I would expect that if casual levels on interaction with stronger rationalists could feasibly raise your own levels, that Berkeley rationalists would be significantly stronger than their pre-Berkeley selves, or than rationalists elsewhere.
I don't think that's the case, but I guess that can be an open question.
People joining one of the orgs DOES seem to level them up.
The big difference there is 40 hours a week of intensive work on accomplishing an outside goal.
But given that like: living with rationalists, in a community of rationalists, that often talk rationalist, doesn't seem to have much effect, it seems unlikely that weaker versions of the thing would.
(Single datapoint: I did most of my levelling up when I was running a rationality group that was giving frequent public facing classes. I did not level up from moving to Berkeley and immersing in the rationality community there.)
GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE THIS FALL: If you were going to be enrolling in school this year, it makes a lot of sense right now to go to community colleges or branch campuses to knock out your gen eds. No matter where you go it is (likely) going to be distance learning, so you won't get the social networking benefit of pricier schools.
Many solid universities have "feeder" schools that you can automatically transfer in and out of at will, and that are a fraction of the cost. They even frequently let you take up to half your courses from the main school.
(Related hack: Branch campuses frequently have almost automatic admission, and generally if you pass your classes there for a year you can automatically transfer to the main campus, so this is an easy way to get accepted to schools you might otherwise not. Probably most people reading this blog in high school have high enough scores they could get into any of those schools anyways (these aren't like Ivy leagues or anything), but still good info to know)
Getting any sort of professor job is really hard, so the professors at lower end schools are almost always really passionate about their subject, and if you show interest are happy to work with you if you want to go more in depth on something or whatnot (possibly even more so than professors at pricy schools, where you'll stand out less).
I just wanted to say that I particularly appreciated your "voice" in this post. While the ideas you covered weren't new, the writing was immensely readable, and amusing, in a way that often the earlier posts exploring ideas are not. I know that takes extra effort that isn't always rewarded around here, so I wanted to explicitly point out my appreciation.
Note: I'm one of those people who has taken up gardening for lack of other activities, and we've probably spent $200 so far, and that's WITH me getting a lot of free stuff from e.g. Nextdoor (which is a big time sink, because it disappears pretty fast)
The run on garden supplies is because people are bored and don't have much else to do.
Unless you already have a good set up, growing your own food is expensive, both in terms of initial investment and time.
Sure plant a tomato or whatnot.
But if your goal is "have veggies in the future", buying a second freezer and stocking it with frozen veg / stocking canned veg is going to get you way more bang for your buck (unless you don't really put a value on your time, or enjoy it as a hobby)
My strategy in trying to find a life partner has been to do as much filtering as possible early on, keeping my standards as high as I can manage. Lowered standards that let in hundreds of people don't help, since I only need ONE. But I need to keep them low enough that my local options are still numerous enough for some trial and error.
Then, since I filtered strongly early on, I feel pretty comfortable committing to anyone who makes it past the first few months in a "Only break this off if you discover something that will make the relationship work poorly in the long-run" kind of way.
I had the initial thought that failure mode that this runs into, is that the people you end up dating for six months or so are more hesitant to commit for longer, since I'm more of an average person in their dating pool. But after reflecting for a moment, this seems not true. Most of my filters are lateral, such that adding or removing them gets me more or less OPTIONS, but not more or less in demand ones, in general.
Before working in operations, I was a nanny for many years. Before that I was doing research while in grad school. I've always been bemused by the differences between the way people perceive and treat me in my various roles over the years.
Particularly, operations jobs (and childcare jobs) are possibly not a great idea for people whose identity is strongly centered around being (perceived as) intelligent:
Most of your work isn't the sort of work that proves how smart you are. Coworkers expectations of your intelligence will be much lower. The skills you need run towards conscientiousness and agreeableness, which are traits that people stereotype as correlated with lower intelligence. Because your tasks are so wide ranging, there will always be things you are brand new at, therefore less competent at.
I've pushed my identity over the years more into being "a responsible hard worker", so that people's opinions of my intelligence don't feel meaningful at all. Given that I feel the need to have SOME sort of identity, this seems like a more useful one. Identifying as "smart" can't do anything to change my underlying g factor. But identifying as responsible and hard working is likely to actually make me behave in those ways.
I'm mostly bringing this up because LW readers often highly value being regarded as intelligent, and it might be a thing to take stock of before aiming for a new career in operations.
Let's say a bunch of friends hang around a beach on the weekends. There isn't food there and they wish there were. It's really easy to become the person who brings a cooler of goodies and some veggie hot dogs to grill.
The Berkeley community is like a beach that already has a really good taco truck. Sure, maybe it'd be nice if there was another food truck down the beach a ways, or with a different type of food, but food isn't really NEEDED in the same way. The low hanging fruit is taken. It's harder to establish a brand new thing when there's a pre-existing thing. And maybe the person running the taco truck would like to step down, but it's a lot bigger ask to hand off running a fully licensed taco truck, than bringing some goodies in a cooler.
This model makes it easier to point out when people are using circular reasoning around status. E.g. "Bob has mates because he's high-status" -What do you mean by high-status?-"He's obviously high status because he has mates!"
Yes, but from my current understanding if you were both Young Earth Creationists when you HAD your children and THEN one of you became atheist (or whatnot), then the court would rule to keep the kids with the Young Earth Creationist parent, and not let the atheist do any atheisting at the kids.