All of Prismattic's Comments + Replies

Counter-anecdote. I am a hetero man and have been using OkCupid since July 2012. I have had almost 40 first dates, about 5 second dates, and 2 relationships from it in that time.

Both the median and mean age difference of the women who have gone out with me has been about 7 years younger than me, with the youngest 15 years younger and the oldest 1 year older than me. Comparison between genders is hard, especially from the inside, but I'm confident that at least a few of these women would be rated as more attractive than I am. While most of them probab... (read more)

I wasn't offering an anecdote. My personal experience on online dating wasn't bad. It was actually quite good. However, I do agree it depends strongly on geographical area.

(None of the following should be particularly surprising. I just want to provide additional personal confirmation that well-established cognitive techniques work as advertised.)

I have fairly strong social anxiety and get overstimulated by loud noises/bright lights. I've previously conditioned myself out of most ordinary and small-group anxiety through a)unavoidable practice with socializing and b)getting a black belt. However, until recently, I continued to have problems with a)a strong stress response to crowds and b)inability to hit on women (at least... (read more)

Suggestion that seemed to help me when I was stumped for conversation; ask yourself "what do I want to know about this person?" some things I come up with: * Where are they from * What do they do (but I recently realised I would rather know their hopes and dreams than what they are doing now) * Hopes and dreams/goals/plans * pets * are they studying * do they also like X (thing that I like) From a strictly PUA perspective; Logistics. 1. where does this person live 2. what are they doing tomorrow 3. are they suited to me (this can change over the conversation) 4. do I have an opportunity to take them home with me (this can change over the conversation) 5. are they old enough/too old (local legal statuses/personal preferences). 6. do I have a connection once I leave here; Number; facebook; email; 7. plans to meet them again. Other things that help awkwardness: Truthfully explaining your position - "I promised myself I would go to a bar and talk to strangers, but I don't really know what I am doing, I thought you looked like a friendly person to talk to so I started with you. I am looking to make friends, can you help me?". As long as its the truth people should be able to read that off you and will treat you better once you have accounted for the potential strange behaviour. (help people understand what is happening in your head) PM for a further breakdown if you need.
Why not Beeminder?

(Prefacing this by noting that I am not going to get into a normative discussion here of whether liberal values are better or worse than libertarian values. I'm only addressing the question of whether Arnold Kling is accurately framing liberal values.)

I'll leave speaking about what's wrong with the conservative frame for an actual conservative (from my also-outside perspective, it doesn't sound particularly accurate).

But as far as liberalism goes, I think what Kling describes might be an accurate depiction of, say, "social justice" blogs, but th... (read more)


In my experience, libertarians tend to think highly of Arnold Kling's taxonomy, and liberals and conservatives do not. I regard it as a Turing test fail.

Turing test fail? Where was blacktrance trying to pass as having a particular political position?
Could you elaborate on your experience? The liberal philosophizing I've seen seems to go even further than Kling does. He suggests a possibly-subconscious implicit common thread, whereas they often talk explicitly about "punching up versus punching down", or redefine various subcategories of prejudice to only mean "prejudice plus power". I can think of cases where there's a clear position among the U.S. left wing but that position isn't unambiguously objectively described as "support the oppressed against the oppressor", but even in those cases the activism for that position is usually given that framing.
Can you expand on the last sentence?

Not related to upfront costs per se, but here are some additional thrift tips.

  1. A top-loading freezer loses less heat when opened than a front-loading freezer. Regardless of which kind you have, though, packing all the space not taken up by food with bottled tap water will greatly reduce the heat loss and save you money on your electrical bill.

