All of Willa's Comments + Replies

Shortform #147 Working & Considering Partial Digital Nomadism

I experience significant value-add to my life / nice things when I travel. I trialed working semi nomadically in December when I stayed at 7 or 8 households over 10 days while working remotely full time. That was fun, exhausting, and a very valuable learning experience! I definitely overbooked myself on that trip and did not schedule enough downtime, plus, I found working from a single laptop screen a bit less efficient than my normal 4 screen work setup & other desktop accoutrements.

With... (read more)

Shortform #146 Happy New Year! (a few updates; all dates from 2022 unless specified otherwise)

Resuming on October 16th didn't happen, oops. Looks like January 3rd (today) will have to do! Now for some updates:

  • I changed jobs in October: I went from a contract employee to a full employee at the healthcare org I work at, with a promotion to a new team! Now I am supporting clinical & medical technology systems, it's cool stuff, I'm learning a ton, and I love the position, it's a very good fit.
  • November disappeared into the abyss of working a lot, I can't
... (read more)

Fair Grounds is closed today, so we will be meeting up at Cafe Stella instead at the same time. The address is 1907 Colonial Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517

Shortform #145 Audio Journaling | Rethinking Shortforms

I tried audio journaling for the first time today, it felt weird but I think the experience was actually great! Recorded for about 30 minutes on an old non-internet connected phone (to pacify my paranoia) and then listened to the recording and got hit in the feels in all sorts of good and helpful ways.

I like writing these shortform posts, but am not sure how valuable they've been over the last few weeks in particular (I know writing the posts as a whole has been incredibly valuable to my personal devel... (read more)

No shortform post today...I developed a migraine early afternoon and it's still with me though not as intense as the worst part of it thankfully. I met my "wake up at 5am" commitment today and felt really well rested & great today until the migraine struck me in the early afternoon (not sure the cause, might have been too much caffeine). I enjoyed having the extra full hour or so in the morning to devote to whatever I wanted: I listened to more of a good audiobook, sent an email, and did another thing or two, it was pleasant.

Shortform #144 Pre-Registering commitment actions

This week I may have meat on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Saturdays I am intending to Sabbath hard and go home for the sake of supporting my increased workload on the rest of the days of the week and having one day where I really unplug and engage in pure non-work leisure. No shortforms on Saturdays.

Commitment: wake up at 5am three times per week, those days this week are: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

2 mile minimum walk: I will almost certainly do this on Sundays, probably before or after Virgin... (read more)

No shortform post today...I developed a migraine early afternoon and it's still with me though not as intense as the worst part of it thankfully. I met my "wake up at 5am" commitment today and felt really well rested & great today until the migraine struck me in the early afternoon (not sure the cause, might have been too much caffeine). I enjoyed having the extra full hour or so in the morning to devote to whatever I wanted: I listened to more of a good audiobook, sent an email, and did another thing or two, it was pleasant.

Shortform #143 Taking small actionable steps to improve my life

Starts Monday Oct 10. I am coasting now on my past commitments because they have become habits (for the most part). Time for new commitments! Note: I find that small continuous actions of improvement, (see also Kaizen), more sustainable & actually doable than big innovations, so those are my guidelines with most of my new commitments.


  • Eat one or less egg per day instead of the two I've been averaging
  • Eat meat no more than once every other day instead of the once a day I've been aver
... (read more)

Shortform #142 What entertainment are you consuming or interacting with?

Right now I am listening to Fragments, by Bonobo. I love that album!

Tonight was my once or twice a month "watch YouTube videos" night, and...I'm not sure how much I like that habit. I do skip a lot of videos I used to watch almost compulsorily when I watched YouTube videos multiple times a that's an improvement at least.

I am not watching any TV shows right now, but I will possibly watch a movie this weekend. I'm reading a book on Kaizen which I'm quite enjoying and am also slo... (read more)

Thank you :) I did not used to have regular hangouts like that, and now that I do, I find that they are a nice improvement to my life.

