All of mingyuan's Comments + Replies

Cryonics signup guide #1: Overview

Thanks Josh, your comments have been informative and I'm glad you made them! A major thing that I think this reveals is that I personally am quite risk-averse — I'm willing to pay a premium for maybe-slightly-better perfusion even though that field is so murky, and for life insurance that won't just stop covering me. A maybe-related personality trait is low confidence, so like even if I believe the arguments for short timelines, I don't have enough confidence in that belief to take on (what I perceive to be) the risk of term insurance just based on that.

Al... (read more)

Open and Welcome Thread – June 2021

Yeah, I largely agree with lsusr. According to my mom (whose career has focused on second language acquisition and Chinese-American cultural exchange), basically no student gets past second year Chinese at a university level unless they're majoring it. Like, even business majors who plan to work in China. When I took university-level Chinese it really shocked me how much harder it was than other languages I'd learned – after nine months of five hours a week of quality university-level instruction, reading-wise I could barely understand books aimed at toddl... (read more)

Holidaying and purpose

Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait we are IN THE SAME PLACE

Alcohol, health, and the ruthless logic of the Asian flush

This is awesome, I've been curious about Asian flush for ages but never put in the work to research it. Thanks!

Curated conversations with brilliant rationalists

I don't feel like listening faster solves the same problem as having a transcript...

Also yeah, like the podcasters below mentioned, it's totally worth it to make transcripts. Just use Rev.com. 

What is the Risk of Long Covid after Vaccination?

This doesn't address the exact question you asked, but I think it's important to say. (But it's 1 AM, so I'm not going to say it very well.)

(I'm largely using the general 'you' here rather than specifically calling out OP.)

COVID has put us in a state of fear that doesn't always respond appropriately to new data. It has always been true that you can get sick from being around other people. In fact, it's always been true that you can contract an as-yet-uncurable chronic disease from being around other people.

Is your post-vaccination risk of contracting long ... (read more)

Introducing Rational Animations

I don't watch videos but I just wanna say I love that cover art! Such a lot of meaning packed into one image!!

Aphantasia

I think it used to apply to me more – as a kid if people asked me something along the lines of "what did you do today?" I would automatically say "I don't know," and then if I thought they wanted a real answer, I would think for a bit. But I could almost always answer after thinking for a couple seconds.

I think part of your confusion comes from conflating experiential memory with verbal memory. In the essay, he also mentions that he's really good at remembering arbitrary sequences of digits; I presume that extends to things such as grocery lists, and possi... (read more)

2Mary Chernyshenko19dBeing around people who value talking about abstract things makes me more attuned to the "word content" of the day. It's like, I can remember going to work on a sunny day or I can remember someone asking her colleague "how do you see/define the depth of a surface in a painting".
Aphantasia

Oh, and I also notice that despite my weak visual imagination, movie adaptations can still 'ruin' books for me, not exactly because they lock in a certain way that things look, but because they lock in the characters' personalities and the general vibe.

Aphantasia

I don't even know how to answer this because it's coming from a place that's so foreign to me. I have a quite weak visual imagination (not full-on aphantasia), and I've never heard a voice speaking words in my head when I read (although actually, now that I've listened to a lot of audiobooks, I can force this to happen briefly if I concentrate). But I've always enjoyed reading! To me, I guess I would say, words are just sort of fundamental? Like, the word itself, the shape of squiggles on the page, is the thing that has meaning, and I don't have to visuali... (read more)

