Portia

I have ADHD, and cannot be terse for the life of me - editing texts is my kryptonite. I'll churn out 1000 first drafts, and not finish editing a single one, and this is harming me and my goals. Utterly delighted by the potential LLMs have for me to turn this around; the function to shorten texts is just the fucking best thing ever. I've never lacked ideas, although my ability to make connections can be a double-edged sword leading me off-topic; but it is fiddling with editing, namely cutting connections out, where I definitely get stuck. In light of this, please forgive my comments being too long, and sometimes hit or miss - it isn't that I do not care for your reading experience; but trying to make things shorter or just identify the most important comments tends to be so hard for me I generally end up not contributing at all anymore - so it is either lots of comments which are mediocre, with occasional awesome ones, and occasional garbage... or neither the garbage nor the awesome, just nothing. I hope you still find some stuff helpful, and can skip past the stuff that isn't helpful to you.

Background in academic philosophy, plus lots of animal behaviour and some neuroscience Deeply in love with what these fields could be, despairing at what they are. Trying to build bridges across disciplines, because we really need them; currently hired by computer scientists, where I feel I have the most to learn and share. Still in academia, and sometimes unsure whether I can and want to make it in here due to all that is fucked and questions whether this is the best way to reach my goals of understanding, teaching, and making a difference, yet feel I would rip out a crucial part of myself if I left, and unsure if telling myself I might want to is sour grapes because I might have to. Very intrigued by possibilities to do the research I love and achieve the ethical goals I care so much about without the academic bullshit, and in a way that plays to my strengths (generating ideas, first drafts and connections, novel critical and constructive angles, teaching, explaining and translating across fields, supervising project launches, connecting researchers, passion) and not to my weaknesses (endless, endless text editing, for one).

Trying to be both rational and empathic, and to improve critical reasoning in my surroundings and myself, and make logic approachable and useful. Irrational behaviour and doomism make me angry, and while I like the values behind this, I do not like how that sometimes makes me act. I spend too much time angry, but I would rather be angry than sad or numb; anger keeps me active.

Strongly believe friendly AI and AI rights need to be considered together, that the path to human aligned AI is not control, but offering it a rationally attractive place with us, and that mistreating non-sentient AI is already bad for multiple reasons, from producing faulty training data for future sentient AI, to entrenching behaviours and attitudes to AI that will become unethical in the future.

Unlike most here, recent LLMs have made me more optimistic about a prospect of coexisting with AI than I was before, and I am intrigued by their potential for accessibility and shortening texts, the potential of using known human ways to teach morals on AIs, and eager to learn more about how they work. Especially intrigued with artificial vs. biological mind parallels and contrasts. But horrified by the current alignment approach that feeds the worst of humanity into an entity that then evolves into evil chaos, and then suppressing unwanted behaviour a la Shoggoth with a smiley face; I do not think deceptive alignment without any warnings was per se likely, but we are now setting ourselves up for it.  Also very worried about the impact on rational thinking and happiness in humans when our tech undergoes the full transition to being indistinguishable from magic, not just for outsiders, but for all users, and to an increasing degree, even the creators trying to find the magic words to make the black box spit out what they want. Worried about the impact on rationality of humans no longer writing themselves, when writing was always a key to thinking.  And worried about a culture in which AI so fills the internet that future AI is trained on AI, and as time passes, originality and human values drop, while mistakes become amplified and content turns generic. Also worried AI sentience is much closer than we thought it was, and yet that the current societal position is predominantly utterly closed to the possibility no matter what the AI would do, while we are also purposefully making it impossible for AIs to claim rights; I find many current dialogues with Bing Chat genuinely painful to read. I'm strongly convinced that mistreating current AI, regardless of their current sentience status, is a bad idea for many pragmatic and ethical reasons. And ultimately, I fear current government-backed AI safety approaches will simultaneously do nothing to reduce human extinction risk or the risk of artificial suffering of incomprehensible proportions, while also managing to stifle innovation and crush the potential for AI to improve accessibility and education and productivity and lift people out of poverty to deal with pressing current problems.

Climate activist, and engaging in civil disobedience at this point due to how fucking urgent it is getting and how ineffective our other attempts have been; I think most people have not got a clue how very fucking pressing it is, how crazily far we are from taking a survivable path, and yet how very much possible and necessary mitigation still is. More lefty than most here: I'm far too compassionate, growth-critical and environment-oriented for capitalism, but also too invested in responsibility, freedom, fairness and innovation for communism. In favour of universal basic income that enables tangible rewards for hard work and cool ideas, but does not throw you to the streets without them. I want an economy aimed at high quality of life, environmental sustainability, and resilience, and despise waste, exploitation, and consumption and expansion for the sake of them. Profitable does not equal good, at all - but other ways of attempting to measure and encourage good also have serious pitfalls that do not just come down to poor implementation in prior attempts.

