The quote on conflict reminds me of Jaak Panksepp's "Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions", or a refracted view of it presented in John Gottman's book, "The Relationship Cure". Panksepp identifies mammalian emotional command systems he names FEAR, SEEKING, RAGE, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, PLAY; Gottman characterizes these systems as competing cognitive modules: Commander-in-chief, Explorer, Sentry, Energy Czar, Sensualist, Jester or Nest Builder. It is tempting now to think of them as very high-level controllers in the hierarchy.
Why is "be specific" a hard skill to teach?
I think it is because being specific is not really the problem, and by labeling it as such we force ourselves into a dead-end which does not contain a solution to the real problem. The real problem is achieving communication. By 'achieving communication', I mean that concepts in one mind are reproduced with good fidelity in another. By good fidelity, I mean that 90% (arbitrary threshold) of assertions based on my model will be confirmed as true by yours.
There are many different ways that the fidelity c... (read more)
In Pinker's book "How the Mind Works" he asks the same question. His observation (as I recall) was that much of our apparently abstract logical abilities are done by mapping abstractions like math onto evolved subsystems with different survival purposes in our ancestors: pattern recognition, 3D spatial visualization, etc. He suggests that some problems seem intractable because they don't map cleanly to any of those subsystems.
I like the pithy description of halo bias. I don't like or agree with Mencken's non-nuanced view of idealists. it's sarcastically funny, like "a liberal is one who believes you can pick up a dog turd by the clean end", but being funny doesn't make it more true.
I'm actively interested in optimizing my health, and I take a number of supplements to that end. The survey would seem most interesting if its goal was to find how to optimize your health via supplements. As it turns out, none of the ones I take qualify as "minerals". If it turns out in fact that taking Vitamin XYZ is the single best thing you can do to tweak your diet, then this survey's conclusions, whatever they turn out to be (eg. that Calcium is better than Selenium) will be misleading. Maybe that's the next survey.
FYI, I'm taking: vitamin C, green tea extract, acetyl-l carnitine, vitamin D-3, fish oil, ubiquinol, and alpha lipoic acid. I've stopped taking vitamin E and aspirin.
The discussions about signalling reminded me of something in "A Guide To The Good Life" (a book about stoicism by William Irvine). I remembered a philospher who wore shabby clothes, but when I went looking for the quote, what I found was: "Cato consciously did things to trigger the disdain of other people simply so he could practice ignoring their disdain." In stoicism, the utility which is to be maximized is a personal serenity which flows from your secure knowledge that you are spending your life pursuing something genuinely valuable.
I am trying to be more empathetic with someone, and am having trouble understanding their behavior. They practice the "stubborn fundamental attribution error": someone who does not in fact behave as expected (as this individual imagines she would behave in their place) is harshly judged (neurotic, stupid, lazy, etc.). Any attempts to help her put herself in another's shoes are implacably resisted. Any explanations which might dispel harsh judgement are dismissed as "justifications". One example which I think is related is what I'll ca... (read more)
reminds me of:
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
This seems to be an argument about definitions. To me, Friedman's "average out" means a measurable change in a consistent direction, e.g. significant numbers of random individuals investing in gold. So, given some agents acting in random directions mixed with other agents acting in the same (rational) direction, you can safely ignore the random ones. (He argued.) I don't think he meant to imply that in the aggregate people are rational. But even in the simplified problem-space in which it appears to make sense, Friedman's basic conclusion, that markets are rational (or 'efficient'), has been largely abandoned since the mid 1980s. Reality is more complex.
I have two major comments. First, I took the Scientology Communications class 35 years ago in Boston, and it was basically the same as what has just been described. That's impressive, in a creepy kind of way.
Second, my strongest take-away from the class I took was in response to something NOT mentioned above, so this aspect may have changed. We were given a small book, something like "The History of Scientology". (This is not the huge "Dianetics" book.) We were told to read it on our own, until we understood it, and would move on to... (read more)
I'll have to miss this one. Anti-serendipity; I NEVER leave town, except, apparently, next Saturday. Hope there's another one soon.
