Stefan De Young

Aspiring Rationalist in Ottawa, Canada.


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2[Event]Architecting495 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON, CanadaAug 31st
4[Event]How vs. What of Rationality555 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON, CanadaAug 15th
1[Event]Logic! - Rational Ottawa Meetup188 Bank St, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1W8, CanadaAug 10th


The 10,000-Hour Rule is a myth

Reducing dimensionality is the most useful cooking advice I have received. I now use a four factor model: salt, sweet, spice (heat), sour.

  • Is it salty enough? If no, add salt, soy sauce, or fish sauce; or reduce.
  • Is it sweet enough? If no, add sugar, jagery, maple syrup or caramelized onions.

The essentialism is to assign characteristics to ingredients (e.g. Tomatoes are sour.)

I learned this model from some south Indians, this model may be common in that culture. I'm not sure.

The Best Visualizations on Every Subject

The version of Dataclysm that I read had red font in addition to black font, and I found it was quite striking as a way to do emphasis. When I started writing my personal journal, I adopted red and black felt-tipped pens because I enjoyed the font colours from the book.

No standard metric for CFAR workshops?

Do you have suggestions for where to acquire either of the tests mentioned? Are there expected differences in results if the tests are administered by laypeople rather than experienced practitioners?

A Rationalist's Guide to...

Having a group of rationalists to talk to in person has been invaluable to me this year. It's helping me emerge from depression, overcome impostor syndrome, and find my project. The previous sentence reads like the battles have been won, but they are being fought constantly.

Check this list of upcoming meetups:

Right now is a really good time to start or join meatspace communities.

EA Tourism: London, Blackpool and Prague

My partner and I recently traveled to the Bay area from Canada for a wedding. While we were there we were able to attend the San Francisco and Berkeley Lesswrong meetups and stay with some lovely EAs at the Berkeley REACH. Having an in with locals made the trip a lot more valuable than simply taking in the sights in ways that are easy to imagine and hard to describe.

I heartily second your recommendation to look up the existing community on your travels.

A Rationalist's Guide to...

This also interests me. Some of my hopes for the Ottawa Rationality Dojo are that we can assemble people who are interested in skill development, and that we can build curricula that are useful to similar groups. I'm not convinced that I'm the kind of person who could follow these curricula alone or with an online community, so I'm trying to build it locally.

One major concern that I have with trying to build a curriculum for instrumental rationality is that the art must have a purpose beyond itself. I believe that it is for this reason that CFAR has realigned itself from teaching instrumental rationality to teaching instrumental rationality for AI alignment.

At the upcoming local SSC meetups, I will be asking "For what purpose do you intend to develop the art?" If I get answers, I'll post them to LW.

An Exercise in Applied Rationality: A New Apartment

I've recently moved into a new place as well, and am thinking a lot about how I want to arrange the space to support my habits. My plan is to unpack and set things up as quickly as possible just using intuition for where things should go, so that I can start to learn the spots around the apartment that rub up against me in a negative way. Then I can try to tackle each of those problem areas more deliberately.

For example, we have a big island with shelving and stools that did have a natural place in the centre of the kitchen in our last two apartments, but our current place is more narrow and long. If we put it adjacent to the kitchen, it'll block at least half of the doorway to the living room. We're just going to go for it to see how it feels. Will it reduce my desire to go to the kitchen if it's blocked off? Will it create a satisfying divider so that the kitchen and the living room feel like more distinct spaces? Would it be better as a worktable in my partner's workshop? We won't know until we run the cheap experiment of setting it up!