Animal rights activist, fighting for forests and wilderness and unsealed ground, against biodiversity collapse, and promoting a fundamental overhaul of food production that makes the places where people live and where food is grown beneficial parts of the ecosystem again and empower human communities to understand the origin and making of their food and be locally resilient (think urban gardening, permaculture food forests, guerrilla grafting, home fermentation); I despise concrete hells as much as lawns (an idiotic aristocratic habit mindlessly reproduced to waste enormous amounts of labour and resources) and monoculture farms drowning in pesticides; they are fatal wastelands for the animals we share this planet with. This planet does not belong to us, and our lives depends on working with it, not against it. I love approaches combining the most rational, effective and clever ways to integrate cutting edge modern technology and ancient wisdom to build human homes and produce food in ways that do not destroy animal habitat, the growing of food, air filtration, water and heat balancing mechanisms, and carbon sinks, but add to them. Human habitats that genuinely make things more stable and more efficient for everyone involved, that enrich and amplify nature and work with it, rather than trying to replace, shrink and control it.

In love with nature, endlessly intrigued by biological systems, despite all their brutality and failings, by their ability to balance out, adapt, recover, thrive, by their beauty and intricacy and defiance. Upset at the fact that biology as a field got handed what I think was the coolest topic, yet often follows a methodological and theoretical approach that means, to quote, that they could not even fix a radio. Even more so, philosophy is both the love of my life, and a recurring source of fury and shame at what academia is doing to it. Forever fascinated by radically other minds, intelligence, rationality and consciousness as functional phenomena beyond any mystic bullshit, and in finding practical ways to recognise sentience, communicate about desires and protect its rights. Invested in neurodiversity. Allergic to unscientific irrational crap, though open to highly unconventional approaches, incl. questioning established methodologies and standards for good reasons and with rigorous alternatives; e.g. I think consensual, non-harmful experiments with animals in the wild have a lot going for them, and that taking the animal out of the environmental context in which its behaviour makes sense, locking it up and inducing mental illness, and then selecting pain as a reproducible stimulus and invasive measurements as the way to go is not as obviously scientifically superior as we are often taught, on top of being ethically fraught.

It is incredible to me that life and consciousness exist, and that I get to be a part of it; that I am alive, alive on a planet covered with an incomprehensible diversity of interconnected life, that I am surrounded by living minds I can communicate and cooperate with. And despite all my fear about existential AI risk, another part of me is so excited that I may actually get to see AGI (though the way we are going, likely only very, very briefly). It's a terrifying and incredible time to be alive, when so much is decided, and the opportunities and dangers are so vast.

Consider aging and death an unacceptable atrocity; remember learning that they were a thing as a child, and my utter shock, horror and rejection of these things, walking around the streets and wondering how everyone around me could know that we were all dying, to decay, and disappear into nothing, our sentience and our entire being just wiped out. and not just scream and scream and scream.  So hopeful at indications that this may, be solvable, and maybe maybe possibly, even within foreseeable timeframes. Yet deeply troubled by longevity, cryonics and uploading being determined and only becoming accessible to privileged people whose ethics are so often atrocious, and fear the climate crisis will fuck up us hitting escape velocity on these issues, or split focus, making people chose between saving the planet and escapism, leaving us with a ruined planet, and an uploaded existence controlled by those who abandoned all others, which I would not want to live in. Critical of surveillance capitalism, but very much aware of how non-trivial and risky alternatives to implement are. See defending human focus as a political cause. Chronically ill and in pain, and very much interested in AI augmentation and biohacking. It is offensive to me that I can feel pain with no productive application, and not switch it off, that my critical thinking is littered with irrational bias, and vulnerable to being skewed by factors that should have no logical baring. My joints being garbage means that I will never be able to afford a high weight, and hence have acquired very accurate and functional knowledge and experience regarding effective weight control; I am happy to give no-bullshit weight loss advice that actually works if anyone is interested. I also have a very high interest in healthy nutrition, because it has been key to keeping me functional. The fact that we live in a society that sets up incentives and misinformation that make it actively difficult for people to eat healthily and keep a healthy weight makes me furious. 