2Crackatook20dThank you for the detailed description, I can sense how aphantasia is like much better now:) And I realized I have a very similar experience with you, because visualization is not happening everyday in my brain. Now I feel that It just makes content memorable when it happens, and that makes me think I do visualization often. But when I read a name of someone, I am reading his or her name, not imagining the face of the person. And I still can recall a sense of the person just by reading it. I can grasp your concept of “fundamental” with this. Also In my physics class, I had more comprehension on kinematics than on atomic physics, because I could imagine an object in motion but not the ionization of an atom. I remember reading Lord of the Rings was tedious at a young age around middle school. I had fun reading the Hobbit and Harry Potter series(by J.K.Rowling), so I suspect Tolkin put something hard-core inside LotR :p As a native Korean, I find your language analogy working really well! Nowadays I have no problem reading and writing in English, however, I discovered myself generating more humorous and interesting results in Korean. This is similar to the gap between reading paper material and online material. By the time movie adaptation happens, movie makers modify the book's contents and charming points, often severely, so I don’t watch them most of the time. I appreciate how you analyze that “ruining” because I didn’t sensitively identify why I don’t like it. In conclusion, I think our brain processes work pretty similarly regardless of aphantasia. I may consider aphantasia into the personality category rather than biology category.
4mingyuan21dOh, and I also notice that despite my weak visual imagination, movie adaptations can still 'ruin' books for me, not exactly because they lock in a certain way that things look, but because they lock in the characters' personalities and the general vibe.
Aphantasia

Whoa...

The slender, olive-skinned man brushed the golden locks out of his hazel eyes. He was so focused on preparing for the assassination that he burned his tongue on the scalding cuppa joe (hazelnut, light cream).

That becomes: There’s an assassin.

This resonates so hard for me! When writing fiction I've always felt a bit like I'm doing it wrong because I write almost solely about the characters' feelings, motivations, and internal monologuing. Visual descriptions are something I shoehorn in because I feel like I'm supposed to have them, and figuring out t... (read more)

1Crackatook20dI suspect personality, skill level, and now aphantasia in your case impacted on fiction writing. Right now, I put personality as the top reason for this. I like comic books and web comics, thus my fiction consists of a series of images and motions in my head, and I don’t really write them down in texts. In this path, I am also not confident of writing a description with a variety of vocabulary. Oh, at the end, lack of time is the main issue, sadly;)
3Viliam21dDoes this also apply to you? Because I find it difficult to imagine how such person could function in everyday life. Like, they go to a shop and they don't remember what they wanted to buy? Or is it different if they decide in advance that it is important to remember the shopping list, and the "don't know" only applies to things they did not consciously choose to remember? Or is keeping written notes a necessary coping mechanism?
Takeaways from one year of lockdown

No, Ray is almost certainly right. Everyone I talked to who lived with one exactly one other person (my sister and my mom, and lots of people with their romantic partners) had a way better time than everyone I know who lived in a group house, N=50+. (I can think of maybe one exception?) This is partly about it being easier to negotiate with just one other person, as mentioned in the post, but also just everything being less difficult with just one other person. It's easier to avoid them if you're feeling anti-social; it's easier to build routines alongside... (read more)

#4: Introduction to life insurance for cryonics

As mentioned in the post, I'm working on the assumption that all costs double roughly every 20 years due to inflation. So the mid 2060s would be two doublings from now, so you'd multiply the current funding minimum of $80,000 by 4 = ~$320,000. Obviously that's just a rough estimate from a very simple model, but I hope it helps :)

1Voltairine de Cleyre1moThanks
My Journey to the Dark Side

I mean, not really? Everyone has told me that 'nutritionists do/believe it' is not a good reason to do/believe something. I'm also not saying that I stand behind 2000 calories per day; I'm saying that Jim says a lot of things about nutrition all the time and I want to know why.

My Journey to the Dark Side

Okay, I've heard you say "for most people, 2000 calories per day is a shortfall" and other nutrition-related claims like a hundred times (probably literally if secondhand "Jim says X about nutrition" counts), but unless https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/nutrition is seriously failing me, you've never written about why you believe any of that. Which seems especially bad to me in a domain where most information is untrustworthy, and we all know that it's untrustworthy but most of us don't know how to figure what is true. I feel like I'm just supposed to believe ... (read more)

