Robert Miles


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LW Open Source – Overview of the Codebase

Ah ok, thanks! My main concern with that is that it goes to "", which feels like it could be a dynamically allocated address that might change under me?

LW Open Source – Overview of the Codebase

Is there a public-facing API endpoint for the Algolia search system? I'd love to be able to say to my discord bot "Hey wasn't there a lesswrong post about xyz?" and have him post a few links

In Wikipedia — reading about Roko's basilisk causing "nervous breakdowns" ...

Agreed. On priors I would expect above-baseline rates of mental health issues in the community even in the total absence of any causal arrow from the community to mental health issues (and in fact even in the presence of fairly strong mental health benefits from participation in the community), simply through selection effects. Which people are going to get super interested in how minds work and how to get theirs to work better? Who's going to want to spend large amounts of time interacting with internet strangers instead of the people around them? Who's going to be strongly interested in new or obscure ideas even if it makes the people around them think they're kind of weird? I think people in this community are both more likely to have some pre-existing mental health issues, and more likely to recognise and acknowledge the issues they have.

The Best Software For Every Need

Holy wow excalidraw is good, thank you! I've spent a long time being frustrated that I know exactly what I want from this kind of application and nothing does even half of it. But excalidraw is exactly the ideal program I was imagining. Several times when trying it out I thought "Ok in my ideal program, if I hit A it will switch to the arrow tool." and then it did. "Cool, I wonder what other shortcuts there are" so I hit "?" and hey a nice cheat sheet pops up. Infinite canvas, navigated how I would expect. Instant multiplayer, with visible cursors so you can gesture at things. Even a dark mode. Perfect.

The Best Software For Every Need

This is the factor that persuaded me to try Obsidian in the first place. It's maintained by a company, so perhaps more polish than some FOSS projects, but the notes are all stored purely as simple markdown files on your hard disk, so if the company goes under the worst that happens is there are no more updates and I just keep using whatever the last version was

Nonspecific discomfort

I suppose it makes sense that if you've done a lot of introspection, the main problems you'll have will be the kind that are very resistant to that approach, which makes this post good advice for you and people like you. But I don't think the generalisable lesson is "introspection doesn't work, do these other things" so much as "there comes a point where introspection runs out, and when you hit that, here are some ways you can continue to make progress".

Or maybe it's like a person with a persistent disease who's tried every antibiotic without much effect, and then says "antibiotics suck, don't bother with them, but here are the ways I've found to treat my symptoms and live a good life even with the disease". It's good advice but only once you're sure the infection doesn't respond to antibiotics.

Could it be that most people do so little introspection because they're bad at it and it would only lead them astray anyway? Possibly, but the advice I'd give would still be to train the skill rather than to give up on understanding your problems.

That said, I think all of the things you suggest are a good idea in their own right, and the best strategy will be a combination. Do the things that help with problems-in-general while also trying to understand and fix the problem itself.

Nonspecific discomfort

I think this overestimates the level of introspection most people have in their lives, and therefore underestimates the effectiveness of introspection. I think for most people, most of the time, this 'nonspecific discomfort' is almost entirely composed of specific and easily understood problems that just make the slightest effort to hide themselves, by being uncomfortable to think about.

For example, maybe you don't like your job, and that's the problem. But, you have some combination of factors like

  • I dreamed of doing job X for years, so of course I like doing X
  • I spent so long training and working hard to be allowed to do job X, I can't quit
  • I'm an X-er, that's who I am, what would I even be if I stopped doing job X?

These kinds of things prevent you from ever thinking the thought "I have a problem which is that I don't like doing X and maybe want to do something else". So you have this general feeling of dissatisfaction which resists being pinned on the actual source of the problem, and may pin itself to other things. "Maybe if I get that new, better X-ing equipment", "Maybe if I get promoted to Senior X-er".

Probably doing exercise and socialising and cooking will help you feel better about a life doing a job you don't like, but ten minutes of honest focused introspection would let you see the problem and start to actually deal with it.

It seems plausible to me that there are also problems that are really deeply defended and will resist introspection very effectively, but I think most people haven't spent ten minutes by the clock just really trying to be honest with themselves and stare at the uncomfortable things, and until you've at least done that it's too soon to give up on the idea that your problem can't be understood and dealt with. Certainly introspection can give you wrong answers, but usually the problem is just that people have barely tried introspection at all.

Lifeism in the midst of death

At my grandmother's funeral I read Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay, which captured my feelings at the time fairly well. I think you can say things while reading a poem that you couldn't just say as yourself.

What will 2040 probably look like assuming no singularity?

On point 12, Drone delivery: If the FAA is the reason, we should expect to see this already happening in China?

My hypothesis is, the problem is noise. Even small drones are very loud, and ones large enough to lift the larger packages would be deafening. This is something that's very hard to engineer away, since transferring large amounts of energy into the air is an unavoidable feature of a drone's mode of flight. Aircraft deal with this by being very high up, but drones have to come to your doorstep. I don't see people being ok with that level of noise on a constant, unpredictable basis.

Rationalism before the Sequences

It would certainly be a mistake to interpret your martial art's principle of "A warrior should be able to fight well even in unfavourable combat situations" as "A warrior should always immediately charge into combat, even when that would lead to an unfavourable situation", or "There's no point in trying to manoeuvre into a favourable situation"

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