All of Soothsilver's Comments + Replies

The WHO guidance is that the person who is infected uses a mask as much as possible, that they use the bathroom for evening routine last (after you) and that they clean it/disinfect it after use.

Thank you. I admit I didn't understand most of what you said. Sorry.

I tried meditation once and it was terrible. Emptying my head allows all the negativity to come in :).

Check this out: If you're interested in giving meditation a try again, try the headspace website/app. Meditation for beginners on youtube from actualized is a great start, he also has a guided meditation track and more: In my opinion by not approaching the meditation for benefit's sake will you paradoxically benefit the most, but I don't know, it's a speculation. Alan Watts have some great videos about this and similar on youtube :) No problem, wish you the best :) Peace!

You're referring to, yes?

It just seems like those situations don't present themselves very often. More often, a situation presents itself like this: A team member makes all the wrong arguments to support a thesis I disagree with. Previously, I would just fight against each of his arguments. Now, I don't do anything much (I'm not good at convincing people) but instead keep thinking "yeah, yeah, arguments, soldiers, written the bottom line, blah, blah" without it actually being useful.

That's not really re... (read more)

No, I was making a reference to the Litany of Tarski. When you ask "how do I forget rationality?", it seems to me that you're asking how to go back to deceiving yourself. After all, rationality is the adherence of beliefs to reality, and there's nothing that subtracts you joy by changing your beliefs so that they are more in tune with reality: after all, reality was there all along. Perhaps ponderating on the joy of the merely real could help.

Huh, um, okay! ^^ I somewhat suspected that that is the case, but it's still hard to believe it. (thank you)

That's helpful, thank you! Your mention of Fluid Dynamics was particularly nice.

Happy to share.

Part of is what I replied to ChristianKl: that I feel like every important thing should be reduced to thinking about EA or AI. This makes me think that I can't find any new areas interesting because they're not good, or should be eliminated to divert resources into one of those two items.

Another part, I think, is that previously, I could always discover a... greater... area of interest once I grew out of the old one. When I got good at video games, I could move o... (read more)

Well, yeah, but it also gives a lot of answers and provides an argument to everything. Also it feels like reading from the community reduces everything to either effective altruism or AI. It may not be true but I've internalized it so much that now I can't listen to, say, any politician's statement on state budget, without EA or AI funding immediately coming to mind. Or even any economics or politics or important decision making without feeling like "this is all wrong and we shouldn't care about it". It's a little disheartening :)

Most people aren't happy when they read political news. If you care about happiness then spending less time reading political news might be good regardles whether you are in this community or not. Secondly that reaction isn't the result of LW ideology. Eliezer wrote and having a credence for beliefs instead of categorising them as right/wrong are pillars of LW. In general "this is all wrong" might not be the best trigger from a rationality perspective. Asking "What's the likelihood that this is right?" is better from a rationality perspective. Thinking about whether that probability is 20% or 30% can be much more interesting intellectually than thinking in right/wrong terms.

Not neccessarily cause of depression.

I mean, I am suspicious and I believe it has something to do with it. At my worst during depressive periods, I keep thinking about death, altruism, rationality, AI etc. Also, there's these surveys that tell me that LessWrong members are unusually likely to have depression.

But I think my depression is mostly innate.

I keep doing that but it's kind of hard, and I can't easily get a proof of what's causing the problem.

Being around here has made me think that I know everything interesting about the world and suppressed my excitement and joy from many minor things I could do. I also feel like my sense of wonder diminished. As I write this, I am a little unhappy, and in a period of depression, but I had similar feelings, if less intense, even before this period.

I was wondering whether you have any advice on how to restore this; or even better, how to "forget" as much rationality and transhumanism as possible (if not actually forgetting, then at least "to think and feel as I did before I read the Sequences")?