  2. If you're in the US, you're probably using fabric softener when you do laundry. I have experimented with the concentration of liquid fabric softener, and found that you can dilute it with water down to about 5-10

... (read more)
Diluting (liquid) laundry detergent instead of just using less sounds weird to me, but maybe your washer works differently than mine. In similar vein: slightly counterintuitively, front-loading washers are more efficient than top-loading. If water is expensive where you live, selling off the old one and switching is a good fiscal choice. Also consider getting newer toilets, if yours are old and use a lot of water per flush; the new designs are a lot more efficient. Another perk of the "bottles of water in the fridge/freezer" trick is that it will keep food cold much longer if your power goes out. In some parts of the world (or if you're just expecting huge windstorms, as apparently much of the US west coast is right now) this is valuable. Just remember not to fully fill the bottles (or gallon milk jugs, or whatever you're using) and then cap them! If you drive to work each day and could take the bus (or train or other mass transit), look closely at what you spend on gas, tolls (if applicable), and car maintenance (my rule of thumb: the car maintenance is probably about as much as you spend on gas, though this obvious varies with the price of gas, age of the car, and how good you are at doing your own maintenance). A bus pass may end up being significantly cheaper, even at the cost of some time. If you have to pay for parking at work, the bus is almost undoubtedly cheaper... and all this assumes your employer won't offer discount or free transit passes, which skews the advantage even harder. If transit isn't available, look at setting up a carpool. All of these options also mean more time to do things like read a book (or the Sequences, as I'm currently doing), work on a personal project, or get an early start on the workday (by answering email if nothing else). Alternatively, in good weather, consider a bicycle; even if you have to buy the bike you'll come out ahead if you can use it semi-regularly (especially if you consider the benefit of the exercise). A serv

Ok, but I didn't say this had already happened. I said it is something I would not want to see happen in future. Possibly you were just using my comment as a convenient anchor for a point you were already prepping for someone else, but it doesn't really make sense to address it to me.

I don't understand which half of that sentence you are objecting to, or what statistic in particular you would be looking for.

"crowding out"

Why were the John Stewarts the real leaders, not the politicians? What's up with the left?

There are lot of legitimate criticisms to single the left out for. But this is not one of them.

Creationism was discussed to death long before Lesswrong existed, which is why people downvote attempts to rehash it as a waste of everyone's time. To the extent that Neoreaction is something different than plain old Reaction, a) it's a relatively new memeplex, so if it's bad, someone has to do the work of swatting it down, and b) when the Neoreactionaries aren't busy reviving obscure archaic words for their own jargon, they're using Lesswrong-style jargon. You run the risk of outsiders pattern-matching LW and Neoreaction together either way. I'd prefer... (read more)

when the Neoreactionaries aren't busy reviving obscure archaic words for their own jargon, they're using Lesswrong-style jargon

I believe the fact that neoreactionaries make frequent use of LW jargon is down to more than a founder effect.

There are multiple aspects to the LW memeplex that perform significant legwork in laying an epistemological foundation to mug intelligent social liberals with reality, which is close to the defining trait of neoreaction. To wit,

... (read more)

That being said, there's ample discussion already on Slate Star Codex, and I wouldn't want to see it crowding out other topics here.

I keep hearing people say this. This is a rationalist site; why hasn't anyone gone out and generated some statistics?

Really? Because most ideas are bad, and that by default includes most new ideas, so I don't see why a new "memeplex" shouldn't justify itself rather than having a right to be taken seriously. Out in the world, LessWrong is more closely associated with Peter Thiel's brand of libertarianism, and gets all the flak and critiquing usually given to techno-libertarianism.
People have posted about creationism on LessWrong?
That's only an observation that could be made by someone who knows what neoreaction sounds like. On the other hand by having LW posts about neoreactionary ideas anybody reading LW comes into contact with them.

To pick trivial examples, "negging" would be unethical, while "spend some time in the gym" is ethically neutral, and I would consider it instrumentally rational.

I think this is the "motte and bailey" applied to PUA. Normally when people say "PUA techniques," they mean something narrower than "anything you might do to increase your attractiveness."

I believe you are using the "motte and bailey" analogy incorrectly here. It is not supposed to mean "the worst thing you can associate with a group", but rather something like "a central teaching which is rather indefensible in a debate, but they keep returning to it as long as there is no opponent in sight". Yes, they mean "behaving like (a PUA model of) alpha male". That includes a lot of things; and different people put emphasis on different subsets. The original approaches had a lot of "hacks to fool the alpha-male detector", and negging was one of those hacks. (And it was not meant to be used on every woman all the time, but as a way to get attention of a woman way above the man's level.) The recent approaches are about "just become the alpha male, duh".

