All of Matt_Duing's Comments + Replies

Pittsburgh Less Wrong meet-up April 22 7pm

If anyone else would like to reschedule the meeting, please contact soon.

s/goggle/google, presumably
Rationality Quotes: April 2011

The most important relic of early humans is the modern mind.

-Steven Pinker

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

The videos are basically explanations of investing terminology. On second thought, my suggestion was not really on point as a source of procedural knowledge.

Procedural Knowledge Gaps

Khan Academy also has a sequence of videos on stock market basics.

The idea of educational videos on "stock market basics" for amateurs strikes me as about equally sensible as having educational videos for amateurs on abdominal surgery. Unless of course these videos limit themselves to explaining the concept of weak EMH, but somehow I doubt it.
The Santa deception: how did it affect you?

I figured out the non-existence of Santa Claus when I was about 5, I don't remember how. Someone posing as Santa visited a relative's Christmas party I was at and gave the children gifts and the local news in my city tracks "Santa's current location" on the weather radar periodically on Christmas Eve, which kind of made it a pink goo moment for me. I was angry and confused, but mostly kept this to myself. From this experience I concluded that my parents were not completely reliable and that society has a significant disrespect for children, altho... (read more)

I'm inclined to think that lying to children is dominance behavior-- the people who do it are reassuring themselves that they're in charge. However, it's hard to get evidence about covert motives.
Pittsburgh meetup Nov. 20

Hi Kevin. You're thinking of someone else but I'd very much like to meet you.

Pittsburgh meetup Nov. 20

We had a good turn-out and some interesting discussion at the meet-up tonight. Pittsburgh is a vibrant tech/university center, and I think LW meet-ups should occur here regularly. It's been suggested that future discussions should loosely center on a pre-determined topic, and I agree that this is a good idea. I invite anyone interested in planning further Pittsburgh meetings to PM me here, email me at mattduing at gmail dot com, or post on this thread.

I'll be in town from the 24th of November to December 4th and am happy to meet other Pittsburgh aspiring rationalists. Actually I think I met you once before... you work at Google and I drove you to the Green Day concert? Or maybe I'm thinking of someone else.
Request: Interesting Invertible Facts

Eliezer writes,

Note also that I have a general policy of keeping anything related to religion out of the >rationality book - that there be no mention of it whatsoever.

I just wanted to say that I think this is an excellent decision. I wish there was more material that challenges the practice of mental compartmentalization yet avoids triggering emotional bias.

Humans are not automatically strategic

The examples on might help.

Thanks, nice link. I must say though that my example is mainly to illustrate the point of Implicit learning (breaking the code) being harder than explicit learning (being given a key). I prefer breaking the code most times. I guess the double entendre about Carlin was a bit to implicit... maybe just not funny... :)
Humans are not automatically strategic

wrt sleep deprivation, according to a DOT driver's manual, driving without having slept in 18 hours is equivalent in risk to driving with a .08 blood alcohol level. Driving without having slept in 24 hours corresponds to a .10 blood alcohol level.

Rationality quotes: August 2010

"They never do tests. Not many real deeds either. Oh, conversation with your grandmother's shade in a darkened room, the odd love potion or two, but comes a doubter, why, then it's the wrong day, the planets are not in line, the entrails are not favorable, we don't do tests!" -Tyrian, Dragonslayer

Rationality quotes: June 2010

A troubling possible implication of this is if the impact we can expect to have on existential risks diminishes over time, then as the competence of our plans and actions increases, the expected importance of those choices tends to decrease.

How to always have interesting conversations

I have the same problem also and it sounds like this will help. Thank you.

Less Wrong Book Club and Study Group

I live in Pittsburgh and would like to participate.

Open Thread: June 2010

My feelings on this are mixed. I've found LW to be a refreshing refuge from such quarrels. On the other hand, without careful thought political debates reliably descend into madness quickly, and it is not as if politics is unimportant. Perhaps taking the mental techniques discussed here to other forums could improve the generally atrocious level of reasoning usually found in online political discussions, though I expect the effect would be small.