If you are looking for a sense of wonder in particular, I'd recommend pretty much anything by Carl Sagan. Audio-books, Cosmos show, etc. My thought is that the social proof will transfer his positive valence) to you. Ideally, when thinking about anything on a grand scale, it would trigger an association with that sense of wonder. I hesitated to say this though, since it is also likely to make a sense of smallness more salient, if it isn't already salient. Use your best judgement.
You know everything interesting? Including, say, how to build FAI? Do tell! :P I can understand how rationality might make you depressed, in fact sometimes I feel that the more I understand about signalling, psychology and so forth the more other people annoy me. I find myself picking apart what other people say for logical fallacies and translating every political statement into 'The outgroup is bad! Fight the outgroup!". However, I'm surprised that transhumanism would diminish your sense of wonder - a philosophy about how humans could turn into Jupiter-brain gods seems to me like the sort of thing that should increase your sense of wonder. Maybe you have been reading too much analytical stuff and you need to read something more 'far-out'? Maybe read 'the headonic imperitive?'
I don't think that's an inherent feature of Lesswrong. The idea that most humans are overconfident and that there much left to be understood seems to me one of the ideas of rationality. The skepticism of Feymann would be an example of a rational way of looking at the world but that still have it's sense of wonder.
So... you don't want to know whether or not there's a diamond in the box?
Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. If you want to use your sense of wonder again, it might be good to seek out something completely new to you. Learn about something new, develop a new skill, or go to some place that you haven't been before. Then spend some time being quiet and observing or practicing. Or spend some time in person with people who are enthusiastic about things you are not enthusiastic about, and get curious about why they like it, and listen to what they say. I'm pretty sure you still have a sense of wonder in there, waiting to be used. It may be something that grows with practice though. Also, remember that familarity is not the same thing as comprehension! You may very well be familiar with more interesting things about the world than you were before, but that does not me an that you understand them! And Less Wrong is certainly not a comprehensive compendium of all the interesting things in the world. For example, a topic that is rarely discussed on Less Wrong is Fluid Dynamics, which is something that awakes my sense of wonder. Here's a link to a blog about fluid dynamics: I'm not sure whether to think up some strategies to help you find joy in the things you used to enjoy, or if what would help is spending time on completely new things, and making bigger changes in your life. Or some mixture, like remixing your past and present to make your future. If there are still some minor things that you do find joy in, do those more often. Sometimes it is as simple as noticing what you like doing, what makes you feel even a smidgen happier, and doing it more. I'm a bit confused as to how reading the Sequences could make it harder to find joy and excitement in minor things, or make you feel like you know everything. What happened, if you don't mind sharing?
The thought that you know everything interesting about the world, is a thought. In fact, by thinking that you know, you won't ever be able to know. Because you think you already have what you seek, thus you cannot gain what you seek. In the same manner, you won't buy an expensive object when you already have said object. The unknown is vastly beyond, in fact, if you are familiar with "map not being the territory", you are the territory. The territory precedes time, space and everything that is a map. Which are, you. The concept of who you think is you is a map. By practicing daily meditation, you will be able to increase your awareness where the separation of thoughts and awareness occurs, by becoming less oblivious to the maps, all that's left is the territory. The ego loves to stay in control, and it's a very tricky thing, I can highly recommend starting meditation, every single day, have a timer or follow a guided meditation practice. No matter how you feel or what the day is, get it done, even if you have to do it every time before you go to sleep. Of course, this isn't medical advice, for emergencies, you should visit a doctor :) Take care, god bless.
LessWrong has made me if anything more able to derive excitement and joy from minor things, so if I were you I would check if LW is really to blame or otherwise find out if there are other factors causing this problem.
You should probably start by accepting the fact that you do not know everything interesting about the world, nor does anyone else on Less Wrong, or anyone else in the world. That does not require forgetting anything or pretending things are other than they are: it is just a simple fact about the world. I agree that LW has a negative tendency to produce the opposite, and mistaken, conviction in people.
Why do you think spending time on Less Wrong is the cause of your depression?

I've tried Joylent Twennybars but not any other product. I found them very tasty, but I also got some stomachache. Maybe I would get used to that, though, or I may have been eating them incorrectly.

Addendum: I have just experienced the worst diarrhea I've ever had. However, I suspect it's unrelatd.

I order Joylent Twennybars in response to this. They are rather tasty.

Addendum: I have just experienced the worst diarrhea I've ever had. However, I suspect it's unrelatd.

Wow, thank you very much! I would have thought most LessWrongers would answer the question "Why does anything exist?" with the answer "That question does not make sense."

I didn't know there was such a range of options.

I think that most LessWrongers would vote for mathematical universe. The idea of timeless mathematical manyworld universe was presented in sequences. When I first meet it I was attracted to its simpleness and beauty. But now I found that where is reasonable objection to it, like expected complexity problem. Most math objects should be extremely complex, and it is not what we see.

Is there a European alternative for a MealSquares-like product, i.e. one that is eaten, not drunk?

Joylent Twennybars.

For what it's worth, I would enjoy reading about a squad of trained wizards raiding Voldemort's compound ^^.

We're consequentialists here, so I get all the credit for it even if it wasn't much effort, right?


I made a video compilation of Japanese songs that include the words "Tsuyoku naritai".