The ability to declare bankruptcy has a similar relationship to the riskiness of entrepreneurial activity, but we do not generally describe bankruptcy law as "encouraging people to fail at business" or "paying people to fail at business."

Maybe we should?

Not being a programmer, I don't know if this is relevant to silicon valley in particular, but people in general overestimate how many hours per week they work, and the greatest exaggeration is found among the people reporting the longest hours.

Full BLS report

Shorter NYT version


Great find. From the NYT summary:

Men estimated spending a total of 23 hours on housework per week, versus the 10 hours they actually spent when forced to keep a time diary. Women estimated 32 hours versus 17 hours in the diary.

"Paying people to be poor" carries an additional connotation of "encouraging them to remain poor"; it's distinct from "paying people because they are currently poor".

IANA native speaker, but I'm not even sure it's just a connotation. It sounds to me like it's part of the denotation, and if I didn't want it I'd word it as “paying people for being poor”.
4Scott Garrabrant9y
I do not understand your argument. If people know that taxes/basic income are coming in the future, that is an incentive for them to become poor relative to if taxes/basic income was not coming. They may not say "Oh, that is a good deal, I want to be poor," but they may work less or take bigger financial risks because of it, because being poor is relatively less bad than it would be otherwise.

Just an FYI for the interested: Homestuck has returned after a yearlong hiatus.

Next year I want to see an independent measure of conscientiousness, and compare this between people who bother to answer the digit ratio question and those who don't...

The conscientiousness/akrasia interactions are also fascinating, but even harder to measure. There's a serious missing-not-at-random censoring effect going on for people too conscientious to leave off digit ratio but too akrasic to do the measurement. I nearly fell into this bucket.

I'm not the sure the optimal point is going to fall in the same place depending on which factors you choose to weight. It would not surprise me at all to discover that the amount of exercise I get (typically, 6 days a week, for a total of around 7-8 hours of strenuous exercise, plus an hour or so of walking /week, and I stand at my desk at work) is well above the optimum for long-term joint health or longevity, but it's right where I want it for a) strong antidepressant effect (cardio) and increased confidence (weight training) and b) increased sexual att... (read more)

Vitamin D, 5000IU daily, year-round. (My latitude is about 38.85 oN, but I think I'd be taking it even further South).

Perhaps once ever 2-3 days I'll also take B6/B12/Folate.

I don't take a multivitamin because I don't want excess Vitamin E.

ETA: Forgot to mention that I add crushed flaxseed to my yoghurt.

On further reflection, I like to have control of the pace I play a game. Real-time strategy games against human opponents are stressful, but I don't mind PvP with asynchronous turns. (Even in chess with a clock, I'm not forced to move faster just because my opponent does.)

In video games, I prefer PvE to PvP and, in fact, largely stopped playing video games because I disliked the focus.

Yet I strongly prefer competitive over cooperative board games.

I haven't figured out why my brain draws this distinction yet.

On further reflection, I like to have control of the pace I play a game. Real-time strategy games against human opponents are stressful, but I don't mind PvP with asynchronous turns. (Even in chess with a clock, I'm not forced to move faster just because my opponent does.)

I'm done, but my ruler isn't good enough that I'm super confident in my digit ratios; I would have preferred one less significant digit (no pun intended, but I'll take it anyway).

Some US states do not have partisan voter registration, so choosing "no party" does not necessarily mean someone would not register by party if that option were available.

I vaguely recall believing when I was young that there were no real bisexuals, just gays in denial about it.

I used to think acne was unrelated to diet (other than perhaps via direct facial contact with grease).

When law enforcement first started being equipped with tasers, I thought this was a good thing, because they would use nonlethal force on occasions where they would previously have used firearms. It turned out that police continued to use lethal force as before, and instead used tasers in situations where they might actually have talked people down in the past.

Ironically it's much more likely that gays are just bisexuals in denial.
Aren't many people prone to acne regardless of diet? Stats? Source?

