I am trying to stay anonymous on this account in order to encourage myself to post more. If you think you can deduce my identity based on what I have posted, I would really appreciate it if you let me know so that I can scale back revealing details.


How hard is it to disguise my gait?

This is a good point concerning current gait recognition technology. However, I don't doubt it will improve. On longer timescales, this should happen naturally as compute gets cheaper and more data gets collected. On shorter timescales, this can be accelerated using techniques such as synthetic data generation. 

Perhaps there is a natural limit to gait recognition, if it turns out that people can't be uniquely identified from their gait, even in the limit of perfect data. But if there isn't, then in 10 years, "94%" will turn into "99.999%", or whatever is needed for gait recognition to be worth thinking about. 

In this situation (and in the situation where I leave my phone at home), this question becomes relevant again. 

Is sitting in the sun much better than sitting in the shade?

I could see the spotlight being unpleasant because the brightness differences might cause eye strain, unless the light is really perfectly placed. Sunlight (or even shade) seems much better in this regard. Interesting idea though—I'm surprised how affordable that spotlight is. 

Is sitting in the sun much better than sitting in the shade?

Does Kelvin Color Temperature change much in the sun compared to the shade? Based on feel, the shade feels way brighter to me than even the brightest warm (= low Kelvin) lights indoors. This intuition could be wrong though. 

What books are for: a response to "Why books don't work."

I really like your way of thinking about why books are useful!

This reminds me of another argument for why books are useful which came up in this 80,000 Hours podcast episode with Julia Galef. 

Julia Galef: [...] You know, the thing that I think books do really well is provide a nice container for a thesis or ideas, such that it’s easy to spread and talk about. And they do this better than blog posts, for the most part. I’ve heard people sometimes say, “Most books should be blog posts,” or “Most books should be articles,” or something like that, and I sympathize with that view.

Another way of phrasing this: when two people have read the same book, even if they don't remember the details, they can reference the book as a "pointer" and make deeper arguments (held up by their intuitions about the book, ingrained because they spent so much time engaging with its entirety) than they would have been able to make if they had only read summaries. 

What books are for: a response to "Why books don't work."

What blog posts are for: a response to "What books are for: a response to 'Why books don't work.'"

I read this blog post carefully yet absorbed only a small fraction of the total details it contains. You're only communicating one key idea here. For greater learning efficiency, you may as well replace this post with a one-sentence summary: "Anyway, I think that books are basically mechanisms to leverage this availability heuristic."

If my previous research is wrong, what are my options ?

If you want more opinions on your situation than whatever you get on LessWrong, you could try asking this question on https://academia.stackexchange.com/ ). They have an entire tag on errors in published papers. 

List of things I think are worth reading (last updated 3/1/2021)

Glad to hear I pointed you to some helpful stuff!

The log(popularity) is to discourage me from populating this list with lots of insightful but really well-known or easy to find stuff—I think this would make it less interesting or useful. Then "log" was arbitrarily chosen to weaken the penalty on popularity (compared to if I just divided by it). I'm not doing any of this quantitatively anyway, so it's really just me rationalizing including "Doing Good Better" but not the n other good popular things I 'should' similarly recommend. 

Menstrual cycle effects—Clue study summary and commentary

Yes, I completely agree with this point. I hope I made it clear that I like thinking about data like this exclusively for personal "outside view"-y reflection. So things like, "Oh I haven't gotten anything done this morning, maybe it's because of (x cycle variable), so maybe I can do (y intervention) to fix things". And then, generalizing to other women only in the sense that they might find it helpful to think similar thoughts. 

They didn't mention sex drive, but the binary variable "had sex" did come up in the study. However individual fluctuations cancelled out any patterns beyond "more sex on weekends" and "less sex during periods". 

just_browsing's Shortform

Thing I would do if I had enough money for $200 to be inconsequential: buy 2 pairs of identical bluetooth headphones—one permanently paired to my laptop and one permanently paired to my phone. This would save me lots of annoyance whenever I switch between the two. Bluetooth seems to just suck 

If you've learned from the best, you're doing it wrong

Summarized, this post seems to be saying "Learning <thing> is most effective if you get the most effective teacher. The most effective teachers of <thing> aren't necessarily the most skilled ("the best") people—they are people who are marginally more skilled in <thing> than you ("the same")."

The first sentence seems very true. The second sentence is often true, but as johnswentworth pointed out, there are exceptions. I'll restate his exception and add two of my own. 

  1. (from johnswentworth's comment) If the skill is niche, you may have no choice but to learn from the best. In particular, the best may be the best since they know something everybody else doesn't. 
  2. It can be valuable to gain a "30000 foot overview" of a topic if you want to learn how experts in a field think. Such an overview is best given by "the best" in that field, not people who are "same". For example, a graduate student in one field might attend a seminar in a different, only slightly related field, hoping to ignore the details and take away a broad bigger picture of the field. 
  3. Masterclasses exist. For example, a student musician may gain a lot from a single lesson with a world-class musician.

For examples 2 and 3, the shared attribute here is that it can be beneficial to learn the "compressed" knowledge the "best" expert has, rather than less compressed knowledge from a "same" teacher. Even if the student can't "uncompress" this knowledge, there is still value in learning the general shape of a body of knowledge. 

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