All of nerfhammer's Comments + Replies

This is "inattention blindness". Choice blindness is sort of like the opposite; in inattention blindness you don't notice something you're not paying attention to, in choice blindness you don't notice something which you are paying attention to.

Edit: Didn't really understand your above definition of choice blindness versus inattentional blindness, scholarpedia has a good contrasting definition [] :

The video shows the mechanics of how it works pretty well.

What's the name of the principle that variance increases further from 50%?

Decreases! Note that there's zero variance when p = 0 versus non-zero variance when p = 0.5.
Not having memorized the formula for variance in binomial distributions, but intuiting that said principle was true, was my weaker reason for concluding B. More saliently, the problem statement contains the gratuitous information that boys are a majority in program A. It's Kahneman and Tversky, for FSM's sake; therefore this information is used to mislead. Therefore, B.
No principle, just the fact that the variance of the binomial distribution is p(1-p), which peaks at p=0.5.

I, for one, really like it.

Glad you like it. There are zillions more where that came from

What if I want to write, then sell it? Something that might be achievable could be like what Skeptic's Dictionary or You Are Not So Smart did, they started out as websites that slowly filled out and were ultimately published as books.

(Why isn't there a Singularity Institute Press?)

True, that does work sometimes. I haven't researched this, but I doubt it would be a profitable distraction from our core work.

Vastly, vastly more likely.

Everyone once in awhile someone sends me a link to an article on wikipedia saying I would find it interesting... and as a matter of fact, I found it especially interesting: I wrote it!

Or, I added a quote to Daniel Kahneman's page that has since appeared in almost every bio of Kahneman that I've seen since. For example, David Brooks wrote a column on Kahneman a few months ago and used the same exact quote I added, so that's millions of people indirectly.

Boggles the mind, really.

Criticism is totally fair. I was getting frustrated with it, so I decided to get something done quickly that I could replace later. So, there are flaws.

It's supposed to stop cycling if you mouseover it.

Unsolicited website advice: it changes backgrounds far too quickly for me to read and look at pictures comfortably. There should be some obvious way to get it to stop moving.
Will you please link your LW profile to Neurosail []? I keep forgetting the name of your site and there's no reason not to link to it.
Thanks for the great work!

An upvote doesn't seem like nearly enough for this. A very sincere thanks for the hard work.

Holy shmorkies. Thanks and congratulations!

Wow! Thanks for all your work!

Heuristics in Heuristics and Biases are only descriptive. [...] Heuristics in Heuristics and biases are defined as having negative side effects.

If your claim is that heuristics are defined by H&B theorists as being explicitly not prescriptive, in the sense of never being "good" or "useful," this is simply not the case.

No, no, that's not what I'm saying. The claim that heuristics have negative side effects does not entail a claim that negative side effects are the only characteristics they have. The 'side effect' terminology mi... (read more)

Fast and Frugal heuristics can be descriptive (meaning human beings naturally use them at some level) or prescriptive (here are some good heuristics you can learn to use). Heuristics in Heuristics and Biases are only descriptive.

The Heuristics and Biases theorists would never suggest someone should try to "use" one of their heuristics, nor probably could you even if you tried. You could not intentionally reproduce the pattern of cognitive biases that their heuristics allegedly cause, many appear to be irretrievably outside of conscious awareness ... (read more)

Have to disagree with you on, well, several points here. If your claim is that heuristics are defined by H&B theorists as being explicitly not prescriptive, in the sense of never being "good" or "useful," this is simply not the case. For instance, in the opening paragraph of their seminal 1974 Science article, Kahneman & Tversky clearly state that "...people rely on a limited number of heuristic principles which reduce the complex tasks of assessing probabilities and predicting values to simpler judgmental operations. In general, these heuristics are quite useful, but sometimes they lead to severe and systematic errors." Gigerenzer et al. would not necessarily disagree with this definition (they tend to define heuristics in terms of "ignoring information" rather than "reducing complexity," although the end result is much the same), although they would almost certainly phrase it in a more optimistic way. Representativeness, one of the earliest examples of a heuristic given by the H&B program, is certainly used in a conscious and deliberate way. When asked, subjects routinely report relying on representativeness to make frequency or probability judgments, and they generally see nothing wrong or even really remarkable about this fact. Nick Epley's work also strongly suggests that people very deliberately rely on anchoring-and-adjustment strategies when making some common judgments (e.g., "When was George Washington elected president?" "Hmm, well it was obviously some time shortly after the Declaration of Independence, which was in 1776... so maybe 1786?"). One can certainly learn to use any heuristic strategy, but for some heuristics proposed by the F&F camp, such as the so-called fluency heuristic (Hertwig et al., 2008), it is not at all obvious that in practice they are utilized in any intentional way, or even that subjects are aware of using them. The fluency heuristic in particular is extremely similar to the availability heuristic proposed decades earlier by Ka

That's a valid opinion. There is only a subtle difference really so maybe it's not the best example

You did not answer the question. How are they different?

