All of Strangeattractor's Comments + Replies

List of civilisational inadequacy

Advice regarding the health issues of new mothers is even more lacking. Whoa Baby by Kelly Rowland and Tristan Bickman is a book I liked on the topic.

Another book for new parents, about relationships, that I liked: And Baby Makes Three by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman.

December 2017 Media Thread

I enjoyed seeing Sydney Lallier's performance that won La Voix Junior, the Quebec version of The Voice Kids. She rapped a song that has verses in French and choruses in English with lyrics that seem timely in 2017.

The song she rapped is called La Force de Comprendre, which means The Strength To Understand.

Heuristics for textbook selection

If you can physically get to a university library, then going to the section about the topic and looking at each book from the shelf until you find something that is comprehensible or otherwise meets your criteria, could be a good strategy.

I've found some good books that way.

Open thread, September 4 - September 10, 2017

It might help to cultivate your curiousity. Who are these people? What are they doing in the moment? What are they good at that you could learn from? Why are they in the same place as you? What are they up to when they are not at the same place as you? What are they enthusiastic about?

Sometimes when I talk to people I don't know well and I'm not thinking up many comments or questions based on our shared circumstances or environment, I'll ask some questions like "Have you read any good books lately?" or "What have you been thinking abou... (read more)

Open thread, August 28 - September 3, 2017

Do you mean where she hacked herself to become polyamorous? If so, you may be looking for this post

Open thread, June 5 - June 11, 2017

I like some poetry. Often in the form of song lyrics, or Shakespeare's plays.

Acting on your intended preferences - What does that look like in practice? (critical introspective questions)

One thing that I find helps with getting clear goals in my mind is to think of it in chunks of time, and revisit it every now and then, for example every 4 months. I think of them more as priorities than goals. For the next 4 months, my priorities are 1) X 2) Y 3) Z 4) A. Or I think of things in smaller chunks of time, such as 2 weeks, especially when there is more uncertainty in my life.

I think sometimes people get hung up a bit of thinking of goals as being eternal never-changing things. And there might be some like that, though I categorize those as aspirations.

I Want To Live In A Baugruppe

I don't live in the Bay Area, nor do I wish to move there, but I have some thoughts.

It may be that the way to accomplish this is to start a housing co-operative, or a non-profit organization.

The Rochdale principles, which many co-operatives adopt are: Open, voluntary membership. Democratic governance. Limited return on equity. Surplus belongs to members. Education of members and public in cooperative principles. Cooperation between cooperatives.

If that seems like something you can live with, then you might want to go the co-op route. If you want to have m... (read more)

Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017

You say "intellectual masturbation" like it's a bad thing. :)

Open Thread, Feb. 20 - Feb 26, 2017

I think the impression you have of the people may have been influenced by seeing them primarily through social media. Have you talked to them in person? It might be different. The format of social media makes having nuanced discussions difficult, and emphasizes the more tribal posts.

Another thing to consider is that their priorities may have changed more than their approach to life. They may be applying empiricism to how to advance in a career, or how to be a good parent. There is a limited amount of time in a day, and they may have enough time to do... (read more)

2tristanm5yInterestingly, out of my original friend group, I am the only one who has gotten married and had a child. If anything, I have been forced to become more rational in order to cope with the added anxieties, lack of sleep, and stress.
Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017

I once went to a workshop on Sumi-e painting at the local Japanese cultural centre, and it changed how I look at paintings. So I'd recommend taking a Sumi-e class, or these days, I suppose watching Sumi-e tutorials on Youtube might do.

In general, getting an idea of how different cultures look at visual arts can be eye-opening. In addition to learning by doing, going to different museums and galleries can be a way to learn about art from many different time periods and cultures in different mediums.

Another thing that changed my perspective is a book calle... (read more)

Elderly discovered with superior memory and Alzheimer’s pathology

Alan Macdonald has autopsied brains of people who had dementia and Alzheimers, and has pictures of the cystic form of Borrelia bacteria in those brains.

