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Rationality Boot Camp

It's an interesting idea but I feel very skeptical about the generic plan. Personally, a revulsion for organized/standardized education is what drove me to look at things like Less Wrong in the first place. I think this is fairly common in the community, with many people interested in discussion of akrasia and self-work habits.

Also, considering the informality of ideas like "I want to be a good rationalist", I would expect this sort of thing to be much more open-ended and unstructured anyways. It doesn't seem to fit with the idea of a rigid system or a "boot-camp". It just seems contrary to the idea of rationality and free thinking.

I am also somewhat bemused by the character of the "application", where apparently qualification relates to reading of the sequences and SIAI in-house literature. I mean the level of self-masturbation is quite remarkable, not to be too cynical, but it seems to be setting the bar fairly low when you're treating a subject that has been actively discussed for thousands of years.

On the other hand I'm sure this is well intentioned and you have to start somewhere, so I apologize if my remarks seem overly caustic.

Human performance, psychometry, and baseball statistics

I've also read it several times before that physicists and scientists tend to achieve their best results by their mid-thirties. But I don't think the characterization necessarily works for physics/math/etc. like it does for baseball and athletics. There's just a major qualitative difference there -- e.g., athletes are forced to retire fairly young, whereas teachers are very rarely forced to retire until they are really nearing the end of their viable lifespan. Although I do agree that in something like physics, there is also a component of "mental athleticism", which just naturally peaks at a medium or youthful age.

Also, for a lot of subjects like physics or math, you probably won't be able to have a decent mastery of your work until around, say, age 25-35. So the simple fact of the matter is that you will always be past your peak for the majority of your practicing career. It's a bit sad, but again, I think it just shows that the concept of "peaking" may not be really as broadly applicable for academic areas.

Open Thread September, Part 3

In the 419991 times this simulation has run, players have won $1811922 And by won I mean they have won back $1811922 of the $419991 they spent (431%).

More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA

Mating is good. I am somewhat baffled as to why the "PUA" discussion has had a strong negative connotation. As you say, there's a ton of benefits for everyone involved, and it serves as a successful, easy-to-test model for many related skill sets. Personally I think the hesitancy to talk about mating and mating development is likely no more than a sort of vestigial organ of society's ancient associations with religion. It still seems "improper" in ordinary society to talk about how to get into someone's pants. But I see no reason why the sort of thing like "pick-up-artistry" must be unethical or wrong.

More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA

Yes -- I agree strongly with this analysis.

More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA

The whole "happiness limited by shyness/social awkwardness which results in no dates" stereotype does not apply to many people here.

How's that?

Less Wrong: Open Thread, September 2010

Hypertext reading has a strong potential, but it also has negative aspects that you don't have as much with standard books. For example, it's much easier to get distracted or side-tracked with a lot of secondary information that might not even be very important.

Less Wrong: Open Thread, September 2010

It's not that books take longer to produce, it's that books just tend to have higher quality, and a corollary of that is that they frequently take longer to produce. Personally I feel fairly certain that the average quality of my online reading is substantially lower than offline reading.

Something's Wrong

Any problem in government can only be suboptimal relative to a different set of policies, and as such, criticism of government should come with an argument that a solution is possible.

I think most criticism is based on the implicit understanding that a solution is possible. Otherwise you are basically hiding behind a shield of nihilism or political anarchy or something. It seems overly restrictive to say that any criticism without an auxiliary solution is worthless. Just because you see a problem doesn't mean you are able to see a solution. I guess it's a bit like asking all voters to also be politicians.

Something's Wrong

I think you've touched on something really important when you mention how it is easier to be a strong critic than to have a real, working solution. This is a common retort against strong criticism -- "Oh, but you don't how to make it any better" -- and it seems to be something of a logical fallacy.

There is a certain sense of energy and inspiration behind good criticism which I've always been fond of. This is important, because criticism seems to be almost always non-conformist or pessimistic in a certain sense, so I think you kind of need encouragement to remind yourself that criticism is generally originating from good intentions.

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