lejuletre

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Thoughts on Ad Blocking

I would use an adblocker that compromised by only blocking ads (and "you're supposed to be seeing an ad here :(" notifications) that move and/or cover text. I said this in a comment on the last post, but I wasn't kidding when I said ads make some websites truly unusable (or slow them down to that point). Just last night I was using Chrome with no adblocker (I usually use Firefox with ublock origin), and citationmachine.net/ was so slow and cluttered that I ended up switching back to Firefox to make my single citation and copy it back to my document in Chrome. 

citationmachine.net in Chrome with no adblocker; there are 4 ad slots visible including 1 video. All of the ads are moving and the actual content of the website is below all of the ads. 
The same website in Firefox with ublock origin. There is a large blank space where ads would normally go, so I still have to scroll down to the content, but nothing is covering said content.

I would be happy with an adblocker that froze these moving ads and removed the "Ace hardware" ad which is covering the content as well as the HBO Max video (which plays sound). The CVS/Paypal ad is duplicated in this screenshot, but as the ads refresh they are usually not duplicated.

If all ads looked like ads on slatestarcodex used to, I would be fine with them. I've bought things from facebook ads before and I don't mind being shown content I'm likely to buy (and I find facebook's strategy of disguising its ads like posts to be misleading, but minimally disruptive). But I cannot navigate around an internet that shows 4+ ads on any page I visit. It's excessive.

Why I Work on Ads

I see a lot of disagreement about whether ads are "manipulative" or not, and I generally agree with OP's example in another comment about a contra dance. I have also organized various clubs and activities before, and I don't really think "ads you see when using a website" and "ads you see when glancing at your university's activities wall" are all that different, ethically speaking. 

I think the "manipulation" aspect has far more to do with the content of an ad than where it's placed. Concerns of this sort are ones I would level at someone who works in marketing, not someone who works for Google. The most salient example I can think of are beauty product ads, which play a major role in perpetuating toxic beauty standards (even if they're not guilt-tripping you personally into buying more makeup to fix your face wrinkles). But again, I don't think this is something the people working for AdSense have control over (unless they do?).

My concerns about ads for someone who works for Google (or any other software or browser company), would be concerns (as OP mentions) about ads making websites unusable, especially on mobile. This includes things like YouTube increasing the number of ads you have to watch before a video starts* as well as pop-up ads and automatic videos that play on articles. If your job involves figuring out how to incorporate ads into the browsing experience without making them break or stall, that's helpful as far as I'm concerned.

There is probably also something to be said for the harm caused by Google's monopoly on the AdSense system, but I don't know enough about tech or internet management to comment on it beyond my vague suspicions. 

*ACrackedPot below also mentions the use of ads as a punishment to punish free-version users into paying for a subscription, and while I wouldn't call this "unethical" or insidious the way that makeup ads are, I think it's a dick move. 

[Letter] Advice for High School

Yeah I agree, I think you can get pretty far with educating yourself while having read maaaybe 1 or 2 of the 4+ books listed in the post, unless you find that that is something that really interests you. Of course reading nonfiction is a gr8 way to educate yourself (though you have to be careful, because a lot of published nonfiction has lower epistemic standards than would be ideal), but again, that nonfiction doesn't have to be about the flaws of the education system unless you really care about learning about the flaws of the education system.

sincerely, someone who reads a lot about the flaws in the education system

Seven Years of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom

Do you think that instinctive drive to listen to experts "talk shop" applies to apathetic students, though? I worry that the chance to listen to "experts" (native speakers) chat at the front of the room would be too easily taken as a chance to tune out and relax (especially since what they're getting from the experience is more metadata about how a conversation in the target language works than any particular language content itself). I'm not sure how the "authenticity" rule applies either, for the same reason. I don't see how "We instinctively want to be able to talk like the experts do so we can blend in with them" would apply to a student with no desire to become an expert/fluent speaker. Do you think these are relevant questions, or do you think that the benefit of such a expert-expert interaction to highly motivated students would outweigh the uselessness to unmotivated ones?

My instinct for expert self-talk in foreign language instruction is just normal talking to oneself; "thinking aloud," as it were. I'm not sure the best way to demonstrate that to the class, since I think the most authentic scenario would be to put them in an immersive environment so they can figure it out. But if we had ready access to immersive environments then foreign language classrooms would be in much better shape.

