All of zedzed's Comments + Replies

Second the rec on Sadava. I strongly preferred it to Campbell, the other standard intro bio text, which I found insufficiently precise. I'd go to make an Anki card about some concept, only to find that Campbell's discussion lacked enough precision for me to state exactly what was going on. Sadly, I haven't read another biology book (having been quite satisfied with Sadava's), so I can't make a Luke-compliant recommendation.

Book's homepage:

There seems to be threeish versions about:

  1. The original (the one your link goes to), which McAfee believes may be preferred by the mathematically sophisticated or engineers. This is the one I'm personally using, currently.

  2. A second version, meant to improve accessibility, which McAfee expects professors considering the text to prefer

  3. Version 2.1, which appears to be a refinement of version 2. Includes solutions to exercises, cosmetic improvements, and "small edits for consistency of notation and for c

... (read more)

There are theoretical reason to expect long-term harm from it.

Such as?

Messing with upkeeping processes of the human body generally doesn't tend to go well. Hormons that regulate sleep like melatonin don't the ability to switch to 4 hour cycles. Everything that sleep research has found suggests that it's not healthy to significantly cut down on sleep.

I wouldn't be surprised if every single principle of effective learning has, by someone, somewhere, been co-opted into a dark art.

My favorite part of this post was the inclusion of the exercise left to the reader; working through it really helped me deeply understand what you were saying. I suggest that this type of thing become more common because generation effect.

I agree, though that particular technique (in and of itself, without context) is also used as a Dark Art [].

The answer is 42.

(But, seriously, I think 15 is fine. I'd even be fine reducing it to 10 (username is currently #12)).

From a technical perspective. However, many of my friends respond to fb messages and not emails. Near as I can tell, they're young enough that, when establishing a "best way to contact me," they chose "website I'm going to be on anyway."

I think, now that they're graduating college, they're going to have to get themselves a professional email, but the best way to contact them socially is going to remain fb because, for most social stuff (or at least, social stuff my friends and I get up to), we don't really need any more features than fb has, which I find disappointing, being in the minority who could really use everything you listed.

Yes to this, but also I use Facebook for PM type things -- quick clarifications of who will be where when and things like that. I rarely care to have these things archived. It is actually useful to have these things out of my email account, simply because I get so much kipple there already.

Thank you for the reply. I somewhat disagree that this detracts from the purpose of the thread—I find signalling via grammar (a) nonobvious and (b) useful, making my comment very much in place in a thread about instrumental rationality (albeit less so in a questions thread)—but I do very much appreciate the feedback.

In that case, "it's" is a contraction equivalent to "it is". For a possessive, use "its".


Practical advice from its members.


It's inspired by the stupid questions.

(What's the point of paying attention to this stuff if you're communicating clearly? Briefly, signalling. If I notice you've made a grammatical error, on average, I estimate you're less well educated or not invested in making the writing worth my while than in the opposite case, and am less likely to finish reading if I get bored or have to expend m... (read more)

In general, I would assume that a private message would be more appropriate than a post.
Didn't downvote, but - when I see a mistake like that, by default I assume it was just a typo and that the person knows full well the difference between its and it's. So I find posts explaining it to be annoying.
I downvoted because it completely detracts from the purpose of the thread, and it contributes to the negative nitpicking culture of less wrong.

Are there any nootropics that have decent evidence of nonnegligible effectiveness that aren't listed in Slate Star Codex's Nootropics Survey Results. Asking so I can use replies to this comment + survey as an exhaustive list of nootropics worth considering.

Gwern's records of his own self-experimentation are not to be missed: []
Pseudoephedrine comes to mind. Does anyone know what the evidence is on that?
There's quite a few, but Nicotine is the one that jumps out at me, as well as Ritalin and Adderal. Edit: Here's a more exhaustive list than Scott's, although still not complete. The great thing about examine is you can click through and see exactly what evidence there is for what effects. []

Are there any 2014 videos? I can find the 2013 keynotes here, but nothing since then.

If there were videos recorded and never posted for 2014, then the 2015 prospects look not so good.

2014 wasn't recorded. There was a plan to that never materialized IIRC. 2015 was recorded professionally and August 13th was the original stated date for release. I'm just assuming that was way too ambitious for edit time.

