"Essayer is the French verb meaning "to try" and an essai is an attempt. An essay is something you write to try to figure something out... In a real essay, you don't take a position and defend it. You notice a door that's ajar, and you open it and walk in to see what's inside." -- Paul Graham


Cryonics Signup Guide
Meetup Writeups


Neurocryopreservation vs whole-body preservation

Yes, as I noted in footnote 3 (the last line of the post), I'll discuss that in next week's post.

Covid 1/7: The Fire of a Thousand Suns

why not just use a ko-fi or paypal.me link? both claim that they take 0% in fees, and ko-fi even has a recurring payment option if that feature is important to you.

Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people.

Negotiations about COVID precautions were not a major cause of conflict, but the situation of being in full, absolute, no-interactions-outside-the-house lockdown for many months let conflicts brew, fester, and come to a head (if I may grossly mix metaphors). I'd mostly ascribe it to the kind of close-quarters chafing that leads people to say "don't live with your friends unless you want to hate them", just ramped up a notch.

Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people.

The short answer is: more people = more individual preferences to deal with

Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people.

There are several prominent examples of people who got into a lot of trouble in the Bay community but were members in good standing of non-bay rationalist communities.

I don't know anything about this, but I'll note that 'the Bay community' =/= group houses.

Group house norms really do seem toxic to many people.

My feelings here are so confused. I basically agree with all of the comments so far, even though some of them kind of contradict each other. I really like Dagon's points of "don't do it for the money" and thinking of the people you live with as partners. I wrote about the latter earlier in the pandemic. 

I would also like to admit to having behaved far from admirably this year and having been involved in a lot of conflicts. But everything is really different because we've been in lockdown for nearly a full year. Prior to lockdown, my group house was on balance a positive thing in my life, but I wasn't ready to be forced to spend every waking (and sleeping) minute with eight other people for a full year with no escape.

If your experience at a Bay group house was only during the pandemic (and Decision Tree at that, which as everyone else has noted is really not representative), then it's very unsurprising that it was toxic. Very few Berkeley houses have survived lockdown fully intact (i.e. without anyone leaving and with no bad feelings), and a number of houses dissolved completely.

 Negotiating COVID precautions is stressful. Being locked in a house with other people and not getting to do any of the things you want to do is stressful. This has nothing to do with rationality or even really group houses; it's caused plenty of conflicts among non-rationalist friends and family members of mine.

My general take on this whole situation is that it's really hard to be a person. Living in group houses comes with a lot of potential benefits (more serendipitous social interactions, cheaper rent, coparenting, shared resources, accountability partners), but any time you live with someone, there will be things you disagree on and need to negotiate. It turns out that most people are just quite bad at those negotiations, especially when they get emotionally fraught (like COVID precautions). There are some situations where it's worth it to get good at those negotiations (e.g. with a person you're marrying), but it is really hard. 

The only way I know of to live with someone without experiencing this stress is morally and epistemically questionable at best: When I was in college, it was generally accepted among my friends that in three-person apartments, two people would ally socially against the third (usually without the third's knowledge). While this is a nasty thing to do and requires both parties to lie, it was really important for our friendship. I survived living with two of my best friends two different years, because any time anything went wrong, we could blame it on the third girl, which let us sidestep the vast majority of the conflict that comes from living together. If the trash didn't get taken out, we didn't have to fight about it amongst ourselves, we could just say it was the other girl's fault. It also made it easier to admit to mistakes, in a complicated way. 

I don't really have a conclusion here. I think the conclusion might be that you're right, living in a group house is horrible and I hate it. But also, being a person and having to interface with other people at all is horrible and I hate it, but it's just something I have to do and I don't think it has anything to do with 'toxicity' in group houses in general. Also disclaimer that it is past my bedtime and I'm not always so pessimistic but it has been a truly awful year on the social front and this post and writing this comment made me feel a lot of feelings.

Lessons from “The Book of My Life”

This was an awesome post! I don't have anything else to say.

Cryonics signup guide #1: Overview

Ah, I have figured out (part of) the mystery! In the time since you signed up, KCL has stopped offering the policy you bought (to new people) because it was too good a deal at current interest rates. Something like that. So in the absence of that IUL is the best option. 

just_browsing's Shortform

The standard terms: Gut feel = 'System 1', systematic reasoning = 'system 2' :)

Cryonics signup guide #1: Overview

Yeah of course! I'll go into all of this more in my three posts on getting life insurance for cryonics, but in brief:

I received the same warnings about IUL, but it looks to me like it's not actually all that risky, and the small amount of risk seemed worth it given that IUL premiums are substantially lower than those for whole life (depending on who was giving me quotes I saw whole life premiums twice as high as IUL). I say whole life because I'm told that whole life and GUL are essentially the same, and I'm going through Kansas City Life, which offers whole life but not GUL. And, I'm using KCL because it's super cryonics-friendly and offers the cheapest rates for someone in my circumstances; if I were in a different actuarial class I might consider getting GUL via Nationwide.

As for VUL, my impression is that it's very much an investment vehicle and involves stock picking, so I didn't even bother looking into it for cryonics.

All that said, I haven't actually had a policy underwritten yet and am still scheduled for more conversations with my insurance agent, where we'll talk further about whole life vs IUL. That's one of the things subject to change, but hopefully I'll have more clarity on it by this time tomorrow :)

Load More