February 2017 Media Thread

And The Weak Suffer What They Must by Yanis Varoufakis

This is the book that Yanis Varoufakis wrote after resigning from being Greece's finance minister in 2015. It gives his perspective on the events he was part of, attempting to negotiate with the European Union and other creditors on behalf of Greec, and also on the history of the failed policies leading up to those events.

February 2017 Media Thread

Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown, Liane J. Leedom is a book that I wish I'd had years ago. It might have saved some of my friends from learning about what it's like to date a sociopath the hard way.

The dynamic described in the book also seems sadly relevant to what's going on in the political realm these days.

February 2017 Media Thread

The Marcus 2012 paper references a 1999 Human Rights Watch report that has a few more details:

"The propagandist proposes two techniques that were to become often used in Rwanda. The first is to "create" events to lend credence to propaganda. He remarks that this tactic is not honest, but that it works well, provided the deception is not discovered. The "attack" on Kigali on October 4-5, 1990 was such a "created" event, as were others – the reported discovery of hidden arms, the passage of a stranger with a mysterious bag,... (read more)

February 2017 Media Thread

This paper by Kenneth Marcus describes a rhetorical technique called Accusation In A Mirror, which was used in Rwanda in the events leading up to genocide. Here's a quote which summarizes the technique.

"The basic idea of AiM is deceptively simple: propagandists must “impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do.” In other words, AiM is a rhetorical practice in which one falsely accuses one’s enemies of conducting, plotting, or desiring to commit precisely the same transgressions that one plans to commit against them. For ... (read more)

0Strangeattractor5yThe Marcus 2012 paper references a 1999 Human Rights Watch report that has a few more details: "The propagandist proposes two techniques that were to become often used in Rwanda. The first is to "create" events to lend credence to propaganda. He remarks that this tactic is not honest, but that it works well, provided the deception is not discovered. The "attack" on Kigali on October 4-5, 1990 was such a "created" event, as were others – the reported discovery of hidden arms, the passage of a stranger with a mysterious bag, the discovery of radio communications equipment – that were exploited later, especially during the genocide. The propagandist calls his second proposal "Accusation in a mirror," meaning his colleagues should impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do. He explains, "In this way, the party which is using terror will accuse the enemy of using terror." With such a tactic, propagandists can persuade listeners and "honest people" that they are being attacked and are justified in taking whatever measures are necessary "for legitimate [self-] defense." This tactic worked extremely well, both in specific cases such as the Bugesera massacre of March 1992 described below and in the broader campaign to convince Hutu that Tutsi planned to exterminate them. There is no proof that officials and propagandists who "created" events and made "accusations in a mirror" were familiar with this particular document, but they regularly used the techniques that it described. From: Human Rights Watch, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, 1 March 1999, 1711, available at: []
February 2017 Media Thread

It's a good article. Schneier makes good points.

I like Cory Doctorow's perspective on the Internet of Things, including the EFF's Apollo 1201 plan to get rid of DRM within 10 years. Here's one place where he talks about it.

I also read the Internet of Shit twitter feed to keep up with the latest security flaw-ridden monstrosities. :)

0morganism5ythat is a fab twitter feed, thanks !
Open thread, Jan. 30 - Feb. 05, 2017

I think you are going to have to find the relevant information yourself by looking through scientific papers. I don't think that asking your doctor will be sufficient. It is rare to find a doctor who keeps up with reading all of the newest scientific journal articles.

Where your doctor might help is in explaining the mechanism by which the infertility may happen, to help you get more keywords with which to look stuff up.

It may be that quantitative answers for your questions are not available at all. From the link you mentioned, it says that as of 2009 th... (read more)

0username25yNice! I appreciate the response. I'll read the papers you've mentioned and ask my doctor about mechanisms and keywords. For reasons of severe akrasia, I don't expect to report back here or write anything up. In the spirit of "flipping a coin a few times actually gives you a decent amount of info on whether it's fair", I might ask around for anecdotal evidence on people who've tried banking after being on hormones a while. Thank you for writing this. <3
Stupid Questions December 2016

It varies a lot from culture to culture. That's part of what a culture is, what is thought of as default or background knowledge, or something people will know. So...who is your audience? What cultures or sub-cultures are they from? It's not going to be the same from country to country, or different regions within a country, or rural vs. urban, or age group or educational background.