I wasn't really convinced that this concept was really present in Japanese culture before but I suppose I am, now.

That demonstrates that Japanese culture has the phrase. Not that Japanese culture has the phrase with the same meaning as Eliezer uses. And even if Japanese culture has it, there's a difference between having it as a fictional thing and having it as a concept commonly applied to actual people. Also, in this context, remember that fictional scenarios are often set up to have individuals drastically influence the result where real life scenarios do not. People like reading about Voldemort defeated by Harry Potter, not by 200 wizards doing routine policing misions that are thorough enough that they happen to find all the horcruxes, followed by massive military backup for the squad of identically trained men raiding his compound. That's why fictional characters often have something like tsuyoku naritai; it doesn't carry over to the real world. By the way: Obviously Eliezer was not familiar with the concept "asymptote".

How likely am I to die from taking SSRI's?

This review says:

In conclusion, this review suggests the need for caution in the use of SSRI therapy, particularly among patients with other risk factors for bleeding and those taking NSAIDs. The estimated rate of hospitalization for upper GI bleeding in the US during the 1990s was ∼ 155 per 100,000 population per year [46]. The data examined suggests that the risk of GI bleeding may be increased 2 – 4-fold in patients taking SSRIs and 3 – 12-fold when combined with NSAIDs. However, one must recognise that the in

... (read more)
In direct contradiction to your request, I am not helping with your maths but providing general (not specific) advice. This depends very much on the population you are looking at (age, source of bleeding, severity of bleeding, comorbidities at time of bleeding - both acute and chronic). I would suggest that if you are not fulfilling some of these criteria your bleeding mortality is much lower. It is certainly possible that an SSRI could have a statistically significant effect in cases of severe bleeding like major trauma, but you'd have to estimate the risk that you'll experience major bleeding. As Cariyaga has said, acetaminophen/paracetamol is an alternative, which doesn't have the same interaction with SSRIs. Individual doses of NSAIDs may be ok, but I don't know if there's any good data to support or deny this. Part of the risk with NSAIDs is that they affect coagulation AND directly cause bleeding (gastric ulceration). Past history or family history of clotting/bleeding disorders, gastric ulcers or significant gastric reflux increase the risk of this. Another alternative is non-serotonergic antidepressants. There are many classes of antidepressant and some may not feature the same level of evidence of this increased bleeding risk (although all feature potential side-effect profiles longer than my arms). To confuse matters, some are classified structurally (tricyclic antidepressants TCAs, tetracyclic antidepressants) and some functionally (SSRIs, SNRIs, NaSSAs, RIMAs, MAOIs). TCAs may behave functionally like SSRIs, and may confer a bleeding risk as well. I think the solution will depend on some research by yourself and some discussions with your doctor. Certainly avoiding NSAIDs is an easy first step. It is easy to get paralysed by the ocean of studies, but doing nothing may not be the right decision for your quality of life.
Well, I'd try to find a more accurate estimate of mortality and hospitalization for your age group; if you're younger than 30, I'd be very surprised to find the mortality rate that high. You could also take Acetaminophen instead, as it it is a pain reliever which is NOT an NSAID, and does not seem to cause any stomach bleeding, which should cut it down to the 4x margin. IANAD, though, so take that with a grain of salt, and speak to your GP if you have any particular questions about interactions. I can follow your maths, but I'm also not a stat major or anything.

I know you are now an employee of Signal but, well, this comment reads so much like an advert that I had trouble focusing on what you say.

You were "disillusioned with traditional education" and once you tried out this new program, you were "amazed at the speed with which you were learning" and "astounded by progress you had made in just a few hours", in boldface, no less! And that's before we got to the redundancy and hyperboles.

I know I should be trying to be #LessWrongMoreNice, but your review really should be taken with a grain of salt.

I have taken the survey.

LessWrongMoreNice is now my favourite hashtag.

Thanks for noticing my sneaky attempts to peddle this idea :)

It's old news but I recently came across this article and found it quite cheerful.

Yeah, good visualizations allow us to see the slow but steady improvements. Maybe we should do the same things in our personal lives, e.g. to make a 1m long timescale of our lives, and put there all our successes (such as "learned to walk", "learned to talk", "completed school", "found a boyfriend/girlfriend", "started a blog", "composed a song", "had 10000 readers on the blog", etc.), and suddenly we would realize how awesome we are!

Apparently you were right.

From Alcor:

"Some of you may be already be familiar with Tim Urban’s remarkable blog, Wait But Why. You might be among the 336,693 subscribers to Tim’s blog, or you might just have come across one of his stunning detailed and clever posts, such as on procrastination, the genius of Elon Musk, The AI Revolution, or Putting Time in Perspective.