So, Folding at Home, but with money involved? Any idea if it can justify the increased electrical bills?

Yes, kinda like folding@home, just generalized and easy for everyone to use. Also, big advantage is the bandwidth usage (which would likely be a bigger selling point than CPU time). As for the electricity cost.. The tokens would have to be worth more than what you spend on extra power. And there's also the thing of "why don't I just use my own PC for 2 days instead of 10 PCs for 5 hours each?", to which the answer is go for it if you can. But you may have a problem where you just got the data and need it folded or whatever as soon as possible. Again, I feel the bigger use case here is the network, which very low extra electrical bill. For compute, you can just rent EC2 or some other compute station in the cloud, but having hundreds of network nodes for short amounts of time is really hard to buy currently.

I agree with the point, though my immediate intuition is that a few months might work better than a few years; in StarCraft, there's almost no lag, but that hasn't stopped people from innovating, and any meta that persists more than a few months starts feeling stale.

Maybe have 3ish-month seasons like SC2*, and competitors disclose at the end of the season.

* There's three stages of a season: qualifiers, lower league, and upper league. Anyone can compete in the qualifiers, which consist of single-elimination brackets. The lower league is composed of 24 quali... (read more)

Korean academy in Guatemala

I notice that I am confused. What, exactly, is a Korean academy doing halfway around the world? Were you teaching people-who-speak-Korean English in a Spanish-speaking country?

Yeah, it sounds a little weird! But Koreans are the largest population of foreigners in Guatemala, mostly for the textile industry, I think. It seems like most Koreans want to attend college in the U.S., so there was a great market for an after-school academy targeted to their community. The students I taught were all at least trilingual, and teaching them SAT prep wasn't much different than I imagine it would be teaching a class in the US.
Should this be surprising? I briefly worked at a French school in Hungary: the guy who taught Spanish was Mexican, the girl who taught English was American, and so on. A Korean living in Guatemala still needs to learn English.

And thus, another school that could have implemented effective SRS (probably) won't (I'm assuming, with you there to advocate for it, near-universal adoption is inevitable, but without an advocate, nobody will undergo the trivial inconvenience of doing something new, especially when they don't fully understand the cognitive psychology behind it). I'm reminded of Teaching Linear Algebra, where someone applies cognitive psychology to teaching, is hugely successful, and promptly never teaches again because a better opportunity came along.

That said, best of luck!

I think you may overestimate my odds in both domains, but the sentiment is appreciated. That was an interesting link you posted. I read it with much affirmative nodding, and only the occasional impulse to make a snarky remark about the cute little sample size :)

Obligatory link to The Best Textbook on Every Subject.

I'm told that Mas-Colell's book is the classic on microeconomics (provided you have the mathematical prerequisites), although this recommendation is second-hand since it's still on my to-read list.

Oops. I did, in fact, mean vocal music. Fixed and thank you.

Regarding the audio environment: you're combating the irrelevant speech effect. Shuffling and instrumental music are bad; people talking and vocal music are worse. A good bet is industrial-grade earmuffs + earbuds (possibly noise-isolating) playing white noise.

Regarding turning off the internet: experiment. I find it annoying and a hindrance, but I know that it's wildly helpful for other people.

Did you mean 'people talking and vocal music are worse'? I have an app for that. Phone batteries are a precious resource, so maybe I should look for some white-noise MP3s for the laptop.

Created throwaway, couldn't comment.

(So as to not propagate throwaways testing this, account is less_than_2, and the password is 123456)

Oh wow, I tried logging in to it and the reply buttons on existing comments weren't even there. Thanks for providing the account and pointing this out. Two hypotheses come to mind, firstly, as estimator said, perhaps you missed something about the email confirmation when you set up the account, (same for Halfwitz), and secondly, maybe it's an IP address thing intended to discourage throwaway accounts?
AFAIK, you should confirm email to comment.

6th year = book 6 (6th year at Hogwarts) = Half-Blood Prince.

AU = Alternate Universe.

Learn to dance

Where? How? I'm interested, but lack knowledge so very thoroughly that I don't know what to Google or how to judge the results of a best-guess Google search beyond "bellydancing is not for me... probably."