Shortform #141 Weekly workshops & good things to come

I will now be running weekly workshops for Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk. I'm excited for this and am looking forward to the growth and fun we will experience! Nothing will change with our weekly socials, I wanted workshops so am running those separately from social meetups as was recommended by many other organizers at the organizer's retreat in July.

I have an interview tomorrow for a job I'm a really good fit for on a team that would be great to work with. Here's to good things to come hopefully :)

I did not write last night's shortform because I was eating delicious homemade from scratch pizza with friends.

1Martin Vlach4mo
Cheer to your&friends' social life(s)!

Shortform #140 Routine-breaking Weekend

I tend to settle into a fairly predictable routine, and this weekend roused me from that.

On Friday there was a tropical storm and no power in my apartment when I went home after work (though it did come back on that evening thankfully). Because my building sustained no damage, it was a pretty relaxing night, I read some while it was still light out and then the power was back on by nightfall so I hopped on my computer and was somewhat social virtually for a bit.

On Saturday I went to Richmond, VA for the ACX Meetup Eve... (read more)

Shortforms will resume on Monday 3 October.

Shortform #139 Note to self: don't reschedule weekly meetup

Tonight's Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk meetup was great! We had a new individual join us who is familiar with ACX.

In retrospect, I think it was inconsiderate to suddenly reschedule the group's weekly meetup just because I couldn't attend. My co-organizer and others likely could have attended yesterday, and there were a few people who just couldn't make the rescheduled meetup but had included Wednesday nights in their routine as "meetup night". So, I intend to not reschedule the weekly social meet... (read more)

Shortform #138 A good but slightly disorienting day

I applied for a promising job today, here's to hoping that bears fruit!

I am somewhat out of whack due to having to suddenly house sit instead of going to my own home after work. I do not enjoy this, but it's an obligation I'm fulfilling.

No meetup tonight, I rescheduled Norfolk's meetup for Thursday evening (the 29th). I'm excited for the meetup tomorrow!

Shortform #137 Meal Prepping & Rambutan

In pursuit of healthier eating, I prepared containers of seeds, fruits of various kinds, and vegetables that I can eat during meals & take to work for lunch. I also tried a new-to-me fruit called Rambutan, I like the flavor okay but it's a little bland, and now have a container of that fruit to eat through too.

I meditated for 5 minutes, rowed for 5 minutes, and did 5 pushups tonight. Small continuous improvements, here we go!

Shortform #136 Sugar* Considered Harmful

  • = sugar in excess of what one would consume normally by eating fruits & vegetables and maybe 1 square of dark chocolate.

I splurged (everything else were essentials / healthy food) on one item this weekend from Trader Joe's: Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls. Yes they were tasty, duh. After I feel physically ill: almost sweating and general discomfort, anxiety, elevated heart rate, trouble focusing, restlessness, etc. Oh! This is not an isolated set of bad feelings, these bad feelings occur every ... (read more)

Shortform #135 Rest and Shrinking the "World"

Last week I read about 10 arcs of Ward, listened to a ton of UNspoiled! podcast network podcasts, and played video games some too. I increased how much I slept each night and averaged a bit over eight hours, and improved the healthiness of my food choices. As much as I escaped into fiction and the "other worlds" that come with fiction, I felt that that came at the expense of the reality / world we all live in (hence part of this post's title). The more I engage with fiction, the more I withdraw from reality / th... (read more)

We’re at the pagoda!!! I’m wearing a green shirt and have a large green and yellow hat on. We have a music stand holding our sign.

Daily Shortforms will return on Sunday 25 September, 2022. I need to focus on building other habits right now, but also...a bit of extra rest is nice.

Shortform #134 Cloud Atlas

It is possible that Friday evenings after working all week may not be my most effective evenings for focused study.

Instead of studying anything tonight, I watched Cloud Atlas for the first time and wow, what a movie (how's the book? haven't read it). I was confused at first, because the movie begins by throwing multiple characters in different locations in time and space at you completely independent of context or exposition, but my confusion lessened as the movie progressed and I found the whole experience quite novel and deeply ... (read more)

Shortform #133 Knowledge Intake

As mentioned yesterday, I re-read the comments on Have you considered getting rid of death? and added what was recommended to my knowledge intake system. I believe I'd benefit from working methodically through a textbook while reading another more foundational conceptual book so to those ends I suspect the first two books I read specifically for increasing my Biology knowledge are:

If I notice significant gaps in ... (read more)

Shortform #132 Small but good actions.

