"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


Meetup Advice
Meetup Theorizing
Cryonics Signup Guide
The 'Meetup Writeups' Experiment


[Context: For ~4 years up until a year ago it was my job to keep track of rationalist groups around the world, also I happen to have gone to UChicago]

I don't know of any other currently active rationality groups at universities, but I recommend joining this Discord server for people who run rationality meetups. Some of the organizers in there previously ran university groups, and even those who didn't will probably have helpful advice. 

For UChicago in particular, you probably already know this but you'll need to apply for RSO status before December 1st. Without this you won't be able to even book rooms, and that's annoying because even if you successfully apply in this cycle you won't have active RSO status until the spring. If UChicago still has an EA group that's an official RSO, I recommend asking them for help with booking rooms in the meantime.


I do have some general sense here that those aren't emotionally realistic options for people with my emotional makeup.

Here's my take: From the inside, Nate feels like he is incapable of not becoming very frustrated, even angry. In a sense this is true. But this state of affairs is in fact a consequence of Nate not being subject to the same rules as everybody else.

I think I know what it's like, to an extent — I've had anger issues since I was born, and despite speaking openly about it to many people, I've never met anyone who's been able to really understand the feeling of being overwhelmed with rage (especially not as an adult). That feeling can be very hard to control. 

However, I am constantly aware that having an angry outburst is massively socially unacceptable, to the point where if I let such things happen regularly I would lose my job / my standing in the community / all my friends / everyone close to me. This creates an extremely strong incentive for me to self-regulate at least my outward reactions, even when it's really hard. But because Nate is so high-status, he is allowed to make such outbursts without being faced with losing his job, his standing in the community, or his friends. This means he is insufficiently incentivized to self-regulate, and thus has been unable to learn.

Whoops very late reply but in the pictures, the posters are actually just taped to 8.5"x10" sheets of black cardstock; after printing the virtues themselves we manually cut them all down to have 1/2" margins all around.

When we moved houses in 2019 we did frame them, using these frames that conveniently come in a 12 pack! (For the void we put a piece of black paper in the frame.)

Agree! Also, my response to the sentence you quoted would be: Playing guitar and playing piano are (for many people) almost entirely separate skills, which feel very different, are learned differently, and have different cultural connotations. People are more likely to base their choice of instrument on that (and the things TAG mentioned) than on some kind of optimization for 'most versatile musical instrument'.

But also I don't disagree with the original quote :) I mean, it definitely seems true that a lot of people play the piano and guitar, fewer (but still many) play slightly less versatile things like violin and saxophone or other strummed instruments like banjo, not very many play piccolo or tuba, and almost no one plays theremin or very culturally specific instruments like bagpipes or shamisen (outside of the culture they're specific to).


The advice this post points to is probably useful for some people, but I think LessWrongers are the last people who need to be told to be less socially graceful in favor of more epistemic virtue. So much basic kindness is already lacking in the way that many rationalists interact, and it's often deeply painful to be around.

Also, I just don't really buy that there's a necessary, direct tradeoff between epistemic virtue and social grace. I am quite blunt, honest, and (I believe) epistemically virtuous, but I still generally interact in a way that endears me to people and makes them feel listened to and not attacked. (If you know me feel free to comment/agree/disagree on this statement.) I'm not saying that all of my interactions are 100% successful in this regard but I think I come across as basically kind and socially graceful without sacrificing honesty or epistemics.

I love this post, you're one of my favorite bloggers

A trauma is an instance where something hurts you, and you develop coping mechanisms to route around the hurt, but the coping mechanisms limit your action space, blind you to some things, and distort your thinking a bit.


You can fix your emotional problems/confusions, but it'll take awhile.

But how?

This is not a very good LW comment, but, I’m interested in talking about this with you some time if you’re up for it.

Okay I bought the specific LED lights you linked, and I have to disagree. The color temperature is nice enough, but they have a very noticeable refresh rate, such that if I wave them back and forth my eyes have trouble keeping track of them. I don't think these are any better than other LED string lights I have, and my husband thinks they're probably worse (more noticeable flicker, though perhaps comparable CRI). I would definitely not light a space with them.

That said, I'm not put out about having spent $10 on these, because they're supposedly meant for outdoor use, and I wanted our front porch to be more illuminated anyway and basically don't care about the light quality there. And the claim did seem worth testing!

Maybe, although the OP does say "How could something as fundamental as protein deficiency not be a standard, ordinary thing we test for?", so it sounded like it hadn't been tested at all.

But yeah now you've made me want to criticize the whole idea of normal ranges! One time I had a vitamin D deficiency that had me extremely ill for three months and even bedridden for part of that time, but clinically it was only mildly out of range, and the doctor just told me "Your vitamin D level is a bit low" – which I feel didn't sufficiently suggest that it might be the root cause of the debilitating illness I had gone to him about. In general Elizabeth and others have made me think that reference ranges are a lot more nonsense than they seem, and that they like all things in medicine are more likely to apply to ~tall white men, so I as a non-tall non-white non-man should be skeptical and pay more attention to things that are at the extremes of the reference range, even if they're not 'clinically significant'.

(That rant was not directed at you tbc, I just wanted to rant it, thanks)

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