All of JayDee's Comments + Replies

Open thread, 21-27 April 2014

There's an (unfinished) set of posts about rationality and drawing written by Raemon, Drawing LessWrong p2 p3 p4 p5 that might answer your questions (in the articles or comments.)

Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014

LessWrong tends to remind me more of usenet. Probably just due to the threaded comments.

I'd happily read this site with a newsreader.

Open Thread April 8 - April 14 2014

Hmm, I'm not entirely sure. I can find old usenet comments - like my nethack YAFAP - from 2005 to 2008, but as far I can tell they were all made with Google Groups. I do vaguely recall using a newsreader, maybe trying to set up Thunderbird? It certainly would have been in character, "real men use newsreaders, and never top-post" kind of thing was a big part of the appeal. Possibly I could only get read-only access through whatever free provider I found.

At the time, the communities discussing interactive fiction and roguelike games were still cent... (read more)

0JayDee8yLessWrong tends to remind me more of usenet. Probably just due to the threaded comments. I'd happily read this site with a newsreader.
Open thread, 11-17 March 2014

there's always someone on github who could use help with their open source thing.

Any chance you could point me at one or two?

Background: I enjoy coding, but run into problems with high-level motivation. Point me at something to do, I'll do it (and likely enjoy myself) but when it comes to doing the pointing myself I draw a blank. Most of the code I've written in the last year has come from frustration with inadequate tools at work, which is productive for learning but not for sharing.

I'm currently most proficient with Python, have dabbled in C++, and commit to spending an hour each with the first two open source things anyone points me at. (2x 25 minute pomodoros, this weekend.)

0roystgnr8ySome of my stuff would be hard to contribute to without a basic background in something like chemical kinetics [] or partial differential equations [], but my main project also kind of has the opposite problem: libMesh [] has a pretty dated and incomplete unit test suite, and an atrociously dated Debian package, in part because anyone with enough finite elements experience to hear about the project tends to perpetually have more urgent work occupying their time than tedious unit test and dpkg writing. I'm not sure "want to help me write tedious stuff?" is a good solution to your motivation problem, though. If I was looking for something to jump into for fun, I might try MineTest [], a Minecraft clone in C++/Lua which is surprisingly complete but still has a lot of serious limitations. If "most proficient with Python" is the deciding factor, maybe take a look at Matplotlib []? A friend of mine is one of the major developers there, and I've been impressed by how fast it tends to supplant gnuplot/matlab/etc as the scriptable-graph-generator of choice for researchers who play with it.
Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

In this case, it's deliberately non-gendered language. Lower-effort, as kalium says. In my case because I cultivated the habit, in years past.

As both you and Douglas_Knight point out, there are tradeoffs involved. In the case of not gendering pronouns I expect I’ll continue thinking it worthwhile.

But it’s a helpful thing to consider- I’ll bet there are other habits I’ve developed that I’ve never considered if it’s worth the costs. Especially when I contrast my teenaged self – “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me” + “I’ll choose my words for my own aest... (read more)

0ChristianKl8yWhen it comes to details, the thing that count is whether the details help the person you are talking with to form a picture of the situation that you are describing in their mind. If you are talking in "I" using colorful language that describes the qualia you perceive is nearly always good. That doesn't mean that sentences should be long. If you can transform one sentence into two, that's often good. If you are talking in "you" it better to be a bit more vague. If you tell someone: "When you go to work on Monday morning at 7 o'clock and drive though rush hour, you know the feeling where you wish, you could just take a day off?", the might be irritated if they aren't in the habit of going to work at 7 o'clock or don't drive. I"m okay with non-gendered language. In text it's nearly impossible to see what the words mean for you. If your teenage self trained a bunch of separate word choices I would look carefully at them and judge whether they are real self-expression or whether they are more of a mask that's supposed to provide shelter. Authentic self-expression draws attention, wearing a mask reduces it.
0Douglas_Knight8yMay I suggest that you not consider, but just experiment?
Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

Thanks. Perception I thought was the main contribution in the past. But after a recent party my partner commented to me about people speaking over me.

And testosterone, that makes me curious. I wonder if I can get levels of that tested without too much hassle...