9jimrandomh1moI agree that I really need to write a post on this (and a half-dozen other nutrition-related things that I've become known for saying in person and in comments, but haven't written up properly). For this specific point--about 2000 calories per day being a shortfall--it's fairly straightforward. There's a scientific-consensus answer to how many calories people typically need, the Harris-Benedict formula. (This has a few variations with slightly different constants, all of which trace back to linear-regressions on measured energy expenditure.) I typed in my own parameters, and those of a few other people, and observed that, within the demographics of people I know, ie mostly youngish male and with a height reflective of decent childhood nutrition, it was consistently well above 2000. I also traced the history of where the 2000 number used on nutrition facts panels came from, and found that it was never intended as any sort of recommendation, and seemed to have been misinterpreted as one by historical accident. I try to always include a link to the formula or a calculator for it, when I talk about calorie intakes, so that people can get the real number for themselves.
6habryka1moIsn't the link to the Harris-Benedict formula sufficient evidence? Like, that's the actual formula nutritionists use. I don't know any specific reason for using the 2000 calories per day target other than that it's a nice round number.
Let's Go Back To Normal

While I'm not against this policy (I'm Chinese American and already sometimes wore surgical masks when sick), I expect your experience of the past year has given you a falsely inflated sense of the efficacy of masks. Yes, they definitely help prevent you from contracting airborne diseases, but a large part of the reduction in infectious disease transmission risk this year was due to the full battery of COVID restrictions, rather than just your own mask use. Like, flu rates were very low[1] because people were very isolated from one another, and so in any g... (read more)

1nim1moI agree that last year was an uncharacteristic sample of day-to-day cold/flu prevention from masks due to the lower prevalence of other peoples' droplets. I failed to mention that my opinion of mask efficacy is also influenced by having spent a lot of time traveling, and observing a correlation between wearing a cloth mask on planes and getting sick after flying less frequently/severely. If good masking under normal germ-laden droplet loads once those return causes me to experience comparable cold and flu levels to what I had without masks, I'll need to revise my opinions, but I think even halving cold and flu frequency, duration, or severity from their prior levels would be worth the hassle. I consider cold and flu prevention to be as much an accidental side effect of diligent mask use as it is a direct benefit. Side effects of using a mask in the way that I consider "correct" include never touching my mouth or nose after touching shared surfaces, and only eating in settings where I only touch clean/non-shared surfaces between cleaning my hands and touching my food. For instance, without respiratory droplet precautions, I might order a plate of tacos at a sit-down restaurant, get up and wash my hands at the restaurant's bathroom, touch the grimy back of my chair as I sit back down, and then put my hands (now featuring the germs of everyone else who's touched that chair today) straight onto my food. With respiratory droplet precautions, I'd order my tacos to go, take them to a park, wash my hands or use hand sanitizer, and then put my clean hands onto my food to eat it. I think the little details like that which happen to result from droplet precautions probably make just as much difference as the mask itself.
How long would you wait to get Moderna/Pfizer vs J&J?

Reasonable; looking at it again, '0 and 1 are not probabilities' was not my true rejection at all. Mostly I was just surprised to see such an extremely good result from the vaccine that everyone seems to agree is worse.

How long would you wait to get Moderna/Pfizer vs J&J?

I jumped at the chance to get J&J even though I'm not a essential worker or anything. I think the disconnect between our intuitions is here:

People who can easily continue to guard against significant COVID risks for several weeks without much downside other than quality of life should wait several weeks for Pfizer or Moderna.

As was discussed a bunch in my post on lockdown, the quality of life & mental health impact can be really massive. A marginal month may not seem like a lot if you are really just doing totally fine in lockdown and don't have an... (read more)

1Sameerishere2moThanks, that makes sense. Sorry to hear lockdown was so rough for you, and glad you were able to get the J&J! I'm kind of the opposite on both pieces, I think: I'm faring pretty pleasantly under lockdown, but for me, the main things I'm yearning for are relatively high COVID risk -- partner dancing with acquaintances or strangers indoors, and dating people I didn't previously know (and for some reason I keep matching on dating apps with a disproportionate number of people who work in direct patient care roles, haha). So for me it makes sense to delay a bit to get a higher level of protection, and abstain from the riskier activities in the meantime.
4korin432moI think "100%" in this context means "close enough to 100% than we can't detect the difference".
Logan Strohl on exercise norms

Side note, my dance group was entirely made up of nerds. And in general I don't resonate with the nerd/jock dichotomy, like, at all. Though based on my sister's experience (in competitive tae kwon do) that may have to do with competitive vs non-competitive forms of exercise.

