Sinclair Chen

I was in Bayesian Choir. You'll know me one day for worrying about asteroid gravitational-energy-mining x-risk (seriously).

tumblr: @eclairsandsins

twitter: @SinclairityChen


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Wiki Contributions


Cup-Stacking Skills (or, Reflexive Involuntary Mental Motions)

I propose the name "Cycle Skill"

  • The skill comes from a tight feedback loop
    • The word "cycle" connotes repetition
  • Like riding a 'cycle
    • Once learned, it's intuitive and very hard to unlearn
    • Anyone can do it
  • Rolls off the tongue
  • Con: doesn't sound like its unintentionally learned
Cup-Stacking Skills (or, Reflexive Involuntary Mental Motions)

This sounds a lot like what Kahneman calls "expert intuition" in Thinking Fast and Slow - it is picked up from prolonged practice in a regular environment with quick feedback. (Some examples in the book are playing speed chess at a high rank and firefighters that are able to tell a building is about to collapse a few seconds before it does, without being able to verbalize how they know).  A cup stacking skill is expert intuition + "anyone can do it."

Tips for the most immersive video calls

Interesting. I've never noticed that my phone camera is wayyy better than my laptop camera until I read this post and thought to make the comparison.

I wonder why you're against using earbuds. I use a google pixel usb-c earbuds on my computer for video chats, and I'm able to hear my own voice when I speak. The microphone in it is not bad either.

Rationality and playfulness

I have a few unconnected thoughts. A disjoint reply to a disjoint post:

  • "The first virtue is curiosity." A lot of these experiences are seeing with fresh eyes.
  • This reminds me of mindfulness meditation.
  • This reminds me of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book about being friends with household objects.
  • Children play to learn things. Maybe adults should too.
  • A few weeks ago I was walking alone at night in the middle of a small street. On a whim I started to dance, but it just made me feel more alone. Even when I've been silly in the past, I was silly with friends. I doubt that I could ever think a thought to myself that will make me laugh as hard as the funniest things my friends have said to me or that I have said to them. Maybe I could play myself if I tried soft enough, but why should I when voice chat is a few clicks away? Maybe rationality can be playful, but why should it be solitary?
  • Did you really play alone if you tell another person what you did? You wanted to see if you could produce a certain kind of solitary experience - and then you shared the experience on the internet.
Hammers and Nails

Ten uses for goal factoring that I personally would not normally consider:

1. When I'm craving a certain food or just hungry in general, I could break it up into flavors, textures, and nutrients I desire and cook up something new that fits exactly what I want

2. For shopping lists

3. For choosing what items to keep or discard when decluttering

4. Create a business plan by having some target users goal factor their problem

5. Goal factor my relationship with someone I'm close to and have them do the same, then share the results with each other.

6. Political cause prioritization.

7. Goal factor X so I can write a poem about X

8. To make my dating website profiles more honest

9. To choose which friends to hang out with more

10. To see whether I truly understand my friend's hard situation, I could put myself in their shoes and imagine them going through the goal factoring process for the hard problem they're dealing with. After getting what I think are their motivations, tell them.

Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years

Without looking it up:

My first impression is that the bank pays off the original homeowner in full, which they are willing to do because I pay back the bank over time with interest, or else they take my house. Is the real answer that they are middlemen who sell the right to foreclose my house to investors?

Edit: I asked my mom, who's a landlord, and in America the buyer borrows money from the bank (via a mortgage) and pays an escrow company, which pays off any liens (debts tied to the property that the original owner failed to pay such as unpaid property taxes or repair costs) and then pays the original owner the remaining. Unless the owner owed $3 million in liens and the house sold for $2 million, in which case the owner would owe the escrow company $1 million instead of getting paid. This way the house buyer buys just the house without worrying about liens. A bank makes sure a homebuyer is trustworthy before lending them money; an escrow company makes sure that the seller actually owns the house and that all their liens are accounted for.

On the other hand, if you buy a foreclosed house at auction then you are in charge of paying the liens as well, kind of like how when you buy a business, any debt the business owed comes with it.

You cause the world to be better when you donate to a good charity in the same sense that you cause your hair to be wet when you take a shower.

Status: Map and Territory

They could either become depressed, become more okay with social games, or hold some more nuanced view - like some social games are good but not all.

A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy

Hmm, now I'm starting to wonder if Satoshi is a rationalist