0ChristianKl8yThe interesting thing about this sentence is that you communicate a minimum of information by using the word partner. As a listener I don't know whether you refer to a business partner, you are male and refer to a girlfriend or you are female and refer to a boyfriend. Increasing the amount of details that you communicate can increases the amount of attention that other people pay towards yourself.
Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

Fair enough. At this stage I'm curious as to which specifics I should be looking at. Or what kinds of things are key (to speaker priority in groups of 5-10).

The various elements of body language given, and your notes on content (I can be too verbose, for sure) have given me what I need to go on for now.

Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

Thanks. These are things I've learnt or tried learning in the past. I'd guess there are good odds that I'm reverting to past (shyer) behaviors in some situations.

I'll make an effort to be aware of my body language and focus next time.

Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

Question about a low-level social thing:

I've noticed that I have low priority in at mid-large group conversations. What I mean is that in situations where I'm one of two people talking, I'm (generally) the one who stops and the attention of the "audience" (people-who-aren't-speaking) is predominantly on the other person even before I stop speaking.

This used to cause me considerable distress, but no longer. I've accepted it as a fact of the social universe. But I'm still curious and would like to change it, if possible.

I suspect that this is somet... (read more)

3TsviBT8yIf you start talking loudly, perhaps a little louder than you think you should be talking, attention will usually shift to you. If you say something relatively short and relatively interesting, you gain some credit, and then later people will be more likely to listen to you. This requires some timing - you have to start talking just as the previous speaker is finishing, or even a little before. Mistiming could make you look like (and be) a shouting idiot. If two or more people use the same strategy (starting off loud), then you can use the opportunity to appear (and be) gracious by telling the other person to go ahead. This also subtly puts you in a position of control; they got to talk, but you decided who should talk. (This is all based on personal experience, of course; YMMV.)
5hyporational8yYou're really not giving enough specific information. There are countless reasons why that might happen so any advice you take here could lead to erratic behavior. In addition to what other people said, this sounds like you might be too verbose or bad at gauging which topics interest other people and to what extent. They might look at the other person because they wish them to interrupt you and move on.
3ChristianKl8yThere are a variety of plausible explanation. The first would be that it's just an issue of perception. There a plenty of people with low self esteem who hold inaccurate beliefs about how much attention other people pay to them. A second would be generally proxies for low testosterone. If you have a louder and deeper voice people are more likely to listen to you. There are also body language changes and various other things that are hard to fake.
3jsteinhardt8yI think body language tends to be pretty relevant here; it's possible you are not noticing the other person's body language indicating that they're about to start speaking. (And of course, if you want to have it be your turn to speak, using body language to signal this is also relevant.)
6Calvin8yI can't really offer anything more than a personal anecdotes, but here is what I usually do for when I try to grab attention of a group of my peers: * If you are talking to several people gathered in circle, and it is my turn to say something important, I make a small step forward so that I physically place myself in the center of the group. * When I am speaking, I try to mantain eye contact with all people gathered around, If I focus too much only on the person I am speaking to, everyone else turns their attention towards them as well. * I rarely do it myself, as I suppose it is a technique more tailored for public speeches, but conservative use of hand gestures to signify what you are talking about, probably won't hurt. * I probably sound like a self absorbed jerk writing this, but if I want the attention to focus on myself, and not my interlocutor I often use "me" language. Compare and contrast ["What you say about vegans is true, but you may conisder..." - now everybody looks at the person who said something about vegans] ["I think that I agree with what was said about vegans, but I also think..." - now everybody looks at me as I explain my position]. But those are all just little little tricks, when the surest way of attracting attention of the audience is simply to have something important and interesting to say.
January 2014 Media Thread

Looking back, so did I.

When I saw the film I enjoyed it for being very pretty. And was pleasantly surprised (and surprised by my surprise) at how the plot led toward the original film.

Handshakes, Hi, and What's New: What's Going On With Small Talk?

I'd add studies to that list, and possibly hometown / homeland / travels, if you are likely to be meeting students and travelers respectively.

Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

I had reservations about including that sentence, because I only have a vague idea which completely lacks details about mechanisms. And flushing seems like a folk-explanation rather than a science-explanation.

The other vague idea was that drinking more water means the toxins are more dilute, but I have even less confidence in that.

0Randy_M8yMore dilute compared to the (cellular) mass of a person? That's a rather lot of water.
Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

One reason for the myth about dehydration would be due to "drinking plenty of water" still being one of the most effective things to do: If it's about the liver breaking down alcohol into toxic Acetaldehyde, drinking lots of water to flush it out.