I would start googling "dancing lessons" + your city. My favourite dances: Waltz [], Viennese Waltz [], Foxtrot []-Quickstep [], Jive [], Cha-cha [], Salsa []. If you could find a course that teaches exactly these, I would totally recommend it. You need Waltz for 3/4 music (Viennese Waltz for quick music), and the rest of them can be used for 2/4 or 4/4 music. Quickstep, Jive, and Cha-cha are rather flexible for both quicker and slower music. Ten lessons and you are ready to go. Salsa is the most difficult of these, but is seems very popular. If it is popular in your area, Polka [] is also a good choice. But this advice probably only applies to central Europe. There may be other cultural differences I am not aware of.

I take it the requisite level of mathematical maturity is fairly low? (For instance, I'm assuming Rosen doesn't leave gaps in his proofs for the reader to fill in.)

I ask because I've sometimes had trouble with low-maturity math books with novel content, and "accessible" can mean "little mathematical maturity required" or "high-school-level prerequisites".

I have also found that getting only "advanced undergraduate & graduate level" books to be also a major mistakes, it is a rationality failure to not get all across the prereq spectrum for mathematics I think.
Yes, I think that's true. There are gaps, but they're mainly "trust me" results way out of the scope of the book, like the existence of NP-complete problems and so forth. He definitely doesn't have proofs that require large leaps in intuition.

This discussion has already happened at great length here.

To summarize my stance: there's risks, but considering that everyone I've read on has had positive results across the board, from body composition to semen taste. I get noticeably improved mental clarity (along with getting so lean I'd be scared I was undereating if I didn't know precisely how many calories I was eating and clearer skin), which makes me willing to accept those risks. Also, because soylent might be safe and come with a load of benefits, there's data-generating va... (read more)

Makes sense, thanks for the link and your summary. I've taken a keen interest in soylent but am happy to let others beta test long-term effects for me before I give it a shot :) FWIW, the way soylent people describe their results is more or less how I describe what happened to me when I adopted a whole food plant-based diet (the "china study diet"): BF% dropped/I got leaner, various body odors improved, huge reduction in acne, became a morning person, was able to stop taking ADHD meds, and felt no negative effects at all. Except for maybe I now have so much energy I just had to pick up distance running and ultimately hurt my ankle. :P

Lindeberg is a nutrition researcher (conducts studies, co-authors papers) coming from a medical background, which makes him just as much an expert as a nutrition researcher coming from a biochemistry background.

Why wouldn't nutrition scientists studying nutrition come to a similar conclusion about how young, murky, and complicated nutrition is and only make very conservative, very strongly supported recommendations?

We can measure how much a field has progressed by its predictive power, and nutrition is already making concrete predictions with high conf... (read more)

Am I asking for too much by insisting on a nutrition researcher from a biochemistry background to refute Campbell? Or are you saying they can both be right within the framework of their fields? I am moved enough by your insight and your persistence to give Lindeberg's book a read. :)

Read recent academic textbooks

Any recommendations?

The selective pressure on being able to digest lactose as an adult is stronger than the selective pressure to not develop heart disease from eating too much meat, since the former kills you before you can reproduce. Lindeberg claims that humans have sufficiently recent common ancestry that, in absence of the kill-you-before-you-reach-childbearing-age selective pressures, we're able to generalize from group-to-group fairly well. Non-Inuit probably do worse than Inuit on Inuit diets, and bool is_Inuit is a useful input in a program to produce an optimal soyl... (read more)

I've been watching for several years now (I adopted the diet myself in 2010), and all of the negative critiques tend to fall into (a) critiques from non-experts, (b) critiques from experts in unrelated fields, (c) health experts who agree that his recommendations have merit, but that they're impractical for the general public to follow.

I produce for you a book written by a relevant expert with ~2.5 times as many references as The China Study (2034 vs 758) who advocates eating an ancestral diet (lean unprocessed meat/fish, fruit, nuts, vegetables/root ve... (read more)