When authors write books about a culture they are unfamiliar with, sometimes they hire someone from that culture to read over the book, and give feedback about what they co... (read more)

0Richard Korzekwa 5yThis is why I specified by education level (and I thought I'd specified Americans or Europeans, but apparently not), though I'll admit that I'd been thinking primarily in terms of English-speaking people (though this is an English forum, and I'm not likely to be writing for a non-English-speaking audience). I also didn't specify that I'm not really talking about cultural common knowledge; I'm not expecting a typical Londoner to have the same culinary knowledge as a typical person from Nashville. However, the kinds of things that I think are generally regarded as common knowledge are also relatively culturally insensitive, and I do expect that the typical college graduate from London and the typical college graduate from Nashville have quite a lot of overlap in their secondary education curricula. When I say 'quite a lot', I just mean that, if you have a good understanding of one group's common common knowledge, you'll be able to use that with the other group, at least for things that are generally made for a "general audience". The main reason I think this is true is that watching British TV and watching American TV isn't any different, in terms of what I'm expected to know, apart from cultural references. Similarly, as an American, I've never really run into problems related to assumed knowledge while talking to non-Americans. (The main exception here might be history education.) Then again, a majority of the non-Americans that I talk to I meet either through either the rationalist community or academia, so there may be some selection bias. Also, it's possible that the wide proliferation of American media gives non-Americans a good sense of what they can assume Americans know. Am I wrong? Are American and European audiences sufficiently different that they usually require different accommodations? I like this idea, though I'm unsure how to find media that isn't written mainly for a particular nationality, and that assumes anything apart from English literacy. (Th
Seeking Advice About Career Paths for Non-USA Citizen

Farming is a completely different type of job than software development or designing integrated circuits.

When you program a computer, it does what you tell it to. You can diagnose what's wrong and fix it. Whether you can fix things is based a lot on your own skill and knowledge.

If you become a farmer, you can do everything skillfully and still have a crop fail. You are at the mercy of the weather.

Have you even grown a small vegetable garden? That might be a first step to get some idea what you are facing if you go into farming.

Don't assume farming will... (read more)

Open thread, Sep. 12 - Sep. 18, 2016

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... (read more)

2Soothsilver5yThat'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 on to try making friends, then to do volunteering, then to attend college, then to try living alone, but, once I started to seriously think through the Sequences, which made read other Yudkowsky's writing, including, sigh, "The Road to Singularity", the next thing then was "saving the world" and it doesn't feel like I can get much further from there.
Open Thread, Sept 5. - Sept 11. 2016

Something that might help is writing things down. For example, if you had a notebook where you wrote down things that you had figured out, every time you came to a conclusion, and any details that might help you remember why you came to that conclusion. Then, whenever you encounter a problem you can read over the notes in the notebook from a variety of topics, and see if any of them match. Also, if you keep it updated frequently then when you go to write something down that would be another opportunity to review the notebook and see if anything matches ... (read more)

The Problem (TM) - Analyse a conversation

"What do you think is the biggest problem here?" is a different question than "What do you think I could have successfully started to address in one conversation?"

