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Struck with a belief in Alien presence

Wow. I predict that this will significantly increase my skepticism of TV interviews. I already knew this sort of thing could be done with quotes, but was completely ignorant of how imperceptible good audio edits can be, and of the cut-away technique.

NKCDT: The Big Bang Theory

I agree. Sheldon seems to be the kind of character that perpetuates the myth: "People who are extremely intelligent and/or rational are unfeeling, boring, and don't understand social norms." Which is funny considering Sheldon seems to act unreasonably fairly frequently.

2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Did it. Was enjoyable for me!

Does My Vote Matter?

To clarify (I didn't do a good job above), I meant to ask "do certain perceived psychological effects (which probably do correlate with neurophysiological mechanisms) correlate with voting events AND significant positive and negative effects on the populace in terms of perceived well-being and productivity?

I did not know that about banking, although I did not expressly believe the alternative either. I will definitely look at that a little more. Intuitively I also agree with the sentiment that many other seemingly mundane things probably have a greater overall impact on societal production than relatively uncommon events.

Does My Vote Matter?

I wonder if the psychological effects of voting on individuals (feelings of empowerment, possibly of hopelessness or hope) have a significant positive or negative effect on the populace in terms of productivity or well-being soon before and/or shortly after an election.

And if so, how the magnitude of such an effect might correlate with the scale, expected outcome, or actual outcome of a given election (or issue). i.e. might people feel more empowered

(a) After voting in a Presidential election where their votes have a smaller effect on the outcome, but where the result affects more people in a larger way, or

(b) After voting in a local county election where their vote has a larger effect on the outcome, but where the result of the election affects fewer people in a smaller way, or

(c) According to some reliable function relating scale and impact of election

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hi, my name is Wes(ley), and I'm a lurkaholic.

First, I'd like to thank this community. I think it is responsible in a large way for my transformation (perceived transformation of course) from a cynical high schooler who truly was only motivated enough to use his natural (not worked hard for) above average reasoning skills to troll his peers, to a college kid currently making large positive lifestyle changes, and dreaming of making significant positive changes in the world.

I think I have observed significant changes in my thinking patterns since reading the sequences, learning about Bayes, and watching discussions unfold on LessWrong over the last two years or so.

Three examples (and there are many more) of this are:

  1. Noticing quicker, and more often when a dispute is about terms and not substance.

  2. Identifying situations in which myself or others are trying to "guess the teacher's password" (this has really helped me identify gaps in understanding)

  3. Increased internal dialogue concerning bias (in myself, and in others, I at first started to notice myself being strongly subject to confirmation bias; I suspect realizing this has at least a little bias-reducing effect)

Unfortunately, I don't think I have come even close to being able to apply these skills in a place where they would be highly beneficial to others, like a decision making position. That is okay, my belief is that this is something that will come with age, and career advancement.

One of my goals for the next year is to start a LessWrongish student organization at my college campus (Auburn University), which is a traditionally very conservative place. This is partially out of a wholly selfish desire to engage in more stimulating discussions (instead of just spectating, this is also why I am delurking), and partially out of a part selfish desire to create a community at school that fosters instrumental rationality. I think that by posting this goal here, it is at least slightly more likely I will go through with it.

Some of the things I like to do include: race small sailboats, read, play video games, try new foods, explore, learn, smile at people I don't know, play rough with my family's dogs, drive with high acceleration (not necesscarily high speeds), travel, talk with people I don't know and will likely never meet again, find a state of flow in work, read comments on CNN political articles (it's a comedy thing), learn about native animal and plant species, catch critters, listen to big band music, find humor in unusual places, laugh at myself, fantasize about getting superpowers, and lab benchwork.

Some of the things I don't like to do include: get to know new people (I like knowing people though), spend time on social networking sites (I don't have a Facebook or Twitter), have text conversations, dress formally (ties? why do we need to cling to those?), "jumping through hoops" (e.g. make sure to attend 5 events for this class, suck up to professor x for a good recc, make sure to put x on your resume), engaging in politics, talk to people who say things like "it's all relative man," or "I choose to not let my world be bound by logic", clean, binge drink (okay, actually, I don't like being hung over, or the thought of poisoning myself), die to lag, percieve assignment of undue credit.

Currently I am taking a semester off from studying cell and molecular biology, and volunteering as a research student in a solid tumor immunology lab. I think long-term I would like to get involved with research on the molecular basis of aging, or applied research related to life extension.

Meetup : First Meetup- Cleveland and Akron, Ohio

I would be very interested in attending the meeting, it would be my first!

I'm a twenty year old male, grew up in the area, and am home from school until January. I'd be willing to attend at virtually any location in northeast ohio, and at almost any time.