Tomorrow evening's reading material is a re-read of the comments on Have you considered getting rid of death? where several people recommended good things to check out. I will add that material to my intake system and begin processing it.

I will post Friday's reading material tomorrow, I have got to get to sleep now. Tonight's Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk meetup was fantastic!

I have completed similar "prep for tomorrow" actions tonight like I did last night. The extra slack provided by those actions from yesterday came in handy today.

Thank you for the resources! I've queued up XenoThesis 53: Ageing and Immortality Special on my podcast player.

Thank you! Right now it seems like I'll be doing more organizing than research, but I intend to increase the research I do over time. Organizing in this space (i.e. community building for immortality studies & related things) seems like a comparative advantage for me at the moment relative to other actions.

A minor quibble because I agree with the three concepts you mentioned and how you used them, but I think increasing healthspan covers what you referred to as anti-aging. To increase a human's healthspan, one must necessarily decrease that "acceleration" and also do a few other things: rejuvenation biology, preventative medicine, holistic care (better diets, better & more exercise, etc.).

I've created a Google Group to facilitate more conversations on this subject and improve coordination, check out Immortality Studies.

A good LessWrong post about aging we could all read & discuss for such a meetup is johnswentworth's Core Pathways of Aging as recommended by ChristianKI in the above comment (thanks Christian!).

Shortform #131 TWI & Kaizen

In the spirit of continuous, sustained, small-step daily improvement (hello Kaizen or its precursor, TWI), I am adding a small component my daily shortforms: spend 10 minutes or less reading about a pre-registered subject each day and share my thoughts on what I read that day in my shortform.

Tomorrow I'm choosing or "pre-registering" my reading material for 14/09/2022 through 18/09/2022. Tonight I prepared tomorrow's lunch, set out tomorrow's clothes, and did a few other things to make tomorrow go more smoothly & increase my slack.

Shortform #130 More Slack

I passed my second cert exam (this cert requires passing scores on two separate exams) this morning and have thus obtained my new IT cert! I now have more slack in my life, which feels so good. I'm not completely out of churning waters yet, but they are quieter and a bit slower than before.

I look forward to discussing Twelve Virtues of Rationality in my upcoming meetups.

Shortform #129 More test taking

Tomorrow morning I take the second out of two exams for an IT cert I'm pursuing. I've studied well and know the material thoroughly. I'm excited to take that test and obtain that cert as it will help with short term survival with getting better IT jobs while I figure out how to transition to doing different work. Not much else to say tonight, the exam is the main thing on my mind. I'll gain some slack back in my life by obtaining the cert, so that's a nice thing too.

Be well,
Good night!

Shortform #128 Organizing for Immortality

Thank you to everyone who read and/or commented on Have you considered getting rid of death?! Your thoughts, resources, and support are welcomed :)

I've reflected on that post, discussions I had with others about it, and the comments, plus my current life circumstances: I have a small amount of time slack but zero financial slack, so what is the highest value added work I can put forth towards the bigger immortality project? Organizing, I think.

I intend to read, write, and produce original research for that project, ... (read more)

Shortform #127 CoWorking is Great!

I don't have much slack in my life right now, so working in the same space as a friend plus taking occasional breaks to talk is great. I get some amount of social hangout time and am able to work.

Problem: I'm hecking exhausted from working hours a day on other things in addition to my day job. Really need to change something in the next few months I think. I'm enjoying the work at least :)

Shortform #126 Running More Specific Meetups

We had nine attendees (including myself) at our [Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk] social tonight! It was great, I had a most excellent time, and everyone else said they enjoyed it too.

Only four out of nine attendees (including myself) were familiar with LW/ACX/EA, and when you don't have a group where most of the people are "in-group" so to say (i.e. familiar with things inside our walled gardens), that changes the dynamics of the experience quite a bit.