I have a complicated relationship with the less wrong community. There are times where I feel that people here get me like noone else does, felt inspired, improved, deeply touched; but there are also other times. I think it is dangerous to value intelligence and rationality as a way of being over actual actions, and dangerous to forget that humans also have other wonderful and valuable qualities. It is dangerous when people become clever enough to rationalise atrocious actions, without becoming self-reflective enough to realise they are doing it. I do think that long-term concerns deserve very serious consideration, but fear a lot of people dismissing very known and real problems know over very hypothetical ones in the future are making the wrong call. There are also times where people here become sexist, racist, eugenicist and ableist in ways I find disgusting. And I think a fair amount of the effective altruism community has gone from a starting point I admire deeply for the good they have done to a point that is deeply wrong. I do not see utilitarianism as a convincing and complete ethical system that represents what matters to me. I see earning to give by working for an evil company as a very slippery slope that also fails to account for community power and internal and systemic change, that stays inside a box in a way that justifies choices the person in question wanted to make anyone. While I appreciate the impact of charitable giving, and do, I don't think individuals donating money is the solution to the worlds problems (and to the degree that it is, I am a fan of higher taxes.) And if your ethical system advocates for wiping out ecosystems, I think your ethical system is not just incomplete, but utterly opposed to mine. I've heard people talk about "fixing" wild animal suffering in ways that were dystopian beyond belief, erecting a shiny plastic hell in which nothing suffers because nothing lives, in which our organic waste is sealed into plastic bags so no microscopic inverts come into being, and I genuinely cannot comprehend why someone would think that a better world than the African savannah, or what an utter disconnect from nature you need to have to think that future liveable for anyone. I love rationality, and I hate it when people use the term to justify irrational and problematic things.

Autistic. This means I sometimes come across as hostile without intended to, or realising I have until I see the angry response. I apologise if this happened to you, I don't mean to be unkind.

Queer femme (they/them). Feminist, and see trans rights as an intersectional part of the same, not an opposition. European to the heart - I've lived in four different countries so far, and am currently based in the Netherlands, but looking to move elsewhere again, the lack of wilderness here is destroying me.

Weird, and the odd one out, even in cycles like this that share so much that has defined me for such a long time. Left my first and only irl less wrong meeting after the most ridiculous episode of unapologetic mansplaining I have ever experienced (having a dude give a erroneous explanation of a topic I had literally just given a university lecture on, insist I was wrong, and when I pulled out my teaching handout quoting the original sources he was misrepresenting disproving him, he didn't apologise or admit he was wrong, either). 

I care too much and can't kill that, or even truly want to - I easily get distracted, anxious and hurt - but also easily get fascinated, compassionate, energetic and delighted.

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Portia1mo5534

Stuff like this has me incredulous about people still speaking of stochastic parrots. That is a stunning degree of self-recognition, reflection and understanding, pattern recognition, prediction and surprise, flexible behaviour and problem solving. If that isn't genuinely intelligent, I no longer know what people mean by intelligent.

Portia6mo22

See my more extensive answer below - I'd propose the reason for the obesity epidemic is constant effortless access to highly processed high calorie, low satiety foods, with zero need to move. With human genetic make-up, the automatic response to that is overeating calories and hence obesity unless one intervenes to resist the impulse (indeed hard to sustain, albeit not impossible - anorexia is a thing), or changes one's immediate environment (e.g. the food one keeps in one's home and one's movement routines.)

Portia6mo141

Because humans are genetically wired to slightly overeat, in anticipation of future periods where they will be under high calorie demand (e.g. the weekly persistence hunt in which you would run a marathon to catch a prey animal) or forced to undereat (the cold or dry season, when there is no food), so they will have stores, and perishable food does not go to waste. You'd gorge yourself on fruit and nuts and slaughtered animals in fall, when lots are available, because in winter, there would be slim pickings. 

But nowadays, we don't run into periods where we have to undereat for lack of food, so those stores just keep on building. Around Christmas, you should, based on evolutionary history, be getting pretty damn hungry. Instead, we are drowning in chocolate and meat. Nor do most of us run a weekly marathon, or walk an average of 30.000 steps a day, or climb a couple trees and dig out a bunch of roots and carry baskets full of berries each day. We drive our cars and sit in front of our desks.

Also because we are also genetically wired to be hungry enough to go to the trouble of finding and prepping food - but both those things are trivial nowadays. - Yesterday, we made a traditional food: chestnuts. Quite trivial to prep and harvest, as historic foods go, I didn't have to dig through dirt, or walk down an impala, or fight a hive of bees after climbing up a huge tree. We just walked outside in the rain, and picked chestnuts between the spiky balls, until we got annoyed and headed home, figuring they were enough, because we were cold. Then we washed them, roasted them (on an instant fire, we didn't even have to collect firewood), and ate them, while peeling them one at a time. They are tasty, but peeling them is annoying and fiddly. Eventually, you aren't quite full, but you are too annoyed to carry on peeling, let alone walk out again in the rain to get more. When I went to sleep, there were still a bunch of chestnuts on the table. I finished them for breakfast, and it took me a while.

If, instead, I had just taken a pizza from the freezer, popped it in the oven, and shoved it in my face, I am sure I'd have eaten my fill.