Separate topic! What I find alarming about soylent-like diets is the idea that you can completely capture human nutritional needs as a table of micronutrients quantities to fill, and then go out and source those individual micronutrients, combine them, and drink. Aren't you discounting the importance of the configuration of these micronutrients as they arrive in their natural packages? That is, you can certainly decompose an apple into fructose, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water (and etc), but I find it hard to accept that shopping for these individual components, blending, and pouring down your throat is just as good (or better) than eating the apple. Surely we do not completely understand everything nature has done in building us this apple.
I'm specifically trying to avoid weighing the actual science or studies myself, because I don't think nutrition is linear enough for me to just dive in and read contradictory studies and start making informed decisions about my diet. So, all I'm really electing to do here is try to valuate experts. In that vein... According to Wikipedia the author of that book, Staffan Lindeberg, is "M.D., Ph.D., (born 1950) is Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Department of Medicine, University of Lund, Sweden. He is a practicing GP at St Lars Primary Health Care Center, Lund, Sweden." I agree he's a health expert. I even agree he's more qualified to judge nutrition science than me. But shouldn't a nutrition scientist like Campbell be even more qualified to evaluate nutrition literature than a professor of Family Medicine? He may be right, and Campbell completely wrong but I don't see a good way to figure this out for myself unless, say, someone can make an extremely good case that Campbell is either a rogue in nutrition science, or that nutrition science shouldn't be trusted. Getting to your next point... Why wouldn't nutrition scientists studying nutrition come to a similar conclusion about how young, murky, and complicated nutrition is? Shouldn't they on average know this better than anyone and only make very careful and strongly supported recommendations? If you can't trust nutrition scientists to judge the literature properly, why should you trust scientists outside of the field or layman attempting to dive into the field would be better?

the Inuit derive something like 98% of their calories from animal sources and are virtually untouched by Western disease, and concludes that very high consumption of (unprocessed) animals is perfectly fine

Just how genetically isolated are the Inuit?

I am thinking of things like the evolution of adult lactose tolerance, and wondering if what's good for the Inuit might be different from what's good for the rest of us. I'd expect the ability to consume large amounts of meat without ill effects would be pretty powerfully selected for, in an environment where nearly all calories come from meat.

This is a wonderful data point. It moves our model from "if you're a man, don't wear makeup" to "if you're a man, don't wear makeup unless you're going to appear on camera, in which case, wear just enough to counteract visual artifacts." I expect this to be a nontrivially better model for a significant amount of men here.

Any data on whether women prefer men with light makeup?

Data: pretty much all male Hollywood stars wear (natural-looking) makeup whenever they appear on camera.
Anecdotally, I don't know a single (hetero) woman who prefers men with any makeup.

I'm given to understand that the print and audio versions are being held off until readers of the eBook root out the last of the errata. Where should I submit any I find?

6Rob Bensinger8y
There are a lot of reasons we're releasing the eBook early, including wanting community feedback on what people like in the existing text, what mistakes we've slipped in, etc. I don't want to make promises about how many small fixes will be incorporated into the print version, if any. Regardless, fixes might show up in second editions of the eBook and/or print books, so do clue us in if you spot mistakes. You can e-mail errata to I don't expect any fixes to be incorporated into the audio books, because it takes a lot of resources to re-record anything. Castify has been working on creating the audio book for months, in parallel with our putting finishing touches on the eBook. In some cases the recording will actually correspond more closely to Eliezer's original prose than the eBook does.

It occurs to me that, given the philosopher's stone is around, any superweapons Harry could create and conceal with it in slightly under an hour could exist in the clearing, provided that they're enough to let Harry survive another hour, access the time turner, and create said superweapons.

Also, since prophecies are self-fulfilling and Voldemort prefers a world that won't end to a world that will and Harry has already made the appropriate unbreakable vow to do everything to prevent the end of the world, Harry could argue that expected universe where Voldemort lets Harry live is far superior to the one where Harry dies.

No, I was thinking that the snitches would be released early on and not be quite so evasive, so the 100 might come from 6 snitches and 17 quaffle goals, or something like that. This isn't an unreasonable number of quaffle goals for a Quidditch match. Maybe the target would be 50 and the snitch wouldn't be toned down so much - then each snitch grab will be worth a large fractional increase.

What are some sensible-sounding alternatives to eliminating the snitch entirely?

The best I can think of is have two snitches—red snitch, blue snitch. Whenever a seeker catches their snitch, the opposing team can't score any more; the game ends when the second snitch is caught.