My deficiency is common manners. I think it's a lack of attention to the world outside of my own thoughts. I've been known to just wander away from a conversation that is clearly not over to the other participants. I notice a sneeze about 10 seconds too late to say "bless you!". I'm appropriately thankful, but assume that's clear without my actually saying or writing something to convey the feeling. Depending on the context, my preoccupation leads me to be perceived as everything from a lovable nerd to an arrogant jerk. It's something I'd like to change.
When I interact with people who behave the way you do (there a lot here at NASA), I generally do not hold it against them.
However, since you said you'd like to change, here are some suggestions that don't require a great deal of attention because they are responses to specific events (which you would need to practice noticing):
You can get a warm fuzzy feeling from doing it yourself with a downloaded form (say from Nolo) or a cheap app (like WillMaker), but there are subtle ways to mess up, so professional advice is highly recommended. Doing it yourself, you may tend to shy away from thinking about low-probability or painful scenarios, and you don't get to debug it by changing it and trying again. A will is just one part of estate planning, and sometimes a will isn't needed (if the estate is in a trust, its beneficiaries take precedence). Usually you'll need to coordinate the w... (read more)
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
"If triangles had a god, he would have three sides."
[Lettres Persanes, no 59]
I'm a relatively new lurker, still working through the Sequences. It strikes me that patrissimo's disaffection and resultant call to action are targeted at "the more advanced students", or where I hope to be at some point. To use a shop-class analogy, once you've finished Shop 101, sitting around reading back issues of Woodcrafts magazine wil be lower ROI than designing and building a Mission chest of drawers. But until you've been through the basics, "go build" is less productive and potentially dangerous. I 've discovered that ... (read more)
If you are working through the sequences, how did you get to my post? :).
It seems that instead of paying attention to your lathe and table saw in Shop 101, you are leafing through the latest copies of "Advanced Carpentry". This can be motivation, it can add context to the class, or it can be a form of procrastination, focusing on the dream of producing great things in the future instead of the hard work of learning to produce small things in the present. Only you can decide, through conscious examination, which is.
Do you read my post (and pres... (read more)
This is a classic time-management issue, often titled "ants vs. elephants", e.g. using your time to tackle small tasks you can complete easily for some immediate gratification instead of investing in the large ones with big payoff. In my own experience, it almost feels like tasks have an "activation energy". I have a list of prioritized goals, but if I'm low in energy I avoid the big but important tasks and do something relatively mindless like reading Science News or doing a sudoku. In college I used to despise myself for not being ... (read more)
I've been lurking on LW for a couple of months, trying to work through all of the major sequences. I don't remember how I discovered it; it might have been a link in the BadAstronomy blog. I studied astronomy in school and grad school and end up becoming a software engineer, which I've done for almost 30 years now. Most of the content here resonates powerfully with the intellectual searching I've been doing my whole life, and I'm finding it both stimulating and humbling. Spurred by what I've read here, I've just acquired Judea Pearl's "Causality&qu... (read more)
Newton focused on forces and gravity. Later physicists generalized newtonian mechanics, coming up with formalisms for expressing a host of different problems using a common approach (Lagrangian mechanics with generalized coordinates). They weren't losing precision or sacrificing any power to anticipate reality by having an insight that many apparently different problems can be looked at as being essentially the same problem. A cylinder accellerating down a ramp as it rolls is the same problem as a satellite orbiting the L5 lagrangian point. Another uni... (read more)
I think I agree with you, majus.
I would add as a counter-example that the problem of explaining mankind's nature and origin becomes solvable when the problem is extended to the problem of explaining the nature and origin of every species in the biosphere. The problem of explaining Mary's illness may become easier if it is broadened to the problem of explaining the illness of the 20 people who became sick immediately after the company picnic.
To my mind narrowness should not be called a virtue. Instead we have the tactic or heuristic of narrowing, which is... (read more)