Member of the LessWrong 2.0 team. I've been a member of the rationalist/EA communities since 2012. I have particular rationality interests in planning and emotions.


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Rationality Verification

I have now converted this page to be also tag, and not just a wiki. It should work now.

LessWrong FAQ

Oh, I'm terribly sorry. The FAQ has gotten a bit out of date and is due for an update. Since it was written, the frontpage been changed. Curated posts are now the first few posts listed in the "Latest" section, the ones that have stars to the left of their titles.

Sorry for the confusion!

Adding Up to Normality

Yeah, we should fix that.

Rationality Verification

Nope, didn't show up in Recent Discussion.

Rationality Verification

Huh, I was able to apply the tag flag. Let's see if this shows up in recent discussion.

Potential factors in Bell Labs' intellectual progress, Pt. 1

Yeah, I'll want to revisit this question a) when I've finished the book and read some other stuff, b) look into the other people who seemed to have invented the same things around the same time.

Potential factors in Bell Labs' intellectual progress, Pt. 1

You're right and I should have worded that better. The experiment itself wasn't random, though the outcomes might not have been predicted.

I was born and educated thus that I got the solution first: transistors are made with doped silicon that allows current to flow when such and such a field is applied because of holes and electrons, etc., etc.

Implicitly, I'd assumed that the creators of the transistor just had this theory. They knew about current and charge carriers and the electron configuration of different atoms, so they could just combine these and figure out a workable design. It was surprising  to methat key parts of the picture weren't theory driven in this way, instead the unanticipated outcome of experiments where they didn't have good theory.

Ruby's Public Drafts & Working Notes

Yeha, it's easy to get discouraged though when initial doctors clearly know less than you and only know of the most common diagnoses which very much don't seem to apply. Hence my advice to keep looking for doctors who do know more.

Ruby's Public Drafts & Working Notes

When I have a problem, I have a bias towards predominantly Googling and reading. This is easy, comfortable, do it from laptop or phone. The thing I'm less inclined to do is ask other people – not because I think they won't have good answers, just because...talking to people.

I'm learning to correct for this. The think about other people is 1) sometimes they know more, 2) they can expose your mistaken assumptions.

The triggering example for this note is an appointment I had today with a hand and arm specialist for the unconventional RSI I've been experiencing the last 1.5 years. I have spent several dozen hours studying and reading into various possible diagnoses and treatments. I've seen a few doctors about it, all seeming uninformed.

This one thought it was Radial Tunnel Syndrome, a 1-in-10,000 nerve compression issue. I don't explicitly remember ruling out that specific diagnosis, but I had ruled out nerve conditions because I don't have any numbness or tingling. Turns out it can be a nerve issue even in the absence of those.

The cure might be as simple as taking Vitamin D (I know I should be because of Covid, and I bought some, but I've been bad about it).

This is why you talk to other people (and keep looking for those worth talking to). 

I'm not sure how much reading and thinking on my own it would have taken to question that assumption and try this solution. A lot. Because we're talking about an uncommon condition, I'm unlikely to come across it reading generally about my symptoms and hypotheses.

I erred in the same direction when researching Miranda's cancer. Many doctors aren't very good when you take them out of their usual range of practice, but some are pretty good and their area of knowledge does coincide with your problem. I might suggest visiting even five specialists for significant problems.

I mean, I don't know if today's doctor was correct. He's plausibly correct which is better than I can say for most. He was worth talking to, even accounting the ~2 hour return trip from Emeryville to Stanford.

Talk to people. I expect this to generalize. I intend to do it for all my research projects, and maybe other projects too. You've got to talk to the people who expose your false assumptions and introduce you to your unknown unkowns.

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