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Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016

Not recognizing what the rules are or not understanding why they exist could be more easily confused with non-conformity, while recognizing the rules but failing to apply them is more apparently incompetent. Volitional non-conformity requires understanding of the rules and the ability to apply them, and it's not entirely obvious what constitutes understanding in this highly subjective matter. The aspect of opting in/out of acquiring the skills needed for conformity complicates things further.

Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016

Lots of late night computer screen time? That blue light is messing with sleep cycles. I used to think I'm a night owl myself but can adjust my sleep schedule at will if I just mind the lighting. These days I wake up at 2-4am.

Curiously all males in my family used to be late sleepers when young but effortlessly switched to rising early when their careers kicked off. They didn't have computers back then so maybe it was their social lives keeping them up late.

Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015

the question under discussion here is what actually is the placebo effect and how much of it can you attribute to psychosomatic factors and how much to just regression to the mean (aka natural healing).

In that case your opener is slightly polemical :)

But that doesn't mean that we couldn't or shouldn't ask questions about the placebo effect itself.

Agreed. The problem with nonintervention arms for studying the placebo effect is that there aren't clear incentives for adding them and they cost statistical power.

Open thread, Dec. 14 - Dec. 20, 2015

The placebo group is called such because it receives the placebo treatment, not because medical researchers think all improvement in it is attributable to the placebo effect. Results are reported as improvement in the treatment arm vs. the placebo arm, and never have I seen these differences explicitly reported as treatment effect vs. placebo effect, and I've read hundreds of medical papers. The real magnitude of the placebo effect is almost never of interest in these papers. Some professionals in the medical community could have such a misconception because of the usual lack of scientific training, but I'd like to think they are a small minority.

If the placebo effect is of real importance, I think a more significant problem would be the lack of use of active placebos that mimick side effects since most drugs have them and this is a potential source of breaking the blinding of RCTs.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015)

Whatever the terminology, they should make the connection between the process of decision making and the science of decision making, which they don't seem to do. Medicine is like this isolated bubble where every insight must come from the medical community itself.

I found overcoming bias and became a rationalist during med school. Finding the blog was purely accidental, although I recognized the need for understanding my thinking, so I'm not sure what form this need would have taken given a slightly different circumstance.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015)

We were taught bayes in the form of predictive values, but this was pretty cursory. Challenging the medical professors' competence publicly isn't a smart move careerwise, unless they happen to be exceptionally rational and principled, unfortunately. There's a time to shut up and multiply, and a time to bend to the will of the elders :)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015)

Huh. My experience is somewhat similar to yours in the sense that I never was a big fan of memorization, and I'm glad that I could outsource some parts of the process to Anki. I also seem to outperform my peers in complex situations where ready made decision algorithms are not available, and outperformed them in the few courses in medschool that were not heavy on memorization. The complex situations obviously don't benefit from bayes too much, but they benefit from understanding the relevant cognitive biases.

The medical degree is a financial jackpot here in Finland, since I was actually paid for studying, and landed in one of the top 3 best paying professions in the country straight out of medschool. Money attracts every type, and the selection process doesn't especially favor rationalists, who happen to be rare. It just baffles me how the need for rationality doesn't become self evident for med students in the process of becoming a doctor, not to mention after that.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015)

Welcome! I'm an MD and haven't yet figured out why there are so few of us here, given the importance of rationality for medical decision making. It's interesting that at least in my country there is zero training in cognitive biases in the curriculum.

A list of apps that are useful to me. (And other phone details)

You know what's sad? It seems the support was discontinued a year ago. I never noticed because it still works just fine, syncs the annotated pdf files to dropbox and all that, and still seems to be the best pdf reader there is.

Found and apk that seems legit, I'll pm the link to you, try at your own risk.

A list of apps that are useful to me. (And other phone details)

More apps for Android (5.0.2):

Alarm clock plus - probably the most feature rich alarm bell app. It allows for multiple alarms on different days with different tones, alarm labels, gently rising alarm, quick to set one time alarms and alarms that won't stop unless you solve a math problem which is useful for deep sleepers.

Clockwork Tomato - a fully customizable pomodoro timer.

Darker - pretty much the same as Night Mode, except that it also allows for color adjustment. Unfortunately Android doesn't seem to support dimming certain wavelengths and the color is just slapped over everything (the strength is adjustable), so the contrast isn't that great.

I think what sets the above mentioned ES File Explorer above others is the integrated networking capability, you can use cloud storage, FTP and LAN sharing with the same app.

FBReader with TTS Plugin - listen to .epub and .mobi formatted ebooks.

Libra - weight tracking with charts, weight loss goal tracking, statistics on weight change and excess/shortage of calories.

Pocket - put articles you find during browsing to a safe place for later reading. It has a browser extension on PC for Firefox and Chrome and sync capability. Also, it has a page flipping mode that allows reading articles as if you were reading an ebook, and inverted color rendering for night time reading.

Repligo PDF Reader - I think I've tried every pdf reader there is on Android, and this is the only one that can both reliably reflow text for easier readability and has inverted rendering. Also has a text-to-speech option.

Rittr Labs Push Ups, Sit Ups, Pull Ups and Squats - All of the four apps are separate but I haven't found a better app for automatically generated calisthenics workouts. These calculate the first workout sets based on your max repetitions and the next workout based on how people usually progress, which is further adjusted by telling the program whether the workout was too hard, just right or too easy. I'd recommend you give at least a day or two for recovery between workouts, for example have a different workout for each day with a four day rotation.

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