Whenever a snitch is caught, it is marked as a score and released. A team's final score is the product of their snitch-catches with their quaffle-goals. The game ends when a team's score reaches or exceeds 100.
Suppose there is a clock that determines the end of the game. Then Quidditch becomes similar to football (of the non-American variety) or basketball, with a slightly more hostile field. But it loses some drama from the Seeker no longer having a role. I do think that multiple snitches is a good way to go, but video games provide the right role for them: power-ups. Then there's lots of room to get creative. Suppose there are, say, three snitches active at any time, in order to get their effect they have to be held (but they also attract the attention of the Bludgers, which has lots of potential for manipulation), and they all have a maximum duration of, say, two minutes, at which point the Snitch is depleted and is replaced by another one from the supply (and it reenters the supply to be available when the next one is depleted). Probably the seeker gets a faint glow of whatever color Snitch they're holding, both to make it more obvious to spectators and to make it easier for the other team to try to interrupt the Seeker's boosting of their team. 1. Raw points: a golden Snitch is worth 20 points if you manage to hold onto it the whole period. 2. Amplifying team members: a blue snitch increases the points scored through the Quaffle by your team, and a red snitch makes everyone on your team fly a bit faster. A green snitch makes the opposing side's goal hoops a bit larger, and an orange snitch makes your hoops smaller. 3. Replacing team members: a white snitch causes the Bludgers to avoid members of your team (both making Beaters unnecessary and less likely to help, since the Bludgers would avoid getting hit). A black snitch halves or eliminates points scored by the other team (giving your Keeper a break). 4. Meta: the team composition seems unforgiving to increasing or decreasing the number of players, but it might be reasonable to have one that lets you field an extra player or knock out one of their players (likely chosen by
I'm pro-Snitch. Harry's gripe about the snitch, which is that it trivializes the rest of the game, isn't the problem on display here. The issue currently afflicting the user experience is that the House Cup doesn't just rely on Quidditch Win/Loss, but also on the magnitude of the win/loss. Therefore, two teams can collaborate to play a game of such magnitude that it obliterates all other considerations. A clock wouldn't actually solve this, (they could just agree to exchange points for the first X minutes, then play for real for an abbreviated endgame when time pressure became acute). A solution to the problem must prevent Quidditch collusion from making one of the last two teams to play Quidditch automatically win the House Cup, but simultaneously maintain the primacy of Quidditch in determining the House Cup (because otherwise students won't care about the House Cup). A simple solution seems to be that rather than adding the points of both winners and losers to their Houses respective scores the winner is awarded a static (high) number of points.


Harry gets the Snitch eliminated from Quidditch. Not just in Hogwarts, but in the big leagues as well - they don't want a Germany vs. Austria on their hands.

All of the celebrity Quidditch players of the world - Victor Krum, Ludo Bagman, Finbar Quigley - are distraught by these sudden and drastic changes to a traditional game they've loved for many years. At the ceremony marking the changes, some of them tear up.

The Daily Prophet headline is "BOY WHO LIVED TEARS UP THE STARS"

Eliezer gives all of us a long lecture about how the prior for... (read more)

I would have thought the obvious answer is to stop adding match points onto house points and instead simply give a fixed number of house points to the winner.
I'll just note that the presence of the Snitch in Quidditch has historically survived a match that took 3 months because nobody could catch the damned thing.
Eliminating the snitch won't even solve the problem entirely. Sure, if there's an hour time limit, the game won't take forever, but they could still rack up points by alternately letting each other score 30 points. Come to think of it, why didn't they? They could have way more points by now.
Make it worth 20-30 points and keep it as the game-ender. It's only going to make a difference if the game is close, so the Quaffle remains relevant.
Make the game end when the clock runs over, or when the snitch is caught, whichever is sooner. And make the snitch worth ~half the typical point spread of a match.
I think just having the snitch be worth zero or a very nominal amount of points works fine. This makes the core of the game the regular point scoring and play, and makes the snitch-hunting important but more about biding your time and trying to pounce on the snitch when your team gets ahead.
Make it worth fewer points, make the game not end when the snitch is caught (it's re-released and can be chased and caught again, so it's just another way of scoring points)...

I believe that the people who attribute criticism #2 to feminism believe that feminists conflate "story about abuse" with "story encouraging abuse." If feminists are indeed doing this (I'm unsure whether they are), then criticism #2 ought to be attributed to feminism; the general population seems to have no problem with stories that portray unacceptable-in-reality sex (for instance, "NonConsent/Reluctance" is a major story tag on Literotica.)