Understandable mistake to go from "more water fixes the problem" to "problem must've been not enough water (dehydration.)"

This was how it was discussed in my university chemistry class. Also mentioned: a similar breakdown (same enzymes or whatnot) happens with methanol, and the breakdown products (formaldehyde and then methanoic acid) are stronger / more toxic than those of ethanol (acetaldehyde / acetic acid.)

2hyporational8yHow? I'm pretty sure that contrary to popular belief, water can't simply be used to flush stuff out, the metabolite also has to be in a form that can be excreted by the kidneys, and even then extra water might have no effect whatsoever. This is basic physiology found in any textbook on the subject. I tried to google if kidneys might excrete some of the acetaldehyde, but found no answer.
Group Rationality Diary, January 1-15

During my 2013 review, I've noticed one habit I've strengthened over the year: a certain curious skepticism.

When people share interesting facts with me, I've moved from responding "wow" or "I didn't know that" etc and filing the fact away to share myself, to something like "how fascinating, I wonder if that's true?" or "huh, I want to know more about that!" followed by taking out my phone and googling (or making a note to research it later.)

This includes wonder the same when I'm the one sharing the fascinating fact -... (read more)

January 2014 Media Thread

Reread Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Highly recommended, it has most everything I like about cyberpunk in a modern day real world setting. Without losing the Gibson world-building, world-building as a collage of interesting ideas and perspectives on things.

When I first read it, I thought this was his best book, right up until the end of chapter 37, I disliked chapters 38+ about as much as the epilogue of HP: Deathly Hallows. (And with similar belief that the book would be far better with those pages removed.)

Since then I've re-read the Bridge Tril... (read more)

Open Thread, October 13 - 19, 2013

I would recommend the Best Textbooks on Every Subject thread, rather. This comment (upvoted, incidentally) very almost meets the requirements there:

There have been other pages of recommended reading on Less Wrong before (and elsewhere), but this post is unique. Here are the rules:

  • Post the title of your favorite textbook on a given subject.
  • You must have read at least two other textbooks on that same subject.
  • You must briefly name the other books you've read on the subject and explain why you think your chosen textbook is superior to them.
Open Thread, October 13 - 19, 2013

I use certain videogames for something similar. I've collected a bunch of (Nintendo DS, generally) games that I can play for five minutes or so to pretty much reset my mind. Mostly it's something I use for emotions, but the basic idea is to focus on something that takes up all of that kind of attention - that fully focuses that part of my brain which gets stuck on things.

Key to this was finding games that took all my attention while playing, but had an easy stopping point after five minutes or so of play - Game Center CX / Retro Game Challenge is my go-to, with arcade style gameplay where a win or loss comes up fairly quick.

2Viliam_Bur8yStepMania [] is great for this (needs specialized hardware). It needs the mind and the body. When playing on a challenging level, I must pay full attention to the game -- if my mind starts focusing on any idea, I lose immediately.
Group Rationality Diary, September 16-30

More generally, you are a perfect employee if you did something extremely similar to what your new employers wants to do, for the last ten years.

Thank you, especially for this. I've been contemplating "looking good to potential future employers" type things, and it hadn't occurred to me until just now to frame it as "consider exactly what it is said employer wants, minimise the distance between that and me (as presented by resume / portfolio / etc)"

Group Rationality Diary, September 16-30

I've found it useful to add time-estimates to my to-do list, and I stop adding things once I have eight hours of work down for the day. For me, the "I've acheived everything I set out to today" feeling comes partially from getting lots done and partially from setting realistic expectations.

0therufs8yI usually make a schedule on my gcal, but I don't put much effort into being accurate with time estimations -- a couple of quick tasks can share half an hour; larger tasks usually can't be completed in a day so they get whatever chunk of time I feel like allotting them, often 1.5-2 hours. Then I feel like I have accomplished things if I actually get done all my little tasks, and if I actually do my big tasks for at least most of their allotted time. I've had the same "aha" moment about realistic expectations, and scheduling has helped, but ... it seems like maybe the novelty has worn off or something?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92

That is a good point. And in canon, it was a useful thing to do since it was only the Order & Co. who dared say the name, allowing for decent signal to noise.

I'd thought maybe in HP:MoR the order might be showing more caution, but in Multiple Hypothesis Testing Dumbledore uses the word - and with Moody there. I'd expect the HP:MoR versions of Dumbledore and Moody to to avoid it if they thought there was serious risk.