I was convinced in 2008 that Obama was going to be good for civil liberties. I don't think I need to discuss in any detail why that was wrong or how I got convinced otherwise, since the reasons should be pretty obvious.

I also made this mistake (although, to be fair, on the issue of torture, Obama genuinely was an improvement.)

My current belief is that, rather being grossly mistaken about the character of the former Constitutional law scholar/sponsor of a bill requiring videotaped confessions, I was grossly mistaken in underestimating the corruptive infl... (read more)

I also made this mistake (although, to be fair, on the issue of torture, Obama genuinely was an improvement.)

How do you now? The Obama administration continues to ban photographing equipment which was one of the policies to suppress evidence of US torture.

Torture got outlawed in the late Bush administration. People responsible for the torture project had no problem raising in influence within the Obama administration. The Obama administration continues to run black sites.

Is it possible that the reason for change was secret information instead of corruption?

I think you might be underestimating the amount of money in politics that comes from large organized contributors who give money to both parties for purposes of making the system in general beholden to them rather than favoring one ideology over the other.

I think those contributors will probably not be our main demographic, since they have an interest in the system as it is and don't want to risk disrupting it. In theory, though, donating to both parties can be modeled as a costly signal (the implied threat is that if you displease me, the next election I'll only donate to your opponent), and there's no reason you can't do that through our site.
While some money does follow that road, not all money does.

For example, I've noticed a ramping up lately of propaganda against those horrible people called "billionaires." I would call today's billionaires the early adopters of future living standards, assuming that we continue to have exponential economic growth.

I don't think this is a good example of the broader phenomenon you are describing. When people criticize the very wealthy, they're primarily making a criticism about relative, not absolute standards of living. I.e. "It is a sin to have so much when others have so little." I woul... (read more)

I live my with my children but not with a partner or spouse, so I'd want to see even more family arrangements, since I don't think single parenthood is unusual enough to be lumped in with "other."

I'd propose “with parent(s) and/or sibling(s)”, “with partner(s)/spouse(s) and/or child(ren)”, “with roommate(s)”, “alone” and “other/I'd rather not say”. Maybe also “in communal sleeping quarters, e.g. students' dorm or nursing home”.

I agree with this, but just wanted to note that typhoid fever and typhus are distinct diseases (with typhoid being misleadingly named).

Yes, thank you.

Alternative metaphor:

Throwing the steering wheel out of the car while playing a game of chicken = clever. Throwing out the steering wheel AND cutting the break fluid tube -- less clever.

As I have mentioned before the polling data on partisan affiliation is worthless, because most so-called independents are lying about their actual behavior.

I agree that "independent" poorly characterizes the behaviour of most self-identified "independents", but it doesn't follow that "the polling data on partisan affiliation is worthless". Here comes the ROT-13. Gur cbyyvat qngn erznva tbbq rivqrapr nobhg cebsrffrq oryvrs & vqragvgl rira vs gurl'er ovnfrq rivqrapr nobhg orunivbhe, naq V gbbx pner gb nfx nobhg frys-vqragvsvpngvba, abg orunivbhe. Fbzrbar ryfr zvtug pbzcynva gung gurl'er zber vagrerfgrq va orunivbhe guna oryvrs, ohg rira gb gurz V guvax gur qngn fubhyq or gryyvat: tvira gung zbfg HF nqhygf frys-vqragvsl nf Erchoyvpna be Qrzbpeng va gur snpr bs n ceb-vaqrcraqrag ovnf, gur cenpgvpny pbapyhfvba gung zbfg HF nqhygf ner cnegvfna whfg trgf nyy gur fgebatre.

I also have the general impression that in the past few months there has been an uptick of uncharitable tinman-attacks on progressivism by libertarians in the LW comment threads. Curiously, there seems to be less overt hostility between reactionaries and progressives, even though they're much further apart than libertarians and progressives (although this might be because the more hostile Nrx were more likely to exit after the creation of Moreright).

Because I hadn't seen it.

I find the implied accusation of bias amusing. I've actually tweeted at Matt Yglesias once to complain about the quality of an article on Vox.

