Thank you both for providing the links. I will wait and see whether the percentage stays the same in the 2015 survey...
I only identify with my birth gender by default: 681, 45.3%
I'm surprised at this. Is there a special term for "only identifying with one's gender by default" or keywords I can use to look for statistics for among the general population? (a brief googling didn't uncover anything). I would've guessed this number to be much lower, and now I'm wondering whether this is signaling or whether my model of other people in this particular instance is completely wrong.
What I did during the last couple years of high school and throughout university was to do some jobs that I definitely didn't want to do for longer than a month, but where I was curious about "how they work from the inside". I did one-month stints at a fast-food chain, private tutoring for languages and math, cashier at a department store, and working in a bar, and short-term things like selling merchandise at big events. I also found two not-so-common opportunities through friends of friends (teaching in a bilingual summer camp, and helping with a TV program). The main criterium for me here was whether it was something I wanted to experience once (the bar paid much more than the fast-food chain, for example, but it didn't play any role in how long I was sticking with them).
I assume you're going to school in the US, so I'm not sure how much will be transferable from my experience being a CS/linguistics student in Germany, but FWIW: my other category of jobs was "helps gain professional experience in my chosen fields" (research assistant at university, part-time programming jobs at various companies) or "somewhere I can sit and study while being paid" (university library jobs FTW!).
Being a research assistant at my department was great because I ended up forging a good relationship with my professors, got involved with research at an early stage, could apply concepts I was learning, etc, so it was both fuzzies (everybody went for drinks at the end of a semester, for example) and more tangible benefits (when I needed some recommendation letters for a scholarship, everybody was very happy to give me one even though they were busy).
Finding part-time programming jobs outside was surprisingly easy - from what I know, it's much cheaper for German companies to employ students (you need to pay less benefits etc), so as long as you could write FizzBuzz you were already a net positive for them. Those jobs were the reason I was not completely lost at my first full-time job out of university.
I'd also be curious to see an elaboration on the Attention workshop. The concept of attention as a limited and important resource was one of my main takeaways from the 4-day workshop (+discussions on the alumni list), leading me to the tools I needed to gain better focus and not feel overwhelmed all the time. Now and then I try to explain the concepts in conversations with people who I think might benefit from it, so I'd be interested in how not to do it.
I've been aware of LW for a while, reading individual posts linked in programmer/engineering hangouts now and then, and I independently came across HPMOR in search of good fanfiction. But the decision to un-lurk myself came after I attended a CFAR workshop (a major positive life change) and realized that I want to keep being engaged with the community.
I'm very interested in anti-aging research (both from the effective altruism point of view, and because I find the topic really exciting and fascinating) and want to learn about it in as much depth as time permits. So far I would come across science articles about single related discoveries in specialized fields (molecular biology, brain science, ... ) but I haven't found a good resource (book, coursera course, whatever) where I can learn the necessary medicine/biology background and how it all comes together in the current state of the art (I'm thinking of something similar to all the remarkable physics books we have on the market). Any pointers are appreciated.
Imagine someone who reads the horoscope every morning, who always trusts their gut feelings and emotions, who's a sincere believer in homeopathy, etc etc (whatever you think an irrational person believes). Such a person would probably strongly rationality, rationalists, and the complex of ideas surrounding rationality, for probably understandable reasons
A bit offtopic to the discussion itself, but trusting your "gut feelings" is rational in certain circumstances (or, in the more precise lingo, in certain conditions System 1 will be faster /and/ more correct than System 2). I actually don't remember whether HPMOR teaches it somewhere (if anybody knows, could you share a link?).
I often use this as a bridge when explaining applied rationality techniques to friends, because it makes the techniques more relatable and gives me a good opening ("I'm totally with you on trusting your gut feelings in situation X, and here're some interesting explanations from psychology research on why it works", using familiar topics to show your System 1 that research can explain life and that research can be interesting!, so then I can continue into "on the other hand it's probably not good to do the same in situation Y, here's some interesting research on why it's so"). It also helps dispel the Straw Vulcan view of rationality.
The point being that advocating for (applied) rationality can sometimes come across as saying "you, being human, have no idea how to make good decisions in an environment populated by humans, wipe everything clean and begin anew", instead of "making decisions is hard, but here're some things you already seem to do right, and here're some things you could get better at".
I'm trying to gauge interest in starting a new (english-language) Tokyo area meetup. Are the people who went to this meetup still interested/in Japan?
To address your point of
On changing your sense of identity into "I don't like sugar": I do that with other stuff, and it is very effective. I don't want it to fail with sugar and therefore cause me to trust my overall identity less, so I'm not trying it with something with such high likelihood of failure, but others who like sugar less should try.
I totally see how you don't want it to become a negative spiral. For the sake of completeness, a thinking pattern that helps me in such cases is to "try on" an identity for 2 weeks or so. This feels very non-committal, so if it fails, there is less of "I'm bad at this method/my other identities must be unstable as well" but rather "well, this identity needs tweaking at the very least, but my method is still fine" sort of feeling.
What you did with summarizing the suggestions is really cool by the way. It's not a lot of added effort for you since you make a summary for yourself anyway, and I really appreciated a short summary of all the comments.
I'd like to pitch the identity angle, which worked for me very well (your mileage may vary, of course). I ate very little processed sugar foods (chocolate, cookies, etc) at various points in my life due to what I saw myself as:
Once something is part of your identity, following it becomes a joyful, self-affirming activity rather than a willpower drain.
I also found that when I'm eating common supermarket sweets, I eat a lot because I try to satisfy a craving for flavour that these foods lack. If I substitute them with home-baked flavourful cakes or good chocolate, I tend to eat much less, since my craving is satisfied with the first bite. I'm not sure how making a calorie-rich food (that you don't eat a lot of) flavourful influences your body fat setpoint though (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.jp/2011/04/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity.html).
I find that a fiction book that speaks to you is also a really great way of jump-starting experiments in your Inner Simulator. I usually find such books by browsing a book store and picking out (not necessarily objectively that good) stuff that speaks to me rather than working from a crowd-sourced list.