I have seen self-identified feminists criticising the book (and preemptively the movie) for #2. But I don't think it's as simple as making that conflation. A closer version might be that the book portrays an abusive relationship sympathetically. (I haven't read it, I don't know if this is an accurate criticism.) Thomas Covenant in Lord Foul's Bane and Howard Roark in The Fountainhead are both the protagonists of their stories, and both rapists; but only one of their authors appears to disapprove of their rape. (It still feels like an unfair criticism, to me.) And on a similar note, people in the kink scene are upset that kink is being portrayed in a light that they don't find particularly sympathetic, and they're worried about the effects this is going to have on their community.

Salem Witches' Institute or a dojo in Asia seem the obvious choices, so we can probably safely eliminate them (because when was the last time EY used the obvious solution in MOR?)

That would be just what he would expect.

Do we actually disagree about anything?

We certainly agree that the Barracuda's are crap in NAS's. I believe that WD Red's are a major improvement and Hitachi Deskstars a further improvement, which is just reading the Backblaze data (which is eminently applicable to NAS environments), so I'm we're in complete agreement that, for NAS's, Barracuda << Red < 7K2000.

However, I also contend that, in a desktop PC, a lot of what makes the Reds and 7K2000 more reliable (e.g. superior vibration resistance) will count for very little, so they'll still fail le... (read more)

Yes. You keep saying that there are no significant differences in reliability between hard drives of similar class (consumer or enterprise, basically) in similar conditions. I keep saying there are. I don't follow the hardware scene much nowadays, but I don't think AnandTech was ever considered the "gold standard" except maybe by AnandTech itself. It's a commercial website, not horrible, but not outstanding either. Garden-variety hardware reviews, more or less. In any case, I trust discussion on the forums much more than I trust official reviews (recall the Sturgeon's Law).

My above comment was poorly written. Sorry. Hem.

Consumer-grade HDD's, used properly, all have about same, low failure rate. If you treat your desktop like a NAS or server, they will drop like flies (as evidenced). If you treat your desktop like a desktop, then a lot of the price-raising enterprise-grade features (vibration resistance, 24/7 operation) count for zilch. They're still higher-end drives, and will last longer, but assuming you give your desktop a fraction of the maintenance you give your car (like, take 5 minutes to blow it out every other year)... (read more)

Sigh. No. Really, go look at the data. I am not going to take the "consensus" of the anand crowd over it. Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 is a consumer-grade non-enterprise hard drive. In the sample of ~4,600 drives it has 1.1% annual failure rate in the NAS environment. Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 is a consumer-grade non-enterprise hard drive. In the sample of ~1,200 drives it has 43.1% annual failure rate in the NAS environment. Those are VERY VERY DIFFERENT failure rates. I, for example, have five-drive zfs array at home which is on 24/7. I am very much interested in what kind of drives will give me a 1% failure rates and which kind of drives will give me 43% failure rates. I am not average, but I hardly think I'm unique in that respect in the LW crowd.

Consensus is that modern HDD's from reputable manufacturers have approximately equal low failure rates, especially after the first year. You should still back up important data (low != 0), but the differences failure rates in consumer space is small enough to not really sway purchasing decisions.

Their methodology probably doesn't extrapolate well because they're testing the drives in what amounts to a NAS and the WD reds (which did well) are NAS drives, and therefore designed to operate 24/7 with vibration and nongreat cooling, whereas the Seagate Barracud... (read more)

I am sorry, the link shows hard data which disproves that statement and not in a gentle way, either. Didn't your first sentence state that all failure rates are "approximately equal"? Make up your mind. Assumption not in evidence. I've seen a LOT of computers totally taken over by dust bunnies :-) The reason you go look at that grey disk where the fan vent used to be is that your bios starts screaming at you that the machine is overheating :-D Yes, but that's irrelevant to the original post which looks at reliability of rotating-platter hard drives. If you think you don't care about the issue, well, what are you doing in this subthread?

I spend time in hardware enthusiast communities and not so impressed with Backblaze. Even here, the Seagate failure rates seem suspiciously anomalous.

Also, SSDs, which are probably a better match for most people here (my rig has run a 256 GB SSD for the past 2.5 years and I'm yet to want for more storage). Especially for laptops; they use less power (= your battery lasts longer) and can stand up to shock (so your laptop doesn't break if you drop it).