A few days ago, Tim posted what is possibly the single best piece ever written on cryonics. Warning: It is long and, once you start reading it, you will find it hard to stop. Please use it ... (read more)

3abcd efgh4y
I was wondering about this and emailed Alcor's leader, Mr. Max More. Apparently this article responsible for over 25 memberships alone.

It's not silly. I still find these newer comments useful.

And here we are one year later!

I think their argument was that they don't support Pascal's Mugging and they don't see any proof of medical research within reach that could end aging with a significant probability.

EDIT: ...and I should have read the comment in more detail. You are talking about stuff such as donating to curing diseases. I think they just didn't assign analysts to this yet. I guess it's hard to measure scientific progress.

I understand that death is an important part of the Solstice celebration so perhaps that's why it's there.

Nate Soares says there will be some collaboration between OpenAI and MIRI:

This comment deserves far more upvotes than it has.

Wait a minute, comments are upvoted based on quality rather than agreement? Until now, I thought that if a comment had, say, nine points, it meant that there existed at least nine LessWrongers who agreed with everything the comment author said. That is not so?

It's both. There are no "official" guidelines on how you should up/downvote, but a commonly expressed heuristic is "upvote what you want to see more of, and downvote what you would like to see less of". In practice, people vote to signify all kinds of things: agree/disagree, true/false, cool/uncool, interesting/boring, oooh/eeew, etc.

The one-sentence description for the Enlightened is something like "use technology to improve humanity". I did not hesitate.

the other option was, "protect humanity from the alien shapers". Where I live we do plenty of cross faction stuff anyways. It's a great crowd to be involved in.

Since I now don't have any unmet material needs and what needs I do have are mostly Steam wallet funds which my family doesn't like to provide, I also suggested they donate to a charity in my name.

They refused. Their argument was along the lines of "no, I don't want to help other people, I want to give something that will make you happy". But since they don't want to give me video games, making me happy is probably not really what they want to do.

I guess I'll just make a December donation off my own funds instead.

I understand that the quantum physics sequence is controversial even within LessWrong.

Generally, though, all of the sequences could benefit from annotations.

I liked this part:

"Participants were also given an attention check. For this, participants were shown a list of activities (e.g., biking, reading) directly below the following instructions: “Below is a list of leisure activities. If you are reading this, please choose the “other” box below and type in ‘I read the instructions’”. This attention check proved rather difficult with 35.4% of the sample failing (N = 99). However, the results were similar if these participants were excluded. We therefore retained the full data set."

When will be the next LessWrong census and who will run it?

I will run it if no one else has piped up. Scheduled for Feb if no one else takes it on. I will post asking for questions in a month.

I think the most plausible is that he does shake hands and he does not use anti-bacterial wipe, merely that he mentioned to the reporter "I prefer not to shake hands to keep myself safe" and that the reporter exaggerated.

Maybe this should be posted in Discussion? That way more people will see it.

1Peter Wildeford8y

I'm not sure I would trust that calculator. I'm not used to US units so I put in 84kg (my weight) and it said "with that BMI you can't be alive" so I put in 840 thinking maybe it wants the first decimal as well. Now I realize it wanted pounds. And for this, 840lbs, it also outputed 70 years.

I'm not sure where the calculator gets its data from.

Hmmm, that's worrying. I played with some numbers for a 5'6" male, and got this: 99 lbs yields "Your BMI is way too low to be living" 100lbs yields 74 years 150lbs yields 76 years 200lbs yields 73 years 250lbs yields 69 years 300lbs yields 69 years 500lbs yields 69 years 999lbs yields 69 years It looks to me like they are pulling data from a table, and the table maxes out under 250lbs?

Wow, I would have never guessed that.

On the internet, but especially on the HPMOR subrreddit, I find notations such as "Canon!Harry" or "Vampire!Durkon" or "HPMOR!Quirrell". Does the exclamation mark simply stand for a space, or does it have additional meaning? And more importantly, where does the notation come from? Where was it invented?

It started in X-Files fandom, which is way too late for it to be bang paths. This claims that it started as Action! Mulder, where the ! was specific to the particular modifier, but people don't have a source for that example.
Here, knock yourself out :-)

I also ask myself these questions and I'm unable to answer them. In the end, I exercise and modify my diet as much as my will allows without causing me too much stress.

As for valuing years of life, if I considered that the very best outcome of cryonics (as HungryHobo described) is certain, then, well, even for very small values that will result in cryonics giving me far more utility than exercice. I don't value later years of my life that low.

