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Give your kid the Marshmallow test ( - you can do it at around 4 1/2 yrs old), and video-record it.

It's a good diagnostic indicator of how good she is at delaying gratification, and more importantly, you can watch her display coping strategies. You may already think you have a sense of how they'll do, but it can be surprising.

It's also fun, in a torment-your-child kind of way.

Thanks for reminding me - we've actually had a very poor M:F ratio - we currently have no female regulars. We've had a few people bring their SO - we had one couple show up regularily, but they moved to a different city.

In Toronto, our average attendance has shrunk a bit, at least partially due to some of our regulars being busy with school/work, and others dropping out of sight for no given reason. We also haven't done anything in particular to connect with other like-minded groups or recruit new attendees - we have seen some new faces now and again..

Generally, casual, no-stated-purpose get-togethers have had between 3 to over a dozen attendees. Well-attended meet-ups also included focused discussions (on, for example, nuclear power just after Fukushima), and games (Paranoid Debating, Gnomic, board games).

Our least well-attended meets were for indoor rock climbing.

Currently, we do alternating weeks of casual meets and Singularity-focused discussions, which is working well for us.

So far, we've been disaster-free.

If you are commuting downtown during rush hour, being with other human beings is a downside - it's quite oppressive, actually. And you probably won't get a seat, which means napping is out, and reading is more of a hassle.

I'm in somewhat of an ideal situation, commute-wise - I work just outside the city and live inside, so I commute in the opposite direction of traffic. But I've had to commute downtown occasionally and it's way more exhausting.

Ya, "lies and deceit" seem a bit hyperbolic.

FWIW, our siblings' success/failure ratio is 3/4 - I have one sibling who is having a little trouble. He was in an otherwise good relationship, but they had mismatched long-term goals, and couldn't find a compromise. There's a lot of variables that have to come together, and I think that's where luck comes in...

I am such a person*. I feel very lucky, but we've put a lot of thought and effort into our relationship. So a little from column A, and little from column C.

On partner selection, I think Dan Savage nailed it, on finding "the one": "There ain't no one. There's a .67 or a .64 that you round up to one" (Although I think those are conservative numbers - shoot for a .8). More here.

My parents were also such people, and my wife's parents have been married for a long time. I suspect, as children, we internalize relationship heuristics from our parents, but I doubt there's anything unlearnable. Although, if these conjectures are true, and both partners are children of failed relationships, it might make it hard to navigate challanges.

Also, I think GabrielDuquette is on to something with "anti-fragile" in his post below.

* - Qualifiers: depends what you mean by "young" and "serious". Also, we lived together/common-law for 5 years before we were "married."

Chronic MDMA use causes a decrease in concentration of serotonin transporters.

Lottery winners end up no where near as happy, long-term, as they imagined they would be when they bought the ticket (Brickman, Coates, Janoff-Bulman 1978).

This is weak evidence, but it suggests that wire-heading in practice isn't going to look like it does in the thought experiment - I imagine neural down-regulation would play a part.

You're right - in the counter-factual world where he jiggled his sperm and had a different child, he would value that child via the endowment effect. Thanks for clarifying for me.

Doesn't he distinguish between (1) and (2)? From the article:

Like most parents, I have a massive endowment effect vis-a-vis my children. I love them greatly simply because they exist and they're mine. If you offered to replace one of my sons with another biological child who was better in every objective way, I'd definitely refuse.

one of my biggest concerns is that the way things are presented is artificial, designed to manipulate the viewer into thinking the way the creators of the show or commercial want him or her to think

This is true, but I'm pretty sanguine about it. The reality is, my kids are going to live in a world where they are exposed to media manipulation - protecting them from it at a young age isn't going to encourage the kind of skepticism required to combat it later. Already, my almost-4-year-old seems to discount how awesome things look in a commercial due to past disappointments.

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