Rationality quotes: June 2010

"Sanity is conforming your thoughts to reality. Conforming reality to your thoughts is creativity."

-- Unknown

I would prefer to say that conforming your thoughts to reality is science, and conforming reality to your thoughts is engineering...
Rationality quotes: June 2010

"It's wonderful how much we suck compared to us ten years from now!"

-- Michael Blume

A troubling possible implication of this is if the impact we can expect to have on existential risks diminishes over time, then as the competence of our plans and actions increases, the expected importance of those choices tends to decrease.
Abnormal Cryonics

The cause of death of people suitable to be organ donors is usually head trauma.

Open Thread: May 2010

Has anyone read "Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical Survey" by R. Duncan Luce and Howard Raiffa? Any thoughts on its quality?

Proposed New Features for Less Wrong

I support setting the posting threshold to 50 karma and the grace period proposals. I understand that up votes and down votes are generally given without comment, but providing constructive criticism to new users would be helpful.

Great. Please vote in the polls at [] and [] so your opinion can be counted.
Open Thread: March 2010, part 3

Perhaps a monthly or quarterly lounge thread could serve this function, provided it does not become too much of a distraction.

Undiscriminating Skepticism

Thank you. Another factor that helped me was that I was encouraged to read the Bible. I actually did read all of it and was disturbed by some of the things I found. Something that particularly sticks out in my mind is the story of Jephthah from Judges chapter 11. Here God basically demands that a man sacrifice his young daughter (i.e. stab her to death and burn her body) as repayment for answering a prayer. God also claims responsibility for creating evil somewhere in the book of Isaiah, though the exact reference escapes me. It took me several years after... (read more)

My experience was similar. If you (are similar to me and) want to lose the Christian faith - go to church and read the Bible. Two recipes for apostasy.
Undiscriminating Skepticism

There was a time that I prayed intensely and experienced the presence of God on a nearly daily basis. Reading identical reports from people of other religions and learning about the many frailties of the brain helped me greatly to discount these experiences.

I hope I don't sound too effusive if I say that's borderline heroic.

But yeah, I suppose if you read "The Varieties of Religious Experience" or some other such book, you realize pretty fast that an experience like that is not really evidence.

I'm nonetheless surprised at your ability to do that calculus, as opposed to just closing the book. It impresses me almost as much as, say, the family of a murder victim speaking up in the defendant's cause. You were surely working through the Venus-of-Willendorf of all biases (I would imagine).

Undiscriminating Skepticism

I've had about one episode of sleep paralysis per year starting around the same age. I haven't had any visual hallucinations, though there have been occasions where I've heard ambient sounds that very likely weren't real. It was terrifying the first time I experienced it, but they no loger bother me at all.

Rationality quotes: March 2010

"If it works for you, it works because of you." -- Mark Greenway on marriage

Rationality quotes: March 2010

"It is said that those who appreciate legislation and sausages should not see them being made. The same is true for human emotions." -- Steven Pinker

Rationality quotes: March 2010

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

The Last Days of the Singularity Challenge

I donated 250 USD to the general fund, and plan to continue giving in the long term.

Rationality Quotes: February 2010

"Seeing is believing, but seeing isn't knowing." -- AronRa

Rationality Quotes: February 2010

"In madness all sounds become articulate." -- "Language of the Shadows", Nile

Rationality Quotes January 2010

"Do not ask permission to understand. Do not wait for the word of authority. Seize reason in your own hand. With your own teeth savor the fruit."

-"The Way of Analysis", Robert S. Strichartz

Call for new SIAI Visiting Fellows, on a rolling basis

I second Morendil's thanks. This list provides a view of what material is being thought about and discussed by the SIAI volunteers, and I hope that it alleviates some of the concerns of potential applicants who are hesitating.

Welcome to Less Wrong!

Name: Matt Duing Age: 24 Location: Pittsburgh, PA Education: undergraduate

I've been an overcoming bias reader since the beginning, which I learned of from Michael Anissimov's blog. My long term goal is to do what I can to help mitigate existential risks and my short term goals include using rationality to become a more accurate map drawer and a more effective altruist.