The Problem (TM) - Analyse a conversation

If he kills himself, he hurts only himself. If he's violent toward other people, he can end up doing a lot more damage than that. He mentioned that one incident, but given his casual attitude toward it, there are probably more. It wouldn't surprise me if he was beating his girlfriend. Domestic assault (I call it domestic because it was against someone he lived with, even though housemate is not as usual a target as partner or child) is a huge huge huge warning flag. He had a bad day, and trouble sleeping, and suddenly someone else has to deal with the ... (read more)

8Elo5yI considered this at the time, but I also decided not to dig at it. Z is still around, but I imagine Z would protest when I suggest that the summary of the punching incident was a throw-away line of "I'm too crazy for treatment". If the inquirer took the bait, they would end up arguing about a specific incident that may or may not have gone quite like that and may or may not have had motivations that actually make in the bigger picture. (i.e. ongoing arguments, several-directional fights) Setting that down, and not delving into it, was me maintaining composure and actually having the rest of the conversation.
0[anonymous]5yUpvoted both you and Dagon, because I agree with what you say. Still thinking that a housmate whose nose was broken and who, to our knowledge, doesn't have depression, has better chances of survival, though.
3Dagon5yThe combination of suicidal thoughts and violence toward others is worse than either alone. There are lots of ways to commit suicide that hurt more people more seriously than one broken nose.
The Problem (TM) - Analyse a conversation

First of all, I think the concept of TheProblem is flawed. I don't think there is necessarily just one problem that is "the bottom of the problem" whatever you mean by that.

You presented a conversation, and asked us to read between the lines. So, I did. If I was actually attempting to figure out what was going wrong, if I was going to take action about it, I'd need way more information than this one conversation. I wouldn't describe anything I said as conclusions. My procedure for concluding these is "I didn't conclude them."

What s... (read more)

The Problem (TM) - Analyse a conversation

The most alarming part of that conversation for me was "A few weeks ago I punched a housemate in the face ten times, breaking her nose;"

If I was having the conversation, I would ask him more about this, and talk at least a little bit about how he could stop hurting other people.

I'm not sure what you mean by the bottom of the problem. I will say some things that I think are problems. These are speculations. I don't have enough information to be confident in these answers.

1) I think it is a problem that, as far as I could tell, no one intervene... (read more)

8Elo5yAt the time I considered the value of digging into this and decided against it. I suspect there was more to the story, but figured the details would come out if they were relevant. Given that it was the one example of hurting people, I don't think it was an ongoing problem. To shake up that specific event wouldn't have led to all the other possible problems. (more to come later)
0[anonymous]5yIs it really the most alarming part? I would think suicide ideation more so.
8Elo5yCan you describe how you came to these ideas as TheProblem? Your thought process or your procedure for concluding these?
Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016

I just looked at the Cambridge prices for overseas students and it made me feel poor. Might as well seen a 500,000 ILS debt in my bank account.

You might be able to get financial aid or scholarships, so I wouldn't rule out an expensive university right away. If you apply and get accepted, which admittedly itself costs some money, then you could have some talks with the financial aid people. And their first answer may not be the final answer, or there may be alternative sources of funding, so you may have to repeat yourself and keep talking to them for ... (read more)

Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016

Yes, there are differences.

I talked to a person who was hiring for tech jobs in Silicon Valley, and he said that the Ivy League schools in the United States get a much better quality of training than other United States schools in the fields of engineering and computer science. For example, the Ivy League schools would have 3 hour exams where you have to show how you arrived at an answer as well as the answer. Most of the other schools had 1 hour multiple choice exams.

The situation is different in other countries. In Canada, unlike in the US, engineeri... (read more)

0Douglas_Knight5yNo, that is also true in the US.
Powering Through vs Working Around

I think it depends on X. It may be something you have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis. I think if X was something that could have consequences for high-stakes or ethical decisions, I would prioritize working on it rather than working around it.

Pushing through it may not be the most effective strategy to deal with it in the long term. "Defeat X" may not be the most helpful metaphor. Defeat vs. work around could be a false dichotomy.

You may be looking for a general rule or rule-of-thumb for something where generalizations do not make sense. ... (read more)

0lifelonglearner6yThat's true--I think I was thinking mainly of biases when I wrote this. Thanks for bringing up that this really doesn't work too well for broader categories.
General-Purpose Questions Thread

The city you live in may have more impact on you than which particular company you start at.