I would argue that this summing, not averaging exposure. There's a difference between saying "You should read both GreenNetNews and BlueCast" and saying "To save time, read GreenNetNews on odd-numbered days and BlueCast on even-numbered days".

I think it's averaging because your capacity to absorb news/viewpoints is limited.

Well, taking those specific examples as non-rhetorical: PETA, the Catholic Church, and Infowars are various kinds of insane in ways that extend beyond ordinary political mindkilling, so I'd be unlikely to recommend them. Al-Jazeera English is actually pretty good as a news source, but its website is an adjunct of being a broadcast news source, which is less helpful from a time-investment perspective. I predict that a center-left news source will provide coverage on a broader range of issues than a far-left news source, but your mileage may vary.

The center-left source is also most likely to compensate specifically for the coverage holes in a center-right source. That still isn't averaging their factual claims.

You're not averaging factual claims, you're averaging exposure to viewpoints.

The US "left" is considerably to the right of the European left, and LW has a broad international readership, so I think just saying "left" would be more confusing ("liberal" would even more confusing, given the dispute between libertarians and progressives over who is the legitimate heir of 19th century liberalism). But yes, in this case, I meant progressive in the sense of "mainstream center-left."

Right right, thanks. Any source you'd recommend?
Some of the US "left" (notably, the mainstream Democrats) are considerably to the right of the European left. "Left" encompasses a rather large landscape.

I'm not arguing that the views should be averaged, but that the combined sample of news stories will be less likely to suffer from politically motivated selection bias. A libertarian/fusionist source is likely to devote more coverage to, say, stories of government corruption and less to stories of corporate wage theft or environmental degradation; a progressive source to do the opposite. All of those stories might be important (in general or to sixes-and-sevens in particular), so the combined news feed is in that sense better.

So why did you recommend progressives and not, say, news coming from the Roman Catholic Church, from marxists, from PETA, from infowars, from Al-Jazira, etc. etc.?

I'd argue that height privilege (up to a point, typically around 6'6") is a real thing, having nothing to do with being good at sports. There is a noted experiment, which my google-fu is currently failing to turn up, in which participants were shown a video of an interview between a man and a woman. In one group, the man was standing on a footstool behind his podium, so that he appeared markedly taller than the woman. In the other group, the man was standing in a depression behind his podium, so t that he appeared shorter. The content of the int... (read more)

There's also a large established correlation between height and income, though not enough to completely rule out a potential common cause like "good genes" or childhood nutrition.

That's in the bailey, because of "enjoyed by a majority group."

I don't wish to get into a mindkilling debate about this here, but for sixes-and-sevens benefit, I'll note that Instapundit is a highly ideological libertarian (alternatively, in the view of many progressives, a partisan Republican pretending to be a libertarian). If you use him as a news source, you should balance with a progressive source.

ETA: This advice holds even if you are skipping narrowly political articles and reading about crises/disasters, etc., since ideology informs what kinds of crises people consider salient.

This looks like the classic grey fallacy.
Are you using "progressive" to mean left-leaning, or in the usual way? Just for clarity; if you meant the latter disregard.

I already mentioned the A.D.A. to Ialdabaoth, but fighting a discrimination case probably takes more money than he's looking to raise to move, as well as being psychologically exhausting.

You might be able to get a lawyer to work on a contingency basis - they only get paid if you win.
Either of those reasons is probably enough to convince a rational person. The spirit of Immanuel Genovese still sits on my shoulder screaming "Passive complicity!" at /me/ every time I contemplate accepting an outcome in which it is normal that this kind of treatment happens.

I think there are more LW members who are meat-eating and feel hypocritical/gulity about it than there are actual vegetarians.

Looking at the 2013 poll: I can't speak to the feeling of guilt, but vegetarians are a small minority here.

You may find this article by Tom Stafford (of Mindhacks) to be of interest.

Interesting. They posit several conditions for mind-changing. 1. The person is motivated/somehow involved with the outcome of the decision. 2. The argument for a different view is strong. 3. Their own view is shown to have a weakness. 4. They like you. (ingroup affiliation is also mentioned) 5. They have time to think about it. Not all conditions are always required, but each has a significant impact.

