Randomized, Controlled

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4 month follow up: a lot of heat was very helpful, but underpowered to fully deal with this problem, and also inconvenient to constantly have a hotwater bottle in the back of my sweater like a hunchback of Notre Dame. Gently ramped up, progressive upper back strengthening has been very helpful for getting to a much more sustainably comfortable point. There's still some lingering issues in the spot between the shoulder blades and occasionally I do still treat with heat, but it's much much better now.

A number of answers have already alluded to deprioritizing long-term savings, but you could go farther and borrow from the post-singularity future. Get a mortgage or other loan. This may work out well even in some worlds with friendly superintelligence, because maybe the AGI gives us a luxury automated communism and your debt obligation is somehow disolved.

Umm... this is not financial advice.


Yeah, as a 1.5 week follow up, the heat treatement has continued to has continued to be effective, with the sense of tightness continuing to resolve. But it's also required a fairly high dose: probably several hours a day sitting with the waterbottle shoved into my t-shirt. I have a more ergonomic chair arriving tomorrow, G-d and B-zzos willing.

Two days later: this is working quite well so far.

I've worked as a professional programmer for nine years now. I think in at some point a few years ago, it actually began to erode my sense of agency working with computers. At a certain point I became less interested in hobby programming. This was 100% a healthy thing, I started doing things like dancing a lot of contact improv and rock climbing. But when I largely stopped hobby programming, almost all my programming experience was coming from working on production systems. Writing production code is slow. I've routinely had the experience of one or two line changes taking hours or days to get merged. I've worked on modest features that take days or weeks to finish. More and more I began to associate any change to a computer system with inertia and working through complex, unpleasant trade offs.

This feeling has also been exacerbated by trialing internet blocking software. Selfcontrol is probably the best one I've tried, but it's def not everything I'd like. I've occasionally thought about trying to extend it, it's open source, but I've never done any Objective-C and have never been motivated enough to figure out how to get a dev environment for it running and then try and situate myself in a new code base. I've looked at freedom and rescuetime and a couple of others, but I've also been gun-shy about giving these apps deep access to my system. I do my banking on here.

Today I decided to do a quick investigation into the minimal amount required to make my machine shutdown at 10pm everynight, with 15 and 3 minute warnings. It was super easy! I think if you asked me, I probably would have predicted this was easy to do, but I was still somehow emotionally surprised to do a thing with a computer in about 30mins all in, including research.

How to set your system up to warn you, then shut down every evening:

Done! Save your work when the machine politely reminds you, and get a nice night of sleep.

Caveat programmer: this may not be very bulletproof. I tested each part of this individually, but I'll find out over the next few nights how well it works in practice. I'm excluding some steps that might be a bit confusing if you're not comfortable creating bash scripts or in vim (you don't need that much vim, I barely remember how to quit vim each time I open that damn program). Figuring this stuff out might take you a bit longer, but overall it's still probably pretty fast.

Interesting. Maybe you're right.

I think my model here is something more like, "ML agents that can do good text generation get rolled out to the masses by google and apple, and then some amount of glue infrastructure is developed or even just you can say, "hey google, help me with my dating profile" and it'll do a thing that's 70th or 80th percentile for writing quality, diluting out those of us who were doing 85th to 99th percentile writing.

But shortly after than it'll be available to everyone and we'll have lost another useful signal

See, your first mistake here was not to consult with John Wentworth and Paul Christiano about thermodynamics.

I bet you didn't even ring up JeffTK!

So much for the rationalist virtue of scholarship..

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