Banks and consulting companies may pay you more than a company focused on a software product, but the work is generally unsatisfying for software developers. Avoid those, unless high pay is more important to you than happiness. Though if you are choosing between them, banks are better than consulting companies. If you can find a company that has some understanding of how to treat software developers well so that they can do good work, and that makes money by rese... (read more)

0pepe_prime6yStrangeattractor has made many excellent points here. Let me add a bit: StackOverflow has the most detailed data I've seen on features that make software jobs satisfying: [] The city you work in affects the salary pool that companies compete against with their offers. San Francisco, New York, and Seattle are much higher paid than other cities, and the USA is much higher paid than any other country. Big companies also pay more. Lastly, apply to many companies simultaneously. If you have 2 or more offers, you can negotiate by telling each company "match or beat the other company". This can lead to enormous increases in compensation. E.g.: []
General-Purpose Questions Thread

There are software programs that have databases of drug and supplement interactions. Also, pharmacists tend to know more about these things than doctors. So, you could find a database and search it, and/or ask a pharmacist. There isn't as much information available on supplements as there is about drugs, so it's hard to answer the question with a lot of certainty.

Meme: Valuable Vulnerability

I think this is usually defined as being in a state where what you observe is liable to create negative emotions in you (or in some definitions, a variety of emotions).

I think that the variety of emotions definition makes more sense. It's about being open to possibilities, even if some of those possibilities are heartbreaking.

In other words, it is about taking emotional risks. I suppose it would be possible to go through life taking as few risks as possible....but such a life would be stunted in some ways. Risk-taking is not always valuable, but it is sometimes valuable.

Open thread, June 27 - July 3, 2016

I read about pre-mortem-like questions in a book called Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

3Sable6yThat's probably it; I read it recently. Thanks!
June 2016 Media Thread

I've been reading a lot about the UK's referendum about whether to stay in the European Union. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was undecided for months, but finally decided to vote in favour of Brexit.

All of his articles about the referendum have been good. Here is the one where he reveals his decision.

Brexit vote is about the supremacy of Parliament and nothing else: Why I am voting to leave the EU

On Twitter, he is @AmbroseEP (read more)

Open Thread May 30 - June 5, 2016

I learned techniques for lucid dreaming and dealing with pain from what was called at the time the Silva Method course, taught by Marilou Seavey and Gerald Seavey.

I also sometimes use a Tibetan Buddhist technique called tonglen, explained by Pema Chodron in her book When Things Fall Apart.

The Silva Method used to be a collection of useful techniques taught in a secular context. However, at some point after I took the course, the organization that coordinated the Silva Method courses became more religious. So a lot of people who were teaching the Silva Me... (read more)

Open Thread May 30 - June 5, 2016

There are herbs that can encourage lucid dreaming. I've experimented a bit with hyssop flower, also known as ezov, but it didn't change my experience of dreaming much, except I woke up feeling like I had been sorting things through and having insights in my sleep. I didn't recall what I had figured out, but I had the feeling of figuring things out. But I could lucid dream before I started taking it, though I don't do it often, and I remember my dreams often and write them down. Keeping pen and paper by the bed and writing down dreams can be a way to st... (read more)

0Algon6yThat is a good point. Still, it would be nice if I could do such things when I really need to. Would you mind sharing the techniques you used?
Open Thread May 30 - June 5, 2016

When the pain gets intense, it helps to remind myself "Not all days are as bad as this." It can feel overwhelming in the moment, and it distorts the view of the future. So I remind myself of that too. "What I'm experiencing right now is a distorted view of the future. So I'm not going to make any major decisions based on it."

It can be hard to look forward to the future when I'm not enjoying the present, when it's so awful, and there's no known path or plan to make thing better. It can be extremely frustrating to just endure. It ca... (read more)

Thoughts on hacking aromanticism?

Regarding validation, I don't think it's useful to combine that idea with romantic self-esteem. They seem to be different things to me, though somewhat related.