I may have to vary between open and closed socials in additio... (read more)

Shortform #125 Increasing Vegetarianism

I am still eating meat, but have steadily been cutting back on my meat consumption for the last few weeks. I feel better, my mind is sharper, and I tend to have more energy when I eat more fruits & vegetables and less meat. Not ready to make a full commitment, not sure if I ever will (parties do exist, and there are still things I like trying or would want occasionally), but I am thinking of the 80/20 rule and how that could apply well in this case.

If I eat vegetarian for >=80% of meals, I get the aforementioned benefits while still getting to eat some amount of meat. This seems like a good compromise.

Shortform #124 Returning, Exams, and Plans

Shortforms exist again! Yay :) I enjoy writing these, they are a nice ritual and anchoring part of my days each week, especially while parts of my life remain fairly fragile or uncertain.

The IT exams went well until there was a software glitch, and the second exam failed to even launch and no proctor ever reached out to me. I passed the first exam with room to spare, and opened a support ticket about the second exam, so hopefully the testing company will issue me a new voucher so I can take the second exam and fina... (read more)

Daily shortforms shall resume on Monday 5 September, 2022. I am taking IT certification exams this weekend and need to focus.

Shortform #123 Learning Social Conventions via Scripting & Deliberate Practice

One topic discussed at Virginia Rationalists: Norfolk's social meetup tonight (we had six attendees and had a ton of fun!) was how many people had to consciously choose to learn & practice social conventions like eye contact, body language, customs, and more. Those are things I've had to do, as most social conventions or customs didn't or don't come naturally to me for some reason. This topic resonated with most of us at the meetup, so I'm wondering if it's also a topic t... (read more)

Note to self: make a goodreads account, or use some open source alternative.

I value specificity & find that being too general with research foci or questions hurts both specificity and quality of work, so I agree with what you said. But, I'm not quite there yet regarding investigating narrowly focused hypotheses for specific biology questions. I'm approaching this [writing about immortality] in a few ways:

  • I want to distinguish between longevity and immortality: I believe that longevity refers specifically to increasing human healthspan whereas immortality is the meta cause area which includes longevity (and other cause areas
... (read more)
This makes sense. We can actually distinguish three concepts: * Immortality: living forever, an unlimited or extremely long expected lifespan. * Longevity: decreasing the death rate * Anti-aging: decreasing the death "acceleration" that occurs as an organism ages Naked mole rats don't appear to live as long as humans, so they have lower longevity. However, there is some research showing that naked mole rats don't seem to age, meaning that they are no more likely to die at age 35 than they were at age 3. An organism could in theory be extremely short-lived, while also not aging. We could imagine a bug that has a 50% chance of dying every day, but always has the same 50% chance per day of dying. By contrast, an American's life expectancy is 78 years of age, but their chance of dying increases year by year once they're past early childhood. I'd like to understand Best of luck with your research! I'm in a biomedical engineering graduate program and am interested in anti-aging, but haven't researched the subject as I haven't had time. Let me know if you have biology related questions however! 

Thanks! What are a few of your favourite takeaways from that podcast?

Much thanks for your recommendations & advice, I appreciate you taking the time to share those things!

That's good to know re: the biology vs physics distinction. I'm great at remembering and playing with concepts and also do decently at memorizing all the "hardware bits" so to say (my intellectual & professional background is mixed and requires proficiency with many concepts as well as being able to RTFM a textbook and memorize things).

I will check out the books you mentioned, other sources, and generally do my homework, hehe :) I love physics, but... (read more)

  Search a good University around where you live / a place where you can go physically. Go to the tab: Research. Find the biology department. See what they are doing. Read their research. Cold email them. Did wonders for me.  Besides, happy to have chat on Skype or similar at some point if you fancy Start with Evolution and Molecular Biology in parallel first, once you have the basics right, move to Physiology. 

Shortform #122 Some books on my "To Read" list: (this list grows over may need some pruning, I know I'm missing things, and this list is separate from my "To Finish" list...; this list is mostly for me, it helps to consolidate some things. I'm very open to recommendations.)