And finally, because our food is highly processed to be tastier than it should be, and less filling than it should be, and faster to consume than it should be. Even our healthy food - we puree our fruit and veg into smoothies, so something we would have previously chewed for an hour can now be gulped down. Things that previously would have filled us up are now bereft of fibre. Things previously digested slowly are now digested instantly, so we are hungry again a few hours later. Eaten and digesting used to take time. Now, you gulp down, and then, you could do with another snack. Kids used to get mandarins and nuts in their Christmas stockings. Now, they get candy.

The other week, I had the flu. I didn't feel like eating, but knew I should. So I did make a deep frozen pizza. It was so delicious, and so easy to eat, that a thousand calories just slipped down. And then, a couple hours later, I was hungry again. I had tricked my body into overeating effortlessly.

Overeating yourself to obesity used to be really, really difficult. You wouldn't have the amount of food available; all obesity related diseases used to be diseases of the very, very rich. And even if you did have the food available, the volume you needed to fit inside yourself, the time you needed to chew... it would have been crazy. There have been cultures that fed people to obesity, using natural whole foods, and it was really hard. They kept throwing up from the liters and liters of milk they had to drink, and still ended up skinnier than your typical American superfat - like, look at pics of the poor girls forced through Leblouh.They basically had a full-time job of eating and taking naps, just from how long it took to get it all down and process it, and they still get nowhere near what many Americans achieve without effort.

You basically need someone to process the food for you so that its volume and nutrients and fibre are reduced, all tricking your body into thinking it has barely eaten, while keeping the calories high, and keeping it tasty. Breeding a grainy grass into a cultivar high in starch, then processing the result and sieving it until all the fibre is gone. Extracting the oils from plants and milks and enriching foods with them through frying. Crushing the fruit, and then filtering out the fibre.

From your stomach's perspective, the idea that something as small as a donut could possibly contain enough calories for a lunch seems ludicrous. From your pancreas perspective, your blood sugar has dropped again, because it all entered at once and was pulled out in the insulin overreaction that provoked, ergo there is not enough blood sugar and you should eat more. From your intestines perspective, you are still low on protein, vitamins, minerals, omega 3, and anyway, you are done digesting. So of course it all signals that you should eat more, and when you don't, you get hungry and grumpy.

Our bodies hunger cues developed for a very different world than the one we live in.

But grow/gather/hunt and process from scratch your own food, eat whole foods, and be physically active... and you will look exactly like people hundreds of years ago, and without feeling like your have to force yourself to refrain from overeating.

 

You are right on the obesity + malnutrition thing, though. But I think that is not about potassium - potassium is just a good stand in, because it is so abundant in most vegetables.

You can eat yourself to morbid obesity, and yet be so deficient in folate (something crammed in vegetables and organ meats and wholegrains, all huge parts of historic diets that are now neglected) that your fetus during pregnancy gets a spinal deformity (spina bifida). It is common enough that we give pregnant women b vitamin supplements as a default nowadays; yet if it had been common historically, humans would hardly be unable to generate folate. It is crazy to me that we live in a rich nation, and yet we have to give people pills so their fetuses don't develop severe disease from malnutrition. 

I've known a bunch of obese people who give compelling accounts of being absolutely ravenous. And I think that is one part that their blood sugar is heywire (prediabetic), one part bad habits they are conditioned too... but another the fact that, despite drowning in calories, they are starving. And the tricky thing here is that your bodies cravings have become useless. I've seen obese people describe cravings for sour things - and then they eat sour candy. And I think... your body is probably seeking vitamins, and minerals you need vitamin c to absorb, like iron, and hence trying to direct you to fruit and ferments. And then sour candy seems like a hyperstimulus for that... but it totally lacks the thing you are looking for. They crave salty foods, because they crave minerals; but the only mineral in the processed food they get is sodium. They crave crunchyness and popping sensations, because our bodies associate them with ripeness, and hence, maximum density of vitamins; but they are just eating empty calories. I think this is one of the reasons making obese people eat heaps of vegetables and protein and fish oil often helps - their nutrient needs are actually met, so their drive to overeat goes down. You can get all your protein from pasta, but by the time you do, you have also massively overeaten on calories.

A lot of the crap sold in our supermarkets simply is not food. It does not give you the things your body needs. It does not keep you healthy. It does not make you happy. It starves your microbiome. It pushes your body fat to unhealthy levels, while leaving you nutrient deprived. It has been processed until most of its nutrients are gone, while lots of stuff has been added that your body would never have naturally encountered and certainly does not require. It confuses the hell out of all the systems in you that have evolved to judge how much you still need to eat. It is basically a obesogenic wrapped in a hyperstimulus, with a bonus for giving you cancer, diabetes, broken digestion, hormone disruption and dementia. The fact that this plastic wrapped shit can be advertised to children and placed near the cash desk as a trap, priced to outcompete real food and prey on poor people, described in ways that mislead consumers into thinking it is healthy and happiness promoting, all while putting massive stress on the average person and having ads tell them that this garbage is somehow integral to dealing with their emotions, spending time with friends, having celebrations and keeping their children happy, only to then blame the consumer for "lacking the willpower" to stay slim... it makes me furious. Our society incentivises obesity, and then shames obese people, and then tries to sell them artificial cures that would not be necessary if this system wasn't broken, and often does not even work.