Yudkowsky believes that cryonics has a greater than 50% chance of working, and that we will be able to have fun fo... (read more)

Not to be pedantic, but I thought this might be of interest: As I understand it, amount of exercise is a better predictor of lifespan than weight. That is, I would expect someone overweight but who exercises regularly to outlive someone skinny who never exercises. For example, this life expectancy calculator outputs 70 years for a 5"6" 25 year old male who weighs 300lbs, but exercises vigorously daily. Changing the weight to 150 lbs and putting in no exercise raised the life expectancy by only 1 year. (a bit less than I was expecting, actually. I was about to significantly update, but then it occurred to me that 300 lbs isn't the definition of obesity. I knew this previously, but apparently hadn't fully internalized that.) EDIT: This calculator may not work well for weights over ~250 lbs. See comment below. So, my top two recommendations to friends would be quit smoking and exercise regularly. I'd recommend Less Wrongers either do high intensity workouts once a can read or watch Khan Academy or listen to The week to minimize the amount of time spent on non-productive activities, or pick a more frequent but lower intensity activity they Sequences audiobook while doing. I'm not an expert or anything. That's just the impression I've gotten from my own research.

The tone of its Wikipedia page is strongly against its usefulness.

Yeah, I suspect it only really makes a difference if you're dealing with another issue or stressor on top of the statins. I've seen studies indicating that yes it doesn't change much in day to day life but that it increases the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise in the population on statins, and anecdotally (DANGER! DANGER!) it made a sudden large difference in energy level and strength for a family member knocked for a loop by chemotherapy who had resumed their statins after completing treatment.

Do you know of any remedy or prevention for hiccups? I can't get anything trusthworthy out of the internet nor out of friends and family. All just anecdotes.

agree with others; the diaphragm is the muscle underneath the lungs that controls your breathing. Hiccups are caused by irritation of the diaphragm. knowing this; you are looking for methods of relaxing the diaphragm. that includes generally trying to work out the control for the automatic muscle; and figuring out how to calm it down. as for trustworthy, or better-than-anecdotes - you can get surgery if it's a long-term (over several months) problem. how do you relax the diaphragm? for your human-hardware? likely different to other humans' hardware - so not much luck finding non-anecdote solutions.
This works for me: Pour yourself a glass of water and hold it in one hand. Lift your arms up, reaching for the ceiling - this movement has the consequence of lifting your ribcage. Drink a few swallows from the glass of water without dropping your ribcage from its elevated orientation. Do this a few times.
Well, I know of some remedies, but they're also anecdotal :) All the good ones I know are essentially breathing exercises, where you have to pay close attention to your breathing for a while (i.e. take control of your diaphragm). Like the classic "drink a glass of water from the far side of the glass" is actually a breathing exercise, which works just as well if you just do the breathing without the glass of water.
There's a very extensive medical literature - although mostly focusing upon persistent (>48 hours) or intractable (>1 month) hiccups. One possible remedy jumped out at me from Google Scholar results: title alone gives the game away (albeit N=1): Odeh, M., Bassan, H., & Oliven, A. (1990). Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage. Journal of internal medicine, 227(2), 145-146. A very recent review by Steger et al (2015) gives good coverage of "state of the art" in acute hiccups: before concluding in case of persistent/intractable hiccups: Steger, M., Schneemann, M., & Fox, M. (2015). Systemic review: the pathogenesis and pharmacological treatment of hiccups. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 42(9), 1037-1050. Further note: reference [23] above in Steger et al (2015) is "Watterson B. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005."

To the question, the average age is 27.6; the average level of study is a completed Bachelor's degree.

Do any of you do anything nontraditional to improve your health/longevity? What I'm thinking about is radical lifestyle changes, such as using dozens of supplements like Kurzweil or mixing one's lunch out of raw ingredients like Bostrom, or avoiding all car travel and similar stuff, not exercise.

Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity, as found on Life Advice Repository, as curiously not found on Repository repository.
I don't know if this counts as nontraditional or not, but I do intermittent fasting (which, in my case, should promote longevity through the intermediate step of helping me keep off weight) and take CoQ10 daily.
Somatics training. In my particular case the Danis Bois Method / Perceptive Pedagogy.

When I switched dentists three years ago, the new dentist claimed to have found several issues during initial check-in and also said that my wisdom teeth need to be torn out as soon as possible. So I have that experience as well. Although, since then, she never complained about anything even though my flossing routine worsened considerably.

Load More