Logan Strohl on exercise norms

"Only do it if it's easy and you like it" doesn't seem as obviously wrong to me as it's supposed to sound. During the 6 years of my life when I had dance practice ~twice a week I never just decided I didn't want to show up, because I really liked going! In performances I would get this high where I wanted to just do every song straight through for the full hour (or however long), even though I always scheduled in rests for each person – and a lot of other people had this experience as well. Similarly, when I run on an elliptical I get to a point where I fe... (read more)

3mike_hawke3moYeah, this seems like an important point. For me the difference between jogging and badminton is like night and day. Asking me whether I like "exercise" would be like asking me if I like "food". In general, I think most people should put a lot more resources into shopping around for enjoyable exercise. I got really lucky that my friend talked me into taking a badminton class with him in high school; if not for that, I might conceive of myself as "not a cardio person". All that being said, I still do force myself to jog when my preferred cardio alternatives are unavailable.
7mingyuan3moSide note, my dance group was entirely made up of nerds. And in general I don't resonate with the nerd/jock dichotomy, like, at all. Though based on my sister's experience (in competitive tae kwon do) that may have to do with competitive vs non-competitive forms of exercise.
Takeaways from one year of lockdown

God, life would have been so much better if I could drive. I could have gone home to my family. I could have done so many things! But extremely unfortunately I spent 2019 and the latter half of 2018 cultivating a pathological fear of cars, and specifically me driving them. Agh.

Anyway I'm glad you're satisfied with what you did, that's really good! Definitely watch out for that agoraphobia – I've heard a lot of people express that same sentiment and I sincerely hope we don't all end up socially crippled for the rest of time. Do you ever have those totally normal dreams where you're.... doing anything at all.... and then you realize that no one is wearing masks and why are you so close to them? Alas.

1masasin3moDid you cultivate the fear of cars on purpose? Why? Did you use to be able to drive before? I got my license in 2010, but didn't really drive until Feb last year. It took me a month to start the car up. It took me another 3 months to get on a highway, and 4 months after that until I was comfortable going on longer trips. Obviously COVID, so I had to teach myself for the most part. And I'm still relying on certain automations (e.g., sensors to make sure I don't destroy things while backing up, adaptive cruise control to control my speed and distance, etc.) I'm not sure I would be able to drive something while controlling the speed with my foot. Two tools I found extremely useful were my dashcam (front and rear) and Google Street View. At the start, I'd spend about 3 hours for each planned hour of trip reviewing the route on Street View, finding the different signs at each point and how the intersections were arranged, seeing what they look like from above, etc. And then after the trip I rewatched the entire thing to see my mistakes (and there were plenty of mistakes) and get advice (COVID, so I sent clips to friends and family who I think drive well). Nowadays (or rather, until I left it in my previous country of residence), I do most of my planning with the Google Maps routing tool. I take a look at it with the satellite view, and use street view where I think it might be easy to get confused (e.g., multiple tight turns after each other, where the GPS might be delayed.) That takes me about 10 minutes per hour of driving (less for highway-heavy trips). For the highway, I review the exit names I should look out for whenever there's a split or a merge or I need to take a certain lane. After the trip, I do a review for longer trips, but I batch the shorter ones (e.g., groceries) and do that once a month or so. Back in Feb, I couldn't even stay in lane. I'm still not quite satisfied with my spatial awareness of the size of my car, but I can offload it to the car, so
Responses and Testimonies on EA Growth

Thanks for the post! It's cool to see people updating their beliefs in public :) Also you refer to me as 'he' but I'm a girl.

1AppliedDivinityStudies3moSorry! Fixed
Why Hasn't Effective Altruism Grown Since 2015?

Other people have already replied well to the central point of this post, so I'll say something different: I think you misunderstand the relationship between Good Ventures and Open Phil. You frame it as:

  • EA finances stopped growing because Good Ventures stopped growing
  • Good Ventures stopped growing because the wills and whims of billionaires are inscrutable?