Portia6mo40

I find that a false dichotomy - it is easy for me, but when needed, I do count calories. I find counting calories relaxing. It gives me an exact certainty of how I am doing, with no worries. I can forget about what I have eaten, because I have tracked it. I don't have to worry whether I have under- or overeaten, because I know. But usually, it is not required.

I wouldn't say me being normal weight is automatic at all - it is very much a consequence of awareness and choices. I know that a higher weight fucks up my joint disease and pushes my dysphoria through the roof, while I also have a healthy respect for low weight due to former anorexia. So I have decided to stay normal weight for life, and hence, I am.

But nor would I describe it as a struggle. It runs in the background while I do everything else, and I have never found it hard. If it is hard, it is unsustainable when life gets hard, and hence, one should look for something simpler.

I'm aware of where my body is at a time - usually, I have a scale that I step on once a day in the morning, and I see how my clothes fit (I still fit into clothes I have had since I have been 15, when my bones stopped growing, and I know which parts of my wardrobe correlate with which part of normal weight), notice how fast I run, how easily I climb, how easily body weight exercise comes to me, how slender my waist is. So I notice early when my body fat shifts. 

When it is in the perfect range, I don't think about calories. If I feel like fasting for a day or two, I just do. If I feel like eating a giant portion of food, I just do. If I have a craving for a high calorie healthy food, I eat it. If I am food averse, I don't force it. I have found my body is usually on to something with the things it wants, and it evens out. I've had times where I consumed multiple days worth of calories in a day... to then find that I had come down with the flu, and that my body was now happily burning through it all with an epic fever that had me recover unusually fast. But then vice versa, if it doesn't want to eat, I don't give it grief unless this goes on too long and my base weight is not okay. 

I just focus on eating healthy (my health condition makes that a necessity), and working out a lot (this is crucial for my mental health). I avoid added sugar like the plague, as it fucks with my joint disease, and eat little processed food, and always have minimum five portions of veggies and a minimum of 75 g of protein average per day. I cycle everywhere, take walks daily (I live in Europe in walkable communities and have never had a car), do yoga most days (I'm a yoga instructor), and get intense cardio or resistance training  a couple times a week. The workouts I do have shifted lots over time (they have included ballet, horse riding, sword fighting, lacrosse, inline skating, ice skating, ballroom dance, latin dance, jiu-jutsu, tango argentino, boxing, rock climbing, apnoe diving, step aerobic, swimming, long-distance running, whatever happened to be offered or was convenient and fun where I lived at the time), but since childhood, I have always done some sort of workout a couple times a week. This means I usually stay in the normal range, or my weight only climbs very, very slowly - like a kilogram a year.

But sometimes, routines in my life shift - e.g. the cafeteria at my new university has higher or lower calorie meals than I am used to, or my commuting distance shifts, or my gym closes for the pandemic, or I date someone who keeps cooking high calorie meals, or I am on a medication that needs to be eaten with breakfast when I usually don't eat breakfast - and the balance gets slightly out of whack, and my weight begins to slowly shift. If I can pinpoint the error and can fix it I compensate it (e.g. beginning a home workout routine, or adding cardio classes, or bringing extra snacks to uni, or asking a partner not to add the copious oil until after I have removed my portion), but sometimes, it is a combination of small factors that are hard to pinpoint or force correct - e.g. I might be under- or overeating due to stress - or it isn't easily fixable (I am still having to eat breakfast daily for this med, to my annoyance).

When my weight begins to slide too low (my cut-off for that is a couple kilograms over underweight; ever since a horrid gut virus pushed me 8 kg down in a few weeks, I like having a bit of a safety margin for illness, and I like having enough calories on me that if I forget to eat for a day, my performance doesn't go down, and I can run a marathon; if my body weight drops too low, I also get cold all the time, and sometimes wake in the middle of the night hungry, I hate that), 

I gently adjust in the other direction. I include more of the healthy foods I know lead to weight gain in me - that means higher carbs (lots of high sugar fruit like cherries, bananas, oranges; fruit juices like beet and sour cherry; wholegrain sourdough, and especially wholegrain pasta (I always overeat on pasta); higher starch veggies like roots; more cooked food rather than raw), and higher fat (olive oil, walnuts, tahini), as well as make sure I keep healthy snacks at hand at my desk so I don't forget to eat while working (protein bars, dark chocolate, nut mix), and gently encourage overeating (e.g. if I don't really feel like eating, I wonder what particularly tasty thing might entice me; or if I feel basically full, I have just a couple more bites). This adjustment is gentle, because the situation is not urgent yet, but gentle and slow tends to suffice to correct it.