I did not mean to endorse any particular service or give recommendations as to which storage devices should people buy. I found hard data which is rare to come by, I shared it. If you think the data is wrong or misleading, do tell.

Huh. From the time I spent in the paleosphere, the arguments I saw against wheat were the six Scott listed plus "carbs are evil!" (Literally the only input to the delta-weight function is grams_carbs.) Lindeberg either ignores or dismisses these arguments. I stopped spending time in the paleosphere a while back and I'm not overwhelmingly proud of the epistemic purity of the parts I did frequent, so maybe you just got to see the paleosphere make their non-wretched arguments.

Ooh okay. So they both don't like wheat, but for different reasons. I had misunderstood your original statement to meant that Lindeberg would exonerate wheat. My mistake. tldr!Lindeberg does seems to disagree with Scott about the endocrine disruption thing - unless it's just leptin-lectin specifically we're talking about here, and give the "toxins" idea a bit more weight than Scott does. Yeah, amateur nutrition is chock full of quacks, and I think nutrition should be approached with almost as much skepticism as politics (which is a shame, since one's feeding behavior is actually important). FWIW, I've actually heard both the arguments that Lindenberg listed and the arguments that Scott rebutted in the paleosphere...I whole heartedly agree with Lindenberg, but I don't particularly trust Scott's judgement in this matter (despite otherwise thinking extremely extremely highly of him) because he's making interpretations I wouldn't make. For example is just...such a weird thing for a psychiatrist to say. From my perspective Intestinal barrier problems leading to generalized inflammation and generalized mental deficiency are something to seriously worry about, especially when ADHD and depression are also linked to inflammation. From my perspective, this clearly pointing to an auto-immune-mediated deficit in general brain health, with an elevated risk of all mental problems in general. You can say that the effect is not real, but once you accept that it's real you can't say "oh but I'm not schizophrenic so it does not apply", as if schizophrenic brains were so fundamentally different from healthy brains that it shouldn't give a healthy person pause when a particular food worsens schizophrenia. And to me, is a big, gaping, chasming hole that Scott is treating as a minor breach. (I mean, forget refined grains, it could be funging against coke and cheetos for all we know). It's interesting that we can look at the same data and see it so differently.

See also discussion here, in particular, soylent green (unsuitable for OP because hypoglycemia), soylent orange (yay complex carbs!) and ketosoylent (most recently Yudkowsky's Mildly Surprising Super Ketonic Dietary Replacement Fluid: Your Alternative To Healthy Eating.)

I probably should try adding soylent orange to my overall plan. Some part of me is uncomfortable with the idea of meal replacement shakes, but I don't think that's a rational feeling. The only rational argument against it that I can think of is the same argument against repeating the same meal every day - the lack of diet diversity. RomeoStevens seems to have found no intermediate-term health issues on a mainly-soylent-orange diet, but additionally if I'm using soylent orange as only a part of my diet, I'm still going to have a decent mix of food sources. Time to dust off the blender.

To tl;dr a tl;dr

  • Seeds (read: grains) have the highest concentration of "don't eat me" toxins, because of the role they play in reproduction; phytic acid, for instance, inhibits absorption of several minerals.

  • Humans can live off vegetables and some fish (Kitavans) or almost entirely meat (Inuit) and be pretty healthy. However, even animals optimized for eating seeds, much less humans, cannot live off grains exclusively without developing pellegra and beriberi.

  • Cereals have exceptionally high energy density, which may lead to overfeeding.

  • It'

... (read more)
Oh, I think I either misunderstoody your post or phrased my question poorly. Your description of Lindeberg is precisely representative of the mainstream paleo "party line" as I understand it. I thought the book would "dismiss the paleosphere arguments against wheat", as you suggested, and give justifications for why it was okay while still maintaining paleo - but what you've written is the paleosphere argument against wheat (which is a grain)
You shouldn't care much about omega-3/6 ratio in grains because they don't usually have much of either. Same for meat.

Let's talk about drugs!

Caffeine's an adenosine antagonist. Now, let's figure out what that means.

Neurons have proteins embedded in their membranes called receptors. Chemicals (e.g. neurotransmitters) can bind to these receptors, which causes stuff to happen. For instance, adenosine is a chemical, and it can bind to receptors in your brain cells, resulting in sleepy behavior.