I've re-instated twitter so far. The issues are: general visual clutter, I found a way to mitigate this issue by using a trick to force lower the visual contrast of the buttons, and that these social buttons often really slow down the loading of the page, especially if you want the dynamic share/like/retweet counters for every item. I might leave the counter on twitter but omit it for the others and see what the page load is like.

I'm not sure what email-sharing service to use... facebook has one in its "share" button, there are probably others.

I've thought of ways of working around this. There are ways of actually defeating the truncation. One issue is that there isn't necessarily an obvious programmatic way of telling which feeds are truncated and which aren't.

For now, try out this feed proxy: , e.g.

Thanks - will try that!

Hmm, I was wondering how much people used those things. Do you want just twitter + email? Facebook?

All of the above, I'd just install some basic set of sharing buttons. Email, twitter, facebook, maybe Google+.

To be completely honest, I wasn't going on a strict definition of the term rationalist; frankly I consider the term kind of flawed anyway. But I don't have a better replacement in mind. For me it means being interested in being rational, being interested in how the mind works, being interested in cognitive biases, Bayes' rule, probability, statistics, logical fallacies, and scientific self-improvement.

  • I selected the sources starting with lesswrong and overcoming bias, then taking suggestions from people, doing some rudimentary graph analysis, manually ad
... (read more)

Options for now:

  • create a greasemonkey script to hide posts from the sources you don't want. Every source has a unique CSS class so it should be trivial.
  • create a yahoo pipe to filter the sources you don't want through the rss feed and read it through a feed reader
  • clone the set of sources using the OPML feed in your feed reader of choice and add/remove whatever you want from the source list. However, this will not be kept in sync in the likely event that the official set of sources should change.

Out of curiosity, what don't you want to see and why?

I like the aggregation, but there are a lot of posts for each day. I just thought it would be nice to reduce the amount to something manageable to cover in a few minutes a day, and to be able to choose which sources. Of course this is available with RSS and whatnot, it's probably not something you need to focus on soon.

Meaning you want to turn some sources off?


Yeah I couldn't think of one.

Favicon contest?

May not have been just you, I suspect my ISP was having problems earlier.

I agree that some kind of filtering (human or machine) could provide additional value, but at this stage I want to see how well the most rudimentary version of the idea works for people before investing further.

Thanks a lot!

I will limit aggregation to the Critical Thinking category as you suggest.

Can you perhaps tell me which of these are by LessWrong posters? I'm making a list [] and checking it twice...
nerfhammer, FYI: I am the proprietor of "The Thinker" at []. Normally I don't let other sites scrape my feeds but would be willing to make an exception for Planet Rationalist. Might be a good idea if you could take only the posts tagged "Critical Thinking" though, so you do not get (e.g.,) beer reviews and the like ;-).
And you still want more? :) Thanks anyway, it will take some time to check these. Somewhere, there must be some optimum between reading blogs and actually doing something. A human who would filter out the pearls of wisdom would make things much more efficient. Anyhow, good luck with... Planet Rationality?

Thanks there are some good ones there.

If it's not strictly related but likely of interest to the same people that are interested in rationality (e.g. credible self-improvement) then it's better if posts aren't that frequently. For instance, there's a lot of good stuff in hacker news but there's 100+ front-page posts per day and it would drown everything else out.

If the aggregator proves popular I could introduce a text-classification filter to try to only include relevant posts from sources with varied content, but I'm only willing to invest time in that if it turns out that people are responsive to the aggregator in its current simpler form.

Yes, I'll do that. I've been looking for places to announce it/request feedback.

I'm working on a rationality blog aggregator, and should be ready to make it public in the next few days. Would you like to know when it is released?

Can you post a link in the discussion section when it's done? I'd be interested in it, and I suspect many others on this site would be as well.

I can sort of see how a woman might find such a thing just a tad creepy.

In many cases perhaps the appropriate action would be raise this woman's consciousness: men's sexuality isn't necessarily scary or threatening.

I don't necessarily agree with Nussbaum, I just thought it was interesting and related.

There is ample stuff that's perhaps more empirical

Is it out of bounds to consider plain and simple prejudice as the trigger?

Disgust reactions are frequently based on prejudices that should be challenged and rebutted. People frequently describe male sexuality in strikingly similar ways to how prejudiced people describe (typically male) homosexuality. You know, it's disgusting, it's ridiculous, it's wrong in some indescribable way, it's threatening and dangerous in some abstract, unfalsifiable sense. Except it's not taboo to talk about male heterosexuality that way. Men are pigs, after all, and that they wa... (read more)

One of the (few?) areas where I would disagree with Nussbaum. She believes that ordinary human emotions are informative and should be taken seriously, with the special case that disgust should be ditched entirely, and I'm pretty sure there's at least an obvious tension there.