That said, the specific mention of not screening for listeners does still jump out at me like a Hint.

5Sheaman37738yIt struck me as a hint as well, but I don't think it was specifically saying Voldemort's name that did it. It's just that she openly states that she believes him to be alive and active, and thus reveals to a surreptitious listener that she--and likely Dumbledore--have this knowledge or are acting under these beliefs. That's more than enough, given the interest that the murderer and Quirrell (if they are different people) would have in the room at the time.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

Facepalm, of course. I was thinking there would be a meeting along the lines of the previous private conferences - pretending to be wise in particular. Didn't actually get around to checking which meetings had happened versus which characters I'd expect.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

They've been listening to Dumbledore's 'Life Is A Story' pitch a bit too much.

Seems likely to me that tearing this down will be the climax of the Roles chapters. Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry. And all throughout the story - referencing Gandalf and LotR, "that's not his style" - Dumbledore has been about playing a role in a story.

Also, revealing Dumbledore's secrets is one of the big elements of Rowlings' book 7, and one of the things HP:MoR would have to deal with to resolve all the canon plots in Harry's first year.

Dumbledore is the big character we have left who hasn't had a 'meeting' with Harry

"The first meeting:


...Harry found himself, still in his pajamas, facing Albus Dumbledore..."

Open thread, July 23-29, 2013

I've found that preference to be common in Parkour communities, which might be another place to look.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96

My second guess is that Minerva got in touch with Draco. She knows Harry taught him the Patronus from a conference in the headmasters office and has seen Harry's reaction to losing Draco.

At first I dismissed it at a silly thing for her to try, but now that she will be really making an effort it seems much more likely.

3monsterzero8yYeah, when I try to imagine future events in HPMoR, my brain keeps editing Minerva out. She was an NPC for so long that I'm having trouble factoring her in.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96

Something like this would be my first guess. Draco torn between the roles of son and friend, either revealing to Harry information about Malfoy faction involvement in Hermione's death or trying to convince Harry that they aren't responsible.

Daily Schedules in Combating Akrasia

I noticed significant improvement at work in specifically listing how long I expected task to take, over creating a list of everything that needed doing. That said, the improvement was in how I felt about how much I got done: "today I did more than I thought I'd be able to in eight hours, awesome!" versus "gah, only got half the things on my list done today." which could both be reactions to getting the exact same work done.

Having realistic expectations of how much I will get done boosted my motivation.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95

I've only read the first one, where Katniss jvaf gur tnzrf ol guerngravat gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr va n yvgrenevyl hafngvfslvat jnl.

1Bill_McGrath9yAh yes; that's roughly what happens in the film. I see what you mean.
Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion

It's possible we have? If so it would have been in August 2011.

Instead of being harsh on myself, I decided to go ice skating (which was also on my list of things I've been meaning to do for ages.) and that worked out really well. These comments are more along the lines of 'take actions that increase the odds of my attending a meetup at some future point."

July 2013 Media Thread

The Black Widowers Tales are right at the top of my 2ndhand bookshop foraging list, although I seem to only find copies of the one volume I've already read. Still not sure how I would justify my existence, but they sure are a great read.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95

Brings to mind the Hunger Games, personally.

Could make a fun Omake?

2Bill_McGrath9yI've not read the books - don't tell me that Katniss figures out it's a story at the end of the last one?
Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion

And nope. So close. Made it to Leicester street, chickened out before ringing the bell. Next time...

0BraydenM9yHey JayDee, awesome to hear from you. Don't be too harsh on yourself, we would have had fun today, but there's always next time! Have we met at a meetup before?
Some highlights from Nate Silver's "The Signal and the Noise"

Not that I recall, and searching the text for Kuran nets nothing.

Meetup : Melbourne Excursion: Comfort Zone Expansion

Sounds awesome, I will quite probably be there. (Mostly leaving myself an out in case I sleep in.)

-1JayDee9yAnd nope. So close. Made it to Leicester street, chickened out before ringing the bell. Next time...
What are you working on? July 2013

First syntax error I got was the capital W in While, should be all lowercase.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92

I suspect Quirrell was aware of the exchange, if he can do the same trick as in canon with names:

"No! You-Know-Who killed Hermione!" She was hardly aware of what she was saying, that she hadn't screened the room against who might be listening. "Not you! No matter what else you could've done, it's not you who killed her, it was Voldemort! If you can't believe that you'll go mad, Harry!"