If it is just romantic self-esteem, then I'm confused. If the goal is to be aromantic, why care about romantic self-esteem at all? It seems like the level of romantic self-esteem is a measurement or variable that is irrelevant to the non-romance-based life that you are building. Like, sure "that person is checking me out" or "their partner just tagged me as a threat and staked the... (read more)

May 2016 Media Thread

I've been reading livetweets of the Oracle vs Google trial by jury, presided over by Judge Alsup, who learned to code. In a previous trial, Judge Alsup had declared that the software API in question was uncopyrightable. However, his decision was overturned by the federal court, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. So now they are redoing the trial with a new jury, with the premise that an API is copyrightable, in order to decide whether Google's reimplementation of a Java API from Sun at the time (later bought by Oracle) was "fair use&q... (read more)

Suggest best book as an introduction to computational neuroscience

How to build a brain by Chris Eliasmith is one possibility.

1BiasedBayes6yAwesome! Judging by the first 30 pages this is gold. Very nice, thanks a lot!
Open Thread April 25 - May 1, 2016

What non-english content do you consume?

I watch the Quebec French version of The Voice, called La Voix

I also listen to some french language podcasts, such as those from the CBC (SRC in French), and sometimes I'll watch documentaries in other languages, such as NHK documentaries in Japanese.

Open Thread April 11 - April 17, 2016

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Lesswrong Potential Changes

In terms of encouraging crossposting, what do you think would be the benefits and drawbacks of something like a RSS aggregator of rationality blogs on the Less Wrong site, especially if the posts on other blogs have a Creative Commons license, or something similar? That could make it relatively easy for someone with a blog elsewhere to share with Less Wrong, instead of manually crossposting all of the time. exists already; the benefit of cross posting is going to be the opportunity to see comments (and add comments of your own) to existing posts. RSS can't do that. A mixture of both could be possible. A raw RSS and a sub for talking about crosspost posts.
The Thyroid Madness : Core Argument, Evidence, Probabilities and Predictions

Thanks for more details. Yay for the Scientific Method.

So, is your goal to find an individual researcher and some doctors to start a study, or a few studies, along the lines you have described here? If you want to make it happen, you may need to get together some money to fund that. Or it's possible you could take some time to find the people who would be interested and capable and talk them into doing it and find some other people with money and talk them into funding it.

Or is your goal to change in general how medicine and medical research is done? T... (read more)

0johnlawrenceaspden6yIs MCS 'multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome'? I think that comes into the general bag of badgers, along with that thing where people get convinced they get headaches from the wireless. Break the TSH test, and all that should come for free.
0johnlawrenceaspden6ySo, my current goals are to: (a) sharpen this argument until I either believe it or not (I am dithering) Conditional on (a) being possible, and the 'multiple-hormone-peripheral-resistance-cochran-cause' thing looking solid: (b) make the idea widespread enough to get people capable of working out the details interested. (c) put such a rocket up 'medical science' that it will turn into a science (d) wipe frequentist statistics and the associated false inference techniques off the face of the planet (except as a discipline of pure mathematics, where they are as deeply and eternally true as everything else) You can tell that medical science isn't a science because it's got the word "science" in the name. We'll have to think of a new name for it. In Ancient Greek, obvs. and minor goals: (e) Nevertheless to save the reputations of RA Fisher and Archie Cochrane, great heroes of philosophy both. (f) Establish the reputations of Barnes and Lowe, serious geniuses who spent their lives on this. (g) Try to stop the blame falling on the people who introduced the TSH test. They were trying their best on a very hard problem. It is not their fault that their discipline was not strong enough to catch them when they fell.
The Thyroid Madness : Core Argument, Evidence, Probabilities and Predictions

in order that someone with real expertise in this area takes this idea seriously enough to have a go at refuting it?

What would it look like if someone did take the idea seriously? What do you want to happen?

EITHER (2.1) CFS/FMS/Hypothyroidism are extremely similar diseases which are nevertheless differently caused. OR (2.2) The blood test is failing to detect many cases of Hypothyroidism.

I don't think 2.1 and 2.2 are mutually exclusive. Both could be true.