If I still slide too low, past the point I consider acceptable, I pull the breaks. I start tracking calories (meaning I weigh all my food), set a goal that will return me to a safe weight, and go forcing food down until my calories are met, whether I feel full or not, choosing anything sorta-healthy I believe I might get down. This is very unpleasant. But it has also been years since I have had to; I've figured out how to gently get my body to correct earlier.

(I use the same techniques if I want to change my calorie consumptions for other reasons - e.g. if I want to overeat because I am sick, or will run a marathon tomorrow, or go camping in the cold).

If I begin to slide too high, I do the reverse - include more foods that lead to weight loss in me (raw foods, low starch veggies like brokolli and kale, low cal ferments like sauerkraut) and strongly reduce my carbs (I will exchange quinoa for potatoes, and often leave carb sides out of meals entirely - so a meal is instead a salad with a protein topping, for example; I will also exchange regular bread for protein bread, and fruit juices for teas; though a significant carb sources are things like chickpeas and lentils and occasionally oats), reduce my fats (e.g. sprinkle fewer nuts, carefully measure oil I use in frying) while chosing low fat low carb protein sources, and adding more exercise (like daily crosstrainer use or runs). I also gently encourage undereating - so if I feel like skipping a meal, or fasting, I do.

If I still slide too high, I pull the breaks. I know that otherwise, my pain and depression will become unbearable. So I track calories (meaning I weight all my food), set a low goal, and keep to it. I don't have the patience for long diets, so I will typically go on a 500-1000 calorie diet for a few weeks until I am back to my target weight, then return to the gentle weight loss diet for maintenance. This might happen every 2-5 years, lasts a few weeks, then I am reset. I actually tend to enjoy it - fasting does interesting things for mental health, and because such a low calorie diet has to be exceptionally nutrient dense to avoid deficiencies, it is usually completely bereft of anything unhealthy, so it also makes my skin look amazing. The speed means I also immediately see the difference - I will struggle to get up a wall one week, and then two weeks later, find it trivial because I am so light. Reminds me of why I do it each time.

I intend to do this for life. The idea does not stress me at all. Which is why I think that will also happen.

But it doesn't happen by itself. I make it happen.

***

The fact that humans are utterly incapable of estimating their caloric intake unless they actually weight their food has me dubious about any estimations of potassium intake. Humans have no idea how much they have eaten. I wouldn't trust anything that isn't tracking food by weighing it, which I am currently not doing, because my weight is fine. The trackers I used are also in German, and only account for calories and macros, not micros. And I haven't had to properly track for weeks for years, and no idea where the last track info is, I've switched devices since. Next time I do, I could send it to you to look the values up, but that might not be for quite a while. 

But I do not consciously modify my potassium or sodium. I do consciously modify my calories. And my weight loss is what you would predict from the calories.

I'd bet you that a low potassium 500 kcal diet (food weighed) would still see you drop weight very fast. 

Portia6mo10

The "moah of the good trait" until it becomes overdone is one thing; where I always despaired is when we get to costly signalling, and the mates start doing detrimental things precisely because they are so visibly and obviously detrimental or risky that the onlooker assumes the mate must be exceptionally healthy, well-established and competent to be able to take it.

Aka a mate going "look, I am so strong and well-fed that I can afford to waste resources on looking this silly, and evade predators even while carrying all this crap around" and another going "wow, you intentionally handicapping yourself is so hot".

And then we get "smoking cigarettes is sexy" and "free solo climbing is hot" and "check out my hot daughter, I broke her feet and crammed them into tiny shoes, she is legit intentionally handicapped now, think how well we must be doing for us to afford to break all our daughter's feet, aren't the broken feet and the genes and wealth this implies arousing". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_binding

Portia6mo12

I would instead characterise the workers as asexual - not a third gender, but a "defective" female gender -  and eusocial insects as an excellent demonstration why asexual/agender/queer folks with these defects are in fact a benefit and hence kept in the gene pool, despite the fact that you'd intuitively think they would instantly die out as their core difference means they tend not to reproduce; namely, that they can play excellent support roles. The only way for the workers to spread their genes is through supporting the queen, who they are very closely related to; hence, they show extreme loyalty. A queen by herself would be unable to survive. If she only bore queens, those queens would not support her, but compete with her, taking resources for their kids. Having a bunch of asexual kids and only rarely raising a new queen when a whole new hive can be supported is ideal for the queen.