I agree with the first sentence, but I'm not sure if our reasoning is the same. Here's mine: If humans were perfectly rational overall, buying a lottery ticket would never make sense. But we aren't. I think it's rational to buy a lottery ticket say, every six months, and then not check if it's a winner for the six months. Just as humans seems to enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming vacation more than the actual vacation, the human brain can get utility from the hope that ticket might be a winner, and 6 months of an (irrational, but so what?) hope far outweigh the one day of disappointment and one dollar lost when you check the ticket and it hasn't won.

I totally agree with this reasoning, but I don't think "fun" is the only good reason to buy a ticket.

I agree with claim 1 for some definitions of feminism and not for others. I agree with claim 2. I think that Scott would agree wtih claim 1 (for some definitions) and with claim 2 as well, so I disagree with claim 3.

I've read that engineers and scientists, or students of those disciplines, are disproportionately represented among jihadists

I've also read this, but I want to know if it corrects for the fact that the educational systems in many of the countries that produce most jihadis don't encourage study of the humanities and certain social sciences. Is it really engineers in particular, or is the educated-but-stifled who happen overwhelmingly to be engineers in these countries?

Whereas for me, it's horrifying, given that my ex-spouse turned out to be an astonishingly horrible person.

I seem to recall Yvain posting a link to something he referred to as the beginnings of a possible rebuttal to The Nurture Assumption; I suppose I shall have to hang my hopes on that.

It may or may not be comforting to reflect that your ex-spouse is probably less horrible than s/he seems to you. (Just on general outside-view principles; I have no knowledge of your situation or your ex.)

but it's no better than any of the other fantasy books out there.

That's a very generous way of putting it. I picked it up off the bargain shelf not realizing the age of the author. The plot is totally derivative and every character speaks in the same, implausibly stilted voice.

Incidentally, I once very much enjoyed a book written by a twelve-year-old.

I found Ian M. Banks' Surface Detail to be fairly disturbing (and I'm in the Roko's-basilisk-is-ridiculous camp); even though the simulated-hell technology doesn't currently exist (AFAWK), having the salience of the possibility raised is unpleasant.

Surface Detail's portrayal of Hell struck me as ugly and vulgar but not very disturbing. Some of the gratuitous nastiness in Consider Phlebas was worse, for example (the Eaters scene in particular), and so were some of Vatueil's simulated battle scenes; I think they came across as more salient because they didn't map onto cultural tropes I'd already rejected, and because they didn't come across as being scripted for a quasi-political morality play.

The term "nationalism" is used in at least two very different ways. The particularist use is more accurately termed "national chauvinism", usually but not always ethnically-based, is the idea that one's own nation is in some way better than all the others, and the interests of its people should be accorded disproportionate weight. Note that this kind of nationalist doesn't necessarily care about political organization outside of his own country; he has an ideology about his nation, not necessarily about nations in general.

I would a... (read more)

This BTW is my beef with Mencius Moldbug when he points out that German nationalism is considered bad and Czech nationalism is considered good.

The particularist use is more accurately termed "national chauvinism", usually but not always ethnically-based, is the idea that one's own nation is in some way better than all the others, and the interests of its people should be accorded disproportionate weight.

The "in some way better than all others" bit isn't a very charitable reading of that position; if a Frenchman wants the french government to further the interests of France and Frenchmen (even at the expense of other countries), then it's a form of nationalism but doesn't in... (read more)

Not a heuristic, but I would suggest an auction. Example: You have 5 people, A and B want seafood, C wants Thai, D wants Mexican, and E wants steak.

E -- I'll pay for 1% of everyone else's bill if we get steak. A -- 2%, seafood, C -- 3%, Thai, B -- 4% seafood (all pass)

Result, A + B get the food they want, but C, D, and E pay less (with B picking up 2.67% of their bills and A picking up 1.33%).

There are edge cases where this doesn't necessarily work well (e.g. someone with a severe food allergy gets stuck bidding a large amount to avoid getting poisoned), but overall I think it functions somewhat similarly to yootling.

Load More