Specific mention of not screening the room, and then saying the V-word out loud.

0Sheaman37738yAre you talking about the Taboo? Because I really got the impression that he couldn't implement it until he was in charge of the Ministry.
Think Like a Supervillain

In the X-Men Comic Cable and Deadpool (2004-2008) Cable makes a a proactive effort to improve things, attempts to create a little utopia. While it all goes pear shaped, I got the impression that was mostly for editorial reasons (actually I only got interested in the series after the cross-over in question de-railed things).

Haven't re-read it recently, but it got me asking questions at the time about whether a superhero with knowledge of the future could actually make things better.

Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I watched "Century of the Self" based on the recommendation in this post, point 14.

14 . Avoid consumerism.[...] One way to start deprogramming is by watching this documentary about the deliberate invention of consumerism by Edward Bernays.

I second the recommendation, although I will say I found the music direction to be hilariously biased; there was clear good guy and bad guy music. I found the narrative it presents eye-opening and was inspired to research a bunch of things further (always a good sign for a documentary, in my opinion.)

Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

My own posture improved once I took up singing. My theory is that I was focused on improving my vocal technique and that changes to my posture directly impacted on this. If I stood or held myself a certain way I could sing better, and the feedback I was getting on my singing ability propagated back and resulted in improved posture. Plus, singing was a lot of fun and with this connection pointed out to me - "your entire body is the instrument when singing, look after it" - my motivation to improve my posture was higher than ever.

That is more how I... (read more)

The Power of Pomodoros

You could try recursion. Call the function SetPomodoro(task, time) from within a Pomodoro, if that is needed.

When you get to a point where you have to wait for a response (from the tests, or the compiler, or IRC) set a new timer and start a new sub-Pomodoro. 25 minutes might not be the appropriate time frame, but estimate how long you have to wait and set a timer for that long. Until this second timer goes off you can check emails or do "other stuff" and be confident you are spending your time wisely.

The idea is to minimize the time spent choosin... (read more)

Rationalist Lent

I was thinking of making February "catch up with people I've been meaning to catch up with" month. But I kept putting it off and failed to think of a catchier name.

So instead I decided to give up procrastinating about social initiation for Lent.

So far it is working well: I'm learning about how difficult it is to schedule things with adults (which more interesting than intimidating upon reflection) and also learning that rejection does hurt a whole bunch but that I am more resilient in the face of it than I suspected.

4Qiaochu_Yuan9yThat would've been a good proposal for Rationalist Valentine's Day!
Rationalist Lent

Good luck.

This reminds me of an experience from my childhood. After watching the finale of Seinfeld, my mother made some kind of comment about how I watched so much TV it was unhealthy. I decided to go a week without watching any television, you know, just to prove her wrong.

And I managed it (admittedly I taped the X-Files to watch after the week had passed. I am unreasonably proud that I went four years without missing an episode even though these days it is trivial to see them all.) It's the first example I can think of where I took an unexamined behavior and made it a deliberate one. It was a good experience to have behind me.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

The last sentence of these three: "My reasons for preferring to dissuade him [Mike] were entirely about myself. I hadn't yet begun to scratch the surface of what I wanted out of dating or romance or anything in that department. And it seemed like a uniquely hazardous thing to uninformedly test by experiment, both for myself and for anyone else involved. "

A concise explanation of my feelings towards courtship and such things.

0shminux10yHopefully Alicorn got her ego tickled a bit :) Personally, I prefer this one: "I accept your apology," I said. I'd gotten into the habit of saying that instead of "it's okay" when I was fourteen, having noticed that I often wanted to accept apologies for things that were not really okay. I wish I figured that one out by myself at any age.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

Five quick questions, five fast answers. Fast and perhaps somewhat rambling.

I'm an Australian, a few years shy of thirty, who has generally done things for his own reasons rather than simply going along with everyone else. After secondary school I got a job or two, became heavily involved in a fringe political group for a few years and only then decided to go onto to university. Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) - hopefully the last BS from the education system I'll put up with. I've just very recently dropped out of Honours and moved the 1000km home to Melb... (read more)

3Alicorn10yEee, what was it? :D
2shokwave10yWelcome to LessWrong, and I look forward to seeing you this Friday!