This isn't how it works. Disclaimer: I have worked for both GiveWell and Open Philanthropy in the past, but it's been more than two years since I was involved at all and also I was mostly, like, an intern... (read more)

5Rob Bensinger3moThey also think they can find more valuable things to spend the money on than bednets and GiveDirectly. (Or at least, they think this is likely enough to justify not spending it all now.)
Covid 3/4: Declare Victory and Leave Home

You need to change the sharing settings on the application form for microgrants. Also, great post as always, you're my hero :D

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

This is my favorite take/summary. Author endorses.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

I mean, this question is why I wrote the post in the first place. It's not hyper-altruism. I think it's an inadequate equilibrium, although I don't know that calling it that actually explains anything. There was a lot of stuff at play here that is hard to write about because it's sort of nebulous and social and I don't remember all the details that well. Perhaps someone else in my bubble could take a stab at it?

To add more color to the inadequate equilibrium: I didn’t want to hang out with people with a lot of risk, not because of how bad COVID would be for me, but because of how it would limit which community members would interact with me. But this also meant I was a community member who was causing other people to take less risk.

4remizidae4moDo people in your bubble generally find it difficult to make decisions that might seem "selfish," or might be disapproved of by their peers?
Takeaways from one year of lockdown

This is definitely not what happened, but maybe a related thing happened. The Wikipedia article talks about aiming to minimize conflict / agree at all costs, which is very much not what happened in my house (Habryka is a conflict maximizer! always argue!!). There was definitely some measure of wanting to avoid conflict, but only insofar as people don't like hurting each other, not because of conformity pressure. I think the more important factor was fear of the unknown / pressure to accommodate the most risk-averse person in the bubble (which I'm ashamed t... (read more)

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Justin Corwin (obituary, LW account), quoted in this post. I'm sorry about your grandmother. And about Justin, and that death exists in general :(

Fuck. I’m shocked to hear about a nice LessWronger like Corwin dying. That feels closer to home in some ways than many of the deaths I’ve known.

I’m also sorry to Gwern about your grandmother :(

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Yes, 100%. We started with ~10 people in the house, and gained and lost various people over the course of the year. There were greatly varying levels of trust among the pairwise relationships – the rough categories being (1) me and my partner, and some other sets of best friends, (2) long-time housemates, (3) newer housemates, and (4) a totally random squatter who we worked really hard to kick out before shit got real. That is just so much to negotiate.

And then if you have two ~10-person bubbles that want to collide, with the same problem of varying levels... (read more)

6AnnaSalamon4moMy experience is that fear, or at least fear that is in the background and that I am dissociated from, creates social inertia and other inertia for me. (Also grief that I am dissociated from.)
Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Maybe I used the term wrong? I meant tail risks in terms of outcomes, not model uncertainty. Like, if we had all been looser (and honestly if we had all just gotten COVID at the outset) that would have been great in a lot of ways, but what if one of us – say, you or I – got long COVID or died? Was this year worth it if it prevented that?

A year of lockdown also has a lot of tail risk and the person who had the sepsis death died to tail risk of the lockdown. 

Not consuming health care services and mental health consequences of reduced social interactions both have dangerous tail risks. 

4DanielFilan4moOh. In that case I don't think it ever made sense.
Takeaways from one year of lockdown

One person moved to a cabin (pretty far from things but close enough for grocery delivery) and had no interaction whatsoever except with their partner, who until recently had no interaction with anyone at all either. Another person wears a positive-pressure suit for every interaction, including in some parts of their house.

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Yes! This is an important factor that I had written into a previous version. If I'd known at the outset that it would last a year I think (/hope) I would have made very different decisions. As it was the goalposts kept moving just a little further out, so it always felt like "can I keep doing this for 1-2 more months" rather than "would I reflectively want to do this for a whole year".