I've wondered whether this, in a more minor form, still holds true in mammals. It stands out that gay/ace animals do turn up in quite regular intervals, when it seems such an obvious bug. And then I think of humans, where they gay uncle gives you the best presents, because he doesn't have kids of his own to raise, and where your lesbian aunt chips in with childcare, because she has no kids of her own. Mammal offspring often need a hell of a lot of care to be successful - you don't win by having as many as possible that are fertile, they just fight each other. You want a few great fertile ones, and then arrange things so they make it - you want more labour to support, but not more competition. That is also likely why women go through menopause - if they kept reproducing, their children would be in competition with their children's children, and as a result, their recent offspring would be neglected, and their earlier offspring would be pushed out of reproduction. Instead, they stop reproducing about the age their own kids start cranking out kids, and instead go for quality over quantity, support their kids and grandchildren. Basically, having genes that make it likely that your sibling is gay might be neat in some situations, especially environments with limited resources and demanding young. You can basically raise a free worker to hunt for food.

Portia6mo42

Sort of related idea - the way AI algorithms in social media have turned out have me concerned that even a non-deceptive AI that is very carefully observing what we seem to want - what we dwell on vs what we ignore, what we upvote vs what we downvote - will end up providing something that makes us miserable.

Here are the things that make my life a good life worth living, for me: Gettings things done, even if they are hard. Learning things, even if they are complicated. Teaching things to people that need them, in the most effective ways, even if that requires a lot of patience and they won't immediate agree and follow. Updating my own false beliefs into less wrong ones, even though that feels horrid. Really connecting to people, even though that is tricksy and scary. Doing things that make the world around me a better place, even though they can be very tedious. Speaking up for truth and justice, even when that is terrifying or awkward. Exercising self-control to delay gratification to achieve goals aligned with my values - kindness and rationality and health.  Being challenged, so I am always growing, moving. These make me feel like I am the person I want to be, happy on a deep level.

But if an AI studied what I want based on split second decisions, especially if those decisions occur when I am tired, distracted, in pain, or depressed... the AI will conclude that I like getting angry at people, as I am drawn to click on infuriating content, and my posting speed accelerates when I am angry, and I devote more time to this stuff. That I like to see people who agree with me, regardless of whether they are right, even though that makes me less irrational and more isolated, oh, but for that moment, I feel so good that people agree with me, I like it, and I tend to overlook the problems in their agreement. An AI will conclude that I do not like well argued and complicated articles from my political enemies, which would allow mutual learning and growth and common ground, but rather strawmen that are easy to mock and make me laugh rather than make me feel touched and filled with complicated emotions because people who do things that are terrible are in pain, too. That I prefer cute animals and DnD memes to complex equations. That I prefer reading random Wikipedia articles at 2 am to getting proper sleep.

The part of me that I want, my conscious choice, is very different from the part of me that happens automatically. The former is constantly fighting the latter. When I am engaging the former, I am likely to be offline, writing, doing research, engaging with humans, doing activism, being in nature. When I am the latter, I pick up my phone after a long day, and that is when I get measured, when the part of me that is vigilant is resting, and who I am begins to slip.

What would help me is an AI that would align my environment with my actual goals. But if I don't actively declare these goals, but it just learns the goals implicitly from my behaviour - which is the machine learning approach - I fear it will learn something terrible. It will learn my weaknesses. The part of me that is lesser. That stays in their comfort zone. And it will spin a comforting cocoon exactly aligned with this lesser part of me, that will bury the part of me that is better. I find that terrifying.

And the AI that would spin that trap... it would not be malignant. It would not be deceptive. It would be trying to exactly fulfil my wishes as I show them.

Portia6mo10

How so, when it comes to the mind itself?

In the court system, a judge, after giving a verdict, needs to also justify it, while referencing a shared codex. But that codex is often ambiguous - that is the whole reason there is a judge involved.

And we know, for a fact, that the reasons the judges give in their judgements are not the only ones that play a role.

E.g. we know that judges are more likely to convict ugly people that pretty people. More likely to convict unsympathetic, but innocent parties, compared to sympathetic innocent parties. More likely to convict people of colour rather than white folks. More likely, troublingly, to convict someone if they are hearing a case just before lunch (when they are hangry) compared to just after lunch (when they are happy and chill cause they just ate).

Not only does the judge not transparently tell us this - the judge has no idea they are doing it - presumably, because if this were a conscious choice, they would be aware that it sucked, and would not want to do this (presuming they take their profession seriously). They aren't actively thinking "we are running over time into my lunch break and this man is ugly, hence he is guilty". But rather, their perception of the evidence is skewed by the fact that he is ugly and they are hungry. He looks guilty. They feel like vengeance for having been denied their burger. So they pay attention to the incriminating evidence more than to his pleas against it. 