(Here seems to be the place to mention that this is a vastly oversimplified explanation. Those interested in a technical explanation would do well to check out the appropriate textbook,... (read more)

Is there any research on why caffeine seems to affect some people more/differently than others? Anecdotally, I've noticed over the years that I get the "jitters" after two cups and have to stop because I can't stand the feeling, whereas others can drink half a pot and barely notice the effects. I initially thought that these others had just 'pushed through the jitters' and built up a tolerance, but some of them have told me they've never experienced the jittery feeling I'm talking about. Or maybe it just didn't make them as uncomfortable as it makes me?
Fantastic explanation, and now I have another book to read eventually. Thanks!

You might want to say something like "quick" instead of "fast" because homonyms (I first thought you were going to talk about intermittent fasting, which didn't make sense because of the hypoglycemia).

Why are you skeptical of whey protein? I've only ever heard good stuff, and I've spent enough time reading about nutrition to construct not-unreasonable arguments against almost every food. (Vegetables? Plants don't want to be eaten (except for fruit), so they contain bad-to-eat chemicals that humans almost certainly can't metabolize! Frui... (read more)

I'm curious as to how it arrives at a version of paleo while simultaneously dismissing the paleosphere on wheat (of which Scott has listed only a few)? Because if I could distill the object-level advice of the paleosphere into two words, they would be: "avoid wheat". (Obviously, standard diet advice doesn't apply when one is hypoglycemic, although I suppose, depending on the underlying causes of the hypoglycemia, the prescription could be more carbohydrates or more fat)
Swapped quick for fast. Thanks for pointing that out! On whey protein - I was exposed to a lot of unverified health information by an ex. Much of that information came from a group of sources that take a conspiracy-theory approach to nutrition research (there's a big food industry that controls what gets published, and a lack of evidence for or any evidence against fact X is because of the food industry!). This is not to say that the facts I was exposed to were wrong, but rather that I need to verify them. So according to her, whey protein was bad. A quick google search for "whey protein health concerns" turns up quite a bit, although it's a mishmash of stuff. The mayo clinic has a list of side effects from using whey protein [], and this article [] states that "increased whey protein added to the diet of rats increased tumors and cancers". On the other hand, wikipedia [] mentions the potential value of whey protein in reducing risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. So the picture looks far from clear - I guess I have some more reading to do (unless someone else has already done the reading and can whey in?). Thanks for the link on wheat stuff - because of the hypoglycemia, wheat has been a major building block of my meals. It's nice to know that I can continue that. Same goes for your suggestions on meat - most of my meat intake is chicken breasts, which fit in the non-processed lean meat category. I really should try weaning myself off caffeine, and see how I feel. I was 20 before I started drinking it, and I was able to perform in school and work settings just fine without. That said, I'd like to do some more reading about how caffeine actually works - do you have another link to suggest? (if nothing comes to mind, I'll just spend some time with

Doug McGuff (author of Body By Science) reminds me of Staffan Lindeberg (author of Food and Western Disease).

McGuff updates away from "common wisdom" of exercise, usually in a direction that makes things better.

  • McGuff is an opponent of large amounts of moderate-intensity cardio, arguing that it has extremely poor return-on-investment (too much time, energy, effort) and causes too much injury. His recommendation to do minimal amounts of high-intensity exercise line up nicely with Romeo Steven's recommendations and recent research.

  • McGuff focuse

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I have this heuristic which states, if a bunch of smart people get excited about something, you should check it out. There's no obligation to also get excited about it (a lot of smart people get excited over classical literature, which does less than nothing for me, but I'm sure this is a product of my draw in the lottery of fascinations and not sloth.)

At this point, "anything that you find interesting and doesn't get downvoted into oblivion because nobody else finds it interesting" seems a reasonable criteria for "appropriate for LW". ... (read more)

Beware. That's exactly how people show up for every horrible Transformers movie in enough numbers to fund the next one.

Also, the testing effect. There seems to be some sort of consensus among scientists who research in the relevant area that many, low-stakes quizzes is better than few high-stakes tests, because it reduces student anxiety, encourages a more spread out practice distribution, and leverages the testing effect more. (There exists proper empirical support which I'm too lazy to dig up, but will if asked to.)

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