Takeaways from one year of lockdown

Very fair reaction. I should note that among the people in my house, I have done the fewest things by a fair margin, so this is not exactly representative – although I am also not the most locked-down person I know, by a long shot. Of the people in my house, most have traveled in the past year, including internationally, but day to day we mostly just... see each other, work (with people in our bubble) and sometimes walk around. Our bubble expanded at one point, though it's still only ~12 people, since we lost a lot of housemates over the course of the year... (read more)

3Vaniver3moDo you have a quantitative sense of this? My rough guess (tho I've chatted with people a lot less because of the pandemic, so my sense might be quite off here) is that out of "200" bay area rationalists, you were in the bottom 10-20 in terms of microCOVID spend, but probably not bottom 2 or only bottom 40. [Tho thinking about this more, I think my metric isn't great. What a mistake looks like here is "not spending 1 microCOVID to do something worth more than one microCOVID's worth of fun", which is different from total integrated spend.]

I’ve got to ask, what is the most locked-down person you know doing? It’s hard to imagine being more locked down than you are!

#3: Choosing a cryonics provider

Yeah this is a very good point that didn't feel like it fit neatly into the sequence proper, especially since I want the sequence to be accessible to more than just hardcore LWers. I did discuss AI timelines a bit in an appendix but didn't make this particular point.

Suspected reason that kids usually hate vegetables

I grew up in an American household eating home-cooked hybrid-but-largely-Chinese-influenced food. Basically every meal was a mix of protein (meat, tofu, or eggs) and vegetables over rice, which turns out to be plenty to work with. The thing that's always been weird to me about American food is that they serve you a giant slab of meat as your meal, and then everything else is sides, which leads to the whole "eat your vegetables" problem in the first place. In Chinese food the meat is always cut relatively small, and sometimes tiny. It's so mixed in with the... (read more)

1orthogenesis11dThe thing that's always been weird to me about American food is that they serve you a giant slab of meat as your meal, and then everything else is sides, which leads to the whole "eat your vegetables" problem in the first place. I think "American food" is a bit too diverse to generalize. You have your steaks and your meatloafs, but plenty of chilis, fajitas, stir fries, beef stews, soups with bits of meat in them, spaghetti-and-meatballs, chicken cut up and put-in-a-salad sort of thing, and plenty of other examples of meat "not in a big slab". And yes, I would still consider stuff like Mexican-American, Chinese-American etc. food sufficiently "mainstream" in American culture that they are American food. Maybe most Americans don't eat those things every day, but they are parts of the culinary repertoire familiar to and used by them. I have no idea of stats, but I bet most Americans of unspecified heritage would not find tacos, ground meat, stir fry meat, fajitas, chile, particularly exotic by any stretch and many Americans probably eat them, if not cook them themselves, a few times a week etc.
2Viliam4moI live in Slovakia, but I noticed that Asian restaurants are the only ones here that provide significant amount of vegetables with lunch. Everyone else either gives nothing by default (hey, if you really want vegetables, you can order them separately in a small bowl for an extra euro), or put a microscopically thin slice of cucumber on the side of the plate (and some of my colleagues are like "ewww... why did they put this in my meal?").
1philip_b4moIt's probably bad for you if you don't have a lot of meat in your meals, because then you won't get a lot of protein and will have weak muscles.
Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

I looked at the 2020 Forbes list of most powerful women (which was the first thing that came up when I googled "powerful women") and spent about an hour total investigating whether they have children. The Forbes list had 100 women; I was able to find probably-reliable information about children for 95 of them (many of them are very private about their personal lives, which is reasonable). Of those, 25 were childless, or 26%.

This source indicates that 85% of women in the US have children in their lifetime – a lot of the women in question weren't from the US... (read more)

2Daniel Kokotajlo3moThanks so much for collecting this data -- I find those stats rather encouraging; 26% isn't that different from 15%.
3Gunnar_Zarncke4moWe will see all kinds of strange things going on at the very tails of the distribution (as illustrated by the Merkel + Harris examples). I think that should not inform our strategy as a community (except in so far as the preparedness for taking extreme measures when needed later).
Anna and Oliver discuss Children and X-Risk

Yes, thank you for pointing out the gender difference! As a woman working on x-risk and dating other people working on x-risk, I'm terrified by the stories of people like Laura Fermi and Clara Haber. Both were promising scientists in their own right, but once they married their famous scientist husbands, their own careers were abruptly ended. Laura felt like her life had become a footnote to Enrico's, was expected to take care of the children, and felt demeaned at social gatherings, and it wasn't until after her husband's death that she achieved any measur... (read more)

I indeed hadn't been thinking much about the gender differences and am kinda embarrassed about it.