Liu Cixin's trilogy, The Remembrance of Earth's Past
Peter Watts, Blindsight
Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths, Algorithms to Live By
National Research Council, Funding a Revolution: Government Support for Computing Research
Peter Kingsley, Reality
David Eagleman, Livewired
R... (read more)

Note to self: make a goodreads account, or use some open source alternative.

Shortform #121 So many ACX Meetups Everywhere to go to!

I will be travelling as much as possible to ACX Meetups Everywhere mostly along the East coast, some in the South, and hopefully all such meetups in Virginia. If I can swing it, I'd like to go to Houston see everyone & run a meetup then attend the Austin ACX meetup.

I love looking at the Community map and seeing so many meetup events occurring, this is fantastic! I'm eager to see that grow year over year and help however I can with that growth.

If you haven't been to any meetups or only a few, ACX Meetups Everywhere are the best time of the year to try attending rationalist meetups, I highly recommend you give that a go. Meetups FTW!

Shortform #120 I [mostly] met an important-to-me deadline: is now live as a substack blog

Here's the first post: Have you considered getting rid of death?

I am excited and look forward to writing more on that subject, preferably each week!

And now bedtime, then back to my day job tomorrow...

Shortform #119 Art is Fun!

I hadn't played the piano in months, but decided to have a solo jam session where I let myself play whatever felt good to play, and wow was that nice! Some of the time I played existing songs, but most of the time I flowed from chord to chord and jumped around the octaves.

Recently I acquired a drawing tablet, I spent some time learning Krita and drew some things, it was cathartic and very fun at the same time.

I don't think I let myself just play around very much, nor spend much time doing art things that I enjoy. I would like to c... (read more)

Shortform #118 Changing Profession & Considering Other Jobs

I don't like doing IT and the thought of doing it years in the future fills me with intense dread. I have decided that I will leave that profession to go do something else and am now considering what other profession or job(s) that might be.

I'm not leaving my current job immediately, I do need to survive in the meantime of course, but having a job-change plan & steadily executing on it will help make the day to day more bearable (it has gotten so bad I've been tempted to just walk out multi... (read more)

Shortform #117 Studying!

Thankfully I was able to take today and tomorrow off from work, I am studying. Nothing more to really discuss, just a lot of work to finish up this weekend. Be well, live long, and prosper :)

Shortform #116 Commitments Check-In

Very simply, a status update on my ongoing commitments, plus a short deadline list.

Media Commitment: This goes well! I am barely watching two movies a week, have not watched YouTube except for purely time sensitive educational purposes, and haven't watched TV at all. My worry about binging comics hasn't been vindicated, as I've acquired several new comics but am actually going through them pretty slowly.

Regular sleep habit commitment: This was going well until the awful stress storm of this week where I have changed my sl... (read more)

Shortform #115 Christopher Nolan's Tenet

I watched this movie tonight and had a blast, it was actually quite a bit of fun keeping track of the timeline stuff and whether someone or an object was operating "inverted" or "non-inverted". Is the premise absurd? It definitely feels that way, but the movie was fun and kept my attention well occupied for its duration. One provocative takeaway from the movie: be careful with rigidity of thought & not updating your priors. It felt like the movie was mostly about rapidly updating your priors and not just for usua... (read more)

I do think there's a key difference between a full upload that more or less maintains continuity of consciousness (e.g. you don't experience anything beyond going to sleep and waking up in a different ??body??) and a backup that restores you to a point after a definite permanent break in said continuity, e.g. death or brain injury.

What is your epistemic confidence in "Copyright won't be the operating legal principle for all sorts of reasons."? I know we are both making assumptions here, how do we best test those assumptions and validate which world seems l... (read more)

It's difficult to disentangle my thoughts from said responses regarding #112, but the idea of competency handcuffs seems interesting to explore further at a later (and healthier) time. Competent Elites keeps coming up as a counterpoint when I try to think about the possibility of competency handcuffs. It's possible that competency is not specific enough for the phenomena I'm pointing at.

This is hard, because one may learn concrete, valuable skills from most any job, that build on & interact with each other in interesting ways. Clear & concise commu... (read more)

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