1johnlawrenceaspden6yAgreed, thank you. I guess I should drop the word 'either'? But then it doesn't read quite right as english, even though it's better logically. Anyway, in that case we'd have some 'genuine' CFS and some 'type 2 endocrine mistaken for CFS'. And of course there'll probably be a few 'type 1 hypothyroidism carelessly mistaken for CFS' in there as well.
1johnlawrenceaspden6yWell the first step would be to take a CFS/FMS population and see if many of them have low basal metabolic rates and low peripheral body temperatures. If that's not true, then game over. It's hard to imagine hypothyroidism without slow basal metabolism. After that we should try treating those people with desiccated thyroid, since that's what all the alternative types claim works. We should try carefully increasing the doses until we get some sort of reaction, and try to find the balance point where you're treated but not over-treated, which will probably be different for different people. I'd anticipate that doing a lot of good for at least some of them. After that we could play around with T4/T3 combinations in various proportions, trying to find an optimal treatment, and working out what the various mechanisms are, and if there's something in NDT that makes it superior to the synthetics. It may be worse. Once we had an idea of what sort of things work and on how many people, we could have a pop at a formal treatment protocol, and then I don't see why that couldn't be done double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled. All those things are important when you're trying to prove something works. But I think all of them probably get in the way when you're trying to elucidate mechanisms. I think what I'm getting at is that alternative medicine has had a pop at the first bit, and gone a bit of the way down the road of finding out what's going on, whereas medical science has decided a priori what works and what doesn't, not checked particularly carefully, and then refused afterwards to accept any evidence except PCRTs as having any value at all. And in fact they seem to have mercilessly persecuted anyone who didn't follow their central guidelines. Which seems really weird, unless they trust doctors much less than I do. I'm advocating a sort of combination approach. Which I'd call: 'The Scientific Method'.
Open thread, Mar. 14 - Mar. 20, 2016

I like John Gottman's books. He has written several, any would be good. My favourite is "And Baby Makes Three." He is a therapist who studies married couples in a lab, and can see what works and what doesn't.

Open Thread Feb 29 - March 6, 2016

I've read a book that delves into these issues. It's called The Critical Villager by Eric Dudley. I recommend it.

Thyroid Hormones, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia: A Hypothesis and a Proposed Experiment

If I understand what you're saying, you think that some subset of people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have undiagnosed thyroid problems that do not show up on standard tests, therefore treating them with dessicated thyroid could help.

I think that is plausible, and more reasonable than something like "all CFS and fibromyalgia can be explained by endocrine problems". It also seems to match the experience of some doctors who treat a lot of patients with these conditions.

There is also a difference between "helps to some extent... (read more)

0johnlawrenceaspden6yI agree with all of that, although I haven't read Pettle (yet!). My current best guess would be synthetic T3:T4 1:10 as a good starting point for adjustments, but I really think that the alternative people may be making some good points, and I think we should try what they say, see whether it works, and then start fiddling.
If there was one element of statistical literacy that you could magically implant in every head, what would it be?

I would explain about blocking, how people can be matched up by profession, socio-economic status, smoker or non-smoker, and various other traits, to make comparisons where those factors are assumed to be equal.

Learning Mathematics in Context

Your comment made me think, and I'll look up some of the recommendations. I like the analogy with musicians and also the part where you talked about how the analogy breaks down.

However, I'd like to offer a bit of a different perspective to the original poster on this part of what you said.

To summarize: the math I think you're looking to learn is proofy, not computational, in nature.

Your advice is good, given this assumption. But this assumption may or may not be true. Given that the post says:

I don't care what field it is.

I think there's the p... (read more)

3richard_reitz6yExcellent points; "rigorous" would have been a better choice. I haven't yet had the time to study any computational fields, but I'm assuming the ones you list aren't built on the "fuzzy notions, and hand-waving" that Tao talks about. I should also add I don't necessarily agree 100% with every in Lockhart's Lament; I do think, however, that he does an excellent job of identifying problems in how secondary school math is taught and does a better job than I could of contrasting "follow the instructions" math with "real" math to a lay person.
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