, but it's possible I'm wrong there.
0wedrifid8yIt's interesting that you mention religion in the same paragraph in which you advocate forming beliefs based on the behaviour of the masses.

I think this depends very much on your social circle and social goals. Wearing clothing with slogans on it is a high variance strategy: high attractiveness to a few people, low or even negative attractiveness to others. Wearing slogan-less clothing is more low variance; probably no one will object, but likely none of your responses will be as positive as the maximum positive response from wearing a T-shirt with a slogan on it. Both strategies can be useful, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Personally, I wear shirts with nerdy slogans on them,... (read more)

5Qiaochu_Yuan8yThis seems empirically false.
Rationality Quotes June 2013

If you find the truth, continue the search for it regardless.

Forget about arriving at the truth, rather practice the methods that brings you closer to truths.

The intended meaning has something to do with the Buddhist concept that the practice of Buddhism (basically meditation) is the realization of Buddhahood, and instead of accepting any Buddha you meet, you must simply continue your practice.

Optimizing for attractiveness

That does sound very sensible. I stand corrected.

Can anyone recommend any further reading on the subject?

2Eliezer Yudkowsky8yIt'd be nice to have a standard collection of reading. What came to mind offhand on the specific topic of metabolism slowdown / fat cell energy vampirism is this: [] Although when I actually talk to others who are trying to lose weight, a very common comment is, "I'm eating much less on but my weight isn't going down at all!" Which is worse than what this article reports on - everyone who stayed in the study lost weight on 550 calories/day, but "Some people dropped out of the study" which you would kinda expect if those were the obese people whose fat cells weren't releasing fat at all.
Optimizing for attractiveness

Weight loss is not easy. It's ridiculously hard for many people, and that's awful. I know this from personal experience too, but I'm sure anyone would agree. However, it is impossible to not lose weight if a person eats below his total daily energy expenditure. Not losing weight in this scenario is comparable to taking your car on a drive and finding out it doesn't consume fuel.

Coming to the conclusion that weight loss is impossible requires extraordinary proof. Attempted scientifically dubious diets are weak evidence. Two months of eating below one's TDEE... (read more)

4wedrifid8yThis is true if you either: * Define "losing weight" such that it includes weight loss due to the decay or cremation of your corpse after death by starvation. Or, * Observe that if if a body dies rather than burn fat to live then "technically it hasn't expended more energy than was eaten has it? Therefore it doesn't qualify as a counter-example!" Without such stretching of interpretation, however, it is false, misleading and all too common advice.

There is no thermodynamic law stating that fat cells must release fat just because your body needs it. If you're built so that weight loss is impossible and you try eating less, your metabolism slows down - possibly in much the same way it would as if you tried eating less and you had no fat cells whatsoever. I can't cite studies but wouldn't be particularly surprised to see that muscle gets cannibalized instead of fat being lost, if you try to eat less than the most slowed metabolism needs. And if most metabolically disprivileged people stop trying to ... (read more)

Will the world's elites navigate the creation of AI just fine?

Even if one organization navigates the creation of friendly AI successfully, won't we still have to worry about preventing anyone from ever creating an unsafe AI?

Unlike nuclear weapons, a single AI might have world ending consequences, and an AI requires no special resources. Theoretically a seed AI could be uploaded to Pirate Bay, from where anyone could download and compile it.

8Manfred8yIf the friendly AI comes first, the goal is for it to always have enough resources to be able to stop unsafe AIs from being a big risk.
Optimizing for attractiveness

Losing weight and becoming more fit will make you healthier and more attractive. You can't effectively gain muscle and lose weight at the same time. In your case losing weight should be the priority. To do this, start tracking absolutely everything you eat using one of the many free trackers available out there, and eat below your TDEE. Invest $10 in a digital scale so you can track more accurately. If you don't know what you should eat, read this. Exercise is helpful to your general health, but losing weight is almost entirely about diet. Practically all ... (read more)

7Desrtopa8yThis is commonly repeated, but not actually true for people who're just starting out on exercise. It's only when you've already reached a substantial level of fitness that it becomes an either/or proposition. If you're already heavily overweight though, you're probably better off focusing on losing fat faster rather than worrying about building up muscle at the same time. You may already have a fair amount of muscle under there just from moving around your own body weight.
8atorm8yLosing weight should not be your priority. Losing fat should. Exercise may lay down muscle that is denser and initially causes a weight gain, but don't let this discourage you.
5Barry_Cotter8yI endorse this comment. Minor quibbles follow. For complete beginners it is possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time and it is a good idea to begin exercising now because now is generally a good time to start. If you're really overweight weightlifting or swimming are good places to start with exercise, running while overweight is hell on your knees and other joints, and this is true of basically all aerobic exercise except swimming. Malefashionadvice is indeed awesome. Lesson number 1. Wear clothes that fit. Everything else is detail. PUA stuff works but is overfocused on the median woman or the median club going woman depending on the woman and some of the writers are incredibly misogynistic. And while there is a lot of interesting stuff in the literature making a poinbt of talking to way more people, men and women will work wonders all by itself. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.
1sceaduwe8yFor more information on fitness, check out /r/Fitness []. Especially their FAQ [].
0BerryPick68ySeconding the Rippetoe program recommendation, it worked well for me.
Open thread, May 17-31 2013

The Candle Problem is an experiment which demonstrates how time pressure and rewards can diminish people's ability to solve creativity-requiring problems. People who weren't offered rewards for solving a clever problem solved the problem faster than those who were offered even significant rewards. Another finding was that when the problem was simplified and the creativity requirement removed, the participants who were offered rewards performed the task much faster.

There are multiple theories that try to explain the result of this study, and the many other... (read more)

Avoiding the emergency room

Being rational while sitting in your room browsing the internet is often hard enough, but how about behaving rationally in an emergency? I've been in emergencies, or "black swan events", and I'm willing to admit that I acted much less optimally than I would have predicted.

All schools in the US do fire drills. The first lesson in the SAS Survival Guide is to be prepared. Reducing the likelihood of disaster is one step, but practice and preparedness are just as essential. Not only will you behave more optimally with practice, but a prepared person ... (read more)

Be Nice to Non-Rationalists

This might better be summarized as the rule: "Don't criticize, condemn, or complain". Anyone who believes that a straightforward, rational argument will be successful in changing people's minds will upon empirical experimentation discover this to be far from the truth.

Social intelligence, education, & the workplace

Some of the most well known "social intelligence" classes were held by Dale Carnegie in 1912, and many business schools still make students read his book. Nowadays social training exists in many forms, and there are programs aimed specifically at kids as well, although maybe nothing aimed at making future computer scientists less awkward. Studies show positive results, but mainly treatments for more serious behavior problems are studied.

Is there reason to believe that social skills are more difficult to teach than math, or rationality?

1Ronak8yYes. They're very hard to understand. It's hard to teach something you don't understand. Auxiliarily, I'd expect that common sense would kick in and people would feel confident in contradicting teachers. (That said, it seems likely to me that they can be taught.)
LW Women Entries- Creepiness

Is calling people "creepy" more than a manifestation of the affect heuristic? Consider how attractive people are thought to be more honest and kind, and even get more lenient sentences in court. Then how powerful this effect is when combined with one of the most deeply ingrained forms of complete irrationality - romance.