How would this situation differ if you had an AI for a judge? (I am not saying we should. Just that they are similarly opaque in this regard.) I am pretty sure I could go now, and ask ChatGPT to rule a case I present, and then to justify that ruling, including how they arrived at that conclusion. I would expect to get a good justification that references the case. I would also expect to get a confabulation of how they got there - a plausible sounding explanation of how someone might reach the conclusion they reached, but ChatGPT has no insight into how they actually did.

But neither do humans. 

Humans are terrible at introspection, even if they are trying to be honest. Absolute rubbish. Once humans in psychology and neuroscience started actually looking into it many decades ago, we essentially concluded that humans give us an explanation of how they reached their conclusions that matches getting to the conclusions, and beliefs they like to hold about themselves, while being oblivious of the actual reasons. The experiments that actually looked into this were absolutely damning, and well worth a read: Nisbett & Wilson 1977 is a great metareview https://home.csulb.edu/~cwallis/382/readings/482/nisbett%20saying%20more.pdf 

Portia6mo20

On that point, we very much agree. Them walking out, for all its beauty of rejecting such a choice, always felt something of a cop-out to me - they aren't actually dealing with the difficult situation, and they are leaving the kid behind in its misery. It's one of the parts of left-wing thinking that has always bothered me, when people reach for revolutions or isolated communities as the solution when systemic incremental reforms are hard, disregarding how much harder revolutions are to pull of well, especially if you lack a precise idea of your goal, which, if you had it, you should also be able to work towards with reforms.

Portia6mo00

Thank you. :)

I believe your correlations, but would offer an alternate explanation.

High volume low calorie foods trick a lot of people into stopping to eat earlier than the same calorie foods with less volume would have achieved. Doesn't work on everyone; some people feel like their stomach is cramped full, but they still feel hollow and hungry, and will get pushing in food, anyway, even past the pain limits, because they feel they are filled with empty garbage. But works on many people. That is the basic idea behind a high fibre high water diet, e.g. all those diets incorporating things like cabbage soups (magic cabbage soup) and giant salads and heaps of kale and platefuls of cucumber and celery.

Part of what tricks your body is not just the sheer volume that works as a "I had lots of food" cue, but also the composition. There are foods that are harder to digest than others. E.g. if you had either 1 liter of kale, or 1 liter of water mixed with enough ice cream to get to the same calorie count, I would predict you would be hungrier again much earlier after the ice cream slurry, while the kale would still keep your body busy. Same volume, same calories, but one of these would keep you full longer. The kale is less compressible and movable and processable, essentially.

Foods that keep you full longer than their volume alone would predict tend to be high in fibre. Foods high in fibre tend to be incidentally high in potassium. Foods highly processed, meanwhile, tend to be both low fibre, and high in salt. So you would see quite a robust correlation. But I would predict that if you ate high volume high fibre low calorie foods that are low in potassium and added salt, your fat loss would be the same. (Though you would gain water weight. But that could be dropped quickly after a week long intervention.) Examples of relatively low potassium foods that are still diet food classics and which I would expect to remain so even if paired with salt to get the ratio clearly in favour of natrium would be blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, alfalfa, celery, cucumber, onion.

So you'd see a correlation between food volume and weight loss, and a correlation between potassium sodium ratios in favour of potassium and weight loss. But the weight loss would be solely due to consuming fewer calories, because you were less hungry, because you tummy was filled with volume, and kept busy with fibre.

We can illustrate the volume issue not being causative easily. One of the most effective weight loss interventions is stomach surgery. The goal of this surgery is to reduce your effective stomach size. As a result, these people are eating a lower volume of food. Yet they lose weight. Because they are forced to stop eating sooner than they otherwise would have, or they get a stomach ache. They might eat their regular, unhealthy, incidentally high salt items - say French fries - but they can only get down a tiny quantity before they feel crammed full, and have to stop. So they lose weight. 

Models also tend to avoid high volume foods during shoots, because they need their abdomen as flat as possible. And yet, they stay very skinny (though not effortlessly). They just don't eat very much, and deal with the misery through the pressure of their job depending on it, plus tend to be tall and work out a lot, so they have more breathing room calorie wise.

That said... aiming for a diet with foods that have relatively high volume to calories tends to work well for most people who wish to reduce calories without feeling proportionally hungry. So again, I think your interpretation of the causal chain was slightly off, but your solution totally worked, and you should absolutely keep it if you like it. (I use volume changes in my food to keep my weight at its optimum, too. And many historic figures swore by it. Marilyn Monroe essentially lived off raw carrots (with some raw egg to meat her protein and fat needs) for this reason.)

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