I'm kinda deliberately putting on my Cold Utilitarian Hat for this whole conversation because it seems like locally good practice for me (normally I'm the guy pushing against the Cold Utilitarianism), but within Cold Utilitarian Hat, if you have 15-30 years to stop the world from ending, having half of your people get consumed by childcare/family-rearing is a pretty big deal (whether or not it also ends up having gender dynamics attached to it)

Are there good negotiation classes?

I have no idea about an IRL analog of what Malfoy has, but I'd recommend the book The Charisma Myth (in addition to, not instead of lsusr's suggestions), and all types of acting, not just improv. Improv may be great for overcoming shyness and other mental blockers, but acting from a script and inhabiting a character lets you try on vastly different ways of experiencing the world. Playing a powerful and/or confident character won't teach you negotiation skills, but if done right it will teach you the body language of a powerful person and what it feels like... (read more)

Neck abacus

People have those tally rings that you twist to increment the count (example) and those handheld/keychain clickers (example), both of which seem easier to read and use than an abacus (which most people aren't used to), but which also have the downside that clicking and twisting things are too fun. It makes sense to me that necklaces are less popular, because you by default can't see them, and people counting things often want to know what number they've reached.

2KatjaGrace4moThanks for further varieties! I hadn't seen the ring, and have had such a clicker but have not got the hang of using it non-awkwardly (where do you put it? With your keys? Who knows where those are? In your pocket? Who reliably has a pocket that fits things in? In your bag? Then you have to dig it out..) Good point regarding wanting to know what number you have reached. I only want to know the exact number very occasionally, like with a bank account, but I agree that's not true of many use cases.
How do you optimize productivity with respect to your menstrual cycle?

I've been on hormonal birth control (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol, 0.15 mg/0.03 mg) for about five years, and for about two of those years I (on the advice of my doctor) either took the sugar pills every 3 months or just didn't take any placebo pills at all. During that time I was unable to notice any cycle at all, physical or emotional. It seems like you may have already tried this, but if you haven't, it might be worth looking into.

Then again, my cycle was never unmanageable even before that – plenty of discomfort, but no vomiting or violent mood... (read more)

Cryonics signup guide #1: Overview

Thank you for looking into that! I couldn't figure out the answer just by looking at the site.

#4.2: Cryonics-friendly life insurance carriers

It shouldn't be a problem due to Alcor's buy-back agreement (essentially Alcor agrees to relinquish control of any insurance policy within a month of your written request).

Reflections on the cryonics sequence

Thanks for your feedback! But I think I stand by the choice to do what I did with the sequence. I said in the very first post that I was writing for "people who already think signing up for cryonics is a good idea but are putting it off because they're not sure what they actually need to do next", and I think having that narrower mission let me write a better sequence overall. 

My reasoning was that there's already been a whole lot written on the 'why' and 'whether' of cryonics, and as someone who's not particularly passionate about cryonics, I wasn't ... (read more)

2Matt Goldenberg4moYeah I mean I guess I don't have a horse in this race, if you think it's best and you feel good about the sequence that's what matters FWIW I think this is my favorite explanation/walkthrough of a reason to sign up for cryonics that I've heard. I think often even as rationalists that know better it's easy to get caught in the mindset that "being rational is ignoring emotions when making decisions." But of course, emotions are part of reality and ignoring them is exceedingly irrational. I loved this honest emotion-acknowledging take on cryonics and felt a personal "yes" when I imagined this introducing/bringing in the sequence. Combining a very emotional reason/story along with a later very much dry/fact based sequence just feels so aesthetically beautiful to me. So that may explain where I was coming from; at the same time acknowledging you may be coming from a very different place.
Reflections on the cryonics sequence

Oh yay, that's exactly what I was hoping to accomplish! Good luck!

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