WRT 2, yes, pronunciation is something that was never explicitly taught in my high school language experience, and I think it would help students build confidence in their speaking. I haven't yet figured out the best way to do this without teaching them IPA, but it's definitely something I want to incorporate. Even if they can get the vowel system down (ignoring tricky consonants like trilled R's and unaspirated T's) I think many students would be in a better boat than they are now.

Seven Years of Spaced Repetition Software in the Classroom

Hello ! I am Jaime who recognized your username on ACX and requested you publish this retrospective. Thank you so much for this; I found it very insightful and very helpful for my research.

I'm currently writing my thesis on spaced repetition in foreign language classrooms, and am planning to become a secondary school French teacher. The curriculum I'm writing integrates spaced repetition into the material reviewed on a given day, without using flashcards, and was heavily inspired by the model in this post. I have no idea if it'll work, but at the very least part of my thesis is creating a bunch of lesson plans, so I figure the worst possible outcome here is that I was wrong about everything but at least I made up some fun activities along the way.

I've suspected for awhile that one problem with school is that they try to get you to learn too much information, so it's nice to hear from an experienced teacher that I'm probably thinking along the right track.

Your commentary on apprenticeship is interesting; I remember learning French in middle and high school that I was deeply impacted by the few times where another French teacher would come chat with my teacher, in French. It was a rare opportunity to witness a fluent conversation in real time. Something I want to prioritize in my French classroom is bringing in guest speakers. I've previously assumed that the primary goal would be the evangelize practical applications of French (which I'm very aware are limited; but you can see how this sort of thing would be very relevant in a Spanish or Mandarin classroom). Maybe a secondary or even primary goal would be the opportunity for students to watch in real time a fluent French conversation, and lacking the spontaneity I witnessed between French teachers as a 7th grader, myself and the guest speaker could make a specific effort to use relevant and known vocabulary. I'm not sure of other ways that apprenticeship-style teaching could be incorporated into a foreign language classroom, but I'm very interested in researching further.

Avoid Contentious Terms

I agree with the overarching sentiment of this post, especially as a tool for making one's writing more inviting to "new people," as it were. I do disagree with the avoidance of the word consent specifically. For one thing, I do remember reading the Tickling post and feeling like it was "somewhat detached from the broader conversation," but I also feel like normalizing using consent to refer to mundane, non-sexual, non-violent situations is a good thing. I suppose it's a personal opinion whether this expansion of the usage of consent is a good thing or not, but I feel like it's a bit less politicized compared to all of your other examples that it's worth considering on its own. 

Best way to write a bicolor article on Less Wrong?

My first thought (just upon reading the title) was to use the green hyperlink as one color, but that sounds clunkier than using bold or italics, so I'm not sure it's the best way to go. I would find the bicolor notation very helpful, fwiw, but I'm not colorblind and I don't use a screen reader, so I have no input there (and no idea how a screen reader would process a hyperlink).

How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle?

I have generalized anxiety disorder, and in many ways the "panic attacks" i experienced on sprinctec were basically like my typical anxiety attacks, only more intense, so yeah in general i would say that's something I'm more predisposed to.

I'm really not sure how "prone" i am to depression personally, since while I have experienced it to varying degrees throughout my life, it was always as a sort of side effect of other issues in my life and never The issue on its own. However, i have a genetic history of it, so I'm definitely predisposed to it in that sense.

How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle?

This is something I would love to collect more data on. Everything here is anecdotal and speculative.

The first pill I tried was Sprintec, a combination estradiol and norgestimate, and it caused at least 3x/week panic attacks for the entire 5 months I was on it. I would say do not recommend, but with any birth control YMMV.

Now I am taking Larissia, which is a small-dose estradiol and levonorgestrel combination. I think it has made me slightly more depressive (with slightly decreased productivity as a consequence), but it is FAR preferable to Sprintec and marginally preferable to no-pill.

Off the pill, I find my productivity above-average for about 1 week after my period (I have a very regular 28 day cycle), and frustratingly low for the other 3 weeks (especially the week I am actually on my period). While on the pill, I never get the high of that one post-period week, but I also don't suffer the low before and during my period.

The reason I start Larissia is because I took a levonorgestrel emergency contraception (specifically Aftera), and I was expecting to spend the next few hours bedridden with nausea, but I actually found my mood lightened and my productivity increased, roughly to the level of my non-pill post-period high. Of course, this was just one time, and the Aftera tablet is 1.5 mg of hormone where Larissia is .02 mg. I'm considering switching to the slightly higher .05 mg levo-estra combination to see if I can alleviate some of my current depressiveness.

Hope this is helpful! Definitely a question I've wondered myself, and it's good to know I'm not the only one.

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